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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.

Graphic depicting mailbox and envelopes coming out of a laptop

 

One of the many services that we offer at REM Web Solutions is email hosting. More often than not, our customer typically ties in Email services with their Hosting Support Package. Sometimes logging into a new email provider can be daunting, especially if you’re not overly tech savvy, don’t worry our support team is here to help you out. As our valued customers, we’re doing our best to find creative ways to best support you and are in the process of making videos that will walk you through step by step on how to set up and do certain tasks, whether email or WebWiz@rd related. Check out our first video below on how to login to your email for the first time, reset your password and set up the “Forgot your Password” functionality.

 

If you have any requests, please let us know and we’ll do our best to make supporting your needs that much easier!

 

 

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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 Rob Matlow.

An illustration depicting a man organizing a website layout

 

When it comes to real estate, the old saying goes: location location location. It is no different when it comes to the virtual real estate on your website, and that is why the placement of your content is so important. It can make or break something even being seen or interacted with at all in many cases, and depending on what the content is, this could be very detrimental.

 

Most websites make use of a banner area on the Home page, right at the top. This is often rotating, and you should make use of this as often as possible to point to new or temporary things/updates with your business. Your banners should probably change about as frequently as you would expect your common repeat customers to visit. This can be a little bit of work to upkeep, but it is well worth it.

 

Your navigation is also vitally important in guiding people to relevant information, and keeping your navigation short and concise is a big part of making this effective. Consider keeping the items to about 5 or 6 at most, and consider not even including dropdowns if possible. You can guide to further subpages if necessary, from within your relevant content, but the goal is to streamline your visitors to the places they want to go as quickly as possible to avoid them losing interest.

 

Finally, page placement itself is a big component. If you want something to stand out on the page, consider leaving space around it to make it more obviously visible, and making sure it is close to the top of the page. It is important not to clutter important information as it can dilute the message and users can be sidetracked or lost. Keep your pages clean and focused, and this will help drive users where they need to go.

 

If you ever have questions, feel free to reach out to us any time!

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Clipboards with check list with the words "Importance of Testing Your Work" on top

 

It is probably said fairly often, but especially in a world where your work is going to be visible to the public and probably instantly – it is very important to check your work!

 

Always Back Up Your Work

In my role here at REM, I often see projects at many different stages of iteration including the ones that have long since left our nest here and with clients whom are maintaining their websites 100% themselves. With changes that are typically made within any CMS, there is almost always a “sandbox” type environment where a version or copy of the page can be created and moved there to be worked on, completely safe from the eyes of the public until it is ready to go. Within WebWiz@rd, this is called “cloning”. Always utilize this when possible, as it saves a mistake being released right away to clients of the website.

 

Preview the Page Before Going Live

Of course, once you have changes made to a page in the cloning environment, you are always going to want to preview the page to see how it will actually end up looking to the user. Remember, when testing the preview of the page it is important to test it in multiple screen sizes to ensure good user experience for all. You can always drag the corners of your browser window to replicate the effect of the responsiveness of the content.

 

Ask for Help and a Second Eye

Lastly, it is always a good idea to have someone else look over your work in a serious fashion for quality control. This is beyond asking a co-worker or friend for a quick once-over as you will most likely be greeted with “it’s just fine!” or “seems good to me!” Instead, if you have access to a professional editor or copywriter of some kind this can be a much more effective option.

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

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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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Computer with logos for Chrome and Brave browsers on it

 

If you ask the average person today what web browser they use, I think most would tell you that they use Google Chrome. It is a powerful browser with direct ties to Google Services, giving the browser a lot of power under the hood. The Google team itself is also a massive force, so you know the browser has a lot of support behind it in terms of a workforce.

 

Along with this power, comes a great loss in privacy as well as quite a bit of social profiling being done on you in the background by 3rd parties. Google makes a lot of money off of you without you being aware of specifically what they are doing.

 

The Search for Alternatives

I spent a long time looking for alternatives, but there is always a pitfall if you stray from the Chrome platform. If you try and move towards non-Chromium browsers you start to run into compatibility issues on some websites. If you gravitate towards international browsers, you may be feeding your data into unknown or questionable sources. It took a long time, but I found a solution for myself. I want to be clear that this opinion is a personal experience and does not reflect the views of the REM team as a whole necessarily, this is a personal blog entry.

 

Ad-Free Browsing

I was recommended to try Brave by a friend of mine on the basis that it has a native adblocker/tracker blocker, and is based on the Chromium platform. This means it was addressing my privacy concerns at the same time as not compromising to the compatibility issues I feared would occur by leaving the Chromium base platform. What I didn’t know was that it would also give me the option to view “non-invasive” ads for essentially money. The browser gives you the option to opt in to see up to 5 ads per hour in exchange for a small amount of money (I think my cell phone was paid $2.50 last month, so it is nominal). The thing is, I didn’t notice the ads and I didn’t see any other ads for the entire month. My browsing experience was flawless and I enjoyed ad-free YouTube and various other platforms without needing to use 3rd party addons to Chrome.

 

Encrypting Personal Data

In addition to this, Brave also automatically tries and upgrades non-secure http connections to https automatically. This can potentially help encrypt your data across server connections where it would otherwise be exposed. You can also outright block scripts right from the URL bar.

 

While not everyone will benefit from such a browser, especially in a more business-like setting where you may be required to see advertisements etc., or follow a company policy on browser – I personally would highly recommend this browser for home use to help protect your privacy, make a small payback on the ads that you do opt to see, and sacrifice absolutely no quality or functionality.

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

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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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Illustration of person organizing and updating a photo gallery in a website

 

One of the major aspects of keeping your website traffic high is keeping it up-to-date. Depending on the nature of your business, it may be either very easy or very difficult to come up with things to add or edit on your website on a constant basis.

 

For example, a store would have no issues updating their website often with new products or promotions as long as the time was available to make the changes. On the other hand, a website which is more for informational purposes, or perhaps one which only really goes through seasonal/yearly changes would have far less reason to update on a daily or weekly basis. For these businesses, it is actually very important that they come up with things to add and change on their site on a regular basis.

 

Updating your website gives people a reason to want to come visit it again after the first time they see it. This is the obvious factor, but beyond this, you are actually impacting your search engine ranking every time that you make significant edits or additions. Your changes and additions are picked up by search engine crawl bots and indexed to search engines such as Google on a regular basis, and telling these bots that new content is consistently being added and updated has a significant and positive effect on your rankings.

 

Updating your website can be fun and can give you a deeper sense of connection with your business and your customer base as well. It is one more medium for you to reach them, and for them to reach you. If you don’t already, try making even a minor change to your website at least once a week to keep things fresh. You will find over time you will begin adding more, editing more, and using the website more as a tool to reach your clients.

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

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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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Sweet Cheat's website on a computer monitor

 

About

Tiny Toad Creations Inc. began as CEO Amanda Carroll's personal mission to provide her friends and family with tasty treats that did not contain sugar. Not being satisfied with the sugar substitute options available, she researched and discovered monk fruit, a tiny gourd appreciated for hundreds of years in the Philippines for its sweet taste. The sweetness comes from an antioxidant, Mogroside V, which does not impact blood sugar levels. Today Tiny Toad Creations is pleased to offer three Sweet Cheat Products: Spoonable Monk Fruit, Chocolate Milk, and Hot Chocolate, all of which contain minimal ingredients, are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and naturally sweetened with monk fruit.

 

Sweet Cheat's Main Contact Person: Chrissy Vanderkooy, Director of Operations

 

No. of Employees: 3

 

Location: 92 King Street S, Waterloo, N2J 1P5

 

Established: 2017 after which Amanda spent over a year in Research and Development; we started actively selling in November 2018.

 

Visit Sweet Cheat's website

 

 

 

Q:

Why did you choose REM?

 

A:

We chose REM Web Solutions because members of our team had worked with them before on previous projects and were very pleased with the results. Also, because you have a great reputation in the KW area for delivering quality work at an excellent price point.

 


Q:

What was it like working with REM?

 

A:

We had a wonderful experience working with REM. The initial discussion and intake form allowed us the opportunity to communicate exactly what we were looking for. The designers interpreted our needs and created something beautiful and beyond our expectations. We received excellent training and support and without exception everyone we have dealt with at REM has been friendly and service-oriented. Overall, a fantastic experience!

 

 

Without exception everyone we have dealt with at REM has been friendly and service-oriented. Overall, a fantastic experience!

 

- Chrissy Vanderkooy,
Director of Operations

 


 

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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