Neurons

BrainSpark Media Blog & News

Summer 2014

Time flies when you’re having fun. Here’s what’s been keeping us busy in recent month.

  • BSM completes visual redesign, UX testing and helps CA launch new website: www.ColoradoAcademy.org
  • BrainSpark UX team wraps up initial phase of UI redesign for Omnique 5.0. More to come…
  • Chalat Law / BSM reconnect for content development and strategy.
  • Arapahoe Basin Ski Area gears up for web enhancements in prep for upcoming 2014-15 snow season.
  • Serenic Software / BSM reconnect for content development and strategy.

September 2013 – January 2014 Updates!

Hey all! We’ve fallen behind on blog posts again; we’ve been really busy! Here’s what’s new at BrainSpark Media…

September 2013

October 2013

  • BrainSpark Media publishes October “On CAmpus” newsletter.
  • JiggyJobs hires BSM UX team for website redesign consulting.
  • BSM to design and build alumni showcase website for Colorado Academy.

November 2013

  • Canyonlands Balloon hires BrainSpark for website enhancements.
  • BSM completes website for EcoGroomer.
  • CA partners with BrainSpark for UX visual design and content services for school’s main website.
  • BrainSpark and CA launch Alumni ShowCAse.

December 2013

  • After 8 years in City Park West neighborhood, BrainSpark Media moves to Ball Park area.
  • BSM begins hosting environment upgrades to stronger, faster server system.
  • BrainSpark rolls out December “On CAmpus” newsletter.

January 2014

Internet is available almost anywhere – but what if we don’t know how to use it?

The New York Times published an article earlier this week titled, “Most of U.S. Is Wired, but Millions Aren’t Plugged In.”

Although the Obama administration has made sure that nearly 98% of American homes have access to high-speed Internet, “tens of millions of people are still on the sidelines of the digital revolution” (NY Times). About 20 percent of adults in the US don’t use Internet at home, work, school, or on a mobile device. More and more jobs are requiring some sort of knowledge of computers and technology, and the older generation is being left behind. The article quotes a 70 year old who was turned town for a job because he couldn’t use a computer to check store inventory. Experts also believe that “persistent digital inequality” is widening social gaps for racial and economic disparities.

To deal with this issue head on, non-profit Code Club World is aiming at targeting young kids and teaching skills to provide them with a stronger technological knowledge that will be useful later in life. This group was founded in the UK and teaches children 9-11 years old basic coding skills. They believe that learning to code is an important skill since technology is now so prevalent, and without knowledge of it, even job applications can be unavailable. Code Club World also looks at the other benefits of coding, like reinforcing problem-solving skills and logical thinking that can be useful for all academic subjects.

About $500 million from the $7 billion package went towards programs to help people learn to use the Internet. Although these programs were successful, they were so on a small scale. Some Internet providers have started to offer Internet services more affordable for low-income households, as low as $10 a month.

So what now? Even though billions of dollars were spent to get Internet to people across the country, many don’t know how to use it and don’t have the resources to learn. So do we need more programs like Code Club World to teach these skills to both young and old? Do we take steps back and allow job applications to be available in hard copy, not just online?

Responsive Design or Mobile Application?

A new hot topic in the tech world is responsive design – is it needed for mobile web use or does it make more sense to build an entirely separate mobile application?

I read articles on Mashable and WhoIsHostingThis to look at the debate between development tactics.

Companies are starting to recognize the importance of user-friendly mobile applications or websites. CNN is beginning a $15 million website design process, and focusing a lot of attention on the mobile side after discovering that mobile accounts for 39% of all CNN.com’s traffic (Mashable article). WhoIsHostingItfound that 87% of adults have cell phones, 45% of them have a smart phone, and 90% of those people use their phone to go online. If a website takes longer than 5 seconds to load on a phone, 74% of people close the site. Simply with these statistics, one can see a huge need for a strong mobile base for any company, whether they decide to use responsive design or a mobile application.

Some may think that creating a responsive design is a “shortcut” and will prove to be less expensive than creating a mobile app, however this is not necessarily true. As one Mashable article quotes, “Responsive design is not just about fitting on a mobile screen, it’s also about making sure that functionality works in contexts and scenarios ideal for mobile.” Responsive design doesn’t just mean having a responsive window size, but making sure that users don’t have to zoom in to click a small button on the screen. Users should be able to use the site as easily on their phone as on a computer.

The WhoIsHostingThis article goes in depth about what anatomy goes into a responsive site and elements to ensure a quality consumer experience (read more here).

We recently used responsive design in our most recent website launch, Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker. A separate mobile app was not made, we just made sure that usability was just as high on a desktop as a smart phone.

Desktop:

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 12.01.35 PM

Mobile:

image

From my experience and from these articles, I think that making a responsive design is definitely the way to go. Responsive design ensures that the mobile site acts like the desktop website, and an app may require a user to get familiar with an entirely different set up.

What are your thoughts? Do you think usability is easier on one or the other?

Reference Articles
http://mashable.com/2013/08/14/cnn-web-redesign/

http://mashable.com/2013/04/12/responsive-design-tips/

http://www.whoishostingthis.com/blog/2013/06/26/responsive-design-infographic/

http://mashable.com/2013/08/06/responsive-vs-native-app/

March 2013 – May 2013

  • BSM completed Phase 1 design for Luxury Jewelers Resource Group’s mobile gifting app

app app2 app3

  • BSM development team rolled out Phase 2, Mentor Subscriptions, forMyMentorAdvisor.com
  • New client, Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker, tapped BSM for UX consulting and website redesign
  • Hyde Park Traditional Jewelers engaged BSM design team for website brand refresh
  • BrainSpark Media welcomes our new intern, Maddie Towne (me!)
  • Serenic Software tapped BSM UX design team for site refresh
  • Arapahoe Basin deployed new intranet built by BSM

December 2012 – February 2013

  • BrainSpark to design & build company intranet for Arapahoe Basin Ski & Snowboard Area

abasin abasin2

 

  • Ethics Game hired BSM to lead UX design for the Faculty Resource Center and redevelopment
  • BrainSpark Media designed logo and branding materials for The Sutherland Foundation

sutherland

 

  • BSM designed promo materials for Clothes To Kids of Denver’s “Wine and Swine” event
  • BrainSpark’s UX team delivered new UI for Ethics Game’s Faculty Resource Center.

ethics ethics2

 

  • BrainSpark launched new enhancements for CA Summer Camps in time for 2013 season