Just like quality, as we discussed in our post about our recent ISO 9001 certification, trust is one of our core values at Zoocha. An important part of this is ensuring our clients can trust that we are looking after their data effectively.
At Zoocha, quality is one of our four core values. Whether that be quality processes, quality products, quality services; we look to provide our clients with quality in whatever form of interaction they may have with us.
A quick post from me to share some key points from the UXPA event last night to coincide with World Usability Day 2017. The event theme was 'Inclusion through User Experience' and there were three talks, each giving insights into the incredible work the speakers are doing.
In case you hadn't guessed, today is World Usability Day and you may be thinking "Why are you telling me this?", "Usability is nothing new?" or even "Argh, where's the 'back' button!? I didn't mean to click this link!!".
Here at Zoocha we are constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ideas and inspiration. Recently we came across loveforiceland.com which appeared in one of our feeds. It takes a unique and refreshing approach to promoting tourism through a web platform. We decided to explore further in an attempt to understand more!
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in just under a year, but if you are feeling confused or anxious about what you need to do to ensure compliance, don't worry - you are not alone. In fact, only 54% of businesses surveyed by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) expect to be compliant come May 2018 (Marketing Week, 25th May 2017).
In addition to our G-Cloud 8 services and Digital Outcomes & Specialists services, Zoocha's application for Digital Outcomes and Specialist 2 has been successfully awarded. Services will be available from mid February 2017.
Here at Zoocha we use preprocessor for almost all our frontend work. Predominantly we use SASS although some projects are on LESS, partly for historical reasons. No-one can deny that it’s a really powerful way of writing CSS, giving you access to variables, mixin functions, and the apparent Holy Grail: nesting. The thing about all of the above though, and I think something that often gets forgotten is these are all tools to make the developer’s life easier. The result is still compiled down to CSS.
A few weeks ago I had to go through the process of setting up php code sniffer on my new computer, and realised how confusing most of the blog posts out there are and how many loops and posts you have to jump through to get it set up.
I decided to write a quick post with all the commands in one place and small descriptions for most of the commands:
Installing Drupal Coding Sniffer
1. Download php code sniffer (source code: https://github.com/squizlabs/PHP_CodeSniffer)
curl -OL https://squizlabs.github.io/PHP_CodeSniffer/phpcs.phar
Each year at Zoocha, we try to do something for Christmas for our clients, even if it's just a Christmas card (see below for our effort from a couple of years ago). This year we wanted to do something interactive, and webby, as that's our business really.
With the imminent release of a Drupal 8 Release Candidate, which could potentially be announced as soon as the end of September at Drupalcon Barcelona, the clock has just started ticking a lot louder for those sites still on Drupal 6 with the looming Drupal.org support transition policy about to kick in:
Adapted from a post by the Nerdary that basically deals with the problem of having .htaccess files that are different on your local and other environments.
This example deals with the headache of https and not wanting your local environment to automatically redirect to HTTPS. I am only posting the relevant code that sets up the environment variable.
I am a bit mad about maps. Especially the online, interactive ones. When I heard about the OS (Ordnance Survey, rather than operating system!) open data Masterclass, I signed up for it immediately, very curious to see how OS data could fit in with online mapping applications.
(Image Credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/microsoft/11480692/RIP-Internet-Explorer-Twitter-mourns-and-mocks-death-of-Microsofts-browser.html)
Internet Explorer. The bane of most web developers' lives. How often have we built a site and looked back content with our efforts, only to have that satisfaction whipped away when opening Internet Explorer?
Theming in Drupal 7 has always been a bit fiddly at the best of times. Unbeknown to me a small feature crept into a Drupal 7 release without me realising - the backport of theme debug settings from the much anticipated Drupal 8. This feature allows you to view debug information directly in the mark-up and not have to go chasing template suggestion names from within the Drupal admin screens.
In your Drupal 7 installation simply add this line to your settings.php:
$conf['theme_debug'] = TRUE;
Last Friday saw another Responsive Conference take place at the Dome in Brighton. I had previously heard a lot about the conference, this being the third and (I believe) final outing I was thrilled that we managed to secure some tickets for myself and a selection of the Zoocha team members. From seeing the impressive list of speakers I was sure it would be a great conference, but I had no idea how much information, insight and motivation I would be taking home.
A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a graduate to join the Zoocha team.
As part of the front end team, I was quite excited to be introduced into the project on the sites for FCA. We knew the sites would all be running on the same Drupal pre base using several modules to ensure smooth operation with different domains.
What we needed to focus on was dealing with five independent themes including a theme folder which was to be the basis for three separate sites. These three sites have very similar structures and the difference in the appearance between them is minimal. So just to get stuck into the project here are the sites:
This Los Angeles native has gone home to do some learnin' about Drupal. Note: this is a heavily dev-based view of the conference. Apologies to frontenders, designers, wombats, etc, but there is only one me and about 10 sessions per slot. For a full list of everything check out https://www.youtube.com/user/DrupalAssociation/videos and https://events.drupal.org/losangeles2015/sessions/accepted.
As a History graduate, freshly released into the world of employment, I entered the tech sphere as an account manager with a sense of trepidation. Not only had I never had a ‘proper’ job (I’m not sure weekend employment at Hobbycraft counts), I had never heard of Drupal before.
Though I was assured that this didn’t matter, I was right in thinking that my first few months working at Zoocha were going to provide a whole host of insights - tekkers and non-tekkers alike.
Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:
Zoocha are proud to announce that at the end of last year we received the brilliant news that we had been chosen by VisitBritain as their website design and development partner.
VisitBritain is the national tourism agency, a non-departmental public body, funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, responsible for promoting Britain worldwide and developing its visitor economy. Their mission is to grow the value of inbound tourism to Britain, working with a wide range of partners in both the UK and overseas.
For a while now, Dave and I have been playing "inbox zero" and I have to admit, it has changed my life! Ever the evangelist, I want to try and inspire everyone else to play too!
Google have made available their Google Certified Shops feature in the UK. Any online shop who applies to become a Google Certified Shop and implements the code on their site, will go through a ‘verification period’ which lasts from 30 days to 3 months (depends on the amount of orders you get per month); and at the end of the period you will become an official Google Certified shop.
With frontend development getting more and more complex every day, there are more and more steps we as frontend devs need to go through in order to get the job done. Of course there is still something to be said for crafting your HTML / CSS, but this isn't always required / possible.
So you’re using Drupal and you want to make your site multilingual. If you already have experience doing this, chances are you are aware of the relative pains you must go through to make this happen. If this is your first time, well, hopefully I can make your first time less painful.
Back in 2008, an EU law changed affecting the calculation of Value Added Taxes (VAT) on broadcasting, telecommunications and e-services (collectively called ‘VAT on electronic services’ or VOES for short!).
These changes come into force on 1st January 2015 - the delay being due to resistance from EU member states (and I dare say lobbying from corporations) protecting their interests.
So, without getting too political, what is the main impact of the changes that EU member states (or corporations) would resist?
I think the first time I heard someone predict it would be “the year of mobile” (with a straight face) was 2010. Even then, it was something of a fantasy, not only because smartphone technology and tablets were still in relative infancy, but also because few websites catered for a mobile customer experience.
For anyone building a website or web application, Drupal promises loads. You will hear Drupal evangelists (like us) talk about the benefits of open source, zero licence fees, portability, scalability, flexibility and ease of integration with other systems. This is all true, so why do some organisations wrestle with Drupal, getting frustrated, confused and disillusioned?
Remote working is becoming more and more popular but not all businesses are convinced. Read Heidi's blog to find out what it takes to be self disciplined, and to ignore the call of the sofa when working from home.
This weekend some of the Zoocha dev crew went to Drupal Camp London for a brush up on the latest Drupal developments. Not one to waste any time in introductions, let's get to the detail of what the team learned.
Corks have been popping in Zoocha HQ – and not just to celebrate the new year… We have been celebrating the news that The Cabinet Office has recently announced that Zoocha had been successful in fulfilling the stringent criteria required for entry into the CloudStore as part of the G-Cloud scheme.
It will be a quiet week on the development front at Zoocha HQ, but fortunately our understanding clients appreciate that the annual pilgrimage to DrupalCon for a Drupal developer is something that cannot be denied! We will be leaving behind a (willing) skeleton team that will be able to deal with any support requests and keep things ticking over until the travellers return.
We have been looking forward to making a blog post about HotelSwaps for quite some time now. HotelSwaps is one of our latest projects that we are particularly proud of as it showcases some of the things that Zoocha do best.
We at Zoocha like to discover new technology; and as the generalized geeks we are the new Facebook notification functionality took a shine to us. Notifications on Facebook enable you to re-engage your audience after a period of dormancy or low activity, they are effective in giving a nudge or updating users into coming back.
For a first in Zoocha history we are giving YOU, our devoted viewer, top Secret Access to the Zoocha HQ!! Ever wondered how your favourite agency seems so cool, calm and collected while being on top of their game? Needless to say, it's not just strong coffee that fuels us here… oh no it's much much more!
NEWS FLASH: a fantastic opportunity has arisen for an Office Manager / PA to join Zoocha, a rapidly expanding web development agency.
Now that we’re approaching nearly 20 people, we would like to bring someone into our team who is dedicated to making sure that our day-to-day administrative tasks are taken care of efficiently, reliably, and properly.
After working here for just two months, I have been introduced to how effective Drupal is as an open source Content Management System. I decided to design an infographic for my first blog post, showing facts and figures about Drupal, proving why it is becoming so popular. I am going to take you through how I got to my final design, and some tips that I found useful!
A little over 5 weeks ago we moved into our new office – The Seed Warehouse based in Hertford. And some things never change…moving is never easy.
Running Out Of Space
At around September 2011 it was becoming very apparent that we were going to be outgrowing our rooftop dwelling at Fore Street. The number of Zoochee’s were growing, so were the amount of desks but the size of the office was not. We hit the streets of Hertford in search of new dwellings and there was quite a choice to choose from.
As I’m sure everyone is aware it is DrupalCon Munich (August 20-24th). This year, the whole of Zoocha (all 14 of us!) are making are way over to Germany by every form of transport imaginable. Once there our team of developers will be honing their Drupal skills by attending the wide variety of sessions available and taking in the sights and sounds of Munich.
On Friday we will be packing our bags and heading north of the border to attend DrupalCamp Scotland. This year it is being held at the Informatics Forum at the University of Edinburgh’s George Square campus. The conference runs for two days and has a broad selection of sessions and training events that will offer something for everyone, from business decisions makers to Drupal developers.
Here at Zoocha we have been getting very excited about the latest e-commerce developments happening for the Drupal CMS platform. Ubercart has been the mainstay of e-commerce development on Drupal for a number of years, and still continues to serve a huge number of sites, but there is a new kid on the block in the shape of Drupal Commerce.
We've just written up a case study for Drupal.org that explains some of the technical challenges that had to be overcome on a recent project of ours called Property Place. This project posed particular technical challenges due to the volume of data that we were having to deal with (350GB of images and 2GB of CSV data!) – essentially what amounts to every property for sale or rent within the UK.
E-commerce and multi channel retailing are sectors that rely on technology to provide the route to market and mechanics of merchandising and selling products. Selecting the right technology platform for your business is therefore of paramount importance, much the same way as selecting the right retail premises is of paramount importance in 'bricks and mortar' retailing. Unfortunately, identifying the best technology involves navigating a crowded market with options ranging from free software as a service (SaaS) platforms, through to multi million pound bespoke builds.
In July 2011, Games Workshop, the global leader in tabletop fantasy game play, launched a new rule book for their flagship Warhammer game called ‘Storm of Magic’.
We enjoyed some particularly impressive sessions at DrupalCon London this week – some of the highlights for us were (videos now available online):
- Living Breathing Drupal: The Biology of a request – Kenny Silanskas gave some valuable insight into what happens underneath the hood when a page loads in Drupal.
We’ve noticed recently that the valuable Zoocha tea supply has been running out quicker than usual. Here in the office we’ve been debating why this is the case and numerous theories have been floated around.
The April Sun
The theory goes that drinking a hot drink will cool you down. As we’ve been enjoying an early summer lots of refreshing hot cups of tea have been needed to keep everyone at a comfortable temperature in Zoocha HQ.
As a long time user of Firefox (as are most of the tech chaps in the Zoocha office) I’ve seen it graduate through its various incarnations. I started out back in the day with version 0.9(b?) with the excellent web developer plug-in and progressed to version 3.6 – all as my default browser of choice; regardless of OS.
Update 27/01/11: HTML5 is now really just HTML. But for those who like buzz words we'll call it HTML5. So read on about why you can use the evolving version of HTML, I mean HTML5.
As the festive season approaches, nothing says “get me into the spirit” like a good old Christmas wallpaper. Therefore I have created a few wallpapers featuring our very own “Frosty the Snowman” to jolly up your desktop.
Hope you like them...
Frosty with Blue Background
Please choose a version below for your screen size:
Unless you are in a media blackout zone, you will have heard today that Google have started to roll out 'instant search' – a new tool that delivers search results while you are typing the search term. Pause for 3 seconds “mid-keyword” and it will display results based on what you have typed so far. Even just in the last 12 hours, there have been a spectrum of opinions ranging from mild interest to panic.
You may have seen our blog post around four months ago when we were chosen by iNTERTAIN to build a competition site for highlight comedy’s ‘Big Weekend’? Well, four months on and we’re proud to announce that we’re still working very closely with iNTERTAIN. This time we’ve developed and built two micro-sites for highlight, as part of their Christmas campaign.
Zoocha has been operating for quite a while now, but still no Drupal post! Time to put that right I thought and it felt appropriate to kick of our first Drupal post with a plain and simple explanation of why we love it.
Everything about Drupal is easy, from its modular structure and taxonomy framework, through to its intuitive user interface. Working with Drupal could not be simpler!
Time for a bit of shameless self-promotion! Since the Zoocha website launched a little over 4 months ago, we have attracted a fair bit of attention from the web development & design community. This has come in the shape of being listed under some pretty impressive article headings, along with gaining entry to (and performing well) in some well known web design showcase gallery's. Here are some of Zoocha's notable mentions that we're proud of our inclusion in:
This week, we launched the 2010 Fifa World Cup marketing campaign for Walkabout Bars. With the campaign microsite Walkaboutfootball.com as the focal point of the activity. The World Cup is this years major trade driving event for most consumer facing businesses, and the on-trade, who have had a difficult few years, stand to gain the most if they position themselves well enough. Walkabout are rising to the challenge and leading the way for the pub trade!
It’s official! When it comes to watching the World Cup – Aussie ‘Rules’ Football.
Customer experience tends to focus on functional aspects of service deliver; ease of use, accessibility, speed and convenience. For consumer goods brands, product quality is central to the customer experience. Online, the rules are the same, though the nature of the consumer interface makes consumers less tolerant of failure. Why battle against a slow or poorly designed website, when there are countless other websites just a 'google' away?
So, everyone is talking about social networking. It seems that if you are a marketing professional, not having a strategy for social media is perceived as admitting failure. This has led to a rush of poorly conceived and often poorly executed attempts to develop brand presence in social networks. Some of the basic principles of marketing go out of the window, as if they no longer apply in this new media environment.
There has been quite a lot of coverage recently in the mainstream media about IE6 for its part in the Operation Aurora cyber attacks that occurred in December.
This month see’s the first birthday of Zoocha Ltd, and we’re celebrating one year of success. There’s a lot to be thankful for and as we enter into 2011 – a year we’re sure is set to see yet more new clients, new opportunities, and new experiences (even new staff as we’d like to welcome Owen to the Zoocha team!) – we reflect on the experiences of the past year and what 2010 bought to us.