The 2017 Recap and Look Ahead

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under News.

As we barrel headfirst into the new year, we wanted to pause to reflect on the dumpster fire year that was 2017. Actually, it was an pretty amazing year here at Spry. Here are some of the high points from the past year and some things we’re most jazzed about in 2018.


Spry Digital turned seven years old in April. Does that make us the temperamental child of agency world? Perhaps. Let’s just say that we’ve always been wise beyond our years…

For one thing, a company that is seven years old is still young enough to retain the entrepreneurial, anything-it-takes spirit that inspired us to start a business in the first place, while old enough to have formed a culture, body of work, processes and principles from which to build. Since our start in 2010, we’ve tried lots of things – many of them successful, and more than a few falls resulting in bumps and bruises. Building a digital agency is all about recognizing the lessons in failure. Despite that, we are still the inquisitive types that like to pull things apart and play near outlets. It keeps our curious, problem-solving minds happy when we continue to learn so we can build better products.

On the move. (Photo by RJ Hartbeck)

Seven years in, it certainly feels like we’re moving beyond the awkward growth stage of the business. We’ll continue to be here for our clients and partners, and get on with the business of building relationships, growing our team, and doing good work.


In 2017 we continued to work with a stable of clients ranging from large enterprises that serve a global customer base, to nonprofits that are dedicated to making the world around us a better place to live. In 2017, we brought some much-needed focus to our service offerings, developing our capabilities in key areas to meet the demands of larger and more complex projects.

Here are just a few of the projects that we’re most proud of from the past year:

World Chess Hall of Fame

The game of chess has a strong pulse in this country, and its heart beats at the Saint Louis Chess Campus. The vibrant Central West End is the long-standing home of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and the World Chess Hall of Fame – as well as the Q Boutique and Kingside Diner – where some of the world’s top chess tournaments are held and broadcasted live to a global audience.

Spry has been a digital partner for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center since 2013, building and hosting their website and providing on-site technical support during tournaments.


World Chess Hall of Fame Website

The World Chess Hall of Fame website. Launched in 2017.

This past year, we were thrilled to be a part of the successful launch of the new website for The World Chess Hall of Fame. With assistance from long-standing Chess Club partners Arcturis, the new website was designed around promoting the multiple events, programming, and activities that WCHOF provides, while providing an online home for the best players to have ever played the game with the World and U.S. Chess Halls of Fame. Developed on Drupal 7 and CiviCRM, the site helps WCHOF manage and share share the activities of the many donors and constituents across the Saint Louis Chess Campus.

The new website establishes The World Chess Hall of Fame as the premier destination, online and offline, for the game of chess in the United States.

Explore the new World Chess Hall of Fame website.

Altice USA

Having worked with Suddenlink Communications since 2015, some projects under our belt include successfully launching their best-in-class website, Suddenlink.com, and hosting and supporting their “buyflow” application, a custom e-commerce solution that transformed their business. In 2017, our work with this client expanded following the purchase of Suddenlink by Altice, a multinational corporation based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Following the purchase of multiple telecom/cable service providers in the United States, including Suddenlink and Optimum, Altice USA required help merging brands and technology. Spry has been working with the teams at Altice to bring the successful Suddenlink buyflow application to other business units, like Suddenlink Business, Optimum Residential and Optimum Business. In addition, Spry migrated the residential site, Optimum.com, to the Drupal content management system in 2017 (launching in early 2018). In 2018, we will continue working with Altice USA to align their multiple web properties under the Altice brand, while designing and implementing new buyflow solutions across business units.

Randy Burkett Lighting Design

In 2017 we continued to work with small businesses, and one of the most satisfying was the design of the new brand identity and web presence for Randy Burkett Lighting Design. As a leading lighting design firm, RBLD’s work can be seen lighting some of the most prominent buildings, monuments and public spaces in the United States. Reflecting the company’s monumental work is an elegant brand and website that builds upon the firm’s historical assets, showing their work in the best possible light (we know, we know…).

Take a look at the case study for the rebrand and website at rbldi.com.

Gared Holdings

In 2018, we’ll finally be able to share the labor of love that has been our work over the past several months. Our partnership with GARED HOLDINGS will see the redesign and launch of websites for both of their sports equipment brands, Gared Sports and Performance Sports Systems. Along with new web experiences, we are building an entirely new online product catalog that powers the multiple websites and applications, including a new application to help visitors properly equip their environments and recommend product.

The diversity of projects and output of work continues to be a challenge that we embrace, and we can’t wait to show you more work from our shop in 2018!


Spry continued to expand our team in 2017. While our numbers didn’t grow by much, our capabilities certainly did. Meet some of the new faces at Spry:

Tony Farhatt

Before joining Spry in February, Tony led teams at some of the top creative and consulting agencies in St. Louis. At Spry, Tony oversees all accounts and projects, keeping internal and client teams on track with high energy and a positive vibe. When he’s not at Spry, you’ll find Tony working on home-improvement projects and travelling with his volleyball club to compete in tournaments.

Kyle Cunningham

Kyle has been developing software since high school. Kyle’s has been the lead developer on higher education sites, using tools like Drupal, Angular.js and Node.js. In his personal life, he has traveled halfway around the world, and he kicks literal ass (along with other parts of the body) with his formal Muay Thai training.

Drew Dunn-Rankin

A native of Southern California and recent graduate from Columbia University in NYC, Drew takes on numerous development-led efforts for Spry Digital. He really is a jack of all trades, so it will be fun to see what new challenges Drew tackles in 2018. He also makes experimental beats when he’s not coding.

Dominic LaFata

Dominic is an information systems student at University of Missouri – St. Louis. Shortly after starting his internship at Spry, we recognized Dominic’s solid analytic skills and technical prowess, and offered him a permanent place on our team. When not taking classes or at Spry, he can be found tossing pizza for the family business, unwinding with his girlfriend or watching Rick and Morty.

Kicking off the week with the Monday all-hands.

In the past week we added Erika Enderling and Dena Rogers to our team. They will be handling accounting and office management responsibilities, respectively. Keep on the lookout for them and all the new faces, as we expect further growth in 2018.


There were many other memories that made 2017 an exciting year. Some of the highlights include:

  • Spry partners Sheila Burkett and Julia Koelsch shared the honor of being named Top Women Business Owners in St. Louis for 2017 by Small Business Monthly.
  • Chief Technology Officer Julia Koelsch was invited to join the technical panel – alongside Amazon Alexa’s global lead Michael Francisco – at AdClubSTL’s 2017 Digital Symposium.
  • Spry hosted a sponsor’s table with our team at the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference, where Creative Director Joe Duffin participated on a panel discussing the evolution of content in digital marketing. We’ll be back at our sponsor’s table again this year, and don’t miss Joe’s talk, “Beyond the Tactics: Integrated Marketing Strategy for New Product Launch,“ at this year’s event.
  • Spry organized and hosted DrupalCamp St. Louis, the local conference for Drupal users, and CiviCon, the national conference for CiviCRM users. Both are open source tools we leverage at Spry, so we are passionate about supporting these communities.
  • We continue to provide internship opportunities for young people looking to break into the fields of digital marketing and technology through St. Louis Youth Jobs. It’s a tremendous organization, and we always look forward to working with the talented individuals they send our way.
  • Our agency is proud to mentor young women in technology, and we did so in 2017 at the annual UMSL IS Department’s Women’s Hackathon. We also spoke at the St. Louis chapter of Women in Digital. The trend of women not enrolling in IS and CS programs continues, and so does our commitment to reversing this trend by supporting young women at crucial stages of their development.

Spry’s accomplishments in 2017 would not have been possible without our amazing team, partners and clients. Spry will continue to build even stronger relationships with our commitment to our clients’ success.

HTTPS Update: Google Chrome Displays “Not secure” Warning on More Websites

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under Security.

In January we talked about Google displaying a “Not secure” warning to Chrome users who visit any non-HTTPS web pages that accept passwords or credit card information. Soon, Chrome will display this warning in additional cases, affecting website visitors and site owners.

What To Expect

Coming in October, visitors to any non-encrypted (or non-HTTPS) web page that includes a form or to any non-HTTPS website while browsing in “incognito mode” will receive this warning. This will affect even more sites where search, contact and lead generation forms are prevalent.

Google HTTP Not Secure Warning

Chrome’s HTTP Not Secure Warning

This warning does not necessarily mean the website has been compromised. It is a precautionary move by Google to inform website visitors their browsing and communications are not encrypted.

Why Encrypt

The responsibility for web security belongs to all of us: web developers, website owners, network administrators, hardware and software manufacturers, and of course, users. In this chain, web security is only as good as the weakest link. This latest maneuver by Google, in an effort to make the web a more secure place, highlights the responsibility of site owners to provide safe, secure browsing and online communication for their visitors. For users, it educates them on the risk of using non-HTTPS websites, particularly when collecting personal information.

In light of the recent Equifax hack, it is important for users to know their online communications and personal data are secure. And site owners should take measures to obtain a secure socket layer (SSL) certification and move to HTTPS.

SSL certificates are now more affordable than ever. There are three main methods for securing your site. Domain Validated SSL certificates provide a basic level of encryption, and are relatively easy to implement. Organization Validated (OV) and Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificates require more validation, making them costlier and more complicated to set up.

Talk to your web hosting provider to see what your options are and which solution makes the most sense for your website or application.  

What Happens If You Do Nothing

Having HTTPS is a factor in improving your site’s search rank in Google. Displaying this message to your visitors can have a negative long-term impact on your brand’s trust, and worse, keeps you and your visitors open to potential malicious attacks.

While this change currently only impacts users on Google Chrome, other browsers have historically followed Google’s lead on security issues. Firefox to Microsoft Edge will likely follow suit.

New Brand Identity and Website for Randy Burkett Lighting Design

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under Case Studies.

From Rich Fisher, Project Designer:

Back in 2015, Randy Burkett Lighting Design began the process of developing not only a new website but also a refreshed brand identity. As we were fast approaching the firms 30th year in existence, it was important that we leverage our history in creating something for the future. To best achieve that goal, we turned to Spry Digital. From the very onset of the process through to the website launch their team kept our goals at the forefront while guiding us to an end product has exceeded our expectations.

When Spry Digital were asked to design the new web experience for Randy Burkett Lighting Design, we were thrilled to accept the challenge. Randy Burkett Lighting Design has designed lighting for some of the most prominent buildings, monuments, landscapes and public spaces in North America.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (Washington, D.C.)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (Washington, D.C.)

Founded in 1988 by Randy Burkett, the St. Louis-based team consists of design professionals across disciplines, with lighting related backgrounds and educations in architectural engineering, architecture, interior design, and theatre. Coming from design backgrounds ourselves, we could appreciate the firm’s unique digital business challenges and help them to overcome any obstacles in communicating their work, discipline and philosophy to a wider audience.

The Challenge

Randy Burkett Lighting Design’s previous website was minimalistic and featured content that was tidy but small. Like many websites of the time, the site had been designed for screens less than 1000px wide and was not responsive. The content was high on aesthetic, but void of brand messaging and calls-to-action. The copy required an industrious attention from the user to read and synthesize what the firm had to say about their own work and practice.

The site was not built on a modern content management system (CMS), so was difficult to maintain and update, and did not provide scalability to grow with the firm as their work examples and content needs did.

Goals of the new website:

  • Design a responsive web experience that works and functions across a myriad of screens sizes and devices
  • Build on a modern, easy to use CMS that is scalable and can grow with the firm
  • Design layouts that make full use of the web canvas to highlight beautiful work
  • A multi-layer approach to content that appeals to a multiple audiences
  • Build the site on an SEO-friendly platform
  • Incorporate a blog where the client can express their culture and work

The team at Randy Burkett Lighting Design was quick to point out that while many of their partners include those in the architecture field, key decision makers and stakeholders on projects range from architects, building managers, interior designers, landscape designers and other non-design professionals. Thus, the primary content goal was to showcase the high level of expertise in their field, while making the content accessible to a range of audiences and not appear overly aloof – in other words, it needed to appeal to individuals from the technical and visual design field, as well as those who were not.

Spry Digital began work by conducting stakeholder meetings with the principals and staff to understand their business, people, approach, how they represent their work and the firm’s unique value proposition. One of the first areas on which Spry focused was the Randy Burkett Lighting Design brand itself: How has the brand historically represented the firm and how can the brand accommodate the future?

Brand Identity

Spry Digital considers every decision for our clients through the lens of a customer interacting with the brand. We spent time with the client to understand how the brand identity was used in communication pieces in the past, and how the brand is represented and perceived today. After evaluating the identity, it was agreed we would begin our work with a brand identity refresh to represent what Randy Burkett Lighting Design is today.

Legacy vs Future

The client’s previous word mark logo included a stacked and justified Old Style typeface. While an elegant treatment, it did not necessarily speak to the to modern highly-technical practice of lighting design. Since their existing logo enjoyed some familiarity with their audience, we considered how to remain loyal to the original mark, yet bring it forward with an updated typeface and treatment.

Old Randy Burkett Lighting Design Logo

Previous logotype

During the design process, Spry explored a variety of logo treatments – from variations of the old logotype to more abstract interpretations. The result is a primary logo that remains loyal to the original word mark with a more contemporary typeface and treatment. The 45 degree two tone background evokes a lit facet, hinting at the practice of lighting design.

Setting the Stage

Since the logo would typically be presented alongside visually striking imagery of lighting plans, architectural drawings and finished projects, we limited the palette to a selection of monochromatic dusky hues, akin to a midnight blue sky – a time of day when the magic of lighting design is revealed.

Creating a Brand System

With the primary logo revealing itself in the process, we then addressed the multiple uses of the brand identity across medium.

Randy Burkett Lighting Design requested specific strategy around the fact the firm is often referred to as RBLD. We designed a version of the mark with the four letter forms against the same background, knowing this treatment would work well as an avatar, icon or watermark on project images, presentations, and social media. For additional flexibility, we created a horizontal version of the full word mark. Both the abbreviated and horizontal versions are used on the two sides of the business card, while the stacked word mark is used on the website.


Randy Burkett Lighting Design Business Cards

Business cards

Randy Burkett Lighting Design Branding

Brand system

Spry Digital continues to work with Randy Burkett Lighting Design to extend the brand into multiple marketing, sales and communication pieces.

Website Planning

While the brand identity exercise was underway, Spry Digital got to work on planning the new website experience.

Architecture and User Experience

We took the information presented in the initial stakeholder meetings and began the process of documenting the requirements for the new website. We created an information architecture diagram to inform the main landing areas of the site and the audience’s journey through the site with navigation.

Randy Burkett Lighting Design UX Wireframes

UX – Content architecture wireframes

Wireframes were developed to inform the user experience and content architecture of the new website. At this stage, we are thinking about the user’s priorities, considering a multi-layer messaging approach to attract intended audiences and guide them to the call-to-action.

We designed multiple areas on the home page to draw users into key landing areas, like featured work, services, studio, and the blog. Throughout the site are omnipresent calls-to-action to reach out and contact RBLD, assuming a visitor has already been wowed by the beautiful work. We consider the multiple audiences and address their questions and expectations when they land on any area within the website.

With the user experience portion of the planning done, we set forth on the visual look and feel of the new web experience, taking direction from the brand identity exercise.

Defining the Visual Language

A priority of the visual aesthetic is to to consider how the website form, as well as any user interactions, translate between mobile and desktop, or any other device for that matter. Thinking about these different scenarios up front informs a more comprehensive design, consistent user experience and functionality across devices.

The visual design employs a magazine-style layout in its presentation. We created multiple versions, taking into consideration multiple font and color treatments. We were sure to make use of the phenomenal photography owned by RBLD with oversized areas, showcasing details of their work previously not seen by making full use of the web canvas.

Randy Burkett Lighting Design Portfolio

Portfolio project

Brand extension comes in the way of angled overlays in various content areas – the blog, studio, and calls to action – carrying the faceted theme of the logo through to the interface.

A unique “off canvas” menu hides the traditional masthead so not to conceal any of the beautiful photography. Microinteraction design in the form of animated hover states on thumbnails and key content blocks were included to create an enticing experience, encouraging discovery and interaction.

By the end of the visual design phase, we had achieved a balance of design aesthetic and practical data that would satisfy all audiences no matter their background.

Bringing it to life

The new website was built on the WordPress content management system (CMS). WordPress is the most popular open source CMS platform in the world, and could be easily managed and maintained by the client. We leveraged the Advanced Custom Fields plugin for WordPress to make content management a breeze, and utilized Zurb’s FoundationPress theme to speed up development of RBLD’s custom responsive web templates.

Other features of the new website include:

  • Featured work masthead on home page that randomizes on every page load, communicating the breadth of work and giving the site a fresh look on every visit
  • Customizable block on home page for Randy Burkett to push announcements
  • Off canvas main menu
  • Portfolio area sorted by industry
  • Portfolio projects cross-linked with related work and services to encourage further discovery
Randy Burkett Lighting Design Multi Device Responsive Website

Multi-device experience

Spry Digital tested the website on most popular screen sizes, operating systems and devices to ensure a consistent experience for every user.


The new Randy Burkett Lighting Design web experience delivers on the goals defined at the offset of the project and presents the firm’s work and philosophy in a new light.

Randy Burkett Lighting Design Results

The new Randy Burkett Lighting Design web experience.

Since its launch in September, 2016, Randy Burkett Lighting Design has reported dozens of new leads generated by the website, and continues to receive positive praise from partners for the new brand identity and website.


Founder/Principal Randy Burkett had this to say about working with Spry:

The Spry team expended a significant amount of up-front time getting to know our design practice and philosophy, before embarking on the website and rebranding effort. The time spent proved invaluable throughout the entire process, as they were able to better anticipate our needs and meet expectations.

As design professionals ourselves, we chose to remain closely engaged with Spry during the development and rollout. They were always accommodating and worked responsively, while using their knowledge to keep us on track to our goals. They were the experts and it was their insight that ultimately led to a successful project for us all.

Visit Randy Burkett Lighting Design to explore their beautiful portfolio of work and the new brand identity and website by Spry.

Midwest Digital Marketing Conference Returns to St. Louis

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under Events.

The Midwest Digital Marketing Conference (or “MDMC”) returns to Union Station in downtown St. Louis on April 12 & 13.


In its first year in 2013, known then as the State of Digital Media Marketing Conference, the conference was a half day event hosted at the J.C. Penney auditorium on the campus of University of Missouri St. Louis. Now in its fourth year, event organizers UMSL Digital are hoping to reach over 2,000 attendees! This will be the second year that the event is held at the historic and expansive Union Station.

Midwest Digital Marketing Conference

Spry Digital are proud sponsors of this year’s conference. You can get more information about our digital platforms and sustainable tech for business from company representatives at our table in the exhibitors hall, so come by and say hello.


Last year’s event included more than 50 speakers from digital leaders like BuzzFeed, Pandora, Refinery29, Pinterest, Under Armour, Johnson & Johnson, Eloqua, Ogilvy One, Google, Yahoo, Nielsen, eHarmony, LinkedIn, and more. This year’s event will once again have top speakers in areas of data, digital, e-commerce, creative, social media, tech and innovation.

Spry Digital’s Creative Director, Joe Duffin, will be on a panel discussion titled “Layers of Content: The Nuances and Evolution of Today’s Content Marketing Universe”.

We hope to see you at MDMC for what promises to be an inspiring two days of talks, networking, fun and digital!

For more information about location, speakers, schedule and tickets, visit the MDMC website.

How We Can All #BeBoldForChange

Posted by Sheila Burkett & filed under Events.

I was asked the other day what I planned to do for International Women’s Day this year. The phrase resonating in the campaign is #BeBoldForChange, which moved me to reflect on how I could be bold, make a statement and initiate change.

Many women in the U.S. are taking part in the Day Without Women strike. The thought of me taking the day off as a form of protest causes me stress and would have little impact on those around me. Another option is to take part in the Women’s March on St. Louis happening during lunch in downtown St. Louis.

I believe the best way for me to make a difference though is to use my voice and take action to improve equality for all women.

Promoting Women

I regularly advocate for women by sharing information about their business on social media, making business referrals and submitting these women for awards. My business partner Julia Koelsch and I were recently recognized by St. Louis Small Business Monthly as one of several St. Louis’ Top Business Owners. It was a great honor and we are thankful for the recognition.

Small Business Monthly Cover. We can do better.

Small Business Monthly Cover. We can do better.

When we met the rest of the award winners, one thing was immediately apparent: the group did not reflect the rich multiculturality that makes St. Louis a wonderful place to own a business.

Based on the Missouri Office of Equal Opportunity 2016 report,  there are over 419 certified Women Business Enterprises (WBE) in the St. Louis area and over 130 of those are Minority Business Enterprises (MBE). We should see this diversity in our award ceremonies and panels – yet it is often conspicuously absent.

My commitment for International Women’s Day is to promote all women business owners and nominate them for opportunities for recognition.

My challenge to you is to identify one thing you will do to promote women.

Broaden Networks

Over the years, my personal and professional network has grown. My family teases me when we go out to dinner as I always run into someone I know. Meeting new people, getting to know their story and hearing about their success always energizes me. The reality though is my network is homogeneous (i.e., I have a network that looks like me).

Learning about others’ unique perspectives and challenges – attracting talent that doesn’t look like you, act like you, or have the same experiences as you – helps grow your business and create a work environment that is inclusive.

My commitment is to build intentional relationships with women I meet, especially if they differ greatly from me.

My challenge to you is to go to an event where not everyone is like you.

The Gap Is Real

Julia Koelsch (Chief Technology Officer) and I (Chief Executive Officer) hold leadership roles that are not typically held by women.

In a National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) report, Women In Tech: The Facts”, women find it difficult to advance into leadership roles such as CTO, CEO and board of directors. Only 11% CIO positions in the U.S. are held by women, and only 4% CEOs of S&P 500 companies are women.

The World Economic Forum reports that it will take 170 years before women gain equity across the world. In the US, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research shows that Hispanic women will have to wait until 2248 for pay parity and Black women until 2124.

Mentor Women

We can all take action to accelerate this change. Mentoring and supporting women is a great way to help create equality for all women. This includes working with women on how to negotiate salaries, titles and positions of authority.

Julia helps organize and support local tech meetups, camps, and hackathons. She has been a mentor for UMSL’s Women’s Hackathon, which helps college women gain exposure and experience in technology.

Her commitment is to increase women’s awareness and participation in these community resources and events, so that any woman who has an interest in technology has the support, encouragement, and guidance necessary to achieve her goals.

My commitment is to continue our internship programs, including our participation in St. Louis Youth Jobs. I also plan to continue my support of UMSL’s IS area programs, especially their effort to send students to the Grace Hopper Women’s Conference and the Women’s Hackathon.

My challenge to you is to take a child, college student, or adult under your wing and help them soar.


I am one of those people who wants to change the world, and this is reflected where I spend my free time. Whether it’s raising money for women scholarships, telling my story to encourage bravery in others or making the connection that ignites the spark to help a women’s business take off, I will continue doing my best each day.

But I know the only way I can continue to grow and be an agent of change is to step outside my bubble – being challenged and uncomfortable is the only way I can move forward.

Chrome HTTP “Not Secure” Warning Fixed with SSL

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under Security.

Google, in their latest effort to ramp up security, has begun rolling out changes in its Chrome browser that will alert users when they are visiting any non-encrypted HTTP website. Formerly considered neutral, HTTP websites are now deemed not secure by the browser. If you’re a site owner or developer, this can impact your site’s traffic and trustworthiness.

HTTPS is not the plural of HTTP

When checking your bank account or shopping online, you probably already know to look for the lock icon in your web browser’s address bar. This indicates your client (browser) is passing data to the site with encryption.

By default, a web page is served to the browser using the non-encrypted HTTP protocol. The protocol is the bit found at the beginning of a URL, or web address.

Web address protocol

HTTP is the web protocol

When a site is secure, the protocol changes to HTTPS, which stands for “HTTP over SSL”.  An HTTPS site means that the website operator has secured an SSL (or secure socket layer) certification, and any web traffic passed to that website is encrypted. When using HTTPS, this protocol is often highlighted in the address bar, along with lock icon, to tell users that the connection is encrypted and thus secure.

Until recently, purchasing SSL certificates was expensive and difficult to install, so unless the website provided a login or shopping cart, website operators typically opted not to buy a SSL certificate and relied on HTTP for general web traffic.

Encryption for all!

A lot has changed in the last couple of years, driven in part by high-profile data breaches. In response to the current threat environment, organizations like Let’s Encrypt now provide SSL certificates for free. Furthermore, if your hosting provider uses CPANEL, you are able to use HTTPS instead of HTTP, so there are no reasons to not encrypt your site. Google even rewards HTTPS in search rank – secured sites are deemed more trustworthy by the search giant.

Google is not waiting for developers

Initially, only pages that accept a login or provide a shopping cart will show the alert, but eventually this alert will be displayed site-wide across all HTTP pages.


The Not secure warning in Chrome

Receiving this alert may be alarming to site visitors who are already skittish about web security, so if you own or operate a website you should get to work implementing a SSL certificate for your website. In web security, we’re only as strong as our weakest link, so this push by Google to encourage all websites to go HTTPS is a step in the right direction.

How To Fix It

Site owners and developers should take immediate steps to implement a SSL certificate to avoid the not secure warning in Chrome. Instructions how to do so can be found here.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive: Week 38

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under Tips.

This post is part of a weekly series featuring the latest buzz around the Spry Hive.

“Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.”
– Robert L. Peters

Around Spry

Murmuration Festival

Add to the list of things to do when visiting St. Louis, Murmuration Festival is happening this weekend. The first festival of its kind in St. Louis, the three day event, kicking off tonight with a free and open-to-all party, promises to “bring together artists, musicians, innovators, scientists, and entrepreneurs to engage the public and share their work via conversations, talks, panel discussions, and musical performances.” With so many groundbreaking talks and music, Monday will surely come too fast.

St. Louis Design Week is coming this October, and Spry Digital is once again proud to be an agency sponsor. As part of the festivities, we will be opening our doors to show off our design and digital wares as well as meet other folks in the design community. Visit the St. Louis Design Week website for a full list of events, and their Facebook page to RSVP for the Spry Digital Studio Tour.


In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the first sans-serif typeface, designers at Tipotype have created Brother 1816, a font which they describe as “a very flexible, multifaceted and solid typeface, mixing Geometric shapes with Humanistic strokes at the same time.” Go grab it while it’s cheap.

Web Design & Development

If you’re learning web design or development, you can’t do much better than A Book Apart series. The newest book in the series addresses JavaScript (finally).

Around the Web

Yahoo has announced that 500 million user accounts have been stolen. Even if you’re only using your Yahoo address to catch promotions and spam these days, you’ll want to change your password immediately.

Discover Your Patronus

Discover your Patronus as part of the latest promotion for J.K Rowling’s “Pottermore.”

Researchers from Intel Labs and Darmstadt University in Germany have developed a clever way to extract useful training data for self-driving car AI from Grand Theft Auto. Who said GTA can’t be educational AND fun?

Express yourself with expressions and operators with this JavaScript dress, found on Think Geek.


That’s all for Summer and this week’s Spry Hive! Catch you next week after we’ve pulled our heads back together following Murmuration Festival!

Dispatches from the Spry Hive: Week 37

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under Tips.

This post is part of a weekly series featuring the latest buzz around the Spry Hive.

“You don’t think your way to creative work. You work your way to creative thinking.”
– George Nelson

Around Spry

Last weekend was the 3rd annual DrupalCamp St. Louis. DrupalCamp is a local conference for all things Drupal, an open source CMS that powers some of the world’s largest websites. Speakers and visitors came from as far as Chicago, Austin, and Belgium!

DrupalCamp St. Louis

Spry Digital uses Drupal extensively, and was proud to be a Platinum Sponsor for the event. Three team members also gave talks this year, which you can find below:

Managing Drupal Projects by Simon Yost

Type Systems! Why, What, How by Brian Goldstein

Doubleclick for Publishers and Drupal by Benji Damron

Graphic Design

Adobe Apparel

Courtesy Adobe.

Adobe has released a line of apparel that celebrates common stock photography themes, like “man sitting at desk, frustrated with technology.”


OpenType Font Variations is a joint effort by Microsoft, Apple, Google and Adobe to specify font formats, creating more harmony between font families and systems.

Webfonts are here, big time. If you aren’t using webfonts, should you be? This A List Apart article covers both sides of the argument for using webfonts, including adoption patterns and common challenges.

User Experience Design

UX Tools

UX Tools is a list of design, prototyping and collaboration tools that helpfully provides feature sets and pricing, to help you choose the right tools for the job.

Web Design & Development

Angular 2 has been officially released!

Everything you need to know about using color with A Nerd’s Guide to Color On The Web.

Gmail has been a little late to the game supporting responsive emails across their email clients, but now you’ll be able to use media queries for Gmail and Google’s Inbox.


Evernote is migrating all of its user data to Google’s Cloud Platform. That’s some 5 billion notes and attachments that Evernote believes users will be able to access in new and better ways thanks to Google’s machine learning APIs.


Further proof that we are all made of stars, solid organic matter has been found in dust particles on Rosetta’s comet.

CVS Keurig Cold Remedy

As we head into cold season, you can now bring the fight to colds with your Keurig machine.

Skip the tedious step of making coffee in the morning for your daily dose of caffeine. Power Toothpaste will give you the jolt you need.


There’s some web design and life hacking links to carry you through to next week, when we’ll have more to share from the Spry Hive!

Dispatches from the Spry Hive: Week 35

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under Tips.

This post is part of a weekly series featuring the latest buzz around the Spry Hive.

“I write funny. If I can make my wife laugh, I know I’m on the right track.”
– Gene Wilder

Graphic Design

Thanks to these DIY resources, you don’t need to accrue a ton of student debt to get a design education.

Courtesy The Academy on Medium.

Courtesy The Academy on Medium.

The American Academy of Motion Picture & Sciences shares the design process behind seven iconic movie posters.

Content Strategy

18F has updated their content guidelines for Government projects, and its worth a look.

Web Design & Development

Pantsuit: The Hillary Clinton UI pattern library.

Pantsuit: The Hillary Clinton UI pattern library.

How do web designers achieve Hillary Clinton’s “I’m with her.” look? With the aptly named Pantsuit UI pattern library.

An article about building extensibility with HTML/CSS components.


You can now Google Cast to Hangouts directly from Chrome.

Watch a SpaceX rocket explode and take Facebook’s Internet.org satellite along with it.


EpiPen Tycoon

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch made waves last week with a multifold price hike of the company’s EpiPen product, while giving herself a size-able pay raise, and the Internet has responded with Epipen Tycoon, a brilliant exercise in corporate greed vs. public health.

QRATES helps recording artists with “vinyl as a service”. Only $15 per pressing.

In Memoriam


Gene Wilder captured our imagination with his portrayal of Willy Wonka and many other characters. The essence of Wilder’s style can be seen in this video essay of every comedic pause across his career.


Spry Hive will be back next week. Enjoy your long Labor Day weekend!

Dispatches from the Spry Hive: Week 34

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under Tips.

This post is part of a weekly series featuring the latest buzz around the Spry Hive.

“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
– Tim Berners-Lee


The Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism delivers the scoop on malvertising and its affect on the publishing and advertising industries.

Custom Avocados

Custom Avocados is pushing the boundaries of corporate tchotchke. That’s expensive guacamole.

Web Design & Development

Accessibility Refresher

If you design and build web products for humans, then this article about accessibility design from the team at Vox Media is a must read. Slide show included.

Some friendly pointers from UX Thought of the Day about designing a better style guide.


Blackbox Shipping

The creators of Cards Against Humanity have started a new shipping company that “works like a co-op” for independent artists and creators to get the lowest price.

Nextdoor has tweaked its algorithm for reporting incidents that has resulted in a significant reduction of racial profiling by its online community.


The Revenant movie reimagined as an 8-bit battle game. Warning: possible spoilers.

NASA wants YOU to go to Mars. These official posters put the call out for teachers, explorers, and farmers to help inhabit the red planet.

Enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you next week for the final Spry Hive of Summer, 2016!