Tag Archives for " web design "

December 26, 2017

Making Websites Accessible to Everyone – Part II

Person writing on computer keyboard.

How does your business stack up against the Section 508 Standards regarding ADA compliance for telecommunication equipment and products? Compliance in website accessibility is a must now.

Person writing on computer keyboard.It’s hard to believe that the year’s grace given by the Access Board ends on January 18, 2018. Website owners are already getting calls threatening lawsuits for noncompliance when they haven’t even explored actions that address mandatory compliance.

This is not a case where the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigates each business and site before adverse action is taken. A complaint about the lack of proper accessibility for individuals covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act can only be disregarded when exceptions are disregarded.

Site owners must stand ready to: (a) show proof of compliance, or (b) document why they are not subject to the requirements of that section.

Discrimination Comes in Many Forms

Why does the Federal Government create so many laws and mandates forbidding discrimination against disabled individuals?

The short answer is lack of awareness.

Some disabilities, such as visual difficulties, are not immediately noticeable.

In addition to Section 508, three primary laws prohibit discriminating in communication. ADA is one. Access by people with disabilities to advanced communications products and services is required by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010.The Communications Act, Section 255, requires telecommunications services and products be made accessible.

Companies doing business with federal agencies must also take steps to comply with these directives. Healthcare, financial institutions, and private contractors are examples. Digital communications like software, apps, and emails must be 508 compliant, Since PDFs aren’t accessible by screen readers, they require 508 remediation.

New York and California Reinforce Reasons to Understand and Comply

Changing PDFs and Word documents to the most recent standards is challenging, yet essential. Short training classes are planned in New York for the review of ADA Titles II and III web regulations. Recent Department of Education and Department of Justice enforcement activities are reviewed along with state policy about web accessibility and Section 508’s impact. Attendees will benefit from discussions about the revised section, websites and electronic document design.

The State of California already has measures in place. California Government Code §11135(d), for example, requires fully accessible electronic and information technology if it is used or created by the state. Physical disabilities affecting user interaction on the web include:

  • hearing or vision loss.
  • cognitive disabilities.
  • limited manual dexterity.

State Universities support compliance with the use of software that evaluates website accessibility. State school students with disabilities can access online videos, files and documents thanks to Community Colleges resources.

State Government Code §11546.7 requires all state agencies and entities to have website compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA or a subsequent version, as well as Section 508, by July 1, 2019. A certification of compliance is required on each agency’s or entity’s home page.

Steps to Compliance

There’s a natural drive in many of us to do it all. The number of actions required to detect discrepancies and achieve complete 508 compliance is too much for one person. Why risk fines, penalties and the possible closure of your business because a step was missed? Reviewing communications and documents is a start to updating and corrections. Steps must be taken to be sure contractors are compliant, as well. Online assessment tools and an accessibility strategy are the basic steps to determining how to demonstrate the willingness to be compliant while the process is achieved.

Resources
https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-ict-refresh/final-rule
https://www.mylearningplan.com/WebReg/ActivityProfile.asp?D=18662&I=2649761
http://www.3playmedia.com/2017/12/13/california-state-web-accessibility-laws/

May 8, 2017

Design Makes a Difference

web design makes a difference

web design makes a difference

Web design is an essential component to your overall success on the World Wide Web. According to marketing experts, a professional website is the most important aspect associated with online presence.

In the late 1990s, websites representing businesses required no more than a page designed with the most basic of HTML, an attractive color and/or design scheme, and a bit of contact information.

In today’s world of lightning-speed innovation, technological advancements, and increasing demands from internet users that seek instant gratification, this has dramatically changed. The website is not only the platform for a business, it acts as that company’s representative – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a result, website design is now a crucial element for success.

Perception IS Reality

When focusing on website design, there is one key fact that you must keep in mind; that is, perception IS reality. If the design of your website is disorganized, void of information, and does not appeal to the senses of your visitors, those visitors are likely to view your business as being disorganized, voice of information, and completely unappealing.

The result?

You will be unable to develop trust with your visitors. Internet users are more tech savvy than ever before. If your website is designed optimally, it will be viewed optimally. In simple terms, people trust websites that look good. When people trust websites, they will develop a trust for the company behind the website.

web design computer screen

It is NOT About You; It is About the User

In the past, websites were designed in such a way that they were all about the business that they represented.

This is no longer fact.

It is NOT about you or your business; it is all about the user. A properly designed website is a usable website. It is a website that optimizes the user experience. It is a website that is easy to explore and allows a user to appropriately navigate all areas. It is transparent. If a website does not possess these characteristics, it is not properly designed.

Visitor Purpose

In the earliest days of the internet, websites did little more than broadcast a name, an address, an email, and possibly a telephone number. Those websites provided visitors with very little in terms of “purpose”.

Today, it is much different. Internet users are seeking their purpose upon visiting a website. Successfully designed websites provide this purpose and it is not difficult to figure out. On your end, that purpose is conversion.

That is, converting your visitors from guests to buyers, from visitors to customers…. If your website design does not encourage this conversion, you will experience little to no success.

There are many steps and strategies to optimal web design, but, why waste all that time, energy, and money doing it yourself?

We here at Brick Road Media are professionals in website design and ensuring your overall success online! For more information, call us today at:

765-439-4029

November 29, 2016

Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour Gets An Upgrade

grand canyon helicopter tour

We love giving our clients a new look to go with their high-performance sites.

The most recent recipient of a brand new look is Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour.

grand canyon helicopter tour

Here's what we have accomplished with the Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour site:

Have you ever heard someone say "the picture doesn't do it justice" when talking about their Grand Canyon pics? Well, it's true, there's nothing like being there as anyone who has visited the Grand Canyon can tell you.

So how do you best depict the grandeur and the massive vistas of Grand Canyon on the web?

Step 1: Use REALLY BIG images. Fill the viewer's screen with as much Canyon beauty as you can fit. (Oh, and still make the site fast as lightning.)

Of course, looking good and performing well are important. But content is important as well. That's why we fill the site regularly with articles and pages that will have the Grand Canyon traveller up to speed on myriad topics and things to know before they take a heli tour.

Speed, ease of use, chock full of excellent information about Grand Canyon, and optimized to dazzle visitors and search engines alike. That's how we roll at Brick Road!

Key Factors In Designing A Site That Performs 

  • The faster the better for search and visitors
  • Elegant user interface - easy to use
  • Perfectly mobile for all devices
  • Chock full of relevant information about the Grand Canyon and things to do in and around the area (not just helicopter tours)
  • Organized the way Google loves to see (and rank) websites
  • Great links and testimonials showing social proof from past customers and sites around the web

The best way to experience it is to surf it! Check out Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour for yourself and, hey, maybe you'll be flying over the greatest canyon on Earth yourself one day!

Top 5 Web Design Blunders of 2013

Ugly Site At Brick Road Media 35% of our business comes from Website Design/Re-Design. When we first start discussing a website project the end goal is the top priority . If driving traffic and leads is the number one priority then functionality is the first design element that we will work on . Too many times designers go for high -end graphics and photography but forget the marketing elements that will make the page produce results . I mention this because over 90% of the clients that we consult with have marketing and page conversion at the bottom of their list of priorities . Here are the top 5 design blunders  for you as a budding designer or D.I.Y to avoid.   1. Font is too small- 14pt Font is the new 12pt Font . I often see websites that use font that I have to use the control + key for, and a lot of times they are using this small font in key areas such as contact us page and in areas where the call to action is located . If I can't read it, then how would you expect the older generation who haven't upgraded to a 32 inch LCD panel screen to read your important parts? Go BIG or Go HOME! 2. Home Page is Jammed- You know these pages on talking about. The website that looks like they took the company flyer , brochure , sales presentation folder , and every other piece of literature that is ever been printed for the company and threw it in three unorganized columns with two irrelevant stock images and called this their home page .  Please Please Please avoid this style at all costs . We use WordPress for all of our websites and there are several great theme companies such as Woo Themes, and Elegant Themes that will help with the layout of a good home page . To start you want to make sure that there's plenty of white space , and I recommend that you choose the three most important elements of your business or organization that you want highlighted and start with either a slider or three shadow boxes that link to the information pages about those items . Do not put the information about these items on the homepage !  Use images or icons in a short catchy phrase that will induce the user to click to learn more information . This will keep your home page clutter free , easy to navigate , and most importantly it will keep your user engaged with your website until they find what they're looking for . 3. Forms- This blunder can easily be fixed . Keep your forms to 4 Input boxes or less . There is a time down the road to get your users date of birth , social security numbers , firstborns shoe size, and Rusty the family Dog's DNA profile, but it is not in the first interaction with the user . It is better to start with name, and email and go from there. Statistics will show that your click through rates on forms increases when your fields of input decrease. 4. Contact Page-  This may be more of a personal pet peeve , but it drives me crazy when I landed on a site and find the information exciting enough to want to know more and talk to someone and the only option is to fill out a basic contact form where you know the message is landing somewhere in cyberspace . What tends to happen with me, is I get the reply 2-3 days later and by then I forget what I was interested in or have already went to a competitor and purchased. That is what happens to companies that don't think of being super accessible on the web. The Best way of handling in my opinion is to give as many options to the user to contact you as possible , if such as live chat , e-mail address , phone number , hours of operation , and an expected time frame that their query will be returned . 5. Creativity before Functionality- As discussed above in the introduction you want to decide early in the project what's the main focus is going to be . If the main focus is to drive traffic and leads which is typical for most businesses, then you need to focus on the marketing functionality in the overall user experience. There will be a time and a place to input those sexy icons and that awesome photograph that you are just dying to put in the website somewhere, but trust me on this one, designing a funnel that will drive and capture leads is much more rewarding than having a cool site.  

If you've decided that hiring a professional is a much better idea been designing your new website , you have wisdom beyond your years.

Call Us today at 765-439-4029 or email us at support@brickroadmedia.com

November 29, 2012

Richmond Website Design

richmond indiana website designWe love working on our home turf in Richmond, Indiana.  The local business websites we design all have the same purpose:  to get results for our clients.

Yes, a website must be aesthetically pleasing and have all the latest tools for search, social sharing, and easy content management.  But at the end of the day, we teach our clients that even if a site had horrible design and navigation, yet was somehow able to bring in more leads and customers than a "pretty" site - always go for the ugly and profitable!

Fortunately, our clients in Richmond and across the country don't have to skimp on looks OR performance.  Beautiful websites that attract targeted leads and customers through search and social... that's what we build.  We call them "marketing platforms" rather than websites.

Many of the sites we've designed in the Wayne County, Richmond Indiana area are available for review in our portfolio.  From real estate to plumbing and HVAC, to dental, nonprofits, contractors, and many other industries, Brick Road Media continues to broaden our experience with all types of designs and marketing opportunities for local businesses here and all over the U.S.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank our clients, past and present, for a great first year!

And we can't wait to work with many more local businesses in 2013.  Whether on straight web designs, re-designs, or working on your ongoing digital marketing tasks, we're here to soup up your results and help you take advantage of a remarkable time in history to capitalize on everything the web has to offer local businesses!

Next:  101 Ways To Get More Local Customers

October 8, 2012

Sunrise Therapeutic Riding Center

Giddyup! Sunrise, Inc. has a brand new website!

Sunrise is a not-for-profit corporation, established in Wayne County in 1980, whose purpose is to promote the health and social development of physically, mentally and socially disabled people through therapeutic horseback riding.

Brick Road has upgraded their web presence considerably with a brand new look and functionality.  It's fun to do business with great organizations like Sunrise!  Please visit Sunrise Therapeutic Horseback Riding and lend them your support.  They're good people doing great things for community members in need.

November 22, 2011

Facebook Fan Page Design Tips

We're in the business of helping Richmond and Wayne County, Indiana businesses gain visibility through social media, local search, and direct marketing with professional website design.

One of the things we've noticed is a lot of businesses are using Facebook, but not using Facebook Fan Pages, or using them improperly.  Bravo for being there by the way!

Let's look at some resources you can use to make your Facebook Fan Page effective in generating more local customers and a more loyal following.

Do It Yourself Info

Facebook Power Tips For Small Business - Fast Company

news.google.com

Facebook Power Tips For Small BusinessFast CompanyFan pages with more than 1000 fans had 22 times more traffic than those with less than 1000 fans. “As a small business, it's worth your time and energy to focus on growing a quality fan base," says Po ...

Facebook Fan Page Tips « Bryan Brandenburg

bryanbrandenburg.wordpress.com10/25/11

Here are the most important Facebook Fan Page Tips to follow when creating and maintaining those relationships with Facebook Fans. Make it Easy for Your Customer to Become a Facebook Fan Drive customers to your fan ...

Let us build your Facebook Fan Page for you starting at just $199

Get an incredible design, effective call to action, and a landing page that increases your local customer following by making them like your fan page before they can see your wall.

Contact us about your Facebook Fan Page project today!

(If you are in Richmond, Indiana or surround area, we'll be happy to stop by and give you the details and examples of our work in person!)

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