Boagworld Show S06E12

Web & Digital Advice

Digital and web advice from Headscape and the addled brain of Paul Boag... tell me more

Paul Boag Posted by: Paul Boag On Thursday, 4th July, 2013

Workflow, learning and responsive design

This week on Boagworld we discuss using Evernote in your workflow, keeping up-to-date and when to learn responsive design.

Season 6:
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Paul Boag:
On this week’s Boagworld we discuss using Evernote in your workflow, keeping up to date and when to learn responsive design.

Hello and welcome to boagworld.com, the podcast for all those involved in designing, developing and running websites on a daily basis. My name is Paul Boag and joining me today is …

Marcus Lillington:
Marcus Lillington Oh you’ve made me feel all nostalgic, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Well I think – I stopped doing it because you’ve included it in the theme tune, so they…

Marcus Lillington:
I haven’t. We’ve had this conversation about…

Paul Boag:
It is – it is definitely there.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s definitely…

Paul Boag:
Boagworld.

Marcus Lillington:
…oh that’s there, but not the …

Paul Boag:
Yeah, I thought it is.

Marcus Lillington:
No.

Paul Boag:
Sure, it is. That’s spooky.

Marcus Lillington:
No.

Paul Boag:
I need to listen to an old week’s now. I don’t believe you. You’re lying to me. You always lie to me, Marcus, you never tell me the truth.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, like life is going to be really easy. Finding a new office is simple.

Paul Boag:
Don’t talk about that.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s going to be so simple, Paul.

Paul Boag:
We’ve got to leave the barn which sucks because they’re turning it into residential accommodation and our landlord is a very nice person, in case he is listening, which he never would do because he doesn’t know what a computer is, so that’s fine. Yeah, so we got to move and we’re having huge problems. Not finding an office, there are lovely offices out there. It’s trying to find somewhere that is central for everybody and is not a pain in the arse and I hate it. I hate it, it’s horrible, because I know that I’m going to upset somebody and I hate upsetting people. I just want everyone to love me. I’m going to blame you.

Marcus Lillington:
Blame me.

Paul Boag:
You can be the baddie. You want to go to central Winchester, don’t you, which would be very not pretty and nice…

Marcus Lillington:
I was completely…

Paul Boag:
And coffee shops and things.

Marcus Lillington:
…fine with the idea of not going there. We are having this conversation again on the podcast.

Paul Boag:
Fair enough.

Marcus Lillington:
But I got there, and thought it is not – all the coffee shops and the pubs and the restaurants all lovely, lovely and then I realized that the offices were nice and they weren’t too expensive and there is endless parking, but you just have to pay for it.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. It’s the commute, isn’t it? That’s what it all comes down to.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah and we all live in different places.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Because being in the center in a city like that would create good buzz and maybe we could create a little web design community. I wonder whether there is a web design community in Winchester.

Marcus Lillington:
Of course there is.

Paul Boag:
I bet there isn’t.

Marcus Lillington:
I bet there is.

Paul Boag:
South Hampton is where all the cool kids go.

Marcus Lillington:
Bet you, bet you, bet you, there is.

Paul Boag:
Well then we will start one. There will be by the time we’re done.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
So it’s very difficult because we decided we don’t want to be out in the sticks anymore, because we like things like mobile signal.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. We like electricity.

Paul Boag:
And Internet access. Yeah I know.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s great.

Paul Boag:
Funny that is.

Marcus Lillington:
Do you hear that noise? That’s me working the pedals to make the electrics work.

Paul Boag:
So there we go. So, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
I’m trying to find the – sorry, I’m being distracted because I’m trying to find today’s questions and failing miserably.

Paul Boag:
So perhaps – so that doesn’t matter, they’ve changed anyway. So I will deal with them although one of the names I don’t want to pronounce. Bogart, he has got a surname Bogart, how cool is that. Seriously, anyway.

Marcus Lillington:
Well maybe I’ll find it.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, let’s have a poll from the listeners.

Marcus Lillington:
Where we should move?

Paul Boag:
Where should we go, should we go to a super swanky very posh what is essentially a business park, isn’t it? There is no polite way of saying it.

Marcus Lillington:
Correct.

Paul Boag:
Which is super swanky and it’s all modern and it’s got lots of glass and coffee places and pods to work in and it’s all very arty, which has ample parking and it’s an easy commute or do we go into the center of Winchester to somewhere a little bit more bohemian and it’s got coffee shops and you can go into the High Street and go ciao to people but has got a difficult commute into the center of town. It depends whether you want to be in the beating heart of Winchester, I don’t know, is there a beating heart? Does it still beat, don’t you go to Winchester to die? Oh no, that’s Bournemouth.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t know.

Paul Boag:
That’s where people go to die, Bournemouth. It’s like an elephant graveyard for old people.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, like Eastbourne, same sort of thing, yeah.

Paul Boag:
Go to the coast to die.

Marcus Lillington:
Which sounds lovely, well not the dying bit.

Paul Boag:
But it’s – yeah, Winchester; it’s got a lot of history, used to be the capital of Britain.

Marcus Lillington:
It did.

Paul Boag:
And various other things that I can’t think of.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s got a cracking cathedral.

Paul Boag:
They do have a cracking cathedral, not as good as Salisbury Cathedral.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t know.

Paul Boag:
But Salisbury Cathedral has the Magna Carta.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s a very, very tall cathedral, Salisbury, a pointy one.

Paul Boag:
A pointy one.

Marcus Lillington:
Whereas this is more of your kind of minster big wide thing.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, which is quite nice – they’re both quite nice. I love Winchester actually. It would be quite nice in some ways. Oh, I don’t know. Oh, Marcus, I am so torn.

Marcus Lillington:
It would be easy for clients.

Paul Boag:
You just want to go to Winchester. You’re so biased. You don’t care about our employees.

Marcus Lillington:
I’m completely easy.

Paul Boag:
You don’t care about our employees.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, I do. I do a bit, not much but – I do really.

Paul Boag:
So hopefully we will make a decision before we get thrown out here.

Marcus Lillington:
I’m going on holiday on Friday, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Oh you are, aren’t you? I hate you.

Marcus Lillington:
Just thought I would throw that one in.

Paul Boag:
Oh, I so hate you. Where are you going?

Marcus Lillington:
I’m going to Tenerife –

Paul Boag:
Oh I hate you even more.

Marcus Lillington:
…to Puerto de la Cruz, which I’ve been to many times before.

Paul Boag:
I’m going to Bath.

Marcus Lillington:
I’m going to Bath as well.

Paul Boag:
Are you?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I’m seeing you on Thursday evening.

Paul Boag:
Oh, you’re coming as well now Thursday evening?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
I thought you weren’t.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, because Chris cant.

Paul Boag:
So I’m going – speaking at probably the most exciting sounding conference you will ever hear. The Institutional Web Manager’s Workshop – damn that sounds sexy, doesn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
It does.

Paul Boag:
It’s for kind of higher education public institution type things and it is actually a really cool conference. It’s one of my favoritest conferences.

Marcus Lillington:
We have a very big laugh.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. The great thing about it is it’s filled with bitter and twisted in-house web teams that want nothing more than just to get drunk and commiserate with one another and it’s great fun. I really enjoy it.

Marcus Lillington:
It is, yes.

Paul Boag:
They’re such a good bunch.

Marcus Lillington:
But we’re sponsoring a do on Thursday evening and I thought…

Paul Boag:
Oh yeah, we are.

Marcus Lillington:
…and I thought it would be good to go.

Paul Boag:
That’s very unusual to get people to part with our money. Well, we don’t, do we? We don’t normally sponsor things.

Marcus Lillington:
Not very often, but some things are worth it and this is one of them.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
So, but after that I’m going on holiday.

Paul Boag:
I hate you.

Marcus Lillington:
I was going to say I used to go there loads. My father-in-law had a timeshare, so when our kids were little and we were poor, he always used to say go and use the time share. So we went out there from when the kids were like little babies and then he sold the timeshare because they were – basically the building, a big tall building, it was one of the original hotels actually on the island. They turned it into apartments and the deal was too good so he sold it when they were, I don’t know ,11 and 12, our kids, or 10 and 12. Haven’t been back since, so we’re going with the kids and their boyfriends and girlfriends. So I may need a holiday after I come back.

Paul Boag:
I think a large amount of alcohol could be consumed.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. Yeah, mom and dad will be going to bed early, no question, yes.

Paul Boag:
I think that sounds very good. I’m very envious of you. I desperately want two weeks off now.

Marcus Lillington:
I’ve only got a week.

Paul Boag:
That’s not long enough, I don’t think.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t think it will be either. It will be like – I’m off and I’m back again. I will be back here in this room talking in this microphone.

Paul Boag:
I know. But – and as it is we’ve had – it’s the old thing, isn’t it, whenever you go away, you’ve essentially got to squeeze – you don’t get time off. All you do is take the time of when you’re away and then squeeze it into normal work hours. It’s like we’ve had to record an extra podcast because you’re away, which I feel like every five minutes at the minute we’re sitting down and doing a podcast.

Marcus Lillington:
But it is true though; I mean, all right, I’ve got the rest of this week and I’m going to be doing lots of documents, try to finish this, finish that. But then I will – we fly back, I think I arrive on the 6th of July in the evening, which is probably after this podcast has gone out.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, probably. No, it’s going out – oh I don’t know when it’s going out, who cares.

Marcus Lillington:
Anyway doesn’t matter, but and then I have a Sunday and then I’ll be back – and the first thing no doubt on that Monday morning I will be in here recording the podcast.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. It is ridiculous. And do our listeners appreciate us? Hell no.

Marcus Lillington:
No, they don’t.

Paul Boag:
Bastards to a man. All six of them.

Marcus Lillington:
I beeped out my F word last week.

Paul Boag:
Good.

Marcus Lillington:
Which made me laugh as I was recording it, so much.

Paul Boag:
Actually it makes it even funnier beeping it out, doesn’t it really? That’s kind of better…

Marcus Lillington:
I was having fun.

Paul Boag:
Good.

Marcus Lillington:
With my editing tools.

Paul Boag:
Yay; right. So, I’ve got some good questions this week. So I really want to get into them if we can. I’m actually squeezing in two questions for the price of one.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
Bargain.

Can you use Evernote to manage web projects?

Not sure if this is apt for podcast or not but curious to know if you use Evernote for project/task management. If so how?

Gary Watson

So, I don’t know whether this – no, it’s going to bore you. There is no way around it, Marcus.

Marcus Lillington:
Which one is it? You changed all the questions since –

Paul Boag:
I’m talking – no, I only changed the last one, because we’ve already done it. We are talking about Evernote.

Marcus Lillington:
I like the idea of Evernote.

Paul Boag:
We’ve talked about it before in the podcast. So I don’t want to spend too long in it.

Marcus Lillington:
We did it in the app series, didn’t we?

Paul Boag:
Yeah, we did. The reason I’m coming back to it is a question – this is the two in one question.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
Which is from – have you got the questions in front of you?

Marcus Lillington:
I have this one.

Paul Boag:
I will let you read them because this is your thing, I don’t want to kind of tread on your toes. I know this is your moment to shine so…

Marcus Lillington:
I look forward to this every week.

Paul Boag:
I know.

Marcus Lillington:
You know how much – it got me down this morning on this Monday morning, now we’re in Monday afternoon. Anyway, Gary Watson, not sure if this is apt for podcast or not, the podcast or not, but curious to know if you use Evernote for project/task management? If so, how?

Paul Boag:
Good question, Gary, good question. I like that question. Thank you, Gary. See, I’m starting to encourage our listeners because too many people say we’re rude about the people that send in questions.

Marcus Lillington:
We?

Paul Boag:
Me. So Gary, great name, strong name, like it and good question.

Marcus Lillington:
Beautiful British name.

Paul Boag:
Beautiful British name, yeah. Absolutely.

Marcus Lillington:
Gary Watson that is a beautiful British name, no doubt about it.

Paul Boag:
Gary.

Marcus Lillington:
We don’t use Evernote for project/task management. What’s the next question?

Paul Boag:
No, that’s a lie. That’s a lie, liar, pants are on fire. We do. Marcus doesn’t. So well, I got to say we are badly ad hoc, aren’t we, with our project management tools?

Marcus Lillington:
I think we…

Paul Boag:
Different people have got different favorites.

Marcus Lillington:
…have recently made a decision to go back to Basecamp as the best of the many evils out there.

Paul Boag:
Yes. We have tried many tools. We have tried Basecamp, indeed. We have tried – what was that awful one, JIRA.

Marcus Lillington:
Still use that.

Paul Boag:
That’s the trouble; we still use all of them.

Marcus Lillington:
Because it’s got JIRA, if you’ve got a really complicated custom development project, it is the best one for shared task. I’ve done this…

Paul Boag:
Bug tracking kind of thing.

Marcus Lillington:
… I need to pass it on to so and so, whereas Basecamp does do that, but it’s a bit clunky. But JIRA is just clunky.

Paul Boag:
It is damn ugly. It is damn ugly.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah and we tried Trello as well.

Paul Boag:
Trello, yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
Trello, you think it’s good, but it’s not.

Paul Boag:
It really looks really cool on the surface, but actually it’s quite limiting. It’s great for tasks but then you can’t do anything other than tasks. And even that it’s…

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, well you can do things like saving documents associated with tasks but it’s kind of like I don’t know where it is, and the view to it isn’t – it doesn’t make sense and things like that. If you’re painting your bedroom say, brilliant.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s the best tool there is, but if you’ve got to do anything slightly more complicated than that, then I don’t like it.

Paul Boag:
So I had this brainwave, didn’t I?

Marcus Lillington:
You did.

Paul Boag:
I thought now Evernote have instigated tasks and reminders and things like that, let’s move everything into Evernote and get business for Evernote. I have to say I was bitterly disappointed. I thought it was going to solve all that, I thought it was going to have the kind of Wiki like capabilities of JIRA, the Basecamp capabilities for managing tasks and Trello – the kind of Trello task key things. I thought it was going to be a big improvement over basic Evernote; turned out it really wasn’t. To me it feels like Evernote for business is just kind of been oh, we got to make some money.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, put business on it, charge them fourteen times higher.

Paul Boag:
And then charge a lot. So essentially the only differences I can see between business and normal is that you can share, you can create a repository of documents…

Marcus Lillington:
Which is a good thing.

Paul Boag:
… which is good, yeah, that was my favorite.

Marcus Lillington:
You can do that on Basecamp.

Paul Boag:
You can create a repository document, then anybody can go in and sign up to any of those repositories that they want to be kept up to date on. The other thing is you get more space than you do on any of the others, which to be honest isn’t that big a deal because if you have the Evernote professional you get a gig a month and I’ve never got anywhere near to that. Another thing that they have got is that the business notes that you create are owned by the business so if you leave those notes are all yours. No, they’re all the company’s, but also you can nicely separate your personal notes from your work notes and that kind of stuff. But it – so it would make – it is great for storing documents in, it’s great for managing assets related to stuff, so I wrote – recently wrote a podcast – sorry a blog post on Evernote and shared how I use it. So I will put a link in the show notes to that.

So it’s a great thing for putting an inspiration library and facts and figures you might want to reference in a proposal, previous proposals, blog posts, it’s great for storing that kind of information. And it works really well as a Wiki; you can join pages together and that kind of stuff. Where it sucks and where it can’t really be used as a project management is with tasks. Yes, you can do tasks, but you cannot – you can only assign tasks to notes, not to people. And that is a fundamental problem if you work in teams. If you don’t work in teams, absolutely fine. I think you could easily use Evernote as your one stop project management tool to keep all of your notes, all of your tasks, all your files, all your contact information, everything relating to a project could all be kept in Evernote quite easily. As soon as you add multiple people into it, it falls apart because you can’t assign tasks to various people.

Marcus Lillington:
Does it do messages? Because that’s the best thing about Basecamp.

Paul Boag:
What do you mean by messages? Give me an example.

Marcus Lillington:
Say, if I have – I’ve got a thing that I want to discuss with the client that is about the project and there is not already a current thread on it, it’s threads basically. I can create a new one and I can assign who I want to be emailed to say go and look at this message, and they just click on it via their email, pops up in the browser, type in their reply and you get a nicely threaded – and you can attach documents to it. It’s the best thing about Basecamp by quite a long way.

Paul Boag:
No. I mean you can send emails to Basecamp, you can have that thready conversation with it in emails and have an email address copied in on it, which so that anything replies to goes into Base – into Evernote, but it’s not as good as the messages in Basecamp. It’s not – I mean Evernote sell this as, remember everything. It’s a repository of information; it’s not a project management tool I don’t think.

Marcus Lillington:
And the file section of Basecamp isn’t very good. You can’t categorize things, it’s all just in kind of – it’s on the date you upload it into the system. You can search on stuff, but it’s – being able to categorize – you probably can categorize files in Basecamp, but to me it’s just one long list and obviously if you’ve been doing a project for two years, there is a lot of stuff in it and it’s not that easy to find stuff and I would think Evernote is probably better for that.

Paul Boag:
It is much better at that kind of thing. I mean it brings me on to the second question I’m going to kind of do as two in one.

I’d love a self hosted way to tag/categorize client images so that any team member can search for them later.

Raushan Farjan

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
How would you say his name? Go on.

Marcus Lillington:
Raushan Farjan, we’ve seen him before.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, he is in episode 13, which is next week.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh blimey.

Paul Boag:
Because we’re recording in the wrong order, because for some reason I thought that would be a good idea.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
I don’t know why. So he is on next week. Here is a tip, a preview even.

Marcus Lillington:
Should I read it?

Paul Boag:
Yeah, go on then.

Marcus Lillington:
I would love a self-hosted way to tag/categorize client images so that any team member can search for them later.

Paul Boag:
Evernote is a perfect example of dealing with that. You can clip images off the web, you can use – you can drag and drop images in, you can email yourself images, great easy way to bring them all together, you can tag them to your heart’s content, you can put them in notable – multiple notebooks, you can share that with as many team members as you want and it is perfect for that. Absolutely perfect and that’s exactly how I use it and it is yeah, flawless, you can have shared, put that, make that public online if you want to, really is an exceptionally good way for doing that.

There are other tools out there, but a lot of the other tools are either hosted online, which I find – I mean he talks about self-hosting, obviously with Evernote what they’re doing is downloading it onto your local machine, which I find so much better if you’re wanting to work through a lot of images. If they’re online it can get really painful. So there are services online, but I’m not a great fan of those. There are other services like LittleSnapper for example which you can keep stuff online – sorry, offline, but they can’t be shared easily between multiple people. You can’t share a whole library with other people very easily. There are some other tools that I’ve used over the years, but this is by far the best in my opinion, especially now you got Skitch integration into it all as well, that enables you to add stuff even more easily. So I really, really recommend that, works a treat, do that.

So Evernote has got its place. But it’s not a project management tool, it is a document repository, I think it’s the best way of thinking about it. And once you kind of see it as that and you use it as that, then it’s great. Only exception to that is if you work by yourself in which case certainly use it for project management as well because you can put as many tasks in there as you want.

Marcus Lillington:
So maybe we should use Evernote business in conjunction with Basecamp.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely we could do, but I was just trying to reduce costs, I think, and trying…

Marcus Lillington:
I quite like the idea of having a shared repository.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. I mean it is not, I’m not saying we shouldn’t go back to it but it didn’t do what I thought it was going to do.

Marcus Lillington:
So you dumped it.

Paul Boag:
So I dumped it. I did dump it for other reasons as well, which is that for me because I’m such a heavy Evernote user, it kind of just screwed with the things I liked about Evernote. So it does things like you can’t put business notes – there is stuff in the repository can’t be organized into folders, which sucks. Things like if you are using it on iOS, your business notebooks are all separated out separately, so you might have nicely filed them away in your system, on your Mac and it goes I’m getting all of this and I’m just going to arrange them however the hell I want, then there is the whole – okay I accept this is OCD on my part. But I have my way of tagging things. I like to tag things in certain ways and then you come along and you don’t tag like I do. In fact, you probably don’t even bother tagging. In fact, to be honest if you don’t bother tagging that’s better because I can then go in and appose my tags on your notes. But it’s people like say if me and Pete did it where he uses Evernote as well and he has his tagging system and my tagging system won’t match his and then we would have tag war and it would end in blood and violence and it would all be bad and we’d end up falling out.

Marcus Lillington:
You do have tag rugby. Tag rugby is a thing.

Paul Boag:
Is it?

Marcus Lillington:
It is and it’s what little kids play and they have like little labels sticking…

Paul Boag:
Oh yeah, I’ve played that.

Marcus Lillington:
You’ve played it?

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
Really?

Paul Boag:
Don’t forget…

Marcus Lillington:
You’re old.

Paul Boag:
I knew, I played tag rugby as an adult.

Marcus Lillington:
Really?

Paul Boag:
Yes, because we played variations of tag rugby when I did my youth group.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
We actually – our tag rugby maybe didn’t work quite like so your – physical contact was allowed and so it ended up people pinning each other down on the ground, trying to get off the tags and then we ended up in hospital.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
One of the many occasions when I was running that youth group when we ended up in hospital, the worst injury, right, this is ridiculous. We went out to a building camps, cutting down trees and all this kind of stuff and they have knives and it’s like shit, we’re going to end up in the hospital, this is so bad and we had taken one minibus as well so we couldn’t even take one person off. So we gave them the lecture, must not…you know…go on and on and on and they were – they were being really good, so careful with these blooming knives and then some girl grabbed hold of a leaf and pulled and it just sliced right through her hand, blood everywhere and it just cut right through her hand. I’ve never seen something do that to somebody’s hand before.

Marcus Lillington:
The common razor leaf.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, it was something; it was like maybe the razor blade. And so we all had to give up. We were only there about half an hour and we had to turn around and all go back to casualty, so it was a complete mess. Anyway, we don’t care about that. So yeah, Evernote not good for project management, great document repository.

How do you keep your team up-to-date with technology?

How do you keep a company as a whole up to date with new
technologies? With always limited time and strict deadlines I don’t dare
to use big new technologies for a project. Every new technology I’ve
learned I have done in my spare time. I can’t ask my collegues to make
that same sacrifice but I have a fear that we as a company are getting
behind.

Leon Bogaert

Marcus Lillington:
There’s a name.

Paul Boag:
Wow. That’s not a British name.

Marcus Lillington:
No. That’s not a beautiful British name.

Paul Boag:
But how cool a name. I would so love to be called Bogart. Although I bet you get called Boggie like what I did.

Marcus Lillington:
Like you do.

Paul Boag:
I did. Yeah, people don’t tend to call me it anymore.

Marcus Lillington:
I was highly disappointed that when you were on the tele proper, they called you Mr. Boag.

Paul Boag:
And they got it correct. He was right. It’s me that’s wrong.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, but you should have said to him this is how I like you to pronounce my name.

Paul Boag:
No, I said you can pronounce either way. I don’t care. It’s all my granddad’s fault. I’ve told this story before, haven’t I?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
So he was perfectly correct calling me Boag.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. Fair enough.

Paul Boag:
I think it was fine.

Marcus Lillington:
Would you like me to read out what Leon has to says.

Paul Boag:
Go for it, Leon.

Marcus Lillington:
Leon has to says…

Paul Boag:
Has to says, good English there. Well done.

Marcus Lillington:
How do you keep a company as a whole up to date with new technologies? With always limited time and strict deadlines, I don’t dare to use big new technologies for a project. Every new technology I’ve learned I have done in my spare time. I can’t ask my colleagues to make that same sacrifice, but I have a fear that we as a company are getting behind.

Paul Boag:
Good question. That really is a good question. Not that I’m implying Gary’s wasn’t really a good question. I’m just saying that I think Gary’s question was good. This is a scale above good. Excellent, that’s what it is. It’s an excellent question.

Marcus Lillington:
Just leave the quality of the question alone.

Paul Boag:
Should I – have I overdone that, have I overkilled it?

Marcus Lillington:
Let’s move on to the content of the question.

Paul Boag:
So it was a good question.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s all right.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, when I say it’s a good question, what I’m doing is stalling while I try and work out what the answer is.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. Well, obviously I’ve already got it.

Paul Boag:
Okay, go on then.

Marcus Lillington:
Listen to the Boagworld podcast. That’s how I’ve kept up to date with technology over the years and it’s great.

Paul Boag:
It is how you’ve done it. It does work to a degree, but…

Marcus Lillington:
Because it forces you to research, and then I have to sit here and listen to it all.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, but – so you’re encouraging basically everybody to set up their own podcast and then…

Marcus Lillington:
No, just listen to this one.

Paul Boag:
Oh right, okay. That’s fair enough.

Marcus Lillington:
There you go.

Paul Boag:
No I think that’s a shit idea. I was going to say it was a good question again. Okay, how can I answer this question without commenting on its goodness? For me it’s something you have to make time for and you have to set aside some time for people to learn stuff. Now that is difficult and we have tried various approaches over the years. We have tried kind of Friday afternoons, haven’t we, and all kinds of different things. None of…

Marcus Lillington:
I used to like our little show and tell sessions.

Paul Boag:
Yeah they were good.

Marcus Lillington:
What happened to those? We could do – keep doing that again.

Paul Boag:
We could do that again.

Marcus Lillington:
Because yeah, it did have its days, that’s something you can’t do. I think we used to do it once a month or was it every week, I can’t –

Paul Boag:
No, once a month.

Marcus Lillington:
Was it?

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
Sure?

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t think it was.

Paul Boag:
Okay.

Marcus Lillington:
I think it was more often than that. But anyway, so you kind of ran out of ideas, oh I can’t decide what to do or maybe did every fortnight, but anyway I reckon we should do that again.

Paul Boag:
Maybe, because that did work well where people could come in and do a show and tell of something they had learned and we had prizes and stuff like that. And we did a – an afternoon a week or a couple of hours a week, I can’t remember what it was. That worked for a little while. Something else we’ve done, we just sent an email round this morning saying if anybody wants to be signed up for Treehouse then they can do that. So that’s another option, link in the show notes to Treehouse. We have had in the past a conference budget, so that encouraging people to go and spend their conference budget and attend a conference.

I have to say, nothing beats actually building stuff on real projects. And you say that you’re worried about you don’t dare use big new technologies for a project, I think you need to have the guts to go for that sometimes. Now that may mean that you exceed the budget that you agreed with the client and that you have to swallow some of the price of that. You talk about limited time and strict deadlines, while I think those – often those are up for negotiation, especially if you say to a client look this is new technology we really want to try, we haven’t done it before, we’re not going to charge you for doing it on this project, would you stretch the deadline a little bit to accommodate that. I think that will work. It’s just using it for real and having a specific thing to try it out on makes such a difference. I think doing stuff in the abstract will only get you so far and it’s until you’ve got real deadlines and real pressure and real requirements to deliver that you really get to know something.

So, I would encourage you to leave a little bit more time in your projects, even add a little bit more in budget if you can do to allow you to experiment and do some of these things. I don’t think there is any better way of doing it really. The other thing that I would advise and this is scary, but we’ve done it now a couple of times, which is just decide that’s the way you’re going to do it. One day we decided we were going to build with web standards and we just swapped overnight, didn’t we basically? Every new project we built with web standards, we decided we were going to build every website responsive.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
And it just was the way we did things and yes we lost money for a while, when we try to do that because it’s a painful process to make that switch. But with crucial new technologies that are becoming a big deal, I think that is really the only way you can do it, is just jump in and commit yourself and sometimes you’re going to fail over that and sometimes you’re going to get that wrong and you’re going to commit yourself to the wrong thing and you then have to change your mind and you have to dig yourself out of that hole. But I think it takes bravery and I think that’s one of the most important things to progress is having bravery and not being afraid to fail faced with new technologies. I feel this overwhelming desire to once again quote Winston Churchill that I always do, about success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. And it’s so true. You have to fail, you have to be willing to fail and try new technology and go tits up. And you might go oh! well, I can’t risk, take risk on client projects and I can understand that, but as long as you’re willing to clear up your own mess when you screw it up and when there is a potential for a client to end up with something even bigger and even better if you succeed, then I think that’s fine and talk to the client upfront about it.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh yeah, definitely. And if they seem nervous then…

Paul Boag:
Then don’t do it, do it with another client instead. But I think as long as you’re willing to take the consequences if it goes wrong, then they are oftentimes open to doing something new. Don’t you agree, Marcus?

Marcus Lillington:
I do. I’ve also got a joke. What do you call a woman who throws her bills on the fire?

Paul Boag:
Why are we doing a joke now?

Marcus Lillington:
Because I just picked it up.

Paul Boag:
What do you call a woman that throws bills on the fire?

Marcus Lillington:
Bernadette.

Paul Boag:
Put it down. Put it down and step away from it. You’re not in…

Marcus Lillington:
So many jokes.

Paul Boag:
And all of which are terrible.

Marcus Lillington:
I quite like that one.

Paul Boag:
So yes, you weren’t at all engaged with that whole segment because you were looking through your notebook. You just don’t care. To Leon this is an important question to Leon.

Marcus Lillington:
You could have just answered it. Yeah, just do it. There you go, done. Move on.

Paul Boag:
But it’s that lack of detail. This might be a big turning point in Leon’s business. Also, I mean the other thing I think to say, if you’re the boss then you need to make time for your staff to be able to do that kind of stuff.

Marcus Lillington:
Well his biggest concern was that they were lagging behind. Well if you’re really concerned then you might do something about it.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, I mean, what you got to do is you got to say what is the primary asset for any web design business? It’s the people. What is – so you have to invest in those people and you have to invest in their skills and yes that is a big cost, but it is a cost that you have to bear. Things move too fast in the web and I’ve seen too many web design companies falter and die because they basically become irrelevant. You also need to consider these people’s careers. They’re going to – I know of people that we used to work with in Townpages, before we set up Headscape…

Marcus Lillington:
Townpages.

Paul Boag:
I know that’s a long time ago, and they’re still turning out the same code that they were back then and they’re never going to get a proper job as a web designer now. So you’ve got a commitment to your staff to honor there as well. So, I think we’ve ranted on about that long enough.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
Should we talk about what Kris has got to say?

Do I need to learn responsive design from day one?

I’m starting to learn web design. Do I need to start learning mobile-first responsive design even as a beginner or can I wait a bit?

Kris Traughber

So yes, as I said our final question is from Kris, Kris Traughber. I think…

Marcus Lillington:
Traughber.

Paul Boag:
Traughber.

Marcus Lillington:
Maybe.

Paul Boag:
Maybe, we don’t know, but it is Kris with a K. European, I think.

Marcus Lillington:
Not a beautiful British name.

Paul Boag:
European. Beautiful what name do we reckon, Kris, Kris with a K? Germany?

Marcus Lillington:
Danish.

Paul Boag:
Danish.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t know.

Paul Boag:
Beautiful Danish name. There we go, just decided, whether you’re Danish or not. Yes, yeah question. We’ve got to read the question.

Marcus Lillington:
What’s the question, because I haven’t got it?

Paul Boag:
I’m so not with it.

Marcus Lillington:
I cannot read it.

Paul Boag:
Right, I’m starting to learn web design. Good for you, good career choice, encourage you lots. We are encouraging our listeners today. Good career choice, you be a web designer, you can do it, live the dream, Kris, live the dream. Do I need to start learning mobile first responsive design even as a beginner or can I wait a bit? Good that you know about responsive design. I’m encouraging you about well you’re obviously well read. Maybe listen to a great podcast that helped you, that might be it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, that will be it.

Paul Boag:
So do you need to learn responsive design out of the gate – do you know I included this question…

Marcus Lillington:
Because you don’t know.

Paul Boag:
…because I don’t know. They are the questions I like.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Don’t ask questions you know.

Marcus Lillington:
Because I don’t know the answer to that either.

Paul Boag:
There is no one obvious answer to it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, no.

Paul Boag:
Because it’s a really good question, not the kind of question I ever had to worry about. I think – I went backwards and forwards and backwards and forwards when I was trying to think of an answer to this, which always is a sign of a good question in my view.

Marcus Lillington:
This is a good – is this an even better question than the last question?

Paul Boag:
I don’t know, I liked the last one, I think the last one was more practical for the majority of my listeners. Maybe fewer of them are just learning for the first time.

Marcus Lillington:
True.

Paul Boag:
So it’s more of a niche question, doesn’t mean it’s not as good.

Marcus Lillington:
But basically the answer is yes, that he should learn it.

Paul Boag:
Is that what you settled on?

Marcus Lillington:
Yep.

Paul Boag:
That’s what I settled on as well. Why did you settle on it?

Marcus Lillington:
Because it’s part of the thing now.

Paul Boag:
The thing?

Marcus Lillington:
So therefore it’s part of what you should be doing as a web designer therefore it’s just part of it, so you should be learning it.

Paul Boag:
Okay. Let me play devil’s advocate. I did settle and agree on the same answer, but what went through my head is do you need that extra level of complications when you’re starting out?

Marcus Lillington:
It’s just part of what you’re learning.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
If you want to get into which module you should learn first, calling them and using educational terms then I don’t know. But it should be part of what you’re learning.

Paul Boag:
I think – yeah, I mean obviously you start by learning just how to code an HTML document where that is by default responsive. And this is where I kind of came to it, that yeah you do need to learn it straight out because what I think you would then do after you’ve coded an HTML page, you know how to code an HTML page that is responsive. The idea is you keep things being responsive, you don’t break what you’ve already build. So, as you layer then CSS on top of it, you build a – not a responsive website but a fluid website that will just expand and contract to whatever size that you want. And then you layer on top of that your break points, which are the kind of first part of responsiveness and then once you’ve added your break points in then you’ve got to start going in and going okay what am I going to do about this navigation that doesn’t work below a certain size et cetera. So yes, I think you are right. It’s interesting that out of your huge ignorance you came to the right answer, Marcus. That is well done you.

Marcus Lillington:
What do you think you can draw from that then, Paul? That I’m very intelligent.

Paul Boag:
No, I just…

Marcus Lillington:
There you go.

Paul Boag:
No, I draw that you have been an attentive –

Marcus Lillington:
Lucky.

Paul Boag:
…no, an attentive student. That you as the padawan and me as the master, you have learned from me over the years.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, Paul, that’s exactly what it is.

Paul Boag:
Oh god. Kris, I think that’s the way you should go. But code yourself an HTML page, right. Once you’ve coded yourself an HTML page, then make your website and make it fluid. So in other words, make it so that as you expand and contract the browser everything still works in it. You’ll get stuck when you come to images, right, and what you then need to do is make sure you don’t define the width and the height of the image in the HTML. Take out the width and the height that you define in the HTML and define it instead in your CSS, so your images will now scale.

Then what you need to do is start adding in break points, right. So those break points you’re using your media queries which you can look up easy enough and you can set immediate queries for where – don’t worry about the different devices, just put in a media query where your design starts looking shit. So that could be as you scale up bigger, eventually your line lengths start getting really long, all right. And you might think oh, that line length is getting too long to read, what I need to do is move – break it into two columns. So put in a break point then in your media queries and break it into multiple columns. Equally as you scale down, you might go oh, this image is – sorry, this text is too narrow now, I need to make it one column instead of two and so on and so on. And the same with images, when an image starts to scale up beyond its original size that then maybe either you need to put in a different image there, a bigger image or you need to break it into multiple columns or adjust it in some ways and just kind of rinse and repeat that of going through and just adjusting the design as it begins to break down in its fluid nature and that will give you a basic responsive site. And then you can start getting really clever with things like navigation that maybe as you scale down just don’t work no matter how much you mess around with the kind of break points, so then you’ll need to swap out for a different form of navigation or whatever.

So that’s really why I think fundamentally as Marcus just said that that is why you should do it from the beginning because it is a fundamental part of your building process now. And it’s just building on top of fluid. We built fluid websites for years and all you’re doing is taking that little step further by adding in media queries. Yes, there are all kinds of advanced techniques you can start doing in terms of image replacement and scaling your font sizes and all that kind of stuff. But that is – media queries are your basic building blocks of responsive design. Right, I think that about covers that one?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
I feel like we’ve covered everything.

Marcus Lillington:
We are done.

Paul Boag:
So I have a joke this week.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay, good.

Paul Boag:
It’s been sent to me by Jelma Borst.

Marcus Lillington:
Well done, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Good Slavic name, I reckon. Borst.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. It could be, yes.

Paul Boag:
Great. Right, okay. Here we go. A woman gets on the bus with her baby; the driver says oh, that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen. The woman stalks off to the rear of the bus and sits down in disgust. She turns to the man next to her and says that driver has just insulted me. The man says, that’s disgraceful, you go and give him a telling off; I’ll hold your monkey for you. Thank you, Jelma, that’s great, I like that. You got one?

Marcus Lillington:
I have.

Paul Boag:
Go on then.

Marcus Lillington:
This is from Ian Lesky. We’re getting – you know, getting lower every week but I really like this.

Paul Boag:
Used up all his good ones.

Marcus Lillington:
No, he sent this through today, about an hour ago. Which cheese – sorry talk properly, Marcus. Which cheese should you use to get a panda out of a tree?

Paul Boag:
No, no idea.

Marcus Lillington:
Camembert.

Paul Boag:
That is terrible. That is so bad.

Marcus Lillington:
But he knows the kind of jokes that I like.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, he does.

Marcus Lillington:
I apologize to other people who sent me jokes, but yours are all too – far too highbrow for my liking.

Paul Boag:
Perhaps you need to send those ones to me.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. That’s like – there is another one. There is another cheese joke. Yeah, how do you hide a little horse? Which cheese do you use to hide a little horse?

Paul Boag:
Go on.

Marcus Lillington:
Mascarpone. Which is pretty good. Come on, that’s a good one.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, yeah. Maybe, who knows? All right. So if you want to vote on which was the best joke this week, you can do so at boagworld.com/season/6 and select episode 12. Thank you very much for listening. We will turn again next week when you already know one of the people that’s going to submit a question because we mentioned earlier. Do you want me to tell you what’s going to be on next week’s show? This is really weird.

Marcus Lillington:
I can’t remember, but go on then.

Paul Boag:
It’s really cool being able to say that. We are going to talk about…

Marcus Lillington:
What’s on next week’s show?

Paul Boag:
Next week on Boagworld we’re going to talk about hiring subcontractors, writing a good brief, and what to put in your resume.

Marcus Lillington:
I do remember that, resume.

Paul Boag:
Because didn’t I say resume.

Marcus Lillington:
You did say.

Paul Boag:
CV is what we say over here.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Curriculum vitae, because that’s how cool we are, we speak Latin.

Marcus Lillington:
Indeed.

Paul Boag:
Shove that in your pipe and smoke it Mr. American person that says resume.

Marcus Lillington:
Do you think French people say resume as well?

Paul Boag:
It must be a French word, so I’m guessing.

Marcus Lillington:
It does sound like a French word.

Paul Boag:
It does the way I say it.

Marcus Lillington:
But I don’t reckon they say it like that.

Paul Boag:
What, resume.

Marcus Lillington:
Resume.

Paul Boag:
Probably not. Anyway, thank you for listening and join us again next week.

Marcus Lillington:
Bye.

Our sincere thanks to the guys at PodsInPrint for transcribing this show.

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