Archive for the ‘design’ Category

Social Media for Businesses

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

What is Social Media?

The term Social Media is being thrown around a lot lately and it is sometimes tricky to actually define what it exactly is.  To keep it simple, Social Media is people having conversations online and generating content through interacting with one another and with brands.

There are many ways that users of Social Media can interact with one another ranging from easy, such as commenting on blogs, allowing voting on articles, liking a status update and replying to a tweet to the more complex Social Media platforms such as recommending movies on Flixster.

Many companies are sceptical about using Social Media but the reality of the situation is companies need to embrace Social Media.  Customers are adapting and using Social Media to look for information about products and services in the form of recommendations and first hand feedback from other uses instead of using traditional media

How can Social Media help your business?

Gone are the days when having a website was considered good enough as an online presence.  As a generation we thrive on instant gratification, which is why Social Media is so important to stay ahead of the game.

There is good news though especially for smaller companies trying to compete in the market; Social Media is relatively cost effective and allows large and small companies to compete on a level playing field.

Social Media also allows a company to find out what consumers think of your product or service, which at times can be a scary, but when issues are dealt with efficiently and effectively, can help improve the way companies are viewed by consumers. This also assists in increasing brand equity.  Interacting with your customers, finding out about their wants and needs as well as how you can cater to them, is critical to Social Media. More so, it allows companies to improve their service and better satisfy customer needs.  Interaction is key to Social Media and companies can make use of it on different platforms to improve their business and its offerings to better satisfy needs.

What Social Media Sites should you consider and why?

There are new Social Media sites popping up every day, and although having a presence on every single one would be ideal it’s just not realistic in terms of management.  Companies should have their company profile on the major Social networking sites namely Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Wikipedia.

Social Media sites especially Facebook allow you to position your advertising efforts directly at your target market to attract customers, and they allow you to do this at a significantly cheaper price than traditional media.

With Facebook recently reaching 1 Billion users, and a 106% increase in users following brands that they like, the question that companies need to ask themselves is, can they afford to not be a part of the Social Media pie?

Microsoft starts the countdown to the end of Windows XP

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

If you are still using Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system perhaps it’s time to let go because Microsoft has announced that it will no longer continue supporting the beloved programme by 2014. The announcement was made by the company in a post on Monday on the Windows Team Blog reminding it’s users of the two-year countdown until it will terminate all support for Windows XP. In fact the countdown actually began on Saturday, April 7.

What does this mean for those using Windows XP?

The announcement is not going to be a trainsmash for the 144 million users of Windows XP. “If you still have some PC’s running Windows XP and Office 2003 in your organisation, now would be a good time to start migrating them to Windows 7 and Office 2010”, Microsoft said in a statement on their blog.

Marketing director of the US software titan, Stella Chernyak says the end-of-life means Microsoft will kill off all security updates, non-security hot-fixes and technical support after the due date, April 7th 2014 to be exact.

Microsoft has always supported a policy of a minimum of 10 years support and has given Windows XP extra time despite the release of Vista, Windows 7 and soon, Windows 8.

Is Apple and iPhone playing around with the idea of using glass?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Apple, known for its cutting edge and innovative styling has taken its design to the next level with its next iPhone. What comes to mind when you hear of a phone made entirely from glass? Is it even possible? What’s it going to look like? Insane right!? Well, that’s exactly what the future iPhone might be made of. In fact, Apple has already applied for a patent for this design.

The see through iPhone could potentially be fashioned from two pieces of glass bonded together, or from a single hollow glass tube.

Advantages of a glass iPhone

The advantage of an all-glass iPhone would be the fact that it’s hermetically sealed and therefore water resistant, more so than being treated with Liquipel, the water repellent coating which has been rumoured for the iPhone 5. Glass is radio transparent so hopefully that would mean improved reception.

Naturally, an all-glass iPhone would look sleek and sexy. There’s no underestimating the extra zing it would give to an already much-admired gadget.

Disadvantages of a glass iPhone

The major worry would be how tough a glass iPhone would be, but Apple is certainly talking tough enough in the patent application. The company notes: “Some of the reasons for using glass over other materials are that glass is strong, stiff, and radio transparent.”

Many critics argue that even if potential breakage and strength isn’t an issue, there’s also the danger of scratches to contend with. Another point is if the device is hermetically sealed and waterproof, what about the port openings?

The question is: is your glass half full or half empty? Whatever it is Apple still has plenty of research and work to do to pull this one off. We have all limbs crossed as we wait in anticipation.

Flipboard Pages: A fresh way of browsing social online content

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

What is Flipboard Pages?

Publishers can now offer select content to iPad users in a new and engaging layout via Flipboard Pages. For example, when an article is shared on Twitter or Facebook, a Flipboard Pages user can simply press “Read Article” to read that article laid out in easy to print read magazine-style. Flipboard Pages preserve that pleasant traditional print magazine reading experience online. Many publishers are already offering their content via Flipboard Pages including:

  • ABC News
  • All Things Digital
  • Bon Appetit
  • Lonely Planet
  • SB Nation
  • SF Gate
  • Uncrate
  • The Washington Post Magazine

How do I benefit from Flipboard Pages?

As a publisher or writer you will be glad to know that Flipboard Pages has attracted a valuable and high-growth audience of social influencers and enthusiastic readers. The more appealing and reader friendly the layout , the more viewership will result and as a result of this, information will be retweeted, shared and “liked” more so than it otherwise would. Flipboard Pages will ultimately offer you the opportunity to cash in on your content by providing better layout.

How do I adjust how my article’s look on Flipboard Pages?

You can contact Flipboard Pages and they will be happy to work with you to show the level of text and images that you are comfortable with.

Get in touch at publishers@flipboard.com

Remember Flipboard Pages is absolutely free. All that is required is about 10 minutes, to design and construct the templates.

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Pinterest to unveil redesigned profiles soon

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

By now most of us have heard of or are already using and enjoying the services of the social photo sharing site, Pinterest. For the benefit of those that have been living under a rock, Pinterest lets you organise and share interesting images and information you find on the internet, with other users who may share common interests with you.

The most fun comes from browsing  pinboards created by other users. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. Like Facebook and Twitter, you also have your own profile on Pinterest.

Speaking of profiles, Pinterest will soon launch new profile pages – an important step that will make users find like-minded people more easily. According to co-founder and CEO of Pinterest, Ben Silbermann, the new profile pages will look nothing like the profiles you might have on other social networking sites. In other words, Pinterest’s avid users will soon — perhaps as early as this week — be greeted by a redesigned homepage when logging into the social photo blogging network.

Pinterest only launched in 2010, but in the past year, it has seen astronomical growth and now counts as one of the top 10 social networks. With over 10.4 million registered users in barely 2 years, decision makers at Pinterest must be making all the right moves! Perhaps introducing redesigned profiles for users is one of those moves. Additional to the new profiles, Pinterest users will be able to pin videos from Hulu, Netflix, and other sources.

In a nutshell , the primary focus of the facelift is to improve upon the community elements of Pinterest. Revised profile pages will make it easier to find other members with similar pinning habits, while also providing a method of quickly back-tracing re-pins to find the original source of a popular post. Aesthetic upgrades are en- route as well, with the company setting out to give Pinterest profiles a style of their own.

Brandometer: how influential your brand is on social media?

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Welcome onto the scene, a new South African Social Media Performance Tool Brandometer offers businesses the chance to analyse how well or how poorly their social media campaigns have been performing, across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even MXit.

What is Brandometer?

A new online service dubbed Brandometer was launched yesterday, benchmarking South Africa’s most influential and powerful brandsaccording to social media relevance. Brandometer was started by Michal Wronski, who founded and headed up Fuseware, a company which focuses on social media monitoring and analytics with clients such as Vodacom, 8ta, SAB, Nokia and Mxit.

Brandometer aims to be the official influence scorecard that brands and agencies can turn to in the future.Brandometer lists South Africa’s top social brands according to various ranking criteria on Mxit, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

“Social media has gone mainstream in South Africa. There are over one million South Africans using Twitter, many of them on a daily basis. The Brandometer is an official benchmark to gauge the crème de la crème of South African brands on social media,” the Brandometer website states.

How Brandometer works

The Brandometer tool uses “the industry standard” Klout score to gauge your Twitter influence. For Facebook meanwhile, each page’s following and engagement is reportedly analysed to calculate an influence score.  The process for LinkedIn is similar, although connections and recommendations are also scanned and benchmarked to create an influence score.

For MXit, Fuseware reportedly works with the social chat giant to retrieve anonymous statistics and demographics. It claims that no user data is collected in the process.

It seems if your brand isn’t on Brandometer in the future, then perhaps you will want to change your social media strategy.

LinkedIn launches follow button

Friday, March 9th, 2012

LinkedIn has announced the launch of a follow button that can be embedded into external websites. The follow button will enhance the ability for businesses to gather followers on their profile pages.  LinkedIn’s follow button can be compared to the “Like” and “Follow” functionality of Facebook and Twitter. Companies can add the LinkedIn follow button to their websites to make it easier for consumers to follow them without actually searching for them on LinkedIn.

The button allows you to follow a company without leaving their website, as long as you’re logged into LinkedIn at the time. If you are not logged in, a box will appear asking for your LinkedIn credentials. LinkedIn is the biggest professional networking site with over 2 million companies on its network – representing all industries, company sizes, and geographies.

Companies that have already started using the LinkedIn follow button:

  • AT&T
  • Starbucks
  • Sony Electronics
  • American Express OPEN
  • Rypple
  • DonorsChoose
  • Kiva

With this new feature, LinkedIn promises users better engagement between brands and members of the professional networking website. Whether you are looking to stay up-to-date on company news, career opportunities or industry trends, following companies on LinkedIn is a great way to gain insights and stay connected.

How the LinkedIn follow button works

Companies will engage with you from their Company Page on LinkedIn and through status updates. Their status updates will appear on your LinkedIn homepage – so check back frequently to see what’s going on.

The big questions on everyone’s lips is, can companies actually identify and/or track users who are following them? LinkedIn has not yet revealed whether this is possible or not but many experts believe this could pose many security concerns.

With over two million companies globally on its site one can only image how quickly LinkedIn’s follow button will catch on. Those who want to put a follow button on their site can go onto LinkedIn’s developer page where they will be able to acquire the HTML code needed.

Website design: is it really that important?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Nowadays a website is an essential part of every profession. Whether you are the owner of small or big company, you need to have your own website for many reasons. However, a dull looking and uninteresting website is as good as no website at all. Having a website is one thing but having a well designed one is another. Through website design you can give your business an online identity and global presence. Through web marketing  your business will enjoy a good online business channel once you make entry in the World Wide Web.

Your website and its design represent your company and its image. Think of it as someone that represents your brand to your valued customers on your behalf. Surely you would want this person to represent you in the best way possible. So why would you settle for a less than perfect website design?

What is website design?

Website design is not about making your website look pretty and colourful. It is creating an effective interface between technology and people which allows them to present their information and use it for a meaningful purpose.

Why is website design important?

The design of a website should be appealing to the visitor. In order to achieve, website designers pay close attention to the following on each web page:

  • Colour selection
  • Layout
  • Font style
  • Overall shapes and forms used

Website design holds much importance when it comes to online reputation. A good website design can drag maximum flow of web traffic to your site. More traffic means more business and more business means more potential for growth and earning.

Where to find good web designers?

A good website design requires a good website designer. Where do find good designers? Since website designing and hosting have become every business’s immediate need, many digital marketing agencies have emerged to meet this demand. A digital marketing agency will not simply design your website but also offer other services including:

  • SEO – Search Engine Optimisation
  • PPC – Pay Per Click Advertising
  • SMO – Social Media Optimisation

It is important to understand that, from an overall point of view, there are many key elements that make up a successful website. The look and feel of the website is the first approach in determining how your website visitors will see you and your company. However, the content needs to be taken into consideration before the design process begins.

With that in mind, it is important for a web designer to not only design for aesthetic value, but to also understand how the different areas of the layout will affect the visitor’s actions.

Layout is one of the most important elements in a website design. A site that lacks structure can leave visitors feeling frustrated. This usually results in them exiting your website site without looking any further. Visitors need to feel guided when viewing a site and not be left questioning where your details are.

A great website design is more important the website itself. It’s the design, look and feel of your site that will convert regular visitors into potential customers.

 

 

iPad3 release date and what to expect

Friday, February 24th, 2012

 

The Apple iPad 2 has been out for nearly a year now, so it’s time to say hello to the highly anticipated and most talked about tablet device, the Apple iPad 3. The web is teeming with rumors about specs and the release date. The official launch date for the iPad 3 in South Africa is yet to be announced. However, it will be released in April to other parts of the word including:

    • USA

 

    • France

 

    • Germany

 

    • Japan

 

    • Italy

 

    • Switzerland

 

    • Australia

 

    • Canada

 

    • UK

So what can we expect from the iPad 3?

The iPad 3 is obviously expected to be a better tablet in one or more ways than its predecessor. However, the specs that are currently available on the internet are merely estimations thus far.

Here are the new specs. Keep in mind these are estimated specs as the “official” specs are not released and may change at any time.

    • 1.2GHz dual-core A57CPU

 

    • 512 MB RAM

 

    • 16GB, 32GB, 64GB storage options

 

    • Front, Rear, and Side Cameras, front is 1080p, rear is 1080p, side is VGA

 

    • 9.7″ LED display with 1024×768 screen resolution at 132ppi

 

    • GPU said to be 21x faster

 

    • Video output supports up to 1080p

 

    • Runs iOS 6

 

    • 12 hour battery life

In a nutshell, the Apple iPad3 will feature a new, thinner and sleeker design, down nearly 20% in size compared to the iPad 2. It will also support full touchscreen HD display with a screen resolution of 2048 x 1536. Apart from that, the iPad 3 will have a lighter battery, reducing the weight of the tablet and will also have a longer life.

It is also expected that the iPad 3 will have a wireless charging technology, also supporting wireless data transfer.

You can follow Apple South Africa on Twitter for updates regarding the I Pad 3

Mobile sites: connecting your brand to people on the move

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

What is the point of having a mobile site for your business? Well, 4 years ago, there were 9.6 million active mobile internet users in South Africa and by the end of 2010 that number escalated to 10.56 million. This is according to a study conducted by World Wide Worx, a South African technology research company.

Mobile sites or mobi sites, are websites designed especially for your mobile device. The challenge for web developers and designers is to make the experience of browsing on your device simple and hassle free. However, many digital marketing agencies offer mobile website designservices that can achieve that.

The use of internet on portable units is fast becoming the norm. The shift to mobile sites is a result of a modern society’s needs for having internet access on the go – whenever and wherever they so wish. As a business, you want your customers and potential customers to have full access to your products and services specs. at all times. This is exactly what a mobi or mobile site will do for you. However what are the benefits of a mobi site for the actual user? The benefits are plentiful…

Improved User Experience

Mobile sites are specifically designed for handheld devices with easy navigation, less text, big buttons etc.

Faster Download Speed

Mobile sites are specifically designed for mobile standards and optimal download speed, which means less waiting and more browsing.

Engagement and Context

A mobile site allows you to immediately engage users with mobile-specific features such as click-to-call, mapping functions etc.

Portability and Connectivity

A mobile site can be accessed anywhere, any time. This level of constant connectivity provides an unprecedented opportunity to connect with you customers in new ways, wherever they may be.

Integration with Offline Media

Mobile devices are unique in their ability to immediately bridge the gap between online and offline media through the use of QR codes. QR codes can be displayed in magazines or pamphlets and then, when scanned with a smartphone, translated into electronic messaging such as awebsite URL, an email address or SMS message.

Don’t miss out on exposing your business, organisation or brand to a world of online users who, these days, browse the internet on their handheld devices.