Capybara is nothing entirely new and acceptance testing certainly isn’t, but there are still a lot of web developers out there that haven’t given it a go yet and they really are missing a trick. I just want to run through the main advantages with some pointers where to get started.
Yesterday Spotify announced the introduction of their own global play button. Essentially it allows any website to embed a Spotify playlist directly on their own site.
As web developers we really have to keep on our toes. The pace of change on the web is ever quickening and we must embrace new technologies, frameworks and ideas nearly every day.
Whilst it’s what makes the job very challenging it’s also, at least for me, what keeps it really interesting.
The next meetup is from 6pm on Thursday 8th March at The Three Pigeons pub on Guildford High Street.
The next Web Meet Guildford is almost upon us. Please come and join us to talk all things web from 6pm on Thursday 24th November at The Three Pigeons pub on Guildford High Street.
Recently we launched a new website for the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors (ACSeS). ACSeS plays a leading role in developing governance arrangements in local government and works closely with other associations, Government Departments and agencies.
Wow so it’s already been 2 months since our last meet up. The sunshine is here and we’re well overdue a good catch up and a refreshing drink or two.
Please do come along this Thursday, March 31st. As usual we’ll be a running a tab behind the bar upstairs, from 6pm, in the 3 Pigeon’s pub on Guildford High Street.
The turnout at our first two events has certainly exceeded our expectations. It really has been great to meet and socialise with such a wide range of web professionals in the local area. Thanks to everyone that’s come along and made it a success.
As always we’d love to see some new faces though. So if you haven’t been before please come and introduce yourself.
You can let us know if you’ll be dropping in by leaving a comment here or on Twitter via @kyanmedia
Ok so the headline may be a little over dramatic, but music plays a large part in shaping the Kyan office atmosphere. The soundtrack to our working lives, there is music on from 8am ’till gone 6pm every day.
After the resounding success of the first Web Meet Guildford (WMG) we’re excited to announce that we’ll be hosting another meetup later this month.
So if you make websites and you live or work in the Guildford area, please do join us in the 3 Pigeon’s pub on Guildford High Street for a drink on the 27th January from 6pm.
As per last time, we have hired out the upstairs of the pub and will have a tab behind the bar to start the evening off.
The turnout back in November was excellent and with the fresh new year and renewed enthusiasm after the Christmas break we’re already looking forward to meeting everyone.
Please spread the word and you can let us know if you’ll be popping along by leaving a comment here on our blog or on Twitter via @kyanmedia.
Last night saw the launch of the first Web Meet Guildford (WMG) held at the 3 Pigeon’s pub in Guildford and judging by the turnout, the general atmosphere and the positive reaction from Twitter I think we can consider the evening an outright success.
It was refreshing to see a real mixture of web professionals in attendance. From developers and designers to SEO gurus, project managers and social media experts.
We’ll certainly be organising another one; we’ll announce details of it here on our blog and on our Twitter account @kyanmedia.
Thanks to everyone that came along and we look forward to seeing you all at the next one.
I’m not sure who said it first but I definitely agree. My problem is that I’ve never really got on with point and shoot cameras and have been known to regularly inconvenience myself by lugging around my digital SLR camera and a couple of lenses when out and about.
Did you know that Google engineers have tested a self-driving car on the streets of California? According to their recent announcement they’ve clocked up over 140,000 miles.
It’s been over a year now since we moved to Guildford and we’re really feeling settled in our new home on the High Street. We’ve got our artwork on the walls, an arcade machine setup and we’ve even hosted a live gig. However, one thing we haven’t done yet is meet our fellow web designing neighbours.
We figure there must be quite a few ‘like minded’ agencies and freelancers around that we have a lot in common with. This got us thinking, wouldn’t it be great for the Guildford web community to meet, mix, and socialise in a relaxed and informal setting, i.e. lets all have a drink down the pub.
So we announce the first…
If you make websites and you live and/or work in the Guildford area we’d love for you to join us at 6pm on Thursday 4th November for a cheeky after work drink in the 3 Pigeon’s pub on Guildford High Street.
We’ve reserved the upstairs area and will have a tab behind the bar to get the evening rolling.
Please let us know if you’re interested, even if you can’t make this date. Leave a comment or contact us on Twitter @kyanmedia. Feel free to spread the word and we look forward to meeting you.
There’s a new kind of phishing attack around that’s ready to dupe unsuspecting web users into handing over their precious login credentials.
Since we moved offices to the centre of Guildford we’ve been upping our efforts to optimise our website for particular search terms and with some success, most notably for ‘web design surrey’.
We started way back on page 9 of Google’s search results and today we reached the heady heights of number 2, or so we thought…
Curiously our listing in Google varies from computer to computer and even between different browsers on the same computer. We have seen this before, however, it has always been attributed to whether you are signed into Google or not as Google has been offering personalised search results to signed-in users for some years now. However, we were still getting different results even though we were not signed-in.
After some investigation it turns out that only last week Google made a significant change to the way personalised search works. Google now presents personalised search results to signed-out users worldwide. Search results will be customised for you based upon 180 days of search activity linked to an anonymous cookie in your browser.
You can tell if your results are being customised as a “View customizations” link that will appear on the top right of the search results page. You can actually turn off the customisations or temporarily view the uncustomised results.
So where do we come in the uncustomised results for ‘web design surrey’? Page 2, which is still a decent improvement but clearly there is work still to be done.
What does this change by Google mean for SEO? Well, if everyone is shown personalised results then you can’t really ever claim to be “number one in Google”.
Recently I came across a desktop app called LastHistory that offers a visual representation of the plays (aka ‘scrobbles’) recorded for any last.fm user account. Naturally I ran our Kyanmedia profile through the analysis process.
“You don’t need to ‘design’ web sites any more” – that was a statement made to me recently by a business owner. A real eye-opener in the way the web design industry is perceived by some people.
One of the darker sides of web development is down time. The site owners don’t want it, the site developers don’t want it and most importantly the site users don’t want it. Unfortunately, however, it will happen. This is not a defeatist view or an excuse, it’s realistic.
An experienced software development team will know this and rather than bury their heads in the sand, they will be well prepared to deal with the consequences. It’s all about having the problem solving skills, tools and the right approach to solving the root cause of the problem.
A study involving some 800 user testing sessions was recently published by CX Partners that dispels the usability myth that users do not scroll.
The majority of the web industry had, over time, come to the consensus that the keywords meta tag is not used by Google in ranking web search results. However, we’d never heard it from Google itself; that is until now.
Recently on the official Google blog they posted an article on just this issue and clearly stated that they do not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking.
It’s worth pointing out that while this is only Google and other search engines may well use the meta keyword tags, it only serves to enforce our own approach to search engine optimisation that meaningful content is key.
I’ve posted recently about our office jukebox and the music we play on it. What I didn’t mention, however, is that the most hotly contested aspect surrounding it is not the music that gets played, but the way in which we can all vote on the tracks. Well if Pete’s going to be dropping Christmas covers in October then we all need to let him know it’s not right!
Recently I came across an article on the Youtube official blog that detailed some interesting insight into the way users vote for videos on their site. In a nutshell Youtube has a 1-5 rating system in which overwhelming majority of videos have a rating of 5 stars, some do get 1 star but there’s not much inbetween. Their conclusion…
“When it comes to ratings it’s pretty much all or nothing. Great videos prompt action; anything less prompts indifference.”
We actually started off with a system much like the Youtube rating model, but we quickly found the same pattern emerged. So we dropped it for a simple thumbs up/down and we’ve never looked back.
It’s interesting debate though as rating systems are often contentious issues when building websites but when a site like Youtube, with that many users, publishes those kind of results you have to consider if it’s the definitive word on the matter.
Certainly we’re not within the first 6 pages returned. It makes us wonder if the article has somehow been blacklisted for that particular term.
Even more strange is that we are number one for the term “number 1 in Google” – we didn’t even try to optimise for that search term. View screenshot.
It would appear that our article has been re-instated at the number one position. Amusingly above a new website that has appeared since I first wrote the original article with the domain name ‘numberoneingoogle.co.uk’
Like any office there are a wide variety of musical tastes represented amongst us here at Kyan.
Through our communal jukebox these tastes come together to form a musical backdrop to our time spent working in the office.
Here’s the top 5 artists we’ve been playing the last few months…
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
3. Florence + The Machine
4. Little Dragon
Our current top 5 artists of all time are…
1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
3. Mr Scruff
4. The Beatles
That top 5 artists list changes quite regularly, but it’s an interesting snapshot.
Those artists have certainly been helping us drown out the constant drilling from the building work going on over the road from us on Guildford High Street.
With the new school year underway, we’ve just launched a brand new look and feel for Rokeby School.
We first developed the Rokeby School website back in 2006 and it’s served them well. In fact, under the hood it hasn’t changed a great deal, we’ve just given it a fresh new face. Our design team have gone for a more open and magazine-style layout utilising more screen real estate that modern screen resolutions allow us and we also created a matching email newsletter template that uses the brilliant Campaign Monitor emailing system.
Over the years we’ve worked with quite a few Schools, Educational trusts and local authorities. Read more about our websites for schools.
Whilst our old residence was beautifully hidden amongst the Surrey hills surrounding Cranleigh, it certainly wasn’t the most obvious place for potential clients to go looking for a cutting edge web agency. Even if it did proudly claim to be “England’s largest village”.
Now that Kyan has relocated to the busy town centre of Guildford we are up against a lot stiffer competition, with numerous other agencies now immediately surrounding us all competing to be top of the listing for terms like “Web design Guildford” and “Web development Guildford”.
Obviously we’re new in town so there’s a lot of work to be done, but a great place to start for any business that wants to show up in location based results is the free Google Local Business Centre (LBC).
Entry into Google’s LBC means that your business listing will show up in search results on google maps.
With the increasing popularity of location-aware mobile devices and desktop browsers utlising Google’s Location Services, optimising for local searches is more important than ever.
There is a vision of the future where browsing the web will no longer require third party plugins for videos and audio playback, that it will be native to the browser. All made possible through the adoption of HTML 5.
We’ve been using Ruby on Rails to build websites and web applications for a few years now. We might even consider ourselves one of the leading UK Ruby on Rails specialists.
We thought it was about time we wrote about reasons we use it and why it’s great for our clients.
Our article about optimising websites for search engines has now achieved number one status in Google for the term “Number one in Google” (View screenshot).
Time for another random gadget review, the flip mino, it’s a tiny video camera and that’s it and that’s the beauty of it.
It fires up in seconds, you press the big red button to start recording and press it again to stop. So simple, so good. It’s light and will easily fit in your pocket.
You can’t replace the storage, it’s built in. You can’t adjust any recording settings like white-balance, contrast etc. You can only connect & charge via usb – but that means no external cables are required.
There are plenty of reviews out there from people who point to their digital cameras and mobile phones that already have video recording functionality. But they’re missing the point, try giving your phone or point & shoot to your tech illiterate friend and see if they can record video with it…
Kyan has recently invested in the brand new HD version so expect a Vimeo (or another video site) channel to spark into life in the near future featuring our shenanigans.
This is the epitome of a feature-less product that does one thing and it does it really well.
Good listings across multiple search engines can make or break a website, at Kyan we believe there are no real secrets to search engine optimisation (SEO).
Transparency with our clients is key, we don’t keep our techniques behind lock and key as we believe SEO is not just the responsibility of the web developers, but also of the content creators & writers.
Cooliris (formerly known as PicLens) is described by it’s developers as a “lightening fast ‘3D wall’ that lets you browse thousands of images, videos and more with ease.”
Cooliris is installed as a browser add-on for Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer and it works all over the web, including on google image searches, facebook, flickr, ffffound and numerous other websites.
Recently we implemented Cooliris into a stock image management system we’re building for a client.
They required an easy and quick way of viewing multiple images on the screen that supplemented the basic website view. Cooliris provided exactly that and wasn’t complicated to implement at all.
It essentially works by using an xml version of the page you are viewing. Cooliris can then automatically detect the feed via a simple rss link. That’s all there is to it!
The touch screen controls really come into their own. Taking advantage of the multi-touch iPhone interface.
This is old skool war at it’s best.
Tuesday December 9th. We all arrived at the office as usual but this was no ordinary day. The Kyan Christmas do, 2008 edition, had arrived. Perhaps a little early and on a school night no less, but we were ready.
The activities of the day ahead had been kept secret with only three clues drawn out of Piers in the days previous. They were:
Latin, Shouting & Cross-dressing.
Some of us were excited, others were nervous.
The day before it had been revealed that we would be heading to Camden Town, London. A slap up meal was booked at the extravegant Gilgamesh restuarant.
Extravagant because, and I quote, “Every chair, every table has been hand carved to precision to tell the story of Gilgamesh. The marble pillars are covered in inlaid with Lapis and mother of pearl…”
It was quite something. Especially with celebrity chef Ian Pengelley providing his acclaimed Pan-Asian cuisine.
After dinner the main event was revealed…
Luch Libre, as if you didn’t know, is essentially the Mexican version of America’s WWE wrestling but with midgets and transvestites. I’m not joking.
The highlight of the evening was probably not the wrestling however. That honour has to go to a certain Steven Wake for wearing the wrestling mask we all chipped in to buy him for the entire night. Including the full tube and train journey home to Guildford at the end of the evening.
What a legend.
More photos of our antics can be found in the Kyan Flickr Pool.
Google alerts is a simple service that allows you to receive alerts on any Google search you want, whenever it is updated.
So when a new result is returned for your search, you’ll know about it without having to lift a finger.
Until just recently the alert was only available in the form of an email, fortunately however, Google have now syndicated the alerts into an rss feed.
The problem with the emails was that should you want to monitor a popular search term, with regular changes to the Google search listings, you’d be buried under an avalanche of emails.
The utilisation of RSS feeds is certainly a welcome change to Google alerts. Now we can all get back to monitoring Google for our favourite Search Engine Optimisation terms.
The book explores the reasons behind wide spread adoption of fashions and trends that happen once they’ve reached that mysterious ‘tipping point’.
Why do people adopt certain ideas and not others?
It is a must read for any budding entrepreneurs, launching a new product, service or even say, a new web application.
The author explains his ideas with a wide range of intriguing stories that make his concepts sound so logical and at the same time make it hugely entertaining.
Even though it was published back in 2002, the ideas are relevant today, particularly for anyone looking to harness the power of the community and social networking.
This year’s d.Construct ‘Designing The Social Web’ took place last week in Brighton and a few of the Kyan crew went along.
Overall the conference was inspiring and the talks were varied and interesting.
The web is buzzing with the news that Google have officially announced their own web browser and it will be released (in beta) today.
‘Google Chrome’, as it will be known, has been built from scratch, is free and is open source.
Google’s has said it’s intentions for the browser are for it to ‘drive innovation on the web’.
- A process for each tab (So if one tab crashes, the whole browser doesn’t crash & better management of memory)
- Task manager to view processes (Allows you to see which website is using the most memory, downloading the most bytes and abusing your cpu)
- ‘Speed dial’ home page comprising of your most visited pages
- Google Gears is built in
- Smart search directly in the address bar (aka Omnibox)
- Uses a ‘Chrome bot’ on the google crawling infrastructure to test it works against the most popular sites on the web
- The browser runs inside a ‘sandbox’ with restricted permissions to make it really secure (It cannot effect your machine or it’s processes)
- Private browsing mode
- Automatically checks against known phishing websites (These are available in an open api)
For the full low down I highly recommend you checkout Google’s comic they released.
Amazon is undoubtedly one of the web’s most successful online shops, a global brand, with operations all over the world. However, it’s not just selling products anymore.
Just one of the growing pains Amazon has faced over the years was the requirement for a scalable storage infrastructure.
Amazon invested in building their own solution and with their experience and expertise in this area they realised a business opportunity was there to be had and released their Simple Store Solution (S3) to the web industry.
S3 offers unlimited storage with high availability, low latency and low costs.
It also allows businesses that work with large amounts of collateral to concentrate on their core competencies and not waste resources implementing and managing a storage infrastructure.
Amazing really when you think Amazon started back in 1995 as a simple on-line book store.
As the U.S. TV broadcasters switch over to digital tranmissions a great debate is just starting out…
Who gets to use the fuzzy white noise that’s left behind?
Google are campaigning for the redundant spectrum to be put to good use.
Most notably for WiFi 2.0
A longer-range wireless technology that wouldn’t be owned by any one company. WiFi 2.0 offers the possibility of, to quote Google, “Affordable, ubiquitous, high-speed Internet connections to all Americans, anywhere, at any time.”
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will soon decide on the future of the spectrum and whether it will be opened up. Google have started a petition and are encouraging everyone to spread the word via their YouTube channel.
The Garmin Forerunner 405 is a GPS running watch that actually looks like a normal watch.
But it’s not the looks that make this a runner’s best friend.
The GPS technology means it will track your run and tell you where to turn to stay on course.
Set a ‘virtual training partner’ to run against and it will tell you how far behind or infront you are.
Monitor your pace, your average pace and how many calories you’re burning.
When you’re back home it will wirelessly transmit your run data onto your pc (mac not supported yet unfortunately) allowing you to analyse to your heart’s content.
This is where Garmin have outdone themselves.
The watch can send and receive information just by by plugging in a small usb stick into your computer.
Most important though is that it’s all in a standard format and this allows for integration into various services and mashups gallore.
Create courses on websites like mapmyrun.com.
This means you can share your couses with friends and then run against the times they’ve set.
GPS is a very fashionable technology right now and Garmin are taking full advantage of it.
Recently myself and Robin attended the Accessibility 2.0 conference. The agenda of the day was accessibility on the Internet in the ever changing world of rich media websites and social networking.
Flickr built it’s reputation and user base by creating a truly great social photography site.
Has it turned it’s back on the community it created?
Why is it the owners of mailing lists just wont let you leave? Even when you have no interest whatsoever in what they are sending you.
When IE8 is released there is talk of it rendering, by default, as if it were IE7.
Microsoft proves it has genuine intentions to make Internet Explorer 8 Web Standards compliant.
The team at Campaign Monitor have now setup their dedicated Email Standards Project website
Great to see one of the most prominent brands and technology leaders finally catching up with the ‘correct’ way to build web sites.
Campaign Monitor, our email newsletter manager of choice, will soon be launching a dedicated website to help fight the case for Web Standards support in HTML email.
A great article on Vitamin gives some sound advice for any budding web entrepreneurs out there.
When we went to the Future of Web Apps conference a while back everyone was raving about API’s – “You must build an API” we were told. I had no idea how much of an impact they were going to make.
Are they business cards? Are they pointless? Not any more they’re not!
BusinessWeek have just published an article on one of the most influential web professionals in the history of the Internet – Jeffrey Zeldman: King of Web Standards.
It’s easy to forget that Rails only first surfaced in the summer of 2005, just two years ago, and even people in the industry are still discovering it.
So we’re no longer hosting this blog on Media Temple. Unfortunately their support was nothing short of terrible.
For this blog we’ve opted to host on Media Temple’s Grid Service. “Hundred’s of servers for the price of one” – It sounds impressive, it’s a shame it wasn’t particularly straight forward to get Rails going.