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With Google’s rollout of Android 7.0 Nougat (nʌɡət) on Nexus devices on August 22, 2016, Android phone users can’t stop wondering about what features Nougat has in store for them. If you have also been holding your curiosity horses for long, let me unveil for you the new features that are highly likely to arrive on smartphones that support Android Nougat.


Google surprised everybody when it released a preview version of Android Nougat on March 9 this year. We all knew that Google announced its previous mobile operating systems only at Google I/O, the Google's developer conference. However, the motive behind the unprecedented move, according to Google, was to give developers enough time to have a good look at it and provide their vital inputs. The sooner, the better!


Click here to find out which non-Nexus smartphone is to be the first to Ship With Android Nougat.


Exciting Features Android Nougat is Set to Bring for Android Fans


Going by what Google revealed during Google I/O on May 18, Android Nougat’s new features can be divided into three categories: Productivity, Performance, Security. It appears Google has built its latest operating system for mobile phones on the premise of extending functionality, improving pre-existing features and further expanding what’s possible in stock Android. It’s quite possible that not all specifications will make it to the final release. But hoping for the best, I have highlighted the most amazing features that have the best chances to come along Android N.


Let’s Talk About Productivity Enhancement Features Of Android Nougat


  • Multi-Tasking with Split Screen Feature:


Image result for android nougat multi window support or split screen

Image source: http://techbeats.org/


The most exciting feature of Android N is “Split Screen”, which supports multitasking. Although Samsung and LG phones have incorporated this feature couple of years ago, Google is bringing it for the first time in its own software. Thanks Google for listening to public demand, which means Android Nougat users can open and use two apps at the same time. All that you would be required to split your screen is to long press the recent button in navigation bar.


You can also resize the window by dragging the divider. Moreover, with “Quick Switch” feature you can switch between the two most recently used apps. For this to happen, you would need to double tap on the Overview button. On the top of the multitasking menu would be a Clear All Button to allow you to close all the apps at once.

  • Direct Reply Through Notifications on the Top of Screen


It seems that Google has learnt a lesson from Apple Inc. I said so because Google has now incorporated direct replies feature in Android N, much similar to Quick Reply. However, unlike Apple which restricted Quick Reply only to its iMessage app, direct reply on Android N works with all messaging apps, like Whatsapp, Viber etc.


Image result for direct reply in Android nougat

Image source: http://dixplore.com/


So, next time when you see a notification on the top a screen of your Android Nougat smartphone and feel tempted to reply, there is no need to navigate away from your current window. No matter if you are playing a game, watching a video or surfing the internet, you can easily reply through a notification on the top of screen of your Android N phone, without leaving the current window.


Besides, if you don’t want to see notifications from a particular app, you can block all notifications from that app. In Android N, you will get the option to choose from 6 levels of power notifications to manage the priority of any individual app.


  • Bundled Notifications


Google has also revealed in an announcement during developer conference on May 18 that notifications cards will be grouped together if they are from the same app. To your better understanding, all messages from a specific app will stay together as a bundle in the notification shade. If you wish to expand them to individual notifications, you need to use a two-finger gesture or tap on the new expansion button.


  • Expanded Emoji


Android N brings support for Unicode 9, meaning 72 more emojis to help your phone fit your personality. Now, the total number of emojis in Android are over 1,500. So, go express yourself on an Android Nougat phone in an even better way.


  • Android N to Support VR with Google Daydream


Image source: http://www.stuff.tv/

In order to provide virtual reality (VR) experience on mobile, Google has built Android Nougat compatible with Daydream. Google’s Daydream is a spec with headset, and aims at giving rise to high-quality mobile VR for Android smartphones. Google Daydream is certainly the successor of Google Cardboard.


Samsung, LG, HTC, Huawei, Alcatel, ZTE and Asus are in the process of developing Daydream-ready phones since the current phones offered by them don’t have appropriate hardware to support VR. Daydream will provide VR support to the Play Store, StreetView, Photos, YouTube and Play Movies. So, be ready for an immersive experience and jumping into games, locations and videos, with Daydream .

Now Comes the Performance Part of Android Nougat

  • Android Nougat Data Saver


Android Nougat brings you data saver. It significantly reduces your mobile data usage by restricting background data on apps when you're on a mobile/cellular network. Samsung has already been offering the same function on Galaxy S7 for quite a time, but Google is bringing it it the first time ever on its mobile operating system. However, when your Android Nougat phone is on WiFi, all the apps get there data access as normal.


  • Enhanced Doze To Let Your Phone Battery Last Long


We first saw Doze in Android Marshmallow, and have been loving it since then, right? To make you love it even more, Google has enhanced Doze Mode 2.0 in Android N. Your Android Nougat phone will stop all background tasks the moment you turn your screen off, thereby increasing the battery life by even a bigger extent. So, if you leave your phone on standby mode for a day or week, you can still use it without having to recharge it right away.


  • Pressure-Sensitive Display Technology


Image source: http://dixplore.com


Google has announced “Launcher Shortcuts” feature to equip in Android Nougat smartphones with pressure-sensitive display technology. As a result, Android manufacturers will find it easy to bring 3D Touch-like technology to Android handsets.

  • Vulkan and Java 8 Support


For better graphics and smoother, faster performance, Google is introducing Vulkan 3D graphics API in Android N. The benefit of Vulkan is that it has a much lower CPU overhead than OpenGL. Moreover, it opens gates for developers to fit much more graphical detail into frames.


Android N also brings support for Java 8, which will allow developers to do better things with code.

  • Improved Speed for App Installation


Google is also bringing JIT compiler in Android N for better performance. It increases the speed of app installation by 75%, in addition to 50% reduction in the size of the compiled code.

Google’s Take on Security with Android N

File-based encryption, media framework hardening and seamless updates in Android N give rise to better security. File-based encryption, as per Google, will ensure isolation and protection of files for individual users on your device.


Android N will also stop password-reset ransomware. According to ZDNet, “The new operating system will no longer allow users or software to invoke a command that clears already-set passwords. However, in order to protect your device it notes that you will need to set a password in the first place.”


Google’s Android Nougat is making rounds on the internet, and Android fans have been long wondering what all new features it will bring for them. Here, I have tried unveiling the features that Google has announced during developers conference to bring with Android Nougat.


If you know more about important features likely to come with Android N, please share them in the comment box below.




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Are you an Ubuntu user and seeing regular notifications to upgrade the older version (14.04 or 15.10) to the newest Ubuntu 16.04? If that’s a yes, then let me unveil for you seven major benefits you can draw by upgrading your older Ubuntu version to Ubuntu 16.04.


Called as Xenial Xerus, the latest Ubuntu 16.04 upgrade is a Long Term Support (LTS) release. So, no grumbling over critical security, bug and app updates from Canonical, for at least five years. In my view, if you are looking forward to a stable, predictable system, Ubuntu 16.04 should definitely be your choice.


Let’s Talk About Top Seven Virtues Of Ubuntu 16.04

  • No Spyware In Ubuntu 16.04 LTS


Since 2012, unbuntu was mired in the controversy over the online search results in Ubuntu’s Dash. The things were only made worse with the introduction of “Smart Scopes Service” in 2013, so much so that Free Software Foundation President Richard Stallman called Ubuntu Linux "spyware". He along with many people raised concerns over the operating system sending data to Ubuntu maker Canonical when a user searched the desktop. However, the latest Ubuntu upgrade puts all such search-related concerns to rest.


Online search features in Ubuntu 16.04 come disabled by default for new installs, meaning your search terms will reside within your computer only. In case you think the move will attenuate your ability to search and preview content through the dash, you can re-enable online search results in a couple of clicks.

  • Snap: The New Packaging Format


Ubuntu 16.04 sports a brand new packaging format, opening gates for developers to distribute packages that contain everything needed to run. Unlike previous Ubuntu versions, Ubuntu 16.04 boasts of snap that can contain both application binary and any dependencies required for it to run. And this is regardless of whether or not libraries are installed on the host system.


So now, there is no need to add x PPA for an app and then y PPA for the latest version of z dependency. Moreover, developers can include newer versions of any libraries as part of their Snap. In previous versions, developers faced limitations of building apps to frozen base of libraries. But not anymore, thanks to snap in Ubuntu 16.04. Users can also enjoy newer versions of apps on older versions of Ubuntu without compromising on the stability of the entire system.


  • New Software Center

Image source: pentruprieteni.com


People were bored with Ubuntu’s centralized app store, which was introduced by Canonical in 2009. Due to slow speed of Ubuntu Software Center, many users got frustrated and wanted something that acts briskly. To address the issue, Canonical has brought up a new package manager, called GNOME software, in Ubuntu 16.04, which is fast, lightweight and very responsive.


  • Ubuntu 16.04 Allows To Move Unity 7’s Launcher To The Bottom

Image source: askubuntu.com


With the latest LTS release of Ubuntu 16.04, many users believe their requests have finally been heard by Canonical, especially with Unity launcher. Now, the Unity 7 desktop on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS enables users to move the launcher bar to the bottom of the screen. Now that we mostly use widescreen monitors, the launcher bar on the left hand side does not make sense to many.So, Ubuntu 16.04 finally gives you the choice to preserve’ space efficiently by moving the application launcher to the bottom.


However, you need to use the GUI and the command-line. Don’t worry, it's hassle-free. Simply open a terminal window and enter the command given below.


gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Bottom


In case, you don’t find it the cup of your tea, you can easily undo it by using this command.


gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Left


  • Linux Kernel 4.4


Ubuntu 16.04 LTS comes with a modified version of Linux 4.4 kernel. The move aims at providing improved system stability, efficiency, performance, power, and file system handling. Moreover, it gives better support for Intel Skylake, Intel’s new sixth-generation Core family of mainstream processors, and Raspberry Pi.


Other advantages of Kernel 4.4 are:


  • 3D support in the virtual GPU driver

  • New driver for Corsair Vengeance K90

  • Support for TPM 2.0 chips

  • Journaled RAID 5 support


  • Set App Menus To Always Show

Image source: www.makeuseof.com


In Ubuntu 16.04, a new setting called "Menus visibility" is available in the Appearance panel. You will see two options therein - “Displayed on mouse hovering” and “Always displayed”. So, by choosing “Always displayed”, users can ensure that the menus of any application are always visible.


It won’t be wrong to say that by leaving the menu visible in each application’s windows, you can easily combine old-school functionality with a modern look.


  • Support for ZFS File System

Image source: arstechnica.com


Ubuntu 16.04 is the first version to support zfs filesystem on Linux. As per Canonical, zfs is the combination of a volume manager and a filesystem. The new version does not ask you to make any effort from your side, since zfs.ko will be automatically built and installed on your Ubuntu systems. Zfs facilitates improvements towards enterprise and server use.


Also, zfs is better than BTRFS and allows users to efficiently create snapshots of your machine. Zfs support in Ubuntu 16.04 opens gates to manage multiple physical storage devices in a much better way than previous options, like ext3 and ext4.


Without a doubt, Ubuntu 16.04 is the most exciting release by Canonical in the past few years. There are many other benefits of Ubuntu 16.04, like access to session shortcuts in Dash, which allows users to Logout, Reboot & Shutdown, directly through it. However, I have discussed the top six that have been coaxing Ubuntu users into upgrading to Ubuntu 16.04.


Do you think Ubuntu 16.04 is the right choice for you? Have you already upgraded to Ubuntu 16.04 and facing issues with it? You think of benefits that are more important than what I have discussed? Please share your views in the comment box below.





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    VR

    Image source: vrjournal.com


    We all have witnessed the technology world advancing from one level to another, so much so that humanity is now setting up to colonize planet Mars by 2023. In this blog, we intend to talk about the two next frontiers of digital technology - Virtual Reality(VR) and Augmented Reality(AR), and their distinction.

    What is Virtual Reality?

    Virtual Reality means creation of the world that is not real, but seems real. To your better understanding, Virtual Reality is the creation of a 3D environment that simulates the real world and users can interact with it by wearing a VR helmet or goggles similar to Oculus Rift. The virtual environment is immersive and computer generated. A coding language Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) is used to create VR software and bring some place else for you.


    Image source: www.linkedin.com

    “VR is about escaping the real world and going someplace you couldn’t normally go,” says Jeffrey Gattis, HTC’s executive director of marketing for connected products, adding that “Games, movies, even sporting events and travel are perfectly suited to the medium, but it will be important that we continue to see growth in the number of developers creating VR content.”


    Click here to learn about 7 best virtual reality mobile apps.

    What is Augmented Reality?


    Augmented reality is a perfect mix of digital and real world, making the existing reality more meaningful. The creation of Augmented Reality calls for integration of digital information with the user’s environment in the real time. So, it’s absolutely correct to say that AR makes use of our current reality to overlay new information on top of it, thereby allowing the user to make more sense out of the existing environment.


    Let’s get a better insight with an example:


    Blippar (an AR app for iOS and Android) allows you to discover a whole new world by pointing your phone’s camera to various products or images. The Augmented Reality app enables you to blip everyday objects from plants, fruits to pets. Moreover, the app allows your smartphone to bring a static print ad to life, or watch a movie trailer by simply focusing your smartphone camera at a poster.


    Click here to know about the 15 best Augmented Reality apps available in the app market.


    Image source: www.slideshare.net


    Microsoft made headlines last year when it unveiled HoloLens that uses AR similar to Mini's driving goggles. However, HoloLens goes a step further to significantly narrow down the gap between your PC and your living room. It actually paves the way for you to surround yourself with your Windows 10 apps.


    Pranav Mistry, the Global Vice President of Research at Samsung and the head of Think Tank Team, has developed an AR device SixthSense that enables new interactions between the real world and the world of data. SixthSense allows a user to use natural hand gestures to interact with digital information.


    Both AR and VR are very interesting technologies, which takes us to the next important section of the blog:

    Difference Between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality


    Although both AR and VR create an immersive experience for a user, they are different from each other. VR isolates a user from the real world and creates a completely fabricated world, while AR delivers virtual elements as an overlay to the real world.


    With AR, virtual components like digital images, graphics, or sensations are added to the real world as a new layer of interaction. So, AR does not give rise to an environment that is not real, but enhances and enriches the current reality.


    Without a doubt, VR provides users more immersive experience than AR, however, VR does not allow the users to interact with their surroundings. As it’s not possible for a VR user to see what is right next to them, VR doesn’t provide a practical way to interact in the real world. VR is best suited for video games and social networking in the virtual environment, like Second Life or PlayStation Home.

    Gears for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

    Virtual Reality

    Augmented Reality

    • Oculus Rift

    • Samsung Gear VR

    • Google Cardboard

    • HTC Vive

    • Sony Project Morpheus

  • Google Glass 2

  • Microsoft HoloLens

  • Sony SmartEyeglass

  • Recon Jet

  • Magic Leap

  • Vuzix M100

  • ODG R-7



  • By now, it must be clear that VR and AR and two different concepts. While AR is for real world, VR is for content that has nothing to do with our current reality. AR adds more meaningful information to our experiences in real time, which is why it is believed to do a lot with our everyday lives. If you have ever got a chance to experience AR or VR, please share your experience with us in the comment box below.

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    Posted by on in General

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    Image source: www.tnooz.com


    Many businesses, especially small and medium size ones, have been increasingly moving to Cloud Computing for one great reason - Huge reduction in business cost. However, there is a fallacy among many people that Cloud Computing and Software as a Service(SaaS) are one and the same thing. Although SaaS is related to Cloud Computing, the duo is very different from each other. In this blog, we will talk about how Cloud Computing and Software as a Service(SaaS) are distinct from each other.


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    Image source: www.salesforce.com


    Cloud is basically used as a metaphor for “the Internet”. Cloud Computing offers storage and access to data and applications over the internet, rather than your local servers or personal devices. So, instead of buying your own servers or software, you can rent computing infrastructure and services to ensure smooth functioning of your business operations.


    Imagine that you are a startup company with a unique idea, but don’t have enough funds to bear the cost of infrastructure, hardware and software to kick off your business operations. Here, Cloud Computing comes to your business rescue to prevent it from drowning in the ocean of cost struggles.


    Click here to gain insight into 7 Ways Cloud Computing helps SMBs boost their Business.

    Cloud Computing comes in Three Forms: Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud

    Image source: vmwaretips.com

    • Public Cloud services are available for use off-site over the internet. You can use public clouds, like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and IBM’s Blue Cloud, for developing SaaS applications for end-users. The rental cost of public clouds is very pocket-friendly since the provider bears the cost of hardware, application and bandwidth.


    However, an organization that deals with sensitive data may not like to go for public clouds since configuration, security, and SLA specificity are weak on public clouds.


    • Private Cloud services facilitate flexibility, scalability, provisioning, automation and monitoring for a single company. Private clouds are expensive, but they are highly secured, thus companies dealing with sensitive data may not want to shy away from private cloud model. Private clouds are divided into two categories: On-premise private clouds and externally hosted private clouds.


    • Hybrid Cloud is a mix of public cloud and private cloud. So, you can begin using a public cloud to save your business cost, however, you can also migrate to private cloud as soon as you face security concerns.


    Microsoft's Windows Azure, Amazon Web Services and Rackspace.com are some of the popular names of Cloud Computing service providers.

    Offerings of Cloud Computing Under Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud


    Cloud Computing has three offerings: Platform as a Service(PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).


    PaaS provides a platform to developers to build applications services over the internet using tools and plugins supplied by the provider. All you need to use PaaS services is a computer with an internet connection, obviously you have to pay for the subscription of PaaS services, but only for the services you use. The best part is you need not to worry about update of services, since the PaaS service provider regularly updates the services, upgrades existing features and adds additional features without charging any fee.

    IaaS services include virtual server space, network connections, bandwidth, IP addresses and load balancers. IaaS automatically allocates as many servers as your requirement is, and charges you accordingly. So, IaaS saves you a lot of business cost since you only pay as per the usage of numbers of servers being allocated to your business.

    As IaaS is a scalable service, you need not worry if there is a sudden rise in the numbers of your service users. Moreover, the IaaS service provider is responsible for maintaining the data centers. The IaaS service remains unaffected by the failure of one server or network due to the remaining multitude of hardware resources and redundancy configurations.

    Click here to learn what scalability means in cloud computing.

    Let’s Now Move On To SaaS


    Image source: www.qaist.co.uk


    SaaS means computer applications that sit on the cloud, instead of your computer and devices. It’s true that SaaS is available on the cloud, but it must not be mistaken for the cloud. The reason is simple, developers can develop a SaaS application using PaaS, but the application itself doesn’t mean cloud. Google Apps, Salesforce, Workday, Concur and GoToMeeting are some of the examples of SaaS applications. Unlike PaaS services that are used by software developers, application vendors, savvy computer users and IT executives to build a service or app, SaaS applications are used by end-users.


    While cloud Computing is meant for high-end customization, SaaS is more about low-end customization. By now, it must be clear that Cloud Computing and SaaS are two very different technologies. The only similarity between SaaS and Cloud Computing is that they free you from the need of having on-premise hardware or software.


    The Takeaway: Cloud Computing and SaaS are not one. SaaS is a subset of Cloud Computing.


    SaaS relates to Cloud Computing since it sits on virtual servers, but it must no be mistaken for being Cloud itself. You can use a SaaS application that exists on cloud and build it using PaaS, but can’t call it cloud. If you have ever used a SaaS, PaaS or IaaS and want to share your experience or add more on to the distinction between Cloud Computing and SaaS, please put your views in the comment box below.


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    Posted by on in Mobile Development



    We all have heard the buzz about Virtual Reality (VR) being the next big thing of the future, along with Internet of Things (IoT), right? VR is actually an artificial environment created using computer hardware and software to make it appear real for users. Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist, author, and composer, coined the term Virtual Reality in 1987.


    The good news is that you no longer need to buy expensive Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset to experience Virtual Reality. It may take you by surprise, but as a matter of fact, even an Android or iOS smartphone serves the purpose of a VR device. You can easily pair a sub-£20 Google Cardboard headset with your Android/iOS phone to allow it to use your device’s screen and bring some place else for you.


    Now that you know about VR capabilities of your Android/iOS device, it’s worth knowing about 7 best VR apps. Unlike apps that force you to buy Samsung’s Gear VR mobile headset, these apps are regular Android and iOS apps, meaning no extra burden on your pocket.


    • Cardboard


    Cardboard app is free to download and gives you an easy access to virtual reality. The app is distinct from Google Cardboard, which is a device to place your smartphone into its back and get the amazing view through the lenses in front. Coming back to the Cardboard app, it lets you find those apps that are available for download and are compatible with the Cardboard device, like Earth and Photo Sphere Camera. If you want to build your own Google Cardboard viewer, you must visit Google's Get Cardboard page to learn the specifications. However, if you don’t like this DIY approach, you can buy a pre-manufactured one available from various vendors. Click here to know about best Google Cardboard apps.


    Image source: www.tomshardware.com


    • NYT VR


    NYT VR, a product of New York Times, allows users to view content, like a compelling video of three children who were forced to leave their homes because of conflict. You can watch such videos without Google Cardboard as well, however if you want to feel as if you are there, you must use the Google’s VR device. The video of the three children brings the content back to life, showing you the destruction from war, a plane dropping food to not let the victims starve, etc.


    The website of New York Time says, “All it takes is a smartphone. Go underwater or on the campaign trail. Experience life through the eyes of a refugee or explore previously unseen worlds. Experience stories reported by award-winning journalists, all told in an immersive, 360-degree video experience.” The app is available to download for free for both Android and iOS smartphones.


    Image source: www.technobuffalo.com


    • VRSE


    VRSE, a free-to-download virtual reality app, hosts high production value 3D 360 content. Chris Milk, an artist and filmmaker, who has directed videos for popular names like Kanye West, Beck, Arcade, etc, has formed VRSE to create virtual reality experiences. A short VR documentary “Waves of Grace” tells the story of an Ebola survivor in Liberia. So, you can get the real feel of documentaries with VRSE.


    Vice, The New York Times, and NBC were so smitten by the idea that they decided to enter into a partnership with VRSE. Click here to learn from Chris Milk about the future of VRSE.


    Image source: YouTube.com

    • Sisters: A Virtual Reality Ghost Story


    Sisters: A Virtual Reality Ghost Story app takes your horror experience to an all new level. Don’t give it a try late at night. Without a doubt, the entry of VR in horror genre will encourage other ghost storytellers to bring users scary, terrifying experiences. The app is available to download for free for both Android and iOS smartphones.


    Image source: www.youtube.com

    • Seene


    Seene, a free-to-download app available on Play Store and App Store, enables users capture photographs and view them in 360 degrees. The app does not require a special camera on your smartphone to let you capture and share pics in 3D. Unlike Google’s Cardboard Camera app, Seene sports an awesome feature to share 360-pics with the world. Seene was also crowned as the UK's most innovative mobile company on display at Mobile World Congress.



    Image source: play.google.com


    • Jaunt VR


    Similar to VRSE, Jaunt also enables users to get cinematic VR experiences. The app is available to download from both App Store and Play Store. The company aims at making VR content production easy. Jaunt works with Google Cardboard, $25 Dodocase cardboard headsets and the foam Merge headset. With Jaunt VR, you can celebrate Disneyland's 60th Anniversary celebration on Main Street, USA. Besides, you will feel as if you are on stage with Jack White as he performs “Freedom At 21” at The Bleacher Theater at Fenway Park in Boston, MA. More and more creators are getting attracted to Jaunt to take your entertainment experience to an all new level.


    Image source: www.slashgear.com


    • Orbulus


    Orbulus enables stereoscopic 3D photo viewing on mobile devices. It supports most 3D content viewers like Durovis Dive and Altergaze. It works flawlessly with Google Cardboard and other Smartphone VR Viewers. This VR app lets you visit interesting locations with a simple click. So, you can stand on Mars or get a virtual sight into the New Year’s Fireworks on Hong Kong Harbour by simply looking into your Cardboard gear. It’s also free-to-download VR app for both Android and iOS smartphones.


    Image source: play.google.com


    All these apps are the best VR apps for smartphones and enable you to get first-hand experience of virtual reality, without forcing you to make any hefty investment. Have you ever used a virtual reality app before? If yes, and want to tell us more about VR apps for smartphones, then please share your views in the comment box below.




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    Responsive Web Design.png

    An exponential rise in the popularity of smartphones and tablets has made Responsive Web Design a necessity for website owners. The equation is simple: Build a site with responsive design, and open gates to reach out to a wider audience.


    Before mobile devices began soaring to popularity, the main challenge web designers had to deal with was keeping the same look and feel of their websites. But the spread of mobile devices has drastically changed the web design landscape. Now, web designers have to deal with may tougher challenges in a bid to make their site fit for various screen sizes. And the only solution to this problem is a responsive design. Read this blog to gain insight into benefits, challenges and fixes for developing a website with responsive design.

    Let’s First Talk about Benefits of Responsive Design


    • Flexibility at An All New Level


    A responsive web design site helps achieve content flexibility like never before. The content on sites in question behaves like water to move smoothly across screen resolutions and all devices. I am sure we all have learnt in school that water fits into whatever space it gets and takes its shape too. The same is true for images and grids on a responsive site, since they also act as fluid therein and resize themselves according to different screen sizes and resolutions.


    • Top Notch User Experience


    Content is the success mantra in this current digital arena. However, content fails to yield the desired results if your users are not able to consume it on their preferred choice of device. The implication is pretty clear, responsive web design provides a user top notch user experience, regardless of the device they use to access your site. The content of a responsive web design site remains the same even on different devices and resizes automatically to give the same visual appeal, which significantly enhances user experience.


    Without Responsive Web Design You Can Lose Out

    Source: www.guaranteedseo.com


    • Having a Single Site Reduces the Burden on Your Pocket


    It’s obvious that two sites cost more than one. So, if you build two websites for desktops and mobile devices, you would have to bear the development, maintenance and functional cost of both the sites. But why would you do so when just having one site that conforms to the need of all device can serve the purpose. Thus, a responsive web design site reduces your business cost, and removes the hassles of updating and maintaining two sites.


    • Easily Turns Content On and Off for Each Device


    A responsive layout enables the delivery of relevant content on specific devices. For example, a large sliding banner on your site’s homepage to link various areas of your site is not a fit for a mobile device. But since your site is responsive, smartphone users would see small thumbnails of these banners, thereby making it easier for users to navigate.


    • Eliminates the Need of Developing Mobile App for Multiple Platforms


    A responsive design rids the need of developing platform specific apps. If you developed an app for App Store, you would soon feel the need of developing another one for Play Store. Then, you will have to develop for other app stores to reach out to maximum number of potential users. But why to go through all these hassles when all your users can view your responsive website on any device they prefer. The bottom line is, a responsive site cuts the cost of developing cross-platform apps without causing any negative impact on user experience.


    Image source: www.websolpro.com


    • Google also Recommends Responsive Site


    According to Google, the best thing as far as mobile configuration is concerned is a responsive design of your site. That responsive design sites have one URL and the same HTML for all devices, Google finds it much easier to crawl, index, and organize their content. If you have a different site for smartphones, Google will have to deal with different URl and different HTML than the ones for desktop, forcing the search engine giant to crawl and index multiple versions of the same site.


    • Boosts SEO Efforts


    With responsive web design comes various SEO benefits. A responsive web design not only saves time to maintain just one site, it also reduces the burden of building links and drawing traffic to multiple sites. It becomes much easier to implement SEO techniques and derive fruitful results when you are required to focus only on one site.


    Without a doubt, a responsive web design improves conversion rates, gets more traffic to your site, cuts business cost, saves time and boosts your SEO efforts. However, all these benefits comes along with challenges that developers have to deal with in order to create a responsive web design.

    Let’s now move on to another integral part of this blog: Responsive web design challenges and fixes

    • Sketching and Prototyping


    The visual stage in the past was not a cumbersome process. Before kicking off the development process, the client simply had to give approval for static images and screenshots. However, designing is no longer the same and makes sketching and prototyping a difficult process. Now, more attention is paid to designing elements and devising ways to rearrange them across different screen sizes and resolutions.


    Fix: One way to responsive sketching is creation of sketches for a desktop home page and other website pages first. The next major step is to making them a fit for different device dimensions or at least the devices that are the most popular among people.


    Another way for responsive sketching is to make use of paper in order to let the client understand design layouts and how they are going to reflow on on different mobile screen sizes. Also, instead of creating wireframes for every single page and state, you can create a system of components and figure out ways to reassemble them for different configurations.


    • Navigation


    Image source: www.youtube.com



    We all know about Hamburger Menu, right? The three bars at the top left corner of a user interface still serve the purpose of the navigation button on numerous websites. However, a website with complicated structure makes it troublesome for many users to navigate beyond the three-bar menu.


    Fix: An intuitive and self-explanatory navigation is what designers must aim at. Even a new user can access your site at ease if your navigation decision is based on a careful study of how and why users browse your site. Besides, gaining insight into your site’s content and information architecture could help you a great deal in making the right navigation decision. Moreover, testing navigation on different screen sizes could help you derive important results for much improved accessibility of your site. Click on the link for various responsive navigation and menu patterns.


    • Displaying Data on Small Screens


    Since data tables often have a great number of rows and columns, it becomes very difficult to show them on small screens. The tables become a real bane when they are complex and convoluted.


    Fix: The best way out to deal with data display problems on small screens is to go for responsive tables. Other remedies to the problems are as follows:


    1. Instead of the grid layout, you can create a smaller table without horizontal scrolling.

    2. Create smaller version of tables and give a link to the full version.

    3. Display only important elements, while a drop down menu provides access to all the content of the table.

    4. Use rainbow tables where colors replace columns.


    • Slow Loading


    Sometimes, responsive sites becomes a subject to slow loading due to traffic from both desktops and mobile devices. Also, some responsive sites weigh a lot, a factor that greatly contributes to slow loading. A study shows that 74% of users abandon sites that take more than five seconds to load or provide what they expect.


    Fix: The best solution to this problem is conditional loading, which calls for loading of only what users need. Instead of a flood of images, galleries, documents, downloads etc, you can ensure fast loading of those elements that are paramount to let to the users know what you are offering to them. Since more and more people are becoming used to access the internet through their mobiles rather than desktops, conditional loading stands the best chance to eliminate your responsive site’s loading woes.


    151119-mobile-phone-subscriptions-population-outnumbered-statista-chart.jpg


    • Long Development Time


    Making a site responsive takes a lot of time since you require less resources and time for creating a regular desktop site. However, designers and developers have to make arduous efforts to build a responsive site for various screen sizes. Compared to a regular site, a responsive one takes double the time.


    Fix: Well, the solution to this problem is to make gradual changes on your site and let it evolve naturally. This helps in saving a lot of time and effort since responsive sites can evolve from time to time.


    • Conversion of Fixed Sites into Responsive Ones


    Developers find it difficult to figure out whether to make changes in the less flexible code of fixed-layout websites or leave them as they are.


    Fix: Converting a fixed site into a responsive one involves a lot of effort on developers’ end. But it’s certainly much easier for light and simple sites. There are two ways of doing it: First, you can reverse style sheets and templates and second, you can go ahead with greenfield rebuild. A greenfield rebuild, which entails rebuilding a site without taking any cognizance of prior work, is the best to go for when you need to convert a bigger, complicated website into a responsive site.


    • Older Versions of Internet Explorer don’t Work with CSS3 Media Queries

    Since older versions of IE do not support CSS3 Media Queries, content of a responsive site does not properly display on mobile devices.


    Fix: In order to enable IE users to get proper access to your site, you can put JavaScript into use to make changes in page layouts. For this, it’s important that you pay heed to the size of the browser window.


    You can maintain the original layout by using Polyfill, which is an additional code that opens gates to facilities not being built into a web browser. Polyfill helps a developer implement technology the browser is expected to provide natively. Another way out is to use conditional IE style sheet with elementary styling.



    Responsive web design paves the way to boost business sales, increase traffic, enhance user engagement and stay ahead in the competition. However, you need to cope with various challenges to avail those benefits of responsive web design. If you own a responsive design site or have been a part of responsive web design team ever, please share your experience with us in the comment box below.


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    Posted by on in CMS

    Final1.png


    Are you looking forward to run an online store, but not being able to figure out which Content Management System (CMS) platform is the best to go for? No worries! I am bringing you a detailed list of 6 popular CMS you can choose from to develop a professional and successful ecommerce website.


    The reason behind skyrocketing popularity of CMS in ecommerce space is that it fulfills the emerging new needs of today's online vendors and gives them the much-needed control over their website. However, every CMS has its own advantages and disadvantages, which is why it’s important that you choose the one that best fits your need.

    6 Popular CMS for Ecommerce Sites

    • Magento

    Magento offers Magento Community Edition and Magento Enterprise Edition to choose from as per the requirement of your ecommerce site. Magento Community Edition is a free open source ecommerce software and allows developers to easily customize their online stores. Developers can install extensions via “Magento Connect” to enjoy the flexibility of altering the codes, adding features and improving functionality.


    MMMagento-ecommerce1.png

    Image source: elogic.co


    The ecommerce software also saves you the cost of software licenses since it is based on PHP and MySQL, which is compatible with Linux. Moreover, Magento’s open source community platform continues to expand and offers customers easy access to a giant store of extensions. In contrast to many other open source platforms, Magento Community gives developers a unique option to manage multiple stores, choose their preferred language and offer buyers multiple currency options. Magento Community has many users who make continuous effort to design new plugins and extensions to further improve the functionality of an ecommerce site.


    If you want even more features for your website, then you can go for paid Magento Enterprise Edition.

    Benefits of Magento Enterprise Edition are as follows:

    1. It can handle large catalogues and is perfect for a site that has a large number of products.

    2. Allows quick loading and makes your site scalable.

    3. Flexible Marketing Promotions and Tools.

    4. Online Analytics and Reporting.

    5. Search Engine Optimization with meta-information.

    6. Allows to apply categories of products as cross sell, up sell and related products automatically.

    7. Gives rise to customer-assisted shopping.

    8. Unlike Magento Community, Magento Enterprise Edition offers constant support to its customers.

    9. Faster, more streamlined checkout flow than that of Magento Community.

    10. Enables automated calculation of costs.

    11. Secured payment environment that adheres to PCI security standards council.

    12. Fully customizable order management system.


    • OpenCart

    OpenCart is an open source solution for ecommerce site development. It’s PHP based and opens the gates for easy management of multiple shops from one admin interface. Via default downloads in OpenCart, you can offer your customers over 20 payment gateways and various shipping methods. You can use OpenCart’s extension directory if you wish to get access to more than hundreds of additional payment gateways and shipping integrations. OpenCart also gives rise to DIY, since it’s simple to set up, meaning no reliance on a developer to create and manage your online shop.


    OpenCart_Theme_Sharp_Red_HomePage.jpg

    Image source: forum.opencart.com

    Advantages of OpenCart for an Ecommerce Site:

    1. Flexible, simple and multi-functional.

    2. Easy installation and maintenance.

    3. Light-weight ecommerce solution that uses Ajax technology to ensure fast load time.

    4. Easy issue debugging.

    5. More than 2,700 themes.

    6. Simple shop navigation, one page checkout and handy search.

    7. Allows you to set up different groups for retail customers and wholesalers.

    8. Supports different currencies and varied tax rules.

    9. More than 7000 extensions to ensure top-notch functionality of your site.

    10. Easy performance tracking of your shop.


    • PrestaShop

    PrestaShop is one of the best free open source ecommerce platforms available for download and installation. Since Prestashop generates codes that are search engine friendly, chances for your site to be easily found increase by many folds, and so do conversion rates. PrestaShop offers support for various payment gateways, like PayPal, PayPal Payments Pro DirecPay, Google Checkout, Skrill, Authorize, Net and even EBANX Checkout.


    Prestashop new-fashion-responsive-prestashop-theme-et-poostyle.jpg

    Image source: addons.prestashop.com


    PrestaShop sports more than 310 exquisite features that empower an ecommerce site owner to boost sales. You can easily use PrestaShop’s interface and manage complex inventories with its simple-click updates.


    What PrestaShop has an Offer for Your Ecommerce site?


    1. Responsive templates

    2. Inventory management

    3. High class stock management

    4. Gives the freedom of choosing a numbers of products per page

    5. Boosts SEO efforts

    6. More than 2000 cross platform templates to fit your need

    7. Over 25000 plugins to help your site achieve desired functionality

    8. Easy site management without investing on huge servers and premium hosting plans

    9. Multi-lingual


    • ZenCart

    ZenCart is a free and easy, open source solution for ecommerce. Anyone, with even rudimentary computer skills, can easily install and setup ZenCart, which is based on PHP and backed by MySQL database. The beauty of ZenCart is it offers unique options, features and support that are not available from other open sources content management systems. Industry experts, like programmers, consultants, designers and even business owners, have developed several add-ons to download and install on ZenCart system.

    Features that make ZenCart Feasible Option for many Types and Sizes of E-commerce Stores:


    1. Allows you to bank on cutting-edge combination of PHP and MySQL.

    2. Since it is licensed under GPL2, you have the freedom to modify the source code as per the requirement of your application.

    3. Easy set-up of multiple customer modes and a gamut of shipping options

    4. Offers support to almost every language in the world

    5. Works well with several payment gateways

    6. Enables easy updation of product catalogues. No need to rely on an HTML expert to write codes just to alter products.

    7. Features a sophisticated template system which allows to use both stylesheets and images.

    8. Easy inventory control to create special sales and discount offers

    9. Numerous design options


    m_marketing1.jpg

    Image source: www.12leaves.com

    • osCommerce

    osCommerce is an open source based e-commerce solution that was released under the GNU General Public License. Owing to easy and quick set-up, a wide range of customization choices and a plethora of benefits for an ecommerce site, osCommerce has become one of the the most versatile shopping cart solutions among e-retailers worldwide. Similar to ZenCart, osCommerce is also based on PHP and backed by expandable MySQL. It’s easy to use osCommerce software, however, experts suggest to avail services of osCommerce pros to bring your ecommerce site to fruition.


    home-light.png

    Image source: themeforest.net

    Benefits of Using osCommerce for an Ecommerce Site

    1. Easy to manage categories, manufacturers, customers, reviews and addition or removal of products.

    2. Database backup and restore.

    3. Custom functionalities to meet varied requirement of ecommerce sites.

    4. Static and dynamic banners with detailed statistics.

    5. Emails, newsletters to establish communication with customers.

    6. Easy option to print invoices and packaging lists.

    7. Breadcrumb trails to facilitate easy navigation.

    8. Offers support for both downloadable and shippable products.

    9. Automatic updation of currency exchange rates.

    10. Allows access only to authorized users.

    11. Automatically exhibits website on homepage.

    • VirtueMart (Joomla)


    VirtuMart is a very popular open source ecommerce plugin for Joomla, allowing to handle unlimited products and categories. It offers multi lingual support to reach out to global buyers with your offerings and give a significant boost to your sales. Besides, VirtueMart improves your site’s SERP results, a big factor to catch maximum eyeballs to your ecommerce site.


    VirtueMart’s integration with Joomla opens gates to easily sell your products and services online. An ecommerce business dealing with large products find VirtueMart very useful since it allows detailed product listing. With VirtueMart, it’s a doddle to add information about the parent product, along with a child product on other additional fields. You can add images, videos, use various colors and font sizes to create a snappy product page. VirtueMart plugin boasts about over 500 features , like inventory warnings, multiple payment and shipping options, SEO integrated reviews and many more.

    furniture-1500x1500.jpg

    Image source: stscript.info

    Why VirtueMart is Widely Used by Developers Across the Globe


    1. Allows to sell virtual products (downloadable), like MP3s, videos, etc.

    2. Allows to place products under multiple categories.

    3. Live credit card processing.

    4. Easy configuration/customization.

    5. Complete order management.

    6. Allows shoppers to add their individual shopping addresses.

    7. Administrator can monitor the online shop performance.

    8. Enables to add images and files to every product.

    9. Excellent management of the stock level for products.

    10. Supports numerous payment gateways.


    CMS is not only playing a pivotal role for ecommerce development, but is also seen as the future of overall web development. Although there are many other free open source content management systems available in tech market, I have discussed the five most popular ones that are currently enjoying the widespread usage. However, I still suggest to go for the one that best fits your business requirement. Have you ever used a CMS for your online business and have more to add on to what has already been discussed? If yes, please share your experience with us in the comment box below.

     

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    Posted by on in CMS
    Is CMS the Future of Web Development
    Image source: www.hostingdiary.com

    Nowadays, a content management system (CMS) has become pivotal to website development. CMS is basically an application or software tool that empowers you to create, edit and publish content on your website. So, with a CMS, you no longer need to rely on a Webmaster for managing website pages, blog posts, images, videos, links and other data on your website.


    There are two important elements of a CMS: Content Management Application (CMA) and Content Delivery Application (CDA). The former helps in editing, whereas the latter is the web publishing tool. In order to streamline the web development process, it’s very important that you flawlessly integrate both CMA and CDA in your CMS.


    In contrast to CMS software programs, web-based CMSes have witnessed a skyrocketing rise in their popularity over the past few years, since people prefer using a web interface that makes the website updating process a doddle. Moreover, automatic updates of most web-based CMSes ensure that all users are equipped with latest tools to manage their content. Some of the most popular examples of web-based CMSes are: Wordpress, Blogger, Joomla, Drupal, Weebly, and Wix.

    CMS

    Image source: www.winnipegwebsitedesign.ca

    Let’s understand why CMS is called the future of web development

    • CMS gives you direct control over your website: Since you know you website better than designers and developers, you can better explain your business to your target audience by managing content on your website on your own. A CMS enables you to do exactly the same by allowing you to edit and manage content yourself, that too without learning the complexities of HTML and other technologies.

    • Allows you to schedule your updates: One of the key factors that play a big role in the success of a website is posting fresh content on regular basis. Although search engines are known to give more importance to fresh content, many website owners fail to live up to the challenge of regularly posting fresh content on their websites. That it may, some CMS providers, like Joomla and Wordpress, come to the rescue of such website owners by allowing them to schedule their content.
      So, if you have written 20 articles, you can easily schedule them for the next 20 days and sit relaxed, since your CMS will now ensure that fresh articles are posted on your website on daily basis.

    • Boosts your SEO Efforts: We all know that a website begins generating business only after it is visible to users. And one of the many benefits of CMS is that it supports your SEO efforts by allowing you to make changes in real time to include high-ranking keywords. Improved search-engine results for your website translates into high traffic on your site and better conversion rates.

    • Allows to change design elements with ease: A CMS eliminates the need of going through complex HTML code just to change different parts of your website. Via CMS, you can use templates to make changes in the header, footer, sidebar and add widgets. Moreover, online marketers can use plugins to edit the site design elements for making their respective websites even more attractive to visitors.

    • Improves customer service: With a CMS, you can give your users the freedom of contacting you through your website, rather than taking the pain of sending e-mails. Through a customer service system in your CMS, you can swiftly handle your customer complaints and improve your brand value. FAQs, help sections and support forms go a long way in keeping your customers gratified with your website.

      The Takeaway: Offering a nice way to customers to directly get in touch with you raises the bars of their satisfaction and significantly improves the rate of customer retention. Thus, choose a CMS that involves a public component to allow your customers to directly contact you whenever needed.

    • Gives rise to better communication with your customers: Since many emails systems recognize marketing mails as junk, a CMS sets a great platform for your customers to get useful information directly from your website.

    • Security: Content management systems offer high security since they store your information in a database system that is highly protected by access control mechanisms. Therefore, you stay rest-assured that your vital information is accessible only to authorized users. Website attacks have become common nowadays, which is why more and more businesses want to secure their website content by opting for a CMS-based website.

    • Saves cost: Since you can easily edit and manage your website content yourself, you save the cost of paying to an outside consultant or services for performing the same tasks. You don’t even need to hire a highly skilled developer to update or publish new content on your website. In a nutshell, a CMS saves significant operational cost of your website.

    CMSes have made content publishing and web designing a cakewalk. You can monetize your site by installing plugins that allow visitors to communicate, connect with social networks, and much more. These are the major reasons why CMS is becoming the first choice of online marketers and is called the future of web development.

    If you have any experience in CMS web development, please help us all improve our knowledge on the topic with your vital views in the comment box below.

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    HTML-css-Javascript A front-end developer often wonders about what to do next after having mastered HTML, CSS and Javascript. HTML is a markup language that is used to create static sites, whereas CSS is a styling language that is used to set the visual style of web pages and user interfaces written in HTML and XHTML. Javascript, on the other hand, is a dynamic programming language that supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles. Now that you know the basics of web development, the next big step is to learn PHP and MySQL web development. But why?


    PHP is a brilliant scripting language you can use to create interactive websites, and MySQL is a database management system which opens gates to highly desirable web assets, like email accounts, blogs, content management systems etc.

    Let’s talk about why PHP is important

    Having an interactive site brings a plethora of benefits to the owner. And what could be a better language than PHP for creating an interactive website or app that gives rise to consumer communication and paves the way to establish a strong relationship with them. As a web developer, you will find that it’s very easy to learn PHP and parse its syntax. Below are some important advantages of learning PHP:


    • Helps create dynamic pages with customized features.

    • Ensures stability and cross-platform compatibility.

    • Eliminates the need of separate coding for PHP since it is well capable of decoding HTML.

    • It’s easy to incorporate PHP into a code generated by WYSIWYG editors.

    • No need to rewrite every line of HTML in a programming language.

    • Reduces cost and increases efficiency of the websites or applications.

    • PHP is interoperable with multiple operating systems.

    • All the components of PHP are free to use since it is open source and is developed and updated by a community of developers world over.


    You can flawlessly meet specific requirements of clients since PHP can be easily customized. PHP is extensively used for creating e-commerce sites due to its ability to execute all the demands for ecommerce development. It’s not wrong to say that creation of interactive websites, high-end web development and online application development become a doddle with PHP. Moreover, PHP gives unlimited control over your web server, like processing a credit card, extracting data from a third party website etc.

    Let’s now move on to one of the most famous database management systems called MySQL


    MySQL is a relational database system and is widely used as the preferred database solution for websites due to its small size and speed. It’s easy to use, secure, powerful and scalable. Even a few simple SQL statements are enough to build and interact with MySQL. Benefits of MySQL are as follows:


    • High speed: Database professionals can easily configure the MySQL database server specifically for particular applications. MySQL is well capable of meeting the requirements of any system, be it a high-speed transactional processing app or a high volume website.


    • High Availability: MySQL guarantees high availability with a gamut of top-notch options, ranging from high-speed master/slave replication configurations, specialized Cluster servers offering instant failover, to third party vendors offering unique high-availability solutions for the MySQL database server.


    • Scalability and flexibility: Flexibility is one of the great features of MySQL. Since MySQL is open source, it enables easy customization for the clients who demand addition of certain requirements into the database server.


    • Safety and reliability: MySQL offers highly secured environment for the data stored in the database server. With encrypted database passwords, it ensures that only authorized users are able to access to data stored in the database server. MySQL also makes it possible to create physical backup and full and point-in-time recovery.


    • Cross-platform support: MySQL can be installed in all major operating systems LINUX, UNIX, Windows, Solaris etc. It also flawlessly runs with several development interfaces. like JDBC, ODBC, Python and many more.


    • Comprehensive support for every application development need: Owing to the comprehensive support for every application development need,MySQL has carved a niche for itself in the tech market. Support for stored procedures, triggers, functions, views, cursors, ANSI-standard SQL and more can be easily found within the database. Connectors and drivers ensure that all types of applications can make use of MySQL as a preferred data management server.


    Both PHP and MySQL are web-oriented, and PHP has special inbuilt features to communicate well with MySQL. Facebook, Yahoo! and Wordpress are some of the popular examples of PHP and MySQL web development. They work brilliantly together and provide one of the fastest ways to deliver web pages. For a front-end developer who has already learnt HTML, CSS and Javascript, the next big step is to learn PHP and MySQL.

    As always, your inputs are vital for all our readers, please share them in the comment box below.

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    Posted by on in General


    What was your main aim behind building a website for your company? You would say, to promote your business and market your products, right? But a bigger question is do we know another stark reality - Without an appealing web design, most of your efforts to monetize visitors go in vain. Now that we are in 2017 already, it’s paramount to figure out what trends will appear and evolve in web design this year. So, here is a complete list of top web design trends that will rule the web in 2017.

    Top Web Design Trends to Look Out for in 2017


    • Vertical user flows: That mobiles have become a commonplace for users to surf the internet, web designers would feel enticed to give their websites the feel of vertical patterns and scrolling. Even Google confirmed last year that it witnessed more searches via smartphones than desktops. So, it’s important that your web design allows users to scroll more on smaller screens. In a nutshell, vertical user interfaces will become the thing of present in 2017 to lure prospective customers into visiting your sites, and thereby increasing conversion rates.


    • Card-style interface designs: Card-style designs are becoming ubiquitous since they help a great deal in giving personalized experiences built on collection of many individual pieces of content. Knowing that cards provide a perfect view of content from different sources, popular sites like Facebook and Pinterest have already joined the bandwagon of card-style architecture. Rise of mobile technologies has greatly contributed to the emergence of card-style interface designs.


    .



    Image source: www.droid-life.com


    Cards-layouts are a great medium to communicate stories and make it much easier for users to scan blocks. The freedom users get to view content immediately and as they wish is the biggest reason we find card-style interfaces in several apps, websites and printed pieces. And this trend is highly likely to surge in 2017 right from where it ended in 2017.


    • High quality background videos and images: Users understand a story more clearly when they see visuals and motions on your website in the form of photos, 3D graphics and HD quality videos. A website background with large-sized photos or headers with large images or hero headers gives users an entranced view your website. Thanks to recent advancements in mobile technology for making it possible to reduce bandwidth and compress images without compromising on quality.

    Image source: www.udemy.com


    According to ClickZ, online content video views surpassed 50 billion a month for the first time on record. The implication is crystal clear, grace your website with snappy background image and high quality videos to grab the attention of users.


    • Motion animations: Anything that involves movement catches a human eye. Motion animations rose in popularity in 2015 and the path is set for them to surge even higher in 2017. We can expect their sizes to decrease, but they are a great medium to keep users engaged while they wait for content to load. Web designers first need to identify the purpose tiny animations have to serve so that they can create the desired effect on users.



    Image source: 1stwebdesigner.com


    • Stylish loading bars: We all know that users quickly disappear from sites that take more than four to six seconds to load. The remedy to the poorly designed loading page is a loading page itself, but it must keep users interested and doesn’t let them drive away from your site. The loading page can tell users the story of what you do. For example, a car-selling site could have a loading bar that looks like a car running towards the finishing line.


    Image source: www.pinterest.com



    • Unique typography: Typography is where art meets text. In 2017, designers will realize the potential of typography to give their websites a unique look. The typeface of your website is important for branding since it plays a big role in whole representation of your website. You must ask these two questions to yourself before deciding on the typography for your website:


    Which fonts could reflect your brand identity?

    Can users see in them the message you want to deliver?


    Typography indeed has an impact on conversion rates, thus it’s very imperative that you make use of more usable web type tools like Google Fonts and Adobe Typekit.



    Image source: gtechdesign.net


    • Hamburger menu: Since the whole world is moving towards smaller screens, hamburger menus are expected to rise to even more popularity. A hamburger menu rids the need of taking too much room on a website. Hamburger menus make a site appear free of navigation clutter like drop-downs, social icons, search bars and utility links. Since most people are familiar with the usage of a hamburger menu, web designers would like to place navigation under it in 2017.



    Image source: techcrunch.com


    • Websites with full-screen slides: We have already seen websites with sliders where images move within a frame to display content. These slides then transformed into full-screen slides. These full-screen slides bring new content after being refreshed with a click, scroll or timed effect. The advantage of these full-screen slides is that they give users a physical experience as they navigate forward and backward. In 2017, we can expect an abundance of sites trying to nack upon on this concept.


    Image source: nowtheme.com


    • Bold colors: Web designers will increasingly make use of vibrant colors and bold tone combinations to add a unique eye appeal to their websites. Unlike 2015 when more monotone big colors designs were used, larger and brighter color palettes will be used in 2017.


    Web design trends keep on evolving to add more to site aesthetics, be it visual or text. The above examples are top trends that seem to reign web designing in 2017. If you have any experience in web designing and want to add more to what has already been discussed, please share them in the comment box below.


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    Mobile App Testing Trends

    Mobile app testing is a great determining factor for the commercial success of a mobile app. Being unique is not enough for your mobile app to stand out in the app market since users often do away with apps that have functionality problems, bad network performance, crashes, complex user interface and cross-platform compatibility issues. So, a right mobile app testing strategy is the best way out to give your app all it needs to deliver a top-notch user experience and become a big hit. However, you must pay heed to emerging app testing trends to create a robust strategy.


    Top seven mobile app testing trends to look out for in 2016

    • High Security

    Since many mobile users store their sensitive and personal information on their mobile devices, there is always a high risk for identity theft and financial frauds. Mobile users are also prompted by some apps to share their sensitive data. Knowing the data theft threat, Quality Assurance (QA) professionals would like to take a holistic approach in 2016 while conducting security and penetration testing of their mobile apps, thereby ensuring the safety of the user’s sensitive data.


    • Internet of Things

    Internet of Things (IoT) has significantly grown in popularity over the past few years. Development of not only mobile applications, but modern web applications too is highly likely to be greatly impacted by IoT, since it could help a great deal in improving daily productivity levels for various organizations. Testers will have to make sure that performance and functionality of their apps is top notch when communicating with other connected devices.


    • Mobile Payments
    mobile payment
    Image source: oivietnam.com
    More and more online shoppers are now turning to mobile apps to make their purchases. Since mobile commerce is on the rise, QA professionals would need to ensure that the users are able to buy online using their debit card, credit card, Google Wallet or Apple Pay in the most secured way. Performance, security and usability will be the highest priority of mobile commerce testers in 2016.


    • Cloud Platform for Mobile
    Since cloud computing enables businesses to save huge costs, testers would also like to use cloud platform for testing mobile apps. Mobile cloud platform would eliminate the need of buying expensive devices to test mobile apps. With mobile cloud computing, it would become a doddle for QA professionals to work with several real testing devices connected to the network. Since cloud computing platform paves the way for creating a customized testing environment, many organizations would not shy away from making investments in mobile cloud platforms in 2016.


    • Voice Commands
    Owing to the ease of operating mobile phones, voice commands have become very popular among mobile users. They can easily open mobile apps by giving voice commands rather than opening them manually. Google Now and Siri are good examples of how voice command features are revolutionizing the mobile technology. Therefore, testers’ focus would certainly be on ensuring that the performance of their apps is not hampered while responding to voice commands.


    • Better Access to Big Data
    Big data has created a lot of hype already, with many chief managers using it for effective lead generation and taking informed business decisions. Big data has a plethora of advantages to offer to every business, regardless of their sizes, like improved business intelligence, deep insight into customer behavior etc. In 2016, QA professionals will look forward to devise new ways to test enterprise mobile apps, so that users can easily access and process more big data than ever.
    Big Data
    Image source: www.businessesgrow.com

    • Automation Testing
    Automated mobile app testing will become more common in 2016 as many organizations look forward to speed up their mobile app testing, in addition to saving time and money. However, In order to let it happen, companies would be required to invest in several mobile testing tools and frameworks. For easy application installation and GUI interaction, testers can put into use automated test scripts. An organization can also outsource app testing task to a company holding good experience in app testing.
    Mobile app testing has a big role to play in deciding the fate of your mobile app. So, make sure you take cognizance of the emerging mobile app testing trends in 2016 in order to bring your mobile app in line with the most sought-after ones.
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    Source: YouTube

    You may have heard the new buzzword in software development world - Language Agnosticism. Language Agnosticism is a skill that programmers develop by expanding their reach to different languages. Simply knowing a programming language does not seem to be the thing of present anymore to make a mark in the software development industry as a software developer. Since software development paradigm has witnessed radical changes in the past few years, language agnosticism appears to have become a kind of necessary skill software developers should have. Let’s talk about what Language Agnosticism is and implications it has for software developers.

    What’s this “Language Agnosticism” software developers just can’t stop talking about


    Language Agnosticism means choosing a language that best fits a particular task based on factors like ecosystem, developer skill-sets, performance etc. If you are a language agnostic aspirant, you need to transcend the boundary of a specific set of language.


    Let’s better understand this with an example: You are a Java developer, but you have a new development task ahead for which Ruby or Perl is more appropriate. So, despite being a Java expert, you decide to go with either Ruby or Perl since they best suit the development task you are going to take up. This capability of a software developer is called as Language Agnosticism.

    Why Language Agnosticism is being touted as a boon to software development?


    Software engineering is no longer restricted only to writing code. It requires much more than that, like finding an effective solution to any problem related to software development, script, algorithm etc. Software developers also need to know about language-agnostic interfaces for software development. Language Agnosticism gives software developers the much-needed freedom to develop apps in their preferred languages. Below are the benefits of being language agnostic:


    • You become a complete software engineer rather than simply being a Java developer or C++ developer.


    You have been working as a Java developer or C++ developers for quite sometime and now you want to become versatile and stand out as a software engineer. The solution is to become a language agnostic, which will require you to learn other languages like Haskell or Scala. You will initially face problems learning a new language, but within a week or two you will begin picking it up. Once you get a strong grip over the new languages, your value as a software engineer increases by many folds.


    • Helps figure out how to use certain language features effectively


    A programmer is not using any object-oriented features in his/her C++ code and passing everything as a pointer. What do you make out of it? Simple, the developer is not programming in C++. Instead, the programming is being done in C using a C++ compiler. A language agnostic never makes a mistake of believing that learning a language is synonymous to writing code that compiles. He/she rather figures out what those things are and how to put them into the best use in that language.


    Many changes have occurred in ECMAScript 2015,  but it is yet possible to cross-compile any other language to ES5, though some will require a bunch of libraries to become as effective as desired.


    • Gives rise to nimble thinking


    When you know various languages, you tend to get the knack for finding quick solutions to future problems. The reason for this is well justified. Since you can think about your problem in several frameworks, chances are high for you to find a cleaner and effective solution to your problem.


    • A language agnostic software developer is a happy software developer


    Performance and quality of software have a direct impact on the happiness of software developers. Since language agnosticism paves the way for building good software, a language agnostic is happier than the ones who are not. Moreover, a language agnostic feels encouraged to keep on honing their skills and become better software engineers.


    If you want to get insight into language-agnostic interfaces for software development, click here.


    Language agnosticism opens new avenues for software developers to enhance their programming skills and stand out to offer unique solutions to their respective clients or organizations. Your views are highly welcome in the comment box below.









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    6 Keys to Building a Successful Mobile App
    Image source: www.infoq.com
     

    Mobile apps are everywhere, be it movie tickets, ordering pizza to kill that untimely hunger, playing your favorite game, or even traveling to a distant corner of the world. The omnipresence of mobile apps is attributable to unprecedented growth many companies have witnessed year by year in the recent past.

    There is no denying the fact that mobile apps have brought customers what they exactly wanted - The ease of placing orders without even visiting a store themselves and being heard in a quick span. Such a liberty has encouraged consumers world over to buy products and avail services from businesses that actually offer them via mobile apps. This notion is perhaps leading every business now to joining the bandwagon of mobile apps.

    However, is it really so easy to develop a mobile app that uplifts your business and make it do wonders? Unfortunately, NO! According to a report by a reputed survey firm, 25% apps were downloaded only once after their installation from 2011 to 2015.

     

     

    Mobile app failure

     

                                       Image source: www.slideshare.net

     

    Although mobile apps are easier to create due to less coding, involve simpler graphics, a limited range of features and require less memory space, they do not guarantee you the success and high ROI. It’s very easy to go astray and end up being a failure, if you don’t pay heed to six key points to build a successful mobile app.

     

    1.  Your app shouldn’t be a raw fruit stemming from a mere thought

     

    Don’t look at your mobile app as just another screen. You might think the idea of your mobile app is unique and will be highly embraced by people, but it’s more important to ask a few questions to yourself before entering into the development phase.

    • How your app is going to benefit your target audience
    • How your app will engage users
    • What’s the roadmap for making your app a success? 

    Happy and satisfied customers translate one’s business struggle into success. And this exactly what your app should aim at. Before going ahead with app development, you must assess your business and its customers. If an app could really help your customers get what they need, then your decision to develop a mobile app actually have great substance to produce fruitful results for your business. In even simpler words, one needs not to develop an app just because others are doing it. The decision should be based on the results of the comprehensive analysis of your business needs and customer requirements.

     

    1. Multiple mobile platforms

     

    Multiple mobile platforms
    Image source: www.rishabhsoft.com
     
     
     

    Since people use mobile phones that are powered by different operating systems (Android, iOS, Windows etc), it becomes paramount to develop a mobile app for cross mobile platforms. You need to have different development teams for different platforms, as UI and UX conventions of iOS are very different from Android or Windows.

    According to a report, Android recorded the highest app downloads in 2014, though iOS apps stayed at the top for revenue generation. The implication is crystal clear - Don’t put all eggs in one basket, and design your app for multiple mobile platforms to ensure maximum user acquisition.

     

    1. Build a unique-yet-simple mobile app

     

    The much-desired success of your mobile app has a heavy reliance on what positive difference it makes to people since there could be many mobile apps serving the same purpose. Therefore, you should incorporate some viral mechanism into your app, so that anyone using it spreads a word of mouth and gets more users to your app.

    Another important key to success of your mobile app is keeping things as simple as possible. You must refrain from adding unnecessary features in you app. Make it a point that your app’s user interface (UI) is easy to understand and navigate. There is no hyperbole in saying that user experience (UX) decides the fate of every mobile app, thus strive hard to deliver top-notch UX to your app users.

     

    1. App marketing

     

    App marketing Strategize
    Image source: ibrandstudio.com
     
     

    You might have developed the best app in the world, but chances are always high for it to stumble if you do not promote it. App marketing is as important as app development. Adoption of right marketing strategies help create brand awareness and take your apps to masses. Press releases, social media campaigns, pay-per-click marketing and email marketing are some of the effective ways to let your target audience know about your new app and the benefits they can avail through it. Effective marketing entails right planning and knowledge of powerful marketing mediums and techniques.

     

    1. User engagement

     

    engaging your app users
    Image source: appdevelopermagazine.com

     

     

    The more you engage your app users, the more you lure them into coming back to your app. You need to make a list of ideas that could go a long way in engaging your app users. Some of the examples are:

    • The look and the feel of your app should be awe inspiring.
    • You can make a list of loyal users and offer them exciting rewards, which would further encourage them to keep using your app.
    • Nice features and simple UI lead to great user experience, thus enhanced user engagement.
    • You can incorporate a message feature in your app to regularly communicate with your app users. This allows you to swiftly tell your app users every time a new upgrade is available which they can download from their respective app stores.
    • Enable social sharing to integrate community
    • Listen to what your users are saying
    • Marketers should also apply Gamification techniques to enhance user engagement

     

    1. Use metrics to gauge the contribution of your mobile app in your business growth

     

    You have launched your mobile app on multiple mobile platforms, but how you will determine its performance and its direct impact on your business growth. The answer is simple - put into use right metrics to measure how your app is performing and its efficacy to engage users. Such an effort allows you to figure out strengths and weaknesses of your app. User feedback in early stages opens gates to optimize and iterate your app to make it enticing for users.

     There is no fixed formula to make an app a big hit, however, there certainly are some practices app developers can follow to get an edge over their competitors and increase their business sales. I have shared some of such tips through this blog. If you have any experience in building a successful app and want to add your views, please share them in the comment box below.

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    NFC (near field communication) chips have become the new buzzword for marketers across the world. With NFC chips, marketers feel that they can easily deliver product/marketing content to their target audience, and thereby give a big boost to their respective businesses.

    What are NFC chips?

    NFC chips pave the way for an easy wireless connection between a mobile device and an NFC tag. Although NFC chips are not something very new - their emergence dates back to 1980s - they have become very popular in the past few years as marketers see them as a brilliant way to deliver content from one device to another.


    The word “near” in near field communication signifies proximity since NFC chips-enabled smartphones can communicate with NFC tags only when they are 4 cms or less  close to each other. Such a proximity ensures high security and privacy.

    Untitled design.png

                 Image source: www.makeuseof.com

                                         

    “NFC technology essentially converts smartphones into loyalty cards, single-tap location ‘check in’ devices, concert tickets, coupon carriers, contactless payment devices, transit tickets, and secure keys to access cars, hotel rooms, buildings, and computers—the possibilities are endless”, says Ruediger Stroh, executive vice president and general manager, Identification Business, NXP Semiconductors.


    Imagine the fun of shopping without having to face the hassles of carrying and handling your credit card. Moreover, you are relaxed all the way through since there is no danger of credit card theft. NFC technology revolutionizes the way we pay for items we buy - simply take your phone close to an NFC enabled kiosk and pay at one go for all your purchases. Sounds exciting, isn’t it? Google Wallet has already made it possible for users to store their credit cards, gift cards and coupons in their smartphones and make a purchase. Android Beam is another example of how people share photos, videos and other data via NFC.


    While the NFC technology is rising to popularity among both marketers and buyers, QR (Quick Response) codes have begun to decline after a long-time popularity.

    What are QR codes?

    QR codes are like bar codes and a user has to scan it with the help of their smartphones. For analyzing a  QR code, a user has to download a scanning app in their smartphone to analyze the information written in the square shaped bar codes.


    You must have seen QR codes on poster advertisements, newspaper ads, business cards, utility bills etc. QR codes are very popular in Japan. The US has also witnessed a skyrocketing rise in the use of QR codes in the past few years. However, many tech giants, including, Google says that NFC chips will replace QR codes as advertisement vehicles in near future.


    hands-1167612_960_720.jpg

    Source: www.123rf.com

    There are several benefits of NFC chips over QR codes:


    NFC Chips

    QR Codes

    NFC chips are flexible. No need to create a new NFC tag to store different types of information and cause changes into it.

    Changes can’t be made to an existing QR code.

    NFC offers faster, easier and more secure transactions. A user only needs to wave their smartphone near the NFC tag area to let the information transfer instantly.

    QR codes are not as fast as NFC is since a user first needs to open a scanner app in their smartphone, hover over the code and wait till the time the smartphone analyzes it and reacts to the code.

    The feeling of use is natural. Touch is a natural action.

    There is no natural feel since a user needs to open a scanning app to perform the action of reading a QR code.

    NFC technology allows a two-way communication, thus could be used for a wide range of applications, such as mobile payments, secure access control and pairing electronic devices.

    QR codes have no concept of two way communication.

    NFC tags can be hidden behind printed media or within products.

    QR codes are visible and not much could be done to maintain their performance via customization.

    NFC tags offer high security since they have a fixed manufacturer ID number. Moreover, encryption is supported by special tags to hide the programmed data.

    QR codes are not at all secured.


    The only disadvantage of NFC technology compared to QR codes is that NFC chips are expensive and cost £0.20 ($0.30) each for an order of 1,000 tags. However, many tech companies are investing in research and development of NFC technology to bring down the price of NFC chips by a big extent in future. That it may happen, NFC technology opens gates for digital marketers to use it as the preferred embedded digital advertisement tool as more and more people buy NFC-enabled smartphones.  According to a report, there will be 1.2 billion NFC handsets world over by 2018.


    Star_Trek-Melbourne-08961_opt.jpg

    Image source: www.mobilecommercedaily.com


    The time is not too far when an NFC tag within a poster of the latest movie in a cinema hall will let you get all the details of the movie with the help of your NFC-enabled smartphone, including online trailers, pictures and special interviews.


    With NFC chips, marketers can make it possible for their target audience to access online content with utmost ease.  Marketers can use proximity marketing to their advantage by sending messages to any smartphone within the range of a particular product. They can develop analytics based on the reaction of customers to those messages and target the ones who appeared interested.


    If you have ever availed NFC services and have some additional inputs to describe how they can help marketers to grow their business, please share them in the comment box below.




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    Image source: www.gamemarketeers.com


    Nobody had perhaps thought when mobiles phones were born that they would one day become an essential part of marketing. The popularity of mobile phones and apps has gone sky high, especially in the past few years. Mobile apps have become an important cog in the wheel of marketing strategies of many businesses world over. However, it’s difficult to devise a marketing plan without getting a deep insight into mobile app statistics. So, here I am bringing for you 7 stats that highlight the importance of mobile app marketing.


    1. Number of mobile subscriptions surpasses the world’s population

    According to Ericsson’s most recent Mobility Report, the total number of mobile subscriptions in 2015 outnumbered the number of people living on our planet. The implication is crystal clear that smartphones have become the first choice of people to access the Internet.


    151119-mobile-phone-subscriptions-population-outnumbered-statista-chart.jpg

    Image source: statista.com

     

    2. 58% Rise in smartphone application usage over the last year

     

    A new report by Yahoo-owned mobile analytics firm Flurry shows that overall smartphone app usage grew by 58% in 2015.


    • A major chunk, i.e. 48%, of the 58% growth in app usage came from existing users in 2015, up from 20% the previous year.

    • Personalized apps, like Android-lock screens, witnessed a skyrocketing rise of 332% in session usage.

    • News and magazine apps, on the other hand, recorded a staggering growth of 135% in 2015.


    23883689720_af50251775_h.jpg

    Image source: http://flurrymobile.tumblr.com/

     

    3. Android apps rocked in 2015


    Another interesting fact about mobile apps, according to a report by App Annie, is the total time spent on Android mobile applications soared by 63% in 2015.  


    total-time-spent-apps.png

    Image source: App Annie


    The report shows that the downloading gap between Android apps and iOS apps is widening at an unprecedented pace. However, an important point to note here is that Android apps are still way behind iOS apps when it comes to monetization. The key is to develop apps that are available to both Android users and iOS users since the duo reign the app market combined.


    Emerging market like India, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico are making a significant contribution in the growth of Android app market.

     

    4. Google Play will become the leader in app market by 2020


    The App Annie report also shows that Google Play store will have 166.4bn app downloads by 2020. Such an abundance of app downloads will take Google Play store to the number one position in the app market.

     

    5. Apple iOS will make the highest app revenue in 2020

    Although Google Play Store is estimated to continue record the highest number of app downloads in future, Apple iOS is expected to remain at the top in terms of app revenue. Apple iOS app revenue was 75% higher than that of Google Play store in 2015 despite the latter having twice the number of app downloads than the former’s in the same year.  


    Apple iOS app revenue will touch the $45bn dollar mark in 2020, almost 200% up from 2015.

     

    6. One billion people will use mobile commerce to shop in 2018

    More and more people are moving to online shopping every day. However, there is a clear shift in the trend of online shopping - shoppers are now increasingly using their smartphones to shop online instead of desktops.


    It is expected that m-commerce buyers will exceed to 1 billion in 2018.



    Image source: Statista.com.

     

    7. Mobile ad spending to reach $200bn by 2019


    Investment in mobile marketing will keep growing over the years. The market for mobile advertising is growing at such a rapid pace that it will soon surpass all other digital platforms. Since people are now spending more time on their smartphones than PCs, many businesses are feeling the need of investing a hefty sum of money in mobile ad spending. So much so that, $200bn will be spent on mobile ad spending by the end of 2019, says a report by eMarketer.



    Smartphones present a great marketing opportunity to businesses. I have offered you an insight into now and future of mobile app marketing through some significant stats. If you want to add some more stats and give readers additional information on mobile app marketing, please share them in the comment box below.

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    Posted by on in Marketing

    ImageScreenshot from 2017-06-13 12:22:38.png

    Last updated on: June 13, 2017

    The world has witnessed a rapid shift from analog to digital in the past few years. Since digital content is catching more and more eyeballs on daily basis, digital marketing has become the mainstream marketing strategy for businesses worldwide to boost their sales. So it won’t be wrong to say that digital marketing has become the new frontier of digital marketing. Through this blog, I am attempting to shed light on 9 biggest digital marketing trends that’s been making the waves in the digital world.

    #1 Social Media Ads

    More than a billion people exist on social media, making social media sites a great platform to post ads and increase sells. With cutting-edge tools, digital marketers can identify their target customers and sell them products via social media ads. Targeted marketing and retargeting will certainly be a differentiating factor between digital marketing and traditional marketing in 2016.

    According to Interpublic Group’s Magna Global, digital ad spend grew 13.5% in 2016 and left behind TV as the biggest advertising platform in 2017. Social media advertising account for a big percentage of digital advertising. According to eMarketer, social media ads spending soared to $23.68bn in 2016 and will reach $35.98bn by the end of 2017.

    #2 Native Advertising

    Since Ad blockers inhibit the strength of modern-day marketers to display ads on many websites, it’s essential to follow a pragmatic approach of native advertising.

    The best characteristic of native ads is they do not appear promotional, which is why ads blocking technology can’t stop them from being displayed. Ads blocking technology has emerged as the bane of digital marketers, which is why it’s paramount to create native ads and reach out masses with your products.

    #3 Ads via Facebook Messenger

    We all user Facebook messenger to communicate with friends and loved ones. Taking a significant step further, Facebook opened Messenger to third parties as well, thereby allowing users to interact with businesses and buy products they feel they need.. Messenger has millions of active users, meaning it could have a great impact on your digital marketing efforts.

    Digital marketers must see a great opportunity in Messenger app to tap into the abundance of users and bolster their coffer.

    #4 Podcasts

    A podcast, which is a digital audio file that you can download and listen on your preferred device, has emerged as a great tool for digital marketers to spread their message across the world. Podcasts are trending, which provides a brilliant opportunity to digital marketers to advertise their products and boost their business sales.

    Podcasts also paves the way to build customer loyalty by allowing you to offer tips to customers to fix resolve their problems. For example, if your company sells financial products, then you can offer your customers the guidance on important financial matters via podcasts. The most popular podcast programs, like TED Radio Hour and “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, were chosen by Squarespace and Casper to capture ad space during breaks, which significantly help them expand their ads reach and increase their bottom line.

    #4 Marketing Automation

    Marketing automation system has become the need of the hour for businesses in 2016. Marketing automation involves content management, social media automation, email scheduling, segmenting contacts and many more. Automated marketing not only reduces the size of your marketing team to half, but makes is possible to reach your goals faster, too.

    By adopting marketing automation, digital marketers can bring ease to their jobs and make their goals achievable.

    #5 Video Marketing

    Video marketing possesses a great potential to create an impact on your prospective customers to buy your products. People are more likely to jump on videos than exploring a static ad. Since videos are full of colors, visuals, sounds and music, they keep the audience engaged and attract their attention to your products.

    In 2016, digital marketers across the globe focussed on short videos (not more than 30 seconds) to take their businesses to fruition.

    #6 PPC Personalization

    Gone are the days when paid search was restricted only to targeting the right keywords to identify people who can buy your products. There have been many negative impacts on sales due to irrelevant clicks and site visits. But not anymore, the year 2016 calls for finding the right audience on the web. In 2015, Google introduced a top-notch feature, called Customer Match, to allow a company to upload a list of emails that customers have provided to the company and when these customers are signed into Google Search, YouTube, or Gmail, the company can show them its product ads.

    The Internet knows a lot about people, the need is just to understand their behavior and make a list of those who are likely to show interest in what you have on offer.

    #7 Buy Buttons

    Social media sites, like Pinterest and Twitter, are also using buy buttons to make it easier for users to directly buy from there itself. Buy buttons on social media sites will avoid the need of visiting an e-commerce site to buy products, which would be a welcome change for more than one billion social media users worldwide. Marketers need to acclimatize to this changing trend and strive hard to make out the best of buy buttons on social media sites.

    #8 Mobile Marketing

    Mobile users have already surpassed the numbers of desktop users, which has a great implication for digital marketer.. A sudden rise in mobile users to access the internet has caused the stir in SEO arena, requiring marketers to optimize their sites for mobile devices too. So, digital marketers must deploy mobile marketing strategies to increase the visibility of their products to maximum users.

    Digital marketing has become the need of the hour, no matter what type your business is. If you are a digital marketers, you must take cognizance of the above eight trends to add new dimensions to your business. If you have interesting digital marketing strategies in mind, please share with all our readers in the comment box below.

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    Posted by on in Android Development

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    Updating a mobile app is essential to build trust among users that you are willing to improve the overall user experience and fix the app issues that arise from time to time. Android developers also pay heed to that matter and regularly publish their app updates on Play Store. Google has recently brought a welcome change for Android developers by allowing them to use a timed publishing approach for updates on Play Store.

    However, Android developers must not mistake time publishing approach for scheduled updates. It may appear from Google’s support document that Android developers can schedule time for publishing updates to their apps, but that is certainly not the case.

    What is this timed publishing approach?

    With timed publishing, Android developers need not to bear the stress of working out when their Android app updates may go live. Android developers first need to push the new APK for their apps and then wait for a couple of hours, which is the normal time for processing. After this, they will get a “Go Live” button, pressing on which will make the update available for all users within minutes and at the same time.

    So, Android developers now have the option to make an update available for all users at once, but they still have to press the “Go Live” button. There is no option to choose a specific time to schedule the publishing time for an update, which may seem from what Google has worded the update in their support docs.

    Limits of Timed publishing approach

    Both Android developers and users appear rejoicing over the new change, but they must note that timed publishing is only meant for updates to an existing app in Play Store, and not for publishing a new app.

    However, Android developers also must understand that Google has not removed the processing waiting period for app updates, and they can process only one change at a time. Besides, they will not be able to revert changes, meaning they need to fix all the bugs before making their update live for everyone at once. An extra stint would also be needed at Android developers' end to ensure that all their servers are in sync with each other.

    Benefits of timed publishing approach

    • Google says that Android app updates will not take more than a few minutes to be available for all users after the processing wait period is over, but it certainly won’t take hours like in the past for the same.

    • The new change makes it easier for Android developers to make app updates available to users, without worrying about when they may go live as they were previously used to after hitting the publish button.

    • Android app users also don’t need to wonder when updates would be available to them.

    • Once an app update is successfully processed, Android app developers can choose to hit the “Go Live” button sometime later to coincide it with a press release, ad campaign or other events pertinent to their apps.

    Timed publishing for Android app updates is a brilliant new feature for Android developers to take advantage of. Many app developers, without a doubt, will take cognizance of it and feel encouraged to shift their focus to Android apps, since Android users exist in abundance. If you have any additional information to share about timed publishing of Android app updates, please mention them in the comment box below.


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    Last updated on: 02/05/2017

    Agile Project Management Methodology has emerged as a great alternative to traditional project management methodology, like Waterfall. Agile is predominant in IT and software projects since it allows to adapt to rapidly changing business environments. Unlike traditional project management, Agile calls for producing and delivering work in short bursts, also called sprints.

    Gathering all the requirements before the development team even starts writing the code puts your software at a great risk of being not in line with current market demands and become a failure. When you decide what your product should be in the very beginning, you tend to ignore important iterations that must be made during the development lifecycle, thereby preventing your final product from being the right fit for the market.

    A plethora of project management methodologies are available in tech market, however, for the success and timely completion of a project, it’s imperative to choose the one that fits your business requirements and empowers the product development to keep the pace with changing client demands.

    Key characteristics of Agile Project Management

    • Empowers developers to self-organize the task

    • Enhances learning, knowledge sharing and communications among team members

    • Emergent behavior to deal with uncertainty

    • No detailed documentation and calls for just enough planning

    • Continuous product refinement via regular iterations

    • Constant feedback, research and creativity

    • Faster completion of projects without compromising on the quality of desired product

    • Maximum ROI

    Agile project management is a boon especially to IT field because time determines the fate of your product. Since IT has become a fast-paced world, months have been reduced to weeks, and weeks have been reduced to days. If you take too long to develop a software, chances are high that the requirements for it change drastically by the time it is finally available for use, which makes Agility a matter of paramount importance. Agile enables the development team to work faster by dividing tasks into different sprints and incorporate innovation and uniqueness in the development process.

    Limited documentation in Agile project management also improves the pace of a product’s development lifecycle. Instead of long documentation that nobody has time to read, Agile calls for increased interaction among team members, customer feedback, imagination, coding, testing and new ideas. These factors result in appropriate response to a change rather than following a plan that has prerequisite measures and no room for dealing with a change. Unlike traditional project management, Agile paves the way to adapt to even last-minute changes.

    b2ap3_thumbnail_agile_methodology_overview.png

    source: http://www.softwareadvice.com/

    The biggest reason for the immense popularity of Agile is its basis - It’s not possible to determine all the tasks going to be required for completion of a software project up-front, design an architecture upfront and get all the requirements upfront. Agile is built upon the belief that constant feedback cycles, research, undisrupted interaction and creativity allows the plan, the requirements and the architecture of a project to gradually emerge. As a result, the end-product meets not only the client’s need, but latest market demands too.

    Although Agile project management has proved to be a great help for IT managers, nearly 48% of US project managers use it for non-IT projects as well.


    b2ap3_thumbnail_Agile-PM-Users-by-Project-Types.png

    source: http://www.adfkickstart.com/agile-methodology

    Since Agile project management is the best fit for businesses that have continuously changing environments and highly complex situations, it is often deployed in ever-evolving software and IT industry. However, non-IT managers have also begun to use Agile for project management as even they find it difficult to articulate requirements without seeing a tangible product first. Agile ensures production of a quality product that flawlessly meets client’s requirements.

    If you have ever used Agile and have additional inputs to add, please share them in the comment box below.

     

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    source: www.manageprojectsonsharepoint.com

     

    Is project management really a conundrum of almost every project manager? Well, experts say not for those who know to bring key project management methodologies to their advantage. A cutting-edge project management methodology is designed to assist project managers in flawlessly dealing with problems and ensuring timely completion.

     

    Moreover, a project management methodology allows project managers to set different tasks to complete a project and manage ad-hoc resources as and when the need arise.

    Usually, there are five processes in a project management methodology

     

    • Initiate
    • Plan
    • Execute
    • Monitor
    • Close
     

     

    An organization that takes the responsibility of completing a project for a customer has to deploy a project manager, right resources and a capable team to ensure the same. Therefore, a project management methodology acts nothing less than a savior for a project manager who is responsible for the entire project in the end. In this blog, I am discussing five most popular project management methodologies: PRINCE2, Scrum, Waterfall, NPI and RAD.

     

    Let’s begin!

     

    PRINCE2 (An acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments)

     

    PRINCE2 is a process-based project management method and is widely used by the UK government and private sector world over. The methodology has become immensely popular for delivering quality results within the stipulated period of time.

     

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                                                                          source: scilsng.com

     

    You must be asking how a project manager meets the end-goal of completing a project in time using PRINCE2. Pay attention to key features of PRINCE2 below:

    • Enables effective product-based planning and communication
    • Fit for any kind of project
    • Defines roles and responsibilities
    • Gives rise to consistency
    • Hassle free monitoring
    • Opens gates for learning
    • Results oriented not task oriented

    PRINCE2 makes it easier to decide who are the right people to take on your project and what tasks they are supposed to perform to complete the project. Besides, the method enhances risk management ability, managing quality and control changes on the project.

    SCRUM

     

    Let’s talk about the second project management methodology called as Scrum. It’s the best methodology that fits for projects free of budget constraints and requires a team that takes one project at one time. A dedicated team means more focus and effective communication. The project manager is called Scrum Master in this process.  

     

    Key features of Scrum:

     

    • Gives rise to high visibility of project
    • Cross-functional, self-organising teams
    • Early identification of problems
    • High productivity
    • Timely response to change
    • Enhanced communication
    • Easy project assessment
    • Predictable schedule to ensure timely delivery of project

     

    Waterfall

     

    Waterfall is a popular project management methodology in most industries in general, construction in particular. Waterfall is simple to understand and use. It requires completion of one phase before going ahead with the second one. After each phase a review is conducted to ensure that the project is on the right path, which helps remove discrepancies and take necessary actions.

     

    Benefits of Waterfall:

    • Simple and easy to use
    • Management ease due to review process and specific deliverables in each phase
    • One phase at one time
    • Ideal for projects that involve physical objects, like buildings or computers
    • Easy to replicate project plans for future use
    • Allows to visually see and communicate a target delivery
    • Easy forward and back planning to ensure timely completion of a project

    NPI (New Product Introduction)

     

    NPI is a process that businesses and companies use for products. NPI helps managers figure out effective ways to develop products as per customer requirements and bring them in the market. NPI is highly useful for companies that are looking forward to respond to customer requirements and market demands.

     

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    source: www.almengineeringsolutions.co.uk

    Advantages of using NPI:

    • Automates task
    • Removes performance bottlenecks
    • Gives rise to consistent execution and continuous improvement
    • Gives management visibility
    • Allows to introduce products on time
    • Standardize format and attributes for different deliverables
    • Initiates company specific new product introduction process

     

    RAD (RAPID Application Development)

     

    RAD is often referred to the conventional Waterfall and is used for rapid development of products. RAD is mostly used for software development and has very less to do with planning tasks since entire focus is on development. RAD allows to make subsequent improvements and adjustments as a project progresses.   

     

    Advantages of RAD:

     

    • Faster delivery time
    • High quality
    • Improves flexibility and adaptability to changes
    • Highly efficient to handle big-size projects
    • Reduces project risk
    • Helps incorporate short development cycles
    • Low cost
    • Low maintenance

     

    All the above discussed project management methodologies have their own advantages. Before you choose a project management methodology, you must have a clear understanding of your business requirements and functioning of various project management methodologies.

     

    If you have ever used a project management methodology and have additional inputs about project management and techniques, please add them in the comment box below.















     

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    Cloud computing is a boon to every business, irrespective of the size. However, small or medium sized businesses (SMBs) can make the best of them since they can effectively run their business operations without making hefty investments. Unlike cash-strapped businesses, large businesses can afford expensive hardware, software, infrastructure and human resources for streamlined business functioning, thus cloud computing proves the be the kind of panacea for SMBs.

    Nearly 37% of small businesses in the US are currently using cloud services and the figure is likely to surge to 80% in coming 4 years. “The cloud is transforming how small businesses operate and the way companies like ours serve the needs of entrepreneurs," said Joshua Reeves, CEO and co-founder of ZenPayroll, a simple, cloud-based payroll service for accountants and bookkeepers. Reeves adds that his cloud-based payroll service helps businesses get rid of the hours of frustration of dealing with complex tax calculations, countless forms etc. Besides, business owners get time to work on their relationships with employees to appreciate and motivate them. Cloud computing services can be divided into three broad categories:  Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

    Let’s talk about as to how cloud computing helps SMBs grow

    • Reduction of business costs: Small businesses can go for cloud-hosted servers to get access to robust and scalable computing. Cloud computing services also minimize IT requirements and physical storage, which helps small businesses cut significant business costs.  When a small business starts growing and witnesses a rapid rise in number of customers, cloud service provider automatically allocated as many servers as requires to effectively handle high traffic. Cloud services can be both scaled up and down based on the business requirement, thus saves the costs of buying and installing new hardware and software. 
    • Top-notch Functionality: A small business has to deal with the conundrum of matching the top class functionality of a large, established business. Since resources to create the custom functionality are expensive, it becomes difficult for small business owners to effectively manage their businesses. But all such business woes are eliminated by cloud computing. A cloud service provider will provide enough flexibility to your business to enhance development, improve maintenance and enable upgrades. 
    • Special services for back-office operations: In future, small businesses can integrate cloud-based plug-in players into their back-office operations to rid the need of spending time and energy on menials tasks related to finance, marketing and human resources. Thus, more small businesses will begin availing cloud services to save both money and effort at their end, which in turn will help other important areas of business.Acloud-computing1 (1).gifsource: www.technewbrand.com 
    • Easy collaboration and no time constraint: When all business related files and documents are saved in cloud, anyone with permission from administrator can access them at any point of time. Such a service gives significant rise to collaboration and removes time-constraint, an important factor to bring success for a new startup or a business  
    • Opportunity to become big: Growing number of platforms and plug-in services will enable small businesses to establish themselves in market that were previously dominated only by large companies. For example, AirBnb, a website that enables people to rent their homes and uses cloud services from AWS, helps individuals expand their reach to mass market via community infrastructure.  
    • High security: Cloud service providers always keep a backup of your important business data. Since the data is also stored offline, chances of hacking, viruses, and other cyber-security issues go out of the equation. 
    • Improved efficiency: Small businesses can improve efficiency to a big extent by adopting cloud computing services. Via cloud computing, operations of a small business do not get hampered because of power requirements, small space and software updates.  

    Cloud computing helps SMBs set up a robust, scalable infrastructure on cloud to ensure smooth functioning of business operations and reduction of costs. Cloud computing offers tremendous opportunities to SMBs to grow without making huge investments. 

    Please give your additional inputs about how cloud computing could help SMBs in the comment box below.

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