Email 0131 531 9066
  • Get responsive – Google announces mobile-friendliness ranking deadline

    Posted on March 2, 2015

    We are all aware of the impact that mobile devices (mobiles, tablets and even wearables) have on website usage, even via our own webstats. Now it is official that Google are putting more emphasis on mobile friendly or responsive websites in this announcement ‘expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal’ and they have even given a deadline of 21st April 2015.

    girls use an ipadThis has long been suspected amongst SEO specialists and bloggers but now it is official Google practice, its a fact as well as being good business practice. So you had better adapt or risk losing search results rankings and subsequent site traffic if your website is not mobile friendly or better still fully responsive, if you have not already done so. Read the full announcement made on Google Webmaster Central Blog here. This is not just about smartphone and iPhones it also covers iPads and other tablets, so read on.

    Responsive Web Design (RWD) is more than just a web design trend, it is fast becoming a web design requirement, pretty high up the must have check list, especially after 21st April. By the end of 2015 it is estimated that desktop viewers will become make up less that 50% of site visitor stats.  But we are not talking about mobile websites, these tend to work at the lowest common denominator level and in many cases are being left behind as the experience is a far cry from the desktop site.

    Evolution blog screebshotSo what is RWD? Responsive web design is about crafting sites displaying with optimal viewing experience – easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling – across a wide range of devices without forgetting that we are designing for people not their devices.  So in short images and text content scale to fit the window, controlled by inserting spacers as breakpoint to ensure that the site is displayed in its best form automatically. So as long as the site is set out in a sensitive way the user can view with the least obstacles. Designing responsively does away with the need to create a separate mobile site, It provides users with a seamless brand experience across devices and gives them access no matter how they access your site. View www.evolution-design.co.uk on your mobile. We have given emphasises to displaying; our branding, contact info, the menu then the text followed by the images.  You can see how it reforms to portrait or landscape use and importantly – It can decrease loading times of user requested content.  Like many RWD websites is not a wonderful user experience – with such reduced smartphone on-screen real estate (display area space), but is a serious improvement without the users need to pinch and expand the page resizes to best display the page. So why are people visiting your website is it for the same reasons that you want them to visit, are they going to the pages that you desire? At least being fully responsive and checking your webstats will give you some indication if your inbound enquiries and orders do not. And lets face it anything that can enhance the users experience has to be worth of consideration in web development.

    Text Screenshot landscape format

    Its time to stop obsessing about the ‘fold’ as mobile users have no problem scrolling down the page to find the content they want as a swipe is faster than a scroll. But remember that RWD is a user experience tool and SEO tactic, not a replacement for strategy.

    If your website is WordPress you can ask us to reformat it quite easily and while this will help make your website as future friendly as possible when converting your website to a responsive site it’s a good opportunity to rethink the content from a users perspective. We would urge you to look at your website and your webstats as part of this process. Remember that while you are improving the presentation people don’t want to read screeds of text on a mobile, ever and Cookie Consent or T&C’s tick boxes can be hard to find if care is not taken especially if these block access to pages or contact or ordering.

    Also instead of just adding pages and content it’s a good time to take content off if it is not performing. When did you last take a look at your Google Analytics account? Within Audience it you can find a new tab called Mobile which will tell you not just the percentage of mobile users but also which devices they used to access your site, right down to the phone model.

    chart showing Google Analytics Top 12 mobile devices Here are our stats for the latter part of 2014 and you can see a lot of interesting data here. The number of uses visiting via Apple devices is huge, with an almost equal split between iPhones and iPads. Page views and length of visit (duration) also varies dramatically by phone make and model. Although based on much lower useage It possibly highlighting some issues with the Samsung Galaxy both the III and IV have very few visitors and they spend very little time on the site. So we can now take some action on these points and review.

    Further reading:

    Google Webmaster Central Blog 

    Wikipedia RWD article

    Brad Frost; Missing the Point post

  • How to start a career in design – tips, do’s & don’ts

    Posted on February 21, 2015

    By Neale Gilhooley, Evolution Design

    If you are looking for a career in graphic design or web development then this post may be of help. Whether you want to design logos and work in brand development or carve out a career in website design & build, the potential employer has a need for staff who can start to contribute to the company as soon as possible. Designers are in the service industry as valued collaborating partners. Each employee needs to start adding value to the design companies client offering through the introduction of fresh ideas and expertise and innovating new ways of designing solutions for Clients needs but without wishing to redesign our entire design process. To be able to do this the employer puts a great deal of value onto the designers expertise and a more experienced designer ought to slot in faster and start contributing to projects and agency revenue sooner and with less management. You need to this of what your target audience is looking for and put some emphasis on fulfilling those needs.

    So what are the essential criteria that agencies are looking for? These are viewed in different ways with weighting on each and dependent of the position being offered. It is not unusual to change the criteria to fit an exceptional candidate.

    1. Work experience
    2. Projects worked on
    3. Software and platforms worked with
    4. Personality as it’s a people business
    5. The applicants CV

    From being on the receiving end of thousands of applications and also having hired staff directly and through recruitment agencies we have gained some insight which may be of benefit to wannabe designers and other design agency support staff.

    In short your CV must present points 1-4 in a way that the reader can understand and see the skills easily, without needing to decipher it. Get to the point gracefully. The design of your CV should not get in the way of the message.

    Do’s

    • Do some research, if you want to exploit your expertise in Mobile Apps then don’t waste an e-mail sending it to brand design specialists.
    • In your e-mail be 100% explicit in saying what you are applying for in the first line: Designer, Freelance projects Work Experience Placement or other.
    • Do include an introductory paragraph. If you just attached a PDF it won’t be perceived as a fun teaser, it may be ignored.
    • Make it fun, well designed, visually interesting, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and think what would impress us or get noticed, but remember quirky does gets noticed but there is a limit.
    • Follow the accepted rules of a CV by including the most obvious things that an employer needs to know, such as including your contact details other than just your e-mail address.
    • Include a link to your online portfolio or blog but make sure that you are happy with the content as we will be judging not making allowance, that’s what humans do.
    • Give us links to projects or live websites that you have worked on
    • Tell us which design companies you have worked for even on a temporary, freelance or placement basis, they ought to all be of value. Placements are hard to get and show a lot of determination so don’t discount it – we wont. Real industry pro’s did spend their Summer working at small agency somewhere.
    • Include referees, seeing a name is better than saying On request. Employers should not contact these people unless we are serious about considering you and hence we would contact you long before spending time checking out your referees.
    • Ensure that your own Blog/Portfolio site has Google Analytics so you can see who has been in to your pages. Often design companies name their servers after themselves, so a deep visit might be worth a personalised follow up.
    • Do express your personality as that is important, it’s secondary to solid experience and raw talent even, but it is all part of the mix and you are marketing yourself in a People industry.
    • Do follow the potential employer of Facebook and Twitter, is may get noticed and also you may get advance notice of a big account win which may lead to a  recruitment need or new project they have just won which you may be really well qualified for.
    • We are a UK based company and prefer to see British English spellings, its not that we don’t like seeing American spellings, but even if it’s a global market place we need our web designer to know how to spell more than colour/color as our clients don’t expect to be proofing reading and spell checking for you.
    • Do proof read your application, not just via spellchecker but read it or get someone else to do it. If you cannot spell stationery it’s highly unlikely that we would ask you to design any. Stationary may be a correctly spelled word but it’s the wrong one.
    • Do apply yourself, applications from Fathers and Mothers indicate that you might have other/better things to do, such as important exams or just playing with your mobile.

    This recently received e-mail application does have a few faults, but the pluses just outweigh the minuses. the enthusiasm and character flood through. Faults include; I am not Mr Martin, personlisation is eye-catching but for the wrong reasons if it is incorrect. Poor grammar does not work in your favour and US spellings are noticeable to us in the UK. But he has his own logo – I love that, he clearly is passionate about design. Including a skype contact is a great idea.

    CV4

    Dont’s

    • Forget to give us your contact details, your employment status (visa/work permits), language skills etc.
    • Send out a portfolio PDF as 10mb + e-mail attachment that is  as it wont get through many spam filers and you ought to be able to know how to compact it more efficiently.
    • If your portfolio is full of student projects we can usually spot this so perhpas best to not try and hide this, otherwise we might look at it and think it’s full of either poorly briefed or badly executed projects.
    • Don’t include everything that you have ever done, often you will get judged by the worst piece of work not the best. It’s wrong but it’s human nature.
    • If you want to work in the UK from overseas then take 2 mins and use a Gmail or even a Hotmail.co.uk e-mail address, also don’t include a hunnybunny69@freemail.com or anarchyjihadist@gmail.com e-mail addresses, they says a lot about you, perhaps too much.
    • Please don’t call it a resume we are a UK based company so use the right terminology, same reason as using British spellings.
    • Dont forget that the telephone is a useful tool for contact and research and a 1 minute call might save you 45 mins crafting a CV for a company who no longer exist.
    • Don’t exaggerate or lie, it will most likely be spotted even if we don’t tell you.

    CV1

    This e-mail is hardly worthy of a reply, but I did (contact details changed). Yes it really does say “Respected Sir/Mam, Plz See Attach Resume” so is hardly inviting. How long does it take to craft a good covering e-mail? Hardly any and it can be re-used over again so it’s a good investment.

     

     

    Information resources:

    Trade Press . We reads The Drum who have a recruitment section > Drum Jobs

    Recruitment websites.

    You can try going to this website for news about who does offer placements: e-placementscotland.com

    Or you could also try louise@thebusinesspartnership.org.uk they try to arrange placements, if you are Edinburgh based.

    Also if you want to move to Scotland have a look into registering here > www.TalentScotland.com

    We’d like to wish you good luck and thanks for reading.  If you wish to stay connected you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Drummond International website evolution

    Posted on January 15, 2015

    image of Drummond International website homepageThis is the new website that we have just built and launched for consultancy firm Drummond International built with lots of new feature and the content is presented to explain the all that they can do for companies by developing individuals within organisations. But we need to go back a lot further before we get to this point.  We were first appointed by Drummond International in mid 2008 to re-design their very first website. Although they found us on Google it turned out that a few years before we had designed a folder on a pro bona rate for the Skye-based childrens development charity Columba 1400 founded by Norman Drummond as well as having worked on a connected annual report and group brochure. So Village Edinburgh strikes again, search the world wide web for someone located 500 yards away.

    DI home screengrab 04 09 12 miniOn the right you can see the 2008-2014 website. A couple of years later and we were asked to help again by creating branded social media profiles for channels already used and then newly developing SM channels, these included YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ once again Google Analytics data has been useful when evaluating each ones performance in turn.

    Even after many years of working together with them there was the need to submit a competitive tender and sit through an interview process. We happily did this as it was also a useful part of the briefing process, for both sides. It also ensured that our previous knowledge of the Client was updated and any possible assumptions were also corrected, we had to look forward not back. This was helpful to fully discuss advances in the internet and users experiences together with the rise in use of mobile devices, so a fully responsive website was needed. We were also provided with a mood board and a selection of wonderfully atmospheric B+W photographic images. It is rare to get so much information from a Client and does show great vision and organisation.  We did try to add more colour but the photos that that you can see on the site worked best in mono, however worth investigating other routes and visual treatments.  Back in 2008 we had installed Google Analytics onto the old website  and this data was reviewed by the when the new siteplan was prepared. It also provided an invaluable benchmark for the new site.

    Now in late 2014 and the staff of Drummond International felt it was time to completely refresh the company website including the style and page layout. The previous website content updates were done using Adobe Contribute, a very cost effective CMS (content management software as opposed to a bespoke content management system), Naturally it had its limitations but had worked well for 6+ years. With the rapid evolution of WordPress websites and all of the technical and editorial features offered a re-build was the best solution and a future friendly one too. The existing Blog was also WordPress so staff already had a good knowledge of creating and editing web content, another reason to go with a WP for the main site. We advised that the new blog should be integrated onto the website as this would give them better web traffic figures and be easier to encourage Blog viewers to visit main site pages.  It would also be much easier to update and include internal site links if it was one entity.

    screenshot of Drummond International website pageAlso a really nice design feature was suggested by the Client – the dynamic social media buttons, have a look at the mouse-over effect. We might add that feature to our own site the next time we refresh it.

    Websites are never truly finished and regular content reviews are essential, we hope to keep working with Drummond International for a further 6 years an more. Once again we have given our Client the tools to go on and build their brand and promote their services.

    So now if you need to find “an international leadership consultancy who work with some of the world’s most successful organisations to help leaders adapt and achieve in an ever-changing environment” you know where to look > www.drummondinternational.com