Celebrating 17 Years!

Posted by Nick Grant on November 7, 2014. Tagged: events

In celebration of iMarc’s 17th anniversary, we would like to express our sincerest appreciation to our talented staff and the amazing clients that allow us to push ourselves and technology each year. 

Here's to another 17 years!


Website Launch: Ipswitch

Posted by Allison Boyajian on November 7, 2014. Tagged: events

Ipswitch, a leader in the IT software industry, partnered with iMarc on the planning, design, UX and front-end work for its website redesign.

The new Ipswitch website features an easy, frictionless user experience that exemplifies and elevates the core Ipswitch brand. iMarc focused on creating a visual design that would create an intuitive architecture for their extensive product list, as well as provide a scalable foundation for content growth. 

Check out the new Ipswitch website and let us know what you think!

Congrats on launch, Ipswitch! 


iMarc For The Win! Again!

Posted by Allison Boyajian on November 4, 2014. Tagged: awards

The Davey Awards is an international creative award focused exclusively on honoring outstanding creative work from the best small firms worldwide. The 2014 Davey Awards received nearly 4,000 entries from ad agencies, interactive agencies, production firms, in-house creative professionals, graphic designers, design firms and public relations firms.

We are so very honored to announce that we won 3 Silver Daveys this month for our most recent web design projects! Thanks to our hardworking, dedicated team; and our fantastic clients that continue to challenge us to create such high-quality work.

And the winners are…

SSH Website Redesign – Silver, Corporate Communications

NEHI Website Redesign – Silver, Activism

Quaero Website Redesign – Silver, Professional Services

Congrats, team!


CPA Society Websites: Supporting Membership Organizations

Posted by Allison Boyajian on November 3, 2014. Tagged: best practices, strategy, user experience


In 2001, we built our first CPA Society website for the Massachusetts Society of CPAs. Thirteen years later, we are proud to say that we've now worked with sixteen CPA Societies and have developed long-lasting, collaborative relationships with each of them.

Through our experience, we have established a strong understanding of how CPA Societies--and membership organizations as whole--define themselves, what they need to succeed and how an effective website can help them get there.

Here are 5 of what we have found to be the recurring business objectives of a membership organization and a few of the (many) ways we help to support them.

Growing Membership

It goes without saying that as a member-driven organization, gaining new members is imperative for CPA Societies. One of the ways we achieve this through a website is by demonstrating the value of membership and highlighting the contrast between membership and non-membership options.

Massachusetts Society of CPA’s website is a great example of how to demonstrate the value of membership in an engaging manner.

MSCPA online's Why Join web page

Keeping Members, Members

Once you’ve got the members, the next most important task is keeping them. As a member, one of the main functions of a CPA Society’s website is to drive membership renewals. To make that process easier, an effective website will feature a paying in advance function, automatic dues-renewal, send notices when dues are due and include calls to action to pay.

The Oregon Society of CPAs website is an excellent example of how to keep dues-payment quick and easy.


Providing a Positive User Experience

One of the best ways to support both membership growth and retention is by delivering a positive user experience. As part of our craft, we want to make sure that when users go to the CPA Society website, they find what they’re looking for quickly and easily on all different devices. An effective website will invite members to stay a while by providing them with a positive user experience that makes them want to return.

Arizona Society of CPA’s website is looks great on mobile, allowing users to get all of their ASCPA info on the go.

ascpaIncreasing Revenue Through Higher Margins

Once your CPA Society is keeping members, members and lowering the membership attrition rate; the next most important task of a website is to increase revenue through non-dues revenue. To do this, a good website will seamlessly support the CPE registration and check out, making it quick and easy to add and change courses. An important aspect of this process—which separates the “men from the boys” of websites—is having the ability to allow members to register themselves, as well as coworkers, friends and family. By understanding and supporting the needs of members, your CPA Society website will ultimately increase profitability.

Nevada Society of CPA's website creatively features CPE courses and events with a fresh and modern user-friendly design.


Identifying New Sources of Revenue

It’s important to remember that your website is a tool. Beyond using it to elevate current sources of revenue, your CPA Society can leverage its website to identify and monetize new sources of revenue. By supporting advertisements and featuring job listings your website can help support new channels of monetization.

Kansas Society of CPA’s website provides ample opportunity to sponsor and advertise.


Membership organizations are unique. When it comes to a website, they need equally unique solutions.

We hope these tips helped you better serve your CPA Society and members. If you find your CPA Society's website need an audit, we're here to help! Email us at hello@imarc.net.

OpenSSL “POODLE” vulnerability status

Posted by Robert Mohns on November 3, 2014. Tagged: technology

A couple weeks ago there was another widely publicized SSL vulnerability. This one was called POODLE. We implemented a fix on all our servers within a day.

You can find more info on the vulnerability at https://www.openssl.org/~bodo/ssl-poodle.pdf.

This only affects end-users who are still using Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 to access HTTPS sites. (IE6 does not support the newer TLS protocol that has replaced SSL nearly everywhere.) Since Microsoft dropped support for IE6 and provided free upgrades to newer versions years ago, this probably doesn't affect you.

Keep It Real with Your Website's Photography

Posted by Jared Laham on October 28, 2014. Tagged: best practices, creative

The goal of every public facing website is for brands to better connect with their audience on an emotional level and set themselves apart from their competitors. Most people seem to overlook the importance, value and emotional power that good photography adds to their website. Here are a few tips to help you find and use photography that will enhance your brand and communicate you message.

"90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text." *


Don’t just tell. Show.

Nobody likes a wordy website. If you stuff your page with dense content, it wont take long for users turn away and find a better, more engaging site to spend time on. Instead, break up your text and by adding relevant imagery to enhance visual interest. Users will be pleasantly surprised, and find themselves actually wanting to explore your site.

Now, I could write the sentence, “I went hiking this weekend and after a long trek up a steep mountain it was completely worth it..."

- or -


Choose text friendly photos


Photos can help copy hit harder, so using them in close proximity is a great idea. Stay one step ahead by selecting images that have enough "dead space" within the photo where text could sit. Obviously, less is more so don't add too much copy. This is a great concept to keep in mind when you are searching for website header images.

Unify and enhance your images


Using stock imagery that has a unifying tone, style, or subject matter is a good idea to help establish visual cues that better connect to your audience and hit harder. If you find images that don't necessarily look like they go together, using a photo editing application like Adobe Photoshop or Blend to treat them in a more consistent and eye catching manner can turn the ordinary into the incredible.

Make sure it’s relevant


Photos are the fastest elements to look stale on your site compared to your website copy. It's important to select images that feel current. Nobody wants to see a business man rocking a “Zack Morris” style cellular phone or a 1980’s mullet (although I heard the mullets are almost back in style). This is especially important when showing technology. Having a dated looking piece of hardware will immediately make you seem out of touch.

Can't find stock, shoot your own. Direct the photoshoot.

shoot your own

Rather than spending hours on stock photo websites looking for the perfect image, grab your camera and capture exactly what you are after. In the long run, shooting your own footage is the best way to go, as you don’t have to worry about licensing restrictions, can have more control over the direction and can create better continuity between shots. Plus, you get the added bonus of being able to build up skill as a photographer.

5 key lessons 

  1. Leverage images that reinforce your brand and connect with users on an emotional level.
  2. Don’t be afraid to shell out money for the right photo. You get what you pay for.
  3. Select images that haven’t been overused and feel unique.
  4. You can always get you hands on a camera to take the photos yourself and tone them accordingly.
  5. Select images that have enough open space for placing text on down the road. 

* 3M Corporation and Zabisco

Browser Support, Fall 2014

Posted by Robert Mohns on October 27, 2014. Tagged: best practices, mobile

From time to time we update our browser support policy. While you can always find the latest version of our browser support matrix in our Frontend Handbook, what's not there is why we made each decision.

Here's a look behind the curtains: what we mean by “support”, what data we gathered and analyzed, and the changes we made to our support matrix.

Netscape Navigator Version 1.11 [ja]
photo ©Toshihiro Oimatsu, license CC-BY-2.0


“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

The definition of “support” can be slippery. In essence, we mean “it works well”. Not “it looks the same”, or “it works the same way”. What’s appropriate for a mouse-and-window PC is not neccessarily appropriate for a finger-and-fullscreen phone. And that’s okay.

We more fully articulate this in our Frontend Handbook:


  • We produce semantic, HTML5-compliant markup, CSS, and scripts.
  • We believe users should be able to consume as much visual and interactive richness as their browser can support.
  • We test against a specific whitelist of mainstream desktop and mobile browsers.
  • We ensure our sites function correctly and look as good as possible on these browsers.
  • We recognize that not every browser functions in the same way and requiring an identical experience imposes false limitations on users with modern more capable browsers.
  • We do not require an identical experience. Instead we strive for an optimal experience for each user’s environment.
  • We recognize that some browsers are incapable of properly rendering standards compliant code. We do not code to support these browsers unless explicitly requested and specified for the poject.


Current Trends in Browsers

We make our decisions based on data, and we have a number of sources. For macro trends, we refer to StatCounter.

When looking at mobile devices, the Android Developer Dashboard provides active device versions, and the Apple AppStore Dasboard does the same for iOS devices. (Both use data from their respective platforms’ app stores.)

For views into specific industries or demographics, Google Analytics offers great value. Quite a few of our clients’ sites have very focused demographics, ranging from accounting and insurance professionals, to security and technology. Others provide a broad consumer survey. We draw from these to better understand and refine the high-level data drawn from other sources.

Android Phones and Tablets

Looking backward, Android 2.x devices are becoming pretty darn scarce. While Google reports that about 10% of Android worldwide devices are running 2.x, our data in the US puts that number closer to 4%. With Android accounting for, at most, 18% of traffic to consumer web properties (and just a third to a quarter of that at tech and professional sites), then at best Android 2.x represents 0.7% of traffic to our clients’ sites.

Android 4 is the most broadly deployed version, so we concentrate our testing on Android Browser (on Android 4.1–4.2) and Google Chrome for Android (on Android 4.3–4.4).

Android Versions, past 30 days

Looking forward, Android 5.0 (sometimes called “Android L”) is around the corner. Aside from Google’s Nexus devices, it typically takes a few months before major new Android versions start arriving at stores, and can be up to a year before there’s significant uptake. We’ll be watching Android 5, but we don’t start formal support until you can walk into a store and buy a phone with it.

The real trend of note in Android is steadily larger screen sizes: 

Minimum % of Android Devices of size at least…

Not even 1% of Android devices we saw in our broad consumer data last month had screens under 4".

iPhones and iPads

As usual this fall, Apple introduced new iPhones, a new version of iOS, and quietly dropped support for older devices.

Safari on iOS 8 changes how it treats viewports, and we had to update a few sites to allow for this. Aside from this, compatibility is pretty good. The new larger iPhones require a look, but since we already test on 4–5" Android phones, we haven’t had any real surprises here.

Past experience tells us that a third of iPhone users are very slow to update to the latest OS, so we will be monitoring iOS 7 use rates and continue supporting it for the coming year. iOS 6 is effectively gone, though, so we’ve dropped it from our standard matrix.

PCs and Macs

We haven’t changed our Windows Internet Explorer support policy lately. Although Windows 10 has been announced, it’s not yet a factor.

On Mac, we’re adding support for Safari 8 on Mac OS X 10.10 “Yosemite”, and Safari 7.1 on 10.9 “Mavericks”. We’re dropping support for Safari 6, as it’s dropped to just 1.1% of total web use-share:

Mac OS X VersionSafari VersionMac Web ShareTotal Web Share
10.10 Yosemite Safari 8 18% 3.0%
10.9 Mavericks Safari 7.1 61% 10%
10.8 Mountain Lion Safari 6 7% 1.1%
10.7 Lion Safari 6 6% 1.0%
10.6 Snow Leopard Safari 5 6% 1.0%
10.5 and earlier Safari 4- <2% <0.33%

(This table combines Yosemite and Mavericks Web Use Share from GoSquared with earlier pre-Yosemite data from Chitika. The figures for versions 10.8 and earlier are somewhat speculative; salt to taste. To calculate share of total, we use the 16.55% Mac web share from StatCounter’s August data.)

Current Support Matrix

Desktop Browsers

We dropped Safari 6 and Mac OS X 10.8, added Safari 8 and Mac OS X 10.10. No recent changes to IE, Chrome or Firefox.

Browser/VersionMac 10.9Mac 10.10Win XPWin 7Win 8
Chrome (stable)   yes
Firefox (stable)   yes
Internet Explorer 8.0     yes yes  
Internet Explorer 9.0       yes  
Internet Explorer 10.0       yes yes
Internet Explorer 11.0         yes (*8.1 only)
Safari 7.1 yes        
Safari 7.1 Retina yes        
Safari 8.0   yes      
Safari 8.0 Retina   yes      


Mobile Browsers

We added Apple's iOS8 on all supported devices, and dropped iOS6 devices. (This means no more non-Retina iPhones—high-res all the way!) On the Android size, we dropped Android 2.x, added 4.4, and set a minimum screen size of 4". We've also simplified the table for ease of reading.

Platform/OSBrowserTarget Devices
iOS 7 Safari 7 iPhone 4 series, 5 series, iPad 2+
iOS 8 Safari 8 iPhone 4S, 5 series, 6 series, iPad 3+
Android 4.1 Browser 4"+ handsets, 7–10" tablets
Android 4.2–4.4 Chrome 4"+ handsets, 7–10" tablets

You can always find the latest version of our browser support matrix at http://handbook.imarc.net/frontend 

Comments or questions? Give us a shout on Twitter @imarcagency or on our Facebook page!

5 Signs It's Time For a Website Redesign

Posted by Allison Boyajian on October 15, 2014. Tagged: best practices, strategy, user experience

Debating if you need a website redesign? Wishing you just had a sign that said, “it’s time”?

5 signs website redesign

Here's 5:

Sign #1: It’s not responsive.

Long gone are the days when you can afford to have a website that doesn’t look good on mobile/tablet. In fact, according to Cisco, mobile data traffic grew 69 percent in 2014 alone. If your website isn’t looking and performing flawlessly on desktop, mobile and tablet, it’s time for a redesign.

Sign #2: It’s hard to navigate.

Websites are supposed to help, not hurt. When a user comes to your website, they should be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to find what they’re looking for, and how intuitive the navigation is. Otherwise, they will simply leave disgruntled and go straight to your competitor’s easy-to-use site. If your website isn’t easy to navigate, it’s time for a redesign.

Sign #3: Your analytics show high bounce rates.

Data doesn’t lie. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave after visiting one page. If your bounce rate is high, it could mean your site isn’t providing the information the user is looking for, is taking too long to load, or perhaps there is a larger disconnect between your site and your users. The bounce rate essentially measures how effectively your brand is resonating with visitors, so high bounce rate=low resonation=time for a design.

Sign #4: It’s slow to load.

Load time is crucial to website success. You can have the most beautiful, innovative website, but if it takes too long to load, users will exit before they can see any of it.  One study showed that if an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost $2.5 million in lost sales every year. So what contributes to slow load time? A lot. Check out our more detailed post about it. Moreover, if your website’s load time is inhibiting your success, it’s time for a website redesign.

Sign #5: You don’t show it off.

If you’re not showing off your website, you’re probably not proud of it. If you’re not proud of your website, what better time than the present to update it? Your website provides an amazing platform to showcase your expertise, uniqueness and overall flare. It should be leveraged as a tool and seen as an opportunity to differentiate from competitors. Additionally, the majority of the consumer decision-making process happens long before they visit your store or go to checkout; it’s happening on your website. So, “if your site looks like it was designed by a barrel of colorblind monkeys, your chance at making a good first impression will be lost.” (Entrepreneur article). Make the investment in your website, and make the investment in your brand.

If any of these apply to you, consider it the sign (or 5) you were looking for! It’s time for your website redesign. 

So what are you waiting for? Drop us a line at hello@imarc.net! We’re here to help.

The iMarc OmniGraffle stencil set

Posted by Marcel Moreau on October 14, 2014. Tagged: strategy, user experience

Update 08/26/2015: Version 2 now includes:

  • flatter design
  • more Fontawesome icons (social)
  • modal window
  • nav w/ chevrons
  • jagged truncator

Download the iMarc OmniGraffle stencil set on GitHub

A long overdue item. iMarc now has its own stencil set for use in OmniGraffle. What is OmniGraffle? It's a Mac-based diagramming tool often utilized in the creation of site maps and wireframes. For years, we have relied on the Konigi stencil set and it has served us very well. We have taken some elements from Konigi and created a stencil set based on our needs.

We have been using Fontawesome icons within OmniGraffle lately and they have found a home in this stencil along with larger form elements, meta data and annotation badges, tables, social media, pagination and more.

imarc's omnigraffle stencil set preview

Website Launch: Clark Nuber

Posted by Allison Boyajian on October 7, 2014. Tagged: clients

Clark Nuber is an award-winning public accounting firm located in the beautiful Puget Sound Region in Washington. We were thrilled when they chose us for its website redesign project, and are even more thrilled with the end result!

The new website features responsive design, seamless video integration and a clean, modern look-and-feel. Clark Nuber's online presence has been enhanced by showcasing its vibrant, engaging blog, social media integration and personalized employee profiles.

Take a look around at: https://clarknuber.com/ 

clark nuber

clark nuber

clark nuber