The UN is celebrating today under the theme ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’.

The gender gap in digital access, the threat of gender-based online violence, and an underrepresentation of women in STEM education mean women benefit from technology much less than they should.

Yet the digital world can be the key to eliminating gender inequity as technology has the potential to empower women, girls and other marginalized groups. 

To celebrate international women’s day, Katie and Debbie give a little insight into themselves and their thoughts on gender equity in tech. 

Katie Robinson 

Katie has worked her way up through the company since being an apprentice. As Production Manager, she ensures that we can be confident in our commitments to our clients through proper planning and processes.

What do you think might encourage more women to work in tech? 

I think engaging girls from a young age is key, not just in tech but in stereo-typically more ‘boy’ interests such as lego and math, so that they grow up not just thinking that certain jobs are male jobs. I think all children need to realise they really can follow any career that interests them, regardless of gender.

How do you think the tech sector would benefit from an equitable workforce? 

I think a more diverse workforce (not just gender) benefits any sector, tech included. The more diverse we are the more we are able to consider an alternative approach. This isn’t just in developing a new solution for a client or creating an amazing design, but right down to our team dynamic and balancing skills. Everyone brings something different to the team and the more diverse our workforce the better we can structure the project team to meet a client’s needs. 

What was your dream job as a child? 

I never really had a strong desire for a specific career as a child. I loved art and spent most of my free time drawing and painting. I also enjoyed photography and I would often take pictures of animals and wildlife and then come home and draw them. As I got older I became really interested in Psychology and I had considered a career in criminal psychology. I have always been fascinated by the power of our brains – there’s just so much we don’t yet know! 

  What are you most proud of in your life?

I’m most proud of my growth in self confidence. I was very shy as a child and full of self doubt, when I think about where I am today and all that I’ve achieved both in my career and personal life I think my younger self wouldn’t believe it was possible! I owe a lot of that to running, it has allowed me to push my limits and find out just what I’m capable of – I do most of my best thinking whilst on a run too!

Debbie KeatingDebbie, Head of Sales, has remarkable experience as a business development manager. We asked her the same questions…

What do you think might encourage more women to work in tech?

Most definitely awareness needs to be raised at young girls through education at school.

How do you think the tech sector would benefit from an equitable workforce? 

Each person brings with them different (hard and soft) skill sets; being a diverse workforce will always benefit companies. 

What was your dream job as a child? 

Forensic Scientist. When I was looking at careers back in the day (1980’s), this was classed as a man’s job.

What are you most proud of in your life?

Watching all my children grow up into loving, intelligent, thoughtful adults with successful careers all whilst being a single working mum with my own successful career.

Read more about gender and technology at

There has been a lot of noise in the media over the last month over the rapid rise of AI tools such as ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Microsoft Bing’s AI enhanced search. AI is nothing new, but ChatGPT reached 1 million users in less than a week and 100 million in under two months.

What is ChatGPT?

Basically it’s a chatbot. The tool lets you provide a natural-language prompt or question, and then ChatGPT responds back in natural-sounding language. The bot will use the previous questions / prompts to assist in responding to future questions on the same thread. Surprisingly (or perhaps to avoid the SkyNet of Terminator films), the bot doesn’t use the internet for its response – it’s solely based on the huge data set it has been trained on.

You can request it to answer questions or be creative by writing a poem on a specific topic. Many are using it to write covering letters for job applications,  solve maths problems with a step-by-step breakdown of the answer, and write code that goes into websites. 

At Infotex we polled the team as to how they’d been using it. So far they have: 

ChatGPT isn’t foolproof though, and even ChatGPT’s owners OpenAI note “It’s a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now. We have lots of work to do on robustness and truthfulness.”

Google Bard

ChatGPT’s rapid rise has prompted Google to expedite their new AI-powered search feature ‘Bard’. This uses natural language processing and machine learning to provide more relevant and insightful information to users.

I don’t expect it to replace the traditional ‘10 blue link results’ in Google but do expect the top section of the results pages to begin including AI-generated responses and answers to questions/queries.  

This could be game-changing for search in many ways:

One downside of these generated answers would be fewer clicks on the organic results, which would be frustrating for website owners looking for traffic. As it’s Google, I’d expect to see them protecting their more commercial search terms which would currently be occupied by paid ads. It wouldn’t be too difficult to keep commercial queries (“car insurance”) and general questions (“what is Newton’s third law”) separate. 

At the same time, Microsoft is also adding AI-generated answers to its Bing search results. Again, adding AI-generated responses to the search page results. 

These are just a few examples of the many applications and uses of ChatGPT. Its versatility and ability to understand and generate human-like responses make it a valuable tool for a wide range of industries and use cases.

This year, the theme of National Apprenticeship Week is “skills for life”.

Are apprenticeships really a good way of gaining “skills for life”? What opportunities can they give you? Do we recommend them? What are the benefits of hiring an apprentice?

Inspired by these questions, our team share their experiences. From Will, our current apprentice, to Matt, Katie and Kris, whose Infotex journeys began as apprenticeships and finally from our managers Cameron and Ant on what it is like to hire apprentices into the company.

Will Ridd

“This apprenticeship has been a great opportunity for me to get both hands on experience in my job role, whilst also getting the benefit of studying in order to complete my qualification.”
Will – Studio Apprentice

I help on the client support desk and with digital marketing alongside studying for my Business Administration qualification. Through this I have learnt the fundamentals of how Infotex operates, as well as specific tasks such as carrying out audits of clients’ websites and examining how to improve their SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) in order to drive visitors and visibility to their site. I am enjoying the apprenticeship because the hands-on experience of working while learning suits me as an individual.

It is challenging as a lot of the work is very technical, so I work closely with Tim for the digital marketing, and Matt for the support desk. They have been excellent for my development and are always available for any questions I have. Cameron, my mentor, has been very important because he makes sure I’m on course regarding both the job role and my coursework for the qualification. The apprenticeship lasts for one year minimum, and I plan to pass at a distinction level this July and hopefully go on to become a full-time employee.

I’d recommend an apprenticeship as it benefits you both as a worker, giving you vital experience, and as a learner studying about the role. This makes it a more comfortable transition to potential full-time employment. 

Matthew Adlem

If you approach an apprenticeship with the right attitude and mindset then it can be really beneficial to both the individual and the business.
Matt – Account Executive

I started my apprenticeship when I was 17, so I still had to be in some form of education.  After studying Business Studies for a year at college, I had a real drive to get out and work full time. An apprenticeship offered me the best opportunity for that, and I was fortunate that Infotex (where I’d had two previous work experience placements) were looking to fill their IT Professional apprenticeship position.

My Infotex apprenticeship started back in October 2017 and really helped shape my career. Not only did it allow me to get my foot in the door at a really exciting and friendly company, but it has allowed me to understand what I enjoy and what I’m skilled at. Our support manager Cameron took me under his wing and has constantly offered fantastic leadership, making sure that I’m given the best possible opportunities. Infotex as a whole is a team full of supportive people, which has made the transition into more senior roles as comfortable as possible!

After my apprenticeship, I was employed in a full-time support role. Over the years I have gradually been transitioning into more account and project management. I hope to continue getting opportunities to enhance my learning and focus more on account management. 

I would certainly recommend an apprenticeship, whether that’s to a young person starting a working life, or to adults who are looking to pursue a career in a different sector. If you approach an apprenticeship with the right attitude and mindset then it can be really beneficial to both the individual and the business. I personally have to give credit to everyone at Infotex, who’ve all been very generous with the time (and patience) they’ve given to help me progress as I have.

Katie Robinson

“You learn so many skills ‘out in the field’ that you just can’t learn in a classroom.”
Katie – Production Manager

Back in August 2006, I was offered a job (not an apprenticeship) at an estate agents as well as an apprenticeship position at Infotex, but I felt that the apprenticeship offered more opportunities for growth and development, and websites sounded more exciting to me than selling houses! Since the Business Administration apprenticeship, my development through the company has evolved from Production Executive  > Production Studio Manager > Account Manager and finally Production Manager which is my current role.

I’ve been at Infotex for more than 16 years, in that time I have grown hugely in my self-confidence and achieved things I never thought I was capable of. I’m really proud to have worked my way up through the company alongside many colleagues who have been here longer than me. I have recently taken leadership of our content marketing and I’ve found it’s something that I really enjoy. I’d love to grow my skills in this area and work closely with our content team to strengthen our marketing this year.

I would absolutely recommend an apprenticeship. In my opinion it’s the perfect balance of working whilst gaining a qualification, and you learn so many skills ‘out in the field’ that you just can’t learn in a classroom. 

Kris Parker

“As Fat Boy Slim said (sampling Camille Yarbrough) “we’ve come a long long way together, through the hard times and the good.”
Kris – Account Manager

I was the first ever Infotex apprentice back in April 2001. My roles included general admin duties (filing, answering the phone) and updating website content (this was before the ubiquity of content management systems so HTML knowledge required). After my apprenticeship I was employed full-time, continuing with general duties, helping the project manager, and then moved on to the support team, and finally into project and account management where I am now.

An apprenticeship provides a hands-on, practical basis in the world of work, and enables a person to become an asset to a company while learning and gaining a qualification.

The Managers’ Point of View

Cameron Wardlaw

“We’re able to offer someone a place to learn and gain experience in an industry where they might not have had the chance otherwise”
Cameron – Customer Support Manager

The main thing about hiring an apprentice is that this is not just a job for them, it’s their way into an industry and career that they want to do long term. An apprenticeship is like an extremely long interview. Not only do we have several months getting to know the apprentice, it also gives them time to see how things work and decide if this is what they want to be doing. 

An apprenticeship doesn’t always work out well, but when it does, it really does. We’re able to offer someone a place to learn and gain experience in an industry where they might not have had the chance otherwise, and hopefully offer somewhere to work once they’ve completed the apprenticeship.  It’s real work that makes them a vital part of the team.

Anthony Agar

“I will always be very grateful to those of our employees who joined as apprentices and have stayed on for the duration – you know who you are.”
Ant – Managing Director

By training our own people from the outset, the teamwork is natural.  We are able to invest the time and training needed to create an employee who knows their way round all the nooks and crannies of Infotex. There is no substitute for having a team who are deeply experienced.  

We started with apprentices in the early 2000’s because they were cheap to employ! But over time we have found that apprentices simply make the best employees and are amongst the strongest team members. Our employees who have joined at a higher level have also, I think, benefited from our apprentices, from the core culture that they help bring, by which I mean that our company values are already the truth about us, not merely aspirations. And we remain fond of and proud of those who apprenticed with us and then moved on.

I will always be very grateful to those of our employees who joined as apprentices and have stayed on for the duration – you know who you are.  Your loyalty and trustworthiness are beyond value to a small company which is handling a lot of tech and data. In just over 20 years we have counted more than 120 people employed in Infotex, some for years, some for weeks, and you are the binding force which sustains our development. 

Everyone has their own idea of what the future will look like… but in the fast-moving digital world, the future is never far away. We’ve asked some of our team what their predictions are for the coming year. Do you agree?

Augmented Reality for Enhanced UX

The word ‘metaverse’ was runner up for the Oxford University Press Word of the Year 2022 – a telling sign of the growing conversation around a future where digital and physical worlds merge. Contributing to this future is the growing traction of Augmented Reality (AR), a type of Extended Reality (XR) that is on the rise along with Virtual Reality (VR) and others. 

AR Furniture

Note, for instance, the new World Cup FIFA+ Stadium Experience, an augmented reality overlay that allows stadium audiences to view stats, heatmaps, insights, and VAR replays on their phones while they watch the match live. This is just one of many examples of AR, a technology that brings together digital data and the physical world and is predicted to reach a global market of $50 billion by 2024. While technology is usually implemented on mobile apps – such as Amazon’s View in Your Room feature or the Ikea Place app – it is starting to be implemented on websites too, such as knitted tie store Broni and Bo’s virtual try on. AR might prove to be particularly beneficial to business owners from sectors such as beauty, manufacturing and tourism. 

Motion UI

Amidst the online constant buzz of activity, brands and platforms alike are battling to create meaningful and memorable user experiences. Motion is one of the ways that your brand’s website can stand out and hold on to user attention. Implemented well, a user experience including motion can communicate a story, sequence, or transition more effectively than one without. 

Interfaces that include motion do not have to rely on plugins but can be integrated through development frameworks. Enhancing your website and brand through Motion UI doesn’t have to mean animation or videos – additions as simple as the motion micro-interactions that occur when a user hovers over an action point or clicks a transition button can make the difference between a static website and one that ignites a user’s interest. Take a look at the Motion UI on our own website, for example. 

Voice search


As the internet grows and changes, the popularity of voice search continues to rise through Amazon Alexa style devices and “Hey Siri” requests. And, with the increasing popularity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as smart speakers, this trend doesn’t show any signs of decline. This is not a trend to ignore: optimising your business for voice search will help with every aspect of your overall SEO. Click here to  find out more about what steps to take for voice search optimisation.  

Progressive Web Applications (PWAs)

You may not realise, but many websites that you visit are actually using PWA technologies to provide an experience closer to that of native applications. You can see this when you visit sites like Twitter, Gmail, etc. 

Progressive web apps are essentially web applications that feel and function like a native mobile application. This means they increase the quality of user-experience by offering advantages such as offline use, hardware access, push notifications, and the ability to be “installed” on the user’s device. While these clever web apps have been on the increase for a while, their popularity shows no sign of slowing down. Click here to read more about progressive web apps. 

Single Page Applications & Websites

Single Page Applications (SPAs) are a key cause of our constant scrolling habits. SPAs work inside a browser to offer seamless user-experience by dynamically loading as a single page. This way the user does not have to wait for the site to continually reload, and can enjoy uninterrupted scrolling. They can offer better page performance, data protection, and work efficiently if the user has poor internet connection, as the content loads completely at the first sign of communication with the server. 

 Single-page websites (SPWs) work in much the same way. Website content, such as that which might otherwise be found under a “Work” or “About” tab, is fully loaded on the initial page and can be navigated by links within the one page. These intuitive and well-structured single-page websites increase the likelihood of maintaining the attention of users, and enable control of the order in which information is absorbed. Compared to multi-page sites,  the site design and development requires less time and money and is more suited to optimisation for mobile devices.

Smart Content

Smart Content refers to the dynamic elements of your website that change depending on the site user profile. It targets individual customers with a personalised experience, and also decreases site loading times to drive significantly higher conversion rates and ROI. Read more about Smart content loading in our blog.  




The green transition is here, and, with the internet as a major producer of carbon emissions, web developers have an important role to play. From sustainable web design, to efficient web development, to green hosting, there are many things website creators can and should be doing where possible. As awareness grows about the need for online business that cares for people and planet, and creative solutions increase, we expect sustainable web development practices to continue to grow. 


One of the less sexy elements, but for any company that has ever experienced a cyber attack first-hand, online security has always been extremely important.

During 2022 we saw an increase in large-scale nation-state cyber-attacks, such as the Russian attacks against Ukraine and Montenegro and the unidentified attack on the New Zealand government.  In 2023 businesses should expect attacks of this kind and scale to become more common and sophisticated.  Some of the more pessimistic members of our team would not be surprised to a government body or key public services (or comparable body) is brought down due to a cyber attack.

These security concerns are not just reserved for large corporations.  In 2022 research by the world economic forum found that 95% of cyber security issues were caused by human error or a lack of cyber security concerns.  Website and Web applications process a lot of valuable data, and with more company assets moving to the cloud to accommodate hybrid/remote working, the potential damage caused by cyber-attacks has never been higher.


Many of the trends we see for 2023 are very similar to those we saw in 2022. Will 2023 be the year that web3 finally kicks off? or the year that there is a considerable push on hardware that supports ARs, making it an essential part of our daily lives? Only time will tell!

One thing is certain. However, companies that provide clients and customers with the best user experience will thrive in 2023. There is a lot of new exciting technology out there that is easy to get excited about, but there is no magic bean this year that will separate the pack. Companies that take the time to understand their customers and demographics and tailor their website and online marketing to utilise the above tools (motion UI, smart content, PWAs, AR etc) correctly will come out on top.

Infotex is ready to start helping the UK public sector with its most critical challenges, with the launch of the Digital Outcomes 6 (DOS 6) framework.

What is Digital Outcomes 6?

The Digital Outcomes 6 (DOS 6) framework facilitates the procurement of digital services to accelerate the success of applying technology solutions to solve UK public sector challenges. Buyers in the UK public sector can now procure an extensive range of digital services from Infotex including bespoke software solutions, database development, website design/development, SEO, hosting and support.

In addition to this framework, we have also recently been confirmed as a supplier on the G-Cloud 13 framework too, further strengthening our offering to the public sector.

In September 2022, Infotex was named as a supplier on Crown Commercial Service’s G-Cloud 13 framework the latest iteration of the G-Cloud Framework of 2012. As an agreement between service providers and the government, the catalogue makes Infotex’s cloud-based hosting, software and support services available to public service customers. 

Infotex team members Debbie, Jono and Alex have been working hard at completing the application since March 2022, and, after much head scratching with 100’s of questions to answer, are thrilled to have completed Infotex’s very first G-Cloud application and been awarded the contract. 

What is G-Cloud 13?

Crown Commercial Service supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services. In 2021/22, CCS helped the public sector to achieve commercial benefits equal to £2.8 billion – supporting world-class public services that offer best value for taxpayers.

G-Cloud 13 is a framework of approved supplier services where organisations can make purchases via the Digital Marketplace without having to go through a lengthy procurement or tender process every time. This framework is the primary service for the UK public sector, and is available for central government (the primary buyers), charities, education, health, local authority, blue light (police, fire, ambulance, search and rescue), devolved administrations and British overseas territories. 

What does this mean for Infotex?

The G-Cloud Framework went live on 14th December 2022. Once the “New Opportunities” feature goes live early this year, Debbie, our Head of Sales, will receive emails with available public sector opportunities that she will be able to respond to. This is an exciting opportunity for Infotex to be a part of an exceptional framework for public sector organisations purchasing cloud services, and we are delighted to have been awarded the opportunity.

In addition to this framework, we have also recently been confirmed as a supplier on the Digital Outcomes 6 (DOS 6) framework too, further strengthening our offering to the public sector.

Digital security is a necessity in an age where attacks and data exfiltration are commonplace. Hosting and managing hundreds of websites and systems also means handling a lot of valuable information. Keeping that data safe is a responsibility we take very seriously. 

Cyber Essentials Plus is a UK Government-backed scheme designed to demonstrate organisations’ resilience against cyber attack. It ensures our systems are up-to-date, secure and fit for purpose, meaning our clients can rest assured that they are working with a business that is confident in its digital security. 

The standard Cyber Essentials certification covers these five main areas:

  1. Boundary firewalls and internet gateways
  2. Secure configuration
  3. Access controls
  4. Malware protection
  5. Patch management

As part of the Plus version of the certification, Infotex underwent an independent external technical audit by URM Consulting, to ensure that necessary technical controls are in place for the security of our systems. A random sample of staff were selected to be audited – making sure their work environment is up to date and secured. Our in-house infrastructure team periodically review all devices, to ensure they are all configured correctly. By passing, we are proving our internal processes, policies and security controls are in line with National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) standards

Having previously completed Cyber Essentials Plus, the biggest change for this year is that all cloud services admin accounts offering multi-factor authentication must now have that enabled. In fact Infotex have gone one further and enabled it on all cloud services where that is feasible. Alongside this, minimum password length has been increased for any accounts, something reflecting the increasingly hostile online environment where password cracking tech continues to improve. We have also now disabled that stalwart browser of the last two decades Internet Explorer on all our Windows devices to bring that chapter of the web to a close.

Much like a car MOT, Cyber Essentials Plus is the minimum that we work to. We go above and beyond this with regular reminders and training, both face-to-face and virtual being provided to all Infotex staff to keep security in mind with both our practices, device configurations and website development processes to make sure we are doing all we can to maintain our ongoing cyber security knowing that forms a part of our clients also.

If you are looking at your businesses cyber security then undertaking Cyber Essentials Plus is something that we’d thoroughly recommend. It is a way to focus the company on the aspects which will give you the greatest security benefit against the attacks which are ongoing in the real world as the NCSC evolves the standard every year based upon the attack data that they witness in the real world.

Like many businesses, Infotex has embraced working from home in modern times.  The pandemic taught us to adapt and learn, and we learned that there are benefits of providing staff with flexibility and improved internal communication and collaboration.

We continue to adapt and learn, and we now operate a hybrid of homes and offices. Some of the teams meet regularly to work together, whilst the majority of us work from our homes as the default.  Plenty of hats and scarves needed at the moment, but no gloves seen yet.

Four times a year the whole company comes together for 2 days of work and play.  These gatherings are built on a tradition over the past 15 years of the annual Christmas party plus something in the summer, usually outdoors and involving boats.  We now have four company gatherings a year, the dates planned a year in advance.

Our most recent gathering was last week, based on the traditional Infotex parties, but nuanced to reflect the reality that we no longer have a large HQ office to host the activities.  So Katie found a house with 13 bedrooms to rent in Ipswich, which became our home for 48 hours. Just spending this time together, as friends and colleagues, was all the more valuable because we are not now all in the same building every day. 

For much of the time, people just carried on with their work, but also everyone took the opportunity to have meetings on specific matters, so useful conversations were had, as a group.  Being in the centre of Ipswich, we were minutes away from a wonderful pub (The Lord Nelson, in keeping with our nautical traditions) which kept the house guests well fuelled throughout their stay. 

On the main day, we held our first awards ceremony – complete with prizes – followed by the now legendary (in our world) Christmas Quiz, which is created and curated by our very own Kris Parker.

In our business update session, we took time to talk about the year behind us, and our hopes for the year ahead.  Like so many around us, it feels like it has been a year of two halves, with the optimism at the beginning quickly coming into contact with the reality of the Ukraine war, in collision with our own domestic politics so that the autumn started off with spirits low. 

However, fuelled by awards, quiz wins, food and drink, warmth and companionship, we are ending the year optimistic once again, further boosted by a spate of new orders from some long-term clients and the successful completing of some challenging technical projects.

And once again, I have been reminded of how lucky I am to work with such a great team.  Capable and competent in their work, talented in their modesty and quietly doing things which make me proud (when I hear about them!).

Time soon for a well earned break…..


Despite originating in the USA, Black Friday has been a staple of the UK shopping calendar for around 10 years. It was first introduced to the UK by Amazon in 2010, with the site regularly crashing due to high traffic levels. Asda then dared to introduce the first ‘in-store’ Black Friday sales in 2013 with offers of up to 70% off.

The idea spread quickly despite reports of broken bones in the shopping extravaganza. The annual shopping event planted deep roots on this side of the Atlantic, becoming a staple in the UK and global calendar.

To say a lot has changed since Black Friday’s introduction would be an extraordinary understatement. Even if we didn’t mention the obvious global pandemic, the cost of the living crisis and decreasing size of the UK economy, UK consumer shopping habits have changed dramatically.

Black Friday

Black Friday 2022 is now over, and despite the doom and gloom of strikes and energy bills, the stats are painting a more positive picture than initially predicted. With our ecommerce and digital eye, we wanted to share a few of our observations with you.

Let’s start with the overall online stats

Online vs Instore

Long gone are the days when friends became enemies on the aisles of Currys when there appeared to be only one breadmaker (Other electric goods are available… maybe), and it had a 70% OFF red sticker. The sale has been moving ‘online’, with more customers shopping every year from the comfort of their living rooms.

Despite the end of the pandemic and a return to a more normal life, consumers continue to favour online. Footfall was up compared to 2021 but failed to surpass pre-pandemic numbers. 

Lower, Longer Offers

As the popularity of Black Friday has grown and shopping habits are moving online, businesses have had to adapt. With more significant investments into ecommerce and fulfilment, the offers have significantly decreased, making the offers more in line with other calendar sales (e.g. end of season or Boxing Day).

The average discount for orders placed in 2022 was between 12%-15%, far removed from the initial sales offers first introduced in the early 2010s. The reduced offer has meant businesses can extend the sales window, with many sales now lasting most of November.

Careful Shoppers & Better Customer Experience

There is no avoiding the elephant in the room in the UK, with the cost of living crisis. While the figures are not as bleak as initially feared, there is no denying that shoppers are becoming more careful with their purchasing decisions. Mainstream publications have been offering guides to the best deals available to help with shopping.

I myself had a ‘no impulse shopping’ rule. All Christmas presents were chosen in advance, online guides were read as to where the best sale would be, and Black Friday itself consisted of knowing exactly where to get the best deal for my 4-5 purchases.

Good ecommerce businesses were, however, prepared for this, with increased newsletters and email communications to ensure their customers were engaged using tools such as countdown timers and abandoned checkout notifications. On the whole, this has worked, with clickthrough rates seeing an average uplift of around 200% from emails and messages.

Mobile vs Desktop

Every year we see more and more customers preferring to shop on their phones, and this year was no different, with 55% of all orders made on mobile. It is also expected that upto 89% of visits were from mobile devices.

Multi-Channel Campaigns

An interesting, but not completely surprising, revelation was that Shopify saw an increase of 24% in sales generated by social commerce globally across their platform.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are now mature, and following investment during the pandemic has several excellent ecommerce tools. Making it easier to adopt a more transactional-based social media strategy.

Conclusions – and what to do in 2023

While many will argue Black Friday is not as significant as in previous years because it isn’t causing a widespread shopping frenzy, I would say it is not declining but maturing. The ‘winners’ of Black Friday will no longer be those offering considerable bargains but sophisticated customer experiences that engage with and reward their audiences.

Top tips for 2023


Looking at the data over the last 10 years, you will see a steady increase in mobile traffic over desktop. This is not going to stop. Look at your website through your customer’s eyes on their mobile and look for ways to improve it. More and more, we are building sites for mobile users first here at Infotex.

Engage with your customers more

Make sure that you are talking to your customers. This can be as simple as offering your long-term customers exclusive deals or early access. Another quick win would be installing instant chat on your website to allow customers to easily get hold of you while on the website.

Smarten up your social media strategy

Don’t just use social media to build your brand. Use it to promote your sales in advance. By sharing previews of exclusive deals, countdown timers, and other engaging content, you can build anticipation and drive traffic to your site.

Sell directly via social media platforms with Instagram. You can put your product right in front of your target audience.

If you want to talk about improving your website for Black Friday 2023, please do not hesitate to get in touch.



For the majority of the time, the Infotex team are working from home. We asked some of our team what their setup looks like, and what tools they have at their desks to help them get on with work more productively. 


When I started working from home, working at the kitchen table did not work for me at all. Working at a single screen in a non-professional space was unlikely to be productive so now I have a small home office set up in the box room. I have a shelf above my desk for my laptop and screen. It is also the dressing room, so the views are limited… but I make sure to take good breaks at lunch and walk the dog.

Cam's Desk
Cam’s desk



I am fortunate that my children have grown up and flown the nest so I have set up my office in one of our spare rooms. I have a stand for my laptop, a special chair for my back, and a homemade footstool because being short I can’t touch the floor! I do not have any particular gadgets for my desk but I do take an extra-strength vitamin D tablet every morning. From my office window, I am able to see the blackwater estuary in the distance.



I work in my home office which also doubles as a bedroom. I started out with a portable table and never really liked it so over Christmas 2020 I spent a day making a custom desk – it’s one of the best things I’ve done. Being custom the height is just right and it is relatively sturdy with no wasted space. Best of all the monitors are raised giving additional space and the right height. When I was in the office I had persistent neck pain but since the change I haven’t noticed it. Next step is to varnish the desk top, which should be over the Christmas break this year. 

John’s custom desk



After 3 months of working at my kitchen table, I needed more space and longed to not have to pack everything away each evening. I am now in what used to be my children’s playroom, it is quite small but works perfectly.

My monitors are on adjustable arms to give me as much desk space as possible. As well as a lamp directly above my desk I have a light therapy lamp for the winter time which does help with the lack of daylight.

Katie's Desk
Katie’s tidy setup



I have been working from home since before it was cool, so I have spent a lot of time and effort getting my setup just right. My main hobby at the moment is video game development, so I spend a lot more time behind my desk than the average person.

Here is a breakdown of what I use:


Richard H

From my home office window I can see the tops of some bushes and trees with a rambling rose growing over it which looks lovely when it is in bloom. For a change of scenery, I’ll occasionally work in the living room or conservatory. 

Lighting is important to me – I don’t use anything special, just a 100W equivalent LED bulb so that there are no shadows in the room.

I’ve built a monitor stand out of some old kitchen units to support my two monitors to get them to the correct height. I’ve raised my desk to a suitable height using bricks as an adjustable desk is excessively expensive! I have a decent adjustable chair (but I do partially regret not getting a proper osteopath approved one) and a foot-stool built from more old kitchen unit pieces! Why didn’t you buy one: They are expensive and I like upcycling spare items.

Richard’s led keyboard



Being a one-screen worker, and not nearly precious enough about my back, I like moving around and working from my laptop with cable headphones in whichever library, café, or kitchen will have me! Because of my work I have few meetings and so can afford to be in more bustling, noisy places, or in silent zones of a library, and find I really thrive off the changes in scenery.

On days when I work from home I have a desk that belongs more to the house plants that live there than it does to me, but they make space for me when they have to…


It is estimated that data centres contribute 2% of all global greenhouse gas emissions – a figure that is rising as digital demand increases. However, by utilising cloud-based services for our hosting we are sharing resources and facilities, which reduces the number of duplicate, energy-hungry single-use servers.

We are conscious that site hosting will have an impact on Infotex’s carbon footprint. Because of this we are always looking to make sure our technical partners have, or are, taking steps towards sustainability. Our monitoring systems also help us to ensure that we are using these resources efficiently.

For the hosting of our primary websites and systems we use three main providers: Rackspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and ionmart. 



Rackspace’s approach to the environment is straight-forward: they aspire to give back more than they take from the planet.

In 2019, Rackspace reviewed its energy strategy and opted to focus resources and efforts on energy reduction instead of purchasing carbon offsets.

Rackspace’s UK data centres LON3 and LON5 run on 100% renewable energy. Data centre LON8 does not, though Rackspace publishes an Environmental, Social and Governance Report (2021) showing steps they are taking to be net-zero across all sites by 2045.

Their commitment to a greener business isn’t just limited to energy. They have a host of creative ways to minimise waste in offices, such as composting coffee grounds and shipping pallets, refurbishing retired IT equipment for aftermarket use, collecting HVAC condensate to maintain landscaping and operate cooling towers.

As part of their route to net zero, they have been publishing a greenhouse gas emissions inventory every year since 2008, covering their global operations.

For further details visit Rackspace’s Corporate Responsibility section of their site.


Amazon Web Services (AWS) is targeting their global operations to be powered by renewable energy by 2025. The London and Ireland based AWS (where we host our sites and systems) are currently powered by 95% renewable energy.

In 2019 Amazon launched the UK’s largest wind Corporate Power Purchase Agreement, located in Kintyre Peninsula, Scotland. The new wind farm is expected to produce 168,000 MWh of clean energy annually – enough to power 46,000 UK homes every year.

Amazon provides a Customer Carbon Footprint Tool which allows us to monitor our own carbon emissions and how those would compare to running on-premise computing equivalents – cloud computing can be 80% more efficient in this respect. 

For further details visit Amazon’s Sustainability in the Cloud section of their site. 



All of iomart’s data centres are powered by 100% renewable energy. They continuously evaluate sites to continue to reduce emissions, such as looking at how waste heat can be turned back into usable power. This project won them the ‘Best Use of Emerging Technology’ from the Digital City Awards in March 2022.

In 2022 iomart developed a Carbon Roadmap to help understand their Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions, and set carbon reduction targets. They also comply with ISO50001 Energy Management to reduce energy usage.

Further details can be found on iomart’s Environmental, Social & Governance page.

October 2022 is Cyber Security Awareness Month.

This is a topic which started over 10 years ago and is led by the USA’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and is shared with the European Cyber Security Month (ESCM).

While the topic may seem ethereal and mired in complicated titles, the principle behind it is very simple and one which every business should take time this month to consider if you haven’t already.

What are you doing to ensure that your business is safe online?

October is a month when many businesses start to focus on the busy period ahead and getting the basics in place before that rush could save you valuable time later on so here are some thoughts and actionable tips.

Cyber Security starts with the simplest of things, which hopefully everyone reading this knows and implements already:

It’s more than just good passwords

Have you considered becoming Cyber Essentials accredited?

Infotex have gone through the accreditation process, and while we had a good security understanding beforehand this has helped focus everyone’s attention on the issue. 


Phishing is when a fraudulent email is sent to you asking you to take some action believing the email originated from someone else you know. This is one of the biggest threats to any organisation today with almost a quarter of breaches in the Verizon Data Breach Report 2022 started via a phishing attack.

It is believed that around 3% of all phishing emails successfully entice their viewer to click the link. The emails are often very convincing using a combination of familiarity, based on information colleagues have posted about themselves online (sometimes unwittingly), and also a sense of urgency. It is always worth taking that moment to check because clicking a fraudulent link could be the start of a chain of events you’ll never forget.

Phishing doesn’t just happen via email. Text messages and phone calls are also becoming more common targets for phishing attackers as awareness of email phishing rises. 


Ransomware is designed to prevent you from getting access to the files on your computer by encrypting them. You are then invited to pay a ransom to unlock the files. 

It is generally recommended not to pay ransoms as you can’t be sure that the attacker will fulfil their side of the deal. You’re also funding organised crime and encouraging future attacks. It is better to invest in good protection and well-protected, external backups that are not directly connected to any device. Ensuring your computing devices and programs are up-to-date and have good antivirus software installed costs very little but offers a lot of protection, also maintain a good policy on keeping the operating system and software patches up to date, such as Windows Updates, finally if you run as a limited user rather than an administrator that often reduces the damage an attacker can inflict.

The Fun One – Play Capture The Flag

Within Cyber Security the term “capture the flag” is an exercise whereby one team set out to obtain some item of data held by another team within the business. If they are able to obtain it then both teams stop, learn how it happened and agree on steps that can be taken to ensure that a genuine attacker could not do so, thus increasing the overall security of the organisation.

You don’t need formal “red & blue teams” to do this, even the smallest of businesses can benefit from trying this, perhaps start by seeing whether one staff member can find the login password (or passphrase) for another member of staff’s computer. is it on a post-it attached to their monitor, is it the name of their child / cat / favourite holiday destination? Do they leave their PC logged in while they take their lunch break allowing anyone to walk up-to and use the PC in their absence?

The aim of Capture The Flag is not to belittle anyone but rather for everyone to learn from the experience and collectively improve your defences.

These are just a few of our thoughts, there’s much more advice available online as well as events in both the virtual and physical world but now you’ve read this article do ask yourself whether even that advice is genuine or is someone trying to get information out of you?

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