CakeDC Blog

TIPS, INSIGHTS AND THE LATEST FROM THE EXPERTS BEHIND CAKEPHP

Meet the CakeDC

The articles section of our site will include best practices, business advice, and technical advice, updated weekly or more often by our talented developers. Our articles will touch upon a wide range of topics from our experiences and expertise. Check back frequently for fresh thoughts from our seasoned talent, including Mark Story who was at CakeFest in Argentina providing updates daily on the talks.

As a founder of and lead developer at the Cake Development Corporation, I am proud to provide the inaugural article for the all new CakeDC.com. It has been a long and wonderful last 12 months, and CakeDC has helped bring reality to the limitless potential of our clients' projects. Like any great recipe, the ingredients of Cake Development Corporation have been hand–selected and carefully measured to create the very best blend of talent, imagination, and sophistication of any team in the world. It is my great pleasure to introduce you to our outstanding development team, as well as provide a little background about where our company has come from and where we are headed.

After spending nearly 2 years working exclusively on CakePHP and seeing its popularity growing daily, Garrett Woodworth and I realized the need for a team of experts devoted to building the best applications for clients. Therefore, in 2007, Garrett and I formed Cake Development Corporation – a company dedicated to bringing the potential of CakePHP to life while supporting its further development and aiding clients in the rapid development of web applications. In this venture, Garrett and I recognized that we had a unique and rarely realized opportunity to do what we love as our full–time jobs – and, unlike during those initial two years of development, actually get paid to do it.

As a business partner, I could not have asked for anyone better than Garrett. A key player in the development of CakePHP, Garrett continues to develop the code and drive the machines that keep users coming back for more. He is extremely passionate about the work he does and takes pride in delivering quality products that are the best of their kind, a true leader the team members can look up to. In fact, I have come to think of him as a younger brother – someone whom I respect greatly, but with whom I also spar from time to time (in a healthy way, of course).

After a short time, it became necessary to bring on some new talent. Garrett and I welcomed a third developer Jitka Koukalová, to our small family in 2007. Jitka, a developer who was active in the CakePHP community and was vital contributor to its code, was an amazing addition to our team from the beginning, and exhibited great skill in, and equally great appreciation for, our open source platform. With great attention to detail, she became instrumental in server security and maintenance. Her ability to find an issue and fix it fast along with her classy and professional demeanor would make her a mentor to future members of the Cake development team.

Florian Krämer, the next to join CakeDC, soon became our second great recruit. Florian has continually proven himself to be extremely knowledgeable when it comes to developing applications. Florian's meticulous attention to detail, outstanding work ethic, and dogged pursuit of excellence continue to be hugely important assets of our company. But more than a colleague, I consider Florian a good friend. Apart from his great skill, his fun and personable demeanor make him a great team member and someone I genuinely enjoy working with. He has a great sense of humor – or, at least, he appreciates mine!

Having seen a great deal of growth in 2007, we sought to expand our development team in early 2008 by welcoming aboard a whole new crop of distinguished developers with a great working knowledge of CakePHP and a passion for its vast capabilities. The first of this group was Yevgeny Tomenko. Yevgeny knows an astounding amount about the inner workings of application development, and I am continually amazed at his dependability and sheer speed. Since joining our team, he has become a great "go–to" person who uses his years of experience to help guide the others on the team. I really love how passionate he is about our product, and it’s great to see such a talented and focused guy enjoying his work at CakeDC.

Next, after spending some time watching Niles Rowland help others in the CakePHP IRC channel, we realized he would be a true asset to the CakeDC team. We recruited him in early 2008, and since then he has been a very knowledgeable and dependable part of the development team with a vast understanding of CakePHP and programming in general.

Soon to follow Niles were Erin McCargar and Daniel Feinberg, both of whom came aboard in May of 2008. Erin has a long history working with CakePHP and is looked up to as an advisor by those on her team. Daniel, a key person when it comes to machine learning, is very knowledgeable with CakePHP. With outstanding attention to detail and a great skill in their fields of expertise, both are willing and able to go the extra mile to make a project shine.

Finally, our most recent addition to the family is Mark Story who joined the team in November of 2008. Mark brings a lot to CakeDC; he is a core developer of CakePHP with design experience that is second to none. Mark is all about getting things done right the first time, and is great at working with others. The rest of the team truly looks up to him for both his skill and amicable personality.

This eclectic group of talent is the heart and soul of CakeDC, the family unit that makes our company stand a head and shoulders above the rest. After seeing how far we have come in the last two years, I am very excited to see what this team can accomplish next! We are looking forward to all the challenges that lay ahead and can’t wait to help our clients create a brighter, more innovative future.

Latest articles

Learn more about UX tracking metrics that can help you

With UX being a subjective, human and ever changing experience, it can be seen as difficult to track. However, there are some key tell-tale signs that you should be tracking in order to assess the overall user experience of your website.   Common metrics to use when tracking UX   1. Tracking how long it takes visitors to fill out your forms If your contact forms take too much time to fill in, your visitors or potential clients may get frustrated and fail to complete the form. Forms need to be simple, short and easy. Some tips to keeping forms user friendly and easy to fill in include:

  • keeping the number of fields as simple as possible,
  • Keeping the number of fields to as few as possible, there will be opportunity to ask for more information later on in the customer journey.
  • Testing your form yourself, if you struggle to fill out the fields during testing then you definitely need to relook it!
  • Add a confirmation page or message to let your user know that they have submitted successfully
  2. How many fields are skipped in submitted forms? Do you allow for optional fields in your forms? If you do, do you find a trend on certain fields not being submitted? These fields may be too much trouble for your users to fill in - remember, most visitors are lazy when needing to contact you. Make it as easy as possible but also, its important to ensure that you aren’t being too intrusive when requiring information in your forms. If it’s not ‘need to know’ information, then cut it from your form. These skipped fields give you a good idea as to what your user is thinking and feeling. Make sure to keep an eye on how your forms are submitted and what your users are subconsciously telling you.   3. Analyse your user experience with the use of heat maps Heatmaps give you the best view of the journey your visitors take when visiting your page. From where they are clicking to the amount of engagement a page gets and where. Simple things from users clicking your logo top of page to which links they view as engaging and click through to, these insights help you better optimise your page.      4. Collect feedback from customers and your customer service department Your customer service department is front facing - these are the people that will know what users are saying about your website and they are able to provide insights into where your UX issues. If you haven’t already - this is a great place to start your UX measurement and feedback journey.   If you need an expert to help you with your website, then give CakeDC a call. CakeDC - the experts behind CakePHP.  

Does your website suffer from these challenges? Some tips to fix them!

If you haven’t had a good hard look at your website in a while, now is the time to do so. You will probably find a few things that you’d like fixed. These are the most common challenges that websites fail to fix in time.   Content and technology that is out of date If you had your website built years ago, chances are that it is (severely) out of date. This leaves you vulnerable to security breaches amongst other things. Content is another part of your website that goes out of date, do a spring clean of your overall content and make sure everything listed on your site is still relevant and well organized.   No Call to action for your visitors Are you missing call-to-action triggers such as “Download”, “Contact Us”, “Get started” or “Sign up for free”. You may be losing valuable conversions by not encouraging visitors to engage with your content and brand. This is a quick and easy fix - ideally, you should be checking and updating this type of content regularly to keep abreast of website visitor trends.   Lack of branding It is important as a business owner to make your brand reliable and trustworthy, it is also important to make sure your website correctly displays your clear brand message. Who are you, what do you offer and what tone do you use to project your brand to your clients.   Traffic woes due to SEO troubles If you are not seeing good traffic onto your site, the main culprit may be poor SEO practices. Be sure to regularly check your analytics tracking and if you seeing poor traffic landing on your site then the next port-of-call is to suss out your SEO elements. These include title tags, headlines, content, alt tags, file names, meta descriptions. It is also important to make sure these all align to your key brand message and product offering. The best trick is to select a core group of relevant and related keywords and build your SEO strategy around these.   Websites that haven’t been optimised for mobile If you (or your development team) has failed to quality test the appearance of your site across devices, then you are probably in the majority of companies that are not optimised for mobile. The time is now! Mobile optimised sites are becoming more and more important to business strategy as consumers are no longer bound to only browsing via their computers or laptops. Be sure to check that you are following best practices when optimising for mobile, such as common menu icons and icon placements.   Not sure if your website needs an overhaul? Contact the experts behind CakeDC today to find out more about our development services as well as how we can help you become leaders. CakeDC - We lead, so you can lead.  

Redesigning your website? Do not do this!

From increasing engagement through to increasing overall website performance, there may be aspects of your site that you are currently unhappy with or are looking to improve. Redesigning your website may be necessary due to lack of performance or a brand overhaul, but there are certain things that you should avoid at all costs when redesigning your website.   1. Not considering risk mitigation Most creative or marketing agencies offer web redesigns are part of their packages, however, often fail to outline the different risks that you may face. Such risks include loss of data, server failures, loss of website functionality, bugs and QA testing timelines. To fully understand your risk exposure, it is ideal to consider all individual changes or updates being made and then multiply by the depth of change for each element.   2. An overcrowded home page We understand, when given the opportunity to redesign your website, the first goal is to get all of your messaging across to your potential clients. However, the biggest mistake when doing this, is to inundate the user with too much information and overcrowd your homepage. This leaves visitors confused, overwhelmed - Users make a decision on whether or not to continue browsing after 3 seconds. It is important to ensure that all information is presented in a concise manner. Perhaps investigate infographics to reduce word dense designs.   3. It’s difficult to contact you Leaving out essential contact information or links to your social sites may discourage potential clients from trying to contact you. Keep your information handy in the footer of each page, as well as on its on contact page. The contact page gives you the opportunity to include a contact form as well as other relevant information that may be useful to your visitors.   4. Not having responsive web design and cross device QA testing Your website visitors will become frustrated if they are viewing your site on a device that has not been optimised for - leaving the page lacking user friendliness. Make sure to test a variety of devices and ensure your website has responsive web design.   5. Slow site speed and lack of optimisation Having a slow site can take away any favorable first impressions - make sure to optimise thoroughly when developing your site and ensure site speed is up to scratch.   6. Avoid poor or pixelated imagery Make sure to give proper image files to your development team. Including pixelated or poor imagery onto your site displays lack of professionalism to your visitors or potential clients.   Are you struggling with any of the above website redesign issues? Contact the CakeDC team today and speak to the experts behind CakePHP

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