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!
Competition in the mobile industry requires a brand’s app to be compatible in multiple formats. Smashing Magazine highlights the differences between designing apps for the iPad and the Android tablet. Differences are physical, such as screen dimension and pixel density, UI-based, including the ‘System’ and ‘Action’ bars featured on the Android, and design-based, such as available fonts. Overall, a good tutorial of key points to be aware of when designing for the Android tablet.
Insight: Currently, the iPad is still approximately two-thirds of the tablet market; however, the adoption rate of the Android platform, both phone and tablet, is increasing. Developers will need to design applications that take advantage of the features, layout, and limitations specific to both tablets. In the mobile world, one size does not fit all.
Google’s App Inventor project launched last July with the goal of giving non-programmers an easy way of building applications for Android devices. App Inventor featured pre-written ‘chunks’ of code that allowed users to drag and drop buttons, fields, and feeds directly into an application with ease. Unfortunately, with Google Labs projects being streamlined under the helm of new CEO Larry Page, App Inventor was retired and open sourced. MIT, recognizing the benefit of the platform for education, has given the project a new home at the MIT Media Lab, making it part of a new MIT Center for Mobile Learning. The Center for Mobile Learning will be run by App Inventor creator, Hal Abelson, along with fellow MIT professors Eric Klopfer and Mitchel Resnick.
By streamlining services and open sourcing projects like App Inventor, Google can encourage innovation while focusing on its core products. With App Inventor moving to MIT’s Media Lab, App Inventor will get direction from developers that are passionate about the product, and are interested in leveraging mobile technology for learning.
When Portugal The Man’s van and equipment were stolen after their set at Lollapalooza, they turned to social media to help find it. Postings and photos detailing the missing items quickly spread through Chicago. Although not leading directly to an arrest, the buzz generated through social media got the attention of the larger media, and eventually, much of the Portland band’s equipment was recovered.
Insight: For better, such as the above story and the revolutions of the Arab Spring, or worse, such as the flash mob violence in Philadelphia and riots in London, one of social media’s strengths is the rapid transmission of information to a large audience. Increasingly, authorities are monitoring social media for tips and insights into criminal activity. In the near future, tweets may be admissible evidence and Foursquare posts alibis.
While the concept of an email newsletter sounds easy enough, even the most seasoned designers can feel the challenges of coding these layouts for readability and usability. In response, Smashing Magazine has published some tips for how to tackle the use of CSS in these newsletters. Topics of focus include: understanding the most popular email clients, the favorability of table layouts, and how to optimize for mobile use.
Insight: Many of the road bumps encountered during email newsletter design stem from the ever-changing standards of platform and browser performance. To master implementation of this format, you must not only practice smart layout, stylesheet creation, and testing, but also be attentive to how the requirements surrounding these activities can change according to evolving viewer formats and technology types.
What makes a website better than the rest? According to Time Magazine, it’s a combination of usefulness, entertainment, and overall uniqueness. Some of the sites included in the publication’s ‘best of 2011′ are perfect for music mixologists (8tracks and Turntable.fm), humor junkies (Onion Sports Network), and travel enthusiasts (Gogobot and Airbnb). Check out the list to see if any of your favorites are included, or to discover your newest digital ‘must-visit’.
Insight: The sites recognized by Time Magazine prove that while the overarching topics may not change, there are always new ways to feature and talk about the subjects we love. Many of these sites blend standard online news and/or blog formatting with social media touches and innovative ad promotions, streamlining popularly accepted online layouts into the next generation of website gold.