Hello World: The Rocket Jones Blog

How Does Data Flow In Your Business?

Let’s take a break from talking about web applications, mobile apps, and data integrations for a minute. Those conversations are valuable, but sometimes they obscure what’s at the heart of good technology and good business. All companies use information, even if...

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Project Update: MainGate Tickets

This week we are celebrating the launch of MainGate Tickets! MainGate offers a simple way to buy and sell tickets for events of any size, and the flat ticket fee keeps events affordable for vendors and guests. Vendors simply create a free account and start building an...

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Do YOU Really Need a Mobile App?

It may seem like every business in town is launching a mobile app, but do you really need one for your business? It can be tricky to answer this question because it’s hard to predict and weigh intangibles like the value of keeping up with the technology Joneses,...

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Project Update: FACTOR[e]

We love projects that make the world a better place, so this new partnership is a great opportunity for Rocket Jones. FACTOR[e] is a venture capital firm based in Fort Collins, CO, with offices in East Africa and India as well. Their mission is to “…improve lives in...

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The Epilogue of Software

What happens after “Happily Ever After”? We like to tell stories about the software we build, but they always end at launch. Today we’d like to highlight what happens after the fanfare of launch, just in case you’re the person who’s really into sequels and epilogues....

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How to Break Up With Your Developer

It’s a tough spot to be in. Maybe you’ve been working with your developer for years. Maybe you know them personally from way back. Maybe they used to be great. Or maybe it’s still a new relationship, but it’s not looking good already. But however you got here, things...

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Project Update: East Texas Salt Water Disposal

Every project at Rocket Jones goes through our 4-Stage Process. It’s our way of making sure you get great software; with such a consistent process, nothing falls through the cracks, our team and yours will be on the same page, and it makes estimating timeline and cost...

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Announcing the BrewTribe iOS App!

Most of what we write about here is project updates featuring our clients’ web applications and mobile apps, but today we’re pleased to announce an exciting internal project we’ve been working on. BrewTribe is a mobile app framework for micro breweries. It’s...

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Rocket’s 2017 Year in Review

As we approach the end of the year, we like to look back at what we did and accomplished. Rocket Jones had a great year, thanks to our awesome team and amazing clients. Thank you for being a part of our year! January: In January,  we focused on supporting our...

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Project Update: Jiffy Lube Cloud-Based HR Software

We’re excited to announce the launch of a new web application for Enitor Group, a company operating eight Jiffy Lube locations in Northern Colorado! The company has unique work flows and tasks, and out-of-the-box software and previous attempts at custom software...

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Project Update: Prosci NAV Integration

We’ve enjoyed working with Prosci since 2013, and their software needs continue to evolve and grow. Our initial project in 2013 was building Prosci a complete online portal for their change management tools and materials. (Read the complete case study here.) Prosci...

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Project Update: LogiLube iOS App

We’re excited to announce the launch of another Rocket Jones iOS project! This project was done with LogiLube, a company located in Laramie, Wyoming. LogiLube sells oil for large manufacturing machines, and they also offer an analysis service. Their customers send in...

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Project Update: Healthy Homes Launch!

We are so excited to announce the launch of the Healthy Homes project! This project was a collaboration with A-Train Marketing and the City of Fort Collins Utilities, and we’re excited that it’s now available to the public. The application is a mobile-first website,...

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Project Update: Blogging for Books

One of our favorite things is building ongoing relationships with our clients through the years. We first started working with Penguin Random House Publishers in 2010, and we’ve done many updates and feature enhancements to the Blogging for Books application through...

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4 More Questions Developers Ask in the First Meeting

The first meeting between you and your developer is critical to determining the foundations of the app development project. Your app developer will start by asking a series of questions to determine the basic scope for the project before creating an initial bid for...

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5 Questions Developers Ask in the First Meeting

When you meet with a mobile app development vendor to get a quote, you can expect to talk about your business goals and their expertise. But a major part of your initial meeting will be hashing out some basic requirements for the app. Come prepared to discuss these...

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Healthy Homes with A-Train and the City of Fort Collins

We recently teamed up with A-Train Marketing for a City of Fort Collins project and wanted to share a bit about the project and our partnerships. This project with A-Train and the city is a great example of partnering with Rocket. The Healthy Homes department within...

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What It’s Really Like to Work With Rocket Jones

Brian Lackey from Outdoor Interactive sat down with us to tell his side of the story. His iOS mobile app recently launched in the App Store, and it's been an interesting journey to get there. In this video, he discusses the importance of good design and communication...

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Project Update: Transfort Bus Route Display

Transfort is the public transportation system in Fort Collins and operates 21 routes within the city and one route between Fort Collins, Loveland, Berthoud, Longmont, and Boulder. Rocket Jones and Transfort have worked together since 2014. We recently updated their...

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Project Update: National Park Service

We’ve worked with Logan Simpson and the NPS for the past three years. As you know, the NPS cares for and manages all cultural and natural resources within the parks. These resources must be carefully considered before building new or expanding existing roads. We...

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5 Red Flags When Hiring a Developer

#1 They Make Assumptions Watch out for the developer who knows everything. There’s a line between being an expert and being arrogant, so find a developer who falls into the first category. A big red flag is a development team that assumes they know what your company...

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3 Steps to a Project Contract

Every app starts with an idea. But what happens between having that idea and starting development? On this blog we’ve talked about our development process quite a bit (you can read about it here, here, and here), but that’s all focused on what happens after a project...

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Project Update: NCAP

Over the past two years, we’ve had the privilege of working with Northern Colorado Anesthesia Professionals (NCAP) on a custom web application. They are amazing people to work with, and we’re so excited to see the great results they’ve had from the software. We wanted...

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3 Hidden Complexities in Your App Concept

Many factors affect the complexity of a mobile app, and most of them are fairly apparent. But a few are not always clear, and they could surprise you down the road with additional costs and time if you don’t plan for them. The mobile app development world is...

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What to Do When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Most of our clients come to us with a fairly clear idea of what they need custom software or a mobile app to do. Either they have a specific need in their business, or they’ve already done quite a bit of research and documentation around the concept. From that point,...

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What Your Web Developer Wishes You Knew

What does every web developer wish their clients knew? What should you know before coming to a vendor with an app concept? That question was answered on April 6, 2017. Jeff Bristol, owner of Rocket Jones, and Brian Lackey, owner of Outdoor Interactive and a Rocket...

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Project Update: TrailMate iOS App

Have you ever laced up your boots on a sunny Saturday morning and headed to the trailhead for a day of hiking, only to find the parking lot completely full? Or maybe the parking lot is empty…because the trail is closed for maintenance. Or you brought your dog along...

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How to Repair the Holes in Your Process

Does your company experience growing pains? Of course, you want your company to grow, but as you start to diversify your products or services, that can mean a few holes open in the process. For example, you might be a large wholesale company, and your billing and...

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3 Alternatives to Hating Your CRM Software

Every business has customers. And almost every business uses CRM software to record customer information, nurture leads, and serve existing customers. Pick any out-of-the-box CRM software, and it will do the job! Most of the time. But when your CRM software can’t...

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Project Update: CSU Solar Panel Calculator

Colorado State University Extension just launched their solar calculator, and unlike some of our other projects, you can actually visit this one and try it out! CSU Extension's purpose is community outreach and research. The great people who work there want to help...

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Project Update: Employer’s Edge

Employer's Edge is a Colorado company that manages unemployment claims for other businesses. They provide an unemployment claims management system for their clients, including dedicated claim specialists and web software that tracks each claim, related documents, YTD...

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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing an App Developer

An important part of app development is finding the right team to do the work. You could hire a few developers in-house, but that’s not practical for most companies due to the overall cost of employees and the investment to manage them. Plus, if you don’t have plans...

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5 Signs of a Successful App

It’s super tempting to measure your app’s success by download numbers. While that’s certainly one aspect, it’s foolish to pin your definition of success on one metric that you have relatively little control over. Even before you begin an app project, it’s important to...

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How Mobile Apps Are Made (Video)

We've found that many people are very familiar with the front end of an app, but the "bones" of what makes it work is still fairly mysterious to most people. So to answer some common questions about developing a mobile app, we asked our senior developer, Jeff...

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How It’s Made: Mobile Apps

Information on building mobile apps ranges from DIY tutorials to companies promising you they’ll do it all. With so many options and so many voices, what is creating a mobile app really like? Some people learn how to program in Objective C or Java and build the app...

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Project Update: RallyCap’s Education Web App

RallyCap is a Colorado company that helps high school students make informed choices for their future. RallyCap Ambassadors visit high schools across the country and match students with options for schooling, career, military, and volunteer work based on the student’s...

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Larry’s Big Spreadsheet: A Story

Post by Kate Hansen, User Experience Designer at Rocket Jones When I was a kid, my family would play Stories on the Ceiling. Maybe you’ve played it, maybe not. Even as an adult, I’m still astonished at the family traditions that I thought were normal and aren’t, and...

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Testing and Support in Your Development Project (Video)

Nothing is quite as panic-inducing as broken software. When something doesn't work right, or you get an error message, you need help quickly. Tyler Goll is Rocket Jones' Support Specialist. He's been at Rocket for eight years, and he's solved a long, long list of...

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What You Can Expect from Rocket Jones (Video)

You take a big chance with your web vendor, and we understand. There's always the chance that they'll never answer your emails, or they'll overcharge you, or the software won't work. So we decided to tell you exactly what you can expect from Rocket Jones. Nate Lamb is...

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How to Plan for and Mitigate Data Security Risks (Video)

You know your data needs to be protected and secure, but what does that mean, and how do you do it? We asked Jeff Shoemaker, Rocket’s senior software architect, to explain some common risks and the measures we take to mitigate them. If you are concerned about your...

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What a Teenage Road Trip Taught Me About UX Design

Post by Kate Hansen, User Experience Designer at Rocket Jones When I was 18, I decided to take a short road trip to Twin Falls, Idaho to visit a friend. I hadn’t really been to Twin Falls before, but here’s the thing about Idaho: it’s mostly empty. Besides a...

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Building a Community: Strengthening a Weak Brand

Post by Zachary Ostin Being from a sales-minded household as a kid, I have always had a bent to get as many people “on board” as possible. No matter the situation, I have always wanted to influence people in a positive way. The more the merrier! In 2016 this mass...

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Which is Better? Mobile Responsive or Mobile App?

Post by Jeff Bristol, President at Rocket Jones You know “going mobile” is important for your business. Yeah, old news. But have you taken the leap and “gone mobile” yet? Yes? No? Maybe? Trick question. Sorry. “Going mobile” isn’t really a simple yes or no answer...

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3 Simple Steps to Solving Complex Business Problems

Post by Zachary Ostin Let me tell you a story. It is 2001 and a CEO of a thriving Landscape Contracting company with 55 employees and over $6 Million in annual sales is pulling his hair out. He has out-of-the-box accounting software. A estimating platform that was...

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3 Secrets to Doing More Meaningful Work

Post by Zachary Ostin Are you tired of spending your time doing the day-to-day grind, feeling the same frustrations, and getting stuck on the same boring tasks? Would you like to focus on things that really matter to you and your company? I recently heard a podcast by...

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5 Things to Know Before Building an App

Before you jump into developing a mobile app, pause to consider these 5 things that affect the success of your app. Click on each image for more on that topic. 1. Your Goal It’s so important to begin with the end in mind. What do you want the app to do? Why do you...

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Why You Should Ignore Your First Idea

Post by Kate Hansen, UX Designer at Rocket Jones Years ago, I sat in a conference with one of my favorite English teachers. She was brilliant and kind, and she’d agreed to help me with a paper before I turned in my final draft that week. After we finished going...

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5 Things Great Developers Do Differently

It can be overwhelming to find a web developer or web development company for a big new project. Everyone claims to be expert programmers, and truthfully, they probably are. There’s a lot of great programmers in the world. However, a lot more goes into a custom...

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7 Questions UX Designers Ask Every Client

It’s always exciting to start a new custom application project, especially one that will impact your business in so many ways. Once contracts are signed and the work begins in earnest, you can expect to answer a lot of questions as the user experience designer and...

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Failing Fast and Why You Should

By Jeff Shoemaker Nobody wants to fail because we assume failure equals incompetence, regardless of the assumption’s validity (spoiler alert: it’s false). Plus, failure often comes with the wasting of resources: time, money, physical materials, reputation. Once it’s...

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Custom Web Tools: Why You Should Care

Post by Zachary Ostin Rocket Jones is a company that builds custom cloud-based tools for clients in just about any area of business. This is so fascinating to me because I have been a student of process in business throughout my 30 year career. My father was an...

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Top 5 Books and Resources for Learning UX Design

Post by Kate Hansen I like reading, and I like User Experience Design. Check out my top 5 books and resources for beginner UX designers. All are worthwhile reads, but I suggest you start at #1 and work your way down. 1. Don't Make Me Think, by Steve Krug Steve Krug's...

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2 Ways to Increase Your Influence

Post by Jeff Bristol I had a mentor in my younger life who believed in me, encouraged me, and modeled strong and caring leadership. Looking back 20 years, I realized I learned two critical keys from him, whether I knew it at the time or not. This mentor taught me...

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1 Thing (Actual) Good Listeners Do Differently

Post by Zachary Ostin Have you ever sat through a great meeting with lots of discussion and interesting people who listened to you? Hopefully, yes. Thankfully, good conversation and verbal communication can be easily found in the business world. But, after that...

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Thinking Beyond Launch: 3 Lessons from NASA

Let’s take the “rocket” part of Rocket Jones literally for a minute. Think about a real-life rocket launch. Imagine NASA spent years of engineering and planning to launch a spaceship, and then the big day came. In a burst of flame and exhaust, the rocket launches and...

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The Nitty Gritty: Testing in Development

Finally, it’s time to talk about development! We put tons of effort into discovery and wireframing, but now it’s time to actually start building. Because each project’s development phase can vary based on the functionality and scope, I’m not going to hash out the...

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How to Start a Successful Project in 4 Steps

  The beginning of every new project is exciting. But the danger of getting caught up in the excitement of a new project is overlooking the discovery stage. Too often development companies and their customers rush to wireframing and development without taking the...

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1 Simple Tip for Getting Through Your Inbox

Have you ever tried to get through your emails in the morning, only to spend all afternoon in and out of your inbox, ending with even more new emails? “Ping-Pong Threads” could be the culprit. A “Ping-Pong Thread” is when both parties answer the obvious questions in...

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How to Survive a Custom Software Project in 4 Steps

Unless you’re Google, your company software could probably be better, but taking the leap to a new custom web application or mobile apps is a big decision. Not only is defining the project challenging, but vetting out web development companies can be overwhelming....

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