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We've just launched the new site for TMI Autotech, the exclusive North American manufacturer of the Ariel Atom supercar, a totally awesome car that TMI manufactures in Halifax County, Virginia, from their location at VIRginia International Raceway. We've had a great time working on the project with Mark Swain, VP of Sales & Marketing at TMI. I think it's safe to say that each of us has dreamed of owning an Atom during this project!

One of the features we developed is an interactive configurator, the Atom Builder, that the site visitor can use to select from 7 body colors and rotate the car for a 360° view. Other options are under development for the configurator, so stay tuned! We also designed a slightly different look for the company's 3 main divisions: the Ariel Atom, the VIR Driving Experience, and Fabrication & Advanced Manufacturing. Screenshots of the Atom Builder and the 3 site section designs are below.

b2ap3_thumbnail_tmi-screenshot500.jpg  b2ap3_thumbnail_tmi-screenshot-buy500.jpg  b2ap3_thumbnail_tmi-screenshot-config500.jpg  b2ap3_thumbnail_tmi-screenshot-mfg500.jpg  a1sx2_Thumbnail400_tmi-screenshot-drive500.jpg

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Posted by on in Design

VP of Creative Services Erin Kipps Brown recently completed this portrait illustration in cyberpunk style for a friend. In his words, "LOOK UPON THE SHINY."  His friends' comments include, "That is ridiculously amazing. She just completely nailed the whole genre (to include the implanted screen in your wrist)."  View more of her illustrations here; we hope you enjoy her work.


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Paper, Metal, and Dames art show by Jessie Della and Samie ToddPlease join us for an opening reception on Sunday, December 1st at 2pm.

Intaglio printmaker Jessie Della and jeweler Samie Todd will be showing in the Prizery's Robert F. Cage Art Gallery during the month of December.

Using the duality of metal and paper Samie Todd and Jessie Della depict feminine themes. Metal working is a meticulous craft that frames their ideology. Their images derive from modern identifications of womanhood as well as depictions of women throughout art history. By using these motifs it reclaims a woman's ability to create her own sense of femininity.

Jessie Della, Print Maker
Jessie Della is an intaglio printmaker living in Richmond, Virginia. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in painting and printmaking. It is her hope to continue the relevance of traditional printmaking in a digital leaning world.
Samie Todd, Jeweler
Samie Todd is a practicing jeweler living in Richmond, Virginia. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in craft and material study. She has interned with glass and metal artists in pursuit of creating a career from her passion.
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Tagged in: art artists The Prizery

Note: This post is not meant to take a position on either side of the Affordable Care Act debate, and is strictly about the website and its many problems.

I've been developing websites for 17 years and have learned over the years that when there are major problems with a site it usually comes down to 2 types of problems:

  • those caused by a designer/developer (individual or company) who was being relied upon for professional advice and service and either couldn't or didn't deliver, and
  • those caused by the client by demanding that the designer/developer do something that goes against their advice.

healthcare.gov website problems are the perfect stormHealthcare.gov is the perfect storm of both of these types of problems.

I'm not referring to everyday problems common in site development, things like cross-browser compatibility, but fundamental problems in architecture and usability.

The day healthcare.gov launched I visited the site to see if a family member could save money on their policy. Within 5 seconds of being on the site I learned that all of my relative's personal data had to be submitted before I could get any idea of the price range. My reaction? Leave the site.

Rule of thumb for websites: never ask a site visitor for something until you've given them something.

Pricing should have been handled like this: I should have been able to give general information like age, gender, smoker/non-smoker and receive a range of possible prices to determine whether I even wanted to learn more. If insurance companies can do it, surely the federal government can do it.

When this fundamental rule of "user experience" (ux) design is broken, developers like me just know there have to be bigger problems behind the scenes. I was stunned that a major company would develop a site with such blatant disregard for consumer behavior.

innocent or guiltyLet the blame game begin.

Now today the contractors have "blamed a decision by CMS [the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services] within two weeks of the launch to require users to fully register in order to browse for health insurance products, instead of being able to get information anonymously, as originally planned." (source: CNN)

I can definitely see that happening, but professionals are paid to give clients advice they don't want to hear. Make the client understand why it's in their best interest to handle things in the way they should be rather than the way they want. And if they don't listen, go above them to try to save them from themselves. Raise a stink. If all else fails, demand in writing that they reject your recommendation; that may get their attention.

And remember to deflect.

When CGI Vice President Cheryl Campbell was "questioned whether there were concerns the site was not ready to go live, she also said: 'It was not our position to tell our client whether they should go live or not go live.'" (source foxnews.com)

What a load of malarky.

It's the developer's responsibility to advise the client in many ways, and readiness for launch is definitely one of them. There's a difference in being politically ready to go live and technically ready to go live, and CGI owed it to all of us to tell HHS things it didn't want to hear.

Fail, and fail again.

And now we know that CGI, the company being paid millions of dollars to develop the site, has a history rife with failure, including being fired by Canadian officials.

According to the Washington Examiner, "CGI Federal's parent company, Montreal-based CGI Group, was officially terminated in September 2012 by an Ontario government health agency after the firm missed three years of deadlines and failed to deliver the province's flagship online medical registry."

Looks like CGI and its parent have found the gravy train and nobody's going to kick them off.

In the meantime..

If you're looking for an honest developer who will tell you things you don't want to hear so you'll be saved from yourself, drop us an email. We'd love to talk. Even if you're the federal government.

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Glerin Business Resources logo design

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