Seventhman Blog

  1. What Tools Do You Need to Build a Responsive Web Design?

    "responsive design tools"I admit, I’m a web design enthusiast on the constant look-out for what’s new this 2014.  As I have promised from my last post, I’m here to share with you tools to help you get started with responsive design.  Why should you even care?  The fact that smartphones and tablets rise in numbers – it simply makes sense to make sure that your business website looks good on any screen size.  When people started raving about Apple iPhone’s retina display, pixels become larger than life and it’s only crucial to display images right.  The proportion is just as important as a simple site navigation.

    Responsive design is here to stay and it’s becoming the new normal in web standards. Take my word for it.  Problem is, it’s not quite easy as it sounds.  How do you get started with that mobile-friendly site?

    Start With These Six Responsive Web Design Tools…

    Responsive Wireframes

    You want to visualize how your site will look.. but don’t know how to get started?  You can use this experimental tool with simple layout to help you simulate how each page would change responsively – with HTML and CSS only.

    Gridless

    If you need a boilerplate for making that responsive website with ease, this site may work for you.  It also promises beautiful typography – simple and straightforward.

    PhotoFluid

    You want to test first your website in various screen resolutions and sizes.  All you have to do is Launch the app, enter the URL and select your chosen dimension. Have fun and test your site!

    Adaptive Images

    If you’re not keen into having major changes, you can set up and run this tool that works on your existing site.  This can be useful as it detects your visitor’s screen size and automatically creates, caches, and delivers a re-scaled version of your web page’s embedded HTML images.

    Style Tiles

    Whether you are the client or the designer, having a common visual language helps improve discussions – without wasting time on creating multiple design mockups.  This is great for exchanging feedbacks and coming up with the right design for your site.

    Foundation from Zurb

    Dubbed as the professional choice for designers, developers and teams – this tool provides you everything from semantics, mobile, customization, rapid prototyping and a whole lot more.

    and here’s 50 more tools that you can check to help you get your site responsive.  Now, if you’re clueless about all the coding works and would like to build your website from scratch – you can check out StudioPress (also known as the Genesis Framework) which comes with responsive and mobile-friendly templates and themes.

    At the end of the day, we’re all looking for the same thing: a functional, simple, responsive and beautiful website.. minus the coding nightmare.  Hopefully, the experience will get more effortless as fully-integrated CMS lets you create such and manage content in a breeze.

    Do you need help coming up with a responsive web design?  Just Ask!

     

     

  2. Why You Should Get Seriously Mobile This 2014

    "mobile2014"Everyone’s going mobile.. so why don’t you?  Like it or not, mobile marketing is here to stay and your business have to adapt, hands down.  If you haven’t optimized your website yet for the mobile market, this first quarter of the New Year is a great time to start.  Did you know that 4 out of 5 consumers use their smartphones to shop?  More than half of Americans admit to bringing their mobile devices anywhere – even to the bathroom.  In fact, you can check out more of these mobile marketing stats on the Web and the apple of opportunity is ripe for the pickin’.  All you have to do is take that next step.

    Putting Your Business-on-the-Go

    Your target market expects a mobile-friendly site. While there are predictions that 2014 will be the year of responsive design, one thing’s certain though – more people are demanding a seamless user experience when shopping online.  Mobile users are on the rise and for the same reason that demand grows for mobile payment solutions.  You may have done business on the road and that person would have bought on the spot if only they’ve got enough cash.  Thanks to mobile credit card terminals that can turn your smart phones or tablets into payment portals, that minor inconvenience costing you business profit is resolved.  You can even send mobile invoices.

    Are You Ready for Mobile?

    It’s useless to drive your customers to your mobile site or app if you don’t create a great user experience to start with.  This is why it is crucial that you clearly map your goals for your mobile marketing campaign – whether your goal is to drive awareness, signups, customer loyalty, testimonials or redeemable deals.  For this reason, I’m sharing with you the very basics of building a strong mobile presence for your brand:

    1. You’ve got to be uniquely consistent with your brand image and message.
    2. Personalize the experience.  Here’s where you can give your audience an extra nudge with custom offers based on their location and searches.
    3. Keep it Simple.  What’s great about responsive design is that it renders your content properly no matter what the screen size is.  Everyone loves an app that loads faster, easier to navigate and downloads in seconds.
    4. Combine the best of SMS text messaging with rich media.  You can always ask people if they want push notifications on your weekly specials – mixed with rich media messages.  Be very careful not to annoy users with frequent messages though.
    5. Get creative with your content.  With mobile marketing, content get shorter and you’ve got to find ways on capturing your customer’s attention in a span of a few seconds.  Think Vine.
    6. Bring gamification to new heights that will compel people to click.  People love competition and rewards.
    7. Get social with your mobile marketing by complementing it with social media.  Did you know that more than 1 in 6 people access Facebook on their phones?
    8. Don’t forget to measure your brand engagement when you’re doing targeted mobile ads as this will help you polish your mobile marketing’s conversion funnels.
    9. Maximize your mobile campaigns with loyalty and customer referral programs.
    10. TEST. Continuously improve what works and what doesn’t when it comes to content, functionality and design.  Simple tweaks can create a huge effect in your site visits and conversion.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg.  In my next post, I will be discussing about tools you can use to create a responsive web design.  Watch out for that!

    Do you think that mobile will completely take over desktop this 2014?  Let me know what you think in the comments…

     

     

  3. Are You Excited for 2014?

    "2014 trends"Happy New Year!  Goodbye to the old, Hello to everything fresh and new.  I bet you are excited for what 2014 has in store where technology, IT and outsourcing is concerned.  Maybe, you’ve been wanting to make a major change in your business or invest in something totally new.  Knowing the hot trends may help provide insights that will help you make smarter decisions this time.  Like you, we’re on the same quest and our hopes are high as this year looks more promising than the last.  Are you ready for 2014?

    From Vendors to DIY Outsourcing

    As the year closed, we saw trends in businesses taking outsourcing matters into their own hands.  For the same reason that online freelancing workplaces are growing its user base.  Even small businesses are becoming huge players in the IT outsourcing field.  Are we seeing the death of the middleman in sourcing transactions?  Too soon to tell.  As many are pushing for flexible pricing terms and automating certain back office functions, we may see a tug-of-war between offshore and domestic service providers.

    Content Taking Context

    Content marketers will have to step up their game this year and add more value so they can guide their audience to their conversion funnel.  Accountability in marketing ROI is called for and those who can’t deliver may crack under the pressure.  We’ll we ever see the rise of targeted content that caters to the mobile crowd? Positive.  Some things are certain though:  There’s no such thing as free lunch and brands need to get smarter in choosing the best distribution channels + networks for their message.

    Disruptive Innovation Meets Regulation

    Surely, we’ve been fascinated with 3D printing and wearable tech as the year closed.  As these and more new technology come in contact with our daily living, we’ll see more debates in coming up with laws and regulations that aim to protect user data and privacy.  Work will be disrupted by automated machines, technology and processes in a good and bad way that policies need to be implemented by the book in many enterprises.  Will the Internet of Things become the precursor to deployment of the hybrid cloud model?  Let’s wait and see.

    You may say that this post sounds cryptic as I didn’t include specifics.  Thing is, there might be something new right now that we haven’t heard of.. which may become the latest buzz in the next 24 hours.  The possibilities are limitless, the risks are many.  Trends come and go in the IT world but overall, we feel optimistic as we keep a watchful eye.

    You May Also Read:

    Cloud Computing Predictions for 2014 – Forrester
    SaaS Predictions for 2014 – PC World
    Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014

     

    Do you have trends and predictions you wish to share?  Add them in the comments, thanks!

     

     

  4. What Inspires You?

    Happy Holidays! Our heartfelt wishes to you this festive season.. and all the good things to come.  It’s that time of the year once more to send out our gift of gratitude to everyone who has spread the word about Seventhman and for all the inspiring messages we’ve got.  Thank you very much!

    As we move closer to 2014, we can’t help but ask just how excited are you for the coming new year.  To entrepreneurs, we hope that you’re more than ready to boost your business efficiency so you can survive and thrive through this year’s end and beyond.

    To leaders out there, we hope that you stay emotionally strong so you can transcend into the halls of great leadership and inspire more people to take the same path.  May you be forever curious so you’ll always have that insatiable desire to do better – to come up with something amazing, innovative and life-changing.

    And for all those who have influenced us to persist on our quest of bridging the gap between business and IT, may you continue to inspire people from your heart.

     

    “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” —Steve Jobs

    Christmas message

    Shaleen Shah & the Seventhman Team

     

     

  5. 2014 Insights: Can Technology Save the World?

    "social impact"A means to an end… or an end to a mean?  I’ve been thinking about this whenever I read the news about the latest innovation in the tech world.  The point of creating something new is to solve problems in the real world.  I just can’t think of any other reason than that and those who did so passionately have turned out to be a huge success in their field.  I believe that the question is not about coming up with any solution you can think of – but solving the right problem.  Think of it this way:  If you’re given 24 hours to save the world, what will you plan to resolve?  Sounds simple than you think, right?

    The Problem With Breakthrough

    Many businesses are still in the dark when it comes to creating new products, processes and services.  Try as they might to attempt solving issues which they think are important, there will still be missed opportunities in the pursuit of the next big thing.  How many times have we seen IT projects fail to deliver?  How often do we see new products failing to hit profit simply because it didn’t tackle the right problems?  We are living in a world where innovation is driven by challenges in a business, technical, political and social level.  No matter how many talented experts we have in the marketplace, success rates rise and fall dramatically.  Months to years of elaborate research and development have gone down the drain, with thousands to millions of dollars vanishing into thin air.

    Through the Lens of Effective Leadership

    Sometimes, when things go wrong, you wonder which is lacking: Leadership or problem-solving skills?  Leaders missed the opportunity to understand the depths and dimension of a problem.  This may have contributed in failure to implement things correctly.  Many fear that they spend too much time defining what the real issue is so they speed towards a solution like some crash-test dummy.  If one really wants to change the way things are right now, existing practices and protocols must be improved and problems must be viewed as a door to making things better; not as a distraction.  In my experience, transparent communication works.  When people are empowered to speak up, you can clearly map-out a road towards a viable, long-term solution. Your open-mindedness will break down communication silos, hands down.

    Making a Big Difference in the Real World

    To all tech startups, enthusiasts and fellow entrepreneurs, I have one question for you this coming new year: Are you ready to solve serious problems and make a difference in people’s lives?  You may have prioritized monetization, social capital, or influence when you spread the word about your creation.  How about social impact?  When I saw Jason Pontin’s Ted talk, Can Technology Solve our Big Problems, it made me think how social media and countless apps have enriched our lives.. from the Arab Spring uprising to inspiring memes.  But then again, how about coming up with something that addresses real issues like poverty, climate change and so on?  It’s nice to see the likes of crowdfunding, open online courses, and open source projects bridging the gap.  I just think that we can do more, especially in this age of interconnectivity.

    Are you up to the challenge then?

     

     

  6. Why Do IT Projects Fail Big Time?

    "IT project failure"In the world of IT, projects do crash and burn.. a lot of times lately.  When things go wrong, who’s to blame?  Before you go on a witch hunt for the next responsible person, you ought to dig deeper for you to come up with a permanent solution.  It’s never an easy job though, but doable nonetheless.  While it’s better to talk about why IT projects succeed, to know why they fail can help improve the chances for many of us who are missing goals terribly.  According to a recent study featured by Cio.com, 50 percent of companies had experienced IT project failure in the last 12 months.  You start to wonder if there’s a shortage of project managers or skilled IT workers (or both).

    Don’t Blame It on IT

    Let’s set aside for a moment this tech fiasco where Obamacare is concerned.  While working as a software developer helped me acquire logical and problem-solving skills, I just feel it’s totally unfair to blame it all on IT when things go wrong.  Did you know that most IT project fail because of poor management?  It’s very rare that failure is due to major technical hurdles.  Key to the success of any undertaking is assigning the right tasks to the right people, plus, defining clear goals and responsibilities.  Just because developers are working in tech doesn’t mean expecting them to behave like computers too.  When leadership is lacking, programmers can get lost in a maze of confusion (not to mention, frustration).

    The Constantly-Evolving Role of Project Managers

    Gone are the days when managers send out orders to be followed by their minions.  The role has evolved into something so dynamic that it involves human relations.  It’s not only making sure that deadlines are met and everyone adhere to best practices, but project managers should also communicate and motivate their team to be their best.  Still, we see many who are stuck in the old mindset that they’re not ready to implement change management, no matter how Agile they think they are.  One of the biggest failure that a project manager can commit is not aligning goals between team players and stakeholders.  They’re supposed to bridge the gap and create trust; instead, they are putting everyone on gridlock until everyone decides to quit and call it a long day.

    Looking at the Real Problem

    Because it’s easy, when IT projects fail – people will simply look at the IT department to blame.  It’s not really the case.  Most of the time, it’s lack of resources that contributed to the failure.  As enterprises move to the cloud, we see demands in adopting more application, adding to the backlogs of the IT team.  Nobody really cares how people work on it so long as it’s delivered in lightning speed.  Soon, your team feels overworked and confused on what to prioritize first.  While you can argue that this can be easily fixed by project managers, most often, they add to the burden by simply not admitting that there’s a problem in the first place.  You can’t blame them though when they’re expected to run things to spotless perfection.  Should the founders be blamed then for such unrealistic expectations?  Accountability should run from top to bottom, no exceptions!

    No matter, if you embrace failure as a testing ground instead of your final destination, you might just win the race to the next disruptive technology around.

     

    **Something new is coming.  Stay Tuned!

     

     

  7. Do You Really Need an API?

    "API economy"In a world where software transforms the way we do business, one starts to wonder if small to large-scale enterprises really need an API.. and a real good strategy to make it work.  As we do business in the cloud and use lots of Software-as-a-Service models, APIs aren’t strictly tied up to mobility alone.  If you take a closer look at Amazon, you’ll see how they have built their business by extending its functionality to outsiders.  Then, there’s the OpenStack project.  Perhaps, APIs these days are the Sun of the software galaxy where everyone’s revolving around.  Yet, the challenge of management, distribution and monetization of API still abound for many API-driven tech companies out there.

    The Problem With API

    While I was surfing the Web to get my weekly dose of all things tech, I’ve encountered a post that caught my attention: A Company Without APIs is Like a Computer Without InternetSpot on!  I have to applaud Brian though for mentioning tips on how to engage developers to participate in building all those awesome software – this can be a tough job to accomplish, but doable nonetheless. I believe that you have to set out with a clear objective and define your target market well if you want to launch a successful API strategy.  It’s not just about making money or encouraging innovation.  The very idea of opening up your data must outweigh the risk and cost.  Finding motivated developers with the right technical and social skills is a major hurdle too.  How can you find tech-savvy evangelists who will add value to your business?

    Let’s presume that you will encounter these challenges:

    1. Exposing proprietary data to your competitors – much to their advantage
    2. Opening your API to the public can mean added cost in developing your platform from scratch
    3. Building APIs that developers hate
    4. Delays and backlogs in transition, especially with documentation
    5. Not coming up with a strategy that will make your business stay competitive

    Creating an API Tactic vs. Strategy

    You may argue that the two words are one and the same.  The thing is that in a developer’s lingo, API Strategy is becoming cliché, together with buzzwords like big data and disruptive innovation.  While you may have a strong case for building a strategy in today’s API economy, you don’t need a big plan to move forward.  Instead, what you need is a specific tactic on measuring things. Got it?  There are situations when building a strategy works, like those who want to build a developer community to help with their software initiatives.  In this case, strategy is fundamental to the business.  But, if you only need to focus on supporting your business goals, you simply need a tactic to help drive revenue streams to your business.

    Bottomline: To gain traction where APIs are involved, you need a strong developer support working with the best marketing team who will help get the word out.  The key to your program’s success is knowing who your audience is so you can come up with the right opportunities.  Are you ready to build that rockstar team, open communication channels and share the credit?

    APIs should be empowered both by business leaders and technology.