Advantages and Features of Mobile Web Design – What You Need to Know

2011 is being touted as the year when mobile technology really comes to the fore. So what are the characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of mobile we design? Which web development features re mobile friendly and which are not? Lastly and mostly importantly, how do you find out how mobile web design could work for your business?

Advantages of mobile web design

  • A well developed mobile website can mean an increased range of web visitors to your web site, happy to be able to use your site to full effect and that it functions in the right way.
  • If your business targets people on the move (e.g. a restaurant or hotel), you’ll most likely pick up business with good mobile web development.
  • Even if your business isn’t a natural fit with mobile technology, giving thought to good mobile web design can present your company as a professional, cutting edge outfit which embraces new technology.
  • Developing for mobiles can expand your brand and product beyond your website into apps and software programs. The possibilities with mobile technology are growing by the day.

Disadvantages of mobile web design

  • You have to know what you’re doing. If done properly, there shouldn’t be any disadvantages to having a mobile web designed site. However, there are a few potential pitfalls which might annoy your mobile customers and have a detrimental effect on your search engine rankings for your web site as a whole.
  • Things are always changing. You can’t expect to invest in your mobile web design and leave it there. Mobile web technology is growing and expanding. When a new smartphone comes on the market, you need to be prepared to grow and change to meet the new demands.
  • It may not be appropriate for your business. As with any investment of time or money, you need to decide whether the ROI merits the effort you will put in. Businesses don’t all fit one mold, so you need to do your research before embarking on developing a mobile site to ensure that your expectations of the returns are met.

How to go about developing your mobile site – some of the characteristics of mobile web design and development

1) Check your stats

Before developing a mobile site, your first port of call is Google Analytics or similar, where you can identify sources of traffic to your website. Google Analytics lets you know what proportion of your visitors are using mobiles to access your website and which specific devices people are using. This will help you decide whether it is worth allocating resources to building a mobile web site for your business and which devices to use when testing your website design.

2) Create a mobile stylesheet

The best way to manage a mobile site is to use a different CSS stylesheet to the one you use for your browser pages. This technique is preferable to any other because it avoids duplicating content within your site (which can damage your search engine rankings) and makes it easier to update your site in one fell swoop.

3) Avoid duplicating content

Google can penalize your website for having lots of pages with the same content, so if you do decide to develop a different set of webpages for mobile phones, make sure that the content is specifically different from that for your browser website. If you need a full reference of dos and don’ts from Google, Webmaster Tools is a good place to start:

4) Keep images to a minimum

You need to work to your lowest common denominator and you don’t know what connection speeds you are dealing with on smart phones. If you can do so, keeping to a few small images will provide a more enjoyable experience for your customers visiting by phone.

5) No Flash… end of

Flash is not a feature of web development which is considered mobile friendly. It doesn’t work on iPhones and because of security constraints, may be phased out of many web browsers in the future, so it’s best avoided in any case. Additionally, Flash can’t be read by search engines so you won’t be scoring points on Google or Bing. If you want a phone- and search-engine-friendly Flash look-alike, why not try jQuery? It works using JavaScript, which is available on the vast majority of browsers and phones and your text can be read by search engines.

6) Apps

Depending on the nature of your business, you may wish to develop an app. An app is a small program which is either free or can be purchased (the usual price for an iPhone app is £0.80). Apps sit as icons on the iPhone or other smartphone, so as well as providing a useful service to your web visitor, they are a great ongoing advertisement for your website and business.

6) Test it out

Don’t have a smartphone? Opera has a great mobile emulator which allows you to see how your mobile site will look to your visitors. With the Opera mobile emulator, you can try out different phones, vary screen sizes and resolutions and test out touch and keypad phones.

Happy mobile web development!

How to Select the Best Company for Hiring Offshore PHP Developers?

So, there has been a lot of buzz over the web nowadays about Hiring Dedicated Offshore Resources. The Internet is now loaded with information and guidelines about how to hire, when is the right time to hire and the myriad of benefits of hiring virtual employee from India. Therefore, since by now, all of us know what the concept is and how it works, we will straight move on to the key factors that might help you in making the decision about which Web Design Company would be the right for you.

The web is flooded with several companies that offer the Hire Web Designers / Hire Web Developers Program, but not all of them can provide you with what actually Dedicated Hiring is all about.

So, how will you know from which company should you Hire PHP Developers from?

Let us first compare the Hire Offshore Staff Program with that of an In-house Hiring.

Step 1- The Interview Process: The first step in case of hiring an in-house employee is likely that you collect a few resumes of the qualified professionals from where you shortlist some of them for a face-to-face interview. So, first find out whether the company that is offering its resources on hire, is able to provide you with the resumes of it’s web designers or php developers for you to choose from or are you just directly dealt with the sales person and then to someone unknown to work together with you?

Make sure that the Company from whom you would be hiring the resources has provided you with resumes of web designers / web developers, for you to choose from. And that further you are allowed to select a few amongst them, with whom you would likely setup an interview session. It is extremely important to know the person who would be working with you as your dedicated employee, as he/she would just like be your in-house employee (working at a virtual location) with whom you have few conversations before you actually hire him/her. Therefore, an Interview Session with your Dedicated Staff is an integral process in this method. Do not miss it.

Step 2- The Communication and Management Process: Everybody would mention that they would provide Direct Communication with the Web Designer / Web Developer you would hire. But how does the scenario of web development goes in is any reputed web design company? There is always a Project Manager and a Quality Analyst associated with the Web Designers / PHP Developers. So, if you are dealing with the Web Designer / Web Developer alone, the person might be extremely good at design or programming job but might not have the skills for management and quality analysis. Therefore, you are deprived of those facilities, and for which you have to deal with them all by yourself.

Why not choose a company that provides you with a Project Manager and a Quality Analyst as well and that too at the same price compared to others? Try to get the maximum out of what you pay.

Step 3 – Avail Free Trial: Those companies who houses well-experienced PHP Developers, will always walk that extra mile to provide you with “Risk-Free Trial Offer” which also comes with a “Money Back Guarantee”. This aspect asserts the level of expertise and confidence a company possess, as they would refund your money if at all you are not satisfied with the quality of work delivered. The Risk Free Trial Offer Guarantees that you try and test the PHP Developers before you actually move on to a long term commitment. This provides you with an added advantage of knowing the company, the developers and the kind of work they do, before you make any final decision. So, look for those companies, who provide you with 7 Days or 100 Hours Risk Free Trial as with the Money Back Guarantee, you are always safe. Do avail it!

Having said all that, finally, what I think is worth mentioning is that, before you make a final decision to hire php developers, do a good market survey, ask questions about all that you have in your mind, look at the experience a company has and that you get the best ROI.

Web Site Development – The Roles of Web Designers and Web Programmers

A web site is a software package. By definition, a package is a ready-made program that is available to users for use to perform some tasks. These users include non-IT professionals. Thus, a web site qualifies to be a package like Microsoft Office, Peachtree Accounting packages.

Before the revolution of The Web (WWW), development of software package was the exclusive preserve of skillful programmers. Programmers or software developers develop the logic of programs which a package will eventually use to function. This logic building aspect of software development requires high level of intellect. This together with the intricacies of mastering programming languages made the development of packages uninteresting and unattractive to a large spectrum of people.

Following the revolution of The Web, it became possible for non-programmers to develop packages right from the inception. These are web-based packages and of course, web sites, requiring no programming skills. The result was the creation of a new type of profession called Web Design. A web designer is someone who organizes a web page by arranging texts, pictures, animations, forms etc on a page and formats them to produce good presentation. All he needs do is to make use of any of the appropriate web development tools like Macromedia Visual Studio and Microsoft FrontPage. Through the Design section of Macromedia Dreamweaver, for example, you can design a whole web page without using HTML codes. What you have is a web site. A web site is one or more web pages. These web development tools are the equivalent of what the popular package Adobe PageMaker does which is to organize and format pages of books, magazines, newspapers etc. No programming is required.

The limitation of web designing is the creation of static web sites which may be suitable for some applications but not all. They produce non-interactive and non-dynamic web sites that are unsuitable for certain applications and needs. For example, online registration. The role of a web designer stops at this point and that of a web programmer begins. As a result of the limitation of static web sites, the need to move further arose. People wanted sites where they could post forms for tasks like creating accounts online and authentication of passwords. This led to the development of web programming languages otherwise known as scripts. Examples are JavaScript, ASP, ASP.NET, JSP, PHP, ColdFusion etc. The result was the creation of the profession of web programming. A web programmer is someone who develops programs for the purpose of performing automated tasks on a web site. Some prefer to call them software developers. Example of such tasks are:

  1. Data validation.
  2. Form submission.
  3. Sign Up.
  4. Database search.

Thus, it became possible to develop dynamic and interactive web sites capable of doing what conventional software could do on stand-alone computer and network using non-internet technologies. Online banking, stock broking are examples. These functions can now be carried out entirely on internet. To develop functional scripts for such automated tasks, logic building and mastery of the programming language to use in terms of syntax are required. Most of the programs are written from scratch.

Can you be a web designer and a web programmer? Yes, you can. There are people who double as web designer and web programmer but specialists are noted for doing better in their respective fields of specialization than non-specialists. Some sites do not require more than web designing but many sites nowadays require both web designing and web programming like the multi-tier applications that have presentation layer, the logic layer that interfaces the presentation layer with the database, and the data layer that contains the database. There are even database specialists who design database and write what is called stored procedures and triggers right inside the database. The use of stored procedures increases the overall efficiency of site execution as it minimizes the number of times SQL statements are parsed, compiled, and optimized during execution. You can see that site development is quite deep.

The roles of web designers and web programmers are complementary in the development of web site. You need to identify where your ability lies and allow that to inform your choice of area of specialization. If you know you have the ability to write programs, you can go beyond web designing and become a web programmer but if it is otherwise, stick to web designing and continue to grow and sharpen your skills. The truth of the matter is that programming is not for everybody.

If you are a conventional graphic artist, you will find it easy to crossover to web designing and if you are a conventional programmer, you can readily crossover to web programming. What I mean by conventional graphic artists are those who have the expertise in the use of tools like CorelDraw, Photoshop, and PageMaker to perform Desktop Publishing tasks. By conventional programmers, I mean the experts in programming languages like C++, FoxPro, COBOL, and Dbase.

As long as you can determine where your ability lies, you will surely overcome frustrations in your tasks of developing web sites and you will continue to enjoy what you are doing. If you are a web designer and you have a job that involves programming which you cannot handle, look for assistance from a web programmer. If you are a web programmer and you are having issues with web designing in your task, seek the assistance of a web designer. If you can handle both areas to a very large extent, well and good.