A Guide to Website Flat Designs with Adobe XD

When we start a project, we always like to create a website flat design before developing and coding the site.

Below we have included a flat design for one of our clients;. However, the template isn’t a finished build, it is easy to understand how the final website will look.

Each flat design comes with its own “live link” that will update as changes are made to the design, so new revisions don’t have to be sent across whenever an element is adjusted. This saves hassle for all parties involved. The latest revision will always be present on the link, so there is no concern about having an outdated flat design.

This link can be viewed at any time, and though it isn’t the actual live site, it may have some interactive elements that will replicate how the site will function when it is developed. Interactive features will give you a better idea of how each aspect of the website will work with one another to provide you with a better idea of the User Experience and User Interactions.

As stated above, this is not a live and developed site, so elements such as links and forms will not be interactive. The whole website will not be designed, just the key pages.

What is a Flat Design Used For?

The reason why we create a flat design first is to allow you, the client, to see what the finished result of your website will look like before it has even started to be developed. This allows for changes and revamps to be made quickly and easily without deleting or modifying code.

With a flat design, the structure of the website is visually accessible without a significant time investment. This means the design can quickly be approved without waiting for something to be coded first, decreasing development time as a whole.

It also allows us to visualise what we are building as we code the site, saving us time from going back and forth between elements to adapt them per new section we create. We have found that when we create a flat design before coding, the final result flows more fluidly and gives a better User Experience.

The flat design also dictates the flow of the website. It effectively highlights what pages should link with one another and how to direct the user to the website goal in the fewest clicks (be it product checkouts, information pages or otherwise).

Mobile Layouts

Over 50% of website traffic has been reported to come from mobile devices; as such, it is as important to design for mobile as it is for desktop. This is why we do just that!

In our designs, we will include the desktop layouts for the key pages of your website (usually the home, inner, shop and product pages) and the mobile variations that come with it. This will make it easy to visualise how the website will look when shrunk down to mobile device size and how each element will fold into one another to remain responsive.

A mobile layout can be easily identified by the thinner nature of the page, with each element being stacked one above another rather than on the same row as per the desktop designs. An example of this has been included below.

How to Comment

A feature of the software we use to create flat designs is a helpful tool that allows for pinpointing an exact location on the design and adding a comment on it. This is especially useful for features that require modification or removal that you, as the client, can easily highlight and request.

It is a simple process to comment on the flat designs; all you need to do is in the top right section where the “make a comment” text box lies, click the pin icon, then select the element on the page in which you wish you need to make a comment.

Once the pin has been placed, type the comment into the comment box and press submit, this will add the comment to the list on the right sidebar of the design. Clicking any of the comments on the sidebar will take you to the exact pin for easy navigation.

If you’re looking for a new site, you’ve come to the right place! Call our Web Design team on 01925 563 960 or use our contact form here.

Creating a Successful Marketing Strategy

Autumn, the season of transition, the time of year where we reap the rewards of the seeds we’ve sowed; the final stretch into the winter months and the perfect time to refine your marketing strategy for the coming year. The summer sun has set upon the horizon and the season of selling has arisen. It’s time to make autumn the season of success.

Autumn is the most imperative time of year for preparing a marketing strategy since just around the corner skulk the most prestigious and prominent occasions; Halloween, Bonfire Night, Black Friday, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day and Easter. These renowned events are crucial when it comes to getting your name out there and getting sales in.

As a successful business, it is your due diligence to make sure your company has a marketing strategy in place that will help expand, promote and grow your enterprise and not miss out on any potential conversions. Of course you aren’t alone in this seasonal strategy to secure the shoppers as we are with you every step of the way in our guide to create a successful marketing strategy!

 

What is a marketing strategy?

Before the first golden leaf falls from the great oak we need to cover exactly what we mean by marketing strategy. When we say marketing strategy we are referring to a business’s method of converting prospective customers into consumers or clients. The strategy itself tends to be a well thought out process including documentation on all the main aspects of a business such as the target market, brand message and mission statement. A fundamental part of developing a marketing strategy is not forgetting the 4 Ps of marketing: Price, product, place and promotion.

 

How to create a marketing strategy

A marketing strategy contains many moving parts and can be a daunting task for any business but we cannot stress the vitality of the assignment at hand. The marketing strategy will pave the way on how your business will act and behave so it’s always a wise idea to get everything sorted sooner rather than later. Every element a successful marketing strategy should be included has been written with a brief breakdown below:

 

Marketing Mix (4 Ps)

The marketing mix is identifying each of the main aspects of your business using the characteristics of price, product, place and promotion. Though these are the 4 main Ps, it is often times broken down into other categories too for extra depth and clarity.

Example: Price – The price of our service is bespoke to the customer’s needs starting at £500 with a pay over 12 month option, Product – We are offering custom coded websites and graphic design, Place – Sold directly from website via form or number, Promotion – Dedicated landing page, social media advertisements, natural SEO from blog key terms (and if you’re reading this then its worked!)

 

Target Market

Prospective clients or existing customers that share similar characteristics to be marketed towards.

Example: The target market for my brand are young women between 18 and 30.

 

SWOT Analysis

SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and as the titles may suggest this analysis is to highlight each of the internal (strengths & weaknesses) and external (opportunities & threats) factors of your business.

Example: Strength – high customer retention rate, Weakness – high production costs lead to higher prices, Opportunity – market trends have been directed towards our industry, Threat – new competition has diversified the market

 

Marketing Goals

Setting a selection of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Time-bound) goals for your company that support your business model.

For example: By the end of December we want to have sold 300 units.

 

Market Analysis

A market analysis is the identification of any elements out of your control that may impact your business, usually negatively.

Example: Due to the move away from plastic waste, we need an alternate solution for our packaging.

 

Competitor Analysis

Competitor analysis is recognising each of the top competitors in your industry and the potential threats they possess. This will assess where you stand in the overall market. A good way to do this is by ranking them on their strengths and weaknesses. This could be assessed using a price to benefit ratio.

Example: Low price – high benefit, high price – high benefit, low price – low benefit, high price – low benefit

 

We’re here to help

We know that creating a marketing strategy is an intimidating and demanding task but a clear path to success will help your business grow exponentially. If you are struggling to create a marketing strategy we are here to help!

Mosaic are experts when it comes to business management and we can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses throughout your company and work alongside you to rectify any issues to help you thrive. Please give us a call on 01925 563 960 or contact us to allow us to work alongside you in growing your business.

Branding Guidelines – The Olympic Games of Graphic Design

From Athens to Tokyo and everywhere in between, competition thrives. Be this be the physical prowess of Olympians through to the mental fortitude of chess champions there is always opposition. Naturally the primary competition we will be focused on within this blog is the challenge of successful branding.

An often overlooked but vitally important aspect of the marketing war is the embodiment of the brand itself – the brand identity. Countless times we have encountered a mishmash medley of mediocre marketing posts just haphazardly smashed together with hope to hook a hapless patron. Each ‘design’ had no heart or soul, no purpose or poise – simply created to, often unsuccessfully, catch a quick sale or to remain somewhat relevant.

It’s just a logo/font/colour, it doesn’t have to be fancy” is often the words uttered by the culprits of these heinous crimes. Well fret no more – we are here to tell you why it IS important that your brand guidelines are on form and how we can help you go for gold in creating a successful brand identity.

 

Target Shooting

The first pit stop in our pentathlon of project pointers is pinpointing a plan to pursue your target market (phew that’s a lot of Ps). To put it simply, we need to sort out who you are trying to target with your brand. This is the core foundation of your brand identity.

It is very easy to skip over this step as it may seem tedious, boring or obvious to you but without a core market in mind the rest of your brand will crumble. Now it is true that your audience may change as your brand grows and develops and that is a good thing, but it doesn’t mean you should say your target audience is everybody. Believe us when we say it’s very unlikely to be everybody!

How do I go about doing market research?” I hear you ask. As obvious as it may sound it is literally in the name – you need to research the market. Have a look at products or services similar to the one you’re planning to offer, ask around and see who would benefit from what you’re offering or even make use of the plethora of online tools at your deposal.

Remember, this step is vital in creating a successful brand identity – there is no sense in marketing fish food to a gymnast.

 

Climbing the Ranks

Now we have the pitons in place it’s time to attach the rope to the harness and start the long climb up the corporate cliff. In other words, we are ready to figure out your branding identity using the 3 Ps – purpose, position and personality.

By this point, you should already have a general-purpose of what you’re offering, be it a product or a service but we need a clear and specific goal in order to best embody the brands vision. Think of a purpose as a reason – what are the reasons that the world needs your brand and how will it benefit others?

Brand positioning is all about the old adage; be in the right place at the right time. That principle applies here too, this time however we can influence what the right place is with our brand identity and position. In essence, it’s what position does your brand fit into the current market?

Branding personality may sound like an oddity at first, how can a brand have a persona if it doesn’t really exist? Well you would be surprised on how huge of a roll a brand personality plays in the modern corporate world, it encapsulates the tone of voice you are setting within your business and keeps your marketing communications clean and consistent. Giving your brand a personality is a solid way to ensure customers don’t have trouble connecting with your brand. A good way to think this is what would my brand be like if it was a person?

 

Triathlon of Design

Armed with this newfound knowledge of your envisioned brand it’s time to move onto the fun part of the process – bringing your brand identity to life. As a graphic designer by trade it may be obvious why I find this aspect of brand creation the most enjoyable but that isn’t to say it isn’t any less challenging or important than the other steps. Like a set of hurdles, each one needs to be conquered before you move on to the next. As the title may suggest this section is split into the main 3 aspects of your visible branding identity; colours, fonts and logo.

There are over 10 million shades of colour visible to the human eye yet when picking for your brand identity we recommend avoid choosing any more than 4 where possible. Having a small subset of specific shades selected ensures people remember you when they see those particular colours as they associate them with your brand.

A common misconception people is mixing up typefaces and fonts. Although basically interchangeable there is some slight differences between them. A typeface is just simply the name of the lettering styled used, such as we use ‘Montserrat’. A font goes into more specifics about the typeface, dictating the weight and size of the typeface, so for example we use ‘Montserrat 16pt regular’. For your branding identity, you will have to find typefaces that match the atheistic and personality of your brand then compile it down into a list of fonts that you wish to use.

The logo, the face of your brand, the signature to your identity – this is what you will be seen as. As daunting as it may sound at first, it is much easier to overcomplicate a logo than it is to make it stand out amongst the crowd. Although we can’t tell you exactly how to go away and create a logo since everybody’s brand is different, we can definitely point you in the right direction – just think about what we have covered in the previous points then create a visual representation of this.

There is a lot more thought and effort that has to go into choosing these fonts, colours and logo designs than you may believe and that’s where we come in. We have many years’ experience in creating identities for companies and can use our expert knowledge and advice to set your brand out to the field on the right foot with our branding identity guidelines. Call us today on 01925 563 960 or contact us to see how we can help you.

 

Synchronised Scripting

As far as the main planning for your brand identity is concerned you have past the post on that front, from this point on its plain sailing to the top. Well we say plain sailing but it’s going to be rough waters but with enough determination and clever marketing you can surely reach the top.

That puts us on to one of our final points, consistency in your fonts. As we covered earlier it is extremely important that you keep your brand consistent and on point; stick with the fonts you’ve chosen and try not to stray from your own path. One of the most common ways a brand fails is by muddying its identity and this usually comes from losing its brand consistency. If you want your brand identity to truly look professional – keep it consistent.

 

The Branding Marathon

Here you stand, gold in hand, on a podium, with your brand. You’ve made it to the top and now you’re here; what next? You may be sick of hearing us say this now but the keys to the kingdom lie in consistency. All that’s left once you’ve created your brand identity and followed our guide is to keep it up and carry on putting your brand out there. Don’t stray from your plan and everything should work out.

If you need any help in creating your Olympic level branding and bringing home the gold then don’t hesitate to contact us and we will get you on the champions’ path in no time! Call us today on 01925 563 960 or contact us to see how we can help you.

 

Celebrating Pride in the Workplace

In the wind fly the colourful flags of equality as the month-long celebration of parity and pride begins. For those participating in pride month or even just observing and supporting, we stand with you.

To celebrate and promote the awareness of pride month ourselves, we have decided to collate our most colourful and progressive projects into one place to show our colours and what makes us who we are.

 

Papyrus website

PAPYRUS

There is no better way to start this showcase off other than with one of our most prized websites, PAPYRUS (www.papyrus-uk.org). We love this website for so many reasons; the colours, the cause and the client, to name a few. This Warrington based suicide prevention charity raises awareness of young suicides and offers support towards those in need or struggling.

When the opportunity arose to work with this client, we jumped right on it. We are in full support of raising awareness for a cause like this and wanted to use our collective talents to help promote safety and prevent young suicide. The entire team here enjoyed creating and developing this colourful website and were further inspired by the good cause it represented.

 

Love Luminaires Instagram

Love Luminaires

It would be a mistake if we neglected to mention the incredible work we have accomplished alongside the fantastic people over at Love Luminaires (www.loveluminaires.co.uk). The development of this client has only recently started with a whole new website on the way in addition to the social work we are creating. Though the client is only small, the message they are pushing undoubtedly is not; the neon rainbow light up for grabs is more than just a light; it’s a symbol of hope and fairness.

The idea was birthed at the beginning of the pandemic to show support and encouragement toward the hard workers over at the NHS and the persistence of the key workers that carried on working through the tough times, risking their own health for the economy. The rainbow symbolises so much more though, it represents the meaning of pride and equality, showing support for the LGBT+ community.

 

Central Self Drive Website

Central Self Drive

Although it doesn’t seem inherently apparent why we chose this website to showcase from first glance, we assure you it is worthy of mention. Central Self Drive (www.centralselfdrive.co.uk) may not be as vibrant or as domestic as the other projects we have chosen, but it is certainly as supportive as the others. At face value, this may look like a van hire company, and it is, but it’s the work they do behind the scenes which is what we consider genuinely noteworthy.

Central Self Drive have participated in many charity events and are forever updating us with their latest goodwill gestures they have accomplished to give back to the community. From working with Warrington Disability Partnership to helping a young person achieve her go-karting dreams, their generosity knows no bounds. For this, we believe they are worthy of a mention.

The truth is that we are proud of all the projects that we are part of, no matter how big or small the client may be. We are passionate about working with businesses that promote kindness and charity as it allows communities to be brought together and gives back to the planet.

So if you have a project that needs assistance, please don’t hesitate to call us on 01925 563 963 or Contact Us to discuss how we can help you. From all of us here at Mosaic, we all wish you a happy pride month!

How to improve your businesses online presence

In recent years, with the help of a few certain global events, the online business industry has boomed phenomenally.

Businesses have taken to the masses to get a standing online as they have now started to realise that this is the future of commerce. It’s not just corporations that have capitalised on this realisation, however; many start-ups and sole traders have also set up a foothold in the online market.

Many people believe that the internet works on a first come first serve basis and any new businesses will be lost in the Deep Web but this isn’t the case at all, in fact, due to the location-based search that many popular search engines incorporate – their business may even be the first result people see!

In a commercial sense, it is nigh essential at this point for businesses to have even some sort of online presence. This is where we come in, in this blog we are going to help you begin your journey into the online world of commerce.

 

Know Your Business

As obvious as it may sound, this vital step is something that people often overlook or ignore as it isn’t directly online or even physical, in fact, it is only a thought – know what you want to do.

Knowing what you want to do may sound simple and in theory, it is but when it comes to the practice many start-ups fall short of their target and end up folding. According to official statistics, 21.5% of start-up businesses fold on their first year of trading and this is largely due to the lack of research and thought put into things before starting out.

It is essential when marketing your business to target the right audience and to do so with a niche concept or offer something none of your competitors does. So before you even think about getting yourself online first think about do you really know your business?

 

Getting Yourself Out There

Now that you have your plan of action all sorted and ready, it’s time to get into the fun stuff.

Getting yourself online. If alarm bells are already ringing as you worry about your budget for a website and how they’re expensive an unaffordable right now – don’t fret!

Having a website may be one of the best forms of marketing but it’s not the only way you can get online, cheaper options are available and depending on how much free time you have on your hands, so are free options. Just some of the forms of online presences include Websites, Social Media Profiles, Business Directory Listings, Google Maps Locations and Online Adverts.

Naturally, each of these forms of online presence has its benefits and drawbacks, some more than others. We can’t give you the absolute best form of presence for your business without knowing the company but we can assure you we give all our clients our expert advice on what will work best for them.

We would highly recommend you research each of these forms of online presences to determine what ones will work best for your business. Don’t feel you are limited to only one form either, the more places you can promote yourself the more likely your business will receive the traction it needs to take off.

If you would like our expert assistance in getting your business online you can always call us on 01925 563 960 or email us at info@mosaicdigitalmedia.co.uk and kick-start your journey to becoming a successful online business.

 

Keeping It Up

Once you have picked the online channels that are best for your business and have established the foundations on them, it isn’t over; it’s only just begun.

To keep your business relevant online you need to keep your presence known. This is done by supplying fresh new content to whatever forms of online presence you have chosen. Examples of this would be adding blog posts to your website, writing posts on your social media pages or creating fresh new adverts for every campaign you run.

Believe us when we say we cannot stress the importance of this. Some businesses believe it’s a good way to save money by doing all the content work in house as they don’t realise the real difficulty or importance behind it. Once the content starts to become less and fade away so does your online presence.

What does fresh content do exactly? It benefits your business not only by letting people know you’re still active and trading and not even by letting people know what your business specialises in – although it does do both of these things.

Its main benefit comes from keeping your online presence relevant and known. Every social media post you write for your business is a way to increase your engagement with customers and potential customers which in turn increases how known you are online.

 

Keeping It Up (Websites)

For websites, the most important factor for increasing your online presence is by using a skilled process known as SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

This is what makes or breaks your online website presence. Though having a website is objectively the best form of an online presence you can have it is also understandably the hardest to maintain.

Search Engines such as Google are a highly competitive market with everybody trying to compete for the number one spot, this means with a website you will especially have to be on your A-game if managing it yourself.

If you are thinking about creating a website, social media business profile or any other form of online presence and would like us to manage it for you then please feel free to contact us on 01925 563 960 or contact us here to utilise our expertise and get yourself the business you deserve.

Advent 2020 – Opening Your Digital Doors

Over the 12 days of Christmas, Frederic Austin was gifted many items from his true love. Although the gifts received were very odd (and hopefully he managed to keep the receipts) the fact of the matter still remains that his true love managed to get him all of these gifts.

In modern times obtaining gifts as normal as blueberry pie or as bizarre as 3 French hens can be a breeze with the power of eCommerce on the internet, but as the phrase goes: you have to be in it to win it.

Why should I get an eCommerce website?

Setting up an online eCommerce website is nigh essential in this day and age – especially with the current events as we all may agree. The year has been very tough for everybody and moreover for businesses without an online presence as they have had little to no way of making sales.

If there was ever a perfect time to get on-board the eCommerce train it was 20 years ago but the next best time is now. Opening your digital doors can be a daunting task for anybody who doesn’t know how to create an online presence but fortunately for you, we do!

We would encourage any business that sells a product or service to get an online eCommerce website and increase their sales significantly.

How do I get an eCommerce website?

Getting an eCommerce website is a doddle nowadays, there is a variety of options out there for you; admittedly some we recommend more than others. Whichever type of eCommerce website you choose to develop will always have its pros and cons.

The options we will cover are Online Website Builders, Web Design Agencies, Freelancers and Online Shops.

Online Website Builders

Online website builders such as Wix, Duda and Squarespace are a quick and easy way to build an eCommerce website with little to no coding or design skills. This can be a very tempting choice as it saves choosing a more costly option such as having it built by an agency or freelancer. The biggest issues with using website builders come with the lack of freedom given to you.

Your eCommerce website will not be able to have its own unique identity when building with a website builder as they work mostly from template designs with no room for freedom or custom designs. Other issues are arise are the guff that comes with the website and the lack of marketability it brings.

With the builder having to include all the possible code for all the choices it means your clientele are going to be caught in long loading times for assets not even present on the site. This will significantly slow the site down and this along with not being able to correctly SEO your site fully there is a very high chance it will be lost in the void of the deep web.

Website Design Agencies

Full discloser here – yes we are a web design agency and yes we can and will be happy to build an eCommerce website for you (you can contact us on 01925 563 960 or fill out our contact form here).

As biased as we may be, we still do truly believe that a website design agency is certainly the way to go when creating an eCommerce website for your business and here’s why. Agencies will have a dedicated team at the ready to build, develop and maintain your eCommerce site that no other covered option will allow.

Many large companies such as The Whitehouse (https://www.whitehouse.gov/), The Walt Disney Company (https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/) and The Rolling Stones (https://rollingstones.com/) have websites created by agencies – not only that but each of the aforementioned websites are built on WordPress, the same CMS platform used by us. As you may have guessed the biggest issue with using an agency to build your eCommerce website comes in the cost. As these websites are custom built from the ground up it can be a costly process.

The other issue is finding an agency who aren’t looking to take advantage of your lack of knowledge in the design field. We have heard stories from some of our clients of how Cowboy design agencies have taken advantage of them and have provided a less than acceptable build that barely works and doesn’t hold up to modern-day standards.

But don’t just take our word for it, have a look at just some of the high-quality eCommerce websites we have built:

Freelancers

Another common way of having an eCommerce website built on your behalf is through the use of freelancers. Freelancers are website developers who are skilled in coding and design but instead of working for an agency they work for themselves.

Freelancers find themselves between agencies and online website builders in regards to affordability as they generally have fewer costs to upkeep. The major issue with using freelancers is there is no guarantee on the reliability and the responsiveness of the individual freelancer.

As they are usually sole traders it can be difficult to ensure you are using a trusted developer and you may fall victim to a scam or Cowboy developer so it’s always best to read reviews and see examples before going with one.

Online Shops

A final way of achieving an eCommerce online presence is not quite by owning a website but instead having an online shop on a website. Using websites such as Etsy and eBay can be a good way to start a small online shop, it is usually free or cheap to set one of these up but the major downsides come from not really having your own presence and instead of sharing a space with all your likeminded competitors, this doesn’t really give you many ways to pull out ahead of your competition when everybody is on equal footing.

We would recommend small online shops for any small crafts businesses and hobbyist traders who aren’t really looking to support a business and are more looking for a way to make money off their hobby.

What if I already have an eCommerce website?

Having an eCommerce website is only the foot in the door when it comes to your online presence. Making sure your website is kept up to date and is properly optimised for search engines is half the battle with any website, especially eCommerce websites. Always make sure you’re on top of your website maintenance and that your website is modernised to compete with the current trends. If in doubt give us a call on 01925 563 960 or fill out our contact form here and we will give you a free consultation.

In Conclusion

As we keep stating and will state again – getting an online presence with an eCommerce website is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury as times change and we advance further into the future. The popularity of online shopping has been skyrocketing in recent years with the easy accessibility and ease of use – physical stores are having a hard time competing without an eCommerce website.

Here at Mosaic we can help you design, build and create an eCommerce website so you can join the running with the future of commerce and overtake your competition. Call us on 01925 563 960 or fill out our contact form here to see how we can help you.

Remember, remember these 5 design tips for November

Bonfire Night, a night of colour and wonder with a heap of flare. Truly an enchanted time and a beautiful sight to behold. As website designers, we try and capture that wonder on every website we create as we believe a pretty website is a productive website.

To celebrate this bonfire night, in addition to eating our chocolate apples, we have decided to share with you 5 design tips that will give your website the glow up it deserves.

Before we get started though don’t forget if you need assistance modernising or creating your website, please give us a call on 01925 563 960 to see how we can help.

 

Equal Spacing & Consistent Sizing

The foundations of making a website as dazzling as a firework is to the first start by making your base design all neat and organised. As simple as it sounds, a consistently sized website is key to looking cool and is often overlooked and forgotten when people try and cram everything they have into a small area.

This applies for both the text size and the size of each section. Like a firework fountain, it is essential that the spacing is equal to show off what your business is capable of.

 

Complementary Colour Scheme

Such as a flurry of fireworks flying through the dark sky, making sure the flare of the fire makes a complementary colour contrast is a key feature in creating a firework display.

This same principle also applies when it comes to creating your website, an eye-catching colour scheme can astonish your viewers as they gaze upon the colourful creation that is your website.

The trick here is to try and keep the colour scheme on brand whilst trying to find colours that go well with one another without being overbearing on the viewer.

We use an online tool called Coolors that helps us choose a fitting colour scheme for each of our clients whilst embodying the essence of their brand.

 

Background Graphics / Abstract Shapes

Although this one is not quite as vital as the other design tips in this list we still believe this is the Catherine wheel of website design; not a showstopper but always welcomed. Abstract shapes draw the viewers’ attention to different elements of your website and can be used to great effect when trying to lead a potential customer to get a conversion.

Background graphics are an excellent way to make your website shine by filling up some white space with a little flurry of shapes, flash of colour or sparkle of imagery.

Generally, graphics like these don’t add to the practicality of your website but they certainly don’t take away from the design. You can see how we have effectively used abstract shapes and graphics throughout our website.

 

Placement

A well-shot rocket to light up an otherwise dull atmosphere can make all the difference between a good and bad bonfire night, likewise, a well-placed section can be the game-changer when it comes to making an outstanding and unique website.

Placement not only means putting sections in interesting and attention-grabbing ways but also means doing so in a manner that allows the more important content of your website to be more predominant such as your call to actions.

You must make sure that you don’t bury any content that is there to lead your potential customer to convert whilst also keeping your website layout fresh and flowing with popping placement and a fancy finish.

 

Personality

Last but not least, the cherry bomb on the cake; the true sparkler of website design – personality. Possibly the most important tip of all, above the rest, is to make sure your website is just what it says on the tin, yours.

Many websites will copy competitors that they know have a successful layout and there is nothing wrong with that but it is often overlooked that a truly great website is one that incorporates your business, your ideologies and what you stand for.

The best way for viewers and potential customers to get a feel about what you’re really about is by glowing up and quite literally showing your true colours.

 

It is understandable that you may find it difficult to incorporate any or all of these tips but doesn’t fret, we are here to help! Give us a call on 01925 563 960 or contact us here and we will see what we can do in building you your perfect website ready with the bonfire night spirit in mind.

From everybody here at Mosaic, we wish you a wonderful bonfire night with lots of treacle toffee, toffee apples and many brilliant fireworks – but most importantly; stay safe!

5 important tips to improve Website Security

As the internet becomes ever increasingly popular, to nobody’s surprise, so is the amount of private information that is shared over it and with this, the number of hackers and people trying to steal this sensitive information.

Even with the GDPR law implementation in 2018, many websites are still insecure and the information is still prone to be stolen and misused. Stealing information is unfortunately very common in this day and age with big corporations such as the NHS and TalkTalk being hacked and security breaches always showing up on the news.

This guide is to help you increase your website security and prevent hackers from gaining access to your website, downloading malware and stealing information.

 

How to protect your website

There are various website security procedures you can follow to help protect yourself from hackers. With many layers of website security, it usually means even if the hacker would manage to penetrate one of the defences there will be many more that will stop them in their tracks. Here are just a few ways you can improve your website security and protect your business:

 

Secure Servers

Some companies are in the belief that it is a good idea to self-host their own websites as it is a cost-effective solution and all of the website data is kept in-house. We are inclined to believe that this is not such a great idea, as these servers tend to be insecure and therefore a potential website security breach. We recommend hosting your website on a secure server that many companies, including ourselves, can provide. To read more into the different types of hosting available click here.

 

Strong Passwords

This may not come as a surprise to a lot of people but we cannot stress it enough the importance of strong passwords. A strong password is just not the combination of characters to make a secure chain it is also making sure it is memorable and known by as few people as possible. Your password can be the as complex as you want it to be but it means nothing if you cannot remember it. Complex passwords tend to end up being written down and placed in an easily accessible location; this, of course, does not really improve security when the details are out in the open for anyone to find and use.

 

Updated Software

Software is constantly being improved upon and updated to the extent of when you open the program and there is an update available you get mildly annoyed. Although once you update the software and seems that nothing has changed, the odds are something has and that something has to do with an improvement in website security to prevent any breaches. The reason software is so regularly updated is because as soon as a security flaw is located hackers will try to capitalise on the situation and will attempt to breach the software to get into your website.

 

Using HTTPS

You probably recognise these letters from May 2018 when the newest GDPR laws were rolled out throughout Europe, you can read more about GDPR here. If you missed the whole GDPR situation then you will still definitely recognise it from many website URLs, such as ours. Using HTTPS does more than just put a quaint little lock icon next to your website name, it also ensures that the content your website is sending is secured and cannot be tampered with or viewed by any unintended people whilst it is being sent across cyberspace.

If you are unsure on how to secure your website or want to make sure your website is on a secure server then contact us or call us on 01925 563 960 and we will move you to our servers and install a FREE SSL certificate.

 

Security plugins

We are big fans of WordPress here at Mosaic and with WordPress comes the vast selection of plugins available, with those comes the security plugins. There is a huge variety of different security plugins available to install such as WPMU’s Defender and Wordfence. These plugins are amazing at locating and locking down any security flaws it detects throughout your website and comes with the added feature of being able to scan your site files to detect any potentially hacked files that may have already snuck their way through your website security and breached some files.

If you’re fearful of the potential of your website being hacked and would like assistance in setting up website security and protecting you and your client’s information why not give us a call on 01925 563 960 or Contact Us to discuss how we can help you.

Facebook Update 2020

Roll out the blue carpet, Facebook is back and looking better than ever with the new slick monochromatic look that it has decided to sport for 2020. The new redesign is focused on making the desktop design have a similar appearance and feel to its mobile layout counter-part, but what exactly has changed?

The most immediate and noticeable change is how much more breathing room the main news feed has now. The old design used a boxed layout that constrained the content, not allowing it to expand to its full width and full potential.

 

Although boxed layouts used to be all the rage, they’ve become outdated and a thing of the past, making way for the pretty and popular full-width design. This new design opts to utilise the entire screen, placing the feed in the middle and parting the options and contacts sections to either side of the screen respectively.

The posts are now larger with an increased text size throughout the site allowing for an easier to read and more accessible experience for older audiences or those with eyesight difficulties.

Another prominent change made to the site is the inclusion of the new ‘groups’ tab. Although the groups’ tab has always been around before the redesign, it is clear that Facebook is pushing this feature to integrate it more with the core concept and use of the social media platform.

groups tab facebook redesign

The groups’ tab allows you to easily access the groups you are in, search for new groups to join and browse through the groups’ activity feed so you can keep up to date with the latest news that your interests and communities have to offer

The final and my favourite change that was made (or a feature that was added) is the inclusion of a dark mode! This feature does exactly what it says on the tin and allows the website to be turned ‘dark’.

The white and black colours get switched making it easier on the eyes especially during browsing at night time or in low light conditions. Don’t worry though! If you prefer using the light mode it is on by default or can be toggled in the account drop-down in the top right of the website.

Overall I believe this long-anticipated redesign is a huge step in the right direction for Facebook. It was in much need of an update to bring it with the times and it has more than just accomplished that goal. This glow-up has ensured that Facebook stays top dog of social media platforms now hosting a whopping 2.2 billion monthly active users!

Has the update been rolled out to you yet? What do you think of it?

Let us hear your thoughts on our Facebook page here!

What Makes A Great Website Homepage?

First impressions count and when it comes to a website, your homepage is the one that counts! For many potential new customers, this is their first interaction with your business. If your homepage is bland and not very clear on what services or products you offer, consider this a lost customer.

If your website pops from the screen with vibrancy and clearly states who you are and what it is you do, a client is more than likely to explore further pages on your site. They’ll be so impressed by this initial first impression that you’ll have a new client on your hands!

So, here at Mosaic Digital Media, we’ve put together a definitive list of what makes a great website homepage!

 

Page Header

Your header is the top part of the website, think of it as your chance to put your ‘name up in the lights’ – shout it from the rooftops that this is who you are!

The header should ideally include your company logo and clear call to action. This could be how to contact you, such as telephone, email and social links. Try to make it as easy as possible for a client to contact you. Below is a great example of using call to actions in your website header:

central self drive header

This is a huge plus point for any website, from a well-known fashion brand to an independent online shop. The quicker a customer can get in touch with you, the quicker they can become a new, paying customer, it is as simple as that!

 

Social Media

Social media only gets bigger and more important with each passing year, so your social links must be visible instantly on your website homepage. This could be via a live feed or with the use of a simple social icon that directs to your pages.

A potential client may already be familiar with your social media and could have well come directly from one of your accounts. A potential new client, particularly if the service they require is social media, will look at your pages before deciding on whether to use your business or not.

Social media also plays a key role in SEO on a website, so it really should be a key feature on any homepage.

 

Active Blog Posts

Having blogs on your homepage is something every homepage needs. It shows a potential client that you are an active business and are always looking to keep your website content fresh and up to date.

Regular blog content also contributes to SEO for your website, which if it’s high quality, will result in your homepage being seen regularly!

J Lowther blogs

As discussed in a previous blog, Google loves nothing more than fresh content so keep those blogs nice and fresh!

 

High-Quality Images

There is nothing worse than visiting a website with a blurry image! Investing in a photographer or purchasing images from an image library is a must.

When selecting images keep in mind that your first goal is to provide the best customer experience on your website as possible.

A picture paints a thousand words as the old adage goes!

 

A Clear User Journey

Your customer might like a challenge, but not when it comes to a website! Take time to outline your customer journey with your business goal, making sure it is clear and efficient.

An organised sitemap with easy to fill out forms are a step in the right direction. The easier the journey, the better this reflects on your business and website.

 

Website Load Time

It’s a known fact that if a page doesn’t load within around 3-5 seconds, any potential client will have left your site and gone elsewhere!

It’s proven that a complex homepage can hurt your website conversion. If you’re not careful images and video can easily use up to two-thirds of a page’s total weight. Streamline and efficient is the aim for a website homepage, so declutter if necessary!

Reducing your number of images/videos down to five from ten will help to improve your page speed dramatically.

There are a number of services that can help show you how fast your website load speed is, for example, GT Metrix or Google’s Pagespeed Insights, these can help you to identify what problems are outstanding and what you can do to improve your load speed.

 

Images vs Text vs Whitespace

You may think that having a lot of text on a website and plenty of keywords will improve your customer experience and SEO rankings.  Having large blocks of text without white space and images to shape them can do the complete opposite and turn your customers away!

For an effective homepage, striking a balance between all three really is the golden ticket so take your time and trust your instinct. When you think it looks right, it probably is.

 

Footer

A footer isn’t essential but having one on your homepage gives your customers a final chance to find what they’re looking for.

The footer should contain basic information such as contact information, copyright details and links to your subpages such as terms and conditions or an area for your about us.

Everybody wants their website homepage to stand out. At Mosaic Digital Media, we can make yours stand out from the crowd! Call us today on 01925 563 960 or fill in our contact form here.

Web Browsers – 30 Years On

The beginning of 2020 marks a lot of things; a new year, a new decade and most relevant of all – the 30 year anniversary of the first web browser, WorldWideWeb. WorldWideWeb, not be confused with the World Wide Web, was initially released on Christmas day 1990 is the first and, for the most part, only web browser until 1994 when it was discontinued.

A lot has changed within web browsers since the age of WorldWideWeb, which should be a surprise to no-one due to its age, but what exactly has changed over the years? This blog will cover the changes that web browsers and by extension websites have experienced over the years.

 

The arrival of Mosaic – but not us!

Although WorldWideWeb was the first web browser it wasn’t as easily accessible as Google is in this day and age. If you wanted to browse the web you would need the knowledge and know-how on what to press and where to go, there was no easily searching a term and being provided with a list of relevant websites. Well not until the introduction of the first user-friendly web browser in 1993 – Mosaic Browser. This browser may look bad to our standards nowadays but back then it was the Mosaic Browser that opened many doors to the public audience and revolutionised the web browser into what we know and loves today.

 

Internet Explorer 3 VS Netscape Navigator

In late 1995 – 1996 web browsers really began to take off, so much so they were in serious competition with one another over the usage share of visitors. So much so it sparked the first Browser war. Looking at the more recognisable name in the title it’s clear who won this war but if you’re not in the loop it was Internet Explorer that came out on top. Internet explorer managed to take the edge being the first major browser to integrate basic CSS (website styling) within it and also it came preinstalled with any Microsoft Windows system, saving them time and effort of users to download a web browser initially.

 

The rise of Firefox

After Netscape lost the browser war it released its source code to Mozilla, a company who made web browsers. After several years of development and seeing smaller web browsers rise and fall Mozilla released a browser known as Firefox in 2004. Firefox grew in popularity over the years eventually even surpassing Internet Explorer. Firefox’s era lasted until around 2010 when a certain other web browser came around.

 

Google Chrome.

Although Chrome being released in 2008, it wasn’t until 2010 Chrome started making waves in the web browser industry. Google Chrome quickly started gaining traction and it wasn’t long until it was Internet Explorer and Firefox both playing catch up. What made Chrome so successful was the affiliation with the already popular search engine Google. Google already held around a 90% market share in 2008 so when Chrome was announced users were more than happy to jump to the new and trustworthy web browser that had full support for their preferred search engine. Combined with the capital the company had and their tendency to hire innovative people Chrome snowballed becoming the most popular web browser there is to date.

 

The start of Edge, the end of Internet Explorer

In 2015 Microsoft released a new more powerful web browser, Microsoft Edge. Edge was a browser designed to be the successor of Internet Explorer containing more powerful functionality. Although edge was initially released alongside Internet Explorer, Microsoft announced that it would be Edge that was installed on any new Microsoft systems rather than Internet Explorer. Microsoft later announced that even though they will continue to maintain Internet Explorer for systems that it was already included on, it would not be developing any new features and therefore concluded its life.

 

Chromium and the future

Although Chromium released in 2008 and contains the code that runs Google Chrome it is not until recently that even the biggest of browsers have decided to take the plunge and move to their main competitor’s open-source software. Opera opted to move to Chromium in 2013 which was big news at the time since before then Opera had been a long-time competitor in the browser war. More recently and more surprisingly Microsoft Edge announced that it would be Chromium-based beginning this year – 2020. This is big news as if a powerhouse such as Microsoft is going to be using Google’s software there is no telling what advancements Microsoft may release to try and take the edge for Edge or what improvements Google will make to keep the lead for Chrome.

 

Conclusion

Here at Mosaic, we are excited to see what the future holds for web browsers as our careers are moulded around their every move. It is our job to keep up with the latest web browsers and what features they bring, this is what helps us keep on top of all the latest web design features and allows us to stay as modern and up-to-date as we can possibly be.

Do you have a website that looks like it was developed for WorldWideWeb and needs to be brought into 2020 with the rest of the world? Contact us on 01925 563 960 or use our contact form.

Web Design Halloween Horrors

As Halloween slowly creeps in from the moonlight we start to shine our torches on some of the more terrifying aspects of website development – the macabre mistakes! Not all mistakes have to be website breaking or glaringly obvious to have an impact or your website and your sales.

In this blog, I will cover some of the less apparent mistakes that may be lurking within your website so you can navigate the labyrinth and get more treats than tricks this Halloween.

 

Buried alive in text

Text is always great on a website because it can help with your SEO Marketing, as they say, content is king! But too much of a good thing can be excessive and harmful. Our first mistake would be having too much text in one place. Too much text can feel overwhelming on the reader and, likely, they will just skip over the whole section and get no information from it at all. 

That’s not to say you shouldn’t include a lot of text on your website because you certainly should, just be mindful of where you are putting it. An evenly separated spread throughout your website will be easier to read and look more visually appealing than an information dump one page and the others left as dead as a cemetery.

 

One very small mistake

Another commonly overlooked website mistake is keeping an eye on the text size. It is no wonder why this mistake is usually missed – it’s because the text is too small! 

With mobile-first web design in mind, it is easy to forget about upscaling the font size to fit on desktop browsers. Smaller font size may look cleaner but it makes your website difficult to read and inaccessible for those who have difficulty seeing. This can lead to your readers missing crucial information and having a nightmarish time contacting you.

 

Witch spelling is which spelling?

Spelling mistakes throughout your website can make it look amateurish and unprofessional. Naturally, this is bad for business as you want to be presenting yourself as a professional to show your commitment to the business. 

It is very easy to gloss over spelling mistakes when proofreading especially when it is a grammatical mistake or one that wouldn’t be picked up by a spell checker, for example, using realize instead of realise. A good tool to use, and one we use, to spellcheck your content is Grammarly

 

It’s aliiiiive… or is it?

This next web design mistake may not be common but it can be fatal and easily skipped if you’re not paying attention. It is making sure your website actually goes live. We like to build our websites on WordPress and a handy feature that is part of WordPress is the ability to hide websites from search engines. 

It is usually best practice to hide development sites from being crawled and indexed by search engines like Google or Bing. This is to make sure when the website goes live to make sure isn’t dragged down to the grave by the development site.

 

Evil scheming & cruel colours

A badly stitched together colour scheme can lead to your doom when it comes to designing your website. Horribly mismatched colours and similar shades can make your website difficult to read or lead the reader’s eye all over the place. It is always best to use complementary colours and decide on a scheme (not an evil one though!) before beginning your web design.

You can always use tools such as Adobe Color and Coolors to pick out an appropriate colour scheme for your website. You can also check out our blog on colour theory here.

Don’t dig your own grave this Halloween, do you want a website built with all these spooky mistakes kept dead and buried? Contact us on 01925 563 960 or contact us using our contact form to see what we at Mosaic can do to grow and promote your business.