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Shine On Andrew, Shine On

Since March 2014, Senior Motion Designer, Andrew Schummer, brought his expertise to Vérité.

When not glued to the computer he can be found in the kitchen, powering-up with obscene amounts of coffee or walking his puggle, Kita.

His co-workers can attest to his love of caffeine and lumberjack-inspired wardrobe.

“Why do I like working with Andrew? The flannel and aroma of coffee, of course. Oh, and the boy has talent. An enormous amount of talent,” commented Graphic Designer, Courtney Schow.

Fellow Graphic Designer Nikki Hancock added, “Sometimes Andrew dresses like Clark Kent, it brings an air of mystery to the office.”

The introverted and shy Scorpio hails from Western New York, but found himself in Utah for snowboarding and school. He studied Film at the University of Utah with a Business Marketing Minor.

Having studied film and having a desire to work on various art and graphic design projects, it came naturally for him to move into motion design and animation.

“With motion design beginning to move away from interpolated key frames and back towards traditional hand drawn and stop motion animations, there have been several projects recently that I’ve found truly inspiring,” Andrew said.

The One by One video for The Road Home; the promotional video donated every year to help support the non-profit organization, is one of his favorite Vérité projects to date.

Graphic Designer, Trevail Campbell, believes that Andrew’s 3D skills are second to none, giving Vérité an added edge in a competitive field.

Those who work closest with Andrew, joke about his caffeine addiction aside, respect the passion and skills he harnesses. But he’s not just all business, even though the majority of his free time is spent trying to learn new techniques and styles to improve his craft. He kicks back by snowboarding, skateboarding, watching comedies or listening to a wide variety of music.

Check out some work that is currently on Andrew’s radar.

Vérité Wins Stevie Gold for the Best Marketing Campaign in the Software Industry

SANDY, UT–(Marketwired – Oct 22, 2014) –  Vérité, a digital communications agency, was presented with the Gold Stevie® Award in the Best Marketing Campaign for Software category. The acclaimed Gold award signifies outstanding achievement in marketing campaigns involving web, mobile and mixed media.

Vérité created an innovative global campaign for LANDESK Software promoting their latest device management products. The campaign’s unique theme focused on the people using the devices rather than the devices themselves. Strategic web, email and banner content was created for global partners and integrated with LANDESK Software’s marketing automation tools.

“To be recognized for this prestigious award alongside some of the largest companies in the world is truly an honor,” says Kimberley Jones, CEO of Vérité. ”This campaign reflects a new approach to software marketing taking personification to the next level. The cohesive theme hits hard on how the product relates to each individual and their different needs.”

More than 3,300 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories. Stevie Award winners were selected by more than 240 executives nationwide who participated in the judging process.

“We’re delighted to recognize so many innovative companies, new products, technical achievements, and technology executives this year,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards. “We congratulate all of the Stevie Award winners, and thank them for the inspiration their achievements have stimulated.”

Visit http://www.verite.com/work/detail/?project_id=2660 to view the campaign.

About Vérité
Vérité is an experienced and innovative digital communications agency committed to delivering creative and technology solutions to sales, marketing and training organizations worldwide. We specialize in cutting edge creative, technology tools, mobile applications and motion design production. We have applied our creativity, vision, experience and technology to strengthen brands, reach audiences and get results. Clients include Adobe, CooperVision, Intel, Merit Medical, Symantec, VSP Vision Care and Verizon Wireless.

About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in six programs: The American Business Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, and the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.com.

To Scroll or Not to Scroll

Scrolling Website Design

So much has changed in the world wide web when it comes to web design. Today’s new sites are visually appealing to the site visitor and capture their attention with beautiful design and concise copy. We’ve noticed there are a lot of options to a site redesign and want to focus on whether to scroll or not to scroll. The goal and size of your site may determine which way you go.

Traditional Site

A traditional website generally contains multiple pages and provides a clear hierarchy and structure that is easy to navigate. It often adheres to the “above the fold” mantra with links to sections to allow a visitor to dig deeper. Traditional sites are the best if tracking analytics and SEO are most important for your business as each page can be tracked and dedicated to specific key terms.  Companies that have a lot to offer can benefit the most from a traditional site where organization is key.

  • Best for SEO and Analytics Tracking
  • Site organization visually understood

Scrolling Site

A true scrolling website is a well designed single page that takes the user on a journey. While scrolling, the page will take the user down a path of telling them a story by use of engaging graphical elements that support quick and meaningful copy. A scrolling site is great for campaigns and promotions as they draw your audiences’ attention and can really get them engaged. Companies that have  small offerings could also benefit from this design.

  • Engaging to the site visitor
  • Wonderful for scrolling devices

A huge pitfall of the scrolling site is analytics and SEO due to it being a single page. There are ways to break the page up into sections that can be tracked, but due to scrolling it may not be acknowledged as a click and therefore not counted.

Often times a scrolling site will be referred to as a Parallax Scrolling site or Infinite Scrolling. These terms talk specifically to the design and functionality.

  • Parallax talks to the design aspect of movement where graphics move on different layers at different scroll speeds.
  • Infinite scroll continually builds the page as the user is scrolling.

The Best of Both

We find you can have the best of both worlds. You can have a homepage that scrolls to tell a big picture story where sections would offer links to learn more. This approach brings together engagement, organization, analytics and SEO.

When building a site that incorporates scrolling pages, it’s always wise to start with an outline of your site that meets your business and SEO needs. It’s critical in the beginning to identify the key terms so additional pages can be built and the homepage can be designed to support. Once you have your site mapped out you can begin creating the optimum site that meets your business goals while capturing the attention of your site visitors.

Finding a Balance: Can we ever be too tech savvy?

When was the last time you viewed a mobile website on your phone? My point exactly! We have evolved into technological creatures; even the older generations have progressed, no longer attached to the stigma of cluelessness.

Grandparents are Snap Chatting and the rest of us are posting way too many food photos on Instagram. And don’t forget all the outlets it has opened for businesses to make their websites more viewable on hand-held devices.

According to Business Insider, one in every five people in the world owns a smartphone. Pretty good odds that your site should be streamlined and compatible with these devices to make an impact.

Ignoring humanity

These advancements have made some of us inept to the non-virtual world around us. We can’t go five minutes without checking the bells and buzzes alerting our brains that we are missing something. This is one of the major flaws to the evolved information superhighway. Maybe we just need a slight detour or more focus.

Technology is still king

Not being connected is scary, but being half-heartedly connected is even worse. We’ve all visited the websites that don’t seem to cooperate with our phones. They load at a snail’s pace and don’t showcase the images as intended. But a mobile website done right can help us bank easily and pay bills online, not to mention the fun stuff that makes us forget we are adults for awhile.

And to think you doubted the Information Age. That brilliant idea for a mobile website that will grow your brand or business is a viable reality. Can you imagine someone turning down a way to streamline the usability of their website, having the user fumbling to make the text smaller or larger to fit in the screen? Us either!

Why should your company have a mobile website created?

It’s important as ever to give your customers the same experience on their phone as they would expect on the desktop. Take a moment to read up what the differences are between responsive design and a mobile site.

http://www.verite.com/responsive

Value of working with established developers/designers

Working with a company with proven success, such as Vérité, ensures you will get the greatest bang for your buck.  With 20 years of experience we’ve teetered upon the technology wave without wiping out. We’ve changed with the times, priding ourselves on cutting-edge practices, technology, and design expertise.

You can leave all the hard work to us, because after all at Vérité we don’t believe there is such a thing as being too tech savvy.

Check out some inventive responsive design sites that Vérité has created!

CallTower – http://www.calltower.com
Martin Garage Door – http://www.martindoor.com
ask4UFE – http://www.ask4UFE.com
The Road Home – http://www.theroadhome.org
Merit Medical OEM – http://www.meritoem.com
Utah Aids Foundation – http://www.utahaids.org
Vérité, Inc. – http://www.verite.com

CryptoCoins Junk Coins

If you haven’t read the last two blogs on this topic, please review those now.

What makes a junk coin and why would a developer want to make a junk coin?

Initially developers were creating new coins hoping it will be the next bitcoin, but some where along the line the thought process changed from creating something new and liberating to “how can I make a quick buck off of this?”

The idea is they generate a coin, mine it when it the release it and the difficulty is low to accumulate a ridiculous amount, then when the coin reaches any level of popularity they unload the coins they have into the market at a lower than asking price.  This ensures the coins will disappear quickly and the creator has so many that they aren’t worried about asking for a slightly lower amount.   Let’s create a coin; we’ll call our hypothetical coin SUPERMEGACOIN, or SMC(If there already is a SUPERMEGACOIN, you’re welcome for the free press).

Since we’re developing SMC, we set the block rewards.  Block rewards are coins that are given to the miner for generating the transaction that lives in the block.  We have another advantage as we get to choose when this first SMC block is mined.  Let’s say we set our total coins at 100M, there will be 200K blocks in total and now we decide how much SMC each block will generate!  This is where we set ourselves up for success.

We can set the rewards to be pretty much anything we want; every block could give an even amount of 500, or the first 100 blocks could give 1000 while the remainder only give 250, whatever.  We decide to set the first 5 blocks to give out a RIDUCLOUS amount of coins.  Let’s say 2M each.  We mine them and score a cool 10M SMC.  The remainder of the coins are spread out evenly at 461 SMC per block.  So it will take 20000 blocks before another 10M coins are released.  When this coin is added to an exchange where it can be traded for bitcoins a value is placed on it based partially on how hard the coin is to acquire, partially on what someone is willing to trade for it, and partially what someone would trade it for.

2 weeks after launch SMC is placed on the exchange, it’s valued at .00001 bitcoins per SMC(that’s about half a penny if you’re keeping track!).  Seems fair since each block is worth 461 coins, that’s about .004 bitcoins per SMC block.  With a block creation time of 2-3 minutes that’s a good chunk of bitcoins per day! This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, let’s dump our 10M coins into the market, selling them at .000005, half of what SMC is worth, so they trade quickly!  We stand to make 500 bitcoins if we sell them all!

However, we won’t sell them all.  The price will be stuck at .000005 bitcoins because it’s not worth it to trade them for less and it’s going to be a while before all 10M of our coins are traded.  This kills SMC because nobody wants to mine it and nobody wants to use it because the price is fixed much lower than it should be.  This causes people to unload the coins they were holding on to in hopes of it becoming more valuable, which drives the value even lower. We don’t care though; if we trade even 100K of our 10M SMCs we stand to make 5 bitcoins!  Not bad for 2 or 3 days worth of programming.  Now you know what a junk coin is and how it gets that status.

CryptoCoins Mining

Alt-coin Mining

In the last alt coins blog entry we discussed what they are, how they work, and how one earns them.  You should read that first.

We’ll be talking about Bitcoin specifically, but most alt coin networks function similarly to Bitcoin and we know Bitcoin will still be around when this blog is published.

Let’s talk a little bit more about mining.

Mining is the backbone of any solid coin network.  Miners are people lending the processing power of their computers to the network to process the transactions users are making.  Miners are rewarded by block rewards from blocks they helped to create and add to the block chain.  Blocks make up the ledger data for transactions, once a block is added it’s propagated across the network and becomes part of the chain.  Blocks cannot be edited or deleted once they are in the block chain and propagated.  Small fees are charged by the network for every transaction made, these fees are used to generate the block rewards and pay the miners for lending their hashing power.  Hashing power is measured in hashes, kilohashes, megahashes, gigahashes, and terahashes.  They measure up as you’d expect, a kilohash is 1000 hashes, a megahash is 1000 kilohashes, and so on.

As coins become older and networks more robust, the difficulty of processing transactions grows.  Difficulty increase causes the value of the coin to increase because the coins become harder to generate and it’s easier to buy one than to mine one.   When bitcoin was first released it could be mined easily using 10-40 hashes, which just about any computer could handle with the CPU built in.  Now there’s no point in trying to mine bitcoin without specialized hardware.   Even with 100ghs you’d spend around five YEARS mining before you were able to generate a block on your own.  This is where mining pools come into play.

A mining pool is a group of people with lower hashrates pooling their resources together and splitting the rewards.  When 20 people pool their 100ghs each you get 2000ghs, or 2ths.  If we do the math and say that 100ghs earns 25 coins in five years, 2ths would earn 25 bitcoins in roughly 3 months.  Then you split those bitcoins up amongst the 20 members of the pool, everybody scored 1.25 bitcoins in 3 months instead of waiting YEARS for a big pay off.

Bitcoin is the extreme in difficulty right now, but every coin will be subject to difficulty increase.  If they’re lucky anyway, most coins won’t survive the day they’re launched!

In the next entry we’ll talk about how a coin lives through it’s launch and goes on to become something worth holding on to.  We’ll also look at what makes a coin junk and not worth your time.

Image modified from http://www.greatnorthernprepper.com/litecoin-mining-101-part-2-hardware-installation/

Alt Coins

At this point most folks on the internet have heard about cryptocoins in one form of another.  Our very own Alan Walker spoke with Bill Gephardt about Bitcoin specifically, but what other coins are bouncing around out there?  What makes a coin valuable?   Should you mine it?  What on earth is mining?  This series of blogs will talk about “Alt coins” and the effects they’re having on crypto currency in general.

First off, what are cryptocoins?

Crypto currency is a work-based method of tracking and rewarding users who have spent processing power supporting the network the coins are traded on.  The processing power lent will be used to manage transactions in the ledger, or block chain, that publically tracks and stores all transactions made.  Every bitcoin has a big ol’ number that is unique and the block chain has a very strict cryptographic set of rules to receive that data and store it, so it takes quite a bit of processing power to do all the math.  This is where the miners step in.  Miners lend the processing power of their hardware to the network.  Initially miners would lend the power of their CPU, then a smart dude named puddinpop released an nVidia CudaCore miner and smoked all of the CPUs mining.  There’s a bit of controversy around who did what first, so you didn’t hear any of that from me.

So you’ve got a computer that is working to lend it’s processing power to a giant network of computers, your payment for lending the processing power are the coins the network gives you in return.   Pretty straight up.

Altcoins get their name from being alternatives to bitcoin.  Altcoins can be based on the same algorithm as Bitcoin, which is called SHA256, or one of a dozen others.  The main competitor to the Bitcoin algorithm is Scrypt.  All of the big altcoins are Scrypt based or SHA256 based and can be traded on cryptocoin exchanges like Cryptsy or Bter.  Neither of those sites allow you to trade coins for actual dollars, they allow you to trade coins for bitcoins or other altcoins.  Depending on what you’re trying to do you can stash the coins in a wallet or trade them for bitcoins, which you can then trade for fiat currency.   Some popular altcoins are Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Auroracoin.  I’m not saying you should go out and get those particular coins (go get Auroracoin!) because there are literally HUNDREDS of altcoins out there to choose from.

And now you understand why people are kinda freaking out about this.  You turn your computer on and it craps out money.  Sort of.  In the next blog we’ll talk a bit more about mining and how it’s done, the hardware you’ll need, and a few tips on coins worth holding on to.

How Often Should I Redesign My Website?

The real question is, “Should I update my website?” The answer really lies in the following questions.

Are you fulfilling the goals of your site?

Before creating your website, you may have had high hopes and dreams that would be accomplished through this amazing digital marketing machine. Did you want to educate visitors, gather some leads for your organization or sell products online? In any case, there should be some metrics in which these can be measured.

  • Educate Visitors – This can be measured by the number of visits to your site, how many pages they viewed and how long they stayed around.
  • Gather Leads – Do you see an increase in the number of “Legit” visitors filling out online forms? If so you are doing it right.
  • Sell Online – That increase in sales will be the telltale sign your site is fulfilling the goal at hand.

Is your answer “no” and you need to know what to do next? It may be time to look into optimizing your site.

Do you show up in search results?

This is another way of asking where you sit with SEO. Do you apply the very basics to your site? Have you paid attention to your content, your site performance and the experience a site visitor will have when on your site? A great quote from Carolyn Shelby, Director of SEO at Chicago Tribune/435 Digital:

“Skipping the basics and spending all your time and money on social and ‘fancy stuff’ is the same as skipping brushing your teeth and showering, but buying white strips and wearing expensive cologne.”

She’s saying if you don’t have the basics met on your site, do NOT expect the “fancy stuff” to help your plight. What’s kind of cool about SEO basics is that you are optimizing your site, which in turn can help you fulfill your site goals!! So what are those basics?

  • Content is King – Both Search Engines and human’s alike expect to find copy and other elements on a page that speaks to the topic. Is the page an authority on the topic?
  • Site Performance – People aren’t too keen on waiting and want the site to function as expected.  The site should be set up so that search engines can easily follow how the site is set up.
  • Best User Experience Ever – Well that should at least be the goal. The basic user experience should include a site that is easy to navigate and visitors can easily find what they came looking for.  The design of the page should support a great experience as well.

Does your design include current web trends and best practices?

The answer is often “No”. The times are a changing…constantly when it comes to web trends.

Seriously, we redesigned our website less than two years ago and we already have a long list of updates we want to add. The cool functionality out there for modern browsers is overwhelming and beautiful!

A well designed site shows that your company: knows who you are, what you are doing, and that you are moving, changing and growing with the times. A website that stays current in design and copy is basically saying you care about the visitor–your potential customer.

The basic of website design is ensuring your site can be viewed on all devices. The most cost effective way to achieve this is to use responsive design.

Did you answer “No” to any of these questions?

If you answered “No” or even thought it, we would love to help you optimize your site. We live and breathe this stuff! Vérité offers award winning web designers and programmers, SEO experts, and copywriters. An ideal web project should have the following elements:

  1. Current website metrics review
  2. Marketing communications discussion
  3. Industry and competitors research
  4. SEO Strategy
  5. Wireframe and UI development
  6. Design Phase
  7. Development

We invite you to take a look at some of our web design projects and contact us for more information.

 

Damon Family Reunion

You want to know what happens when there’s an incredible group of creatives, the boss is away and has an office full of family pictures?

You get a new family that looks a lot like Matt Damon.

Effects of Modern Web Technologies

Oh the beauty of the Snow Fall website. The usage of modern web technologies bring so much life to the website. Instead of flat images, mp4 videos play. As you scroll, the words move as pictures stay creating beautiful parallax motion. The overall experience is so captivating. Yet the question was asked, what are the implications on SEO or overall user experience? Well, there are Pros and Cons to everything.

PRO – New technology can be engaging and show your company is savvy and heading toward the future.
CON – Can be “scary” to users. Knowing your audience can help determine if you should use new technology.

In perspective of SEO the biggest benefit for a site using parallax, video and other HTML5 elements  is the interaction and engagement with the site visitor. The Snow Fall site is a great example of these elements. It is very compelling and appealing for a user. The site creates anticipation for what will happen next as they continue to read down the page. It’s this very behavior that is now being watched  by Google. Does your site engage the user to continue on and hang around to see “what’s next” on the site. Do users come back or share the site with others?

Users of traditional websites expect to click to another page and have SEO count that click as a “next” in the navigation flow. Many people are scared to use the scrolling method because it doesn’t feel like you are going to another page. If the site is coded properly, sections of the scrolling page can technically be seen as another page in Google Analytics. When developing scrolling sites, as with any, it’s very important to map out the areas that you want to keep track of and utilize in SEO marketing so that metrics can be watched and the site can be optimized. It is important in your design to ensure users understand where they are at all times. This can be handled with in page navigation elements.

PRO – When used correctly the new web trends add an additional layer of substance to the context of the page.
CON – Older browsers do not support HTML5 technology and will require a deprecated version. One would need to make sure the element is only adding a little extra and you aren’t counting on it to deliver the message.

A downfall to having the beauty of new technology is that it does not play well in all browsers and devices. If a site appears not to work you can expect the site visitor to immediately close the site, inflicting a bounce from your website. To avoid losing people you must have a deprecated version of the new hip element. Deprecation for a video playing would be an image. In lieu of moving elements using parallax you would find static sections within the site.

No matter the design of a website, the approach should be the same. Know your business, know your audience, and define your goals. Then you can decide whether or not the newest and greatest web trends will work for you.