Digital Menu Board Content Creation

The Benefit of Digital Menu Boards

The foundation of a successful digital menu board strategy is quality content. The last few years have seen tremendous adoption of digital signage in the quick-service restaurant arena. Traditional printed menu boards are slowly being replaced by the high-resolution digital menu boards. These new types of boards offer many benefits to both the company and its consumers; however, most of them are markedly underutilized - especially in their content.

Some of the most widely cited benefits of Digital Menu Boards are:

Clarity of Decision Making

Digital menu boards provide customers with rich and vibrant displays that are more eye-catching than static menu boards. Also, the digital aspect comes into play when restaurant owners with extensive menus require less wall ‘real estate’ to display what they serve. This allows customers to be able to see all menu items and make an informed purchase decision, enhancing their experience at the restaurant.

Positive Customer Experience

Digital menu boards not only give restaurants the flexibility of easy menu changes, but the displays are more visually appealing to customers. QSRs can create a positive brand experience by showcasing nutritional information that is becoming increasingly important in a customer’s purchase decision. Having digital menu boards also instills a perception of technology leadership in the minds of today’s technology savvy consumer.

Unified Brand Experience

With mobile and kiosk integration, digital menu boards provide a unified brand experience to the customer. Digital menu boards, mobile websites, and kiosk interfaces can be made to look the same so customers don’t feel lost when dealing with the restaurant through different mediums. The seamless integration between these mediums provides consistent messaging across multiple customer touchpoints and the brand doesn’t skip a beat with menu and other content changes.

Other Reasons:

  • Boost the success of promotional items
  • Easily accommodate new nutritional info requirements
  • Decrease your printing costs
  • Quickly adjust to price changes and menu additions
  • Reduce long lines and wait times with better menu presentation
  • Improve operational efficiency
  • Deliver employee messaging while the store is closed

Your Digital Menu Board Content Matters

As anyone who has implemented one of these items into the field can attest, the heart of any successful digital menu board is the content. More specifically it is the promotions that can increase your profits. Digital menu board technology gives you the opportunity to change your promotions frequently, thereby keeping them fresh for your customers. This is what helps drive increases in revenues.

Customer profiles can change dramatically during different dayparts and digital menu boards need to adapt with relevant content. For example, the early morning commuter preparing for their day at the office has different needs compared to the college student visiting the restaurant for a late-night snack. Developing different content for each daypart is a good way to start and get maximum benefit out of the technology. Quick-service restaurants need to be mindful of their overall objectives and goals in developing their content strategy for digital menu boards.

However, all too often we see digital menu board systems in place where the content never gets updated - it becomes old and stale. This happens because after the initial excitement of installing a new digital menu board system, the restaurant operator moves on to other tasks that need attention. And where are these new promotions supposed to come from anyway? Most restaurant owners lack the staff (and especially the necessary skillset) needed for creating and updating content on a digital menu board system. Certainly the restaurant operator would have to pay someone to do this. So nothing gets done. Conversely, many menu board owners become frustrated because the company that installed their screens are difficult to get updates from, the cost of their content creation is quite high, or they are not able to offer a truly innovative product or design.

Now this wonderful investment that is designed to drive sales and increase profits is conveying a negative branding image to your customers.

Consumers Are Savvy

It should go without saying that consumers are becoming increasingly savvy and discerning, especially in regards to technology. Simply having an electronic menu on display is no longer enough to engage your audience, especially if the screens frequently go down or the content isn't memorable enough. Digital menu boards are the future, and if your competitor has a better screen and menu board design, they are going to have an advantage - certainly in a society that so highly values strong marketing initiatives.

This is where Mediaura can help your business.

While we still offer our ProBuilder Digital Signage Software, we recognize that some other companies have opted to try a different solution yet are not getting the most out of their investment. This is why we are now offering our custom Digital Signage Content Creation services to businesses directly. Mediaura is often solicited by other menu board service providers to create custom digital menu board content for their clients. However, now companies will be able to contact us directly for our services, eliminating additional costs and helping to lower their overhead - while obtaining fully customized digital signage content for their stores. This will allow operators to continue using their legacy system while allowing more fresh and up-to-date content to be pushed to their screens.

Digital Signage Content Creation Is Our Specialty

Digital Signage Software

Why trust Mediaura with your digital media content?

Simply put, we are one of the forefathers of the industry - patenting software solutions, implementing digital signage solutions, and innovating the technology for over a decade.

Our commitment to quality service and excellence is qualified by our clients' loyalty to our products. Nearly all of our clients have been using our solutions since day one with complete customer satisfaction.

Mediaura's quick-turnaround-time makes sure that your screens are refreshed as often as you prefer, giving you an edge over your competition that you can afford.

Contact Mediaura today to learn how we can start helping you increase sales and elevate your brand through enhanced digital signage content.

Lindsay Ramser

Welcome to the Team Lindsay!

Mediaura is proud to announce the arrival of team member, Lindsay Ramser. She joins Mediaura as our newest dedicated Account Executive. While we've been spending the past week getting to know Lindsay, we thought you should have the opportunity as well!

You're stranded on a deserted island, what three things do you bring to pass the time?

I guess I would be practical and bring a tarp, matches and a radio. Wait, the radio probably wouldn't work. A guitar! I don't know how to play, but I would have plenty of time to learn!

What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?

I used to be in the circus. It was a local circus but we traveled all over the state and did acrobatics and trapeze. I was a gymnast. We did tons of running, tumbling, and tricks.

What song (or album) do you listen to when you want to feel motivated?

Probably the Red Hot Chili Peppers, "By The Way."

The food you can always been depended on to eat?

Steak, Filet.

What movie has made you laugh the most?

Anchorman

Name one thing that you can't live without.

Television.

Any particular shows?

Crime mysteries, DIY (do-it-yourself) Network - all of their shows!

How do you like to spend your free time?

Laughing. I love to laugh and have fun. I love comedy, funny movies, funny television or just hanging out with my hilarious friends. Stand-up comedy is always good too.

What is your favorite color?

Light blue, but my favorite color to wear is black.

Finally, what has been the best part of working at Mediaura so far?

How friendly and fun everyone is here. It makes all of the learning fun as well!

Now Contact Lindsday To Learn More About Mediaura.

Lindsay has a strong background in sales and marketing, and is here to answer any questions or inquiries you may have about our services or software packages.

She may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Secure Cloud Hosting

Why Cheap Hosting Is Not Always The Best Choice

We are often asked what the difference is between a budget hosting versus Mediaura's Secure Cloud Hosting solution.

While every business likes to save money, there are certain things that aren't always the bargains that they seem to be. The reality is, cheap hosting can be a false economy and an expensive mistake.

Why Secure Website Hosting Matters

What most people don't understand, is the reason why secure website hosting needs to exist in the first place - and that's because the internet for all its convenience is also home to more nefarious characters. We've touched on this topic before; but the truth is, as more businesses develop an online presence they are running the risk of attracting hackers. Some hackers simply do it because they can, while others are looking to compromise the security of both your business and your clients. This can be anything from personal information, emails, credit card information, banking details, customer details, etc.

Did you know that humans only generate 49% of all internet traffic?

If you think you know who is visiting your website, you may need to think again.

Approximately 51% of all Internet traffic is created by bots, according to a data research study. Now bots can come in a few forms. First, you have the "good guys" - search engines like Google (whose servers never rest) compose about 20% of traffic. However, the remaining 31% would love nothing more than to worm their way into your computer and cause all sorts of mayhem.

Of that menacing 31% of "bad guys", hacking tools account for 5% of that traffic. Hacking tools are software that visit a website to crash it and/or steal data from it. Another 5% are so-called "scrapers" that are notorious for pulling information from one website and publishing it to another, to pillage search-engine traffic. Comment Spammers (2%) do just that, posting malware and other annoying content to bog down a website. Spyware (19%), covertly gathers information that can compromise competitive advantage. This about rounds out the overall negative bot groups, but as you can see they are everywhere.

The Main Drawbacks of Cheap Hosting

While there are many reasons that cheap website hosting is a bad idea for businesses (but not necessarily a bad thing for individual users, such as bloggers), here are a list of just some of the top reasons that your website needs to move from a budget hosting solution towards a more dedicated and secure one:

Out-Of-Date or Obsolete Servers

Some web hosting companies keep their costs low by keeping their old servers running longer than they should.  Not only are these older servers slower and more likely to crash, they’re more vulnerable to viruses and hacker attacks. So while they are offering prices that seem "too good to pass up" I'm sure your customers would rather you invest in something that will help keep their information safe.

Bad Customer Service

Imagine for a moment that your website has gone down (either due to server error or a successful hacking attempt). While many cheap hosting solutions claim to have a quick-turnaround-time for problems or issues, the truth is, when one of their servers goes down it affects EVERY website housed there (and there are many). This means that while they may be doing their best to get your website back up and running, it won't be an immediate fix. Delays such as this negatively effect not only your bottom-line but also your branding. Customers may not know why your website is down, but their assumptions will run from bills not being paid to unattentive management. A portion of the costs for a dedicated secure web hosting go towards high-quality customer service and technical support staff, as well as new and updated servers. When you call with a problem, you will be speaking to someone who can address any issues right then and minimize downtime (or even have the set the system up in such a way so that your website is never "down" even when issues arise). A cheap web hosting solution on the otherhand is likely to outsource its support, or do away with it altogether.  In either case, the end result from your point of view is that if you have a problem, it will take a long time to get fixed, if it gets fixed at all.

Lack of Space

It doesn’t matter how cheap your deal is, if you don’t have enough space to build your site, your hosting account is worthless.  Don’t just think in terms of initial allowances.  Remember your website is likely to grow, so you need to be sure that you can get as much disk space as you need when you need it.  Also beware of cheap web hosts who keep their costs down by overselling disk space. This is a bit of a conjuring trick, as it relies on users not taking their full allowances. Not only is this a vaguely unethical business practice, it could very easily come crashing down if people start to use all the space alotted to them.

Overcrowding

Cheap web hosts deal in quantity, not quality. This is how they make their profits. From your point of view, the limited bandwidth and disk space allowances on cheap hosting deals means that you could find yourself sharing server space with hundreds, if not thousands, of other websites. Statistically, not all of them are going to be good neighbors. This has a direct effect on your site. Your neighbors might be sucking up server resources at an alarming rate, causing your website to run slow or to crash altogether. More accounts on one server also mean a greater risk of virus infection spreading across that server.

Find a Secure Solution

Do you really want to risk your time, money and reputation for the sake of a few dollars? You would be surprised at the number of websites that are routinely attacked and taken down with relative ease on budget hosting solutions. The reasons hackers focus their attention on them is simple, they're easy targets. So make sure you give your clients and customers the confidence to do business with you, through providing them a cost-effective and secure website hosting solution. At Mediaura we have a variety of packages available, so you can make sure that you're putting your website in a secure environment, without having to break the bank.

 

 

Mediaura is proud to announce the launch of our latest flash game, Cornballers! Developed for Long John Silvers, Cornballers features two LJS characters–Pip & Hobart–playable as basketballs. Choose your favorite hushpuppy and try to beat your high score within two minutes! Click here to play now!

Custom Facebook Game

Here is what it's like to play Cornballers:

Facebook Game

When you click on the "Cornballers" logo to begin playing the game, you are taken to a landing screen.

01

You are then asked to choose which character, Pip or Hobart, you would like to play as during the game. Each character has its own unique voice and style.

Facebook Game

If you're not quite sure what to do, we've created a list of easy-to-follow guidelines to explain how the games is played and scored.

03

Your goal is to aim your hushpuppy into the basket in order to score as many points as you can during the time given.

ljscorngoal

When you score a goal, the crowd cheers and either Pip or Hobart (whichever character is not being played) will cheer you on!

ljscorngame

The goal is to score as many point as you can before the clock runs out.

ljscornreg

Once you have completed your game, all you need to do is fill out the information in the field provided for your chance to win catering provided by Long John Silver's.

Social Media Branding

Pip & Hobart are two characters part of a large redesign and marketing campaign for Long John Silvers. Originally an online video series and comic strip, Long John Silvers wished to create an online game featuring the two hushpuppies. Hosted on Facebook, Cornballers is a flash game for all ages!

Click here to watch episodes of the Long John Silvers Hushpuppies Show or read the latest comic strip!

The new design of the Facebook News Feed presents bigger photos and links, including for advertisements, and allows users to see specialized streams focused on topics like music and posts by close friends. The changes are designed to address the company’s two most vital challenges: how to hold on to users at a time of competing, specialized social networks and how to draw more advertising dollars to please Wall Street.

The New Facebook Design

Facebook Website Design

The design is essentially just an on-going newsfeed. The redesign is also a nod to the ubiquity of mobile devices, which a majority of Facebook’s one billion users worldwide use to log into their accounts.

Facebook Website Design

The new design is also a lot "cleaner," taking into account the new Search Engine Optimization best practices of a minimal background (think, lots of white space) and high-contrast text/imagery. Pictures will show up bigger in the News Feed as well, an addition that is designed for mobile users. The reason the new News Feed emphasizes the importance of photographs, is because they are one of Facebook’s most underexploited assets. Mark Zuckerberg said that half of all News Feed posts are pictures, compared with about a quarter of all posts a year ago. Every day, 350 million pictures are uploaded to Facebook by individual users and brands.

 

Facebook Website Design

Like pictures, videos are going to be displayed much larger as well.

Facebook Website Redesign

Facebook Website Redesign

And there will be larger images of maps and links to articles.

Facebook Website Redesign

The new look is a nod to other social networks that are seeing viral growth, like Pinterest, which is built around large pictures.

Facebook Website Redesign

Your events will now be displayed together.

Facebook Website Redesign

The page navigation will be getting a new change as well; this new setup will allow you to jump between different versions of the News Feed as well; music, video, images, "all friends", etc. Users can switch over to specialized feeds that are focused on just the music they are interested in, or they can scroll through a feed that consists of posts from the pages of products and people they follow — a bit like Twitter.

Facebook Website Redesign

This is what the "Friends" feed will look like.

Facebook Website Redesign

This is how your "music" feed will appear.

Facebook Website Redesign

An example of how your "photo" feed will be displayed within the new Facebook design.

Mobile Inspired Design

It undeniable that mobile devices are the future. Did you know that in most markets, smartphones outnumber PCs or that mobile users will soon outnumber those who access the Internet on their desktop? The benefit of this new Facebook design is that it is virtually identical on the desktop and on tablets and cellphones.

The design is cleaner, that is to say less cluttered and more consistent.

Here's a good before/after to show what I mean (old design compared to the new design):

facebook website design

Who knows how the user base will respond? They tend to initially react very negatively when changes are made to Facebook's designs. However, what they aren't saying is how beneficial these changes are going to be for their advertisers, and that is a lot. Bigger images, means more branding opportunities and more possibilites for your products to be shown to a mass market.

source

Louisville Website Design

Mediaura helped KentuckyOne Health launch a new customized Social Media campaign to coincide with their new branding.

Social Media Management

Our designs were built following the KentuckyOne Health brand standards and based upon feedback given as to what their social media needs would be. They elected to focus on three areas of social media: Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. For each social media platform, they wanted KentuckyOne Health branding and information presented in a uniform manner; font, color, imagery, etc.

Mediaura specializes in Social Media Managment, so we were happy to create custom pieces for our client.

Twitter

Louisville Web Design

Custom twitter backgrounds are a must if you plan to network using Twitter. Think of your custom twitter design as your online business card. It helps to convey a personalized approach to social media and illustrates to your followers that you are engaged on more than just a surface level.

For KentuckyOne Health, we designed a custom Twitter Header image that complimented their website's landing page.

Louisville Website Design

We also made sure to format the background so that it would be visible on both newer/high resolution monitors as well as older models. This is important, because if there is valuable information present, and the background is not designed correctly - then some users may be unable to view it properly on their screen.

Louisville Website Design

YouTube

Louisville Website Design

For the YouTube background, we decided to keep it as simple as possible, so as the background did not distract from the videos on display. The videos are tagged to help elevate their Search Engine Optimization, as well as provide the viewer with as much information as possible. KentuckyOne Health provides a wide variety of videos including commericals, informational talks, public announcements, health care best practices, etc.

Facebook & Custom Facebook Application Tabs

Louisville Website Design

In addition to creating a custom Facebook Timeline Cover, we also built several custom Facebook tabs to provide the user with information directly from the page, eliminating the need to leave the Facebook environment to gain information such as: KentuckyOne Health general information, Service Lines provided, Location of facilities, videos, etc.

Why Custom Facebook Tabs Are Important

Tabs are more important than ever because:

  • They were moved to prime real estate in the page right below the Cover Photo, what we now know as the “Favorites” section, making them more prominent.
  • They got a lot more visual with the 111x74px graphic rather than the small favicon-like icon.

These 2 points turn Facebook Pages almost into a brand minisite, think of the “Favorites” section as the navigation bar on your website.

Custom "About Us" Facebook Tab

Custom Facebook Tab

When the viewer clicks on the "About Us" custom Facebook tab, they are taken to a page that provides them with general information about KentuckyOne Health as well as a link to their main website if the viewer would like further info.

Custom Facebook Tab

Custom "Service Lines" Facebook Tab

Custom Facebook Tab

With such an array of services provided, we wanted the viewer to be able to obtain as much information about the Service Lines of KentuckyOne Health as possible. So we developed a custom Facebook tab that would not only list the Service Lines available; but also at which KentuckyOne Health location they would be found.

Custom facebook tab

Custom Facebook Tab

Custom "Locations" Facebook Tab

Custom Facebook Tab

The third custom Facebook tab we created allows the viewer to gain information about the locations of various KentuckyOne Health facilities.

Custom Facebook Tab

kyoneservice3

When the viewer selects a location they are provided with an overview of the facility, as well as a list of Key Services provided at that particular KentuckyOne Health location. On the left, we have integrated with Google Maps API to provide a map and the address, along with a link to the individual facility's website address.

Custom "Videos" Facebook Tab

Custom Facebook Tab

Custom Facebook Tab

The custom "Videos" Facebook tab serves a two-fold purpose. One, it provides the viewer with the latest videos uploaded to the KentuckyOne Health YouTube page. Secondly, the tab is designed to automatically populate the tab with the six most recent video uploads. This eliminates the needs for multiple uploads/updates on two-different social media platforms (YouTube and Facebook). Now all KentuckyOne Health has to do, is upload their videos to their YouTube account and they will show up automatically on their Facebook page as well.

The benefit to the viewer is, again, the KentuckyOne Health Facebook page becomes a one-stop destination for all of their informative needs; location, service lines, videos, etc. And with the frequent updated information that the custom Facebook tabs provide, it helps KentuckyOne Health show their viewers that they are heavily engaged in Social Media.

Custom Facebook Tabs For Your Business

If you would like to learn more about Mediaura's Social Media Management strategies, please visit our webste, or call today 502-554-9649. We are committed to providing the best, most afforable service for your Website Development and Social Media Management needs.

 

 

 

 

Online Piracy

How The Online Piracy Alert System Affects You

In a new warning system launched Monday, Internet service providers will begin alerting users engaged in online piracy and possibly limit repeat offenders' Internet access.

Called the Copyright Alert System (CAS), it'll be adopted by five of the most popular service providers, including AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon.

It’s worth noting that the Copyright Alert System is not a law.

How It Will Work

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will collaborate to monitor the Internet for users who download copyrighted material from websites such as BitTorrent or Utorrent.

Once a user is identified, the ISP will send a warning. There is a 3-tier system of warnings with two warnings per tier. After 6 warnings the user is blocked.

Categorizing the first two warnings as “educational alters”, the user will be informed that their online activity was logged.

Next come the “acknowledgement alerts” that will take over the user’s browser. A message will be displayed that outlines the user was “caught” wherein the user must acknowledge that they have received a warning.

Finally, the last 2 warnings are called “mitigation measures” because the ISP will withhold bandwidth from the user and/or block access to certain websites.

The ISP cannot disable the Internet completely; however the user’s ability to freely choose to go to any website will be severely impaired.

What If You’re Flagged?

Consumers whose accounts have been used to share copyrighted content over P2P networks illegally, or without authority, will receive alerts that are meant to educate rather than punish, and direct them to legal alternatives. ISPs have an option of modifying the provisions, but cannot terminate accounts as a mitigation measure.

The Center for Copyright Information says that they have worked hard to set up a program that is accurate, fair and protects consumer interests at every step in the process. For example, they retained a recognized technology expert, Stroz Friedberg, to evaluate the content community’s system (run by MarkMonitor) for identifying alleged infringement over peer-to-peer networks. MarkMonitor uses both trained professionals and automated processes to identify illegal downloading of whole movies, TV shows and musical recordings, and the system is designed to eliminate false positives.

Anyone who thinks they received an alert in error can request a review. There’s an arbitration process to challenge a warning — say if you in fact had the right to distribute the file or if the file falls under fair use — that costs $35; if you win the case, that fee gets reimbursed.

How Does This Affect You?

“We see 20-30 million infringements every day,” said Thomas Sehested, who is in charge of antipiracy services and technology at Mark Monitor. “Most people are unaware of how public everything they do online is. Whether they download illegal software or post to their Twitter page, a lot of people are unaware of how public it is, if you’re looking for it.”

Intellectual property is defined as:

  • Copyright
  • Trademarks
  • Patents
  • Geopolitical indicators

The RIAA and MPAA’s members tell Mark Monitor which shows, movies and songs to look for, and it then performs its monitoring magic and sends along shame lists to the ISPs.

In other words, CCI is hoping to teach people not to search for “free download of Walking Dead” or "Rhianna's new album torrent" and click on the first website that turns up, yet instead turn to Amazon or iTunes.

How You Can Protect Yourself

Most Internet users will never notice the Copyright Alert System — especially if they’ve locked their Wi-Fi networks. The content industry is gradually learning that making media easily available via legitimate channels — like iTunes, Netflix, and other mechanisms — is the best way to deter piracy. So, the simple way to avoid being dinged by the Copyright Alert System is to not engage in piracy or illegal file sharing.

Folks who do engage in file sharing — which is not in itself illegal — can take steps to protect themselves. Using encryption technologies in file-sharing client software probably won’t do much to protect users: Sure, ISPs won’t be able to peer into your traffic, but ISPs generally don’t want to peer into your traffic anyway.

However, other users of the file-sharing service will be able to see what you’re doing, and some of those users work for RIAA and MPAA. And they know how to work around things that claim to keep spying eyes off your file sharing.

Will It Work?

This remains to be seen. If the system is inaccurate or causes users to unfairly lose Internet access — particularly in areas where there’s little or no competition for Internet service — then the Copyright Alert System could become another major problem for the the content industry. Sort of like that time 83-year-old Gertrude Walton was sued for illegally sharing over 700 songs on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks in early 2005, under the username "smittenedkitten." The problem with the case, was that Gertrude Walton not only did not own a computer, or know how to use one, but had in fact died in December of 2004. There are some other pretty amusing lawsuits filed in the name of copyrights, and you can check out a few here.

To learn more about the Copyright Alert System click here.

If managed correctly, a solid design for your website can result in a healthy foundation for your business and your presence on the web. In this article we discuss why working with a professional website development team is important, and the hidden costs (financially and otherwise) that emerge as a consequence when you do not.

Some Fun Facts About Website Design

  • The very first website was published in 1991 by Tim Berners-Lee.
  • Flash was introduced by Macromedia in 1996.
  • Dynamic design language PHP gained popularity with its PHP3 release in 1998.
  • In the year 2000, Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 became the first web browser to achieve better than 99% support for CSS1.
  • In 2000, the W3C recommended the second release of JavaScript, and by 2002, nearly all browsers supported it.
  • In 2008, mobile access to the Internet exceeded desktop access for the first time in history.
  • Today, two thirds of cell phone users say they access the web/email from their device, and mobile devices now outnumber traditional PCs.

Basically, website design changes all the time.

The Evolution of Web Design

In August 1991, Tim Berners-Lee published the first website. It was a simple, text-based page with a dozen or so links. This website simply served to tell people what the World Wide Web was all about.

Tim Berners-Lee first website design

In 1994, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was established, and they set HTML as the standard for marking up web pages. Why did they choose to do this? Well for many reasons, but mainly because it discouraged any single company from building a proprietary browser and programming language, which could have had a detrimental effect on the web as a whole.

To this day, the W3C continues to set standards for open web markup and programming languages.

Table-based designs emerged a little later and these gave web designers more options for creating websites. Table-based designs grew in complexity over time, incorporating sliced-up background images, often giving the illusion of a simpler structure than the actual table layout. This era of websites paid little attention to semantics and web accessibility, often opting for aesthetics over sound programming and structure.

website development

Then in 1996, Flash (originally known as FutureSplash Animator, then Macromedia Flash, and currently Adobe Flash) was developed. It started with very basic tools and a timeline, and progressed to have powerful tools to develop entire sites. Flash presented a ton of options beyond what was possible with HTML, and Flash made it possible to create complex and interactive sites with animated features.

Steve Jobs however was, well let’s just say, less than a fan of Flash and its corporate developers. He called Adobe “lazy” and Flash a “CPU hog.” In fact, Jobs would later famously refuse to support Flash on the iPhone and the iPad, because beyond all the complaints about speed and security, there was one fatal flaw with Flash technology: Flash animations need a mouse pointer and this wasn’t practical with touchscreen technology.

Website Development

This brings us to CSS-based designs. These started gaining popularity after the dotcom boom in the early 2000’s. While CSS had been available long before then, there was limited support for it in major browsers and many designers were simply unfamiliar with it (and even intimidated by it). However, CSS-based designs have many advantages for table-based or Flash designs. CSS is a best practice for laying out a web page, where table-based layouts are not. CSS makes it easier to maintain sites, as the content and design elements are separated. In fact, you can change the entire look of a CSS-based site without ever having to touch the content.

Website Development

Website Development Mobile

 

Why An Experienced Web Development Team Is Important

Everyone always says “Technology changes at a rapid pace.” It does. Believe me, it does. This is why it is important to work with an experienced website designer. A web designer who doesn’t possess an extensive knowledge (or any) of HTML/CSS isn’t as rare as you might think.

A designer without the knowledge as to how the Internet performs, functions, or processes their designs belongs in the realm traditional print media, not the digital one.

If a designer is just pushing out images and PSD files, they’re just making a picture of a website. It’s not actual web design until it’s being rendered by a browser, interactivity and all. So if your designer doesn’t completely understand how the programming functions and how their design works alongside VERY IMPORTANT new technologies (such as SEO, which itself is evolving at a rapid rate), then you are only getting a fraction of the product you’re paying for.

It’s the equivalent of buying a brand new car (and paying a lot of money for it) only to later find out that there isn’t anything under the hood (or at best, a lawnmower engine instead of a V8).

Now That We Know Programming Constantly Evolves, What Else Is There?

To be honest, a lot of things are important. At Mediaura, when we first start on a project, our entire team gets together to talk about the latest trends in technology, and our experience helps us to identify fads versus innovative new directions. This process allows us to build a website, from the ground-floor up. One that is not only secure and technologically sound, but incorporates invaluable facets of technology into the design (Search Engine Optimization for example).

Why is this important? It saves you money in long run.

We have many new clients that come to us from other developers complaining about their Search Engine performance. No one wants to be on page 16, 17 of a Google Search return. In fact, if you’re not on the first two pages…it’s time to revisit some things about your website.

What is surprising (or not surprising as someone that does SEO every day can attest) are the number of websites that rank low in SEO due to fundamental flaws in the website design itself. These are things that can easily be fixed and/or items that never would have manifested themselves with a professional website development team, but they can end up being costly to fix over time.

What are they? Well it varies, but here is just a list of some common items:

  • Poor Design
  • Bad Copywriting
  • Programming flaws
  • The size of the website / how long it takes to load
  • Accessibility & Ease of use

A Good Design Helps SEO By:

  • Making your site easy for search engines to crawl and index
  • Helping visitors find what they need quickly and easily
  • Giving your business a way to provide information for both customers and search engines
  • Lowers the required budget for PPC or Search Engine Marketing

A Poor Design Affects SEO By:

  • Making it more difficult for search engines to find and index the pages of your website
  • Making it difficult for visitors to find what they are looking for
  • Not presenting the right kind of content to visitors
  • Increasing the budget required for PPC or Search Engine Marketing

Website Development SEO

There are a lot of things to keep in mind in regards to website design, but here are some common mistakes that we see both developers and businesses who contract with them make:

Designing for print media is not the same as designing for the Internet

“Website Design” is far more than just the way a website looks; an important fact that many designers and agencies seem to overlook. A website’s design is everything from the code that supports it to the content that is displayed to visitors, and everything in between. The graphics and looks of a website are some of the important things that visitors remember, but if no one can find your website, there will be no one to appreciate the work that went into creating it. 

In fact, it’s usually pretty easy for an experienced web developer to identify a website that has been designed by a “Traditional Media” designer and/or an inexperienced developer, because they tend to make the same critical mistakes. Your website doesn’t have to be boring, but it does have to function easily for the user. You may think that the design elements you’ve incorporated into a website “look cool” but if they convolute the user experience…you’ve failed your mission and your viewers won’t return.

The size of your website / How long it takes to load

This isn’t a problem for most websites, but if your website is too media-heavy, or the media is not formatted or rendered correctly, it can become an issue. If a user can’t load the page quickly and completely, the user will likely leave (or “bounce”) before your website even finishes loading.

According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, nearly half of web users expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. 79% of web shoppers who had trouble with a website’s performance say that they won’t return to buy again and 44% of those individuals would tell a friend if they had a poor shopping experience online.

The number of pages your website has makes a difference

This one is kind of easy to explain. If your website only has one or a few pages, and your competitor’s website has dozens, it is probable that they will be enjoying the benefits of increased SEO traffic more than you will be. However, it’s important to note that the ease of use comes into play here, because if a viewer has to click (“drill down”) several times to find the information they’re looking for, then they’re going to be bouncing from your website as well. Keep your website well-organized and simple in regards to navigation.

Copywriting, what you say and how you say it matters

Many search engines have adjusted their algorithms (algorithms are a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or operations) to align with SEO. An SEO copywriter maximizes the use of certain keywords while still creating a valuable experience for your visitor. This is about understanding how Search Engines match content to online queries being entered, and if your website is full of rich information but it’s not presented in the correct format, this has a negative consequence.

Structure and Code Are Key

It goes without saying (or should) that how your website is coded and structured has a massive impact on how your design affects SEO. Programming languages all behave a little differently. For example, HTML uses one set of protocols to accomplish the visuals you see when you open a web page, whereas PHP uses a completely different set of protocols.

JavaScript is a programming language that allows web designers to create dynamic content. However, it’s also not necessarily SEO-friendly. In fact, JavaScript often completely halts a crawler from indexing a website, and when that happens the result is lower search engine rankings or a complete exclusion from ranking.

Accessibility and Ease of Use Are Important

The easier it is for a search engine to find your website, the more quickly it will be found and added to that search engine’s index. The more quickly your website gets indexed, the sooner potential customers can find you!

Good Programming Maximizes Your Marketing Budget

Organic Search Returns are the ones you don’t pay for. They’re what happen when a website is programmed correctly and the copywriting is structurally sound. What this means for your budget, is this - It allows your website to rank higher on Search Engines through unpaid search returns.

For example, we recently had a new client that came to us because they were not even in the Top 100 of Google Search returns, despite the fact that their company was considered “the best” of their industry. So to make up the difference they were paying a mind-boggling amount for PPC (Paid Search Marketing) to drive traffic to their website. After working closely with them to change some basic programming and reorganize their content, they began to rank 1 and 2 organically on keywords that they used to purchase at a premium. This allowed them to cut their PPC budget in half and redistribute those funds elsewhere.

Your Business Website Must Be Mobile Friendly

Whether you’re opting for a mobile friendly design, a responsive design, or a secondary mobile website – every business needs to have a website that is optimized for mobile users. At this point it’s almost become an imperative.

Conclusion

A high-quality website design that is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and properly coded/optimized is going to do wonders, not only for your SEO goals, but the overall growth of your business as well.

So while working with a programmer whose prices are too good to be true (and they usually are) or who has very little knowledge of the ENTIRE PROCESS may seem like a financially savvy choice for your business at first glance, in the long run it will end up costing you; monetarily, brand imaging wise, and viewers/clients.

Also recognize that a professional website development team will be able to take your ideas and leverage their knowledge and experience to give you the best product for your budget. It's also important to know your own limitations. Remember, website design is not easy. The extra-value of working with a professional website development team is that you really shouldn't have to worry or micro-manage the project. A professional website development team will be able to take your ideas and designs, and do exactly what they are trained to do: develop them for the web. So while your design or plan may change slightly, remember, they're utilizing their extensive knowledge to give you the best possible product. 

There are ways to get a solid website design without breaking the bank. However, the first step is working with a qualified website development team to make that happen.

Mediaura Mobile Applications

 

Sales Solutions - Mobile Applications

Recently, The Enterprise Group, in conjunction with GLI, presented a lecture series led by highly qualified marketing professionals. The week featured talks by Dawn Yankeelov, Dawn Geary of Mediaura and Taylor Trusty. From writing press releases to creating apps and understanding search, the presentations focused on the merits of having a strong web presence. Counsel was provided to the public in an open meeting format with formal presentations as well as a question and answer time for those in attendance.

I was very honored to have been invited to participate in this marvelous lecture series. As those in attendance could attest, I love talking about new technologies, especially mobile applications! My lecture covered a wide-variety of issues; from a basic introduction as to what defines a mobile application, all the way to a capabilities presentation on the various types of mobile applications out there. It was a wonderful opportunity to educate the audience on what the future holds, because that's exactly what we do on a daily basis for our clients at Mediaura. Our goal is to keep our clients on the forefront of the latest advancements in technology and to help them lower cost overhead through implementing new solutions.

I would like to offer a big "Thank You" to Biggs Tabler, GLI, and AAF-Louisville for not only coordinating this highly sought-after event, but for asking Mediaura to participate. It was a fantastic experience.

The wonderful team at Hatfield Media were also gracious enough to record the lecture series and make it available for download here.

If you were fortunate enough to have a ticket to the 2012 Dress For Success Suit & Salad luncheon that occurred on Thursday, Novermber 1st then you were given a copy of the "Walk A Mile In Her Shoes" brochure designed by Mediaura. The brochure was full of information regarding the lucheon events, the superb Dress For Success Louisville team, profiles of sucess stories, and advertisements from some of the largest companies in Louisville.

Mediaura has been a long-time supporter of Louisville's Dress For Sucess. We happily volunteer our services whenever that phone call or email from Cricket Nelson Hater comes through. Why? Because we have seen first-hand what a difference this non-profit makes, not only to people's lives, but to our community as a whole. So whether it's designing marketing and advertising materials, helping them with spreadsheets, or hiring sucess stories from their organization...we are with them every step of the way!

Dress for Success Louisville Graphic Design

We would like to extend a very special "Thank You" to the Dress For Success Louisville team and congratulate them on another job well done!

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