Automattic Buys WooThemes

WooThemes, the team behind the wildly successful WooCommerce WordPress plugin, is getting themselves a new bankroll. Namely Automattic–yes, that Automattic–the company we can thank for WordPress itself.

The decision was detailed in a press release by WooThemes:

Over the past year, in response to the growing and more sophisticated requirements of the WooCommerce community, we have been exploring ways to accelerate our growth to be an even more accessible, easier to use, and enabling platform for our customers. We’ve met some very powerful and influential companies and potential investors, but none more ambitious and aligned with our values than the team at Automattic.

Source: WooThemes Joins Automattic

What are the implications of this move? We can easily expect to see baked-in integration with WooCommerce and the sites that are being hosted on the massive WordPress.com service.

And as for those who are hosting our WordPress sites independently like us, this likely means WooCommerce has cemented itself as the defacto eCommerce solution on WordPress in terms of theme and cross-plugin support.

This is something that was becoming true on its own prior to this announcement, so if you’re currently using any other WordPress shopping cart solutions out there like WP-Ecommerce or MarketPress, the time may come in the near future where you’ll need to move your operation to Woo.

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Style Guides That Get It Right

Style guides can be an invaluable tool for your business in both physical and digital spaces. For example, if you are working with anyone else to make a website, or design a business card, having a style guide can go a long way in making sure everything is done right the first time.

Without one, you are sure to face constant back and forth communication for this information and multiple redesigns and rewrites when something doesn’t come out the way you want it.

Wikipedia defines a style guide as:

[A] set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization, or field. A style guide establishes and enforces style to improve communication. To do that, it ensures consistency (within a document and across multiple documents) and enforces best practice in usage and in language composition, visual composition, orthography (including spelling, capitalization, hyphenation, and other punctuation), and typography.

Source: Style guide – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

DC's 2015 Palette: Varying Shades of Gray

DC’s 2015 Palette: Various Shades of Gray

Style guides go back a long time. If you take a peek at http://thestandardsmanual.com/ you will find the very first edition of the style guide for the New York City Transit Authority, published in 1970. Signage for the subways in NYC have such a distinctive look because the city created a style guide to provide a consistent message that would not be confused.

Style guides don’t have to be dozens of pages or be specifically about branding, either. Especially for smaller businesses, a single page with the correct color palette and some high-quality (preferably vector eg. .ai or .eps) files containing your logo can suffice.

The web is a perfect platform to host your style guide, but many companies have been hesitant to embrace the medium. For example, Apple’s latest style guide is a sprawling 197-page PDF. Not exactly terrific bathroom reading.

Uber, the private-contractor based cab company on your phone, is a company that most definitely embraces the web with it’s branding guideline website. Everything you need to know about the brand is freely available, and the appropriate logos are available to download without any hoops to jump through. It’s even built on WordPress, so you know we’re excited about it.

What it really means is that you don’t have to be a huge tech company to put out your own style guide, the foundation is out there for anyone regardless of technical or design backgrounds.

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Websitetology Facelift: 2015 Edition

Screenshot of old websitetology site design

2010 design: Throwback Thursday material

If you’ve been following us a while, you might remember our post all the way back in 2012, where we unveiled our newest, shiny design to bring us into the twenty-teens. The adage about cobblers and shoes we used then once again started ringing true in 2015. We’ve always been in the loop about what makes a great website, even from a design standpoint, but usually those things were reserved to our clients over at The Next Wave and spreading the word to our seminar attendees.

So much has changed even in the three years since our previous design. The biggest of which is the rise of responsive web design, which allows a website to adapt to whatever device a user is viewing the website so that it never looks wrong. With this technology comes a “mobile-first” approach to design, in which websites are designed with mobile devices in mind, then scaled up and enhanced for laptops and desktops.

Google pays its respects to Websitetology 2015.

Google pays its respects to Websitetology 2015.

With Google’s mandate that sites be mobile friendly or face consequences in the search engine rankings, we knew we couldn’t wait around any longer to give our site a new facelift. So if you’re reading this post on our website, you’re looking at the new Websitetology design.

Maybe the space aesthetic isn’t your thing. That’s cool. The great thing about the way this site was designed and coded is that the thematic images throughout the site, including the slides on the homepage, can be easily swapped out for new ones without altering a single bit of code. We can return to Earth and give the site a fresh look at a moments notice.

So what do you think? Love it? Have any constructive criticism? Leave your comments below.

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