By 2 years ago in B3labs

Digital in 2012: Five updates that have changed the way we work

With Christmas and the New Year just around the corner, we’ve decided to take a look back on 2012 and what it brought for Digital.

Working within such a fast-paced industry, we often have to adapt quickly to technology updates and trends, and our Digital team have found that these five updates in particular have changed the way they work this year:

The release of Visual Studio 2012

Microsoft Surface Tablet

There have been plenty of Microsoft releases this year, including Windows 8, Microsoft Surface and much more, but our skilled .NET developers were particularly excited about the release of Visual Studio 2012 in September this year, as it marked the beginning of a new era of software development.

Every release of Visual Studio has given developers improvements on productivity, but our developers say that this version is particularly special. Microsoft has committed to releasing four updates to Visual Studio every year from now on, meaning that their popular development platform will always be on the bleeding edge of software craftsmanship. Stay tuned on B3Labs for updates!

Introduction of the EU ‘Cookie Law’

BBC Cookie Compliance

The EU e-Privacy Directive Compliance (nicknamed the EU ‘Cookie Law’) which came into force on 26th May, intended to protect the online privacy of users everywhere by making them aware of the cookies used on any website they visit, and giving them the option to opt out if they don’t want to share any information.

But this wasn’t an easy task; thousands of websites were unsure about what exactly they had to do to comply, and many chose to simply ignore it, despite the threat of a £500,000 fine.

Now though, it seems as though most sites have taken on-board the new law and given their users the option to opt-out of information sharing if they so wish. May and June were busy months for us advising our clients on how best to comply with the new legislation, and implementing appropriate site notifications.

The launch of WordPress 3.5

WordPress 3.5

Ok, so it’s only just been released this month, but the new WordPress has already got our Digital team buzzing. With plenty of new features to simplify the content and image uploading process, WordPress 3.5 is looking set to streamline the way we work.

Other updates include plenty of changes to their swish default theme, Twenty Twelve, which is now fully responsive; the ability to mark plugins as ‘favourites’ which you can then access straight from the admin panel; a new and improved welcome screen which is much clearer; and added support for SoundCloud, SlideShare and Instagram. Pretty cool, eh?

Continuous improvements in Google’s algorithms

Now, we know this is an SEO highlight, but with each department working holistically on projects, SEO updates actually affect all areas of our business. With updates in Google’s Panda and Penguin releases, it’s meant that websites with decent content and well-developed platforms can now hold their own, and don’t necessarily have to rely on the work of a good link-builder.

Of course, we’ve been building high-quality and robust websites ever since the dawn of Branded3, but only this year have we seen the industry become more of a level playing field, with Google recognising well-built platforms, perfectly-written content and authentic social media engagement.

The rise of responsive design

Responsive design

With research indicating that 58% of the UK’s population now own a smartphone, and 19% own tablets; responsive design has become ever more essential when we’re building clients sites.

Responsive web design is a methodology that takes advantage of a fluid grid to allow an optimal viewing experience, regardless of the device the website is being viewed on.

With the tablet market rapidly increasing, it really is imperative that websites are now built using responsive web design, meaning that the user’s experience of a site is never compromised regardless of whether they’re using a smartphone, PC or tablet to view it.

What’s your digital highlight of 2012?

Tell us in the comments below!

By Felicity Crouch. at 12:08PM on Tuesday, 18 Dec 2012

Felicity is Branded3’s Marketing Manager and develops and executes a creative marketing strategy for the agency to encourage new business. With a background in journalism and digital project management, Felicity manages a large number of marketing channels effectively to raise Branded3’s profile and facilitate the growth of the company. Follow Felicity Crouch on Twitter.