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SXSW 2013 Interactive Panels: The Studs and Duds

Posted by Christian Moritz Thu, Mar 28, 2013

This years the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival presented cutting edge insights from leaders in digital media and technology in Austin, TX. Attendees range from start-ups looking to make a deal, designers, coders, marketers and the just plain curious. SXSW interactive keynote sessions videos provide a sample of typical fare, but I found the smaller sessions, led by niche industry leaders, to be the most useful.

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10 Website Design Elements to Improve Engagement

Posted by Adam Aloi Wed, Mar 13, 2013

 

Layovers can make even the most hardened travelers crave some kind of entertainment. Yet there is something incredible about airports, imagine what your experience would be like if plane arrivals and departures weren’t coordinated, signs didn’t exist to guide you, or all those jet ways weren’t maintained. It would be a very confusing experience, assuming you could find your way there at all. Website design is very much like developing a blueprint for an airport. Our jobs are to move people (and content) coming in at times from all parts of the world to get them to the specific destination (and information) they came to find. 

So how do you custom design a website that’s effective in keeping everyone satisfied? We've come up with 10 ways to boost your visitor’s experiences.

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1. Build People Movers on Your Website

Just like airports have to screen, direct, and move people efficiently from one section to another, so should any new website. Don't assume visitors will click on a contact form without giving them a reason.  Make sure your design lures visitors through engaging visual cues -- icons, colors and images. 

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Popular Drupal Questions Answered

You may have heard that open-source content management systems (CMS) are getting more popular. There are many to choose from -- Drupal, Wordpress, and Joomla -- and all have evolved quite a bit in the last couple of years. The biggest winner has been Drupal, an open-source CMS that is taking over government and business websites. 

What is Drupal?

Drupal is an open-source CMS designed to organize, update, and manage content on a website. It’s built, used, and supported by an active community of contributors. You can use Drupal to build many things from a personal blog to enterprise applications.

How is Drupal used?

Organizations deploy Drupal in a number of ways, such as blogs, community websites, enterprise websites, applications, and company intranets, or some build powerful applications that utilize Drupal’s powerful core to run specific tasks.

Who uses Drupal?

Drupal is utilized by a wide range of websites including blogging, enterprise, community, e-commerce, government, non-profit, media, real estate, healthcare, technology, retail  and distribution, and more. 

What does it mean that Drupal is Open Source?

According to Drupal.org, Drupal is an open source software maintained and developed by a community of 630,000+ users and developers. It's distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License(or "GPL"), which means anyone is free to download it and share it with others. This open development model means that people are constantly working to make sure Drupal is a cutting-edge platform that supports the latest technologies that the Web has to offer. 

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Reducing Wordpress and Drupal Website Security Vulnerabilities

Posted by Adam Aloi Tue, Nov 6, 2012

Keeping Drupal and Wordpress secure from outside attacks may seem daunting with the number of high profile websites being taken down. Drupal and Wordpress are two of the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS) used to develop websites, and while more companies are relying on this platform, so are hackers. As more businesses rely on a virtual online presence, the need to maintain a website’s security and “up time” have become even more pressing.

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Keyword Research Is Fast, Free Brand Strategy Research that Helps Smart Companies Grow

Posted by Christian Moritz Sun, Aug 19, 2012

The phrase "marketing research" usually brings to mind elaborate, expensive charts, graphs and diagrams with fancy names. But as a funny -- and famous -- IBM commercial featuring two-dozen workers "ideating" illustrated in 2008, in today's dynamic business market there often is not the time or budget for extended research.

The corporate marketing buzzword "ideation" is now a popular term for brainstorming for new business ideas. It's all the rage for smart companies to embrace the mantra of "fail small, fail quickly" to quickly determine which ideas are likely to gain traction.

Product developers use the tactic of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) -- the minimum number of features needed to release a product -- for fast and quantitative market testing of a product or service. The idea is to not waste time and money creating products in which potential customers are uninterested. The product or service is released to a sample of potential customers, such as early adopters who are thought to be more willing to give feedback and able to grasp a product vision from an early prototype. Typically an MVP involves a simple website of a few or even one page with an email capture function. The product is publicized via email or a small online advertising budget.

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Should you use Drupal 6 or Drupal 7 for your next website?

Posted by Adam Aloi Fri, Jun 29, 2012

Since Drupal 7 was released last year we still have many agencies and customers asking us which version of Drupal they should select as their next generation content management system (CMS) solution.  Typically, when it comes to software, installing the latest generation makes sense, but are you still getting the best-tested, most-documented version that your organization can rely on?

What are the improvements to Drupal 7?

Improved User Interface- The completely redesigned user-interface now allows even novice and non-technical users to interact with all the Admin sections of the site. Easy to find shortcuts and customizable dropdowns make Drupal 7 an easy-to-navigate CMS.
WYSIWYG Enhancement- Drupal 7 now offers an enhanced set of tools so end users never have to write any html code.
Speed Increase- Are you addicted to speed? Drupal 7 abandons the use of database calls to help improve the speed and performance of virtually any website built on its code. Drupal 7’s advanced caching and performance enhancement options allow it to utilize less SQL queries while giving the end user a noticeable bump in speed.

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How will the JOBS Act impact hedge fund and private equity marketing?

Posted by Adam Aloi Thu, Jun 28, 2012

Congress and the President recently joined forces to pass the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act which revolutionizes how hedge funds and private equity firms are able to market themselves publically.  So what does this change mean for financial brands and how can you benefit from the new provisions?

At its core, the JOBS Act included “Title II – Access to Capital for Job Creators.” This provision lifted an 80-year-old prohibition on general advertising by private equity funds and hedge funds. For financial marketers who once had to operate clandestinely, the JOBS Act adds more flexibility, opportunity, and freedom compared to the Securities Exchanges Commissions draconian policies.

Tripp Kyle, a partner at the public relations firm Brunswick Group, said, “I think it presents a real opportunity for firms to evolve their mind-set from what they can’t do to what they can and perhaps should be doing.”

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What are the best political websites? We put 10 Republican and Democrat 2012 campaign websites to the test.

Posted by Tracey Bowen Tue, Jun 26, 2012

Will you be my friend? Want to donate now? The new internet battleground for hearts and minds in 2012 belongs to political websites and the candidates seeking election. Political websites have vaulted past simple static reporting of information to voter churning machines. Yet in our review of some of the most contested races, many candidate websites fell short of our expectations.

An effective political website must capture audiences within the first few seconds of visiting or they’re off to another site. As the 2012 election season continues to push full steam ahead, it is more important than ever for candidates to present a website that will not only keep existing voters, but gain new voters. So how does political website design affect a canidates online presence?  Let’s take a look at the websites for some of the leading races around the country.

I. Obama v. Romney: The Presidential Candidate     

Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s webpages are about as different as the parties they represent. Over the past four years, Obama has worked to improve the current state of the nation’s economy. Whether the public agrees with his actions or not, that is the focus of his homepage. Letters to the President praising the work he has done provide a strong case for him. The audience Obama’s website is directed toward is the 18-30 year old generation. All of his social networking sites are easily accessible, and include a plethora of links to get involved in the community as a part of his campaign.

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Leading Causes of Death in India

How can we assess the current health situation of a nation, not just as a whole but also by its parts? That question was posed to us by a large, international health association last fall. In the United States, information is easily found online, but in developing countries, well-documented health statistics and current data can be extremely hard to find. We focused our answer to the question on statistics about how a country's people are dying. This exercise may seem somber, but in reality it is of vital importance to know the leading causes of deaths, as they are essential for prioritizing public health initiatives and various national health programs.

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New York Stock Exchange Selects Drupal

Posted by Adam Aloi Sat, Jun 2, 2012

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) recently completed a technology expansion deal with the Warsaw Stock Exchange in Poland. What made this transaction so unique was the NYSE’s selection of Drupal’s open source technology to power the commercialization and expansion worldwide.  With $1 billion in revenues expected by 2015, the NYSE has signaled its support to build open source web sites and web tools that are driven by a community of supporters and contributors.

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