• Tech Tip: Find a color from a website with ColorZilla

    Colorzilla IconEver wondered what the exact color of a company’s logo is or what background color a website is using? Colorzilla is an extension for Chrome and Firefox that allows you to get the hexadecimal value of any color on a website.  This is useful if you are incorporating these colors in a design. There are many situations when this may come in handy:

    • When incorporating website branding into a presentation
    • Creating similar graphics
    • Getting examples of color schemes
    • Quick reference on your own sites without delving into CSS or image editing programs

    ColorZilla includes a color picker and CSS gradient generator in addition to the eye dropper tool which can identify the colors used on the website.

    Published by:
  • Tech Tip: Manage Podcasts with Player FM

    Player.FM screenshot

    Player.FM screenshot

    Podcasts offer you the option of listening to discussions on topics of interest at your convenience. You simply subscribe to the podcast you are interested in and your podcast playlist is updated whenever a new podcast is published. This is easily done with iTunes, Winamp and other media players but you can also subscribe to podcasts online without the need of additional software using Player FM. You can listen to podcasts right away from the site but in order to subscribe to them you  will need to log in by either signing up for an account or using a Google or Twitter account.

    Once you have logged in to Player FM you can search for podcasts to subscribe to and save your subscriptions into your own collection. You can then sort this collection by date published, length or randomly. You can also change the layout of your subscriptions by choosing either a list, card or table view.

    If you are interested in specific topics (aren’t we all?) podcasts are a good way to stay updated on them. From, shopping, website design, sports or music you can find podcasts that may interest you. Many people listen to podcasts while they are doing other things in the same way that they listen to the radio. Player FM provides a great central location for both managing and playing your podcasts with a simple and to the point user interface.

    Published by:
  • What to expect from SeizerStyle Designs in 2015

    SSD logoSeizerStyle Designs would like to wish all our clients, fans and supporters a Happy New Year. We have a lot of plans for 2015 in alignment with our Always Improving motto. We are committed to improving the quality and range of our services and have listened to the feedback which we have received. As such, here are some things you can look forward to in 2015.

    My SeizerStyle client portal

    A central location for clients to obtain pertinent information about their websites, domain names, and transactions with us as well as receive customer support.

    Improved monthly newsletters

    You can subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get a summary of articles which we have published during the month along with special offers and exclusive content.

    Design of the month

    Every month we will be highlighting one of our design projects which will also be added to our design portfolio.

    Improvements to client websites

    Many of our client websites will be updated to be more efficient, aesthetically pleasing and improve user experience.

    As a design company we want to see our clients do well throughout 2015 and send the right brand message out. As usual we encourage feedback from clients and visitors to any one of our websites. Have a great 2015!

    Published by:
  • SeizerStyle Designs December 2014 Newsletter

    It is another year end and a time of reflection as well as celebration of the year’s successes. There have been many challenges as well as many reasons to be thankful. We continue to work with our clients and improve on our services while our clients continue to grow their brands. We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our clients a happy and prosperous new year and all the best for 2015.

    New Newsletter Format

    The format of our newsletter is changing to highlight the articles we have covered throughout the month. This collection of articles from our blog and other properties will be a valuable resource to see what we are up to and keep you in the loop. We may still include some exclusive offers and original content in our monthly newsletter so stay tuned and enjoy the new format.

    This month on SeizerStyle Designs Blog

    Tweaking your brand image

    Tweaking Your Brand Image
    A brand should be strong but flexible to changes in the market as well as internal changes. Sometimes it becomes necessary to tweak your brand image in order to remain relevant or better position your business or organization. Find out some simple ways that you can tweak your brand image without completely changing your branding strategy.
    Read more

    Web design is more than just creating beautiful websites

    Beyond beauty of web design
    Everyone wants their website to be attractive and many clients would like to add bells and whistles to do so. Designing your website is not all about making it look good though. There is a process to web design which is started before any element of the website is even conceived. Find out more about the process of designing your website without going into the technicalities of website development.
    Read more

    Give yourself the exclusive

    Make your website #1

    A problem that plagues some organizations and businesses is that they allow media houses to break news before their official channels have published any information about this news. It is important that your website is the first to publish any important news about your organization or business to maintain its credibility and relevance. In the event that a news item is important or controversial people may want to verify its authenticity and your website is the ideal source for this information even though it is also distributed  by other outlets.
    Read more

    Tech Tips

    Published by:
  • Tweaking your brand image

    When you put a lot of work and thought into defining your brand and its vision you may become reluctant to make changes to it. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? Well maybe. There comes a time when a brand outgrows its original image, the taste of its target audience changes or a change is necessary to appeal to a new audience. In these situations it is possible to tweak your brand image without straying from your core values. Here are a few minor tweaks you can make to spruce up your brand image.

    Refresh your logo

    SeizerStyle Designs Icon

    SeizerStyle Designs Icon A

    Over time a logo can become outdated and lose its effectiveness. A business can also outgrow its logo and may need one that is more representative of its current state. Refreshing your logo is nothing to be ashamed of and it does not dishonour your original logo design either. With changes in technology and style it is important that your brand remains relevant and continues to appeal to the target audience. Big companies such as Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft and Apple have all tweaked their logo over the years.

    New SeizerStye Designs Icon

    SeizerStyle Designs Icon B

    SeizerStyle Designs has also experimented with  different versions of our iconic “double S” which is used in lieu of our full logo in situations where space is limited. As you can see by comparing Icon A to Icon B the brand image remains the same but the stylistic approach of expressing it is altered. Icon A is taken directly from our full logo while Icon B is a more independent design that stands out on its own while maintaining brand recognition.

    Send the right message

    WelcomeThere are various ways to send your brand message and trying a different approach is a good way to influence the way your brand is perceived. With trends encouraging wellness and healthier living you may want to highlight the nutritional benefit of your product rather than simply focussing on taste. You may also want to highlight the social impact of your product or service to show that your business is not just about the bottom line. The changes you make to your marketing message should target the audience you are trying to attract for maximum impact.

    SeizerStyle Designs offers “affordable” services rather than “cheap” services. This is because cheap may be associated not only with low cost but also low quality. Since we hold the quality of our services in high regard we avoid any brand message that may be counter-intuitive. As your brand grows and priorities change you may also have to modify your marketing to reflect those changes.

    Differentiate from the competition

    DiffertentiateImitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but differentiation is what sets you apart from your competitors. If you notice that you and your competitors have become too similar it may be time to tweak your brand image to give you the edge. This could be done by focusing on an aspect of the business that you think your competitors are neglecting. It could also be done by using a different marketing strategy to highlight your brand and why it is the best choice in the market. This does not mean that you have to make a dramatic change any time a competitor does something similar, but if you find that your similarity with your competitors is adversely affecting business it is definitely time for a refresh.

    Deciding when and how to tweak your brand image can be a tricky process. Changing too often may adversely affect brand recognition while not changing enough may make the brand seem old and outdated. A brand needs time to develop and the results of minor changes may not be immediately noticed. Your logo is the face of your brand and your message is its voice. They should be refreshed to remain relevant and consistent with the ideals of the brand over time. The brand should also remain unique and take steps to differentiate itself from competitors.

    Published by:
  • Tech Tip: Using Parental Controls in Windows

    Parental Controls in Windows 7Not all content is appropriate for children. Some Windows versions provide built in parental controls while others don’t. You can enable parental control settings in Windows 7, 8 & Vista via the Control Panel. In Windows 10 you will have to use a third party tool.

    Parental Controls in Windows 7 & Vista

    In Windows 7, 8 & Vista you can restrict  access to the computer using  Parental Controls. This works by setting restrictions on a particular user account. Set up this account to restrict the times that it can log in. Apply restrictions to games based on their rating. Additionally, restrict access to only a specific programs.

    Detailed instructions on setting up Parental Controls are available from this How-To Geek article. Apply these settings via the Control Panel in the User Accounts and Family Safety category. The wording may be different in Windows 8 but the procedure is similar.

    Please note that while this method may be useful it is by no means a fool-proof method of protecting your children. It is user account specific. Furthermore, tech savvy children may find ways to bypass this entirely.

    Parental Controls  in Windows 10

    While the Parental Control settings available in earlier versions of Windows were removed in Windows 10, there are still options. A comprehensive list of parental control apps compiled by Comparitech provides a list of viable options. Some are free while others are not. Compare the features offered to your needs.

    References

    How To Use Parental Controls in Windows 7 (How-To Geek, 2010)

    The Best Parental Control Software and Apps of 2017 (Comparitech, 2017)

     

     

    Published by:
  • Tech Tip: Monitor System Resources

    Resource Monitor IconIt’s useful to find out what is using up your computer’s system resources  out of curiosity or when you are troubleshooting a problem. This can reveal the programs that are memory hogs or indicate when a hardware upgrade may be necessary. On Windows there is an easy way to monitor your memory, CPU, network and disk activity using the Resource Monitor.

    To open the Resource Monitor:

    • Open the Task Manager (Ctrl+ Shift+ Esc or right click taskbar then click Start Task Manager)
    • Click on Performance tab
    • Click Resource Monitor… button at the bottom of the window.

    References

    How to Use Resource Monitor (PC World, 2011)

    Published by:
  • Web design is more than just creating beautiful websites

    Creating a website is more than just designing the look and feel of an online entity. There are many aspects of website development that are less glamorous than designing beautiful mock-ups to impress a client and including fancy effects to woo visitors. While even these fun aspects of designing the website can be challenging at times there are also many other things that have to be considered. Research, responsive design, SEO, content management and website analytics are all important aspects of web development that cannot be ignored.

    Web Design ResearchResearch

    Every website is different and the design depends on a number of factors. Who does the website target? On what devices will the website be viewed? What functionality is required? These are just a few questions that need to be answered by research. The client is an invaluable source of information but not the only source that must be identified at this stage. Industry best practices and trends must also be considered. Improper research can doom a website to failure before it is even launched.

    Web Design Responsive Responsive Design

    Gone are the days when you could assume with confidence that the majority of users would be viewing your website from a desktop or laptop computer. Mobile devices including smart phones and tablets have risen to a point in popularity that they cannot be ignored. Responsive design allows you to cater for  a variety of different screen sizes in a manner that is seamless to the user.

    SEOWeb Design SEO

    Optimizing websites for search engines helps make your website more easily discovered. With more and more websites coming online every day it is increasingly more difficult to stand out. You want your relevant content to be accessible via a search and be as close to the top of the results as possible. SEO cannot be an afterthought, since it has to be integrated into the website development.

    Web Design CMSContent Management Systems

    Most web design clients are not designers and are not comfortable in delving into code to update their websites. They do however want trhe control to be able to add, remove and modify content on the site they are paying for. The solution to this is a content management system (CMS). A CMS acts as a separation that splits a website into the front end that visitors ssee and the back end that the client uses to update the website. The CMS is more user-friendly than actually writing code. COntent management requirements need to be known before the website is designed in order to cater for that functionality.

    Website AnalyticsWeb Design Analytics

    When you have launched your website you will obviously have questions about its performance. Is your website meeting expected targets? How many visitors are you getting a day? What channels do they take to get to your website? All of these questions can be answered by website analytics. Bear in mind that the more specific information you want about your website visitors the more you may be encroaching on their privacy. This is why website analytics are directly correlated to privacy policies.

    Published by:
  • Tech Tip: Mark unwanted emails as junk

    Email SpamEmails are a convenient form of communication but unsolicited emails can distract as well as offend email users. Besides cluttering your inbox, spam can link to malicious websites or scam offers aimed at enticing you to give up your financial information. While most email providers try to filter out junk mail, occasionally some creep through the cracks. You can however mark emails as junk manually on both webmail and standalone email clients such as Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird.

    Why mark unwanted emails as junk

    Why bother marking emails as junk mail rather than just deleting them? Manually marking junk mail in your inbox helps your email provider or email client to learn the types of messages that you consider junk. This will help these messages to be filtered better and sent directly to your Junk Mail or Spam folders – bypassing your inbox in the future.

    How to mark unwanted emails as junk

    There are different ways to mark a message as junk based on the program or website you are using. You can usually right click on the email title and select the menu item to Mark as Junk or Report Spam. It is also possible to mark an email as junk after you have opened it. There is usually an option at the top of the email window to do so together with other options such as Reply or Delete.

     

     

    Published by:
  • Give yourself the exclusive

    Exclusive IconIn this digital age there are so many outlets to spread your marketing message that it can be overwhelming. You want your message to reach your target audience so it is likely that it will be distributed via various channels – word of mouth, your website, radio, television and social media. You have to be careful with your integrated marketing communication though, to ensure that you are not undermining your official channels of distribution in an attempt to increase reach of your message.

    Make your website the official source of information

    If you have a website it should be the official source of information, news and updates about your products or services. This may seem trivial but it is important for both the value and integrity of your website. If more information about your business or organization is available from external sources there is no real incentive to visit your website. This problem is even worst if external websites break news about your business or organization before your website does.

    Use other outlets to drive traffic to your website

    External sources should drive traffic to your website, not take traffic from it. Use your website as the official place where information is disseminated from. Press releases and news can be posted on your website and then disseminated to other sources. These sources can even link back to the official website to show the authenticity of the information and prove that it is credible. You can also disseminate  a summarized version of information to external outlets with a link for full details on your business or organization’s website.

    For example, when a new article is posted on your website you can also post it on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This will not post the entire article but will post a link to it so your fans/followers can find further details on your website. This way you can reach your audience on social media sites which you do not control while still having full control over your website.

    At the end of the day your website is one of your brand’s most valuable assets. If you utilize it properly you can reap returns on this investment. This will not be possible if your website is stagnant or treated as an afterthought.Maximize the usefulness of your website by giving yourself the exclusive before disseminating your content via other channels.

     

    Published by: