OUT OF THE BOX
How to Optimize Images for Web and Performance
As developers we put a lot of effort into tweaking and optimising our code to try and get the best performance out of it that we can. Yet many site owners end up slowing their sites down more than we ever could by using huge, unoptimised images. This article explains why optimising your images is so important, and how you can go about it.
According to HTTP Archive, as of April 2017, images make up on average 66% of a total webpage’s weight. So when it comes to optimizing your WordPress site, images is by far the first place you should start! It’s more important than scripts and fonts. And ironically, a good image optimization workflow is one of the easiest things to implement, yet a lot of website owners overlook this.Read More
What is PHP 7 and How to Start Using it With WordPress?
Not sure what php 7 is and why it's important? - Check out this article to find out!
PHP 7 is one of the most significant updates in the history of a server-side software that powers more than 82% of the internet, and, in this guide, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of using it with WordPress.Read More
Intrusive Interstitials: Guidelines To Avoiding Google’s Penalty
Earlier this year, Google updated its ranking algorithm for mobile search results to penalise sites which show popup modals on page load. This very thorough article will help you understand whether your site is likely to be affected, and if so what you can do about it.
The search giant has decided to launch a war against interstitials that ruin the user experience. As a result, any website found guilty of showing intrusive popups, banners or overlays (called interstitials) will see its content demoted in Google’s mobile search results. We’ll be looking at what’s being penalized, what’s allowed and some workarounds to help you cope with this new penalty.Read More
Essential Design Trends, May 2017
Keeping your eye out for emerging trends is essential in any industry. Here are some of the trends emerging in the world of web design for May 2017
From a purely aesthetic trend in shallow hero headers and diagonal corner layouts to a user interaction trend in this or that calls to action, there are plenty of interesting ways to draw the attention of users. Here’s what’s trending in design this month:Read More
Creative Commons’ New Search Tool is Now in Beta, Pulls CC Images from Multiple Sources
If you have trouble sourcing quality images for your site without having to pay through the nose for them, you may want to check this out - being able to search across several sites for images which are free to use (albeit usually with attribution to the owner) is going to make your life much simpler!
CC Search currently pulls CC-licensed images from Rijksmuseum, Flickr, 500px, the New York Public Library, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This includes 200,000 new images from the collection of 375,000 digital works that the Met released under CC0 this week.Read More
WordPress 4.8 Will End Support for Internet Explorer Versions 8, 9, and 10
Even based on the most generous estimates, Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 combined make up no more than about 3% of all internet users, so spending time and resources on testing and fixing bugs in them really no longer makes sense. Brown Box stopped supporting IE 8 and 9 some time ago, and will most likely be dropping IE 10 shortly. Like Wordpress, this doesn't mean that our sites won't work in IE 10, just that we won't be specifically testing in it.
WordPress will not stop working entirely in these browsers, but after the 4.8 release contributors will no longer test new features against older versions of IE. Some capabilities in wp-admin may be more limited.Read More
On Writing Clever Code with Arrays in WordPress
This is something that we've always tried to embrace here at Brown Box, because there are always times when the developer who wrote the code isn't the one who later needs to update or maintain it. And especially in cases where that latter developer may not have quite as much experience as the original developer, having clear, commented code makes a huge difference.
Ultimately, aim to write code however it is you want to write but write with another developer in mind: If you’ve ever complained about a piece of code being tough to decipher at first glance, odds are it was poorly written or it was an attempt to be clever. So don’t be that guy or girl who’s passing the buck to the next developer.Read More
Why Gradients Are The New Colours
This article highlights some of the key reasons why gradients have grown to be so popular in web design and discusses whether or not they're here to stay. Check it out.
I’ve noticed that there is a new and fresh trend in design that involves a prominent use of gradients in UI, branding, illustration, typography and more. It seems like we got bored of all the existing colors in the world, so we started to create new ways to use them.Read More
Save time, not money
You know what they say "Time is money" and now it's time to reclaim back some of those precious moments with these tips.
We humans are inherently flawed when it comes to money. If it’s a new iPhone or a pair of sunglasses, we’ll dish out $500 in a heartbeat. But if you ask $40 for a year of managed WordPress hosting, a lot of people will look at you like you’ve just insulted their grandma’s crochet skills. WordPress is fantastic because you can find so much for free, but at the same time it spoiled us. We expect fully functional themes and plugins to be free, with stellar support that has nothing better to do than to solve our every inane issue.Read More
There’s No Perfect Size for a Feedback Loop
In any business, but especially one that provides a service rather than a physical product, communication with clients is absolutely critical. As developers our natural inclination is to take the requirements and then lock ourselves in a room with just our computer and code away until the project is done, then throw it back to the client. But that doesn't serve anyone - clients feel that they don't know how their project is progressing, and we might have misunderstood some fundamental piece which will bring the whole thing crashing down. That's why we release a staging site to clients as early in the process as possible and push new features out to it as soon as they're ready. This way we can "fail fast" so that if we are on the wrong track, there might be a couple of hours' work to redo rather than a couple of weeks'.
I’m writing this for those who are new to self-employment, project management, or generally have less experience than those who are asking “Why are you writing this?” Ultimately, it’s something that most of us learn at some point in this industry, but if we can help one another short cut it sooner rather than later, we all benefit.Read More
How to communicate the value of WordPress website maintenance to your clients
Maintenance is an incredibly important component of running a successful website, here are some key items that'll help you highlight its importance to your clients.
Maintenance as a concept isn’t sexy. Who enjoys maintaining their car, or technical appliances, or even taking their skis for a service after a fantastic ski season. In that case, how can we get excited about offering website maintenance as an additional value to our clients, and better yet how do you explain to them it’s essential to their website’s success.Read More
Sick of the default Slack colours? - Check out these themes that let you customise the colours of your Slack colour scheme!
Website Security – Simple Steps to Take
You know you want to be secure, so you start to check out this weird security thing. Brute force? You can handle that; good passwords, limit login attempts, maybe even two factor authentication. Then you suddenly become aware of cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection (SQLi), cross-site request forgery (CSRF), remote code execution (RCE), and potentially so many more that you’re simply terrified. You begin to buy into “ignorance is bliss”. But website security doesn’t have to be scary.Read More
4 Things Your Home Page Needs to Stand Out
Give your users a reason to stay on your website! Check out this article to find out how you can stand out online.
“As long as I have a web presence, I’m good to go.” So say a lot of business owners out there who think that having any old website is better than not having one at all. And you know, that’s true to some degree. Even a poorly designed site will give potential customers a way to reach you, which is something I suppose. But more often than not, bad design – bad home page design, in particular – can cause people to click the “back” button in a nanosecond. Whether you like to think so or not, design plays an essential role in how your site is perceived. And that split second perception can determine a whole lot of things. Like whether or not a prospect stays on your site or clicks back. Or a visitor clicks on links in your navigation menu. To get your site’s home page on the right track, here are 4 things you should consider including.Read More
WordPress Plugin Directory Redesign: Why So Many People Feel Their Feedback Was Ignored
If you've been to the Wordpress Plugin Directory in the last couple of weeks you will have noticed it's been completely revamped, and there are many users who aren't happy with the changes. This article provides an interesting insight into the process of the rebuild, particularly around the way that feedback was managed.
Many of the issues ... are known and have been known for months. While it may seem like a lot of people are suddenly complaining and didn’t participate in the feedback loop, it’s important to look back to see how the plugin directory redesign reached this point.Read More
Accessibility Means Designing for Yourself Too
About a week ago as I was adding alt-tags to a bunch of images I had this exact same thought to myself - Designing with accessibility is looking after not only others, but potentially, also your future self. Great write-up in this article - Definitely recommend the read.
Accessibility is most commonly associated with designing for “people with disabilities”. And even when we talk about it being for “everyone”, the concept is still so abstract, it tends to carry the idea that accessibility is for someone else.Read More
Save time, not money
Sometimes spending money can provide you with the opportunity to free up your time and allow you to spend it in places that will return a stronger investment. This article is a great example of this concept in action!
We humans are inherently flawed when it comes to money. If it’s a new iPhone or a pair of sunglasses, we’ll dish out $500 in a heartbeat. But if you ask $40 for a year of managed WordPress hosting, a lot of people will look at you like you’ve just insulted their grandma’s crochet skills. WordPress is fantastic because you can find so much for free, but at the same time it spoiled us. We expect fully functional themes and plugins to be free, with stellar support that has nothing better to do than to solve our every inane issue.Read More
Mobile First Design: Why It’s Great and Why It Sucks
Brown Box have long been proponents of mobile-first development, and we are still strongly committed to it - but it's not all sunshine and roses, especially for the developers!
More than ever before the web is something that we carry in our pockets, not something that merely hangs out near our desk or even in our homes. This is a global trend that will only continue to see growth in the coming years. Are you ready for this? Does your professional skill set include web development for all important platforms or just the desktop arena?Read More
Got 15 Minutes And Want To Learn Git?
Interested in learning Git? This resource will help set you on your path... It's time to Git Familiar!
Git allows groups of people to work on the same documents (often code) at the same time, and without stepping on each other's toes. It's a distributed version control system.Read More
The Difference Between Wireframes and Prototypes
Do you know the difference between wireframes and prototypes? Read this article for a detailed explanation of both
Few people know the actual difference between the two terms ‘Wireframe’ and ‘Prototype.’. There can be confusion with regards to their similarities. Yet, it is crucial to know the difference between the two.Read More
Improve the WordPress Editor by Contributing to the Gutenberg Project
Wordpress is in the process of completely rewriting the editor - i.e. the way that you write your post content. The goal is to make it far more user-friendly and easier to build richer content using a "block"-based approach. Early signs are good, though we wonder how well the new editor will play with themes that are based on various responsive frameworks like Zurb Foundation or Bootstrap. Either way it's certainly a space to watch over the coming months!
WordPress is used by more than 27 percent of the entire internet. The editor plays a huge role in the overall usability of the CMS and the future of it will influence its adoption.Read More
Web Design Best Practices for Reviving a Stagnate Website
A site is considered successful if it is useful, relevant, and well designed. As a Head of UX, I spend a lot of time thinking about great design, website best practices and how it can be used to create great and profitable websites.Read More
Nonprofit Newsletter Best Practices to Drive Traffic From Email
Keeping in that line of thought, nonprofit newsletter best practices tell us to send these puppies regularly, at the same day and time, in regular intervals. You want your supporters to know that they can count on you, and this regularity and familiarity helps to achieve that confidence.Read More
SEO for Blogs: Increase Your Nonprofit Blog Traffic
Blogging can be intimidating, but it's an INCREDIBLE way of introducing your Organisation to people who haven't heard your name.
When I talk about unbranded search, I mean those new visitors that arrive on your website through a search that didn’t include your organization’s name. To make the most of SEO for blogs and attract visitors who’ve not heard of your organization, unbranded search is your best bet.Read More
Why You Should Be Using Supported PHP Versions
We're currently in the process of planning to move to PHP7 - initially, this was about the massive performance improvements it provides, but security is also becoming a consideration too. Unfortunately, there's a lot of testing and other preparation to be done, which takes time. But we strongly believe it's an essential step in the never-ending search for continuous improvement.
A dilemma we are facing today is that many businesses, developers, and hosts have fallen behind when it comes to supporting the latest PHP versions. Some of the statistics below might even shock you. Today we want to discuss some of the reasons why it is so important that everyone use the latest PHP versions, not only for security reasons, but also for better performance and support.Read More
The Bottom Line: Why Good UX Design Means Better Business
UX Design can dramatically change the face of your businessRead More
The Top 11 Tools You Can Use to Be More Productive
Find useful information in this article on how to be super productive!
Being productive isn’t about which apps, tools, and frames of mind you use to get things done. Enhancing your productivity is about using a set of tools and processes that can make up a full blown productivity system, becoming comfortable with and relying on those tools, and then using them to get important things done in your life and work.Read More
Which Responsive Design Framework Is Best? Of Course, It Depends.
Brown Box made the decision several years ago to use Foundation as the responsive framework in all the sites we build, but we regularly revisit that decision to make sure it still makes sense. This article provides a very thorough comparison of 3 of the main responsive frameworks, and ultimately they are all very similar, though there are small differences that may affect the choice of framework for any particular project.
With dozens of responsive design frameworks available to download, many web developers appear to be unaware of any except for Bootstrap. Like most of web development, responsive design frameworks are not one-size-fits-all. Let’s compare the latest versions of Bootstrap, Foundation and UIkit for their similarities and differences.Read More
It's Our Anniversary!
We’re celebrating an anniversary at Brown Box and we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate our past year of achievements, and to reflect on the awesome lessons we’ve learnt in the past 12 months!
We’re celebrating an anniversary at Brown Box and we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate our past year of achievements, and to reflect on the awesome lessons we’ve learnt in the past 12 months.Read More
Infographic: Adobe Illustrator Reaches 30
Check out this infographic that highlights the past 30 years of Adobe Illustrator
t’s official: Adobe Illustrator has finally reached middle-age. Launched way back in 1987, this Sunday marks the 30th anniversary of version 1.1, one of the most influential vector graphics applications of all time.Read More
A Guide to Successful Design Handoffs
Design handoffs are the connection between your designers and your developers so it's obvious that they are critical to the project's success. This article highlights some of the aspects you'll want to take into consideration when creating design handoffs.
With this premise, I’d like to share some thoughts on how designers can adopt a few techniques to ease our & our colleagues’ work in the execution phase with the help of a well rounded & thorough design handoff —Read More
Learn to master information architecture
As the world continues to grow increasingly more digital, information architecture is an essential skill to get behind and start learning. Its uses are seen all throughout society, not just online.
If you want to learn the concepts of information architecture and start practicing it yourself, you should come to Generate New York in April, where Abby Covert will run a full-day workshop and follow it up with a talk at the conference that will help you make sense of any mess. No matter what your job or mission in life: if you are working with other people, you are dealing with information architecture. It is the way we arrange the parts of something to make it understandable. Whether it's determining the labels for your products and services or creating navigational systems to help users move through a complex ecosystem of marketing channels, everybody architects information. It is not without challenges, however.Read More
How Many WordPress Plugins is Too Many? The Answer Might Surprise You
This article makes a very good point - in the majority of cases it's not the raw number of plugins that impact your site's performance or security, but which plugins you use. Of course, the more plugins you have the higher the chances that you'll have one that can cause problems - but if you select carefully (and keep them up to date!) you can run as many plugins as you want with minimal impact.
If you’ve used WordPress for a while, I’m sure someone has told you that you “shouldn’t use too many plugins”. It’s obvious – using too many plugins will slow your WordPress site down, right?Read More
What Color Should Your Brand Logo Be?
Deciding on a logo can be a challenge in its own.... then add the responsibility of choosing the right colours
Color psychology has been proven to affect people only fairly effectively, and to save you from the hassle of doing your own research, 99designs has created an aptly colorful infographic quiz that reveals the colors that actually work.Read More
The 30 Marketing Terms You Need to Know as a Web Designer
Marketing is growing into an essential skill for Web Designers to include in their arsenal of skills. For designers that are starting out and want to expand their marketing knowledge, here's a glossary of useful terms to kickstart your design-marketing lingo!
lthough your job is to create high-quality designs for the web, your contribution is incredibly important to the marketing process. By taking time to brush up on common marketing terms, you’ll gain a better understanding of your work within the larger context of marketing.Read More
Why is SEO essential for your business?
Improving your Search Engine Optimisation is a great way of increasing traffic to your website - This means more users coming to view your services/cause!!
Whether you are building a website for a client and launching a marketing campaign, or you are just increasing your website visibility and reach, SEO is one of the key things to do. It is perhaps the main factor that can make or break any online business or a blog’s success. Although search engines have become increasingly sophisticated and search algorithms are improved every day, they still can’t see and understand a web page the same way a human can. This article will show you how simple SEO steps help the search engines figure out what each page is about and how it may be useful for your users.Read More
XSS (cross-site scripting) is a huge security issue affecting many web sites. For those who develop web sites or applications, preventing these vulnerabilities is a huge task. Google have taken a fun approach to helping developers learn how to avoid XSS vulnerabilities with this little game. We're not sure about the promise of cake at the end though - we suspect the cake is a lie.
In this training program, you will learn to find and exploit XSS bugs. You'll use this knowledge to confuse and infuriate your adversaries by preventing such bugs from happening in your applications.Read More
The 50 Best Web Design Books Worth Reading in 2017
As a web designer you are always learning and because of the competitive market you have to be on top of your game. Here are some books worth reading to keep you in the game...
This is our collection of the best web design books from 2016. Pick one or two of them from the list, grab a coffee, sit back in your favorite chair, and enjoy.Read More
New Website Checklist: Nonprofit Communications Before and After Launch
It's often easy to get so caught up with figuring out the ins and outs of your new site, that you'll forget to tell anyone about it! This article has some great tips for transitioning both your own team and your visitors into your new web experience.
Crafting a communications plan for your website launch helps make sure that no one is left out in the cold during this busy time. Identifying key audiences, proactively providing them with information and then celebrating a new tool that advances your cause should be at the heart of your marketing team’s new website checklist.Read More
Disable Comments Without Deleting Them (WordPress)
For those looking for information on disabling comments on WordPress - check out this article.
I have recently discovered how difficult it is to temporarily remove all comments site wide, without deleting these comments forever. This website receives a massive number of comments; a huge number that are spam, a large number that are real (but do not add to the conversation, or the article as a whole), and a small number that are generally insightful and create conversation. The management of these comments take up a large number of man hours, and I am simply unsure whether my time is justified.Read More
WordPress SEO Checklist – 45 Tips for 2017
A very thorough look at how to make your Wordpress site the most search engine-friendly it can be. While there are some points there that are out of most site owners' control (and that's where we come in), so much of SEO is about content - and that ball is firmly in the owners' court.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the methods and or strategies used to rank a website and content higher in search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, to result in more organic traffic. There are really two sides to SEO, the first is the technical part of it and the second can sometimes be more of a natural branding play among online businesses.Read More
Generational Giving - Infographic
Lately our team has been discussing how important it is to include younger generations in your fundraising strategies - they're the donors of tomorrow!!
When you better understand the interests and habits of each generation, you might even discover a new age demographic to actively target and build your fundraising strategy around.Read More
The 20 Most Useful IFTTT Recipes To Automate Your Online Activities
You are guaranteed to be more productive by using these valuable automations on IFTTT. Save time and get more posts exposed on different social media accounts.
IFTTT is the best service available currently for automating such tasks. IFTTT has a number of channels that trigger on certain conditions and execute a specified action on other channels. You can automate your most time-consuming tasks by using IFTTT recipes.Read More
Sketch vs. Photoshop: 5 Expert Designers Share Their Thoughts
Ensuring you're using the right tool for the job is essential when working in any profession - As many designers flock to new software built specifically for User Interface such as sketch, is it time for designers to break out of their comfort zones? Or could a combination of tools be used to achieve the best outcomes? Check out this article for some insight on what other experts are thinking.
The debate about Sketch vs Photoshop keeps on raging. There is no denying that, to this day, Photoshop is still the most commonly used tool for making mockups both for mobile and web designs. While it is true that Adobe Photoshop was primarily meant as a tool for photographers to edit their captured images, its compelling features empower web designers to come up with striking and useful websites, too.Read More
Cloudflare Data Leak: How to Secure Your Site
We use Cloudflare for most of our sites, so obviously any security breach is a serious concern to us. We have no reason to believe any of our sites were affected, but encourage all site owners to take precautionary steps such as updating their passwords just to be safe.
Cloudflare has experienced a data leak over a 5 month period that mixed sensitive data between websites and visitors. A visitor to one website using Cloudflare may have seen data from another website using Cloudflare that was being sent to a completely different site visitor.Read More
What is the Discovery Phase and Why Do I Need It?
This article could easily have been writted by someone here at Brown Box - it resonates amazingly closely with our own experience and thoughts on splitting larger projects into separate discovery and delivery phases. I also particularly like the quote below - it really encapsulates what we do in terms of development.
Building software is hard, but estimating software is even harder. After all, it’s rare for us to build the same thing twice. Though we work with WordPress, it’s actually quite impressive how little of our work deals with the actual blogging component. WordPress has the basic, expected features on lockdown, and so what we end up building is ways to make WordPress do something unique.Read More
More Than Just Pretty: How Imagery Drives User Experience
A picture is worth a thousand words. When creating content it is vital that the images you use convey an accurate message and represent your brand!
Images can be a powerful way to capture users’ attention and differentiate your product. A single image can convey more to the observer than an elaborate block of text.Read More
Common Misconceptions About Web Design & Development
Businesses are more and more becoming more dependent on an online presence, so the pressure to have a successful website is very high. However, some entrepreneurs have misguided notions about how web design and development should work. This post explores some common beliefs among non-tech-savvy businesspeople about web design. It’ll address aspects like micro-managing instead of trusting your developer and assuming that hiring a web developer will make a website viral. It’ll also discuss how to address these misconceptions.Read More
Every Website Will Break (Eventually)
While it is tempting to think that your new web site will last forever, the simple fact is that you will face issues down the track. That's why it's important not only to build sites which are future-proofed as much as possible, but to ensure that you have plans and strategies in place to maintain the code and infrastructure behind your site.
Recently, after a spate of websites I maintain faced a variety of problems, I came to a stark realization: Every website I’ve ever worked on is probably going to break at some point.Read More
A Designer’s Guide to Perceived Performance
Perceptions are what counts when it comes to crafting a satisfying user experience
A well-designed site isn’t how easy it is to use or how elegant it looks. A site isn’t well-designed unless the user is satisfied with their experience. An overlooked aspect of this experience is performance. A slow, beautiful site will always be less satisfying to use than an inelegant fast site. It takes a user just three seconds to decide to abandon a website.Read More
5 Steps to Making Sure Your Users Trust Your Website
Research by the Nielsen Norman Group suggests that the average Internet user will leave a web page within 10 to 20 seconds of arriving. Typically, the user will quickly scan the content of the page, get a rough idea of its intrinsic value, then decide whether to leave or stay. The challenge is encouraging the user to spend more time on your site. One of the key factors that determine how long a user stays on a site is how they perceive the website’s trustworthiness. If a user believes a website is credible, they are more likely to spend time thoroughly reading the site’s content and possibly browsing multiple pages. Of course, the longer they stay on the site, the more likely they are to make a purchase, click on an ad, sign-up to a newsletter, share an article or engage with your organisation in one way or another. This article will share five simple ways to make your website more trustworthy, helping you to retain more of your website’s visitors. These techniques are easy to implement and can significantly improve the effectiveness of your online presence!Read More
Wordpress Plugin Guideline Change
A couple of major updates have just been made to the guidelines for plugins listed in the Wordpress plugin directory. If you're a plugin author, you should definitely check them out to make sure you're not going to have any problems. If you're not a plugin author you may not need to understand the details, but you should still care - because these changes will hopefully mean less potential security and compatibility issues down the track.
While minor updates to the guidelines (with regard to spelling, grammar, etc) are common, major changes are rare and we are striving to be more transparent about them. Hence this postRead More
A Guide to User Flow in Web Design
Designing a website might not be too hard, but understanding the user experience and building a website that converts is a different story. Here at Brown Box our focus is on conversion and user experience.
We are discussing the importance of User Flow for a website henceforth it has to be the user who will make or break the website. The job of the website designer is to understand the users and their requirements.Read More
Using Social Media to Promote Your Business
Wikipedia describes Social Media as an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few.Read More
Hooks, Line, and Sinker: WordPress’ New WP_Hook Class
Even if you're an experienced developer, this article may make your head spin - but it's a fascinating insight into a major update to one of the most central parts of the Wordpress core.
One of the bigger changes introduced in WordPress 4.7 is that there is a new WP_Hook class. This new class is now used to handle all the internal hooks within WordPress core. It’s kind of a big deal.Read More
Essential Cheat Sheets for Photoshop, Illustrator, GIMP and Sketch
Cheat sheets are awesome, quick & easy and boosts productivity. Find your copies here!
In this short article, we’ve collected all of the keyboard shortcut cheatsheets for Photoshop, Illustrator, GIMP and Sketch.app.Read More
4 Design Tricks for Making an Office Space More Productive
We all love a productive workspace that works for us! Here are some design principles and tips that you can apply to your work environment!
Studies have shown that surroundings play a huge role in employee productivity and mood as well as the impression customers get when they walk into a place of business. For this reason, it’s important to incorporate tried and true design techniques that will create an environment conducive to creativity, work flow, and comfort.Read More
How to Improve the User Experience of Your Contact Forms
This is what we keep saying! Only ask for information you need. The more frustrated the user feels the higher the chances that they may drop off and you will lose the sale / donation. Keep it simple and don't ask for information that is irrelevant to the purpose!
The shorter your forms are, the lower the drop-off rate. I know we’re not here to discuss conversion rates and how to improve them, but put your expectations aside for a while. This is important to know.Read More
Ever wondered what domain name you should use when you just want a placeholder rather than an actual domain? Well, there is one set aside for exactly that purpose - example.com (along with example.net, example.org and example.edu). If you feel like getting creative, there are also a few other reserved names such as anything ending in .invalid - but often the simplest solution is the best.
Example.com, example.net, example.org, and example.edu are second-level domain names reserved for documentation purposes and examples of the use of domain names.Read More
SEO is a Process and Not a Plugin
More times then not, a WordPress user installs a SEO plugin and forgets about it or focuses heavily on the green dot of approval and nothing else. That is the wrong approach and is completely insufficient when trying to garnish sustainable, SEO based search traffic.Read More
Thinking Beyond the Interface
Love part of the article - "Instead of thinking, "We need to commission art and direct a photo shoot where the photographer accounts for clear space on the right-hand side of the image for the text placement," what frequently happens is: "Let’s put a white box over the image so the text is legible at any breakpoint." - highlights the importance of planning our content!!
Designers have largely shifted their skill sets toward interface design, prototyping, and code. Are writing and art direction getting left behind?Read More
Tech giant Google has introduced some impressive changes to its highly popular Maps application
Changes that could be included in the next permanent update relate to Parking, Keep map North up and Contribution Status. Definitely worth a read
According to Android Police, the recently released Google Maps 9.34 beta has a number of new features likely to be included in the next permanent update.Read More
SEO Tricks for One Page Websites
SEO and design don't have to compete! If you put a little consideration into how you build your one page site you can still achieve SEO success
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you can’t beat ‘em, so you might as well join ‘em. I’m of course referring to the sudden, and not altogether unpleasant influx of single page websites. This design trend has taken a lot of heat in times past for not being search friendly. Their non-paginated structures don’t exactly make for easy indexing, and if there’s an abundance of content on the page, it can make things even more difficult for search spiders looking to find relevant content.Read More
Key elements of the Spam Act
Most countries have legislation in place these days that cover what is permitted in commercial emails. If you're sending any sort of email on behalf of your organisation, it's very important that you understand what limitations you need to work within. This portal from the Australian Government can provide you with the details you need. It's worth noting that the Australian legislation covers any emails read in Australia, not just emails sent from Australia. Other countries may have similar laws, so you need to take into consideration not only the laws of your own country but also those of any country you are sending emails to.
The Spam Act 2003 prohibits the sending of unsolicited commercial electronic messages—known as spam—with an Australian link. A message has an Australian link if it originates or was commissioned in Australia, or originates overseas but was sent to an address accessed in Australia.Read More
The Principles Of Cross-Browser CSS Coding
It is arguable that there is no goal in web design more satisfying than getting a beautiful and intuitive design to look exactly the same in every currently-used browser. Unfortunately, that goal is generally agreed to be almost impossible to attain. Some have even gone on record as stating that perfect, cross-browser compatibility is not necessary. While I agree that creating a consistent experience for every user in every browser (putting aside mobile platforms for the moment) is never going to happen for every project, I believe a near-exact cross-browser experience is attainable in many cases. As developers, our goal should not just be to get it working in every browser; our goal should be to get it working in every browser with a minimal amount of code, allowing future website maintenance to run smoothly. In this article, I’ll be describing what I believe are some of the most important CSS principles and tips that can help both new and experienced front-end developers achieve as close to a consistent cross-browser experience as possible, with as little CSS code as possible.Read More
14 design tips for more clickable banner ads
Some great tips to make your digital advertising make an impact
Banner ads are one of the most prolific forms of marketing used in today’s online world. All companies use them in one form or another because they’re an affordable, measurable and effective medium to increase brand awareness – and there’s a lot of design work out there for them.Read More
How to write the perfect blog post
Providing content and value through blogging is a great way to engage and win over an audience over time. This post highlights some core tips on how you can write the perfect blog post!
So how do you create great content? To craft the perfect blog post – one that both humans and search engines will love – you need several of the right key ingredients. A pinch of a catchy title. A delicious dose of an intro that emotionally connects with the audience. A sprinkling of imagery and bullet points to break up text. All of these things add up to a great recipe for the perfect article for your website.Read More
20 Beautiful Cursive & Handwritten Fonts to Download
It can be challenging to find suitable fonts. Here you will find some beautiful fonts for free download.
In this showcase we have put together 20 free script handwritten fonts for any of your needs, be it a wedding invitation, preview images for a blog, to creative business card designs.Read More
W3Techs Ranks WordPress as the Fastest Growing CMS of 2016
Not only does Wordpress far outstrip its competitors in terms of pure market share, but for the last 7 years it has also been the fastest-growing Content Management System - meaning that its lead is growing all the time. Wordpress is used on more sites than every other CMS combined, and more than 1 in 4 of all web sites (including those that don't use a CMS) use Wordpress.
W3Techs ranks WordPress as the fastest growing content management system with 58.5% market share.Read More
WordPress Multisite: Practical Functions And Methods
Making site management that much easier
Multisite is a powerful new feature that arrived with the release of WordPress 3.0. It allows website managers to host multiple independent websites with a single installation of WordPress. Although each “website” in a network is independent, there are many ways to share settings, code and content throughout the entire network. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been developing themes and plugins for a WordPress Multisite-powered content network. During that time I’ve learned many powerful tips and tricks unique to Multisite. This guide will introduce you to a few Multisite-specific functions, along with real-world programming examples that you can begin using today. Hopefully, it will open your eyes to a few of the new possibilities available in Multisite.Read More
Get More Control with Foundation's Grid Utility Classes
Content should be a constantly moving entity, as regular updates are essential for healthy SEO. Using Foundation is the first step to making sure your theme has the right spaces for the content you need.
Foundation is all about responsiveness. Beyond small, medium, and large, Foundation provides you all kinds of useful grid utility classes to control how your content lays out in the grid. And each of these grid classes can be adjusted per breakpoint to really fit your content the way you intended, rather than the grid forcing your content to conform.Read More
An Introduction To Building And Sending HTML Email For Web Developers
Ever wondered what's involved in actually creating and sending your email newsletters or conversion series? This self-described "high-level overview" will give you some idea of the incredible complexities that have to be considered.
HTML email: Two words that, when combined, brings tears to a developer’s eyes. If you’re a web developer, it’s inevitable that coding an email will be a task that gets dropped in your lap at some time in your career, whether you like it or not.Read More
The mind-blowing AI announcement from Google that you probably missed
In September 2016 Google gave their translation tool a new engine: the Google Neural Machine Translation system, Google translate has developed the ability to learn from people who used it. Best part is that the software determined that this was the most efficient way to solve the problem, it was not told to do so.
In the last weeks of 2016, as journos around the world started penning their “was this the worst year in living memory” thinkpieces, Google engineers were quietly documenting a genuinely astonishing breakthrough in software engineering and linguisticsRead More
Printer Cartridge Recycling
What process do you follow when getting rid of your printer cartridges? I did some research to find the best environmentally friendly solution for dumping printer cartridges. If your organisation uses enough cartridges, you may qualify for a pick up service!
Australians throw away more than 18 million printer cartridges every year. This amounts to over 5,000 tonnes of material, including laser toner cartridges, inkjet cartridges, photocopier toner bottles and drums, that will eventually end up in landfill. When printer cartridges break apart in landfill, they have the potential to contaminate groundwater and the environment.Read More
Creative Ways To Increase Landing Page Conversions
Let's be creative with the ways we direct our users! Make sure to create with purpose.
Landing pages are like fine works of art. Every detail must have a purpose. In other words, landing pages can’t just look good—they have to be thoughtful and strategic. This is why testing is crucial, as it provides insight into what’s working and what’s not.Read More
Look What You Can Do with Mailchimp
Whether you are running a Campaign or simply sending out Newsletters, Mailchimp makes it easy to send beautiful emails. Check it out!
More than 12 million people use MailChimp to send beautiful newsletters. You could be one of them.Read More
5 Thank You Page Best Practices for Any Nonprofit
You've just embarked on a new and exciting relationship with a donor - make sure they know how appreciated they are from the very beginning!
While it’s true that your donation page is largely responsible for converting donors, your thank you page plays an equally important role: Retaining them.Read More
How listening to music at work makes you productive
As you may have noticed, we always have music on in the office here, and we generally try and keep it upbeat. Some of us will still put headphones on and listen to our own music if we are finding it too distracting - as the article says, it's much more effective if you know (and like!) the songs.
A new study from Cornell University showed that employees can benefit from listening to music when at work. It has been found that playing happy and upbeat music can lead employees to be more productive and cooperative at the workplace.Read More
The Importance of Storytelling in Design
Always remember the big picture...
The stories we tell prospective employers have a dramatic impact on whether or not we will be successful at what we do. They can literally make or break your career, so it’s important to choose and develop them wisely.Read More
Is your website secure from hackers? We recommend Sucuri. Sucuri Inc is a reputable, globally-recognized company that offers website security software and services to business of all sizes around the world.
Worried about hackers bringing down your site, or spreading malware to your visitors? Then you need a security plugin to keep your site safe. Sucuri is the leading name is software security, and their security plugin for WordPress is among the most popular. Find out if Sucuri is right for your website in our Sucuri review.Read More
Building responsive accessible web forms with Foundation
We love working with Foundation because enables vital functions such as accessibility!
Designing great forms can be a challenge in itself. Doing it in such a way that anyone, on any device, even with visual impairment is slightly more challenging. Ultimately we need a form that matches our design and is low barrier to entry for all users. In this lesson, we’ll implement a responsive, accessible form with Foundation and test its accessibility.Read More
Write or fade away as a designer
Writing is definitely an important tool to have up your sleeve. How important do you think it is for designers to have strong writing skills?
Every week a new article comes out preaching to designers the necessity of learning to code, sales, or [insert new skill here]. If you don’t learn one of these indispensable skills, your career is bound to crash and burn. Why? Because of the looming AI insurgence or some other wacky theory. The real question should be: What skill provides the biggest gains for the least amount of effort? And the answer is: Writing.Read More
Don’t Design This at Home… 3 UI Disasters to Avoid
Here are some examples of UI Design mistakes you'll want to avoid.
Loathsome design captures the essence of frustration. Often, this comes about as a result of neglect—in an attempt to achieve one thing, something else must be left by the wayside. Why should you care about loathsome design practices? Because they are the type of decisions that can drive users from your sphere of influence, and into that of your competitors.Read More
12 UX Rules Every Designer Should Know
UX design is a core component of how we design websites here at Brown Box This article highlights the rules of User Experience that designers should apply to their designs.
Like it or not, UX has a huge impact on what web designers do. You can create the best design in the world, but it won’t succeed if it’s not usable. And it won’t be usable unless you know a little UX strategy. These UX lessons will teach you how to improve projects’ usability and make you indispensable to your clients.Read More
WordPress Plugins For Development
We're always on the lookout for tools that will help us build better sites more efficiently. Most of the plugins on this list are ones we use at least some of the time, but there are a couple of new ones we'll be checking out!
...these are the plugins I run in every local installation of WordPress when I’m working on a projectRead More
99 Creative Logo Designs for Inspiration
Designing a logo? Need inspiration? Here are 99 logos to give you the inspiration you need! Keep the logo simple, yet trendy!
Achieving a well designed logo requires really hard work and being up to date with the latest trends in design. It's probably the best way of establishing brand identity, making an impact on customers and ensuring that they'll remember your site and come back for a second visit.Read More
Extending Advanced Custom Fields With Your Own Controls
Learn how to use ACF to tailor your WordPress experience to your needs
Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) is a free WordPress plugin that replaces the regular custom fields interface in WordPress with something far more powerful, offering a user-friendly interface for complex fields like location maps, date pickers and more. In this article I’ll show you how you can extend ACF by adding your own controls to tailor the experience to your needs.Read More
How To Make WordPress Hard For Clients To Mess Up
WordPress has a bit of a learning curve, but we can help make it simpler to start with
WordPress is a wonderfully powerful CMS that ships with many versatile features giving it the flexibility to work out of the box for a wide range of users. However, if you are a professional building custom themes and plugins, sometimes these features can be problematic.Read More
Improve Your Email Workflow With Modular Design
Sometimes, it's all about going back to basics. This article helps you create email designs that you can go back to again and again, without thinking too hard for something new, in three easy steps.
Setting up a modular email design workflow involves three basic steps: 1. Create the design system. 2. Set up a reusable framework. 3. Test and iterate on what you send. Let’s look in depth at how we can accomplish each step in the process.Read More
3 Essential Tips to Making a Secure, Easy-to-remember Password
We all know the frustrations behind not just remembering, but creating passwords for the countless accounts we have for everything. These 3 tips have surely helped us with this.
Passwords are a pain — they have to be good, secure, not easy to crack, and at the same time, the kind we can remember easily. If you have ever experienced the inconvenience of forgetting a password, the pain becomes real. That’s why you need help from the experts.Read More
Why You Need Child Themes and How to Use Them
Do you know what is meant when they say "child theme"? This simple article explains what a child theme is and how it is used to make modifying themes much easier.
For someone familiar with WordPress, a child theme makes sense, but for someone new to the wonderful world of WordPress, it is often confusing and frustrating. This article, my friends, is for those of you not familiar with a child theme — what it does, and when and how to use one.Read More
Hone your design portfolio to perfection with these 10 tips
Here's an infographic that details some of the essential steps to ensuring that your portfolio is showcasing your absolute best! Check it out!
With the design industry now more than competitive that ever, it's vital that your design portfolio stands out from the crowd, highlights your best work and paints you in a positive light. The first port of call for anyone thinking of hiring or commissioning you, your portfolio speaks volumes about the kind of designer you are, so it's imperative to make the right impression.Read More
Creative Content That Works for Email Fundraising
Email marketing is a fine art, especially when it comes to communicating with your supporter base
Nonprofits are sending more emails than ever before, especially email newsletters. But does news content really raise revenue? As email fundraising continues to grow and play a big role (nearly 30%!) in all online fundraising, it’s time to look at what you’re sending.Read More
The Code Side Of Color
Did you ever wonder what those 6 digits/characters after '#' represent for color codes? I did too. Learn about color in code in this informative article!
When computers name a color, they use a so-called hexadecimal code that most humans gloss over: 24-bit colors. That is, 16,777,216 unique combinations of exactly six characters made from ten numerals and six letters — preceded by a hash mark. Like any computer language, there’s a logical system at play. Designers who understand how hex colors work can treat them as tools rather than mysteries.Read More
Making logos work for the web
The logo design process Here's some principles to help to make sure your logos are working for the web!
When you design for the web, no matter the industry, there are expectations that must be met, and realities that must be accounted for. Although this is true for all forms of web design, it is especially true for logo design.Read More
Image Management Best Practices
As the web continues to evolve into an increasingly more visual place to be, image management is now more important than ever. Here's some of the best practices for managing images on websites.
There’s no debating the fact that including images on your website or mobile app draws the interest of users and leads to stronger engagement. For example, posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts, according to a WebDAM infographic. Use of attention-grabbing images is only going to grow. Consider that by 2018, 84% of communication will be visual, the infographic noted.Read More
10 best Android keyboards
You don't have to accept the default keyboard on your mobile. There are plenty of keyboards to choose from. Here are the best 10 for Android.
iOS may have finally adopted the use of third-party keyboards, but Android still leads the way when it comes to customizable, feature-packed keyboard alternatives.Read More
10 Requirements For Making Home Page Carousels Work For End Users (If Needed)
A home page is the very first page a site visitor will see, so getting it right the very first time is crucial. These tips will give you insight into how this can be done effectively for carousels.
Are home page carousels actually helpful to users? Or are they simply popular because they are an easy tool for solving internal discussions in large organizations about who gets to put their banner on the home page?Read More
Easy Steps To Better Icon Design
Effective icons start with the basics. This article lists the key factors to consider for designing icons and where to start!
This article discusses a set of design guidelines in six steps. The steps follow the basics of sound icon design, including consistency, legibility and clarity.Read More
Be Creative: How to Manage Your Creativity Flow Under Pressure
Stress is a part of all our lives and it's important that we learn to manage it. It's truly a great thing when you can utilise stress to propel you and your project forward.
As a designer, being creative comes with the territory. It’s what makes this field so rewarding. At the same time, having to work under pressure can be a real obstacle, when it comes to unleashing your mind. But this is your time to shine. A designer that can work under pressure, and still deliver outstanding results, is a true professional.Read More
HTTPS for WordPress: What It Is & Why It’s Becoming More Important
Security is vital for your users
So, what is this https thing that I keep seeing over and over? HTTPS name derives from Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure, the original name for the protocol is HTTP, the key letter here is the “s” in HTTPS which means secure. When you send and receive data through your browser it be done in 2 ways. Either Standard or Secured. When you visit sites that are using standard HTTP it means your communication with the server is traveling un-encrypted. In most instances this is fine since you’re probably only reading the content provided by a website, not providing valuable private data.Read More
9 Simple Tips for Writing Persuasive Web Content
Often working out what you want your website to say can be a huge challenge, but once you've solved that issue you quickly run into another one which can be just as problematic - how to say it! While far from exhaustive, this article offers a handful of tips to help you write the content for your website in a way that will best serve your visitors, which of course translates into better user engagement and ultimately better conversion rates.
It’s a common mistake. Even experienced web writers make it. When writing your web copy, who do you think of? Do you picture a potential customer reading your text? And do you think about what makes him – or her – click? That’s what most web writers do. They treat their web visitors like human beings who like to read. They treat their web visitors just like readers of printed text. But that’s wrong. Completely wrong. Because web copy is totally different than print copy.Read More
The Art Of Hand Lettering
Some beautiful inspiration to keep your creative juices running! When done right, hand-lettering can be a great way to add playfulness and uniqueness to a brand.
Hand lettering speaks volumes. This is an art form which allows us to see the space between the letters, and the style of the lettering as a piece of art that can deeply evoke emotions and bring meaning — nostalgia, happiness, joy, and love.Read More
What’s New for Designers, October 2016
Stay up to date with the latest resources for designers for the month with this list of resources. Both Chloe and I are liking the look of Hero Patterns!
n this month’s edition of what’s new for designers, we’ve included color tools, icon sets, automation tools, design tools, printables, Sketch plugins, and more. And as always, we’ve also included some awesome new free fonts!Read More
Stop Worrying About People Stealing Your Ideas
The principle behind this article is something that Brown Box has embraced for some time now. While we develop a lot of our own custom solutions, anything reusable we release as open-source for anyone to use. In the same way, we're not afraid of using a solution someone else has built where it makes sense. In this way everyone benefits.
In fact, most designers have more ideas than they know what to do with. Yet, most jealously hide their ideas, paranoid that someone will “steal” them and do something that will undermine their own fame as a designer. We’re going to explore some important reasons why it’s stupid to worry about or people potentially stealing your ideas.Read More
Making the Most of Breadcrumbs in Web Design
Help your users keep track of where they are
If you are at all familiar with the story of Hansel and Gretel, then you know that they used breadcrumbs to mark their way so they could find their way home again. It didn’t work out too well for the kids because the birds ate them up, but it works fine in website design. Of course, there are no real breadcrumbs (or birds, for that matter) involved in breadcrumb navigation, but you get the picture. Breadcrumbs make up a kind of secondary navigation method that function a little like a progress bar. You will typically find it just below the main navigation bar.Read More
Designing for short attention spans
Designing for short attention spans seems to be a new challenge for designers. Extra value is now being placed on page loading times and user flow. Superior optimisation and user experience focused designs seem to be the key in keeping your audience around long enough for you to make a lasting impact and impression.
A recent study by Microsoft revealed that we’re experiencing progressively declining attention spans. The study, which surveyed 2,000 people and monitored brain activity of 112 others, found that we now have an attention span of eight seconds, compared to an attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000.Read More
The Ultimate Guide To Choosing A WordPress Host
Choosing who to host your site with can be overwhelming. We partner with Servers Australia for top level support and security
These days you have an awful lot of options for hosting your website, so many that it’s easy to get lost. How much should you pay? Is support important to you, or are you a tinkerer who likes to do your own thing? Put in different terms, are you a master chef who can cook a delicious meal with the right assortment of ingredients, or would you rather go to a nice restaurant and just sit back and enjoy the experience? Let’s dive in.Read More
10 Awesome WordPress Features That You Probably Didn’t Know Existed
How many of these features do you already know about? What other 'hidden' Wordpress features do you know about that most users don't? We'd love to hear about it!
WordPress comes with so many awesome features and is continuously changing. Some of these features may not get the attention they deserve and remain a little hidden. In this article, we will show you 10 awesome WordPress features that you probably didn’t know existed.Read More
Typography Cheat Sheet
Everything you need to know about typography in this amazing infographic!
Understanding type can be one of the most difficult elements of design. There’s a lot of terminology and lingo that type designers (and designers, in general) use when talking about lettering. Sometimes it can be tough to decipher it all. If you find yourself wondering what the difference between a hook and a counter are or you still aren’t sure how a serif and a slab are different, we have you covered with this typography cheat sheet.Read More
The Art of Suggested Donation Amounts
There are so many elements to consider in a digital fundraising campaign, and the defaults of your donation amounts are one of the most important ones
A study finds that the right amount for nonprofits to suggest depends on the circumstances of the fundraising campaignRead More
Free SSL For Any WordPress Website
We love CloudFlare! It's a great solution to getting an SSL
If you have an e-commerce website, then SSL is mandatory for safely processing credit cards. But even if you aren’t processing payments, you should still seriously consider secure HTTP (or HTTPS), especially now that I’m going to show you how to set it up quickly, for free. Let’s get started.Read More
Logo Design For Responsive Websites
Simplicity is definitely key to an effective logo for responsive websites, and in this digital age, the flatter and more easily-recognised shapes are the winners. Find out more in this interesting article
Often logos end up suffering within responsive website design. Many have not been designed with responsive frameworks and variable sizes in mind, and are just resized to fit whatever available space has been provided for them or not. However, there are brands that do well within the responsive web space. These are brands that have been designed carefully and with consideration as to how they will display within changing formats.Read More
8 Mistakes Brands Make With Instagram
Are you using your Instagram account the right way? Just like websites, social media accounts also need a lot of TLC - quality content with lasting-impact, goal-driven strategies, regular engagement, and more. Find out how you can use Instagram to connect to your supporters effectively in this article!
Brands getting the most out of the network are the ones posting quality content on a consistent basis, and are doing so with a purpose. Even brands that aren't thought of as visually friendly are leveraging the network and seeing it work.Read More
Foundation for Sites 6.3 - A Little Bit Naughty and A Whole Lotta Nice!
The best Christmas Gift! 🎄 So excited for what these updates will means for our new sites in 2017
Yep, we're ending the the year with a bang, our biggest update since Foundation for Sites 6 was launched last year.Read More
The code I’m still ashamed of
One of the things I love about working at Brown Box is that I know I'm never going to be asked to do something like this - but unfortunately it's a situation that many developers will face at some point in their career.
If you write code for a living, there’s a chance that at some point in your career, someone will ask you to code something a little deceitful – if not outright unethical.Read More
Why Visual Design Is More Than Meets the Eye
Visual design is much more than how your website looks. Along with appearance, it takes into consideration the functionalities, purposes, audience, and more, of your website, and how they all unify themselves. Find out more in this article!
Tl;dr: visual design is about using the visual aspect of a product to improve the user's experience. Conceptually, it's pretty darn simple. But why do we bother investing in visual design, and who should be involved? Furthermore, when and how do we get started? Let’s start with Why, and move from there to Who, When, and How.Read More
The Future of Front-End Development is Design
Design itself is evolving to accommodate and cater for the emerging ways in which we consume and interact with the world. An evergrowing importance is being placed usablity, UX and UI the design community continues to grow and cater for users. Application of design thinking is seems to be the most critical element in creating future products, websites and apps.
So, should our kids learn to code? I can’t argue against the value of every child having a working knowledge of software development. But there is a difference between coding foundational technology and front-end development — and the divide is growing.Read More
If you had to interact with your business ONLY on mobile, would you be happy?
Here at Brown Box, we will always craft your site for mobile devices first. This article gives you a greater insight into why this is crucial for businesses from now and onwards.
In 2014, we passed the mobile tipping point. There are now more people who own a mobile device in the world than a desktop computer. And that gap is growing fast. Americans spend more than 60% of their online time on a mobile device today (Comscore 2015). These numbers are important for your business.Read More
The Excuses for Not Having a Website (Infographic)
It's really not as hard as it seems!
With 84% of American adults using the Internet, it’s surprising to think that many organizations today, particularly small businesses, still choose not to invest a bit of time and resources towards building their own website. The following infographic reveals common excuses why 46% of small businesses still don’t have a website, with counter-arguments for each excuse. If you need to talk to a prospective client who has apprehensions about having a website, why don’t you show them this infographic?Read More
WordPress 4.7 Brings Custom Page Template Functionality to All Post Types
In another of those "I can't believe they haven't done this yet" moments, developers all around the world are breathing a collective sigh of relief knowing that we'll be able to build custom templates for more than just pages. There are so many potential applications of this functionality that I wouldn't even know where to start. Safe to say we're excited! 🙂
WordPress 4.7 will introduce support for post type templates, an exciting new feature for theme and plugin developers. Page templates, which allow developers to specify a different layout or design for a page, are nearly as old as WordPress itself. For years developers have coveted that same functionality for other post types.Read More
Where Social Media Is Headed in 2017: The Biggest Trends to Watch For
2016 has definitely been an interesting year for social media. Between the arrival of Instagram stories, Facebook reactions, and Snapchat memories it's likely that 2017 will bring a number of improvements and surprises that will change the way that we communicate with each other digitally.
As part of our State of Social Media week, it feels like a great time to sit back and reflect on the social media landscape and what may be ahead. So let’s take a look at some of social media’s biggest platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter) and discuss where they’re heading and what trends to look out for in 2017.Read More
4 top SEO trends for 2017
SEO is constantly changing! Check out some good tips on what elements to focus on in 2017
Is your SEO strategy for 2017 finalized? If not, then you might want to refine it to reflect some of the predicted top SEO trends for 2017.Read More
The Battle for Traffic: Organic SEO vs. Social Media Marketing
Very interesting article on the link between SEO and SMM in generating traffic. While some of the points raised are debatable, this enlightens us on the importance of engagement and target audience connections/relationships - the more your content effectively connects with your audience, the more likely they will engage with your posts, share your content with others and ultimately, drive traffic to your website.
Nowadays SEO cannot be effective without well-executed content curation. And that’s where social media kicks in — it helps you unlock untapped potential. Compared to other marketing channels, social media benefits SEO in unexpected ways. It’s not surprising that SEO and SMM have slowly become closely intertwined activities that all businesses want to take advantage of. But how exactly can SEO and SMM work together? Do social media signals affect your site’s visibility in Google?Read More
Improving the User Experience by Rearranging the WordPress Post Editor
The well-know already great WordPress editors is about to get a face-lift based on users' feedback. This is great news!
When the floor was opened up to users for suggestions on what they want to see included in WordPress 4.7, Mark Root-Wiley advocated for Trac ticket #27159. The three-year old ticket was created by Hugo Baeta and suggests that certain buttons in the post editor be removed in order to improve the user experience.Read More
The Reality of Software Development Pressure
Ever wondered why your project took longer than expected? One of the world's most respected Wordpress developers, Tom McFarlin, explains the pressure developers face trying to find a balance between meeting deadlines and doing things properly.
... what I’m talking about is strictly about the pressure that exists between what and when we need to ship a solution and the best practices that many of us are aware of but may have to forgo to meet a deadline.Read More
Spotify rounds off 2016 with these hilariously personal ads
See! Data can be fun!!
"There has been some debate about whether big data is muting creativity in marketing, but we have turned that on its head," says Spotify CMO Seth Farbman. "For us, data inspires and gives an insight into the emotion that people are expressing.Read More
State of the Word 2016
State of the Word 2016: Mullenweg Pushes Calypso as Future of WordPress’ Interface, Proposes Major Changes to Release Cycle.
Philadelphia welcomed 1,923 attendees to WordCamp US this weekend with an additional 2,028 enthusiasts watching via live stream. Matt Mullenweg delivered his 11th annual State of the Word address to a rapt audience ready to celebrate WordPress’ progress over the past year and hear the project leader’s vision for 2017.Read More
Prevent confirmation confusion with this article that explains the Do's and Don't's of confirmation design - Definitely some interesting UX practices to keep in mind!
The confirmation design pattern isn’t something to be taken lightly. If employed erroneously, or not at all, users may commit unintended havoc. This article shares guidelines and best practices for designing effective confirmations.Read More
Here's What Websites Know About You, Just From The Way You Browse
Cookies are a powerful tool in customising interactions on the web. Clickclickclick helps show just how much your screen is paying attention!
John Brownlee 11.22.16 1:00 PM You probably know that the websites you visit—even this one—track your behaviors in some capacity. Maybe you think it knows your browser, your computer type, your connection speed, maybe even your computer type. But webpages can track far more than that. In fact, they can analyze your behavior so well that even with no other information at all, they can tell it's you visiting a site, not anyone else.Read More
How the Foundation Framework Pushed the Web Forward over the Last Five Years
The mobile-first thinking of foundation framework has progressed the web in leaps and bounds! Check out this article for more.
10 Top Principles of Effective Web Design
Web Design tips 101 - it's always good to go back to basics from time to time.
Like the phrase ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, effective web design is judged by the users of the website and not the website owners. There are many factors that affect the usability of a website, and it is not just about form (how good it looks), but also function (how easy is it to use).Read More
12 things successful people do in the last 10 minutes of the workday
I was happy to discover that I already do quite a few of the things on this list - and we have a number of internal processes in place to encourage all Brown Box employees to do things like updating their to-do list and reviewing their achievements at the end of the day. How well do you finish your workday?
... the most successful people typically have a routine in which they try to mitigate tasks that will linger and deter them from being completely focused for the next morning's events - expected or unexpected.Read More
The 8 Best Free Web Design Ebooks
Looking for some relevant reading? Here are some free ebooks to help you keep up with web design trends.
Improving your web design skills is a continuous, constant process, so it's important to track down useful resources to help you step up your game. In this article we'll explore some of the most useful free ebooks out there, which cover topics spanning from web design trends to CSS best practices.Read More
How to Effectively Use Whitespace in Web Design
Getting whitespace right can sometimes be a little tricky, but it's going to significantly improve your web design.
Have you ever found yourself gazing at a finished design thinking, ‘something’s missing’? More specifically, have you ever come to the conclusion that a design is ‘too empty’ or ‘too busy’? For us designers, it’s difficult to spend any appreciable time in our craft without running into this scenario. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise either. After all, the most basic principle of our work revolves around the creative removal of whitespace. Yet, despite it being at the very core of what we do, it never fails to be one of the more difficult aspects of design. How do you use whitespace effectively?Read More
Myth #3: People don’t scroll
People hold on to a lot of preconceived notions about the web, but behaviours are changing! UX Myths helps prove how users are really using the web
Although people weren’t used to scrolling in the mid-nineties, nowadays it’s absolutely natural to scroll. For a continuous and lengthy content, like an article or a tutorial, scrolling provides even better usability than slicing up the text to several separate screens or pages.Read More
Keep It Simple: Why Simplicity Is Key To Making Your Brand Win
In this digital age, we want our information fast and NOW. Learn how simplicity in branding can be your biggest friend and key to success.
Growth has a way of breeding complexity in business. Whether it happens overnight or over time, through mergers and acquisitions, a proliferation of products, increasing regulatory oversight, or surges in staff and sales, many of the companies we speak to find themselves paying a heavy price for complexity. They often know that they have to simplify but they freely admit they don’t know where to start. We’ve got five simple ways to begin.Read More
Everything You Need To Know About SEO For WordPress
Great tips on maximising SEO for your website!
Good SEO is essential for a successful site. If you can’t be found, you won’t have any customers or readers. There is an art to how to utilize SEO correctly, and we have compiled a list of all the articles you would need to target your audience and bring in views.Read More
5 Simple Questions to Ask When Looking for User Feedback
Feedback fuels us all to grow strong and strive harder. Here are some simple questions to ask users that will allow your projects to grow and evolve!
You can’t make the first impression twice, right? Of course, and that’s one of the reasons why you put so much time and effort working on a website’s design. You want people to like the website and stay on it as long as possible. But design is a complicated issue, and many goals must be aligned to result in what you would call a successful website. First – designers do their best to create beautiful websites. Not a surprise – it’s their job, and they want their portfolios to look astonishing (and often really do). But is a beautiful design the ultimate goal? Not really. You also want a website to fulfill its business objectives. If you run an eCommerce business, you want it to convert visitors into satisfied buyers. If you have a news website, you want to encourage visitors to read and engage with the content. If you have a portfolio site, you want it to attract potential clients. Long story short: you want the website to present your company in a particular way to provide a high conversion rate.Read More
Magical Lessons for Muggle Developers
Although many people in today's world see developers as 'Internet Wizards', not many would be able to tell you the similarities of coding and magic. This article provides a fun insight of what it's like to be a web developer.
What do the wizarding and coding worlds have in common? If it’s not something you’ve considered before – but you’re as avid a Harry Potter fan as I am – then read on for a magical perspective.Read More
Visually direct and captivate your visitors
Sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference to how engaged your visitors are with your website. This is why it's so important to get someone to design the site who not only can make something that looks good, but who also understands the web and how people engage with your site.
People undoubtedly understand that attention is of importance when it comes to doing, well, anything really. So the same goes for visiting websites. But in my opinion it is not just attention, but visual attention that’s most important for visiting websites.Read More
How to Discover Your Ideal Social Media Voice
Setting up a social media account is a vital first step to connecting with your online audience. The next vital step is the way you 'talk', as your brand, to them. Find out the essentials in this article.
Translating your brand onto social media can seem difficult because of the lack of face-to-face interaction. But, the good news is that you can make that transition a lot easier when you use your brand’s biggest asset: your brand voice. In this part of our Social Media Guide for Small Business, we cover how to identify your brand’s voice and utilize it on social media to attract your target audience.Read More
A Nerd’s Guide to Color on the Web
I love the depth Sarah goes into each sub-topic; there's enough depth to really understand how and why, and others just enough to know WHY you should be interested in reading more.
There are a lot of ways to work with color on the web. I think it’s helpful to understand the mechanics behind what you’re using, and color is no exception. Let's delve into some of the technical details of color on the web.Read More
History of WordPress: WordPress UI Evolution + Other Improvements
Let's learn about Wordpress history
WordPress has been growing steadily over the last couple of years. It looks like nothing it was about ten (13) years ago. The platform is still growing and to catch a glimpse of how it all started, I would like to draw your attention to the History of WordPress: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. In today’s post, we will look at how much the WordPress UI (user interface) has evolved since May 27, 2003 when Matt Mullenweg released WordPress 0.7 “Gold”. Before we serve the juice though, let’s backtrack to April 6, 2003, the day he (Matt) invited the entire world in on the fun.Read More
Quickly Migrate Content From One WordPress Site to Another With WPSiteSync
Another interesting approach to keeping data in sync between different sites. This plugin only allows you to sync posts across, and it's still a relatively manual process - but it's probably still a little simpler than the built-in Wordpress export/import. It does also take care of making sure tags, categories and media are also carried across. Probably not something we'll really make use of here, but still worth being aware of.
WPSiteSync is freely available from the WordPress plugin directory. To use it, both the source and target sites need to have it installed and activated. Even though the admin notice informs users to configure the plugin’s settings, you only need to do so on the source site.Read More
Which Social Media Platform is The Best for Your Brand?
Having a social media platform definitely helps optimise your business' brand but choosing the right one can often be tricky process. Have a read of this article and you will have some insight. 🙂
Introducing your brand on social media platforms can be intimidating. It’s your brand’s big debut on a platform and could increase your exposure by 89%; you want to make a good impression. Nervous marketers often take a shotgun approach – targeting as large a population as possible in the hope that a few prospects will take the bait.Read More
The Role of Web Design and UI in the Unfolding US Election
Whilst many people are discussing the winners and losers of this week’s US election – Here at Brown Box we are assessing the Winners and Losers of UX and UI design of the election coverage.
For the Australians down under, the US election was a complicated process with an electoral system pretty different to our own. Therefore digital user interfaces (UIs) and well designed User Experiences (UX) played a significant role in allowing us Aussie’s to comprehend what was happening on the other side of the world.Read More
A Radical Redesign Makes ‘Uber Feed’ the Center of Your Ride
Some UX inspiration featuring the new "Uber Feed". We love how this completely caters to the user's personality, and literally, their physical experiences, to establish connections and relationships with them.
Historically, Uber has focused on getting you from point A to point B. Uber Feed fills the space between. “As soon as the driver starts the trip, the app experience transforms,” says product manager Yuhki Yamashita, who led the redesign.Read More
Optimizing Images for SEO
Images are an essential part of a rich user experience on your web site. But they're not just for your human visitors - search engines love them too! This article goes through how to make the most of your images from an SEO perspective.
When optimizing an image you make sure it as small as it can be in terms of download size by using the right image compression. A well-optimized image also has the right name and alt text, so it’s optimized for search engines too.Read More
8 myths about new domain names
I'll admit I was wary of a fair few of these myths, good to clarify how people are actually responding to the new TLDs
In most cases, ‘.com’ is either significantly more expensive or significantly longer and more obscure than just securing the name under a new gTLD. With all of the successes of sites using new gTLDs and the lack of SEO impact, focusing on your site’s UX and choosing a new gTLD that’s easy for users to remember is probably the right way to go.Read More
5 Years of Foundation: A Look Back
This month marks 5 years of Zurb Foundation! Time to celebrate and take a look back at how influential this framework has been to the industry.
This month, ZURB celebrates the 5th birthday of its Foundation front-end framework. This popular framework is known for its responsive grid, CSS and HTML user-interface components, code snippets, and templates. What makes it stand out as well is that it’s an open-source project.Read More
Pippin Williamson Shakes Up Page Builder Plugins with Critical Review
Page builders is a great way to speed up content development. There are many! Which one should you choose?
Pippin Williamson has published a comprehensive review of some of the most popular WordPress page builder plugins. The post has received more than 90 comments and is already inspiring changes across the page builder plugin market. Williamson, a prolific plugin developer and mentor to many others, is one of the most authoritative voices in the community on the topic of plugins, which has caused this post to be well-received.Read More
7 Ways to Come up with Creative Ideas, Backed by Psychology
Creativity can be hard to master! Here are 7 brain hacks that you can use to kickstart your creativity.
They’re the kinds of problems you can’t seem to think your way out of. Whether it’s a unique layout for your site, a concept for a blog post, or an intriguing interface, new creative ideas are hard to come up with. They usually seem to come out of nowhere, but research suggests there are ways to cause these sudden flashes of insight to happen more readily.Read More
Introduction to Brand Strategy: 7 Essentials for a Strong Company Brand
A brand is so much more than just a name, how the logo looks, or the products associated with it. This article breaks down the key factors in successful branding.
Before you get all hung up on what shade of green to use for your logo or what tone you're going to use when engaging with people on Twitter, you need to step back and take a look at the big picture.Read More
How to Tackle Nonprofit Web Page Content to Avoid Delays
We've experienced first hand how daunting it is for many clients to launch their new site full of new content - this article has some tips on how to approach the task
It’s no surprise that web page content can hold up the website design process in a big way. It’s the leading cause of delays for website projects as people either scramble for content or scratch their heads wondering how to even begin the process of writing compelling copy.Read More
A Brief Guide to Fixing Your Old, Neglected, and Broken Content
For optimum conversation make sure your content is updated, fresh and relevant to your audience. Here are some great tips to getting your content up to scratch!
What exactly is expired content? It’s those old sales pages, obsolete product pages, and other outdated content. The pages you’ve forgotten about in your archives that desperately need some attention.Read More
Boosting Your Rates With Psychologically Validated Principles
While largely focused on increasing product sales, this article nonetheless provides some interesting insight into the human psyche. We'll probably be pondering this one for a while and considering how it can help in the online donation space too.
In this article, we will analyze seven psychology studies that date as far back as 1961. Each experiment raises principles that will help you boost conversions on your website. Some of the experiments are so controversial that they will make you cringe, but the lessons are fundamental.Read More
Improving Perceived Performance with Multiple Background Images
A great technique to apply on a hero banner or any type of large image size item to give the user a better loading time experience.
I’m on a train right now, which means the wifi is awful. A lot of sites are refusing to load at all, and those that do have lots of images missing, leaving big blank holes in their web pages.Read More
Desk Exercises Infographic: 10 Essential Routines for Designers
Us designers need to make sure we're taking care of ourselves. Here's an infographic that'll ensure we're in tip-top shape!
Whether you're working from home or in a studio, as designers and artists, we often spend long hours sat at a desk and staring intently at a monitor screen. You know about taking regular screen breaks when creating that new logo design, right? But workplace wellness involves more than having a rest.Read More
Tips and Tools For Effective Content Marketing With WordPress
If your website is running on WordPress, here are the tips on how to use your the power of WordPress for your marketing purposes.
When you make web sites, it’s easy to forget that no matter how shiny the site turns out, without traffic, none of the cool stuff you made really matters. There are a lot of ways to drive traffic to a site, but as a writer, I am particularly fond of content marketing.Read More
10 Strategies for Overcoming Creativity Block
Don’t ever get stuck in a creative block again! Take some time off to give yourself a break, get lost in a book, go back to the “why”, and creative ideas/solutions will surely come your way.
As an entrepreneur, I can tell you that starting, running and building a business goes well beyond skill, dedication and knowledge. Entrepreneurs and other business leaders must have tons of creativity for remaining relevant, for cultivating client relationships and for overcoming obstacles. And when we get too close to the forest of our own enterprise, it's often challenging to see the trees clearly. That's when we could find ourselves stuck in a creativity slump. But not to worry. There are some simple strategies for sparking your creative flame:Read More
3 Email Marketing Tactics You Need Most
Email is a great marketing tactic, however, if your email does not stand out and catch the attention of your audience, it will just be lost in the mix. Here are some handy tips to take into consideration when creating your next Email campaign
There are over 144 billion emails sent each and every day. How do you separate yours from the rest? When it comes to email marketing, there are three key tactics you need to be utilizing to stand out, close the sale, and win the war of attention in the inbox. Keep reading to learn each.Read More
The monster that is a poor database schema
While this article goes into specifics of dealing with cleaning up a database schema, the first half in particular is a good reminder to all developers - always plan for your project to become much bigger than you can imagine right now. Good planning at the beginning can save massive amounts of rework later down the track. Of course the trade-off for this is that it requires more time and effort up-front - and when you're working for someone else it can be hard to convince them to make that extra investment. It's a fine line and one that we always try to be mindful of any time we work on a project, whether it be for a client or for ourselves.
Step back in time two, three, four, or even 10 years and take a look at the development decisions you made then. What do you notice about them? Unless you are a one-in-a-million statistic, you probably look at those past decisions and say to yourself what was I thinking?! Why did I do it that way?! Welcome to the real world of actual development.Read More
Design Better Forms
Life is short, let's make forms more conversational, funny, engaging and most importantly time efficient.
Whether it is a signup flow, a multi-view stepper, or a monotonous data entry interface, forms are one of the most important components of digital product design.Read More
10 Essential Sublime Text WordPress Extensions
Sublime Text 2 is definitely great off the bat! However here are some extensions you can add to gain more features and productivity
When it comes to code text editors, in the past year or so Sublime Text 2 has well and truly established itself as the most popular and most loved editor available. It’s lightweight, super-easy-to-use, supports a multitude of programming languages, split edit screens, distraction-free mode… no matter what feature you need, Sublime Text 2 has you covered! In this short post we have highlighted 10 Sublime Text WordPress extensions that will help when developing with everybody’s favorite CMS.Read More
How to Make the Most of Your Customer Testimonials
Do not underestimate the power of customer testimonials. A believable testimonial is a story with a photo, starting with your customer's pain, to the relieve of the solution. Avoid one liner gibberish like “Great product, runs fast and the support is excellent!”.
Customer testimonials send strong signals of trust because they’re candid endorsements of your product by the people who actually use your product. Your customers will always be more persuasive than you.Read More
What’s The Deal With The Samsung Internet Browser?
Like most web developers we've been guilty in the past of testing Chrome on Android and ignoring the default "Internet" browser that comes on the vast majority of devices. And while - as this article points out - there are likely to be few significant differences between the two, the numbers are making us reconsider that approach.
In the past few years, just about all Android device vendors have upgraded their default browsers to Chromium… but not to Google Chrome. Instead, they took an older Chromium version of their choice, modified it somewhat, and added it to their devices as “Internet” or “Browser.”Read More
Size Matters: Balancing Line Length And Font Size In Responsive Web Design
Finding the balance between font sizes, measure and line heights across responsive screen sizes is almost an art form within itself.
As we refine our methods of responsive web design, we’ve increasingly focused on measure (another word for “line length”) and its relationship to how people read.Read More
Rapid User Research With Intercom, PowWow And GoToMeeting
Some great tactics to learn more about your user
It’s a good way to ensure what you’re designing and making is on the path to being useful and usable.Read More
Better web typography in 13 simple steps
The web is made of text! It’s time to upgrade your typography game with these tips that you can apply today to improve your web design.
"Web typography on the web is not as daunting as you may think. One can go a long way with a few basic tips.”Read More
8 Best Practices for Designing a Helpful Contact Page
There are many factors to take into consideration when creating a contact us page, depending on your type of service of course, will determine how detailed your contact us page needs to be...
A well designed contact page directs people to the answers they need and helps them ask their questions more effectively, significantly improving their experience on your siteRead More
Is this my interface or yours?
How words define the interface we interact with.
Remember back in the day when Windows had a My Computer icon? It was a glorious little icon that represented all the stuff you had on your computer—all your programs, all your work, all the digital pieces of you.Read More
The Science of Micro-Commitments: Transform Prospects into Buyers with 5 Small Steps
An interesting approach to convincing your visitors to give you their contact details. It doesn't entirely make sense for fundraising, but in other contexts such as a newsletter signup incorporating at least some aspects of it could potentially make a significant difference.
Even if your headline, your copy, and your design are all on point, you might still be losing a significant percentage of your prospects because the action that you’re asking them to take (putting in a name and email address), is actually too threatening.Read More
What's The Greatest Logo Of All Time?
Some of the greatest designers share their opinions on the greatest logo - I love that most of them focus on logo's that are timeless and enduring
From IBM to I ❤ NY, designers at Pentagram, Moving Brands, Under Consideration, and more pick their favorites.Read More
What Exactly is WordPress?
Hei, check this one out !!
Whether it’s visiting us at Speckyboy or other design/development blogs, you’ve undoubtedly run into countless articles about WordPress. There are all sorts of rundowns of terrific plugins, themes or tutorials on how to do just about anything with the popular content management system (CMS). That’s all well and good. Sometimes, though, we seem to forget about those who haven’t used WordPress before but want to see what all the fuss is about.Read More
Want to be more productive? Don’t go paperless.
We all have different methods of increasing our productivity. This article details an alternative path that's starting to become foreign to our digital world...
When we stop to take a look at the tools we use to get things done, most of us will find that the line between digital and paper is increasingly blurred.Read More
Cutting the cord: why Apple removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7
It might look like you have sticks coming out your ears, but at least they will be beautifully designed slick sticks... But what will happen when you lose one? Are you a fan of the new cordless headphones?
IN comes a shiny new iPhone and out goes the headphone jack that’s been a universal standard since the era of black-and-white television.Read More
5 Actual Web Designs Trends for 2016
Trend comes and goes, here are the web designs trends of 2016 and all with a helpful descriptive name.
It’s always, without fail, trends from last year, or non-trends like: illustrations. Like, did you know that animations apparently is a big trend? Seriously, if you write a trend list and include full screen background video as a trend for 2016 you should really try to go online and look at websites before jotting down your list.Read More
The Productivity Benefits of Scrum in Modern Web Development
Over the past couple of years Brown Box has begun implementing various aspects of Scrum and Agile methodologies, and we intend to continue to do so as we grow and evolve. This insight into how another digital agency have made use of it just reinforces that we're on the right path!
Scrum as we use it today began at a company called Advanced Development Methods by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland in the early 90s. Used by companies like IBM and Google, Scrum has increased total productivity by nearly 1,200 percent. Despite its technical background however, Scrum has manifested itself into a variety of workflows from journalism to education to building schools in Africa – Scrum accelerates human effort, no matter what the effort is.Read More
It’s Task Management, Not Time Management
Breaking tasks into several sub-tasks will help you in managing your task lists
We’ve all looked at our to-do lists and sighed in despair at how many items were still waiting for us to finish. Sometimes it can even seem overwhelming; we’ve got so much to finish, and it seems as though the days are shrinking in length, as there never seems to be enough time to get to everything. The good news is that there are several ways to regain control of your time.Read More
Pantsuit: The Hillary Clinton UI pattern library
This how presidential design system is built.
Pantsuit is Hillary for America’s internal design system. Its primary goal is to serve as a single source of truth for the design and front-end teams. My job is to make sure the system is modular and flexible enough to be used in any number of unpredictable ways.Read More
Is a Custom Built Church Website for You?
There are a lot of things to consider when building a new church website - time, cost and content management to name a few - so is custom built the way to go? This article shares some of the reasons why it might be!
hould your church custom build your website or something else? Ultimately, that is up to you. It all depends on your budget, time, and manpower to get it done.Read More
Responsive Line Breaks
Designing fluid content, for all screens sizes, can be challenging - but that doesn't mean we have to sacrifice high quality design principles, like ensuring our type avoids creating widows and orphans.
Perhaps because responsive design is still relatively new or perhaps because of my history and affinity towards fixed-width pixel-perfect designs, but it pains me to see sites that employ great responsive design techniques while sacrificing useful principles like appropriate line-lengthsRead More
Learning Web Development is Much Easier Than You Think!
With all these brilliant resources available, there's never been a better time to start exploring the world of code!
Today, life is a lot better – great company, great salary, and great fun doing what I love. For those of you who are toying with the idea of a career in web development, I say “toy no more.” Here are nine websites where you can get web development training on your own time, choose as few or as many languages as you want, and emerge ready for a great career.Read More
Awful Website Navigation Mistakes You Should Avoid
We're constantly challenging people to think about how navigation works on touch screen devices (there's no hover state people!!) - love the other great points in this article around designing site navigation
The design of a website’s navigation can make or break an experience. By ensuring that the navigational structure is clear and easy-to-use, you encourage visitors to spend some time on a site and you help direct them to the content or features that are important to them and important to your business.Read More
The Beginner's Guide to SEO
Utilising the power of 'Search Engine Optimisation' is critical in ensuring that users are able to find your website amongst the clutter of information we call the internet. Here's a beginners guide to SEO that will kickstart your knowledge of how you can start implementing SEO techniques to your websites to make the Internet work for you.
New to SEO? Need to polish up your knowledge? The Beginner's Guide to SEO has been read over 3 million times and provides comprehensive information you need to get on the road to professional quality Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.Read More
Chrome to Add Security Warning to HTTP Sites Beginning 2017
Gone are the days when only sites which processed transactions online needed an SSL certificate. This move from Google is directly designed to try and get all sites to use HTTPS. Luckily with services like CloudFlare and Let's Encrypt, the cost is minimal at worst.
Chrome 56 will be the first release that labels HTTP pages with password or credit card form fields as insecure. Google plans to extend the HTTP warnings to Incognito mode in following releases and will eventually add a prominent red triangle to the label on all HTTP pages.Read More
Which is the best music streaming service for you?
Brown Box prefers Spotify, as you will notice from our posts, although there is a number of great music apps out there. Here you can find some pros and cons to help you choose the right channel for you!
When it comes to music streaming, we're spoilt by the number of options on offer. Each of the big services out there has something that makes them great, but you don't want to be paying for more than one a month - so which do you go for?Read More
How to get value from wireframes
Put your obvious ideas out first and goes beyond those ideas with just a pen and paper.
Paper wireframes are quick to make and reinforce that ideas are cheap and safe to throw away. Paper, also allows anyone on the team to take part in wireframing.Read More
Your emails, optimized for every screen with responsive design
Exciting news for email designers - Google is now adding CSS support to both Gmail and Inbox later this month. This massive change brings responsiveness to email!
6 Questions To Ask Before You Install A WordPress Plugin
Do I really need this plugin ? hmmm....
WordPress plugins are great; they can save you time, speed up your website, improve SEO, and more. Plugins allow web designers and developers the ability to build sophisticated websites quicker and (possibly) better. With more than 20,000 plugins and over 330,000,000 downloads in the official WordPress plugin directory, there’s no question that plugins are an important component of the WordPress ecosystem. But there’s a downside to using WordPress plugins. Relying too much on plugins can expose your site to an increasingly wide variety of risks. Let’s discuss the problem with plugins and things you should consider before installing one.Read More
6 Excuses Small Businesses Make For Not Having a Website in 2016
That nearly half of small businesses in America don't have a web site (and the numbers for Australia are probably similar) is incredible. This infographic lists 6 of the most common excuses and makes it clear that none of them are actually valid. If you have a small business and need a web site, our Small Business Core can get you started on the right foot.
Zurb Wired - 2016
The team at Zurb have been doing some truly amazing work for not-for-profits.
More than just a stunt, Zurb has been conducting ZURB Wired each year since 2006 in an effort to create a successful marketing campaign for a lucky not-for-profit.Read More
Things I've Learned About Building & Coding HTML Email Templates
Email clients of today still use old engines to render HTML, this makes building email templates pretty similar to building a website back in 90s. Lee Munroe shared his thoughts and workflow in this article help to make building email fun again.
Here’s a brain dump of what I’ve learned about building and coding HTML emails.Read More
100 of the freshest blogs and websites for creative entrepreneurs in 2016
Looking for some reading material to help enhance your designs? - Here's a list of some of the best blogs you may want to keep an eye on.
That's whether you work in the fields of art, graphic design, illustration, photography or any other creative discipline – we've helpfully broken down our recommendations into various categories, making this article a handy bookmark for future reference.Read More
Responsive Design is Still the Future of Web Design
Mobile web isn't going anywhere, in fact desktop web might be - so responsive web design is only becoming more and more important
User experience designer and researcher Stephanie Rieger said people will not only read the Web but buy things if the mobile experience is right. That experience can be tailored to suit a multitude of devices, she said, using techniques such as responsive design.Read More
WordPress 4.7 Development Kicks Off This Week
No rest for the wicked - as soon as Wordpress 4.6 was released, they're hard at it again with 4.7. Still in the early planning stages, it nonetheless promises to include a number of significant updates. The biggest one from our perspective is the potential inclusion of the REST API (currently a plugin) into the WP core. We've been hanging out for this one for a while now, and can't wait to see it come to fruition.
The target date for WordPress 4.7 is December 6, which means the release should drop shortly after WordCamp US in Philadelphia. Beta 1 is expected October 26 and a release candidate is targeted for mid-November.Read More
Worried about how much time your kids are spending online? Here is a handy app that helps you control your kids' online time.
Manage the time your kids spend on their tablets and smart phonesRead More
Firebug Guide for Web Designers
For those who haven't heard of Firebug or are looking to start using it - here is a great starting point!
Firebug — an open source web development tool extension for the Mozilla Firefox web browser — is incredibly powerful, with a wide range of super useful and practical features that would benefit any web designer or developer. In fact, this browser extension (also available in other web browsers with limited functionality) is so useful and popular that it has browser extensions of its own. This real-time coding tool reduces the guesswork out of debugging web pages, among many other things such web page layout inspection/testing and web performance profiling, to speed up your workflow.Read More
The Mighty Ellipsis
Who knows that three little dots means a lot more than it looks.
For decades, interface designers have been using the ellipsis to communicate all sorts of important details to users. As you’ll soon see, these 3 dots can pack quite a lot of meaning in just a little space.Read More
New iPhone 7 revealed today
As an iPhone user, the new iPhone 7 announced today doesn't seem as exciting as previous model releases. Maybe it's because everyone's been on the money for all the new features for months now. However iOS10 is a different story - both excited and nervous about the UI overhaul in this update!
Apple will release iOS 10 to existing devices on September 13th. iOS 10 is the biggest update to Apple's mobile operating system so far, and it includes a significant update to the Siri digital assistant.Read More
32 Chrome extensions for designers and devs
Here are some handy tools you might want to add to you chrome extension arsenal. 'Whatfont?' and 'ColorZilla' are some of my favourites.
There are a ton of free Chrome extensions to help make your life easier – we select the best.Read More
Which Social Media Platform is The Best for Your Brand?
Different social networks have different audiences. Find out which one is best for your brand.
Nervous marketers often take a shotgun approach – targeting as large a population as possible in the hope that a few prospects will take the bait. Having a presence on every possible platform, however, is not as profitable as identifying an ideal audience and mastering one optimized platform.Read More
A Logo challenge for Brown Box
We recently had the opportunity to work with one of our clients to create a logo for their small business. Here's how we went about it.
To most people, creating a brand doesn't seem that complicated. You pick a name, combine it with some form of related imagery and you're done, right? Wrong. This is so not the case. There is so much more to branding than your business name, yet for many small businesses they don't have the time or money to spend on anything more - they've got their small business to focus on.Read More
How to exercise at work without anyone noticing
Here are seven secret muscle-building moves you can do without your co-workers even knowing.
When you have a crazy busy schedule, it’s important to squeeze in a workout any chance you get. Sitting at your desk might seem an unlikely place to exercise, but it’s actually totally practical (think about it, you’re parked there for eight hours after all) and effective.Read More
Meet MacOS Sierra: here are the 10 things you are going to love
Apple rebranded operating system will be available next month, boasting a number of new and improved features. Exciting times for IOS users.
THERE is a lot more than a name change for Apple’s new Mac operating system.Read More
#Zoom - Instagram's new update
The excitement in the office was #real when we found out about Instagram's new zoom feature, so we wrote a little something about it
In a big shift to their user interface and user experience, Instagram has introduced a pinch-to-zoom feature and it’s here to change how you view your daily Instagram feed.Read More
How Your Nonprofit Can Leverage Content Curation
There's a lot of content out there on the web - letting your audience know about the best of it might be a valuable tool for your organisation
When you can’t create, curate. Tapping into other resources to provide content can be great for your nonprofit and your audience. Our first part of this series laid out the definition and benefits of content curation. Now let’s take a closer look at how you can make curation work in your nonprofit’s content marketing.Read More
Programming Is Hard. It's Also Easy. So... Which Is It?
This is a great article that sheds some light on the ups and downs of learning to code.
Even the most boastful career programmer will admit that their first steps into the world of coding were fraught with moments of depressing incomprehension. However, once you have the hang of one language, it becomes significantly easier to understand others. Where, then, does that initial difficulty curve come from and are we doing a disservice to newcomers by saying coding is simple in any form?Read More
GravityForms 2.0 Released Featuring reCAPTCHA 2.0, Security Hardening, and More
A long awaited brand new shiny version 2.0 of Gravity Forms has just landed. What does it bring to users and developers? Find out right now!
After more than a year in development, Gravity Forms 2.0 is available for download. This release contains a number of new features and developer enhancements.Read More
3 Easy Ways to Amplify Your Welcome Series for New Supporters
Reading this article, I have to admit, the author does have a point. Having different welcome series in place for different supporters is an excellent idea. You are able to customise the experience and relate to your supporters on a different level. Yes, it will take time and hard work for the initial setup of these different welcome series, but definitely worth it!
So you have a welcome series—that’s great. You’re already one step ahead of many other nonprofits. But a one-size fits all welcome series may be leaving out some powerful opportunities to engage.Read More
Pokemon Go Concept Redesign Solves Usability Issues.
We all know how massive Pokemon GO has turned out to be however, that doesn't shield it from its design shortcomings. This article lends a few helpful tips to the developers at Niantic.
Unless you've been hiding under a rock recently, you will have heard of Pokemon Go. The augmented reality game, which sees players track down, capture and battle creatures from Nintendo's popular Pokemon games, has been the biggest app of the summer, even eclipsing the daily usage of the likes of Candy Crush, Facebook and Twitter. Despite its huge popularity, however, Pokemon Go isn't exactly a good example of how to make an app that works flawlessly.Read More
Brainstorming Keywords for Nonprofit Websites
We've been learning loads about SEO over the last week, especially around keywords and phrases. One of the biggest challenges seems to be choosing phrases that your users will actually use! Take a step back, and think about what the average person is typing into Google who isn't an expert in your field. This article has some great tips on how to incorporate more keywords into your site.
Optimizing your nonprofit website for search is most definitely a significant/massive/time-consuming/etc. undertaking. And it all begins with brainstorming keywords. A list of around 500 keywords is a good starting point. Throughout the search engine optimization (SEO) process, you’ll chip away at this list and should end up with a final list of phrases that are good fits for your nonprofit.Read More
Mastering Responsive Web Design: The Dos and Dont’s
Building responsive web sites is a lot more complicated than it sounds. There are so many extra things to consider - and this article touches on several of the main ones, though it's nowhere near an exhaustive list.
Web design for mobile platforms is not about cramming all of your site’s content onto a smaller screen. You may have worked for years to optimize your content, but the long and short of it is this: mobile web design is a whole different animal. The goal is not to shrink your current website, but to redesign it for a mobile platform.Read More
Creating custom content elements in Visual Composer
Ability to create functional landing pages quickly is important. Learn how to get Visual Composer to offer custom content elements that will use as building blocks for great landing pages.
The number of content elements that VC comes with is great, however, sometimes the website editor might need a content element that does not yet exist. Here, I will quickly demonstrate how you can create a new custom content element for Visual Composer.Read More
How to Run Effective Campaigns
Running a successful campaign takes a lot of enthusiasm and commitment, and can be very challenging. These steps should give a much clearer view of what is involved.
A step-by-step guide to planning and running an effective campaign based on "Free Dave!" - a set of spoof videos created by NCVO.Read More
Pepper is here! Welcoming WordPress 4.6
We're super excited about the release of WordPress 4.6, and Pepper is an awesome name! Anton had a look into the new updates a features and what they mean for users. Would definitely recommend giving it a read!
Version 4.6 of WordPress is named “Pepper” in honor of jazz baritone saxophonist Park Frederick “Pepper” Adams III. New features in 4.6 help you to focus on the important things while feeling more at home. Let’s look at the changes in more detail…Read More
Butterick's Practical Typography
Looking to become a master of typography? Definitely check out this web author's interactive book.
This is a bold claim, but I stand behind it: if you learn and follow these five typography rules, you will be a better typographer than 95% of professional writers and 70% of professional designers. (The rest of this book will raise you to the 99th percentile in both categories.)Read More
Typography is impossible - The practical guide to why laying out type never quite does what you want
Here's a simple and practical guide to how typesetting on screens.
It’s a testament to typography that hundreds of years since Gutenberg, letters and boxes keep reinventing themselves and finding new jobs to do, in materials and technologies that were once future’s future.Read More
How to keep up to date on Front-end technologies
If you're into Front-end development, here is a great list of who to follow, finding the best sources and where all the cool kid hangout in real life.
The web is a rapidly evolving universe. An important part of our job as front-end developers is keeping up to date and staying close to new tools, trends and workflows.Read More
The Search For The Holy Grail: How I Ended Up With Element Queries, And How You Can Use Them Today
How Getty Images Transitioned from Waterfall to Scrum, and from Scrum to Kanban
If you haven't already embraced a fast, flexible approach for development projects, maybe it's time to consider doing so. Brown Box uses an Agile appraoch for all our development projects. Iterations mean that features can be delivered incrementally; and through collaboration we keep expectations managed as the solution emerges in front of the client.
Find out how applying Agile, Lean, and Kanban thinking helped the IT organization at Getty Images adopt a culture of continuous improvement, moving them first from waterfall, then to sprints and timeboxes, and finally to a continuous flow of features. Read their story below.Read More
How to Use Impact Levels to Drive Donations
Impact statements can be hard to determine when creating a fundraising campaign, but the influence they can have on donors is absolutely invaluable. Classy explains how impact levels can overcome donor barriers.
Donors want to know how their contribution affects your mission. Because of this expectation, organizations cannot sacrifice their story at any point in an individual’s journey to become a supporter.Read More
7 Reasons You Should Redesign Your Small Business Website in WordPress
Wordpress your website solution!!
Your website serves as the digital storefront for your business. If it doesn’t look appealing, load quickly or even have a mobile version, customers are going to keep walking. Many small business owners rely on their website to bring in a steady stream of leads and educate potential customers on what they offer.Read More
How Google is going to be your go-to place for the Olympics
Google will be keeping us informed for this year's 2016 Olympics as well as providing us with highlights from Rio de Janeiro, including some of the Olympic venues that have been added to Google Street View, so we can feel like we're a little closer to the action!!!
Google is going to be your go-to hub for the 2016 Olympics, announcing a bag of new features that will help you stay up to date with the GamesRead More
Table Tennis and Meeting Rooms
Are you planning to work out of a collaborative hub environment? Watch this video to get a kick start on the do's and dont's of co-working spaces.
As working remotely is getting more and more popular in the WordPress industry, many of us are choosing to work from co-working spaces. But is everyone familiar with co-working etiquette? This talk will present some insights on how to be a good co-worker, boost your productivity in a co-working environment and nurture the co-working culture.Read More
World’s first 3D printed house is completed after just 45 days in China
Technology never ceases to amaze us. Just when you think you have seen all technology can do, you get gobsmacked with the next big invention. This is amazing!
Architects involved hope it may soon become the norm for entire homes to be built from scratch by computers that control 3D printers.Read More
It’s Task Management, Not Time Management
For most of us, time management is a real struggle. This article has a refreshing perspective - you can't manage time, but you can manage what you plan to do with that time.
No matter who you are or what you do, there are 24 hours in your day the same as there are for everyone else. Yet still, some people manage to be so much more productive than others, despite having so much more to do than they should be able to “fit” into that same 24-hour span.Read More
The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started in Web Design
Looking for some information for getting started in Web Design? Here is an extensive guide that details some of the important steps that will help you begin your journey towards the world of web design.
Do you want to learn how to design your very first website? Perhaps you’ve designed a few and now you’d like to turn your skills into a career? This article is here to point you in the right direction.Read More
Google Fonts Gets a Redesign
The great Google fonts directory's website receives a face-lift that makes the search for a font also a great experience.
Google Fonts is sporting a fresh new design that makes it much easier to browse. The catalog of free and open source fonts first launched in 2010 with 14 fonts and has grown to host more than 800 today.Read More
Instagram's new stories are a near-perfect copy of Snapchat stories
For me, Instragram introducing stories feels like them trying to backtrack and introduce a competitors offering in a way that no longer fits their brand - I think this article articulates the idea perfectly in the phrase 'Instagram users, suspicious of the company’s motives, could spurn stories like a host rejecting an organ transplant.' How do you think Instagram stories is going to go in the long run?
In a bold expansion designed to capture more of users’ everyday photos and videos, Instagram today introduced "stories," a secondary feed of ephemeral content that is available for only 24 hours from the time of posting. The feature is nearly identical to the central feed in Snapchat, which is also called stories and which helped supercharge the company’s growth rate after it was introduced in 2013. Encouraging users to post more frequently — and more candidly — about their lives, Instagram’s introduction of stories could fundamentally change the nature of an app that has 300 million daily users.Read More
How Facebook wants to change the way you work
I can't decide if I like this idea or not. It sounds intriguing and interesting, but in my mind work is work and Facebook is for socialising where where I catch up on what my friends and family are up to. If I joined Facebook for work, I feel it would take away that social sentiment, then again, maybe that's a good thing, I might not want to go on Facebook as much then in my spare time? I am experiencing conflicting feelings here....
Adoption of Facebook at Work is acceleratingRead More
The 6 Best WordPress Image Optimization Plugins Compared
A great looking website is not enough to make it successful. Performance (including image) optimisation is one of the most important parts when it comes to developing a website that stands out.
Compelling content is often not enough. Every visitor will use different criteria to judge whether your site is worth their time, but few issues can sink you as quickly as slow load times.Read More
Need help making a video advert? YouTube's got an app for that
Quick and easy way to make your own advertising videos. Hope the app becomes available soon in Australia.
YouTube has introduced a new suite of three products designed to allow small businesses to produce professional-looking video ads on a shoestring (or even non-existent) budget, with no filming or editing expertise required.Read More
Why is Responsive Web Design important for your website
Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come.
Smartphones and tablets have changed the approach toward design and user experience. Before the proliferation of mobile devices with advanced web-browsing capability , web designers had only one primary challenge to deal with – keeping the same look and feel of their websites in various desktop computer browsers.Read More
Form validation best practices: A case study of how to get it right
There's actually a lot to think about when designing form validation notifications, this article outlines a bunch of the best practices
Ever completed a long payment form online just to be rewarded with 76 error messages once you’ve pressed submit, annoying isn’t it, especially when it isn’t clear what errors you’ve committed, and where! Ever completed a long payment form online just to be rewarded with 76 error messages once you’ve pressed submit, annoying isn’t it, especially when it isn’t clear what errors you’ve committed, and where! We recently had a chance to re-look at this problem at uSwitch.com as part of our ongoing rebranding process, and as expected finding a unified system for form validation proved both problematic but rewarding.Read More
How Can Small Business Benefit from the Cloud?
Welcome to the Cloud! You might be already using it but let's work out how it can help your small business.
Many small business owners have heard of the mysterious technological term, "The Cloud." However, they have never really been told what "The Cloud" is, so they remain in the dark as to whether their business is in the cloud, out of the cloud or perhaps even between clouds!Read More
Best web browsers 2016 - the top 11 candidates
It is great to have a favourite browser but is it the best or are there any other browsers worth looking at?
In the early days of the internet, browser choice was, well, limited. Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator were the big names, and everyone else trailed in their digital wake.Read More
365 Awesome Designers
Looking for some design inspiration? Check out these designers who are doing some awesome work in their field! A new designer is added to the list daily!
365 awesome designers is a small project by WILD, where they post one designer each day for one year. It’s curated by Damian Kidd.Read More
Seven life hacks to make running your business easier
Seven of the best stress relieving, time saving, and sometimes downright genius life hacks for small business owners.
Let's face it, there are simply not enough hours in the day for a small business owner. Problems always seem to pop up at the worst possible times, in fact it’s rare five minutes will go by without something urgent demanding your attention. In such a fast-paced world, it can be easy to lose focus on what really matters…growing your business.Read More
Shiny Updates Project Officially Proposed for Merge Into WordPress 4.6
A more user friendly and transparent way to install, update and delete themes and plugins is coming to town.
This week the Shiny Updates Team officially proposed the merge of the plugin into the upcoming WordPress 4.6 release. The project modernizes the process of installing, updating, and deleting themes and plugins in order to hide what is colloquially referred to as “The Bleak Screen of Sadness.”Read More
Why it's time for Agencies to fully embrace Wordpress for Client work
Switch to Wordpress before its too late! Use Wordpress for better websites!
Despite the high profile success of companies such as 10up, some agencies are still reluctant to fully commit to WordPress as a solution for clients. The platform’s roots as a blogging engine (and small business CMS) still leave many doubting whether it’s the right technology to build an entire project or team around.Read More
4 Nonprofits with Awesome Blogs
Having a blog on your site doesn't need to be a burdensome task! See how these non-profits make it work for them.
What goes into making a great blog? Posting frequently is one thing. Great content is another. We’ve provided ways a blog can help your nonprofit website and tips and inspiration. But we’re going to take a page out of our own book, and be specific, actionable and (reasonably) brief in this post. We’ll look at some best practices and align those with examples of nonprofit blogs that are hitting it out of the park. Let’s get started.Read More
8 amazing 'About' pages to inspire you
Be inspired.... I know from experience just how challenging most people find it to write their About page. How do you educate potential clients about your services, products and more about you, whilst promoting your brand accurately, and at the same time capturing your audience with your creativity!
These 'About' pages go above and beyond in inspiring, creative ways to tell the tale behind their brand.Read More
Tips for Riding the Media Wave to Increase Nonprofit Support
While reading up on nonprofit organisations and the best tools and resources available to them, I came across this article. What a brilliant way to connect with the community and your supporters at the most relevant time and seize the opportunity.
There are a lot of ways nonprofit organizations can tell their stories. Most often, nonprofit storytelling is referenced in terms of organizations creating and sharing their own stories. But what about tapping into the power of stories that are already being told, specifically those in the media?Read More
Lessons from the Ocean: A Surfer’s Guide to Design Thinking
A super simple and easy to understand perspective that explains design thinking through surfing. “Want to enhance your creative state? Just add water.”
Do you know how to spot the best surfer at a beach? She’s the one smiling the most and laughing the most. Above all else, have fun. No two design challenges are the same. No two waves are the same. But the approach to both design and the wave — deeply examining the problem and reducing it to its basics —should be the same.Read More
Best practice SEO seems to be a constantly moving target. Great article that explores how Google crawls different Java Script functions.
Everyone Told Me to Learn to Code. So I Did. Here’s What I Learned.
A fascinating insight from a non-coder about the benefits of learning to code.
For the last few years I’ve heard several versions of the same maxim: “Everyone should learn to code.” So I did.Read More
Why Your Gray Text Should Never Exceed 46% Brightness
Pale grey might be pretty, but that also makes it pretty hard to read. Being both a graphic and UX designer this is something I always need to remember to keep in check.
Designers don’t choose to use light gray text to make it harder for users to read. They use it to make their primary text stand out more. But the problem arises when they don’t realize how light their gray is and how it makes users suffer.Read More
8 tips to become better front end developer
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail
Should I use this plugin or that library? Should I plan this project or dive straight into coding? Should I ask for help or figure it out myself? Sounds familiar? I know how you feel. I felt the same way. That all changed when I started implementing the below points into my routine.Read More
Engaging in the Moment: Leveraging Technology for Good
In today's time and age we are glued to our smart phones, taking away from living in the moment. I love the idea in this article to use our smartphones, tablets or even desktops, to do something good with technology.
When was the last time you were unexpectedly and unreservedly inspired? How about deeply immersed in an experience— actually present and engaged? What made that moment so special and so memorable?Read More
Knock Knock, WHOIS there? A .blog domain for your blog!
Do you fancy a domain name ending with .blog? You can now! It definitely looks interesting - let's see if it takes off.
Today marks a moment in internet history, as the very first .blog domain is now operational on WordPress.com. Knock Knock, WHOIS There, a subsidiary of Automattic, launched Nic.blog today to begin getting registrars to sign up to sell the new TLD.Read More
7 Things to Check Before You Send an Email Newsletter
A few great tips to keep in mind before you punch the send button
Writing an email newsletter can be tough, and working up the nerve to release it to your faithful subscribers can be even tougher. What if there’s a technical error? Will people open this? Did I spell everything right? Sit tight, we’ve got you covered.Read More
The #1 Reason You Need a Recurring Giving Program and 3 Expert Examples
Read why it is so important to have a recurring donation option available for your donors. Your donations will start increasing vs your costs will be lower.
Is among the most cost-effective, long-term fundraising methods. The gift is only solicited once, and, because it is handled electronically, processing costs are kept low.Read More
For years the bane of Wordpress developers has been trying to manage the process of syncing data and configuration changes from a development site to a production site. It looks like there may just be a solution on the horizon. It's still in the early stages so we're not about to start using it on production sites just yet - but we'll be keeping a very close eye on it.
VersionPress is a free and open source version control plugin for WordPress built on Git. You can: Undo changes Create staging sites Merge databases ← yes, really! Simply update your sites with confidence.Read More
Are You Making These Common Website Navigation Mistakes?
I've been doing a lot of navigation design recently so I thought it might be a good idea to share this article which makes a lot of great points about common mistakes made in navigation design!
It’s critical. The design of a website’s navigation has a bigger impact on success or failure than almost any other factor. It affects traffic and search engine rankings. It affects conversions and user-friendliness. Everything important about your website is connected to the navigation, from content to the URLs.Read More
Chrome is now undisputed champion of the browsers
If you are you still using Internet Explorer, it is TIME to get with the TIMES. Chrome has been the number one browser for some time, and now NetMarketShare agrees.
Google's Chrome has grabbed first place in terms of desktop browser market share, wresting the crown away from Microsoft's Internet ExplorerRead More
Using Composer To Increase Your WordPress Development Powers
Good read for developers!
In the last few months I’ve been using Composer to improve my development and deployment of WordPress projects. It’s an important tool that is not only easy to use, but also leads to increased code reusability, a reduction in copypasta errors, encourages best practices like using namespacing and autoloaders, and can aid in deployments.Read More
It’s Not You, It’s Outlook – The Complete Guide for Email Marketers
We recently built an email campaign for a client with a pretty simple layout - a header image, a table of content and a footer image. What could be simpler, right? But of course various versions of Outlook had different ideas. We resolved them in the end, but it was so much more complicated than it should have been. This article helped with a couple of pointers in the right direction, though it was almost worth sharing just for the quote below.
Outlook 2003 uses Internet Explorer 6 to render HTML, which is pretty bad by modern standards. Outlook 2007 & 2010 render HTML using Word (yes, the word processor), which is an oil-tanker of offal come to dump its cargo full of suck on your day.Read More
Why You Should Donate to the Causes You Love
Always gotta love a good infographic!
When we make a donation to a charitable organization, we help make the difference we’re unable to provide with our own hands. In this way, social impact organizations don’t just conduct work to achieve their mission—they also empower individuals all over the world to effect change.Read More
Maximise the power of social media fundraising
Social media is a powerful tool in today's age. You can find donors that share your passion and interests, stay connected with your donors, share stories and updates and the results of their donations.
A large part of running a successful charity is simply broadcasting your message. When it comes down to it, it’s about awareness. Bringing your particular angle to a potential donor’s attention and educating them about it is often half the battle. This is where social media can be invaluable.Read More
Three Approaches To Adding Configurable Fields To Your WordPress Plugin
This article is a great introduction to adding custom settings pages to plugins (and themes). At Brown Box we've tried all three of these approaches at different times, as well as a number of others! As with many things there's no one-size-fits-all solution, and we'll continue to use whichever we believe makes the most sense in each specific situation.
In this article we are going to go over three common ways you can make your plugin configurable. We will start by creating a settings page and create our fields using the default WordPress Settings API. I will then walk you through how to set up your fields with a custom handler. Finally, I will show you how to integrate a great configurable fields plugin Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) into your own plugin.Read More
10 steps for better website navigation
One of the most important functions of a website is its navigation. Renee covers some of the top things to consider when designing with users in mind.
When looking at a website, our expectation is to navigate with ease and have a great experience but unfortunately, not every site is designed as well as it should be. Part of my role as a senior web designer is to ensure that the user knows where they are, where they have been and where they are going! Designing a solid navigation system is without question one of the most important aspects of designing a website.Read More
Set up Google Alerts
It doesn't get easier than this. Easily stay up to date with news of interest to you, by receiving google alerts straight to your inbox.
Google Alerts has been around for ages, forgotten by many and overlooked by many more. That's a shame, because it's still one of the Web's best ways to keep tabs on any person, place, or thing.Read More
Better Interface Design: Logins, Menus, Toggles And Other Fancy Modules
These are the sorts of things that as designers and developers we drool over - in a lot of cases they're not practical for any real-world application, but they are amazing examples of thinking outside the box in terms of both design and coding.
We’ve done some digging around and found some interesting UI demos and concepts for you to indulge in and build upon: dialog and modal windows, signup and login screens, navigation and menus, sliders and toggles. Small bits of delight that make the user’s interaction with a website or app more pleasant. Enjoy!Read More
How to Optimize Your Nonprofit’s LinkedIn Page
LinkedIn is the third most popular social network, behind Facebook and Twitter, and growing quickly. Optimising your LinkedIn page could help significantly in reaching stakeholders and new donors.
If you’re confused about what your nonprofit should be doing on LinkedIn, you’re definitely not alone. Branded as a professional networking site, LinkedIn can be hard to figure out beyond job searching and recruiting.Read More
Click, go the donations
It is a fact, donors need to feel connected to your cause, and it is up to you to establish that connection. Ensure donors can clearly see the difference their donation brings to your cause.
By understanding the psychology of giving, you can create powerful donation pages that inspire donor conversion.Read More
Building the UI for the new The Times website
This article gives a fascinating insight into the process the team went through in redesigning the web site for a large newspaper.
My name is Pedro Duarte and I’m a front-end developer specialising in UI and user experience. News UK hired me to focus on the UI development overhaul of the new The Times & The Sunday Times websites. And for the last year, this is what I’ve been up to…Read More
8 Ways to Stay Relevant to Your Audience
Technology moves fast these days. Classy has some great tips on how you can be helping yourself to keep up with it.
As technology evolves and new generations arrive on the scene, it can be challenging to connect with your audience in the fresh ways that they desire and expect. Organizations often find that potential supporters and investors become less satisfied with the communications and options they’ve been offered over the years, and the risk of being “outdated” can suddenly threaten their brand. Without an effort to learn and adapt your strategy as the times change, your current efforts can miss the mark and go to waste.Read More
10 Tips to Know about Content Writing
Writing content can be challenging, getting the right angle to capture your audience. Here are some tips for writing your content.
You know you have to provide top-notch content that will awaken the interest of your target audience, and you need to commit to a publication schedule to make your loyal readers happy. The only question is: how exactly do you achieve that?Read More
Top Tips for Using Smart Devices for Work
Just about every job these days involves the use of smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. This article gives some general but useful tips on how to do so wisely.
Few professions exist these days in which a smartphone, tablet, or laptop computer isn’t required. Folks who only a few years ago shunned the thought of swiping screens and sending text messages are now engaged in a mobile network and web activity on a daily basis. Whether you’re a carpenter, designer, doctor, lawyer, marketer, programmer or plumber, there’s a smart device in your possession used frequently, no doubt about it.Read More
Input Types: Give Users the Right Keyboard on Mobile Forms
UX for mobile devices isn't simply a process of making things bigger on a small screen. It's important to keep in mind how users are actually interacting with your site!
Typing is easy when users do it on a desktop computer. But it’s harder to do on a mobile device because not all the keys are visible on the keyboard at once. A smaller screen can only display a limited set of keys.Read More
A Tool To Make Webpages Load 34 Percent Faster
Soon the Polaris code will be public, making load times faster for webpages, reducing the daily frustrations we face, by waiting for webpages to load.
Houdini: Maybe The Most Exciting Development In CSS You’ve Never Heard Of
Browser support for new features - particularly in CSS - has come a LONG way in the last few years. But there's still a long delay between a new feature being defined and it being widely enough supported for general use. Houdini seeks to remove that delay by allowing custom extensions for CSS to be built by developers - effectively meaning that support for new features can be built by regular developers instead of having to wait for browsers to catch up. Of course before we can use it we have to wait for Houdini to be supported by browsers, so it's a few years away from being useful - but it's certainly a move in the right direction.
Have you ever wanted to use a particular CSS feature but didn’t because it wasn’t fully supported in all browsers? Or, worse, it was supported in all browsers, but the support was buggy, inconsistent or even completely incompatible? If this has happened to you — and I’m betting it has — then you should care about Houdini.Read More
NFP Website Donation Page Research ‘Surprising’
We're constantly striving to help smaller Not for Profit organisations to make the most of the web. This article exposes a lot of the realities of why NFPs may be struggling to fundraise online.
New research to benchmark what the online giving process is like for Australian donors has uncovered some initial findings that researchers have described as “surprising”. The initial findings of a longitudinal study by Parachute Digital Marketing have revealed that few charities offer direct debit options, many are not mobile friendly and most organisations don’t validate their donor data.Read More
4 Ways to make the most of celebrity ambassadors
Securing the support of a celebrity ambassador for your fundraising event, or as the face of your charity, could be worth while the effort and time it takes. Take for example the performance of John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John at the 2014 Olivia-John Gala, the gala was sold out and opened many partnership opportunities.
Associations with a high-profile name can help a charity event, explains Liliana Sanelli, if special considerations are made.Read More
Google’s Mobilegeddon Aftermath: Eight Months Into A Better Mobile Web
If your site doesn't work on mobile, not only are you losing out in terms of your page showing up in search results - but this study shows that you're also lagging behind at least 70% of the other sites out there.
Eight months into the apocalyptic event, we repeated the study because we wanted to measure and understand the real proportions of such an important development. We crunched the data and discovered some interesting findings — this article details the most significant ones.Read More
Cut the Image Rotator from Your Nonprofit’s Homepage
Were always to warning people to slowly back away from the sliders, and this article lists a bunch of valuable reasons why
I know what you’re thinking. “But sliders are gorgeous, flashy, and oh-so-good to look at!” I know. So was that person you were ogling in high school, and they didn’t help you pay attention in class or get your homework done any faster. There are other ways to tell your nonprofit’s story in an incredibly attractive and beneficial way.Read More
Names that break computers
Who knew names could be so complicated? Things programmers should keep in mind when designing databases intended to store personal names.
A few people have names that can utterly confuse the websites they visit, and it makes their life online quite the headache. Why does it happen?Read More
Optimising Your Organisation's Website For Donations
Here's a great article which talks about research done by the Nielson Norman Group.
Our usability tests of nonprofit and charity websites show that people have high expectations of nonprofit and charity websites — which some sites don’t meet. Users have specific questions, and if sites do not address these questions, they have little desire or motivation to find the answers. Once users decide to donate, a clear call to action and a simplified donation process keeps them on the right track.Read More
When a WordPress Plugin Goes Bad
You can never be too careful when it comes to your web site's security. As this incident shows, even a widely-used, reputable plugin can become a major security issue.
Custom Content Type Manager (CCTM) is a relatively popular plugin with three years of development, 10,000+ active installs, and a satisfaction rating of 4.8. It helps create custom post types. Website owners find the classical “blog format” too restrictive, use the plugin to add custom elements to their posts. So far so good.Read More
Kraft Reveals Revamped Mac and Cheese, 50 Million Boxes Later
Change is usually a good thing, though sometimes it doesn't feel like it at the time. This carefully 'krafted' (?) approach shows the importance of perception as much as the importance of the product itself!
Usually when companies come out with a new and improved formula, they want the public to know. But when the item in question is an iconic food product, the calculus gets tougher. Every marketer remembers with a shudder the cautionary tale of New Coke. So when Kraft Heinz reached inside the blue box to tweak the recipe for its macaroni and cheese, it chose to whisper rather than shout the results.Read More
Google Maps glitch causes wrong house to be torn down
Googlemaps are great 99% of the time! Double check your info before tackling a major task, like tearing down a building.
The search giant urges users to report any errors they encounter with its Maps offering via its ‘Report a data problem in Google Maps’ support page.Read More
Shopify for Wordpress
We generally prefer to keep everything within Wordpress even when it comes to ecommerce, but this latest offering from Shopify looks very interesting especially for organisations that already use Shopify.
As usual, you’ll still manage all of your pages and posts in WordPress, but you’ll have Shopify to manage everything else: payments, secure checkout, shipping and fulfillment, inventory, and taxes—all the hard things about selling online.Read More
Using Giving Levels to Drive Donations
Gift arrays can go a long way to helping optimise your online donation experience.
“Fill in the blank” and “name your amount” aren’t just things you hear on a game show. Many nonprofits make this open-ended offer on their donation pages. It can be less pushy and unrestricted. But who said setting limits was always bad? Parameters can actually be about possibilities. Setting specific giving levels on your donate page can be a good thing if they can influence (and hopefully increase) donations.Read More
Virtual reality is here
The future is here, check out the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge with the Gear VR headset. Experience virtual reality with this amazing piece of technology. Experiences from sitting front row at concerts, to sightseeing far-flung cities. This truly is something amazing!
Australians will be able to transport themselves to vivid virtual worlds, sit front row at events and play immersive 3D games from the comfort of their lounge room.Read More
Mandrill No Longer Offering Free Accounts
An important update for Mandrill users
As of March 16th, new Mandrill users will create their accounts through MailChimp and existing users will be required to merge their accounts with a MailChimp account where they will be charged $20+/mo for transactional emails. The deadline for merging accounts is April 27th.Read More
6 Characteristics of High-Converting CTA Buttons
Love Smith's no nonsense approach to Calls to Action that actually work
Making a CTA button isn’t that hard. It’s like so much of conversion optimization and online marketing. The best way is usually the most obvious way. If you have common sense and use common sense, you’ll win.Read More
New Apple iPhone ad features Cookie Monster cooking with Siri
Apple really thinks of everything, don't they.... what's next Apple?
As the world’s most famous binge eater struggles to wait for his cookies to bake, he turns to Siri to help him fill in his time.Read More
When you come across a font you love but it's in an image, how do you find out what font it actually is? WhatTheFont is one of those tools that you don't need often, but when you do it's invaluable. And best of all, it's free!
Seen a font in use and want to know what it is? Submit an image to WhatTheFont to find the closest matches in our database.Read More
Instagram May Change Your Feed, Personalizing It With an Algorithm
So much goes on behind the scenes of our favourite social networks. Interesting read on how Instagram is adapting for the sake of its users.
As our online networks of friends have grown larger and the social media companies have matured, the feeds have evolved. Facebook changed its news feed in 2009 by switching to an algorithm largely based on the popularity of posts, among other signals. Last month, Twitter introduced older, popular tweets to the top of users’ feeds, out of order, if the user had been away from the service for a time.Read More
Formatting Gravity Form Errors
We love Gravity Forms, but its default errors are frankly pretty ugly. A couple of small snippets in your PHP and CSS however can make them much more attractive.
Do you want to change the standard error text (when people did something wrong on your form). It looks quite unfriendly, the standard validation error. So let’s make it a little bit more friendly.Read More
Here's The Surprising Secret to a Better, More Secure Password
Should we be changing our passwords regularly, or do our IT departments have it all wrong?
Time to start showing your IT department some of the latest research to keep your company secure and save you a bit of time in the long run.Read More
Bridging the gap between content and design
We all have tools available to us to make design decisions, but sometimes you need someone a little more informed to help you make the right design decisions
A designer can control the tools available to them and use them to achieve a certain result. A professional designer can identify and use visual elements with a purpose, to communicate a message and to achieve certain goals with that message.Read More
The good folks at Yoast have put together a nice overview of some simple steps you can take to significantly boost the security of your WordPress site. Most of the items in their list are already standard practice on all of the sites we build here at Brown Box. It's always reassuring to know that others recommend the same things you're already doing!
WordPress security has always been food for thought. Even though most of the latest updates including WordPress 4.0 deal with WordPress security issues, there is still a lot that can be done to improve that security, even by the less tech-savvy of us. In this article I’d like to enumerate a number of suggestions on how to improve security on your own WordPress website.Read More
The history of Google
I often wondered where and how Google started, so I Googled it.... here is the story, enjoy the read!
Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin met at Stanford University in 1995. By 1996, they had built a search engine (initially called BackRub) that used links to determine the importance of individual webpages.Read More
How to Design Emotionally Powerful Websites
Emotion always plays a big part in how we make connections, and this applies to websites too!
We humans try to convince ourselves that we are rational beings, who make choices based on logic. In truth, we are highly emotional ones. The harder we try to convince ourselves of our rationality, the greater impact our emotions have on our decisions.Read More
Why Nonprofit Branding Matters
Such a great article, all about how branding is so important for Not-for-Profits in building relationships
Brands are everywhere. From personalities to products, to companies and even places, everything has a ‘brand’. Branding is often understood as consisting of a company’s logo, but there’s so much more to a brand than just the visual elements. A brand is an idea, an understanding of who your organisation is and what it represents. It’s an expression of an organisation’s core values. It’s a concept and a promise of what an organisation stands for and works to achieve.Read More
Swiftype silently drops free and low-cost plans
A few of our thoughts on the recent changes to Swiftype plans
At Brown Box we have been using and recommending Swiftype for a number of years as an in-site search solution, particularly in contrast to the native Wordpress search. Their Free plan - while understandably limited - was a great solution for many sites, and their $19/month Pro plan covered the needs of all but the biggest sites, despite being labelled a plan for "individuals".Read More
How to Build a Website That Helps You Get Customers
These are things you need to consider when building your website. If your site is not bringing in new clients, you might as well not have a website at all. Make sure you have a website that works for you!
A website should be created with the customer in mind. Products or services should be simple to locate and acquire, and above all, it should be crystal clear how the product or service provides what the customer needs.Read More
12 Reasons Why Every Linux System Administrator Should be Lazy
Great article that covers a lot of the tricks we implement right here at Brown Box to keep things up and running
If you see a sysadmin who is always running around, and trying to put down fire, and constantly dealing with production issues, you might think he is working very hard, and really doing his job. But in reality he is not really doing his job.Read More
7 Design Myths Debunked for Nonprofits
Love this fun infographic that lays out a fair few home truths about design for Not-for-Profits
Great design is crucial to engaging your audience and driving results. Among its many benefits, thoughtful, compelling design captures your audience’s attention, elevates your brand, reinforces your message, and drives conversions. By contrast, poor design can cripple a prospect’s perception of your brand and undermine your hard work.Read More
Wordpress 4.5 Beta now available
It's a while away from being fully released, but Wordpress 4.5 looks like bringing some nice new features without being an overly big update. The theme logo option in Customizer is nice (though more limited than what we've been building into our themes for years anyway 😉 ), and the continued move towards object-oriented code is always welcome. We'll be taking a closer look at the image optimisation processes too to see whether it eliminates the need for a plugin we currently use for that purpose.
WordPress 4.5 Beta 1 is now available!Read More
Grants opportunities – March 2016
Strategic Grants are providing Grants for not-for-profits or charities doing good in the world. Have a look here for available opportunities, don't miss out on this opening to support your cause!
Looking for upcoming grant and funding opportunities? Here are some funders with approaching deadlines, provided by Strategic Grants.Read More
Our new Brown Box Members Portal
We're extremely excited today to announce the launch of our new Members Portal. We've packed it with some really helpful features for you to get the most out of your Brown Box service.
How to Write Emails That Sell: An Analysis of Influential Language
Being customer centric should be at the core of all marketing touch points. Love the way this article outlines how to use language to do just that.
Become part of the small percentage of sales emails that utilizes powerless communication, expresses uncertainty, and deflects the focus on the customer. In other words, write emails that sell.Read More
30 Great Ways to Increase Conversion Rates
Some great simple tips on how you can create actual value from your website traffic
No matter where your traffic is coming from, there is a way to make it convert. Instead of just focusing on building traffic, spend a portion of your time on converting it.Read More
19 Ways to Raise More Money From Donation Pages
Top 19 tips on making a kick-ass donation page that every not-for-profit should know when creating their unique branded donation page!
What makes a kick-ass donation page? Is it the words? Images? Where buttons and fields are located?Read More
Wordpress REST API
At Brown Box we are very excited about the Wordpress REST API and can see a myriad of applications for it. This article is a great introduction to the API and why it's important.
In this article we’ll cover what the WordPress JSON REST API is, when it’s coming, and what you need to know to take full advantage of the truly revolutionary possibilities it’s going to open up to everyone in the WordPress world.Read More
Learn to Create Emotionally Engaging Landing Pages with These 4 Examples
This article highlights some of the real subtleties in connecting with your audience through your landing page
No matter what kind of product you sell, the story that will resonate with your customers is not about your product; it’s about the person your customer wants to be, and how your product can help them realize that dream.Read More
3 website sign-in pages that get it right
Great tips on making your sign up process simple and delightful for your users. Keep your sign-up process quick and easy, so users can get on with the service!
For a well-crafted onboarding process, the design and content need to work together as part of the website layout to make a simple, quick and delightful experience.Read More
40 Lessons Learned by Nonprofit Professionals in 2015
Some amazing lessons from some of the people who know the immense challenges and victories of the Not-for-Profit world
“If you try to be relevant to everyone, you’ll be relevant to no one. Define who your audience is, what they want, and what you can teach them.”Read More
The Risks of Hiring a Bad SEO Company
There is definitely a craft involved with improving your SEO, so beware of companies that promise 'instant results'!
Unfortunately in the world of SEO there is no shortage of snake oil salesmen. These ‘SEO’ companies promise unrealistically fast results and rely on their clients lack of expertise to make their money. Real SEO, much like online security, is a process, not just a switch that can be instantly flipped on and off.Read More
How to Get Site Visitors to Commit to Their Donation
This article contains some beautiful donation forms, and also shows why UX is so important in getting donors across the line.
When you allow donors to start filling out their gift information right on your website, you can encourage them to commit to the entire giving process and boost overall conversion rates. This also gives you the extra real estate to tie suggested gift amounts with their tangible impact, giving potential donors the extra push to get involved. Improve your web design and leverage the right fundraising software to streamline the checkout process for your supporters.Read More
Are you Making the Most of your Google My Business Listing?
We love using Google Tools to get your business shining online.
Google My Business is primarily aimed at small businesses who mightn’t have the time or resources to build a substantial online presence. It promises to show your business on Google and across devices, give customers the right information, and build long lasting and valuable customer relationships.Read More
4 Proven Methods to get More Design Exposure
Standing out online is a challenge in every industry. Love these tips for designers in how they can give themselves the best chance of being noticed.
Graphic designers have to confront an unfortunate aspect of the design industry: designers can’t succeed on quality work alone. They also have to figure out how to get clients to look at their designs and recognize their value.Read More
An Attack Platform Infecting WordPress Sites
We know the dangers your site faces on the web, so we make sure we stay up to date on the latest security updates
During a recent investigation of a very large infection we found a trove of attack tools that all pointed back to a single “meta” script. This script was only two lines long but provided an attacker with a powerful capability. Once it fully installs itself it provides what we are referring to as an “attack platform”.Read More
5 Benefits of Having a Website for Your Small Business
Lots of small businesses settle with their social media accounts, but there are a fair few distinct advantages to having a website of your own.
You probably know some businesses who are doing phenomenally well without a website. I do, too. But I often wonder how much better they could be doing if they took the time to invest in one. And when I say “website,” I don’t mean an electronic version of that brochure they’ve been handing out for the past 10 years. I mean a legitimate, well-thought-out site that is designed to inform, engage and convert their audience.Read More
Digital Giving Index - Industry Data
Some amazing insights here into the trends around online giving and digital fundraising.
The Digital Giving Index examines giving behavior across Network for Good’s online donation platform. This Index builds on data and observations from The Online Giving Study, created in 2010, and is updated regularly to provide snapshots of the state of online giving.Read More
Why Your Website Doesn’t Convert
Great article that outlines some of the important reasons why we've just updated our own website!
When it’s time to create a new website, clients and design studios are often seduced by the notion of making “something neat.” As a result, they can forget what their website is for.Read More
SEO for Copywriters: Key ranking factors to watch out for
Content, context and co-occurance are just a few of the extra elements to consider for your copywriting and SEO!
Whenever I hear some marketing executive who learned SEO back in 2005 talking about the importance of keywords I throw up in my mouth a little. Don’t get me wrong, keywords and phrases are still an important part of helping Google correctly recognise the relevance of your content to a given search (as you’ll see below), but the tyranny of the keyword is over.Read More
How Bad Design Wrecked Steve Harvey's "Universe".
Welcome to the silliest and most sloppily arranged piece of design to hit a multi-million dollar, overproduced, international beauty pageant to date. This is like showing up in flip-flops to the Oscars. And with months in the making, and thousands of hours worth of prep time, how did this part get overlooked?
The Anatomy of a Link - What Makes a Good (and Bad) Link?
Not all links are created equal. One part of the Google algorithm is the number of links pointing at your website, but it would be foolish to make this a raw number and not take into account the quality of those links. Otherwise it would just be a free for all, and everyone would be trying to get as many links as they can with no regard for the quality of those links.
Tips on Writing a Services Page that Sells
We're actually launching a new Brown Box site in the new year, so these tips are really coming in handy!
Your Services page can be just… well, a list of services. Or it can help you reassure buyers who are close to hiring you to do their website – becoming the tipping point that turns them from interested to committed and ready to spend.Read More
Using Video for Thank You Messages in Giving Processes
During the online donation process, Thank You pages pose a unique opportunity to hold the attention of your donor – usually as their credit card payment processes or as they wait for confirmation of their donation. This gives organisations and nonprofits a chance to create a lasting impact on their donors and to establish an ongoing relationship that can see one off donations turn into recurring contributions.Read More
How to Make Popup Subscription Forms That Work
Email campaigns can create so much value, but how do you curate a subscription list to send it to? MailChimp spoke with some of their users to find out how they found the balance between subscription pop-ups and user experience.
Ah, the dreaded popup subscription form. If you’ve spent any amount of time on the internet, you’ve likely encountered more than your fair share. Sometimes it seems they swarm like mosquitoes—swat one away, two more appear.Read More
The Periodic Table Of SEO Success
I was looking for some great articles on the different factors to SEO success, and I found the "Periodic Table" of SEO.
Search engines reward pages with the right combination of ranking factors or “signals.” SEO is about ensuring your content generates the right type of signals.Read More
30 Important factors for SEO
I stumbled across this great SEO article about 30 basic factors that influence ranking.
Google uses about 200 various factors to rank a site... Apparently.Read More
Apple Doesn’t Design for Yesterday
Jumping on current design trends might be good for your site or digital presence today, but will it stand the test of time?
Apple’s decision to make a wholesale shift from Lucida to Helvetica defies my expectations. Criticize the company as much as you’d like, but it treats user experience with reverence. So, this leaves me wondering: What possible reason is there for this shift? Why make a change that impedes legibility, requires more screen space, and makes the GUI appear fuzzy? The answer: Tomorrow.Read More
Just how important is page speed?
I read this great article about the important of page load speed for ranking on google.
As you can see in the above chart, there are some REALLY slow sites ranking in the top 20. I wanted to see if these sites just happened to be running slow at the time or if a second measurement would show that the slow sites are really faster.Read More
Write a Plugin for WordPress Multi-Site
While this article is from a few years ago, it's a really handy introduction to making sure the plugins you build are compatible with Wordpress Multisite.
WordPress multisite functionality is now integrated into WordPress 3.0. ... Here, we consider how we can make our plugins compatible with WordPress multisite.Read More
User Experience is Brand Experience
These days. brand experiences are about more than just surface looks. People include every touchpoint of a brand in their evaluation of it, making user experience vital.
People who work in branding live in a polarizing time. Those who insist upon following conventional rules risk their companies’ futures. Alternatively, those who put UX first can topple giants.Read More
Click Through Rates Are Way Higher For Organic Vs Paid Clicks
Here's the proof that the average person prefers organic search results on google.
Search engine users overwhelmingly click on organic results on Google and Bing by a margin of 94 percent to 6 percent(Based on 28million people).Read More
12 Ways to Increase Online Sales
I recently came across this good article on how to increase online sales.
"Test everything; assume nothing!" That's because we know that after all these years on the internet, you just never know what strategy or angle is going to work best for you...until you test it. This applies even to your star-performing strategies, because there's always room for improvement.Read More
Guidelines For Better Client Feedback on Web Design
It's always so important to plan for how the end user is going to use your site. Definitely something for designers and clients to both always keep in mind!
You, the designer bring a lot of domain expertise, but so does your client. It would be strange if you client knew as much about design as you and it would be strange if you know more about your client’s strategic goals and audience.Read More
Paid Vs Organic Search
Wondering what the difference between paid and organic search on google is? Then this article is for you.
Search engines are a wonderful, powerful tool for discovery. Type in what you want to know, and within a fraction of a second, you’ve got a wealth of information at your fingertips, awaiting further exploration. Search engines are practically a staple of everyday life online. Think about it. How often do you use the phrase “Google it“? Upon closer examination, you’ll likely find that the search engine results page (SERP) contains a mixture of both organic and paid results.Read More
How to Pick an Email Service Provider for Your Nonprofit
Email is still so vital as a communication tool for Not-for-Profits. This article covers some great points, especially the need for your email provided to integrate with your website. At Brown Box we love Mailchimp specifically for that reason!
Email service providers make keeping in touch with your subscribers easy. More than that though, they help you stay organized and allow you to be more strategic with your communication. While this is true of all ESPs, it’s important to note that no two providers are the same. Doing your homework and finding the one that best fits your nonprofit’s needs is key.Read More
5 Customer Engagement Strategies
Here's an interesting article on different ways to engage customers.
"One of the best ways to improve customer engagement is to turn your organization into a customer centric one."Read More
9 Small User Experience Details Most Websites Miss
It's the little things that count. This article shares some great ways of ensuring your sites UX is the best it can be.
Designing a website that gives users a pleasant experience requires attention to detail. But there are so many aspects that it’s hard to remember the little details that make a site easier to use. Here are a few small, but important user experience details that most websites miss. Missing these details can frustrate users and lead to website abandonment. Make sure your website handles each of these the right way.Read More
4 Ways to Improve User Engagement
Was looking at some articles and stumbled across this great post.
"First Impressions are often the only impressions."Read More
Five Steps to an About Page That Sells
Great tips about how to make your about page something worth reading.
YOUR ABOUT PAGE SHOULD BE ABOUT YOUR POTENTIAL CLIENT. In fact, it really only needs to do two things: Explain to your potential client why she should read the page in the first place, and Tell her why she should bother to take time out of her busy life to give you her money. If you can answer those questions for her, you’ve got a much better chance of turning her into a client. It’s that simple.Read More
5 Ways UX Matters in Everyday Life
We talk about UX in context of the web all the time, but this article shares some important ways that User Experience is part of our everyday lives, whether we notice it or not.
From handles that bang against walls to bathroom stall doors that leave a disconcertingly wide space between you and your neighbor, you probably didn’t give much thought to how doors were designed until you had to interact with a poorly designed one.Read More
How to Make Gettting Personal Data from Users on Forms Easier
Building trust with users can be hard, the article has some helpful tips when asking for personal data!
Asking for personal data isn’t a problem. The problem is when you ask for it without giving them an explanation. Forms that do this will suffer a high abandonment rate. But forms that give users the explanation they’re looking for, will also give users a reason to complete it.Read More
5 Research Based Tips for a Better Contact Form
Great tips that apply to forms across the board!
Contact forms are mission critical to building a successful online company. Investing resources into reducing friction on your contact form is worth every penny.Read More
How Hamburger Menus Can Increase Your Conversion Rate
Conversion is important and attention spans are short! Great to know hamburger menus can help with this!
When users land on your sign up page they shouldn’t feel trapped or overwhelmed. A hamburger menu can give your sign up page a higher conversion rate without sacrificing user experience. The hamburger menu is more than a design trend. It’s a user interface technique to minimise navigation where you need it the most.Read More
Branding Lessons from the Modern Marketing Era
As a designer, I can never scroll past a good branding article without having a read of it!
If you’re a marketing professional or small business owner, take the experiences of the brands listed above into account should you start your own branding or rebranding task.Read More
20 Beautiful Examples of Modal Windows
Pop-up modals can be such a great way of communicating a clear call to action for your site users, but it's important not to forget that it needs to be designed too!
Modal windows can be used to ask your site visitors to perform an action (such as subscribing to your email newsletter) or for sharing an important message.Read More
Why a Mobile Friendly Website is Important for Non-Profits
Did you know 44% of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night? Here's why a mobile responsive site is important for getting donations.
More than a third of cell phone users go online mostly using their phones, and not using a desktop or laptop computer 9% of adults have texted a charitable donation from their mobile phoneRead More
5 Tips to Get Donations on Nonprofit and Charity Websites
Was doing some light reading and came across this article explaining 5 ways to improve donations for not-for-profit websites.
To encourage donations, focus on answering potential-donors’ top questions and streamlining the donation process.Read More
Has your WordPress been hacked? Top 10 tips to secure your site
We love WordPress and so do many people! According to the time of publishing this article there were 68,516,612 WordPress Sites in the World. This makes WordPress a big target for hackers.Read More
Two Door Cinema Club
Swiftype Search for WordPress
Swiftype have set about making life better for all of us who rely on search as a critical way of finding the content we’re after
If you’re wanting to give your website a powerful search tool, then we recommend you get onto Swiftype as quick as possible – and hey, we’d love to help.Read More
Explicit Choice – Real World Example
Whilst hunting down new web design blog to read and learn from, I made my way to 1stwebdesigner.com. Their email sign up form is something to behold...
Rather than a simple close button, or a no thank you, they have designed their form for an explicit choice.Read More
The Importance of User Experience
The web is constantly changing, meaning we often feel the need to keep up! But sometimes we need to slow down, think about what we're doing - and make sure the user is at the centre of it all.
Before investing time and resources into revamping your website, map out what you want to change and ask yourself why these need to be made. Be careful with redesigns that happen because “I just want it to look more modern” or “I just felt like a change.”Read More
Howard de Winton Photography
We created this site to display a range of beautiful, large scale photographs across a range of galleries
Typekit vs. Google Fonts: Pros and Cons
There's such a huge range of web fonts to choose these days, but how do you choose the best service to do the job? This article helps point out some of the differences and benefits of Google Font and Adobe Typekit
Choosing the right font is an important aspect of any web design project. There are hundreds, even thousands, of great options out there and many can be used with free licenses thanks to tools such as Adobe Typekit and Google Fonts.Read More
Install WordPress with WP-CLI
We've recently started using WP-CLI for setting up new development environments, drastically speeding up the process. We might share the script we use later, but this article provided us with a great starting point for it.
... most of the wp-cli tutorials we’ve seen online have focused on showing how to use it with already installed WordPress. So, we’ve decided to put together one short script.Read More
When doing some research into SSL certificates I came across Let's Encrypt. They don't appear to be open for "business" for the public just yet, but certainly one worth watching.
Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority brought to you by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG). ISRG is a California public benefit corporation, and is recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.Read More
Why Do Projects Fail?
Another great article highlighting the importance of Requirements management, risk management and project planning.
There are enough opinions to paper the side of a battle ship. With all these opinions, nobody has a straightforward answer that is applicable to all projects. There are two fundamental understanding though: (1) Everyone has a theory , (2) there is no singular cause that is universally applicable.Read More
The Subliminal Connotations of Our Font Choices
A nice reminder that the fonts we use on our websites say a lot about our business and our brand.
Font choice can be used to make as much of an impression as the words that comprise the copy. Websites or businesses that are creative or design-based may benefit from more artistic fonts. While institutions that require trust and credibility may want to look for more structured typefaces.Read More
Vim for Beginners
There is so much you can do with Terminal Commands. Here's is a nice back-to-basics article I found for Chris on using VIM to edit files directly on servers. Keep practicing Chris, you'll get there (just kidding).
Vim is a free and powerful text editor that comes with your Mac. In this tutorial, I will show you the basics of this text editor.Read More
4 Quick Ways to Lower Your WordPress Site’s Bounce Rate
Once again we are reminded that Responsive design and page load performance are the key things to consider when developing or reviewing the effectiveness of your website.
A huge part of web usability is loading speed. Put simply, if your site takes so long to load that most visitors have clicked away impatiently by the time it deigns to make an appearance, all other aspects of your website are irrelevant. With that in mind, you can work on everything from image optimization, to caching, to Content Delivery Network solutions; and don’t forget those pesky page speed tools.Read More
What are your goals for social media?
Social media is an important part of promoting your business online. I know that sometimes it is hard to determine where to start. If you need help give me a call and we can have a chat.
Social media are increasingly important Social Media Strategy for business. However, it is hard to know where to start. There are a lot of social media out there and not all of them might be the right one for you. So how do you know which social media to use?Read More
How to Use One SSL Certificate for Your Entire Multisite Network
Chris & I have been looking at new more cost effective ways to secure your multi site. This is looking like a good appraoch. We'll keep doing the research and let you know.
Securing your site with an SSL certificate should be an important part of your security arsenal in order to help protect your data and users.Read More
12 Tips For Designing an Excellent Checkout Process
I was working on a project recently and wanted some new ideas about checkout processes. I came across this article.
Building a good checkout experience is about several things. It’s about eliminating distractions to help the user focus at the task at hand. It’s about providing all the necessary information and help so that the customer understands all the stages of the process. Most important, it’s about making it easy, because after all, the quicker a customer can check out, the happier they will be and the quicker you’ll close the sale.Read More
6 things nonprofits can learn from e-commerce checkout pages (and apply to their Donation Pages)
There are so many different ways to optimise your giving process. Here are some great ideas that come for thinking about conversion on ecommerce sites.
These six techniques test-driven on e-commerce checkout pages are well worth trying to improve conversions on your web donation pages. How you apply them will depend in part on your current practice—as well as how flexible and customizable your donation forms are. Regardless of which techniques you use, remember that optimizing donation pages (or any other web page) for conversion is not a “one-off” exercise, it’s an ongoing process of testing, learning and application. Web conventions, user expectations, and visitor needs are constantly evolving, and your important landing pages need to be, too.Read More
Foundation 6: Leaner, Meaner and Cleaner
The next iteration of Foundation by Zurb is looking great. We'll be integrating this into our next boilerplate shortly. Stay tuned.
Sass is an amazing tool, but like any tool, you need to know the right time to use it. After two years working with Foundation 5, we found we were using Sass a little too much. But we can't imagine life without it, and when Foundation 6 ships later this year, you'll be able to leverage our slimmed down, simpler codebase to learn and build faster than ever.Read More
Coding to be taught in Australian schools from primary age
This is amazing. I can only image what the technology landscape will be with talented students being able to explore proper coding practices in primary school.
There's been a big push for a greater focus on coding and science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subjects in schools from a primary level, and it seems a good fit with new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's heavy focus on innovation and preparing for the jobs and economies of the future. The government will be pumping A$12 million into four separate STEM initiatives: the development of innovative maths curriculum, the introduction of computer coding, a P-TECH-style school pilot site and the funding of summer schools for STEM students from underrepresented groups.Read More
Mobile Navigation For Smashing Magazine: A Case Study
Another great article by Smashing Magazine about Smashing Magazine.
Back in spring 2013, Smashing Magazine sported a select menu as its mobile navigation. It wasn’t considered an anti-pattern back then and I still think it’s a viable solution to the complex problem of how to build accessible and functional cross-device navigation. Brad Frost wrote a few words about the pros and cons of this pattern on his blog and I couldn’t agree more.Read More
Studio Nine One Eight
How Button Placement Standards Reinforce User Habits
Great design may have all the features and content you need, but you always need to consider the real world habits of users in UX design - if a button or feature isn't where they expect it to be, your entire design may be compromised.
Whether you believe the ‘cancel’ button belongs on the left or right, set a standard and follow through with it on all pages of your app. This consistency sets user expectations that’ll reinforce their habits. When you don’t follow button placement standards, you violate their expectations. Don’t leave them frustrated and confused. Reinforce their habits, so that they can walk through tasks as easy as doors.Read More
10 Common Tech Questions (and Their High Tech Explanations)
Technology is everywhere and we all need help. Checkout these 10 answers to your common tech questions.
Technology can be mysterious, even to the geekier among us. Today, as part of Lifehacker’s 10th anniversary celebration, we’re looking back at some of our best high-tech explainers to your burning questions, big and small.Read More
Integrating feature requests without destroying your product
As the old adage goes less is more, but that's sometimes hard to do when balancing between design and the necessary features of a site or app.
Products in their purest, simplest form are a thing of beauty. Any designer in the world can create a product and snap a ton of features on top of it, around it, and under it. It takes a skilled product designer and UX pro team to pare down a product to its simplest form until it’s a clean, elegant, easy-to-use solution.Read More