Archive for June, 2012

R.I.P Adobe Flash Player – August 15th 2012

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    Adobe Flash Player meets it's demise

    Adobe Flash Player meets it’s demise

    Not so long ago, the only way to have a half-decent looking animation on a website was using Adobe Flash.

    Movement and interactive images could help sites engage with their customers and it was therefore a useful tool for some sites.

    Because, at Seven Creative, we have always focussed on creating usable and optimised websites without sacrificing anything to ‘floweriness’, we’ve generally always avoided using Flash or, at least, only ever used it where appropriate. We could see the usefulness of the software for some niche sites, however, the negatives always outweighed any potential gains.

    This is why we could see the impending end of Flash when most of the industry was still using this technology.

    One of the main issues with Flash is that it can’t be read by search engines. Sites that are built this way – or even have areas like their navigation in Flash – will not index for these generally highly important site elements. Opportunities are lost as function is sacrificed to form.

    One of our other main bug niggles with Flash is that you can’t edit it in the way that you can easily edit HTML using a WYSIWYG editor which is why it’s not something we would feel comfortable providing to our customers. Technology has evolved and there are newer and better methods for providing the same level of animation and interaction but with easily editable content.

    Roll on a few years and Apple release their range of mobile devices that don’t support Flash. Suddenly, there are a lot of websites that won’t display properly – if at all – on some mobile devices.

    This shook the industry and signalled the beginning of the end.

    Android – Google’s operating system – is released and initially supported Flash, however, they’ve recently said that, from version 4.1, they’ll no longer be supporting this anachronistic technology.  So, from August 15th 2012, any Android device that does not currently have Flash Player installed will never be able to install it.

    There is no doubt that other browsers will also begin to end support for this technology over the next few years.

    Good news for us and our customers but bad news for the hundreds of thousands of websites out there that rely on Flash.

    You might think that we’re still OK at the moment as this currently only really effects mobile devices, however, they already account for a good chunk of the visitors to most websites and this is only set to increase. This is before you get us started on the missed opportunities in search engine optimisation terms!

    If you want our advice, act now. Dumping Flash might not be such a big issue for most sites and may not require a full rebuild.

    If digital marketing is all about spotting and taking opportunities, seeing an opportunity and ignoring it is madness!

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      PlumbPlus: Small enough to care, big enough to cope!

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        PlumbPlus are a family run plumbing, heating and tiling business covering Sheffield, Chesterfield and the Hope Valley. Based in Dronfield, PlumbPlus specialise in all aspects of plumbing and heating, as well as bathroom makeovers, complete refurbs and even wet rooms.

        Established in 2006, the company has an array of accreditations under its belt, including British Plumping Employers Council Certification, Gas Safe registration, and are City and Guilds qualified.

         

        Managing Director Ian Wardle says, “We pride ourselves on offering the very highest standards of workmanship, whether it’s for a leaking tap, full central heating system or your dream bathroom.”

        PlumbPlus offer a professional service for all types of domestic plumbing and heating works and afford the same high quality and care to every job, whether it be a leaking tap or a full central heating system. “We are a company small enough to care but big enough to cope,” says Ian.

        PlumbPlus are also able to supply all major boiler brands including Worcester, Bosch, Vaillant, Glow Worm, to name a few, and provide a full manufacturers’ warranty. After a thorough survey of the site, a fully detailed, professional quotation is provided tailored to suit your home and your budget. They ensure the correct boiler is fitted to maximise your heating efficiency, and that means ultimately saving the customer money.

        Family business PlumbPlus are also sensitive to their customers’ needs and always plan their work to cause minimum disruption. “We treat your home with respect,” says Ian. “We tidy up after ourselves every evening and we always protect carpets and fittings.”

        If you need an honest, reliable and hard working plumber in the Sheffield area, call Ian Wardle on 01246 291898 or 07782 102497 http://plumbplusuk.com

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          Written by Chris

          June 27th, 2012 at 10:46 am

          ABC Insolvency Services – ‘Making life easier’

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            Geoffrey Belk is a partner of ABC Insolvency Services.  With not only a Law degree, but a Masters in Commercial Law too, Geoffrey has helped hundreds of people who are insolvent to live debt free.  “Our purpose is to change as many lives as possible by taking our respected clients to the summit of a debt free life, whilst seeking to clear the path of stress and worry that precedes it,” says Geoffrey.

            Based in Sheffield, ABC Insolvency service various PLC companies and have worked with Debt free Direct and Invocas. It’s obvious that Geoffrey really enjoys the positive effect he can bring about on someone’s life.

            “The effects of debt on a person can be enormous,” says Geoffrey. “It can cause all kinds of negative feelings; stress, anxiety, guilt, anger, and even depression. By helping to control their debt their self esteem is raised, and I can help the individual and their families to regain control of their future.”

            Unlike a lot of insolvency firms, ABC Insolvency work in the interests of the client, not the creditor. “You’re in safe hands with us,” says Geoffrey, “We put the client first, not the creditor, and that’s what makes us different.”

            Geoffrey is an expert in advising people what action to take regarding their debts. From informal solutions such as debt management plans to formal solutions such as Individual Voluntary Arrangements and Bankruptcy, ABC can give impartial, expert advice that changes people’s lives for the better.

            If you would like more information about ABC Insolvency Services Sheffield, contact Geoffrey Belk at geoffrey.belk@abcinsolvency.co.uk

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              Advice from Sheffield Business Adviser Tano Rebora

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                As a good friend of the Seven Creative team, it’s only appropriate that we share some of Tano Rebora’s business wisdom. Tano is a partner of Icon Business Solutions and an experienced Business Adviser specialising in turnaround and growth. We are lucky enough to be able to share this great article, written by the man himself.

                Tano asks, ‘How many clients are too many?’

                In the eternal quest for bigger revenues the hunt for new clients continues without stop. Yet many companies have little idea if client acquisition is appropriate either in terms of quality or quantity.

                Recently I met an M.D. of a company that was started three years ago. After steady growth they currently have so much demand for their product that production is unable to keep up with demand and the number of ‘reworks’ has started climbing. The fact is that any abnormal growth in any one area of the business will have impact on others. So, similarly, for example,  their employee satisfaction is now lower than it has been.

                Two points come to mind;

                1. Growth is a planned activity, it does not just happen. It may be under or over estimated and the plan has to be flexible enough to cater for both eventualities. In either case the ultimate price may be paid for in cashflow terms.

                2. Are all clients good clients? What company are you trying to build: a company that is focused on pure commodity or one is that is focused on quality? In the first instance be prepared to compromise on price in the second be prepared to qualify who is going to be your next client.

                In the case of the organisation introduced earlier, analysis showed that the clients were clearly divided into three business areas. Whilst two of these areas are highly profitable and attracting clients that require a quality, personal product the third is more focused on price and less on ultimate quality. As is the norm, this last area is more ‘stock ‘em high, sell ‘em low’. A problem? Only if the amount of resources associated with this area overshadows that associated with the higher margin business. Yet, there is space for both types of business. In this case it really was a question of having too many clients and of the wrong ‘type’.

                Following a thorough analysis and strategic business plan development the company has now re-organised to develop the higher margin business and has clearly set objectives to be the market leader in that sector. Coincidentally, the M.D. has now developed a strategic alliance with his biggest competitor in the ‘other’ area. Having agreed that their focus is different they are now happy to refer business to each other.

                How many companies know what their niche market is? How many know what their competition is? How many know when the point comes that they may be facing too many clients? How many companies have the necessary internal processes defined that will enable them to provide the necessary information needed to answer the previous questions?

                Analyse the client base on the basis of profit margin. Are they all individually appropriate for your business? If not, is it your competitors that have led you away from your sweet spot?

                 Tano Rebora, Icon Business Solutions Ltd.

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                  Written by Chris

                  June 25th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

                  BNI Notable Networker badge awarded to Clair Day of Seven Creative web design

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                    Our very own Clair Day of Seven Creative web design Sheffield has been awarded the Notable Networker blue badge in recognition of her achievements in the BNI group ‘Flyers’.

                    Clair was awarded the badge by BNI Director Consultant Nick Sievewright for her contribution to the Sheffield based BNI group. She is the Chapter Director of Sheffield ‘Flyers’ and joint 5th in the traffic light league table for the whole of the Yorkshire region. This position in the league table is an achievement in itself as it reflects Clair’s attendance, punctuality, visitors brought, and amount of testimonials and referrals given.

                    The Notable Networker blue badge is a great achievement for Clair and the ‘Flyers’ group. Understandably Clair is over the moon. “I’m very proud of my blue badge” says Clair.

                    “I don’t like doing things by halves,” she continues. “Getting referrals, bringing visitors; I put everything into it because that’s the best way to get the most out of BNI.”

                    BNI Director Consultant Nick Sievewright says, “I presented Clair Day of Seven Creative with a Blue BNI Badge in recognition of her outstanding contribution to her group BNI Flyers. The success of Sheffield ‘Flyers’ is a testament to Clair’s commitment and hard work. She lives up to every expectation that BNI has of its members.”

                    BNI groups comprise local business people with only one representative from each trade or profession in a group. These groups meet on a regular basis and the members pass business to each other.

                    Networking requires commitment and the most successful BNI groups are made up of people who are committed to helping one another through networking. And Clair’s blue badge recognises just that; her commitment to her group.

                    Sheffield ‘Flyers’ meetings are held at Beauchief Golf Course on Abbey Lane, Sheffield at 7am on a Tuesday morning.  If you are a small business and can handle more work, get in touch with Clair, and she’ll happily invite you as a visitor. To add your name to the guest list, please call Seven Creative on 0114 383 0711.

                    Picture courtesy of Rachel Sinclair Photography.

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                      Written by Chris

                      June 20th, 2012 at 1:08 pm

                      Total peace of mind with Valley Services

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                        Valley Services are a plumbing, heating and property service covering Derbyshire, South Yorkshire and Manchester. Managing Director David Smith started off in the world of plumbing and heating services over 26 years ago, and has since established a reliable and successful company.

                        David Smith is out and about fixing people’s plumbing and heating problems on a daily basis. “With responsive repair, sadly we’re going back to other peoples mistakes,” says David. “When something isn’t done properly for whatever reason, someone’s got to pick up the pieces at the other end.” Thankfully David and the team at Valley Services are fully qualified and equipped to come to the rescue.

                        “It’s often the case that customers want a very cheap price, the cheapest of the cheap,” says David. “But these cut prices are often reflected in the job, and when it all goes wrong, we have to step in. It’s far more logical to pay for a quality service. The best value is getting it done right, straight from the beginning. It might cost you more at the time, but you’ll the peace of mind that it’s been done properly. In the long run you’ll save a fortune!”

                        Valley Services cover a wide range of services ranging from plumbing and gas, electrical and heating, locksmith services, as well as working with letting agents and private landlords.

                        David insists that the key to a successful job is project management. “You get the right people in at the right time, doing the right job,” explains David. “As the Managing Director I can choose who I work with and I only employ competent, experienced engineers and customer services staff. My lads are very professional, they do a quality job, and they’re proud of it.” Valley Services are also VIP partners with Vaillant, and offer a full 7 years parts and labour warranty on their boilers.

                        Visit the Valley Services website for more information or you can contact Valley Services via via telephone on 0800 612 5050 or
                        or text on 88008

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                          Written by Chris

                          June 19th, 2012 at 12:09 pm

                          Ifonly Consulting with Ian Franklin

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                            Ian Franklin set up Ifonly Consulting in 2007, and has 20 years experience working in the public and private sectors as an occupational psychologist. As an independent consultant, Ian is a specialist in a number of areas including the application of business psychology to work situations.

                             

                             

                             

                             

                             

                            Based in Sheffield, Ifonly Consulting  can help businesses to facilitate organisational change, improve team performance, staff development and selection, and use psychometric testing ethically. Ian specialises in usability testing, user centred design process and standards, user requirements gathering, integrating user experience with organisational e-commerce strategy, and understanding the impacts of consumer behaviour.

                            “It’s sad to say this but work can be a miserable experience for some people”, says Ian. “This is often not to do with the actual work they are doing, it’s due to the people they work with. I can help people work better together, to understand each other, and therefore make work a better experience for everyone. I can help people to be more productive, get more satisfaction out of their work and make work a happier place to be for as many people as possible.”

                            By adopting a coaching model rather than a management consultancy model to his practice as an independent consultant, Ian believes that this approach enables collaboration, client independence and long term sustainability of solutions.

                            Ian Franklin is an interesting and insightful man, and takes a very thoughtful approach to his work. He insists that psychology is just common sense, although shrewdly admits ‘but common sense is not common practice’.

                            But choosing the right person to bring about positive changes in your business is not a simple decision. “The psychology informed industry can be a minefield,” says Ian. “It can be tricky to discern the qualified professional from the person who has attended a weekend workshop and fancies having a go at ‘being a psychologist, counsellor, coach etc’. Anyone can call themselves a ‘management consultant’, which seems to cover a multitude of sins.”

                            In the UK, psychologists are regulated by the British Psychological Society and it takes at least seven years of training including post-graduate qualifications and closely supervised practice before the BPS accredits someone as a Chartered Psychologist.

                             

                            Only people with this designation should be considered “real” psychologists, and not everyone with a psychology degree attains this accreditation. A first (Bachelor level) degree, for example, is not enough to ensure professional practice.

                            Not only does Ian Franklin tick all the above boxes, he also has levels A and B certificates in psychometric testing, is a Registered Ergonomist with the Ergonomics Society, and IfOnly Consulting has professional indemnity cover to provide psychological services to the public and organisations.

                            Ifonly provide a variety of services including:

                            • Group facilitation and workshop design
                            • Organisational culture change
                            • Creating commitment to behaviour change
                            • Team working performance improvement (especially projects teams and virtual teams)
                            • Individual development supported by psychometric testing
                            • User/Customer participation in service design (bricks and mortar and web)
                            • Technology usability and user performance impacts

                            If you would like more information about Ifonly Consulting and the possible ways that Ian could help your business, visit the website at http://www.ifonlyconsulting.com

                            Ian Franklin is also a member of BNI. If you are interested in meeting Ian, or think that your local business could benefit from BNI membership, come along as a visitor to meet the group and introduce yourself. Meetings are held at Beauchief Golf Course on Abbey Lane, Sheffield at 7am on a Tuesday morning.  Attending the meeting is by invitation only, so if you would like your name putting on the guest list, please call Seven Creative on 0114 383 0711.

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                              Yorkshire building company Mi Build

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                                Micha Beckett is the Director of West Yorkshire based building company Mi Build.

                                Micha made the dramatic career change from chef to builder after an experience with a cowboy builder who nearly destroyed his home. Micha’s holiday came to an abrupt end when he returned home from a week away only to find that the builder had knocked down a supporting wall and installed unsecure windows.

                                With help and advice to make sure all building regulations were adhered to, Micha started the process of rebuilding his home. And not only was he good at it, he also enjoyed it.

                                So much, in fact, that he decided to embark on a career as a builder. After training and experience working for other firms, Micha set up MiBuild UK Ltd, a successful building company in West Yorkshire. Micha has now been building for 12 years, and has many repeat clients who recommend his company to their friends, colleagues and families.

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                Mi Build are able to take on a variety of jobs including internal and external renovations, plastering, rendering, extensions, kitchen and bathroom refits and loft conversions. “I’m very flexible,” says Micha. “I’ll happily take on large or small jobs, and I am very multi-skilled. I’m competent in all areas of the trade, from joinery and plastering, to fitting windows and kitchens.”

                                Micha is also very interested in conservation and tries to incorporate this into his work. “Whenever I’m working on a job, I always try to reclaim and recycle as many materials as I can. It’s good for the environment and prevents waste going to landfill.”

                                As a general builder, Micha is happy to work locally and prepared to travel further afield. “We don’t charge a call out fee for work within the West Yorkshire area. If it’s a broken shower that needs replacing, a damaged double glazed window, or even something as simple as a sticking door, just give us a call.”

                                If you are looking for a friendly and efficient building service in the Yorkshire area, visit the Mi Build website and contact Micha for a quote or advice.

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                                  Written by Chris

                                  June 12th, 2012 at 12:38 pm