News + Views

  • Made an Impression On Katie
    Accessibility for all

    The topic of website accessibility has received a lot of discussion in the MADE offices recently. We use the industry standard WCAG 2.0 and have recently been using some helpful online checklists to ensure our work is accessible for as many people as possible. But, how can we ensure that our websites are accessible for all? How is accessibility viewed by the people actually using the websites? We found a very interesting article – Accessibility according to actual people with disabilities by Hampus Sethfors

    Made an Impression On James
    Cross platform native app development with Xamarin Forms

    I have recently been working on a project that has necessitated the development of native apps for both iOS and Android. A variety of solutions for cross-platform development exist, but I decided to use Xamarin for this particular project.

    One of the key principles in software development is Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY). With this in mind, the prospect of having to write an entirely unique codebase in a specific language for each mobile platform you wish to target always seemed undesirable to me. Xamarin attempts to address this issue by allowing apps, written in C#, to be run on Android, iOS, Windows phone, and others. Its recent acquisition by Microsoft has also lead to most of its tools being open-sourced, making it much more accessible. The Xamarin.Forms API takes code reuse even further and allows for much of the platform specific native app UI controls to be generated from the same markup. Additionally, a growing repository of plugins abstracts platform specific functionality into a single interface, such as accessing device location, or creating notifications.

    For me, Xamarin and Xamarin.Forms provides the perfect balance of code reuse, whilst allowing for a truly native feel when using the app. The platform continues to improve in stability and performance and C# is an excellent modern language for this type of application.

    Made an Impression On Ella
    Photos to move you

    The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition never fails to impress me and the 2016 selection of images doesn’t disappoint. Images can be appreciated from an artistic, technical and ethical perspective, and I always find something exciting and astonishing.

    Photographic styles are as diverse as the subjects themselves, and this makes for a dramatic collection of images. Technical innovation, creativity and an aesthetic eye unite to bring us engaging images of relevance. They offer access to sights that we would otherwise never see or experience, and are able to catch our imagination. Importantly, they make us pay attention to difficult issues and help us to discover the natural world around us.

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year
    Made an Impression On Michal
    Medium - making blogging great again

    Here at MADE we often work with WordPress. What started as a straightforward blogging platform quickly grew into a go-to content management system that powers almost 20% of websites. As WordPress moved away from it’s origins, it lost it’s initial focus – writing. That’s where Medium steps in. It’s going back to the core values of blogging – ease of use, beautiful presentation and strong sense of community. Through its intuitive, stripped back interface Medium encourages the user to start writing immediately. It reminds me of the increasingly popular ‘no-distraction’ modes for IDEs. Instead of an overwhelming formatting menu, there’s a contextual tooltip which adapts based on what’s highlighted or selected. There’s not many things you can tweak but that’s the point. Medium sacrifices customisability for consistency – fewer options, but they all look and feel great. Another selling point is the way Medium brings publishers, writers and readers together. You can set up and browse magazines, ‘like’ and recommend articles, and engage in conversations with the authors. All of that seamlessly integrated into the core experience.

    Medium knows what it’s meant to do and it’s doing it well.

    Michal on Medium
  • Made an Impression On Andy
    In love with Laravel?

    I’ve had the opportunity over the last couple of months to really get my teeth into Laravel Laravel is a PHP framework for developing web applications using the Model View Controller (MVC) approach. It’s been eye-opening developing, and having total control over, a whole application in this framework (as opposed to CMSs where we perhaps focus on certain bits of the application). It’s also given me some ideas on how we might be able to use Laravel (or it’s lightweight version in conjunction with CMSs like WordPress and Drupal to offer custom functionality in sites alongside the easy-to-use and well know features of those CMSs. Watch this space!

    Liferay Dev Session
    Liferay Dev. Sessions
    We sent our developers to London to explore the latest functionality of Liferay. It was a great opportunity to meet up with the lively dev community. Read
    Made an Impression On Jon
    Beautiful sustainable infographics

    Fedegrioni produced a visual book to promote the green credentials of their Freelife papers. We’re always fans of sustainable processes, and infographics – to us, the innovative use of print finishes, cutouts and texture of the paper to promote the paper itself, seems beautifully elegant.

    Fedegrioni Freelife
    Made an Impression On Alice

    Chocolate is my heaven. But there’s just something about eating chocolate, wrapped in a beautifully designed package, that is just even more irresistible. I recently read an article about how the packaging of a chocolate bar was influenced by the origin of the chocolate, paper colours were chosen to match the flavours and the chocolate itself also has an impressive design which is reflected on the packaging…it just looks too good to eat! Check out this gorgeous, intricately crafted design. It really is chocolate at it’s most luxurious.

    Good enough to eat
  • Made an Impression On Olivia
    Incredible Hyperrealistic Art

    I love the idea of seeing an image but not realising that it is actually a drawing. Paul Cadden, a Scottish artist, perfects this beautifully. He invites the viewer to see the world we live in, taking them to spaces which have always been there, but often missed. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

    Made an Impression On Jon
    Listen to Wikipedia

    I’m always inspired by the possibilities of art in the data age – the simplest of human behaviours can reveal beautiful patterns. This website takes data from live Wikipedia edits all over the world, and uses the simplest of concepts (size of edit = pitch) to produce ethereal music.

    Listen to Wikipedia
    Made an Impression On Courteney
    Refreshing and Inspirational Illustrator, Gemma Correll

    Gemma Correll studied at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) and is a successful illustrator, designing various images for clients such as the New York Times and wholesaler Ohh Deer. I stumbled across Gemma’s ‘Pugs Not Drugs’ illustration and simply loved the design – her pen drawings are unique, quirky and a delight to have as a greetings card! She has also written various books and comics too.
    Made an Impression On Katie
    Beautiful and inspiring editorial design

    New indie magazine Lunch Lady (published by We Print Nice Things) boasts a fresh standout style in editorial design. I love the colourful, decorative layout and the content is equally as inspiring. A food and family mag launched by a busy mum to inspire others.