Web Design: How to build it better!

by Evin C
When you load a website in your browser, you are immediately overcome by the layout, images and color of the website. If for a moment you think to yourself, “Wow, this is eye-catching!” the website has done its job. According to the article I read, “46% of respondents from a study conducted by Stanford University commented on the design and look of the website as being one of the most important factors in determining credibility.” From that statistic alone you can see how much the design and layout of your website affects the traffic and credibility for the people accessing it. The article provides three helpful services to use when trying to make your website as efficient as possible. read more...

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Values of Web Analytics

by Robert L
Summary

“Learning and development organizations historically have borrowed models for measuring learning from an increasingly archaic education system. The learning profession today is no different-it continues to focus on metrics that provide a binary assessment of learning in the form of pass-fail, complete-incomplete, and started-in progress. Today our analytics are becoming irrelevant and misleading as learning becomes more fluid. The traditional “push model” derived from a regulatory, compliance-driven industry is giving way to a learner-centric “pulling world” where mere training completion has little meaning. We need to rethink learning analytics with a focus on value as opposed to learning as a key benchmark. Our analytics must be aligned with the business’s metrics, and we must demonstrate value through the synthesis of a variety of business systems. Learning 2.0 practitioners have been arguing for some time that the metrics previously used for formal learning are insufficient for capturing any data from informal initiatives such as online chats. Some would argue (and I used to be one) that there is no relevant data to suggest that informal learning has any effect on a business, and they would be right, However, the conclusion reached doesn’t mean that there is no value, only that the instruments we use to measure how training affects an organization are insufficient.” read more...

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Balance between usability and aesthetics

by Jorge R
The article that I choose talks about the importance of aesthetics and usability in determining the success of the website. Over the past years we have progressively leaned towards developing an aesthetically pleasing website as opposed to the usability aspect. Both aspects need to be addressed to form a good website, but with a lot of graphics and pictures on a webpage the efficiency can greatly decrease. The main concerns of the ISO 9241 are efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction. The author explains that aesthetics in software development pertains to the interface design; it can be subjective because it is dependent on the personality of the user. It has been a long lasting dispute to address which aspect to focus the majority of the time to develop, this is because it is hard to adapt these two contrary objectives on web design at the same time. read more...

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differences with html5

by Daniel M
the article that i read was about html5 and the benefits of using it versus html. The article talks about all the new tags that html5 uses and what they can do for you as a web developer. First off the article talks about how if your website works fine and html allows you to do everything that you need it to do then there is really no need to change or if you do change it is best to ease into the transition so that you don’t make your website inoperable. Basically html5 has a few main tags that are different that allow you to do things that html did not. The first tag that is different is the <nav> tag. This tag allows you to make a section specifically for links to different sites or to different pages of your website. The next tag is <section> which will allow you to create a section a generic document or application section. It acts much the same way a <div> does by separating off a portion of the document. The next tag is the <article> tag. This tag will allow you create a portion of a page which can stand alone such as: a blog post, a forum entry, user submitted comments or any independent item of content. an <aside> tag allows you to create a side bar that basically will allow you create a section for related posts or quotes. The last main tag that is different is the <footer> tag. This tag was in html but it now allows you to mark up the footer of not only the current page but each section within the page. The header and footer tags now allow you to mark up the top and bottom of each section of the page not just the top and bottom of the page like it used to. The other benefits of html5 is that it has many more API opportunities that you can create. It seems like html5 allows for the programmer to make the website more easily customizable. read more...

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Being Clicky

by Stephen O
Each of us visits hundreds of websites each week, thousands in a month and an unknown amount each year. Each website can expect a certain amount of traffic if it is advertised right, but now what? You have a website that is being visited but you want to know just what areas of your website your visitors are clicking on. Let us face it Web Page space is valuable real state. Areas that are often clicked on valuable for many reasons, but you need a way to determine how to track this, fortunately for us there are click analytical tools. There a couple worth mentioning, Google Analytics’ In-Page Analytics, ClickHeat, and Crazy Egg.  Google Analytics is probably the one everyone is familiar with. Google Analytics is a free service, and since it enjoys such recognition, it is by far the most widely used. It tracks visitors from any referrer so it is versatile in that aspect. Its lacks the ability to actually give a detailed information on where the user is actually clicking. For that, ClickHeat by Labsmedia is your tool. It is an open source, it works by visually displaying where visitor clicks on a website. It uses a color map overlay that displays areas that are “warmer” due visitor clicks. It is incredibly useful if you want to know where to place things, but it is not exactly as user friendly as Google Analytics. It requires both knowledge of MySql and PHP to use so it is not for everyone. It is other potential drawback that it only tracks clicks, it has no ability to track web analytics metrics. Crazy egg unlike the other two is not free, and is not open source, it is a commercial product. It is a subscription product with varying packages.  Crazy Egg works off something called Snap Shots, these are the websites being tracked. What it does with these snapshots is truly amazing, “The snapshots convert the click data into three different click analytic reports: heat map, site overlay, and something called  “confetti view.” Crazy Egg’s heat map report is comparable to ClickHeat’s heat map; they both use intensity of colors to show high areas of clicks on a webpage. Crazy Egg’s site overlay is similar to In-Page Analytics in that they both display the number of clicks a link receives (see figure 5). Unlike In-Page Analytics, Crazy Egg tracks all clicks including outbound links as well as nonlinked content, such as graphics, if it has received multiple clicks.”(Farney, 2012) read more...

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Comparing ASP.NET with PHP

by Cole O’C
ASP.NET and PHP are both very powerful, widely used tools for developing dynamic web pages. It can be incredibly difficult to choose between which one to use, or if to use both via Microsoft IIS, and can change on a per-project basis. In terms of performance, ASP.NET is generally considered faster due to being compiled language as opposed to PHP’s interpreted language. That said, the most important factor of quality performance is good design and implementation. The security of the program hinges strongly on the expertise of programmers rather than the languages themselves. As for cost, it is rather hard to beat PHP’s amazingly affordable price of free. However, some commercial controls and/or libraries can be purchased for PHP, which should be taken into consideration. Hosting services are also usually cheaper for PHP due to there being more hosting providers. However, the cost of ASP.NET may be justified because you can use it in conjunction with other Microsoft products such as Visual Studio and SQL Server. In terms of ease of development, ASP.NET has a higher level of abstraction and is more object-oriented than PHP, which means that ASP.NET is more likely to produce reusable code. For further information, there are two articles at the bottom that can help a developer choose which is best for them: the article from NetroStar is concise and is what I summarized here, while the article from PerfectWebTutorials is quite verbose and comprehensive. read more...

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Apple displays HTML5 Demos while taking shots at Flash

by Stephen O

Apple displays HTML5 Demos while taking shots at Flash

By now, you probably have heard of HTML 5 in some way shape or form. You may not be familiar with what it can do though; apple is seeking to change this. Apple created a site back in 2010 to show case some of the features that HTML 5 brings to the table. The site has several demos that include the latest in greatest in Web Standards and cover a number of features: CSS3, JavaScript, and HTML 5. At the time of the article, you needed to run Safari 4, but since this article is a couple years old, it may be safe to say the latest Firefox and Google Chrome maybe able to view it. The site also features HTML’s Play capabilities, and allows you to adjusts the size and scale of the video while the video is streaming. Another demo lets you play with “Rich Typography,” letting one change the font, font color, move the text and easily change the scaling of the font using the Scalable Vector Graphics. There are demos for audio as well, one demonstrates the audio tag in HTML 5 and allows you to add audio to your website without needing plug-ins, simply add by using the audio tag. Other demos included imagine transitions, 360-degree rotations around an object, and VR Browsers. All these features using HTML 5, JavaScript, and CSS3. While showing off all the goodies they made a subtle shot at flash “Standards aren’t add-ons to the web. They are the web. And you can start using them today.” (Mulroy, 2010). Included here in this blog is a link to the site: http://www.apple.com/html5/ read more...

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The Subtle Rise of HTML5

by Cole O’C
Over the last two years, HTML5 has been supported and adopted by a lot of big name companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn. While HTML5 is technically only the latest version of a technical standard, it has come to represent a set of features and capabilities that both enhance user experience and simplify development processes. This simplification is most plainly seen when companies are developing an application for both iOS and Android; HTML5 allows them to develop one application that can be run on any web browser. The powerful tools of HTML5 make it hard to differentiate between the cloud and the web, as well as desktop and client functionality. The technology is incredibly flexible and quite affordable to incorporate. However, the new standard does have its downsides. Applications developed with HTML5 are sometimes limited compared to their iOS and Android counterparts, as certain features are harder to access. Another issue facing HTML5 is application distribution, which has become an almost non-issue for iOS via the App Store and Android via the Marketplace. Google Chrome’s app store, which seeks to become a primary HTML5 distributor, is fairly new and does not have quite the presence of its non-HTML5 counterparts. Although it may take some time, HTML5 has the potential to overcome its weaknesses and become a platform-spanning giant. read more...

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Anyone Can Make Mistakes

by Monica G
It can be a real shame when companies try dirty, little tricks only to benefit their pockets. Well tricks like that can be seen every day, but we cannot simply dump every trick in one bucket, some can be labeled the SEO tricks. The author focuses on six activities that companies have tried to use to increase their SEO, from BMW to JCPenney. The first one being, cloaking, which is when a website is text loaded with key words that will be read by the Google Index system, therefore causing the company to be a top candidate for search engines, however when the page was clicked by the user, is would be redirected to another site. The next trick would be link exchanges, which would be the company agreeing to place someone’s links in their pages while the other party does the same. The problem with this type of interactions would be that it completely violates the Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. The third offense would be content duplicating, which would increase traffic and offer higher rankings but would really be no use to humans. The fourth was keyword stuffing, meaning pages being bombarded with keywords to help ranking but really creating confusion to the human eye. The fifth trick was taking advantage of bad reviews, because people refer to the company when they write a bad review, the links would add up and create more links for the company. And finally, the last one being automatic queries which apparently violate the terms and agreement with Google, because you can find out a company’s ranking outside of Google. read more...

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The Power of Design

by Jonathan F

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRqorjBKOk8Mrqs5u8ddF-CHXeXaDLwaxsRnpQxfhKYza4D2KJXR_y2uXzdwg

The article talked about research done by the Chalmers University of Technology in which they performed an experiment using two different Web sites that varied in graphical content, text content, color scheme, and layout. The experiment used 20 different users that would view the Wed sites and evaluate the perceived usability, perceived expression, and emotional responses they got from the Web sites. The article stated that most web developers in the past were only really concerned about the Web sites performance and efficiency and were not really concerned about how the user of the Web site viewed products after the interface of using the Web site.  It began to change after designers began to see that a positive Web experience can give a company a competitive edge over competitor especially if a Web page created a positive emotional experience in customers visiting their Web site. Visual aesthetics became a big part of Web sites because it created in the user of the site the idea that if a Web site’s interface was easy and visual appearance was easy on the eyes, then maybe the products sold by that particular company would easy and useful.  The experiment was done just to prove this fact that aesthetics made the difference in user experience. The experiment was done using 10 men and 10 women with ages ranging from 20 to 50 years old. The two websites that were used were: www.santamaria.se and www.hansen.se, which were used because of their huge differences. The test subjects were given three different questionnaires for each area tested.  In the expression questionnaire the subjects were asked to write down different words that would explain what they thought the Wed designer was try to express throughout the Web site from a list of words like childishness, sophistication, or professionalism. The other two questionnaire were just on a scale of 1 through 5 measuring their like and dislike. The study found that although the websites were different, there were things within the Web sites that user found made them like their experience using both Web sites. The Web sites had a consistent layout for all pages which made usability better. There was a constant color structure in the Web pages and what made them even more useful were the links and menus. The subjects felt the emotion of harmony from viewing the sites because all the images were the same sizes and the Web pages stuck to the same color scheme. The study found that a logical layout made both of the Web Sites express professionalism and usefulness. It found that red color with black produced a more provoking feeling. The study found that the emotional responses were based on the usability of the Web sites. read more...

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“Can you hear me now?” “No.”

by Omar N.

In the article titled, “Making Web Content Accessible for the Deaf Via Sign Language”, the German author argues that the web is prejudice against deaf people and gives a statistic that says 0.1 to 0.2 percent of any given population is deaf. It is explained that while it is true that information on the web is primarily exchanged through text, a large majority of those who are deaf tend to be illiterate. The reason for their illiteracy comes from the fact that reading and writing is learned after becoming familiar with oral language. Without a spoken language foundation, grammatical rules and vocabulary become a much greater challenge to comprehend for those born deaf. So much so, that many children drop out of school before learning basic reading and writing skills. read more...

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