Dulux launched a website initiative with Unicef in which users are asked to buy one of the 16.7 million colours that a smartphone screen can display in order to help the charity. This unique effort works on the belief that small acts can combine collectively to save the lives of many children, one child at a time.
Thanks to the funds available as a result in our Charity Programme, we have just donated to Unicef using the OwnAColour.com website by buying our Freshleaf green colour: http://www.ownacolour.com/#79c52f
Just a small donation can buy enough vaccinations to protect 50 children against measles, one of the biggest killers of children worldwide.
We think this is a great idea, and a simple concept everyone can be part of. Share this through your social networks and get your own colour.
We have now finished recruiting! both of our developer and designer roles have now been filled. We will be posting about our new team members in the near future
We’re on the hunt for an experienced PHP developer, and a rock-solid front-end designer to join the team.
For the developer we’re looking for an in-depth knowledge of PHP, MySQL and modern coding conventions such as OOP, MVC and other frameworks. For the front-end designer we’re looking for an expert in HTML and CSS, and able to create eye-catching, functional and usable web layouts.
The new year may be a time for post-holiday blues but there is optimism in the air; the next generation of secondary school students are ditching ICT and learning something far more useful: programming. Considering the UK’s economy is becoming more serviced based, programming in the curriculum is a welcome move and will help the UK stay competitive. The new year also started with news of Nick D’Aloisio, a schoolboy from London, creating his own app for simplifying web searches. As a corporate website design agency we are continually adapting to new technologies and best-practice principles, and as we discovered after our recent search for a high-calibre PHP developer, there’s currently a shortage of good developers in the industry. A new generation of tech-savvy graduates could provide a welcome influx of new blood into our field, as well as changing the way people interact with technology. Maybe, Alexandra Robbins: The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth, should be on the school book list!
To help facilitate a new generation of programmers, Raspberry Pi, a Cambridge based UK company, has started manufacture of their $25 computer. The computer is credit-card sized and can be attached to an HDTV, making computers more accessible to a mainstream audience—as well as making it an I-want-one-of-those gadget for the tech-geeks among us. The Raspberry Pi computer will be many people’s first taste of using a Linux based operating system for everyday tasks, such as browsing and document publishing. Low-cost computers are going to allow children a kick-start in their career development in lucrative games and media industries; the UK exports many Games developers but is not good in retaining the knowledge within the UK market. Low-cost computers may become thin-clients (computer using another computers processor) to powerful cloud based computers; phones are starting to follow this pattern.
The arts/science divide is slowly closing and could be the key for a long term economic growth strategy in the UK. Freshleaf will be following Raspberry Pi’s progress closely.
A strapline is supposed to encapsulate everything your about business, telling customers about who you are, what you do, and more importantly why that’s great for them – in just a handful of words. You may never have thought about straplines, but if you look around, they’re everywhere – some brilliant, some misguided, and some utterly forgettable.
I have been working with one of our (b2b) clients this week to help them establish a strapline for their business… and being honest, coming up with the right strapline for the job isn’t as easy as you might think. Good headline/strapline writing is a real skill – but the information you need to come up with the right strapline already exists within your business, so with the right information and the right process, it is possible to nail it.
Writing website copy: it’s an essential part of the process of creating a website, but in some cases it’s a bit of an after-thought. Sometimes we – as a web design agency – even end up supplying suggested copy for sections of the site which have been overlooked, copy which ends up going into the production site because no-one seems concerned enough to review it.
But the copy on your website is important. It should be laboured over, drafted and re-drafted, and honed into a thing of perfection. But then I would say that, because I love words. But there’s evidence that not paying sufficient attention to the basics can end up hitting your bottom line, something that every business should take seriously. The BBC news website today carries a story about ‘online entreprenuer’ (what is he when he’s offline?) Charles Duncombe, who contends that a single error in the spelling or grammar used on a website can halve its revenue.
Photo credit: CookieDuster, Flickr
Mr Duncombe, who runs a number of e-commerce websites selling everything from mobile phones to clothes and travel, measured the performance of one of his sites before and after a simple spelling error was corrected. The results, he claims, are shocking – the revenue per customer doubled once the error was corrected. Mr Duncombe doesn’t share with us his methodology nor his exact figures, but the implications are obvious.
While older generations bemoaning the quality of written English in school and university leavers is seriously old news, the figures speak for themselves – and it makes perfect sense. Whether you’re selling online or communicating your core business competencies and values, how can you expect anyone to want to do business with you if you haven’t taken the time and trouble to write well structured, interesting and above all grammatically correct copy?
Note to the eagle-eyed and the pedantic - any spelling or grammatical errors in this post are entirely intentional, and were included for the sake of irony. Any errors in the remainder of the website can be notified here.
We recently lost one of our well established clients – Icera – when the company was swallowed up by a larger tech giant, Nvidia. We were sorry to see them go, but that’s the way it goes with technology websites – mergers and acquisitions are a part of the life cycle.
Because most of our client relationships are long-standing ones, managing websites from first steps through mergers and acquisitions is something we’ve become very familiar with at Freshleaf. We’ve done our fair share of integrating branding, products, content and messaging from one website into another – and it can be a challenging process.
Once your corporate website is up and running (or even during the build process), inevitably someone will mention digital marketing, search engine marketing, and social media… and quite rightly too. There’s no point having a website out there if no-one can find it, and increasingly it’s not enough just to have a web presence; customers (even B2B customers) expect to be able to engage with you via other channels too. But how should you go about marketing your website and your business? Certainly not as an after-thought.
The thing about the web is that it’s so much part of everyday life that it’s become wallpaper – we know it’s there but we don’t notice the details. So when asked to think of websites they like, or dislike, or have felt anything at all about, most people are a bit stumped.
Of course, as the old saying goes “good design is invisible”, so it makes sense that in compiling this list we found it easier to remember sites that got it horribly wrong than ones that got it right, but that’s a post for another day.
One sub-set of websites which really are getting it right is app websites. Okay, so they have it easy – when you’ve only got one product to talk about, and you’re only driving users towards one point, there are less concerns than if you’re trying to make a huge corporate website aesthetically pleasing and usable. But still. Here’s our list of sites we like and admire (this week, at least):
Search engine optimisation has become big business, and sometimes it feels like there’s so much myth and misdirection surrounding it that it’s a wonder anyone can get a grip on the subject.
But SEO isn’t magic. There isn’t a secret formula. It’s really just about common sense, best practice, and legwork. That’s it.
Consider your business goals
A lot of businesses approach SEO as ‘something we ought to do’, without really giving enough thought to exactly what business objectives the work is intended to meet. To make SEO worthwhile, and to have any idea of whether the time and/or money you spend on it is effective, it has to be tied to an objective. And those objectives have to well thought out. The aim of SEO is not ‘to get to the top of Google’, or even ‘to get more traffic’ – those are too wide and generic aims. Why do you want to be at the top of Google? Are you looking to increase sales? To improve brand recognition? What kind of people are you looking to attract? In what market? And for what keywords? SEO has to start from a realistic and achievable business goal.
If you had to name the most important factor in running a successful web design project, what would it be? The available budget? The skills of the developers? The creativity of the designers? Could be. They’re certainly factors. But what we’ve found time and again is that it’s the relationship between the agency and the client that’s the defining factor in how well a project runs, and how successful it ultimately is.
A smooth running project, with good communication between the agency and the client is a wonderful thing. Great things can be accomplished, and everyone takes a sense of satisfaction from it. On the other hand, projects fraught with misunderstandings and disagreements are horrible for all concerned, and almost invariable result in sub-standard products.
So at Freshleaf we’ve been giving some thought to what we can do to help to make projects run more smoothly for everyone.
Educate and inform
One thing that can help prevent problems down the line is providing plenty of information on the website design process up front. After all, we do this every day, whereas even experienced marketing execs probably only oversee a handful of website rebuilds in their careers – and as an agency it’s our job to set and manage expectations of how the process will run. For example, most people underestimate the amount of involvement we’ll need from them, as a client. Whatever the project, we can’t just take it away and bring it back completed. It’s a collaborative process, and from consultation, through approval loops, content creation and more consultation, it takes a lot of input from both agency and client to bring a successful corporate website together.