Media Manager bugfix

As you may have noticed, the Media Manager had lost its ability to provide cut-n-past image filenames. That feature used Shockwave Flash which was discontinued by its owners Adobe, because “technologies evolve and the use of mobile devices has grown, interactive content has moved to platforms such as HTML5 Canvas and Web GL“.

In line with this philosophy, we are pleased to finally announce that this feature in our Media Manager app has now been recreated using modern JavaScript, which is supported on all modern browsers.

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What’s above the fold, affects SEO

The concept of above the fold dates back to early printing presses. Newspapers were folded over on news-stands, so only the top half of the paper was visible to the passer-by.

The newspaper industry quickly worked out that to sell papers, they must present attention-grabbing content in the top half of their front page. This basic principle remains the same for digital content.

How does this affect search engine optimisation (SEO)? The best search engines give us what we’re looking for quickly. They do this by mimicking human decision making, like whether or not to buy the newspaper. When a user lands on your webpage from the search engine results page, that search engine starts counting. 1… 2… 3… 4…

If a user fails to immediately spot what they want on the screen, the chances of them staying in your website are greatly decreased – studies have shown they will not stay longer than 10 seconds (far less if they’re young).

If 500 visitors find your site on Google and then stay there for less than 10 seconds, the search engine will record the verdict “This page isn’t really that interesting or relevant, so let’s put it a little lower down our rankings.” (a phenomenon known as Dwell Time Metrics and although officially unconfirmed, widely accepted as being used by the Google algorithm)

Simply rearranging items on a page is generally a trivial edit. On many of your pages, you can probably do it for yourself, but contact our support team if you need help.

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Spring pruning improves design

For the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines, a sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences.

Contrary to some printed content, where column inches signify importance, your users may not even SEE every word on your web page.

Words take up space, and can often be removed without altering the meaning. This reduces the “noise” level of the page and makes the useful content more prominent. Making any page shorter allows your users to scan it without needing to scroll.

What we’re advocating here mostly applies to introductions and instructions.
Web content doesn’t need verbose welcome messages that just reiterate the page title, or tell the user how great the site is.
If your site serves clearly separate purposes, it will have clearly separate sections, but don’t be tempted to write explanations at the start of each section. Once a user is happy they’ve reached the right page, they will scan down it, rather than reading it like you do a page in a book.
Regarding instructions, if a page NEEDS them, maybe it should just be redesigned.

So be ruthless and get pruning!

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New BCP design is not just for sighted users.

People who are blind can read books, use maps and even play specially designed video games. They can do anything they want to unless we build things that stop them!

BCP Council have just gone live with a redesigned homepage. Not only did their design carefully consider smaller screen sizes like phones and tablets, but also assistive technology such as screen readers.
The page is structured and some additional text has been included, to ensure ALL information that is communicated visually, is accurately conveyed to blind users.

You can view the homepage here:

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CORAM’s Childcare Finder

We are delighted to announce that a refresh of CORAM’s Childcare Finder site is now live. We are pleased to be able to continue to work with CORAM to deliver this site that connects to many of our customers’ Family Information Services websites.

You can view the refreshed site here:

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Idox Customer Event: Local Offer Focus Group April 15th

We would like to invite our Local Offer customers to join us in a virtual forum to share best practice and discuss ideas for new functionality or features to improve the reach and usability of our Local Offer websites.

The session will be facilitated via Microsoft Teams. To register to attend, please complete the short form on our website:

New version of our user authentication module

We have now released a new version of our user authentication module.

This release has added a simple Google reCaptcha check into all new user registration forms.  This check will actively prevent spambots from creating any spurious and unverified user accounts in your User Manager.

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Know your audience

Studies by internet service providers, now show that one of the most common internet browsing devices in the UK in 2021, is a mobile phone.

Designing a site for phone users to use WELL is a challenge, but we love a challenge at Idox!

Mobile users don’t sit still, they “dive in” and start scrolling rather than methodically reading all the content on a long page. They’ll scroll down a page until an appropriate call to action catches their eye.

The new Sefton Directory, built on our latest framework, has many mobile-specific design features, such as a fixed “call to action” button on all the service record pages, which quickly dials the contact phone number for that record.
Positioning a button in the bottom right of a mobile screen, makes it easier for users to press it with their thumb. It’s actually in the WAI accessibility guidelines, WCAG 2.1, that any “click target” on a mobile screen should be no less than 42 pixels square, because this is the size of an average fingertip.

Talk to your account manager about how we can help you redesign your Directory site.

Test your site now for mobile friendliness, with this free Google test tool.

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Somewhere to store data or somewhere to find data?

User Experience design is something of a passion for our team at Idox. A psychological observation that has become known as Miller’s law, states that the number of objects an average person can hold in working memory is about seven.

Applying this principal to user choices on your web page, if your users have more than seven categories to choose from, they will forget the first categories by the time they’ve read the full list.

If you would like to change your Directory categorisation at all, talk to our support team in the first instance.

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New User Feedback Surveys go live at Salford

We have recently completed a piece of work with Salford City Council to migrate their user surveys away from SurveyMonkey and into their directory.

These short, optional surveys are now presented to users in a modal window, which pops opens after the user visits their 6th page on their website (configurable).

A cookie captures whether the user completed the survey or opted out. This expires after 30 days (configurable), meaning each user has the option of participating again a month later.

If you’d like to discuss similar functionality for your own website, please contact your account manager.

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