Aarron Walter (@aarron)
Aarron is the person behind the UX practice at Mailchimp. If that doesn’t make you consider him a user experience expert, take a look at all of the handy tweets Aarron publishes.
Alen Grakalic (@alengrakalic)
This Croatia native has a Twitter feed filled with all sorts of design articles that will give you hours of reading resources.
Arpad Szucs (@whitex3d)
This Romania native is constantly tweeting new material about design, business, the latest trends, and common mistakes to avoid.
Brad Frost (@brad_frost)
Brad is a web designer, author and speaker who has helped lead the responsive design movement. User experience is always an important factor in everything he creates. With clients, like TechCrunch and Entertainment Weekly, he is obviously an accomplished web designer.
Brett Widmann (@BrettWidmann)
This Chicago resident shares so many web articles, he’ll have your reading list filled. Make Brett your go to resource when you want to stay up to date on everything happening in the industry.
Brian Hoff (@behoff)
Brian is the Founder and Creative Director of Brian Hoff Design, an agency providing web, mobile and interactive design. He posts many of his most recent projects, which makes his account the perfect place to boost your inspiration.
Chad Engle (@chadengle)
Although he might not tweet all that much about web design, he provides plenty of awesome design tips and inspiration for his many followers.
Dan Cederhold (@simplebits)
As the co-founder of Dribble, what designer wouldn’t want to follow him? He shares industry based content as well as some funny commentary on his personal life.
Jacob Gube (@sixrevisions)
From coupon codes to amazing resources, Jacob finds and shares it all. He is a must follow for all web designers who want to stay on top of everything happening in the industry.
Jan Jursa (@IATV)
Jan is a German native UI/UX designer. His followers will see articles about not only web design, but also about upcoming events that are relevant to the design industry.
Jeff SanGeorge (@jeffSanGeorge)
This well-rounded designer is a master of SEO, web design and digital marketing. If you don’t believe us, go check out his feed!
Jeffrey Zeldman (@Zeldman)
Jeffrey is the publisher of A List Apart and founder of Happy Cog Studios. His tweets show his expertise in web design, as he frequently shares his best practices.
Jen Simmons (@jensimmons)
Located in Brooklyn, New York, Jen Simmons regularly voices her opinion on the future of the web throughout her feed. She also runs the podcast, The Web Ahead, where she discusses web development and how technology is changing.
Jenn Lukas (@JennLukas)
Based in Philadelphia, PA, Jenn is a front-end developer who shares all of her helpful tips she has collected. Jenn also tweets out questions and interacts with those that follow her.
Jon Phillips (@jophillips)
Jon shares articles like how to speed up your workflow, how to design a smooth onboarding process for mobile app users, and how to keep the user in mind throughout the design process.
Jonathan Torke (@jonathantorke)
Kim Goodwin (@kimgoodwin)
Kim is experienced in UX and graphic design. Through this experience she has picked up great tips on how to be the best designer possible, which she shares with her 10,000+ followers.
Lars Vraa (@tripwiremag)
He is a sharer of WordPress themes, a tweeter of Adobe articles, and author of his active blog. Lars has it all, and everything is there in his twitter feed.
Luke Wroblewski (@lukew)
As the founder of, Google acquired company, Polar and, Twitter acquired company, Bagcheck, Luke definitely knows his stuff. He shares his thoughts and inside tips of mobile and responsive web design.
Mahfuz Mandal (@mahfuzweb20)
Mahfuz is a talented web designer who is a master in WordPress. Throughout the feed, you will find WordPress tips and tricks that will take your development to the next level.
Max Stanworth (@designshard)
Many designers tweet about their best tips and best practices. Max also includes web design’s best trends (so you can learn them) and worst trends (so you can avoid them). Let Max help you learn from other’s mistakes by giving him a follow.
Michael Wong (@mizko)
This Australian UI and UX designer frequently shares his insight and is constantly keeping his followers inspired. He also recently launched a newsletter that’s filled with great insider tips that he only makes available to his subscribers.
Mike Hansen (@moosesyrup)
Mike has a background in marketing, graphic design, web development, and product design. He keeps his followers updated on the latest trends and posts sneak peaks into his latest design work.
Nick La (@nickla)
Nick is a busy designer and entrepreneur. His studio is called N.Design and he is the creator of the wellknown blogs Themify, Web Designer Wall, Best Web Gallery and IconDock. Through his tweets, he shares his expertise, thoughts on designs, and informative resources.
Nishan Joomun (@nishanjoomun)
Nishan loves to tweet quick tips and daily quotes. These snippets of insight and inspiration are intermingled with educational articles.
Richard Lemon (@RichardLemon)
Richard shares top notch articles with his followers. Sprinkled into his feed are free downloads and resources that you’ll want to be on the watch for.
Sarah Parmenter (@sazzy)
Not only does Sarah tweet about web development, she is also interested in streamlining her workflow. She shares her industry knowledge while also sharing her thoughts on productivity.
Timothy Whalin (@TimothyWhalin)
UX design, workflow tips, and design insight are just some of the topics that Timothy tweets about. He is a web design expert and technology advocate who shares his enthusiasm with his followers.
Tina Cook (@tinacook)
Like any great expert, Tina shares her wisdom of web design. However, she also shares inspiration that is useful for both novice and experienced designers.
Veerle Pieters (@vpieters)
If you are searching for great resources, links to tutorials, and awesome freebies related to web design, Veerle is a designer you need to follow.
Desktop, Smartphone, Tablet . . . Oh My!
It is important to keep in mind all of the important features that a mobile website should include in order to engage viewers such as accessibility, structure, video and images. Everything needs to be placed just right to keep visitors there longer, and keep them coming back. How can you do this without changing everything that you’ve built for your brand? We’ll tell you…
Mobile Web Development
Until about 2012, most businesses created a different mobile version of their website. This was a smaller, easy to navigate version of the desktop site, often using a different domain, such as: http://m.website.com. The preceding “m.” indicated that the user was on a site designed specifically for mobile. When consumers came to the domain from a mobile device, they were directed to the site that was exclusively made for the smaller screen of the mobile phone.
Then, things began to change for the lowly mobile-only website. Google Best Practices announced that a business really should be using the same domain for desktop and mobile users. The SEO community began endorsing responsive design as the best way to obtain high search engine rankings on both desktop and mobile. Hence, Google’s announcement caused the near death of the m-dot mobile website. Today, sites are rarely designed using a different URL for mobile phones.
Choosing the Right Technology for a Mobile Website
To provide a great web experience across multiple devices, marketers basically have two options: build a website using responsive design or create device-specific versions of the website using adaptive design. Technically, however, there are five potential solutions to designing a mobile website:
- Unique Mobile Site – An m-dot website or a unique site solely for mobile users, although this technique is virtually non-existent in modern web design.
- Responsive Web Design (RWD) – A responsive website that fluidly changes to any screen or device size.
- Responsive Web Design with Server Side Components (RESS)—A site that uses device detection to maximize the efficiency of responsive design.
- Adaptive Web Design (AWD) – A site where the elements change to fit a predetermined set of screen and device sizes.
A unique mobile site is old-school and most likely not the way to go in over 99 percent of mobile designs. If your business is almost exclusively mobile, perhaps there is a reason to have a unique m-dot mobile site, but it is going to be a very rare instance indeed.
There are several key design considerations that will make a website look and operate at its best with responsive design:
- Header—The header and masthead should be simple so as to not take away from the key selling points. The logo is the key brand image; an overly horizontal logo may not look great on smaller vertical screens.
- Navigation—Navigation is much trickier on a small screen. Often, designers will use a navigation button shown by three horizontal lines, usually in the upper right of the site. This is called a “hamburger menu,” because it looks like a burger surrounded by the bun. Some sites use a left side navigation that can expand outwardly to cover most of the screen.
- Images—It is impossible to include too many images on the mobile screen. Therefore, designers often use image carousels that allow users to swipe through multiple product images instead.
- Footer—A footer doesn’t take up valuable space like the header, but it’s just as important because it is a consumer’s last stop on your site. Consumers are used to using the footer as a navigation tool. It should also include the very important “Contact Us” link.
One of the challenges of responsive design is the tablet. The tablet, although technically a mobile device, is most often used more like a desktop computer than a smartphone. With responsive design, developers need to build the code to execute on three primary devices (desktop, tablet, smartphone). The tablet often straddles both of the other devices in its user intent. An admirable trend in responsive design techniques that combats the tablet struggle is to again use a mobile-first approach. In this way, designers create sites with the smallest screens in mind first and then add features and content for larger ones. It is a lot easier to add value to a site when going from smallest to largest screen size than to decide what elements to take away when going from desktop to mobile. Focusing on mobile first means the site will be clean and won’t have the bulkiness that often slows a mobile version down.
The main problem with RWD is that, by default, all devices are sent the same size graphics, regardless of screen size. Therefore, low-resolution screens are sent the same images as those sent to high-resolution screens. This is problematic in that the smaller screens cannot show the images at their native resolution and have to “shrink” them to fit. This method can be inefficient and can take up additional data that should be unnecessary. Responsive web design with server side components is a web development technique that takes RWD to the next level. RESS combines traditional responsive design with server-side detection that allows RWD to further optimize graphics to fit device specifics. RESS can also enhance the mobile website in other ways. If bandwidth is at a premium, RESS can limit data usage by only serving the most important images. In the same manner, mobile video can only be served if there is a fast connection available. And, RESS can avoid Flash on devices that do not support it.
RESS seems to be an obvious enhancement to RWD, so why doesn’t everybody use it? The negative to RESS is that feature detection is often difficult. The feature detection code on the site needs to be updated every time a new browser or device hits the market and that is difficult to keep up with. There are some third-party services that will do this for you, but nevertheless, it’s a limiting additional hassle for RESS. If your site uses RESS, it’s never going to be completely done and there is always going to be additional costs.
There are, however, limitations to responsive design and reflowing the same content on every device. Certainly, there are advantages to offering a unique and customized experience for every device user. This is especially true in the case of e-commerce sites where making the sale is paramount to the existence of the business, hence the need for adaptive design.
Adaptive design employs dynamic serving that uses the same URL regardless of device, but it generates a different version of HTML based on the server recognizing information about the user’s browser. With AWD, a specific experience is sent depending on the type of device. In this case, web developers can customize specific content and adapt it to the device itself. AWD allows for developers to design lighter versions of a site so it will load faster since extraneous items will never make it to the end user. It also allows developers to take advantage of the different unique features of certain smartphones and tablets. Adaptive design is not all about the designing for the device itself. If a user is on a slow or fast connection, a site could serve different resolutions of its images. They are not necessarily custom to each device, but to the bandwidth levels available to the user. An example might be a wide shot of the crowd at the President’s speech that is served to a desktop user and a close up of the President’s face that is served to a smartphone user.
The common thought process is that the obvious choice is always going to be responsive design, but that is not the case. There are instances where adaptive design makes sense as the preferred design method. Because adaptive design is created for the exact specifications of a particular mobile device, it does provide a better overall user experience. This is especially apparent in the case of load times since content used is formatted specifically for the intended screen size. An example of a company that would likely be apt to use adaptive design is an airline or travel site. For a travel-related business, sites need to be highly interactive, engaging, and have multiple options since it is a high ticket item where closing each deal is paramount to success. With its exciting graphics and complex interactivity, an online casino site is another type of site that needs to use adaptive design. With offerings ranging from table games to slot machines and bingo, it is easy to see why extra care must be given to ensure precise compatibility with all devices. Players are there for entertainment and adaptive design provides the best possible user experience regardless of the device used.
On the other side of the debate, the biggest concern with adaptive design is that it is very expensive to develop, since some brands may choose a custom development for every desktop and mobile device. Moreover, when new devices are introduced, the programming could start all over again to accommodate the new entries. An additional concern with adaptive design is that some older devices may still be in the market and they may not be supported by the original design. Because of these concerns, and the ongoing commitment to updating, adaptive design is never going to be the solution for everybody.
Finally, there is the issue of Google’s preferred method. You need not be concerned of lost rankings if you use adaptive design instead of responsive. If an AWD site maintains canonical links to desktop content, it shouldn’t be a problem for a site’s organic rankings. (A canonical link element is supplemental HTML code that helps webmasters prevent duplicate content issues. Duplicate content is a negative for search engine optimization, and a canonical link works to indicate the “preferred” version of a web page.)
Have you seen a website that you like, and are wondering what design style they used? Here’s how to determine if the site has used responsive design or adaptive design. With responsive design, the web design does not respond to the device itself, because in most cases it simply doesn’t care about the device type. Instead, responsive design responds to the screen resolution itself. To test this, look at a site on a desktop and change the size of the window by grabbing one of the corners and expanding or contracting the overall size. When the window size is changed, the website will also change its size and shape to fit the smaller or larger screen of the desktop browser. Some of the elements of the site may shift to accommodate the larger or smaller screen size, but all of the elements will remain on the screen regardless. This is an example of a responsive design site.
An adaptive design site will act differently. Go to a travel site such as Southwest.com and do the same thing. Grab the site in the corner and drag it to the middle to shrink the screen size. Instead of seeing the elements of the site moving around based on the new site, you will see some of the images simply being covered up. If this is the case, it is an adaptive design site.
The technology used for a website design is going to vary based on the specific needs of the brand. Choosing the right method is important, because the site is going to remain active until the next overhaul of the site. Regardless of which approach is best for your particular needs, the important thing is that you provide an improved mobile user experience and gain the search engine rankings, and sales, that your business deserves.
Majority of Chili’s Website Visitors Come from Mobile
I have long been an advocate of restaurant’s having a viable mobile marketing strategy — a strategy that at its basics includes:
- text message marketing
- mobile optimized website
- online ordering
- Facebook advertising
It certainly makes sense that a restaurant would over-achieve in relation to the average when it comes to the percentage of website visitors that come from mobile. Its a statistic, however, that I had never seen…until now.
Chili’s has long been one of the best when it comes to mobile marketing. It wasn’t until this article was released, however, that I first learned that 58% of Chili’s website visitors come from mobile. I would think that for take out restaurants, such as pizza restaurants, this percentage would be even higher.
Compare Chili’s versus the others in the article:
Percent of Visitors from Mobile
Chili’s = 58%
Amazon = 49%
Google = 48%
New York Times = 38%
BING = 33%
Hungry for Profits
A restaurant that follows the lead of Chili’s has the chance to greatly increase its profits. Check out Restaurants To Go for more information on how a restaurant can sell more with mobile.
Ordering a Pizza from a Computer in 1974
If you want to order a pizza, we have a few, more modern ways than those that were available 40 years ago when these researchers at Michigan State were doing it.
Pizza Ordering by Mobile Phone in 2014
Today, 47% of all mobile searches for restaurants are made via the mobile phone. I would suspect that with pizza restaurants, that figure is even higher. Moreover, 60% of those searching for restaurants will convert to paying customers within the hour. A startling 84% will convert eventually.
A few years ago, we created mobile websites for our restaurant customers. Mobile websites were easy and inexpensive to create, because they were really a scaled down version of the desktop website. Most had a URL of m.pizzaplace.com. So, while not so good for SEO, it was handy for mobile ordering for pizza restaurants.
Then, responsive and adaptive design came along and it seemed that it would be better to use this new technology for most of customers. Basically, pizza restaurants got into the mobile game with a website that looked good on mobile and at the same time, they got an updated desktop website for no additional cost.
A case could be made, however, that a pizza restaurant really doesn’t need responsive design or adaptive design. That’s because load times are so important when it comes to the mobile web and in many cases, my guess is that consumers are loading pizza restaurant websites while waiting at a traffic light or walking through the mall where there’s no availability of wi-fi.
When it comes to mobile websites for pizza restaurants, simplicity is the key. Our Restaurants To Go specialists will consult with your pizza restaurant and recommend the best possible option for your business.
And, after you’ve worked with us, you’ll be able to benefit from increased sales like these customers have.
Beyond the thousands of aesthetic and functional decisions that designers and developers make before an app goes live, the most overlooked step in designing and optimizing UI (User Interface) for native & web apps is recognizing that your users are in the best position to help improve the interface because they are the ones who don’t carry the baggage of product history.
The problem comes from the way the software life cycle used to exist – periodic major releases incorporating many improvements, and fixes to all the bugs since the previous release. But in today’s fast-paced development environment, too often when releasing an app, designers and developers are so caught up in the rush to market that the metrics they use to measure success are based on whether people are using (or continue to use) their application instead of why and how the users are using it. And simply plugging in Google Analytics, or any of the myriad other measurement platforms available, isn’t enough.
Designers must conceive – and then communicate to developers – the specific ways how and places where they want to streamline user interaction. And developers must work with designers to turn broken, under- or misused interface elements into opportunities for out-of-the-box re-design. There may be five ways to return to the app’s main view or site’s homepage – which one is being used the most? What views/interfaces/pages seem to have the best and worst user flow and bounce rate? What features aren’t being used as often, and should they be de-emphasized, or promoted more heavily?
Putting together a focus group (it can even be staff from within your company, or friends and family!), A/B testing new UI features in the field (you’ll be surprised how streamlined this is with today’s tools!), and simply asking for direct feedback from users are all critical steps to implement, and not just once. The “set it and forget it” mentality of compartmentalized design and heavy development followed by light refreshments and a tropical vacation is no longer sustainable for a business of any size. Today’s application development is agile in every sense of the word, and today’s most innovative companies and products – that’s most innovative, not just biggest – are constantly testing and improving their products with a “fail fast” mentality.
Here at ATS Mobile, we work with our clients to closely track the apps and websites we create after they are released, and continually make changes to improve the user interface so that users keep coming back. We leverage major analytics platforms as well as some of our own proprietary tools that help us link apps and web services to the ad campaigns that feed new users in, and work to improve attribution in this constantly evolving multi-channel world. In short, our work is never done because a product is never finished. Today’s bug may become tomorrow’s new feature, and with an open-minded attitude toward design and function and the help of your users, digital products can take on a life of their own.
Need a New Website?
Ask most business owners and they’ll probably tell you that they aren’t completely happy with their website.
And, if they’re happy now, ask them to check how their site looks on a mobile phone and even more are going to be unhappy.
Why Your Business Needs Responsive Design
With responsive design, your site will render properly whether its on a PC, tablet, smartphone, or feature phone. That’s because a responsive design website uses the same elements, and the same URL, regardless of the device that is accessing it. Hence, a good user experience for all!
According to recent research, only 9% of the top 100 retail e-commerce sites use responsive design. So, you can see why a business will stand out given the much improved user experience for the consumer if he or she is on a smartphone or tablet.
It’s even more important if you are a restaurant that relies on takeout, because so much of your business will come from mobile. And, in the restaurant industry, over 47% of your web access will come via mobile.
Google Will Love You!
Responsive design is relatively new so don’t panic if you aren’t totally up to date on it.
Just over a year ago, we were recommending to our clients that they should be using a website optimized for mobile and another website as their desktop site. In many cases, the mobile website had a URL something like http://m.atsMobile.com and then they had their desktop website on their primary domain. The problem with this strategy was that Google saw these as two different domains. So, for SEO purposes, you needed to optimize what essentially amounted to two separate home pages.
No more. With responsive design, your site will be seen by the search engines as just one site. Hence, any backlinks, for example, are going to help you with both desktop and mobile search.
ATS Mobile and Responsive Design
At ATS, we never really set out to be in the desktop web design business, but as a full service mobile marketing agency, you can see where we were forced into becoming more than just a mobile web designer, because of responsive design.
So, we’ve beefed up our web design business and are now ready to serve local businesses not only in our native Philadelphia and Toronto, but also across the USA and Canada.
Give us a call. We’ll give you a mobile website and a new and updated desktop website for FREE!
Creating engagement on the first consumer impression of your web presence is critical, and yet totally misunderstood. Where 20 years ago our first impression of a business as consumers is the physical storefront or office, it is without doubt now a business’ website. What does your site say about your design prowess – is it consistent with the visual culture of your brick-and-mortar location, and in sync your other marketing materials? Who is your intended audience – is the content written with them in mind? What information are they looking for, and how hard is it to find? Most importantly, how quickly can you convert each visitor into a lead or a sale? If anything on your site isn’t contributing to conversion, it should be cut, or at the very least de-emphasized in the navigation.
Remember, the pace of the digital world should be at the forefront of decision making about your website. If your page doesn’t load fast enough or does not adapt to the user’s device, they will move on quickly to a competitor whose site performs better. Leverage analytics tools to determine whether you are retaining first-time visitors; the path they take through your site; and their demographic and location data. Your website should be optimized for the platforms that matter most to your particular customer profile. Retail businesses should be sure to offer a compelling tablet experience for second-screen sofa shoppers; a doctor’s office may want to gear their mobile experience toward providing critical contact information front-and-center for patients on the go. If the graphic design and branding of your website speaks to your business’ unique culture, the user experience certainly speaks to your reliability.
If your website is about YOU, it is impossible to engage your customer/client. Your website should be about THEM – after all, customers are the reason you stay in business! Make sure you know who they really are and what they really want, and think of your site as speaking WITH them, not TO them.
With more people both purchasing and using a mobile device, it only makes sense that the rate of mobile searches done by consumers will surely increase. According the RKG’s quarterly digital marketing report:
- Over one-quarter (29 percent) of all web searches done in Q4 of 2013 were through mobile. This is an increase from 20 percent during 2012.
- 32 percent of organic searches on Google were done on a mobile device in Q4 of 2013; this is an increase from 30 percent in Q3 of 2013.
- 30 percent of organic searches on Yahoo were mobile, which is a very slight drop from the number of searches conducted via mobile on this website in Q3.
- 32 percent of paid search traffic were generated on smartphones and tablets.
- 35 percent of Google’s paid click ads were mobile.
- Attempts to monetize mobile traffic and paid listings for Q4 actually slowed down the rate of mobile organic search visits last year.
It is essential for businesses to create responsive websites for mobile devices because consumers form a faster impression of a business through this channel than desktop pages. Six 0ut of 10 consumers say that they will leave a website that’s not mobile friendly, while 3 out of 4 people will return to a site optimized for mobile.
Visit us at atsmobile.com to learn more about how we can help you integrate responsive web design into the marketing strategy of your business. ATS Mobile is a full-service mobile marketing agency that will work with your business to drive more consumer engagement with your goods and services.
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- 58% Restaurant Website Visits are From Mobile on
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