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Thoughts & Articles

What is a DMARC and why do I need one?

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Email is finally tightening up. This is a good thing. Services like Google Workspace, Gmail, Yahoo, and gradually, every email service will require authenticated, validated emails to be set up for all email they receive from and for you. I keep hearing about DMARC, DKIM, SPF, and SMTP? What do these stand for? SPF SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework and is an ani-Spoofing record - tied to the domain - this is the weakest measure against people pretending to send out email disguised as you. DKIM DKIM [...] read more

SEO and Web Accessibility – Things You Must Know

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Oftentimes, when we discuss website user experience, we think about improvements to loading speeds, better navigation, better formatting, easier mobile access, etc. But, what is often overlooked is the accessibility side of website UX. What does this mean? It means that, in our pursuit of impeccable UX, we are actually ignoring the people that benefit from UX improvements the most - people with disabilities. There are many disabilities that would render one unable to interact with your website. Blindness is the first thing that comes to mind. Around 3. [...] read more

Developing or improving your brand identity

Friday, September 23, 2022

Understanding your project or organization is a key step in the development of your presence online and everywhere. Any web design project must begin with a deep understanding of your existing identity materials such as logo, mission statement, unique proposition, so that your online identity is in line with who you are and what you represent. Most people think of this process as simply logo design. In reality it goes deeper than just your logo. Your logo is an immediate visual representation of your core principles. To design your logo effectively requires a comprehensive understanding [...] read more

When is “good enough” not good enough?

Thursday, January 6, 2022

We all know the process. We think we are moving in the right direction, gathering the right tools to finish the job and when we see the results we think, “it’s okay. It’s good enough. ” Too many times, this is how some people approach web design. Perhaps the platform you chose promised the fabled combination of fast-cheap-good, perhaps you saw a template that looked exactly right when you saw the demo but less than great when you put it together. Perhaps you hired someone who promised that the results would be customized to your standards, [...] read more

SEO basics

Thursday, July 15, 2021

If you're new to search engines or just want to make sure your website is competitive in search, you need to understand a few basic ideas about content and meta information for your pages. First: What is a page? For the purposes of search engine optimization, a page is what shows up for each url on your website. That may sound self-explanatory, but each page on your website might be made up of multiple entries. Your homepage may contain a few different entries or articles, but to a search engine the homepage is always just https://yourdomain. [...] read more

Ideas for our musician clients during this national COVID19 emergency

Monday, March 16, 2020

Hi to all of our Slabmedia musician and performer clients, We know that with the current COVID-19 emergency, touring may be harder than ever before, if not prohibitive. We wanted to share some solutions other musicians are using so you have some ideas about options. Recently, the site I used for live streaming of Jim's Big Ego concerts, concertwindow has closed down but there are some other options for online concerts you should check out: stageit. com is the only good monetized method we have found right now. [...] read more

Bug at Let’s Encrypt Secure Certificates caused problems for some, but not our clients.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

We are always on the lookout for issues that might affect our clients’ websites and we spotted this one yesterday that described a problem with Let’s Encrypt Certificates. Let’s Encrypt are in use with many of our clients’ websites so we checked in with our server company to be sure nothing would impact our sites. The problem seems to be that for some users who were applying a single certificate to multiple websites. A breif summary of the above article is that LE was disabling some certificates which were applied to multiple domains for security reasons. [...] read more

Upcoming changes to Google Chrome's User Agent String handling

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Google recently announced plans to change a longstanding component of their Chrome web browser, the User Agent String, which is a fundamental feature of the browser used to announce to visited websites various information about the end user's browser and device configuration. Present in every major web browser, if not in every single web browser available as well as in non-browser software which connects to the internet, the User Agent String has been a persistent characteristic of internet enabled devices for most of Internet History. So, what is a User [...] read more

Graphic Design and CSS: Where WYSIWYG went wrong.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Way back in the 1980s, some very nerdy graphic designers began to write their designs in code. John Warnock , one of the founders of Adobe Systems had developed a computer-generated, vector-based programming language called PostScript that became the underlying code of much of the design and typographic tools we take for granted today. This very interface still relies heavily on it. Almost every letter in every word you read uses it. Before there was any such thing as Illustrator or PageMaker or [...] read more

Don't Get Trapped In A Box: The Pitfalls of Design by Template.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

There is a reason we recommend custom web design for our clients. We have worked with templates extensively in WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, and others and we know the actual ups and downs of a pre-formatted design for your online identity. Yes. Templates have become more flexible. The promise is you see in advertising lately is: “We offer thousands of professionally designed templates that are so flexible that you won't even know it's a template. ” So, you upload your logo, fill in the forms, select a template and bam! You are done. [...] read more

Web Design: Why Simple is So Complex

Saturday, September 23, 2017

“I just want a simple design. Minimal, nothing fancy. Something that will grab the visitor, but with a clean look. Minimal text, because people don't read – lots of photos and video, but keep it simple. ” We often hear this request from prospective clients, and it makes sense to us. We are inundated with lots of new information all the time, and when we arrive at a site that feels simple and minimal, it is like a breath of fresh air. So let's start with something truely minimal and simple. [...] read more

Video, Videmus, Vident: How to use Video to create a better User Experience

Monday, December 7, 2015

With the growing competition to getting better SEO results, more and more businesses are turning to professionally created video to grab and convert your visitors. Google now values professional video as part of your overall user experience strategy. To this end, Slabmedia has recently partnered with bostonvideoproductions. com to help our clients create compelling stories for their brands. Contact us for more information, or visit their site. A professionally produced video helps to tell your story increase shares and likes increase your visibilty online 1. Video helps [...] read more

Using Stock Photos? Here's What You Need to Know First

Thursday, October 16, 2014

If you listen to experts on website design, they'll likely tell you about the value that great content provides to your visitors. And part of that conversation will be a discussion of great artwork. In some cases, the photos (and other graphics) with which you illustrate your site may well be your own creations. But what about when you turn to the vast libraries of stock photography and images out there on the Internet? The rules surrounding stock photos might seem straightforward — but, buyer beware. To help clarify the stock-photo and [...] read more

How to Drive External-Video Viewers to Your Landing Page

Monday, September 22, 2014

Creating immediate and compelling arguments for your brand is one of the key values of video. Getting that content in front of millions of potential viewers is another. Some 1 billion viewers click their way through YouTube's offerings, each month. Vimeo has earned some 100 million unique monthly visitors itself. By volume alone, when brands do video right, their external campaigns stand to drive what's been measured to be an average of 20% more traffic , according to a recent Unbounce [...] read more

Photos Matter: 7 Tips for Sharper Website Images and Design

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Marketers spend a lot of time talking about content as a kind of end result — meaning the whole of the story that's being told, the message that a brand delivers. Within that end product, however, in every example of compelling content, there are key components. And one of those components is the photo. The images we use to illustrate, enhance and even generate the core ideas of our websites demand at least as much attention as the writing and calls to action that can drive conversions. Miss out on the chance [...] read more

So, What is a Responsive Website, Anyway? (Good Design, and Why You Should Care)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Whether you're an artist or an artisan, a small-business entrepreneur or a self-employed writer, you've likely heard what is by now an adage: make your website mobile-friendly. The reason for prioritizing mobile is clear: according to TechCrunch , this month, mobile web surfing accounts for 52% of consumers' time spent with digital media. And every time your customer bounces from your slow-loading mobile site, you lose a potential conversion. Conversely, if their experience on a tablet or phone is comparable to most desktops — that is, snappy — you stand [...] read more

The Right Message: Craft Your Company's E-mail Campaign (and Keep It on Track)

Friday, August 8, 2014

You're in the businesses of reaching out to customers, and a well-run e-mail campaign allows you, the owner, to interact in a personal way with your consumer base. What's more, you can almost always anticipate a positive reception, when it comes to the messages you send, because the recipients have already opted in — they've given you consent and expect you to pitch them. Still, the conditions under which this happy scenario operates require every owner to approach e-mail campaigns with a measure of care. Here's the upshot of the relationship, from one owner who understands [...] read more

Response Rules: 5 Ways Your Business Can React Properly to Social-Media Comments

Thursday, July 10, 2014

When it comes to negative feedback online, small businesses don't have to experience a Robin-Thicke level Twitter debacle to grasp the power of the socialmedia critic. Even a single negative comment can be a big deal. And while most SMBs never have to worry about mass disapproval, they will inevitably encounter a dissatisfied customer or two. And that's a customer to be taken seriously. The trick to dealing with online comments? It comes down to supplying the right response, at the right time, in [...] read more

SMBs and the Social Equation: Which SocialMedia Sites Work Best for Businesses? 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

There's little question that small-business owners understand the power of social media and its importance to their bottom line. As of 2013, some 92% of polled SMBs (Small - Medium Businesses) said their social profiles were effective tools for their marketing and brand-building push. "We use social media as a means to not only attract new people to our website and online community but also as a tool to nurture relationships with customers who choose to friend or follow the company," said Stephanie Ciccarelli, chief [...] read more

Retrocraft Design: Crafting a Custom E-Commerce Solution

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Here's the problem, when you're an up-and-coming seller of uniquely restored classic and mid-century furniture: you have this incredible inventory but it's incredibly difficult to ship. Still, you still want your web-savvy clientele to shop your wares online and be able to buy from you. "It's just way expensive and way complicated," said Lisa Berland, co-owner of Retrocraft Design , regarding her company's experiences of packing and mailing its pieces of often-delicate furniture. "There's so many things that can go wrong with shipping. And they do. " Retrocraft Design has been [...] read more

The Redesign-Revenue Link: Charting a Path to Better Websites (and More Money)

Friday, May 16, 2014

If you follow the evolving arc of web-design ideas, you'll likely have already heard of conversion-boosting overhauls that include more calls to action, pre-rollout testing, and mobile optimization for tablet and smartphone users. But does all of this really lead to increased revenue for the businesses that rebuild their sites? Evidence tells us that it probably does. Taking the time to improve the digital experience for inbound customers has often led to success stories, based on case studies and owners' accounts. Examples of redesign benefits can speak volumes about the value of an overhaul. [...] read more

Feeding Your Audience: Pacing and Sustaining Your Artist's Website 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

For artists and creative professionals, keeping your home on the web fresh, dynamic, and engaging often takes a backseat to the work and craft of the art at hand. Perhaps that's as it should be, most of the time. But the nature of the well-made and maintained artist's website is that it helps grow your audience. It can even generate sales that support your work while you're tucked away in the studio or out on the road. Musicians, writers, photographers … whatever your medium, the trick to bringing your audience back to [...] read more

Landing Pages: Winning Designs Help Earn Conversions

Monday, April 7, 2014

Though mobile usage is on the rise , traditional websites are still a giant part of the immediate future when it comes to how users interact with businesses. Seventy-two percent of site traffic still comes from non-mobile devices, according to Monetate's Q4 2013 report , and the overall conversion rate via laptops and desktops at the end of last year was 3. 11% . Compare that to a conversion rate of 2. 59% on tablets, and 1. 01% via smartphones. Not that one should underplay the [...] read more

Why we believe in Custom Web Design.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming eBook "Seven Essential Elements of Effective Websites" There are most likely, almost a million templates for different web platforms out there. A template is a pre-created web design that can be applied to a platform, content management system or web system. Of those hundreds of thousands, there are, at any given time, a few to a dozen that are trending. At the time of this writing, the most popular is a single scrolling page with gaps that show images behind the content, scrolling in the opposite [...] read more

Content is still Queen. Long Live Content.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Think about what is interesting to you when you do a search. Is it all about shoes? Technology? Music? Fashion? Sports? News? Games? Javascript trends? Okay, maybe that last one is just us and nerds like us. The point is that we all have some specific interests that compell us to search and search again. What we are looking for is Fresh Content. Content is Queen, not King, because content is the mother of the web whereas Al Gore was one of the many possible [...] read more

Building your site from the outside in.

Monday, November 11, 2013

When you are considering a new website for your business, it is important to think like a visitor. What are they looking for? What do they need to know about you? What DON'T they need to know about you? As obvious as this seems, creating your site from the point of view of a potential client or customer or information gatherer is critical to the site's success. Let's start with the navigation. Do your nav buttons speak to the world, or to your own head? Navigations tend to trend pretty bland. [...] read more

Check your Domain Name! Don't let it expire!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Your domain name is the key to being found on the web. Slabmedia hosts the files for your web site itself, but we do not control your domain name. To keep your site accessible on the web, it is important to maintain your domain name account registration records. A little about domain registrations: Your domain name is simply the text in the url between the http://www. and the end of the . com or . org or . net or whatever ends it. You register the domain name at a registrar like pairnic. com [...] read more

Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien (the perfect is the enemy of the good)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In webdesign as in many things, the perfect is the enemy of the good. Just like trying to throw a shot put perfectly or not at all, or not playing golf until you can hit a hole in one on the first try is almost certainly not going to yield positive results, waiting until your website is "perfect" to go live can be a mistake. First of all, "perfect" is irrelevant on the web. The key to existence on the web is impermanence . That which does not change, dies. Static sites are [...] read more

We are all indie bands now.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Back in 1999 when the digital millennium copyright act was being drafted, I was a encouraged by the service "napster" and how it was growing our fan base by allowing people to freely exchange, and more importantly share opinions about our music on line. At the same time, I was helping to code the real player skin for RadioBoston - an internet radio station (a new idea at the time) that played my band and other locals online. The record industry in the form of the RIAA - the organization that [...] read more

Crowdsourcing & Design, not NEW, not HIP, not ETHICAL, not SMART.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Recently, I've been made aware of some designs coming from sites set up to crowdsource tasks that would otherwise be done by a professional. Crowdsourcing is essentially outsourcing to distributed groups of people, tasks that would have been done by a single person or shop. The motivation in the past for these multiple talented people was to volunteer their time to be part of something cool, such as finding life on other planets, or writing a group novel, or improving some open source code . . . however, recently some very enterprising entrepreneurs [...] read more

Another word about email and security.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Does your password consist of any word found in any dictionary? Does it contain important dates or numbers in your life such as the birth of your child or parts of your social security number? How about a famous quote or song lyric? Did you set your password by running your finger down a row of the keyboard, or by picking numbers in a sequence? Do you use the same password for more than one account or do you have it written down in a ‘hidden’ location? If you answered “yes” to any of these [...] read more

My thank you to Steve Jobs

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Our company runs on Apple. Our servers don't, but all of the machines in our office are Macs. There is just no way that I could have created this web system without Apple, not because of specs, or programs. All the programs I work in could just as easily been run on a PC. But I never would have used them if they were. I came out of university with a philosophy degree and a strong desire to write a better song, and maybe do something good in the world. I had not [...] read more

What if there were an alternative to Bing and Google? One that respected your privacy?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What if indeed? Turns out there are. There is a growing desire for a simple search engine that only does the job of searching, not profiling you for various marketeers. A good example is duckduckgo. com . The searches are simple, accurate, no nonsense, and there's a firefox plugin. This is from their "about us" pages:At other search engines, when you do a search and then click on a link, your search terms are sent to that site you clicked on (in the HTTP referrer header). We call this [...] read more

Filter Bubbles on the internet and why you should care.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Not so long ago, I noticed that on my facebook account, I was only really seeing posts on my wall from a few of the 1000+ friends I currently have. I had recently had an educational and rational discussion with someone with whom I disagree on political matters, and saw that I was no longer getting updates from that person. This is a shame, because without getting differing points of view I feel like I end up in a cul-de-sac of my own opinions, which grow weaker and strager without being challenged. Then I saw this video by [...] read more

Interesting Article on Web Design Mistakes

Friday, April 15, 2011

If you’re a small business owner, your website is the central hub of your company, and it’s a pivotal part of your marketing and branding. Potential customers visit your site specifically for its content, meaning its appearance and usability are critical to its success and how those users view your company. However, getting your web design wrong can have a negative impact on your business. Here are 5 common web design mistakes you must avoid to create a great user experience and grow your bottom line. Poor Navigation No Clear Calls To Action Color & [...] read more

New SLAB500 module: tMail™

Friday, April 1, 2011

Watching the new trends in communication is important to us here at SLABmedia. We scrutinize each one we see, to catch which we can use to enhance our web-interface. This one is really exciting. tMail™ - is a web-application, input device & module that combines the communication functionality of e-mail, texting, twittering and blogging, but with a fully-tactile input method that essentially redefines the word "input". The user (or tMailer) first much acquire a new physical "input application module" to get started, but once acquired, it is pretty much automatic, in a "manual" sense of the [...] read more

Password Security

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ask most people where they should be sure to use a strong password (see below) they will say "online banking", or maybe "ecommerce shop account" Very few will say: "my email account. " STRONG PASSWORD INGREDIENTS 8 or more characters upper and lower case letters, at least 1 number, at least one punctuation mark, not made up of words found in a dictionary And yet, our email accounts are the first line of security for opening a new online account, or resetting your password. A [...] read more

of Restaurants & Websites

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What is it about a restaurant that, unlike a plumbing company or a hairdresser, inspires the commissioning of websites that are so unhelpful? Many of us have had the same experience: we are out and about, and trying to get some information about a place to dine. We visit a restaurant site on our smart phone only to find that It is in flash, and as such, invisible The navigation is confusing or not navigable via a mobile device The location and phone number are hidden The menu is out of date, and only available on pdf [...] read more

A huge variety of web-safe fonts - OTF?! ... I mean WOFF!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ask any web designer about their deepest secret wish, as they drift off to their neatly kerned slumber, and most will say: "I dream of seeing Franklin Gothic , Helvetica Neue , Cochin , Frutiger , even DIN Mittelschrift , all as web-safe fonts! ! ! " Well, their dreams are just a bit closer to being answered as I type this. CSS3 - the newest version of cascading stylesheets being adopted by the newest web browsers, includes embedding font-families directly into the web page. The only caveat is that the fonts have to [...] read more

Designing a logo should be cheap and quick, right?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Here is a great article about why the creation of logos tends to be quite expensive. If you ever wondered what goes in to making a logo, or have interest in the logo design process, check this out: [...] read more

The history of modern web browsers

Friday, January 9, 2009

I ran across this graphic at Digg - and thought it would be a great way to display the browser considerations we use when designing a website. You will notice that before 2 years ago, the browser market was seriously dominated by IE 6 and before that, IE5, Netscape and AOL. [...] read more

A List Apart &

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Jeffry Zeldman - the grand guru of light weight, web standards driven design. It was his book "Designing with Web Standards" that inspired us to build this system. [...] read more

Calendar Module Upgrade

Thursday, December 29, 2005

We have upgraded the Calendar Module with several new views of your calendar. We have added a small 'Grid View' to the right of main Line View. You will notice that when you go to your calendar that a small grid calendar shows up on the right hand side of the page, with clickable blocks on the dates with events. You will also notice links above the small grid for [Grid View] and [Itinerary View]. When you click on Grid View, a large calendar grid view replaces the standard Line View. To [...] read more

HTML Email

Monday, August 8, 2005

Tired of sending out text based emails to your mailing list?  You can upgrade your Newsletter Module to add HTML email functionality.  We will design an email template that will match the style and design of your site.  You will also be able to include images in your mailer.  Members of your list who can only receive text based emails, will get a text based version of the email, while those who can receive HTML, will get the good looking message. [...] read more

SLAB500 dynamic websystem

Friday, February 11, 2005

FIRE YOUR WEBMASTER! update your site EASILY yourself from anywhere! CUSTOM DESIGNED! no templates! your site is unique! no templates! ADD OR UPDATE ANYTHING text, images, audio and video from any browser! DYNAMIC WEBSITES IN A FRACTION OF THE TIME & AT A REASONABLE COST! WHAT IS IT? SLAB500 is a complete web-system designed [...] read more

SLAB500 launches using the SLAB500 web system!

Monday, September 13, 2004

That's right, in order to advertise our web technology - we have used it to create this very site. There are many stylish examples in the sites section here . We now have a dozen live sites on the web currently and will be adding many more soon. We call SLAB500 a web system because it is a fully compliant, accessible website, with the functionality and ease of use of a desktop application for the owner. Each page is as easy to manage and maintain as clicking a button [...] read more