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Insights into the Online World

May052016

Your boss has asked you to create a website with all kinds of functionality needed for your company to operate more efficiently.  They have asked you to take care of all the details, but they have a few questions regarding the process.

 

What’s the purpose of Web Development?

Web Development allows your company to do what they need to do in a quick, efficient manner.  Web Designers will take the overall look and feel of your brand, and design a website that feels like an extension of your business, whereas, Web Developers make the nuts and bolts run smoothly.  Need a report of all your inventory and expenses?  Web Developers to the rescue!  We can make custom made functions that suit your business needs directly.

 

Why can I not just buy an off-the-shelf product?

While it is true that you can find most of what you need within an off-the-shelf product, there are times where you need an absolute specific thing for your process to work, but the product just can’t handle it.  You may need to contact the original programmer, but they may not be able to resolve the issue for you.  Custom Web Developers can analyze what you need and create the system based on your specifications.

 

How can it affect my bottom line?

The best way to approach this would be to explain that with an automated system, it will reduce the amount of time/overhead in completing certain processes.  With a custom web solution, you will increase efficiency, and discover new ways your customers can interact with you by moving away from a manual solution.

 

What do I need to do?

It is important to lay out the groundwork for the project before diving right in.  A solid foundation will help everyone reach their goal.  Therefore, web developers start with a functional specification.  This is a list of all the expected functionality of the system.  You will need to communicate what you need your system to accomplish, and in return, the web developer will take that information and convert it to a functional requirement.  If a functional specification is laid out correctly, there are little to no surprises at the end of the project.

 

Can I use the code for other things?

The nice thing about code reuse is that it can be utilized for multiple applications.  Once a tough solution is built, it can usually be modified to help out in other cases, depending on the complexity.  As web developers continue through their career, they pick up quick methods on how to solve problems, and sometimes they have experienced something you are currently going through.  They can take their expertise and apply it to your situation.

What kind of support do I need?

After a brief training session, your boss should be good to go.  However, there is no such thing as bullet-proof code.  The environment in which software needs to run is constantly changing, so the inevitable code update is required.  Plus, new options and methodologies are created every day, and new features could be right around the corner!

 

When can we start?

The timing of a project start depends on how the schedule of the web development team is going.  It would be best to have as much early notice as possible before the deadline.


Web development can be a confusing place to determine how it is beneficial to your company.  The only way out of the confusion would be to find out more about web development yourself!  What questions do you have about it?

Apr272016

Memories of a modern and down to earth internship - Modern Earth Web Design - Search Engine Optimization Winnipeg

Making the transition from school to work life is an exciting time for any student, and in some cases, the change can be a challenge. As you begin a new career, with a company, it’s possible for things like workflow and process to become deconstructed, or maybe I should say, reconstructed. For me, however, the internship I was embarking on was an even more special one – it also represented a cultural transition.

 

The Beginning

My journey began two years ago – I left behind family, friends and a stable career in my home country of Brazil to go back to college on the other side equator, in Canada. I enrolled as an international student taking the Digital Media Design program at Red River College. The final component of the program consisted of a 3-week workplace internship – leading me here, to Modern Earth.

 

Life in Brazil

My past includes having the opportunity to work at some of the top advertising agencies in Brazil – where I honed my skills in graphic design, advertising, branding and identities for many years – but Modern Earth was my first taste of the North American work environment. Think about the stereotypes associated with Brazil; the ones surrounding fun, friendliness, openness and include examples like Carnaval, Samba, and World Cup? Yeah, I have to admit – they are accurate. The country of Brazil is what they call a high-context culture (source link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-_and_low-context_cultures).

Canada, on the other hand, is a low-context one. When comparing the environment where individuals conduct business, Brazil’s can look a bit informal when compared to Canada’s environment, coming from their low-context style of people. Nevertheless, I like better how things go in Canada regarding human interaction. I would best describe it as a slow start, and growing day by day, as people get to know and trust each other. The interactions shift and continue to evolve until they form a warm and respectful relationship. Therefore, because of the pace, it wasn’t hard for me to quickly adapt without losing my identity.

 

My 'Modern' Internship Experience

Speaking specifically, during my time at Modern Earth I spent most of my days working alongside the lead of Modern Earth’s Creative Director, Barrett. As per my low-context discovery of Canadians, he comes off quite reserved and quiet (although extremely friendly). But after a few days, we started to bond. While working with him, I came to the realization that his knowledge of web development is massive. He taught me many things about how to approach the creative process to design a website across the many stages of a project’s lifecycle. Planning, efficiency, and high impact aesthetics – combined with a laser-like attention to detail are his mantras – and valuable lessons I will keep. On the various assignments I was given during my internship, I was able to interact and work with Mike, the Development Manager (and also, a talented videographer); Philip, the President of Modern Earth; Dan, Modern Earth’s CEO; and Stacey, a front-end designer, and developer. Everyone who I had the chance to work with has made a significant impact on me.

I’m content with my Modern Earth hosted internship, and if I had the opportunity to choose again, I wouldn’t hesitate – I would choose Modern Earth. It is a great place to learn and start a career, with friendly people, interesting clients, and cool projects. Coming into the internship, this was my impression of their company on my first day – this is the opinion I take home with me on my last one.

 

This Modern Earth guest post was authored by Gustavo Magalhães, who completed a 3-week internship with us as part of the Digital Media Design program at Red River College. Born and raised on the northeast shores of Brazil in the city of Fortaleza, Gustavo spent a decade working for a handful of Brazil’s top advertising agencies. In 2014, he made the decision to broaden his horizons – this prompted a move to Canada to pursue new, but related, opportunities in the digital media field. Besides his passion for graphic design and web technology, Gustavo is an avid music lover, songwriter, and guitarist.

Email Scam Warning - Kinek Dramex Group

POSTED BY Emma Sadonick-Carriere

Apr252016

A scammer calling themselves "Kinek Dramex Group" is using our physical address as the location of their Canada office in an email Scam. Please report any messages you receive from them as Spam.  They are not a tenant in our business center and are in no way connected to our company.

The emails that are being sent offer the recipient a job and look like the images below:

Kinek Dramex Group Email Scam

Kinek Dramex Group Email Scam

When you receive a suspicious looking or unexpected email there are 3 important things to remember:

  1. Never open attached files.  These may contain harmful files that could damage your computer, or cause data to be lost.
  2. Never respond with personal identification or banking information.  Scammers send "phishing" emails with generic requests to verify a number of things including account password resets, package confirmations, or transaction history.  Many of these emails are made to appear as though they were sent by a professional entity and may include logos, and other easily recognizable brand information to make them more convincing.
  3. Never click links within a suspicious email.  Spammers will use this links to send you to low-quality webpages that may compromise your online security.

If you have received one of these emails, please do not respond to the sender.  If you have questions about email scams, or other network securtity issues, contact us to discuss, we would be happy to help!  

A 5 Minute, 5 Point Website Usability Check

POSTED BY Emma Sadonick-Carriere

Apr182016

The age of high-speed internet and smartphones has shortened out attention spans and elevated our expectations.  Users expect the information they want at the exact moment they want it.  Here is a 5 point usability check you can complete on your website in 5 minutes.  Start with your home page and branch out from there. 

  1. Mobile friendly or responsive functionality
    How does your website look on a smartphone or tablet device?  Over half of all searches are completed on one of these devices; if your website doesn't provide a good experience for users your chances of appearing in search results are slim.  Google has changed their algorithm to check for this functionality and is more likely to show a mobile friendly website to a searcher on a mobile device.  
  2. A clear call to action on every page
    Once the user arrives at your website, do they have a clear direction to follow?  What is the next step you want them to complete?  Have a clear message or a call to action, on every single page of your website.  
  3. A lead generation form
    So many business websites miss the opportunity to generate leads.  A form that collects the users name and email address is a great way to generate leads - but you have to give the user something of value right off the bat.  This could be a pdf download of a how-to guide or a spreadsheet to help them organize their day.  Whatever you provide to the users should be more valuable than the information you're asking them to provide.        
  4. Clear navigation
    Easy to follow navigation is essential to the usability of your website.  A logical information architecture with a clear hierarchy will make it easier for users to find the information they want in a timely fashion.  The more clicks a user has to go through from the search result to get the information they want, the higher the odds they will "bounce" and move on to the next search result, or refine their query.  
  5. An H1 tag on every page
    Headings are used to establish the important elements of page content.  The h1 tag is the most important, h2 second most important, and so forth.  Using headings tells search engines the most important elements of your website page content.  Include keywords in headings where you can and increase your chances of being found for related searches.

This quick test should give you an idea of the important elements of your website pages that could be improved, and where you stand out against your competitors!  

The web today is filling up with all kinds of businesses wanting their piece of the pie.  You will need to come up with ways to make sure you stand out above the rest.  As developers, we can help you make sure you get your slice.

 

Here are a few ways that web development can enhance your online marketing:

 

Automatic Social Media Posts

    Can’t be near your computer 24/7, making sure that your social media is posted at the correct time?  Let a programmer help!  We can take your social media posts and schedule it out on a regular basis, as long as you provide it with enough time in advance.  Once you get the hang of things, it’ll be a piece of cake!

 

Alert for trends/keywords

    Want to know how the public views your brand?  Want to know what’s hot or what’s not?  Web developers can come up with ways to detect keywords/trends that can alert you and let you know how your brand is doing.  You can pick and choose which words to monitor, take the feedback with a grain of salt, and use it to your advantage!  See if you can cut the mustard with them and get them happy again!

 

Fine-tuned Emails

    Nowadays, when a user signs up for a newsletter or anything involving their address, you can personalize emails to their specific needs, based on their location.  If they purchased something off your website, you could use this information to send them cleverly crafted emails to let them know there are more items they may like!  It may whet their appetite for more, and they’ll come back to eat some more!

 

 

Once you have your pie, everyone else will get their just desserts.  Just remember to be gracious and think back to the hard work that got you where you are.  If you excuse me, it’s lunch time, and that’s my cup of tea!