Posted in MDaemon / ALT-NMarch 25, 2012
MDaemon® Messaging Server, mail server software, supports IMAP, SMTP, and POP3 protocols and delivers solid performance from its feature-rich and user-friendly design. A trusted alternative to Microsoft Exchange, the MDaemon Messaging Server provides outstanding groupware features, integration with Microsoft Outlook (using Outlook Connector for MDaemon) and a multi-language webmail client for email access anywhere.
The mail server software provides secure, standards-compliant and low total cost of ownership (TCO) features for small-to-medium-sized businesses in multiple languages, while supporting mailing lists, content filtering, multiple domain support, flexible administration, and an open standards design for mobile access.
MDaemon Messaging Server supports most mobile devices with access to email, calendar, and contacts. For organizations that want simplicity, affordability, and compatibility between an on-premise email server and their BlackBerry smartphones, MDaemon includes support for BlackBerry® push email with a seamless management experience. MDaemon users can follow the simple and intuitive user interface to quickly set-up and receive push email delivery from the mail server to their favorite BlackBerry smartphone.
The MDaemon Messaging Server is a leader in email security using a layered approach (with SecurityPlus for MDaemon) offering proactive protection against email-borne threats of spam, viruses, and phishing. MDaemon Messaging Server uses the advanced email authentication techniques of Vouch By Reference (VBR) and validates and signs messages using DKIM, DK, Sender-ID, and SPF.
MDaemon Messaging Server is a globally trusted mail server and a solid alternative to Microsoft Exchange, with prices starting as low as NZD 327.00 + GST. Buy now or download a free 30-day fully-functional trial to experience its powerful features, easy administration, and low total cost of ownership for your business.
Posted in Image GalleryFebruary 2, 2012
Posted in DesignFebruary 2, 2012
by Kyle Mueller
I get anxious in certain environments. The reasons for this can vary from general disorganization, to bad lighting or clashing colors, but the biggest culprit is usually clutter. Clutter is the stuff that has no “place,” doesn’t belong with its surroundings, and serves little to no purpose. It’s not that I’m a clean-freak, it’s that I’m a designer, and I have a heightened sensitivity to things that are out of place or irrelevant. When disorder reigns, I get uneasy, anxious, even dizzy. On occasion, it gets bad enough that I feel the sudden urge to flee as quickly as possible.
Sometimes I get the same feeling when I’m surfing the web. Everyone feels this sensation to some degree, and it triggers the “fight or flight” response hard-wired into our brains (stay here and fight through this mess, or get out as fast as you can). It’s no wonder most web pages are abandoned within a few seconds of viewing.
Whether intended or not, a person’s home and the way he presents it are physical manifestations of his personality just as the design and content of a corporate web site are virtual manifestations of a brand. Environments, both real and virtual, affect human perception and behavior.
Clutter comes mostly from a couple of sources. As a natural progression, a home and a web site seem to accumulate things. At the same time, they are rarely purged of non-essentials. There is also the “design by committee” effect where everyone from every department wants their information front and center. It’s better to decide what is most crucial and provide easy access to the rest. In a living room, the kids’ toys should be contained in a designated basket or toy chest, while on a typical corporate web site, the HR information should be kept on the HR page. Most people are not coming to the home page to look for employment.
In someone’s home, a quick escape is not always easy, but on a homepage, the “back” button is just a click away. If a web site is like a house, and its pages are like rooms, and people want visitors at their homes, how do they make visitors feel comfortable enough to stay? And come back again? How do we as designers create environments to attract, comfort and retain visitors? These are the things both interior and web designers stew over.
Visual Elements: On a web site, color, typography, iconography and other imagery should be considered as carefully as an interior designer considers surfaces, furnishings and art. Are they appropriate for the target user? A site targeting “metal heads” will not appeal to its market if it is bathed in soft pastels and cutesy typefaces.
Color: There are appropriate uses of color for specific messages targeted at specific end users. Once an appropriate color palette is defined, a designer can use it to direct users to specific content, organize that content, and create an appropriate environment. Too many colors, colors that clash, or use of too much strong color can make a space feel cramped and cluttered.
Typography: Too many typefaces in one place is like cramming a room with furnishings from different eras. Stick to a theme, and visitors will be more comfortable and get a better sense of the message the type is sending.
Imagery: We have all seen web pages with the cheerful customer service woman, or the close-up of the two hands shaking – “closing the deal.” This is clutter, just like the faded Matisse prints we hung on our walls in college with scotch tape. Imagery (photos, illustrations, icons) should enhance an environment by promoting a message or feeling. Imagery becomes clutter when it serves no purpose, lacks quality, or is poorly presented.
Content: A clearly defined hierarchy of information is crucial to helping users understand what a site has to offer and finding the information they seek. If too many elements are shouting at visitors (flashing, bold, large, bright….), they are likely to be overwhelmed and move on. Sites that have a clear focus and logically organize less critical messages and elements provide a more approachable environment. Information that is presented with one voice and sticks to message is more likely to keep viewers engaged and confident.
Navigation/User Feedback: A house is generally set up with its rooms in logical locations; the entry way generally does not lead to a bedroom. The same is true for a well-designed web site. If a visitor has to think about where they can click to get more information, or click through multiple pages to get to specific information, they are not likely to stick around. The best web sites clearly map out what information is available where, and lead viewers to critical content via subtle feedback, like buttons or text that highlight when the mouse travels over them.
The bottom line is “web clutter” affects a business’ bottom line. It has been well documented how clutter can drain us of time, energy, and trigger stress. When considered in the realm of the Internet, cluttered web pages make finding information difficult and lead to abandonment. Web sites that are “sticky” present viewers with a comfortable and organized environment and logical organization of content that helps viewers understand what is available and where to find it. The goal is to create an organized “home” with only the necessary things in their logical places to allow customers to find what they’re seeking.
Ahhh. Peace at home and on the homepage through good design.
By: Kyle Mueller
Creative Director at MUELLER design
Posted in DesignDecember 31, 2011
by David Rodriguez
As a designer, do you know where your work really fits in the process of design?
We all love Web design. Looking at a blank white box on a computer screen and using only your mind’s eye, a mouse, and a keyboard to transform it into a living, breathing Website is no minor feat, and there is undoubtedly a creative rush when it comes to doing something like this. Web design can be a strong artistic outlet and it inevitably brings with it the joy that comes with looking at your finished work and presenting it to others.
Yes, in a word, Web design is fun. But let’s face it: if you plan to make money off of Web design, then it also becomes a business.
If Web design is your business, then you must make certain you are in the right mindset and you use the right process when it comes to your work. You don’t want your designs to fail, but, unfortunately, there is a strong chance that they will do exactly that. Lets take a step back for a minute and define what a failing design is, and why it fails.
Failing design is not necessarily poor design. This means that a “failing design” is not necessarily an ugly Website. Rather, a failing design is one that fails to function properly for the site where it’s used. A design can be very beautiful, but be terrible for its purpose.
If your (or your client’s) goal with a Website is to sell something or generate excitement over a specific idea or campaign, you’ll want to design accordingly. For a site like this, you don’t want to use a calm ocean picture as your header with deep ocean blues and blacks in your design. Sure, you may be able to make a very pretty design this way, but it’s a failing design because it doesn’t supplement the site’s goal or message.
The above example is a gross exaggeration, but it serves to show why so many designs fail. The problem lies in the misunderstanding of the process of design.
The Process of Web Design
So many designers, especially newer, freelance workers, jumble up the process of design. What’s worse is that this is a direct path to failure and they don’t even know it. We’ll be focusing on each of the aspects of the process of design in just a bit, but first, let’s look at an overview. This, at its most basic, is the process of design:
Before you even get a single idea in your head about what your latest Web design is going to look like, you
need to do all the appropriate planning. Mostly, this includes knowing the answers to important questions.
- Content Building
You need to build all of the content of your site after you have a clear plan. This doesn’t necessarily mean
getting every detail down, but you need to know what your content will be and where it will go.
Now you’ll design the Web site. This is a crucial step, of course, but if you’ve done the planning and content
building first, this part will be the most fun, and most likely the most profitable! But keep in mind that there are
several key considerations you’ll be taking into account, so you won’t be getting wild with your digital
Once you’ve finalized your design, you’ll turn it into XHTML/CSS/PHP/MySQL and whatever else your site
needs. Development typically refers to the technical side of Web design: the coding and backend stuff.
As you can see (pay attention to this part, it’s important!), designing the site comes late in the game. Many designers make the mistake of wanting to jump right into the design step, because that’s where a designer’s talents shine. But if you avoid or simplify the planning and content building steps, you will end up with a design that probably fits the site pretty well, but will ultimately fail in helping the site achieve its goals.
Therefore, it’s important that you know and follow this process in your professional work. Let’s take a look at the process in greater detail.
Step 1: Planning
There’s a lot of work ahead of you before you actually get to start drawing, coloring, laying out, and generally designing your Website. First, you need the answers to these questions. You will know these answers if you are designing a site for yourself, or your client will know them.
You need to know the answers to these:
- What is your goal with this site?
- Are you trying to sell something? Deliver a message? Share information? Keep in touch? Etc.
- Who are your site’s visitors?
- In other words, who is your target audience? This can sometimes be as vague as, “students” or as specific as “restaurant review publication advertisers.”
- What do you want your visitors to do?
- Usually, if you’re getting visitors to your site, you want them to actually do something. Some answers to this question could be, “buy a product,” “sign up for a newsletter,” or “learn how to build better Websites.” This is an important question; make sure you have a good, clear answer for it.
- Why should they do it?
- Look at this site from the viewer’s perspective. Why should they be interested in your site? What’s in it for them?
If you or your client don’t have clear answers for the above questions, it’s time to do some research. Find some of your customers and get these answers or make some calls. Visit other sites that are similar to yours in idea and find out what kind of crowd they’re drawing. If this is the type of crowd you’ll be working with, then you’ll have some answers.
Once you have good, clear answers to all of these questions, you can start building content for your site and start making some actual design decisions. With just these answers, you can determine the basics, like:
- Font family
- Font size
Colors? Layouts? Fonts? Ah, here we go; this is starting to sound more like Web design! If you know, for example, that your goal is to provide wildlife safety tips to new campers, you will want a layout that allows you to provide clear, readable text. Because your tips will come mostly in the form of text and illustrations, you’ll want plenty of body space and a font that looks good on screen and spaced well with CSS (Arial is a good default for something like this). Since you’re dealing with wildlife-related material, your colors might mimic those of the woods, with deep greens, sandy and earthen tones, and dark wood colors.
But don’t jump the gun and open Photoshop just yet! You’re still not quite ready to start drawing and coloring. Next, you want to build the content of your site.
Step 2: Content Building
There’s a phrase that’s often thrown around in the Web development world: “content is king.” This is true for most Websites out there. Most Websites want to be found and one key way sites are discovered is through search queries. Search engines frequently “spider” their database of Websites for new, clear, up-to-date, and original content, and Websites that have good content are rewarded with higher ranking and thus they are found more often.
It’s no wonder, then, that content building is such an important step in Web design. With the answers you got from Step 1: Planning, you should know what kind of content you will want to start building. If your goal is to sell music and electronics, and your target audience is college students looking to buy things like iPods and digital cameras, then you’ll want to write some content that’s light-hearted, down-to-earth, and to the point while still building on the popular “lifestyle” trend that sells gadgets like these so well.
Or, as another example, if your target audience is a group of professionals in the medical research field and your goal is to pose challenging new ideas for collaboration or discussion, you’ll want to write content that comes off as something of a technical blog.
Ultimately, though, the most important thing you want to do in this step is get all your ideas for content down on paper or in a text file. You don’t need to write the ads for your music and electronics right now, for example, and of course you wouldn’t want to spend the time in this step to write a long medical journal entry. For now, it’s enough just to get all of your content down in shorthand. Just be sure you get it all.
Once you have all your content in a place where you can look at it, you’ll want to build your sitemap. This is the final step before you actually start designing the site. You can use a computer program to draw your sitemap like I did below, but most of the time a pencil and paper works best for this part.
Let’s take a look at a small sample sitemap for the music and electronics store we talked about earlier.
My Music and Electronics Store Sitemap
Here we can see that our homepage links to four other pages: Store Locations, Music, Electronics, and Contact Us. The Music and Electronics pages each link to different subsections. The Music page lets you choose a genre of music to buy, and the Electronics page lets you browse through different gadgets.
When designing your sitemap, it’s important to remember the 3-click rule. Simply, the 3-click rule states that a visitor should never have to click more than three times on your site to do anything. In our sample sitemap, we can see that if a visitor wanted to get our other store locations, they would just need 1 click on the homepage. Or, if they wanted to browse through rock music to buy, they would just need to click Music on the homepage, then Rock on the Music page. Just 2 clicks.
While building your sitemap, you should make sure that every box (or page) on the sitemap will hold some of the content you outlined earlier. All of your content should have a place on your site, and you need to be able to visually see on what pages you’ll put each bit of your content.
And now that we have our planning and content building done, let’s get designing!
Step 3: Design
Many designers make the mistake of skipping steps 1 and 2, jumping instead right here to Step 3: Design. But if you got here after having done the necessary work beforehand, then you’re on the right track!
In Step 1: Planning, you probably already got a good idea about what types of layouts and design you want to use. Let your creativity flow here. Remember, there are multiple layouts you will probably need for your design. You’ll want a layout for your homepage, which, according to your sitemap, will just contain some introductory information or highlights, some links, and, depending on your goals, maybe some exciting imagery.
You’ll also want a layout for your transitional pages. Transitional pages are pages that just shuttle the user to more important things. In the sample sitemap above, the Music and Electronics pages are just transitional pages. The Music page would be small, and contain links to the different genres of music below (Country, Hip Hop, Classical, and Rock). The Electronics page would also be small, and just contain small bits of information while it links to the more important stuff, like the DVD Players, TVs, MP3 Players, and Digital Cameras pages. Transitional page layouts should match the whole site, but also be simple so users can spend as little time on them as possible.
You probably don’t want to hear this, but even at this point, you might consider leaving Photoshop closed for a bit. Instead, try drawing several layouts for your site on paper first. It’s a good idea to build multiple layouts just to see how they “feel” with the site you’re building, and using Photoshop to build lots of layouts that you might not even use is time consuming. It’s much faster to draw some quick and dirty layouts on paper to get a rough feel for which way you want to go with the design.
By this point, you probably have a twitchy trigger finger right about now when it comes to firing your design gun. But take it slow. Here’s something to consider about design.
Did you know that Apple, the company behind the designs of the wildly successful iPhone, iPod, and iMac computers and Macbooks, uses a design process they call “10-3-1?” It’s true; at the 2008 South By Southwest Interactive Festival, I attended a presentation by Michael Lopp, Apple’s senior engineering manager, where he revealed this small little bit of information to a packed room filled with designers.
Here’s how it works. Apple designers must adhere to the 10-3-1 rule, where designers first give themselves plenty of creative freedom and come up with 10 good, wholesome designs for something. This could be for a site or a product, among other things. Then, after coming up with 10 good designs, they must go through the painful and often difficult task of eliminating 7 of them, leaving them with 3 really good designs to work with.
Then, the Apple designers will spend some months on these 3 designs improving them and bringing them up to Apple’s game. Finally, after all this work, the designers must again eliminate 2 of the designs, until they’re left with just 1 powerful design which gets the final work done and is given the well-known Apple brand and polish.
In recent years this type of thinking has been very good to Apple, and their designs have met with some big success. If you want your designs to be successful as well, then it’s here in this step, Step 3: Design, that you should take the time before opening Photoshop to really plan out your design, taking into account everything you learned from Step 1 and knowing what the site will flow like from Step 2.
Make sure you finalize your design. Once you have your design ready, there’s no going back.
Step 4: Development
If you’ve finalized your design (either to yourself or with your client), then you can begin developing the site. Depending on how you want the site to work, this could involve such complexities as PHP and MySQL backend programming, or it could just be as simple as some basic HTML and CSS. Either way, this step involves the actual coding of the site.
Some designers are solely designers and deal with only the basics of XHTML and CSS, opting to work with a partner or hire someone to do the coding of a site. Other designers know the development and coding side just as well as the design side, but these designers aren’t altogether too common.
Either way, we won’t go into the development of the site here. For the purposes of this article, it’s enough to say that this is the final step, after the design is done, in the creation of a Website.
So, as you can see….
So, as you can see, actually designing a Website comes almost completely last in the process of Web design. If you want your designs to be successful, you will take the necessary steps to work up to the design.
It’s easy to work with the mindset of, “I’d like to get this design done so I can add it to my portfolio.” Yes, your portfolio is an important part of being a Web designer. But it’s also key to produce a product that actually works for your clients (and for yourself). If your work is high quality and successful, then you can expect a great deal of success for yourself, as well.
Posted in Image GalleryDecember 30, 2011
Posted in MultimediaNovember 11, 2011
Graphic designing has truly come of age what with new technological developments in multimedia and software hitting the markets regularly. There has been a phenomenal explosion of technology in the sector, which has made way for the conventional methods of graphic design and animation.
Today, more and more companies are opting for a host of multimedia and graphic design tools to add a special dimension to your branding of products, projects, services and business. Take for instance 3D modeling, which has emerged as powerful and compelling presentation tool, replacing the age old plaster and plastic models. Everyone from automobile industry to product design firms, architecture firms to fashion design are using 3D modeling to give a virtually real and all-round look to their products and build brands. 3D modeling as a presentation tool has proved to be more powerful and compelling than any other tool available till date because of its several advantages.
Creating virtual tours in 3D modeling to give an added lifelike dimension to your products, projects and services has always been a highly effective presentation tool. They can graphically simplify complicated concepts and convey complex inter-relationships, which are difficult to visualize. Concepts and ideas, which cannot easily be represented in words or even through illustrations, can be easily created and viewed from different angles. Animation can combine vast amounts of scientific data into a compact package, which can then be presented simplistically.
Corporate profiles nowadays have become more than just colorful printed brochures. They must project your company’s philosophy, achievements, resources and mission and enhance your company’s corporate image and internet branding just like your own brand website does. Hence, CD presentations using cutting-edge multimedia tools are fast becoming the chosen medium for projecting your corporate image, products and services be it as Catalogs, Manuals, Business Portfolios, Electronic Brochures, Sales Presentations, Tutorials, Annual Reports, Marketing Material, Technical Manuals or Games and Entertainment. They can contain flash animation, small video, corporate information, web site or support information and event-oriented games.
Besides, a company’s business logo has also become very important towards enhancing its corporate image. Creating a corporate logo design is one of the most important stages in building brand awareness for your customer. Especially, when it comes to establishing your web presence or projecting your company’s vision and philosophy, your business logo plays a crucial part. Graphic design technology has brought in a new dimension towards designing the company business logo.
Another multimedia tool which has revolutionized the way websites and CD presentations are made is flash. Flash design makes your website even more dynamic and cutting-edge. Since flash files are less in weight, they have minimal loading times and are thus best suited for the web. Flash animation sites add motion and dimension to your products and services, making them really come alive. Take a look at our showcase of Flash web site development.
Also flash design and animation serve as an effective medium for traditional, educational and business application, flash games design, e-cards, interactive movie services; interactive multimedia games for entertainment; games, movies etc. packaged with or built around your product or service for sales promotion and; games created around popular subject areas like movies, sports, rock bands, etc. Flash banners created for advertising your product or service with compelling ad copy are the new, chosen medium of internet advertising today.
Posted in Image GalleryOctober 11, 2011
Posted in BarracudaOctober 7, 2011
Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall Reaches Inside the Perimeter for Anti-Virus Protection on Microsoft Exchange Servers
Campbell, Calif., Oct 24, 2011 – Barracuda Networks Inc., a leading provider of security, application delivery and data protection solutions, today announced the company’s flagship Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall line, of both hardware and virtual appliances, now includes its award-winning anti-virus capabilities for Microsoft Exchange servers at no additional charge. The latest firmware release 5.1 stops viruses and malware from circulating through internal emails, adding an additional layer of protection and cost savings to businesses.
Customers with the latest firmware release benefit from:
- Extended anti-virus protection: Adding to the capabilities of the Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall to detect and block email-borne viruses for inbound messages and outbound messages, the new Microsoft Exchange agent extends protection to those messages that do not leave the organization, thus stopping the propagation of rapidly evolving threats.
- Simple installation and management: Administrators can add this extended anti-virus protection with the simple installation of an agent on Microsoft Exchange servers. This new functionality is centrally managed through the Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall.
- No additional costs: With no additional fees or per-user costs for this new protection layer; customers can confidently reduce the total cost of ownership of their email security infrastructure by eliminating other third-party anti-virus solutions.
“We were looking to switch from our third-party anti-virus solution after dealing with slowness and incomplete scans. It was hard to manage, with performance issues and the hassle of constant upgrades,” said Jim Pennington, IT director at Sunstar EMS, a Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall customer. “Switching to Barracuda’s Microsoft Exchange Anti-Virus solution was simple and easy. It took 15 minutes to install; it actually took longer to uninstall our old solution. Barracuda’s solution is trustworthy, scans user mailboxes much faster, does not put any load on the server and provides a seamless experience for the end-user. It certainly helps that it is free”.
Customizable notification & branding for cloud-based email encryption
In addition to the extended anti-virus capabilities, the Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall now allows administrators to customize the notifications sent to recipients of encrypted emails. Notification emails can be customized in any language, and the Barracuda Message Center – where recipients log-in and read encrypted emails sent to them – can be branded with the sending organization’s logo. This provides an additional layer of credibility for senders and confidence for recipients that the emails are legitimate. Outbound email encryption offered through the Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall is available to all customers with no per-user charge.
Pricing and Availability
The Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall firmware release 5.1 is immediately available on eight models with prices ranging from $699 to $89,999 plus a yearly Energize Update subscription. International pricing and availability varies based on region Euro range: €749- €96999 GBP range: £649-£80,899, plus yearly Energize Updates subscriptions. In addition, the Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall Vx virtual appliances are available worldwide and support installations in VMware, Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V and Oracle VirtualBox environments. For more details about new features included in firmware release 5.1 please visit the Barracuda Networks Product Blog: http://blog.barracuda.com/pmblog/index.php/2011/10/24/barracuda-spam-virus-firewall-firmware-release-5-1/
For more information about the Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall please visit: www.barracudanetworks.com/spam
About the Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall
The Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall is a comprehensive email security solution that manages all inbound and outbound email traffic to protect organizations from email-borne threats and data leaks. Flexible deployment options include hardware and virtual appliances, cloud services and hybrid configurations — making this solution ideal for safeguarding any size organization.
In addition to protecting traffic to and from the Internet, the solution also includes a Microsoft Exchange Anti-virus Agent to protect internal emails. Widely used by over 75,000 organizations, the award-winning Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall has no per user, per agent or per server fees. For more information about the Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall please visit http://www.barracudanetworks.com/spam or call 1-888-ANTI-SPAM.