The latest news and updates from Brass Tacks Web Design, including new websites, features and offerings available to organisations and individuals.
Autoplaying Media - A Bad Idea
Tuesday 12 January 2016
Some of my clients are in the creative industries and occasionally require audio or video media on their website. This can sometimes lead to a discussion about the wisdom (or otherwise) of playing media automatically as soon as the page loads.
This is regarded by many people as poor web design and something that should be avoided. It's regarded as obtrusive and distracting, not to mention downright rude. When someone visits a web page they're usually expecting passive content - words and images. Automatically playing unsolicited sound or video may be inappropriate for their environment - it might be the middle of the night, or they may be at work or in a library. They may be listening to their own music, so your unwelcome intervention might not be appreciated. By suddenly playing your favourite song or a helpful video you're showing disrepect for the visitor, not only to their setting but their bandwidth. Many will quickly seek out the pause button, or if they can't quickly find it, the back button, which means they're leaving your website.
In all such cases the user should have control. By all means offer them the content but allow them to choose when to play it.
Microsoft Ends Support For IE10 & Earlier
Wednesday 9 December 2015
Microsoft is ending all support for Internet Explorer other than the latest version 11.
If you are running version 7, 8, 9 or 10 of Microsoft's browser, you should upgrade to version 11 or an alternative browser, such as Firefox or Chrome.
More information cane be found by following the link below.
Tuesday 17 November 2015
Brass Tacks Web Design provide content management services for a number of our theatrical and music clients.
For a regular fee we update and maintain the content of their websites.
This can be useful for clients who are too busy or do not have the in-house skills to update the websites themselves.
We keep their websites and databases updated with news and information on events. For our theatrical clients this can include information on upcoming productions, auditions and galleries of production photos (we provide photogrfaphic services too!). We also run websites for music festivals and musicians and similarly provide updates for events and other content.
Information is either provided by the client as and when, or we can request content at regular intervals.
This service isn't limited to just our own websites. If you have a site that you're struggling to keep updated, we can help you out.
If you'd like to find out more about how we can help keep your website up to date, why not contact us.
Responsive Web Design
Wednesday 25 March 2015
Ever since the web was established in the early nineties it has been evolving, with new features, functionality and capabilities being added.
One of the most important developments of recent years has been Responsive Web Design. Websites that use responsive design adapt to the device they're being viewed on - be it a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
It's easy to forget that tablets have been with us barely five years and the widespread use of smartphones is also very recent. In this short period of time these devices have increasingly been used to visit websites. Many of these sites will have been designed and built to be viewed on desktop or laptop screen, in the days when very few mobile devices were being used to browse the web.
With responsive design, layouts adapt to varying screen sizes and text becomes readable on small screens. Links and menus can be sized such that they can be selected using a finger rather that a pointing device. Overall the experience on mobile devices is much improved.
We now design all our websites to be used on mobile and desktop devices. In addition we can modify your existing website to be mobile-friendly, either based on the existing design or a completely new look.
If you'd like to find out more about how we can help you with a mobile friendly website just contact us.
Resizing Images For The Web
Tuesday 28 October 2014
We have a number of clients who buy webspace from us and maintain their own websites.
On a few occasions these clients have quickly used up their webspace allowance by uploading full sized images, such as high resolution images from a digital camera. These images use a significant amount of disk space and are typically far larger than those you would normally use on a website. Not only do they use up webspace but they also waste bandwidth when visitors visit a site, escpcially if they are mobile users on a data plan.
In layman's terms, a full sized digital image from a camera would typically occupy an area over four times that of an entire dektop monitor, and over nine times the area of a laptop screen. For this reason, images need to be resized for web use.
There are any number of tools available to resize images, but our favourite is Irfanview, a free image editing application available from www.irfanview.com. Using Irfanview you can quickly and easily downsize images for web use.
A typical image from a 12 megapixel camera will be over 4000 pixels wide whereas for web use you probably wouldn't want anything over 1000 pixels wide - the width of many fixed width web pages. This will use up less web space and download a lot quicker.
The Difference Between Web Hosting and Domain Names
Saturday 27 September 2014
Some people are unclear about the difference between websites, web hosting and domain names.
Building a website involves creating a collection of computer files containing code and images that makes up the design and content of your website. For anyone to be able to access you website, these files need to be stored on a web server, or host, connected to the internet. Therefore web hosting is the process of providing space on a server where you can host your website.
However, to make your website easily accessible, you'll need a name for your site. A domain name is a web address that can be used for a website, email and other services accessed over the internet. You register a domain name with a registrar and then configure that domain name to point to the server that hosts your website.
Quite often a domain registrar will provide you with both a domain name and web hosting, but you can just as easily get them from different providers.
Lost Touch With Your Web Designer?
Wednesday 20 August 2014
A number of our clients have come to us after losing touch with their original web designer.
In cases such as ths we can often work with your existing web host or migrate your site to our own server.
We can take your existing site and update it to your requirements or provide an updated site, either based on your existing design or provide an entirely new design.
We can also add a content management system to your existing site so that you can update the content yourself.
So, if your site needs some love after being neglected or needs a refresh, why not get in touch for a friendly iscussion about your options and the costs involved. I might be a lot easier than you think.
Wednesday 4 June 2014
People and organisations often use social networking and directory sites to publicise events, but for larger corporate or family events you might want a dedicated site.
Brass Tacks Web Design can provide you with an affordable website for your event - be it a conference, wedding, festival or exhibition.
We can provide registrations, schedules, location details, downloads and a whole lot more for your event website, be it a one-off or recurring event.
To find out more just contact us for a chat about how we can help promote your event.
Website Launched For Ware Operatic
Monday 19 May 2014
At the end of April our new website for Ware Operatic went online.
The site features ten pages, including a production database with slideshows of past shows, news pages and a members' area.
The content management system allows users to add and modify their own news stories, either for the public website or just for the members' area.
The home pages highlights forthcoming shows and two selected past productions, with call-to-action links for new members and a mailing list.
New Top Level Domains
Saturday 22 March 2014
Over the next couple of years a large number of new gTLDs will become available. Now, you may be wondering what on earth a gTLD is. Well, up to now we only have 22, such as .com, .org, .net, to name but three of the best known. They are the bit that comes at the end of a domain name. A gTLD is a Generic Top Level Domain, as opposed to a Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLD), such as .uk, .de or .fr (for United Kingdon, French and German domains).
In the coming months and years, those familiar gTLDs will be joined by new ones, such as .baker, .butcher and .guru, along with around 600 other new suffixes.
So, you might be asking yourself - why this is happening? What's the point?
The answer is that the web is simply running out of names. With ten of thousands of domain names being registered every day, there are now over a quarter of a billion domain names in use. Businesses, organisations and individuals are having to choose ever longer domain names. Introducing new top level domains opens up a whole new world of names to choose. This presents both opportunties and challenges; and commentators have differering opinions on the wisdom of introducing so many new domain name variants.
Imagine you're a baker in Hertford named Bridens. The domain names bridens.com and bridens.co.uk have both been registered by other people, as have bridonsbaker, bridonsbakers, bridons-baker and bridons-bakers. The business could opt for variants such as bridonsbakershertford.com (or .co.uk), but that's an awful lot for a signwriter to put on the side of a van and not the most memorable of names. Suppose the business had the opportunity to have a website at www.bridons.baker? That would be much easier. The downside of course would be that if you own the website at www.bridonsbakers.com, you might not welcome the confusion and/or competition. This of course is the challenge. To protect a brand you might be faced with the need to register so many more domain names to take in all the additional new endings. Whilst registering a .com here and a .co.uk there might not be too costly, a host of new additional gTLDs to register and keep and eye on may become more taxing.
Whilst the new top level domains are a gift to domain registrars and cybersquatters (people who simply buy domain names to sell them on at inflated prices), businesses and organisations have to make a decision about whether or not to protect their brands and identities by registering the new names - something that could prove costly.
There are also those who say that many people find websites using search engines and not domain names, so the value and length of a domain name has less relevence. Others suggest that the existing gTLDs are so familiar that people will not warm to new ones, and that's assuming that Joe Public will even have heard about them. One can point to the takeup of .biz, .info and .mobi as an example of how the adoption of new top level domains can be slow.
Despite the marketing hype, even scaremongering, behind the new gTLDs, many people are advocating a wait and see attitude as to whether or not to invest in one of the new domains, and this is the attitude we're adopting at Brass Tacks.