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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.

Todd playing foosball in the office

 

Let me preface this blog with the fact that I cannot play foosball. It’s not that I don’t want to, or I don’t care to it’s simply just one of those games that I cannot succeed at. I’m a klutz by nature with absolutely no hand-eye coordination so playing the game of foosball just never fared well for me.

 

However, I do love how much joy it brings my teammates, I desperately miss the sounds and laughter of my colleagues over lunch challenging each other. Whether or not each individual chooses to play, it’s an important part of our culture at REM and gives us a little bit more than just a lunch hour break.

 

When asked why Foosball is such an important part of the REM culture our designer Christine had a lot to say:

 

“Foosball at REM builds comradery between coworkers and teaches us good sportsmanship, friendly competition and owning up to mistakes, while being silly and goofing around. It adds excitement in our office, we cheer loudly for our coworkers when we compete, which builds confidence in other areas of our lives, like our jobs. Foosball gives us an opportunity to laugh and witness aspects of each other’s personality we don’t normally see and is a great way to 'break the ice' and welcome a new team member into the group. It encourages us to create strategies and 'think outside the box,' thereby stimulating the innovative, problem solving parts of our brain.

 

"Besides the emotional and mental benefits, it’s also physically good for us and here’s why – Foosball encourages us to get up and move, even if it’s mostly our arms that are moving. We use quick, powerful motions with our arms and wrists during the game, which loosens our forearm muscles, helps circulation and relieves tension. It also increases our heart-rate, promoting good health. We’ve proven this by looking at our smart-watches with heartbeat monitors. One time, Sean S. was super dialed into the game and his heartbeat rose to more than 120 beats/minute (that’s in the fat burning zone!).”

 

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This is a headshot of Christine Votruba.

Laptop top-view with January 2021 calendar deadline on it

 

Did You Know:

 

Businesses & non-profit organizations with 50 or more employees should have made their website and web content accessible by January 1st, 2021?

 

It’s not too late! Make your website AODA compliant.

 

Visit aodawebsites.ca

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Illustration of people in front of CSM lettering

 

Our REM team consists of many different roles, in this blog I’m going to highlight some of the responsibilities of our Customer Success Team. Our Customer Success Managers (CSM’s) at REM act as hybrid contacts for you from the start of your journey with us, through the deployment and are here to support you after your website goes live.

 

The Early Stages

At the beginning of your project, CSM’s will typically reach out to start the discussing the hosting portion of your contract with REM. This includes transferring any domains, setting up DNS and email hosting. During this time, we explain the hosting packages that we have to offer you, discuss the importance of SSL Certificates and most importantly introduce ourselves!

 

Testing and Site Review’s

Once your site is built and tested by developers, the CSM’s will do a second round of testing. At REM we take testing your website very seriously to ensure that we hand you the best functioning website that we can. Once your site has gone through the rigorous testing stages, we reach out to you to schedule a Site Review (this is my favourite stage). A site review is the first time you see your website in its functioning form on our staging server. It’s typically a 15-minute conversation between you and your CSM reviewing the site together and discussing the outcome of the design/development of your site based on your engagement letter and concepts.

 

Training

WebWiz@rd is a fantastic tool, it is user friendly and easy to navigate. CSM’s are armed with the knowledge and tools to provide you with training that is simple for you to understand and empower you to continuously update your website all on your own. We have many different modules ranging from our media collections, blogs and newsletters, eCommerce platforms and many more customized solutions based on your requirements. Our CSM’s will show you the ropes and guide you through managing your website.

 

Support

One of the most important aspects of our business model is to ensure that you always feel supported. Whether you’re struggling with changing something on your website, or something isn’t functioning the way you predicted, our CSM’s are here to support and help you. Whether you send us an email, or give us a call we’ll be sure to listen and help.

 

CSM’s at REM are here to build relationships with you and our goal is your success!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Home office with white walls and chair

 

With the continuous increase of COVID cases in the KW region, our small but mighty team transitioned back to fully working from home until further notice. The WFH lifestyle is definitely something that I’ve struggled with in the past and I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to share some tips and tricks I’ve come up with over the past year to help keep myself on point.

 

Create a dedicated workspace

Whether it’s in your basement, a second bedroom turned office, or a closet turned into a desk - having a dedicated workspace makes all the difference in the world. It was incredibly important for me to create a space that allowed me to be productive with little distractions, a place that I could go to and remove myself from when needed. If you’d like to see what our workspaces look like check out our Battle Stations blog!

 

Breaks

One of the things I struggled with at the start of working from home was breaking. I felt that when I was working from home, I needed to be accessible 24/7 and it caused me to burn out. It’s important to allow yourself to take breaks. This time around I have kept the same rest/work cycle as I would at the office, and it really has helped me. The only thing I miss is hearing the team playing foosball (we’ll get to this in another blog).

 

Get Dressed

I remember the days when I would say “I could totally just wear pajama’s all day and work.” Yes, I can but I really felt a dip in my mood and productivity when I didn’t get up in the morning, have my coffee and get “ready” for work. Rolling out of bed and turning the computer on did not work well for me. I have now reverted back to my routine and take the time to prepare myself for the day ahead.

 

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This is a headshot of Rob Matlow.

Graphic of confetti and balloon with 2021 shapes.

 

The REM team wishes you and your family all the best for 2021. Have a wonderful, happy new year!

 

Please note that we'll be closed on Friday, January 1st.

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

thehive website on a computer monitor

 

About

The Chamber works to strengthen the local economy, advocate for its members and the community, advance community excellence, and deliver value to its members. The Chamber recently, Introducing thehive, an entrepreneur incubator unlike any other. At thehive, we aim to foster and drive new business opportunities by bringing together like-minded individuals to collaborate and create new ventures in a nurturing workspace.

 

thehive's Main Contact Person: Lisa Durocher

 

No. of Employees: 2

Established: 2019

Location: Cambridge, ON

 

Visit thehive's website

 

 

 

Q:

Why did you choose REM?

 

A:

The customer service is awesome – you can always depend on them to be there to make you look good.   I appreciate the relationship I have with this wonderful team.

 


Q:

What was it like working with REM?

 

A:

They took my vision for one our recent website developments thehive (www.thecambridgehive.ca) and made it a reality.    Their professional team took the time to listen to what our needs were and what mattered to us.    Although their knowledge on web development is at a much higher level than mine, they never made you feel that way.

 

The customer service is awesome – you can always depend on them to be there to make you look good.   I appreciate the relationship I have with this wonderful team.

 

-- Lisa Durocher

 


 

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 Rob Matlow.

Illustration of animals wearing face masks

 

REM wishes you and your family a safe and happy holiday season! Don’t forget to vote for your favourite REM Holiday Face Mask! 

 

As a friendly reminder: our office will be closed on Dec. 24, 25 & 28.

 

VOTE NOW!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Home office setup with a glitchy effect

 

It’s been quite some time now that most of our team has been working from home, we miss each other and our awesome office. 

 

One of the most important things when working remotely is having a dedicated workspace to stay engaged and ready for action. A well-armed, personalized, organized, ergonomic home office makes all the difference when battling one’s foes, also known as daily tasks and routine. For most of us who are nerds and/or gamers, we wanted to show off our sweet setups, complete with multiple monitors, LED lights and peripheral equipment/devices. There are some perks to working at home for me – I get to snuggle with my dog on my breaks and make really good lunches!

 

We decided that it would be great to share what our at home “battle stations” look like and give you a few ideas for yours!

 

 

Sean S.'s home office setup

Sean Sanderson

 

Christine's home office setup

Christine Votruba

 

Sean L.'s home office setup

Sean Legge

 

Sean M.'s home office setup

Sean McParland

 

Ryan's home office setup

Ryan Covert

 

Rob's home office setup

Rob Matlow

 

Todd's home office setup

Todd Hannigan

 

Matt's home office setup

Matt Stern

 

Shauna's home office setup

Shauna Ramsaroop

 

 

 

For more tips on how to create a great workspace, check out this blog post: “A Streamlined Work Environment

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Laptop, tablet and phone on a table showing REM's home page.

 

A great home page layout makes the web page more interesting to look at because the viewer’s eyes will want to dance around in the page. It’s definitely easy to get lost on a home page and we want your viewers to enjoy the experience.

 

Just Breathe

People underestimate how important it is to give your layout white-space. By giving your users/viewers time to digest each section while clearly separating them at the same time, allows them to really take it all in; here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • White-space emphasizes how impressive a photo is and gives it intrigue.
  • Use the right amount of white-space:
    • Too much: the user will have to scroll through or “get stuck at” empty space.
    • Too little: the user might start feeling claustrophobic if things are squished together.
  • Our website as an example, the Home Banner:
    • On the left-side is a big photo that showcases one of our clients’ website on a laptop, smartphone and tablet. There’s a good amount of space between it and REM’s logo. Never over-crowd logos, they need space all around!
    • Notice how the white space makes it really easy to read the headline, which is the 1st heading.

 

Layouts

Make your layouts dynamic, symmetrical and appropriately proportional. This will show that you as a company are structured, organized and thoughtful. Your layout will determine the home page’s information hierarchy. Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  • Vary your layout throughout; use columns to put multiple items in a row.
  • Use a grid. In our website’s case (and in most of our clients’ website’s case), the grid is based on 12 columns. Notice how we use 3 columns in some areas such as the buttons below the banner, the featured portfolio and the blog teaser.
  • Maximize the use of your browser’s/device’s screen size, while still having proper white-space. Using our website as the example, notice how the angled grey background, large photos and Google Map take up the full width of the browser.

 

Headings

We often talk about headings, especially when it comes to having AODA compliant websites. On the home page, it keeps your viewers engaged and when sized correctly the end result is a sequential experience that your viewers will subtly perceive. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Heading 1: biggest, stands out and as I’ve mentioned, the very first thing at the top that clearly states what we provide: web design and development. Important and useful for SEO.
  • Use the correct sequence for SEO and AODA purposes (For more information, read this blog post about “AODA – Colour Contrast and Headings”)
  • Headings in a home page are very useful for separating sections.

 

For our website, the headings start off the following areas:

  • “We Provide Web Design & Development” introduces the website and attracts, using big imagery.
  • “We build exceptional websites…” some vital text for SEO and to give users more of an idea of who we are, who we serve and what we do.
  • “Some of our Featured Work” with highlighted projects.
  • “Blog” teasers of our blog posts.

 

As you can see in our three-part series there is a lot that goes into designing your home page – it’s the most important page and we truly want to make sure that we support you and guide you through the process. It is a lot to stay on top of, and our designers are here to help organize and guide you through the process.

 

We want you to succeed; we sincerely love it when you do! So, if you’re looking to change up your existing website or looking to design a new one, feel free to reach out to us! We’re here to help.

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Mockup of tablet and smartphone showing off REM's home page

 

Now that we have gone over the foundational aspects of a home page, we can dabble a bit into Branding. Your lead Graphic Designer will help you establish the overall look and feel during the design process. It’s the most fun part in my opinion because this is where you truly get to express who you are through emotions that your viewers feel when they view your home page! When we talk about look and feel we are referring to the colours and fonts – one key thing to remember is consistency.

 

Colour Us Simple

Using our website as the example, our primary colours are orange and dark grey. There are shades of much lighter grey throughout to complement the imagery and the primary colours. Notice that orange is used sparingly as it’s a very strong, prominent colour which naturally draws the eye. Hence, it’s only used for important elements such as action buttons that we really want users to click on and to highlight certain headings. The colours are not only on-point with branding, but they’re also AODA compliant.

 

It Feels Like Home

“Feel” aka overall tone is something you do not want to miss when it comes to your home page. It’s important to think about what you are trying to convey. Is your company approachable, friendly, laid-back, corporate, luxurious, natural, etc.? As our website as the example, we convey that:

  • We’re technologically savvy by showing current devices (laptop, smartphone, tablet, monitor). And our website is responsive and looks great on every browser/device.
  • We’re fresh and creative using modern fonts, angled backgrounds and shapes. Our creativity is also shown in the work we’ve done for our clients.
  • We’re reputable; our portfolio shows we’ve worked with well-known companies.

 

Although it sounds quite simple, determining the look and feel for your website and home page is a lot harder than it sounds. Our designers are here to help guide you through the process. As we build our relationship with you throughout the process, we’ll be sure to nail it down.

 

If you’re thinking it may be time for a refresh let us know; we would be happy to give you some ideas!

 

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Contributors

Shauna Ramsaroop
33
January 18, 2021
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Christine Votruba
28
January 15, 2021
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Rob Matlow
103
December 31, 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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