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Archive for November, 2009

Wireframes

November 25, 2009 Leave a comment

A useful tool when building a website, or any other piece of software, is the wireframe mock up: quick and simple sketches of how the website will be structured. They can help you figure out your sites structure and get a handle on how the user will work with your site and you can show them to people without the risk of them thinking you’ve got a finished product, which is always a danger when showing people a “buffed up” design.

Below are three wireframes from the Activate Your Glutes website showing the homepage, a graphical summary of body measurements and the body measurements themselves. Things have shifted around a little during production but this gives you a flavour of what is coming.

Homepage Body Summary Body Data

I like to use a tool called Balsamiq Mockups to do my wireframes – its not as quick to use as a pad of paper but if, like me, you have the drawing skills of a mongoose then its an awesome next best thing and handily works on both the Mac and PC – the two platforms I use.

Categories: site, tech

Your Data is Yours

November 24, 2009 Leave a comment

So lets say you pick a website to help you track your progress and achieve your fitness goals but the site closes down – what happens to all the data you’ve entered? What if you choose to use a different site? What if you simply decide to use a spreadsheet instead?

All too often, on fitness websites and in the wider world, the data you enter is locked up on that site. You can access it through the site but its difficult to extract all the data you entered – you can’t simply export it. I’d suggest that in that case the data is no longer yours. You’re locked in and its difficult to get out without consequence, lost data.

A core principle of ActivateYourGlutes is that your data is yours and you should be able to get access to it in its entirety so that you can use it however you like. To that end you’ll find that the site contains a number of “Export Your Data” links that will let you do just that – download a file containing all the data you’ve entered.

Its not glamorous, its not exciting but it is important and something many websites neglect.

Categories: site

Activate Your Glutes – An Introduction

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Welcome, welcome.

Coming off the back of an atrocious week of eating, drinking and correspondingly poor results I thought what better time to launch a new fitness site and blog.

Firstly the site – www.activateyourglutes.com. When I got back into fitness and the gym about 9 months ago I went looking for a web site to let me track my programmes, workouts, progress and occasionally nutrition. Over this period I’ve tried a number of them (well known and otherwise) but have yet to really settle on one. Some are pretty, some are social but they all seem to share a common theme of poor usability when entering data: programmes are hard to set up, and daily food diary takes too long to record. Being a developer I’m prone to thinking “I can do better” so thought I’d take a shot.

Now if you’ve got ahead of me and clicked that link above you’ve probably found it goes nowhere, and thats because the site isn’t quite live yet. Bear with me – it will be shortly. The plan is to roll out features in stages with the first thing to appear being body measurement tracking, followed by programmes and workouts, then nutrition and finally the social aspects.

Secondly the fitness – I’m a pretty keen gym guy who generally gets a big kick out of my workouts but my fitness history is what you might call potted. In my teens and early twenties I did a lot of rock climbing and that kept me fit, in my mid twenties I spent too much time behind a keyboard and drinking beer with the inevitable consequences, in my late twenties I joined a gym and by the time I hit 30 was in the best shape of my life – at which point it all went badly wrong: I bought a car and it knocked out all my routines and made me phenomenally lazy. Bad move. Then 9 months ago I got fitted up for a DJ – the numbers read out to me were truly alarming and I resolved to do something about it. I rejoined the gym, sold the car and got back on the pushbike, hired a personal trainer and 9 months and lots of graft later I’m in reasonable and healthy shape.

And thirdly the tech – occasionally, for the geek / fitness crossover crowd (we’re quite large despite the perception that we’re all skinny pale geeks who never leave our keyboards) I’ll post some technical details of how the site is implemented.

Finally – you might be wandering where the name came from. When I first started working out with my trainer a frequent phrase used was to tell me to “activate your glutes”. Made me laugh every time and has stuck with me – though I’d like to think my bottom is no longer sagging.

Categories: fitness, site, tech