Category Archives: Design

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New Trends In Web Design for 2018

New Trends In Web Design That Will Massively Improve Your Online Appearance

A website that aims towards success demands a well thought out blend between its design and content. In the ever-changing industry of website design trends rise and fall with each passing year. Keeping track of everything is difficult, especially if the design isn’t even related to your field of work.

Nick Brown guest blogger

Ignoring this and just making a website based on a hunch or some personal preference is a big NO. Don’t fall into this trap. Respecting your users’ experience and having functionality that is easily digestible is key. Confusing layouts, eye-hurting color schemes, and annoying texts are to be avoided at all costs. However, I will not be pointing out potential problems, but rather trends in this article that are quite welcome to add to your thought process. Here are a couple of those trends:

Underline key points

You probably didn’t see this one coming, neither did I. I’m not talking about underlines that you see in your conventional text processors or hyperlinks, for example. Implementing underlines within your sites’ design is the smartest way to highlight the content you wish to be in focus.

Always consider the background image, color, font and functionality of the web page where the content is displayed. Try fitting in the underline in a way that it complements as many factors mentioned as possible. Make it seem natural. Using white space is great with this, especially if you want to use basic contrast or thick fonts.

Arrange the information input

With touchscreens and other kinds of modern displays, the way a business can present information has drastically changed. Designers have to arrange the ideas in a way that they catch the interest of visitors.  The attention span of an average visit is very short indeed.  The way your information is presented has to reflect the amount of time you have to catch a glaring eye.

If your information is constructed in a way that it encourages your users to go from point A to point B.  Having their focus aimed at a certain point of interest that transitions into another point of interest in a smooth way is paramount when you want to promote browsing through various parts of a website for specific information.

Simple color schemes

J.R. Atkins 2018 website trends

Minimalist designs have positioned themselves as the style of choice both in terms of design and clarity. Using more than two or three colors creates a messy composition promoting nothing but confusion. Try combining simple colors by using gradients and hues in context of your page design.

Colors should emphasize the focus points as clearly as possible. A well-placed object with appropriate coloring is the winning ticket to sending the desired message. The intensity of chosen colors mirrors the intensity of the perception of your product, serenity or excitement – chose accordingly.

Prepare for going mobile

This has been chewed over by countless market analysts. The mobile market is a giant growing with each passing year – its impact has changed the way we do marketing. Most of online shopping and browsing is done via smartphone and tablet – your website must be prepared for incoming traffic from such platforms.

Having a responsive web page for all platforms and resolutions has to be taken into account when approaching your sites web design. A lot of businesses lose traffic and revenue because users lose interest if your site isn’t approachable on demand. Don’t force your users to sit in front of their PC for some interaction. Maintaining your brand by being attentive and approachable is the key to success.

Text positioning

Designers have started displacing text in regard to the page composition. Having assets in layers above your text obscure it in a stylish way, creating an arrangement that will shape an otherwise boring text into something that will spark the mind.

Be careful when using this approach, a lot of designers have made mistakes with it. Having your text unintelligible is far from desired. Chose simple words that can be understood when only one or a couple of letters are covered. Basic fonts should also be considered when doing this because of additional clarity. Whatever your choice is, the design shouldn’t be too complex – keep your message clear, always.

Guest Blogger, Nick Brown – Nick is a blogger and a marketing expert currently engaged on projects for Media Gurus, an Australian business, and marketing resource. He is an aspiring street artist and does Audio/Video editing as a hobby.


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5 Ways Your Website Could Be Hurting Sales

website conversion helpIf you’re in the business of selling products or services online, your website can make or break your brand. While most companies stay on top of the marketing techniques that can help to drive more traffic to their site, they often forget to make improvements to the site itself. Here are five ways that your site might be hurting sales and how you can fix it.

1. You Have Unresolved Glitches

This sounds like a simple problem that any web administrator with an ounce of sense would avoid. However, many site admins don’t realize that their e-retail platform has a glitch because they don’t regularly check the platform for user friendliness. If customers run into a glitch, they’ll oftentimes abandon the purchase rather than contacting the administrator about the problem. Hence, it’s crucial that you’re regularly checking the site for any glitches or issues.

2. There’s Never Any Rush To Buy

If your site isn’t regularly running promotions that feature a deadline, such as “product X is 25% off until this Friday,” then you’re not creating time-sensitive reasons for customers to make purchases. Companies attach deadlines to their promo codes and sales for good reason; it gives the customer a reason to buy now instead of later. Don’t think of these promotions as sleazy. They’re actually quite common and a completely moral sales tactic.

3. The Tech Is Fine, But The Site Itself Is Hideous

Sure, any e-retailer needs to have a glitch-free storefront that runs smoothly and processes data and promo codes without error. But don’t think that design doesn’t matter. Customers like to be welcomed by a web design and graphics that are pleasing to the eyes. Good visuals can compel customers who are on the fence to finally make that purchase.

4. Zero Social Media Presence

As social media becomes more and more of an integral part of how our society communicates, retailers can’t afford not to have a strong social media presence. It’s common for consumers to look at a brand’s Twitter or Instagram before deciding to make a purchase. If your site doesn’t have any sort of social media presence, customers may actually find that to be odd and somewhat suspicious. Social media isn’t just good from a marketing perspective. Rather, it’s a good way to cement your brand as trustworthy and give a legitimacy to your brand’s entire presence online.

5. Contacting Customer Service Is A Nightmare

No one wants to receive a barrage of petty customer complaints or unnecessary questions. For this reason, many sites tend to bury their customer service contact form or information, theorizing that only customers with legitimate questions will take the time to seek out the contact info. While this idea is okay in theory, it can kill potential sales. When customers have a question that they need to ask before they feel confident making a purchase, they want to be able to contact customer service quickly and simply. This is why a customer service contact should always be plainly visible on your site.

If you stay on top of these five potential mishaps, you can create a site that is user-friendly and conducive to consistent sales.

Guest Blogger: Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who has worked in eCommerce for the last five years. She currently writes for Rakuten Super Logistics and recommends them for all your fulfillment


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Mobile Road Map to Success by J.R. Atkins

J.R. Atkins Mobile Road Map to SuccessHow do you get a mobile app for your big idea or business? The solutions to this question is addressed in Mobile Road Map to Success by J.R. Atkins, MBA. “When I first developed this material I was working closely with entrepreneurs developing mobile apps and companies seeking to add mobile apps to their business lines. As I reflect on this content, a few years later, it’s still sound thinking and applicable today.”

One example of continued relevance is the dominance of iOS and Android operating systems over Blackberry, Microsoft, and Symbian.  Microsoft still is active on their platform but it just never took off with independent developers who dominate the mobile app development field.

Another example of relevant content is the mobile app development process represented by the flow chart below. I still run across people who say they have an idea for a mobile app but have not taken step one, which is creating a written description.

stepps to building a mobile app

A third example of continued relevance is the basic cost associated with mobile app development. I would have guessed that this would have changed but, since they are general categories, the price points still hold true.

How much money to build a mobile app

New log for SDC llcEven though time has passed and application development has improved, these are still reasonable guidelines to use in early planning. For more details and the rest of the story on Mobile Road Map to Success, check out the book on Amazon.

I look forward to seeing your comments and questions.


J.R. Atkins has been speaking, teaching and consulting on Social Media since 2008. He has a BA in Marketing from Texas A&M University, an MBA from The University of Phoenix, Dallas Campus and is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. He has published 3 books: Success Simplified, Social Media 2.0 and Mobile Road Map to Success. His company, Something Different Companies, works with churches, individuals and companies to implement effective online communication strategies.


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What the heck does Snow Fall have to do with story telling?

18 Months after the New York Times published a story about an avalanche in Stevens Pass, in Skykomish, Washington, viewers are still raving about how this story represents the future of story telling, of eBooks, of writing in the digital world.

If you have not seen it, you need to check it out. The “news article” combines well written prose, video clips, pictures and Google Earth type imagery to immerse the reader into the story. And, it works. You feel like you are there. The credit for this great example of modern journalism goes to John Branch.

Follow this link or Google NY Times Snow Fall and you will see all the supporting articles and blogs that have been written following the release of the original article on December  20, 2012. I hope I write an article this well that gets this much exposure and acclaim some day. John won a Pulitzer Prize for his work. Well done.

J.R. Atkins recommends the NY time article snow fall


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Do You Have Digital Meetings?

What I mean is, when you meet with others, are there digital devices involved? Are there laptops, phones and tablets on the table with people “typing” away on their phones and keyboards? As I visit organizations, I see that the use of digital devices in meetings really depends on the organization culture. Some organizations are digital oriented, others focus on short meetings with updates and actionable items while other have meeting that are so slow and boring that if people could not use their device, they’d fall asleep.

J.R. Atkins comments on devices in meetings

I also see this as the clashing of two cultures, a digital oriented culture and a non-digitally oriented culture. Have you heard about the lady that thought the associate pastor was surfing the web during church when he was actually reading the Bible online? There all kinds of issues that arise. We ask ourselves “are they paying attention to me?” Yet others are less sensitive, and they think “sure, go ahead and tweet while we are talking.”

My associate who specializes in Culture Building says we, as a group or a company, get to choose and build the digital culture of our organizations. We should reach an agreement as to the level of digital device use during our meetings. talking. I’m ok with that.”

What do you see in your organization? Can you use a device in your meeting? Is your organization wrestling with how to deal with devices in your meetings?J.R. Atkins address the use of devices in meetings

I look forward to hearing from you by phone, email, or blog.

Events Worth Considering


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The apps that get featured on the iOS App Store – by Dave Addey

I saw this article on what Apps get featured on the App Store and thought others would like to see the great research and charts that Dave Addey compiled. Here is an excerpt, click on the lick to see it all. Thanks Dave!

__________________________________________________

Over the past few months, I’ve been researching the kinds of apps that get featured on the iTunes App Store home page for different countries around the world. Here are my initial findings.

In this article, you’ll spot certain bits of text highlighted in yellow. Clicking or tapping on these will display extra information about the methodology I’ve used in the reports. You’ll also see bits of text highlighted in blue. These automatically change the relevant graph to show the data referred to by the highlighted text.

Important note: I’ve only been looking at the kinds of apps that get featured on the store. This isn’t an assessment of how many copies of each app are sold, or how much money apps make, or how many apps there are on the store. It’s just about the apps that are editorially selected for feature on the Store’s home page by the App Store editorial team.

Games vs non-games

One of the most notable things about the Store is just how many games get featured. Only 16.8% of the apps on the Store are games, and yet they make up about half of the apps featured on App Store home pages worldwide.

The graph below shows the percentage of unique app features that are / are not games , compared against the percentage of apps on the Store that are / are not games . You can view the results for different stores and different device types using the two drop-down menus in the graph’s title.

chart from Dave Addy shared by J.R. Atkins
The highest percentage overall is in the Republic of Korea, where a whopping 64.4% of features on iPhone are for games. The lowest is the Austria / Germany Store, with only 36.3% on iPhone, although that’s still more than double the proportion of apps on the store overall. One thing’s for sure – games are special.


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Are You Getting Your Share of the $25B in Mobile App Sales

The Wall Street Journal today summed it up well stating that the Mobile App business is booming 5 years after Apple launched the App Store. Read the some of the details below or see the full article at the Wall Steet Journal.

Apps Rocket Toward $25 Billion in Sales

Players in Quickly Growing Business Scramble to Figure Out Best Ways to Attract Users and Turn a Profit

By JESSICA E. LESSIN and SPENCER E. ANTE

The mobile apps industry is booming, with Google and Apple now offering more than 700,000 applications each in their respective stores. But for every Instagram, there are thousands of duds. The WSJ’s Jessica Lessin tells us what makes an app successful in today’s competitive market.

Nearly five years after Apple Inc. AAPL -2.42% kicked off the mobile-apps craze, the industry is booming.

App stores run by Apple and Google Inc. GOOG +1.90% now offer more than 700,000 apps each. With so many apps to choose from, consumers are estimated to spend on average about two hours a day with apps. Global revenue from app stores is expected to rise 62% this year to $25 billion, according to Gartner Inc. IT +2.27%

The apps industry has matured in some respects. Some of the Wild West tactics of five years ago—like scams to accrue more downloads—have given way to more order as Apple and others tighten their rules. App developers are more methodical about marketing their apps and focusing on the few apps that work best.

What’s Your App?

Business leaders, athletes and entertainers share their favorite smartphone and tablet apps.

WSJ’s Spencer Ante takes a look at the explosive growth of smartphone, tablet and smart TV apps and how Google’s Android apps have given Apple a run for its money. Photo: Google, Inc.

How big of a money maker are apps? What country’s GDP is the size of the global app economy? How does app use compare to TV in terms of time spent per day? WSJ’s Jason Bellini has answers.

For every Instagram, the wildly popular photo sharing app that Facebook Inc. FB -0.22% bought for $1 billion last year, there are hundreds of thousands of apps that don’t catch on.

As the battlefield shifts to new geographies, new categories and new devices, developers are still trying to figure out which business models are the most profitable.

The apps industry “is like cars at the turn of the last century,” said Simon Khalaf, chief executive of mobile analytics firm Flurry Inc. “You see the growth of roads and know they’re going to be big. But it is still early days.”

TinyCo Inc., a San Francisco-based game maker that released its first mobile game in 2010, is experiencing both the promise and the perils of the apps industry. Today it has 13 mobile games and revenue is doubling. But every day is a battle to acquire users, said Michael Sandwick, manager of strategic partnerships.

The cost of acquiring users through advertising continues to rise by double digits year-over-year, he said, sometimes more sharply when bigger companies seek to introduce a new game. That has forced the startup to better tune its spending based on data about how people are discovering their games.

“There’s an incredible amount of saturation,” said Mr. Sandwick.

Just a few years ago, the apps industry was simpler. In early 2010, Apple’s App Store had a commanding lead with around 140,000 apps for phones. The market was heavily focused on the U.S.

Apple and Google Inc.’s Play store are today neck-in-neck in terms of smartphone apps catalogs and usage, said analysts. Apple still dominates in terms of money made by more than three to one, according to App Annie.

And there are others also offering app stores—to different degrees of success—including Microsoft Corp., MSFT +0.72%BlackBerryBB.T -3.60% -maker Research In Motion Ltd., and Amazon.com Inc. AMZN +2.77%

The app boom has spread to markets such as China, Japan and South Korea. That has led to some apps like social-networking service NHN Corp.’s Line leapfrogging U.S. app-makers in revenue by selling virtual items like stickers.

image

And apps are expanding their reach on devices. They’re no longer just for phones, but tablets and televisions too. The apps are taking advantage of hardware improvements like sensors that can tell an app how fast a person is moving.

In the past two years, consumers have doubled the time spent with apps to about two hours a day, according to Flurry. Yet people churn through apps fairly frequently, making it hard for developers to retain users.

About 63% of the apps used daily now differ from those used daily a year ago. Moreover, consumers focus on a handful—roughly eight apps—at a time.

Michael Duda, a New York-based marketing consultant and investor, said he regularly uses about 12 of the 70 or so apps on his Android smartphone that make his life easier, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Sonos, AmericanExpress and J.P. Morgan ChaseJPM +0.39% .

“A bunch of the apps I downloaded sounded cool,” but he said but most don’t add “utility to my day-to-day life.”

App makers can have a difficult time breaking into a business dominated by incumbents.

Only 2% of the top 250 publishers in Apple’s App Store are “newcomers,” versus 3% in Google’s Play store for Android apps, according to research firm Distimo.

“The bar is so high to build something that is special and valuable and easy to use,” said Jake Mintz, co-founder Bump Technologies Inc., a four-year-old app that lets people share media across phones by touching them. To be more useful, the Mountain View, Calif., company has branched out to share media across laptops too, he said.

Others app makers are coping with the shifting landscape by being more selective about what they build and how they promote their apps.

Michael Bayle, senior vice president and general manager of mobile at Walt Disney Co.’s DIS +0.85% ESPN, said the company recently decommissioned 23 of its 30 Apple apps it had been maintaining, and kept alive its most popular ones.

ESPN dropped an app for Los Angeles sports but kept its popular ScoreCenter app that publishes scores, news and standings from sports leagues, teams and players world-wide.

“It’s easy to make an app but the real expense is in maintaining it,” Mr. Bayle said.

Some app companies are scrambling for new revenue streams and expanding beyond the current leading money pots: ads and in-app purchases.

When music-discovery app Shazam Entertainment Ltd, introduced its first cellphone app about seven years ago, its main revenue came from deals with mobile operators and licensing its audio-recognition technology.

Today it has five revenue streams, including selling ads in apps, a paid premium version of its app and charging television advertisers to integrate Shazam campaigns.

“We have seen revenue drivers change over the years,” said chief revenue officer Doug Garland, declining to comment on its results. “We are figuring out where the best opportunities are and doubling down.”

Write to Jessica E. Lessin at jessica.lessin@wsj.com and Spencer E. Ante at spencer.ante@wsj.com

A version of this article appeared March 4, 2013, on page B1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Apps Explode Into Industry Ready to Hit$25 Billion


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Have you Built your own Mobile App yet?

Hey what are you waiting for? Building your own simple Mobile App is easy now with a tool called Yapp App. Granted it may not be as dynamic and complex as Facebook or Angery birds, but you can have an App for your:

  • Events
  • Gatherings
  • Groups
  • Fundraising

Here is a segment from their website:

At Yapp, our mission is to empower people to interact and express themselves. We aim to do this by democratizing the creation of mobile apps so that anyone – even if they lack technology or design skills or resources and time – can create a mobile app for parts of their lives that matter to them.

We believe that app creation is something that anyone should be able to do and everyone will do, but don’t believe one platform can create apps for everyone. The needs of IT departments, brands, SMBs and consumers are very different.

We aspire to make it fun and simple for consumers to create a beautiful, content centric mobile app, or in our case, a Yapp. Yapps are user created, themed, customizable, mobile experiences that can be updated in real time and do not require their own binary.

Yapp Events

Our first product, Yapp Events, aims to help organizations, groups, and individuals quickly and simply create rich and elegant mobile apps to enhance events and gatherings such as weddings, conferences, reunions, classes, book clubs, fundraisers, parties, etc. 


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Who are your Advisors?

As a new year begins, many people have their mind on New Year’s resolutions, goals, wrapping up last year, and focusing on the new year. During this time my mind drifted to the role advisors play in our lives.

Build a better 2013 with Advisors by J.R. Atkins

For some people, they claim they have not advisors, yet these people can be found talking to bar tenders into the night or discussing politics with friends and neighbors. However they appear or whatever we call them, we allow and even encourage others to help shape our thoughts, actions and lives.

For other people, we recognize how what we read and think as well as the people in our lives, shape our future. I like to call these people advisors. Let’s take a look at how Advisors shape our business life and contribute to business success.

My life advisors have come in the form of teachers, professors, religious leaders, authors, speakers and very close friends. As a young businessman in the Financial Services Business, I had a Board of Advisors who I would meet with quarterly, on an individual basis over lunch. I’d share my goals and activities and they’d offer their thoughts to help me. For some reason, when I left that business I quit meeting with my advisors and wish I had not. Through various religious organization I have meet with men’s groups on a weekly basis to encourage one another. From these men I have drawn support, insight and accountability to the things I say I wasn’t to do. What a great reflection on one’s self. Certain authors and speakers have come to mentor me such as Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Steven Covey (these three have passed) John C Maxwell, Seth Godin and others. I take what they write and say and apply to my life, I often quote them or refer to their work when I speak and write. A very few, very close friends also count as advisors as I can tell them things that I would share with no others and know I will not be judged. My dad’s mentor told him if he had 3 close friends like this in life he would be very lucky and I have found this to be true.

Another type of business advisors come in the form of Official Boards; Boards of Directors with fiduciary responsibilities and Boards of Advisors with less responsibility, both offering great business insight. If you are looking to grow your community influence, then you might consider serving on a board such as:

  • Non-Profits Boards
  • Association Boards
  • Churches, Synagogues and Temples leadership boards
  • Company Boards, for small, medium, large private companies as well as public companies.

As an example, I serve on an Advisory Board for one of my clients, Copper Mobile. My role is to identify potential candidates for both their Board and Advisory Board, offer insight into the Mobile App industry, help identify market opportunities and refer prospects. In return, I get to interact with quality people on their boards, share ideas with their staff, learn from their projects and help others grow.Mobile App Enterprise Solutions

A friend of mine asked “why I serve on boards?” the best reason I have is because of the good you can do. As a board member, you have a chance to make an impact, to help others, to do something bigger than yourself and it is very rewarding. Another reason to be on a board is for the growth you will experience. You will see and hear issues and opportunities that cause you to be a better you. Finally, as a board member you meet great people that encourage you, challenge you, befriend you and make you laugh.

I have hear people say they are bored enough with the meets they currently attend, so why join a board to be bored. If this is the case then you need to find another board. I still laugh every time I hear of the board for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit; The DART Board J

As I look into 2013 I do have one resolution, to reestablish my advisory network for three reasons.

  1. To have a consistent, regular source of input of others
  2. To be “on purpose” about my business and personal growth
  3. To be accountable to others for the things I say I want to do and be

 

What about you? Do you have advisors, do you serve on any boards? I’d like to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please add them to the comments section below.

Events worth considering


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“Design Thinking” IDEO story by 60 Minutes

Check out this video story by 60 Minutes, from 1/6/13, about how “Design Thinking” from IDEO has impacted so many products over the last 20 years such as the computer mouse, stand up toothpaste despencer, Elmo calls iPhone App, even the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Visitor Pavilion.

 


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