Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Why Do I Need So Much Paper Work For My Software Project!!

You might have put in a quote for a job at a software house and wondered why it is costing you so much to get it done. It might only be 3-4 days development and yet you are being charged for 5 days work. But why?

This is taking a really small project as an example but I get this all the time for the small jobs. When do you need to document and project manage it when its so small? The simple answer is to ensure the development time is as efficient as possible. If you don't give the developer good guidelines then how will he be able to give you the out put you need.

Also don't for get those meeting when you speak to the project manager who is gathering the information required to do the job. All this time costs money and these people are highly skilled and educated.

Getting development and software created isn't cheap you might think but when you compare it to the savings you make in efficiency or even the sales it generates it then becomes a cheap bit of work :-)

The point i am making is that no matter how small this job is it still needs to go through the development cycle and be done properly. As soon as you start cutting corners jobs take longer and issues start to arise.

I often get asked to do small jobs for people but it generally causes more stress than financial benefit as i have to do it around my main clients and projects. So they often don't get the attention they need. I guess I should over price them a little to make it worth my time more so i dedicate the time to them but then i feel i am over charging. Its a difficult one to think about.

Software development over the years has changed a lot. More in what it can do that anything. The advances are brought us solutions that enable even the none coders to produce systems to meet their needs. Enabling the masses to have software to aid them in their life.

That said my message is clear. Plan, document and ensure you do not cut corners! Check out this agile software development page for more information wikipedia.org/Agile_software_development. I love agile development as it allows you to easily change with business change. A great step forward in projects in my view.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Reasons Why Jane and Joe Soap Click Off Your Website Quickly

Reasons Why People Click Off A Website

The internet, and specifically the world-wide web, has spawned a generation of people who are very accustomed to information at their fingertips. Data flows all over the world at the speed of light, giving internet users access to the most impressive collection of information in recorded history.

There’s a certain level of expectation on the part of the web surfer when he or she lands on a website. If those expectations are not realized, there’s a good chance that they will not stick around long. No wonder people only hang around here for 30 seconds at a time :)

 Listed in this infographic are some common reasons people decide to leave a website.

A New Infographic

A slow website can frustrate users and cause them to hit the "Back" button when they don’t get the instant results they expect. The web has changed the way people digest information, and also the speed with which they expect to get it. When it doesn’t show up as quickly as expected, many surfers move on.

Another problem that web surfers encounter is bad navigation. A site has to be laid out in an intuitive manner, and getting from page to page should be easy. A cluttered site with links scattered all over it is difficult to use, and not likely to engage visitors.

Content structure is key to good web design. If the information visitors seek is not easily found, they will probably go find it on a competing site. Unless a site features content that cannot be found anywhere else, poor content structure will encourage them to go seek it elsewhere.

Obtrusive audio or video is one way to alienate visitors before they even have a chance to check a site out. When someone lands on a website, they are not expecting to be greeted with video advertisements or audio blasting from their speakers without warning. This is a great way to send visitors packing quickly!

If you want to attract visitors to your website, one of the worst things you can do is force people to "sign up." Forcing people through a membership process is not going to make them feel welcome. Some sites may necessitate a membership model, and in that case, giving potential members a free trial or sample of the site’s offerings should encourage more of them to stick around.

Stale content can make a site look neglected. A copyright notice that still reads 2011 at the bottom of the page tells visitors that the information is outdated. Keep content and other elements on the page fresh to encourage visitors to return and see what’s new.

Use a clean design, and limit the use of fonts. Visitors want to be able to digest content without getting nauseous. Avoid using multiple fonts which just make the page look disorganized and difficult to digest.

There’s no doubt that some sites get away with using a boring design and are still successful, but they are the exception and not the rule. A simple, clean design does not have to be a boring design. Engaging visitors right away is the name of the game, and that’s much more difficult for a site that looks boring.

People surfing the web are seeking information, and most of them don’t believe advertisements meet that criteria. Surely there is a place for advertising on the web, but do it tastefully, and do not clutter pages with excessive advertisements that will only serve to cheapen the appearance of the site.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

From 1984 to 1986 - My Sinclair Spectrum 48k

Reminiscing About the Playability of Spectrum 48k Games

Image of 48k ZX Spectrum
Games are so much more sophisticated these days. Combining virtual reality and incredible 3D graphics....But sometimes I think back fondly to 3 summers in the 1980s (84-86) playing games like Jet Pac, Elite, The Great Escape, Boulder Dash, Manic Miner and Chuckie Egg on my trusty ZX Spectrum 48k.

Sure the keys were just rubber and often wore out from heavy keyboard bashing, trying to make your tiny pixel character jump from platform to platform, but the keyboard also had a comforting familiarity.

Games would take 5 minutes to load, making an unforgettable screeching noise as the data was transferred from casette tape to the computer.

Today there are PC emulators allowing you to play some of these old games, some of those are listed at http://www.worldofspectrum.org/, as well as screenshots of archived games.

Some of my friends had Commodore 64s, others BBC Microcomputers and even Oric-1s. But I would not have swapped any of those for my trusty old 48k Spectrum.

Hat's off to you Sir Clive Sinclair for creating a platform to brighten up rainy 80s summer days, with some thoroughly entertaining £1.99 games.



Toshiba demos 'Lytro chip,' converts phones to light-field cameras - See more at: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/mobile-phone/3428686/toshiba-demos-lytro-chip-converts-phones-to-light-field-cameras/#sthash.Wg2IRxtE.dpuf
Toshiba demos 'Lytro chip,' converts phones to light-field cameras - See more at: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/mobile-phone/3428686/toshiba-demos-lytro-chip-converts-phones-to-light-field-cameras/#sthash.Wg2IRxtE.dpuf
Toshiba demos 'Lytro chip,' converts phones to light-field cameras - See more at: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/mobile-phone/3428686/toshiba-demos-lytro-chip-converts-phones-to-light-field-cameras/#sthash.Wg2IRxtE.dpuf

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

3 Apps - Shopify, Xero and Vend Help Business Thrive

Taylor Stitch's Sales Triple After Implementing APPs

It's clear that the internet has revolutionised how we shop and discover new products. In this story from entrepreneur.com we learn about Michael Maher, Barrett Purdum and Mike Armenta's menswear shop "Taylor Stitch" and how business boomed.

This was in part thanks to a new strategy utilising Shopify to handle their e-commerce, Xero for bookkeeping duties and VendHQ to handle their store transactions. These apps cost around $200 per month but reaped almost immediate dividends:
".....Taylor Stitch's sales have tripled each year since launch and are expected to reach $1.5 million this year...."
If you operate an ecommerce store or online business, it may be worth having a closer look at the 3 apps listed above.

Thanks, Scott

Mobile Application Development Environments

A Rainy Day Brightened By An Interesting Read

Looking out of the window right now it's clear that the rain will be thwarting me from walking the dog this morning.

Thankfully there are some good articles to read, indeed a local Aberdeen company that I think highly of, Intellicore, have been cranking out some quality reports of late.

Here's a great one about understanding different development environments that is well worth a look if this topic is your cup of tea, here's a quote from the article:
".....When it comes to developer tools, Apple's Xcode is up there with some of the best. Xcode allows users to develop applications for both OSX and iOS and includes the instruments analysis tool, iOS simulator and the latest Mac OS X and iOS SDKs. The Xcode interface is incredibly easy to navigate and use and includes several helpful features....."
Frankly I thought they were all Windows fanboys up there at Intellicore, but reading the quote quickly above dispels that myth :)

Anyway back to my toast and coffee.

Best, Scott

Helpful Software an Aid to Visually Challenged Students?

Satvir Singh's Braille-Enabled Assistive Software

I stumbled across this interesting story from the Times of India this morning, highlighting the achievements of Satvir Singh, a student with visual disabilities. He was the first in India to use Braille-enabled software to take his exams in 2006, what's more he developed this himself!

Digging around I discovered that this software is called "Braille Face" and translates Braille into the Hindi language. At the moment not many others have been able to utilise this, however recently one of the exam boards in India has decided to allow students to also use assistive software to help them to take their exams. 

Hopefully like Satvir Singh they pass with flying colours! 

Cheers, Scott

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Aberdeen Soup Kitchen Hailed As Success

Steve Bothwell and Daniel Roberts Try To Help Aberdeen's Homeless

There have been some harrowing stories in Scotland of late, especially related to the weather. Most people would have heard that recently almost 100 residents in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, were evacuated from their homes when the River Carron burst its banks and the water worryingly rose to waist-height in places.

Workers at a Soup Kitchen in Aberdeen
That's why it's good to hear some positive news for a change and this story from the Evening Express definitely falls into that category.

The owner of an Aberdeen restaurant today hailed the success of a soup kitchen. Steve Bothwell, who runs Café 52, student Daniel Roberts, who was homeless as a teenager, and friend Eilidh White helped run the successful event.

You can read more about this story here at the Evening Express.