Latest Articles

What's the Difference Between a Storyboard, Sitemap and a Wireframe?

Do you know the difference between a sitemap and a wireframe? What about a storyboard? All three are very useful tools that help to ease the otherwise complex process of designing and build a website or application. Although they are similar in nature, each has unique qualities that help in different ways.

Lifespan of Social Media Posts in 2021: How Long Do They Last?

Knowing the lifespan of your social posts can help you better plan your marketing strategy. We explore what those lifespans are and how they effect your content plans.

When you're in the process of building a social audience for your brand it can sometimes feel like you're posting into the abyss. Interaction may be low at the onset and it can be tough to stay the course and keep posting when you're just not sure you're being heard.

The Refinery Takes 1st Place in Case Weatherhead 100

Each year The Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management recognizes the fastest growing customers in the Greater Cleveland Area. The Refinery was awarded first place in the Upstart category for 2016, with an annual growth rate of 635%.

Pure CSS3 Accordion UX & Semantics

There are many examples online of pure CSS3 accordions. Many of these accordions use a combination of anchor elements with the :target pseudo-class while others use a combination of labels and checkboxes with the :checked pseudo-class. Either approach is certainly functional, but which is the right way? Perhaps the better question would be is there a right way? I believe the answer can be found in the underlying accordion UX and semantics.

Ruby on Rails Sparkpost RubyGem

If you have a Ruby on Rails app sending email through Mandrill, you may be feeling a bit squeezed right now. Mandrill’s recent announcement, to combine the service with paid monthly MailChimp plans, caused us some problems with our low volume services.

As a result, we’ve moved several of our applications over to SparkPost.

Why the best agencies don't want your stupid RFP

I belong to a mastermind group of fellow consultants. We get together quarterly to share our successes, failures and learn from each other. There’s one bemoaning complaint which is consistently brought up… what do we do about RFP’s?

If you’ve never been a consultant, this may sound perplexing. As consultants, our clients naturally come and go over time. The ebbs and flows of new business are our leading cause of stress. In the lean times, it means long hours of hustle to find new work.

How to Manage Budget and Deadlines on Agile Projects

Software projects are notorious for taking longer than expected to deliver. As a result, those projects cost more than expected. Usually the fingers point at project managers in those situations, but that's not always just. In my experience, those original expectations are to blame.

These expectations are unreliable, and often untrue. Hanging your project plan from a scaffolding of unrealistic expectations is dangerous. There is a better way.

Refinery and flourish win 2015 Addy Awards

We're proud to announce that The Refinery, in conjunction with our fantastic partners at flourish agency, brought home two Addy Awards from the AAF Cleveland Chapter.

Both awards, a Judges Choice and a Gold Addy, were for our work with GoodGreens, a local wellness bar company.

The Dangers, and Benefits, of Software Fidelity

Cost is a fundamental constraint of all software projects. Engineering software is a complex practice, full of rabbit trails and unexpected twists and turns. Agile methodologies guide us through these precarious situations by embracing the reality that they will happen — keeping us on our toes. This keeps timing and costs visible at all times, so that we make smart decisions in the face of uncertainty.

The Refinery Recognized with Case Weatherhead Upstart Award

We're proud to be included in a list of so many great entrepreneurial companies in Cleveland, and we look forward to collaborating in the future.