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Best practices, training and innovations in Digital Strategy.

Flash step aside, HTML 5 is taking over

August 15, 2012 – 5:17 pm
Damjan Dano
 
Flash vs. HTML 5

Flash vs. HTML 5

Many of you have heard about HTML 5 as “the future of the internet”, “the most hyped technology update in the past couple years that is yet to come”… but how many of you are aware that HTML 5 is already taking over the game?

As of today, the 15th of August, Adobe is officially abandoning the support of Flash on all Android phones (version 4.0 and up) because of HTML 5… About a month ago in their official announcement, Adobe stated that HTML 5 is the “best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms” and that they will be shifting their Flash support exclusively for the PC platform.

For those of you who are not familiar with the subject, HTML 5 can be used as an alternative to Adobe Flash. Both of them have functionalities that support playing multimedia files within webages, they both use integrated SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) and vector graphics. And even though the two technologies are not in direct competition and both have their own purpose, there are some specific cases that their features overlap, such as the mobile video area.

What Steve Jobs envisioned couple years ago it seems that it came through. He was known as a strong promoter of the HTML 5, same as Google, they made a decision to encode all of the videos on their YouTube platform in HTML 5, which was the right thing to do in order to offer content faster and better. With this, and today’s big news from Adobe, we can freely expect “invasion” of HTML 5 on multiple platforms.

And even though HTML 5 is not 100% ready, but the most popular browsers already support many of the HTML 5 tags and bits, and for those browsers that don’t really support it (yes Internet Explorer, we are looking at you!) HTML 5 functionalities can be easily supported with JavaScript replications…

With today’s announcement, we mark one small step for Adobe, but a giant leap for HTML 5.

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BBC and the digital Olympics

August 14, 2012 – 11:55 am
Damjan Dano
 

The Olympic Games in London are officially over, therefore we can expect all the internet memes about the Olympics and about the athletes like Bolt or McKayla to wrap up pretty soon…  :)

But amongst all the different reviews and comments about the Olympic Games in London that you can find everywhere these days, one research about the viewership and broadcasting of the Olympics really grabbed my attention…

In a recent blog post on their Internet blog, BBC discusses their approach towards the distribution of the Games. From devoting around 24 TV channels, launching mobile apps all the way to live web streams, BBC obviously did a very good job (not like NBC). :)

In the same time they broadcasted live events and games on 24 different channels – making sure all the official Olympic sports played at the given moment receive their fair share of broadcast. BBC made sure that the Olympics are also streamed online on their website, with data usage going over 2.8 petabytes (in more familiar terms, that’s about 2,936,000 gigabytes!) on their busiest day within a span of 24 hours.

Further, BBC discusses the findings about the mobile viewers – almost 12 million people followed the Olympics on their mobile platforms – 9.2 million on smartphones and 2.3 million on tablet devices.

Sharing the mobile insights, BBC discovers that the peaks for mobile use are morning and evening periods, making an assumption that people used the mobile apps when they were on the move or in their beds (which makes  sense).

Computer peaking during working hours; tablet peaking at bedtime.

Some other peaks in different device usage that BBC outlined are:

  • PC usage maxes out during the week at lunchtime and during mid-afternoon peak Team GB moments
  • Mobile takes over around 6pm as people leave the office but still want to keep up to date with the latest action
  • Tablet usage reaches a peak at around 9pm: people using them as a second screen experience as they watch the Games on their TVs, and also as they continue to watch in bed
  • Consumption of video content on mobile has been perhaps the key takeaway from the two weeks: we saw 12 million requests for video on mobile across the whole of the Games.

Unique browsers peak at the weekend

To seal the deal and to confirm the great job they did, BBC announced that all of their Olympics video content will be accessible online on the BBC Sports website (that also made a record number of visitors) until January, 2013.

As one commenter on the BBC’s blog post says: “…it was a true taste of a multiplatform future.”

 

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Websites Made of Pure Chocolate

September 7, 2011 – 2:13 pm
Damjan Dano
 

If you were told that in order to promote your product better you should make a website made only of real images of your products, you might throw out that idea as insane… but shortly after we show you these two awesome case studies, I’m sure you will reconsider your initial decision and will be more open to such creative suggestions.

Whittaker’s Chocolate, a New Zealand chocolatier and the Portuguese Sagres Preta, maker of chocolate stout beer, bravely decided to create their website only using chocolate, their main ingredient.

Everything from the interface design to the navigation and the social icons on their website is made of chocolate!

 

The idea is brilliant, and with this approach these two companies are showing that advertising should be fun and honest, not boring, false or evil.

To better promote this initiative, the companies also accompanied the campaign with videos of how the websites were done – from idea to execution. Check out one of the videos that went viral on the web:

Delicious, isn’t it!? :)
If you would like to reinvent your own website and find a creative way to promote your products like these two brave companies, feel free to get in touch with us.

As a final thought, I’ll just share this excellent quote from the great Jerry Della Femina, who said:

“I honestly believe that advertising is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.”

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appMobi Not A Passing Cloud Developer

June 1, 2011 – 5:06 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail
 

appMobi is a cloud-based mobile service platform that offers strong value for small businesses looking to integrate mobile marketing into corporate strategy.  Mobile marketing includes the creation of smartphone applications by mobile developers and presence of their support systems.  These applications get integrated across smartphones and tablets.  Gaming software has really exploded with this open architecture.  appMobi has generated a strong ecosystem for mobile technology, but they are not done with innovation.    

appMobi utilizes the web development standards of HTML5 and Javascript in order to expedite software deployment.  They believe that this will accentuate push messaging, which is the option of fresh content initially subscribed by the customer being revealed when they opt-in with an application.  In layman’s terms, you are looking at a sports application on your Android smartphone. You have your favorite team preferences logged into your account.  Push messaging procures pop-up messages to signify fresh content updated in real-time. For those who are conferencing through their smartphone either through voice or chat, this is a great feature.  Over time, this technology will prove advantageous to brands who look to capitalize with PPC and  various online advertising. They can properly segment their subscriber bases to increase engagement.

appMobi also is looking to improve the measurement of mobile analytics.  Desktop analytics, although far from perfect, have programs that can measure relevant metrics to determine an angle of consumer behavior.  We know about them. appMobi wants to integrate mobile statistics into desktop dashboards. appMobi is exploring some ideas. One of them is by improving the mobile resolution display through the deployment of a WC3 compliance weblog.  Once this weblog has the ability to validate new measurements, then we can see the effects of touch, augmented reality, and QR codes on strategy.

Over the air updates and mobile payments (one-touch) are two of the other cloud services in which appMobi is developing to improve cross platform application performance. Mobile payments are entering a period of stronger development and their transition into public behavior looms on the horizon. You can learn more about appMobi by following this link.

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Web Analytics With Avinash Kausik and Nick Milhailovski

May 23, 2011 – 4:12 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail
 

The web czars of Google Analytics are back with another session where they answer questions submitted from data users across the globe.  If interested, head to the Moderator site and vote.  Your question could be answered in the next session. This is your chance to become a cyberspace celebrity. Better cash in.

All jokes aside, Kausik and Mihailovski engage the audience with answers to these key topics over a twenty-minute session.  If you can connect your laptop to the television, your experience will be heightened.  I recommend the series to beginners of web analytics to seasoned program developers.  Don’t forget to put the website in your RSS Feedburner.

In this session, the duo discuss several topics. They will talk about how the best method for integrating Google Analytics with Web Optimizer along with how to track different campaigns like banner and internal. The duo investigate why clicks and visits do not sync between AdWords and Analytics. They also reveal if a Podcast of this discussion is available on iTunes.

Again, allot yourself some time to take notes and open up a discussion between your web developers and creative team.  Your office will gain from the experience and pass these on to clients.


 

 

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The Advantage Of Minimalist Website Design

May 23, 2011 – 12:57 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail
 

The word minimalism is defined by a reduction of tone. In music specifically, according to Dictionary.com, minimalism utilizes only simple sonorities, rhythms, and patterns. Repetition and hypnotism surface through motion.

How does this theme apply to website design? This structure carries a lot more weight than many consider today. As we know, the world is cluttering the senses.  Minimalist design can pay dividends for the UX (user experience) while growing your brand equity.

First, a digital marketing producer must speak with the website designer about the fundamentals. Creators know these by heart: color, layout, white space, graphics, and typography.

This writer discusses how to apply minimalist aesthetes to your site, leading to improved traffic and ultimately revenue.  I will list a few short examples flowing into the root piece.

Color

Color choice is not only an important strategy for appeal. It also unifies the visual experience. Horner recommends using a minimum palette base of black, white, and grey.  This allows a single accent color to have a greater impact. Contrast is key to generating a more dynamic, sensual expression.

Layout

Cleanliness is godliness when it comes to layout.  It is important to maintain some white space to honor category differentiation. Fonts must be able to display cleanly across platforms, since people view content from multiple sources. Mobile marketers must keep this in mind when constructing their site architecture.

Logo

The logo must be cemented since it is the symbol representing a company. It encompasses the mission, reflects brand strategy, and hints at product development. A minimal logo can speak fluent notes to an observing customer. If you inquire with the United Colors of Benetton, I bet their executives preach that less is more. Click on Benetton to receive more minimalist design tips.

 

 

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Weekly Blueliner Newsminer

May 13, 2011 – 4:41 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail
 

Welcome back to the Weekly Blueliner Newsminer. Let us begin.

1. Digital Partnerships Galore

I mentioned in the headline earlier this week about all the digital partnerships. Some of these include Groupon pairing with Live Nation next to Microsoft’s surprise purchase of Skype.  Microsoft’s integration of Skype bears watching. Will the business software developer throw their new SEO investments into Skype or smoothly blend algorithms?

2.  User Data Corruption

User data corruption has occurred in droves this week.  Michaels, the arts and crafts supplier, reported a hacking of credit card data from their shops this morning.  Facebook has a lawsuit concerning the unauthorized mining of user data for online advertising campaigns.  Playdom settled a lawsuit of breaching children’s data with the FTC. We don’t need to further investigate Sony’s current woes with Playstation.

Over time, it will be interesting to see how the consumer responds to these egregious click frauds. In the Michaels case, some plan to eliminate their ATM card altogether.  The thought sounds impractical, but restraint can be a positive.

3.  Flash Sale Marketplace

I also discussed the flash sale marketplace, which includes Gilt Groupe, Rue La La, and now Amazon’s MYHABIT.  Gilt submitted a valuation, and analysts are skeptical since the company has yet to turn a profit.  To their credit, they continue to invest in more products.  CEO Kevin Ryan is nonplussed at the skepticism. He believes that flash that the flash e-commerce model will only grow despite the rebounding of full-price luxury good sales.   Time will tell if they can sustain.

4.  Amazon Tablet?

This piece in TechCrunch is intriguing since it is all speculation.  The eBook conference in London earlier this week was a convergence where publishers of all sizes talk content. Can it be scaled for advertising? Can content secure copyright infringement? Can authors eliminate agents? Another writer declares The New Yorker iPad mobile application as the end of glossy magazines.

Amazon could be the superhero running in with a mobile device that would not only streamline their growing video library. This secret device could eliminate the need to develop mobile applications for other platforms (*cough..Apple!).  Supposedly the graphic design applications need time to develop. Interesting indeed.

5.  Google Releases Music Service

Those of us privy to searching Google for leaked music tracks may find this service redundant.  But it ensures stronger security encryption.  The king of search algorithms is an invite-only stage in beta mode. For the technology averse, beta is the development state of a website or application. Google’s Android operating system allows for synching music across your devices.  A cloud storage allows access offline, giving the user time to create and edit your playlists.  Amazon also entered the growing music cloud marketplace, experiencing crashes already.  It’ll be interesting to see if Google can avoid this inevitable issue of data transmission.Click on the headline for an instructional video.

That’s the Blue News for now. Enjoy the weekend.

 

 

 

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Facts About The Digital Boomer

May 2, 2011 – 4:34 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail
 

Generalizations are often made about the baby boomers.  They are fearful of technology. They do not have the energy or memory skills to successfully navigate the blurry technological advancement of our time.  Parents just don’t understand has been a running phrase etched in our skulls.    

This piece from Direct Marketing News, however, tells us a different story.  This generation makes up 26% of the current population according to the U.S. Census Bureau for a total of 79 million Americans.  They also hold several of the most powerful positions in our global marketplace. Some luminaries include Paul Allen and the President among others, who manage 50% of the country’s discretionary spending.  They feel that the interactive marketing community is ignoring them, and want retribution.

As the writer Anthony Franco asks us, how do we engage this demographic who have such depth of influence? Everything must be kept simple.  Your online advertising campaigns must carry a simple message with clear direction of your business objectives. Your blog or email newsletter can alert your key customers of news updates. Daily tips can be released by the real-time channel, depending on response rates.  Social media portals like Twitter and video sharing sites work great when the message correlates with the product.  Your blog should also have a link that goes straight to customer service for troubleshooting. A labyrinthe website with useless landing pages can really hurt your impression with this demographic. Then the sales do not flow into your business.

Baby boomers will spend time reviewing your site if they know that assistance is available. Web developers must design applications to match behavioral patterns of their customer.  Links with partnerships are always good if your website does not have the answer.

Like any marketer, being prescient is the key to optimizing strategy.  A good website rich in keywords does not hurt either.

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Panabee Tells You What’s In a Domain Name

April 25, 2011 – 2:46 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail
 

You are online at many parts of the day, across channels, on the streets, dirt roads, or heaven forbid, in your swimming pool. You surf online to shop, read news, play games, or just chat.  You ever wonder where some website names come to pass? Do you know the value of a domain name? A good domain name is like your face or hair.  It is an image. It is everything.  

First off, a domain name is a branding opportunity.  We know that kabillions of websites exist with a wide spectrum of user experiences.  You want to engineer a system of web development that maximizes your business growth opportunity.  A catchy domain name that correlates with your portfolio can go a long way towards development of your business models and strategy in the future. The parts of this model include your business name, logo, and color palette amongst other indica.

Secondly, you want something that will trigger emotion. Reflective, tingled emotion associated with a memorable domain can lead to credibility if the domain name is synchronized with the business persona. Consumers will not have to bookmark your name to visit the site. They will just type into the tag cloud and hit return.  One other key point is that you want portability if your business changes host servers.  Once you have a domain name, it is yours to maintain as a personal trademark. In order to gain legal protection, you must file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office here. Small businesses are not done once this step is completed. You still need an available name.

To find a good domain name, however, try Panabee.  Mashable also wrote a piece last week on the generator. This new website, with the name crossed between ‘panda’ and ‘bee’, mines the web for a multitude of domain suggestions based on a couple of keywords.  It also goes into data valuation, listing the names chosen by potential competitors and suggestions from the social media algorithms.  Search engine results also list possibilities.  Once you have found a term, then you are transferred to GoDaddy.com to purchase the domain for $7.49.  Hey, even Mark Zuckerberg had to give up a sandwich to get Facebook live online.

 

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Tutorial: Creating Forms in Symfony

April 25, 2011 – 12:05 pm
Medhad
 

There are several frameworks out there in the world of php. Symfony is one of them. It is able to stand out of the crowd due to its superior features, built in security, and great community.  Symfony incorporated best practices such as ‘convention over configuration’ and ‘evade code duplication’ which helps writing and organizing code more easily, boosting productivity.  That’s one is the reasons why we love to work with Symfony here at Blueliner.

One of Symfony’s most appreciated features is its form library. Today I will write a short tutorial on how to create and validate a ‘choice form’ using its form library.

At first let’s see the screenshots of what we are going to implement:

Figure 1: Form Fields before Submission

Figure 2: Form Fields w/ blank Submission

Figure 3: Filling out Required Fields

Figure 4: After Successful Submission

Now let’s create a form inside ‘project_root/lib/form/’ directory called ‘myChoiceForm.php’ and write this code inside.

<?php
class myChoiceForm extends BaseForm {
public function configure() {
//key value pair for the choice form
$choices = array(‘Soccer’ => ‘Football’, ‘Cricket’ => ‘Cricket’, ‘BasketBall’ => ‘Basketball’, ‘Tennis’ => ‘Tennis’, ‘Chess’ => ‘Chess’);

//setting up the widget
$this->setWidgets(array(
‘my_name’ => new sfWidgetFormInputText(),
‘my_sport’ => new sfWidgetFormChoice(array(
‘expanded’ => true,
‘multiple’ => true,
‘choices’ => $choices,
)),
));

//setting up the validator
$this->setValidators(array(
‘my_name’ => new sfValidatorString(array(‘required’ => true)),
‘my_sport’ => new sfValidatorChoice(array(‘choices’ => array_keys($choices), ‘multiple’ => true))
));

//this is to allow any extra form fields while validation
$this->validatorSchema->setOption(‘allow_extra_fields’, true);
//this is to define what name format the form will generate in the view
$this->widgetSchema->setNameFormat(‘myChoiceForm[%s]‘);
}}
?>

Note that inside ‘$this->setValidators()’ I am defining the validation rules. Here ‘sfValidatorString(array(‘required’ => true))’ means this form field is required to be filled with some value. Similarly note the ‘new sfValidatorChoice(array(‘choices’ => array_keys($choices), ‘multiple’ => true))’ part, here by providing “’choices’ => array_keys($choices)” parameter I’m telling the validation class to validate against these particular keys from the choice form. Also the “’multiple’ => true” is important! If you do not provide this parameter then validation class will assume that user can only select 1 value and will show an error if user selects multiple entries.

Now write a method to show this form in action and pass it to the view:
‘project_root/apps/app_name/modules/module_name/actions/actions.class.php’:
<?php
public function executeShowMyForm(sfWebRequest $request) {
$form = new myChoiceForm();
if ($request->getPostParameter(‘myChoiceForm’) != NULL) {
$form->bind($request->getPostParameter(‘myChoiceForm’));
if ($form->isValid()) {
//setting up a different template
$this->setTemplate(‘showMessage’);
//passing the form to the view
$this->form = $form;
} else {
//passing the form to the view
$this->form = $form;
}
} else {
$this->form = $form;
}
}
?>

Now render this form inside the corresponding template:

‘project_root/apps/your_app/modules/module_name/templates/showMyFormSuccess.php’:
<form id=”form5″ method=”post” action=”<?php echo url_for(‘test/showMyForm’) ?>” >
<?php// echo $form; ?>
lt;span style=”color: #EE0000″><?php echo $form->renderGlobalErrors() ?></span>
<?php echo $form->renderHiddenFields() ?>
<div ><span class=”lebel”>Name :</span></div>
<div >
<span style=”color: #EE0000″>  <?php echo $form["my_name"]->renderError() ?> </span>
<?php echo $form["my_name"]->render(array(“size” => “40″)) ?>
</div>
<br />
<div ><span class=”lebel”>My Sports :</span></div>
<div>
<span style=”color: #EE0000″>  <?php echo $form["my_sport"]->renderError() ?> </span>
<?php echo $form["my_sport"]->render(array(“size” => “40″)) ?>
</div>
<input type=”submit” value=”Submit” />
</form>

Also create a template to show your submitted message:

‘project_root/apps/your_app/modules/module_name/templates/showMessageSuccess.php’:
<?php
echo “You have submitted the form successfully !<br />”;
echo ‘Your name is:’ . $form->getValue(‘my_name’).’<br />’;
echo ‘Your favourite sports are: ‘ . implode(‘,’,$form->getValue(‘my_sport’));
?>

Now you have seen how to implement a form in Symfony, try it yourself!

 

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