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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 Sean Sanderson.

for me I think of a design trend as a movement that has gained enough usage that it starts to become recognizable and used. A trend can start slow before gaining momentum or can be influenced and fueled by new technology.

 

For myself as a designer I make it priority to keep current. For me trends are meant to keep me inspired and thinking in contemporary way. I don’t choose to completely ignore them but being aware of what they are is very important. I find myself longing to experiment with a new design and try a new trend even if it’s just for a personal project.

 

I believe we are currently in an interesting time with web design. We’ve seen many new web design styles push the boundaries of what we expect the modern web to be. As well as significant advancements in technology that is allowing users to not only ‘surf’ the website but leave with a feeling of an exciting experience. Accessibility is certainly not new but has been making a statement to ensure a more consistent and accessible environment for everybody who uses the web.

 

With so many developments, it’s important to slow it down and take a look at what trends have the ability to stay and what new things we can expect to see in 2019.

Below are 5 of the more notable styles that we can expect to wedge themselves into web design for 2019, and beyond.   

 

Flat Design

 

Starting as a trend, flat design grew to become a standard. Preferred by many users from a user experience perspective flat design is a minimalist approach that features the use of wide open white space, colors, and uncomplicated illustrations. Pairing clean fonts and minimal content seems to work very well with flat design.

 

Minimalism

 

Web design is always moving in a “less is more” mentality. The most time-honored web design trend, minimalism has always been my favorite style as hard as it can be to pull off properly. With fewer components on a website, the less the user has to process. Clients are more and more opting towards a simpler layout with greater amounts of white space. Using white space to separate the different sections on your pages helps improve readability and makes it easier for users to digest important information.

 

Animated GIFS

 

Can you remember a time when the dancing Ooga Chaka baby was a thing? Animated GIFs can definitely capture the limited attention span of most users. They are great at conveying ideas while being intriguing and captivating. Animated icons are becoming more and more popular and the use of animation/movement isn’t something that will be die off as long the rise of UX is still a thing.

 

Organic Shapes

 

Traditionally set up in grids, some websites have moved away from the cookie cutter horizontal and vertical dividers and designers are turning towards natural shapes and smooth lines. Geometric shapes can give the feeling of accessibility and comfort. Organic shapes are irregular, uneven and imperfect. They can provide emphasis to make content stand out and give a personal touch.

 

Website Accessibility

 

Last but not least, accessibility. This is not a trend, its and evolution and progress of the web that can’t be ignored in 2019. Designing ( and building ) websites for people with disabilities and ensuring they can use them easily shouldn’t be something web designers and developers simply choose to do anymore. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are quickly becoming more enforced and it’s going to be increasingly important to make sure your website is up to par.

 

Everything or ( most things ) have been done in design at one point before. A lot of the new trends are merely recycled ideas from earlier movements in design. That being said they can be revisited and reinvented. From the look and feel, websites will move toward the clean style of flat and minimalistic design. From a UX side of things companies will need to focus on making their sites engaging and accessible.

 

Ooga Chaka!

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This is a headshot of Matt Stern.

While thinking about my blog, one topic keeps coming to mind. Coaching youth sports. I have

always been very involved in coaching, as my son has played soccer, basketball and baseball.

However, coaching youth is something I have been a part of, for a long time, prior to having

children. I am often asked the question, why I chose to coach different sports. There are

several reasons why I enjoy coaching, some more obvious than others.

 

Firstly, I appreciate the opportunity to be involved in my son's activities. Coaching is like

teaching. Life lessons are always being taught. Learning how to win, how to lose, and how to

be a team player. We learn how to work together for the purpose of one goal. Sometimes I

coach for the love of the game, and the chance to share that love and appreciation with others.

 

An unexpected outcome is sometimes learning ourselves, as coaches. Coaching requires

adaptation, as it's very fluid and always changing. This may require communicating with players

and/or parents, or making adjustments to the way we play as a team, or with other coaches.

Communication is ongoing, whether with participants or parents. Learning to be a more effective

communicator may result. Finally, coaching encourages us to find lifelong friendships, between

teammates and coaches, which can only be seen as positive.

 

As you can see, there are various reasons to coach youth in sports. Learning life lessons,

teaching life lessons, finding lasting friendships but perhaps most importantly, we having the

opportunity to make a difference in our children's lives.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Identifying the paths that a consumer will take while navigating on desktops, tablets, and smartphones will help you design a mobile-friendly website. Establish the layout, grid structure, and break-points. It is important to keep a fluid layout rather than relying on three hard breaks because devices are rapidly changing in size and aspect ratio.

 

Grid Layouts

 

Start by creating a base set of grid layouts and standards for titles, subtitles, and navigation and body fonts. This is very important because it helps you create consistency across different layouts, significantly reduces the code complexity, and also has SEO benefits by ensuring the page structure follows SEO best practices from the beginning.

 

Wireframes

 

Use this guide to create interactive and responsive wireframes, giving an idea of how the site will feel and function on each device. Just taking your desktop content and shrinking it down to mobile is not the right approach. Smartphone users are often looking to make a transaction with the shortest amount of time. Tablet users often spend more time on the site than desktop users, so tailoring your content approach per device is critical. After refinement of the user experience, apply the final design to the wireframes to bring the brand to life in the new digital format.

 

QA Testing

 

Build all of the interaction states and tailor those actions per device. Rollovers on desktops must be converted to touching interactions on mobile. Clicking carousels should be swiped-enabled on mobile. Before launch, conduct a QA testing on numerous devices. It's important that you physically test to see how everything feels and reacts on a mobile device. Don't be shy to go back and make changes to create a better experience for your customers. 

 

Make sure that you have an in-depth analytics implementation and watch the user behavior on your website. Take suggestions and keep an open mind and listen to the analytics. For further insight, please contact us.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Many business owners are tempted to cut costs by handling web design in-house. However, DIY web design is usually not the best option. Your company's website is an important marketing asset, and building it yourself creates opportunities to make mistakes that can hurt your bottom line. One common mistake of DIY websites is designing a site that is not responsive. Here's why responsive web design is important.

 

Faster Speeds and Improved Search Rankings

 

Users expect web pages to load right away, especially on mobile devices. Also, Google considers page loading speeds when ranking results. By ensuring that your website is responsive, you'll deliver a better experience to your customers, and your site will rank higher in search.

 

Lower Bounce Rates

 

Your site's bounce rate is the number of times users view only a single page and then click away. Users are more likely to engage and explore your website if it's mobile-friendly. If your site isn't responsive, users are more likely to become frustrated and bounce. In fact, if your mobile site loads in under five seconds, the average viewing session is 70% longer than for slower sites.  

 

Higher Conversions

 

Even if your visitors do stick around, they don't want to be redirected to a separate, mobile-friendly site to complete a purchase or subscribe to an e-mail list. A responsive design will lower bounce rates and lead to more conversions.

 

Avoid Duplicate Content

 

In the past, it was common for companies to have two versions of their websites: a desktop site and a mobile site. When you create two website versions, Google may view them as two sites that contain the same content, which can adversely affect SEO. A responsive design eliminates this possibility since the same website can be viewed on any device.

 

For assistance with your website design and development, contact us now.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Every business would love to do a website on their own to cut on overheads and to customize it to their liking. This is not a bad idea if you know how to navigate the murky waters of "look and feel" and the technicalities of, say SEO, CRO and responsiveness, though you know that not everyone is an  expert in every area of human endeavor. Here are five reasons why you should let a professional do your website:

 

There could be pitfalls

 

While DIY templates can be fun and hassle-free to work with, they might lead you into blocks and barriers initially unforeseen. On a bad day for example a client might call you with claims that your site has refused to load on their phones or that they cannot see where to click to submit the form. Such a situation would be difficult to deal with because of your little UX/UI knowledge base.

 

Uniqueness is vital

 

You want to stand out in the crowd. Assuming you intend to get a Webwizard template to do a website to use for your upcoming campaign to launch a new product. You could be in a hurry to catch up with time and might not do the due diligence to pick out a theme you might consider "rarely used" and are likely to come out with just another website.

 

Optimize for Lead Generation

 

Think more on conversion than prettiness. Well, templates are very good and convenient to work with if the designer is a little bit more conversion-minded and is ready to put in the extra hours to tweak it to near-perfection. You don't want to end up with a website that looks beautiful but cannot drive sales for your business.

 

They could encourage slackness

 

The temptation to do it once and get it done with is always lurking somewhere in the shadows. You may not be in a position to tell, for example, why your site is displaying overlapping content and how to correct that error. Working with templates on your own might get you into this trap.

 

Way forward

 

Consulting a Web Developer comes with numerous advantages. They will, in most cases, be available whenever something on your site is not working right. But the most important benefit is their capabilities in tweaking your site to work optimally on every device and capture the attention of visitors. It is only prudent that before getting to do it on your own, you should think through your decision and seek the counsel and guidance of a professional web developer  in order to escape the dangers of template 'Do It Yourself'.

 

Please contact us.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Billions of people enjoy internet access on a daily basis and many simply take for granted the ability to access it. With a simple touch of a fingertip or a short voice command, most individuals have access to what essentially amounts to a limitless supply of information, products and services from all over the world. It's quite obvious with the phenomenal growth of technologies such as the internet of things, artificial intelligence, etc., that not only is the internet here to stay, it clearly is going to increasingly become a key factor in everyone's daily lifestyle.

 

It Could Happen to Anyone

 

Imagine for a moment, if through some type of accident or illness, a person becomes unable to interact with such an essential part of daily life as the internet. Along with those born with some type of disability, this is what some individuals face on a daily basis.

In some cases, growing voice technologies such as "Hey Siri" or "Ok Google" may be able to vastly improve the quality of life for those dealing with a disability. Still, there is more that companies can (and must) do if they want their web presence to be compliant with laws such as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act or AODA.

 

Reaching out to More Audiences

 

Companies spend billions trying to reach new audiences in order to market their products and/or services. Countless studies are conducted to learn more about demographics, niche groups, and more. In fact, it can be said that anyone with a web presence, in some way has something to sell. Companies who overlook the fact that disabled individuals also need products, services and information, are only doing themselves a disservice by missing out on a key market.

 

What to Do 

 

Ensuring a company's web presence is within reach of the disabled may mean the use of different methods other than SEO, etc., but in comparison to reaching out to any other target group, it doesn't necessarily take an extraordinarily amount of additional resources to make a website disabled-ready. When companies search for web designers to create and/or maintain their web presence, they simply need to ensure that their choice of designer is aware that their company has 50 or more employees. They then will price and build the site in such as way as to comply with laws such as the AODA.

 

Many companies are already aware of compliance laws with regards to people with disabilities and they already know there are different requirements for different-sized companies. Specifically, those companies with 50 or more employees must make all websites and web content accessible to the disabled by January 1, 2021.   

 

If you would like to know more about AODA and how to ensure your web presence is in compliance, please contact us.

 

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This is a headshot of Sean Legge.

At Work

Role at REM:  

Junior Web Developer

 

Education:  

Web Design and Application Development - Fanshawe College

 

Work Experience:  

Mostly from my time in school.

 

Something That Makes Me Smile at Work:  

When I solve a difficult problem.

 

 

Favourite

Web site: 

https://www.reddit.com/

 

Books:  

The Illiad, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Poetic Edda, Spice and Wolf.

 

Food:  

Mince and Tatties

 

TV Show:  

Departures

 

Musical Artists:

Eluvetie, Korpiklaani, Protest The Hero

 

Time of Day:  

7:00 PM

 

Season:  

Fall

 

Places in the World:  

Jyväskylä, Finland

 

Recreational Activities/Hobbies:

Kendo, Reading, Writing

 

Sport:

Hockey

 

App:  

Audible

 

Least Favourite

Food:  

Cilantro


Activity: 

Running

 

Time of Day: 

7:00 AM


Season: 

Summer


Place:

The Hospital

 

More Info

Best Thing Someone Said to You: 

“You know too many random facts.”

 

Life Motto: 

Never stop learning. 

 

My Hero: 

My Dad

 

One of the Things I Find Fascinating:  

History

 

Most People Don’t Know This About Me:  

I played in a metal band for a couple years.

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This is a headshot of Sean McParland.

Statistically speaking, you are probably using Google Chrome to read this blog post. While Chrome is a great browser that makes using the Internet fast and safe, it isn’t the only horse in the race. Google recently announced changes that will be coming to Chrome later this year that may affect how third-party browser extentions work, namely ad-blocking extentions like uBlock Origin.

 


"The proposal–dubbed Manifest V3–will see a major transformation to Chrome extensions that includes a revamp of the permissions system. It will mean modern ad blockers such as uBlock Origin—which uses Chrome’s webRequest API to block ads before they’re downloaded–won’t work."

- Forbes.com


 

Google's core business is advertising. This means that content blocking extentions such as uBlock Origin directly conflict with their primary business. Until now, Google had no choice but to allow content-blocking extentions in order to gain browser market-share. Now that roughly 2/3 of all internet users utilize Chrome as their main browser, it appears Google may be tightening their grip.

 

If these changes do end up affecting a person's ability to experience the web in the way they want, it may be time to look at alternative browsers. One of the great things about Chrome is that it is based on an open-source browser engine named Chromium which is available for anyone to use. Last year, Microsoft announced that they are re-building their Edge browser around Chromium. It is currently available for download in a preview state and, as it is Chromium at its core, it supports using Chrome extentions.

 

 

Microsoft Edge Chromium Preview Screenshot

Microsoft Edge Chromium Preview Screenshot

 

Another notable browser that utilizes the Chromium browser engine is known as Brave. Brave has content-blocking and privacy features built in that don't require additional extentions. And of course there is the newly re-designed Firefox from Mozilla which runs on its own Geko browser engine.

 

It might be time to try one of the Chromium-based browsers like the new Edge or Brave or something a little different like Mozilla's Firefox. Feel free to let us know in the comment section which browser you're most fond of and why you chose it.

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Your website is the digital face of your business -- it tells your story 24/7 -- so good web design is a must. Your website is there when consumers are looking for what you offer and can bring you sales. And your website also tells you a lot about who is visiting your site, which you can discover with analytics.

 

Website analytics are important tools that give you information about how people interact with your site. By looking at website data, you can learn a lot about your site visitors, such as:

 

  • How many visitors come to your website? (How much traffic do you get?)
  • How long do they stay? If visitors leave quickly, perhaps your site didn't have what they were looking for.
  • Where do they live? Are they in a location your business caters to?
  • What kind of device are they using to access your site? If they are using a mobile device, your web design should be optimized for mobile.
  • Which browsers are they using? Your web design should work well on those browsers.
  • Which pages do they visit? What do the most-visited pages tell you about how people find you?
  • Did they come to your site from other sites? If so, which ones? 
  • If they came from a search engine, what phrase did they use to find you?

 

That last detail is the key for you to know whether visitors are finding your site using search terms you want to be known for. For example, if your business offers reupholstery services, you would expect analytics to show that visitors find your site by searching for terms like "furniture reupholstery" or "custom upholstery." Analyzing your website data might show that your visitors use these and other similar phrases to find you. On the other hand, analytics might also show people are finding your site using search terms that don't make much sense for your business, and that they spend only a few seconds on your site before going on to a different site to find what they're looking for.

 

There are many other ways to use website analytics to improve your site, marketing efforts, and the customer experience. Your site should attract your target market and keep them there, with the goal of leading them to a sale or other action you want them to take.

 

We are eager to help you with your website analytics as part of our customized website design services. Please contact us for details.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

If you currently own a business and do not have a website or it isn't up to date, you are missing out on major revenue. With everyone having internet access right in their fingertips, a business can suffer greatly without a website. Beyond social media, your website will be the first point of contact for your business. Continue reading below about the three biggest mistakes businesses make when creating their own website.

 

Looks Great but Functions Badly

 

The allure of a DIY website is that they are usually free and you have total control. However, once you get past the easy to set up aesthetics, the user interface has generally been forgotten. Many sites fail to comply with basic usability principles, as well as lose online sales because users can't find them. Your website can look great all day long, but if it doesn't function properly you will not get the desired results in order to have a successful business. From the latest trends to page speed, hiring a website design expert is key to creating websites that can increase revenue as well as optimize and streamline website sales and traffic.

 

No Mobile Compatibility

 

With so many different types of smartphones available, each with their own resolution and screen size, it's almost impossible for a website to look great on all platforms with a DIY website. Responsive web design is important because your website will most likely be seen on a phone before it will a computer. When designing a website, various screen sizes must be considered. When working with a website designer, screen size is discussed in the initial design process. 

 

Lacking Search Engine Optimization

 

You could have the nicest website in the world, but without search engine optimization, you won't have any traffic driven to your site. When setting up a website, many do not understand or give SEO the time and consideration that it needs. With the internet being an extremely competitive market place, SEO is vital in the survival-ability of your business. 

You have worked hard to build your business, contact us today and let our exceptional leadership team help you create, design and set up a website worthy of your business. 

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Contributors

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Sean Sanderson
63
July 23, 2019
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Matt Stern
4
July 16, 2019
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Brad Anderson
117
July 12, 2019
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Sean Legge
1
June 28, 2019
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Sean McParland
17
June 28, 2019
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Rob Matlow
84
April 17, 2019
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Christine Votruba
24
January 18, 2019
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Todd Hannigan
47
November 13, 2018
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Ryan Covert
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August 4, 2016
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