Don’t Ignore The Social Challenges Of Web Development

Our goal is to leverage what is already out in the field in terms of partners, but then hire in project management capability and a bit of technical capability.
– Kevin Rollins

It is easy to get excited about the new wave of technologies entering the market and the constant evolution of frameworks, hardware and technological ecosystems while at the same time forgetting about the single biggest bottleneck in web development: social challenges. Organizational structures, governmental mandates (in terms of standards compliance), special requests, gridlock and the like are bigger factors involved in the successful completion of major web development projects.

Three Major Revelations in Web Development

  1. The client is also responsible for your success. To manage these social challenges a disciplined consulting approach is needed. Not only should the developers facilitate and lead consensus but also managers on the receiving end should diligently contribute to the projects completion. Hence, taking a project towards success doesn’t depend solely on the technicians involved in content production.
  2. You will inherit any pending internal wars. And these “wars” will manifest in fights for prominence in the homepage, amount of content displayed and other automated features. Each department will fight to have more prominence on the web and hence better performance on the real world of sales and corporate indicators. Welcome to a war you didn’t start.
  3. You will manage more, not less legacy hardware and software. Probably your project will at some point have to integrate certain facilities with even obsolete programs and services residing in the bowels of the corporate ERP. Plus, you will inherit any partial developments created by a previous web development team. Your only recourse here might be to negotiate having the client prepare these integration scripts or replacing certain legacy systems altogether. Good luck with that.

What is Gridlock Anyway?

All web developers in their careers experience contracting for a gridlocked company. This is a very particular feeling and one that you won’t forget easily. The client can’t provide you with content in a timely fashion, meetings are a canvas for internal warfare and emails are received with a cold face that looks the other way. To help you understand this situation I must say that probably “It’s not you. It’s them”.

To work in architecture you are so much involved with society, with politics, with bureaucrats. It’s a very complicated process to do large projects. You start to see the society, how it functions, how it works. Then you have a lot of criticism about how it works. – Ai Weiwei

Gridlock occurs when equal forces move in opposite directions within organizations. It usually precedes a major corporate change or failure and is pretty hard to identify for any external consultant. To manage gridlock you need legal counsel that can tailor made  contractual agreements that compel your clients to timely answer your requests or face financial penalties. Even with adequate counsel, enforcing these penalties is damaging to pre-existing relationships and should be used sparingly.

Enter The Government and Standard Bodies

It doesn’t end with the client, though. You must comply with any governmental standards that your country has established, deliver upon industry best practices and adhere to W3C recommendations. While you will likely not directly interface with these institutions it is clear that they underscore the complexities associated with building any major website.

Some Closing Remarks

Certainly, web development requires many social and technical skills as well as pre-existing rapport with clients in need of major professional service. Try to think thru these social challenges before engaging in any major web development project and quote accordingly. Also, don’t solely focus on achieving great technical acumen and strive to grow as a person by developing your social skills as much as you can. In any event, focus on clients that have a good corporate culture and a manageable work/life balance.

I love working if it’s with people who are capable of having a good time. People with a little bit of enjoyment of what they do. If it’s enormous pressure, and people feel that their lives are at stake, then it’s agony. So I try to pick projects where I feel like I’m going to avoid those traps. – Alan Arkin

Web Design Trends for 2016

As the new year approaches we are getting more and more questions from clients and associates regarding our expectations for web design trends in the new year. In terms of design, we expect to see many designers move away from flat productions and also include more video on their web properties. Here’s a list of our top web design predictions for 2016:

 

Our Top Internet Trends for 2016

1. Responsive websites become the norm

2. Mobile first becomes a reality for latin american web development

3. Cryptocurrency usage increases exponentially in the new year

4. Memory consumption increases in a linear fashion, limiting the user experience

5. More customers flock towards open platforms as differentiation diminishes

6. The startup bubble finally implodes

7. USB-C is widely adopted

8. Interactivity and real time applications continue to fill up the web as Node.Js and similar technologies gain ground

9. Designers start to move away from flat web design as the pressure to differentiate increases

10. The use of video and audio in websites increases dramatically

 

In terms of general Internet trends the authoritative report is probably KPCB’s yearly Internet Trends presentation. Here’s their full presentation:

 

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers 2015 Internet Trends

comScore Latam Report Shows Exponential Growth

Last week, comScore released an impressive social media report for Latin America. The report is very bold and clear in a number of  data points. First, actions with Facebook Pages are growing exponentially, with bolder engagement in Mexico and Brasil. action growth The market, according to comScore data, is largely Facebook-centric, with a penetration of 97.2%. facebook centric market And, finally, another salient metric is the penetration of Instagram in Brazil. Where the social network brought a 751% increase in engagement to active brands. instagram For more metrics and to view the full presentation visit The State of Social Media in Latin America and the Metrics that Really Matter.

Web 2.0, New Marketing Mix

Print, Radio, TV, Exterior, Web and now Web 2.0, the new ingredient of your marketing mix. Does your company have a facebook page? Do you constantly upload videos to Youtube? Do you syndicate content at least monthly? There’s a new channel on the Internet, which is the new way of getting your clients’ attention. Is the interactive channel, the new type of web site that allows audiences to post their comments, files, messages and videos.

Here at ip, we’ve embraced Web 2.0 as the only viable comunications mean in this new century. First, people want a free Web, with no strings attached. Second they want interactive content, and third, they prefer content delivered to them by viral means. This means trust, this means a stronger relation and a more knowledgeable client.

At the end of the day, after 10 Youtube videos, two facebook pages, 20 delicious bookmarks, one blog and one twitter feed you’ll have a MiniNet. Or a network of 30 minisites, that will drive 10 times the people to your Web site. No wonder Burger King has ONE Web site and TWENTY Web 2.0 sites.

That is content recommended by a friend or associate.