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The importance of UX and UI in mobile app design

The importance of UX and UI in mobile app design

Creating a fluid user experience is central to the function and flow of any mobile application. User Interface (UI) design explores how an app looks and interacts with a user. User experience (UX) defines how the app feels, from the users’ perspective. These concepts are at the development core of any mobile project.

During the development cycle, focus on the end product. Be sure that all of your efforts are centered upon the end user; concentrate on how they will interact and react to your app. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you design your new app:

UX/UI Must Haves:
  • Offer specific mobile-only functionality. Be sure that the product you put in the users’ hands will fulfill their mobile needs and wants. Make certain that the end experience is as solid as the function.
  • Design core features specifically for the target audience. Are you focusing on gamers or shoppers? Regardless of your audience, all features must deliver as promised. Take the time to ensure that the user’s experience dovetails with the features in hand.
  • The use of multimedia should be considered for the project. Be sure that the user has full control over the media. Don’t allow the media to become a memory hog.
UX/UI Mistakes:
  • Don’t confuse web UX for mobile UX. Simply scaling down the UX features of a web page is not the same as designing an app that is built specifically for a mobile platform. These are two different platforms with very different audiences.
  • Build an app that highlights your mobile users’ needs. Don’t build an app just so you can justify all of your ideas. Feedback, change and growth are all critical factors in the development cycle.
  • Be sure that you app has a specific function. Make sure that it actually does something. If your app ends up as a glorified sign-up page for a service, you’re going to upset the very people you are trying to reach.

DigitalGov.gov has established a set of guidelines to help the US Government develop quality mobile applications for the consumer. They looked at a wide variety of UX and UI design issues. This list provides an interesting set of ideas to examine while you consider your next mobile app. Not all of these ideas may be relevant to your project, but they provide a solid core of ideas to consider while you dream and design.

No matter the purpose or function of your application, the end product must provide a superior quality customer UX. If you aren’t ready or able to place a flawless mobile experience into your customers’ hands, the release of a lower quality app could be doing more harm than good to your reputation. Keep both the UX and UI concerns at the forefront of your design.

Contact Colure’s development team to discuss your dreams for a mobile application.

The importance of responsive web design for mobile devices

The importance of responsive web design for mobile devices

In a mobile environment, it is critical to provide users the finest quality user experience (UX). Web browsing must be experienced as a seamless transfer of form and function across all platforms. Consumers demand a fluid environment regardless of which device they hold in their hands.

To meet this consumer demand, Responsive Web Design (RWD) was crafted to provide fluid mobility to web content. Designer Ethan Marcotte was concerned with the collective elegance of both the internal code and the external page. He largely crafted the concept and practice.

RWD is the practice of building a web page able to display cleanly on any screen and any device, of any size. To the user, this means the media may be displayed a bit differently, graphics look slightly different, and there may be an alteration of function. But for the most part, the web page you saw on your desktop will display on your mobile phone.

A design problem:

Sadly, for many websites this is not the case. A non-RWD site may look perfectly fine on a desktop. That same site may become ‘user-hostile’ when viewed on a smartphone. Certain content may extend beyond the width of the screen (a common occurrence if it’s held in the vertical position). Some content and media may simply not display on different devices. Navigation throughout the site on a mobile device might be troublesome for a user because the design elements aren’t found where users expect them to be.

The reason for a responsive website design is to present users with a flexible interface. Without a responsive design, you risk losing potential customers who can’t figure out how to use your website or simply offending those who won’t accept its less-than-professional rendering on a mobile device. Either way, you lose face and revenue.

To create a responsive website, you’ll need the assistance of a design team who appreciates the desires of your company and the needs of your audience. Contact Colure to discuss your mobile design needs.

The cost of an instant society

The cost of an instant society

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is changing society’s expectations of reward and activity. This modification is leading to the creation of an “instant society” – an environment where both reward and access to any information is instantaneous and free.

This new paradigm runs in the face of the human experience, established throughout our history.

AI is experienced through virtual reality video games and wearable technology; it interacts gathering information in real time with Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. But how do companies and brands deliver content to an instant society? And more importantly…is this “new,” mentality collectively beneficial to that society?

With being able to gather information in an instant, marketers now have to race the clock to get information out to its intended audience. With most consumers having an attention span of about eight seconds, marketers must create content that is straight to the point and memorable. Technology, however, is on their side as well due to consumers keeping up with new technological trends, always reachable 24/7.

This content can be shown on any platform and even compatible with the wearable technology. Content is being created with the consumer in mind and the fact that we prefer to instant access to information and content.

App development, on the other hand, is becoming a second hand to artificial intelligence. Through Amazon’s Alexa, you are now able to pair multiple devices and control things such as lighting and temperature in your own home.

An “instant society” is not necessarily a bad change. According to Brad Smith of politico.eu, “By 2038, a personal digital assistant will be trained to anticipate our needs, help manage our schedule, prepare us for meetings, assist as we plan our social lives, reply to and route communications, and drive our cars. Beyond our personal lives, AI will enable humans to make breakthrough advances in areas like healthcare, agriculture, education, and transportation. We’re already seeing this begin in impressive ways”.

Artificial intelligence is making changes to the medical and health field, as well as technology. Although an instant society seems detrimental to the workforce by taking away jobs, it also creates jobs and opportunities in a different way. App development and the output of content for marketers are being developed in ways that apply to the change of an instant society, as well as the consumer’s needs.

Wearable technology might be a good fit for your company

Wearable technology might be a good fit for your company

Wearable technology isn’t a new concept but is becoming a larger trend in everyday life. In fact, wearable technology is becoming the new gateway for big data by collecting user information in a more natural way.

Products such as FitBits, Apple Watches, and even wearable rings are becoming fashion trends, yet most users don’t realize how much data is being collected. Wearable technology not only presents us with potential risks but also potential rewards as well.

In industries such as health and wellness, entertainment, and outdoor sports, wearable technology becomes a helping hand. It can be your GPS, track your heart rate, monitor your sleep and even keep track of your activity.

Rewards include sending personalized data to the user that can analyze their health and fitness and can even fill in the gaps in patient records. Yet, wearable technology can also present the risk of too much data becoming accessible to companies and the device manufacturers.

As the devices are used more and more, big data will be able to gather more specific information regarding a person derived from wearable data such as the time, duration, and proximity of an activity to other tracked individuals. Combined with demographic information, it can provide crucial and detailed context to each individual interaction.

Data gathered impacts how businesses market their products and how companies recruit talent and motivate their employees.

Wearable technology gathers a new class of sensitive data about people: not only who they are, what they do, and who they know, but also how healthy they are, what movements they make, and how well they feel. With growth and changes occurring in the technology of the devices, security and privacy must grow as well.

While companies innovate independently, there is not a lot of information addressing your data security. Users must be aware of the potential dangers when engaged in wearable technology just as they would with normal devices such as tablets, computers and mobile devices.

Cybersecurity is your responsiblity

Cybersecurity is your responsiblity

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, sponsored by the US Department of Homeland Security. This annual campaign raises awareness on the importance of cybersecurity.

In today’s online age, the number of threats to businesses and their customers increases every day. Almost daily, more information about cyber attacks makes its way into headlines. These attacks range from sensitive information such as credit cards stolen from companies to claims of movies being stolen from production companies such as Disney.

Small businesses are key targets

Yet, big business is not the only target. About 43 percent of cyber attacks target small business, and 60 percent of these small companies go out of business within six months of a cyber attack. So why is cybersecurity important?

The increasing prevalence of cybersecurity attacks on both individuals and businesses emphasizes the need for IT security professionals who specialize in cybersecurity.” Attacks are categorized into three general categories:

  • Cybersecurity attacks that target hardware and software, such as malware
  • Financial crimes, such as online fraud and phishing schemes
  • Abuse, also known as “sexploitation”

The threat of data leakage via unmanaged devices is serious,’ says Eduard Meelhuysen, head of EMEA at Bitglass. ‘But having a culture of restricting staff access can actually make an organization more vulnerable, not less.” Companies are attacked due to employees misusing company systems far more regularly that one would expect.

Creating a safe environment

Creating a security culture within a company is all about training and awareness. Hackers constantly find new ways to access information, which is why constant awareness of threats is so important. Individuals face the same effect of cyber attacks and may receive less training on how to protect themselves from cyber attacks.

Cybersecurity procedures should be treated just as important as health and safety procedures have been.

For companies, training can consist of the following:

  • Have a universal security policy
  • Start with basics- learn the difference between each type of attack and how to avoid these situations
  • Make training relevant – training needs to be specific to your organization

For individuals, the following measures will help keep personal data safe:

  • Don’t give out personal information over the phone or via email unless you’re positively sure of whom you’re giving it to
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and anti-virus software updated
  • Create complex passwords that would be hard to guess
  • Never click on links sent via email even if you’re sure they’re legitimate-the safest practice is to go to the company’s website

It’s important to be aware of the risks and threats you might face in cyberspace, but that you also take steps to protect yourself and your data.

Virtual Reality: Life within a Screen

Virtual Reality: Life within a Screen

Virtual reality (VR) is a new, exciting technology to be explored. Only a few years ago, it seemed to be something straight out of science fiction; its roots can be traced into film history of the 1950s. The ‘Sensorama’, invented in 1956, presented short films in specially outfitted movie theaters with corresponding sounds and smells. Its creator, Morton Heilig, used this early VR technology to further immerse the viewer into a storyline.

Though no vocabulary existed for the technology until 30 years after this cinematic appeal to the senses, today Heilig is recognized as the “father of virtual reality”.

Modern virtual reality is experienced by its user through a wearable screen. It encodes head, eye, and motion tracking and conveys them onto an LCD display. This makes it possible to transform 2D images into 3D environments. By manipulating the senses, the user accepts the “reality” presented to them.

With no separation between your sight and the ‘world’ in front of you, virtual reality allows for a deeper submersion than does augmented reality.

The VR boom in the late 1980s was too short-lived to make real strides. Silicon Valley’s VPL invested heavily in the new technology only to declare bankruptcy a few years later. After the market failure of several VR systems in the 90s, interest in its development was lost until very recently.

In the last decade, virtual reality has been sought after by innovators as being the latest in computing technology. According to Palmer Luckey, it is the “final platform”.

Luckey founded Oculus VR, which sold to Facebook for $2.3 billion in 2014. As an authority in the industry, he has a definite understanding of the limitless applications of VR.

As its original backers hoped, VR is already advancing the fields of education, science, exploration and career training. It has also been implemented in treatments for lazy eye and PTSD. VPL’s original founder, Jaron Lanier has made the modest comment that virtual reality is merely the “next logical step” in human innovation.

Following Facebook’s purchase of Oculus VR, Mark Zuckerberg took to his personal page to write: “Our mission is to make the world more open and connected…we can start focusing on what platforms will come next.” Zuckerberg added that “Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream…The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together.”

The importance of clean data

The importance of clean data

Data plays a critical part in marketing your brand. It provides insight into your target audience and helps to focus your advertising efforts. Your campaigns can only be as beneficial as your data is accurate.

It’s vital to make sure you’re collecting data in a way that’s precise and useful to your business. Just a few simple changes can make your data collection more serviceable.

Data collection concerns:

  • Don’t ask for too much information. Users are wary of giving out information that they feel is unnecessary or invasive. To avoid this, give succinct explanations of how the data will be used.
  • Avoid using outdated technology. Information forms that look outdated can appear untrustworthy to users. Whatever form you use to collect data should still be consistent with the rest of your site. It should appear simple and professional.
  • Be sure your form fields are efficient. Form fields that require specific formatting, like phone numbers or drop-down menus that don’t offer enough options can cause frustration for users and inaccuracies. For example, users who can’t find their occupation as an option in a drop-down menu are likely to choose another occupation that doesn’t accurately represent them.
  • Validate your data. Although data validation can seem monotonous at first, it’s extremely important. If a user accidentally submits the wrong information, it could lead to complications down the road or an inability to provide quality customer service.
  • Not giving enough incentive for providing information. LinkedIn is a spectacular example of offering a valuable exchange for information. As users add more information to their profile, they can look for jobs that better fit their experience or connect with other users that are closer to their industry.

The common theme throughout each of these concerns is the act of not looking at the big picture. For example, offering a drop-down menu might mean less work for you, but it also means less accurate data. Be sure that your form facilitates your function.

Thoughtfully formatted documents communicate trustworthiness and professionalism. When making changes to the way you collect data, it’s important to think about the larger scheme of things. What changes will be more beneficial to your organization further down the road? How can you make it easier for a user to provide information? In the end, it’s accuracy that’s going to provide you with the best results.

Artificial intelligence (AI), your sales, and customer dollars

Artificial intelligence (AI), your sales, and customer dollars

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the use of computer systems that perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. Artificial intelligence allows big data sets to be analyzed, segmented and filtered while also gaining the meaning behind them.

AI maximizes data and customer targeting. Most digital campaigns implement data in a broad way. They will identify users who fit a profile and send a mass campaign their way. This type of marketing will target a vast amount of people who may no longer interact with that profile or no longer identify with that profile.

If a retail chain wants to promote their newest pair of basketball shoes, they may target their entire sports audience. Yet, not all of these customers are basketball affiliated. By marketing this product to the all-sports sect, the business would be wasting its time marketing to customers who aren’t interested in the product.

The use of artificial intelligence is able to target specific users. By examining who engaged with the basketball shoe ad, artificial intelligence is able to predict who will engage with similar campaign ads.

In order to keep up with the increased efficiency of the digital age, artificial marketing is necessary to keep digital marketing consistently relevant. The use of artificial intelligence allows marketers to spend their time more wisely by managing campaigns rather than worrying about crunching numbers into data. As digital marketing continues to expand so will artificial intelligence.

Examine your User Experience (UX)

Examine your User Experience (UX)

A user experience is “the totality of the experience of a user when visiting a website”.

In recent years, improving the user experience (UX) has been prioritized by many companies. Shop Direct CEO Alex Baldock has said that when it comes to retail, “relevance wins”. A personalized online experience holds an appeal that is impossible to replicate in a physical store.

Recommendations or specific content based on details like previous purchases pique audience interest. This increases the likelihood of future visits and higher revenue. It adds a human element to the online experience.

Improvements in UX are intuitive. For example, an online retailer will learn to stop recommending winter coats to a customer if they begin to browse swimsuits. This kind of reactive change based on consumer behavior has been implemented by Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, LinkedIn, and nearly every other major online presence.

According to Invesp, retailers that utilize customer information to cultivate an individualized experience see a 56% boost in repeat sales. When done discretely, customers appreciate the increased ease of use that this provides.

Yet, 71% of companies do not use this technology. This is a missed opportunity for wider consumer appeal. In this crowded market, appealing to one’s audience over the competition is extremely important. Failing to adapt to new technology can lead to obsolescence.

The data harvested by mobile apps only heighten a company’s ability to tailor a personalized UX. Location-based advertising and push notifications allow for more opportunities to attract customers. Discovering when and how a customer interacts with your content help you to learn how to market to them. Targeted content helps your brand in becoming relevant to any user.

What consumers want most from a company’s online faction is ease of use. Flashy graphics and interactive content can be nice, but do nothing to simplify the experience. Your site or app only needs to succeed in selling itself. Working to create a user-oriented experience should be your main focus.

Google addresses download speeds with Instant Apps

Google addresses download speeds with Instant Apps

In 2016, Google announced that they were releasing Instant Apps on Android devices. The feature became available on select devices in January this year, but it’s expected that it will be available on all Android devices very soon. The rollout will allow users to access certain apps without downloading them to their mobile device. This new feature has caused a lot of controversies — especially for app owners, who earn revenue from users paying for downloads. However, Instant Apps could also create new opportunities for marketers to reach a larger audience.

Instant Apps will work much like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in that the pages will pre-download content for a faster experience for the user. Content will download as the user approaches it, rather than the whole page loading in advance. This means users are more likely to stay on the app because they’re not waiting to interact with the content: 47% of users expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less.

This new feature will enable you to widen the top of your funnel and allow more users to interact with your app. An Instant App will act like a lite version of the pre-existing app, so new users who normally would not engage with your content get a taste of the full version and be encouraged to download it. Google also believes that the new feature will act as an “acquisition strategy” and boost downloads in the long run because the Instant Apps will be easily shareable. For example, by including a link to your app in an email campaign, users can engage with the app immediately without having to download it. There are fewer barriers between the user and your content.

Instant Apps could create both new opportunities and new complications for mobile marketers. Which way the scale leans will depend on how users interact with the new feature and how it will affect app downloads.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

Accelerated Mobile Pages

It’s been a year since Google introduced the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project — a collaborative initiative that substantially decreases the loading time for mobile web pages. The project focuses on minimizing the code for static content (content that doesn’t change based on user behavior) to make pages load almost instantaneously. A regular mobile page takes seven seconds on average to load, but AMP pages take less than half a second. As consumer audiences’ attention spans get shorter and shorter, the ability to deliver content immediately is a precious tool to gain loyalty.

It’s no secret that faster loading content is appealing to consumers. The desire for instant gratification is a key characteristic of young consumers that comes with the rapid growth of technology. But AMP provides just as much to content publishers as it does to mobile device users. When companies join the AMP project, it gives them the ability to guarantee fast content to their users, creating a reliability that will continue to build trust over time. Consumers come back to the brands they trust, and if they know your company gives immediate accessibility to your content, they’re likely to return.

More than that, AMP pages are prioritized by search engines. Between two identical pages — one that uses HTML and one that uses the slimmed-down AMP HTML — the AMP version will rank higher up in the search engine results.

This stripped version of HTML shows itself in a few different ways. First, it prioritizes content that needs to be loaded first so that users can begin reading content immediately. For example, the text is going to load before images appear. And to make it even faster, images won’t actually load until the user scrolls to their location on the page. AMP also loads the layout of the page in advance to keep the page from loading more content — and making the page jump around — as the user is trying to engage with the content. Lastly, AMP only allows asynchronous JavaScript to run on its pages instead of waiting for everything to load at once.

Organizations worldwide are realizing the significance of the AMP project. Earlier this month it was announced that AMP was being adopted by Yahoo Japan and two other Chinese search engines as well. Publishers that have already been using AMP for a while have reported  that AMP pages get more on-site time, higher user engagement, and better monetization. Growing support for the project suggests that this young initiative won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

Live streaming video

Live streaming video

One of the fasting growing video sharing innovations is through the live streaming of real events. Live streaming is the new kid on the block giving viewers the opportunity to see videos over the internet in real-time, and the chance to engage with brands in an authentic and transparent way. It is becoming evident that people want live content in real-time, but is live streaming a sustainable business practice that is here to stay? 

Video marketing is now most beneficial way to promote your services on the web and live streaming is just a better way for brands to develop more interactive marketing campaigns. It is less expensive than traditional video marketing. All you need is a mobile phone and someone interesting enough to captivate an audience. It will be interesting to see if the cost effectiveness allows live streaming to usurp traditional video marketing, similar to the way reality TV began to overtake traditional studio-produced shows. People want to know what’s going on with their favorite people and brands. They don’t want a choreographed routine. They want something that is transparent.

Businesses are learning to expand their reach with live streaming. Companies are shelling out large amounts of dough to launch campaigns through live streaming. The titans of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, & YouTube have all been investing in efforts to enhance their streaming platforms, but other companies are starting to join in and grab a slice of the pie. Target sponsored the first-ever live streaming of a music video, which garnered over 25 million views during the commercial break at the Grammys. This turned out to be a massive success.

While live-streaming indeed provides certain advantages to communications, it still presents several risks. Not all projects will pan out. People are used to watching content when they have the chance, but live streaming places the viewer in the hands of the streamer. Gathering feedback is often an extra step that is often not engaged to measure the effectiveness of a streamed event. Live streaming is proving to be attractive; it should be part of our mobile lexicon for some time.

Virtual Reality meets your world

Virtual Reality meets your world

The future is now. The once faint dream of experiencing life in an altered dimension is now within the grasp of our fingertips with Virtual Reality (VR) technology. 2016 appears to be the year virtual reality devices are set to take off, with an expected surge of devices ready to hit the mainstream. The technology is familiar, having been around for decades, but now the integration of the technology with gaming, social, and mobile platforms has the technology heating up. Companies like Samsung, Sony, Google, and Oculus are vying for market share with their renditions of virtual-reality enabling devices.

 At the forefront of the technology sits the Oculus Rift, the headset that started this new wave of deceives diving into alternate dimensions. The high-tech headset plugs right into your computer’s DVI and USB ports. The Rift tracks your head movements projecting 3-Dimensional imagery onto its screens at a 2160 x 1200 resolution. Then there’s the HTC Vive, which has a chance to usurp the Rift, with its 70 sensors that offer full range head tracking, minus the motion sickness. You might need to install motion sensors around your house, but it’s worth considering.

The options are plentiful. There is the PlayStation VR, the Razor OSVR, & the Microsoft Hololens just to name a few, but the most interesting VR device may turn out to be the Google’s interpretation, known as the Google Cardboard. Yes, the VR headset is called the Google Cardboard because it is made out of cardboard. A bold idea, but it is a true testament to the wonders of the smartphone with the mobile device having the ability to tap into the VR market. Apparently, your smartphone is all you need if you desire that out-of-body experience. All of the necessary gyroscopic sensors and positioning systems to track your head movements are already in your smartphone.

The virtual reality market is diverse, competitive, and pricey. While some devices may appear to have an advantage, there’s no telling how decisive that advantage may be. What you can expect is stiff competition. These high-powered devices will have a bevy of options when it comes to games. Developers will be working overtime to create games that maximize the experience of the VR devices. You can expect to be visually impressed with better camera options, and you can expect unlimited potential to use the device beyond the confines of your living room. With the technology ready to be release you have to sit back and ask yourselves this question. Will this just be a trend or will virtual reality be a mainstay & pioneer of a new breed of technology for generations to come?

Selecting a mobile application’s programming format: native, HTML5, or a hybrid

Selecting a mobile application’s programming format: native, HTML5, or a hybrid

Businesses who are seeking to create the best mobile application must choose which programming environment they will use. Should they peruse a mobile platform’s native language, HTML5, or a hybrid of the two environments? Your selection of a format will be dependent upon several factors including development costs, your project objectives, and the preferences of your customer. Many companies have found that the investment of time to define your objectives will pay off later in the development cycle.

Software developers have debated each type’s efficiency over the years. Each form creates a different product. Here is short look at the differences between these three formats:

  • Native apps take advantage of built-in functions, such as GPS or the camera. These apps can utilize features of the smartphone’s operating system to provide an enhanced user experience. Double tapping, pinching, or other touch gestures can serve purposes in the function of your app.
  • HTML5 apps come with the advantage of universally applicable code; these apps use standard web technologies and can operate seamlessly on many devices. Web language is also widely known and learned considerably easier than that of specific operating systems. These factors lead to HTML5 apps ability to be quickly developed, tested, edited, and retested. The development of HTML5 over HTML4 also allows for apps to look and feel more like native apps more than ever before.
  • Hybrid apps allow a developer to take the format of an HTML5 application and wrap it inside of native environment, crafted for a given platform.

While HTML5 apps may be easier to create and implement into multiple devices, there is a critical cost-benefit ratio in the app performance. When 79% of people won’t try an app again if it fails more than twice, you must decide if the ease in creating HTML5 apps is worth the potential losses. HTML5 and hybrid apps can’t keep up with native apps in this arena.

TheLadders, a job recruiting company, first selected HTML5 with their web app before switching to a native format. They found that the concept of “write once, run everywhere” wasn’t as simple as it seemed. Testing and retesting the app in different screen sizes and devices proved to be a challenge. These short-term changes led to the app only being released for iOS and receiving little success. The company then decided to rewrite the app natively. The developer team mastered native coding much faster than they thought. The result was a much smoother, faster, and modern-looking app.

Having a native app can give you an edge over the competitor. Domino’s and Delta Airlines have both used native apps to give increased convenience to their customers. The result is beating out competing companies who may have outdated or slower apps.

If you don’t believe that your company’s app performance is very important or necessary, an HMTL5 or hybrid app may be a fine choice. A company looking to create a truly pleasing app may consider a native format. The investment in time and money will pay off with better app performance and increased customer satisfaction.

Contact Colure’s development team to discuss which format may be best for your company’s objectives and your customer’s UX.

Hololens Holoportation: Virtual 3D Teleportation in real-time

Hololens Holoportation: Virtual 3D Teleportation in real-time

The Microsoft Corporation has created a functional, virtual 3D teleportation system that is a mixture of multiple high-powered lens-displays, cameras, and computers. It allows for the creation of multiple virtual people in real-time, creating interaction between the participants. The system brings people from remote locations together in a single space – a virtual environment. The developers call this the “Hololens.”

In 1977, a generation of film-goers was swept up by the film “Star Wars”. Viewers were shuttled off to a distant corner of the universe that was filled with mystery, adventure, and amazing technologies. There, a holographic image of Princess Leia appears to Obi-Wan Kenobi, pleading that he’s her “only hope.”

Now, almost forty years later, that holographic dream has become a reality. Microsoft has designed their Hololens Holoportation system. It is the digital interface between imaginative dreams and amazing tech developments.

Holoportation is a new type of 3D capture technology that allows high-quality 3D models of people to be reconstructed, compressed and transmitted anywhere in the world in real time.” – Microsoft

In the demonstration video, Microsoft Research’s Shahram Izadi illustrates the practical applications of this technology.

This development shatters our perception of the boundaries of space and distance in the physical world. Sit back and enjoy. Listen to the development team describe the reality of real-time interaction with computer generated images of real people. No, we don’t need droids to share these messages. The reality of this message delivery system is undeniably amazing.

The problem with information density

The problem with information density

The volume of data accessed daily on the internet is absolutely staggering. It boggles the mind to grasp that so much of our lives are connected to our keyboards. At some point, the sheer volume of data becomes unmanageable and negates the true value of the content.

Users reach a moment where they can no longer meaningfully examine the available volumes of data. By the sheer size of a search query result, the search engines overwhelm users’ resources. Figuring how to effectively evaluate over 28,000,000 cat videos can be a problem. This is the problem of information density. This is where we live, accessing only snippets of the entire volume of data available to our questions.

Take a moment to examine how ‘we’ use a single minute of our lives on the internet.

Although technology’s advancement helps in many ways, it also brings challenges. Anyone with a camera or a computer can be a journalist. However, we must find a way out of the information density on the web.

Over time, readers establish relationships with certain sites. The key is to have a functional relationship between your site and the user. Give them a source of internet content they trust. If the reader has built a relationship and connection with a journalist or channel, they will certainly consult that source for his content. How they spend their day surfing the net will be determined by your quality of content. 

The way to stand out from the crowd of information is to be credible, research and document your facts, and to provide the content that your customers want to consume. With billions of other options only a keystroke away, be sure that you understand the needs of the consumer.

The age of the Smart Home is now

The age of the Smart Home is now

The vision to interconnect your washing machine, refrigerator and even your windows by an internet connection, may soon be built into your next home. True control the of your home’s operation from your smartphone is rapidly approaching.

The redefinition of objects changes not only the form but the function of an object. It tandem, the modifications change the home from a static object into an interactive reflection of your life. In one example, the deadbolt for your front door has been computerized. The metal key is often gone and access has become a relative commodity. Owners can now control who has access, where and for how long right through a mobile app.

Over the past decades, what was seen as fanciable dreams is now being engineered into reality. The ideas of books and TV shows like “Star Trek” continue to find a growing place in our lives.

The bringing together of multiple devices in your home, working in tandem, is soon to be a reality. It requires an openness of spirit and vision in the manufacturing sector. “Without this kind of openness,” Samsung CEO BK Yoon stated in a recent keynote presentation, “there won’t be an ‘Internet of Things’ because the things will not fit together.”

What is the ‘Internet of Things’? It is a realm, in the near future, where multiple household items hold as valid a place on the Internet as do your smartphone and computer. In a few short years, it is widely proposed that many of the items in our homes, those we now see as independent and isolated, will all be interconnected.

When it comes to our homes, many believe the issue is a matter of redefining our vision of the world around us. To meet this challenge, Apple has embarked upon Homekit. This framework is designed to provide developers the tools “…for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home.”

The market has been defined by our dreams, needs and technologies. As time quickly passes, we will see the marriage of what we once thought of as static and isolated. The idea of how and what we define as ‘home’ will quickly shift, as developers continue to provide us more control over our living spaces.

The future of data cookies could be on a restricted diet.

The future of data cookies could be on a restricted diet.

Cookies have long been at the center of software developer’s diets (that’s data cookies). In order to gauge the appetite of the public, developers track user’s digital behaviors. Cookies have been the default bit of tracking code inserted programs of all sorts, in order to read the digital footprint of a consumer.

While this has been wonderful for the marketer and business person, many consumers have found the “tracking from the shadows” to be an intrusion into their private lives. As technology continues to evolve, we’ve seen how cookies have been used.

Two new shifts present another set of changes for the evolving diet of consumer information:

  1. Mobile devices offer a limited use of data tracking. The major problem with mobile cookies that they are not universal. They cannot be applied everywhere.
  2. Upgrades in the next iOS operating system will allow consumers to block cookies. Adblocking is coming to the iPhone with iOS 9. Consumers will be able to block advertisements from hitting some of the major web pages. What this means to advertisers and the finances of the digital ecosystem still remains to be determined.

Although the function and face of cookies continue to shift, the end purpose of tracking consumer behavior will never end. As we see these two trends take hold, new courses of consumer tracking are sure to evolve.

If you are interested in defining your mobile dreams, contact Colure’s Project Managers to describe your project.

Study confirms Americans’ Internet usage headed toward market saturation

Study confirms Americans’ Internet usage headed toward market saturation

The Pew Research Institute has released an analysis of Americans’ internet usage spanning the past 15 years. The study shows our collective internet use pointing toward an end goal of total market saturation. As Pew looked across all demographics lines, they saw two key points:

  • All groups were steadily increasing the level of internet integration into their lives.
  • The rate of increase varied between groups.

Starting in 2000, Pew conducted 97 studies examining how American adults use the internet in various facets of their lives. Amongst the data, four key data points displayed usage within certain communities:

  • Age: Young adults showed the highest level of usage, but senior citizens demonstrated the highest rate of growth for usage within their age group.
  • Education: Adults who are college educated are more apt to use the internet. However, those with less than a high school diploma have shown a steady increase in usage.
  • Financial: Family households with a yearly income above $75,000 reflect a 96% usage rate. Families with annual incomes below $30,000 reflect a dramatically lower usage rate, but that number is steadily increasing with the use of smartphones.
  • Ethnic: English-speaking Asian-Americans reflect the highest usage by ethnicity. All other ethnicities reported lower rates, but all showed proportionally consistent growth.

During the life of this study, Americans have consistently demonstrated a demand to integrate the internet into their lives. If consumer trends continue, we should see this trend of internet access entering more corners of our lives.

“Mobilegeddon” and Google’s algorithm update

“Mobilegeddon” and Google’s algorithm update

On April 21st, 2015, Google will release a major update to their search engine algorithms, significantly expanding the role of mobile-friendliness. This is widely considered by many, to be one of the largest game-changing events in the history of internet analytics. The announcement was made officially on Google’s blog in February of this year.

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

Mobile access has already dominated the marketplace. Companies who have not integrated a mobile-mentality into their marketing plan are already being hurt because of the lack of customers who can view their website. The new shift in search results could significantly limit the remaining market share available to these companies. Companies without a mobile design will drop dramatically in the search engine rankings.

The purpose is to be sure that companies are adopting a mobile-friendly mentality to meet the expanding demands of the consumer. This event is about more than just having website with a Responsive Web Design. This is about companies embracing an entirely different mentality toward their marketing efforts. Next week’s shift will be monumental in the marketplace.

The event is significant enough to have been dubbed “Mobilegeddon” within the industry. This change will firmly establish what the industry already knows – mobility is not an “option”. It is a “must have” feature at the core of every application. The cost benefit of this move will re-enforce what many companies are already experiencing. Those who have not embraced the mobile movement will pay a significant price for not keeping up with the demands of the market and the consumer.

What will be changed? Google is keeping that a pretty tight secret. However, a recent post by Cindy Krum and Emily Grossman of MOZ, provides one of the best explanations I’ve seen of the upcoming changes. They discuss, in depth, how this will affect you and your company.

To assist companies in gauging these changes, Google has provided a test page for you to check your website’s mobile-friendliness.

Whether or not you have already modified your marketing plan, website and approach to mobile-friendliness, there’s an outstanding chance that next Tuesday should be pretty interesting. It’s sure to grab the attention of many CEO’s and stockholders.

Contact Colure’s Project Management Team to discuss your mobile concerns.

THREE NYC TECH CONFERENCES TO ATTEND IN 2015

THREE NYC TECH CONFERENCES TO ATTEND IN 2015

New York City hosts some of the most incredible high-tech trade shows each year. 2015 is no different! If communications and media are your trade, we have the inside track. Here are a few trade shows in New York City custom-fit for advertising and multimedia professionals:

Three outstanding tech shows in NYC for 2015:
  • New York Business Expo and Conference – October 27. This exposition creates a platform for business owners and industry insiders to come together and network. It will be taking place at the Javits Center. The conference is intended to be a place where ideas are shared, connections are made and relationships are built. All organizations, from Fortune 500 companies to startups should attend, in order to experience the networking opportunities and business education from accomplished professionals.
  • Ad:tech New York – November 4-5. This is an integrated conference that unites the marketing, technology and media communities. They explore opportunities and address key problems in the related industries. This convention will be held on at the Javits Center. It provides industry professionals with a sneak peek at both new technologies and new directions that industries are moving toward. Ad:tech provides a place to connect, learn and integrate different industries with prominent technologies.
  • Content & Communication World – November 11 and 12. This conference is designed for those interested in media, entertainment and communications technologies. CCW’s 2015 conference will take place at the Javits Convention Center. Topics discussed at CCW include problems and solutions with content management and creation, as well as new and revolutionary technologies in the market. With big-name sponsors like Sony, Cisco and Canon amongst others, it’s no secret that CCW is a great trade show to attend if your interest lies in media, entertainment and communications technology.

Trade shows are excellent places for small businesses, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts to grow professionally. Discover the power of networking and form relationships that will assist in the growth of your company. Seek what interests you – most likely there’s a trade show or conference that caters to your interests. Stimulate your mind and your resume. Come to the Big Apple and take a bite of out of the latest tech shows on earth!