Seasonal greetings
from all of us here…

Season's greetings

Wishing all our web clients in the education, charity, books, literacy and community business sectors a very happy festive holiday.

The Thirdsectorweb team are looking forward to your web development, content creation and web communication projects in 2015.

Thank you all for using our services in 2014. We appreciate your engagement with us and your custom.

Everyone at Thirdsectorweb/SmithMartin LLP

The hard road
to building the web…

Every web designer and publisher has clients who believe that ‘…we email it in and it appears on our web site‘. If you have someone in your department, setting or business who believes this we think it is a compliment to your design and build skills, as well as the back office processes that deal with new content, images, films and functionality.

Mix Online have produced a great poster which explains all the functions and processes, no matter how lightly touched upon even in small design houses, which must be undertaken to create the simplest functioning web page.

Mix Online believe that…

Designing, building and launching websites is real hard work — but our profession is seriously misunderstood. To help explain the process, we drew you a picture. A really big picture…

…and this is what they have done. You can view the design and build web process they have created on this web page. You can use the links on the page to dive deeply into the image and explore the functions of design and creation that go into building your web site. (View deep zoom).

Our own development process at can be found in narrative form,  on this web page. Our systems are designed to support remote clients with all the services needed to launch simple, magazine style web sites, to more complex blog driven, gallery supported, e-commerce and information gathering web pages.

Our simpler, less sequentially staged process none the less includes all the elements found in the Mix Online illustration – in small design houses fewer people wear more hats.

It’s still hard work though, whatever the content, time frame or functionality desired.

Happy New Year for 2013 from all at

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The Kindle and a philosophy

Amazon have just relaunched The Kindle, as well as moving shortly to release the Kindle Fire in the UK for the first time.

Below is a film of Jeff Bezos delivering the Amazon story in Santa Monica, California. It’s a long film, but the first 15 or 16 minutes are the killer parts.

They tell you how Amazon research feeds services into their infrastructure, how Amazon price their products to be used for absorbing new content in the future. ‘The Kindle Fire is a service…

The delivery of the presentation is perhaps a little slow, but perhaps the audience were live blogging and tweeting directly from the auditorium. (Know your audience?).

The revealing facts about how readers are encouraged to read more, by using new technology, are astounding. No source for the research is offered, but there is no missing the passion Bezos has for the product and the warmth he feels for his customers.

The launch of Kindle Paperwhite display, and its ‘front lit’ technology, is also a game changer for small tablets. The Kindle family is faster, clearer and with better font rendition on screen. The prices are another paradigm shift for the industry too.

‘Add more than the customer pays for…’ a great way to add value to the technical supply chain.

You can buy a member of the Kindle family from our children’s book sister web site here at, or from our Thirdsectorweb online shop here. (Everything made, picked, packed and delivered by Amazon).

Visit the Thirdsectorweb home page here.

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Meeting online – never easier…

meetingsWe have just signed up for a permanent meeting room on

This is a great service at first inspection, from a design and technical team that make things work intuitively and easily on the eye.

Up to five people can join you in your hang-out. You can take notes, sms and play video in meeting. Simple and effective.

When signing up, which takes about a minute, you will need to allow access to your computer camera and for Flash to be enabled.

Once up and running all the usual features are available, private meeting, anyone can drop-in sessions etc. and the working area of the screen automatically scales to adjust for new visitors.

Two people sitting at your desk, then switch your image frame from portrait to landscape, get more real estate on your screen to accomodate the wider picture.

If you are looking for an always on meeting solution online, with no software to install and that is free to use…then check out

We tested the service on a simple 2Mb internet connection, with both visual and audio working fine.

Business networking, team meetings and colleague get togethers were never so easy.

Readability has changed

We first looked at Readability on our Thirdsector Tech blog back in March 2009. Then it was a promising and innovative way to make clear web pages and articles by stripping out the excess content.

As web designers we know this can have a mixed blessing – removing all our hard working banner adverts and promotional links.

However, if a web page isn’t communicating, it isn’t working. The new Readablity enhances this functionality across a number of platforms now.

This short film shows you how…

Readability — Read comfortably anytime, anywhere. from Arc90 on Vimeo.


Having a Readability account is helpful too. You can save pages for later or keep an archive, set to display in your personal format at anytime.

Check out Readability. See a simple idea having grown.

The Cloud – how does it work?

The short film below offers insights into how Microsoft provides the technical services and support needed to make your Hotmail account work or your business to deliver work on their Azure Cloud system.

An impressive set of statistics are offered that show how Microsoft have dramatically reduced energy and water consumption at their data centres. Like Google, Microsoft have used standard shipping containers to bolt together strings of processing packs to enhance an installation, quickly bringing their server racks online.

Where is the cloud? In the Dublin data centre for Microsoft if you are in Europe, very securely guarded and with vast teams around the globe to provide your support.

The film is a little dry in terms of presentation, but very clear in how Microsoft maintain security integrity for your data and how they dedicate time, energy and capital in reducing environmental impact.

That’s how the ‘cloud’ works.

Liking Lytro

cameraPic77We cannot see what a Lytro camera looks like, but the image facility on our laptops when visiting the Lytro site is fabulous.

You can zoom, pan and refocus on and around an image, post capture. You can also ‘play’ the functions with one click.

if you think static jpegs on a web site are just the beginning of the digital photography revolution, then Lytro seems to prove your point.

Wherever Lytro go with their technology, then web development and image resources online are about to get a whole lot more interesting.

Have a look at the emerging Lytro web site and see what we mean.

Think Quarterly – think Google UK

thinkingpic3It isn’t new any more, but if you haven’t checked out Think Quarterly from Google UK you should do so.

As a small business with constant pressure on time to service our client base, if we had unlimited resources then Think Quarterly would be the style and content for a pretty near perfect online newsletter/magazine style publication to engage with our user base.

Produced by the Google UK team Think Quarterly offers readers intellectual insights into the latest technological developments, as well as think pieces about change in both infrastructure and the philosophy of the web – beautifully filtered through a mesh of ideas around business and communication.

Our favourite article in the current issue is on Open Data. An article from Nigel Shadbolt highlights the opportunities available to make the word a clearer, better understood place using public data sources.

Not directly focused on technology, but on what analysis can be achieved with it.

He gives a mention to Schooloscope, which enables parents and carers to see how their school is doing by making performance data clear.

Similarly, oh that every local authority should have published its spending data on spotightonspend.

You can flip Think Quarterly pages online, download a copy as a pdf, subscribe by RSS feed, follow the team on Twitter or on your mobile.

Clean, clear thinking and concise. Think Quarterly.

Android growth!

This info-graphic, courtesy of the Android Development Team, stunningly shows how rapid the growth of Google Android technology and hand sets has spread around the globe.

The data in the image sequences shows firstly how global growth emerged, followed by a detailed mapping of the U.S. and then Europe and finally Asia.

It still remains striking, on the global sequence, how under developed the southern hemisphere remains even up to 2010 – despite mobile handsets being the premier web connect utility in this part of the world.

No one can disbelieve the maxim that ‘…mobile is the future’.

You can find the Third Sector Web home page here.

WWF – a no print file format

wwfFileformatpicThe World Wildlife Fund has produced a new file format – the WWF file.

This format can be generated by downloading the free software from the WWF site here. This adds a “save as wwf” driver to your printer dialogue window.

You can use the format and open the file in every way similar to pdf’s on your system, but with the proviso that the document cannot be printed.

The WWF also have a great set of guidelines for saving trees.

These are the WWF print golden rules…or rather, the no-print rules. Helping you go green more effectively.

Follow the golden rule: think before you print. Pushing the print button is too easy…and wasteful. So the next time you are about to press that button, ask yourself the golden rule of saving paper: Do I really need to print this?

Use both sides of the sheet of paper. This is a real easy way of reducing your paper consumption by 50%. Set your printer or copier’s defaults to double sided. Select one-sided printing only when really needed.

Avoid printing out single line e-mails or unnecessary copies of documents – again just follow the golden rule and ask yourself whether you really need to the print.

Use technology – as well as the .wwf file format, email, internet, intranets and document scanners can radically reduce paper use, while also saving you time and money. Remember electronic media also has environmental impacts, including the carbon footprint of equipment production and operation. So switch to renewable green electricity.

Recycle the paper you have and ask for recycled paper products. Collect the paper you use and then reuse where possible (print again on the other side if you printed on one side only or use it for note paper). And when you do have to buy new paper make sure it is recycled.

Save paper in your workplace. Reductions of 20% or more are possible in most offices. So ask your office manager what they are doing to reduce paper. Remind them that saving paper isn’t just about protecting the environment; it can also save them a lot of money!

Save as WWF – save a tree.

You can find the home page of Third Sector Web here.