Experience Optimization, Insights

Web Accessibility: What Is It And Why Should You Care?

web accessibility marketing tech

This March, the Justice Department is set to release official compliance standards to make corporate websites more accessible to the disabled. The release follows a 2010 amendment to the American’s With Disabilities Act (ADA), which explained that websites act as places of accommodation but are often not accommodating to the disabled. The release will compel businesses to update their sites to modern accessibility standards, and will allow the DOJ to enforce the ADA across the web.

The Challenge

These compliance standards aren’t good news for everyone. Many businesses are unprepared to meet the needs of the disabled through user experience improvements to some of the most critical elements of their websites. Worse yet, many businesses don’t know where to begin. Continue reading

Experience Optimization, Insights

Google vs. Oracle: What It Means For Your Mobile Strategy

Google vs Oracle

Earlier this month, Google officially filed its appeal to the Supreme Court in the company’s epic battle with Oracle. The move was not a surprise to those who have been following the case, which has now raged on for over 4 years. The implications could be significant for organizations looking to define a long-term mobile strategy.

The fight concerns Java, the language at the center of Google’s Android platform. Oracle, which bought Java creators Sun Microsystems in 2010, attempted to strike a licensing deal with Android for the APIs used to create their now-ubiquitous operating system, before filing suit in August 2010. After trying unsuccessfully to sort out their differences at the district court level, the Google-vs-Oracle fight has reached the highest court in the land, where justices who can barely send an email will debate the right of companies to copyright open-sourced APIs. Continue reading

Experience Optimization, Insights

Six Techniques For Winning Customers with Faster Web Pages!

There is an old adage concerning website performance that goes something like this: if your web page takes more than 3 seconds to render, your customers are likely to go to a competitor. Current research tells us it is much, much faster than that.  More importantly, even very small differences between the speed of your page loads and that of a competitor’s can determine the fate of your digital marketing and ebusiness success.

NYT Internet Speed Graph

 Figure 1 New York Times, February, 2012

According to an often cited study from Google, people will visit a website less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds. That is literally faster than the blink of an eye! As the New York Times reported when the study was released, web sites are in a constant battle between visual richness and the quick response times that our ever-shrinking attention spans demand.

What the study didn’t mention is the overwhelming amounts of data that modern online shoppers require. Elements like video, maps, location-based services, shopping cart data and personalized account info force your site to make more calls to the server in less time to deliver on baseline user expectations.

There are many ways to increase page speed, as we outline below, with caching (and CDNs) probably having the longest tenure. Some are more effective than others and all should be evaluated for your specific situation. Caching is the process of storing templated page data in a cache (temporary storage) between the main data store and the live site so that the server doesn’t get overloaded calling the same page elements (ex. header, sidebar, footer, logo and link data) over and over again. Caching solutions have been proven to be effective, however, there are various flavors of caching and caching alone is seldom the only mechanism to increase page speed and differentiate your site from your competitors.

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Experience Optimization, Insights

Adaptive vs Responsive Web Design

The proliferation of devices available today has created a lot of discussion about how to build websites for those devices. It has also created confusion about the two leading approaches of website design: Adaptive and Responsive. Both are very powerful tools in modern web design that have their own purpose, but they are not the same!

Mobile websites used to be simple.  Ten years ago, you created a separate WAP site for phones.  More recently, a slew of mobile-only platforms supported phones. Today, it is no longer a question about serving a site to a phone. There is now a complicated combination of screen sizes, interaction models and resolutions across devices ranging from phones, phablets and tablets to laptops, large monitors and TVs. Soon, target devices will be complicated further by the Internet of Things.  Everything from a car to a refrigerator will have a browser. Each device will have a different pixel density, interaction model, screen size, resolution and aspect ratio.

Screen Dimensions Responsive Web Design Graph

Figure 1 Web Trends Report Q2, NetBiscuits, 2014

Screen Dimensions Responsive Web Design Graph Figure 1 Web Trends Report Q2, NetBiscuits, 2014

Even within the traditional mobile market, devices vary greatly. Optimizing for an inexpensive smart phone supporting 800 pixels will provide a poor experience on new smart phone with a 1980-pixel screen resolution. A tablet–often considered mobile–renders desktop sites better than mobile versions. Furthermore, what defines mobile?  Is a convertible laptop considered a mobile device or desktop computer? Continue reading

Experience Optimization

Personalization through Single Sign On (SSO)

Content Engineer Shadeed WillisIntegrating a single sign on system (SSO) with a customer relationship management (CRM) system, as well as social platforms and other back-end systems, can provide marketing teams with the ability to personalize user experience and drive revenue. Today’s savviest digital marketers are combining their CRM systems, social platforms and other internal databases via SSO to broaden the customer experience, and are being rewarded with a three-dimensional understanding of their customers in return.

Companies can track, segment, and manage their customer base and provide new channels to engage audiences. Marketers can overlay social data from Facebook and Google with their CRM data and build greater awareness of customer demographics, affinities, and purchasing habits. From a technical perspective, it requires significant planning to ensure a full and secure SSO implementation and avoid gaps and a disconnect with industry standards. Continue reading