Here are some of the projects we completed at The Web Orchard in 2011:
AAIB Travel Insurance
The worlds first travel insurance website for people visiting Iraq & Afghanistan. We built a complex quoting, purchasing and policy generation mechanism allowing for the easy purchase of online policies.
Build It International
The Shrewsbury based charity manage building projects in Zambia. We built a Drupal based content management system allowing them to easily update their website with the latest project news.
Jordan based Alfaevac provide evacuation services to some of the most remote regions of the world.
It's a nomad life
Shrewsbury based Its a nomad life sell a range of tribal art and antiques. The Web Orchard provided a Drupal & Ubercart based E-Commerce system.
Smoke & Pickle
Smoke & Pickle are a Shrewsbury based fine foods producer. They turned to The Web Orchard for a content management system to help their online presence.
A new exciting magazine for Shrewsbury. The Web Orchard helped bridge the gap between printed magazine and online publication.
Iraq Business News Marketing
We've been working with Iraq Business News for almost two years now, in Oct 2011 we built a microsite specifically for marketing.
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Find out more today: www.theweborchard.com
It's ten times harder to build your own website. With a customers site you can find out exactly what they want, make suggestions of what they could do and come up with a specification covering the site plan, design, structure etc.
When building your own website however you already know what you do as you do it every day yet it seems a whole lot harder turning that into an appealing website.
As with most of our projects we turned to our designer to put together the graphical elements. We've been slowly building on our marketing material over the past 18 months with folders, business cards and more recenltly our brochure so we had a good selection of branding material to base the design on.
Next we turned to our copy writer to help turn what we knew so well into content that would be informative and appealing to the reader. We spent a lot of time working through every paragraph to minimise the jargon and waffle.
Finally we needed to turn the design and text into a website. We went through several iterations with some of the finer elements, the block at the top that fades between services took us especially long to get right.
The end product we hope showcases the business in the way we want it to be seen, the balance between professional and business IT services works well and compared to the local competition we feel we've got a really strong offering.
Let me know what you think and find out more at www.info-sol.co.uk.
I was given this Sony Vaio laptop from our local LUG, it has Ubuntu on but I needed it for my accounts so dual booted Windows XP with the license stuck on the bottom. It's been a while since I've had a Windows laptop as I'm used to OS X on my iMac.
Most my friends chat on MSN messenger/Windows messenger/MSN/Windows Live Messenger (or whatever it is branded now) so I installed the Windows version. A few years ago the program was just an instant messenger for chatting to people, now it's so bloated I had to write this blog to highlight its problems.
As you can see almost 50% of the application interface is taken up by elements that have nothing to do with instant messaging! (Tabs can be hidden in the options but this is not default).
Compared to the Mac version there is so much bloat that detract from the original idea of the program.
Even though there are no search boxes, tabs or adverts the Mac version of the program remains highly usable and easy to use and look at.
I did a quick redesign in Fireworks of the Windows version to make it look better.
I've basically cut out all the crap - the program is back to its roots - for chatting to people online. All it needs now is some brushed aluminium.......
Today Apple announced the launch of their latest operating system for the Mac computer named OS X 10.2. The launch date also collides with the 7 year anniversary of the launch of Windows 95 which was the most extravagant product launch in computing history. The new OS is to go head to head with Microsoft?s Windows XP though it is more of a catch up then making many leaps ahead of their biggest rival. Mac users are excited about this latest launch however I'm unsure if the latest OS will be enough to woo customers from a declining pc market from the pc to the more expensive Mac.
This news comes just after Gateway computers have announced its all in one computer the profile 4 which is going into direct competition with the stylish imac, which can be seen by the similar pricing plan. What makes the profile 4 different to the profile 3 computers is that the profile 4 is now upgradeable. Experts are still skeptic as apple only have a 5% market share in the desktop computer market while Microsoft occupy a large percentage of over 92%. Apple have added many new features into OS X 10.2 including a instant messenger using the aol network and a new mail client, however these features are already in windows XP so apple do not have many unique selling points to market their new OS.
Apple has also announced that they are renaming their iTools service to .Mac in another bid to compete with Microsoft?s .net tools. Microsoft announced this week that they were launching msn for Mac in an attempt to go against rumours that they are not as committed to Mac as they were previously. Either way Apple still have a long way to go before they can catch a larger proportion of the desktop market. Personally Macs are too expensive for myself to afford so there wont be one on my christmas list.
A message from our affiliates Making money online seems like a distant reality for a lot of us. Let's face it there are more scams out there than authentic online jobs. But to say none exist is far from the truth. Ever heard of affiliate money , no? Well it's the same as affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is an exciting home based business and best of all you can do it from you home desktop or laptop. Another online business making headlines is seo , short for search engine optimization. Seo means simply making a website search engine friendly so that it ranks higher in the natural search results. Seo includes lots of link building. Link building constitutes lots of email marketing for your website.
This week Yahoo released their latest version of their instant messenger, but is it up to the same standards of the likes of MSN AIM and ICQ? My first impressions were very good, YIM (Yahoo instant messenger) had some nice features that the other popular instant messengers didn?t use such as web cam support and some useful tabs unlike the ones present in MSN that seem aimed at getting you to spend money rather then provide useful information.
The layout of YIM is very nice and is easy to use, some nice gfx have been used giving YIM the same feel as AOL instant messenger. YIM also lets you change your away messages similar to the way ICQ does which is useful if you want to say why you are away or how long you will be. Another interesting idea YIM has is IM environments, this is basically themes for your instant messenger windows which in ways look nice but others just get annoying.
The main downside I found to Yahoo is not to do with the program but the lack of friends I know that use it. Since at early time online I have used ICQ then MSN Messenger thus a lot of my friends have mainly gone on to use MSN messenger for various reasons, the ones which do use YIM normally use another IM as well such as myself. Somehow Yahoo has to give people a good reason to change their IM habits from messengers such as MSN and AIM to their own messenger.
The other instant messenger programs I believe do have a head start over Yahoo for instance MSN messenger is now installed with every version of windows and AIM is installed with Macs now and comes built into Netscape and Mozilla web browsers. Personally I think that if YIM is to survive against the other large messenger services it needs to get its self bundled with a lot more other software so that more people can easily get to use it.
Another criticism I have of the software is not being able to change your screen name easily, people often like to convey their thoughts through their screen name such as on MSN messenger but I could not find this feature on YIM. Yahoo was one of the first large networks to bring together its ID program into all its online features, for instance my account can access geocities, email, instant messaging, calendar and a wide range of other features however now I feel Yahoo hasn?t been able to keep up with the likes of msn passport or AOL and needs to make a lot of changes to survive in the future.
Overall YIM 5.5 is one of the best instant messengers out there if your friends and colleagues use it, otherwise stick to one of the other large networks or get yourself onto IRC. I?m giving YIM 5.5 7/10.