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The Most Important Web Development Trends in 2020

Developers, Web Design Tips No Comment

Web development is in the middle of a transformational period. Customers are finally beginning to perform the majority of their online browsing on mobile devices and are quickly shifting from traditional written searches to voice searches.

These trends have major consequences and companies that rely on websites and search engine results, such as retail businesses, professional services, and JavaScript software development firms, will need to focus on more than just SEO as these changes are implemented.

This article will help executives and project managers in the web development industry prepare for upcoming changes in web development and SEO over the next several years.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is no longer a science fiction trope. The revolutionary technology is finally beginning to come into its own. It is impacting the quality of care that medical patients receive, transforming data analysis and business analytics, and making futuristic technologies like self-driving cars a reality.

In addition, AI is also transforming the internet search and web development industry. Google, along with other search engines, is using AI to improve the quality of their search results.

The company launched its AI initiative in 2015 with RankBrain. Google uses a combination of traditional machine learning and deep neural networks to create an AI search bot that can learn from past search results and click-through rates to improve its capabilities.

Marketers and web developers that rely on SEO to drive traffic to their website will need to turn their attention from keyword-heavy websites to producing high-quality, long-form content that provides useful information and resonates with readers. This will only become more important as Google’s AI makes keywords less important over the next several years, opening the door for the rest of the search engines to follow.

Featured Snippets

Another major trend impacting the entire web development industry is Google’s new focus on producing featured snippets in their search results. In the past, Google simply took a search term and returned the top 10 website results on the first search result page.

Today, Google often takes key bits of information, or snippets, from the most popular websites and includes this information in the search results above the most popular websites. This means that customers do not have to click links to gather basic information.

While this change has been very useful for customers, it has reduced internet traffic for websites since customers no longer need to load a webpage to get that basic data.

Businesses can improve their chances of landing a spot as a featured snippet by producing high-quality content that is clearly organized. However, there is little that companies can do to replace those click-throughs so overall website traffic will likely continue to fall.

Mobile Traffic

Over the past decade, customers have started using mobile devices to access the internet at increasingly high levels–with research finding that an estimated 58% of website visits are completed on a mobile device today.

In addition, a total of 56% of search engine queries are completed on a smartphone.

For web development and JavaScript outsourcing firms, this means that every website they work on must be optimized for mobile devices. They can accomplish this by removing interstitials, or content such as full-page popups, a faulty layout, or other features which negatively impact the mobile user experience.

In addition, Google now penalizes companies that include email-list popups on their homepage, an annoying feature that customers have long complained about.

Businesses should pay special attention to their mobile layout and should consider using progressive web apps (PWAs) to automatically optimize their mobile sites for Google.

Voice Search Results

Since the release of Siri in 2011, mobile search has become more and more important. Today, that voice recognition market is worth an incredible $600 million. Experts also predict that more than 50% of all searches will be performed by voice by 2020.

Businesses can optimize their websites for voice search and prepare for this new reality by changing the way they look at keywords. Traditionally, customers who search Google using their keyboard will create stilted, computer-like phrases as their search terms.

However, customers who use voice search tend to speak in the type of regular, everyday language that they use to communicate with friends. Companies can improve their voice search results by transitioning to more casual keywords and speech on their websites.

Cybersecurity

Data privacy continues to be one of the most important priorities for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. Research has found that cybersecurity is the number one “external concern” for American CEOs.

Its importance will only increase over the next several years as recent cybersecurity trends continue to develop. The number of these data breaches is increasing every year and the cost to global businesses will only increase as well. In fact, the total cost of cyberattacks is expected to exceed $6 trillion by 2021.

Internal investments in cybersecurity have risen by 141% from 2010 to 2018 and this trend will likely accelerate over the next decade. This is a major reason why global investments in information security are expected to top $124 billion in 2019.

The rise of 5G wireless networks and the associated internet of things will also increase the risk of cybersecurity attacks because of the massive number of devices expected to come online over the next decade.

Web development teams and offshore JavaScript firms should pay special attention to data privacy during upcoming web development projects. Malicious actors will continue to use more and more sophisticated attacks to breach websites and steal invaluable consumer information, like social security numbers, banking information, and more.

Looking Forward

In the future, technical experts may look at 2020 as a banner year. Google’s use of featured snippets and PWAs are already changing change the format and style of websites. On the other hand, mobile traffic and voice search results are finally overtaking their predecessors as the two main ways that people access information.

Cutting-edge AI is also being used to improve the quality of search results, produce faster results, and better connect customers with the services they need. Finally, data privacy will continue to be one of the most important concerns for business leaders and web development managers alike.

Source: TechBullion

Cyber Security Trends 2020 – How Unprepared Are We?

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Spending on cybersecurity is on an explosive rise. When new ransomware attacks occur every 14 seconds followed by infiltration attempts on large volumes of data putting millions of people at risk, cybersecurity ought to be discussed. As we usher into 2020, the scope of discussion has gone beyond the upcoming security products & services to new innovations in hacking. If you haven’t woken up to combat such attacks, you could be the next target.

Before 2019 ends, the US alone would have had spent USD 45 billion and that’s not just any other market cap figure. As per IDC, global spending on cybersecurity will touch USD 103 billion.

Increased Router-based attacks

Being positioned at the heart of the network operations, Routers monitor all the devices and hence, are low hanging fruits for hackers. Since they aren’t updated as frequently as recommended, Routers are prone to a series of attacks. Moreover, there is a swathe of models from different brands which makes it complicated for the manufacturers to upgrade or offer replacement to the older devices.

Such attacks are targeted to retrieve configuration files by exploiting commands such as SNMP and SMI. As per a report from Akamai, flaws in UPnP implementations empowered hackers to inject NAT rules while affecting 65,000 routers and 4.8 million more at risk.

Last year, Kaspersky reported a similar attack wherein systems in Russia and Iran were left with an ASCII rendition of the American Flag followed by a message ‘Don’t mess with our elections’.

Given the increase of routers under attacks, users, at homes, agencies and offices must take essential steps to ensure basic security. More than just changing the default router password in settings, it’s high time that users act proactively and learn about the security of their routers. They can access the router settings via the default IP 192.168.1.1 which is pre-specified by the router companies.

Henceforth, enabling WPA2 encryption, updating the router, using VPN and other 3rd party services can help to cut down the risks by 70%. In certain cases, changing the default IP altogether can curb the vulnerabilities.

Growth of 5G & increasing threats in the cloud

With impressive infrastructure deployments already in progression, 5G is prepared to grow in major markets such as India. In fact, IoT device manufacturers are experimenting with devices connecting directly with the 5G networks while not depending upon the Wi-Fi routers anymore. However, eliminating the central point of controlling networks at homes and small offices has raised the fears of making devices prone to more attacks. Routers are helpful in monitoring all the devices in the network and their absence means screening each one of them manually.

Following up with abundant data streaming capacities provided by 5G networks, cloud storage may not be the securest of all anymore. Given such bandwidth efficiency to back-up, upload and download huge volumes of data, hackers have already discovered their newer targets. At the enterprise level, this gets scarier as on-premise migration to the cloud continues to grow explosively. However, by 2020, 80% of such deals will attach network firewalls and secure web gateways to cloud-based access security brokers (CASBs).

Increasing use of mobile as an attack vector

By the end of 2018, mobiles had already topped the list of potential gateways to infiltration and hacking attempts. Since all our communications, whether personal or professional have moved to the mobile, we are inching towards a greater risk of exposing ourselves to the unknown, unintentionally. As per the RSA’s Current State of Cybercrime Whitepaper, 70% of fraudulent transactions were triggered by a mobile device in 2018. Not to miss, the 680% rise in frauds from mobile apps since 2015.

Phishing is back – stronger & scarier

Phishing may be old yet practiced full throttle. In fact, it has expanded into different versions such as smishing (phishing through SMS) or vishing (phishing through live calls). As per Verizon’s Data Breach Investigation Report 2019, phishing accounts for 32% of data breaches and 78% of cyberespionage incidents. These actions across emails, SMSs, social media posts and IRS phone calls lure the victim to give up personal information such as login credentials, or OTPs including transactions. Despite aggressive awareness campaigning, impersonating a reputed brand and extracting valuable information from the customer hasn’t stopped and it doesn’t look like stopping in 2020.

Going forward – hacking will get more innovative

Before you thought of deploying AI to predict attacks, hackers had already implemented strategies to dodge your preparations. Besides using automation for phishing (sending emails, social media messages), it could scan millions of systems, identify the ones most vulnerable and launch mass data infiltration attacks. Therefore, such abusive use of Artificial Intelligence deserves superlative defense such as – 50% of enterprises pledge to utilize AI tools to secure their systems.

 

Source: Business2Community

Credit Skimmers Vulnerability

Developers, E-Commerce, What's New, Wordpress No Comment

We often write about malware that steal payment information from sites built with Magento and other types of e-commerce CMS.

When discussing credit card skimmers like Magecart, it’s sometimes overlooked that WordPress also has a decent share in the ecommerce segment. There are numerous popular plugins that can easily turn a WordPress site into a full-featured online store. In fact, Woocommerce alone has over 5 million installations.

Credit Card Skimmer Injected in WordPress Core

Our friend Salvador Aguilar over at Kinsta recently shared a few samples of malware found in the WordPress core files wp-includes/js/wp-util.min.js and wp-includes/js/admin-bar.min.js.

These Javascript files both contained the following injected code, found at the very top.

Magento WordPress Skimmer atob
Injected malware found in wp-includes/js/wp-util.min.js and wp-includes/js/admin-bar.min.js

This injected code is a typical credit card skimmer, with “e.src=atob” containing the encoded URL of the external script. In this case, it is decoded to “hxxps://zendesk-chart[.]com/top/aco.js”.

Common Skimmer Variants Found on Magento

We regularly find these types of injected scripts on Magento sites. They use variations of atob (base64) obfuscation, along with hundreds of different domains and customised URLs.

For example, on one Magento site we found a nearly identical copy of the skimmer script (referenced above), with only a slight variation. This variant loads the skimmer from hxxps://zendesk-chart[.]com/uk/google.js (instead of /top/aco.js), which works with the checkout form for that particular site.

Domains Used by This Malware Campaign

Zendesk-chart[.]com was created on September 13, 2019, and it is now hosted on 185.254.121.64.

A quick lookup shows that the same server in Russia hosts the following domains:

jquery-web[.]com – Creation Date: 2019-01-21
jquery-stats[.]com – Creation Date: 2019-03-30
tracker-visitors[.]com – Creation Date: 2019-04-19
jquerycodemagento[.]com – Creation Date: 2019-08-11
gooqleadvstat[.]com – Creation Date: 2019-09-13
gooqlemgrteg[.]com – Creation Date: 2019-09-13
zendesk-chart[.]com – Created on 2019-09-13
jquerystatic[.]com – Creation Date: 2019-09-13

All of these domains serve multiple versions of credit card stealers that can be found in the wild  injected into various e-commerce sites.

hxxps://jquerycodemagento[.]com/my/jd.js
hxxps://jquery-stats[.]com/u/redacted.js
hxxp:// jquery-web[.]com/wp/redacted.js
hxxps://tracker-visitors[.]com/my/jun.js
hxxps://gooqlemgrteg[.]com/ajax/jquery.js
hxxps://gooqleadvstat[.]com/ajax/maria.js
hxxps://jquerystatic[.]com/good/hard.js
…etc…

Mitigation Steps

What is evident is that this is definitely not a fully automated mass infection, where hackers have a unified solution (list of vulnerabilities and the payload) that fits all scenarios. Each script has been customized—both name and content—for each specific compromised site.

In this malware campaign, the checkout page URLs are detects for each target. From there, custom code works to collect sensitive credit card information from the victim’s checkout form.

The malware itself is CMS agnostic—it doesn’t matter whether the site is using Magento, WordPress, or any other type of e-commerce CMS. If there is a form that accepts payment details and it can be hacked, nothing prevents the bad actor from installing a skimmer there.

E-commerce website owners should take the security of their websites very seriously, since they are ultimately responsible for any customer data breaches resulting from transactions on their online stores. Extra attention should be paid to the hardening and monitoring of web pages and server resources. Perform regular security scans on your web assets to detect malware and other indicators of compromise.

Protect Your Website ASAP!

It is estimated that about a third of all websites are outdated and seriously vulnerable to hacks. What are the chances that one of those sites could be yours? Don’t wait until it’s too late, get in touch with professionals and start protecting yourself today. Consultation is always FREE.

 

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10 Mobile Application Development Trends To Watch in 2019

Developers, Mobile No Comment

It is quite an evident fact that with each passing year, newer advancements and technology seem to pave their path. The similar rule applies to the year 2019. The New Year has led to the evolution of some of the most dynamic mobile application development trends. Let us have a look into the same:

1. Soaring Blockchain technology

This trend did not gain much of the limelight till the year 2018. It was only after the year 2018 that the financial institutions realized the benefits of the same and ended up making a fancy profit on the assets mainly.

Also, the experts suggest that this trend will hit the market greatly by the year 2024 as mobile applications tend to benefit from the decentralized currency platform.

2. Artificial intelligence and machine learning

All of us would agree to the fact that this concept is not at all new to us instead many sectors are aiming towards collaborating the human intelligence with that of a system.
The role of Artificial intelligence cannot be ignored in the field of business and this can be attributed to the great efficiency, accuracy in dealing with the real time situations and problem solving offered by it.

3. Surge of on-demand apps

The field of application development is expected to take a positive turn in the year 2019 as more and more sectors are opting for the on- demand applications.
If we talk about the popularity of the services offered by Taxify or uber- the major credit certainly goes to the on- demand apps.

4. Integration of the Wearable apps

As the name clearly suggests, it is quite evident that the smart wearables are becoming quite popular nowadays. These devices are primarily anchored by the wearable apps that in turn enables us to measure our heartbeat rate, sugar level, and calories, carry out some of our day to day tasks also without always carrying the laptops, tabs or mobile phones.
These wearables are both stylish and useful. With so many perks available, many businesses are trying to get the most out of this trend.

5. Chatbots

This concept also has gained immense popularity as it makes the real time communication between the client and the host/ service provider so much lucid.
Therefore many firms are investing in creating the most effective and advanced chatbots.

6. Internet on Things

The concept of internet is not at all new to any one of us. It is a force that has integrated so many aspects of our life. Many companies are making huge profit through this platform- be it e-commerce, education, etc.

7. Augmented reality and virtual reality

The main idea behind this concept is to make the overall experience a more user friendly and interactive.

8. Introduction of instant apps

The mobile platform has become so advanced and popular these days that many of our life’s parameters rely upon the same.

Mobile apps are both efficient, user friendly and do not require much of the memory space. Moreover, there are also applications like buzzfeed which work without installation. Great, isn’t it?

9. Mobile Payment services

Many of us make use of the various mobile applications in order to shop, pay our bills, transfer money, etc. This not only saves a great deal of our time, energy but has also turned out to be a blessing for the e-commerce business.

10. Enhanced app security

Another trend that will be observed in this area is that of advanced security because with so many things to do via this platform- protection from hackers is a must.

Mobile App Development Trends That Will Dominate this 2016

Developers, Mobile No Comment

mobile-app-development-trends-that-will-dominate-this-2016-01

This is the century of mobile phones, which saw the swift transformation between corded landline phones to cordless mobile phones and then to smart phones and devices. Technology has indeed taken the world by storm. Apart from the smart mobile phones, we have smart televisions, Android gears and the likes. Every year, there is something new coming up in the world of technology. Here is a list of 6 mobile app development trends that are predicted to dominate this 2016.

6. Beacon Technology Will Take to the Front Lines

Beacon-technology-01

Beacon aims to bridge the gap between offline and online work. iOS has been working well with Beacon so far and we can expect Google Android to take this up soon. Having said this, industries like the real estate, tourism, education, automobile and the likes can hugely benefit from this technology.

5. All Apps Will Run in the Cloud

apps-in the cloud-02

2016 comes with a bag of advancements with the Cloud coming together with mobile computing to ensure that the applications can reach out to a larger number of smart devices. This will combine the advantages of cloud computing and mobile computing.

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6 Top Programming Languages For Mobile Development

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6-top-programming-languages-for-mobile-development-01

The mobile market has hugely increased in recent times due to extensive use of internet on the mobile phones have put behind the internet traffic of computers. As a result, many of the publishers and developers feel it is better to develop applications for mobiles that can be used on native operating systems of mobile.

But which language should you choose?

This is the most common question that arises about programming language that could be used for mobile app development. With an array of them available at your disposal, the right choice should be based on certain factors. Check out below the 6 Top Programming Languages For Mobile Development.

6.) C#

Just like Apple, Microsoft too has its own Objective-C and this is known as C#. Well, having said that, we don’t really have to say much about it, do we?

With whatever experience we have, we could tell you that it is best if you are able to comprehend how every leading platform does its work. If all you want is to get into coding, do not just stop at one or two programming languages. It’s better if you are acquainted with as many languages as possible.

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The 12 Ground Rules of Web Design

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Whether you decide to create your website on your own or to collaborate with a web designer in the process, there are certain basic rules that your web design should follow in order for your site to be user-friendly and for the visitors to want to come back to it. This is especially vital for business websites, as the online visibility is one of the most crucial components of brand management in today’s world. Here we have listed out the twelve must-have components of every good web design.

  1. Take your target audience into account. You may be tempted to use a theme that you like, but you should first think of whether it is appropriate for the content you will be displaying and the way your audience is going to perceive it.
  2. Your website should look professional. Make sure there are no spelling and grammatical errors, poor quality graphics or broken links anywhere on the site. “Under construction” pages also look bad in the eyes of the viewers. With the tools you have at your disposal today, there is really no excuse for such issues on your site.
  3. Quick loading time – there is nothing more annoying for a visitor than waiting for a page to load forever. Your website should load almost instantly. Large graphics and flash presentations can really slow your site down and they don’t work well on iPhones and iPads anyway. Keep these things in mind and work on your site’s loading time, if you don’t want your visitors to lose interest and go elsewhere.
  4. Your website should be easily readable. Do not use light text on a light background or dark one on a dark background, or very tiny fonts, as that will only frustrate your visitors and make them leave your site more quickly.
  5. Use a standard and popular program or platform of a current version to design your site, like the WordPress platform. The more common program your web designer uses, the higher the chances that it will still look good when newer browser versions are released. That will also make your site easier to maintain and update as the people you entrust that task with will be more likely to have the necessary skills.
  6. It is best not to use flash intros, music, flashing banners or scrolling marquees unless absolutely necessary for communicating the core message of your website. Otherwise they will just annoy the visitors and waste their time. If you can add “audio on/off” or “skip intro” buttons this is the first sign that you can do without these elements.
  7. Go easy on the colors. Use them sparingly and make sure they harmonize well. The same rule applies to the fonts on your site – stick to a maximum of two or three fonts.
  8. Easy navigation – although you may be tempted to use unlabeled active areas, disappearing menus and buttons without any descriptive text on your website, as they may look cool, the chances are that your visitors will be frustrated by them and will lose interest in browsing your site further.

Test your site with a small audience representing your target visitors, before you publish it online. Check their feedback on the layout and design of the navigation and see if they had any difficulties in using it. Doing this in the course of the development of the site can spare you some tedious and costly changes afterwards.

  1. Use consistent navigation designs and page layouts throughout the entire site. Visitors tend to get really annoyed when they cannot find the navigation link on the same place where it was on the previous pages. And some may not be able to find the link at all.
  2. Make sure you have all the legal rights of the design, fonts and images you are about to use on your website. Copyright infringement is the last thing you would want to deal with – it may not only cause you to pay money but may also bring your site really bad publicity.
  3. There are currently numerous web browsers and platforms in use. While you may find it hard to get your website to look perfect on them all, you should focus on making it look good on the most commonly used ones that the majority of web users rely on, like the latest versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, etc.

Also, keep in mind the rapidly growing trend of mobile device browsing and design a special mobile-friendly version of your site that will run well on Android, iOS and Windows devices with different screen resolutions. This involves a lot of hard labor but an experienced web design specialist should not have any problems in making your site compatible with multiple platforms.

  1. You should understand that the design of your site will never be over and done. In order to make visitors come back and check your site again and again, you should make sure that you provide them with information that is up-to-date and relevant and brings value to the readers. Outdated information, lack of any new content and broken links are a recipe for disaster as these will cause your visitors and perhaps potential customers to lose interest and maybe never come back to your site again. This issue can be addressed with a well structured blog and content marketing strategy, but that is a theme for another post altogether.

Web design is no child’s play. It involves a lot of expertise and requires you to factor in a lot of different aspects. You should address the process of creating your website seriously and professionally in order to get good results and proper visibility.

 

Responsive Web Design: Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly

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In the last few years, the mobile market has gained momentum very rapidly and the percentage of mobile searches has grown tremendously. By 2015, the number of searches made through mobile devices is expected to surpass the number of desktop queries and by 2016, in the U.S. local search market alone, the mobile queries are expected to exceed the desktop ones by a staggering 27.8 billion searches.

This upward mobile use trend includes not only traffic that comes in from searches, but also emails and social media, which have enjoyed a steady growth in popularity in the past few years. If you have thought you could ignore mobile traffic, the above data should quickly prove you wrong. You cannot afford to miss out on the traffic coming in from mobile users.

At the end of 2013, some websites have registered that close to 25% of their traffic was coming from mobile devices – mainly smartphones and tablets. However, websites designed for desktop viewing do not work that well with mobile devices. This calls for developing a more mobile-friendly version of your website.

What Are Your Options

If you run a small business, when it comes to displaying your website on mobile platforms there are actually three options you can turn to. You can choose to do nothing with your web design, you can develop a fully mobile dedicated website or you can incorporate responsive web design elements into your existing website. Let’s take a look at these options and see what effects they will have on your website and traffic.

Do Nothing

The web browsers are highly advanced today. You will hardly find a website today that is perfect and doesn’t have any errors in its code, even minor ones, and yet the browsers are smart enough to work around these errors and display the web pages correctly. They even work quite decently with displaying websites that are not optimized for mobile viewing on tablets and other mobile devices.

So, even if your site is not mobile optimized, it will most probably still be displayed correctly on mobile platforms. However, the user experience will be terrible. The desktop version of your site is built for a much bigger screen resolution than the ones of the common mobile devices and all content and links will appear very small, which will require the user to zoom in, in order to be able to read your site. This will often annoy users and make them leave your website very quickly, thus lowering your conversion rates.

Build a Separate Mobile Version of Your Site

Websites that are displayed on the browsers of mobile devices with an URL like m.example.com are actually separate websites created with the purpose of being viewed on mobile platforms only.

The benefit of this option is that it allows you to create a much better user experience for the people who browse your site through their mobiles. These sites have larger buttons and are more easily readable. Furthermore, you can rearrange the most important parts of the navigation like the contact info, etc. in such a way that it will be easier for the mobile users to find it.

But there is a downside to this option, too. You will actually have to maintain two separate websites – one desktop version and one mobile version. This doubles your efforts of updating the data on your site. Furthermore, the mobile version can be optimized for either tablets or smartphones, but not both.

You have to be extremely careful; otherwise you may commit mistakes that will harm your website’s search engine performance and cost you traffic. Google in particular does not tolerate broken pages or incorrectly mapped redirects, which are common issues with mobile dedicated websites.

Responsive Web Design

Finally, we come to the third option you have at your disposal for displaying your site on mobile devices. Through incorporating advanced CSS and HTML coding, responsive design can automatically adapt your website’s layout to the screen resolution of the device on which it is displayed. This way, your site visitors can get an optimal user experience regardless of whether they view your site from a desktop, a tablet or a smartphone.

Although designing a responsive website takes a bit of an effort, it fixes the common issues with mobile sites – you have only one website to take care of and there are no redirects that can go wrong. If a responsive website is designed correctly, it can combine the benefits of desktop and mobile dedicated sites. For the mobile users, you may choose to display important data like your contact info or a map in an easily accessible location, like with the mobile dedicated sites. Well built responsive websites are powerful and flexible and that is why this is the best option you can choose out of the three.

Conclusion

The growing mobile use requires from you to be flexible with your business website, too, even if you own a small business. Responsive web design is your best bet in order to achieve a satisfying user experience for both users who browse through their desktop computers and those who use their mobile devices for surfing the internet. It may require some effort on your part initially, but in the long run it will be much easier and cheaper to maintain than supporting two separate websites for mobile and desktop users.

 

How Will Responsive Web Design Develop in 2014?

Developers, Web Design Tips No Comment

2013 was widely deemed as the “Year of Responsive Web Design”And indeed, 2013 saw a massive rise in the popularity of responsive design with even major sites like those of Mashable and Times Magazine, not to mention thousands of others, adopting the responsive design philosophy. In 2013, responsive design clearly went mainstream and it has now reached a point, where it has become the thing that consumers and designers expect to see.

Image source: infocux Technologies – https://www.flickr.com/photos/infocux/8240904818

2013 was also a great year for responsive design tools with the coming out of Foundation 4 in February, followed by Bootstrap 3 in August and Foundation 5 shortly after that. Yahoo released their Pure in May, entering the big game, while Thoughtbot has been continuously developing their Bourbon Neat. We saw the rise of new polyfills, plugins and practices. With such powerful tools, building responsive websites has become much easier.

With such rapid development in 2013, we can’t help but wonder what 2014 will bring for responsive web design.

Responsive Design Will Get Smarter

In 2014, our knowledge and understanding about building and optimizing websites for any type of device will become much deeper and more comprehensive. Responsive sites have been the victims of a number of optimization issues of different complexity, but with the improvement of the tools available, the developers are now starting to form a system of good practices and standards. Elements such as the off-canvass panels and the “hamburger” navigation icon that has now become ubiquitous are gaining popularity and now work pretty responsively.

With the new plugins and tools, elements such as the selective loading of media and assets, the device capability detection and the optimization for hardware and speed will all become more easily understandable and much less difficult to implement.

Improved Device Recognition

It has always been hard to pin down the device classes, but the common separation of mobiles, tablets and desktop computers will be totally shattered in 2014. There are already devices on the market that fall somewhere between the common definition of a tablet and a phone, or a tablet and a desktop computer. Furthermore, now there is also a whole new range of devices added to all those like smartwatches, the Google Glass and the like and who knows, perhaps we will finally see the Apple iWatch this year, too. Add to that the smart TVs and all the other home media devices with web connection capabilities and you will end up with a huge number of device types and categories, which often overlap and intertwine.

With all that in mind, responsive design is already taking the first steps towards true device agnosticism. By the end of the year, we will see significant development in this direction. This trend means that designers can make plans even for devices that are not invented yet and they can accommodate a range of specific device constraints and capabilities.

More Advanced Frameworks

Our predictions will be incomplete if we don’t examine what 2014 holds in store for the responsive design frameworks, like Bootstrap and Foundation, for instance. The area that will have the greatest opportunities for development in 2014 will be the complex tools that include a lot of components and input means and also trickier to display data models. Up till now, responsive web design has been implemented predominantly in content and marketing sites, while complex apps have taken a backseat.

However, many designers are already working in that direction and rebuilding their apps (product apps etc.) on responsive frameworks in order to be more flexible and responsive. The developers of the major responsive design frameworks are also recognizing this trend and incorporating numerous web app centered components into their products. This will surely make the building of complex apps a lot easier and more straightforward.

 

If 2013 was a great year for responsive web design, 2014 will be even bigger. With all the ongoing development and improvement in the device recognition capabilities, the flexibility, and the available framework and with the constant enhancements in the knowledge about responsive design, we are eagerly waiting to see what more 2014 has in store for us all!

 

Selecting a Graphic Designer – The 5 Most Crucial Steps

Developers No Comment

Your marketing materials can make or break the first impression on your customers about your company. A design below par can even make that the last impression. This is why it is highly recommendable to involve an experienced professional in the process of designing and creating both the offline and online materials you will use in presenting your business to the world – be they brochures, business cards, banners, adds or business logos, etc.

Image source: University of Salford – https://www.flickr.com/photos/salforduniversity/8423041041

If you hire a person who knows what they are doing, you are more likely to capture the interest of your potential customers. However, you should be able to gauge whether the person you have contacted for your graphic design needs will really be able to do the job well. Here are the five things that you should not miss doing in order to achieve that.

  1. Request for samples of their previous work

Every professional designer should have a portfolio of the wok he or she has done in the past. You can use this portfolio to assess the quality of work of that particular designer and to see if they have a consistent design style. Do they pay attention to detail? Or does their work look sloppy and unfinished? Even if you like the previous work of the artist, note than not every design would work well with every type of business, so it is up to you to evaluate whether the style of the graphic designer would be suitable for your marketing materials.

  1. Ask about professional affiliations

Your designer should follow the rules and not infringe any copyright or trademarks, as that could lead you into big trouble. By that we mean not only embarrassment and bad reputation, but costly lawsuits as well. Some professional organizations like the American Institute of Graphic Arts, for instance, require from their members to abide by certain ethical rules.

  1. Versatility is the spice of life

The professional designer you engage for your campaign should be able to incorporate the graphic design concept throughout different platforms and media. This includes printed and digital media: prints optimized for different formats, web pages and video, among others. The portfolio of your chosen designer should contain different types of designs. For instance, if you want your design to have the ability to be displayed properly on different web browsers, the designer should have at least some knowledge of web coding protocols.

  1. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, but only a moderate one

Even if you are not too certain about a particular design offered by your designer, it often pays to take the risk and go for it. Professionals often request from their clients to consider designs that are more forward-looking and can live longer and still appear “fresh”. A design that might seem a bit bizarre to you may outlive a lot of other designs that may appear more familiar. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone, but do that in moderation and don’t take too wild risks.

  1. Read the contract carefully

First of all, you should always sign a written contract with the artist you choose to do your graphic design. Never rely on spoken promises alone, as without a contract you cannot be guaranteed of anything. Furthermore, read the contract carefully to know about the legal rights to the artwork you are provided with. In the most common scenario, the graphic designers retain the rights of ownership to the design and the clients are granted with limited reproduction rights.

Also, do not forget to save all the elements or files of the design for future use, once the new website, business cards or brochure is done. This allows you to maintain an archive of your branded materials, including trademarked designs, which is an inseparable part of your brand’s identity.

The work of your graphic designer is crucial for your brand development and popularization. Thus, you should be extremely vigilant when choosing the professional to deal with. It is best to work in collaboration with your designer and give your input and feedback throughout the design process in order to achieve the best end results.