eSites Network Website Design


Do You Know What Your Website Looks Like on a Tablet PC?

With the advent of the Tablet PC and the exponential growth of the Internet being accessed through these devices, it becomes important for businesses to tailor the content of their websites to address this new audience.

These handy gadgets like the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom and the latest addition RIM’s Playbook have entirely changed the quality of the website experience.

Let us understand the Tablet market landscape. This market consists essentially of Apple’s iPad, Google’s Android-based tablets, and the new entrant RIM’s Playbook. Of these Tablets, Apple’s iPad owns the largest piece of the pie – approximately 90% – and Google’s Android-based tablets like Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab take up the rest.

Apple’s iPad has managed to convert and retain its huge market share despite the fact that it does not support Adobe’s Flash player (which has been a key component in the past for websites to display videos and interactive content). It also has limited multitasking support and limited peripheral connectivity compared to its competition, thanks to its intuitive and snazzy user interface.

So what are the factors that you must consider while designing a website with the Tablet audience in mind?

It is quite clear that if you are creating or redesigning your website with the Tablet user in mind, you should make sure that your site follows these guidelines:

1. Remove Flash Content
A visitor to your website, who uses an iPad for instance, cannot see your videos and interactive animation produced using Adobe’s Flash. Although Flash-based websites are very interactive and attractive on a desktop PC, the iPad visitor sees nothing and the main objective of your website which is to convert your visitor to a customer is lost. So make sure your website does not contain any Flash content if you want to engage this iPad visitor.

2. Check Browser Compatibility
In addition to checking your website’s compatibility with major browsers like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome, you now have to test your websites on Apple’s Safari which is the default browser for the iPad. Otherwise your visitor is not going to be able to even open your website, and you’ve lost him.

3. Design a Tablet-optimized Layout
When you design your website for Tablet PCs, the dimensions of the buttons and other form elements must be easy to use in this format. Though Tablets have larger screens compared to mobile phones, you still have to optimize your site’s layout to fit into a Tablet’s screen. And you should also remember that a Tablet user does not use a mouse for navigation. So your navigation should have an easy flow which makes your site a pleasurable experience for the user.

It’s easy to see why designing your website for the Tablet-user makes sound business sense. As more and more visitors to the internet use this route of access, it opens up many avenues for technological innovation – make sure you keep up with the curve!

You Can Attract and Keep More Customers by Increasing Your Site Speed

A recent study by Forrester Research for Akamai on the importance of site speed to the customer has thrown up some startling figures.

Customer expectations for site performance are changing. Now 40% of customers say they will navigate away from a page if it takes 3 seconds or more to load, 46% of them will develop a negative perception of the company, and 64% will simply purchase from another online source.

Add to this Google’s recent announcement that Site Speeds are to be considered as factors for Search Engine rankings, and you’re probably beginning to worry about your website right now.

The Challenges of Today’s Websites:

  • Content-rich Internet Applications are Increasing: At the same time as demand for faster page load time is increasing, so is the demand for more engaging functionality and content –rich Internet applications such as price sliders or search and category results that re-sort on the fly. This creates a challenge for online companies. Adding content increases page weight and impacts response time. Web page size has more than tripled in the last 5 years.

  • Performance Issues Multiply With Distance: The farther visitors are from the data center where the site is hosted, the more response times degrade. Your site’s performance may be 2 seconds at the data center in Atlanta, but 3 seconds on the opposite coast, and even longer for international visitors. Traffic spikes can also slow down your site and response times can spike as high as 50 seconds during the holiday season.

What to Bear in Mind When Developing a Website:

  1. Apply the 80/20 rule to page loads when optimizing for speed: Only 20% of the loading time will be spent loading HTML. So the dynamic HTML content isn’t usually the problem, it’s the rest of your UI which takes 5 seconds to download and render on the users browser.

  2. Design Web Pages with performance in mind: You need to minimize connections and minimize data transfer (file size). Do this by reducing object counts, compressing images and text, and caching properly.

  3. Minimize HTTP requests: Reducing connections as much as possible has shown the most performance improvement with the least changes. Combine your JS and CSS files and keep the image count to a minimum. If you need to load a lot of images for style, use a CSS image sprite.

  4. Use HTTPS/SSL only where necessary: Restrict SSL only to data sensitive areas of your site such as the checkout.

  5. Create smaller JS/CSS files: Remove spaces and unwanted semicolons from your JavaScript to reduce transfer time. Use a tool to compress JS/CSS for production pages.

  6. Put JavaScript Includes at the bottom: If the JS is not needed for immediate use, put the include tags at the bottom. Scripts at the end of the HTML allow maximized concurrent downloads and the page can render while the JavaScript finishes.

  7. Use Cache Control Headers: Properly caching a page at the browser level can significantly reduce load times. It also helps with subsequent page load times if content is shared (same JS/CSS files).

  8. Avoid HTTP 302 redirects: They slow things down, and people don't like them.

  9. Use multiple static content servers: If the servers have different domain names the browser will make additional parallel connections to those servers and download more content concurrently.

  10. Use Gzip compression for page responses. Gzip compresses the HTML response at the server and sends it back to the browser, which will then do the decompression. There is more CPU overhead but quicker transfers are typically a better trade-off.
Remember, online visitors’ time is limited – they are simply not willing to waste precious minutes waiting for your site to load, and speed goes a long way in creating that all-important first impression.

Why it’s Essential to Engage with Your Customers via a Blog

Blogging has emerged as one of the best marketing tools on the web. From the ease of creating a direct communication to the convenience of interacting with possible customers and clients, blogging has provided a new way for marketers to do what they do – promote products and services!

However, often companies don’t get beyond good intentions. A study of Fortune 1000 Senior Executives in 2006 revealed that while 77% of them thought their companies should have corporate policies to produce Company Blogs, only 8% had teams dedicated to this task!

So What Does a Blog Do for your Company?

  1. It Educates Your Visitors: It is a great forum to explain to your readers exactly why your company does things the way they do, and give them lots of helpful and topical information about the core idea behind your business. From looking at the bigger picture (latest trends worldwide) to focusing on your new products or offers, you will build a loyal fan base that identifies with your brand, trusts your advice, and will turn into customers.

  2. Your Blog is Your Press Release: Instead of squandering your marketing budget on Press Releases that are not directed at your target customers, your Blog can serve as the medium to quickly reach a select audience – that’s the efficient way!

  3. Your Brand Visibility Zooms Upwards: It all comes down to the content in your Blog. Quality content is usually linked by other bloggers. This helps you gain better placement on search engines and increases your visibility. Today everyone who puts anything out on the Net has only one dream – and that is to go viral! That’s going to happen to your blog when excellent content gets picked up and linked to other blogs, and then you’ll watch your brand value soar.

  4. You Personalize Your Business: No-one enjoys dealing with a huge nameless, faceless organization. Potential clients would like to know who is behind the product or service they are buying. When you have a one-on-one relationship with your readers, it gives your business a face – people know they are dealing with someone they know and might have been in touch with personally via email and other forms of communication. This is a huge benefit.

  5. You Get Instant Feedback: This is one of the most important benefits of a Blog – rapid, instant feedback and reviews which will help you tweak your strategy and respond better to the market you are trying to target. With a blog you can get feedbacks within minutes after publishing a post on a recent product launch, which lets you adjust your campaign or make necessary changes as suggested by the customers you are trying to promote your product to.
Remember, a Blog is only as good as what you put in it, so make sure your content is professional and relevant, and you will see the effect it has on your business.