Updates: April '17

May 31, 2017

Spring into the April 2017 DesignHammer Updates!

Spring is now in full swing at DesignHammer. We continue to work hard solving client problems, though are also happy to get out of the office and meet clients, vendors, and prospects at conferences around the country. We have been making submissions to awards, and hope to have some good news in upcoming issues. We even survived one of our local teams winning the NCAA Final Four.

Featured Blog Post | Recent Projects | In Production | New Clients | Awards and Recognition | Tools and Technology | Conferences | Professional Development | Community Involvement | Featured Client | Around Town | Anything Else

Featured Blog Post

Standing Desk Update

A few years ago, Jay and Kosta brought standing desks to DesignHammer and wrote about their experience. Since then, I have gotten a stand-sit desk converter, which I love, and thought it would be interesting to revisit the standing desk topic. Some of the items I address in this blog post include: why I wanted to pursue a standing option, what desk types exist, the specifications to consider, ease of use, and level of comfort.

Recent Projects

Inside Recruit

Inside Recruit is a service to help baseball student athletes navigate the college recruitment process. DesignHammer is working with Inside Recruit on quality of life improvements for their custom PHP website over multiple scopes of work. In addition to minor fixes for text and images, we have upgraded their user registration and login process, added a new forgotten password tool, adjusted the mobile display of the public player profile page to be more user-friendly, and changed their file upload process for profile photos and other uploadable documents to give the users more feedback for success and failure cases (such as incorrect file types).

In Production

Teamwork Project Management

We are in the process of moving to the Teamwork project management platform. Our project management system is a critical part of our day-to-day workflow so making sure it meets our needs is crucial. Teamwork is a very close fit to what we are already doing with project management and what we would like to do in the future, but there are some key reports which Teamwork does not provide out of the box. To that end, we have been building a suite of tools based on the Teamwork API which give us the additional insights we need into our project management data.

Awards and Recognition

When Work Works Awards Winner

Since 2005, When Work Works has been recognizing model U.S. employers of all types and sizes for their best practices in fostering effective and flexible workplaces. DesignHammer was selected as a winner after advancing to round 2 by ranking among the top 20% of employers in the U.S., when compared with this national data, are selected as finalists in round 1 of the prestigious award. Originally named the “Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility” DesignHammer has been recognized as an award winner every year since 2012.

23rd Summit Creative Awards

We are proud to have entered three of our projects into the 23rd Summit Creative Awards. Since 1994, the Summit Creative Award have allowed small to medium-sized agencies from over fifty countries to be judged by experts in the field, and be recognized for their accomplishments.

Tools and Technology

Google Chrome SSL Change

Back in January of this year, Google Chrome began displaying a “Not secure” warning for any HTTP page with credit card number or password fields. In October 2017, Google will extend the warnings to any HTTP page that allows content entry. The solution is to enable HTTPS via Transport Layer Security (TLS) or its predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), both often referred to as “SSL.” If your site doesn’t encrypt communication between the server and client browser, you need to begin encrypting data before October, or be prepared to receive complaints from users.


NCTech4Good Preview

Jeanette Larsen and I will be presenting a session at the 2017 NCTech4Good conference on June 6th. The session will discuss our experience in creating a sustainable newsletter and using MailChimp to distribute it. In fact, the newsletter in question is this update you’re reading right now! In its eighth year, the conference is dedicated to sharing knowledge about technologies that can advance the mission of nonprofit organizations. DesignHammer has been a sponsor since 2013. In addition to the annual conference, NCTech4Good hosts a monthly Meetup group to better support its constituents throughout the year.

DrupalCon North America Recap

Michael and I had a great time in Baltimore at DrupalCon North American 2017. I got a chance to connect with attendees on the Exhibit floor and Michael attended the great project management track. We are looking forward to next year in Nashville.

Drupal GovCon Preview

DesignHammer is looking forward to sponsoring and attending Drupal GovCon 2017 at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD from July 31 through August 2. David and I will be submitting sessions and hope to be selected. Last year, our usability tools session was so popular that we were moved to a larger room mid-session due to people sitting on the floor and violating the fire code.

Professional Development

DrupalCon North America

This year I attended my first DrupalCon, which was held from April 24th-28th in Baltimore, MD. My primary focus was attending sessions on the Project Management track. I was able to experience six sessions, including Agile with a lowercase ‘a’: the Art of Collaborative Project Management, Biting Off Exactly What You Can Chew: the Benefits of Right-sizing Projects, Don’t Be a Jerk: a Humane Approach to Client Management, How Changing our Estimation Process Took our Project Endgame for WTF? to FTW!, From Specification to Collaboration: One Agency’s Move to Scrum, and certainly the most entertaining session, Project Management: the Musical! All of the sessions were well done and informative, and I’m excited to try to implement some of the concepts here at DesignHammer.

AMA Triangle

AMA Triangle, the triangle chapter of the American Marketing Association, meets each month for a luncheon with a variety of compelling speakers. In April, we heard Marketing Insights from Leading CMO’s. Jeff Kilman (CEO of CRISP Agency) moderated a panel consisting of Kristi Eaves-McLennan (Chief Marketing Officer, Meredith College), Randy Guard (Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, SAS), Karen McCall, MBA (Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, UNC Health Care) and Allison Rathke (Chief Marketing Officer, Northwestern Mutual). The AMA Triangle luncheons provide a great opportunity for professional development, networking, and socializing.

Community Involvement

Distinguished Services Awards

DesignHammer sponsored the Outstanding Young Public Servant 2017 award for the Durham Jaycees Distinguished Service Awards. The Distinguished Services Awards are an opportunity for the Durham Jaycees to honor individuals who make a difference in the Durham community. The recipients are recognized at the annual Durham Jaycees Distinguished Service Awards banquet (April 11, 2017).

2017 AIGA Raleigh Studio Tour

16 creative businesses throughout Raleigh opened their doors for the evening and welcomed the public to come enjoy refreshments and take a tour of their space. This event was a huge success! Each of the 7 studios I had a chance to visit were busy and full of great energy. I met students, internship and job seekers, and many creatives in the area who were just interested in checking out other work environments.


Rare is an organization created to inspire communities to take pride in their local environment and rally around the protection of their natural resources. They operate a suite of websites in service of their campaigns. DesignHammer has been managing development of Rare's main site for over a year now, and one-by-one Rare has been bringing more sites to DesignHammer for maintenance and feature development. This month we've added a new site to the fold: Solution Search. Solution Search holds contests to find and spread proven conservation solutions to a wider audience.

Around Town

M Sushi

I recently got together with Method Savvy at M Sushi in downtown Durham. In addition to great conversation, the meal was phenomenal. M Sushi focuses on a limited menu to provide the freshest, most authentic meals possible. If you are looking for great sushi in downtown Durham, check M Sushi out!

Anything Else

TEDxRaleigh 2017

I had the chance to attend this year’s TedxRaleigh event with my husband, and it was an exciting and inspiring event. This year’s topic was #Foundations, and many of the speakers focused on their roots and what are basic things we can do to improve where we live and our own lives.

I thought it was neat that each of the speakers were either from North Carolina or are making an impact to our state directly. The variety of presenters was impressive, including a pharmaceutical CEO, a falconer, a musician, a Laotian restaurant owner, a hedge fund guru and vineyard owner, a lawyer that served Richard Nixon during Watergate, the Meredith College president, a city council member, a tiger rescue department head, and more.

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