Month: March 2016

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Do we still need web designers?

By Steve Riley   March 23, 2016  
Think about the websites you visit regularly — it doesn't matter whether you're into food, politics, football, bicycles, horses, meditation, music ...whatever. Engaging, colourful, thoughtful, provocative, fun. Brilliant aren't they?We've come a long way in the last few years in the digital world. Websites are better than ever, and we're right to expect that. Now is a great time to be browsing the web.Everyone has a website and everyone knows someone that's 'knocked together a little site' for the snooker club/book group/local ironmongers. Some of them aren't bad. Crazy question: do we need web designers any more? 'You can grab a template and do it yourself. Start with WordPress or whatever.’ Tempting isn't it? Just as having Microsoft Word means we can all type a letter ...doesn't access to modern, cheap and powerful tools mean we can all build websites?Well, yes and no. Access to a word processor makes you a more powerful typist, it doesn't transform you into a brilliant writer. Sure we can all build websites, but will they be good enough? Will you be able to wield the full power of the toolkit or will you build something dull, or just plain ugly? So who really needs a web designer?Someone who wants the kind of niche functionality you won't find in a list of template and WordPress widget offerings - CV uploads, job alerts, candidate registration, that kind of thing Someone who wants something unique to their company and brand - somebody that consults with them and captures what makes them and their company unique.We often find ourselves running a re-brand exercise by stealth: companies come to us for a website and it forces them to think hard about what really makes them tick. Along the way we consult with them and tease out their ideas and personality and before you know it they've achieved something they never knew they were setting out to do - define their offering and knowing more about who they are as an organisation.The new website becomes a catalyst for a wholesale rebrand and before long we're cheerfully fielding questions like "Can we have a copy of that artwork for our stationery?" So are templates all bad? No, of course not. We build websites from templates ourselves. They offer a robust and tested codebase upon which to base a site. We can then fine-tune the templated offering to a client's particular needs — colours, logos, CSS and other design touches.A template design can offer a cost effective starting point for a semi-custom design.In the new world of responsive design there are so many devices and browser sizes to test, it can be a thankless task just ensuring a website behaves well on all possible devicesA template gives you a reusable 'design pattern' that work on all devices: tried and tested through many implementations. Why this is good:cost of custom design in a responsive world - simply put there is more actual code in a modern website more design work for various screen sizes more QA testing on various screens and devicesWhat are the pros and cons? ProsTried and tested Already works on all devices and screen sizes For web applications (eg job boards) familiarity for users. Most things have been tried on the web and psychologically people are beginning to settle into a level of familiarity with trusted layouts and don't actually like the radically different. It's a sort of behavioural 'regression to the mean' that means we know what we like and like what we're (mostly) used to.ConsTemplates can be 'one size fits all' Sites can start to look too similarThe happy place Brand customisation is essential. Nobody wants a site that looks like their nearest competitor. A 'cookie-cutter' approach where a new logo has been dropped into an otherwise vanilla templated site is never going to impress anyone. We never do that. We always customise home pages and modify inner pages to suit the brand. We do this whilst making good use of a tested codebase (carefully avoiding reinventing the wheel again). How does Reverse Delta work? Our offerings tend to fall into three categories with most cost effective at the bottom and most effort at the top:Fully templated, including homepage (BUT customised to the brand) Semi templated with custom homepage and maybe other custom pages Fully custom - design attention to all key pagesThis gives clients a spread of offerings to suit all budgets and covers the need for our perfectionists to arrive at a solution that is both 'just so' and unique to them.
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Am I allowed to reblog other people’s content?

By Steve Riley   March 7, 2016  

Should I keep my site up to date?
Of course! We encourage our clients to keep their websites alive with fresh new content via jobs, news stories, updating page content, social media updates, etc. Fresh content is arguably far more important than any SEO tweaks to meta tags and other code changes.

Clients don't always have a professional writer on the team and are understandably worried about putting their efforts online. But given the basics of clear punctuation, a grasp of the language and the importance of plain English, we think it's more important to have something to say.

Why should people come to you? What makes you different? Are you experts in your field? If you think you can answer these questions we'd encourage anyone to broadcast their thoughts. Establish yourself as a credible voice in your industry. The search engines will like it, your visitors will love it.
Can I quote other people?
Other people's articles, news stories, press stories etc can give you a useful springboard for ideas and generating your own content.

People worry about copyright (being chased by lawyers!). The short answer is if you quote selectively, give proper attribution and add your own comment you're covered by 'fair use'. The problem comes with plagiarism or passing off other people's work as your own.

Something like this is absolutely fine:
This week we came across this fascinating Guardian analysis of why white working class boys are choosing not to go to university.
"It is widely documented that white working-class children in the UK underperform at school and are less likely to attend university. Earlier this month, the government imposed new rules on universities, requiring them to work more closely with schools in poorer areas to target underrepresented populations, specifically white working-class boys..."
We've always believed here at Teacher Recruitment that an inspirational teacher can be the difference between... [Read the full article here]
In short
If you're honest and above board, quote selectively rather than wholesale you don't normally need the copyright holders permission.

We're not lawyers and if you want a definitive answer about a specific question, you might think about consulting one (risk averse though they are). If you want to know more and do some general reading, check around the concept of 'Fair Use' and 'Fair Dealing'.

Be wary of sending traffic away from your website though – link any external sites in a new tab and be mindful that they may be more interested in that site than yours!

 
More reading:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/exceptions-to-copyright
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_dealing_in_United_Kingdom_law