Archive for the ‘mobile browsing’ Category

The impact of mobile browsing and mobile apps on website design trends

July 22nd, 2014 by Vincent Lai

With one in every five people in the world now holding a smartphone and one in seventeen owning a tablet, it’s easy to understand why website design has become immersed in catering for a wide range of device screens, and in fact why current digital design trends are being heavily influenced by the prevalence of mobile browsing. The mobile revolution brought with it the concept of the mobile app: the pocket sized utility that can do so much more than a website can, with access to the GPS, camera and other phone capabilities including the iPhone’s accelerometer and touch screen interactions. We now have apps for mapping, cooking, education, and entertainment. We even have apps that can control mini quadcopters that fly through the sky at your whim.

So how has mobile technology influenced digital design?

If you use your phone to view the Facebook website, in the top left or top right corner you will now see a very familiar icon, the menu button. Not long ago 3 horizontal lines meant nothing to most people, but now it is synonymous with opening up a navigation menu. Collapsing horizontal and vertical menus up into a single icon is a intelligent way to give visitors access to many pages, but take up the least amount of screen real estate. Many of our responsive website designs utilise this familiar icon, including inner pages of the Contact Point website when viewed on a smaller screen.
menu_icon

Another interesting design trend you might notice lately is the appearance of bold iconography. Many buttons, links, images and even logos, are now being simplified down to basic geometry, and cleverly illustrated symbols. Apart from being aesthetically pleasing, the main reason for this trend is simply to make life easier for mobile device browsing. Touch screen devices require pressing, swiping and other ‘gestures’ with your fingers to interact with the website or app. Using fingers is much less accurate than using a mouse and pointer. Large and simple icons and buttons are now ruling the way we browse because they are simply easier to press with a finger. They also grab our attention on the screen, no matter what size the screen.

In addition, apps have brought with them a range of standard icons that are used to achieve the same sorts of tasks across any website or app. The ‘settings’ icon is a good example of this. The image below shows the settings icon on Android, Windows and Apple devices. The commonality of the icons is obvious.
SettingIcons

Parallax scrolling, which I have posted about before, is also intermingling with mobile behaviours such as the appearance of new content at the bottom of the screen, triggered by swiping upwards to reveal more content. The ‘more content’ is only brought down from the web server when you “ask” for it via your touch gesture, making the initial content load faster, and also making the content feel more interactive. This behaviour is now appearing more in websites, including shopping cart sites containing many products per category.

The introduction of high definition ‘retina’ displays on mobile devices is also changing the way we are creating an displaying images in websites. An image that looks perfectly good on your regular PC monitor now looks a little fuzzy on such high definition screens. We are now regularly creating two versions of buttons and icons for display – one for high definition and one for regular screens.

These 5 design trends boil down to User Experience or UX (also known as User interface design or UI). The most successful apps have a potent combination of utility and user interface design. There’s no point in having a great product if it’s hard to use. By being simple yet bold, your users are more likely to pay attention and stay around for your message.

Has your use of mobile devices changed the way you expect a website to operate?

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Should I build an HTML5, iOS or Android native app?

September 8th, 2012 by Heather Maloney

This is a question I frequently hear from our clients, particularly those for whom we are building mobile apps.

The answer we give depends on the desired results, and the targest audience. My biggest concern is when I get a response of “we want to use HTML5 because that’s where everyone is heading”.

This article in The Age gives a good picture of the pros and cons of app development in the various platforms… the most insightful section is posted below:

“HTML5 is appropriate for forms-based apps, or information-driven apps. Apps that require social interactivity or features on the device, whether it’s the camera or software features like Siri or facial recognition – we just see our developers over and over leaning towards native.”

And this is where it gets tricky: cross-platform tools are just another point in the spectrum between HTML5 and native.

CardFlick’s Anjaria opted not to use a cross-platform tool, which he says are more commonly used by design agencies that are not building the kind of apps that are “life changing or industry shattering”.

The midway point for Anjaria was, like Facebook previously, embedded HTML5 with a trade-off.

“In CardFlick, everything is native except for one main feature: the cards that you see are an HTML5 webpage. I can change my card a million times and I don’t have to write a new rendering engine to display the card,” he explains.

“One of the negatives of that is that it is a little slower than native – I have to load a web page every time I want to show you your updated card.”

So, you can see my answer to the question is that it depends on your objectives, what trade offs you are willing to accept, and what your app is going to do. An online survey app is most likely suited to HTML5, whereas an app requiring the use of GPS or a camera is most likely suited to a native app, and which platform you choose (or if you choose both) will depend on your likely audience (and budget).

At Contact Point we build apps in either native iOS, native Android, or HTML5 & Javascript (using a 3rd party tool to build for all platforms). Feel free to chat to us about your app requirements.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Online Technologies to consider for your business

May 30th, 2012 by Heather Maloney

The following online technologies have broad application across many industries, to help you increase awareness of your brand, products and services, strengthen relationships with existing customers, build community around your brand, position you as a thought leader in your industry or area of expertise, increase sales, and generate more leads.

Do a mental stocktake on how many of these technologies you are successfully employing:

  1. website - there are some businesses that still don’t have a website, or have a site that presents their organisation in a poor light, so I can’t leave that off the list. Your website may have more than one objective – make sure that it’s achieving your goal/s, whether that’s to generate leads, automate distribution of valuable information, build your credibility, facilitate sales…
  2. email marketing – despite the scourge of spam, and how long this medium has been used, it’s still the greatest tool of many of our clients for generating sales and enquiry, increasing customer retention and providing better service. You should encourage visitors to your website to register for your regular emails, but also promote this through offline channels (think business cards, brochures, invoices…).
  3. SMS marketing – a well executed SMS campaign can generate an immediate response. Of course, as per email marketing, you’re going to be obeying the Australian Spam Act to the letter, so an SMS won’t be a surprise to your customers.
  4. blog - pointing your readers to your website’s blog will drive traffic to your site (where hopefully they will explore more than your blog, or read related posts and add their comments), and allow them to interact with you and others on your chosen topic. It has the added advantage of being great for your rank in the search engines, especially if you choose your topic heading well and utilise social media and SEO friendly URLs.
  5. social media – dubbed “the personalisation of business”, the astute use of social media can help your organisation connect on deeper levels with your customers, understand your customers better, build community around your brand, and establish you as a thought leader within your industry or area of expertise. And it doesn’t have to take up vast amounts of your precious time.
  6. pay per click online advertisements – for the right category, a well written online ad linking through to a strategically written landing page, can be very productive for generating sales and enquiries. Social media and the proliferation of rich information about the website visitor’s preferences and behaviours, now provides the opportunity for very targeted ads.
  7. video – a powerful medium for connecting with a wider audience. Video allows you to convey your message much more richly than text and imagery.
  8. mobile applications – the use of mobile devices to browse the web and carry out web based activites has increased exponentially over the past few years. Every B2C website should strongly consider having at least a mobile friendly version of their website. Apps provide a unique opportunity to deliver market leading tools, build loyalty, and increase customer retention.
  9. online surveys – don’t groan! These used a strategic points in the delivery of customer service, or customer enquiry, can allow you to deliver the right clients to your sales team, and gather rich information about your customer’s desires.
  10. QR codes – a smart phone readable bar code allowing you to quickly take a customer to your web page after they scan the code you’ve placed in your email, on your printed poster, on a billboard…

When employing these technologies, you should endeavour to link them together to gain cost effectiveness, richer engagement and provide a consistent message across all fronts. They should also reflect your offline marketing.

If you would like to discuss the appropriateness of any of the above technologies for your business, and exactly how it could be used for your benefit, feel free to get in touch.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Landing Page Design Trends for 2012 – Website Magazine – Website Magazine

January 17th, 2012 by Heather Maloney

Following the key points described in the article below will benefit the design of your home page, landing page, or email marketing campaign.

Landing Page Design Trends for 2012 – Website Magazine – Website Magazine.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

How to Make you Website Mobile Device Friendly

August 31st, 2011 by Heather Maloney

We’re delighted to have recently assisted one of our clients to make their website and online store mobile device friendly. You can check out the results (using your mobile phone of course) via: http://www.henrylangdon.com/

But why would you go to the trouble of making your website mobile device friendly? Browsing the internet via a mobile device is at an all time high, and increasing exponentially. Some statistics: in the US mobile data traffic increased by 260% from 2009 to 2010, and the sale of smart phones outsold the sale of PCs in Q4 2010 for the first time ever.

The availability of the iPhone 3 with it’s superbly easy to use interface, followed by iPhone 4, and the proliferation of HTC and Android devices together with improving data plans from the major telecommunications companies I believe has changed the way we think about browsing the internet. You can find out when a movie is on, answer your question or solve an argument immediately, check what your friends are up to, and find the weather report, all in a matter of seconds without even thinking about booting up your PC or Mac.

Click through to read our “3 preliminary steps for creating a mobile device friendly website“, followed by the “5 activities required to implement your strategy”.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather