For a couple of years now we have been hyping up the importance of Responsive web design, so much so we offer it as an inclusive service when producing new websites.
Now we have confirmation that it is in-fact a necessity that your website be responsive to feature in Google’s latest web search results. (more…)
In this 21st century mega trend of social media and hand held devices, where mobile devices are set to outsell desktop PC’s with an estimated 200 million tablets sold in 2013. This can mean only one thing; consumers are increasingly searching, socialising and purchasing via a mobile device every day, the first thing they do in a morning and the last thing they do at night.
At least 50% of consumers will use a mobile device in their purchase process both online and offline… How common is it to be looking around a high street store, see a bit of kit you like then reach for your mobile to check on prices and reviews online? It’s natural! Websites NEED to be mobile friendly. Want to no more about responsive design, please get in contact…
I’ve heard of Mobile Websites but what is ‘Responsive’?
Responsive website design is a term that has been banded around the web design industry for some time. So it is understandable if anyone outside this world does not know what this jargon is all about.
Responsive website design explained (in brief): Websites are required to work on desktops, laptosp, smartphones, iPhones, iPads, tablets and their respective variety of screen sizes & resolutions. The rapidly emerging solution is termed as ‘responsive design’, where the website responds to the resolution and size of the device it is being served on.
The original solution was to build a separate mobile website but this can be costly in terms of initial development, the time implications of maintaining both desktop and mobile versions and a key problem that a mobile site may not necessarily be tailored to suit tablet devices.
Google loves responsive websites with great user experiences and the current Google algorithms are prioritising responsive sites in their search results. Google also frowns upon duplicate content and by having a mobile site there could be an overlapping issue here. The benefit of responsive websites is they have content from one source.
However, there is still reason for a mobile version of a website, it is not obsolete (yet). For a more detailed explanation see our responsive article: 2013 The Year Of Responsive Website Design.
In a nutshell it all just fits – the user experience your visitors need
There is no annoying scrolling around, zooming in and out, trying to pick out tiny text links. It looks good, it is accessible and it works. Give your website visitors the user experience they expect, the experience they need.
People use mobile devices to enhance their lives. Staying connected, browsing websites, using Apps and social media networks to improve knowledge, have fun, be informed and purchase. 90% of mobile searches lead to action, 50% lead to purchase, with this trend forever on the up, the time to respond to responsive is now!
design understood website will be going responsive very soon!
We are so busy building responsive websites for our clients, our own site hasn’t had the love it deserved and got bumped down the list. It is in the pipeline and we aim to be up and running in the next few months.
In the meantime keep an eye out for the brand spanking new udrive responsive website coming very soon, we are particularity happy with this one.
So if you want to ensure our site is always being bumped down the list, if you need a new website with responsive design, or want your existing website converting to a responsive build, contact us about responsive website design today…
Whilst the cinema & motion video world is force feeding 3D on the public at large, current graphic design / web & user interface design trends are moving towards a flatter appearance.
This is not a new thing, clean flat designs have been the staple of graphic design for a very long time. User interfaces on the other hand have been utilising shading, shadowing, colour gradients and the like to create graphics that have a pseudo 3d-esque feel, now it’s time for ‘flat design’ to take over.
So if it’s not news, then why is it news?
Some of the biggest companies in the world today have just recently adopted the ‘flat design’ approach, in particular Google and Apple. These are not the first to do get on the band wagon, some what ironically Microsoft has been doing flat for a couple of years now.
Google redesigned their logo, very subtly, removing bevels and a general spring clean in the process. In this instance removing the 3D look to the logo has stopped it having a dated feel and makes the logo feel somewhat fresher.
Google also turned their attention to their own internal sub company YouTube, applying a similar set of changes.
Apple have adopted a flat design for their UI on the new iOS7 for mobile devices, this was met with some negative reaction by some, but having played with the OS it handles nicely and runs smoothly.
One thing that is apparent, it feels like Apple has conformed rather than innovated by opting in on this trend, the look and feel once you delve deeper has a very distinct Windows Phone OS feel to it, using similar fonts and styles.
We have highlighted that flat design is nothing new, the significant factor with the 2 giant companies ‘Google & Apple’ is their influence, and this has already started.
You only have to look at the apps on the iPhone, they have started to change their appearance and go flat, not just from a UI point of view but from a branding point of view.
Popular app Instagram (read about it here on their blog) immediately converted and released a flat design in recognition of Apples changes, twitter also followed suit by flattening their UI (read about it here on their blog.)
This domino affect has shown that flat design goes beyond Apps, User Interfaces and Operating Systems, it has branched out and changed company branding in general, the ‘see it, want it’ mentality has kicked in.
Apple are well known for their prowess in design, a go to company for current hot trends, they may not have started the trend, but now they are a part of it, others will follow suit.
Where next for design and branding
New trends will always happen, bandwagon jumping is part and parcel of human life, it is now up to the graphic designers of this world to accept this and adapt.
We have faith that innovation & creativity will reign supreme and dearly hope the copycat mentality will not make everything the same and devoid of character.
There is a danger things will become over simplified and lose it’s identity, a great example of this is the new ebay logo, which we think has lost some of it’s brand identity, a step backwards rather than a development.
We will leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs former Big Thinker of Apple, which we think perfectly expresses our thoughts, make of it what you will…
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
If you already have a website but are not yet involved in social networking then you’re business is missing out. Seriously YOU ARE MISSING OUT BIG TIME!
This is no idle boast or scare tactics, it is the plain and simple truth.
So what’s changed to warrant all the fuss?
The sceptics out there may turn their nose up at the thought of Social Media and say things like it’s a kids tool, it’s not a business tool, unfortunately these people are sorely missing the point.
Social media’s importance, now more than ever, has become a huge factor in helping businesses today have success online.
Why you say, well let’s examine the facts…
Google search, Google+, Google Places help SEO
Google rules the internet, it’s a fact, there can be no argument that the no.1 search engine used today is Google.
If you own a website we are pretty darn sure you want your website to rank on their little search engine website.
Recently Google changed their search algorithms to take into account social activity (or signals). By having social media activity and interaction with people liking and sharing your news articles and website links, not only will this help promote your company website but push your website up the search engine rankings.
Another huge update to the algorithms is the expansion and merger of Google Places & Google+, Google are no fools and want you to use their services. Lets face it who can argue with them when they have the market in their hands.
How Google uses it’s own services together with it’s own search engine has become a very important social factor to determine search results. Correctly optimised Google Social pages will appear in results and help validate your website.
Google, Social Media and News Content
Another big SEO factor Google is taking into account is fresh, orginal and human written content which in turn is shared and reblogged by users on the internet.
Installing a news system on your website such as WordPress will give you a platform to write new content this then can be shared via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and others.
These services can be linked together so you only have to post your news articles once and it will be spread across your entire network in an instant.
Reviews & Google Authoring
You have your fresh new content and push it through social media, all is good, well nearly.
Google has also introduced results that take in the importance of verified websites, content and reviews.
One such tool to help this is Google Authoring, authenticity of an article or a post can really affect how Google ranks your content in their Google Search rankings.
A great way to verify your content (news articles) so it is available in Google searches is to sign up for Google Plus Authorship. What this does is allow you to link all new content directly back to your Google Plus profile page, so Google and on-line users know that all your content is from a trustworthy source.
Promoting your brand via Social Media
Millions of users use social media everyday, some people live and breathe social media, do you really want to ignore that huge potential market, that potential sale?
Customising your social media pages with your company branding and contact details will help give your company page that extra professional touch. However getting set-up with social media is all well and good, now comes the fun yet difficult part, getting followers and likes, achieved by promoting your business in the correct way.
Creating visual and interesting campaigns will go along way to help promote your business and attract users through to your social media pages. Remember more likes, re-tweets, shares will tell Google your web pages are relevant and push them up the search engines.
Some of the big players in social media, notably Facebook and Linked-In, offer the opportunity to advertise. They provide a detailed advertising management section which enables you to configure your social media advertising to target specific groups of people by location, age, occupation and much more.
Social Media is more than a natter on Facebook, it’s more than following a celebrity Twerking on Twitter, it is an information resource and Key to a business website performing to it’s fullest potential.
Google is changing by the day, and new algorithms are turning up all the time, but one thing that will not be changing any-time soon is the importance of Social Media and well written content.
With sales of smartphones forever on the up and tablet sales expected to exceed 100 million this year, the amount of device screen sizes available for users to browse the internet is growing exponentially.
In the not so distant past, the majority of web browsing was done on a desktop or laptop computer and a minority on mobile phone. The solution was to detect the mobile device and redirect the user to a mobile website. These were styled and structured to suit the relatively limited screen sizes available and low in filesize / loading to accommodate the processor and data transfer speeds of the time.
Then comes the smartphone and the user embracing the use of Apps, everything is about Apps for fun, games, news, information, entertainment, the list is endless. But for some website owners the development and support implications to cover every OS platform is too much, you can’t build for everything? Where there are millions of good reasons to build an App, there is an equal amount of websites where their very nature does not lend itself to multiple App development.
So the challenge now facing website designers is to design websites required to work on desktop, laptop, smartphones, iphones, ipads, tablets and all of their respective variety of screen sizes & resolutions. The rapidly emerging solution is ‘responsive design’, where the website responds to the resolution and size of the device it is being served on.
Flexible images, text and fluid grids then size correctly to fit the screen. In support of this is ‘adaptive design’ which detects the type of device being used and in which case can activate/deactivate elements or functionality as required.
The benefits are you build a website that works seamlessly across thousands of different screens. This does not mean mobile websites are unnecessary, the purpose of the website will dictate the feasibility of setting up a mobile site to suit its needs and there are still many reasons to do this. However, if you wish to build a site that is accessible to the expanding device universe, responsive is the way forward.
Behind the scenes at design understood we are working away at responsive design, testing out methods, learning and honing our skills in the department of responsive website design. Over coming weeks and months you may notice changes to the design understood website but in saying that, when responsive design works well, you don’t notice it, it is seamless and just works! With projects on the horizon, we aim to be showcasing responsive website design along with our bespoke content management systems for our clients in the very near future.
If you would like to talk to us about responsive design for your website please contact us.
A good example of Responsive Design is the Google Science Fair Website: https://www.googlesciencefair.com/en/2013/competition
If you view this on a desktop computer and resize your browser you will see how the site changes to fit the content to the new size. Also try opening this on a smart phone and/or tablet and you can see how the altered content suits the device.
Windows Live Messenger is to be closed down on the 15th March 2013 in favour of Microsoft’s Skype platform, which it acquired in 2011.
Messenger has been around for 13 years and serves hundreds of millions of users World Wide. Only the service in China will remain after the March cut off date.
Unfortunately not all of the Live Messenger IM features we have become accustomed to will be present in Skype, such as the sending of images and video links (YouTube) conveniently shown with preview pane. Skype still has the clunky save file > go to file on PC > click to open procedure. Skype is just not streamlined for IM the way Live Messenger is, which raises the point of variety of alternative instant messenger services such as Facebook Messenger, Google Chat, iMessage, BBM, or Twitter. Will the old faithful remain faithful to Skype? This remains to be seen.
In the interim the move to Skype is happening, so in order to keep in touch with your contacts a merge is required and fortunately there is a built in feature to help you do this…
Merging Skype and Live Messenger Accounts
If you do not have a Skype account, install Skype and select to login with your Microsoft Live Messenger account, click you’re ‘new to Skype’ and away you go.
If you already have a Skype account follow these instructions:
- Logout of Skype if you are already logged in.
- On the sign in screen select to login with Microsoft Live Messenger and enter your Live Messenger login when prompted.
- On the next screen select ‘I have a Skype Account’
- Enter your Skype login when prompted.
- Click continue, now all your contacts should be in Skype.
For reference and support please visit the Skype community: http://community.skype.com/t5/Live-Messenger/Talk-to-Your-Messenger-Contacts-on-Skype/td-p/1183378
For some reason merged contacts appear in your contacts list twice, presumably this is something which will iron out in due course.
Sorry, Something went wrong. Login Error.
Some users have encountered problems with logging into Skype with their Windows login. A support thread for this is here: http://community.skype.com/t5/Windows/Sorry-Something-Went-Wrong-PLEASE-HELP/td-p/1232754/page/3
Ultimately the preferred fix is to delete the shared.xml file. If you can not find it using the directory shown in the link above, for Win7 users try C:USERS, [your main username], AppDATA, ROAMING, SKYPE