Project Management in Virtual Teams

by Kevin F

In the scope of most corporate IT departments, one will find a plethora of projects that are being proposed, currently in progress, and being monitored for their ROI.  This is due to the fact that IT system design and implementation is unique to the needs and priorities of each situation.  As a result, PM, or project management, is an essential skill for anyone who is considering a career in IT.  The emergence of an increasing number of virtual team environments challenges the traditional PM approach, which has initiated an array of new research projects aimed at addressing this issue. read more...

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Heat Maps

by Eric S

Heat Maps, What Are They?

You have created this amazing E-Commerce website for you business. You have spent the last month perfecting your SEO and meta tags for optimization. Yet you have not received a single order. What might be causing this? You know the links are all working and your processing information is correct. But have you ever considered the location of your information on your website?  Maybe people can’t see what you want them to see or they are not looking where you want them to look. There are a few tools out there that can help you figure this out. One of these tools available to use is what is called a “Heat Map.” read more...

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Building Web Applications Using Google API

by Emily L
Unless you live under a rock, I will guarantee that you have come across at least one web site that utilizes one of the many Google APIs. Today, it is being used almost everywhere! To fully understand Google APIs, let me first explain what an API actually is. API stands for “Application Programmable Interface” and is a set of programming instructions that access web based software or tools (Dave). In this case, the Google API allow web developers to query Google’s servers, using its data for their own web applications. Google alone has dozens of APIs open to web developers and designers. Some of these APIs include: Maps API, Analytics API, Places API, Calendar APIs, YouTube APIs, etc. (Chapman, 2011). Let’s explore some of the more popular Google APIs. read more...

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Designers Must Do the Modeling

by Asim K

In his article Designers Must Do the Modeling, which was published in IEEE Software , Volume 15 Issue 2, Brian Lawrence enunciates on the fact that designers for database, or any other project, must do the modeling. Lawrence defines the stepping stone as figuring out the customer’s problem rather than figuring out requirements for the project. In his logical breakdown, Lawrence cites ERD models as only an output of the requirements process which will dictate database  design later on in the process. He pursues this opinion with another, saying that producing the ERD diagram (or whichever type of diagram you may be working with) has the benefit of allowing ourselves to understand the customer’s problem better so we can design better solutions. Because the designers have to produce the requirements model, Lawrence embraces the not-so-popular opinion that the designers themselves are the owners of the model.  Citing a quote by Dwight Eisenhower, the author embraces the planning process over the actual plan. To further reinforce this statement, Lawrence says that managers must help persuade designers to understand that they must model requirements – no matter if the designers see it as their duty or not. Similar to the statement of “Learning by Doing”, Brian Lawrence embraces a brilliant model in saying that it is during the planning phase that we learn the most, not in the implementation of the plan. Personally, I agree with this worldview because I have experienced the  same euphoria myself. When I was younger, around 11 or 12, years old I would sit down to learn HTML as a hobby (yes, HTML was my hobby). Although my websites churned out to look like absolute trash and functioned on a pretty depressing level, in the process of research, working with clients, figuring out bells and whistles, I was able to generate a more holistic understanding  of what I was learning and still retain that knowledge today. On these terms, I agree that the designers – the individuals who actually work with the client to figure out their problems and solve them – are the people who should create the requirements needed for their projects; in our case: a databaase. Lawrence, B. (1998). Designers must do the modeling. Software, IEEE, 15(2). Retrieved from
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Description or Design: Which is Better for Data Modeling?

by Katheryn T
The article I read about was focusing on the question of how data modeling is characterized. Specifically, is it design or is it description?  In the article, there were hundreds of people surveyed to find out what they thought. Questions spanned from asking what data modelers believe is the scope of the design process to will different data modelers produce different conceptional data models for the same scenario (Simsion, Milton, & Shanks, 2012)? Over the course of the surveys, the researchers discovered that many data modelers view database modeling as design, and other subjects, such as the business problem, were more descriptive than creative. The contributors that felt problems can be handled with design found that businesses don’t really knowing what they want. This was an opportunity for creative and new perspectives to be introduced. Over all, the researchers discovered that challenging business requirements where split between design and descriptive, data modeling was considered a creative activity, and that data modeling does not have one single right answer (Simsion, Milton, & Shanks, 2012). read more...

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Follow-Up: The Emotion Driven Design

by Vincent S
Last week, I wrote about recent research concerning how emotions play a big part in web design.   So much so that research and development departments in many companies spend millions of dollars every year attempting to understand the correlation between site preference and emotional response.  I previously thought that this was the only research project concerning this study until I found another study that was also focusing on emotion driven human response. read more...

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Adobe’s New Creative Cloud Service

by Renee L
In his article “Adobe Delivers Creative Cloud and Muse for Easy Website Creation,” Daniel Robinson talks about Adobe’s new Creative Cloud service, along with the Muse tool. The Creative Cloud is used to view, access, and share creative files from any internet-connected device. It also provides storage and sharing of information within desktops, mobile devices, and the cloud. In addition, the Creative Cloud consists of a Muse tool that allows users to create and design their own websites without having to deal with any codes. The Muse tool is said to help users focus on designing their websites rather than dealing with the whole ‘plumbing’. With the Muse tool, users are able to easily plan and publish their websites without any hassle. In addition, the Adobe Muse tool allows users to preview and test their websites before publishing, or temporarily publish them to share with others, such as clients and companies. read more...

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Mobile Web Development

by Han C
“Designing For The Future Web” talks about some of the most significant changes in web development and encompasses not just the artistic design but also the skills built around developing websites for mobile phone applications and how to integrate them from a modular sense. The article offers insight, tools, and other resources for developing a portable website but also discusses the technologies involved and their limitations. In addition, the author provides some basic rules of thought in building a portable website as well as offers some helpful HTML5 tutorial links. Furthermore, the article touches briefly about some prominent technologies including Flash, HTML5, and a bit about javascript, elaborating that Youtube, Netflix, and Gmail all have HTML5 versions of their websites that are designed for mobile experience. read more...

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Designers coveted by Silicon Valley

by CyberChic
In the article, Segall explains the current head hunting trends of technology companies. Their business strategy has turned to creating intuitive applications in order to gain customers. To achieve their goal, they need interface designers and information architects or basically web designers with a little bit of programming, database and information management (handsome_bigfella, 10/07). Among the technology companies mentioned were Google and Facebook and since the demand out weighs the supply they have turned to the age old tactic of buying small companies, not for their product or service but for their technical personnel. This is called acq-hires. read more...

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UI Testing With Real Users

by Daniel S
One key aspect to user-interface design is how to run a user test. A user test is to show the developer how user friendly your design is. A user test should always involve users with no software skills whatsoever. This way the feedback that is given to the developer will be much more valuable, and also it will be unbiased. The test users that you’ve selected should also click around on various menus and the developer should log how the users use your system. As a developer, you have to be aware that since you’re using testers with no software skills, patience is the key. Some users might feel overwhelmed, stressed, and/or emotionally distressed. read more...

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What to Expect in Data Warehousing

by Penny P
Data warehouses play a critical role in corporation/institutions. They allow users to quickly retrieve data to be used for data mining or for data analysis tools. The results that they get from these tools are then used to support business decisions that would be made. The authors of the article designed a case study that would help beginners understand the basics of data warehousing. Using the enrollment data from Universities, the main objective was to prepare the data for a mining system that would be used for predicting student enrollment. read more...

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