The Web Developer Blog

A mish mash of ideas, suggestions and thoughts from ADD Creative Web Developers.

Call us on 01425 340508 or E-mail

OpenCart Community Edition

OpenCart Community Edition is an unofficial fork dedicated to backporting all the latest OpenCart bug fixes. This allows users to maintain a stable and secure store without having to wait extended periods between major releases or upgrade to an OpenCart version which may be incompatible with their extensions or themes. OpenCart versions 1.5.5.x and 1.5.4.x are currently supported.

While there is a release candidate the master branch is maintained as stable and is recommended for the latest bug fixes.

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Introducing ADD Filtration – HVAC Air Filter Supplier

We have just set another new e-commerce online store live today ADD Filtration – HVAC Air Filter Supplier. The site implements a shopping cart with integrated payments.

ADD Filtration sell a range of filters for HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) and fume extraction applications. The site also features various panel filters, bag filters and HEPA filters that can be purchased online in a range of sizes and options.

Why not take a look at

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Portfolio Update – Introducing Inter Gulf Travel

We have just updated our portfolio section with two new projects, ARK Architectural Concepts and also Inter Gulf Travel, who are a Egyptian destination management company, with offices round the world. Why not have a look at the sites and see how ADD create intuitive web design.

We produce design and sites that work across all browsers and platforms and confirm to all the latest W3C standards and validation criteria.

If you have any questions about web site design or our work please get in contact with us and we are happy to help.

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What do I need to get my web site made?

We often get questions from prospective clients about where to start with their site, so I thought I would take some time to address them as a resource for our visitors.

The first question we usually get asked is:

What do I need to give you to get my web site made?

We really need to have some idea of the following to give a decent accurate quote:

  • An idea of the amount of pages you want.
  • Some examples of sites you envisage to be similar or as close to what you like.
  • If you are going to need any e-commerce solution or if it is a brochure site.
  • If you have a logo or any graphics already created.

It’s beneficial for us to know what kind of pages and content you want to have, maybe draw up a list such as this for example:

About Us

This helps us work out a rough scale of a website and what might be involved. We also like to see other sites you like so we can work out the complexity of your design. All these factors go into the quote we give you. The more precise you can be the better the quote and it saves additional costs later or during development.

What do I need before you start designing?

You need to think of a domain name and you will need web hosting, the hosting is just server space where the actual web page files go and the domain is your that points to that space on the internet. The cost is relatively small up to about £50 per year.

We also require your content, the sooner the better really as it allows us to start the draft design knowing what kind of content you  are including in your site. The more content we have to format at an early stage the better.

Its a good idea to supply text page by page, so why not make a word document and separate your content out allowing us to easily follow your copy and how you would like it to work.

If you have any questions about getting started with your website just give us a call on 01425 340508 and we will be happy to help you make those first steps.

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Useful resources for web design customers

Customers often ask if we have an image library or where they can get ideas for text type and logo ideas to give to us. We create logos from scratch but sometimes a client wants a certain direction but does not know how to describe it or give direction on their idea.

We generally give our clients a list of various sites and resources that might be useful to them when it comes to choosing typefaces for print, web and also colour ideas and logo ideas.

Different Types of Logo

Sites like Brands of the world give inspiration and direction, it is always good to look at what other people have done and what else is out there. This is not a copying exercise, it’s a critique. You can look and study other logos and styles and ultimately pick and choose some great elements when creating your own idea, you are able to see what does not work, what might work and then give yourself a clearer picture of what type and kind of logo you want.

A great logo inspiration site is Logo Pond which features a vast array of different logo styles and treatments, it’s always good to have a look there and see if anything really stands out for you as inspiration.

Resources : Logo Pond Brands of the world

Free Image Libraries

A huge proportion of our customers came to us without having any images or without the budget to shoot specific images for their web site. Image libraries are really the only solution for good quality images and there are generally two types, completely free for commercial use (in most cases, but check the agreements) at the Stock Image Exchange and then pay as you go image libraries such as istockphoto. You can browse the libraries there to look for some professionally shot images, the quality on iStockphoto can be very impressive, whereas SXC generally are more amateur but even so you can find free high quality photographs which might do the job.

Our advice is to have a budget for photography, it can make a good site look great, just with some well chosen images which will compliment the design and the impression your company is trying to portray.

Resources : Stock Image Exchange istockphoto

Colour Palette and Colour Ideas

Choosing colours can be tricky, and after all, colour preference and tone is subjective, much like most design, but there are of course natural matches and blends of colour which just work really well. It is best to stick to what the wider public like and what suits your brand and your company. We use a few resources here for colour ideas and matches, from inspiration to a decisive colour picker which we can ask the client to match their exact colour they want, this allows them to be precise in regards to what shade or tone of colour they want. This has proved very useful over time and really lets the customer be a integral part of the design process.

Resources : Colour Lovers Colour Picker

In Conclusion

Inspiration is everywhere, but there is always a case to be made from seeing what your competitors do and making sure you do it better. Resources are there to be used for ideas, drafts and concepts and they trigger creativity to help us create your logo, match your colour styles and give you the brand you need. All our logos are unique and bespoke as we also take inspiration from the you and how you want to present yourself, in fact sometimes there is no need to use resources if the direction is clear and well thought out.

Make notes, scribble, sketch and annotate….. creativity is free.

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ADD Finishes ARK Architectural Concepts Ltd Website

ARK approached us to create their brand new brochure website. They wanted a fresh modern looking site with clearly laid out information and a portfolio section to show off their impressive work.

Looking at brand colours with Anant and studying the competition we developed a draft and logo to suit the style and vision of ARK, also to give them the competitive edge in terms of validated code and modern design techniques.

The bold colours and layout of the ARK site really stand out and with PDF downloads and image lightboxes giving the site a slick feel.

We also produced business cards, letterheads and compliment slips for ARK giving them a new branding package to go with their new launch.

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7 Important Questions to ask Your New Web Designer

Question mark

It’s always a bit nerve wracking having a new website designed, and it can be difficult to know what to expect. So here are 7 questions you should be asking your web designer before they start.

1) Can you show me examples?

Your new web designer doesn’t have to have worked in your industry before, but it is helpful to know that if you’re a retail company, he or she has some retail design experience, and if you’re a B2B company, then he or she has experience in designing for this area.

Retail and corporate are two different areas, and when you add in magazine style websites, brochure style websites, blogging sites and more, you need to know that your designer has designed the kind of site you want in the past, no matter what industry you’re in.

2) Can I contact some of your past clients?

Testimonials on a website are great, but they only tell half a story – you want to know whether the designer was easy to work with, was the project finished on time, were there any hiccups (there usually are) and if so what were they, among other things. Don’t just look at a pretty new website and presume you’re speaking to the designer of your dreams, ask others about their experience before you sign on the dotted line.

3) Is my deadline unrealistic?

There will always be designers out there who will say yes to the most ridiculous deadline just to get the job. It always ends in bad feeling on either side.

Ask your web designer to help you to come up with a realistic deadline, and to be honest with you if what you’re asking for just isn’t going to happen.

4) Will I be able to update my site myself?

In this day and age, most designers will give you a site that you can update easily in the future, from adding new pages to updating content on the fly through a web browser. But it doesn’t hurt to ask – are they going to provide you with a CMS (content management system) so that you can change things on the site without ruining the look and feel, or are you going to have to go back to them afterwards every time you want something changed?

5) Will my site be SEO friendly?

Or more importantly; “Will I be able to change the title and meta tags of each and every page individually?”. This is vitally important when it comes to SEO, but many CMS do not offer this option, making it difficult to optimise the site in the future. In some cases this option does not come as standard and you will find yourself having to pay extra for it to be installed; better to know up front and make an informed decision than find out months down the line when you have no Google listings.

6) What will you do to maintain the Google listings I have already?

Often forgotten in a new website design, there are many things your designer can do to maintain the listings you already have, from 302 redirects, to keeping page names the same, and importantly copying over any meta info. Don’t lose your listings because you haven’t told your designer this is important.

7) What extras will I have to pay for?

Scope creep, domain name, hosting, plugins, modules and more could all add to the cost of your new website. Ask in advance if everything is covered, or will there be more costs in future? Don’t let yourself get a nasty surprise invoice once the project is finished.

You’ll obviously have your own questions you want to ask, but these are a few important ones, and ones that Milton Keynes web designers ADD Creative are happy to answer!

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Introducing Perton’s Foods : New Client

We have just set another new client site live today, Perton’s Gourmet Foods are a Kent based company who have just launched their exciting on-line delicatessen of produce from Britain and the rest of the world. They deliver directly to the door and have a range of fantastic products from biscuits to special juices all packaged in a neat looking website.

They needed a robust brochure site and a online store building into it so we styled and implemented their store but also doing a fully validating brochure site with enquiry forms and some great looking stylized images.

The Store

The store is a simple and effective with PayPal Business integration and is built on the OpenCart system, and then modified by ourselves.

Photography for the products and entering all the items was by Perton’s and it really makes for a slick looking online store. Why not have a look and see our talents when it comes to e-commerce.

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We’re live at last!

It’s been a couple of months in the making, but our fab new website is now live, with all sorts of new goodies available.

As a web design company it would have been easy for us to throw up any old site, but that’s not the way we work, so a lot of research went into our new design. We looked into how best to communicate with new customers, spent an age learning from existing customers; what works for them and what doesn’t, and we’re pretty thrilled with the results.

So what’s new?

Well we’ve:

  • Developed a colourful new clean looking design
  • Made sure potential and existing customers can find the key information
  • Added a great portfolio section, showcasing our latest clients and designs
  • Added our social media links so clients can connect with us in more than one place
  • Upgraded our blog so we can keep you up to date with news
  • Breathed a sigh of relief that it looks great!

In 2011 we want to take an extremely proactive stance with our customers, rather than just being reactive – as the premier web design company in Milton Keynes we feel we owe it to the clients that helped us to become so.

We’d love to hear what you think about our new site, so why not tell us in the comments below?

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A new fresh addition to our portfolio…

ADD Creative welcomes – AA Fresh Cleaning

We have just today launched the new website for AA Fresh Cleaning – A Northampton based professional cleaning company who now have a cosy little home on the web. The brief was quite simple, they wanted a clean and modern design that gets their point across and their professional services.

I would say that this is a perfect example of a small brochure site, containing good on site SEO which should help to get them indexed into the Google search engine.

About the design

The design uses rounded edges softening the style and the colours of blue and green were chosen to fit in with the conventions of the cleaning industry, we also worked our magic with some great jQuery changing images and a contact form allowing the visitors numerous ways to get in touch with the guys at AA Fresh Cleaning.

A nifty little project and a smart functional little site… we are currently developing our own custom CMS allowing Fresh Clean to edit and modify their text content as they go along.

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