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EXPERT SERIES – QA = Quality Assurance = Smooth User Experience

pepperoni pie 589 isolated

Written by Angela Robinson, Web Developer

Hey, who needs it?!

Have you ever visited a website that irritated your soul because of the use of their, there, and they’re? A site that raised the hairs on the back of your neck with the sheer quantity of broken links within it? Do you manage or own a website that turns your visitors into IET – Instant English Teachers?

No? Great! Then this article is not for you. For the rest of you mere mortals, I will state that the message of this article is simple:  Do Not Skip Out on the QA Process!

 

Quality Assurance – Pizza, Cheeseburgers, or Nachos?

Believe or not, there are many IT professionals that has either – a) never heard of Quality Assurance, b) has heard of it but has never included it’s process into their website development cycle, or c) considers it a complete waste of time and resources. This is because Quality Assurance is all about pizza, cheeseburgers or nachos.

The meaning of Quality Assurance or QA is in the definition of the words. The assurance that your website doesn’t suck and every piece of information contained within it meets quality standards – pictures, videos, the words in pictures and videos.

When you’re playing putt-putt golf at the local Magic Mountain, are you expecting to see Tiger Woods? No! But what if he does show up… with his kids… and his entourage… and dozens of paparazzi. If you’re the owner of that Magic Mountain, wouldn’t you like to double check your inventory, or make sure everything is clean, or all the vomit is removed from the jungle gym that a certain adult snuck into (NOTE – I know nothing about that). But that’s what QA is all about – a double check, a triple check, a quick check.

Remember way, way, way back in school and your math teacher told you to double check your work. The difference of checking or not checking your work can mean an A+ or a C-. That same rule applies here.

Why is it all about pizza, cheeseburgers, and nachos?

Pizza

How would you make a pizza?

  1. You make the crust (the website design)
  2. You put the sauce on top of the crust (the website layout, code, a management system, a database, etc.)
  3. Any self-respecting pizzeria knows that the cheese (the content) goes on first!
  4. Then depending on your customer, the toppings goes on next:
    1. Does the customer want a lot of pepperoni (forms or applications) – then you must check that the pepperonis are on the pizza (that the forms or applications work)
    2. Does the customer want a supreme pizza with a lot of various toppings (a blog, import of old but necessary data, etc.) – then you must check that the toppings are on the pizza (that the blog is working, that the import was successful)
    3. Does the customer want a pineapple and chicken (a bunch of bells and whistles that’s really not relevant to the site but is fun to look at) – then you must check that the toppings are on the pizza (this would be an entirely different article)
  5. Bake at 425 degrees and once done give it to your customer (present the finished website to client and release the website to the production stage)

Five steps to make a great pizza – it’s a family recipe. Five well thought out and defined steps with 3 possible QA processes to make a great and user friendly website. The better defined your QA process is, the better your website will be.

Cheeseburgers

How do you make a cheeseburger?

  1. Fry the hamburger meat in a smashed oval, or square, shaped patty, flipping it on both sides until it’s done (the website design and layout)
  2. Slap the hamburger patty on a hamburger bun – with Miracle Whip and cheese – (the content)
  3. You might take the time to add the fixings to the hamburger – like onions (forms or applications), pickles (a blog), or ketchup (other bells and whistles) – and check to see that the toppings are on the cheeseburger.
  4. Wrap it up and give it to your customer (present the finished website to client and release the website to the production stage)

Four steps to make a cheeseburger.

Four semi-defined steps with the QA process and activation dependent entirely on the customer. Because the QA process is dependent on the customer there is not guarantee that it will be executed. If you lead your customers to believe that the QA process is an unnecessary fixing and depending on what that fixing is, it might cost more, then prepare to live with the consequences of those beliefs – over extended budget, higher demand on support resources to fix production site errors and issues, less willingness to actual pay for a process that could save time, money and your customer’s customers, and so much more can be reaped from that disastrous belief.

Nachos

How do you make nachos?

  1. Buy tortilla chips and a cheese dip
  2. Put it in a bowl or serving tray
  3. Dig in!

Nachos are fun to look at in the beginning, and they might taste very good. But its easy food – easy to buy and easy to forget. There are millions of “nachos” sites. Some don’t even look or smell good. These are cringe worthy sites that I will not waste another sentence on.

Do Not Skip Out on the QA Process!

Don’t even think about!

You! Yes, you in the business suit. You running that awesome, local IT business, down the street from McDonald’s, with your brother and father. You’re the person in charge of it all. When your team properly applies a consistent and detailed QA process into their website development cycle business will be a’ booming!

Because – hey, who needs it?!  Everybody! Even “pizza” websites. And you do know that it’s all about pizza, cheeseburgers, and nachos.

Is it lunchtime yet?

WordPress 4.6.1 Update – September 12, 2016

Internet Security and HealthTo Our Valued Clients,
The following is an important announcement for any of our hosting customers using the WordPress platform for their website or blog: 

WordPress 4.6.1 is now available. This is a core upgrade for all previous versions and we will begin updating your sites immediately.

During the update process, your site will be placed into “Maintenance Mode” until the new software installation is complete. It is also possible that the core WordPress software upgrade could affect other functionality on your website.

If after this update you notice any changes in aspects of your website or if you have any questions concerning this most recent security release, please email us at info@robintek.com or call 614-888-3001.

Thank you,
The Robintek Security Team

EXPERT SERIES – Min-Maxing CSS: It’s like RPG’s, only with Colors, Fonts, and Styles

businessman hand show gear to success as concept

Written by Shawn Tucker, Web Developer

When it comes to building the front end of your website, there’s nothing more important than CSS. CSS is what takes your site from a white page with plain text and transforms it into a beautiful webpage with vibrant colors, font styles, and clever positioning of your content. At its core, CSS is very easy to understand. You add a class to an HTML element, and in your style sheet you can give that element different styles and colors. This is simple enough to understand, but when you dive deeper into CSS you start to run into several more complex problems.

When you first open a blank style sheet you are immediately faced with the first great challenge of CSS. Some immediate questions that will come across your mind are: How do I write these styles in a clean and easy to read way? What sort of naming conventions do I use for my classes? Can I break my classes up into sections so that they are easier to find? How do I order my styles so that they are consistent?  CSS is written in a list style format, which makes some of these questions difficult to answer. Answering these questions and sticking to the standards you set make up a huge part of writing good, clean CSS.

As a part of our front end development team at Robintek, I’ve always been interested in answering the questions about naming conventions and grouping classes together. Keeping these questions in mind I started to change the way I think about writing CSS. How can I get the most use on my website out of one class? Is there a smarter way I can group my classes together so that they are easier to find and read? These questions and more led me change the way I write CSS and come up with a new phrase which I like to call “Min-Maxing CSS”.

The term Min-Maxing actually comes from Role Playing games. It’s a strategy of play where a player creates the strongest character possible by optimizing and focusing on the types of traits that make their character powerful. When you apply this term to CSS, you can look at your classes from a broad viewpoint. How can I minimize the use of focused or repetitive classes in favor of broad classes that I can use more frequently on my website? Can I create general and less content specific groups of classes that make my style sheet cleaner and easier to read? These questions are actually easy to answer when you look at your website as a whole instead of focusing only on the page you are working in, or the element you are styling.

The easiest way I’ve been able to start Min-Maxing my CSS is through the use of color. Color is one of the most common styles found in any style sheet. When you look at colors from a more broad perspective, you can usually find many common uses of colors in your design through various fonts and backgrounds. Keeping this in mind you can then create a section of classes in your style sheet for each color you intend to use on your website. These new classes can now be applied on every element of your website that uses those colors. This can save you an average of 3-10 lines of code in your style sheet each time you reuse a class instead of making a new one, saving you potentially hundreds of lines of code.

Writing clean, optimized, and easy to read code is one of the biggest and most important challenges faced by developers. This becomes especially true when writing CSS. Class sheets by their nature are going to be very large, and contain often thousands of lines of code. After all, CSS is what handles all of the styles, colors, and positioning of all elements across your website. Now using the Min-Maxing CSS strategy, you can optimize your style sheets leading you to faster load times, and a better user experience.

WordPress Security Update – August 22, 2016

Internet Web Security

To Our Valued Clients,
The following is an important announcement for any of our hosting customers using the WordPress platform for their website or blog: 


WordPress 4.6 is now available. This is a core upgrade for all previous versions and we will begin updating your sites immediately.

During the update process, your site will be placed into “Maintenance Mode” until the new software installation is complete. It is also possible that the core WordPress software upgrade could affect other functionality on your website.

If after this update you notice any changes in aspects of your website or if you have any questions concerning this most recent security release, please email us at info@robintek.com or call 614-888-3001.

Thank you,
The Robintek Security Team

 

PRESS RELEASE: BalletMet Partners with Robintek to Improve Digital Presence

ballet-met-robintek-partnership

Starting with the launch of a new website at BalletMet.org, Robintek has partnered with BalletMet to improve the organization’s digital presence.

“The website was just the first step. We plan to review BalletMet’s process for online class registration to better serve academy students, as well as explore ways the organization can better engage donors, subscribers, and event attendees. An integrated system managed by a firm with the technical expertise to keep it running and the marketing experience to make it effective will help BalletMet get more out of each online interaction with patrons.” – Joe Jorgenson, President, Robintek

The BalletMet Marketing team had this to say of their experience redesigning their website and launching it anew.

Thanks to Robintek, our website is now better equipped to tell the story of BalletMet. With an emphasis on stunning visuals and a new simple, modern design, we can engage current and potential patrons and more clearly communicate our message of artistry, education and community. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Robintek as they help us to improve our digital footprint. – Lynette Shy, Director of Marketing, BalletMet

 

About Robin Technologies, Inc.:  Robin Technologies is a family owned web development, multimedia, and technology company with offices located in Worthington, Ohio.  In business since 1998, Robintek is the primary web developer for over 600 companies and has done work for many more. The web is a powerful avenue that can change the way you do business and Robintek was founded to do just that. We can offer much more than a basic web design.  Clients select our company not only because of the excellent service and personal care, but also for our unique ability to blend custom web design with dynamic web programming that will help engage audiences and simplify business processes to make them more efficient. http://www.robintek.com

 

About BalletMet: Renowned for its versatility and innovative repertory, BalletMet ranks among the nation’s 20 largest professional ballet companies. Since its inception in 1978, BalletMet has made the commission and performance of new works a core organizational priority, with more than 150 World Premieres and hundreds of Company Premieres performed throughout its history. BalletMet stages 60 to 70 performances annually at home and on tour.

BalletMet’s Academy has also been recognized as an institution of local and national stature. It offers hundreds of classes to roughly 1,700 students of all ages each year. Students in our Intensive, Boys and Trainee Programs gain invaluable training and experience, including the opportunity to dance on stage alongside the company’s professional dancers.

Committed to engaging the community, BalletMet developed a series of educational and outreach programs, including the Wiggle Jig, Moving Into Literacy and urban dance and wellness classes, that reach more than 30,000 people annually, many from minority and underserved groups.

For more information, visit www.BalletMet.org

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WordPress Security Update – June 2016

To Our Valued Clients,
The following is an important announcement for any of our hosting customers using the WordPress platform for their website or blog:
WordPress 4.5.3 is coming soon. This is a core upgrade for all previous versions and we will begin updating your sites immediately.
During the update process, your site will be placed into “Maintenance Mode” until the new software installation is complete. It is also possible that the core WordPress software upgrade could affect other functionality on your website.
If after this update you notice any changes in aspects of your website or if you have any questions concerning this most recent security release, please email us at info@robintek.com or call 614-888-3001.
Thank you,
The Robintek Security Team

Robintek News – March 2016

Robintek Featured Project

Get Grassy Website Launch

 get grassy

 

Check out our newest website design and launch, Get Grassy!

How you treat your lawn matters for water quality in central Ohio! Healthy lawns have deeper root systems, drought and disease tolerance, and are better for water quality because they absorb more rainfall.

The City of Columbus, Franklin Soil and Water, and local lawn care companies have partnered to encourage our residents to do their part for water quality by caring for their lawn properly. Read more, and take our pledge to receive a free gift. 

Robintek Featured Project

Out Of The Boxx Toys Website Launch

 out of the boxx

 

Check out the new website design and launch for Out Of The Boxx Toys!

Here at Out of the Boxx we buy, sell and trade toys from the 60’s to now. We even hunt down that long lost favorite you’ve been missing. Our passion is toys, and we love to find them, restore them and sell them to you!

We’re always looking for new opportunities to talk about and purchase toys! If you’re interested in cleaning out the attic, garage or the kids room we can help. We offer fair prices and work efficiently and professionally. A lot better than a garage sale!

Industry News

Google Has Removed “Right-Rail” Ads 

True to its ever-changing style, Google has eliminated ads from showing on the right side of a search engine results page, or “SERP.”  This is placing even more emphasis on the importance of local results, courtesy of Google My Business pages.  They are, however, placing ads at the bottom of the search results page, which means for most searches, there will be 3-4 ads at the top of the page, and then 3-4 ads at the bottom.
 
One of the reasons for the change is to try and make the user experience uniform across desktop, mobile, and tablet platforms.  Per Yext:
 
But as Google Ads move in-line with organic search
results, the importance of appearing in local pack
results becomes critical important for businesses.
 
Here’s why:
In 2014, Mediative conducted an eye-tracking
research to study where users look on Google’s SERP.
Not surprisingly, the study showed that users tend
to focus their attention in three areas:
 
1. Near the top of the page,
2. Local search results,
3. The first organic search result.
 
In terms of where users click on Google’s SERP,
several studies have concluded that organic
search listings receive more than 90% of the clicks
with users favoring local search results the most.
 
The key takeaway is that Google’s new Desktop
SERP layout – on most screen resolutions – pushes
organic search results well BELOW the the visible
page fold, leaving only the Ad blocks and local pack
visible to the user.

What does this all mean in the end?  Relevance is even more key for paid advertising, in order to capitalize on the now-more-limited space.  This means not only does your PPC ad need to be top notch, but your organic and local search presence will now factor in more than before.  

Robintek has the tools and professionals to help answer any questions you have in this arena.  Give us a call today!

 

 

Robintek News – February 2016

Robintek Featured Project

College Bound Advantage Logo Design

 

We work with you to get a feel for your business and what kind of image you wish to project. We keep you involved in the logo production process every step of the way. Click here to learn more!

College Bound Advantage is committed to serving families of aspiring college students, and providing access to information necessary to make informed choices about which colleges to attend.  Robintek has completed the logo design and is currently building a custom website.

Robintek Featured Project

Music Guerrilla Business Cards

 

The Music Guerrilla uses music as an accessible portal for personal, educational and emotional growth for schools and community programs, with special attention to underserved and low-income areas. Whether a listener, performer, educator or supporter, The Music Guerrilla serves to empower and inspire a new generation to think, act and create.  Robintek is building the website currently.

Industry News


Instagram Releases Much-Requested Feature

Good news this week for those that handle multiple Instagram accounts, the photo-sharing service has announced that users can now toggle between multiple accounts within the app, without having to log out of one and log into another.  This is a feature that Instagram users have been clamoring for, for quite some time, and starting Monday morning, users already have been able to see that feature.

This is particularly exciting news for small business owners that now have the ability to quickly switch between their business’ account and their personal accounts, not to mention social media managers out there who have long struggled with handling the log in and log out process for several Instagram accounts.  The update, which is version 7.15 for the app, allows up to five separate accounts.

For more information on how to get multiple accounts set up for yourself, check out Buffer’s article here.  And, be sure to follow Robintek on Instagram!

Instagram Releases Much-Requested Feature

Good news this week for those that handle multiple Instagram accounts, the photo-sharing service has announced that users can now toggle between multiple accounts within the app, without having to log out of one and log into another.  This is a feature that Instagram users have been clamoring for, for quite some time, and starting Monday morning, users already have been able to see that feature.find us on instagram

This is particularly exciting news for small business owners that now have the ability to quickly switch between their business’ account and their personal accounts, not to mention social media managers out there who have long struggled with handling the log in and log out process for several Instagram accounts.  The update, which is version 7.15 for the app, allows up to five separate accounts.

For more information on how to get multiple accounts set up for yourself, check out Buffer’s article here.  And, be sure to follow Robintek on Instagram!

Robintek News – December 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE ROBINTEK TEAM!

Merry Christmas from Robintek

Robintek Featured Product of the Month:

Mobile Website Design

Creating a strong brand and identity for your business allows you to consistently and clearly communicate and build your reputation with your clients. There are many aspects to a strong brand design including logo design, branding guides, and design consistency in all your business’ marketing materials. Robintek can help you develop your brand and identity design.


Robintek Featured Project of the Month:

GODofGAM3Z.com Kickstarter Campaign

We have helped GODofGAM3Z launch a fantastic idea for matching casual and competitive gamers to meet, play, and share their experiences!


Industry News:

Search engine king Google has announced that its Google+ network is putting more emphasis on “Interests,” and thus diminishing its Google+ Local pages for businesses.  They have reiterated that they are still committed to local search, but do not believe Google+ is the proper platform for displaying business information.  You can read the full article here, via Search Engine Journal, but here are the highlights:
  • Google+ started as a social network, but never gained the traction they were looking for to compete with the likes of Facebook. They kept the elements that were successful, like Photos, Communities, and Collections.  Google+ Local was the place where Google displayed local business data, but have decided that is no longer the appropriate place for that information.
  • The change will not affect SEO or the ability to attract new customers from Google. They will continue to display local business data in both normal search results and in map results, in fact, the map results now contain more information than ever about local businesses, which is a good thing.
  • The Google My Business dashboard is not changing, as a business owner, you will still update any information about your business there. Data from there will show up in Google Search, Maps, and mobile search.
Local Search is still an immensely powerful tool to attract new customers.  Per the article, here are some statistics that support this:
Robintek SEO services target local search and review your website to elevate your business in search results using a variety of tools, starting at $95/month.  Consistency is key, and Google will reward businesses that have consistent information across the web.  Our specialists know the best techniques for your business, let us know how we can be of service!

Industry News:

Does Mobile Friendliness Affect Your Website’s Search Ranking?

Mobile responsiveness is one of the biggest hot-button topics in digital marketing in 2015 as we head into 2016, and that was only strengthened by Google’s algorithm change in April of this year, putting a premium on mobile-friendliness of websites as one of the more important parameters for good search ranking.

In addition, 2015 is the first year that more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in the United States.  In anticipation of this, Google made the change to their algorithm to emphasize the importance of either mobile responsiveness of websites, or the existence of a standalone mobile website or landing page.  Google has also created a mobile-friendly test tool that allows users to enter a webpage URL and see if it is responsive.
Per Google Webmasters’ blog, this update will not affect searches from tablets or desktops.  Only mobile-friendly pages on a website will feel the positive impact, not the entire site, so essentially, making one page mobile responsive doesn’t mean Google will recognize your website as a whole to be mobile-friendly.  Finally, mobile-friendliness is recognized equally whether you have a responsive website design, or a standalone mobile site.
Robintek has been building mobile responsive websites for many years and has retro-fitted many sites for mobile-friendliness as well.  We are happy to consult on your needs and budget to determine which path is right for your business.  Let us know how we can be of service!

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