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How are Kid Rock, app development and snow angels connected?

For years I’ve been telling prospective clients the story of my company: that we are an application development firm, that we’ve been around for 21 years. Yada, yada. The normal stuff.

 

What hadn’t occurred to me is that one of our key selling points is that we’re a Midwestern company. Three clients have recently shared with us that our being a Midwestern company was seen as a positive factor in their decision to go with us. One is a major national association (hint: one of the U.S.’s top 5 largest by membership), an architectural firm (also based in D.C.), and a major healthcare company in Florida.

 

Really? Why? After all, even when I think web application development, I think Silicon Valley, NYC, but... Michigan?

 

Maybe they picked us because we're better at coding, which in turn may be because we’re stuck indoors for eight months of the year, only bundling up to go outside to shovel off our roofs. Of course, that’s a stereotype, as is the “just fell off the turnip truck” image some people have of the flyover states.

 

Full disclosure: my “truck” is an all-wheel drive Subaru to get through the snow, and I’ve been known to jump out of the hot tub a time or two to make snow angels. Point being, they aren’t wrong about the snow.

 

What’s not a stereotype is that we Middle-staters tend to be more reasonably priced than the coastal concerns, and that has a lot to do with prices being lower overall. We like to make a buck as much as the next person, but our Midwestern sense is that if we’re feeding our families and our debt doesn’t keep us up at night, we’re pretty well set. And return business is big with us Michiganders and our neighbors. We like knowing that our clients trust us to look out for their best interests, that if we think they’re asking for what they don’t need, or not asking for what they do need, we’ll tell it like it is.

 

Here’s another factor: all three of the aforementioned companies had previously contracted with other application developers, mostly in big cities on the coasts who, as it turned out, were more interested in taking their client’s money than in giving the client what they needed to get the job done.

 

Bottom line: we’re fine with the stereotypes, as long as they include the best ones. Like our work ethic. And our fair rates. Even our snow angels.

 

I enjoy the heck out of the television show Silicon Valley. But that's a valley I could never inhabit. We don’t need to impress our friends by having Kid Rock play at our corporate barbeque. Besides, Kid Rock lives here.

 


 

5 Solid Reasons to Choose i2Integration for your Web, Mobile and Application Design and Development in Lansing

1. We’re local.

 

We’ve been in Lansing since before we were born (really, our parents lived here). And we’re staying. Located in Delta Township, we’re 5 minutes from downtown, which means we’re not just a voice on the phone. We can also put a face to the voice, providing you on-site attention in short order.

 

2. We’re trusted.

 

By whom? Here’s a few in the Greater Lansing area:

  • Jackson National Life

  • Sparrow Health System

  • Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan

  • DeWitt Township

  • Michigan Society of Association Executives

  • Michigan Manufacturers Association

  • Michigan Association of School Boards

  • Physicians Health Plan of Mid-Michigan

  • City of Lansing

  • Lansing Board of Water and Light

 

3. We’re experienced.

 

From website design to mobile and custom application development -- if it touches the web, we have designed, built and supported it for organizations all over Lansing and mid-Michigan since 1994. A few project examples:

 

  • MSAE: website design

  • PHP of Mid-Michigan: custom document management application development

  • CMIM: company-wide intranet

  • MASB: custom Microsoft SharePoint development

  • Sparrow Health System: patient registration, patient scheduling, bill pay

 

4. We’re different.

 

Different in a good way. We’re not a graphics firm. We’re not a marketing firm. We’re the guys those guys turn to when you need to build something complex. Example?

 

  • When you need a website to integrate with your CRM or email marketing system

  • When you need single sign-on between your CMS and another system

  • When you need a custom application that pushes and pulls data from your internal legacy systems

  • When you need to track the engagement of your client or members between your website and various third-party systems

  • When you need a mobile application that involves geolocation tracking

 

5. We’re invested in the community.

 

CEO John Forsberg is a former board member of the Michigan Society of Association Executives and has given talks to the Capital Area Career Center, The Explorers Club and various associations and colleges. Mark Stiles, Director of Sales, is a lifelong Lansing resident and keeps i2Integration engaged in the community by serving as a Lansing Regional Chamber ambassador, member of the development council for WKAR and as a guest speaker at marketing, mobile and tech startup conferences around the area.

 

If you’re looking for a Lansing-based company for website, mobile and application development… look to us!

 


 

A review of the

Many years ago I was working on a project for a client. They were happy, I was happy and the project was moving along beautifully. Seeing how pleased I was, my client turned to me and said, "Just remember, John. One "aw sh**" wipes out ten atta-boys."

 

POW. I never forgot that. His statement stuck and has been a foundation for how I do things ever since. One area in particular where I put that lesson to use is in the planning of web application projects before production (coding) begins.

 

And by "application," I mean a website, a desktop app, a mobile app... it doesn't matter. Today it's best to think of everything as an app.

 

By "planning," I mean taking the time to wireframe and prototype the application to ensure there are no pitfalls, false expectations or problems that may crop up in the future. It's all about foreseeing and eliminating a devestating "aw sh**" moment that could later on effect the timeline, cost, stability or even success of the project.

 

So, what's a good wireframing and prototyping tool out there today? Recently we've begun using a new application called JustInMind. From the moment I started playing around with it, I fell in love.

 

JustInMind has managed to blend in a bit of both worlds: the design and the interactivity in wireframing and prototyping a development project. I can plot out the wireframe with clickable buttons, menus, etc. I can prototype workflow. And I can also develop a sense of the actual UI design.

 

Perfect for application development

Whether it's a website, a mobile app, a custom desktop app, etc., we have started using JustInMind to lay out the wireframe, UI/UX and flow of our client application development projects. What we're really liking is that our clients don't have to picture in their mind what the final product will look like. With this app, they can see, click, maneuver and prototype what the final product will be, along with an extremely accurate representation of what the application will actually look like, design-wise. 

 

Mobile friendly

One of the cool features in JustInMind is the ability to quickly jump back and forth in previewing between devices to see how the website or app will look and function. Create an app for an iPhone, then review it on an Android tablet, then a desktop. Quick and easy.

 

What's not to love?

Creating some interactivity functions can involve a steep learning curve. For instance, it took me several hours to figure out how to create a slide-out, pull-down menu for a mobile application design. I eventually figured it out, but the numerous steps involved seemed excessive for how common the function is on mobile devices. I'm hoping that will be rectified in future versions.

 

Regardless, this app is already saving our clients (and us) a tremendous amount of time and cost by reducing false starts, miscommunications or misaligned expectations.

 

That means more attaboys. Fewer "Aw sh**s."

 

Website link: http://www.justinmind.com/

 


 

DNN Evoq Training Services

Since 2004, i2Integration has designed, implemented and supported over 700 DNN websites worldwide. In that time, we have trained hundreds of organizations on the administration of DNN.

 

Whether our clients need basic admin training on the day-to-day content management of DNN, or advanced training including module and theme development as well as server maintenance, our staff of DNN experts are available when you need us.

 

Onsite or Remote DNN Training

 

i2Integration can provide either on-site training at your facility, train remotely via web conferencing, or utilize our on-site facility with capacity for up 100 attendees, along with web conference on our fiber network.

DNN Evoq Training Topics

 

Here’s a list of training topics typically covered:

  • DNN structure (theme, pane, module, container)
  • Admin modes
  • Page creation and management
  • Module placement and management
  • Theme management
  • Security management (users, roles, permissions)
  • Content administration
    • Core DNN modules
      • HTML, documents, links, images, anchors, video
      • Style sheet explanation
    • Add-on Modules
      • Third-party module training
    • Short code
      • Content coding within off-the-shelf theme
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    • Page level
    • Content level
  • Site administration
    • Site settings
    • File management
    • Page management
    • Site log
    • Event viewer
    • Recycle bin
  • Advanced
    • New module installation
    • Modifying theme (skin), including pane creation and modification
    • Editing CSS
    • Server maintenance and support
    • New portal creation
    • DNS

 

Need DNN Evoq Training?

 

Call us at 517.371.3931


Email us at info@i2integration.com

 


 

Front-end, Back-end and Why It Matters

You need a web development company for your upcoming project. So who do you pick? A critical question to ask is: do you need a front-end developer, a back-end developer, or both? Matching the right company to the right need can make all the difference between your project’s success or failure.

 

First, what the heck is a front-end and back-end developer?

 

A front-end developer deals with what the user sees. We’re talking

  • Website design
  • User interface design and experience
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Design coding, including HTML, CSS stylesheets, Javascript, JQuery, etc.

 

 

This is everything to do with branding, look-and-feel, consistency and flow. You know: warm and fuzzy.

 

Then there’s the back-end developer. They come into play when the website “has to do something,” such as

  • Integrate with your CRM or an internal system (inventory, member database, etc.)
  • Establish single sign-on
  • Register, sell, create, process
  • Do custom reporting
  • Capture, push or pull data
  • Mobile app development

 

This is what we call the “heavy lifting” part of web development. Hardcore geek stuff.

 

Some website projects need both skill sets, of course. Others need emphasis on only one. For instance, if you’re looking at a refresh of your brand and design, finding a web development company that is weighted toward front-end development will yield better results, whereas that same company might struggle and fail if the project requires complex back-end programming.

 

Just like in medicine, things have become pretty specialized when it comes to web development -- and for good reason, as the fields of expertise and rate of technology change have become increasingly complex for any one firm. For that reason, some developers today aren’t afraid to partner with others in order to fill in where they are less experienced or staffed.

 

A successful project all comes down to choosing the right developer, or group of developers. Asking where their specialties are more focused (front-end vs. back-end) will allow you to make a far more informed decision… ultimately saving you time and the green stuff. Not to mention creating a much stronger product in the end.

 


 

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