Bespoke is best

Well, we would say that, wouldn’t we? But here’s why. Because it takes the average site user less than 50 milliseconds to form an opinion on the quality of your site.

50 milliseconds… Good news if your site’s looking good: not so good if it’s not, as the user is then likely to transfer that opinion of your site to its content. It’s known as the ‘halo effect’, where the ripples of positivity you created with a beautifully designed website are transferred to all of your content and your competency; in fact, by now, you’d have to go out of your way to put them off.

Categories: Web Design

e-blueprint’s Top 5 Plugins

As part of our commitment to promote open-source systems, we are providing some of the key plugins to help you get your business moving forward. This is in response to a blog we referenced not long ago by ‘enfuzed’ detailing what they thought were the top 10 WordPress plugins. So we thought we put our opinion out there too! Here’s part one of our run down of WordPress plugins.

1. All in One SEO Pack by Michael Torbert

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About:
This is a SEO plugin that automatically includes all the required tags to optimize your WordPress blog for search engines. The plugin has a huge set of functions to make your SEO work more effective. The plugin has gained popularity because it is easy to use, flexible and very effective. WordPress website owners have seen tremendous results once they’ve installed this plugin into their websites, since it’s loved by search engines. Customizing and configuring the plugin is very easy and user friendly. If you are a newbie to WordPress, you won’t have to access any advanced options since when installed, it comes equipped with fantastic default settings, which suit most needs. Advanced users who want to customize it can do so with the friendly GUI section, a background in PHP coding isn’t necessary, it’s very simple. The fact is, this plugin fulfils all its intended functions extremely well.
WordPress rating: 3.8 / 5

We think:
“This plugin has all standard functionality required for basic on-page optimisation. There are advanced server settings, features and configurations that allow us to fully optimise a website, a rare thing amongst many content management systems out there today. We’ve been using this plugin for over 5 years. An example of how this can be used effectively is outlined in our recent case study”:
MyUniApplication Case Study
e-blueprint rating:  4.6 / 5

2. NextGEN Gallery by photocrati

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About:
NextGEN Gallery is the most popular WordPress gallery plugin, and one of the most popular WordPress plugins of all time, with over 7.5 million downloads. It provides a powerful engine for uploading and managing galleries of images, with the ability to batch upload, import meta data, add/delete/rearrange/sort images, edit thumbnails, group galleries into albums, and more. It also provides two front-end display styles (slideshows and thumbnail galleries), both of which come with a wide array of options for controlling size, style, timing, transitions, controls, lightbox effects, and more. It’s simple, reliant and flexible, perfect for any website that needs a gallery.
WordPress rating: 4.1 / 5

We think:
“e-blueprint used this on a recent website we designed and developed for a professional photographer, Matthew Rycraft. You can see the plugin in action here”: http://www.matthewrycraft.co.uk/
e-blueprint rating:  4.8 / 5

3. Really Simple CAPTCHA by Takayuki Miyoshi

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About:
A CAPTCHA is a short online typing test that is easy for humans to pass but difficult for robotic software programs. The purpose of a CAPTCHA is to discourage hackers and spammers from using auto-filling software programs at that web page. Really Simple CAPTCHA achieves this with outstanding results, websites we have used contact forms on along with this plugin have stopped receiving spam and so the plugin fits its purpose perfectly.
WordPress rating: 4.5 / 5

We think:
“This plugin does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s extremely easy to use and never has any trouble with updates, top quality. You can see it in use on one of our recent websites we designed and developed for a skin clinic”:
http://www.theskinandhairclinic.co.uk/book-hair-consultation/
e-blueprint rating: 5 / 5

4. Safe Redirect Manager by Taylor Lovett

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About:
Safe Redirect Manager is used to redirect URL’s to current URL’s that are in use. Safe Redirect Manager makes this process easy in WordPress. The plugin doesn’t seem to conflict with any particular themes and actually looks like it is part of WordPress’ default interface which a lot of plugins similar to it, do not seem to do. You simply click on the title, type in the old URL and then the new one in the following input box and VOILA.
WordPress rating: 5 / 5

We think:
“It’s that user friendly, it seems like it’s already part of the WordPress interface. Why choose any other plugin, when this does the job perfectly, and doesn’t make the job any harder than it’s already meant to be? URL’s get directed instantly.”
e-blueprints rating: 5 / 5

5. Contact Form Database By Michael Simpson

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About:
Contact Form Database makes it possible for the user of the website to access any type of form submission in the back end of WordPress. It works in conjunction with popular form plugins, JetPack Contact Form, Contact Form 7 (CF7) and Fast Secure Contact Form (FSCF) plugin. Other form submissions can be saved with the addition of the [cfdb-save-form-post] short code on the target submission page.
WordPress rating: 4.8 / 5

We think:
“Many of our clients have want the feature of accessing their form submissions in WordPress, this plugin makes this possible. Forms are stored in an organized layout, which makes it easy for clients to retrieve the information and not miss anything crucial.”
e-blueprint rating: 4.8 / 5

If you are interested in finding out how we can develop a website that works for your business please e-mail nick.taylor@e-blueprint.co.uk. Or read on and review the rest of our autumn newsletter here and relating articles here:

- Competition winner ‘Get Healthy’
- Tipografic – the largest UK printer gets a revamp
- Web domain ownership
- Get mobile for 2014
- Cool blue inspiration

Categories: Web Design Web Development

Presenting Partner: Liverpool International Tennis

intllogoWe were delighted to win the opportunity to work with Northern Vision and be recognised as the official partner and deliver the branding, marketing materials, website and e-communications.

Anders Borg told us, “We deliver World Class tennis players to Liverpool each year. e-blueprint has delivered us a service to match. They have created the new face of the International’s branding, helped smooth the transition to a new venue and through their creativity and ability to hit continuously demanding deadlines. Their work has proven to be a key cornerstone of this year’s campaign”.

Our experience in managing an event of this size has been one of the highlights of the year. We’ve previously worked with Sandown Park Racecourse  and developed other tennis websites like Mersey Bowmen Tennis Club and the Liverpool Tennis Foundation and its been particular good to continue to work in a sport we love. When we took the call from the Northern Vision team we were engaged to help raise the profile of the event and secure more bookings. e-commerce & lead generation is fundamental to work we do for our clients, combined with our impressive track record delivering large branding and digital marketing this project drew on our core skill set and enabled our team to showcase a range of creative design and digital marketing techniques we employ.

Brand Development

We were engaged to deliver new branding that would energise the Liverpool International Tennis Tournament but also the portfolio of International Tournaments in Norway and Spain. The brand created, provided a flexible structure to accommodate various title sponsors and venues over time and new locations around the world.

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We were previously involved in delivering the Liverpool Tennis Foundation branding and website which offer us the opportunity to appeal to kids and bring a little ‘cool’ to tennis in the city.

Screen shot 2014-06-02 at 10.56.09 Click here to read more about this project…

Venue launch

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The change of venue from Calderstones Park to the Liverpool Cricket Club needed to be managed with care. We developed an iconic symbol to represent this year’s tournament and something for the public to associate to the new brand. This was backed by the ‘It’s not just Cricket.. it’s Tennis’ slogan to re-enforce and announce the new iconic venue across a series of billboard advertisements.

Venue launch – Press conference:

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One of the UK’s big doubles hope for the next few years are Liverpool’s own Skupski brothers! They launched the new venue and e-blueprint provided the design work for all print literature, and TV press backdrops.  The banners developed the ‘Its just not Cricket” theme  and the press backdrop detailed this year’s sponsors.

Marketing materials

In the lead up to the four day tournament, Liverpool One’s Chavasse Park is transformed and a full sized tennis court in brought in for the festival of tennis over two weeks. We’ve created a series of marketing materials, including flags, digital banners and posters for this event which precedes the tennis Gala dinner and a range of other flyers and promotions including; posters across the city, plasma screen adverts for Liverpool One, magazine and newspaper adverts, flags, advertising hoardings and billboards. Special attention has been given to the tournament’s programme and VIP tickets and materials.  Special praise needs to go to our design team, David and Rich who worked tirelessly to make sure all the design for print was delivered on time and to specification. Tournament printers, WildThang were also fantastic with their flexibility and support.

New online presence

The launch of the new Liverpool International Tennis website has been one of the most exciting aspects of this year’s campaign. We revitalised the website with some beautiful hand drawn illustrations over some of Liverpool’s most iconic buildings to present the world class players (these are now seen across all of the social media platforms Twitter and Facebook). The website is now accessible on all mobile devices by re-sizing and responding to the size of the device used. The design and architecture of the website has been developed to help drive ticket sales, it is more focussed on tennis fans and gives people a much better feel for the tournament, its history as well as all the vital information such as the Tournament’s history and ‘how to get here’. It is a modern attractive design that appeals to all ages of tennis fans and helps represent and position sponsors.

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Event Manager Viktoriya Sabotinova told us : “e-blueprint are digital marketing agency that is the right balance of experience and fresh new ideas, their designers, web developers and online promotional team combine well and service our very demanding schedule. They have the right approach, fit our tournament ethos well and understand what we’re about. Sponsors and tennis fans alike are getting a great feel for the event and the cohesive branding across all printed materials and online is really bringing a new level of professionalism across everything promote publicly. We look forward to the next two year’s working with them”.

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Does anything sound more mundane than a website audit?

WebAuditBlog3_09A web audit might not get your pulse racing but the results will. Probably why its ignored more often than not but a website audit is actually one of the most powerful and easy exercises to undertake for your business. It provides you a blueprint to develop a strategic approach to engage your customers. It will identify how you talk to your customers, what you are actually saying, the impression people gain, what works well, is designed well, difficult to use, looks out of place or complements your key messages. Its how you engage people online and the hub of all your marketing activity.

With these key issues factored in we are able to appraise and offer solutions based on:

  • First impressions of your Branding & Website’s design
  • Identifying key messages
  • Best use of media and how to deliver key messages
  • Key communications getting your point across in your blog and written content
  • Usability: How easy people can access content or perform a task like ‘complete a form’ or buy from your online shop.
  • Accessibility, how does the website function for users with limited sight, or accessing via a mobile phone?
  • Are there any barriers to being found in Google or obvious routes to the top!
  • Are you converting the visitors to your website?

Austin-Smith:Lord’s Partner Archtiect, Maggie Mullan told us:

“e-blueprint, audited our websites and looked at all the key aspects of the look, feel, how its promoted online and how customers could perceive it and what devices  they use to access it. This gives us a roadmap for the continued development of our website and enables us to better find the people looking for us online and develop ways to engage them when they arrive.”

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Branding and website design. Strong branding that works on the website should inform the website’s design. Consistency of use across fonts, headings, sub heading body text are all important aspects of information architecture and the ability of users to know they are in the right place dealing with professionals.

The use of space and appropriate media, video, imagery is all important to have a cohesive feel and not bolted on overtime because that does show and research shows people make a decision about you and your business from your website in the first few moments.

WebAuditBlog3_06Key communications come from choosing the right media and message for your audience. Research your target audience and make sure your website is communicating the key messages your customers will understand. More often than not, technical and sector specific language is used across the website which might roll off your tongue but is foreign language to the average punter! Your website visitors have taken the time out to find you the least you can do is make that content easy to read and absorb, not just in language but in design layout and tell them exactly what you want them to do. People love a push in the right direction…

WebAuditBlog3_14Usability and accessibility in design & function is often one of the most overlooked aspects of making a website work for people. Designers can produce designs that look great but when it comes down it are hard to use and interact with. Designing with users in mind is a skill set that requires experience, website standards and user testing. There’s no quick route through this but e-blueprint are able to identify the major stumbling blocks your users might find when trying to complete a certain task.

Accessibility a close cousin but often pushed into the corner as it effects ‘so few people’ but with visual impairment effecting 2 million people in the UK and 10 million with some form of hearing loss, accessibility is a major aspect affecting the population. With the advent of mobile use – accessibility becomes more important.  Differing types of tablet device and mobile enabled websites has brought accessibility back into the limelight but more often than not overlooked. Accessibility audits will offer your customers a better experience… but also the biggest blind user on the Internet, Google! Google’s robot is blindly working its way through your website and its content and if there are road blocks, your site’s rankings will be downgraded because of it.

WebAuditBlog3_11Your face-to-face meetings, your marketing expenditure, SEO, your conversations on social media etc usually lead back to one central hub, your website. How you track visitor interactions and how they engage with you thereafter needs to be monitored and reviewed in light of the all the design, function, usability and accessibility. Engaging people to stay on your website is key, the ability to interact with them and develop that prospect into a customer is the key aspect of conversion optimisation. Smooth the flow of your sales pipeline with e-blueprint’s website audit.

Please get in touch with one our experts today.

 

 

 

 

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Insentif’s Virtual Trainer: Workout App

 

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Project brief:

From the start of this project we felt this was going to be a great website. Our challenge was to develop a website that incorporated a personalised virtual fitness application for mobile users. We are tasked with producing a dynamic fitness and nutritional advice system as part of fitness programmes devised by the fitness team and include an e-commerce facility to help drive sales of supplements.

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Project Requirements:

Managing Director Richard Cornell had a vision for a highly interactive website that would be used by his clients and support their needs. Insentif required an interactive website that his fitness clients would be able to use and detail progress of how to develop their fitness over time.

“One of our clients recommended e-blueprint to us as they had just recently had their website revamped by them and were pleased with the results. Once contacting Nick, the MD at e-blueprint, we set up an initial meeting outlining our requirements and instantly I had the impression that we were going to get a great product as his ideas for our website really impressed. It was clear that they were experts in this field and could cater for whatever type of website/application we required. “

Website development:

IPhone_5S_Blackv2We developed a state-of-the-art content management system with some great features including:

  • Scrolling homepage design to key features
  • A set of icons to help guide users to their category
  • e-commerce for product sales
  • Membership area
  • Personalised virtual fitness planner
  • Fitness planner and booking facility
  • Social commenting and interaction for publicised fitness programmes

The aim was to add value to Insentif’s clients’ membership by developing a continual bespoke fitness programme for every member to achieve their goals. In addition to this, new content for how best to use the equipment and fitness programmes was put in place. The fitness programmes are developed by Insentif’s expert gym instructors along with their Fitness and Wellbeing trainers in conjunction with customers.

Richard gave us useful opinions on how he and his team felt about the design process we undertook together and how the project developed:

Branding and design

“Throughout the whole design process we were in constant contact as they wanted to make sure each aspect was approved. When there was something we wanted changing, the guys at e-blueprint were happy to oblige. This made you feel comfortable when making suggestions and asking questions as no idea was ever forced on you, they would offer their advice and if you liked it (which most of the time we did) you took it, if not we would start again.”

Managing a content management system

“Once we got to the final stages of completing the website I was invited down to their offices to go over the layout and be shown how to make adjustments once it went live. All of the employees are very helpful and knowledgeable, and these visits helped enormously in getting my ideas for the website across. The guys there also showed me how to edit, add, and remove content from the website, this means I can operate my website exactly how I would like and I don’t need to be constantly asking for their help once it was completed.”

Go-live, support, and maintenance

“Since the website has gone live, I have needed their help adjusting a few things I was unsure about and they are quick to respond and solve the problem. I am very pleased with how the website has turned out and I enjoyed the whole experience of putting it together. Overall, the website has turned out much better than I had hoped it would be before I started looking at it to be changed and I would definitely recommend e-blueprint to anyone who is looking to get a premium looking website.”

Review the Insentif website here >>

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