Magento Troubleshooting Fundamentals

Posted on Wed, September 04, 2013 in Web Design by Mark Middleton

When starting out as a developer working on the Magento eCommerce system, it can be confusing and frustrating to find the source of an issue. Here are some basic techniques for finding and resolving problems within Magento:


Magento is built with a sophisticated caching system to speed up the delivery of content to the browser.  Even if you turn off all caching, Magento seems to be hesitant to loosen her grip on content without truly clearing the cache folder.

From the Magento Admin Control Panel: In the navigation, select “System” → “Cache Management” Normally...

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3 Ways to Design Better Responsive Sites

Posted on Tue, September 03, 2013 in Greatest Hits, Web Design by Jason Bennett

Here at GRAYBOX, virtually every new site we design includes responsive features. Designing for multiple devices can be tricky. We refine our responsive design process constantly to identify and fix issues we come across with each site we build. Here are three important things we’ve learned.

1. Side-by-side design

Every device is different. What’s good for one viewport isn’t necessarily good for the other. It’s important to think critically from the very beginning about how users will interact with your site on a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. Designing the desktop view and...

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Quick Tip : Using Xcode for Free Responsive Design Testing on a Mac

Posted on Tue, September 03, 2013 in Greatest Hits, Web Design by Paul Weinert

Quick Tip : Using Xcode for Free Responsive Design Testing on a Mac

At GRAYBOX almost all projects we’re doing now are responsive designs so that our websites function great on a variety of mobile devices. This means we have a ton of testing devices now in the office including:

  • iPhone 3G (iOS 4)
  • iPhone 4 (iOS 5)
  • iPhone 4S (iOS 6)
  • iPhone 5 (iOS 6)
  • iPad 1 (iOS 5 Tablet)
  • iPad 3 (Retina) (iOS 6 Tablet)
  • iPad Mini (iOS 6 Tablet)
  • Surface RT (Windows RT)
  • Surface Pro (Windows 8)
  • HTC HD7 (Windows Phone 7)
  • Samsung Galaxy 3 (Android 3)
  • Samsung Galaxy 4 (Android 4)
  • Samsung Charge (Android 2)
  • Kindle...

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Gesture Recognition: A Hands-On Example With HammerJS

Posted on Tue, August 27, 2013 in Web Design by Kevin Carpenter

In this article, you’ll learn how to create web experiences with touch gestures using simple and easy HTML, CSS and a little bit of jQuery.

I Googled to find a few different frameworks from jQuery mobile to Wipetouch as well as several others. All the frameworks I tried were either too complex to use or not very responsive on mobile browsers which completely defeats the purpose.

Finally, I tried another framework called HammerJS, and this worked the way I wanted. It was simple, easy to use and the swipe gesture is very responsive for platforms in iOS and Android alike.

Note: the demo...

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What are "Bugs"?

Posted on Fri, August 23, 2013 in Web Design by Alum

No matter how perfectly architected or built, every running program or live website will eventually encounter a situation that it does not have an appropriate response prepared for. Whenever this unexpected thing occurs, the software running a website has a limited number of options.

  • Fail Silently
  • Fail and report the failure to a human (while hopefully logging the error).

Each of these actions are ultimately the intended action as far as our software is concerned. At a core level, software doesn’t understand the difference between successfully logging you in...

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Tell Your Web Designer Everything

Posted on Wed, August 21, 2013 in Business Strategy, Web Design by Jason Bennett

Have you been planning on rolling out a new website for your company? Have you hired a web designer to help make it happen? Yes? Great! Now what?
The most important thing to remember when working with a web designer is that they don't know you. They probably don't know how your product is made or why people love it. They probably don't know how you handle sales calls, or how you're really popular in that one area of the world. They probably don't know who you're biggest competitors are. This is why you need to tell your designer everything you can about your business.

Talk about yourself. A...

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CSS 3D Transitions: An Introduction

Posted on Tue, August 13, 2013 in Web Design by Kevin Carpenter

On the web there are already several solutions for 3D capability: Flash; three.js in <canvas>; and, eventually, WebGL. Also, front-end developers have our own three-dimensional tool: CSS 3-D transforms.


Just like the 2d transition module released by Apple in Safari, 3D transitions initially were only supported by Safari. Since the release all of the major browsers, and IE10, everything either partially or fully supports 3D transitions. Take a look at the most up-to-date compatibility chart.

Please keep in mind that you still need to use Modernizr to ensure that you are...

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Using Git: Taking the Pain Out of Version Control

Posted on Thu, August 08, 2013 in Web Design by Mark Middleton

I love elegance, purity and simplicity

In the 90’s as a rookie developer, I spun my wheels… a lot. With no true version control, we would update the production server directly. Then, weeks or months into the project, we would spend the time to set up a dev server. Our team would do their best to wrangle the process of developing locally, updating a dev server, and when everything was tested we would update everything on the production server and pray everything was put into place correctly. But we often wrote over each other’s code and our only saving grace was a nightly server tape...

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Getting a quick Shopify or Wordpress site done well

Posted on Wed, August 07, 2013 in Business Strategy, eCommerce Tips, Web Design by Alum

At GRAYBOX we will often get requests for a simpler site with the need for a quick turnaround. Here is what that process looks like. The kind of site we see come through with these needs are Informational and eCommerce. Pretty much any kind of website that you might need. This is how we do it.

  1. Clear Communication from start to finish
  2. Themes (Wordpress for informational sites and Shopify for eCommerce)
  3. One Site Review before testing (content edits and minor structural changes)
  4. Deadline Integrity

Clear Communication

This is all about expectations and deliverables. We like to get all of...

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IE Background Images

Posted on Tue, July 30, 2013 in Web Design by Kevin Carpenter


A very handy CSS property is the “background-size” property. For background images, and images we need to cover an entire div we can simply apply “background-size: cover;” or “background-size: 100% 100%;”. Doing so stretches the background image to the entire width and height of it’s containing div. But that’s not it. I wish that was the case, according to W3c the background-size property is only supported in the following browsers: IE9+, Firefox 4+, Opera, Chrome, and Safari 5+.  Although our hate for IE as developers grows with every project we complete, it’s...

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