Blogs - Lucidus

It's HOW You Deliver That Matters...

So I'm just returning from a 10 day trip to Quebec City with my son's hockey team. It was a fantastic experience with the exception of one thing, the bus company we used. The bus itself (the product) was nice enough. It didn't have electrical outlets or wifi but was plenty for us on this trip. The issue was in the delivery of that product (i.e. the service) that went along with the product. While the driver was quite skilled at navigating the narrow streets of Old Quebec, it was the little things that he neglected to do that left a lasting impression in the families. First, he was late four different times to pick us up through the week. I suppose technically he's not required to handle luggage. However, he couldn't be bothered to even open the storage bays when we needed access. In hindsight, it's a good lesson...he delivered exactly what we paid for but the manner in which he delivered it will likely send us to another carrier next time we're looking for transportation.

Office Hours Start Today...

Remember when your college professors would offer "Office Hours?" Specific days and times where you could drop-in and ask questions to your heart's content. Sure, you could ask questions after most any class or send an email (ok, it wasn't quite email for me) anytime but knowing that she'd be there in-person with nothing better to do than help you was reassuring. Well, we've brought office hours to Lucidus. Starting today, our customers (or others who'd like to ask a question or two) can drop by our web conference and ask online strategy, Drupal or other web related questions on Thursdays from 2-3:30pm.  Here are the details:

 

1.  Please join our meeting.

2.  Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) - a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.

  • Dial +1 (636) 277-0137
  • Access Code: 371-316-166
  • Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 371-316-166

 

 

More technology is not the answer to everything...

So, this morning I'm in a Giant grocery store. Giant is a chain of stores here in the mid-Atlantic region that I think belong to Stop and Shop. We go over to the deli counter and I notice that they have a digital ticket machine to say who's next in line. You know the ones that you pull the little tab and get your number. They put up an LED number behind the counter to say you're next. Now, I'm a fan of the take-a-ticket concept as they keep from fist fights starting at a pretty crowded counter but here's the question in my head...why does the ticket itself need to be digitally printed real-time? Did the pre-printed tickets not work? Just feels like the ultimate technology for technology's sake.

 

lucidus.net gets a facelift

So we've been talking for several months about the next phase of our lucidus.net site. It had been around for more than  a year and was looking a bit long in the tooth. Moreover, it was on Drupal 5 and needed to be brought current. However, as with every cobbler, our children were not getting new shoes when customers were ready to pay. That led us to an interesting approach that would help us put our money where our mouth is.

Old lucidus.net WebsiteA key advantage to Drupal (or any content management system) is the opportunity to freshen it over time without having to completely pull the tree up by the roots and replant. In our case, the lucidus.net site was a mess under the covers. It was our place to experiment with new modules and approaches and had become a bit messy over the past two years. If there were a place that we could definitively prove the viability of the system over time (and different approaches), it would be definitely be our own site.
To that end, we have begun a process with the following objectives:

  • Improve the site 10% at a time
  • Show continuous monthly improvement
  • Do NOT cut the tree and replant
  • Apply lessons learned and best practices we've developed over time with Drupal

We've completed phase 1 which was to freshen the theme of the system. Believe it or not, the new look is the same theme as the old with some tweaks to the stylesheet and page.tpl.php files. So far, we have implemented the following improvements:

  • Core navigation is easier to understand ("What We Do" vs. "Solutions") and look a bit more current. We also broke the primary navigation into two pieces to make "About Us", "What We Do" and "Our Work" easier to find.
  • Phone number is much easier to find
  • Added a "News" page link for current items
  • Added "Our Work" which is a portfolio/clients page. (This will tweaked soon as we need to link to the projects and provide more screenshots but didn't want perfection to get in the way of "much improved")
  • Added footer blocks that put news, blog entries and contact info at the bottom of each page. This improves SEO and also makes it easy to find for users without overwhelming the interface.

This was all done with a minimum of effort and the transition from old to new was (almost) effortless. Stay tuned for more improvements in January.