In This Edition…
Start 2011 with a Bang
As 2010 wound down and our team spent time with family and friends for the holidays, I had time to reflect on our last year at ZURB and the phenomenal ride it’s been. We launched three new apps, crushed dozens of awesome client projects, brought in some fascinating people for our ZURBsoapbox speaker series, and worked with a great nonprofit (RAFT) during our annual design marathon. But one shift in ZURB’s philosophy stands out in my mind as a pivotal moment for us.
I’d say we owe a huge part of our increase in traffic and conversions to our changed perception of marketing at ZURB. Over the past year, every one of our team members has become a marketer. Every one of them is excited and eager to share ideas, tutorials, techniques, articles, resources, know-how, tips and tricks about building products that we’ve learned doing day-to-day work for clients, as well as building our own apps. It is no longer just a few people on the team, it’s everyone.
Our focus on sharing what we’ve learned has not only put us in touch with a great community, it’s also brought us over 1 million new visits to our website last year. Not only that, but most of our new visitors became repeat visitors. If I had to recommend one big change for all of you this year I’d say: “Get every employee in your company to share a tip, trick, or opinion with your readers.” That’s why we started 2011 with a consecutive 24-day sprint of new posts to our blog. It’s easy to lose focus on our blog with everything else going on at ZURB, but it really does make a difference.
But 2010 was a big year for us, and that’s not all we learned.
Verify – 10% conversion a month since the launch
As most of you know, a big part of our mission is to help people create better products with our own tools and apps. One of the three apps we launched in 2010 was Verify.
We’ve found that product teams rarely do any external validation on an idea before implementing it. Heck, sometimes no one thinks to validate an idea until well after public launch. Verify steps in much earlier in the product cycle, taking a simple screenshot and asking questions and getting impressions before expensive decisions are made and implemented.
Before we mocked up, designed, and implemented Verify, we gathered plenty of feedback from friends and past clients, as well as studied the lessons learned from our first product, Notable. We focused on creating clear conversion triggers within the UI, and decided to go with penetration pricing. As a result, we achieved amazing conversions and traction with the tool. Afterwards, we published a blog post detailing our lessons learned from the launch.
Geek Central: New JQuery and CSS3 Tricks
All of us here are huge geeks. In fact, it’s practically part of our hiring criteria. We love to push the limits with the latest technology, creating modern, polished websites that make a great first impression. We’ve fallen in love with JQuery and CSS3 over the past year, and we’ve been busy sharing some of our techniques and tutorials on the ZURBplayground.
Some of the highlights from this past year include the “Image Uploads Suck 100% Less” plugin, the JQuery Text Change Event Handler, CSS Box Shadow Experiments, the Orbit JQuery Image Slider and many many others. We’ve also been sharing resources such as the OmniGraffle stencil to develop mockups faster.
The playground is one of the highest trafficked pages on our site, thanks to us sharing useful techniques with the world.
Google, Facebook, Mozilla Sharing Lessons Learned
As some of you probably already know, the ZURBsoapbox is a lecture series where entrepreneurs and designers visit ZURB and share their own lessons learned. These talks are all free and open to the public. We love to interact with members of the local community interested in creating great products, and learning from the many fascinating people we have here in the Bay Area. We’ve had an amazing soapbox series this year, with many experts sharing their stories of building the products we all use and love every day.
Some of the highlights have been: the Head of Design at Facebook discussing the way they use data to make decisions, the VP of Design at Palm talking about how he designed and launched the Palm Pre, the Head of UX at Google talking about how products are conceived and made, and the co-founder of LinkedIn giving us behind-the-scenes stories, and tons of others from amazing speakers. We’re looking forward to sharing more of these with you in 2011!
New ZURBians in the mix!
All of us are excited to share more great stuff with the world. The more ZURBians, the more lessons learned! We’re excited to have Louis join us as ZURB’s Customer Service Advocate to help us keep up with all the tweets, emails, and shout-outs on the streets about ZURBapps. Michelle Archuleta also joined the team in December to help us grow our talent and manage our office.
The design team became three members stronger this past year with our former interns Dave Gamache and Anthony Tadina stepping up to the plate as a designers, along with our new designer Chris Michel. Our design team has been kicking ass this year, helping us share techniques and tricks on the playground, tutorials on our blog, as well as crush all our consulting work.
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