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Tech Backlash In the Wind?

People seem to have an unending, unquestioning love affair with technology. But this article indicates that that may be changing. As the tech companies amass greater and greater power and wealth, a backlash among governments has appeared. After giving carte-blanche in their early days, regulators are becoming concerned about the huge numbers of users, unending flow of data, and massive influence these companies have come to possess.

Tech companies have accrued a tremendous amount of power and influence. Amazon determines how people shop, Google how they acquire knowledge, Facebook how they communicate. All of them are making decisions about who gets a digital megaphone and who should be unplugged from the web. … Their amount of concentrated authority resembles the divine right of kings, and is sparking a backlash that is still gathering force.

One would think that tech users would be the most concerned, having already been effectively transformed from consumers of technology to “the product” sold by technology. But that does not seem to be the case yet. Some would say we’ve already become more dependent on modern tech than is healthy. Will people ever give up their phones and social media as we now know them in order to regain something of their privacy and perhaps autonomy? Or will society eventually find itself followed, categorized, directed, governed and judged by the companies that once seemed so cool?

Read full article: http://nyti.ms/2xFF5XK

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Google vs Auto-Play

Google, in its ongoing work to define the web according to its vision, will soon block auto-play video in its Chrome browser. This new step, along with many others that Google has taken to reward websites that comply with its view of how the web should work, is actually a good thing for users. Auto-play video is a terribly annoying marketing technique, used to get in peoples’ faces with a message. Deemed a ‘win’ by marketers, it makes for a lousy user experience, especially when visitors are chased around a page by a non-stop video while scrolling. Blocking these techniques, along with providing sites with higher rankings for incorporating features like fresh content, responsive (mobile friendly) design, and https (for greater security), results in a better web for everyone. We just wonder whether one company having that much influence over the web is desirable. In any event, websites that use auto-play video should become familiar with the way Google plans to implement this new policy, detailed in the following article, and adapt accordingly.

Read full article: http://bit.ly/2wgosGh

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Email Rules!

Email has often been maligned as a modern medium, but the numbers prove differently.

… that clunky relic of the early days of the web is actually the most popular form of communication online and its popularity is increasing year on year. And not just amongst the more mature, one of email’s biggest user groups, according to Adobe, is millennials.

A recent Adobe study shows that email is the most preferred means of receiving communications, including promotions from brands, especially on mobile devices. It’s highly used by all age groups and most demographics, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Learn more about the modern-day power of email: http://bit.ly/2wTmThr

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Web Accessibility

Tim Berners-Lee said it best: “The power of the web is in its universality”. To make websites truly universal they must be accessible, ie: “that every person can perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute to the web.” Here are 10 tips to broaden the reach of your information, products and services by designing your communications with everyone in mind: http://bit.ly/2uiIz5H

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Adobe to EOL Flash in 2020

The last holdouts of the once glorious web-media format known as Flash now know how much longer they have to create their animations and videos. Adobe has announced that Flash will be end-of-lifed in 2020. For the last few years Flash’s ultimate fate was not a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘when.’

Flash made the web spectacular, and made video, which could be delivered in Flash format, universally playable since virtually all browsers came with the Flash plugin installed. Prior to Flash, viewing video on the web required wading through a mishmash of formats, plugins and players — not unlike the situation that exists today. But video delivered in Flash could be viewed everywhere, opening the door for video to become the content staple it now is. That is, until the iPhone launched.

The iPhone did not ship with Flash and would not play it. Websites (and especially YouTube, Flash’s greatest success story), scrambled to find new methods of delivery, namely open, non-proprietary formats. (In all fairness, Jobs was right about Flash hogging too much of the limited resources available on mobile devices. And relying on proprietary solutions on the open web is never a good thing). The greater the iPhone’s success, the more certain was Flash’s demise. And so came the recent announcement from Adobe:

Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats.

Farewell Flash, you served us well. But open, efficient formats are far better for everyone in the long run.

Read full article: https://adobe.ly/2h0mO4y

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It’s Time for https

It’s been coming for a while, and now it’s time to make the move — to https, the secure transfer protocol for web communications. Encrypted transmissions will become the norm as the web moves toward greater security. Traditional http websites will soon be hit with INSECURE warnings from browsers, and search ranking penalties from Google, as https becomes the standard. Check with your developer or hosting company for specifics on how to convert to https.

Read full article: http://bit.ly/2sTrniC

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Scrolling Redeemed

Page scrolling was once shunned — a design feature to be avoided because the physical act of moving a web page with a mouse disturbed users’ “cognitive flow” (otherwise known as “patience”). But that was before mobile. Now, due to the predominance of small screens that provide tiny portions of page content at a time, users have no choice but to scroll through pages in order to read or find something. This would be bad, except for the fact that mobile screens can be scrolled much faster using a finger than a mouse on a computer. The overall user experience is actually better since with little effort a whole page can be browsed in a few seconds.

Now that scrolling is being embraced, best practices have arisen to support scrolling in design. In fact, designing for scrolling opens up new possibilities for creating engaging websites:

… once you start approaching the long scroll as a canvas for illustrating a beginning, middle, and end (through graphics, animations, icons, etc.), then you start to see it’s film-like power in capturing user attention.

The following is an update that describes current thinking about scrolling, and provides some tips on how to incorporate scrolling successfully in modern website design.

Read full article: http://bit.ly/2pO2m7N

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Updating Web Forms for Mobile

Today, all things digital must be usable and provide value on mobile devices. Web forms, one of the most mundane but essential elements of user interaction, is no exception, especially considering that almost every form of online transaction is conducted, and much valuable data is collected, using forms. Here are some tips on updating your forms to make them more effective on mobile: http://bit.ly/2lN1oYO

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Making a Website Intuitive

People don’t want to think, they want to buy! Making a website intuitive makes it a delight to use, which creates a great experience and increases the likelihood of conversion.

In an intuitively designed webpage, the constituent elements are built and organized in such a way that the user can access information, navigate and transact naturally and effortlessly. Intuitive design is inconspicuous, but not necessarily unremarkable.

In an effort to make sites aesthetically pleasing, designers often sacrifice usability. This is a crime, considering that if the user does not find a clear value proposition within the first 10 seconds, they are very likely going to bail out. The site needs to make its purpose obvious through its design.

This article provides some ideas about how you can make your website more intuitive, design better calls to action, and delight visitors by making it easy for them to find what they want and complete a transaction.

Read full article: http://bit.ly/2k4tcYT

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