Web Interaction for Everyone

I'm excited to announce yet another new online training course that I’ve been working on over the past several months. In Web Interaction for Everyone, I teach the art of front-end development through building interactive web components like dropdown menus, tabs, accordions, sliders, and more.

Introduction to SharePoint Framework

I'm excited to announce a new online class I've been working on and recording over the past several months. It's called Introduction to SharePoint Framework, and I find it to be a refreshingly enjoyable online training course taking you from zero to expert in all things SPFx.

Introducing SharePoint Engineer

In this introduction to SharePoint Engineer, author Kyle Schaeffer demonstrates the basic features of the application and provides insight into the driving force behind Engineer’s creation.

SharePoint UX Design — Part Two: Creative Design

This is the second video in a multi-part series in which designer Kyle Schaeffer demonstrates the entire SharePoint user experience design process from beginning to end. In this video, Kyle builds upon the previously completed website wireframes to create fully detailed desktop and mobile design compositions depicting the SharePoint home page.

SharePoint UX Design – Part One: Wireframes

This is the first of several posts in a video series detailing the SharePoint user experience design process from beginning to end. Designer Kyle Schaeffer begins the creative process with quickly drafted wireframes crafted in our very own QuirkTools Wires.

Old River Creative

Phew! It’s been quite a year! Old River Creative was born on January 1, 2014. Since that time, I’ve written very few posts here on my blog, but I have had some great clients and have been part of some very exciting work. It all started with a great idea from my wife and co-owner, @ErikaORC.

Making <canvas> Games

In my last post, Making <canvas> Art, I introduced the idea of using the HTML5 <canvas> API to create a randomly-generated “northern lights” animation. The effect of the resulting animation is entirely aesthetic in nature. It provides no interactivity beyond the generation of new colors and shapes. In this follow-up post, we’ll use the same technique introduced in the original post, but extend our example to introduce keyboard input and manipulation in order to create a fully interactive game.

Making <canvas> Art

Got <canvas>? Focus your attention, if you will, to the top of this web document. The header area of my website includes animated “northern lights” of a sort, generated using HTML5’s new JavaScript rendering engine called <canvas>. Click anywhere on the page to generate new lights, each with randomized colors and trajectories that alter the appearance of the site header as they slowly move across the page.

Creative Design for SharePoint

Crafting an interface for an electronic medium like the web browser is no easy task. The canvas of the web appears in so many mediums, on so many devices and in so many forms that visualizing the outcome of your work is a tall order, to say the least. Now, consider doing this for a platform like SharePoint. Microsoft offers a plethora of templates and functionality within the confines of its flagship platform. We have blogs, wikis, sites, pages, calendars, lists, libraries, and web parts, oh my. There are also limitations in SharePoint. There are things that are easy and infinitely flexible. There are things that are surprisingly rigid and difficult to customize. Recognizing the difference between the easy, the hard, the possible, and the impossible can be challenging. Quickly, the creative process becomes a minefield of things you can, can’t, should, or shouldn’t do. This is a challenge that everyone faces when introducing themselves to this platform. It is something that we overcome, that we learn over time. We teach ourselves to overcome some obstacles, and to avoid others. We learn the intricacies of SharePoint; we hit roadblocks, discover caveats, and we explore new features that unlock new abilities.

Creating New SharePoint Interfaces Using REST

Recently, a friend and colleague, much more savvy in the art of code than I, showed me how to do something that opened a door. I knew it was there, I was aware of the capabilities, but I never really understood the power of REST services until now. Very simply, SharePoint’s REST web services allow you to get SharePoint data from a number of data end-points like lists, libraries, navigation, or the search service. This may seem exceedingly obvious to any SharePoint developer, but for UX guys like me who are more focused on the interface and design, it’s new ground.