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Google launched their AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Project in 2015 with the aim of making the mobile web faster.

The concept is a pretty simple one. AMP strips out all unnecessary elements, removes most of a website’s design and makes everything load lightning quick. The result of this is better user experience and pages that load instantly regardless of connection speed.

If you use Google to search on your mobile, chances are you’ll have seen Accelerated Mobile Pages. They appear in a carousel towards the top of the search results. Most of the time they’ll be news or opinion pieces with a lightning bolt icon next to them.

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Why brands should avoid commercial WordPress themes.

Every so often we get an enquiry from a brand who has already found a WordPress theme that they want to use for their new website. We always try to advise against commercial WordPress themes and, if the client is insistent about using one, we don’t take the project on.

There’s good reasons for this. The arguments against brands using commercial WordPress themes are numerous and in this post I’ll try to briefly explain them.

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Better web forms.

Forms are an essential part of every website and app. They’re also a pretty dull task for users so it’s important that they’re not overly long, daunting or just plan confusing. Users on the web can lose interest very quickly – distractions are difficult to avoid. In this article we give a few examples of improvements you can make that will result in better web forms, will improve user experience and get more conversions.

Clarity and simplicity results in better web forms. Obvious really. There’s a few ways you can help keep things clear when designing forms.

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WordPress starter themes.

This post forms the basis for a talk I’ll be giving on WordPress starter themes later in the year. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and we’ll keep you updated on dates and locations.

At TAC, most of our web projects use WordPress. We love the flexibility and extendibility and we’re always up for challenges that use WordPress in new and exciting ways.

Every WordPress project we do is built on our starter theme and that’s what this post is about. I’ll explain what a starter theme is, why they are important and then go into detail about our TAC starter theme.

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Optimising WordPress Performance.

We sponsored June’s WordPress North East event in Newcastle and this post is based on a talk on optimising WordPress performance I gave. Head over to the WPNE website to find out about future events and book your tickets.

Speed is everything on the web. Fast websites perform better on every front, be it search ranking, user experience, engagement and, most importantly, conversions. You can read plenty of research that demonstrates this.

A lot of the work we do at TAC is in the music festival market. The websites we build need the ability to handle large visitor numbers and huge spikes in traffic. This means optimising WordPress performance is something we’ve got down to a bit of an art form.

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Website Sliders: Why We Don’t Use Them.

Website sliders; they’re one of the more contentious subjects in web design and a discussion we have on a regular basis with our clients. With this in mind we thought a blog post explaining our thoughts on website sliders would be a good idea.

Let’s start with the short answer to the question “Should I use a slider on my website?”. No. Why? Well there’s lots of reasons, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

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Minimal Design.

As a design agency we spend a lot of time, as you’d expect, talking about design. When we meet new clients or when we’re out and about at events in Newcastle, we regularly end up chatting about our love of minimal design. More often than not we’re explaining how minimal design can help brands communicate more effectively.

The phrase ‘less is more’ is quite often used when talking about minimal design. We far prefer the phrase ‘less but better’. Dieter Rams explains this approach far better than we ever could in his Ten Principles of Good Design.

Of course design is subjective and there’s no right answer, but this post will hopefully explain a little more about why this is the way we work at TAC.

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Designing for Mobile.

Web use on mobile devices is increasing all the time. The headline in 2014 was that mobile use was set to overtake use from fixed devices. In 2015 we’re now past the tipping point with up to 60% of all web use now coming from mobile devices. With these stats it’s pretty obvious that designing for mobile is an important part of any web strategy.

Google is now including ‘mobile friendly’ labels in search results. As of 21st April they’re even demoting websites that aren’t optimised for mobile users in search results.

If it wasn’t already obvious, this all means that the mobile web is a pretty big deal.

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