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We've written some insightful, entertaining articles that span topics from support to design to content management and beyond!




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large AODA lettering with info for a free webinar

 

Join us on Thursday, November 19th at 9:30am for our free, AODA webinar!

 

Our AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) certified Graphic Designers: Sean Sanderson and Christine Votruba have put together an engaging webinar that explains what it is, how it affects your business and its design factors with resources to help make your website complaint.

 

Hosted by The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, the virtual event will be held through Zoom; please register in advance so that we can send you the link and details prior to the event.

 

To register visit The Chamber’s event page.

 

Stay tuned for future webinar dates! For more information visit aodawebsites.ca.

 

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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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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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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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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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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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Person using a laptop and notebook

 

Something I often see from websites as they go through the process of creation and then maintenance is that content often ends up stagnant or untouched for a long time after initial release.

 

Often there isn’t a reason seen by the owner to go back and make updates to certain pages as maybe the information never changes or the content is buried fairly deep in the website. Even for constant or more hidden pages such as these, not only do individuals notice when nothing changes after a while but so do the search engines such as Google.

 

Check Your Content Regularly

It can instead be a good idea to regularly go through your pages and make updates, even just for the sake of bringing an update to the page visually. People will take notice, and arguably more importantly, so will the search engines. It sends an indicator to them that your business is active, and this gives you a sort of priority over businesses deemed to be inactive due to either lack of updates or poor availability of information.

 

Update Some Visuals

There are easy ways to look at this – for example if you decide to make a striking visual change to a webpage, it will be considerably easier and less time consuming for you it mimic these updates on the rest of your pages, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel on a page by page basis. Consistency between your pages in terms of content design also helps give the website a much more professional appearance.

 

You can get creative with this too!

Make many different versions of a page and see what you might like best. You can even have special versions you put up for holidays or special sales to draw a little more attention and to really give the appearance of having an active web presence.

 

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Person's hands holding a roll of photo film over a laptop

 

A question I am often asked by our clients is how best to select images to use on their website. This comes up both in design and during site maintenance, so I thought it would be best if I put together a blog post on the subject!

 

Open Source Photography

Depending on your business, it may or may not be easy for you to find available imagery to use online. For those lucky enough, you will find everything you need on the free stock photo websites. These sites do not charge anything for the use of their images as they are public domain, and you can often nab some quality images here. Some examples of these websites include Shutterstock and Pexels. You can also find video footage for stock banners on sites such as Coverr.

 

Royalty Free Stock Photos

If you are a more specialized business or images are harder to come by, you may need to go so far as paying for your stock images. The sites above may offer some paid options, but you can also use Adobe Stock and other paid options to locate rare and less used photos which are available for purchase.

 

Professional Custom Photography

If it comes down to needing a very specific image or brand specific images, there is no choice but to hire a photographer to get what you need. The nice thing about the modern age though, is that every smartphone has a camera capable of taking some high-quality photos in a pinch, and this can be especially handy for products and the like. Consider hiring a photographer or at least collecting your own images if you need to show something unique or special about your business.

 

If you have any other questions on how to choose your images, let us know and we would be happy to help out!

 

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Anton Growth Management website on a computer monitor

 

About

Since 2005, AntonGM has been helping companies CONNECT, TRANSFORM, and GROW. Drawing on our 25+ years of cross-industry experience, we specialize in providing dedicated recruitment services and contingent project/program management support to our clients.

 

Our Recruitment Services division is led by Rick Van Looyen and features our unique Dedicated Recruitment Services offering, which provides both turnkey recruitment as well as direct support for your internal recruitment team on an ongoing basis. The recruitment team has experience in the consulting engineering, financial services and insurance, mining, oil and gas, construction, IT, and manufacturing sectors.

 

The Professional Services team, led by Dale Van Looyen, provides advisory and delivery support to ensure successful strategy execution across the IT, telecommunications, government, financial services and insurance verticals. Having partnered with industry leading consultants and niche services firms, we provide extended capabilities including, designing and implementing successful hardware and software asset management strategies; developing project portfolio management frameworks; business policy, process design, and enhancement; enterprise level service management programs; and governance, risk, and compliance strategies.

 

If you are interested in finding out how AntonGM can help your organization CONNECT, TRANSFORM and GROW, please give Dale, our managing Partner of Professional Services, a call at 519-208-9635.

 

Proudly located in Kitchener’s Innovation District, we have demonstrated success providing services to our clients across Canada and around the world.

 

AntonGM's Main Contact Person: Dale Van Looyen, Managing Partner, Professional Services

 

Established: 2005

Location: Kitchener, ON

 

Visit ANTON Growth Management website

 

 

 

Q:

Why did you choose REM?

 

A:

We chose to partner with REM Web Solutions for several key reasons including their depth of experience, client focus, and their robust self-serve management platform. The team at REM have been a pleasure to work with since the very beginning.

 


Q:

What was it like working with REM?

 

A:

Based on their commitment to get to know AntonGM as a company, we have a fresh, creative, and visually appealing website, which we are leveraging as part of our broader marketing and communications strategy.

 

 

We chose to partner with REM Web Solutions for several key reasons including their depth of experience, client focus, and their robust self-serve management platform.

 

-- Dale Van Looyen, Managing Partner, Professional 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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Illustration of web page elements floating around in a digital concept background

 

When designing and editing your pages, it can be difficult to keep the page looking aesthetically pleasing while constantly making changes and additions over time.

 

Here are some ideas which can help you keep things looking good, while still being able to add and update the information you need to.

 

Group Content by Action Items

 

When you are laying out your content on your page, it is important to keep the purpose of what you are adding in mind. If you take a look at the Home page of most modern websites, they are going to be organized in such a way that as you scroll down the page, you will be presented with pathways to access other, more specific information through panels or subject matter clusters. As long as you are adding related content to the same “band” or “panel” as you edit, there may not be any additional design required as you can likely find a way to integrate the new information into the existing area seamlessly.

 

If the area is brand new, try taking a look at the other areas of your website and keep in mind things like how certain fonts are being used in certain places, or which colours are showing up where. It will help you to know which fonts and colours to use for your new section. Keep the new content to a “band” or “panel” sized area, and this will make it easier to deal with in the future as well as keeping the new information nicely separated.

 

Find Images that Speak

 

There is nothing quite like a stunning image or video to capture your audience attention. Regardless of the level of professionalism or size of your business, your website is still a combination of art and information. It needs to have the visual appeal in order for your reader to be interested in remaining on the page, with the exception of purely information-based sites such as Wikipedia (though even these take UI design heavily into consideration regardless of image use).

 

As such, try to get the highest possible quality images for your content. I cannot stress enough the difference in quality of a website with crisp, high-res imagery compared to something low-res or appearing pixelated in any way. Beyond this, trying to get images specific to your business, and not just your industry is always a very nice-to-have thing. It sets you apart very distinctly from competitor websites where they may purely rely on stock photography.

 

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Contributors

Shauna Ramsaroop
24
November 30, 2020
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Rob Matlow
100
November 24, 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
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July 16, 2019
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Sean Legge
1
June 28, 2019
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June 28, 2019
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November 13, 2018
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