New Partnership Between Web-Op & Swagger Card

SwaggerCard.com helps individuals & organizations of every kind reach their goals & raise as much money as humanly possible with their custom “swagger cards”. According to CNN.com, Mobile devices account for over 50% of Internet usage in the United States. One feature that the current SwaggerCard.com site lacks is an intuitive mobile design, one that makes the process of user checkout and deal creation simple and fast. The new mobile site will feature mobile app functionality with none of a mobile apps inflexibility. Web-Op recognizes the importance of simple, easy to access deal redemption, the mobile site will focus on this feature. Web-Op wants to help make fundraising as simple as possible and by creating a white-label ready fundraiser page, we will make it easy for organizations to set up, roll-out, and track their Swagger Card fundraisers.

Healthy Charts: New Partnership Between Web-Op & Kinetic4 Labs

Web-Op, Inc. is happy to announce a partnership with Kinetic4 Labs in a new joint venture: Healthy Charts.

Both Web-Op and Kinetic4 Labs recognize the competitive advantage businesses would enjoy by providing easy access to personal health data. Healthy Charts will manage the development of a full featured tracking, charting and marketing platform designed to increase customer lifetime value by creating a familiar portal that encourages users to initiate new tests at regular intervals.

Web-Op and Kinetic4 Labs will each leverage their respective strengths: design, development, marketing and business startup.

Connect Share Visits Web-Op

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*Web-Op’s CEO David Bailey pictured with Connectshare leaders Brent Crabtree and Jon Bailey

Connectshare leaders Brent Crabtree and Jon Bailey visited the Web-Op office Monday, November 17 to impart more knowledge about their successful networking organization to the Web-Op staff.

Connectshare has gathered some of the biggest “decision makers” i.e. business leaders, CEO’s, presidents, and owners in the Salt Lake, Idaho Falls and Boise regions.  This community makes up a powerful networking circle, attracting new members every month.  Connectshare has come to Web-Op to elevate their status as a networking firm by developing more sophisticated design and functionality within their website and management systems.

During their meeting, the Web-Op staff learned more than just the details of Connectshare’s current status as leaders in the networking industry, they learned about the culture and passion that delineates them from from any other networking circle in the nation.  It is the idea that the most successful business relationships are built by a “giving” mentality.  This “give” culture has lead many of their members to very profitable relationships between powerful businesses.

Web-Op thanks Brent Crabtree and Jon Bailey for stopping by and are looking forward to their own successful business relationship.

Why You Should Care About Project Management, and Why the Success of Your Project Depends on it

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In so many areas of our lives, we use project management without even realizing we are. Whether it’s executing a daily routine, having the family over for thanksgiving, or building a spaceship, project management is used every day, at every level. Initiating, planning, executing, monitoring/controlling and closing out every project is what a project manager does. Project managers get things done.

Hope is not a strategy. Project management provides a framework to help reach goals.  Every project is different, but all share their beginnings in an idea of what can be and a potential for a good outcome if that idea is guided into reality.

Alas, with experience comes the realization our role as design and build agencies must be sustainable for the long term. If a project requires the development team to work heavy hours, we always review and ask ourselves, was it worth it? If when a site is delivered we look at an hours analysis and learn that our time would have been more profitably spent working at the Dollar General in Apache Junction, what can we take away to make sure this doesn’t happen again? It starts with a clear, appropriately quoted contract and effective project management.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons why project management matters besides budget. I’ve never seen a single project succeed without a schedule. I’ve also yet to come across a project for which it wasn’t critically important to communicate often, clearly understand the scope of what the team was building, or to have an individual on the team focused on the quality of the product.

Strong project management discipline says a lot about the experience of an design and development firm. Scope, schedule, budget, and communication all factor into the success or failure of a project. This is with or without experienced project management. Failure to proactively address these factors always places an unfair burden on those members of the team who should be focused on strategy, user experience, design, development, and engineering. Both Web-Op and it’s clients have benefited from effective project management, and will continue to do so in the future.

 

RWD2014 || Year of the Mobile

Responsive web design is extremely critical in today’s world; it is necessary for survival among the fittest. No doubt mobile browsing has blown up and continues to grow exponentially. There are times where no matter how good a company’s web site looks on the monitor, if it is not “mobile friendly” and the user gets a poor experience, well, the site might as well be deemed no good at all. On a personal level, I can relate to the importance of mobile browsing. For example, after giving someone my business card usually one of the first things they do is pull out there iPhone, and look at my portfolio. If my personal site was not built with a responsiveness to adapt to different media devices and viewports such as the iPhone; and the viewer looking at my work does not have a good experience, this could jeopardize the integrity of my work and in turn, possibly be loosing future customers and contacts. I would like to quote Andy Clarke, web designer, author and founder of Stuff and Nonesense. Andy says, “Anything that’s fixed and unresponsive isn’t web design anymore, it’s something else. if you don’t embrace the inherent fluidity of the web, you are not a web designer, you’re something else. Web design is responsive design. Responsive Web Design is web design, done right”…

Instagram is King

People remember 20% of what they read and 80% of what they see. Research shows that Instagram engagement is 58 times higher per follower than Facebook. Therefore, if your brand is looking for more social engagement, you should not underestimate Instagram’s marketing potential.
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A couple ways to optimize Instagram is first by implementing the basics. Whether you already have an account or are just setting one up, you may run into the problem of your company name already being taken. This is where it is important that you are implementing your company logo as your profile picture for all social media across the board. Consistency in social media will help people quickly recognize your content wherever they may be. Your Instagram bio should express your company’s personality in a brief description of what your company does. It would also be beneficial for you to include a link to your website so people can find you on the Internet.

The best part of Instagram is posting attractive photos, so I encourage you to get creative with promoting your product. Do not post basic product shots with an interesting filter. That is not likely to draw attention for ‘likes’ or more ‘followers.’ Your posts should look “branded” in the sense that they are consistent with the online voice you are building behind your company. It does not always have to be about selling something. I encourage you to share behind-the-scenes photos—maybe a company event or a typical day in the office— both are interesting and make you more accessible to your audience. Don’t forget, video is fair game too for this; more behind-the-scenes action, showing reactions to your product or funny promotions, all help bring your brand to life on Instagram.
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Social Media – A Waste of Time in the Health Industry?

The availability of information at the click of a mouse has spawned a generation that goes online for explanations for the aches and pains that plague them. Often, these same users use the internet as a tool to locate and contact health professionals that can provide treatment.  It is, therefore, essential for Doctors, Hospitals and Clinics to incorporate social media into their business plans. It has been shown that more than 40% of consumers say that the way they deal with their health is directly affected by information obtained on the internet through social media.

The Mayo Clinic, a healthcare giant, boasts of more than 800,000 followers on Twitter and half a million “likes” on Facebook. This traffic resulted from the clinic’s 2010 establishment of the “Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media”, a department created to determine how social media could be used for the benefit of the organization. In its Mission Statement the Mayo Clinic states that “individuals have the right and responsibility to advocate for their own health, and it is [The Mayo Clinic’s] responsibility to help them use social media tools to get the best information, connect with providers and with each other, and inspire healthy choices.” Googles reports that with the launch of its social media campaign the Mayo Clinic podcast acquired 76,000 listeners.

As with any product being marketed, brand recognition of a healthcare provider is essential. Regardless of the advertising medium – a roadside billboard, an ad on the Yahoo homepage or a TV commercial –distinctive images, an appealing logo and eye catching colors must be employed to promote the product or service. When marketing a service in the healthcare arena an area of import often overlooked is the need to build trust between the patient and the doctor. When those in need of treatment can communicate directly with a doctor through social media, a particular brand can quickly gain the reputation as the ‘go-to’ company in its field. This doctor/patient communication also promotes transparency and ensures trust between doctor and patient. Through social media the Mayo Clinic was able to substantially increase its influence in the field of healthcare.

Google further reports that Youtube videos increase traffic to hospital websites by 119% annually. These videos, replete with patient interviews and “feel good” stories, convert traffic to leads because they have a personal touch and a human quality that can only be conveyed through film.

Health Watch estimates that penetration of the health industry to mobile devices is as high as 87% and that 19% of smartphone owners have at least one “health app” on their mobile device. Does this mean that health care providers need to develop an app to stay in the game? Not necessarily. What this trend does say, however, is that it is important to increase the direct communication between patient and doctor, building that trust, to effectively market to the health community, and that communication should be directed not only at the computer monitor, but at the mobile device as well.

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Brand Rejuvenation

A brand makeover has to potential to completely rejuvenate a dying brand. If you are attempting a makeover, make it noticeable. The reason you are rebranding is to be noticed, so commit to the change in your brand. Any companies’ makeover should include a visual component to help the businesses re-establish the lines of communication with customers. Whether that’s new packaging or a redesigned logo, these tools have the potential to engage audiences to rediscover the brand.

In making your first steps at rebranding, the first thing to do is have your team go back and identify your existing audience, and then identify your new audience. If there is no difference between your current and desired audience then find where the miscommunication lies—failing to focus on a clear, identifiable audience leaves the brand at risk of trying to do too much and often backfires into reaching no one.

The benefits of brand rejuvenation entail the potential opportunity to communicate the shift in business model, as well as allowing you to transform your brand into new markets and audiences. Rebranding allows you to update the company’s mission and vision, which will ultimately re-engage employees as well. The ultimate goal in rebranding is to strengthen your brand’s messaging and allow it to evolve. When rebranding it is important to stay true to the brand’s mission as it should support your core message while connecting with your established audience in a new and authentic way.

Q&A with a UI/UX Designer

For this weeks blog I decided to interview a friend of mine and professional graphic/web designer. 

 Ryan Canfield is UI/UX designer & front end developer at Synapse Studios specializing in web-based javascript applications.


What do you think is one the most important thing as a web designer?   Thinking past static design & layout to consider the web at all screen sizes.

What about the creative process?   We use a repeatable, successful pattern. It starts with sketching, wire framing, mock ups, rapid prototyping and then development .

 How important is the creative process to you?   Very! Synapse didn’t have designers a few years back, it was developers doing front end. Having designers makes a huge difference in the usability of web applications.  Being classically trained as a graphic designer helps me daily in web design. I use the principles of design, like color theory, rhythm, balance etc. these fundamentals are paramount!

What is your outlook on simplicity?   Simplicity depends on necessity. That is one thing designers forget with the web design and graphic design in general. They feel like they need to fill all the space like it is some “hole to fill” esp. junior designers. Question the necessity of everything you include in the design and then question whether is it presented in the best way possible.

What about the the placement of things like “call to actions?”   You want to make sure your main call to action is available and accessible almost anywhere.  If you’re delivering information you want it at the end of that information. It should be the most prominent path for a user to take.

What do you think about traditional web placement i.e. headers etc. and switching the placement of them up, in non traditional ways?   It really depends on the users of the site or app. Sites that have the same user base are better candidates than sites that have mostly unique visitors. Additionally, younger, more techie users are going to figure out the placement of things and are less likely to get frustrated. With users that struggle you probably want a more conservative layout. You have to determine purpose of the site and the target audience. A marketing site is going to be selling products/services, reference website will be delivering information etc.

Any input for junior web designer?   Mobile first approach, responsive design and write clean code!