How the #OpenNOLA campaign is helping Louisiana residents after Hurricane Ida
In the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Ida, many parts of southeastern Louisiana are just barely starting to recover.
Making landfall as a near-Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 150 mph, Ida began inching towards the New Orleans area, coming closer than originally predicted. In the end, New Orleans and surrounding areas experienced a complete power blackout as Hurricane Ida destroyed all eight transmission lines feeding power into the city.
As a result of the devastation, some parts of the New Orleans area still have no power two weeks after the storm made landfall. Areas just to the west of New Orleans, such as Destrehan, Norco, and especially LaPlace have even larger areas that are still without power.
Originally created by local news station WWLTV, the #OpenNola hashtag started out in a news article containing a list of businesses that began opening to the public following the storm — many of which are essential, such as grocery stores and gas stations.
Here at IML Company, we decided to help out our neighbors and take the #OpenNOLA campaign to the next level. By creating a brand new, interactive website named after the campaign, we give visitors the option fill out a simple form and submit open businesses to add to our interactive map. Our goal for this website is simple: to give the residents of southeastern Louisiana a quick and easy way to add or view all known open businesses in the area, so that everyone affected by Hurricane Ida knows where to find essentials such as food, water, and gas.
To visit the #OpenNOLA website, go to: https://opennola.info/ and simply click “Add Business” if you have a submission.
Why are vector graphics so important, and what makes them unique?
Before I started learning web design, if someone brought up vectors, chances are I would think about physics, and something about direction and magnitude. Now, I’d think of a vector image or graphic.
You may not realize it, but on an everyday basis, you most likely come across several vector graphics. That company logo you saw on a billboard driving home? Chances are, it’s a vector graphic that was originally designed using a digital platform such as Adobe Illustrator. Think about the last website you scrolled through. If it was designed well, there were graphics and/or icons present. Some, if not all, were probably vector graphics.
So what exactly is a vector graphic?
In simple terms, vector graphics are created using mathematically defined elements known as “vector primitives”. These include points, lines, curves, and shapes. Since they are defined by a mathematical algorithm, these vector primitives are able to maintain a high image quality regardless of the graphic’s size.
Translation: if upscaled to a very large size, or if you zoom in very closely, a vector image will not become blurry or low-resolution.
You’re probably familiar with JPG images, like the ones you take with your camera or phone. Have you ever tried to expand a JPG photo to a much bigger size, only to wind up with a blurry mess? The same has probably happened if you attempted to resize a PNG image. These image types are known as “raster images”. Rather than being based on a mathematical definition, they are based on pixels — the same pixels that your computer screen display is comprised of.
So why do pixel-based images lose resolution if enlarged? Originally, every raster image is created at a certain resolution level, with a set grid containing a certain amount of pixels. The internal code of the raster image tells the computer exactly which color belongs in which pixel. If you try to enlarge the image, you are effectively “enlarging” the pixels themselves, which causes that blurry mess.
With a vector image, you never have to worry about pixels. Since the vector primitives that make up the graphic are based on mathematical algorithms, they can be infinitely enlarged or reduced to any size. You can see the difference between the enlarged raster and vector images below:
It is important to note that vector graphics can be converted into a raster format, but a raster image can NOT be transferred into a vector image. Because of this, it is always a good idea to start out with the vector format and convert to a raster image if needed.
I’ve mostly said negative things about raster images so far, but they do have their advantages. For one, JPG images are great for background images or landing pages, as long as the original photo is large and high-resolution. Raster images have the ability to display gradients (smooth transitions between different colors), while vectors do not. It is possible to incorporate “raster effects” to a vector if you want the appearance of a smooth color transition, but then your image is no longer a pure vector image.
Raster images also have the tendency to appear more life-like and realistic for the same reason listed above, whereas vector graphics and images appear less realistic. The image below gives us a side-by-side comparison.
In conclusion, both raster images and vector images have their specific uses and advantages. If you want a nice background image or some detailed pictures for your website’s gallery, stick with large, high-quality raster images. If you want to design a new logo or use some scalable icons on your website, it’s best to go with vector graphics.
The rise of the small business website is a phenomenon that has truly taken off in recent years.
The creation of the Internet brought about massive change and a wealth of new opportunities in the business world. Marketing, advertising, sales and business promotion changed drastically, and continue to change as the internet grows and reaches more and more people worldwide. With this change came the rise of the small business website. According to the Chamber of Commerce, as of 2021, 71% of small businesses now have a website.
If you’re an entrepreneur with a new startup, chances are you won’t be doing all your advertising and business promotion solely through the local newspaper or radio stations — why spend the time and resources when the internet is much more powerful, effective, and essentially limitless in scope? When your business first launches, you may rely initially on word-of-mouth to promote your business. Of course, you will have family and friends within your inner circle who will support you and spread the news. But, just like newspaper and radio, this type of promoting and advertising can only reach so far and is very limited.
With all this considered, you already have an important reason to get a website for your business. But advertising and promoting your business is not the only thing you need to consider in order for your business to succeed. What about building your brand? Establishing a relationship with existing customers and gaining new ones? Knowing your local competition? Having an online presence will make all of the above much easier.
There are plenty of resources out there describing in more detail why a website is essential for your startup, and how it will drastically increase your rate of success. To learn more about the specific benefits of having a website for your small business, check out this article by GoDaddy: 7 reasons you need a small business website.
Pastel colors. What comes to mind when you think of them?
Maybe it’s Easter eggs, or the color of the walls in your nursery when you were a baby. Maybe you think of vintage clothing and accessories, or the obsession with pastel home interiors and cars in the 1950’s and 60’s. Chances are, you don’t think of pastel colors in web design right off the bat.
Pastels are a unique and easily distinguishable group of colors. Essentially, they are a lighter-tinted version of the base colors. “Pastel” is often used interchangeably with words such as “light” or “pale” when describing certain shades of color: pale blue, light blue, pastel blue, as an example. No matter how you refer to them, pastel colors have many common denominators. They are low-intensity thanks to decreased saturation, making them easy on the eyes. The typical vibe of pastel colors is gentle, calm, and often nostalgic.
Though they are often used in many other areas of design, such as art or fashion, pastel colors can be tricky to work with when designing a website. At IML Company, we understand the challenge from firsthand experience. How do you make a peach color fit in beside baby blue? A powder-pink next to seafoam green? Should the colors be used in the background, or as an image overlay, or both?
Fortunately, there are resources available to find the answers to these questions and provide inspiration for your design. When experiencing designer’s block, a little research can go a long way. It isn’t about directly copying a specific design from somebody else; simply discovering how other designers have incorporated tricky color schemes into their websites can lead you to come up with your own unique ideas and get you un-stuck in your design.
Check out this article from designmodo to learn more about working with pastel colors in website design.
IML Company recently created a new support portal for our clients to utilize. This new ticketing system allows our clients to contact us in the event that they need assistance. Clients are also welcome to email firstname.lastname@example.org anytime, and a ticket will be generated for them automatically.