Enovate https://www.enovate.co.uk/ Latest news from Essex based web design company Enovate Design, as well as commentary on responsive web design and other website design related topics. en-GB Wed, 13 Dec 2017 22:53:00 +0000 Mon, 08 Jan 2018 18:37:20 +0000 Web Platform APIs https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/12/13/web-platform-apis Wed, 13 Dec 2017 22:53:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/12/13/web-platform-apis Introduction

The vast and growing array of browser APIs enable web developers to build richer user experiences such as Progressive Web Apps, which are made possible by the collective use of several new browser APIs.

Progressive Web Apps narrow the gap between web and native apps, and establish a set of best practices that can be implemented with universal benefit in almost any web app or website in existence. But in some ways a Progressive Web App is just scratching the surface of what can be achieved on the modern Web today. As an approach that has such broad application there are lots of occasions where web developers can and should go even further.

Depending on the nature of the website or web app, web developers can take a progressive enhancement approach to utilise some of the more niche APIs that are arriving in modern browsers with every release. For example for a web app that streams audio and/or video the Media Session API will allow you to display custom track/artist information and imagery on the mobile device notification tray along with the lock screen and even any paired wearable devices. Yes, the Web Platform can do that today!

But keeping up with all the new and shiny browser APIs is no mean feet, so hence in this blog post I’m going to cover various upcoming Web Platform APIs along with some not so new and lesser known APIs that bring exciting new capabilities to the Web Platform and create new possibilities for building richer and more effective web apps and websites.

Web Share API

Status: Unofficial
Support: Available in Chrome

The Web Share API enables websites to invoke the native sharing capabilities of the host platform. So on an Android device this would open the normal share dialog, which includes sharing via whatever native apps may be installed. This is music to our ears, as for too long have we had to include such functionality with the performance hit and clumsy UI of a third party widget or worse still spend time rolling our own, the video below demonstrates the Web Share API in action:

Cache API

Status: Editor's Draft (Service Workers)
Support: Available in Chrome, Opera and Firefox. Edge and Safari have marked the API as 'In Development'.

The Cache API is one of the core technologies of PWAs and is essentially like a key-value store, with the keys being HTTP requests and the values being HTTP responses. The Cache API provides the offline functionality of Progressive Web Apps, as a service worker can match requests to cached responses.

Fetch API

Status: Living Standard
Support: Available in Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, Safari and polyfill for other browsers

The Fetch API replaces the old and trusty XMLHttpRequest object, which allows web developers to make network requests and handle the responses. The Fetch API uses Promises, which is a far easier and simpler interface to use and helps to avoid issues such as callback hell. Again, the Fetch API is used heavily within Progressive Web Apps to gracefully handle network requests from a service worker and their responses.

Web Workers API

Status: Living Standard
Support: Available in Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari

Service workers are a type of web worker, a web worker runs a named JavaScript file in its own thread with a different global context to the current window object. Web workers are useful as they allow web developers to run scripts in another thread, similar to a background process, which keeps the main thread more idle and able to respond to user interaction.

Service Worker API

Status: Editor's Draft
Support: Available in Chrome, Opera and Firefox. Edge and Safari have marked the API as 'In Development'.

Service Workers are a type of web worker that run a JavaScript file in the background, not requiring a web page or user interaction and act as proxy between a web app, and the browser and the network (when available). Service workers in the case of Progressive Web Apps take advantage of several new Web Platform APIs such as the Fetch API, Cache API, Push API and Background Sync API to deliver new capabilities to the Web. Service workers are crucial to Progressive Web Apps and are key to features such as offline access, background sync and push notifications.

Image Capture API

Status: Editor's Draft (MediaStream Image Capture)
Support: Available in Chrome and Opera

The Image Capture API makes is far easier for web developers to control the device’s camera to capture a still image or video and adjust hardware camera settings such as zoom, brightness, contrast, ISO and white balance along with whether to use the front or rear facing camera if applicable.

Payment Request API

Status: Candidate Recommendation
Support: Available in Chrome and Edge

Much like the Web Share API, the Payment Request API seeks to improve user experience on the Web by standardising the e-commerce checkout flow for web users, while potentially saving the collective effort of many web developers in the process. For users, rather than having to become accustomed to the intricacies of each and every e-commerce website checkout flow the Payment Request API will allow web developers to handover part of the checkout flow to supporting web browsers using the Payment Request API. This will not only save web developers time, but will result in an improved user experience for visitors as they can pre-populate forms with details securely saved within their web browser along with utilising a checkout flow with which they are already familiar.

Network Information API

Status: Living Document
Support: Available in Chrome, Opera, Samsung Internet

The network information API allows web developers to detect the connection type (wifi, ethernet, cellular, etc.) of the user’s device and effective connection type (slow-2g, 2g, 3g or 4g). This is useful as it allows us to make decisions in terms of whether to preload videos on page load or for a service worker to cache certain assets depending on effective connection type.

Background Sync API

Status: Draft Community Group Report
Support: Available in Chrome

While Service Workers allow us to provide a web app experience when offline in terms of serving cached content to the user, what happens when the user wants to send data to our web app offline? That's where the Background Sync API comes in, it allows us to capture the request the user wants to send to the server and send it when the network connection is restored.

Push API

Status: Editor's Draft
Support: Available in Chrome and Firefox

Building upon Service Workers, the Push API gives web apps the ability to receive messages pushed to them from a server, regardless of whether the web app is in the foreground, or even currently open, on a device. This is already one of the more popular new APIs in usage terms as web apps are always keen to find new ways to re-engage users and push notifications are quite an effective way of communicating with users. In order to send push notifications web apps have to request permission from their users via the Permissions API.

Ambient Light API

Status: Editor's Draft
Support: Available in Edge and Firefox

As it sounds this API allows web apps to detect changes in ambient light, so much like how most SatNav systems will adapt their display contrast settings for night time use, this API enables web apps to similarly respond to changes in ambient light.

Broadcast Channel API

Status: Living Standard
Support: Available in Chrome, Firefox and Opera

The Broadcast Channel API allows simple communication between windows, tabs, frames and iframes from the same origin (domain). Use cases include being able to update the logged in or logged out status of a user across multiple tabs if they log-in or log-out on one tab. The Broadcast Channel API has similarities to the Channel Messaging API except that the latter is for one script dispatching messages to one other (one-to-one). Whereas the Broadcast Channel API is suitable for dispatching messages to many listeners (one-to-many). 

Web Audio API

Status: Editor's Draft
Support: Available in Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera and Safari

The Web Audio API is far from new, but it has been steadily improved more recently and provides web developers with the ability to control audio on the Web, allowing us to choose audio sources, add effects to audio, create audio visualisations, apply spatial effects (e.g. panning) and more.

Web Animations API

Status: Editor's Draft
Support: Available in Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Samsung Internet

The Web Animations API is a great addition that allows web developers to build animations using JavaScript that render with the same performance as declarative CSS animations. The benefits include faster frame-rate with lower power consumption compared to traditional JavaScript animation which translates to a better user experience on all devices, particularly mobile. This is achieved by empowering developers to “build performant compositor threaded animations using JavaScript”. In addition, the API also allows us to inspect and manipulate running CSS animations, making it far easier to update some state once a series of animations have completed or pause running animations.

WebUSB API

Status: Editor's Draft
Support: Available in Chrome and Opera

While full browser support may never arrive the WebUSB API is still worth a mention as being able to access USB devices on the Web feels like somewhat of a milestone.

Media Source / Media Source Extensions API

Status: Recommendation
Support: Available in Chrome, Firefox, Edge, IE, Safari and Samsung Internet

Another API that’s not new but perhaps not well-known amongst web developers. The Media Source Extensions API (MSE) provides functionality enabling plugin-free web-based streaming media. Using MSE, the traditional src attribute of a <video> element and can be replaced with a Media Source object. This enables more advanced media delivery and control than is currently possible with <video> and <audio> elements alone. Use cases include adaptive streaming, so swapping the bitrate of a video stream in response to changing connection speeds. It lays the groundwork for adaptive bitrate streaming clients (using DASH or HLS) to be built on the MSE API, such as the open source Shaka player.

Media Recorder API

Status: Working Draft
Support: Available in Chrome, Firefox

The Media Recorder API makes it possible for web apps to easily record and instantly use media from a user’s input devices so audio, video or both. This therefore gives web developers the ability to easily build web apps that capture audio recordings or video recordings, another great asset to the Web Platform.

Web VR API

Status: Editor's Draft
Support: Available in Edge and Firefox (basic support)

The WebVR API provides a means for web apps to communicate with virtual reality devices such as the head-mounted Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. This enables web developers to build apps that can receive position and movement information from the VR device and translate that into movement around a 3D scene. Enabling web developers to build virtual product tours, interactive training and immersive games.

Generic Sensor API

Status: Working Draft
Support: Not supported

Data from device sensors is used in many native apps such as games, augmented reality apps and fitness tracking apps and whilst it’s possible to access some sensor data on the Web already the Web is lacking the broad range of sensor data available to native apps. This is what the Generic Sensor API hopes to address, by exposing sensor devices to the Web Platform in a consistent, performant and easy to use way.  At the time of writing the Generic Sensor API has just been released as an origin trial in Google Chrome 63, so it’s very new. But it’s certainly one to watch as support, and the number of sensor interfaces, will hopefully grow.

Visual Viewport API

Status: Draft Community Group Report
Support: Available in Chrome and coming to other browsers soon

This isn’t enormously exciting but worth a mention anyway as it might come as a surprise to many that there’s such a thing as a layout viewport and a visual viewport. When a user pinches and zooms on your page the visual and layout viewports diverge and this can cause unpredictable results. With the new Viewport API it makes it possible for web developers to tame this unpredictability in style! The video below shows both the visual viewport (red border) and the layout viewport (green overlay) and how they can diverge when pinching and zooming.

Media Session API

Status: Editor's Draft
Support: Available in Chrome for Android, coming soon to Chrome, Safari and Firefox

If you have an Android phone you are probably familiar with the notifications tray, that place where you see a banner spanning the width of the screen showing your latest emails, messages, push notifications, etc. When casting or consuming some video/audio media you might be familiar with seeing some playback controls here that allow you to skip the track or see the song, album and artist information. The Media Session API brings the ability to customise the notification tray content and playback controls for media on the Web. Enabling web developers to provide an experience deeply integrated into the host platform. So much so that this metadata, artwork and playback controls can be seen on the user’s lock screen and even a paired wearable device.

Web Bluetooth API

Status: Draft Community Group Report
Support: Available in Google Chrome

This is another one of those milestone type APIs, I don’t think many web developers would realise that it’s possible today in Chrome to connect your web app to a Bluetooth device! Granted it’s probably not for the faint-hearted and the specification if you can even call it that is very much in flux but it’s pretty incredible to know it’s something that is available on the web right now and is improving with each browser release.

Device Memory API

Status: Editor's Draft
Support: Available in Google Chrome

The Device Memory API allows web developers to get some form of benchmark in terms of the performance and capabilities of a user's device. With a plethora of devices able to access the Web not all are able to handle everything web developers can build. Utilising the Device Memory API enables us to deliver a "Lite" experience to devices which will struggle with a website's full experience. We can also augment our website statistics by gathering device memory data where possible and therefore better inform our decision making and testing to match the capabilities of real user devices.


And there you have it, some bleeding-edge APIs, some existing APIs but not so well-known, and some other APIs that have just come a long way. Hopefully, this blog post has sparked some ideas for how you can utilise these new APIs to build experiences that you never thought were possible on the Web.

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Plus Risk goes live https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/11/20/plus-risk-goes-live Mon, 20 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/11/20/plus-risk-goes-live

That was exactly the situation with the website we designed and built for Plus Risk, a brand new insurance company based in Essex striving to provide 'straightforward insurance in a complex world'.

The client found and made contact with us via our own website, as many of our clients do, and from there a meeting was scheduled so that we could meet, discuss and better understand not just the proposed project but the business as well.

Following the production and completion of the project specification we began work on the website design, this involves close collaboration with the client to gain a firm understanding of how they want their business to be portrayed and what they want the site to do in terms of business goals.

Designs for the major pages in the site were created and evolved until the client was happy to approve them and then they could be passed to the developers to be used as blueprints for the next step of the project, writing the code.

As with the vast majority of our content management system (CMS) projects we used Craft CMS as the foundation of the site, mainly for its flexibility for us in terms of development but also, and just as important, for its ease-of-use for our clients who are responsible for editing and adding content following the successful launch.

Once the development site was up and running we provided secure access to it so that the client could follow our progress and supply feedback. It also meant they could test the website in any device, seeing how it adapts and responds to different screen sizes, as any modern, responsive website should.

This particular project really was a joint effort between us and the client and we're delighted with the end result and hope it serves Plus Risk and the team behind it for many years to come. Why not take a look at it yourself and if you're considering a similar project we'd love to hear from you.

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Boosting Google traffic to your blog https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/11/08/boosting-google-traffic-to-your-blog Wed, 08 Nov 2017 13:30:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/11/08/boosting-google-traffic-to-your-blog

When a blog author has finally published a new blog post and is sitting back and basking in the success of their achievement, one thing is guaranteed. That it won’t be long until they use Google to try and find their newly published prose and they may well be disappointed with the result. Perhaps they can’t find the new blog post at all or it’s a long way from the prime ranking positions.

When thinking of boosting traffic to your blog from Google looking at inclusion in Google News is a great place to start as it delivers over 6 billion clicks to publishers every month. That said, your website needs to be approved for inclusion and Google is fairly selective so you may need to be realistic that if you’re not really blogging about newsworthy topics on a regular basis perhaps Google News isn’t where you should focus your efforts. If you think you might have a chance at getting included in Google News great, their quick start guide is where to get started.

For the rest of you fear not, there’s still lots you can do to boost your traffic from Google:

1. Blog about popular topics, it’s true that in journalism timing is everything. So if you’re able to keep your finger on the pulse and write blog posts that tap into events or topics of the moment that’s a great strategy to increase traffic to your blog as there’s no point blogging about topics or events that are only of interest to a narrow audience.

A popular blog post on our website is about implementing Brotli compression in Nginx, “what?!” you may say but in our field it was quite popular around February this year, exactly when I published the post and it was our most popular blog post for a number of weeks thereafter.

2. Make sure you’re not doing your content a disservice when it comes to the blog post’s title and meta description, these should be carefully considered. Don’t leave this to an automated tool, it’s definitely the most important few characters you will write so do take your time.

3. Whilst this won’t necessarily have a big Google search impact I’d still recommend you invest some further time to compose an eye-catching Open Graph image (example below), this is the image that displays when your blog post is shared at Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. If design isn’t your thing consider employing the skills of a designer for this purpose. We’ve noticed more retweets and shares when we’ve put more effort into the design of our Open Graph images, so don’t neglect this.

The Open Graph image for our blog post “Why we love Craft CMS”
The Open Graph image for our blog post “Why we love Craft CMS”

4. Make sure your blog has an XML sitemap and it has been submitted to Google’s Search Console, this XML file gives Google a list of all the pages in your site so it can quickly identify new additions it needs to index.

5. For particularly time sensitive blog posts, from the Google Search Console, use the “Fetch as Google” tool, which then provides an option to “Request Indexing” this is effectively a notification to Google to ask the search engine to crawl your new page as soon as possible. This may well be functionality that is built into your chosen CMS but it’s worth checking if that’s the case, and if not doing so manually as it should mean new blog posts are indexed in a matter of hours instead of days.

6. Boost your reputation as an author by making sure your blog posts are attributed to you as the author, if you’re lucky enough to get blog posts published on other leading sites in your field this is great as it should boost your reputation in Google’s eyes as an author and in turn increase your rankings as a result.

7. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open-source initiative Google launched in October 2015, with the aim to improve page loading times and reduce data use of web pages on mobile devices. It’s been very successful with many major news publishers quickly adopting the approach. You can often see AMP enabled web pages listed in a carousel at the top of the search results so also serving your blogs posts via AMP is a surefire way to increase their search engine prominence and drive more traffic.

So there you have it, that's our top strategies and tips for boosting traffic to your blog from Google and achieving faster entry into Google’s search results for new blog posts, I hope you've found it useful.

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Graphic Design Essex goes live https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/11/08/graphic-design-essex-goes-live Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/11/08/graphic-design-essex-goes-live

The existing Graphic Design Essex site had served us very well, providing a home for our range of graphic design services and portfolio of work for almost eight years - a lifetime in web years (very similar to dog years, before you ask) - and proudly holding the top spot in Google for “Graphic Design Essex” for most of that time. Successful SEO performance aside, it was in desperate need of a complete overhaul to introduce a brand new, responsive design and the integration of modern content management system in the form of Craft CMS.

I began work on the new site design whenever I had some spare time so, as with most internal projects in a busy web design agency, it took a little while to come together but, eventually, the bold colour scheme and clean lines fell into place and a design that we were all happy with emerged meaning the developers could begin coding.

Building the site in our favourite CMS, Craft CMS, was relatively straightforward and didn’t cause too many headaches for us. After all, we’ve built almost 50 Craft CMS client sites now so there’s not much we haven’t seen when it comes to developing code for Craft.

As the development site came together we began the process of writing content, taking photographs of our graphic design work (using a very professional and fancy-looking lighting and camera set-up) and then populating each page with text, images and stock images where necessary.

As with most website projects, it’s the content that can become the hardest task but with a final burst of dedication and determination we’ve delivered a site that looks great, contains a wealth of information about our graphic design services and examples of our work so hopefully it’ll serve us for another eight years and perform just as strongly in the search engines as it’s predecessor.

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Van Vynck Craft CMS re-build goes live https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/10/12/van-vynck-craft-cms-re-build-goes-live Wed, 11 Oct 2017 23:00:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/10/12/van-vynck-craft-cms-re-build-goes-live

Enovate first began working with Van Vynck over twelve years ago and in that time we have designed, developed and hosted three versions of their corporate website.

This latest version of the site is the first to use Craft CMS. The reason for switching from MODx to Craft was for two main reasons: the need for an improved editing experience for Van Vynck’s content authors and a desire to boost their search engine rank by totally replacing the underlying code with search engine friendly code. After discussing all the benefits to Van Vynck, they were more than keen to relaunch their site using Craft CMS.

Van Vynck were, for the most part, happy with the site’s original design, the only exception being the homepage, which was redesigned and redeveloped to include a carousel and to better display the key information and calls to action. Working closely with the client and communicating regularly helped keep the project on track and ensure expectations were met.

Following the completion of the development work we handled client training, teaching the content editors how to use Craft CMS, and then we worked through an automated content import process, bringing all the text and images from the old site into the new.

After adding the final touches and addressing any bugs that came up in testing, the client was happy with the finished site and we were proud to deliver a fast website that is easy to navigate and runs smoothly on any device.

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ScanmarQED goes live https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/10/11/scanmarqed-goes-live Tue, 10 Oct 2017 23:00:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/10/11/scanmarqed-goes-live

ScanmarQED approached Enovate with a requirement for a modern, innovative website, that would clearly describe the marketing products and services they offer to clients around the world as well as integrating with a host of third-party systems that they relied on.

After a detailed research and discovery phase we created an initial site design based on our understanding of the client’s requirements which they provided feedback on, specifically what they liked, disliked and what they wanted to change. Following this feedback process we revised the design until we reached a version the client was happy to approve.

On completion of the design and development work, we moved onto delivering the client training, which involved teaching the client how to add content and images to the site, create new pages or remove redundant ones and how the various integrations had been implemented within their Craft CMS installation.

Both Enovate and the client are very happy with and proud of the finished site and it achieves our goals of delivering a fast website that is reliable and responsive, ensuring it is usable on any device, whether that be a desktop or mobile phone. We hope the new site serves the client well for many years and we looking forward to working with them as the site grows and evolves.

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Progressive Web Apps https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/10/02/progressive-web-apps Mon, 02 Oct 2017 14:30:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/10/02/progressive-web-apps

"Progressive Web App" is a term first coined by designer Frances Berriman and Google Chrome engineer Alex Russell back in 2015 to describe web apps that narrow the gap between web and native apps. Progressive Web Apps take advantage of modern web technologies such as service workers and web app manifests to provide a user experience nearer to native apps without the chore of an app store download and install.

PWAs are exciting for us as web developers and web designers as it has the potential to bring greater demand for our skills and a broader canvas for our work to be consumed. For brands large and small it presents a fantastic opportunity to potentially reduce the costly development and maintenance of mobile apps across multiple platforms, along with managing the legacy of older versions of an application still being in existence. Instead brands can continue to invest in their web apps and take advantage of PWAs to deliver a rich native-like user experience from the "web platform", which is constantly up-to-date.

But what's the difference between a web app and a progressive web app? Progressive Web Apps have the following characteristics:

  • Progressive - Work for every user, regardless of browser choice because they're built with progressive enhancement as a core tenet.
  • Responsive - Fit any form factor: desktop, mobile, tablet, or forms yet to emerge.
  • Connectivity independent - Service workers allow work offline, or on low quality networks.
  • App-like - Feel like an app to the user with app-style interactions and navigation.
  • Fresh - Always up-to-date thanks to the service worker update process.
  • Safe - Served via HTTPS to prevent snooping and ensure content hasn't been tampered with.
  • Discoverable - Are identifiable as "applications" thanks to W3C manifests and service worker registration scope allowing search engines to find them.
  • Re-engageable - Make re-engagement easy through features like push notifications.
  • Installable - Allow users to "keep" apps they find most useful on their home screen without the hassle of an app store.
  • Linkable - Easily shared via a URL and do not require complex installation.

Browser support for Progressive Web Apps is excellent in Google Chrome and Opera, followed by good support in Firefox and Samsung Internet with Microsoft Edge improving fast. Safari on the other hand is notably lacking, perhaps because of their reliance on apps and the app store and PWAs could be seen as a threat to that business.

Whilst most demos of PWAs focus on the mobile experience PWAs are also set to make an impact on desktop devices by being built into Chrome OS and Windows, launching what feels far more like a desktop application rather than a web experience. This makes PWAs even more exciting as they have the potential to not only consolidate development effort across mobile devices but desktops and beyond, using the universal support of web standards and the advances in the web that PWAs are forging.

Microsoft is taking an interesting approach in Windows, where they speak about the "web platform", meaning the triad of cornerstone technologies for the web (HTML, CSS and JS) with Edge being one application built upon that web platform. Their implementation of PWAs in Windows is not taking the approach of another manifestation of Edge but rather a secure and sandboxed environment for a real application to exist with its own identity, ratings and comments on the Windows store. Which can then be installed and pinned to the start menu and taskbar like any native Windows application.

Microsoft has also indicated plans to crawl the web for PWAs and automatically present quality examples in the Windows Store (source), if the idea takes hold I imagine it wouldn't be long until the Google Play Store follows suit.

Some notable examples of PWAs already out in the wild include the Financial Times, Forbes, Twitter Mobile, Paper Planes and more examples can be found at PWA.rocks.

Whilst the concept of PWAs may seem new it's actually been quite a long journey to get here. The first seeds of PWAs were sown as far back as 1999 when HTML Applications, with .hta file extensions were first introduced into Windows. More recently we’ve seen the Electron, Ionic and Cordova platforms package up applications developed in web-based technologies into forms that mimic native applications.

If you are itching to get started and develop a PWA, there are some good places to start, first off Google has a great tutorial on building your first PWA. The "Hello World!" of PWAs is a Hacker News Reader app and so HNPWA is a great resource to discover common approaches and architectures for PWAs that serve the same purpose as a Hacker News Reader. Many of the JavaScript frameworks of the moment provide tooling to scaffold out the groundwork of a PWA, take a look at Preact CLI and Vue.js. But that's not to say a PWA requires a JavaScript framework, Google have released a JavaScript library called Workbox, which helps to build some of the more complex aspects of PWAs such as Service Worker caching strategies.

It will be interesting to follow the story of PWAs over the coming months and years. With the likes of Google and Microsoft throwing their weight behind PWAs it's likely we'll see more and more brands turning to PWAs as a viable alternative to native apps and reaping the benefits.

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An introduction to structured data https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/09/26/an-introduction-to-structured-data Tue, 26 Sep 2017 09:23:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/09/26/an-introduction-to-structured-data

As website designers and developers, it is our job to ensure the content on the sites we build is efficiently presented to the end user.

A customer looking at the website for a local beautician will want to, on a basic level, know what services the company provide, how much those services cost and whether or not the company is local. A customer looking through an online store will not necessarily be concerned where the company is based, but more interested in which products they have for sale, how much those products cost, images of the product, and whether or not the product has good reviews.

Something that can be overlooked by designers and developers however is how the website content, and its context, is delivered to search engines, not just the end user.

Search engines, such as Google and Bing, obtain information from websites using crawl bots. These bots don’t have the same level of intelligence as you or I. They can’t look at a number on a page with a currency symbol next to it, and immediately or reliably associate that piece of content as representing a price. And even if they could, what is that price for? Is that price related to a special offer?

There has been some huge advances in the way of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and this sort of ability is well within the grasps of Google and others, but the resources needed for such a task are, at the moment, far greater than sending crawl bots to a page and analysing the provided structured data.

Search engines are very intelligent, but they just need a little helping hand. And this is where structured data comes in.

What is structured data?

Structured data describes your site’s pages in such a way that search engines can decipher its content and its context. I previously mentioned a few examples of the types of content you can markup with structured data (services and products), however the ever expanding library of data types or schemas includes (but is not limited to) events, recipes, local businesses, articles, music, TV shows and movies, reviews, and videos.

Each of these types of content has completely different information to the next. A recipe will need a list of ingredients along with cooking instructions to become a valid recipe, but an event won’t need any of this. An event needs dates, locations, and ticket prices, to name but a few.

Structured data allows web developers to present any of these properties and provide the necessary pieces of information for each one, helping search engines to make sense of it all. When search engines get a better understanding as to what your pages are about, they are able to surface this information to the end user, but only in situations where it becomes relevant to their needs.

What language do I write structured data in?

Structured data can be written in a few languages, there is no right or wrong approach. However it’s a good idea to understand the different formats you can use to markup this information to help decide which is suitable for you and your website.

We quite often turn to the guidance of Google when deciding which approach to take. Currently, Google support three formats:

Google recommends using JSON-LD, and that’s also the format we use for our website projects, so in this post I will focus on implementing that.

JSON-LD provides advantages over Microdata and RDFa, as you don’t need the structured data as HTML markup for it to be used. JSON-LD sits at the bottom of the page, before the closing <body> tag as a chunk of JavaScript. It has no visual impact on the website, and is only read by the search engines that support it.

Below is a very basic example of some markup I could use on my Meet The Team page. Here I am taking my information and defining myself as a Person schema using RDFa:

<div vocab="http://schema.org/" typeof="Person">
  <p property="name">Jamie Wade</p>
  <p property="jobTitle">Front-end Developer</p>
  <p property="worksFor">Enovate Design Ltd</p>
</div>

As you can see from the Schema.org documentation, there is a plethora of information that can be associated with a Person schema. It’s great to define as much as you can, but we don’t always want all of this information to be visible on the website. And it can be a bit of a hindrance having to hide the extra information using CSS that we don’t want to be visible. This is where JSON-LD shines.

What does JSON-LD look like?

As mentioned previously, JSON-LD is a chunk of JavaScript that has absolutely no visual impact on your website. You can define as much, or as little information as you like, and you won’t need to worry about hiding the excess using CSS.

Take the example again for defining a Person schema for my Meet The Team page. This is what the same information would look like (as a basic implementation) of JSON-LD:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
  "@context": "http://schema.org",
  "@type": "Person",
  "name": "Jamie Wade",
  "jobTitle": "Front-end Developer",
  "worksFor": "Enovate Design Ltd"
}
</script>

What also makes JSON-LD shine above the alternative formats, is we can very easily nest further information. Again, taking the example from before, we can modify the 'worksFor' property into a 'workLocation' property, define Enovate as a 'LocalBusiness' schema, and include all the information about Enovate inside that:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
  "@context": "http://schema.org",
  "@type": "Person",
  "name": "Jamie Wade",
  "jobTitle": "Front-end Developer",
  "workLocation": {
    "@type": "LocalBusiness",
    "name": "Enovate",
    "alternateName": "Enovate Design Ltd",
    "description": "Creative Web Design agency based in Chelmsford, Essex. Offering Website Design, Web Development, SEO, Internet Marketing, eCommerce and Hosting.",,
    "url": "https://www.enovate.co.uk/",
    "telephone": "01245 646 464"
  }
}
</script>

What do search engines actually do with structured data?

This is a very good question, and something I quite often find myself explaining to customers who can’t quite understand the benefits (and cost) of having structured data implemented on their websites. In fact, structured data has more than likely been under our noses for quite a while, we have never just made the connection.

We all know what a Google search result looks like. Take this result for a search for “apple pie recipe”. This is what you will see for a site that does not provide any (supported) structured data:

A screenshot of a basic Google search result for 'apple pie'

Pretty standard, and not very eye catching. All we have here is a title and description. However, using structured data we can get our results showing up like this:

A screenshot of a Google search result for 'apple pie' showing the differences structured data makes

This page is, after all, a recipe. So with the correct structured data markup, we can tell Google all about the recipe. Google can then take this information and present it to the end user. Straight away, we can see an image of the apple pie, and we can see it’s very highly rated, but we can also see how long it takes to prepare, and how many calories it contains. Straight from the search result.

These results are taken from Google on a desktop device. The results look even better on mobile:

A screenshot of a structured data Google search result for 'apple pie' on a mobile device

This is the real, sell-able benefit of structured data. Results like this are far more eye-catching than standard Google results. Plus, on mobile devices, structured data results will feature much more prominently than standard results, which can have a huge impact on your organic search traffic.

Hopefully I have given you a thorough introduction into what structured data is, and my recommendations for implementing it into your site.

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AATi goes live https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/09/22/aati-goes-live Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:00:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/09/22/aati-goes-live

AATi approached Enovate, along with several other Essex website design companies, looking for a wide range of services from designing and hosting a new website to creating new business stationery and updating their suite of product brochures. 

The site’s design phase was very much a collaborative process between our design staff and the business development team at AATi. As with all our projects, we worked through a detailed research process to get a firm understanding of what the client liked and needed in terms of design and how they wanted to present themselves within their industry sector. The finished design is both striking yet understated, making a visit to the site memorable but also enjoyable.

As with all our new website projects, the site is built on the Craft CMS (content management system). This particular project relied heavily on Craft’s locale feature, allowing us to effectively build three separate sites under a single domain, one for each aspect of the business: Rail, International and Commercial.
 
Following on from the website design and development process, it was time to add the content and images to the rapidly evolving development site, making sure to constantly update the client with our progress, gather their feedback and make any changes required. AATi were a great company to work with and we are proud to have launched their new site and look forward to being involved in its development in the years ahead.

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Branding and rebranding https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/09/18/branding-and-rebranding Mon, 18 Sep 2017 09:00:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/09/18/branding-and-rebranding

Many clients and consumers that have an interest in web design and development may ask what does branding and rebranding mean and when is a good time to rebrand?

Branding is a term used to define the features a company uses to differentiate themselves from other companies. Companies develop their brand in a variety of ways, using their name, logo, design style and slogan. You can display branding either physically or digitally.

Physical branding can be leaflets, posters, billboards or newspapers. Digital branding refers to online branding such as social media marketing or Google AdWords which would both feature the company’s branding.

Companies want to market their brands as much as possible, so creating a bright and original logo is just that. You want your company to stand out from the rest as there is a lot of competition out there, no matter what industry you are in.

Rebranding is a marketing strategy, very similar to branding, except it aims to update and refresh tired or out of date branding. This can include coming up with a completely new name, design, slogan or logo. Rebranding is usually completed with the intention to target a wider audience. Usually a company will rebrand with consumers, investors, and other competitors in the same industry as the company in mind.

An example photo of a branding image from Pexels

When is a good time to rebrand?

  • There are several reasons why a company will want to rebrand. If the market is growing too fast, an owner will want to keep their website competing in the market as much as possible and will want the services to be constantly at top form, otherwise clients will see them outdated and choose a different company that just has that cutting edge. You always want to be unique compared to your competitors and stand out.

  • If an established company wants to target a different demographic, your branding needs to appeal to a new audience, and revising your branding is an essential part of this change. Very complicated or difficult to understand branding can make consumers click away from your site. If your logo is over-complicated with graphics and text it can be hard to understand the tone the brand is going for and what they are trying to achieve as a company.

  • A brand slogan that is too long, unclear or is not relevant to its market can also reduce your impact in comparison to your competition. Often, the more your brand becomes successful the more you overlook your branding. Is your branding childish or outdated? If you are a company that wants to target an older audience, certain colour schemes can be seen as childish. Bright colours may want be toned down or switch to using pastel/low opacity colours.

  • If a certain part of your branding, such as the name of the business or logo is misleading and gives potential clients the wrong impression, consider why these exist and what you can do to change and improve them. Research and focus groups would really help here, allowing you to test branding styles to see which resonate best with your target audience.

There is no time limit on how long it takes to rebrand a company or product. Some companies will complete the task quicker than others depending on their size and how strong their current brand is, but it’s a critical element of any organisation that must be done well. It may seem trivial but branding is vital when it comes to conveying your message to clients.

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The Boardroom relaunched with Craft CMS https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/09/18/the-boardroom-relaunched-with-craft-cms Sun, 17 Sep 2017 23:00:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/09/18/the-boardroom-relaunched-with-craft-cms

The Boardroom have been a client of ours for over eight years and in that time we have delivered a wide range of services to them; from website design, development and hosting to logo design and business stationery.

Most recently, they asked us to redevelop and relaunch their corporate website on a modern and easy-to-use content management system (CMS), replacing the MODx system that their existing site was built on which was proving difficult to use for their content editors.

As Craft CMS specialists we wholeheartedly recommended Craft and outlined the many features and benefits the client would receive by switching to a Craft site. For example, our Craft sites are responsive, ensuring the sites we build function on any device, they are search engine optimised and clients often report a bump in their search engine rank following the launch of a new Craft site and the are super-fast thanks to our advanced caching, hosting and content delivery strategies.

The Boardroom team indicated that they were happy with the site’s design so the front-end wasn’t changed from a visual perspective, although it was rebuilt using the latest HTML, CSS and SASS techniques to mimic the existing look-and-feel.

Alongside the front-end work we integrated the site’s design into a Craft CMS installation and wrote and ran an automated content import process to extract the content from the existing site and bring it into the new site, saving both us and the client from a fairly laborious and time consuming task.

On completion of the development process we carried out a thorough phase of testing and bug-fixing, where necessary, and then progressed to launching the finished site. We can’t wait to see how the new site grows and we’ll be following the content updates the site editors make with much interest.

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Gmail Actions https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/09/14/gmail-actions Thu, 14 Sep 2017 10:14:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/09/14/gmail-actions

The vast majority of web applications send some form of email notification, with larger and more complex web applications having a long list of the various email notifications they send to users and admins. Often these emails require or encourage their recipients to complete an action, for example clicking on a link to confirm their email address or to view a record.

Gmail Actions allow web developers to surface these actions right on the subject line in the inbox at Gmail. Just like Google’s rich snippets and structured data the recommended approach to accomplish this uses JSON-LD and utilises schemas from schema.org.

Sadly Gmail Actions aren’t available to all as there are a number of requirements that must be met prior to being able to register with Google for the privilege. Email senders must be sending an email volume in excess of 100 emails per day to Gmail recipients for several consecutive weeks along with authenticating emails with either DKIM or SPF, which should be the case anyway.

At the time of writing Gmail supports three Gmail Actions:

  • RSVP Actions for events

    • RsvpAction - For emails where recipients can RSVP with either “yes”, “no” or “maybe”.

  • One-click Actions for just about anything that can be performed with a single click

    • ConfirmAction - For emails requiring recipients to approve, confirm and acknowledge something. A ConfirmAction can only be interacted with once.

    • SaveAction - For emails where recipients can save a voucher or adding songs to the listen queue. A SaveAction can only be interacted with once.

  • Go-to Actions for more complex interactions

    • ViewAction - For emails requiring recipients to go to your site to complete the action.

    • TrackAction - For emails requiring recipients to go to your site to track packages being delivered.

A Go-to Action in an email will display a button as shown below in the recipient's Gmail inbox:

Gmail Actions

To accomplish this we need to include some JSON-LD code within the email the recipient is sent, Gmail detects this code, which is invisible to the recipient and outputs the necessary action button.

The following JSON-LD code is for the ViewAction that outputs a “Watch movie” button:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
  "@context": "http://schema.org",
  "@type": "EmailMessage",
  "potentialAction": {
    "@type": "ViewAction",
    "target": "https://watch-movies.com/watch?movieId=abc123",
    "name": "Watch movie"
  },
  "description": "Watch the 'Avengers' movie online"
}
</script>

The following JSON-LD code is for a ConfirmAction that outputs an “Approve Expense” button, this is a One-click Action, which as you have no doubt guessed can only be interacted with once:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
  "@context": "http://schema.org",
  "@type": "EmailMessage",
  "potentialAction": {
    "@type": "ConfirmAction",
    "name": "Approve Expense",
    "handler": {
      "@type": "HttpActionHandler",
      "url": "https://myexpenses.com/approve?expenseId=abc123"
    }
  },
  "description": "Approval request for John's $10.13 expense for office supplies"
}
</script>

Google have recently (July 2017) deprecated the ReviewAction and within Google’s own documentation they mention more than once that the schemas from schema.org that these Gmail Actions are based upon are still being standardised and therefore are likely to change so the on-going maintenance of Gmail Actions should be consider with any implementation.

Gmail Actions provide a useful way for web developers to make emails more actionable and encourage recipients to complete the actions we want them to with greater ease. Despite being called Gmail Action, these also work in Google’s Inbox also.

There’s more information and code samples available on Google’s Gmail Actions documentation. Google also provide a useful Email Markup Tester to check your JSON-LD code is valid.

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The Worshipful Company of Curriers Members Area goes live https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/09/04/the-worshipful-company-of-curriers-members-area-goes-live Sun, 03 Sep 2017 23:00:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/09/04/the-worshipful-company-of-curriers-members-area-goes-live

A Currier is a specialist in the leather industry. Currying is one of the ancient and essential leather processes of cleaning, scraping, stretching and finishing hides, by oiling, waxing or colouring the desired surface finish after the tanning process.

During the development of the members’ area we worked closely with the staff within the Curriers Company that would be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance and management of the area. This ensured the code we developed for each feature was thoroughly tested and fit for purpose, fulfilling all the criteria specified in the statement of work.

As with the public element of the site, the members’ area was all built as custom code within the site’s Craft CMS environment. This make life much easier for both us and the Curriers team as there's only one environment to maintain for both elements of the site and they work together seamlessly.

We’re incredibly pleased with the site we’ve built for the Currier’s, especially as it marks our third Livery Company project, following The Worshipful Company of Farmers and The Worshipful Company of Needlemakers, and also adds to the rapidly increasing number of secure, members’ areas we’ve developed for our clients.

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Lois' first week at Enovate https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/07/28/lois-first-week-at-enovate Fri, 28 Jul 2017 16:22:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/07/28/lois-first-week-at-enovate

I started my Digital Marketing Apprenticeship on Monday the 24th of July. Digital Marketing is something I have always been interested in as I see myself as a creative person.

I have never been able to complete any work experience previously in this particular industry unfortunately, so I had to rely on research. It is safe to say I was never nervous coming to work with the Enovate team, after meeting most of the team during the interview process, they were all nice, hard working people. Something that is important in a business and to be able to work well together in a team. The office is extremely clean and a safe environment to work and the air conditioning ensures it never overheats or is uncomfortable.

The receptionist Sandra, was the first person I met during the interview process and she is one of the nicest receptionists you could ever meet. Not only was she beaming and happy but she was so welcoming when I walked in, it is a pleasure to be working with someone like her.

Now onto the team. The people I work with in the office are Michael, Mike, Jamie, Rob and Jake. All of which have different roles and tasks they are working on, which is often the more technical side of creating and maintaining websites. I have never worked in a more relaxed environment, which is not a bad thing I can assure you, completely different to my previous job. Everyone is busy and productive but no one ever has portrayed any feelings of stress because the office environment means everything is easily accessible and is very calming as the location that we are based is very quiet.

A photo of me working at my desk at Enovate Design, a web design company based in Essex.
A photo taken of me whilst I am working at my own desk.

In just one week I feel I have gone from a young adult to an adult, I have never been so independent. Travelling to and from work and using my own initiative, which I had to do in my previous job but getting used to doing that in a different environment can be hard, but if you are passionate about something then that is something you would work for.

The tasks that I have been set are interesting for me, especially keeping up with the Social Media aspect using Hootsuite and blogging using a content management system  called Craft CMS which I found very easy to  use, even though Craft CMS is a huge piece of software that ranges from letting you add content to a website to creating the Meta Description that people would see underneath your website's title in the Google search engine results. This lets us include keywords in the Meta Description of a page, a tip for improved SEO which then leads to higher rankings.

I have also enjoyed using a new piece of software called Affinity Designer, which is a mix between Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I have enjoyed getting to know this software as it is vector-based, which means no matter how far in you zoom, the quality stays the same. As when you use Photoshop (with raster files) the quality weakens and becomes pixelated and when it comes to a professional website and creating the Open Graph Image, (This is the image you see when you share the blog post on Social Media, to add interest and fun.) It means that the quality is impeccable, which is very important on a professional website.

There are many opportunities here at Enovate to experience the different aspects of Digital Marketing, some I had no idea about prior to starting the role. This includes PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and courses that you can complete to improve your skills in Digital Marketing. Ones I have looked at so far are:

Certificate of Completion for the Google Analytics Course for Beginners.
The certificate of Completion I received for the Google Analytics Course for Beginners.

These are all useful courses to look at and at the end you can earn a certificate of completion, which can advance your skills further. The main highlight of my first week at Enovate was completing the Google Analytics Course for Beginners, but there will be a blog post about completing this course in the future, when I have also tried my luck at the Google Adwords course.

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Lois joins Enovate https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/07/24/lois-joins-enovate Mon, 24 Jul 2017 15:01:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/07/24/lois-joins-enovate

Lois has joined the Enovate team in Chelmsford as a Digital Marketing Apprentice, following the completion of college, where she studied for BTEC and A Level qualifications. Lois is excited to be taking her first steps in a career in Digital Marketing and was delighted to be offered the role at Enovate.

Lois already has a working knowledge of many of the tools used in digital marketing, having studied Graphic Design, Photography and Media at college. Her experience and knowledge will only grow and improve as she begins her career at Enovate.

Lois will be working closely with all members of the team, taking on an array of digital marketing tasks under the guidance of more experienced staff.  Lois is looking forward to gaining invaluable knowledge and experience in the workplace as she studies for a BCS Level 3 Diploma in Digital Marketing.

When Lois is out of the office, she loves to spend time with family and friends but also likes to be creative whether that is drawing, painting, colouring or even writing a blog post for her own website.

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Rob joins Enovate https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/07/21/rob-joins-enovate Thu, 20 Jul 2017 23:00:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/07/21/rob-joins-enovate

Rob's former role was as Senior Web Developer at the City of London Corporation, where he was one of the lead developers that delivered the most recent iteration of their public-facing website, which is built upon Microsoft SharePoint.

After graduating from university with a 2:1 honours degree in Systems Development, Rob applied for a job as a Web Developer at a local company in Chelmsford called Netforce Group Plc. This is where his path first crossed with both Dan and Michael, who were also working at Netforce at the time.

Soon after joining Rob became involved with the redevelopment of the City of London Corporation's public website, which he worked on until Netforce closed and went on to join the Corporation's internal web development team as a Senior Web Developer. Whilst there, Rob was one of the lead developers on two major redevelopments of their public website using the latest Microsoft technologies of the time.

His development background is predominantly in server-side programming using C# and ASP.Net, but he does also have experience of client-side technologies, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery. He has also written many scripts in his time using a variety of languages like Python, Bash and PowerShell.

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Patterns Day 2017 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/07/03/patterns-day-2017 Mon, 03 Jul 2017 17:42:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/07/03/patterns-day-2017 Patterns Day at the Duke of York's Picturehouse, Brighton

Jeremy Keith's Clearleft is an agency with a huge amount of respect and admiration in the web design and development community and they are no stranger to curating, organising and hosting hugely informative and enjoyable events so when we heard they were putting on Patterns Day at the Duke of York's Picturehouse down in Brighton we were hugely excited.

Pattern libraries or design systems are the hottest topic in web design right now but to put it in layman's terms, they attempt to find a consistent and extendable approach to website design that enables a site to grow in a consistent manner without needing constant reinvention or a full redesign.

In any pattern library conversation you'll hear people mentioning Brad Frost's atomic design principles or the concept of modular design but what you won't hear is a definitive how to... explanation. That's understandable because no two sites are the same so there won't ever be a one-size-fits-all approach but, well, I digress, let's get back to the event...

Following a swift drive down the south-bound M roads we arrived in Brighton just in time for hot coffee and delicious pastries and then into the beautiful Victorian auditorium for the first speaker, Laura Elizabeth, who took us through the concept of design systems and highlighted the ever popular Lonely Planet style guide.

Following Elizabeth we were treated to talks from other leading lights in the patterns community, namely: Ellen de Vries, Sareh Heidari, Rachel Andrew, Alice Bartlett, Jina Anne, Paul Lloyd and Alla Kholmatova all introduced by Jeremy in his inimitable style.

Sareh Heidari spoke about how the BBC use their own framework called Grandstand, which builds upon GEL foundations.  Sareh gave an overview of Grandstand and how it consists of object and utility classes along with example markup and class names, which followed familiar BEM syntax. Sareh also presented some interesting uses of mixins to aid the BBC with localising their CSS for right-to-left languages such as Arabic. This was accomplished by using a Sass variable to change the text direction globally, which could then output a localised build of their CSS for right-to-left languages.

Rachel Andrew's talk I found particularly interesting as she talked about how she'd utilised Clearleft's Fractal component library during the redesign of Perch CMS. Rachel talked about using a "pattern library first" approach, which I really liked and also making that pattern library the "source of truth". So with Perch CMS it isn't possible to edit the CSS in the product itself only within Fractal, which is a great way to ensure the pattern library remains up-to-date.

Alla Kholmatova's talk looked at how teams were implementing design systems such as pattern / component libraries into their workflow and the on-going maintenance and stewardship of them. She found some organisations were quite open to allowing new patterns into their libraries, which tended to dilute their effectiveness. A balance is needed between accepting new patterns, whilst not allowing a pattern library to become too bloated.

Overall, the content of the talks ranged from technical to abstract but each and every one was interesting and inspiring in its own way and we left with heads full of ideas and ready to begin designing and developing our own pattern library for use in our upcoming projects so watch this space to find out how we get on!

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Join the Team! https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/06/27/join-the-team Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:59:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/06/27/join-the-team

Our new office is a short walk from Chelmsford High Street at the Anglia Ruskin University campus and roughly 1 mile from our previous home for nearly 9 years at Oliver House on Hall Street.

We're excited to announce that we are recruiting for two new positions:

  • Junior Front-end Developer
  • Digital Marketing Apprentice

The Junior Front-end Developer role will involve working closely with Jamie our Front-end Developer, who will act as mentor to the successful candidate as they code up new web page templates as well as adding changes and additions to existing websites and web apps that we maintain.  This will include our own web app designed and developed in-house under our sister company Enovate Healthcare.  This is a great opportunity as we welcome applicants who are looking for their first job in the field of web design and development providing they already have some grasp of the subject and are willing and able to learn quickly.

The Digital Marketing Apprentice role will involve working with several members of the team along with a degree of autonomy.  The successful candidate will be tasked with the planning and execution of digital marketing and social media campaigns, to increase customer acquisition for both Enovate and our clients.  In addition, the role will include assisting with the design and development of our website design projects and also the upkeep and continued growth of our own company websites.  Last but not least the apprentice will be provided with training to work towards a BCS Level 3 Diploma in Digital Marketing along with being supported by senior staff at every step of the way.

We're looking forward to welcoming two new members to the team in the near future.

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ioScan goes live https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/06/13/ioscan-goes-live Mon, 12 Jun 2017 23:00:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/06/13/ioscan-goes-live

ioScan Ltd approached Enovate as they needed a very quick turnaround for the website of their upcoming project; we had just 4 weeks to provide a fully designed, developed and content managed site. A challenge we were happy to take on!

We began by engaging with ioScan's IT consultant to quickly and efficiently work through the research and discovery phase, which enabled us to begin wireframing and designing within the first week.

Designs were iterated and subsequently approved in good time, and we were soon rolling out a working Craft CMS development site that we could share with the client to collect and implement feedback as we worked, and also add content and images to.

Between completing the testing phase and launching the site, we delivered a comprehensive Craft CMS training session and following that it was time to launch the finished site - all completed on time and within budget, much to the satisfaction of the client.

We're really happy with the finished site and that we were able to deliver a robust product within such a tight timeframe, take a look for yourself and if you'd like to discuss a similar project don't hesitate to contact us.

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Enovate move to larger offices at The MedBIC https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/06/12/enovate-move-to-larger-offices-at-the-medbic Mon, 12 Jun 2017 13:04:00 +0000 https://www.enovate.co.uk/blog/2017/06/12/enovate-move-to-larger-offices-at-the-medbic

After a very busy weekend we have completed our office move from Oliver House in Hall Street, Chelmsford to a much larger office at The MedBIC on the other side of Chelmsford only 1 mile from our old office.

Oliver House had been our home for nearly 9 years so it was a little emotional to leave.  It was an excellent office and a great location that enabled us to grow.  But in recent years the office had reached capacity so the time had come to begin the search for a new home for the team in Chelmsford.

Both Dan and I are Anglia Ruskin University Alumni so we were thrilled when our application for an office at The MedBIC was accepted and post-haste set about planning for the move, which was completed over the weekend.

The MedBIC office building in Chelmsford, Essex

The MedBIC is Anglia Ruskin’s Business Innovation Centre, which was completed in 2014 and provides office space for a start-ups and tech companies.  The MedBIC office is the new HQ for both Enovate Design Ltd and Enovate Healthcare Ltd.

The new office has ample parking for visitors but this does need to be arranged in advance, so please let us know if you’d like to drop in for a coffee, we'd love to welcome you. It’s also still in easy walking distance of Chelmsford train station, which is 35 minutes from London by train.

We’re excited about what the future holds for both Enovate Design and Enovate Healthcare and proud to be based at the fantastic facilities of The MedBIC.

The new address can be found on the contact us page.

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