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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.

 

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.

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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.

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 Ryan Covert.

 

It's 2019 at the time of this writing. Fortnite has taken the gaming world by storm over the past year or so. Every parent has been begged and pleaded with by their children to purchase a modern console gaming system so that they can become sweaty try hards.

 

Then it happens. Those same children are watching YouTube personalities and streamers alike who push PC hardware as the next-level in the Fortnite madness. The begging and pleading is revived. This time, those same parents don't know where to start and may not have the funds to dump into a high-level gaming PC.

 

Socket 775 To The Rescue

 

As of June 2019, I have successfully built four Fortnite-worthy gaming PCs using hardware dated as far back as 12 years old. It wasn't difficult, but finding DDR2 RAM for older PCs is tricky, and I will throw in some more "modern" suggestions at the end of this blog for those having the same problem.

 

The secret to my success has been in the procurement of used Socket 775 motherboards and CPUs that used to fetch top dollar when they were new. Socket 775 motherboards are now in the range of $30-$60 on eBay. A magnificent Core 2 Quad Q9650 CPU, which was considered the cream of the crop in 2008, can now be coupled with those motherboards for a meer $65 on eBay as well. You'll also want a minimum of 6 GB of RAM, but 8 GB of RAM is ideal. You can get by with 4 GB, but your OS will be starved for resources and you will experience in-game hitching or stuttering as your computer continuously fights to balance your operating system's memory requirements with those of the game.

 

Next, you need to find a GPU with enough horsepower to run modern PC games at a decent framerate. While I have managed to run Fortnite at 60 fps on a GeForce GTX 560 ti, I would suggest purchasing a GPU with at least support for the latest nVidia or AMD drivers. I suggest trying to find one of these cards within your budget on eBay, Kijiji, Craig's List, or similar:

 

  • GeForce GTX 760
  • GeForce GTX 960
  • GeForce GTX 1050 ti
  • AMD R9 290X
  • AMD R9 380
  • AMD RX 480
  • AMD RX 570

 

There are many different combinations of these cards, with varying amounts of video RAM typically listed as "GDDR". Generally speaking, the more RAM you have, the better experience you will have. However, in my testing, the older GTX 760 with 2 GB of GDDR3 RAM provides plenty of speed to drive 60 fps gaming on Medium quality settings in Fortnite at resolutions up to 1920x1080. Considering this is running on a 12 year old PC, this is mind blowing.

 

For those interested in doing this themselves, here are some additional links to help you out:

 

  • CPU-Z
    Determine the exact motherboard make and model you're running, along with the type and configuration of RAM you have installed. This helps you determine what upgrades are available for your existing hardware.
     
  • Core i3 based PCs
    These machines are a great example of a complete system (lacking a dedicated graphics card / GPU) that have plenty of power to run modern PC games for thousands of hours of enjoyment. They typically use DDR3 RAM, which is much cheaper than the older DDR2 variant mentioned above due to supply and demand.

 

Feel free to drop your questions in the comments below if you'd like more information.

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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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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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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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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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Brad Anderson
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November 14, 2019
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October 31, 2019
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