It’s been a while since I put up any new work on the blog. At the end of February, the new marketing site for Enerit – ISO50001 energy management software was launched. Enerit has built a web app to help large energy users around the world manage the process of getting ISO 50001 certification.
The aim of the project was to re-design an existing marketing site that was build on WordPress. In addition to a designing and developing a new WordPress theme, I developed a custom WordPress plugin for the site. It’s used to handle the display of Case Studies on the site: both in the Case Studies section, and the user pull-quotes throughout the site and on the homepage.
In order to ensure the company’s growing number of visitors viewing the site on mobile devices were catered for, it features a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes.
On the front-end development side of things, I used a number of different tools & technologies for the build: the site was built using LESS to generate the CSS; the grid system for layouts was generated using Semantic.gs, with media queries for the responsive design being based on the Goldilocks Approach. Html5 Boilerplatelate was used as the starting point for the page templates, with some components of Bootstrap being used, mainly to handle form element design.
I’m doing a re-development of a Magento-based eCommerce site at the moment. One of the changes to the site is to move its current blog from the Magento AW Blog over to a WordPress-powered blog. It took a bit of digging to figure out how to do the move, so here are the steps you need to follow: Continue reading →
First off, as it was the first year of the competition, we were really impressed by the standard of the entries we got. By looking at the standard of the winners & runners up in both categories, you can see how they bought into the idea of creating something innovative & interesting.
In the Groups Category, the first prize winner (of €600) was What’s the Score, an Android-based mobile app that integrates with a web application; it is:
A free, live score updating service for local clubs and teams. What’s the Score makes it easy for anybody to post live score updates online.
The guys behind the app, Mike Rockall and Con Crowley (both of NUI Galway), created a simply designed, easy to use mobile app, along with a web API and application that benefits small clubs. They are planning an Apple iOS version of the app this summer. Along with the novelty value, we felt there is commercial potential in their idea. If you don’t have an Android phone to try it out, Like their page on Facebook to get updates on when new versions are out.
The Runner-up Group (winning €300) created the app, “Message in a Bottle”, and are made up of Aleksei Lorenz (NUI Galway), Yan Chak Or and Karolis Turcilla (both GMIT). The idea behind the app is:
Our project is a messaging system where a conversation is started not by sending a message to a person that you already know like facebook or email, but it’s started when you send a message to some random person, who can be anywhere around the world.
The app is designed for mobile use, but as it was built using HTML5, it works in (most) modern web browsers without a problem. They’ve used lots of emerging technologies, such as MongoDB, Node.js and Redis on the back-end, with HTML5 Mobile Boilerplate, CSS/Less, and jQuery on the front-end.
The winner of the individual prize (of a shiny new iPad) was Cathal Mac Donnacha from GMIT, with his project, iSpeak. iSpeak is a Windows Phone mobile app, which, in his own words:
…is a speech and text translator which allows two people to have a normal conversation while speaking in two different languages. To make the app unique and improve usability I took advantage of the phone’s accelerometer to allow for the use of a more natural hand gesture approach therefore the phone’s orientation is changed to speak, translate and reply.
Text to speech translation
Share text translation (SMS, Email, Facebook).
Save multiple conversations for future reference (handy when asking for directions).
The runner-up in the Individual Category (who wins an iPod Touch) was Carles Sentis from GMIT, with his mobile app Implexis Adiutor. This crossword solving app is built for Android mobile devices and is:
…an application which searches the built in dictionary for words. The user can enter word with wildcards (?) such as “c?r?ot”, and the user will get a list of all the possible word with such a combination like: carlot, carrot…There’s also the possibility to search for anagrams…when the user enters a word such as “cinema”…the user will get a list with all the possible words that can be written a combination of all the characters like: anemic, cinema and iceman…when a word from the list is pressed a definition of the word is shown in a built in browser. The definition shown will be the one chosen from the preference screen.
Congratulations to all the winners, and I hope you enjoy the prizes (especially the iPad, which I’m jealous of). When we started out with this competition we weren’t sure what the response would be like from the students; thankfully it was positive from the very start and right through-out the three workshops we ran in NUIG. It was really great to see the quality of submissions coming in at the end of the competition. That some have the potential to be developed into commercial products is particularly impressive given that the students involved were juggling course-work and upcoming exams at the same time. Well done to all!
As part of the CodeNinja competition we gave 3 workshops to the NUIG & GMIT students.
The first session was a talk on User Experience design & product development by Michael FitzGerald. The second session on February 24th was split between myself, talking about front-end web development, and Paul Killoran, speaking about back-end web development. The final session was on game development, with two talks: one by Sam Redfern on the Shiva game engine, and the second by Alan Duggan on iOS game development.
Last week we launched a Web & Mobile App-building competition for students in Galway – it’s called CodeNinja, and is being run in collaboration with OnePageCRM, Ex Ordo, NUI Galway, and GMIT. The competition is open to Students in GMIT and NUI Galway.
CodeNinja is an app development competition for Galway students. It’s designed to train and encourage students to be creative in the cultivation of their own tech ideas. It is open to both individuals and groups that want to build web and mobile applications.
Alongside the competition, we’ll be giving the students who enter a number of talks & workshops aimed at helping them with their project by introducing them to ideas and technologies that may prove useful along the way. And there’ll be pizza.
We wrapped up another year’s Bizcamp Galway on Saturday last. This time around we got some video of the day to give people who couldn’t make it an idea of what’s involved; we also included some short interviews with some of the speakers on the day – check it out below.
As Bizcamp attracts a broader audience than those interested in just technology, we wanted a way to highlight some of the tech start-ups in Galway & the West. So, we also decided to run a Demobar Galway event in the Oslo, Salthill on the evening before Bizcamp. We had 15 companies from Galway and the West of Ireland come along and show off their Web apps, iPhone/iPad apps, and software to a room full of people we enticed with the promise of a free beer and a chat with people who are working to bring out some great products.
It was my first time demo’ing the BeautyBoss web app at an event where the audience was mostly from a tech background, and it was a great experience. The feedback, opinions and ideas from people who came along were hugely beneficial…and on top of that, it was great to have a chat and a few beers with people interested in the tech start-up scene in the West of Ireland.
Putting it all together
We ran Bizcamp & Demobar on a voluntary basis, and on shoestring budget, and it couldn’t have been done without a great team. In addition to last year’s crew of Mark from PocketAnatomy, Michael from OnePageCRM, Paul from Ex Ordo, and Elaine Divilly, this year we brought in some new recruits to help with planning and organising the events. These were Ronan from Fixational, Siun from TunePresto, and Alan from Tribal City Interactive. It was great to have such a strong team involved in working to make the two days a success.
Did you come along?
If you came along to either Bizcamp or Demobar, it would be great to hear how you got on…
We’ve met quite a few times and talked about the skills we’d like to see in new recruits to all our companies, and having all tried different avenues to find them, we decided to take a more open approach. We figured running a campaign for a few weeks, with a view to meeting up with anyone that’s interested in (and good with) sales & marketing for web or mobile apps. There are different types of jobs on offer, from work experience & internships, to full- and part-time work.
Based on our discussions, we identified a skill-set, or areas of knowledge & interest an ideal candidate would have. Below is a broad listing of what we thought these would be; all are related to web or mobile app sales and marketing:
Metrics / Analytics / Conversion Funnels / KPIs
SEM / Online advertising & banners
Marketing Automation / Retargeting
Service design (touch points)
APIs for business development
KOL (Key Opinion Leaders)
Proactive customer support
It’s unlikely any one person will hit all the marks, but it gives an idea of who we’re after. If it sounds interesting, check out the site and register. We’ll be meeting with anyone that’s interested on May 21st in Galway. If it’s not for you, you can help spread the word by visiting the site and using one of the options to share it over one of your social networks.
A quick word on the site
I did the design & development of the one-page site (well, two including the embedded registration form). It’s a straight-forward HTML5-based site, with CSS3 used throughout. It also features a Responsive Design, which uses media-queries to target smart-phones with a version tailored for their size (shown on the right of the image above).
“The Dali Lama & Mary Robinson are coming speak at our social forum and we need to get a website done”. That pretty much sold me.
There are a mix of ideas behind Possibiltites (update, 21 June, 2012: the website is no longer online). Firstly, there’s a Social Forum event that’s being run in Dublin on April 13th. They’ve got some great speakers lined up, with more to be confirmed on the programme. Secondly, it’s an online space to encourage people to share their ideas about what other possible futures there are for the country. This will have a life well beyond the Social Forum event.
On the technical side of things, the site is built on WordPress, using a custom theme developed in HTML5 with a heavy dose of CSS3 for lots of the visual effects. As no website is an island, it integrates a number of different services, such as Campaign Monitor (to handle email newsletter subscriptions) and Wufoo (for data collection…and it’s fantastic), along with the more standard Facebook & Twitter integrations.
There are some times that you get to work with organisations that are doing great things. Working on the re-design & development of the website for Alan Kerins Projects was one of those times.
When I first started the project I spent time looking at the videos & photos collected by their volunteers on the ground, learning about their organisation and their projects. The work they do is inspiring and well worthy of support.
The idea behind the re-design was to give more of a focus to the projects that they run. While their previous site covered parts of these, it was more in the form of news, rather than giving them the weight they deserved to help people see the great on-going work.
As a very people-driven organisation, we also wanted to integrate the social media side of things in a much better way. To do this, the homepage pulls together fresh content from the different channels used by the the organisation, such as their YouTube Channel, Flickr photos and new Facebook page (a move away from the earlier Facebook Group), as well as presenting all the updates that go on throughout the site’s news & events section.
The site is built on WordPress. To bring the vision they had to reality, we used several of the updates that came in WordPress 3.0; for example, there is extensive usage of WordPress’s Custom Post Types, and parts of the site are built using the recently integrated multi-site feature.
Really, there’s a whole lot more than a 2 hour talk can cover, but they’ve got a project going on that’s based on WordPress, and some people who’ve never done any type of web development, so it was a way to push them in the right direction rather than a full course on the area!
Ambient Age is a web design & development company based in Galway, Ireland. As well
as building places on the web to help our clients' business boom, we're also developing our own applications
to make our users' lives easier / more productive / happier.