Archive for the ‘Usability Tips’ Category
Everyone needs to backup important data. If you accidentally delete files or if your hard drive fails, that’s especially critical since you can easily connect to the remote server to retrieve all your important files with the click of a button. Searching for a secure means of online data backup, we found some of the best services that let you upload your data to a web-based server and access them from any of your computers or mobile phones. What’s particularly great is that these online data storage solutions offer free services to create a backup. However, upon choosing from this variety consider the storage size limitation, the ability to automate backup, security of stored data, restrictions on file size or extensions, as well as on upload speed and bandwidth. Over each image and link below you’ll see short descriptions that will help you make up our mind regarding which solution to use.
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SugarSync is one of the most feature-packed online storage services. With the ability to store, share and synchronize your files online, this solution offers free sign up with 5 GB of online storage, plus users can even get up to 5 free GB of storage space for referring friends. When you make a change or add files on any of your PC or Mac computers, SugarSync automatically syncs your files to the cloud where you can access them from your computer, smartphone or iPad. This service also makes the previous five versions of every file available. However, some people believe that SugarSync could have had more support options.
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Mozy is online backup provider for both Windows and Mac users that offers 2 GB of automated backup for free and the option to add more through paid services. What’s great is that it has a light application and high speed of upload and download. Mozy allows users to back up data continuously, manually or schedule updates; it also backs up based on file changes, only uploading the portion of a file that has changed. Other features include outstanding security, encryption capabilities, and great support.
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Thousands of web marketers are chasing high conversion rates all over the world, but according to the statistics an average eCommerce website converts only 2 or 3 visitors out of every 100 into the customers (that’s the best case scenario actually, new stores only dream about 2-3% conversion rates). This number may seem to be not very optimistic, but wait a minute because any online business requires tons of patience, special knowledge and a bit of luck. So if your website has low conversion rates it needs to be optimized to increase the conversion and Google Website Optimizer is the tool that will help you a lot in solving the conversion issues. But before you’ll start using this great tool we must warn you that it is just a software an don’t let it to think instead of you. The normal time for holding your experiments and testings with Google Website Optimizer is 4 or 5 weeks.
Basically GWO (Google Website Optimizer) offers you to test various versions of the same page (A/B testing) and multiple elements of the page (multivariate tests). A/B testing allows you to choose from 2 or more different variants of designs of one exact page to find the most effective design option which gives highest conversion rates. This kind of testing requires less time and efforts and is mostly used for testing design solutions.
As soon as you start the new blog the first thought that penetrates your mind is “How to increase traffic”? The first thing to consider is that you’ll definitely have to put some effort into involving some target audience.
We are eager to sum up some thoughts and experiences of working with blogs and share them with you. Hopefully you will please us with captivating and cozy blogs after learning some keys to get more traffic involved.
18 Tips to Enhance Your WordPress Blog Traffic
- Enhance Blog Usability
The first task is making it easy for the blog readers to grasp the blog themes instantly and contact you. You should create the mixture of an exquisite style and usability. You will find a number of great suggestions in the awesome article by Jakob Nielsen revealing the secrets of weblog usability. Include author biographies, author photos and let the users find this personal information effortlessly. Take care about vivid article headlines and convenient navigation through the topical categories. These visual things will make it easier for your audience to stay within your blog, this will increase the number of pageviews for you.
- Complete Your About Page
The first thing people are curious about is your personality that’s hidden behind the scenes of your blog. Visitors won’t mind knowing your name, some information about what you do and what you like presented in a personal way. Too general content is likely to spurn the visitors, and some private info will evoke far more trust .
- Create Subscriptions and Newsletters
Send information about any promos, giveaways, contests and just recent blog posts via e-mail to the subscribed readers of your WordPress blog. It’s not a hidden or spam influence tool anymore – you are free to create appealing designs and interesting contents for your Newsletter pages to make returning users pay attention to your resource again and again. You may easily use the Subscriptions widget just to notify your readers about the new posts.
- Activate the Social Sharing Option
The “Call-to-action” buttons are one of the most essential designer’s tools in the tricky game of hunting for higher conversion rates. If you want to create a smart design, don’t forget to prioritize tasks that must compel your design. And one of the most important tasks will be soliciting your visitors to do something that you want them to do (whether it is buying something, adding a product to cart, signing up or learning more). Today we want to dig a little deeper into what the important factors and techniques are, to help you create attractive designs that would be powerful marketing tools at your website.
It is vitally important to highlight your buttons by using bright colors and contrast. It would be better to use really deep and rich colors that would dazzle your visitors with their shine. Contrast will help you separate your button from other elements on the page, so you shouldn’t share your button’s design with something else on the page.
Plus, you may want to check out a little colors in eCommerce research done by our good friends from Templates.com blog, it will help you choose proper colors based on what particular action you want a user to take.
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Proportion and balance are the keys to your success because your button must be visible on the page, though you should be aware of over sizing. You should know that the button’s size depends on its importance over all other elements on the page. Usually buttons have the highest priority over other functional elements.
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I’m sure that web community is grateful to all those people who have devoted plenty of their precious time to creating infographics, you really can’t find a better way to visualize a huge amount of data in a way more efficient and comprehensive. Without a doubt 2010 was a year of informational graphics and this design technique has become one of the main trends of the last year, creating both positive and negative factors in a further development of this practice within the bounds of web design industry.
Creating a really interesting, communicating and useful informational graphic is a really complicated task, which requires skills and tons and tons of patience. I have been a witness to when unwise usage of this design technique had caused a splash of negative reactions on giant social media networks such as Digg.com or Reddit.com – which is obviously not what the authors have designed these infographics for. There was a period when anyone thought he could design an infographic, promote it and gain certain benefits. But in fact there’s a lot to think about before actually starting to work on it. First thing whether a web community actually needs the information you’re about to provide. The second problem is about the visual appeal of your graphic. The right correlation between the quantity of information and visual techniques used to present it is an extremely important thing. So if you don’t want to confuse – or even irritate – your visitors please be careful while creating next informational graphic, otherwise it may harm the reputation of your website.
Types of Data
There are three basic types of what is best presented in a form of an infographic. Knowing all about your info will help you from the very outset of creating infographic. Of course you can mix these types/approaches but it would be better to use one of them, besides it easier for the audience to perceive. Believe me – in most cases infographics have enough “heavy” facts within just one type of info, don’t make it all even harder. So, here are the three types we’re talking about:
- Time – it is the most popular one because timeline perfectly illustrates dynamical changes of any process, and you shouldn’t worry about the structure – just choose whether it will be a horizontal or a vertical timeline. It is much easier to collect information simply by checking time period and looking for interesting, useful and significant data concerning the topic.
- Quantity – you can set this type as the directing vector of general data presenting in your project. Of course you have seen many examples containing various quantitative analysis, however you should never forget that mostly people can’t accept and remember many numbers so, don’t go too far with them.
- Space - this type describes physical relations between some objects or conceptual locations. To be more precise, infographics of this type describe some physical processes or they are geolocation-oriented.
What is also important is the communication approach in creating informational graphics. Our article is devoted to the static infographics which are the most widely spread ones around the web, basically when someone says “infographic” the static infographics are what you think of the first. In addition to this approach there are also two other major types used. Here’s more on each of them:
The “Above the fold” term has successfully migrated to graphic design sphere from the publishing industry (just like many other wonderful things including typography etc.), to be precise this term was applied to the newspaper layout. You all know that the big stories are placed in the upper part of the newspaper (which was called ‘the fold’ ), and therefore these big stories were seen instantly when you are about to take a newspaper into your hands. Usually if you are interested in reading the main article you have to unfold the newspaper. So, in general this term can be applied to anything that must be displayed prominently. In web design “fold” or “scroll” is an imaginary line which separates two areas – first is the one that’s seen before the user will have to scroll and the other is under the scroll. According to the statistics “above the scroll” zone is one third from the whole page and this area is considered to be the most attractive for the visitors.
People Do Scroll
Since the early 90’s every designer knew that before creating web page he must decide for himsefl whether people actually scroll or not – that is the question. For a long, long period of the design theory’s development the myth has been created and its aim was to convince that scrolling is not what today’s web users want to do and that they’re too lazy to do that. So as the result a huge part of your website content remained to be unseen. To some extent It was true, for some time. But after a while some web enthusiasts started investigating this issue by providing various polls and gathering interesting statistics data.
One interesting research concerning AOL has showed that the most clickable link on their website was placed in the footer (!) and it was pointing to a popular gossips website. It sure looks like scrolling is not that bad, and users don’t want to spare their fingertips and they mercilessly use the scrolling wheel to find interesting content. There are many other wonderful examples but the point is that the “non-scrolling” myth has influenced the web design theory development in a negative way reducing the importance of creating intuitive designs. Therefore typical placement of vitally important design elements in the top of the website layout has created a trend to think of any website layout from the “non-scrolling” point of view, without giving any chance to popularizing other approaches in creating designs.
Read the rest of this entry »
From the very outset of the visualization science the primary moving force of the further development was a high demand of finding the ways to successfully and efficiently deliver the info. The significant cornerstone – or what we are now used to call “the message” – must be delivered to the recipient via the interaction process. Since the early ages humanity has been trying to improve the visualization techniques available (remember the Egyptian hieroglyphs, Greek geometry, and Leonardo da Vinci’s revolutionary methods of technical drawing?).
There is no doubt that computer graphics has pushed the development of visualization techniques to the limits by starting the new phase of this sphere. Without a doubt the leading role in IT visualization is taken by the problem of interactivity – any visual object which is being presented with a message to an audience must be relevant, useful and timely for a person.
Today there are 3 major forms of how you can visually present the info. These forms that can be applied to any web content are (i) text form, (ii) image-based form and (iii) videos. Let’s forget for a minute about the complicated explanations of visualization types in the web world (which are basically about two types of visualization – interactive and collaborative), instead we’d like to focus our attention on the things that we meet every day on the web simply by surfing trough various resources. The tips that we will point below will be useful for the bloggers and web design rookies because major content perception concepts help you a lot while creating the highly usable designs and promoting your blog.
Being a true leader of the web industry video content keeps pumping up its popularity and many experts forecast that this type of content will increase its major share within the next few years due the growing availability of video recording devices for the broad audience. While creating you video content you should remember several important things:
- The perfect duration of the any video is about 90-120 seconds. Everything that’s longer than that is less likely to be perceived.
- If your content requires more time than you should create an Intro (remember about the 90 seconds duration) and divide the rest of your content into sections, with a separate video for each new section. Plus, if you have the opportunity, provide a sort of a menu with links to these logical parts somewhere next to your initial intro.
- Consider several types of the video content:
- Presentation with a host – ye goode olde method which is taken from the TV experience, the classics of web video content. Speaker’s skills, background decoration and the content itself are the key points that will affect the audience. So please consider these factors if you’ll decide to create such type of video.
- Presentation of the product interface and functionality with the voiceover. Sounds pretty much self-discriptive, doesn’t it? You show what you’ve got and why someone would want to have it, like in the TV ads from the 1980-s. Visual coherence and laconic text are important here because the visitor must be informed about what he sees right now on the screen. Well-composed, understandable texts along with the informative video support are the perfect combination for this type of video content.
- Presentation of the product interface and functionality with the stock music soundtrack – as you may have guessed, the visual aspects are of primary importance here and the music plays only a background role. Don’t forget that sometimes titles and text pop-ups can be great addition to this method as well.
Do you like fast websites? We’re sure you do just like search engines and metrics companies that use website load time as a parameter in their rankings. For website visitors waiting is one of the most annoying things on the web. And if in real life speeding is dangerous for you, in virtual world speed is essential for successful website – lack of speed means death for your website.
Nowadays such factors as user experience and user-friendliness are really important and may determine whether your website will succeed in future or not. We should never forget about our big brother Google which considers website load time as a part of their ranking algorithm.
Below you’ll find some tips and tricks that will give wings to your website. Maybe you’ll be confused about some specific terms but we believe that after spending some time on Wikipedia things will become clear for you. Of course we are always glad to discuss this topic in our comments section.
Parallelize downloads across hostnames
Use URL paths instead of hostnames
Actually smart usage of this method can give you amazing results. You should remember that most static resources can be parallelized and the main task is to create a balance between all hostnames for all static objects. Anyways the main rule here is that any of your hosts must not serve more than 50%. Remember that the optimal number of hosts is between 2-5 hosts, so don’t misapply it.
The main trick behind this problem is that you need to control the number of multiple properties that are hosted on the same domain. The best solution that will help you to unload these properties is assigning them to different URLs but not hostnames. For example if you need to host your blog than make it website.com/blog instead of blog.website.com. This will help you to minimize DNS lookups and allows more efficient use of TCP reconnections that will reduce the number of round trip times.
Everything is simple here – you should choose appropriate type for your images (choose wisely between PNG, GIF and JPG) and don’t forget to use image compressor. Also correct specifying image dimensions (width and height) allows browser to perform faster rendering