Thank you Start Communications Graphic Design

Thank you for the design referrals!

At START, we had an exceptionally busy summer. Designing everything from logos for products, websites for large national corporations to small but very important sales materials for trade shows. The unique thing about all of this is, it was all referred work, our current clients referring work back to us, what a compliment!

This never goes unnoticed, gifts were sent out to all of these thoughtful clients who took the time to remember us, our way of saying thank you and we appreciate having the opportunity to serve you. We look forward to establishing these new relationships and helping our clients get noticed and succeed beyond their wildest dreams.

Thank you for allowing us to do what we love best…design.

Design solutions that are right from the START.

Start Communications British Columbia Vancouver Island

It’s been a year since Google started to penalize non-mobile friendly websites

Over the last few years we have been notifying our clients and publishing articles online and in print (see our blog) concerning the importance of businesses changing their websites to a responsive mobile friendly websites or be left behind. Today marks 1 year since Google made this change, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly you are probably feeling it, your website rankings in Google searches could be penalized as Google updates their algorithm. 

“Starting April 21, 2015 we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

Ref Google Blog

What are the requirements to make my website ‘mobile friendly’?

Requirements are quite simple:

  1. The website must be scalable – there shouldn’t be need to zoom and pan around a page to view it all
  2. Fonts must be readable without having to zoom in
  3. Links must not be too close together so fingers and thumbs can click on them easily

If you are still not sure what to do?
Contact us see what options are available to you. If your business depends on it’s website, this could be the best investment you make all year! Call 778-418-3333 today!

mobilegeddon Start Communications Graphic Design Campbell River Courtenay Comox Vancouver Island

“Google’s Mobilegeddon…is your website ready?”

Over the last few years we have **written a few articles and talked to clients in great length concerning the importance of having your website mobile friendly (responsive design website).

Starting April 21, Google will use mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor in searches (noted on Google’s blog). This means if your competitor(s) have a responsive design website (mobile friendly) they will more than likely move ahead of you in the search results, dropping your website further down in the rankings.

Google is only keeping up with the profound use of mobile devices, providing optimized search results for their customers. We have all been there, visiting a website which is ‘not’ mobile friendly, not a pleasant experience. These none-mobile friendly websites will be eliminated from the rankings giving responsive design websites their day in the sun.

Is your website ready? If not, contact us, we can help!


(**February 7, 2013 “Responsive Website Design is the Smart Solution for Business”,  January 20, 2015 “Websites get Freshened up and a Boost from Mobile Traffic”)

Website Design

Giving one of Canada’s Largest Aquaculture companies fresh ‘web’ Scales

Clean and crisp optimized images, mobile device friendly (responsive website design), and content managed (CMS).


Responsive Web Design Comox Valley, Campbell River

Websites get Freshened up and a Boost from Mobile Traffic

Just last year we gave the Hardy Buoys Smoked Fish Inc. website a fresh new look and now everything runs smoothly on mobile and tablet devices (responsive website design). Since then we’ve done the same for many other websites and small business websites like Returning to Hope and Bebbington Industries.

We’ve mentioned before and in a few of our published articles (Feb. 7, 2013,“Responsive Website Design is the Smart Solution for Business”) how important it is for your website to be mobile friendly. Many of the businesses we worked with last year and the ones mentioned above, learned about responsive website design by reading one of our articles and then enquired about making the switch to a responsive designed website. Most, if not all of these businesses are now seeing great results and getting a boost from mobile traffic. Now, mobile users are entering the website and viewing page after page and are able to make buying decisions, where before, most of these mobile users would enter the website and leave since the website was not friendly to mobile devices.

Today we are going to add to the above, it’s even more important for e-commerce sites to be a responsive too as it can have a huge impact on sales for e-commerce sites. With around 60% of all consumer web-traffic being done using mobile devices, it’s now critical for e-commerce sites to support mobile platforms.

Here’s some interesting stats:

  • 60% of consumers are using either a mobile phone or tablet to browse online
  • 45% of consumer sales are made on mobile devices
  • 78% of consumers are opening emails on a mobile device
  • Visitors from emailers are 10x more likely to buy something compared with traffic from social media

Your website may need to be freshened up and could use a boost from mobile traffic. START Communications can make the entire website development process easy for you. Bring in your most challenging projects. We’re here to help. Contact us today.

Hope Island Website Design

Small business “responsive” website

START Communications websites look great, deliver results, and always work. When you’ve invested in marketing your website, you don’t want to disappoint your visitors when they get there. It’s the gateway to your business, so START Communications will make sure your website is welcoming, and works very well.

START Communications websites are built using responsive web design, which means that your website will look fantastic to every visitor and on every device. From smartphones to tablets to laptops to PC monitors – it’s great to know that your website will always be looking its best.

Here is an excellent example of a responsive small business website. Great photography, video and website design.

More on responsive website design >>

The dirt on QR CODES for business

“The dirt on QR CODES for business”

Over the last few months since our article on “Responsive Website Design” in which we mentioned QR codes (Quick Response Code), I have been asked a fair amount about them and how companies can implement them into their business. So here is a little bit about the subject.

QR codes have been around for a while (since 1994). Toyota invented QR codes to track vehicles and parts during manufacturing. Toyota would place them on their vehicles and parts for identification with a quick scan of a QR reader. In the last few years QR codes have taken off in mainstream business because Smartphones are now equipped with QR reader applications.

QR codes are a type of two-dimensional bar code (as seen above) that can be read using Smartphones and other devices. By scanning the code the user is linked directly to text, emails, websites, phone numbers and more. The beauty of QR codes is that the information contained in them is stored online and changes or updates to that information can be done in minutes.

Keep the code simple.
To avoid readability issues I recommend the QR code image be black, no less than 1″ square and have a 1/4″ white space running around, this allows an easy scan for the user. The QR code is meant to enable a user to get information quickly and easily; therefore, issues with readability can defeat the QR codes purpose.

Keep the content of your QR code to a simple website URL (targeted web page), a small line of text, a small text message, or, if used as a V Card – just your name, phone and e-mail. The more data your QR code contains, the larger more complex the code will be, and the more difficult it will be to scan, again defeating the purpose.

Remember that the information contained in the QR code should be designed for use on a mobile device.

Here is an online example of a QR code.
This QR code is designed to allow the user to easily scan the QR code directly from their computer screen, capturing the contact information on their Smartphone. This saves them from keying the information into their Smartphone. Since the website is a Responsive design website they can easily view the website on their Smartphone or tablet devices without any problems.

The possibilities of use are endless.
Product Labels: Place a QR code label onto an item you have manufactured, guiding people to a parts or consumables page making it easier for your customers to order, find specifications or even download assembly instructions.
Business Fronts: Add a QR code to your business front window directing people to your website products page, so even when you are closed people can browse and get maybe the information they are looking for.
Trade Shows: Great for exhibition stands, a QR code on display makes it easy for people at your stand or passing by to collect and store your information for a later reference.
Product Packaging: Allow space for a QR code directing customers to a product page where they can learn more about the product.
Print Marketing Campaigns: If you advertise using product sell sheets, banners, posters or magazine ads, using QR codes here is practically mandatory.  The code used here should link to a mobile-friendly webpage specifically created to match the campaign used in your print material.
Realtors: Realtors can use QR codes on property listing posters they leave in public places (code will lead to a mobile friendly version of online property listing, including pictures, address and map), on their business cards (clients will scan and contact info will automatically be added to their phone’s address book), on the property’s For Sale sign (the code would take the user directly to an online listing where they can immediately learn more about the property while sitting in their car).

Be realistic where you use QR codes.
I have seen incorrect QR code usage everywhere, from a “yellow” QR code on a poster which a QR reader can not read to “moving” advertisement on the back of transit bus to one that was obviously not tested before use and directed users to different website than the one intended.

QR codes are a great tool for business if well thought out and used properly.  If you want more information about how to make QR codes work for your business do not hesitate to contact me. START Communications works with its clients to create QR codes, select appropriate information for their QR codes and apply the codes to existing or new sales and marketing material.

“Measuring the Impact of Responsive Website Design”

Luke Wroblewski (new window will open) offers a summary of facts of recently published data on the bottom line impact of a number of recent responsive design roll-outs, including Time Inc.’s well-regarded recent redesign.

Read our article “Responsive Website Design is the Smart Solution for Business”

Responsive Website Design Moncton New Brunswick

“Responsive website design given praise”. Interview: Daily Newspaper, Times & Transcript

Published in Times & Transcript, Thursday, March 7, 2013, Page A9

By Craig Babstock, Times & Transcript Staff

Graphic designers are a meticulous bunch of people. They like everything precise and exact and want things to look just right.

So when they design a website, then visit that site to see how it looks, they expect it to be perfect. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. “A few years ago it was hugely frustrating when you completed a website, a customer signs off on it and then he views it on a computer and some things have moved,” said Eric Beal, who owns START Communications.

Beal said websites often look different depending on the kind of computer or device used to view them.
“When you design a website, the problem that’s been around since the beginning is making sure what I design is reflected on every screen out there,” he said.

Going from a PC to a Mac can mean different fonts or displaced graphics, and websites can also look different depending on the size of a computer screen. Websites accessed via tablets and smartphones can be distorted or not work properly.
A new method of designing and building websites was created a few years ago called “responsive website design.” Beal described it as the forefront of website development.
Essentially, a responsively designed website responds to the screen size of the device that opens it and displays it properly, without distortion. So businesses only need one website which will work properly for all devices.

Beal said many people aren’t familiar with this new method yet, but over the last six to eight months it’s been gaining momentum and has become available to designers like him. He said he expects as businesses learn about it the will be eager to convert their existing websites.

See our related article: “Responsive Website Design is the Smart Solution for Business”

Responsive Website Design

“Responsive Website Design is the Smart Solution for Business”

This article is about one of most fundamental changes of how corporate websites are being viewed on desktop computers and mobile devices.

At my child’s Christmas concert I took note of the large number of parents who were photographing their children’s big moments with their smartphones. I have been aware of this trend to smartphones for some time. Indeed, a 2012 Nielsen study found that half of mobile customers are smartphone owners, that two out of three new mobile buyers are opting for smartphones, and that this trend will continue. As well, people are now using devices such as iPads and tablets, which also allow them to stay online while on the fly. The Internet is no longer chained to the desktop.

What does a mobile Internet mean to business owners and managers?  In June 2012, the Internet analytics company Comscore found that within the next 12-18 months the number of website viewings on mobile devices will overtake those on desktop and laptop PCs.  Their further research revealed that four out of five smartphone owners were using their phones to shop.

Until now, websites have been designed to accommodate the relatively standard size of desktop-computer screens.  The variety of screen sizes across the different brands and versions of mobile devices presents a challenge, because most standard websites appear muddled or are inaccessible to the trail-blazing mobile shoppers. As the faces of the Internet so quickly vary, many business owners are being left behind.

To allow customers to access their websites via smartphones and mobile devices, in addition to their main website designed for a desktop computer many businesses have built websites and apps customized to specific mobile platforms, using simpler graphics and smaller screen-size designs.  This duplication is not only expensive but also a maintenance nightmare as each separate website must be kept up to date.

How many websites must an organization build and maintain?  What if a single website could be accessed on any device and be seen the way it was meant to be seen?

Five years ago I attended a seminar that introduced the idea now coined “Responsive website design”.  Five years later, this idea has finally become a reality as Responsive website design is now at the forefront of website development.  A responsively designed website responds to the screen size of the device that opens it, and displays itself accordingly.  New brands and sizes of smartphone screens will not affect the site.  This allows me, a graphic designer, to build only one website and have my intended site design displayed with integrity to all my customers, no matter what smartphone, tablet or desktop they are viewing from: one design, one website and one set of changes and updates. These websites are sleek and user friendly, and index well with search engines:  all the characteristics of a great website.

The Internet is now mobile and the number of people viewing websites on a mobile screen will only increase.  With the creation of QR (Quick Response) codes (a type of square matrix barcode that devices like a smartphone can scan for information related to an item), apps and now Responsive website design, this is an exciting and dynamic time for businesses to connect with their customers. Denying website access to customers who choose to search on their mobile devices makes no sense when such an easy and elegant solution as Responsive website design is available.

To view a Responsive website design, check out Our Work. On a desktop computer just resize your browser window and watch the site respond as you resize. On a mobile device view the site vertically then turn your mobile device horizontally and watch the site respond.

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