Could we survive without internet?

We have embraced the Internet through business websites, Blogs, Mobile Phone Apps, Online Booking systems, Facebook, Linked In and Twitter, as well as many other modes of social media, Internet banking, online business software, internet based communications software, and more.

It’s all a bit overwhelming to realise just how dependent we are on the internet. To realise how many services would be lost if the internet went down for an extended period of time, not to mention jobs and business, as more information is being stored and accessed online as a part of our everyday lives.

Internet technology website projectMost businesses these days rely on their internet services in one or more ways, with a website being a first point of call for most clients, as well as a reliable method of contacting a business through an email form, an online quote request or by simply providing all necessary contact information in one accessible location.

Online purchasing through E-commerce sites  is a constantly growing trend, making the purchase of goods online a much easier process than negotiating busy streets.

In a recent isolated incidence of internet being lost, in a small town in the Australian state of Victoria, a fire damaging the Telstra exchange resulted in no internet or phone for the unlucky residents. Local service stations and stores would take cash-only, bank machines were out of order, and cash withdrawals had to be limited to $100 with “IOU’s” being hand-written by bank staff. Work nearly ground to a halt as communication became limited to radio, and thousands of dollars were lost due to businesses being cut off from their systems and customers.

Internet technology website developmentThis is an eye opening account of what could happen and how entwined we are in all that the internet can provide. So what can we do but embrace these new technologies? Moving forward into a world that is more connected and fast-paced than ever before, and ensure we make the most of these opportunities and the new level of 'connectedness' that we now enjoy.

As for the risks, simply ensure you have a copy of your images and written content, logo and brand elements saved in a safe place, and trust that the systems that we have all come to accept as the norm will be carefully monitored, maintained and updated as the integral part of modern society that they have become.

So to grasp how fully emersed we are in all this relatively new technology, we must also realise the huge growth we have experienced as a direct result ; products and services are more easily acquired, businesses are far more easy to locate – and you can view a business location on a map, right to the door, using directions on a website, or from mobile applications that will give verbal directions as you drive.

Do you have a website presence? Are you a part of this growing technology? To embrace these modern technologies – from Social Media to Websites, Mobile Websites, Content Management Websites and E-Commerce Websites, Smartphone Apps and SEO - CONTACT US to discuss how we can use our decade of experience as Activate Design to brand, market, produce printed materials, and create and enhance your online presence, today.

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Posted in Branding

New Logo Design : Bentim Global

Recent logo design for a dynamic company: BENTIM GLOBAL.

bentim global clever logo design

For more information on renewing or refreshing your logo and brand our visit our Logo & Branding page.

We recently celebrated our 10 Year Anniversary as Activate Design, so let us share our decade of experience in graphic design and marketing to create a fresh look for your existing logo, or to launch a brand new company identity you'll be proud to stand behind.

Contact us for an appointment today!

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Posted in Branding

Almost Perfect Websites

.... AND THE FRUSTRATION THEY CAUSE WITH THEIR NEAR-AWESOMENESS.

I do a lot of web surfing and if something catches my eye at a show, in a brochure at the fish & chip shop, in a magazine or newspaper, or something mentioned on TV or in conversation, I'll note down the business/product/service in a notebook or on my phone and look it up later, as most of us nowadays do.

What I struggle with, both as a designer and a website surfer, is the almost perfect website.

frustration_cartoon

I'm not going to mention any specific examples, even though in many cases I am dying to flick them a quick email to say "your website would be sooo much more user-friendly if you'd just.....". It is simply my hope that some will read this and think - Yes! It would be better if my website did that! Let's make that happen.

A lot of these things are not large and costly changes, just simple adjustments to the layout, or adding programming to adjust the behaviour of a website feature. Often enough a website just needs to be recognised as the important business asset that it is, and gain the attention that it deserves, to update content, add QUALITY images and keep the site interesting and easy to use.

 

  • CAN YOU add and change your own content on your website?
  • ARE YOU paying your website company to make ALL website changes for you?
  • WOULD YOU like a website in a Content Management System (CMS) that has been created specifically to be Client-Friendly? Allowing you to make your own changes, add pages and update your website at your convenience and at no extra cost?

If the answer is YES - take a look at our own in-house CMS System WEB EDIT PRO. As this is a system we have created, it is different to the publicly available CMS systems used by a lot of website companies today. Web Edit Pro has been created specifically for Client-use, rather than Programmer-use so it is very user friendly as opposed to systems such as Wordpress, Silverstripe and Joomla! A main benefit of our system is that there is less risk of it being hacked, such as what the publicly available systems face. It's a frightening fact that if a system is hacked it effects every website that runs on it, as what happened to OS Commerce in 2011. Do your know what CMS system your website runs on?

The Points of Frustration of Almost Perfect Websites TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE :

  1. CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE - opens the same size image in a pop-up box. Very frustrating. When we click for a larger image, we want to see a larger image. If there isn't one - remove this feature.
  2. IMAGE SCROLLING - often when you click for a larger image you can scroll through the rest of the images at this larger size. Great anti-frustration feature!
  3. LIMITED IMAGES - if you only display x8 images per page, then I have to click 'next', or 'page 2' to see more, it's frustrating. Sites work great when they display all images at once so all that's required is to scroll down. Some sites have a drop-down option to "display x20 images per page" or "display x200 images per page" which is awesome.
  4. NO NAVIGATION ON SOME PAGES - web surfers expect to see the full site navigation on every page, if we can't we can feel 'lost'. You can have the main page buttons on every page, or even simple text links as a header or footer on other pages works great!
  5. ALTERED PAGE NAMES - "home base" or "website HQ" as alternative names for your 'home page' is clever... but we don't want clever on our navigation - we want instantly recognisable and relevant! Keep it simple with standard page names.
  6. NAVIGATION THAT MOVES - it's a small detail but navigation that is in a different place on each page is frustrating. For example viewing a gallery of images but having to shift the mouse slightly to click the next button on each image makes me grind my teeth. It's not hard to ensure that when you are viewing images in a box, that the box and 'next' arrows stay in the same place for each image, even if the image dimensions change slightly.
  7. CONTACT PAGE MISSING INFORMATION - we've spent time finding your website only to find that the standard information we want is not there. Frustrating? Heck yeah. Contact pages should ideally contain the following ;
    • Phone number + cellphone if available
    • Email address
    • Physical address + map
    • A photo of your premises - goes a long way to making visitors feel confident they can find you.
    • Opening hours / hours of availability
    • A Contact Form
    • Link to signup to your newsletter. Click for info on our ActiveMail Newsletter System.
  8. A LINK OR NOT A LINK, THAT IS THE QUESTION - Links need to be obvious. Use a button graphic or box frame, underlining links also helps. Additionally any text links in your content (very helpful to have) should be a different colour and perhaps be underlined. Use a well-known method of making a link look and behave like a link. It's doesn't need to be pretty, but it does need to be pretty obvious.
  9. PHOTOS PHOTOS PHOTOS - I look through lots of galleries and see images that aren't worthy of what I know to be the exceptional quality of what is actually produced! Or not enough images! Never underestimate the importance of photos on your website as surfers are far more likely to judge your website on the power of your images alone, simply because it's the fastest way to view what you represent, and the internet is all about making information easier and faster to access!
  10. WRITTEN CONTENT - A lot of sites I come across don't offer content that does the business justice, and that's nobody's fault - after all we can't all be professional writers. Read through your content to ensure it's relevant and update regularly if possible. We offer a Content Writing Service if you need to enhance your business information with keyword-rich content from our experience content writing expert... me! What I do is basically do a casual interview-type discussion either over the phone or in person, to gain content for the specific pages / topics you wish to feature. It's a hassle-free way to get effective website content to advertise you to both web surfers and internet search engines alike.
  11. HAVING AN "ABOUT US" PAGE - A surprising number of websites don't write about themselves! They're missing out! An 'about us' page is a great way of showcasing your business legitimacy - showing how much experience you have in your industry, perhaps mentioning staff if you don't have a 'team page', and telling the story of how you got to be where you are now.

 So to sum up, here's some brief key points of how to lessen frustration for website visitors like me ;

  • If a feature doesn't do what it's supposed to - remove it.
  • The less clicks the better. No matter what information a viewer may want to see on your site, make the amount of clicks that they have to click to get there be a maximum of 3. The more clicks, the more likely your viewer will get frustrated and leave your website.
  • Keep the template and navigation standard and the design innovative and original, not the other way around.
  • Lock the navigation into the same place on all your website pages.

As always, feel free to CONTACT US for any more information or to discuss how we can enhance your website.

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Posted in Website Design

Decontamination Medix

New website design for www.decontaminationmedix.co.nz

Decontamination medix website designIt was wonderful to meet Jason Pickering from Decontamination Medix in person, and discover his passion for the health of New Zealanders, relating to quite valid concerns about the health of NZ homes.

We were glad to have had the opportunity to create this website, as well as offer our content writing services for the site, increasing awareness about maintaining healthy homes in our unique New Zealand environment.

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Posted in Graphic Design

Browser Caching - something you should know about.

WHAT IS CACHING?

Most websites you visit will be saved in the ‘cache’, so that the next time you visit that site, your browser shows you the saved version of that website from your last visit. A very clever way of storing things for later use - BUT it means you don’t always see the current version of the website you are viewing!

internet browser caching importance Wikipedia offers this extended explanation;

"In computer science, a cache is a component that transparently stores data so that future requests for that data can be served faster. The data that is stored within a cache might be values that have been computed earlier or duplicates of original values that are stored elsewhere.

If requested data is contained in the cache (cache hit), this request can be served by simply reading the cache, which is comparatively faster. Otherwise (cache miss), the data has to be recomputed or fetched from its original storage location, which is comparatively slower. Hence, the greater the number of requests that can be served from the cache, the faster the overall system performance becomes."

CACHING IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW BECAUSE...

A lot of our clients use our WEP EDIT PRO Content Management System (CMS), which is a system we have developed at Activate Design as an alternative to the many CMS systems publicly available today - specifically created to be user-friendly, as so many of the currently available systems are not. (Most CMS systems are programmer-friendly, not user-friendly.)

Caching is important to know for when you're making changes to your website in the Admin Panel of your site, then viewing your website - and your changes don't show up! This is likely to be because you are viewing the Cache version of your website. This is something that can cause endless frustration unless you know what is happening.

internet browser why does it cache Why do things get Cached?

1. Caching saves time - a site can be loaded very quickly from the cache, rather than from it's source. Very handy if you are looking at the same websites regularly.

2. Caching reduces bandwidth and traffic - reducing congestion on Internet sources by showing viewers the cached version of a site they have previously visited.

Where is the Cache stored?

There are many ways in which a Cache is implemented, and it can depend on the settings of many of your browsing tools, from server to your browser itself. The Cache could be implemented by one of the following;

  • Caching in memory
  • Caching in files
  • Caching in the database
  • Caching in cookies

HOW DO I VIEW THE ACTUAL VERSION OF A WEBSITE - NOT THE CACHE VERSION?

website browser clear cache

To view the current version of a webpage you are visiting do a 'Force Refresh' or 'Hard Refresh' in your browser.

This will tell the browser to pull up the latest version of that website, direct from it's source, rather than just show you it's cache version.

How do I do a hard refresh?

PC : hold down 'shift' and 'F5'.

Mac : hold down 'control' and 'apple' and click refresh.

I hope this has been an interesting and informative look at Caching, both for those who use our WEB EDIT PRO Content Management System, and for anyone learning more about browsing the internet.

Take a look at our Portfolio Page to see Activate Design's most recent website creations, and Contact Us if you would like to find out more about how we can create an effective new website for you!

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Posted in Graphic Design

Stella Enterprises

Recent website design for www.stellaenterprises.co.nz

Stella

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incorporating the four main specialist areas of their business into one easy-to-navigate website. Stella offers pump hire, fuel services, traffic management services and a range of hire equipment.

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Posted in Website Design

An effective website is a regularly maintained website.

You have a website - fantastic!  But don't walk away just yet!

For a website to be effective you need to keep it up to date, keep it interesting and keep it relevant.

You can do this by utilsing these marketing techniques ;

  • Having a Blog linked to your website and adding regular updates.
  • Having a Facebook page to add interesting events, products or customer feedback.
  • Having a YouTube account and linking your uploaded videos to Facebook & Blogs.
  • Having a Twitter feed to keep tweeters updated on your posts.

imagesYour website is your most effective marketing tool. It's your backstop, it's your billboard, it's your flashing neon sign working 24 hours to ensure that your info is available - even when you're not.

If you don't currently have one of the suggested marketing techniques running through your website, contact us to have a Blog page added, and a link to your Facebook page or Twitter feed to get your business profile, products and services out there for added brand recognition.

Having a Facebook page is still an effective method of free marketing, but remember that as a free resource, you will have very little control over it. This system has been evolving towards being a user-pays resource with increased limitations as changes are implemented without warning, and posts are no longer visible to all unless paid for.

Having your own website is still the #1 best online tool you could have, and using free media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to direct them back to your website is the way to go. Better yet is to have a newsletter system - such as our ActiveMail customised newsletter system - so you can transfer the interest from other marketing methods into a subscriber list that you can send relevant news and information too, at your own convenience.

It is often a surprise to me when companies come to me for updates for websites that they have not themselves visited in quite some time. I would recommend as a minimum, to be checking and updating your website every fortnight. Keep in mind that if you have something such as a regular blog or "recent news" feed on your site, this gives people a reason to keep coming back to your site to see what's new - especially if they can see that your posts or updates are fairly regular.

If you simply don't have the time to do updates to your site, contact us to utilise our Website Copywriting service, where we can write some keyword-rich, relevant content for both your customers to view, and for search engines to recognise that your site is being maintained, so they will keep coming back to index your site, resulting in increased rankings.

To get a major boost in site rankings - contact us about our Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Service.

It's hard to keep up your enthusiasm but if you put the same passion into your website as your do into your business, that will reflect in your website content and your website will start working for you - bringing in contacts and queries and more work. The more you get into the habit of making small updates and adding images, the easier it will be, and if the content is interesting enough then your customers may refer other people to your site to see what you do, resulting in increased brand exposure! Remember to add testimonials and images, which are great for most of those web surfers who will just be quickly skimming your site.

Contact Us at Activate if you would like any updates or changes made to your site, or any features added that will make it easier for you to manage your content.

Keep up the maintenance!

doozerworking

 

 

 

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Posted in Branding

Koru Clinic

New website design & creation for http://www.koruskin.co.nz

Christchurch clinic offering facial peels and body treatments among many other therapeutic beauty treatments done by medical staff and trained professionals.

Koru pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Website Design

QR codes : what, why and how

QR Codes are not a new technology, but they are frequently proving their worth as a quick-link to direct a person to a specific website page, promotion or event. The technology is now being included in later models of smartphones and is easily downloadable for most other phones.

QRcodeScan

QR Codes are becoming a far more utilised tool for marketing, especially with our generation Y's (born 1977-1994) who are technology-wise, expect instantaneous results, and are immune to most traditional marketing as they have been exposed to it since early childhood. Marketing to Generation Y needs to be fast and effective and actually offer a good benefit worthy of their time. This is what makes QR Codes, when used correctly, a subtle advantage.

QR Codes can be included with all other marketing, printed on posters and business cards, and even included on car signage, building exteriors and all printed media. A British film company recently marketed a new movie using a billboard with only the QR Code printed on it, generating curiosity of passers-by and directing a wide audience to their website.

QRcodeKids

QR Codes are best described as a two-dimensional barcode which, when scanned by smartphone application, open up a specific webpage. Although this is a great use of directing people to your website, the most effective use of QR Codes are in targeted marketing campaigns, giving the viewer a real incentive to use them.

For example if you were printing posters to a music event, and the incentive was to "scan the QR Code to get discount tickets", then the QR code would direct the user to a webpage that is only accessible through the code.

Another example would be : "scan the QR Code to receive today's special discount" where the user can save a mobile-voucher for later use. This is the kind of instant-gratification marketing that is proving effective to a growing technology-savvy market, appealing to smartphone users through providing a simple yet effective way of accessing a company, product, service, discount or promotion.

QRcodeScanningTo stay on the crest of this fast-moving technology, Contact Us today to have a unique QR Code included in your promoting and marketing, signage and printing.

Click here for more information on our Branding and Marketing expertise.

Click here for more information on our Website design & development skills.

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Posted in Branding

Around NZ Rentals

New website design and development for http://aroundnzrentals.co.nz

Newly launched website utilising a unique booking system and features that allow you to easily see the vehicles' suitability to your needs and book at your convenience.

around nz

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Graphic Design