google

Online Content Remains King. Google Now Mandates It's Authoritative.

By Jacob Golding
Director of Digital Strategy, projekt202

Marketers, rightly so, have been increasingly focused on engaging with consumers through content rather than interrupting them with ads. Telling the story through content, intertwined into the user’s experience, is king. Google always strives to ensure its search results are trusted. This means it needs to provide searchers the most relevant content answers to their questions.

The increase in content online, matched by the drive for Google to deliver quality content, requires marketers to deliver high-quality, authoritative content that’s unique.

Reviewing Google’s 160-page guidelines released last year, these guidelines don’t tell us how to win. They do provide information that helps us understand what Google does look for, what makes a high-quality page, and how content should be written. The latter is especially important for marketers.

Quality content has always been a factor for Google. Their updated guidelines make it clear that “High-quality pages and websites need enough expertise to be authoritative and trustworthy on their topic.” For a page to possess those qualities, the content needs to have expert content written by expert writers.

By understanding these content parameters, marketers need to ensure their expert content and search teams are working side-by-side, bound by shared goals. This will help marketers and the sites they manage gain relevant visibility with improved rankings on the search engine results page.

Investing in copywriters who are able to write in the tone and language of the industry is important. The days of relying on a copy generalist – be it an SEO or marketing team member – to write content have gone.

At projekt202, we take an experience-driven approach to marketing. As content is integrated into the engagement layer for sites and applications, we pair copywriters with SEO experts to ensure an emotive connection is made with searchers and that Google rewards marketers for their investment.

Are Ethics and Creativity in Conflict?

Are ethics and creativity in conflict? What tensions exist between them and what responsibilities do they hold to one another?

By Kelly Moran
projekt202

A set of studies recently came out concerning the ethical behavior of creative people. Coverage by The Harvard Business Review included the headline “Why Creative People Are More Likely to be Dishonest” and offered an unflattering assessment. Aside from granting creative personalities the asset of thinking outside the box, the article noted that such people “see creativity as rare and believe that they deserve a bigger box.”

What lies behind this issue? Is creative thinking with its inherent lack of boundaries always at risk of leading a person into unstable ethical ground?

Think about what it means to be creative.

A Google search of “signs you are a creative person” brings up enough questionable, occasionally insulting content to reinforce the notion that no one is quite sure what creativity actually is (Lifehack.com currently has two different lists and they include things like being “irresponsibly responsible” and an “inability to relate to others”). Dictionary.com plays it safe on creativity with “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.” Way to live your truth, Dictionary.com, with the “etc.” – as if one must be creative in order to complete the definition. Most can at least agree that at its heart creativity results in bringing new into being.

Think about what it means to be ethical.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that ethics involves “recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.” These “concepts” tend to be agreed upon by a group, as opposed to being personally-held morals. They’re guidelines.

Ethics uphold traditional beliefs.

Creativity, however, tends to eschew the traditional in favor of the new. Creativity supports the innovative and celebrates disruption. Ethics leans toward the more established. Synonyms for ethics include convention and imperative. Synonyms for creative include visionary and inspired. Are they in perpetual conflict? Is there any meeting in the middle?

Rather than limit ourselves to what these terms mean I suggest we look at what they do: the intentions behind their appearance.

We are ethical not to lay down a lot of rules.

We are ethical to make the place we inhabit gentler, more considered or more thoughtful. An ethical standard makes our shared existence more beautiful. Kinder. In short, it makes the world a more tolerable place to live. A better place.

We are creative not to make a lot of stuff.

We are creative to create meaning. Create change. Create a difference. Create an impact. To make the world gentler, more considered or more thoughtful. More beautiful. Easier perhaps. Joyful even. Or we might just create to make the world a more tolerable place to live. But it will be better.

Ah-ha.

A meeting in the middle.

With this in mind, how now will you ensure an ethical application of creativity? There are numerous professional codes of conduct available for almost any craft you can name (yes, even for comic book writers. There are myriad codes, creeds, canons, guidelines, rules, principles and standards.

So I will leave you with just one piece of advice for dealing with the tension between creativity and ethics:

Do better.

What do you think? Have you ever run into ethical quandaries while performing creative work?

Recently, I spoke on this topic with the Dallas chapter of CreativeMornings. You can watch the video here.

Welcome to Web Components with Polymer

By Joshua Kemmerling projekt202

By Joshua Kemmerling
projekt202

The web tends to evolve in different ways over time. Right now it seems like most of the new developments in web technologies have to do with new frameworks or new versions of frameworks released almost weekly. This isn’t a problem until these frameworks overshadow upcoming technologies that deserve some recognition. Technologies that will end up changing the way we develop for the web. Let’s say hello to Web Components.

Web Components are a collection of a few technologies. Custom elements, HTML imports, templates, and shadow DOM. The specifications for these technologies are being created by Google and the W3C. That is why we are looking at Polymer. Polymer is created and managed by Google. It is a framework built on top of Web Components and designed to leverage these evolving technologies in modern browsers. Because Web Components are being spec’d to be natively supported by browsers, Polymer mostly consist of polyfills for Web Components.

Custom Elements

Custom elements are simple and just as it sounds. Now you can create your own custom HTML elements, like <projekt-202>, with this new technology. Custom elements need to be registered using Polymer so that they act like natively supported HTML elements. This is really easy and only requires one line of code. The catch is that the custom name has to contain a dash in the name.

HTML Imports

HTML imports are also very simple and gives you the ability to import HTML without needing to write specific JavaScript to call and process the HTML. It uses the link HTML tag with a rel attribute value of import. The best part is that you do not have to register anything using Polymer or run any special functions. It just works! Even the execution order is the exact same as native HTML. Things load in the order they are on the page.

Templates

Templates can get a little complicated or can be really simple if you don’t need your templates to do much. Templates contain the same tags as any other HTML page. But Polymer adds powerful functionality to templates that make you HTML dynamic and makes it feel more like Angular or Knockout.js. A few useful things Polymer has added that developers will find helpful are data binding, event binding, repeaters and even an observe function. Templates can even contain other templates.

To use templates in Polymer, you have to create a <template> HTML tag with an id attribute, add your HTML inside, and a couple line of JavaScript and Polymer does the rest. Details of these features and more information on templates can be found on the Polymer website.

Shadow DOM

The Shadow DOM is a really amazing part of web components and Polymer. The Shadow DOM is essentially a DOM inside of a DOM. This is very powerful because when you add a <style> inside of a DOM, the styles only affect the elements inside of that DOM. The styles do not affect elements in any other DOM. Same things goes for JavaScript. Using Shadow DOM in Polymer is just as easy as creating a template. To use Shadow DOM, wrap your template code with a <dom-module> HTML tag and that’s it. Now any styles you add in the template tag will only affect that template.

How does Polymer fit into the web right now?

As of right now, most UI software is built using some sort of UI framework like React or Angular. These UI frameworks come in all shapes and sizes and usually take on some form of MVC and provide functional programming to UI developers. Polymer would be the “V”, or View, of MVC. This means that there might be some missing functionality, like URL routing capabilities, you might be looking for in a framework for your next project.

Polymer and web components are amazing technologies that are evolving the web in a really great direction. When the technologies are supported by all browsers, UI developers will now need to bring in frameworks like Polymer to have access to these advanced features. The features will be built-in to the browser.

Other web component frameworks

Polymer is a great framework that is bringing web components to all browsers. But it is not the only frameworks that is implementing web components. Other frameworks are, but not limited to:

X-Tag: Small library created and supported by Mozilla.

Bosonic: Another framework that brings web components to browsers. Even to IE9.

Web Components: The WebComponents.org keeps updated information related to web conponents, frameworks, and even has useful polyfills for all parts of web components.