Posted by: Scott Johnson, Co-Founder and Principal Dec 06, 2013
How is government using agile workflows to create leaner, smarter government tech?
That was one of the ambitious questions that framed the two day conference, Nextgov Prime 2013—and Rock Creek was there to gather and share key insights for 2014.
Read More: Government as Start-Up?
Posted by: Lauren Moore, Senior Graphic Designer Nov 14, 2013
Successful graphic designers are curious—they continually explore ways to remain creative and relevant. Often, designers turn to blogs and websites to connect and learn from one another, and stay on top of trends. These web resources are a great way to stay current and plug into vibrant communities, but the immersive experience of reading a great design book often can’t be replicated online. Here are some of my favorite design books that can inspire experienced designers, and provide great introductions to design for new- and non-designers alike.
Read More: My Top 5 Design Books for Designers (and Everyone!)
Posted by: Stephanie Schreibman, Senior Project Manager Oct 30, 2013
Part II: How You Can Join the Agile Revolution
How do you get started with adopting agile into your day-to-day work? In the first part of this blog post, Part I: A Brief History of Agile, I provided a snapshot of the history of agile, including the guiding principles contained in The Agile Manifesto. Here, I will share my experience delving into the world of agile and how you can join the agile revolution too. Read on to learn more about dipping your toes into agile project management.
Read More: Dipping Your Toes Into Agile Project Management (Part II)
Posted by: Lauren Pritchard, Marketing Strategist Oct 25, 2013
This past Sunday, October 20th, Rock Creekers gathered at the Simple Changes Therapeutic Riding Center in Lorton, VA to volunteer for the 2013 Dreams for Kids Extreme Recess Simple Changes’ Therapeutic Horse Ride. The annual event features a special horse-riding clinic for children with disabilities as well as arts & crafts, face painting, and the opportunity to enjoy a day outdoors with friends and family.
Read More: Extreme Recess Simple Changes’ Therapeutic Horse Ride
Posted by: Kalpana Goel, Web Developer Oct 22, 2013
DrupanCon Prague was Web Developer Kalpana Goel’s 4th and most enjoyable “Con”. She was able to work on Drupal core longer than any of the other Cons and had the opportunity to connect and learn from really intelligent people.
Read More: Highlights During my Week at DrupalCon Prague
Posted by: Stephanie Schreibman, Senior Project Manager Oct 21, 2013
Part I: A Brief History of Agile
Agile project management has dramatically increased in popularity and adoption in the past decade, and I don’t see this trend slowing down any time soon. I first became interested in agile when I started to hear buzzwords like “iterative,” “adaptive,” “enhancements,” and of course “agile” thrown around left and right. Flash forward more than five years later and here I am, currently in the process of attaining my Agile Certified Practitioner, or PMI-ACP, certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). If you have heard about agile and are wondering what it is or how you can begin to embrace it, I have written this two part blog post to help you with dipping your toes into agile project management.
Read More: Dipping Your Toes Into Agile Project Management (Part I)
Posted by: Michelle Chin, User Experience Strategist Oct 08, 2013
While trying to figure out what agencies and services were affected by the federal government shutdown, I couldn’t help but notice how differently some agencies were executing such an important message. It made me think, “What’s most effective when trying to alert your users?” Even though your organization or company might never go into “shutdown mode,” here are some things to consider during a comparable emergency or extraordinary situation.
Read More: The UX of Shutdown Alerts
Posted by: John Serrao, Associate Director of Technology Oct 01, 2013
Relationships are tricky. The song and dance at the beginning of government contracting relationships is much like a blind first date in an arranged marriage; you really don’t know what you are getting, but you’re already wedded to it, so you have to make it productive.
After nearly 30 years in business, Rock Creek has learned how to work through the familiar range of emotions at the start of new client engagements—not knowing what to expect in those first moments, warming up to each other, working together, and building something great. With client service at the top of our minds, it’s always our job to make sure the relationship is successful.
Read More: What Kind of Client Can You Be? The Story of SSA OIG
Posted by: Jeff Riggs, Director of Strategy Sep 24, 2013
DC’s new device lab is appropriately called DC Device Lab. And what is a device lab exactly? A device lab is a location where developers and firms can test their website or software across platforms and devices without having to acquire their own devices.
Read More: DC’s New Device Lab
Posted by: Andrew Wachholz, User Experience Strategist Sep 19, 2013
Growing up, my parents always emphasized the importance of respect to me and my siblings. Whether on the playground or while practicing sports, their voices would echo in my mind saying, “Give respect to get respect.” It seemed logical at the time, and got me results, so I stuck with it. Little did I realize that the long-term effects of following that simple rule would also lead to an increased ability for empathy and patience. So what’s this got to do with User Experience (UX) and development? Everything.
Read More: UX & Development: Playing Nicely Together
Posted by: Andrea Paton-Ash, Digital Marketing Strategist Sep 06, 2013
It’s Friday. Only a few more hours until the weekend. As summer unwinds into fall, warm weekends begin to dwindle. Make the most of the sunshine and long evenings with this Friday playlist!
Compiled from a few of Rock Creek’s finest, this playlist features songs they turn on when the last day of the workweek arrives. While everyone has different taste in music at Rock Creek, everyone agrees that upbeat songs are our Friday jams!
Read More: Friday at RCSM: A Playlist to Get You Through to the Weekend
Posted by: David Kennedy, Accessibility Analyst Sep 05, 2013
Almost one in five Americans have a disability, according to the United States Census Bureau. Many of those disabilities, such as vision problems or mobility issues, can impact how people use the web. That’s where web accessibility comes in.
At Rock Creek, we believe making accessible websites and applications means integrating accessibility into the project process and making everyone responsible for it. But what happens after the project launches and you need to maintain or enhance its accessibility? Dozens of competing priorities such as leadership style, budget, time, team skill sets, design, development practices, content strategy and more all battle for attention within your web projects. How can you make web accessibility matter in that context? It’s like waging war. You need someone in your organization to lead those efforts—a general, so to speak. Here, I’ll share some tips on how to win the accessibility war in your organization.
Read More: Accessibility is War, and How to Win It
Posted by: Karine Bailly, Senior Strategist Aug 28, 2013
The mission of USDA’s Farm to School (F2S) Program is to empower schools to increase and enhance programming that builds food literacy among the nation’s children and increase the availability of healthy food options in schools. In doing so, the program also creates economic opportunities for food producers of all kinds.
Each year, food producers–as well as farmers, school nutrition professionals, and other school food industry members–attend the School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) annual conference to network, to exchange best practices, and to learn what’s new in school nutrition. This year, USDA F2S enlisted the help of Rock Creek in order to craft a captivating tradeshow booth to promote the farm-to-school movement.
Read More: Strategy Success Stories: Farm to School
Posted by: David Rinaldo, Chief Operating Officer Aug 13, 2013
At Rock Creek, we strongly believe UX is a fundamental element in the success of our web projects, which is why you’ll see us sponsoring various UX events around the DC metro area.
Read More: UX Yourself: A Business Guy’s Perspective
Posted by: Jessica Hang, User Experience Strategist Jul 26, 2013
User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) is an organization for user experience designers and the like. This year Rock Creek Strategic Marketing was one of the sponsors for the annual UXPA Conference that was held July 9-12th in Washington, D.C. This year’s theme was “collaboration.” We were able to mingle with people around the world (15 different countries represented!) that are enthusiastic about UX and where the industry’s headed. Rock Creek-ers even presented at one of the sessions. You’ll hear more about that in another post. For now, we want to share some of our favorite sessions with you.
Read More: Rock Creek’s Favorite Sessions from UXPA 2013
Posted by: John Serrao, Associate Director of Technology Jul 02, 2013
The following interview was held with our Associate Director of Technology, John Serrao, featuring questions on what Rock Creek and the Tech team values in a developer, how tech is involved in the government sector, and more importantly, what kind of cocktail they would be.
Read More: What is Rock Creek Looking for in a Front-End Developer?
Posted by: Andrea Paton-Ash, Digital Marketing Strategist Jun 28, 2013
It’s hard enough being inside during the summer, but rainy days illicit a whole different set of feelings. While sitting at your desk and wishing the clouds away, you’ll most likely need some tunes to get through the day!
Compiled from eight of Rock Creek’s finest, this playlist features songs they turn to when the weather turns drizzly.
Read More: Rainy Day at RCSM: A Playlist for Dreary Days
Posted by: Michelle Chin, User Experience Strategist Jun 17, 2013
iRockville was created to gather web designers and developers to share ideas, talk technology, and network with those that live and work around Gaithersburg, Rockville, and Bethesda.
Read More: iRockville New Meetup Group for Digital Marylanders!
Posted by: Matt Davis, Creative Director Jun 11, 2013
The following interview was held with our Creative Director, Matt Davis, featuring questions on what Rock Creek and the Design team are looking for in an Interactive Designer and some fun personality questions thrown into the mix.
Read More: What is Rock Creek Looking for in an Interactive Designer?
Posted by: Michelle Chin, User Experience Strategist May 28, 2013
MoDevUX 13 was a three-day conference held in McLean, Virginia this year from May 9th-11th. The first day of the conference consisted of hands-on workshop sessions, the second day was filled with speakers and presentations, and the third day focused on the UX Hackathon.
Read More: MoDevUX 13 Highlights
Posted by: Regina Bensten, Senior Project Manager May 22, 2013
The Project Management (PM) team recently presented during a Rock Creek Academy about a few ideas and theories we learned while studying for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam. We focused on topics and practices we thought the group could incorporate into their own day-to-day workflow. For today’s post, we thought we would pass along some PM best practices from the presentation.
Read More: True Life: I’m a PMP
Posted by: Virginia Moore, Senior Strategist May 14, 2013
Here at Rock Creek, we are starting to work on company-wide workflow enhancements, and it seems like we’re in good company judging from the abundance of process-related events and articles in the communications industry.
Read More: Improving Process - Reviews From the Field
Posted by: Andrea Paton-Ash, Digital Marketing Strategist May 09, 2013
What does every coder have in common? A good set of headphones. No one is more conscious of the office distractions than Rock Creek’s coders. Concentration is key when rattling through lines and lines of code. Here’s a playlist to keep you on your coding game.
Read More: Stop, Drop and Code: The RCSM Coders’ Playlist
Posted by: Alex Parent, Digital Marketing Strategist May 06, 2013
No matter what industry you are in, you’ll probably agree: companies are increasingly challenged to do more with less. This, unfortunately, is easier said than done. But what if I told you that there was a tool with the power to identify cost saving measures, improve efficiencies, and develop new strategies? You might ask, “What is this magical tool that he speaks of?” Well, folks, I’m talking about website analytics.
Read More: The Power of Analytics
Posted by: Mariya Ho, Marketing Strategist Apr 22, 2013
In honor of Earth Day, we participated in the Rock Creek Conservancy’s 5th Annual Rock Creek Extreme Clean Up, a volunteer effort to make a difference and help restore Rock Creek to health, along with the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. Our cleanup was one of over 50 locations along the 33-mile stretch of Rock Creek.
Read More: Earth Day 2013: Rock Creek in Rock Creek
Posted by: Michelle Chin, User Experience Strategist Apr 19, 2013
When it comes to the Rock Creek UX team, we are a pretty well-rounded bunch. By day, you will find us sketching interface experiences, but elsewhere, you can catch Virginia at a Kennedy Center performance or an E Street Cinema film. John will be redecorating his home – it was recently featured in Apartment Therapy! Try to catch Jess on her bike on the weekends or check out planes with Andrew at an aviation show. And don’t be surprised if you see me doing sound production for a DC ska band. Yes, we may be individuals, but there are some telltale traits that all of us, UXers, exemplify.
Read More: You Know You’re a UXer When…
Posted by: Andrea Paton-Ash, Digital Marketing Strategist Apr 11, 2013
With limitless distractions around the office, it can be hard to focus. While the lucky few have offices with doors, some of us only have our headphones. Whether you use it to block out your neighbor or keep you focused, music can help you get lost in your work and even inspire you to create.
I asked our designers to send the songs that help them get through the day while reigning in their creative brainwaves to translate them into show-stopping designs.
Read More: Divine Inspiration: The RCSM Designers’ Playlist
Posted by: Zane McHattie, 508/Accessibility Practice Lead Apr 02, 2013
Generally speaking, when people think about web accessibility, more often than not they imagine blind users who are accessing the web from a computer and using some sort of a screen reader. While this is one audience that benefits from an accessible website, it’s far from the only one.
Read More: How Does an Accessible Website Benefit All Users?
Posted by: Jennifer Kuenzig, Marketing Manager Mar 28, 2013
Developing compelling and winning proposals is critical to expanding our business and showcasing our capabilities to new and current clients. Our dedicated team of proposal professionals is trained in the Shipley Associates methodology for proposal development. We are also members of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) to stay current and to expand our knowledge on industry best practices through events and workshops.
Read More: Rock Creek Academy: Writing Winning Proposals
Posted by: Jeff Riggs, Director of Strategy Mar 25, 2013
Much has changed in the last few years at RCSM. A lot has changed online too.
RCSM is now 60+ employees strong with full in-house web development, Accessibility and UX teams—not to mention our growth in the areas social media management and marketing campaign development. And there’s our program-level federal contracts from FTC’s website re-build to FEMA’s outreach campaign. To say the least, it’s an exciting time.
Read More: The Times They Are A-Changin’
Posted by: Sonia Kreimer, Project Manager Mar 15, 2013
Project Manager Sonia Kreimer recently had the opportunity to travel overseas for a FEMA Youth Preparedness Project. She shares her travel experiences in our first ever Rock Creek Travel Diary!
Read More: The Rock Creek Travel Diaries: Guam & Saipan
Posted by: Janessa Klahs, Director of Project Management Mar 04, 2013
At Rock Creek we follow the Project Management Institutes (PMI) best practices for managing projects. Using this standard ensures all projects are run in a similar manner and the internal teams are clear on the expectations.
Just last month, our sixth and final project manager passed her PMP exam! Here are 5 tips to help you as you prepare to take your PMP.
Read More: Five Tips for Studying for the PMP Exam
Posted by: Andrea Paton-Ash, Digital Marketing Strategist Feb 28, 2013
Everyone likes a pat on the back, but we prefer high fives! This year, Rock Creek Strategic Marketing jumped up to the #2 spot for Visual Art and Design Firms in the Washington Business Journal’s Book of Lists, up from fourth place last year.
Read More: Rock Creek Ranks 2nd in Design Firms in DC
Posted by: Zane McHattie, 508/Accessibility Practice Lead Feb 22, 2013
Rock Creek has long focused on the principal that web accessibility is about more than just complying with Section 508, an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1974. Instead, our premise is simple: Web accessibility is a way to break down barriers and make sure that content is available to everyone. But creating accessible websites doesn’t just happen—and it won’t happen if everyone working on the project isn’t onboard at the beginning. This was the basis of our presentation at a Drupal4Gov event at the National Institutes of Health on February 21.
Read More: Iterative, Cooperative Web Accessibility: Rock Creek’s Presentation at Drupal4Gov
Posted by: Virginia Moore, Senior Strategist Feb 14, 2013
Designing sitemaps is something we do everyday as User Experience (UX) practitioners, and it’s easy to take for granted that colleagues and clients know what all those little interconnected boxes mean. To help us communicate what a sitemap is, and what goes into making one, the UX team came up with a workshop that challenged us to explain what we do in a brand new way and to demonstrate how it works with a hungry crowd at last week’s brown bag Rock Creek Academy.
Read More: An Experiment in Demystifying Sitemaps
Posted by: Ashley Bright, Marketing Strategist Feb 07, 2013
This Tuesday a few of us gave a social media presentation. Our clients are increasingly asking us to help them with social media outreach, and we took this opportunity to share some of what we’ve learned from some recent social media audits and strategy plans we’ve worked on.
Together with Andrea Paton-Ash and Alex Parent from the Digital Marketing team and Mariya Ho from the Strategy team, we presented some platform-specific knowledge and best practices. We focused on moving beyond the basics and talking about strategies that are working now for some of the top performers on social media.
Read More: Rock Creek Academy: Social Media Edition