The weariness of technology

It’s been a long day. Eugene O’Neill long and there wasn’t so much as a Tylenol PM in the mix. Most of my days are like this now and it’s not because I’m getting up there according to my weird, blunt doctor. My days are long and harrowing because they are full to the brim with technology. It turns out, however, that this isn’t such a magical time to be alive after all. Most of the technology in my world doesn’t work. Not as advertised, certainly. Take my hand and let’s begin a stroll together through my forest of UX, UI and promised technology miscues on any given day. It’ll be fine. And there’re pictures! clock I start the day with a panic because the alarm clock has not gone off and I’m late. The alarm didn’t stand a chance really, as the UI on the clock was designed for someone
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How is Stacks different from Paragraphs?

We announced a new Drupal module called Stacks a few days ago.  Since we launched the module we’ve gotten some thoughtful questions from the Drupal community about why we built Stacks given that is appears similar to Paragraphs. The short answer is that we love the Paragraphs module and we strongly considered extending it. Ultimately, we determined that the problem that Stacks is trying to solve is fundamentally different from the one paragraphs addresses. Given the different approaches and requirements, we needed a custom code base to work from so built our own modules. Longer answer below.
We love the paragraphs module and admire the work that’s been done on that project. There are a lot of great ideas and concepts that we drew from when building Stacks. I guess the best way to explain our thought process is with the Stacks origin story… A few years ago, our team
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Introducing Stacks: a better way to Drupal

We love Drupal. It is flexible, feature-rich, cost effective and has a fantastic user community supporting it. It is the Content Management System we use most. However, we will be the first to admit that Drupal isn’t perfect. And perhaps the number one way it isn’t perfect is the page building experience it provides content managers. Drupal has awesome tools for highly structured and consistent content, like press releases. It is not so awesome if you are trying to build a one-off page whose structure you are defining on the fly. So something like this for example:
To help solve the problem we built an open source Drupal 8 module called Stacks that provides content managers with a great page building experience. Stacks breaks the design of a site up into reusable components called widgets. Using a drag and drop interface, content managers can add, remove, configure and reorder widgets
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Google Optimize brings A/B testing to the masses

In the Spring Google launched a paid A/B testing product called Google Optimize 360 and in October they announced a free tool called Optimize.  Optimize is still in private beta, but I was fortunate enough to get an invite in early December.   I’ve been playing with Optimize on our own website ever since and think it is fantastic.  The product is powerful, easy-to-use and includes nice integrations with Google Analytics.   At zero charge, it provides most of the features and functionality you find in pricey paid alternatives. What follows is a review of Optimize, using a simple experiment I ran on our own website as the example.   

What am I testing?

Ever since we launched the Brick Factory, an illustration of a factory on a DC landscape has been a part of our brand identity.  The illustration is the centerpiece of our site’s homepage and is featured on
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How to make people care about your boring content: election edition

Election day is one week away. That is a big deal for my clients. My clients are non-profits and advocacy groups. They work in a variety of issue areas ranging from criminal justice to energy to foreign policy. And each one of them has something to gain or something to lose in this election. So, it’s an important time to talk about the issues. You want your audience to understand how their vote affects policy and the work you’re doing. But if your issue area is boring or complicated, how do you get people to care? Let’s look at four tactics:
  1. Make it personal
  2. Find your niche
  3. Tell a story
  4. Be concrete
And, today, we’ll use tax policy as a case study. Because, if there is one thing I find boring and complicated, it’s taxes.  

Make it Personal

If you want me to care about tax policy, you have
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Email Marketing Platforms: Which One is For You?

Email is still important. Of all the marketing tools available to you, it’s got the highest return on investment. According to Salsa, if you spend $1, you’ll get $40 back. And, if you’re a nonprofit, it drives a third of your online fundraising revenue. Especially for a non-profit, choosing the right email platform is essential. But there are so many to choose from. Where do you start? How do you know which one is good for you? There are plenty of articles out there that will grade the top platforms. Like this one from PC Mag. Or this one from Top Ten Reviews. They do a great job of breaking down all the features available so you can easily compare. But I’m going to do something a little different. As someone who deals with this stuff everyday, I’m going to share some of my own real experiences with three
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