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Inside Intel

Matt Stuart / Thursday, August 02, 2012

 

The mobile market is growing fast. Projections show mobile web traffic will surpass desktops in the next 2 to 3 years. As the shift towards mobile devices unfolds, companies are leveraging these devices to create an "always connected" workforce. This includes the Silicon Valley pioneer Intel, who has selected TRANSFORM to provide consulting and design services for their mobile UI/UX development team. Over the course of the next year we will work with Intel's global team of engineers and programmers to deliver engaging user-centric B2E and B2B mobile applications and along the way help establish organization-wide guidelines for mobile UI development. We are thrilled to add Intel to our growing list of TRANSFORM clients and over the course of the next year we look forward to working with Intel in the mobile arena.

Latest isn't always the Greatest

Adnan Kussair / Wednesday, April 04, 2012

At TRANSFORM we have a pretty simple technology upgrade rule: "Always skip a version". For example, if we have version A of some hardware or software, we will wait until version C is released to actually make the upgrade investment (basically skipping version B). This rule minimizes expenses, gets the most value out of our investment, as well as maximizes the reasons for the upgrade (faster processor, smaller size, better industrial design, etc.)

So when it came to the purchase of an iPad for my family (based on the TRANSFORM rule) it made sense to buy the latest iPad 3 because I currently didn't have one, thus I was essentially skipping two generations of the product, right? Nope. Before making the purchase I really thought about the cost to value ratio of the new iPad (iPad 3) verses the 2 vs the 1. Everything pointed to the 1st generation as the better choice:

  1. The iPad 1 starts faster (despite the faster processors in the 2 and 3). I did notice however that the iPad 1 is a bit sluggish when using iBooks, the Kindle app however is super quick.
  2. The iPad 1 costs approx. 1/3rd less than the lastest iPad 3 (I purchased a used iPad 1 64 GB wi-fi+3G for $289.99 a new one costs $829.99)
  3. You can get an awesome deal on accessories for the iPad 1 right now (I purchased a Black incase perforated case for $13 shipped)
  4. When I did have an iPad 2 (later returned) I rarely ever used the cameras. The facetime was cool but even that was minimal. Most importantly it's considered an epic FAIL to use your iPad as a camera.
  5. With the money you save going with the iPad 1, buy a real camera. For about $550.00 shipped you can get a Nikon D3000 DSLR. Trust me it will take much better pictures than any built in tablet camera.
  6. Out of warranty? No problemo, look at aftermarket warranties like SquareTrade (these are usually better than Applecare because they cover accidental damage as well)

The lesson here is that the latest iteration of a technology product doesn't always make sense to buy. Follow the TRANFORM rule, weigh all the options, and most importantly look at the value rather than getting caught up with the marketing hype.

Sacramento County Airport System Website Wins an Addy

Adnan Kussair / Friday, March 09, 2012

Last night we were honored to accompany Hiltachk Marketing to the 2012 Addy Awards. It was our first time attending an Addy Award show but it didn't take long for us to feel welcome (a big shout out to all the creative minds we met last night). After some drinks and dinner the awards show began. TRANSFORM in collaboration with Hiltachk Marketing group was awarded a Silver Addy for the Sacramento County Airport System Website.

Congrats to all the agencies who walked away with an Addy. See you all next year!

Naming Principles

Adnan Kussair / Sunday, February 26, 2012

We've had our share of headaches trying to come up with a perfect name for our company. Infact we even hired, and later fired, a consultant to come up with some "out of the box" names for us during our startup. In the end we landed upon a name that was simple, unique, but clearly reflective of what we do, we transform.

I stumbled upon an article from @FastCompany that had 8 very useful principles to follow when naming. Although the article is specifically written in the context of naming a product, the principles are pretty much universal. Check it out here: http://trns.fm/yMkRLO

We're Landing at Sac Airports

Adnan Kussair / Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sacramento International Airport, the gateway to Northern California, is an airport undergoing a massive makeover. To coincide with the upcoming opening of the gorgeous new Terminal B, we are excited to announce that the Sacramento County Airport System along with Hiltachk Marketing Group has selected Transform to build their new web and mobile presence. The new site will be the future home for Mather, Franklin, Executive, and Sacramento International Airports. We can't wait to launch this one, so stay tuned...

“O Christmas T, O Christmas T”

Adnan Kussair / Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yup, its that time of year again. Crazy how soon 2010 went by, especially for us here at Transform. We looked back & realized how exciting of a year this was; full of change, growth, & opportunities.

We have had the opportunity to work with some amazing clients & through it all we have had endless support from our family & friends! No better time than now to give thanks to them all, so here it goes... From the bottom of our hearts, Thank you (a big bear hug from us to you). We want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.


It Feels Good to Be Recognized

Matt Stuart / Friday, November 19, 2010

Chen Design Associates has selected the Material Design Company identity for their soon to be released HOW books publication "Fingerprint No. 2: The Evolution of Handmade Elements in Graphic Design"!

Chen Design Associates (CDA) is an award winning and influential design firm located in San Francisco, California. Their work and expertise in the field of graphic design is well recognized both inside and outside of the profession so it goes without saying that it is an honor to be selected and featured in this book. The call for entries to Fingerprint No. 2 follows below giving some insight on what to expect in the book:

"We've reached a unique point in design history where we've moved beyond both the infatuation with and the backlash against technology. Today, the best designers combine the power of the computer with the tactile qualities of handmade elements. Fingerprint 2 (working title) will explore the power of the handmade to help designers reconnect with their audiences and provide surprising new ways of seeing and resolving problems. Even the hint of a handmade element can activate a surface, instill passion and energy into a medium, and reassure the recipient that human understanding and insight are the foundations for the message. Once again authored and designed by Chen Design Associates, this follow-up book will be a celebration of the presence of the human hand in visual communication and the breath of fresh air such a presence delivers into a field often challenged by predictable, passionless solutions."

Pretty Cool heh? Yeah, we're thrilled.

So what's Material Design Company?

Well, before there was Transform, there was Material Design Company (MDC). MDC was my previous company which joined forces with amarantcreative (AK's company) to form Transform. MDC was comprised of myself and graphic designer Hans Bennewitz (a good friend and a talented man). We had a lot of fun designing the MDC identity together and spared no expense in its production.

The MDC letterpress identity system includes a business card, envelope and note card and was letterpress printed at Full Circle Press. To give it an added handmade touch, we took the rather expensive and well produced print job and combined it with an $8 rubber stamp which we used to imprint individual contact information on each item. The idea was daring and the results were bold, but it appears to have paid off.

Can I see some pictures?

Sorry but no. In the effort to build some anticipation we are going to make everyone wait for the book's release. It's expected to be out in the summer of 2011. Don't worry, we'll be reminding everyone when it arrives and will be posting lots of pictures then. ;-)

If you'd like to pre-order, you can do so from amazon.com by clicking here.

How we get our tweet on!

Adnan Kussair / Sunday, October 17, 2010

We get the question every now and then, from clients as well as other designers, as to how we use twitter, what apps we use, how to get a custom short url and basic twitter etiquette. So read on to learn how we get our tweet on.

We keep separate Personal and Business twitter accounts

Its usually a good idea to keep your business twitter account separate from your personal one. Here at Transform we each have our own personal twitter accounts and then have our shared company @thinktransform account feeding into the site. Our @thinktransform twitter account is shared which is why we set some ground rules as to what contributors are and are not allowed to post on the shared account. It helps to set a theme for your twitter feed, that way contributors and followers know what to expect on there. Our twitter feed topics consist of Design, Technology, and Company Announcements (such as news, events, & new projects).

We love twitter apps

There is more to twitter than just twitter.com. Apps + today's smart phones really take twitter to a whole new level by allowing people to update their status from anywhere/anytime; with pictures, video, and audio. There are a ton of twitter applications out there, from mobile to desktop to web-based (SAAS). The selection is endless but there are only a few of which we endorse.

iPhone and iPad app

For your iPhone and iPad we recommend going with the official twitter app (formerly Tweetie by Atebits) Echofon. This app allows you to have multiple twitter accounts as well as supports the ability to have a custom short url (I'll tell you more about this later), has a darn snazzy user interface, and to top it all off its FREE ($4.99 for the ad-less Pro version).

Desktop App

You might be surprised what app we use on our desktops, actually its not a desktop app at all. Infact its a SAAS (Software as a Service) called CoTweet which we run as a desktop app using Prism. So why CoTweet? Well its FREE, built for businesses, and supports multiple contributors for a single business twitter account using separate user logins and something called co-tags. Co-tags are contributor signatures for twitter posts. So, for example, on our twitter feed you will notice something like ^MS and ^AK, those are Matt and my contributor signatures so people following us know who is saying what. CoTweet also has many other cool features such as assigning which contributor is on-call and tag searching so you can always be on top of topics which pertain to your business. Finally, CoTweet also supports custom short urls which I am going to talk some more about next.

Yo Yo! We brand our short URLs

If you haven't noticed it, we have a custom short URL domain, trns.fm, for all our twitter links. Infact we even have our website integrated to allow people to retweet our blog posts using our custom short URL. Custom short URLs are a great way to further brand the twitter experience.

So first things first, you need to find that great short URL. At Transform our domain hunting starts with an awesome site called Domai.nr (they even have an iPhone app). Simply browse to the site (or app), pop in a word and see what recommendations come up. Domainr helps to broaden your domain name vocabulary by giving you domain options you never even knew existed. Thats how we found our short domain and even our transfuse cms domain, transfu.se, pretty nifty, eh!

Once you have your custom short url registered head on over to bitly.pro and signup for a FREE account. Once you have everything setup there you can setup CoTweet and your iPhone twitter app to use bitly.pro to create and share short links using your your custom domain. Now the only thing left to do is integrate your site.

 We integrated our site with twitter

By having your twitter feed show up on your site as well as allow users to easily tweet your blog posts, you further enable users to connect and share with you. There are a huge amount of scripts out there which allow you to integrate with twitter, but personally we like the simple and elegant ones.

To have our twitter feed show up on our site (you can see it in action in our footer) we use the jQuery Tweet script from seaofclouds. This script is highly flexible, easy to use, and works like a charm.

For our retweet script (you can see it action on our blog) we use the jQuery Retweet Script by John Resig himself (the creator of the jQuery Library). We especially like this retweet script because it also allows you to create custom short urls for your blog posts automagically using your bitly.pro account.

Go get your tweet on

Now remember, all these applications are just recommendations, you are free to use whatever you are more comfortable with but as you can see we have gone through the trouble of making sure that everything we chose here, from apps to scripts, are well thought out, work well together, and cost absolutely nothing (other than the cost of your custom short URL). With that said, good luck and happy tweeting!

Introducing Transfuse

Adnan Kussair / Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Here at Transform, we are fanatical about providing our clients with the best, most intuitive and effective user experience with every website we build. We installed, tested, built and used every Content Management System (CMS) imaginable before we realized a few things:

  • Each client is unique and ever changing. They usually start small but think big, we need to make sure we build solutions for clients that can quickly and easily scale to provide access to additional features.
  • Content Management Systems (CMS) become obsolete as new versions come out. Major version upgrades require expensive man hours to leverage new features.
  • Clients love our fully managed hosting and support; they don’t want to deal with technology issues and would much rather have us do it for them while they run their business.
  • Standardizing code will not only streamline the coding process, but will enable us to deliver a website faster than our competition and with the high level of attention/standards that defines a site built by Transform.
  • Clients do not like having to log into various platforms to manage their web presence.

With these key points in mind we decided it was time for a change. Our concept was simple, a single unified platform that would help organizations streamline operations, reduce cost, and build what we call an “integrated business”. So after about a year of 16 hour days, a successful partnership with Adobe, and countless gallons of naked coffee white mochas, we are proud to introduce our cloud hosted, scalable CMS platform, Transfuse.

What does this mean for our current & future clients?

Nothing changes for our current clients, we will continue to provide fully managed hosting and support for your sites and cms. However, for our future clients, your sites will be built on our new Transfuse CMS platform.

Stay tuned for more as we launch our Tranfuse mini-site with a Designer affiliate program coming soon!

Change is Good

Matt Stuart / Monday, July 12, 2010

After a few years of individually running separate businesses from home offices, it had become clear it was time to get serious and make our ultimate business goals into a reality. The decision to merge was an easy one for AK and myself since we had worked together and shared many of the same ideas and philosophies on what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it.

So as eager bootstrappers we set out to form our new company. First we named it, then set up our legal structure, drafted a business plan, designed a logo, and so on until we got to the point where we needed to make a decision about where we wanted to be located. We knew one thing for sure, we wanted to be in downtown.

We researched and viewed multiple properties in Sacramento until we ran across the Retro Lodge. With its swanky 1960’s LA appeal, we immediately knew we had found the place where we wanted to raise Transform.

With our John Hancock on a lease and suite 307 keys in hand, we immediately darted for the Lowe’s paint department and the showroom floor at IKEA. Not once did we stop to think about how easy it was for us to jump in and take the whole thing on. I guess we were just excited because we nearly painted the whole place in one night.

We invite you to take moment and view our gallery which shows the process of how we personalized our Transform studio space. We love our new space and think that you might get a kick out of it too.

Change really is good; you just have to make it happen!

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    From random design awesomeness to company updates, Transcribe is our little corner of the web where we spill our thoughts, ideas, and daily cool stuff run-ins.