We are the digital agency
crafting brand experiences
for the modern audience.
We are Fame Foundry.

See our work. Read the Fame Foundry magazine.

We love our clients.

Fame Foundry seeks out bold brands that wish to engage their public in sincere, evocative ways.

WorkWeb DesignSportsEvents

Platforms for racing in the 21st century.

Fame Foundry puts the racing experience in front of millions of fans, steering motorsports to the modern age.

“Fame Foundry created something never seen before, allowing members to interact in new ways and providing them a central location to call their own. It also provides more value to our sponsors than we have ever had before.”

—Ryan Newman

Technology on the track.

Providing more than just web software, our management systems enhance and reinforce a variety of services by different racing organizations which work to evolve the speed, efficiency, and safety measures, aiding their process from lab to checkered flag.

WorkWeb DesignRetail

Setting the pace across 44 states.

With over 1100 locations, thousands of products, and millions of transactions, Shoe Show creates a substantial retail footprint in shoe sales.

The sole of superior choice.

With over 1100 locations, thousands of products, and millions of transactions, Shoe Show creates a substantial retail footprint in shoe sales.

WorkWeb DesignRetail

The contemporary online pharmacy.

Medichest sets a new standard, bringing the boutique experience to the drug store.

Integrated & Automated Marketing System

All the extensive opportunities for public engagement are made easily definable and effortlessly automated.

Scheduled promotions, sales, and campaigns, all precisely targeted for specific demographics within the whole of the Medichest audience.

WorkWeb DesignSocial

Home Design & Decor Magazine offers readers superior content on designer home trends on any device.

  • By selectively curating the very best from their individual markets, each localized catalog comes to exhibit the trending, pertinent visual flavors specific to each region.

  • Beside the swaths of inspirational home photography spreads, Home Design & Decor provides exhaustive articles and advice by proven professionals in home design.

  • The art of home ingenuity always dances between the timeless and the experimental. The very best in these intersecting principles offer consistent sources of modern innovation.

WorkWeb DesignSocial

  • Post a need on behalf of yourself, a family member or your community group, whether you need volunteers or funds to support your cause.

  • Search by location, expertise and date, and connect with people in your very own community who need your time and talents.

  • Start your own Neighborhood or Group Page and create a virtual hub where you can connect and converse about the things that matter most to you.

December 2016
By Kimberly Barnes

Going the Distance: Four Ways to Build a Better Customer Loyalty Program for Your Brand

Loyalty programs are no longer a novelty. That means that yesterday’s strategies won’t work moving forward, so look for ways to rise above the noise, setting yourself apart from the cloying drone of countless other cookie-cutter programs.
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Going the Distance: Four Ways to Build a Better Customer Loyalty Program for Your Brand

article-thedistance-lg It’s easy enough for a customer to join your loyalty program, especially when you’re offering an incentive such as discounts. All your customer has to do is give out some basic information, and voila! They’re in the fold, a brand new loyalty member with your company. From there, it’s happily ever after. You offer the perks; they stand solidly by you, bringing you their continued business. Simple. Or is it? In reality, just how many of those customers are act ively participating in your loyalty program? Do you know? Sure, loyalty program memberships are on the rise according to market research company eMarketer, having jumped 25 percent in the space of just two years. However, that figure may be a bit misleading. The truth is that, while loyalty program sign-ups may be more numerous, active participation in such programs is actually in decline. At the time of the study, the average US household had memberships in 29 loyalty programs; yet consumers were only active in 12 of those. That’s just 41 percent. And even that meager figure represents a drop of 2 percentage points per year over each of the preceding four years, according to a study by loyalty-marketing research company COLLOQUY.

When discounts just aren’t enough

So what’s a brand to do? How can you make your loyalty program worth your customer’s while—as well as your own? After all, gaining a new loyalty member doesn’t mean much if your customer isn’t actively participating in your program. Consider this: Does your customer loyalty program offer members anything different from what your competitors are offering? Chances are your program includes discounts. That’s a given. And what customer doesn’t appreciate a good discount? But when every other company out there is providing this staple benefit in comparable amounts, it becomes less and less likely that customers will remain loyal to any one particular brand. Frankly, it’s all too easy for customers to get lost in a sea of loyalty member discounts. They’re everywhere. In fact, just under half of internet users perceive that all rewards programs are alike, according to a 2015 eMarketer survey. The key to success, then, is to differentiate your business from the crowd. If you can offer your customers something unique and valuable beyond the usual discount, chances are they’ll be more likely to stick with your brand. Here’s some inspiration from companies who get it.

Virgin: Reward more purchases with more benefits.

That’s not to say you need to get rid of discounts entirely. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Customers still love a good discount. The goal is to be creative in terms of the loyalty perks you offer. Take the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, for example. As part of its loyalty program, the airline allows members to earn miles and tier points. Members are inducted at the Club Red tier, from which they can move up to Club Silver and then Club Gold. Here, it’s not just a discount. It’s status. And people respond to feeling important, elite. Still, even where the rewards themselves are concerned, Virgin is motivating loyalty customers with some pretty attractive offers. At the Club Red tier, members earn flight miles and receive discounts on rental cars, airport parking, hotels and holiday flights. But as members rise in tiers, they get even more. At the Club Silver tier, members earn 50 percent more points on flights, access to expedited check-in, and priority standby seating. And once they reach the top, Club Gold members receive double miles, priority boarding and access to exclusive clubhouses where they can get a drink or a massage before their flight. Now that’s some serious incentive to keep coming back for more. Discounts are still part of the equation – but they are designed with innovation and personal value in mind, elevating them to more than just savings.

Amazon Prime: Pay upfront and become a VIP.

What if your customers only had to pay a one-time upfront fee to get a year’s worth of substantial benefits? It may not sound like the smartest business idea at first glance. But take a closer look. Amazon Prime users pay a nominal $99 a year to gain free, two-day shipping on millions of products with no minimum purchase. And that’s just one benefit of going Prime. It’s true that Amazon loses $1-2 billion a year on Prime. This comes as no surprise given the incredible value the program offers. But get this: Amazon makes up for its losses in markedly higher transaction frequency. Specifically, Prime members spend an average of $1,500 a year on Amazon.com, compared with $625 spent by non-Prime users, a ccording to a 2015 report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Patagonia: Cater to customer values.

Sometimes, the draw for consumers isn’t saving money or getting a great deal. The eco-friendly outdoor clothing company Patagonia figured this out back in 2011, when it partnered with eBay to launch its Common Threads Initiative: a program that allows customers to resell their used Patagonia clothing via the company’s website. Why is this program important to customers? And how does it benefit Patagonia? The company’s brand embraces environmental and social responsibility, so it was only fitting that they create a platform for essentially recycling old clothing rather than merely throwing it away. The Common Threads Initiative helps Patagonia build a memorable brand and fierce loyalty by offering its customers a cause that aligns with deep personal values. OK, so their customers get to make a little money, too. Everybody wins.

American Airlines: Gamify your loyalty program.

If you’re going to offer your customers a loyalty program, why not make it f un? After all, engagement is key to building a strong relationship with your customer. And what better way to achieve that goal than making a game of it. American Airlines had this very thing in mind when it created its AAdvantage Passport Challenge following its merger with USAirways. The goal: find a new way to engage customers as big changes were underway. Using a custom Facebook application, American Airlines created a virtual passport to increase brand awareness while offering members a chance to earn bonus points. Customers earned these rewards through a variety of game-like activities, from answering trivia questions to tracking travel through a personalized dashboard. In the end, participants earned more than 70 percent more stamps than expected – and the airline saw a ROI of more than 500 percent. The takeaway: people like games.

Stand out from the crowd.

Your approach to your customer loyalty program should align with your overall marketing approach. Effective branding is about standing out, not blending it. Being memorable is key. To this end, keep in mind that loyalty programs are no longer a novelty. That means that yesterday’s strategies won’t work moving forward, so look for ways to rise above the noise, setting yourself apart from the cloying drone of countless other cookie-cutter programs.

197 2011 resolutions: Break out of your bubble

Regardless of the platform you choose, to be successful in the world of social media, you must break out of your own brand bubble and let others direct the conversation.

June 2016
By Jeremy Girard

Small Changes, Big Impact: 5 Things You Can (and Should!) Do Today to Boost Your Website’s Performance

There’s no time like the present to implement these quick fixes and reap the rewards for months to come.
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Small Changes, Big Impact: 5 Things You Can (and Should!) Do Today to Boost Your Website’s Performance

artice-smallchanges-lg Every spring it happens like clockwork: the temperatures get warmer, the days get longer and everything in nature becomes more vibrant and colorful. Along with these changes in the great outdoors comes the irresistible urge to clean house and embrace a fresh start. Why not keep that motivational momentum going and apply it to your business – and, more specifically, to your website – as well? After all, there’s no time like the present to sweep away the old and outdated and bring in fresh new ideas and technologies. But you don’t necessarily need to dive head-first into a full redesign and all of the time and expense that entails to reap measurable results. Instead, here are five small steps you can – and should! – take today to ensure that your site is up-to-date, relevant and doing all it can to bring you new customers and grow the community around your brand:

1. Reposition your contact form.

For most website owners – especially those in service-based businesses such as law, accounting, consulting, real estate, etc. – the key “win” for their site is when it motivates a visitor to request more information or schedule a meeting. Contact forms are a ubiquitous website staple intended to provide a convenient – and highly measurable – avenue to initiate communication between an interested prospect and a company. However, perhaps because they are so commonplace, all too often these forms are given little strategic thought, resulting in a cookie-cutter name/email address/phone number format that yields more bogus spam submissions than legitimate new business opportunities. However, there is one simple change you can make that has been shown to get better results: reposition your standard “Contact us” form as an “Ask our experts” feature. By doing so, you shift the focus of the form to providing your visitors with an opportunity to submit a question that is specific to their needs and concerns. Rather than feeling like they are opening themselves up to an endless barrage of solicitation calls and emails, your visitors will sense that they are initiating a dialogue with an expert who will help them solve their particular problem. Make sure to respond to all inquiries within 24 hours, provide helpful advice that is free of charge and tailored to your prospect’s situation, and leave the door open to continue the conversation in a future meeting or phone call. By doing so, you will establish an important foundation of trust and confidence with your potential new client that will make them more inclined to engage your professional services. expert I have personally seen the submission rates on these types of forms increase dramatically. On one site where this small change was implemented, form submissions jumped from one or two per week to one or two per day – all legitimate business opportunities that were sparked simply by repositioning the focus of the form.

2. Productize your offering.

Another challenge that professional services organizations face in creating a website that works as an effective customer conversion engine is that they do not sell a specific product but rather a suite of services that can be customized to each client’s specific needs. This makes it terribly hard to market to visitors who come to their site and simply want to know “What exactly does this company sell, and how much does it cost?”. Because there are so many variables to the company’s offerings, there is not a quick and easy answer to these questions. If this challenge sounds familiar to you, one approach you can try is to “productize” what you have to offer. Create a bundle of services with a fixed price, and market that package on your site in a simple, straightforward manner that makes your offering easy to understand and helps visitors feel like doing business with your company is as simple as buying a product off the shelf at a store. package This is exactly what my company did with some of the technology consulting services that we offer. Instead of only listing the array of services we provide, we also created a product that representing a very specific offering. This made it so much easier to answer the “What do you sell?” question, and it gave us something tangible to promote in our marketing campaigns. In reality, this approach in no way limited the range of services we are able to offer our clients; rather, it merely served as a vehicle to open doors to new opportunities and made it easier to start conversations with new customers for whom we could ultimately provide a custom-tailored solution. Examine the services that you offer, and work with your marketing team to create an appealing package that you can market – understanding all the while that this “product” is really just a means for you to connect with customers and begin the sales process with something tangible that they can easily understand.

3. Lose your home page carousel.

One simple change that I have seen many websites make in the past year or so is to remove animated image carousels from their home pages. These carousels have long been a popular fixture of website design, but the reality is that they can sometimes do more harm than good. Home page carousels typically feature giant, screen-spanning images which carry with them heavy download requirements both for the images and for the scripts that power the animation sequences, thereby creating a potential stumbling block in performance for users on mobile devices or with slower connections. Additionally, studies have shown that click-through rates on animated carousels are extremely low, and they drop significantly from the first slide to the subsequent ones. This is why many companies are replacing rotating carousels with a singular static message instead. This one change can greatly reduce a page’s download size (when my company did this on our home page, its file size decreased by 75 percent) while having little to no effect on actual user engagement or click-through. In fact, because the page now loads more quickly, many sites actually see an uptick in user engagement because fewer people are abandoning a site due to poor performance. image Do you have a carousel on your website? If so, do you know whether or not it is working well for you? Your marketing team may be able to do some A/B testing between a version of your site with this animation feature and one without it to see which performs better. Since carousels do work well for some sites (like news organizations or sites with lots of frequently updated content), having this data can help you determine whether or not it’s time to ditch the carousel.

4. Update your image(s).

Stock photography is something of a necessary evil of website design, as more often than not, companies don’t have the budget to execute a full-fledged custom professional photo shoot. However, not all stock images are created equal. Stock photos that are overused or that look so obviously staged that they scream of their “stockiness” can cheapen a site’s design and leave visitors with a negative overall impression of the site. Replacing those images can make a big difference in a site’s visual appeal. If your site’s imagery is stale, you can make some simple image swaps to freshen it up. If you are going to change out old stock images for new stock images, make sure to seek out photos that feel fresh and that are not terribly overused (most stock photo sites will tell you how many times an image has been downloaded). An even better option is to try to add some unique imagery to your site. This could be photographs that you hire a professional to take or – in keeping with one of this year’s hottest trends – custom illustrations that you commission from an artist. illustration If your budget is tight, incorporating even just one or two such one-of-a-kind images in key spots on your site can really boost its visual impact. For instance, if you lose that aforementioned carousel on the home page and replace it with one truly compelling static image and message, it can make a really powerful first impression on your visitors.

5. Publish less.

Most experts agree that publishing original, value-add content on your site on a regular basis is key to optimizing its success – both from a sales and marketing standpoint and as an advantage in the never-ending battle of SEO. While I agree with this approach in principal, for many companies, the drive to publish regularly has resulted in putting out mediocre content simply to meet an inflexible standard of frequency. This is often an entirely counterproductive effort, as content that lacks in quality, original thought or value for the reader reflects poorly on the organization and its perceived level of expertise. Publishing original content to your site on a regular basis is still a best practice, but that content must offer value for it to succeed. Let’s say a visitor comes to your site and is impressed to find that you publish new articles weekly or monthly; however, once they click through the headline to see what they can glean from your writing, if what they find is mediocre at best, what motivation do they have to return to your site again in the future, let alone entrust you with their hard-earned dollars? If, on the other hand, you publish new content less frequently, but everything you produce is of the highest quality, then that same visitor will know that the time they spend on your site will always be worth their while, and they will look forward to the next time you post something new. Re-examine your current content marketing strategy, and ask yourself whether you are focused on quality or frequency. If it’s the latter, commit instead to writing less but to improving the quality of what you offer on your site. While this change may not have an immediate impact, it will absolutely yield long-term results that your visitors will appreciate and respond positively to.

In closing

Eventually, your website will need a redesign, but in the meantime you can make small, strategic, surgical changes that will pay immediate dividends in your site’s success. This approach of implementing gradual but regular modifications will also benefit you when it does come time for that full redesign. By making intelligent improvements over time, you will ultimately be closer to your end goal, leaving less to accomplish with the redesign and thereby paving the way for a smoother and less costly project.
January 2016
By Jeremy Girard

Seven Ways to Shed Weight Fast!...For Your Website

This year, resolve to trim the excess baggage that’s slowing your site’s performance – and possibly sinking its search ranking.
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Seven Ways to Shed Weight Fast!...For Your Website

article_shedweight-lgWith the holiday season and all of its excesses in the rearview mirror, for many of us, our thoughts turn next to resolution-making, specifically vowing to shed the extra pounds that are the collective result of any number of regrettable dietary choices made over the course of past months, from digging into the kids’ trick-or-treating bags to raiding the fridge for Thanksgiving leftovers to a daily egg nog latte habit. But while we’re in resolution-making mode, we’d do well to think not only about how to trim our waistlines but also how to slim down our websites. Why? Just like all those little culinary indulgences add up to extra pounds on our bodies, the small additions you might have made here and there on your website can weigh it down and leave its performance in the same type of sluggish slump as you might feel after one too many pieces of grandma’s pumpkin pie.

The problem

Today’s websites have become bloated, with the average web page tipping the scales at over 2 megabytes. That may not sound like much in an era when we’re well accustomed to talking in terms of gigabytes and even terabytes. However, when it comes to the Web, even 2 megabytes is too much, especially for visitors using low bandwidth or mobile devices, who are likely to leave your site rather than wait for a too-slow page to load, leaving you in the perilous position of losing their business altogether. Hefty page weight and poor performance can also have a negative impact on your site’s search ranking, as Google and other search engines now include these elements as key factors in their algorithms. As a result, streamlining the size of your web pages is certainly a best practice, but where do you begin? Just as shedding pounds requires you to make changes in multiple aspects of your lifestyle, there are a number of aspects of your website that you can examine to find ways to trim the unnecessary dead weight that’s detrimental your site’s performance.

Your seven-step plan for website weight-loss success

1. Optimize images.

As giant, screen-spanning images have become a popular trend in website design, pages have gotten heavier and heavier over the years. One way you can make a drastic reduction in the weight of your web pages is to ensure that the images on your site are properly optimized for the Web and that you’re not serving unnecessarily large images to mobile devices with small screen sizes.

2. Retool HTML files.

HTML files also impact the download size of a page, so look for ways to optimize the code to reduce the overall size of the file. Although these savings are likely to be small, remember that even small changes can add up to measurable improvements.

3. Streamline style sheets.

Because CSS files must be downloaded in order for a user to view your site, poorly formatted files or loading of unnecessary styles can increase the size of downloads. Requiring multiple style sheets can also have a negative impact on performance, since each one will require a separate HTTP request to fetch that file.

4. Ditch JavaScript where possible.

Using JavaScript files or libraries is a common practice in modern website design, but when it comes to optimizing page download size, there are a few drawbacks to this approach. First, requiring an entire library for just one effect (like an animated carousel of images) is not the best use of bandwidth. It can also lead to a critical user experience fail if your website does not work as intended because a visitor has elected to disable JavaScript in their browser. In some cases, JavaScript may be necessary, but be sure to make the distinction between when it is truly a must-have versus when it is simply a nice-to-have feature.

5. Use Web fonts sparingly.

The rise of Web fonts has given designers much more flexibility in their application of typography on the Web. Instead of being forced to select from only a handful of Web-safe fonts, Web fonts allow new typefaces to be included with a site’s files or linked from a third-party resource, such as Google Fonts or Adobe’s Typekit service. While these solutions have greatly increased the options available to designers, they can also significantly impact the performance of a web page. Font files must be downloaded with the page, so it is important to keep these to a minimum. Requiring three or four different weights of one font may be attractive from a visual standpoint, but it will be brutal from a file size perspective.

6. Eliminate external feeds whenever possible.

Content that is pumped in from other sites, including social media feeds and ads from by a third-party provider, will absolutely slow a website down, as external feeds are notorious bandwidth hogs. While these resources are sometimes necessary, their use should be limited as much as possible.

7. Check for CMS dependencies.

If your site uses a content management system, there are likely to be aspects of that CMS and how it is configured that play a role in performance. Since CMS platforms draw their content from a database, the calls to that database can slow the download speed of your page if there are too many of them or if they are not configured properly.

Know your numbers

Just as you need a scale to help you gauge your progress toward your target weight, you also need tools to help you measure the impact the steps you’ve taken above have made in improving the performance of your website. The Website Speed Test from Dotcom Monitor is a great tool that allows you to “instantly test your website speed in real browsers from 23 locations worldwide.” This application will not only tell you how large your page is but also measure its load time and reveal which elements contribute most to its size (similar tests are also available from Google). Armed with this data, you can charge forth with confidence, knowing that your website will soon be a leaner, meaner business growth machine – no fad diets or gym memberships required!
November 2012
By Jeremy Girard

Website Design for a Multi-Device World

From smartphones to tablets to laptops and desktops, your customers move seamlessly from one device to another in the course of any given day. Can your website keep up?
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Website Design for a Multi-Device World


The array of devices through which people interact with online content is larger and more diverse today than ever. To underscore the point, try this little exercise – take a look around your house and find every device you own that can access the Web. For me, the list looks like this:

  • Desktop computer
  • Laptop computer
  • Netbook computer
  • iPod touch (x2, each a different generation)
  • iPad
  • Kindle (x2, each a different version)
  • Android phone (HTC EVO)
  • Gaming system (wii)

Each of these devices has a different screen size, and the experience of accessing web content is different on each.

That’s why, if you want to ensure that your website will provide an experience that truly engages your audience, it must be designed specifically for this multi-device world in which we all live today.

The multi-device user

The multi-device world is populated by multi-device users. While a staggering variety of devices are, indeed, being used to access web content today, it’s also important to remember that the same user is often using multiple different devices to access your website – and they expect that site to work well regardless of which device they happen to be using at the time.

To illustrate this point, let’s consider the scenario of an average everyday activity that occurs on the Web: mom planning the family vacation.

As she starts her day, she does a quick search on her iPhone and starts to peruse a few sites that strike her interest as she enjoys her morning coffee. Later she takes advantage of her lunch break to continue her research. She visits many of the same websites as she did before, this time reading more and delving deeper each one now that she’s seated comfortably in her chair behind her desk and has more screen real estate to work with. That evening she shares her findings with the family, flipping between sites on her iPad as they unwind on the couch. In each instance, she visits many of the same sites, and she expects them to perform just as well no matter which device she has in front of her.

More than just mobile phones

You have likely been introduced to the concept of “mobile websites” and have been told that your company needs one, but as the scenario above illustrates, the multi-device landscape encompasses much more than just large desktop monitors and small handheld phones. There are many devices and screen sizes in between, and your website must be equipped to work well on all of them. That’s why a separate “mobile-only” site is not the best way to serve the needs of the multi-device user.

A mobile-only solution relies on technology that detects when your website is being accessed via mobile phone and redirects the user to a completely separate version of your site – one designed specifically for the typical screen size of a smartphone. These mobile websites often feature less content and fewer features in order to minimize both navigational complexity and load time.

The problem with the mobile-only approach is that it only addresses the needs of one specific type of device. Large desktop computers get the “normal” browsing experience while mobile phones get a smaller, more streamlined version.

But what about the multitude of devices that fall between these two extremes? How do we serve them effectively?

Going responsive

There are a number of deficiencies with a mobile-only approach, but the inability to serve today’s broad array of devices is the most detrimental.

If the mobile version of your website offers less content and fewer features than your desktop site, you run the risk that a user will be looking for content that you have decided to eliminate from your slimmed-down mobile site. This is a problem, because when a user comes to your site looking for something specific and they can’t find it, their natural response is to go looking for it somewhere else – which usually means your competitor’s site.

After all the effort your put into attracting users to your website, anything that drives them away – like a user experience that is not optimized for the device they are using – runs counterproductive to your goals. So how can you embrace this multi-device world and ensure that your website can succeed in it? It’s time to go responsive.

What is responsive web design?

Responsive web design is an approach that has gained much favor and momentum in the web industry in the past few years – in part because it offers a solution to many of the limitations that mobile-only websites face.

A responsive website is one that intelligently rearranges its layout based on the size of the user’s screen. For instance, let’s say your site normally presents its content in three columns. The smaller a screen gets in size, the more problematic this layout can become, as the columns become so narrow that their content is unreadable and their buttons are un-pressable.

With responsive design, when a visitor is using a tablet in portrait mode or a laptop with a very small screen, those three columns reflow into a two-column layout that is better suited to the dimensions of those screens. For handheld phones, the design shifts to a single column of content with text and links that are large enough to be easily read and touched even on a very small screen. In this way, you have one website that “responds” to the multi-device user, adjusting its layout based on the particular device they are using – hence the name responsive design.


The benefits of responsive design

Efficient maintenance

It’s hard enough to keep one website updated with timely, relevant content; updating content across multiple websites is even more challenging.

When you go the mobile-only route, you end up with multiple websites to maintain. With a responsive approach, however, you have only a single website to manage. This makes it easier to keep your content consistent, because anytime you make a change to your website, that change is seen by all visitors regardless of the device they are using.

Zero gaps

As we saw earlier, supporting the multi-device user means being able to accommodate more than just large desktop screens and small handheld devices.

A responsive web design approach does indeed address these two extremes, but it also fills all the gaps in between, adapting its layout to perform seamlessly on the widest range of screen sizes and devices possible. This is especially helpful for those users that jump from device to device, as described earlier, because the site will adjust to their needs and present them with a consistently good experience regardless of their choice of device.


Because a responsive website design will reflow based on the screen being used to access it, your website will be equipped to support not only those devices that are popular today, but also those that we don’t even know about yet.

As new devices are released – some of which will undoubtedly also introduce new screen sizes or resolutions to the market – you can rest assured that your responsive site will do its best to present an optimal experience by “responding” to whatever type of screen it might be presented with.

Go big

While much attention is paid to how your website will handle smaller screens such as those on smartphones, there is another end of the spectrum to consider: large devices.

A responsive website can not only reflow its layout to present an optimal experience for small screens, but it can also do the same for very large screens. Large screens are often neglected in website design because even sites that are engineered for desktop monitors are not built to suit many of today’s widescreen displays. However, a responsive approach can allow your site to stretch its legs a bit in order to better fit bigger screens, making use of the additional space to better communicate your organization’s message.

Cost effectiveness

Since responsive design means you need only a single website, deploying this approach can often be much more cost effective than developing separate websites for different devices. This cost effectiveness is compounded further over time as you save the added expense of having to update, maintain and host separate sites for desktops, mobile phones, tablets, etc.

The challenges of responsive design

While there are a number of advantages to responsive design, there are a few challenges as well.

First, responsive design is not a feature that you can simply tack on to your existing website. To be done right, a responsive approach requires you to redesign and redevelop your site from the ground up so that responsive logic can be built into every aspect.

Another challenge of responsive design is that, if not done properly, it can result in loss of performance for users on devices where bandwidth is a concern. Often the small-screen version of a responsive design does away with some of the elements that exist solely for aesthetic purposes (large background images, for example). When such elements are “turned off” for smaller devices, if not configured properly, they might still be sent to the device anyway, meaning those devices are required to download excessive and completely unnecessary data that negatively impacts performance. To avoid this pitfall, make sure you’re working with a team that’s experienced in responsive design and has the technical expertise necessary to ensure that your site tailors both its layout and performance to deliver an optimal experience for any device.

Embracing the multi-device world

Traffic to websites from devices other than desktop computers has risen dramatically in the past few years, and industry analysts predict that number will continue to soar in the coming years. Looking at the hundreds of websites that I help maintain and manage, I am seeing an average of about 30 to 35 percent of all traffic coming from mobile devices of one kind or another and even a few sites where mobile traffic is nearing 50 percent.

As we head toward a future where more than half of our website traffic will come from visitors not using a traditional desktop computer, now is the time to ensure that your website is armed to compete effectively in a multi-device world.

May 2010
By Jordan Drake

Amélie’s French Bakery: Staying True to Success

When it comes to the process of creating community around a brand, there is perhaps no better case study than Amélie’s French Bakery in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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Amélie’s French Bakery: Staying True to Success

fruit pastry

When Amélie’s French Bakery first opened its doors two years ago in Charlotte, North Carolina, the cards were hardly stacked in its favor. Launching a new restaurant is a risky proposition at best, and doing so in the midst of an economic downturn only compounds the problem. On top of that, a concept as highly specialized as a French bakery might at first glance seem better suited to a larger metropolitan location such as New York or even Atlanta.

However, Amélie’s has not only survived but grown beyond even its owners’ wildest expectations, cultivating a fiercely loyal community of ardent evangelists. The fervor of their fans is perhaps most evident on Facebook, where their nearly 6,000 followers regularly sing the praises of the salted caramel brownie and clamor for a second location.

Tucked away among a small cluster of shops and businesses in Charlotte’s NoDa arts district, this eclectic 24-hour bakery and cafe offers a simple, straightforward recipe for business growth: discover your passion and pursue it without compromise.

What brings customers through the doors at all hours of the day and night is knowing that they will enjoy a quality experience every time. Amélie’s has built its reputation on serving authentic French fare made from scratch following classic, time-tested recipes. They value the constant stream of feedback they receive from their customers both in person and online, but they also know where to draw the line when it comes to remaining true to their brand.

Fame Foundry’s Jordan Drake recently sat down with Amélie’s co-owner Lynn St. Laurent for a candid conversation about the passion for quality, service and community at the heart of this seemingly unlikely success story.


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