Archive for the ‘Functionality’ Category

The changing face of websites

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

What a long way we’ve come in the past few years. From websites that invested heavily in words and told the visitor EVERYTHING to a more sophisticated, image-led approach that tempts the user into finding out more. This is a broad overview of how websites have changed but of course there is so much more and, importantly, much more to come…


You’ll know an older website design as soon as you see it – boxy, contained, no scrolling and lots and lots of pages. The new trend is for image heavy sites that have a wonderfully long home page with lots of access points to key places on your site. It will be fluid and not restricted to a box template and, importantly (but still not adopted everywhere), websites that work on every type of device.


Older sites are clunky and hard to navigate. The user experience can be frustrating but equally so for the website owner Рyou should be able to get in to your own website and make at least basic changes without incurring costs from your web provider. There will be probably always be a need for support at a higher level but the ability to change opening hours, typos and update crucial information should be at your fingertips.

Images versus words

We were crazy for telling the user everything – now you should hold back, create a breadcrumb trail to tempt your visitor to find out more (and preferably by picking up the phone and talking – the basis of all good professional relationships). Images include real photos (avoid stock if you can) and video if you have the resources. Videos are perfectly acceptable at phone video standard and the rawness of an unprofessional film can be charming and honest.

Google’s role

Increasingly Google has started to shape the way we choose websites. It favours websites with fresh, changing content. It likes https to indicate the security level of your site. And it likes websites to have good content, relevant and informative. This doesn’t mean it should be long and unwieldy – just enough to make sense and satisfy a Google search. Also don’t try and outwit Google, we promise they are cleverer than all of us! Duplicated pages, hidden pages or even association with some SEO providers can result in your site being banned from their index.

Websites are amazing, they achieve so much for the businesses they represent but it’s easy to get left behind. Talk to us – we can help with security, visibility and functionality with our client portal and online signing functions.



Online pre-recorded webinars

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

We have been busy this month with online webinars that have been well-attended. Due to their popularity (and we attribute this to their brevity!), we have recorded them for any late-comers who wish to know more about developments in online portal functionality.

Both webinars are less than 5 minutes and tell you more (with a live demo) about:

How you electronically sign a document (and why you would want to offer this)

2-factor authentication (and why you should care)

Both offer huge efficiencies to your organisation – find out more by listening. We also welcome any questions you may have by emailing or calling on 0121 794 0685.


Change needs more than just a leap of faith

Monday, July 25th, 2016

“If you always do what you always did, you will keep getting what you always got”

Albert Einstein

When you are considering changes any processes at work, particularly those you are comfortable with, it takes more than a leap of faith. You need to be convinced that the process you are changing actually needs improvement and b) you need to have confidence that the proposed replacement process is going to work and be worth the investment of time and money. It’s no wonder we are resistant to change!

When we started to develop docSAFE, we researched the working practices of many professional firms and created a product that addressed many issues. We still use that ethos to this day when we build new features or improve existing ones. We didn’t create something that performed one particular job. We designed a system to make professionals’ working lives more streamlined and effective. We cut out lots of admin tasks and automated some processes (back ups, follow up reports, reminders – for example). We followed the work cycle in a typical accountancy practice (although docSAFE is used by all kinds of professionals) and turned docSAFE into software that would support it and make it easier, quicker and more profitable.

Ask to see docSAFE in action – we can demo it to you or provide a free trial. It will convince you that change is good!

Dare to be different

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

I was watching someone working the other day – using software I have used for years – and I spotted them doing something. “Stop!” I cried, “What was that?”. They showed me and I have been using it myself now, daily. It was only a shortcut, nothing amazing but it highlighted the fact that there was plenty I didn’t know about software I thought I knew inside out.

The point of today’s long-winded blog intro is that we get stuck in our ways and don’t always seek to be challenged to do things differently. At Online Practice, we have developed a product, and continue to develop it every day, that embraces the way professionals (particularly accountants) work. We have added all sorts of functionality, such as online signing, that some of our clients are still hesitant about (

The clients who use online signing are ecstatic – it saves time, is efficient and allows them to get on with the business of making money. The software even flags up daily reports on who has signed and who hasn’t, making follow up a doddle.

The ones who are reluctant to use it have worries – is it legal, will it replace client meetings, how do I use it? These niggles are understandable and easily resolved. We work with them to guide them – and before long, they too are wondering how they managed without it.

Considered change is great, it doesn’t have to be life-changing but if it’s something that makes life/work better, then maybe small steps is the way forward. Talk to us about taking a leap of faith and doing things differently in your practice.

Resolve to be better in 2015

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Well it is January so the inevitable and predictable “new year, new me” blogs are hitting my computer screen from every direction. But what if you stifle your yawns and put away your cynicism for a while and actually consider how you could make your business more efficient, streamlined and profitable?

Part of my planning for last year was to consolidate my IT knowledge, especially within the accountancy sector, and create a new consultancy business that helps business owners. I joined like-minded, time-served people in a growth accelerator programme and have developed a process that helps business owners in a number of ways.

January is a good time for assessment for most sectors – at tax return time it’s probably not ideal for accountants but at least this busy time of year highlights inefficiencies and areas for improvement. I visited one firm last January who were drowning in admin – I set up online signatures up for them immediately and came back in March to do the rest after they had come up for air.

My approach is to take one step at a time, see how it impacts on your team, clients and profits and then move on to the next improvement.

If you’re still feeling a bit ‘January’ and happily resisting all attempts at resolutions for the year ahead, just start in February!

Take the next step, call us today
0121 794 0685