Best Practices 2020

simple design

Simple design is good design

There is a lot of non-sense out there and a lot of bad decisions when it comes to the look and design of your website

This is my attempt to steer you in the right direction.  Let’s make websites that don’t suck!

Why is it that design is so important?  Well, there are studies that show that it takes a visitor a whopping .05 second to make an opinion about your website.  Now, I don’t know if that’s true, I read it online.  That seems awfully fast to me.

Here’s what I do know, your website for sure doesn’t load that fast.  And, it doesn’t matter what the actual time is, we all know that people make near instant judgements.  So you have to make that first impression a good one, other wise your visitor will just go to one of the million other sites out there.

Another important number to note, 40% users will leave a website that has a layout that they don’t like.  So how do you avoid this?  Your best bet, is to keep you design simple.

Think about how many people use Google.  The homepage of Google is one of the simplest designs out there.  Now you don’t have to copy Google, but be more like big G, not less.

  1. Keep Text to a Minimum

Now like everything, this depends, but unless you are writing an investigative journalism article, keep your text to a minimum.  A good general rule is to use less than you think you need.  Basically this rule applies mostly to homepages and landing pages that get a lot of traffic.

Think about it.  How often do you go to a homepage and it’s an article?  Unless it’s a blog roll, the text should be simple and to the point.

I often suggest to web designers to study some basic direct response copywriting.  The founder of a design company told me about this and it’s been a great shortcut.  A copywriter is very aware of not only the words they use, but how they take up space.  You’ll get a lot of benefit that is helpful to your design projects if you understand the basics of copywriting.

  1. Short. Sentences.

Did you read?

What I wrote above?

This is from copywriting.

Ok.  I’ll stop.

Here’s a great article to read about this: Basic Copywriting for Web Designers (and Why It Matters!)

  1. Calls To Actions Need To Be Obvious

Do not make your visitor guess what you want them to do.  Do not even make your visitor think.  Tell them, like they are a little child, exactly what you need them to do.

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And you are going to want to put this call to action, that is clear and concise, in a very obvious place on the page.  And then your going to want to put it on another obvious place.  For example a FREE SIGN UP button might be good right in the middle of the page, and then again at the top right of the page as well.

  1. Navigation Should Be Simple

Have you ever gone to a website and there are top level nav bar and side bar with all manner of buttons as well?  Have you ever hovered over the top level navigation and the drop down that appears if just overwhelming?

complicated navigation menu

It’s not easy to simplify you navigation, heck even Amazon’s site is a bit too much, but it definitely helps your user.

Have you ever gone to the store to buy some spaghetti sauce.  You think it will be a simple task of just getting some sauce, until you are confronted with the mega isle of 1,000 different sauces.  And that’s just the red sauce.  And then you are paralyzed because you can’t figure out which one you want.

It’s because you have too many choices.

This is the same thing that happens when you have to many things in your navigation.  It overwhelms the user and they will usually just leave your website.  As always, best to keep it simple.

  1. Mobile Friendly Page

Ok, this is an important distinction to make, you need to not only pass Google’s Mobile Friendly Test, but your site needs to actually be useful to a human using a cell phone.  So yes, definitely make sure you pass Google’s test, but also bring up you site on an actual phone and see how it works.

You’d be surprised how many sites can pass the Google test, but not the human one.  The human mobile friendly test is more important!

  1. Make It Easy To Get To The Homepage

This is so important that it can be overlooked.

You always want to have your logo on the top right of your screen, even on mobile devices, and your logo need to be clickable.  And when your user clicks on the logo it needs to take them to your homepage.

Also, by having your logo on every page and having it clickable to the homepage, you don’t need to have a redundant button labeled “Home”, because your logo takes care of this for you.

  1. Be Consistent With Your Color Scheme

Branding is all about consistency in all your messages and this extends down to your colors that those messages are on.

Is the logo of the company green and white?  If so you’re going to want to stick to predominately those two colors.  And remember, think like real, big brands.  Think of branding like Coke.

Coca-Cola always uses not only the same font for their logo, they use the exact same color red on everything.  I guess technically they also use white, but you understand the point I’m making.

So, how can you put this into action?  In a word simplify.  Remove stuff, words, images, colors, navigation elements, and everything else that is unnecessary.  Answer the question that the visitor has, then move them to the action you want them to take as quickly as possible.



One Day Tours Around

seattle boat tours

Sightseeing on a Boat in Seattle is a Blast

Seattle Washington is great place to visit if you have never been there.

Washington, part of the Oregon Territory is rich with history and will leave you wanting to discover more about it. The state of Washington is known for its rainy days, legal cannabis and legal same sex marriages. Seattle, where the headquarters for Amazon and Microsoft, is great place to visit if you like the water.

There are many different water attractions there for you and your family. One of the most iconic landmarks in Seattle is the 1969 Space Needle. It stands tall and proud in the skyline and is noticeable from miles away. If you plan on visiting Seattle you might want to consider one of the many boat tours or cruises that the city has to offer. Let’s take a look at some of the different boat tours that you can enjoy while you are there.

Scenic Boat Cruises

The scenic, or sightseeing cruises, will offer you a cruise around Seattle in a group setting. These tours can last anywhere from one hour to four hours depending on what package you choose. They have tours that are geared for families, large groups, smaller groups, or even wine cruises that cater to couples. These tours will take you into the harbor and on Lake Washington and will give a panoramic view of the city. Most of the scenic tours will have full bar on board and nonalcoholic beverages as well. You can expect for your tour to be narrated and you can also expect for about fifty to seventy five passengers to be on board with you.

Seattle Ferry Day Tours

Washington State Ferries is the largest ferry system in the world and it has about twenty eight vessels in its fleet. Not all ferries operate all of the time but between all the ferries in their fleet there will be at least one or more ferries available to you all year round. The state ferries operate anywhere between Washington and Alaska and some of the ferries are even equipped to take you and your automobile on board. The price of the use of these ferries will vary depending on the time of year, where you are going and what type of automobile you will be bringing on board.

Dinner Cruises

These types of cruises are perfect for a romantic date night. You will receive first class service with a five star rates chef prepared meal. Appetizers and a great bottle of wine are a must when you take a dinner cruise around Seattle. Dinner cruise vessels can accommodate anywhere from ten to two hundred people so unless you rent out the entire boat you can expect to have at least a hundred other people on your vessels with you. There is assigned seating so you won’t have to worry about scrambling to get the best table and you will have to make reservations in order to get on the boat. Children menus are typically available for children under the age of five and senior citizen discounts are available through most tour companies.

Day Trip Boat Ride

Day trip boat rides are typically used by people who want to go from Seattle to Canada. You can purchase a one way or round trip ticket for this journey and the price will cost you about one hundred dollars for a round trip tickets and about fifty dollars for a one way ticket. On the boat you will have luxury seats with room to stretch your legs and you can also enjoy shopping in the duty free gift shop which means no sales tax will be added to your purchase. Most of these types of day trips will have meals and or snacks that you can purchase while you are traveling to your destination.

Another one of the many fun Seattle boat tours are the old WWII duck boats.  They are kinda like a Seattle landmark, and super fun, and you get to see a lot of the city.  The prices are reasonable too, so it’s a family friendly ride.

Rent Your Own Boat and Cruise

This is a great option for people who are experienced on the water and know what they are doing. This surely isn’t recommended for first timers. If you aren’t experienced on the water you can still rent your own boat but you will also need to hire a boat captain to operate the boat for you. This option is a great and private way to enjoy your time on the water in Seattle, but get ready to break out the big bucks because this can cost you in upwards of five thousand dollars for about six to eight hours.

There are many different options for you no matter you are looking to do on the water in Seattle. Always remember that before you get close to any water that you and your family know the dangers of water and that everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency situation on the water. Safety is always the key to having a good time.

Planning The Perfect

Washington State Tours

Why You Need to Get Out Sightseeing!

For most people planning the perfect sightseeing trip is part of the excitement. One of the most valuable things that we have is time. Our lives are so busy and we are often under incredible pressure – so that eagerly awaited sightseeing trip is more than just an expense. It is one of the things that will allow us to enjoy some valuable work/life balance.

However, that planning process becomes all-important if we are to get the most from our trip. Here are some hints and tips to ensure that your vacation time delivers in enjoyment and meets the objective of allowing you to recharge tired mental batteries.

One of the best things that you can do to ensure that your vacation delivers by first drawing up an itinerary.

Although there is always the temptation to take in absolutely everything that your destination offers there may be an argument for prioritizing your sightseeing plans. This is especially true when you will be traveling to a country where there is a significant time difference from your home country.

There is also the temptation to ‘hit the ground running’. Add to this the fact that you may be arriving late at night and there is a very real danger of burning yourself out. Take a step back and allow your internal clock to make the necessary adjustments.

The best way to identify which attractions absolutely need to be on your itinerary starts with making a list of the ‘must-see’ attractions. Then you might have to mercilessly trim down that list to those attractions that you simply have to see.

Applying logic to your schedule will prevent that dreaded holiday burnout. If you pack each day completely full you may be doing yourself no favors. You will become flustered and the temptation to rush some experiences can be difficult to resist. The almost inevitably affect the quality of your sightseeing experience. It is far more preferable to immerse oneself in a smaller collection of attractions.

Before you prioritize your itinerary do some research on events and festivals that may be happening at your destination. These can offer an incredible way to immerse yourself in local culture, art, history and cuisine. Not to mention offering great opportunities to pick up that extra special memento of your sightseeing adventure. Factor that festival or event into your planning.

While you are researching your destination take note of any public holidays that may be scheduled to coincide with your visit. These can make using public transportation challenging – and may also limit business hours, including banking times.

The key to a successful sightseeing trip is to plan ahead. If for instance, you intend on taking a cruise from a foreign port make sure that you plan to arrive there at least 24 hours before the cruise ship is set to sail.

Flights can get delayed – and that ship will not wait for your delayed arrival. By planning ahead and developing a watertight itinerary you will be able to maximize your sightseeing enjoyment – and avoid the stress that can be the result of improper planning.

Ideas To Make More Fun!

Getting out into nature is one of the most efficient ways to deal with the stresses of modern life. Studies have shown that we relax when we are out of doors. Our senses become sharper as we deal with new types of sensory input – all of which promote the release of chemicals that flood our bloodstream and promote a feeling of contentment. However, proper planning can make an already great experience even better. Here are some hints and tips to take your hiking and backpacking excursion to the next level.

Backpacking Tour Gear

There are some essential pieces of equipment that should be in every backpack. The first of these is parachute cord. A length of parachute cord has numerous uses. It could be used for securing a tent and unraveled to provide essential parts of a snare or to fashion fishing traps – or even repairing tears in clothing or rips in the tent material.

Never neglect to pack some large ziplock bags.  They are among the most useful pieces of equipment that you will ever pack. They can be used in any number of ways. Ziplock bags can be used to keep clothes dry at river crossings or in stormy weather, protect electronic equipment, act as an emergency water carrier or for transporting food. Another essential is a large trash bag. This can be used to separate wet clothes from dry and keep a backpack dry during an unexpected shower. It can even serve as an emergency poncho.

It may come as little surprise but many experienced backpackers will take some duct tape on their outdoor adventure. It’s as simple as winding a few feet around your water bottle to have on hand in an emergency. There are a myriad uses for duct tape. Fixing a leaking air mattress, a rip in a tent or even performing running repairs on a backpack frame will all be a pleasure with that duct tape handy.

Backpacking Tour Gear You Might Not Think Of

One of the best value for money items that any backpacker or hiker should have on their gear list is a cheap plastic tablecloth. This takes up almost no room at all and is a tremendously versatile piece of equipment. Use it to prepare food in a hygienic manner, keep gear dry that might be muddy and have no place in the tent, in a pinch it can be used as a shelter from the rain. The number of uses is practically limitless.

There are many that would argue that even a lightweight camping or hiking stool is an unwelcome burden.

However, after a long day hiking, you will be only too happy to have somewhere warm and dry (and comfortable) to sit. It sure beats rocks and fallen trees which are often the alternative. They actually weigh very little and can be attached to the exterior of the backpack. So you will not be sacrificing any of the valuable interior packing space.

Thinking out of the box – and some simple planning can increase your enjoyment of your hiking and backpacking experience. Start drawing up your list of essential gear today. It’ll make the experience that much more exciting.

What is MDEC and Inclement Weather Closures?

The Utah Electronic Courts (MDEC) project will create a single Judiciary-wide integrated case management system that will be used by all the courts in the state court system. Courts will collect, store and process records electronically, and will be able to instantly access complete records as cases travel from Section Area to Circuit Court and on to the appellate courts. The new system will ultimately become “paper-on-demand,” that is, paper records will be available when specifically requested.

Services & Departments:

The Round About Office provides both commercial and non-judicial services. Our commercial departments include Advertising, Family, Health, Seasonal and Courtroom appliances. Our non-judicial services include License (business & marriage), Land Records, Notary and Passport thoughts and ideas.


Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County (C) Big Time Photography

The Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court is a public institution rich in tradition and history of the State of Maryland. The Clerk of Court is one of the oldest public offices in our state and dates back as far as 1658 to the first Maryland settlement.The duties of the judges at the state trial court level were so compelling that the Clerk’s Office was established as an independent keeper of the records and to maintain the integrity of the records in a safe and impartial manner; and in doing so, to serve the people. The Clerk of the Circuit Court is an elected Constitutional officer of the State of Maryland.

We hope that you experience excellent customer service from the Clerk’s Office. If you have a comment about your service, please let me know by mailing to the address below.

Thank you for your interest in the Clerk’s Office. If we may help you, please call or visit us soon.
James W Brown, Boss


The Clerk’s Office is located in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, 19 About Way, Annapolis, MD. Please note: Google currently does not have the proper location on Google Maps. The closest location can be found here:

Parking information is subject to change. Please verify parking restrictions and policies with the City of Annapolis. The following information is from:  (this will open in a new window). The City of Annapolis wants your visit to be a pleasant one. The best way to enjoy Annapolis is on foot. However, drivers heading downtown may choose to park at metered spots, in lots or in garages. Average garage parking rates are $1.25 per hour. Only $1.00 per hour for Knighton Garage on the corner of Colonial Drive and West Street.

For a downloadable map of Annapolis, go to Visit Annapolis.