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Here at Formulate Digital, we specialise in designing and developing innovative software, high-performance web and mobile applications. We offer a complete service from consultancy, design, development, hosting and support so you can focus on what really matters.

Our passion is solving complex problems with robust solutions using the latest technology. Whether it's a transformation to your existing systems or scoping a new project, we'll ensure you achieve digital success.

No matter what stage of your digital journey you're on, our team of experts will give you everything you need to succeed in a rapidly changing digital landscape.

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A team of expert, UK based developers dedicated to you.

Bring your ideas to life with rapid prototyping and development.

Future-proof your tech with robust frameworks.

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we’re your go-to digital partner.

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Don’t be hemmed in by the limitations of ‘off the shelf’ software products. With our bespoke software solutions, anything is possible.

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We specialise in high-performance websites, web applications and bespoke eCommerce solutions that will continue to grow your business.

Mobile Applications

Increase customer engagement and get ahead of the competition with an intuitive IOS and Android App.

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Our team of experts will provide you with the tools you need to overcome digital challenges and reach your goals.

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We've provided our services to a wide range of industries, many of which sit within the FinTech, SME and FMCG industries.

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Catch up with the latest news.

Apache Log4j vulnerabilities statement

Apache Log4j vulnerabilities statement


Formulate Digital have completed a comprehensive audit of its systems including the web platforms, APIs and hosted solutions, and has reasonably established that Formulate Digital is not impacted by the Apache Log4j vulnerabilities identified as CVE-2021-44228 and CVE-2021-45046. Formulate Digital is continuously monitoring the situation and will publish further updates as this situation unfolds. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to us at info@formulatedigital.co.uk

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Making the web accessible for all

Making the web accessible for all


But, on this occasion, it's not just about organic search rankings. Whether it's a vision, mobility or hearing disability, or making sure your site works effectively on different devices or browsers; it's about making your site simple for everyone to use. In 1999 the Web Accessibility Initiative first published the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These address the issues that many internet users face and, as responsible web developers and business owners, it's what we can do to make life that little bit easier.  There are four main principles the WCAG are organised under: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. It can feel like a minefield, but we've broken it down into manageable chunks that will help you create a positive user experience and get your site closer to meeting Level AA of the WCAG (2.0). Paint the rainbow The use of colour plays a big part in creating an engaging and eye-catching website design; however, taking a moment to carefully consider the colour palette can make all the difference to accessibility and inclusivity.  What should you consider? Use plenty of contrasting colours so those with visual impairments can differentiate between information. Low contrast colours are harder to perceive, particularly when it comes to text and the background it sits on. To meet WCAG level AA, all fonts should have a contrast ratio equal to or greater than 4:5:1 for normal-sized text and 3:1 for large text (size 14 /18.66px and above). A useful free tool to guide you is the contrast checker developed by WebAIM, which will analyse the contrast ratio of your forefront and background colours. It's vital to ensure enough contrast between the text and the background so those with moderately low vision can still read the content without contrast-enhancing technology. A recommendation is that colour should not be the only visual means to convey information, indicate an action or prompt user response. It's best practice to pair colour with an element, for example, a symbol or text, so those who have difficulty distinguishing colours can still understand the information. It's a good thing to remember that if someone doesn't NEED to see a part of your design or the information you're trying to convey, then why is it there in the first place? Keep designs simple. Text size & heading A big part of any website is the text, which includes the content, size and style. The text you place on your site is there to capture, engage and inspire your audience. If a user can't read or understand the information you're trying to tell them, it could mean the difference between winning or losing a sale. What should you consider? Keep what you're writing easy to understand for people of all abilities. Sometimes using complicated words, unusual phrases, or industry jargon can leave people feeling baffled. If it is not possible to use clear and straightforward language, it might be a good idea to provide definitions.  Add structure to your text and optimise for screen readers. Optimising your content to work efficiently with a screen reader will help users navigate your web pages. The best practice is to use correct heading formats (H1, H2 and H3) instead of a bold typeface to provide a hierarchy and help a reader understand the order of the content. Another method of optimising for screen readers is to use descriptive alt text. Screen readers rely on alt text to describe out loud the context of an image. Alt text has other benefits, such as boosting SEO and providing a caption if your web page doesn't load correctly. Did you know that most social media providers support alt text on image social media posts? Keyboard navigation is essential To meet WCAG Level AA criteria, it must be possible to navigate a website smoothly using a keyboard or keyboard alternative. People with limited eyesight or reduced mobility rely on a variety of assistive technologies, such as screen readers, speech input or sip-and-puff software, or on-screen keyboards. Meaning the layout of your website could impact how these assistive technologies work and cause a negative impact on user experience.  What should you consider? When planning your page layout, it's essential to navigate sequentially through content. The tab flow should follow the visual flow of pages - left to right, top to bottom: header, main navigation, content buttons, inputs followed by the page footer. The order a user encounters information must be consistent and intuitive. Another consideration is keeping the page length to a minimum. Tabbing through long menus or multiple links can be demanding for people with mobility disabilities, and listening to lengthy links can be draining. Again, keeping it simple is key.  Functionality needs to be predictable for the user to avoid confusion. So, for example, when the user tabs their way through the website page and meets a component that can trigger an event, the keyboard focus must not change until the user acts. The aim is to prevent user control from being taken unexpectedly.  Keep the navigation focus visible. Web browsers provide default Focus Indicators. Usually, a border or lined box highlights the interactive elements as users tab their way through the page. To meet WCAG Level AA indicators are a requirement, and to remove them is a direct violation of the guidelines. You should only remove Focus Indicators if you update the design with something bespoke and more on brand. Presentation of non-text content  Technology has come a long way, and the way we use the internet has evolved. Websites and web apps have become more interactive, and we're consuming content in more creative formats. There are a few watch-outs for presenting this content and making it more accessible for all.  What should you consider? Form input needs to be clear, concise and accessible to all. Avoid using form placeholder text as a label. I know it's tempting to go with this style to make the form design simple and modern. However, placeholder text is often skipped because a screen-reader will only read the <label> elements on a form.  Video content is becoming one of the most popular ways to consume content on websites and social media. You may have noticed that videos and presentations tend to have captions these days, and it's important you include this on your videos too. The use of captions means that people who have limited hearing abilities can still enjoy the content. This may seem like a strange one to think about but be mindful of where you place emojis and how many you use. Don't forget screen readers will read out pretty much everything. That cute row of laughing faces would read: "Laughing face of joy", "Laughing face of joy", "Laughing face of joy". As you can imagine, it can be pretty annoying for those using a screen-reader and can interrupt the flow.   Avoid: Repeating an emoji over and over Placing emojis throughout a message   Placing a call to action after an emoji can cause it to be missed Do: Use up to three emojis if you like. Most blind people get a kick out of the descriptions Put vital information before the emojis so they're more likely to be heard Position emojis at the end of a sentence or piece of text to improve screen reader experience                                                             So there is it, just a few of the things you can do to help make the internet a friendlier place for everyone. And to top it all off, don't forget to make your designs responsive, so whatever the device or browser, your users can still enjoy the optimum experience. Our designers at Formulate Digital follow the accessibility guidelines and design using mobile-first principles, so we know that our websites and applications will be effective and simple for everyone.  If you want to read more about the WCAG, you can do so here, but if you need pointing in the right direction or could do with some technical advice, don't hesitate to get in touch.

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Protecting the public with bespoke software

Protecting the public with bespoke software

Case Study

There are expected standards that alternative healthcare practitioners must adhere to before being featured in the database. Once a Healthcare practitioner has been approved, they can register their services on the database. Effectively, it's a directory with a whopping 19,000+ alternative healthcare providers the public knows they can trust. However, it's far more complicated than other online directories you may have used before. Due to the nature of the industry and how thorough the registration process needs to be to ensure practitioners are genuine, it called for something complex.  The Situation: Unfortunately, our client had outgrown their current registration system. Over the years, processes had evolved, and their system could no longer provide the flexibility and dependability required. The database had become outdated and couldn't cope with the quantity of data held there. It was slow, clunky to use and had no scalability. It was also fully hardcoded, making it impossible to make updates easily without a developer's expertise. These issues had a knock-on effect by reducing the team's productivity and impeded the front-end user experience. And, because the web database is the one-stop place for the public to find a safe alternative health care practitioner, it was definitely time to upgrade. The Solution: A standard "off the shelf" software application wouldn't be fit for purpose, so the only way forward was to develop a bespoke software solution. Working closely with our clients, we developed a fully customised customer management system that met their exact requirements. The new framework can now support a complex registration process, efficiently manages masses of backend data and clearly presents the front-end data when requested. It also utilises an integrated, online third-party payment provider to manage subscription plans with ease. At the beginning of every project, we listen to our client's needs and establish their long-term objectives. This is so important for our developers to deliver the best possible product and ensure they use the right tools for the job. For this bespoke build, it was agreed that a Rails backend database with a customer-facing React sign-up process would provide the solution our client was looking for. React comes into its own for single-page applications due to its dynamic nature. It offers an improved user experience by supporting complex single-page forms, which reduces clicks and means fewer page loads. The Rails framework is best suited to backend operations such as database querying and management, so vast quantities of practitioner data is no challenge. Combining the superpower of both React and Rails produces a dynamic, reliable and stable product. And because they're open-source, there's also the foundation for growth in the future.  A big part of the business is offering a subscription package to practitioners. Opayo (formally known as SagePay) is one of the most reliable payment providers and is trusted by thousands of companies worldwide, so using Opayo was a no-brainer! The previous payment process had a few connectivity issues, which could confuse users. Still, with a new robust framework and clean code, it was easily fixed. The final aspect of the user journey was to integrate Google Maps. When potential new patients are looking for practitioners, the map will highlight who is in their area. These results can be filtered by practitioner name, therapy and a range of distances. Patients can then use the contact information or website URL to find out more. The Result: The final product is a robust, streamlined registration process and a web-app database that is dynamic, scalable and focused on user experience. What was a confusing registration form is now much easier to complete, and the database search function has been upgraded, allowing for a smoother front-end search function.  Also, we've made sure the CMS is entirely customisable, so the team can independently customise the user journey without the need for a developer. This means in a fast-paced environment; edits can be made faster. If you're looking for something a bit different, get in touch for a free consultation. No project is too big or too small; we can help you formulate your future.

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