James Dowen

Building a user content generated website

I’ve recently worked on a lot of projects, all of different shapes and sizes – which of course keeps things interesting. Crownion is a content generation site aimed at the African market, specifically Nigeria. The site allows for quizzes, surveys, and lists – collectively referred to as “Vibes” to be posted by site admins, and the site users. By participating in vibes, users are rewarded with points or cash, depending on the vibes they complete and how long it takes them to do so – these can then be withdrawn at any point.

As well as participating in Vibes, users can also participate in a regular “Payboard” what runs numerous times throughout the day. Users who are able to guess the four correct numbers within ten seconds. have a large cash prize credited to their account.

As standard, the website is fully responsive and comes equipped with reliable functionality all around, including via the expansive admin system used by the site owners to manage all users, content, action withdrawals, view stats, and more.

 

A new FUTWIZ, ready for FIFA 19

A couple of months ago, I was awarded the contract of taking the existing futwiz.com website and providing a complete redesign. As they already have a backend developer on their team, only frontend development was required.

Although maintaining the same pages and features, I had to redesign and deliver frontend responsive code for the core pages and features of their website. With over 40 templates involved, it was always going to be a big task to ensure every single one was designed and delivered to the highest quality and standard.

Mainly generating their revenue through adverts, each page had to consider advert positioning to maximise their revenue – without inflicting on user experience. The website accomodates a series of both full page and banner adverts.

A large majority of the FUTWIZ target audience access the site via mobile devices, so it was of great importance to have the responsiveness of the website adapt to any screen size. The mobile viewport features a swipe navigational system, as well as an easy access player search feature – one of the most common aspects of the website.

Alongside that, with a database of thousands of players, including all player data, I had to make it easy for their users to access the basic and advanced search options.

Ultimately, the FUTWIZ website has enjoyed a well deserved refresh from the below – which better engages their audience and provides quick and easy access to the data they seek.

 

A refreshed look and feel for Pomanda

After a recommendation from a previous client, Fieldhouse Associates, Pomanda approached me to re-imagine their website and primary sales funnel: pomanda.com

Previously, their website featured over the top infographics and animations, portraying their website as “childish”, not geared towards the professionals in their target audience.

Before the redesign

We worked on creating more subtle infographics and animations, as well as custom icon design relating to the services that Pomanda and their platform provide. Web-based animations were developed in a cross browser compatible measure, and remained subtle, as well as effective.

General site-wide scrolling animation

Pulsing effect on tower

Cloud moving on scroll, as well as auto-rolling clouds

And as standard, the Pomanda website is fully responsive and adapts perfectly to a device of any size.

We completely re-imagined the Pomanda website and re-built it from the ground up, and we are now working hard on Phase 2, which will be launching alongside their main product launch at the start of September.

After the re-design

Redesigning RAMM Science

I was recently tasked with redesigning the RAMM Science company website. RAMM Science provide services and software in the blockchain and artificial intelligence industries.

James goes above and beyond to deliver clean design, clean code, on time and on budget. He was able to take my vague requests and churn out a beautiful and functional site. I look forward to working with James for our future projects. Dont hire him, because I want him all to myself. – Alain Richardt

This involved evaluating their existing website – and following a brief that they provided – to create the best solution for them. The website had to portray the services and software that they offer in a professional manor, but with a modern and quirky design to match their target audience. As RAMM Science were not too sure on what content they wanted to include, strategic direction was also given on this aspect of the project.

Below is a screenshot of how their old website looked (not the best, as you can tell):

The homepage was refreshed to the below (although this screenshot was taken from an original design concept, so it contains filler/example content). This new version provides a way for visitors to easily navigate the site, and provides two call to actions. The background is actually a smoke animation, and the vertical scrolling content slider provides needed effect:

The developer in me spotted an opportunity to also include subtle web animations, utilising video and CSS3 transitions – which compliment the design style of this website.

The new RAMM Science website will be live in the coming week once the team source and upload the required contents.

 

Rebuilding one of the nations largest pet databases

ProtectedPet are one of the UK’s largest pet registration databases, maintaining data on thousands of pets, pet owners, and microchips in order to allow pet owners to easily find their pet should they be lost. As it’s a legal requirement for every pet to be microchipped and registered on a database like ProtectedPet – the popularity has since grown.

They approached me to rebuild their existing website and database system to increase reliability, ensure it complies to government standards, and to make various enhancements. Due to the volume of data they look after and maintain, this was never going to be a quick or an easy task – but it was a task I was confident in taking on, and it was done with a great success. Since the relaunch, their website and database system has seen a 170% increase in pet registrations, and a 187% increase in revenue from platform generated sales. Reliability has also increased, with no downtime at all since launch.

One of the key features was linking microchip search functions with the other pet databases, which allows them all to communicate with each other – providing notifications when a pet (regardless of where it is registered) has been found or lost. Many use this function across the UK on a daily basis to find their lost pet, and to find the contact details of a lost pets owner.

The complex and thorough administration system allows the ProtectedPet staff to view and manage all data on their system, and to manually update and maintain details themselves, should that ever be required. Orders from the store can also be fulfilled directly from the admin system, which also provides shipping updates automatically to customers. The admin system gives the staff full control over the system, and allows them to edit various key aspects and settings that affect the day to day running of their service.

Overall, ProtectedPet is now a lot more functional, reliable, and easier to use for both the staff and their customers.

Droning in the snow

When I’m not creating websites, I’m usually out there droning. Check out my latest video below, shot in Cofton Park, Birmingham, UK.

A web designer and developer who accepts Bitcoin

That’s right, I now accept Bitcoin as a payment method for my web design and development services! I could stop this post there, but I will use this time to discuss Bitcoin a bit further and why I accept it as a payment method.

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, and it’s here to stay with it’s current value at £12,000 at the time of writing (15:02 – December 7th 2017). Although some are still skeptical about its future, many are positive after seeing it rise in value by 1899.19% this year alone. It can be used to purchase just about anything; including every day items, property, vehicles, and more. As it grows in popularity every day, the choice of where it can be spent will continue to grow. Click here to learn more about Bitcoin.

I’ve chosen to accept it as a form of payment for a number of reasons. Firstly, transaction time is only a matter of seconds, so there’s no waiting for funds to clear. Secondly, there is no transaction fee payable by either party, as it isn’t controller by a bank or central authority – it’s completely independant. Lastly, it’s the future and it’s here to stay – so why not embrace it?

Bitcoin can be purchased from various exchanges and websites, but the most reliable is Coinbase. From there, Bitcoin can be held in your own wallet, or sent elsewhere.

5 Best Instagram Accounts for Web Design Inspiration

I spend a lot of time on Instagram, both from a professional and personal perspective. I love the photo sharing platform, as well as Instagram’s Stories feature. A lot of my Instagram browsing time is spent either checking out photos of cool desks and work setups, or looking through some awesome designs created by fellow web designers.

Below, I’ve put together a list of the five best Instagram accounts which any web designer should follow for inspiration:

  1. @welovewebdesign – https://www.instagram.com/welovewebdesign/
  2. @webdesignit – https://www.instagram.com/webdesignit/
  3. @dailywebdesign – https://www.instagram.com/dailywebdesign/
  4. @web_design_pin – https://www.instagram.com/web_design_pin/
  5. @rocketz.folio – https://www.instagram.com/rocketz.folio/

A new WordPress website for Top5s

Top5s approached me during the summer to rebuild their website from the ground up, and migrate all of their content from their old platform. With well over 2 million subscribers on YouTube, it’s important that the Top5s website is robust and user friendly, amongst other things. The new website has proven to be a success, and we will continue working hard to innovate the website and bring new features and content to the ever growing Top5s audience. Top5s left the following testimonial:

“After having a very unprofessional web design service with a previous company, I searched around for the best person to rebuild our website and take it to the next level. After coming across James I can honestly say he has been fantastic. Everything from communication to his input on what would make the site more appealing for our visitors. The passion and professionalism really shows in his work and I couldn’t recommended him more highly.”

Check out their announcement video below, and click here to view their website:

The website is built on WordPress, using a custom developed theme.

Let a robot gain you Instagram followers

I’m a regular user of Instagram, and I’ve managed to build up a good following over the past couple of years I’ve been using it for by posting good photos and interacting with others. Recently though, I created a way to automate the interaction part of my account by creating a robot.

How the robot works is by automatically liking certain photos on hashtags related to my account. For example, it will automatically like hundreds of photos a day with the hashtags #webdesign, #webdevelopment, and more. In turn, this spreads your name across the Instagram network and gets people looking at your profile – which in a lot of cases results in them liking your photos and following you.

However, the robot can do so much more. It can automatically follow users, unfollow users, comment on photos, send private messages, and so on. I chose not to do this on my account because I like to control these things myself (not let a robot do it for me). I have used these techniques on other business accounts which are now gaining thousands of followers each month.

If you’d like access to the robot to grow your following, just email me your Instagram username to hello@jamesdowen.com and we can discuss further.

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