August 12, 2021 - Information Resources
What every prospective online homeowner should consider before breaking ground
When we’re approached about beginning a new Web presence, ecommerce system, or mobile or web application (referred to simply as “site” below), ERA404 likes to pose 10 questions to our clients. This not only stirs up ideas to begin the process, it also allows all parties to fully explore what the process of Web development entails.
1. What are three words you would use to describe your business in terms of focus, pace, and culture?
Oftentimes, the description of your business is identical to your site. If your business focus is technology, customer relations, politics or health, your site should have a similar feel. Is your pace is dynamic and fast-moving (like an online service or new product) or conservative and rock-solid (like a bank or a law firm)? Your business’s culture (fun, friendly, approachable, professional, formal, methodical, meticulous) should also be represented in your site’s design.
2. What are the general purposes for your site?
Your site should have a primary and secondary purpose (and sometimes even a tertiary one). Purposes could be to increase sales and awareness, to assist in distribution of products or services, informational, educational, eCommerce, subscription-based marketing, customer feedback, ISO or employee intranet, employment postings, product support, entertainment or forums.
3. Will this site be part of an existing marketing strategy?
Does your business already have a marketing strategy in place with previous printed collateral material, sites, or advertising campaigns? If it does, please send samples of these pieces to assist in ensuring the site works within the framework of your existing strategy. If it doesn’t, or if you’d like to deviate from your existing strategy, can you provide a description and/or examples of concepting for a new strategy? Would you be interested in working with ERA404 to develop this new cross-media campaign?
[ ] Yes, this site is part of an existing strategy.
[ ] No, this site varies from our existing strategy.
[ ] We currently do not have a strategy.
[ ] We’re developing a strategy in-house and will provide samples and a description.
[ ] We’re interested in working with ERA404 to develop a cross-media strategy.
4. What reactions (calls-to-action) are you hoping to achieve with this new Web site?
While this question hinges on #2 (general purpose), it’s important to outline your customer’s reaction to determine if the site is successful. If the site is information-based, this can be monitored with statistics. Other reactions could be: customer contact, online sales, forum/chat participation, increased customer retention, decreased phone, fax or email support calls, growth of marketing opportunities (mailing lists, newsletters, event participation, and RSVPs), etc.
5. How do you plan on maintaining your site?
ERA404 provides a number of maintenance opportunities including an online content management system (CMS), maintenance contracts, on-site training, or off-site tutorials for manual site updates. If you plan on updating your site at regular intervals, which opportunities interest you?
6. The Competition
Providing ERA404 with links to competition sites enables us to gauge what your competition is doing, how they’ve been successful, how they’ve failed, and what makes your business different. Please list some links to competitor sites.
b. How are you different from competition?
If you have direct competition, please list why your business is different and what you do that makes your business unique.
7. Which existing site designs appeal to you?
Existing site designs do not have to be competition, nor do they have to even be in the same industry. List some sites that you feel satisfy your general purpose and embrace your company’s focus, pace, and culture.
8. Aside from your calls-to-action, what are your short-term and long-term goals for this site?
Do you expect this site to grow, to have new sections, to have new features? Will this site work in tandem with other sites that your business may have? Do you expect changes in offerings, strategy or functionality?
While ERA404 designs all sites to be flexible, we believe pre-planning and preparation can assist in ensuring your site is cost effective and successful at attaining short- and long-term goals.
9. What additional materials do you have to assist us in providing you with an estimate and timeline?
Before beginning design and development, ERA404 provides site mechanicals (wireframes) and information architectures (IAs) to describe site layout, pages and functionality. Do these materials already exist? Can you provide us with sample page content, photography, identity pieces, and artwork? What is your estimated budget and site launch target?
[ ] Mechanicals
[ ] Information Architecture
[ ] Design Storyboards (GUIs)
[ ] Digital Content
[ ] Digital Identity
[ ] Artwork/Photography*
[ ] Budget: _________________
[ ] Launch Target: ____________
[ ] Copywriter*
[ ] Other: __________________
* If you do not currently have a copywriter, artist, or photographer, would you be interested in working with ERA404 to provide these services?
10. What are your expectations to deem this site a success?
For More Questions or Information
Contact ERA404 for more questions to get you going or for design and development estimates by clicking here.
Click the link below to download our “10 Questions” survey. The file is a PDF, so you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed to view it. You’re also able to fill-out the form using Acrobat by simply clicking a form blank and entering text or clicking checkboxes. When finished, email or fax the completed questionnaire to ERA404 or print it for your records.
Download the PDF: ERA404_10_Questions
January 1, 2020 - Information Resources
Dear Hosting Customer,
ERA404 began offering hosting solutions in 2003 to alleviate the technical burden of managing web and email hosting for our design and development clients. Over the last fifteen years, the cost of supporting this offering has slowly and steadily increased. In the past, we were hesitant to pass this on to our hosting customers. Unfortunately, in order for us to continue to provide this value-added service, increasing the product costs has become unavoidable.
Please see the below table of our products and the new annual costs starting January 1, 2020.
|Product Name||Annual Cost||FTP||Databases||Subdomains||Parked||Diskspace||Bandwidth|
* Domain Registration, SSL Certificates, and other 3rd party costs are estimated by the selected vendor, however all tech support is billed at $100/hr.
February 18, 2019 - Information Resources
StaffList is a WordPress plugin that makes it easy to build and maintain a sortable/searchable table of contact records. The plugin uses shortcodes that can be inserted into WordPress posts or pages. This page is simple demo of how StaffList appears in a page, but some additional information about how to use StaffList shortcodes is provided below the demo.
For this demo, sample data of The Simpsons characters was provided by Steven Lee (“witwal”) on GitHub.
You can insert the StaffList directory into any WordPress page or post using the shortcode:
If you wish to change the default number of rows from 20 per page, use the shortcode attribute:[stafflist rows=50]
If you wish to use just a subset of records, use the shortcode attribute:
If you have a column in your StaffList called “Building” and wish to show records from Building A and Building B, use:
Searches are performed as you type and when the enter key is pressed.
If you wish to limit this function to just enter (or just type), use:
[stafflist on="enter"] or [stafflist on="type"]
Other Plugins by ERA404
March 31, 2016 - Information Resources
See that little orange circle in the tab of your browser? That’s a favicon. The little 16×16 pixel square isn’t there just for looks. It has a subtle – yet important – role in building the brand on your website. When a visitor sees one, it’s a strong indicator that they came to the right place – which can also be reassuring in a sense.
But a 16 x 16 ICO file just won’t cut it anymore. Enter the ERA404 Favicon Generator.
The concept of favicons was first introduced by Internet Explorer in 1999. They were produced in ICO format and were dropped in the root folder of the domain as
/favicon.ico. Since then many things have changed. They are now used for multiple purposes in different devices and many developers pay insufficient attention to their importance and thereby miss an opportunity to make their websites that much more distinctive and memorable. Today, favicons have an importance of their own. Their visual impact will continue to grow and you should expect them to grow in functionality, as well.
As different devices and screen resolutions continue to arrive on the market, the number of icons required for web sites and applications keep growing.
One of the best enhancements to the use of the favicon in recent times has been the expansion to allow the 32-bit PNG format. You can use transparent images with rounded corners as the favicon for your websites, a design that was too difficult to achieve in ICO format. Browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox allow the use of PNG favicons.
Apple devices with iOS 1.1.3 and later require a special type of
rel property which can be recognized only by such devices. The
rel property in such devices use
apple-touch-icon-precomposed. The value
apple-touch-icon-precomposed is used to instruct the device not to add a simulated shine to the favicon and use it as it is. The recommended basic size for Apple devices is a 57×57 beveled square. For higher resolution screens use 114×114 size images. iPad2 uses 72×72 size while iPad3 uses 114×114 for its retina display.
Windows 8 uses the concept of tiles and has the option to pin a website to the home screen. Pinned Sites in Windows 8 describes how site developers can provide a site icon for their sites’ pinned site tiles on the Windows 8 Start screen, using
msapplication-TileColor. More information can be found on the Microsoft Developer Network’s IEBlog.
If you’re a developer building apps for iOS or Android, you’ll need to generate a number of icons before your application will even be submitted for review and approval. More importantly, app icons provide strategic marketing and promotional opportunities. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then your app icon is worth more than any other asset for your mobile or tablet app. Your app icon is the most evident element of your branding, both on the home screen of the users’ devices and in the app store where the decision is made to try/buy.
“Many users are inspired to download the app first by the icon rather than the description. We are visual animals and icons play a huge role.”
Gabriel Machuret, App Store Optimization Blog
While the ERA404 App Icon Generator will help you create icons at various sizes for your application, we recommend you use these as the foundation for creating more alluring artwork to promote your app. Sony Mobile recommends taking advantage of users’ impulsive mobile download behavior by making your images more compelling than just an icon. Carefully examine the value of your app icons and their application within the stores. Keep them iconic and uncluttered, strive to stand out, and consider qualified and unbiased reactions to the design before submitting them to the app store (iOS won’t let you change them until a new version is uploaded). Read more guidelines by Sony Mobile, here.
For your iOS and Android app: app icons, launch images, and Newsstand cover icons are generated in required formats and stored in the app bundle. The OS uses these images in various locations to represent your app.
For app stores (such as iTunes Store and Google Play): larger images are used for app identification and promotional purposes. OSX Human Interface Guidelines and Google Play Brand Guidelines can provide further information about usage and best practices.
May 19, 2015 - Information Resources
In our “Twitter Cards” Information Resource (February 2013), we shared with you a step-by-step guide for setting up your meta-tags, testing, and applying to Twitter to implement Twitter Cards into your WordPress site. Over the last two years, we’ve updated our process to best suit our clients who want to refine Twitter Card content for their WordPress sites, and overcome the limitations of sites with AJAX-loaded content, which was previously impossible with Twitter.
April 2, 2015 - Information Resources
A Quick Reference of Application Icon and Splash Screen Sizes and Locations for Google Play and Apple iTunes App Store
With this year’s release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and the growing, supposed Android Screen Fragmentation, we find ourselves dealing with more resources to support an increasing list of device screen resolutions. Oftentimes, finding an up-to-date list of the application icon and splash screen sizes (and locations, for PhoneGap / Cordova) can be an arduous task. In fact, there’s a very good chance that by the time this Information Resource is published, it will already be deprecated.
Regardless, feel free to reference this list as a cheat sheet for Android and iOS icons and splash screen sizes with the caveat that it was created on April 2, 2015, and may already be obsolete.Read More