Ycademy Seminar February 2016

Android Studio Apps

As more and more mobile users are accessing the web, website designers have to learn how to create apps. The idea is the same as with websites: to occupy space. Not only obviously, but also! Following the App Development in our Ycademy Seminar in January 2016, this month’s webinar focused on building the framework for a City Guide App or a Directory, using online and offline content.

App Development with Android Studio

Points of Interest

When diving into mobile app development, it’s a little like learning a new language: the app terminology! Just look up the acronym POI on Google and it’s quite hilarious what comes up – from POI recipes… to Amazon’s ‘…lovely poi made from a padded weight and a colourful nylon scarf tail’ . . . to ‘all your POI, Fire and Juggling needs‘ – and that’s by far not all – but in app lingo, and especially when thinking ‘City Guide’, the correct definition of POI is “Point(s) Of Interest”. Voilà!

That’s not where it stops! One’s got to know how to

  • Share POI
  • POI detail screen (info, map, decription)
  • Current distance to the POI
  • Open web link of the POI
  • List of POI
  • Sort POI by distance or by alphabeth if location is unknown
  • Search POI with suggestion . . .

And besides, following the Marshmallow version in January, we’re now with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.3). But we stay with Android and Gradle – which is quite comforting – and I’m pleased that even on apps we can have cool:

  • Animated action bars
  • Parallax scrolling effects
  • Ripple effects and
  • Favorite spots and more.

For now, by favorite spot will be in the Village Sushi just now – all Wi-Fi by the way, even down here in the boonies – with my main POI’s on the menu and the culinary art of a true Japanese sushi chef. That’s 7 years of training . . . so I won’t say another word about the hardship of learning app development on an Ice Cream Sandwich.

This ain’t the last word about apps!

 

 

 

 

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Ycademy Seminar November 2015

The Ycademy Webinar November 2015

The upcoming Ycademy Seminar will introduce its students to App Development with Android Studio, the new standard replacing Eclipse – the topic of another Ycademy Seminar on ‘How to build an App’, in January 2013.

App Development with Android Studio

Despite the fact that we find apps about everywhere in the digital world, many still wonder what an ‘app’ actually is? Or is it an ‘application’? So let’s look at the official explanation from Computer Basics:

An app is a type of software that allows you to perform specific tasks.Applications for desktop or laptop computers are sometimes called desktop applications, and those for mobile devices are called mobileapps. When you open an application, it runs inside the operating system until you close it.

Difference between Applications and Apps

Do some research on the term ‘app’, and you soon come across some controversy and hidden misunderstanding in connection with the term: ‘application’. So what the heck is the difference – and does it matter?

Gartner, a good source to learn from and have difficult questions answered in an easily understandable way – and I like the way he described the difference:

Applications are baggy monsters prized for their long lists of capabilities, while apps are valued for doing a few things well — their purposefulness.

Quote: “Apps, says Gartner, are not applications: “The defining characteristic of an app is its reduced functional presence. Apps do less than applications. That is their goal.”1 In other words, what began as mere shorthand for most of us (“The $#!@% app is down again!”) has come to represent a different design paradigm altogether.

How do we separate the usage of the terms? The distinction is driven primarily by the device. Big screen, full keyboard, unlimited power, etc.? That’s the playground for applications. Small touch screen, small keyboard, limited battery, limited bandwidth? That’s where apps thrive.”

If you want to dig deeper – and I strongly suggest you do, and even get access to a free e-booklet on the three keys for becoming a mobile enterprise – go directly to the Appcelerator Website HERE.

 

How to Create your first App

While Ycademy students had their first appexperience by creating their first App about two years ago, this month’s December Seminar 2015 will focus on:

  • Integrated Development Environment;
  • Elements – text, images and buttons (share, editable text fields…);
  • How to create your first App using third party libraries;
  • Understanding JSON and more.

App development is to be taken seriously – VERY seriously! It continues to change the way we operate on the Internet and it has revolutionized the mobile world. And if you’re a web designer or website developer, be prepared for how it will influence and change the Web Design of the future!

 

 

Ycademy Webinars

Ycademy Seminar September 2015

Today, high quality images and photos are even more important than ever before when it comes to website development and web design, this month’s Ycademy Seminar September 2015 will focus on the new features of one of the most brilliant programmes ever created in my view: Photoshop!

Workshop on Adobe Photoshop CC 2015

Mind you, even if you have an older version – if you’re a skilled graphic artist who has an inner image of what the final product you create should look like – that’s fine, too. We’re talking of a tool, like a brush. It’s always a human being behind the tool who decides on the outcome. However, the more sophisticated the tool, the more we may be able to achieve within a shorter period of time. Don’t forget, resolutions are being pushed higher and higher, and streaming gets faster and faster – that’s the future market we serve. And that’s why we look at the latest version of Adobe Photoshop – CC 2015.

Workshop on Camera Raw

If time permits, we’ll also look into Camera Raw – my personal favourite when it comes to improving a picture with a few quick tweaks. I hardly need anything else. If a picture isn’t up to standard, it lands in my waste bin anyway. But since I really started using my Fuji X E1 – especially during my time in Namibia – I’m just amazed at the difference in data compared to my good old Nikon Coolpix P90. In those days, my Coolpix was just perfect for what I needed on the Internet. With a very handy zoom, it allowed me to operate quickly and almost automatically, giving me in most cases the results I wanted (excluding low-light… duhhh!). But since I started to create printed books – with my first English novel “The Immortal Life of Piu Piu” coming out very soon – please join my Newsletter on my Author Website Here for updates and freebies – I quickly discovered my limitations. What I need now – besides much more experience, much more knowledge – is a 200 mm lens! Oh, they have even a better one, a killer lens I absolutely need for my next photo trip… back to Namibia! There’s nothing like home! By the way, the above photo was shot near Sossusvlei in Namibia in May 2015.

Where would we be today?

It’s hard to imagine where we would be today without a programme like ADOBE Photoshop . . . and how we would cope without using layers! I still worked extensively with pencils, pens and airbrush in pre-digital times – and if for some reason the illustration was messed up – sometimes by a simple stupid thing like a sudden difference in pressure in my airbrush so that it would spit ink all over the design – well, that was game over and you didn’t want to have any dead lines in that moment!

Yes, there’s progress! We’re living in a blessed time where we are able to explore, experiment and create at our heart’s desire – until we are satisfied with the result, the product – and our clients are happy, too!

On a personal note: you may not have seen me blogging for a while… but this will change soon. This website will change as well… Just that the publishing of my book has priority right now and – believe me – I’ve been writing all the time :)  Time for Google to remember that I exist!

 

Web Design for Artists

Every Artist needs a Website

Having the very best website one can afford as an artist is by no means a luxury but an absolute necessity. If you want to be the master of your own destiny and live the freedom and independence a true artist cherishes and stands for, you must get used to seeing yourself as an enterprise that needs to brand itself and control its online presence, direction and reputation – and this despite your participation in group exhibitions, despite your contracts with galleries, and despite showing your art on multiple online art malls. Chances are that if you don’t do it, someone else will – and you may not like it. I’ll explain in a moment… The fact, however, is that the only way to avoid this is to take responsibility for yourself and direct the way you want to be seen and understood in the virtual world – meaning by other people, your fans, galleries and your potential buyers. It’s a matter of taking care of yourself and your own name.

Artist Website designed by Bianca Gubalke

Artists need websites that reflect the standard of their Artwork

If you are an artist and you want to sell your paintings, sculptures, music or other artwork – ask yourself: who do you want to attract?

Think about it: art collectors and buyers of art are usually pretty educated and informed as far as the art market is concerned. And they have money or know where to get it – otherwise they wouldn’t invest in Art. If you are a sculptor and you want to sell for instance a bronze animal sculpture – which comes with a certain price tag because the casting process itself is pretty costly already – you cannot afford to look cheap. Always visualize the message you’re sending out: does your image match your market? If not, you may well lose visitors and potential buyers because they expected something more sophisticated than that. Forget ‘free’ on the Internet; cheap is too expensive!

Conclusion: If you want to brand yourself as an artist you need a website that reflects the standard of your artwork.

 

Web Design by Bianca Gubalke

Any Artist wants his Art to be seen

While artists are keen on having as many people as possible visit their Art Exhibition in a gallery, they may not be familiar with search engine traffic (SEO) in the virtual world – but it’s essentially the same. We agree that a gallery needs a good location – meaning a place that is easily accessible, where there is safe parking close-by, or that is well positioned in an elegant shopping mall. And it has to have a good reach via its mailing list – meaning a list of people like collectors, journalists, critics, celebrities etc, who know and trust them in terms of the type of art they represent.

Well, the same applies for a good website: it needs to be easily found on Google, because Google is where people look for what they want to buy – one can easily regard it as the biggest shopping mall in the world. And if you are as most people are, you want to quickly and easily find what you’re looking for on page one on Google. . . you’d rarely take the time to look further – especially, if you find what you’re looking for. Your answers have to be on page one. Here and now! Pronto!

And guess what?

This is exactly where your oeuvre must be!

 

Artist Website designed by Bianca Gubalke

 

Leopard Hunting Guinea Fowls

Let me give you a simple example:

Imagine… you’re a sculptor as in this website we just completed for Richard J. Gunston. You’ve created a stunning sculpture in clay, and now you want to attract a buyer who’s looking for exactly that item, meaning that’s what he searches in Google. So he types “Leopard Hunting Guinea Fowls”. What you have to do is ensure that the article with your sculpture comes up on Google page one! How? Through original quality content in form of posts, articles with pictures, or a video you loaded on YouTube. Exactly this topic – meaning that same keyword string.

The bad news is: there are only 10 spots for such articles per page – the rest are paid Google Ads: top, right side and bottom. Meaning they cost you. Actually, they can cost you an arm and a leg. So yes – there’s a continuous race for those 10 hot spots. Companies pay literally thousands of U$ per month – yes, per month – to reach those positions in their niches and leave their competition behind. Think about it: if you sell 10 times more cars or shoes or books per month simply by being found – is it worth the price? Is it? It sure is! The fact is, everyone wants to be found… and most have something to sell – be it a product, a service or an ad – so you’re in fierce company… and it’s fun!

So how do you achieve this?

First, have a good and professionally designed website under your own name, and invest in good hosting. Based on your keywords, your website designer integrates hooks as part of the whole framework and setup that you normally don’t ‘see’. It’s an art. A science. For some, it’s even a passion…

Second – and this is important and helps you understand that it’s not enough to have your website designed and then think ‘…that’s it for the next five years!‘ No, no.

Besides the fact that a website has to be updated following latest technologies – normally every 2 to 3 years – a website has to be kept dynamic and alive by a blog on which good original content is regularly posted. Content in this case means articles and media (photos, audios, videos) about your work, exhibitions, concerts – whatever it may be. The big search engines like Google love fresh content and will help your website to come up through the ranks and move towards the real hot spot where you want your article to be found, namely where people would search for it on Google: Google Top 10.

Frankly, would you go any further if you were looking for something? Probably not!

Your successful competition probably not only runs a professional website but also places Google Ads. They might not have started out doing both as they may not have had the funds. But if you’re serious about your career as an artist and you want to keep control, then investing in having your own domain name, good hosting and a professionally designed website will pay off big time. It’s a process… it’s work… and it’s not happening overnight. However, not only are you building your own brand, name and reputation on the web – instead that of anyone else who invites you to host your content on their site (remember: it’s content that brings you up in Google.. so you want it to be your’s) – but by means of your Newletter you also build your own list of interested parties and potential customers who like your work, want to be invited to your exhibitions, and are interested in your development. THIS is your online business – take care of it in the very best way.

 

Artist Website designed by Bianca Gubalke

 

What does an Artist need for a professional online presence?

Let me give you the essentials as a short and sweet list:

  • Buy your own domain name. Preferably a .com.
  • Get good hosting.
  • Get a professional web designer to design your website based on your keywords and needs.
  • If you’ve got no time to write your own articles and learn how to edit and publish them in a Google efficient way, outsource this task to someone who has the knowledge and the skill.

TIP: A good web designer can help you with all of the above. For more information read my post Web Design for Authors – CLICK HERE.

If you are an artist, and you are ready to invest in a professional website created with the background knowledge of an artist – please get in touch with us.

© 2015 by Bianca Gubalke Design

 

 

Online Ycademy Seminar January 2015

Elegant Website Design

It is amazing how the mobile world has influenced and changed the way we create web pages – and continues to do so! We no longer click, we scroll! We swipe! We no longer read – our eyes scan images, videos, animations, icons and infographics instead, wanting to be hooked, informed, entertained. As technology advances and adapts to the new needs and trends at breathtaking speed – at times we wonder what comes first? – we as web designers follow, learn, apply and try to remain at the forefront of web developments to offer what all web design customers want: to stand out, to attract, satisfy and convert.

Online Editing Workshop

Online Editing with Flair

I don’t know about you . . . but have you noticed how websites that stand out today increasingly have the look and flair of elegant magazines? The printed version, I mean.

In the first place, it’s all about high quality photography – and we’ve invested many workshops at Ycademy over the course of 2014 to improve our skills. As most seminar participants don’t have the sophisticated high-end digital camera a professional photographer uses – and in most cases several of them – there is a lot we can achieve with post-editing tools such as Adobe Photoshop and OnOne Tools – just to name those two. What I find interesting, however, is that – despite the fact that now almost everyone can take a good photo with an iphone or any other mobile device – today, more than ever, we see wherein the real art and skill of a good professional lies. You only need to look at websites from Apple and many of the top designers – be it in fashion, cars or luxury watches – and you know what I mean. Breathtaking . . . brilliant – such a pleasure to see what is possible in terms of online design today. Clearly, all this is also powered by faster lines, higher resolutions, better and bigger screens. . . but, yes, there’s also so much to learn! It simply never stops and one wonders if it ever ends. . . and if so, where that could possibly be?

Agreed, that level of perfection may be well beyond a normal web designer’s means, however, there’s more. It has to do with online editing and publishing techniques. What fonts we choose, how we combine and style them. The colour scheme. Backgrounds. Backgrounds that need no longer be static: backgrounds that change and move and enhance what we really want to show. . . or just be that subtle note, that something more than just a colour, an image. A visceral layer perhaps? Today, we can go beyond! And, of course, the layout on the page… the way the text flows inbetween columns, wraps around images, sliders, graphs, large videos, animations and sound, offering a level of interactivity like never before!

Ycademy Seminar January 2015

As all this needs smart composing, editing and publishing tools to establish the necessary information architecture, and after our excursion into the latest WordPress Theme 2015 in our final Seminar 2014 – the first Ycademy Seminar this year – January 2015 – focuses on providing not only access to these fine tools but also teaching the fundamentals to establish an understanding of how these tools work, how one should use them, and how prime themes and a responsive material design can help creative web designers achieve the look they wish to give their websites . . . and how we online storytellers can ideally translate the pictures we have in our minds into the virtual space.

As all things of value, this ain’t done overnight and more information will be shared as new websites see the light of the day!

We at Web Design with Passion wish you an extraordinary day!

© 2015 Bianca Gubalke

 

 

 

Ycademy Seminar June 2014

The new XO6 by Semiomantics

The new XO6 by Semiomantics allows us at Web Design with Passion (South Africa) to create responsive websites that stand out – not flash-based, but using HTML5, CSS3, JS and Paralax. Not surprisingly, and after preparatory brush-up workshops on CSS over weeks, that was the central topic of the Ycademy Seminar June 2014.

XO6 at the Ycademy Seminar June 2014

 

 

Ycademy Seminar June 2014

Of course, the teachings at the Ycademy Seminar June 2014 were in line with the ongoing developments of YORGOO, which promise to offer the ultimate solution for publishing excellence and app creation.

As such, the new XO6 is a modern high-end WordPress custom theme. If compared with the XOO theme (which we focused on at the May Seminar HERE), it offers more possibilities to edit straight from the dashboard, which will surely be welcomed by all those who want to blog and not do a PhD in code! You will love it! While the page flipping feature was not taken over from XOO, we can customize our page transitions now. Smashing features right out of the box – giving our creativity wings!

It may not take too long that the XO6 takes over my author website – watch this space!

Over the next weeks, we will focus on the Visual Editor and Sliders we will be using in the new XO6.

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year 2014

We at “Web Design with Passion” are wishing you all a Happy New Year 2014 – filled with Abundance on all levels!

Piu Piu of Noordhoek

Happy New Year 2014

Piu Piu of Noordhoek also wishes a Happy New Year 2014 – and as you can see on the picture, he’s making his first flight attempts… yes, lifting completely off the ground and tasting the freedom in the air… and this before he’s turned even 2 months old! Nature is miraculous and amazing… and there’s so much to learn from it!

2014 will be the Year of Reinvention – I like that! So off we go… and who knows, we may just suddenly meet someone we’ve always known ?!