From Spreadsheets to Websites

Did you know, according to the Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Report, Microsoft Office formats (.xls, .doc, .ppt) represent 38% of malicious file extensions in email? (1) And don’t think zipping your spreadsheet file will make it any more secure because Archive files (.zip, .jar, .rar) came in at 37%.

Wait. What?!

Yet, many businesses around the globe still manage, track, and analyze their business data using unencrypted (not to mention time-consuming and, often, clunky) legacy tools and workflows. They’ve become familiar with spreadsheets that are often disconnected, error-prone, and manually managed. They’ve learned to adapt to cleaning up data and double checking to ensure changes were made. They’ve accepted that “this is how we do things” because it’s just been that way for so long.

These times, they are a-changin’. . .

Businesses are now facing an ever-growing amount of data that is pushing the boundaries of what can be done with spreadsheets and macros. Transactions are expected to happen at a faster pace, involving multiple users from different departments in varying locations. More information is being tracked and reports should be dynamically generated based on what’s happening — right now. Today’s smart businesses strive for instant and accurate results.

For smaller spreadsheets, there are tools and products that convert to a simple web page. But what if your spreadsheet has dozens of tabs with interrelated cells and macros and formulas? And what if you have multiple spreadsheets with intricate, manually-managed dependencies? In that case, your business requires a custom software solution.

Call in the pros…

True, this may sound like a massive undertaking, but it’s a journey into analyzing and streamlining your business workflows, be it creating a web app based on your existing spreadsheets or re-imagining new ways to simplify complex workflows, a solid software development team will guide the process from design to launch.

Design drives the user experience

Designers are inquisitive and curious. We ask questions and interview users. We research competitors and possibilities. User roles are defined and their specific journeys mapped out, tailoring workflows to best fit their set of objectives. Through this analysis, it becomes clear what should be a widget, what should be a list view, what should the user do next? Ultimately, we design an enjoyable user experience while making tasks easy to accomplish. Together, along with the development team, these designs are implemented, tested, revised, and polished to perfection.

Imagine. . .

One custom-tailored website to replace all of your spreadsheets. One click of a button, and data is securely propagated, calculated, sorted, and shared throughout the system. Imagine, as the end user, being able to focus on the information that’s pertinent to you and your role, rather than having to sift through pages and rows and columns. Now, imagine the time saved by not having to manually format and double-check that information was entered correctly.

As they say, “time is money” and for any business that rings true. If your company is ready to move into a faster, more accurate and reliable way of managing data, Art+Logic is here to help guide you through that process.


(1) Cisco, Annual Cybersecurity Report 2018

What to Do With Designer’s Block

Illustration of designer's block

I recently found myself completely stuck trying to decide on a blog post topic, when a fellow A+L designer suggested I write about being stuck. Well, that’s a good idea. I grabbed some coffee, sat down to write, and immediately felt stuck again. What is it with feeling stuck? Where does it come from, and what can we do about it? (more…)

Design Roles – UX & UI

Illustration of a Sketch, Wireframe, Mockup, Development

(. . . and how these are two very different phases of a software project)

 

Back in the day, we were all “web designers” – simply put.

We knew everything from buying the domain name to launching the site and figured out everything in between as the project progressed. Granted, it was mostly static HTML, links had blue underlines, and was still a novelty, but the role “web designer” was a catch-all title for a fresh new industry — digital design.

My, how things have changed.

Similar to how the role of “neighborhood doctor” has branched into a myriad of specialized fields of medicine, the same has happened in the world of web design. Technological developments, more advanced tools, focus on human-centered design and in-depth studies of user psychology has caused web design to branch out into its own specialized roles. (more…)

Book Review: Artful Design

What We Make, Makes Us

In our age of rapidly evolving technology and unyielding human restlessness and discord, design ought to be more than simply functional; it should be expressive, socially meaningful, and humanistic. Design should transcend the purely technological, encompass the human, and strive for the sublime.

Sublime design presents itself, first and last, as a useful thing, but nestled within that window of interaction lies the novel articulation of a thought, an idea, a reflection—an invisible truth that speaks to us, intimate yet universal, purposeful without necessity of purpose, that leaves us playful, understood, elevated. It is a transformation so subtle that it escapes our conscious grasp but that once experienced—like music—we would never want to be without again.

— Manifesto

Ge Wang is a professor and computer music researcher, perhaps most widely known in the field as the creator of the ChucK language for creating computer music systems and one of the founders of the company Smule, creators of numerous iPhone music creation apps including the Ocarina and “I Am T-Pain”. In this new book from Stanford University Press, he lays out a set of strong arguments about design (mostly focusing on his work in computer music, but also thoughtful ruminations on pencil cases and other artifacts) focusing on how we as designers can aspire to the sublime in the systems that we build. (more…)