Why you should use Parse for Push Notifications
Parse is a Facebook owned service created to help application engineers focus more on creating great products and less on common tasks and features in a project. Parse provides developers with analytics, scheduled tasks, cloud storage, push notification management, web hosting and more. The feature we will focus on here is push notifications. In this post, I won't be giving away any code. Maybe next time. Instead, I want to share my experience using Parse and explain why it may a good option for your application.
A Multi-Screen, Multi-Platform World
Oh how we love our devices! Are you on your phone more & more each day? You're not alone! We're now in a multi-screen, multi-platform world. How should you change your campaigns?
How Digital Can Help Your Campaign Turnout the Minority and Youth Vote!
Last year we saw the power of minority and youth vote turnout. Our base carried the day and helped re-elect President Obama along with Democrats up and down the ticket. Minorities voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, but many of us are concerned about whether we can produce a similar dynamic in 2014. As a party we’re asking how do we drive turnout without a Presidential election? While I will leave the messaging up to the leading pollsters of our party, I can tell you that we need to go to where voters are – when it comes to digital advertising, that means going mobile. Minorities use smartphones to access the Internet almost twice as much as Caucasians. More than 40 percent of Hispanics and 50 percent of African Americans use their mobile devices as their primary digital device. The mobile market is only going to continue to grow and as a party that is where we need to invest.
Why Websites Still Rule
In 1999, the first website went live. You can still see it here. Fast-forward about two decades, and Wired magazine has declared "The Web Is Dead," stating "one of the most important shifts in the digital world has been the move from the wide-open Web to semiclosed platforms that use the Internet for transport but not the browser for display." The article asserts that internet-accessible apps will supersede the web - essentially, the website is obsolete!
SexyButton – A Responsive, Universal, HTML Email Button
Running an email marketing campaign is something that virtually anyone in the advertising, design, or development industry has encountered at some point or another. Let's face it — email marketing is an extremely effective way of sending a message (whether that is a commercial, political, or other) to a large number of people. Just a couple of years ago, US firms alone spent over $1.5 billion on email marketing. However you slice it, it's a powerful marketing tool, so knowing the nuances and tricks to stash in your utility belt for a rainy day will make your campaigns all the more effective.
The tip I'm going to discuss today is how to create that element which is a part of any good marketer's email newsletter: the call-to-action button. Think of all of the newsletters and email blasts that you receive. I'll bet that there's a button of some sort in there. And chances are that said button is prompting you to do something — visit a website, purchase an item, slam your head against the keyboard, etc. That's the purpose of a call-to-action button, to direct your viewer to complete the action you'd like them to do. The best ones will persuade and even command the user to act without thinking. Kind of like The Force.
Nick’s First Developer How-To Workshop
So I’ve been writing developer how-to guides on the Blueprint blog for a while now. On Tuesday, I instructed my first developer workshop called “How to Build a Mobile iOS App” at the Living Social Headquarters for DC Web Women. This two-hour workshop introduced attendees to key elements needed to build native iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch apps.
Experimenting with Options for Responsive Wireframing
At Blueprint, we are actively working to revamp our processes to better accommodate our clients' needs for mobile-friendly and responsive web design solutions. It used to be effective to create one wireframe and design comp to show clients what a final, developed homepage would look like. But these days, that approach only goes so far toward helping us plan — and communicate to our clients — how a site layout and design will look and change when viewed on different devices.
If we can make websites responsive, what about online advertising?
At Blueprint, we design websites, landing pages, print materials, and online ads. With election season upon us, these days we're especially busy with the latter! For any given campaign, we typically design an ad at 300x250 pixels — a standard ad size. Once our client approves it, we resize it to any other required dimensions (commonly, 728x90 and 160x600, but sometimes also 300x50 and even smaller for display on mobile devices). This very manual process takes significant time and has left me wondering, if we can make websites responsive, is there a way we can make advertisements responsive? (for a description about responsive web design, see my earlier post, Blueprint Goes Responsive)
Unfortunately, the answer is not so fast. Some quick research confirmed my suspicions about some of the complications and gave me a sense of where the industry is in making it a common practice. I thought I'd share...
Wrangling the Retina
So as you may know, we have began working with responsive sites. We have been working on making our site responsive whenever we find the free time to do so. Once we eventually finish, I want to write an article explaining the entire development process. In the mean time, I want to take a second to explain, demonstrate and bust a few myths about retina images and the future of images on the web.
Blueprint Goes Responsive: Part 3
Here at Blueprint, things are moving right along with our effort to make our blog and website responsive. In my last post, Blueprint Goes Responsive: Part 2, I talked about our wireframing phase. Since then, we've done a little bit of design to flesh out how the interface would look at our smallest breakpoint, 320px wide. We may or may not do some mock-ups for intermediary breakpoints (TBD once development proceeds).
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