Category Archives: Responsive Design

Augmented Reality In The Arts

As still uncharted territory, the words enhanced, augmented, and VR might still sound foreign. They belong more to the world of science fiction than the one we inhabit. The truth, however, is that augmented reality is rapidly becoming a popular phenomenon in gaming and entertainment, but also in the arts.

In a recent app build for one our clients, we added beacons and image recognition services to their app so that if their patrons point the device to the pictures of any of the artists, they can hear them play. If they wanted to find the concession stand, the app would direct them to the nearest station. It would tell them specials they could find, whether at the concession booth or at the gift shop.

Enhanced and Augmented reality make use of the real-world environment by overlaying new information on top of it via a device. Apps use a smartphone’s GPS, beacons, and compass to pinpoint a user’s location in space and the device’s orientation. If you’ve ever played Pokemon Go, think of that.

Virtual Reality, through its use of goggles or full mask, usually replaces the space your in with a wholly new image. It creates full immersion, such as swimming with dolphins or sitting in a concert hall.

Matt Sainsbury, a popular digital art critic, and author, argues that augmented reality is the norm and this transformation can only be for the better. Imagine being completely immersed in your next concert, and learning about the musicians in the symphony as they take the stage. Think of a ballet, and how the original set pieces can be changed with digital technology.

Even though enhanced and augmented realities are not currently integral parts of a performance, it already has its place in museums and some of the larger art organizations.

Museums have had good responses by using this technology in their exhibits. An enhanced reality component is particularly attractive for museum visitors, whether as part of guided tours by getting a nearly first-hand experience of the sights. The Chicago History Museum did something similar by introducing the Chicago 00 The Eastland Disaster app which showed users a gallery of images as they walked along the Chicago river. The Seattle Art Museum also utilized an AR app for their the Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic exhibition. Enhanced reality has reached as far as the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece where it brought ancient architectural remains to life by filling in lost features and restoring the once-vivid colors.

One thing is certain – enhanced and augmented realities are here to stay and these can only provide us with a richer, fuller and more satisfying experience, whether it comes to museum tours, theater performances or performing art in general.

Urgently Seeking Mobile

mobile-searchGoogle has been hinting at the need for a fully responsive site for the past year and has been pushing the page speed for a very long time. For the past several years, DWG has been working on page speeds and warning about the effects not optimizing your images has on your search results.

In June of this year, Google hinted that it will be using mobile page speed as the major key metric in ranking mobile pages in mobile search results. Google?s Gary Illyes said that the use of page speed was in the ?planning phase.? We interpret this that Google is also combining the relationship between speed and responsiveness.

At the moment, because of the Google?s algorithm when a site (mobile or desktop) is speed optimized, then the site is not penalized in its ranking. This will soon change, as a mobile-specific page speed will be a significant factor in the ranking algorithm.

Google has also confirmed that it is working on a completely separate mobile search index which is likely to be launched when Google updates its mobile-friendly algorithm. This means that if you do not have a fully responsive site, you are looking at double the amount of work for optimizing your web search ranking.

We expect based on what we are hearing that this may happen in mid-fall. But what?s the moral of this story? It?s never to early to plan as this will have a significant impact.

Dream Warrior Group Attends the 2015 Arts Reach Conference in San Francisco

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Dream Warrior Group recently attended the Fall 2015 National Arts Marketing, Development & Ticketing Conference in San Francisco from October 22nd to Saturday, October 24th. This visit was filled with warm introductions, presentations and shared experiences in the world of arts organizations.?DWG presented about Understanding the Lurker?s Journey and the New Mobile Paradigm. Here at DWG, we know how important it is to convert visitors to buyers/donors as well as increased mobile and tablet usage.

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During a lunch with the experts Q&A, DWG shared technological recommendations to a table full of eager listeners. It was truly an unforgettable experience and we are so glad to have had the opportunity to share some of our web expertise.

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing the best video player for your project

When incorporating video on your website, it is essential to choose the best video player for your website and your content. Your video player should have a quick loading time, offer HD quality and should inspire users to take action. If you choose an optimal video player then users will be more likely to share your content as well as click on ads. ?According to a Kaltura White Paper, when choosing the best video platform it is important to ensure your video player has these key components:

Quick Loading Time: If your video takes a long time to load you will lose viewers and people won?t stay to watch your entire video. According to the Kaltura White Paper, after two seconds people lose patience and anything past that time increases abandonment rate.

Responsive Videos: The world has become highly technical and a majority of society uses smart phones, tablets, and many other technological devices with different screen sizes. It is just as essential to have a website that is responsive on all devices as it is to have responsive video. Many times if a viewer visits a website that has video and it cannot be played on their smart phone or it looks distorted they abandon ship and move on to a website that does allow for easy viewing. If your video player cannot deliver video to any device you will lose a lot of viewers due to a lack of convenience.

Ability to Maximize Monetization: Your video player should allow the opportunity to monetize your video content with ease. Digital ads are becoming more and more prominent daily and it could be beneficial to take advantage of these opportunities. In order to do this your video player needs to allow for transparent delivery of your ads. Some people op to use YouTube and other free video sharing sites to monetize their content. While this may be an easy option, it also results in a loss of revenue because you have to give whichever video sharing site you are using a portion of your profits. When you cut out the middle man you are more in control of your profits from ads because you are dealing with advertisers directly.

Customizable Video: ?Consistent branding across multiple platforms is central to an online strategy and that is why it is vital to be able to customize your video player to have similar colors and fonts to your website/brand. When you use a professional video platform you will have more freedom in customization. Most times free players have a distinct look and may clash with your brand?s appearance. Also you want to be able to drive traffic and by keep your video player aligned with your brand you encourage promotion of your brand. Some features that you may want to include that you may not be able to incorporate using a free solution are, on-video watermark, animated logos, clickable logos and more.? With free solutions you may have limitations and it is imperative that you have the ability to customize past a certain point if needed.

A Video Player that protects your content: Copyright issues are becoming more prevalent every day. When creating original content, it is critical to prevent others from downloading that content and doing whatever they want with it. A good video player will provide protection and will use DRM technology to encrypt content.

A Video Player that provides analytics: Being able to see very clear analytics is in implementing an online video strategy. With some free solutions the analytics provided is limited. With a good video player you will be able to track views that show the play to impression ratio, and keep track of bandwidth and storage.

These components are just a few things to keep in mind when choosing a video player for your website. It is important to look at your company?s needs and see which option will be best for you. You can find more information and things to look for when choosing a video player in the Kaltura White Paper.

Note: DWG is a Kaltura partner but is also familiar and works with other adaptable platforms.

Google Mobile Search Algorithm Changes

On the 21st of April, Google began prioritizing their mobile search result based on mobile friendliness of the site code.? As Google Webmaster Blog puts it

This update:

Affects only search rankings on mobile devices!
Affects search results in all languages globally!
Applies to individual pages, not entire websites!

While the mobile-friendly change is important, Google still uses a variety of signals to rank search results. The strength of the content in which a search query is being made is very important — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high.

There are several implications to this move, first is that your site is better off if it has a mobile version. Whether you are inclined to use fully responsive or case responsive mobile site, your site needs to be responsive.

Second, is the continuation of their previous policy announced earlier this year. Google bots are looking at your site elements instead of your source code, so here again, the bot will scour through your style sheet to make sure that you have your mobile scenarios covered.

You may think that this will effect small businesses only, but if you look you may be surprised to find names such as Nintendo and Versace in the list of sites that Google does not find compliant.

Even though, the implications of this move?are not likely to be as great as all the early hype had indicated, it is still good to note that Google is modifying its algorithm not just for content, but to keep up with the times.

In order to give better guidelines, and provide helpful tools, Google webmaster blog has started the Mobile Madness Campaign (#mobilemadness). If you are interested, you should look at http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2015/04/mobilemadness-campaign-to-help-you-go.html

Parallax Scrolling and SEO

According to Awwwards.com, Parallax scrolling is an ?animation technique which simulates 3D depth by moving the background slower than the layers in the foreground.? Parallax design allows for up and down scrolling of a single page that continues to show new content as you scroll. One of the benefits of a Parallax website is the breathtaking design. It provides for a unique, engaging 3D experience. With the implementation of the use of a single page for an entire site complications could arise with search engine optimization.

Parallax sites cannot have multiple H1 headers because it is all on a single page. As a result of this parallax sites don?t have meta descriptions or separate title tags; features that help search engines index a website. Keyword optimization plays a very integral role in SEO. A parallax site usually only allows for the optimization of one keyword rather than multiple keywords on multiple content pages. It is also very hard to measure a site?s analytics because it is hard to determine where a majority of the traffic is going to since it is all on a single page. Other challenges with Parallax revolve around load times, such as use of multiple images and multiple videos.With a slower loading time, parallax does not work well on mobile in an age when mobile is becoming more and more prevalent among viewers. Due to these very reasons a parallax site is better for a brand that is already established, for example NIKE. A huge brand will not need to rely heavily on search engines to attract traffic because they already have a large fan base, whereas a lesser known brand will have a harder time gaining initial traffic. While these issues can be problematic there are a few steps that can be taken to make sure that a parallax site is SEO friendly such as: ? Providing internal links to different sections to allow search engines to index parts of your content ? Having a section on the website that does not use parallax to allow for the possibility of various pages (urls) It is essential to do appropriate research before deciding if parallax is right for you.

Website Design in the Age of Mobile Devices

By: Behnam Ataee of Dream Warrior Group Responsive web design with server-side components, RESS or commonly known responsive design has been around for some years now. From its birth in the mid 2000’s to its first coming out party in 2010, we have watched its development with enthusiasm and some justifiable anxiety. As time allowed, we have attempted to the best of our ability to implement parts of it that we found accessible and financially viable for our customers. tablet-314153 Our first client request for a fully responsive design was in 2011. This client was a hip commerce site owner, and had just read about responsive design. Our client was very eager to implement it. After lengthy discussions and data wrangling, we convinced her that the commerce portion of her site did not need to be fully responsive. We created a separate design for phones, one for iPads, and cleaned up her desktop design. The process was illuminating and provided us with some ground rules and guidelines. Those guidelines have come in handy over the last few years. Every web designer has heard the siren song of Graceful Degradation or Progressive Enhancement. Graceful Degradation starts with your site as it is displayed on the desktop, and then attempts to morph it down to the tablet and phone browsing experience. With progressive enhancement, you put your best foot forward on the mobile platform, providing the users with minimal screen real estate, processing power and third party plug-ins. This produces an amazing experience that both looks great and functions perfectly, and subsequently proceeds to expand that in to a design for Tablet and Desktop. Although this is true, based on our experience with in-house, and contract designers, the Progressive Enhancement concept is not truly understood by the majority. Most designers are very happy to provide an AMAZING USER EXPERIENCE, but somehow loses track of the AMAZING FUNCTIONALITY part of the equation. After several stumbles, we decided to rename it and re-order the process to avoid the pitfalls. Function first Given that we have documented and know what the customer wants, the first order of business is to decide what functions are usable and required on what device. In many situations we find that there are specific functions per device that have no place on another platform. In many cases, especially pure commerce play, the phones require higher degree of functionality than the desktop version of the same site. In other cases, such as performing arts, the needs are very specific to the audience we are reaching. The most important part of the function first approach is that the team designing your site goes through your analytics and comparable data for your industry with a fine tooth comb and finds the exact behavioral pattern of your audience. In our case, we have done so many Performing Arts websites, that I could readily recite the usage habit of those audiences. As with a recent case, we are doing an informational design site for a major resort with minor commerce elements. We spent the better part of two weeks looking through all available data to profile the typical user of the site for all devices and proceeded to design from that point forward. The average cost of accommodations for these resorts, ranges from $1,200 to $7,000 per night. We found that majority of users had multiple pads,

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phones, and desktop devices. Their primary media of purchase was their pads, while they tended to share information about the experience via their phones. The role of desktop is mostly for research and pre-sale viewing, and very likely — although we only had anecdotal evidence — someone other than the primary purchaser is handling the research. As you can imagine, this information dictates three separate approaches to the site function depending on the device, while retaining the design compatibility across all platforms. Any attempt to exclusively use either method would fail the User in some level, thus function has to inform all design flow.

 

A blast from the past

The other day I came across an old blog post I had written for?Functional Web?about the trend towards responsive design. What I find amazing is that only 3 days ago I had to have a discussion about the topic of screen resolution and responsive design with a client and her soon to be ?previous? web designer. So here it is again, back from the dead with a bit of update:

Screen resolution has gained a range: from 320px (cell phone) to 2400px or even higher. Users no longer just browse the web with desktop computers. Users?use mobile phones, smaller note books, and all kinds of tablets to access the web. So the traditional fixed width design is dead in water now. Web design needs to adapt. The layout needs to be adjusted for specific displays resolutions and devices.

Below is the main structure of a layout that can easily do that. You got the ?container? that wraps the ?header?, ?content?, ?sidebar?, and ?footer? together.

<div id="container">
<header id="header">

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