What to Do When Your Content Goes Viral


As most of you know, the little web app that I made called “How’s Your Hair?”  went completely bonkers on the internet last week. While it was really cool getting coverage from popular news sites like Huffington Post, The Daily Mail , and Jezabel, there are some things I would have done differently had I known it was going to be so big. There are also some things that I’m really glad I did do, so I’ll share those too.

01. Make sure you have Google Analytics Installed

This one is pretty much a no-brainer. I actually didn’t have Google Analytics installed on How’s Your Hair? at first because it was a separate page from the rest of my site and wasn’t using the same javascript file. I figured it was just going to be a fun app for my friends and family to check out and maybe get a laugh or two out of some people. I posted my blog post about the app at around 10 AM and tweeted it out. By 2 PM strangers were tweeting me about the app and then someone linked me to the Yahoo! Tech article.

When I saw the article I saw the Kate Middleton header image and just thought, “Hey, that’s cool, someone else made a similar app to mine that let’s you know your hair forecast.” Then I scrolled down and saw screen shots from my app and then I was like, “WAIT. WHAT?”  I immediately set up Google Analytics just in case it started to get shared more.

02. Take the precautions you may need to do as a result of getting lots of traffic.

In some cases this may mean giving your webhost a call and letting them know that you’re expecting to get a ton of visitors and to maybe move your content to a server that can handle lots of traffic. Because I use Bluehost, I didn’t really have anything to worry about in that regard, unless I got like hundreds of thousands of visitors at once, which I figured would be pretty unlikely no matter how big the app became.

One thing that did happen before I realized the app was posted on Yahoo was that I got an email from Wunderground API (the database the app uses to pull weather info) warning me that I had gone over my limit of access to the API. If it happened five more times they would shut down my app for the rest of the day. I just thought that it was my friends being over-zealous with the app, so I left it alone for a bit.

Once I saw my app being shared all over twitter and Yahoo Tech, I upgraded my subscription to Wunderground so that it wouldn’t go over the daily limit. This cost me $20.00, but was well worth it, because it would have definitely crashed. When the app got shared on Jezabel a week later I got another warning email, but the next level of upgrading would cost $200, so I decided against it.

03. Give yourself credit.

While the URL for How’s Your Hair? is gabwhite.com/weather, when I first put it online I didn’t add a link back to my own site or twitter, and I even left it for a few days without it going back to my personal site. This was because I really didn’t expect it to catch on that much, so I didn’t bother adding any links back to me. After close to a week I saw that it really wasn’t slowing down, so I made sure to add a link to my personal site as well as a “follow me” button for twitter.

04. Don’t let the haters get to you.

When The Daily Mail published an article about my app, people weren’t shy about making comments about it. They ranged from “No need for common sense then” to “When will someone make an app that stops idiots like this from making useless apps?” OUCH. Like any human being would, I kind of felt bummed out that so many people thought what I made was stupid. However, when I told my friends about these comments they rejoiced and were like, “You made it Gab! When you have people hating what you do, you know that you’re doing something right, because people actually care enough to say they hate it, instead of being indifferent to it”.

05. Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame.

People have asked me if this has created tons of job offers and opportunities for me – and it actually hasn’t at all, save for a few scam artists popping up in my inbox. The goal of this little web app was never to become a millionaire or get a job with some San Francisco start-up, so it’s not like I’m hurting over my lack of job offers here. I’m so thrilled that so many people have found the app relatable, useful, and funny – and brightening someone’s day is really the best you could ask for.

Also, now I can actually say that I’m published in Cosmo UK, which is probably the last publication I’d ever imagine getting recognized by, but it adds some colour to my résumé for sure.

The Best Things I’ve Found on the Internet: April 17


Happy Friday! It’s been a great/kind of crazy week and it seems like spring is finally here. Also, my “How’s Your Hair?” app seems to have finally hit it’s high point – it was featured on Cosmo UK! I can honestly say that I never expected any of my work to ever resonate with Cosmo readers, but hey, life is funny sometimes.

Here are a bunch of links that caught my eye/inspired me/made me laugh this week:

I don’t understand how Sony pulled off this Flower Petal Explosion, but the result is AMAZING!

If you need some serious zen time, then this video of a guy creating giant human-size bubbles should help you out.

Frank Chimero’s Three Things to Say article is awesome for avoiding kind of awkward conversations. I particularly love the example of when you don’t understand what the heck someone is talking about and you ask them, “Can you say that in more/different words?” So easy and way more polite than a blank stare.

10 Things Millennials Will Re-image in America sounds pretty awesome to me. Synopsis: more bike lanes, more corporations caring about social responsibility, more research and innovation, and a transformation of the food industry.

I usually stray away from articles that art keen on telling me “What everyone in their 20′s should know right now” and things of that nature, but I actually found the advice in 10 Life Lessons to Excel in Your 30′s, to be actually really sensible and practical advice.

When EVERYBODY is an entrepreneur these days (which is awesome, btw), how do you make sure your website stands out from the current web trends?

I am a huge Muppets fan, so naturally, I was really into this look into Jim Henson’s workshop.

I’ve read this How to be Non-Creepy at Networking Events  once before, but it’s still really good to refer back to sometimes!

Happy weekend!

Why Your Website Should Be Responsive By Now


Recently, The Guardian posted an article stating that apps are more popular than the mobile web and that the average daily number of minutes spent browsing the web on your iPhone or iPad has dropped from 31 minutes to 22 minutes since 2012. Instead of referring to a web browser to surf the web, mobile users now prefer to use apps for the different products they use and spend more time on game apps on their phone.

As a web designer, it’s easy to take this information and kind of freak out. Admittedly, when I first read the article, some of the thoughts that went through my head included, “Is the web browser going to die? But I build websites for a living! I’m going to starve!!” and “Why am I always late to everything!!” But, once I started to calm down, I started to realize why this trend is happening.

The vast majority of websites look like garbage on a phone.

When you look at a website on your phone, a lot of the time the text is tiny. Then when you zoom in you have to scroll from side to side all over the place or the buttons are so small that you can’t tap them with your fingertips without hitting two or three of them at once. Looking at a desktop-wide website on a tiny screen is painful and whenever I find myself on a website on my phone that requires me to zoom in and then scroll left and right, I leave almost immediately. It’s no wonder mobile web-browsing has made a drastic drop! People are just giving up!

A classic rule of web design and any kind of interface design is, “don’t make me think”. People shouldn’t have to desperately search while scrolling and zooming on their phone just to find out what the number for pizza delivery is on a website.

Enter Responsive Design

Responsive design isn’t a new concept by any means, but it seems to have taken a really long time to actually catch on. It’s so weird because experiencing a responsive website on your phone versus a non-responsive website is SO much more pleasant. All of the sudden things fit where they should, buttons are bigger, and you don’t have to zoom in or scroll sideways anymore. You can view a website on a tablet, phone, or an eReader, and it still looks great. Making a website responsive so that it works on any device is a little bit more of a time investment from your web designer or developer and therefore also a financial investment. If having a responsive design means that someone visiting your website on their phone is going to buy your product instead of ditching your website because they can’t find what they’re looking for – then in my opinion, it’s definitely worth the investment.

But if people aren’t browsing websites on mobile devices anyways, why is responsive design so important?

Back in 2010, Mashable published this article  suggesting that by 2015, mobile web use would be bigger than desktop web use. While people are spending more time on mobile devices than on desktop computers than they were before, what we’re seeing now is not more mobile browsing, it’s more usage of native apps and games. If the trend of mobile web browsing is on the decline, then why should we even care about responsive design?

The answer is pretty simple. Have you ever been on the Facebook or Twitter app on your phone or even in your mobile email inbox and seen a link to some interesting content on another website? Then when you clicked that link did you end up on a screen with tiny type and tons of side scrolling? Did you become frustrated quickly with the illegible text and tiny buttons meant for Tinkerbell hands? That’s why responsive design still matters.

If you’re a small business and you rely on “word of mouth” to market your business, a huge percentage of your web traffic can come from social sharing sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest – which are all apps that people spend time using on their phone or tablet. People might not be cruising through their bookmarks toolbar while their on their iPhone or iPad, but they might see a link you posted on Twitter and want to visit your website. And if your website doesn’t work on a phone, then they’re probably not going to read your content.

Responsive design makes sense based on how we use the internet these days. A few years ago, you’d have to go to a computer and sit down to access the internet, now it’s available everywhere, literally in the palm of your hand. When you’re adaptive to technology, it doesn’t just make your website a pleasure to use on any device, but it also makes your customers trust you. People notice when you’re accommodating to them, and if someone can’t find what they’re looking for on your website because it isn’t mobile-friendly, then you’re basically turning away your customers before they even get in the door. Responsive isn’t the future, and it isn’t an “add-on bonus feature” it’s the important thing that your website must have right now.

The Best Things I Found on the Internet: April 11

Hello and Happy Friday!

It’s been a pretty good week for me on the internet! After posting my “How’s Your Hair?” web app on my blog yesterday I got some amazing reception to it that I had really not been expecting at all. It’s super awesome and also really humbling! I built this little app to be kind of a funny inside joke between me and my fellow curly-haired friends and it ended up going way beyond what I could have ever imagined. You can check out what the people said on Yahoo Tech as well as Huffington Post Tech.

But enough about me! Here are some awesome things I’ve been reading/watching/laughing at on the internet as of lately:

How to actually design for a female audience: Here’s a hint, don’t just paint it pink and make it smaller.

This made my inner user experience nerd really really happy – When a Designer Has Fun Making the Worst User Experience.

My HackerYou classmate, Danielle, shared this fantastic article about we should stop leaning and start building:

If you are willing to accept that technologists are the driving force of innovation, and thereby change, and that innovation encapsulates not only the immediacy of the tools and features created by said technology, but all that it touches, then you recognize the immense importance of this period we are currently experiencing. We’re living through a revolution of sorts.

You should also then recognize the real reason why women need to rise up and disrupt the tech industry. This is the opportunity to end the gender balance conversation—those who invent are in a position to lead. We need a more diverse set of world leaders, and we have the chance to build it from the ground up.

I’m really into super-simple ways to feel happier about your life, so of course I was really into this post by Sarah about creating a gratitude/to-do list hybrid notebook.

A love this split-screen take on period film costumes and modern day street style: Drama on the Streets.

Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal’s TED Talk about How to Make Stress Your Friend, was SO INTERESTING. It blew my mind a little bit and then made me re-think my life a little.

Two of my good buddies, Nadine and Will recently moved to Iqualuit, Nunavut and they’re blogging about the experiences they’ve had so far.

And finally, if you need a dose of cuteness, 20 Puppies Cuddling Stuffed Animals should really do the trick.

The “How’s Your Hair?” Weather App is a Curly-Haired Gal’s BFF



While I was in my front-end development course at HackerYou, we did a ton of projects at a rapid-fire rate. Some of the things I only worked on for only a day before I moved onto the next thing, so I didn’t really have a chance to take every single exercise to its full potential.

One exercise that I really wanted to come back to and I finally had some time to work with this week, was a weather app that I built using the Weather Underground API . As someone who has spent years of her life oscillating between embracing my curly hair to the point of abandoning my hair dryer versus beating my curly hair into submission with a high-power hair dryer and industrial strength flat iron – a lot of my good hair days depend on the weather conditions. Sometimes you can peer out your window on a sunny June morning and expect nothing but the best of hair days, only to step outside and realize that the humidity is at 95% and  all that work gone into heat styling your hair was wasted. You can literally watch your straightened locks shrivel up into frizzy corkscrews before your eyes, and if you didn’t bring an emergency hair elastic, well then, you’re shit out of luck.


I’m over-dramatizing here for a reason: this app will take the guesswork of whether it’s going to be a good hair day or not out of the equation. Type in your city and province/state name (no initials, this app likes you to be super specific!), hit submit, and TA-DA, you get your answer! Easy-peasy. No more bad-hair days, because you’ll know in advance whether you need an umbrella or a hat with you on your daily commute. If you’re like me and sometimes do your hair-styling in the evening, the app will also let you know what the weather is calling for tomorrow. If it’s calling for rain or snow it’ll warn you not to bother straightening your hair tonight.

Check out the live version of the app here! 

There you have it, friends! Cheers to good hair days!