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Web Design; The Mobile Revolution, a Global Phenomenon! 

In our last blog post we discussed Web Design trend predictions for 2013; Responsive Web Design (RWD) was at the top of the list as more and more people turn to their mobile devices as their web platform of choice. This "mobile revolution" is leading to major changes in Mobile Web Design and Mobile Web Development; it needs to be taken seriously. Marketers must ensure that they do not neglect the increasing number of mobile web users that are now discovering brands and products via their tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices. Businesses can do this by creating an optimized web experience for mobile users, helping to convert them into solid leads.

Rise of the Smartphone

It is estimated that there were 106 million tablet users in the USA in 2012 and the number is set to grow to 148 million tablet users by 2014. It is predicted that US consumers will spend approximately $13 billion USD this year while shopping on their smartphones. That amount will likely grow to $24 billion by 2016.

Rise of the Tablet

It is estimated that there were 54 million tablet users in the USA in 2012 and the number is set to grow to 90 million tablet users by 2014 (36% of all internet users). In the UK and in Germany, both countries counted approximately 10 million tablet users in 2012. That number is set to grow to over 23 million in both countries by 2016: that’s 1 in 3 people in Germany. In fact, the EU’s 5 largest economies saw a 130% annual increase of tablet users in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, smaller tablets have also begun to flood the market: it is estimated that 34 million 10” tablets will ship globally in 2013.

The Big Picture

eMarketer reports also show that Mobile Commerce sales, or mCommerce sales, in the USA grew by 81% in 2012 to reach $25 billion USD (this amount excludes all travel and ticket sales). Moreover, it is predicted that US consumers will spend approximately $24 billion USD this year while shopping on their tablets alone. That amount will likely double by 2015 and account for 16.9% of the entire eCommerce market share in 2016.

Email Mobile Readership rates

In early 2012, at least 20.63% of all email opens were occurring on mobile phones and 6.76% on mobile tablets: this means that in early 2012, at least 27% of email opens were ‘mobile’. What about desktop open rates? The rate of email opens on desktop platforms dropped by 9.5%. It is estimated that these numbers would have been much higher if content had been optimized for mobile readership: better rendering of emails on mobile devices, more attention to the ratio of pictures, a careful streamlining of text and the use of mobile friendly call-to-action buttons and zones. This data further shows the relevance of offering a Mobile Optimized Web Design online experience.

Harness the Power of Mobile!

Research shows that mobile web users are much more likely to visit your website, follow your links and interact with your call-to-action buttons if your web content, including your web design, is optimized for mobile devices. Responsive Web Design will offer your mobile users an optimized web experience without sacrificing the experience of desktop web users by automatically optimizing website features such as font, image and call-to-action button sizes.

This process is not as simple as retrofitting RWD into your existing websites and email marketing templates: as a key to your corporate mobile web strategy, your website will need to be completely revisited, from the ground up, to incorporate RWD features. This will allow your business to create a unique mobile experience for your mobile web customers.

With Internet Explorer now supporting SWD, 2013 will also most likely see a rise in Scalable Web Design. SWD allows the creation of websites that can be viewed on screens with both low and high pixel densities (smartphones to desktops) since it foregoes the use of rasters, using instead vectors which allow the flawless scaling of website elements.

Finally, the rise of tablets and smartphone web browsing is also pushing Flash even further to the sidelines as it is replaced by faster loading HTML only websites. In fact, as web browsing behaviours evolve, mobile optimized websites - those that offer a mobile friendly web design and web browsing experience - need to be leaner and more performance-focussed; think restrictive mobile data plans!

*Above quoted mobile usage date was gathered in part by eMarketer.

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Web Design Trends of 2013; Baracci Solutions Predicts! 
2013 web design trends will be all about Responsive Web Design (RWD) and have a wildcard variable: the popularity of Windows 8. Web design gurus will need to focus on creating websites that look perfect not only on the various operating systems and web browsers but also on the wide variety of mobile platforms and devices available in Montreal, in North-America and around the World.

The popularity of Microsoft’s Windows 8 will definitely lead to the creation of an important number of websites emulating the new Metro design style. The visual focus will move away from icon based designs and towards a more typographical web experience. Whether you are a Montreal website designer or an international web solutions team, you will need to prove your website design trendiness by using full-width backgrounds as well as simplified yet larger buttons, menus and headings that will allow users to browse more socially dynamic websites.

Sharp corners will replace rounded ones, highlights will be preferable to shadows and borders will be removed to create a sense of openness and fluidity. Menu bars and various navigation, ecommerce and social media buttons that scroll down the page as you navigate vertically will be preferred since they remain accessible to the users throughout their visit ensuring better user conversion rates.

2013 websites will be simple yet bold - the “white space” trend will continue throughout the year. Although the individual website design elements will need to remain plain, they will need to come alive on user contact to offer a truly dynamic, interactive and social experience.

The use of Flash elements will diminish drastically. Website design teams will prefer the use of Dynamic HTML5 elements. Web designers will also prefer single HTML5 page layouts when designing web portfolios and other specific content pages.

Since mobile web browsing seems set to surpass traditional web browsing, 2013 will see web design specialists re-evaluating the traditional website scrolling options in order to ensure that mobile web users have an equally optimized web experience. To fully reach the 2013 web audience, websites will need to automatically rearrange their various elements to ensure visual stability regardless of screen resolution – from widescreen desktops to 4 inch mobile screens.

Finally, Montreal area web design firms with their North American tech knowhow and their European flare for style and attention to detail will remain leaders in the Web Design milieu throughout 2013 as they continue to create some of the trendiest, most avant-garde and truly efficient websites and web portals.

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How to avoid #SMSOS - Social Media Shiny Object Syndrome. 
Many of us have, at one time or another, fallen victim to the Social Media Shiny Object Syndrome (clinically referred to as SMSOS). Although it usually has little social ripple when it affects an individual - unless your social media influence is based on your own personal online presence - it can have a more detrimental side effect on businesses.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this syndrome, it involves troves of people uninhibitedly jumping onto the ‘look at this brand new social media shiny object … I want it, I want it, I want it’ bandwagon. In most cases, users are plagued with maintaining a chronically underperforming social channel. In very few cases, #SMSOS victims come out of this affliction unscathed and socially stronger for it – just ask the first thousand or so Facebook users. However, this last outcome is rare in today’s virally driven social media ecosystem.

How can I avoid falling victim to this phenomenon, you ask?

Don’t worry, there is a #SMSOS vaccine and it is relatively painless: don’t be too quick to link your business to new social media ventures. Take time to ‘personally’ investigate and asses the shiny object and interact with some of its users.

Once you are satisfied that the social startup shows strong potential for growth and, more importantly, a potential for your business to gain a quality following, incorporate it to you social media strategy and carefully plan its implementation.

Abandoning a social media channel can have a negative effect on your business. It is not only a sign of “social weakness” but it can also reflect poorly on your online customer service as well as your social media knowhow and project management capabilities.

Is there a cure for #SMSOS?

If your business has contracted #SMSOS there isn’t much you can do. However, here are a few steps that your business can follow to minimize the damage.

First, launch a campaign that aims to direct users to your other, more successful, social channels.

Second, honestly inform your community of the situation, encourage members to join your business on your other social channels and thank them for having been part of the social community.

Finally, shut down your social media channel promptly once you have informed your community that you will no longer be maintaining it. Most community members don’t visit social media account pages, especially if you are no longer posting content. Moreover, you probably don’t want any new people joining the community when you are planning on deleting your social media channel.

If you are worried about missing out on a ‘social phenomenon’, don’t be: taking a few months to better assess and understand the features and functionalities of a new social startup can only help your business establish a strong social presence in the long run.

Assess, Strategize, Plan and Implement!

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