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 Thirdsectorweb.co.uk 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 Thirdsectorweb.co.uk

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Lessons in iPad


applesrefreshpicApple have just released a set of illustrative tutorials that are designed to show you how slick and intuitive it is to use your forthcoming iPad.

We don’t care what the nay-sayers are up to – we think the iPad is an innovative and user friendly way to get web information. We did feature a test run for the iPad in a recent blog entry.

It isn’t designed to be a mass data engine, a gigantic generator of codes and complex graphics. It isn’t meant replace, at the moment, all the kit that is sitting on your desk at present.

Writing this piece we are facing three screens, two printers and assorted speakers, cables and external storage devices.

But if you want a fast, portable web reader with communication facilities then the iPad will, if you are like us, be a key purchase for us this year.

There are alternatives available already – like the Archos 9 netbook – a small, slick mobile solution. But does it have the wow factor that Apple offer?

You will probably need the Safari browser to get the best from your iPad tutorial experience. You can get it here.

The movies can be found here.

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

Opera 10 available for Windows


Opera 10 is now available for free download for Windows users. The previous release candidate had mixed ability to display graphics during the development phase, but this new version is fast, crisp and with some useful features.

speedPicThe ‘turbo’ function means that if you are connected to the internet, you can boost your browser speed by enabling the turbo function, which triggers the browser to auto-compress web pages.

This is an ideal browser for the traveler in a wifi-cafe or using a lower speed hotel connection. Simply turn off the turbo function, using the control on the bottom left of the browser, when you reconnect to a high speed service.

The ‘speed dial’ function, which we always liked, has been upgraded. Offering you the chance to see a grid presentation of page snapshots for your most used web sites or sites you are currently working on. You can display from 4 to 25 for quick access depending on your screen size.

Opera are claiming a 40% increase in browsing speed for this version, with the addition of web integration for your web mail service included. You can configure Opera to open your compose page when you click on an email address or click ‘Send by Mail’.

You can see the new list of functions in Opera 10 on the Opera features page. You can download the new version, for free, on the Opera download page.

Regular visitors to this blog will know that we like Opera as a safe, secure and speedy browser alternative. The new features, particularly the addition of ‘turbo’ browsing and extension of ‘speed dial’ make it even more attractive.

Opera, the fastest and most secure web browser

Speed image by konr4d – stock.xchng

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

Google image search maturing nicely…

December 22, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: Conversation, Search engines, Web services 

searchImageHaving recently begun to offer ‘face’ image searching, Google have further updated their image search to include searches in the following categories….clip art and line drawings are added to the photo search ability.

Google says…’all of these options can be selected from the “Any content” drop down in the blue title bar on any search results page, or by selecting one of the “Content types” on the Advanced Image Search page.’

You can see the original Google blog announcement here.

The Third Sector Web home page is here.

Image by asifthebes

New regional office for Thirdsectorweb


cambridgeOfficepic

The Thirdsector team have been busy installing cabling, desks and communication systems in our new regional office this week – we now have a loft space in Cambridge, U.K. to support our clients and a growing number of supply partners in the Midlands and East Anglia.

Our web coding and creative team will now all be based in Cambridge, in an attempt to speed up turn-round times for projects and to ensure that any copy we receive is actioned for client sites as soon as possible.

Our mission – to integrate web, print and broadcast TV into a single solution for our clients.

Our new facility will help us to achieve that aim.

Our sister trading styles Dolphin book sellers and Dolphin book box will also have a presence on site.

We now have immediate access to spot bulk storage facilities, which will help our partnership to better deliver our large book orders, library and nursery refits and any returns required from our customers.

If you are in the eastern region and have a need for our web or communication solutions – the team will be happy to meet with you too.

Our location and messaging services can be found on our contact us page.

You can also see our full range of services on our partnership page at SmithMartin LLP.

You can visit the Third Sector Web home page here.

Letting go in marketing, client and partnership relations…


web2We are all emersed in blogs, code, newsfeeds and Friday ftp fatigue – as any IT or web services provider should be.

Circulating round the office this week was an article from the Wall Street Journal, detailing a new report on the reluctance to take up ‘Web 2.0′ marketing tools in the wider business community

Although this work by academics Salvatore Parise, Patricia J. Guinan and Bruce D. Weinberg can conjure images of immaculately suited Wall Street executives, pondering the failure of the banking system perhaps – there is a real message in the article about how charity managers and service/education organisations can engage with their community of interest.

‘Let go’ seems to be the message.

Embrace and intertwine a weave of web mail, weblog, wiki and social networking solutions to engage in a dialogue with your community of choice. If millions of your potential service users can embrace Facebook, why shouldn’t they have a dialogue with you about your service.

Your organisational blog can offer, not only news and updates, but also an opportunity, if well structured, to elicit feedback from service users too.

This could be scary…we don’t necessarily recommend entering Second Life, as the article offers as a solution to finding new customers for your service, but a more expressive way of having a conversation with your audience can only benefit everyone.

You can see the original Wall Street Journal post here.

It’s hard work to develop and implement a Web 2.0 strategy – we have in our small way at Thirdsectorweb the infrastructure, the technology and the knowledge – which still did not stop some quiet irony as we espoused a wonderfully hypothetical Web 2.0 engagement framework for our clients in the heat of conversation.

Still, we take the Franklin D. Roosevelt of such activity – ‘…happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort‘.

We soldier on with undiminished passion for our partnership vision.

(Interests expressed: Thirdsectorweb is a provider of web design, hosting and communication solutions to the public, charitable, education and childcare markets in the U.K.)

You can visit the Thirdsectorweb home page here.

Image by eyeliam

The stuff we really like – tools and tweaks tested by time

December 3, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: Conversation, New Web Creations 

gearsPicWe are always (they’re banging on again at Thirdsectorweb….) shouting about Open Source software in the office. We like it because it fits with a collaborative, best value, developing reflective practice business model that we are always trying to get behind in the partnership. Not everything we use is Open Source, but here are some tools that have impacted on our work.

Everybody blogs lists these days..after a quick intellectual whip round the office, here’s ours.

Open Office – the production suite and office saviour in software form. Yes we know it’s a chunky download and sometimes takes forever to load, but the effective integration of the suite, the ability to crop, cut and paste and alter stuff across the piece leaves other office bundles behind. Great extensions for increasing functionality too. Get the latest version today.

Thunderbird – we haven’t got a laptop without it. With different email addresses across domains for our business offerings, as a distributed remote partnership we reckon we would be lost without it. Lets us sort incoming mail easily, offers immediate access to bulk password management and is generally our email client of choice. Check it out, we know you’ll like it.

BlogDesk – if you post to a weblog this is a very small footprint, lightweight addition to your blogging toolkit. We like the way it spellchecks your potential post, has simple and clear post layout tools and scarpers through the managed upload process. The only minor criticism, some people felt, was that adding tags to posts can be a bit cumbersome.

Paint.NET – a really useful image manipulation, resizer and text overlay machine. (Haven’t seen it described that way before, but that’s how we use it). Think image, think Paint.NET.

Flock – lost in a sea of rss feeds and image stock sites, then Flock is our browser of choice for image and web development information sources. Its newsfeed capability works well, you can find and review images and keep in touch with your social networks all at the same time. You can also export your favourites easily and quickly to a desktop file. In our traffic heavy web zone – we thought this was a killer function. (…and you can post to your blog from the browser too).

Pixie – for colour blind web designers. I am shocked but can say no more.

songbirdLogo

Songbird – everyone needs a bit of music at the desk to close out the white noise of web chatter sometime. Haven’t taken this new version for a full run yet, but the alpha versions onward were a great looking alternative to other more invasive tune types. Vers. 1.0.0 now available as a XP/Vista download.

 

What are your favourites?

You can visit the Third Sector Web home page here.

Hakia – a librarians search engine


hakiaLogoA new beta search engine…brings search results from credible sites recommended by librarians’.

An interesting search engine which offers a nicely presented, plain tabbed interface for all results, credible sites, news and images. There is also a ‘meet others’ tab to explore Hakia’s social networking capability.

Hakia galleries offer A to Z listings of everything from actors to cities, countries and television shows. As a research tool this aspect of Hakia is for our team, its most useful function.

You can read about Hakia’s semantic web approach to search on the Hakia blog.

Hakia organises information in an intuitive way, with its ‘credible’ pages offering a well defined and clear breadth of content for the serious researcher. It isn’t Google, but could become your ‘quiet’ project information source by stealth, we reckon.

Other search engines we have featured on this blog – Cuil, Opera and Google.

Visit the Third Sector Web home page.

New server transfers…


We are having our webmail functions transferred to new servers from midnight on Friday (4th September 2008).

This means that access may be down for a few minutes, with some delayed response times for a couple of hours following.

Improving service levels from the Thirdsector team.

See our home page at Thirdsector Web here.

Directed Edge – a new take on ‘pedia’ searches…


Directions

Directions

Directed Edge isn’t a totally new resource any more, but we have been using it for research purposes and find the depth, clarity and subtlety of the results very good indeed.

A prototype service from Directed Edge a company involved in developing recommendation engines for social and e-commerce networks.

The ‘Wikipedia’ search tool is a demonstration of their technology. We think it stands up pretty well as a distinctive service too. Helping to draw users to their site and to show how it can work for your data.

(We don’t have shares in Directed Edge …honest)

See a Directed Edge search result for Microsoft here. We like the core information, but also the useful links to other articles, people and additional resources.

We think it can provide a great jumping off point for a web research or writing project.

You can visit the Thirdsectorweb home page here….

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