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Blog au Roux

Great Creole cuisine comes from the blending of cultural influences — French, Spanish, Caribbean and African — to create a truly distinctive and memorable taste. Our varied backgrounds allow us to share our collective expertise. As for Creole cooking, we start with one core piece of advice, “First you make a roux…”

Wireframes, Google Analytics, and Firefox 4

Bug Bytes is a weekly roundup of the Web’s best links, blog posts, and news articles related to web design, application development, and online marketing. Continue the conversation and share your thoughts on these stories in the comments below – we’d love to hear your own insights!

Wireframing for Web Apps

The purpose of creating a wireframe is to solve design challenges involving layout and priority. Wireframes help streamline the development process, and give the client an early view of the site or application’s design. Additionally, wireframing opens up discussions about information architecture and user experience that ultimately benefit the client, as well as the end user.
Contrast.ie’s article explains the frequent issues that designers run into when creating a wireframe, as well as recommendations for dealing with them.  Advice includes using a limited color set with only 2 fonts to avoid confusion. Another common mistake discussed is using placeholder text, as opposed to the content that will live on the site.

Insights: While wireframes should represent a close approximation of the finished product for the client, web designers should remember that creating ornate mockups of Web apps can be an inappropriate use of time. Des Traynor’s suggestion to use the site’s proposed content, versus a placeholder like ‘lorem ipsum’, can help manage client expectations, as the Web application that goes live will look and feel very close to the wireframes.

Firefox Says Goodbye to Flash

Jay Sullivan, VP of products at the Mozilla Foundation, believes Web developers won’t have to deal with Flash development and embed codes much longer, helped in part to the latest iteration of the Firefox 4 browser. Sullivan is pushing the browser’s capabilities in HTML5, the newest platform that enables users to enjoy the best aspects of the Web without having to install any external applications such as Adobe Flash. Sullivan, along with many others, believes that Flash will disappear in the long run. HTML5 represents a ‘future-proof’ solution for Firefox that should satisfy its users who have come to expect interactive and inventive Web applications.

Insights: According to the most recent statistics, Firefox represents a 29.0% browser market share globally. In conjunction with iOS devices, such as iPhones and iPads, there is now a significant share of the market that is capable of running HTML5 video and animation. Digital agencies will need to reconsider display ad platforms, and Web developers will need to push clients to adopt new Web standards to reach the entire market. While non-savvy end users upgrading to Firefox 4 may not consider Sullivan’s words as holding much bearing, it represents a move toward improved Web standards compliance.

The Tablet Market

Mark Sigal’s incendiary article postulates that even though it may be tempting to see a fair battle between the tablets, Apple is actually blowing away the competition. Sigal claims that because of Apple’s vertical strategy with a strong retail environment, horizontal competition has no offense or defense.
Sigal makes a strong case that the competitive stake that Android holds in the smartphone market is due to mobile carrier restrictions giving Google-powered devices an advantage over the iPhone. Because the iPad does not have a carrier restriction, Apple was able to sell 15M devices in a 9 month period.

Insights: While Sigal’s opinion appears to skew toward iOS, he makes a compelling argument for why Apple may have already cornered the market on tablet devices: vertical integration and developer buy-in. Apple is able to push its products in a retail environment with great success, while Android devices have no close equivalent. Additionally, because the iPad has a 9-month advantage on Android devices, the platform has greater buy-in from developers. For Android tablets to succeed and take market share from Apple’s wildly successful product, Google must attract Web developers fast to compete with or imitate apps on the iPad.

Google Going Social?

Developers and business professionals at SXSW expected Google to release a new product this week—a social network with improved sharing nuances connected to Google products, as well as existing social networks. Once rumors began flying, Google put out a statement indicating that the search giant has nothing in development related to social media. Speculation over the past week points to the idea that what Google is attempting to do, if anything at all, is create a better way of managing social data, instead of creating a new social network.

Insights: After tweeting about the existence of a Google-branded social network called ‘Circles’, Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, deleted his message and followed up to clarify:

“It’s not a product, per se, and it’s not a new social network. Just some research-y thinking about how you could better manage social data. Exactly what Chris said. I got fooled by the RWW story into thinking that they’d turned it into something they were going to announce. There’s no story here. Just some labs stuff.”

Google realizes that social is not going away, and needs to be adopted into not only its search, but every product it has. Google’s attempts at creating its own social network have been less than impressive, so it stands to reason that instead of creating its own network, Google is merely trying to organize the data in a more meaningful way.

Looking Toward the future of Google Analytics

At a conference held in San Francisco this past week, Google unveiled a new version of Google Analytics that is currently being tested in beta for a small group of users. The goal of the upgrade is to make it easier and faster to get the data users need and to add in new functionality. Google has been listening to user’s feedback, and many of the new changes were implemented according to suggestions and users’ ‘pet peeves’.
While the new version of Google Analytics has moved reports around and renamed many tabs and reports, everything that was previously available is still easily accessible. To aid users who have upgraded to the new version, Google has created an interactive Report Finder that details where reports have moved and how to navigate through to find them.

Insight: The rollout of the newest Google Analytics will be slow; however, once it becomes available to everyone, users will find it to be easier to use than ever. Because of Google Analytics’ user-friendliness, the latest update makes it an even better solution for business owners that want to know what action is taking place on their website. It is still up to developers and online marketers to implement Google Analytics in a way that makes sense for the client, and also pulls in all of the crucial data: e-commerce sales, click-through’s on conversions, and campaign information.

 

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