A new brand and a new website design

The one thing that unfortunately gets neglected when you design other peoples websites, is your own website! It was way back in 2016 that the kc web design site got a refresh so it was long overdue. While the website definitely needed bringing up-to-date we also felt the brand and logo could do with a different feel. The company has changed a lot over the last 10 years. We’ve moved away from small WordPress sites and now work with a great group of specialists alongside teams from large global companies such as Fujitsu. We wanted the brand and logo to reflect this more so we’ve redesigned and updated that along with the new website. It’s a lot sharper and cleaner and the website is much simpler.

Revamp for the kc web design ‘Pear Tree Studio’

We’ve been working from Pear Tree Studio for around 14 years now. It was purpose-built when we first moved here, as our web design studio, but over the years it has morphed into a music studio, fly tying space, camping store and chill-out room. And with all that, has come a huge amount of ‘stuff’.

So it was time for a revamp, a restructure and a redesign.

As I do more music now, the audio setup and equipment had to be incorporated into the space so that it was usable and easily accessible at all times, not something that had to come out when web design had finished. It’s amazing what you collect when making music. I have a lot of vintage 70’s hi-fi and speakers along with all the midi instruments, keyboards and mixers. I use a core setup so these had to be to hand and ready to use.

Storage has always been an issue and more and more shelves and cupboards had been added to the studio over time to accommodate the ballooning ‘stuff’. None of it really working well. So it was out with 90% of the furniture and a new custom-made shelving and storage system was built using scaffold boards and metal tubing. It took a while to build but the new system works perfectly.

Go To Hear now in early access

We have a small but dedicated team at GTH. Things also take time in a bootstrap start-up. We’ve been in beta for a long time while we made sure the platform did what we wanted and hit all our goals for artists and their revenue.

We’ve launched into early access and artists are now coming onto the platform.

Next steps are crypto token and phase 2 development.

gotohear.com

CDO at Go To Hear

I’ve been working with Go To Hear for a few years as Head of platform design. Over this time I’ve become more and more involved in the core of the company and in control of all aspects of design. From today I am now CDO (Chief design officer) for Go To Hear.

Huge thanks to the GTH team and here’s to doing more great stuff in the music streaming industry!

ActivateNow

Fujitsu’s flagship digital experience, ActivateNow, is a huge 3-day event each year including seminars, keynote talks, guest speakers and much more.

We were asked to design the website for ActivateNow last year (and again this year!) while Fujitsu was in the middle of a huge rebranding exercise. We had to start the designs before Fujitsu had even finalised the new brand!

Go To Hear Music Streaming Platform

Go To Hear is an artist-friendly ethical fair music streaming service. Go To Hears’ exclusive design and features help artists, fans and music industry professionals to all earn a fair reward for their hard work. The Go To Hear mission is to transform the music industry focusing firstly on changing the rewards for artists and educating fans on what a ‘fair price for music’ culture should be like.

Work Life Shift Blog

The concept of the workplace has changed. FUJITSU Work Life Shift helps organisations create digital workplaces for their employees wherever they choose to be, whether that’s at home, in an office or on the move.

kc web design are currently creating a new blog for FUJITSU Work Life Shift. As this is an ongoing project we’ll add more information as the project goes live later this year.

GlobeRanger website

As a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu, GlobeRanger is a world-leader in IoT technology. kc web design was commissioned by Fujitsu and GlobeRanger to design and build a new independent website for GlobeRanger to showcase their IoT solutions and services.

Cleaning up Space

The UK Space Agency set out on a mission committing funding to combat space debris. To tackle this challenge, Fujitsu is working with Astroscale UK, University of Glasgow and AWS to successfully combine quantum-inspired computing and Artificial Intelligence to transform space debris removal.

kc web design was commissioned to design a webpage to showcase the collaboration and how Quantum-inspired computing working with artificial intelligence could solve the problems space debris causes.

IT365 website design

IT Support 365 is an IT Managed Services Provider with a focus on providing IT support to small and medium-sized businesses in the South of England and throughout the UK.

Working with the brilliant Kudos Marketing, we created a brand new design for the IT365 website.

Web designers! Should you use Elementor in your WordPress website?

The short answer

Yes. Absolutely. Grab it here.

The long answer

Normally when designing and developing bespoke WordPress websites for our clients we’d use the Advanced Custom Fields plugin and create custom template so that the client has full control over their specific content needs.

But not all clients need this level of customisation and detail for their content. This is where Elementor Pro can really fill the gap between fully customised content and a basic WordPress site.

Elementor allows you, as the website designer and developer, to create the content types and layouts you need. All this from directly within the page editor screen with a nicely design visual layout GUI thats very intuitive to use. It allows responsive changes to deal with different screen sizes directly within the page edit screen. Amazingly it does this by showing a pretty good representation of what you’d see in the actual website (although its always best to check in the browser on the actual frontend page as we all know!). Once you, the designer, has set up the content and designed the layouts its easy for your clients to come in and edit things.

Now the best bit is when using Elementor Pro you have access to save specific layouts into a library so that your client can easily insert whole sections of pre-designed content into their pages quickly and easily and then edit them. This can give clients access to everything they need to create new pages in a very easy to use, visual way.

Elementor Pro also comes with a wealth of standard layouts and components to use as well as pretty much any content type you can think of.

So yes, for the right type of WordPress website for the right kind of client Elementor Pro is absolutely brilliant. It can save you and your client time and give them everything they need to maintain their own content.

But this is only a brief overview, Elementor Pro can do a lot more so grab yourself the free version and give it a try.

Fujitsu & RAF 100 – Inspiring young people

kc web design were asked by Fujitsu and the RAF to build a website to promote career pathways to school children for Fujitsu and the RAF as part of the RAF 100 anniversary year. The website links in with live events all around the country where children get the chance to fly RAF planes in a virtual reality game with the website bringing the game online for all to play. The website also has engineering guides for building the best paper planes as well as videos and other content on jobs and careers at Fujitsu and the RAF.

Inspiring young people

The target audience of the website was 12 – 16 year olds. Research was carried out to enable us to create a design and feel that would engage with children and make the website content more interesting. Videos and interactive elements such as the virtual flying game and paper plane building were used to generate interest and keep the audience engaged so the user flow through the site ended with the right call-to-actions. The design and style of the site was very different to other Fujitsu sites, much less corporate and much more fun!

A successful RAF 100

The Fujitsu/RAF 100 website has had a brilliant year with hundreds of thousands of visits at it’s peak during the RAF 100 anniversary. kc web design worked hard to design and build a unique experience that would engage with a very specific user type for a short period of time and it’s been a huge success. Fujitsu and the RAF have some of the best career pathways for young people in the UK so please visit the site.

View Fujitsu & RAF 100 website »

We’ve been working hard!

 

It’s been a while since we’ve updated our website. One of the hardest things to do when you’re busy with other peoples websites is to look after your own. And we have been very bust over the last 12 months.

As well as our ongoing work with Fujitsu UK and Fujitsu Global I’m very excited to announce that I am now working with music industry start-up Go To Hear Ltd as Head of Platform Design. Go To Hear hope to revolutionise the music industry and put back money into the hands of struggling musicians. The streaming model of Spotify and Apple Music doesn’t work for the artists unless you’re a top artists signed to a major label. New artists on smaller labels make next to nothing on the larger streaming services and are struggling to make enough money – Go To Hear will change all this.

For the last 12 months we’ve been working hard to launch and our promo site went live just before Xmas. As Head of Platform Design I’ve been in charge of creating a live working demo of the final product to help promote the platform before we go to funding. It’s been a hard year but we’re nearly there. The demo site will be launching in the next few months but you can see what Go To Hear is all about on the promo site. Stay tuned for more exciting news soon!

 

UK & Ireland tech blog website design

kc web design and Fujitsu have been working together for a number of years. We originally created the Fujitsu UK tech blog website design back in 2014 and since then it’s gone on to become a leading tech blog for UK business leaders. The latest version of the blog website design will be it’s third incarnation making sure it stays at the forefront of it’s market. With hundreds of authors and thousands of articles covering multiple industries and topics the new blog design took over 6 months from initial ideas to finished site.

Goals for the new blog design

For this iteration of the site we wanted to create a more magazine like feel as well as bringing the design inline with ongoing changes to the main Fujitsu UK and Global websites. A massive overhaul of the main Fujitsu website is ongoing and we needed to make sure the blog was brought inline with those changes. More emphasis was given to key articles from all of the industries and topics on the home page. Larger header images, improved typography and readability, better accessibility and a more optimised mobile experience have all improved the general feel of the site.

Key changes on the Fujitsu blog website design

The main core of the site has essentially stayed the same but with some WordPress tweaks under the hood to improve performance. The design was completely changed and brand new code developed, gone are the old rounded corners and old style contained layouts replaced with a new modern look and feel to compliment the changes happening at Fujitsu. More use was made of larger screen sizes as well as a better small screen experience.

View Fujitsu UK blog »

We’ve been a bit quiet here at kc web design

Its been a long time since I’ve posted on the website, but with very good reason. We’ve been working for a few years with Fujitsu UK helping redesign parts of the website, working on small microsites and doing other design and web work. Last year we started working with Fujitsu Global as well and so things got a little busier.

The Fujitsu UK website has hundreds of thousands of pages and is built on a bit of an old system run by a no so user-friendly CMS. We’ve been battling with this CMS for years trying to create nicer looking pages. But finally, last year, the CMS and core website code was changed. Its now fully responsive (I know, I know, its 2018) and allows us to create proper custom code and designs. Our job is now a lot easier, and with a lot of pages to start migrating over to the new layout, a lot busier as well.

We’ve just recently launched a brand new design for the Fujitsu UK blog and we’re also working on a few side projects – more info to come.

 

Project Cirrus World Record wing suit attempt

kc web design are very proud to be a part of Fraser Corsans incredible world record wing suit jump record attempt. We’ve been working with Fraser and Fujitsu for the last 6 months on the website and brand for Project Cirrus and the time is rapidly approaching for Frasers first jump and first world record attempt.

Fraser is now in California getting ready for his first jump. You can read more about Project Cirrus, the amazing equipment they use and watch daily video diaries over on the website…http://projectcirrus.com/

Here’s a little more info taken from the Project Cirrus website…

Sixteen years ago, Fraser Corsan was one of only 15 wingsuit pilots globally. Add all 1,300 of his wingsuit jumps together and he’s flown the distance from New York to Mumbai. He’s experienced over two days of continuous freefall. He’s fallen a vertical height equal to 108 times the distance from earth to space. But it will take all the experience, intelligence, strength and courage he can muster to conquer his greatest challenge yet: beat four wingsuit world records in two jumps and raise funds for SSAFA the Armed Forces charity.

WordPress hacked on 4.7.0 and 4.7.1

Last week I had a client contact me about a hacked website. On all of our WordPress websites that we don’t host with Pressidium (THE best WordPress hosting out there!) we use some pretty good hardening and security to make sure our sites don’t fall victim to hacks. So I was surprised to see an up-to-date site with good security get hacked. Turns out I wasn’t alone and hundreds of thousands of WordPress sites running 4.7.0 and 4.7.1 had been hacked, all be it not maliciously, due to a bug in those versions of WordPress.

The hackers, very kindly, only changed 2 blog posts on the site which were easy to roll back. WordPress was updated to the latest version which patches the bug.

More info can be found here… https://blog.sucuri.net/2017/02/content-injection-vulnerability-wordpress-rest-api.html

So if you’re running 4.7.0 or 4.7.1 on any sites then update to the latest version ASAP.

 

Digital Workplace microsite

kc web design were commissioned by Fujitsu to create a small microsite to work as a stand alone hub, social media archive and lead generation tool for articles and white papers on a specific subject – The Digital Workplace. The site was created to look like the global Fujitsu site but built using a responsive design with custom layouts and lead generation tools. The site was built using WordPress as the CMS to allow for easy updates of content.

Web design goals

The global aspects of the site – the header and footer – were kept in a similar style to the main Fujitsu website but the page content layout was designed specifically around the Digital Workplace articles. The layout was designed in a blog style with a focus on featured articles that would be used for social media campaigns and lead generation. The overall feel had to keep within the Fujitsu brand guidelines but we had freedom to deal with specific content in a unique way not tied down by brand guidelines.

Our successful design solution

The overall design of the site was kept clean and simple with the focus on the articles. WordPress was used as the CMS to allow easy updates by a team of article writers. Over the last few months since the site was launched it has improved social media spread and lead generation. Some of the top articles and white papers have been downloaded and viewed tens of thousands of times over the last few months.

View website »

Novacast custom website design

Novacast is a specialist ferrous and non-ferrous foundry located in Melksham, England that specialise in all types of casting. Working alongside Kudos Marketing we created a custom website design for Novacast that would bring their online presence up-to-date and give them a much better foundation for future features. A new custom website design and WordPress theme for Novacast was created using modern responsive frameworks.

The web design brief

The design for the new Novacast website needed to reflect the company brand and colour schemes, work well with continuing offline marketing, bring their online presence up-to-date and present a unique, strong and friendly look and feel. Novacast wanted a unique looking website design that would stand out from their competitors, allow them to update the website on a regular basis and create a hub for help and support information for their customers. SEO was also a major concern as their old site hadn’t been updated in a while and listings had fallen.

Our custom design solution

kc web design created a bold, clean custom website design that wasn’t the normal dark, steely look that you see on other websites within this market. The feel of the website design was kept light and cleaning using strong typography and visual elements we kept an industrial feel to the overall look. The website was built on WordPress allowing staff to have full control over updates to the site. A few weeks after launch and SEO rankings are back up and Novacast are very pleased with their new website.

WordPress – Copy image title to ACF custom field on image upload

Here’s one little snippet that took a while to work out so I thought I’d post it here in case its useful for others.

I had a custom field using ACF (Advanced custom fields plugin) that added an extra field to uploaded images that I wanted to use to sort them in a gallery. Adding the extra field via ACF was very easy but I wanted to copy the title of the image and use that in my custom field.

There are many different hooks for manipulating uploaded media such as ‘edit_attachment’ and ‘attachment_fields_to_save’ but now of them seemed to work when the image was uploaded, only when some of the other attachment data was edited and the ajax save was fired. What I wanted was the image to upload and automatically populate the custom field. After a lot of searching around I came across the ‘add_attachment’ hook which seemed to do the trick with my test code.

The next problem was automating the copy of the title text over to my custom field. The WordPress function ‘update_post_meta’ seemed like it might be a good option but it just would not work. It turned out that ACF deals with its custom fields in a slightly different way and in fact has its own update function called ‘update_field’. This did the trick and the following snippet of code now copies the title to my custom field as an image is uploaded.

function copy_title_to_custom_field( $post_ID ) {

$attachment_title = get_the_title( $post_ID );
update_field( 'image_order_title', $attachment_title, $post_ID );

}
add_action( 'add_attachment', 'copy_title_to_custom_field' );

Now the clever bit I need this for is to use a custom field to order a set of gallery images by numeric values. I have a photography website were I want the user to be able to name a set of photos, upload them in one batch and have them all display in the correct order. WordPress doesn’t seem to deal with this very well so it’s taken a bit of hammering into shape to get it to work properly and the only way to successfully order numeric file names is to use ‘orderby=meta_value_num’ BUT you can only seem to do this with custom fields! What a headache!

kc web design – new website, updated brand

Looking after your own website and brand is sometimes very hard. When client website design work comes first it can be tricky to find the time to redesign and rebrand you’re own company, especially when you’re a small web design agency like we are. About 18 months ago I had the time to look at our existing website design and branding and have a think about where we wanted to take it next. The original website and brand was coming up to being nearly 8 years old and so it was clearly due for a bit of TLC. I worked on the design for the new website over 12 months ago and the brand has gone through many iterations over the past 18 months – some of them completely different to what you see now. Its been a long drawn out process due to client projects taking priority but I think that has helped the design evolve and the brand come back to a simple update rather than a complete overhaul.

The new website design

We decided to change the website for a simple reason – every web design agency website had started to look the same. Searching on Google produced a list of web design agencies who’s sites had become very similar in look and feel. We wanted the kc web design site to be a little different, to be memorable, to be designed and not look like a ready made WordPress theme. The new design has been created to focus more on showcasing what we do. The project pages have been completely changed so that they showcase more of our designs. The overall feel of the site has been simplified yet designed to create a full experience that showcases the type of work we can produce and that doesn’t look like other websites in our industry. Considerable time has also been spent on cleaning up many many years of articles, categories and tags that have gotten in a bit of a mess over time. SEO was also a bit consideration so we’ve tested,  cleaned up and adapted almost all of the template code and content to create a much simpler, cleaner and more optimised site for Google.

The new brand

When looking at the brand and how we wanted to bring it up-to-date we went through so many options the essence of the logo got lost. Luckily, with the client project work we had on it meant we needed to leave big gaps between work on the new brand and so coming back to things meant we could look at the design with fresh eyes. And those fresh eyes never really liked where the brand had gone. It had become over designed, complicated and it was trying too hard to be something new and different. So we went back to basics and took the essence of the original design and simply gave it a more modern and classic feel.

Paymentsense for e-commerce website design

Over the last 15 years e-commerce has changed a lot. In that time we’ve built many, many different types of e-commerce website design – from huge bespoke shops integrated into warehouse systems to the modern day Woocommerce stores. Even though e-commerce has changed one thing seems to have stayed staic – the payment providers.

The two main payment providers in the UK – excluding Paypal – have been Worldpay and Sagepay (previously Protx) and most of the e-commerce website design projects we’ve undertaken have used one of these payment providers. My personal preference is Sagepay but they’re both very similar, and they both charge a lot of money for the privilage of using their systems to deal with card payments.

E-commerce website design with Paymentsense

Paymentsense are a new kind of payment provider. They offer the same services as the other leading players in the market but with a big difference – they charge far less! For small businesses starting out on line the costs of taking payments has always been an issue which is why many businesses stick with Paypal (although even they aren’t cheap these days!) and don’t go near ‘proper’ payment gateways. Paymentsense make it easier for new businesses to dip into e-commerce without spending a fortune and their payment systems are very, very good. While some of the leading payment providers are still not supplying responsive payment pages that work on mobiles, Paymentsenses’ pages all work well on mobiles. They also supply card readers if you have a physical shop, have great support and can save you a huge amount of money on transaction fees alone.

Having recently worked with a customer changing from Sagepay to Paymentsense on a e-commerce website design project I can honestly say the integration was easy and support fantastic. When I had an issue with the way country codes were being dealt with by Paymentsense they were open to feedback and quick to make changes. Exactly what you need as a developer! And my client should be saving over £1000 per year in transaction fees.

If you’re interested in saving money on e-commerce website design and swapping over to a modern payment gateway then get in touch. It doesn’t take much to swap your website over or change payment providers and you could be saving yourself a lot of money at the same time and providing your customers with a better expereince.

A web designers life – Long hours, desks and health issues

Owning and running a small web design studio can be very hard work at times. I often work very long hours, sitting at my desk for long periods of time absorbed in designs or working on complicated UI problems or bug fixing code. I’ve also been a website designer for far too many years now and although I have the perfect studio in a wonderful location I still lead a very work focused life. Unfortunately, this has taken its toll over the years and back problems have become a regular occurrence.

We’ve been in the current kc web design studio for over 7 years now so it felt like time for a revamp and refit. As part of the studio redesign I looked into sit/stand desks as a way of fighting the constant desk bound nature of working on computer screens. There’s a huge amount of information on the negative health effects of sitting down at work for too long. It seems like sitting is the new smoking!

There are a number of sit/stand desks on the UK market and all of them seems to be at quite a high price of normally over £1000. Fortunately, IKEA have just entered this marketplace with a sit/stand for below £500 that is very, very good.

The IKEA Bekant sit/stand desk can be bought in a number of different configurations and the one we went for was the black corner version. The desk height is adjusted by a small keypad and motors built into the legs of the desk move the desk up and down to your required height. The motors are smooth and quiet and easily move the desk height even with 2 monitors and an array of drives and desk accessories. It looks just like any other desk and you’d never really know to look at it that it moved. Some of the other sit/stand desks look monstrous with motors and leads everywhere. The IKEA desk is simple and elegant and the style fits with other furniture that IKEA supply so we could kit out the whole studio in matching kit.

Everyday life with a sit/stand desk

There are lots of articles out there that talk about the health benefits of sitting down less so I won’t go into that here. I’ve been using the new desk now for about a month and it has completely changed the way I work and my lifestyle in the studio. I rarely sit for longer than a few hours a day now, the rest of the time I’m stood with the desk at chest height. It takes a little brain adjustment and a few days to get used to things but standing now feels much more normal. Sitting down for only a few hours now feels wrong, static and lethargic. Standing at a desk keeps you energised and moving around, your body posture is better and there’s no stress on your back. I’m sure standing all day would eventual have a negative impact on knees or other areas so getting a good balance is key. I tend to sit for a few hours in the morning then stand for the rest of the day, especially in the afternoons when you can have a bit of a lull, and then back to sitting in the evenings when things are quieter in the studio. I’m now a complete convert to standing at work and after a month or so I’m already feeling the health benefits and my back is causing far less problems than it did before. I’d recommend trying a standing desk to anyone that works long hours in the web design world or any office environment where you tend to sit for long hours at a desk.

H&R AWARDS 2015 – Training Initiative app of the year

A web app and website built by kc web design kent in 2013 has won it’s second award (It previously won HPM App of The Year 2014). The ThermaSolutions web app, designed and built here at kc web design, has come second in the HEATING & RENEWABLES AWARDS 2015 – Training Initiative app of the year category for its built in ‘education centre’ app that allows teaching organisations to set tests for heating and boiler engineers. Teachers can set the criteria and the app will give calculations and answers for testing. The idea of the ‘education centre’ was to envelop real life scenarios into a classroom environment involving and engaging students of all ages via a PC or overhead projector. Students can decide what rooms they get tested on (each with varying degrees of difficulty) from a floor plan of a real house. From there they are given the background information needed to carry out the test. They can then hold open discussions about their results, and from there the system prompts the class to run the same calculations through the on board heat loss app ‘ThermaCalc’. Here they will see how quick and easy the same calculations can be done as well as seeing additional features such AquaCalc for hot water sizing and SolarCalc for designing entire solar thermal systems. Our two phased approach to testing a class reinforces the ‘long hand’ approach to radiator and boiler sizing, as well as familiarising classrooms with the use of mobile tool technology prior to their involvement in the workplace. Integrating productivity apps such as these into a classroom environment enhances the reputation of the industry at a grassroots level. Our apps are still the first and only that not only work the exact calculations contained in the ‘Domestic Heating Design Guide’ but can be used on any mobile device including PC’s.

The Training Initiative app of the year was a tough category this year and we beat the likes of Worcester Bosch and Baxi Potterton Boilers who are industry leaders with long histories in the industry.

The awards black tie dinner is on the 10th September.