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Informative commentary on the web industry from the experts at Itomic.

July 1, 2015

Have you checked your MailChimp lately? – PSA

By Izumi Mitsui

As MailChimp continues to evolve for the better there’s been a recent update with their API  (MailChimp API V3.0 Release)

Version 3.0 of the API has been through months of development and internal testing. We’ve had it in public beta for 2 months. With this launch, the API is stable enough that applications and integrations can start offering v3.0 functionality to their users.

In light of this, make sure you test any signup forms on your website linked to your MailChimp account to ensure it’s working correctly.

If you notice anything not quite right, let us know and we will get a resolve for you ASAP.


May 14, 2015

Mobile Responsive – Why bother?

By Izumi Mitsui
Most agencies/web developers will incur additional costs to develop a mobile responsive website.
The responsive element will ensure your website will adjust itself to multiple screen sizes across all devices and introduce user-friendly features such as ‘touch friendly’ navigation.

 

Is it worth the extra cost? Especially if you’re the website admin that only needs to access your website from the office desktop, why would you bother?

 

Here are 2 compelling reasons:

 

  1. Numbers don’t lie.
    Ever since early 2014 the mobile figures have overtaken the desktop usage for website access globally.Mobile friendly itomic
    The trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon, the increased advancements in technology allows more people access to affordable smart-devices.
     
    While you may not have a need to access your website on your portable device, it’s not about you! Your website is for your users/customers first and foremost, so it’s only wise to make  sure its easily accessible for all.
  2. Mobilegeddon has hit and gone
    On April 21st, 2015 Google’s ‘Mobile Friendly Update’ was introduced. (deemed as ‘Mobilegeddon’ by some)
    This update was simple: Google will give favour over to websites that are responsive or have a mobile friendly page over those that don’t.

    Why? Because mobile friendly pages are easy to read, access and increase the chances of the user finding what they’re after swiftly (which is the whole goal of Google).

 

Take away (for the note takers):

In 2015, mobile responsiveness should be a mandatory term with web development.
If your website is non-responsive we encourage you to take action and stay ahead of the curve.
Unsure if your website is responsive? Take the mobile friendly test 
Additional help available here.

April 22, 2015

Toughen Up WordPress! [4.1.2 is out]

By Izumi Mitsui

WordPress 4.1.2 has been released as of 21/04/15.
It’s an update heavily focused on security features of the core platform, not since version 4.0.1 has WordPress seen so much armour added to the security front.

Deemed ‘critical’ it is recommended that all websites be updated to the latest version to maximise security and ensure optimal performance.

“This is a critical security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.”
(Source: https://wordpress.org/news/2015/04/wordpress-4-1-2/)

If you’re an Itomican and already on board our active support agreement, there is nothing you need to do – kick your feet up and go on with your day!

However if you’re unsure, or would like to find out more about our service to keep on top of your WordPress Security, let us know by filling out the form below or give us a call. Our team is geared up and ready to assist!


April 8, 2015

Itomic Donates $1,000 to Drupal 8 Accelerate

By Ross Gerring

Today we’re pleased to announce that on behalf of Itomic, CEO Ross Gerring has donated $1,000 to the Drupal 8 Accelerate cause.

www.crowdrise.com/d8accelerate

This campaign is all about funding the last big push to move Drupal 8 from ‘beta’ to ‘release’ status, and ultimately to being fully production ready. Drupal 8 has been a long time in the making, and Itomic can’t wait for it to finally see the light of day. Itomic services, supports and secures many Drupal 6 and 7 websites, and is looking forward to working on our first Drupal 8 site at the earliest opportunity.

For more about Drupal 8, here are some FAQs: www.drupal.org/drupal-8.0/faq

Here’s Itomic’s Drupal showcase website: www.drupalise.com.au

 

 


March 23, 2015

Top 10 Website Project Risk Factors

By Ross Gerring

Itomic has been design and building websites since 2000… and some team members a little longer than that. But website projects still don’t always run smoothly – despite everyone’s best efforts and intentions.

Most of Itomic’s website projects run reasonably smoothly, but we’ve certainly had our share of challenges over the years. And we’ve learnt from them. We’re pleased to share with you a list of what we believe to be the Top 10 Website Project Risk Factors… and how to mitigate against them.

Too many decision makers (stakeholders, committees)

This can cause bottlenecks in the decision and approval process. Ensure that project managers/representatives are sufficiently empowered and supported to make decisions.

Custom-coding to get features “just right”

Sometimes compromise is necessary. Sometimes 90% of a feature is good enough if delivering on that last 10% is going to take 100s of hours of custom coding and testing and cause large time and budget overruns. KISS!

Staff turnover

Ensure that project communications and status reporting are clear, up-to-date and accessible to new project members.

Scope creep

Both client and supplier must be on the lookout for the dreaded scope creep. Scope creep is where new project features are being requested that didn’t form part of the original brief, and can’t have reasonably been expected to be included. Additional feature requests must be evaluated in terms of likely project impact, and decisions then need to be made in terms of whether to include or not include the new feature requests in the current phase.

Underestimation of the time/resource commitment

On average, we observe that clients underestimate the amount of time they themselves will need to invest in the project for it to keep on moving forwards promptly. After all, many clients are already doing a full-time job, and the website project is in addition to that. All project members need to be granted sufficient time alongside their normal duties.

Misunderstandings about what a “normal” project entails

Perhaps the most typical misunderstanding is that “bugs” (or “issues” as we prefer to call them!) are not a normal part of the development lifecycle. The reality is that they are, especially when you’re dealing with complex systems, millions of lines of code, and custom requirements. The purpose of the testing phase is for the client to work with us to identify and resolve outstanding issues – of which there may well be many on a large, sophisticated project. Fyi there’s almost no such thing as a bug-free software project.

Inaccurate project estimating by Itomic

Estimating the time it takes to develop software development is notoriously challenging. It’s not an exact science, even armed with highly detailed functional and/or technical specifications. Although we use tried and tested techniques, they remain “estimates only”. Regular project updates ensure that the client is kept informed in the event that estimates and actuals are diverging significantly.

3rd Party Systems (integration with)

Integrating (synchronising, importing/exporting) a new system with one or more 3rd party systems can seem straightforward on the surface, but can sometimes prove very challenging. If such integration is mission-critical for overall project success, then the requirements must be fully identified and tested/prototyped, and sooner rather than later.

Data migration / population

Similar to the above, time and effort is typically underestimated to source the content, and to populate the new site with that content. It’s important to fully identify and specify all data (i.e. website content) that is to be supplied for the new site, whether it exists yet, who has it, what format it’s in, etc.

Cross-platform compatibility

It’s harder than you think to get websites to look and function perfectly on every version of every browser (old and new) on every screen size and orientation (portrait or landscape). The combinations are almost infinite. Optimising for a specific combination can cause de-optimisation for another. Try to ensure that your websites are standards-compliant, but still accept that perfect consistency is virtually impossible.