Back to work as a developer again…

Since I’ve been in my newest position, I’ve spent a little time on this, a little time on that and some time on the other stuff, not quite sinking my teeth into any actual development work. That’s changing. All the old muscles are being flexed again, the rust is falling away and I am bringing things back to the realm of being… WEB MAN!

Strategy (check), Goals (check), Ideas (check), Check (check)!

Let’s see what muscle I pull first.

Testing is the bane of my existence

Been putting the finishing touches on a new site for the past week or so. Things are looking good, but it’s often difficult to quantify to your boss/client that you need to spend 4-6 hours squashing cross browser bugs, and you need to be pretty thorough.  From a business perspective, it’s pretty simple really. I won’t be telling designers anything new, but for you business people, here’s why you want your designer/developers to squash all those pesky cross browser issues.

  • There’s just too many versions of too many browsers out there to deal with. Chances are, that there’s a lot of them coming to your site. You don’t want to suddenly blow off 1000+ visitors a month do you?
  • Browser adoption is slow.  There’s still millions of people using Internet Explorer 6. A browser that was released 10 years ago.  Some of them are just lazy, but many are corporate users locked into IE6 due to some proprietary web application they must use on a daily basis.  They are probably used to the web looking kinda weird, but the site should at least be readable for these folks.
  • Choice is the spice of life.  People switch browsers and they do so frequently. I currently use Chrome on a day to day basis, but still have Firefox and IE8 installed just in case. You never know.

One thing you shouldn’t overlook is mobile testing.  do you need to have an iPhone friendly version of your site? How will your site render on the iPad?

From a business standpoint, it makes no sense to plant a stake in the ground on a single browser or version. Check your analytics, see what’s coming to your site and support it as best you can.

Re-Thinking the Opt-In

Wow, two hyphens in a title. What was I thinking?

I’ve been spending a bit of time over the past few days cleaning out my email boxes and getting rid of a lot of my Bacn. The opt out process is often a torturous ordeal that you go through to attempt to remove yourself from the clutches of some current or potential product or service provider. Everyone wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. One company I signed up with when I opted into what I thought was 1 email, started sending me several every day.  Sorry (name redacted), I’m just not that into you. When you send me more email than my wife, we may have a problem.

So, there’s been a lot of dragging the scrollbar to the bottom of email messages in order to hunt for the opt-out link.  I think I can safely classify any email company into one of three camps.

  • The sketchy – You’re not sure you’re never going to hear from them, they don’t explain the process, and you leave not 100% sure that you won’t receive another email from them.
  • The normal -  You’re reasonably sure that, barring some technical glitch, your inbox door will no longer be darkened by their messages.
  • The classy – They make it fun. They make you laugh a bit. They fill you in on what’s going to happen, they explain that it may take a few days to remove you and you go away feeling almost bad for unsubscribing from their newsletters (I’ve even changed my mind on one of these).

Which camp is your organization in? I’m not going to point out the bad examples, but I will throw a bone to one of the better ones I’ve run across recently. Skype.  Thanks, Skype, for making our relationship more than just a simple transaction.

It’s not about you… Really.

Why is it that so many people in business think that their website needs to be all about them? I’m looking mostly at media organizations or service providers here. It’s not about  your botched haircut, your promotion to buy me gas for a month or even which 20 songs you’re playing over and over again right now. It’s about what your listeners want.  Read More »

Start thinking about small screens

iPhone-browserI just got an iPod for Christmas.  It’s a very cool gadget and the wi-fi connectivity is making me seriously think about giving ATT some money and finding a way to get an iPhone.  Anyway, this isn’t about me, but rather about how far mobile browsing has come, and how much further it has to go.

If you haven’t looked at your site on a mobile browser, I suggest you do so.  More people are going to start hitting your site with mobile browsers in a very short time. Apple and Google have it right by allowing you to see the page as-is, but zoom in on the important bits. Good for them. RIM and others may not be quite so forgiving. For the short lesson here, there are basically three things you need to worry about. Read More »