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Month: June 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

The convergence of web and mobile design

The actual title of the article I am referring to above is 7 future web design trends, by Jowita Ziobro. The trends are on target and the examples are clear. Worth a read.

But what struck me is that the post is a reminder that the way to look at planning and development of web and mobile applications is to focus on the ‘and’. Too much of the discussion is about the limitations of web or mobile or which should come first – a sometimes necessary short term choice but not a strategy. Jowita’s larger point is that from a design point of view web and mobile are converging. The post also suggests functional convergence.

Design convergence

Jowita’s first trend, “Gestures are the new clicks”, provides one example:

We forget how hard scrolling webpages used to be. Most users would painstakingly move their mouse to the right edge of the screen, to use something ancient called a ‘scrollbar’…

In 2015 it’s far easier to scroll than it is to click. On mobile, you can scroll wildly with your thumb. To click on a precise target is actually more difficult — the complete opposite of what we’re used to on the desktop.

As a result, we should expect more and more websites to be built around scrolling first, and clicking second. And of course, that’s exactly what we’ve seen everywhere…

There’s every reason to expect this trend to continue as mobile takes over more of the market. Modern sites have fewer things to click, and much more scrolling. We’ll see fewer links, more buttons, bigger ‘clickable’ areas, and taller pages that expect to be scrolled.

So mobile is changing web design for the better, and not only because of the consistency of the UX but because it is offers improvements.

Functional convergence

Mobile is also learning from the web. Mobile apps are either constrained by limited access to their own data and content, need custom deep linking to code to access other apps data, or need to exit to the web via a web browser. Whether the app uses a lightweight custom browser built for the app or one of the mainstream browsers the UX often suffers. The limited linking of mobile apps is a significant functional constraint, especially for enterprise apps.

Apple and Google are each interested in the health of both the web and their own mobile ecosystems and are both advancing deep linking to address data and content access. This will be a little wild-westy for awhile but the direction is clear.

Jowita’s sixth trend, “Components are the new frameworks” is relevant to design and function:

Web technology continues to get more complicated, and less semantic. Designers must embed messy code onto their pages for simple tasks, like including Google Analytics or a Facebook Like button. It would be a lot easier if we could just write something like this instead:

<google-analytics key=”UA-12345–678″>

And we can with Web Components, which aren’t quite ready to be used by most designers yet. 2015 is looking like their year.

Google’s Material design is here, and it may just be what gets this movement started. Powered by Polymer, and supported by all modern browsers, it provides the rich animation and interaction components from Android apps, with simple tags…

Apple’s newly announced Safari View Controller for iOS 9 ups the ante for mobile browsers by providing developers access to Safari code making it much easier to access the web from mobile apps. Developers can still build their own for specific design or functional reasons if they need to. See iOS 9 and Safari View Controller: The Future of Web Views.

Jowita ends with:

Right now you see the best of mobile app design appearing in web design. With enough time, the difference between an app and a website might almost entirely disappear.

Optimistic perhaps, but there is a trend to root for here. And a perspective to be embraced for a superior UX.

Gilbane pre-conference workshops announced

It’s only June but we’re already working hard on the 2015 conference program and want to share a bit of what you can look forward to.

We’ve got a great lineup of pre-conference workshops that will be held Tuesday, December 1, the day before the main conference, December 2 – 3.

Pre-conference workshops:

Developing a personalization strategy: one size doesn’t fit all
Instructor: John Berndt, CEO, The Berndt Group (TBG)

An anatomy of a digital audit
Instructor: Tim Bourgeois, Partner at East Coast Catalyst and Founder, ChiefDigitalOfficer.net

Insider’s guide to selecting the right WCM
Instructor: Tony Byrne, Founder, Real Story Group

Foundations for best-fit WCM service provider selections
Instructor: Cathy McKnight, Partner and Principal Analyst, Digital Clarity Group

Great ideas need the right metrics to flourish – building the analytics you need to monetize your innovation
Instructor: Jaime Fitzgerald, Founder and Managing Partner, Fitzgerald Analytics Inc.

Digital is global in nature, not by default: leveraging digital globalization to increase global customer experience
Instructor: Bruno Herrmann , Director of Globalization, Nielsen

Find out more and get detailed descriptions for these workshops.

Hotel now accepting reservations

The Fairmont Copley Plaza is the official conference hotel for Gilbane Conference 2015. Discounted room rates have been arranged for attendees and are available starting today. Find out more.

Know about deep linking?

We are close to completing the program for this year’s Gilbane Conference and have some topics we still need another speaker, or possibly panelist, for:

  • Mobile and web deep linking / app indexing. What do these do for customer experience? What do they mean for content apps? What do you need to do about deep linking and app indexing, why, and when?
  • Marketing technology stacks: strategies and experiences.
  • Digital multichannel strategies: mobile, web, responsive, social, IoT, pages vs cards, etc.

If you have a well-informed opinion to share on any of these email me at speaking@gilbane.com.

Keep in mind our audience is a combination of marketers, technologists, and content strategists and managers.

Of the almost 300 speaker proposals we will be able to include less than 100 so we welcome additional proposals on the topics above. Note that we will be notifying proposed speakers slowly over the next 2-3 weeks.

Modern Design Tools: Adaptive Layouts

I’m sure there are exceptions, but design has almost always followed function in software development. That was never a great situation, but today’s reality of the constant additions of new form factors forces us to figure out how build function and design in a more parallel and earlier iterative environment.

Responsive design is an important approach to dress up the past and get started with workable multichannel publishing, but its scale is limited.

See Josh Puckett’s discussion in Modern Design Tools: Adaptive Layouts for some great ideas and links to other discussions.

Since our tools shape our thinking, it’s critical that we have design tools that allow us to go beyond the static thinking that has encumbered us for so long. While it’s technically possible to design and optimize for various layouts and orientations today, it’s tedious and difficult, which means that we often don’t do it.

Design tools should have the same properties as the medium for which we are designing… Let’s take a look at how a modern design tool might work for designing an iPhone app. Read more

Google deep linking progress

In How Google is Taking Search Outside the Box Steven Levy comments on this year’s I/O event. He does a nice job of explaining deep linking / app indexing, and the much mentioned Google Now on Tap in the context of Google’s mobile and search challenges.

Google now says that it has expanded its app indexing program to Apple’s iOS platform. “App indexing” is the practice of Hoovering up the data that lives inside apps, the first step to making that information available by Google searching — it’s analogous to crawling the web. Google has been doing this since 2013 for Android apps, essentially creating an index that lives on a simulation of a giant Android phone. And I do mean giant: there are 50 billion deep links indexed so far. (Deep links are those which take you directly to relevant information inside an app, as opposed to leading you to the front door.)

I found the 50 billion indexed deep links surprising, especially since they are almost all from Android apps, and from only a little more than half of the developers asked to participate. There is a decent developer value proposition, but it will be interesting to see what Apple decides to do to keep control of its ecosystem. And then there are Facebook, Twitter, and others. Google would most likely be the biggest beneficiary of a deep linking standard if there ever is one. Read more

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