Archive for the ‘design’ Category

Website Tips: Working Smart and Growing Fast

Friday, November 29th, 2013

web-tipsAt WordCamp Cape Town, Rob Hope, a WordPress fan and web developer, spoke on strategies behind his successful site. With 6000 daily visitors and 30 submissions a day from designers wanting to get features on his site, Hope knows his stuff. Here’s what we can take from his strategy.

Users and Community

As obvious as it might sound, ultimately, you’re building a site for an audience. So, why wouldn’t you consider your markets experience and ways to communicate with them? Rob Hope explained that he personally contacted people of sites he would be featuring on his website, and asked them if their work had been presented in the best possible way. This allowed him to create a relationship with them directly, also making them feel honoured in having a chance/a say in how their work is going to represented.

There on, the featured designers visited Hope’s site and shared their work on his platform through social media. This gave him immediate exposure from a range of different clientele. This gave Hope’s site immediate traffic.

4 Simple and Effective Rules:

  • Easy navigation
  • No clutter
  • Visible content
  • Make it easy for visitors to subscribe

Change + Improvements = Boosted Audience

The worst thing a website can be is static. Change it up for your users and reap the traffic benefits. Tweak and improve your site on a regular basis and monitor what changes work for your specific audience. This allows your site to be customised to the needs and wants of your direct target market.

It’s (not) All About The Money

Before zooping your website up with ads, first concentrate on putting together the best possible site for your market niche. Once you have regular, returning followers, you can proceed with monetising your website.

All in all, website development is a fluid business. Keep improving, know your audience and keep improving and keep going.

Welcome All, Windows 8.1…

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Windows_8.1For those of you who have installed Microsoft’s latest offering, the Windows 8 software package, you would be interested to know Windows 8.1 is now available. The switch from Windows 7 to Windows 8 was quite radical. Having made changes to the layout, the entire operating system indeed takes some time to get used to. One thing Windows 8 users were frazzled with was the disappearance of the infamous “start” button.

What’s New?

Windows 8.1 offers users several new and enhanced features, along with the return of the “start” button. This makes it easier to navigate and find your programs without having to hover around looking for your desktop.

Why The Change?

Windows 8 reinvented Windows operating system for all touch devices. Organisational tools enabled users to have access to an enhanced global search, as well as better overall multi-monitor support.

New Features of Windows 8.1

Enjoy the convenience of the Start button, which now acts as a global search button, powered by Bing. For example, type into your start menu a specific topic, Mariah Carey, and get her Wikipedia page along with music videos and latest news from the songstress.

No more do users need to manually update their apps. Windows 8 automatically downloads updates when they’re available, always ensuring you have the latest of everything.

Available to all Windows 8 users, version 8.1 is easily attainable through the Store App.

More Than Just a Watch…

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Samsung_GearTechnology never ceases to amaze. We have found ourselves smack in the middle of a time where the age of digital is upon us. Technology advances have been immense over the past few years. Most of it is technologies that we hear of, not experience. With the exception of advances such as the smartphones, tablets and such, most exceptional developments have been behind the scenes.

No longer is that the case. Now it’s brought closer to us than ever before. So close in fact, it’s made to be attached to your body. Introducing… The Samsung Gear.

 

 

 

Specs:

  • 800MHz Processor
  • 1.9mp Camera (Located on the wristband)
  • 4gb Memory
  • 1.63 Inch Touch Screen

What Does it Do?

Where to start? It’s a digital watch that acts as a smartphone. Attempt to wrap your head around that. The movies where people spoke into their watches to call the command base, has now become a reality. This Samsung Gear smartphone watch allows you to respond to text messages by simply speaking to it. This wristwatch will convert your speech into text. By saying a simple command- Your text is sent. Find yourself on the street and witnessing something extraordinary? No need to scratch around for your phone. Simply say the word “camera” to your Samsung Gear Wristwatch and snap away with your 1.9mp camera on the wristband. Ever had the feeling that you were about to do something but forgot? We’ve all been there. Now simply say what you are doing and what needs to be done and your all-powerful wristwatch will auto record for your convenience.

Featured Applications:

Samsung.com gives you a range of apps for your wristwatch that add to the attraction of this handy little contraption. Here we have a few selected apps to show you just how magnificent the Samsung Gear is:

  • eBay:

Complete all transactions on eBay through your watch, in real time.

  • MyFitnessPal:

This app tracks your nutrition and exercise.

  • Triplt:

Organise all your travel plans.

  • Vivino:

This wine scanner allows you to take a picture of any wine and get to know everything about it instantly.

Interested? Take a trip down to your nearest Samsung store and go try it out for yourself! Available in a range of colours, this functional accessory is definitely one not to be missed.

Welcome All: Augmented Reality, Say What?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

imagesThis innovative and technologically advanced trend is set to hit the world with a force. Augmented Reality Ad Campaigns are Hot Hot Hot! Big brands such as Toyota, Samsung and Heinz have taken to this new way of advertising.

What is it?

Augmented reality allows customers to interact directly with the brand through their smartphones or tablets. Think here of a printed advertisement. Simply point your smartphone at the ad and watch it trigger through your screen into a 3D, interactive video. Talk about futuristic. This advancement has the ability to change the advertising world forever! Riveting stuff, right?

This technology started around 2008, but has only recently hit it off as nearly every person has a smartphone. This mode of advertising, gives the brand an opportunity to directly integrate themselves within the digital and real world.

How Does it Work?

By downloading an app, here I’ll use the example of Blippar, the app uses your camera on your smartphone/tablet to recognise images which have components of augmented reality. It then triggers an automatic response to which is submitted back to your phone, allowing you to interact with whatever the ad campaign is all about.

Have a look at a few examples of this revolutionary ad experience!

Heinz

Maybelline

Toyota

Clean Convenience On Your Car -The Road Shower

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

With spring around the corner, the avid outdoorsy types come out to play. For those of you who areRoad.Shower

into all the latest gidgets and gadgets, as well as being a lover of all things outdoors- this is for you.

Introducing…. The Road Shower!

 

This innovative product sees to it that you have a shower readily available for all those hikes

and camps you’ll be taking come summer sun. Made by Canadian, Joel Cotton, this Road Shower

creation consists of a pressurized tank that mounts easily on your vehicles roof rack. The tank is

made up of powder-coated aluminium with holds 19 litres of water. Whilst up on the roof in the

sunlight, the black paint aids in absorbing the heat, thus warming up the water for when you get

back to base. Fear not cold shower lovers, there is a handy radiator-inspired fill cap which relieves

steam should the water be too hot.

This handy apparatus is great for a number of purposes aside from the shower aspect. Use it to

rinse off your bikes after a few hours on the dusty mountain or haul it conveniently for easy water

consumption.

Keep an eye out for this Road Shower once it hits on a commercial scale.

Technology: 3D Holograms for Organ Diagnostics

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

This is beyond cool. When the Tu Pac hologram in Coachella made its appearance, holograms became real to the masses. Doctors have Holographic.Organtaken this to the next level with 3D holograms of patients’ organs.

A Mexican enterprise, Echopixel, created this unique software that allows doctors to use 500- 1000 images of a patients respective organ, through MRI’s or CT scans, and manifest them into actual holograms that may be manipulated for diagnostic  treatments. This technology opens up the medical world to a range of less invasive treatments and diagnosis. Echopixel created a computer system called ZSpace, which allows doctors to use a flat screen for the projected hologram feature.

The program uses the images of the organs taken from scans and fuses it with a tri-dimensional form. This allows the flat image to be volumised.

Science at its best, this holographic technique allows surgeons to manipulate the hologram, for example, opening up a vein or enlarging it to get to areas that wouldn’t be so visible through surgery or scanning. This allows for views of tumours etc, which may be underlying.

Although not 100% fool proof, this technology proves we have much more to be discovered and created in the terrific field of technology.

Flash vs JQuery: A quick explanation

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Often while brainstorming design briefs with new clients, the client will ask the question:

“What is the difference between Flash and JQuery, and which one should I be using on my website?”.

Below follows a brief explanation of this.

Flash has more animation capabilities than JQuery. For example, various items in a Flash presentation can be animated separately and to full effect. However, Flash files can at times take longer to load, and are not supported across some devices (eg. iPads, some mobile devices).

Flash is mainly used for complex animations, video/audio players, or complex multimedia.

JQuery is slightly more limited in animation capabilities, but often loads faster than Flash files. JQuery animations are largely used for image slideshow effects where less extensive animation is required.

JQuery can successfully be used on websites for image slide shows, popup windows, animated effects on buttons and menus, and to animate the display of sections of content.

How Google Will Use High-Flying Balloons to Deliver Internet to the Hinterlands

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Google has launched Project Loon, an innovation that is said to, if it works, set hundreds, even thousands of high pressure balloons circling the earth to provide Internet to the world’s 5 billion unconnected souls.

This is said to give the population an enriched life with vital news, educational materials, lifesaving health information and fantastic global visuals on the world-wide-web.

As Google holds a press conference in Christchurch, New Zealand, they will also stage Project Loon’s biggest trial yet – 50 testers in Christchurch within the 12 mile range of the balloons will see if they can get connected from the sky.

Project Loon began 2 years ago, with the goal being to provide reliable Internet access using balloons. This idea was said to be crazy at first, with a number of obvious problems, many of them involving the limitations of ballooning itself.

googleballoonThe idea of “variable buoyancy” had come to pass by Rich DeVaul, an expert in wearable technology, with altitude allowed to be tweaked to find wind currents travelling in the right direction. This would accurately simulate wind currents in the stratosphere.

Finally, the project was pitched. DeVaul began a series of trial runs in California, and setup of a team of experts in energy, technology and engineering to name a few. With the help of Raven Aerostar, the company that makes weather balloons for NASA, Project Loon started to take shape.

When the balloon is launched, it is not fully inflated. As it rises, the air pressure difference expands the balloon at its float altitude is around 20km, twice the altitude of commercial airlines. At this height, the balloon will soar over the weather.

“Two years ago, this idea was just scribbles on a whiteboard,” DeVaul says. “The next part is seeing how the world reacts to this.”

Project Loon still has plenty hurdles to overcome. But for now, DeVaul is out of reasons to kill his project.

 

Image Reference:

Wired, Business Article, viewed 14 June 2013, <http://www.wired.com/business/2013/06/google_internet_balloons/all/>

Apple unveils music streaming service

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

itunes

Apple unveiled its music streaming service, iTunes Radio, at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, this week.

Apple says iTunes Radio will personalise users’ music based on what they’ve listened to and what they have purchased on iTunes.

Built directly into both iTunes on OS X and into the music app on iOS 7, the service will be ad-supported and allow users to buy songs directly from the app.

iTunes Radio features more than 200 radio stations, and subscribers to Apple’s iTunes Match, which costs $25 per year, will be able to use the service ad-free.

Like other streaming services, iTunes Radio will offer users a personalised listening experience, with recommendations based on the music you have listened to in the past. Users will be able to create their own radio stations based on songs, genres and artists.

The app will allow you to see which songs are trending on Twitter. It will also be used to provide live-streaming of Apple’s live events, like the iTunes festival in London. iTunes Radio is also built into Apple TV.

The service enters a competitive field with Google All Access, Spotify, Rhapsody and others. This new Apple addition will arrive in the next few months for US users initially. The release is said to coincide with iOS 7.

Mercedes Benz to stick QR codes to cars to help save car crash victims

Monday, June 10th, 2013

benzdialqrcode

Luxury car maker Daimler has found a valuable use for QR codes. The black and white square barcodes are seen as yesterday’s technology to many, however they are being used effectively by Mercedes Benz.

This code is linked to a rescue sheet, giving emergency services responding to an accident, access to detailed maps to show the layout of the vehicle, allowing for trapped victims to be found quickly and safely.

“[It] informs about the location of the airbags, the battery, the tanks, electric cables, high-pressure cylinders and other components – in the case of hybrid models the location of the additional batteries and high-voltage cables, too,” a press release said.

“This information can save lives, because in an emergency every action counts and every second is precious,” the German car maker said.

Mercedes is said to stick one QR code onto the inside of each vehicle’s petrol tank flap and another on the B-pillar on the opposite side. This is due to these areas being rarely damaged in the event of an accident.

Daimler has waived the right to a patent registration on the system, allowing all car manufacturers to make use of it.

Another innovative safety feature is introduced by the European Commission – eCall. This is an initiative where the car carried a device which calls an emergency number with details of the car including accident location, design and driver information.

It is said that testing of this innovative safety feature will commence in 2015.