Creating a Website Design Brief

The start of any major project can be intimidating and daunting. All of a sudden we get impulses to clean our office space, sort out business cards alphabetically, clean the top ledge of the cabinet that has been collecting dust for two years, load that app on your phone that you haven’t played for a year because all of a sudden you remember how much you loved that game (I recommend stick tennis), the list goes on. Website Design Brief

For a lot of people, the thought of creating a new website will definitely create this feeling that can be overwhelming. The answer to calming the nerves and providing a great starting point for the creation of a new website is in creating a website design brief.

What is a Design Brief?

A website design brief or creative direction brief is an overview of the look and feel of a new website. It gives a website designer what they need in order to come up with designs that are on target and on strategy.

Making Websites Mobile Friendly Without Sacrifice

Mobile browsing is on the upanup (pun intended) and at a staggering rate. At the beginning of the year, overall mobile site traffic on average had jumped to 10%.  As we head into the new year companies are starting to see mobile visits to be climbing towards the 20% of total site traffic. There is no denying the rapid increase of mobile browsing and the growing need to have a mobile friendly website.

Considering the fact that 85% of Canadians are phone subscribers and 45% of those have smartphones this should come as no real surprise. What is surprising is the lack of awareness companies and businesses have when it comes to making their site mobile friendly. It may seem like a daunting, time consuming and expensive project, but it doesn’t have to be. Oak Bay Responsive Design

Platinum and Gold MarCom Awards for Upanup

Upanup is pleased to have received notification from Marcom that we won platinum for the Return-it mobile website in the Mobile Website category, and gold for the TPC Financial website in the Professional Services category.

The Return-it mobile site was jointly designed by Encorp Pacific staff and our creative team, and developed at Upanup in conjunction with Stargate. It effectively displays the Return-it website in a mobile friendly format across multiple devices. The site incorporates maps, find a location near you, tables and social media integration.

The TPC Financial website was designed and developed at Upanup. The site promotes TPC’s services and incorporates an e-commerce solution for online book sales. The use of clear imagery, calls-to-action and online forms assisted in reaching the goals for TPC Financial.

Silver for Upanup & Outset Media at Davey Awards

We're pleased to have received notification today that we won a silver award for the Outset Media website in the toy/hobby category.The site was jointly designed by Outset staff and our creative team, and developed at Upanup using Drupal content management system. It effectively promotes Outset's brand and profiles hundreds of Outset's products. The site incorporates a great deal of imagery, videos and a blog by the founder of the company. 

The Davey Awards are the largest and most prestigious awards competition exclusively for the "Davids" of creativity.

Non-Design is better than Bad Design

If you've ever been a part of corporate business culture, you might have seen a presentation that is hard to read, a website that’s nearly impossible to use, or business cards that look like a bad craft project. When I see bad design I immediately think:

  • They have low standards
  • They trying to cover up something
  • They can’t afford professional design
  • What a bad first impression

So, say you aren’t a designer and don’t have the time or budget. That's okay. For one it’s better to use "Non-Design" than to try and design it yourself. Let your ideas, products and concepts be your "design."

Instead, use the templates that come pre-installed with your business software, or don’t use any style at all. Experienced designers made those templates and styles for you. For the best results choose a simple one and keep the default styling. Your clients aren’t coming to you for your design skills, they simply want to better understand what you have to offer.

Things to Consider When Designing an Intranet

It’s always been an interesting proposition for companies and businesses to define how much time, effort and resources they dedicate to the internal website component of the intranet.

Even in small or medium-sized businesses, an intranet can serve an important purpose when it comes to employee communication, process efficiency, human resources and making things run smoothly. For smart companies, the intranet is a productive and beneficial resource for the company where employees communicate, obtain updates, share resources and celebrate milestones. Ideally, all companies would like to have their intranet operate in this fashion.

The best way to think about your intranet is to think of it as an internal website. A site that is easy to navigate, update and share information. A site that is user friendly, in line with company branding and above all else, serves an interactive purpose. We have created a simple feature checklist to use when planning an internal website for a mid-sized company. Consider the following categories and sections and decide on which areas are important for your business.

Upanup Has Game From The Outset

Website Launched for Outset Media May 25, 2012 – Upanup Studios is pleased to have developed and launched an interactive website for Outset Media (, a prominent board game and puzzle maker based in Victoria, BC. The site, launched with more than 400 unique URLs, is completely customized and interactive, targeting end-users and retailers of Outset’s products.

The site was built utilizing the Drupal open-source content management system (CMS) which, along with Wordpress and Joomla, is one of the three major CMS's that Upanup typically considers for website development.

Upanup designed the site to be responsive to various platforms. This means the design aesthetic, navigation and usability is optimized whether somebody is viewing the site on an iPhone, Android, Blackberry, tablet, laptop or desktop.

Other features of Outset Media's new CMS website include scalable product-listing management, customizable forms, editable feature banners, photo library management, a video feed and several other admin-friendly content tools.

Upanup Wins "Best in Class" Interactive Media Award

And now some shameless self-promotion:

Upanup Studios is pleased to announce that we have received a "Best in Class" award from the judges of The Interactive Media Awards™ (IMA). Chosen from among 350+ international entrants, Upanup appears to be one of only eight companies to receive the "Best in Class" award in the highly competitive category of "Web Design/Development." This is awarded only to those websites that the IMA judges score higher than 480/500.

The IMAs "recognize the highest standards of excellence in website design and development and honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement," and are open to international "individuals and organizations involved in designing, developing, managing, supporting and promoting websites." Upanup is proud to have achieved a perfect or almost perfect score in each of the five categories that the judges consider. The categories, and our scores, are:

Embrace Online Change

“We don’t want to be too flashy and over-the-top.” There seems to be a common concern shared amongst companies that updating or rebuilding online communications will result in a narcissistic and in-your-face approach.

When a company or organization has the same understated, and sometimes severely lacking, web presence for a period of time it establishes a comfort zone internally and that works for a lot of people. They don’t seem to mind appearing cheap, and they like people to think they are too busy to care. They think that “If it isn’t broken, why fix it?”

The reality is that IT IS broken. If a restaurant with great food has a damaged entryway and sign and a menu that is hard to look at, it will still get customers, even if it is less than they would otherwise. However, over time, their reputation will suffer and there will be less trust that they stand for quality and have their act together. So, even though business is continuing, it is broken – and it does need to be fixed.


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