New Facebook Page Design & Layout for 2016 (with dimensions)

As of this morning I’ve started seeing a new Facebook Page layout. This is currently being rolled out in stages around the world, or Facebook are testing it with a smaller audience to see whether the new design is more effective than the current. Note that the change is currently user-based and not Page-based, i.e. I can currently see it on every Facebook Page that I visit, whereas under another account I can only see the current Page design on all Pages. A few key changes really stand out: Larger and unobstructed cover photo The new cover photo has grown from 851 x 315 pixels to 1012 x 385 pixels, meaning that the new display area for Page content is of course 1012px wide. In even better news, the cover photo is now completely unobstructed. The old version had to contend with the profile photo, page name (even more frustrating when the name wrapped onto two lines), categories, message and call-to-action buttons, while the new version has its own dedicated space with a white banner beneath it where all of those extras are now housed. On that note, the profile photo has shrunk to just 70 x 70 pixels. Tab menu items now listed with one-click access Where the current design has 4 tabs (including ‘Home’) with the rest of your tabs appearing as a dropdown list under a ‘More’ button, the new design shows the tabs all listed in a vertical menu to the left of the feed. As they’re all now displayed, they’re more visually accessible and of course also now available with just one-click, rather than clicking on the...

How I fell in love with a Škoda Liftback

In my role, I’m fortunate enough to work with a wide range of vehicles. I occasionally get to experience those vehicles for myself so that I can better understand their appeal for a certain market. Typically, I’ll just go for a short drive in a vehicle during work hours, but sometimes I’m lucky enough to take home a vehicle for the weekend. That brings me onto the Škoda Octavia RS Liftback. As a disclaimer, I’m already a big Škoda fan. Being from the UK, I was exposed to plenty of European brands while growing up, and did so in an era that followed the ‘old Škoda’ that previous generations used to make so many jokes about. Today’s Škoda really is an exceptional brand, and anyone that thinks it’s still worth the same jokes from 20 years ago is missing out. Good. That just makes it more exclusive for those of us in the know! Even without my UK upbringing, I don’t think it would have taken me long to form a very positive opinion about Škoda vehicles. A quick Google search reveals just how highly awarded these vehicles are – and I don’t just mean for a ‘smaller brand’ (in New Zealand at least), I mean they’re very often the most highly awarded vehicle brand of all brands, across many segments. Škoda vehicles were titled not just first, but also second AND third most satisfying vehicle to own in Britain, and they’ve scored an awesome 6 top titles in the most recent What Car? awards. Pretty sensational. Seriously, if you think this is a lesser brand, it’s time to pull your head...

Review of the Huawei Smartwatch

A colleague of mine (hi Steve) bought a Pebble smartwatch, just as they came out in New Zealand. Despite all of the competitor products that have rolled out onto the market, he still loves its simplicity and dependability. Although, more than anything else, he seems to love the watch face that he’s set. The one with a cat whose eyes move. Aside from having a play with Google Glass at a convention in the US, I mostly let the wearable-technology movement pass me by. With the launch of the Apple Watch, I started to pay a little more attention, and then I received an email from an old colleague, asking whether I’d be keen to test the new Huawei Smartwatch for a week. Perfect timing an awesome chance to see whether a smartwatch is a useful productivity tool, a fashion accessory, or simply a fad that will pass when the next piece of fancy gear comes out. I’m happy to report that I really loved the smartwatch. Sure, it appealed to my not-so-inner geek, but I actually felt that it made my life significantly easier. The one realisation that really sold it for me was that I would never miss a notification (of my choice) again. Forget Facebook notifications and Snapchats. For that one week, missing important reminders, phone calls, and text messages on my iPhone was a thing of the past. And having that unmissable-yet-discreet vibration on my wrist meant that I could leave my phone on silent, permanently. Perhaps audible phone notifications will one day be a thing of the past? That one guy’s phone who goes off in...

How I slashed recruitment costs for my boss

Advertising job positions can be a pain in the butt. It’s easy to fall into the trap of copy-and-pasting previous job ads, or just hitting the ‘relist’ button, without any consideration of how well your job ads are performing or even knowing what they’re costing your business.

By dropping a few stats into a spreadsheet and lining them up against some key elements, it’s surprisingly easy to get a picture of what works and what doesn’t, allowing you to get far more bang for your buck for future listings.

Trade Me Website Update

As of today, Trade Me have launched a refresh of their website’s home page. Key changes include simplifying the main category browser, removing ‘Services’, ‘Travel’ and ‘GiftFinder’ and adding colour tags for ‘Categories’, ‘Jobs’, ‘Motors’ and ‘Property’.

Before You Hire an SEO Specialist

Interested in helping your website to rank well in search results and considering hiring an SEO specialist? Be sure to read this first.

Website Project: Kits & Bits

Not so long ago I was asked to put the website together for Jackie Jackson, along with the help of her graphic designer. Jackie recently started a business which provides first aid kits ‘and bits’, along with first aid supply management services, to Christchurch businesses. Check out the Kits & Bits website, built on the highly popular and well supported WordPress platform. The website is responsive, meaning that it shifts position in order to suit the viewer’s screen, whether that screen is as large as a desktop monitor or as small as a smartphone. This is essential technology for any new website, seeing as a large percentage of internet traffic is carried out on a mobile device. A large, animated, homepage slider gives her the option of featuring products or services or offering deals. Featured areas shift into position as the viewer scrolls, adding some life and energy to the website. Jackie’s website also features a blog, like this one, which provides her with an easy method to update her website with new content. I agree with many web specialists in saying that most websites should have a functioning blog. Preferably one of a true ‘blog’ format, rather than a cowboy version that is made by just adding new pages to a parent page. A blog should primarily have: Time/datestamps for each post Pagination (see below) Categories Secondary functions include: Authors A comments area Social sharing buttons Pagination is an automated function that orders posts into pages. Typically you can set the number of blog post summaries per page. With each new blog post, the oldest post on that...

Tesla Arrives in New Zealand (Sort Of)

As the Digital Media guy for Cockram Nissan, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the EVolocity event at Ruapuna, Christchurch. EVolocity is an initiative of APEV: Association for the Promotion of Electric Vehicles. While I was there to take some photos of our Nissan Leaf (more on that here), I was secretly keen to check out the Tesla vehicles that would be on show. I’d read that a Tesla Model S would be in attendance, care of its owner Steve West. A Tesla would also be drag racing against a few combustion sports cars in an ‘electric vs. combustion’ head to head battle. As it happened, there were three Tesla vehicles there, two Model S’s and a roadster built on the same platform as a Lotus Elise (thanks, Dave Moore). I’m afraid to say that my first real interest in Tesla began when I read a tribute in the form of a comic by Matthew Inman, better known as ‘The Oatmeal’. Matthew calls this comic ‘a cartoonist’s review of his magical space car’. Later, I visited the US to attend an automotive expo and had the pleasure of spending some time on Rodeo Drive in Beverley Hills. The area is pretty famous for its sports cars, and we definitely saw our fair share, but it was the Tesla vehicles that kept drawing my attention. I was surprised to see so many. Here’s one in the valet parking area of the hotel we stayed at, the Beverley Wiltshire on Rodeo Drive. Back in New Zealand and I soon found out that Tesla’s owner, Elon Musk, had decided...

Embedding Media on Responsive Websites

I’m trying to become more fluent with coding for responsive websites at the moment. If you’re responsible for a website, it’s an important skill to have. The future holds more and more websites being built using a responsive format, pretty much to the point that if you build a new website today that is not responsive and has a poor mobile equivalent, you’re doing it wrong! On that note, one of the difficulties I’ve had is when it comes to embedding media into pages, specifically YouTube videos into blog posts on responsive websites. By just dropping in the code, you’re left to find a compromise between a big enough video to look good on a desktop, yet small enough to play well without being too cropped on a mobile device. Many Content Management Systems – at present – don’t make any allowances for embedding media responsively, even if you have a responsive ‘theme’. I’m lucky enough to work with someone who is a better coder than I am, and she’s really getting the grasp of coding for responsive websites. However, I was after a shortcut. With WordPress, I figured there’d be a plugin that you could use to convert YouTube code into a responsive format. But, just as I started looking, I came across this brilliant website. Embed Responsively Embed Responsively (I keep wanting to write responsibly) is as easy as it gets. Take your YouTube video URL, paste it in the box, get the code. Job frikken’ done. You can even preview the converted video, just in case you don’t believe it was that easy. YouTube Embed Code Converted...

I’m Neighbourly!

I’ve been getting more into Neighbourly recently. It’s a relatively new online service that is “designed to foster interaction and conversation between neighbours and community organisations by creating an easy way for them to talk and share online.” Co-founders, Casey and Shane (of GrabOne fame) highlight Neighbourly’s goal to create a community that successfully breaches the gap between online and ‘real’ worlds; something that many social networks fail to do. In many ways it’s the cool, modern day equivalent – and the inevitable next evolutionary step – of those local community groups that get together once a month and post flyers about BBQs and family outings through your letterbox. After settling in and meeting some locals, I had the honour of being invited to be a ‘Lead’ for my neighbourhood, Aranui in Christchurch, by Neighbourly’s Head of Communications, Sarah Moore. Following that, I had the extra honour of being asked to be Neighbourly’s first profiled Lead on the new Neighbourly blog. Take a look at the blog post, “Meet Mark“. Aranui? Aranui doesn’t have the greatest reputation in Christchurch. OK, let’s face it, it has one of the worst reputations in Christchurch. But, do you know what? Those old stereotypes of Christchurch are undergoing a total overhaul. Whether we like it or not, many of our old communities have been completely changed following the earthquake and now’s the time to ‘re-brand’. Three of my favourite bar/restaurants are all in east Christchurch; Pomeroys, The Twisted Hop and Gorilla stretch from Fitzgerald Ave to eastern Woolston. And have you seen The Tannery boutique mall recently? All very cool and, in my opinion, very east. Aranui...

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