We're wrapping up a year of big leaps in hardware—smart watches and Google Glass dominated much of the tech talk of late. In 2014 we’ll see exciting growth in the platforms and applications that bring this hardware to life. We'll also see businesses evolve as they realize the real power of the web.
Here are our Tech and Web predictions for the year ahead:
Digital Communities Reorganize Real Communities
This year companies began to understand the revolutionary impact the Cloud can have on their businesses. Just yesterday the City of Vancouver unveiled their 3-year digital strategy at an AIM lunch, and it is all about delivering online services, inviting the public to solve problems through open data sets, and bringing together communities through digital channels (ummm, and did we mention we just launched a newly RESPONSIVE site for the City?). In 2014 more and more organizations will begin to seriously rethink the way they operate, and use the power of the Cloud to do it.
Smarty Aluminum Pants
While we’re not foreseeing an apocalyptic film-scale...
As web users we’re used to smooth in-site search systems—systems so smooth we don’t even think about them or realize the planning that goes into them.
Google has set a great precedent for search—their years of analysis and refinement have given us all high expectations. So when an in-site search is non-intuitive or produces irrelevant results, it’s a frustrating experience for users.
Sometimes search isn’t the best way for people to experience your site—you may want to guide users along a certain path. Before you add search, consider carefully if it’s the right tool for your strategic user experience. More often than not however, users want to jump directly to the content most relevant to them, and you should make it easy for them.
Look at your own web properties: if search is key to wayfinding on your website, how can you meet those user expectations? Customers frequently ask us what to do about site search, and the answer is: It depends.
The best search tool depends on the content on your site. Will data come from public, indexable content in your Content Management System (CMS)? Or are there special considerations for your content—...
I recently met with an established financial institution to talk about potential for their internal systems. They wanted to learn about agile development (an iterative, staged approach to dev) and open technology stacks (the different tools we layer to create a web tool). But in fact, I learned a lot more from them than they learned from me.
They explained that their company spent a fortune on a big, meaty, does-everything system. A few years later, they’ve spent almost as much customizing the platform to their needs, and now they are struggling to hire talented developers who are willing to work within the constraints of what’s become an aging, restrictive system. The only people they can find who are familiar with the system are the types of people who struggle with seeing the possibilities beyond the constraints of the technology.
The technology isn’t designed to foster creative problem-solving and doesn’t have the flexibility to easily expand with needs or keep up with technological changes.
It’s a story I have heard dozens of times while...
As part of a development team that’s spread out across North America, there’s nothing better than getting together with my colleagues to work side-by-side. Back in June, the team met up and spent the day exploring new technologies.
One of those technologies was Firefox OS (FxOS), a new mobile operating system like Apple's iOS or Google's Android. Like Firefox, FxOS is made by Mozilla and shares many of the same ideals Firefox had when it came around 10 years ago—like open source, community contribution, and general openness and progress.
In 2003, IE was very much the dominant browser. It was against the odds that Firefox brought back the "browser wars"—a healthy, competitive environment for web browser technology.
Despite the success of the Firefox browser, I'm not assuming that FxOS will succeed and become a major alternative phone OS. Android already shares many of the same values Firefox had (eg. much of it is open source), so there's less motivation for idealists. There have been...
What if the web didn’t waste our time with information we don’t care about? What if the web consistently helped us connect with content and services that are actually helpful and completely relevant? What about a web that makes our “analogue” lives better?
There’s lots of buzz lately about the Internet of Things—the idea of physical objects connected to one another via the internet—extending the web to analogue objects. Like a dishwasher that senses you’re running low on detergent and orders it for you. It seems futuristic, but it’s already taking place.
Likewise, we’ve been talking a lot about the Personal Web. Google Now is already bringing this to life—using your data from Google web services (your gmail, search data, location etc) to deliver information exactly when you may need it: the next bus home, the weather in the city you’re traveling to tomorrow, the nearest taco truck, the Whitecaps score....
If I told you we are all Cyborgs, would you believe me? Would you know what I mean?
This weekend I joined some of Vancouver’s smartest at Cyborg Camp YVR. An amazing lineup of speakers told us about the integration of technology and humanity.
This wasn’t a room of techno-nerds geeking out (well maybe a little) but a time to contemplate deep ethical and cultural questions about technology and its impact on humanity. This was about Cyborg Anthropology.
Here are my 5 takeaways from my day at camp:
1. Data becomes relevant with context
We are all digital hoarders. We create and store more information than we can use. Think about the value you place on all your digital assets (pictures, video, music, etc.) but do you really know what to do with them?
We’ve lost any constraint on the content...
The other day I met with a group of Chief Information Officers, answering questions they’re facing as they develop strategic Information Technology (IT) plans for their companies.
The conversation veered to the Cloud, and how they can use it to meet their organizational objectives.
As I listened, the conversation was all about cost-savings and efficiency—how they could decrease IT costs while increasing the organization's efficiency through their technical systems.
Yes, the Cloud definitely offers organizational efficiencies, and there are some really affordable Cloud solutions. They weren’t wrong, but they had missed a large opportunity. It made me wonder: How many business leaders are limiting their own reach and just don’t see the revolutionary potential the Cloud offers their organizations?
Here are 7 principles to consider as you make the shift:
- Invite creativity and...
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