Category Archives: Business

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 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

My Maternity Website

Over the past few months Tidy Design has been working closely with NHS England to design and develop a web based portal for expecting mums. It was great to receive some glowing feedback from the project manager yesterday…

“We chose to work with Tidy Design as they had designed another local maternity app ‘mybirthplace.org’. We have been so impressed with the experience we have had; having regular updates and contact with the team. When we have wanted changes made these have been undertaken in a timely manner and we always experienced a very professional and dedicated team… Thank you so much for your amazing work!” – Donna Evans (NHS NORTH EAST HAMPSHIRE AND FARNHAM)

You can find out more about My Maternity at mymaternity.org.uk. Below I have uploaded a batch of illustrations I created for this project:

Have a great Feb and best wishes from us all here!

Mike

Ethereum – Web3.0

The way we communicate, purchase goods, sell our goods, consume our entertainment and more has changed drastically over the last 20 years. With the creation of the Internet, everything changed, forever. We are now on the brink of a new change, a change that could potentially see more privacy, consolidation of power and with it new norms for how we handle day to day tasks.

Ethereum is a cryptocurrency, like BitCoin, but unlike BitCoin Ethereum offers a lot more potential. Ethereum is a net of computers, where each computer using Ethereum becomes part of this net. This is where the decentralised aspect comes from, with every computer running Ethereum being a node of the overall “super computer” an attack becomes a lot more complicated. If someone were to try to attack a current web2.0 application there would be one central hub for them to take down, making it an easier task over for it to be overcome by the attacker. If someone wanted to attack a decentralised application running on Ethereum there is no central point for them to attack, a full blown attack targeting multiple nodes would need an incredible amount of computational power. There are currently around 30,000 nodes and for a successful attack to take place you’d have to take over 51% of those to do any damage.

Security isn’t the only benefit of Ethereum and it’s net of nodes, currently if Facebook’s main servers were to go down every user would be unable to use Facebook until they fixed their issue. For an application based on Ethereum to go offline every node (computer running Ethereum) would have to go down, the chances of this are incredibly slim.

Ethereum as an application platform is way to remove the middle men from transactions, ultimately bringing around more peer to peer communication and trust. Right now, if I wanted to book a taxi using the Uber application all data would run through their server and they would have control over all of that information. Now if Uber were to have been built on Ethereum a “Smart Contract” would be written and deployed onto the blockchain, this Smart Contract would run all on Ethereum nodes, each node would contain the relevant data and a confirmation process would make sure all data was correctly stored before adding your transaction to the blockchain. This cuts out large 3rd party fees and the risk of their service going down when you need it.

Web 3.0 is made up from 3 technologies, Ethereum, Swarm and Whisper. The blockchain becomes your “sever backend”, a p2p backend. Swarm and Whisper are complementary technologies to Ethereum;

Ethereum (contracts): decentralised logic
Swarm: decentralised storage
Whisper: decentralised messaging

Together these technologies will work together to bring you web 3.0 and a complete change to the current ways of dealing with transactions.

Luke

Company Branding

Let’s face it, company branding is a pretty important part of business; we need to get it right! So many of us neglect it, not allocating time to that important question; what does my brand/business stand for?

When I think of branding and brand development I think of a company logo (or name), a website (its images and content), social media activity, the people behind the products or services on offer, company values and end-goals. Branding is combination of these important elements – add them all together and this is how a customer perceives you.

I believe a strong brand identity will provide a company value beyond physical assets. Its worth a time investment, something us business folk should step back & review every so often…

Our Mission

Here at Tidy Design our mission is simple; to deliver a return on investment, be it for our customers or the staff we employ, working together we will do better. Each day we set out to offer our customers a quality service, the goal being to leave a long lasting and positive impression. Happy customers result in repeat business.

Thanks for stopping by, if you have any questions or feedback then please post them below.

Mike

Out with the old…

It’s been a busy period here at Tidy Design. After several years being based in Old Portsmouth we’ve decided to move on to a more fitting web dev environment.

We’ve said goodbye to the seaside view and quirky Royal Naval Club building and replaced it with the brand new high tech offices at Pure Offices in Port Solent. It’s a very different feel from what we’re used to but the modern furnishing, high speed broadband, and opportunity to expand makes it a welcome transition.

It’s not only the move that’s been keeping us busy. Website updates, redesigns and software projects (Yes you read that right, Tidy Design do more than just web development) have been making sure the new office is filled with tapping keyboards. Some of our latest redesigns include The Queen’s Hotel Portsmouth and TEG English language colleges, be sure to take a look! On the software side of things Jonno has stepped up to the plate taking over the development reins on ASSIST-CKD, our Kidney Research UK project in partnership with the NHS and is doing a fantastic job.

Unfortunately as our focus has been placed on clients our own website has become slightly neglected. Not anymore though, we will be dedicating some time to this and soon you’ll find a fresh website with a updated portfolio so you can see all of our current up to date projects. Keep your eye out for our new website launch which will be coming soon…

Luke