Flat UI is a new trend in web design that I am personally fond of if it fits the business image/industry.
It’s a highly modern, stylistic designing technique that I have personally used many times and here’s my advice on when to use it and the reason why you should use it.
Apps are growing and growing and the age range of the audience using them bring new issues with usability. I personally think that Flat UI can be a solution for this.
Like I said, Flat UI design is a very modern, clean, stylish design that works VERY well in the web design / SEO / Marketing & digital industries, not for industries such as dry cleaners etc. This way of designing would go hand in hand with technical & web related websites.
Google+’s status update box
The Flat UI design has been used by Google+, Apple & even Microsoft so this is no ‘fad’ that will effect the way websites, programs and definitely operating systems (Just look at Windows 8) and it is here to stay.
Blogs look particularly great when using the Flat UI design, it keeps things simple and fresh as some blogs can be overwhelmed with graphics and adverts.
Lastly, my favorite reason for using Flat UI, it is a fun challenge for designers. I love creating websites like this as there is no room for error (As I will explain later in this blog post).
First of all, it looks great on all browsers and computers as you won’t have the cross compatibility browser problems you get with gradients, shadows etc and it looks great on lots of different screen resolutions.
An example of Flat UI I have created for TST Web Design
When looking through a variety of amazing Flat UI design websites, I noticed that it makes it a lot easier on the eyes, less cluttered and easy to navigate through. No more issues of poorly designed buttons etc, just flat, easy to use buttons that are easy on the eyes.
To me, the benefits outweigh the negatives but there are some fundamental floors that can not be ignored.
As I said, Flat UI is modern and stylish, this doesn’t mean that the people using your website with be modern and stylish. Some people just do not get it and this puts them off. Could you imagine your grandma using it? Not me.
Obviously this isn’t an issue if your target audience isn’t of that age group, but it is something to bear in mind.
Flat UI Design From Snowbird.com
From a designer’s point of view, it leaves very little wiggle room for error. You can’t cover up imperfections with a simple shadow or gradient, it is clean, crisp and sharp and very visible to everyone. Obviously I’m not saying designers cover up mistakes, this is just another pain whilst designing or coding.
To me, Flat UI design is a great way of creating sharp, clean, modern, beautiful websites and when done correctly, can look truly inspiring. Obviously these designs are not for everyone and I don’t think every website should adopt this way of designing, I do think it is here to stay and it will influence a huge amount of websites, apps, programs and graphic design.
Apple has done it again and just in time for Christmas. Like a magician pulling white rabbits out of a hat, Apple has overcome all of those much talked about delays and released the new iPad mini 2 with retina display and there is little doubt that this is the best 2017 tablet for gaming. We can only offer our apologies to those who took our previous advice and rushed out and bought the new Nexus 7. A side by side comparison clearly demonstrates that compared with the iPad Mini 2 with its sleek aluminium case, the plastic Nexus 7 feels like a toy in comparison. The only criticism we can level at the iPad Mini 2 is its price tag. The basic 16 GB model costs it costs £320 compared to the £199 price tag of the Nexus 7.
Normally we would point out that if your idea of gaming was playing simple games such as Angry Birds or gambling at an online casino, then you don’t really need all the performance that is provided by a top end tablet and that you could get by with one of the cheaper models such as the Tesco Hudl. It is only for the high end console games that you need the kind of technology that you get on fast multi-core processor tablet with dedicated graphics processors. While that holds true, once you hold the sleek 7.9 inch iPad Mini 2 with its smooth machined aluminium case in your hand, and you view its ultra-clear retina display, you just know that there is no better tablet for gaming – whatever kind of games you play.
The only downside with the iPad Mini 2 is the display form factor. Today we are used to 10:6 form factors as found on many seven inch tablets such as the nexus 7. It is a natural for gaming and it is the same as our HDTVs, so it is an ideal one for tablets that we might wish to stream to TV. Unfortunately Apple has stuck to the 6:4 form factor, which seems just a little old fashioned. It is a little nit picking and not a real problem and everything else about the iPad mini 2 with retina display is spot on. If all this talk about gaming has got you in the mind to play some games head over to www.jackpotcity.co.uk/mobile-casino/iphone-casino and enjoy the wide variety of games.
Investing in Android eCommerce Apps is the new way to boost your business and reach out to a bigger audience. With many payment and shipping processes now becoming much more simplified, android app development has become invaluable to small business owners and big brands alike.
The way we use computers is constantly evolving – Desktops and laptops have had to make way for the smartphone and so the way consumers shop has changed dramatically. Once upon a time, the television was the main influence over our shopping preferences, but now the internet has taken the crown. However, up until recently consumers were forced to physically visit shops in order to compare prices and purchase. Now, with the advent of eCommerce, the concept of shopping has been completely revolutionized. When Ebay acquired PayPal in 2002 eCommerce exploded, bringing a new way of shopping into existence; buying from the internet. The following years saw the industry grow in leaps and bounds.
Mobile shopping, an extension of eCommerce, has seen an enormous increase in the last few years and with the now highly fashionable use of responsive web design has almost certainly had a positive impact. Going a step further, brands have now begun to incorporate in-app purchasing into their apps, giving consumers even more opportunities to buy. Restaurants, clothing brands and the travel industry really took advantage of this new trend, launching apps where users could browse, compare and purchase with a few simple taps.
While there are many hundreds of thousands of eCommerce apps available, there are a few trends which, if not ignored, can help ensure your brand’s app will be a success:
Coupons have become a hot topic recently, enabling buyers to get great discounts and special offers on their favorite products. Groupon, Living Social and, most recently, Facebook Offers have been topping the app charts. Simplicity is the key to success here – It can be as simple as showing the coupon on your phone screen at the counter when you buy.
Loyalty cards have been in existence since before the internet was even around, although nowadays they are paperless, stored on your mobile phone. They work by collecting points every time you dine at a restaurant, or purchase something from a store. The collected points can then be redeemed for a free product or meal. Squiryl and Perx are popular loyalty apps, which also enable users to share their activities with friends on social media. Lately, however, other apps like Yelp and Foursquare have added to the idea and incorporated location based services into the functionality.
Digital scrapbooks like Pinterest and Instagram have taken the fashion world by storm. These platforms are now often the primary means for bloggers to stay updated with the latest fashion news and releases. In addition, if the store across the road is your favorite place to shop, then ShopSpot is the app to see what’s new. Besides viewing the collections, you can follow, like and comment on the store, and if you want to buy something, a quick text via the app is all it takes.
Though there were a huge number of other successful eCommerce app released in the past year, the ones mentioned above topped the 2013 successful Android eCommerce Applications list. They were chosen mainly due to their simple interfaces and ease of the payment processes, thus putting user experience at the forefront.
Do you think eCommerce application development can boost your business? Which apps have you found useful recently? Share your views with us in the comments below!
Sony recently announced that it was paying over 1.05 billion euros to buy out Ericsson, it’s partner in the mobile phone sector. They also commented that this acquisition would bring a change in direction for the company as they phase out feature phones and concentrate solely on producing new smartphones.
Techi.com claims: “Sony has unofficially declared the death of feature phones…It’s a trend that is likely to continue to hit other manufacturers.”
Meanwhile, Nokia has just released the Asha range – A new lineup of feature phones targeted at the emerging markets. Nokia plans to phase out the Symbian operating system over the next few years and, as a result, this new range of phones run on S40. Despite being advertised as feature phones, engadget states that the Asha phones “will blur the line between featurephone and smartphone”. For example, apps are very popular on S4o – Nokia say that “The Nokia Store does 10 million downloads a day, of which a third are coming from our Series 40 mobile phones.” This looks set to increase as game developer Rovio will be introducing a new version of the massively popular Angry Birds for the S40 platform.
All in all, this does look like the beginning of the end of the feature phone – Despite their popularity in developing countries, smartphones outsold feature phones in the US for the first time this year which can be largely attributed to Android and iOS making the technology available to the mass market.
However, the enormous growth in smartphone sales this year should not distract us from the fact that feature phone sales still outnumber smartphones 4:1 so it will certainly be a while before the feature phone is gone for good.
A website put up by a business provides information about its products and services in a unique and engaging manner. By viewing this information and getting impressed with it, prospective customers and clients approach a business and buy its products or hire its services. Through a website, a business can reach up to a huge number of people around the globe and boost its sales and profitability in turn.
So websites are contributing towards success of businesses and that too in big way. To gain and profit more, more and more businesses are approaching web designers for the creation of their websites.
Websites are often developed as part of projects within a limited time frame and with limited allocation of budget and other resources. A written contractual obligation binds the business and its chosen web designer.
A web designer may be simultaneously working over a number of design projects for different clients. A website design development project starts with a client explaining his requirements to a designer. The designer notes them down and starts creating the design. Once he develops a design, he shows it to the client. The client after viewing it can tell if the design is perfect or if it needs to be corrected upon and can provide his ideas and suggestions for its refinement. The designer will rework on the design on the basis of client’s feedback. This process may get repeated multiple times till the design gets perfected and finally approved.
The geographical distances separating the designer and his clients make it impossible to have physical interaction between them. So feedback over designs cannot be arranged conveniently and fast enough which delays design development projects. Delaying of projects leads to added costs and even cause their failure. Also the designer’s reputation, profitability and marketability also gets affected due to delayed design creation and delivery.
Choosing emails for communication and collaboration over designs is not productive enough as an email sent by designer eliciting feedback from his client gets responded quite late by the client. And the delay can be as a long as to 5-6 hours to even a day or two. So it affects designer’s efficiency and delays review and approval of designs. Moreover emails do not support sharing and transfer of different file types and designs come in various file types. Emails also do not allow smooth transfer of large sized files and some design files are big sized. So emails cannot used for communication and collaboration over designs.
So web designers need an enterprising solution which enables fast design creation and can facilitate instant and accurate feedback over them.
An online project management system like ProofHub enables such improved communication and collaboration between a designer and his clients. It streamlines designers’ working and drastically improves their performance.
As a designer needs to take care of different clients’ assignments and remember their delivery dates, this tool enables sending timely email notifications to the designer, so he clearly remains aware of clients’ orders without forgetting or skipping them and can better focus on them and create them timely.
He or she can divide his time evenly between different assignments so that he might not overwork on some and underwork on others. Thus all assignments can be given adequate time and attention.
In some cases, a web designing firm consists of a number of designers and other related experts who are based in different locations working over common design projects, so they can instantly connect with each other and effortlessly communicate and collaborate with each other and achieve fast and quality results, so this tool improves their working quite significantly.
It reduces time spent over seeking client’s feedback and approval and aids in creation of client friendly and error free designs in minimum time. For inviting feedback from the client’s end through this tool, a designer adds his comments over a design in his browser and shares the design file with his client. The client will instantly view it in his browser and if not satisfied with it, can suggest changes or improvisations in textual form or by drawing shapes in it. By viewing the client’s suggestions, a designer can quickly rework on it and make it error free and then shares it for client’s approval which he readily approves. This reduces the number of steps involved over design’s refinement and approval and reduces time, costs and effort over it.
So this online proofing software tremendously improves efficiency of designers and helps them in timely development and delivery of accurate designs to the clients. Thus design projects get executed in an organized manner and accomplished timely with optimum utilization of budget and other resources.
It acts a perfect tool for review and proofing over different kinds of designs like brochures, website design, photographs, images, etc and enables their timely and quality creation.
It supports different file types like DOC, PDF besides others for sharing and transfer. It allows smooth sharing of big or small sized files. Multiple pages of a PDF file or one with a single page can be effectively proofed in one go. Multiple reviewers can review the same design at same time or differently. Different versions of a design can be readily accessed, compared and analyzed. So this proves to be immensely beneficial tool.
Designers, developers and other professionals employed with a web designing firm can perform their tasks in an organized, planned and sequenced manner which leads to timely accomplishment of design projects. Different tasks and duties can be better described, documented and assigned to respective team members. Timely email notifications are sent to them to apprise them of their approaching deadlines, so they can perform their tasks in a timely manner without forgetting them. This improves their productivity and makes them more accountable for their tasks. Any problems or issues affecting their work can be easily tracked and promptly and effectively resolved. So this task management software improves a design firm’s productivity and helps its team members to deliver timely and quality results with effective contribution from various team members.
This enterprising tool remarkably improves communication and collaboration among designers and clients which lead to timely development of client specific and accurate designs and graphics. Thus design projects get accomplished on time with due achievement of their objectives within the allocated budget and resources. The designers’ productivity and reputation also gets enhanced and they earn more appreciation and business from their satisfied clients. They are able to save costs and boost their revenue and profitability. So this results in a win-win situation for the both the designers and clients.
The deal, made between O2, Westminster City Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, will come at no cost to the taxpayer and looks to ensure that visitors to the city during the Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year have fast, reliable internet access which will help to make their experience in London easier and more enjoyable.
The free wifi will be launched in Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea, but the service will eventually be rolled out to a number of other London boroughs, making wireless internet access available to millions of London residents and businesses in the long term.
The news comes just months after Nokia announced that they were launching free wifi in central London with the aim to eventually provide the service on the London Underground network.
If other networks and companies follow suit, London could have extensive wireless internet access by the end of the year, making mobile web browsing much easier and cheaper. Since central London is the focus of this wifi launch, it is likely to affect major high street retailers as consumers browse the web and compare prices as they shop.
You may have adhered to all the right design and “manufacturing” principles to produce a fabulous mobile application. You may have also ensured that you have told all the right people about the availability of this application too.
However, if you think you can stop at this stage, hoping that your fabulous mobile application will somehow become commercially successful; then you have another thing coming!
Creating a great mobile application is only the first step to marketing it. You have to find space for yourself within the over crowded mobile apps marketplace. There seems to be an app for everything under the sun. You also need to contend with the fact that app development is a global phenomenon.
Your chance of making it successful, therefore, lies in launching a mobile application that is SEO-friendly too. One of the important things to keep in mind is the fact that a mobile app, per se, does not lend itself to SEO. It is the ecosystem that it operates in that is SEO-friendly. Here are a few ways in which you can ensure that your applications are easily discoverable.
Just as websites rely on search engine optimization to become more visible in search engine rankings, you should ensure that you are creating mobile applications that go through an App Store Optimization or ASO process as well.
There are some tools and methods by which you can ensure that your application is optimized. Examples of these tools are Moz and Kissmetrics.
Some of the aspects that are critical to ASO are:
Complete understanding of your target customers
Including the keywords that will make sense to your customers and,
Ensuring that your applications are discovered through in-app store searches.
According to research by Forrester, 63% of mobile applications are discovered only through searches conducted within the application store itself. (Source – Forrester Research Inc.).
Once you know your target audience, you need to create a description for your mobile application that will appeal to this audience. Here are a few points to keep in mind:
1. The description should give enough information to detail what the application can do. It should also have keywords and content that will make it SEO friendly.
2. Creating a website that can support your mobile application is a good idea. You should also ensure that you have reciprocal links between your website and your application’s page.
3. The title of your application is perhaps the most powerful message that you can send out. It need not be too lengthy but it should certainly be descriptive. It should be easy to pronounce, remember and should point to its function.
3. Some experts also recommend the addition of words such as “free” and “lite” to help drive even more traffic towards your application.
4. The other aspect of content when it comes to your mobile application is to name the URL. It is a good idea to keep the name of the application and your URL the same.
5. Finally, you should also be very careful to choose the right category for your application. Most people will not do a generic search for mobile applications. Instead, they will specify exactly what they are looking for.
For instance, if you have an application that helps people book flights and hotel rooms, stating that it is a travel application is a better bet than putting it under the lifestyle category.
Thus, it is critical to remember that it is the “support” systems of a mobile application that make it SEO-friendly. The process begins with creating a great app but it can be taken forward only with the right kind of eco-system
You may be sick of hearing it by now, but if your business still doesn’t have a mobile optimized website then you need to revise your marketing strategy. Going ‘mobile’ is now one of the best ways to leverage the web for your business, so if your site isn’t accessible on a mobile device you are losing out on a large chunk of traffic and revenue. A large portion of Google’s traffic now comes from mobile and tablet devices and, according to Google’s own forecast, mobile internet use will surpass that of desktop very soon.
As well as losing out on additional traffic, having a site which doesn’t work well on mobile will also cause your site to suffer in Google’s rankings. Factors like page loading speed, redirects and usability will all have an impact on how well your site ranks in Google’s mobile search results.
Recent surveys undertaken by Google surmise that 72% of mobile users say it’s important to them that websites are mobile-friendly, yet 96% have recently visited a site that doesn’t work well on their device.
To help you step into the confusing world of mobile, we’ve listed some sound advice on what not to do when building and launching your mobile website.
This is when pages from your desktop website are redirected incorrectly to pages on the mobile site. For example, redirecting all users from the desktop site to your mobile home page is a big no-no. Users should always be taken to the page that most closely maps the one they landed on
This is when sites present content to desktop users who visit a specific URL but that same URL displays an error page to smartphone users.
These are just two examples, but there are number of things that your webmaster needs to know to avoid annoying your mobile visitors. Most importantly though, it is imperative that you pay attention to the content on your site and make it accessible across as many devices and screen sizes as possible.
Some pointers to remember for a great mobile site:
Simple is beautiful
A search bar that is easy to locate
Pages that work with the minimum of clicking and scrolling
Faster page loading times
Thankfully, if you have a WordPress or Joomla website, you can download a number of features or plugins that will display your website on mobile devices. However, if you would rather have a separate mobile site, then you will need the help of a professional web development service who can create one from scratch.
The initiative was trialled at Charing Cross station in November 2010 began in November 2010 and the WiFi was made available by BT Openzone. Travel information could be viewed for free, but non-BT customers had to pay to access all other sites. It is not yet confirmed whether or not the proposed new WiFi network will be free of charge, although it is likely that a basic level of service will be provided for free to all users.
Gareth Powell, Transport for London’s Director Of Strategy and Service Development, said of the plans: “London Underground is continuing with preparations to install the necessary infrastructure and is on schedule to complete the project as planned. An announcement of the chosen service provider will be made in early spring leaving plenty of time for this to be delivered to customers in time for the 2012 Games.”
The contract for the WiFi service provider will run for five years but is likely to be extended if the WiFi is a success.
Until now, the absence of internet connection has been a stumbling block for many brands who advertise on the London Underground. QR codes and posters directing users to websites have obvious problems – Users currently need to save QR codes and remember URLs in order to follow them up at a later time – The introduction of WiFi will now enable users to go directly to websites and purchase items whilst on the station platform.
Will we start to see a rise in the usage and adoption of QR codes, augmented reality and other mobile marketing techniques now that there is a greater opportunity for them to drive sales on the daily commute? Will we start to see virtual supermarkets on the London Underground, as pioneered by Tesco in Korea? Let us know in the comments what changes to mobile marketing you think we will see in London from this new WiFi initiative.
artner have released data showing just how much mobile sales have increased this year so far, and gives great insights into how Q4 and 2012 will look in terms of which operating systems and devices will come out on top.
In the third quarter of this year, 115 million smartphones were sold to end users, up a massive 42% from the same period in 2010.
Smartphone sales accounted for 26% of all mobile phone sales in Q3, which is up only slightly from 25% in Q2. It is likely that the slow growth between Q2 and Q3 is due to consumers waiting for newer models and price drops before purchasing, the iPhone 4S being a good example. Therefore, we should expect to see an enormous increase in mobile phone sales in the last quarter of this year.
Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner, states that China and Russia saw a large smartphone growth “which helped increase overall volumes,” whilst in more advanced markets, such as Europe and America, demand for smartphones stalled “as many users waited for new flagship devices featuring new versions of the key operating systems.” Latin America, the Middle East and Africa also saw sales of smartphones slow down.
The Android OS made up 52.5% of all smartphone sales in Q3, more than doubling its market share from Q3 2010. It is believed that Android benefited from “more mass-market offerings, a weaker competitive environment and the lack of exciting new products on alternative operating systems.” In addition, Apple’s market share suffered in Q3 as many customers delayed their purchases as they waited for the new iPhone 4S, and price drops to the older iPhone models, to arrive. Microsoft should see a small increase in market share in Q4 and Q1 2012 with the release of the Nokia Lumia range.
Nokia devices account for 23.9% of global mobile phone sales, meaning that they hang on to their top spot in terms of device sales. Although smartphones are not the reason for their success – “Feature phones generally, maintained Nokia’s momentum in emerging markets.” Further improvement for Nokia is expected in Q4 as both them and Microsoft market the new Lumia devices leading up to Christmas. Apple comes in fourth place with 3.9% of total mobile phone sales, although Apple should expect to see a large increase in sales in Q4 this year with the release of the iPhone 4S in October and Christmas making a positive impact.
All in all, it looks like the end of 2011 will bring a surge of mobile phone sales, particularly for manufacturers who have recently released new models and updates. 2012 looks set to continue the trend, as the late adopters follow suit. If Nokia’s Lumia range manages to successfully breathe new life into the Windows mobile operating system, we could see a large market share increase for Microsoft next year. Android will no doubt continue to grow with so many new devices on the market running the OS, the big questions being can anyone else realistically catch up and who will suffer the most?