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innovation in map interfaces

We love map interfaces & here’s a latest design from Google which shows signs of things to come. Integrated maps in our mobile phones have become an every day part of our lives, which are very easily overlooked & underestimated. Convenient maps made available on our phones have made it easy for us to navigate around complicated city demographics around us & enabled us to discover parts we have never seen before, even the world. However they can be seen as a bit dull & vulgar.

Patricio Gonzalez Vivo of mapzen, & Ryoji Ikeda a mathematical artist have come together to create a stunning map which may be signs of things to come. The effect has come about from re-skinning the open source maps found at Mapzen & overlaying them with a artistic brush. Odd as may it seem to be the 3d finished look is visually stunning with the black background & highlighted white  interfaces to give it a strong contrast. Details can be seen when an end user zooms into the map where office lights left on are visible, to the on going flow of traffic. Matched with a red grid pattern when you zoom out, we think the end result is stunning to look at whilst intriguing & even thought the black & white contrast is strong, we liked the possibility of 3d interaction with buildings mapped out in digital format which may be a sign of things to come.

Try it out for yourself here

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Can different fonts lead to a better SEO campaign?

Graphics are a huge part of web design & along with it comes textual visualization graphics which tend to be overlooked. As these days many focus their efforts on a good search engine campaign the art of calligraphy for the web seems to be dying out more. Many elaborate & visually looking fonts have seemed to be faded away & long forgotten as developers & web designers began choosing a fonts which were more recognized, readable & attached to search engine main frame architecture rather than designing for the end user.

The relationship between SEO/SEM and user interfaces, with an emphasis on font and text selection is a point any domain name administrator or website developer should be arising. Graphics allow us to have all those nice, fancy. little finishing touches such as color selection, drop shadows, gradients, fades etc. These make a website pleasing to look at and easier to understand which increases end user engagement. Before in the past, in order to make a website better for SEO/SEM the design ended up suffering as the amount of graphics were cut down substantially & were replaced with more plain web safe font alternatives such as Arial and Times New Roman, which were not the most exciting or special since they were literally everywhere.

Domain owners dilemmas has long been whether to choose an attractive looking font that sits into an attractive looking website which unfortunately attracts smaller traffic compared to the opposite where websites more optimized for a better search engine marketing campaign would mean using more simpler, generic fonts. We believe that you can have a visually rich, beautiful website without sacrificing search engine connectivity & we can put more of an emphasis on design attributes, such as web fonts, that are easily crawl-able from search engines like Google & Microsoft’s Bing. With smarter usage of web fonts, & not forgetting the main factors such as HTML & CSS, it’s possible to create graphical elements that have look like highly designed graphics but are actually largely made up of live text. You can get all the juicy H1s, bolding, body text and titles you want this way and the search engines see it as nothing more than regular, old HTML.

A cautionary warning is that we see web fonts as not the the ideal solution, but work well for now at least. We recommend that you don’t use too many different web fonts in a design as each one is around 50k so they can slow things down & therefore creating a more sluggish website. However, if done right the site will usually be smaller, faster & visually appeasing rather than using heavy graphics anyway. In conclusion it doesn’t matter which font you decide to go with to enhance a strong search engine marketing campaign providing all the necessary main elements are addressed first.

Can psychology explain customers mobile’s colour preferences?

Analytics have shown gold phones to be among the most popular with Samsung’s new latest smart phone, the Samsung galaxy s6, but can the colour of your phone explain more about you? Customers around the world are trying to get their hands on the Gold Platinum colour option which seems to be performing extremely well, and it seems like Samsung has hit gold. Their latest smartphone sales data shows that one in four consumers (23%) went for the Gold Platinum option, for Galaxy S6 and S6 edge models, which is why stock in this color is either sold out or nearly sold out across markets in Europe. The company says that it is having to intensify its production to Gold Platinum just to keep up with demand.

To explain why customers are more likely to choose one color over another Samsung asked British lifestyle psychologist Donna Dawson to try explaining customers’ color psychology. According to Donna Dawson people who choose gold are apparently “striving for prosperity, financial success and general contentment.” They also tend to be warm, outgoing and appreciate the company of others. Customers who go with green are more likely to be balanced, loyal, hard-working, honest and concerned for others.

“People who choose Samsung’s Blue Topaz as their preferred color are self-confident, fastidious, discriminating, sensitive, exacting, and intuitive,” says Dawson, adding that they long for personal security and need to be loved. Dawson brands people who choose white as their preferred color as status-seeking extroverts who represent honesty, purity and wisdom with a mix of brashness, overconfidence and an open nature. Last but not the least, the psychologist says that black has “always been the color of choice of the loner, rebel or “outsider,” and those who work hard to be recognized for their individualism, independence and their ability to stand out from the crowd. Interesting to note that colour palettes ranged from are polar white, emerald green, gold platinum and glitzy black.

 

Trend watch: smartwatches, 2015 the year of the smart watch?

Smartwatches aren’t really a new, cutting edge technology, as they have been around for a while now, however arguably they have not yet reached that tipping point where they become a consumer mass product. Only recently have smartwatches been in the spot light with manufactures set to chip in with their encounters in the next coming months, looking to profit from what seems to be a new trend. We look at the sector in a bit more detail & explore whether this sector is a long lasting one.

At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show las vegas USA, which is the pinnacle in innovative electronic products from international companies worldwide, a large number of new smartwatches were released from various companies such as Samsung, Razer Inc, Archos, Pebble, and fiver other companies, as well as a few startups. Some have begun to call the 2014 CES a “wrist revolution” due to the amount of smartwatches being released and the huge amount of publicity they began to receive at the start of 2014.

While everyone waits the anticipation of apple’s encounter, set to release in mid 2015, it’s important to draw some conclusions from their tablets. Apple’s iPad has been credited for helping transform consumer demand for tablets with its style, performance and desirability. The first incarnation of the iPad was no means an innovation in technology, but more like being at the right place & at the right time, backed up with Apple’s massive fan base & massive advertising campaign & recent tablet sales, they were on to a sure winner. Much can be said about the iPhone & soon to be their smartwatches division.

Sales of tablets have been dwindling, however we think that’s because of the huge uptake in early adopters when manufactures, most notably apple & samsung, released their variants in tablet technology early on, with tablet sales now petering & balancing out. We think tablet popularity is here to stay, at least in the coming years, however we feel that it’s not the right time for similar manufactures becoming bigger players in the smartwatches sector.

There are a number of concerns that we think manufactures need to address, most notably battery life. Also with the new variants of smartwatches luckily to last more than 24 hours from brief usage, & making it mandatory for the phone to be plugged into a charging device, preferably over night when you are asleep. Apple’s adaption has been delayed in release partly due to trying to extend battery life and improve charging, according to recent reports. The complaint that we foresee from consumers is that, “no matter how clever the features are, if they can’t be used because the battery’s dead”, is one that is likely to be heard over and over again.

The hype surrounding wearable technology is understandable, however if you look at actual recent products which have been released, they haven’t really took off as anticipated by the manufactures. Privacy concerns was at the top of the list in terms of hinderance with adaptation & market saturation. Google’s glass being a good example of invading public privacy & distorting intellectual property, there are huge privacy & ethical implications surround wearable technology.

The real question that needs to be asked shouldn’t be “will smart watches bury traditional wristwatches all together, but rather will smartwatches have any chance of succeeding at all?” Our team would likely to be sticking to mechanical watches, for now, interesting enough we think that with the advent of smartwatches only enhances the popularity of micro engineering technology used to develop mechanical watches. Todays overall watch market would indicate a mechanical watch revival, with vintage watches being sought after & much resembling blue chip collectibles, selling for tens of thousands under the hammer. Much like the iron & steel age was toppled over by the digital computer age, we feel this one is a victory for the old, which by no means should be considered or thought of as a bad thing.

Ingredients for SEO success

Improving your google ranking is a fundamental part of any good business marketing strategy, however SEO strategies have changed over the years. What once worked before doesn’t necessarily mean it will work now. & as of early 2015 some of the old tactics you may have been using may not only keep your traffic sluggish, but they even may actually cause a significant drop in your traffic! In this quick guide our team looks at some of the key points that make up a good successful SEO campaign.

 

Always focus on high quality content

After the notorious Panda 4.1 update in September 2014, smaller unpopular websites who focus on good quality content saw a huge spike in their traffic. These websites also avoided mediocre, small, poorly written content, & doorway page sites with black hat tactics. Therefore it’s more important to focus on good quality content, & we feel Google are rewarding these smaller sites, who featured much lower down the Google ranking compared to more popular sites. You’ll never go wrong with this simple strategy of focusing on witting high quality content, & we think it’s the backbone of SEO success.

Correct grammer

Business owners make the mistake of failing to realise that www.business.com & http://business.com are read as different pages by search engines even though they may point to the same page. This can have a detrimental effect on your SEO campaign as results will be diluted between the two pages & any efforts to bolster your SEO campaign go adrift. The solution to this is to tell Google that you wish to have all data & views of www.business.com to be counted towards http://business.com. This can be implemented rather easily by using a permanent redirection from one page to the other, more commonly technically known as a 301.

Research of popular keywords

Keywords are one of the most fundamental factors for any website to rank well on search engines. Keywords research are an important starting point to a good strong SEO campaign, as it gives you an idea of which keywords are being used by internet users to look for your business/website. You should try to figure out those keywords that have a high search volume but relatively low competition as this will help them rank better. However these are limited as competitors also make use of similar ones. One of the options is to include long tail keywords as these are specific to your page, & therefore improve the chances of getting listed for a relevant search.

Knowing how to talk to Google

It’s important to understand how to technically optimise your website so that search engines like Google can read & link to your website. The URL structure should also be short, kept ideally below hundred characters. Minimise special rarely used characters & for spaces use dashes instead of underscores.  Use an unique title tag which includes basic keywords also in the beginning of the title. A meta description is also important, with no more than two short brief sentences desiring the page. Where possible avoid the duplication of content as this will lead to confusion for search engines. Finally a XML site-map is required for the website, which should be submitted to Google webmaster tools to get the content checked. It’s important to note that every time new content is added to the website it’s important to re-submit an updated XML site-map.

Quality of website

We always stress the importance of good ui, & uxd, & believe that a good quality website that is easy for users to find what they are looking for whilst giving them a good experience will do wonders for your traffic. It’s easily overlooked with SEO strategies, however emphasis needs to be on the ease of use of the website. For much of todays business advertising themselves on the web, a simple one page responsive page is no more than they really need. This will also work well for SEO as well as keeping your visitors happy & alway coming back for more. A blog which lets your customers be more involved with what you are up to can also gain strong backlinks & increase the relevance of the website. Infographics are always a big hit with our team which we feel go a long way & contribute to getting your information across immensely.

Social Media Integration 

Integrating social media has become a vital part of a good SEO campaign as linking these sites creates very strong backlinks. We have our own tactics at Supafonica & well versed in which media streams to deploy, advertise & link to your business. A word of caution though, as it’s important to know which streams to connect to as social media can have a detrimental effect to your business. None the less we feel that for the now & the future taking into consideration Google’s new strategies for how they rank websites it’s extremely important to know how to use Social Media. It goes without saying that if you connect with people who have additional followers then information will be shared more quickly.

Keeping up to date with recent trends

Recently Google made a change to their algorithm which includes news sections that are not specifically connected with typical large news sites. Along side media giants such as CNN, & the BBC you’ll now be able to see more blogs & articles from the general public. This is significantly important to SEO executives as we feel you should concentrate on top end content on the relevant subject. Getting featured & including in the news section of Google is a huge advantage & play an important role in good SEO practices.

Creating a multi responsive website

A responsive website optimised for tablets & phones for example, will increase popularity, improve the visibility of your business, & increase page rankings. With the trend these days to mobile portability it’s more important than ever to have a website that manages to work effortlessly well on these devices. More recently Google have now added a mobile SERP label if your site is mobile friendly which simply says “mobile friendly”. We feel that Google is constantly rewarding sites that are mobile friendly which can only mean a better google ranking.

 

In conclusion you have to play by Google’s rules & their rules alone. Knowing what these rules are is vital in playing the game of SEO marketing & improving your Google ranking. Focusing on good quality content is more important than ever as since the Penguin algorithm update relevancy of links have become more important than their quantity. More experienced people would know that these rules are governed by an established algorithm, which is always changing and evolving, therefore it’s important to know what Google are looking out for & being a step or two ahead of everyone else.

“When we say bespoke, we really mean bespoke!”

We like to use traditional methods such as freehand sketch, & the humble pen & paper in our studios. The reason why we don’t pay particular attention to any intermediary wire-frame software like other companies is because we feel that they only limit your mind to the fashion of today. Here at supafonica we like to think of ourselves as innovators, pioneers, creative thinkers, & we lead & never follow! Don’t get us wrong, our team are well versed in the most popular wire-frame software such as  omnigraffle, axure & balsamiq, however on the whole we feel that wire-frame software does a more damaging derogatory job & we use them more as a reference & to explain our ideas & work to clients.

our new upcoming website preview

We have been working on our new website which involves a full page java script sliding display, which will make the end user feel more absorbed into our website. Where needed thought & concern has been given to the visual impact of the website with more of a focus on visuals rather than written text. We have incorporated graphic design, visual charts, digital drawings, & info graphs to allow for a more powerful impact. As the case before on our noir website, related content now will be available clearly on a certain page rather than scrolling to find the content.

Key features are the following:

  • Features a whole new design. Full screen java script, enabling a more responsive, visual experience for the end user.
  • Pages are scrollable by clicking on the arrows located neatly at the side of the screen, alternatively an end user can use the arrow keys for navigation or nav bar.
  • One click log in feature for our clients.
  • As always responsive & optmized on phones & tablets, with a more rich experience given to tablet users who can simply swipe to scroll.
  • Timelapse video background of locations around United Kingdom to give the impression that we are fully operational around all of the United Kingdom.
  • Integrated live chat support for desktop & mobiles.

Our new website is expected to go live in 2015, so keep watching this space!

 

Quick guide to live chat

“90% of customers think live chat is essential on a website & very helpful.” -Facebook & twitter users.

 

Customers want to feel supported Online!

In a recent survey 52% of US customers abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly. 83% think that consumers need some degree of customer support when making an online purchase. This clearly highlights the need for the quick and accessible customer support online. It seems that companies that interact with their customers online are able to build up more of a connection with them that subsequently encourages them to make the purchase.

Conversations Connect People

Clearly some businesses more than others would indeed do very well with integrated live chat support, particularly those that end in a purchase such as e-commerce/shopping cart websites. If you already do have live chat support then we congratulate you – you’re well on your way to more effective customer engagement and increased sales. Below we’ve pulled together the top 3 tips we think that would help you to make the most of your live chat software, and really aid you in connecting with your consumers.

1.Make sure to watch your attitude and language with emphasis on impeccable spelling & grammar.

2.Remember to be truthful but still helpful, prompt but still accurate, personal but never too pushy.

3.Make use of enough smiley emoticons where & whenever possible.

Ultimately concentrate on helping your customer, be friendly, polite, & courteous always. Be factual & know enough about your business, such as pricing plans & services. Whenever in doubt don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answer as there’s nothing worse than incorrect information. It’s not so much about sales but rather guidance, swallow the losses & forget about any profits, and you will definitely earn a customer for life.

Here at Supafonica we have an entire team that is solely dedicated towards live chat, & the science behind live chat. We understand principles discussed in this short guide & put them into practice alongside other more technically advanced principles not so much discussed here which we like to keep secret. We are very happy to say we are one of the very few companies that can offer our clients a 24/7 live chat experience.

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