Category Archives: Opinions

Creative Web Design Tips for Your Website to be a Success

You may think that having an online presence is the beginning and end of your digital marketing strategy. You’d be quite wrong, however, because your website has to meet certain standards if it’s going to successfully drive your business forward. Getting your website up and running and persuading people to visit in the first place is only the very beginning of the process. You can safely assume, after all, that your competitors are doing the same as the bare minimum. Your website has to be designed and built in such a manner that any visitors, once they clicked through to the site, will want to stay around and explore.
Not only that, but they’ll return on multiple occasions and they’ll share links to your site with friends and acquaintances. All of which is easy to set down in black and white but extremely difficult to achieve. The good news is that it is possible, with the right advice and input, the main proviso being that it is a long term project. Your initial site needs to be user friendly and simple to navigate, with instinctive controls that make it easy for visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for. It then needs to be managed in a manner which maintains this excellence and responds to any changes in technology or the wider business environment.
The following are a few basic tips which, if needed, should help your business, no matter what size and type it is, achieve the online presence it needs:

Know What You’re Aiming For

Before you sit down to start creating your website, ask yourself very clearly exactly what it’s intended to achieve. Some sites are built with e-commerce in mind, others as an extension of a wider branding effort or as a call to action for people to contact you. The intention of the website has to play a part in every decision you make about its design. If you have a clear vision from the outset, you’ll be building on the firmest possible foundations.

Learn From the Best

Take a look at the websites you particularly enjoy and ask yourself how they do it. It might be a visual approach, a navigational trick or the kind of content they offer. It’s not a question of copying other sites, but merely of drawing inspiration from them. Take the examples they offer and apply them through the filter of your own vision for your business.

Get the Colours Right

Choosing the colour palette for your site is about more than simple aesthetics. Different colours have particular associations, in emotional and sociological terms. Some seem obvious, such as black being serious and white representing freshness, but what you have to remember is that the web is a global platform. Different colours have different wider meanings in various parts of the world, so make sure you’ve considered the message of your colour choices on a world-wide basis before making your final decision.

Maintain a Consistent Brand

Your brand is the image of your business that you present to the world. It conveys, in the clearest manner possible, the ‘personality’ of your business – who you are, what you do and how you do it – and should be able to capture the attention of potential customers in a fraction of a second. Creating a strong brand is a difficult process, and if you’ve worked hard to get it just right it’s absolutely vital that you apply that branding across every available platform. That means all of your social media output and any printed ‘real world’ content as well as your online presence has to share that branding, in terms of your visual appeal and the tone of voice you use in any written communication. Consistency of this kind won’t just reinforce your brand message, it will cement your reputation as a professional and trustworthy organisation.

Responsive Design

Responsive design – meaning your site works as well on mobile devices as it does on desktop – is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. People want to be able to access online content no matter where they are, and if that means a site that loads and runs equally smoothly on smartphones, tablets, iPhones and laptops then that’s what you have to offer. It isn’t just a question of user friendliness, either, since Google now use responsiveness as one of the ways in which they rank websites. If your site isn’t responsive, then, it won’t get found on Google, and even if it does get found, any visitors will quickly lose patience with it.

Customer Centred

It’s natural that you view your business from the point of view of your own experience, knowledge and expertise, but you have to remember that your customers – and prospective customers – have a completely different point outlook. It’s vital, therefore, to put yourself in your clients’ position when reviewing the design and content of your blog. What will they be looking for and how easily will they be able to find it? What solutions are you offering to the problems they present with? Use the answers to these questions as key pointers to effective design.

Maintain the Links

If the links on your site don’t work it can have a disastrous impact. Visitors will assume the failure is down to poor management and maintenance, and will doubtless conclude that, if you’re not professional enough to look after your own online presence, you’re not professional enough to do business with. The same broken links can also impact negatively on your search engine rankings. The truth is that even if links were coded properly when the site was first launched, they can begin to fail as time passes, so it’s vital to make use on an HTML validator and link checker on a regular basis.

Contact

Make it very easy for visitors to your site to contact you, by offering as many options as possible – i.e. email, phone, twitter, Facebook etc. Making contact easy is only half of the battle, however, since responding to any contact quickly and effectively will do a great deal toward building long term customer or client loyalty.

Hire Professionals

There may be a temptation to save money by handling your online requirements in-house. If you use the services of professional experts in fields like marketing, web design, graphics and online development, however, it won’t be an expense, it will be an investment. Work with the right people and the money you invest in your website will be recouped many times over. The rest of these tips are all highly effective, but they’re also the kind of things any experienced professional will bring to your business as a basic requirement. A professional web design company will know exactly how to set about transforming your online presence.

Happy Easter

To all our valued Customers and Colleagues in Great Britain and around the world. We wish you all a great Easter Weekend. Let the chocolate eating begin!

The team at OMdeSIGN

Websites for Start-up Businesses

At OMdeSIGN we produce a host of state of the art, beautifully designed websites for start-up businesses and local companies.

We don’t make any distinction between working on projects such as these and on branding or development which is designed to operate on a global basis. The time we take to get a handle on exactly who the client is, what they do and how they want to be presented to the world, allied to our commitment and attention to detail, often results in a project which take the form of an interactive experience linking the owners of the business, OMdeSIGN and the all-important end user.

If you’re starting, or are planning to start, your own business, then you’ll naturally be an expert in the service or product which you’re seeking to provide, and will be keenly impatient to get that message out to the wider world via your own website. The days when an online presence could be regarded as either a luxury option or a virtual adjunct to the wider business are long gone.

Put simply, if you don’t exist online – and by ‘exist’ we mean boast a website which is effective, accessible and easy to find – then, to all intents and purposes you hardly exist as a business.

With a few extremely niche exceptions, virtually all businesses will attract new custom, build their client base and expand into new territories via their online presence. Your competitors, whether large or small, will all have websites, and so your aim is to create – or have created for you – a site which can better those of your rivals in terms of form and function. The ‘democratisation’ of the web is such that even the smallest business can compete with huge multi-nationals, using flexibility, innovation and attention to detail to differentiate themselves. The key lies in finding an agency that can meet that brief, and OMdeSIGN is just such an agency.

We’ve created a huge number of start-up websites over the years, and amongst the sectors which we’ve worked in recently are the following:

How much does a website cost?

The only honest answer to that question is that it’s not really possible to say, any more than it is to answer the question ‘How long is a piece of string?’ Every site we create is bespoke, tailor made and individually crafted to answer the needs of your business and your end users; the customers and prospective customers you need to impress. For that reason, the price of each website will vary, because each website will be an individual, unique project. The promise we do make is that our pricing structure will be transparent and easily understood from beginning to end. If our portfolio appeals to you and you’d like a website of the same quality, then contact us with a few details and we’ll happily provide a quotation. And you know what? There’s every chance it might actually be cheaper than you imagine.

Is your website responsive? Why is responsive design important for your SME.

What is Responsive Web Design

I’ve raised the topic of responsive web design on a few occasions previously, and it’s important enough to anyone with a presence on the Internet for it to be a subject that’s worth exploring again. In simple terms, Responsive Web Design (RWD) covers the aspects of a site which maximise accessibility, ease of use and the visitor experience. Via aspects of design such as lay-out and coding, RWD ensures that a site can be read, utilised and navigated no matter what the nature of the device through which it is being accessed. From a tablet to a smart phone via a laptop or our old friend the desk top computer, a site which utilises RWD will be at home no matter where it appears, with annoying aspects such as resizing, panning and scrolling kept to a bare minimum.

As designers, however, it can easy to slip into a discussion of the technical parameters of RWD without capturing its essence for the lay person. Put simply, it creates a one size fits all website, capable of snapping into position and working perfectly with the device at hand (and ‘at hand’ is more and more often an accurate description of how people access sites), a concept which is obviously beneficial when put like that, but one which some people still fear is just the kind of thing that web designers mention when they want to bump the price up a little bit.

Time & Money

The idea, however, that creating a responsive website will be prohibitively expensive, is more than a little misguided. The truth of the matter is that any initial extra outlay involved in developing a website with responsiveness engineered into it is more than off-set by the savings this can bring elsewhere. By creating a website with this chameleon-like ability to work with its’ surroundings, developers remove the need to create duplicate websites; one for desktop, another for mobile etc. Post development, a responsive website will continue saving the client time and money, since it removes the need to update and maintain this multiplicity of sites. Any short term cost is more than offset by the long term and ongoing gains generated by a responsive website.

Mobile Devices

You don’t really need to be an expert to note the rise of internet access via mobile devices. All you really need to do is walk down any street, sit in any restaurant or take a ride on any train. What you’ll see is person after person head bowed, device in hand, eyes on the screen. There’s more to this than simple anecdotal evidence, however. In May of this year Google released a statement confirming what many people already suspected, namely that ‘more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan’ (Source: http://goo.gl/Q7MDpQ ), whilst other statistics showed that worldwide internet usage via mobile devices now makes up 52.7% of all access, a figure which is predicted to rise to 63.4% by 2017 (Source: http://goo.gl/giIuaL )

The obvious conclusion to draw from the exponential rise of mobile access is that ignoring responsive design is a risk which developers can no longer really take. Put simply, if your site isn’t there for mobile devices, then it’s hardly really there at all, and RWD is set to become the industry norm.

User Experience

‘Content is King’ is one of those clichés which has become a cliché because it happens to be true. The nature of any content, however, is only ever going to be as effective as the user experience delivering it. Visitors want to be able to access content wherever they are, whatever the time, through the device which happens to be most convenient. Responsive web design ensures that this is the case, and keeps King Content firmly ensconced on the throne.

Taking the Responsive Route

We saw the direction that the technology was moving in and decided to hitch a ride, designing and coding in a manner which fully embraced RWD. We like to think the results speak for themselves; a suite of sites ranging from one page designs to online shops and corporate projects. Despite the variety of our work, every site we produce has one thing in common – they all look amazing.

Our clear and readable aesthetic leant itself readily to the discipline of RWD. If anything, we’ve been compelled to make our sites even more minimal and ‘cleaner’ than they were before, disciplines which have honed our skills and sharpened our aesthetic.

Don’t Wait for the Game to Change, It Already Has

Anyone au fait with the trends and developments of web design might feel that, so far, I’ve merely been stating the obvious, underlining a position which developers have been coping with for some time. The rules of the game are changing, however, and as with many such things the changes can be traced back to the Search Engine behemoth that is Google.

On April 21st of 2015, Google introduced a new search algorithm designed to place mobile friendly sites higher than other sites. This means that the all-important Google ranking – the metric by which the success or otherwise of a website can easily be measured – is now dependent on a site being responsive. We keep that at the front of our concerns through every stage of development, keenly aware of the fact that the best site in the world is frankly no use if it isn’t being discovered.

Where Now?

Combine the shift in customer behaviour toward mobile searches with the manner in which Google has responded to this and you have a situation in which RWD is no longer an option but has become a necessity. By ensuring your site is responsive you’ll maximise both the reach and the user experience when it has been found, both of which are key aspects of driving revenue.

If you’re planning a new website then we can’t be clear enough. It has to be responsive. It has to have the elasticity to stretch and shrink to fit any device. It has to be mobile friendly whilst maintaining its aesthetic.

All of which is what we specialise in producing, and if your curiosity has been piqued, then take a look at the following examples of the responsive work which we produce:

CASE STUDY 1:

Bulthaup – German kitchen manufacturer, renowned worldwide for its architecture of living spaces.
Fully device responsive content managed website.

portfolio-bulthaup-mobile01

Read more about this project

CASE STUDY 2:

Paradigm Systems – Microsoft cloud IT solutions website with case studies.

portfolio-paradigm-mac

Read more about this project

CASE STUDY 3:

VA London Architects – portfolio websites.

portfolio-va-london-project-page

Read more about this project

A great series of projects from the last few months. If you’re interested in a custom design responsive website, get in touch

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

To all our valued Customers and Colleagues in Great Britain and around the world. We wish you a wonderful, safe and relaxing time over the Christmas break.

The team at OMdeSIGN

Are You Ready For Google Mobile Friendly Update?

There used to be a saying which ran something along the lines of ‘When America sneezes, the whole world catches a cold’, an aphorism designed to capture the overwhelming global financial clout of the USA. As the 21st century advances, it may well be that those with a keen eye on the general good health of the world are more inclined to watch out for China developing the sniffles, but the principle remains the same. When a big player does something different, it’s smart to pay particularly close attention, and in the fields of web design, internet searching and e-commerce, they simply don’t come any bigger than Google.

The change in question is an alteration which Google has made to its’ search algorithm. The search algorithm is the almost sacred, semi-mystical formula which Google uses to come up with its all-important page rankings – the brutally simple metric via which so many websites live or die. Along with every other web developer we make it our business to try and second guess the algorithms utilised by Google, and thus to create sites which work with them. In the past, many of the changes to the Google algorithm have been fairly subtle, concentrating search results, for example, on high quality content rather than simply picking up on keywords, but the latest change heralds a major rethink of the way in which all sites have to be designed.

From here on in, the algorithms used by google will examine a site in even more detail and give priority to those which are optimised for access via mobile use. This means that the design and development of a site are now every bit as important to its Google rankings as ‘traditional’ factors such as content and search engine optimisation.

While some developers may have been taken by surprise when this change was announced, we weren’t amongst them, since seasoned Google watchers will have been aware that they’ve gradually been shifting in this direction for some time. Recent guidelines, for example, have included tips on the most responsive approach to design, as well as advice on optimal page loading time, a factor which is vital when visitors to the site are using mobile devices. To put it simply, the direction of travel was clear.

The difference this makes is that a responsive website – one which works equally well and looks as good no matter what kind of device it is accessed from – is now a necessity rather than an added luxury. The new emphasis on the ever growing phenomenon of mobile searching will impact upon the Google ranking of a website in every language and all around the world.
In the words of Google, those people who access the web via a mobile device such as a tablet or smart phone should be able to “get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

Buzzwords and terms such as ‘mobile friendly’ and ‘mobile optimised’ tend to be used far too easily by people steeped in the technology of development without the time being taken to stop and explain precisely what they entail. We like to make sure that our clients are completely on top of what we’re doing for them every step of the way, so we make it our business to explain exactly what we’re talking about and aiming for.

‘Mobile friendliness’ refers to the ability of a traditional desktop site to adapt to devices of all shapes and sizes. This means that the design, the content and the navigation will work just as well on smaller screens, providing a flawless and accessible experience for visitors whether they’re at their desk or on the move.

We think that the appearance of our sites, no matter what the shape, size and device, speaks for itself. If your website isn’t optimised for mobile then you’ll be losing out in terms of visitors, enquiries and, most important of all, revenue streams.

What to do now?

So we urge anyone considering a new website: it’s got to be responsive. A website without a mobile version is just not worth having. And we’re of course ready to help you.
Conveniently, we have a few examples of sites we’ve designed recently which adapt to devices of all shapes and sizes:

CASE STUDY 1:

Gander and White Shipping – shipping and installation company, providing services to Art Dealers, Private Collections and Museums around the World.
Fully device responsive content managed website.

portfolio-gander-white-mobile

Read more about this project

CASE STUDY 2:

Grant Macdonald – an internationally renowned Silversmith with a tradition of handmade quality, design and innovation..
Fully device responsive content managed website featuring full width slideshows on the homepage and gallery pages.

portfolio-grant-macdonald-mobile

Read more about this project

E-commerce: Are you maximising sales with your product photography?

When it comes to the design of an e-commerce website, the importance of product photography should not be underestimated. After all, if your customers can’t get the product in their hands to touch, taste, or smell, then the images have to work twice as hard to do the selling. You need images that instil confidence in your customers and show your product at its tastiest, flashiest, softest or most luxurious. This is ultimately what will compel people to ‘add to cart’ thereby increasing your conversion rates.

However, there’s more to good photography than simply making the products look great. The images should work with the overall design and aesthetics of your website as well, so that everything gels nicely together and the images look like they were taken just for you. Here are a few key things to bear in mind when you’re taking product shots.

ecommerce-photography-product

Keep the background simple – you want to hero the product at the end of the day and an overly complicated background will just distract people from the product. Keep it clean and neutral and it will be much easier to achieve a consistent look.

ecommerce-photography-cosmetics

If your products come in a range of different colours or styles then you need to show them all. Not everyone can visualise what a product might look like in a different colour or with a different texture, so paint the picture for your customers with images of each option.

Make sure that the images are high res enough to show off details. Customers like to get up close and personal to products when they are shopping online and a high res product shot shows that you have nothing to hide. It also gives your customers a much better idea of what it will look like in the flesh. This is particularly important with clothing.

ecommerce-photography-picnic basket-aston-martin-closeup

ecommerce-websites-photography

ecommerce-photography-cafe

ecommerce-photography-fruit-cake

Taking the time to get your product shots right can really help to boost your sales and turn browsers into buyers. Photos answer questions and reassure your customers that they are making the right decision. And at the end of the day, the more people who decide to ‘add to cart’ the better it is for business.

If you require product photography or photography service for your website, why not get started with contacting our studio and we can take it from there?

Dating Websites. Looking for the perfect match?

Looking for the perfect match? We guarantee OMdeSIGN will make your heart beat that little bit faster the first time you set eyes on us 😉

Let’s be honest, mention the words ‘Online Dating’ a few years ago and, well……. you wouldn’t have mentioned it would you? You’d have kept it a secret, been a little embarrassed, thought it was the kind of thing that women who live with too many cats or men who think ‘Jedi Knight’ is a real thing to be tended to do. Not any longer. The rush to social media, meaning more and more people spend more and more of their life online, has altered the situation radically. You stay in touch with your friends and family online, you do more and more of your shopping online, and use the same tools when you trace your family tree, watch your favourite box sets or research your holiday. Mobile technology has increased online access even further, and with this ease of access comes ease of opportunity, so why not find love there as well? The short answer to that question is that there’s absolutely no reason why not, and a huge number of reasons to get online and start searching for Miss, Mr or Ms Right.

The latest research (as published at www.dailymail.co.uk), the result of a survey carried out by the online dating service eHarmony, indicates that the situation as it stands today, in which over a third of marriages begin with an online romance, is set to accelerate in the future. Before too long, it is predicted that 38% of couples will originally have met via an online dating site or matchmaking service. Given the rapidly accelerating spread of mobile online contact and social media, it should come as no real surprise to discover that, by 2040, seven out of ten couples will be able to thank online dating or other online communication for bringing them together. Drilling down into the figures, what’s more, uncovers the fact that an online inspired relationship needn’t be any less stable than its analogue counterpart. Of the 19, 131 married couples who took part in the survey, only 6 per cent of those who met online had gone on to be divorced, compared to 7.6 per cent of those meeting in the ‘real world’.

So not only is online dating a large and thriving market, but it’s one which is growing exponentially and looks set to keep expanding into the future. It’s no longer an embarrassing secret, it’s a mainstream activity, and as it moves into an increasing number of niche areas, it’s bound, somewhere out there, to be suitable for you and your individual speciality.

The popularity of dating websites is driven, in large part, by the lack of pressure they represent. It’s entirely up to each individual user how far, how fast and how deep they wish to go. Users can come from all age groups, all parts of society and have all manner of expectations, whether they’re looking for friendship, a brief flirtation, a lifetime of love or just a few hours laughing and chatting with like-minded individuals.

 

If you want to get involved in the supply of dating sites and are wondering where to start, the answer is to ask yourself a few vital questions:

What is your unique offer going to be?

What will make your dating site different?

Will you specialise, and if so in which arena?

Maybe you’ll construct a site targeting people of a certain age, be it the growing ‘silver surfer’ movement of older people online, young professionals, students or perhaps wealthier professionals, people like doctors, lawyers and architects.

No matter who your site is aimed at, the key to success is ease of use. As a web designer it’s all too easy to become overly absorbed in complex design ideas and the striking use of graphics. Whilst the look of your site may well be what first attracts casual visitors, the most beautiful and aesthetically innovative site in the world will fail if users find it difficult to navigate. Anyone visiting your site, especially for the first time, is going to be using all of their time and energy wondering how exactly to present themselves, and trying to capture both their personality and what, or who, it is they are looking for. Any technical issue which gets in the way of entering and storing this information, or makes it difficult to do so, is just going to frustrate would-be users and stop the experience being the fun it ought to be.

A user verification system will ensure that all of your users are totally genuine, and will also offer the reassurance that anyone they meet on the site is equally ‘for real’. User profiles should also contain all the necessary information other users will be looking for, and searching for that perfect profile should be made as simple as possible.

Here at OMdeSIGN we’ll design a dating site with the following features:

  • Profile search filters including distance, zip code, city, county, username and individual keywords.
  • An option to narrow down the geographical area of each search.
  • Quick Search forms, Advanced Search forms and the ability to save the criteria searched for.
  • Communication tools such as a mailbox and internal messaging. Above all else, a site of this kind is about easing communication. That’s why we’ve improved our user interface and made it possible to start new conversations straight from the mailbox, alongside providing auto-complete suggestions from the friends list, if you’re wondering exactly who to send that message to.
  • Photo Uploading – users may insist they’re looking for just the right personality, but trust us, a photograph is still all important.

Added extras, the kind of bonus features which will really make your site stand out, include matchmaking, a virtual gift shop, a general chat ‘Shoutbox’, the option to connect with Facebook, a profile building tool, private messenger, public chat forums and classified ads. The idea behind these extras is that you’ll be creating a one stop shop offering everything required no matter what your guests are looking for.

We know, we had you at hello, and you’d like to know how to create your dating site. With us by your side it really is simple: you provide a name and idea and we do the rest – designing your unique logo and branding and crafting a bespoke splash page to greet visitors. If you’d like to know more, just get in touch. We give you this promise – we will keep your number, and we will call back…

Why not get started with contacting our studio and we can take it from there?

Press About Us: Camden, Geek vs Chic

When it came time for OMdeSIGN to leave their Northern roots and make the transition to London they tell us that choosing to set up in Camden was a “no brainer”.

Specialising in Ecommerce, Website Design, Web Development, Copywriting and Branding OMdeSIGN need to mix technical skills with creativity and this North London borough seems like the perfect place to do that.

Mark from the firm tells us that “Camden has an almost organic pace or rhythm like no other. Just walking to work each day can give you so much inspiration. When we are ‘stuck’ all we have to do is go for a walk and come back full of new ideas!”

Aside from the obvious influential benefits of working in such a colourful postcode, the uniquely eclectic mix of surrounding businesses makes trade from neighbours exciting, in Mark’s words “Each day is like the first day on the job – you never know what awaits you. It’s felt like this from the day we opened our Camden office and it still does; that’s the real magic of this place and what makes our job so fantastically unpredictable”

Read the full story here

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5 of the best free weather apps

The British weather is renowned for its unpredictability. As a nation we’re well used to BBQing under a large golf umbrella and having to make a dash for the nearest tree when picnicking in the park. However, with a weather app on your smartphone it’s now a little bit easier to plan for any weather eventuality. Here are five of the best free apps for keeping up to date with the weather.

1Weather – Free for Android

1weather-screen

This weather app lets you look a little further ahead with an extended forecast plus all the essentials like precipitation information and real time weather updates for almost every location. It shows animated sunrise and sunset times along with lunar phases and allows you to share weather information via text, Twitter, Facebook and email. To top it all off, it features a lovely woodgrain design!

Eye in Sky – Free for Android

eye-in-the-sky

This nifty app features 12 icon sets so is a great choice for people who like to customise their apps. It gives you detailed 48 hour forecasts, the outlook for the next 15 days and all the info you need on humidity, wind speed, dew point etc.

WeatherBug – Free for Android and iPhone

weatherbug-screen

This super cool app has all the usual info you’d expect, but what really sets it apart is the live camera feed. One for those who like their apps with bells and whistles!

Yahoo Weather – Free for Android

yahoo-weather-screen

This is a great app for creative types who like their visuals. It pulls images from Flickr and matches them up to the current weather at your current location. Very cool.

Weathermob – Free for iPhone

weathermob

If you’re the type of person who likes to chat about the weather then this is the app for you. You can get talking to people in your area about the heatwave or monsoon you’re currently experiencing. Lovely design too.

And finally, a little bonus app for those who want their weather forecast in outfit form. Wevther is a Svpply-powered web app currently available in the US and should be making its way across the pond to the UK shortly.

wevther-screen

Is Pinterest really that interesting?

You may have noticed there’s a new social media darling in town. It’s called Pinterest and you’ve probably seen it popping up with increasing regularity on your Facebook feed in recent months

Pinterest has actually been around for quite a while and already has a user base of around 48 million. Interestingly, in the US the majority of the users are female aged 25-44 (accounting for 80% of its users) while in the UK the majority of the users are male aged 25-34. Female fans of the site tend to create pinboards of the home they dream of living in, or things they’d like to do, while the guys in the UK use it for blogging, marketing and SEO purposes predominantly.

Here’s how it works – you choose a theme or idea, and then simply ‘pin’ images that tie into that theme to your board. So it’s a great tool for planning weddings, decorating a room in your house or planning a new wardrobe. You can make notes, share your board with friends and followers and even re-pin things that other people have pinned to their boards – this is where the social side of Pinterest comes into play

How can you make use of Pinterest for your business?

Active involvement in Pinterest can be a great marketing tool for your business and attract new traffic to your website. Encourage pins on other people’s boards by adding a Pin button to your website, and find out if you’re already being pinned by searching for your domain name.

  • Make sure your images are really eye catching in order to create a Pinterest buzz. Standard product shots won’t be enough to pique people’s interest and get them Pinning.
  • Try and Pin on a daily basis – which probably won’t be too hard as Pinning can become pretty addictive! New things are added to Pinterest every minute so you need to make sure you’re keeping apace in order to stand out. Try and add a variety of things including pictures, videos, recipes and infographics – anything that will give your followers and customers an insight into the kinds of things you like, love and feel passionately about.
  • Make sure everything you add to your board is informative but also entertaining in some way. Pinterst is a fun, social site so people will tune out pretty quickly if your content is purely informative or too ‘marketing’ focused.
  • Try and stick to one main theme per board so that everything is relevant and well organised, but do add a variety of new Pins on a daily basis. This keeps your followers interested.

To get the best out of Pinterest you need to have time to invest in your boards, but the benefits are worth it. it’s a great way to build up a network and once you’ve generated a loyal following, you’ll have a ready audience when you have a new product or business service to promote.

OMdeSIGN Press Release: Consalia

London-based leading website design and ecommerce services agency OMdeSIGN, has designed, built and launched a dynamic new website for sales performance specialists Consalia.

The new site has significantly upgraded Consalia’s impact and presence on the web, while at the same time engaging with audiences in a simpler, more approachable way.

Consalia specialises in providing tailored sales performance improvement solutions and expert consultancy on a local and global basis to major clients such as Hertz, Hewlett Packard, Renault, Siemens and Vodaphone. The company therefore operates within a highly competitive, continuously evolving field.

The brief was to create a new website which would clearly reflect Consalia’s philosophy, values, culture and people and enable users to feel much closer to the organisation. The structure of the site would also need to enable Consalia to manage and update it on a regular basis.

OMdeSIGN’s solution focuses on using the buying cycle as the theme and taking the user on a journey by creating a natural, seamless flow to the layout of the whole site. Ease of navigation has therefore been combined with carrying the homepage style throughout to ensure the user never gets lost. Photography is also skilfully used to express culture, environment etc to increase the visual appeal of the site and not overface readers with text.

The effect is a very stylish, clean looking site that is highly impactful and almost artistic, with text layout, fonts and graphics all combining aesthetically to communicate and reflect perfectly the culture and values of Consalia.

Your Essential Checklist before launching your website. Part 2

In the excitement and rush to launch your new website it can be all too easy to overlook some very important things. Drawing on our extensive web design experience, we’ve compiled a simple at-a-glace checklist to help you optimise your website before you go live.

Pre-launch checks

6. Performance

It’s a simple fact, a faster site gets better rankings. It also reduces frustrating load times and therefore the risk of losing browsers. Services such as Google Page Speed can help you check the load time of your pages. Compressing any images or keeping them as small as possible is also a good way of improving load times.

7. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO means making your site as visible as possible to the search engines in order to get your site ranked as high as possible in the listings.

Titles and headlines – page titles and main headlines play a key role in this. You should think of them in terms of what your users will type in as their search and also to give them an immediate insight into what they can expect to find. Users will click on what they think is most relevant to their search, so put yourself in their shoes and adjust your key messages accordingly.

Keywords – good use of keywords is vital. Make sure your headlines and text include a good density of your keywords in both their singular and plural forms. But keep it natural so that it doesn’t look forced.

Image Alt-Tags – use short descriptions to make sure your site includes relevant and descriptive alt-tags.

Descriptive URLs – check the format (user/search engine friendliness) of your URLs. Your website’s URL enables search engines and users to quickly view the content of your pages.

8. Social Media Sharing Tools

Encourage your site visitors to help promote your business through social media. So before launching your website, you need to secure the name of your site on the major social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest. Also make sure you embed social media sharing tools into your site.

9. Legal considerations

Make absolutely sure that your website complies with all relevant legal considerations that pertain to your online business. Issues can include:

Data Protection and Privacy – if you capture or distribute data or use cookies, then you need a simple, clear policy. You will need to display a Data Protection statement on the relevant pages on your site together with contact details for further information.

Copyright – make sure the copyright ownership is clearly stated.

Terms and conditions – these need to be provided if you are offering a service or providing e-commerce facilities.

Company Registration Information – limited/registered companies are legally obliged to clearly display the registered company name, number and address on your website.

10. Final Tips

Web Analytics – these track visits to your site and gather valuable information about daily hits, monthly page views, time spent on site etc. The statistics not only show how well your website is performing, but can also show you where improvements can be made – for example, if key pages aren’t holding users’ attention. Google Analytics is one of the most common tracking services and you can sign up free!

Favicon – when your website is open in a user’s tab or window, a favicon is a device that brands the tab or window and is also saved with the bookmark, allowing your web pages to be quickly and easily recognised. Try saving favicon.ico in your root directory as some browsers will automatically pick up the favicon from there.

11. Tell the world!

Promote, promote, promote! Use emails, tweets, Facebook updates, friends and anyone and anything to announce the launch of your new website and drive more traffic to your site – this in itself will help in the rankings battle.

Remember, from now on your business has a 24/7 presence in the world – how good is that!

Amazing Examples of Paper Art

Cheong-ah Hwang-paper-bird

Cheong-ah-Hwang-spaper-art

Cheong-ah-Hwang-star-wars
Artist: Cheong-ah Hwang

 

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ab3dff82118d05706ae71511bff

ElsaMora

Artist: Elsa Mora

paper-cut-dress-rob-ryan

Rob Ryan Papercut Intricate Illustration Wedding Print

rob-ryan
Artist: Rob Ryan

 

 

 

hina-aoyama

Paper-Butterfly-2

Paper-Butterfly
Artist: Hina Aoyama

 

 

yuko-yamamoto-paper yuko-yamamoto-paper2
Artist: Yuko Yamamoto

 

The history of paper craft can be traced back to about thousands of years ago in China, the Chinese started to cut paper for various decorating purposes especially embroidery patterns. Today, paper designs grace galleries and museums throughout the world.

Paper art is becoming yet another exciting medium of expression for many artists. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most amazing pieces of paper art out there.

 

Making the most of your e-commerce website. Part Two.

When someone lands on your site, you want to make sure they stay for as long as possible and have a good browse around that will ultimately lead to a sale. Here are some of the techniques you can use to ensure that people using your website have a positive experience that means they’ll come back for more.

Earning trust

Many people are still a little wary about making online purchases – particularly customers in the older age bracket. The more you can reassure them that you’re a reliable enterprise and not a ‘cowboy’, the better it will be for your business. Add logos for your security certificates to your ecommerce site so that people know their details are safe, and if you are a member of any professional bodies add these logos too. And most importantly, make sure you have a landline phone number clearly listed on the site. If people feel confident that they can speak to a real person if they need to they are much more likely to make the purchase.

About us

Make sure you give people as much information about your company as you can – without rambling on for too long, obviously. Potential customers like to know who you are, why you set up the company, what your story is. All this information adds to the overall personality of the company and, again, reassures people that they are dealing with a legitimate enterprise. If you have a mission statement or particular code of ethics that you follow – share it with people. It all helps to create a positive impression.

peter-parker

Security and privacy policy

Online security has become a very important issue in recent years and many customers are still very wary when it comes to making online purchases. They need to be reassured that their private information and payment details are going to be stored securely and not used for anything else other that the purchase they have just made. Take the time to write a comprehensive security policy and never share your customers’ information with other people.

Ts&Cs

It’s important that your customers know exactly where they stand when they make a purchase and what their rights are with regards to returns and exchanges etc. Provide clear information on things like cancellation, returns, warranty, and conflict resolution. This ensures a happy shopping experience for everyone.

Contact us

People feel reassured when they can see visible contact details. Make ‘contact’ one of the main tabs on your site so that your customers know exactly where to go if they need to email or speak to you. There’s something a bit off-putting about having your contact details hidden down at the bottom of the page where people have to hunt for them. It suggests that you’d rather not be contacted and your customers will wonder why!

ecommerce-websites-contact-page

Help and FAQ

If you find that customers are asking the same questions time and again then have an FAQ page on your site where they can search for the answer to their queries. This will save you a lot of emailing time and means you can focus on other aspects of customer service. Do make sure contact details are clearly visible on the page, however, just in case your customer hasn’t found the answer to their question.

Testimonials

Endorsements from real people are a great way of reassuring customers that you do a good job or sell great products. Include real names so that customers know they are legitimate and offer some kind of thank you to people who do provide you with testimonials and allow you to use their full name.

Repeat business

Most businesses really start to thrive when they start winning loyal customers who buy repeatedly. How can you make sure that your customers return to your website again and again? Consider tools like blogs, podcasts, videos, competitions and monthly giveaways or new reviews. The more unique, fresh content you have, the more people are likely to return to your site and the better your natural search rankings will be. And don’t forget to make the most of Twitter and Facebook and update your profiles regularly.

Making the most of your e-commerce website. Part One.

Having a great range of products or services on your website is obviously one of the key factors for success. However, it’s just as important to make sure your website looks great, is easy to navigate and has a quick and easy purchasing system. When someone lands on your site, you want to make sure they stay for as long as possible and have a good browse around that will ultimately lead to a sale. Here are some of the techniques you can use to ensure that people using your website have a positive experience that means they’ll come back for more.

Usability

It’s really important that your e-commerce website is easy to navigate and browse through so that your customers know exactly where to go to find what they’re looking for. Just like a high street store, everything should be clearly sign-posted for an enjoyable shopping experience – no confusing mazes that lead you back to square one! Make sure your instructions are clear and concise and that transactions can be carried out quickly and without hassle.

ecommerce-websites-design2

Make sure your website is easy to navigate and browse through.

Clear, concise copy

In a crowded, competitive market, it’s not what you say that counts but rather the way you say it. If you don’t really have anything unique to say about your product or service then make sure you sell it in a way that’s unique and engaging. The content should be easy to read, clear and informative and provide your customers with useful information that will help them to make an informed decision.

Remember, the copy on your site plays the role of sales advisor so you need to make sure you use words and phrases that sell. It should be punchy and exciting, highlighting the key benefits of your product or service.

Don’t be afraid to inject some personality in the copy – this will help you stand out from the next website selling a similar range of products and helps the customer engage with your site and feel positive about it. Nobody likes a cold, unwelcoming atmosphere in a high street store. The same goes for your website.

In order to help with your Google rankings, you’ll need to make sure your copy is unique, so avoid just copying and pasting product information from the manufacturers. You’ll also need to make sure you are using the right keywords. For example, if you sell a range of camping equipment then your keywords will include things like ‘camping equipment’ ‘camping gear’, ‘camping essentials’ as well as individual products like ‘sleeping bag’, ‘four-man tent’ etc. Adding customer reviews and feedback will also help you add unique user-generated content which Google likes.

And finally, don’t forget to use spell-check! It might not seem hugely important but spelling mistakes and poor grammar look unprofessional and don’t make a good first impression. Get someone to proof read your copy before you publish it on the site.

ecommerce-websites-copy

The copy on your site plays the role of sales advisor so you need to make sure you use words and phrases that sell.

Great design

To paraphrase the late, great Steve Jobs – ‘design is everything.’ It doesn’t matter how wonderful your products are; if the design of your site is not professional and inviting, people will just bounce off to another one. It should be welcoming, friendly, stylish and well laid-out so that customers immediately get the sense that they’re dealing with a professional company. If you’re not a designer, you really should get someone else to take care of this side of things for you. Money spent on design is, without question, money well spent.

ecommerce-websites-design

Design of your website should be professional and inviting.

Photography

As online shopping is purely a visual experience, it’s really important that you use good quality photography. Clear, high resolution photographs that give the customer a good idea of what the product looks like will help them make the decision to ‘add to basket’. You may need to invest in a photo shoot with a professional photographer but, again, it will be money well spent.

ecommerce-websites-photography

Use good quality photography.

New EU Cookie Law – What Is The Hassle All About?

What is the cookie directive and what does it mean for you?

Legislation which relates to how you use cookies and similar technology for storing information on a user’s hardware including their computer or mobile device came into effect at the end of May 2012.

The EU cookie directive, otherwise referred to as ‘the Cookie law’, is a legislation that is meant to improve data privacy and online security by offering online users more control over what information can be held about them. The new regulation states that all web sites will be required to ask visitors for their permission to use the majority of web cookies.

The UK cookie law forces online businesses to be more transparent about the way they are using cookies, i.e. for how long they store cookies, what data is stored, before their cookies may be used to enhance website performance.

The law relates to all Member States of the European Union, however, if a website is located outside the EU, but is directed at visitors from inside the EU, they will certainly need to comply with the identical laws.

You can learn more about this on the official ICO website.

What exactly does that mean for you?

How should you deal with the changes on your website? The change in legislation means that adjustments should be made to the site to ensure that users are aware of the way to ‘opt-in’ to permitting cookies.

It will be possible for websites to use cookies without worrying about visitors consent in situations where it is absolutely necessary for them to do so for website functionality, good example would be the shopping basket on an e-commerce website.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small text files, primarily consisting of numbers and letters, which can be downloaded onto a device, whether it’s a desktop computer or a mobile phone, whenever a user visits a website. Cookies contain information regarding the visitor, and are used to keep track of their activity, remember their personal preferences and enable specific website functions.

The cookies which are kept on your device by a website, do not contain any data that can be used to identify you personally. Nevertheless, they actually do contain some information that is utilized by the website to improve your experience as a user.

Website owners use cookies for several reasons, for example, in order to: store your preferences regarding a specific website to ensure that the site can be customised according to these preferences when you return; For instance if a person suffers with reading difficulties, they may wish to view text on a website using a larger font. Enabling cookies will allow the site to recognise their preferences, which means that they won’t have to adjust font size each time they visit the website.

Cookies also play a significant part in saving user preferences such as the language that the particular website is displayed in, and storing the products that customers have added to their shopping basket.

Having cookies enabled ensures that if you have already entered a username and security password, you won’t be required to do it all over again for every single webpage that requests that information.

As you can see, enabling cookies can tremendously improve your experience when surfing around the web.

You are in control.

You are able to control cookies by adjusting the settings on your own browser. You can setup your browser to accept virtually all cookies, reject all cookies, or alert you each time a cookie is set. Should you reject all cookies, however, you will not be able to make the most of the Web Services.

By performing a complete cookie audit of your website you can be ahead of the game. If you are concerned about your website contact OMdeSIGN for more information.

Top Tips For Choosing A Web Design Company

You’ll find numerous website design agencies to choose from, therefore it’s essential to choose one that is going to be perfect for you and your business. A website designer can do more than simply construct a couple of pages based on your brief. They’ll help you outline, design and produce a website that should best suit your visitors. Aside from creating the ‘front end’ of your website, services that website designers can provide include things like:

Copywriting

Ensuring that the text and photographs on your website catch the attention and engage site visitors. Correctly translating your brand to the web making certain that the values and personality of your business come across loud and clear. Website content is immensely important, not only for your clients, but to make sure your website show up high in search engine results.

Redesigning your corporate identity

or assisting you to create one, if this is something you don’t have already.

Search engine optimisation

Ensuring that your website ranks high up in search results. Choosing a search engine optimisation services allows you to optimize the content of your site to ensure that it shows up prominently in search results.

Bespoke Web Development

This will likely include things like content management system and e-commerce solutions.

Your budget as well as the scope of your project will certainly determine what services you will require, plus it’s important to clarify these together with your selected web design company right away.

When setting up a shortlist of website designers you can consider web sites that appeal to you, they don’t have to represent your market, and see who’s created them; in most cases this is indicated in the footer area of the website.

Website designers of all sizes with satisfied customers will have their work presented on their own web sites. This can be the best indicator of whether the agency will have the ability deliver the results, however do make certain they were sufficiently involved with that site’s development. Once you have put together a list of website designers, you can then ask them to provide you with a web design proposal that will allow you to decide if the agency will fit your company.

Usually, it’s been highly recommended for companies to put detailed requirements together prior to hiring a designer. However many businesses won’t always realize what they or their potential customers are looking for, even if they believe they do.

At the very least, prior to hiring the agency you ought to have a clear idea regarding:

  • Your corporate identity/brand
  • Your competitors as well as the character of your business
  • What your customers require, or at best what you may perceive those requirements to be
  • Generally, what you believe a brand new website should accomplish for your visitors

You should additionally have an idea of:

  • Your timescales
  • Your budget

Our top tips when choosing between website design proposals:

Don’t immediately be taken aback if the designer’s proposal features a initial design before you’ve even got the website off the ground. It could appear impressive, however the reason you’re hiring a professional web design company is to establish a design that will be perfect for the needs of your visitors, rather than use one that merely looks nice.

Don’t always go low-cost

the agency may be undercutting competition to be able to attract new customers, however it won’t automatically deliver value in the long run.

Listen to your intuition

Ask yourself if you are able to have a good working relationship with these people? If the design agency can easily commune its points in plain English, this is a very good start. Choose an agency you’ll get along with… not only before the website commences, but beyond.

Whether you intend to develop a completely new website or improve an existing one, choosing the best suited London website design company is essential. It can be a good idea to base your choice on a combination of such aspects as experience, agency’s portfolio of previous projects, and services provided to market your website.

Trendspotting: What’s hot and what’s not in 2012?

Some of the trends for 2012, including shopping trend to buy anywhere and any-way, Indian E-commerce, app overload, growing concerns over cloud and mobile security, and interactive screens infiltrating our retail and restaurant experiences…

Anywhere, any-way shopping

As e-commerce (electronic commerce) and brick-and-mortar retailing integrate and overlap, shopping will entail simply clicking-buying products from a PC or mobile device – and then collecting the order at a physical location or having it immediately delivered. Multichannel buying will be faster and streamlined, with less time in lines and shorter waits for online shoppers…

PPL love us: Global Ocean Charity

OMdeSIGN received a testimonial from Global Ocean, a London based marine conservation charity and it said the following:

There are many people in the field of designing websites so to find a great company to go with can be like finding a rare breed of turtle in a whole ocean. We were lucky in the sense that we had helping us a person who had a refined eye for good website design so when we were putting out our website brief to various companies, she was able to advise us.

Thanks to this early advice and the fact that we very much liked what we saw of Omdesign’s work, along with their easy and professional manner, we put our trust and faith in their hands. It turned out to be well placed and we are delighted with the exact mix of creativity and clarity that Omdesign gave to our new website. They followed the brief exactly and continue to play a supportive and advisory role today…

The team at OMdeSIGN would like to thank Global Ocean for such a nice testimonial.

Read more about this website, or read more testimonials.

Our New Website!

Finally it’s here; the OMdeSIGN re-vamped and re-charged website! Yes, we know it’s been a long time coming; we were just simply far too busy using up all of our creative energy on our growing base of amazing customers!
As sweet as things have been, we like to keep things brand new. For us the time had come to jazz up and redefine ourselves once again. Our fantastic team put in some serious hard work after-hours to make our funky new look possible.

With some brilliant new things to offer, the new site is all we’d hoped it would be, strengthening our brand essence to create an even louder and clearer message for our visitors. We’ve also added some great case studies and an integrated blog platform.

We really hope you enjoy using the new site and finding your way around. If you’ve got something to say about our new look, as always we’d love to hear from you!
OMdeSIGN has come a long way this year, and this is the icing on the cake; a design by our team, for our company, with three key features; distinctive, intuitive and compelling.

Just a note to let you all know that the Omdesign office has moved. We are now located in Camden.

PPL love us: City of London CLF

OMdeSIGN received a testimonial from City of London Central London Forward (CLF) and it said the following:

I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending the services of OMdeSIGN. Marek, Ola and their team are consummate professionals: efficient, helpful and exacting.

Everyone has a vision of what their website might look like when they embark on this kind of project. OMdeSIGN will help you translate and actualise that vision with their technical expertise and artistic flair but they also know how to take a step back and let you guide the creative process.

Their customer service is also beyond excellent. If you have a question they will answer it. If you have a problem they will fix it. If you don’t like that particular shade of red they will mix it with whatever colour of the rainbow it needs until it is perfect.

In short they will treat your project with the same dedication and integrity that you would give it yourself.

The team at OMdeSIGN would like to thank CLF for such a lovely testimonial and we look forward to working with you again in the future.

To read more about this project please click here

7 reasons why you should choose OMdeSIGN

 

1: We’ll make you look great!

After all, isn’t that what you care about the most? Our work speaks for itself. We strive to give each customer the kind of first class service they expect and deserve.

2: Customer Service.

A happy customer always means more and better business, so we try to make the completion of your web site an enjoyable experience. We specialise in giving our customers the kind of consistent, friendly, personalised service. We keep you informed at every step of the design process.

3: Price

We offer high quality work matched by a superior customer service at a reasonable price. Experience tells us that large companies charge two or three times our rates.


4: OMdeSIGN has been recognized by many of the leading web design publications.

OMdeSIGN London has been awarded and recognized by The Pixel Makers, Web Design Index, Graphic Orgasm, Big Mag, Free Oops, Pages Think. OMdeSIGN is an outstanding solution for website design.

5: OMdeSIGN can help you with all your design needs.

In addition to outstanding website design, we can also create for you printing materials. As with our website design service, you can expect remarkable quality. If you would like to discuss any of your design needs, just contact us.

6: You have nothing to lose.

We’ll work tirelessly to get you a website you’ll love.

7: Finally …

We love what we do and we have a lot of fun doing it! So, if you want quality web development, delivered on time from a company which truly values its clients, please contact us.