July 31, 2017

June 2017 DesignHammer Updates!

Summer’s here, and so is the humidity! Actually, it hasn’t been that bad so far, especially in the air-conditioned offices where we’ve been adding some certifications, continuing on with conference season, building new tools, and working with clients. Jay even took the time between the other work to submit a patch for Drupal!

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

NCTech4Good Presentation - Producing a Newsletter in an Hour a Week

Jeanette Larsen and I recently presented at NCTech4Good discussing our experiences in producing this newsletter (as well as our weekly Reader’s Corner blog posts). We’ve captured a lot of that information in this blog post, Producing Newsletters in an Hour a Week.

Recent Projects

Drupal Audit Service

Thorough analysis of an existing Drupal site is an important first step in many of the projects we work on. Working from a robust understanding of the current state of a client website reduces uncertainty in project timelines, helps avoid budget overrun, and informs prioritizing current and future work.

DesignHammer has recently unveiled a new site audit service that combines best-of-breed tools from the Drupal community, custom in-house analysis and reporting tools, and hands-on examination by our developers. The resulting report provides a thorough assessment of overall site health and security which identifies any problem areas that may impact current and future projects.

In Production

Qualyst Transporter Solutions

Qualyst Transporter Solutions is a biotech company that provides a variety of in vitro hepatic models for research purposes. DesignHammer is currently in the process of redesigning their website, and in Phase 2 will be adding ecommerce capabilities and a new kit ordering tool.

New Clients

Medidata Solutions

Medidata Solutions is a life sciences technology provider that focuses on improving the way clinical research is designed, conducted, and analyzed. Medidata provides a suite of cloud based products, data assets, analytics, and services with the focus on helping their clients deliver smarter treatments and resulting in healthier people.

Awards and Recognition

DesignHammer Has Entered the Davey Awards

After bringing home gold from the Davey Awards for the Interiors in Flight website last year, we entered two additional projects for consideration in 2017. Sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, the Davey Awards honor web, design, video, advertising, mobile & social projects from small agencies worldwide.

Entered Dot Comm Awards

New for DesignHammer is the dotCOMM Awards, an international competition honoring excellence in web creativity and digital communication. The competition is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), one of the largest evaluators of creative work in the marketing and communication industry.

Tools and Technology


From Salesforce to HubSpot, there are a host of CRM and Pipeline tools in the marketplace. As a boutique agency, we do not have an exclusive sales staff; instead our consultants handle bizdev in addition to working with our clients on accessibility, SEO, strategy, and usability. As we traditionally have had a long sales cycle, we needed a lightweight tool that allowed us to quickly view and update our prospects at all stages of our sales pipeline. To address these needs, we have using Pipedrive for nearly 3 years. Pipedrive offers a great deal of customization including custom pipelines, autolinking of contacts to deals, scheduling next steps, and tracking of email correspondence.


PatternFly Conference 2017

Frank, Jay, and Jeanette attended the first ever PatternFly Conference at Red Hat. PatternFly is a community project which aims to build a library of code, examples, and best practices around various UI design patterns. The conference was small but jam-packed with good presentations.

Patrick Riley’s talk covering modular design using Web Components touched on aspects of site building we are tackling with our Teamwork Tools project.

Kendall Totten spoke about structuring CSS for modularity and maintainability. She showed a system that her team put in place for maintaining Red Hat’s large Drupal infrastructure. The challenges her team faced lined up with issues we encounter day to day in our site builds. The talk gave us quite a bit to think about.

NCTech4Good Follow up

This was my second time attending the conference, but the first time as a presenter. Michael and I presented about ways to both generate and distribute weekly or monthly content with a limited amount of time. It was a great experience, and we were glad to be able to share our process and tools with the hopes of inspiring and streamlining the process of our audience members.

I had the chance to attend a few sessions myself, and was glad I did! For example, Liza Hoos and Rachel Healy of Open Eye Creative spoke about how to use video to increase a donor base or user engagement. It was fascinating to see how they base their content generation for their users as though they are going through the stages of a romantic or intimate relationship. There were many other wonderful sessions, and I look forward to returning next year!

Drupal GovCon Preview

We are prepping the DesignHammer booth for Drupal GovCon and are looking forward to connecting with Drupalers in DC. For those who are going, sessions have been posted. Between sessions, stop by the DesignHammer booth for some swag and to learn about our Drupal audit service.

Professional Development

Make Informed Decisions: Achieve Goals with Metrics and KPIs

David Minton, Stephen Pashby, and I attended the presentation hosted by the ‘Refresh the Triangle’ Meet Up. Michael Peach, the Head of Product Marketing at Pendo, and Greg Hyer, the Marketing Communications Manager at TheeDesign covered topics including helping clients set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), different types of KPIs based on industry, looking at your own KPIs, and a study of the KPIs used by Prendo to stay aware of how their business is operating.

Google Mobile Certification

The Google Mobile Certification covers topics including mobile design concepts, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Platform (AMP), and Progressive Web Applications. As we’re always trying to stay up to date with evolving technologies, I recently spent some time reading the material and taking the Certification Test. In addition to the content in the course itself, I also bookmarked the links to additional resources listed in each of the sections for later review. All in all, I found that there was a good overview of a variety of topics that are important to mobile web development.

Community Involvement

Culture + Typography: Raleigh with Nikki Villagomez

Nikki Villagomez started her blog years ago as a personal creative outlet when she started a more corporate job. Since then, she has spoken around the country and has even written a book.

Her blog focuses on how culture drives the typographical choices of that area or group of people. This may be a city or even a small group of people. A month before this presentation, Nikki asked AIGA members to send her images of type from around the city. It was fascinating to see the selections and typefaces compared to other cities. At each presentation, she gives a summary of what she found, and Raleigh was lucky enough to get two; breweries and messages of hope.

AIGA Mentorship Final Meeting

I can’t believe this 4-month long program has already come to an end! Just to recap how the program works, when both mentors and mentees sign up they fill out a form about their experience, interests, and what they hope to get out of the program. After pairings were made, each group is to decide their own path forward, including: how often to meet, what they want to work on, and ultimately get out of the relationship. I was lucky enough to be in a group of 3, paired with Matt Stevens (RDU, Graphic Designer), and Maura McDonald (IBM, Senior Designer).

At this final event of the program, each group had a chance to share what they got out of the new relationships. Some of the fantastic results were beautiful work created, networking and job seeking success, legitimate friendships cultivated, and more. For me, I was inspired to constantly pursue personal creative outlets and have tried several new mediums.

CED/Tech Venture Conference

CED is a nationally connected network of individuals and businesses that helps Triangle entrepreneurs build and grow successful companies. CED provides education, mentoring, and capital formation resources to technology-based, high-growth entrepreneurs.

For the tech startup community, registration opened on July 6, 2017 for the CED Tech Venture Conference (September 19-20, 2017). Tech Venture is the premier event for technology entrepreneurs in the Southeast, attracting some of the most innovative minds from around the nation to Raleigh, NC. Attendees can interact with over 800 entrepreneurs, investors, corporate visionaries, and leaders--including over 75 investment funds. Get more details and register here: https://cednc.org/tvc

Around Town

Vit Goal Tofu

A perennial favorite of DesignHammer staff is Vit Goal Tofu, a Korean barbecue joint casual enough for any day lunch, but presentable enough for a business lunch for the adventurous. Vit Goal Tofu is located within walking distance of DesignHammer, on Allendown Dr, just off HWY 55 a few blocks south of the intersection with HWY 54. Traditional options are available for lunch including Bulgogi (grilled marinated beef), Galbi (grilled beef ribs) and Bibimbop (a combination of rice, seasoned vegetables, meat, and a raw egg) served in a thick-walled hot stone pot. Accompanying the entrees is a wide and varied selection of pickled and fermented vegetables to sample.

Anything Else

Drupal Site Audit Module Patch

Jay landed a patch in the Site Audit module to fix the “Illegal offset type DuplicateTitles.php” error: https://www.drupal.org/node/2881772

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