Axial is hiring: HTML/CSS Front-end Developer

We, at Axial, have grown a lot lately. Especially, we are getting a lot of requests for mobile and next generations websites.

Furthermore, as Ekomobi is gaining traction and becoming more autonomous, we need a talented HTML/CSS Front-end developer to join the Axial’s team.

HTML/CSS Front-end Developer

We are looking for at least one HTML/CSS Front-end developer (also called Multimedia Integrator). How do you know if you are the right candidate? If you answer yes to a couple of these questions, we want to talk to you:

  • You have learned something you did not know in the last 7 days?
  • You have created an HTML5 mobile website just for fun?
  • You like to share what you’ve learned on your personal blog, Twitter, Tumblr, Github, etc?
  • You master HTML5 and CSS?
  • You want to create next generations Web and mobile sites?
  • You have a passion for Web and mobile technologies (HTML5, CSS, UX, SEO, Conversion optimization, etc.)?
  • You have talent, and you can show it to us?

You want to apply?

You want to join our dynamic team? In exchange, we’ll:

  • take care and train you if required.
  • challenge your ideas and accept to have ours challenged.
  • feed you pizza & beer on Fridays, while the team is discussing technology.
  • allow (and pay) you to tweet, blog, tumblr, etc. during work hours.
  • offer good and agile working conditions, including collective insurances.

To apply, just send a presentation letter explaining the different projects you’ve worked on or a portfolio to Eve Bazin.

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Simple web strategy for a non-profit organisation

I have been in business for more than 10 years. One of the benefit of being in business for that long is that non-profit organisations will invite you on their board of directors to give them advice and help them grow. To be honest, this is one of the favourite part of my job.

Right now, I am currently involved in a couple of organisations: United Ways, my son’s Basket-ball and Triathlon clubs and the SITO (by far my favourite, the SITO helps immigrants get a job by giving them the tools to succeed in the North American workspace).

With my background as a web entrepreneur, I usually end up in a communication / social media position… which is great because it is something I do everyday for Ekomobi. The needs are usually similar, but the resources to fulfill them are much more scarce.

So here are some recommendations for cash-strapped non-profit organisations.
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Posted in Web strategy | 2 Comments

4 reasons why you need a mobile website

A lot of people don’t understand the difference between an application and a mobile site… but expect the same experience

When the original iPhone came out in the summer of 2007, we were amazed by the incredible capabilities of the built-in Safari web browser. One of the first thing most of us did when we got our iPhone was test our website and be impressed by how well it rendered.

Read the rest of the article here: 4 reasons why you need a mobile site… and the awesome growth in smartphone usage is not one of them

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Why you need a strategy to reach your connected customers

Everybody talks about mobile, but few people talk about the importance of a mobile website

If you’ve been to a conference lately or frequently read blogs, you’ve probably seen the statistics and know that the mobile movement is huge. You’ve also probably seen some of these marketing campaigns:

If you are like most businesses, you probably have a hard time figuring how these big companies’ marketing campaigns can be adapted and work for you….

Read the rest of the article here:  Why you need a strategy to reach your connected customers

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Exciting times… launching our latest product: Ekomobi

Ok, I have to admit it… I have not blogged in over 6 months… and to be honest, I don’t know why and have no excuses. The last 6 months have probably been the most interesting of my working life and I have learned more recently than in the last 10 years.

As you may be aware, Axial is primarily a web services agency and early next year, we’ll be celebrating our 10th anniversary. However, throughout the years, we’ve always been looking to develop our own products.

In march of last year, I attended Confoo Montreal and learned about the concept of startup incubators (e.g.: YCombinator). At first, I was jealous of the concept: get paid & mentored to develop a new idea. It would have helped so much when we started Axial. But then, it got me thinking… why don’t we do this internally at Axial.

Well, that is what we did. We started by hiring a Production Manager to take over my day to day responsibilities at Axial, and I took three our best developers to work on a new project. We gave ourselves 4 months to come up with a minimun viable products, following the industries best practices (customer development, sales funnels, A/B testing, etc).

The result is Ekomobi, which we are officially launching this week.

 

Basically, the idea is to allow small businesses to create a mobile presence. However, instead of giving them some sort of WYSIWYG to create the mobile site, we ask them questions related to their business sector (similar to a Facebook page) and build them a mobile sites optimized for their activity sector (e.g.: a restaurant will have a menu, promotions, coupons and directions sections, while a freelance programmer will have a biographie, a skill and a portfolio section).

You can have a look at the product here: http://ekomobi.com.

Please feel free to create a test account and send me your comments.  They are really needed and appreciated.

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Building a Facebook Landing page with iFrames

Recently, I was looking into optimizing a Facebook fan page and I read that creating a custom landing tabs could dramatically increase your “fan’s conversion rate”. Numbers vary, but according to this article, creating a custom landing page increased conversion from 23 to 47% during A/B testing.

So, I started investigating and found really good examples of Facebook landing pages:

I hope you can see a pattern here: they are all suggesting to the users to “Like” the page. Simple, but very efficient.

So, how do you build your custom Facebook landing page? Since Facebook has deprecated the FBML language, you’ll have to build a custom Facebook application using an iFrame. Fortunately, the process is pretty easy and that is what I will explain to you in this article.

Create your landing image and page

First, you will have to create an image for your landing tabs. In our case, I had our graphic designer reusing our web site’s look with an arrow pointing up. Facebook will insert your image inside a 520px by 800px iFrame, so make sure your image is a little smaller than that (in my case, I choose 505px by 600px).

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Posted in Web Development | 17 Comments

Links to great content – March 28th, 2011

Every once in a while, I like to include a posting with links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across recently. So, here is a list of articles I read recently and really enjoyed. I hope you’ll find them as interesting as I did.

  • How Facebook Ships Code – Facebook has over 650 million users and over 60 000 servers. Integration, testing and deploying a new version of the application must a daunting task. This article explains how they do it.
  • Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus enables the creation of on-premise private clouds, with no requirements for retooling the organization’s existing IT infrastructure or need to introduce specialized hardware. Eucalyptus implements an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) private cloud that is accessible via the AWS EC2 and S3 API: this allows any Eucalyptus cloud to be turned into a hybrid cloud, capable of drawing compute resources from public cloud.
  • Strategy: Disk Backup For Speed, Tape Backup To Save Your Bacon, Just Ask Google - In this age of copying data to disk three times for safety, I always wondered if tape backups were still necessary? Then, like in a movie, an event happened that made sense of everything: Google lost the email accounts for 0.02% of its users. This article explains how Google recovered the accounts from a tape backup.
  • Puppet – Puppet allows you to quickly deploy across thousands of servers in the cloud or your data centers. Puppet’s declarative language lets you define your “infrastructure as code” to describe your configurations and the relationships between resources, maximizing flexibility.
  • Automating JavaScript Testing with QUnit – QUnit was born May 2008, out of the testrunner embedded into the jQuery core repository. Late 2009 QUnit was refactored to be independent of jQuery, making it useful for testing all kinds of JavaScript frameworks and applications. Its assertion methods now follow the CommonJS assert specification. While QUnit can run in server-side or command line environments, it’s still most useful for testing JavaScript in the browser. This article explores how to write unit tests with QUnit, and how QUnit can help developing applications.

Finally, here is without a doubt, the most compelling reason to switch to an Android phone over iPhone.

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How to make your Web pages load faster in the browser

Last week, I attended the Confoo 2011 conference in Montreal. One of the presentation I really enjoyed was given by Jordi Boggiana who recently launched a Web development company called Nelmio. He talked for about an hour on how to make your HTML perform better in the browser.

The first thing he noted was the fact that while developers often spend time trying to optimize in the backend, only 10-20% of the time is usually spent creating and loading the initial HTML page (unless of course you’re doing a really bad database query). The rest of the time (80-90%) is spent loading and rendering the associated objects (e.g.: css, js & image files).

Here are some of the tricks he suggests to improve the loading and rendering of web pages.

Make fewer http requests

According to Yahoo Interface blog, reducing the number of HTTP requests has the biggest impact on reducing response time and is often the easiest performance improvement to make (this is especially true on mobile devices). You can combine multipe JS & CSS files using an asset management tool like Assetic. To reduce the number of images loaded, you can use the CSS Sprite technique or directly embed the images in the page using data URIs.

Minify JavaScript & CSS files

Minification is the practice of removing unnecessary characters from code to reduce its size thereby improving load times. When code is minified all comments are removed, as well as unneeded white space characters (space, newline, and tab).

In the case of JavaScript, this improves response time performance because the size of the downloaded file is reduced.

Two popular tools for minifying JavaScript code are Google Closure and YUI Compressor.
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My favorite WordPress plugins

Last Friday, I gave an internal Techtalk at Axial discussing my experience with WordPress. As part of the discussion, the question of which plugins I use came up.

So, I decided to share the list of plugins that I use.  All of them should work without having to modify your theme and/or WordPress installation:

  • After The Deadline: Adds a contextual spell, style, and grammar checker to WordPress. Allows you to write better and spend less time editing.  It even finds errors that the built-in Chrome spell-checker misses.

  • Akismet: Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from comment and trackback spam. It keeps your site protected from spam even while you sleep. So far, it has an accuracy rate of 100%

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Posted in WordPress Tips | 2 Comments

Using SEO to meet existing users’ expectations – The St-Hubert BBQ case

The other night, my family wanted to eat some chicken. In the province of Québec, the first restaurant chain that comes to mind when you want to order chicken is St-Hubert. Their brand is so strong and established that I think most people couldn’t name a competing chain.

So when it comes to chicken, the choice for us is a no-brainer. My parents and I have been ordering at St-Hubert for decades and I’m pretty sure my grand-kids will eat there as well. All I needed to complete my order was their phone number.

Since I did not know the phone number for the local restaurant, I got on the computer and naturally searched Google for it. I was surprised to see that the official Web site did not come up 1st for the query “st-hubert hull”.

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Posted in Search Engine Marketing | 1 Comment