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The Basics of Good Web Design

April 1st, 2014

design

A strong web presence is essential to good business. Having a website is a given but it is important to make sure your website is a winner. You need a well ordered, appealing and informative site that is easy to use. Your site should be offer incentive for visitors to return and should offer them a good experience while they are there. Here are 5 essential elements of good website design

Colour is Paramount

Websites offer a visual experience and your website needs to have an effective and pleasing colour scheme. The colours you choose should complement your branding and logo. It is important to ensure that the colour scheme works to highlight your logo and not to overpower it. Contrasts can work well as too much harmony in the colour scheme can make your logo disappear into the background.

Colours have strong associations and these should be considered in making decisions around colour. For instance, green is seen as a natural and calming colour and would work well for an eco-friendly product. Blue gives a sense of reliability and is often used by lawyers or medical practitioners. Colour is really important in sending a message consistent with your brand and the products and services you are offering. Experts like Simple can offer you great advice on colour. It is worth making sure your colour decisions will maximise your brand.

Be Consistent in Theming

Your website should have a strong theme that carries across all of its pages. While your homepage will typically be more eye-catching than other pages, it must still carry the same theme. Layout should be consistent throughout the site so that visitors feel like they know where they are. Keep images relevant to the theme of the page to consolidate the message of your page. Disparate imagery can be confusing and will detract from the impact of your page.

Fonts

The font is the type of lettering you use on your website. Fonts should be consistent across the site and should match your brand. You wouldn’t choose a whimsical font for a mechanical product for instance. There are two types of font, serif and sans serifs. These can be used together to create a contrast, but clarity and readability must be considered. Sans serif is cleaner and easier to read in smaller sizes.

Ease of Use

One of the most important aspects of your website is that it should be easy to use. Navigation needs to be obvious and not confusing. Your pages should not be too cluttered as this will make it difficult for your visitors to know where to look. Make sure your pages load quickly as website visitors will not wait around for a page to load no matter how pretty it is.

Contact Information

It is imperative that your contact information is clear and easy to find. You can have the most visually dynamic website in the world but if your customers don’t know how to contact you, it’s worthless. While most people look online prior to purchase, many still want to contact a real person.

4 Awesome Things You Didn’t Know About Your iPhone

March 18th, 2014

iPhone

Smart phones. It’s hard to imagine life without them, right? It seems they are capable of anything, constantly surprising us with the ways they can help us in daily tasks; they are so much more than mobile communication devices. Here are some of the ways we can make the most of our iPhones.

Capture

Gone are the days of lugging around a large camera in case of memorable moments; you phone is now a photo album in your pocket. The latest iPhones are equipped with the highest quality digital cameras, making your shots of a good enough quality to post online, edit digitally and even print for framing. You can also take high-definition videos, with sound to match the real thing. What you might not know is that you can do both at the same time; snapping photos while shooting video is a breeze with the iPhone, using all the same buttons together as you would separately. The earphone cord that comes with your iPhone is also a handy tool ou can use to take photos; once the cord is plugged in, you can press the volume buttons to trigger the capture button on the camera, useful for taking long distance shots of you with your friends.

Do you find yourself wanting to save a small article, image or even a map on your phone, when it doesn’t give you the option to copy or download the item? The screen shot function (similar to a PC) is enabled on the iPhone, saving the current screen as an image in your gallery. Simply hold the Home and Lock buttons simultaneously for an instant capture.

Connect

In our current state of interconnectedness, don’t you wish you could switch off for a while, even choose who is able to call your phone at certain times? The iPhone knows life is busy, often complicated, and gives you the caller an option to leave a voicemail message, or to let them know you are in a meeting or a movie theatre. For your fellow iPhone users, you have the option of using Face Time, a video chat program that allows you to see the smiling faces of your loved ones as you tell them about your day. Choosing to use Face Time also saves your precious paid-for calling minutes, and the video component can be switched off, so as to mimic a phone call for a fraction of the price.

Safe keeping

These days, there really is an app for everything. Applications help order the chaos of daily life, enhancing your ability to multitask, prioritise and even discover new tools, all in the palm of your hand. You can find daily planners, weather predictors, even an app to construct your own Will. There was a recent case in Queensland in which the Supreme Court accepted the validity of a Will that was constructed on an iPhone. As professional law firm Turner Freeman suggests, it is risky to rely on DIY methods of creating important legal documents, as they are easily contested in court. However, it goes to show the abilities of the smart phone, and the sway they have in our technologically inclined society.

Mobile Intelligence

The most versatile of all apps is the one which is synonymous with the iPhone. Siri, the artificial intelligence that serves as guidance for the phone’s operation, is a highly functional organisational tool, one which can provide shortcuts to achieving the most functionality out of the iPhone. You can ask Siri for directions, restaurant recommendations, as well as asking playful personal questions with entertaining results. Ask Siri to set an alarm to wake you from your nap, the best route to get to work, any tricky maths or conversion problems, or for a sneaky recipe when entertaining guests. The options are endless.

Top 5 Apps for Business Travel

March 18th, 2014

 

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/93734986@N00/2382777665/

Before the high tech era, business travellers would rely on their trusty Lonely Planet guidebook and a briefcase bursting with classified documents, itineraries, and muesli bar wrappers. Needless to say, it was a complete and utter hassle to have to cart around so much paperwork for a measly day trip to Sydney. Luckily, all the answers to our travel problems lie solely in our pockets – that and our handy Corporate Traveller agent. I’m talking about your smartphone – duh. This wondrous device plays host to a panoply of apps targeted towards professional travellers, whether it be a handy helper for a long-haul flight, storage for all your travel details or information on your destination. If you’ve got an upcoming corporate trip, turn your smart phone into the counterpart of an electronic Swiss Army knife with these five awesome apps.

Urbanspoon

Many people like to hate on Urbanspoon; I think they are just jealous they didn’t think of the idea or they are restaurants dealing with bad reviews. Personally, I love Urbanspoon and use it when finding restaurants and bars when visit a new city. The app uses your built-in GPS to locate nearby establishments which you can then divide between cuisine and price range. Most restaurant pages will include meal pictures, customer reviews, ratings and direct phone number allowing you to book a table with ease. If you also like surprises, give your iPhone a shake for a random restaurant idea.

ScanBiz Cards

If you’ve attended any kind of networking event in your time, you’ll know that business cards are essentially flying everywhere. At the end of the night, I’ll have a wallet full to the brim of weirdly shaped cards that I’ll then have to carry around with me until I get home. ScanBiz Cards eliminates this first world frustration by scanning your collection of business cards into iCloud which will then sync across multiple devices. ScanBiz Cards also works with Evernote, Linkedin, Salesforce and other CRMs.

Word Lens

Language is a wonderful thing that binds societies together, yet it also divides us. While most of us can rely on body language to get the point across in a foreign country, finding yourself in a scenario where you can’t communicate effectively or read the local dialect without resorting to your translation guide is positively maddening. That’s where Word Lens comes in handy. As you know, street signs are different in every country and what looks like a STOP sign in Australia might be a DANGER sign in another. Word Lens’ camera has the ability to snap a photo of large print words on billboards, street signs, and street signs and translate it into your native tongue.

Expensify

Unless you are an accountant, there are few (strange) folk in the world that would agree that filing expenses is a relaxing and valuable part of business. Save yourself the headache with Expensify; a nifty app that tracks all your expenses by syncing with your credit and debit cards. It tracks as you go and even compiles together an easy-to-navigate expense report at the end of your trip.

5 Tips To Blog Often & Effectively

March 3rd, 2014

checklist

Starting a blog is easy. Sticking to a regular blogging schedule, however, is the hard part. Apart from speaking to online content experts Search Factory about how to grow your blog online, here are 5 tips that can help you blog more often and more effectively.

1. Blog in the morning.

We are often the most productive, and clear minded in the first few hours upon waking. Take advantage of these beneficial hours and write that blog post you’ve been meaning to pen as soon as you wake up. You’ll be free from most of the usual distractions one encounters once the rest of the world wakes up, giving you more time and focus to concentrate on the task at hand.

2. Set up a blogging schedule.

Committing to a blogging schedule can help you stay motivated throughout the weeks and months (years?) of your blog. Most bloggers find that putting up a new post twice a week (on Mondays and Thursdays) works best. This schedule gives you 2-3 days between blog entries – hopefully enough time for you to recharge and get inspired for that next epic post. Read the rest of 5 Tips To Blog Often & Effectively »

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