October 19th, 2014
January 2nd, 2014
Now that 3.8 has been released, the next obvious question we’re all asking is: “what’s next?” The Parker update was a pretty transformational update, especially visually. 2014 looks like it will be just as revolutionary, but this time it will be all about adding amazing new functionality. Here are a few upcoming possibilities to whet your pallete:
The search feature of WordPress has always lacked and been a bit clunky. OmniSearch seeks to change that, incorporating a real-time search feature that will scour your entire site and return instant results, no matter where they are (posts, pages, comments, custom post types, etc..). In addition, it will be easily customizable for Developers to add custom search result areas.
The Widget section of WordPress has already gone through an overhaul with 3.8, but it looks like that wasn’t enough. The next redesign is currently being brainstormed by a lot of great thinkers, trying to find a brand new take on how to manage and interact with Widgets, such as this concept of a Modal popup for selecting widgets presented by Web Dev Studios.
This one is HUGE. WordPress has long needed a way to edit posts and pages, without having to actually log into the Dashboard and edit the content. In addition, what is entered into the Dashboard doesn’t often translate to what is actually seen on the front-end of the website, mostly due to the layout and styling of the CSS. This new editor will allow real-time editing of content directly on the page itself. Anyway, I can ramble on for hours on how cool this is, but watch this demonstration instead!
There’s lots more on the plate, too, including an entirely new WordPress API to allow for WordPress’ growth into a fully functional CMS and application framwork. 2014 is shaping up to be WordPress’ most exciting year yet!
December 19th, 2013
Updates sometimes provide new features, but many tend to be “under the hood” enhancements for improving speed or adding more tools to help developers like us code better WordPress sites. But WordPress 3.8 (just released) is no behind the scenes update. If you choose to run the 3.8 upgrade, you will be greeted with several obvious improvements you’ll love.
The Parker release comes with a very anticipated and entirely revamped Dashboard. The look and feel is cleaner, smoother and modern. It also lets you customize the color scheme, too. This is a true sea change for WordPress, as it’s been running the same style Dashboard since its initial release!
The way you manage your Widgets is streamlined. Have a large monitor? Multiple widget areas stack side-by-side to use the available space. Using a tablet? Just tap a widget to add it
Mobile compatibility is fully implemented, which means you can now use your Dashboard on any device, from desktop to tablet to phone and it will adapt. This is incredibly useful, especially if you tend to travel or are on-the-go and still want to blog or update your site, whether it’s from the hotel room or the airport
The Parker update is a true evolution for the WordPress platform and everyone is encouraged to join the party. If you are uneasy about upgrading your site and wanting to take advantage of these new features (or if you’re unsure of which version you’re running in the first place!) give us a call and let’s get you caught up.
Did you know that every WordPress version is named after a famous Jazz musician? The very last (3.7) was named “Basie” after Count Basie. 3.8 “Parker” is named after Charlie Parker. And what did they name version 1.0? Miles, of course. 🙂
June 15th, 2012
So what is it about WordPress that makes us such fans? The reasons are plentiful and we could really discuss this all day (and we have…really), but for now we’d like to touch on the top five reasons that WordPress makes for good chee.
We’ve talked about this point often, but it’s open source roots are at the top of the list for why WordPress is what it is. From its inception, it was given to the community as a free tool for people to begin sharing their content across the web. Due to its elegant and straightforward structure, people have been expanding and extending it ever since, all through the magic of the open source community. This means that WordPress is supported by the web itself, and nobody “owns” it.
WordPress’ open source nature ensures that your website will always have a support line and you’ll always find someone who can work with it. This gives it a longevity that is rarely seen in the fast moving world of internet software, and we think deserves the top slot for why WordPress is our main squeeze.
We’ve heard far too many times from clients that their past website was an indecipherable mess of buttons and panels, with no intuitive way to find out exactly how to do what they want it to do. Yet with WordPress, we’ve trained clients on how to manage their content within 30 minutes, with little to no follow up questions! This is the mark of great software and is also indicative of how things run in the background. On that note…
The fact that it’s so simple and easy to understand is a sign that it’s also put together in a clean and orderly fashion (for those of us that dig into code, this really counts!). The fact that the slogan for WordPress is “Code is Poetry” speaks to that fact.
After building dozens of site with a wide variety of needs – from a basic brochure site, to a restaurant website (with an integrated shopping cart), to a huge information archive – WordPress has risen to the challenge time and again. Thanks to the open source community, a huge variety of plugins, and it’s clean and organized code, it’s enabled WordPress to flexibly fit a wide array of web design needs.
Along the lines of its highly flexible nature, its mobile-friendly nature is a big reason that it continues to grow in importance. WordPress’ expandable nature has enabled the community and companies alike to develop easy solutions for getting WordPress mobilized. There’s even a plugin that will automatically display the mobile theme of the site to the user when it’s browsed from a mobile device. This means that when an update is done to the website, it automatically gets updated on the mobile site! Here’s an example of that, which we recently implemented:
With the Mobile web only getting more and more popular, we think WordPress deserves a tip of the hat for being able to easily grow right alongside the mobile world.
Speaking of the ability to grow…that’s all WordPress has done and continues to do! From its humble beginning starting as a simple blogging tool in 2003, to now being downloaded over 65 million times and being recognized as one of the leading content management systems, we think it’s safe for us to say it’s going to stick around a lot longer.
This ensures that our clients get a website that is going to grow with them, too, and not leave them stuck with a site that they can’t use and nobody is willing to work on. It’s a situation we’ve encountered too many times already when a prospect comes to us, forced to start over from scratch. We’re content knowing that the WordPress websites we design for our clients won’t leave them stranded. Instead, they’ll be poised for growth.
May 24th, 2012
By 2015 the majority of traffic on the internet will be coming from mobile devices. So said Luke Wroblewski, the esteemed speaker on mobile design at the 2010 San Diego Event Apart seminar about all things web design.
It’s hard to believe that it’s only been 5 years since the iPhone was first introduced. The trend toward mobile has been exponential in its progression, and now with over 70 million Smartphones in use in the US alone and 1.2 billion mobile web users worldwide, the march towards a mobile web is only going to get faster.
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, when users visit it, they have to strategize the best way to browse it. Does it look better in landscape or portrait orientation? How far do they need to “zoom” in to read the text or “click” a link? This process can be frustrating and time consuming to a mobile user, and since they are most likely on the go, time is a precious commodity not to be wasted.
As more and more users surf the web through a mobile device, we must design with them in mind by implementing web design solutions that cater to these users, as well as those surfing from a PC. Two of the most popular solutions are Responsive Design and jQuery Mobile.
Responsive Design (also called “fluid design”) is a website design that has a layout that fits to the view screen of the device it is being viewed on. When the site is viewed on a desktop computer, the user get’s the full experience. If the site is viewed on a device like the iPhone or Android, the website layout adapts itself to the size of the screen.
Certain elements might shift position or become hidden entirely to give the user a less cluttered and more simplified experience, but still most or all of the content can be retained.
The other method for developing a compact mobile version of a website is to use a framework specifically meant for mobile devices. The latest (and arguably the greatest) choice for that currently is jQuery Mobile. This lightweight framework allows for the creation of a mobile site that is compact and minimal, usually comprised of a few images and buttons, and it’s also “touch” ready.
A jQuery Mobile site is a very paired down standalone website, and only contains the most essential information, differing from the desktop site.
The decision of whether to go with a responsive design or a standalone mobile site has a few criteria to take into account.
If your users need access to much of your information on the go (think Wikipedia), a responsive site is great because all the content of the website is still there; it’s just presented in a different fashion for each device/user. The consistency of the design is also a great feature, and if aesthetics are a priority a responsive design is impressive and visually exciting for mobile users.
The tradeoff with this mobile solution is the load time of responsive designs tend to be a lot higher, since the mobile user still has to download all the files and images of the desktop website, even if they don’t see them. This isn’t a huge issue on 4G networks, but on 3G networks this can tend to be fairly frustrating if someone wants information quickly. Responsive designs are also more time consuming to develop and as such tend to be a lot pricier. In addition, since this way of designing requires a lot of strategy to make sure all users get a worthwhile experience, this style of a mobile website is best implemented from the ground up, rather than as an afterthought.
A jQuery Mobile site, due to its minimalistic approach will naturally load quickly for users, even on the slower 3G networks, but the content is paired down, as well. This type of mobile site is perfect for users that are accessing the website constantly on the go, such as a restaurant website where users really just want to see directions, hours and a simple menu. With that said, there are still very big name companies that use this framework for their mobile solution, such as DisneyWorld, Stanford and Ikea, to name a few. And while they are attractive and sleek, the designs are not at all like the desktop versions and are usually fairly plain in comparison.
When choosing how to enter the mobile web, it’s a process of weighing what your users are expecting when they visit your site on the go. If your website contains a wealth of information that your users need access to on a constant basis, and you also care about having a unique design, a responsive design is probably the best approach. On the other hand, if speed is important to your users and they only need a few key pieces of information about your business, a jQuery Mobile site is a perfect fit. Whichever direction you choose, your users will thank you for catering to their mobile experience of the web.