Category Archives: Business

Sea life illustrations

One of my resolutions for this year is to draw more – be it sketching, illustrations or painting, putting pen to paper is a must for 2019! As we approach mid-March I am pretty happy with my progress thus far, I’m probably averaging a few pieces of artwork each weekend.

For anyone in business (or with an entrepreneurial mind-set), I guess personal hobbies and activities naturally evolve into that next big business idea! Truth be told; I never intended my “draw more in 2019” resolution to become more than that, however this “natural evolution” mentioned above has led me towards a sea life art project.

Sea Life Art

My mission over the next nine months is to build up a large collection of sea life illustrations, varying in styles and design. The end goal is not only to sell canvases and prints via a funky looking website, but use this website (my artwork) to help promote “illustration services” to potential clients. I guess you’d call it an extension to the Tidy Design business model and website, a USP (unique selling point).

Anyway, below I have uploaded a small selection of this years “Sea Life Art” – I hope you like them, please stay tuned for more news on this exciting project.

Whale illustration

Treasure chest illustration

Stingray illustration

Conger eel illustration

Dolphin illustration

Baby turtle illustration

Lighthouse illustration

Over the next few days I plan to upload a few more sea life illustrations to this tidy blog post, please check back! Until then, have a good week / weekend and thank you for visiting.

Mike

Bring on the rest of 2019!

We are now in the full swing of February. Christmas is a faraway memory, some New Year resolutions may have been broken, and the sight of protruding daffodil and tulip bulbs are a common site…

Only three days ago, Mike dashed off to Bulgaria for an impromptu visit after he received an offer for the sale of a house. Although with the wonder of Facetime, it felt like he was still in the office with us discussing projects, invoices and the all important topic of Bulgaria’s health and safety. Seeing the sight of him hanging outside his eighth floor hotel bedroom window showing us how far the window actually opened, is not a sight I want to revisit any time soon.

On Mike’s return, we are all back in the office busy at work, and even managed to cram in a celebratory lunch at Port Solent.

With eleven months left of the year, the Tidy team already feel like we have achieved a lot. Within the next week, Luke will be launching a major new site that he has been avidly working on (watch this space). As well as ending a chapter in Bulgaria, Mike has set some hefty targets for Tidy’s future. And Rosie has streamlined her book keeping work with the help of the accountant, making things more efficient online.

With a waft of Spring in the air, brings the anticipation of hope and new beginnings. Bring on the rest of 2019!

Rosie

A Tidy Update!

Following the festive holidays its back to work for Tidy Design.

The Christmas decorations are packed away, resolutions got made and work trousers feel a little tighter… As much as we enjoyed the festivities, a new year brings both excitement and new challenges, forwards and upwards!

First a farewell:

It is with regret that we have to announce that Jonno is leaving us. Jonno has been with Tidy Design for over two years, and has been a much valued member of the team. He has worked on some major projects, including software development for Kidney Research UK and HeliOperations. His dedication and support on projects has been invaluable, and he will be sorely missed. We wish him all the success for the future, may the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face. And may the wings of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars!

A busy 2018:

Last year has seen a vast array of websites being launched within the Tidy Design office. We have worked on many sites in various industries and sectors; these include health and fitness, commercial decorating, comic books, and even another NHS prenatal website.

At the start of the year, we launched letstalkearlylabour.org. This was a small site designed specifically for women (and partners) who are in the early stages of labour. It is an easy to navigate site, providing key information to help women prepare mentally and physically for the impending task of giving birth.

In mid Spring, we started working with a new client SC Vital Fitness, a local gym that specialises in personal training. This was a much larger site, consisting of a content management system, blog and members area.

One of the more fun sites that we designed this year was bigtripcomics.com. This was for an illustrator who writes and draws his own comics. We had fun looking at all images, and I think the result is a fun and quirky site!

Other news:

This year has also been busy for all of us on a personal level. Rosie ran the 5K Race for Life, and managed to survive the whole ordeal without collapsing. Luke did a trip of a lifetime and went to the Big Apple to watch a UFC event. Arguably his most impressive achievement to date however is when he drank a concoction of nespresso and grappa in one shot! Jonno travelled to Amsterdam a couple of times this year, and has surprised us all by returning each time. We half expected him to emigrate there and live the life of a Dutch man, eating cheese, wearing clogs and eating brownies of a certain variety. And finally, as well as Mike taking his family on the holiday of all holidays, he also impressed us by not shaving for a good five weeks!

A final note:

As always, we want to thank all our clients for being so supportive. Yes, we had a very busy and great 2018, and having lovely clients makes it all much easier and rewarding. We look forward to working with you all in 2019!

Best wishes, team Tidy!

Web Designer Jobs 2019

We are looking for someone to join our small but highly motivated web dev team based in Port Solent, Portsmouth. Your day-to-day tasks will include working on a mix of new and existing projects, these include small bespoke brochure sites (HTML5, CSS3, JS, PHP) to working on larger projects (WordPress, WooCommerce).

There will be a mixed bag of tasks fuelled by an office Nespresso machine. If you enjoy programming, quality coffee, new web technologies and a quirky office environment then please contact us today.

Required:

Experience with PHP, HTML, CSS and Javascript.
Bespoke WordPress development
Passion for technology and development
Ability to work independently and as part of a team
Excellent communication skills, written and verbal
Mobile first responsive design

Desired but not essential:

Experience using Git
An understanding of build tools such as Gulp
Experience and knowledge of SASS
Ability to work with an FTP client

You’re a good fit if:

You like to be challenged, taking the initiative and figuring out solutions. You enjoy working in open and fun office environment.

Benefits:

A competitive salary
A voice in an established small business
Proper coffee machine
Vibrant working environment
Well equipped high-end offices
Port Solent shops/restaurants and sea walks

If you believe that you would be a suitable candidate and would like to be part of our fun and quirky team, please email your CV to rosie@tidydesign.com. We also request that you send a portfolio containing recent examples of your work.

We look forward to hearing from you!

2019 Marketing Budgets

Are you thinking about your marketing budget for 2019? A general rule of thumb is to invest 5% of your revenue, this would go towards developing your website, employing someone to maintain (or contribute towards) a blog or social media account, attending events and more…

Investing 5% should retain your position, company awareness and visibility online. Investing 10% or more is suggested for growth and gaining a bigger market share. Economists and business owners will debate over the exact percentage to invest, so lets say most small businesses will allocate between 5 to 10 percent to marketing in 2019.

Sample Marketing Plan

Planning ahead in life (and business) is difficult, we don’t know what is around the corner. That said; planning ahead and having a goal is super important. I recently allocated some time to Tidy Design, mapping out the next five years and how I’d like things to pan out – it was a worthwhile exercise, offering much value. A marketing budget will need similar thought and planning applied; if we invest too much then we may break the bank, if we invest too little then we may disappear.

When I think of the term “marketing budget” I think ROI (return on investment). As business owners we all seek a ROI but this is not always easy. ROI’s require a mix of research, insights, planning and data analysis – this takes time and small businesses rarely have free time! It is easy to fall into a trap, too busy to plan!

Expectations…

You will need to know your marketing budget and set a clear plan within that budget (keeping realistic exceptions). Whether your budget is based on a fixed amount per annum or a percentage of revenue per month, knowing these figures is important.

So to conclude; when mapping out your 2019 marketing budget do your research and find out what type of campaign will have the best impact (ROI) for you / your business. It is a good idea to work backwards, identifying what you hope to accomplish at the end of it.

Rest assured that Tidy Design is on hand to help, we’d be more than happy to review your website (its design, performance and bounce rates), putting forward suggestions and ideas on how to improve it. Building a bigger customer base next year will require an upfront investment, we too are looking to develop and grow as a business in 2019, so lets do this together!

Thank you for reading, have a tidy week!

Mike

UX Design Hampshire

UX stands for User Experience, some refer to this as UXD also known as User Experience Design. This process is all about enhancing user satisfaction, be it lowering the bounce rate of a web page or increasing the chance of an online sale through subtle call to actions / offers.

The process of UX design includes reviewing elements of interaction, we’d ask questions such as (1) who is your target audience (2) who is the competition and (3) what is your primary goal for the website / application we develop for you?

Before starting any UX design work we’d need to review and understand above. Some experimentation (visual design work) would follow, these would be concepts only, an idea of how things could look and move forwards. Your feedback on these designs would be taken into consideration, working together (and performing further research) these designs would evolve.

A review of information architecture (the structural design), users / user research, current trends (be it technology or browsing habits) is also advised. A good question to ask is “who is currently doing it well and why?”

In terms of UX this forms part of everything we do as a business, from sales to site development. Reflecting back; some clients had their own UX visions, views, ideas or a direction for us to follow, others simply leave us to it… Sadly “visual candy” is subjective, what works for one individual may not work for another. So with this in mind, a sufficient time allocation (UX development budget) is recommended plus we have to factor in trends. Concept work, competitor analysis and a collaborative approach will work best.

So what should you be looking for in a UX designer? Should you be employing a graphic design agency or a web design agency? Is UX design the same as web design? How much can you learn from the competition? What is a UX deliverable? Who is responsible for usability testing? These are just a few questions that spring to mind what I think “UX designer”.

Personally I would look for the following;

Natural ability

As humans we can learn to do a lot of different things, a simple formula of “time + dedication + hard work”, however natural ability (our genetics) are with us from day one. Before entering this crazy pace world of web dev I studied art at school / college, this evolved into a University degree called “BA Communication Design”. My point is this; an eye for detail and creative flair has been with me since I was little, long before web design. Some folk are natural runners, others great swimmers, my talent has always been art. UX design requires a combination of both technical and creative thinking, I’d suggest you look for someone (or a company) that caters for both. A lot of UX design boils down to common sense and an eye for detail – this is important to remember.


Check out some of my artwork here

Understanding usability

Usability and UX design go hand in hand, an ability to use a system, application or an object correctly without weeks of training is very important (time is money). Personally I think Apple do this so well, you receive a new iPhone, there is no 300 page user manual, simply a card with two or three instructions – boom, job done!

Good usability (and also first impressions) is essential to a positive user experience, but this alone does not guarantee a successful product… Usability testing forms part of this process, we have been involved with many focus groups (MyBirthplace.org and a room full of midwives spring to mind), understanding and working with user feedback is important. When I think of usability and usability testing I think of an object (be it a web page or application) designed with an end-user in mind, however end-users will vary. A good UX designer will want to make an object effective, easy to use (or learn), satisfying and faultless – catering for all (or should I say most) end-users.

As a UX designer, our main goal will be to solve problems, making “the process” as pleasant as possible. UX designers will need to be a jack of all trades or have people around them that bring certain skills to the table. For example; A pretty user interface may look nice (visually pleasing) however if its code base is buggy then application performance (speed and stability) may result in a bad UX. So, it is more than just looking pretty.

Personally I’d suggest you avoid listing out unnecessary product features and think more like Apple, less is more! Simplify your designs and documentation, incorporate your business and its mission statements to build trust. Getting a grasp on the user’s needs and goals is a must, from here we can begin to map out unique selling points or interaction frameworks / wireframes.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post on UX design. If you have any questions for Tidy Design then please do not hesitate to contact us, we’d be happy to help.

Mike

Google Rich Cards

Google Rich Cards are a search result format that builds on the success of rich snippets. Google Rich Cards use schema.org, a structured markup to display content (similar to rich snippets), giving users a more visual search result. From what I have read, this is targeted more towards mobile users.

For website owners / developers this is yet another new way to stand out from the crowd in Google’s SERPs, but at this early stage coverage will depend on your sector and content. As Tidy Design is looking to recruit and grow as a company in 2018, I have been experimenting below with a job advert – this code was added to a script type=”application/ld+json” tag;

{
  "@context" : "http://schema.org/",
  "@type" : "JobPosting",
  "title" : "Web Design Portsmouth",
  "description" : "Info here",
  "identifier": {
    "@type": "PropertyValue",
    "name": "Tidy Design"
  },
  "datePosted" : "2018-06-28",
  "validThrough" : "2018-08-28T00:00",
  "employmentType" : "Part-Time",
  "hiringOrganization" : {
    "@type" : "Organization",
    "name" : "Tidy Design",
    "sameAs" : "https://www.tidydesign.com",
    "logo" : "https://www.tidydesign.com/img/sd-tidy-design-logo.jpg"
  },
  "jobLocation" : {
    "@type" : "Place",
    "address" : {
      "@type" : "PostalAddress",
      "streetAddress" : "Office 56, Pure Offices",
      "addressLocality" : "Port Solent, Portsmouth",
	  "addressRegion" : "Hampshire",
      "postalCode" : "PO64TY",
      "addressCountry": "GB"
    }
  }
}

Google is actively experimenting at the moment, trying to provide more publishers with a rich preview of their page content. Overall some interesting times ahead…

If you’d like to experiment with your own structured data then check out this testing tool

https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool

Thank you for reading, have a great weekend!

Mike

Tidy Recruitment

Tidy Design is now recruiting! After confirmation of new projects and a heavier workload, we have decided now is the time to recruit an extra person to share the task list and become a full time member of the Tidy Family.

tidy design offices port solent

We are looking for someone to join our small but highly motivated web dev team based in Port Solent, Portsmouth. Your day-to-day tasks will include working on a mix of new and existing projects. These include small bespoke brochure sites (HTML,CSS,JS,PHP) to working on larger projects (WooCommerce, WordPress, Electron, Angular JS, SQL). There will be a mixed bag of tasks fuelled by an office Nespresso machine. If you enjoy programming, quality coffee, new web technologies and a quirky office environment then please contact us today.

Web Design Portsmouth

At Tidy, we pride ourselves on being a friendly, fun and professional company. Each of us have our own unique set of talents and we are looking to welcome another individual who can bring their own set of skills and hopefully develop and nurture their talents furthermore.

If you believe this job role would suit you, please email rosie@tidydesign.com your CV and cover letter.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Rosie

What is GDPR?

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is being introduced on 25th May 2018. With the launch of this looming, many people are still confused as what to expect and look out for once these new regulations are in place.

Tidy Data

Here is a brief overview of some of the changes which are coming our way shortly;

Penalties

GDPR brings with it large penalties for not conforming to the new regulations. If you were to have a security breach under the currently existing Data Protection Act your company could be met with a maximum fine of £500,000. Once the new EU GDPR regulations come into effect these fines increase to €20,000,000, or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is greater.

GDPR User Rights

With GDPR comes more rights for users. One of these rights being the Right to Access, this gives to user the right to ask whether or not personal data concerning them is being processed, where and for what purpose. With this right the user will also have to be granted a copy of the personal data, free of charge, in an electronic format. As an eye opener to exactly what type of information is collected about yourself and how it’s used, it could be a worthwhile exercise to use your right to view this information.

A user can also use their right to be forgotten (also know and Data Erasure), if a user moves forward with this action, then as a business or organisation you would have to cease further dissemination of the data, and potentially have third parties halt processing of the data.

Remember, to save yourself from any unnecessary headaches, collected data should be adequate, relevant and limited. If the information you need can be achieved by collecting less data, do so.

GDPR Breach Notifications

Currently it can typically take two months to get to the bottom of a security breach, under the new regulations this timeline becomes much stricter. Businesses will now have only 3 days to report any security breach which is likely to pose ‘a risk for the rights and freedoms of individuals’. If a security breach has been flagged you would then need to pass on the complete details of which citizens’ data were impacted by the breach.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII data)

GDPR has expanded the definition of PII data to include a much broader range of information. Under the new definition the following data types are now included under the PII data umbrella:

IP addresses
Health data
DNA (genetic data)
Photos
Social media posts
Lifestyle preferences

Explicit Consent Required

Gone are the days of checkboxes which users have to opt out of instead of checking to opt in. Under a sometimes confusing guise where a user gives consent by having a pre-ticked checkbox opt them in many companies have used this tactic to grow their user databases, until now. Under GDPR consent must be gained through a clear ‘positive opt in’ checkbox.

EU or not EU?

These regulations affect the citizens of European countries, a question that’s being asked by many is “does Brexit mean that this isn’t something as a UK business we should worry about?”. The affirmative answer here is “yes!” worry about it. The regulations aren’t set on European companies, but European citizens, as you can’t always guarantee where your users are coming from the best assumption to work under is that every person you deal with is a European citizen. This way you can’t slip under anywhere and you also become more prepared for the future, as these regulations will surely make their way across the world in the upcoming years, be ready, be well prepared.

A Final Note

This is just the tip of a very in-depth and unfortunately vague implementation of new regulations. Be sure to continue your research on this subject matter as any mistake from the 25th of May onwards can be very costly.

If you feel like your website could use a security check or an informed eye to view any data collection points before the 25th of May please contact us. We can arrange a time to check your site and make any amendments needed.

Luke

Art Doodles

They say that your biggest critic (apart from yourself) is your children. As an adult, we shy aware from confrontation, criticism and candidness. Our children however are blunt, brutal and bullish. Not that this is a bad thing. To hear both of my sons say that Mummy’s macaroni cheese is the best in the world, is a compliment like no other. To hear however, that they would prefer Daddy to draw them a picture because Mummy’s not very good at it, well its a good job that I’m thick skinned. At least they are honest!

alien sketch colour in

It is no surprise that Mike is a great illustrator. As well as doing doodles at home, he has also illustrated for clients including NHS MyMaternity, and illustrated his own childrens books. Not a day goes by without either of our children asking him to draw something for them. Latest themes include Ghostbusters, aliens and scary clowns. Mike refused to draw the latter! I am proud to say that my eldest son Isaac, is following in Mike’s footsteps and is great at drawing. Where at the age of 30, I still draw stick men, Isaac, aged 6, can draw hugely detailed sea creatures, rockets, monsters, aliens… the list goes on. He even won the schools colouring in competition for his year group at Christmas time.

isaac ward portsmouth

Drawing is a massive part of both our business and family life. Had Mike not have been so creative, I doubt Tidy Design would be where it is today. His creativeness has influenced most projects that we have been fortunate to have been involved in. And with Isaac following in his footsteps, we need not worry about his future either. A mini member, is just what Tidy is looking for!

Here are some recent examples of Mike’s sketches for the kids;

alien head sketch

cartoon frog sketch

ghostbuster logo sketch

monster head sketch

ghostbuster man sketch

zombie cartoon swketch

Gandalf the wizard sketch illustration

Rosie