Katie Holmes

Content Manager and Tester

Mother’s Day Gift Guide for the Techie Mom

Moms love tech. Not sure what to get mom for mother’s day? Flowers are always nice, so are candles and perfume. However, moms want those cool tech gadgets that streamline their hectic, schedule driven lives. Here are my recommendations:

(And if you’re curious as to why I’m an expert, my almost three year old is proof that I’ve earned my mom card….)

  1. The Tile Mate – WE CAN NEVER FIND OUR KEYS. This little Tile Mate is an affordable gift for any mom. If you can’t find the item, the bluetooth connection will alert you to it item’s location. It’s like deep-sea fishing radar. Just think of the entertainment (read: extra work) you can convince your children to do by playing, “who can find where the noise is coming from???” If only I could strap this to my Sunglasses, or my patience.
  2. PopSockets – Show me a mother, and I’ll show you a family photographer. The PopSocket allows you to hold your phone easily and securely while you take 58 photos of your child’s silly lunchtime faces, or their last homecoming game. They come in a number of styles, and won’t break the piggy bank either.
  3. Echo Dot – While I have some issues with this device, mostly Orwellian dystopian fiction induced issues, people swear by these little hockey pucks. Order paper towels, set timers, some up with answers for “why the sky is blue” and play Sufjan Stevens all with a gentle, “Hey Alexa…” Anything that makes life easier, eh?
  4. https://www.borrowlenses.com – So you bought a DSLR when your wife was pregnant with your first child, and haven’t upgraded from the stock lense? This service within the Shutterfly, tinyprints, and wedding paper divas umbrella allows your to rent different lenses to try out before you make a hefty purchase. While this isn’t exactly a techy gadget gift, it’s a pretty great resource to have around. Going on a romantic vacation to Montreal? (You know, the poor man’s Paris?) This site gives you the tools to allow Mom to get her full Ansel Adams on.
  5. Spotify.com – Just go ahead and bite the bullet. Give her a year of music. You’ve been listening to Frozen for four years now. Let her drive around blasting 90’s Hip Hop, remembering the times she thought she knew exactly what she was doing with her life. Nothing cooler than arriving to school pick up while listening to A Tribe Called Quest.
  6. Hydroponic Herbs – No not that kind. We don’t have the time to keep anything else alive, but we need mint for our much deserved mojitos. Two words my friend: self watering
  7. Philips Somneo – Who are we kidding, if we didn’t set the alarm, no one in the home would wake up to make the school bus in the morning. With built-in white noise, we can all sleep a little deeper and awake a little more refreshed to the simulated sunrise happening on our night stand.
  8. FRENDS Headphone –While I cannot attest to the speaker quality, or to the longevity of these, THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL. When in doubt, choose rose gold for an on trend look. She’ll walk the dog in style with these luxury headphones. There are several styles, and colors as well. There are additional plates for purchase if she wants to coordinate looks. Feel free to email me if you need help deciding. (If my husband is reading this, I want the ones make in partnership with Dolce & Gabbana. I want to wear the headphone equivalent of a crown! Our daughter doesn’t need to go to college… )
  9. Wireless Photo and Video Printer – Have you noticed how your image never comes out the way you thought it was when you use the pharmacy photo printing app? This printer takes all that guesswork out of the equation. Using some kind of Apple magic, you can print your photos from anywhere, like directly from your vacation in Bora Bora, or your bathroom when you remember that that birthday card needs to go in the mail today and you should include a picture of the kids in it.
  10. ANYTHING SHE ASKED FOR IN THE LAST 6 MONTHS – The best gift is the gift she’s asked for. Does she need a night out with her girlfriends? Does she need a spa day? Does she just want you to replace your bald tires before you have a blowout on the interstate? Listen to her, she’s either been dropping hints, or has explicitly told you what she wants.

If the mother you’re honoring is no longer with us, we acknowledge that this might be a tough day for you. Perhaps donating to an organization that supports mothers in conflict areas would be a great way to participate in the holiday. Organizations like Nurture Project International who provide maternal care in places like Syria, Iraq, and Bangladesh,  Save the Children who help families in the US and abroad or the International Rescue Committee who helps to serve and resettle refugees fleeing war and famine.

I hope this little guide helps steer you in a direction. It might not be the right one depending on your circumstances but I thought I would get the ball rolling for you, because forgetting to acknowledge the work, sacrifice, and love mothers give every day is worse than getting the wrong gift.

Any other fun ideas you have for the mother(s) in your life? I’d love to hear!

Is Your Website Like Grandma’s House?

Close your eyes and picture your grandma’s house. Most of you are probably picturing a space that is warm, inviting, familiar, but most likely not a modern, cutting edge space. There’s probably a decent amount of tchotchkes, heirlooms and general “stuff” laying around.

Now think about your website. Your home page is much like an entryway to a house. If it’s warm, inviting, familiar, those are all good things. But if it’s starting to look dated like grandma’s house, cluttered with tons of old content, ahem “memories”, chances are it’s time to think about a refresh or redesign. There’s a high probability that technology has also advanced since your last refresh, you know, kind of like grandma’s continued use of a landline or flip-phone.

We’ve been stepping back and taking a look at our own surroundings recently – “eating our own dog food” as CEO Joanna Pineda would say – and we’ve seen glimpses of grandma’s house here and there.  Everything’s fine and familiar, but getting a bit dated.

Time to shake things up a bit!

 

We’ve started this process by recently revamping our office space. Like a website, interiors absolutely need refreshing every so often in order to not look stale. Our old pool table in the lobby, for instance, was so much fun when we got it! But since then it’s been sitting forlorn in the lobby taking up space and was rarely being used. We made the tough choice of donating it so we could open up the space and create a fresh new welcoming area. And we love it! 

We’re also wrapping up a long overdue refresh to our client extranet. If you’re a frequent Matrix Group Flyer you’ve probably already seen some big changes. We’re now responsive (!!finally!!) and MUCH more user friendly. We hope these changes will encourage our clients to interact with us more through that platform!

All of these changes are really making a big difference around here and we’re feeling less and less like grandma’s house. Next up on the books for us is an overhaul of our main site. We’re kicking all the tchotchkes to the curb and going for fresh and simple. It’s going to be great.

Alex Pineda

Creative Director

The Inflection Point

As I write this, I’m currently watching the live event of Apple’s latest iPhone 8 event. They just announced an update to the Apple TV set top box, with support for 4K, because, according to Tim Cook, “TV is at an “inflection point” with the mainstream adoption of 4K.”

This made me ponder the implication of this term “inflection point”. By definition, in math terms, it’s “a point of a curve at which a change in the direction of curvature occurs.”  In Tim Cook’s reference, it’s when a technology reaches a certain critical mass in terms of how many people use it, hence Apple’s new product.

In larger, cultural terms, an inflection point represents a fundamental change in how people live, do business, communicate.  On the NY Times website, there is a video of all the things the iPhone “destroyed”, in terms of how it disrupted whole industries, and changed how we interact with each other:

The list of disruptions engendered by the rise of mobile technology is enormous, including the taxi industry, alarm clocks, cameras, etc. Every organization is faced with the potential of disruption, with the inflection point. The key is to anticipate this disruption, and embrace it, to evolve, rather than die. History is littered with industries and companies that could not embrace change and fell by the wayside.

Since I’ve been with Matrix Group (1999), there have been a huge number of inflection points, both culturally and technologically. Every time there is a major fundamental change, we’ve had to adapt our design process, business practices, and offerings to clients. From desktop to mobile, cloud computing, content management systems, these new technologies have all had huge impacts on our business, and how we help our clients.

Some of the new potential inflection points include the internet of things, virtual reality, screen less experiences etc.  As a company that designs interactive experiences for our clients, it’s imperative that we stay on top of these changes, embrace these changes, and think about how we can apply these inflection points to help our clients evolve and thrive, and not die.

Design Trends for 2017

While 2016 was an exciting year for design – there was a shift toward mobile-first design, video and rich imagery were hotter than ever, and animations became the norm – I’m even more excited about what we can expect to see in 2017.

 

A few weeks ago, Creative Director Alex Pineda and I held a webinar with CEO Joanna Pineda to talk about the trends that are emerging in 2017, and how you can give your members the best user experience possible by incorporating them into your web presence.

Curious about what’s in store for 2017? Check out our recap video:

 

Whether your plans for 2017 include a large-scale website redesign, building a brand new website from scratch, launching an app, or simply refreshing a few of your key pages, we’d love to help you incorporate some of these trends!

 

Which design trends are you most excited about for 2017? 
Elaine Heinzman

Content Strategist and Information Architect

3 Last-Minute Holiday Tech Gifts

We acknowledge that it’s late in the gift-buying game, so if you procrastinated on your shopping for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and/or Three Kings Day, Matrix Group has got you covered with three options for the gadget geek in your life.

Nixplay Iris digital picture frame

The Nixplay Iris is a sleek, high-resolution digital picture frame that you can update from your smartphone. It connects to Dropbox as well as the major social-media and photo-gallery platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Picasa, Flickr).

If your parents love to see the most current photos of their grandkids, you can use the Nixplay Mobile app to update the images they see on their Iris. Bonus: Click the Nixplay link above for a voucher code to get free delivery in time for the holidays.

 

Nonda ZUS phone charger and car locator

The Nonda ZUS looks more like something out of the new Star Wars film than a phone charger, but it has another, even better superpower: It automatically saves your car’s location whenever you park.

Are you the kind of person who can’t remember where you left your car? Use the ZUS app to find your vehicle, and connect your phone to the ZUS so your phone can recharge. 

Rocketbook WaveThe Rocketbook Wave is a traditional spiral-bound notebook with some pretty unconventional twists. It comes with a Pilot FriXion pen, which you use like a regular pen to take notes (and which you can buy in office-supply stores everywhere). The Rocketbook app lets you scan those notes and upload them to whichever cloud service you use (Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, Evernote).

The coolest part: When the Rocketbook Wave is filled up, you microwave it to clear out all the pages and use the notebook over and over.