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Happy 10th Birthday to Us!

Posted by    |   March 9th, 2009   |   No responses

After 10 years in business, most businesses can say they've come a long way. At Insight Designs, we've only moved a whopping 3 blocks! We got our start in March 1999. For the first few months, Beth and Nico worked out of Nico's 400-square-foot apartment at the corner of 9th and Pearl (thanks to his now-wife Sarah for putting up with us). In October of that year, we moved to a bohemian space upstairs from Juanita's and Tom's Tavern at the corner of 11th and Pearl, where Nico assembled the office's first desks while Beth chipped a ton of plaster to expose the old brick underneath. In 2002, we moved another block to a "real" office at Pearl and Broadway that we still call home. But physical address aside, we have indeed come a long way in our first 10 years. If we hadn't, we probably wouldn't be in business right now. Each year, we create better custom websites and applications; we take on new and exciting clients; and we grow our staff a little (we just added our 10th employee last week - I'll unveil his bio in a blog post next week). Thanks to all of you for keeping us around this long. And we hope to continue wowing you with our work for years to come.
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What does Insight Designs have to do with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition?

Posted by    |   February 10th, 2009   |   No responses

No, neither Ellie, Danielle, nor myself is gracing the pages of the infamous magazine. But one of our clients designed the jewelry worn by SI models in the 2009 edition that hits newsstands tomorrow (Wednesday, February 11). The model in this photo is wearing a necklace and bracelet created by Anna Holland of Dorje Designs. So, you're probably still asking. What does this have to do with Insight Designs? Well, Mark Holland, Anna's husband and co-owner of Dorje Designs, sent me this via email today: "If you ever need the publicity, feel free to tell people that a website you folks set up helped a Boulder jewelry artist go from a brand new business to necklaces on the models in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition in a mere three years.  Truly - they never would have found us were it not for the great website.  Thanks." Congrats to Anna and Mark and to Dorje Designs for making a big leap. Where will we be seeing your jewelry next? The Oscars?
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The Rise of Local Search

Posted by    |   January 28th, 2009   |   No responses

A recently completed research study by WebVisible and Nielsen's revealed some important statistics concerning the use of the Internet for local search.
  • 63% of consumers use the Internet first when looking for local products.
  • 82% use search engines to to find local websites.
  • Consumers currently use search engines 72% more than they did two years ago.
What does this mean for you? It means that while you may cater to clients and customers around the globe, you should make sure not to miss the folks in your own backyard. Here are some things you can do to bolster your ranking for local search returns:
  • Make sure that the "<title>" tag includes the city name of where your business is based.
  • Include the city name in the "description" meta tag.
  • Include the city name in the "keywords" meta tag.
  • Include the city name as much possible in the content of your pages. Search Engines like keyword density (as long as it's not obviously overkill).
  • Take the time to confirm that your business is listed in the yellow pages and other similar directories with the complete address (including city) of your business. This is important, because Google - for example - uses your official address when compiling its "local business results" which appear at the top of a search results page just below any sponsored links.
  • Appeal to Search Engines by keeping your site clean and easy to use.
Here are some simple website to-dos that make your business more accessible to local visitors.
  • Make sure your site provides clear directions to your place of business.
  • Provide an easy-to-find and easy-to-use map.
  • Don't have your contact info buried within your site.
Additionally, you may want to consider taking steps to improve your presence locally:
  • Join local business organizations, and ask them to include you in their print materials and link to your website from their website.
  • Donate to local charities, and ask if they can acknowledge your donation in their print materials and on their website.
  • Sponsor local events, and be sure to have the event organizers include your website address in all promotional materials.
  • Then promote your local involvement on your website - tell people about the charities you support, the events you sponsor, the organizations that you're a member of, etc.
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Party Time!

Posted by    |   December 30th, 2008   |   No responses

On Friday, December 5th, we held our annual holiday open house. As usual, we had great food, plenty of wine and lots of laughs. And we gave away some good prizes, too! (The crew from the National Center for Women & Information Technology nearly made a sweep of the various restaurant gift certificates.) Nico did a great job of capturing the mood of the party in our makeshift photobooth. As you'll see, we're not the most camera shy bunch... Check out the photos here: Thanks to the more than 140 of you who braved the snow and made it to the party. For those of you who missed it, we hope to see you next year. In fact, you can go ahead and mark your calendar for Friday, Dec. 4, 2009!
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Flash, Flex & Ajax – How do they compare?

Posted by    |   December 5th, 2008   |   No responses

Hey there, well, it was my turn at our traditional In-House Knowledge Share this month and as one of the designers at Insight, one of my activities is to keep current on new technologies and trends. I wanted to explore the three most popular rich interactive applications at the moment; Flash, Flex and Ajax, and learn their benefits and disadvantages so that we can provide our clients and their users the best possible solution. So without further a do, I've dissected them hoping to get everyone to draw their own conclusions. FLASH: Adobe Flash (previously called Shockwave Flash and Macromedia Flash) is a set of multimedia software created by Macromedia and currently developed and distributed by Adobe Systems. Since its introduction in 1996, Flash has become a popular method for adding animation and interactivity to web pages; Flash is commonly used to create animation, advertisements, and various web page components, to integrate video into web pages, and more recently, to develop rich Internet applications. Flash can manipulate vector and raster graphics and supports bi-directional streaming of audio and video. It contains a scripting language called ActionScript. Several software products, systems, and devices are able to create or display Flash content, including Adobe Flash Player, which is available for most common web browsers, some mobile phones and other electronic devices (using Flash Lite). The Adobe Flash Professional multimedia authoring program is used to create content for the Adobe Engagement Platform, such as web applications, games and movies, and content for mobile phones and other embedded devices. Macromedia Flash Development Process
  • Design an application interface using any visual design sofware package such as Freehand, Illustrator, Fireworks or even Flash itself.
  • Add dynamic behavior (one part of the application interacting with another, for example) and interactive behavior (what happens when a button is clicked for example)
  • Define and connect to data services as needed(XML)
  • Publish the file and embed it on an html if it is for the Web. Or create a self contained movie if the application is for CD/hard drive use.

Adobe Flash Player is cur

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