Telerik Rolls Out New Translation Module in Sitefinity 8.1

Last week, a few members of the staff gathered together to learn about some of the enhancements in Sitefinity 8.1. The one that got many excited about is the new translation module. This will be available in the Enterprise edition.

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The translation module will allow you to provide multilingual content to your visitors, members and other constituents.

So, how does it work?

According to Telerik (the makers of Sitefinity), this module can integrate with your third-party translating service, or you can use the CMS’s default, which is integrated with Lionbridge Freeway, a translation management portal (via Clay Tablet). Once you have it set up, and depending on your third-party provider, you can:

  • Export content as XLIFF files to your translation agency and import the translated file
  • Integrate with a third party’s translation services directly or via its FTP.

In addition, you can also:

  • Review the status of translation content in the module
  • Manage revisions, errors, etc. along with the third-party agency, and
  • Preview content before pushing it live.

Why We Are Pumped About This:

In today’s global market, organizations need to provide multilingual content to their markets in multiple languages.

As Telerik’s Anton Hristov says, “…the Sitefinity translation management solution simplifies the translation management process by eliminating the parts that are tedious, time-consuming, inefficient and prone to human error. “

To learn more about this new enhancement, check out Sitefinity’s recent blog post
For a look inside other features check out this webinar

A/B Testing: 3 Things to Test in Your Email Campaigns

Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective tools. Companies send out billions of emails daily to promote their products and services, but how effective are they? According to marketing experts, an open rate of between 15-20% is pretty good.Yikes! This means between 80 and 85% of your recipients are not opening your messages!

keys on a computer keyboard So how can you improve your email marketing campaign’s open and click-through rates? Testing, more specifically, A/B Testing.

A/B testing lets you split your list and test variables to see which version works better for your customer base. If you’re using a email platform like MailChimp or Exact Target, A/B testing is a built-in feature. Here are a few things to test in your next campaign:

  • Subject Line — Your subject line is most probably the most critical part of your email. Test the number of characters, call to action versus no call to action, headlines, etc.
  • Delivery Time – Conventional wisdom tells us not to email on Mondays and Fridays after business hours, but is that right for your target audience? One Matrix Group client achieved a higher open rate when the organization began sending its e-newsletter on Sunday evening. Test day of the week and time of day.
  • Content – Click-through rates are just as important as open rates. Tweak your headlines, change the focus, include or exclude images, and rearrange stories. These little things can have a huge impact on your email’s click-through rate.

Are you conducting A/B testing on your email campaigns? What are you discovering?

What Will Make Wearable Tech Stay?

In 2015, living without a smartphone seems unrealistic. We depend on our phones to ease and organize the whirlwind of our daily tasks. We’ve integrated technology into every aspect of our lives.  Whether it’s counting the number of steps  we’ve taken in a day or constantly communicating with our friends, family, and clients, technology has been completely assimilated into our personal and professional lives. Since the eruption of the tech age, communication has been primarily taken place through our phones. However, the environment is evolving as wearable tech is developing.

So, what is the hype about these new products? Is wearable tech practical with all the different  functionalities available?

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Courtesy Kārlis Dambrāns under the Creative Commons license.

We asked a few folks at Matrix Group what they thought about wearable tech and what functionalities would appeal to them. Here’s what they had to say:

  •  Wearable tech should be Bluetooth accessible and synced to your smart phone, so you easily can see incoming calls without holding your phone.
  •  It should be able to control your music by operating the play/skip/pause/volume controls, as well as view what track is playing and what track is next in the queue.
  • There should be an activity tracking feature to record daily activities such as walking, running, etc.
  • The design should be subtle and not ostentatious.

What’s Next for Wearable Tech?

As more people hop on the bandwagon, we believe companies will respond by:

  • Improving the overall user experience
  • Providing more functionalities
  • Adding a more appealing design that will compliment multiple fashion styles

Wearable tech is altering our lives at a rapid pace. It is here to stay. Major fashion brands are getting their foot in the door with the tech world. Intel, which has produced a smart bracelet to track sleep and fitness , has partnered with Luxottica, an Italian eyewear company which controls 80% of the world’s major eyewear brands, to produce fashionable accessories that will retain the functions of today’s wearable tech. This is one example, but it certainly looks as if this will become the next breakthrough in today’s tech age.

What functionalities would you like? Tell us what you think!

Why Responsive Icons are Awesome

As web designers and developers, we love icons. They share so much information without ever having to resort to words. Don’t you agree? But in a time where more and more consumers are accessing websites via mobile devices, the icons we’ve used for so long may not look that great.

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One of the problems that can happen with icons is that they can get blurry or distorted when you maximize your browser window or view a site on a phone. Let me tell you that as a designer, this is a problem. Blurry and distorted is bad.

A solution for this is responsive icons. You’ve definitely seen it, but you probably had no reason to notice it. That’s how you know it was done right.

In short, the larger the viewport’s size, the larger the icon. When you view it on the smallest screen available, the icon will show fewer details and scale to the appropriate size. Not only will it fit your screen, it will be sharp. You’ll definitely notice if it’s not a responsive icon. I promise.

Some image files are better than others for this purpose.

You’re used to .gif and .jpg files, and they’re good for what they are: pictures and larger-scale graphics. .png files are a good fit here, but get familiar with .svg files. They’re vector files, which means they’re infinitely scalable and will look good on whatever device you’re using.

With most of the world accessing the internet primarily on their phones, you’re going to appreciate the beauty of responsive icons and how much time and money they’re going to save you.

The Battle of the Video Editors: Final Cut vs After Effects

finalcutVideo has become a big part of web marketing, though many organizations don’t have a big budget to hire an outside firm to create videos. There are different tools that make it easier for organizations to create professional videos. Here at Matrix Group we like to use Final Cut Pro, Apple’s video editing program.

Recently we’ve started using Adobe After Effects, which provides some of the same functionalities as Final Cut Pro. So which one is better? What are the differences between them?

To answer these questions we asked two skilled Matrix Group staffers: Sarah Jedrey and Andi Simons. Sarah, a junior front end developer, has used Final Cut Pro to create multiple videos for Matrix Group, as well as clients. Andi, our interactive designer, has been working with After Effects.

Final Cut Pro

So what is Final Cut? The program helps users edit and produce videos. Final Cut Pro can be used by people who make videos as a hobby or as professional filmmakers. So yes, as a newbie filmmaker, you can use this.

“It’s pretty intuitive to use, in comparison. There are great tutorial-videos to find the answer to the questions you have,” says Sarah.

Other pros include:

  • One of the pros is that the program is considered industry standard and is easy to use.
  • What makes the program easy? Well, the program has good documentation and a knowledgable user base, so it’s easy to find what you are looking for.

A couple of disadvantages of using Final Cut are that:

  • It’s only available for Mac devices
  • It’s a little bit more expensive than other editing programs.

After Effects

Adobe After Effects is a program that you can use for making motion graphic videos.

Pros and Cons

“It is easy to pick up the basics but challenging to go deeper into the program” says Andi.

Other pros for using After Effects are:

  • You can add 3D effects
  • Adobe offers great tutorials to help first-time users to get comfortable with the programs
  • It comes with Adobe’s Creative Cloud Subscription
  • It’s a lot more powerful when it comes to motion graphics and text.

A couple of disadvantages that we discovered with After-Effects were:

  • It’s more difficult to edit and render videos compared to Final Cut
  • The interface is not very user-friendly, making the learning curve steeper

Who’s the winner?

While After Effects allows editors to create cool graphics and animations, the user interface makes it challenging to create videos compared to Final Cut, which has a straightforward, easy-to-use interface.

So, for Matrix Group, we would pick Final Cut Pro overall for its ease of use.

So, in this competition, we think Final Cut Pro is the winner.