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Is developing mobile web projects easy with Adobe Edge Inspect?

Published on November 23, 2012
Tags: Mobile Application Development

Adobe is adding to its range of tools and services for mobile web projects by introducing Adobe Edge Inspect which is designed as a workflow and preview tool which can be simulated across multiple mobile web browsers.

This is useful if you need to pair your smartphone and your tablet with your computer so you can work across all devices simultaneously. It’s also the ideal tool for web developers and designers who want a more efficient and streamlined experience when working on apps and other web projects.

What makes it different?

One of its key features is that it allows you to take screenshots of your mobile content from a number of connected devices while providing you with synchronous browsing and remote inspection. For example you can pair multiple iOS and Android devices wirelessly to your computer, while with Edge Inspect you can also browse in Chrome to ensure all connected devices stay in sync.

Edge Inspect also has a number of development tools which allow changes to be made to HTML, CSS and JavaScript, while updating the device instantly. The screenshots are also easy to use as simply by pressing a single button you can connect all devices and then send and save them with your colleagues. It also allows you to transfer all screenshots to your computer and specify which folders they will be sent to.

Other features which Edge Inspect gives the user, to name just a few, include; Localhost URL support, the ability to hide and show Edge Inspect UI on mobile devices, HTTP authentication support, URL management, Cache management, HTML support as well as Amazon Kindle Fire support. The web technologies it utilises includes HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript.

Adobe’s commitment to enhancing web creativity

At one of Adobe’s recent keynote sessions in San Jose, California they announced the availability of Adobe Edge Inspection which used to be called ‘Shadow’ alongside a number of other programs they are introducing for editing.

Adobe Edge Inspect is just one valuable tool which web developers and designers can use from a new set of powerful HTML5 tools which make it easy to make beautiful websites, mobile apps and digital content.

Adobe’s passion for giving creative people the ability to do anything they want with Web technologies is why they’re contributing to the Web platform in a big way, by making the Edge Tools and services available for free. This is a great move by Adobe who are giving professionals the tools and freedom they need to change the web, by producing visually appealing content across multiple platforms.

If you want to get started with Edge Inspect and the other tools available from Adobe, you can get a free Creative Cloud membership which gives you all the sources you need to create, collaborate and keep your projects in sync across a range of devices. This handy tool is ideal if you also want to install any of the new Edge Tools and Services along with publishing any apps and websites.

By Chelsey Evans

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Mobile internet now accounts for more than sixteen percent of all web traffic

Published on October 15, 2012
Tags: Mobile Application Development

It probably won’t come as a surprise to many people that mobile internet use has grown exponentially in recent years. In fact, a recent study by Shareaholic has shown that more than 16% of all internet traffic now originates from mobile platforms - an increase of 27% this year alone.

Something which may interest website owners is that mobile users have a 9.56% higher bounce rate than desktop users, a statistic which may well be attributable to the fact that a vast number of websites simply are not optimised for mobile use. In fact, a recent Google study showed that 61% of mobile users will leave a website if it is not mobile-friendly. In comparison, 67% of user were found to be more likely to buy products from a mobile-friendly website. With those worrying statistics, how can you afford not to have a website optimised for mobile use?
With the enormous rise in smart phones such as Apple’s iPhone (the most recent version of which, the iPhone 5, was released last month and has become the fastest-selling phone of all time), Research In Motion’s Blackberry smart phones and HTC’s Wildfire and Desire ranges have all seen a massive increase in mobile use. Even ‘conventional’ mobile phone manufacturers such as Samsung have seen incredible sales of their Galaxy S3 model, seen as a frontrunner to rival Apple’s new iPhone range.
Although larger screens and technology such as Apple’s groundbreaking retina display might mean that a desktop website is easier to view on a mobile phone than it once was, users still expect to see a website tailored towards the mobile experience - particularly when one considers the huge number of people accessing websites from a mobile phone or smart phone. Even users of tablet machines such as Apple’s iPad will often prefer to view a site which is optimised towards them in terms of size, layout and content.
Developing a website optimised for mobile users is not particularly difficult, and has no disadvantages whatsoever. Desktop users will still see your normal website whereas mobile users will be taken to your mobile content, ensuring that everyone sees the content they want to see on the device which suits them. With so few companies taking advantage of this new technology and embracing it, your company could easily be a leader in its field by moving towards mobile optimisation at its earliest convenience. After all, with 67% of users saying they’re more likely to buy from a mobile-optimised site, you’d be daft to ignore them.

By Chelsey Evans

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Developing a mobile strategy for your business

Published on August 17, 2012
Tags: Web Design London, Mobile Application Development

The mobile web is not just one of the biggest issues facing the web design industry at the moment; it’s also an issue that affects businesses everywhere. It used to be that a business could simply ask a web designer to create them a desktop site and the issue of a company website would be taken care of. Now, with so many different devices available and a huge increase in the number of consumers making use of smartphones to access the internet, it’s important for companies to develop a good mobile strategy.

The specific strategy that they choose will naturally depend on what they want out of their mobile web presence – for instance, one company might want to present key information to mobile web users in a simple and straightforward manner, while another might want to make use of their mobile presence to try and tap into the e-retail market, which could make their solution a little more complicated.

Whatever a company decides to do with their mobile web presence, there are quite a few strategy options that they could consider in terms of adapting or re-doing their web design for these new mediums. One option, of course, would be to do nothing and simply let mobile web users take their chances with a business’s desktop site on their smartphones. However, for any company serious about developing their mobile presence, this is unlikely to be the best solution, if only because desktop sites tend not to display properly and are tricky to navigate on mobile devices.

Another option might be to adapt your current site so that it works better on mobile devices; this is something a web designer skilled in mobile websites should be able to assist with. For instance, it is likely that the navigation of the site would need to be altered to take account of the fact it’s a person’s finger and not a mouse pointer that will be doing the navigating and clicking. Steps might also need to be taken to ensure the content on the site can be read easily on a range of mobile devices.

For many businesses though, this option might not be enough, particularly if your current site is quite complex and so perhaps not that well suited to use on a mobile device. This is one of the reasons many companies are starting to look at getting specifically designed mobile sites that are tailored for their needs and the purpose they are looking to achieve. For example, a site might have a focus on e-retail or it might be a streamlined version of the desktop site, displaying key information that is easy to search and navigate, but that isn’t as extensive or complex as that on the company’s ‘main’ site.

Also, as responsive website design becomes more well-known and an increasingly popular option, this is something else that businesses looking to develop a mobile strategy might be interested in. This is where a website is created that will display properly no matter what device is being used, so the same web address and content can be used for the desktop site as for the mobile site and any other versions that there might be. This is a solution that might suit some businesses, so it is definitely worth looking into.

However, we also cannot ignore the popularity of apps, particularly for smartphones such as Apple and Android devices. This is a slightly different issue to that of mobile web design, but depending on the business and what it wants to achieve, it could be a useful solution. For example, an e-retail app could be developed as a streamlined, convenient way for users to search for and purchase products without needing to access their mobile web browser. One of the issues with apps is that they tend to need to be developed for each specific device, and they also tend to need a specific purpose to give them a focus and a clear use – they are not just an extension or replication of a website.

Overall, a mobile strategy is becoming increasingly important for businesses, and there are plenty of options available for them to choose from if they are looking to take their mobile presence further. As more and more people make use of the mobile web, this is an issue that businesses and web designers alike certainly need to be aware of.

By Chelsey Evans

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Google recommends responsive Web Design for Smartphone Websites

Published on June 8, 2012
Tags: Mobile Application Development

We have long known that smartphones are becoming more important in terms of internet share. Plenty of people now use their smartphones to access the web on a regular basis, and over the past couple of years we have seen huge levels of growth in the amount of attention web designers put into developing mobile sites. This has had the impact of improving the mobile web experience for millions of people.

We have also known for a while about responsive web design, which is where the same HTML code is used for all web devices, but CSS technology is used to tell that HTML how to display according to the device and browser that is being used to display it.

Now we have had confirmation from Google that it recommends responsive web design when creating websites for use on smartphones. The announcement came in a blog post detailing the configurations that are supported by Google for smartphone websites. There are three configurations that are supported in total, but responsive web design is highlighted as ‘Google’s recommended configuration’.

The other two configurations that are supported by Google are a separate mobile and desktop site, and sites that utilise different HTML and CSS according to the device that a web user is using. In the blog post, a couple of benefits of using responsive web design are highlighted, including that it keeps all relevant content on the same URL. This means that it’s not only easier for readers to use, but it’s also easier for Google to assign indexing properties to the content.

Another listed benefit of responsive web design for smartphone sites is that it allows Google to ‘discover your content more efficiently as we wouldn’t need to crawl a page with the different Googlebot user agents to retrieve and index all the content.’ This is obviously something to take note of if you are interested in SEO as it makes your content easier to find and read – and therefore, hopefully, boost your chances of doing well in relevant search rankings.

It also means that rather than having to manage multiple sites separately (one for smartphones, one for desktops, one for tablets and so on), a responsive web design can be managed as one entity. This is beneficial because it means there is just one set of links to be maintained, which is not the case if you have separate sites for different devices. Take Facebook likes as an example. You could have a desktop website that has got 50 likes of a particular page. By contrast, the mobile version of your site might only have 5 likes for that page. Not only would the mobile site be less likely to rank well, but those 5 likes could well have decreased the number of likes that went to the desktop site. A responsive web design that works across platforms helps to standardise this rather than assigning different links and likes to different platforms.

As well as the SEO benefits, a high quality responsive site that works on smartphones just as well as it does on desktops makes things much better for web users. Research suggests that if users visit a bad mobile site, a majority of them will not recommend the company, which just goes to show how important this aspect of the market has become.

However, Google has also acknowledged that responsive web design is not always an option for mobile sites, which is why other configurations are also supported. In the case of using device-specific HTML, Google recommends that designers make use of the Vary HTTP header. This is to signal that content might change depending on the device used. For example, it can send a signal that a particular version of the site might need to be scanned using the mobile Googlebot.

As well as the summary blog post outlining the supported smartphone configurations, Google has also released a longer article entitled ‘Building smartphone-optimised websites’, which developers can utilise to find out more about the different configurations and see which option might be the most appropriate for their site.

Multiple configurations still play a part and they are all important, but responsive web design has received something of a boost from Google’s recommendation and it seems increasingly clear that it is the future of design.


By Chelsey Evans

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4 Reasons to Care About Mobile Web Design

Published on April 20, 2012
Tags: Web Design London, Mobile Application Development

We all know that mobile devices are now more important than ever before when it comes to surfing the web, and that more and more people are using devices such as smartphones and tablet computers in order to access the internet. But what does this mean for your business? Mobile web design requires specialist attention and often takes time to adapt from your main website – but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bother. In short, why should your company care about mobile web design?

It’s growing – and so are devices

Recently, Ian Carrington, who is Google’s director of mobile and social advertising strategy, said that a huge amount of Google queries in the UK are made through mobile devices. In particular, 20% of YouTube views are made through mobiles and the same proportion of searches made about entertainment and travel topics are also made on mobiles. Also, 12% of the UK population now own a tablet and when you consider that even just a couple of years ago, no one had one, this is a significant growth market.

This illustrates that both the mobile web and the range of mobile devices are growing. More than 1 billion people worldwide are now able to connect to the internet through their phones. This astonishing statistic is clearly something that businesses need to take notice of if they haven’t already.

Take your small business global

In a way, this is linked to the above point – Ian Carrington also makes the point that people all around the world are connected to the internet, which means that businesses now have more scope than ever before to go global. At the start of the century, it would have sounded slightly ambitious to say that a small business based in the UK could have a global reach, but now it is entirely possible. As many businesses are moving away from set physical locations and adopting a predominantly internet-based approach, this is becoming more and more important.

At the same time, there is also more scope for businesses to enhance their local profiles thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices. A significant proportion of mobile searches are about local-specific issues. Plus, you may have recently seen our article on the Google Venice update, which is designed to enhance local search results, making them more specific to where web users are based. With any luck, this is something that will be able to benefit smartphone users as well, meaning that it’s definitely worth taking note of.

Adapting is getting easier

Also, even though mobile web design undoubtedly requires extra time and effort that used to put some companies off investing in it, it is now getting easier to adapt sites for mobile devices. You may have read about responsive web design, which helps to make it easier for sites to display well across a range of different devices. This is something that can definitely help the mobile web trend.

Of course, we still have to remember that when people access the internet through their phones, they are often looking for slightly different information or a different experience to the one they get on a desktop or laptop. A lot of this is for practical reasons, such as mobile screens being considerably smaller and operated differently to a traditional computer. This is arguably something that savvy businesses can make the most of, being careful to give mobile web users what they’re looking for so that they’ll be more likely to find your services relevant, useful and appealing.

Access your data wherever you are

Finally, if your business is predominantly based on the internet as so many are these days, it makes to make sure your potential customers can access your information no matter where they are. This is another excellent reason to care about mobile web design, as you never know where someone might be when they suddenly decide that they need to look up your company or start making use of your services. This is all about access and making sure that you can be found by your target market – in a world where information is increasingly available in a whole range of different mediums, it pays to make sure you can be found in as many of those mediums as you possibly can.

By Chelsey Evans

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