Office Euro 2016 Fever

It’s not often that we get to dress up in the office (Halloween being the exception), so we took full advantage of this opportunity. We thought we’d spice things up when it came to our office sweep-stake, and no – unfortunately cooking was not involved. On the day of the tournament opener, everyone was tasked to dress up in a theme that relates to their country. Whoever was voted as the ‘best dressed’ by their peers would receive half of the total prize money. You can imagine the difficulties that came with this, what relates to your country? Is it wearable? Is it appropriate? The stress certainly started to kick in.

When the day finally arrived, we had a Terminator, a Big Bird and a Toblerone (you read that right) walking around the office. Good job there were no meetings booked in on that day… Excuse the sarcasm, of course we had meetings to attend. The sight of having Big Bird face a client was nothing short of brilliant.

After a fantastic effort by all, the time had come for people to cast their vote on the best dressed. It was a close call in the end, but the top prize had been given to our Russian dressed developer, Elliott! Congrats Elliott – you are now able to grow your beard back.

Contenders


The New Generation of Gaming – HTC Vive

We always love to be in the know of the latest technology developments, which is why we were prompted to research into the latest trend – Virtual Reality. Who doesn’t want to put on a headset and run around in circles whilst others judge you? We know there’s stiff competition out there with Facebook spending big bucks on Oculus Rift, the market has quickly become competitive. After trying to swallow as much information as possible, we at Adhere decided to invest into one of the markets top dogs – the HTC Vive.

Let’s just say that the product is prettycool. The design is beautiful, the performance is great and the usability is even better. Once you actually open the box, you will be presented with the VR headset, two Vive controllers, two base stations to track your movements, a pair of micro USB cables and power adapters for the controllers, a link box to connect the plethora of HDMI and sync cables from the headset and peripherals to the computer.

Slack for iOS Upload1

Setting it all up may seem like a nightmare, but once you start then it will be pretty straight forward. It is a testament to HTC, who have created a step-by-step tutorial that runs through the initial set-up and ensures you should be up and running within 20 minutes.

Did you know that the HTC Vive is currently the only headset on the market that lets wearers wander around the room? Your real-life movements are then replicated inside the virtual world making the Vive feel even more immersive – impressive right?

Once we finished setting it all up, we were quick to test the product and user experience out – and in short, we were not disappointed. If you want a kick-ass virtual reality experience, then look no further. Granted, it comes with a hefty price tag, but the product is worthy to be labeled as one of the best virtual reality experiences on the current market.

Why not book an appointment with us to discuss an upcoming project and we’ll let you test the Vive out for yourself?

Slack for iOS Upload


Introducing Andy

We’d like to introduce our newest member of the Adhere team – Andy Koni! Andy joins our ranks as a Junior Project Manager, whereby he will be tasked to manage projects from start to finish. With a strong background in account handling, Andy is used to juggling clients, designers & developers all at once!

Having kick-started his marketing career with a couple of internships, Andy then moved into a job that helped the iconic brand of Jaguar launch their brand new global websites. During his short time there, Andy progressed into a senior role whereby he led a wide team in an attempt to launch 30+ websites around the world. Andy then went on to handle multiple clients at once, where he managed all online marketing activities from website management, PPC, social media and email marketing.

Andy picture

Andy is an avid Tottenham fan who enjoys to play football whenever he can. He’s also recently surprised himself at how enjoyable squash can be, so you may find him practicing from time to time. Whilst keeping active, Andy is a regular gym goer as he attempts to keep his fitness levels up!


Adhere supports Kidsafe UK

We are delighted to announce that Adhere is once again an official Silver Supporter of children’s charity Kidsafe UK. Founded in 2004, Kidsafe delivers specialised child protection/safeguarding programmes to children and young people from Early Years Foundation Stage through to High School. Kidsafe’s  mission is: ‘to protect, educate and empower children without shattering their innocence.’ This is the third year that Adhere has been a Kidsafe Silver Supporter.

Kidsafe delivers unique child friendly and age appropriate courses  in order to equip children with the skills to recognise and protect themselves from all forms of abuse. Kidsafe is a key actor in the government’s ‘Every Child Matters’ initiative relating to the safety and emotional well-being of children. In 2011, Kidsafe began its ‘Cyberbullying Prevention Programme’  to help children stay safe when online.

Adhere is proud to support an organisation that empowers and supports children across the UK.

 


Price Drop Whitelabel and Widgets

Our price drop monitoring software – used for the website www.pricedropdonkey.com – now has a complete white label and affiliate widget offering. We have developed the software to enable third parties to run affiliate sites off the same platform and we can provide a fully tailored design to match the brand of the website.

In addition to this we also have a new range of widgets available that can be easily placed on any website. These widgets provide price drop deal information in a banner or slideshow and can be used to earn affiliate revenue from your website. Some examples are shown below.

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A Complete CSS Guide To Email Clients

So, Email Campaigns??? Hmm??

Well, we have all had our fair share of email testing. Yes, it is a long process, but all worth it in the end.

I have found my experience a lot smoother since using this reference guide by Campaign Monitor. Be on top, know the rules…. and as always… don’t forget to test, test, test!

https://www.campaignmonitor.com/css/


Introducing Clara

The Adhere Creative would like to welcome a new member to the team, Clara! Clara has recently graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in International Relations with French.

After completing a year abroad in France, Clara can definitely be classed as an international jetsetter with the knowledge she gained throughout this year. As a keen writer Clara is an invaluable member of the social marketing team for PriceDropDonkey and would love to continue within the marketing industry upon completion of her internship. Alongside her passion for creative writing, she loves going out with friends, reading and watching football. Controversially her favourite team is Liverpool. She is also a great cook but dislikes baking, so it looks like no homemade cakes for the Adhere office just yet!

Finally, if Clara could choose one place in the world to go she’d love to visit North Korea “just to see what it’s really like”. This definitely shows how her inquisitive mind can be put to good use promoting PriceDropDonkey!


PHP’s strtotime interesting fallback for relative formats

Today I made an interesting discovery: strtotime function in PHP will accept any string from 0 to 6 characters as a number of hours but with opposite sign.
Examples:

strtotime('+7') === strtotime('-7 hours'); // true
strtotime('+6 wows') === strtotime('-6 hours'); // true
strtotime('+5 miles') === strtotime('-5 hours'); // true
strtotime('+4 meters') === strtotime('-4 hours'); // true
strtotime('-3 yards') === strtotime('+3 hours'); // true
strtotime('+2 hours') === strtotime('-2 hours'); // false, obviously
strtotime('+1 something') === strtotime('-1 hours'); // false, string is too long

 

I’ve tried to make sense of this by looking at the source code and the documentation but I couldn’t find anything that would explain that behaviour.

So a word of advice is: take extra care if you want to use this function, especially with user input.


How to make your website mobile-friendly

Is your website mobile friendly?

The world is going mobile. You probably noticed this already, last time you watched someone walk into a lamp-post because their eyes were glued to a YouTube video on their iPhone. Or maybe you walked into a lamp-post because your eyes were glued to a YouTube video on your iPhone.

Either way, mobile matters. A lot. Many websites already see more than 50% of their visitors using mobile devices (smartphones, basically). So if your website doesn’t look right on mobile, you might as well tell half of your visitors that you don’t care about them.

How can I tell if my website is mobile-friendly?

You can load it in the browser on your smartphone, of course. That will give you a pretty good idea.

But you’ve probably already done that.

For a more in-depth look, run your website through Google’s mobile-friendly test tool.

Just paste your web address into the URL box, hit the Analyze button, and wait for the results.

Testing for mobile-friendliness

If you get a nice green Awesome! message, then – congratulations! Your site is already mobile-friendly.

Awesome! Your page is mobile-friendly

But if you see a red “Not mobile friendly” message, you probably need to do some work to make sure your website is fit for the lamp-post-crashing age.

Uh-oh. Your website is not mobile-friendly. Let's fix this.

Common errors include:

  • Text too small to read
  • Mobile viewport not set
  • Links too close together
  • Content wider than screen

 

What should I do if my website isn’t mobile-optimised?

If your website isn’t rated mobile-friendly by Google, getting it fixed should be very high up your priority list. And not only because you’re giving your mobile visitors (hint: this could mean the majority of your visitors) a sub-optimal (hint: lousy) experience. It’s also because Google ranks mobile-optimised sites higher on its search-engine results page. So if your site doesn’t look good on mobile, you’re going to be downgraded on Google, and that’s always seriously bad news (unless you’re trying to keep your website hidden, of course).

If you’d like advice on how to ensure your site is mobile-optimised and Google-optimised, please give us a call on 0121 704 5604 or get in touch via our contact page.


Introducing Ellen

Adhere's Marketing Intern EllenAdhere would like to extend a warm welcome to Ellen Fisher who has joined the Adhere team on a part-time placement while she completes her final year of studying at Birmingham University. Ellen is currently studying Business Management and decided to undertake a placement at Adhere as she wanted to gain some concrete marketing experience. Ellen chose Adhere as she thought it seemed like a nice place to work and being an SME, it wasn’t ‘too big and scary.’

Ellen will be Adhere’s Marketing Intern and will mainly be assisting Clara on the promotion of PriceDropDonkey through social media channels and content creation.

Last year, Ellen took a break from studying to work for Solihull Council where she did Internal Audit. After her studies, she would like to go travelling for a bit before settling down for a career in marketing.

When not in the office or at univeristy, Ellen is a keen triathlete and likes to keep her fitness up. She has also done her fair share of travelling and has visited Italy three times, purely because she loves lasagne.

Ellen isn’t workshy and says that if she were to win the lottery, she would still work three days a week and spend the other four days going on mini breaks. She would also hire a personal chef to cook her lasagnes whenever she wanted. Dream big Ellen.


Price Drop Donkey Confirms Partnership with Mobilephones.com

Price Drop Donkey has formed a partnership to help show daily mobile phone deal price drops from a wide range of online and high street mobile phone retailers, thanks to UK based smartphone comparison website, Mobilephones.com.

Price Drops will be displayed thanks to Mobilephone.com’s smartphone feed, which consists of UK retailers including E2Save, Mobile.co.uk, The Smartphone Company and more.

Price Drop Donkey Continues to Grow

Since its launch in 2015 by Adhere, Price Drop Donkey has saved customers thousands of pounds, and is now set to increase this saving with yet another shopping category listed on the site.

Contracts include some of the latest smartphone bargains, with iPhone tariffs and Samsung Galaxy plans all on offer at brilliant prices, shown on Price Drop Donkey when their prices drop by a significant amount, saving the customers’ money.

You can take a look at the new mobile phone deals section of the site here.

“I found the Mobilephones.com deal feeds to be really easy to work with” said Abbid Meghjee, software developer at Adhere.

“I particularly like how they deep link into basket pages on the retailers’ website, which should really help Price Drop Donkey users”.

About Mobilephones.com

Launched in 2012, Mobilephones.com is a leading mobile phone comparison website, displaying thousands of deals from the UK’s most popular networks and smartphone retailers.

Allowing customers to compare smartphone deals on one dedicated site, Mobilephones.com uses one of the most intelligent mobile feeds in the UK. It offers online shoppers a huge array of tariffs and contracts to choose from, as well as helping secure smartphone contracts for customers with poor credit ratings.

On top of this, Mobilephones.com also caters for customers in need of SIM-only deals and shoppers who wish to secure free gifts with their next smartphone contract.


Microsoft Ditch Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10

As of yesterday, 12th January 2016, Microsoft stopped supporting Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10. What does this mean? It basically means that Microsoft will no longer release any further updates for the three browsers (including security updates) and that they have withdrawn technical support for them.

The news was greeted with joy by web developers as it should mean that users move away from these browsers that can be quite restrictive and onto more modern browsers that support a much wider range of web technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3.

Although Internet Explorer is not as popular as it once was, IE8, 9 and 10 accounted for almost 20% of desktop usage in December 2015 according to NetMarketShare.com. However, in the fast paced world of the internet where if you miss a week you feel like you have been away for a year, these three browsers are more like three old ladies nowadays.

Microsoft hope that current Internet Explorer users will upgrade to either IE 11 or their latest browser Edge, and warn that if you do keep using older versions that you will be more susceptible to malware and viruses.

If you want to check whether your site is making the most out of the latest web technologies that have become more usable now why not give us a call on 0121 704 5604 where the team will be happy to assist you.