Monday, December 24, 2012

Access Management Et Al

December has been a busy month for us, aside from personal holiday preparations. All of us at Webs Divine are looking forward to a purposely quiet New Years Eve celebration to recharge our collective batteries, and then it's back to work.

In early December, we created an access management system for one of our existing clients. It was a first go-around for us, but from start to finish it took about six days to complete the project. The Members Only feature of the project included organizing and tracking more than six hundred user names and passwords, which gives access to confidential documents and web pages.

To that end, we utilized Coffee Cup's easy-to-use Website Access Manager. The software program was indeed a blessing, and comes highly recommended by us.

Product description:

"When it comes to password-protecting members-only areas of your web site, .htaccess files are the way to go. Unfortunately, they are also complicated. Website Access Manager gives you all the power of .htaccess files with none of the confusion. Its workspace is easy to use, setting up members-only areas is fast, and you can protect as many pages as you want."

Coffee Cup's customer service department is a cut above the rest as well. Whatever questions we had were quickly addressed by a member of their staff.

Website Access Manager (WAM) tips:
  • Because the .htaccess function only works with Apache and Apache-compatible servers, WAM comes with a tool to determine if your server meets the requirements. Your server should have PHP 4.47 or higher installed in order to use WAM.
  • Before importing an Excel spreadsheet for correct use in WAM, the spreadsheet has to contain information placed in a certain order. The various lettered columns signify specific information fields in WAM, so the data must be provided accurately in order for the spreadsheet to import properly. For example, column A must contain the user's real name, column C their preferred user name, column D password and column F an e-mail address. The reason columns B and E are skipped is so that when information is imported it goes to the correct fields for the individual member. For example, if we added information to columns B and E, the data listed would go to the wrong fields once imported into WAM. For a list of all correct property fields, click here.
  • If you are using an Excel spreadsheet to create a database in WAM, the document must be saved as a comma-delimited file (CSV).
  • After importing an Excel spreadsheet into WAM, all user details should be in their proper fields. However, if user details change in the future (new address, new member, delete member, etc.), the fields can be edited inside the WAM program (as opposed to importing the Excel spreadsheet all over again).
As we went along creating our access management project earlier this month, we also put together a personalized step-by-step "user's manual" for our client. This is something we do for clients on request. Call it a back-up plan just in case the client has to take over maintenance of a site for one reason or another. In other words, we don’t like to leave folks twisting in the wind in case the unthinkable happens.

Apart from creating the new access management system, we were busy in December with two quarterly online newsletters (IENA and WANA), along with several book cover designs, logos and buttons.

We also acquired a new client in December, but must remain mum about their identity for the time being. The client will be running for a political office in February and wants a web presence established before he/she begins their campaign.

Excel/WAM Guide

Before importing an Excel spreadsheet (CSV) for correct use in Coffee Cup’s Website Access Manager (WAM), the spreadsheet has to contain information placed in a certain order. The various lettered columns signify specific information fields in WAM, so the data must be provided accurately in order for the spreadsheet to import properly. The list below displays the guideline:

A)   Real Name
B)   Title
C)   Username
D)   Password
E)   Website
F)    E-Mail
G)   Company Name
H)   Address 1
I)     Address 2
J)    City
K)   State
L)    Zip
M)  Country
N)   Phone
O)   Fax
P)   Language
Q)   Time Zone
R)   Note
S)   Expiration Date (uses local system date format)

Leave the lettered column blank if the information is not needed, but do not place incorrect information in blank column or it will throw off the placement when imported into WAM.

Click here for more information, or click here to return to "Access Management Et Al" blog entry.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday Buttons

We have lots of fun creating holiday-themed logos and buttons. This is our latest:

The button will be used for the Christmas recipes at Food Fare next week.

To view more, go to the Logos & Buttons page of our web site.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

No-Repeat Web Background

Adding a tiled image as a web background can sometimes cause a continuous repeat of the image, making the page look confusing and unprofessional. A simple code can fix the issue.

The above image is named "scrollcandle.jpg." In order to stop the background image repeat, use the following CSS code (placing the name of your image in the brackets following url):

<style type="text/css">body{ background: url(scrollcandle.jpg) black center no-repeat fixed; } </style>

Using the code will allow the background image to display as follows:

The properties of the code can also be adjusted to fit the background of your web page. For example, "black center" can be changed to color and alignment suited to your needs.

Click here to see a live sample of a no-repeat web background.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Historical Logo

Creating personalized logos and buttons can sometimes be a challenge, but they are also great fun. Historical Essays is our latest:

The intent was to create an "antique" feel to the logo to accurately depict the advertised content. Each essay in the five-book collection reached back into history to include Jack the Ripper, US Political Parties, Billy the Kid, Anne Boleyn and the Loch Ness Monster (for which we also designed the book covers).

For the logo we began with a black slate, inserted the essay covers in a row and then saved it as one new image. After applying various backgrounds (glow, saturate, grungy and parchment), the above image became the final logo.

The border style of the logo is known as "wizard's book," which can be found within the Smart Photo Editor software program.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quick Forward

Forwarding pages are often used to re-direct people to a specific web page that has moved or for one reason or another, has been renamed.

We recently designed a forwarding page for a new client. She wanted the page to forward automatically, so we devised the following:

The snippet used to forward a page needs to be placed between the <head> and </head> portion of the html code:
<meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="5;url=">
In the above code, 5 represents the number of seconds before the page forwards. You can change this to any length of time you prefer, such as 3 (for three seconds). The url (also bolded above) needs to be replaced with the exact web address of where you want the page forwarded.

It's as simple as that!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rainee's Parade Photo Gallery

We recently completed a new photo gallery for the pet-related web site Rainee's Parade. A logo for the gallery comes as part of the package.

Constructing flash photo galleries is one of our specialties, and we love nothing more than creating special galleries for beloved pets as well as people and products.

Short Tales Collection logo

As with all of our photo gallery projects, we provide personalized logos for each gallery published online. This is our latest in the pet-related-books category, which comes from the newly-launched web site for the Short Tales Collection:

We began with a blank image using a black background. When designing a new logo from scratch, we like to begin with a clean slate. Typically, we add desired text first. For the Short Takes Collection logo, we used the Trajan font in a mixture of gold and yellow colors. Next, we inserted the "paw-line" image to separate the main text and the author's name. Lastly, a border was added to accentuate text color and overall design.

The border style is known as "homemade frame," and can be found within the Smart Photo Editor software program.

Foofer's Life in Pictures logo

In relation to the Short Tales Collection logo, we recently created and published a new online photo gallery titled Foofer's Life in Pictures. The gallery depicts the life of the main character in the Short Tales Collection of books.

The following logo was also created for the gallery:

The border style is known as "ghost," and can be found within the Smart Photo Editor software program.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sagacity blog logo

We created a new logo for the political blog Sagacity yesterday:

Sagacity is hosted by Blogspot, which allows users to insert their own text and/or graphic headers. In order for the logo to fit into the allotted space, we adjusted the size of the logo to 710 pixels (width) by 285 pixels (length).

Friday, July 6, 2012

Poetry book cover design

Aside from web design, Webs Divine has also developed a book cover portfolio. All of our cover designs are created primarily for e-books, which are used on a variety of platforms including Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook) and Kobo Books (multiple formats).

This is our latest design:

Torn Bits & Pieces features abstract poetry by fiction author Deborah O'Toole.

As with most of our book cover designs, we begin with a blank slate and add various bits of text, images and special border outlines. When working with clients, we do our best to create their visions to exact proportions with colors and specific graphics.

DID YOU KNOW? Most online book outlets, in particular Amazon and Barnes & Noble, require large-sized images for unload and display (850 pixels width by 1133 pixels length). However, for general marketing purposes, 510 by 680 pixels is usually acceptable.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Flyers for Books & Authors

Webs Divine offers several services for authors, including book cover design, e-book conversion, flash photo galleries and web site design.

Our newest service is creating flyers for authors and their various books and/or library of book titles. The flyers can be used for publicity or other marketing purposes, and made available from the specific author's web site for download in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format.

Our newest flyers include the Bloodline Trilogy and the Collective Obsessions Saga, both written by Deidre Dalton.

In order to assemble professional and comprehensive flyers, we often ask the client for book cover images and other photos, along with biography and product information.

To learn more about our flyer services, click here.

Food Fare newsletter template

This is our latest online newsletter design:

Click here to see the actual newsletter.

Constructing tables for online newsletter design has become rather obsolete, but we like to make use of them just the same. Quite often, left and right hand columns on the sides don't match in length because of uneven text or inserted images, so they need to be manually manipulated. When adjusting column lengths within CSS templates, the entire design can be thrown off and look atrocious. Tables with columns are much easier to fix, and in the end they look just as professional as CSS-based layouts.

To view more newsletter template designs, click here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fixed newsletter template

Last November, we were asked to design a multi-paged template that would serve as the fixed bi-annual newsletter for a non-profit organization.

We began by offering different samples to the client so they could make an informed choice. This included a combination of table-based and CSS template layouts. The client ultimately selected the following permanent layout:

Click here to see the actual newsletter.

The template was constructed using tables, but was based on the "Multiflex-3" CSS-layout by Wolfgang (OSWD).

The header had to be created using exact measurements (900W x 150H) in order to fit snugly on the allotted second row. Starting with a blank slate, we added text (bold Trajan font, color: #424963) with the client's logo at the end.


Other fixed features for the newsletter included a scrolling menu for re-occurring notices, articles and reports, member photos with flash navigation, and customized buttons to be used on a regular basis (specifically for donation purposes and photo galleries).

The WASHANA newsletter took quite a bit of time to put together initially. However, now that the template is basically fixed, future issues will be easier to assemble.

To view more newsletter template designs, click here.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Honoring Service Photo Gallery

The Washington Association of Nurse Anesthetists (WANA) is our newest client. We were lucky enough to begin working with them last year, re-doing their web site from scratch. Their organization is more than seventy years old, which is quite an accomplishment for a non-profit.

Last April, WANA organized a special event for their executive secretary, JoAnn Kaiser. JoAnn has served WANA for twenty years, and the group wanted to mark her anniversary. They held a shindig at the Cedarbrook Lodge in Seattle, following one of their annual conferences. Photos from the event numbered nearly eighty, so it took some time for us to put the gallery together (including the creation of the intro logo).

Webs Divine has assembled plenty of galleries in our day, but this one was very special. We can't recall ever being emotionally moved by mere pictures while putting a gallery together, but we were this time.

Click here to view the gallery.

While working with JoAnn on a weekly basis for the last several years on other projects may have made us more attuned to the poignant impact of the event, the photos do speak for themselves.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Book cover for Bloodfrost

One of our newest book cover designs includes Bloodfrost by Deidre Dalton, which is the first volume in the Bloodline Trilogy.

When developing a design for a book cover, we take into account the general storyline of the novel and the characters within. Author suggestions are always welcome. On occasion, we will use the author's personal artwork if it has a professional appearance and keeps with our workability requirements.

Like it or not, a book cover is a potential reader's first introduction to an author's work and can quite often make or break a sale.

According to the author's web site, Bloodfrost is described as follows:
Old before her time and afflicted with a myriad of medical problems, Noel Gatsby retreats into her "wishful-thinking" dreams every night. Desperate to escape the circumstances of her life, she imagines a world where all of her pain and suffering stops, to be replaced by the vigorous health of her youth. Yet each morning she awakens to the misery of her real existence, consumed by pain and depression. 
Then one night her dreams come true.

Noel is transported to another world, where healing hands work their magic on her tired body. She awakens without pain, filled with an exuberance and joy she never thought to experience again. 
She soon learns her miraculous recovery comes at a price...
You be the judge. Does the cover fit the storyline? Keep in mind, the fictional "healing process" involves blood. Without giving too much away, Bloodfrost contains paranormal elements.

For the cover, we used a large-sized rendition of a stock photo by Anton Belovodchenko (SXC). After several layers and color blending, we arrived at the final product. It is now on display at the author's web site, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books and Smashwords.

To view more book cover designs, click here.