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With the pandemic making people purchase more products online, this year’s Black Friday may well be the biggest yet for retail websites. To make the most of the annual spending spree, however, your site needs to be prepared. Here’s how to get your website primed for Black Friday 2020. Get your sales items ready in …
You’ve probably heard the term “Retina Display” here or there, but what does it mean to you? Are you aware that this will affect your website and you’ll have to redesign your site eventually? There won’t be a choice if you want to advance with technology. Chances are, your lack of quick action may lose you visitors to your site while your competitors pull ahead by using the technology. Why and what do you need to know about this technology that will very soon be a part of every computer and mobile device?
My parents had a 1973 Ford Mustang convertible until two years ago when it literally fell off its rusted frame a la the Blues Brother’s car at the end of the movie. While they had it in its prime, leaded gas was still the preferred method of fueling cars and poisoning the planet but there started to appear unleaded pumps here and there at gas stations that actually only sold gas and car servicing products and not hats, glow sticks, 900 ounce drinks and withered hot dogs on metal rollers.
With time, the leaded gas pumps that fed this old muscle car disappeared as new cars replaced the old Detroit autos that could do 120 MPH without so much as a groan or shiver and my parents, along with a select company of classic car owners were forced to use a lead additive for every tank full of gas. Those vehicles are all but gone as is the analog TV set that we were forced to throw out when all signals became digital. Technology marches on and our CRT computer monitors were quickly replaced with flat screens and hernias from lifting a 21” monitor are a thing of the past.
Things were too comfortable, so the angel of technological advances had to throw us another bank account-drainer for our digital sins. Apple, which is the prime suspect in the death of Flash through its exclusion in iPad products, has yet again advanced the product beyond the baby steps most producers take and put their upcoming tools a decade ahead of today. It’s almost like going from a 1940s car to a jet pack overnight. Get ready for the new Retina Display and a new visual experience!
Will This Hurt Your Present Wesbite?
When my local cable TV provider showed up to hook up my HDTV box, he said I would never watch TV without HD again. He was right. I suspect the same thing will happen with the new Retina Display and like the switch of TVs to HD and large flat screens ruining the standard 32” CRT TVs for consumers, there will be an output of cash for new hardware but there will also need to be an upgrade of the images now planted firmly on millions upon millions of web sites as well as the sites themselves.
When Apple announced the Retina Display MacBook Pro, one of the applications with which they demonstrated it was Photoshop, but not a current release version of Photoshop. The current release version of CS6 opens images at the same size and the same resolution as on a non-Retina Display MacBook Pro. The question is, as CS6 has just been introduced for sale and the RD looms just over the next hill, will Adobe offer a free upgrade of CS6 to handle the tech bump or is CS7 going to be the must have app to deal with the new color gamut and resolution issues on new hardware?
According to an article on cnet news, “Retina Display iMac to debut in October?” author Lance Whitney writes:
An all-new iMac will reportedly debut around October, with a high chance of sporting a Retina Display. At least, that’s the latest scuttlebutt from DigiTimes.Citing the usual “upstream supply chain sources,” DigiTimes claims that Apple’s suppliers will start shipping components for the new iMac this month. Those sources also said that Apple is looking to expand its Retina Display across all product lines, which means the new iMac has a “high chance” of getting the high-resolution screen. Apple is reportedly pushing the Retina Display for all its products in a bid to outshine its rivals in screen resolution. Since Retina Displays are an expensive component, other PC vendors are unlikely to jump on the higher-resolution bandwagon at this time.Beyond launching a new iMac this year, Apple will also refresh both the iMac and Mac Pro next year with brand new models, according to the sources.
Mr. Whitney does add:
It seems doubtful that Apple would debut a new Retina Display iMac as late as October and then push out yet another refresh next year. October also seems an unlikely launch date as Apple will certainly be busy unveiling the new iPhone and kicking off iOS 6 around that time.Another report also throws DigiTimes’ intel into question. The New York Times’ David Pogue recently said that an Apple executive told him that new models of the iMac and Mac Pro are in the works but “probably” won’t be released until 2013.
C. David Tobie, who writes on photo technology and aesthetics, commented about the new color gamut:
Earlier MacBooks and other Apple laptops had a sub-sRGB color space that was not only smaller, but twisted in a way that offset the primary colors from their ideal hues. While this issue had been improved substantially in the more recent MacBook Pro models, the Retina display now offers a very close replication of sRGB on screen. This offers a number of advantages; not just over smaller gamut displays, but to a lesser degree over wide gamut displays as well. In addition to increasing the gamut from earlier devices, emulating sRGB in hardware means that non-color managed applications, browsers, and video players will show more reasonable color even without the ability to use a profile.
If you work on print projects, color profiling and calibration will be your main concern. Mr. Tobie also addresses those functions under the new Retina Display:
The other component of the calibration and profiling process consists of creating an ICC profile describing the current state of your display, its primary colors, its tone response curve or gamma, and other factors. Resolution does not effect color and density measurements, so the main feature of the Retina display is not a problem for profiling. The Retina display, by avoiding problematic technologies or extreme color saturations, allows for very accurate profiling of the display. I will oversee detailed comparisons to a laboratory grade display measurement device next week, but even in advance of that process, I have full confidence that the Retina display is being capable of being very accurately profiled by latest generation profiling tools such as the Spyder4.
But the main concern people who need to add lead into their existing web sites and images is considerable. According to Tim Stevens in his review on engadget:
The primary Apple apps – Safari, Mail, the address book, etc. – have all been tweaked to make use of all these wonderful pixels. Sadly, little else has. While we got assurances that third-party apps like Adobe Photoshop and AutoCAD are in the process of being refined, right now, seemingly every third-party app on the Mac looks terrible.Yes, terrible. Unlike a PC, where getting a higher-res display just means tinier buttons to click on, here OS X is actively scaling things up so that they maintain their size. This means that non-optimized apps, which would otherwise be displayed as tiny things, instead are displayed in their normal physical dimensions with blurry, muddy edges. You do have some control over this scaling, with five separate grades to choose from, but none will make these classic apps look truly good. At least, not until their developers release the updates they’re no doubt frantically working on at this very moment.Take Google Chrome, for example. You might forgive the buttons and UI elements for being ugly, but even the text rendered on web pages is blurry and distorted. It’s bad enough that you won’t want to use Google’s browser until it’s updated, which will surely leave some cynics wondering if indeed this isn’t a ploy to get folks to spend a little more quality time with Safari.
It Will Be a Long Transition for Most Websites
Brian LePore says it best in his article, “The Effect of Retina Display on Web Design:
The term Retina Display is just a buzzword Apple created to refer to any device that was 300 DPI or greater. It is not exclusive to Apple devices. There are already many smartphones that have achieved that standard. Heck, LG is working on a 400 DPI device. This means that a lot of mobile devices out there that can benefit from you updating your design to take advantage of the high DPI capabilities.Font rendering is much smoother than your standard computer screen. It made a huge jump closer to print quality rendering. You can even switch your default font rendering from Helvetica to the slightly improved Helvetica Neue font and text will be seem more readable.By creating an image at twice the display size you are packing more detail into a smaller space. Images will appear crisper, and beautiful.Mr. LePore also relates the huge bummer:
Your page load time will increase. By serving a larger image you are serving a higher file size to the user who will spend more of their bandwidth to download the file. On a mobile device this will be quite noticeable.You will now need two versions of every file you would like to optimize. This will increase your disk usage and thus fill up the server faster, requiring a new server sooner.Presently, the CSS media queries that are useful in responsive web design make it very simple to target background images that you would like to optimize. That’s all well and good, but what about images that are part of your content such as your logo? There is no good solution.
Luckily, he does include some solutions such as using Java Script to detect retina, server side detection, just serving retina and empty src element and CSS generated content but these are the digital equivalent of using lead additive to the classic car until it falls to pieces from age. Eventually there will be easier solutions, as the web must deal with Retina Display as the standard and only way to drive around the digital information highway. The good news is it will be a beautiful ride but should we expect a few fiery crashes along the way?
Images ©GL Stock Images
As the internet evolves, the trend is shifting towards ensuring maximum convenience to the end users. This is the era where people all over the world have developed a liking towards iPhones, smart phones, tablets and other portable mobile devices … Continue reading
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Ninety-eight percent of cell phone owners have their devices within reach one hundred percent of the time. The other two percent are my kids who always misplace them. Smartphones contain everything a laptop or desktop computer has and fits in your pocket or handbag (or MAN-bag, if you prefer). An odd fact is that your cell phone is a more powerful computer than the system that guided Apollo 11 to the moon. So, unless your head is in the stars or stuck in Uranus, you need to pay attention to mobile sites and marketing.
Last week I was speaking to the co-owner of my new favorite Indian restaurant. A 22 year-old man who runs the place with his mother and they have everything going for them; the food is delicious, the place is well-decorated and clean, the service is attentive and quick and, most of all, the owners are engaging and truly concerned with giving customers a pleasant dining experience.
We discussed some of the review sites and I noted the restaurant had a great rating from those who posted reviews. Great reviews are key for businesses as forty-nine percent of consumers state that they are more likely to visit a business after reading a positive online review and sixty-nine percent trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In other words, reviews found on such websites as Yelp, Urbanspoon, Google Places and Citysearch can make or break a local business. Figures show seventy percent of local consumers are now using the Internet to find good local businesses, so greater visibility on search engines and local directories could put a local business in front of thousands of potential customers each month. Great reviews will bring them into your front door (or homepage, if you are an eCommerce site).
I commented to the young man, who was quite savvy about eMarketing, that he was missing an opportunity to get more great reviews. By putting a table tent on each table with the URLs of their restaurant on the different web sites mentioned above, he could sweep competitors with positive reviews and increase his SEO not only on those sites but also on major search engines.
“Since you and your partner are great at making sure you speak to each and every customer, you should take advantage of their ability to give you great reviews while they’re still in your restaurant,” I told him. “Point out the table tent ad steer them to whichever site needs more positive reviews and I’m sure people will whip out their phones or tablets and get right on it. Best to get them when their bellies are full and they are happy and sitting in the glow of your restaurant.”
By using QR codes, customers can go directly to the sites without inputting the URL and can even opt-in for text messages – SMS marketing from the restaurant.
Read “Testimonials on Your Site: Dealing With Positive and Negative Feedback” for more tips on encouraging positive feedback.
We also discussed using tweets to announce specials and showing images of the dishes being served that day. “People have their favorite dishes and tweeting a picture or special at ten-thirty, just before lunch, will help people decide what they want for lunch and pull them into your place.”
“If you get people to opt-in to email notices, they will be delivered to their phones just as they are thinking about their lunch choices,” I suggested. “The photo will be the big hook!”
Check out this site for Mobile Marketing- Text Message Marketing- SMS Marketing.
* SMS stands for short message service. SMS is also often referred to as texting, sending text messages or text messaging. The service allows for short text messages to be sent from one cell phone to another cell phone or from the Web to another cell phone.
It’s important to carefully monitor your online reviews to handle any negative reviews. Here are some of the top sites for checking your online reputation:
- Run a complete Local SEO Audit of your local business – Local SEO Check Up
- Update your listings on multiple Local Directories – Universal Business Listings
- Drive more online reviews from your website – Reviewbiz
- Keep track of your online reviews – Yext
Does Your Site Go Mobile?
“On average, Americans spend 2.7 hours per day socializing on their mobile device. That’s twice the amount of time they spend eating, and over 1/3 of the time they spend sleeping each day.” – Microsoft
According to an article in Mashable:
“Astute Internet observers know by now that the future of the web is mobile. More and more consumers will access data and information via smartphones, tablets and other portable devices. So businesses need to prepare by beefing up their presences on the mobile web.”
“But is it better to get started by creating a mobile-optimized website or by building a standalone mobile app?”
“A mobile app is faster, more interactive and can integrate with all kinds of other phone features. But the app must be installed to be of any use at all, while a good mobile site can simply be navigated to on a user’s whim. It’s also typically cheaper to build a mobile site, and you don’t have to deal with any pesky approval hassles.”
“If you are creating mobile apps for your business and marketing to any device with an internet connection you must account for regular resolutions, high resolutions, the more complicated mobile screen trends and various mobile screen resolutions. By narrowing your campaign down to specific mobile devices (i.e., android phones) depending on your needs, you can focus on as little as three key screen resolutions. As iPhones are also very popular, it would be better to cover the phone market.”
Many mobile Web users are mobile-only, i.e. they do not, or very rarely use a desktop, laptop or tablet to access the Web. Mobile-only in Egypt is 70 percent, India 59 percent; even in the US it’s 25 percent of subscribers. – On Device Research
When building mobile apps with these technologies you no longer have to duplicate efforts for mobile cross-platform flexibility. By implementing the latest technology you can rely on full support (WebKit) by popular devices that use iOS, Android and the experience can be altered or downgraded for others. You will receive the best results if you build for the masses but utilize a specific strategy for your demographic knowing that not everyone owns a smartphone with HTML5 support. With over 120 million iOS devices on market and more than 302 million Android devices sold, there is a large customer base that will only continue to grow.
The important thing for mobile sites is when users visit, you should have an immediate call to action. Users can watch a video, vote on a poll, complete a form or even purchase a product. When you immediately engage users you have a better chance of keeping their attention and delivering your message.
Confused yet? Of course you are. Let’s backtrack a bit with an article that spells out some basics of the mobile web, “Mobile Web Design: Tips and Best Practices.”
The author, Cameron Chapman, spells out basics and although written in 2010, the principles are the same, although the technology has made it easier to create your mobile web presence. It’s actually funny to see the differences in mobile browsers as well as cell phones in just two years. Ms. Chapman starts her article with the following figures:
“Last year, more than 63 million people in the United States accessed the Internet from a mobile device. It’s forecast that by 2013 there will be more than 1.7 billion mobile Internet users worldwide. With those kinds of numbers, it’s imperative that web designers and developers learn optimal development and design practices for mobile devices.”
Ms. Chapman continues in her article:
“Your mobile site, in most cases, should be simpler than your standard site. The only exception to this is if your standard site is already very minimalist. Eliminating graphic elements from your site is usually an effective way to optimize its display on a mobile device. Look for ways to simplify both the design and functionality of your site. This might mean redoing your menus, eliminating images, breaking up text over multiple pages, or otherwise re-working your site’s layout and functionality.”
According to Smart Insights, since 2010, the use of mobile sites has increased 195.5%. This article also contains an interesting infographic that claims there are four billion mobile phones in use right now, with 1.08 billion of them being smart phones and 3.05 billion of those are SMS enabled. It also claims that by 2014, mobile internet should take over desktop internet usage. That seems to be in line with other predictions.
Ideas for Successful Mobile Marketing
- Location comes into play in mobile marketing. Unlike other marketing forms, mobile marketing has the unique opportunity to know exactly where you are. This opens up new location-based options that do not exist anywhere else. Brainstorm how you can take advantage of location-based marketing techniques to boost your sales.
- If you put a hyperlink in your text messages, have a link for older phones that goes to a specific mobile phone website, and a link for newer phones that goes to your standard website. However, if your website contains Flash programming or other highly mobile-unfriendly content, link only to the mobile version.
- A well-composed mission statement can help you to stay on course with your mobile marketing campaign. You will be less likely to stray into unproductive strategies if you give yourself a clear reminder of your principles.
- Make yourself pertinent. It’s easy to go overboard when entering the mobile marketing arena. Be sure your messages have a purpose. The information you provide needs to be relevant to your prospects and potential prospects. You will generate more sales by sending out useful content.
- Sometimes, changes in the marketplace can affect your customer base. Make sure you are always ahead of technology; it changes quickly. You will be more competitive if your technology is advanced.
- Emphasize the access to special deals and the potential savings when you are soliciting subscriptions to your mobile marketing campaign. Make sure that your other advertising efforts, online and in print, point out your mobile campaign’s existence. If you audience sees any benefit in your campaign, they will opt-in.
- You can reward loyal customers and even chase new ones by delivering coupons through Multimedia Messaging Services. You can include promo codes with the coupons. Codes that can be tracked can easily be linked to your online product pages. Your loyal customers will enjoy being rewarded with coupons, and they will tempt new customers.
- Promote your mobile marketing campaign as a great way to get discounts and special offers. You should get the word out on social networks or in other ad forms. If your campaign is perceived as helpful, many people will sign up. Show that it will be a fun and popular way to stay up-to-date about offers that can benefit them.
- If you make it possible and simple for your mobile marketing customers to forward or resend the message on to their friends, there is a good chance they would do it. Before you put the finishing touches on your promotion, be sure it is simple and desirable to forward it.
- When used as a way to entice customers and expand your branding, QR codes can be an invaluable asset to your mobile marketing campaign. QR codes are a great way to share discounts, promotions and coupons. It is simple to capture these codes with a cell phone, and they are even easier to use. QR codes allow immediate interaction with your customers. For more uses of QR codes, read “QR Codes: Are You Using Them to Your Best Marketing Advantage?”
As with everything digital, technology evolves every day. Basic marketing principles remain but how to deliver them is always changing. Keep up with new technology and make use of innovation. As with the growth of mobile marketing outlined in this article, keep a sharp eye to technology as well as the needs and desires of your customers. In the end, it’s those needs that must be met with whatever is the best avenue available.
Suggested additional reading:
Images ©GL Stock Images