Summer is here, and it is time to kick back and relax. Americans (1 in 4) say reading is their favorite way to chill out, according to a relaxation survey conducted by Princess Cruises. If you are planning to catch up on digital marketing trends during your down time, this list of favorite resources from our staff is a perfect item to pack for the beach or pool.

Agile: The New Methodology

Are you still trying to figure out Agile? The New Methodology is a must read essay for business people and marketing professionals on Agile as well as developers or technical people. The author spells it all out in layman’s terms.

Chris Sims, our chief technology officer, says, “The essay gives a good overview of Agile in and of itself, without bias toward a particular framework (Scrum or XP).”

For people interested in general everyday technology and digital marketing industry news, Sims also recommends Flipboard: “To name a few areas of interest, FlipBoard allows me to follow topics such as programming, software architecture, Agile development and security. The publication aggregates articles from thousands of different sources. It helps me keep up-to-date with the latest news without having to spend a lot of time searching for sources.”

A List Apart

David Indish, manager of our e-Business Support Center, has been a fan of A List Apart (ALA) for years. The online publication explores the design, development and meaning of web content with a special focus on web standards and best practices. Indish explains why it is one of the best digital marketing resources: “The articles are extremely in-depth, well researched and highly curated. I’m especially a fan of the posts focusing on user research, which give fantastic insights into the ways people actually interact with content on the web and help shatter dangerous assumptions upon which people tend to rely.” Indish considers ALA’s article People Skills for Web Workers essential reading for technologists who want to develop a culture of collaboration.

Google’s Material Design

If you are looking to learn more about user experience or user interface (UX/UI), Google’s Material Design is a great place to start, according to Jordan Patchak, ChannelNet UX/UI manager. Google calls the e-book “a living document that synthesizes the classic principles of good design.”

Patchak breaks it down this way: “Material Design is a wonderful resource for anyone working in web development, especially designers. It is a visual language for the web, taking classic design principles and applying them to the ever-evolving digital space. The goal is to create a unified experience across platforms and devices. It explains the nuances of user experience and interactions and the implications of interface choices in the context of three basic principles.”

Krebs on Security, in-depth security news and investigation

The foundation of marketing automation — the email addresses of prospects and customers — are pure gold to marketing pros. Cybercriminals value email addresses, too. Krebs on Security reports that an iTunes email account address is worth $8. If you value your email database, read Krebs on Security and keep abreast of the latest in cyber security.
Jason Luke, our director of cyber security, says, “Unlike most information security authors, Brian Krebs has real journalist chops and uses them to delve into the world of cyber security. He keeps his readers informed on the underbelly and criminal element of the Internet. Plus his investigative reports give more insight into security breaches than is generally revealed.”

McKinsey Insights

Written by McKinsey & Company experts, McKinsey Insights and its white papers are a go-to resource for our CEO and founder, Paula Tompkins. She is a voracious reader and pushes everyone to keep up on the latest thinking, which is why she advocates for McKinsey’s publications.

“McKinsey offers well researched, practical advice in its materials,” Tompkins explains. “They explore the business challenges and give sound advice for how to deliver the customer experience consumers demand.”

Next-Generation User Interface Technologies for Mobile and Consumer Devices

Molly Smith, our vice president of operations, says, “It always surprises me when a prominent brand has a poor mobile experience. These days, I think most people use their smartphone for their personal business. Like most people, I move on to another brand that knows how to deliver on mobile. I am not a techie, and this user experience paper was easy to understand. It is a must read on mobile interfaces.”

Smith recommends only reading the sections on the different types of interfaces to learn more about gesture recognition, eye tracking, speech recognition, touch screen haptics, vision/image processing, virtual reality, augmented reality and biometric sensor technologies.

Smashing Magazine

Our chief experience officer, Milad Elmir, recommends a monthly dose of Smashing Newsletter, the web design community’s favorite creative resource. “Smashing’s content is relevant to marketing pros and developers,” he says. “In the last issue, there was a great article on accessibility with a link to an e-book loaded with practical information on how to provide a great user experience for people of all abilities. This is a hot topic for many of our clients.”

World Industry CX Reports from Capgemini and Efma

Technology consultants Capgemini and nonprofit organization Efma produce annual industry reports on financial services that are very well done, according to Jon Aurit, our vice president of sales. “They conduct some of the largest customer experience (CX) surveys for insurers and bankers,” he says. “It’s not just a bunch of stats. The report calls out generational differences, which brings home the importance of improving the overall customer experience. The reports include insightful executive interviews as well.”