Recommended Agency

text controls: text only | A A A

Lots of jobs at a growing Focus! See https://t.co/j4SZgV0BZf for more and help make great digital! #jobs #bristol, posted 3 months ago

RSS feed icon What is RSS?

blog.

articles tagged with: website


Displaying articles 1 - 10 of 66 in total

The 3 U's in designing for the user

The 3 U's in designing for the user

You could be forgiven for thinking usability, user experience (UX) and user centred deisgn (UCD) are all pretty much the same thing. Kind of like Ant & Dec: You're not sure which is which but understanding the difference matters very little. Well you'd be wrong! (In terms of design I mean - not whether Dec is the shortest).

Understanding the user is an absolute requisite for successful design. Here's a very simple breakdown of the 3 U's you may have heard being thrown around:

Usability is how easily a user can do what they set out to do.

User Experience is a combination of usability and and how much the user will enjoy themselves along the way.

User Centred Design is a case of keeping usability and user experience in mind from the very start of the design process.

There are various requirements of a succcessful product, these include:

Learnability - it should be intuitive so that there's essentially nothing to learn.

Efficiency - it should serve a purpose or assist in achieving a goal.

Memorability - it should encourage return visitors. Popularity grows through word of mouth, people to talk about what they remember.

Errors - it should have a low error rate. Evaluate and test the design, especially on the intended user.

So next time you tune in to 'I'm a celebrity get me out of here' you might not be able to tell which one stands on the left but at least you can confidently  create a user focused product that will get people talking!

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Tuesday June 20 2017 10:05 AM


Tags: website ux ucd usability


Comments [0]








Numerous council websites fail disability access test

Numerous council websites fail disability access test

Nearly a third of council websites failed an accessibility test for people with disabilities, such statistics prove digital access is ‘an ongoing challenge’.

Socitm, the society for IT/digital leaders, reported that 69% (134 of 195) of council websites have passed their Better Connected stage two accessibility test.

Meaning people with disabilities, including those using the keyboard only or assistive technologies like screen readers, can access their website's content.

In Decemeber 2016 all 416 UK council websites underwent a limited stage one test designed to identify sites that would fail the full test. 275 sites (two thirds) passed that test.

Socitm say this year ‘a different, and arguably more difficult’ set of tasks were set which could explain why 69% of councils who passed stage two represents an 8% drop on last year.

Results of the more directly year-on-year comparable top pages tasks, covering home, contact us, and one top page covering council, business, and resident services shows that 88% of the stage two group passed this task, compared with 82% in 2016.

The Better Connected process tests sites against 14 criteria that are in line with the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

The Digital Accessibility Centre (DAC) also carry out tests, their team members each have a disability, among them visual impairment, dyslexia, mobility impairment and learning disabilities.

Socitm congratulated 60 councils from the group of 195 tested this year that have passed the accessibility test for the past three years.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Thursday May 18 2017 01:48 PM


Tags: website accessibility


Comments [0]








How to encourage user feedback on your website

How to encourage user feedback on your website

There are the obvious surveys that can work on entry and exit but what about other ideas? If you're tired of repeatedly finding old hat suggestions like prize draws, we've put together thirteen ideas (hope you're not superstitious!) for collecting user feedback on your website...

1. Organise focus groups to test and discuss. Participants could include:

- Target audience
- Disabled users to test accessibility 

 

2. A well timed overlay screen containing minimum text requesting feedback. Look at exit behaviour in your website's analytics to decide whether to feature it:

- on popular exit pages
- just before user reaches average time spent on site
- just before user reaches average pages viewed per visit 

 

3. If, like most websites, yours contains a search, a good place to suggest leaving feedback is after a user receives a ‘Your search did not bring back any results.’ message. At that point they may feel leaving feedback benefits them more than you.

 

4. Include a ‘Tell us what you think’ section in teh footer so it appears on all pages. It can include a free text box so user can type feedback instantly without clicking a link and disrupting their 'journey'. There's also no unpleasant surprises like a gruelling form to complete. You could provide two submit buttons: ‘Send anonymously’ and ‘Send & request reply’, the latter will take you to further required fields i.e. name/email.

 

5. Catch the users eye with movement such as:

- Blinking feedback faces in the header: happy, neutral and unhappy
- A playful gif on the ‘Tell us what you think’ section mentioned previously

 

6. Be more humorous with language to encourage engagement i.e. “Don’t like us? Don’t leave! Tell us how we can make you stay”

 

7. A ‘floating’ feedback tab always in view at the side of the page, once clicked a ’fly-out’ appears containing a small feedback form.

 

8. Community Groups / Discussion Boards - Encourage users to talk among themselves and ‘listen in’ to what they have to say. You'll have to decide how this will be monitored.

 

9. Can people login / create accounts on your website? Email a feedback request to those already registered with the site.

 

10. Live chat facility. Someone/a team could be responsible for feedback / support.

 

11. Use social media i.e. Facebook / Twitter to encourage feedback, monitor and engage in social listening.

 

12. Feature ‘Quick polls’ i.e. What would you like to see more of? News / Events / Helpful documents etc.

 

13. Display customer feedback - encourages other customers to provide feedback, they see that it won’t go unattended.

 

I hope these ideas have inspired you and contribute to the success of your website. Feel free to get in touch if you think we can help you with your project!

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Tuesday April 18 2017 09:39 AM


Tags: website feedback encouragecomments


Comments [0]








What does SSL mean?

With 2017 seeing Google continue their campaign against insecure web sites (read my blog to find out more), we thought this was a good opportunity to look behind the abbreviations and discover what SSL and HTTPS mean and the impact they have on everyday web site visitors.

1. SSL stands for ‘Secure Sockets Layer.’ In layman’s terms, this is a secure way of sending information over the Internet. Any data transferred 'over SSL' - such as web page content from a server to your browser - gets encrypted prior to being sent over the web for viewing.

2. Many websites use SSL for secure areas of their sites, particularly user accounts and online checkouts. As information is encrypted, the theory is that even if someone unwelcome gets hold of it, they'll be unable to do anything with it.

3. SSL is applied to your website – or parts of your website – by way of a digital certificate, which is purchased and added to your domain to demonstrate its security to users. It also ensures any content from that domain is encypted.

4. When you visit a website whose address starts with ‘https’, the ‘s’ after the ‘http’ indicates the website is secure, and has SSL. You should also see a padlock before the https, like below:

5. SSL keeps personal data such as your name, address or credit card information between you and the merchant who you are sending it to.

6. If you want to find out more information about a site’s security, by clicking the ‘i’ icon, or right-clicking the padlock, you can get more details.

7. Like everything in life, there's a wide range of SSL certificates available and they vary in features and price. Some are free but will require ongoing administration, others are more expensive but offer the tightest security including the strongest encyption algorithms and verification checks. 

SSL is likely to be a hot topic in 2017 with Google's planned warnings for insecure web sites.

If you’d like to know more about SSL, securing your site and how to get an SSL certificate, please get in touch.

Annette Ryske
Annette

Created on Tuesday December 13 2016 01:30 PM


Tags: website google ssl security


Comments [0]








7 ways to maximise online donations

7 ways to maximise online donations

When I was asked to write an article about UX for the Fundraiser – the publication from Charity Choice providing practical advice and insight to the third sector – I wondered how on earth I was going to take such a huge topic turn it into something bite size.

UX and UI are expansive subjects, so rather than try to cram them into a side of A4, I decided instead to compile a list that would hopefully get the readers to try out some simple UX testing methods for themselves. 

For charities, encouraging visitors to donate and to keep donating is paramount, and ultimately good UX = more conversions which means more donations. Good UX really is as important for charities as it is for ecommerce.

The list is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it will inspire some readers from the third sector to think more about UX, to utalise its potential and to try out some simple UX tests for themselves.

7 ways to maximise online donations

Jenny Corfield
Jenny

Created on Thursday September 22 2016 01:23 PM


Tags: website charity technology web-design userexperience ux usability


Comments [0]








European Commission agree to make websites and apps more accessible

European Commission agree to make websites and apps more accessible

Negotiators of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have just this month agreed on the first EU-wide rules to make the websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies more accessible.

In the world of web, these adjustments are about introducing steps to make a website or service accessible for people with visual impairments, manual dexterity issues or learning difficulties.

The internet has become a key way of accessing and providing information and services, it is now crucial we ensure absolutely everybody can do so, regardless of ability. Accessibility enables people with disabilities to understand, navigate, interact with and contribute to websites and apps.

Statistics tell us that about 80 million people in the EU are affected by a disability. This figure is expected to increase to 120 million by 2020 as the EU population ages.

The Directive will cover public sector bodies' websites and mobile apps, this could be administrations, courts and police departments or public hospitals, universities and libraries. They will be accessible for all citizens - in particular the blind, hard of hearing, deaf, and those with low vision and functional disabilities.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, is understandably all for the agreement and said: "Tonight's agreement is an important step towards a Digital Single Market, which is about removing barriers so that all Europeans can get the best from the digital world."

The Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Günther H. Oettinger, was equally enthusiastic: "It is not acceptable that millions of European citizens are left behind in the digital society. The agreement that we have just reached will ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the internet and mobile apps."

The following is the agreed text of the Directive:

- covers websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies with a limited number of exceptions (e.g. broadcasters, livestreaming).

- refers to the standards to make websites and mobile apps more accessible. For example, such standards foresee that there should be a text for images or that websites can be browsed without a mouse which can be difficult to use for some people with disabilities.

- requires regular monitoring and reporting of public sector websites and mobile apps by Member States. These reports have to be communicated to the Commission and to be made public. The Directive on web accessibility along with the European Accessibility Act proposed in December 2015 (press release) which covers a much wider number of products and services, are both part of the efforts of the Commission to help people with disabilities to participate fully in society.

The text will now have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council. After that it will be published in the Official Journal and will officially enter into force. Member States will have 21 months to transpose the text into their national legislation.

So many people avoid using the vast amount of support and opportunities available to them online, all because of unnecessary barriers they are faced with. These can be avoided. If you want to lead in improving accessibility, we can help you with that, a good place to start is to get in touch with us.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Wednesday May 25 2016 10:33 AM


Tags: website accessibility online-law europeancommission


Comments [1]








Bad UX can cost you

Bad UX can cost you

Last year bad User Experience (UX) reportedly cost LInkedIn over £9 million.
Attention to detail is imperative when it comes to producing great design with a smooth UX. But with so much involved in the design process, there is a risk of things going unnoticed.

It doesn't take much to damage the users experience so here are some things worth checking before a design is signed off and deemed good to go...

 

Don't rely on colour to convery a purpose, heierarchy or content

We are big on accessibility here at focus so to us producing a website that is accessible is not considered a nice-to-have but a must-have. People with visual disabilities for example colour blindness, would not be able to use your site effectively if you were to rely on colour, they would therefore become an excluded demographic.

Test it: colorfilter.wickline.org will let you put a color filter on top of your webpage and test it for different kinds of color blindnesses.

 

Avoid / reduce repetitive actions where possible

An example of a repetitive action is filling in a form that asks for your address more than once, you may have seen this being tackled with a tickbox you can select to say your billing adddress is the same as your shipping address. If you're not careful, users will grow tired and search for an alternative option (like a competitor!) where they can achieve their goals better and faster.

Test it: Make sure there is a way of facilitating repetitive actions such as an option to use previously entered information.

 

Accessing help does not get in the way of progress

Users ask for help when they're stuck so of course It is important for help to be an extension of what they are already doing, they should be able to easily return to that once they have received the help they need.

Test it: Put yourself in the place of the user, consider where they will ask for help, and see whether their progress are interrupted.

 

Consistent navigation

Users have to be able to find their way around and achieve their goals no matter what page they find themselves on.

Test it: Make sure that navigation is reachable on every page and that your pathways are as intuitive as possible.

 

Foreground and background are sufficiently contrasted

This is especially important for people with visual disabilities. It also improves a user’s understanding. Clear distinction aids with navigation, draws more attention to buttons and increases usability.

Test it: You could capture the screen, apply a gaussian blur to a Radius of around 3px to 5px then see if you can easily tell what’s in the foreground and what’s in the background. Then alter accordingly.

 

Don't use much more than two distinct font families

Although this isn’t a strict rule it is best for accessibility. For usability and visual purposes, sticking to two simplifies your typographic hierarchy, which improves comprehension.

Test it: Simply check that your design isn’t mixing more than two type families. You should also make sure that the ones you choose are properly matched, you can find out more on this.

 

Text fonts are no smaller than 12 pixels

Again, it’s not a fixed rule but generally speaking readability is severely reduced for sizes below 12 pixels. Ideally a minimum of 14px is said to be better for accessibility.

Test it: Pretty obvious I suppose, check all of your content to ensure all fonts used are at least 12px.

 

Reserve uppercase words for labels, headers, or acronyms

Limiting the use of uppercase words is less visually heavy and easier for the user to digest. It should be used specifically for emphasis or very restricted cases such as acronyms.

Test it: A thorough content check to make sure that uppercase words are kept to a minimum and only used where necessary.

 

You're stil wondering what LinkedIn did so wrong aren't you? A settlement in California resulted in LinkedIn dishing out over £9 million to compensate users who were manipulated by the site’s deceptive UX into handing over their address books, which LinkedIn then used to spam their contacts with connection requests.

See, bad UX can cost you!

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Monday May 09 2016 02:14 PM


Tags: website ux accessibility


Comments [0]








2016 Design Predictions

2016 Design Predictions

Whenever I stop by to see my parents, I am reminded of how far I've come (and I don't mean geographically). There is a framed school project piece of mine that hangs proudly on their wall. I remember feeling that was well deserved at the time. Now though, I'm convinced it gets worse with each visit but even that doesn't date as quickly as websites can. It's frightening how fast web design moves, but with that comes a continuos flow of new and exciting trends and techniques to take on.

There are many factors that can change in web design; technology, user behaviour and other creative fields that can influence the web such as graphic design and fashion.

- Responsive Web Design (RWD)
It is so popular right now and will no doubt continue to be throughout the year. It serves the same HTML code to all devices and uses CSS to alter how the page appears on the device. It is also what Google recommends to build mobile-friendly websites. Many of the trend predictions featured in this list are most suited to RWD.

- Increase in UI Patterns
We've seen a lot of similar looking websites lately which many blame on RWD and the rise of WordPress. Take the hamburger menu for example, it has been criticised for being everywhere but this is also why it is so easily recognised by users. UI patterns are there to guide users through the experience, making it easy to navigate and the hamburger menu does just that. I think we'll see designers working hard this year to be the one to come up with the next popular UI pattern. This will no doubt result in a lot of visually inspiring attempts.

- Memorable Typography
We are no longer limited to a few system fonts. Services like Google Fonts and Typekit make custom fonts readily available and easy to use on the web. Expect adventurous experimentation with type to make a strong statement in design.

- Material Design: dramatic alternative to Flat Design
Like flat design except it uses shadow effects and the concepts of movement and depth in order to create designs that appear more realistic to the user. Material Design creates clean, modernistic design that focuses on UX.


- Flat Design with a Twist
It has been around for a while now but it looks set to stay for 2016 with a few differences to keep things interesting. A little like material design long shadows will bring more depth to flat designs. Vibrant colour schemes. Simple typography and ghost buttons will allow for functionality without distracting from the UX. Minimalism will reduce the number of elements and create a raw, tidy UI.

- HD Visual Assets
HD background images and videos on websites could well grow even stronger in 2016 due to increased bandwidth, wide browser support of HTML5 video, and ways to serve high resolution graphical assets selectively to devices with retina screens.

- Striking Custom Iconography and Illustrations
.jpg and .png files can result in a pixelated look on retina displays, which spoils the aesthetics of a website. Now though, there is wider browser support for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) and easily implemented icon fonts. The outcome? more web designs showcasing colourful custom illustrations SVG icons that remain crisp and engaging at any screen resolution.


Thinking of it now, my 'work of art' has gradually been demoted from hallway masterpiece to bathroom backdrop. Perhaps even a mother's love isn't strong enough to ignore the fact that design moves on quickly and unless you don't mind your hard work being tucked away, it's best to keep up!

 

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Tuesday January 12 2016 11:02 AM


Tags: website technology new-year web-design designtrends 2016


Comments [0]








Hartlepool Now web site launched

Hartlepool Now web site launched

Monday 19th October saw Simon and Annette travel north to join Hartlepool Borough Council for the launch of Hartlepool Now, a new web site created by the team at Focus that helps the local authority meet new information duties from The Care Act 2014.

Taking place at Hartlepool College of Further Education, the launch event was a great success. Attendees had a number of workshops to choose from including a run through of the web site itself, a demonstration of the new online Equipment Finder and a chance to see The Ricochet Project from local charity Incontrolable, which lends tablets to disabled people in the community and provides basic training in using them.

Following the workshops, Hartlepool Now was officially launched by council Chief Executive Gill Alexander, who stated that the new web site "helped Hartlepool set a new standard for publishing clear information and advice".

Our branded cupcakes went down a treat as well.

A massive thanks to the project team at Hartlepool for inviting us to the launch, it was great to be part of the event and hear the positive feedback the web site is already receiving.

Annette Ryske
Annette

Created on Friday October 23 2015 11:36 AM


Tags: website thecareact


Comments [0]








Introducing Rife Guide

Introducing Rife Guide

Rife Guide is a dynamic online platform where young people can keep up to date with what’s happening in Bristol and get involved in a wide range of activities. Part of Bristol City Council's pioneering online virtual youth service and created by Focus in partnership with Watershed, Rife Guide is managed by a team of talented young journalists, content creators and editors who know what’s important to Bristol’s young people.

Rife Guide includes a calendar of events and activities in Bristol as well as information and advice on important issues such as housing, drugs and sexual health. What’s more, visitors can create a login that will give them access to a portal of content that is appropriate to them - events and services are suited to their age and preferences and then pushed to them every time they log in, without the need to search.

As well as being a hub for young people, Rife Guide is also a platform where local businesses, organisations and providers can promote their services - they too can create a login and upload the details of their organisation or event which is then moderated by the Rife team before being published to the website.

Annette Ryske of Focus says the involvement of young people at all stages of the project has been crucial in it's success:
"Consultation was key. From the very beginning, we worked closely with Watershed on a series of workshops and engagement sessions with both service providers and target users. This involved visiting local schools, youth groups, clubs and children in local authority care. Our work with providers led the development of systems for publishing their information quickly and efficiently."
"Working with young people showed us that the majority of their internet use was via mobile, they were using social media to share content and the content itself should consist of less text and be rich in images and video."

Now that Rife Guide is live, ongoing engagement with young people is more important than ever, and we are already planning new content and features based on feedback from users. 

Annette Ryske
Annette

Created on Friday October 23 2015 09:39 AM


Tags: website


Comments [0]