Monday, 17 March 2014

The First Website Returns to the Web

Posted by Jason Whitewood On 3/17/2014
Today’s websites are a far cry from what they used to be more than 20 years ago. During an era when responsive web design, CSS, and vector graphics hadn’t yet come to the fore, the first websites were nothing more than lines of text. Some of them sported an iconic purple colour and underline, a hyperlink. Back then, images on a website were considered top-notch.

However, words aren’t enough to describe these early websites. To appreciate how the Internet has evolved over the decades, pick your favourite website and open it on one tab, then open the site created by Tim Berners-Lee himself (http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html). You’ll be surprised at how far the World Wide Web has come today.

New technology was slowly introduced and integrated into web design; hyperlinks gave way to Flash and bitmap images were replaced by vector graphics. Nevertheless, the major shift in trends didn’t necessarily mean the basics have sunk into obscurity. Aspiring web designers start their lessons with basic HTML, which still has applications today.

It’s a fact of life that learning from the present helps us deal with the present. That’s why new website design technology, as with other inventions, are born out of necessity. CSS and other scripts may be a cut above HTML, but they must not forget why they were made in the first place.

Friday, 14 March 2014

On Mobile Apps and Their Purpose for Phones and Users

Posted by Jason Whitewood On 3/14/2014
Mobile applications or apps are specific programs that make the function of a hand-held device more convenient to its users. These programs range from entertainment applications like games or mp3 players to useful utilities like GPSes or calendars. Program developers make these apps easily obtainable and can be used anywhere, as long as the phone is operational.

Mobile apps are programed for easy access. With technology as fast and as efficient as it is today, anyone can simply download multiple apps in one phone, making the device multifunctional as a result. With the focus of technology centered on convenience, many users would want to utilize as many applications as possible.

The market for mobile apps is quite centered on the Internet, with many customers getting their apps from websites with minimal to no charge. Some apps only work with certain devices making the selection of appropriate apps limited to the make and model of one's phone. Marketing apps are also centered on the Internet, utilizing social media as its primary means of getting customers for better and upgradable apps.

Overall, the use of mobile applications is to make living quite easier. An app can help communicate better with people, search for latest news and information, and organize events and schedules for a person. Mobile apps are very useful for people and as stated, can turn a simple phone into a device that has many functions.

Monday, 10 March 2014

A Simple Guide to Understanding Entity Search

Posted by Jason Whitewood On 3/10/2014
Over the years, Google has tweaked their search engine algorithm to serve up better search results. After all, it wasn’t that long ago when early SEO practitioners stuffed their content with keywords in the hopes of boosting their ranking. Recent updates, however, have ensured that quality content takes precedence over keywords. That is, websites and pages that provide useful information are now prioritized over those with spammy content.

Now, Google is once again shaking up the search engine landscape with what they call “entity search.” This development aims to index the World Wide Web so that when users type in one keyword, the results displayed also show information related to it.

For example, if a user keys in “Leonardo da Vinci,” Google will not only show information about the painter, but also other relevant pages such as Da Vinci’s contemporaries, famous Renaissance paintings, and the history of the Renaissance. They do this by analyzing what users searched for in the past, and linking the results together to form a web of related information. In other words, Google looks at more than just keywords, but at all possible meanings attached to that keyword so the results displayed are as accurate and useful as possible.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Big Hands: Remedying the Ergonomic Problem

Posted by Jason Whitewood On 3/03/2014
Smartphones represent a quantum leap in mobile technology. Whereas a mobile entertainment system must consist of several devices (mp3 player, mobile phone, laptop, etc.), smartphones integrate everything. Now you have a mobile phone that can play music and movies, as well as browse the Internet.

Despite the radical leap, ergonomics still remains an issue, especially with the early smartphones and mobile devices. With the screen barely big enough to properly press a button, some users find it hard to send messages or browse websites without accidentally hitting something. Admit it: this has very likely happened to you once.

Manufacturers look to bigger screens in future models to mitigate the ergonomic issue, giving rise to the so-called “phablet,” a phone-and-tablet hybrid. For web designers, however, they see bigger buttons as the solution. Make mobile versions with buttons big enough to accommodate big fingers and prevent hitting the wrong buttons.

Think about it: instead of hyperlinks in text that you have to pinch-zoom to access, make buttons that don’t need pinch-zooming. Aside from faster loading times, mobile websites make browsing easier for smartphone and tablet users. It may not be the ultimate solution to the long-standing ergonomic problem, but it’s a good springboard to other, more advanced solutions.

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