Archive for the ‘Newsletters’ Category

Citrus Acquisitions

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Over the past few months, Brattle President Bob Cote and the Brattle team have been working with Citrus Acquisitions to develop a truly revolutionary application.  Brattle was originally brought in to discuss architecting a solution for the failing finance center, and what our two companies came up with promises to be an application unlike any other currently available. In order to assist investors, this new product utilizes crawling, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities to understand global trends and viable market targets for acquisition and/or leverage buy out.

This method is yet unavailable to other acquisition firms, thus helping to set Citrus Acquisitions above the curve. Brattle is proud to be an integral component of this new application’s development. Expect to hear more about this new application as development continues and visit Citrus Acquisitions.

South Shore Young Professionals

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Last month, Brattle took on a job for the South Shore Young Professionals, a networking site to provide information, resources, and opportunities to young professionals on the South Shore of Massachusetts. Brattle completely overhauled the old site to create an appealing yet simple interface for SSYP’s members. Plus as a way of sponsorship, Brattle provided services at a reduced rate. After working with SSYP, Brattle determined the best features to incorporate on the site, which includes a customized “contact us” form, an easy-to-update events calendar, and an improved current and archived news section. Brattle is glad to help and hopes that SSYP enjoys continued success!

Visit SouthShoreYoungProfessionals.org

SignalSMS API

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Recently we announced the launch of SignalSMS, a text message marketing product developed by our team here at Brattle Consulting Group. We are attributing much of SignalSMS’s success to the API (Application Programming Interface) we developed for our product. We have developed it to allow applications to communicate over SMS without tremendous amounts of knowledge of programming. This creates a much easier, more flexible and customizable process.

If you were to search for a company that does API development, you would have difficulty finding one.  Brattle is happy to be a pioneer in this area, and we are excited to share our skills with you. Our staff is here to assist other development companies and other individuals and businesses interested in marketing to achieve their goals. We are currently working with several companies throughout the US to provide them with mobile communication applications to benefit their businesses.

Please contact us and ask us about the opportunities SignalSMS could bring to your business.

New Product Launch!

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Do you have part-time or hourly employees? Tired of managing their schedules? SubItUp is a great tool to assist you, and at very low cost!

Brattle is thrilled to announce the launch of SubItUp.com! This is a new way to manage a company’s schedule changes with absolute ease. SubItUp allows employees to join the company and department for which they work, upload their schedule to the site, and then begin to pick-up more shifts, offer ones they need covered, and switch shifts! This is a great new way to keep all the employees, managers, and owners of a business in the loop in regards to schedule changes. The site offers moderator abilities for owners and managers, or employees may use the site as a self-organized tool to arrange shift changes amongst themselves.

SubItUp and all of its utilities and applications were entirely developed by our talented Brattle team.  The site is currently being tested by MIT, but it is also open for use by the companies country-wide. SubItUp is free to use for employees, and for owners and managers to open up the business/moderator end of the site it is only $15/month.

SubItUp is the first site of its kind to incorporate three kinds of schedule changes plus the ability for managers and owners to oversee all of these changes. We are very proud of SubItUp and we encourage you to visit the site and see for yourself why we think it is going to be a breakthrough for businesses everywhere that schedule employees by the hour. No more last minute phone calls by employees to every person in the business that could pick up their shift, no more frustrated managers when no one shows up for a shift, etc. SubItUp provides a convenient, single location and mechanism to organize and manage your business’ work schedule.

Visit SubItUp.com or call us here at Brattle with any questions about how SubItUp can improve your business!

Increasing Website Usability: Inkcups Now PadSearch

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

A leading supplier in pad printing, screen printing, and inkjet printing, Inkcups Now has been a loyal customer of Brattle Consulting Group from the beginning.  Recently, however, Inkcups Now asked us to develop a very useful new application for their site. We created a new online search utility for their (very!) wide selection of printing pads.

Previously, a customer would have had to browse through many pages of the company’s hundreds of printing pads in order to find the one that fit their needs. With PadSearch however, a customer can search for a printing pad by number, size, type, manufacturer, and more! As you can imagine, this has made the process of finding and ordering the perfect printing pad much more simple and streamlined.

Check out PadSearch for yourself here and ask us how we can develop something similar for your online business!

Decoding Search Engine Optimization: Part 1

Monday, November 17th, 2008

It is safe to say that if you use the Internet, you most likely use an online search engine. America’s most popular search engine, Google, is so well known and widely used that it is often used as a verb: “to Google.”

So how can you get Google’s mass popularity to work for your business? The way to get noticed by search engines is to use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, most of which Brattle can employ for you with fairly little work. The concept is fairly simple, the more rich, relevant content you have on your site the better search engines can index you. This content can come in many forms, from keyword dense appropriately targeted content, to press releases, to blog entries, and even links to and from your site. The end goal is to be on the first two pages of listings when someone searches for your area of expertise.

However, you may have found a site that came up early in your search results but was just an endless maze of links and keywords with very little helpful content. At Brattle, this is not the approach we take to SEO. In fact, we avoid taking one single approach to SEO; we consider every aspect to create a superior site that has great usability, design, and content. We believe that getting viewers to your site is only half the battle. Once there, they need to be guided to content relevant to their query and have an enjoyable experience at your site.

At Brattle we believe in 100% transparency in all of the work we do. We want you to know exactly what you are getting for your money. Many companies hide their specific SEO practices; we believe this is because they are charging unnecessarily high prices for a relatively straightforward service. In this interest of transparency, we’ll briefly detail a few of the techniques we employ to design and optimize a website:

  • Meta Data: tags in the code of every page to describe page content and provide keywords
  • Accessibility Issues: ensure accessibility by search engines and impaired viewers with proper tagging of media content
  • Keyword Density: use of frequent keywords while maintaining readability
  • Link Building: creation and checking of links within and to your site that improves both site navigation and search results ranking
  • Press Releases/Blog Posts: continuous addition of content creates more for viewers to peruse, more links, and more area to place keywords

Hopefully, it is clear that most of these techniques are related and work best when applied together. This is why we don’t specialize in just one area, and why we aim to take a broad approach. We believe it helps keep your website uniquely yours while boosting your page ranking from all fronts.

Now if this all still sounds a little confusing and foreign, don’t worry: Brattle can provide you with an extensive analysis and report on your site, providing insight on how to increase your “findability.” And while many companies attempt to make the SEO process sound very difficult and complex – charging what we consider to be unnecessarily high amounts for their services – Brattle offers SEO services that might be priced at nearly $750 by other companies, for only $150. And as always, we will be happy to answer any questions you might have along the way.

Brattle Gives Back with Helping the Hub

Monday, November 17th, 2008

In keeping with one of our goals to be a mindful, conscientious company, Brattle is proud to announce the formation of a new community service group called Helping the Hub. After years in the web design and development business, we are happy to be able to give something back to our community in the form of award-winning websites.

Founded by Brattle, Helping the Hub is a group of accomplished web developers, graphic designers, photographers and writers who are committed to helping members of our larger internet community. Every month, we will select up to two website projects – whether a makeover or a new site from scratch – and complete them entirely pro bono. We are aiming to help nonprofits, community sites, small businesses just getting off the ground, or anyone else in need of some help to get their website up and running. We hope to make a positive impact on organizations of many sizes, from across the country, representing all areas of business. The best part is that we are choosing these businesses based on recommendations from you, our valued clients. There will be an online process you may use to nominate an organization in need.

For each project, Helping the Hub will assemble a team drawn from our pool of experienced professionals. The team will work with the selected business to create a site that meets their requirements and desires.

This month, we are redesigning www.SweetCierras.com, a wedding, anniversary, and specialty cake business in Manchester, NH. Owner Lynn Dion started the business on her own after 15 years in the pastry business. Her website needed some updates to improve usability and provide potential customers with more information about her amazing cakes. Helping the Hub has compiled a team of in-house developers including one of Boston’s premier web designers and renowned photographer James Ringrose to makeover Sweet Cierra’s website.

Beyond the initial website design, monthly hosting and email fees will only be around $35 for chosen applicants. Look for an upcoming addition to Brattle’s website detailing requirements of nominees, the nomination process, and what sites we are currently working on.

We’re proud to be a part of Boston’s best, paying it forward.

New Hosting Features Added

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Brattle is constantly striving to improve on our already sterling reputation as providers of exceptional website construction, hosting, and maintenance services. By offering expertise in each of these vital aspects, we believe we are able to offer a more holistic approach to online business creation and upkeep.  This month we have added new features to our hosting environment options, in order to continue to exceed our clients’ expectations.

When several of our clients requested more information about their bandwidth usage, we created an application to serve their needs. In order to prevent overage charges and to keep our clients better-informed, we developed a tool that allows you to track your bandwidth usage real time so you know how much of your quota you have used, and can make necessary adjustments to your account. This monitoring is important because it ensure that your site is running quickly and efficiently. If a certain bandwidth threshold is crossed, an email is sent to Brattle’s account executives, thus proactively monitoring and reducing the number of overages.

Brattle has also developed a new proprietary product called Link Checker, which does exactly what you might guess it does – check links. This tool is for clients who use our Content Management Systems (CMS), to make sure all the links within their sites are active and accurate. Link Checker works on a nightly basis to help visitors avoid a “page not found” error in their browser, and helps them continue viewing all the information on your site that you want them to see.

Both of these new features are included free of charge in Brattle’s hosting packages. If you’re experiencing any unresponsiveness, downtime, or email struggles with your current hosting provider please contact us to learn about the improved hosting environment Brattle can provide for your online business.

Google Chrome: Why it Matters to Your Online Business

Monday, November 17th, 2008

A few thoughts about the new web browser from George Dirth, a lead Brattle developer.

You may or may not have heard of Google Chrome, the web browser that Google released in early September with little fanfare. I’m going to tell you why this event is relevant to you and your company. But first, a little background:

Google Chrome is based on the WebKit engine. Apple originally developed WebKit for use in their Safari web browser. It has been made open source (similar to the Gecko engine used by FireFox) though, and therefore is not controlled in any meaningful way by Apple. Before we get too far into this explanation however, it is important to distinguish between the different components that make up a browser.  The “engine” is what controls how the webpage is rendered; how the physical page looks on your screen. The engine is responsible for a variety of things, most importantly the way HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are displayed. The browser itself is just a shell built around that engine. Different browsers have different features and accessories (tabs, favorites, history, etc.), but those with similar engines like Safari and Chrome (both WebKit powered) will display pages the same (or at least very, very similarly).

Now that we understand what makes these browsers work, lets examine what Google Chrome is bringing to the table. The main features that Chrome offers are designed to make a browser more like a mini operating system and to treat web applications more like software. For example Chrome treats each separate tab as a separate process (like an operating system treats different pieces of software independently). That way if one of your tabs freezes or crashes Chrome can close just that tab as opposed to crashing the whole browser (the way most other browsers would). The other benefit of this is that when you close a tab the entire process ends. In other browsers the continual allocation and de-allocation of memory within the browsers process results in wasted space and gradually slows your computer down if it is left running for a long time.

The other thing to notice is that Chrome is ultra minimalistic. Chrome devotes the maximum possible amount of screen space to the website itself. They believe you are using your browser to see the website that you are visiting, not to see the browser. This could be because they are, at least in part, developing this browser for their Android mobile phone platform, where screen area is at a premium because of the reduced device size (talk with us at Brattle about how we can optimize your website for both mobile devices with full internet browsers and those with older partial browsers).

The last thing to note about chrome is that it renders things very quickly. Everything is still restricted by your Internet connection and a browser cannot help data get from the server to your computer faster, but once that data is there both the HTML and most notably JavaScript are rendered incredibly fast. The JavaScript is as much as 7 times faster than the current release of Internet Explorer. The reason this was a priority to Google is because they are completely devoted to the advancement of Web Applications and the idea of moving software away from the desktop onto the web. Almost all of these applications rely heavily on JavaScript which Chrome has made a top priority.

Impact

Chrome is sitting at about 1% market share, and doesn’t necessarily seem poised to take over a huge segment of the browser market (partially because that isn’t necessarily what Google wants or needs it to do).  Google is planting a seed of how they think a browser should be developed in people’s minds.  Giving people a little push in the direction they would like the web to keep moving.  It also provides them with a better non-proprietary solution to use in Android.  It is worth noting that Chrome itself (not just the WebKit engine) along with all of Android is open source, and the general direction and progress of those products is up to the open source community as a whole, which is a very encouraging idea.  Chrome also represents one step further away from the Microsoft Internet Explorer monopoly that we had a decade ago.  With this we get the continuing innovation that we need to move everyone in the entire web sphere further into the 21st century.

Brattle will be happy to review your current website to make sure everything is displayed correctly and runs smoothly in Chrome. However, most of the change offered by Chrome is from the users perspective not the development perspective and we encourage you to try it out and see if it is the right browser for you.

What do you know about Chrome?

Monday, November 17th, 2008

In early September Google released its new open source web browser, Chrome. Chrome was created to meet the needs of today’s web user. By emphasizing applications and customization, Chrome aims to help make the web faster, safer, and easier.  But could Chrome cause you to lose business? Only if you don’t follow some quick, easy steps to adapt.

A new mainstream browser means websites need to adapt to a new “engine.” The engine is the part of a browser that controls how a webpage is rendered; how the physical page looks on your screen (in other words, the way HTML, CCS and JavaScript are displayed). The actual browser is just a shell built around that engine.

Fortunately, Chrome was designed to be fully standard compliant, meaning sites should appear as they are meant to. This is of course unless a site was developed for Internet Explorer, as many sites were just a few years ago. Thus, the older your site is, the more likely it is that viewers may experience difficulties viewing content from a browser other than Internet Explorer.

Just as Brattle has always designed our clients’ sites to function correctly and appealingly in Internet Explorer and Firefox, from now on we will also incorporate Chrome into our design and testing process. But unless your business’s site was developed last month or this month, we recommend viewing your site using Chrome to verify compatibility with this new, popular browser. If Brattle has been involved in the creation or modification of your website, we will also be happy to review your site and make changes to ensure that it is ready to be viewed with any browser. Along with this complimentary assessment, we also include a full grammar, spelling, and punctuation review of your site content. We consider a content review a valuable service because in order to present a reputable image for your company, an error-free image is vital.

So take a look at your site using Chrome (easily downloaded at http://www.google.com/chrome), and if any graphics or  text do not load correctly, or if the general design of your site seems to have been lost in translation, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

As always, please contact us with any questions you have about how we can help you optimize your web business, whether through browser compatibility or any other aspect of the process.

Like what you see? Let's talk.

Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 8:00pm EST.
Call us at 617-229-7210
*Required Fields