2013 has come and gone in a heartbeat. We look back at an incredible year, where the team have done anything but miss a beat, producing some phenomenal projects and having a blast on the way. Join us on a journey of nostalgia and discovery, as we look back on what has been our greatest year so far!
After a little encouragement from the #KidPresident, we got off to a cracking start to 2013! January saw the launch of Symble, a product that we co-founded. It is a powerful, yet flexible CRM specifically designed to help stockbrokers import and see brokerage data from the two industry leading vendors as well as manage their contacts and client interactions. Later in the year Symble went on to win an impressive Wirehive 100 award for “Best use of Tech”.
In January, our Managing Director, Danny Bluestone was featured in New Media Knowledge, where he wrote about how the NHS could have benefited from a more user-centred approach to designing their services.
In February we were very proud to launch our brand new, future friendly responsive website. The 6th major iteration of our website was built to deliver the best possible experience to users on any device, whether it be mobile, desktop, tablet or anything in-between! It’s fair to say responsive web design continued to be a major theme across the web industry in 2013, so we made a video to help explain responsive design to those outside of our industry.
Besides our own website, February was a big month of launches for our clients too, with four major launches for The Far Horizons, CH Hausmann, Need a Property and the European Commission. We also still found time to share some Valentine’s Day love with you all, creating a suitably romantic infographic to celebrate the occasion.
March was a month of monumental achievements for the Ducks. Our quality assurance expert Nash ran a half marathon in aid of the British Heart Foundation (with only two weeks of training) and our Production Director, Matt Gibson bought his first house with his wife Stephanie. Meanwhile, our Marketing Intern Jenni received her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award for trekking across Mongolia; she got to meet the man himself, Prince Philip!
Last but not least we launched our own Sass based responsive mini-framework called Hoisin.scss (pronounced Hoisin Sauce - we make no apologies for duck puns). We open-sourced the project on GitHub so please fork and adapt this flexible grid system to your own project’s requirements — and let us know how it goes!
Cyber-Duck releases Hoisin.scss, a simple responsive front-end framework
Danny writes for UX Magazine about processes and standards
Danny and Mark deliver a guest lecture at University of Hertfordshire
Jenni earns her Duke of Edinburgh Award
Nash runs a half marathon for the British Heart Foundation
Matt buys his first house
April saw the first Digital Pond meetup of 2013. Our Front-End Developer, Ramon Lapenta presented “The Responsive Mindset” in London alongside Paul Adam Davis and best-selling author Rachel Andrew. The Digital Pond community has more than doubled in membership this year, from 422 to 1012!!
We were proud to facilitate a workshop at the ever-excellent UX London. Cyber-Duck Directors Danny and Matt ran a hands-on workshop that explored how a user-centred approach can help us to deliver better, more empathic and ultimately delightful experiences for our users.
Amidst all of this excitement, a team of Ducks descended upon the Spring Hackathon at Google Campus and after 48 hours of blood, sweat and tears we were victorious in the “Best Use of Geographical Data” category for their CrimeTimeline project.
May was a busy month for events! Ramon and Matt ran separate workshops at Digital Shoreditch. Whilst Ramon’s workshop focused on the pros and cons of using off-the-shelf front-end frameworks, Matt’s workshop explored approaching UX and design as part of a responsive web design project.
Danny, Matt and Andrew presented awards to the second year Multimedia and Games Design students of UEL we’d been mentoring since February. The team also managed to squeeze in trips to Port80 conference and Beyond Tellerrand and Neil retraced the footsteps of his family by visiting Iran and seeing where they lived in the 1970s.
For the 4th year running, Cyber-Duck judged the Associates Prize at the New Designers graduates exhibition in London. The show celebrates the creativity and innovation of the best student design work from across the UK.
Matt wrote for Smashing Magazine about adapting to responsive web design, which now forms a chapter in their eBook “Responsive Web Design, Vol. 2”.
Marketing Executive, Matthew Kynaston, achieved his British Parachuting Association (BPA) “A” licence, allowing him to skydive solo anywhere in the country.
In the height of summer, we threw one of our legendary Duckies BBQ parties at our Elstree office. Despite some questionable weather, we had a great turn out and celebrated Cyber-Duck’s 8th birthday in style by showcasing the very best graduate design talent from across the UK.
Danny was listed in the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) HOT 100 personalities of 2013, which recognises the most influential people in the Digital Industry. He capped off an excellent month by helping to teach the next generation of web designers and developers at Digital Summer Camp.
Five brave Ducks ran 5K whilst being caked in paint, all in the name of charity for Cancer Research UK as part of London’s inaugural Colour Run.
For the second year running we proudly acted as a centre and mentors for the Young Rewired State (YRS) hackathon. Team Elstree was made up of six talented 13-17 year olds who spent the week producing an application to help bring the community and local traders together, to breathe life back into British high streets. The team beat competition from thousands of kids from across the UK to win the “Code a Better Country” prize, presented to them by Conrad Wolfram.
In August, we also hosted our own internal hackathon, aptly named Quack Hack, where the whole team spent just under 48 hours producing six projects ranging from Web-enabled clocks to apps for teachers.
Interestingly, Ben Speakman, one of our web developers, had not turned off his PC since the hackathon meaning that as of New Year’s Eve 2013 it had been on for 132 days, or 190,080 minutes!
September has traditionally been a month for launches! This year we saw the release of the biggest selling entertainment product of all time, GTAV and the launch of the iPhone 5S, 5C and iOS7. We got in the act by launching several websites including BAM Sustainability which we’re delighted to say received an “Honourable Mention” from the esteemed Awwwards community.
The Digital Pond focused on different elements of user experience (UX) strategy; we welcomed both the wonderful Sandi Wassmer and charismatic Barry Briggs who shed some light on Content Strategy and Usability Testing respectively.
Lastly, the Duck Development team were quite busy in September, attending the CSS Conference in Berlin and also getting featured in the .net magazine for their work on the CrimeTimeline.
In October Cyber-Duck travelled back in time to Warwick Castle where we learnt what life would have been like for a medieval soldier by getting first hand experience doing archery and sword fighting. Rather appropriately, the following weekend we raised our own war cry by duelling at Battlehack, a hackathon spanning across 11 cities in 8 countries!
At Mozilla festival Alex and Benjamin ran an Arduino workshop to an audience of leading developers at Ravensbourne College in London, and Ramon delivered a talk about CSS pre-processors at popular meetup Front-end London.
As part of the BIMA D-Day initiative we mentored and taught local school children about design and coding. Lastly, Matt Gibson was featured on the BBC’s Watchdog, helping the programme investigate best practices in online shops.
In a project of supersonic speed and epic proportions, our very own top guns built and launched the first iteration of a brand new responsive website for the Eurofighter Typhoon in only 5 weeks!
The Digital Pond held its final event of the year, the annual Digital Marketing panel, where four notable digital marketers from across London came together to debate future trends to expect in 2014.
After receiving some inspiration from Justin Coghlan (JC) at the Dublin Web Summit, the Cyber-Duck team participated in Movember for the second year running, raising over £500 for charity as well as a few eyebrows at our questionable facial hair.
We ended the year in style by sharing our knowledge and experiences in different ways; first, Sylvain’s expertise was called upon in The Guardian, before he and Danny presented at a co-founders meetup, hosted by Bizoogo. Lastly, Matt Gibson featured in an interview with the Horizon Interactive Awards blog about our responsive design workflow and processes.
To cap off a fantastic 2013, we headed out for drinks, bowling and quite possibly the tastiest chocolate brownie ever at Cyber-Duck's Christmas party extravaganza.