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We've written some insightful, entertaining articles that span topics from support to design to content management and beyond!




This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

 

Most people understand the importance of a mobile-friendly website. There are people out there who may not have continuous access to a computer. But everyone carries a smart phone nowadays. So if a website is mobile-friendly, that makes it much easier to reach out to all types of consumers—people who are on the go, people who work with their hands rather than on computers and people who might be a bit wary of technology. In addition to being able to reach a large number of people, there are also other reasons why you should have a mobile-friendly website.

  1. Company Image: You don't want to seem like the type of company which is stuck in the last century. You want people to know that you are technologically up-to-date. And for this, it helps to create a mobile-friendly website.
  2. UX/CX: Nowadays, it's considered important to provide a good user/customer experience to your user/customer. And having a mobile-friendly website can help you to smooth out the customer journey from beginning to end.
  3. Sharing: Nowadays, people get on social media more through their phones than on the computer. If you have a mobile-friendly website, they are more likely to recommend it to their friends via their phones.
  4. Discretion: If someone is looking at your website while they're at work, anyone peering over their heads will be able to see what they're looking at. In comparison, looking at your mobile is more discreet which helps with products that people might not want others to know they are purchasing.
  5. Alerts: If you have the type of website which gets more views based on alerts (such as a news website) then it makes more sense to make it mobile-friendly because people carry their mobiles with them wherever they go and can respond to any alerts.

Contact us to learn more about the benefits of mobile-friendly websites.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Woman looking at a laptop

 

Ontario AODA Website accessibility compliance crucially aims at making sure every person can use a website. It plays a primary role in the building of websites, and through its application, Ontario AODA aims at achieving universal standards of inclusivity. With increased ease in use of Websites arises additional potential revenue opportunities. Cost benefits also materialize if your website's accessibility is integrated into the development process right from the onset.

 

Why Make Your Website Accessible?

 

Accessibility refers to the product design, devices, services, and the experiences for persons with disability, more so visual impairments. Ontario AODA Website accessibility compliance runs in tandem with SEO. Indeed, the most significant benefit of Ontario AODA website accessibility standards is the positive effect on search engines. Accessibility improves functionality, efficiency, and user website experience.

 

Moral Obligation in Application

 

Websites form the basis for which people continuously rely on for information and specific services. People with disabilities are not left behind in the use of the web in their daily life. By the use of accessible Websites, this particular group garners a sense of dignity and independence. In effect, receptiveness is likely to make a considerable difference in inclusivity, resulting in more collaboration and innovation.

 

The Financial Benefits Accruing to Organizations

 

In regards to people with disability, it makes good business sense to implement accessible websites. The potential increase in site visits translates to broader markets and higher profits. Ontario AODA compliant websites are in line with web standards and to a higher degree receptive to most browsers across multiple devices. Browser receptibility increases the potential lucrative audience accessing your site. Generally, Ontario AODA compliant websites have overall ease of use for everyone through the use of visual design and interactivity.

 

Web Accessibility Legal Guidelines for Firm's in Ontario

 

Compliance to website accessibility standards in Ontario is mandatory, with non-compliant firms facing fines and penalties. In Ontario, Organizations are required by law to accommodate people with disabilities by adjusting certain website practices. Firms with 50 employees and above are required to file accessibility compliance reports.

 

In case your website is not compliant to Ontario AODA accessibility rules, the best time to act is now. Ultimately, building or redesigning your site will be least costly as compared to having to change a finished Website. You as well can do without the inconvenience of responding to formal complaints. Creating accessible sites helps you achieve your objectives while setting you apart as a professional. Contact us for more information.

 

Make your website AODA compliant! Visit aodawebsites.ca

AODA Websites logo

 

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This is a headshot of Christine Votruba.

Happy Halloween 2019! REM team wearing Napoleon Dynamite costumes

 

Happy Halloween - Napoleon Dynamite Style!

 

This year, three of us from the REM team decided to to dress up as our favourite characters from a 2004 movie called Napoleon Dynamite!

 

They are (from left to right):

  • Sean Sanderson as Napoleon: he put all the pizzaz and nerd-cool style in his costume by having an afro wig, a "Vote for Pedro" T-shirt, eyeglasses, a retro casette player and the coolest part: he drew on his notebook a sketch of a "Liger" (half lion, half tiger creature)
  • Brad Anderson as Kip: Brad's looking cool with his khaki shorts, blue polo shirt and glasses holding a "La Fawnduh" sign.
  • Christine Votruba as Pedro: vote for me: Pedro! Had a lot of cross-dressing fun by dressin' up in a short, black wig, eye-liner mustache, big blue dress-shirt, a bolo tie (made with a broch and shoe laces), belt buckle, "vote for pedro" pin and a "If you VOTE FOR PEDRO all your wishes will come true!" flyer. It was an easy DIY costume put together thanks to a few things from my house and Value Village!

 

We've had a lot of fun! We got into character for the photoshoot by having spaced-out, dorky looks on our faces.  If you haven't seen this movie yet, I highly recommend watching if you're up for a lot of laughs.

 

To end this blog post, watch this scene from the movie of Napoleon's infamous dance routine. Enjoy!

 

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

One thing that many business owners in the Waterloo area work hard to do is budget and allocate resources. Conversely, there is also a desire to invest in things that produce results and a good return on their investment. With so many companies heavily advertising DIY websites, it might seem that web design would be an area that could be done without professional assistance in order to save money. The truth, though, is that DIY website builders often make mistakes that can be quite costly to their bottom line.

 

No Distinguishing Personality

 

One of the biggest selling points for DIY website companies is their templates. Many advertise how easy it is to create a site, largely due to drag and drop features that allow for small amounts of customization to a pre-made template. While they may be easy to use, these templates often lack true character and look just like thousands of other sites on the web. The end result is a basic DIY website that doesn't grab attention very well, and that isn't able to be customized to a target audience very easily. On the other hand, having a professionally designed website that is innovative and unique can set your business apart in your space or industry.

 

Navigation Difficulties

 

A second mistake that many DIY website builders make is creating a site that is difficult or frustrating to navigate. Visitors to your website can become turned off by things like pages that take too long to load, annoying auto play music or videos, or the lack of a quality search tool. For a business owner that is not actively working in the web design industry, there are massive amounts of considerations in the realm of navigation that are simply not thought of. Professional web design companies can help advise and guide you through the ins and outs of a quality customer user experience and quickly identify places that should be modified for easier navigation.

 

Eventual Neglect

 

Running a business can be especially time consuming for many people, and those I meet with in the Kitchener area are no different. When a DIY'er first starts out with their web design project, there is usually commitment and excitement, and time allocated. However, as the hours pile up and the demands on other fronts mount, even the most carefully constructed DIY website can become susceptible to neglect. In fact, many DIYers have the misconception that a website is a "set it and forget it" kind of thing, which really is not true. Websites need to be monitored for performance, updated and optimized, and checked regularly for areas of improvement. A professional within the web design field will be able to devote the time needed on a regular basis to ensure your website is always performing well, and working hard for you.

 

Seeking a professional web design company in the Kitchener, Waterloo or Cambridge Guelph region? We would love the opportunity to work with you! Contact us for additional information on our services.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

When it comes to setting up a website, it's necessary to keep your customer in mind. What exactly are they looking for in a product or service? What level of customer service do they need or want? What kind of images are going to appeal to them? Will they appreciate a conversational tone in your content? Or are they going to understand and appreciate technical language? All these things have to be considered when you set up a website. They also have to be considered when you're setting up a mobile-friendly website.

 

Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself:

  1. What Age Group Are You Trying to Appeal To? Nowadays, everyone has a mobile phone; it doesn't matter whether they're young or old. Of course, young people will use their mobile phone more often. This makes it more important to design a mobile-friendly website if you're selling a product or service for younger people.
  2. Are You a B2B or B2C Company? What kind of product are you selling? B2B, as you may already know, is short for "business to business" while B2C is short for "business to consumer." In both cases, it will help you to have a mobile-friendly website, but it's all the more important if you're selling directly to the consumer because they'll be looking you up in their spare time, when they might only have access to a mobile phone
  3. What Kind of Content Do You Have on Your Website? In some cases, you might have to make a lot of changes to your website to make it mobile-friendly. For example, if you have paragraphs and paragraphs of information on your website, you might have to shorten everything so that it becomes readable on a mobile phone. Bullet points and lists also show up better on a mobile phone (although it's a good idea to use them on any website). Conversational-sounding content is a must on mobile-friendly sites because people don't have the patience to read jargon when they are on the go.

Contact us for more tips to set up a mobile-friendly website for your company.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

When designing your own website, the last thing you want to do is copy off of a pre-existing template from DIY website builders like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace. For creating a new business site, you need to focus on the essentials, such as how to promote your brand towards a client base, how to pick a good theme for your current niche, and of course, how to build a user interface that would best present the value your business delivers through its high-quality products and services.

 

Although free website builders boast an all-inclusive platform to help simplify content management, you are only given a limited number of custom themes to choose from. The same applies to everything else from their menu layout options to slideshow animations. You might think it's easier to design a functional webpage using their "drag and drop" editor, but your finalized version will look no different than the thousands of small business websites that are already well-established, generating a consistent amount of traffic through ranking high on the SERPs. 

 

As a beginner, you'll have to steer clear of the following mistakes that are surprisingly common in DIY websites:

 

  • Improper formatting of text either from choosing a hard-to-read font or displaying walls of text without spaces in between
  • Combining multiple image galleries on the same page from different projects which creates inconsistent aesthetics 
  • Having a homepage that has many background images but no brief statements explaining what the business does
  • Using overcomplicated shopping cart checkout and subscription features that intimidates potential customers

 

Whereas a website builder provides you with shortcuts for uploading new images and other media, you won't receive feedback on whether or not your website is going to succeed as an introduction to your online business. That's why you should leave it to the professionals instead of attempting to follow a DIY website guide. If you are located in Ontario, why not visit REM Web Solutions, a reputable web design company with a full selection of web projects optimized for desktop and mobile devices. 

 

For more information, you're welcome to contact us and learn about our services.  

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Data by StatCounter shows that internet usage via mobile devices mobile devices exceeded the use of desktops in late 2016. This difference has continued to increase over time as mobile manufacturers continue to launch more affordable smartphones and tablets.

 

Traditional web development techniques did not consider mobile devices. If you haven't considered mobile optimization for your site, you are losing business each day. Here is how you can ensure that your website satisfies the needs of mobile users.

 

1. Make Your Site Responsive

Website responsiveness, in this case, refers to how your site behaves when loaded on devices of different sizes. Mobile users should access your pages in full with minimal scrolling and zooming.

Sites that are 100% responsive rank higher on Google than those that are problematic to mobile users. You also save time when updating one website instead of editing different versions.

 

2. Join the AMP Project

Web pages with lots of graphics can take considerable time to load, and slow websites put off visitors. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is an initiative backed by Google to make pages load quickly on mobile devices.

 

AMP is a free open source framework. You may want to activate AMP on your site for fast loading and increased conversions.

 

3. Follow the Google Guideline for Pop-Ups

 

In as much as users criticize pop-ups, they are useful in conveying bursts of information. Google levies penalties for pop-ups that ruin user-experience.

 

Pop-ups for mobile can be cumbersome due to the limited display available on the devices. Ensure that pop-ups contain necessary information if you choose to use them. Also, they should be non-obstructive and easy to close.

 

The Bottom Line

 

Internet users have drastically changed the way they access the internet. Most of them prefer mobile devices due to their accessibility and convenience.

 

Don't ignore mobile optimization when developing your site. You will lose prospective customers if your site is slow or thorny to use.

 

Contact the experts for guidance on more web development practices that resonate with your business goals.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

With the rise of content management systems and other website building platforms, it is now easier than ever for businesses and individuals to own a website. These design tools provide templates that can be used to customize a website in just a few minutes. However, the result is not always impressive. Most of these DIY websites look unprofessional and are plagued with issues that affect their performance. In this article, we have rounded up five of the most common mistakes DIY web designers make:

 

1. Non- Responsive Web Design

When building a website using a simple drag and drop desktop editor, most DIY designers forget that the larger online community surfs the web using mobile devices. This means they end up locking out a lot of users from accessing the website.  If you are not conversant with building a mobile-friendly website, then you should consider hiring a professional developer.

 

2. Using Free Templates

Most programs for DIY web design provide free templates that you can use to create a website in a few clicks. The cheap templates often make your website appear generic and similar to other sites on the web. The aesthetics of such websites are poor and do not resonate to your website's offering. This might be a big blow to your online credibility.

 

3. Poor Search Engine Optimization

SEO helps websites rank higher on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Most DIY website building platforms offer too little from an SEO perspective.  Additionally, it is difficult to incorporate various elements of SEO in your web design unless you have mastered this art. For this reason, it is essential to hire an SEO service to improve your search engine ranking.

 

4. Poor Branding

Another common mistake of DIY web design is poor branding. Whereas a website's interface should reflect your brand's personality, DIY design tools fail to integrate key branding elements such as logos on your website. These visual cues anchor your web presence across multiple platforms including social media channels. It is therefore essential to work with a professional designer who can reinforce your brand's values and online visibility through cohesive branding.

 

5. Website Security

DIY websites can be vulnerable to hacking and other cyber attacks. If you are building a website, ensure you protect it using SSL certificates and other security add-ons. This will ensure critical user information such as passwords and credit card credentials are always safe.

A website is a critical tool that drives the online success of your business. If you want to realize its full potential, then consider working with a professional website designer. If you would like to know more about web design, contact the experts at REM Web Solutions

 

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Small business owners are typically very busy running their own organization. However, even for busy small business leaders it would be difficult not to notice that voice-activated searching, both on mobile devices as well as "smart" homes devices, is becoming more and more popular. Those businesses who still think a desktop web presence is enough to garner ample interest in their organization need to take a second look at what is happening around them, or they risk getting left behind by emerging technologies.

 

Still not Mobile?

 

Any business in 2019 that does not have a web presence optimized for mobile devices will find themselves among the very few. Lagging behind the vast majority who have caught on that mobile is now the norm, is not a good place for anyone who hopes to succeed above their competitors. If they have not already done so, 2019 is the year for stragglers to commit to optimizing their web presence for mobile.

 

Emerging Technologies

 

Millions of individuals now heavily rely on voice commands to drive their activity on traditional devices such as smart phones and tablets. With voice activation of these devices now also very popular by way of Bluetooth-assisted vehicles, potential customers are changing the way they interact with the companies they want to do business with. One simple walk through a big box electronics store also reveals that smart home devices are becoming increasingly popular and are poised to add an entirely new way in which users surf the web.

 

Voice is the new Mobile 

 

A few years ago mobile web design was a newer concept. Now it is a mainstream concept with voice-activated smart devices coming up from behind -- within a few years, smart home devices may very well take the lead. Businesses who hope to continue to garner attention, must ensure their web presence is optimized for the changing way in which users will interact with the web. Namely, voice searches using natural language rather than cryptic fingertip searches.

If you would like to know how voice and mobile concepts are going to change the future of the world wide web, please contact us!

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

A lot has been written on the subject of website accessibility, but there's a lot of confusion about it. Put simply, accessibility refers to designing devices, products, or services for people who have disabilities. Designing for accessibility issues gives the ability of potentially everyone, regardless of their condition, to have access your website. Not only is it law in several parts of the world, it's a way to respect the basic rights and dignity of everyone, regardless of their abilities. What things should you look for when trying to improve accessibility on your website?

 

Ontario's Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) defines several areas addressing accessibility issues with government agencies, organizations, and businesses, including websites. If you are a private or nonprofit organization with 50 or more employees, or a public-sector organization, your website is required to meet the accessibility requirements. The compliance deadline for new websites to comply was January 1st, 2014, and beginning January 1st, 2021, all public websites must meet level AA requirements.

 

Thankfully, when Ontario codified guidelines into law, they adopted the W3C WCAG 2.0 guidelines. The guidelines are fairly thorough, covering everything from making sure images have alternative text, to making sure that pre-recorded audio and video have captions, to making sure your website can be navigated entirely by keyboard. Since Ontario requires double A compliance, it also requires things such as minimum contrast ratio of text to background, and making sure that artwork on the website doesn't trigger people with photosensitive epilepsy.

 

If you're looking to upgrade your website while maintaining compliance, contact us. Our experienced staff is always ready to answer any questions you may have or assist you with developing your online presence. Our guiding principle is that you, the customer, come first, and will work to build a compliant website optimized for desktop and mobile use.

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Brad Anderson
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November 14, 2019
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Christine Votruba
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October 31, 2019
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