Junior developer wanted

Posted August 2nd, 2012 in What's occurring by Matt

Ampersand Industries is looking for a junior web developer to become part of the team. You will work from our offices in Pool Innovation Centre on a wide variety of websites, primarily built using WordPress.

What you’ll do

You will be working on all aspects of creating new WordPress sites based on provided designs, including:

  • Installation and configuration of WordPress
  • Selection, installation and configuration of plugins and themes
  • Working from Photoshop or flat graphic designs
  • Working with PHP, HTML and CSS to create themes from scratch
  • Working with jquery to enhance functionality of sites

What you’ll bring

You’ll have excellent technical skills, including:

  • HTML, CSS and PHP “hand coded”
  • Javascript and jquery
  • Web accessibility and optimisation

You’ll also be able to demonstrate:

  • An eye for design and attention to detail
  • Great written and verbal communication skills
  • A desire to learn and explore new aspects of web development

What you’ll get

Starting salary is negotiable, but you’ll also be entitled to 4 weeks’ annual paid leave, as well as eligibility for our profit share scheme.

About Ampersand Industries

Ampersand Industries is a web development company that works with a wide variety of designers to create brilliant websites based primarily on WordPress and Drupal.

We take great care to accurately render any given web design across as many different browsers as possible, and are as concerned with the visual impact of the site as we are with the technical construction behind the scenes – well laid out code is a must!

To apply for this role, please email your CV with a covering letter to:

Matt Collins

Deadline for applications:     4th September
Interviews 7th September


Posted December 7th, 2011 in Things of note by Matt

For a long, long time websites were restricted to using the web safe set of fonts – fonts that you were pretty sure would be on the computer of anyone who visited the site.

In the last few years various font replacement techniques have been used, some more succesfully than others.

Sifr used to be a favourite of mine until the use of flash started to become a problem. There were various instances where an upgrade to Flash knocked out the font display in the site, and of course anyone who wants their site to be readable on a iphone/pad/pod would need to avoid this approach.

Cufon is another great font replacement technique that uses javascript and a canvas element to draw the font, replacing the text. I still favour this at times due to the quality of the font that is drawn – crisp, smooth and anti-aliased across all browsers. The downside, of course, is that it needs javascript in order to show as you intended. It also adds weight to the page, increasing the load time, and can result in a staggered load of the page – first unstyled, then with the replaced font coming in. Because of this I’ve always recommended that it only be used for headings and possible single blocks of text, such as a pull quote.

Increasingly, I’m finding the use of webfonts to be the best approach to opening up the possibilities for text.

Google WebFonts is a great, free online resource which hosts the fonts for you. And there are a number of font foundries that offer either cheap or free fonts that can be isntalled in webfont format. For example FontSpring.

This has the benefit of loading in much more smoothly than flash or javascript replacement and at a lower overhead, so fonts can be replaced throughout the page, not just the headers. You do still need to be slightly cautious, however, as not all fonts render well at all sizes (small body text is often nasty with the more decorative fonts) and some browsers render the fonts more cleanly than others at the larger sizes. Firefox can often render large heading fonts as slightly jagged.

Interesting site and navigation

Posted April 5th, 2011 in Cool things by Matt

NotCot is a great site for flagging up interesting products, projects and ideas around the web. It’s updated a lot and this means that there are now a large number of pages to navigate through. So many that it could be a bit unwieldy to navigate.

They’ve build a very compact, neat navigation of the pages that may take a bit of getting used to, but which strikes me as a very neat way of presenting so many links in such a small space.

NotCot page navigation

NotCot page navigation

Font Aid

Posted February 10th, 2011 in Cool things by Matt

Font Aid is a project that brings together designers who create a themed font that is then sold to raise money for charity.

The fourth project created a font called Coming Together, full of great Ampersands and the money goes to Doctors Without Borders.


Another great showcase of Ampersands

Posted November 22nd, 2010 in Cool things by Matt

Design Shack have a great article linking to various great uses of Ampersand. Perhaps getting close to Christmas is a good time to highlight some of the cool things on here!


Cool photoshop demo

Posted March 26th, 2010 in Cool things by Matt

When I used to teach Photoshop at Adult Education classes, people always used to think Photoshop could work magic, that you could cut people out of a photo and the background behind them would be suddenly visible. I blamed this on programs like Spooks that used to show this all the time.

Looks like Photoshop has finally caught up with Spooks, see this demo video.

We live in the future!

Via Kottke

Ampersand showcase

Posted February 1st, 2010 in Cool things, Things of note by Matt

A great looking site after my own heart with a love of ampersands. This is going to go on my daily check list of sites:


Twitter Updates for January 2010

Posted January 31st, 2010 in Things of note by Matt
  • no face to face meetings this afternoon so should be safe with garlic mushrooms for lunch #
  • smugness from easy parking at blue bar for meeting offset by them being closed for a month #
  • Still lunch at http://bit.ly/7aPoNv was very good so that helped make up for it #
  • Hard to feel the pain of couple on tv with a budget five times cost of my home trying to buy house #relocationx3 #
  • Also fun: Kirsty lamenting price of property in Cornwall due to EXACTLY WHAT THEIR ENTIRE PROGRAMME IS ABOUT! #relocationX3 #
  • Weather so stormy in the night half expected to not be in Kansas anymore. Or not have a roof left. #
  • very glad to work off a laptop especially when there’s a powerful just before you save something #
  • and 3, 2, 1… back in the room. 20 minutes of enforced being offline. Hell on toast! Mind you got some work done… #
  • @ksl_rich It was like being in my very own episode of survivors, struggling to survive off grid. in reply to ksl_rich #
  • Text from my mum – apparently 22 years to the day since I had my tonsils removed. Not even a card to mark the occasion. #
  • @patroclus Thank you! Very nice actually despite spending most of it in a car on the A303 and also a little chef! in reply to patroclus #
  • @patroclus Janis Joplin, not sure if she made particularly ‘notable’ albums versus just great songs. in reply to patroclus #
  • @patroclus ah, didn’t realise the british angle so janis joplin not of much use… in reply to patroclus #
  • Coding HTML email newsletter is not compatible with successfully making lentil soup. #burnt-dinner-fail #

Twitter Updates December 2009

Posted December 20th, 2009 in Things of note by Matt

Good news in Open Source CMS awards

Posted November 30th, 2009 in Things of note by Matt

The 2009 Open Source CMS awards have been announced with great results for the two main solutions that we use at Ampersand.

WordPress won the Best Overall award. Some recent examples of sites we’ve built with WordPress include this site,  21st Century Boy and Kate Kerrow.

Drupal won the Hall of Fame Award and Best Open Source PHP CMS. Recent Drupal sites that we’ve launched include Contract Sign Systems and Gloria.