Devstars Let our expert coders and consultants help you to join the dots. 2015-01-09T12:16:58Z http://www.devstars.com/feed/atom/ Miles Gripton <![CDATA[Our 2015 technological predictions]]> http://www.devstars.com/?p=2775 2015-01-07T16:18:12Z 2015-01-07T16:18:12Z Making predictions about the direction in which technology is going to move in the future is often a risky enterprise, opening up the very real possibility of the person or persons doing the predicting ending up looking more than a little foolish. Let us not forget that we are all supposed to be riding hover Read more

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Making predictions about the direction in which technology is going to move in the future is often a risky enterprise, opening up the very real possibility of the person or persons doing the predicting ending up looking more than a little foolish. Let us not forget that we are all supposed to be riding hover boards like Marty McFly in 2015!  Some aspects of high tech crystal ball gazing are simpler than others, usually when it involves an extrapolation of current technological innovations and an analysis of the obvious direction of travel; the next generation of televisions, for example, or the proliferation of 3D printing.

What is more difficult to guess with any certainty is the manner in which people – businesses and consumers – will interact with these technologies, and the unforeseen circumstances which might arise from such changes. Technology can change the way we do things such as shop, communicate and even dress.

In the case of a development such as Google Glass there are questions yet to be resolved as far as the degree to which it will become a mainstream phenomenon. These questions revolve far less around technical matters but much more around issues of privacy and social acceptance, for example, will it be acceptable to talk to yourself all the time to control your device? The same is true of some of the other developments which various experts have singled out as being likely to emerge, break through or consolidate during 2015.

Portable Devices

Advances in smart phone technology have multiplied the computing power at people fingertips exponentially, with the number of online interactions undertaken by the average person on a daily basis exploding dramatically, whether this means shopping, communicating or accessing entertainment. As technology becomes more portable the main implication for commercial operators will be ensuring that all of their information is easily accessed via mobile devices, and that they stay abreast of the new ways, times and places in which people will now be interacting with this information. In short, the days of designing a website for only a desktop or laptop computer are long gone.  Small information panels in Android Wear and the soon to arrive Apple watch, have to give a user the correct information at the correct time to make any sense. Will your site need an app for that?

android-apple-Watch

3D Printing

With the cost of 3D printing dropping and the printers themselves becoming more portable and affordable, two main developments will take place.

  1. the 3D printer will become a feature in more households, useful for hobby craft and DIY projects.
  2. the relatively low overheads of 3D printing will lead to it being utilised across a range of different industries, bringing down prices and speeding up production.

Lost the correct tool or part to finish a Job? Not to worry you can go to a website and print one to complete the task.

The Internet of Things

The internet of things is already with us, of course, but 2015 is bound to see more and more products featuring user friendly computing power embedded within them. The clearest advantage of this is simple convenience via the ability to control almost every device in your house from a single access point, and beyond this will lie the power held within the information accrued. An accurate, accessible digital record of your heating and other energy costs, for example, will be a hugely powerful tool when it comes to seeking out the best possible deal the next time you decide to switch suppliers.

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Smart Machines

‘Smart machines’ is a relatively catch-all phrase, of course, but it is a term under which the advances already mentioned can be pulled together in one place. As more and more machines interact with users and each other more frequently, so the machines themselves will develop the ability to react and respond to the information being gathered and exchanged, and to ‘evolve’ in order to perform tasks more effectively. Put simply, your washing machine will be able to ‘learn’ how to get your clothes clean at a lower temperature and using less powder. Websites might use data from these devices to allow control of a user’s activities or allow the manufacturer to analyse the data in order to shape marketing plans. We believe in a holistic approach to online systems, the more connectivity the better.

To sum up, we believe people will continue to demand more intuitive interfaces using small portable devices AND large panel television sets. The emergence of voice activated devices and better Bluetooth accessories make the use of keyboards and mice less important. We are becoming more physically connect to our devices, mainly using our fingers, actions and voice to control them.

The websites we build will need to work across all devices and be both engaging and efficient, increasing sales and engagement. Not an easy task but that is why we love our industry!

Connect with us to help you connect more efficiently with your customer’s devices

 

 

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Stuart Watkins http://devstars.com <![CDATA[Responsive WordPress site for brand design agency Mystery]]> http://www.devstars.com/?p=2759 2015-01-06T12:33:36Z 2015-01-06T12:27:01Z We’ve worked alongside Mystery for almost 10 years now. It’s a partnership that has grown with both companies supporting each other technically and creatively and has lead to some fantastic sites. Over recent years we’ve developed ground breaking sites with Mystery for Gnosh, Rebel Kitchen, Pernod Ricard and most recently the Royal Academy of Music. Our own Read more

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We’ve worked alongside Mystery for almost 10 years now. It’s a partnership that has grown with both companies supporting each other technically and creatively and has lead to some fantastic sites.

Over recent years we’ve developed ground breaking sites with Mystery for Gnosh, Rebel Kitchen, Pernod Ricard and most recently the Royal Academy of Music.

Our own sites often take a back seat but working together we’ve finally got Mystery’s new responsive WordPress site live (and we hope our own Devstars site will be soon to follow).

Find out more here

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Stuart Watkins <![CDATA[New Multilingual Site for Saliena Group]]> http://www.devstars.com/?p=2702 2014-09-01T11:21:21Z 2014-09-01T11:21:14Z Fresh of the Devstars press is this new WordPress site for the Largest Property Development Project in Latvia. For more info click here or

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Fresh of the Devstars press is this new WordPress site for the Largest Property Development Project in Latvia.

For more info click here or

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Miles Gripton <![CDATA[5 Tips on Writing Excellent Copy for Mobile Users]]> http://www.devstars.com/?p=2644 2014-07-04T10:24:35Z 2014-07-04T10:24:35Z With the ever increasing number of customers and visitors opting to view websites from their mobile devices, copywriters have been faced with a new challenge: how best to write for a responsive web design. Responsive web design is the approach adopted by millions of companies worldwide, which alters the appearance of a site to make Read more

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With the ever increasing number of customers and visitors opting to view websites from their mobile devices, copywriters have been faced with a new challenge: how best to write for a responsive web design. Responsive web design is the approach adopted by millions of companies worldwide, which alters the appearance of a site to make it easier and more accessible for mobile users. A perfect example of RWD is if a webpage changes position as you flip your device horizontally. Adjusting format and copy for these new, compact designs takes careful consideration, so here are 5 ways you can make your mobile copy effective and accessible to the mobile user.

1. Keep it short, sweet and succinct

Firstly, your opening sentences must be to-the-point and eye-catching. Reign in your love for longer words, using shorter ones when possible, while keeping on topic throughout the article. Mobile customers are usually on the site to either find an answer or complete a transaction, so flowery copy is the last thing they want to trawl though. Short sentences will minimise reading on behalf of the user, as well as creating a more aesthetically pleasing and simple responsive design.

2. Bullet points

Use bullet points for these reasons:

  • They allow the reader to quickly skim through a page
  • Readers pick up key information in minimal time.
  • Bullet points are also easy to spot whilst scrolling, so essential information won’t be missed.
  • Using them can cut paragraphs from lengthy copy.

3. Calls to action

Your CTAs must be strong, and if possible, placed at the top and the bottom of the page, with minimal form filling and strongly worded language. We’re going for more of an ‘APPLY HERE’ button, than a ‘Please fill out the following fields to apply for this course’.

4. Be direct

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Top heavy pages are ideal when writing for a mobile user. Don’t make your reader scroll to find the information they need – instead, make it easy and keep the important info at the top. It’s also useful to give an insight into the contents of the body text if possible within the first few sentences, which will save the reader time scrolling through and article which is unrelated to their search. Headers must also be used properly to break up your copy into quickly readable chunks.

5. Font smart

As a copywriter, the font in which you choose to write is also an essential part of writing for Responsive Web Design. If you have the power to govern the font that your copy appears in, ensure that it is easily read regardless of font size (within reason), and avoid flamboyant fonts – stick to something safe and widely used. With these points in mind, writing for a mobile user needn’t be too much of a challenge. Providing that both copy and design are applied with RWD in mind, a pleasant user experience should result. Feel free to give us a call on 01784 772405

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Stuart Watkins <![CDATA[Rebel Kitchen Launch]]> http://www.devstars.com/?p=2597 2014-03-19T10:23:09Z 2014-03-19T10:20:35Z Rebel Kitchen are a new brand producing healthy drinks and snacks targeted initially at a younger market. We’ve worked with our design partner Mystery to create an image rich site that supports the brand but still loads fast. Vistors can buy the product via the site or find local stockists while the CMS built using Read more

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Rebel Kitchen are a new brand producing healthy drinks and snacks targeted initially at a younger market. We’ve worked with our design partner Mystery to create an image rich site that supports the brand but still loads fast.

Vistors can buy the product via the site or find local stockists while the CMS built using the Yii framework allows the client to update product and and ever growing number of stockists.

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Miles Gripton <![CDATA[An inspirational site for young children (that like Lego!)]]> http://www.devstars.com/?p=2562 2014-03-12T16:36:16Z 2014-03-12T16:36:16Z We are very pleased to announce the launch of a new site, developed alongside our favourite design house Mystery. Mini Engineers is going to be a hot bed of keen young minds, eager to develop their building skills. Yvette has put together a wonderful business to help young minds express their creativity through hands on Read more

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We are very pleased to announce the launch of a new site, developed alongside our favourite design house Mystery.

Mini Engineers is going to be a hot bed of keen young minds, eager to develop their building skills. Yvette has put together a wonderful business to help young minds express their creativity through hands on learning.

If you are on the west side of London you will be lucky enough to find a local engineering hub first. Hopefully, the rest of the capital, then country will be able to join in the fun too.

The site is robustly built in a YII framework, whilst making good use of WordPress, Google Mapping and plenty of javascript to bring the classes to life. Mystery certainly set us a challenge designing the ‘school desktop’ feel of the site. We think the end results are stunning.

Mini Engineers birthday parties

Please head on over to the site here to see what you can build. http://mini-engineers.com/

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Miles Gripton <![CDATA[Don’t switch off completely this Festive season]]> http://www.devstars.com/?p=2522 2013-12-17T15:16:20Z 2013-12-17T14:48:18Z Reviews – The Bad, The Good and The Ugly It’s a fantastic idea for businesses to allow customers to post reviews on their site to advise future customers on how and what to purchase. It looks great for your business, making you seem honest and open, whilst also helping you to sell your products and Read more

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Reviews – The Bad, The Good and The Ugly

It’s a fantastic idea for businesses to allow customers to post reviews on their site to advise future customers on how and what to purchase. It looks great for your business, making you seem honest and open, whilst also helping you to sell your products and services better by including unbiased views from previous customers. But what happens when you get a bad review? Bad reviews are inevitable sometimes, especially when selling products, and they shouldn’t necessary reflect your business. It’s very important to keep track of customer reviews on your site, not only to monitor content, but to also keep a track of what works within your business and what keeps falling flat.

Here are a few key things that you as a business can do to enable your company to benefit fully from customer reviews:

  1. Have someone on guard to monitor reviews daily. Should a bad review show up, someone is there to quickly assess the content and decide whether it’s helpful to leave on the site for the benefit of other customers, or to remove and personally reply to the review privately. If you are planning a Christmas close down then maybe move reviews to require authorisation whilst you are out.
  2. A delayed post system could be employed should your company feel that daily review checks are unnecessary. A delayed post system allows a set amount of time to elapse before the review is posted live onto your site, giving you time to check through before it’s too late. (for Christmas see above)
  3. Finally, a truly safe option is to only allow reviews to be posted to your site once they’ve been approved by your team. This way, you have total control over what your customers read and make no room for potentially off-putting bad reviews or risky content.

Remember that it’s worth considering the actual content of a possible bad review before you discard it from your site. Is the customer simply saying that the product didn’t work for them personally, ie, a beauty product or appliance? If this is the case, you can turn the negativity on its head, post the review and publicly recommend something which might work better, making you look honest, attentive and hands-on.

Make sure that the reviews that make it to your site are content safe and won’t raise the hackles of other businesses. Ensure that other companies are never mentioned in your customer reviews as this could land you in hot water.

Most importantly, remind yourself that bad reviews can often be helpful, both to your customers and to your business. Bad reviews can help you to select stock more effectively next season, it can help you decide what to promote, and it allows customers to make the right choice for them when buying from you.

Once you’ve decided on a review method that suits you best, it’s all about handling complaints professionally and carefully, and most importantly, not taking them all to heart.

We are always here to go through the options and get you up and running confidently 

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Miles Gripton <![CDATA[How To Hit The Big Time and More]]> http://www.devstars.com/?p=2494 2013-12-17T15:14:06Z 2013-11-27T12:53:26Z Tips for small retailers on branching out into the online world  It’s tough being a small business. Sometimes the e-world seems so intimidating that you start to relate more to Dylan Moran in Black Books than Sir Alan Sugar. What you may not know however is that getting started online is actually incredibly simple, and Read more

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Tips for small retailers on branching out into the online world 

It’s tough being a small business. Sometimes the e-world seems so intimidating that you start to relate more to Dylan Moran in Black Books than Sir Alan Sugar. What you may not know however is that getting started online is actually incredibly simple, and creating an online presence can increase your customers, improve your reputation and allow your little business to develop a unique character to stand out from the rest.

There is a UK national day to help highlight you as one of the country’s invaluable  small businesses. Maybe send off for a pack and get involved to get some free publicity.  http://www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/

Here are a few little hints and tips that you can take to expand your business into the wonderful world wide web.

Jump on the Bandwagon

Firstly, this may seem obvious but, do you have a website? If not, then you probably should get one before you read on. Starting up your website is simple. Web development can be simple and simple CMS systems such as WordPress are there to help artists, businesses, writers, and anyone who wants their own website. If you already have a website, consider letting us add some fuel to the fire; there’s no harm in giving your site a re-vamp.

google-map-marker_designWhere’s Your Head At?

Something that can be achieved in half an hour is to register your company on Google Maps so that people can locate your business. This is easy, quick and any results of this can only go in your favour. After all you’ve got to be seen in order to reap the rewards. We can help with the Google Local account.

 

Socialize, Cyber Style

The next rung on the online ladder is to get yourself a facebook page. Yes, we know you have one, we mean one for your business! Set it up, add your friends, ask them to share you around and you’ll soon have a tonne of facebook fans to direct your subtle marketing ploys towards. Perhaps go a step further and set up a Twitter account. Twitter is great for small businesses as it allows people to quickly link them into comments, which others can see, but that you can quickly and easily respond to. As a rule of thumb, Twitter lets your customers understand the ideals of a business whilst Facebook is a good way to build a visual connection and drive events.

Get Your Numbers Hat On

Once you’re happy with the look of your website, you must consider monitoring the flow of traffic on your site. Monitoring traffic is essential if you want to keep track of what people are clicking into most – and least. Firstly, it’s important to consider SEO, which are key words used on your website which allows your site to come up in Google searches when people type in certain words. It is essential to get a grasp on how to use SEO effectively, as businesses which appear on the first page of natural listings (unpaid ads) are more likely to receive traffic than those on the second or third page.

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The second thing you may want to consider is using Google Adwords and Analytics. Both services are free to sign up for, and while it may take some time to get your head around, Adwords can be very useful to get ahead of your competitors. Adwords is a service whereby companies bid money on certain key words that a customer might type. The company who has best rated ads and bid will come in the top sponsored listings which usually come up in orange at the top of a Google search. Analytics will also help you greatly to keep an eye on where traffic is coming from and what they’re looking at on your site.

Earn Your Supporters

It’s a great idea to get a customer database together. You can even do this in your shop by asking people to pop their emails in a hat – or some other object of your choice – with the given incentive of winning a prize of sort. You get lots of email addresses with which to build up a mailing list and some lucky customer gets a free prize hat. It’s always useful to have a mailing list, or somewhere on your website for people to sign up for newsletters, as this poses as another method to flaunt your business and products.

Consider also setting up a loyalty scheme where regular visitors to your store get something out of each purchase – like a stamp card method that most coffee chains employ nowadays.

Re-brand your Brand

The best small businesses are the ones who establish a look, a character and a tone of voice early on in their development. It is essential that you know who your target audience is and appeal to them in your appearance as a brand. It may be worth doing a few quizzes on your friends, different sexes and different ages to see what style of writing or what web layout appeals to them most.

feedbackEncourage Online Feedback

In a similar way to the method in which you may start your emailing list, give customers an incentive to add reviews of your products or store to your website. Customers love it when they feel that a company genuinely appreciates their feedback, so use your language well to make them feel great. Encourage online reviews through sites like Feefo, which will allow you to pick and choose the best reviews to display on your website.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid of the web. As a small business, delving into the chasm of the internet can only benefit you, making your business better known and well-remembered. Sign up, blog away and keep in mind that even Apple was first born in a garage of a uni drop-out nicknamed Woz.

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Stuart Watkins <![CDATA[Official Taylor Swift Store]]> http://www.devstars.com/?p=2490 2013-11-21T09:03:00Z 2013-11-21T09:02:24Z We’ve just added a new merchandise store for multiple Grammy Award winner Taylor Swift. Built for leading music merchandise company Chris Cooke Management the site is part of our multi site e-commerce engine which allows clients to add new sites and manage inventory from one location. The same system is already in use by Cooke Management Read more

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We’ve just added a new merchandise store for multiple Grammy Award winner Taylor Swift. Built for leading music merchandise company Chris Cooke Management the site is part of our multi site e-commerce engine which allows clients to add new sites and manage inventory from one location.

The same system is already in use by Cooke Management for The Specials, Bob Dylan and west end musicals like Singin’ in the Rain .

 

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Miles Gripton <![CDATA[We’ve Got a Ticket To Ride]]> http://www.devstars.com/?p=2468 2013-10-31T14:41:16Z 2013-10-31T14:30:37Z If you have a problem or a query on a website, who you gonna call? Well, you’ll probably scrabble around searching for a suitable email address or you’ll scour the pages for what appears to be a customer support hotline. We’re all used to sending one-off emails to companies, whether it be to complain, to Read more

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If you have a problem or a query on a website, who you gonna call? Well, you’ll probably scrabble around searching for a suitable email address or you’ll scour the pages for what appears to be a customer support hotline.

We’re all used to sending one-off emails to companies, whether it be to complain, to enquire, or to report something, and sometimes it can feel a little like fumbling in the dark. We agonise over the accuracy of an email address and debate whether attaching an angrily gratified screen shot of the specific malfunction is a little too forthcoming. Recognising this common issue, Devstars have introduced a new support ticket system for its clients as well as its own use.

The ticket system is a genius little way of keeping monitored control over customer questions, reports and problems. It works by implementing a link near the bottom of your home page which leads to a short form in which the customer can quickly and easily text away.

The ticket system then stores the customer’s information as well as cleverly recording their IP address, their current browser and details of the system from which the ticket came. All customer questions, complaints and flags will then come straight to Devstars’ central ticket system and we can assign each ticket to our relevant client to be followed up accordingly.

Our nifty tickets even feature a severity drop-down so that we’re briefed on how urgent a ticket is even before we view it. It also enables the customer to upload that red-pen violated screen shot that they took in a rage just moments before – we promise we don’t take it personally! Just give us the URL of the page in question and our system and bright folks at Devstars will do the rest.

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Implementing this feature on your own website will unquestionably simplify C2B emails, and will help to sort mail alerting you of site issues and problems from general notices and business emails. Helpful and convenient, the ticket system takes up little space, fits the theme of your website and also creates an uncomplicated system by which to answer your customer’s every notice and question.

Feel free to give us a call on 01784 772405

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