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!

Avoiding 7 Mistakes That May Affect Your Web Application Adversely

Most users nowadays access websites and web applications on their mobile devices. Likewise, a large percentage of users abandon websites that take more than three seconds to load. Hence, it becomes essential for web developers to create websites accessible on multiple browsers, platforms and devices. At the same time, they also need to focus on the website’s functionality, performance, usability, security, and searchability to boost user experience and increase conversion rate. But often the mistakes committed by the developers affect the user experience delivered by the web applications directly and adversely. The web developers must identity and avoid all such mistakes to make the website deliver optimal user experience.

7 Mistakes that May Affect a Web Application’s User Experience Directly

1) Not Reducing Bandwidth Usage

The choice of network differs from one user to another. Most people nowadays access web applications over 3G or 4G connection. Hence, the amount of bandwidth required by the website increases its loading time and affects its user experience. The developers can easily optimize bandwidth usage by optimizing size and resolution of images, minifying JavaScript and CSS files, and enabling server side compression. But they must reduce bandwidth consumption to enhance the web application’s user experience and engagement.

2) Not Enabling Browser Cache

The developers can easily enhance the user experience delivered by the web application by enabling browser caching. But often programmers forget to implement browser cache during development process. When they enable browser cache the performance of the website increases significantly due to lesser number of HTTP request. Also, the browser can load the website quickly by accessing HTML content, images and media files from the cache. The programmers can always implement full browser cache to make the website load faster and keep visitors engaged.

3) Not Repairing Navigation Issues

Nowadays users love websites that enable them to collect relevant information without any hassle or delay. The developers can easily keep the users engaged by designing the website with font type, format, and size compatible with multiple browsers. Likewise, they also need to enable users to navigate from one section or page of the website to another seamlessly. They can easily include a search box in each page to make it easier for users to find the required information. Likewise, the website must have a sitemap to make the web pages user friendly. The developers must make the website navigable across multiple devices. Also, they must identify and repair all navigation issues to keep the users engaged and reduce website abandonment.

4) Not Focusing on Scalability

Often developers build custom web applications according to predefined business requirements. They forget to focus on making the website scalable and consider expansion possibilities. That is why; the programmers have to rewrite the web application in future to meet revised business requirements and cater growing website traffic. The developers can easily make the web application scalable by synchronizing all required services and arranging external storage space. They also need to keep the source code of the application flexible and readable to accommodate the required changes and address scalability issues more efficiently.

5) Not Validating User Input Completely

Most developers validate user input at both client-side and server-side to keep the web application secure. But the developers often forget to validate each input submitted by users. The developers can easily implement client-side and server-side validation by availing the features provided by various web frameworks and tools. For instance, they can easily validate the user input at client side by taking advantage of the validation rules provided by the front-end development tools. Likewise, they can validate the user input at the server-side by using the annotations provided by various server-side tools. The programmers must implement client-side and server-side user input validation to protect the web application from targeted malware attacks.

6) Not Testing the User Experience Elaborately

Most modern users access websites and web applications on their mobile devices. But there are still many people who access websites on their desktop or laptop computers. Likewise, the choice of device, platform, browsers, and internet connectivity differs from one user to another. That is why; it becomes essential for web developers to evaluate the user experience delivered by the website across varying devices, platforms, browsers, and networks. Likewise, they must identify and repair all 404 issues in the website to keep the visitors engaged. Often developers forget to test the web application during development process. But they can easily get the defects and performance issues repaired if the web application is tested throughout the development process.

7) Ignoring Search Engine Guidelines

The search engine ranking and visibility of a website nowadays affects its user experience. Most enterprises implement search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to make the website receive regular search engine traffic. But the developers can easily enhance the search engine visibility of the website by following various search engine guidelines. For instance, they can optimize the website for mobile devices and increase its load time to meet the metrics used by Google for ranking websites. The developers can always follow the latest search engine guidelines and recommendation to make the web application popular within a short amount of time.

On the whole, the web application developers must focus on all aspects of the web application to boost its user experience. They further need to get all aspects of the website tested under varying user conditions. But they can easily avoid elaborate testing by avoiding these common web application development mistakes.

7 Best Tips To Find the Best Outsourcing Partner

Selecting the right outsourcing partner is one of the many problems that technology-driven companies face nowadays. Marketers need to choose the best web developers, SEO specialists and other individuals to assist the growth of their online business.

However, determining the company’s expectation would be the best thing to do to establish and sustain a good online market. Before you are going to choose an outsourcing partner, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

Does the outsourcing firm you’ve selected have enough experience, particularly on the services that you’ll outsource?

Does it provide above average services compared to other companies?

Does it own the best and the most modern equipment for outsourcing use?

Does it have trained, professional and expert workers who can handle all your projects or tasks?

Asking these questions would be a great help not just for you, but also for your business. Below are the following tips on picking the right outsourcing provider for your company. These guidelines can help you find the best online business partner.

1. Have a background check. It’s like hiring a new employee for your company. You also need to check everything about the past or the recent activities that your potential online partner has accomplished.

Check out their customer feedback, the services they provide and the tasks that they have completed. Through this, you can easily decide if it will fit to your outsourcing needs.

2. Talk to their customers. This is the best technique to know more about your possible business partner. Basically, clients can give the first hand information about the services of a company.

Business owners are afraid to commit mistakes to their customers; thus, they do all they can to sustain their client’s needs for a good feedback.

3. Know their business goals. One of the important factors to consider in choosing an Internet business buddy is to know its business objectives and purposes. Through this, you can decide whether it can help your outsourcing business or not.

4. Search for good reputation and financial stability. Make sure to choose a business partner that is financially stable. This is because money is the most critical component in every outsourcing business. Also, you need to assess if the firm provides outstanding services.

5. Make sure that you’re compatible with each other. In choosing an outsourcing partner, make certain that both of you are agreeing to any concerns regarding your business. Also, you and your outsourcing partner need to make sure that your employees will be comfortable with each other.

6. Ask for samples. If you are not contented with your potential business partner’s credentials, experiences and customer feedback, you can ask them for samples of their work. This is to give you an idea on how they create projects. This lets you rate the quality of their service, technical competence and work capacity.

7. Good communication is important. In outsourcing, you can have a partner anywhere around the world, but you need to ensure that both of you are using the same language. It’s important that you can understand each other well.

You can search for BPO or business process outsourcing companies list in different search engines to help you in choosing the top outsourcing services. However, you still need to follow the tips mentioned above to guarantee a good outsourcing partner. Experience is also very important for any business because this is one characteristic of a good service provider.