Team DF Goes to Webbywood
by Stuart Woodhouse
Looking very much like the Partridge Family (except there was one girl and eight boys), the family of DF'ers descended on Wellington for the annual Webstock conference. For the uninitiated, Webstock is two days of inspirational and thought provoking talks from some world-class industry minds. There's unlimited espresso coffee, plenty of ice cream and a specially-brewed Webstock beer that was served up for afternoon tea. Although this might sound like a holiday, there were plenty of serious topics to cover.
At this point we could go into the finer points of coding, what your content strategy should look like and why not to buy a fridge with an inbuilt computer display. Instead we'd like to impart some snapshots from the conference — things that sparked our interest and will hopefully spark yours:
- Have a balanced "media diet" — make sure that what you are reading is close to the source of information. The Internet is rife with junk information, and every click you make on ink content like this is a vote for more content of that type. An example of this is the current news story around Oscar Pistorius, what we are getting in the news media is the 'sensation', this sells newspaper, magazines and advertising, but how far from the truth are the stories.
- Failure happens, it's ok. Plan for it, learn from it and move on. Remember to 'fail forward' and to 'fail early', this way you are still on the front foot. Startups take note, you need to be as nimble on your feet as a boxer to succeed because there will inevitably be pitfalls along the way.
- Problem solving is not about thinking outside the box, it’s about finding the right box to think inside. Asking the right questions is essential to defining a problem, and then apply constraints to encourage creativity.
- With a billion users, Facebook is defining this era and what they do on the site has huge implications for both individuals and society as a whole. Tread with caution when you setup your profile, post text or images, it may come back to 'bite' you one day and you are to some degree, are powerless to do anything about it.
- It's been long said in the industry that "Content is King". But, more now than ever, content must be adaptable. Design your content with the intention that it can 'live' on any platform (even non-digital ones). The suggestion at the conference was to have a content repository and break it down into "chunks", rather than one "blob". Content can then be push out to different devices, channels etc, with cogent that is relevant. If your audience of mobile users is different to that of your website users, you need to serve up different content to each.
The After Party
by Sam Sehnert
It's become a tradition in the past few years for our Web team to take a weekend away from the office after Webstock to sit back and reflect. We take a look at the past year, and make plans for where we want to be the next year.
This year, our main technical focus was to review our web development framework — the starting point for all our web projects.
Recently we've been talking a lot about management of content and optimising websites for mobile browsing. We thought it was about time we made this standard in the framework we use — giving our clients much better bang for buck and allowing us to focus on the aspects of the project that are unique. And while we’re saving budget on common features we still view each project as custom — specific to the needs of the individual client.
Using a framework that we've built ourselves gives us control over what’s included and what’s not — and puts our clients back in control of their own projects instead of letting the technology dictate what’s possible. This allows us to build a custom CMS which has advanced, well proven features right from the start:
- Secure user login area.
- Easy-to-use Content Management.
- Navigation reflects site content, so its easy to find what you want.
- Fully featured blogging and article publishing, optimised for search engines.
- Designed to load quickly.
- Turn-Key integration with Social Networking, like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
- Flexible integration with FileMaker.
- Custom integration with Xero.