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Annette is at #winwithoutpitching today with @Bristol_Media and @blairenns, will be an interesting afternoon, posted 2 months ago

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articles tagged with: mobile-internet


Displaying articles 1 - 10 of 11 in total

A morning at Google HQ

Last Thursday I was invited along to a Seminar at Google HQ in London by our good friends at Push.

The session, held in what looked like a very cool TV studio, had multiple speakers from Google, Shirlaws and Push, covering a range of topics from how Google is changing over the coming months, business and economic growth patterns, and how Adwords is changing both imminently and in the future. It was really good :-)

Rather than regurgitate the sessions, I thought I'd share some of my favourite facts and stats from the day.

Google:

  • now has 7 products used by <1bn users (!)
  • aims to have those products used twice a day - what they call their 'toothbrush test'
  • generates 10% of its Global revenue from the UK
  • claims that by 2019, Google Ads will be 39% of all media spend.

Google sees Internet usage fitting broadly within these four areas:

I want to know

  • 65% of online consumers look up more information online than ever before
  • 66% use their mobile to do so.

I want to go

  • 2x more 'near me' searches than ever before
  • 82% of smartphone users use a search engine to find local business.

I want to do

  • 91% of smartphone users turn to their phone to do a task
  • 70% increase in 'how-to' searches year on year.

I want to buy

  • 82% of smartphone users consult their phone in a shop when deciding about a purchase
  • 9% increase in mobile conversions (that is, users making a purchase on their phone).

The Internet in general:

  • there are 60 trillion web addresses and 4 million Apps
  • there are 3 billion+ web searches every day
  • 15% of those daily searches have never been seen before
  • mobile searches have surpassed desktop
  • we are checking our phones 150 times per day on average (really?).


Think about these figures - do you feel you fit into these statistics? What are your thoughts on internet use, and how many times a day do YOU think you check your phone?! We'd love to hear your thoughts, drop us a line or feel free to comment below.

Annette Ryske
Annette

Created on Friday September 30 2016 02:57 PM


Tags: google mobile-internet future business


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Web Testing on real phones & tablets

Web Testing on real phones & tablets

There are so many ways a website can be rendered on screen. Not only is there a huge variety of phone shapes and sizes but all of these can have multiple browsers (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer). Then there's the fact that they can display in landscape or portrait mode. Users aren’t using a mouse but are instead using their fingers (some with 'digits' a little less delicate than others!).

It’s difficult for us developers and designers at web design agencies to predict just how our latest website might look online. There are of course websites that are meant to emulate how it will look but they're not always accurate.

This is where Open Device Lab steps in to make life that little bit easier. We headed over to their offices at Aardman to test one of the responsive website designs we're currently working on. We were able to test it on multiple popular devices from the iPad to a Blackberry. In doing this we could avoid the on-line emulators, we didn't have to pester friends with a different phone to ours to "borrow it for a second".
At ODL we could use a pretty handy piece of kit called 'Ghostlab'. Ghostlab synchronises browser testing. It scrolls, clicks, reloads and form inputs across all connected clients. So what you're testing is not the simple page load, but the full user experience. We also had the option to abandon that and fiddle with each device individually which is good for spotting usability issues that could possibly go unnoticed otherwise.

ODL Bristol are sponsored by the digital marketing agency 'Noisy Little Monkey', these guys made us feel super welcome and we were comfortable knowing we had coffee and support at hand (if required). More importantly, we left feeling we had done a thorough job of testing for our client.

So what did this cost us?... absolutely nothing. We're not sure if that's ever due to change but at the moment so long as you book ahead, you're welcome to pay them a visit. A the moment this gem feels like our little secret but you know what we're like at Focus, we promise to keep you guys updated with all things digital and this is definitely worth 'whispering' about.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Monday December 01 2014 04:42 PM


Tags: website technology web-development mobile-internet web-design ux responsive


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It's play time!

It's play time!

The BIG launch! The new-look "Go Places to Play" is here - an online park finder that makes it easy for you and your family to enjoy fun and exciting play opportunities in and around Bristol.

We've recently redesigned goplacestoplay.org.uk for Bristol City Council so that it not only looks better than before but it works better. "Go Places to Play" is now even more intelligent so that you can find parks and play areas far more quickly and efficiently. We understand that you live busy lives and need information at your fingertips - wherever you may be. The site is now responsive so it is easy to use on smartphones, tablets and laptops. This means you can quickly  find your nearest park when you're out and about. You can click on map points to get further information about the park or site you are interested in, or you can use the postcode search to bring up sites in your area.

The online calendar means you can search for local events that suit your requirements and interests. You'll be provided with results if you search using a relevant keyword, or you can find something more specific using the handy advanced search which allows you to search by event type, location and distance from your chosen postcode.

There are also some great ideas for play featuring tips and suggestions from our Play friends and partners - a particularly good resource for the school holidays. Plus, our brand new FAQs section answers many of the common questions we get asked.

As before the option is there to register as an event organiser which means you can upload your own events to feature on the events calendar. Once approved you will see them published.

People like to feel as though they are a part of a website and the 'community' that use it. Interaction is key so if you find something you like on Go Places to Play you can "Share with a friend". Regular news updates also ensure that everybody is on top of all that's going on. It's a site that seems to have people talking, if you want to be a part of the excitement please like the Go Places to Play Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/goplacestoplaybristol or better still, go and check out the site to see for yourself!




10 Web design trends to watch for in 2014

10 Web design trends to watch for in 2014

Trawl the web for long enough and you'll begin to notice patterns occurring, it becomes clear what is growing popular in the world of web design. Here are 10 design trends that I spotted and have a sneaky feeling we'll be seeing much more of in the coming year…


1. Flat design - OK, so this has been popular for much of 2013 but it's still going strong! Flat design removes all unnecessary elements so the content is the main focus - providing the best user experience. Initially, flat design developed as a solution to simplify Web layouts so that they were optimised across different devices but it's not just popular for practical reasons anymore. I can't get enough of this simple, clean style.

2. Grid-Style Layouts - Page elements are scattered to look like a grid. One familiar example of this would be the Facebook timeline. The grid-style provides a solid visual and structural balance. This sophisticated layout structure gives more flexibility and improves the visual experience of visitors as they can follow the consistency of the page much more easily.

3. Endless scrolling - The good thing is, browsing on our mobiles has gotten us used to it. Scrolling through a website is faster and easier than having to click through links upon links to get where we need to be. It's not content-cluttered either as new design techniques means all information is organised and formatted in such a way that it’s easy to digest. The layout often changes as you scroll, creating sections resulting in the user forgetting they're looking at one long page.

4. Simple Colour Schemes - I have a feeling there will be a lot more websites using only one or two colours. A new trend seems to be to use one bright and clean background colour, such as red, orange or teal, and to include images or black or white text over it. This creates a seriously minimalist and user-friendly effect.

5. Video - Instead of the usual written piece about what the company do, businesses are beginning to opt for short videos. This is most likely due to the fact that videos are easy to produce and share on your site as well as on social media. They also appeal to the short attention span many of us have adopted these days, we want everything now! Videos are an effective way of communicating with an audience and having an impact.

6. Fun with fonts - Designers are once again enjoying 'playing' with typography. Fonts seem to be getting bigger (and in my humble opinion, better!) and siting amongst a variety of others. Also, responsive typography should become a bigger part of responsive web design.

7. Mobile-First Design - Here, a higher priority is placed on the mobile experience which then becomes the foundation of the entire layout. The idea is to first mock-up how the website should look as a responsive layout on smaller screens. To make this work 'fancy' design considered unnecessary excess is removed and we are left with the bare essentials.

8. Mega-Navigation Menus - These menus that expand to hold large blocks of content and links, and can often contain product images seem to be particularly popular with e-commerce or news websites. If done well, this type of navigation can be extremely effective, they allow the user fast access to information located deep within the site.

9. Expanding search bars - Building semi-hidden or expanding search bars into your layout is definitely growing in popularity. When the user clicks a magnifying glass icon or clicks into the bar itself, the search bar expands wider allowing for more text input. This can be seen in a lot of responsive layouts.

10. Parallax Scrolling - That nifty technique that lets background images move slower than foreground images to make visuals appear more dynamic certainly makes for an interesting browsing experience. Handle with care though as too much of it can have quite the opposite effect!


As a designer here at Focus I am super excited about applying some of these trends to our work. Throughout the year I'll be looking out for emerging trends so that I can see you back here in 2015 with a whole new list! 

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Thursday January 16 2014 11:04 AM


Tags: website mobile-internet web-design internet userexperience ux web 2014


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jQuery mobile website for 1 Big Database

The internet is rapidly becoming available on a whole host of devices and platforms, so I do not think I need to sell anyone the importance of a mobile friendly website. In 2012, smartphone sales overtook PC sales, and it is estimated that in three years time tablet sales will do the same thing. 28% of all internet use is through a phone, so this leads some companies to now move towards a "mobile first" development style. However what do you do for sites that may have been created before mobile became such an important discussion in web development?

At Focus we set about the task of creating a mobile site for 1 Big Database. There were two options for us, either we change the website to be responsive or we create a mobile specific version. To decide between the two you really have to look at your users' needs while browsing the site on their mobile. If your website has a variety of content and functions all of which need to be usable from a mobile browser then it is probably a better idea to optimise your website in a responsive way. This will allow all of the content to be the same or very similar across all devices whilst still being usable and looking good.

1 Big Database is a comprehensive directory of organisations and events across the Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire area. We had identified three key areas of functionality that would be needed for mobile users. This meant that we would want to focus the users into these three areas, hiding the rest of the content and functionality on the website whilst still optimising look and feel for smaller devices.

We decided to use the jQuery mobile framework for 1 Big Database. jQuery mobile is a lightweight cross platform mobile framework, designed to enhance the development of mobile applications. It includes an ajax navigation system and page transitions to give an 'app like' feel to your websites. It has a core set of UI widgets as well as being built on jQuery core meaning if you understand the jQuery syntax it will not seem alien to you.

This allowed us to create a mobile website that would be available across not only the main smartphones but a comprehensive list of older phones as well, jQuery mobile also supports a vast amount of tablets and e-reader platforms if that is needed for your project. The documentation for the list of supported devices is available here. Within the jQuery mobile framework common HTML elements such as links, unordered lists and form elements are extremely easy to use on a mobile device. The feedback when pressing buttons, or moving between screens keeps the user aware of where they are in the website and what options are available to them. It can often be frustrating when having to zoom in on sites to view and then click through a complicated path on a mobile website. The elements have a consistent feel throughout the 1 Big Database website, with the inclusion of some theme use we were also able to keep the website consistent with the desktop version of 1 Big Database. We wanted experienced users who were familiar with having orange for selected elements, green for action links and blue for headings not to be put off by changing this on our mobile site.

1 Big Database worked well with a customised theme within jQuery mobile, but if you were creating a mobile version of a website that had a different colour scheme there is also the ThemeRoller available. For instance we are going to create a jQuery mobile site for Rainbow Resource, (an online directory for families with disabled children in the Bath and North East Somerset area) - this website has a very clear colour scheme that is important to its identity. With ThemeRoller you can create a base of themes which can then be implemented in the same way as the default themes leaving you a lot of options for website identity.

We're very pleased with the way that jQuery mobile has worked on this site, although we have also discussed when we felt it would not be as appropriate for some projects. If you have a website that is going to be very content heavy, with a deep and extensive navigation system it might take a while for users to click through using the framework; it suits much more focused functionality and content. Consistency is an important part of web development and usability but there may be projects where there are a lot of unique and different designs throughout the site. You can see a list of very different jQuery mobile designs here but I think if you had a lot of different designs within one site it would take a longer time to create them all within jQuery mobile.

So in conclusion, we have very much enjoyed using jQuery mobile on one of our projects but we would be very interested to hear other people's experiences and if you have encountered anything different in one of your projects.

Steve Fenn
Steve

Created on Wednesday January 16 2013 05:21 PM


Tags: mobile-internet ux


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The future of online in mobile and TV?

The future of online in mobile and TV?

I like most people have read the countless amounts of predictions for 2012, most, if not all, mention how mobile is going to make a large impact on the future of online. I wrote a blog article last year saying that sites should consider mobile to complement desktop development. This year companies will see that they need to evolve their web presence to incorporate mobile or be missed by a large number of visitors. Visitors will spend less time, visit fewer pages and bounce more from sites they cannot view through mobile devices.

Smartphone and iPhone use in the UK is growing at a huge rate almost on a daily basis – I saw a figure this week that over 6m iOS devices were registered on Christmas Day, imagine the figure for Android devices!

People are also coming round to the idea of tablets; many were sceptical if there was a marketplace for such a device. I was one of these…until I got my iPad. I hardly use my laptop now.

Another big change, maybe not to web development, but to the way people interact with online is going to be smart TV’s. They’ve been around for a while, but this year it’s going to enter the mainstream. With the Olympics, Euro 2012 and the Diamond Jubilee retailers are going to be slashing prices and pushing us all to buy that new 50” TV. There have been some interesting developments this week from the CES conference...talk of a Google TV, Apple TV set and an Angry Birds app! I have a TiVo box from Virgin and I can now watch YouTube videos, catch up on missed programs or radio shows through the iPlayer, I could even view photos on Facebook or post updates to Twitter – all through my TV.

Online is being integrated into our lives on a daily basis and 2012 will bring with it many changes – some of which could be game changers whether we are users, web developers or designers……interesting times ahead for us all!

Created on Wednesday January 11 2012 10:37 AM


Tags: mobile-internet online-tv internet digital 2012 video web iphone ipad apps smartphones


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Are you Mobile?

Are you Mobile?

There have been a large number of articles over the last few months on the rise of mobile internet with more people now using mobile devices to view websites. This is something which interests us a lot here at Focus Towers as we’ve always believed mobile phones and tablets would become a key way for people to access the web.

I also read yesterday about how social media is helping to maintain the interest in TV shows such as X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday. I would imagine the people using social media while watching TV are using a mobile phone or tablet to ‘tweet’ or ‘comment’ about what they are watching. I for one was on Twitter (on my iPhone) last night while watching Young Apprentice and chuckling at some of the comments which were made and observations made by people which I had also noticed.

“Almost half of UK internet users are going online via mobile phones, according to the Office for National Statistics.”

Source: BBC News, 31 August 2011

It’s not just TV shows, you can now use your mobile phone to check prices of items online before purchase in store or using your phone to find the closest coffee shop.  There is a huge buzz around app currently and I have 100’s downloaded to my phone, but I’m using mobile sites more and more for things like banking, shopping, checking out the latest film or train times. I even used Heathrow’s mobile site to check on arrival times for a friend’s flight. I also use the Amazon mobile site rather than the iPhone app because I find that it’s quicker and easier to make a purchase.

A recent study commissioned by Barclays Corporate found that almost 63% of all mobile owners use their device during the online purchase process at present but that this still accounts for just 5% of total ecommerce spend (£26bn) for 2011. However, the research predicts that this figure will rise to £19.3bn a year by 2021 due to the growing popularity of smart phones and tablet devices, sales of which are set to hit 6m by the end of this year alone.

Building a mobile version of a web site isn’t complicated and doesn’t require extensive additional coding (as the same data sources can be used for both ‘standard’ and ‘mobile’ sites) - but it does require some thought due to the reduced processing power and screen real estate of such devices.

We find the key is to focus on your ‘call to action’ and ensure it can be completed easily within the given restrictions. One of the other main differences is that smart phones tend to rely on touch screen for interaction with the user - so the design should lend itself to big graphical buttons that can be viewed and ‘clicked upon’ easily with the finger - rather than a cursor.

 

If you want to see our own mobile site just type www.thisisfocus.co.uk into your phones browser and you’ll see how we have made our desktop site an easy to use and view mobile version. 




Royal wedding or digital death?

Royal wedding or digital death?

I know, I know, I know. Not a very original theme for a blog article. Here at Focus Towers it feels like everyone's going unreasonably nuts for the forthcoming nuptials.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to bits about the extra bank holiday, but that's about as far as it goes.

2 billion people across the globe will tune in in some way to watch the ceremony, it's reckoned, making it possibly the biggest media event in history. 

Googling anything to do with weddings that day? Good luck! You're not likely to get anything useful. Top search terms are reckoned to be 'royal wedding stream online' and variations around that theme.

What's really striking though is that this is the first truly digital event of its kind. Charles and Di in '83 may have attracted some attention, but this time, it'll be more a case of trying to escape it! 

Of the 2 billion (!) people estimated to be watching across the globe, an estimated 400 MILLION will stream the content online. 400 million. That's about six times the population of the UK, kids.

The royal family may have managed to turn down B Sky B's request to film the event in 3D (I kid you not), but they can't stop the hoards all trying to get their little bit of the magic digitally. Will the internet fall over? Who knows? Good luck servers across the globe!

I won't be watching online. I won't be watching on TV. I'll be on a beach on the south coast somewhere hopefully. But the thing is, I'll have my iPhone with me for sure. And Twitter. And Facebook. And the Royal Wedding digitally, in the palm of my hand. Looks like I might be getting involved, after all...




Focus goes mobile!

Focus goes mobile!

Today sees the launch of our mobile site – a pared down version of the main website with all the essentials on there, including contact details, how to find us and our latest blog articles.

Of course, you’ll still be able to view the full site through your handset if you need to, but will have the option of mobile optimised browsing for when you’re out and about.

We’ve noticed the number of people accessing our site through their mobile has been steadily increasing over the last 6 months or so, and with many of our clients using iPhones, Blackberrys and other PDAs, we thought it was about time we tailored the site to their needs.

Morgan Stanley have predicted that mobile browsing will overtake browsing from a desktop as soon as 2013, with mobiles already overtaking desktops for gaining access to social networking sites. 91% of mobile internet users socialise online(!) compared with only 79% desktop users, according to the ecommerce journal.

Gone are the days when it was reasonable to assume that people would be viewing your site in 1024 x 768 resolution. With an estimated 16 million users in the UK alone using their mobiles to gain access to the internet, we wanted to ensure people could view the site in a format that’s most suitable for them.

We don’t think it’ll be long before everybody else is doing the same...

So, please take a look, and as always, let us know what you think!

Created on Tuesday April 06 2010 10:25 AM


Tags: website new-web-site mobile-internet focus


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the mobile web - that €57 Billion untapped market

Making money from the webThe Mobile Internet World Europe Summit convened a few days ago to discuss ways to "capitalize on the fastest growing marketplace in the converging media, entertainment and telecommunications industries."

The blogosphere seems to be rather tight-lipped on the findings or perceptions of this conference, leading me to believe that either the conference bombed or the participants are keeping very quiet about their conclusions.

With such high sums at stake wouldn't you?!