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2013 Web Trends

It wouldn't be a new year without a new set of lists. January is a time for making educated guesses about what the year will hold. Many blogs have focused in on specific areas of web development and technology to make predictions.

At TBH Creative, we might work on an email marketing strategy for a client in the morning, social media ideas around lunch, and a responsive web redesign project in the afternoon. We've closely examined lots of different lists for a variety of web-related needs, and the following trends stood out as ones you can expect to see more of in 2013.

Mega-menu: Another solution to cluttered navigation


The term mega-menu was first used by usability expert Jakob Nielsen, who summed it up in this article, as a "big, 2-dimensional drop-down panels group navigation options to eliminate scrolling and use typography, icons, and tooltips to explain users' choices." (Source: Nielsen Norman Group)

For several years now, e-commerce websites, among others, have see the benefits of mega-menu navigation. This type of dropdown menu gives the user the ability to choose from any link in one, single glance. Below I take a look at why mega menus are important and explore a few websites using this type of navigation successfully.

Why are mega-menus important for navigation?


As mentioned above, a mega-menu gives users a seamless view of all the navigation options. Users are able to find their destination in one action, rather than hovering over each section to find the intended item. Furthermore, reducing the number of levels of hierarchy in your navigation will create a better user experience for your visitors.

The mega-menu also solves several challenges we see with the traditional hover-menu. With the use of a single unified navigation, we reduce the risk of accidental menu triggers. Often times when a user is forced to follow a path to get to the next link, they will trigger an unwanted menu item, thus loosing their current item.

With all the buzz about responsive websites, how does this translate to mobile?


The simplest solution to this is to display only the general sections of your navigation to be visible on mobile devices. In addition, be very careful of using hover or dropdown states on mobile devices. A better option is to use an onClick to reveal/hide the dropdown menu.

3 examples of successful mega-menu navigation


The Whitehouse.gov navigation

The White House website has a few noteworthy features:
  • Content area on the right offers a good example of featuring a call-to-action
  • Content hierarchy is clear by using bolded categories and visible subcategories

Target.com navigation


Several elements stand out on Target.com website:
  • We see the use of a side content area to display related categories and featured deals
  • Strong visual design gives user clear and single view of all the categories under "Home”


University of Nebraska-Lincoln navigation


University of Nebraska-Lincoln site offers user good functionality and a single view of all links. The entire menu is triggered upon hover, giving the user all available options to choose from.


In summary.


A mega-menu can solve many challenges for both large and small business websites. The key to a successful menu is clear content hierarchy, strong visual design, and creating a unified user experience when navigating through the menu.


There are always ways to improve your website navigation. Let TBH Creative help your company define a great user experience for your website's visitors with our complete web design services.

Know your audience: The value of the audience persona

The value of the audience persona
It seems like a simple statement: Know your audience. One of those concepts that's so obvious you shouldn't even have to say it. But many people charge forward with their website design without taking the time to know their audience. When that happens, the result is almost always going to be short-lived.

Facebook Tabs Example 8: Social Media Feeds

We are continuing with our series about Facebook tabs with some specific examples of how they can be used to further promote your Facebook business profile page. We recently reviewed Email Newsletter Signup Forms and Location Maps. This week we will discuss integration of social media feeds into your profile.

Why is this relevant and important? It is smart marketing to re-promote your social media efforts because the integration will give your followers everything in one place. For example, if a visitor has found you on Facebook, why not show them what else you are doing on Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and other social media profiles without requiring them to leave for another website. If your other profiles are filled with good information, it will keep them on your Facebook page longer—ultimately learning about your company or organization.

We will explore a few social media profiles that are commonly integrated into Facebook pages with examples: Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. Other profiles that you participate in or may become popular in the future are also good ideas for integration. Typically, the integration is very simple and instructions can be found online from a search.

Twitter Facebook integration

On TBH Creative's Facebook page, we intertwine our Twitter posts to a feed page.
Our tweets are not targeted for our Facebook Timeline, but this page is a nice
representation of our profile for anyone interested.

Our Twitter feed was set up using Woobox Twitter Page App.
The Children's Place uses the same approach as shown above and
used by many others. They also have Pinterest tab/feed.

Pinterest Facebook integration

WP Engine promotes its Pinterest profile using Pinvolve App which pulls
Pinterest data very similar to being right on Pinterest.
Inteprid Travel uses Woobox Pinterest App as shown above in a popular presentation.

YouTube Facebook integration

Marsh Supermarkets offers videos in a nice scrollbar presentation.

Garmin presents its videos within Facebook on a separate tab using YouTube for Pages by Involver.
It’s easy to install, the layout is nice, and it allows for easy sharing. The application is easy to install from
http://www.facebook.com/YouTubeApp and then click the Add to My Page link on the left sidebar.

Don't forget to customize your tabs menu with a corresponding graphic

Ann Taylor promotes its additional social media through two custom tabs for Twitter and Pinterest.

Summary

If you do not want a separate tab/page for each of your additional social media profiles, we encourage you to promote the other profiles in some fashion. A feed or custom page will allow all of the information in one place, but there are other options for presenting and promoting your profiles. As one example, see L.L. Bean's Facebook page below called "Join the Conversation." It does not pull in data from each profile, but the page presents L.L. Bean's additional profiles very nicely with short descriptions and links.

L.L. Bean offers one page promoting all social media profiles with short descriptions
and one-click links to each profile.
In addition to our example of Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube channels, we encourage promotion of all populated social profiles that might align with your business. For example Instagram, Google+, Vimeo, Tumblr, Delicious, or LinkedIn to name a few.

Ann Taylor uses their Instagram profile to promote their product line.
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Web Design: Klapper Eyelid & Facial Plastic Surgery

We launched a new website for Klapper Eyelid & Facial Plastic Surgery. You may view Dr. Klapper's new website at klapperplasticsurgery.com.

We started working with Dr. Klapper in 2010. At that time his current site was confusing to navigate and difficult to update. We helped Dr. Klapper organize the information for his prospective audience by clearly dividing his offerings into two main categories - description of his services and patient education information about the problems they may be having. The addition of impressive photos showing patients before and after procedures highlighted his services and ability.

Dr. Klapper's previous website was a static website that was difficult to manage or update. We created a custom application allowing Dr. Klapper and his team to easily add new services, photos, and all information on the website.



TBH Creative has assisted Dr. Klapper with general marketing from brand development, domain management, social media set up and general marketing advice. We continue to work with Dr. Klapper on his search engine optimization to get the most from his newly designed website.

About Dr. Stephen Klapper

Stephen R. Klapper, M.D., F.A.C.S. is a a board-certified, fellowship-trained ophthalmologist specializing in ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery in central Indiana.  His  practice is entirely focused on adult and pediatric cosmetic and reconstructive eyelid and facial plastic surgery, tear duct surgery, orbital disease, thyroid eye disease, and the anophthalmic patient. Additionally Dr. Klapper also has extensive experience performing facial Botox® injections and Restylane®, Perlane®, Juvederm®, and Radiesse® cosmetic facial fold injections.


Why optimize your email for mobile devices?

With the growth of smart phones and tablet use, responsive web design has quickly become a web design standard. But, as an email marketer, where does email fit into the interactive space? Many email communications are designed for desktop users, but with a 48% increase in email opens on mobile devices in 2012 (Source: Litmus Email Analytics), it’s time to make the shift to responsive email design. If your main interaction with your customers happens via email, it's crucial these communications are optimized for users with mobile and tablet devices.

What parts of your email need to be optimized for mobile?

You may be asking yourself, which elements of my e-newsletter could be overlooked if it isn't optimized for mobile users? Below are tips to get the best results from your emails, no matter your recipients are using to read them.
  1. Call-to-action (CTA): Make sure your main call-to-action is clear, visible, and easy to find. To do this, make sure your important content is above the fold and is typeset in a larger font size. You want the subscriber to effortlessly click through the email.
  2. Simplify your message: With responsive design, you have the ability to reformat and hide the less important elements of your email, keeping the essential messaging at the forefront.
  3. Enlarge fonts: Making the font larger will greatly reduce the recipients need to pinch and zoom, as well as making links easier to identify and click.
  4. Navigation: If your email contains navigation, for example mirroring your website, it is best to create a single-column navigation. On the other hand, often times the navigation will be removed all together.
  5. Use a single-column layout: By stacking all the elements of your email, you reduce the recipient’s need to pinch and zoom. Images are larger, font is larger, and scrolling becomes apparent. Users on mobile are already accustomed to scrolling, so use this to your advantage.
  6. Test, test and test again: The only way to determine if your email is rendering correctly is to test in various email clients and browsers. Litmus, a leader in HTML email and browser testing, is a great tool that allows you to test and view your email as it would appear to a user on both mobile and desktop devices.

See the difference.

Below is an example of an HTML email design for desktop (left) next to a responsive email designed for users viewing the e-newsletter on mobile devices. Each of the tips above have been implemented in the email on the right. The CTA is visible, the messaging is clear, and the font is legible and large.


Additional Resources

  • See more layout patterns and examples for mobile device at www.LukeW.com
  • Check out the latest (updated monthly) email client market share, collected from 189 million email opens from December 2012.

Mobile Design: When is it time to take the plunge?

As a website manager or business owner, you're already aware of the fact that more and more people are using a mobile device to access the Internet. You might have even pulled up your website on your smartphone to see how it looks... and you think it's okay... at least for now.

The fact of the matter is that a website not designed to be viewed on a mobile device is hard to read, hard to use and, in many cases, will turn away your audience. And your audience is, indeed, moving to mobile devices. According to a study done by Pingdom, 8% of all web traffic in the United States came from a mobile device in 2012. That's a number that's rising each month. In fact, Microsoft predicts that mobile Internet use will overtake desktop Internet use by 2014.

Still not convinced?

According to reports from Google, 27% of smartphone users search for local information on their phone every single day. More than half of those people then called or visited the business they found as a result of their search. It's true, Internet use by mobile devices affects organizations right here in Central Indiana.

More statistics from Google that illustrate the importance of presenting your organization in a mobile-friendly fashion:
•    60% of people expect a mobile site to load in 3 secs or less
•    40% of people have turned to another website because of a bad mobile experience
•    61% of users call a business after searching and 59% visit the location
•    90% of these people act within 24 hours
•    81% of users prefer mobile sites to apps for researching prices

The question isn't if you should incorporate a mobile design into your web presence. The question is when.

When is it time to invest in mobile design?

There's no denying that overall trends are pointing to increased use of mobile devices to access websites. But how does that impact the website for your organization based in Indianapolis, Indiana? It's time to watch traffic reports. If you're not already monitoring page views and visits from a mobile device, you should be. (And if you don't know how or where to access that usage statistic, ask us and we'll help.) We recommend that when your mobile traffic accounts for 20% of your overall traffic, it's time to make the move to a mobile design. If your mobile traffic is more than 10%, we recommend that you start planning for a mobile design so that you can stay ahead of the trend.

How do you incorporate a mobile design into your web presence?

Developing a mobile-friendly website can give you a competitive advantage - and that's where TBH Creative can help. You don't need to change your brand, your colors or your style. You do need a design that is built to work in a mobile format. You need a design that uses Responsive Web Design (RWD) and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) - technologies which recognize the type of device a reader is using and adjusts the site specs to fit it. And if you haven't updated your web design in a while, now is the time to consider it. Your website should be based on HTML5 - the most current version of markup language that supports the latest in multimedia technology. Incorporating these technologies in your primary website and mobile site are steps you'll need to take to ensure that your audience is still able to get the most out of your online presence.

Tech terms aside - you need a design that is easy for your users to see on their smart phone or tablet. 

Here's an example from a recent TBH Creative project. Before investing in a mobile design, the CareerXroads website was functional on a mobile device. Users could access key information but had to zoom in to read the text and the links were very difficult to use simply because of their small size. After evaluating traffic trends, CareerXroads decided it was time to implement a mobile design. The result? A site that quickly and easily takes people to key information. In the first few months after launching the mobile site, CareerXroads has already noticed a difference in how long mobile users are staying on their site and clicking deeper.


Facebook Tabs Example 7: Email Newsletter Sign-Up

Facebook marketing is no longer just a recommended marketing tactic, it is necessity. Facebook a growing marketing platform for your business with a lot of power. We have been discussing Facebook custom tabs, from typical photo albums to videos and maps. In this post, I will reveal helpful tips for integrating your email list with Facebook, allowing your visitors to subscribe to email blasts directly from your Facebook page.

Career Opportunity: Executive Assistant (Part-time)


TBH Creative is seeking an assistant to work on a variety of tasks to support to owner.

Required Skills

  • Strong computer and Internet research skills.
  • Flexibility, excellent interpersonal skills, project coordination experience, and the ability to work well with team, outside clients, and vendors.
  • Copy editing experience to ensure document text is readable, accurate and ready for publication.
Experience working on website and social media projects as well as marketing is a significant plus.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Greeting visitors.
  • Documentation of business and project processes.
  • Screening phone calls, inquiries and requests, and handling them when appropriate.
  • Responding to incoming email, faxes and mail, often corresponding on behalf of the manager.
  • Taking dictation and meeting minutes.
  • Carrying out background research and presenting findings.
  • Handling assorted secretarial and administrative tasks.
  • Arranging meetings, as well as attending and ensuring the manager is well prepared.
  • Performing client project quality reviews and providing general client support.
  • Handling personal errands for manager as necessary.
The owner's tasks and needs change day-to-day/moment-to-moment; the ideal candidate will be quick to follow needs and help manage/cover the flow of priorities.

We offer a flexible hours and a competitive salary. Our office is located in Carmel, Indiana at the Carmel Office Suites.

Read more about the position and apply online.

Career Opportunity: Indianapolis Web Professional

TBH Creative is seeking an experienced web professional. The ideal candidate will be well equipped to handle a variety of website creation and marketing needs. If you understand websites for business and have a broad range of skills from coding and making graphics to handling social media, you may be a fit.

Preferred candidates will be skilled at managing multiple projects in a fast-paced environment while paying attention to details. This is an opportunity to work in a high energy environment, utilize your skills and experience, and continue to grow your expertise.

We offer a flexible hours, an opportunity to work on great projects and share your expertise, and a competitive salary. Our office is located in Carmel, Indiana at the Carmel Office Suites.

What will you do in this role?

The responsibilities and day-to-day tasks will be defined based on your qualifications and expertise in the industry—so show us what you can offer. Here is an idea of the types of tasks you may be assigned.
  • Create prototypes for client projects.
  • Design, code, and test technical solutions.
  • Develop custom CSS bringing graphic and brand designs to the web.
  • Page by page website auditing to increase effectiveness and performance of website.
  • Routine daily maintenance of existing sites and applications – from graphics to code.
  • Social media and online marketing assistance. 
  • Provide Google Adwords and Google Analytics setup, reporting/analysis, and maintenance.
  • Engage in proactive and outside-the-box thinking and apply to problem solving. 
Read more about the position and apply online.

Facebook Tabs Example 6: Maps

We have been reviewing Facebook marketing and custom tabs since before the holiday. The time has passed for Facebook to be simply a "good idea" for web marketing plans. Our blog's recent focus on Facebook marketing a lot because Facebook should now be an essential part of your strategy.

In our last post of this series, I reviewed how to effectively use Facebook events and I shared seven tips. In this post, I'll review including a map tab on your page. If you have a physical location for your business or organization, we recommend that you include a map or locations page in your Facebook profile.

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