All posts by Subodh Sharma

About Subodh Sharma

Hello, I’m a UI/UX Designer & Front End Developer from Jaipur, India. I hold a Bachelor degree of Engineering in Computer Science from the Rajasthan Techniical University. I am in constant self development and always on the look out for my next amazing project.If you would like to work with me, see if I can enhance your web presence, or if you have any other enquiries

HTML Versions

HTML Versions

The World Wide Web Consortium (http://www.w3.org) develops the various standards and protocols used throughout the web. One of their key jobs is to develop new and updated standards for the HTML markup language.

There have been many different version of HTML over the years. The table below highlights some of the versions of HTML and brief descriptions of each version.

 

5 ways to get more sales on your

5 ways to get more sales on your ecommerce website

Let’s get going with 5 simple ways to increase your conversion rate, and get more sales from your website:

1. Keep it Simple

This is the number one rule of all e-commerce websites and cannot be stressed enough. Complicated or confusing checkout processes with lots of options or lack of clear navigation put off more customers than anything else. You should try your checkout yourself, or better still watch someone who has never used your site try it out. How do they get on? Is it always clear to them what to do next?

2. Clear Pricing & Costs

The second biggest loss of customers comes about when a checkout starts to add on costs. Of course dellivery costs are often added on during a checkout. Keep these costs as low and as SIMPLE as possible. Don’t try to hide your delivery costs, the later on in the process the customer becomes aware of them the more likely they are to drop out. The best way of handling delivery costs is to integrate them into the cost of the product and then offer apparently “free delivery”.

3. Don’t Oversell

Some sites lose business because they try too hard to up-sell or cross-sell. In many ways this goes back to point 1, keeping the entire process simple. But to some visitors aggressive cross-selling is an even bigger put-off. Sometimes you can lose a visitor simply because they move away from the checkout to look at something else you are offering them – and then lose interest and don’t buy at all. Always remember you want to get your customer from product page to payment page as quickly and with as little distraction as possible.

4. Be Careful With Offers

I know we said use discount codes to get customers to visit your website! And yes, we stand by that! But it’s important to present the opportunity to use a discount code carefully and discretely in the checkout. If a customer has a code chances are they are going to be looking for where to use it, so you don’t need to push the fact you accept codes in every visitor’s face. The problem is if a customer doesn’t have a discount code they may feel they are getting a poor deal. They may try going to Google to search for a discount code, and then they are gone, off your site – probably never to return.

5. Offer a Guest Checkout

We all have far too many accounts nowadays. Don’t force your customer to register and setup yet another password just to buy something. Of course offer the feature for those that want it – but every site needs to have a guest checkout route – or you’re just throwing business away.

pop-imap

The difference between POP and IMAP

When you download your email to your local devices (desktop/mobile phone) you will almost always be using one of two ancient email protocols. Either POP (aka POP3) or IMAP. The way you choose to download your email, which protocol you pick, has important consequences for how your email works.

POP

In simple terms when you connect with POP you are downloading a copy of all your email to your local device. Every device you connect to your email server will get its own copy of the email. So for example if you delete an email on your desktop it is deleted only on the desktop, it is not also deleted on your mobile phone.

Similarly if you create a folder on your PC and move emails into it, this move is happening on your PC only, not across all devices. This is because all the emails, and folders, just exist on your local device.

It’s important when downloading emails via POP that you leave a copy of the email on the server for some time (e.g. 10 days). You can ask the server to delete emails immediately after download but if you do this then you will not be able to download emails to more than one device. For example if you download the email on your PC first it will then be deleted on the server and your mobile phone will never get a chance to download it.

It’s also important that you do delete emails on the server eventually rather than leave them on the server forever – as otherwise your email server will eventually fill up all available space and you won’t be able to receive new emails. Even though Webfuel email accounts offer a very generous 25GB of storage, this will eventually fill up given the volume and size of modern email.

IMAP

When you connect to an email server via IMAP your local device is showing you what is on the server, rather than downloading the emails locally. So any changes you make are happening on the server. If you delete an email it is deleting it on the server. If you move an email into a folder this is happening on the server.

Because of this all your devices always see the same emails, and the same folders. Also the act of keeping your mailbox clean on your device (e.g. deleting old / irrelevant emails) should also keep the amount of storage you are using on the server under control.

POP or IMAP?

So which protocol should you use? Well really it depends on how you want to work, and what you are used to. The important thing is to understand there is a distinction, and what the implications of each option are.

POP in general is simpler to understand because you will only every see changes on the device you make those changes on. But for people who regularly use multiple devices IMAP can be less work to maintain, for example you only ever need to delete an irrelevant email once.

One of the common issues we see with email is customers not understanding there is a difference in these protocols, and often using both across different devices. It is possible to mix protocols but doing so makes it even harder to reason about what your mailbox is doing, and harder to keep mailbox sizes under control. Unless you really understand what you are doing connecting one device with POP and another with IMAP is almost always a mistake.

content-king

What Great SEO Content Looks Like

We are always being told that ‘content is king’, but what qualifies as good SEO content? How can you create content that is good for your website, good for users, and good for search engines? Here are some key characteristics of great SEO content –  use these guidelines to help you ignite your site’s content.

Why do you need content?

We can all agree that content has now become part of the SEO basics, but what makes it so compelling for your business?

  • Content increases on-site engagement metrics by getting people to stick around on your website for longer, as well as click around more whilst they are there. An engaging website that fares well with users is more likely to rank (and convert).
  • Content can be used for lead-generation as part of your sales funnel. Downloadable PDFs and guides have become a popular (and perhaps an overdone) content marketing tactic. Here is how to integrate your content strategy with your sales funnel.
  • Great content that spans your niche will increase your search engine relevancy. Publishing frequent content that is filled with diverse keywords will keep your site fresh and relevant.
  • Content can also help increase your domain authority. Content is the cornerstone of many SEO link building tactics like the Skyscraper Method – without great content you will struggle to establish yourself as a viable player in your vertical.

Don’t fall into the SEO trap of chasing after volume and neglecting quality – the SEO gains achieved by an in-depth piece are better than those made from lower quality content.

Audience-led & targeted

Content is made for consumption and must be based on audience & market research.

Good content comes from your audience. It uses their language, answers their questions; and speaks to their hopes, fears, and desires.

  • Audience led content relies on an intimate relationship with your readership. You need a thorough understanding of who you are talking to – don’t start typing until you’ve done researching. Spend time on social media, online forums, and talking to people to get a real feel for your audience. Capture your research insights to help you align your content with your audience.
  • The next stage is developing fleshed-out buyer personas that will help you target your content at a real human being. Buyer personas stop your content from being stale and generic – you’ve got someone real to talk to.
  • Interviewing experts is a fantastic way to share valuable data with your audience without having to spend loads of time and money on research. Just make sure you get the right experts in (and use incentives like free promotion to entice interviewees).
Intelligently keyword-led

You need to intimately know your keywords. Keyword research in 2017 is not about two or three letter phrases, but about broadening your search out to wider content themes, semantic SEO variants, and user questions.

  • Use a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest to find out what searchers are looking for when they are in the market for your products or services. Plan out editorial content that addresses these key concerns.
  • Make sure that you have covered all bases, and that you’ve been genuine and specific in your sales copy – bland sales copy won’t impress anyone.
  • Use your keywords intelligently and incorporate a wide vocabulary of synonyms into your website copy.
Purposeful

Great content doesn’t stop and meander aimlessly – it flows. That’s why it’s good for SEO – it has a clear purpose. Trying to do too many things at once will make your content messy and unclear.

  • Don’t just panic and throw up content without a proper strategy – be clear on what you are trying to achieve with each piece you publish. It’s worth spending more time on content planning to make sure your content is meeting its target.
  • Set out a detailed optimisation and promotional strategy for each bit of content that you create, so that you can be sure that it will find a broad search audience.
  • Don’t target more than one keyword theme on one page – try to separate content out into discrete pieces to avoid overlap or confusion.
Integrated

Good content sits at the heart of an organisation and is aligned with its goals and internal resources. Don’t make the mistake of assigning content to just the SEO team – it needs to be everyone’s responsibility.

Get all the different departments involved when creating flagship content. Your content will be much more authentic and successful if experts have been consulted. Here is how to create a culture of content within your organisation.

Be clever about how you use internal resources – integrate SEO and content activities with the wider marketing calendar.

Goes above and beyond

What is the point of rehashing the same old topics that have already been covered by your search competitors? Go above and beyond by finding new content avenues to explore.

  • Research your search competitors to see what’s already been done. Find new angles and ways to cover the same topics – try to offer more value and insight than they did. Focus on improving subject matter as well as formatting.
  • Focus your efforts on super long mega lists and guides – they get referred to and shared more, and are more likely to rank. Find illuminating images (not stock photos), and focus on quality writing and analysis.
Shareable

You need content that is going to get people talking and sharing. This takes a lot more than just adding a “share now” button – you need factor in shareability from day one.

  • Research tools like Buzzsumo can help you gauge what content topics and titles have been popular recently.
  • Observe how big news sites like Buzzfeed break down complex topics into shareable sound bites and photo stories – can you do the same? Include audience questions and opinions as much as you can – reddit roundup posts are a great formula to emulate.
  • Making shareable content isn’t just about being funny – serious and helpful stuff gets shared too. Focus on creating tools and guides rather than opinion pieces.
Diverse

Use different formats, new angles, and multiple author voices. Don’t keep pushing out the same stuff over and over again.

  • Got a great content idea? Publish it in different formats and see how they fare. Think outside the traditional blog post format to a series of live tweets, a live video, an interactive microsite and any other formats you think your audience would like! Here are some interesting branded content examples to get your creative juices flowing.
  • Focus your content efforts on the channels where you get the most return. Experiment with content length and format until you get the right balance between investment and engagement.

Waterfall and Agile: An Infographic Comparison of Two Development Methodologies

If you are new to Software Development, it is important to know that there are different schools of thought on the best way to turn your application idea into a reality. In an ideal sense, different methodologies align with different project characteristics that are usually defined by the person or organization paying for the work. However, Segue has found that it is rare that a methodology can be followed in its ideal form, and it takes a hybrid approach and some real-world sensibilities to ensure that your development team can bring the customer’s application to life: within budget, timeline, and meeting or exceeding their expectations.

As a customer of software development services, the following infographic highlights some common project characteristics and how two well-known software methodologies align with them. It would be wrong to promise that you could “Frankenstein” together a development plan by picking from the below list, but this could help you determine what project aspects are most important to you, and which methodology better aligns with your needs.

Connecting to Users Through Emotional Web Design

The foundation of a strong, emotional connection stems from being able to relate to a certain subject. This same principle can be used for making an emotional connection with users on a website. To create a more personal user experience, web designers can use specific design components to engage emotional connections. These components should be refined specifically to the type of brand and their target audience. The components typically associated with emotional web design are imagery, colors, and tone of voice.

Imagery

During an initial first glance, users will quickly decide if a website is visually appealing. Websites with large photo banners can quickly engage a user. In order to ensure that this first encounter is a positive one, brands need to use images that are relatable to their users. People feel more empathic during face-to-face interactions and this applies to photos as well. Users are drawn to faces and connect more when they are able to recognize themselves within a photo, creating an emotional connection.

Colors

Colors play into emotions psychologically and play an important role in setting the tone for a website. Picking the appropriate colors for a website can help elicit a desired response from users. For instance, colors like red and yellow can make users feel anxious or in a hurry and they wouldn’t be suitable colors for a site whose target is to draw users to read content. Blues and greens seem to be a safe bet when appealing to users globally, but even shades of these colors has specific notions tied to them. For example, light and dark blue are considered calming, but dark blue is also a good color to showcase strength and security. Keeping in mind the specific emotional connections users have with colors will help you design a site that better connects more with your target users.

Tone of Voice

Words deliver a message, but tone of voice dictates how that message is received. The simple wording of a header title can form the personality of a website. What tone of voice should a brand’s website communicate to users– professional, empathetic, comedic? The answer should be directly related to what the users are coming to the site for.

Emotional Web Design in Action

Recently, the design team at Segue Technologies has been working on a new project for a company called Caring Village, which is a new, wholly owned subsidiary of Segue Technologies. The Caring Village brand aims to make it easier for caregivers to communicate, collaborate, and coordinate care for their loved one. The website is a collection of resources (including articles and product reviews), while the app is a communication tool that connects family members and friends caring for a loved one. In building the Caring Village website from the ground up, we started with colors and branding, which flowed into the design of the website and apps. Knowing that this is already an emotional subject, our goal as a team has been to put a lot of effort into gaining user connections and maintaining user’s trust with an emotional web design. Here’s how these elements came into play for Caring Village.

Imagery

Throughout caringvillage.com, we use large photo banners with people who emulate our users. This is especially important for the article pages because we want users to value and trust the information we are giving them. By showcasing photos that are relatable, we hope to grasp user’s empathy and personally connect with them. We want the imagery to show that we understand, we care, and we are here to help.

Color

The colors chosen for Caring Village are green, blue, and purple.

  • Green: symbolizes health, new beginnings, and wealth. Green is the easiest on the eyes and should be used to relax and create balance in a design. It is a great color to use if a company wants to depict growth and security, or to inspire possibility.
  • Blue: evokes feelings of calmness and spirituality as well as security and trust. Seeing the color blue causes the body to create chemicals that are calming. Light blues give a more relaxing, friendly feel.
  • Purple: associated with creativity, royalty, and wealth. Purple is often used to soothe or calm a viewer.

 Tone of Voice

We wanted Caring Village’s tone to sound empathetic, knowledgeable, encouraging, and innovative. Some of the information on the Caring Village site discusses subjects that can be very sensitive to people who are caring for a sick loved one. In writing our content, we try hard to maintain a tone of voice that expresses to our users that we understand and value their needs.

At the end of the day our main goal is to make a connection between the user and the website. When taking into consideration images, colors, and tone of voice on a website, always put the users first.

Mobile Website Design: Key Elements to Having a Great UX Design

According to The Social Skinny, there are over 1.2 billion people accessing the web from their mobile phones. This number is continually growing, ensuring the progression and need for mobile websites. The truth is, most consumers won’t get their hair cut by you, go to your gym, or eat at your restaurant if they are unable to find what they are looking for on your mobile website. For this reason, usability on mobile sites is more crucial than ever.

It is important for mobile designers to have an understanding of what leads to a great user experience. A design that focuses on target users, minimizes distractions, and boosts desirability will ensure your users’ experiences will be positive ones.

Focus On Target Users

The first step in creating any mobile website is to specifically define who the target users are. A great approach to this is creating user personas. In my experience of using user personas, I have found that they help boost productivity in all of my projects. Creating user personas helps me become more acquainted with the target user, making it easier for me to create a design based around their needs.

Clarifying user needs,the base of your UX design requirements, beforehand using User Personas helps to diminish the chance of last-minute major design changes. Users will be happy and engaged with your mobile website when the design of the site aligns with expectations of the individual users.

Minimize Distractions

Users want to get to from point A to point B to find the content they are looking for quickly. Avoid designing any visual elements that could divert a user’s attention. Below is a list of best practices for minimizing distractions:

  • Simplify the Layout: Simplifying a mobile site’s layout will enable users to easily discover the content they are searching for. Remember: Negative space (or whitespace) is not a bad thing. A spacious layout helps users digest information more easily. Also, use effective placement for all elements. Key elements such as the navigation and search bar need to be the most accessible.
  • Be Consistent: Consistency in color will also boost usability and keep layouts simple. Color is a great visual cue in mobile design and with such a small screen, a cohesive color palette is vital for guiding users throughout your site. For example, having the same color call-to-action buttons is a must in all my design projects because it allows a user to always know what is clickable.
  • Show Hierarchy. You can minimize the complexity of your mobile site by having clear titles, marking keywords in bold or italic, and having full width buttons. This is a great way to showcase content and organize the site’s structure, allowing important content to become more distinguishable.
  • Use Effective Writing: Use language that is understandable to the site’s target users. A great example of this is the Virgin America’s mobile website. They have a hamburger menu to house their whole navigation, but below that they have listed the two main navigational points – Check in & Manage. These are short concise words that are instantly recognizable by their users. Another way to minimize distractions in writing is by breaking taglines into short key phrases. This allows for a more scannable layout, enabling users to find what they are searching for quicker.

Boost Desirability

Ultimately, when a mobile website’s design is user-centered, it becomes more valuable to your target users. It is all about minimizing distractions and simplifying the layout to make your site showcase important content. By designing for your target audience’s needs, you will promote positive user engagement. Users who can easily navigate through your site to what they need will continue to come back- and that’s a win-win situation for everyone.d

Web Design & Software

Web Design & Software

Did you know….. we don’t just create innovative web designs that help your business grow…. we also do software development?

Over the years Webfuel have helped many clients with advanced software development projects including:

  • An online clinical database that is currently tracking over 300,000 clinical episodes for over 60,000 patients
  • A project management database used by a university research departments to track grant applications
  • An order delivery and dispatch system for a national confectionary retailer that schedules the production and dispatch of hundreds of orders a day
  • A bespoke event tracking and booking system for a national training company

These are just a few examples of the kind of software projects we’ve worked on.

Our software is web based, meaning it can be accessed from any web browser. We bring the same level of expertise in usability to our software design as we do to our web design.

We make use of a range of core technologies when developing web based software applications including:

  • C#
  • Microsoft ASP.NET Core
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Angular
  • TypeScript

We can host your software application in Microsoft Azure data centres giving you unrivaled levels of security and scalablity.

Do you need a bespoke software application? Is there an area of your business process that would benefit from a system that is custom made to work the way you work, and that can be adapted and developed as your needs change?

Many business could make substantial savings and increases in productivity if some area of their process was moved into an online custom software application. If you think there may be some way we could help you with online bespoke software then please give us a call.

We’re always happy to talk though ideas with no obligation or hard sell.

How to pick a domain name

How to pick a domain name

We are often asked for advice on picking a domain name when someone wants to setup a website. In this post we’ll look at some of the things to consider when finding that perfect domain name for your new website.

First things first, in case you don’t know what a domain name is, it is the address of the website that you see in the browser’s navigation bar. For example our domain name is www.subodhsharma.in  All websites need a domain name so that people have an address to remember them by. The domain name is also used in your email address (e.g. info@subodhsharma.in).

So how do you pick a great domain name for a new business or website? Let’s look at some factors one by one.

Is the domain name available

This is the first thing to find out. Many millions of domain names have already been registered, particulary on the popular top-level-domains (TLDs) such as .com and .co.uk. However there are still many gems to be found, and you can always get a domain name on a different TLD (e.g. .business, .help, .net, .co). More and more sites are moving away from the common TLDs like .com precisely because they want to pick a website name that is no longer available there.

Make it easy to remember, and easy to say

If your website is successful your domain name will get used a lot. You’ll have it printed on stationary and business cards. You’ll be telling people your email address over the phone. People will be writing your website address down. So picking a relatively snappy, easy to remember, and easy to read domain name is important. Having to constantly spell your 40 character long domain name to people over the phone is going to get very tedious, very fast.

Think about SEO

A domain name can be great for SEO. If you can get your keywords into the domain name that can give your search engine rankings a big boost for those keywords. However with all things SEO it’s important not to get too hung up on one aspect of SEO, and it’s equally important all your content and any off site SEO work is also driving towards the same SEO goals.

To WWW or not to WWW

Some websites use www at the start of their domain name, some do not. At Webfuel we would always recommend starting with www. There are strong technical reasons built into the domain name standards for this, to do with how website addresses are redirected. There are workarounds but using them can limit your hosting options. However if you really want to shave 4 characters off the website address and you think the site looks better that way then dropping the www is always an option.

Note that whether to start your website with www or not is not strictly to do with choosing the domain name. You will always register the domain name without www. You are then free to put websites on any “sub-domain” of your domain (www.my-domain.com is a sub-domain of my-domain.com). You essentially own any web address that ends with your domain name.

Consider registering related domain names

If your business is really successful, you may want to register related domain names too. This would prevent any competitors putting sites on domain names very similar to your own. Obviously there is a limit to this, you can’t buy hundreds of domain names. But for example if you register a .co.uk you may also want to register the same domain on .com and perhaps .co if they are available. If you register a domain with hyphens and the un-hyphenated version is available you may want to get that. One way to think about this is if you read your domain name to someone and they slightly mis-remember it, how would they be likely to type it into a browser.

Web Design trends in 2016

2 distinct and somewhat opposite web design trends we’ll be seeing more of in 2016 are the use of rich illustrations and animation.

Rich Illustrations

In the past web site designers have relied heavily on stock photography and image libraries to provide the visual elements of their designs. Something that has become more prevalent in 2015 and that will carry on into 2016 and beyond is the use of original art work either created using traditional or computer based art tools.

With consumers becoming immune to the stock photography that is often overused and repeated across web sites hand-drawn imagery offers warmth, authenticity and originality.

Some brands will soon be associated not just with their logo and colours but also with the art style that they contain. The integration of handmade artwork in web design may well become something of a branding calling card.

Richer Animations

The web went through a period of embracing animation with the use of Flash, however once this lost its appeal due to cross platform, seo and usability issues the web became increasingly static for a good few years. However we are now again embracing rich animations, the web has never been more dynamic with so much use of animated elements within design, and it’s only going to get better.

Animation if used well can engage the user and enhance storytelling. It can make a website feel more interactive and engage the user with an experience that is more than a basic portal to source information on a business, product or service.

As with any design tool it’s important not to go over the top  Overuse will distract the user and become irritating rather than enhancing. Animations should be kept simple and thematically consistent. By “thematically consistent” I just mean that the animations are used in a similar way throughout the website revealing important details and guiding users through a path. Animations should be used selectively within the site to illustrate important points or to indicate a required action.