Thursday, December 10, 2009

A home page redesign can really help your web site - an example for Saint Margaret Mercy

Saint Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers hired TBH Creative to design a fresh look for their current web site without undergoing a full redesign and recoding process. They wanted to make a strong impact and better utilize the space on their home page as a 'starter' project with their 2009 budget, and we gladly accepted the job and challenge. The original home page was outdated, had no structure, and was very inflexible to display important new information. Our goal was to add organization to the page and a couple areas for future information to be posted -- in addition to a stronger overall visual appeal.

After several iterations, below is the revised home page which launched today.

The top right area pulls fresh news from their blog, the top area shows various photos with subtle movement, and interactive tools fall down the left column. The main content area highlights important services and their prestigious awards from Healthgrades. The right column will be used for upcoming announcements and events.

About Saint Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers Saint Margaret Mercy is one of the largest acute-care hospitals in Northwest Indiana. It has two campuses -- one in Hammond and another in Dyer, Indiana -- offering all private inpatient rooms. They also have more than 20 off-site facilities, including a 9,000-member health club in Schererville, Indiana. Both hospitals offer state-of-the-art equipment and a staff of respected healthcare professionals. They take pride in our leadership role in the healthcare industry, both in Northwest Indiana and Southeast Chicago.
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TBH Creative often works on small redesign projects such as this for Saint Margaret Mercy and offers a wealth of information to help organizations develop their presence online. Our services include creative web design, application development, site architecture assistance, writing or editing web messages, and much more. We would love to help with your next web site project.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Web Site Redesign for St. Elijah Hall in Merrillville, Indiana

TBH Creative was hired by St. Elijah Hall in Merrillville, Indiana to redesign their outdated and old technology web site. Their old site navigation was hard to use and the HTML mark up contained a lot of unnecessary tables and images. Our goal was to give the site a fresh look with easy to use navigation system, as well as add some interest on the home page to highlight past events and service offerings of the hall.

The new web site launched today:

The old site looked like this:

The new web site was strategically positioned for internal search engine optimization and future growth as business and online needs expand.

About St. Elijah Hall St. Elijah Hall was designed to combine beauty and functionality – all with the right touch of elegance. Through the years the entertainment hall has been upgraded to match the newest design trends. St. Elijah Hall is the ideal location for an intimate ceremony, a lavish reception (weddings) or important business event (banquets).

The best kept secret in Northwest Indiana. Don't forget to check out the menu for your upcoming event.
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TBH Creative is a full service web site company located in central Indiana. Our clients range from very small organizations to large corporations and much of everything in between. We tailor our solutions to best fit the needs of our clients. Contact us today to learn more about our impressive web design and development team.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Marketing with an informative brochure - a sample for COMTO Indiana

TBH Creative recently launched Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) Indiana's first web site. In addition to the web site project, we also prepared an informative brochure for the organization. The brochure's goal was to match the branding, provide basic information, and gain new Indiana members.
The brochure is used as a hand-out at meetings, events and to business partners.

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TBH Creative is often hired for web site design with complimentary pieces such as brochure design. Our expert print design team delivers high quality marketing material. Learn more about our full services.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Build an effective web site for your organization - an example for COMTO Indiana

TBH Creative was hired by Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) Indiana to design their first web site. We designed a fresh and inviting site to communicate their goals and gain new membership in Indiana. Services also included our custom Content Management System to allow the organization to expand their web site pages as they grow.

About COMTO Indiana Since its inception on the campus of Howard University in Washington DC, COMTO has continued to evolve to become the premier organization for the training, education and professional development of minority transportation professionals. From the advancement of Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB’s), to legislative initiatives, scholarships and program opportunities – our scope is varied and far-reaching. Learn more
 
Indiana Transportation Links:
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TBH Creative helps clients who need a first web site or to freshen an outdated site. We can help formulate initial ideas and goals or help bring ideas to life. Our content management system is also easy to use and allows for clients to maintain their site in-house without technical expertise. Contact us today for a web site consultation to determine your needs.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Want a blog design you can be proud of? Don't settle for a design template.

TBH Creative was hired by partner, Compendium Blogware, to redesign the blog site for DyKnow. We created a design for DyKnow's blog that complimented their web site look and feel and also designed a banner ad and call to action areas to highlight important Webinars, Case Studies and a video. TBH stretched the limits of the Compendium's templated system using CSS to manipulate their typical blog design.


Blogging is a great way to increase your company's search engine optimization. Compendium blogging software is built specifically for businesses with this in mind with special features such as keyword density indicator, compending (multiplying) posts for maximum results, news feed on popular keywords to help your posting creativity, and an approval process for a multi-author blog.

Read about "Using frequent posts to drive the search engines to your site"

DyKnow®, a leader in interactive education, combines sound teaching with intuitive software to create flexible and effective solutions for teaching and learning. DyKnow's unique culture of innovation and commitment to superior service brings classroom management and interactive teaching tools to K12 and Higher Education institutions worldwide.
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If your company is interested to learn more about blogging for search engine optimization, contact TBH Creative for more information. We can help explain the benefits and determine if blogging is a good solution for your company. And if you already have a blog via Blogger or Compendium's software, we would be happy to assist with a redesign and custom CSS to make it more effective.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Healthcare web site project success - an example for Indiana Health Care Assocation

TBH Creative was hired by Indiana Health Care Association (IHCA) to redesign their web site and help highlight important entities, news, and events. We assisted with the site transfer and content management system earlier this year, so the Phase 2 goal was to increase site usability, offer better communication of information, and increase overall visual appeal. Services offered during Phase 2 included: reorganization of the site architecture, assistance with editing and writing, creation and implementation of a fresh design, set up of a customized blog, and development of new "Members Only" functionality.


About Indiana Health Care Association The mission of the IHCA is to educate, inform, and advocate on behalf of health care providers, consumers, and the workforce.

IHCA is Indiana's largest trade association and advocate representing proprietary, not-for-profit and hospital-based nursing home and assisted living communities, adult foster care and adult day services. IHCA's facilities care for more than 25,000 of Indiana's geriatric and developmentally disabled citizens -- the majority of whom are Medicaid recipients.
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TBH Creative worked closely with IHCA to build their new web site in phases to meet budgetary needs and time-sensitive goals. We enjoy working with clients with multi-facet goals and define the scope to meet its needs. If you are interested in reliable Indiana web site services, contact TBH Creative today for more information.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Indiana Hospitals providing big community benefits!

TBH Creative was hired to design and build a web site to present the community benefits of the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services in 2008 - comprising of seven hospitals here in Indiana. Together as an organization, they offered $364,946,440 in benefits to surrounding communities! These not-for-profit health care providers offer such outreach with simple acts of generosity hoping to bring the light of giving and goodwill to the community.

Services offered on this project included: reviewing and organizing the large amount of information pertaining to the community benefits offered, designing a unique and easy to navigate structure to house the information, and working to format each page and massage information as needed to best represent the hospitals' services. For functionality, we developed the site base HTML and CSS to work around their IT staff's content management system.

Check out the new web site summarizing the benefits, programs and good will.

About Sisters of St. Francis Health Services (SSFHS) SSFHS looks for opportunities to serve communities through the very best in medical care and service to the less fortunate among us. They put their mission of “Continuing Christ’s Ministry in our Franciscan Tradition” into action and practice in our daily lives.

The SSFHS hospitals include: St. Elizabeth, St. Clare, Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony Memorial, Saint Margaret Mercy, St. Francis (in Indianapolis & Beech Grove), and St. James.

"In all of the towns where the Sisters have started a hospital, we have come at the invitation of the community. Our goal has always been to serve the needs of the community." Sister M. Jane Marie Klein, Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, Inc.

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TBH Creative is your one-stop shop for web site usability, design and application needs. We work hard to make your project its best and offer a successful solution. Contact us today for high quality Indianapolis web site design.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Web Site Development for Midwest Studios (formerly Midwest Model Makers)

TBH Creative was hired to develop an updated web site for Midwest Studios here in Indianapolis, Indiana. The team prepared a design / layout and needed technical assistance to bring the pages to life, as well as online guidance and recommendations.

We developed new code for the site to eliminate their previous table-based HTML mark-up. They are quite an impressive group of model builders and always doing new projects, so we also developed a custom content management application to help easily maintain their projects.

They had a lot of ideas on their own and just needed some technical web site assistance. We stepped in and helped to build the site efficiently and effectively for future growth.

About Midwest Studios (Midwest Model Makers) Midwest Studios creates models for a variety of needs including interactive branded environments, museum exhibits, visitor centers, marketing centers, mobile exhibits, architectural models, computer animations, graphics, and 3D rapid prototypes. Some impressive projects you might know include the U.S. Capital Dome, Lucas Oil Stadium, models for NASA, Duke University Stadium, IUPUI Student Center, Purdue University Discovery Park, St. Francis Hospitals, and Lifetime Fitness. Pretty impressive, right!?! _______________________

TBH Creative offers a unique blend of technical and visual web site expertise. Our solutions are custom defined to fit your needs and produce results. Contact us today!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Starter Web Site for Dermatology Education and Resource Mentors

TBH Creative was hired to build an introductory web site for Dermatology Education and Resource Mentors. The goal was to prepare a simple web site that would explain the organization ideas and plans for functionality. Some of the planned components include an Image Library, Online education courses, and interactive "wiki"-like Dermapedia. We worked closely with the founders to design a web site that communicated the business plans and would allow for growth in the future. The audience will be primarily Dermatology students, physicians and educators. The web site was designed to show off the high quality visual images collected by Dr. Joseph Bikowski over many years treating patients. Beware as you visit the site because some of the photos are quite graphic!

About Dermatology Education and Resource Mentors A company formed to improve educational resources in the field of dermatology. DermEdOnline.com is its first initiative and provides full visual and written explanation of dermatological disease in consort with an in-depth presentation of all therapeutic modalities.

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TBH Creative helps organization and businesses that are small, medium and large with different scope of web design needs. Based on your requirements and goals, we will recommend a solution to create an effective online web site. Remember, your web site is your 24/7 advertising tool!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Home Page Redesign for Saint Anthony Medical Center in Crown Point Indiana

TBH Creative was hired to redesign the home page of Saint Anthony Medical Center in Crown Point, Indiana. The home page original arrangement needed a better arrangement to display more information including news, health related tools, keywords, and buttons to other important areas of the web site. We created a new layout that allowed more flexibility, offer a lot of important information, and would help users find what they needed quickly. Visit the web site to learn more Saint Anthony Medical Center.

Small changes make quite a difference! See the previous layout.

About Saint Anthony Medical Center in Crown Point, Indiana Sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services (SSFHS), Saint Anthony provides the high quality health care to its patients in Crown Point and the surrounding areas of Northwest Indiana. Saint Anthony offers state-of-the-art technology and services and has been awarded numerous recognition including five-star ratings from Healthgrades organization.

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To learn more about TBH Creative's web redesign services, contact us today. We are happy to evaluate your current web site and give recommendations for visual, coding, or functionality improvement. All components together will help you achieve an effective web site.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Web Site for RJE Business Interiors in Cincinnati

TBH Creative was hired to develop a new web site for RJE Business Interior's new location in Cincinnati. The base layout of the web site was taken from the Indianapolis web site and slightly modified for better use of space, placement of manufacturer links, and easy to read navigation text. We created completely new HTML mark up to eliminate the use of images for text and increase search engine optimization -- as well as make future web updates easier. We also enhanced the Virtual Tour using Flash and XML.

Visit the web site to learn more RJE Cincinnati.

About RJE Business Interiors in Cincinnati RJE is an established team of professionals with expertise of the Midwest’s largest Knoll dealership. They offer beautiful and highly functional office furniture that makes businesses and organizations more productive—and cool.

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To learn more about TBH Creative's web site services, contact us today. We specialize in recoding table-based web sites into clean code that uses CSS for layout and is validated for Strict compliance.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ecommerce Web Design for Just Murals

TBH Creative was hired to create a new logo and redesign the web site for Just Murals. The web site uses Yahoo! Stores for its shopping cart application but it needed more visual appeal and organization in the navigation. We created a new design and clean code that was implemented by the client in the Yahoo! Stores template. Visit the web site to learn more Just Murals.

About Just Murals (located here in Indianapolis) Wall murals have become one of the most popular and affordable ways to decorate and Just Murals offers a wide variety of styles, sizes and categories including wallpaper murals, photo or painted murals, children murals, animal murals, and ocean, forest or Asian scene murals. With hundreds of murals to choose from, they make it easy to find the right mural for any decorating situation. If you cannot find the mural or size you are looking for, they will even customize it for you.

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To learn more about TBH Creative's web design services in Indiana, contact us today and tell us how we can help. Depending on what you need, we will develop a solution that fits your requirements.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Indianapolis supply company, A.G. Maas Company, launches new web site

TBH Creative was hired to redesign and refocus a new web site for The A.G. Maas Company. The web site focuses on the various products they offer and high level of customer service. Visit the web site to learn more about the A.G. Maas Company.


About The A.G. Maas Company The A.G. Maas Company supplies Indianapolis business and home with a wide variety of products including janitorial supplies, environmentally safe products, floor maintenance equipment, exterior furnishings, washroom partitions and accessories, and more.

Albert G. Maas established this company by selling cleaning supplies from a horse-drawn cart on the streets of downtown Indianapolis. Laura Mohlenhoff is The A.G. Maas Company’s current owner, and the two previous owners were her mother, Linda Lytle Mohlenhoff, and her grandfather, John Lytle. They have been a corporate citizen of Indianapolis for nearly 100 years and are proud to be a part of your community.

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To learn more about TBH Creative's Indianapolis web design services, contact us today and tell us about your online needs. We'll develop a proposal and recommendations for your company needs and budget.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What everyone ought to know about Logo Design

Below are a few 'best practices' for designers and / or any business owner to consider as they create a company identity.

To ensure that a logo will last through time and will work for all sorts of purposes, it is important to develop a logo that reproduces well at a small size and in black & white. Gradients, small details and fine lines will surely be lost and confusing at any size. Although in theory a more complex (and in some cases) beautiful picture or artwork is very nice to look at, does not mean it translates well to the world of branding a company or a logo. No amount of gradient or color will rescue a poorly designed mark.

SIMPLICITY RULES ALL
This is the number one rule when it comes to creating an effective identity or mark.

Add recognition with simplicity. Keeping the design simple allows for flexibility in size. Ideally, a design should work at a minimum of around one inch without loss of detail. For example, take a look at these logos from large and well-known corporations -- Mitsubishi, Samsung, FedEx. Their logos look simple and are easier to recognize because of it. Most of the great logos are simple, and it is always easier for us to remember and recognize a simple design than to identify and relate to complicated artwork.

Avoid complicated or detailed pictures. Complex images can look great on well-printed materials, but logo designs like this never survive in small-space press advertisements or on promotional goods. If you want to be recognized instantly, avoid too much detail, complicated imagery & themes.

Avoid complicated themes. Customers will not take the time to interpret or decode a complicated subject, theme or pun. It's silly to waste their time or the clients with a challenging logo design.

Never use clip art in a logo. Clip art will never give the effect of a custom logo and can be easily duplicated or stolen. If clients want to be taken seriously this practice should be avoided all together.

A logo mark does not need to illustrate what a company does. Restaurant logos don’t need to show food, dentist logos don’t need to show teeth, furniture store logos don’t need to show furniture. Just because it’s relevant, does not mean you can’t do better.

The Mercedes logo isn’t a car.
 

The Virgin Atlantic logo isn’t an airplane.
 

The Apple logo isn’t a computer.
 

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If you need help with your logo design or identity package, contact TBH Creative. We can also assist with your web design and offer a full package of services to get your business started.

Check out our recent logo design for Dermatology Education and Resource Mentors.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Great American Puzzle Factory New Web Site

TBH Creative was hired to create a redesigned and more functional web site for a new division of Fundex Games featuring puzzles -- The Great American Puzzle Factory. The web site utilizes a custom developed maintenance application and shows off the various types of puzzles they have to offer from Novelty puzzles to Children puzzles to various piece-size puzzles. TBH also helped integrate an RSS feed reader to import news from their blog. Visit the web site to learn more about the Great American Puzzle Factory and Fundex Games.

About The Great American Puzzle Factory Great American Puzzle Factory is a division of Fundex Games and creates cutting-edge puzzle products including Alex Beard’s Impossible Puzzles, Clearly Puzzled™, Make ‘Em Move™, and licensed puzzles. Fundex Games is well-known for many of its other games such as Phase10®, multiple award-winning Alfredo’s Food Fight™, and all-time classic Gnip Gnop™.
Fundex is "Where Fun Comes First" and is based near Indianapolis, Indiana. Follow Fundex Games on Twitter and YouTube.
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TBH Creative welcomes the opportunity to help you with your web site redesign project. Give us a call today for highly effective and reliable web design services.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why use Strict Doctype?

A new subcontractor asked me why TBH Creative requires the use of Strict DOCTYPE for its website build outs, and below is our explanation, definition, plus a little more technical information.

First of all, according to HTML and XHTML standards, each HTML document requires a DOCTYPE (stands for document type declaration). The "DOCTYPE" appears at the top of each HTML document and tells a validator which version of HTML to use in checking the document's syntax. A DOCTYPE is a key component of standards compliant code, and markup and CSS won’t validate without them. If you are using XHTML to code a web page, you have a choice between using a Strict or a Transitional DOCTYPE. The Strict DOCTYPE means that your XHTML has to be completely standards-compliant. The Transitional DOCTYPE allows you to use some elements and attributes that were common in older HTML markup but that do not adhere to current standards.

To summarize (and as its name suggests), transitional DOCTYPES are meant for developers making the transition from older markup to modern ways of building code. On the other side, strict DOCTYPES are actually the default - the way HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 were intended to be utilized. A Strict DOCTYPE also ensures that browsers use their strictest, most standards compliant rendering modes.

TBH Creative uses Strict DOCTYPE for its web pages for these reasons. Using an incomplete or outdated DOCTYPE—or no DOCTYPE at all—throws these same browsers into “Quirks” mode, where the browser assumes you have written old-fashioned, invalid markup and code per the depressing industry norms of the late 1990s. For developers making the switch from Transitional to Strict, below are links to lists of elements allowed with a Transitional but not Strict DOCTYPE:
TBH Creative works hard to keep up with industry changes, standards and to prepare itself and its clients for future of web. Contact us today to learn more about our Indianapolis web design services.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Here's a quick way to edit your photos online

A client told me about Picnik -- they had been using the software to crop and edit photos for their web site. The problem was they had a skewed photo that I was going to help them fix. So, when they told me about Picnik, I was a little skeptical but said I would check it out.

Upon giving it a try, I was amazed. I am an avid Photoshop fan, but the Picnik software is a really great alternative, especially for our clients who need to edit photos for online without proper software and expertise.

Picnik was simple to use and more robust than I expected. Right from online, you can upload a photo, crop, resize, sharpen, correct exposure, remove red eye, rotate, and more -- the end result is an exported photo as you created. The bonus is that the software is free. They also offer a premium account if you want to do more, but the basic account provides quite a bit.

Picnik is a great photo editing tool and alternative to other costly software. The easy to use interface allows you to clean up and edit pictures without knowing a thing about photo editing. The company has been featured in CNET, PCmag, Mashable, Time Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal.

Check it out today

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 Looking for a web design company to provide tips and great tools? Choose TBH Creative and we will continue to help find you great web design resources like Picnik.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TBH Creative Named in Top 50 List of Marketing Technology Companies in Central Indiana

TBH Creative is proud to announce and be included in the top 50 marketing technology companies in Central Indiana! TBH Creative offers full services web site services in Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel and surrounding areas. Custom application work and effective online marketing are our specialty.

Contact TBH Creative today for more information and thanks Doug Karr for including us on the list!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Web site for Mike Murphy Congress

TBH Creative was hired to design and develop the web site for Mike Murphy Congress. The web site was developed to offer candidate information and allow users to donate and get involved. The web site uses our custom Content Management System (CMS) to allow for growth and easy updates by staff.

Visit the web site to learn more about Mike and his opinions on important issues.



About Mike Murphy for Congress On May 28, 2009, State Representative Mike Murphy announced his candidacy for the 5th Congressional district seat currently held by Congressman Dan Burton. He said, “Burton has served but he has not led.” Mike Murphy is a free market champion.
Follow Mike Murphy on Facebook and Twitter.

TBH Creative can help you with your website redesign project also. Give us a call today for professional and reliable web design services.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dylexia Institute of Indiana Web Site Redesign

TBH Creative was hired to redesign the web site for Dyslexia Institute of Indiana and help re-organize its site structure and pages. We were responsible for the preparing the design and ensuring quality after implementation, as well as photo selection and overall design treatment. The goal was simplicity to emphasize the information and allow for easy navigation between the pages.


Who is Dyslexia Institute of Indiana? The Dyslexia Institute of Indiana Inc. (DII) is the proven source for tutors and support that enables individuals with dyslexia to overcome their unanticipated inability to read.
The Dyslexia Institute of Indiana exists to serve children, adolescents, and adults with specific language disabilities. DII provides skills, services, and strategies that enable individuals to attain their full potential by learning to manage the challenges of dyslexia and benefit from its advantages.

TBH Creative can help you with your web site redesign project also. Give us a call today for professional and reliable web design services.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

16 Sites to Find Free and Cheap Stock Photos

Stock photography is available all over the Internet. As a creative design company, we are continually looking for stock images to add interest to our web designs. Oftentimes, the trick is finding fresh photos so that they don't appear "stocky" or common while keeping the cost low for our clients. Below are a few sources we use often and others we have found for you to reference. If you know of others, please leave us a comment and we'll add it to the list.
A Sample Free Image from Free Range
Free Images For most of these sites, you just need to register, search and download the images you like for free.
  1. StockVault
  2. Free Range
  3. Stock.xchng
  4. Free Pixels
  5. Public Domain Photos
  6. ImageBase
    A few more sites to add to this list from Allan Burch Illustration:
    1. http://publicdomainclip-art.blogspot.com/
    2. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page [many are public domain]
    3. http://www.fontplay.com/freephotos/
    4. http://www.rastervector.com/resources/free/free.html
    5. http://www.freefoto.com/index.jsp
      Low Cost Stock Photos, Graphics, Video
      1. iStockPhoto
      2. Fotolia
      3. Shutter Stock
      4. Jupiter Images
      5. PunchStock
        One great feature many of these sites offer is the option to request a photo. Photographers belong to the sites and will often shoot something you need. The cost is the same as the other low-cost photos, although you may need to wait to see your results. IstockPhoto has this option and we have used it in the past to obtain the "right" photo.

        Another great source for high quality and professional photos is Getty Images or Corbis. These options are not as inexpensive at the options listed above, but they often have the particular photo you have in mind or the added professionalism that is needed for a project. Oftentimes, the photo collection selected for a project is a combination from the sites above. I recommend to look at the inexpensive or free options first, and then look to the higher end photos or hire a photographer to get exactly what you need.

        Professional illustration is another option if you are looking for something unique and original. Our recommendation for creative illustration is Allan Burch. Check out his fantastic collection on his web site and a sample of his work at DoorFly.com.

        TBH Creative often assists clients with photo search. A photo is truly worth a thousand words and it is great to have so many resources at our fingertips. If you need help with your creative project, please contact us today. We offer high quality web design and are located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

        Tuesday, May 5, 2009

        Wow! That is so cool. Great web site.

        Is that what you want people to say when they visit your web site?

        An interesting question to consider. Most people would think "yes" at first, however, the wow factor may not be what is needed.

        Special effects and graphics are great for web designers, photographers, and other creative folk, but for most other types of business, it is more important for visitors to notice what you have to say and learn about your service or product. The graphics and design should complement the message.

        This question comes from a post by Seth Godin. He recommends creating a site that is not too cutting edge or slick and not too horrible or amateurish either. He makes the comparison: It's sort of like the clothes you want the person giving a eulogy to wear. No Armani, no cutoff jeans.

        TBH Creative creates web sites with a purpose and designs with clean, simple graphics to help convey the message and direct users to a determined call to action. Call us today for more information about our Indianapolis web design services.

        Thursday, April 30, 2009

        Tools to Help Develop (or Feed) your Creativity!

        If you were not born with that natural creative knack and you are searching for ways to feed your creativity, then take a look at these online tools. With the Internet at your fingertips, why not take advantage of these tools for ideas and inspiration?  

        Color Palette Creation
        If you are inspired by color or work with color, these tools will help you find new and creative ways to use colors together.
        • COLOURlovers. Not only can you compare color palettes, but find out about color trends, read color articles, and more.
        • The Browser-Safe Web Palette. Use these tools to create colors that will look great no matter which browser your readers are using.
        • kuler. This tool is versatile and fun. Find colors by images, emotions, colors you select, or by browsing popular combinations.
        • Color Palette Generator. Enter the URL for any website to get the colors used in it.
        • Colorcombos. Get the latest color combinations, search the archives, or select random combinations to find colors to fit any need.
        Photo Editors
        Use these tools to make the most creative images you can, then share them with the world.
        • Gimp. If you can’t afford Photoshop, try this tool that includes layers, channels, paths, and plenty of painting tools.
        • Picnik. This powerhouse of a photo editing tool lets you get creative and is totally free.
        • Splashup. Modeled after Photoshop, this free tool allows you to edit and manage your photos.
        • Picasa. Organize, edit, and share your photos online with this super easy and versatile photo editor.
        • Flickr. Edit photos and share with others or browse through the amazing number of photos available for anyone to enjoy.
        • Flash Slide Show Maker. Create Flash slide shows quickly and easily with this free software.
        Photo Prompts
        If you like looking at photos for inspiration, then check out these places on the Internet that will stimulate your creativity.
        • Smugmug. This site has some absolutely gorgeous photos that are well worth browsing for help finding your creativity.
        • elements. Click on the Explore button to generate inspirational photos. Sign up for free to rate, follow, and see favorites.
        • SXC. Find free stock photographs at this site that can either serve as inspiration or you can incorporate into your creative endeavors.
        • morgueFile. These stock photographs are free to use and free to browse through for great ideas.
        • One Photo a Day. Get a new photo every day on this site, or browse through the past days to see inspirational photos.
        • 365 Pictures Prompts. Visit this site each day for a new photo contributed from independent photographers to feed your creativity.
        • The Photographer’s Life. Enter contests or just browse through the inspirational photos here. Be sure to visit the Hall of Fame for some of the best.
        • Every Photo Tells a Story. Check out the images posted here every day for a wide range of photos and pictures.
        • Fotosearch. While these photos aren’t free to use, there are plenty to browse through for inspiration or ideas for your own creations.
        Various Creativity Triggers
        From checking out inspirational websites to creativity exercises to coming up with fun slogans, these tools will help trigger your creativity when it’s waning.
        • Creativity Portal. Find ideas for arts and crafts, creative living, writing, and prompts–or if all else fails, get creativity coaching.
        • EyeWire Creativity Cards. Print out these cards and use them to spark your creativity when you are feeling less inspired.
        • Favorite Website Awards. The websites showcased here are sure to offer inspiration and appreciation for other’s creativity.
        • An Exercise. Try out this exercise from the book, The Creative Brain, that gets your imagination and creativity flowing.
        • Learn to be MORE Creative NOW!. Get exercises to start the creative process as well as four lessons at this website.
        • Creativity Pool. Add ideas for inventions that should be made or search for ideas that others have contributed here.
        • CREAX. Use this amazing website as a tool to spark your creativity with its links to 841 websites handpicked by the CREAX team and thought to be the best in creativity and innovation.
        • Creative Aerobics. Select online activities from this list that will help you explore topics or concepts, break mindsets, find alternate problem-solving techniques, and much more.
        • Web Lab. Check out the projects going on at this site that all share a goal of bringing new perspectives to important social issues.
        • Mindstreaming. This community shares ideas on how to bring about world peace. Find some creative ideas here that may spark your own creativity.
        • Instructables. This website is full of fun projects you can create yourself. Browse through these projects to get your creative juices flowing.
        • Sketchcast. Create your own sketches you can share or spend some time looking at sketches drawn and posted by others.
        • Sloganizer. Use this tool to create slogans based on keywords or use the slogans generated as a trigger for brainstorming your own.
        • Good Things Should Never End. The fun, interactive graphics on this website are meant solely for entertainment purposes and will likely feed your creativity as you play along the way.
        Source: 100 Excellent Online Tools to Feed Your Creativity
        Check the full list for creativity in organization, brainstorming, journaling, and more.

        Or you can always hire someone to do the creative thinking for you, especially the design work! TBH Creative specializes in creative web design -- Indianapolis web design at its best. Contact us to learn more.

        Wednesday, April 29, 2009

        How to choose keywords for search engine optimization

        Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing your chances to be included in the relevant search engine results for targeted keywords with the ultimate goal of increasing traffic to your web site.
        I often hear my clients say: "I want to come up first in Google."

        The problem is: everyone else is trying to do the same thing! Therefore, it is important to understand that search engine optimization and search engine marketing is an ongoing process based on competition for targeted keywords and changes in the search engine algorithms. If your competitor increases what they are doing, you will need to do the same in order to stay ranked. If Google changes they way they rank sites, you will need to adjust your strategy.

        What does it take to rank?
        Depending on your targeted keywords and their competitiveness, the efforts required to see results will vary. Different companies will tell you different things too, which can be frustrating and overwhelming.
        But, first thing, no matter what, is to define the "keywords" you wish to see results for. Choosing the right keywords to base your site optimization around is an important first step. General keywords are usually not the best approach -- it is usually better to be more specific and focus on niche keywords relating to your product or service.

        Ask yourself these questions:
        1. Will people search for the service or product on my website?
        2. Exactly which words will they be searching for?
        3. How competitive are my target keywords -- how many other websites are targeting the same keywords?
        How competitive are your keywords?
        Type your keywords into the search engine and you will see approx. how many other people are coming up for the same term. These are your competitors.


        We recommend that you be realistic about targeting highly competitive keywords - you may be better off targeting less popular ones.

        Stay tuned for more SEO information, but get started today thinking about your keywords. Learn more about SEO basics here.

        Contact TBH Creative to discuss your web site SEO strategy or web design project.

        Saturday, April 25, 2009

        Indiana Health Care Association hires TBH Creative

        TBH Creative has recently engaged with the Indiana Health Care Association to manage their web site and online needs. The web site was transferred to TBH Creative today and uses our custom Content Management System. Over the next few months, we will be working with the team at IHCA to increase the site's effectiveness.

        The Indiana Health Care Association (IHCA) is an information, education and advocacy resource to health care providers, consumers and lawmakers. The organization is recognized as the authority in the continuum of quality long-term care services in Indiana.

        To learn more about how TBH Creative can help with your web site needs, contact us today. Check our portfolio for other samples of work. We specialize in web design, application development, and other online needs.

        Friday, April 24, 2009

        New blog design for Lydia's Uniforms

        TBH Creative was hired by partner, Compendium Blogware, to redesign the blog site for Lydia's Uniforms. We created a design for Lydia's blog that was fun, matched company branding, and called attention to important company promotions. TBH stretched the limits of the Compendium's templated system using CSS to manipulate the typical blog design.
         

        Compendium Blogware is a great company is your business has something to say and is looking to increase search engine optimization. Compendium is the only blogging software built specifically for business. Focused on SEO, blogging with Compendium means blogging for results. A Compendium blog enables your employees to create–with ease– relevant content to generate new customers and create demand for your product or service.

        Lydia's Uniforms is dedicated to getting you the latest, in-style scrubs and medical uniforms at the best value. They have been selling medical uniforms for 40 years and three generations (all started by their Grandmother Lydia). They emphasize providing friendly customer service and taking care of customers one at a time.

        If your company is looking to increase search engine optimization, contact TBH Creative to learn more about what can be done and determine if blogging is a good solution. Or if you already have a blog, we would be happy to assist with a redesign to make it more effective and professional.

        Sunday, April 19, 2009

        Get rid of HTML tables for web formatting once in for all

        Many web sites on the Internet today still use tables for lay out. It is time to educate web developers and companies about why using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is better. Tables were never intended for web page layout. Rather, the HTML table was designed for presenting tabular data. There are many insidious but huge problems with resorting to tables for web page design.

        Quick summary of why CSS is better:
        1. Your pages will load faster because of clean code (less HTML is needed to create the page and make it work = less bandwidth)

        2. Edits, changes, and redesigns will be easier, less expensive and more efficient (because the design is separated from the content and controlled in a style sheet instead of each HTML page)

        3. Better for search engine results (Google can read through your page quicker and will not read useless tags and meaningless spacer images)

        4. Good for accessibility and usability amongst users on different Internet browser windows, phones, print views, and even without images.

        A more technical explanation. Reasons to avoid tables for layout:
        1. If you’re using tables for layout then you’re mixing presentation with content, so your bandwidth usage is higher than need be, as for every page your visitors view, they have to download the same presentational data again and again.

        2. Redesigns are a lot harder than they need to be. Since tables can only be laid out on screen one way, if you want to change the layout of a table site, you have to change your tables in every single one of your pages. Not a nice job. With a full CSS site, all you need do is change that one CSS file.

        3. Tables really don’t help accessibility for viewers with disabilities. Although your layout may look logical displayed on screen, the order in which it will be read by, say, screen reading software, may be very different. Many countries now have their own laws stating that websites must be accessible to all.

        4. Likewise, people visiting your site using PDAs, mobile phones, and the like do not have the screen space that your big flashy table layout demands. A well written CSS site will generally scale far better to smaller and larger screens than a comparable table layout will.

        5. Tables are complicated to look at in HTML. Before you even get to any content inside them you’re at three levels of indentation. Embedded tables are especially painful to edit.

        6. Tables can hurt search engine ratings. If you’re using a “classic” left hand navigation table, your navigation will be placed before your content in your HTML file. Because Search Engines generally place more importance on the things nearer the beginning of a page, the chances are your content will be largely ignored.

        7. Tables can take longer to display correctly than CSS. If you use Internet Explorer, you’ll have seen this many times when loading tabled sites. While everything on the page is downloading, the IE will keep re-rendering, bouncing the contents of the page back and forth until the download is complete and it knows where to place everything.

        The purpose of this article is to educate our clients and other developers about the difference between the two common methods of building web pages. More web sites should be built with proper semantic markup.

        Think basics: paragraphs will be inside P (paragraph) tags, lists are in UL (unordered list) and OL (ordered list) tags, etc. For bits that your want to move around the page for your actual layout, use DIV tags.

        Check out this great article too. The author takes the microsoft.com web page which used tables and spacer gifs abundantly, then removes all of the tables and implements CSS design and reduces the original file size of 62%! "If multiplied out by an average of 38.7 million page views per day, that 25 KB savings per page could add up to about 924 GB in bandwidth savings per day, or 329 terabytes per year."

        (Sources: Go Table Free, Why Tables are Stupid, A Fight to the Death, Why use CSS, and plain old experience from building web sites in both ways for many years!)

        Contact TBH Creative today for more information about CSS vs. Table layout. We can evaluate your web site and offer solutions. We can re-code your site using proper CSS and validated HTML, as well as provide a full evaluation of your current site.

        Wednesday, April 15, 2009

        New web site for Morales Group

        TBH Creative was hired by the Morales Group, Inc. to seamlessly integrate third party software for a robust Job Center to their current web site. TBH Creative assisted with many additional tasks throughout the project to help the company with their online presence including: re-coding the pages to remove the table based code with clean, CSS-driven HTML; reorganizing the navigation structure to allow for second level navigation and one-click pages; and optimizing/compressing the graphics for proper optimization. The new web site launched today -- check out the updated site and new functionality via WorldLink Staff Suite at http://www.moralesgroup.net/.

        About The Morales Group, Inc A dedicated team of placement specialists, client service representatives and sales professionals from the U.S. and Latin America who understand the highly productive Latino workforce. This allows their team to better integrate, support and place workers ensuring to meet customer’s temporary and permanent staffing needs. Services include:
        • Aprisa Workforce - Contingent labor for light industrial manufacturing and warehouse jobs.
        • Prima Staffing Solutions - Temporary to permanent labor for light industrial jobs.
        • Solosource - Assembly, packaging, and warehouse services.
        • Aprisa Time - Web-based Time and Labor Management system.
        TBH Creative can help your organization integrate a robust third party software application. There are many options available for pre-developed solutions, but the integration is important to keep professionalism and seamless experience for end-users as they navigation pages of your web site. Contact TBH Creative to discuss your online project needs.

        Wednesday, April 1, 2009

        New Song Mission launches new site

        TBH Creative is excited for the launch of a newly redesigned web site for New Song Mission. Located in Brown County, Indiana, New Song Mission works to rebuild the lives of children so that they will become joyful followers of Christ Jesus who are full of wisdom, character, and love. TBH Creative was hired to redesign the site for more appeal and to emphasize important information, assist with site architecture, and implement a Content Management System. The revised web site launched today and you can visit the new web site at http://www.newsongmission.org/.

        About the Charitable Organization In response to Christ’s calling, New Song Mission offers loving, lifelong homes and a private education for young children whose prospects are severely threatened by dysfunctional family situations. The New Song approach represents a proven alternative to Indiana’s financially hamstrung child care system, and fantastic news for children who deserve a second chance at childhood.

        What You May Not Have Known Last year, 23,000 ordinary children in Indiana were abused and neglected by their parents. That’s 442 kids each week or 63 every day who suffer at the hands of a violent batterer or who have been exploited or neglected by parents who disregard their kids’ basic human needs.
        In 2003, more than 10,000 children were removed from their homes by the state and placed temporarily in foster homes and facilities; most, from poorer families.

        Each year in Indiana:
        • 7,000 children and teens live in temporary foster homes;
        • 3,000 children live in shelters and other state-funded facilities;
        • 200 legal orphans whose parents’ rights have been terminated remain unadopted in state care.
        TBH Creative can help your organization build an effective web site. Many organizations need to update pages often, and we offer a custom-developed Content Management System to serve this need. If your organization needs web design assistance, call TBH Creative today to start increasing your online effectiveness.

        Tuesday, March 31, 2009

        New Web Site for Morrill & Associates PC

        TBH Creative would like to announce the launch of a newly redesigned web site for Morrill & Associates PC -- a law firm based in Chicago and Springfield Illinois. TBH Creative was hired to assist the law firm to create a more effective and up-to-date web presence. The revised web site launched last night and you can visit the new web site at http://www.smorrill.com.


        About the Law Firm The attorneys and professionals at Morrill & Associates, P.C. have substantive expertise in such fields as utility regulation, insurance law, health care, land use and zoning, property taxation, pension system administration, transportation, municipal law, professional regulation, government procurement, state agency rulemaking and administrative law. They have offices in both Chicago and Springfield, Illinois. See the Old Site Design
          TBH Creative works will many different industries to create effective web sites. If your company or organization needs web design assistance, call TBH Creative today to discuss the project further.

        Wednesday, March 18, 2009

        New Web Site for The Indiana University Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine

        TBH Creative is happy to announce the launch a newly redesigned web site for The Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine (at IUPUI). TBH Creative helped the center update their web design to match University branding strategies, rework the home page messages, set up some social networking, and routine maintenance of content. The revised web site launched today and you can visit it at http://www.regen.iupui.edu/.
        About the Center The Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine (CRBM) was established in 2001 on the Indianapolis campus of Indiana University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), through a grant from the State of Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund. The administrative home of the CRBM is the Department of Biology (http://www.biology.iupui.edu/) in the School of Science (http://www.science.iupui.edu/).
        The CRBM has three missions:
        • Multidisciplinary research aimed at understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of regeneration.
        • Translation of basic research findings into regenerative medicine therapies through technology transfer.
        • Graduate education leading to Biology MS and PhD degrees in regenerative biology and medicine.
        Did you know? Amputated fingertips of humans can regenerate if the amputation surface is not sutured shut. Check out the new site to learn more about the Center and more interesting facts >
        Visit the Center's Blog > Become a Fan on Facebook! >
        Need an updated web design to match new branding or just keep up with new online design trends? Contact TBH Creative to discuss your web project today!

        Sunday, March 15, 2009

        3 questions a good navigation system should answer

        Web site navigation is unmistakeably one of the most important elements on your web site and will likely influence the success of your site and your user's experience. According to Web usability expert, Jakob Nielsen, a good navigation system should answer three questions:
        1. Where am I?
        2. Where have I been?
        3. Where can I go?
        ____________________

        Use these basic elements to develop an effective navigation system (or correct one that is not effective):
        1. Keep the navigation style and placement consistent on each page. Users will get confused and frustrated if links appear and disappear unpredictably.
        2. Use appropriate text inside links. Don't make your visitors guess where a link is going to take them. Visitors should be able to anticipate a link's destination by reading the text in the link or on the navigation button. This isn't the time to be cute or obscure - visitors don't have the time or patience for it.
        3. Use CSS to emphasize text links. Some designers dislike underlined text links inside page content because it makes bodies of text more difficult to read. The problem is that visitors expect links to underlined so there needs to be an obvious cue to users that these are links if they are not underlined. The "hover" state can help do the trick and a good designer will use CSS to create a different and consistent visual technique as an indicator (e.g. background color, different font, or text color).
        4. Add a text-based site map. Large or complex sites should always have a text-based site map in addition to text links. Every page should contain a text link to the site map. Lost visitors will use it to find their way, while search engines spiders will have reliable access to all your pages.
        5. Include a button for "home page" inside your primary navigation system. This will help if visitors enter your site from a search engine and do not enter at the starting page. This will allow them to click back to your home page if desired.
        6. Site logo links to home page. Most sites include their logo somewhere at the top of every page - generally in the top, left-hand corner. Make this link back to home because that is what your user will expect.
        Check out TBH Creative's portfolio for samples of effective navigation. The primary navigation should be obvious, consistent and easy for the user. Contact us today for more web site services information.

        Thursday, March 12, 2009

        How to compress your image files like a graphic artist

        Nothing is more annoying to readers than waiting for a 200k graphic to load when it should be only 20k instead. Graphic software can compress files so they take up less room on your disk, and therefore take less time to load into your visitors' browsers.

        What is Image Compression? Image compression is minimizing the size in bytes of a graphics file without degrading the quality of the image to an unacceptable level. The reduction in file size allows more images to be stored in a given amount of disk or memory space. It also reduces the time required for images to be sent over the Internet or downloaded from Web pages. (Source)

        Compression Methods There are basically two types of compression methods: lossy and lossless. Lossy compression creates smaller files by discarding some information about the original image. It removes details and color changes it deems too small for the human eye to differentiate. Lossless compression, on the other hand, never discards any information about the original file.

        Graphic File Formats The graphic file formats most browsers support are GIF, JPEG and, more recently, Progressive JPEG (p-jpeg). New formats are appearing as possible challengers, including PNG, FIF, and those based on wavelet compression (see below). PNG, being an open standard, promises to replace GIF. JPEG has no current non-proprietary competition, though there has been a lot of hype, claims and discussion about the various proprietary formats. The potential of improved compression ratios using one of the wavelet flavors is showing scientific promise but will depend on the open standards issue for widespread acceptance. (Source)

        When and how to use the different web graphic formats. (Source)

        JPEG:
        • Good:

          • Photographs
          • Movie stills
          • Desktop backgrounds
        • Bad:

          • Line art and text
          • Anywhere where fine lines or sharp color contrast is needed
        PNG:
        • Good:

          • Text, line art, general web graphics
          • Windows application screenshots
          • When accurate reproduction (lossless) is required (24 bit PNG)
          • When alpha channel support is required
          • As a general replacement for anything that is a non-animated GIF
        • Bad:

          • Photos
          • Disappointing browser support for 32 bit PNGs from Microsoft and others
        GIF:
        • Good:

          • Where animations are required
          • Widespread browser support
        • Bad:

          • Large file sizes compared to PNG for the same quality
          • Often limited to 256 colors (8 bit)
        Many web designers do not understand the differences between graphic formats, which is why you see grainy, blurry, slow-to-load, distorted, or pixelated graphics on web sites. It is important to save and compress properly for quick load and best appearance. Contact TBH Creative today to hire a company who knows how to work with web graphics.

        Sunday, March 8, 2009

        A great tip that many web sites fail to do...

        Put your contact info (or a link to it) on the top or bottom of every web page.

        Don't waste your readers' time by making them hunt around your site for how to contact you. Make your contact info easy to get to. This seems like an obvious suggestion, but many web sites fail to do this. A large percentage of users are looking for contact information to call or find out more, so it is important to give it to them easily. Even a link to the contact page will suffice if it is clear and on all pages. This works especially well when the company has multiple locations and it would be cluttered to appear on each page.

        Present complete contact information including your business phone number and postal address. A street address is preferred, but you may want to use a PO box if yours is a home-based business. Visitors will probably prefer to contact you using email or a form, but they feel more comfortable with a site that allows other contact methods.

        TBH Creative is available to help with your full web site project and offer more Web site tips and advice throughout the process. Contact TBH Creative today!

        Tuesday, March 3, 2009

        2 tips to minimize web site clicking

        Put as few clicks between your visitor and your information as possible. The more you force your visitors to click around your web site the more likely they'll leave and go to another site. A couple tips to help reduce the number of clicks.
        1. Do not use splash pages. There are very few circumstances in which splash pages are profitable, warranted or useful. Ultimately, they mean 1 more click for the user to find what he or she needs. If you or your client is considering a splash page, ask: why add that extra click?
        2. Include a Site Map and/or Search. These tools give the control to the user and allow them to see the complete hierarchy of pages. A site map is useful if your site is 10 pages or several hundred pages.
        Contact TBH Creative for more helpful tips on web site usability. TBH Creative is a full service web design company in Indianapolis, Indiana.

        Saturday, February 21, 2009

        Cubestat, the free website value calculator

        Cubestat is a free and perfect tool for website value calculation, estimations and information. How does it work? You simply enter the domain url in the search box (as shown below) and Cubestat's unique algorithm will calculate and estimate the website worth, daily pageviews and daily ads revenue of the present domain. Among the estimation it will show precise information available for the domain including:
        • Website Worth
        • Daily Pageviews
        • Daily Ads Revenue
        • Estimated Date
        • Meta Info
        • Meta Title
        • Meta Description
        • Meta Keywords
        • Index Data
        • Quantcast Rank
        • Page Rank
        • Back Links
        • Dmoz Listing
        • IP, Host & Whois
        • Site Age
        • Rank Graphs
        FREQUENTLY ASKED CUBESTAT QUESTIONS

        How does Cubestat work?
        Cubestat's algorithm is based on numerous free internet sources including age, indexed pages, backlinks, ranks and popularity. After accumulation of the info there is a calculation for each one of the requested domains. The website worth, daily pageviews and daily ads revenue are estimated from this and display for the requested URL.

        Are the Cubestat estimations always accurate?
        No, estimation is a simplified interpretation of appraisal, therefore Cubestat visitors should take that as limited. For a real estimation or appraisal we recommend to consult one or (preferably) more experts.

        Are the other stats besides the estimations are real?
        Yes, those are basic info which is accessible to the public and every single stat is real and from credible sources.

        So, any more info I should know?
        Yes, as mention above - this is an appraisals, not an exact science. We do try to make the guesswork estimations as close as we can to give you another point of view and ideas, but you should take our information as a supplement, consult with the experts!

        How long should I wait to see new stats? Is there any update?
        Every domain get estimations & stat update at least every 2 weeks.

        __________________

        Why does this matter? Web site value matters!

        TBH Creative is in the business of creating web sites. The most important statistic to look at on tools like Cubestat (and other statistic tools) are trends. Your site value should be headed in a positive direction over time. Also, compare these values to your competitors to gauge how they are doing online. Make changes accordingly to increase your value.

        Friday, February 13, 2009

        New Web Site for Ace Sign System

        TBH Creative is proud to announce the launch a newly redesigned web site for Ace Sign Systems, Inc. TBH Creative helped Ace Sign move from a one page web site to one that offers more information and highlights their project work. The web site launched today and you can visit it at http://www.acesign.com/.

        About the Company
        Ace Sign Systems, Inc. is a manufacturer of both custom interior and exterior ADA and Architectural signage. Ace has worked with numerous General Contractors, Architects, Design Firms and Facility Managers. We also provide wholesale products to the sign industry.

        Ace has evolved with the ADA and focuses on its strict compliance. We achieve excellence by using the latest technology in painting, CNC equipment, foil stamping, welding technology, and personnel training. Our staff is here to assist you in the planning and development of a signage system that meets your facilities needs.
        Check out the new site.

        Looking for a web design company to design your new site and take your company to the next level online? Contact TBH Creative to discuss your web project today!

        Wednesday, February 11, 2009

        18 Web Design Resources

        Below are some web design and development resources we visit often.
        1. Dynamic Drive
        2. Mootools
        3. DevGuru
        4. CSS Zen Garden
        5. Deviant Art
        6. CSS Layout Techniques
        7. jQuery
        8. Most Inspired
        9. 4 Guys from Rolla
        10. Style Inspiration
        11. W3C
        12. Huddle Together
        13. Eric Meyer: CSS
        14. Highslide
        15. Color Schemer
        16. DNS Stuff
        17. A List Apart
        18. Mezzo Blue
        Visit TBH Creative for your web site needs. We'll help strategize the best plan to meet your online goals!

        Sunday, February 8, 2009

        Effective Web site Communication - Part 1

        Challenges to developing clear communication on a website
        In order to build a website that effectively and clearly communicates with visitors, a number of challenges need to be overcome. Not all websites are the same, so challenges may differ from one website to the next, but the challenges discussed below are some of the most common (Smashing Magazine).

        1. Too Much Content One of the biggest challenges that designers have to overcome is simply deciding on the amount of content and information to use. Of course, having a lot of quality information is a good thing, but it can also get in the way and make it difficult to communicate clearly with visitors. In many cases, websites with less content have an easier time effectively communicating a particular message to visitors because there is no excess to get in the way.

        Think Web 2.0... sites such as Flickr, Facebook, and even blogger.

        Simplicity is key. By trying to fit a lot of content onto a page, the website owner can very easily create a cluttered page that confuses visitors. Primary messages are often overpowered by the busy-ness of a page, and sometimes the content may even send mixed or unclear messages.

        From my experience, so many sites built with Content Management Systems run into this problem. It takes a lot of consideration and strategy to determine the main messages and prepare verbiage that is clear, concise and makes sense to the average visitor. Web maintenance and updates should be given the same consideration.

        Every Visitor is Different!! When developing websites, one needs to keep in mind that each visitor is unique and that it is impossible to classify all of them in the same group. Websites are designed with their target audience in mind, but even within that group of users, some diversity will still exist. These differences can have an impact on the communication of the website, because not every visitor will respond in the same way or understand the same messages.

        How are visitors different? Demographics, age and sex are important factors. Beyond demographics, not every visitor will have the same purpose in visiting the website. They may be looking for different things or have different agendas on the website. Visitors will also come from a variety of sources, and visitors from one source will not always have the same characteristics as visitors from another source. Additionally, not all of your visitors will have the same level of knowledge of the subject of your website. All of these things make each visitor unique, and they all have an impact on the communication between the website and the user.

        Another factor to consider is user personality types: functional, sensory, or social. This means your navigation must be clear, information/text must be relevant, and the imagery around this all must be attractive and inviting.

        Clarity
        Communicating through a website is easy. Every website communicates in a number of different ways, even unintentionally. Communicating with clarity, on the other hand, is much more of a challenge. Because of the short amount of time that a new visitor is likely to spend on a website before leaving, there is a strong need for the website to quickly and clearly communicate. In order for a message to be clear, there must be a clear purpose and priority of the website that is understandable to the visitor; there must not be too much noise or clutter; and the message must be communicated in a way that it can be understood by the visitor.

        Sounds tough, right? Your web designer should be able to offer recommendations and a content editor can help strategize the exact wording.

        Keeping Communication Brief, But Complete
        Because of the need for clarity and the benefits of communicating quickly, there are advantages to keeping messages as short and concise as possible. A brief, clear message will generally be most effective for communicating quickly online. Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as situations where in-depth articles are used to provide detailed information to visitors who are interested in such information. Keeping a message brief and complete is a major challenge. One of the reasons taglines are so effective is that they can communicate something significant about the company or the website in a brief statement that, ideally, leaves a memorable impression on the visitor.

        Proper use of bullet points, heading and sub-headings also help with message clarity.

        Having Personality
        Online communication is unlike forms of communication that allow face-to-face interaction between two people. In online communication, the human visitor receives a message from a website, not directly from a person. However, the most effective communication generally occurs on websites that show some kind of personality in that communication. The website is a representation of the company or the person behind it, and showing that in the communication is important.

        Digital Mash, the portfolio website of designer Rob Morris, shows some personality with the tagline “Hero for Hire.” While there are tons of designer portfolio websites out there, Rob’s stands out in part because this statement shows some personality. 

        Graphics and overall design should demonstrate your personality. Other elements, such as Flash or Javascript developed interactive pieces help show personality and add interest for the end-user.

        Not Overpowering the Communication with the Design
        The design and appearance of a website should be used strategically to enhance the message of the website, but it can also become an overpowering element that hinders communication. The content of the website is of primary importance, while the appearance of the website should be used to make the visit more pleasant, memorable and easier. The design of a website should not become a priority over the content, or else the website will suffer in usability.

        Web design should be created to compliment and enhance the message, not the other way around.

        Getting and Keeping Attention
        If you have an audience with a very short attention span and that is quick to close the browser or visit another website, getting and keeping its attention is a necessary prerequisite to effective communication. This also goes back to the issue of having a clear and concise message that communicates to visitors before they get confused or bored with the website. If visitors arrive at a website and cannot easily understand its purpose or what it offers them, they’re likely to move elsewhere.

        It is also relevant to consider page load-time also here. These days, most users have a quick speed Internet connection, but heavy images or other elements may lose the attention of your audience before your page even finishes loading!

        Article Source: Steven Snell on Smashing Magazine outlined the importance and breakdown of clear and effective communication online. It is worth repeating the key points. This information is relevant to any and all web sites with a purpose.

        _________________

        Contact TBH Creative for professional, full-service web site solutions. TBH Creative is based in Indianapolis, Indiana and specializes in web design and creating effective online messages.
         

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