Great British Design

So we've said goodbye to 2012, a great year of celebration in Great Britain.
Following on from what was a wonderful 'feel-good' year (ok recession and weather to one side for a while!) iconic British brand - Mulberry, have created a wonderful celebration website. In their own words...
"In this year of celebrations, British luxury brand Mulberry goes beyond the bunting to champion the unsung heroes, craftsmanship traditions, and unique characteristics that make Britain great, and to celebrate in its own way the charms and eccentricities of its motherland."

From the world renowned museums and galleries to the lesser know quirky traditions, this site continues that feel-good factor into 2013 - Brilliant, well done to all involved, (which incidentally, could be you) - go take a look

http://www.brilliantbritainguide.com

Ecwid e-commerce review

Ecwid (e-Commerce Widgets)

You might not have heard about Ecwid.  If you havent and you are thinking about e-commerce, we think you should.

I decided to write this piece because i've just spent two full days trying to find anything that comes close to ecwid - reviewing 14 of the best known online e-commerce SaaS offerings from Magento, Big Commerce, Shopify, Foxy Cart, Roman Cart, Zen Cart and so on.  

I can't. - nothing even comes close to this unique little diamond!

Why is Ecwid so special?

What makes ecwid so very special is, in part the features of the product - some of which are not available anywhere else (the quality and style of the built in Image uploader product option for example).  But what sets it appart totally is that it is a widget.  You can install the store front on many different websties, on differnt pages of one website, on Facebook, on your blog, in fact anywhere you want to sell something online - you can install your shop!

Like conventional e-commerce products, SaaS hosted stores etc, Ecwid has a well designed and easy to use 'back end' which allow the store keeper to manage products, categories, customers, and transactions.  Unlike most if not all stores, Ecwid allows you to determine how the store looks and on which pages of your existing website it sits.

If you design nice sites, or if you've had a good site built - and you want to sell something from it - you really dont want to start from scratch again, and this is where Ecwid get's seriously interesting.  

Conventional wisdom would then say... well you should use Foxycart.  Foxycart is a lovely Cart/Checkout designed to integrate with your existing product database:  Ecwid is designed to fit right on your existing website, but delivers beautifully executed product 'widgets' to place on your pages.

From a search engine point of view, your shop is now as effective as the surrounding pages and you can optimse content, create micro data tags etc and benefit from Google Merchant Services.

  • Create the index and search where you want them
  • Ajax pages means no screen refreshed
  • Agile checkout
  • Drag and drop buying
  • Works really well with Squarespace, Wix, 1&1 etc.


The whole user experience is well executed and thoroughly thought through.  If you are adept at CSS, the whole site is customisable (or we can do that for you...) Call us if you'd like a quote to help you build the store you really want!

Squarespace Update to Version 5

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Version 5 Face Lift

For us though, working 'under the hood', one of the useful improvements is that made to the CSS editor.

The editor now 'undocks', so you can see what you're doing, and you can alter the proportions of the editing window to better suit text editing. I know you can cut and paste into a proper text editor, but I'm not always at the same machine so I never know what tools I've got - so the bundled tool is the one I tend to use by default.

In the new Custom CSS Editor.


  • Search and replace

  • Comments

  • Colour coding

  • Line Numbering

  • Indenting and Outdenting

  • Colour schemes


  • Collapseable Style editor to enable a better review of the impact of the changes you are making.

  • Detachable

  • Resizable

Other Changes include a myriad of new fonts -

Autosave in the Blog Editor

Along with word count, character count and the nature of the CSS Class you are using echoed in the editing window.

Here's what Squarespace have to say:

DEVELOPER-FRIENDLY CSS EDITOR

As web designers and developers, we know how limiting it could be to write and edit CSS within a small window. Now you can do it all within our beautiful new editor; pop out the entire window and see everything at once. The new editing toolbar allows you to find & replace, undo & redo (even post-save), insert style variables, and format your code like a pro. 3 new color themes are also available for easy-on-the-eyes editing.

AND MUCH MORE...


  • Add style to your blog post elements with 8 new icon sets, available in both black and white and 4 different sizes.

  • Keep the background image but change the color thanks to alpha-transparent PNGs available in many of the redesigned templates.

  • Customize buttons, like “search” and “submit”, right within Fonts, Colors & Sizes.

Flattr Example

 

We think Flattr and Squarepsace is a GREAT combination.  You create wonderful content and if others agree and enjoy your work, they can reward you in lots of very small ways.  but lots of raindrops make mighty rivers....

 

 

Flattr this

Chris took this picture in Paris (obviously!) this Summer. Let's say this inspires you and brightens up your day... well share the love and click the button.  The link might be very specific or it might be more general -a Whole blog or individual items.  

We hope it flies.

It deserves to.

 

Feel the love! - (Get PAID!)

Sometimes you come across 'stuff' on the web that solves a problem. Sometimes you can download free stuff, stuff that someone has created but is willing to share for free. Sometimes you come across a blog that has just the information you need, again for free. Ever wanted to show your appreciation for this 'stuff'?

Well now you can with Flattr - http://flattr.com/ 

In brief (taken from flattr.com) - when you're registered to flattr, you pay a small monthly fee. You set the amount yourself. At the end of the month, that fee is divided between all the things you flattered. You're always logged in to the account. That means that giving someone some flattr-love is just a button away. And you should! Clicking one more button doesn't add to your fee, it just divides the fee between more people! Flattr tries to encourage people to share. Not only pieces of content, but also some money to support the people who created them.

Let's spread the love!

Here's a Q&A between Flattr founder Peter Sunde & Wired Magazine

We think that the combination of Flattr and Squarespace is a match made in HEAVEN.  - The game has changed.  Now you can be rewarded for making the world a nicer place - You dont have to set up e-commerce and try to market your wares, your ideas etc... just put a button next to your lovely pictures, and get money for ideas and creativity. 

Flattr is a hugely democratic advance in creative remuneration and we think it has the potential to really open up the creative world.... maybe.

If you like the thought of using Squarespace and love the idea of getting paid for your insight... then we can help you embed Flattr and start the ball rolling for you.

 

 

 

Pinterest

You've GOT to have a look at Pinterest.

 

It's a 3D Scrapbook, it's full of ideas and memes - It looks lovely and it's a great way of storyboarding and mapping.  A great place to create a body of research and to create mood and style boards for clients and friends.  Collaborate - We are just starting to get a feel for it.

It's a great time to be alive!!

 

Harnessing your Squarespace (part 2)

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Using 'audiences'....

One of the best things about squarespace is it's ability to deliver different content to different users.

1.  Internal Use - External availability!

Using a special audience for your company teams, you can create dedicated intranets that integrate with your website and are available, editable and accessible from anywhere!   

  • Intranet
  • Sales leaflets
  • Quotations and client communications
  • Client information
  • Company Policies, Insurances, Registrations etc
  • Disaster Recovery - Planning -
  • Health and Safety Procedures
  • ISO documentation

The list is as long was you want it to be, but the amazing thing is: You can create an audience for each type of user so you give them just enough of what they need to do their job, and help the company to succeed.

 

 2. External Use

 

 Create a user group for your customers or suppliers. 

  • Meeting Notes
  • Plans
  • Performance metrics
  • Calendar of Events
  • Quotations and other project documents
  • Files and resources
  • Links and articles
  • Trade blogs and news not in the public domain
  • Handbooks and work sheets 
  • Instructions

3. Tactical 

 

  • Sales campaign
  • Registration forms
  • Email landing pages
  • New product announcements
  • Trade launches

 

Squarespace Audiences:

So you can create content as diverse as your business -

Create parts of the website that reflect the way you want your business to operate and Squarespace will reward by delivering exactly the content you want to deliver to exactly the right group!  

We think it's rather good!

Pearltrees

Really interesting social bookmarking - Makes research both fun and powerful.... could this be a way of integrating social media with sharing your browsing experience.

we've used it for market research when working as a team - very useful!!

Sadly a Flash only product which has me back tracking a bit.... 

Here's an example of how we're exploring what is possible for client promotion:

http://www.pearltrees.com/isocb/clients/id3101995

The requirement for Flash will limit our usage of Pearltrees - A great idea but ultimately the victim of the Apple adobe strife?