OUT OF THE BOX

OUT OF THE BOX

markparnell

28/03/2017

performance php security 

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.

php-versions-4

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.

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joshg

28/03/2017

Regents Park Christian School

Check out the brand new site we've just launched! rpcs.nsw.edu.au

listen on spotify

28/03/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

jimi hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

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chloe

27/03/2017

branding design ux 

The Bottom Line: Why Good UX Design Means Better Business

top view of an open book beside a laptop

UX Design can dramatically change the face of your business

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zenda

24/03/2017

apps productivity tools work 

The Top 11 Tools You Can Use to Be More Productive

Find useful information in this article on how to be super productive!

shutterstock_25461118-1-380x253

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.

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markparnell

24/03/2017

frameworks front end development responsive 

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.

smashing mag

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.

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listen on spotify

24/03/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

gwen stefani

Gwen Stefani

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joshg

21/03/2017

anniversary brown box celebration design development 

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!

brownbox-birthday

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.

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joshg

21/03/2017

design development ux 

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.

design hand off

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 —

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stephen

21/03/2017

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.

information architecture

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.

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listen on spotify

21/03/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

the monkees

The Monkees

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markparnell

17/03/2017

performance plugins security wordpress 

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.

too many plugins

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?

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zenda

17/03/2017

business design logo marketing not-for-profit ux 

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

Logo

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.

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listen on spotify

17/03/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

tinman

Tinman

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joshg

14/03/2017

design marketing ui ux 

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!

analytics google search

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.

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stephen

14/03/2017

business google marketing seo traffic 

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!!

Improve your SEO

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.

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listen on spotify

14/03/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

mumfordandsons

Mumford And Sons

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markparnell

10/03/2017

game google security xss 

XSS Game

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.

XSS security game

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.

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zenda

10/03/2017

design reading ui ux 

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...

steal like an artist

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.

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listen on spotify

10/03/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

avicii

Avicii

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chloe

09/03/2017

communication website 

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.

new-website-checklist

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.

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stephen

07/03/2017

blog comments content website wordpress 

Disable Comments Without Deleting Them (WordPress)

For those looking for information on disabling comments on WordPress - check out this article.

disable comments

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.

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listen on spotify

07/03/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers

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markparnell

06/03/2017

search seo wordpress 

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.

wordpress seo checklist

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.

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chloe

03/03/2017

donor retention engagement strategy fundraising 

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!!

Generational Giving Infographic

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.

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zenda

03/03/2017

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.

If this than that channels

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.

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joshg

03/03/2017

design front end development ui ux web design 

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.

sketch vs photoshop

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.

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listen on spotify

03/03/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

partynextdoor

PARTYNEXTDOOR

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markparnell

28/02/2017

cloudflare security 

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-breach

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.

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listen on spotify

27/02/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

James Brown

James Brown

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markparnell

24/02/2017

discovery planning project requirements 

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.

designer-workstation

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.

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zenda

24/02/2017

conversion design engagement strategy 

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!

1-preview-opt

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.

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stephen

24/02/2017

design development 

Common Misconceptions About Web Design & Development

designer-workstation

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.

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listen on spotify

24/02/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

f7f6f85aa825e6263b512515801ded74503ab1db

Bebe Rexha

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markparnell

20/02/2017

maintenance support website 

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.

everything-will-break-01

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.

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chloe

20/02/2017

performance ux 

A Designer’s Guide to Perceived Performance

Perceptions are what counts when it comes to crafting a satisfying user experience

Time-Perception-Header

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.

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stephen

20/02/2017

optimisation website 

5 Steps to Making Sure Your Users Trust Your Website

trust-web-users-02

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!

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markparnell

16/02/2017

guidelines plugin wordpress 

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.

wordpress-589121_1280

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 post

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zenda

16/02/2017

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.

photo-1452457750107-cd084dce177d

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.

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stephen

15/02/2017

social media 

Using Social Media to Promote Your Business

person-woman-hand-space

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.

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listen on spotify

09/02/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

Boyzone

Boyzone

listen on spotify

markparnell

09/02/2017

core hooks update wordpress 

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.

New Wordpress Hook Class

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.

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zenda

09/02/2017

design photoshop sketch web design 

Essential Cheat Sheets for Photoshop, Illustrator, GIMP and Sketch

Cheat sheets are awesome, quick & easy and boosts productivity. Find your copies here!

cheatsheet photoshop

In this short article, we’ve collected all of the keyboard shortcut cheatsheets for Photoshop, Illustrator, GIMP and Sketch.app.

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joshg

03/02/2017

design productivity ux work workspace 

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!

productive office

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.

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listen on spotify

03/02/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

Riton

Riton

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zenda

02/02/2017

donations donor retention fundraising ux Website Design 

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!

How to improve the user experience of your contact forms

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.

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markparnell

02/02/2017

domain example placeholder 

example.com

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.

Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 11.44.48 AM

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.

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listen on spotify

02/02/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

Charlie Puth

Charlie Puth

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stephen

30/01/2017

seo 

SEO is a Process and Not a Plugin

Help-Google-Solve-Problems

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.

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chloe

30/01/2017

content copywriting design 

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!!

3067501-inline-i-3-ui-vs-content-expert-post

Designers have largely shifted their skill sets toward interface design, prototyping, and code. Are writing and art direction getting left behind?

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listen on spotify

27/01/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

kiss

KISS

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zenda

25/01/2017

apps tech 

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

home-benefits-1-1

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.

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chloe

24/01/2017

design seo 

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

seo.one-page-website-6

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.

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markparnell

23/01/2017

email legislation spam 

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.

0081 jpg

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.

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stephen

23/01/2017

browsers css 

The Principles Of Cross-Browser CSS Coding

browsers-css

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.

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chloe

20/01/2017

conversion design marketing 

14 design tips for more clickable banner ads

Some great tips to make your digital advertising make an impact

sizes

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.

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joshg

20/01/2017

blog copywriting marketing social media 

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!

perfect blogging

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.

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listen on spotify

19/01/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

savage garden

Savage Garden

listen on spotify

zenda

19/01/2017

design 

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.

fonts

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.

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markparnell

19/01/2017

CMS market share statistics wordpress 

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.

blogging

W3Techs ranks WordPress as the fastest growing content management system with 58.5% market share.

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listen on spotify

17/01/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

chvrches

Chvrches

listen on spotify

stephen

17/01/2017

multisite wordpress 

WordPress Multisite: Practical Functions And Methods

Making site management that much easier

Wordpress multisite

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.

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chloe

16/01/2017

content zurb foundation 

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.

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 11.05.21 am

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.

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markparnell

13/01/2017

design development email 

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.

Introduction to building and Sending Email for Web Developers

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.

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zenda

13/01/2017

ai google technology 

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.

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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 linguistics

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listen on spotify

13/01/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

Client Liaison

Client Liaison

listen on spotify

zenda

12/01/2017

eco friendly ink cartridges printer recycling 

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!

Printer Cartridges

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.

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joshg

12/01/2017

conversion design website 

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 page conversions

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.

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listen on spotify

12/01/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

The White Stripes

The White Stripes

listen on spotify

zenda

11/01/2017

campaigns email 

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!

mailchimp

More than 12 million people use MailChimp to send beautiful newsletters. You could be one of them.

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listen on spotify

10/01/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding

listen on spotify

chloe

10/01/2017

donor retention fundraising 

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!

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-9-30-33-am

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.

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markparnell

10/01/2017

music productivity work 

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.

music-makes-you-productive

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.

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stephen

09/01/2017

The Importance of Storytelling in Design

Always remember the big picture...

storytelling-01

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.

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listen on spotify

09/01/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

The Beatles

The Beatles

listen on spotify

zenda

09/01/2017

security wordpress 

Sucuri Review

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.

isitwordpress

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.

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chloe

09/01/2017

foundation ux 

Building responsive accessible web forms with Foundation

We love working with Foundation because enables vital functions such as accessibility!

Foundation Accessible Forms

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.

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joshg

06/01/2017

blog content design social media writing 

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?

Write or fade away as a designer

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.

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listen on spotify

06/01/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

the veronicas

The Veronicas

listen on spotify

joshg

05/01/2017

design ui ux website 

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

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.

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joshg

05/01/2017

design ui ux 

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.

UX Design Lessons

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.

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listen on spotify

05/01/2017

Todays artist of the day is...

Maroon 5

Maroon 5

listen on spotify

markparnell

04/01/2017

development plugins wordpress 

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!

plugin-performance

...these are the plugins I run in every local installation of WordPress when I’m working on a project

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zenda

04/01/2017

branding logo design 

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!

logo-design

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.

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stephen

04/01/2017

plugins wordpress 

Extending Advanced Custom Fields With Your Own Controls

Learn how to use ACF to tailor your WordPress experience to your needs

Advanced Custom Fields

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.

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stephen

31/12/2016

ui wordpress 

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

05-posts-menu-preview-opt

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.

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nicole

31/12/2016

design email process 

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.

02-patterns-opt-500

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.

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nicole

30/12/2016

passwords security 

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.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-12-03-45-pm

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.

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nicole

29/12/2016

basics theme wordpress 

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.

screen-shot-2014-08-22-at-12-12-20-pm

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.

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joshg

29/12/2016

branding design portfolio 

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!

Tips for a killer design portfolio

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.

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chloe

28/12/2016

email fundraising not-for-profit 

Creative Content That Works for Email Fundraising

Email marketing is a fine art, especially when it comes to communicating with your supporter base

Email Fundraising

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.

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nicole

27/12/2016

code color design 

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!

hex-changing-tens

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.

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joshg

27/12/2016

branding design Website Design 

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!

Making logos work 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.

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joshg

26/12/2016

optimisation website 

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.

+84% of visual communication will be visual by 2018

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.

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zenda

26/12/2016

tech 

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.

swiftkey-keyboard

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.

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nicole

26/12/2016

design home page ui ux 

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.

1-williams-sonoma-large

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?

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nicole

25/12/2016

design icons vector 

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!

better-icon-design-preview-opt

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.

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joshg

25/12/2016

culture design 

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.

stress

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.

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stephen

25/12/2016

security 

HTTPS for WordPress: What It Is & Why It’s Becoming More Important

Security is vital for your users

google-malware-warning

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.

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markparnell

24/12/2016

content copywriting web 

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.

notebook-pencil-notes-sketch

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.

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nicole

24/12/2016

calligraphy design lettering typography 

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-letterer-22-thiago-bellotti-opt

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.

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joshg

24/12/2016

design tools Website Design 

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!

What's New - October

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!

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markparnell

23/12/2016

ideas open source 

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.

stealing-ideas-01

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.

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stephen

23/12/2016

breadcrumbs website wordpress 

Making the Most of Breadcrumbs in Web Design

Help your users keep track of where they are

best-buy-breadcrumbs

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.

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joshg

23/12/2016

design mobile social media ui ux website 

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.

attention-1

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.

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stephen

22/12/2016

hosting 

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

hosting-preview

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.

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nicole

21/12/2016

basics features wordpress 

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!

wphiddenfeatures

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.

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listen on spotify

21/12/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Fugees

Fugees

listen on spotify

nicole

20/12/2016

design typography 

Typography Cheat Sheet

Everything you need to know about typography in this amazing infographic!

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-1-14-12-pm

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.

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chloe

20/12/2016

campaigns conversion fundraising 

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

we-ab268_nudge__gr_20161201153106

A study finds that the right amount for nonprofits to suggest depends on the circumstances of the fundraising campaign

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stephen

20/12/2016

DNS security 

Free SSL For Any WordPress Website

We love CloudFlare! It's a great solution to getting an SSL

01-flex-ssl-preview-opt

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.

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nicole

19/12/2016

branding logo design responsiveness 

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

03-logos-viewed-on-mobiles-opt

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.

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nicole

18/12/2016

branding engagement instagram marketing social media strategy 

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!

instagram-1

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.

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listen on spotify

16/12/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

daft-punk

Daft Punk

listen on spotify

chloe

16/12/2016

development zurb 

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

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-12-04-45-pm

Yep, we're ending the the year with a bang, our biggest update since Foundation for Sites 6 was launched last year.

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markparnell

16/12/2016

development ethics 

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.

1-ucpodv1lxr_bt3myaovywa

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.

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listen on spotify

15/12/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

michael-buble

Michael Bublé

listen on spotify

nicole

15/12/2016

design visual design 

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!

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-4-26-13-pm

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.

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joshg

14/12/2016

business coding design front end development 

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.

Software developer programming code on computer

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.

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listen on spotify

13/12/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

3dd64660275fd928d8914b3166c69ae805d708c4-450x450

Pentatonix

listen on spotify

nicole

13/12/2016

business mobile technology 

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.

mobile-only-checklist-640x320

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.

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stephen

13/12/2016

website wordpress 

The Excuses for Not Having a Website (Infographic)

It's really not as hard as it seems!

Infographic - 6 excuses small businesses make

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?

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markparnell

09/12/2016

theme update wordpress 

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! :-)

WP Tavern

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.

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listen on spotify

09/12/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

the-crystal-method

The Crystal Method

listen on spotify

joshg

09/12/2016

business campaigns design social media technology 

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.

2017-trends

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.

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listen on spotify

08/12/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

jessica-mauboy

Jessica Mauboy

listen on spotify

chloe

08/12/2016

seo 

4 top SEO trends for 2017

SEO is constantly changing! Check out some good tips on what elements to focus on in 2017

complete-guide-to-seo

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.

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nicole

08/12/2016

audience content engagement seo social media marketing 

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.

582a4903562f35-18389398

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?

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anton

07/12/2016

editor feedback wordpress 

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!

wp46freshinstallposteditor

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.

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markparnell

07/12/2016

deadlines development pressure 

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.

stunning lifestyle imagery for modern creatives...
check out another scenery / perspective

... 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.

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listen on spotify

07/12/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons

listen on spotify

chloe

06/12/2016

campaigns data engagement strategy 

Spotify rounds off 2016 with these hilariously personal ads

See! Data can be fun!!

Spotify Data Campaign

"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.

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anton

05/12/2016

2016 news state word wordpress year 

State of the Word 2016

State of the Word 2016: Mullenweg Pushes Calypso as Future of WordPress’ Interface, Proposes Major Changes to Release Cycle.

sotw-2016

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.

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joshg

02/12/2016

design ui ux 

Designing Confirmation

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!

Confirmation-button

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.

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chloe

02/12/2016

engagement strategy tech 

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!

Clickclickclick

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.

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listen on spotify

02/12/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

lana-del-rey

Lana Del Rey

listen on spotify

stephen

25/11/2016

framework mobile-first ux web design 

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.

mobile-first

One of the most divisive issues in the web design community has been the use of frameworks. Front-end frameworks are collections of HTML, CSS and JavaScript that make up common patterns and components designers and developers can use to greatly speed up the development of websites. Some view frameworks as a godsend; necessary tools that allow them to crank out great work faster and more consistently. Others are vehemently against them, alleging they contribute to code bloat, cookie cutter website designs, and overall performance lag. But whether you are for them or against them, their influence on the modern web is undeniable. Frameworks have, and continue, to push the web forward and improve the experience for everyone.

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nicole

25/11/2016

essentials web design 

10 Top Principles of Effective Web Design

Web Design tips 101 - it's always good to go back to basics from time to time.

principles-of-effective-web-design_steve-jobs

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).

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listen on spotify

24/11/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

chvrches

CHVRCHES

listen on spotify

markparnell

24/11/2016

efficiency success work 

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?

success

... 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.

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joshg

23/11/2016

css culture design social media ui ux website 

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.

repost1

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.

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stephen

23/11/2016

design website wordpress 

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.

whitespace_06

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?

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chloe

22/11/2016

engagement strategy ux Website Design 

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

UX Myths

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.

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nicole

22/11/2016

branding simplicity 

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.

20151215222855-shutterstock-220240309

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.

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zenda

22/11/2016

seo wordpress 

Everything You Need To Know About SEO For WordPress

Great tips on maximising SEO for your website!

shutterstock_292374233

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.

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listen on spotify

18/11/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

ccmusicfactory

C&C Music Factory

listen on spotify

stephen

18/11/2016

design development user feedback ux 

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.

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joshg

18/11/2016

development front end development Website Design 

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.

Hogwarts

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.

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listen on spotify

17/11/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

guy-sebastian

Guy Sebastian

listen on spotify

markparnell

17/11/2016

conversion design psychology 

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.

screenshot-2016-11-17-09-21-48

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.

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nicole

17/11/2016

brand identity communication social media target audience 

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.

social-media-voice

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.

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listen on spotify

14/11/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

listen on spotify

dat

14/11/2016

conversion design 

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.

pigment

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.

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stephen

14/11/2016

CMS wordpress 

History of WordPress: WordPress UI Evolution + Other Improvements

Let's learn about Wordpress history

the history of wordpress

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.

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markparnell

14/11/2016

data plugin sync 

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.

wpsitesyncmetabox

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.

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listen on spotify

11/11/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

justin-timberlake

Justin Timberlake

listen on spotify

stephen

11/11/2016

branding business social media 

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. :)

social media

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.

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joshg

11/11/2016

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.

US Election

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.

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listen on spotify

10/11/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

snowpatrol

Snow Patrol

listen on spotify

nicole

10/11/2016

connection design uber ux 

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.

new-uber-app

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.

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markparnell

10/11/2016

images optimisation seo 

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.

yoast seo

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.

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chloe

09/11/2016

branding seo website 

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

photo-1453133451515-5ff7c1d0d63c

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.

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listen on spotify

04/11/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

blackeyedpeas

The Black Eyed Peas

listen on spotify

joshg

04/11/2016

coding design development front end development mobile-first 

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.

Zurb 5 years

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.

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anton

04/11/2016

builder content page wordpress 

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?

building-blocks

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.

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listen on spotify

03/11/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

top50hits

Top 50 Hits

listen on spotify

stephen

03/11/2016

creative design 

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.

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.

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nicole

03/11/2016

branding design typeface 

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.

branding-1

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.

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chloe

03/11/2016

content website 

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

avoid_content_delays

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.

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listen on spotify

28/10/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Empire of the Sun

Empire of the Sun

listen on spotify

zenda

28/10/2016

blog content 

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!

update-content-guide

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.

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markparnell

28/10/2016

conversion psychology 

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.

milgram-scale-opt

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.

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listen on spotify

27/10/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

electric light orchestra

Electric Light Orchestra

listen on spotify

dat

27/10/2016

css frontend ux 

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.

screenshot-missing-image

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.

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joshg

27/10/2016

culture design technology 

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!

Desk Exercises for Designers

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.

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listen on spotify

21/10/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

pharrell_williams

Pharrell Williams

listen on spotify

anton

21/10/2016

marketing wordpress 

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.

wave-588996_1280-632x447

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.

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nicole

21/10/2016

creativity ideas 

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.

10-strategies-overcoming-creativity-block

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:

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listen on spotify

20/10/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

deeppurple

Deep Purple

listen on spotify

zenda

17/10/2016

email marketing 

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

20151106202130-email-google-gmail-laptop-computer-office

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.

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markparnell

17/10/2016

planning 

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.

91798-featured-592x296

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.

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dat

17/10/2016

design form ux web 

Design Better Forms

Life is short, let's make forms more conversational, funny, engaging and most importantly time efficient.

1-LJ0JHTq5_k1u23Fl9XTNmA

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.

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listen on spotify

14/10/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

djfresh

DJ Fresh

listen on spotify

stephen

14/10/2016

coding development extension sublime wordpress 

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

sublime_text

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.

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zenda

14/10/2016

branding business 

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!”.

testimonials

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.

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listen on spotify

13/10/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

charlieputh

Charlie Puth

listen on spotify

markparnell

13/10/2016

browser compatibility mobile testing 

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.

samsunginternetapp

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.”

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chloe

10/10/2016

design typography 

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.

11-layout-at-hundred-percent-preview-opt

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.

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listen on spotify

07/10/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

maroon-5

Maroon 5

listen on spotify

dat

07/10/2016

user research ux 

Rapid User Research With Intercom, PowWow And GoToMeeting

Some great tactics to learn more about your user

intercom

It’s a good way to ensure what you’re designing and making is on the path to being useful and usable.

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listen on spotify

06/10/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

chvrches

CHVRCHES

listen on spotify

joshg

06/10/2016

css design font typeface typography ui ux Website Design 

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

"Web typography on the web is not as daunting as you may think. One can go a long way with a few basic tips.”

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zenda

06/10/2016

content ux Website Design 

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...

designing-contact-page

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 site

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dat

05/10/2016

design guideline interface ux 

Is this my interface or yours?

How words define the interface we interact with.

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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.

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markparnell

05/10/2016

conversion marketing optimisation 

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.

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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.

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chloe

30/09/2016

branding design logo 

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

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From IBM to I ❤ NY, designers at Pentagram, Moving Brands, Under Consideration, and more pick their favorites.

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stephen

30/09/2016

website wordpress 

What Exactly is WordPress?

Hei, check this one out !!

WordPress logo

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.

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listen on spotify

29/09/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

johnfarnham

John Farnham

listen on spotify

joshg

29/09/2016

blog content culture 

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...

Screenshot 2016-08-26 17.09.45

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.

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zenda

29/09/2016

Apple technology 

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?

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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.

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dat

28/09/2016

trends web design 

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.

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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.

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markparnell

28/09/2016

agile methodology scrum 

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-thumb-01

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.

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stephen

28/09/2016

development management 

It’s Task Management, Not Time Management

Breaking tasks into several sub-tasks will help you in managing your task lists

task-management-01

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.

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listen on spotify

28/09/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

4f81ffb73951faf0d12bada2bd8414a870f993f9

Michael Buble

listen on spotify

dat

27/09/2016

design development library pattern ui 

Pantsuit: The Hillary Clinton UI pattern library

This how presidential design system is built.

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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.

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chloe

26/09/2016

church development website wordpress 

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!

As seen in Portland

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.

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chloe

23/09/2016

design responsive typography 

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.

responsive line breaks

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-lengths

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listen on spotify

23/09/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

avicii

Avicii

listen on spotify

stephen

23/09/2016

coding development website wordpress 

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!

learn-to-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.

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chloe

23/09/2016

design navigation responsive 

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

website navigation design

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.

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listen on spotify

22/09/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

hanson

Hanson

listen on spotify

joshg

22/09/2016

content google search seo technology website wordpress 

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.

crawling-and-indexing

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.

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markparnell

22/09/2016

google chrome security SSL 

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-http-warning

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.

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zenda

19/09/2016

apps music spotify 

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!

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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?

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listen on spotify

19/09/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

7a850120ca9dcddcf69af4cb3ea8227dd4a9e548

U2

listen on spotify

dat

19/09/2016

concept design ux wireframe 

How to get value from wireframes

Put your obvious ideas out first and goes beyond those ideas with just a pen and paper.

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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.

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chloe

16/09/2016

coding design email front end development google 

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!

listen on spotify

16/09/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

maroon5

Maroon 5

listen on spotify

stephen

16/09/2016

plugins wordpress 

6 Questions To Ask Before You Install A WordPress Plugin

Do I really need this plugin ? hmmm....

wordpress plugin

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.

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markparnell

16/09/2016

small business website 

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.

listen on spotify

15/09/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

mark-knopfler

Mark Knopfler

listen on spotify

joshg

15/09/2016

branding campaigns design marketing not-for-profit 

Zurb Wired - 2016

The team at Zurb have been doing some truly amazing work for not-for-profits.

zurbwired2016

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.

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dat

15/09/2016

code edm email workflow 

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.

emailclient

Here’s a brain dump of what I’ve learned about building and coding HTML emails.

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joshg

15/09/2016

blog culture design social media ui ux 

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.

Freshest Blogs

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.

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listen on spotify

12/09/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

5d09e2d69310fd418b40109b9eede9fab20dbfd8

Chvrches

listen on spotify

stephen

12/09/2016

design responsive website 

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

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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.

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markparnell

12/09/2016

update wordpress 

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.

blogging

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.

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zenda

12/09/2016

apps technology 

Screentime

Worried about how much time your kids are spending online?  Here is a handy app that helps you control your kids' online time.

screentime

Manage the time your kids spend on their tablets and smart phones

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listen on spotify

09/09/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

The Chemical Brothers

The Chemical Brothers

listen on spotify

stephen

09/09/2016

design technology website 

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!

0228-01_firebug_guide_webdesigners_thumbnail

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.

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dat

09/09/2016

design interface 

The Mighty Ellipsis

Who knows that three little dots means a lot more than it looks.

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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.

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chloe

08/09/2016

Apple tech 

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!

ios10

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.

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joshg

08/09/2016

design font front end development technology typography ux Website Design 

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.

Chrome Extensions

There are a ton of free Chrome extensions to help make your life easier – we select the best.

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markparnell

07/09/2016

marketing social media 

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.

index

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.

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listen on spotify

07/09/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

32e13d2c37af4817d1cbf09742c1f51a328820c7

Coldplay

listen on spotify

chloe

06/09/2016

design development website 

Ultra Tune Seven Hills new site just went live!

We partnered with the local mechanics in Seven Hills to create a new site to serve their customers. Check it out!

Ultra Tune Mechanics Seven Hills

At Ultra Tune we’ve got 30 years of experience in providing automotive services and repairs to the locals of Seven Hills.

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chloe

06/09/2016

branding design 

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.

logo sketches

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.

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anton

06/09/2016

exercise stretch work 

How to exercise at work without anyone noticing

Here are seven secret muscle-building moves you can do without your co-workers even knowing.

stairs

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.

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listen on spotify

06/09/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

6e96de72ad1b6e8c7056f65cf52a3ecf5817e43d

Billy Joel

listen on spotify

zenda

06/09/2016

Apple technology 

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.

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THERE is a lot more than a name change for Apple’s new Mac operating system.

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joshg

05/09/2016

social media ui ux 

#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

Instagram Zoom

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.

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chloe

05/09/2016

content engagement strategy marketing 

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

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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.

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stephen

05/09/2016

coding development 

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.

Java Printing

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?

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anton

02/09/2016

forms gravityforms release version wordpress 

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!

gforms2-featured-image

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.

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zenda

02/09/2016

donor retention engagement strategy marketing not-for-profit 

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!

Detail shot of some old round speakers.

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.

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listen on spotify

01/09/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Elvis

Elvis Presley

listen on spotify

joshg

01/09/2016

design mobile social media technology ui ux 

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.

pokemon_go_UI

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.

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chloe

01/09/2016

content search seo 

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.

shutterstock_292374233

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.

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markparnell

30/08/2016

mobile responsive Website Design 

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.

hamburger-menu-icon

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

anton

30/08/2016

content element custom development visual composer wordpress 

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.

blog-featured-visual-composer-1

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.

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zenda

30/08/2016

campaigns conversion design donations fundraising not-for-profit 

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.

stairs

A step-by-step guide to planning and running an effective campaign based on "Free Dave!" - a set of spoof videos created by NCVO.

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chloe

29/08/2016

development technology wordpress 

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!

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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…

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joshg

29/08/2016

design font typeface ui ux website 

Butterick's Practical Typography

Looking to become a master of typography? Definitely check out this web author's interactive book.

Screenshot 2016-08-26 17.13.28

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.)

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dat

25/08/2016

design front end development typesetting typography 

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.

type setting

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.

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dat

25/08/2016

front end development resource 

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 9.14.43 PM

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.

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markparnell

22/08/2016

css javascript responsive 

The Search For The Holy Grail: How I Ended Up With Element Queries, And How You Can Use Them Today

An interesting new approach to building responsive layouts, using individual page elements as the basis for applying different styles, rather than the width of the page as a whole. It's a JavaScript library, and requires quite a mental shift - and in many cases it may not provide any additional benefits over pure CSS - but for some projects this could really make sense. It's one that we'll keep on the shelf because chances are one day we'll run into a project that needs something like this.

EQCSS logo

The result of this research has been the creation of a syntax that includes a new set of advanced responsive conditions, scoped styles and new selectors for targeting elements, as well as a pure JavaScript library named EQCSS.js.

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chris

18/08/2016

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.

AgileLeanTranformation2-2000x1064

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.

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chloe

17/08/2016

campaigns donor acquisition fundraising 

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.

impact statements

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.

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stephen

15/08/2016

website wordpress 

7 Reasons You Should Redesign Your Small Business Website in WordPress

Wordpress your website solution!!  

hands using smartphone

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.

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zenda

12/08/2016

google olympics sports technology 

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 Olympics 2016-970-80

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 Games

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anton

12/08/2016

collaboration environment hub work 

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.

collaboration-environments

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.

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zenda

11/08/2016

technology 

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!

4eea3b42ecb0e60151a0f7c5243e457c

Architects involved hope it may soon become the norm for entire homes to be built from scratch by computers that control 3D printers.

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listen on spotify

11/08/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

The Wombats

The Wombats

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markparnell

10/08/2016

planning time 

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.

time management

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.

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listen on spotify

10/08/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Best Coast

Best Coast

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joshg

08/08/2016

design process ux web design 

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.

photoshop on computer screen

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.

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anton

05/08/2016

facelift font google wordpress 

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-redesign

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.

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chloe

03/08/2016

culture instagram snapchat social media 

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?

instagram stories update

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.

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listen on spotify

03/08/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Panic! At The Disco

Panic! At The Disco

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zenda

01/08/2016

facebook work processes 

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....

index

Adoption of Facebook at Work is accelerating

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anton

28/07/2016

optimisation performance speed website 

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.

image-optimization-plugins-thumbnail

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.

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listen on spotify

28/07/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly

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zenda

28/07/2016

adverts applications youtube 

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.

yt director app-970-80

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.

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listen on spotify

27/07/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Justin Timberlake

JT

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stephen

27/07/2016

design responsive website 

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.

responsive web design

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.

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chloe

26/07/2016

design forms ux 

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

1-49I2UZurEo_yOxl7Na1Ctw

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.

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anton

22/07/2016

business cloud small 

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.

the-cloud

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!

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anton

22/07/2016

browser browsing chrome edge firefox ie internet opera safari speed web 

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?

10240-set1-16-650-80

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.

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joshg

22/07/2016

branding design typography ui ux website Website Design 

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

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.

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listen on spotify

22/07/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Britney Spears

Britney Spears

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anton

21/07/2016

business life save small time 

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.

Satellite

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.

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anton

20/07/2016

delete install plugin shiny theme update wordpress 

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.

shiny-updates-thumbnail

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.”

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listen on spotify

20/07/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas

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stephen

20/07/2016

development technology website wordpress 

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!

codeable

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.

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chloe

20/07/2016

blog content engagement strategy 

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.

PETA blog

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.

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zenda

20/07/2016

branding content website 

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!

about page

These 'About' pages go above and beyond in inspiring, creative ways to tell the tale behind their brand.

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listen on spotify

23/06/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Catfish and the Bottlemen

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zenda

23/06/2016

donations fundraising marketing media not-for-profit 

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.

Novi Sad, Serbia - November 9, 2015: Websites (homepages) of leading news websites in the world - Reuters, New York Times, CNN, BBC, The Guardian, Forbes, Fox news.

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?

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listen on spotify

21/06/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Silverchair

Silverchair

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joshg

21/06/2016

creativity Critical Thinking design 

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.”

ocean wave

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.

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listen on spotify

20/06/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Tori Amos

Tori Amos

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chris

20/06/2016

google javascript seo 

We Tested How Googlebot Crawls Javascript And Here’s What We Learned

Best practice SEO seems to be a constantly moving target. Great article that explores how Google crawls different Java Script functions.

blue google logo over algorithms

Historically, SEO recommendations have centered around having ‘plain text’ content whenever possible. Dynamically generated content, AJAX, and JavaScript links have been a detriment to SEO for the major search engines. Clearly, that is no longer the case for Google.

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markparnell

17/06/2016

coding technology 

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.

code on computer screen

For the last few years I’ve heard several versions of the same maxim: “Everyone should learn to code.” So I did.

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chloe

16/06/2016

design typography ui ux 

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.

46% brightness for white text on grey background

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.

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stephen

09/06/2016

coding front end development 

8 tips to become better front end developer

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail

Development newsletters

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.

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zenda

08/06/2016

culture technology 

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.

iStock_000081622049_Small-367x235

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?

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listen on spotify

08/06/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

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anton

07/06/2016

blog domain tld 

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.

blogging

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.

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chloe

02/06/2016

conversion email engagement strategy 

7 Things to Check Before You Send an Email Newsletter

A few great tips to keep in mind before you punch the send button

hands typing on laptop

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.

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listen on spotify

01/06/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Chvrches

Chvrches

listen on spotify

zenda

31/05/2016

donations donor retention fundraising not-for-profit 

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.

RecurringGivingReason1

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.

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listen on spotify

30/05/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams

listen on spotify

markparnell

30/05/2016

git version control wordpress 

VersionPress

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.

intro-image

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.

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chloe

26/05/2016

design ui ux 

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!

Smith Brothers website navigation

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.

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listen on spotify

25/05/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

The Prodigy

The Prodigy

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zenda

25/05/2016

google search technology 

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.

chrome-browser-pixel-970-80

Google's Chrome has grabbed first place in terms of desktop browser market share, wresting the crown away from Microsoft's Internet Explorer

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listen on spotify

23/05/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.08.59 am

The Indie Mixtape

listen on spotify

anton

23/05/2016

coding development wordpress 

Using Composer To Increase Your WordPress Development Powers

Good read for developers!

image-1041391478

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.

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listen on spotify

20/05/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

e4ebbd0d86833b6e7150be025314e5dd5fab66eb

Ace of Base

listen on spotify

markparnell

20/05/2016

bugs email layout outlook 

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.

iStock_Frustrated-e1356383223738

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.

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chloe

17/05/2016

culture giving not-for-profit 

Why You Should Donate to the Causes You Love

Always gotta love a good infographic!

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 9.05.34 am

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.

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zenda

13/05/2016

fundraising social media 

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.

Woman-at-desk-smaller-1024x824

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.

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markparnell

11/05/2016

development plugins wordpress 

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.

09-all_fields-preview-opt

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.

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chloe

10/05/2016

design navigation ux 

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.

4.3-primary-navigation

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.

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listen on spotify

10/05/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 9.20.46 am

blink-182

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zenda

09/05/2016

email google 

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.

Startup Stock Photos

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.

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markparnell

06/05/2016

design ux 

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.

flappy-dialog-opt

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
listen on spotify

05/05/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 12.45.12 pm

Queen

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chloe

05/05/2016

engagement strategy linkedin marketing social media 

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.

linkedin

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.

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zenda

05/05/2016

campaigns conversion donations engagement strategy fundraising not-for-profit 

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.

apple-desk-office-technology copy

By understanding the psychology of giving, you can create powerful donation pages that inspire donor conversion.

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listen on spotify

04/05/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 9.08.51 am

Star Wars

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markparnell

04/05/2016

ux Website Design 

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.

1*d0JLSTbUedU91wQlgJuBzg

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…

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chloe

03/05/2016

engagement strategy fundraising marketing not-for-profit 

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.

95cdfeef

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.

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listen on spotify

29/04/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Prince

Prince

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zenda

29/04/2016

content copywriting website 

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.

TellAStory

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?

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markparnell

28/04/2016

business smart devices 

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.

Using-the-righ-apps-for-work

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
listen on spotify

28/04/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

5 Seconds of Summer

5 Seconds of Summer

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chloe

27/04/2016

mobile responsive ui ux 

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!

input+type+tel

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.

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zenda

22/04/2016

technology website 

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.

0_0_525_1_70_-News-screen_shot_2016-03-09_at_2.55.38_pm

The worst part of navigating the internet is the wait. While you stare at a white screen, your computer (or let's be real, your phone) is chasing down thousands of little snippets of code, which point to other pieces of code, over and over again, through ad trackers and Javascript libraries.

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listen on spotify

21/04/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Green Day

Green Day

listen on spotify

markparnell

21/04/2016

browser compatibility css development 

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.

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chloe

18/04/2016

conversion engagement strategy fundraising 

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.

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 3.50.30 pm

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.

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zenda

15/04/2016

fundraising 

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.

Charlie-Pickering-in-the-Walk-to-Care-136x140

Associations with a high-profile name can help a charity event, explains Liliana Sanelli, if special considerations are made.

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markparnell

14/04/2016

mobile responsive search 

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.

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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.

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chloe

13/04/2016

conversion design engagement strategy not-for-profit 

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

cut-the-image-roatator-from-your-homepage

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.

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zenda

12/04/2016

crm database website 

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.

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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?

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james

11/04/2016

not-for-profit ui ux website 

Optimising Your Organisation's Website For Donations

Here's a great article which talks about research done by the Nielson Norman Group.

donate

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.

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listen on spotify

08/04/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Madison Avenue

Madison Avenue

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markparnell

08/04/2016

plugins security wordpress 

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.

03042016_WordPressPlugin_V1

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.

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chloe

07/04/2016

campaigns engagement strategy marketing social media 

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!

adco-master675

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.

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zenda

07/04/2016

google technology 

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.

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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.

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listen on spotify

06/04/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

830d7ee17a91bc17cebd36ba0cb8929e53c7bdc4

Florence + The Machine

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markparnell

06/04/2016

ecommerce shopify wordpress 

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.

WordPress_banner

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.

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listen on spotify

05/04/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

0ba88d92649b5c4d05ac524703854f42900a46fd

Prince

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chloe

05/04/2016

donations fundraising optimisation ux 

Using Giving Levels to Drive Donations

Gift arrays can go a long way to helping optimise your online donation experience.

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“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.

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zenda

04/04/2016

gaming technology virtual reality 

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!

galaxy-s7_overview_kv_l_v2

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.

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markparnell

31/03/2016

email mailchimp mandrill 

Mandrill No Longer Offering Free Accounts

An important update for Mandrill users

On the South Bank during the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain.

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.

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chloe

30/03/2016

choice conversion design ui 

6 Characteristics of High-Converting CTA Buttons

Love Smith's no nonsense approach to Calls to Action that actually work

cta-button-placeit2

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.

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zenda

29/03/2016

Apple cookies phones technology 

New Apple iPhone ad features Cookie Monster cooking with Siri

Apple really thinks of everything, don't they.... what's next Apple?

cookie-monster-hands-free-apple-commercial-sq-500

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.

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listen on spotify

29/03/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

37300d32bd190f70f28982bce85bea26aa7e83a3

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

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markparnell

24/03/2016

design font typeface typography 

WhatTheFont

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!

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 4.26.20 PM

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.

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listen on spotify

23/03/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Chvrches

Chvrches

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chloe

23/03/2016

social media tech ux 

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.

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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.

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listen on spotify

22/03/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

44b88fdb21999d425389130250c53fc16efda216

Cake

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markparnell

22/03/2016

css gravity forms ux 

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.

friendly-error-gravityforms

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.

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zenda

21/03/2016

lifehacker security tech 

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?

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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.

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listen on spotify

21/03/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift

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chloe

18/03/2016

content copywriting design ux 

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

Screen-Shot-2016-02-16-at-08.54.50

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.

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markparnell

18/03/2016

security wordpress 

WordPress Security

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!

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 10.07.01 AM

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.

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zenda

17/03/2016

google tech website 

The history of Google

I often wondered where and how Google started, so I Googled it.... here is the story, enjoy the read!

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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.

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james

16/03/2016

design engagement strategy website 

How to Design Emotionally Powerful Websites

Emotion always plays a big part in how we make connections, and this applies to websites too!

design-website-emotional-impact-key-measures

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.

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listen on spotify

15/03/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

efca766a1354b709c64a2daacd3cf65cd362bf28

Ben Folds

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chloe

14/03/2016

branding design engagement strategy not-for-profit 

Why Nonprofit Branding Matters

Such a great article, all about how branding is so important for Not-for-Profits in building relationships

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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.

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markparnell

11/03/2016

plugins products. plans search 

Swiftype silently drops free and low-cost plans

A few of our thoughts on the recent changes to Swiftype plans

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 9.15.21 am

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".

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zenda

10/03/2016

conversion engagement strategy marketing website 

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!

website-gets-customers-trevino-openforum-1450

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.

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listen on spotify

09/03/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

8d16ffebf3c9037d9d0de08d5f648648436af458

M.I.A

listen on spotify

josh

09/03/2016

security tech website wordpress 

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

bored-with-computer-300x199

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.

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chloe

08/03/2016

branding design infographic not-for-profit 

7 Design Myths Debunked for Nonprofits

Love this fun infographic that lays out a fair few home truths about design for Not-for-Profits

design-myths-blogheader

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.

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markparnell

07/03/2016

wordpress 

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.

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 4.30.57 PM

WordPress 4.5 Beta 1 is now available!

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zenda

04/03/2016

campaigns fundraising grants not-for-profit 

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!

Strategic-Grants-Logo-220x113

Looking for upcoming grant and funding opportunities? Here are some funders with approaching deadlines, provided by Strategic Grants.

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bbadmin

01/03/2016

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.

chloe

01/03/2016

campaigns email engagement strategy marketing user centric 

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.

featured-image-how-to-write-emails-that-sell-001

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.

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listen on spotify

01/03/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars

listen on spotify

james

29/02/2016

conversion engagement strategy testing website 

30 Great Ways to Increase Conversion Rates

Some great simple tips on how you can create actual value from your website traffic

photo

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.

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zenda

26/02/2016

conversion donation pages landing pages Website Design 

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!

invisible-children

What makes a kick-ass donation page? Is it the words? Images? Where buttons and fields are located?

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markparnell

24/02/2016

API wordpress 

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.

success-kid

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.

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listen on spotify

23/02/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Grimes

Grimes

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chloe

23/02/2016

campaigns conversion engagement strategy website 

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

Landing Page Case Study

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.

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zenda

22/02/2016

conversion design ui ux 

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!

Instacart sign-in page

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.

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listen on spotify

18/02/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Adele

Adele

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chloe

17/02/2016

donor acquisition donor retention engagement strategy not-for-profit 

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

blog-40_tweets

“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.”

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listen on spotify

17/02/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

The Fray

The Fray

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markparnell

12/02/2016

Google Analytics marketing seo 

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'!

21

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.

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chloe

10/02/2016

design fundraising ux 

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.

Generosity.org donation form

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.

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listen on spotify

10/02/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Queen

Queen

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zenda

09/02/2016

engagement strategy mobile seo 

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-feature

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.

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listen on spotify

09/02/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

Spin Doctors

Spin Doctors

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chloe

08/02/2016

branding design marketing 

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.

MakeWebsiteOrBlog

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.

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markparnell

07/02/2016

security website wordpress 

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

nz4SPki

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”.

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listen on spotify

05/02/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

b9bd0ee7b3a77431328c7ca2da345741dbb163ce

Eskimo Joe

listen on spotify

zenda

02/02/2016

engagement strategy small business website 

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.

coffee-desk-laptop-notebook-small

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.

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chloe

01/02/2016

conversion donations fundraising 

Digital Giving Index - Industry Data

Some amazing insights here into the trends around online giving and digital fundraising.

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 4.31.28 pm

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.

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listen on spotify

28/01/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

The Paper Kites

The Paper Kites

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chloe

14/01/2016

conversion engagement strategy website 

Why Your Website Doesn’t Convert

Great article that outlines some of the important reasons why we've just updated our own website!

photo-1423666639041-f56000c27a9a-450x299

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.

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listen on spotify

13/01/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

b930207dd8bef0489a4cf5cd2077815d6836c596-450x450

Ben Howard

listen on spotify

chloe

12/01/2016

content copywriting seo 

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!

Books-banner-118-450x175

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.

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listen on spotify

12/01/2016

Todays artist of the day is...

15a0cbf40cfe5a50a6c6d1d581775429abd588f5

David Bowie

listen on spotify

chloe

23/12/2015

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?

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james

23/12/2015

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.

5616c8030709b6.13625047-450x153

listen on spotify

23/12/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

7431e77819a739f2e5df516f7333b6eb9ec944f4-450x450

Rockabilly Christmas

listen on spotify

chloe

22/12/2015

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!

services-page-01-450x274

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.

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listen on spotify

22/12/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

6562a253186ec28553e8c02352cf135bd1a31096-450x450

Perry Como

listen on spotify

chloe

18/12/2015

donations donor retention engagement strategy fundraising video 

Using Video for Thank You Messages in Giving Processes

photo-1424223022789-26fd8f34bba22-450x300

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.

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chloe

18/12/2015

Splash Aquatic

Splash-Portfolio-Display-450x257

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18/12/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

2d68ded00a0c8f750aa73bb478a481a0eb82f0a5

Acoustic Christmas

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chloe

15/12/2015

campaigns conversion donor acquisition email 

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.

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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.

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james

15/12/2015

seo 

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.

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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.

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listen on spotify

15/12/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

3dd64660275fd928d8914b3166c69ae805d708c4-450x450

Pentatonix

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james

11/12/2015

seo 

30 Important factors for SEO

I stumbled across this great SEO article about 30 basic factors that influence ranking.

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Google uses about 200 various factors to rank a site... Apparently.

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chloe

11/12/2015

Festive Hangs

chloe

10/12/2015

branding design responsive website 

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?

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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.

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10/12/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

4722fd09f8d4035c61c4c9c2a1e2631f8d45a5b4-450x450

We Have A Saviour

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james

10/12/2015

On-page SEO Page Speed seo 

Just how important is page speed?

I read this great article about the important of page load speed for ranking on google.

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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.

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markparnell

09/12/2015

multisite plugins 

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.

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WordPress multisite functionality is now integrated into WordPress 3.0. ... Here, we consider how we can make our plugins compatible with WordPress multisite.

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listen on spotify

08/12/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

3dd64660275fd928d8914b3166c69ae805d708c4-450x450

That's Christmas to Me

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chloe

08/12/2015

branding design ui ux 

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.

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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.

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listen on spotify

07/12/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

69e5347f26155d06237930f0ed35b4ee9bfddcd8-450x450

Chris's Christmas

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james

03/12/2015

engagement strategy seo 

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.

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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).

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03/12/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

3e0c9d1db99c78ad88e011dae489d90c5038cced-450x450

Celine Dion Christmas

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chloe

02/12/2015

Hope103.2

Hope-Portfolio-Display-450x257

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02/12/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

d26467f9fcb679e0d46abd3ca893d81ac6f812f6-450x450

Taylor Swift

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james

30/11/2015

12 Ways to Increase Online Sales

I recently came across this good article on how to increase online sales.

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"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.

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chloe

30/11/2015

design ux 

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!

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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.

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listen on spotify

30/11/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

b2f0c4fadf6af7d42398e101577e2fe5ec64ee2d-450x450

The Rubens

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james

26/11/2015

Paid Vs Organic Search

Wondering what the difference between paid and organic search on google is? Then this article is for you.

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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.

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chloe

23/11/2015

campaigns email not-for-profit website 

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!

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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.

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james

22/11/2015

customer customer engagment customer-centric strategy 

5 Customer Engagement Strategies

Here's an interesting article on different ways to engage customers.

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"One of the best ways to improve customer engagement is to turn your organization into a customer centric one."

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chloe

19/11/2015

design ux 

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.

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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.

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james

19/11/2015

customers engagement 

4 Ways to Improve User Engagement

Was looking at some articles and stumbled across this great post.

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"First Impressions are often the only impressions."

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chris

16/11/2015

branding conversion engagement strategy website 

Five Steps to an About Page That Sells

Great tips about how to make your about page something worth reading.

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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.

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listen on spotify

16/11/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

df203453ee161b47c03c8bfcec4e302df69cfda7-450x450

Placebo

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chloe

12/11/2015

design ux 

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.

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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.

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12/11/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

6ea70b90d38adc06c5625636b879cbf8069db495-450x450

Bastille

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listen on spotify

09/11/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

5676cdf181d29017efd396f9a2b5d34ce9d1c3f6-450x450

Rethinking IKEA’s logo

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james

09/11/2015

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!

information-button-forms

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.

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chris

09/11/2015

ui ux 

5 Research Based Tips for a Better Contact Form

Great tips that apply to forms across the board!

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Contact forms are mission critical to building a successful online company. Investing resources into reducing friction on your contact form is worth every penny.

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listen on spotify

02/11/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

5331924e073dcf949dd3c85b3408981681ea0c54-450x450

Jimmy Eat World

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chloe

26/10/2015

conversion ui ux 

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!

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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.

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listen on spotify

26/10/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

3a6c6b451c361d8f9bb2498aa164ae3ebd93ab02-450x450

Lifehouse

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chloe

22/10/2015

branding design 

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!

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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.

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22/10/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

fa2e9ca1a27695ae7f8013350d9a53e11d523ece-450x450

Arctic Monkeys

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listen on spotify

21/10/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

1a58858f706cc39f29392bb16ff855d18cdfa2ec-450x448

Imagine Dragons

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chloe

19/10/2015

call to action design 

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!

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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.

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19/10/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

9a36543e71be816a2e0e29fe00405d504953e376-450x450

Counting Crows

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james

15/10/2015

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.

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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 phone

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listen on spotify

15/10/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

5071b7d68d0a039e67f6524018ec30d7c03ca481-450x450

Taylor Swift

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james

15/10/2015

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.

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To encourage donations, focus on answering potential-donors’ top questions and streamlining the donation process.

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chris

15/10/2015

Has your WordPress been hacked? Top 10 tips to secure your site

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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.

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chloe

12/10/2015

Two Door Cinema Club

james

12/10/2015

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

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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.

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chloe

12/10/2015

choice design ux 

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...  

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Rather than a simple close button, or a no thank you, they have designed their form for an explicit choice.

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listen on spotify

09/10/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

63815f898b95f2b24b3fcb9b6af4d2ed1b92270c-450x450

Red Hot Chili Peppers

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chloe

08/10/2015

design ux 

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.

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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.”

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chloe

08/10/2015

Howard de Winton Photography

We created this site to display a range of beautiful, large scale photographs across a range of galleries

HDW-portfolio-450x247

chloe

08/10/2015

design font service typeface 

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

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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.

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markparnell

08/10/2015

scripts wordpress wp-cli 

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.

Screen-Shot-2015-10-08-at-8.56.17-am

... 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.

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listen on spotify

07/10/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

a841f0ee4f2d88c42f55f76c2cc6b588841f5d2f-450x450

The Killers

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markparnell

06/10/2015

free security SSL 

Let's Encrypt

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.

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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.

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listen on spotify

06/10/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

living_end

The Living End

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listen on spotify

01/10/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

5f9cac539bff4a6d14d434311c37aa8d6b364090-450x450

Foals

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chris

29/09/2015

plan project requirements risks 

Why Do Projects Fail?

Another great article highlighting the importance of Requirements management, risk management and project planning.

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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.

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listen on spotify

29/09/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

7c40342aacedee3d64190161f1afb0e850424bc6-450x450

Banoffee

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chris

29/09/2015

brand design font typeface ux 

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.

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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.

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markparnell

29/09/2015

bash cmd linux terminal 

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.

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chris

28/09/2015

bounce pagespeed perforamnce responsive 

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.

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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.

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listen on spotify

28/09/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

Chvrches

Chvrches

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chris

24/09/2015

facebook instagram seo social media twitter 

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-Strategy-250x167

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?

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markparnell

24/09/2015

multisite security SSL 

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.

forced-ssl-450x230

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.

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james

23/09/2015

checkout ecommerce magazine smashing 

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.

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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.

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listen on spotify

23/09/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

1bc6f158cb466c932ded47d323e2f4cc46cbe5a0-450x450

Roxette

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james

22/09/2015

conversion donations ecommerce giving 

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.

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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.

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chris

22/09/2015

css foundation sass zurb 

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.

import-450x227

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.

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listen on spotify

21/09/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

1a58858f706cc39f29392bb16ff855d18cdfa2ec-450x448

Imagine Dragons

listen on spotify

chris

21/09/2015

australia future goverment new teaching 

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.

kidcode-450x253

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.

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chris

21/09/2015

magazine mobile mobile nav responsive smashing 

Mobile Navigation For Smashing Magazine: A Case Study

Another great article by Smashing Magazine about Smashing Magazine.

mobile-nav-2015-450x274

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.

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chris

20/09/2015

Studio Nine One Eight

snoe1-450x270

listen on spotify

20/09/2015

Todays artist of the day is...

7183968bc90a57729ad1546c8d31b64cd4931186-450x450

Meg Mac

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chloe

19/09/2015

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.

up-button-placement

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.

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chris

19/09/2015

battery security spam tech technology wifi 

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.

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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.

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chloe

16/09/2015

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.

91615_feature_request-450x338

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.

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chris

26/08/2015

PeaceWise

peacewise1-450x270

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