Jul
10
2017

New! Shopify ecommerce development

UK Shopify development and consultancy by Richard Carter

A recent new addition to our ecommerce offering at Peacock Carter is Shopify design & development.

I’ve long been aware of the Shopify platform, but have started working with clients wanting to explore Shopify as a platform for their own ecommerce needs.

Shopify development (…and Magento, still)!

Anyone who knows me even vaguely will know what a huge fan of the Magento platform I am, but you will likely also know that no one platform suits every client. After a lot of deliberation, I chose Shopify as a platform that fulfilled our needs for clients I didn’t feel Magento would work for. I still intend on working closely with Magento, as it’s a platform – and community – that continue to impress me.

Predominantly, these have been smaller clients on a lower budget than a traditional Magento store design and build would cost, which is where Shopify is a winner – the service-as-a-software format Shopify offers for ecommerce allows store owners to focus their budgets on the design and features they’d like, and takes away the costs associated with applying software and security updates to platforms such as Magento.

Shopify development seems more prevalent to me as a skillset among developers, so it will be interesting to see how project proposals fare in a potentially more competitive market; I’m still confident Peacock Carter’s record on ecommerce websites will put us in a strong position on this point.

I’m excited to work with a new breed of clients who want to work with an experienced ecommerce web designer on a decent ecommerce platform like Shopify. Part of its appeal to me as web designer is that I can focus on the design and conversion side of things for a client rather than worrying about security updates, and I look forward to seeing what this extra time gains for my clients.

New to Shopify? Here’s a good point to start: an article on Peacock Carter on whether Shopify is right for your business.

Mar
13
2017

Another WordPress course training in Newcastle

WordPress training courses in Newcastle upon Tyne

A popular service since I introduced them many years ago, my WordPress training courses have trained people of all abilities and technical knowledge levels on the various components of the WordPress content management system.

I’ve trained people from bespoke one-on-one tutoring to small group sessions for company departments. I’ve also had the pleasure to run my WordPress courses for clients in Newcastle, Gateshead and County Durham, as even staff at larger institutions such as the University of Edinburgh.

Last week saw me run yet another WordPress training course for a client here in Newcastle upon Tyne, and taking the client through the content gave me a chance to think about how the courses have evolved over time. Initially, the WordPress training courses covered the very fundamental elements of WordPress, largely related to formatting content, and looking at WordPress’ key features.

This is all very well and good, but our newer courses now think more about an organisation’s requirements, and how we can help that organisation

Traditional WordPress training courses

WordPress logo

Traditional WordPress training courses tend to cover standard features of WordPress, including:

  • Adding and editing page and post content in WordPress
  • Formatting content, from bold and italic formatting to internal and external links, headers, lists and tables
  • Managing user accounts and post comments in WordPress
  • Planning your website’s hierarchy and using menus in WordPress
  • Customising your pages and posts by changing page templates, adding widgets, and more

This is a great introduction to the fundamentals of WordPress, but if your website is designed as a promotional tool for your business or organisation, I felt like something was missing.

How I improved our WordPress courses

Our simplest improvement was asking our training course delegates what they wanted to know to help achieve their aims for the website. These ranged from “feeling confident in adding new content” (something I aim for everyone attending my WordPress training) to “generating more sales enquiries”, and this latter point lead to a big change in focus for later sessions.

As such, we’ve adapted the courses over the years to introduce an introduction to search engine optimisation for WordPress component which has proved very popular with website managers. The SEO content provides extra insight in to how search engines look at a website, and guidance on best practice for structuring your page content.

If you’d like to talk about a WordPress training course and getting you up to speed on optimising content in your site, please do get in touch.

Nov
29
2016

Technically reviewed Magento 2 Theme Design book

Magento 2 Theme Design book

I recently received a copy of Magento 2 Theme Design book by Fernando J Miguel.

Magento 2 Theme Design book cover

The book is designed to be a guide for web designers and developers wanting to get started with building Magento 2 themes. As author of Magento theming books for Magento 1 (mostly recently, Magento Responsive Theme Design), I’m credited on the cover, and I acted as technical reviewer on the book.

Table of contents

  1. INTRODUCTION TO MAGENTO 2
  2. EXPLORING MAGENTO THEMES
  3. MAGENTO 2 THEME LAYOUT
  4. MAGENTO UI LIBRARY
  5. CREATING A RESPONSIVE MAGENTO 2 THEME
  6. MAGENTO 2 STYLES DEBUGGING
  7. MAGENTO UI COMPONENTS
  8. MAGENTO LAYOUT DEVELOPMENT
  9. MAGENTO 2 JAVASCRIPT
  10. SOCIAL MEDIA IN MAGENTO 2
  11. THEME DEVELOPMENT BEST PRACTICES
  12. MAGENTO THEME DISTRIBUTION

Nov
1
2016

Peacock Carter is 10 years old

Newcastle web design agency Peacock Carter is 10 years old

My web design agency, Peacock Carter, is 10 years old today. There’s a more formal post over on Peacock Carter’s website, but here’s some reminiscing for the softer-at-heart.

In some ways, the time has flown by, but when I look back over the 10 years, both the company and myself have

10 years of clients

We’re a small web design agency, and we’ve pulled in some great clients you may have heard:

  • Directgov (back in the days before Gov.UK was launched!)
  • NHS Direct
  • Business Link (again, back when it existed)
  • the NHS (once again!)
  • the International Life Sciences Institute
  • City & Guilds
  • University College Dublin
  • the University of Edinburgh

Alongside the bigger names, we’ve had a lovely range of smaller clients, some of whom have grown with us; it’s always great to see the work we do make significant contributions to the success of our clients!

10 years of landmarks

  • We started as the rather pompously-named Peacock, Carter & Associates. That didn’t last too long before we adopted the shorter “Peacock Carter”.
  • We’ve moved around a little bit: starting in a bedroom in Durham, we moved in to offices in Gateshead a year afterwards. From there, we moved in to Newcastle upon Tyne near Central Station.
  • Our time and money has done a lot of good around the North East, and wider UK. Causes include the fantastic Fairy Bricks and that stunning icon of the North East, Durham Cathedral

 

Jul
1
2016

A lifetime goal achieved: my model on display in a LEGO store

I achieved a lifetime aim this summer: LEGO models I’d designed and built featured in a LEGO store.

 

The models of Tyne Bridge and Durham Cathedral featured in LEGO’s Metrocentre (Gateshead) store for 3 months as part of their community showcase window, filled with the creations of adult fans of LEGO on a regular basis.