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Style Guide, Part 1 - Visual Style

posted on Sep 6, 2017

Developing a style guide for your website will help to maintain consistency and a professional appearance as your website evolves and grows. These in turn will improve usability for your readers.

There are several different areas that your website style guide should touch on. In the next few blog posts, we will go over some of the more important ones to take into consideration, starting with Visual Style

Visual style is an aspect of your web design, involving layout, fonts, and colour choices. Visual style is often the easiest type of style to get right—you can usually nail it by following one simple rule:

DO NOTHING.

This is because your website already has built-in rules for how things should be styled. It already knows what fonts and sizes to use and where, it knows how to colour your text, headings, and links, and it automatically lays out everything according to pre-defined templates. By doing nothing at all, you allow these rules to take effect, and your web designer’s best intentions can be realized. All you need to do is decide what the functional role of your text should be. For instance, what is a heading, what is a list, and so on. In the editor, your text will be shown using a generic functional styling, but after you submit it, your website styles will take over and show you how it will appear to visitors.

Colours: In some special cases, you might find it helpful to break with the rule of not setting colours. For example, when quoting from an extensive set of rules and regulations, you may not be able to alter the formatting to highlight the passages of interest. In that case, you might choose to use colour to highlight the important words. Avoid colours that will make the highlighted text look like links.

Fonts: Your website already has its preferred fonts set up. Don’t override those settings, or your pages could end up looking like a ransom note. But there are cases where you may find it helpful to override those settings. For example, technical text (like code) often works best using a monospace font. (Note that there is a code tag in HTML that makes this easy for you.)

Layout: Be very cautious about playing with your text layout. Multi-column layouts, floating images, and other such effects will work on one type of viewer (eg. computer desktops), but not on others (eg. mobile phones). Do not even try to get text placements or line breaks exactly right, because there are a wide variety of viewing devices and they will all lay out the text in completely different ways. In the end, you may find that you are only managing how the text appears on your own screen. Best practice is to keep it simple so that those different devices can understand what purpose the text serves, and do something reasonably clean and consistent with it.

In short, follow the K.I.S.S. principle, and keep it simple! The whole point of a good graphic design is that you should not need to think about your visual style at all when making website updates.

Exware to help merge two Associations into one

posted on Aug 8, 2017

In July 2017, The Washington Center for Psychoanalysis (WCP) and Baltimore Washington Center for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (BWCPP) merged and is now known as Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis (WBCP).

Exware will work with both groups to merge members, data, events, and courses into one system. The former BWCPP has used the Exware AMS Premium Package for just over one year now.

"Exware - Great Support! Still learning!"
Elizabeth Manne
Executive Director, WBCP

Exware launches integration with MailChimp, Constant Contact and Google Groups

posted on Jun 6, 2017

We are pleased to launch several new modules that integrate with MailChimp, Constant Contact and Google Groups.

These new modules allow you to use these third party tools to seamlessly integrate with your member database.

Use MailChimp or Constant Contact to send out HTML email and newsletters to your membership.

Use Google Groups to create association mailing lists or "list serves".

With integration:

  • your mailing lists will never be out of sync with your centralized database on the Exware AMS system.
  • new members are automatically added to your mailing lists and archived/unsubscribed members are automatically removed.
  • you can also use Exware's Report Builder to create any member/contact list and synchronize it daily with MailChimp, Constant Contact or Google Groups. 
  • everything is automated so you can spend less time updating lists and more time interacting with your members.

Marketing Engagement - in beta release

posted on Jun 6, 2017

Exware releases a new module to help you understand event popularity, compare event attendance, and market to members that haven't yet registered.

Use this tool to:

- plan new events
- promote events to past registrants who attended similar events
- encourage unregistered members to sign-up

If you are interested in testing out this new module, please let us know.
This module will be ready for general release in June. At that time, all Supported Clients will receive it at no charge!

 

Google Drives The Internet: Technology Changes that Impact all Website Owners

posted on Sep 22, 2016

SSL

Starting in January 2017, Google will be making aggressive changes in an effort to increase SSL adoption on the internet. 
 
What is SSL? 
SSL is a technology that encrypts communications to and from your website. When you use SSL, the beginning of your web address changes from http: to https: and many browsers show a green lock icon by the web address.
 
What is driving this change?
Several years ago, people surfed the internet from private access points such as their office or home landlines. However, with more mobile devices in use and the widespread usage of public WIFI, security is becoming increasingly more important. People are now shopping and surfing while riding transit, sitting in coffee shops or in hotels. Using public WIFI opens the door for unscrupulous hackers to monitor what you're doing and steal your information.
 
By putting your entire website behind SSL, it protects your visitors/members by:
  • preventing eavesdropping on your internet communications, increasing your privacy
  • blocking many types of hacks and security intrusions
  • verifying to the visitor that your website is really you, and not some "spoof" that was set up to trick people
Why is Google Pushing This Change?
Google wants everything on the web encrypted (protected by SSL) because it provides for a safer visitor experience while also allowing them to roll-out new features and functionality that requires this level of security. For example, wider usage and applications for location tracking, etc.
 
Can Google Force me to use SSL?
Not exactly but they can make it so your visitors/members demand that you use it. Google's Chrome browser will start to indicate sites that are not using SSL by adding the following in the address bar:
 
Google has said that they eventually intend for the padlock to turn red. Eventually, they may make the message even more noticeable. With Chrome having 53% market share according to the August 2016 projection of web tracker Net Market Share, one can expect that other browsers will follow suit.


ATTN: Exware Clients - contact us to find out how this affects you directly and the options available.