Tech

Custom Directories: Accessible for Every User

User-friendly. User-focused. User-centric.

Whichever term is used, enhancing a user’s experience is a top priority for clients when developing a new website. But often when describing user experience, it’s with the end-user, or site visitor, in mind. And while that is the ultimate goal, having a site that also provides a user-friendly experience to site administrators is extremely advantageous.

Recently we were approached by the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) to incorporate directories into their existing site that would make information on First Nation economic development resources and communities easily accessible to all users.

Get the Most From Your Website Search Tool

Have you ever sifted through a website trying to find the information you need, only to be road blocked by poor on-site search results?

I have. Did I give up and go to another site? Yup, and I bet you did too.

With comprehensive search engines like Google the norm it is no surprise that your website’s users expect the same level of quality from your on-site search. This includes the ability to do things like auto-correct spelling mistakes, respond to single word and long string searches and provide results that include EVERYTHING. Not just webpages, not just pdf titles, but every word on every document. Because that’s what they're used to. 

And because that’s what they're used to, they're going to leave a site that makes it harder for them to find what they’re looking for. Which means that you’ll lose site users because they are frustrated, not because your site doesn’t have what they want.

Not sure if your site provides the best search experience possible? Give it a try. Can you find a particular pdf? Does the most relevant information appear first? Not really? Then let's get started!

Figure out what you need.

Google AdWords - February Livestream Event

At 9am PT on February 11th Upanup is hosting a free Google Partners Connect one-hour livestream session at our head office in Victoria, BC. This is a great opportunity to learn about digital marketing, online advertising, Google AdWords and more. There is something to learn for the beginner, intermediate, and if you're advanced our in-house Upanup Google Partners Certified Specialist is there for any questions you have about optimizing your account and goals. Feel free to bring your laptop to test out what you learn on the spot.

Clarification for Media Reports Regarding Oak Bay Online Security

Today one of our clients, the District of Oak Bay, has been letting people know that security on one of their online services was recently compromised. The local media has picked up on the story, and unfortunately some of the reports, particularly the headlines, make it look like it was the main district site that we built and manage for Oak Bay that was compromised. This was not the case, and we felt it important to clarify as such.

The security breach was with a separately hosted and managed site at online.oakbay.ca. This is a third party service known as MyDistrict or MyCity, which Oak Bay uses for specific online transactions such as claiming home owner grants, paying tickets and paying licenses.

How we Launched More Than 50 Websites in the Past Two Months

50+ Websites launched by UpanupOn top of the large website and rebrand for the City of Colwood, the mobile site for Amica Mature Lifestyles, the brochure site for Gray Line Transportation (Sightseeing Victoria), the public company site for Pure Industrial Real Estate Trust, and a few splash sites for Brevia Energy and SunOne Developments, we also launched 45 official school websites for the Greater Victoria Sc

Drupal and Advanced Collaborative Content Authoring

One of Drupal's many strengths is it's ability to empower developers with a host of methods to architect an elaborate and granular content access permission hierarchy.  This allows multiple site administrators, typically from various organizational departments, to collaboratively administer site content through differing access levels. Upanup deployed a couple notable projects recently that required a fairly sophisticated user access structure: oakbay.ca and westfraser.com.  To achieve this, a rather complex matrix of permission levels was strung together using the following superb contributed modules:

Open Source CMS Solutions Kick the Butt of Proprietary and Custom CMS Solutions.

Proprietary content management systems are bad for clients. Ninety-nine percent of the time an open source content management system (CMS) is a superior solution, and you should really do your homework if you think you are in the one percent where a custom-built or a proprietary CMS makes sense.

Open source CMS superiority is true for all sorts of online solutions, from corporate websites, to microsites, to government sites, and on and on. It can even be true for solutions that aren't being distributed widely on the open Internet such as Intranets and display screens. The flexibility of custom style sheets (CSS) and javascript means open source solutions can deliver full-screen presentations that can even replace Flash and PowerPoint if used right.

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:

What is a Digital Agency?

Updated: January 2019

At Upanup, we define the term "digital agency" as a company that provides strategic directioncreative design, and technical development for screen-based products and services.

A digital agency helps government and business engage with specific target audiences. While a production or web development company can follow instructions to execute a digital project, clients get a high degree of value by consulting with a full-service digital agency to come up with marketing and communications strategy, followed by creative direction for a project.

Wasting Money with Google Brand Search

You are wasting advertising dollars if you are paying for the clicks of people who are searching your specific brand, or typing your URL into the search bar rather than the address bar. Google makes it easier for them to click on your ad than your organic search result, resulting in wasted money when your site is the number one option.

I often want to look up a specific brand's website, but I don't know their exact URL. So, like most people, I just start typing the company name into the address bar or the Google search bar on my browser.

I quickly get the search results and I click on the first result, which 99.9 percent of the time is the site I'm looking for. Where companies are wasting money with Google is when they have used their own brand name as a paid adword (I call it a "paid duh-word") and nobody else is advertising for that keyword. By clicking on the first entry I am costing the advertiser money - money they shouldn't be spending, because their site is in the organic results directly below.

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