Up from the Depths...

the blog of SeaMonster Studios

Accessible Firebrand: Why can’t I use my brand color there, and if not there, then where?

It’s best not to use your light brand colors in the content of your site in case some of your visitors have contrast sensitivity loss, though there are many places you can and should use them that won’t be problematic and will help spread your brand.

Spring cleaning

Spring Cleaning: the accessibility benefits of a little spring cleaning on your website

Do some accessibility-focused spring cleaning, and you can end up with a vibrantly accessible site that sparkles with inclusion.

Shadow Puppets for All

Shadow Puppets for All: Accessible Use of Multimedia

Multimedia is a great way to increase the engagement in your site, but don't forget to take the steps to make it as accessible as possible.

Is Shopify Plus Right For You?

Digging Yourself In: Is Shopify Plus Right For You?

Shopify Plus for enterprise-sized businesses has many benefits. If you're not on track to move to Plus, you should definitely make a plan to do it.

Be It Resolved: Why Web Accessibility Should Be Your Top Resolution For The New Year

Be It Resolved: Why Web Accessibility Should Be Your Top Resolution For The New Year

By resolving to make web accessibility your top resolution this year, you'll increase your legal compliance, reach a wider audience, improve user experience, and even benefit your taxes!

The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Make Your Website Accessible This Christmas

The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Make Your Website Accessible This Christmas

Give the gift of an accessible website to all your visitors to contribute to the joy and good will of the season.

The Best Black Friday Blast

Throwing the Best Black Friday Bash

What's your Black Friday party like? Follow these guidelines and you'll be dancing to the music for the rest of the holiday sales season.

Slippy Sliders

Slippy Sliders: the best place to hide things from your visitors

Carousel sliders are still popular despite years of lackluster effectiveness. It’s best to eliminate them entirely from your site. We’ll tell you what to replace them with, and if absolutely necessary how to make sure they do the least amount of damage possible.

Guest Post: Understanding Economic Nexus & Exposure

Guest Post: Understanding Economic Nexus & Exposure

You sell everywhere, but where do you have to collect and pay sales tax? It's all about nexus, and we'll break it down for you here.

Ecommerce Cage Match

Ecommerce Cage Match

In a no-holds-barred knock-down, drag-out cage match between four of the top ecommerce brands, we feel that Shopify offers the most mature, well-balanced, and economical service to companies looking to sell their products online.

Cognitive Load: Don't Let Overload Sink Your Boat

Web Cognitive Load: Don’t Let Overload Sink Your Boat

Your visitors’ ability to get the most out of your website depends on their being able to shoulder the cognitive load required by your site. Since you can’t affect their cognitive load capacity, the best thing you can do for your site in this area is to make sure the cognitive load you introduce is as light as possible.

lady looking through a microscope

Under the Microscope: Migrating Your Site to Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a powerful tool to help you understand how visitors use your website, so if you’re currently running Google’s Universal Analytics, you should switch to GA4 as soon as possible.

girl standing on a mountain top looking across neighboring the cloud-wreathed peaks

Shopify 2.0 or Bust

It’s worth it to engage in continual customer retention activities so you’ll have happier customers while maximizing your profits.

old man in a suit sitting on a dock reading to sharks

Reading to Sharks: Basic Screen Reader Testing

Your site attracts blind visitors in addition to sharks and their blind plaintiffs, so you should perform screen reader testing on your site.

white android with a frustrated expression typing on a desktop computer

On the AI Takeover: Will AI Eliminate Copywriters?

ChatGPT and other AI tools can help with some of business' written content, but their implementation can be tricky, and it is likely ChatGPT will transform rather than replace copywriters.

ecommerce integration with Jitterbit

Guest Post: Three Key Indicators That You Need E-Commerce Integration

Learn why and how you should enhance Your e-commerce business through Jitterbit’s integration and automation solutions.

steam engine pulling box cars down a wooded track on a bridge with stone pillars

Training in on the Retention Track

It’s worth it to engage in continual customer retention activities so you’ll have happier customers while maximizing your profits.

AIR Accessibility Internet Rally: salesforce, Knowbility

Competition Report: Accessibility Internet Rally

My journey in the Accessible Internet Rally was illuminating on a number of fronts, but it would have been worth it even if I hadn't learned anything. The world needs more accessible sites!

shark and bull facing off

Bulls Can’t See Red, Can Sharks?

If the contrast ratios throughout your site are high enough, it’ll make it easy for all your visitors to have a great experience and want to come back.

two people jumping out of a plane, one clipped to the front of the other

Big Picture 6: Putting the Custom into Customer Portals

To give your customers what they want, you need to offer them a customer portal. To get what you want (a deepened relationship with them) you need to make your portal custom, with your brand and your voice, and make sure that it’s accessible to all.

silhouette of a hand against the blue sky, preparing to throw a paper airplane

Big Picture 5: Fly SMS Marketing into Your Business

Since SMS marketing is far more effective than the other options, you should make the effort to learn how to do it well, and make sure that you are using it in a compliant and well planned way.

person with a bright head lamp standing on a rock shining headlamp down

Big Picture 4: Shining the light on Accessible Commerce and Why You Need to Care About Your Entire Audience

Among all the other things you need to do to get your ecommerce store up and running, it’s most right, profitable, and safe that you also make your site accessible to people with disabilities.

How Flutterhabit grew 1500%

Guest Post: How FlutterHabit Grew 1,500% With Partners Like ShipBob & SeaMonster Studios [Case Study]

Learn how cosmetics brand FlutterHabit optimized fulfillment and scaled up its growth using ShipBob with the help of SeaMonster Studios.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: Accessibility Monitoring and Why You Need It

The government incentivizes businesses to become accessible by offering the Disabled Access Credit to make their sites fully accessible. Find out how you can tap into it!

man from behind sitting on a comfy chair in nature with his laptop on his lap

Summer Plans: Get Ready for Black Friday

The Black Friday weekend will only mean all it can to your ecommerce store if you take the steps now, months before, to lay the groundwork for that to happen: build your contact list, build your contacts’ trust, and optimize your website for conversion, sales, and accessibility.

Become Accessible to Get the Disabled Access Tax Credit

Become Accessible to Get the Disabled Access Tax Credit

The government incentivizes businesses to become accessible by offering the Disabled Access Credit to make their sites fully accessible. Find out how you can tap into it!

group of six skydivers in formation, hands locked in a ring

Big Picture 3: Using Reviews to Prevent Freefall Fright

Buying a new product for the first time won't feel to your customers like jumping out of a plane if you include reviews on your site.

paper bags with handles stuffed with packaged goods

Guest Post: 5 Reasons to Invest in Eco-Friendly Packaging

Eco-friendly packaging is a great way for individuals and businesses to help preserve the planet. The future looks better with eco-friendly packaging.

skydiver in freefall above a portion of the coast

Big Picture 2: Dropping In Your Products

Before you can sell anything on your ecommerce store, you obviously have to set it up with your products. What might not be so obvious are some of the steps to do that most effectively. Let's get into that!

Video Marketing image: hands holding cell phone and making a selection

Guest Post: How Video Marketing Can Add Value to Your Business

Video marketing has come a long way from the era of TV ads to the present day of Youtube, TikTok, and Instagram. Use it to add value to your business.

View of Earth from orbit

The Big Picture: From platform choice for your online business to post-purchase communication and everything in between

If you think it’s time to take your business online, we agree with you, and hopefully this series on the Big Picture can help you as you do.

looking down on a baseball diamond from high in packed stands

Get in the Game: Your Subscriptions Playbook

Want to get into the subscriptions game? We at SeaMonster Studios applaud you. We think it’s a great idea. Yes, there are some things to take into consideration, as we pointed out in our last post, but overall subscriptions offer a great chance to compound your sales in a relatively easy way. Here’s how you get started.

man spinning ten plates on rods

Spin up Subscriptions to Increase Your Bottom Line

You’ve set your ecommerce store up completely and it’s humming along. Great work! With all the logistics of manufacturing, sourcing, distributing, copywriting, advertising, managing client relationships and everything else, your mind is reeling, and you wonder how you can possibly keep all the plates spinning at once, much less add any more to the mix.

cougar stretching

Case Study: Cougar Mountain Zoo

In early 2020, the zoo went from never taking online admission sales to having to rely on them to stay open. Thanks to their new site, they were able to comply with Governor’s orders. In fact, on the day the site launched, they were able to make advance tickets for their biggest fundraiser of the year, the Issaquah Reindeer Festival, available online.

line graph with arrow pointing up

How to Use Reviews as an Upsell Opportunity

Upsells increase customer lifetime value and AOV. Here’s how you can leverage reviews to create powerful upsell campaigns every single time.

black and white etching of bound and blindfolded man being made to walk the plank of a ship

Walk the Plank: Accessible Menus

Our accessibility series to this point has explored some generalities of website accessibility, but now let’s get into some of the nuts and bolts of one of the most common things I see that make sites less accommodating to users of assistive technologies: an inaccessible menu.

scuba diver swimming up to a swirl of fish

Swimming with the Fish: Accessibility Statements

You’ve worked to ensure your site is as accessible as possible; the next step is to add an accessibility statement to tell what you've done. Learn how and why to write one.

Shark looking at the camera head-on

Sharks in the Water 3: Now See Here!

You’re looking a shark (lawyer) in the eye, trying to stare it down, but you’re struck by the irony that seeing is the whole problem in the first place. The lawsuit brought against you says that your website discriminates against blind folks. What do you do?

Merchant Interview Bumpin Blends - Paul Rosenwald and Lisa Mastela - YouTube 2021-08-23 at 12.23.02 PM

Client Interview: Bumpin Blends

Paul and Lisa talk about how Bumpin Blends started, overcame challenges, and scaled their business up to get to where they are today. Check out the interview, and then check out their website at bumpinblends.com.

woman floating in water holding up hand to stop a shark nosing forward

Keeping the Sharks at Bay Part 2: Don’t move!

The sharks are circling you, but the letter they sent you didn’t mention anything about auditory challenges, so our last installment of the series left you gasping in the water, and grasping at straws rather than a life preserver. Actually, though, it probably left you standing stock-still, hoping the sharks won’t see you to attack.

Silhouette of circling sharks,Bahamas

Keeping Sharks at Bay Part 1: Your Site’s for Everyone, You Hear?

By the end of this three-step process, you’ll have addressed the various issues you face. It’s impossible to instantaneously fix everything about your website that doesn’t meet WCAG standards, but you should move forward on it, and as Wes says, document all the steps you take. In this blog post, I’ll cover what I consider the easiest prong of your compliance efforts, which is to make your site fully accessible to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing.

lady with hair swirling around head, covering eyes

Seeing is Believing Part 3: But what if they can’t see?

If you followed our advice in the first two articles in this series, you’ve got some splendid images for your page or post now, and they’re properly sized to make the biggest impact without slowing your page load time too much. Great job! But you’re not quite done yet, unless you want to expose yourself to potential legal problems.

Seeing is Believing Part 2: Not So Fast!

Seeing is Believing Part 2: Not So Fast!

Welcome to the second installment of our Seeing is Believing series. Now you’ve got a few stunning images you want to include on your website to draw people in and get them interested enough in what you have to say to actually read what you’ve written.

lady looking at camera while she gets ready to snap her fingers

Seeing is Believing Part 1: Snap Judgments

So how do you get your images right? Where do you get them, how do you recognize them when you find them, and what are some of the considerations for including them in your site?

hatchet buried into a stump

Quick and Dirty Content Creation Part 4: On Cutting Back

If you’ve followed our quick and dirty method for producing your website content, you’ve committed yourself to writing the content before you begin with your web developer. You’ve come up with the questions you want your viewers to know the answers to, and produced a lot of words to answer them. Now you'll want to cut it back to the essentials. Learn how!

Running from Javascript Episode 3: Shopify App Boilerplate with ReasonML, Hasura, Serverless.

Running from Javascript Episode 6: Shopify App Boilerplate with ReasonML, Hasura, Serverless.

Setting up a refined starting point for rapid Shopify app construction from concept to MVP.

gold nugget

Quick and Dirty Content Creation Part 3: On the Way to Striking it Rich

You’re almost ready to grab your visitors by the hand and draw them through the ether of the internet to stroll with you along the delightful riverbank of your business. Before they know it, they’ll be as entranced with the business as you are.

Running From Javascript

Running from Javascript Episode 5: Reason Bindings: Variants within Abstract Types

Setting up a refined starting point for rapid Shopify app construction from concept to MVP.

Running From Javascript

Running from Javascript Episode 4: Writing Reason Bindings to JS Module with Dot Notation

Setting up a refined starting point for rapid Shopify app construction from concept to MVP.

Running from Javascript Episode 3: Shopify App Boilerplate with ReasonML, Hasura, Serverless.

Running from Javascript Episode 3: Using React.js and ReasonReact Components Together

Your React.js (or .tsx) app doesn't have to be 100% reasonable yet but that shouldn't stop you from creating new components and features in Reason. Using React.js and ReasonReact components together is simple. You could say they were made for each other... or that one will eventually cannibalize the other.

Running from Javascript Ep 2: Adding Reason to an existing TypeScript/React Project

Running from Javascript Episode 2: Adding Reason to an existing TypeScript/React Project

Getting your web project off the ground can feel like the haphazard toss of a twelve-sided die—you’re probably surrounded by nerds, are up way past your bedtime...

What has your website done for you lately?

What has your website done for you lately?

You know your website’s main purpose is: to sell your services and products, build your credentials, and engage and convert potential clients but how do you go about best ensuring that your site is accomplishing all of this for your business?

Running from Javascript Ep1 Why Reason ML

Running From Javascript Episode 1: Why ReasonML?

Why does SeaMonster Studios develop with ReasonML? Because we prioritize simplicity, pragmatism, performance, scalability, happy and healthy developers, and satisfied clients.

Quick and Dirty Content Creation 2: Breaking and Entering

Quick and Dirty Content Creation Part 2: Breaking and Entering

Leaving behind the ghosts from your past, you now understand why it’s vitally important to the success of your website, and more especially your budget, to hammer out your content as a first step...

It’s Okay to Lose Your Head Why your online store needs to be headless

It’s Okay to Lose Your Head: Why Your Online Store Needs to be Headless

The right technology provides the foundation for a fast, brand-focused, cohesive user ex