Updates: January '17

January 31, 2017

Welcome to the first edition of DesignHammer Updates!

This is where we will keep you apprised of news, tools, and tips. January can be a slow time of year, but we were busy onboarding new clients, sponsoring conferences, and staying informed on the ever-changing technological underpinning of the Web. I hope you enjoy the short contributions from the DesignHammer team; if you do, please complete the survey to help us evolve into an even more engaging format.

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

Use Jenkins and Build Flow for Drupal Content Testing

We rebuilt one of our Jenkins processes to use Build Flow last year. I’ve written up our approach and the results of that effort in a blog post on our site.


Recent Projects

Full Frame Film festival

We guided Full Frame through a complete overhaul of their web presence. Starting at card sorting exercises to determine how their content should be organized we worked all the way through to a beautiful, modern website. We built custom tools for Full Frame to easily manage the hundreds of films they’ve shown over the last 20 years — and we made it all searchable and mobile so festival goers can have a useful companion on their phone at the 2017 festival.

The William Blake Archive

The William Blake Archive is a resource that provides access to major works of Blake’s art. We designed the new website to provide better tools and information access for scholars, and ordinary users alike. It displays categories of work, object views, expandable detail trays, objects printed from the same matrix, campaigning objects, and so much more.

ITMS Platform

We completed an implementation of Drupal Multisite for Investors Title. The ITMS Platform provides customizable microsites for regional insurance agents. Individual sites support customizable responsive templates. After completing the initial platform development we launched nineteen new websites in 10 weeks.


In Production

NC Center for Nonprofits

We are working with the NC Center for Nonprofits on a project plan to migrate their current website. This involves performing a thorough audit of existing site content, content creation and site administration workflows, and third party integrations to document what is currently in place. Later phases of the planning project will involve using card sorting and other techniques to improve site navigation and identify opportunities to streamline site functionality to better serve their clients.

Durham Crime Stoppers

DesignHammer has recently begun a redesign project for the Durham Crime Stoppers. While still in the planning and discovery phase, we are looking forward to delivering a modern, user friendly site that will better support the Durham Crime Stoppers mission of collecting anonymous tips to close cases in Durham. The new website will be implemented in WordPress.

Jackson Community Medical Record

Jackson Community Medical Record (JCMR) is in the process of updating their existing website to better reflect their standing as a technology leader in medical records. We have just completed an extensive planning phase in which we performed card sorting, tree testing, and design mockups to plan the implementation of a new WordPress site.


New Clients

Inside Recruit

Inside Recruit helps high school baseball players to communicate with and promote themselves to college coaches. Inside Recruit provides connections, tools, and guidance for the aspiring NCAA athlete.


Awards and Recognition

When Work Works

DesignHammer has been selected as a finalist for the 2016-2017 When Work Works Award. This prestigious award recognizes employers that successfully use workplace flexibility to meet both organizational and employee goals. Award winners will be announced during the week of April 24th, 2017. DesignHammer has met the award winner criteria every year since 2012.


Tools and Technology

Let’s Encrypt

Let’s Encrypt provides free automated SSL certificates with the goal of increasing security on the internet. We recommend SSL certificates for all of our client sites and with Let’s Encrypt it cheaper (free!) and easier than it’s ever been. We’ve updated our internal processes to support Let’s Encrypt’s automation workflow and it’s been very successful so far.

Python

For 2017, multiple DesignHammer developers have decided to make it a personal goal to learn Python. We are using "Learn Python the Hard Way" by Zed Shaw, which is considered to be the best system for learning Python from scratch. It is both instructional and entertaining, and the perfect way to jump into a programming language-- even if you are completely new to the programming world.

Atom

Shaw recommends using the Atom text editor for all of your Python code. This is an editor I had not used previously, and have found it to be rather slick. It doesn't have all of the bells and whistles of the IDE I use regularly (NetBeans), but it is incredibly customizable. It includes easy-to-use standard features such as smart code autocompletion, find/replace across projects and files, multiple panes for easy comparison of code across files, and it's both free and open source.


Conferences

High Five 2017

The DesignHammer team will be exhibiting at the High Five Conference 2017 February 28th through March 2nd in Raleigh, NC. The event, which is hosted by AMA Triangle, provides a venue for marketers and creatives to collaborate, inspire, and learn from each other. While this will be our first year at High Five, we have been excited by the buzz about this conference from every previous attendee we have spoken to. We are looking forward to further connecting with our peers and bringing our expertise and creative to the mix.

Nonprofit Technology Conference

Stephen and David will be exhibiting at NTEN’s 2017 Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) to be held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington DC March 23-25. The NTC is the nonprofit sector’s signature technology event, offering more than 100 sessions to over 2,000 nonprofit professionals from around the world. We had a great experience when we exhibited the last time NTC was held in Washington DC back in 2014, and looking forward to offering an introduction to DesignHammer to influential members of the nonprofit sector.


Professional Development

Drupal Certifications

Three of DesignHammer's staff have recently passed their Drupal certification exams for the Acquia Drupal Certification Program. These exams test the expertise of developers and designers on the open source Drupal CMS platform.

  • Acquia Certified Drupal Site Builder: Frank Yonnetti
  • Acquia Certified Developer: Jay Roberts and Amanda Hart

AMA Triangle Luncheon

On January 19th, Stephen and David attended the monthly AMA Triangle Luncheon to learn about 2017 marketing trends from Ajit Sivadasan, Lenovo’s eCommerce head. The talk covered 9 steps to effective engagement marketing, the “new rules” of marketing, and how Lenovo is adapting to these changes. While it isn’t always easy to scale down what works for a company with close to $50 billion annual revenue, they gleaned some ideas to bring back to DesignHammer.

AIGA Mentorship Program

As part of Jeanette’s 2017 resolution to be more involved in the design community, she applied to be a mentee in the AIGA mentorship program. This program pairs up seasoned professionals with those looking to learn more. Together the mentorship pairings make a 4-month schedule of meetings and opportunities for growth. In addition, they will share experiences with others participating in the program. She received her acceptance letter this week and will be attending the kick-off meeting in February.


Community Involvement

Sustain-a-bull

DesignHammer has joined the almost two-hundred strong Sustain-a-bull, the independent business alliance promoting and supporting locally owned, independent businesses in Durham. Independent businesses are vital to Durham’s economy, culture, and environment, and we are proud to be counted among them.


The Full Frame Film Festival

The Full Frame Film Festival is an annual international festival dedicated to nonfiction cinema held in Durham, NC from April 6th through April 9th, 2017. Full Frame is brings together both filmmakers and film lovers for four days for a morning-to-midnight program including nearly 100 films, discussions, panels, and Southern hospitality. Passes and tickets will go on sales soon, so don’t miss out!


Around Town

True Flavors Diner

A small and intimate restaurant with an open kitchen offers traditional southern staples such as chicken and waffles, as well as new twists on classic dishes such as Duck Club Sandwich, and Duck Hash and Eggs. True Flavors Diner is open for early morning breakfast, weekday lunch and Saturday brunch. We will definately be going back.

Jamaica Jamaica

Nestled in one of the seedier strip malls on the edge of RTP is this area institution. Stephen and David Joined BrandFuel Co-President Danny Rosin for some jerk chicken and rice at Jamaica Jamaica. While the portions are huge, and the price is very reasonable, the food can be best described as “Jamerican” with the seasoning imposing far less kick than expected from authentic Jamaican fare. While not high on our recommendation list, it's good when looking for something different.


Anything Else

Fencing Tournaments

While I often spend my free time at fencing tournaments, it is usually as either a coach or a referee. In January, I was able to participate as a competitor in the 2017 Hangover Classic in Richmond, VA. I fenced in the D & Under Mixed Saber event and had a very successful day, taking 1st place out of 31 competitors. Michael Nicholson, DesignHammer Project Manager, also competed in the Senior Mixed Foil event, taking 16 out of 28. You can see the complete results here.


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