dribbble freebie – Stacked note box icons

It’s been a while since I’ve done a dribbble freebie so with a few minutes free today I decided to pull out an old logo and do another dribbble freebie for the web design community. So, kc web design kent is proud to give out another dribbble freebie – Stacked note box icons.

Eagle eyed web designers may notice and striking similarity to the logo for Noteboxapp.com. Well, it was kc web design kent that built Notebox back in 2010 and as the web app is no longer running as a service I thought the logo could be used for other things. I’ve always liked the logo we designed for it so maybe other web designers could put it to good use and use it in other web design projects. There’s probably a tonne of old designs in the kc web design kent vaults that could be used for dribbble freebies so over the next few weeks I might dig out some more to share with the web design community. And while working on lots of front end coding it’s nice to throw a little bit of design into the middle to break things up a bit!

If any website designers out there do use this dribbble freebie for a design project please leave me a comment on dribbble and let me know where it’s been used. It’s always nice to see how other designers use little design snippets like this and it’s fun seeing how it ends up on those “40 best dribbble freebie” type blog posts!

Download the Dribbble freebie

New iMac 27″ fusion drive review

A few months ago at kc web design kent my trusty 2009 27″ iMac started playing up. The screen started flickering in the left bottom corner and over the new few weeks it got progressively worse until one day the screen went black. Gulp! Deadlines. Panic…

Luckily, I managed to get the screen working again, albeit with only one side working effectively. It turns out there are two LED’s in the old iMac screen and the one on the left had blown sending that side of the screen into a grey muted mess. It’s actually very hard trying to design when one side of your screen is white and the other dark grey…very confusing! We’ve been using iMacs’ here at kc web design kent ever since they first came out and for a web designer they are fantastic, especially with the 27″ screen. I also use a second 24″ screen as well which gives a huge amount of screen space.

After a quick scramble in draws for old documents it dawned on me that the poor old iMac was out of Applecare support and destined for the back room. And so a spangly new iMac was purchased.

The new iMacs’ are a thing of beauty. Much thinner than the old ones and they deal with heat a LOT better. The old iMac could BBQ sausages on top some days! This time round I opted for the new fusion drive which is a dual 1TB HD and 128GB SSD and I have to say it is fantastic. The iMac is an i7 stacked full of 32gb of ram with the OS on SSD and it absolutely flies! The start up time is unbelievable, it literally takes less than 10 seconds to start the OS then another few seconds to start a few apps. Compared to my old iMac its a million miles away. The SSD also makes OS tasks ultra fast and frequently saved files also get the SSD treatment as the OS learns what you do most which makes saving those files fast to.

Being a freelance web designer in Kent means every minute of my day has to be well spent and the speed of this new iMac means I’m saving time on every task. They’re not cheap, but when it’s your main business tool it’s worth spending the extra cash.

Apples iOS 7 redesign

It’s been everywhere this week. Apples’ new iOS 7 design has sparked much discussion in the web design world and the interwebs are rife with comments, critique, moans and admiration for the new iOS design. Designing iOS apps as we do here at kc web design kent means we have a vested interest in what happens with Apple products. A huge redesign of the core interface means a lot of changes for app designers in the future so its something that everyone in the industry is watching.

The new design is a radical step forward away from the current iOS design and pretty much everything about iOS7 is different from whats come before. Over the past few years there have been lots of moans and grumbles from the design community about the over-use of skeuomorphic design elements in iOS and OSX. Far too much leather, linen and stitching. So it goes as no surprise that when Jony Ive took over the team for iOS UI design people thought things would change. And so they have! iOS 7 is completely different.

On the whole I think the look and feel of the new iOS is good. It has given it a new lease of life which was badly needed as the original feel was becoming dated. But, even though its still in beta there are things that are still very wrong from a design perspective. The true beauty of a design is how it interacts so until we can get our hands on a useable device it’s very hard to give a proper opinion and I’m sure it will be gorgeous to use once it’s on the phone. We shouldn’t be judging the new iOS purely on the way it looks but that is a big part of the new design. I think it’s getting such a bad wrap from the design community because it’s such a radical change but things do change and they have to change to stay fresh and exciting and I think iOS7 is definitely fresh and exciting. It still has fundamental flaws though.

The art of creating wonderfully complex iOS icons has turned into it’s own art form over the last few years but Apple have changed that now with the new look flat app icons. The new look app icons are very flat, with no gloss or shadow and some of the default app icons have horrendously bad gradients. I’d like to see them with far more subtle gradients or no gradients at all to be honest. The other problem with the new iOS design is the font. It looks like Helvetica Neue Light which kind of works but doesn’t offer up its own unique style to the user interface. Surely Apple could create their own unique iOS7 font that would give it a unique identity and really shout ‘this is iOS7!’.

Overall I do like it. Apps will change and adapt to the new UI design and here at kc web design kent we’ll be looking differently at any new apps we design now for iOS. If I designed an app now I’d use some of the new UI design but incorporate some of the old style as well. Hopefully it will evolve over the coming months and by Autumn Apple will have ironed out these inconsistencies and iOS7 will be a lovely new UI. Lets hope Apple listen and adapt and keep iOS at the forefront of mobile devices.

Ghostlab review

While struggling with Adobe Inspect today at kc web design kent on a new responsive web design project I saw a very timely tweet by Andy Clarke…

Goodbye Edge Inspect, you subscription based son of a bitch. Hello @ghostlabapp, my new best friend.

I’d never heard of Ghostlab before and had no idea what Andy was talking about but the mention of Adobe Inspect got my attention, especially as I was battling with testing a website design in multiple browsers on multiple devices.

After a brief look at the Ghostlab website (which is very well designed and worth a look just for that!) is was obvious that this app would be incredibly useful at kc web design kent. Ghostlab is an alternative to Adobe Inspect that makes testing responsive website designs very easy. Once the Mac app is installed you can open an existing URL or drop a folder onto the interface and create a new testing project. Once you click on the project you get to open it up in the Ghostlab browser which creates a local server to view the site on.

Now that the project is open and viewable on the local server you can view the website in any browser and on any device just by going to the local IP address shown in the UI. Not only is it very easy to view a single site on lots of devices but whatever you do on one device replicates through all the devices and browsers which is brilliant if you want to test clicks and forms and don’t want to have to repeat a set of tasks in every browser.

It might sound a little complicated but it was simple to setup and get using and straight away I had my test site open in lots of browsers and on my iPhone and Nexus. Tweaking CSS and reloading the page was made even easier because as you reload on one browser it does it on all of them! Ghostlab is well worth a try and its now become THE app we use at kc web design kent for testing our responsive website designs.

kc web design kent are experts in responsive website design. If you need a new website that works on all devices then give us a call.

Web design consultancy for Fujitsu.com

kc web design kent are absolutely delighted to be working as web design consultants for Fujitsu.com, the global website of the electronics giant. After a successful launch of the new UK blog website kc web design kent were asked to come in at a high level to consult on web design issues on the global Fujitsu.com website.

kc web design kent will be working very closely with Progress SEO to ensure any design and content related changes to the Fujitsu.com website are made based on factual design and SEO data. All web design and layout changes to the website will be consulted over and important design decisions validated, tested and checked.

Asked to become web design consultants at this level is a huge responsibility and one that we take very seriously here at kc web design kent. Working alongside Progress SEO is always a pleasure and we’ll be using this partnership to improve and re-structure specific sections of the Fujitsu.com website starting with the sustainability section and then moving through other parts of the Fujitsu.com website when content or web design structure needs changing.

The Fujitsu.com website is huge and encompasses over 100,000 individual pages so changing anything on a website this large has to be thought out very carefully. The layout, design and content all have an impact on the user journey and how effective the information is digested so even minor changes at this level can have a massive impact, especially on a website this large. The importance of good page structure, content hierarchy, user flow, information retention and visual cues and call-to-actions cannot be underestimated and it is our job at kc web design kent to make sure any changes on the Fujitsu.com website are changes that will improve the experience for the user and improve lead generation and SEO rankings for Fujitsu.com.

ThermaSolutions web app design

kc web design kent are proud to announce the launch of a large web app design project for ThermaSolutions. Back in early 2012 kc web design kent were contacted by ThermaSolutions and asked to produce an iOS app for the building and construction industry. After many months of hard work on the iOS app the project was shelved due to various reasons but kc web design kent worked hard with ThermaSolutions to bring something to market that far exceeded the original project scope. ThermaSolutions continued to evolve over the coming months and has now been launched as a web app subscription service.

kc web design kent designed, built and crafted the web app and the new website is now live. The ThermaSolutions web app was built using Expression Engine with the Membrr subscription module to handle the payments and subscriptions. The web app design is fully responsive to enable it to work on all mobile devices as well as desktop browsers and utilises advanced HTML5 and Javascript technology to allow the web apps to work in offline situations for construction staff out in the field with little or no connectivity. All parts of the web app work independently as stand alone apps that can be saved to the iOS device home screen and work like normal iOS apps. This enables the user to have access to a remote web app thats stores their reports but still be able to use the reporting tools and calculators when offline.

An advanced subscription system and seamless payments were integrated into the web app to provide easy access and signup flows for the user. Over the next few weeks kc web design kent will also be producing a hybrid iOS app that will allow users to download selected parts of the web app directly from the Apple app store.

Visit Website

Potable Water Solutions – Hydro voyager 3

We had a very interesting call at kc web design kent last week from Potable Water Solutions. Potable Water Solutions make the Hydro Voyager 3 – a new solution for purifying contaminated water.

At kc web design kent we love helping out with good causes and Potable Water Solutions needed a quick landing page created for their new water purification system. We had very little time to get something designed for them and needed to take complete control of the whole process so that Potable Water Solutions didn’t have to worry about a thing. We quickly designed a responsive website design landing page that would show some basic information on the Hydro Voyager for potentially interested parties and allow them to make contact. A fuller, more detailed website will be coming in the future but for now anyone interested can at least see how wonderful this project is a what a difference it could make to people in situations were water is scarce or not of great quality.

For more information on this wonderful project take a look at the Hydro Voyager 3 website created by kc web design kent.

Callagenix website design

kc web design kent were approached by Callagenix back in October 2012 to redesign their current website. Callagenix are a supplier of telecommunication services to businesses and they need to redesign their slightly dated and content heavy website and bring it up to date with a responsive website design. The challenge was to allow the user easy access to the wealth of information on the website but at the same time making it easy for the user to quickly get to information about products and services and allow them to enquire of buy online.

The new website design created by kc web design kent was built on the fantastic Expression Engine and Zurb Foundation with advanced functionality added with bespoke PHP. Plugins were used to enhance the website features and make sure previous blogspot posts could be easily imported. Advanced article tagging for the news section, offsite backups, import and export routines, social media integration and dynamic categories and call to actions were all integrated using Expression Engine. A lot of hard work has been put in to making sure old content was rewritten and external blog posts were integrated into the new website. SEO was a major concern after failings with the previous website and SEO company so content structure was redesigned and advanced SEO integrated into Expression Engine to allow Callagenix staff to produce new pages and articles that would maintain good SEO presence and help improve page rank in organic searches.

The responsive website produced by kc web design kent allows the website to be viewable on all mobile and tablet devices which is very important for a website in a technology based market place. With mobile devices rapidly becoming a large percentage of browsing users its imperative that all modern website designs are tailored to these devices.

After 5 months hard work at kc web design kent the new Callagenix website design went live this week.

 

Visit Website

Yohondo iPad app UI design

kc web design kent were contacted by the lovely John and Jane from Yohondo a few months ago about designing the user interface for their new iPad app. Yohondo have spent the last 12 – 18 months designing and building a skeleton app that will completely change the way people learn graded music lessons. A huge amount of research and testing had gone into the app and kc web design kent were offered the task of creating and designing a beautiful user interface for the iPad app that would help bring all that research together into a good looking, usable app.

kc web design kent designed a completely new user interface that uniquely combine the research by Yohondo with an intuitive and user-friendly design. Ease of use was paramount in the design process as well as creating a user interface that compliments the user flow and actions throughout the app. The Yohondo ipad app is aimed at a younger audience, as well as adults, and so small elements of gameification were built into the design to create an experience that kept users coming back and help with progression through the lessons.

The iPad user interface design that kc web design kent have created is unique in this market place and was designed to fully compliment the hard work undertaken by Yohondo in building a world class iPad app. The app will be completed over the coming months and launched in the summer so watch out for it in the app store. Next on the list will be a brand new website for Yohondo design and built by kc web design kent.

Why staying on top of SEO writing is important

We all know we have to do, but finding time to write content for SEO can feel like a chore especially when you’re working all hours on client web design work. Keeping on top of SEO writing and keeping your website full of fresh new relevant content is hard work and something that has to be maintained. We’ve been so busy here at kc web design kent for the last few months that I’ve let the content writing slip a little. I was writing 2/3 articles per week which really helped with the ‘web design kent’ keywords and meant that kc web design kent were on page 3 for ‘web design kent’, page 1 for ‘freelance web designer kent’ and a few others. Unfortunately, after a month or so of not writing many articles and letting things slip a little we have now dropped down to page 6 for ‘web design kent’! Thats a few pages down is as many weeks!

For any online business, staying up in the organic search results is extremely important and this little (unscheduled) experiment shows that you HAVE to keep up with the content writing for your listing to stay consistant. At kc web design kent we know have a hard slog in front of us to get back up to page 3 for ‘web design kent’ and our other search terms. Sometimes, when you’re working hard it difficult to think of things to write about. Checking news websites and setting up Google alerts on related topics can help find inspiration, then it’s just a case of finding the time. Setting aside 15 minutes and writing a new article first thing in the morning is the best way. It gets it done before any other distractions take over. If you find inspiration hits then don’t forget to write as many articles as you can, you can always save them or schedule them for publishing later when you’re a bit stuck for time.

So, the lesson learnt is to stick with it, keep on writing regular articles and stay up in the search listings.

WordPress hacking

Its been reported quite widely  in the media this week that WordPress has been under attack. WordPress powers millions of websites so an attack like this is no small thing. Millions and millions of sites will have been hacked and the brute force attached looks like it was aimed at weak admin usernames and passwords. Probably an attempt to gain access to more servers for a bigger attack, the hackers targeted WordPress websites with weak passwords that were still using the default admin login. Even WordPress websites with different usernames but weak password could still have been compromised. kc web design specialise in WordPress website design in kent and all over the UK and we’ve seen a lot of damage done by this attack.

Whenever we build a WordPress website design here at kc web design kent we take security very seriously. The first thing we do is to setup WordPress on the server then lock it down, harden it and add extra security features. We try and protect it from all of the most well known attacks as well as making sure password policies are tight. There are a few useful plugins we use on every WordPress website design we do as well as using some other tricks to secure config files and other important areas of the WordPress system. There are loads of tutorials around that explain the best practices when securing WordPress so I won’t bore you with a huge article on that. The plugins that we always use and are well worth taking a look at are: Block Bad Queries, Wordfence, Secure WordPress by WebsiteDefender and WordPress Backup 2 Dropbox because if anything does happen to your website you want to get it back up quickly right?

Security on any system is a serious issues so don’t let anyone build you a WordPress website without making sure its secure. kc web design specialise in WordPress website design in kent and all over the UK so talk to use before you decide on creating a WordPress website. We can make sure its safe.

Flickering iMac screen brightness

Last week my iMac screen brightness started flickering. At first I thought it was my eyes playing tricks in the sun coming through the studio windows but after a few days I noticed a defined change in brightness in the lower left part of the screen. At kc web design kent we love iMac’s because of the huge amount of screen space. Combined with a second 24″ monitor and you have an almost perfect working environment for web design and iOS design work and coding. iMacs have been a part of our equipment here at kc web design for the last 5 years and this particular iMac was bought in 2009 so only a few years old.

I’ve used Apple computers for designing every since college over 20 years ago and have never really had any issues. The Macs we use at kc web design kent are used every day, every week all year and never really miss a beat. So, I now have an annoying flicker in the left part of the iMac screen and its getting pretty annoying. After a few quick Googles I came across quite a few mentions of this particular issue with 2009 iMacs so it looks like a bit of a general fault. Lots of people saying its a problem with the left LED in the screen (There are 2 in these iMacs apparently) and thats its on its way out and needs replacing. Others saying its just a loose connection and that you can push the screen on the bottom left about 1-2 inches in from the left on the bottom black edge and it should stop the flickering for a while or until the connection becomes loose again. Terns out this second fix worked for me.

So, I have a loose connection on a 4 year old iMac…those new iMacs do look very nice…

Yohondo iPad app UI design

kc web design kent are delighted to be working with the wonderful Yohondo on their brand new iPad app. We’ll be designing the user interface over the next few weeks to create a beautiful UI experience and craft an award winning app.

Yohondo is a new iPad app designed for teaching grade 1,2 and 3 piano in a new and intuitive way. kc web design kent will be working with the Yohondo team to take their working wireframe app and turn it into a visual exciting, beautifully design experience for all levels of users. The app is designed to help children and adults learn graded musical pieces in a new and exiting way and the user interface and overall design will reflect this.

The new Yohondo iPad app will be available later this year along with a brand new website design. A second round of beta testing will be starting soon once the new user interface design is in place so if you’re interested in becoming a beta tester head over to the Yohondo website.

At kc web design kent we specialise in iPad and iPhone user interface design and understand the complexities of designing for touch devices. We also create web apps and responsive website designs that can be used on all types of devices such as phones and tablets. If you have a project that needs a user interface or want a website that taps into the growing mobile marketplace then get in touch with kc web design kent for a chat.

Mailbox iOS app – Was it worth the wait?

Most people in the web design industry are aware of Mailbox – the new email client for iOS that claims to change the way we deal with email – and at kc web design kent we were very excited when it was launched. And most will also be aware of the sign-up system they used. After sign-up the user joined a queue and the app gave a count down to when it would be available. When I signed up I was about 700,000 in the queue and it took a few weeks for the app to become available. Not everyone was very keen on this sign-up process but as a way of rolling out a new app slowly I can see its benefits.

After a long wait I finally got to the use the app and I have to say that it is very nice. Its well exicuted, it looks great and works very well. Does it change the way we deal with email? Maybe. But I can’t help but feel like its just a bunch of folders and actions tagged on to a Gmail account. For people that use their iPhone for dealing with all their email on the go then Mailbox is a great email client. But for the rest of us, such as web designers like us at kc web design kent, then it doesn’t get used that much. A desktop version would be much better and hopefully now that Mailbox has been acquired by Dropbox we might see more development on the desktop version. But again, would the desktop version just feel like a nice interface over a few folders and actions tagged on the Gmail?

There are lots of different ways of dealing with emails and inbox-zero and a lot of them do this with specific folders and actions. At kc web design kent we use a simple method of having a smart folder for incoming unread mail, one for emails flagged as to-do and a few other folders. So could this method be used to attain the same email flow as Mailbox? I think it could be done and even made into some kind of plugin for email clients like Postbox. A few simple folders and actions could mimic what Mailbox does quite easily. If I get time over the next few weeks and client work at kc web design kent doesn’t get in the way too much I might give it a try. If it works I’ll post the results here!

Private browsing in Safari Mobile and javascript local storage

After a good few hours trying to debug a web app in Mobile Safari here at kc web design kent we finally worked out that having private browsing turned on in the Safari settings was causing javascript and local storage to not work. Safari mobile seems to deal with private browsing differently to other browsers and it actually stops any kind of local storage from being set where as Chrome still allows a certain amount of storage to be accessed.

To warn users that they have private browsing on we can do a little check with javascript…

var testKey = 'qeTest', storage = window.sessionStorage;
 
 try {
 // Try and catch quota exceeded errors
 storage.setItem(testKey, '1');
 storage.removeItem(testKey);
 } catch (error) {
 if (error.code === DOMException.QUOTA_EXCEEDED_ERR && storage.length === 0)
 alert('Please make sure you have private browsing turned off in your Safari settings to use this website');
 else throw error;
 }

 

This will check whether local storage can be set and if not warn the user that they have private browsing turned on. Hopefully this will help anyone else that comes up against this problem.

The first website design I ever built

To be honest, I can’t really remember my first website that well. It was over 15 years ago so specific facts feel a little fuzzy. Before I was a ’proper’ web designer (which is what I call myself now) I was a graphic designer for print and before I did that I was a photographer for a very short time and that’s what I was doing when I built my first website.

At the time I was at art college in Bournemouth and heavily involved in music. A good friend worked at the local independent record shop (back when record shops still sold records) and asked if I’d be interested in looking into a website design. As I mentioned before, exact memories are a little faded (I was at college!), but from what I can remember I knew a bit about the web but absolutely nothing about how to make a website. Still, like all good students I needed the money so agreed to look into building a website for the record shop.

Im not sure whether it was the lure of money or the access to free music and beer that drove me on, but armed with a copy of the latest web magazine and whatever other information I could get my hands on I set about learning how websites were made. My first real experience in front of a computer coding was very different to reading about it on paper. At the back of the shop was a set of stairs going down into a basement that was no bigger than a very small single bedroom. The room was full from floor to ceiling with records with a small space left for a PC. Windows 94 at its best! In this dark basement with the sound of dJ’s checking out the latest vibes (that’s it, that’s what e record shop was called – Vibe Records!) floating down from above I set about trying to construct a website.

All I really remember is battling with tables, endless nested tables just to get a logo in the right part of the screen. There was no CSS, or not that I knew off and html 1 was all I had to use. I remember swearing a lot trying to hand code complicated table layouts with rows and columns and spacer gifs. It took weeks of sweat and tears and checking in Netscape navigator (go and check it out kids, it’s the granddaddy of all modern browsers) to create a very basic website but I was very proud and the shop was very pleased. 12 months later the shop had gone and so had my their website.

What would I do differently? Well, pretty much everything actually. The web is a totally different place these days and the web design industry has gone through many changes in the last 15 years. I saw the death and rebirth of the web design industry and how it’s come alive in the last few years with a fantastic community. It’s like no other industry I know. I’d do everything different today if I built that website again but then I’d probably do it different if I built it again in 12 months time. The web design industry moves that fast. That’s why working in this industry is so exciting and why you should always be learning and why you should treat every website like its your first.

This article is an entry about website design for the 123-reg My 1st Website competition . You can see more info here…http://www.123-reg.co.uk/first-website-competition.shtml

Evernote security hacked

Working in an online business like kc web design kent means that almost every working day I’m logging in and out of services or apps. Every day my whole online life is governed by passwords for email accounts, online web design services, social media, to-do lists and more. It feels like every month or so now some online service gets hacked and we all have to change our passwords again. In the last few months we’ve had Dropbox, Twitter and now Evernote is the latest victim.

On Evernotes website they apologise “for the annoyance” and say that data is safe although passwords were breached. I suppose thats all it has become now, an annoyance. Not the ‘end of the world’ catastrophe we all used to think it was when something got hacked but just an inconvenience and one that we can fix just by changing a password.

The problem with all this is when your daily online life is so full of passwords that you start using the same ones for everything. I know I’ve done this in the past. But with the ease that hackers are gaining entry to major online services its time to be a little more security conscious and make sure you don’t use the same passwords for multiple services. At kc web design kent we use password systems such as 1Password to help remember all our online log ins and to stop the need for having to remember hundreds of passwords. Other systems are available but as we use Macs and iPhones here at kc web design kent then a native app that works on all our devices is our best option.

So don’t take the chance, make sure your passwords are secure and not the same on multiple accounts and use a tool to remember them. This way it stays and annoyance and not a catastrophe when you loose data or find your personal details have been used for something else.

kc web design kent – Friday round-up one

I thought we’d start doing a little Friday round-up here at kc web design kent of interesting things that we’ve come across during the week. So for our first ‘Friday round-up’ we’re going to have a look at all sorts of interesting web design and development related goodies and just plain cool stuff that we’ve come across over the last week.

Zurb Foundation 4

The latest version of the best (in our opinion, although Bootstrap is coming a very, very close second now) responsive html5/css3 framework is out. kc web design kent were invited to the launch party in Mountain View but we decided it was a little too far to travel from Kent!

The new version changes a few things – firstly, it now uses a mobile first approach to its responsiveness, it has better javascript which uses the Zepto framework and the semantic layouts have changed slightly creating cleaner markup but a few changes to the way its used. All in all it looks like a great update to a framework that stays at the forefront of web design tech and website design uses. As they say on the website, Foundation is now future proof.

Handheld Conference

Getting to a good conference is still on my list of things to do (I just never seem to have the time these days!) and if I was going to go to any conference this year it would be Handheld. The line-up is fantastic, it’s in Cardiff which is pretty cool (but a long way from Kent!) and they have a house band to play between speakers! There is also a day of workshops and a big party. Early bird tickets have almost sold out but its still a pretty good price for the line-up. I wish I could go!

Ouya

Lots of great things are coming out of the Kickstarter culture we have at the moment and the funding of some amazing projects is actually happing and products are coming to market. Ouya is an open-source games console running on Android thats going to ship for $99! Just hook it up to your TV, search for the games you want to play online and then buy them. Once some good games are on board this kind of thing could really take off and stop the gaming industry being led by 3 major companies.

MYO – GESTURE CONTROL

Another amazing Kickstarter project is MYO. MYO turns you into a Jedi! It’s basically very cool gesture control that you can hook up to pretty much anything. It’ll work with Mac and Windows and allows you to control things with gestures. Watch the video on the website, its very cool! I think I’d much rather have one of these than Google Glass.

Subscription based websites with Expression Engine

Expression Engine is our CMS of choice at kc web design kent and we use it on a lot of larger projects. It has great flexibility, if built on a robust framework and the community of users and add-ons is very good. It is one of the best web design CMS frameworks around and a joy to use.

At kc web design kent we recently built a web app based on Expression Engine and needed to create a subscription based service that would allow users to purchase subscription plans and then give them access to certain areas of the web app based on what plan they’d bought. We also need a good user interface for managing subscription packages that would be easy for the client to use and easy for us to setup and manage. After looking around we came across an add-on for Expression Engine called Membrr. Membrr did all the things we need and had a good payment system built in. The company that make Membrr also make a service called Open Gateway (which comes bundled with Membrr) that allows full integration of recurring subscription payment and automated payments through a whole host of payment gateways.

Membrr was very easy to setup and get started with and the examples on the site are very good. It takes a little while to get into using the hooks correctly to display things in your own templates but as always the community support is great and if you know Expression Engine syntax and template tags then it won’t take long to pick things up. The Expression Engine admin interface is very good and makes managing subscriptions and members very easy. There is a separate login for Open Gateway and you need to set up a few cron jobs on your server (so best to be using this on a good server and not a low-end shared host) to deal with the recurring payments but once done things should run smoothly.

All in all Membrr seems to be a very good system and is working well for us at kc web design kent on this particular project. If you have a web app or website design project that needs a good CMS then talk to kc web design kent about Expression Engine.

WordPress – First plugins to install

At kc web design kent we create a lot of websites based on WordPress: blogs, e-commerce websites, corporate websites and even web apps. As soon as we get WordPress installed on a web design project we always add our own set of plugins for security and other odds and ends. So here’s our quick list of WordPress plugins to get into a WordPress website quickly…

Wordfence

In my opinion, one of the best WordPress security plugins there is. Even on the basic level it will scan your site for all sorts of attacks and hacks and lockdown your login to brut force break-in attempts and you can even set firewall rules to change actions on certain events. There’s an option to go pro if you want to for added features but the basic features seem to be enough for most situations.

Block bad queries

A simple little plugin that checks for SQL injection and cross-site scripting and other types of attacks on URL’s. Does exactly what it says!

wp Time Machine (for Backups)

There are many, many different plugins for backups but we find this one very simple to use and the backup to Dropbox works great for us here at kc web design kent. You can also use Amazon S3.

WP Custom Admin Bar

When we’re designing WordPress themes at kc web design kent we don’t want the pesky admin bar getting in the way while we trying to check our design so this simple plugin turns it on/off for certain users or roles. Even when a WordPress website goes live we keep this plugin on as the admin bar can be a little confusing for some users.

WordPress SEO

If you’re serious about SEO on your WordPress website then this is THE SEO plugin to go for. Joost de Valk has a great reputation in the SEO world and this plugin does everything you’d expect. It even guides you on good SEO practice and helps create good written articles that are keyword rich. We could write for kc web design kent without this plugin!

Akismet

Being a pre-installed plugin this one sometimes gets over-looked but if you want to have comments on your WordPress site then this is your first defence against comment spam. And believe me, you’ll need it! It’s easy to sign up and get a key so there’s no excuse to getting it setup and protecting your comments.