Flood Clean-Up: Stopping Mold Before it Starts

water damage

In the aftermath of a flood, one must work quickly to save as much as possible. There is a very short window of time during which one can clean up and save many of the material belonging in the home. Even construction materials can be claimed by the waters and the subsequent mold, if they are not dealt with immediately.

Mold and bacteria are large problems after waters have filled a home. Mold loves moisture and will happily live in even slightly damp areas, such as those created as a result of a roof leak or a dripping pipe. So, when flood waters invade a home, the breeding ground for the member of the fungi family is idea. Unfortunately, those molds and bacteria can lead to intestinal and respiratory issues, as well as skin infections and there are only about thirty-six hours or fewer to clean up before the mold takes hold. Mold remediation companies are in high demand after floods, which might mean that you are leave to care for your Santa Cruz, CA home on your own if you do not make the call immediately.

It is essential to get rid of standing water, but you must also beware of the dangers present after a flood, such as electrical cords or fuse boxes that are partially or fully submerged. Step into water touching such things and you can be hit with a potentially fatal shock.

Once you are sure that it is safe to enter the space, you will want to work quickly to get as much water out as possible. The professionals are well equipped to act fast with powerful vans, heaters, and dehumidifiers. Perhaps more important are the other tools that they bring along, including masks, goggles, and gloves to protect themselves from mold exposure. The masks are also important in case there has been any sewage backup. Sewer gases are known dangers and often flood homes during a flood as the tanks become overwhelmed with water. If sewage backup did occur, do not tackle the project on your own. Call the professionals in Capitola, CA, who understand proper sewage cleanupmethods.

If sewage is not an issue, then the focus should remain on the mold. To prepare for water and mold removal, you will have to relocate upholstery, curtains, blankets, pillows, area rugs and other porous objects that were soaked. If mold has not taken hold, they may be salvageable. Much of the water can be removed from rugs, quite frequently, with a wet vac. It is also wise to turn on fans to improve air circulation. If you have one at your disposal, turn on the dehumidifier. The amount of moisture in the air will likely call for a commercial-sized machine due, but every little bit helps in those few precious hours after water has receded. In addition to these other efforts, you will have to remove trim work form the walls to allow the sheetrock to dry faster. In some instances, it may even be necessary to create ventilation in the walls, to allow the interior space to dry fully. This can be done with a few small holes.

If you have any doubts about getting the water out before mold begins growing, call in the professionals for help. They have more experience and better equipment that will make the job go faster and increase the likelihood of success.

Flooding of a house (http://www.flickr.com/photos/usgeologicalsurvey/2594361138/) / CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

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Basic Shingle Maintenance

Dallas Roofing

Once you have invested thousands of dollars into a new roof, the last thing that you want to think about spending more on repairs. While asphalt shingles are very hardy and durable, there is good reason to practice regular maintenance. It is the very best way to prevent the damage that will make you open your wallet once again. Just a day or two per year is all that it takes to follow basic maintenance steps to preserve your asphalt roofing shingles.

Step One: Inspection Fortunately in Dallas, there is little concern about the ice and snow that wreak havoc on the roofs in the north, but damage can be done in other ways. Wind and rain storms do pound on our houses from time to time. So, the first step of maintaining your shingles is to perform a general evaluation of its current condition. You want to look for broken or cracked tiles, missing shingles, curling edges, sagging or buckling, discoloration, or damaged gutters. In addition to this, closely inspect the metal flashing around chimneys and vents to be sure that it is still securely in place and unharmed. If you see any signs of trouble, it is best to call for roof repair. Dallas, Texas, roofers can often repair such problems very quickly and inexpensively, but you can learn more about that at www.dallasroofing.co. Allowing the problem to remain, unaddressed, is just asking for a much larger and much more expensive problem down the road.

In addition to looking at the surface of the roof, be sure you take a peek in the attic. This is where you will spot potential leaks in the roof. If you see moisture, mold, or rot, then the roofers should be called in to find the source of the water damage.

Step Two: Assess the Mess Once you have ensured the integrity of your roof, it is time to assess the mess. Part of your maintenance schedule should involve cleaning. Look for signs of dirt build up, tree branches, leaves, and other such debris. If these things are clogging gutters, they should be removed before anything else is done. In addition to the general grunge that can build up on a rooftop, you may spot algae or mold. If you do, it will impact the way that you clean, so be sure to look over the surface carefully before you begin.

Step Three: Address Mold and Algae If you didn’t see any signs of these, then you can move directly to the next step. However, mold and algae should be addressed before an overall cleaning is done. There are herbicides on the market that are meant to be used for exactly this purpose. Using a pump sprayer, the herbicide should be applied to all impacted areas of the roof. There will be some drying time required. Read the manufacturer’s guidelines, as these drying times vary. Once the designated amount of time has passed, the algae and mold growth should have dried and shriveled. It can now be swept away.

Step Three: Clean This process begins on the ground, where you should rinse the sides of the house, porches, patios, and gardens that may have been littered with the dried algae or mold. Dousing the gardens, shrubs, and other nearby plants will also protect them from the cleaning agent to be used on the roof. If you did not treat an algae problem, then you will have to begin with a general sweeping to remove dust and debris. A pump sprayer or pressure washer will be used to clean the surface. However, be aware that too much pressure could disturb the shingles.

Load the sprayer with a diluted asphalt-roofing cleaner, purchased at your local home improvement store. The cleaner needs to be sprayed on and left in place for several minutes. Follow manufacturer’s guidelines to determine the proper timeline. When rinsing the roof cleaner away, it is best to let the water rain down on the surface rather than pointing the nozzle directly at it. Once it has been thoroughly rinsed, you can make your way down and allow it to dry and make plans for your next annual maintenance day.

To learn more, please visit the professionals at http://www.dallasroofing.co/garland-texas-roofing/

Affordable Dallas Roofing Solutions
3102 Maple Ave #400-A1
Dallas, Texas 75201
(972) 351-8266

Two layers | Flickr – Photo Sharing! : taken from – http://www.flickr.com/photos/dolfindans/3724821093/Author: DolfinDans http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

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How to become a Food Photographer in Today’s World

The Basics of Getting Started in Food Photography
There are many good things about the digital age, but one thing that is especially helpful for photography lovers is the fact that anyone can practice becoming a photographer. Ask professional photographers that you know how they learned their trade, and many will tell you that they learned it through a great deal of hands-on practice. One type of photography that not a lot of people are interested in getting into, which makes it ideal for someone who wants to become a professional in the industry, is food photography. Finding a food photographer in Texas can be a bit tricky, although it is possible. If you imagine this might be the profession or hobby for you, here are the basics that you should know to get started.

The Gear
One of the biggest mistakes starting food photographers make is in thinking that all they need to have to take amazing food photos is a point and shoot camera. While you can take decent photos with a point and shoot, it is much trickier to do so than if you were shooting with a DSLR. A DSLR gives you much more control over the photo which allows you to capture natural light in a way that point and shoot simply cannot. Not only will you need a decent camera, you will also need a tripod. Why would you need a tripod if the food is not moving? Two words: natural light.

Any food photographer in Dallas, Texas, will tell you that the best way to get an amazing shot of the food is to do so in a natural light setting. Natural light makes the food look as real as it is and allows the light and the shadows play off of each other.

In some cases, you won’t always have great access to natural light. In fact, sooner or later you will be required to photograph food under a low light condition. In order to do this and to make the food look good, you’ll need to use a very slow shutter speed. If you use a slow shutter speed, your camera is much more sensitive to movement. Any little motion will create a blur in the photo, which is why you stabilize your camera on a tripod. It is actually a good idea to use a tripod for almost every food photo you take simply because the images will always come out that perfect crisp, sharp look.

Another thing to remember is that you don’t need to capture a whole dish in every photo. A picture of a plate of spaghetti may look okay, but a close-up of some of the meatballs, the spaghetti, and the sauce where you can even see the herbs in the sauce, looks much more appealing. Someone who is hired as a Houston restaurant food photographer will often take photos of only a portion of the dish in order to make the dish look as delicious as they possibly can.

Now that you know a few of the basics when it comes to food photography, it’s time to get out there and practice. The more you practice, the better you will be, so get cooking and start snapping away!

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Web Designing With Sound Architecture

Architects start with a vision and blueprints before any construction begins on a building. Without blueprints, the foundation of the structure would be insufficient and lack proper functionality. Building a website is a strikingly similar process. Austin web design company, NuArtisan, explores the necessity of using traditional architecture principles to build sites that are structurally sound and visually appealing.

The blueprints of a website are frames that organize content, develop database, and use dynamic coding. Designers layout the overall site to ensure optimal functionality for user navigation. The most effective websites make information easy to find and understand. A well-thought out plan can increase user traffic and encourage repeat visits. Creating the best experience through web design removes the guesswork and saves users much valued time. Arranging the content aesthetically also gives users a positive experience with your site. From making sure fonts are legible, advertisements don’t overrun pages, and even background colors play a role in how people perceive your website and ultimately your business.
It only takes seconds for someone to click a link for your site and decide if they want to continue or move onto another website. Information architecture is still evolving as user behaviors determine what works and what doesn’t. Major players such as Facebook and Engadget frequently update their sites to support high traffic and user needs similar. Like renovating an outdated building, web designers strive for designs that stimulate new traffic and strengthen relationships with current followers.

Check out the full article for more regarding information architecture.

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Weave Vertical Rhythm into Your Web Design

Arranging space with typography on a website builds readability much like time sustains rhythm for music.  The vertical rhythm can be defined as spacing and placement of text as users scroll down the page.  Font size, line height, and margins are the three main aspects that control vertical rhythm.

Assigning font size, for example 12 point, is the first step to creating the line height for your page.  From there you add space, in this case 6 point, between lines of text for easier reading.  The total font size and leading space combine for your base unit line height, which should stay consistent throughout the page at 18 point.  To ensure the rhythm flows overall, you might have to adjust the default margin settings.  Both top and bottom margins should be set to your line height, which will in turn keep paragraphs spaced appropriately as well.

For headings or sidenotes, make sure that an increase in font size should be at a point that is a multiple of your line height.  Headings can be set at multiples of 18 point for this example.  Leading space between a heading and text must also be adjusted to maintain the ratio and rhythm.   Since sidenotes are typically in a smaller size font, lining the text up with the body copy of the page continues the vertical rhythm.  Additionally, if you are adding horizontal borders, harmonize the leading space so that measurements are set with line height.  It may require a few calculations, but to keep your design appealing to visitors with short attention spans it’s best to provide ease wherever possible.

For a more in-depth look at vertical rhythm, click the link http://24ways.org/2006/compose-to-a-vertical-rhythm.

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Brain Scans Prove Branding Strength

A consumer’s decision to purchase one brand over another can be complex in terms of conscience and unconscious thought processes.  Scientist Read Montague put the classic Pepsi vs. Coke preference to the test–with fMRI brain scan technology.  The results?  Powerful branding can influence our choices without our knowing it.

When Montague gave testers unnamed samples of each soda, the majority chose Pepsi as their favorite.  However, when testers were told which brands they were drinking, the majority of those chose Coke.  Coke is the stronger brand with loyalty from consumers regardless of flavor, but why?

The fMRI scans showed activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, which is where we store information about our sense of self.  The activity was sparked by the subjects being aware of the brands of soda and then identifying with Coke.  This gives great insight into how we make our purchasing decisions.

Although this is valuable knowledge to businesses and marketers, it’s simply not enough to fully grasp the complexity of brand loyalty.  While fMRI scans can be helpful to understand how people feel about a brand, marketers should consider brain scans supplemental to overall consumer behavior.  The combination of neuroscience and behavioral science can be used to improve businesses build relationships with their customers.

Read more about Montague’s study at http://brandchannel.com/features_effect.asp?pf_id=201.

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Web Design: Text vs. Graphics

Should websites contain more text or be graphic heavy?  Eye-tracking studies have shown that while people are attracted to graphics, they are first drawn to text.  Searching the internet for information could be one of the many reasons our eyes quickly begin key word scanning.

Understanding how people read websites can help in the overall design layout.  The F-pattern, also known as the golden triangle eye movement pattern, explains that we read beginning at the top left of a page.  Placing your most important content, text or graphic, here will assure that it gets seen first.  People also seem accustom to avoiding banners and advertisements outside of the page’s content.  If you have content you want seen, use design elements that least resemble those advertisements and consider their placement within the body of your page.

Quality content is also vital if you want visitor to stay on your site.  If you cannot provide the information they are searching for, they will quickly leave to find another source.  Graphics should always be relevant to the content and used sparingly as supplement to textual information.

Other benefits of a text heavy web design are improved loading speed and search engine traffic.  Large or numerous graphics take longer to load which may cause visitor’s to leave before it’s done in the interest of time.  Search engines primarily use text to categorize and the more text there is the more opportunity for key words to pop up.

For more on the debate, visit http://www.improvetheweb.com/use-text-instead-graphics-your-website.

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Bird’s-eye View Web Designs That Inspire Creativity

It’s always a challenge to come up with interesting web designs that encourage users to interact.  A new trend has surfaced with the “bird’s-eye view” background.  The result is a beautiful modern style that inspires imaginations and can stimulate creativity in designing your website.

In web design, a bird’s-eye view is “a view of an object from above, as though the observer were a bird, often used in the making of blueprints, floor plans, and maps.”  Slanted views, or oblique views, can also be defined as being bird’s-eye.

Artists are always looking to find new ways to express themselves and develop new trends that set them apart in a unique way.  In today’s world, web designers use their creativity to build interactive websites that users want to visit and revisit.  They seek ways to communicate through their work using techniques and dynamic styles such as the bird’s-eye view.

Instant Shift has compiled a list of 80 websites using the bird’s-eye view design.  To view the examples, visit http://instantshift.com/2009/02/02/80-incredible-designs-with-birds-eye-view/.

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Are Your Tweets impacting your SEO?

Businesses are constantly on the lookout for ways to increase search engine optimization. It’s a simple fact that the higher your ranking, the higher the traffic you’ll enjoy on your website. Recently search engines Google and Bing confirmed algorithm adjustments that calculate website rankings based on user behaviors on social networking sites. NuArtisan, an SEO company in Austin Texas, translates what these new factors are and how to utilize them.

• While having a significant amount of followers or friends on sites like Twitter and Facebook is beneficial, a few comments or posts from many is more powerful than many posts from only a few friends.
• Gaining support of friends who “like” your link or “retweet” your posts tells search engines to pay more attention to it and in response bumps it up in rank.
• Those who’ve established themselves as a “high-authority” through social activity online can cultivate credibility with having other high-authority followers and friends.
• Using keywords within your content that search engines pick up increases its rating as users plug them in during searches.
• Posting links or stories relative to your business or industry places you as a sort of hub for that category of information.
• Furthering the “hub” presence, make sure to post links from other sites besides your own for recognition by the new algorithms.
• Search engines boost the most up-to-date information over older posts, so post on a regular basis to attract attention for SEO and users who’ll want to return for what’s new.
• Befriending and gaining approval from influential people within your industry will garner more followers and those of higher authority as well.

Follow the link to read more about search engine optimization and retweet if you choose.

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Airplane Window Seat Photography Tips

While the aisle seat is coveted for the ease of getting up for bathroom breaks, a window seat can provide great photographic opportunities that will complete your travel photo album.  Digital Photography School has come up with some tips for taking pictures out of an airplane window.

Use manual focus.  Taking a picture through glass throws off a camera’s automatic focus feature.  Manual focus lets you pinpoint and lock in to the subject of your photo, whether it’s a cloud, airplane wing, or lake you’re flying over.

Don’t wait to take a picture.  The longer the airplane is flying, the more condensation builds on the outside of the window making it difficult to see through let alone snap a photo.  For a clear shot, start earlier in the flight.

Have your camera ready.  When the pilot banks the plane on a turn, you have a better angle to take a photograph of the ground.  Typically, pilots don’t announce a bank over the intercom, so have your camera ready to go when the opportunity arises.

Flash is unnecessary.  Using a flash for a picture out of an airplane window will not create enough light to make much of a difference.  It can also increase window reflections and ruin the shot.

Create interest with a subject.  Find something of interest to focus on such as one cloud that stands out, airplane’s wing, or landscape feature for a more impressive photograph.

For more information, read the full article at http://www.digital-photography-school.com/how-to-take-a-photograph-out-of-a-plane-window.

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Brand Building Online 101

The goal of all branding is providing a positive customer experience.  If you consistently ensure positive experiences, you’ll be rewarded with loyal customers who come back to you time and again.  Online brand identity doesn’t have the benefits of tangible factors such as the buying process and interaction with real employees like offline branding does.  For success online, your web presence must be strong with clearly defined values.

Be visible–As more and more companies establish website, it can be difficult to secure an available domain name.  Even if you have to purchase your domain name and any variations thereof, it’s worth it to keep your brand strong online.

Be user friendly–It only takes seconds for someone to visit or site and decide it’s not for them.  Having a dynamic web design that is easy to navigate and provides clear information about anything they might want to know is essential.  If it’s too difficult to purchase online from you, they won’t.

Communicate with your customers–With any and all communication, always make sure it is consistent with your branding.  Keep the lines open both ways through email newsletters or exclusive promotions and a method to get feedback from customers by phone or email.  It’s much easier to keep in contact if you offer something in return to bolster exclusivity.

For more tips, you can find the full article at http://www.imediaconnection.com/content.aspx?id=19385.

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Improve Photo Composition with Shade and Texture

Adding interest to your photos can come in many forms. Subject matter, juxtaposition of lines in the frame, or angled lighting can all be manipulated for composition purposes. NuArtisan, a company known for its Austin photography, shows how to use shade and texture as another artistic choice.

Lighting is always important in photography. It’s what professionals work with to create a focal point, highlight something within the frame, or convey a particular mood. At a photo shoot for a local apartment complex, a highly textured palm tree presented itself to be that special element to enhance the tone of the shot. Unfortunately the tree trunk was lost in shade cast by the setting sun and wouldn’t have added anything but a large, dark blurred object blocking the view. However, with the proper tools the photographer was able to shed light artificially with flash and contrast color with a full color temperature orange warming gel to play off the blue sky and pool. The flash aimed at the tree is considered hard lighting which illuminates the details of the trunk’s grooves with sharper clarity than soft lighting would achieve. Techniques such as these can do wonders for creating stunning pictures and strengthen artistic abilities.

Check out the amazing photograph created through photography lighting techniques.

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Who Knew Lines in Your Photo Had Such Impact?

Establishing both mood and the direction a viewer’s eye moves across your picture, lines can dramatically change the composition of your photograph.  In an excellent series by Digital Photography School, the effects of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines are explored and tips are provided.

Horizontal–Horizontal lines such as a horizon or fallen tree create a feeling of stability.  Many people place in the middle of the frame, but this choice is often less dynamic than setting it within the upper or lower third.  As a calming expression, utilize your horizontal line fully from left to right of the frame.

Vertical–Strength and growth are just a few moods that vertical lines can convey.  The way you hold the camera can also emphasize the effect of a vertical line, but making sure the lines are straight as much as possible will enhance your overall composition.  As with horizontal lines, it’s best to use the Rule of Thirds when placing vertical lines in the frame.

Diagonal--Diagonal lines add depth and suggest action.  The viewer’s eye is naturally drawn to follow the diagonal line, which can be used to lead them to the focal point of your photograph.  Unlike horizontal and vertical lines, placing a diagonal line off center is more interesting.

For more tips and examples, click the link below.

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/working-the-lines-in-your-photography

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Logo, a Business Must-Have

Along with writing a mission statement and drawing up a suitable business plan, it’s vital to plan out your company’s brand identity. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through the use of a logo. Customers connect with logos in a unique way and gather awareness about companies. Some logos are so recognizable most people could identify the company it belongs to without much effort. When we see logos everywhere from the products we buy to billboards to TV commercials, we associate our experiences with it and the company. Building a relationship with your customers is essential to the success of a business. NuArtisan, an Austin company who creates logo designs, presents a list of logo styles each with its own ability to express what a company is all about.

• Wordmark logos are simply the company name in an expressive font and color theme such as FedEx or Sony.
• Pictorial mark uses a picture that is literally translated from the company’s name like Apple’s apple-shaped logo.
• Abstract marks tend to emphasize an aspect of the business with an abstract image as exemplified by Nike.
• Letterform logo design uses one or two letters from the company name or product as the visual representation as seen with McDonald’s.
• Emblems contain company name and often look like badges such as Harley Davidson’s logo design.
• Character logos are compared to mascots and are the most difficult logos to design. An example is Geico’s gecko.
• Web 2.0 designs commonly use 3D effects, glossy texture, and bright colors to create logos similar to that of AT&T.

While logo design involves many choices to evaluate against the brand identity, it is important to have a logo or update a logo as needed during the life of the company. Read the full article to see examples of each logo design.

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Interesting Reading for the Amateur Photographer

As an amateur photographer, you’ve probably researched online for tips and techniques to improve your skills.  If you’d like to get more in depth information to learn the ins and outs of the industry, check out the top five books about photography of 2010 from fellow amateur Bryan Zimmerman.

The 2011 Photographer’s Market by Mary Burzlaff Bostic–Get insight about artistic approaches for inspiration as well as business guidelines to take your amateur status to working professional.

The Digital Photography Handbook by Doug Harman & David Jones–For quick references, this book contains concise encyclopedic information in a step-by-step format.

Advanced Digital Black & White Photography by John Beardsworth–Learn how to get the best black and white photos with information about equipment, techniques, and even post-shoot Photoshop software how-tos.

Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson–Understand and then apply your artistic choices after reading all that can be done thanks to exposure settings.

Photography by Henry Horenstein and Russell Hart–Both textbook and art book, it covers everything from history of photography to technical instructions.

Find out how these books made Zimmerman’s list at http://www.fuelyourphotography.com/top-5-amateur-photography-books-of-2010/.

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What Does Your Logo Color Say About Your Business?

So you’ve decided on a business name and designed a logo.  What color do you use to represent your company?  Choosing the color of your logo will likely determine the color scheme of your website and any printed material produced for your business.  Just as the design of a logo can convey philosophy and values, your chosen color or colors need to fall in line for cohesion and ultimately a successful business.  All Graphic Design created a list of colors explaining their connotations and what that might mean for your logo and website’s tone.

The warm colors, respectively red, orange, and yellow, often feel vibrant and energetic.  Red is more intense and expresses danger, excitement, speed, and aggression.  Orange is warm and can stand for enthusiasm, tropical, and passion.  Friendship, optimism, happiness, and imagination are a few concepts yellow can represent.

Purple, blue, and green on the cool side of the color spectrum tend to communicate calmness.  Purple has historically represented royalty and spirituality, but can mean truth and justice.  The ever-popular blue is often used when peace, loyalty, trust, and confidence are meant to be the message.  And green exudes neutrality, growth, money and even wisdom.

Shades of black and white can also be incorporated in your logo to symbolize your business industry and philosophy.  Depending on its use, black can mean mournful or sophistication and elegance.  Frequently used as a website background due to increased readability, white can also embody cleanliness, simplicity, friendship, and peace.

To find out more about colors and there meanings visit the full article at http://www.allgraphicdesign.com/graphicdesignarticles/logographicdesign/logos-designingcolorizing.html.

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Top 5 Ways to Display Testimonials on Websites

A satisfied customer’s testimonial can reinforce trust and experience in a business’s service.  When these testimonials are displayed on the website, it’s important they not obstructive but are well integrated into the complete web design.  There are five great trends for arranging customer quotes effectively.

Speech Bubbles–Useful to present testimonials in a friendly and informal manner, they visually set apart text or images from the rest of the page contents.

Quotation Marks–Having a slightly more formal feeling than speech bubbles, quotation marks work well for corporate websites with traditional fonts.  But when coupled with lighthearted fonts, testimonials can seem informal and fun.

Images/Icons/Graphics–Styled much like social networking posts, quotes are set next to the image of the person, a company logo, or an icon.  These graphic elements help to separate the testimonial from surrounding text.

Minimalist– If your web design is minimalist, these types of quotes work best.  They are subtle, but still independent from the main body of content, often just by using a smaller font and italics.

Video– Still relatively new, video testimonials can be the most persuasive.  People believe what they can see and hear with their own eyes, and a video testimonial can go a long way to gain a potential customer’s trust.

For even more testimonial tips for your web design, click the link below.

http://www.noupe.com/how-tos/web-design-trends-testimonials-design.html

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Emotions Run High When Logos Change

The goal in branding and logo design is to engage your consumers so much so that they can not only recognize your company, but also identify with your values and remain loyal.  Studies have shown a high percentage of consumers to be emotionally attached to product brands and retail establishments.  Businesses value these customers because their loyalty means a steady income and solid marketing resource for new product development.

Recent customer rebellions played out online against two incidents of logo changes among three well-known companies.  Voiced on social network sites Twitter and Facebook, many consumers disagreed with the proposed “new” logo intended to represent the United Airlines and Continental merger.  The resistance to change exemplifies how attached consumers can be with a strong brand and logo.  Perhaps if they had gone with an actual new design instead of a confusing mix with Continental’s previous logo and United name there may have fewer outcries.

Clothing retailer Gap also attempted to revamp their logo design, but chose to listen to those customers who disagreed.  The familiar blue square with the all capitalized letters centered inside was changed to a rounder typeface with a small blue box placed behind the top right-hand edge of the name.  Gap quickly returned to its classic logo to appease those vocal customers who no doubt spoke up due to their attachment to the original.

Check out the logo design changes at the link below.

http://justcreativedesign.com/2010/11/09/a-look-at-consumer-emotional-attachment-to-brands-and-logos/

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Making Sense of Digital Camera Sensors

You’ve researched online and asked your buddy what he’s working with, but still not sure which digital camera to buy? One of the best deciding factors for cameras is the size of the light sensor. The sensor determines the amount of light you can absorb, which in turn determines how sharp your pictures will be especially in low light situations. David Pogue’s New York Times article “Sizing a Sensor: No Easy Way” gives us the rundown on how to compare sensor sizes and his top three picks for digital cameras.

Finding the size of a camera’s sensor isn’t always easy. First, it’s not always displayed on the packaging so you would have to do more research to find it. Second, pocket camera measurements are in a different format than S.L.R. making it difficult to compare them when you do find the size listing. And third, if you’ve bothered to divide ratios to compare pocket cameras, the results would still be misleading due to an antiquated system that uses 50 year old television tubes as the standard to which they are measured. How can you win? You can still use the ratios to compare which is bigger, even though the accuracy is a little off. Or, simply look at Pogue’s suggestions for the best pocket cameras with the biggest sensors.

Constantly finding yourself in low light situations? According to Pogue, the top three pocket camera picks can get you professional quality photos for those quick snapshots we all love to take. Go with the Canon PowerShot S95 if you’re looking for a small camera that you can use for snapshots or expanding your photography skills with the multi-functional ring feature. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 comes with a wider lens and a button dedicated to shooting hi-def video with ease. While it’s the biggest of the three, the Samsung TL500 has a large OLED screen that pivots so you can see what your shot will look like from any angle–even self-portraits.

To read the full article, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/23/technology/personaltech/23pogue.html

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Tailor Branding to Your Customers

Branding is unique to each business.  There’s no list compiled where you can search for a cool branding idea to apply to your particular company.  Nevertheless, we can learn more about how to find the best branding by looking at successful strategies employed by other companies.

As a business owner, your branding campaign should reflect your personality in order to solidify the personality of the business.  As Halisi Vinson states, branding is “the feelings and experience people have when they interact with your service or product.”  There needs to be a connection consumers feel towards your business and brand for it to be effective.  People appreciate and respond to consistency, so ensuring that all aspects of your business carry the same personality is a way to accomplish that.

Another factor that establishes brand loyalty among customers is shared values.  Do you know what your customers’ values are?  An example of refocusing a brand to better reflect values to which customers identify is Chipotle Mexican Grill.  From the beginning, they’ve advertised fresh gourmet burritos.  When they discovered what customers liked about Chipotle, they adjusted their marketing to accommodate them.   New logo, new decor, and new menu to represent the simplicity consumers love.

Read the full article at http://jawdroppingblog.com/2010/09/cool-branding-ideas/.

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