News from the cutting edge of tech.

GDPR for small businesses

GDPR – What Small Businesses Need To Know

As a small business owner you will probably already be aware that Data Protection regulations are going to change in May 2018. You will almost certainly be affected if you hold data on individuals in any form. But there’s a lot of poor information swirling about. Don’t get caught out by GDPR myths. We’ve compiled a list of need-to-know tips to help clarify what your responsibilities will be.  Read more

Surbiton Business Expo 2016

Surbiton Business Expo 2016Surbiton Business Expo is back for the fourth year running and promises to be bigger and better than ever before.

  • Learn how using easily accessible data can fuel your business success
  • Connect with likeminded people doing business in the area
  • Get inspired and learn from other businesses who’ve made it

Industry expert speakers

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Fiona Quinn
  • Sarah Gregory
  • BrightLion marketing
  • UKcentric digital marketing

On the day

A number of local and national companies will be taking stands, and offering free advice and support to local business people.

Business Radio will be on hand to conduct interviews with our expert speakers.

Speed networking – a fast-paced way to meet and greet local business people who you can do business with

It’s free for members of the Surbiton Business Community, and low-priced tickets can be purchased for non-members.


Thursday 22nd September 2016
9:30am – 3pm

Glenmore House
6 The Cresent
Surbiton
Surrey
KT6 4BN

Tickets: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/surbiton-business-expo-2016-tickets-26699994402?mc_eid=eba7ca325b&mc_cid=4c30191b55

 

Three Things Affecting Paid Search Coming Down the Line

Here are three important things that are going to be big news in the world of PPC and SEO.

Local search ads

Ads on Google Maps will lead people straight to your location.

Find out more

smartphone_flickr_philcampbell_2Call-only ads

70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results. Mobile users don’t necessarily want to click through to a website. They want to call you right now, especially if their need is urgent – for example, breakdown services, dentists, or pizza! Call-only ads bypass the website completely and you bid for calls, not clicks.

Find out more

Expanded text ads

This new type of ad will be rolling out soon and in time will likely overtake the text ads we have now. Google is doubling the length of the title, and this can lead to a doubling of clickthrough rates.

Find out more

BBC News Moves to Responsive Design

BBC News WebsiteToday the BBC has announced that after several weeks of A/B testing it will move all users to it’s new responsive website design.

Responsive design means the same site present itself differently according to the kind of device that it’s being viewed on.

Usually this means having more horizontal content on desktops and on mobiles using bigger text, and fewer or just one column of content, with content stacking up vertically instead of horizontally. This means less pinching and zooming on mobiles, links that are easier to click, and forms that are easier to fill in, while at the same time delivering the rich user experience that desktop users demand.

We’ve been using the responsive design for a few weeks and we like it. It focusses the user on the content not on the presentation, which is Rule #1 of great web design. We didn’t much enjoy being directed to a separate website when viewing the site on mobile, but now we’ll stay on the main bbc.co.uk/news URL.

The BBC news team have said that up to 65% of their traffic is now via mobiles and the old desktop site was built four years ago when the conventional wisdom was to build different sites for different devices. They also have a great mobile app which is specifically designed for mobile and there are no signs that will be withdrawn.

  • Visit the new BBC News website
  • UKcentric build all new websites as responsive as standard.

 

The Challenges of Accessible Website Design

What is website accessibility?
Website accessibility is the process of designing websites which have no barriers to access for people with disabilities. Consideration must be given to blindness and low vision, motor disabilities and the widest range of cognitive abilities.
For most customers, the primary concern in web design is reaching the largest-possible audience. Sadly, accessibility is often the last thing on the customer’s mind, and we have to gently steer the customer towards accessibility considerations.

Recently we had a web design project that turned this on its head. Chris McCausland is a stand-up comedian who is also blind. Our commission was to build a site which would be attractive and professional-looking to his sighted fans, as well as his fanbase of blind people.

We had to design accessibility-first, and this threw up some fascinating challenges. Read more

What Makes a Great e-Commerce Site?

Homepage Layout

Which? Magazine have announced the top 100 best online shops according to their readers. There were some really surprising results. The top prize with a customer score of 91% was WexPhotographic.com – a supplier of photographic equipment.

You might expect to see the online behemoths at the top of the list but in fact Amazon.co.uk came in a number 15 and Apple at number 25.

We thought we’d take a detailed look at Wex Photographic to find out why customers seem to love them so much. Here’s what we found.

Lightning fast

We got the stopwatch out and did some timing tests. Over 10 tests the homepage loaded in an average of 1.8 secs, which is lightning fast, especially considering the amount of photography on the page. Doing some basic searches from the type-in search box was even more impressive with average find times of 1.5 secs. This site just whizzes along!

Easy to understand category browser

The main category menu makes good sense and is written using jargon-free terminology. We’re not photography experts but we understood what we were going to get when we clicked through. Again, clicking main menu options gave us page-load timings of under 2 seconds on average.

Product photography and video

You’d expect great photography on a photography web site wouldn’t you? It’s amazing how photography lets down so many online stores. Most product pages have several clean and clear photos. A minor quibble is that you can’t zoom in and look at the surface textures of products, and some products had only one photo.

Ecommerce Product Video

The store features product videos as well as photography.

Details and specifications

The technical details are important! Measurements and specs can mean the difference between a successful purchase and a return. On this site we found the specifications particularly clearly laid out, and each product featured detailed descriptions of features and benefits too.

Accessories, cross-buys and freebies

We were impressed by the number of recommendations we were offered. For example when buying a camera, we were presented with compatible tripods to go with it. This suggests real attention to detail.

On many of the products we added to our basket, we were offered, free of charge, a useful extra to go with it. For example an astronomy telescope comes with a free torch – rather handy when you’re in the middle of a field in the dead of night we suspect!

The purchasing journey

Checkout Buttons

Checkout was clearly signposted

Adding to basket and moving through the various processes to checkout was a breeze. The route was clearly signposted with large and obvious Checkout buttons.

At each stage we were offered phone and fax contact numbers which would be very helpful for a difficult purchase. We were also shown images of the different cards you can use.

When it came to creating an account we found the instructions clear and obvious. The signup/signin page was one of the clearest we’ve seen and setting up our customer details was also clear and straightforward.

Clarity of contact options

Wex display their phone number prominently on every page. This seems to encourage people to phone in and speak to a real person. Customers are looking for contact points such as phone numbers and opening times, even if they don’t actually want to use them. Wex’s site also features a live chat option – another handy way to contact them if you’re perusing the site and need advice.

Wex Login

Login and signup are crystal-clear

There is a strong social media presence with links to their Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Flickr and YouTube channels on every page. The 45,000+ Facebook Likes displayed certainly gives the impression of a sizeable fan base.

Community

It is rather rare for e-commerce sites to encourage on-site user-generated content such as community forums. But Wex have taken the plunge and offer a fully-fledged forum where photography enthusiasts can mingle and chat. The blog features hundreds and hundreds of product reviews, tips and advice posts.

Plus there are photography competitions and even seminars and events beyond the store. All this creates a really strong impression that Wex is super-keen on talking with their customers and sharing their passion for photography.

Post-purchase support

If you’re paying £2000+ for a camera you want great support. As well as the phone contact option, Wex helpfully offer a list of manufacturer helplines so customers can speak direct to the manufacturer.

Summary

All in all the experience of using the site was very good. Fast page-loading times and clear navigation mean you can get to what you want quickly. The generous add-ons and freebies make you feel valued and important. The vast amount of technical information, background knowledge and support really comes across. Delivery times and contact points were clear and easy to understand.

It’s not hard to understand why this site has come out number in the Which? Online Shops Satistfaction Survey.

PS: we are not connected in any way at all to Wex Photographic!

Related links:

Nominet Launches .UK Domain Names

Remember the date

.UK launches on 10 Jun 2014. Existing owners have until 10 Jun 2019 to register their equivalent names.

On 10 Jun 2014, Nominet (the UK domain names organisation) is launching .UK as a new domain extension. We have 15 years of history of .co.uk, org.uk, and more recently .me.uk so this is quite a shake-up.

Read more

UKcentric’s New Brand

UKcentric | Be Brilliant OnlineWe’re excited to reveal UKcentric’s new look! Several months in the planning, we’ve refocussed our site on what matters most to our customers.

We’ve a fresh new logo and colour scheme to take us into 2014. We also have several new ways to get in touch – Facebook, Twitter and Skype to name but three.

Read more