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2010: The Year in Review

Yes, that’s a glimpse of us (well, one of us, anyway) working hard at our main office in North Carolina. Looking back on 2010, it was all about good, hard work around here, but we still managed to produce a lot of great content. We hope you had a successful year and are looking forward to 2011 as much as we are. Until then, here are some of our favorite articles, webinars, and blogs from this year…

The “How a Website is Built Series” was one of my favorite pieces of the year. I like the way is shows the entire web design and development process from beginning to end” – Justin Kerr, Creative Director

How a Website is Built
January 31, 2010 by Chris Butler
I’ve read plenty of interesting analogies used to explain what building a website is like. I’ve even written a few myself. From various points of view, a website could be compared to a car, a house, a cellphone, a movie, or all kinds of other things. I’ve even heard a website compared to a clown (don’t ask)! Most of the time, these analogies are striving to find the most effective way of emphasizing the time, cost, complexity or purpose of a website project. Rather than construct yet another metaphor around that point, I’m just going to come right out and say it: Building a website is a complex task that takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money… Read More >

I really recommend Chris’s article from back in July, “Simple Design is Good Design.” It’s a great defense of Less is More.” – Steve Grothmann, Project Manager

Simple Design is Good Design
July 31, 2010 by Chris Butler
Why do we continue to trust the methods of the mass-media sites? We should know better than that. It’s because when it comes to solidly debunking their strategy and providing a better one for our clients, we fall short of a good argument. We—designers, developers, and agencies alike—don’t do a good enough job reassuring our clients that following the leader is not only unecessary, but bad for their business. I want to dig a bit deeper into two examples of influential but poorly designed sites we’re likely to take cues from and then provide a, well, simple plan for staying simple… Read More >

I liked Katie’s blog post, “Bridging the Communication Gap.” She offers practical and helpful recommendations for communicating with clients when the issues are hard to explain in email or over the phone.” – Lauren Walstrum, Project Manager

Bridging the Communication Gap
October 12, 2010 by Katie Jamison
I can count the number of our clients I’ve met in person on two hands. It’s astounding to consider what a web team can accomplish just by email and phone. Yet, for certain issues (like gathering group feedback, remote training sessions, or troubleshooting bugs) there’s no substitue for the ability to peer over the client’s shoulder, or have them peer over yours. It’s in these few, especially tricky remote communication gaps that projects can quickly go awry. Luckily, I’ve found a number of tools over the years that allow me to close that gap and rest assured that we’re on the same page. Here are a few of these that I find particularly helpful… Read More >

Justin’s blog post on white space, which was part of a series called “Design 101,” was definitely one of my favorites this year.” – Jim Hendrickson, Developer

White Space is Not Empty Space
July 20, 2010 by Justin Kerr
White space is not “empty” space, nor is it necessarily white. It is the unmarked area between elements on a page and is a critical component in good design. White space serves an important purpose; ignoring it can not only yield some unattractive visual results but also hinder content comprehension… Read More >

Check out Chris’s article, “Designing for Attention.” It’s another less-is-more themed piece, and has some great comparisons that really drive the point home.” – Chris Creech, Project Manager

Designing for Attention
August 30, 2010 by Chris Butler
Instead of continuing to create confused, unclear and unfocused pages—pages that include more information than is necessary and in a way that undercuts their core purpose—let’s adopt a new standard, following a very simple rubric: enabling attention. Most of the ways in which we go about getting attention ensure that we will fail at keeping it. See, we’ve been adept at stealing the attention of viewers (ultimately from ourselves, mind you)—that eye-catching graphic, the moving advertisement, the blinking text, the many, many links to click—but we’re now learning that stolen attention never stays long. Lasting attention must be earned, and in order to earn attention, we must first respect it… Read More >

Mark’s post from last spring is one of many articles on our site that provide concrete advice that’ll help agencies work together with us.” – Steve Brock, Developer

Agencies, Don’t Lead with Design!
March 2, 2010 by Mark O’Brien
Many of the agencies I speak with have a hard time figuring out how to build client sites without losing some combination of their reputation, bankroll, and sanity. It doesn’t have to be this way. You are capable putting together a great web project–you just need to have the right process. The main problem we all encounter when approaching a web development project is that a commonsense approach to web development doesn’t work. A good example of this is the way most agencies begin the process of building a website… Read More >

Having an academic background in design, I particularly enjoyed this article. It spoke to some of the topics in visual design that I find most interesting (and pertinent) – namely, the unnoticed mechanics of our interaction with what we see every day.” – Dave Mello, Senior Developer

Readability, Action, and Distance
August 31, 2010 by Chris Butler
Just about every other day, I hear (or, *gasp* read) something along the lines of, “nobody reads anymore.” This sort of “I’m broken, I’ve accepted it, come with me” type of paen to the future is typically followed by pseudo-analysis of reading “data”—that more text is being read than ever before, the majority of which delivered in tiny bursts and read on tiny screens, that bits of scattered chatter are our contemporary form, and that skimming all else, once a necessary evil of time-strapped readers with good intentions, is now, like it or not, the new normal. I reject all of that, and so should you… Read More >

Being a non-web expert, Content 101 touched on several content delivery systems currently available, helping me get a better perspective on the many ways you can communicate using the web.” – Dan Morrill, Controller

Content 101
October 31, 2010 by Chris Butler
Content is still a pretty mysterious thing to many people. Everyone gets that it’s important; talking about content in terms of how important it is tends to elicit all kinds of specific questions, like, “What kinds of content?” “How much content?” “Can I use content from other websites?” and many more. And frankly, we have tons of content about content on our website that, in the aggregate, will answer all these questions. But in this article, I want to go back to the basics and look at the various kinds of content you might create for your website and examine best practices for each… Read More >

We’ve done about 5 different mobile projects this year, and I really want our readers to continue to be familiar with our mobile development capabilities. Katie’s case study for the Marbles Kid’s Museum mobile site is a great place to start.” – Chris Butler, Vice President

Case Study: Marbles Kid’s Museum Mobile Site
December 8, 2010 by Katie Jamison
Marbles Kids Museum is an interactive, educational children’s museum in the heart of downtown Raleigh. In the spring of 2010, mobile traffic to the Marbles site was on the rise, approaching nearly 10% of their total traffic. Newfangled had just launched its new mobile offering, so the timing was perfect to build a mobile site catered to the needs of Marbles visitors on the go… Read More >

I’m not sure what my favorite piece of content is, but I’m going to be vain and recommend the Modern Marketing Website webinar. The MMW is a theme I want to push a lot harder in the new year.” – Mark O’Brien, President

The Modern Marketing Website
October 15, 2010 by Mark O’Brien
During this webinar, will discuss a range of topics from SEO, to CMS, to social media, advanced tracking and lead generation. This webinar will also be a review of the core components that comprise a successful marketing website today… Read More >

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