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One of the questions we get asked on a near daily basis is should I be using WordPress? Our response is always the same it depends on what you want to do and how much time and effort you want to put into the site. For example, if you want to create a blog of your thoughts WordPress has readymade themes and templates to help you.  Problems arise when you want to add further functionality or want to monetise your blog. Here in this blog we want to highlight some of the limitations of WordPress. Before we start don’t misunderstand us, WordPress is an incredible resource for the development of a website without a large team and in a short time frame. However, no web development tool is perfect, here are some of the things you need to consider before using WordPress:

 

Earning Limitations

You can’t run Google Adsense on your blog as it goes against WordPress’s terms and conditions for the monetisation of blogs or websites. You can apply for a WordPress advertising program called Wordads but the adds have to meet word presses standards. This may limit any possible monetisation of WordPress.

Website Can go Down Without Notice

Websites can go down without notice. Unless you’re paying attention and monitoring the site you may not notice it’s gone down, it may be down for a few hours or a few weeks. You may have to hire an agency to help you get it back up and running which adds to the list of expenses.

Security

Due to the popularity of WordPress it’s a common target for hackers and cyber criminals. There is no such thing as a 100% secure website, even if your development agency downloads all the security plugins, they can’t guarantee full security for the site.

Plugin Updates

Technology is constantly updating to improve the user experience. However, some of these updates can cause glitches or if you don’t update some features may stop working. This means your agency must constantly be working to try and keep the website and the plugins all up to date.

 

Once again, we’d like to reiterate that WordPress is a great tool for creating websites but it’s not the only tool. Consider the points above and your needs   before you start building your website. For any questions feel free to get in touch with our team.

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In previous blog posts we’ve mention the importance of SSL certification and some of the most common cyber threats facing businesses. Now we’re going to continue the topic of security and shine a light at an often-overlooked feature of websites. If you’ve ever looked at the top of a webpage in the URL bar, you’ll notice before the name of the site either http:// or https://. These stand for Hypertext Transfer Protocal and Hypertext Transfer Protocal Secure respectively.

To put it quite simply both HTTP and HTTPS are sets of protocols that allow for the transfer of information between systems. They’re mostly used to transfer data between a web server and a browser. Before 2014 most websites, with the exception of some E-commerce sites, only used HTTP to transfer data to the browser. However, the fatal flaw of HTTP is that it doesn’t encrypt the data it sends to the server, as a result information such as passwords, email addresses or bank details can be stolen. This is the reason you sometimes get warnings when going to certain sites, they are using HTTP for all data transfers and are vulnerable to hacks. HTTPS has and added layer of security as all data transfers are encrypted with an SSL certificate (Secure Socket Layer) which protects all sensitive information.

We always advise clients to update their websites to use HTTPS, it is now a standard security feature on most websites and is the minimum level of security that consumers expect. As well as the cyber security advantages HTTPS also offers advantages for visibility and SEO. As an incentive for businesses and developers to switch over Google provides sites which use HTTPS with a boost in its rankings in effect giving an edge to sites that switched to HTTPS over those that didn’t.

 

 This is one of the first steps we take with our clients and we can’t stress the need to use HTTPS enough. We hope you found this post helpful.

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In previous blogs we’ve talked about interactivity on websites and Dark Patterns in UX design, now we’d like to highlight an often-controversial feature in web and UX design, gamification.  Gamification is the process of applying games design elements and game principles in a non-game context such as a website or an app.  The best example is probably the language learning app Duolingo, think of the experience it offers users, for every lesson you complete you achieve points, there is in app purchases with those points and a community element where you can compete against “Classmates”.  Duolingo has helped millions of people all over the world learn languages and has a dedicated following. However, some people claim gamification is manipulative, dishonest and tries to feed off people’s weaknesses, gambling and betting apps are a prime example of this where the UX design encourages frequent use. Our team at Artemee believe that there is a healthy middle ground where gamification can respect the user and create an enjoyable experience. We hope to highlight the most common features of gamification and some prime examples of their usage.

 

Page Loading Bars

The whole point of UX design is to make the experience of using a website or app as enjoyable as possible. Nothing is as boring or as annoying as waiting for a page to load or transition to the next page. To overcome this many new sites and apps have started utilizing dynamic transitions and animations between pages to hold the user’s attention.

Quizzes

This can be a double-edged sword as it increases a sites SEO ranking while at the same time if used too frequently can annoy users. Buzzfeed is famous for its use of quizzes, fun quizzes and polls is a great way engage your users and gain useful insights. But don’t overdo it!

Communities

Video games have become more social affairs, with the advent of online multiplayers people have met like minded individuals and explore the same universe. A website can benefit from creating and environment of collaboration and community by fostering a sense of community. This can be done by creating forums or in the case of Duolingo classrooms where users can interact with each other.

Points Based Features

Points can be a great way to try and encourage people to return to a site ad interact with it more frequently. This is the most common feature of gamification. Users can purchase features for points or achieve a new level on site, this creates an aim for the user to achieve.

Rewards

Another common feature is a system of rewards for the achievement of a task or for completing an action on the site. Audible ( an ebook and podcast app from Amazon) is a prime example of how to use this feature. After listening for a period of time or at certain times you are rewarded with a “badge”, such as the Night Owl badge for listening to an ebook late at night or you achieve a different rank like scholar if you listen for over 400 hours.

 

We hope you have found this post helpful and would like to remind people these features are to improve the user experience and never to be used to manipulate people. Hopefully you can use some these features to make amazing and beautiful websites.

 

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Joomla is a free open source content management system(CMS) released in 2005. Joomla is the top competitor of WordPress in the CMS market, while WordPress is the distinct leader in this market Joomla offers distinct benefits. Among web developers Joomla has a fervent following, many Joomla evangelists try to raise awareness of the benefits of Joomla and it’s use for developers.

 

Compared with WordPress to Joomla has a bigger learning curve for novice web developers but with that learning curve comes added benefits. Joomla comes with many features built in such as:

There is also a vast library of extensions available to developers to add additional functionality and features such as e-commerce, blogging, database integration and forms.

 

Joomla is now being promoted more as a safe and secure option for developers and small businesses as viable option for the creation of power and secure websites. Have a lookout next time for any Joomla website and appreciate the features compared to a WordPress site.

 

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Building trust with customers is the cornerstone of any business’s marketing strategy.  In previous posts we’ve mentioned the importance of UX design for businesses and how a well-made website can inspire consumer confidence and loyalty. Now we want to take a look at how businesses and designers shouldn’t use UX design, we believe that there should be ethics in the application of web design. The term “Dark Pattern” refers to a user interface that has been carefully crafted to trick users into doing terms such as buying insurance with your purchase or signing up for recurring bills. It’s a fairly new term in the world of design and was first coined by UX designer Harry Brignull in 2010, who sought to raise awareness of this issue among designers and users so that we could all enjoy a higher standard from the websites we use.  Here we’d just like to highlight the most common Dark Patterns used by companies to manipulate users so that you can avoid them in your own designs and achieve success without manipulating your users in nefarious ways. Here are some of the most prevalent patterns in modern websites:

 

Roachmotel

A roach motel is a pest control trap that is easy for the roach to get in but impossible to get out. Think of any time you’ve tried to delete a social media account; the sign-up process was so easy but the delete account button is hidden behind walls of drop-down menus at the bottom of pages or aren’t visible at all. Concealing any feature on a website is a bad sign, everything on the site should be easily accessible with a few clicks and you shouldn’t have to go searching for it.

Bait-and-Switch

Bait-and-Switch patterns advertise a free or greatly reduced price for a product or service that is unavailable. After announcing the product is unavailable the page presents similar products of a higher price or lower quality. This is a case of flagrant false advertising.

 

Misdirection

This design purposely focuses your attention on one thing in order to distract your attention from another. This is extremely common in software installation where the user when downloading a program sees a prominent button asking to accept the terms and conditions of an unrelated software program. The process for installing the desired program with the unrelated program is less prominently displayed or else seems counter intuitive. There should be no misdirection in UX design, users should always know what they’re getting.

Confirmshaming

This is a form of guilt tripping the user into opting into something. For example, the wording of the option to decline is phrased in such a way as to shame the user into compliance.

Privacy Zuckering

 Named in honour of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. This design pattern tricks the user into sharing more information about yourself than you really intended to.  This can be done by concealing the data terms and conditions or making them difficult to find.

 

We believe that you should always interact with your users in an honest and open way. UX Design is a powerful tool in which you control all aspects of the users experience and interaction with the site, you must use this power with respect. If you use these patterns you will be tricking and manipulating your users, you’ll destroy any trust between you and your users. We should all demand a higher standard from our websites and the first step towards this is educating users.

 

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Ut enim ad minim veniam. 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So, you may have heard of the term SSL certification before but are unsure of the exact detail and why it’s so important. You wonder is it worth all the hassle? In short, it is.  SSL stands for secure socket layer, it’s an extra layer of encryption between a web server and a user’s browser. If SSL is properly installed a user should see a little green lock will be displayed on the left of the URL on a user’s screen and https will appear at the start of the URL. SSL certificates are used to secure data transfers on websites, these transfers include login details, contact information and credit card numbers.

 

SSL certification is the standard for internet security. In recent surveys people claimed they viewed a website as suspicious or untrustworthy if the green lock was absent from the URL. It’s a sign of trust that most internet users trust and expect to be there. Websites without this feature often experience reduced traffic as users view it as unsafe.

 

Google, in an effort to improve overall internet security, pushed their “HTTPS Everywhere Initiative”.  Websites that show a commitment to internet security and have SSL certifications rank high in Google’s algorithm and thus are easier to find. If your website doesn’t SSL certification and that all important green lock it’s an uphill battle to try and improve your websites SEO.  Let’s not forget that the threat of hackers isn’t imaginary or an unlikely cause for concern. Google and thousands of computer scientists didn’t invest all this time and money for nothing. Cyber-attacks have been on the rise in recent years with attacks becoming more sophisticated and the targets more varied. SSL certificates is the first line of defence in protecting you and your business.

 

SSL certification is no longer something you can ignore. With consumers expecting more services and interactivity from websites security is becoming a greater necessity for developers and businesses. A security breach could spell the end of a business and leave customers details exposed. Don’t be caught out !!

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Ut enim ad minim veniam. 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This is something that no designer, client or user can fail to notice. Colour affect every interaction a user has with a site. The use of colour can’t be left as an afterthought in the design process or the marketing strategy it is the simplest yet important tool when conveying a message to your users. Poor use of colour is often the cause of inferior designs or lack of impact. Here are a few reasons why colour is so important in for your website:

 

 

Associations and Meanings

Colours have a distinct emotional association, green for example is said to have a calming effect, orange to promote increased emotional responses. These features help to create a distinct feel for a website.

 

Colour is also a distinct element of certain brands, if you have a logo for your business, users expect to see the same colours on the logo as the site.  Change in the colour scheme may feel off brand for the business.

Accessibility for Users

Colour not only effects the user emotionally it also has practical impact. Effective colour use makes the overall experience easier for user. Using colour pallets and contrast ratios ensure the overall look of the website is easy for the user to understand and follow.

Connecting Overall Design

The colour scheme and palette choice will be affected by your type of business, demographics and region you want to operate in. Studies show people link colours to gender. Studies show men interact more with websites that have dark design scheme and saturated colour scheme. Whereas the same studies find women prefer websites with lighter design schemes and a more muted colour pallet.  When designing lookup these preferences of the demographics you’re trying to reach.

 

We hope you found this helpful and you can now view colour as a powerful tool to use. As always contact the team if you have any questions on how to use colour more effectively in you designs

 

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