A place where we talk SharePoint, web design, inspirations, trends and everything in between.

Category Archives: Web Design

3 Reasons Why Winning an Awwward Would Mean the Wwworld to PinkPetrol

After months and months of building, rebuilding, redesigning and then finally launching we are excited to be informed that our website had passed the nomination benchmark, making it a potential recipient of the Site Of The Day award.

We are pleased to inform you that your submission to Awwwards has been approved.

The site will be fully checked and tested by our submissions team, and then posted in our “Nominees” section and will be evaluated over 7 days by our international jury and Awwwards’ users. During this time, you have up to 5 days to modify this information in the “submissions” section of your user account.

If your submission is awarded a high enough score, the site will be placed in a queue to appear as “Site of the Day”. If successful, it will also be included in our book “The Best 365 Websites Around The World” in 2015

Well, I can tell you this there was a massive high five in the office and even if we are unsuccessful it is still an “winner” in our books – for seeing our new website and rebrand come to fruition.

Awwward Nominee for

So why are we so excited to be nominees and why do we want to win?


1. It will show we made the right decision to start again & again & again!

We have spent a fair few months, redesigning our new website, and a few more months redesigning it. Throughout these times we have often asked ourselves – why are we doing this? Shall we just get it up there and tweek? We have all collectively said – no.

If you want to do something good, then take your time and do it properly – was written on the wall. There would be no point rushing it to get it live for the sake of it. We don’t do this with our clients so why would we do it for our own website – arguably our most important one?


2. We would be the first SharePoint design company to get one

Within the SharePoint industry we are always looking to be the most creative company, to offer the most creative solutions and this for us would be amazing for all involved in the agency. Our company is a little different because again within an industry that is IT focused and in particular around the SharePoint product we are not focused on the nuts n’ bolts – but the design, branding & UI/UX side of things.


3. It would be bigger than us, putting a town on the map!

Since launching our new website the support and appreciation we’ve been shown has been simply overwhelming and again shows that we were right to rebrand and relaunch. We are based in  a small town called Telford, not only would it put the SharePoint product on the map but the town of Telford too.

With all that said, we appreciate all the votes, support, shares & likes. We feel as anagency we do a lot for a clients, which we love doing so its nice to be recognised albeit small in the  grand scale of things.

So please vote if you like our site –

Many thanks!

Mailto Equivalent for Outlook Web Apps To Create New Email Pop ups

Searching about trying to find if there was an equivilant mailto: for creating new emails in Outlook Web Apps – could we find anything! Nope! After some investigating we found out that is you add the following AFTER you OWA url it will open a new window with a new email message much like mailto: works with Outlook.

<insert OWA URL here>/?ae=item&a=new&t=IPM.note.&

Not very complicated but solved our problem, so thought we would share it.

Top 20 Examples of Creative Search Areas within SharePoint

Continuing with the series of my SharePoint Top 20, I now bring you Top 20 Examples of Creative Search Areas within SharePoint.

So let the showcase begin….

1. WesTrac Cat

WesTrac Cat

I am a keen fan of gradients which can work really well if used correctly. What I like about this search area is the way it show the users  the magnifying glass within the search input box, combined with some text and the gradient search go button – all in all I think it looks really cool and more importantly noticeable.


2. imason


Another way to show a search box is using rounded edges. Although my personal opinion is that the rounded box looks a bit out of place on a website that is predominately squared, boxed, contemporary etc.. it is a good example of another way of displaying your search box.


3. IBC Bank

I like it when a website takes the time to keep a running theme going throughout, it should be second nature but it is surprising how many sites don’t. In this case they have done just that with the go, search, site search buttons etc. What I also like is the combination of the SharePoint site search with the JQuery drop down box. A good example of what you can do with the SharePoint and web technologies combined.


4. Gevalia

I like the style of this search box with a nice and crisp outline combined with their theme colour orange background for the submit button. What I also love about this ‘go’ button is that it is in the style of a coffee mug, from a birds eye view – very clever and quirky.


5. Cable One

The reason I like this search box is because it is just a standard search box and a plain ‘go’ button, which has been placed on a polygon image, which I believe takes shape just like there logo. It is also using the same red as their branding on the top of a blue navigation bar. Although I prefer search boxes to be on the right hand side I do thing they have made this stand out enough to say ‘our search box is on the left’ !


6. Ajilon

I choose this particular site for its search, for the fact that it uses 2 buttons as well as the search box. With the traditional search area (top right) being the second place your eyes take you when you look at website, they have been clever to add some further ways to getting to information. Works well if done correctly.



The search icon is what I like about this search setup, slightly rounded on a red background in contrast to the black navigation bar underneath works great. Clean, crisp and keeping up with the developing theme.


8. West Virginia

This is a great example of pushing people to use search, which works so well if their search is set up correctly & presents correct results and as we all know search in SharePoint, if set up properly, can be fantastic. This, in my opinion is a good example of using the search functionality as a focal point for your website. Also I like the added extra of the ‘recent searches’ that other people have searched on – all in all a great search example.


9. Childine

I have obviously taken a close look at a lot of search boxes, areas, layouts etc. and I can say I haven’t really seen many search ‘go’ icons that are circular. This site does and it goes well with the circular home icon and their main telephone icon – also may I add a very important charity in the UK.


10. SOS Childrens Villages

Using my favourite blue is always going to get my attention – I say again, I love this blue! Also just like the Ajilon site they have used the top right hand corner area for their most important buttons – Search & Donate. Have you done your bit?


11. Speak.NL

Using the bright orange as the search box on the black background really works, it draws your eyes towards it and works well as the it is the sites main colour. Using a bright colour like orange on a very dark background is going to create a great contrast.


12. Right@Home

Here the combination of the menu/logo font for the example search text and the size makes this site search a feature point of this site. Big searches work, but must fit in line with the rest of the site – proportion is very important.


13. Advantive

There is some real emphasis on this search box, by making this the focal point of the site I would assume that are looking for users to use it to find information, the only down side to that is if their search is configured correctly then it will work great to find the relevant results and quickly. If not then you will be loosing people very rapidly.


14. Expedia Media

I know this post isn’t to showcase top headers (that’s the next one) but I love this top bar and I love the way the search box and go button have been incorporated into it – leading on from that the green go button works really well and compliments the blue.


15. VB Parents

When I look at this search area I do hope they meant to make the search box a part of the cloud! Because if they have it looks great, I like the idea and I like the colour contrasts used on the search ‘go’ button.


16. Cox

When viewing this site I tend to mute it, as the woman gets a little bit annoying. But what I do like about this site is the nice search box they have, large box with a subtle ‘go’ in a techy font – nothing over the top and nothing in your face – I suppose that’s the woman’s job on this site – man she is annoying!


17. Australian Government

Another example of making your search maybe too prominent! All I seem to be drawn to is the white border that I think just looks odd and out of place – remove it and you will have a nice search box there. I am  still looking at it, still looking at it….


18. Lutron

Light grey on a darker grey background with white text works, looks great and is stylish – wouldn’t you agree?


19. ARG

This is a cool example of using a texture behind the search box to give it some life, which is exactly what this site has done. I think if it was just a normal search box it would just look lost as part of the header. A simple grunge background brings this search functionality to your attention.


20. Northwestern Mutual

The best example of a corporate style search? I think so, enough said.

The 10 step Web Designers check list for backing up

A quick check list of items you need backup before you move, delete or format your system.

Picture of a check list

Recently a good friend of mine Martin Coulthurst of Lightness recently backed up his computer and asked me about various things he would need to backup, I had a think and we bounced a few things back and forth on what we need to back up, conversation ended and he did his install. The next day we spoke and he realised he forgot one or two very important things – fonts! This then prompted me to think about a little check list of items that I will be thinking about when next back!

1. Get yourself an external hard drive

With the price of external hard drives now a days there is no excuse for not having the money to buy one. Over at they have a Western Digital My Book Essential 500GB USB2.0 External Hard Drive for £62.99 – bargain! Get this and you are ready to go!

2. Documents

The treasure chest of any designer, if like me in this folder which can sometimes be called the Desktop (!) has everything saved picture files, word documents with little notes, CSS snippets and even the stray file called something informative such as smd-application3.php which a week ago was as familiar to you as your date of birth, 2 weeks down the line means nothing!

3. Browser Settings, Favourites & Add-ons

There isn’t an easy to back up your browsers settings unless you download a 3rd party tool. In my experience I find that proxy settings, browser adds-ons such as FireBug/IE Dev Tool bar are my most important ones. Best and easiest way to do this is either – take notes or print screen them into a word document.

  • To find out FireFox add-ons – Tools > Add-ons
  • To find out IE add-ons – Tools > Manage Add-ons
  • To find out Safari add-ons – Help > Installed Plug-ins
  • To find out Opera add-ons – Widgets > Manage Widgets

Favourites is also something important you want to backup, as designs and most other IT people know how annoying it is when you find something and don’t bookmark it, well that feeling is multiplied by a million when you’ve lost ALL your favourites, trust me I know.

To find your favorites they are here – C:\Documents and Settings\PCNAME\Favorites

4. Fonts

Another little designer’s paradise – all the fonts you’ve sound, all the various versions of Arial that are slightly thinner or slightly bolder. Some fonts you’ve found and probably not paid for. All these can be found within the Control Panel > Fonts.

Useful resource if you have lost all your lovely fonts –

5. MSN/SKYPE conversations

I find keeping my conversation that I have had with clients is pretty useful. Whether it be checking back on something you maybe of lightly agreed to or something you may have said to a client or something else you can’t remember, it’s pretty useful to go back and check.

If you are saving MSN conversation you can find them here – C:\Documents and Settings\COMPUTERNAME\My Documents\My Received Files\EMAILADDRESS1212445099954\History.

If you want to turn conversation saving on in MSN then open up the main MSN window – Tools > Options > Messages > Message History (at the bottom)

6. Email

I personally use Gmail and Hotmail just for the fact that if my system does die, I have this backed up online – for free! But if you are using Outlook then I recommend doing a PST backup of all the email, this may take a while so remember to stick a DVD to pass the time – I recommend the film Hunger – the story of Bobby Sands – Fantastic film.

7. Software

Everyone knows how annoying this is when you have your software suite perfect then the manufacturers go and do something intelligent like release a new version of software that is poorer than its predecessor (MSN Messenger &amp; Fireworks CS4!) or discontinue the software you are using. I tend to keep my software AND products keys backed up, I suggest you to do the same! Last thing you want is a deadline date, dead system and no software! At least if you’ve backed up you can install what you need as a short term measure. A site I recommend is OldVersion – which I am sure you can guess what the site is about.

8. Media

Pictures, Music, films or even ambient sounds of frogs or even System of a Down albums (what I use to design to) is all pretty important when you’re in the ZONE.

9. FTP site lists

If like me you have 1 FTP programme with all the sites that I look after listed, then you will be pretty annoyed if you lost all them! I do have them all saved but it is a chore having to wade through emails trying to find each and every site you look after! Even if you have then found chances are the FTP password has been changed so you have to then log in to the cPanel or dashboard to get the details so its a pretty good tip to save these!

Most FTP programs come with an export/import option that usually exports out as a CSV or text file of some kind. This option is a winner for me, I probably would use an FTP programme that doesn’t have this feature – WiseFTP 5 does and that is what I use.

10. Client list & business documents

This is probably THEE most important thing to back up, I personally carry all these on USB stick which is locked away in a fireproof, flood proof and child proof safe. My client list has all my clients’ names, emails, contact numbers and dates of work and what was done. Just imagine if you lost this? I actually feel anxious writing that! Same goes with business documents, all backed up just in case anything happens.

Top 20 UK Local Government Websites

I think it is useful to see what councils are offering people in terms of accessibility and standards.


These results are top 20 best website in the UK based on the SOCITM – “Better connected 2007 – A snapshot of all local authority websites” report. People who are looking to develop for a local government website or council partner site will find this very useful. The list isnt based on design, it is based on design, accessibility, functionality and ease of use/navigation.

awards & recognition
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