A blog by the Brick Factory The Brick Factory

Front-End Developer at Brick Factory

The Brick Factory is looking for a front-end developer to take the lead on implementing innovative, effective websites and web solutions for our clients. We work with non-profits, trade associations, advocacy groups and brands, so there will be good variety in the work you do. Many of your projects will be major builds that you will oversee starting with the kick-off meeting, so you’ll develop a deep knowledge of each project and become our resident expert on your builds.

The Big Picture:

  • Lead front-end development efforts on large web-based projects.
  • Collaborate with our team of designers, project managers and back-end engineers to create project plans and to set realistic implementation schedules.
  • Communicate effectively with project teams, and self-manage your time to make sure the work gets done well and on schedule.
  • Think outside the box to help improve processes, implement new technologies, and develop innovative solutions for our clients.

The Details:

  • Convert design and user interface files into working websites; troubleshoot and support existing implementations.
  • Construct responsive and mobile-focused themes for Drupal and WordPress.
  • Configure modules; content types and views; roles and permissions; navigation, menus, taxonomy; actions and workflows.
  • Execute build tasks with high attention to detail: client specs, validation, and load times.
  • Test cross-browser, cross-platform, and/or cross-device compatibility for inconsistencies.
  • Maintain high execution standards: write clean, maintainable code; actively participate in code reviews; maintain documentation; maintain QA process.

What you bring to the table:

  • You’re fun and easy to work with.
  • You’re a problem solver. You would rather figure out the best solution than be told how to do it.
  • You’re organized. You can manage multiple projects with an eye on project specs, quality and schedule.
  • You have a deep knowledge of CSS and HTML with 4+ years of experience.
  • You also know your way around Javascript and JQuery.
  • You’ve gotten your hands dirty with CSS frameworks such as Foundation or Bootstrap.
  • You have some experience with responsive design.
  • It would be great if you also:
    • Have a basic knowledge of Drupal and WordPress.
    • Have worked with CSS preprocessors like SASS.
    • Have worked with version-control systems like SVN or Git.
    • Have a good sense of UX/UI.
    • Have a basic understanding of PHP.

What we’ll bring to the table:

  • A great small-team environment, with plenty of opportunity to lead and learn.
  • A metro accessible office in downtown Washington, DC, if you’re in the neighborhood. We’re also open to telecommuting for the right candidate.
  • A full-time position with a competitive salary.
  • Budget for training and attending conferences.
  • Generous vacation/personal time.
  • We’re an Equal Opportunity Employer
  • Additional perks and benefits

Sound interesting? Take a look around our website, blog, Facebook and Twitter.

If you think we’d be a good fit please send a resume and cover letter to prodjobs at thebrickfactory . com. The cover letter is required. We realize that it’s not fun to write, but it helps us get to know you.

Spring Internship at Brick Factory

We are looking for an intern to join our team this Spring. The job description is below as well as instructions for how to apply. We’d love to hear from you!

Spring Internship at Brick Factory

The Brick Factory plans and executes world-class digital campaigns for non-profits, trade associations, advocacy groups and brands. We believe in simple solutions, setting clear goals and objectives, and providing great service to our clients. We believe a good website or campaign is never done and the launch of a website is the beginning, not the end.

The Brick Factory interns will be responsible for supporting our Strategists in conception, implementation and analysis of many digital initiatives. This includes website, social media, email, mobile and other digital marketing efforts that support new business, our products and client campaigns. This position calls for an individual with strong communication skills, analytic skills and creative thinking ability. This position requires a highly resourceful individual who can think on their feet and can focus under pressure.

What you’ll do:

  • Help us launch new tools. We’re in the midst of building some great new platforms for our clients. You’ll be right in the thick of it as we launch them to the public.
  • Assist in running our client’s digital programs. This involves an active engagement that is beyond management, ensuring that our projects ship on time, goals are set, tracked and met, and our clients are provided with clear, high level recommendations that help them succeed in the digital space.
  • Work in a small team environment. You’ll wear multiple hats, provide input and solutions, and work on multiple projects at one time.
  • Contribute to our blog. Brick by Brick is our soapbox to spread the thoughts and opinions of The Brick Factory. Once settled, you’ll be expected to develop new post ideas and contribute innovative content regularly.
  • Aid in new business and marketing efforts. At The Brick Factory everyone is involved in selling new work. Our interns have a large role in managing advertising and marketing campaigns. You will also be constantly looking to expand the work in our existing client portfolio while reaching out to new business prospects.
  • Make yourself and the company better. Meaning that you aren’t ever satisfied with the status quo and are constantly looking to improve yourself, the company and our clients.
  • Something you are interested in. We encourage our interns to tackle a self-driven project from conceptualization to launch during their time with us.

What you bring to the table:

  • You’re a fun person to be around.
  • You have a passion for work in the digital industry and are excited to learn new things.
  • You’re a problem solver. You would rather figure out the best solution than be told how to do it.
  • You’re organized. You can manage multiple projects at once and are dedicated to hitting deadlines.
  • You have some experience with HTML, marketing and sales research, and analytics tools. A big plus if you have experience with CSS and JavaScript as well.
  • You have a strong writing background. Your communication skills are exceptional and you have experience creating and editing content for clients.
  • Have used or are willing to learn Adobe products such as InDesign, Dreamweaver and Photoshop.

What you can expect from us:

  • A metro accessible office in downtown Washington, DC.
  • A great work environment, with plenty of opportunity to learn.
  • Training and professional development opportunities.
  • Compensation during the extent of your internship.
  • A fun team of enthusiastic and talented people.
  • Occasional work activities, lunches, and happy hours.
  • Additional random perks and benefits.

The Details:

January 2014 through May 2014 (can be flexible for the right candidate)
20-25 hours a week in the office

Sound interesting? Take a look around our website, blog, Facebook and Twitter. If you think we’d be a good fit please send a resume and cover letter to jobs@thebrickfactory.com. The deadline to apply is January 17th.

Drupal 8

What You Need to Know About Drupal 8

Drupal 8 is coming soon.  For those of us that work in Drupal every day, the release of Drupal 8 will be met with a mix of excitement (great new features!) and trepidation (learning the new version and converting old sites is a ton of work).  In an effort to help folks understand the impact of the release of Drupal 8, we have put together some quick answers to the most common questions we are getting.

When exactly will Drupal 8 be released?

The truth is that we don’t know exactly.  My best guess is that it will be released some time between March and June of 2014.  Drupalcon Austin starts on June 2nd and I suspect the Drupal community will push hard to release Drupal 8 prior to that conference.

Let me explain the reasoning behind my estimate.  Like most software platforms, Drupal follows the Alpha/Beta/Release Candidate software release life cycle.  For Drupal 7, there were 7 Alpha releases, 3 Beta releases and then 4 Release Candidates prior to the official launch of Drupal 7.

The most recent release of Drupal 8 is Alpha 7.  Given that there were 7 Alpha versions of Drupal 7, it seems likely Drupal 8 is very close to entering the beta phase.  Drupal 7 was officially released four months after the release of the first beta version.  Assuming the first Drupal 8 beta is released in January, I would guess Drupal 8 will be released at some point in May 2014.

What are some to the key features in Drupal 8?

You can find a good overview of the key new features here.

Here are some of the improvements our Brick Factory team is most excited about:

  • Drupal 8 is designed to be responsive and mobile friendly.  All built-in themes and the administrative pages are all designed to work well down to mobile.
  • For our Drupal 7 builds the Views module has become a vital tool.  In Drupal 8 Views will be part of core and much more integrated with other functionality as a result.
  • Content editing has been improved dramatically, with CKEditor built in as the default WYSWYG editor.  This should make Drupal much more user friendly.
  • Moving from Drupal 5 to Drupal 6 or Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 was/is a huge pain.  Drupal 8 will include content import tools that should make this process much easier.
  • The configuration management system in Drupal 8 is much improved over previous versions.

There is a bunch more.

How soon after the official release will you start building new client sites in Drupal 8?

We will probably wait two to three months after the release of Drupal 8 before we make it the default platform we use for new Drupal builds.  There are three main reason for our caution in transitioning to the new platform:

  1. While Drupal 8 will have been tested rigorously prior to its official release, it is still a new piece of software that will inevitably have bugs and security holes.  We typically like to wait a bit for these key issues to be addressed before building mission critical sites on a new Drupal version.
  2. When a major new Drupal version is released it usually takes awhile for modules to be updated to work on the new platform.  And some extremely popular modules in Drupal 7 will simply go away altogether.  Given this, we like to wait a bit for the module situation to sort itself out before starting to build in a new Drupal version.
  3. Developing websites in Drupal 8 is going to be really different from building in Drupal 6 or 7.  While we have already started learning Drupal 8, it will take us some time to develop the level of knowledge we have in Drupal 6 and 7.  We want to spend some time mastering the new platforms before we build client sites in it.

When Drupal 6 was released in 2008, we immediately adopted the platform and used it for some ambitious new site builds.  This turned out to be a big mistake.  We wasted a lot of time learning the platform on the fly and ended up having to do bunch of custom development work to make up for the lack of available module.  This experience has taught us caution.

My site runs in an older version of Drupal.  How will the release of Drupal 8 impact me?

It depends.

The Drupal community typically supports the two most recent versions of its platform.  When a Drupal version is supported new updates continue to be released that plug key security holes in the core platform.  Currently, Drupal officially supports Drupal 6 and 7.  Once Drupal 8 is released, versions 7 and 8 will be supported.

If your site is built in Drupal 7 you can expect Drupal core and key modules to continue to be updated for three to four more years.  So there is no pressing reason to move to Drupal 8 unless you are super anxious to take advantage of the new features.  I would advise you to look to migrate as part of your next site redesign.

If your site is running in Drupal 6 I would make plans to migrate to either Drupal 7 or 8 at some point in 2014, assuming security is a concern and your site is mission critical.  With the release of Drupal 8 you will officially be running on an unsupported version of the platform.  No new security patches will be released for Drupal 6 and modules will stop being updated, which means you will be vulnerable to security issues.

If your site is running in Drupal 5 or below this won’t impact you much.  You are already running an obsolete version of Drupal and exposing yourself to a variety of security problems.  The release of Drupal 8 won’t really change anything.

Giving Back

Support Some Great Charities

Our Brick Factory team was extremely fortunate in 2013.  We had the opportunity to do a lot of important work for great people.

As a small way of giving back we will be making donations to the American Cancer Society, American Red Cross and Wounded Warrior Project this holiday season.  But we need your help in deciding how to distribute the gift among these three amazing charities.

Click here to visit our holiday page and allocate a $2 to your favorite.

We will donate a total of $2,000, so vote today!

P.S. We work with a lot of great non-profits and charities ourselves.  We specifically chose charities with which we have no affiliation since it would be impossible for us to choose to donate to one client over another.

Update: Voting for the campaign is now closed.  We will end up donating $742 to the American Cancer Society, $558 to the American Red Cross and $700 to the Wounded Warriors.  Thanks to all who voted.


5 Most Inspiring Petition Websites

Online petitions are a proven way for non-profits and advocacy groups to demonstrate support for the causes they care about and to grow their email lists.  Despite their prevalence, a lot of online petitions consist of little more of a few sentences of text and a sign up form.  Check out these five groups that took the time to create inventive and inspiring online petitions.

 5. R-Word

On their way to eliminating this demeaning word for the intellectually disabled, r-word.org features a refreshing and easy to navigate UX that truly facilitates their mission.  A clean homepage slider and top-of-page pledge button encourage supporters to be heard, act now, and share their stories of support.  This petition goes a step further, providing news, resources and merchandise, allowing their more than 400,000 supporters to practice what they preach.


4. It Gets Better

On a mission to inspire change for LGBT youth, the It Gets Better Project has engaged the support of more than 575,000 visitors for their fun, comprehensive and informative petition.  The project’s action center allows for a range of involvement.  And while the petition’s pledge and donation options are quite standard, an impressive dual-homepage slider featuring hundreds of supporter-submitted videos is what helps this petition stand out from the crowd.




3. I work for the Internet

Iworkfortheinternet.org uses a truly unique approach with their visual petition.  Band together in the fight against SOPA, visitors from around the country are given the opportunity to upload their photos and put a face to their cause.  A simple “add yourself” button utilizes a webcam plugin, allowing visitors to take a photo directly on the site.  With an uncluttered, responsive design, this petition built in tumblr gets right to the point.



2. Protect Our Waves

Determined to save the UK shoreline, Protect Our Waves utilizes a clean, simple layout and beautifully designed navigation to explain their cause and usher in a sewage-free age for the surfers of the UK.   With pre-populated social sharing and an integrated Hashtag campaign, joining the ranks of this movement couldn’t be simpler.  Stunning photography and an entirely responsive design, has earned this campaign nearly 55,000 signatures.



1. 96 Elephants

Created by the Wildlife Conservation Society, 96 Elephants is a prime example of the powerful movement an online petition can create.  With sinister theming and full-bleed graphics, this interactive microsite tells the heartbreaking story of the African Elephant.  Stunning UX allows the user to scroll through the elephants’ chaptered journey on any platform with its fully responsive styling.  Embedded social sharing and a beautifully designed Take Action bar has garnered nearly 55,000 signatures.