Archive

Mobile First Design

July 17th, 2014


Some useful findings from the UK Government mobile site for ‘Register to Vote’.

Summary:

  1. Designing mobile first makes it easier to design your main desktop site by reducing the amount of information down to the key elements
  2. Sometimes more clicks (e.g. through a multipage form) isn’t bad – it made their forms easier to understand, and easier for the user to track errors on.
  3. By removing the help completely, through their testing they discovered what users needed help on, rather than overcomplicating the display with help on areas that were obvious to the user.
  4. Rephrasing text is often a better way to manage copy, rather than adding additional text (which can overcomplicate the display again).

Read more here

Android: Working with Eclipse’s quirks

January 21st, 2014


The Problem

One of the most annoying quirks for Eclipse when working with Android emulators (Android Virtual Devices – AVDs) is that sometimes once you’ve launched an AVD (which can take several minutes), it can lose connection with the emulator. This means that when you try to launch your app on the running emulator, it cannot find the app, and will not output any logs to Eclipse. Sometimes restarting Eclipse or the AVD helps, sometimes it doesn’t.

The Solution

To fix this, we can restart the Android Debugging Bridge (adb), which connects with the AVD, even whilst the AVD is running.

In the console, type:

adb kill-server
This will kill the adb server.

Then restart it:

adb start-server

Then try running your app again – it should find it then connect in Eclipse, and give you the logcat / console output.

Major issues on iOS7 Safari and Web Apps

September 27th, 2013


Horrible issues facing developers for iOS7 Safari and Web apps (e.g. home screen apps cannot use alert, confirm, etc).

See them documented here: http://www.mobilexweb.com/blog/safari-ios7-html5-problems-apis-review

How to paste from Word in WordPress

January 28th, 2013


WordPress contains a useful tool that can help resolve many of the display issues that occur when pasting a Word document into a WordPress post/page.

On the second level of the WordPress editor toolbar (show by click on the end button ‘Show/Hide Kitchen Sink’ – or press Alt + Shift + Z), there is a button that is called ‘Paste from Word’.

If you click on this button, it will pop up a box that will allow you to paste in the contents of your Word document.

WordPress: paste from Word

 

However, be aware that WordPress strips out a lot of the Word formatting (think paragraphs, bold, italic, bullets), but it will give you a starting point to import your document into Word.

Native App vs Web App – Which should you choose?

October 15th, 2012


As time goes on, the number of mobile devices that are used to access the web just keeps on growing.  It is showing no sign of slowing down.

With this, we are seeing more and more applications being developed for the now vast array of devices available to us, whether that’s on a mobile phone or a tablet – the list goes on!

Say you get that ‘big idea’ and you think that you can make an app for it, where do you start?  The first thing you need to consider is what sort of app you would like it to be, a native application, or a web application (or both of course!).  In this article I’ll be taking a look at the differences between the two and also their strengths and weaknesses.  Hopefully it will help you choose the correct path on your app development journey with us.

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Changing a WordPress site’s domain name

September 10th, 2012


If you want to change a WordPress site’s domain name (or base URL), which will often happen when you’re copying a site from staging to production, or from local to live, there are a number of steps to following, outlined at http://codex.wordpress.org/Moving_WordPress.

However, here is a shortened summary of how I run this on non-multisite sites (multisite sites are a pain!):

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Large Application icons for iPhone & iPad apps

June 19th, 2012


Please see the following link for a summary of the new requirements for application icons for all apps submitted from July 2012 onwards:

http://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/MobileHIG/IconsImages/IconsImages.html

– the key one is that now an additional application icon of 1024×1024 is required. The icon is for the app on the App Store.

What are the best tools for accurate Cross-Browser Testing?

May 4th, 2012


One would almost certainly be forgiven for thinking that given the vast array of tools that web developers have at their disposal, there would be one single tool that would allow you to accurately test for all browsers.

Unfortunately this is not the case.

Modern browsers are being updated regularly, which increasingly makes for a more seamless testing experience.  But at the time of writing, us developers and designers still have to cross swords with Internet Explorer and its older versions.  Support for IE6 was dropped at the turn of the year and our main battle now lies with IE7.  Although The Internet Explorer 7 Countdown currently reports that worldwide usage is now around the 4% mark, although different regions report higher figures than others which requires us to support IE7 for just that little bit longer, fingers crossed.

There are numerous tools that are available to test IE7 from simulators and web based solutions through to legacy versions and here I’m going to run through what I’ve used in the past and what I’m currently using now to get the best possible results.
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Extending WP-Members plugin: hiding private posts from non-logged in users

March 6th, 2012


I’ve been using the excellent WP-Members plugin, to extend the Swansea Community Church website, and have been pleased with its ability to offer all the membership/registration functionality that I need to add a membership section.

However there a couple of elements that I wanted to add to it to focus it for my needs.

  1. Firstly, to set a post as public or private (overriding the default ‘block all’ or ‘allow all’ settings), I needed to add a custom field to that post. This is fine for me as a developer, but as the admin of the site is not a developer, I wanted to make it more user friendly.
  2. Secondly, I want to be able to remove private posts from the loop (and this covers posts, podcasts, and things like the Recent Posts plugin, etc) when a visitor is not logged into the website, but then show everything to the logged-in user.

This blog article is the second of two articles. Find the first here: Extending WP-Members plugin: Add meta box for public/private

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Extending WP-Members plugin: Add meta box for public/private

March 5th, 2012


I’ve been using the excellent WP-Members plugin, to extend the Swansea Community Church website, and have been pleased with its ability to offer all the membership/registration functionality that I need to add a membership section.

However there a couple of elements that I wanted to add to it to focus it for my needs.

  1. Firstly, to set a post as public or private (overriding the default ‘block all’ or ‘allow all’ settings), I needed to add a custom field to that post. This is fine for me as a developer, but as the admin of the site is not a developer, I wanted to make it more user friendly.
  2. Secondly, I want to be able to remove private posts from the loop (and this covers posts, podcasts, and things like the Recent Posts plugin, etc) when a visitor is not logged into the website, but then show everything to the logged-in user.

This blog article will address (1), and I’ll focus on (2) in a second post.
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