Web Ignite http://webignite.com.au Big Bang. Small Bucks. Professional Web Design at a truly affordable price. Mon, 27 Feb 2017 04:22:13 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 “Not Secure!” http://webignite.com.au/blog/not-secure/ http://webignite.com.au/blog/not-secure/#respond Mon, 27 Feb 2017 01:25:30 +0000 http://webignite.com.au/?p=8901 On January 31st, Google released an update to their Chrome browser which automatically identifies websites that are not SSL encrypted to display as “Not Secure” to visitors. This update was implemented in hopes to offer better web browsing security for its users, which means those sites without an SSL will need to adapt fast.

This change may confuse your site visitors if they’re not expecting it. A lack of an SSL certificate can deter them from entering your site if they are worried about their data security. Users can also see the ‘Not secure’ notice and feel that it’s more a warning to back out of the site entirely, rather than a warning to not enter any personal information.

It’s recommended that if your site currently does not have an SSL, you look into having one set up as soon as possible.

For more information on the update you can learn more at the Wordfence Blog: https://www.wordfence.com/blog/2017/01/chrome-56-ssl-https-wordpress

Need help setting up an SSL encryption for your website? Contact our friendly staff at info@webignite.com.au.

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Website Maintenance and Updates http://webignite.com.au/blog/website-maintenance-and-updates/ http://webignite.com.au/blog/website-maintenance-and-updates/#respond Mon, 27 Feb 2017 01:19:49 +0000 http://webignite.com.au/?p=8895 WordPress changes. Plugin updates. Keeping up with coding standards, compliance with browser updates, new technologies getting introduced… There’s a lot that can throw a website off its tracks, and when customers come to Web Ignite asking for website repairs, it’s often due to lack of regular maintenance. Like servicing your car, regular maintenance keeps your car running, and regular website maintenance works the same way. Leave it too long, and you may find your website displaying incorrectly, or worse, open and vulnerable to being hacked.

But why does that happen? We’re not saying that the wheels on your website can rust and then fall off over time, because that doesn’t really happen unless someone runs a strong magnet over the hard disk your website is sitting on (don’t try this at home). The main culprits at work are that over time, WordPress as a platform goes through regular updates, along with any plugins or themes. These updates can range from security improvements, bug fixes, and new features. Leaving these updates dormant for too long ends up increasing the risk of the website failing to keep up with modern requirements, or being attacked.

So who should maintain the website? We always say leave the car at the mechanic, leave the accounting to your accountant, and leave the website with your web providers! It might look simple to just click update on a plugin, and when it works it definitely looks like a no-brainer. But when you click update, and then your browser just loads a white screen, that’s definitely not a great way to start your week. If you’re not comfortable with site maintenance, then it would be better to discuss with your web developer. Just like your car, it can cost more to fix a site than it is to maintain one.

At Web Ignite we handle this by scheduling maintenance monthly, creating a clone of the site on our dev server and testing updates first before pushing to the live server. This means we can safely troubleshoot compatibility issues without disrupting the live site, allowing our clients seamless and stress-free website management.

Don’t let your website gather dust. Give your website a little TLC!

Need any assistance with regular website maintenance? Send an email to our friendly staff at info@webignite.com.au to learn more about our Managed Service Plans.

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Gmail Phishing Alert http://webignite.com.au/blog/gmail-phishing-alert/ http://webignite.com.au/blog/gmail-phishing-alert/#respond Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:56:32 +0000 http://webignite.com.au/?p=8889 Keep your eyes peeled guys. There’s a new phishing scam that is targeting Gmail users by faking a Gmail login page to get you to enter your username and password. For the past few months this scam has been gaining more attention and is very deceptive with a few tricks that can sometimes go undetected.

So how does the process work? It starts off with the attacker sending out an email under the disguise of a trusted contact to the victim. In this email, there is a PDF attachment that appears to be harmless, however the attachment is actually an embedded image that has been created to look like a PDF. When clicked on, it will link out to a fake Google login page which looks very convincing. Perhaps the biggest red flag to informing you that you’re on a fake page would be the URL in the address bar which would read with the prefix “data:text/html”.

Once the user enters their username and password, that’s it, their information is captured. On top of that, after attackers gain access to a person’s inbox, they can survey the account, find past emails, attachments and contacts. With a convincing subject title and new fake attachment, the cycle continues.

While Google are currently aware of this issue, what you can do to prevent falling for this scheme is to be cautious of the URL in your address bar by looking out for a “https://” and lock symbol. And if you receive any suspicious emails from a friend be sure to check with them first!

For more information check out this more detailed article from the Wordfence blog: https://www.wordfence.com/blog/2017/01/gmail-phishing-data-uri/

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Mobile-First Design Best Practices http://webignite.com.au/blog/mobile-first-design-best-practices/ http://webignite.com.au/blog/mobile-first-design-best-practices/#respond Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:50:17 +0000 http://webignite.com.au/?p=8884 Like most disciplines, web design is constantly evolving and improving. Not simply through visual aesthetics but also through the architectural structure in which to guide a user. As more data and feedback comes back from every design idea out there, there are continual discoveries in how websites can be further optimised as they adapt to changing trends, be it personal tastes or shifts in device and technology.

So let’s jump right in.  For years, Google had already announced that mobile devices would overtake desktops as the primary device for web browsing. By 2016, the world had reached that tipping point, and common sense prevailing, web designers should have been stressing the importance of mobile-first designs so the website could be accessible for all devices.  We’re finally here, folks.  No longer just a good idea, mobile-first design ought to be standard across all websites. Rather than just making sure the desktop version can chunk down a bit when viewing on mobiles and calling it a day though, there are many more opportunities for websites to be improved for better mobile usability.

One of the biggest usability trends we’re already seeing are fewer navigation menu items. In the past most navigation menus would feature 5-7 items on average, but nowadays, with a view to optimising for mobiles, designers aim to reduce this number down to 3-4. While this alone helps with preventing decision-paralysis from users who are overwhelmed with too many options, there’s less clutter to present when viewing on smaller screens.

Another change that has been gaining momentum is a shift away from graphically heavy designs and better utilisation of text, colours and page composition to achieve aesthetics and readability. While images will always serve as powerful mediums to convey your messaging, websites that focus too much on graphically intensive designs often need crippling compromises to translate their content to mobile. You’ll often find on mobile-first websites that images are now downplayed but still present.

But remember, these tips are barely scraping the surface of mobile-first design!  There are many reports and ongoing studies delving into every little detail, from form fields to tabulated data, and while these are currently best practice now, if you’re looking to maximise your online presence and provide your users with an intuitive experience, constant updates and revisions are the key.

Need help with optimising your site or interested in a bit of a refresh? Contact our friendly and awesome team at info@webignite.com.au

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Edge Part 2 – The Cons http://webignite.com.au/blog/edge-part-2-the-cons/ http://webignite.com.au/blog/edge-part-2-the-cons/#respond Wed, 20 Jan 2016 03:17:42 +0000 http://webignite.com.au/?p=8822 In Part 2 of the series, we look at the next new feature of Edge: reading view. Reading view is an option that appears in the URL bar of Edge, to the left of the Favourites star icon. Clicking this button while viewing a page will strip the page of what Edge sees as distracting content, displaying only the main article. This feature also adds its own styling to the page, with a number of default styling options available through the settings menu of Edge.

By default the styling resembles the page of a book. Settings for the feature allow users to switch between 4 presets for background colour – ranging from an off-white that resembles aged paper – to shades of grey and black for the dark option. The font colour is styled appropriately to contrast the background colour, providing a reading experience that is easy on the eyes. The font size options range from small, which seemed to match the original font size of the articles we tested, to extra large which is aptly named.

The system isn’t perfect however. Testing the feature on a question and answer styled page rendered only the original question in the reading view, with no option to see the replies. Obviously the system is aimed at being used on news styled sites where the article makes up the main content of the page. In cases like this, the reading view will strip away all navigation options and present only the main article itself; displaying image content that is relevant to the article. Clearly this system relies on specific page structure and styling in line with modern web practices. For many older sites with content that hasn’t been marked up with modern standards though, the feature will struggle to interpret the readable content correctly.

Its use on news article based websites provides a great interim solution to the lack of AdBlock support in Edge. We tested the feature on a tech website’s news article, and the pop-ups and ads were removed entirely leaving us with a greatly improved viewing experience. It will be interesting to see how this feature evolves as Edge matures.

The next newly added feature is Web Notes. This feature allows users to add hand drawn annotations and typed notes to a web page which can then be saved and shared with other Edge users. Within the web design realm, this provides a very promising method of feedback between clients and developers, allowing them to provide feedback overlaid on either a live site or a work in progress. Being able to highlight and add notes directly to a website allows for a greater sense of visual feedback and would provide a supplementary method of client/developer communication. Of course, this would rely on both parties using Edge which isn’t a likely scenario at this stage.

Finally, Edge from our developer’s perspective. Internet Explorer has long been the bane of developers adopting the cutting edge web development standards, due to older versions simply not supporting particular features or requiring awkward work-arounds to make current standards comply with the unwieldy browser. Edge however uses an entirely new rendering engine, named EdgeHTML. Reportedly, this new engine focuses on staying up to date with current web standards and brings the performance of Edge inline with, if not exceeding that of Firefox and Chrome. With Windows 10 being offered as a free upgrade for existing users of Windows 7 and 8, hopefully more users will make the jump from older versions of Internet Explorer to Edge.

Overall Edge seems to offer some very interesting new features. While these features will not appeal to all users, the simple user interface and the inclusion of the reading view will potentially make web browsing even more accessible for less tech savvy users.

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Windows 10 Part 2 – The Cons http://webignite.com.au/blog/windows-10-part-2-the-cons/ http://webignite.com.au/blog/windows-10-part-2-the-cons/#respond Wed, 20 Jan 2016 03:15:34 +0000 http://webignite.com.au/?p=8816 While Windows 10 has been all the rage in recent months, it’s not perfect and comes with a few flaws. One of the issues that’s sitting uncomfortably with new users is Windows Forced Automatic Updates. Right now if you’re on the older systems, you can pick and choose when you want to update and restart, yet for some reason Windows 10 makes every update mandatory. While it’s arguable for security updates to be mandatory, there have already been instances where system updates have caused more harm than good (http://onforb.es/1OILULq).

Lovers of Windows Media Center may be a little unhappy with the upgrade to Windows 10 as well, with its removal as a default application. Over successive versions, Media Center was upgraded significantly to include support for high-definition TV, CableCard based tuners and an SDK that enables apps from third-party sources like Netflix as well as support for playback of Blu-ray discs. Now that it’s gone, users will need to look for alternatives such as the popular media player, VLC, which will provide most of the functionality found in the old Windows Media Center.

So should you upgrade to Windows 10 or not? It mostly comes down to personal preference. A lot of Windows 8 users are welcoming the new Windows 10 as it has rectified a lot of past errors, such as the Settings pages, which had some settings only available via the settings “app”, with other settings only available through Control Panel. Bugs and glitches that occurred in the Windows 8.1 rollout – notably some models of Toshiba laptops, where touch screen functionality would be lost completely – have been fixed as well. If you’re still a Windows 7 user and are still happy with it, then it can be worth it to hold off on the upgrade, at least to give Microsoft enough time to refine the new platform. It should be noted that “mainstream” support for Windows 7 last year though, which means any updates to the platform are purely for security reasons and no further design or feature requests will be considered. Security update support for Windows 7 isn’t due to be phased out until January 2020.

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A New Edge – Part 1 http://webignite.com.au/blog/edge-part-1/ Mon, 07 Sep 2015 01:57:24 +0000 http://webignite.com.au/?p=8670 With the recent release of Windows 10, Microsoft has replaced the old Internet Explorer with their new browser, Edge. Using Microsoft’s Metro design style, Edge offers a very sleek and minimalist user interface. The browser also offers a number of new features not previously seen in Internet Explorer. However, is Edge the big upgrade we’ve all been waiting for, or yet another new browser full of bloated gimmicks?

The first of the new features is the integration of the new Windows 10 feature “Cortana”, which integrates with Edge to offer new ways to interact with websites. Cortana is described as being an “intelligent personal assistant”. For those who are familiar with Apple’s Siri, it serves a similar purpose and function. While voice controlled searches are nothing new, Cortana also integrates with Edge to allow users to highlight and search for terms contained in the articles they are reading. Highlighting and right-clicking on one or more words and clicking on the “Ask Cortana” option will open a panel on the right side of the window, containing either search results for a term or dictionary and Wikipedia entries depending on the terms being searched for. Clicking on a search result will open the page in a new tab, removing the need to manually open new tabs and enter search terms.

Chrome offers similar functionality, instead opening a new tab and showing Google search results for the highlighted terms. Cortana differs in that it shows contextual search results, offering dictionary and Wikipedia based results for more generic searches such as simple words, while providing complete search results from Bing, based on more complex search terms.

One consideration users will have to make regarding the use of Cortana is that it uses Bing as its search engine. While Edge allows users to switch the default landing page and search engine to the user’s preference, Cortana is currently tied to Bing. Users have reported been able to get around this while using voice input by explicitly asking Cortana to search using a particular search engine, but unfortunately this doesn’t apply to the aforementioned highlight and search functionality. Edge also doesn’t support plugins currently, but there’s a chance that with future updates, the ability to change the default search engine might be added.

The lack of plugin functionality is one of the major drawbacks that will keep users away from Edge, at least until Microsoft delivers on its promise of plugin functionality being added in a future update. This seems to be an issue partly due to the inability of users being able to install such widely used add-ons such as AdBlock. For users of Firefox and Chrome, the use of AdBlock is fairly commonplace to cut down on the clutter that many popular websites contain.

So is Edge worth switching to? Browsers ultimately bottle down to user preference and what can accommodate their needs, and Edge is a much needed upgrade to the old Internet Explorer.  We think it’s worth giving it a trial – we’ve only just scratched the surface of what Edge has to offer, which we’ll continue to explore in the next issue of Ignite.

Upgrading to Windows 10 – Part 1 http://webignite.com.au/blog/upgrading-windows-10-part-1/ Mon, 07 Sep 2015 01:54:57 +0000 http://webignite.com.au/?p=8667 Last month Windows 10 was released to the public, and so far the general assessment has been positive, but not without its flaws. After a month of it being available as a free upgrade, it has given users enough time to become acquainted with the OS and determine whether or not everyone should upgrade.

One thing worth mentioning right off the bat is that the upgrade to Windows 10 is free if you’re using a licensed version of Windows 7, 8 or 8.1. This is a great deal since in the past Microsoft would charge for upgrades to their new systems. This free upgrade offer is available until July 2016, so there’s still time to think it over if you want to take advantage of this offer.

Of the main differences you’ll notice in Windows 10 is the Start menu.  One of the most derided aspects of Windows 8 was the change in the Start menu, which catered heavily toward tablet users and left desktop users frustrated.  Windows 10 has sought out to rectify the mess created by 8, allowing the Start menu to make its triumphant return to a more tried and tested UI design. Though not quite the old menu from Windows 7, it takes the best aspects from the previous two Windows systems. The tiles from Windows 8 are still present, but you’re now no longer locked into a full screen interface when it’s open. The tiles and Start menu are now highly customisable to the user’s preference.

Former Windows 8 users will also have to adjust to the Charms Bar being removed from the system entirely. It’s a slightly inconvenient adjustment if you’ve gotten into the habit of relying on it to perform actions such as controlling the power, accessing the control panel, and editing your PC settings. Instead, Windows 10 have implemented an Action Centre which holds all updates, notifications and allows for quick access to other settings. Windows 7 users will feel right at home however, as you’ll completely bypass the peculiar Charms Bar and will benefit from the new ease of use that the Action Center provides.

Snapping apps were a popular feature in Windows 8 and it has now been refined to look even better in Windows 10.  Now when you want to snap a window to the side, a menu list of all of your current open windows will appear, making it easier to select the window you want to work with.

There are a lot of new upgrades that Windows 10 brings to the table, but as with any software upgrade, there are nuances and hidden details to be uncovered.  Stay tuned, as next issue we’ll be covering the downsides of Windows 10!

Refreshing your website for 2015 http://webignite.com.au/blog/refreshing-website-2015/ Wed, 21 Jan 2015 23:58:42 +0000 http://webignite.com.au/?p=8567 It’s January, 2015.  Game time.  You know your website is beginning to date, or you know it can be performing better – now is the time to look at your website and reflect on whether or not things need to change, and what should be changed.

When was the website updated last?
If the answer is, ‘over a few years’ then it’s definitely worth considering refreshing the look. People are quick to judge a book by its cover, or a business by its website – if it looks old and outdated, potential customers can feel the business is out of touch, isn’t a high performer, or worse, presume the business is no longer running!  Of course, not all websites have to look futuristic and innovative, but if a different look is intentional, it still needs to convey your key messages in an easy to read fashion. If you have a portfolio, is it up to date with your recent projects? Does your website look good on mobiles?  Remember that a website shouldn’t be a ‘set-and-forget’ item like an ad in the phone directory, but rather as a performance tool to be maintained, like a well-oiled machine.

Is it providing results?
When you boil it down, the main purpose of having a website is to help your business to sell. If you’re not finding much benefit from your website then it’s a good sign to look at revamping your site.  Google Analytics is great for this as it can show you where all your traffic is going, and what pages will result in most people leaving your site. From there it becomes a matter of finding out what isn’t working and why, so you don’t repeat the same mistakes.

Remember the importance of functionality
Every page of a website should serve a purpose. It’s easy to come up with ideas to add to a design because it looks good, but all of it means nothing without proper structure and functionality – each section and element of your website should help guide your visitor to what they need and want.  For example, if your website is about music and gigs, you may want to provide calendar widgets and social sharing links, to help your visitors tell their friends about upcoming events. Ease of use, navigability and functionality are all important to consider in your redesign.

2015 Predictions for Web Design Trends http://webignite.com.au/blog/2015-predictions-web-design-trends/ Wed, 21 Jan 2015 23:50:33 +0000 http://webignite.com.au/?p=8562 Every year the web industry goes through a series of trends that either last a few months or become a benchmark for a new generation of design. Last year, we saw the continued surge in responsive websites. Nowadays it’s almost a necessity to have your website be responsive and compatible on all devices. Last month we covered other trends such as hero image banners, video backgrounds and more. But what should we be expecting this year?

Flat UI
Flat design has been around for a long time, and in recent years has kicked its predecessor, chromed designs, to the curb. In 2013, popularity for the minimalism style began to swell due to the drastic style changes of OS X and Windows 8. Since then there’s been a consistent trend of flat UI on apps and websites, and in 2015 all signs show that we’re going to see more and more websites adopt flat UI.  As sites and apps have become responsive, flat designs have become a great option for rendering clear and legible information at all sizes.

Video Backgrounds
Video backgrounds started to rise in popularity around the later half of 2014 after HTML5 introduced the <video> tag, which made it easier to include videos on websites. Video backgrounds are perfect for showcasing your projects, products or services and catches the eye of your viewer straight away, and technology advances, we can expect to see more and more websites implement videos to better engage their audience.

Big Typography
As the overall trend of design has become about minimalism, there has been a surge in bold in-your-face text on websites, providing a simple hook illustrated with an eye-grabbing image. Big Typography demands attention as people visit a site and are immediately delivered a clear message about what the site offers. Naturally, as with all current trends, it also goes hand in hand with readability on hand-held devices, which scale down to even the smallest phones without compromising legibility.

Overall, the current trends all focus on simplicity, being catchy, direct and to the point, yet impressing a clear style at the same time. We’re looking forward to the continued evolution of web design in 2015 and beyond!