Friday, October 31, 2014
Friday, October 31, 2014 - 0 Comments
As with any website, Estate Agent sites need a balance of crucial digital elements to be successful; meeting users needs, delivering profitability (in whatever context that is) and creating a meaningful, painless experience.
Today I’m going to talk through some reminders of this and some tactical options to employ in relation to this industry specifically. Consider this article a collection of tips to help make Estate Agent websites perform better and make an impact on people.
1. Understand your users and design for them
This might seem obvious but a massive proportion of businesses across industries fail to understand their users before they design. Often websites are built for internal stakeholders and as a result, a site is created that appeals to management and staff but not to their users.
Users should be at the very centre of everything you do. Every design choice, option, Call to Action should have the user considered. Focus on the User Experience and what journeys users take to reach their goals. Take time to understand barriers and how to conquer them and don’t be afraid to experiment with doing something different.
2. Added Value is crucial
If you’re not doing anything different or giving users Added Value, they’ll migrate elsewhere, or just not come to you in the first place. Huge websites such as Rightmove have become hugely successful in collating property information and that’s great for your agency in a way, but the by-product is users have migrated away from localised Estate Agent websites. This means the brand experience is significantly lessened; in this context you need to view Rightmove as a competitor and create an experience that a user would prefer over the giant.
An example of this is Grier and Partners, an estate agency in East Bergholt and a client of ours. They employ a ‘Seller’s Secret’ feature which gives users a piece of short, relevant information about the property.
3. Ignore mobile at your peril
It’s surprisingly the amount of websites that aren’t responsive, meaning they’ll work on devices such as mobile and tablets. The migration of users over to mobile devices has been substantial over the last few years and in many cases, especially in a B2C discipline such as Estate Agencies, the mobile shift means people are viewing sites on their mobiles and tablets above desktop devices. Frankly put, if you’re not optimising for mobile, you’re alienating a huge amount of your users.
4. Integrate technologies
Look out for new technologies and how they can benefit users and your ultimate cause of connecting homes with people. Clever mapping solutions or mobile extra features can bring a wealth of Added Value to the User Experience, but take a considered approach to such new features. Include these technologies where appropriate, relevant and an improvement to the overall experience, there’s nothing worse than a website full of features that don’t really add any value.
5. Measure, review, improve
Ensuring the site is performing well and you’re meeting the needs of the users isn’t a project, it’s an ongoing task that sees you measuring performance and user behaviour, reviewing and understanding trends, then making improvements.
6. Expose yourself
The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Don’t fall into the safe trap; experiment, do something different, leave a lasting impression, communicate your personality and connect with people. Use new approaches, engage with people and make a difference.
I hope the above few tips help inspire you to get on the right track with your website, or indeed continue along the path you’ve already taken.
Remember, ‘User is King’ and their ability to find your website, get to what they want and have a positive experience is paramount. If you need any advice just let me know or find a User Experience expert in Essex to help you along.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 0 Comments
In the world of Indian food there is one name that is linked with truly authentic Indian cuisine –MW Eat. If this name doesn’t ring any bells, then perhaps the names of the restaurants will. The award-winning MW Eat restaurant chain owns three of London’s best upmarket Indian restaurants: Veeraswamy, Chutney Mary and the Michelin-starred Amaya, as well as the brasserie-style Masala Zones.
The masterminds behind this successful venture are Namita Panjabi, her sister Camellia and her husband Ranjit Mathrani. The trio, who were all born in India, have created a group of restaurants that are all very different from one another. From the food to the décor, each has its own identity. Veeraswamy on Regent Street focuses its attention on the cuisine of northern and western India. It is considered the grande dame of Indian restaurants, having opened in 1926 and was the first of its kind.
Chutney Mary on Chelsea’s King’s Road is renowned for its innovative take on modern Indian cuisine. It takes its influence from regions across the country and was born out of the desire to recreate a complete Indian culinary experience.
The final restaurant in MW Eat’s trio of fine-dining Indian restaurants is Amaya in Belgravia. Awarded a Michelin star back in 2006 (anaccolade it still retains)Amaya has the label of being one of London’s hottest restaurants. Its food is cooked using traditional Indian styles not common in the UK, including tandoor (a hot clay oven), sigri (over hot coals) and tawa (griddling and searing on a hot plate).
Last, but by no means least, is the Masala Zone chain. These hip brasseries are a step removed from their high-end cousins. Each one offers affordable food in a relaxed, buzzy environment, with the main food drawing in the crowdsbeingthalis and a selection of street foods.
In line with the numerous differences in the food served across the MW Eat restaurants, each of the owners plays their own unique part in the running of the business. Camellia refines the dishes and looks after the marketing and PR side of things. Namita deals with the intricacies of food presentation, kitchen management and the interior design of each restaurant. Ranjit handles all financial, commercial, HR and front-of-house activities.
Despite all the differences between the three owners and their restaurants, one thing remains consistent: they are all dedicated to serving authentic Indian cuisine prepared by specialist chefs.
Veeraswamy, Chutney Mary, Amaya and the Masala Zone restaurants all exist under the brand names Real Indian Food Company and Fine Indian Restaurants. Currently located in London, there is the possibility of expanding the business into cities and towns away from the capital.
So next time you are in London make sure you visit one of these amazing eateries and absorb some of the unique atmosphere each one offers – as well as the superb food. Once you have sampled the dishes on offer you will be keeping your fingers crossed that these three outstanding entrepreneurs look to your local in which to open their next venture.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 0 Comments
Winter is nearly here, which means it may be time to invest in a new heating system for your home. Should you opt for the clunky radiator that hugs the wall, or an underfloor heating system? If you’re unsure about underfloor heating, here are some quick facts to get you caught up quickly.
It’s cost effective
The biggest benefit of using an underfloor heating system is that it can save you lots of money in the long run. It can cost less than £1 a day to heat the entire house during the winter period and even less for the warmer times of the year – this is based on using an electric system for 182 days, heating the kitchen, bathroom and lounge for 3 hours a day.
Suitable for any floor finish
It doesn’t matter whether your floor is carpet, vinyl, wood, tile and stone or laminate, any floor finish is appropriate to support underfloor heating. Of course different types of floors will require different types of systems, but all are definitely supported. But be sure to check with the floor manufacturer if it can be used with an underfloor heating system.
You can use a thermostat to control the system. You can also keep an eye on how much energy you’re using and the running costs, as well as be able to configure your heating to suit your lifestyle. More basic thermostats are available if you the room has the same heating needs every day, these allow you control the room temperature all year round.
More space to decorate
Because these systems are under the floor and eliminate the need for radiators, depending on the heat loss of your room, you have more space to decorate.
Ease of installation
All of our underfloor heating systems are quick and easy to install, usually in just a few hours. Finding an underfloor heating installer in Essex is easy too with minimal fuss.
Typically, an underfloor heating system will use a lower temperature than radiators, thus reaching the same level of warmth and comfort. You’ll save plenty of money as well as energy.
It’s safe to use
Because the heating systems are under floor, it saves wall and floor space and eliminates low level hot surfaces and sharp edges that can pose a threat to small children in homes and nurseries.
Heat is distributed evenly
The heat produced is spread evenly along the floor so there are no cold spots in the room. This is done by spreading the insulation boards around the room during the installation process.
Things heat up quickly!
Underfloor heating can get warm very quickly - the insulation boards heat up the room very quickly so you’re never cold for too long.
Morocco is the land of innumerable and diverse attractions. Morocco casts a spell on its visitors with its variety from the amazing Atlas Mountains to the vast Sahara desert to deep Todra Gorge. A never ending trail of thrill and excitement is waiting for you as you explore its famous cities like Marrakech, Casablanca and Fez, its Roman city of Volubilis and the ancient Medinas and Kasbahs. The beach in Essouaira offers a soothing time while the local surf school waits to give you a thrilling time as you learn to ride the waves.
Let’s take a look at the stunning locations of Morocco:
Marrakesh: Marrakesh is a lot more than just a city; founded by the Almoravids, Marrakesh has remained a cultural, political and economic centre for a long time. Marrakesh boasts of several impressive monuments and structures dating from that time. Some of the “must visit” attractions of Marrakesh are the Kasbah, the Koutoubiya Mosque, the battlements, gardens, monumental doors, etc. Marrakesh is the land of some architectural jewels like the Bandiâ Palace, the Saadian Tombs, the Ben Youssef Madrasa, Place Jamaâ El Fna, the veritable open-air theatre and also several splendid residences.
Casablanca: The land of Casablanca has a lot to offer to the travellers. Founded in the 7th century, Casablanca portrays a wonderful blend of urban life and cultural accents. One of the major landmarks in the city is Hassan II Mosque, the second largest mosque in the world. La Corniche is a popular beach front district dotted with beaches, pools and restaurants. One of the most sought after places is Square of Mohammed V with a large fountain as its centrepiece and marvellous historical buildings surrounding the square. At Habbous District you will have fantastic shopping opportunities as there is an enormous collection of souks.
Rabat: The capital of Morocco, Rabat is home to Royal Palace, the most important museum of the country and also several historical attractions. A trip to Rabat is a refreshing and pleasant break from the hustle and bustle of cities. Wandering the Chellah excavation area or exploring the beautiful Oudaias Kasbah will definitely be a treat to the history-friends.
Meknes: One of the most beautiful and engaging imperial capitals, Meknes exemplifies the wealth of its historic heritage while retaining the simplicity of its origins. Meknes has preserved its imposing monuments, numerous mosques and the Great Mosque remarkable for its gates and beautiful sculpted canopies.
Chefchaouen: Nestled amidst the Rif Mountains, this is a spectacular Moroccan city, which was built in the 15th century. One of the most popular treats of this region is the creamy native goat cheese. The octagonal mosque, Spanish ruins and Jewish-inspired blue-tinted buildings are special attractions for the architecture enthusiasts.
Volubilis: The archaeological site of Volubilis was founded in the 3rd century B.C and is graced with a number of fine buildings. Extensive remains are still found in the archaeological site and something worth watching.
Apart from the above mentioned places, Morocco has several other attractions like Fes, Sahara, Todra Gorge, Essaouira and Taghazout which cannot be missed on your trip to Morocco.
When you are planning for adventure tourism to the countries like Africa, South America, Europe, Egypt, Morocco or some other countries, it is always wise to opt for an experienced adventure travel company for a safe and worry-free travel experience.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 0 Comments
Merchandising units play a definite role in spreading brand name of a company and some companies help develop display units that are highly impactful in bringing a difference to the manufacturer’s brand awareness. Since visual impact is a determinant of a product’s awareness in public, focus is significantly made on packaging of the product. With printing and packaging companies diversifying their offerings the role of display boxes has been redefined.
These boxes don’t just save the product from being damaged but they majorly help in adding to the appeal of the item in consideration. So that means a considerable portion of the branding aspect can be accomplished with boxes.
The interesting part is that these display boxes come in a variety of sizes and shapes to comply with tailored needs. You must be thinking how it is possible to manufacture boxes in a variety of shades, sizes and designs. With the help of litho and digital printing facilities, packaging and printing companies are offering such groundbreaking strategy to cater to the multifarious requirements.
The diverse technologies implemented by the printing and packaging companies are designed in ways such that they have the flexibility to comply both small and large scale requirements. In most of the cases manufacturers tend to order for acrylic display box that bear the following features:
· Embossed printing
· Glossy lamination
· Matt lamination
· Silk screen
The sizes offered are mostly customised. Most importantly they are flexible to assure maximum value on display. A majority of times it has been found that manufacturers tend to opt for acrylic boxes because of their unbreakable nature. An acrylic display box primarily accepts the following:
· Clear and custom designs
· Model number
Acrylic boxes are advantageous because of the following:
· Acrylic boxes are effective for displaying items and attracting customers towards buying
· They are widely in use in supermarkets, retail stores, shopping malls
· Acrylic boxes are high on transparency
· They showcase a crystalline appearance to evoke maximum appeal
· Acrylic boxes are highly water and weather resistant. They can be used in any weather
· These display boxes are hard
· They display lustrous surface
· They can be processed faster and are absolutely suitable for mechanical as well as thermal moulding
· Acrylic sheets come in a variety of colours and designs. These boxes mainly showcase a diverse range of decorative patterns
· They are resistant to any kind of chemical corrosion
· Acrylic boxes are suitable for screen printing, spray printing, surface ornament, carving and vacuum filming
· The items are manufactured according to the requirement set by the clients
· The printing and packaging companies accept mini to large scale orders for acrylic display boxes
· This packaging technology also entails the use of bubble bags alongside an inner box for offering maximum support and safety to the item packed inside
The acrylic display boxes are not only good in appearance but they are crafted from high quality material to assure sturdiness and durability.
Pultrusion is a scientific term for a composite method where different materials are involved while reinforcement processes take place. Other than reinforcing, attention is paid on resin, shape, systems and loading to ensure maximum yield of quality performance. In UK the pultrusion industry is experiencing growth thus giving opportunity to pultruded profile stockists to find potential customer base.
In GRP profiles the sections are generally crafted from reinforced glass isophthalic polyester resin supported by E glass fibre also comprising an unending strand mat alongside special polyester made surface veil that is the surface layer.
Grades for the GRP Pultruded Profiles
There are two distinct grades of GRP pultruded profiles with structural differences. While some engineered structural profiles with wall thickness of greater than 5mm thickness meets the criteria of the E23 grade, the structure that stands at 3-5 mm thickness complies with the E17 grade.
The manifold benefits of GRP pultruded profiles
In an age when emphasis is primarily laid on conserving resource, the role of GRP pultruded profiles can’t be more defined than this:
· Fire resistant
· Corrosion resistant
· Low weight
· High strength
· UV resistant
· Highly transportable
· Low thermal conductivity
· Custom colours
· Custom Finishes
· High impact tolerant
· Zero maintenance
· Effective electrical insulation
A majority of times, these pultruded profiles are stocked and delivered in 6m length. Later their lengths re cut short as and when required. A majority of companies offering these engineered items have dies where they can produce pultruded profiles of different lengths and sizes.
These profiles are usually stocked in G (Grey) and the ladder and handrail profiles are stocked in Y (Yellow). However both types of GRP profiles can be ordered in any colour. Besides, these are also obtainable in various resin options. The pultruded profiles are pre-cut to fit different needs in order to save from cut off scraps. Since, the resin options can be selected from types like those that are fire retardant and those that emit low smoke and are low in toxicity. The second type is mostly produced for high-risk areas and enclosed spaces. The client also has to comply with the order criteria where the minimum order limit lies at 500m.
Though, these profiles remain inherently non-conductive, they can be made electrically conductive by using a special surface veil meant for the same. This surface veil is integrated during production for the anti-static trait.
The fibre glass pultruded profiles are developed by combining different types of resins which are of high quality and pure glass fibre reinforcement. The profiles are created with the help of continuous process mainly for extra strength and also resilience. The result- profiles with high mechanical properties that may even exceed features and benefits of metal profiles. They are mostly supplied in I-bean, angle, channel and even tube sections. Most importantly the profiles are delivered for construction of plant assemblies that are chemical resistant. These materials are also used for access platforms and fabricate stairs.
Author-bio: The author Ralph Hewitt is an engineer by profession and is thus seen penning blogs on technical topics which also include GRP profiles and their uses. Through his blogs he wants to bring to notice the intricate subjects involved.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 0 Comments
Probably, you must have heard a lot of nice things about Sri Lanka, or so you will. After 30 years of war, it is indeed amazing how Sri Lanka citizens joined hands and even adorable, is the way they have managed to re-invent their own country in to this amazing, rather beautiful sanctuary. Famous for its white sandy beaches, refreshing tropical weather, mesmerizing ancient ruins, huge and fearsome elephants, captivating tea among many other things, definitely no tourist would even dare think of not “going Sri Lanka”. That said, Sri Lanka is actually an ocean of a myriad interesting things, but there are a few spots that are synonymous to the name Sri Lanka and if you are a tourist, or you are planning to visit Sri Lanka, you really need to find time and visit these places.
Anuradhapura is incomparable to any other place in the world. It is among the oldest and still existing landmarks in Sri Lanka. The place looks classic and gained its popularity from the well preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization. This ancient city still remains sacred to Buddhists and is significantly dear in Hindu legend as the mythological capital of the Asura King Ravana. Currently, it is surrounded by monasteries which extend to an area exceeding 40m2. In Anuradhapura, among many other things, you stand a chance to:
· Learn a few things you didn’t know about Lankan civilization and their significance to the today’s Sri Lanka.
· Get close range view of a number of ancient building and ruins that once were mighty and unshaken.
· Feel the real ancient experience that may be compared to the Pyramids of Egypt.
Sirigiya: the supposedly 8th wonder of the world
The term Sirigiya means “Lions Rock”. This place actually attracts a lot of tourists in Sri Lanka all credit to its unique and captivating features including:
· Earliest paintings (Frescos)
· Garden reservoirs.
· Many ancient palace ruins which were once habited by King Kassapa I between 477 and 495AD.
In a nutshell, in Sri Lanka, Sirigiya is considered to be one of the seven World Heritage Sites in the country.
The name “Colombo” was first coined by the Portuguese in 1505 and supposedly is a standard Sinhalese name “Kolon Thota” which literally means, “port on the river Kelani”. However, other sources claim that Colombo is a derivative from the Sinhalese “komba-amba-thota” meaning “Harbour with leafy mango trees”. Evidently, the place is cool, and conveniently, strategically placed enough to attract tourists. To those who don’t know, Colombo is presently the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. What makes Colombo a site to behold?
· It actually one of the ideal places where one can easily mix business with pleasure. It doesn’t matter whether you came to this capital for business or pleasure, one thing is for certain, it provides one with humble time to do both.
· You will get a chance to see the “English side” of Sri Lanka portrayed in the English- style buildings found in the region. In addition, Colombo is the perfect place for with a thing for British Heritage.
Advantageously, Colombo sounds as the perfect place to obtain Sri Lanka Visas given that it is the heart of many government offices including various ambassadors’ offices.
This place undoubtedly fascinates a lot of art historians. It is a pure traditional market and arts and crafts centre. Additionally, Kandy is famous for its precious gem stones. Profoundly important to historians, it was in Kandy that Singhalese King handed over power to the Britons in 1815. Among the things to enjoy in Kandy include:
· If you get lucky, the Perahera ceremony,
· Priceless carvings and portrait all found within the market region,
· You will also get a chance to study in depth a few interesting things about Sri Lanka and its people and their amusing old way of life.
This place may look simple but has a lot of things to offer. Among the things tourists find attractive in Dambulla include:
· The biggest, in fact the mightiest potted cave temple complex of Sri lanka,
· The Rangiri Dambulla global stadium which was built in 167days,
· Ibbankatuwa primitive, but amazing burial site and finally,
· Lots of interesting people who are polite and sociable.
Other top tourists spots in Sri Lanka include; Hikkaduwa coral reef and sandy beaches, Kalpitiya, polonnaruwa, Wilpattu National Parks and Bundala National Park. Good times chasing adventure in Sri Lanka!