1 Aug
2014

GRID-BASED LAYOUT METHOD FOR WEB DESIGN IN BRISBANE

With any beautiful design or structure, from architecture to painting, there lies beneath it a grid-based layout from which these creations were originally derived. It is, in essence, the unseen mathematical component of all design that, for many web designers, has become standard in the pursuit for the perfect web design.

To understand what a grid-based layout for web design is, we first need to understand why it is referred to as “grid-based.” A grid is a structure consisting of intersecting straight vertical and horizontal guidelines that are made up of margins, flow-lines, columns, rows, gutters, modules, and spatial zones. This potentially complex composition provides the perfect structural base that allows a web designer to create graphic elements from, or to organise content within. It is this reason that grid-based layout is used in web design.

By using grids in the website design a sense of uniformed structure is achieved for the overall website, this helps achieve better usability for website visitors as they are able to navigate and engage with the website much easily than if the content was simply thrown together without structure. Another reason grid-based layouts are used is efficiency. By designing to a grid, the actual design process is simplified because design guidelines are already in place, therefore making it easier to decide on design elements, such as width and height.

When using grid-based layouts in our web design, we can either create our own grid, or download a ready-made grid template. If we create our own grid, we will need to rely on what option works best for us and the web design project we are working on. It is therefore valuable to follow some simple guidelines when creating our own grids. These are:

• Use only enough columns as needed for the web design. In other words, if you are only going to use ten columns, then only create ten columns – and not twenty.
• Watch the spacing. As a general rule, columns should have the same number of pixels across as rows are high.
• Don’t box yourself in. If you need to move outside of the grid for specific graphic elements, then do so. A grid is only there for structural support, and is not the end product.

If creating your own grid-based layout isn’t appealing, or you simple do not have the time to invest in it, then downloading a pre-designed grid template is available. There are many online sources that provide such templates, and by downloading a grid template you can save on time and have, at your disposal, an effective grid template ready to use.

It is important to re-emphasise that grid-based layouts for web design should not be mistaken for a strict rule by which all graphic elements or content must adhere to. Naturally, when creating anything we can move beyond specific rules in order to achieve our creative goal, and grid-based layouts are no different. If we use grids as a structural guide in our web design, then we are better able to create amazing web designs that will not only appear organised on our web page, but will hopefully inspire and engage every website visitor. Article from, web design brisbane

 

 

 

5 Jul
2014

Bitcoin for Brisbane Businesses

Bitcoin, an often overlooked cryptocurrency, is left unaccepted and unnoticed by many business owners. Unfortunately, failing to accept this currency is a mistake that is made by many Brisbane non-Bitcoin businesses. Here is why it is a good idea for your business to join the digital technology age and start to accept the exponentially growing Bitcoin.

Reason 1: Fiscal Freedom
Simply put, consumers and business owners alike have total and full access to their Bitcoin accounts. No longer will money be inaccessible because of an unexpected bank closure, holiday, or other condition that would typically limit access to money. No money is lost through currency exchange if it must be sent overseas, since Bitcoins are worth the same in every country and locale.

Reason 2: Fees (or lack thereof)
When hearing about a new way to transfer money, the first question of business owners is often whether there are fees, or how much the fees are. Some transactions are completely free, and there is no fee assessed. Users may pay to speed up Bitcoin transfers in Bitcoin Brisbane, but there is no obligation to pay otherwise. If fees do need to be assessed, users can count on them being far less than banks, PayPal, and credit card companies currently charge.

Reason 3: Lower Risk
Merchants and consumers often worry about identity theft. Consumers are afraid that their money will be accessed without their consent by either the merchant or a malicious third party. Merchants are often worried that consumers will use someone else’s payment information, making the money no good. Fortunately, Bitcoin takes care of all of these worries. Due to a highly sophisticated encryption mechanism, the Bitcoin wallet owner is the only person who will ever be able to initiate transfers. Unlike credit cards, where malicious payment receivers may make unauthorized transactions, or which consumers can steal and use for their own purposes, Bitcoin transfers are completely trustworthy and secure.

There are also certain types of markets where the fraud risk is large. In these cases, merchants can now accept Bitcoin and do away with the risk. In short, Bitcoin transfers in Brisbane have never been safer or easier or cheaper. Compared to the current major payment options, it certainly is superior.

Reason 4: Security
As alluded to above, security was a primary concern during the creation of Bitcoin, and it is also of concern to Bitcoin’s diverse range of users. One aspect of security not yet discussed revolves around personal information. One reason why consumers may not wish to purchase a product is because they may not yet trust the business with all of their personal information. While, unfortunately, this is a completely valid concern, accepting Bitcoins in Brisbane can help to put the consumer’s mind at ease, and allow him or her to make a purchase he or she otherwise would not be willing to make.

Bitcoin protects personal information insofar as it obliterates the need for it. Instead of relying on information like address, postcode, first and last name, and sometimes even identity numbers, it relies on cryptography. Of course, one reading this may think that because it’s only digital, it will be lost if the user’s computer suddenly crashes and becomes unusable. However, nothing is further from the truth. Many Bitcoin users take advantage of both cloud and local computer backup services to ensure that they will always have this open access to their money, making the Bitcoin market even more stable.

Reason 5: Owned by the People
This final reason to accept Bitcoin is often overlooked. If one takes a look at the various major payment methods, it is quite obvious that they are all owned by major corporations. This makes alteration of information easy. There is essentially no transparency to how they are run, or how much of a fee is actually required to sustain the service versus how much of it serves as profit. Fortunately, there is no need to worry about any of this if you are accepting Bitcoin in Brisbane. It is literally impossible to control the Bitcoin market, even for the creators of it. In this sense, it is more secure. Also an important factor, all information anybody could possibly want about the Bitcoin market, including how many are in circulation, and even specific transactions, are all available publicly on what is called the “block chain.”

31 Jul
2014

“Offers Over” – why not just cut to the chase?

If you’ve browsed realestate.com.au recently, you will have seen lots of properties listed as “offers over”. You might be wondering why we do this rather than just applying a fixed price.

Why we do it?
Ultimately “offers over” exposes more people to your property online, if used the right way —let’s not forget that some 90% of our buyer enquiry comes through these channels.

For buyers, realesate.com.au has set price bands when searching (ie: $400k to $450k and $450-$500k). Generally, we recommend using ‘offers over’ when you’re on the cusp of a search band.

For example, if you are aiming for a price of $460k for your home. We would list it as ‘offers over $450k’ on realesate.com.au – your property will display for buyers browsing the $400-$450k price range as well as those browsing $450-$500k.

This exposes your property to more people and gets more people to your open (people who may not have considered your property before). Even if the price is slightly out of their price range – they showed up! It’s your agent’s job from there!

We recently listed a duplex in Fitzgibbon as “offers over $300k”, a move designed to encourage a larger subset of buyers to visit the property. The home sold for $315k—an impressive figure given that the highest previous sale for a similar home in the area was $290k!

Misuse of ‘offers over’…
In my experience many agents use ‘offers over’ to avoid the uncomfortable price discussion with their owners. It’s a way for them to list the house at what they (the agent) think it’s worth without agreeing on a clear price expectation with the owner.

Can you make an offer under on an ‘offers over’ property?

Our agents will always have a firm price that the owner is expecting. After all, the first question at the open is ‘how much’?

Buyers should have the capacity to buy at or above the price indicator. Although they can open negotiations with a lower price, almost always the property will sell at or above the indicator.

When we don’t use it…
It’s not effective if your price expectation is not in line with the market.

It’s also not as effective if your ‘offers over’ price sits in the middle of a search band. A property listed as “offers over $420k” will only display for buyers searching $400k-450k”. Of course there may be some exceptions here, but this is a common mistake many agents make!

And last but not least, ‘offers over’ pricing is also useful for auctions or when agents are a little unsure on the market value (ie: for a unique property).

So if we recommend “offers over” on your next houses for sale Aspley rest assured and take it in your stride!

To view property Aspley visit our web site. To find out more about Justin Watt, owner of Watt Realty and previous owner of Harcourts Aspley click here.

30 Jul
2014

Why upgrade to enterprise risk management?

The Global Financial Crisis taught us the importance of robust risk management practices in identifying and addressing issues that have the potential to impact on overall business objectives. Many organisations have implemented risk management programs, however a significant proportion of these have yet to realise the benefits of upgrading their programs to best-practice Enterprise Risk Management.

What’s the problem with traditional risk management programs?

Historically, risk management has tended to focus only on the negative – how do we identify what might go wrong? How bad will things get if it does? How can we stop it?

Another feature of old-fashioned risk management has been the tendency for it to be “siloed”, with each section of an organisation having its own approach to managing risk.

Modern, best practice Enterprise Risk Management has moved contemporary risk management programs and thinking beyond these limitations.

Why is Enterprise Risk Management better?

Enterprise Risk Management (also known as ERM) has a range of benefits for contemporary businesses:

  • ERM achieves efficiencies across the whole of the organisation by integrating a common approach throughout all functional areas.
  • ERM avoids the pitfall of concentrating on minor risks (such as slip hazards) at the expense of big picture risks (such as failure of critical infrastructure).
  • ERM captures the positive side of risk management, by also considering opportunities for new services, process efficiencies, improved methods of service delivery etc.

What strategies assist adoption of Enterprise Risk Management?

 

QRMC frequently assists organisations to develop or expand their risk management programs to embrace Enterprise Risk Management. Our experience suggests that useful strategies to successfully move to Enterprise Risk Management include:

  • Strong committed, visible leadership.
  • Recognising that risk management is an ongoing (not once-off) process.
  • Treating risk management as a tool to achieve business objectives, not as a compliance exercise.
  • Extensive consultation with, and training of, personnel (at all levels).
  • Consistently integrating ERM across all systems and functional areas within the organisation.

Special considerations for business or department amalgamation

 

A regular feature of contemporary business is the process of amalgamation, either of existing segments of an organisation, or of one business with a completely independent second business (M&A).

Determining the business objectives of a new organisation formed in this way is not always a straightforward exercise. The clarity provided by the risk management process greatly assists this determination.

However, amalgamation poses particular difficulties when it comes to the risk management program:

  1. There are often difficulties involved in assimilating risk-related information from different sources, produced using different methods.
  2. Amalgamation poses the threat of extending the commonly experienced problem of risk management “silos” (as mentioned above) even further by creating silos based on the original business or department entities.

On the positive side, these difficulties present an opportunity to reach solutions by upgrading existing risk management systems to Enterprise Risk Management. Moving the new entity to Enterprise Risk Management provides opportunities to:

  1. Clearly identify the objectives of the new entity, and what risks and opportunities exist in achieving these objectives.
  2. Break down barriers and foster a new organisation-wide approach to risk management and the determination of uniform risk appetite.

Next steps

 

Risk management as a discipline has proven its value over time. Now businesses can extend this value even further by upgrading to Enterprise Risk Management.

For more information on Enterprise Risk Management, safety management, business continuity management and management systems, contact us. We are experts in providing independent and objective facilitation of the process of upgrading or developing new Enterprise Risk Management programs. You can also access other informative articles on our News page dealing with Enterprise Risk Management, as well as newsletters downloadable from our Publications page covering Enterprise Risk Management issues.

29 Jul
2014

Have Cane Will Travel – Disabled Travel in Australia

Award-winning comedy writer, Ian Heydon (Kingswood Country, How Green Was My Cactus, The Samuel Pepys Show, The Year My Country Broke) recently took out an unexpected award – for writing about travelling with a disability.

In 2010 Ian was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. That led to the question – what does a writer who has a disability and who loves to travel write about? The answer was pretty obvious. Because Ian uses a cane for mobility assistance, he built a website called Cane & Able Travel and that site won the inaugural Business disAbility Award for Business Innovation in 2012.

Back in 2003, Ian had a travel book on Australia published called The Small Guide to A Big Country (Explore) and he subsequently bought a travel agent’s licence (Small Guide Travel). Much of Ian’s research for that book is still valid. As Ian says, “They haven’t moved the Sydney Opera House or most of Australia’s main attractions, so all I really needed to do was update where necessary and add the accessibility and disability facility information. It’s a bonus that the Small Guide Travel consultants can assist with itinerary advice and bookings.”

When Ian travels these days he uses both a cane and a wheelchair for getting around. “Before my diagnosis with MS I guess I felt a bit of pity when I saw other people in wheelchairs. I didn’t realise that wheelchairs give a person with a disability so much freedom. Mine allows me to get around much better at airports, especially when the boarding gate can be a fair distance from check-in, and it makes art galleries, museums and theatre so much more accessible and enjoyable.”

Ian first took his wheelchair on a trip to Dubai, London and Paris in 2012. While there are websites with attractions and disability information for those destinations in the pipeline, Ian’s first priority is writing about Australia. In late 2012 he visited Cairns and road-tested attractions like Skyrail and Quicksilver’s Great Barrier Reef as well as disabled-friendly accommodation. From this came the destination specific website, Cairns Disabled Travel.

The next cab of the rank was Canberra. According to Ian, Canberra is arguably Australia’s most rewarding destination for travellers with a disability. “There are flights from all other major cities and centres, they have an excellent public transport and wheelchair-assisted taxi system and all the major attractions are accessible, with many of them free. There’s excellent accommodation, terrific restaurants and bars and so much to see and do. It really is a fabulous tourist destination. Sure, after a couple of weeks there might be some thumb twiddling but for a few days away it is fabulous.” Ian visited Canberra in 2011 and 2013 to research accessible accommodation and attractions and the Canberra Disabled Travel website is now live.

Ian has a multi-destination itinerary on the drawing board for all Australian capital cities and major regional centres so you could see him soon in your part of the country. But the Kingswood? No, he won’t be taking the Kingswood!

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