Cardiff web design blog The latest news, hints and tips from Cardiff web designers VSI Thinking - en (C) 2016, VSI Thinking, Sun, 24 Jul 2016 07:40:08 GMT Sun, 24 Jul 2016 07:40:08 GMT VSI Thinking, Web design and web development Website Design for Mosswood Tools Tue, 22 Mar 2016 10:12:00 GMT Cardiff web design Website Design for Mosswood Tools

UpriseVSI are pleased to announce the launch of a new website for Cwmbran based Mosswood Tools. The newly developed website showcases the diverse range of products and offers from a wide selection of brands. Finding the right tools for the job has never been easier with specialised categories and sub-categories helping you quickly get to the products you need. A site search facility also helps you find individual products, should you be looking for something specific.

The UpriseVSI solution offers great functionality and usability, combining the thinkCMS content management solution and thinkShopper product database with search engine optimisation, and social media integration. thinkShopper automatically creates pages for each product, and manages the menu and category hierarchies, reducing the amount of time it takes to maintain the website. Search engine optimisation is also automatically applied to all of the URLs, page titles, meta data, and links and the solution even manages and optimises the naming of image files to ensure the product images appear in Google searches.

The thinkShopper solution gives Mosswood Tools total control over the products they display on the website and gives them real time control over product options and pricing. Stock control is also easy, with the website automatically decrementing stock as it is purchased, and recording when stock is replenished. The thinkShopper system has given Mosswood Tools a new sales channel to their business.

Take a look at the new Mosswood Tools website; it's easy, it's online.

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Uprise Marketing Acquire Web Development and Technology Company, VSIthinking Fri, 13 Nov 2015 09:26:00 GMT Cardiff web design Uprise Marketing Acquire Web Development and Technology Company, VSIthinking

Digital and creative marketing agency, Uprise Marketing, has acquired web development and technology company, VSIthinking, for an undisclosed sum as it continues its ambitious growth plans.

The acquisition by Treforest-based Uprise Marketing creates a major new digital marketing and web-technology company in South Wales; UpriseVSI, with a combined turnover of £1.2 million, a combined staff of 21 and a client list which includes both major domestic Welsh brands and national blue chip companies.

Established in 1996 by its current Managing Director, Mark Thomas, Cardiff-Bay-based VSIthinking specialises in providing web development and software solutions for companies across a diverse range of industries. It has developed a particularly strong reputation within the travel, leisure and sport sectors, where its clients include the likes of Thomas Cook, Neilson Holidays, The Celtic Manor Resort, Erna Low and Fulham Football Club.

VSIthinking has also developed a range of its own proprietary software products, which include a Content Management System, an e-commerce solution, online event booking software, a CRM system and project management software. These platforms allow VSIthinking to tailor or develop bespoke software to meet individual client requirements.

The company also has considerable expertise and experience in integrating existing client software systems and was recently appointed by The Celtic Manor Resort to undertake a major integration of its various booking systems to create a bespoke, single view CRM system. VSIthinking employ a team of 5 staff, all of whom will be retained within the new combined business.

Founded in 2012, Uprise Marketing provides creative and digital marketing services including web design and development, SEO, PPC, social media, content marketing and graphic design. In the last 3 years, the company has grown to a team of 16 people with clients including Microsoft, Paramount Office Interiors, Edwards Coaches, Park Plaza Cardiff, DS Smith, and Castell Howell.

Gareth Rees Jones, Managing Director of Uprise Marketing, said, “The skills and experience within Uprise and VSIthinking complement each other perfectly, allowing us to greatly accelerate our growth as a company. Combining the creative, design and digital marketing skills within Uprise with the technology, back-end development and integration skills that VSI provide, will allow us to tender for larger, more complex web projects and provide our clients with a full end-to-end creative, web development and digital marketing solution.

“Having worked previously with VSI as a client, I have first-hand experience of the quality of the projects they deliver and the first-class service they provide. It is testament to Mark and his team that the business has been so successful, largely through referrals and recommendations. We now have a fantastic opportunity to use our sales and marketing skills to help bring the solutions that UpriseVSI can offer to the attention of more companies both within Wales and beyond.”

Managing Director of VSIthinking, Mark Thomas, commented, “It was obvious from the start that there was great synergy between the two companies and together we are greater than the sum of our parts, which is an exciting prospect. Our 18 years of technology innovation and our highly experienced team will provide both present and future clients of UpriseVSI with a robust, secure and scalable online platform.”

The deal was part-funded by a loan from Finance Wales who have also taken an equity stake in the new business. Additional funding was provided by the two founders and majority shareholders in Uprise Marketing; Managing Director, Gareth Rees Jones, and Finance Director, Geoff Thomas, who will remain the major shareholders in the new combined UpriseVSI. Professional advisors on the deal included Geldards and KTS Owens Thomas acting for Uprise Marketing, Blake Morgan, Advantage Accountants, GW Jones & Co and Hugh James acting for VSIthinking and Broomfield Alexander and Hill Dickinson acting on behalf of Finance Wales.

Senior Investment Executives Cenydd Rowlands and Stephen Galvin structured the company’s investment from Finance Wales. Commenting on the deal Mr Rowlands said, “The acquisition of VSIthinking by Uprise Marketing has created a strong agency, offering customers a comprehensive range of digital marketing services. South Wales has one of the UK’s fastest growing digital sectors and UpriseVSI will only strengthen its growing reputation.

“Finance Wales is pleased to back Uprise’s ambitious, high-calibre team. They have a wealth of expertise and our flexible equity and mezzanine funding package has enabled them to fund this exciting acquisition. We wish them well with their continued expansion and future growth.”

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Earn points and rewards with NSF Premier Wed, 28 Oct 2015 02:16:00 GMT Cardiff web design Earn points and rewards with NSF Premier

NSF Premier has recently launched a new phase of their website, developed by VSIthinking; the new phase brings additional functionality and benefits to NSF Premier members. The new functionality allows NSF Premier members to earn points and was recently featured in the Farmers Guardian, FG Insight.

NSF Premier members are able to login to the website and earn points by making purchases or enquiries with NSF approved suppliers. Each of these will earn the member a number of points which can eventually be redeemed for rewards.

After accruing a number of points the NSF Premier members can login to their account and see the rewards they are eligible for. Rewards include days out at rugby games, tickets to watch horse racing, and can even be exchanged for an Amazon Gift Card.

Redeeming points is easy, with an online process allowing NSF Premier members to redeem their points whenever they wish. NSF Premier staff are automatically notified when a member has requested a reward so they can quickly process the redemption.

This latest phase for NSF Premier is just one of a number of new projects completed by VSIthinking, see the related blog posts below for more of our recent work.

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Young adults dominate mobile holiday bookings Thu, 22 Oct 2015 10:09:00 GMT Cardiff web design Young adults dominate mobile holiday bookings

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has reported that a third of 16 to 24 year olds booked a holiday on their mobile phone or tablet in the last year. This incredible statistic, 38% of adults in this age group, comes from a survey conducted by ABTA asking if consumers had used their tablet when booking.

The figure drops considerably when viewing the at the over 65 group, which reports just 3% of bookings on a mobile. Industry wide PCs and laptops remain the most popular method of booking holidays.

Victoria Bacon, head of brand and business development at Abta said, "This reflects the fact that buying a holiday is often a more complex and high value transaction compared to other purchases,"

"However, for the last two years we have seen significant growth in the use of tablets, reflecting their increasing importance as a device to book holidays online.", she continued, "While smartphones have a long way to go to catch up with PCs and tablets when it comes to holiday bookings, their popularity among younger age groups suggests they will grow in relevance."

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New responsive website for Emerging World Wed, 14 Oct 2015 09:12:00 GMT Cardiff web design New responsive website for Emerging World

Emerging World, the experiential leadership company, has launched a new responsive website using the VSIthinking content management solution. Working closely with the team at Emerging World, a responsive creative style was produced to promote their business. Imagery and content were also created to present visitors with a strong and inspirational narrative.

Part of the project included integration to a third party system called, used by journalists for publishing and collating news stories. Emerging World use this channel to promote their case studies and socially aware projects. VSIthinking developed bespoke web software to seamlessly integrate the Emerging World content published in with the website. This had the enormous advantage over using the standard widget, as visitors are retained on the Emerging World website rather than being lost to

The responsive website was delivered on the latest VSIthinking platform, which includes both a responsive frontend and a complete back office suite, all of which is responsive. The blog, admin tools, and content management system are all responsive, search engine optimised, and integrated with social media, giving customers a complete solution.

The timescale for delivery of this project was very tight, so one of the most important aspects was to ensure the project ran smoothly. VSIthinking’s software as a service (SaaS) project management system, thinkPROJECT, is integrated with every website. This software manages the testing, release, and customer feedback to ensure all issues are dealt with in a timely and effective manner. thinkPROJECT was a vital component in ensuring the Emerging World project was delivered on time.

Take a look at the new Emerging World website, or see the related blogs below to find out more about how thinkPROJECT can work for you.

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FA Nutrition launch with new VSIthinking website Thu, 08 Oct 2015 10:02:00 GMT Cardiff web design FA Nutrition launch with new VSIthinking website

FA Nutrition, one of the UK’s leading sports nutrition companies, has launched a new website to promote their range of brands and products. FA Nutrition’s products are aimed at the premium end of the sports supplement market and focus on those customers that demand more from their supplements. The company has sponsored some of the world’s leading athletes, and are currently working with IFBB Hall of Famer Kevin Levrone.

The VSIthinking solution demonstrates the flexibility of our technologies, combining a content management solution (CMS), product database, search engine optimisation, and social media integration. Creating pages for every product, and managing the associated menus, can be time consuming and prone to error but our solution took care of all the page publishing and linking. More importantly, it also managed the search engine optimisation of all the URL’s, titles, meta data, and links. The solution even manages and optimises the naming of image files to ensure the product images appear in Google searches.

The next phase of the project is to integrate with their incumbent warehouse and stock control system. VSIthinking have over a decade of experience in developing such integration, with previous integration work using technologies such as SAP and Sage. The result will be a full end-to-end eCommerce solution managed by the VSIthinking platform. By selling their products online, FA Nutrition will be able to add another important sales channel to their business.

Take a look at the new FA Nutrition website, and come and see FA Nutrition at the Newport Nissan WSS badminton tournament on the 4th October 2015 in the Newport Centre. The event will be the largest badminton tournament in Wales for years, including top 10 UK players, and players from the Badminton Premier League.

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Thomas Cook Brochures responsive website Wed, 07 Oct 2015 10:04:00 GMT Cardiff web design Thomas Cook Brochures responsive website

VSIthinking are proud to announce the launch of a new website for the Thomas Cook Brochure Store. This entirely responsive website, designed and produced by VSIthinking, is the latest version of the hugely successful project to deliver the range of Thomas Cook brochures online. The site received in excess of 8 million visitors last year and has helped the company make significant reductions in printing costs and has delivered a massive reduction in waste benefiting the environment.

The responsive website allows customers to browse the brochures of every Thomas Cook and speciality brand, using any desktop, mobile, or tablet device. The website responds in size and functionality to every device making it easy to access brochures at home on the sofa or on your way to work on your mobile phone. Features such as saving pages to a basket, creating your own brochures for download, and media rich slideshows with video make the Brochure Store a great experience.

The website was developed on VSIthinking’s responsive CMS platform and the project was delivered using our project management software thinkPROJECT. The team at Thomas Cook were able to provide feedback on the new website using thinkPROJECT which managed change control documentation for production, user testing, and release. The software also helped keep the project on budget and to a tight timescale of just three months.

VSIthinking is excited that Thomas Cook have signed a long term contract for support, hosting, and maintenance of the website. The responsive website has been well received and the team are now looking at providing mobile app services.

Take a look at the new and improved Thomas Cook Brochure Store website.

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VSIthinking go the distance in the Cardiff Half Mon, 05 Oct 2015 10:10:00 GMT Cardiff web design VSIthinking go the distance in the Cardiff Half

VSIthinking are pleased to announce that Jon and Craig were able to #RunTheDiff and join more than 20,000 entrants in completing the Cardiff Half Marathon this past Sunday. The gruelling 13.1 mile course took them past all the major sights of Cardiff including Cardiff City Stadium, the Millennium Centre, and Cardiff Castle.

Craig, the debutant rookie, was spurred on by seasoned veteran Jon to complete the course in a blistering (literally) time of 2 hours and 3 minutes; placing them in the top 50% of the field. Craig was also running his first Cardiff Half Marathon in aid of Diabetes UK and has raised more than £230 in sponsorship so far. There's still time to make a donation, visit his JustGiving page - - or text CDCH87 £3 to 70070.

Jon and Craig would like to thank everyone for all of their support, and encouragement over the last few weeks. It was a great boost to their confidence, helping push them to go the extra mile.

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PhUSE choose VSIthinking for new website Fri, 02 Oct 2015 10:02:00 GMT Cardiff web design PhUSE choose VSIthinking for new website

The Pharmaceutical Users Software Exchange (PhUSE) organisation has chosen VSIthinking to develop their new responsive website, including updates to their conference booking and membership systems. The project was won by tender process, competing against several established off-the-shelf solutions; however it was the flexibility of VSIthinking’s systems, and our ability to tailor our own web technologies to suit PhUSE that helped win the business.

The new website will be an exciting step forward for the organisation, providing its global client base with a responsive website making it user friendly on mobiles and tablets, as well as the traditional desktop PC. The responsive solution will extend across all aspects of the website and web applications; for example members will be able to renew their membership using a mobile phone or tablet in just a minute, a process which has only been possible on desktop until now.

The PhUSE website also includes a membership solution and conference booking, together with applications to manage the conference speakers and their paper submissions. This complete solution enables PhUSE to run their business online and communicate effectively with their members.

The new responsive website will also enable PhUSE to future proof their online business for a number of years. Keep your eyes on the VSIthinking blog as we keep you up to date with how the new website is progressing.

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thinkPROJECT Helps Deliver New Projects Wed, 23 Sep 2015 09:08:00 GMT Cardiff web design thinkPROJECT Helps Deliver New Projects

The cloud based project management software thinkPROJECT is gaining traction with existing and new customers. The software provides for effective management of projects and is used by VSIthinking to deliver robust websites and cloud based applications on time and to budget. Here are a few examples of how the software is being used...

Large Scale Integration

The Celtic Manor Resort, long standing VSIthinking customers, are using thinkPROJECT to manage a major CRM and systems integration project lead by VSIthinking. Not all of the project team work on all aspects of the overall project, so it is important that different project streams are tied to individuals. Whilst some other leading cloud based solutions unnecessarily make everyone part of every project, which can cause confusion or information overload, thinkPROJECT allows individuals to be allocated to each stream; keeping everyone focused on their individual tasks.

New Features Projects

Erna Low are market leaders in the ski travel industry, who have been nominated for the 2015 World Snow Awards, and have recently been using thinkPROJECT to deliver a number of new features for their website. The site required a number of new products, reservation systems updates, and changes to the customer booking journey. Each project was given a sub-project to hold information and track issues specific to that development, which could be individually released and signed off.

eCommerce Projects

Detail is important on eCommerce projects, not just in terms of the product but also the transactions, so managing change control is crucial. The recent development to the Up and Under eCommerce website for retail and B2B has been managed with thinkPROJECT. This approach helps with user acceptance testing (UAT), by documenting case examples, such as highlighting discrepancies of product pricing and stock to quickly track and resolve issues.

Website Project Management

Emerging World is a company that work internationally and as such have a wide network of collaborative staff. Their new responsive website project was delivered on thinkPROJECT to allow the remote working team to collaborate on the project and work to a very tight timescale.

To find out how thinkPROJECT could help manage your projects, feel free to contact us today.

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VSIthinking Are Going the Distance Thu, 17 Sep 2015 10:03:00 GMT Cardiff web design VSIthinking Are Going the Distance

Jon and Craig of VSIthinking have challenged themselves to complete the upcoming Cardiff Half Marathon, which takes place on October 4th.

Back in April, a challenge was issued to complete the Invncbl 10K in Margam Park; a gruelling endurance race featuring more than 20 obstacles and 20 tonnes of mud. Despite Craig not quite getting to grips with monkey bars, and Jon almost losing a shoe in one particularly deep bog, they made it through to the end.

Their next challenge is to run the 13.1 mile Lloyd’s Bank Cardiff Half Marathon this October. Fortunately there’s no mud or tricky obstacles this time but they will be running past Cardiff’s most iconic landmarks including the Millennium Principality Stadium, The Senedd, Cardiff City Stadium, and the BBC Studios.

Craig will also be running to help raise funds for Diabetes UK and would greatly appreciate any donations, you can find his JustGiving page here -

In the meantime it’s non-stop training for Jon and Craig as they battle through blisters and bruises in preparation for the big race day. Please join the rest of the VSIthinking team in wishing Craig, Jon, and their legs the best of luck as they #RunTheDiff.

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Thomas Cook use thinkPROJECT Mon, 24 Aug 2015 11:12:00 GMT Cardiff web design Thomas Cook use thinkPROJECT

Our new cloud based project management software, thinkPROJECT, is now being used by Thomas Cook in the delivery of their new Brochure Store responsive website. The online Brochure Store has been active for over four years and last year served more than 8 million customers. The savings to Thomas Cook have been huge, both in terms of reducing printing costs and in reducing their environmental impact.

thinkPROJECT is an integrated part of every web project from VSIthinking, being used to manage the development, testing, release, and ongoing support of the website. Customers benefit from a cloud based project management tool that can be used for any business project going forward, not just their website. Using the system daily to track and manage delivery of all studio projects, customers can keep track of their project progress.

Using thinkPROJECT, the team at Thomas Cook are able to raise any issues, request new developments, and discuss the future of the website. Tasks and items added to thinkPROJECT can be assigned to different team member and allocated with a due date. As thinkPROJECT is a web based system, it’s also ideal for remote workers or those that work on the move.

The all new Brochure Store will be delivered on the latest thinkCMS responsive platform, which includes thinkPROJECT. Every aspect of the site will be responsive, including slideshows and videos from the Thomas Cook content delivery network (CDN). The thinkCMS platform also includes social media integration and search engine optimisation as standard to help move the Thomas Cook product further up the search engines.

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Ski Travel Website Designers Tue, 11 Aug 2015 09:17:00 GMT Cardiff web design Ski Travel Website Designers

VSthinking has over 17 years of experience working with the travel industry with a number of key clients in the skiing sector, such as Neilson Active Holidays, Ski Safari, and Erna Low. One of the most exciting recent projects has been the delivery of a completely responsive website design for Neilson Active Holidays. However we work with a range of other companies specialising in this sector which demonstrates the versatility of our ‘thinking’ software.

Ski Properties

Luxury Chalet Book chose VSIthinking to design, develop, and produce a ski property rental website which launched this summer ready for the upcoming winter ski season. The design was crucial to the project and the VSIthinking team delivered a rich and stunningly styled creative. Every detail has been addressed, from the large glossy images that create impact to the smallest glowing pixels that create a really polished feel.

The interactive search and elements of ‘surprise and delight’ are particularly successful with brilliant feedback from customers looking for just the right property. Above all, when you are renting a ski property in excess of £50,000, you have to feel that the company you are using is a premium brand. This has been endorsed by the fact that the website has recently been nominated for the World Ski Awards 2015 - you can vote for Luxury Chalet Book here.

Simon Gill, owner of Luxury Chalet Book said, "From the first consultation to going live, the service has been superb. Their attention to detail, understanding of my requirements, and delivery on time, has surpassed my expectations."

Ski Chalet Website Design

Individual chalets will have their own website, as well as being listed on property sites, so it is important they have a great presence online. VSIthinking recently developed a chalet website for Chalet Pont Du Cam, a luxury chalet in Meribel, France. Again it was essential to ensure the design conveyed a rich and stylish appearance to appeal to their target audience. Our content management system (thinkCMS) and blog help to keep the site up to date with availability and prices, together with regular content updates to improve the search engine optimisation (SEO).

Ski Travel Expertise

Contact VSIthinking today to discuss your ski or travel website project; we’re keen to listen and will always have constructive ideas. We can offer content management (CMS), Web 2.0 (blogs, forums, reviews), social media integration, product databases, search engine optimisation and a wealth of travel industry knowledge and experience.

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Thinking About Blogging Every Quarter Sat, 01 Aug 2015 10:12:00 GMT Cardiff web design Thinking About Blogging Every Quarter

We’re all busy running our businesses that it’s easy to forget about marketing your own website and services. So a few months ago VSIthinking introduced a blog writing service for customers to help them not only market their website, but also to improve their search engine optimisation with original, keyword seeded content.

The blogs ideas are created by VSIthinking and agreed with the customer, which leads to a discussion about the content for the articles. Next, our team research some keywords and feed these into the copywriting process. Before you know it the copy has all but written itself and is ready to be published. The blogs are released monthly in the website using our own blog software, thinkBLOG, which is part of every website from VSIthinking. Regular updates of content are another important aspect of search engine optimisation, so the regular monthly releases will help to push you up the natural search rankings.

The new VSIthinking blog writing service is proving popular with a number of customers and our copywriting has helped deliver exciting page content for a number of projects in the last few months. Sabre Computers, Cannon Camper Conversions, and Newtown Motors have all benefited from copy writing, take a look at their websites.

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Search Engine Optimisation for Fulham. Tue, 28 Jul 2015 09:19:00 GMT Cardiff web design Search Engine Optimisation for Fulham FC Soccer Schools.

The long term business benefits of employing search engine optimisation as part of a marketing strategy are clear, let’s take a look at how effective it has been for Fulham FC Soccer Schools.

At the beginning of 2014 Fulham FC Soccer Schools decided to focus on search engine optimisation (SEO), asking VSIthinking to research keywords and improve the website SEO. You may recall an article back in mid 2014 which highlighted the success of that work with Fulham Soccer Schools at number one, or in the top three, for a range of keywords.

Today Fulham are still at the top of the search engines, and have consolidated the position with additional keywords. This shows the importance of search engine optimisation as an exercise and a great return on investment. Over 18 months after the initial work was completed Fulham FC Soccer Schools are still benefiting from additional value.

The VSIthinking 'thinkCMS' website platform is search engine optimised as standard and provides the perfect technical environment to maximise your keywords. Our keyword research will indentify the right keywords and help you to target the most appropriate terms. The next stage is to carefully implement the keywords in the website using title, meta data, page linking, title tags and alt tags throughout the website.

The results are clear and has helped Fulham achieve another successful year of above target bookings. To find out more call VSIthinking today to see how we can improve your website SEO.

Take a look at some of the top performing keywords for Fulham FC Soccer Schools below...

London Keywords

Fulham Soccer Schools

soccer school London
soccer schools in London
London soccer school
London soccer schools

Surrey Keywords

England Sports Group

soccer schools in Surrey
Surrey soccer schools
Football courses in Surrey
West London soccer schools

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Travel plans are changing with smart mobile technology Mon, 13 Jul 2015 09:20:00 GMT Cardiff web design Going Places – How Travel Plans Are Changing Through Smart Technology

Keeping abreast of an ever changing technological landscape is, as you might imagine, fairly important for a web design agency. It can also be a near full-time occupation such is the apparent speed of progress. And, while we’ll steer clear of misty-eyed ‘What an age we live in’ postulating it is worth taking time to examine some of the scarily futuristic developments that are likely to shape travel website design over the coming months and years.  

Making Travel Mobile

We’ve known for some time that the future of internet services would likely be dictated by an increase in mobile usage; the pathway for the internet and the so-called ‘real world’ to further integrate. Indeed, the term ‘Internet of Things’ has been around for more than a decade already – the notion that we would begin to use internet connectivity to control physical things – an idea made ever more real with the global proliferation of smart technology (be it phones, watches or such like). And it is with this evolution of the internet that we can look to gain an idea on the future of travel; more precisely, on our travel experiences.

From a web design perspective, the start off point has to be in regard to the responsiveness of the site itself. Mobile searches now account for more than 60% of all internet search activity and that’s a figure only likely to grow. Therefore it’s an imperative that web sites, travel related or otherwise, are designed for optimal viewing and navigating on all platforms from laptop / PC to tablet and smart phone.

And for travel, it is the latter (smart phone) which may hold the key (quite literally as we’ll examine below) to how we design and operate new sites.

Check Out the New Check In

Most of us are already well versed in the idea of using our phones to make bookings, again reinforcing the notion that, as web designers, we need to ensure our online booking systems are responsive and easy to operate on mobile devices. But, in relation to travel, this is just the start of the process, our phones are now becoming increasingly more integral to every stage of both the booking and indeed the actual travel itself.

Articles on Mashable, and more recently, on the BBC website have reported on how smart phones are now, in a number of cases, being used to manage your entire experience when staying at a hotel. Indeed, as the BBC article notes, a hotel in Japan is taking this one step further by introducing humanoid robots to greet you at reception.

That slightly creepy development aside, the idea of your mobile being the control piece for your stay at a hotel is real breakthrough in travel’s adoption of the Internet of Things concept.

Making the booking directly from the website (whether tablet, desktop or phone) your phone then becomes the portal for control once at the hotel itself. Incorporating technology which already exists on smart phones (such as Apple’s biometric fingerprint recognition) your phone can be used to check-in at automated counters in the hotel lobby. But that’s not all – using a secure form of Bluetooth, your phone can then act as the key to your room, gaining access simply by touching the device to a panel on the door.

The long-term idea is for every aspect of your stay at a hotel to become digitally controlled through your phone or other smart device; be it checking-in, gaining access to the pool or ordering room service.

Of course, whilst this is a new innovation in the hotel industry, the use of smart technology to control every stage of a travel procedure has been in wider use in terms of air travel, your device again the portal from which to book, pay and then become your ticket and boarding pass at the airport.

This, naturally, presents some challenges to those (like VSIthinking) charged with designing websites for the travel industry. Beyond combining aesthetic appeal with ease-of-use responsive designs there is the matter of further integration of different services to consider, so as to make the overall experience seamless for the customer.

And then of course, there’s the matter of security. On a functional level, having biometric style security on your phone is a robust measure. However, given the ever increasing threat of cyber and DDoS attacks, the onus on ensuring the highest levels of security throughout the system are an imperative for any organisation providing online services.

Staying Social

One aspect, however, that needs to be considered when we’re looking at web services for the travel industry is the way in which companies engage with their clients. We are, after all, dealing in a hospitality style marketplace and levels of customer service and social engagement are, and have always been, vital in a travel brand’s success.

So how does this fit in with a fully digital travel experience where human contact is effectively being kept to minimum; and in the case of our robot hosted hotel in Japan, virtually eradicated entirely.

Basically, it all comes down to the way in which social engagement seems to operate on a universal level these days: Social Media.

Interaction via the main social media platforms becomes a vital cog in the digital wheel when we automate the client’s travel experience through the internet and mobile technology. If you’re not having especial contact with your clients at your physical sites then there’s greater importance on speaking with them through your online sites and social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as well as, importantly, image led sites like Pinterest and Instagram.

Taking a step back in the overall travel experience, social platforms can also become integrated aspects of a customer’s booking by helping with his or her decision making on where to stay, with whom to fly and so forth. Integrating travel sites with live information, reviews and customer feedback from sites such as those mentioned above or indeed, crucial in the travel sphere, TripAdvisor, as well as allowing a quick route towards making a booking from these access points not only increases engagement with clients, it also adds another dimension to what we are accomplishing through our online activity:


From the moment we search for the service we want the experience becomes digital, taking us by the hand each and every step of the way and beyond; once we’ve posted our review, status and various other online footprints that will be there to guide us the next time we travel.

For more information on the most up-to-date travel website design innovations why not give us a call.



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Ranking First On Google Mon, 06 Jul 2015 09:13:00 GMT Cardiff web design Ranking First On Google – How We Got to the Top

Practicing What We Preach

Getting your business to rank high on Google and the other major search engines is a crucial component in the marketing of our services. However, not only is this a part of the service we provide to our customers, it’s a strategy we take very seriously for our own business.

Which is why we’ve managed to secure NUMBER ONE ranking on the search terms for ‘responsive web design cardiff’ and ‘mobile web design cardiff’ – both of which are ever more important facets to our business and the services we provide.

So, how did we do it and how can we do the same for your business?

Allow us to explain…

Search Engine Optimisation – SEO.

SEO has been around almost as long as the internet itself with online marketers, self-proclaimed gurus and wizards with pointy hats all professing to know the mystical secrets for getting your business’ site to the top of the rankings (ok, maybe not the wizards!).

Of course, the internet has changed dramatically in the past decade and a half.  

The days of loading a website with lists of keywords, of grabbing backlinks from here, there and everywhere to send your site to the top are long gone. Search engines are no longer like the Wild West, ripe with opportunistic prospectors rushing forth in search of internet gold.

Today the search giants such as Google and Bing are a lot more sophisticated, their criteria more nuanced which means the way you approach your SEO strategy needs to be finessed to meet these ever changing dynamics.


Of course, there are some standard ‘good practice’ rules you should apply to your websites and the pages within which can play a significant role in ensuring your site is on track to rank highly. Fortunately, at VSIthinking we’ve developed a content management system, thinkCMS, which can create web pages automatically structured with sound SEO techniques applied, enabling us to create pages with:

  • Correctly Named and Structured URLs
  • Appropriate Interlinking between pages to relevant content.
  • Page Titles which are relevant to the Key Words you are trying to rank for.
  • Appropriate link titling – providing additional information on relevant links.
  • Correct image tagging

Targeted Key Word Strategy

We’ve long held the belief that good SEO practice stems from tailoring your strategy towards the areas of importance that the client and their website require. We do this by focusing our efforts towards the essential ‘Key Words’ relating to the client’s business and matching it to the key locations, areas or fields in which that particular business operates.

If you happen to be a fishmonger in Falmouth or a Sculptor in Scarborough then, alliteration aside, our strategy would focus on researching the key terms for each respective business and targeting those words towards the locations from which their sales are likely to come.

Engaging Through Content

Of course, it’s all well and good targeting the key words but for effective SEO you then have to utilise them in the most engaging way possible.


The basic approach to this is ensuring you have a robust and well-structured website upon which you have content which is engaging, well-written and relevant to the search terms you are targeting.

Remember that people are using search engines to search for specific things. At VSIthinking we look into these specifics and produce web pages that deliver what they are looking for.

The content itself is based upon specific terms – not merely generic search items – so that it is both informative to the visitor with appropriate key words logically incorporated into the copy rather than just stuffed in to pacify a search engine (an old fashioned technique more likely to penalise than reward)

Applying this to Rank First in Mobile Web Design Cardiff

In an ever more mobile-orientated world the need for responsive websites which can adapt according to the device upon which they’re viewed has become of critical importance to businesses. As a leading name in responsive web design in Cardiff it was therefore of major importance to us to ensure we were highly visible on all relevant searches for this service.

By following a process of targeted keyword research before creating relevant content structured in the most effective fashion through thinkCMS we’ve been able to not just rank high for ‘responsive web design cardiff’ and ‘mobile web design cardiff’ but actually get our business to NUMBER ONE.

Why not find out how we might be able to do the same for you.


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Welcome to thinkPROJECT Wed, 01 Jul 2015 09:08:00 GMT Cardiff web design Welcome to thinkPROJECT

A few months ago we introduced you to thinkPROJECT; our new project management tool developed for the speedy identification and resolution of errors on a client’s website either during development or as an ongoing concern after it has gone live.

Since this initial announcement we’ve been able to put thinkPROJECT through its paces and introduce it to a number of our clients which we believe will add even greater value to the overall service which we provide.

Control Over Your Project Management

There are, of course, a few project management software tools already available on the market such as Basecamp and Trello. Tools which allow teams to organise, keep track and report on the different stages of a particular project.

Where thinkPROJECT differs from the above is that you have complete control over your own system rather than all the communication being passed via a third party tool. This means that all of your projects can be managed in-house, under one banner rather than having to sign up or open a new project with the provider each time.

Use thinkPROJECT to keep track of multiple projects
thinkPROJECT can keep track of multiple projects and tasks in one easy to use system.

In a sense, at VSIthinking we’re offering our clients a two-fold project solution – a tool which offers functionality similar to third party offerings such as Basecamp while delivering an in-house project management solution which they can use as they wish in the business moving forward.

The thinkPROJECT Fundamentals

The core features of thinkPROJECT is that it’s a system which is easy to use and offers a completely transparent way of managing all your on-going projects.

In terms of how it looks and works in practice, the system takes the style of an online forum, something which gives it a familiarity for most users. Everyone who has a part to play in the project will have the access which is required of them so that they can see all action points as well as comment and indeed react.

thinkPROJECT was instrumental in helping us deliver the Luxury Chalet Book website

With a social media style notification system in operation, each user can easily see new action points and updates so that response time is swift.

The system therefore provides a transparent pathway for each issue from the point it is raised through to the sign off and completion.  If, for example, an error in a system is identified then that person can simply raise a new ticket (open a new forum thread) on that particular issue, allowing for speedy response and resolution.


With thinkPROJECT there is a comprehensive reporting system which can provide invaluable data to the project manager. With analytics set up to record the status and timings of all issues (operating on an ‘open’, ‘closed’, work-in-progress’ style ticket scheme) the project manager can collate real-time info into graphs and other reports to be able to update and keep track on each stage of the project.

Using it FOR REAL

In order for us to demonstrate its effectiveness we’ve rolled the thinkPROJECT tool out on recent projects with clients.

For instance, thinkPROJECT played an integral role in the development of the recent Luxury Chalet Book website, allowing for easy, direct and regular communication between all interested parties on both client and VSI side. This not only ensured that the project ran smoothly as any errors and bugs were quickly picked up, actioned and resolved but we could also add further value to the client, with thinkPROJECT as a tool with which they can manage web related issues with us as well as future projects with other clients and partners.

For more information on thinkPROJECT and to find out how it may benefit your business why not give us a call and arrange a demo.

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Mobile App Development for Thomas Cook Brochure Store Tue, 02 Jun 2015 09:09:00 GMT Cardiff web design Mobile App Development for Thomas Cook Brochure Store

One of our successful mobile app developments has been for the Thomas Cook Brochure Store. The popular app has a range of features to help their customers quickly find a range of holiday destinations and look at the range of accommodation options, all while on the move. Let’s go and learn more...

The Thomas Cook Brochure Store app is available on tablets and smartphones on both iOS, via iTunes, and Android through Google Play and the Amazon Marketplace. The app has been popular on both platforms and regularly sees high levels of usage, seeing more than 315,000 downloads across the various platforms which is close to 2000 downloads every week.

This high volume of downloads has made the Thomas Cook Brochure Store app a viable replacement to the traditional paper brochures and brings great savings to Thomas Cook as there’s no need to print and distribute thousands of copies of each of the brochures.

The Thomas Cook Brochure Store app was developed to provide a range of helpful functions to help make brochures easy to read and navigate in the app. First, a user can choose a specific Thomas Cook brand, or search for a destination. Once the user has found a brochure they would like to read, they can instantly download a copy to the app; this on-demand delivery system reduces the time it takes to download brochures and makes the app a minimal install so it’s great for those with limited storage space on their phones.

Once the user has downloaded a brochure they can access it whenever they need to, even if their device doesn't have an internet connection. When reading a brochure, the user can either jump to a specific chapter or bookmark any page they wish and jump straight to one of their bookmarked pages. Behind the scenes there is also tracking to allow Thomas Cook to see how often the app is opened by users and how many brochures have been downloaded.

At VSIthinking, our app development team are continually considering how to further enhance the Thomas Cook Brochure Store app with new developments and features; a few ideas include social media integration so users can share a particular page or bookmark with their friends. Another area we are looking into is push notifications, to alert users when new brochures have been added to the app, encouraging them to take a look. Lastly, we’re looking to move beyond the limitations of traditional print brochures and add rich media content, such as videos, to the brochure pages themselves so users can see a short clip about a destination.

The Thomas Cook Brochure Store app is available to download from iTunes, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore.

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Android Mobile Apps Cardiff Thu, 28 May 2015 09:09:00 GMT Cardiff web design Android Mobile Apps Cardiff

Our mobile apps developer has been utilising several different apps available on Google’s Android platform to help out with developing apps and getting the most from their Android device. Take a look...

Astro File Manager for Android Astro File Manager

File management is vital on Android as most mobile and tablet devices can expand their storage with memory cards so it’s sometimes necessary to transfer files from the card to the device, and vice versa; Astro File Manager makes it easy and it can even copy and transfer files from the cloud. Our Cardiff app developers like the ability to launch the appropriate mobile app to open a file you’ve located, so there’s no need to go sifting through your apps to open something.

EverNote for Android EverNote

When developing our app developer needs to take notes from clients to keep track of their requirements and requests, EverNote has proved to be a great solution. Not only can it be used to jot down text notes, it can also be used to collect photos and web pages which is great for collating example design elements. EverNote even works across multiple platforms so our Android developer can pass their notes on to other team members.

CleanMaster for Android CleanMaster

A vital part of Android app development is testing; as we thoroughly test our apps we have to ensure the device doesn’t have any previously stored files. CleanMaster is an app which can clear out the device’s cache and download history. This helps ensure our testing is carried out on a clean device, rather than using stored files. CleanMaster can also be used to free up space and resources on the device.

Fenix for Android Fenix for Twitter

Twitter is a great way for our Android developer to keep up to date with current news and local events however the standard Twitter app can make things a little hard to digest; Fenix adapts your Twitter feed into a user friendly, Android 5.0, style. It also has support for multiple Twitter accounts, making it easy to switch between personal and professional users.

IFTTT for Android IFTTT

Our Cardiff app development team has recently been using IFTTT on Android; this handy tool allows you to create tasks or processes which run when something else happens. So if the phone calendar has a meeting event the phone automatically goes to silent, or if a note is created it emails a copy to another contact. There’s a whole range of “recipes” available and it’s compatible with a number of different apps and services making it really versatile.

Think there’s another Android app out there which we should be using? Let us know in the comments section below our Cardiff app developer is always interested in great mobile apps.

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