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Geotagging – Off is Cooler Than On!

August 30, 2013
by Robin Moss
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GeoTags

Geotagging – once again a hot topic in the mobile arena. Geotags add GPS coordinates to your photos along with a myriad of other information. This means that all of your photos have a tag that can tell everyone (with the click of a mouse) where that photo was taken within 15 feet. Which is why everyone is concerned about geotagging. Again. Everyone should be concerned about geotagging. I turned location services off on my camera over a year ago, it is really simple to do on most smartphones.

The reason you want to turn off geotagging is that while all that information is really cool when you go back years later to view your vacation pictures, when an unsavory type is tracking your child on the Internet you don’t want them to easily find where you take every picture of your child (right down to the school, or the bedroom of your house).

While some experts suggest turning off your phones GPS I think that is extreme. Once your GPS is off your maps don’t work, and I find that the maps come in very, very handy when I’m lost. Also, without the GPS turned on Find My Phone becomes inoperable. I think it is better to turn off the geotagging on your camera and on any other apps that you don’t want to use geotagging.

Main ScreenSettingsPrivacyLocation Services

So how do you turn off geotagging? Well this depends on your phone. If you have an iPhone go to Settings – Privacy – Locations Services and then Turn your Camera to Off. If you have an app like Camera! you might want to turn it off as well.

If you have a an Android or Blackberry you can check out this awesome video by CNet! If you have a Windows 8 phone check out these directions. For other phone models, just check Google – Google can help you find anything!

Should You Mobilize Your Web Site

November 16, 2012
by Robin Moss
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We get a lot of people asking if they should mobilize their web sites these days and I have to say that our answer is a resounding YES! Having your site mobilized is imperative. You need your site to work everywhere your clients are.

More and more of your clients are on smartphones and tablets. In March of 2012 Comscore reported that 106 million people in the U.S. were using smartphones and in June of 2012 eMarketer predicted that the U.S. tablet market would double to nearly 70 million users. This is not a market you can ignore!

When it comes to mobilizing your site you have choices – you can decide to create a .mobi site. This is a stand-alone site that is created just for smartphone users. You can create an app (once again a separate entity). Or you can create your site using responsive design.

ribit creates their sites using responsive design for several reasons. First and foremost you only have one site to maintain. If you decide to develop a .mobi site or an app, when you make changes to your main web site you will also need to make changes to the .mobil site / app for consistency. We find it is much simpler to have one database to deal with, and the ability to keep the integrity of the design. Yes it can be technically challenging, but that is what makes life fun!

But can you make the site have a responsive design, have cool features and be visually appealing? Of course you can. I have three very different examples. First Addison Arbor Foundation. They came to us needing a site with a calendar, eCommerce and a blog that would highlight their mission to promote and enhance a sustainable, natural environment in Addison. The site need to look equally as good on desktops, smartphones and tablets. We designed a responsive site using WordPress.

Addison Arbor Foundation Web Site Designed by ribit

Web Site

Addison Arbor Foundation Mobile

Smartphone

Addison Arbor Foundation Tablet

Tablet



As you can see the site looks the same (yet different). While the interface changes to accommodate the mobile environment, the design is not lost and all their features (calendar, etc.) still function perfectly.

My second example is The PerfectFit. They wanted a visually clean site, easy to navigate and they wanted to highlight their blog – hence the blog slider on the home page. Now you might think it would be difficult to make that feature translate to mobile, with a little finesse we were able to implement the blog slider on all platforms!

The Perfect Fit Designed by ribit

Web Site

The PerfectFit Smartphone

Smartphone

The PerfectFit Tablet

Tablet



There are more differences between the visual “look” of The PerfectFit layouts on desktop vs. smartphone vs. tablet than on some of our other designs. ribit decided to make the navigation completely accessible on the tablet version while still highlighting the blog slider on the tablet version rather than use a drop down. This functionality is easy for the user (touch vs. drop down) while still visually appealing.

The final example is The Green Chemical Store who came to us wanting to have a site that highlights their products in a catalog, allows you to easily contact them with questions about their industry and of course, have a blog. The final result works on both the desktop and on mobile devices.

The Green Chemical Store designed by ribit

Web Site

The Green Chemical Store Smartphone

Smartphone

The Green Chemical Store Tablet

Tablet

TEDxSMU An Experience of a Lifetime

December 8, 2011
by Robin Moss
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TEDxSMU 2011

I spent this past weekend at TEDxSMU. To get to attend the live event you have to apply (okay no big deal), fill out a form (name, address), answer the essay question (ANSWER THE ESSAY QUESTION!?!). I haven’t answered an essay question in oh, since college. Oh, and 130 people are going to be selected. No pressure there…

So I filled out the form, wrote my essay and waited to receive the email that says “TEDxSMU invites you to TEDxSMU 2011: Disruption”. Woo Hoo! I’m in. I click to attend (you have to go through Eventbrite to pay) – ah, another TED test. You have 15 minutes to finalize your registration, including choosing three icebreakers (words or short phrases). Yikes, who knew just registering would be so challenging!

Okay, I finally make it to The Dee & Charles Wyly Theatre (where it was held). An amazing group of people; everyone is friendly. I run into people I know almost immediately. We head in and I am lucky enough to get one of the coveted FatBoy beanbag seats right up front and the show begins.

Absolutely amazing speakers. I can’t mention them all but a couple stood out for me – Elise Ballard, Peter Brown and Kate Canales from frog (okay, okay – the girl from ribit liked the speaker from frog – get the amphibian jokes out of the way now…).

Elise talked about her journey to start what became her book: epiphany True Stories of Sudden Insight. She started with an epiphany of her own that changed her life and then she began asking others if they had ever had an epiphany. She then began taping people’s stories and before you know it she had a book, a web site and a new career.

Peter Brown, of Peter Brown Architects took us on a journey through the design of Dallas, Texas. Having grown up here in Dallas (yes, I’m a native Dallasite!) it was a trip down memory lane, as Peter showed postcards of my past – hotels with “modern features”, Neiman Marcus fortnights (does anyone remember fortnights – where Stanley Marcus traveled to far away countries like Japan and turned his stores into a foreign land for a week, where we could taste the food and see the culture…), and the foresight of Raymond Nasher, who built Northpark in 1965 as the largest climate controlled mall in the world. Nasher built the mall with an eye to design as anyone who has been there can tell you, from the art sculptures inside and out. Which all led up to Peter showing us the latest school he designed, the Hector Garcia Middle School. It is gorgeous and still qualifies as a LEED certified building.

And then there was Kate Canales from frog. Kate spoke to us about interesting things she has seen and just had to take pictures of: like the restroom with a sign to the left of the door that said Women’s, a sign on the door said Women’s Room and then someone had taped a piece of paper on it that say Women Only. As Kate said, you wonder what happened to prompt the handwritten sign…. She also showed us a sign she found while looking for someplace to hang some of her clothing in a hotel she was staying in. The sign said (and I am paraphrasing) ‘Do Not Hang Anything on Sprinkler Head. It Will Break and Cause Flooding.’ Kate suggested that if they had spent money on adding hooks people could hang clothes on, rather than signs…. Some designs solutions are just so simple they have to be overlooked!

We learned about many other things: helping to teach children in underserved countries by teaching them where they are, not by trying to get them to schools. That if we use lignin to produce plastic bags, it will cost the same, but they will biodegrade in 150 days and still cost the same as traditional plastic bags! Not to mention how Chef Homaro Cantu took us on a “flavor tripping” experience where he made bitter dark chocolate sweet and lemons less sour!

Going to TEDxSMU was an awesome and inspiring experience. I learned a lot and I’m looking forward to the videos of the event being available on the TEDxSMU web site so I can go back and see if I missed anything!

If you get the chance to go to a TEDx event, go. You will meet awesome people, learn valuable lessons. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to do down front, sitting in a FatBoy!

TEDxSMU-2011