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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 Shauna Ramsaroop.

Illustration depicting various social media on a mobile phone

 

With an abundant number of options, it is becoming harder for us to determine which social media platforms are most useful for generating business. To be honest it can be extremely intimidating at times to choose which one is best, truth of the matter is – there is no right or wrong answer here. What it really comes down to is the time and effort that you’re willing to spend to keep your social media accounts active and trending. With all of the likes, subscribes, follows, tweets and retweets we figured we could do a little bit of research to help you make a clearer decision.

 

According to Statista.com as of July 2020, Facebook is still the leader when it comes to the most popular social networks worldwide with over 2.6 Billion users. Coming in close in second place is YouTube with approximately 2 Billion users and not far behind is Instagram hovering around 1 Billion active users. Needless to say, with the rise of social media it’s definitely worth your while to invest in at least one if not all of these platforms. All three platforms have countless options available to businesses that not only provide you insights for free but have affordable options to level up your social media marketing game. Here are some highlights:

 

 

Facebook logo

 

Facebook

Creating a Facebook business page is incredibly easy – it is the modern-day yellow pages that allows your business to be found by virtually anyone. You can have all contact information, post promotions, images, highlight recommendations, receive reviews and most importantly allow your community to share your businesses with their community at the click of a button. Facebook also has many additional resources that you can find useful, for example Facebook can provide you with insights such as views on your business page or you could opt into some affordable marketing programs that give you access to consumer behaviour reports, creating Facebook ads and so much more. Depending on what you require, Facebook has done a great job building tools to help your company grow.

 


 

Youtube logo

 

YouTube

If your business is the type that can easily market visual content of the services or products you have, then YouTube may be the way to go for you. YouTube channels provide your customers clear visuals into your services, which may be of benefit to you – Realtor’s have definitely tapped into this form of marketing more recently providing top notch videos of homes for sale, construction companies taking quality videos of before, during and after projects and landscaping companies creating tutorials on how to best keep your lawns or gardens in the best condition all year round. YouTube for your business could be one of the best choices you make, however investing in producing well designed video content can be pricey, but definitely worth it in the end.

 


 

Instagram logo

 

Instagram

This social media platform has become more popular for businesses to highlight themselves through pictures and hashtags. With social media influencers on the rise, being tagged by the right accounts, pictures and stories being shared and viewed based on hashtags that you use, Instagram’s popularity continues to grow for businesses worldwide. Not only is it user friendly - snap a photo, share it, add a little blurb and some hashtags – and your posts can show up to potential customers who commonly search, view or follow accounts that are similar to the services or products that you offer! It is also free of charge and there are options to have business accounts that provide you with limited insights including total views, profile reaches, and number of likes. If you are taking quality pictures on a constant basis this may be a great way for you to get your feet wet in the world of social media. There are options for you to pay for Instagram ads that show up on your social media feed as well!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

A bunch of polaroid photos on a table

 

Thoughtfully used pictures on websites go a long way. Not only are they used for decorative purposes and to spruce up the look and feel of your website. When strategically chosen and placed, images and graphics become a source of understanding the information presented on your website.

 

When it comes to AODA and the WCAG 2.0 it is imperative that images, videos and any content that isn’t text have some form of alternative text (Alt-Text) allowing them to be accessible to those with visual impairments. When using a screen-reader Alt Text become important so that computer programs can recognize and correctly describe images on a web page. When our designers and developers create AODA websites a significant amount of work goes into ensuring your images are correctly placed and have suitable Alt Texts attached in the code to ensure compliance.

 

When choosing images for your websites, our designers are sure to follow W3C’s Image Classification rules to ensure Alt Texts are assigned according to the images placed on your website. Some of the classifications are as follows:

  • Informative: Used to represent concepts or information

  • Decorative: Used to enhance the aesthetic and do not convey information

  • Functional: Used to represent functionality on the page

  • Complex: Used to simplify the representation of complex data

 

Our Customer Success Team will ensure that moving forward when you’re updating your websites, you are prepared to make use of our tools to easily update/add Alt Text to any images that you place on your website moving forward. This way you’re ensuring that images are accessible to those with visual impairments or those with other various disabilities.

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

A graphic that says Happy Thanksgiving

 

Being raised as a first generation Canadian by my Guyanese grandparents meant that food was not something to take lightly. My grandmother raised and fed three children and three grandchildren - she really had a knack for feeding us all on an extremely tight budget. This meant that Thanksgiving became quite a tradition in our home. It was a meal that we all looked forward to each year, it brought us together and it was always elaborate. For as long as I could remember it was the one meal that my grandmother cooked for us that we had in common with everyone else we went to school with. Which naturally made me very grateful when marching back to school with a lunch made purely of leftovers just like everyone else.

 

Over the past 10 years I personally have taken over the task of cooking Thanksgiving dinner, filling my home with our loved ones and serving up everyone’s favourites including my own – Mashed Potatoes. I have perfected my recipe which is an amalgamation of my grandmother’s and mother’s and makes me drool just thinking about it.

 

 

As I plan out this year’s meal, I figured I might add something new into the mix, so I asked the REM team for their help – for them  to share with me their favourite thanksgiving foods and why:

 

 

“My favorite food is the Turkey that Kim (my wife makes).  I am not just saying that for brownie points.  She does a great job with it.  In fact, the entire thanksgiving meal she does is a yearly cuisine highlight!” – Rob Matlow

 


 

“Like many people we have a turkey meal on thanksgiving, but when it comes to my favourite part, I would have to say it’s pumpkin pie. Now when I say pumpkin pie I don’t mean a slice of pumpkin pie on a plate with a little shot of whipped cream on top. I mean a slice of pumpkin pie located somewhere beneath an avalanche of whipped cream. Basically, the rule of thumb is if you can decern that there is indeed pumpkin pie located somewhere on the plate then you need more whipped cream.” – Sean McParland

 


 

“All things pumpkin! Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin pie ice cream, pumpkin seeds… Because it’s PUMPKIN! Do I need to say more!” – Todd Hannigan

 


 

“Pumpkin Pie – If I ever leave room for it, its been my favorite since I can remember. It usually only comes around once a year and is a tradition for my mom and I enjoy, even if we are the only ones that ever like it.” – Sean Sanderson

 


 

“Because I’m Filipino-Canadian, my favourite Thanksgiving food are traditional Filipino ones such as lechon (roasted pig), pancit (stir-fry noodles) and lumpia (deep-fried spring rolls). We eat a traditional Filipino feast to celebrate Thanksgiving.  We gather as a family and serve the dinner as a pot-luck, that way each family has to contribute one type of food to the party; there’s always plenty of leftovers the next day because I have a lot of relatives!” – Christine Votruba

 


 

“Cranberry sauce. The jelly kind. I don’t like finding bits of cranberry stems in my sauce.” – Ryan Covert

 


 

“My favourite Thanksgiving food is the whole meal- from the Turkey to the cranberries.  But most of all is the time spent with family.” – Matt Stern

 


 

“My favourite thanksgiving food is carrots and neeps. It’s a delicious dish that my Granny started making for our Thanksgivings, then my father took over, and now I’m making them. So, it’s a bit of a family tradition now!” – Sean Legge

 

 

As you can see, I have a fair amount to work with, but I would love to hear from you! Please comment and share your favourite Thanksgiving eats – who knows, it may work its way onto our Thanksgiving table next year!

 

Everyone here at REM would like to wish you and your family a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

 

Please note that REM will be closed Monday, October 12th and will re-open on Tuesday, October 13th.

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Graphics comparing good versus bad colour contrast

 

When designing your website, we enjoy being adventurous with our clients, especially when it comes to the colours you choose. Your website truly is your brand, an online reference to who you are and it’s extremely important that your design and colour scheme match who you are and what you stand for. When designing websites that need to be AODA compliant our designers and developers need to go the extra mile to ensure the colours you choose are both representative of you and fall within the compliance parameters of WCAG 2.0. This could be a tricky feat and here is why.

 

Colour Contrast

People with colour deficiencies and low vision may have difficulties viewing your website depending on the colours that you use. It is incredibly important that the contrast ratios comply with the requirements allowing people to receive information from your website visually. When choosing colours and fonts our designers and developers must following the following regulations:

  • Contrast– minimum ratio of 4.5:1

  • Bold & 14pt or 18pt + colour contrast ratio of 3:1

  • Add text labels to colour pickers

  • Use texture to complement colour information

  • Text on images should always use as high contrast as possible

  • Incidental/Decorative items such as logos are exempt

  • Colour Contrast Checkers: Web Aim Color Checker & CCA

 

Visual Hierarchy

Another very important aspect of AODA compliance is the ability to visually organize design elements in order of importance. This becomes mainly apparent when someone is using a device or screen reader to navigate content and information presented on a web page – typically this is done by tabbing on a specific type of keyboard.

 

In order for devices to navigate the content accordingly, headings must be strategically placed to allow a reader to comprehend the content, our designers and developers ensure the information is presented in an organized manner by making use of the correct Headings on a page:

  • Heading 1 – Only to be used once on a page

  • Heading 2 – Must be at least 1-point size smaller and follow an H1. Can have different styles

  • Heading 3 – Again must be smaller than H2. Is to be used as a subheading for H2 only

  • Heading 4 – must be smaller than H3. Is to be used as a subheading for H3 only and so on

 

When adding content to your website or designing the layout, it is extremely important to keep these regulations in mind. If you have any more question in regards to AODA compliance, or the information from this blog, please reach out to us!

 

Make your website AODA compliant! Visit aodawebsites.ca

AODA Websites logo

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Atum Financial website on a computer monitor

 

About

At Atum Financial Services Inc., we are more than just an accountant firm. We are an extension of your family, and trusted financial partner committed to the success of your business and individual needs. We advise clients in a broad range of industries. This has allowed us to gain expertise and knowledge in many sectors to assist in serving you to our best ability.

 

As tax laws and regulations continue to be amended, adjusted, and monitored by our government, we help clients manage their Corporate and Personal tax matters, Accounting, Valuations, CFO Services/Advisory and Business Start-ups/Planning in a constant changing environment. Due to these changes, proper tax planning and advisory is a critical component for every individual, and successful business.

 

Atum Financial Services Inc. is your boutique firm with that personal touch.

 

Our bright and trendy office is located in the old Shoe Factory, a 20th century artisan brick building on the corner of St Leger and Breithaupt.

 

Atum Financial's Main Contact Person: Annie Puran, Director of Business Services

 

No. of Employees: 11

Established: 2009

Location: 72 St. Leger Street, Unit 1, Kitchener, ON,

 

Visit Atum Financial's website

 

 

 

Q:

Why did you choose REM?

 

A:

Well, not only do we both have awesome orange walls, we are now neighbours! REM is reputable Web Solutions company with great ideas on how to bring your company to life! Definitely worth every penny we spent!

 


Q:

What was it like working with REM?

 

A:

Fantastic Customer service! Our new website is amazing and their tech support is always available! They took the time to inform us of what designs would suit our visions, kept us on target of our launch date, and our expectations were very clearly explained.

 

Rob and his team are a perfect fit for any company, looking forward to growing with them!

 

 

Fantastic Customer service! Our new website is amazing and their tech support is always available! 

 

-- Annie Puran, Director of Business Services

 


 

Learn first-hand how we can help you with your website needs.
Contact us today!

 

Toll Free: 1.866.754.4111

Phone: 519.884.4111

Sales: sales@remwebsolutions.com

Support: support@remwebsolutions.com

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

White arrows on pavement

 

Just over two years ago I made the personal decision to leave REM Web Solutions. After 3 years of growth and development I felt that I needed to try my hand at a new adventure and see where life would take me. In my two years away, I had the opportunity to work in two positions that have given me an abundant amount of skills and provided me with some interesting life experiences.

 

In my first position post REM I had the opportunity to work with dozens of early stage tech startups. I learned the ins and outs of the challenges they face at different stages of their growth. I was lucky enough to guide them through programming available to them in the region while assisting them in building their business plans, completing market research, and preparing themselves for the long journey ahead while supporting their passions. I learned how to speak in front of large groups of people, spent significant time with the graduating classes of University of Waterloo’s MBET program and meeting some pretty cool people like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau! My time in the role was very humbling, sitting with small to medium sized business owners and watching their struggles while they put their livelihood on the line gave me new perspective on life and business.

 

My second position post REM was a whirlwind to say the least. I decided I wanted to try something that wasn’t as customer focused, I became a project manager for a local automation company. Hardware was completely new to me, from the very start I couldn’t believe how much there was to learn but I had a fantastic team of PM’s and Engineers who took me under their wings and guided me along the journey. I learned project management best practices, I learned how to communicate with different cultures as majority of my clients were overseas, I learned how to build project schedules, use industry driven tools and most importantly I learned that there was no challenge I was not willing to take on.

 

I thrived in both positions and learned a lot but no matter what I did, the connections and friends I made, neither role or company felt like home. In early June an opportunity presented itself for me to come back to REM and without hesitation I said yes. As wonderful as both jobs were, and as grateful as I was to have the opportunity to work at both companies, it was time for me to return. REM Web Solutions was where I started in the tech industry. It’s where I built relationships with my colleagues that I consider family. We offer a wonderful product, our clients are amazing and at the end of the day I feel accomplished, inspired, and most importantly happy to be home.

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Graphic depicting AODA compliance

 

Now that we have established the importance of being AODA compliant in a previous blog. We will touch on some of the pieces that make your website compliant. First, we need to understand the importance of compliance, in the world of digital marketing we need to remind ourselves the larger the audience we reach the better it is for our businesses. Currently 15% of Ontarians have a disability, that is 1 in 7 Canadians above the age of 15, 80% of these Canadians reported to use an assistive device. This is potentially a large untapped market for your business if your website is not AODA compliant.

 

Providing you with a laundry list of updates our designers and developers do when creating compliant sites would be far too granular. We will highlight main challenges and some best practices we follow to ensure your website is geared to all Canadians, regardless of their abilities. After rigorous training, our senior designers learned about the AODA’s four core principles and the twelve corresponding Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). They are as follows:

 


 

Think POUR:

 

Be Perceivable - All content on a website should be distinguishable

  • All non-text content should have alternatives

  • Video content should have alternatives

  • Create content that can be easily be displayed in multiple formats

  • The level of contrast between foreground and background should be distinguishable

 

Be Operable – All content should be useable

  • Website functionality should be keyboard accessible

  • Provide users flexible time to read and use content

  • Avoid animated flashes and blinking

  • Provide tools for wayfinding

 

Be Understandable – All content should be comprehensible

  • Provide readable and understandable content

  • Design functions in predictable ways

  • Provide tools to avoid and correct mistakes

 

Be Robust – All content can be interpreted by a wide variety of users

  • Maximize compatibility with all potential users

 

By following the above core principles and their guidelines, our designers and developers analyze existing websites and make recommendations to our clients, after the design is complete our developers build the updated site and conduct multi-step testing to ensure your website passes all AODA requirements. Once the testing is complete your customer success manager completes a final test and reviews the updates with you.

 

Aside from the workflow and the guidelines we must follow to keep our customers safe from penalties, we believe we are doing our part to build an inclusive community here in Ontario. A community that abides by the law, helps our customers build successful businesses and most importantly advocate for those who may find it difficult to do so for themselves.

 

Make your website AODA compliant! Visit aodawebsites.ca

AODA Websites logo

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Woman in a wheelchair using a laptop

 

As the summer winds down and the cooler air creeps upon us we tend to reflect on the year that we’ve had and prepare for the year ahead of us. With the pandemic (whose name we choose not to speak), companies have beefed up their online presence. Websites have been redesigned, new functionality has been implemented to suit the ever-changing world we live in now, businesses have really stepped up their game and we love that!

 

With all the new changes in the world that businesses were forced to adapt to, there may be one last thing on the list… one very important checkmark to give you a head start in the new year. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) became law on June 13, 2005 – its purpose is inclusivity. Our goal collectively is to make Ontario accessible to people with disabilities by 2025 and we mean it! If you have a business with 50+ employees and a website, as of January 2021 your company and executives can be fined up to $100,000 each day that your website is not AODA compliant.

 

With that being said, the team at REM Web Solutions has also beefed up our game, we have implemented our internal policies and procedures to ensure that we are compliant. We have also invested in our designers to receive top training on how to design and build AODA compliant websites to better serve our customers who fall into this category.

 

If you are a business with 50+ employees and your website is not AODA compliant – or you simply don’t know, please reach out to us as soon as possible. We are armed to educate, help and most importantly provide you with services you need to be law abiding business owners.

 

Make your website AODA compliant! Visit aodawebsites.ca

AODA Websites logo

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Graphic depicting responsive design

 

One of the most crucial challenges we face at REM is ensuring our customers are receiving the most out of their websites. With consistently evolving technologies, it becomes our top priority to ensure our customers have access to the best tools that will support a successful business.

 

Over the past couple years, society has experienced significant advances in regards to the capabilities of mobile devices which means our clients are facing a new challenge – ensuring their websites are readily available at the touch of a fingertip on any type of device (desktop, mobile, tablets etc.).

 

As we move further away from desktop devices (PC’s and laptops) it becomes increasingly important for our websites to have responsive designs – this means your website is designed, developed and tested in a manner that will automatically adjust to the device your website is being viewed on, including images, fonts, forms etc.

 

Here are a few reasons why we suggest updating your existing website to a responsive design:

 

User Friendly Experience

User experience is by far one of the most important attributes of a responsive website. The easier it is for a visitor to navigate your website regardless of the device they are using dictates a level of professionalism that your business adheres to. It allows visitors to easily find information, share your content, and encourage them to revisit your website which boosts the image of your business as well as your SEO rankings.

 

Search Engine Optimization

In July 2019, Google announced that they would be implementing “Mobile-first indexing best practices”. This means that Googlebots would be using mobile versions of websites to index and rank for search purposes instead of desktop versions. For more detailed information on this you can visit their article here. This is definitely a direct response to the fact that more people are using mobile devices to browse the web, as per statista.com as of the first quarter in 2020; 56% of web traffic is from a mobile device. With a responsive website, your business is guaranteed to be indexed and ranked higher than those that do not have mobile versions. With a cleverly designed and developed responsive site, accompanied by additional SEO best practices, you are sure to see a boost in your search engine rankings.

 

Cost Effectiveness

Using the responsive tools in WebWiz@rd will save you money – we love saving you money! First and foremost, the content editor, media collections and menu builders have all been redesigned to allow you to manage the information you place on your website faster and on your own! A lot of the updates we implemented allow you to update sections of your website that previously our developers were required to update at an additional cost. With the responsive design, the most significant cost saving comes from not having to update desktop and mobile versions of your website separately. Each responsive site will now update simultaneously when an update is made, ensuring your site is presented in the best possible format for your visitors on any given device. Time is money – we get it!

 

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This is a headshot of Rob Matlow.

Happy Labour Day text graphic

 

As the summer comes to a close we look forward to Labour Day.  REM will be closed for Labour Day Monday, September 7th and will re-open on Tuesday.  

 

Have a safe and enjoyable long weekend from all of us at REM!

 

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Contributors

Shauna Ramsaroop
18
October 23, 2020
Show Shauna's Posts
Rob Matlow
97
September 4, 2020
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Christine Votruba
27
July 28, 2020
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Ryan Covert
48
July 26, 2019
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Sean Sanderson
63
July 23, 2019
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Matt Stern
4
July 16, 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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Todd Hannigan
47
November 13, 2018
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