Blog

February 18, 2014
With Squarespace (and similar platforms) out in the market, Do-It-Yourself website design just got more powerful. Here’s what it means for website developers in terms of leveraging Squarespace as a development tool and in terms of adding value to what Squarespace cannot do. Read the rest of Christine's article at Web Designer Depot.   more
January 28, 2014
As website designer, I’ve always been fascinated by design (of any kind) that “works” and why.Of late, I’ve become particularly appreciative of the power of photography to anchor a visually appealing design that tells the right story, triggers the desired emotions, engages the viewer, and enhances the content (whether by breaking it up or calling it out). Read more at Web... more
November 20, 2013
The world’s most populous places are surrounded by shantytowns--especially those hard hit by disaster. How do we rebuild cities like Tacloban, destroyed when typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines? How do we provide affordable housing to repopulate the abandoned core of our own urban centers?These aren’t new questions--there just never seems to be a satisfactory answer. For the... more
October 22, 2013
Setting up Analytics:Setting up Google Analytics can be daunting, but with this handy guide, it is something that anyone can do.  The first thing to do is go to http://www.google.com/analytics/. If you already have a Google account, you’re ready to start, otherwise, register now!Google Analytics walks you through a set-up wizard to create your account.  When you’re done,... more
September 09, 2013
Should your heading 1 tag <h1> on the page be your logo, or the first headlines on the page? This is a topic that has provoked numerous arguments online, with "true believers" on both sides, and it gets at the heart of your web strategy: What will Google and other search crawlers prefer?Those who believe the logo is the most important element on the page will wrap it in an H1 tag... more
August 08, 2013
If you buy or sell software or computer services that are used by anyone in Massachusetts, your life just got a lot harder. The State of Massachusetts has recently increased taxes on gas, cigarettes... and software. This tax applies to all “computer software, including pre-written upgrades, which is not designed and developed by the author.” Vague and scary, right? Well, if you... more
July 17, 2013
There is a reason why Chrome is the default developer browser. When compared to the lagging Internet Explorer or Firefox, Chrome is accelerating ahead with every update. It’s fast, has a large developer community creating extensions, an amazing number of developer tools out of the box, and it’s based on WebKit, which dominates the mobile browsers. Here are a few of my personal... more
July 16, 2013
Our resident search engine expert Kayleen Rossio sits down with Ira Bryck of the UMass Family Business Center for an informative podcast on All Things Search. Taped in front of a small audience of local business owners, Kayleen discusses the ins and outs of optimizing a website to best perform in Google searches. Learn about:What Google really wantsOrganic Search vs. Paid AdWords AdsUsing Google... more
July 15, 2013
It's a good thing that Gianni Versace didn't live to see the era of wearable computing. On the other hand, perhaps he's exactly what we need. On the absolute cutting edge of fashion for decades, Versace set the bar for dramatic design--something that, in the tech world, we often look to Apple to do. Unfortunately, Cupertino hasn’t entered the world of wearable computing yet, and... more
July 02, 2013
In the "back room" at Gravity Switch, a lot of developers and one designer work very hard. Sometimes, an intruder (like me) comes barreling in with a question for someone.Usually this is no problem, but if one of them is on the phone, they are frantically trying to let me know to SHADDDUP a little, all while not losing the thread of the conversation.So Jess came up with idea to have an... more
July 02, 2013
The amazing Eric Schimelpfenig from SketchThis.NET was looking for something "organic" to model in SketchUp today and created this little surprise for us:He started with our logo:Next he modeled it in 3D, like this:Then he sent it over to his 3D printer and a short while later had a 3D model of "Green Guy" (as our logo is known around here - which is a story unto itself... more
June 26, 2013
In 2011, I was writing about agile to convince software developers to adopt it. But as more and more businesses integrate software development into their core competencies, it’s time to re-explain how agile can help all sorts of projects--not just software.A couple of years ago I wrote about agile web development that works. But to the mainstream business community, agile was still a fairly... more
June 21, 2013
While Google’s Android Developer Guidelines do help developers create better apps, there are a number of places where usability and common sense should win out over standards. Of course, before you set about breaking the rules, you'll need to learn them, so by all means: Don't proceed until you've familiarized yourself with Google’s standards. They are important... more
June 11, 2013
There’s been a lot of buzz lately about development teams using their own software--known as "eating your own dogfood"--in order to cultivate empathy for their users. After all, if the team doesn't use the app they're building, then how can they ever improve the user experience, right? Wrong! Counterintuitively, dogfooding only works in certain scenarios: Here... more
May 23, 2013
While fine art is a subjective field, graphic design is more formulaic in its fundamentals. An effective design should make people feel a certain way and take a certain action. In this article I'd like to share Gravity Switch's web design principles and our thinking behind them. Read Jason's Full Article at Web Designer Depot more
April 26, 2013
I want to congratulate Ryan Askew, Kayleen Rossio, and everyone at Gravity Switch who collaborated with the Guggenheim team to develop the Guggenheim Blogs website -- recently nominated for a Webby Award!For those of you who don't know, the Webby's are the Oscars of the web world, with over 11,000 applicants this year alone.Great work everyone!- Jason more
March 18, 2013
A logo is an essential part of your company brand. It works together with elements such as your website, collateral, brand promise, and marketing efforts to set the tone for your company as a whole in the public arena. And while this sounds simple enough, many logos tend to overshoot or fall short.Read more about what Jason has to say on Web Designer Depot. more
February 27, 2013
Mobile web traffic almost doubled in 2012, but that growth slowed dramatically in 2013 and mobile has even lost market share in February.UPDATE: Growth resumed in the second half of Feb and continued to increase through March and April!Read Jason's entire article at Web Designer Depot. more
February 06, 2013
Jason, captain of the ship here at Gravity Switch, is super psyched about the upcoming DrupalCon in Portland, Oregon. In fact, he's so excited he's thrown in a bid to give a talk. It's called Getting Sh*t Done. It's all about Drupal, agile development, and low-risk project management. It would be a great addition to the line up and we're enlisting your help to make it happen.... more
January 15, 2013
An effective design should make people feel a certain way and take a certain action. Listed below are the 10 design principles that have served us well.Define Goals First - Begin every website design project with a brainstorming session that outlines clear, realistic website goals that reinforce to your business objectives.Focus on Users Second - With your clear goals top of mind, you... more
November 26, 2012
Twenty minutes after unboxing my first iPad, I realized this device’s potential to revolutionize the world of kiosks. Ten years ago, my team and I worked with Honda to develop touchscreen kiosks for its dealerships. Potential buyers could customize their purchase with a few touches of their fingertips. While innovative at the time, these early interactive kiosks didn’t come cheap,... more
October 24, 2012
Choosing the right web hosting company is a critical component for anyone with a website, however, it is one of the least glamorous aspects and is often not given enough consideration. Not all web hosting companies are created equal. Here are 5 features that don't matter when picking a web host and 2 things every host must have.Read Jason's full article at WPHub. more
October 08, 2012
Whether you're just starting out with computer programming, have 20 years experience or your programming career's somewhere in the middle - here are six steps for changing the way you think about programming and improving your programming skills in the process.Read Jason's Full Article at WPHub. more
August 11, 2012
"Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable." - Mark TwainLast week Errol Morris did a fascinating test on the importance of typefaces (and by inference graphic design).He created a survey where he randomly varied the typefaces and got 45,000 responses on New York Times. He found that out of the 6 fonts tested Baskerville was the font with the most positive responses and... more
April 30, 2012
Jason Mark argues that there's a clear middle ground in the argument about mobile approaches between Jacob Nielsen and Josh Clark and suggests data, not belief, should guide your mobile choices.  Read Jason's Full Article at .net. more
April 16, 2012
Each form of social media has it's own strengths and weaknesses.  Our goal is to use each social media where they're strongest.RSSthe modern AP feedMostly used by professionals whose job it is to track and reprocess the flow of information.  Many reporters subscribe to multiple RSS feeds as "trusted" sources of high quality information. Twitterthe modern CNNLess... more
November 29, 2011
According to W3Techs, almost 55% of the 1 million most visited websites that are run on a content management system (CMS) are run on WordPress. WordPress is a darn fine CMS and is stable and easy to use, but so are Joomla and Drupal. So, why does WordPress have the lion's share of the top 1 million websites?Read Jason's Full Article at Smashing Magazine. more
September 29, 2011
Making an eBook is easy, regardless of your coding experience. This is good, because 99.9% of your time should be spent on writing and getting your book out there, rather than on technology. Read Jason's Full Article at Smashing Magazine.  more
August 25, 2011
One of the biggest hurdles when developing a website in Drupal is the initial setup and configuration. Out of the box, Drupal isn’t exactly "end-user friendly".If you’re like me, and you need to set up sites with a non-developer end-user in mind, there is a lot of face lifting that needs to be done before Drupal is presentable in a simple, easy-to-learn way.In this article,... more
August 04, 2011
When working with website stakeholders, it's important to have a clear and consistent shared vocabulary for discussing website navigation and IA. It avoids confusion and mistakes.In this article, we'll look at the current status of website navigation terminology.Read Jason's Full Article at Six Revisions. more
June 23, 2011
Agile web development is not a specific process, action, or a daylong exercise. Agile is a mindset, an attitude with which a project is undertaken.It means streamlining the project, taking away time-sucks, performing frequent sanity checks, and making sure that you're not spending excessive time on things that don't add value to the project.Read Jason's Full Article at Six Revisions. more
June 01, 2010
Designing and building a secure wall-mount for an iPad touchscreen kioskWhat is a touchscreen kiosk?You may have seen a computer kiosk at a science museum or an art gallery. If you were shopping for a Honda Odyssey in 1999 you may have seen the kiosks that Gravity Switch programmed for Honda's showrooms that let you customize your vehicle (e.g. color, options), and print out a spec sheet.So... more
May 25, 2009
Before we started:The guys, part way up the mountain:It was foggy at the top:Kelli & Derek getting ready to take a photo:We made it!:Jason in a tree: more
March 05, 2003
03/05/2003Jason Mark (Founder and President) of Gravity Switch spoke to the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium sharing some valuable insights on why making a website easy to use is NOT easy to do! Below are the key points of his talk:Case Study: What works for one provider and what doesn't work for othersReviews of different sites, with suggested criteria so you can evaluate your ownBest... more
February 24, 2003
02/24/2003- Daily Hampshire GazetteBy: JIM BALDERSTON, Staff Writer - Boston may be the heart of the state's information technology sector, but the Pioneer Valley also has a significant share of increasingly sophisticated companies in the field. Taking advantage of the freedom of the Internet, these small companies choose to do business far from the Route 128 corridor.While no one expects the... more
November 04, 2002
11/04/2002Gravity Switch is pleased to announce the completion of an in-depth Internet Strategy Consulting project conducted for Sega Amusement U.S.A., Inc in San Francisco, CA.Sega's arcade website is the third most-viewed website in the arcade industry. In an effort to grow market share, outshine its competition and better serve its customers, Sega retained Gravity Switch to develop a web... more
October 09, 2002
10/09/2002The goal of the Blitz Build project was to build a two-story home in 10 days, and with the help of Gravity Switch and other volunteers, they reached this very ambitious goal. According to York Mayo, Habitat's Executive Director, "It was the first time in the history of Habitat for Humanity International that a two-story home was Blitz Built."lowell and kelli cleaning Says... more
September 13, 2002
09/13/2002- New Haven RegisterBy: Maria Garriga, Register Staff - Aqua Arts, a handcrafted indoor fountain business, took a hit barely a year after it opened 1997. That's about the time when inexpensive, massproduced fountains became popular.Co-owners Casey and Carol Pilis took their business to the Internet in December 2000. Today nearly 70% of its business comes from its Web site, www.... more
May 09, 2002
05/09/2002Gravity Switch, Inc. is proud to be recognized as the top web design firm in Western Massachusetts. The highly creative and top-notch firm swept the Website Design category in this year's Creative Merit Awards, the gala event put on annually by the Ad Club of Western Massachusetts. The Creative Merit Awards recognize services and industries in Western Massachusetts that contribute... more
May 01, 2002
05/01/2002- Business WestBy: Joseph Bednar - After years of double-digit growth, online retail sales hit a snag over the past holiday season, perhaps partly due to a flagging economy and post 9/11 fears. Now that the economic mood is brightening, companies say this is no time to abandon the Internet. Read excerpts from Gravity Switch President, Jason Mark's comments below or click the PDF... more
October 01, 2001
10/01/2001 Gravity Switch announced today that Teaching Medieval Lyric with Modern Technology, a CD-ROM created for Mount Holyoke College by Gravity Switch, has been selected as a finalist in the Education category for the 2001 MIMC Awards. Of the 120 plus finalists, only two are from Western Massachusetts and of those, Gravity Switch is the only web/interactive design firm to be recognized.... more
September 24, 2001
09/24/2001- BusinessWestIf you're considering creating a new website, or redesigning the one you have, there are two questions you should answer before any work begins:How often will your content change?Who should do the updating?For a basic marketing website that provides general information that won't change often, it's probably best to go with a "static" website - one... more
May 18, 2001
05/18/2001- Business West Having a Web site is one thing. Having an effective site is something else altogether. The Northampton Web design firm Gravity Switch is enjoying steady growth while helping clients to take control of their sites and maximize their potential.Jason Mark says that while many companies want to have a presence on the Internet, not nearly as many know how to do it right.... more
April 20, 2001
04/20/2001In the past, if you wanted to build a new house you had two basic options: 1. You could hire an architect to design the plans for you (which can be expensive)2. You could wade through large books of blueprints to find the one that most closely matched your dream house (and then hire an architect to customize the design before ordering the plan).That's all changed with OriginalHome.... more
August 08, 2000
08/08/2000EntreNetwork.com features articles written by area professionals and experts from organizations such as Springfield Technical Community College, Mass Ventures, and the University of Massachusetts on topics such as raising capital, the digital economy, and marketing and strategy. It also features the area's most comprehensive calendar of events for entrepreneurs, and a database of... more
April 11, 2000
04/11/2000In an age where technical innovation can be highly lucrative, Jason Mark, President and Co-owner of Gravity Switch, Inc., a Northampton based web and interactive company, is hoping his latest endeavor will steer some of those profits to three worthwhile causes - The National Audubon Society, The American Heart Association, and World Vision. Mark is offering three unique fonts he... more
March 27, 2000
03/27/2000The Summit Creative Awards® is the only competition of its kind. The awards were created to recognize exceptional work by advertising agencies, video production companies, multimedia firms and other creative groups with annual billings of $15 million or less. It is the only opportunity such firms have to compete internationally.This year's panel of judges included Andrew Swanson... more
August 02, 1999
08/02/1999- Daily Hampshire GazetteKevin Russell, co-owner of a company that develops Web sites for businesses, puts his finger on one of the paradoxes presented by the World Wide Web. "In the information age," says Russell, "the last thing people need is information they don't need."One key to creating an effective Web site, says Russell, who co-owns Right Angle... more
July 07, 1999
07/07/1999On Wednesday June 23, marketing, communication and advertising gurus from all over Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut gathered at the Majestic Theatre in West Springfield to acknowledge excellence and ingenuity at the '99 Creative Merit Awards. These prestigious honors were created for the purpose of maintaining a high level of quality in the communication arts. First... more