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Mistakes To Look Out For When Adopting Responsive Web Design

Published on April 16, 2014
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Today, the Internet is an integral part of our daily lives. And given the rapid pace of smartphone adoption, it is imperative for brands to be prepared to deliver to users the best possible experience on those devices. To achieve this, companies need to adjust to the ever-changing market and plan a responsive design for their website so that it can be viewed on devices with different screen sizes, as well as on desktop computers.

Responsive web design is a relatively new approach, but there are many large brands already adopting it to reach their target audiences, regardless of the device used. However, companies must be aware of some mistakes made in the process of using responsive web design. Here are some of the blunders that marketers need to avoid, as outlined by Business 2 Community.

The most common mistakes in responsive website development usually occur in the planning and development processes, as many developers wrongly believe it is easy to create a website for desktop and then develop a design for mobile devices. Always first develop the mobile website first and then move on to create a desktop version – it is much easier to adjust the site to a larger screen than the other way around.

Developing a responsive web design does not mean creating a desktop website and simply shrinking it to fit mobile devices. This approach can ruin the website's appearance on mobile. For this reason, use responsive interfaces, as they best fit the requirements of mobile devices.

Another mistake is offering too much content on mobile devices. Keep in mind that smaller devices mean less space and less space means that you should include less content. The content should only feature the most important information about the company – contact information, locations, nearest store, services, etc.

Brands also need to be aware that there should be less data to load on a mobile device than on a computer. Data that appears on a computer screen in seconds can take minutes to render on mobile – which can be frustrating for the user. Long load times could even prompt users to turn to another brand that provides a better experience.

Finally, as touchscreens dominate the mobile market, it is a must for brands to create a mobile version that works perfectly on touchscreen devices.

Avoid these traps and you are well on your way to developing a responsive website that is right for your business. Speak to one of our in-house web designers who can give you advice about our bespoke design service and your particular requirements.

 

By Chelsey Evans

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Why Responsive Design Matters

Published on March 31, 2014
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It is widely thought that responsive web design is all about having a website that fits different mobile devices and provides the user with a better experience. However, this is not a responsive website's only purpose. Responsive design also allows businesses to adjust the website's layout in such a way as to generate more conversions.

Today, a simple and clean design is extremely popular – and it is hardly surprising that Apple embraced this with its iOS 7. Easy website navigation is among the most important parts of a responsive web design. Many businesses have gone for heavy designs over the past few years by including animation and other flashy elements, but today more companies are switching to clean and simple lines.

Messy websites are usually hard to navigate and when they are visited by many users they load slowly. This can lead to people getting annoyed and eventually abandoning those websites. Simple design is designed to increase the number of conversions. If a user is happy with their experience, the more likely that user will return to the website in the future.

Many businesses adopt responsive web design not only for the enhanced functionality the technology provides, but also in an effort to stay relevant and on trend in this competitive market. Basically, every company can take advantage of responsive web design as it increases mobile traffic. Mobile traffic is very important these days, as it is expected that this year it will surpass the traffic coming from PCs. Also, a staggering 88% of users who search for a particular local company on a mobile device contact the company within 24 hours.

Over the past years, mobile traffic has not been generating conversions in the same way desktop has in the past. The reason for this is poor user experience. Responsive web design allows companies to provide their mobile users with a website which is easy to navigate and this will inevitably result in higher mobile conversions. With an increase in the number of people using mobile devices and mobile search, companies need to cater to user demand or risk losing customers and money.

 

By Chelsey Evans

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Five Tips For Mobile App Success

Published on March 21, 2014
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There seems to be an app for pretty much everything these days. Smartphones and tablets are easily outselling computers and this trend looks here to stay. This means that anyone running an online business must pay particular attention to its mobile experience.
 
In the world of B2B business apps companies are faced with a number of challenges. The cost of developing, launching and maintaining a mobile application is an ongoing commitment, as is ensuring the app is integrated with your sales, marketing and customers' needs. Make sure your app works for your business by following these five guidelines.
 
Make your app fully interactive
 
The majority of business-to-business marketing and sales apps are tablet-based versions of existing presentations, videos and literature. Replicating content just so it can be used with a touch screen does not make that information any more effective. Businesses need to engage with the user on a sensory level and develop an emotional connection. Always remember it is the user who will decide how they want to explore the app.
 
Make your app inclusive
 
A mobile-first approach is beneficial, but your app should cater for all devices. Make sure it is available as an independent app for desktops and as an app for browsers, as well as for smartphones and tablets.
 
Make your app work offline
 
Marketing and sales professionals often face challenges when it comes to web access, for example working in venues where Internet access is limited or even unavailable. So, it is important to have an app that can function when a device is offline as well as online.
 
Instant updates
 
When an update is made to the application it needs to reach the end user immediately. By distributing this on an incremental basis to all local apps users will have access to the most recent version of the content the next time they are online.
 
Monitor your app
 
With engagement analytics in place businesses can really begin to understand how the app is being used. By tracking how users are engaging with each segment of the app, where users are located and on what device they are running the app you will gain valuable insights into the user experience. It will also help you make any improvements in the future.
 
There is no doubt that business-to-business applications for marketing and sales help a company increase sales and improve its marketing efficiency. But by creating transparency throughout the lifecycle of an app – development, implementation and maintenance – you will ensure prolonged success of the app.
 
If you'd like to find out more about how a mobile app could work for your business, we can help. Our in-house team offers bespoke design and build of mobile applications and we are confident you will see the benefits for your business.
 
Of if you are looking for an alternative to designing a mobile app you may want to consider making your site more responsive. We will be blogging about responsive design next week so come back soon and find out how it can help your business. See you then...
 

By Chelsey Evans

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Signs Of A Good Project Management Team

Published on March 5, 2014
Tags: Internet Communication

Project management teams are the backbone of many successful businesses. Typically, a dedicated team will use their skills and expertise to plan, organise and implement different projects for various clients. In this article we’ll discuss how we approach projects here at Ampheon, and we will also be looking at what makes a good project management team.

At Ampheon, the initial stage involves selling our services to prospective clients. Once a client has signed up, that’s where the project manager steps in. Our team and the client will then work together to produce a high-end brief which covers the client’s requirements.

The first step is asking the client what problem they want to solve, and it’s the project management team’s duty to find the solution. As a simple example, the problem could be a lack of online presence, and the solution could be to create a blog.

A good project management team understands that no two clients are the same. When looking at how to tackle the client’s problem, it’s also important that all options are considered. This can sometimes mean that when a client appears to have a definitive solution to their problem, we would need to pitch other possible ideas. To be able to use initiative and come up with other solutions, the team must contain experts in the field of the client’s business area.

In effect, it is our duty to take away the administrative duties of a project from clients as much as possible. But, it’s the client’s deliverable at the end of the day, and the responsibility and control must lie with them.

Perhaps the most significant element within project management is communication, and this applies to pre, during and post-project. Without good communication between client and service provider, the project is doomed from the start. The project must be clearly defined from the outset; this means that the client must know what they are getting and how they are getting it.

There must be initial agreements on who is responsible for delivery, as well as on the frequency of communication. Does the client want updates daily? monthly? Do they want to receive these updates via e-mail? telephone? post? The client chooses the level of communication they wish to receive, which further asserts their control of the project.

From our experience, it is best to have a single point of contact, as this reduces the possibility of information being miscommunicated or not communicated at all.

Communication is particularly vital in cases where the client has its own project management team. In cases such as these, the project manager will need to agree with the client’s internal project manager on who is taking lead, and we’ll also need to decide on what team is responsible for what duties.

A good project management team is one that continues to execute high-level communication throughout the project. If there’s a change in the client’s requirements, this must be dealt with accordingly. The change could require a simple minor adjustment, but it may be a big change that would need a second-sign off. If this is the case, more time may be needed to complete the project, which could mean the client would be charged more for the service.

Organisation is another factor that can make or break projects. To help us achieve excellent organisation, our team has moved away from singular communications and instead have opted for a centralised online management tool. This tool organises and stores everything in one place, which helps to ensure that nothing is lost.

A good project management team will establish a good methodology for the way they handle each project. We at Ampheon use PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments), a UK government standard framework that covers projects of all scales. With the majority of project management teams using this standardised tool, communication is simplified and there is less chance of making mistakes.

Receiving client feedback during the project is also essential. At our company, this involves moving a project from the development stage into the testing environment. The client has the chance to see and trial the project, and report back on what they like or don’t like so that changes can be made if necessary.

After a project has been signed off and completed, a good project management team will always follow-up with the client. We send a ‘lessons learned’ report, which details feedback from both teams and suggests areas for future improvement. This report benefits both sides, and helps us to grow and develop with each new project we take on. 

By Chelsey Evans

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Gingee Launches Cross-Platform App Development Tool

Published on February 27, 2014
Tags: Web Development London

According to an article on the Venture Beat website I read recently, an Israeli start-up called Gingee has rolled out a cross-platform app development tool that will give developers the chance to create one app for devices running on iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, the eight different versions of the Android operating system and other platforms.
 
While app developers use cross-platform development tools for just 5% of the applications they develop, 68% of developers expect to be able to use those tools by 2015, according to a study from mobile market research firm Research2Guidance. However, the complexity of the app development process is limiting app makers' potential to align expectations with reality, which results in longer development periods and higher costs.
 
Gingee believes that its tool is truly cross-platform and can be even installed free of charge. The Israeli company says that its solution reduces the complexity by offering a drag-and-drop user interface, which in turn allows app makers to develop apps in a more intuitive way, without the need of coding for all Android OS versions, for iOS, BlackBerry devices and the mobile web.
 
The technology is based on an in-house algorithm which analyses object relations and links them identically to all devices and operating systems, ensuring a consistent user interface and experience across all devices. Gingee's development environment generates automatic high-end code, which can improve the speed of the app development process by 57% per operating system.
 
The company says that the solution delivers 96% native performance as it communicates directly to the operating system. An application can have hundreds of objects appearing on the screen, but this will not have a negative impact on the performance. For instance, when an operating system gets an update, app developers need to optimise their app to the latest version, but this will no longer be an issue, as with Gingee's technology this will not be needed.
 
Gingee's tool also includes a physics engine, animation editor, asset manager, social connection tools, and over 40 highly optimised, preloaded components and widgets, such as dynamic texts, buttons, scrollers and much more.
 
Gingee was founded in response to the challenges app developers face in light of the wide variety of devices, versions and operating systems, says Roei Livneh, chief executive and co-founder of Gingee.
 

By Chelsey Evans

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Disclaimer: The contents of these articles are provided for information only and do not constitute advice. We are not liable for any actions that you might take as a result of reading this information, and always recommend that you speak to a qualified professional if in doubt.

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