5 Steps to Your First User Test

By Craig Phillips, UX Designer on Oct. 3, 2017 View Comments

The barrier to entry into user testing has never been lower. Forget size and budget. Companies who interact with users on a regular basis will swim, while others sink. Despite the ease of entry, many still neglect testing and rely on internal opinions to guide product decisions.

Though investing in a user researcher is ideal, this hurdle shouldn't stop you. Look on your team for a strategic thinker and good listener to get started. When you witness the insights and aha moments that come from a test, the value will be clear as day.

These 5 steps are a simple introduction to user testing for non-researchers. It's a flexible process to follow, avoiding the complexities in favor of action. With clear goals, and a sincere desire to gather honest feedback, you're already well on your way. Jump in and get started. You may never look back.

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Website Design: Making the Case for Modular Design

By Claire Patenaude on Jul. 31, 2017 View Comments

The digital and marketing landscapes are shifting. User expectations are becoming more and more demanding and customers anticipate a timely, personalized, and integrated experience with your brand across all devices and channels.

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Why Collaborative Decision Making Needs a Feedback Lab

By Jeff Lawrence, Delivery Director on Dec. 22, 2015 View Comments

On a recent trip to Northern California, I was mesmerized by the sardine tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium – the sight of thousands of sardines swimming almost effortlessly in the same direction created a glittering silver loop around the overhead tank. When the staff threw food into the tank, the sardines started swimming in every direction, darting back and forth as they each attempted to swallow up as much food as possible. However, order was quickly restored and all of the sardines once again resumed swimming in the same direction.

This sight reminded me of how the start of a project feels -- a feeding frenzy of ideas, with everyone jostling for position to get their ideas heard. Just like the sardine tank, our goal should be to get the entire team swimming in the same direction, working together to accomplish a shared vision.

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Is Isomorphic JavaScript the Happy Medium You've Been Looking For?

By Jake Whitney, Senior Front End Developer on Nov. 10, 2015 View Comments

There’s an old adage in the Java community: Write once, run anywhere.

It’s meant to illustrate the power of Java, not to be confused with JavaScript, to run the same code on many different devices. As the world of web application development has evolved, however, several technologies have thrown their hats into the ring, perhaps most notably of which is JavaScript.

In the last few years, JavaScript evolved far beyond basic JQuery and, with the introduction of Node, has become a full-featured, back-end development platform. A developer is now able to run JavaScript on both the browser and the server, illustrating a concept more commonly known as Isomorphic JavaScript (JS).

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UI Toolkit: The Necessary Deliverable for Responsive Design

By Nate McCartney, Senior Front-End Developer on Oct. 27, 2015 View Comments

In today’s web design world, designing responsively has two meanings: (1) designing user-friendly and efficient UI, and (2) building sites with a design that accommodates end-users from any device. An exemplary site should achieve both of these goals.

No matter the size of the site, responsive design can be incredibly complicated --but it doesn’t have to be. By creating what I call a UI Toolkit, you’ll be able to ensure consistent quality throughout your site’s lifespan from mobile to desktop.

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5 Reasons to Start Using OpenGL

By David Donze, Mobile Expert on Aug. 4, 2015 View Comments

Today’s web and mobile users expect a seamless experience that combines rich content and excellent responsiveness — streaming video, 3D graphics, large-scale imagery, smooth and snappy UI animations, and so on. All of this means doing a lot of demanding graphics processing. To deliver on these expectations we have had to step into the world of hardware-accelerated graphics with the help of OpenGL. Here are some of the ways OpenGL has proven to be so beneficial:

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5 Tips for Filing Good Software Bug Reports

By Joshua "jag" Ginsberg, Principal Technology Architect on Jul. 14, 2015 View Comments

We all use software and systems we didn't create, and we all find ourselves in the position of having to report software bugs and seek support. Surprisingly, support staff and software engineers are human beings, too, and human beings have moods and feelings just like everybody else. They probably spend a good portion of their work day dealing with such things, and they can easily have any number of negative reactions: frustration, impatience, or condescension.

This is rude, clearly, but we still need their help to get back to what we were doing. Filing good bug reports and doing your part as a good user can help ensure that you get the most helpful response. Here's how.

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Start Prototyping Now!

By Tim Giegel, Senior Frontend Developer on May. 5, 2015 View Comments

Our previous post on prototyping provided the “why” for prototyping. This post aims to give you the “how.” 

Most companies do not consider prototypes as required deliverables. Therefore, it helps to be flexible with your prototyping process and tools.

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Using Aspose Words to Provide a Simpler CMS Experience for Marketers

By Daved Artemik, Senior Technology Consultant on Apr. 22, 2015 View Comments

In order to simplify the user experience of various CMS platforms for Marketers, developers have to stay up to date with innovative ways to use the latest tools. Sometimes, though, it’s not the newest product, but rather the latest and greatest update to an existing tool that lends itself to new and creative uses.

Aspose is a vendor of file management APIs for various languages, ranging from .NET and Java to Android. One API in particular, Aspose Words, recently received an update that made my creative juices start flowing about new ways to use it.

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The Benefits of Prototyping

By Jake Whitney, Senior Front End Developer on Apr. 17, 2015 View Comments

If you’re doing any kind of development these days, the term “prototype” has probably been thrown around at some point. Sadly, more often than not, it’s in the context of “that thing we really can’t fit into the budget.” Others view prototyping as a frivolous endeavor that means building an app just so it can be tested. Furthermore, many claim that the barrier of entry is too great, and that “specialized” resources are required in order to make a meaningful impact.

Today, these biases about prototyping as being expensive and a waste of time really couldn’t be further from the truth. Prototyping is a great way to get information in front of users and stakeholders as fast as possible. And with so many methods of prototyping at your disposal, and new development paradigms such as Agile, prototyping is not only easier and more affordable than ever, but is also more important than ever. Let me tell you why.

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How to Jumpstart Your Digital Strategy: UX, Content, and Technology

By Pete Rose, Digital Experience Account Executive on Mar. 17, 2015 View Comments

Despite all its beauty, let’s just admit it: digital is overwhelming. There’s more of everything. More data. More access. More channels. And more potential for real-time interaction.

If you’re like most organizations I work with, your digital presence has swelled into a frenzied network of disparate websites, apps, technology, and social media channels, with more launching every month. The costs, resources and operational complexity of managing all your digital properties can be overwhelming. And what’s more, this kind of fragmented technology/web presence creates confusion and difficulty for your users, constrains adoption of self-service channels, and limits your ability to realize the benefits of true digital marketing transformation.

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Bug Cost Implications at Each Phase of the SDLC: Part Two

By Janet Leon on Mar. 4, 2015 View Comments

One the most common reasons that IT projects end up exceeding their budgets is because of software bugs. And the problem with bugs is that you never really pay for them upfront; you normally pay for them after the code is written.

As mentioned in my last blog post, The True Cost of a Software Bug, catching bugs early in the software development life cycle can result in a higher return on investment (ROI). The cost of fixing a bug is dependent on what stage of development the bug is found in.

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The True Cost of a Software Bug: Part One

By Janet Leon on Feb. 28, 2015 View Comments

Wondering what the cost of a software bug is? It depends on how late you find it.

The Systems Sciences Institute at IBM has reported that “the cost to fix an error found after product release was four to five times as much as one uncovered during design, and up to 100 times more than one identified in the maintenance phase.”

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React/Flux from an AngularJS Perspective

By Micah Fulton, Front End Consultant on Feb. 10, 2015 View Comments

Part of Celerity’s commitment to clients is ensuring we always stay up to date with the newest tools and technologies as they come out in order to provide exceptional near-shore software development, among other services. Right now, React is that new, hot tool – mainly due to Facebook using it for everything and the open source community running wild with it.

As an open source developer for our digital experience, or digital strategy consulting, team, I’ve mostly worked with Angular over the past few years, but I wanted to check out React and Flux to see how it compared to Angular for creating SPA architecture (Single-Page App).

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3 Things You Should Know About SQL Indexes

By Joshua "jag" Ginsberg, Principal Technology Architect on Jan. 20, 2015 View Comments

Indexes in SQL database can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Set them up correctly, and your data will be queryable with maximum efficiency; set them poorly, and both queries and writes will be increasingly slow and deadlock prone.

Here are three things you should know about how to design SQL indexes:

1. Queries use one index per joined table.

When your SQL engine is planning the execution of a query, it can only lean on one index per joined table per query. You may have several indexes on a given table, but in any given query, the SQL engine will only use one of those indexes.

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7 Things We Learned About UX Design in 2014

By Alex Hsiao, Senior Art Director on Jan. 7, 2015 View Comments

Last month, I had the privilege to put together and moderate a distinct panel of creative leaders from companies like HUGE, Gannett, CHIEF, and AKQA as we focused on the state of UX Design in 2014 and beyond. Our friends at AddThis—who’ve seen great success this year as the #1 ranked distributed content provider—host the NOVA UX Meetup each month, and I strongly encourage you to check out the group if you’re involved or want to learn more about the UX Design industry.

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Big Data Management: Lessons from the Cloud

By Doug Auclair on Dec. 7, 2014 View Comments

So, your company is considering moving to the Cloud for the purposes of agility, mobility, or serviceability. You’ve read the literature and see the advantages both from a technology perspective as well as from the market perspective.

But how does it pan out? Does the hype match the day-to-day reality of operating in the Cloud? Wouldn’t you want to hear from a customer who’s been-there/done-that instead of reading market studies from the vendors?

If so, then this post is for you.

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3 Ways to Generate Greater ROI With the Sitecore CMS

By Pete Rose, Digital Experience Account Executive on Oct. 20, 2014 View Comments

3 Ways to Generate Greater ROI With the Sitecore CMS

You probably purchased the Sitecore CMS with every intention of leveraging all the robust features that make it a fully-integrated digital marketing platform. Cross-channel data analysis! Real-time personalization! Marketing automation!

That all sounds greatbut many teams become derailed implementing these capabilities due to a higher focus on maintaining website operations. It’s really hard work to get through the process of achieving such powerful features, and organizations often develop fatigue, run out of budget, and are overtaken by operational backlog when they are done.

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Exciting News from Sitecore Symposium: Coveo’s Free Search Edition

By John Dymond, .NET CMS Architect on Oct. 8, 2014 View Comments

Almost a month has passed since Sitecore’s annual North American Symposium, and there is plenty to be excited about heading into the next year with Sitecore. As a Sitecore partner, Celerity has great enthusiasm for the direction the software is going in. But out of all the news, Coveo’s announcement that it is offering a free search edition for Sitecore is the one item that will have an immediate impact on your projects as of version 7.5.

As part of my job as a .NET CMS Architect, I’m lucky to get exposure to a lot of different search products. And one pretty consistent desire post-launch for product owners on any system is for better search results and capabilities on their websites.

Disclaimer: This is not a criticism of cheap or free search applications like Lucene and Solr—in many cases, these tools are a great fit and offer a nice “bang for your buck” when incorporating search into your Sitecore site. But for sites with a lot of content, you may get lackluster results without significant tweaking and configuration efforts.

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Working with Mutually Exclusive Fields in Django Forms

By Daniel Schep, Digital Experience Consultant on Oct. 8, 2014 View Comments

Working with Mutually Exclusive Fields in Django Forms

Attention Django developers! When soliciting input from users with an HTML form, you want to design forms to be as flexible as possible. That means you build in multiple form fields to support multiple input options, even if you only want the user to fill in one of them.

Having two or more mutually exclusive fields in a form on a webpage/webapp is a pretty frequent scenario developers have to deal with. Unfortunately, Django's forms have no builtin support for this. In this blog post, I will cover the two simple, but ugly, solutions we Django developers often find ourselves using and introduce a library that makes working with such scenarios much simpler.

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