Inclusive Learning Needs Inclusive Design

Published on 31 Jan 2016 at 8:58 pm. Comments Off on Inclusive Learning Needs Inclusive Design.
Filed under Web Design.

A good Learning Management System (LMS) should work for all types of learners. It should work for them in all types of situations. A typical person evaluating an LMS would take this to mean that it should work in a mobile context. While this is true that it should, a good LMS should follow the principles of Inclusive Design to cover learners with permanent or situational disabilities. (more…)

Color Contrast Effects Users

Published on 4 Nov 2014 at 11:23 pm. Comments Off on Color Contrast Effects Users.
Filed under Web Design.

Black on gray works for Batman. For the rest of us design with good color contrast so that people can read your site.

Color Contrast: Accessibility

It should come as no surprise that everyone sees the world differently. Some people have great eyesight, others have poor vision. Some people are color blind. Color blindness comes in many forms. Some do not see the world in color (Monochromacy). They view the world like an old black and white television. Some see certain colors differently (Anomalous Trichromacy). Others completely lack certain colors (Dichromacy). There are three major types of color blindness in the latter category.

  1. Protanopia – people who cannot see the color red. This condition affects 1-1.3% of men and 0.02% of women.
  2. Deuteranopia – people who cannot see the color green. This condition affects 1-1.2% of men and 0.01% of women.
  3. Tritanopia – people who cannot see the color blue. This condition affects 0.001% of men and 0.03% of women.

When designing your site you must remember these people. Check the color contrast of your text and images. Is there enough contrast between colors that these users can use your site like you intended?

Consider the following image from our Mobile Solutions page.

Color blind users see your site differently. Remember this when you're considering color contrast.


Improve Indexing with RSS and XML Sitemaps

Published on 28 Oct 2014 at 6:42 pm. Comments Off on Improve Indexing with RSS and XML Sitemaps.
Filed under Informative,Search Engine Optimization.

A new Google best practice guideline says that you can improve indexing with XML Sitemaps and RSS feeds.

Improve Indexing: XML Sitemaps

XML Sitemaps are a topic I’ve covered a few times on this blog. A basic XML Sitemap is simply an XML file that lists most or all the pages on your website. This file resides on your website and should update itself regularly. The XML Sitemap protocol also allows you to specify the following:

  • The last modification time of the page.
  • The frequency of updates.
  • A priority level for that page to your site.

XML Sitemap files are very useful for search engines. They make it very easy for them to discover pages on your site. But these files are not downloaded often since content rarely changes on most pages. For major changes to your site you can ping Google, and other search engines, telling them to re-download your XML sitemap.

Google also supports their own changes to the original XML Sitemap protocol. A Google Image Sitemap lets you add titles and captions for images found on each page. This text content helps improve indexing by simplifying the keywords associated with these photos. Video sitemaps let you include a title, description and duration along with the video.

RSS feed + XML Sitemap = Improve Indexing in Google.

RSS feed + XML Sitemap = Improve Indexing in Google.


Responsive Images

Published on 27 Oct 2014 at 7:28 pm. Comments Off on Responsive Images.
Filed under Google,Mobile,Web Design.

After years of debate Responsive Images are here. That means your site can look better and load faster.

Now that the specification for Responsive Images has settled down browsers are working hard to add support. Most browser vendors are doing this in stages.

  1. Support for better quality images.
  2. Alternative Images for different size screens.

Responsive Images: Better Quality Images

When I am talking about better quality images I’m talking about loading images for devices with a larger pixel depth. Your typical desktop has a pixel depth of 1. This simply means that a pixel is a pixel.

Then we get to mobile devices (and those MacBook Pros with retina). In Apple-speak a “retina” device is one that has a pixel depth ratio of 2. You’ll load an image that is 10 pixels wide but only display an image that is 5 pixels wide. This makes things look much more clear.

Now don’t let that word “retina” confuse you. That is just a marketing thing by Apple. This calculation is an industry standard which you can easily calculate as we’ve covered before.

You will find devices like the Kindle Fire HD with a ratio of 1.5 and devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 6 Plus with a value of 3 — though the iPhone is rounding up with this. Nothing currently on the market exceeds this value.

Comparison of browsers with and without support for responsive images.

Thumbnail image zoomed in on the Samsung Galaxy S5 in the Puffin 4 (left) and the Chrome 37 (right) web browsers. Puffin 4 does not support responsive images while Chrome 37 does.


2014 iPad Event

Published on 22 Oct 2014 at 9:44 pm. Comments Off on 2014 iPad Event.
Filed under Informative,Mobile.

It’s time for Apple’s 2014 iPad Event. This event marked the debut of the 12.9″ iPad and new Macs.

As the event started Tim Cook reiterated the events from last month. He raved about the success of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. He then announced that Apple Pay goes live on Monday. From there was talk of the Apple Watch that is coming in Early 2015.

From there they moved on to iOS 8. Apple showed that 96% of users are running iOS 7 or 8, while only 25% of Android users were running Kit Kat — Android 4.4. They did not have stats on users running Android Service — the APIs that power most Android features, which run on far older versions than just the latest one. They then highlighted features like the custom keyboards that came in iOS 8, and then announced that iOS 8.1 was coming Monday and brings back the Camera Roll plus many new features.

They then moved on to OS X Yosemite. Safari in Yosemite will have a new design and will run incredibly faster. These changes improve battery life by 2 hour, and improved support for Netflix. They then showed off the new continuity features between Yosemite and iOS 8. They did this with a surprisingly humorous phone call to Stephen Colbert.

Yosemite is available for free today. (more…)

Windows 10 is Coming

Published on 6 Oct 2014 at 8:19 pm. Comments Off on Windows 10 is Coming.
Filed under Informative,Mobile.

Windows 10 is coming and it looks to fix some of the grievances with Windows 8 (especially the desktop).

Windows 10 is coming.

Oddly enough, this event was kept very small. There was no live stream. The Verge was the only reporter covering the event. If you ask me that doesn’t sound to good for the next stage of Windows.

The event started with the usual bragging rights on the success of the brand. This one talked about the one and a half billion people using Windows today. We’ve hit the point where devices outnumber people. And people expect devices to just work. Windows is at a threshold and now it’s time for a new Windows. They don’t feel it’s right to call it Windows 9. They considered Windows One after the Xbox One, but Windows 1 already exists. So they are calling it Windows 10. I guess Windows 8.1 is considered Windows 9?

Windows 10 is one application platform. Microsoft’s most comprehensive platform ever. Windows 10 will cover tablets, desktops, smartphones, and other media players. There is a single Windows Store for all of them.

Windows 10 has a strong focus on enterprises. They urge all enterprises to begin a dialog today. That being said, Windows 10 will be compatible with all traditional management systems.

The following video is an introduction to the Windows 10. The intro explains that developers are the only ones that should use it now. For the average user I would suggest skipping to 1:33.


Why You Need A Website

Published on 17 Sep 2014 at 9:37 pm. Comments Off on Why You Need A Website.
Filed under Marketing,Search Engine Optimization,Social Media.

Your small business cannot and should not get by on social media alone. We have 5 reasons why you still need a website.

5 Reasons You Need a Website For Your Small Business

You need a website to connect your online presence.

Without a website it’s hard for consumers to connect with your brand.

1. Consumer Confidence

Consumers want to know that your business is in it for the long haul. The more resources used to build your brand furthers legitimacy in the eyes of consumers. If customers see that your online presence only exists through free services like social media then they will wonder what is going on. They will question if you’re going to be around in the future.

2. Search Engine Visibility

When consumers see your website in search results they know that they are connecting with your business. Anyone can start a Facebook page. Consumers can’t be certain if that page is really connected with your business. Additionally, having your site’s search results come up in addition to your Facebook page means that consumers have multiple ways to connect with you — and less for your competition. If you want consumers to easily find you then you need a website. (more…)

Responsive Design Alternatives

Published on 14 Sep 2014 at 9:43 pm. Comments Off on Responsive Design Alternatives.
Filed under Google,Informative,Mobile,Search Engine Optimization,Web Design.

Mobile web traffic is growing fast. So why do industry giants choose responsive design alternatives?

Responsive Design

Responsive design is the core of the mobile-first philosophy. Responsive design places focus on the browser. With it you design your site with fluid grids that grow or expand as the screen size changes. It may result in content being hidden away from users browsing at certain screen sizes. If a website changes its look as you resize the browser and looks like your phone when you get small enough then the site uses using responsive design.

Responsive design results in one version of your website controlled entirely by the same front-end technologies used to build any modern website — HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Any web design company can create a polished website using responsive design. These websites are easily indexed by search engines and will work just fine in new devices.

Responsive Design Alternatives: Adaptive Design

Adaptive design takes another approach to mobile traffic. Adaptive design places focus on the user and not the browser. It encourages you to create a user experience focused on the person and their current needs. For example, you may present a mobile user with a click-to-call button, or a print button for a desktop user. You can still have fluid grids like with responsive design. You just may not need those grids all the time — like when using a desktop. (more…)

iPhone Event 2014 News

Published on 11 Sep 2014 at 9:28 pm. Comments Off on iPhone Event 2014 News.
Filed under Informative,Mobile.

Apple’s iPhone event 2014 is here and brought us news on the iPhone 6 and Apple’s first smartwatch.

First let me start out with a little rant — this was the worst stream I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve used Real player. Cut out many times, foreign language feeds over the main audio, only available on Apple devices. Apple needs to hire out for these streams.

iPhone Event 2014: iPhone 6

Apple has finally released a bigger iPhone! The new iPhone 6 comes in your standard size, while the iPhone 6 Plus which has a 5.5″ screen. The iPhone 6 Plus sports a 1080p resolution (1920×1080). At 1080p the resolution is the same as the S5, only with a wider screen and thus a lower DPI. Both models are skinnier than the iPhone 5 which was 7.6 mm tall. The iPhone 6 is 6.9 mm while the 6 Plus is 7.1 mm.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus debuted at the iPhone Event 2014.

Both versions sport the new A8 chip which is 25% faster and 50% more energy-efficient. This chip does support 64-bit. They also support a new FaceTime HD camera with f/2.2 aperture to allow in more light. This camera boasts DSLR-like camera features. Networking wise the both support voice over LTE. (more…)