Odyssey Parenting Your Teen Website

odyssey-themeWe recently built a fairly large site for Odyssey Parenting in Northern Ireland with bespoke functionality.

This site uses wordpress as a platform and has a multi user login system for administrators and trainers running Parenting Your Teen courses for the team at Odyssey.

There is an interesting process flow and a number of technologies that were used to achieve it.  Trainers apply to run the programme via the front end, which starts the process and admins then can approve trainers after vetting process.  Once approved trainers can then apply for courses for parents to attend.  Once these are approved the course is displayed via a map on the front end so that parents can apply.

The map was built using and SVG file which makes it fully responsive and interactive http://www.odysseyparenting.org/for-parents/find-a-programme/   the data fed to the SVG comes from the trainers database and so it generates the code on the fly to display the map.

Once a course is up and running stress level questionnaires are automatically delivered to parents before and after a course and are filled in via special links sent to them via email.

Administrators also have a full back office to explore attendance levels and improvements in stress levels amongst parents through filtering based on an array of demographics.

It was a challenging project, but we relished the challenge and produced a result that Odyssey were happy with. Here’s what Odyssey said about us…

“It has been a privilege working with Cian Foley in the design and development of our Odyssey, Parenting Your Teen website. His friendly, fast and efficient, delivering our brief was on time, within budget. From conception to completion of the website, his advice on what would work best for us was always smart and insightful. We would highly recommend working with Cian. Odyssey, Parenting Your Teen website is everything we wished for and more. The feedback from practitioners has been very positive. Cian was and is available, looked after us personally and no question went unanswered. Cian’s advice and assistance throughout the process has been invaluable. He is experienced and dedicated which has really helped us to design and implement our website quickly and effectively and designed to a superior standard, giving us the serious online presence that we needed. We will continue our excellent relationship with Cian Foley.”

– Maria Rogan, Director for Operations

McNally Denture Clinic Website Launched

mcnallyUTD Web Design has just launched the new McNally Denture Clinic Website.  McNally Denture  specialises in the on-site clinical treatment for patients who require dentures. They also supply fitted gum shields for professional sports players such as Sean O’Brien, Leinster and Ireland Rugby Star, currently taking part in the Rugby World Cup.

The site was designed around the existing brand. To really bring out the logo we placed it on the green background used in their signage, and used the dark grey and white in the theme, with a subtle paper background texture complement it.

The site has a standard layout and so should have a familiar user experience for most users on both mobile and desktop browsers. The design is responsive so resizes well to the various screen sizes it was test on.

Professional images, which were supplied to us, give the site a real lift and we utilised them in the slider on the homepage and throughout the site.

Some cool little features include the embedded facebook feed on the homepage of the site, which uses the look of the site rather than the standard facebook widget look and feel, which can look out of place on a site. On the location page we have a google map that shows some nice places to have coffee nearby in Carlow.  There is also a handy dentist referral form on the site.

The site is built using wordpress and we have installed plugins for SEO, Security, Social media, Analytics and so on, so that the site is future proofed for the client.

Here’s what the team at McNally Denture Clinic had to say about us:

“Thanks once again Cian at UTD Web Design. From the very start of our journey you listened and understood what we wanted to achieve and we are delighted with the result today! Looking forward to working with you in the future. Paul, Olivia & all at McNally Denture Clinic.

You can view the website here: http://www.mcnallydentureclinic.ie

Or give McNally Denture Clinic a like on facebook here

Waterford Harvest Festival Food Menu

rasher-blaaThis Waterford Food Menu appeared in the Deise Dictionary Two (Tew), which I published back in 2007. It’s hard to believe it was 8 years ago now, with the first book being almost 10 years old!

I thought it would be apt to post it given the Waterford Harvest Festival has just come and gone over the weekend…

The image shows a common rasher blaa, which is of course a truly Waterford invention, with the modern curing process and hence the rasher having been patented here by Denny when they were based here.  Throw in an oul sausage, a black puddin, maybe an egg and some red sauce and you’ll be on de ball.

Below are some of the more traditional Waterford culinary delights on offer in the Déise…


A Déise Menu

~Appetizers~
Red Lead Blaa (the classic)
Dillix (dilisk) & Butthur Sangwich (mmm salty)
Blaa Butty with Lettuce and Salad Crayme
Denny Rashers on Jacob’s Crackers (both invented in Waterford)
Scallops (Sliced spuds battered and deep fried… soooo good)
Packet of Tay-ho in a Blaa (A full on Meath/Waterford taste explosion)

~Main Courses~
Skirt & Kidney Stew
Crubeens (Pigs Trotters) with Ghrribs & Tails
Offal Stew (Chucks, Back & Loin Bones, Puzzlers etc.)
Tripe with milk & ungins
Cappoquin Chicken Blaanini

(All served with poppies and slouhcawn)

~Desserts~
Goody (on a saucer)
Cream Buns (remember de cream?)
Slab Cake / Chesthur Bread
Waterford
Soda Bread
Sally Luns

~Refreshments~
Mug o’ Scald / Cup o’ Cha
A Layarge Bohhel offa de Shellef
A Ritz for de lack
A can of Hoppmans
Clonmel Chardonnay
Downes’ no. 9 mix
A Bohhel o’ Phoenix



Obviously we can add a few more craft beers since then like Metalman and Dungarvan… Is there anything else left off the menu???

HSMC Dungarvan Website Launched

hsmc-screenshotHigh Street Medical Centre Dungarvan or HSMC Dungarvan, are a group of doctors and nurses based in the centre of Dungarvan town.

I was approached by the team there to produce a professional website for their practice.

Provided with their logo from a compliment slip we recreated the logo and created a clear and crisp responsive web design from the colours in the logo.  Using the orange as the highlight colour and the grey for menu, footer etc.

To launch the site we liaised with their hosting providers and also provide onsite training to ensure that they had the confidence to edit the site themselves going forwards, included in this we installed an SEO plugin for the Content Management System which allows them to target keywords for specific pages on the site, a critical point of focus for any successful website.

Best of luck to Sinead, Jean and Jackie  with the new website.  Hopefully HSMC Dungarvan’s customers will find the information they are looking for quicky and easily through the website on both mobiles and desktop computers.

“Cian from UTD Web Design came on site and took our requirements from us and then using our existing branding created a very clean looking website for us.  Cian uploaded all of our initial content to the site for us and advised us in many areas including registration with search engines, copyright issues and so on.   UTD provided us with a professional, friendly, straightforward web design service and produced a very user friendly and easy to navigate website for our clients. They also provided us with a wordpress training session so that we can update the site ourselves going forward. We would have no hesitation in recommending UTD Web Design for similar work.”

– Dr. Sinead Wright MB BCh BAO MRCGP DFFP

Zero Spend on Marketing since 2008

money-for-nothingI quit a well paid, pensionable job in WIT in 2007 to start my own business.  I was a principle investigator / lead researcher on various projects in the TSSG and brought in lots of funding based on my ideas.

I left the TSSG and went on the SEEPP programme, which was ideal as it offered a level 9 qualification as well as time to develop an idea and a small grant to cover the cost of the day we spent on the course each week.  During that time I developed slang.ie (which needs an overhaul), a book entitled ‘For Focal Sake‘ and a business plan to take the enterprise forward and globalise it. Sadly, I didn’t get the grant funding I required to progress my business afterwards from Enterprise Ireland even though I won the best startup at the South East Enterprise awards that year. 

Slang.ie made some money from google ads and through book sales but it wasn’t enough to sustain a family in Ireland so I had to supplement this with other work so I began contracting out my web development skills.  I had done some work previously obviously with my own projects www.upthedeise.com and www.slang.ie so I knew my way around SEO and viral marketing over facebook.  So I set up UTD Web Design and Waterford Web Design.ie

What I had that maybe some others in the industry did not have is a keen insight into Search Engine Optimisation, and a process that really works.  I implemented a basic SEO plan for both websites and since then I have spent absolutely nothing on marketing and yet I am constantly getting leads through my site.  On many occasions I have turned away business.

What I did was got to the best position for my main key phrases e.g. Waterford Web Design and a many others.    I’ve also blogged on non-related topics that get people in and aware of the brand too.  Only a week ago a client told me they picked my service because I was in the top position (on the advice of  a friend).  They reckoned that if my site was being found so would theirs.

I suppose the disadvantage of not needing to advertise is that it means that I don’t engage as much as I should with local businesses at networking events etc. but I find that any spare time I have is better spent focussing on my own fitness and vitality because I need to stay fit an healthy to provide for my family for the foreseeable future, unless my next big idea really kicks off.

To be honest, I am earning comparable money to what I earned in research, but my quality of life now is 100 times better.  I am not chasing any sort of different life to what I have, I’m thankful for every moment of it, for being healthy, strong and being able to enjoy moments with friends and family every day.  I really appreciate my clients, old and new and most of them understand that if I’m not available, I’m probably up jumping into a lake in the comeraghs or lifting kettlebells or enjoying a coffee in Kilmeaden Cake Supplies or the Holy Cross, or working hard on a niggly bit of code for another client or doing my tax returns (grrrrr!).

I am so thankful.

Guess what? I’m a European Kettlebell Lifting Champion LOL

european-kettlebell-championI still can’t believe it but on Monday, the 13th of July, 2015, I (Cian Foley) won the 78-85kg (bodyweight) Amateur European Kettlebell Championships in Golden Sands in the Long Cycle (Clean and Jerk) event, Varna District, Bulgaria YAY!

I managed to score 76 reps but had 5 no counts so I’m quite pleased with the performance as it was hot and sticky on the day.  You can see my grip failing (on the right in the video below) at the end because the bells handles were like a bar of soap due to the heat and humidity.

I’ve trained very hard over the past few months at Peak Fitness under the instruction of Rosaleen Flynn and luckily I had enough in the bag to dig it out in the end and finish in first place.

I won the Amateur Mens Long Cycle event in the 78-85kg bodyweight division beating stiff competition from Sweden and Norway. In this event, we Clean and Jerk 2x24kg (approx. 7 stone and 8lbs between them) kettlebells as many times as possible in 10 minutes. It’s very demanding on the cardiovascular system and gets progressively tougher as the time goes on, eventually utilising the anaerobic system for the final sprint (if you have anything left at that point).

If you’re interested in having a go at Kettlebell sport and you’re from Waterford look up Waterford Kettlebell Club at Peak Fitness (if you’re not from Waterford there are loads of clubs around Ireland affiliated to the AIKLF).

Kettlebell sport has changed my life transforming me from being very unfit and overweight (18 stone) to being at a very high level of fitness and 13 stone in about 3 years, and European Champion to boot. YIPEE!!!

Who’d have thunk it!

Now back to web design…

Pluto on Pluto – What are the Chances?

On the left is the first picture of Pluto unveilled by NASA… Is it just me or does anyone else find the silhouette of Walt Disney’s Pluto’s head on it uncanny?

I’ve superimposed Disney’s Pluto’s head on the right in case anyone doesn’t see it!

Bizzare huh!!!

Walt Disney's Pluto on the Face of Pluto

Walt Disney’s Pluto on the Face of Pluto

What they can’t take from Waterford

saleens-sunset (Custom)I’ve been thinking about Waterford a lot of late and our offering to tourists both national and international, and also our job situation and the fact that so much is being pilfered and taken from us and I think that we need to go back to basics… what is it that makes Waterford unique and special, and what can we build on that they can never take away.

We’re lucky to still have the glass, but unfortunately, this just brings in daytrippers, who spend plenty of money in the glass but not around the city before they head off to kiss the blarney stone.  We had a scare recently and the glass could be moved from Waterford and we know Kilmeaden cheddar is made elsewhere now for example.

Other treginalds-tower (Custom)hings that have been taken or at least part set up elsewhere, however,  the most disastrous one was losing our city status, which was blessed and passed by many of our then elected Councillors (many didn’t get re-elected but have any lessons been learned?).  They promised we would still be a city, that nothing would change but we don’t have a city mayor anymore (we have some metropolitan hybrid) and in the local Governments act we can simply call ourselves a city (or pretend we still are).  Anyone with Waterford blood coursing through their veins should see that act for what it was and never forgive it until it is completely reversed.

 

So what can’t they take and can we build on this?  I think so?

gaulstown-dolmen (Custom)For me, growing up, Waterford was always about family adventures (not just families with kids but couples and friends too, who want an adventure but not run a marathon over mountain range whilst being chased by minotaurs).  Now I know that the west is great at this sort of thing but it seems to be more rugged and wild (certainly Bord Failte think so).  Waterford on the other hand, though still rugged, has it’s own spectacular beauty and it can be enjoyed by families.  So I was thinking about a list of things that we have that cannot be taken that can be promoted, and Paul Dower, of Waterford in Your Pocket has been doing a great job promoting them.  Some of these things include:

Ground Zero:

– City fabric: historic pubs, local artisan shops, walls and museums, food and culture

metalman-coast (Custom)Within 10 miles:

– Fabulous beaches  incuding woodstown, dunmore, tramore, annestown
– Town offerings: great restaurants and pubs in coastal villages, jack meades, spinnaker, the vic etc.
– Megalithic history: dolmens like gaulstown, knockeen etc.
– Suir valley, which will soon be an unreal greenway
– Gardens such as Mt. Congreve and now Curraghmore opening up
– Playgrounds such as people’s park, fenor bog etc.

coumshingaun-chopper (Custom)Within 30 miles:

– Mountain range with magic hill, beautiful falls, accessible drives and fabulous corrie lakes (untouched)
– Walks at Rathgormack side, hanoras cottage, beautiful nire valley
– Magical little walks like crough wood, newtown, colligan
– Amazing beaches all the way to Ardmore

towers-of-ballysaggartmore (Custom)

West Waterford

– Ballysaggartmore towers
– Lismore castle and town
– Dungargvan and it’s countless pubs, restarurants, history, mannicured parks etc.
– Ardmore tower, cliff house, st. declans well, cliff walks
– An Rinn (only gaeltacht this side of Ireland)
– All the way to youghal there’s blackwater, cappoquinn, villierstown, mt. mellary, the vee

ballysaggart-waterfall (Custom)So many amazing spots, enough to fill 2 weeks for any tourist and I’m just chucking this out from the top of my head.

When I was with my wife first we used to love exploring together, now we do it with the kids… yeah we were limited for a few years but as they grow they take on more and more of these experiences and we get pleasure showing them, and a blaa with saussies and red sauce on the side of the road never goes astray.

lismore-ducks (Custom)So, the bottom line is this.  They can’t take these things from us, lets build on it, sing it from the rooftops more and show people how brilliant Waterford really is.  If they use Waterford city and Dungarvan and the other towns and villages as bases money will be spent etc. which will create sustainable jobs as the word spreads about it.

We’ve undersold these assets in the past, nobody else can claim them, but their beauty can claim hearts.

That’s what we should be targetting.

Entertainment Venue for Waterford North Quays?

Gig StageI love the fact that something is being done about the North Quays and the fact that the council have gotten it to a stage where it can be pushed forward. Even it’s demolition will be an improvement as it is an eyesore, though most of our brains just ignore it at this point. Tourists see it very clearly though when they visit and it is ugly to them so anything would be an improvement.  I think it’s a pity that even one of the buildings has to be kept for historic reasons.

I love the bridge. Perhaps it could be covered all the way across, like the corridor from the car park to the terminals in Dublin Airport as it can get very windy. This would be nice for people who get the train here and want to walk to the city centre.

I’m not sure about more offices in the city as we can’t fill the ones we already have… I would much prefer to see something that would push Waterford forward as the capital of the region like an entertainment arena/conference centre.  I would like to see huge acts come to perform here, like they do at the Glenn Eagle in Killarney or the Odyssey in Belfast.  The Forum wasn’t big enough for huge acts to come here, and there’s nothing really like that in the region so it would really add to the cool factor of Waterford if we built something that could hold 3K+ people for big events.  Something like that can be a success with the right marketing and given the site is at the end of the motorway, and train station it is really convenient.  It would bring a huge amount of money to the city as people exiting gigs visit our pubs, restaurants, hotels etc.

The North Quays also bake in the sun in the summer, so it would be nice if it became an entertainment centre with some nice restaurants, cafes, maybe a bar etc.  A cool place to hang out for adults and families with a fantastic view of our city’s quays.  It could be lit up at night calling out to the people of the city to come visit, just as the city would call to people who exit the venue after a gig has finished.   I’d consider moving the bus depot there too, especially if the bridge is covered and make it a hive of activity for people traveling to and from Waterford.

We need to think a lot bigger here in Waterford.  If we build it they will come!

Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights over Waterford

I saw a report last night from Waterford Weather’s facebook page (give them a like) about a possible rare view of the Aurora Borealis as far south as Waterford.

It was about 12.30am last night so I went outside for a look and it looked like there was a sunset happening to the North! I know it’s North because the sun sets in the direction of the Comeragh Mountains.  It wasn’t the city lights because I am in Orchardstown and that is well to the East. I installed an app on my phone to find due North and looked in that direction towards the sky to make sure I wasn’t going crazy.

There was definitely a green haze to the ‘sunset’ so I took a couple of photos with my phone so apologies for the quality.

11403112_10207027068012715_9109270008841084122_n

I went up to my attic to get a higher shot and kept the camera steady on the roof and got this shot also…

11238729_10207027142814585_3273033496499016725_n

It wasn’t flickering like you’d see in the movies but you could clearly see the green haze as it was such a clear night.