Last Friday, 3/15, was a fun day at Envisionit. We thought we would embrace the holiday fun of St. Patrick’s Day here at the office, so we started our weekend a little early with a little agency gathering.
Of course we provided the finest Irish libations for our employees. Guinness and Jameson all around!
Our employees like to be as creative with their food as they are with their work! This was one tasty rainbow.
One of our clients decided to join us as well. Stefan Wissenbach, founder of MagicFuture.com, is always such a great entertainer.
This must have been some really great food! What’s Erin doing with that knife?
It’s always great to get to know a new employee! Azra chose a great week to start at Envisionit.
It’s all smiles from this gang!
Happy (belated) St. Patrick’s Day from everyone at Envisionit; we hope your celebrations were as great as ours! Stay tuned for our next office shindig!
Until recently, scrolling through a website was a routine action that was so natural that it required little thought. For even the least savvy computer user, thinking about scrolling was as unnecessary as thinking about breathing. Breathe in, breathe out. Scroll up, scroll down.
Enter Apple’s Lion operating system in 2011 and suddenly scrolling is reversed. You’re a fish out of water, flopping around your desktop like you’d never used a mouse before, because Apple decided to mirror it’s desktop scroll to it’s touchscreen scroll.
And now ambitious designers and developers are rocking the boat even harder. Websites don’t always move straight down when you scroll anymore. Sometimes the scrolling moves the site in large chunks. Sometimes scrolling gets you out of the bed and into the shower. Sometimes scrolling moves sites horizontally instead of vertically. Sometimes it does both.
It seems that a two-sided revolution has crept up on us, starting with Apple integrating it’s mobile-style scrolling onto it’s desktops, and more recently with designers and developers disregarding conventional scrolling to create standout experiences. With both hardware and software changes, scrolling is no longer second nature, it’s now something that requires thought, preferences, and intention.
It’s always great to see a new frontier open up for digital design. If one-page sites seemed like the cat’s pajamas, imagine the possibilities a one-page site that scrolls off horizontally, vertically and upside down! The purpose of many websites is to tell a story, whether that’s the story of a business or of a product, of an individual or a landmark event, and stories often run through paths that are not straight and narrow. With your scroll path reflecting your content’s dips and turns, the web will be a richer place. On top of that, it allows users to engage more in the site, which in turn creates more engagement in the content of the site. And most importantly it creates that intangible quality that attracts someone on an emotional level. It’s the little unpredictable delight that brings them back for more.
Facebook gets a facelift! During a press conference today, March 7, Facebook’s CEO- Mark Zuckerberg- announced new changes to the Facebook news feed that will be rolling out today. Facebook hopes these changes will make news feeds more personal for each user. Zuckerberg stated, ”We want to give the world the best personalized newspaper that we can.”
The revamped news feed will feature larger photos and videos displayed on users’ news feeds. Photo captions will also be embedded within the images, rather than being displayed separately like we see now. Also, new changes are going to make it much easier for users to connect with each other. Links will be shared more easily, check-ins will be more integrated, and pages will be organized into categories (photos, music, friends, games, etc.). Facebook users will now receive more relevant content based on their page subscriptions and articles linking back to companies, organizations, and people they “like.”
Overall, the new design is focused around the mobile world, and creates a site that will be compatible and usable across all platforms. We can’t wait to see how the update looks in person!
Building a perfect, profit-generating, customer-pleasing, visually beautiful website requires a variety of skills. One of those skills is writing, which is easier said than done.
But luckily there are several tricks that dramatically improve anyone’s web writing.
Think about what’s important
When someone lands on your site, what do you want them to instantly know? Your answer is limited to 10 words. (Cue Jeopardy music)
A mind can only process so much. First impressions need to be easily digestible. If you hit the nail on the head, the user will peruse your site further. If they get confused, they’ll just hit the Back button.
Mark Twain never saw a website that he didn’t like. Do him proud.
Edit, edit, edit
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead”
- Mark Twain
Some writing rules are timeless and this one’s a biggie – writing less takes more time.
Stay focused on your core 10-words-or-less message. Remove anything that deviates. Rewrite everything with brevity in mind. Then edit again and again.
Take your time between edits
After you write something, sleep on it, literally. Press save, go home, and take another crack at it in the morning.
Many great writers commit grievous writing sins in their first draft, so you’re in good company. The heat of writing forces your brain to multitask to a fault. You may not see a grammatical error even though you know the rule.
Even a one-hour break helps your mind relax. The errors will pop right off the page.
Got other web writing tips? We’d love to hear them! Comment below!
There’s been more than a few “SEO is dead” blog posts circulating the online world lately. I knew it was a phenomenon when my Dad, with concern in his voice, asked me if it was true that SEO is dead. It’s OK Dad, I still have a job. He piqued my curiosity so I Googled the term and there’s no shortage of article prematurely declaring that SEO is dead, mostly as controversial linkbaity type of articles (oh the irony!), replete with keyword-rich anchor text linking back to the authors’ sites. Anything for a link I guess.
OK, so if it’s not dead, what’s going on? SEO has changed. A lot. Specifically, one major aspect of SEO has changed — offsite SEO or link building. In the olden days, before the Panda update, link building was relatively easy — tactics like directory submissions, comment linking (spamming?), forum linking, paid links, footer links, and all sorts of other tactics could in most cases make a big impact on a site’s search authority.
Those tactics are now mostly dead and what that means is that link building is a whole lot harder nowadays. You have to have good content that people want to link to and you have to share the content so that people actually do link to it. And there’s evidence that co-citation is growing in importance, which places even more importance on who is linking to you than what anchor text they’re using.
We’re finding that for our more mature SEO clients (i.e. those that have had all the on-site stuff optimized to the hilt), the process of SEO is a lot more about what we do from the content generation and social promotion side of things. In the agency world at least, SEO has become a multi-disciplinary exercise.
NTN Bearing Corporation originally enlisted EIM to build their website in the Spring of 2010. We were re-engaged in the Summer of 2012 when asked to translate their website in Spanish to provide one unified web destination for their South and North American locations. We launched the new site ntnamericas.com at the end of January, 2013.
In order to accomplish this task, we teamed up with a well-known website translation and localization company who took on the content translation portion of the project. EIM worked with NTN to identify which specific sections of the existing website would need to be duplicated so our developers could create a separate website to be translated in Spanish.
The project was a success because of the teamwork between all three parties involved. EIM provided the necessary files to the translation company, who worked directly with the local NTN team. A designated NTN employee based in the area where the Spanish site would be utilized reviewed all translated content. This allowed NTN to have complete control over the localized copy, ensuring the correct dialect was used.
EIM also worked with NTN to minimize the effects a new primary domain would have on their SEO ranking. They successfully switched to ntnamericas.com, simply redirecting ntnamerica.com to their new URL.
As NTN expands their global reach, we look forward to working on future site translations. We also look forward to cultivating new client relationships with companies that aim to cater to broader audiences with website translation projects.
Don caught the agency bug while working on the client side of Robert Bosch Tool Company. Since then he has spent time at many of Chicago’s digital agencies – VSA Partners, Critical Mass, and most recently Manifest Digital. He’s worked with some of the world’s most iconic brands including Nike, Gillette, Nickelodeon, PetSmart, and Valvoline. But perhaps the most fun came from contributing to the online extension What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.
His resume might intimidate. But when we asked what work he’s most proud of, he beamed with pride and said, “Coaching and mentoring a number of Project Managers that I’ve worked with and seeing them succeed.”
Sounds like Envisionit Media’s type of guy.
A very short interview with Don:
What’s the one thing everyone should know about you?
I’ll probably tell you after about three Kettle and Tonics.
What’s your favorite mythical creature?
I really like Falcor from The Neverending Story, or Chunk from Goonies (think I am dating myself?)
Technology has its ups and downs, but for the most part, it gets better. Web browsing, which was once only restricted to our desktops, now has the ability to be done on our tablets and smartphones. However, with this breakthrough came complications. Among mobile devices alone, there are numerous variations of size and resolutions. How could a single website accommodate for all of that? Or more importantly, imagine how much time/money is spent on designing and developing for that large of an audience?
I’m sure a lot of us have come across a website on our phone that is simply not “mobile-friendly.” Responsive design eliminates this problem. Simply put, all it takes is a single design to be compatible with multiple devices. Layouts are “fluid” so that when you adjust the size of the window, the layout and design will correspond with your desktop, phone, tablet, game console, etc.
Another essential fact to realize is that we are using mobile devices just as much or even more than we are browsing on our desktops. If you encounter a website on your phone and it is uncomfortable to view, are you likely to visit that site again? Responsive design is a smart method to consider, not only because it’s designing for the future, but because we can cater to all users.
I know, I know. You’ve heard it a thousand times: “you should blog!” Yet somehow you still have NO clue what to write about nor do you ever seem to find the time (let alone the desire) to get started. Believe me, I understand. We hear it all the time and it’s a common problem. Let us give you an edge with some fresh new ideas. No more excuses!
25 things you can write about on your company blog
Feature your customers via real pictures, quotes and stories
Make people laugh with videos - Share a collection of hilarious YouTube videos within a relevant theme. For example, if you are a retailer trying to drive traffic to your site around the holidays, you could post great “Christmas Gone Wrong” videos.
Pose a question- If you’re looking to engage your audience, this is the way to do it. Who said you have to know all the answers in order to blog?
Introduce your employees
Do a photo blog post - Use an app like GramGrab to make your Instagram and Pinterest photos into content your audience will love. Remember to give proper photo credit when due if you’re not using your own images.
Give your opinion on industry news - And remember: an opinion that not everyone agrees with is OK. In fact, sometimes it’s a good thing.
Show a visual evolution of your website - Make people smile by using Way Back Machine to take screenshots of your site over time.
Share a personal story - the most viral content on the web is content that people react to emotionally. Share a struggle, triumph or endearing story that will make any reader want to share it.
Upload a video from your smartphone - When it comes to your blog, an occasional amateur video is acceptable.