Highlights from Dublin Tech Summit 2017

The first edition of the Dublin Tech summit, an international technology conference, took place on February 15th and 16th 2017 in Dublin’s Convention Center. http://dublintechsummit.com

Camille & Sanaa: Hello from Dublin Tech Summit. #Dashlane #WomenInTech #DTS

Camille & Sanaa: Hello from Dublin Tech Summit. #Dashlane #WomenInTech #DTS

Very interesting talks, panel discussions, and workshop sessions made these 2-days an exciting and enriching experience.

Bellow are some of the inspiring sessions of Dublin Tech Summit:

"The art of storytelling" by Matthew Luhn from Pixar.
Matthew Luhn from Pixar

Stories are meaningful because there are Memorable, Impactful and Personal.

People are personally connected to whoever create a story which is memorable and impactful.

“A story is 22 more memorable than facts alone” - Matthew Luhn

“Stories impact our “Happy” &”Sad” chemicals” - Matthew Luhn

Storytelling skills can be transferred to business skills while giving a presentation. The information wrapped around a story stays memorable.

Luhn admired how Steve Jobs used storytelling to reach his audience and evolve his companies.

By creating an unexpected story, you create a great hook and catch people's attention within the first 8 seconds.

“Be vulnerable & honest. Don't be clever” - Matthew Luhn

To have a complete story, a Structure should be added to the authenticity and connection. Tell the story with a Set UP (a hook), a Build, and a Pay Off (the close).

“Life is not about the destination it's about the journey” - Matthew Luhn


"Improving Engagement In Today's Social World" by Chris Jones from Google.

Chris Jones was discussing online engagement and what business should include or improve in their online Strategy.

He started by giving some mobile Strategy tips, make it:

  • Fast, make articles and content fast.
  • Easy for users, show steps, make sure it's very touch-friendly, size the text in the right way, think about people with disabilities.
  • Consistent across all screens, Give options to continue work on different devices (e.g. TripAdvisor)

To check how mobile friendly is a website, Chris Jones shared with us a great link http://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com that gives a score of the Mobile Friendliness, Mobile Speed, and Desktop Speed. It also sends a detailed report on what should be fixed.

Choose the right Social Media you can engage with your customers.

Choose the right Social Media you can engage with your customers.

Chris Jones ended his talk by basic Social Media principles: Post on a regular schedule, Create catchy snippets and unique content. Increase engagement by including video and visual content and Have a clear call to action.

“People don't share information, we share stories” - Chris Jones


Dublin Tech Summit StartUp Workshops:
"Get Your Team to Perform Quicker!" by Snjezana Momic from Ryanair & Dejan Cusic from Comtrade.

To accelerate your team to the fully-performing stage, the leader or Scrum Master have to analyze and diagnose the development level of the team and adapt the leadership style:

  1. Directing (High Directive and Low Supportive behavior) when the team is in the Forming level (Learning about each other).
  2. Coaching (High Directive and High Supportive behavior) when the team is in the Storming level (Challenging each other).
  3. Supporting (Low Directive and High Supportive behavior) when the team is in the Norming level (Working with each other).
  4. Delegating (Low Directive and High Supportive behavior) when the team is in the Performing level (Working as one).
Get Your Team to Perform Quicker

“Empowerment is all about letting go so that others can get going”

Following this leadership plan will not only make your team perform quicker but also increase their productivity and morale to its highest level.

"Empowering Your Team with OKRs" by Henrik-Jan Van der Pol from Perdoo.

OKR = Objectives & Key Results

OKR is a management strategy that has been used by companies like Google, Intel, and LinkedIn from their early days. It helps everybody understands how they can contribute in the best possible way and help drive the company forward as fast as possible.

Objectives are the goals, they tell you where to go. Each objective has a few Key Results, which indicate how you will get there.
Objectives are driven by the Mission & Vision. The Mission tells everyone why you exist and the Vision is the dream, the long-term view, it provides the focus for the mission.

OKRs should be set annually and quarterly with a maximum of 5 Objectives/ 4 KR per quarter. Make OKRs ambitious and challenging, and expect to get 70% of the target as a great achievement. The Key Results must have a number to make them measurable and enable the evaluation of the Objective.

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At Dashlane, we have been using Scrum Agile Methodology for about 3 years. Recently, we started implementing OKRs in parallel with Scrum. Those two workshops strengthened my knowledge.


Dublin Tech Summit Panel Discussion:
"The importance of Experience" panel moderated by Neil Leyden from RTÉ.
Choose the right Social Media you can engage with your customers.

Choose the right Social Media you can engage with your customers.

The speakers were discussing the importance of User Experience and how high-quality User Experience plays a huge role in users satisfaction using a product or bringing traffic to a website.

“Prototyping is not a stage. We should always be prototyping” - Christian Marc Schmidt

 “As designers we spend a lot of our time thinking about how to do things, but we need to start asking ourselves why we do things” - Pia Betton

“We are becoming more fluent when it comes to understand and working with data” - Christian Marc Schmidt

 “The best user experience are those that are surprising” - Christian Marc Schmidt

1. Prototyping and testing: The importance of thinking and design thinking. Iterating to define and test experiences.

2. Frictionless: Listen to users and get their feedback to create a frictionless environment and a smooth experience verifying consistency.

3. Delightful: Create a delightful and meaningful experience

A good User Experience is thoughtfully crafted, pleasant, makes you happy, and gets you immersed.


"A Customer-Centric Approach To Success" by Maria Martinez from Salesforce.

According to Maria Martinez, there are some movements that are really important and disruptive to the industry. The companies that are going to win the marketplace are the ones that will take advantage of the disruptions like social media, mobile, internet of Things, connected devices, and artificial intelligence. Some companies like Amazon and Uber are already leveraging these disruptions.
The expectation of users is increasing because they are getting used to it. It creates a huge gap between what the user expect from suppliers and what is provided. This gap can be for example due to a bad user experience or a wrong built-in intelligence.

Salesforce came up with a solution to their client called "Customer success platform", which allows companies to connect with their customers in a new way, from sales, marketing and support. They help customers achieve their values and meet the expectation of what they bought.
By understanding what success means for customers: every customer has a different definition of success even if they purchase the same product because each of them wants to achieve different goals

“Our job is to make our customers successful - If they are successful we are successful” - Maria Martinez

“Once your customer trusts you, everything changes” - Maria Martinez

Salesforce has been investing on:
Measuring renewals by thinking about the entire lifecycle from when the purchase is complete until the renewal happens, and that customers start a new cycle.

Using a tremendous amount of data science to analyze how much customers are using the product and identify the areas that are not used to help and guide them.

Creating advisory services: very talented individuals, tools, and capabilities that allow Salesforce to advise their customers down the right journey.

“Our job is to help customer to achieve business value faster” - Maria Martinez


"The Thank You Economy" by Gary Vee from VaynerMedia.

I didn't know Gary Vaynerchuk and I have missed this session. Everyone at Dublin Tech Summit was talking about his talk, I couldn't but search for it online!

“It’s not about how much money I make – I just genuinely wake up every day being extremely happy - I'm optimistic - I'm completely driven by gratitude” - Gary Vaynerchuk

“My success as a human is living happy” - Gary Vaynerchuk

The message that Gary Vee wanted to share with the audience is to think about the life in success in "Clouds and Dirt" perspective:

Step back and understand the philosophical reasons for why you are doing something. Be a practitioner of your skill by thinking and crafting.

Recipe of success: pushing on both of those edges. The clouds (the philosophy, the "why") and the dirt (actually doing it, the "how")


Left Dublin Tech Summit with a good dose of positive vibes and energy. Many inspirational people!

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Safari App Extensions Cleared Up

Last Thursday, October 13th, 2016, Dashlane hosted CocoaHeads Paris Meetup and I gave a talk about Safari App Extensions.
Below, you can find my slides (in English) and a recorded video (the presentation was in French).

Slides

Video

 

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WWDC 2016 Scholarship Orientation Day

This year I won a scholarship to attend the world renowned Apple developers conference WWDC 2016, you can find out how I won this scholarship in a previous article.

To meet other winners, hear insights from Apple Engineers and get advice on how to get most out of WWDC, Apple holds an Orientation Day for scholarship recipients on Sunday prior the Keynote day.

In this article, I will describe this special event, with permission from Apple.

Opening 

The Orientation was on June 12th, 2016 at Mission Bay Conference Center starting from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Upon arrival, Apple was ready for the registration of all participants. They gave special badges mentioning “WWDC Scholarship Winner 2016” and nice jackets designed by Apple.

After registration, we had the opportunity to have lunch and meet other scholars.

WWDC16Badge

Talks

At 2:00pm, after refreshments, we went to another conference room where key speakers were giving talks.

Esther Hare, welcoming WWDC Scholarship winners

Esther Hare, welcoming WWDC Scholarship winners

Esther Hare  was the first speaker. She welcomed us and congratulated us on winning the scholarship. After which she dived into statistics of previous years applicants in comparison to this year (2016), 215% amazing increase through STEM organization and 22% increase in female applicants.

John Geleynse talk was focused on ingredients of great apps, he addressed “How do you identify a great app?” and “How do you design a great app?”.

To achieve super compelling apps, he suggested 8 steps:

  1. Inviting, great first impression matters with first time users.
  2. Intuitive, instantly familiar and immediately useable by the user. The developers should use standard platform conventions and build apps directly recognizable as expected by the audience.
  3. Engaging, building the app with new functionality and content, in order to retain users, whilst keeping them engaged. This is all about the design and not the technology used to implement the app.
  4. Enabling, unique apps allow you to do things you could not do before.
  5. Innovative, captivating and building something that leaves lasting impressions.
  6. State of the art, keeps up with emerging technologies and staying ahead of the latest trends
  7. Localized, reach out to everybody and maximize the customer base.
  8. Accessible, using accessibility framework.

Tim Isted demonstrated that simple design can develop user's focus. He took us through the progress and iteration of the London Underground map from how complicated it was to its current simple form. He also insisted on not simplifying the design too much to keep it intuitive and prevent user's frustration.

In continuation with the previous ideas, Anna Shrengelova a web designer at Apple put emphasis on the importance of design saying that design is not how it looks and feels but how it works.  It requires iteration to craft a good story which at the end helps in creating great software.
There is always a team behind a great software, we should work together with skilled people, not be afraid of  the ones who think differently and learn to accept feedback.

Other speakers (Santiago Gonzalez, Nina Kominiak, Bill Dudney, Jill Vermillion) talked about their stories at Apple and what’s coming up next.

Group Picture

Right after the talks we all went outside to take a group picture.

WWDC16 Scholarship Group Picture

WWDC16 Scholarship Group Picture

Tim Cook showed up, very kindly spending some time with scholarship winners.

IMG_0359 IMG_0361

WWDC16 badge autographed and selfie with Tim Cook

Networking

WWDC Scholarship winners spent the rest of the afternoon talking with each other and socializing with some Apple employees.

Finally, all WWDC Scholarship winners were given an Apple TV Developer kit!

You can check out my next post on my experience at WWDC16.

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Sympli: Life changing tool

Design matters...

User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX) design is very critical for the success of your application. Smart and efficient design can spark users’ interest and keep them using the software.

Dashlane design across all platforms

Dashlane design across all platforms

At Dashlane, an emphasis is put on having great designs with a streamlined, simple and user-friendly interface to create a seamless experience for end-users.

Working in an Agile environment provides excellent visibility for designers and developers. The developers get a better view of the features they are working on, and they can give technical feedback to designers that will help the conception and achieve goals.

The cracks begin to show

However, this communication is not always fluid. Before I go into details, let me give you a breakdown of my personal experience as a Mac UI developer.

For each feature, we have to add, at some point the design gets approved, and it’s time for implementation.
If everything were well-organised developers would have a known place where they can find the necessary elements of the design such as colors used, the margins between UI elements, their sizes, fonts, images and so on…

But unfortunately, this is pretty hard for designers to maintain.

We end up with a PNG design file and a lot of questions and back and forth.
Things get even worse when the “final design” has to be updated, which happens pretty much all the time. Usually, it starts with tweaks of existing elements that is communicated via slack or attached to Jira. Then other changes come up, and it’s a repeated cycle again.
It gets hard to keep track of all changes and ensure nothing is missed. Those modifications have to be communicated to all other developers on other teams making sure they are up to date.

Sympli as a solution

My personal experience coupled with frustration, had me thinking there has to be a tool out there to facilitate this entire process. My search leads me to Sympli.

A tech company based in Washington D.C, Sympli is a collaboration tool, bridging the gap between designers and developers.
Sympli is a handy tool, available as a Web app and a plugin for Android Studio and Xcode. It supports both Sketch and Photoshop designs. It’s free for one project with price points to reflect project sizes.

Sympli provides visual specs of the design elements in platform-specific units. It generates color palettes that can be grouped in categories (Brand books). Bitmap and vector assets can be exported quickly and easily. Where needed, you can apply all style guides in one click from Sympli plugin.
You can annotate design inside Sympli, alongside with design version control.
The outstanding feature for me is the ability to drag and drop design elements to Xcode to generate layouts. For Android developers, this feature is coming soon with Layout Editor.

Example of Sympli being within the Web Application

Example of Sympli being within the Web Application

From my conversation I had with Sympli support (excellent customer service), here is a brief summary of upcoming features:

  • Official support for Mac projects by adding the drag & drop feature, the same thing applies to the new Layout Editor for Android.
  • Designers won’t need to communicate what changes they made as they will be shown by a side-by-side visual versions comparison.
  • Code-level styling in Swift and Objective-C when implementing the UI by code and not in Interface Builder.

Thoughts...

After extensive use of Sympli, I felt this could be a useful tool for Dashlane. Always one looking for new and better ways to improve processes, a demo was much needed to convince Dashlane we could improve and save time with our design and implementation process. My presentation demonstrated the ease of use and how Sympli eliminates ambiguity.

SanaaPresentingSympli

This presentation generated a lot of awareness and sparked interests. After further discussions, we have decided to give Sympli a try and see how this will better simplify our current process.

An upcoming post will further update you on how we have incorporated Sympli into our workflow and how it is working out for us.

Have you used Sympli? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in a comment below.

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How I got WWDC Scholarship

Recently, I won a scholarship for WWDC 2016. Since being asked several times how I managed to get the scholarship, I decided to write a post to share my experience with other people that might be interested.

Before I go into details I’ll start first with a short description of the conference.

What’s WWDC?

WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) is an annual conference held by Apple Inc. at the Moscone West convention center in San Francisco, California.

The conference is a one-week event, bringing together several thousand developers from around the world.

It starts with a Keynote where Apple usually announces the future of their operating systems (OSX, iOS, watchOS and tvOS). During the week, developers can attend some valuable workshops and software sessions to learn and to practice how to use the latest Apple technologies. Also, there is a bash party to celebrate the week with WWDC new friends and music.

How do you participate?

WWDC tickets are allocated through random selection process due to limited availability.

Developers who want to attend must be a member of Apple Developer Program before the announcement day, and submit their registration by a deadline set by Apple. If they win the lottery, they will be charged $1599 for the ticket.

What’s a WWDC Scholarship?

Apple rewards 350 talented students and members of STEM* organizations with the opportunity to attend WWDC free of charge.

The winners are invited to an orientation day the Sunday prior the Keynote.

Are you eligible for WWDC Scholarship?

To be eligible for WWDC scholarship you have to be over 13 years old and a student or member of a STEM organization.

Developers have to be registered either under a free developer account or a paid Apple developer program.

They have to submit an application they have worked on that demonstrates a creative use of the latest Apple technologies.

Applications will be judged on technical accomplishment in the submitted application, the creativity of ideas in the submitted application, and quality of written responses to the questions in the application form.

Results of the application status are communicated one week after the submission deadline.

My story

I was rejected for the random selection process to attend WWDC 2016 by Apple. I knew there are other channels for getting a WWDC ticket. I believe life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Determined I did some research and I realized that I was actually eligible for a WWDC scholarship as a member of Women Who Code group.

I am a Mac OS X developer. For WWDC scholarship, despite the very short time (3 days) I had available before the submission deadline, I decided to take the challenge and develop my first iOS app solely in Swift.

This iOS app allows users to share their current location address with their friends.

screenshot1

It has a list and a map view history of all previously shared positions.

screenshot2

The user can also keep track of how many times he shared a given location, re-view the address on a map or re-share it using Force touch.

screenshot3
This app groups creative use of Apple technologies such as:
Swift, Social Sharing, Maps, 3D Touch, Auto Layout, Core Animation and Core Data.

As this was my first iOS app, there were some challenges such as, How to:

  • Use Swift correctly
  • Send information via Message, Social app .. and receive feedback.
  • Better use Auto Layout to support the different screens of iPhones.
  • Store, edit and update data on an iPhone.
  • Use 3D Touch features on iOS.
  • Integrate Maps.

Reading apple documentation and tutorials, I managed to overcome these technical challenges.

Developing an iOS app was very interesting for me, I’m proud of what I delivered in a very short time. I’m motivated to continue developing and improving it.

The application is available on the App Store, you can download it from here Hoona on the App Store.

Conclusion 

I continually push myself to learn the latest technologies to deliver innovative solutions.

I believe WWDC is an opportunity for a developer to stay up-to-date about iOS and Mac OS X technologies.

Getting a WWDC scholarship can be daunting for first-timers. Being proactive and focused is key.
I encourage students and women who want to attend to WWDC to believe in themselves. There are prerequisites for the selection process. To ensure you are in with a chance, check you follow the requirement I described earlier.

Are you planning on applying for WWDC scholarship? Let me know if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them.
Please feel free to share your own experience in a comment, personal experience is always interesting to hear :)

En Francais


*STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) organizations promote women and girls in computer science, it includes:
App Camp for Girls, Black Founders, Black Girls Code, Blacks in Technology, Coalition for Queens, Code.org, Code2040, CodeNow, Girl Develop It, Girls Who Code, Hack the Hood, Hack bright Academy, LaTechLa, Latinos in Information, Science and Technology Association (LISTA), National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Technovation, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Women Who Code, and #YesWeCode.

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