Blog / Websites

The latest & greatest news you’ll want to follow. Seriously. SRSLY.


Minimalism. Beauty fueled from functionality.

A common misconception of minimalism is that it takes no time at all to design, or that slapping an asset or two on a white background with a thin font makes it minimalism. But the truth is, while limited assets, color palette and overall distractions contribute to a minimalist design, there’s far more to think about when mastering the art of minimalist design. Read More…


The Importance of a Good Password

money_hack$mOnEy!, is the primary importance of a good password. Don’t think your small three page WordPress site is valuable enough to secure with a proper password? Think again! WordPress is the most popular content management platform on the planet. As such, it’s also the most frequently hacked platform. The primary reason for being hacked? Not because WordPress is an insecure system but because of bad, easy to guess passwords. Read More…


Voltage Creative Receives BMA Fountain Awards

The Voltage team was honored to receive two Kansas City Business Marketing Association Fountain Awards recently at the 2014 awards ceremony and dinner celebration.  The wins both came in important award categories of focus for Voltage as they accounted for two of the three total website award categories recognized by BMAKC including websites under $25,000 budget and websites between $25,000 and $50,000. Read More…


Lyric Opera Tessitura TNEW Integration

Recently, some kind words were shared about a Voltage Creative new website project that included a custom ticketing system integration.  An excerpt from the Tessitura newsletter is included below regarding Voltage’s work styling the TNEW system seamlessly into the new Lyric Opera website (also designed and developed by Voltage).  We are proud of our partnership with Lyric on the project and are grateful for the nice words from Tessitura below (or after the jump). Read More…


What’s in a Budget?

dollar signWe’re often asked by clients, “how much does a website cost?” To which we respond, “it depends.” Sadly, this conversation can often times be a non-starter on both ends of the phone:

From the client side …
The client can interpret this as a shakedown … a “how much you got” kind of question if you will, where they inadvertently spend $X on a site that should only cost $Y, because they tipped their hat on their budget.

From the agency side …
It tells us the client has quite possibly given little (or no) consideration to how valuable this kind of investment is to them, or has little knowledge of the costs associated with developing a custom website.

We often liken the “how much does a website cost?” question to asking a home builder “how much does a house cost?” Most people can relate to the “house” question because we all know houses come in a wide variety of sizes—from the 2 bedroom / 1 bath starter home to the 10 bedroom / 5 bath / custom kitchen / 3 car garage / in-ground pool palatial mansion. Websites are much the same: the larger and more complex they are, the more time and thus money they take to build.

You may now be saying, “this is all entertaining, but how exactly do we go about determine a website budget?” Good question, and here’s what I recommend considering:

1) You Get What You Pay For
You’ve undoubtedly heard this phrase and it applies to building websites in a big way. Good developers and designers are expensive and this is reflected in the price of their work. So do your best when reviewing a proposal to NOT go straight to the price.

2) Cost Benefit
How valuable is a website to your organization? If you plan to sell products through your website or utilize the site as a lead-generation tool, then you can directly attribute revenue to your site. In this case, it’s much easier to justify a higher budget. Conversely, if your website serves simply as the “YellowPages” ad from the days of yore, then a low-cost “templated” solution may be your best bet.

3) Agency Referrals
Don’t just rely on an internet search to locate an agency for your website project. Rather, ask for references from other business, friends, etc., who’ve hired an agency to build their site. This will help you locate an agency that has a track record for actually delivering a quality product. And see if your contacts can share their budget … or at the very least a ballpark.

4) Marketing Budget
Ideally, if you have a marketing budget, then consider the above three items and determine what portion of that budget your team is willing to allocate to a website.

And finally …

5) Share Your Budget:
At this point you may be wanting to tune out, but stick with me. Once you’ve determined a budget or a range you’re comfortable spending, share it with the agencies you’ve located through your referral network. At this point, you’re talking to trustworthy agencies who have the chops to build what you need. Now, what you need to do is compare everything they can deliver within your identified budget. In this instance your agencies are not focused on being the cheapest (which you don’t want) and instead are focused on giving you the most for your dollar. In addition, this will help you weed-out those resources whose minimums are simply too much for your organization.

In the end, a good business deal is defined when both parties (the buyer and seller) win. The buyer gets a product that meets their needs and for a budget they can afford. And the seller makes a profit on the service in which they’re in business to provide.

Keeping the above in mind will not only ensure your “new website project” is not a waste of time and money, but a venture that returns on the investment for your organization.


A Beautiful Site for a Worthy Cause: GOthreads.org Launches

GO Threads by The Global Orphan Project

 

We love what we do here at Voltage Creative – which makes coming to work everyday a lot more fun. That of course and our fridge which includes a little Boulevard Wheat.

Working on fun projects for great clients only enhances our professional enjoyment. Add in an awesome cause, and we get pretty excited.

Recently, we had the opportunity to launch another web property for The Global Orphan Project (GO Project).

Mobilizing local churches in some of the poorest areas on earth to care for the neediest orphaned and vulnerable children …

This new website was developed for their GO Threads initiative – a new program that allows individuals and teams the ability to support local industry directly associated with the orphanages and villages GO Project supports. Check it out at GOthreads.org.


Primary Information: UX Minification

As User Experience (UX) developers, it is our duty to make human-computer interaction as simple, efficient and clear as possible. Take this standard shopping cart checkout form for example:

It very clearly is inspired by the format we use to address mail for the US postal system. Familiar, yes, but it is not taking advantage of all our computers have to offer us. We have the ability to derive secondary inputs from primary inputs.

Primary information is human input or any information that can not be regenerated automatically

In this example, city and state can be derived automatically by a user’s zip code. All it takes is a free zip code database and a little effort.

Here’s that same input set, redesigned :

This format has many advantages:

  • Copying of duplicate values via a simple interface
  • Default values. Most companies have a country in which they do the majority of their business
  • Primary inputs are hierarchical and secondary inputs are dynamically filled.
  • Auto-populated fields (city and state) are still editable after the automation

The end result? The average user has to fill out 3 fields rather than 12.

Speeding up and simplifying this process increases conversions and makes our users happy. And that’s what we want, happy, converted users.


We’re Pleased to Add Terracon Consulting Engineers and Scientists to Our Client List

N is for new.
Voltage Creative is pleased to announce that we’ll be working with Terracon Consulting Engineers and Scientists on their new website.

Terracon is a dynamic and growing employee-owned firm of consulting engineers and scientists providing multiple related service lines to clients at local, regional and national levels. Since 1965, Terracon has grown from a small Iowa geotechnical firm to a large, multifaceted national firm. With more than 2,700 employees and more than 100 offices nationwide, Terracon has the resources of a large firm with the atmosphere of a small one. This growth is the result of talented, dedicated employees working toward a common goal to complement each other to deliver success for clients and employees. Our services are delivered on a timely basis with consistently high value and attention to client needs.

We’ll be working alongside their in-house marketing team as a creative digital services provider. The new site will greatly expand the functionality of the current site at Terracon.com, as well as well as make it easier for the in-house team to make content changes and updates in the future.

We’re very excited about this project! Stay tuned here for an update when we launch!