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$0 Marketing Budget? Here Are 4 Creative Ways to Land Clients

20 mai, 2020 - 11:17

The modern marketing landscape has changed drastically over the last few years. Moving from static marketing in magazines and on billboards, to an online frenzy of emails, posts, and expensive AdWord campaigns. 

A common issue for small startups is that they don’t have the budget to compete with big companies on the social marketing scene. We explore four creative ways to increase business with a $0 marketing budget.

Facebook & Instagram

There’s a reason why we’ve put these two social powerhouses together. First, let’s talk about Facebook – it’s huge, it’s free, and if your business doesn’t have a page, you’re dead in the water. It’s the best way to communicate information about your business to a captive audience. 

Your Facebook profile has information on your business hours, contact details, and your products. Facebook links to Instagram and the benefit of this is that when you post on Instagram, you can have the same post appear on your Facebook page, saving you time. 

Instagram is a graphic platform, so pictures or photos are what get people’s attention here. Take a pic of your products, and if you offer a service, then create a service-related photo to share. You can bounce between the two platforms using graphics on Instagram and informational posts on Facebook. 

Image by William Iven from Pixabay Content 

Some marketers say a website is a dying tool, but we beg to differ. The appeal may have lost a little of its initial spark, but sites are still a reliable fallback for clients looking for information. Search engines have powerful features that can help clients find what company they want and in what area. A function that social media has not perfected yet. 

Your website is your online portfolio, and you have full control over its content. Fill it with relevant information that would interest your target market. Think out of the box here and don’t limit your website to only explaining what services you offer, expand on the information to encompass complimentary info. You can create a free site too, to begin with.

For example, if you sell stationery, don’t just list your products, because let’s face it, stationery in itself is unexciting. Place content on your website surrounding advances in office technology, improving the work environment, office workers’ mental health, etc. 

There’s so much information that’s related indirectly to the stationery industry that you’ll find customers drawn to the content, which end up purchasing products. 

Image by Werner Moser from Pixabay Videos

YouTube is a fantastic platform for businesses to build their exposure. Product reveals and instructional videos can be used to educate customers and be linked to Facebook. The video links can also be embedded in direct email campaigns.

What’s magical about YouTube is that users who are interested in a particular genre or subject are prompted to watch other videos within the same interest spectrum, which in a way, is free push marketing for you. 

Be sure to create a video that’s not too specific. If you’re selling car tires, don’t just make a video on the particular brand of tire, but also include general information such as how to prolong the life of the vehicle, save money on maintenance, etc. 

Email Marketing

Your Facebook and Website pages are a portal to a captive audience. Use the platforms to gather your customer’s information and email them often with new product launches and ways that they can improve their lives. 

Remember, it’s not only about pushing your products and services, but also the need to drive brand awareness. It sometimes means not directly promoting your company but sending out general information that will improve customer’s lives, and at the same time, keep your company name in their minds.

Conclusion

The biggest mistake that many small businesses make is that they don’t take the time to make a great social media content strategy plan. They have a website and Facebook page, but post rarely and don’t update content. Use email and video to reinforce your exposure and appeal to more people. 

With any marketing campaign, it needs to be done consistently to have any effect. Create a plan, implement it with enthusiasm, and your business will be sure to make its mark.

Business vector created by stories – www.freepik.com

Catégories: News dév web

6 Enterprise Mobile Application Development Platforms in 2020

18 mai, 2020 - 09:35

Which mobile application development platform should I opt for?

What are the prominent advantages of choosing that platform?

Will it be the best choice for my app?

I am sure that there are so many questions that arise in the mind when it comes to choosing an enterprise mobile app development platform. Given the plenty of available options, one is bound to feel baffled. But selecting the most appropriate platform holds utmost importance. 

To help you out, we have whittled a list of the top six enterprise mobile application development platforms that are leading the charts in 2020. You can learn about these in detail to choose the best one for your app. Let’s begin. 

Appcelerator

Appcelerator makes use of a single JavaScript codebase to build strong native apps. It has an open and extensible environment that allows you to produce apps for Android, iOS, Blackberry, HTML5 and hybrid apps. Its open-source SDK supports over 5,000 devices.

Pros
  • It offers rapid prototyping. The app development process is greatly accelerated and a prototype is built by investing minimum time and effort to evaluate the user interaction with UI.
  • It comprises ArrowDB, a schema-less data store that seeks to deploy data models with almost no setup efforts.
  • You can seamlessly integrate it to the existing delivery systems such as MDM and SCM solutions.
  • It consists of pre-built connectors for MS SQL, MongoDB, Box, Salesforce, MS Azure and many more.
Cons
  • It is quite buggy. Even though the newer versions are more stable, it is not very suitable for production use. The more complex your app gets, the more often you will have to face technical issues such as annoying bugs, random crashes, weird behaviour.
  • There is poor support extended from the Appcelerator’s developer’s community.
PhoneGap

PhoneGap is an amazing cross-platform framework, allowing app developers to build apps that operate smoothly on multiple mobile platforms. It has a powerful backend system that greatly accelerates the development process. It is best suited for developing simple mobile apps that do not extensively use the mobile’s native features.

The PhoneGap community comprises latest modules and codes that are available for free, owing to its Open Source License. It offers tremendous flexibility and app developers having a basic knowledge of JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3 can get started with development, without the need of learning any additional languages.

Pros
  • A great level of uniformity is maintained as the apps developed can be used for multiple mobile platforms. The apps exhibit minimalistic differences when viewed on different platforms.
  • PhoneGap works on JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3, the most common and very popular web technologies. 
  • It allows you to use in-app integrated payment systems via Google Play Store for Android, App Store for iOS, etc.
  • The app developers can make use of old JavaScript or some other libraries such as Prototype, jQuery, MooTools, Sencha Touch and more to manage the interaction.
Cons
  • PhoneGap doesn’t support all functionalities
  • It may prove to be ineffective at times, such as, while working with native apps
  • The capacity of cross platform apps is somewhat low-key when compared to other apps built for independent platforms
  • With PhoneGap, you can develop an app for once only. Thereafter, you will be charged some monthly fees.
Sencha

Sencha is believed to be an ideal framework for developing data-rich cross-platform applications powered by hardware acceleration methods. It is a warehouse of 115+ high-performing integrated UI components, including charts, grids, calendar, etc. 

HTML5 utilization can be easily unleashed on all modern browsers by this platform. Also, developers can use Sencha Ext JS for developing ground-breaking apps that leverage the potential of Business Intelligence for Analytics and data visualization. 

Pros
  • Sencha comes with a plethora of built-in themes that work on all major platforms
  • The platform is supported by a back-end data package that operates independently with different data sources
  • Apps created with Sencha can be easily integrated with PhoneGap / Cordova for packaging and native API access
  • Currently, Sencha is supported on WebKit browser, which includes the popular Google Android and iOS platforms
  • Sencha mobile apps can be easily scaled to different resolutions for achieving maximum compatibility with different devices
Cons
  • Some commercial versions of Sencha are braved with licensing complexity challenges
  • Animated themes for many targeted platforms are limited
Xamarin

Xamarin helps to develop native apps that work on multiple platforms by using a shared C# code base. The platform enables the developers to use the same IDE, APIs and language everywhere. Also, the Git integration can be directly launched into the Xamarin Studio. Owing to the unprecedented benefits of this platform, it has been adopted by some renowned names like Microsoft, IBM, Foursquare, etc.

Pros
  • Xamarin apps are very neatly written and thus, they can be used for reference as well. 
  • The Xamarin Component Store contains cross-platform libraries, UI controls and third-party libraries. 
  • As much as 75% of the developed code can be shared across major mobile platforms, which reduce the time-to market as well as bring down the cost of development
  • Xamarin offers quality assurance and functionality testing for various devices. This ensures fewer bugs and an efficient deliverable
Cons
  • The free version of the software comprises limited features
  • Developers cannot take full advantage of open-source libraries owing to some compatibility issues
Ionic

Ionic is a 100% free and open-source framework that is best suited for cross-platform mobile app development. The framework helps to create native functionality in apps that can seamlessly operate on multiple devices and operating systems. With native functionalities, exhaustive gestures and highly customizable tools, Ionic apps can help to augment user experience. 

Pros
  • The framework enables the developers to build apps for multiple app stores with a single code base, thus reducing development cost and timeline
  • The use of AngularJS helps to create a powerful SDK for building feature-rich and robust applications
  • The framework comes with many CSS and JavaScript components that account for minimal maintenance
Cons
  • In-app performance is not as efficient and quick as that of native apps
  • The use of AngularJS necessitates the developers to possess a specific skillset needed to build complex apps
  • It is difficult to achieve smooth in-app navigation since the UI-route is very tricky
NativeScript

This is an open-source platform that facilitates cross-platform app development with a rich, native-like user interface. With this platform, the developers can easily access native APIs through JavaScript to build highly interactive apps. Native mobile apps for iOS and Android can be created using a single codebase. 

Pros
  • A large number of NativeScript plugins are available that facilitate the creation of native mobile apps
  • Developers can reuse the accessible plugin NPM any number of times in all NativeScript projects
  • NativeScipt offers complete support for AngularJS 2 and TypeScript
  • The platform provides unrestrained access to native libraries, including CocoaPods and Gradle
Cons
  • Multi-threading in NativeScript is a possible issue
  • There is no adequate information available on the use of different features of NativeScript

Final WordsThese are the top 6 enterprise mobile application development platforms that are ruling the charts in 2020. You can get in touch with a reliable mobile application development agency to discover the most suitable platform for your precise needs. Choosing the right platform will ensure that you get a technically-sound deliverable as well as save on the time and effort involved in the process. 

Catégories: News dév web

5 Reasons Why the Digital Platform Is an Entrepreneurs’ Best Bet to Staying Productive During COVID-19

14 mai, 2020 - 10:55

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to affect thousands of people and businesses in the world, there is no telling what will happen to the economy if the crisis continues. Due to this, many entrepreneurs are concerned of the negative impact it can have on their business.

With the government’s decree to close down non-essential businesses, more and more companies are seeing a decline in their sales. 

With the future looking rather dismal, many are questioning what they can do to stay productive and profitable. Since it’s prohibited to come in close contact with another person as long as the “stay at home” order is in place, businesses can only do so much when it comes to marketing their services during this time. Because of this, more and more are turning to digital marketing in order to survive. 

According to Forbes, digital marketing is an important factor that can help businesses get through the tough times the coronavirus has brought. 

Though it was just a concept in the past, the idea of taking your marketing into the digital world has become a necessity for many companies, especially in light of what’s happening the world over. 

Here are 10 additional reasons why you too should consider going digital:

1. It’s a Great Alternative to Print Media

It’s a well-known fact that until the threat of the pandemic ends, everyone is discouraged to go outside unless it’s necessary. With that in mind, it’s clear any marketing strategy that involves walking around to advertise your business or meet with investors is strictly prohibited. 

Digital marketing, on the other hand, can provide you with a worthwhile alternative. The internet has become a very useful tool for business owners today because of the simple fact that it brings people together, no matter the distance.

In fact, compared to print media, digital marketing allows you to advertise your business within the four walls of your home. This means you can stay home without being concerned about contracting the disease and still be able to market your business to your target audience. 

2. Cancelled Events and Business Conferences

Business-to-business companies often rely on trade shows and conferences to widen their customer base. Through these shows, they can let their audience know about their products and maybe even introduce a new one onto the market. 

But with the implementation of the “stay at home” order, organizers are now being forced to cancel the events in order to ensure the safety of the participants and visitors.  

Because of this, a good number of businesses are facing the loss of what could have been long-term relationships with customers and suppliers. However, despite the canceled events, business owners still have the opportunity to sell their products or services via digital marketing. 

With the time spent at home, they can focus more on how to improve their reach, and compel their audience to avail of their product or services. 

3. Social Media Use is Increasing during Lockdowns

Even with the strict “stay at home” rules, an entrepreneur should still remind their clients that they’re still active and ready to serve them. They can do this through their social media platforms. 

Since folks have been advised to stay at home for their safety, more and more people are turning to social media to keep themselves entertained. According to the survey conducted by Statista, 43.1 percent of social media users have said that they would use Instagram during the entire duration of the “stay at home” order.

Armed with that information, business owners can change their marketing approach and use their efforts to build their digital presence. Not only will this make it be easier for them to reach their target audience, but it will also assure their clients that the business is still very much viable and active. 

4. People Are More Likely to Buy Online During the Outbreak

With the strict social distancing rules implemented to avoid the spread of the virus, people are turning to e-commerce in order to avoid catching the disease. Since people still can’t access brick and mortar establishments freely, they’re more likely to order their necessities online. 

For eCommerce companies, it’s important you set-up a communication system that still allows you to stay connected with your clients. As the disease continues to spread, it’s even more important to avoid human interaction. 

Through active chat platforms, however, eCommerce businesses can still address their customer’s inquiries and needs around their products and services. 

5. It Helps Entrepreneurs Stay Connected with Their Employees

With non-essential offices and businesses closed and employees advised to work from home during the pandemic, the digital platform has never proven to be more useful than it is now.

The improvement in technology has made it easier than ever before for people to communicate with each other. More importantly, during the home quarantine period, it’s one tool that can help businesses stay productive. 

Even with people being advised to work from home, business owners can still stay in touch with their employees using online chat platforms. Apps like Zoom, Skype, Slack, and other productivity software are now being utilized by remote workers everywhere. Through these WFH tools, workers can still give their employers and supervisors updates regarding their tasks and responsibilities.  

The Bottom Line

Just because you’re advised to work from home doesn’t mean you can’t get things done. As an entrepreneur, there’s nothing you want more than to see your business succeed. If you own a business, it’s important you are able to find ways to stay productive. It’s the only way you can keep your operation above water during the tough times. 

Being at home can be challenging for many entrepreneurs but it does have its perks. For one, you can focus your efforts on improving your digital marketing strategies. 

On top of that, it can also be an excellent opportunity to learn something new. Even during this challenging time, it’s important you look and see the bright side. For your business, it means getting a hold of the process of online marketing, and continue to establish your brand. 

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

How Different Generations Interact With Your Business – [Infographic]

14 mai, 2020 - 08:51

Web design has always been a staple of effective digital communication. In a 2019 survey, 48% of people said a website’s design is their number one factor in determining the credibility of a business. And since good design highlights great content, the question is: what kind of content should we be emphasizing? 

Online reviews are a particularly powerful source of content for any business, which is why we’ve delved into them here.

When customers review your business online, that content becomes a social proof for other potential customers considering your products. Good reviews can give you a massive leg up in terms of sales, but it’s important to remember that different age groups engage with reviews differently. We’ve created a visual guide to how different generations – from tech-savvy Gen Zers all the way up to traditional Boomers – interact with online reviews:

Infographic – WebsiteBuilderExpert

Catégories: News dév web

7 Ways to Improve Productivity in the Workplace

13 mai, 2020 - 17:28

Most small businesses can’t afford to throw money at productivity problems. Besides, this doesn’t actually work. The best way to improve productivity is to develop and implement small, consistent improvements which make your employees and processes more efficient. 

Improved productivity almost always results in increased profits for a business, especially if you don’t have to spend much to achieve it. It also improves morale and wellbeing amongst your workforce. If your employees feel empowered to be productive without being overworked, they will feel positive about their jobs and experience less stress. This is how you attract and retain great talent. 

Workplace productivity is affected by a variety of factors. If your business is just starting to focus on productivity, you might want to start with the following strategies.

1. Reduce distractions

Many employers say that remote working, especially in the wake of an enormously stressful event like COVID-19, could result in a net loss in productivity. However, working in an office also comes with its own set of distractions. A typical office worker is interrupted every 11 minutes and takes an average of 25 minutes to refocus following an interruption. 

Smartphones and social media are two of the biggest distractions. The average American looks at their phone more than 50 times a day. All of these interruptions, and the recovery periods needed to regain focus, add up to an enormous amount of wasted time. Consider requiring phones to be switched to silent or “do not disturb” mode during the workday, or asking employees to use them only for short periods.

Source: Giphy

Background noise is also hugely distracting. This is one reason why open plan offices contribute to reduced productivity. In addition, if you have people in customer-facing roles, they will have a hard time communicating with their customers in a noisy environment. Relocate your employees to a quieter area, require them to use earphones instead of phone speakers, or ask that off-topic chat be kept to a minimum outside of the break-room. 

2. Equip your employees with the tools they need

You may have hired the best people around, but they won’t be able to do their jobs well if they don’t have the resources they need. There is nothing more frustrating than struggling to do your job on equipment which is outdated, under-powered, or just not up to the task. 

This is particularly important when it comes to IT equipment. Substandard tech can mean hours of productive work lost to malfunctioning computers, lost files, and slow systems. 

To enable your employees to do their jobs well, give them the best equipment you can afford. You’ll recover the larger initial investment in the form of higher productivity and quicker completion of deliverables.

3. Make improvements to your office

Issues with workplace conditions contribute to lowered productivity. A leaky ceiling, for example, is more than just an eyesore. It’s also a source of noise which, if left unfixed, can result in injuries. 

Temperature is also important. Your employees should not be left shivering in the winter or sweating in the summer. 

If your office is next to a busy street, consider installing sound-absorbing materials. This will help keep the noise at a manageable level and reduce noise-related distractions. 

Adding office wall murals can also boost productivity. A chalkboard or whiteboard wall gives your employees a space for writing their thoughts, while an inspiring mantra will remind them why their work matters. 

An unsafe or uncomfortable working environment could cost your organization thousands of dollars in workplace injury claims and lost productivity. It also exhibits a lack of concern for employee wellbeing, which reduces morale.

4. Reduce the need to send emails

Everyone hates sending an email and then having to follow up with the recipient to ask if they’ve received the message. Chasing up an email on the phone, by sending another email, through an instant messaging platform eats up valuable time. Using a tool made for email tracking that can automatically send reminder emails, is a big time saver.

If you want to reduce your organization’s dependence on emails, try switching to collaboration tools such as Google Suite, Office 365, or Slack. These don’t just make transferring files faster; they also let multiple people work on documents simultaneously, reducing back-and-forth and ending up with different versions of the same file.

5. Set realistic, achievable goals

Many managers struggle to monitor how their employees are performing. Part of this problem is not knowing how to set appropriate goals. 

Source: Think Marketing Magazine

Adopting a framework such as SMART (which states that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive) or OKR (Objectives and Key Results) will help you and your employees agree on a common goal. This helps with productivity and accountability as everyone is aware of their goals. 

Using the OKR framework is as simple as gathering your team in front of a whiteboard to share concise goals. Objectives should be short, memorable, and inspiring. Key results are specific and generally quantifiable, such as “reduce customer returns to just 5%” or “increase referral rate to 15%”. 

Both objectives and key results tell you what you and your team want to achieve, not how you will achieve them. They give you something to aim for, and a framework around which to develop your policies. 

6. Don’t hesitate to delegate

If you’re used to doing a task, delegating it might seem counter-intuitive. Surely it would be quicker to just do it yourself rather than teach someone else how? However, delegation serves two key purposes:

  • It lessens your workload in the long term. If you’re always trying to multitask, it might be because you’re doing tasks that another person could do just as well. Delegating these will free you up to do the more important things more effectively.
  • It improves employee morale. Trust is one of the most important currencies you can use in the workplace. Delegating tasks to another employee, especially one of your direct reports, is a sign that you trust them enough to do the job well. This makes people feel good and makes them want to do a great job! 

The sooner you start delegating, the sooner you can see your organization’s productivity levels rise. Delegating is also a way to identify potential leaders within your team. If your delegation experiment doesn’t work at first, try offering further training or assigning tasks to someone else until you find the right person for the job.

7. Instill a culture of efficiency

Take a long, hard look at the way your business is operating. Never be afraid of the possibility that you might have to change the way you and your team work. 

First, identify the activities that take the longest. Break these down into smaller pieces to see what’s slowing them down. Next, work with your employees to brainstorm other ways of doing things, such as removing unnecessary steps that don’t add any value. 

This is also a good time to ask staff members to come up with lists of priorities. Most likely, there will be employees who will claim that all of their projects are urgent. There are three possibilities for this:

  • The current method of assigning tasks is not working. 
  • Your team and/or clients need to recalibrate what constitutes “urgent”.
  • Your team might be compensating for flaws elsewhere in the organization. 

Asking each of your team members to list their tasks and deadlines will ensure that priority jobs are done first and finished on time. In the meantime, while your team takes care of the tasks assigned to them, you can work with clients and other stakeholders to deal with the other issues listed above, if necessary. 

Boosting your productivity is an ongoing process 

Focusing on productivity should not stop when you have met your short-term goals. You must commit to continuously improving your processes and learning new skills if you want your business to stay ahead of the curve. 

While many organizations implement productivity improvement measures from the top-down, involving employees in every phase of these initiatives is a better approach. This way they are more invested, can raise any concerns and will be better able to identify what is working – and what isn’t.

Improving workplace productivity also doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient! It takes time for a culture of continuous improvement to catch on. But once everyone has embraced this attitude, you’ll be seeing productivity levels rise consistently, and stay high.

Catégories: News dév web

Mobile App Development Lifecycle: A Roadmap to Success

13 mai, 2020 - 17:01

As smartphones are becoming ubiquitous, it’s no wonder that new businesses strive to create a mobile app. Avoid going haywire by having a solid reference to the steps that are involved in successful mobile app development.

There are two basic approaches in regards to creating a mobile app. You can either club a few lines of code in a virtual studio, run a quick test, and submit an application to the app store; Or, take the long road, invest time and resources in design, usability testing, and deployment through multiple sources. 

Either way, if you don’t invest in extensive planning, or lack a cohesive strategy, the mobile app is likely to be clamored with thousands of apps already available on the market. 

With that said, in this article, we’re to break the mobile app lifecycle- briefing different stages and their significance in mobile app development. 

But before we get to that, it’s important to state the difference between two commonly used, yet interchangeable terms in context to app development: SDLC and ADLC

The process of software development is called the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). The stages, though, are similar to the Application Development lifecycle (ADLC), which explains how an app comes into existence: Inception, Wireframe Design, Development, App Release, and Maintenance. 

  • Inception

Any mobile application starts with the discovery of an idea. The idea is then refined into a solid application plan.

  • Design

This phase is all about the app’s design- defining the layout, navigation, features, or anything else pertaining to UI/UX. 

  • Prototype 

You can’t comprehend the user experience unless you experience it first-hand. Prototyping is all about creating such a similar app experience. 

  • Development

This stage pertains to the development aspect of an application. Usually, the most resource-intensive, this is where the real development, i.e, programming takes place.

  • App Deployment

At this point, the IT professional is ready to launch the app to the desired store(s).

  • Maintenance

Once the app is live, the developers continue to polish the experience by fixing any bugs, introducing new and better features, and more. 

Let’s have a closer look at these stages, and know, how they can translate to the mobile app success for your business. 

Six Stages of Mobile App Development Lifecycle

Often times, these stages are running simultaneously, for example, it’s common for developers to start coding whilst the UI is still being finalized. 

The point being, these stages work in conjunction and are essential for a digital project to come to fruition.

1. Inception

An app comes into inception with an idea, but the same idea has to be translated into technical documentation. Here are a few key pointers that could help with the discovery/inception phase:

  • Engage in competitor analysis to check for any similar apps, 
  • Check for how do these apps translate value to the end-customer,
  • And check for the technicalities in context to your mobile application. Would it be a hybrid app? How can it be integrated into the existing infrastructure? and more. 
2. Design

Once the technicalities are identified, the next stage is to shape your idea, i.e, designing a unique look for your mobile application that offers an intuitive and engaging user experience. This stage has two main parts:

  • User Experience

User experience is set and established through sketches and wireframes, using a myriad of designing toolkits available online. 

Though, it’s important that the UX design must comply with the interface guidelines established by different mobile app platforms. Have a look at official guidelines here: Apple, Android, and UWP

  • User Interface

Post determining the user experience, the designers work on the user interface. This is the phase where stencils and mockups are brought to life by adding colors, graphics, typography, and more. 

Spending a great deal of time and resources on designing the best User interface is important, and quite necessary. 

3. Prototyping

Technically, a prototype is the last phase of the designing stage. The idea is to create a clickable version of your mobile app, barred of added functionality. 

Prototyping is essential for it helps with comprehending the touch experience, app intuitiveness, and deduce if things are moving forward in the right direction. 

4. Development

Establishing a good design equates to the half part of the mobile app development process. The other half includes taking that design and turning it into a fully-functioning project.

The development stage can also be broken down into two parts:

  • Front-end Development

This deals with everything that a user sees and engages. The objective of any front-end developer is to create a flawless, engaging, and lag-free experience for the end-user. 

  • Back-end Development

This deals with all the processes responsible for the functioning of the entire system- the app, its functionality, communication with the servers and back, and more. 

5. App Deployment

This step is often the final stage in the mobile app development lifecycle, but if you’re aiming for a successful app, your journey doesn’t end here.

Once everything is in place, its time to register the app on the targetted platforms. Or, make it available online and target it to businesses to implement and benefit of it, in their specified operations. 

6. Maintenance

To increase an app’s lifespan, and keep it relevant for extended periods of time, regular maintenance is quintessential. 

Call it an additional step, but studying the backlogs of the mobile app and offering the bug fixes, with advanced features, increases the success rate of a mobile application.

Conclusion

Developing an app is one thing, but creating a successful app that stays relevant is an entirely different ball game. Mobile application development needs to follow the laid step-by-step process, for it promises an outcome that actually translates benefits and values to an organization.

Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

Optimize your Images for Search Engines in these 8 Steps

13 mai, 2020 - 16:36

Visual content, especially images, is an immensely important aspect of your website. They make your content easier to read and more engaging. Images also trigger emotions and entice your visitors to convert faster. 

However, just because you are uploading a photo you previously downloaded from a stock photography site and filling in your alt tag doesn’t mean you will accomplish any of the goals mentioned above.

To get the most out of your images, you need to optimize them for search engines.

Now, you are probably asking yourself: “Why should I invest in image SEO when Google’s machine learning algorithms can now recognize images themselves?”

In this guide, I will briefly explain the importance of image SEO and provide a few tips that may serve as your solid starting point.

Let’s dive in.

1. Choose the Right Name for your Images

The filename tells Google what your image is about. For example, white-leather-shoes.jpg provides more information about the image than IMG00154.jpg. No matter how smart Google is, you should help it understand your images faster and more efficiently. 

For starters, you should focus on your main keyword. If your image shows red apples, then your main keyword would be “red apples,” as they are the subject of the photo. Sure, this doesn’t mean you should stuff your filenames with a bunch of keywords. Instead, make sure your image names are clear, informative, and descriptive. 

2. Write Descriptive Alt Text

Alternative text, or alt text, has the same purpose as your filename – to describe an image both to search engines and users. Parallel with the page content, filenames, and computer vision algorithms, Google uses alt text to understand the subject matter of your visual content. These elements also appear when there is something wrong with the photo and a user cannot see it. This way, they will know what the image is about. 

Precisely because of that, your alt tags need to be helpful and straightforward. Avoid packing them with keywords, as this may trigger negative user experiences. Say you want to upload a photo of a white chihuahua playing fetch. Your alt text would be something like <img src=”white-chihuahua.jpg” alt=”White chihuahua playing fetch”/>.

3. Optimize your Captions

This is the text that accompanies your image on your website. It is usually placed below the photo. The reason why captions are important to your image SEO strategy lies in the fact that Google uses them to learn more about the subject matter of the image. They can also improve user experiences, given that many searchers use headings and captions when scanning online content. 

Similar to image names and alt tags, you need to avoid over-optimization. Instead, rely on white label SEO practices and use your keywords carefully to make your captions organic and useful. 

4. Pick the Right File Type

There is no perfect image file type. Its choice depends on the images you create and your needs. The most popular image file formats are JPEG, PNG, and GIF. 

Each of these file types has certain advantages and disadvantages. JPEG offers the smallest file size and yet, ensures a high image quality. It is the best format for large photos and illustrations. PNG is a logical choice for any fine drawings, logos, illustrations, and text, as it helps you maintain background transparency. GIF is used by marketers creating moving images and animations. 

5. Resize your Images

Choosing the right image file type may directly impact the performance of your visual content. Page load time is a significant ranking factor both on mobile and desktop devices. Therefore, you need to choose the right file type that will help you reduce the size of an image, without compromising its quality. 

There is a wide range of simple image compression tools you could use, such as ImageOptim, Kraken.io, TinyPNG, Imagify.io, Compressor.io, Shortpixel, and so forth. 

Once you optimize your images, you can test your page speed using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, WebPageTest.org, Lighthouse, or Pingdom.

6. Use Schema Markup

Using structured data on your pages help Google display your image as rich results. While structured data is not a ranking factor, it can still boost your SEO efforts in multiple ways. 

For starters, it provides users with relevant information and encourages them to click on your link to find out more. It also increases your exposure in the SERPs. Above all, using structured data on your website gives relevant users to find your content faster and, in this way, sends more targeted traffic to your site. 

Google provides support for 4 types of structured data – products, recipes, videos, and GIFs. They say that using the right structured data on your pages helps users find relevant content faster

7. Make Sure your Images are Responsive

In the past, we talked about creating and optimizing content for desktop and mobile devices. Today, we talk about mobile responsiveness. Instead of creating separate visual content for desktop and mobile versions of your website, you should make sure your images adapt to different screen resolutions. And, this is where srcset shines. 

This is a piece of HTML code that tells the browser what version of your image to load, based on users’ screen resolution. Sure, this does not mean you should upload different sizes for each image. From its 4.4 version, WordPress will do that for you. For each image you post, it will automatically make a few versions – thumbnail (150×150), medium (up to 300 px wide or high), medium- large (768 px wide), large (1024 px wide or high), full (original image). Moreover, WP adds srcset automatically.

8. Build an Image Sitemap

Apart from adding alt text and captions to your images, you can also provide additional details about them, as well as image URLs. By creating an XML sitemap, you are helping search engines find your images more efficiently. Google explains that by emphasizing the following:

“Additionally, you can use Google image extensions for sitemaps to give Google more information about the images available on your pages. Image sitemap information helps Google discover images that we might not otherwise find (such as images your site reaches with JavaScript code), and allows you to indicate images on your site that you want Google to crawl and index.”

The good thing is that, if you are using WordPress or Yoast, images are added to your sitemap automatically. 

Over to You

Before you upload an image to your site, make sure it is optimized well for search engines. For starters, write an informative and spam-free image name, alt text, and caption. Then, choose the right image size and compress your images to boost your page load speed. Next, build an XML sitemap and invest in the structured data on your site to boost the exposure of your image and help it appear in Google’s rich results. Finally, make sure your images are responsive and user-friendly. 

By following the tips mentioned above, you will increase your performance in the SERPs. Above all, you will increase user satisfaction, engage them, and encourage them to convert faster.

Catégories: News dév web

Inbound Marketing tactics you can use to generate tons of leads

12 mai, 2020 - 15:49

Inbound marketing is the art of driving traffic and engagement on the back of great content. Better the content quality, better the number of leads you generate.

Content can be in the form of articles, blog posts, or eBooks, or any other content format you can think of.

Many might think with so much content being churned out, to compete with others on the back of content marketing alone is going to be a truly arduous task. They also feel that producing content at such scale can also be expensive too.

Make no mistake. The content landscape is quickly changing.

Content marketing is changing with behemoth companies pouring in all the resources they can into creating more and more content, with new insights, cutting-edge research, and professional production.

Top-quality content is the norm everywhere.

Creating much better content is the only way to compete with established players. 

By pitching free valuable content to people, you’re creating a need among readers. As a result, they come to you in hordes. Great content builds engagement. Don’t use the opportunity to try and sell to them immediately. Instead, wait a bit. And get them to subscribe to newsletters where you nurture them and use the opportunity to pitch to them.

The goal? Gain the trust of a customer and turn that into a long-term relationship.

This way, when they’re ready to purchase, your product comes to their mind.

You sell without selling.

Needless to say, this is a long game that mandates a lot of patience.

1. Grow your email list

Don’t be blindsided by naysayers. Email is alive and thriving. There’s so much you can do with email. For starters, every $1 you spend gets you $40 in return with email marketing. The ROI with email is huge.

A blog, presence on social media, podcasts are great, but I have always felt that the biggest value lies in your email list.

It’s easy to generate leads. Just add sign up forms on your site and you have a lead magnet to make it worthwhile for visitors to give you their email ids. That’s it.

No one wants to be bombarded with sales pitches. Add value with your email marketing campaigns.

By sending a mix of helpful tips, interesting content, you will also get a wide berth with other emails. That’s where you can promote products.

After all, all that you’re doing is offering up solutions that prospects are interested in.

2. Build a high-quality blog

Next— to meet your lead generation goals, you cannot simply do without a blog.

It’s true that there are hundreds of thousands of blogs with millions of posts pushed out every day. It seems a puzzle but you can still attract leads with content marketing.

Alex Turnbull turned around his startup at a time when they were running out of cash and things didn’t look so great for them. They were terrified of the future. This is when blogging came to their rescue.

By getting serious about content marketing they realized where they were wrong.

To do this the first thing they did was get hold of content marketers and ask them where they went wrong.

By finding their unique angle while no one else was doing it, they were able to turn things around

The Groove team realized that their target audience was going through challenges that they at Groove were themselves going through. So team Groove decided to share their challenges with running a SaaS company and put on an ambitious target that reflected in their blog’s tagline that said “A SaaS Startup’s Journey to $100,000 in Monthly Revenue.”

It was a watershed moment and a bold move. A SaaS content marketing gamble that eventually paid off. They got the first 1000 subscribers in 24 hours, followed by 5000 in a month. And very soon they crossed 250k in visitors and 5 million USD in revenue.

With market research, great unique angles for their blog and unprecedented risk—Groove was no longer a fledgling startup. They were a spectacular success now.

More people began joining in droves and liked the product enough to stay around and become customers.

3. Start a podcast

It might not be immediately evident how a podcast can help you. But truth be told over 40% of Americans listen to podcasts. They have podcasts running in their daily lives as background to their commute, when walking their dogs and when doing chores.

A podcast is a good way to generate leads.

With a popular podcast, you can get readers to subscribe to your course, get leads for your business and generate a lot of money.

As the podcast grows you gather a community of like-minded individuals, people who want to succeed, people who need training products and courses.

Finding a unique angle and producing podcasts is your best way to generate leads and signups. Promote them wherever you can.

For SEO Journal podcasts are a lead magnet and a link magnet. Their podcasting page has over 20000 backlinks. It’s a great way to generate tons of traffic and links to your site.

Just like podcasts, another popular form of content is webinars.

4. Create content upgrades

A content upgrade is an extension of your blog post. It’s something that functions as an accessory to your core blog post and as such holds the potential to drive more leads.

Let’s say you wrote a post on the ultimate guide to outreach.

A template for outreach or swipe files are helpful and relevant content upgrades that people beg you for. With content upgrades, Brian Dean from Backlinko boosted conversions by over 785% in one day.

Offering “free blog updates” is a vague value proposition. Instead of offering readers something intangible, create a resource unique to each post and give that away for free. You can also turn your blog posts into high-quality landing pages with a landing page software to make the proposition seem even more valuable. That’s what Brian Dean does.

To generate leads, all Brian did was create and offer a free checklist at the bottom of his post on 200 Ranking Factors.

And conversions shot up.

5. Rope in influencers to create content

Content marketing isn’t limited to your blog. Your social media feed is also a place where you can post quality content.

You can use influencers to post pictures of your product, to run contests, and to create and post unboxing videos or full-fledged product reviews. Influencer marketing is great for eCommerce sites.

Influencer marketing gives you ready access to thousands of their followers and generates new followers, added word-of-mouth, and engagement. Phazon raised $2 million by roping in influencers.

Involving influencers in your inbound marketing strategy will get you leads.

Conclusion

Inbound marketing is the best kind of marketing in place. With just great content and zero marketing budget, you can generate thousands of leads to your business. That means more money in your pocket.

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

Comparison Between Adaptive vs Responsive Design For Ecommerce Conversion

12 mai, 2020 - 10:08

The pervasiveness of performing tasks on the go has led to the increasing importance of catering to different screen sizes. The need to deliver the same excellent user experience (UX) whatever device a customer is on has posed significant challenges to web developers. And this has led to a debate on whether taking adaptive or responsive design is the better approach. 

In this article, we try to shed light on both sides of the argument, helping you decide on which approach you should adopt for your eCommerce site

ECommerce Stats

But before we dive into the matter of adaptive vs. responsive, take a gander at some of these stats:

  • 47% of users expect websites to load in less than 2 seconds. Therefore, 27% of customers have abandoned their shopping carts because of slow loading times or complicated checkout processes.
Choosing between Adaptive and Responsive Design for better ECommerce Conversion

So with those numbers in mind in the context of eCommerce sites, here are some of the reasons for using both adaptive and responsive designs

Why choose Adaptive? https://pixabay.com/photos/question-question-mark-survey-2736480/ Loading Speed

As alluded to in a couple of the stats above, slow loading speeds have a tremendous impact on websites’ conversion and bounce rates. In this regard, websites built using adaptive design generally load faster than responsive ones. This is because adaptive sites only transfer the necessary assets specific to each device. 

Ease of Implementation

This area’s a bit contentious. There are those that believe adaptive designs are more difficult to build owing to the need for different layouts for different devices compared to responsive ones that only require a single layout. 

However, while you might just need one layout, responsive sites entail more time and effort upfront due to all the extra attention developers need to place on the site’s CSS and organization to ensure the website is fully functional on all screen sizes. And when it comes to eCommerce sites, whether it’s adding items to cart or the checkout process, you want everything to work as the customer expects it to. 

Tailor-Made Solutions  

In theory, adaptive design better ensures the best possible UX, in accordance with whichever device the user is on. As its name suggests, adaptive design adapts to the user’s situational needs and capabilities. 

For example, if you were driving through a long tunnel, you’d prefer a navigation screen that adapts to the environment by adjusting its brightness. This is possible with adaptive design, as opposed to responsive design where a screen flows from desktop design into smaller devices. 

Additionally, you can also design to optimize advertisements for your relevant user interfaces based on user data from smaller screens. The same can also be applied when it comes to imagery. With adaptive design, you can keep images’ size ratio without reducing or compressing its quality – a crucial aspect when it comes to users using different screens.  

As well, if a user frequents a website, store, restaurant, or general area, a profile is created, which can be used for behavioral targeting and other personalization for UX purposes. When it comes to eCommerce, this could come in the form of shipping information, relevant to the user’s location, or product recommendations (using their activity history).

You can Re-use Existing Website

With this design methodology, developers don’t need to re-code and build an existing website from the ground up. More complex websites are built with legacy code – for these, starting from scratch simply isn’t an option. This will also make it easier to look for someone selling web design services

Why choose Responsive? Seamless Experience / Familiarity

Because of its fluid nature, users get the same, seamless experience they would whether they’re on a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. This breeds a feeling of familiarity, and ultimately, trust. 

However, it’s important to note that developers need to keep an eye on the visual hierarchy of responsive design projects to ensure this fluidity. This entails a lot of testing with different devices. And with imagery being integral to eCommerce sites, the importance of this is only heightened.

SEO-Friendly

With responsive websites, a single web crawler agent only needs to crawl your page once, as opposed to adaptive sites where different crawler agents need to do so multiple times in order to retrieve all versions of the content. As such, responsive sites directly improve the crawling efficiency, which in turn, indirectly helps search engines index more of the site’s content. 

And with eCommerce having numerous product pages under different categories, making it easier to crawl can go a long way. 

Budget-Friendly

For those looking to set up their eCommerce site from scratch, responsive design is easier and faster to implement. This also allows you to save on development, support, and maintenance costs because you’re essentially using the same content across all devices. This opens up more time for other essential tasks like marketing, customer support, and content development. 

As well, apart from not needing multiple layouts for different screen sizes and device types, you can also organize and control all your content from a centralized location. 

Best Examples from Brands

To give you a better visual of how both adaptive and responsive translate, here’s a shortlist of some of the best examples. 

Adaptive Design Examples Staples Image Source: https://www.uxpin.com/studio/blog/adaptive-design-and-ecommerce-ux-how-they-work-together-to-boost-conversions/

Here, you can see how Staples focuses on highlighting what users on smaller screens are more commonly looking for. These include vital information like location, contact details, personalized shipping information (along with which stores are closest to the user), and the most important product info. 

That information provided tailored to the specific user. This leads to a unique, and ultimately, better customer experience

Nike

Again, this is a great example of presenting users on the surface with what they mainly need, while keeping other options just a few taps away. Additionally, Nike’s desktop design for this page had a looped video on the homepage. Conversely, the mobile version only has a static frame, designed to save on both bandwidth and hardware resources. 

Responsive Design Examples Hickory Farms Image Source: https://www.optimonk.com/responsive-ecommerce-sites/

Here, you can see that Hickory Farms allows its customers to shop either by category or price – whether on desktop or mobile. The categories customers would’ve been used to on desktop are also presented very similarly on its mobile counterpart – a seamless experience that’s a mark of responsive design. 

Frederick’s

Frederick’s site features excellent use of CSS and Javascript to create a clean, responsive website. The store locator and cart buttons are in the header, a perfect place for it as one of the most used features. And as you would expect from a responsive site, the shopping experience is smooth both on desktop and mobile. 

Things to Keep in Mind

For a simpler look at what might be a better fit for your goals and objectives, here’s a quick guide for when to use each. 

Use Adaptive When
  • Ideal for existing complex websites where an equally capable mobile version is a must. 
  • Recommended for speed-dependent sites. 
  • Great for providing highly-targeted experiences, particularly when it comes to users’ location and connection speed. 
  • Ideal for those who need more control over how their website is delivered to different users and different devices.  
Use Responsive When 
  • Perfect for small to medium-sized companies looking to update their existing websites at a reasonable price. 
  • Ideal for those looking to build a brand new website
  • Recommended for service-based industries as their sites are mainly composed of text and images. 
Verdict

As you can see, there are merits to both adaptive and responsive designs. It’s mainly up to what resources you currently have, and what goals and objectives you want to accomplish.

Which design approach do you think suits your eCommerce business better? Let us know in the comments below.  

Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

How to Run a Web Design Business in the COVID-19 Pandemic

12 mai, 2020 - 09:33

Let’s face it, we’ve all heard about the coronavirus (COVID-19) by now. We’ve also seen it decimate some of our favorite local businesses.

The honest truth is that COVID-19 has changed the way we do business, how businesses market their products and services, and how customers interact with their favorite brands.

It seemed like yesterday when the first case of the virus was first reported to the WHO (World Health Organisation) in China on December 31st, 2019. And from there, we’ve seen outbreak after outbreak throughout most of the world. Because the virus is primarily transmitted from close interpersonal contact, we’ve also seen many countries enforce lockdown measures.

So, with so many restrictive measures in place—what’s it really like to run a web design company in this unfamiliar environment? Here’s how we’ve managed to stay competitive and ensure business continuity during a global pandemic.

The Effects of the Pandemic

It’s important to look at how this pandemic has changed most aspects of business. Around the time that the viral outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11, many countries in North America and Europe announced official lockdown regulations in order to curb the rapid spread. 

Here in Canada, businesses and offices began to close their doors in early March. The vast majority of the workforce is working from home wherever possible. Some businesses, like airlines, cinemas, and restaurants, have been forced to shut down altogether.

Large companies that previously generated hundreds of thousands or millions in revenue closed almost overnight.

In big cities around the world, the first few weeks of these measures were met with a general sense of panic. Some began to stockpile groceries and household necessities. We all saw the people grabbing armfuls of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and other everyday items.

Now that the initial panic has passed, many of us are looking to the future. While there are more than 60 vaccines in the works, official sources warn that a successful and safe vaccine will not be ready before the end of next year—if at all. 

This means that we will likely be living with some form of social distancing in place for many months to come. In other words, this new normal is something we’ll all have to get used to. 

While people are coping by developing new at-home routines, many businesses are now looking for new ways to adapt and survive in the new remote world. It’s not hard to see why the old saying “change or die” is more relevant than ever today.

How Does a Web Design Business Run in “Normal Times”?

Let’s first start by clarifying how most web design businesses operate in “normal times.” Before the work from home movement kicked off, GlobalGraphics operated much like any other business. For the most part, our employees worked from a central office. 

However, in recent years, we have expanded our capacity to offer extensive online support for our clients. We knew the importance of flexibility in the gig economy, and we started implementing remote solutions for our designers and developers well before COVID-19 arrived.

While the idea of a traditional office is familiar to most—it’s not always practical in the digital age. Digital agencies are more than capable of tapping into an online-only model without compromising on quality and deadlines.

The New Normal: Running a Web Design Business in a Remote World

The spread of COVID-19 has forced us to reimagine our capacity to work-from-home. With our offices closed for the foreseeable future, we have taken drastic steps to transform the way our business is run. 

Our aim was to keep operations running largely as they had before. In order to do this effectively, we sought out the best tools for running the office remotely. 

Modern cloud-based technology has made remote working possible for our company. Here are a few of the systems we’ve put in place to streamline operations and facilitate remote collaboration and communication. 

For Project Management

We previously implemented Basecamp to oversee the progress being made on our various projects. This app allows us to set a series of milestones so that everyone involved with a project can stay up-to-date on what has been done and what needs to be done.

For Meetings Source: REUTERS

Like many other businesses, we have turned to Zoom for our external client meetings. Zoom allows us to share our screens with clients, making it easy to discuss how a certain project is progressing using a visual aid.

When teams within the company need to meet and discuss projects, we also use Google Meet.

As we no longer have access to a company-wide telephone network, we have turned to Skype for phone calls that do not require video or image technology.

For Emails, Scheduling, and Document Sharing

We have made use of the Gmail Suite for our emails. This system works on any computer, so it is perfect for all of our employees who have their own unique setups at home.

For scheduling meetings, we’ve made use of Google Calendar. Because this connects with the Gmail Suite, we rarely encounter scheduling errors or missed meetings. 

Google Docs is another Google application that has made workflow simple and straightforward in our new remote setup. 

For Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Support

To track and monitor our customer relations, the web-based version of ACT! has been instrumental. This exceptional app allows us to keep track of our sales, returning customers, marketing campaigns, and other important statistics. 

This app allows potential new customers to get a quick quote. The app then arranges a callback and follow up on our behalf. 

The Kayako Support software has been implemented to streamline our customer support service. Using this app, customers are able to register a support ticket from their own homes. 

For Accounts and Finances

We’ve also implemented the accounting software Sage Canada Accounts, making it easy to keep track of payments, payroll, and business expenditures. To help our customers make safe payments, we accept a range of online payments, including e-transfer, and cheques in rare cases using our bank’s digital deposit feature.

How Your Business Can Continue in an Online World

As a web design business, the transition has been a natural one. But this isn’t the case for all businesses. Others like cafes, restaurants, and cinemas are struggling to cope with self-isolation measures in place. 

However, we believe it is possible to transform just about any business to an online model—so long as they are capable of selling some form of a product or service online or in a way that is compatible with social distancing.

For some businesses, the pandemic may mean the business model itself needs to change in a dramatic way. Here are some examples of how modern technology can help you make a creative transition.

Video Conferencing Apps

Video conferencing apps like Zoom have made it possible for businesses in every sector to conduct effective meetings with clients. Zoom alone surged from 10 million daily active users to over 200 million in just three months. 

This technology can be used in a creative way to make client meetings possible for just about anyone. We’ve already seen many businesses get creative with Zoom and other video conferencing apps.

For instance, businesses in the fitness industry have begun to use live video conferencing to lead at-home fitness classes, giving clients the feeling of intimacy and belonging that they once got from attending class in the studio.

Another industry finding success with video conferencing is the private health sector. Several therapists have taken their work online and are able to conduct secure, effective one-on-one therapy sessions with their clients.

Click and Collect Apps

Several applications make it possible for businesses in the retail sector to continue selling their products safely. These apps allow customers to pre-order the items they require. 

The technology can then alert the business owner to prepare these items for collection. This type of pre-ordering technology allows some businesses to operate safely and minimise their shipping expenditure.

Virtual Tour Technology

The need for social distancing has taken a serious toll on industries that relied on giving in-person tours. With modern technology, high-quality virtual tours have become a possibility. 

In the tourism and art industry, some museums and galleries have made good use of this technology, uploading detailed online tours of their exhibits. In the real estate industry, virtual tours have allowed realtors to show available homes to interested parties.

Food Delivery Services

Many restaurants have come to terms with signing up with the various food delivery services. Not only were these services deemed essential almost everywhere, but they single handedly kept restaurants alive when revenues dropped due to self-isolation measures.

However, these services aren’t perfect either. Many restaurants have complained about high commissions eating away at their already thin margins.

Keep Calm and Business Will Carry On

The devastating COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we all live and work for the foreseeable future. 

As individuals and as businesses, it’s up to us to adapt and find new ways of operating in a safe and effective way. The powers of modern technology have made it possible for entire offices to transition to the work from home model.

In fact, by implementing apps efficiently, your company can continue to work, collaborate, and grow just like before.
From all of us at Globalgraphics, thank you for your continued support, and thank you for staying home to protect yourself and others during this difficult time.

Image by Queven from Pixabay

Catégories: News dév web

5 Life Lessons That Apply to Email Marketing

11 mai, 2020 - 13:28

It can be easy to think of email marketing as this impenetrable thing that only someone with a lot of tech and marketing experience could attempt.

There are good reasons to get involved with email marketing – it’s the best, most personal way to reach people and is a low-cost investment to increase sales. I’m going to break it down for you in a way that will show you that, guess what, a lot of this stuff you already know. You can take on the world of email marketing, learn and have fun while you’re at it. 

Your reputation matters

Nobody wants a bad reputation. Conversely, a good reputation can get you a job promotion or a recommendation from a customer. This plays out in the world of email marketing, as well. 

Every person who sends emails, whether from a personal or a corporate account, has an email sender reputation. This score helps Internet service providers (ISPs) determine if you are legitimate or not. A good score means it’s highly likely that your email campaigns end up in the inbox. On the other hand, a bad score may cause your emails to land in the spam folder or not even get delivered. 

Obviously, you want a solid sender reputation, so how do you build it – or improve it if you’ve tarnished it? 

One of the most important things you can do is make sure you use an accurate email list. The thing is even the best of lists will deteriorate over time and therefore need maintenance. A reputable email checker will identify all of those troublesome email addresses (invalid, catch-all, spam traps, role-based, and more) so you can remove them. Every organization needs email list validation. It’s best practices 101.

Know who your friends are

In life, it’s always important to know and remember who your friends are. If people don’t get you or relate to you, letting go of them makes room for those who do. 

That applies to your email list, too. You can’t buy friends and you shouldn’t buy an email list either, it should grow organically. Purchasing subscribers is illegal in certain countries. On top of that, it will increase your spam complaints which directly affects your email sender reputation. 

Get rid of people who talk badly about you

Some email subscribers are not your friends. In fact, they talk badly about you. In the industry, they’re referred to as malicious or abuse emails. They often mark email newsletters that they signed up for as spam. Sometimes they do it for no reason at all. Other times, they forget they ever subscribed. You don’t want people who call your good, consensual emails spam! 

When you get those people off your list you can concentrate on the people who want to be there. And oh, make sure it’s easy for those who don’t want to be on your email list to get off. Have a visible, functioning unsubscribe button. They can see themselves out.

Be consistent

Consistency is the key to success in just about anything. Whether it’s weight loss and physical fitness or learning a new skill, you have to stay at it. So it goes with email marketing as well. 

By sending emails consistently, you’ll develop your own style and a better rapport with your readers. Furthermore, by sending emails around the same time every week (or month), you’re more likely to increase your engagement. Your readers will come to expect your emails because they know when you send it out. 

So, try to be as consistent with your email newsletters as you are the other parts of your life. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Consistency gets results!

Be of service

In life, those who are of service are valued. Usually a hiring manager is thinking about what someone can do for the company. “Why should we give him/her the position?” If all you did was ask about pay and benefits, it would make them think that you didn’t care about being of service. That’s what it’s really all about, right? 

An email newsletter that isn’t of service is like a comedian without jokes. So, give your subscribers something they can use, even if it’s simply entertainment. Also, send information, tips, helpful news so you can compel your readers to open your emails.

It’s not surprising to me how email newsletters or promotions that give away a lot tend to have the most to gain. I remember a biscuit bakery that gave away their biscuit recipe in one of the newsletters. You’d think that wouldn’t be a good idea, but instead, it only makes them seem secure in themselves. Interestingly enough, it makes you like them even more, doesn’t it?

You have to go for it

Just like in life, nobody’s going to do it, but you. It may be intimidating, but many of the biggest lessons in email marketing you’ve already learned by cruising down the highways and backroads we call living. The more authentic you are in your email campaigns, the better they will be. Now go forth and email!

Marketing vector created by stories – www.freepik.com

Catégories: News dév web

How to Own Your Audience by Creating an Email List

11 mai, 2020 - 10:48

Working in the field of email marketing means you’re always trying out new techniques to get your audience to click, right? It’s quite a fun task when you’re testing out new material, trying to get to that sweet point of content and selling. Email marketing gives you many scopes to play with, which is super engaging and rewarding too!

One of the most exciting parts of writing emails is creating an email list. You need to work around little intricate details, and by the end of it all, if you’re able to capture your audience’s imagination, it means you’re ready to sell effectively!

Having an email list of your audience is like owning them because it means you know precisely the kind of content they prefer. You can vary the frequency of the content you put out, and with time, you’ll be able to get them to interact with your brand and content!

Importance of Building a Good List in Email Marketing?

Email marketing is an excellent practice if you’re looking to build a brand on digital. More than 81% of SMBs depend on emails as their primary source of customer acquisition online. You can use it to get to know your customers’ personal preferences and then smartly weave your content accordingly to sell better to them. 

Building a list for customers means they have entered their details on their own accord. It allows you to smartly segregate them based on how frequently they interact with your brand’s website and also gives them information on the new products and services you are offering. 

Email list building gets up to 10x higher conversions than social media. The whole process of creating an email list is purposeful, personal, and rewarding for the customer. You can customize the content in such a way that it goes to them within a few hours or days of them browsing your site. If they’re a customer with a high frequency, then you can also use emails to give them special discounts. 

Why Shouldn’t You Buy an Email List?

It’s crucial that you don’t ever purchase an email list. When you send an email to a customer, you are doing it out of consent, and they must give you their emails out of choice. The age-old adage of “the customer is king” applies here as well, and they need to feel validated when they sign-up to your content.

Also, it gives you the chance to nurture them from scratch and personalize offers, which can contribute to more sales. 74% of marketers say that targeted emails increase customer engagement rates, so they know what they’re talking about. 

Buying an email list almost feels like you’re cheating and taking a shot in the dark. Put in the effort, and you’ll begin to see the awesome benefits it brings to your revenue. Created email lists can result in better ROIs for your company as well, so you’ll be well placed if you start nurturing your email list from scratch.

What are the Best Ways to Build Robust Email Lists?

There are many ways in which you can start the process of building a good email list. However, the most fundamental assets to building a great email list include –

  1. A blog – If you’re looking to engage your customers with some great content regularly, then build that blog! It’s a great way to showcase that you’re an expert when it comes to specific topics around your domain, and you can create your niche to stand out from the rest. 

    For an excellent example of a blog owning a sphere, you can look at Neil Patel’s blogs. He knows his niche lies in the field of email marketing, and his tone and language are approachable. They are also driven by his experience and give that essential personal touch that resonates with his core audience of small to medium businesses. 

    You can use this as a benchmark for finding your niche.
  2. The email marketing service – Your email marketing service is like the engine that ensures all of the fuel (content) is evenly distributed and keeps the machine going. You need to know precisely how to segregate your content and use the different features available to your benefit. 

    Opting for a professional service allows you to free a lot of time as most of these services are automated. All you have to do is top them up by ensuring the email IDs are getting segregated in time, and they’ll take care of the rest. 

    Mailchimp is one such service that provides great benefits and tools, but there are others available in the market as well. These sites, of course, come with a fee, and it’s important that you think of them as a long-term investment. If you want to look for other providers, you can give these alternatives to Mailchimp a try.

    We’ve used SendX and ActiveCampaign, and their smartly-enabled features stand out from the other competitors in the market.
  3. Opt-in and out – Allowing your customers to opt-in or out of an email list means you’re giving them the power, and they will undoubtedly appreciate the same. On any email you send them, you need to provide them with a button that says “Opt-out” so they have a feeling of the upper hand. 

    There are many more factors to building a good email list, including testimonials, subscription confirmation, and more. 

    We’ve worked with emails where the option to opt-in or out has worked in our favor. Consumers have gone and clicked on the opt-in button, which shows us that our content is working well.
Success Stories of Businesses with a Small But Highly Targeted Email List

1. The Hell Yeah Group – The Hell Yeah Group shares its weekly newsletter that summarizes the entire financial news. The best part is that they share the content that they’ve made themselves, and this makes it simpler for readers to directly consume it instead of going to different sites. The highly targeted email list is pointed towards workers in the financial industry and is a great example –

2. Away – They began as a small start-up, but Away is now valued at over $1.4 billion! Their beautiful emails are one of the reasons why their customers love them, and you can see for yourself. By including a type of “wanderlust” feel, they’ve been able to capture the imagination and get people to subscribe and buy from their newsletters.

Thus, with these techniques, you’ll be able to create valuable emails that convert for you. Remember to work with a multitude of options for content, style, and, most importantly, nurturing your emails. This makes it simpler to create reliable lists and generate consistent revenue. 

To Conclude

Thus, the power of the email list is real and all-encompassing. Not only does it help you identify the best customers and segregate them, but it also enables you to trigger emails based on their behavior. 

Using a strong email list, having targeted social media advertising and writing the right content can go a long way in acquiring customers. Don’t forget to delight existing customers as well, as returning customers can go a long way in giving you regular revenue. Work right, keep experimenting, and you’ll see the results soon enough! Good luck!

Marketing vector created by stories – www.freepik.com

Catégories: News dév web

How can you reduce mobile app development cost for startups in 2020?

11 mai, 2020 - 09:49

In the current mobile age, people are connected to the internet all the time. This is the main reason behind companies investing in startups and development of mobile applications. 

Mobile applications have become the core of the business world. The increase in demand for business applications has also increased the development cost of applications. Every business cannot afford huge development cost, especially the small companies and startups. However, that should not stop startups from taking benefits of mobile applications and grow their business. 

From big companies to small startups, all are benefiting by the services provided by the app development companies to generate strategies for mobile app development. In this blog, we are going to discuss some of these strategies you can follow to reduce the mobile app development cost for startups in 2020. 

Let us begin discussing these strategies now. 

1. Listing the project requirements 

It is essential to list down all the requirements of the app. The documentation helps the app development companies to understand the requirements of the product clearly. Detailed documentation reduces the cost of the app development and also saves a lot of development time. 

Documenting the project requirements is extremely helpful in the whole development process. 

2. Budgeting 

Budgeting is essential no matter what the size of business you have. You have to give enough time and efforts to select the trusted app development company. The budgeting has to be done carefully before hiring any app development company and finalizing the price. You haveto make sure that the quality of the services does not get compromised. 

3. Outsourcing the project 

You can reduce the application cost by a considerable margin if you outsource the app development company. It will bring great success if an application or startups is outsourced to an app development company for development because of the amount of technical knowledge and experience. Try to get in touch with the best application development company for outsourcing. Make sure that the company is dedicated and will stay in touch throughout the project. 

4. Tracking reviews and ratings 

Every mobile app development company will have a series of ratings and reviews. These ratings and reviews are informative as they allow connecting with the previous clients and their experience with the company and get knowledge about the working style and services of the concerned app developing company. 

5. Communication flow 

The right communication flow in any app development project is essential. There needs to be communication between you and the development team as it will help you in and the development team to know what exactly you need in your app. Keeping a track on development process will also have an impact on the cost of development. This communication will enable them to start any new feature or stop any function that doesn’t fit in the budget of app development. 

6. Simple and elegant UI/UX

One of the best strategies to reduce application development cost is by going for a simple UI/UX of the app. complex design confuses the users, and the app doesn’t appear to be understandable, other than that, complex deigns also cost much. So, going for a simple and elegant UI/UX design to reduce the development cost is a smart idea. 

7. Cross-platform development 

This is one of the most influential factors that effect app development cost. Most of the apps are built on Android because of its vast market share in the world. If you go for app development on the iOS platform, it would cost you a lot. 

To resolve this issue, the best option is to go for a cross-platform application that supports both Android as well as iOS. 

8. Pre-launch testing

Make sure to thoroughly test the application before launching it. It is advised that the app is checked properly before it is launched in the market. Testing the app also gives enough time for identifying if there are any bugs in the app. If the application is launched without proper testing, the brand might lose its reputation if there is some issue in the app. 

Therefore, testing the app will save you from all the unnecessary chaos and will keep your money as well as time. 

9. Proper maintenance 

Last but not least, maintenance plays an essential role in the overall development process. An application needs regular maintenance to run it smoothly. Hire a dedicated developer to help you with troubleshooting your app regularly. 

If regular maintenance is provided to the app, no major issues will occur, and therefore, the site will run smoothly without any errors. 

Final thoughts 

By following all these factors, you can significantly reduce your mobile app development costs. Follow these app development cost-reduction strategies this year, and you will see how your business grows. Just make sure to hire a trusted mobile app development company to get the best benefits. 

If you are planning to build a mobile app of your own, then Metizsoft Solution, a mobile app development company can be helpful to you. 

We will offer excellent services that too at cost-effective rates. Think no more, get in touch with us today.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

Facing Up To Remote Reality: How AR And VR Is Reshaping Remote Work

11 mai, 2020 - 08:53

The world of remote work is gathering momentum. The devastating impact of Coronavirus around the world has forced businesses to look into ways of keeping productive while employees stay safe at home. Widespread rethinks of how staff communicate with colleagues and maintain performance levels are imperative as companies look to adapt. 

Remote work is here to stay, regardless of whether we’re facing up to lockdowns or are safely able to access our offices. But is it possible for businesses to communicate effectively with key staff operating away from a designated place of work?

Technology has made working from home possible, and advances in both augmented reality and virtual reality could pave the way for richer experiences than ever before. 

The beauty of both AR and VR when it comes to remote collaboration and productivity is that it can create a multi-dimensional immersive experience for users, regardless of where they’re based. 

Today, technology is already arriving that can digitally transport users into a virtual meeting room where rich information can be shared much faster than in face-to-face environments, with much more visual detail. 

The arrival of AR and VR remote work can even help businesses to cut costs on office supplies and utilities – without the need of accommodating entire workforces onto office servers. While the removal of commutes can carry benefits for the health of employees and the environment alike. 

Circumstances have forced the business world to evolve at a faster rate, and here’s how AR and VR can play an influential role in reshaping our perceptions of remote work: 

Immersive Meetings

Most industries are built on some degree of communication between colleagues, clients and customers. These communicative measures have been difficult to uphold for companies looking to transition into remote work or enabling working from home (WFH) among employees. 

Video conferencing solutions are gaining in popularity among remote businesses, and are an effective way or replicating face-to-face environments for users. However, it’s difficult for workers to share ideas in real-time and the technology often fails to provide an engaging platform for group meetings. 

AR and VR can make a significant difference in alleviating the limitations of remote meetings. Platforms like MeetinVR allow users to build their own 3D avatars and turn to multidimensional model rendering to help bring life to their discussions. 

While there are plenty of instant messaging and collaboration platforms available for employees to discuss their ideas, no technology has the power to provide virtual walkthroughs of designs and diagrams as much as virtual reality infused software

Augmented reality is a key player in terms of bringing immersive meetings to businesses. Applications like Scope AR illustrate how users can interact and collaborate in real-time with real-world visual cues. Because AR overlays digital information on top of real-life environments, Scope AR helps a range of industries to assist staff remotely by adding digital information to a user’s line of vision. 

Comprehensive Training

Due to the speed in which visual and 3D information can be shown to users, virtual reality has become a significant player in remote training for businesses. 

VR helps to immerse staff into virtual presentation halls with built-in training programs and an array of engaging visual experiences to keep users tuned in. 

One of the leading examples of VR education and training platforms can be found in ENGAGE. Providing businesses with the ability to host meetings, presentations, classes and events with as many as 50 remote participants, ENGAGE allows managers to build comprehensive experiences for users in a matter of minutes with its suite of tools. 

It’s even possible for staff to record their hosting sessions in order to deliver the experience to others later on. The platform has an extensive library of 3D objects that can be used for training sessions, and users can even change their virtual backdrops and add effects into their modules. 

Everybody has different approaches to learning, and the beauty of both AR and VR is that adaptive settings and content can be changed depending on the preference of employees. In a world that’s becoming increasingly remote, VR training platforms can pave the way for an experience that offers greater engagement than in-house training programs. 

Visual Collaboration

The primary issue with the commonplace Skype and Zoom video meetings that have been popular at the beginning of the year is that users still lose out on interpreting valuable body language that helps to emphasise points or demonstrate sympathy. 

Employees can suffer when visual cues are lost due to a low-definition webcam or missed expressions. 

The immersive experience offered by AR and VR platforms has the power to hurl users into an environment where every participant is fully engaged in their surroundings with no distractions lurking off-screen. 

Here, meeting participants and trainees alike are fully focused on their vision as 3D avatars and detailed renderings provide informative and enlightening feedback. 

As the values of remote work become increasingly apparent, businesses will need to look with increasing urgency towards facilitating the most immersive technology to support the WFH transition. In AR and VR, the solution looks set to be even better than our face-to-face past.

Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

Top 10 Toolkits and Libraries for Deep Learning in 2020

8 mai, 2020 - 15:49

Deep Learning is a branch of artificial intelligence and a subset of machine learning that focuses on networks capable of, usually, unsupervised learning from unstructured and other forms of data. It is also known as deep structured learning or differential programming.

Architectures inspired by deep learning find use in a range of fields, such as audio recognition, bioinformatics, board game programs, computer vision, machine translation, material inspection, and social media filtering.

Deep learning networks have tremendous capability in terms of accuracy. While training a deep learning net, there is a range of parameters that require adjusting.

There are several deep learning libraries and toolkits available today that help developers ease out this complex process as well as push the boundaries of what they can accomplish. With any further ado, let us present our pick of the top 10 toolkits and libraries for deep learning in 2020:

1. Eclipse Deeplearning4j

Developer – Konduit team and the DL4J community
Since – N/A
Type – Toolkit
Written in – C, C++, Clojure, CUDA, Java, Python, Scala

Eclipse Deeplearning4j is a distributed, open-source, production-ready deep learning toolkit designed for Java, Scala, and the JVM. DL4J has the ability to leverage distributed computing frameworks, to the likes of Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark, for delivering a powerful AI performance.

In environments utilizing multi-GPUs, Deeplearning4j can equal the deep learning framework Caffe in terms of performance. Although written in Java, the underlying computations of DL4J are written in C, C++, and CUDA.

DL4J lets developers compose deep neural networks from a range of shallow networks. Each of them forms a kind of ‘layer’ while adding them in a deep neural net designed using the Deeplearning4j toolkit.

Deeplearning4j allows combining convolutional networks, sequence-to-sequence autoencoders, recurrent networks, or variational autoencoders as required in a distributed, commercial framework working with Hadoop and/or Spark on top of distributed CPUs or GPUs.

Highlights:
  • Can be used with any JVM-based programming language/technology, such as Clojure and Kotlin.
  • Completely open-source under the Apache 2.0 License.
  • Detailed documentation on a range of topics, including API reference docs, distributed training, and GPU setup.
  • Excellent, expanding community support.
  • Keras serves as the Python API.
2. TensorFlow

Developer – Google Brain Team
Since – November 2015
Type – Library
Written in – C++, CUDA, Python

Ever since its release back in 2015, TensorFlow has succeeded to become one of the most beloved deep learning, and machine learning, libraries. Backed by the tech mogul Google, TensorFlow provides support for multi-CPU, and -GPU performance.

As a machine learning platform, TensorFlow is replete with flexible tools, libraries, and community resources. It allows developers to easily and quickly build and deploy DL and ML-powered applications.

TensorFlow allows developers to choose a fitting option from its multiple levels of abstraction. For matching humongous ML model training tasks requirements, the deep learning library offers the Distribution Strategy API that allows distributed training on different hardware configurations without essentially altering the model definition.

Highlights:
  • Ample documentation.
  • Build and train ML models with intuitive high-level APIs facilitating immediate model iteration as well as easy debugging.
  • Simple and flexible architecture fosters powerful experimentation/research.
  • Superb community support.
  • Supports a wide range of programming languages.
  • TensorFlow Trusted Partner Pilot Program
  • Train and deploy models in the browser (TensorFlow.js), in the cloud, on a device (TensorFlow Lite), and on-premises (TensorFlow Extended).
3. Theano

Developer – MILA (Montreal Institute of Learning Algorithms), University of Montreal
Since – 2007
Type – Library
Written in – CUDA, Python

Another powerful library available for deep learning is Theano. It lets developers define, evaluate, and optimize mathematical expressions that involve multi-dimensional arrays in an effective way. Theano is a free and open-source tool available under The 3-Clause BSD License.

Theano does derivatives for functions with one or many inputs. The Python library has tight integration with NumPy, allowing using numpy.ndarray in Theano-compiled functions. As it supports dynamic C code generation, expressions are evaluated faster.

In scenarios involving different expressions that are evaluated once, Theano minimizes the analysis or compilation overhead while still offering symbolic features, like automatic differentiation.

Unfortunately, a major development for the deep learning library has ceased since the release of Theano 1.0.0 in November of 2017. The maintenance of the Python library, nonetheless, now rests in the hands of the PyMC development team.

Highlights:
  • Combines aspects of a CAS (Computer Algebra System) with aspects of an optimizing compiler.
  • Detects and resolves several types of errors.
  • Expresses computations using a NumPy-like syntax.
  • Provides support for the rapid development of efficient ML algorithms.
  • Runs faster than TensorFlow in single GPU tasks.
  • Supports speed and stability optimizations.
4. Keras

Developer – Several
Since – March 2015
Type – Library
Written in – Python

Keras is one of the best Python libraries for data science. It is widely used for developing and training deep learning models. It is also a trusted tool for accomplishing deep learning research. The Python library was developed specifically for facilitating fast experimentation.

With easy extensibility and modularity, Keras enables easy and rapid prototyping. The high-level neural networks API flaunts the ability to run on top of other state-of-the-art deep learning libraries and toolkits, namely Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit, TensorFlow, and Theano.

Keras provides support for both convolutional and recurrent networks. Furthermore, it also supports networks that are a combination of these two network types.

As models developed using Keras are described completely using the Python code, they are compact, easier to debug, and offer great ease when it comes to extensibility.

Highlights:
  • Easy to learn as well as to put to use.
  • Follows best practices for reducing cognitive load.
  • For developing complex architectures, Keras functional API is available.
  • Prioritizes human experience.
  • Robust support for distributed training and multiple GPUs.
5. PyTorch

Developer – FAIR (Facebook’s AI Research lab)
Since – October 2016
Type – Library
Written in – C++, CUDA, Python

PyTorch is an open-source machine learning library that hastens everything ranging from research prototyping to production deployment. As a matter of fact, PyTorch is an evolved version of the immensely popular and one of the earliest machine learning libraries, Torch.

As an ML platform, PyTorch boasts a rich ecosystem of libraries and tools. To make dealing with complex deep learning projects easier, PyTorch features a library dubbed PyTorch Geometric that handles irregular input data, such as graphs, manifolds, and point clouds.

For offering comprehensive scikit-learn compatibility, PyTorch offers the high-level library skorch. As the deep learning library is supported by various major cloud platforms, it offers continuous development and easy scaling.

PyTorch comes with its own scripting language, TorchScript that offers a smooth transition between eager mode and graph mode. Facebook’s AI Research lab a.k.a. FAIR is responsible for handling the further development of the deep learning library.

Highlights:
  • C++ frontend for enabling research in performant, low-latency, bare-metal C++ apps.
  • Capable of running ML models in a production-ready environment.
  • Optimized performance in both research and production scenarios.
  • Proactive community of developers and researchers.
  • Provides native ONNX (Open Neural Network Exchange) support.
  • Supports an experimental, end-to-end workflow from Python to deployment on Android and iOS platforms.
6. Sonnet

Developer – DeepMind
Since – 2017
Type – Library
Written in – N/A

Built on top of TensorFlow 2, Sonnet aims to offer simple, composable abstractions for ML research. Developed by DeepMind, the deep learning library can be employed for accomplishing various types of learning, including reinforcement and unsupervised learning.

Sonnet’s simple-yet-powerful programming model is based on the concept of modules i.e. snt.Module. Sonnet modules have the ability to hold references to methods, other modules, and parameters. These modules are self-contained, entirely independent units.

Things in Sonnet start with the construction of primary Python objects for specific parts of a neural net. Next, these Python objects are connected, in an independent manner, to the computational TF graph.

Separating the processes of creating Python objects and associating the same with the TF graph, results in simplifying the design of high-level architectures.

Sonnet comes with a range of pre-built modules, such as snt.BatchNorm and snt.Linear, and pre-built network of modules, such as snt.nets.MLP. Developers, however, are free to create their own modules. The deep learning library is developed with simplicity in mind.

Highlights:
  • A flexible functional abstraction tool.
  • A good alternative to PyTorch and TensorFlow.
  • Eases the process of reproducing ML research.
  • Easy to use and implement.
  • High-level object-oriented library adding abstraction for developing neural networks and ML algorithms.
7. Apache MXNet

Developer – Apache Software Foundation
Since – 2014
Type – Library
Written in – C++, Go, Java, JavaScript, Julia, Perl, Python, R, Scala

MXNet is a highly scalable, open-source deep learning library from Apache Software Foundation that provides support for a range of devices. It is a comprehensive DL library that is easy to pick up for beginners as well as powerful to leverage for advanced developers.

Apache MXNet provides bindings for an array of programming languages, including C++, Go, JavaScript, Julia, Python, and R. Not only does the deep learning library provide support for multi-GPU operation but also with fast context switching and optimized computations.

The dual Parameter Server and Horovod support allow scalable distributed training and performance optimization in MXNet. It also features a hybrid frontend that has the ability to seamlessly transition from and back to Gluon eager imperative mode and symbolic mode.

The many desirable characteristics of Apache MXNet contribute to it being a part of the Amazon Web Services.

Highlights:
  • Clean, easy-to-maintain code via APIs.
  • Detailed, in-depth documentation.
  • Fast operation.
  • High level of flexibility.
  • Option available to choose among imperative and symbolic programming styles.
  • Suitable for both research and production use.
8. Fastai

Developer – Jeremy Howard and the fast.ai team
Since – 2017
Type – Library
Written in – Python

fastai is a deep learning library that offers high-level components for easily and quickly achieving impressive results in standard DL domains as well as low-level components that can be paired and matched for building new ML approaches.

The aforementioned is made possible, and even without compromising ease-of-use, flexibility, and performance, by virtue of the thoughtfully layered architecture supported by the fastai deep learning library.

fastai’s architecture expresses common underlying patterns of data processing and deep learning techniques as decoupled abstractions. It is possible to express these abstractions clearly and concisely by means of the synergy between Python and the PyTorch library.

fastai features a novel dispatch system for Python in line with a semantic type hierarchy for tensors. Moreover, the deep learning library comes with an extensible computer vision library.

Highlights:
  • Allows implementation of optimization algorithms in 4 to 5 lines of code using a refactoring optimizer.
  • Factors out the common functionality of modern optimizers.
  • Features a novel data block API.
  • One of the fastest-growing deep learning libraries.
  • Supports a new two-way callback system capable of accessing and changing any portion of the available data, model, or optimizer even when on training.
9. Lasagne

Developer – N/A
Since – 2015
Type – Library
Written in – N/A

Lasagne is a work-in-progress lightweight library for building and training neural nets in Theano. The deep learning library leverages a Python interface and provides support for architectures consisting of multiple inputs and multiple outputs.

Using Lasagne doesn’t prohibit developers from using Theano symbolic variables and expressions. Hence, these can be easily manipulated to adapt to the architecture and the learning algorithm that a developer is working on.

Lasagne achieves high-level API operation due to its easy-to-use layers. Theano’s expression compiler enables the lightweight deep learning library to provide transparent support of CPUs and GPUs. It is a great option for defining, evaluating, and optimizing mathematical expressions.

Highlights:
  • Does everything that Theano can do with an additional benefit of user-friendly layering functions.
  • Lightweight deep learning library.
  • Optimization available using ADAM, Nesterov momentum, and RMSprop.
  • Provides support for feed-forward networks to the likes of CNNs and recurrent neural networks.
  • Thanks to Theano’s symbolic differentiation, Lasagne doesn’t necessitate to derive gradients.
10. Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit

Developer – Microsoft Research
Since – 2016
Type – Toolkit
Written in – C++

Previously known as CNTK, the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit is an open-source deep learning toolkit developed by Microsoft Research that describes neural nets as a series of computational steps via a directed graph.

The Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit is one of the earliest deep learning toolkits to support the ONNX format that allows for moving ML models seamlessly between Caffe2, MXNet, PyTorch, itself, and other deep learning platforms.

The commercial-grade distributed deep learning toolkit allows easily realizing and combining popular neural net model types, like convolutional neural networks, feed-forward DNNs, and recurrent neural networks.

The Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit implements SGD (stochastic gradient descent) learning with automatic differentiation as well as parallelization across several GPUs and servers.

Highlights:

  • Automatic text-to-speech and speech-to-text conversions.
  • Can be included as a library in C#, C++, or Python programs, or employed as a standalone ML tool via BrainScript, Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit’s innate description language.
  • Suitable for speech-and-language-classification research.
  • Supports a good range of features.
Conclusion

That sums up our list of the top 10 toolkits and libraries for deep learning in 2020. The success of a deep learning endeavor greatly depends on making the right choice of a deep learning platform. Hence, listing down all your requirements first is important here.

As the world moves toward a new AI-powered age, the deep learning tools available are bound to get bigger and better. Continuously experimenting and learning deep learning with available tools is the most suitable way to explore what possibilities does DL have to offer on the latest.

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

How To Design An Iconic Logo?

8 mai, 2020 - 13:32

Have you ever wondered why Adidas, Nike, Apple, Unilever, and many others have such remarkable logotypes? What is the inner side of their success? We have an answer! These companies have followed certain rules to create meaningful and interesting logos.

We analyzed their experience and chose the 5 best tips for an iconic logo design. Let’s discuss these points and learn how to use them!

Top 5 Tips For Creating Iconic Logo Design 1. Give it some sense or meaning 

When I first saw Toyota’s logo I knew nothing about what it meant. However, since the logo itself made totally no sense to me initially, I decided to google it. What I discovered was the fact that we can retrieve every single letter of the brand name from the logo. Needless to say, my jaw dropped in a long excited ‘Wow!’. 

The most crucial point here is that Toyota’s logo is very eye-catching and is easy to recognize among many other car producers. What is more, such an interesting approach to the use of meaning will make the logo an absolute highlight, and if you see the explanation once you’ll never ever forget it.

There’s another option: when you have an idea for a logo, include elements that represent the area you are dealing with. Let’s take a look at our Approval Studio logo.

Approval Studio is a collaboration artwork proofing tool for designers and the logotype fully represents it. There are several people holding hands of each other in a circle to show teamwork – a complete puzzle piece! Speaking of collaboration, it is one more important element of any kind of design work including logos, so if you are interested in a solid artwork approval tool, follow the link below.

Try Approval Studio Now!

2. Use colors wisely

Have you ever heard of colors psychology? Different colors may have different influences on a person and, thus, on the perception of your brand by your target audience. 

Image source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BiXDClug33Z/

Consequently, having a clear image of using colors, you can evoke needed feelings regarding your logo and brand in general. Let’s take a look at a list of some colours and discover how we can use them:

Red – excitement. Aim: calling for action or evoking strong emotions. Example: YouTube – a platform that is built on actions filmed on video and your emotional response to them.

Orange – creativity and happiness. Aim: building a positive attitude. Example: Nickelodeon – a cartoon platform designed for kids to have fun.

Pink – toys and childish playfulness. Aim: attracting little kids. Example: Barbie – a toy brand that makes dolls.

Green – nature and money. Aim: making an impact on health and fertility. Example: Greenpeace – an organisation whose main task is environment care.

Blue – stability, peace, and trust. Aim: building a feeling of trust, reliability, and safety. Example: Walmart – a supermarket network that needs the trust of the buyers to thrive.

Purple – power and luxury. Aim: showing status and nobility. Example: Milka – a European chocolate producer that is considered as one of the best in the world.

White – humanity and cleanliness. Aim: creating contrast. It is often combined and interchanged with Black that represents mystery and elegance. Aim: creating consistency. Example: Chanel – one of the most famous fashion houses that are considered as one of the indicators of style and relevance.

Grey – neutrality and balance. Aim: underlining balance between colors and making the logo more color-friendly. Example: Apple – a famous electronic gadget developer that wants to accent how well-balanced and perfect their products are.

Brown – earthy color. Aim: sharing comfort and security. Example: UPS – shipping and logistics service that need its customers to trust their goods to them.

3. Multiple variations

If you consider having multiple lines of your product or types of services, you may need several logo variants. This will prove beneficial in the long run because you may adjust an image to a certain style or idea you need to represent. Considering that trends change very quickly and people get bored with everything old very fast, ability to react fast to the changes with the logo adjustments are instrumental for any company.

For example, Adidas has several clothing lines that have different logos which suit them perfectly. Adidas Originals is about casual clothing, usual Adidas logo represents sports stuff, and Adidas Neo stands for teenager clothes. Let’s take a look:

So, having several logos gives you more ideas for small variations with the flow of time. Refreshing your visual components might be crucial in your brand development and will definitely pay off in the future.

4. Let your logo ‘breathe’

Considering a recent boom of minimalism, your logo needs to be simple and not overwhelmed with excessive elements to catch the eye of a potential customer. Such approach will help you to make the logo more consistent and give it some ‘fresh air’

What does it mean? Whatever is depicted on your logotype needs some space. Do not add too many extra elements around. Also, personal space for each component will change your logo drastically and make it cosy.

Let’s take a look at Unilever. 

Every element has its own space and, despite the fact that the logo includes many of them, the overall image looks smart and consistent because all the elements create the letter “U”. It is a lot and not too much at the same time, which makes the logo unique and builds customer’s interest in the brand, making them remember it. Who doesn’t know Unilever, really?

5. A scalable logo means no pains in the back

When you have finished artwork, the time has come to think about rocking the world. The marketing campaign for your brand may and will include many different approaches and strategies, and you have to be prepared for each of them from using digital marketing to huge banners in the city. The logo of your brand will definitely be used in each of them, which means you have to be ready to adjust logo’s size so that it doesn’t lose the quality even on the biggest screens or banners.

Do not wait until you decide to roll in big printing – you may get tons of problems to deal with, and re-making the logo shouldn’t be one of them. You must be ready for everything from the very beginning of your brand. Better safe than sorry as they say – last-minute adjustments might make the quality of work far worse.

Final Thoughts

Working on logos is definitely not easy, but there are certain strategies you can use to make your product more recognizable. A logo is the heart of the brand, and if you want it to perform, take it responsibly. We hope that our guide was helpful, and, at some point, your logos will be extremely famous and everyone will be using them as examples. And, naturally, Approval Studio is more than ready to help you with it. Take care!

Catégories: News dév web

Top 5 Video Editing Software

7 mai, 2020 - 13:48

There was a time when there was not a huge demand for video editing software. But over time, video editing software has become one of the highly used tools of modern society. One of the most common examples where video editing software is highly required is for making Vlogs. Apart from the Vlogs, video making is also helping in the promotion on social media platforms, a short clip for social media or a full feature film, and much more. 

So, keeping in consideration this high demand for video editing software, there is various editing software available in the market. According to statista.com, The global video editing software market reached 779.8 million U.S. dollars in 2018 in size and is projected to grow to 932.7 million U.S. dollars by 2025. The increasing consumption of video content is one of the drivers between market growth.

As there is a variety of editing software available in the market, it becomes a little confusing for you to choose the best video editing software for your projects. In this article, I am going to introduce some of the top 5 video editing software. Let’s have a look:

Adobe Premiere Pro Source: https://www.udemy.com/course/the-complete-adobe-premiere-pro-masterclass/

Among all the video editing software, Adobe Premiere Pro is one of the most famous and the best software which is available in the market right now. Especially if you are a Windows user this software is suitable for you. Premiere Pro is known for an all-singing all-dancing video editor and is used by multitudes of creative professionals.

The reason why this software is so famous is that it can manage numbers of video clips at a time. And they all can be imported from pretty much any source you can think of (files, tapes, cameras of all standards… even VR). This automatic feature is really amazing especially when you have multi-angle shots, and it helps in making your video fine-tune thus making it amazing of all other videos. If you want to work with the videos that are captured on your phone, you can utilize the free companion app available, Adobe Premiere Rush. This app helps make your work easier. 

It is ok just to subscribe to Premiere Pro but in case you use more than one of Adobe’s apps, it’ll be worth subscribing to Creative Cloud for a slightly higher monthly fee. 

Apple iMovie  source: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2017/12/15/best-video-editing-software-for-beginners

Well, let me tell you that those who are working with Macs and are looking for something not very complex, there is nothing better than Apple iMovie. There are various amazing filters of Apple iMovie which are really good for making your video classy. Apart from this, there is a feature of AirDrop through which you can drop your files to another Mac device if a video is recorded on the iPhone. This airdrop helps to drop files wirelessly and seamlessly. 

Chroma-Key is yet another feature of iMovie which is also known as green-screen. With the help of this tool, you can place your characters in exotic locations—Hawaii, say—at a moment’s notice. You can easily implement custom track and sounds and iMovie ties directly with iTunes and GarageBand. And finally, when you are done with your movie making, you are just required to release it into the wild using iMessage, Facebook, YouTube, or any other of iMovie’s succinctly connected platforms.

Final Cut Pro X source: https://www.creativebloq.com/features/best-video-editing-software-for-designers

For Mac users, there is one more option for the video editing, and it is Cut Pro X. If in case you use Apple products, this tool is going to help you a lot as it comes with lots of features such as grouping tools, effect options, and a straightforward way you can add and edit audio. 

You will really appreciate the work of Final Cut if you are already using Apple products as Final Cut cleverly communicates with your Photos and iTunes collections. One more thing, in response to the Covid-19 crisis, Apple has recently bumped up the 30-day trial period to a very generous 90 days. 

Nero Video

Nero is one of the best low-budget options in the video editing tools category, it is quite cheap priced around $49.99. This video editing tool comes with lots of features, tricks, and effects you’ll find among other products for having the best video editing experience. This software is really beneficial for you if you are a beginner. And apart from this, if you are going to spend money in order to learn how to edit videos, then this option is the best for you. 

CyberLink PowerDirector

This is one of the best software for serious video editors. This amazing editing software that works very professionally with high-quality features while being budget-friendly. This video editing software is known for its great video correction tools, professional effects, multi-cam editing, motion tracking, and surprisingly easy trimming.

Apart from this, you will get the feature of 360-degree video editing as well, together with support for all the file standards and formats you can imagine. There are various tutorials available in order to guide you with this tool. And you can benefit from them if you have any difficulties. 

Final words

So, these were the top 5 video editing software. I hope you got a little idea which video software is suitable for you. All editing software have their own features and specialties. Some are meant for beginners and some are meant for serious editors. 

Now, it’s up to you which software you are looking to get developed. If you are one of those businesses who is looking for a good software development company in order to build the best video editing software for your organization, then I would like to suggest you, please explore more about this software, so that you may come to know each and everything about the particular editing software. 

Featured Image Source: Tufan Erdogan

Catégories: News dév web

4 Things to Consider While Designing Minimalist Presentation Design

7 mai, 2020 - 09:46

Creating a presentation is one of the best ways to convey information to a wide audience in an easy-to-follow manner. Such presentations are often made using attractive and unique designs to help draw-in viewers. One style that has remained popular among presentation designers throughout the years is “minimalist” presentations.

Minimalist presentations rely on the concept of “less is more” and are focused on conveying their content using simple yet tasteful slide designs. Previous generations were led to believe that designing elaborate and complex presentations was the best way to attract attention and engage viewers. However, the proliferation of such designs eventually led to viewers feeling fatigued by these dense and often crowded looking slides.

Minimalist presentations aim to avoid overstimulating viewers with their designs, so that the information contained in their content remains the primary focus. Here are 4 things to consider while designing minimalist presentations.

1. Limit colour schemes

Drawing on the concept of “less is more”, creators of minimalist presentations should opt to use as few colours as possible in their designs. This means using similar colours for each slide across the presentation. Monochromatic colour schemes are often used for this purpose.

  • Monochromatic colour schemes

Monochromatic colour schemes are especially effective at conveying tasteful and attractive designs while utilizing only a single hue. This primary hue is accompanied by other colours that are lighter tints or darker shades of the same hue.

When used effectively, these variations can highlight or add intensity to certain sections of a presentation slide without departing from the primary hue. This could be useful if the primary hue is based on the colour of the company’s logo, thereby giving viewers a subtle nod towards the company that made the presentation they are viewing.

  • Complementary colour schemes

Complementary colour schemes rely on using colours that are opposite to each other on the colour wheel. Common complementary colour combinations include orange and blue, or red and green. They are often used to create contrast and are great for highlighting certain sections.

Once the two complementary hues have been chosen, designers can add monochromatic shade and tint variations to bring more depth to slide sections. Designers should be careful not to go overboard with tints and shades, as too many variations could feel like a departure from minimalism.

  • Analogous colour schemes

Analogous colour schemes are also selected based on the position of colours on the colour wheel. In this scheme, colours are paired with other colours that are adjacent to them on the colour wheel. This creates colour pairings that contrast less with one another compared to complementary colour schemes.

Analogous colours usually resemble each other, or appear to be from the same “family” (e.g: orange and yellow), so they are easier to look at for extended periods of time compared to analogous colour schemes. Such colour schemes offer a nice middle ground between the low contrast of monochromatic colour schemes, and the high contrast of complementary colour schemes.

Whichever colour scheme you end up selecting, it’s important to remember to keep your audience in mind. The colours you select should be easy to look at, and enhance the look of your content, rather than distract from it.

2. Utilizing negative space

One key consideration when designing a good presentation is to use the empty space on slides in the most effective manner possible. Designers should make sure each slide possesses enough “negative” space to give other content on the slides such as images and text with space to breathe.

Slides that are densely packed with information and images often have a cramped appearance and can feel tedious to read. This is why it’s important to ensure each slide has some breathing room.

Designers can also use negative space in more artistic ways that bring out the contrast between slide contents and the empty space between them. This negative space doesn’t have to be limited to just black or white backgrounds either. A background that consists of a single, warm, easy-to-look-at colour can function as negative space to the elements that are overlain onto it.

3. Fewer elements

Using fewer elements is the core concept that drives minimalist designs. In this case, “elements” refer to the text, images, and infographics on your slides. Designers should look to condense all their information contained in the slide down and rework it into a suitable format that can be applied across the presentation.

For example, text-heavy sections that explain a particular concept or process can be reworked into a flow chart that takes up less space, while giving the information a more streamlined appearance that is easier to follow.

This results in a more efficient looking presentation design. London is home to more than one digital design agency that utilizes such design concepts when creating effective presentations for businesses. When in doubt, designers can look at the minimalist designs used by other digital design agencies to learn the best ways for presenting slide content.

4. Learn from other templates

Each of the aforementioned tips is useful for enhancing a particular aspect of slide design. However, the best results come from using the right combination of colours, elements, and negative space.

While many designers are capable of coming up with unique combinations themselves, it’s always helpful to look at other templates to see how others are using minimalist designs in their presentations. This could be especially helpful for designers who are having trouble making the different elements of their presentations work together.

By looking at templates made by other designers, it’s possible to develop a better understanding of the aspects of a certain design that do or don’t work together. This knowledge can then be implemented when designing your own unique minimalist templates.

Competition between presentation designers is at an all time high in the digital era. So presentation designers need to utilize all the resources at their disposal to come up with unique and captivating minimalistic designs that are easy on the eyes while still grabbing the attention of viewers.

Catégories: News dév web

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Yves Bresson, ingénieur en informatique, consultant freelance, spécialisé dans le développement web (CMS, PHP, Laravel, Ajax, jQuery, Bootstrap, HTML5, CSS3) et d'applications mobiles (iPhone, Android). Voir le profil de Yves Bresson sur LinkedIn