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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 a priority to keep current. For me, trends are meant to keep me inspired and thinking in a 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 are 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, the 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 seem 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 a 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 an 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 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 Todd Hannigan.

Learning Better Pinball Skills:

 

We have a pinball machine at the office and it has become somewhat of a competitive monthly game to be in the top spot. We have a score board and we record the top three scores every month. You never know when you are going to get knocked out of the top three and it changes almost daily. The top player gets their name up on Pinball Wizard board for bragging rights for the month.

 

Brad is the Pinball Wizard for June

 

It is appropriate that we have a Pinball Wizard, because we make a content management system called WebWiz@rd, that makes adding content to your custom designed website extremely easy. If you want to be a web wizard as much as I want to be a pinball wizard, please send us an email at sales@remwebsolutions.com or check out our site at remwebsolutions.com and the great things we do here.

 

Back to pinball! It has become so much of a competition that I find myself wanting to learn more about the skills necessary to give myself the advantage over the other players in the office. So much so, that I decided to write a blog about it to let others know of a great site https://papa.org/, that you can learn all of the tricks you need to become the best pinball player you can be. The Professional and Amateur Pinball Association website has some great tips in their Learning Center under Player’s Guild. I especially like the videos on flipper skills, really makes the game more fun once you master a couple of new flipper skills. You really do have much more control of a game that most people think is random and very little control. Give them a watch and see just how much you game improves.

 

This is the machine in our office

 

Our office likes pinball so much that we are planning a night out to go to the Pin Up Arcade Bar in Waterloo (https://www.facebook.com/PinUpArcadeBar/). It is a great place to go and pay one low price of $5.00 and you can play as much as you want for the night. 

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This is a headshot of Christine Votruba.

October Quarterly 2018 group photo

 

For our October quarterly, we had fun, excitement and took our chances betting on live horse races in Flamboro Downs. REM commemorated the event by taking a group photo with Race #3’s winner: Domitian Hall.

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

The results are in!

 

We had an overwhelmingly positive response to our Holiday Pixel Stocking 2017 event, and as a result we have donated over $1200.00 worth of toys to Toys for Tots charity, providing numerous children with much needed holiday cheer this year.

 

Every team member had designed a digital pixel stocking themed for the Holidays, and had a blast doing it! You had the chance to take a look, cast a vote, and if you liked, left a comment here on the blog about what you thought. We took $2.00 for every vote we received and used that towards purchasing the toys which we donated.

 

The winner (or staff member who ended up receiving the most votes) was Sean Sanderson with his Charlie Brown stocking, so congratulations to him on making the most popular pixel stocking!  Feel free to have another look.

 

 

REM Web Solutions would just like to thank everyone who voted in the contest this year, without your votes none of this would have been possible. Thanks for your continued support, and we look forward to the next holiday event.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Stay Ahead of Hackers - Why you Should Use an Up-To-Date Browser

 

 

Most organizations critically rely on their daily ability to use some form of technology, whether through applications, email or web browsing.  Those using technology have probably already noticed in recent years there are more and more hacking attacks that cause major disruptions to businesses.  There are a multitude of ways in which hackers can get access to a computer system and one of those ways is through a user's web browser.  If your employees are still using older browsers, then your organization is vulnerable for exploitation.  Listed below are some major browsers and how they stack up with regard to security.

 

Internet Explorer

 

With every passing month, Internet Explorer becomes more and more vulnerable for exploitation.  Although Microsoft does continue to update it with some security fixes, they have moved on to their Windows 10 OS and their newer Edge browser that takes greater advantage of some of the newer security techniques offered by machine learning and cloud-based intelligence.  

 

 

Microsoft Edge

 

Microsoft has recently announced some exciting new security features in their Fall Creators Update for Windows 10 enterprise users.  Within their Windows Defender Security Center is a new tool called "Application Guard".  This tool takes advantage of container sandboxing techniques that will prevent exploitation within their Edge browser.  By using virtual machine technology, the Edge browser cuts off rogue applications or web sites from going beyond the browser to hack into areas such as memory, local storage, other applications or even further into a corporate network.

 

 

Anyone who is using Internet Explorer and older versions of the Windows operating system, should give serious consideration to upgrading to Windows 10 and its default browser, Edge.

 

Google Chrome 

 

Chrome is a very popular browser, used by almost 2/3 of all internet users.  Considered the safest browser on the market, Google aims to keep that top position by providing the most frequent security updates of all the browsers.  Like Microsoft's Edge browser, Chrome uses virtualization techniques to create a quarantined space between a user's device and the internet.  One of the downsides to Google's Chrome browser is the lack of user privacy. Google essentially tracks, stores and analyzes every keystroke made through their Chrome browser.

 

 

Every organization needs to weigh the pros and cons of the various browsers, their need for privacy vs. security, and decide which browser is best for them.  Ideally, companies should never lag behind by using older versions of browsers, leaving their vital data open to hacking attempts. If you have questions about browser use or internet security, let us know and we will be happy to answer your questions.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Canada Turns 150

 

 

canada flag day holiday rem web design

 

The team at REM Web Solutions wishes you all a happy Canada Day and hopes that your weekend is great!

 

We will be closed this Friday June 30th for the long weekend, and will be back in the office on Monday July 3rd!

 

canada 150 rem holiday web design niagara falls

 

We hope that everyone gets a chance to celebrate our great country this weekend by getting out and enjoying what Canada has to offer, whether that be the great outdoors, family and friends, or some of the awesome celebrations and events which are planned for the holiday!

 

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

The Importance of Email Security and Strong Passwords

 

secure server room hi tech sleek future

 

Email security and password safety are important for individuals and businesses alike. As online scams increase, it's important to protect yourself, your clients, and all confidential information. 

 

Why Internet Security Matters

 

Internet safety means keeping private information in the right hands. If your emails or your client's information gets hacked into or leaked, this will lead to future problems. It will also diminish client trust in your brand due to the fear of information leaks. Sensitive information being leaked, computer damage, and even identity theft are risks of not taking internet security seriously. Long story short, it will end up costing you time and money to not take this stuff seriously.

 

How To Choose a Secure Password 

 

When trying to keep your business safe, be sure to follow these tips to create a secure password.

 

  • Use a long password, at least 8 to 10 characters long with a mix of capitalized letters, numbers, and special characters. It is important to note that this is a minimum, and you should generally try and use as many characters as the password field allows, with as much variety in the characters as possible.

 

  • Whatever you do, do not use the same password for every account you have. Even if the password is extremely secure, if it gets hacked in one location, you will lose literally everything that you use that password for. This includes banking info, social media accounts, the login password for personal or work computers, and even online gaming accounts.

 

  • Do not use personal information about yourself as a password, such as your birthday or the name of someone in your life, as this information can easily be found and used to hack your account.

 

  • There are programs such as KeePass which allow you to store passwords in an encrypted way to avoid letting them slip into the hands of a hacker, all the while allowing you to keep them in a well-organized list for reference. It is terrible practice to physically write them down, but if you do decide to write down your passwords somewhere, consider using a code that only you understand to avoid prying eyes from attempting to use it.

 

  • If available, consider using a password authenticator. These are usually either physical devices (see image below) or are attached to an app on your smartphone. They work by generating a random number or password every 10-12 seconds which a user must enter in addition to a password when logging in, and basically provide an extra layer of security. These are common for some high-security companies and banks, and employees are often required to use them to access workplace computers.

 

  • If you are not keeping a record of the password, use a sentence or phrase as the main base for your password to allow you to remember it slightly easier. Create an idea involving a memorable person doing a unique action with an object, and form your sentence. Then, using that sentence select a few characters and add in various numbers and letters. For example, if your sentence was "the Joker lifted a toaster with his elbow" your password could be something like "JokLif4Toa@3lb." 

 

  • Change your passwords every few months to keep yourself safe from hackers, and to interrupt any ongoing attempts to crack your passwords. 

 

 

user with a password authenticator banking security

 

 

How To Recognize When an Email is a Scam 

 

Along with keeping yourself safe by creating strong passwords, it's also important to determine whether or not an email is safe or not before clicking it. Make sure you know the sender before opening a message, and if you have never received an email from the sender, be wary.

 

Never open an attachment or links from an unfamiliar source. Check whether or not a link is legitimate by hovering over it (but not clicking it) and checking the bottom of your screen. Be extremely cautious of any links that are not a common .ca or .com domain.

 

If the sender is asking for money or giving you information about rewards, check facts and never share personal information through email unless you're completely sure it's safe (in fact in this case, it is best to just remember the saying "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is"). 

 

If you are receiving a high volume of scam and spam emails, consider using a spam filtering service such as FuseMail (which we offer starting next week as a part of our email package). These services will do most of the detective work for you, and you won't even see 99.9% of the spam emails as they will be stopped before they ever get to your mailbox.

 

Be sure to include opportunities for customers to share information or questions about scams in your web design, through forms or contact links. Ask them to let you know if any scam emails appear in their account attempting to impersonate you or your company. This way, your clients will know to trust you and you'll be aware of fraud attempts and possible disclosures of sensitive information. 

 

If you have any questions about this, or even have personal stories about this you would like to share, feel free to reach out to us at our Support Email. You can also contact us here through our website.

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This is a headshot of Christine Votruba.

It’s a known fact that we at REM love to play foosball!

 

It’s a fun activity to do and it feels great to get your energy levels up after playing a vigorous, challenging match with a friend. Personally, it took me a long time to get the hang of it. When I first started playing about 2 years ago I lost a lot – and I mean A LOT! But the key in acquiring new skills is to never get discouraged, no matter the number of loses. I didn’t see it as losing I saw it as “training;” with that mentality I wasn’t afraid to challenge anyone.

 

So how does one play foosball? Essentially, foosball is table game/sport based on Soccer (or Football for Europeans). The name originated from the German word for soccer (pronounced the same way) literally meaning “foot plus ball.”

 

The goal is to utilize the 4 rods and a total of 9 “players” (the wooden or plastic men with no arms) to put the ball into the “net” (usually just a hole at your opponent’s side). The 4 rods are:

  1. The 5-bar: the rod in the middle that starts off the game. Usually the strongest because it’s the heaviest and the hardest to get pass because of how many “players” in the bar.
     

  2. The 3-bar: the main set of players that shoot the ball into the goal and therefore closest to the opponent’s “net.”
     

  3. The Defense (2-bar): this bar is right in front of your goalie and net. Its main uses are two-fold: a) to block/deflect the ball from the net and b) to push the ball away from your side of the table and into your opponent’s side.
     

  4. The Goalie: self-explanatory here.

I’ve learned that when it comes to Foosball, it’s not about the power of your shots (although having strong, powerful shots can help a lot…. I’m looking at you, Sean Sanderson!), but the precision of them.

 

Of course there’s a lot more that goes into this sport. And yes, it is a sport! It requires training, accuracy, strategy…and sometimes trash-talk…. hehe  but of course all in good fun. The important thing is to have fun and to be a good sport about it. If you’d like to know more about it, here’s a link to a handy-dandy video:

 

 

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Contributors

Brad Anderson
122
August 22, 2019
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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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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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