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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. Worth a look. learn about live streaming on youtube facebook has live [...] 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. None of our [...] 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 Agent String, and why does Google want to change [...] 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 InDesign or web pages, there were designers writing code to make a mark on a page. [...] 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. Sort of. Actually, you need to change some [...] 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. When we start to design a site that is [...] read more

App development: Hybrid, Native, or JS (React Native)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

There are 3 types of apps we can create for you at Slabmedia. All of them have upsides and downsides, and all of them have different price ranges. 1. Hybrid App. This type of app is a set of code on the phone or tablet that serves as a wrapper for a mobile optimized web site - accessed through a special url. This website carries all your content. When it is created correctly, it grabs content from a website and displays it like it would any app. The app would have an icon on the device and be available [...] 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 you tell your story A well scripted, clean short video on your home or [...] 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 stock-image landscape, let's turn to some key [...] 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 report. So, let's say your team is starting to see a healthy number of visitors on your external [...] 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 to make your online visual landscape the [...] 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 a better chance of making that next sale. Bottom [...] 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 it. "E-mail marketing [...] 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 the right way. To get to that goal, let's turn to some experts who've dealt [...] 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 marketing officer and co-founder of Voices.com , an online voice-over marketplace. "Sites like Facebook, [...] 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 making its brand of reclaimed, restored — and at [...] 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. Following a redesign that emphasized [...] 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 your online pages over and over again [...] 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 significance of mobile to your business. Research suggests that visitors in some e-commerce sectors actually find [...] 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 direction, or at a different [...] 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 fathers of the web : Arpanet & NII along with Barry Shein : creator of [...] 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. home, about, products, services, blog, contact. You can make [...] 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 or wherever you want. We recommend Pair Domains for it’s [...] 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 always so over , and they were [...] 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 hands out gold and platinum records shut napster down [...] 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 have discovered that by holding contests, you can get [...] 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 questions, you are either an [...] 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 used a computer in school - though some [...] 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 sharing of personal information "search leakage." For example, when you search [...] 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 Eli Pariser on [...] 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 & Contrast Content, Content, Content [...] 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 word "automatic." How it [...] 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 hacker who has guessed your email account password can go to your [...] 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 We are [...] 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 be licensed for web use since, once a font is [...] 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 & Zeldman.com

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 get back to the Line View, click the link [...] 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 to your specifications, allowing you to quickly and conveniently update all your content, add new pages, upload images, sounds and video from any browser, from any location you have web [...] read more

SLAB500 launches SLAB500.com 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 and filling out a form. The site is modular in that each section [...] read more

News

Slabmedia once again voted one of the top Boston web designers by Expertise.com

Thursday, April 26, 2018

We're excited to announce that Slabmedia has been chosen once again, this time from among 150 reviewed web design firms as one of the top web design companies in Boston by Expertise.com! Criteria include 1. Reputation: A history of delighted customers and outstanding service. 2. Credibility: Building customer confidence with licensing, accreditations, and awards. 3. Experience: Masters of their craft, based on years of practical experience and education. 4. Availability: Consistently approachable and responsive, so customers never feel ignored. 5. Professionalism: Providing service with honesty, reliability, and respect. [...] read more

Slabmedia voted one of the top Boston web designers by Expertise.com

Thursday, February 18, 2016

We're excited to announce that Slabmedia has been chosen from among 388 reviewed web design firms as one of the top web design companies in Boston by Expertise.com! We scored highly on thier evaluation criteria, which included reviews of our reputation, credibility, experience, availability, professionalism, and engagement. We are proud and happy to have been selected by Expertise.com, and we look forward to continuing to bring our experience to bear on helping your business or other web-based venture to succeed! [...] read more

Your Internet, Your Moment: Sending a Message about Net Neutrality to the FCC

Monday, June 2, 2014

The United States has come to a critical point regarding how the Internet works, as the Federal Communications Commission has opened a public-comment period surrounding the very nature of the way users access and experience the web. One version of the future: it will include so-called fast lanes, meaning bandwidth purchased at a premium, allowed under certain conditions. Future two, you get regulations that prevent that kind of priority access to online bandwidth. So, what does this all this mean, how did it happen, and what can you do about it? Let's look at the basics of how we [...] read more

Heartbleed leaves our Servers alone BUT this is what you need to know.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This past weekend, the Heartbleed exploit hit the news. It was and still is, a big bad story. The exploit is difficult to understand, but it is widespread and even if our servers were not affected, it's important you know what happened and what you can do to secure and fix your email connections if you are having any problems. Heartbleed is an exploit that promtps servers to send back sensitive information via inquiries made on secure certificate connections. Most servers run Open SSL which was written a long time ago in the programming language C. The hacker can specify [...] read more

Slab partners with Knittlr.com! The new slow wave in Social Networking

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Slabmedia is proud to annouce a partnership with the new Slow Social Network Knittlr.com! You may have heard of the slow food movement. Now it's happening in social networking! Sending messages with knittlr is as easy as 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,....9472! Spend a week or three knitting your own personal message (called a kneet) to a friend. 2 colors of yarn are preferred so you can read the letters. Make sure to knit your knittlr name and the name of the knittlr recipient at the top of the finished square, scarf, hat or sweater. Kneets are grouped together by knottags. Adding a knottag [...] read more

Net Neutrality - what it is and why it matters.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

There has been a great deal of obfuscation regarding Net Neutrality. Most of what we hear about it is provided in misleading ads by broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon who have a vested interest in how it turns out. What it comes down to is this: Net Neutrality = equality for all bytes on the web. Geeks can skip the following paragraph : The information that hits your browser is measured in bytes. Kilo, Mega, Giga, Tera, Exo, etc. Bytes are pretty much all the same, whether they are video, audio, images, email, or webpages. Bytes are bundled [...] read more