Your friends at Viget present Flourish, a Viget News & Culture Blog

Five Easy Ways to Be a Better Web Professional

I’ve been building things on the Web for something like eighteen years. That’s greater than half my lifetime. On my bookshelf at home, I keep my nearly 20-year-old copy of HTML for the World Wide Web. I clearly remember buying—with actual dollars—a boxed copy of Netscape Navigator at a store that only sold software. Angelfire hosted the first website I remember piecing together.

Needless to say, I’ve been around the ol' block.

I tell you these things not to brag or to date myself, but to give you a sense of my background and where I’m coming from when I talk about designing and developing for the Web. While reflecting on my career and experiences, I came up with a brief list of professional self-improvement tips for anyone working on the Web today.

Come Share Your Work at Refresh Boulder

Working on fun side project? Just launched a client site you're particularly proud of? Interested in getting quick feedback on something that's in progress? At the upcoming Refresh Boulder event, you'll have the opportunity to share your recent work during our community Show & Tell.  

Join us for this event at the Viget office on Thursday February 19th. The evening kicks off at 6:00 PM with pizza, beer, and some good old fashioned mingling.  At 6:30 PM, we'll start sharing work. If you're interested in sharing, you'll have about 5 minutes to present what you've been working on, as well as some additional time for discussion and questions from the audience.

All of the official details

What: Refresh Boulder

When: Thursday, February 19th at 6:00 PM

Where: Viget Boulder, 1360 Walnut Street, Suite 100 

Why: To come together and refresh the creative, technical, and professional aspects of our trades.  

RSVP: Please RSVP on our Meetup Page

We look forward to seeing you there and hearing about your awesome work!

Visualize Your Vocals with the Brand New Shure Design Studio

It’s official: the Shure Design Studio has launched! The Shure Design Studio lets you customize your Shure microphone with pre-fab images, your own images, and text. I have been working with Shure since my second week here at Viget, and it was a fun road to get to this app ready for launch. We are all thrilled with how the application turned out, and I personally am thankful to have worked with a team that taught me so much throughout the project. From Mike Ackerman (back-end developer) learning the ins and outs of image generation and image printing, to Nate Hunzaker (front-end developer) working with WebGL technology for the first time, to Blair Culbreth and Jackson Fox (visual and UX designers respectively) concepting this one of a kind app, learning and growing with the entire team has been amazing.

15 Conferences to Attend in 2015

Every January, as we look ahead to our professional growth over the coming year, we remind our staff of one of our favorite perks: fully-funded conference attendance. Viget proudly covers the cost for all our staff to attend at least one major conference every year, and we also proactively encourage our staff to speak at events. These are ways for us to learn new skills, connect with colleagues across our industry, give back to our professional communities, and return to our daily rhythms with new ideas and fresh perspectives.

And, inevitably, we note: so many conferences, so little time! So here’s our handy list of 15 for 2015, in roughly chronological order (though some dates are still TBD). Our list is by no means exhaustive, and you’ll see that we carried over some favorites from last year’s list. We hope to inspire you to register for one of the great events below or to seek out others. Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments below. And make it a great year!

Viget Senior Front-End Developer, Dan Tello, speaking at GiantConf in 2014.

2015 Conferences

(1) Ruby On Ales—March 5-6 in Bend, Oregon. Great talks, great people, craft beers—this is a two-day, single track conference that feels “a lot like a reunion of friends and colleagues.” A nice change of pace and vibe compared to the larger events for programmers.

(2) MountainWest Javascript and (3) MountainWest RubyConf -- March 3-4/March 9-10 in Salt Lake City, UT. Note that these two sister conferences bookend Ruby On Ales (above) so, if you’re a Rubyist with JS inclinations, and you’re in the vicinity, you might consider some combo of thereof.

(4) SXSW—March 13-17 in Austin, TX. Don’t let the price, or the hype, stop you on this one. If you haven’t been yet, then go. And if you’ve already been, then go again. If you need more convincing, you can read our recap series here.

(5) RailsConf 2015—April 21-23 in Atlanta, GA.  We noted last year that this is the largest Ruby on Rails event in the world. It is still the largest Ruby on Rails event in the world.

(6) IA Summit—April 22-26 in Minneapolis, MN. Celebrating its sixteenth year, this is a leading conference for anyone who designs and structures information on the web. In past years, our UXers have returned with valuable takeaways, and we plan to be back in 2015.

(7) JSConf 2015—May 27-29 in Amelia Island, FL. Last year’s JSConf hit all the right notes with our FED crew, and they plan to go back this year. In its seventh year, it’s still all about the JavaScript language and the community, with tons of hands-on learning, a super-positive atmosphere—and, judging by last year, some of the best swag around.

(8) GiantConf—June 14-17 in Charleston, SC. An all-around great conference for anyone in our industry, and especially designers and UXers. Our own Dan Tello (pictured above) was among last year’s top-notch speaker lineup and he/we will be back.

(9) Open Source Convention—July 20-24 in Portland. Our teams are interested in all things open source—from new projects/products/languages to best practices to reconnecting with the wider open source community—so, naturally, OSCON has made our list.

(10) Circles—September 10-11 in Grapevine, TX. Our team has attended for the past two years and we’re big fans. Despite the deliberately aspirational vibe, there’s definitely some pragmatism too, and we’re planning to return yet again for both.

(11) eMetrics Summit—September 27 - October 1 in Boston (although there are multiple dates/locations). We’ve had this event on our radar for a while because it’s a leading conference dedicated to digital analytics and marketing optimization. It’s comprehensive, focusing on both strategy and practice.

(12) Google Analytics Summit—dates/location are TBD (most likely late spring/early summer in Mountain View, CA.) As a GA Partner, we attend every year in order to learn the latest on new GA features/tools directly from their creators.

(13) BlendConf—2015 dates/location TBD, but it’s usually in September. Viget’s own Mindy Wagner and Jason Toth were among the 60+ speakers in 2013 and 2014, respectively. This is a great generalist conference known for its wide offerings, including hands-on workshops, and its focused, supportive environment (including a “no gadgets rule”).

(14) Digital PM Summit—dates/location TBD. Since launching this event in 2013, our friends at Happy Cog/Bureau of Digital Affairs have built it into the leading conference for project managers. Our team had tons of fun attending last fall, and we were proud to see our own Josh Korr  and Becky Tornes among its speakers. Eager to see what’s in store for PMs in 2015!

(15) Story—dates/location TBD. Providing an inspiring environment for creative practitioners, Story attracts designers, writers, and other creatives nationwide. Our Copywriter, Ally Fouts, returned from last year’s event with new insights into story-telling, experimentation, the value of failure, and some pretty rad scribbles (pictured below). We expect to be back.

 Viget Copywriter Ally Fouts' scribbles, scribbled at and inspired by StoryConf 2014.

Wildlife Alert: An App to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

In its effort to save wildlife and wild places, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has programs targeted at the growing crisis of wildlife trafficking -- the illegal trade of protected wildlife parts and products. Part of this international problem is due simply to a lack of awareness and education, which affects, among others, some military personnel serving in countries such as Afghanistan. Souvenirs brought back to the U.S. may violate (or contain parts that violate) international restrictions. Wildlife Alert is a mobile app that helps address this issue by providing easy diagnostic features to evaluate whether or not a product comes from a protected species.