The Dovetail Blog

The 'new' John

Hello, I’m the ‘new’ John last name Doyle and I’m here to introduce myself. Over the past few weeks I’ve been settling in and getting to know some of the projects currently being undertaken here at Dovetail. I’ve also managed to somehow sneak a cheeky holiday to Malaga in those weeks but this was only for a few days.

As mentioned in a previous post I have come from City Wonders where I was working as a Web Developer for their Front End websites.

I have joined Dovetail as a Software developer and have already began working on my Microsoft Certified Professional certificate. It has been a great few weeks at Dovetail and the entire office has been very welcoming and patient as I try to get up to speed on the projects and workflow.

Over the coming weeks I hope to post some more blog posts and maybe some more pictures like the one below.

PalmTree


Dublin Bikes are now closer

We like to think of Dovetail as a pro-bicycle company, and there are many card carrying subscribers to the Dublin Bikes scheme within the office. When the expansion of the Dublin bikes scheme was announced, we were eagerly anticpating a much shorter journey to our nearest bike station.

Last week, as part of this expansion, the station beside the Guinness Storehouse opened, which means that we now have a two minute walk to our nearest station. Hopefully, with the Guinness Storehouse station such a popular destination for tourists, this station will be stocked with spare bicycles thoughout the working day so we can make our cross city meetings on time.

Dublin Bikes at the Guinness Storehouse


Launch: Irish Champions Weekend

We recently won the tender to develop a new website for Horse Racing Ireland on their Ektron CMS platform.

Irish Champions Weekend creates one of the richest weekends on the international racing calendar with over €3 million prize money across 16 races including 10 Group Races (5 Group 1s) over two fantastic days at Leopardstown and the Curragh on Saturday and Sunday, September 13th and 14th. 

After a few weeks work with HRI Marketing and IT, we have put the site live and we're delighted with it. Ektron as a platform was a breeze to work with and the client can now update the website using a tool with which they are already familiar.

Irish Champions Weekend

We took advantage of SmartForms within Ektron to allow the customer granular control of the content and making available on the website in a structured way. The site is built with Foundation and works well across all devices (Desktop, Tablet & Mobile).

Irish Champions Weekend.


Another John, World Cup Fever & The Dovetail Office Olympics

After a little break from #birdseye posts, here is the usual roundup from Dovetail HQ in the Guinness Enterprise Centre.

Welcome to John Doyle, our newest Software Developer who has joined us from City Wonders. We hope you'll welcome as much as we have (we even gave him a computer, we're nice like that).

World Cup fever has truly hit in here. We started a pool, with each employee getting a few teams each. The levels of satisfaction of the picks from each employee are mixed to say the Least. I've got Holland and Argentina, so I'm still happy out and I don't even follow the footy-ball. We also started a little prediction league for each game, and I've been doing quite well, surprisingly. My new nickname is "The oracle". I think my lack of knowledge has helped me.

Inspired by all the summer sporting events, we've started a few little competitions on the office, which we are dubbing "The Dovetail Office Olympics". The popular game at the moment is the Sneezing Championship. Trevor won the June Sneezing Championship, stating wasabi as his secret formula for sneeze generation. Martin has really upped his game this month so who knows who will take the prize for July. Wasabi use has been banned for all future competitions.

June sneezing ChampionshipJune Sneezing Champship winner, Trevor Jobling, recieving his prize. 

Other sports include Guess the "percentage cocoa" competition, distance bin toss, rubber band precision shoot-out and paper plane construction.


Improving the experience for touch and mobile input

How to Simplify Input with Steppers. I've always been a fan of Luke Wroblewski. He simplifies UI and input problems, and demonstrates why they shouldn't have been complicated in the first place.

Improve touch UI with steppers

Our mobile apps and touch screen systems are pretty good as they are, but they will be given the LukeW treatment in their next iteration. As we all know, there is always room for improvement.

See the entire series of videos, they're short and well worth your time, regardless of your industry.


My little bite of the big apple

Last week I got back from a trip to New York. It was just for pleasure but I did arrange to visit FogBugz since they're good suppliers. Unfortunately our itinerary didn't allow it in the end - I'll just have to go back.

Naturally the Dovetail flag came along for the ride...

new york taxi

new york balcony

We also visited our namesake restaurant: Dovetail which was a delicious treat. Sorry for the poor quality photograph... it was a long and fun evening!

Dovetail restaurant


Dovetail is ISO9001:2008 certified

We're proud to announce that Dovetail has achieved ISO9001:2008 certification.

iso_logo

Our quality management system, which we have refined over the years, has been audited by Intertek and found to meet the requirements of the most widely recognised quality standard in the world.

This a great endorsement of the fact that we strive to constantly improve, and deliver solutions of the highest quality to our customers. It goes a long way to explaining our 100% customer satisfaction record!

You can see our cert over on this page.


Testimonials 2 - The Sequel

In last week's blog post I bemoaned the fact that search engines had conspired to give Dovetail a lot of useless traffic; namely people looking for sample testimonials. That post piqued my interest in what people wanted with our "sample testimonials".

"Surely they're just satisfied customers looking for inspiration to write their own genuine testimonials", I thought. I was wrong.

 I started by taking snippets from our testimonials, replacing the word "Dovetail" with the wildcard character (*) and performing a search. Here is a sample. Our testimonials were being stolen.

Some people used our testimonials as starting points for their own unique variation. They'd copy a couple of sentences from our testimonial and then they'd take it from there:

Textomation Testimonial

 

Others would be a bit lazier and just replace "Dovetail" with their own company name:

CreativeNic Testimonial

 Others were lazier still. They didn't even manage to remove "Dovetail":

BlackSwan Testimonial

 My personal favourite is a copy of our testimonial from Inland Fisheries Ireland, a very specific testimonial:

Portia Salmon Testimonials

As you can imagine, I began to doubt all testimonials as I went through this process. I have been assured, however, that all of Dovetail's testimonials are real. 


Nice work, Apple

I've never really been an Apple fanboy, but incidents like the following could win me over.

I just had to make a support call to Apple. I really tried to avoid it but I simply couldn't so eventually I jumped in, filled with dread and pessimism, expecting to waste half an hour getting nowhere.

But here's how it went down:

  • Apple's Irish freephone support number was easy to find
  • It was answered immediately... (Hooray!) ... by IVR (Boo!)
  • But the IVR was accurate, responsive, and most importantly put me through to a human when I couldn't produce a key bit of data
  • The human (Elaine) answered immediately, was courteous, knowledgable and clear.
  • I was never put on hold, even when Elaine had to spend several minutes sorting something out. She just told me what she was doing and let me listen to her typing. That's WAY better than hold music!
  • As far as we can both tell, she resolved the issue on that call.
  • To top it off, Elaine offered to call me tomorrow to confirm it is resolved!

Apple Support Email

 

That's amazing: I made a support call to a huge organisation, and came off the phone happy. That's worth a lot.

[Update:] Apple did indeed call today. I spoke to another helpful person. The whole experience was just right.


Maps, and Sample Testimonials

This week, Mossy updated several projects to use MapBox instead of CloudMade to render maps as the free usage of CloudMade expired on the 1st of May. 

Dovetail are facing an interesting problem. We're ranking highly for some undesired keywords in various search engines. For example:

 Sample Testimonials

But search for some terms that people normally associate with Dovetail and:

Awesome Software

We're nowhere to be found. Google need to get their act together!

The undesired traffic is starting to dwarf the desired traffic so we've had to ignore the testimonials page from our analytics. 

Here is the link to the testimonials page so you can see what all the fuss is about.