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Augmented Reality Mobile App

Writing a Killer Augmented Reality Mobile App Brief

By | Augmented Reality | No Comments

There’s a long way between coming up with a mobile app idea and actually developing one. App development is a complex process that requires several stages of planning, preparation, and execution. And augmented reality mobile apps are no exception. So, if you plan on hiring an app developer to do the job for you, you’ll need help explaining your idea. That’s why you should write a mobile app brief.

Writing a killer augmented reality mobile app brief will help you ensure your project is a success. If you’re not sure how to write it but want to learn, just keep reading.

Here’s everything you need to know about writing an augmented reality mobile app brief.

C:\Users\Lenovo\Downloads\pexels-adrianna-calvo-17663.jpg
source: Pexels 

  • What is an App Brief?


Before we dig any deeper into the process of writing a mobile app brief for your needs, let’s try and understand what exactly is an app brief and why you need one.

It’s actually very simple. An app brief is:

  • a written document that describes your app development ideas and plans to the smallest details.

An app brief is a great way to establish clear communication between app developers and their clients

That means that you’ll be putting your ideas into words and organizing them to help the developers get fully prepared to execute the project successfully.

A client will use the brief to explain to the developers:

  • why they need the app
  • how they want it to work
  • details about their vision for the app

It will help them understand each other’s needs and stay on the same page during the entire process of app development.

  • How to Write an Augmented Reality Mobile App Brief??


Now that you understand the importance of writing an app brief, it’s time to learn how to do it. Below, you’ll find all the necessary elements you need to include in your AR mobile app brief.

Let’s break it down.

  1. Basic Client Information


Your AR mobile app brief should start with a brief introduction of who you are and what kind of a company or business do you run.

This introduction is supposed to help the developer:

  • get to know you better
  • understand your business story
  • learn about your business goals and vision

Make sure to leave your contact information in this section to make it easier for the developers to respond to your brief.

  1. General App Idea


Now it’s time to start talking about the AR mobile app that you’ve got on your mind. This section is supposed to answer the following questions:

  • Why do you need this app for your business?
  • What goals do you plan on achieving with this app?
  • What problems would you like the app to solve?

Let’s say you’re an e-commerce website selling furniture and home accessories. Your sales are down, and you want the AR mobile app to allow people to test how your furniture would fit their homes.

By explaining the general app idea, you’ll be helping the developers understand your needs and start working on ideas.

  1. Your Target Audience

Your target audience is your developers’ target audience as well. They need to know who they’re designing the app for, so make sure you describe your customers to the smallest details.

Give information about their:

  • age
  • sex
  • social status
  • location
  • online behavior
  • etc.

Provide all the details you can to ensure the team working on the app will have your target audience in mind. This will help them fit the app’s function to their needs and make sure the project is successful.

  1. App Functionality

Now that you’ve done the general introduction and provided enough explanations, you’ll need to talk about the app in greater detail.

Your developers will want to know:

  • what specific features you’d like the app to have
  • what would you like the users to use it for
  • what options will it offer

While it might be hard for you to think about these details since you’re not an app developer, just think as the app user. Describe what you’d like to see and be able to use.

No matter how plain is the language you’re using, you’ll be helping the app development team understand your vision and needs.

  1. Describe User’s Journey


Another important segment of your AR mobile app brief should be the description of the users’ journey. This segment is supposed to describe all the steps the users would have to take after downloading the app.

It’s best that you describe their journey step by step, making sure you include:

  • registration process
  • profile creation
  • setting up their app preferences
  • onboarding process

The more details you provide, the easier it will be for the developers to create the exact app you’ve imagined. Therefore, don’t hold back and give them all the information you find is essential.

  1. Set a Budget

The development of your app will greatly depend on the budget you’ve set for it. You can’t expect to agree with the designers on the app project unless you tell them how much you’re willing to pay.

Therefore, you should discuss different aspects of budgeting for the project. Those include:

  • setting a budget for the entire project
  • prioritizing features if you can’t afford all of them
  • discussing payment dynamics

You need to make sure your developers understand your needs and are ready to offer you something within your budget range. 

Leave room for negotiation if you’re ready to adjust your budget within a certain range.

  1. Set Deadlines


Setting deadlines is another must when it comes to writing an AR mobile design brief. You want your developers to treat you fairly and respect your needs as a client.

This is why you should clearly state the following:

  • the final deadline for project completion
  • deadlines for project stages

It would be good to have your developers check in with you during the development process to show you they’re respecting the deal. They can let you know once they create the mock-up, do the design, finish coding, and perform the final tests.

The deadlines are supposed to give you control over the project and not allow the developers to relax and procrastinate. 

  1. Proofread


Finally, you want to show your professional side while writing the app brief. Make sure you proofread it for:

  • grammar 
  • typos
  • spelling 
  • punctuation

In case you need help with polishing your mobile app brief, these writers services can help you handle the process better and easier.

Don’t let a poorly written app brief embarrass you in front of the developers you’re supposed to collaborate with.

Final Thoughts

App development is a complex process that only app developers can understand. But, to make sure you are on the same page with the people developing your augmented reality mobile app, you need to write an app brief.

Use the tips we’ve shared above to write a killer brief that will secure a great collaboration between you and the app developers.

Author’s bio. Daniela McVicker is a blogger with rich experience writing about UX design, content planning and digital marketing. Currently, she is the chief contributor at Essayguard where she helps individuals and organizations improve their web content writing, design, and planning skills. Her posts are always packed with examples and actionable content that readers can put straight into the action.

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Web Design And Web Development

The Difference Between Web Design And Web Development

By | Web Design | No Comments

The Difference Between Web Design And Web Development

All professional websites today are a combination of web design and web development. Those that are new to the concept of web development mostly use the term web developer with web designers interchangeably. But these are two very different jobs. 

Small businesses that are not dedicated to websites, don’t hire web designers. They usually ask their web developer to design and create the whole website. But established businesses whose sales largely depends on their website will look to hire both web designers and web developers to create their website.

Both web designers and web developers will handle the web page functions. They are vital for building the website. Most people wonder if a person can be both a web designer and a web developer. And some can do both but will always be better at one over the other. 

These days, both terms are virtually interchangeable because web companies change the labels depending on what people are looking for. The terms refer to two fundamentally different parts of the process of web creation, needing two unique skillsets. You need to know the difference between the two if you are on the hunt for a professional web designer to design and develop your new company website. 

Web Design

A web designer is a graphic based artist that creates objects and layouts for the website. Website designers can tap into their creativity and design the overall layout and look for your website. 

It is rare that these web designers will also develops applications and functionality for a website as well. Trying to find a good web designer that is also a web developer that knows every programming language is like finding a needle in a hay stack. Typically, they just focus on the front-end programming of a website. Another developer might focus on server-side programming such as Ruby, PHP, Java, and .NET. 

Web Design And Web Development

A web designer is responsible for the visual design of the website. The web designer has to have a great sense of aesthetics and should be able to make the website look beautiful. 

Additionally, they will use tools for web design such as Corel draw, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Frontpage to make the website stand out from the competition. 

The main responsibility of a web designer is to make or imagine an interface that could grab the attention of users and it has to be logical, which means it could actually be developed by the web developers. 

A web designer must not have expert knowledge of how websites function or how they are built. They just need to design a website that looks beautiful enough to attract user attention. However, they do need to have prior knowledge of how the website will work and if it will actually be possible to make the website which they have designed. 

Web designers have a difficult role which is often underrated. In their designs, they need to integrate the best user experience possible and create a welcoming environment for the user. 

They have to take an idea from paper, and transmute it into a workable design and interface that catches the user’s attention. A website cannot be described as truly great if a proper design strategy wasn’t applied in the early stages of the project. 

Nowadays, web designers are rated at the same level as web developers, as without a great user experience and design, the development cannot be truly appreciated by the user.

The job descriptions of a website designer

A web designer is responsible for the general performance style of the website. They need to provide a general visual perception of users. Their duties include:

  • Prototyping design
  • Performing the graphic design of the products
  • Carrying out all the duties of advertising design
  • Helping web developers in page design and other functions
  • Designing the blueprint of the website by using tools such as Framer, Adobe Photoshop, or Sketch 
  • Should have good skills in logo and graphic design
  • Needs to know how to design a website with a rich user interface and less complexity
  • Designing the right slot where all the parts of the website will fit 
  • Update the layout of the website based on the market trend and also introduce new features on the website
  • Decide the color and font format to use for the website
  • Being familiar with search engine optimization (SEO), so that the websites they design can rank in search engines 

Generally, web designers are responsible for using their aesthetic skills with various tools to design a powerful page. A good web designer can know the whole product style of the organization, providing a good impression for customers and prospects.

Design principles

  • Balance

Web designers need to create a balanced layout. Web design refers to heavy (large and darker colors) and light (small and light colors) elements. It is important to use the right proportion of each to get a balanced website layout.

  • Contrast 

According to the theory of colors, contrasting colors are placed opposite themselves. Web design provides some areas where a user can use contrast. They make use of contrasting sizes, textures, and shapes to draw attention to some parts of the website.

  • Emphasis

This is a design principle founded by highlighting some important parts of the layout of a website. Note that if you emphasize everything on the web page, you end up not emphasizing anything. Make use of the Information Architecture for direction.

  • Consistency 

This is also called rhythm or repetition. It is a vital web design principle. For instance, clean and consistent navigation gives the best user experience for your visitors.

  • Unity 

It is the link between the different areas of the website layout and composition. Unity is the way the brain of an average human visually organizes data and information by grouping them into different categories.

Web Development

Web developers usually turn the designs presented by web designers into a live website by using web languages and software to create the design and functionality of a website. Further, web developers are divided into three categories – front-end developers, back-end developers, and Full-stack web developers. 

  • Front-end developers

Front-end developers are the link between web designers and back-end developers. They have a little knowledge of both, which would make it possible for a front-end developer to build a fully functional website. However typically a front-end developer creates the interface and the layout. 

Front-end developers use three major languages; Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), and JavaScript (JS). With the help of these languages, a developer can create a full-fledged website. They can create the design layout, upload pictures, apply different typography and font families, use animations, determine the flow of various pages, use form interfaces, and so on.

  • Back-end developers

Back-end developers are responsible for controlling server data and requests. In most cases, a website needs back-end services if it has dynamic data. This means, for instance, users usually submit forms containing personal data, such as creating an account or saving articles for your blog pages. Generally, if you need to save data on your website and make it accessible later, you would need a database connection. 

Web Design And Web Development

Database connections happen as a result of a direct connection from the server. Therefore, a back-end developer uses server languages such as PHP or ASP.NET, for writing database queries by using languages such as MySQL or SQL. 

  • Full-stack developers

This developer works on various layers, but they usually know both the technologies front-end and back-end. Big companies have separate teams for front-end development and back-end development, but small businesses that can’t afford to have multiple developers always search for the full-stack developers who can code for both services.

Skills and tools required for a web developer

  • Source code management tools: Git, SVN, CVS, and so on
  • IDE: Sublime, WebStorm, VS Code, and so on. They are all excellent IDE, you can choose and master any
  • Front-end development technology: JavaScript, CSS, and HTML
  • Front-end framework: React, jQuery, and Bootstrap

Recently, front-end development is very desirable. Most young people desire to become web developers. As a result, the skill requirements are getting higher, and the level of the salary of web developers also increased accordingly.

The major roles of a web developer

  • Building the interface that a user can use to interact with the website; the interface is created by front-end developers by using CSS, HTML, and JS languages
  • Front-end developers can fasten the process of development by using styling preprocessors, javascript libraries, and frameworks
  • Front-end developers give the markup design to back-end developers, so they can use to create a dynamic website, and submit all the vital information on the server and databases
  • Back-end developers create the backbone of the website by using languages like MySQL and PHP 
  • Both front-end and back-end web developers use the same development environments. They are software application tools used for coding and building the structure of the website
  • Web developers can also use versioning tools to keep a history of previous design data. This helps them to efficiently move back to a previous version that is unbroken if the need arises

Which is better to hire for your website?

Typically, web designers have a creative mindset, while web developers think logically and methodically. Due to the different mindsets of designers and developers, it is difficult getting a good web designer who is also a good web developer; you need to hire separate professionals for both jobs, or find an agency that as both on the team. 

A web developer will probably not be able to create an attractive web design. And a web designer will probably have a hard time thinking logically to develop a high functioning website.

Your best bet as previously mentioned will always be to hire a web agency to uild the perfect website, from design to the development. They can provide the best of both worlds because they have professional web designers and web developers at hand. 

Most website companies also have project managers to effectively manage projects and ensure the developers and designers work hand-in-hand. One person can’t be an expert at everything.

Final Words

Small and medium-sized businesses looking for a website or a website re-design may be confused by the thin blurred lines separating web design and web development. 

Even though there are people that can perform both duties, most organizations have dedicated designers that are responsible for creating the website layout and then hand the design files over to web developers. Web design and web development are two separate professions.

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WooCommerce Vat Rates CSV Download

By | Web Design | No Comments

There are different VAT tax rates for each European country. You shouldn’t waste any time finding and including them in your store. It is best to use a WooCommerce EU VAT CSV file.

As a business owner, one of the first tasks you have to perform is setting up tax rates. WooCommerce makes the setup process to be as straightforward as possible.

It is recommended that you consult a tax professional on the best options to use for your store. The expert will also let you know about all applicable laws to your state, country, or brand. Since every business is unique, it is impossible to cover all the possibilities.

EU VAT in Practice

The value added tax (VAT) found in European countries is a general based consumption tax assessed on the value added to goods and services. It is applicable for all goods and services purchased and sold for use or consumption in Europe.

Goods that are sold for export or services sold to clients residing in other countries are not subject to VAT. On the other hand, imports are taxed so that the system can remain fair for EU producers so that they can compete on equal terms on the European market with suppliers residing outside the European Union.

VAT is

A general tax that applies to all commercial activities that has to do with the production and distribution of goods and services. But if your yearly turnover is less than the threshold, which is different according to the Member State, you can’t charge VAT on your sales.

A consumption tax, since it is ultimately borne by the final consumer. It is not a charge for brands. It is charged as a percentage of each price. This means that the real tax burden can be seen at every stage in the chain of production and distribution.

Fractionally gathered through a system of partial payments whereby taxable businesses deduct from the VAT they have collected the amount of tax they have paid to other taxable companies after patronizing them. This makes sure that the tax is neutral regardless of the number of transactions involved.

Paid to revenue authorities by a taxable business owner, however, it is paid by the buyer to the seller as part of the business transaction – it is therefore an indirect tax.

Why you should subscribe?

European VAT provides a detailed explanation of VAT systems in European countries and an explanation of the EU VAT system. It has all the details for practitioners handling complicated cases on VAT in the EU in the non-EU Member States.

How it is charged

Even though the VAT is a percentage of the sale price, from this the taxable individual is entitled to deduct every tax paid initially. Therefore, you’ll avoid double taxation is and you’ll only pay tax on the value added at every stage of production and distribution.

By doing this, as the last price of the product is equal to the sum of the values added at every previous stage, the last VAT paid is comprised of the sum of the VAT paid at every level.

A number is provided to registered VAT traders and they have to show the VAT charged to customers on invoices. By this, a customer who is registered is aware of the amount he can deduct and the tax to be paid on the final product.

As a trader who sells products in the EU, add the VAT tax of your origin. For instance, if your store is located in France and you sell to Germany, add VAT tax to your products in France.

Those that sell digital services should use the country tax of their customers. As it is with the previous example, you should add a VAT tax from Germany. This is only applicable to B2C transactions. Those that sell B2B need to charge their customer zero rates. The customers will determine their VAT taxes. Here, the customer has to provide its VAT EU number.

How to configure EU VAT tax rates

The configuration process is easy and quick. It is summarized below:

1. Make a new tax category

• Go to WooCommerce, then settings, and then tax.

• Include a new tax class. You can give it any name you desire. The name will not be visible to users.

• A new link shows up as soon as you save the settings.

2. Download the WooCommerce EU VAT CSV file to your device

• The file downloaded will have all the IEU VAT rates.

WooCommerce Vat Rates

3. Import the file and set the rates for new categories

• Choose a file in the next step and select the option that says ‘Upload file and import’.

WooCommerce Vat Rates
WooCommerce Vat Rates

4. Determine the class to your digital products

• Go to your product settings and choose your new tax class in the Tax class option.

• It is also possible for you to edit products in bulk.

WooCommerce Vat Rates
WooCommerce Vat Rates

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The Best WordPress Membership Plugins

Best WordPress Membership Plugins

By | Web Design | No Comments

Best WordPress Membership Plugins

Membership sites are becoming more and more popular on the web as time goes by and as everyone and their mum tries their hand at becoming an influencer. A membership site gives you full control over an entirely new kind of revenue stream. You’ll no longer have to worry about losing that sweet affiliate deal or losing that big sponsored post deal because you have your very own revenue stream. I should mention at this point it is not just “influencers” or “Instagramers” that are utilising membership websites to drive additional revenue. We have seen a huge uplift in these styles of websites following the pandemic as traditional businesses that once operated classes and in person services are now moving to an online and anytime content driven business model.

If you intend to have a WordPress membership website, keep it in mind that there are various WordPress membership plugins that you can use. Determining the right membership plugin is important for your business because a better platform will give you more functionality to grow your subscription base.

To transform your WordPress website to a fully functional membership site, you should have a WordPress membership plugin. You can create a premium content library and make it accessible only to your paying subscription based customers when you have a membership site plugin.

Whether you aim to generate recurring income, sell courses online, or just build a community of paying customers, this guide will help you decide the best membership plugin for your needs.Things to

Look for in a WordPress Membership Plugin

There are a lot of WordPress membership plugins, but they don’t all have particular features that you may require for making your membership site. Some of them are perfect for selling subscriptions on one level, and others provide more diverse membership levels and subscription management qualities.

Some plugins provide drip content feature, making it possible for users to gradually produce new content to users. Others are restricted to only providing hidden content.

As a business owner, you’ll have to determine the payment gateways to use. Whether you want to accept only credit cards, PayPal, Stripe or both? Your membership plugin should support your preferred choice of payment gateways.

Creating a Membership Site with a WordPress Membership Plugin

Building a membership site makes it possible for you to control access to forums, online content, downloads, and provide support to only your registered customers. To create a membership site, you’ll need almost the same tools used to create a website.

Some of the tools required are a domain name, strong web hosting, and a membership plugin. Some web hosting services provide a free domain name, free SSL certificates, and discounts on web hosting to users.

Uses of a membership plugin

  • Create email lists, so you can send updates and coupons to your customers
  • Share free content to have a loyal fan base
  • Get paid for access to members-only content

Benefits of a Membership Website

There are several ways of making money online, but one of the most effective is by creating a membership website using a WordPress membership plugin. A membership site allows you to limit access to the content on your website, and only paid users can access them. This content can include forums, downloads, support, and so on.

Below are some reasons you might want to build a membership site:

  • Have a highly engaging email list

With a membership site, you can make a content library and make it accessible only to your registered customers. You can also add these customers to your email list. By doing this, you can gather the email addresses of users that are not so active.

All businesses are looking for how they can make their email marketing strategies more efficient. All that starts with building a bigger email list. When you add newly registered users to your email list, the list will be full of active members that are more likely to engage with your brand.

  •    Show your authority

Creating a membership site and offering useful content helps you establish yourself as an authority in your niche. You can also create a good relationship with your members and even lay a foundation for a loyal customer base.

  • Earn a steady income

When you have a membership site, you can convince users to pay for the subscription, thus generating recurring income. This consistent stream of recurring income will increases as more people register to your website.

  • Deliver more value to users

The good thing about having a membership site is that the content you limit access to is of high-quality, this means that it will be valuable to people for a long time. It’s also found in one convenient location for all registered users to see. You can easily edit that content to make it more valuable for users. This will encourage them to continue paying you for access.

  • Automation

Even though you can keep on building on your content, you don’t have to. If you do all the right things upfront and make a membership site for your target users, you technically don’t have to do anything else. Unless you want to regularly update the content, the content will do the work for you.

How to select a WordPress Membership Plugin for Your Site

There are 3 key areas to consider when choosing a membership plugin for your website – ease of use, compatibility, and design and features.

  • Ease of use

You can either buy a lightweight WordPress membership plugin or a full-featured WordPress membership plugin.

Most lightweight plugins are designed to be fast and provide the basics needed. These plugins also provide add-ons that can be easily installed to extend their functionality and provide access to more features.

A full-featured plugin will provide a crowded interface. However, you’ll have enough features at your disposal.

  • Compatibility

You can easily take a WordPress membership plugin for a compatibility test drive by testing it on your local WordPress install. If it is compatible, install the plugin on the production site.

  • Design and features

Although most membership plugins have all the features needed, always check before selecting one. Most membership plugins have multiple plans that come with various features and prices.

Some key features to look for include:

  • Member management
  • Support for live chats and forums
  • Tools for email marketing
  • Ease of digital downloads
  • Course building tools
  • Functionality of content
  • Various levels of subscriptions
  • Discounts and coupons
  • Recurring bills
  • Design features

Check Out The Best WordPress Membership Plugins

memberpress The Best Plugins

1. MemberPress

This is an all-in-one membership plugin that makes it easy for business owners to transform their current website into a fully-featured membership website.

You can use MemberPress to create an unlimited amount of memberships and customize them all, including prices to be paid by users, who can become a member and the duration of a trial period.

Also, with this plugin, you can put your users into various groups, control their upgrade paths, and make dynamic pricing pages. Also, you can easily send emails to members.

MemberPress gives you control over your coupons. You can control expiration dates, choose a discount percentage, determine the products users can apply to, and change coupon codes.

learndash The Best WordPress Membership Plugins

2. LearnDash

LearnDash was created for making and selling courses online on WordPress websites. It enables users to provide a concise learning experience to members and supports the biggest social learning and micro-content trends.

LearnDash has made it easier to sell courses. Some ways to sell your online courses include:

  • Memberships: Give access to all of your online courses
  • One-time price: Have a shopping cart where users can purchase individual courses
  • Subscription: Get paid regularly through subscription-based selling

With LearnDash, users can unlock new courses, depending on the points they earn as they complete their courses. This makes it possible for you to increase retention and make users more engaged in the courses you’re offering.

You can award highly-customized certificates and badges according to the performance of a learner. You can also provide front-end user profiles where users can track their activities.

teachable The Best WordPress Membership Plugins

3. Teachable

With Teachable, you can also create and sell online courses with a few clicks. It has built-in member management, payment gateways, and sales and marketing tools to help business owners grow their brands fast.

It has a powerful editor that enables you to create and launch beautiful sales pages capable of converting visitors into customers. Some features that set Teachable apart from its competitors include:

  • Learning tools: You can easily make discussion forums on your Teachable site. You can also give certificates after users complete a course to reward their efforts.
  • Integrations: Bring your content from Dropbox, Google Drive, or One Drive. You can link your website with online tools.
  • Marketing tools: You can make affiliate program, coupon codes, and advanced pricing options to improve sales.
Restrict Content Pro

4. Restrict Content Pro

This WordPress membership plugin is popular. iThemes bought it on September 1st, 2020. Although this is a big change, iThemes is a very established company and plans to invest in Restrict Content Pro to make it better.

Restrict Content Pro is a strong contender for the best membership plugin for WordPress. It was made by the same team that created Easy Digital Downloads and AffiliateWP plugins.

If you don’t feel confident about setting up your membership plugin, this plugin can assist you. It provides notes to guide you through the setup process. Additionally, the plugin comes with features that can regulate content access, and the developers are regularly updating new features.

Restrict Content Pro has various options for payment integration, such as 2Checkout, PayPal, Authorize.net, Stripe, and Braintree. It can also handle different payment options at the same time.

Features:

  • Various membership levels
  • Has a customer dashboard for members to view and manage their account details
  • Unlimited subscription
  • Membership emails
  • Discounts on membership subscriptions
s2member Plugins

5. S2Member

This is a WordPress membership plugin that is fully packed with features. But it is not beginner-friendly. Once you know how to use it, you’ll see that it is a powerful membership plugin for selling digital and physical products. S2Member also has a pro version available. It has been around for a long time and has a committed user base.

The pro version gives you access to one of the most comprehensive membership plugins out there. It has features such as user roles, content dripping, one-step registration and checkout, unlimited paid membership levels, and so on.

Features:

  • Can easily accept recurring payments
  • Has PayPal integration
  • Pro version has PayPal, Stripe, ClickBank, and Authorize.net integrations
  • Can track coupon codes
  • Gift certificate codes
  • Pro-form templates

Conclusion

WordPress membership plugins are vital to making exclusivity and restricting content to only paid members. WordPress users have several options to choose from when it comes to membership plugins. Due to this, we have narrowed this post down to just a handful.

All the plugins mentioned above were excellently selected. They are easy to use and are equipped with all of the vital membership features needed to satisfy most users, such as the ability to lock content, monetize a website by selling premium memberships, and drip-feed content.

types of AR effects

AR Filter Experiences – 5 Different Types Of Effects You Can Use

By | Augmented Reality | No Comments

The future of Instagram is a fun, filtered experience that augments the real world with art and technology. As Augmented reality (AR) technology rapidly grows, augmented reality experiences is also increasing – from face filters to world effects – the marketing potential of AR is large.

AR filter experiences make a unique opportunity for brands to connect with their consumer.  It enables visualization, personalization, and story-telling. Currently, the range of AR formats available allows tailor-made advertising campaigns that promote services, brands, products, and campaigns in unique ways.

 

What is an Instagram AR filter?

They are computer-generated effects placed over the real-life image a camera shows. For Instagram Stories, an AR filter alters the image the front or back camera shows.

Remember that Instagram AR filters are different from their preset filters. The preset filters on Instagram elevate the quality of photos with just one click, so you’ll not be required to spend a lot of time editing images for your Instagram post.

 

What is new with Instagram Stories AR filters?

At its conference in May 2019, Facebook made it known to the public that anyone can create custom AR filters by making use of its Spark AR Studio platform. This platform makes it possible for users to make original augmented reality effects for Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, Messenger, and Portal.

Before this platform was made public in August 2019, Instagram users had to be invited to use Spark AR. That meant only a few Instagram users could create and publish custom AR filters. But today, anyone who downloads Spark AR Studio can get creative with making filters.

It is simple for Instagram users to find these filters. Anybody that visits the Instagram profile of your brand can click the new face icon. All the AR filters you make are compiled here.

 

Benefits of creating AR filters for Instagram Stories

Although this tool might not be right for all brands, it is a good option for companies that are trying to reach younger users on Instagram. Remember that 67 percent of all Instagram users are ages 18-29. Also, one-third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories are from brands.

Here are some examples of how custom AR filters could leverage your business:

 

Show-off the personality of your brand

  • Custom AR filters reflect the tone of your brand, particularly if that tone is fun or playful.
  • They reflect the unique aspects of your brand, assisting you to stand out from your competitors.

 

Connect with customers

  • In 2019, over 500 million accounts engaged with Instagram Stories daily.
  • Also, 60 percent of brands using Instagram Stories used an interactive element to increase monthly engagement.
  • Custom AR filters are the best interactive elements for Instagram Stories.

 

Be ahead of the competition

  • Custom AR filters are still a new feature, and not every company is using them yet.
  • Make an AR filter for your audience to “try on” a product before buying or “put on” a branded item of clothing.
  • It is not just for self-promotion. You could also make a filter for your brand to show your support for social causes.

 

Increase brand awareness

  • Incorporate the logo or mascot of your brand into an AR filter.
  • If your unique filter is not promotional, it will show in the Effect Gallery of Instagram where anyone can locate it.
  • When users share selfies using your filter, their followers will be exposed to your business.

5 Types of AR Experiences

To leverage its benefits, you have to understand each available AR experience individually. The great thing is that every format is great in its way. They all make it possible for you to attract consumers, with easy and fun engagement that is always right to the goals of your brand. Below are the types of AR filter experiences you can use.

 

  1. Face Filters

Everybody wants to look good on social media. Since Snapchat made the AR aesthetic popular in 2011 with its Lenses, making use of face filters has become almost second nature. Face filters created an effect on the face of the user, immediately altering their appearance. It is easy to use them by directing the imagination of the customer to focus on the AR design of the brand; they link brand and consumer.

The important benefit of face filters is that they are easy to share. It only takes a few taps to send a beautifully augmented selfie to an audience. These days, nothing is worth much if done privately. A beautiful filter will probably be shared with friends.

By using AR filter experience to enhance your selfies, face filters make effects that the users can easily recognize, enjoy, and share, making it possible for brands to access a wider audience and to immediately become recognizable.

  1. Portals

They are magical ways of introducing users to a great world of your creation. Going through a virtual doorway, which the camera imposes on a horizontal plane, the user is taken into a different world. From animated wonderlands to photorealistic creation of new places, portals allow consumers to go into the world of different businesses.

Portals give an unprecedented level of immersion. Any marketing campaign, from promoting the image of a brand to evoking emotions linked to your services, they can be captured in a whole new world.

AR Filter Experiences
  1. World Effects

Of all the various AR experiences, world effects are changing our world. They are created for back-facing cameras. By focusing on a blank plane, they make a 3D picture in the space in front of the user, allowing it to become part of that visual space.

They have a large scope. By mixing the digital and real-world, they make an experience that makes it possible for customers to connect with businesses. Older users would be surprised at the realism of modern AR world effects, but younger people will enjoy the 3D figures and objects suddenly popping up in their rooms.

  1. Mini-Games

Mini-games make it possible for users to participate in short games by tapping on their screens or by using face gestures. They are the most interactive types of AR filter experiences, exciting users, and encouraging word-of-mouth sharing.

They are a quick and easy way to keep users occupied, while everyone else is looking for things to fill the time. Users will interact with the branding of the mini-games, thereby stimulating active thought on the product being advertised.

Since they are mostly based on face filters, they can be easily shared, making it possible for users to share their scores and funny moments with their followers.

AR Filter Experiences
  1. Image Trackers

Image trackers enhance a physical image with more layers of content and information. They are the perfect way to include depth to any marketing campaign, rising materials like posters and merchandise to the next level.

They make it possible for users to interact with a business while using physical context to drive consumers to further engage with posters, logos, or billboards.

It is easy to engage users with an image tracker after viewing a physical product or advert. With the ability to work well together with other forms of advertisement, image trackers can be exciting and boost the advertising campaign of your brand.

 

Conclusion

Now, more than ever, you need to harness the power of AR filter experience. With the uncertainties in the world, the virtual world has become important. They have the unique ability to add dynamism and excitement to your new reality. By blurring the lines between the real and virtual worlds, AR filter experiences can drive home important messages and lift morale in these trying times.

educational animation videos

Educational Animation Videos

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Educational Animation Videos

When it comes to learning in the classroom, you have to be innovative to make it an enjoyable and easily understandable process. When learners get knowledge through fun activities, it becomes more important. With technological advancements, the use of educational animation videos has come to stay. Educators use simple but effective sketch videos to teach. This can either be through an image of any form to direct pupils on the screen or the use of cartoons to explain a topic in the classroom.

Today’s youngsters are surrounded by technology and high tech gadgets. We cannot expect them to follow the old methods of learning, like lecturing and simple PowerPoint presentations. Educational animated videos are one of the best types of learning facilitators. It is a helpful medium to mix the subject matter with some entertainment to enhance learning.

Students today need more brain stimulation as they can learn better with visual content. Educational animation videos make that possible because they can see the objects in action through animated lessons. For instance, they can see a model of the whole universe when they are learning about the solar system. A teacher can explain to them the differences in the planets in our solar system and they can remember better.

Educational Animation videos improve creativity in students and motivate them to explore complex dimensions of knowledge. The skills of students get honed in the process. Presentations can be made more engaging and fun by making use of animation. Lessons can be explained in story form which increases comprehension.

What Kind of a 3D Animation Video is used in Education?

A video can tell a story, explain a concept, or just walk you through space. Thus, learning through a video is seen as a presentation.

Classroom teaching is no more restricted to chalk and blackboard. Schools and colleges are investing in educational animation videos to enable their students to learn more efficiently.

There are a lot of concepts that can easily be explained using 3D animation. They flexibly explain structures and their working to students. For instance, if you want a student to learn about a solar water heater, a 3D graphic will perfectly show its complete structure.

As a teacher or general knowledge-giver, chances are you’re no stranger to the concept of presentations. And with recent pushes for online learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, various educators are looking for creative ways to digitize their curriculum, and one way of doing this is by making use of educational animated videos.

The world of animated videos has great opportunities, particularly when the objective is to keep viewers engaged and entertained. But the benefits don’t just end there. Here are a few reasons we believe education and animation go hand in hand.

educational animation videos

Benefits of Educational Animated Videos

We have been challenging ourselves to get familiar with technological enhancement. Its fast growth has left us with no option than to find ways to adapt. But the young generation already adapted themselves to technology.

Using educational animated videos is a step forward toward future learning. We can get benefits from it by removing the old learning barriers and teaching limitations. There are various benefits for students such as:

1. It can be used as support tools

Animated videos are used as support tools in learning. They complement the other processes of learning as it facilitates a deeper understanding of a subject. In the case of a complex topic, representative characters can make it simpler, therefore, bringing a lot of motivation and satisfaction to the learner.

A short and straightforward comic video at the end of a topic can make the lesson much more memorable. Familiar characters can be used in different subjects to make learning more interesting.

2. Developing problem-solving skill

Watching educational animation videos about mathematics or geometry provokes the innate potential of students in critical thinking and problem-solving. Educational animation videos make the learning environment more instructive and engaging. It offers a big platform for students when learning important and valuable lessons. Apart from the attractive nature of animation, it can send a message that lectures, sounds, or simple videos cannot deliver.

3. Improves pronunciation and communication

Children have a habit of imitating what they see and hear. You might observe, if they watch a certain cartoon for most of the day, they tend to speak like their favorite character. They speak, even if they don’t know the meaning of a new word they just learned.

This mimicry might correct any wrong pronunciations a student might have. Since they catch the language they hear easily, a video having a polished language with correct grammar is important. Rather than watching bad cartoons, it is useful if you encourage them to watch something more fruitful. Therefore, if you show them a video on saving water, imagine what he’ll speak when he goes back home.

4. Cherishing creativity

All of us were born with some creative power – some of us more and some of us less. But as we progress in life, we might forget this ability. The storytelling in animation wakes up our creativity from a long hibernation and it facilitates communication between the subject matter and students.
It helps us explore the meaning of our work and experience. Colors, shapes, characters, pictures, creativity, and imagination in the educational animated videos help students move further and answer the questions that have been left unanswered.

5. It is engaging

Particularly if you’re teaching a young audience, animation is a great way to keep your learners engaged in the lesson. And no matter what age you are, actively listening to anything can be hard without visual aid. 90 percent of the information absorbed by the brain is visual, so expecting your students to truly understand what you are teaching without a video is wishful thinking.

6. Animation is flexible

By using a custom educational animation video, there’s no limit to what you can do. From math to science and social studies, any lecture or lesson can be brought to life with the magic of visual aid.

7. Enhancing memory

Memory has three phases in the brain – sensory memory, short term memory, and long term memory. It is through sensory memory that external input gets to the brain. For instance, when a child gets new information through videos, it is easier to retrieve the information, because most of the information will save in the long term memory. Thus, if the valuable lessons from school or moralities are presented through animated videos, it is easier for the students to remember.

8. Developing personality

Animation directly affects learning. Introducing animation in the course of learning involves many parts of the brain and simultaneously uses some skills. This forms a deeper connection between skills and results in life-long learning.

9. Recognizing spatial relationships

The brain of children cannot distinguish shapes at the young ages. Animation can be used to rescue the spatial relationship skills in the mind. Children can distinguish and recognize the shapes through animated videos. Animation assists kids to understand shapes and objects and their differences.

In Conclusion

Animation today is no longer only used for entertainment. It plays a significant role in the course of learning and education. Moreover, with the technological enhancement experienced today, it is vital to use animation to educate our children about subject matters and morality.

Protect Your WordPress Website

7 Ways to Protect Your WordPress Website from Hackers

By | Web Design | One Comment

7 Ways to Protect Your WordPress Website from Hackers

There is nothing more terrifying for a website owner than the thought of seeing all of your work altered or entirely deleted by a hacker.

Hacking is a concern, even to people who don’t believe their website has any value to hackers. Websites are compromised all of the time, and most security breaches are not to steal data, but to use your server as an email relay for spam.

Data breaches happen all the time – so it’s important to take the time to protect your WordPress website with these basic hacker protection tips.

1. Install security plugins

If your website is built with a content management system (CMS), you can make it better by using security plugins that actively prevent website attempts. All of the major CMS options have security plugins, most of them for free.

Security plugins address security vulnerabilities that are inherent in websites, preventing hacking attempts that could threaten your website.

2. Keep your software up-to-date

Making sure you keep all software updated is important in securing your site. This applies to both the server operating system and any software that might be running on your site such as a CMS or forum. When website security holes are discovered in software, hackers can attempt to abuse them.

Those using a managed hosting solution don’t need to worry about security updates for the operating system because the hosting company should take care of this. People that use third-party software such as a CMS or forum, should ensure they apply all security patches.

3. SQL injection

This happens when the hacker uses a web form field or URL parameter to gain access or to manipulate your website data. When using standard Transact SQL attackers can easily insert rogue code into your query that is used to alter tables, get information, and delete vital data. This can be easily avoided by always making use of parameterized queries, and most web languages have this feature and it is easily implemented.

4. Use a secure username and password

Most people leave their login details as ‘admin’ and ‘password1234’ because they can easily remember them. But hackers can easily guess simple usernames and passwords. This allows them to gain access to your website. Additionally, there is a possible way of putting SQL injections to throw these queries.

Hackers target any website using a method called brute force attacks. They make use of bots to comb through the web looking for sites to attack. With just one command, they can make hundreds of guesses in just one second.

In order to protect your WordPress website, you should always use unique usernames to easily ward off such hacking attempts. Also, use strong passwords such as a passphrase together with numbers and symbols.

5. Beware of error messages

Take note of the amount of information you give away in your error messages. Only provide minimal errors to your users to ensure they don’t leak secrets found on your server, such as database passwords and API keys. Avoid providing full exception details because these can make complex attacks such as SQL injection easier. Keep detailed errors in your server logs, and show users only the information they require.

6. Make use of HTTPS

As a website visitor, you may already know to always look for the green lock image and https in your browser bar when giving out sensitive information online. That green bar called HTTPS is shorthand for hacker security: it indicates that it’s safe to provide financial information on that particular page.

HTTPS is used to give security over the internet. It guarantees that users are talking to the server they expect and that nobody else can intercept or change the content they’re viewing in transit.

7. Take note of file uploads

Permitting users to upload any sort of files to your website is a huge security risk. Any file they upload could potentially carry a script that opens your website up when executed.

If file uploading is permitted you must treat all files with great suspicion, and file extension or mime type is not a reliable method of identification because they can be faked easily. Most formats of pictures have room for a comments section that could contact risky PHP code.

The best way to prevent this is to restrict users from uploading any file. By default, web servers will not try to execute files that contain image extensions, but you cannot completely depend on checking the extension.

In Conclusion

Securing your website and learning how to protect it against hackers is a major part of keeping it healthy and safe. Don’t procrastinate on implementing these vital steps.

Taking security measures on your site is an absolute necessity to keep hackers out. But security is not something you can set and forget. These measures have to be reviewed or re-implemented regularly.

It is recommended by HIPAA to install a simple yet powerful security tool on your website. This tool will constantly monitor your website and defend it against malicious traffic. The HIPAA guides website owners on ways to effectively protect their websites from hackers. Check out the HIPPA Compliance guide here

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animation styles

6 Animation Styles That Can Work For Any Brand Story!

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6 Animation Styles That Can Work For Any Brand!

Every year the number of businesses using video marketing seems to be growing. Businesses and brands of all sizes seem to be harnessing the power of online video. Online video is a rather broad term however and with so many different forms of video that can be utilised to tell your brand story, it can be hard to know which direction to go. Do you go down the live action route or are you interested in producing an animation? A lot of brands tend to go down the animation route for several reasons.

 

  • Animation is visually stimulating:Let’s face it attention spans are at an all time low, its scary to think that you are doing well to captivate a viewer past the 8 second mark on YouTube. Its up to the brands to do whatever it takes to maintain that consumer attention. Animation brings movement and energy. It can be used to convey large amounts of information or to simplify complex concepts quite painlessly for the viewer and it does this in a visually engaging way.

 

  • Animation is great for storytelling:With so many animation styles, you can really have full control over how you want to craft the narrative around your brand. And also how you guide your viewer through it. I mean sure, you could just talk directly into a camera, but no offense I think people would probably rather spend the 90 seconds not looking at your face. I don’t know for sure though we’d have to run some tests.

 

  • Animation increases retention:A typical reader will retain 10% of the information they’re reading, whilst with people who watch an animation, over 93% of viewers will retain the core message. If message retention is high up on your list of objectives, which I am presuming it is, well then an animated video seems to be an excellent piece of content for your brand to deploy.

 

  • Animation is effective:85% of businesses we asked said that animated videos were relevant to their marketing strategy and typically performed well against other video content that they had produced.

 

  • Animation is highly versatile:Now we are going to get into this throughout this article but there are so many animation styles to choose from and to combine, that there really is no limit to what you can create. It is literally the most flexible form of media available to you and your brand. With animation you are limited only by your imagination, and perhaps your wallet! It’s free to dream but they don’t come cheap.

 

So, the next time that you’re contemplating your next video, just consider the vast amount of animation styles that you have at your disposal. Despite there being so many different animation styles for this article I will focus in on 6 key styles of animation. I have chosen these styles because of how popular they are for brand story telling. If you have come for inspiration I hope to not disappoint.

2D Animation

Now when it comes to animation styles, 2D animation is probably the most commonly understood. This is largely because the majority of cartoons people are familiar with, were originally created using the traditional form of animation which involved creating your images in a two dimensional environment. The animator only needs to worry about two dimensions, width and height, when it comes to effectively communicating a story.

2D animation was invented back in the late 1800s, however the technology used to create 2D animation has totally changed today, allowing animators to take this animation style to entirely new levels. If you really want to see just how far we have come in the 2D arena, just look at the difference in quality between the original 2D animated Snow White and the newer episodes of The Simpsons or Family Guy.

“Breaking Down Walls” – Airbnb

This animation from Airbnb is a great example of how animation can be used for compelling storytelling. What makes it particularly special is that it features the true story of a real Airbnb guest. This guest is actually the narrator for the voice over and she tells a moving story about her father, an ex Berlin Wall guard from the Cold War days. She tells the story of how she brought him back to Berlin decades later to replace his wartime memories with more vibrant and up to date ones. This video has had over 6 million views on YouTube so it must be doing something right. In just a one minute it tells the emotional story of a family, the effects of war and the strength of healing. It really shows the extent at which you can connect with a viewer through animation and how animation style can enhance a story in more ways than traditional video.

“Father’s Day” – Ford

Just like peanut butter and jelly, Itchy and Scratchy or lamb and tuna fish, dads and their cars have been infamously paired together through many pop culture references. This animation from Ford leverages a real customer story just like Airbnb’s, but this time it is slightly more light hearted and has a more humorous twist. The animation style works well with this, its vibrant and colourful and the illustrations are simple. It has a fun feel that parallels the nature of the story.

“Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships” – NHS

This informative but charming animation from the NHS was created to raise awareness and to publicise their new plans, a series of unique collaborations with local councils across the UK to drastically improve patient care and impact communities all around the nation. This animation is less about story telling and more about conveying information, or driving initiatives. The animation style is also a bit simpler and has more of a generic style.

3D Animation

3D animation is probably one of the more well known animation styles. With its additional dimension, adding depth into the animation equation, 3D animation allows animators to create some pretty dynamic 3D environments that allows story tellers to visually craft some highly detailed characters and objects as well as enhancing the overall feel through lighting and textures. The majority of movies that use animation these days would typically go with this animation style. For instance anything Pixar, like Coco or Toy Story 4. Let’s now take a look at how some different brands are using this 3D animation style for video content they’re producing.

“A Can Size for Every Aussie” – Heinz

In this rather odd animation, would you call it odd? Well it’s certainly tells a strangely uplifting story, of one bean lover’s journey through life. It’s actually quite impressive how much life story they manged to squeeze in there amongst the beans. But the animation work looks amazing. Who doesn’t love a good shader. Also keep a look out for how a nearby window reflects in the glass of a picture frame, the amazing amount of depth created with the shadows and the quality of the textures used on everything from the kitchen countertops to the doors. The details are impeccable. This is 3D animation done right, but I would expect nothing less from Heinz.

“App Launch Video” – Yellow Ribbon

Just like peanut butter and jelly, Itchy and Scratchy or lamb and tuna fish, dads and their cars have been infamously paired together through many pop culture references. This animation from Ford leverages a real customer story just like Airbnb’s, but this time it is slightly more light hearted and has a more humorous twist. The animation style works well with this, its vibrant and colourful and the illustrations are simple. It has a fun feel that parallels the nature of the story.

Stop Motion Animation

Stop motion is one of the longest standing animation styles and the technique has been used for decades. It basically involves moving objects a small amount at a time, and then shooting it frame by frame and then stitching all the frames together. Then when you watch it all played in sequence, it gives you the feeling of movement. Whilst this particular style of animation has existed since the late 1800s, it wasn’t until about the mid-1900s when it really became popular following some classics like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. There is an absolute ton of modern stop motion examples, one of the more recent favourites would have to be Wes Anderson’s latest feature “Isle of Dogs”. Now let’s take a look at how some brands have used these stop motion animation styles to reach their audience.

“Paper” – Honda

A lot of the best ideas started out as sketches on paper, and its probably no surprise that a lot of Honda’s innovations were no exception. That is why this stop motion animation has used paper as the primary medium to tell this six-decade long story. This video is like a pop-up book mixed with a flip book, rolled into like an advent calendar or something. It was originally concepted through computer graphics, but the final version was created analogue, which really adds that sense of warmth and added depth. It literally took thousands of illustrations drawn by hand and dozens of other materials. Not to mention about 60 odd years of Honda’s outstanding innovation. If you’re really interested in how this was made there’s a behind the scenes video

Corporate Video – Eurofirms

I think this could just be the most artistic human resources video I’ve ever seen. Eurofirms is a Spanish HR firm and in this stop motion animation dozens of different office-based materials were used to breath life into this corporate video. They then reinforce the core messages by overlaying 2D statistics giving it another dimension and making it more visually interesting. This stop motion animation shows how using different techniques and getting creative with materials can inject a whole lot of life into a typically dull subject.

”Last Glass” – Cravendale

This stop motion from Cravendale is absolutely brilliant. It’s safe to say that this animation wouldn’t have had the same impact if any other style of animation had been chosen. Like if it had been created in 2D for instance, I actually think I might have hated it, it could have ended up looking like some sort of Hanna Barbera reject. Or if you had gone all overboard and made it 3D, you would have just been throwing away budget. Anyway if you can’t tell I love this, it’s fun, it’s quirky, it stands out against any other video you may have seen at the time. And it goes to show that production quality isn’t always everything.

“The Bear and the Hare” – John Lewis

This is probably on the older side of things, when you think this was their 2013 Christmas advert and is now 7 years. But none the less this video really pushes the boundaries of stop motion. It’s absolutely phenomenal. The animators have paired 2D animated characters along with a 3D stop motion set. This creates a very unique feel and gives this layered environment which give the picture a whole load of additional depth and a magical sense of wonder. This is really what Christmas ads are about, highly emotive storytelling, and what’s nearly even more impressive than the combination of animation techniques they have used, is the way they achieved such a strong sense of feel without even a single line of voice over. Sometimes the most powerful stories need no words. If you’re as impressed as I am with this animation, they have an awesome behind the scenes video that is well worth a watch. Really allows you to see the painstaking dedication that goes into a stop motion production like this.

Animation Combined With Live Action

If you are on the fence about whether to go with a talking head explainer video or whether you should go with an animation, perhaps you don’t need to choose? These two styles can be used in combination quite powerfully and can allow you to show real-life situations with animated characters or else to use recognisable people in an animated environment. Layering on top of live action footage has been increasing in popularity over the last few years, particularly as animation tracking technology has become more widely available and user friendly. Let’s have a look at how some major brands have combined live action and animation to create some very impressive video content.

“Security” – Paypal

This video is an excellent example of producing a high-quality video to a budget by using animation. Not a small budget but it’s not like they’re making Avatar. Genuinely if Paypal had wanted to create this entire video with live action it would have been a full-scale Hollywood production. We’re talking like 6 figures. There’s sharks and aliens and ninjas, and the shots are pretty complex if you wanted to achieve them entirely in a physical world. By combining 2D animation you are able to still include the visual details but you only need a one room location, one actor and a jib to get all the required live action footage. They are also talking about financial security at the end of the day, and animation is always a great tool for discussing darker or scarier topics in a light hearted manner.

“Rewards” – Harvey Nichols

There is nothing I love more than a free content opportunity. Harvey Nichols have absolutely nailed this one. They have actually taken real security camera footage of shop lifters stealing and layered over some comical 2D animations. It’s just clever. Why not use the footage? It just works so perfectly as this animation is being used to launch a new customer rewards scheme, with the takeaway message about getting their freebies legally. Talk about two birds and one stone. Not only are the promoting customer loyalty but at the same time they are deterring theft.

“You Can’t Get Any More Ribenary” – Ribena

This one is pretty whacked out of it. I mean it doesn’t get wackier than that really. But it’s certainly memorable and was quite a key turning point in live action animations. This video layers animations on top of video footage to create a crazy and visually stimulating world with monster rabbits and owls with laser eyes and birds in top hats. It’s unquestionably eye catching and I feel that it would have resonated well with their younger male audience.

Motion Graphic Animation

Motion graphic videos usually involves combining animated graphics that tend to be quite factual and text based with simple visual graphics or illustrations. Traditionally animations would be focused on characters and the environments, whereas motion graphics are useful for breathing life into text that would otherwise not be very visual. By using different shapes, and graphics and mixing it with animated text you can create quite a content heavy but visual story. When you are watching the brand examples below just look out for how even some very simple graphical approaches can amplify the story.

“Communication Without Chaos” – Slack

Communication Without Chaos by Slack is just a fantastic example of motion graphics at their best. The main problem wit Slack as an application is that the problems its designed to solve aren’t really easily represented through animated character in an office environment. That’s why for this video Slack decided to refine their message and visually tell it through moving 2D shapes that are consistent with their branding and work ever so elegantly with the animation’s script. After seeing this it’s easy to see how often the simplest option is always the best.

“Product Video” – Abaninja

Okay so this one isn’t exactly a fully motion graphic based animation. They have combined quite a bit of 2D animation into it as well. This is typically the combined style used for creating most animated explainer videos for a lot of SaaS based companies. They use animated characters to create that connection and to make the story more relatable from the offset. Using characters allows the audience to empathise towards the characters. They then seamlessly blend simple motion graphics into the video when discussing the products features and benefits as it is definitely the simplest way to get those messages across that aren’t told through character experience.

“Make the Future” – Shell

Although this is probably the simplest of all visual approaches on the list, it is most certainly a motion graphic video, there is no doubt about that, and for that reason it has made the cut. Shell manages to tell a pretty complex story through the power of motion graphics, as it is able to distil the complicated concepts into easy to understand visuals. However, don’t just think this video is amazing because of its simplicity. The real magic with this video is the seamless scene transition, the consistent line art and the motion graphics eye catching colour palette that created this friendly and approachable vibe whilst remaining professional and trustworthy.

Whiteboard Animation

Whiteboard animation is a particular animation style that 9 times out of 10 will feature line art illustrations and also the animators physical hand drawing those illustration onto a whiteboard type surface using a variety of pens and coloured markers. This style of animation really blew up around the time that people started getting into YouTube around 2005. There is something rather captivating about the style and its great for letting the viewer both see and feel a story coming to life. This is a truly timeless style that remains a very popular animation style for storytelling. If you are interested in learning more about this animation style you can check out our extensive guide on whiteboard animation. Otherwise just keep reading to see some examples of whiteboard animation that really shows the potential of the medium to both excite and effectively communicate simultaneously.

“How to Save Energy & Money with Elevations Energy Loans” – Elevations Credit Union

One of the biggest problems for anyone making a video is ensuring that you keep it engaging for the audience. Generally, you are trying to keep the viewer entertained and invested in the story. This whiteboard video from Elevations Credit Union showcases how a simple whiteboard animation with not a whole lot of actual animation can still create a sense of motion and bring a story to life. It also weaves in a few elements of stop motion to enhance the overall feel of the animation production.

“Where Good Ideas Come From” – Riverhead Books

This is really whiteboard animation at its finest. I really feel that this style lends itself particularly well to fact based story telling that has an educational feel to it. It also is the most effective when the illustrations that are used have been created completely custom. That means no downloaded vectors that have been slightly tweaked to fit, even though they may be slightly ambiguous in relation to the script. You can just tell that more effort and attention to detail has gone into it and that really impacts your audience engagement as well as their recall of the information you are trying to get across.

To Conclude

The scope for these six animation styles is truly endless. Especially when combining them. Everything from a 30 second explainer video to international full-length feature films, animation as a medium has the capacity to tell stories of any shape or size. If you are planning an animation, take into consideration the following tips when deciding which of these animation styles is right for your brand.

  1. Consider the brand:Every animation style tends to have a particular feel, ideally you should think about which style of animation most accurately reflects your brand. For instance, is your brand have artistic attributes? Because then maybe a stop motion or a more intricate 2D animation would provide the perfect sentiment for your intended audience. In contrast if your brand is high tech or futuristic then a 3D style might be a more appropriate fit.
  1. Consider your competitors: The only way to stand out from the crowd is to know what the crowd is doing. Take a look at what video content they are producing and what animation style they may be going for. Make sure you choose a style that is different, and a better brand fit that theirs. It’s important to differentiate your content if you want to gain more attention. 
  1. Consider the budget: Now not all animation styles are created equally and as such this is reflected in their associated production cost. Whilst absolutely stunning from a visual standpoint, stop motion takes a lot of time and resources to produce. Whereas whiteboard animation can be created to be much more economical if required. It’s important to have a good idea of your budget before attempting to select any animation styles, otherwise you might end up with your heart set on something that you don’t have the budget to produce.
link building strategy

Link Building Strategy: Good Backlinks Vs Bad Backlinks

By | SEO | 2 Comments

Link Building Strategy: Good Backlinks Vs Bad Backlinks

There is much discussion when it comes to link building strategy. Many SEO experts have their own opinions as to how integral a link building strategy really is to the ideal SEO strategy, as well as what sort of attributes a link would need for it to be considered a good backlink. Ultimately there is no one way or one set formula to use when assessing the quality of a backlink. Unfortunately, not every link was created equal. However, there are a few things to look out for. At the end of the day the quality of a link always really hinges on two main factors, Authority and Relevance.

what makes a good link?

But before we even get stuck into all this just remember one thing. For any link to even be in the running to be considered, it has to have been indexed. If any links haven’t been indexed or worse your website is deindexed, well then that is a problem that needs to be resolved immediately. Keep in mind though, that if your website or any new page is less than 6 months old then that may be the case why it has not been indexed yet, so there is no need to panic just yet if this is the case.

So, the one main thing to note here is that any link that hasn’t been indexed is by default a bad link.

There is a lot more to this and it does get a tad more complex, but theoretically any link that has been indexed should pass some sort of link juice. And this link juice is what you are looking to build.

Cheeky Little Tip #1: If you want to check whether a link is indexed or not, just put the link url into Google. Does it come up first? Or like relatively first?

Okay, so now that you know that all link needs to be indexed and you know the simplest way to check if a link has been indexed, we can go ahead and get into a little bit more detail.

This is now where Authority and Relevance come in to play.

LINK BUILDING STRATEGY

Now to start with let’s look at Authority. Authority comes in a few different forms. It depends whether you are looing at AHREFs Domain Rating (DR) or the number or referring domains. I tend to just go with DR. Your websites Authority is based on a few factors but by far the biggest one is the number of links it has linking back to it.

Probably the best method for calculating Authority is by looking at :

  1. The number of backlinks to website (DR)
  2.  The number of backlinks to the specific page (UR)

One of the more common questions that you often hear is:

“If a link does not have a particularly high DR, would it be considered a bad link?”

This isn’t always going to be the case, because you could have a considerable number of links going to a specific page only, which would increase the UR score.

This is where PBN’s come in. One of the main reasons for this is because of PBN’s! What’s a PBN? Well it stands for private blog network. I thought they were bad? Well they are, but not all of them. But a lot of them. To be fair the majority of them are just these spammy websites with poor content that’s probably been duplicated, and they all send links to each other. It used to work very well for gaming Google SEO back in the day. But Google got wise to it and now they have cracked down on all that carry on. But is there any use for a PBN? Well you can find less spammy looking ones and they can be used for a few things.

Naturally a lot of links pointing to a specific page, perhaps even an internal page, would signal to Google that this link is of some importance. This is what will build a pages UR score. If you then link that page to your website, it now passes that link juice to you. This is where PBN’s come in. You can get a high amount of cost-effective links and point them to a guest post that is linking to you. This increases that links UR and in turn passes that on to your website. This is why you can’t rely solely on DR when it comes to determining the quality of a link, a website with a strong UR will pass link juice also

This doesn’t mean that you should ignore DR or that it’s not important. DR is still one of the most important metrics, this is because it gives the quickest insight into a website’s authority. But the main thing to note here is that by building several links to a page with high DR, you will increase its UR making it an even stronger link.

Let’s look at the example below:

Imagine a page with a DR 0 and a UR 0. Well it’s pretty obvious to everyone that you aren’t going to want that.

Or, how about a page with a DR 5 and a UR 5. Whilst this one is a bit better, you probably aren’t going to notice much of an impact from that either.

Now let’s just say that you had a page with a DR 60 and a UR 10. There is room to build on this pretty easily. By adding a few Tier 2 links to that page you could increase the UR to 20 maybe even 30. In doing so the overall link is now much stronger.

This would result in a lot more link juice being passed on than it would have been. Niche edits can also be a great way to boost the power of a guest post.

The other factor that we mentioned earlier was Relevance. Relevance can be seen in two forms: Domain and Page Relevance. This basically involves looking at the keywords pointing to a domain or website and the meaning behind them. This will signal how relevant they are.

It would be quite rare to come across domain level links that have high relevance. This can typically only be done within certain niched. However, it is still possible to find a page that is relevant to what you are linking to. This will pass even more link juice on to you.

Cheeky Little Tip #2: Other than these two relevance based factors there really isn’t too much else to be worrying yourself with.

I’m also generally not too concerned about the quantity of content on the page itself either. Ideally, I’d want to see a contextual link on the page and I always like to ensure the page’s content is relevant. But its most important to me that the page is relevant to my site. Also, you want to make sure that the link is “dofollow” and is also indexed, I think that goes without saying.

So, in short, the key take away is that you want to get as many links with as high a DR as possible and then you want to power them up by pointing links to that link. And if you are feeling like being cost effective you can use Tier 2 a PBN links in this way relatively risk free. Ultimately this is going to give you the results that you need. Big site DR and big page UR. It’s worth noting that messing with PBN’s is considered black hat but if you are selective and careful to consider relevance when selecting these Tier 2 links it is probably more grey hat. The link building strategy is to use a mixture of everything and to try and maintain a realistic looking link profile. A sketchy looking link profile is ultimately going to be the main signal to Google that you are trying to play the system. So just always remember to ensure that there is relevance between the source and the target. For instance, you shouldn’t have a link about flowers, linking to your pet site. There is no relevance. Unless maybe it was to do with pet allergies or something but that’s an exception to the rule really. The odd one or two of these wont effect anything, especially if you have been maintaining a realistic link profile.

The sum up – 4 things you need to keep in mind when hunting for those good quality links:

  • The link must be indexed.
  • You need to get a dofollow.
  • The link should have a good authority, DR30+.
  • The link needs to be relevant from source to target.

Don’t worry if this all seems complicated. It can be at first, but once you get it, you get it. Hopefully by analysing your own site and taking a look at the links you have, you will begin to learn what types of links are good and which are bad. And if you just don’t have the time for all of that carry on, you could always just give us a call. We would be happy to help you put the perfect link building strategy in place.

Instagram AR Games

10 Of The Best Instagram AR Game Filters

By | Augmented Reality | 2 Comments

10 Of The Best Instagram AR Game Filters You Can Play Right Now

You may have noticed that there has been a recent influx of game based AR filters being released on Instagram and Facebook at the moment. However due to the complexity of developing many of these AR game filters, there’s still nowhere near as many of them popping up as their simpler AR activation counterparts. This is great news for brands and marketers alike.

AR filters are already providing brands with a new method for standing out on social media platforms, but AR game filters now give you a way to stand out from the regular AR filter competition. The metrics support this too. You are always going to see a much higher engagement rate with game based AR filters over other types of filters. And if you happen to be linking it in with a competition, you’re metrics are going to sky rocket. Then if you use a few influencers to amplify the reach or if you just get lucky enough for a couple of famous people to share it, well now you could be on your way to achieving that highly coveted “viral” status.

The idea of gamification is nothing new. It has been proven to be effective time and time again. Considering that the next step in evolution for these filters is to move away from single use activations towards AR filters that are used on a regular basis, game based AR filters could prove to be one answer to this. AR & VR gaming is certainly the future and that future is probably much closer than we can even imagine. Facebook has been buying up AR & VR game studios left right and centre so the developing AR and VR gaming out to become more mainstream is progressing even more rapidly.

So just in case you are looking into developing your very own Instagram AR game filter, I have compiled a list of the 10 best AR game filters that I have come across to date. In order to provide you with some solid inspiration I’ve also tried to vary up the game mechanics involved in each game filter to show the different types of Instagram AR game filters that can be created.

FACEINVADER x Ross Wakefield

Whilst the graphics created for this game may look a little bit rough the mechanics of this AR game filter are absolutely awesome and that’s why it’s so addictive to play. Eye tracked laser beams used to destroy attacking alien UFO’s. What’s particularly great about this one is the way it integrates the user into the game as the main character, rather than just being the game controller like the majority of them.

FRUIT FRENZY x Jerzy Pilch

This game filter uses a very simple game mechanics but none the less produces an interesting game that can be replicated across many different executions. To score the colider objects must colide with the basket that is tracked to the head. The retro nintendo feel is always a nice touch too.

TIC-TAC-TOE x Rudi Wahyudi

Despite being named incorrectly, because that game is called naughts and crosses, this AR game filter is based on the age old game that we have all played at multiple times throughout our lives. What’s particularly nice about this one is that allows for two player, a function that is not frequently seen being used in these types of AR filters.

FLAPPY BIRD STYLE GAME x TEJ

The Blue Plane Game is a tried and tested game filter. The majority of people will be familiar with its game mechanics as it is the same as the hit sensation flappy bird. The only difference with this version is that the mouth is used as the trigger action. The scripting required for the physics of this game was quite challenging to reproduce but it was well worth it as it is always a crowd pleaser.

6 SECONDS x Yana Mishkinis

Some of the simplest games are often the most effective and testing mental strength and human reflexes have always been frustratlingly enjoyable throughout the ages. This game tests how good you are at counting in your head and how fast and controlled your blink reflex is. This can be applied to any concept and if paired with a competiton entry it’s certain to be a hit with any social audience.

SOCCER HEAD x Wow Filters

I think just about everyone is familliar with the good old game of keep-y ups. I don’t know about you but juggling an AR football on your head is just as tricky as in the real world. Either way this is a fun AR game filter that could easily be branded and released as part of a social media competition around a sporting event.

PACA-PACA x Yana Mishkinis

This is the retro classic that we all know and love! Pac-man has been ripped again however this time round you’re going to have to control it by moving your head. Make sure to pick the right speed – rabbit (fast), tortoise (medium), or snail (slow) – before the game starts.

FACEOUT GAME x Danny Frenzreb

Are you looking to kill even more or your time on social media? Feeling extra competitive today? Then look no further. Challenge all your mates with this AR version of the classic Brick Breaker and see who’s got the best head, face and eye co-ordination.

NEXT VACATION x Petra

This is just another take on the recently exploded randomizer AR filter. However it is easy to see how with some better visuals and a promotional element, this could be a major part of any travel company’s Instagram marketing campaign. It’s easy to see how any brand could cleverly apply this to still drive good results despite this type of filter being already so heavily saturated.

MAGIC8BALL x Yana Mishkinis

Are there any questions keeping you up at night? Looking for some advice? Well you could always ask the magic 8 ball a close-ended question. Think it in your head or say it out loud the 8 ball will tell you what to do. This is again another clever variation on the classic randomizer AR filter that took Instagram by storm.