Refining our message and design

More than two years ago, we overhauled 10up.com to reflect the company we had become. Conceived and built entirely in-house, we strove for an experience and aesthetic that would project the craftsmanship we offer our clients. More than two years later, we think the art direction and architecture has more than withstood the test of time.

Over the last two years, our mission, message, and value proposition has evolved, presenting an opportunity to improve the way we articulate ourselves, in content and design. I’m happy to announce a site wide update that highlights our refreshed mission statement and improves the way we describe #team10up.

We think that our own story becomes most tangible when telling our project stories, so we’ve also taken the time to completely redesign our work portfolio. Our user experience and visual design team worked closely with internal stakeholders and engineers to craft a portfolio that is as visually stunning as it is functional, across screen sizes and device types.

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12 Facebook Instant Articles insights for WordPress content creators

Facebook Instant ArticlesOn April 12, Facebook is expanding their in-app Instant Articles program—which delivers lightweight, instantly loading articles—to all publishers. All content creators, from enterprises posting corporate news to your neighbor’s food blog, can start taking advantage of the benefits of Facebook Instant Articles to maximize engagement with Facebook’s 1.5 billion users.

We see Instant Articles as another step toward the content management system (CMS) as the hub for creating and delivering content. Content creators are distributing to many interfaces and channels: HTML/CSS front ends, mobile apps, third party sites, Google AMP, Apple News feeds…even print publications! Rapidly evolving content distribution punctuates the benefits of an open and well-maintained CMS. WordPress adopters can rapidly benefit from channels like AMP and Instant Articles thanks to quickly released and well supported open source modules, circumventing the development overhead of a home grown platform or the long roadmap of a niche commercial CMS, and without surrendering their content to closed platforms like Medium.

Seamless integrations with platforms like Instant Articles is why 10up so fervently advocates for WordPress and the open web. And so, upon Facebook’s 12th anniversary, here are 12 key insights for publishers using WordPress and preparing for Facebook Instant Articles.

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New Year’s Resolutions for Websites

Each year people around the world make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, exercise, and to get organized. The same resolutions that can make you a better person can also be applied to your website. Here are some 2016 resolutions for your website.

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Button and link usability

I find myself often telling designers and front-end engineers that “buttons should feel like buttons and links should look like links.” It occurs to me, that after a few years of the flat design trend, I should explain what that means.

Buttons should feel like buttons

When you press a physical button in the real world — any key on a physical keyboard, for example — you can tactically feel it depressing. You’ll also see its form shrink away from you and the way the light falls on it will cause it to look slightly different.
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Blocked: An In-Depth Special Report on iOS 9 Content Blockers

Editor’s Note: This summary and report was co-authored by Lead Audience & Revenue Strategist Ben Ilfeld and President & Founder Jake Goldman.

iOS 9 Content Blocking

On September 16, Apple launched iOS 9 with a suite of enhancements. One buried feature has the web content industry talking: content blocking. The immediate and obvious use case being blocking of ads and third-party scripts often used for site metrics. Less than one week in, a $0.99 ad blocker is atop the iOS App Store’s paid app charts, and a $3.99 ad blocker trails right behind it.

Much has been said about the ethical implications and hypothetical impact. Clients who look to 10up for web and online revenue strategies were, naturally, less interested in debating whether content blocking is fair, and more interested in modeling their potential impact and adapting. While we couldn’t help touching on the ethics – an open web is core to 10up’s DNA – we focused on analyzing technical realities, data informed predictions, practical industry implications, and potential strategies publishers can apply to face a changing landscape.

Read on to review highlights from the report, or skip ahead and download our free eBook in PDF or ePub format.

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Microcopy can make a macro impression

A newly hired UX Designer once quipped, “I could spend all day obsessing about word choices.” It’s true, we could! Those small fragments of text—a phrase, a sentence fragment, or even a word—can make an interface really work. We call it microcopy.

Microcopy sits unobtrusively alongside user interface, ready to provide contextual information for a user that needs that extra bit of help or information. It makes visitors feel confident and can help reinforce a client’s brand through tone and style. Typically you see microcopy near interactive elements. Here are some prototypical examples of microcopy found online:

“Microcopy is small yet powerful copy. It’s fast, light, and deadly. It’s a short sentence, a phrase, a few words. A single word… Don’t be deceived by the size of microcopy. It can make or break an interface.”

— Joshua Porter, 2009

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Wanted: Project and Account Managers, Reward for Capture

10up is widely known for the complex and unique web experiences we produce. We consistently create unparalleled experiences for our clients and while engineering and design is a large part of that, senior project and account management talent are critical to the success of 10up and its clients.

In an effort to thank you for helping us find our next 10upper, we’ll offer you a finders fee of $500 if we decide to hire who you referred. We’ll even go a step further and throw in an additional $500 when they complete a successful 6 month review just to show our appreciation.

We have a talented team of strategists consulting with enterprise clients, leading our engineers and designers, coordinating site launches, and resourcing/planning/managing some pretty exciting projects – and better yet, we are looking to expand the team!

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Sliders, Rotators, and Carousels — Oh no!

There is evidence to indicate that sliders (or rotators or carousels) are generally ineffective. Engagement with the second slide is precipitously low and engagement with the third slide is near negligible. Assuming visitors see it at all.

As an adaptation to information overload, web users have trained themselves to divert their attention away from areas that seem unimportant or look like advertising.
—Hoa Loranger, NNGroup

Although Loranger was summarizing a study about right-rail blindness, NNGroup has done previous examinations of sliders and found a similar effect. Notre Dame university also studied sliders on their home page and found only 1% of visitors interacted with it at all.

Finally, these interfaces often have usability concerns: microscopic control buttons, odd mobile/touch behavior, and the removal of visitors’ control.

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2015 Annual Summit: Boulder

Boulder

Every year, around this time, our distributed team gets together for a few days to focus on developing our soft and technical skills, to celebrate our past and plan for our future. The 2015 summit is next week at a beautiful hotel in downtown Boulder, Colorado. It begins Monday afternoon with an optional tour of the Celestial Tea Factory and a mouth-watering prefixed dinner catering to myriad 10up diets. Our summit ends on Thursday night, with most 10uppers traveling home on Friday.

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Scaling StoryCorps.me and the WP JSON API

storycorps.me

We had the privilege of working with StoryCorps to help them engineer a reliable, scalable WordPress implementation for their new, TED prize winning project. StoryCorps.me enables anyone to record and share powerful stories using an iOS and Android app; the app’s infrastructure is built on WordPress, and leverages the WP REST API.

We built a custom, elastic infrastructure on Amazon Web Services, provided strategic consulting and direction for the WordPress JSON API integration with the app, and comprehensive code review and auditing for the custom theme and plugins built by StoryCorps’s internal developers.

Even as the app was unveiled at TED, and picked up in subsequent press coverage from NPRFast CompanyRecodethe Globe and MailForbes, to name a few, the site and its deep app integrations have scaled and performed like a champ.

PostStatus published a detailed, insightful write up that describes the project and technical implementation, including kind words from their program manager:

Dean noted, “You have to be willing to completely submit to the process.” He says it wouldn’t have succeeded if 10up and [app developer] Maya weren’t committed as StoryCorps to the success of the project.

Be sure to check out their coverage, and try out StoryCorps.me. You can find the app that relies on their WordPress build on the iOS app store and Android Play.