The Official OpenRoad Blog

IF/THEN

Jessica Evans

Jessica is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with diverse experience as a project manager and project coach. As Director of Project Services, Jessica spearheads all areas of OpenRoad’s project management, bringing an eye for the big picture and the ability to balance a project’s technical and creative needs to meet business objectives.

During her career, she’s managed CMS portal implementations, rebrands, online video games, software implementation, and website builds. She’s worked closely with both small businesses and Fortune 500 companies like Coca-Cola UK and Pfizer, along with the U.S. Department of Energy, to name just a few.

In her spare time, you’ll find Jessica outside: climbing boulders, snowboarding, and riding bikes.

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The Inaugural Vancouver User Experience Awards

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The UX community in Vancouver creates some of the best-designed experiences in the world. As founding members of VanUE (the Vancouver User Experience Group), we were thrilled to co-present the inaugural Vancouver User Experience Awards on November 26, 2014.

Back in 2003, a handful of user experience practitioners met, hoping to find a way to connect Vancouver’s burgeoning UX community. Since then, the resulting organization—VanUE—has grown organically over the past 11 years to over 1400 Meetup members today, with a great lineup of monthly UX events.

This year, for the first time, we set out to celebrate and recognize the great work being done in our own city. (more…)

Avoiding Spinny-itus – Making Load Times More Bearable

My name is Dave Kachman and I have an iPhone 4. I’ve never met Siri. I type in a 4-digit password instead of scanning my thumb. I have never experienced LTE.

Most times, I despise the “spinny”.

Spinny Loading Indicator
Figure 1 – Animated GIF image of classic “spinny”

The “spinny” is an animated GIF image that is commonly used to indicate when a web application is loading something in the background. As users of the web, we started to see our beloved “spinny” in many websites when AJAX was introduced (which allows websites to asynchronously take actions without reloading the entire page). These actions could sometimes take a fair bit of time, so there was a need to inform users that the site was doing something in the background.

This is all well and good, but only if the wait time is reasonable. As I have witnessed over the last couple of years, adding a “spinny” whenever AJAX is used is not enough for all users. This is especially important for those not using the latest and greatest technology or those in areas with spotty network coverage.

The idea of “reasonable wait times” is not new. Jakob Nielsen posted about reasonable wait times in his article from 1993. He notes that the human attention span drifts after about a second of waiting, which means progress feedback must be given to the user if they must wait longer than 1 second to finish. The human attention span begins to drift again with delays longer than 10 seconds, after which Nielsen recommends updating users more frequently with updates on how the task is going. (more…)

Photo Gallery: Vancouver Design Week at OpenRoad

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We were thrilled to host an Open Studio event on September 20, 2014 as part of the inaugural Vancouver Design Week. A city-wide event, Open Studios connected the many Vancouver design studios and industries, with 34 different studios opening their doors on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Designers from all disciplines—as well as the general public—had the opportunity to engage with the many spaces, processes, and people that form our vibrant community. By exploring our studio and seeing our projects throughout their various stages of completion, guests of OpenRoad got a rare glimpse into how we work with our clients to produce unique results through strategy, design, and development. Plus, there was great local food, beer, and wine on hand.

It was a great opportunity to see old friends, meet new faces, and talk design. A huge thank you to Vancouver Design Week’s organizers, our volunteers, and to everyone that came out!

Please take a peek at our gallery and hopefully you can join us next year.

Onward to the Gallery

 

Defining the Right Measurement for Your Digital Strategy

The biggest land mine people face when defining KPIs is starting with web analytics tools. The brightly coloured reports with the ability to measure 101 different metrics can make you feel like a kid in a candy store. However, KPIs are not about what you can measure…they are about measuring business outcomes and creating actionable insights. To be effective, KPIs must be derived from strategy.

The Measurement Journey

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Start with Strategy

Key Performance Indicators are just that… key! They are the main measures of your strategy. They should tell you if your strategy is successful, and if not, give you a clear idea of what needs to be improved. They do not measure individual campaigns or tactics (although you probably have metrics for these, they are not your KPIs).

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Our Open Studio Event

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To celebrate Vancouver Design Week, we’re opening our space to friends, students, clients, and design lovers from all over the city. Come try on one of our many hats and see how we make new experiences possible, every day.

If any or all of the following apply to you, then this event is for you:
• You have a passion for design.
• You live in or around Vancouver and work in design.
• You’re a friend of OpenRoad.
• You like local beer, wine, and chicken.

Register Now via Facebook

Feel free to share this invite with your friends and colleagues (but please ask them to register here). We look forward to seeing you on September 20th!

Bonus for Students:

Are you a student or aspiring designer? This is your chance to connect with people in the industry and get feedback about your design portfolio. Sign up for a complimentary portfolio review with OpenRoad’s creative team.

Checking out Hyperlapse — The newest video technology from Instagram.

On Tuesday Instagram launched their new app, Hyperlapse. In true Instagram style, Hyperlapse aims to remove all the complexity from taking amazing looking time-lapse-style videos.

High-quality time-lapse videos often require rigs, dollies, and tri-pods, not to mention expensive cameras. But using some interesting image stabilization techniques, the Instagram team developed a way to compensate for the photographer’s shaky grip, resulting in an impressive picture that’s clean and smooth.

Of course, our design team couldn’t wait to try it out, so we created a hyper lapse of our office space and surrounding neighbourhood.

Hyperlapse created by: Wil Arndt, Daryl Claudio, James Byun

So… what’s our verdict?

First of all, it’s fun and impressive. It’s easy-to-use and lets you take great personal videos you can share on Instagram.

From a professional standpoint, while it’s not quite the same quality as a high-grade camera, it’s a great tool for prototyping and rapid experimentation. We can see it used for test shots, scouting locations, and making high-quality proof-of-concepts before bringing in the expensive production equipment.

We’re really looking forward to seeing the Instagram community take hold of the technology and run with it. Our prediction: Expect interesting things.

George Kronberg

George is keen on proper coding practices, code craftsmanship and well-established process. He’s worked with high-traffic sites and services, .NET stack technologies and modern front-end technologies. Prior to joining the ThoughtFarmer team, he worked on the Kobo eReader team.

George graduated from the St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University in Russia with a Master’s degree in Computer Science. He’s worked as a Flash developer, a .NET developer, and even a photographer. Outside of work, George enjoys flying small aircraft, taking pictures, and woodworking.

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Michael Hubele

As Software Developer, Michael brings his experience working with technologies ranging from Windows form applications to web development. Prior to joining ThoughtFarmer, Michael worked with a diverse group of clients such as Impark, Intrawest and Mr. Lube while at T4G.

Michael is an honors graduate of BCIT’s Computer Systems Bachelor of Technology program. In his spare time Michael runs a blog about his hobby projects, which currently include developing Windows Phone applications. Outside of technology, Michael likes to spend time with friends and have BBQ’s on the beach in summer.

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Exploring the Omni-Channel Universe with Universal Analytics

The omni-channel universe is expanding — customers interact with brands in more ways than ever, across a multitude of devices, social channels, mobile apps, loyalty programs, and more. Universal Analytics, the latest iteration of Google Analytics, provides a new level of clarity into these complex customer relationships. Available as a free upgrade to all standard Google Analytics users, Universal Analytics gives you considerably better insight into how users are interacting with your business across multiple devices and channels. We’ll explore key advantages of Universal Analytics and show you how to check which version of Google Analytics your site is currently running.

Google Analytics’s code has changed. Have you?

Your job has likely changed a lot since the last time you updated your Google Analytics code. You have gone from not worrying too much about mobile to making it a top priority in your digital marketing or e-commerce efforts. Offline and online marketing were once two totally separate departments that barely spoke to each other. Now, you are at the centre of the storm trying to co-ordinate omni-channel efforts in the name of a delightful customer experience (like Disney).

Your demands on your Google Analytics implementation may have changed as well. You probably lived with a certain amount of inaccuracy in your visitor counts. Now, you’d really like to understand what is going on as customers traverse your digital marketing universe on every flavour of device. If you haven’t already, it is time to move migration to Universal Analytics up your priority list.

Track the Same User across Multiple Devices

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