Mortimer Smythe Designs Oakland Web Design & Web Development Blog

The Mortimer Smythe Designs blog is our chance to communicate new trends and ideas in the world of web design, web development, and search engine optimization (SEO) intended for a non-technical audience. Additionally it will address recurring questions we receive from clients pertaining to publishing, managing and promoting content on the web.

To find answers specific to working with Mortimer Smythe Designs, please review our Frequently Asked Questions found here.


Google Glass is dying. After two and a half years of beta-testing and a spate of $1,500-per-opt-in test drivers, or “Glass Explorers,” the product is still not finished. In July, the creator of the wearable technology, Babak Parviz, jumped shipped, and many companies, including Twitter, have already stopped developing apps for it. But what of the technology and what of the “information-rich lifestyle” the product promised? In a Q&A with Jon Swartz of USA Today, Professor Stephen Hawking talked with the reporter about artificial intelligence and human connectivity. “Communication is very important if one is disabled,” says Prof. Hawking. “Without it, one is powerless.” So, what happens next? How do we better enable this connection? Well, some companies have found a way and it is pretty cool.

Claiming your space online is an important element of business discovery. A proper website should effectively inform online visitors of what you can offer and should help in converting visitors into customers. In the digital world, every element and page of your web property is a chance at a first impression. What does your website say about your business? Is interacting with your business online easy, intuitive and uncomplicated? Does it make your customers want to visit you IRL? Does it give you the tools needed to better understand your customers? Read on to find out how you can build a web property that doesn’t just exist online, it thrives.

 How often do you use your phone to find information? Maybe you use it when you’re out in a new neighborhood and you’re looking for restaurant recommendations or online menus. Or, maybe you use it at the grocery store to pull up a food blog to find exactly what was in that dish you thought looked amazing. It’s incredible the amount of information we can access at a moment’s notice, and it’s noticeable when that information is hard to view or interpret. Today, Google Search is rolling out an update that will make this process even easier.

Last week IBM confirmed that for the past 19 years, a bug has existed in every version of Windows. Graded as a 9.3 out of 10 on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System, a system measuring the severity in computer security flaws, attackers could exploit this bug to remotely control PCs. In its monthly security updates, Microsoft addressed the bug and urged users to download updates. So, how does a security bug go undiscovered for so long? Let’s investigate.

Encrypted messages protect the privacy of the sender by converting the content from readable text to scrambled text, or cipher. To read the cipher, the recipient must have a matching private key for the public key. When this happens, the recipient is able to decipher the encrypted message. For businesses, encryption keeps data and information indecipherable. Authorized viewers are able to decipher this content by running a code, but non-authorized viewers, or hackers, aren’t able to see anything but a string of random characters.


There’s no getting around it: the digital era necessitates having your business online. One of the great benefits of interacting with your customers in the digital space is the greater ability to understand your customer’s needs and desires. Who, what, when, where and how aren’t just questions for journalists: understanding your customers means understanding what works, how customers are finding and interacting with you and your business and where this is happening. Integrating Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, into your web property, is one way that you can find the answers to some of these questions. Read on to learn more about how geographic data can increase your business effectiveness.

Apple Pay, launched on Oct. 20, is a new payment system available to users of the iPhone 5s or higher. Here’s how it works: users upload their credit or debit card information into Apple’s Passbook application and when the phone’s wireless transceiver is close to a card reader or checkout counter, a “pay with touch ID” message appears and you verify that payment with your fingerprint. That’s it. No, really, that’s it. 

The online world is as diverse as the physical world and your website should consider the wide range of online users that exist. Your content should be accessible to those dealing with disabilities, which can include blindness, deafness, limited movement, or cognitive limitations. Insuring website accessibility for the widest range of people is as simple as considering the following questions as you build your website: is this perceivable, operable, understandable and robust? These four concepts create the foundation on which accessibility rests.

Mortimer Smythe Designs manages high volume websites, recording over one million unique views per year and involving registered users working on interactive systems. Of these system users, 30 percent are accessing this website content through mobile devices – a five percent increase from 2013. Mortimer Smythe is able to sustain, manage and grow the amount of users accessing these systems by creating responsive websites that can be accessed wherever and however the user wants.

This process, responsive web design, considers the user’s browsing behavior and reacts to the environment in which the content is being accessed, changing based on mobile or desktop platform, orientation and screen size.