Mindshare Labs, Inc https://mind.sh/are We specialize in next-gen web and mobile app development. Mon, 30 Mar 2020 22:27:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://mind.sh/are/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-labs_logo_square_512-32x32.png Mindshare Labs, Inc https://mind.sh/are 32 32 37654233 COVID-19 Small Business, Non-Profit and Worker Resources https://mind.sh/are/covid-19-small-business-non-profit-and-worker-resources/ https://mind.sh/are/covid-19-small-business-non-profit-and-worker-resources/#respond Mon, 30 Mar 2020 22:25:46 +0000 https://mind.sh/are/?p=16691 We’ve seen an incredible outpouring of support from our local and national government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is an ever growing list of resources for small business’, non-profits, and workers. I highly recommend you take advantage of these resources now. Don’t wait until you ‘need’ the funding, as the funding as it... View Article

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We’ve seen an incredible outpouring of support from our local and national government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is an ever growing list of resources for small business’, non-profits, and workers.

I highly recommend you take advantage of these resources now. Don’t wait until you ‘need’ the funding, as the funding as it is limited.

HUGE thank you to Vince Kadlubek for putting this list of resources together! Here’s a link to slides with all of this information.

Guidance & Understanding

Emergency Lending

Small Business Administration

https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance

  • Loans are up to $2M.
  • For Businesses & Nonprofits.
  • Low-interest, 30-year loans.
  • There are rapid $25,000 loans as well as $10,000 forgivable loans available.
  • If you are applying for less than $200,000 then you do not need a personal guarantee, SBA is waiving that requirement. They are also waiving many other requirements, this money is easier than ever to access.

Streamlined EIDL application: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/

New Mexico-Based Loans up to $50,000

 https://gonm.biz/

If you are a NM Business looking for immediate help, the State of NM is backing up to $50,000 for loans. You can go to your bank and initiate a small business loan process, and the state of NM will guarantee 80% of that loan.

Paycheck Protection Program – CARES Act

  • This is the newest loan program that was just approved on Friday, available for Businesses and Non-Profits with under 500 employees.
  • You can borrow up to 2.5x your monthly payroll
  • Low-interest loans that are 100% fully-forgivable if you retain 90% of your employees.
  • Because this is so new, expect anywhere from 1-4 weeks delay on implementation.

CARES Act Tax Breaks for Businesses

https://www.akingump.com/en/experience/industries/national-security/covid-19-resource-center/cares-act-summary-tax.html

All Together Fund

Critical Service Non-Profits in NM: www.alltogethernm.org

This is a collaborative fund in NM with many of our biggest foundations to support non-profits who are dealing with critical needs — Food Security, Housing Security, Income Security for the most vulnerable.

NEA Funds for Art Nonprofits

https://www.arts.gov/…/national-endowment-arts-distribute-7…

As part of CARES Act, $75M is provided for Arts Institutions and Arts Agencies.

Unemployment Benefits

 https://www.dws.state.nm.us/en-us/

  • CARES Act has expanded unemployment benefits. Unemployed will now receive an additional $600/wk of benefits, which pushes the maximum amount for NM Workers to $1033/wk until July 31st.
  • Self-Employed and Independent Contractors are also now eligible
  • Work Search requirements have been waived
  • Recent Work requirements waived
  • Unemployment Benefits is the most reliable and most robust program available for employers and workers at this time

Deferment of Loans, Bills

  • Student Loans can be deferred for 2 months
  • Most lenders are allowing for deferment of mortgage payments, you have to call and request it (please pass savings on to your renters)
  • Same is true with most car loans

Housing Support in NM

https://santafehousingaction.org/covid-19-phase-3/

There’s a handful of housing-related provisions in the CARE Act. The above link from Santa Fe Housing Action explains what is available.

Other Grant Opportunities

  • Every day there are more funding grants opening up. For instance, Netflix announced a $100M fund for film workers.
  • Santa Fe Culture Connects has a fund for Santa Fe-based artists.
  • There are so many small and industry-specific funds out there, do google searches and stay diligent.

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What Happens After Launch? https://mind.sh/are/what-happens-after-launch/ https://mind.sh/are/what-happens-after-launch/#respond Wed, 29 Jan 2020 18:38:58 +0000 https://mind.sh/are/?p=15706 A website launch marks a significant point in building an online presence. Whether you’re a new business, existing business, non-profit, or sole proprietor, launching a new website can feel like the end. For us, it’s just the beginning. Here’s what happens post launch. Tracking and Analytics Most of the time website traffic is tracked with... View Article

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A website launch marks a significant point in building an online presence. Whether you’re a new business, existing business, non-profit, or sole proprietor, launching a new website can feel like the end. For us, it’s just the beginning.

Here’s what happens post launch.

Tracking and Analytics

Most of the time website traffic is tracked with the Google Analytics platform. This is a world class, enterprise level tracking system that leverages the google platform. You can track page visits, user flow, events and a host of other information. While it is not possible to uniquely identify a specific individual, google can also provide broad demographic information (age, gender, location, etc). 

The best way to make important site organization decisions is to use this information. By rooting your decision-making in real data, we keep opinions and misinformation out of the equation. This also means that there are less site changes overall and ensures each change benefits the majority of users.

Server and Performance

We measure traffic and server performance for a couple of weeks after launch. During this time we may find that the amount and type of traffic your site receives may result in a server upgrade. We try and estimate server size and, well, power during development, but due to the many variables associated with websites we may have to make adjustments.

Upgrading your server is a quick and easy process that does not result in any downtime, however it may come with a cost increase. We’ll communicate to you if this needs to happen.

Internet Bad Guy

Recently launched websites are often targeted in DDOS (Direct Denial of Service) attacks, hack attempts, or other phishing attacks. Hackers assume that a new websites may have vulnerabilities that have not been found. We use open source, user tested, community developed software. This helps to minimize these risks. However, we do know that it’s not a matter of if you get hacked, it’s a matter of when. When a hack or attack does happen it’s not a big deal. A DDOS attack will eventually end, typically within the hour, and a hack is cleaned up by restoring from a backup.

We are careful to only save personal financial information if it is absolutely necessary and always take the necessary precautions. On eCommerce websites we do hold user addresses and emails. If a hack happens will likely be able to tell you if this personal information was compromised, in which case all user passwords will be reset. It is your responsibility to notify your users. 

Downtime Notification

We monitor your website uptime and will automatically get notified should your website crash or become unresponsive. This downtime, if it does occur, rarely lasts for longer than a couple of minutes and does not require any notice from us. (By the time our notice would reach you the site would be back up.)

We expect all our sites to have a 99%+ uptime, currently we’re averaging 99.79% uptime across all the sites we manage (including the old ones), yours should be no different. 

Backup and Security

If you opted into our Backup and Security plan, we’re automatically creating a backup every 12 hours. Each of these backups is a potential restore point. It’s important to know that once a site is rolled back there is no way to undo it. The database, files, orders, users, etc are all rolled back to a previous state. This means that if a restore does need to happen any orders (or other site changes) made after the point of restore will not be reflected on the website, or in the backend.

We maintain redundant backups in 3 locations; two separate AWS (Amazon Web Service) accounts as well as a a digital ocean server specifically for backups. A daily backup of your database is also stored on your server separate from your live database. Your site files (excluding the database) also exists in a private git repository. So, in a worst case scenario  (where we cannot restore from a backup automatically) we will be able to rebuild your website very quickly (a matter of hours, probably.)

Site Updates

If you opted into our Backup and Security plan, plugin and other site updates are automated. While almost all updates will have little to no effect on your website, small changes to functionality or layout may happen. These will likely improve the site in some way, be it security, user interface, added features, etc. We will notify you if a large change may happen, such as changes to the WooCommerce platform, that might affect your site in some negative way. 

An update may crash your site. We do our best to make sure this does not happen, but it is possible. If this does occur we’ll find the offending update and revert it to bring the site back online. This does, however, raise a security concern. Almost all updates are security based so rolling back one of these updates leaves a publicized security hole in your website. We’ll notify you if this does happen and provide a time estimate for fixing it. 

The Future

Contrary to popular belief and the wishes of our clients, an online store does require some amount of hands-on upkeep. We cannot, (and should not), automate everything. Good, old fashioned, human intuition and interaction helps to keep the web human and user focused. This is why your team should keep as close an eye on web sales as they do shop sales… think of it as an additional sales location, complete with staff, reporting, customer support, etc.

Maintenance

We like to use the car analogy when talking about website maintenance. Just like a car, site maintenance is required for it to continue to run smoothly. Just like a car, older websites require more maintenance, often at increased cost. Just like a care, skipping or skimping on this maintenance could cause a breakdown or crash that is more expensive and time consuming to fix. Just like a care, sometimes old websites simply need to be replaced.

New Features and Refreshes

Adding functionality and refreshing your website should be something built into a long term business plan. Internet technology, user interfaces, and what users expect, changes as we move into the future. This will happen with or without you. It’s important to plan and budget for updates and site refreshes to keep your website relevant, working, and looking good. We typically suggest a site refresh every 2 years and small improvements monthly. This is a good use of your monthly retainer.

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List of All Countries HTML Select + Comma Separated List (REDUX) https://mind.sh/are/list-of-all-countries-html-select-comma-separated-list-redux/ https://mind.sh/are/list-of-all-countries-html-select-comma-separated-list-redux/#respond Sun, 12 Jan 2020 01:41:06 +0000 https://mind.sh/are/?p=15281 Comma Separated HTML Select

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Comma Separated
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czechia (Czech Republic), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, "Eswatini (fmr. ""Swaziland"")", Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine State, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

HTML Select

<select name="country">
    <option value="afghanistan">Afghanistan</option>
    <option value="albania">Albania</option>
    <option value="algeria">Algeria</option>
    <option value="andorra">Andorra</option>
    <option value="angola">Angola</option>
    <option value="antigua and barbuda">Antigua and Barbuda</option>
    <option value="argentina">Argentina</option>
    <option value="armenia">Armenia</option>
    <option value="australia">Australia</option>
    <option value="austria">Austria</option>
    <option value="azerbaijan">Azerbaijan</option>
    <option value="bahamas">Bahamas</option>
    <option value="bahrain">Bahrain</option>
    <option value="bangladesh">Bangladesh</option>
    <option value="barbados">Barbados</option>
    <option value="belarus">Belarus</option>
    <option value="belgium">Belgium</option>
    <option value="belize">Belize</option>
    <option value="benin">Benin</option>
    <option value="bhutan">Bhutan</option>
    <option value="bolivia">Bolivia</option>
    <option value="bosnia and herzegovina">Bosnia and Herzegovina</option>
    <option value="botswana">Botswana</option>
    <option value="brazil">Brazil</option>
    <option value="brunei">Brunei</option>
    <option value="bulgaria">Bulgaria</option>
    <option value="burkina faso">Burkina Faso</option>
    <option value="burundi">Burundi</option>
    <option value="côte d'ivoire">Côte d'Ivoire</option>
    <option value="cabo verde">Cabo Verde</option>
    <option value="cambodia">Cambodia</option>
    <option value="cameroon">Cameroon</option>
    <option value="canada">Canada</option>
    <option value="central african republic">Central African Republic</option>
    <option value="chad">Chad</option>
    <option value="chile">Chile</option>
    <option value="china">China</option>
    <option value="colombia">Colombia</option>
    <option value="comoros">Comoros</option>
    <option value="congo (congo-brazzaville)">Congo (Congo-Brazzaville)</option>
    <option value="costa rica">Costa Rica</option>
    <option value="croatia">Croatia</option>
    <option value="cuba">Cuba</option>
    <option value="cyprus">Cyprus</option>
    <option value="czechia (czech republic)">Czechia (Czech Republic)</option>
    <option value="democratic republic of the congo">Democratic Republic of the Congo</option>
    <option value="denmark">Denmark</option>
    <option value="djibouti">Djibouti</option>
    <option value="dominica">Dominica</option>
    <option value="dominican republic">Dominican Republic</option>
    <option value="ecuador">Ecuador</option>
    <option value="egypt">Egypt</option>
    <option value="el salvador">El Salvador</option>
    <option value="equatorial guinea">Equatorial Guinea</option>
    <option value="eritrea">Eritrea</option>
    <option value="estonia">Estonia</option>
    <option value="eswatini">Eswatini</option>
    <option value="ethiopia">Ethiopia</option>
    <option value="fiji">Fiji</option>
    <option value="finland">Finland</option>
    <option value="france">France</option>
    <option value="gabon">Gabon</option>
    <option value="gambia">Gambia</option>
    <option value="georgia">Georgia</option>
    <option value="germany">Germany</option>
    <option value="ghana">Ghana</option>
    <option value="greece">Greece</option>
    <option value="grenada">Grenada</option>
    <option value="guatemala">Guatemala</option>
    <option value="guinea">Guinea</option>
    <option value="guinea-bissau">Guinea-Bissau</option>
    <option value="guyana">Guyana</option>
    <option value="haiti">Haiti</option>
    <option value="holy see">Holy See</option>
    <option value="honduras">Honduras</option>
    <option value="hungary">Hungary</option>
    <option value="iceland">Iceland</option>
    <option value="india">India</option>
    <option value="indonesia">Indonesia</option>
    <option value="iran">Iran</option>
    <option value="iraq">Iraq</option>
    <option value="ireland">Ireland</option>
    <option value="israel">Israel</option>
    <option value="italy">Italy</option>
    <option value="jamaica">Jamaica</option>
    <option value="japan">Japan</option>
    <option value="jordan">Jordan</option>
    <option value="kazakhstan">Kazakhstan</option>
    <option value="kenya">Kenya</option>
    <option value="kiribati">Kiribati</option>
    <option value="kuwait">Kuwait</option>
    <option value="kyrgyzstan">Kyrgyzstan</option>
    <option value="laos">Laos</option>
    <option value="latvia">Latvia</option>
    <option value="lebanon">Lebanon</option>
    <option value="lesotho">Lesotho</option>
    <option value="liberia">Liberia</option>
    <option value="libya">Libya</option>
    <option value="liechtenstein">Liechtenstein</option>
    <option value="lithuania">Lithuania</option>
    <option value="luxembourg">Luxembourg</option>
    <option value="madagascar">Madagascar</option>
    <option value="malawi">Malawi</option>
    <option value="malaysia">Malaysia</option>
    <option value="maldives">Maldives</option>
    <option value="mali">Mali</option>
    <option value="malta">Malta</option>
    <option value="marshall islands">Marshall Islands</option>
    <option value="mauritania">Mauritania</option>
    <option value="mauritius">Mauritius</option>
    <option value="mexico">Mexico</option>
    <option value="micronesia">Micronesia</option>
    <option value="moldova">Moldova</option>
    <option value="monaco">Monaco</option>
    <option value="mongolia">Mongolia</option>
    <option value="montenegro">Montenegro</option>
    <option value="morocco">Morocco</option>
    <option value="mozambique">Mozambique</option>
    <option value="myanmar (formerly burma)">Myanmar (formerly Burma)</option>
    <option value="namibia">Namibia</option>
    <option value="nauru">Nauru</option>
    <option value="nepal">Nepal</option>
    <option value="netherlands">Netherlands</option>
    <option value="new zealand">New Zealand</option>
    <option value="nicaragua">Nicaragua</option>
    <option value="niger">Niger</option>
    <option value="nigeria">Nigeria</option>
    <option value="north korea">North Korea</option>
    <option value="north macedonia">North Macedonia</option>
    <option value="norway">Norway</option>
    <option value="oman">Oman</option>
    <option value="pakistan">Pakistan</option>
    <option value="palau">Palau</option>
    <option value="palestine state">Palestine State</option>
    <option value="panama">Panama</option>
    <option value="papua new guinea">Papua New Guinea</option>
    <option value="paraguay">Paraguay</option>
    <option value="peru">Peru</option>
    <option value="philippines">Philippines</option>
    <option value="poland">Poland</option>
    <option value="portugal">Portugal</option>
    <option value="qatar">Qatar</option>
    <option value="romania">Romania</option>
    <option value="russia">Russia</option>
    <option value="rwanda">Rwanda</option>
    <option value="saint kitts and nevis">Saint Kitts and Nevis</option>
    <option value="saint lucia">Saint Lucia</option>
    <option value="saint vincent and the grenadines">Saint Vincent and the Grenadines</option>
    <option value="samoa">Samoa</option>
    <option value="san marino">San Marino</option>
    <option value="sao tome and principe">Sao Tome and Principe</option>
    <option value="saudi arabia">Saudi Arabia</option>
    <option value="senegal">Senegal</option>
    <option value="serbia">Serbia</option>
    <option value="seychelles">Seychelles</option>
    <option value="sierra leone">Sierra Leone</option>
    <option value="singapore">Singapore</option>
    <option value="slovakia">Slovakia</option>
    <option value="slovenia">Slovenia</option>
    <option value="solomon islands">Solomon Islands</option>
    <option value="somalia">Somalia</option>
    <option value="south africa">South Africa</option>
    <option value="south korea">South Korea</option>
    <option value="south sudan">South Sudan</option>
    <option value="spain">Spain</option>
    <option value="sri lanka">Sri Lanka</option>
    <option value="sudan">Sudan</option>
    <option value="suriname">Suriname</option>
    <option value="sweden">Sweden</option>
    <option value="switzerland">Switzerland</option>
    <option value="syria">Syria</option>
    <option value="tajikistan">Tajikistan</option>
    <option value="tanzania">Tanzania</option>
    <option value="thailand">Thailand</option>
    <option value="timor-leste">Timor-Leste</option>
    <option value="togo">Togo</option>
    <option value="tonga">Tonga</option>
    <option value="trinidad and tobago">Trinidad and Tobago</option>
    <option value="tunisia">Tunisia</option>
    <option value="turkey">Turkey</option>
    <option value="turkmenistan">Turkmenistan</option>
    <option value="tuvalu">Tuvalu</option>
    <option value="uganda">Uganda</option>
    <option value="ukraine">Ukraine</option>
    <option value="united arab emirates">United Arab Emirates</option>
    <option value="united kingdom">United Kingdom</option>
    <option value="united states of america">United States of America</option>
    <option value="uruguay">Uruguay</option>
    <option value="uzbekistan">Uzbekistan</option>
    <option value="vanuatu">Vanuatu</option>
    <option value="venezuela">Venezuela</option>
    <option value="vietnam">Vietnam</option>
    <option value="yemen">Yemen</option>
    <option value="zambia">Zambia</option>
    <option value="zimbabwe">Zimbabwe</option>
</select>

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Web Developer vs Web Designer, what’s the difference? https://mind.sh/are/web-developer-vs-web-designer-whats-the-difference/ https://mind.sh/are/web-developer-vs-web-designer-whats-the-difference/#respond Fri, 10 Jan 2020 19:37:49 +0000 https://mind.sh/are/?p=15226 What is the difference between a web developer and a web designer? A web designer is akin to a graphic designer who designs things specifically for the internet. Website designers are able to use their artistic skill and creative energies to design the overall layout, look, and feel of a website. They use tools like... View Article

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What is the difference between a web developer and a web designer?

A web designer is akin to a graphic designer who designs things specifically for the internet. Website designers are able to use their artistic skill and creative energies to design the overall layout, look, and feel of a website. They use tools like brand guidelines, Photoshop, Illustrator, sketch books, pens, paper, etc.

A web developer is someone who writes code in support of the web designer’s work. Developers are often in charge of bridging the gap between what the designer designs and how it gets presented on a web page. Developers write code using programming languages like PHP, Java, Javascript, CSS, Ruby, etc.

There are also UX designers. These people are in charge of the ‘story’ being told on the website. You can think of these people as a type of screenwriter. They describe how users will interact with the elements that a designer designs. Then they describe how those elements move or change throughout a user’s journey.

An Example

A simple login form.

Designer

The designer will decide the fonts, colors, spacing, and layout of all the elements. This will be delivered to the team as a static image. These things focus the intent of the page and create a comfortable, trustworthy, and predictable design. (Predictable means the user knows which order to take actions… 1. Fill form, 2. Remember me 3. Click Log In.)

UX Designer

The UX designer will add animation and interactivity to the design. Features like highlighting of the active input, darkening the login button, obfuscating the password, and, depending on what the form does, a loading animation are all decided and mocked up by the UX designer. These things help users to understand what actions can be taken and what elements are currently being interacted with.

Developer

The developer steps in at the end of the design process and is responsible for writing the code associated with the interactivity, design, and the server functionality. They will write code to make the website look like the designer intended. They also write code that supports the interactions as the UX designer intended. Then they will program the website to handle the ‘back end’ functionality of that interaction. In this case a username and password are sent to the server, checked for validity, and a response is sent back (success, or denied).

Can one person do all this?

Sometimes. Modern web frameworks like Bootstrap, Flexbox Grid, and Materialize provide design and layout libraries that make this design work much faster. These frameworks provide basic toolkits that have much of the work completed. They have the disadvantage of having already made decisions for you and may or may not be right for the website or brand.

Developer toolkits also exist. These are called API’s or server side libraries. WordPress is the most popular. It provides a server side API that developers can interact with. This means they don’t have to re-write code for things like login forms which exist on just about every website.

Conclusion

Often these roles are all played by a single person. But depending on the scope of your project, these roles are often filled with teams of people. These teams can be teams of 1 or teams of 10… it just depends on the complexity and scope of the project.

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Reorganizing the Way Websites are Made https://mind.sh/are/reorganizing-the-way-websites-are-made/ https://mind.sh/are/reorganizing-the-way-websites-are-made/#respond Sun, 12 Jan 2020 01:21:12 +0000 https://mind.sh/are/?p=15270 Does design or content come first? I’ve been a professional designer for (almost) 10 years. And one question, above all other questions, has annoyed me most. Does design or content come first? This is such a ridiculous questions that I’m actually debating writing this blog about it. However, it is nice to see that professionals... View Article

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Does design or content come first?
<rant>

I’ve been a professional designer for (almost) 10 years. And one question, above all other questions, has annoyed me most. Does design or content come first?

This is such a ridiculous questions that I’m actually debating writing this blog about it. However, it is nice to see that professionals are starting to realize the thing that’s been so obvious to me for so lone. The content, must come before the design, otherwise there is nothing to design.

However, I think there is a deeper debate that’s going on here. This question is not really a question that needs asked to begin with, because neither come first. You cannot have content until you have a strategy and you cannot have a strategy until you have a goal. Basically the order is this:

Goal Strategy Content Design

To help clarify my meaning, think all the way back to the web’s predecessor: print publishing. A book publishing team didn’t even consider the design until there was a story. Before that story can be written there must be an idea. Both websites and books have a similar goal, to convey information. (Of course, web and mobile apps can also be built as tools, but that’s a different story… heh, pun intended). So, it should go without saying, and without this blog post, that design comes last.

</rant>

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Website Upkeep as a Business Owner https://mind.sh/are/website-upkeep-as-a-business-owner/ https://mind.sh/are/website-upkeep-as-a-business-owner/#respond Mon, 06 Jan 2020 21:22:16 +0000 https://mind.sh/are/?p=15101 A content management system means I don’t have to manage my content, right? Well, no. A content management system (CMS) is a tool that allows for input, formatting, and collaboration of content. It also helps to display that content correctly on your website. Think of a CMS as an intermediary between a database, and your... View Article

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A content management system means I don’t have to manage my content, right?

Well, no. A content management system (CMS) is a tool that allows for input, formatting, and collaboration of content. It also helps to display that content correctly on your website. Think of a CMS as an intermediary between a database, and your website.


Your Content

Your CMS

Your Database

Your Website

You can imagine the headache if managing your website required writing databases queries or hand writing html. What a nightmare! This is the beauty that a content management system offers.

A CMS does not create or upkeep content.

Pages

Pages are the ‘meat’ of your website content. The content that exists on your pages should always be relevant and up to date. This is the stuff that is evergreen, or always true. Things like mission statements, purpose statements, business history, and descriptions should all stay pretty consistent so that content can be placed on pages and considered evergreen. This type of content rarely needs re-visiting and is often crafted just prior to website launch.

Update Schedule: Once a quarter make small adjustments.

Blog Posts

You can think of blog posts as content that expires, or falls our of date. A blog post might not be relevant in a month or it might reference an event with an end date. It’s for this reason that blog posts are often date stamped. This tells the reader that the information may no longer be relevant. This type of content never gets revisited because it gets replaced by newer content on a revolving basis. Most of the time old blog posts automatically get placed in an ‘archive’ when newer content is published.

You’re reading a blog post now, this information may not be relevant in a year from now, but by that time it will have been replaced by newer, more relevant, content.

Update Schedule: Once a week, add a new blog post.

Products

Products are a type of specialty content that are important enough to talk about specifically. You can think of your eCommerce website as a storefront. So, like any retail store, it’s important to make sure old product is removed, prices are up to date, and that inventory is showcased in the best way possible.

Products have some basic attributes like images, descriptions, prices, stock numbers, etc that all need to be kept up to date. The majority of your time as an eCommerce website owner will be spent managing product content.

Update Schedule: Consistently, and constantly.

Specialty Content

Other types of content also exist on websites. Staff pages, portfolio images, and help docs all require their own management schedule and process. For example, a staff page might get updated when a new member starts. A help document might get updated when a certain number of customers ask a specific question. Some non profits, for example, showcase their donor list on their website. These types of content might require extra special attention to make sure it’s up to date and accurate.

Update Schedule: Depends.

Make a Plan, Create a Process

One of the things that Mindshare excels at is creating systems and processes. One such system and process is a website content management plan. These plans all have a few basics; definitions of content types, update frequency for each type, person responsible for updates.

We like to use existing tools to integrate this plan. For example, if you’ve decided that you want your blog to be updated once a week, and you already have shared calendars, then create a recurring calendar event called “Write Blog” and invite the person responsible. If you’ve decided that you want all staff members to be on your website, make gathering and updating that content part of your hiring process just like signing tax forms or getting direct deposit set up.

Products can often be a sticking point when it comes to content management. Companies like Shopify, Wix, or SquareSpace promote the idea that you can “set it and forget it.” Well, nothing can be more from the truth. If you’re selling products on your website, those products are going to require some amount of management. Whether it is updating prices, switching out photography, updating stock numbers, or adding new items, there is always some amount of hands on content updating to be done. Make this management part of your teams daily or weekly routine.

Educate Your Team

Sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to have a team to help manage website content. This is a godsend but can also cause some problems when it comes to the proper curation and management. So, it’s important that your team understands benchmarks of quality, the editorial process, and the basics of making edits. For example, do you write your blog posts offline then upload the finished piece? Or do you use your CMS’s built in editorial functions? Does someone review the content before it gets published? What is the publish schedule? What happens after the content is published? Does it get shared on social media?

Spending time thinking about this process will save time and energy in the future. So, take some time and write out your preferred process (or get us to help you with it), and then stick to it for a couple of months. Let the process settle before you revisit and make changes.

Why does all this matter?

Quality and up to date content is important for two reasons: SEO and Customer Service.

Being mindful about your content ensures that your visitors have a good experience. Just like walking into a well curated store creates a sense of trust, browsing an up to date website can also create that trust. Nothing is more damaging to your brand than an untrustworthy website.

The second reason your content is important is SEO (Search engine optimization). Google can detect when new content is added to a website. When this happens, Google assumes it’s more pertinent than older content, so, your site get’s ranked higher.

There is a third and more complex reason to keep your site updated, and it has to do with internal team trust. Your team is entrusting your website to handle intake, sales, and the first impressions. This is a HUGE responsibility. If your team loses trust in your content it will likely mean a slow and consistent loss of investment from team members.

One Last Note

The more time you spend on website content, the easier it is to manage. Just like cleaning the house, if you wait too long it becomes an all day task. Do yourself a favor and invest a small amount of time on a regular basis.

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16 Tools That Are Invaluable to Us https://mind.sh/are/15-tools-that-are-invaluable-to-us/ https://mind.sh/are/15-tools-that-are-invaluable-to-us/#respond Wed, 01 Jan 2020 23:37:35 +0000 https://mind.sh/are/?p=14931 New Year, new list post. We love talking about the tools we use to create all the amazing websites, mobile apps and designs. But, those tool are really just the tip of the ice-burg when it comes to a typical day at Mindshare. Here’s a list of the tools we use to oil the werks... View Article

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New Year, new list post. We love talking about the tools we use to create all the amazing websites, mobile apps and designs. But, those tool are really just the tip of the ice-burg when it comes to a typical day at Mindshare. Here’s a list of the tools we use to oil the werks and keep things running smooth.

Writing Code

Atom (https://atom.io/)

Atom has become our go-to code editor. It offers extendability that enables each of our developers to create an environment suited to their code writing style, yet stays simple enough that bells and whistles don’t get in the way of work.

Android Studio (https://developer.android.com/studio)

Android Studios is required if you’re going to make apps for android devices. It has down sides, but it’s a required tool.

Xcode 11 (https://developer.apple.com/xcode/)

Xcode is the portal for developing on Apple devices. Just like Android Studios, this is a required app, and one you dive in, it makes app management, upkeep, and deployment a breeze.

Productivity

Monday (https://monday.com/)

Monday is a simple, intuitive task management platform built for designers and developers. This tool helps us to stay on track no matter what we’re working on. Typically we’re working on 10-15 projects at a time, this tools ensures nothing falls through the cracks.

Google Drive (https://drive.google.com/)

Google drive is one of the most comprehensive file sharing platforms there is. We use this tool to manage client projects, share documents, create shared folders and assets, as well as a central location for any one of our business documents. If an employee needs our stock contract, it’s there. How about some stock images, in the drive. How about those resources a client email to use 3 months go? Those are in the drive.

Dropbox (https://www.dropbox.com/)

Dropbox is very similar to google drive, and to be honest I wish we could use only one. However, many of our clients often share assets via dropbox. So, we use this tool to feed it all into Google drive. (yeah, just stick your dropbox folder inside google drive.. it works wonders.)

LastPass (https://lastpass.com/)

We manage over 150 websites and mobile applications and each of those has a unique set of passwords associated with registration accounts, 3rd party integrations, hosting, etc. LastPass makes the management of those passwords secure and easy. In fact, we don’t ever need to see the password itself. Each one can be 32 characters long and completely unique. Security, productivity, easy… this one’s a favorite.

Adobe XD (https://www.adobe.com/products/xd.html)

Adobe XD is Adobe’s platform for creating app prototypes and mockups. With this tool we can create clickable, navigable prototypes in fractions of the time it would normally take to create them. Plus, it gives us the ability to share those designs, present those designs, and collaborate on those designs. It’s a incredibly fast and easy took for getting the design and layout conversation started.

Twilio (https://www.twilio.com/)

We use Twilio to route phone calls and accept incoming text messages to our office phone. It’s incredibly useful when the team is spread out and not working from the office. It also provide some pretty great analytics and spam filtering. Plus, we get to use cool robot voices.

Analytics

Google Analytics (https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/analytics/)

Google Analytics has been the gold standard in web and mobile analytics for forever. It’s free, it’s powerful, it’s (relatively) easy to use. This service get’s launched with all our websites and mobile apps.

NewRelic (https://newrelic.com/)

NewRelic is a web platform monitoring service that showcases easy metrics. We use it to ensure our servers and the apps hosted on those servers are happy and zippy.

MailGun (https://www.mailgun.com/)

Mailgun in a developer friendly SMTP service for sending, receiving and tracking email. We incorporate this service into all of our websites and mobile applications to ensure proper delivery and logging of email traffic. It’s become an invaluable resources when it comes to tracking down why email is not getting delivered to a certain account.

Accounting and Business Management

Wave (https://www.waveapps.com/)

Truth be told, I hate accounting and bill collecting. I dislike invoicing and would rather something/someone else do it for me. Wave takes the headache out it. We switched from Quickbooks awhile back and couldn’t be happier. At first we worried that lacking functionality was going to create problems, but it turned out simplicity was what we needed. It’s a fantastic platform that, honestly, get’s us paid quicker.

Google Drive (https://drive.google.com/)

Yeah, it’s on this list twice, and for good reason. All our contracts, signed documents, and business resources are at our fingertips, anywhere in the world. Plus it’s nice and secure, so that’s good.

Launch Prep

Pingdom Tools (https://tools.pingdom.com/)

This website offers some amazing insights into website speed. We always run a few tests here to squash the slowness out of websites.

Google’s Mobile Friendly Test (https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly)

Google is the gatekeeper to the web. So, it’s important we play nice with their algorithms. A mobile friendly website is one of the most important factors when it comes to search traffic. This little tools ensures that what we launch is mobile friendly.

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Theme My Login Bootstrap Styles https://mind.sh/are/theme-my-login-bootstrap-styles/ https://mind.sh/are/theme-my-login-bootstrap-styles/#respond Mon, 23 Dec 2019 00:21:20 +0000 https://mind.sh/are/?p=14607 We use bootstrap, and we use Theme My Login. How do we make Theme my login forms look and feel like bootstrap forms? We’re, of course, compiling from source using Sass, so stick this in any sass file after you’ve included bootstrap. Sass Styles

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We use bootstrap, and we use Theme My Login. How do we make Theme my login forms look and feel like bootstrap forms?

We’re, of course, compiling from source using Sass, so stick this in any sass file after you’ve included bootstrap.

Sass Styles

//Theme My login
.tml {
  .tml-message {
    @extend .alert;
    @extend .alert-primary;
  }
  .tml-label {
    color: $dark;
  }
  .tml-field {
    @extend .form-control;
  }
  .tml-field-wrap {
    margin: 0;
    @extend .form-row;
  }
  .tml-checkbox {
    margin: 15px;
  }
  .tml-button {
    @extend .btn;
    @extend .btn-primary;
  }
}

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Content is King, what does it mean!? https://mind.sh/are/content-is-king-what-does-it-mean/ https://mind.sh/are/content-is-king-what-does-it-mean/#respond Fri, 11 Oct 2019 21:02:25 +0000 https://mind.sh/are/?p=13479 Bill Gates is said to have first coined the phrase “Content is King.” And while he was not the first to mention it, his use of the phrase placed it at the top of the SEO strategists most sought after memes. And, it remains true today even though he said it way back in the... View Article

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Bill Gates is said to have first coined the phrase “Content is King.” And while he was not the first to mention it, his use of the phrase placed it at the top of the SEO strategists most sought after memes. And, it remains true today even though he said it way back in the ancient internet times of 1996. Here is his essay, (thanks @HeathEvans!)

So, what makes content so good?

Before we can dive into an answer, we first must understand what content actually is and what it’s a king of. Content on the internet comes in various forms; news, podcast, blog post, infographics, charts, e-books, white-papers, email newsletters, case studies, how-to-guides, videos, interviews and so on. Each of these forms can entertain or inform. And most can do both. These things are the content of which we speak of.

When we use the phrase “content is king” we’re typically comparing to all the other web practices that we might participate in, these are the things it’s a king of. These other things include development, organization, social media, promotion, marketing, publishing, ect. Here’s the rub; content is included in all those practices, hence why it’s the king of them. You cannot market if you don’t have content, you cannot post to social media without content, you cannot publish a website without content. In other words, content is central to the success of any website and required for virtually every internet practice.

What’s it good for?

It’s Great for SEO.

High quality and engaging content has a huge impact on SEO and search engines rankings. First, it helps to organically rank a website for relevant search terms and keywords. Google, Bing, and Yahoo, will better understand your site and it’s content (if it’s good content). As a result, you’ll get high quality visitors.

It encourages engagement.

If your content is genuinely good it might encourage a user to share it on social media, or write about you on their blog, or talk about you to their friends. At the very least, users will pause to consume the content which will help them to understand your brand message. This understanding goes a long way when it comes to creating brand awareness and trust. If your content is not good, then your visitors will just scroll past.

Content adds value.

Good content educates users about your brand and your products. The more a customer understands, the more they will value your offering. Good content can literally enable you to increase your prices. When people have an emotional investment in a product, they will pay more for it (just look at Apple).

Content increases traffic.

The more engaging content you have on the site, the more your visitors will be inspired to come back or stay longer. This means you have more opportunities to land them as a customer. Plus, if they consume enough of your content they will become a brand ambassador for you, meaning they’ll start talking about your content, essentially marketing your company for you, for free.

What makes good content?

It must be original.

Google punishes you for re-used or re-hashed content. Seriously, if you take content from another website, google will decrease your search rankings, plus, thats stealing. So, don’t do it.

Original content does not mean taking an old idea and saying it in a new way. Originality goes a long way. If your content is the same old content that’s everywhere then nobody is going to share or link to it, and that’s the whole point of original content. For example: this blog post probably wont get shared… content is talk about everywhere.

Write awesome headlines.

A good headline engages our curiosity muscle. Your headlines should pose a questions and make a statement all at once. A good headline should be quick, easy to read, and appropriate to your audience. But, it should be general enough to engage new audience members. If you’re going to spend time writing your content, then write a good headline. Rhyms are cool 😉

Make your content actionable.

Your content should provide something for your readers to do, right now. Good content should provide readers with a sense of how to apply your information. They should know what to do with it, but it should also respect them. Put some trust into your audience and allow them to know what’s best. Present tips and ideas, not systems and processes.

Demonstrate Passion

The single most appealing attribute of a person is passion. This is true in dating and this is true in content. If you present you content with passion, people will engage with it more. Your enthusiasm will shine through and your readers will trust and engage more. This passion helps to create an emotional investment in what you have to say. It’s easier for a customer to believe, if you demonstrate that belief first.

Start Conversations

The very first course I took in college was a course called “Joining the Conversation.” This course focused on defining the conversations around you and then joining them. As business owners or brand leaders we need to be in charge defining our own conversation, and making it easy for people to join. This is the main focus of social media, but we can do a lot to engage our audience with our content as well. Ask questions, offer information, engage in conversation. It does no good to shout into a void and hope someone is listening, we must converse. Unfortunately, there’s an entire internet between us and our audience.

But, how??

Good question. Technology companies like Mindshare are focused on creating a more connected world through technology. Social media sites (as much as we hate them) have made this connection easier. There are tools, ideas, resources and just fun things that can help us engage in conversation. So, use them! Get on social media and hang out. Talk about yourself throughout the internet. Try out influencer marketing, reach out to other brands, create collaborations, go to events.

There is no definite formula for the success of your business or your brand, so experiment as much as you can! Then, of course, measure your success and refine your tactics.

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List of All US States HTML + Comma Separated https://mind.sh/are/list-of-all-us-states-html-comma-separated/ https://mind.sh/are/list-of-all-us-states-html-comma-separated/#respond Tue, 12 Nov 2019 01:56:00 +0000 https://mind.sh/are/?p=15286 Comma Separated HTML Select Abbreviations Comma Separated Select List Bonus! Select List w/ Abbreviation as Value Extra Bonus! The code I used to make these lists:

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Comma Separated
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

HTML Select

<select name="state">
    <option value="alabama">Alabama</option>
    <option value="alaska">Alaska</option>
    <option value="arizona">Arizona</option>
    <option value="arkansas">Arkansas</option>
    <option value="california">California</option>
    <option value="colorado">Colorado</option>
    <option value="connecticut">Connecticut</option>
    <option value="delaware">Delaware</option>
    <option value="florida">Florida</option>
    <option value="georgia">Georgia</option>
    <option value="hawaii">Hawaii</option>
    <option value="idaho">Idaho</option>
    <option value="illinois">Illinois</option>
    <option value="indiana">Indiana</option>
    <option value="iowa">Iowa</option>
    <option value="kansas">Kansas</option>
    <option value="kentucky">Kentucky</option>
    <option value="louisiana">Louisiana</option>
    <option value="maine">Maine</option>
    <option value="maryland">Maryland</option>
    <option value="massachusetts">Massachusetts</option>
    <option value="michigan">Michigan</option>
    <option value="minnesota">Minnesota</option>
    <option value="mississippi">Mississippi</option>
    <option value="missouri">Missouri</option>
    <option value="montana">Montana</option>
    <option value="nebraska">Nebraska</option>
    <option value="nevada">Nevada</option>
    <option value="new-hampshire">New Hampshire</option>
    <option value="new-jersey">New Jersey</option>
    <option value="new-mexico">New Mexico</option>
    <option value="new-york">New York</option>
    <option value="north-carolina">North Carolina</option>
    <option value="north-dakota">North Dakota</option>
    <option value="ohio">Ohio</option>
    <option value="oklahoma">Oklahoma</option>
    <option value="oregon">Oregon</option>
    <option value="pennsylvania">Pennsylvania</option>
    <option value="rhode-island">Rhode Island</option>
    <option value="south-carolina">South Carolina</option>
    <option value="south-dakota">South Dakota</option>
    <option value="tennessee">Tennessee</option>
    <option value="texas">Texas</option>
    <option value="utah">Utah</option>
    <option value="vermont">Vermont</option>
    <option value="virginiae">Virginia</option>
    <option value="washington">Washington</option>
    <option value="west-virginia">West Virginia</option>
    <option value="wisconsin">Wisconsin</option>
    <option value="wyoming">Wyoming</option>
</select>

Abbreviations

Comma Separated

AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY

Select List

<select name="state">
    <option value="al">AL</option>
    <option value="ak">AK</option>
    <option value="az">AZ</option>
    <option value="ar">AR</option>
    <option value="ca">CA</option>
    <option value="co">CO</option>
    <option value="ct">CT</option>
    <option value="de">DE</option>
    <option value="fl">FL</option>
    <option value="ga">GA</option>
    <option value="hi">HI</option>
    <option value="id">ID</option>
    <option value="il">IL</option>
    <option value="in">IN</option>
    <option value="ia">IA</option>
    <option value="ks">KS</option>
    <option value="ky">KY</option>
    <option value="la">LA</option>
    <option value="me">ME</option>
    <option value="md">MD</option>
    <option value="ma">MA</option>
    <option value="mi">MI</option>
    <option value="mn">MN</option>
    <option value="ms">MS</option>
    <option value="mo">MO</option>
    <option value="mt">MT</option>
    <option value="ne">NE</option>
    <option value="nv">NV</option>
    <option value="nh">NH</option>
    <option value="nj">NJ</option>
    <option value="nm">NM</option>
    <option value="ny">NY</option>
    <option value="nc">NC</option>
    <option value="nd">ND</option>
    <option value="oh">OH</option>
    <option value="ok">OK</option>
    <option value="or">OR</option>
    <option value="pa">PA</option>
    <option value="ri">RI</option>
    <option value="sc">SC</option>
    <option value="sd">SD</option>
    <option value="tn">TN</option>
    <option value="tx">TX</option>
    <option value="ut">UT</option>
    <option value="vt">VT</option>
    <option value="va">VA</option>
    <option value="wa">WA</option>
    <option value="wv">WV</option>
    <option value="wi">WI</option>
    <option value="wy">WY</option>
</select>

Bonus! Select List w/ Abbreviation as Value

<select name="state">
    <option value="al">Alabama</option>
    <option value="ak">Alaska</option>
    <option value="az">Arizona</option>
    <option value="ar">Arkansas</option>
    <option value="ca">California</option>
    <option value="co">Colorado</option>
    <option value="ct">Connecticut</option>
    <option value="de">Delaware</option>
    <option value="fl">Florida</option>
    <option value="ga">Georgia</option>
    <option value="hi">Hawaii</option>
    <option value="id">Idaho</option>
    <option value="il">Illinois</option>
    <option value="in">Indiana</option>
    <option value="ia">Iowa</option>
    <option value="ks">Kansas</option>
    <option value="ky">Kentucky</option>
    <option value="la">Louisiana</option>
    <option value="me">Maine</option>
    <option value="md">Maryland</option>
    <option value="ma">Massachusetts</option>
    <option value="mi">Michigan</option>
    <option value="mn">Minnesota</option>
    <option value="ms">Mississippi</option>
    <option value="mo">Missouri</option>
    <option value="mt">Montana</option>
    <option value="ne">Nebraska</option>
    <option value="nv">Nevada</option>
    <option value="nh">New Hampshire</option>
    <option value="nj">New Jersey</option>
    <option value="nm">New Mexico</option>
    <option value="ny">New York</option>
    <option value="nc">North Carolina</option>
    <option value="nd">North Dakota</option>
    <option value="oh">Ohio</option>
    <option value="ok">Oklahoma</option>
    <option value="or">Oregon</option>
    <option value="pa">Pennsylvania</option>
    <option value="ri">Rhode Island</option>
    <option value="sc">South Carolina</option>
    <option value="sd">South Dakota</option>
    <option value="tn">Tennessee</option>
    <option value="tx">Texas</option>
    <option value="ut">Utah</option>
    <option value="vt">Vermont</option>
    <option value="va">Virginia</option>
    <option value="wa">Washington</option>
    <option value="wv">West Virginia</option>
    <option value="wi">Wisconsin</option>
    <option value="wy">Wyoming</option>
</select>

Extra Bonus!

The code I used to make these lists:

<?php 
$abbreviations = "AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY";
$abbreviations = explode(', ', $abbreviations);
$states = "Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming";
$states = explode(', ', $states);

$new_array = array();
foreach ($states as $key => $state) :
  $new_array[$abbreviations[$key]] = $state;
endforeach;

echo '<select name="state">';
foreach ($new_array as $key => $item) :
  echo '<option value="' . sanitize_title(strtolower($key)) . '">' . $item . '</option>';
endforeach;
echo '</select>';

foreach ($new_array as $key => $item) :
  echo $item;
  if(next($new_array)) {
    echo ', ';
  }
endforeach;
?>

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Most Common Problems with Small Business Websites https://mind.sh/are/most-common-problems-with-small-business-websites/ https://mind.sh/are/most-common-problems-with-small-business-websites/#respond Thu, 20 Jun 2019 21:19:26 +0000 https://mind.sh/are/?p=13462 Whenever we take on new clients or build new websites, we do a lot of research. This research mostly entails learning what we can about the applicable industry, finding competitors, and looking for ways we can improve web practices in our client’s field. So, it goes without saying, that we see more websites than the... View Article

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Whenever we take on new clients or build new websites, we do a lot of research. This research mostly entails learning what we can about the applicable industry, finding competitors, and looking for ways we can improve web practices in our client’s field. So, it goes without saying, that we see more websites than the average person. Here are the most common problems we see.

1) Not Mobile Friendly

It’s amazing to me that business still have sites that are not mobile friendly. It was all the way back in 2016 that mobile traffic outpaced desktop traffic. Everyone should have a mobile first website. Everyone should assume the majority of traffic arrives via a mobile device.

“But, most of my clients are desktop users!” Well, that’s because your site is not mobile friendly.

“But, most of my visitors are older!” Older generations still use mobile phones, but more importantly, even if they don’t you’re still missing out on everyone who does.

If a site is not mobile friendly, it’s well past its expiration date. This can cause dramatic SEO problems and likely means the site is actively working against your business.

2) There is no SSL certificate

An SSL certificate provides a secure connection between your website’s server and your visitor. Without this secure connection it’s possible for a 3rd party to intercept the connection. This can be a major security concern as it means any information the user provides is accessible by that 3rd party. You can tell if you’re on a secure connection by looking for a little lock icon in the address bar.

In late 2017 (almost 2 years ago!) Google Chrome, the web’s most popular browser, started showing a security warning to users if their connection is not secure. Often, this means people just leave and head to another, secure, competitor. Also, your site wont show up in search results unless it’s secure.

Can you imagine finding out that your site’s traffic was being intercepted by hackers? All of your clients (new and potential) are now compromised. (BTW, Mindshare provides SSL certs at no cost on all our projects, as every web development company should.)

3) It’s, just, ugly

Good design generates confidence. If a user is not confident in your company, why would they hire or purchase from you? A bad design can turn people away. So, what is good design? That’s an entire article, but it mostly boils down to the professional use of color, imagery, negative space, shape, proportion, and user experience. All of these things work together to provide the user with a working, easy to read website.

4) It’s slooooooow

A slow website is a bad website. As a web developer, part of my job is to create functionality that doesn’t compromise speed, or weigh the speed decrease with the use-fullness of the functionality. But, more and more, I notice sites that don’t have any functionality and are slow.

As a general rule, we like to see sites load in less than 3 seconds unless there is a really good reason for it taking longer. Anything more than 5-6 second is unacceptable. There are many reasons a website loads slow but most often it’s either bad web hosting, large images, or bloated code. BTW, we can fix all of these issues.

5) Bad or Inconsistent Messaging

Your business website is often the first impression. So, it must provide a clear description of who you are, what you do, and a call to action. Without those 3 things your website is dead, it’s offering no value.

The people visiting your website are there for a reason, it’s your job as a business owner to understand that reason, and give it to them. Are they there for research? Provide them with information. Are they there to make a purchase? Offer them products. Are they looking to hire you? Let them know what you do!

Often bad messaging comes from some sort of design gimmick. Yes, your site should look good, but a good design takes messaging into account. You don’t need to messaging one for design or visa versa.

6) No call to action or next steps.

If a person is visiting your website, chances are they know nothing about you. Therefore, they don’t know your on-boarding process, or how to get started. Adding next steps is easy for eCommerce websites, typically you just make a purchase and bam, done. But for service providers it can be a little more complicated. So, make it obvious. Do you want them to call? Or fill out a contact form? Do you want them to email you? Or do you want them to come to your office? Do you not want them to come to your office? Be explicit in how you want to make first contact.

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Now Hiring Content Specialist https://mind.sh/are/now-hiring-content-specialist-2/ https://mind.sh/are/now-hiring-content-specialist-2/#respond Tue, 04 Jun 2019 18:55:50 +0000 https://mind.sh/are/?p=13453 Content Writer/Researcher in Santa Fe, NM Join an award-winning interactive design agency in Santa Fe. Mindshare Labs is looking for a motivated content writer to help us create and manage the development, upkeep, and SEO of stunning interactive user experiences for the web. The job requires solid WordPress backend understanding, experience in writing the web, basic website analytics,... View Article

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Content Writer/Researcher in Santa Fe, NM

Join an award-winning interactive design agency in Santa Fe. Mindshare Labs is looking for a motivated content writer to help us create and manage the development, upkeep, and SEO of stunning interactive user experiences for the web. The job requires solid WordPress backend understanding, experience in writing the web, basic website analytics, research fundamentals, and an understanding of SEO implementation and optimization.

Limited on-the-job training will be provided as needed for the right candidate. Qualified candidates will be self-motivated, possess a valid driver’s license, have the ability to problem solve and to work efficiently under pressure with a desire and capability to function in a small team and startup atmosphere.

Have a question before you apply? Send us an email at: support@mindsharelabs.com 

Job Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA (remote for the right candidate)
Employee Status: Full or Part Time
Start Date: Immediately

Job Responsibilities

  • Writing blogs and website content for various clients.
  • Researching relevant content topics, fact-checking, and analyzing current sources.
  • Create month and year-long content strategies and demonstrate their success.
  • Maintain Editorial calendars for a variety of clients.
  • Must be articulate and able to communicate effectively with clients (both verbally and in writing).
  • Self-motivated and able to work under pressure, the ideal candidate will have strong attention to detail.
  • Experience with HTML and CSS is a plus.

Job Requirements

  • A solid understanding of WordPress CMS
  • Strong computer skills/tech savvy
  • Writing, editing, and researching.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation

Additional Job Skills (not mandatory)

  • Basic graphic design skills and photo editing.
  • Basic photography skills.

Compensation

  • $22.50+ per hour, depending on experience
  • 9 days paid vacation (full-time employees)
  • 1 week paid sick leave (full-time employees)
  • 7 paid holidays
  • Personal Development Reimbursement Plan
  • Flexible schedule (we’re generally in the office 8:00-6:00 T-F)
  • Free web hosting for personal projects
  • Relaxed work environment

Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster. Mindshare Labs, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer.

Apply Now

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Now Hiring Lead Web & JavaScript Developer https://mind.sh/are/now-hiring-lead-web-javascript-developer/ https://mind.sh/are/now-hiring-lead-web-javascript-developer/#respond Tue, 04 Jun 2019 18:48:03 +0000 https://mind.sh/are/?p=13448 Web Development in Santa Fe, NM Join an award-winning interactive design agency in Santa Fe. Mindshare Labs is looking for a motivated developer to help us create and manage the development of stunning interactive user experiences for mobile and web. The job requires solid PHP and JavaScript development ability, responsive design fundamentals and an understanding of Agile software methodology. Limited... View Article

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Web Development in Santa Fe, NM

Join an award-winning interactive design agency in Santa Fe. Mindshare Labs is looking for a motivated developer to help us create and manage the development of stunning interactive user experiences for mobile and web. The job requires solid PHP and JavaScript development ability, responsive design fundamentals and an understanding of Agile software methodology.

Limited on-the-job training will be provided as needed for the right candidate. Qualified candidates will be self-motivated, possess a valid driver’s license, have the ability to problem solve and to work efficiently under pressure with a desire and capability to function in a small team and startup atmosphere.

Have a question before you apply? Send us an email at: support@mindsharelabs.com 

Job Location: Miguel Chavez Rd, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA (remote for the right candidate)
Employee Status: Full-time (preferably)
Start Date: Immediately

Job Responsibilities

  • WordPress development for web and mobile (themes, plugins, customizations)
  • Code troubleshooting, testing, documentation and maintenance
  • Must be articulate and able to communicate effectively with clients (both verbally and in writing)
  • Self-motivated and able to work under pressure, the ideal candidate will have strong attention to detail
  • Frontend development with HTML5 and CSS3

Job Requirements

  • A solid understanding of WordPress CMS
  • A solid understanding of PHP
  • Experience with modern JavaScript frameworks
  • Strong computer skills/tech savvy
  • JS testing / debugging skills
  • Knowledge of HTML5, CSS3 and modern web standards
  • Functional knowledge of common database systems (MongoDB, mySQL, etc)
  • Possess a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation

Additional Job Skills (not mandatory)

  • Knowledge of LESS or SASS and Twitter Bootstrap
  • JS development experience
  • Basic graphic design skills
  • Git version control
  • Agile development methodology
  • Linux server administration

Compensation

  • $46,800 – $60,400 per year, depending on experience
  • 9 days paid vacation (full-time employees)
  • 1 week paid sick leave (full-time employees)
  • 7 paid holidays
  • Exercise reimbursement plan
  • Flexible schedule (generally 8:00-6:00 T-F, 4 ten- or 5 eight-hour day options)
  • Free web hosting for personal projects
  • Relaxed work environment

Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster. Mindshare Labs, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer.

Apply Now

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8 reasons blogging is important for your business. https://mind.sh/are/8-reasons-blogging-is-important-for-your-business/ https://mind.sh/are/8-reasons-blogging-is-important-for-your-business/#respond Wed, 29 May 2019 18:43:09 +0000 https://mind.sh/are/?p=13419 Is blogging for my business website really necessary? This is a question I often receive, particularly from small business owners. As a person who has witnessed firsthand what content marketing can help a business to achieve, my answer is always yes! The importance of blogging in the modern business environment cannot be overemphasized. Today, people... View Article

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Is blogging for my business website really necessary? This is a question I often receive, particularly from small business owners. As a person who has witnessed firsthand what content marketing can help a business to achieve, my answer is always yes!

The importance of blogging in the modern business environment cannot be overemphasized. Today, people turn to the Internet for answers to almost every question they have. Blogging is an excellent way to provide your readership and potential customers with reliable information about your industry and build credibility in the process. If you’re still on the fence, below are the top eight benefits that should persuade you to take action and start blogging for your business right away.

1. Drive More People to Your Website

There are billions of web pages on the Internet. What are the odds that someone searching for something about your industry will land on your website? If your site doesn’t have adequate content that is useful to the major search engines, the chances are pretty slim. Blogging, in this case, can be compared to fishing. The more hooks you sink into the water, the more likely it is for you to catch a fish. Similarly, with every new blog that you publish comes an extra webpage that will be indexed by major search engines. As such, blogging is an effective way of enhancing your organic search visibility and driving more people to your website.

2. Become an Authority in your Industry

Everyone wants to be associated with the greatest or best businesses and professionals in any given industry. Blogging for your business is one of the best ways of establishing your business as a leader in your industry and yourself as a leading expert in your field. Blogging gives you a platform on which you can share important insights and information concerning your industry. As you do this, people will start to recognize you as an authority in the niche. Therefore, the familiarity of your brand will be enhanced, and consequently, potential customers will find it easy to trust you when they are eventually ready to buy.

3. Keep your Website Looking Fresh

When you fail to add fresh content to your website constantly, it can become boring and monotonous, and consequently, it will suffer poor ranking on major search engines. Therefore, freshness is a factor you should consider if you want more customers on your website every day. In fact, the Google search engine likes fresh content being published regularly, and it rewards the website owners that do so with enhanced visibility. In other words, publishing high-quality blog posts on a regular basis will go a long way in boosting Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is because fresh content is more likely to be up-to-date and news-related, making it more useful to search engines. In addition, blogging will help your website to benefit immensely from the exposure for trending internet searches.

4. Connect with New and Existing Customers

Customer engagement is an integral component of online marketing and branding. Blogging provides business owners with the opportunity for more meaningful engagements with the existing and potential customers. By having an active comment section on your blog or sharing your blog posts on your social media sites, your audience can get into a conversation with you by leaving their responses. You can also respond directly to them, and in the process, build trust and strong relationships. In a nutshell, blogging is a solid online marketing approach that can help you to keep your customer base intact or even expand it to take your business to the next level.

5. Generate More Leads

Lead generation has to do initiating a customer’s interest in a given product or service. Studies show that the more pages a website has, the more leads it gets. Therefore, if a website has, for example, over four hundred pages, it is likely to generate significantly more leads than a website with less than a hundred pages. In other words, the more blogs posts you post on your website, the more leads you generate. To be precise, with more content on your site, you are likely to get more quote requests, more email opt-ins, and consequently, more sales.

6. Encourage People to Share

If you decide to fill your website with sales information, nobody will be willing to read it, let alone share it with others. However, if you invest in blogging, you will be creating content that people would like to read and even share. By offering the opportunity for people to share your content, your blog posts acquire the potential to attract viral traffic. This implies that blogging can expose your business to the possibilities of exponential market growth. With billions of people using email and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, there is nothing your business cannot achieve if you invest in creating blog posts that people can enjoy reading and invite others to read.

7. Humanize your Brand

Although homepage, contact page, products page, and about page are important organs of a business website, they can’t achieve much when it comes to showing people the personal side of your business. In addition to touching on issues of interest and concern to people visiting your website, blogging enables you to share the things that you and the people you work with are passionate about. You can use the unique opportunity that a blog affords you to share your personality and voice. This can, consequently, help you to build and make your brand even more likable.

8. Generate Inbound Links

Inbound links are an essential pillar of SEO. Without a blog, it is going to be very hard for you to attract authoritative links to your website. On the other hand, blogging allows you to regularly publish high-quality content which could serve as a source for other bloggers and even media outlets. As other authors reference and cite your content in their articles, you will naturally accumulate more inbound links. The inbound like will not only boost your SEO but also generate referral traffic back to your website.

The Takeaway

Overall, it is apparent that the importance of blogging for your business cannot be overlooked. Indeed, if you want to enhance the online presence of your business, you have to update your website with fresh content continually. There is no easier way of doing this than blogging. However, you could be reading this and wondering how you could manage all this when your schedule is already tight. Luckily, you can hire us to do it for you. We are a top ranking copywriting services provider with the necessary experience and technical know-how to get the job done efficiently. Get in touch with us today for more information on our SEO and copywriting services.

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Our Most Asked Questions https://mind.sh/are/our-most-asked-questions/ https://mind.sh/are/our-most-asked-questions/#respond Fri, 15 Feb 2019 04:21:01 +0000 http://mind.sh/are/?p=13383 We talk to a lot of clients. As a result we hear the same questions quite a lot. Here are their answers.

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How do I get to the top of Google’s search results?

The short answer is you need to have perceived authority and relevance to the user’s search term. Google’s search algorithm tries to rank websites based on how ‘authoritative’ they seem on the user query and based on how well your content matches the search. So, how do you become more authoritative? Well, you write about that subject, a lot, on your website. (Plus, make sure all of your technical SEO stuff is in order.)

Why do I need people to visit my website?

Most people, when looking to hire or buy something, start with an internet search. If your site doesn’t show up, you’re never considered. Secondly, your website drives more sales. Whether or not you sell products on your website, it can help to drive people to your storefront (or your office), and provides a way to generate leads.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Basically, this is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search results. But, the truth is, that’s not enough. If users end up on your website but never interact with it, then a high ranking doesn’t matter. That’s why Mindshare focuses on the entire customer journey, from search to sale.

Can you build [insert cool project here]?

Yes, probably. If it can be built on the web, we can do it. We’ve designed, built and launched hundreds of web and mobile applications that do everything from sell products to teach doctors. We love new and exciting projects and want to work on them!

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Presidential Candidate Website Design https://mind.sh/are/presidential-candidate-website-design/ https://mind.sh/are/presidential-candidate-website-design/#respond Wed, 08 May 2019 20:00:09 +0000 http://mind.sh/are/?p=13323 Here at Mindshare we talk a lot about why it’s important to hire a designer, especially when it comes to branding. Like any other profession, there is a wealth of knowledge associated with design that is not readily apparent to the layman. Take, for example, political website design. Book publishers spend a lot of time... View Article

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Here at Mindshare we talk a lot about why it’s important to hire a designer, especially when it comes to branding. Like any other profession, there is a wealth of knowledge associated with design that is not readily apparent to the layman. Take, for example, political website design.

Book publishers spend a lot of time (and money) on cover design. Candidates, likewise, spend a lot on their landing pages. Whether consciously or not, voters make judgements based on design factors. My theory is that if a politician doesn’t understand how to present themself, then they’ll have a hard time presenting other ideas as well. We can gain a lot from the design choices they make.

While there are many, many things associated with design, I’d like to focus on 3 key areas; colors, typography, and layout.

Colors

As I’m sure most are well aware, we see our flag’s colors most often. Red, white, and blue, together, have become a symbol for the good ol’ USA. However, this year we’re seeing candidates branch out and use other colors, most notably by our female candidates.

The first couple of years of the Trump presidency has been tumultuous. The relentless attack on minorities, our civil liberties, and, basically, anyone not white has caused the Democratic party to lean left in opposition of these ideals. In doing so they’ve had to re-define what patriotism really is. Many of the democratic candidates define patriotism as an inclusive, multicultural, society in search of equality. This is represented in their color choices.

After years of red, white, and blue our mainstream woman candidates — Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Tulsi Gabbard — are embracing color palettes that break from the norm. In doing this these candidates are able to re-establish an identify without the cultural weight of past (or current) candidates.

Elizabeth
Warren

Kamala
Harris

Kristen
Gillibrand

Tulsi
Gabbard

Elizabeth Warren has a familiar red and blue (though they differ from the standard) but, she’s also thrown in a very refreshing mint green. This gives off a fitting activist vibe.

Kamala Harris’s pallet is similar in that she chose two colors that are close to blue and red (a purple and a desaturated red-orange), but threw in a butter-like yellow. Kamala Harris has talked about Shirley Chisholm a bit during her campaign and this yellow is likely a homage to her. Plus it establishes her campaign as an authentic celebration of America’s multiculturalism.

Kirsten Gillibrand’s pallet is a far departure from the standard red, white and blue. She has a long track record as a feminist, so it’s no surprise she chose “pussy hat” pink in as the leading color.

Tulsi Gabbard uses a very bright red-orange as a dominant, main color. In the leading image on her site she’s not only wearing her bright red-orange, the background is a radiant splash of it as well. Her other colors are so close to black and white, one could say she’s chosen only one color, a refreshing and bold choice. Although, these colors could also be described as red, white, and blue when not placed in next to any other colors for comparison.

As for our leading male candidates, it’s interesting that the established politicians are running with red, white, and blue, while our new (non-established) candidates are breaking with the norm.

Bernie
Sanders

Joe
Biden

Beto
O’Rourke

Pete
Buttigieg

Donald
Trump

United States Flag Colors

Bernie Sanders is using two different blues. The lighter, sky blue, is a refreshing and interesting choice. It offers a refreshing, relaxed, take on the standard blue which will undoubtedly help to counter his “crazy old guy” vibe.

Joe Biden is probably the most established candidate in the field and his campaign colors show it. I wont be surprised if this is damaging to his campaign. It’s almost as though he’s running on the established ideals, which we know democratic voters are not down with.

Beto O’Rourke’s website color pallet is, by far, the most interesting. He’s chosen to go with a stark black and white. This has the effect of pushing photos to the foreground, which is nice as it establishes him as an energetic rockstar-esque figure. After all, his charisma is what catapulted him to national stardom during his senate race. I’m sure he’s hoping his rugged good looks and energetic photo choices appeal to voters… it’s worked in the past.

Pete Buttigieg’s color pallet is very similar to our leading women in it’s risk taking. Among the 5 candidates we are reviewing, he stands out. The refreshing yellow and sky blue establish him as an edgy, forward thinking, progressive candidate. The yellow screams inclusion and multiculturalism.

Note: I think we’re going to be talking about yellow for a long time in politics.

It’s no surprise that Donald Trump is using red, white, and blue. His colors are a bit more desaturated from that of Joe Biden making him feel somehow more gritty. Of all the candidates, his color pallet is the least risky. In fact, one would have a hard time seeing a difference between this pallet and that of the US flag.


Layout

Website layout tells us a lot about the priorities of these candidates, and how they handle the complex communication of ideas. Content hierarchy and use of white space tell us what candidates are deeming important.

As a whole, political website layouts don’t differ that much from website to website. All of them lead with a photograph or autoplaying video, and all use bold typography to introduce tag-lines or ideas. However, there are a few that stand out.

Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi Gabbard’s landing page is straight forward, and simple in concept. She’s the only candidate that uses a flat, single color background (instead of a gradient, photo or video.) Unfortunately this makes her site come off as a commercial brand, maybe an airline, instead of a candidate. There is also a nice, subtle, animation in the photo… check it out to see what I mean.

This site does have a nice feature in that no matter the size of your screen the bottom menu is always visible. This menu UX choice is important and very well done.

Kamala Harris

This landing page seems directionless. It’s almost as though the form on the right was an afterthought or designed by someone else. The fonts in the placeholders don’t match and we’ve broken the grid in a weird way. Tho whole site sorta feels like an old, in need of refreshing, website from the early 2000’s. I’m not impressed.

Elizabeth Warren

There are some great ideas here. I love that the headline is engaging in presentation and as content. Though, the placement of the logo and lack of photography make it feel like an edgy magazine.

One thing I hate about her site is a weird horizontal scroll just under the banner. It makes navigating the landing page a pain, and very slow. Doing away with the weird horizontal scroll would make everything under it more accessible. As it stands, I’d be surprised if many people at all make it to the content below that section.

I’m not a fan of the hamburger menu… there is just not enough navigation to warrant it. I’d like to see the 6 items in that menu visible from the start.

Pete Buttigieg

The very first thing I noticed is the distinct lack of a last name (maybe because I was looking for spelling). This is probably a good thing as it’s a hard name to pronounce (it’s butt-edge-edge) and spell. However, this design is nice and simple, to the point, and easy. He hasn’t hidden his navigation and the call to action is evident.

The photo is weird to me. He’s looking in the wrong direction and crossed arms give the impression of a closed off nature. I’d like to see a better choice here.

The rest of the page features some nice grid breaking layouts that help to carry his “Fresh Start” idea, the layout is different and unique. I will say, though, that the navigation disappears when you scroll down. While this might be a choice, we are left little context on the rest of the page… and no ability to navigate without scrolling up… a problem on long pages. Note: I should take this note on Mindshare’s Website… practice what you preach.

Kirsten Gillibrand

Brave is definitely the word I would use in describing this site. It’s bold, interesting and unique. But it does have it’s problems. Most notably the word “wins” is cut off. From a web development perspective that’s an easy fix. Actually, in playing with the code I was able to fix it with a single line of code… there is a lot of negative space above her headline to allow this.

I’m not incredibly excited about her various button sizes and widths (see join, donate, and volunteer). I’d like to see the same treatment across those buttons. They should all have a background, or not; they should all have an icon, or not; and they should probably all be the same width. This same note can be applied to the navigation… those items should be vertically centered in relation to each other.

The layout is bold, but relentless in its presentation. It’s almost tiring to look at and read. I’d like to see more negative space, more time to parse what she’s presenting. So, good bold choices, but the site needs some refinement.

Bernie Sanders

Bernie’s site is to the point and simple. His landing page is the simplest of them all as it doesn’t scroll much below the main banner. However, the small amount of text below “Not Me. Us.” is completely lost. I’ve read it a couple of times, but couldn’t tell you what it says off the top of my head.

The auto play video in the background is a nice touch. He’s using footage from his 2016 campaign likely hoping to re-energize his supporters. It’s nice to see the movement and his charisma presented as he’s one of the oldest candidates running. Although, from a technical standpoint, that video doesn’t play in some browsers… not a huge deal but something to consider.

Joe Biden

This website is simple, direct and well done. His site is meant to feel relaxed and effortless. This allows him to be specific in his call to action and in his design. (I mean, his tie matches the font colors.) There is a generous use of white space which is nice and elegant.

From a photographic standpoint I’d like to see his shirt not blend into the background… although that feels a little nit-picky as the design is well executed.

The UX of the site is a little lacking. As I scroll down, the menu navigation doesn’t follow me, but the donation menu does. This is an odd choice, but does present his priorities clearly…. and unfortunately.

Also, check out the bold choice of putting the word ‘president’ right under his name.

Beto O’Rourke

This site has a similar layout to Bernie Sander’s home page. There is nothing below the main banner and his paragraph text is mostly lost to the bolder elements around it. His headline could be a statement and a call to action making the words below it useless. I’m not a huge fan of the sweaty photograph, but it is a nice departure from the clean presentational look all the other candidates are rockin’.

His navigation menu is executed well. It could be a bit bolder and more present, but it works well as a second thought.

Donald Trump

This is one the least successful candidate website of the bunch. It’s void of any risk taking and feels much like a newspaper or blog website. It’s more of a promotion than it is a representation of a candidate. The silly use of a solute photograph comes off as pandering and cocky.


Typography

Typography choices not only provide a way for candidates to communicate effectively, they can also help to shape the tone and character of a campaign. Back in 2008 the Obama campaign presented a fresh new perspective on political typography using the font Gotham. This introduced a fresh, outsider-like feeling. Now, almost every candidate in the field is using a sans serif Gotham-esque font for headings. It seems that geometric sans serif fonts are here to stay.

Headings and Display Fonts

Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke are the two that have strayed from the pack when it comes to website headings. Bernie Sanders is using a Slab Serif. Slab serifs offer bold, weighted presentations. They can often come off as oppressive and heavy, but the font he chose, Jubilat, has nice fillited curves into the letter feet which make it come off as strong, humanistic, and friendly.

Beto O’Rourke, once again, surprised me with his choice. His headings use a font called Prohibition. This font harkens a sporty vibe that introduces energy almost in the same way a team’s jersey might. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this font is used on jerseys someplace. He seems to be saying ‘I’ve got the energy and gumption to get things done.’

Kirsten Gillibrand stands out amongst the crowd for her bold use of headings. While her font choice is not very surprising, the way she’s using it is. She’s stacked and overlapped her geometric font creating a very fresh, bold, and brave look throughout. Unfortunately, Joe Biden tried the same thing but his website comes off as a Squarespace template.

Trump chose the font Montserrat which is the free knock off of Gotham. It’s interesting that he chose a font so close the one of his fiercest rivals, Obama (yes, even though they never ran agains each other). It’s a simple, readable, established font choice.

Body and Paragraph Text

Body and paragraph text should related to and support the display fonts. These two font choices should work together to establish tone, message and character. So, it’s no surprise that most candidates are choosing to rely on display fonts for the heavy lifting. The body copy fonts are straight forward, dependable, and obvious choices. Which is good. There is often a considerable amount of information packed into these paragraphs, so the font must be easy to ready, parse, and understand.

Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard chose serifed fonts for their paragraph text. Serifed fonts typically present information with a little more weight and seriousness which sans serried fonts are more friendly and conversational. I like this choice, especially as it relates to other parts of their campaigns. Kamala, Tulsi, and Pete have all taken risks in their color choices so it’s nice to see a serious tone so the overall feel of the campaign doesn’t come off as campy or funny.

The use of sans serifed fonts in the other candidates body copy seems typical but reaching. Candidates are all having a hard time relating to voters and this choice seems to reflect that. Using a more conversational, friendly font helps to bridge the gap, but it’s coming off as typical and tired, especially when paired with red, white, and blue.

Conclusions

What I found most interesting in my research was not how similar the websites are but how a few candidates chose to stand out amongst the pack. Beto O’Rourke with his energized presentation, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris with their bold use of yellow and Kristen Gillibrand brave layout choices. These differences speak volumes about each candidate and what their plans are to engage voters.


Disclosures:

  • I donated to Bernie Sanders in 2016 and Pete Buttigieg recently.
  • I’m a strong supporter of Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren.

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Let’s talk about Apps. https://mind.sh/are/lets-talk-about-apps/ https://mind.sh/are/lets-talk-about-apps/#respond Mon, 27 May 2019 21:24:56 +0000 http://mind.sh/are/?p=13128 Peer review and community critiquing is critical to the success of our businesses, our products and, quite frankly, it raises the bar to where it should be. So, I’ve selected a couple of apps from folks right here in Santa Fe (including one that we developed), and we’re going to critique them.  Here is our... View Article

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Peer review and community critiquing is critical to the success of our businesses, our products and, quite frankly, it raises the bar to where it should be. So, I’ve selected a couple of apps from folks right here in Santa Fe (including one that we developed), and we’re going to critique them. 


Here is our rating scale:
1 Star: Not ready for release, please work on this app more.
2 Stars: Just barely getting away with the basics, amateur and unsuccessful.
3 Stars: Professional, safe, and relatively bug free.
4 Stars: Great UI/UX, awesome functionality, and executed well.
5 Stars: World class app, something to strive for, better than almost all others.


Santa Fe County Trail Maps

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sftrails2019v2&hl=en

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/santa-fe-county-trail-maps/id1119349186?mt=8

This is a Mindshare developed app that was originally launched back in 2016. This year the app was overhauled to be more informational, easier to upkeep, and a redesign was introduced. 

This was a fun project to work on as I am an avid hiker here in Santa Fe. I think, among all the apps we’re reviewing, this is the one I am most capable of reviewing… because I actually use it relatively often (we also developed it). 

On-boarding: There is no on-boarding, you simply open the app and start using it. I think this is critical for an app like this one. It does give you the ability to save/favorite trails. This information is stored locally so I can see a problem of losing that information should a user get a new phone or delete the app. 

Functionality: Overall this is easy to navigate, easy to read and informational. But I think thats also where it lacks. The only thing this app does that requires it to be on a phone is that it shows a user their location in relation to trails. I’d like to see this app go further and maybe navigate hikers along trails, or at least to trail heads. It could also track hikes, allow users to upload images or trail conditions… I’d like to see this app do more.

Design: The design of this app is simple, easy and doesn’t have any thrills. This is exactly what an app like this should be. It does have a sort of old-school and dated navigation structure which I’d like to see upgraded. But that sorta works in the context… I don’t feel like I’m missing any clues or design aspects. 

Unique Viability/Usefulness: This is a useful app because it’s the only place that I know of that displays information about trails in Santa Fe County. There are many other sites (Trails.com, The Outbound Collective, and others) that also show these trails, but none of them separate the trails into systems, or segments, or have as much info as this app does. Essentially this is the only place to get this information in a readable way. So, it’s useful… but doesn’t quite go far enough. It could be a website just as easily. In future versions new functionality could be introduced. 

Final Thoughts: We’re proud of this app and are definitely looking forward to expanding it with new features. 


Meow Wolf’s Anomaly Tracker

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.meowwolfandroid.mwar

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/anomaly-tracker/id1396750249

This is Meow Wolf’s first official app! Looks to be developed by them and is, essentially, an add-on for the House of Eternal Return. 

It is so much fun to see Meow Wolf publish new works and I was super excited to try this app out. It did not disappoint. As it turns out, this is the only app on our list that can only work as an app… which makes it far more successful than the others on the list. 

On-boarding: It was annoying that I had to give the app permissions for my camera and my location before even seeing a landing page. I think those permissions dialogs should wait until, at least, I’ve created an account or seen a splash page. I did like that I could use the app without logging in. 

Functionality: It’s no surprise that this app just straight up works well. I mean, it’s developed by Meow Wolf and the team over there is awesome.

There are two modes in the app. Mode one is ‘Charter Mode,’ a sort of exploration mode that allows you access to the app contents without actually being at MeowWolf. The second mode is ‘Meow Wolf Mode’ which requires the user to be on location.

This is app is simple and super fun if you liken yourself to a Sherlock Holmes-like sleuth. It allows the user to dive pretty deep into the mysteries surrounding the House of Eternal Return.

Design: The design of this app is risky, interesting and part of the story. I. love. it. It’s rare these days that an app developer (or company for that matter) allows the risks that Meow Wolf has, and it’s paid off for them. To be fair, risk taking is pretty much what defines Meow Wolf. The only critique I can offer is the messy signal effect when navigating from screen to screen. As someone who is already familiar with the app this transition just takes too much time.

Unique Viability/Usefulness: Obviously this app is useful and unique. It’s part of the story and allows users to experience things they would not otherwise experience. No complaints here.

Final Thoughts: It’s awesome to see AR being used for fun, interesting storytelling. Since becoming sorta popular we’ve been inundated with interesting visuals, but nothing to bind those visuals to a real world story or experience. This real world augmentation is what makes AR such an interesting medium and I’d like to see developers/storytellers find new ways of connecting real world experience to digital experience. Meow Wold has done this, at least a little. There’s room to expand, but this is a solid foundation.


Santa Fe – Official App

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.ibounce.bouncechat.tourismsantafe

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tourism-santa-fe/id1403483556?mt=8

This is an app Developed by the City of Santa Fe. It provides a sort of directory for local businesses, public services, parks and historical sites and other related content in Santa Fe. 

On-boarding: All of the content in this app is available right from the start, without the need to login. From what I can see this is the meat of the app. This is great! I love when I can open and go. There is functionality that requires a login and they do offer account creation through facebook, but I received error after error when trying to use that method. I then attempted to create an account via email. After the app required me to upload a profile image (why?) this did work but it froze the app without any feedback. I had to close the app and re-open before I could continue. The number of bugs and bad user experience during this process was frustrating and annoying. If it was not for this review, I would have given up. 

Functionality: This app is full of bad UI and bugs. This is likely because this app is a glorified web browser. Many of the sub pages are simply websites displayed in the app.  In fact, on one of the map pages I can actually use my google account to login to google maps. And, I guess, the rest of google. Depending on how the analytics of the app are integrated, this could be a security concern. 

Once I understood the bugs and UI challenges it became easier to navigate, but my initial use was difficult, confusing and frustrating. I cannot imagine a non tech-savy person using this app successfully. To start, I received errors whenever visiting a page with a map. Secondly, each sub page seems to adopt the scroll position of a previously visited page. So, I almost always had to scroll up to see the beginning of the content. In addition to this scroll behavior, the sub pages initially loaded a cached version of a previously visited page making me believe I had clicked the same button again. After a few seconds, it would load the new content. 

There is a little heart icon at the bottom of every screen, but I’m not sure what it does. I thought at first I could save locations for later use but I cannot actually find where to save things. The heart brings me to a blank page in the app. This could be a bug, but I think it’s actually a UI/UX design error. Users need directions on how to use it. Even I, an app developer, could not figure it out.

There is a hidden feature that allows you to search and save users as contacts. When I tried to use this save contact functionality the app crashed. I’m still not sure why I can save user’s or how users relate to the content at all, but the feature is there… sorta.

Often when navigating to a sub page I was asked to download additional apps… I’m not a fan of this. To me this means there was little thought of what to include in the app and the answer was “everything, I guess.” 

Design: All this app really does is display external web pages. This means there is no cohesive design. The initial landing page does speak to the breadth of things to do in Santa Fe, which is nice. That page in particular is well laid out and easy to use. But, beyond that, there are some basic design problems that I’m not even going to get into… it’s just not critique-able as there is not cohesion, UI design or UX design. It’s like a collection of juxtaposed websites.

Unique Viability/Usefulness: There is a fairly useful searchable business directory but I fear that I’d just use google to ensure I’m getting a complete list of results. I don’t know where this information comes from, but I doubt it’s as complete as a google search. Also, most of the pages in the app are just the relevant city website, but displayed in a hard to use interface… why would I use the app when I can just go to that site? Hmmm…

Final Thoughts: I’m disappointed in this app. It would work better as a web site (and much of it is). It’s a bummer that the City didn’t take the opportunity to create something useful, and user-friendly. I sure hope this app gets replaced/upgraded soon. 


Margarita Trail Passport

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.ibounce.bouncechat.santafemargarita&hl=en

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/margarita-trail-passport/id1237416826?mt=8

The City of Santa Fe has been on an app development binge! Yet another developed by the City of Santa Fe. This is, by the looks of it, a popular download. 

On-boarding: Upon opening the app there is a little slideshow that displays different features and offers some direction. This was nice. I imagine the audience for a margarita trail app might appreciate a little direction.  Once through the slideshow I was presented with the exact same permissions screen as on the Santa Fe Official App. This is fine, but it did clue me into why Santa Fe city apps share the same bugs and functionality problems (hint: they are template based… probably.)

Once I was in, I got a blank screen that read “no posts over here…”. In fact, there is no information in this app. I thought maybe I had downloaded an older version of the app, so I went back to the app store and downloaded the lite version… and had the same problems. Update: After a few days of checking back the content has appeared… but all locations are displaying twice. (Are they compensating for being down for awhile?)

This app, unlike the Santa Fe Official app, offers account creation with both Facebook and Twitter. With Facebook I had the same problems as I did with the Santa Fe Official app. The Twitter account creation simply didn’t work, nothing happened when I clicked the button. So, once again I created an account with my email address. (on a side note, I’m curious how many emails I’ll be getting.)

Functionality: There are multiple aspects to this app but the main focus is a directory of places on the Margarita Trail. Upon visiting a location, there is a QR code that you can scan to ‘check off’ that margarita. The goal is to complete the trail by drinking all the margaritas. Cool!

I took this app out for a test run and the three locations I visited didn’t actually have a QR code to scan, so I wasn’t able to check those locations off, or test the QR code. So, I used a QR code that I generated. And, well, it worked. It opened a web page…. over and over and over again. Typically when using a QR code scanner you disable it upon a successful scan, the developers did not do this, so as long as my phones camera can see a code, it continues to open new windows. The good news… the scanning worked, and it seems usable and fun. But, unfortunately has run into some adoption problems with the trail’s local establishments.

There is a filtering option to display results by location (ie block, mile, city, state, global.) The Margarita Trail only exists in Santa Fe, so I’m unsure why a user would need state and global options. This, also, points to this app being template based and not uniquely developed.

Design: This app delivers content in the same way facebook or another content feed might. Photo, description, and some basic tags. There are also comments, presumably by users of the app (although no comments existed during this review.) Unfortunately, every location was displaying twice, this is obviously a bug. I’m not sure if the bug exists in the app, or if locations are somehow allowed to have multiple listings. Either way this makes for a poor user experience.

Unique Viability/Usefulness: This app allows users to track what margarita’s they’ve had along the trail and provide information on prizes, local business and other useful information. So, it seems super fun and unique.

Final Thoughts: At $2.99 this app does offer a unique experience but the whole functionality is broken by establishments on the trail that don’t offer a QR code to scan. Using template based apps is always a little frustrating and this one is no exception. I’d like to see this idea implemented better with less bugs.


Santa Fe Art Experience

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tourism-santa-fe/id1436230914?mt=8

This is a privately developed app that showcases art in and around Santa Fe. This app also acts as a directory, this time for local art, galleries and museums. 

Ok, cool. First impressions are good. I was starting to worry I wasn’t going to see a solid app about Santa Fe, but this one might be it. 

On-boarding: Right out of the gate I’m greeted by a nice loading page and I’m asked to share my location. Hopefully this comes in handy while I’m using it.  There is no account specific functionality in this app, so therefore no account creation or login. Cool. 

Functionality:  I have yet to find a bug. Everything works as expected, the app loads quickly and the information is well laid out. This app should be a website as it just doesn’t do anything other than offer a sortable directory of art galleries. I was hoping I could get directions from my current location, or a link to gallery websites. Neither of these things are available which feels like an oversight.  It’s an ok directory, but not much beyond that.

Design: Easy, simply, intuitive. This app has react-native written all over it… I bet that’s the language they used in development.  It’s good. There is nothing that really stands out about the design, but it’s executed well. I’d like to see a little more risk… I mean, Santa Fe is the third largest art market in the US, there is some opportunity here to stand out.

Unique Viability/Usefulness: This is, yet another, directory app. I’m unsure about the usefulness of it. I feel like I’d rather like a website with this information as the app doesn’t offer any functionality beyond what a website does. 

Final Thoughts: This app falls squarely in the great execution but doesn’t need to be an app category. It’s well developed, but could be a website. 


Fetch – Local Delivery

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.delivery.fetch.app.customers&hl=en_US

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fetch-local-delivery/id1219057520?mt=8

This app is the entry point to a gig based business. It provides access to local fetchers that will bring you anything you need. It was launched back in 2017 and has become popular recently. 

Ok, I’m loving this idea. Fetch claims to be able to deliver anything. The home screen in the app presents various categories like food (obviously), groceries, packages, office supplies, gifts, etc. Awesome idea!

On-boarding: Creating an account was super easy. I had the option to use Facebook or Google for account creation, which was nice. Both worked well and pulled in information that I expected (photo, name, email, phone.) It looks like I’m able to edit that info as well. I like that.

Before I’m able to do anything in the app it requires that I share my location. I’m not even able to browse businesses before sharing. There is an option to not share my location (‘skip for now’). But that just returns an error and brings be back to the landing screen.

Once I shared my location I get a solid list of local locations that (I guessed it) are all sourced from Google. This is an excellent choice, I mean, why re-invent the wheel? All businesses are (or should be) on google already.

Functionality: Creating an order was straight forward, although a little web 2.0 feeling. Creating an order felt more like a business process than an easy (fun) way of ordering items. It was difficult for me to keep track of what I added to the order, or what the running total is. This made things difficult when I had to go back and change things. Overall, it felt tired, sluggish and like I needed to have decided on items before opening the app.

Design: The design is just old. I’m not sure how best to describe it. Imagine the internet from the early 2000’s, that is what this app looks like. There are metallic gradients, dark backgrounds, serifed fonts… I mean, it’s all there. I almost feels like they’re going for nostalgia in their design, but it doesn’t play well, instead the design feels amateur.

Unique Viability/Usefulness: So, we have food delivery in droves. But, this app offers to deliver anything… any. thing. So, that’s awesome! I’m not sure if there are things they wouldn’t deliver, but having that option in my pocket seems awesome.

Final Thoughts: I think the intent is solid, the plan is visionary, but the execution feels old.


Wrap Up

OF the 6 apps we reviewed the two developed by the City of Santa Fe were, by far, the worst on the list. Neither met basic development functionality and both had debilitating bugs. The privately developed apps (Meow Wolf’s Anomaly Tracker, Fetch – Local Delivery, and Santa Fe Art Experience) were all designed well and functioned properly. Meow Wolf’s Anomaly Tracker stood out as the most unique, and the one best suited to be an app.

I can’t say that I’m surprised at the lack of quality by the City Developed apps, but I sure hope someone at the city reads this and reaches out to us. Please let us help you!

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Navigation Best Practices https://mind.sh/are/navigation-best-practices/ https://mind.sh/are/navigation-best-practices/#respond Fri, 18 Jan 2019 22:25:56 +0000 http://mind.sh/?p=13093 Your website’s purpose, no matter your business, is to communicate with your customers as effectively as possible. We must consider our landing pages as though they are speaking directly to our customers. In other words, imagine you’re getting coffee with them; you must be engaging and insightful, while not boring or long-winded. You must help... View Article

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Your website’s purpose, no matter your business, is to communicate with your customers as effectively as possible.

We must consider our landing pages as though they are speaking directly to our customers. In other words, imagine you’re getting coffee with them; you must be engaging and insightful, while not boring or long-winded. You must help to answer their questions as quickly and effectively as possible all while understanding why they are meeting with you in the first place.

In an ideal world, we would know exactly why a customer is visiting with us before we meet with them. That way we can have our conversation points worked out ahead of time. This is why we advocate for single topic landing pages. However today, I’m going to focus on website navigation and how to utilize it the best.

Why website navigation matters

The goal of website navigation is way-finding. Essentially, it’s a highway sign that offers indicators on where to find information or what to do next. Those indicators come in succession, just like highway signs. When we’re cruising down the highway we don’t get presented with every possible destination all at once, we get presented with a single choice. This should also be the case with website navigation. We must control the journey, not point to a distant far off place.

What are the types of website navigation?

  1. Scrolling and clicking: Scrolling can seem like a necessity, but we consider it a design choice. Just like a newspaper determines what is ‘above the fold’ we do the same with landing page content. Asking a user to scroll is similar to asking them to click. Offering a clickable link can help focus a user’s experience. With a click, we can be sure the visitor has made a decision to navigate in a specific direction. This offers us insight into what they are looking for.
  2. Menus and submenus: Menus and submenus are likely the first things that come to mind for most people when talking about website navigation. Within this category there are many, many variations; side menus, top menus, drop down menus, hover menus, thumb menus and others. These types of menus can also offer a sort of visual hierarchy of your website content, but they are also hard to navigate and generally don’t offer much in terms of specific user direction.
  3. Images, buttons and other icons: This type of navigation is becoming more and more desirable as it’s incredibly mobile friendly and enticing. Users have become comfortable with web iconography (gear icon is settings, person icon is account page, cart icon is the cart page, etc.) Images are typically large enough to press on a mobile device and offer quite a bit more information as to what is behind the link.
  4. Linked text: This is the most basic form of navigation and doesn’t require much thought or attention to detail. It’s basically associative navigation… “Oh, you like this, click here for more content just like it.” Site map pages often feature this type of content.
  5. Search and filtering: Website search and filtering can be incredibly helpful if you don’t know where a user wants to go (in the case of an online store, or library of information.) Or if you have so much content there’s no possible way to showcase it all. Typically, a search will result in a page with one of the above navigation systems (like a grid or list of products.)

So, what kind of navigation do we use?

Well, like most good qustions the answer is, “It depends.”

Basically, use as little navigation as possible. In an ideal design, there is no need for navigation at all, we would simply present each user with exactly what they are looking for. However, determining this is almost impossible. So, we use website navigation to help us (the website owner) understand what the user is looking for and to help them get where they need.

When we’re in the process of deciding what type of navigation to use we ask ourself a couple of questions:

  • Am I helping the user navigate?
  • Am I directing the user what to do next?
  • Is it clear what is behind the link?
  • Is it clear which navigation choice is best?
  • Is my navigation easy to understand?

If a website’s navigation fails any of the above questions, it’s bad navigation. So, lets dive into each question and explore best practices.

Am I helping the user navigate?

All users want to do something on your site. This could be researching (looking for an answer), transactional (looking to make a purchase), or investigational (researching your company with an intent in mind). So, we need to always be directing a user to one of these actions.

Am I directing the user what to do next?

Website owners often like to present the user with an abundance of options in an effort to make sure they get where they are going. But, that is often overwhelming, confusing and it just takes time away from the user. Just like driving, we need our directions when we need them, not all at once. Analysis paralysis often leads to users navigating away from our site.

Secondly, each page cannot serve multiple masters. If your website has multiple goals, then you need to have multiple landing pages. Each page should have one topic that leads to one action.

Is it clear what is behind the link?

Website users understand that some keywords lead to specific content. The word ‘contact’ will almost always lead to a form. The word ‘about’ will almost always lead to information about the company. These navigation items are no-brainers when it comes to the content they present. However, this is not always the case. It’s best to consider the assumptions a user makes before clicking. If your users don’t know what’s behind the door, they probably won’t open it. This is where icons, images, and buttons can be very helpful. Descriptive navigation (more below) can help here as well.

Is it clear which navigation choice is best?

A user will typically know what they are looking for. So, you should know as well. You should know the actions a user wants to take (or the actions you want them to take) then make those actions abundantly clear. Good online advertising strategy and good SEO will lead users directly to their intended action. A user will already know why they are there, all you need to do is present it to them.

Is my navigation easy to understand and use?

Simple words and icons have emerged as the most used navigation items. Using complex animations and layouts can make navigating your site hard and confusing. Dont ask your users to learn something in order to navigate your site.

Also, navigation should be logical. We don’t want people to go to the cart page before they’ve visited the shop page, just like you don’t want people to see the contact form before they know what you offer. Determine your onboarding steps, and then present them simply and in order. Here are some examples:

Find Item -> Make Purchase -> See Confirmation
See Offer -> Fill out Form -> See Confirmation
Make Search -> Find Result -> Do Action

Limiting your navigation to as few steps as possible reduces the likelihood a user will give up.


What about Mobile?

Mobile navigation is tricky because we must content with a significantly smaller screen. Also, most users use their mobile devices in the vertical orientation. So, we are even more limited when it comes to horizontal elements.

We’ve all been conditioned to accept slide-out menus and hamburger () icons out of necessity. However, I would argue this is a failed attempt at mobile navigation. It’s fairly impractical to tap twice to get someplace. Mindshare uses a hamburger icon to display less important or secondary navigation. However, recent studies have shown that simply putting this information in a footer would serve us better. In fact, footer navigation is used more often than header navigation on all of the sites we manage (that have footer navigation).

Mobile navigation also lacks a mouse (obviously) so we have to instead consider the thumb. No longer is everything on the screen within reach, instead, only things within the ‘thumb zone’ are in reach. The thumb zone is typically the bottom third of the screen and (for most of us) slightly to the right. Placing menu toggles here is best practice.


Lets Talk SEO

Just like everything else on your website, navigation plays an important role on SEO (search engine optimization.) The structure and labels of your navigation can have a huge and dramatic effect on your results for two important reasons:

  • Navigation affects search traffic and search ranking.
  • Navigation affects website conversions.

Here are 6 things to ensure your navigation is working for your site, and not against it.

1) Be Descriptive:

“What we do” doesn’t actually say what you do, besides, one would hope a visitor already knows what you do. “Products”, “Services”, “Solutions”, and “About” don’t actually describe anything, you might as well say “page 1”, “page 2”, “page 3”, etc. Users will already know you have services, products, and solutions… everyone does. Descriptive navigation is better.

  • Descriptive labels are good for search engines: Navigation typically appears on all pages, so it’s a good place to describe exactly what your site is about.
  • Descriptive labels are good for visitors: Because navigation is in the most prominent place on a page, it’s the best place to describe to your visitors that they are in the right place.

Each page of your site (according to SEO practices) should be responsible for exactly one topic. So, your navigation should do the same. Instead of “Services” say “Web Development”, instead of “Products” say “Hoodies”.

This will help every page to have a chance at ranking higher in search results. In other words, you’ll be getting a boost to SEO for every page on your site because every page has a unique topic.

2) Avoid describing format, instead describe content.

Navigation labels such as “videos,” “photos,” and “products” tell visitors the format of the content, but not the content those formats hold. We don’t go to google and type in “videos” when we’re really looking for how to change our spark plugs. We type in “how to change spark plugs” and trust the content will be presented in an understandable way (video or otherwise). We don’t type in “products” when we’re actually looking for a new cell phone, we type in “cell phones.” Your navigation labels (and the structure of your site) should match this practice.

3) Avoid Dropdown Menus… seriously, avoid them like the plague.

Look, visitors want to get their business done quickly. Our eyes move faster than our mouses, so make your navigation visible. When a visitor decides to move their mouse, they’re likely already on their way to click.

More important than the annoyance of drop-downs is the effect they have on page visits. Drop-downs encourage visitors to skip important pages. This means they will be navigating your site without a map or directions (effectivly driving without road signs). Who knows where they’ll end up! This means your user will likely get frustrated and leave. Remember, if leaving is easier, that’s the action a user will take.

4) Seven menu items seems to be about the max.

There are two reasons that limiting the number of links is a good thing. The first is that each page on your site should have exactly one topic. This helps Google and other search engines rank it by increasing that pages authority on that subject. Lots of links and many topics dilute the authority of the page and therefore decrease its search ranking.

The second reason we should limit the number of navigation links is that it will help our user’s brains hold all the navigation information. According to a Harvard professor, we can only hold about 7 items in our short term memory. So, if we follow our above advice and use the navigation to help describe our site, it only makes sense that we want our users to remember those descriptions.

5) Order your navigation appropriately.

Design and layout often overlap with psychology and the order of our navigation items are no different. The serial position effect describes a users ability to remember the beginning and end of lists. Basically, the first items are deemed more important, and the ending items are most recently read, so we remember both. The items in the middle don’t fall into either category, so we don’t remember them. This is true for short lists as well as long lists.

So, put important things first (Hoodies, Get a Quote) and usable actions last (contact pages, account pages, etc.)

6) Out work is never done.

There’s a saying among web developers, “Digital ink is never dry.” This means that we should expect to make changes even after the site has launched.

Make sure to keep up to date on analytics and use data to drive decisions. If we use our own bias or opinion to make decisions we are effectively using only a single data point when there could be hundreds or thousands. This also goes for the loudest voices. It’s almost never a good idea to ask your visitors what they want, instead look at how they behave. Actions speak louder than words.

Also, it is never a good idea to copy your competitors navigation. They have their own audience, goals, marketing, analytics and opinions. We do not know why they made the choice they made (or even if they considered it at all.) This is why our analytics are so important. Our analytic data is our own, it relates to our marketing, audience, and goals.

TL;DR

Pro Tips:

  • Know your audience and manage their expectations. When a user arrives on your site they should already know what they want to do. This can be determined through targeted advertising, appropriate SEO strategies as well as good search excerpts and titles.
  • Keep things simple. Seriously. Fewer required actions mean fewer drop off points.
  • Use standard practices. Yes, we’d all like to have the fanciest tech available, but asking users to learn something new before they can even use your site is asking them to leave.

Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Too many menus or too much navigation on a page. Too many options make next steps unclear and confuse visitors. We want clear choices that lead to specific actions.
  • Unclear navigation location. There are only a few places that users expect navigation to be, put your navigation in those places. (The header, the footer, the sidebar.) Also, make sure it’s visible when the page loads.
  • Unclear objectives. Make sure every link has a clear purpose and the content is appropriate. Also, ensure there is a single clear action that you want all users to take (contact, buy, research, download, etc).
  • Encyclopedia-esque navigation. Look, nobody wants to parse through an encyclopedia… so don’t make them. Keep it short.

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How to Clear Your Browser Cache https://mind.sh/are/how-to-clear-your-browser-cache/ https://mind.sh/are/how-to-clear-your-browser-cache/#respond Thu, 20 Dec 2018 23:14:12 +0000 http://mind.sh/?p=13083 Mobile browsers Android The steps to clear your cache, cookies, and history may differ depending on the model of your Android device and your preferred browser. However, you should be able to clear your cache and data from your application management settings menu: Open the Settings of your phone. Tap the Storage heading to open its settings page. if... View Article

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Mobile browsers

Android

The steps to clear your cache, cookies, and history may differ depending on the model of your Android device and your preferred browser. However, you should be able to clear your cache and data from your application management settings menu:

  1. Open the Settings of your phone.
  2. Tap the Storage heading to open its settings page.
    • if your phone runs Android Oreo or earlier, you’ll want to open the App Manager settings page.
  3. Tap the Other Apps heading to see a list of your installed apps.
  4. Find the application you want to clear the cache of and tap its listing.
  5. Tap the Clear cache button.
  6. Exit/quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

Safari (Apple iOS)

Note: The following steps apply to the newest version of Mobile Safari for iOS. If you need instructions for older versions, you might find them in Apple Support’s Safari web settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

  1. To clear your history and cookies, go to Settings > Safari, and tap Clear History and Website Data. Clearing your history, cookies, and browsing data from Safari won’t change your AutoFill information.
  2. To clear your cookies and keep your history, go to Settings > Safari > Advanced > Website Data, then tap Remove All Website Data.
  3. Exit/quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

Chrome for iOS

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Chrome app.
  2. At the bottom right, tap More   Settings.
  3. Tap Privacy  Clear Browsing Data.
  4. Check Cookies, Site Data. Uncheck the other items.
  5. Tap Clear Browsing Data  Clear Browsing Data.
  6. Tap Done
  7. Exit/quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

Desktop browsers

Chrome

  1. On the browser toolbar, click the Customize and Control Google Chrome menu icon in the top right corner.
  2. Select the More Tools link.
  3. Select the Clear browsing data link.
  4. In the data drop-down menu, select the time range where you want to clear browsing data.
  5. Select the Cookies and other site and plug-in data and Cached images and files checkboxes.
  6. Click the Clear Browsing Data button.
  7. Exit/quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

Firefox

  1. In the Firefox menu bar, click the Firefox option.
  2. Select the Preferences link.
  3. Click the Privacy tab.
  4. Under the History heading, click the clear your recent history link.
  5. Select the Cache checkbox.
  6. Click the Clear Now button.
  7. Exit/quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

Microsoft Edge

  1. In the top right, click the Hub icon (looks like three horizontal lines).
  2. Click the History icon, and then select Clear all history.
  3. Select Browsing history, then Cookies and saved website data, and then Cached data and files.
  4. Click Clear.
  5. After the “All Clear!” message appears, exit/quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

Internet Explorer 9 and higher

Note: As of January 12, 2016, Microsoft has ended support for Internet Explorer versions prior to version 11, unless you are running Windows Vista SP2 or certain versions of Windows Server; for a complete list of exceptions, see Microsoft Support Lifecycle. UITS strongly recommends that you upgrade to a new operating system if your current system does not support Internet Explorer 11 and is not on Microsoft’s list of exceptions.

  1. Select Tools (via the Gear Icon) > Safety > Delete browsing history….
    If the menu bar is hidden, press Alt to make it visible.
  2. Deselect Preserve Favorites website data, and select: Temporary Internet files or Temporary Internet files and website files, Cookies or Cookies and website data, History
  3. Click Delete. You will see a confirmation at the bottom of the window when the process is complete.
  4. Exit/quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

Opera

  1. From the Opera menu, select Settings, and then Delete Private Data….
  2. In the dialog box that opens, select the items you want to clear, and then click Delete.
  3. Exit/quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

Safari

  1. In the Safari menu bar, click the Safari option.
  2. Click the Clear History link.
  3. In the Clear drop-down menu, select the time range where you want to clear browsing data.
  4. Click the Clear History button.

Safari 8

  1. From the Safari menu, select Clear History and Website Data….
  2. Select the desired time range, and then click Clear History.
  3. Go to Safari > Quit Safari or press Command-Q to exit the browser completely.

Safari 7 and below

  1. From the Safari menu, select Reset Safari….
  2. Select the items you want to reset, and then click Reset. As of Safari 5.1, Remove all website data includes both cookies and cache.
  3. Go to Safari > Quit Safari or press Command-Q to exit the browser completely.

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SEO Myths for 2019 https://mind.sh/are/seo-myths-for-2019/ https://mind.sh/are/seo-myths-for-2019/#respond Wed, 24 Oct 2018 17:15:36 +0000 http://mind.sh/?p=13014 Look, SEO is hard. We get it, there’s a plethora of information online and it’s mostly sales-y. Researching SEO strategies and guides is a headache and marketing companies love to promise things they cannot deliver on or things they cannot guarantee. Who can you trust? What’s worth your time? What steps should you take? These... View Article

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Look, SEO is hard. We get it, there’s a plethora of information online and it’s mostly sales-y. Researching SEO strategies and guides is a headache and marketing companies love to promise things they cannot deliver on or things they cannot guarantee. Who can you trust? What’s worth your time? What steps should you take? These are questions I face every time I research SEO for a client. So, I’ve decided to put all my findings in an easy to access post, right here on the Mindshare blog. Hopefully, this will make SEO seem less like gambling and more like professional decision making.

Pro Tip: When you make a search engine search you are not searching the internet, you’re searching that particular engine’s index.

Quick Note: I refer to Google, like, a lot. But this information applies to all search engines.  

Important technical factors:

This stuff is relatively low hanging fruit in terms of SEO, it just takes a bit of patience and a competent website developer.

An accessible URL.

Not surprisingly, if a URL is not accessible it cannot be indexed. Secondly, if there is no way of reaching that URL, then Google cannot index it. In other words, some link someplace must be pointing to your page and you must be allowing Google to index it. Use a sitemap to tell Google and other engines where pages are. A sitemap is essentially a list of all the pages on your website and is critical to SEO success.  These are usually located at your-url.com/sitemap_index.xml or your-url.com/sitemap.xml. (Mindshare’s is here)

Page Speed.

One of Google’s main goals is to make a more enjoyable experience for users, this means a quick internet. If your site is slow, then Google is less likely to recommend it and you’ve failed at SEO. You can test your site here.

Mobile Friendliness.

More than half of all internet traffic is mobile. This means Google (and other search engines) want to deliver pages that work on mobile devices. In fact, Google will list mobile optimized pages first. Your site must:

  • Automatically resize to fit the device.
  • Use large fonts that are easy to read on mobile devices.
  • Make sure mobile-focused menus and links are easy to click (tap) on.
  • Put content above the fold and not hidden by ads.
  • Pro Tip: It does not matter if your site gets mostly desktop traffic, or if your audience is mostly desktop users… your website is not being listed in search, so you’re not getting the traffic you should be getting. In other words, current website traffic is not an indicator of SEO quality. Current visitor trends are not indicative of future visitor trends.

Image alt and title tags.

Google and other search engines allow users to specifically search images. Alt and title tags tell those search engines what that image is all about. While google’s image recognition is pretty good, these alt and title tags are gold when it comes to image searches. Make sure to ALWAYS use them, especially if your business relies on product or service images. In fact, Google has an entire article dedicated to image publishing. A few tips:

  • Screen readers (for the visually impaired) use image title and alt tags to describe the image.
  • Don’t stuff keywords into these tags.  It’s no help for screen readers (and is pretty annoying, to be honest).
    Bad: puppy pup pupper doggo puppy dog baby dog pup pups puppies doggies pups litter puppies dog retriever labrador wolfhound setter pointer puppy jack russell terrier puppies dog food cheap dogfood puppy food.
    Good: jack russell puppies playing in grass.
  • Use informational and descriptive text in these tags. The title and alt tags should describe what’s in the image, not the content that surrounds the image. Although, hopefully, they relate.

Domain Age, URL, and Authority.

It’s hard to hear, but the age of your website does play a significant factor in your search rankings and SEO. I imagine this is a result of how Google determines authority on a particular search term. You see, search engines want to provide the most relevant content on any particular search. So their algorithms are tuned to find pages that showcase that authority. In addition to this, your URL also plays a role in your SEO. If your URL matches (or is close to) a search term, then your page could be seen as high quality, relevant and valuable.
Pro tip: If your domain or urls are already established and shared, changing them could cause significant SEO damage. So, don’t change them.

Proper meta tags and schema markup.

While proper meta tags and schema markup don’t play a significant factor in how high your page appears in search results, it does play a role as to whether a user clicks on them.  This is true for both search results and sharing on social media.


Important Content factors:

Optimized Content.

Before diving into writing your content, try to imagine the search term people will use to find this content. Include those potential search terms throughout your content, but not in a weird or hard to read way. (Look at your website analytics to determine these words.) Also, don’t duplicate content. Fresh, original content is always best. In fact, having duplicated content on your site can actually harm your search rankings, unless you properly use canonical URL’s.

  • Understand how LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords work. Let’s assume someone searches for the word ‘Sierra’. That word can be associated with a car (made by GMC), a mountain range (The Sierra Nevada mountain range), or a trading post (Sierra Trading Post.) It’s also a name. So, if you’re writing about the Sierra Nevada mountain range, it’s important to include related words like mountain, range, hiking, trails, etc.
  • More specific searches happen less often but provide better results. In other words, people are more likely to click on your content if it’s specific to what they searched for (don’t write about how Sierra used a GMC to drive up the maintain range in search for a trading post.)

Content-Length.

Content length is hotly debated among content creators and SEO specialists. It very basically comes down to depth and quality of writing. It’s never advisable to stretch out content (leave that to your high-school self the night before an essay is due.) Instead, properly write about it. If the content deserves depth, give it depth. If not, then it might not be worth writing about, or might be better used as a social media post. About 2500 words per page is the right length. Better content also attracts shares and links.

Content Type.

It should go without saying that people online are lazy. 2,500 words is more than most will read (even if it’s what gets you to the top of the search ranking.) In fact, most people would rather watch a video than read your blog. So, include video along with the content! It has more potential to be shared or linked to as well.

Search Intent.

Let’s say an art gallery determines that “Santa Fe Art” is a keyword they’d like to rank for. Their content might target people looking to buy art, but if people searching for that term are actually artists then their content will not apply to them. Sometimes it’s very clear what a users search intent is, like if they include the words “buy” or “compare” in their search query. Understanding your audience goes a long way in creating content for SEO.

  • Typically searches can be broken down into 4 categories:
    • Navigational: Looking for a particular website. Example: “smug mug”
    • Informational: Looking for an answer to a question. Example: “how to start a photography business”
    • Investigational: To get information for some purpose, like before making a purchase. Example: “Canon compared to Nikon”
    • Transactional: To actually make a purchase. Example: “Canon cameras for sale.”
  • A well-optimized blog or website should include content for each of those categories (and include links between them.)
  • Example: This post falls into the Informational and Investigational categories.

Content Structure.

  • Use your keywords in page titles and <h1> tags.
  • Use proper <header> tags to show content hierarchy.
  • Include a meta description that both entices readers and includes your keywords.
  • Use image alt tags to show that the image is relevant to the main content. (Plus, Google has an image search which helps people find your content.)
  • Use schema markup to help search engines identify what kind of content your producing. This also helps your content appear in rich cards on google searches (i.e. meow wolf events.)

RankBrain.

RankBrain is Google’s artificial intelligence ranking your website. It looks at a couple of important factors:

  • How many people visited your page after a particular search query. (your site seemed appropriate.)
  • How many bounced away after visiting. (they didn’t find the content useful.)
  • How many people stayed on your site after a search. (they found something useful and stayed to read/watch)

RankBrain is the reason why it’s so important to have digestible, human-oriented content. Search engines are no longer just measuring the words, they are now looking at how people are digesting the content. This is also why we can no longer pump keywords into pages… they’re not useful for humans.

Links.

Obviously, more links to your content will drive more traffic, but the quality of those links are also taken into account.

  • Garner high-quality inbound links to your content (this means from other websites that also have authority on the search query.)
  • It’s important to have active social media on all main social sites. Not only does this help to drive traffic to your site, but it also helps drive inbound links and shares.
  • Internal links can also help drive up authority; If you write a blog post about a product, then link to that product on your purchase page.

Local Business Information.

Make sure your site includes your name, address, and phone number. List this information on a Google business page, a facebook business page and every page of your website, like in the footer or header.


Final Thoughts:

Using this post as a checklist will get you pretty far. But, you might ask; I don’t have time for all of this, what the ONE thing I should be doing? Pay us to do it for you. Just kidding… but really, professional help is worth it. However, small business and new business can often not afford it. So, introducing our 2 step SEO success strategy:

  1. Ensure all technical factors are taken care of (see above).
  2. Post to your blog, a lot.

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WordPress 5.0 is here! https://mind.sh/are/wordpress-5-0-is-here/ https://mind.sh/are/wordpress-5-0-is-here/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 21:09:00 +0000 http://mind.sh/?p=13006 We geek out when new versions of WordPress are released, but to be honest most are pretty boring. Security fixes here, bug fixes over there… nothing too exciting. However, this time it’s different! We’re in for a version bump that comes with a very exciting addition to WordPress: The Gutenberg Editor. I’m going to cut... View Article

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We geek out when new versions of WordPress are released, but to be honest most are pretty boring. Security fixes here, bug fixes over there… nothing too exciting. However, this time it’s different! We’re in for a version bump that comes with a very exciting addition to WordPress: The Gutenberg Editor.

I’m going to cut to the chase… This update might break your website. Now, there’s nothing to worry about, it doesn’t come out until Nov. 19, and, chances are you’re going to be just fine. But, we can help make sure you’re site doesn’t go down.

We know that these updates are sometimes unexpected, and can get expensive, so to help out we’re offering a one time deal. For $99 we’ll do an investigation and recommend any changes that need to happen.

Now, we have our reservations and complaints about the new editor (change? again?), but for the most part this addition to WordPress offers some exciting editing capabilities that most of you have asked for in the past.

However, with exciting new features there are always considerations to take into account. This update (more so than other updates) may break your site, or cause some problems, or just be a general nuisance. Specifically, if you’re working with a highly customized theme or old (or bad) plugins, you’re likely to experience some issues or downtime.

For our clients that have gotten a new website in the last year or so, there’s nothing to worry about aside from a new editing experience (and maybe some required training).

For anyone rocking an older (we call them vintage) website, we should probably look under the hood and make sure you’re ready for this version. Hopefully we’ll find nothing, or maybe a tweak or two, but better safe than sorry, amiright?

We’ve set up a special deal for anyone looking for a tune up. From now until WordPress 5.0 is released you can pay a one time investigation fee of $99.

Why just an investigation? Well, we’re assuming everything is going to be just fine, but on the other hand, we might just find something that’s going to take your site down… and we may have to introduce a major fix. Plus, we kinda like being investigators, it makes us feel good.

Wordpress 5.0 Investigation

  • $0.00
  • American Express
    Discover
    MasterCard
    Visa
     

 

You can also call us: (505) 501-7666

Or send an email: support@mindsharelabs.com

We also accept carrier pigeon, but we keep the doors closed in the winter:
2209 Miguel Chavez
Suite C
Santa Fe, NM, 87505

 

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Designers want it and site owners want to fill it. https://mind.sh/are/designers-want-it-and-site-owners-want-to-fill-it/ https://mind.sh/are/designers-want-it-and-site-owners-want-to-fill-it/#respond Wed, 21 Mar 2018 05:32:51 +0000 http://138.68.22.133/are/?p=12655 Designers want it and site owners want to fill it. What is it? Whitespace! To often white space is seen as empty space being wasted, and therefore a waste of great real estate. However, white space is one of the most valuable parts of your web design. Why is it so important? When a designer... View Article

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Designers want it and site owners want to fill it. What is it? Whitespace!

To often white space is seen as empty space being wasted, and therefore a waste of great real estate. However, white space is one of the most valuable parts of your web design.

Why is it so important?

When a designer talks about white space they are actually talking about the space between elements or the negative space. This space helps your content to be digestible and easy to read. It helps you to organize information and separate ideas, and it makes the web a more user friendly, easier to use service.

The Advantages of Using Whitespace

Content Legibility: Believe it or not, whitespace actually helps people gain more information from your website. Whitespace helps users to understand new ideas and digest your content piece-by-piece. Offering your users all the content at once can be overwhelming.

More Interaction: Let’s face it, visitors are always in a hurry when browsing through sites, and having a good amount of whitespace will increase interaction by preventing distractions that slow the visitor down. According to research conducted by Human Factors International, whitespace increases comprehension by almost 20%.

Ability to Highlight Call to Actions: At times, the most obvious way to make something stand out is to make things bigger. You can make images bigger or buttons bigger. However, surrounding the item with whitespace can be just as effective.

A Tidy Site Equals an Impressive Site: First impressions matter a lot. Great layouts, good colors, and lots of white space — all these elements add to the impression a website makes, but whitespace is especially important because it indicates finesse and understanding.

Acts as a Separator: Whitespace separates unrelated elements in a design. It can be used to separate images/graphics from each other and improves your overall visual layout. The use of proper whitespace paves the way to a clearer communication of ideas and effective designs.

A Couple of Common Misconceptions

White Space Makes my site bare and minimalistic

It really doesn’t. White space allows the user to digest content and understand content much more completely. When done properly, it can actually add elegance and sophistication to your site. White space helps to organize your content, making it easier to understand.

White space makes it look like I don’t have enough content

A properly designed website makes the content digestible. This allows you, the content writer, to pack your sentences full of meaning. Why write a paragraph when a sentence will do? Make it clear. 

If you can’t explain it easily, you don’t know it well enough.
– Albert Einstein

White space will make my website look like everyone else!

As long as you have a strong brand, bold colors and a simple layout, then your website will look like your website. Many brands have smartly added plenty of white space to their sites, and for good reason, they know it works. Your brand recognition does not hinge on the amount of space you’ve added around elements, but your readers comprehension of your information does.

 

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Why Are Page Templates Not Working?! https://mind.sh/are/page-templates-not-working/ https://mind.sh/are/page-templates-not-working/#respond Fri, 05 Jan 2018 23:22:02 +0000 http://mind.sh/?p=12792 WordPress 4.9.2 has a bug! Or, what some my say, not intuitive behavior.  When adding page templates to a WordPress theme during development, those templates may not show up in the dropdown menu on the edit screen. This is because the list of those files is now cached, and the cache is refreshed every hour.... View Article

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WordPress 4.9.2 has a bug!

Or, what some my say, not intuitive behavior. 

When adding page templates to a WordPress theme during development, those templates may not show up in the dropdown menu on the edit screen. This is because the list of those files is now cached, and the cache is refreshed every hour. Or, in WordPress development speak, the list of files is added to a transient. This happens in /wp-includes/class-wp-theme.php on line 991, currently.

Here is the bug report: https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/42573

From the discussion, it seems this issue will be fixed with the next release, sometime at the end of January, 2018. It sounds like they’ll either remove the caching of these files, or disable it if WP_DEBUG is set to true.

The work around is to increment the theme version number. This changes to transient key.

 

If this does not solve your problem try these:

Make sure you have specified a template name.

    /**
    * Template Name: Front Page
    */

Make sure your template name is different than any other template.

    
   /**
    * Template Name: Different Name
    */

Do not use ‘page-‘ as a prefix.

WordPress will interpret that as a template for a specific page slug, not as a global template for use on any page.

Put them in a folder called ‘page-templates’

While this is not required, WordPress recognizes this folder name. Therefore, it’s a good idea to store your global page templates to help keep them organized. Otherwise, they should be in the top level theme directory. If you’re using a child theme, they should in the the top level child theme directory (or in a folder called ‘page-templates.’.

Read more here: https://developer.wordpress.org/themes/template-files-section/page-template-files/

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