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Bemoko blog > mobile technology

6

Mar

bemoko is acquired by SDL- blog

Posted By Emily Nicholls Wednesday, March 6, 2013. No Comments

In order to deliver leading edge products your R&D efforts need to be constantly one additional step ahead of the ‘leading edge’,I have heard this called the ‘bleeding edge’ or basically predicting the future!

Since we founded bemoko in 2007 predicting the future has basically been our job, looking way out there at technology trends, consumer adoption and technical advancements in both software and hardware and assessing what’s going to shape the future technology landscape.

bemoko has been amazingly adept at getting our predictions right, which I think comes down to having immense passion for what we do. In 2007 long before the first smart phone, we built our mobile web delivery platform designed to deliver mobile web for any device. In 2007 this seemed like a bonkers idea, but we were all passionately convinced that pretty soon companies would need to take a mobile first approach to web development – a concept that is just emerging today and one that bemoko have the leading and most advanced solution to deliver against.

With all things web and especially mobile, nothing stands still for long so as we continue to innovate we continue to look ahead what we need to do to remain at the leading edge. So what does that look like? Our overarching feeling is that devices, desktop, mobile, tablet and all the other groovy things like Google glasses will soon just merge into “web” pretty soon developing in silos will be a thing of the past, we’re calling this One
Web; an environment where people will surf, shop, play, chat, and do all the other things that being “constantly connected” will deliver but the physical device will be secondary.

In this new and exciting environment the biggest challenge will be managing a customer’s experience as they move across channels and devices – their expectation will be one of a seamless experience that adapts and morphs to the specific time, place and interface. So as important as the ability to deliver content ubiquitously, the content itself will need to be highly adaptive and interpretive. This is next generation customer experience management (CXM)

This new era of CXM, which we are all approaching at break-neck speeds will require advanced technology and broad expertise drawn from what are currently slightly different but aligned technology backgrounds of content management and user experience, and cross device delivery (e.g. mobiles, tablets, cars and TV’s etc.) Bring these two elements together and the result will be at the cutting edge of ubiquitous computing (Sometimes referred to as omni-channel)

So in our quest to innovate and continue to provide leading edge services we have brought bemoko and SDL Plc an international provider of digital customer experience management solutions together in an acquisition of bemoko by SDL. Adding the bemoko multichannel delivery technology into SDL’s suite of customer experience management solutions will enhance SDL’s existing capabilities and deliver an incredible combination of products built for the next generation of web – ‘One Web’.

We are all hugely excited to be in a new home with new technology capabilities,wider expertise and an international footprint and are looking forward to continuing to be at the leading edge for many years to come.

Mobile is changing
Web content is changing
Internet is changing

For further information visit http://bit.ly/bemokosdl

Please feel free to comment and share

Phillip Clement – @PhillipClement

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Posted in: business, mobile, mobile design, mobile friendly, mobile search, mobile technology, mobile UX, mobile web, multichannel, public website news, responsive design, retail, web optimisation

22

Feb

Monitoring Multi-Channel Web Campaigns – Are you an Ostrich or a Meerkat?

 It’s pretty well understood that gaining detailed user feedback from a campaigns is critical and in most cases marketing professionals are tuned in to gathering data from campaigns in order to measure success and improve future efforts, however with campaigns now crossing multiple channels at the same time there seems to be a misconception that the methods and tools used to measure a campaign running on a single channel works for multichannel too.  Many people are simply burying their heads in the sand while others are alert to the new multichannel landscape and are leading the way.

 

Here are a few ways to make you a Meerkat in the world of Multi-Channel Web Campaigns

Monitoring Channels and specific calls to action

Short URLs (e.g. bitly) and QR codes are invaluable in gaining very specific and targeted user data, such as location or event.  Tracking codes can be embedded so you can identify how users are being driven to your site. Make sure you are tracking these correctly, so that they are clearly highlighted in your analytics tool such as Google Analytics (GA).   On the subject of GA is a no-brainer for your general analytics of your site and even if you use other reporting tools, it costs nothing to add GA to your arsenal and if you spend the time to really get to grips with the numerous features it will reward you well.

Quality or quantity ?

Understanding conversion rates tends to be a measure of the need to get more visits i.e. chuck more mud at the wall.   Running campaigns on different channels gives you an opportunity to work smarter and not harder. By taking a detailed look at the user journey and the route that a customer took through your site while using additional data such as location or the device type assists greatly in refining key elements and enabling you to increase the conversions that you are getting.  Be aware of social media and the negative impact that this can have – a visitor that does not connect is 1 a potential lost client and 2 a potential poor reference.  Having the right multichannel delivery platform with the right analytics tools to assist with user journey tracking is really important.

 

If sharing is an important aspect of your campaign and you want it to be viral, then make sure you have clear signposts to share. Also make sure your campaign is truly multi-channel,  the best way for this is to have  a single URL that delivers optimal content whatever the visitor’s device otherwise if a visitor shares an ‘m. url’ with someone who uses a PC or perhaps the other way around then clearly the user experience is going to be less than good!    Try and imagine that the ‘U’ in URL stands for Universal.  Make your campaign universal and it will have more chance of going viral.

Monitor device types 

iPhones and Androids are not the only devices that your customers use,  if you only optimise your site for these then one thing is certain; the only customers you’ll get will be iPhone and Android users!    The device market is growing and becoming more diverse, which means that you will be missing out on bigger and bigger chunks of market by limiting your device optimisation.   Also, don’t fall into the trap of ignoring the 30% long-tail. Let’s say your site is generating a modest £10K value a month,  ignoring the 30% tail you could be losing £3K a month, easily enough to cover a day’s development effort or investing in tools to optimise for all devices.  Optimising for all devices does pay for itself in spades.

Speed is king

Monitor how fast your site is. Companies like Gomez can help track the performance of your site. It is clear that page load time has a serious effect on your campaign performance and this is especially true on mobile where devices are less powerful and bandwidth is less reliable. If page load times are any more than just a few seconds then your campaign won’t succeed.

How do you speed your campaign up?  As with any performance optimisation, the trick is in identifying the next big thing that is slowing you down and then iteratively knock these big boys out. Also split your attack into client side and server side. For client side – Use Firebug & Page Speed in Firefox to identify big resources, unnecessary resources, slow resources, uncompressed resources, resources that can be cached but aren’t. Even when delivering to mobile, desktop browsers – with all their advance features and plugins – provide an essential development tool.

For server side measure your page delivery times on the server – isolate it from network delivery so you can focus on each component independently. Your page delivery times should be in the fractions of seconds. If they’re not then you know you need to focus on getting this down. Profile your page delivery to identify the bottleneck – is it DB access? Is it web service access? Is it system CPU? Attack these bottlenecks until the time taken to deliver the page from the server is a small fraction of the total time the user has to wait for the page to load.

When you have your delivery performance looking good then make sure you continuously monitor your system. If page delivery suddenly slows down then you may have system failure that needs immediate attention – set up email alerts to keep you informed. If the page delivery time starts slowing down then you may have a problem looming. Schedule some time ASAP to review what might have changed so you can steer this off early and make sure it doesn’t become a problem.

Monitor your health

Like it or not your web site will have issues. Third party APIs may fail. Users may interact with your site in ways you had not expected. And your site may simply have a few bugs. It’s not a sin to admit that, but it is a sin to not continuously monitor alerts that indicate such failings. It’s like driving on a flat tyre – your site will be under-performing if you aren’t ready to take remedial action and apply iterative updates.

If you put all of the above into practice you will see a vast improvement in conversions and sales and you will also be able to anticipate future trends improve results with every new campaign.  Being a Meerkat is not easy, it takes work and self-analysis!  Being the equivalent of a digital Ostrich is pretty easy and the results are easy to predict.

 

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Posted in: mobile, mobile design, mobile friendly, mobile search, mobile technology, mobile UX, mobile web, multichannel

18

Feb

MC 20131 “Marie Curie Supporters become the focus of 2013 with new mobile site”

London 18th February 2013– bemoko (http://bemoko.com) the leading supplier of mobile web solutions are pleased to announce their latest Charity Sector client; leading National charity Marie Curie Cancer Care.

bemoko were awarded the Marie Curie contract after a competitive tender process – one of the critical success factors was a live launch for Jan 11th – giving just 8 weeks.

The Marie Curie Cancer Care mobile site has a fresh look with content being the key driver for the project. Visitors can now start their engagement with the charity at a personal level, giving them the ability to read and search any part of the site on mobile and tablet devices.

Marie Curie had a significant amount of traffic from mobile and made a conscious decision to build a mobile strategy to encompass key and popular information, funding-raising and donations.

Marc Gilbert Digital Manager at Marie Curie Cancer Care commented” Marie Curie is committed to providing information to all who need it. Mobiles and tablets is a very personal channel of engagement and gives us the ability to connect on a one to one level. The bemoko platform has allowed a rapid deployment on this project across all mobile devices.

Phillip Clement said that “With our success in the Charity sector growing stronger we are very pleased to be supporting Marie Curie Cancer Care, their digital team have understood the value of mobile coupled with our deep mobile expertise and unique technology, we have over achieve on expectations.”

About Bemoko:
bemoko is a leading supplier of mobile web solutions.

We work with clients that see mobile as a critical element of their digital strategy. Clients that want to use mobile as a differentiator, to deliver higher sales and drive stronger customer loyalty.

Through a combination of our deep mobile expertise and unique technology capability we help our clients to become class leaders in mobile

About Marie Curie
“Marie Curie Cancer Care provides end of life care to people in their place of choice. Last year we cared for more than 35,000 terminally ill patients through our Nursing Service and in our nine hospices. Our services are designed to ensure that the best possible care and patient choice is at the heart of commissioning end of life care across the UK.

For more information, contact:
Contact: Alex Holdaway
Job Title: Head of PR
Tel: 020 7599 7702
mob: 07884 311 035
alex.holdaway@mariecurie.org.uk

Contact: Emily Nicholls
Tele: 01256 581028
Follow Me on:@bemoko
www.bemoko.com
Emily.nicholls@bemoko.com

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Posted in: charity web, donations, fundraising, mobile, mobile search, mobile technology, mobile UX, mobile web, multichannel, PC website, third sector

31

Jan

Responsive Design “delving deeper”

Posted By Emily Nicholls Thursday, January 31, 2013. No Comments

With so much interest in ‘Responsive Web Design’ in 2012, we have delved deeper to see if this is the right approach for Web Development moving forward. For many it offers a low cost approach to a write once web development. However, there are limitations and this article tries to explain these, and how the Responsive Web Design concept can be taken to a more dynamic and vastly improved user experience.

What is it?
Responsive web design is the approach taken to ensure that the website layout adapts to the browsers viewport (the dimensions of the browser window in which the website is displayed, not including the scroll bars and address bars etc).

How is it done?
Responsive Web Design is traditionally made possible through the use of CSS Media Queries, JavaScript can then take this one step further, and can be used to modify the DOM (the structure of the markup)

CSS
These allow for a set of CSS styles to be applied when the browser is in a certain condition.

Typical queries are:
• Width & Height@media screen and (min-width: 400px) and (max-width: 700px)
• Orientation@media all and (orientation:portrait) { … }
@media all and (orientation:landscape) { … }
• Aspect Ratio@media screen and (device-aspect-ratio: 16/9) { …

Javascript
Using javascript it is possible to detect if the browsers screen has changed size by listening for the onresize() event.
When a screen change has been detected, you can make the required DOM modifications to adjust the layout of your content to the new browser view port dimensions.

Problems with this approach
Responsive Web Design works best when used in small edge case scenarios, as it able to deliver rapid layout changes, without the backend heavy-weight that is device knowledge. However, when delivering sites outside of these edge-case scenarios, Responsive Web Design may not be the best approach. Particularly when targeting a wide range of devices and browsers. When using Responsive Design with the traditional methods of CSS and Javascript for this, a few problems are introduced:

Page Weight
With media queries, there is much redundant styling that will never get used by the device under any circumstance. All this redundancy dramatically increases the page weight, which in turn slows the browsing experience of your site down.

CSS
While CSS media queries are fast to adapt content upon viewport changes, the actual .css files are fairly hefty as all styling for all eventual layouts are included in the page. So you are potentially increasing the size of your style sheets by a multiple of the number of layouts you are targeting.

JavaScript
Depending on the size of your size, and the amount of DOM manipulation needed, your JavaScript files could also run the same issue as CSS.

Images
CSS can hide/display/resize images, but this does not help with the actual download of the image. If an image has display:none it has still been downloaded by the browser in its original format.

Unexpected onresize() events
When using onResize(), pay caution to the many unexpected events cause the event to trigger. These are the events known to trigger this event:

• User resizes browser window by dragging the corner or edge.
• Users enters full screen or window view of browser.
• The orientation of the device switches from landscape to portrait or vice-versa.
• Modification to the DOM which causes the scroll bar to appear within the browser, in effect reducing the view port.
• When the users scroll down the page, and the address bar is hidden, this increases the size of the view port and hence fires this event.
• User changes the zoom level
• The view port meta changes

Clunky Reloads
A technique that some sites have incorporated is to refresh the page upon a change in viewport. This will reset the users page view progress, and potentially also lose input field information as the page is in effect reloaded.

On smart phones, users tend to browse the site in ‘Portrait’ mode, but when they are then asked to input details in a complex form, they prefer the keyboard display in ‘Landscape’ mode.

Unexpected User Experience
As a user is browsing the site in a ‘Portrait’ mode, and they then switch to a ‘Landscape’ mode, the layout that the user should now see should not be dramatically different. Any adjustments to the navigation may throw the user off, as they will need to readjust their ability to use the site.

Hard to maintain and improve
Having multiple style sheets for all the possible viewport groups that you wish to support which modify the layout of each, as well as handling the JavaScript interactions and DOM manipulations, can become hard to maintain. Especially when a new feature needs to be imposed on the site that requires specific JavaScript function or CSS styles, ensuring that it does not break on other devices remains a challenge.

Solutions
Many solutions can be derived through client-side javascript that will “pull” content from the server, and manipulate it to display the desired layout. Although possible, this approach has its inherent problems. These mainly boil down to:-

1. Latency The time it takes to pull content via javascript over the mobile network. For example updating images from a 240px initial load, to 980px will result in an increased page load.

2. Re-rendering the user may see the “lowest denominator” version of the site while content is being pulled and manipulated by the browser, resulting in a “Clunky Reload”.

3. Slow UX Javascript intensive pages will slow down the browsing experience, causing lags in scrolling and animations and other navigation elements.
A more practical approach to Responsive Web Design is to integrate the discovery services of device recognition, the processing power of server-side mark-up manipulation and image delivery, and the final tweaking using CSS media queries and JavaScript.

Using these combination methods, here are some suggestions for Responsive Design Practice to help reduce the known issues identified earlier:

Targeted Responsive Design
Using intelligent capability discovery will, through tools such as device databases, will allow developers to deliver content that is known to be supported by the requesting device, such as:
• Only deliver responsive style sheets to devices that support it.
• Only deliver styling that will actually get used by that device (i.e. do not deliver a media query of width > 800px if that device can never achieve that width)
• Only deliver JavaScript to devices that can handle it well.
• Only deliver optimized images for that device.

Scale Up
If relying on responsive design, make sure that your page “scales up” to the highest denominator, instead of “scaling down” a PC based site to fit on a mobile.
This not only reduces page weight, but also ensures that the devices that can support the intensive DOM manipulation and enhanced CSS styling will be using their full capabilities to do so.

Ajax Reload of Selective Content
Instead of reloading the entire window, use AJAX to reload sections of content that are affected by the new viewport. This technique will keep the page weight to a minimum, as content is only loaded when needed.
A great example of this would be to just reload the images when a browser orientation changes from ‘Landscape’ to ‘Portrait’.

Adaptive Personalisation
Users should always be given the option to view you site in Full mode. Some users prefer to pinch and zoom their way around a regular designed for pc website, as they feel that the content is more complete or that they are more comfortable with that navigation technique.
Allowing the user to toggle between the Full site and the responsive site will give that user the freedom. Once their selection has been made, their preference should be saved, and so on subsequent visits, the user will have their preferred view.

Use an onresize() Margin of Error
When using Javascript to adapt the layout of a device based on the onresize() javascript event, build in an margin of error to allow for accidental give and take. A margin of error of 15% should ensure that no DOM modifications are taken when the browser makes slight adjustments to the viewport as described above causing an overuse of DOM manipulation slowing the browsing experience down. Better still, only adapt when the onresize() will cross the threshold between viewport layouts that you have designed.

Benefits
Integrating a server-sided approach with client-sided responsive design has many benefits over choosing one over the other.

No Compromise
When developing a responsive site, you are taking a conscious decision to exclude devices that are unable to handle CSS media queries, javascript, or even heavy pages. Alternatively, development could follow the approach to design for the lowest common device, and so more advanced devices are suffering from lack of inclusion, rendering their technological abilities void.

Server Side Platforms
Integrating with a server-sided platform, these devices can still be treated equally, providing access to the same content through alternative means of navigation, layouts and styling.

Only delivering mark-up to devices that support it, and also delivering only relevant mark-up, not only reduces page size, but also reduces the risk of browser hangs and crashes. On mobile devices, it is common for websites with large amounts of Javascript and CSS to cause the browser to crash as the complex queries are too much for the browser rendering engine.

Easier to maintain and enhance
Using Bemoko’s hierarchy approach, breaking down your styles and JavaScript into your defined UI groups will make it much easier to know where changes need to be made, and what will be affected when that change has been made.
Through a combination of our deep mobile expertise and unique technology capability we help our clients to become class leaders in mobile.

During testing, specific devices may throw up rendering abnormalities, and implementing work-arounds for these can be done effectively by targeting the specific device. With responsive design, the ‘work-arounds’ are all included in the CSS or JavaScript which gets delivered to all handsets, not just the devices that require it.
As the capabilities of devices improve, and new technologies become available, dropping these into specific UI Groups will instantly enhance the site. These groups can be targeted to ensure that these will work, and will not break existing functionality on older unsupported devices.

Faster page loads
Page weight is comprised of markup, CSS, JavaScript, and images. Therefor it is evident that reducing page weight will increase page load speeds, the most important factor in mobile web development. Consumers losing patience with the slow mobile web and How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line do an excellent job on describing how important page loading times are, and how it can affect business.

Conclusion
Standalone, Client-Side Responsive Web Design works best when the site is targeted to a particular browser or device class. For example, if you only want to support iPhone and Android devices, manipulation of layout via media queries and JavaScript will be a sufficient approach. However, when you wish to develop a site that will work across almost any browser (PC, Tablet, Smartphone, Feature phone, etc) a combination of both intelligent server-sided adaptation and client sided responsive tweaking will be best suited to the task.

By Olaf Dunn @olafdunn on twitter

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Posted in: fundraising, mcommerce, mobile, mobile design, mobile search, mobile technology, mobile UX, mobile web, multichannel, responsive design, web optimisation

12

Dec

The mobile evolution, a charity perspective

Posted By Emily Nicholls Wednesday, December 12, 2012. No Comments

Guest Blog from bemoko client Andy Nash -Macmillan Cancer Support

Firstly, we need to appreciate what the mobile evolution is. Nokia phones in the 1990’s connected people and became the mass-appeal, must-have personal gadget for a generation. In the mid-2000’s smart phones were accessing the internet, allowing people to download applications and interact on social media in an immediate way. For most people their mobile device has become the primary multi-purpose, multi-functional device they have with them 24 hours a day. And that is the evolution – mobiles are the turn-to device and sometimes the only device people now use because in one hand-held device that they have with them all the time, they can carry out actions they would have needed several devices for in the past, not all of which were portable.

Secondly, we need to understand how people use mobile devices and what makes this a challenge that is much more than just putting our desktop sites onto mobile devices. There are three considerations here that we need to keep front-of-mind:

• Time spent looking at information on mobile devices
People think of a question, turn to their mobile device for an answer, get it and that’s often the end of the journey. Reading at length and going off at tangents following related links is often not as commonplace as when sat comfortably in front of a desktop machine.

• Levels of distraction
Because the mobile device is with people all the time, people use their devices essentially throughout the entire span of the day. In most cases, they are distracted by other things: getting ready for work; walking; other commuters on public transport; eating; or the TV, for example.

• User expectations
People expect mobile to enable them to get answers, provide those answers in a rich way and make the absolute most of the capabilities of the device – not just serve up text in a web page

We need to guard against seeing mobile as another delivery platform for desktop experiences. Or worse – a cut down version of the desktop website. Yes, mobile devices have smaller screens, limitations in terms of connection speeds and network coverage. But the limitations of desktop machines are vast in comparison, because the mobile is such a multi-functional device. They can’t make calls, send texts, precisely geo-locate, take pictures, or interact in any significant way with the real world. Each of these functions can be tapped into to enhance what would previously have been done on a desktop website. People no longer need to be told “Pick up the phone and call us!” – they can just tap the telephone number on screen. They no longer need to print out a map from a website, they can use the in-built navigation function of the mobile device that is able to be geo-located through its GPS. No longer does a poster have to have a memorable URL printed on it for the causal passer-by to try to remember when they get home. A QR code alternative will enable smart phone users to scan it and go straight to the page whilst still in front of the poster.

The mobile device is already becoming the device of choice for most people. As such, the way organisations are embracing and exploiting the multi-functions available on mobile devices is only set to grow.

So what does this mean for charities? Well we in the charity world have to be careful to spend money donated to us wisely and add value to our services with it. We also have to find ways to show those that donate to us what a huge impact they are making on our behalf. And we have to encourage our supporters to continue to support our worthy causes. The mobile evolution enables us to do all these things and link them all up in a way that we simply could never do via desktop websites alone.

• Provision of information and services can be more easily personalised.
• Fundraising and campaigning can be made much more immediate.
• Enabling supporters to get involved can be much more localised.

But, when commissioning work, we need to have a good understanding of how embracing mobile is not just an editorial challenge, but a technical one as well and that the two are inextricably linked.

Some tips:
• Developing for mobile is not easy.

• There are lots of buzz words and phrases in use that mean different things to different people (mobile first, responsive design, device detection, progressive enhancement, graceful degradation for example).

• Mobile should not just be a cut-down view of a desktop site. Neither should it be the whole desktop site reproduced for the smaller screen.

• Organisations should concentrate on what the core information is that they want to communicate across all their devices. Then look at each individual device type (by grouping similar devices together – for example, feature phones, smart phones, tablets, desktops) and work out how that device type can enhance the core content and provide extra device-specific content.

• Do server-side device detection and use that to determine what to send to the device you’ve detected. Don’t be lazy and send everything to every device and expect the device to sort out what to display (why send a device on 3G any more data than it needs to display.

• Beware full-service agencies that have mobile as a bolt-on to their core business.

Guest Blog by Andy Nash,-Digital Project Manager – Mobile Macmillan Cancer Support
“Andy has worked in the digital arena for 18 years, including both public sector and charity. He moved from desktop web to mobile in 2010 and now evangelises daily on the need for everyone else to join him. He is passionate about user centered design and build”

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Posted in: charity web, donations, fundraising, Macmillan Cancer Support, mobile, mobile design, mobile search, mobile technology, mobile UX, mobile web, multichannel, third sector

11

Dec

Solving the mobile conundrum

Posted By Mat Diss Tuesday, December 11, 2012. No Comments

If you are in charge of delivering your company mobile strategy, you are more than likely receiving multiple differing views on the subject from many different people. Should you go responsive, should you use a separate mobile site, should you use a platform to deliver mobile sites or should you write a separate site for each device (ok, so that last one is extreme, but I’ve seen it done) – there are a huge variety of different options, all with their pros and cons.

All of the different approaches are essentially a compromise, they can all deliver a workable solution but there is always a compromise on some aspects of the delivery. You need to choose which compromise to take and pick your route accordingly. One problem we have seen in RFP situations is that you can’t compare quotes on a like for like basis. They are all taking a different approach – some approaches cost more upfront but deliver cost benefits in the long term whilst some look initially attractive and it’s only when you are a year down the road that it becomes prohibitively expensive. Essentially, you need to be a mobile expert to decipher the RFP responses for the mobile experts you are trying to hire.

There is a solution that covers all the different techniques in one place – we’ll come on to that later. First I’d like to go through each of the main techniques and list the pros and cons.

Responsive (or adaptive) Design

This technique is getting a lot of mention recently and is viewed by some as the holy grail and answer to all their problems. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m afraid it’s a compromise. Responsive seems to make perfect sense and the idea that you can have your site respond to different devices (primarily based on screen width) and only need to develop one site sounds like a better than sliced bread moment. It’s when you stand back and think about the context of mobile where you find the compromise. Yes, it’s great writing one site and delivering to all screen widths, but is that really understanding mobile context? A mobile user with a touch interface has different needs to a PC/desktop user with a keyboard and a mouse. The navigation of the site should be different for these contexts. I’ve seen examples of responsive sites (this example is an insurance comparison site) where, on the desktop, the calls to action are clearly displayed on the homepage – this site owner really wants people to click on home, car or health insurance. When viewed on a smaller screen, the responsive elements kick in and very nicely changes the layout of the page for a smaller screen. In this case, however, it means that all the calls to action scroll off the page and aren’t easily visible. You are trying to fit a layout designed for a large screen into a small screen without accounting for the context. A better solution would be to make all the call to action buttons different so they appear on the front page for mobiles. This could be done with responsive, but it’s now getting more complicated to manage the site to cater for many different devices.

Another big issue is page size. Typically the responsive site delivers everything to the mobile and then the device ignores half of it. A great example of this is the Channel 4 news site which delivers an astonishing 2.5MB of information to the device, most of which is not used. Given that a long page load time deters users, my average download time of over a minute for this page is not encouraging.

Responsive design seems attractive initially. There are no license costs for software or middleware platforms and everything is done using standard web languages. Managing and enhancing a responsive site becomes increasingly expensive and risky as more and more diverse devices need to be supported and the stylesheets get more complicated. Your very talented web developer who knows how it all hangs together may leave, giving you a real headache managing the site.

Having said all this, responsive design is perfect for certain sites – news (aside from the aforementioned Channel 4) and content sites are particularly suited to this technique, but transactional site not necessarily so. The technique can simplify site creation with all the business logic in one place and you don’t have to manage 2 sites. You also get a single URL with no need to redirect to a mobile specific site and all the SEO benefits that has.

A mobile specific site

If you understand that mobile requires a different context to desktop, you typically end up here with a mobile specific site which gives you all the flexibility you need to cater for your mobile based users. Here you can design specific, optimised pages and manage the user journey. Your analytics will relate specifically to mobile users and you can adjust the journey accordingly to get the best from your site. Your PC site will automatically redirect to the mobile site and it will be available on an m. URL so searchability and access to the site will not hinder your users and they will get the best experience for the device they are using (with, of course, the option to view the PC site on a mobile if they want to).

All the above gives maximum flexibility, but it’s still a compromise. You have to manage 2 sites and they aren’t served from the same URL (the redirect works, but from an SEO point of view it could be viewed as a separate site). Although the separate site should not duplicate content, some of the business logic may need to be different and there is inevitably some duplication. Managing a separate mobile site without the benefit of a platform (see below) can become expensive.

Creating a different mobile site for different groups of devices

This is a handy one as it can make your life easier. If someone is suggesting this approach you can discard their response immediately.

Using a platform

There are a number of device independent platforms that deliver all the benefits of having a separate mobile site along with the added benefits of making it easy to manage the multitude of devices and ensure that the site is future proofed against new device developments. A platform will deliver cost savings on maintenance and site enhancements going forward and you will not be in the sticky situation of rushing to make the site work on a new device – the platform should manage that for you.

It’s true that there may be more upfront cost for a platform as you might have to pay for licenses to use it. But think of the platform as less than the cost of a developer for a year – it will keep the site in a manageable format that anyone can edit and it’s not suddenly going to leave. Well worth the money in my opinion.

In summary

To summarise the above, there are many different options available for delivering your mobile site and they all have compromises. In an ideal world you would like to:

  • Deliver the site from one URL without redirection
  • Respond to different devices from one code base
  • Have the flexibility to deliver mobile optimised content that may be different to the PC content.
  • Reduce code duplication and back end business logic integration effort.
  • Group devices based on a better granularity than just screen size.
  • Not just rely on complex style-sheets to deliver a different layout
  • Ensure you are delivering only the content the device needs and not extra content that will get ignored.
  • Not relying on talented, expensive developers to deliver complex responsive based solutions.

All the solutions discussed above deliver some of this wish list, but none can deliver all.

Problem Solved

There is one solution which can deliver all of the above. The bemoko development platform can deliver sites to any device, including PC and desktop and allows for comprehensive device grouping so that markup can be targeted to specific devices. Full support for HTML5 and CSS3 means that responsive design can be used where it is beneficial. Markup is automatically optimised for each device meaning the end of the 2.5MB page size.

Because the platform manages all the devices, there is one code base and one URL – there is no redirection required. The user experience for mobile/tablet/phone/TV and anything in the future can be changed to deliver the perfect experience for the device being used and not a compromised PC layout delivered to a small screen. The layout can be changed using a mixture of style-sheets and HTML code which simplifies site build and maintenance. The backend code integration can be done once for both desktop and mobile.

If you really want to deliver the best user experience for your users whilst reducing development costs on support and maintenance, the bemoko platform can help you achieve your goals and increase customer engagement by providing the best user experience for, however they interact with your site.

By Mat Diss – Managing Director of bemoko

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Posted in: mobile, mobile design, mobile search, mobile technology, mobile UX, mobile web, multichannel, public website news, responsive design, web optimisation

21

Nov

The Camera API – More than just your name in lights!

Posted By Emily Nicholls Wednesday, November 21, 2012. No Comments

New mobile technologies are nothing new! Javascript geolocation functionality has become common place in mobile websites over the past 3 years, allowing a mobile site to pinpoint user location.

Other breakthroughs include sensory device capabilities.

“Accelerometers in mobile phones are used to detect the orientation of the phone. The gyroscope, or gyro for short, adds an additional dimension to the information supplied by the accelerometer by tracking rotation or twist.” – GSM Arena glossary (sensors)

Such sensors, inter alia, permit the user to control the device in new ‘never before imagined’ ways.

Probably the newest kid on the block, however, is the Camera API. This API gives the user the ability to take an image from their device’s camera and upload it to a mobile site. The possibilities are endless. For example, the uploaded picture could be used as the user’s avatar. A mobile site could facilitate the sharing of the image on social networks. But, being at mobile’s bleeding edge, we refuse to halt our imaginations there.

The most exciting innovations in mobile have always come through the collaboration of new mobile technologies with pre-existing services. For example, geolocation when coupled with readily available public APIs permitted not just location detection but location information. The user is now advised that Acme Plc’s nearest store is situated 5 miles away and is presented with a map detailing user and store location information plus driving directions.

And so it shall be with the Camera API. It’s most exciting uses shall emerge through innovation. What would happen if we coupled the camera API with the HTML5 canvas’ 3D rendering capabilities? One could imagine a spinning 3D bauble with the user’s face painted on it and light reflecting therefrom.

A festive treat for any web user. Or let’s twin the camera API with Google Maps, geolocation and a social network. We can now plot the user’s friends on a Google Map, detailing not just their current locations but using their latest uploaded photos as map pins.

The possibilities are endless.

Of course, the bemoko platform not only supports such functionality but seeks to enhance it. The bemoko platform, for instance, is readily used to dynamically transcode images received from the camera, making the photo web-ready for the accessing device both in terms of file size and image size.

Other issues remain. For example, the orientation of the image has proved a challenge, the device having no knowledge of which way up is the right way up.

bemoko, however, being experienced market leaders have everything needed to respond to such emerging concerns. The first ingredient is awareness – know your enemy – and the second item for the pot being the expertise to confidently tackle such issues. Yet more reasons why the bemoko choice is the right choice.

By Dan Lewis- Senior Developer

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Posted in: iphone, java, mcommerce, mobile, mobile design, mobile search, mobile technology, mobile UX, mobile web

13

Nov

Responsive is not the only route to mobile, dispelling the Myth!!

Posted By Emily Nicholls Tuesday, November 13, 2012. No Comments

Ok…enough already!  If I hear the words responsive or adaptive one more time this week, I’m off to silicon roundabout with a 20ft poster and a loud hailer!

Simple fact is I don’t get it!  I really don’t get it!  The tech and agency world, not to mention the internal tech teams and digital teams in all those corporates out there are (I hope) pretty bright individuals, but for some unknown reason when it comes to mobile they seem to have lost all sense!

Ok so mobile is new, I’ll give them that, and I guess to a degree there is a learning curve to go through, but with so much innovation and expertise out there you’d have thought that at least some individuals would have realised that using techniques designed for desktop web development just can’t cut it in mobile.

Is it laziness?  Or perhaps corporate politics or is it just fashionable  and trendy to be jumping on the responsive bandwagon (aagghhh I said it! Now, where is that loud hailer!)  Maybe it is just pure and simple lack of understanding and perhaps like unruly teenagers we just have to let them make their own mistakes until they feel enough pain to come to their senses.

So who’s feeling brave?  Who’s a real innovator?  Who can break the mould and drive change?  Who can challenge convention?(probably words that appear in any one of the agency’s or corporates mission statements)
Firstly let’s bust the jargon – Responsive (aagghhh… OK just knocking up the poster) is a technical term for writing a website that delivers the same content to all devices but changes the layout according to the size of the screen, nothing more special than that, it’s certainly not an innovation for mobile web build, and here is where the problem starts.

Firstly getting a page to display on a small screen is not mobile, it’s just a miniature website, secondly using simply style-sheets to tell any one of an almost infinite number of different device combinations what to show or hide, results in a spaghetti mess that becomes impossible to fix, update and is costly to maintain.  Thirdly it means you are taking a short cut and ignoring your mobile audience and the context they are using your site in – should they have the same navigation as your PC site?  Finally it means rewriting your whole website, managing endless templates, images and content too.

The alternative is not however an m.site – this too is not the future, generally because the stand-alone site will be built using old techniques, but just using small style sheets for small screens.

Here’s the rub… you want to deliver your site from one code -base and from one URL, but you need to understand the different user contexts for different devices and that mobile is very different, multi device is different again.   The only way to truly tackle it is to use technology and methodology founded in the mobile operators, honed and refined on leading edge multi-device projects and packaged for use by anyone open-minded enough to see that web design and build has moved on light-years from the old days PC only websites.

Enter the world of web platforms – there are many to choose from, they are designed specifically to tackle the challenges of a multi-device world, they will save time and money and they will deliver astonishing results.  Finding one is the easy bit, breaking the blinkered and entrenched mindset that seems to be gripping the developer community will be the challenge!

3wise Responsive is not the only route to mobile, dispelling the Myth!!

By Phillip Clement

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Posted in: mobile, mobile design, mobile search, mobile technology, mobile UX, mobile web, multichannel, responsive design, web optimisation

22

Oct

London UK, 22nd October 2012, bemoko (http://www.bemoko.com), bemoko,the leading specialist of mobile web solution and it’s clients Macmillan Cancer Support and Pizza Hut UK Delivery have been announced as a finalist in three categories of Mobile Marketing Magazine’s upcoming Effective Mobile Marketing Awards with four short-list nominations.

Mags Dixon, CMO for Pizza Delivery commented, “We’re delighted to be nominated for this award with our mobile partner bemoko. Our optimised mobile site has been a runaway success with our customers and has already achieved a mix of 20% of online orders in just a few months! The site has been getting great reviews and has made it much easier for customers to place an order via mobile devices”.

Andy Nash, Digtital Project Manager (mobile) Macmillan Cancer Support also commented, “Mobile is a big part of Macmillan’s digital strategy to reach and improve the lives of everyone affected by cancer. Partnering with Bemoko, our team has worked hard to develop and enhance our mobile offering to make it work seamlessly across all mobile devices, and these two nominations, on top of two nominations last year, are gratifying acknowledgement of that work.”

bemoko has reached the short-list in the following categories:

 

Mobile Marketing Magazine

Mobile Charity Campaign Solution: Macmillan Cancer Support

Most Effective M-Commerce Solution: – Pizza Hut UK Delivery

Most Effective Mobile Site:– Macmillan Cancer Support

Most Effective Mobile Site: – Pizza Hut UK Delivery

The final winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on 29th for November in London.

For more information on the Awards visit:

http://mobilemarketingmagazine.com/awards/

About bemoko

Welcome to better mobile, Mobile is mainstream – your mobile web presence helps to define your brand.

 

bemoko creates an unrivalled mobile user experience from your existing web content – with the crucial operational simplicity needed to meet your business goals. bemoko allows you to quickly gain access to unbeatable performance across smartphones, tablets,

e-commerce, social media…and whatever comes next.

For more information:

Contact: Emily Nicholls

Tele: 0844 2620909

Follow Me on:@bemoko

www.bemoko.com

Emily.nicholls@bemoko.com

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Posted in: awards, charity web, facebook, Macmillan Cancer Support, mobile, mobile design, mobile technology, mobile UX, mobile web, multichannel, pizza hut, public website news, third sector, transactional

9

Oct

Bemoko takes Make-A-Wish mobile with campaign console

Posted By Emily Nicholls Tuesday, October 9, 2012. No Comments

London 9th October– bemoko (www.bemoko.com for new website) the leading multi-channel optimisation mobile specialist is proud to announce its most recent work with the national children’s charity Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK.

Make-A-Wish grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions. Since its inception in 1986, it has granted over 8,000 wishes. With technology advancing and with donators and channels moving to mobile and tablet devices via sms , bemoko have developed and provided Make-A-Wish with a Mobile Micro -site Console. This allows information including text, images and video to create a 1 page mobile website “wish”.

We developed the console to allow them to use the mobile pages as part of the fulfilment and on-going relationship development of donors they signed up via street fund-raising.

Katy Pickering – Individual Giving Manager at Make-A-Wish comments “being able to send out wishes and share rich video media and images with people to show them where their donations are going is a great step for Make-A-Wish”, “we were keen to engage with an audience that is not typically responsive to traditional media. Mobile was the obvious platform and with the easy to use console we are able to create our own content with images whenever we need to”.

Philip Clement – Sales and Marketing Director at bemoko said “bemoko understand charities and has a flexible approach which allows us to work in this vertical, our UK development team simply configured and customised the bemoko console to personalise it to the needs of Make-A-Wish and we are pleased to hear that it is already making a difference.

makeawish samsung s3 Bemoko takes Make A Wish mobile with campaign console

bemoko mobile console

About Bemoko:

Bemoko creates an unrivalled mobile user experience from your existing web content – with the crucial operational simplicity needed to meet your business goals. bemoko allows you to quickly gain access to unbeatable performance across smart-phones, tablets, e-commerce, social media and whatever comes next.

About Make- A- Wish

There are currently 20,000 children and young people in the UK fighting a life-threatening condition and this year alone 1,400 children will turn to Make-A-Wish to have their wish granted. The charity needs to raise £6.8 million in 2012 and receives no government funding or lottery grants – so every donation really does count.

For more information contact:

Emily Nicholls

bemoko

+44 844 264 0909

emily.nicholls@bemoko.com

 

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Posted in: charity web, donations, facebook, fundraising, mobile, mobile design, mobile search, mobile technology, mobile UX, mobile web, multichannel, music, press, social, third sector, web optimisation