A whole new web development world opens up with WordPress

Thursday 31st March 2011   by Jem

Here at matm we like WordPress. As well as being the world’s biggest web publishing software, it’s:

  1. Coded in one of the most popular web programming languages (PHP) which is backed by a hugely knowledgeable worldwide community
  2. Open source, which means the core code is open to everyone and you’re not reliant on proprietary systems
  3. …and best of all, free! That translates to reduced costs for us which we can pass on to our web clients. Who can argue with that?

When Shropshire-based charity Severn Hospice approached us to build a multi-functional events “shop” into their existing WordPress site, I couldn’t resist the challenge.

Using extensive knowledge of the content management software, shared between myself and developer colleague Richard Pilsbury, we have tapped into user-control functionality built in to WordPress to develop a plugin that allows visitors to register for their very own ‘my Severn Hospice’ profile.

From here, supporters can sign up for events, manage their personal information, register as a team, make a donation, pay in sponsorship money and more. It’s all generated “on-the-fly” using WordPress ‘shortcodes’, meaning maximum extendibility with no programming required by Severn Hospice at all.

Severn Hospice Events Shop plugin preview

If you want to extend your current WordPress website with a bespoke plugin created specifically for your needs, or want to convert your website to WordPress, get in touch. We’re happy to talk through the options with you.

We’re loving that! Smart use of augmented reality by Word Lens translates into success

Friday 25th March 2011   by Neil Dicken

It can take time for cutting edge technology to find a useful purpose.

As the saying goes, inventions can come along before their time, says matm designer Neil Dicken at matm, the marketing, design, web development and public relations agency near Telford, Shropshire.

Well, here’s an exception. A clever idea, packaged with clever technology.

Word Lens, from Quest Visual, uses augmented reality to capture text that is placed in front of your smart phone camera and translates it in real time to make the text appear in your chosen language.

Just think, travelling abroad, you can tell instantly what’s on the menu, what the map directions say and which loo to use. Such a simple idea. Such a useful application!

Client collects prestigious national award after matm writes a “winning” submission

Wednesday 23rd March 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Lavendon Access Services was last night was one of the winners at the Construction News Specialist Awards.

The company won the Access and Scaffolding section at the awards held, as they often are, in a posh London hotel. We’re delighted for the great people at Lavendon, but we’re especially pleased because the company is one of our clients and we wrote the award submission.

Lavendon Access Services is the UK’s largest provided of powered access to a wide number of industries, including construction. By powered access, we mean cherry pickers, hydraulic booms and those fancy-looking scissor lifts we are seeing in use more and more now, where before scaffolding or ladders would be used.

matm PR Executive Jamie Doran said: “We’re very pleased for Lavendon Access Services. It’s an especially important award for them because, on the shortlist, they were up against mainly scaffolding companies that traditionally do well in the Construction News Awards. This win is telling the industry that powered access is growing in importance and influence.

“It’s also very nice for us to know that all the thought, insight and hard work that we put in to preparing the award submission has paid off. In our experience, winners deserve their awards but it certainly pays to make sure your submissions are as compelling as possible – and getting the support of a company like ours can make the difference between winning and losing.”

Jamie is already working on plans to help Lavendon capitalise on its success. In the meantime,  he would be very happy to talk to anyone else about how we might help them get the recognition they deserve!

You can email him by clicking here or give him a call on 01952 883526.

 

 

 

Budget watch – good news for our charity clients on gift aid and red tape

Wednesday 23rd March 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Chancellor George Osborne has, this afternoon, given a little cheer for charities by announcing in the budget that donations up to £5,000 can be gift-aided without filling in the usual large number of forms. More detail to follow, but budget watchers are already welcoming the move on Twitter. Mr Osborne said the move was, in part, a reflection of the Government’s support for its Big Society campaign.

 

 

We’re loving that! Great design that’s a real eye opener.

Monday 21st March 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

We love amazing design – and you don’t have to look far to find it. In fact, why not just look into the eyes of the next person you meet? Here’s a stunning close up of an eye showcased in Bored Panda, the online magazine dedicated to the world’s most quirky artwork. You’ll find more here.

Amazing close-up of the human eye captured by Armenian physics teacher Suren Manvelyan

 

Information at your Fingertips with QR Code Technology

Friday 18th March 2011   by Neil Dicken

matm designer Neil Dicken visited a car show at the Telford International Centre,  where he spotted a Shropshire-based company using QR codes.

A QR code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by a dedicated QR barcode reader, camera phone or smart phone. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data. The company had three in total:

• Contact information (added all forms of contact to your smart phone)
• Video explaining the process and the benefits of using Black Code
• Link to the company’s website

Here at matm we are also incorporating QR codes in design. Most smart phones already have the software to read QR codes, or there are free apps available. Software to create your own QR codes is also available on the web.

Neil said: “I felt it was a great way to give information to visitors at the show, as there’s nothing I hate more than being handed endless leaflets that you later throw in the bin on the way back to your car. With the QR code, I was able to browse the company’s site, view specific information related to my needs and even request a quote.”

matm is already busy including QR codes in promotional material for clients and can also create branded QR codes for marketing campaigns, but if you fancy having a go now, the QR code below is the one from the show. The BBC QR code below is also a great example of how a branded code can look.

 

QR code used by shropshire based firm at exhibiton

 

 

 

 

Free email marketing templates from Coffeemail, making eshots simple

Friday 11th March 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Coffeemail today released 74 free email marketing templates to make the best email marketing system even better value.

View all 74 free eshot templates here >>  Free email templates

Free Eshot Template 34

 

Coffeemail offers a great way to send eshots with no monthly charges and powerful tracking and reporting software. We’ll update you with lots more Coffeemail news over the next few weeks but thought you might like to know about the new free templates

For more information about coffeemail and how to make email marketing simple, contact the Web team at matm

We’re loving that! the F1 car exploded for art’s sake

Friday 11th March 2011   by Neil Dicken

With the Formula 1 season fast approaching, here at matm we’re impressed with this impressive installation of the Mercedes F1 Car by Dutch artist Paul Veroude.

It’s the second time the F1 nut has done it. In 2007 he suspended a Honda racing car in just the same way.

All 3,200 bits of Michael Schumacher’s car were supported on hundreds of thin wires.

Here at matm, we’ll be supporting Jenson and Lewis.

Formula One installation

We’re loving that … matm loves this art installation of a F1 car

F1 exploded via matm, design agency Shropshire

The Nose has it … the exploded Mercedes F1 Car

Great graphic design can be good for your health – especially when created by matm

Monday 7th March 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Here at matm, we’ve built up significant experience in designing health promotional material for quite a number of clients, honing our skills in a wide range of projects, designs and approaches.

Key elements of this work are creating messaging that is creative and has clarity and impact within clear brand guidelines.

For example, in a recent project for for Telford and Wrekin PCT we created a range of promotional material for the Health Trainer service which provides personal advice to people who want to be healthier and fitter.

The promotional campaign, called “My Health Trainer”, sought to highlight the highly personal one-to-one support the health trainers give their clients.

Collateral included a four-page leaflet, a suite of posters (pictured below) were designed and printed as well as a number of promotional items such as printed water bottles, stress balls and pens.

Health Trainer Posters