Have Mobile Websites Become Obsolete?

According to analysis carried out by comScore, 55% of total internet usage in the US in January was through a mobile device. Mobile internet usage has been increasing, and this was the first month that mobile device usage exceeded desktop usage for internet access. This trend is set to continue.

Optimising your website for mobile device usage has become extremely important to its success.

“m.dot” Websites

You will often see a separate version of a website specifically dedicated to mobile users.

This version is designed to take into consideration the limitations a mobile phone user encounters when accessing a website. These limitations include a smaller screen size, the difference in the user’s interaction of the website (i.e. through touch screens) and internet connection speeds.

These considerations can change the whole layout of a website and can also mean that the mobile version of a website could potentially be a simpler, less informative version in order to allow for easier and faster access.

Having to run a separate website alongside the main website means that any updates need to be made on two separate websites. The mobile website would also have to be compatible with the latest advances in mobile phone technology.

The Effectiveness of Responsive Web Design

With the increasing usage of mobile phones to access the internet, it is now becoming more important for a website to be mobile-friendly as well as desktop-friendly. Responsive websites are steadily gaining popularity. These types of websites are designed to be able to be used across devices, thus the functionality of a website is not lost through the use of a mobile device.

A responsive website greatly enhances the user experience. They are able to view and share a web page across multiple applications without having to worry about which version of the website they are sharing. The user is therefore easily able to switch from smartphone to desktop while viewing a website.

The website will automatically adjust to whatever screen size and orientation is preferred by the viewer. Content does not need to be amended for different versions of the website, and any changes and updates will only have to be made one time and to one website.

The Future

Internet giant Google has named responsive web design as the best practise for the industry. Having one version of a website means that Google is more easily able to crawl and index your website. It also improves the user experience, as it means that the device users choose to view your website from does not affect the information they have access to.

With Google’s endorsement, responsive web design is now seen as the gold standard for web pages. In today’s fast-paced, tech-heavy world, websites need to work hard to keep up with the demands placed upon them by users and by the industry. A responsive website can allow for greater flexibility both with users and the devices being used.

Desk space available in creative, friendly, open-plan London office

OPPORTUNITY

Download PDF overview here: London-SME-Desk-Offer_

MintTwist have a limited number of generous desk space available to companies from start-ups to SME businesses in the professional service, agency, media and digital sectors.

Desks come with all the essentials including, chair, draws, unlimited access to kitchen/communal areas with unlimited tea and coffee. The open plan shared office space provides a fantastic working and social atmosphere and you’ll be sharing with like-minded professionals like MintTwist (www.minttwist.com) and LadyGeek (www.ladygeek.com). Internet access both wired and wireless through high-speed broadband is available.

As well as a spacious desk, chair, drawers, internet, meeting rooms, kitchen with free tea/coffee and milk. The all-inclusive charge will also cover cleaning, gas, electricity, water, rates and service charge. On-site at Highgate Studios there are free shower facilities, free moped/bike lock-up areas, a fantastic on-site cafe, pizza house and the infamous ‘Dirty Burger’ and ‘Chicken Shop’ joints. Access to the office is 24×7×365.

Benefits include:
 Highly flexible terms
 High-speed broadband internet
 Wireless internet
 Completely free use of meeting room
 Every desk has a chair and drawers
 Onsite office manager
 Air conditioning
 On-site shower room
 Full serviced kitchen with tea, coffee, dishwasher, microwave and fridge.
 All utilities included (electricity, gas, air conditioning, water and cleaning)

CONTACT ELLIOTT KING ON ELLIOTT@MINTTWIST.COM OR 020 7284 9755 TO ARRANGE YOUR VIEWING.

PRICES

Comment Cost Deposit Notice Period
Flexi Desk £450 PCM 1-month Pay as you go
Flexi-4-Desks £1650 PCM 1-month Pay as you go
6–Desk Island £2250 PCM 1-month 3-months

LOCATION

Based Camden, London, the office is perfectly situated between Kentish Town tube station (3-min walk), Camden market (1 tube stop), King Cross (2 tube stops) and Parliament Hill fields (3-min walk).

MAP

Office Location

Check Out These Awesome Web Design Tips

Many people want to learn to become a good web designer, yet they aren’t sure if they have what it takes to become good in the subject. Anyone can be a good web designer they just have to learn how to first, the more you learn from places like this article the better you are sure to become at web design.

A clean PC is a happy PC when you’re building a site. Some software programs will use up a lot of disk space, so having junk files on your PC will bog you down. Besides, it’s hard to remain neat and organized if you have files strewn all over the place. Keep your PC free of junk files and clutter.

Make sure that the site is compatible with different browsers. You must test your site on both Internet Explorer and Netscape to be sure that your content can be viewed by visitors that are using either browser. Do not just check that it works on one and launch the site.

Avoid frames at all costs. Just don’t use them. While they can make it simple for your menu or header to appear all throughout your site, the address bar won’t change on each page. This can make it impossible for your visitors to link to any specific page on your site.

Make sure your site includes a search box. This is really important, because people are accustomed to having that function, and when they want to find something on your site, they need to be able to find it. If they can’t find what they need, they may leave your site altogether.

Don’t use too many different fonts or text colors on your web pages. Word processing or web authoring software may present a dizzying array of specialty fonts or wacky colors, but if you use too many, the text on your website may become unreadable. A good practice is to use just one or two fonts per page and avoid excessive use of bold or italic text.

Design informative error pages. Many times someone will click onto a broken link, or a link that has been moved, and receive a generic error page that confuses them. Design your error pages so that you give a visitor a reason they may have gotten that error, along with a link to your home page so that they remain on your site.

Even if you know how to design sites for the web you still have much to learn. Everyone today is using mobile devices so this means that there is a higher demand for making sites mobile compatible. Start learning how to build mobile sites so that you’re knowledgable of how to build various types of websites.

Add in tools that people can use and share on social media sites. You want people to be interested with your site and have the ability to share what they like from your site with their friends as well. When you give people the option to share things with their friends then the attention that your site can get is limitless.

Always utilize media and content that is both relative to your site’s goal, but also interesting to the potential consumers who will be viewing your site. A site that has relative info, but that is not interesting, won’t captivate its audience. A website that uses fun, but non-relative information, will captivate the wrong audience. Both methods equal profits that you are losing.

Using the advice from this article you can become a pro in website design in no time, and you should now feel a bit more confident and think so as well. So now that you have some insightful knowledge on the subject you can apply that towards your web design efforts and become a great designer of websites in no time.

If you’re really eager to get into web design then contact a professional web design agency in London like www.minttwist.com who will be able to point you in the right direction.

Alternatively if you want to read up more about this topic then visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_design it details the history, the present, and the future of web design.

The Social Capital Model for Business Growth

This article is highlighting MintTwist’s proposed ‘Social Capital Model’ for delivering continuing and sustainable growth of its business.

The proposal was introduced to people working within the business at the MintTwist Annual General Meeting on 30th November 2011.

This article is written so that people working within the business and other interested parties may use this area to facilitate discussion, questions and comments on the proposal.

What do MintTwist want to do?

MintTwist aims to be the most successful supplier of Digital Agency company services for businesses in Europe by 2016.

How?

MintTwist is aiming to do this by developing and further growing its network of clients and by adding more value to their businesses by devloping and further growing its network of highly skilled people working across the organisation and together, with well defined process methodologies.

How will the growth be funded?

MintTwist have been seeking a sustainable growth model that accurately represents the key value drivers for the existing growth that MintTwist has experienced to date and one that will incubate, encourage and reward the key value drivers for future growth of the business.

MintTwist’s Proposed ‘Social Capital Model’ for facilitating sustainable growth of its business

MintTwist’s proposed solution is a key component for facilitating the continuation, development and expedience of its market/service diversification growth strategy … MintTwist have termed it ‘The Social Capital Model’.

social capital model

social capital model

The social capital component represents a portion of the company that cannot be bought, sold or owned.

Access to the benefits of the social component is for people who are working within the business.

Key elements may include:

1. A share in governance with direct representation

2. A share in the profits

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Weighted access may be representative of:

1. Length of service

2. Relative value of contributions

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What are the Benefits of a Mobile Website for Businesses?

MinTwists’s August meetup debated the benefits to businesses of creating a mobile websites or mobile applications to communicate with their target customer groups in a manner optimised for mobile platforms.

In essence should a dedicated mobile platform be created, or should businesses simply allow their mobile users to be served up their ‘normal’ website in whatever way the browser software on the given mobile platform chooses to do so?

It’s a tough question and one which the group mostly debated from an ROI perspective. Given that mobile usage rates in the UK are still fairly low (5% of a websites traffic may come from mobile users), one might be tempted to conclude that for typical small and medium sized b2b businesses the answer is no.

However, it is not that clear cut.

Firstly, there is the issue that mobile usage is growing incredibly quickly (see article : What will Smart Phones Do to our Websites? for more on this) and there may well be material benefits for ‘getting in quick’ (including SEO benefits).

Secondly there is ‘how mobile users are behaving issue’. The data is not entirely accurate at the moment – but early signs are clear: mobile users do not use the internet in the same way on their mobiles as they would do on their PC’s or laptops.  Usage is driven by factors such as location (users accessing their mobile devices to find information on ‘where they physically are at the moment’) and impulsivness (users accessing their mobile devices to find an answer to a fairly immediate question/problem).  Factors such as these all feed in to the ideal way in which the information should be presented to the mobile user, i.e. b2b businesses could have a ‘mobile optimised homepage’ that clearly presents a clickable telephone number link and clickable interactive google map so that visitors to the business can quickly get the information that they may be after if they are accessing the website from a mobile device.

A difficult topic for business oweners and marketing manager to grapple with; here are MintTwist’s high level thoughts on the subject …

  • Mobile is an important consideration, however, it is not necessarily a vital immediate concern for ‘most’ small businesses (because well designed website designs will render correctly already).
  • The trend towards increased mobile usage is growing.
  • The differing user goals and usage habits of users on mobile platforms needs to be properly understood on a case by case basis for a useful and quality mobile solution to be delivered.
  • The group felt that businesses that should be immediately addressing mobile users (because they could potentially see a real ROI) are:
  1. Businesses with large visitor numbers
  2. Media businesses
  3. Some retail (e-commerce) businesses
  4. Businesses running functional websites / website applications
  • Other groups of businesses may want a mobile solution (even if it won’t provide them a clear ROI) for other reasons (e.g. to get ahead of the competition, brand identity etc).
  • Two main categorisations of mobile website solution exist, these are outlined by the information chart below:
Solution Useful for situations like … Ballpark Costs Useful for businesses like …
Mobile websites (extra pages that are specially built to be auto-delivered to mobile users) Making a ‘normal’ website have a dedicated set of page(s) that will show up (in a manner optimised for small screens) when a user goes to the website on a mobile phone.  Principal Benefit: Increased conversion rates from mobile users. From £3k e-commerce / Retailb2b businesses with very high visitor numbersb2c brands
Mobile Apps and/or Web Apps* (Android, Apple, Web apps that are downloaded) Information that can be delivered in a potentially highly functional and potentially highly interactive way.  Principal Benefit: Increased engagement levels/brand identity. £5k++ Any big brandApplication/Web service vendors

Thoughts and feedback on this post are very welcome :)

What is mobile search?

The growth of smartphones and tablets has surpassed the expectations of even the most optimistic commentator this year. It’s now estimated that smartphone and tablet usage will overtake PC and laptop usage in the US before the end of the year. In the UK, Ofcom has just released its own study, the annual Communications and Marketing Report, which states that 1 in 3 UK adults own and use a smartphone on a daily basis. What this means for the marketing industry is that marketers will have to re-think their strategies and increasingly concentrate their marketing efforts on the mobile audience if they wish to continue to drive traffic to their sites. IBM’s recent study, The Mobile Sweep, has already identified that such mobile search strategies are already being adopted by some of the more forward-thinking companies. So, is your business forward looking? Have you already optimised your mobile search engine strategy to target this ever-growing market?

In its report IBM looked at the fortunes of the website Priceline.com and noted that it had benefited significantly from the growth of mobile search. As users get used to searching on the go and using e-commerce, they become increasingly comfortable and are prepared to spend money more freely, it appears, than their non-mobile counterparts. IBM reported that 82% of Priceline.com’s, mobile visitors booked their hotel rooms within a day of discovering the website: only 45% of non-mobile users did the same. Of the mobile bookers, over 50% were within 20 miles of their hotels when they booked them, which would suggest that location and proximity are key drivers in helping them to make these decisions.

All the available statistics indicate that the total number of consumers who search and buy on mobiles will continue to rise exponentially. Using data from Morgan Stanley, the conclusion IBM reached was that mobile internet devices will lead the market in the coming years and will produce the bulk of internet sales. But why has the smartphone had such an impact on search and sales? IBM believes that it’s the availability of 3G internet, and the promise of fourth generation broadband, that has been the major driver in the smartphone and tablet market, along with the ability of mobiles to deliver enhanced context awareness. That may sound a little high faulting and complicated, but in essence what they’re getting at, is that the mobile is very good at delivering information to mobile users in real time which answers all their needs – that is physical and geographical location, social context and time.  The implications for those businesses that haven’t yet optimised their websites to deliver locally optimised content to mobile searchers is that you’d best do it quickly, or you’ll miss the boat.

If businesses need any encouragement to optimise their sites for the local market, and also for mobile users, then surely this is this it. The market is out there and growing all the time, and it seems this sector of the market is more willing to spend online than any other. So, go on: you know it makes sense. Mobile search engine optimisation is the trend of the future. Don’t let your business lose out.

Web development in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates has undergone a profound transformation since 1973, seeing tremendous growth and achieving an incredibly high income per capita.  It is widely recognised as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with industries such as tourism, manufacturing, real estate, financial services and trade playing a major role alongside oil.

With such opportunity and competition it is extremely important for new and existing companies to make effective use of modern marketing strategies.  Internet marketing is now a major multi-billion pound industry and a method suitable for the progressive nature of the UAE business community, particularly for the two major Emirates; Dubai and the capital Abu Dhabi.

Web development UAEInternet penetration in the UAE is on the rise as regular web usage has reached 67% of the population, with 55% of the population using it on a daily basis.  Currently, the web is used primarily for emails and searching for information, with a smaller percentage accessing the internet for business or for making online purchases.  The internet is inevitably changing the dynamics of how we structure our business, culture and society, with the UAE being no exception.  As internet penetration in the UAE grows, businesses must respond by developing high quality Arabic website designs.

A modern well-presented website is now expected for most businesses and organisations.  With good quality website design, Dubai and Abu-Dhabi based companies can benefit from improved information distribution and an expansion of reachable markets.  It is an effective way of winning new business and retaining existing customers, while responding quickly to new competitors.

With competition becoming more demanding and search engines more concerned with the user experience, the web business owner should consider the importance of web development.  A UAE company immediately commands respect from web visitors with a professional Arabic web design.  In order to compete amongst the ever-increasing market in the UAE, it is wise to invest in a well-constructed website with a strong logo, a harmonious colour scheme, simple and professional looking graphics, and effective navigation options.  UAE consumers have high expectations from companies, expecting high levels of service from them.

As internet use in the Arabic world has grown faster than anywhere else since 2000 and access costs have shrunk, businesses should now increase investment in web content in order to gain a place in the highly competitive world market.