Sunday, 22 January 2012

Yum Yum - Free Italian Pizza Offers

A few quick tidy-ups for the Ivanos Italian website resulted in a WordPress MailChimp plugin being used to add a double opt-in registration widget for fans of Pizza in the Dumfries area.

Subscribers only will be eligible for the free pizza offers highlighted in the newsletter for menu and "special offer" updates.

Much cappuccino was imbibed during this process.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Facebook domination of web page screen real-estate

A simple Facebook page was created for with some information about the Aviemore-based outdoor shop in the Scottish highlands, along with some product images from the different sections: wooden sledges, snowshoes, budget sledges, etc.

The latest step was to add and test the like button for each of the products on the e-commerce website so that visitors could share products with friends within their own facebook worlds. Also a link from website to facebook page seemed obligatory!

The emerging trend is that wee facebook icon links and like buttons (and associated html5, og meta-tags, etc) are getting peppered across more and more sites on the internet. Facebook can piggyback on the hard work people put in on driving relevant traffic to their websites by siphoning off "social" activity by visitors.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Rivendell B&B - Dumfries

This required some admin work - sorting out Facebook accounts and pages, TripAdvisor accounts and widgets, customising Wordpress themes, and inevitably the transfer of hosting to Callisti services from the legacy provider (see earlier posts.)

The B&B website features an online booking widget and calendar for visitors to book without having to speak to a human directly and in their own time. Not all the rooms are available online so if you're looking for a Bed and Breakfast break you can resort to telephone calls and emails. Or like they did in olden days, turn up at the door and ask.

The design was influenced mainly by the Rivendell team to match their existing offline marketing materials.

Sunday, 6 November 2011 (beta)

The third way in 'rich-media' posting - this can link with facebook and twitter accounts. Currently trying it out ( beta) tentatively after an automated email from Mixx. Naturally there's a mobile app and you can edit your profile, etc.

Kind of like twitter UI but nicer looking. Not sure where it will fit alongside linkedin, google+, facebook and twitter but maybe it offers something more holistic.

Claim your usernames now before they get taken!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Don't Milk Dead Cows (Cashing In On Scottish Culture)

This project is NOT being part-financed by the Scottish government, the European Community, Dumfries and Galloway Leader programme, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, etc.

The last thing visitors should see in Dumfries and Galloway is a herd of dying white elephants roaming around the region. If these "cultural" projects were children, Dumfries and Galloway agencies would be guilty of neglect and for failing to give their offspring the tools and skills required for long-term survival and independence.

Knee-jerk reactionaries chasing the magical mystery funding train in order to stave off the inevitable end of a delusion should not be continually rewarded. Sometimes the harder path is to actually produce something through organised work, and to try and maintain those things for the benefit of the many. Even if it means taking a punch on the nose when it goes wrong. Scotland has a reputation for creative musicians, artists and wordsmiths (and people who punch people on the nose). It also has a recent history of manufacturing and production. What is being added to this today?

There seems to be a new Scottish culture set to stifle the progress of the Scottish person: talking shops, big boards, planning committees and partnership agencies, funding vehicles, quangos, and channels for laundering tax-payers' money to trickle it back down to the public after the Directors' cut.

But only for those who can convince the purse-string holders they can bring visitors to Scotland that will line private pockets. The amount of time, energy, talk and money spent on encouraging people who don't already live here to come here and spend money, or start businesses, is in direct contrast to the growing droves of young people who need to leave to find a life opportunity and whose paths are beset on all sides.

How does this serve the long-term future of the people of Scotland and tomorrow's legacy? Concentrate on building an ongoing legacy today. You don't get good milk from a dead cow.

O to live the lives of others
Hands that quickly seize the day
The greatest clearly move in circles
Oblivious they hurtle
Move out of their way

(M. Campbell, circa 1999)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Hammocks youtube playlist on website

Handmade Hammocks is still an Actinic ecommerce site so presents its own environment of challenges for maintenance work. Most recently the feature has been updated to dynamically show Actinic content pages in the navigation menu.

This means the client can update content more easily using the Actinic UI without having to edit template files in dreamweaver.

Similarly the embedded video on the website homepage has now been updated to show the Hammocks Youtube playlist by adding the embed code to the Actinic home page template, removing the need to manually edit the template file in e.g. Dreamweaver (or your preferred code editor of choice)

Here's a quick how-to:

1. Create a youtube playlist

Log in to your youtube account
Click on 'my videos' and look for 'playlists' in the left-hand menu
Click on '+ new'
Give the playlist a title, description and some tags, then save.

2. Add videos to youtube playlist

Your list of uploaded videos should show with checkboxes beside them
Check the boxes of the videos you want to appear in your playlist and choose 'add videos'
At the top of your video list, click the 'add to' button and select the new playlist from the list.

3. Embed youtube playlist on website

Click on 'playlist' on the left-hand menu, this will list your playlist(s)
Click on your playlist title
Above your playlist, click on the 'share' button
Copy and paste the code for a straight link to playlist
Click on 'embed' to customise the size, privacy and HD/https options a bit (seems to be a minimum player width of 200px)

4. Paste generated code into the right place.

5. Look at what you've done just to check it's worked ok before doing the next thing on your list

Friday, 23 September 2011

Galloway Velvet - Actinic exercise

Actinic is an ecommerce platform that Callisti has mixed feelings about. On one side it promises so much in terms of administrative control of the shop, with marketing features and template control but on the other it is full of antiquated code and table cells that need manually edited in a behemoth design and layout management system.

That being said it is conceivable to customise the theme and make it look as un-Actinic-like as possible.

Variables, Layouts and Fragments.

Also there is the site snapshot feature which lets the designer send an export of the site files to the client so that they can import to their own installation of (the correct version of) Actinic. It's quite unique in the world on online shopping carts and doesn't use a mysql database which is fresh.