1 Solution for 5 Challenges: Quality Mobile App Testing

Responsive Web design technology has made it easier for developers to create websites that can be accessed across different devices, and still provide a good user experience. Today, businesses do not need two separate websites; one optimized for viewing on PC and another on mobile devices.

However, despite the obvious benefits and capabilities of responsive web technology, there are a number challenges that mobile web testers must contend with. These challenges relate to the differences in technology and features of the devices.

5 Challenges of Mobile Website Testing
The top five mobile website and/or app testing challenges are:
Solution For Mobile App Testing

1.    Diversity of Devices
The number of mobile devices used by consumers is staggering. According to a report on the diversity of hand-held devices, it is estimated that there are over 6 billion devices across the world. In 2013, there were over 12,000 different mobile devices.

Mobile devices differ in input features, hardware capabilities, resolutions, screen sizes, etc. Testers have to consider all these different features when testing mobile apps or websites.

2.    Different Platforms and Operating Systems
Mobile devices run on different platforms and operating systems (OS). The major platforms are the iOS, Android, Windows, Symbian, and Blackberry. Each operating system has its benefits and limitations. Users can get varying experiences when viewing mobile websites depending on the platforms running their devices.

Developers and designers need to consider the different platforms to ensure website visitors get a unified, almost similar experience on their websites, regardless of the devices they are using. The same also applies to app designers and developers.

3.    Different Mobile Network Operators
Another challenge testers face is the different mobile network operators that consumers may be with. The network infrastructure that an operator provides data services through can affect how a mobile website is displayed on a user’s device or how an app functions.

Some network operators use older technology such as GSM or CDMA, which are known to limit flow of information and lead to a poor user experience.

4.    Constant Evolution of OS Versions
Apart from the challenges of testing mobile websites across different operating systems, testers also have to contend with the different OS versions. For example, the iPhone OS 1.0 is significantly different from OS 7.1, and so is the case with Android’s 1.0 and 4.4 Kit Kat versions.

The different OS versions have different capabilities and can affect how users see a website. Newer OS versions may not support some older web technologies while older OS versions may not correctly render apps made with newer technologies.

5.    Fragmentation of Android
      Still on operating systems, Google’s Android is undoubtedly the most diverse.                 According to OpenSignal, there are hundreds of phone manufacturers that use               Android. Currently, there are 19 versions of the Android, the latest being 4.4 Kit Kat.

Android devices are increasingly made to support sophisticated networks thanks to       the sensors used in them. And compared to the iPhone, which has just four screen         sizes, the Android has almost 100 different screen sizes.

Testing of mobile websites is a huge challenge considering the different OS and             devices in the market. However, the fragmentation of the Android platform makes           testing even more challenging.

1 Solution for 5 Challenges: Scripting
Since mobile devices have different features, it’s impossible to have a single test script that will function well across all devices. However, testers can use automation scripts to automate some functions. The automation is referred to as regression testing or smoke testing.

There are a number of mobile testing applications that can replicate human interaction on devices. The applications can significantly reduce the time and resources needed to ensure that a mobile app or website will appear nearly the same. The aim is to provide a similar experience to users regardless of the mobile device they are using.

Testing mobile applications or websites to ensure conformity to the highest web standards and creating a good user experience is no easy task. Testers have to think of different OS platforms, screen sizes, display properties, network operator infrastructure, OS versions and so on.

So, the Good News is…
Fortunately, there is some good news. Unlike is the case with PCs, consumers tend to upgrade their mobile devices on a regular basis. Therefore, developers can focus on building apps and websites targeting newer operating systems, mobile browsers, and phone models. This ultimately reduces the challenges that are inherent in testing mobile websites.

Read More

5 WordPress Plugins That Improve Content Marketing

Creating great content that resonates well with your audience takes time. Great content helps to build trust among your prospects and drive targeted traffic to your blog.Content Marketing

Here are 5 WordPress plugins that can improve your content marketing:

1.WordPress SEO
WordPress SEO helps to optimize posts for the best SEO performance. The plugin comes with a range of features for managing posts with focus keywords in the title, description and content.

The plugin offers an SEO score based on the focus keywords of a post and has features such as Webmaster Tools integration, Open Graph Meta data integration among others.

2.Edit Flow
Having a calendar is crucial to staying on track with your content production and marketing. Edit Flow is a WordPress editorial calendar plugin that can help you plan and stay on course with your content production.

The plugin allows you to manage your editorial calendar, leave notes on posts in progress, and assign custom post status, among others.

3.W3 Total Cache
To make your site load faster, you can use W3 Total Cache. The plugin caches part of your website content on a user’s browser so that visitors don’t have to download the content on their next visits.

If you have a large site, you can further improve your site’s load speed by using a CDN.

4.Optin Monster
Building a list is one of the goals of content marketing. One plugin that can help you build your list and improve conversions is OptinMonster.

You can grow your email list by installing the plugin and targeting different pages to different segments of your leads. You can also create catchy and effective slide-ins, floating bars, exit-intent light box popups and more to build your list.

5.Floating Social Bar
You can drive more traffic and generate leads on your site by sharing your content on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and others. One of the best ways of sharing your content is by installing a social media sharing plugin like Floating Social Bar.

The plugin is lightweight, unlike most social share plugins, which ensures visitors have a good user experience on your site.

Read More

How Content Marketing Approach Mirrors Life Lessons

Content Marketing StrategyIn life, you learn to crawl before you walk and to walk before you run. And you can’t do any of them if you don’t go through the proper steps: rolling over onto your stomach, lifting your head, moving your arms and legs in concert, balancing, stepping and then doing it over and over again.

It takes a deliberate and persistent effort. It takes making the steps it takes to achieve your goal part of your daily habits. And the same can be said for content marketing.

Being Deliberate on a Daily Basis
A lot of people jump into something with enthusiasm … and then quickly stop doing it.

You know them (you might even be one of them). They’re the people who decide to get in the best shape of their lives, go for an exhilarating five-mile run … and then spend the next three weeks on the couch nursing their sore muscles.

They’re the fad dieters, the bloggers who own a lot of the dead URLs that litter the Internet. They’re the people with the unopened Classics lining their bookshelves.

They all had good intentions; they just bit off more than they could chew.

Or did they?

If these people had been deliberate about their endeavors―if they had thought about what they wanted to achieve and then created a plan to achieve it―they would likely have been successful.

The Power of Persistence
Having a plan to achieve a goal won’t necessarily make you successful. You still have to be persistent.

Once you’ve figured out how you’re going to do what you want to do―what the specific steps are―you need to implement your plan.

For the exerciser, this might mean committing 30 minutes a day to working out. To the dieter, it might mean cutting out that daily candy bar. For the content marketer, it means committing to writing something (anything) at least once a day.

And then stick to it until it becomes a habit.

Once your efforts to develop content become a daily habit, they’ll start paying off―better SEO, more eyeballs and ultimately, more sales.

Read More

The Multifarious Benefits of Google News Publisher Center

Publishers with news sites now have an opportunity to manage their sites included in Google News. This development comes on the heel of Google’s announcement on the launch of a new portal: Google News Publisher Center.

Sites that are already included in Google News and verified in Google Webmaster Tools are ready to be managed within the Publisher Center. For sites that are not already verified, webmasters have to verify them before requesting their inclusion in Google News.
Websites that qualify to be included in Google News have to meet various general and technical guidelines. For example, the content should be up to journalistic standards, the sites should exhibit clear authority and expertise in the industries they are covering, and the articles should be clearly written for readability.

Webmasters can request their websites to be included in Google news if they meet the aforementioned and other criteria.

At the Publisher Center, webmasters can do the following:

1. Update the titles and source labels of their sites. For example, you can tag your news publication with relevant labels such as “opinion”, “satire”, “press release”, “user-generated content” or ”blog”.

2. Update your publication’s URLs when you make any changes to the site structure. For example, when you group news items in a silo structure, you can update the URLs at the Publishing Center.

3. Label the various sections of your publication covering a particular topic with relevant titles e.g. politics, entertainment, headlines, health, education, technology, etc.

The development of the Google News section is a great welcome for news sites and websites that produce breaking and event-related content. Websites that create high quality news content are bound to see increased traffic as Google shows snippets of their content on its search results.

In light of the recent development, there is speculation that Google may resurrect Author Stats in the Publisher Center. Author Stats has been part of Webmaster Tools since Dec. 2011 but was recently discontinued. The Stats enabled webmasters to see how content performed across sites based on Authorship profiles.

For more information regarding the Publishing Center, check this Google help section.

Read More

In the Offing: Google’s New Knowledge Graph with a Timeline View

The demise of Google Labs three years ago resulted in the cutting down of a number of tools and services, including Google News Line. However, Google seems to be looking to revive Timeline View as was discovered and first reported by Florian Kiersch in a video posted on her Google + profile.

Google seems to be testing a timeline view for Knowledge Graph cards. The Knowledge Graph interface shows a timeline of data, facts, and knowledge on the top part of Google, just before the search results listings.

For example, for a query like “World War I”, the search engine’s experimental interface displays a list of important events in chronological order as obtained from Wikipedia.

(Image:http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-OCL4iW3JSEU/U9ViinWSQFI/AAAAAAAB-l8/OYhYFvAoy-I/s1600/google-timelines-2.png )

When you mouse over an event, Google shows more information including snippets from Wikipedia articles, relevant dates and images. You can click an event to search for information about it on Google.

(Image:http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-jAag80RW7lQ/U9ViirJDnXI/AAAAAAAB-mA/dTZupRpAflI/s1600/google-timelines-1.png )

By default, Google only shows pre-determined top events for a particular search. However, when you zoom into the results, you can see more events. The different types of information available on the timeline are differentiated using colors and parallel axis.

At the moment, the timeline view seems to be a feature for power users. The feature may have to be tweaked a lot before it is released to the public.

How Soon Will the Timeline View be Available?

There has been no official communication from Google on release of the timeline view feature to the public. In fact, no news of the feature has been reported at Google’s official blog. Users can only wait to see how the feature will play out and whether it will be made available to the public.

There are a number of benefits and potential issues that can come up with the timeline view. For instance, the view can simplify search and help users get important information about different subjects quickly and without having to sift through many search results.

On the other hand, since the information is pulled from online sources such as Wikipedia, integrity issues can arise.

Images source: http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2014/07/google-tests-timeline-view-for.html

Read More

Making CSS Layouts Work Intuitively With Box Sizing

One of the challenges you are likely to encounter when styling your website elements with CSS is that properties like border, padding, and width may be confusing. For instance, you may have noticed that sometimes you may define a size but it will not be correctly applied to the element.

To ensure your elements get styled the exact size you want them, you can make use of box sizing. Box sizing is a simple CSS property that ensures elements are rendered in the exact values you define, even across different browsers.

Understanding CSS Element Rendering
To understand the box model, you should know how width and height are rendered in CSS. The width you specify is usually inclusive of any applied padding or border pixels that the element has. Thus, an element will be the exact size you define if it has 0px border and 0px padding. If there is any padding or border size, the resulting element will be larger than the size you defined.

Therefore, to get an element to be the exact size you want, you need to subtract the border size and padding from the desired size. For instance, if you want a button of 200px but have already applied 20px padding and 1px border, the number you should define in CSS will be 200px less 40px and 2px, which is 158px.

Using the Box Sizing Property
However, instead of having to subtract the padding and borders to get the right size, you can use the box sizing property to get your element shown in the exact size you define. The box sizing property is written as {box-sizing: border-box;}.

Below is an example of using the {box-sizing: border-box;} property in code to define an element of 200px, which has 20px padding and 1px border:

.sidebar { box-sizing: border-box;

                width: 200px;

                 padding: 20px;

                 border: 1px solid #DDD;}
When you use the box sizing property to define the size of your element, any padding or border associated with the element will not be considered during rendering. Box sizing works in most browsers, going back as far as IE8.

Read More

8 Key Paid Search Developments This Year

It started with Google placing ads in the Knowledge Graph and continued with Bing combining tablet and desktop traffic. Yes, it’s been tremendous year in the world of paid search—and it’s only about halfway over.

Nobody knows what the next several months will offer, but everyone can agree on the eight biggest developments of the year so far:

Google Hires Amazon Talent
Nobody does online merchandising better than Amazon.com. Google hopes that hiring away some of Amazon’s top talent will help them catch up.

Bing Brings on the Product Ads
Finally, Bing has started to allow merchants to advertise their wares. This is good news for merchants, who can now get their ads in front of the 30 percent of the population in the U.S. that uses Bing.

App Ads Fall Flat
Google tried to generate excitement around app ads. Sadly, nobody has figured them out—yet.

Bing Ads Combines Desktop and Tablet Traffic
Just after it was announced that it would start accepting product ads, Bing announced that it would merge its desktop and tablet traffic. The reason is obvious: combining the two makes Bing Ads much more attractive to advertisers.

Google Shopping Goes Global
Bigger is better in the retail world—and Google Shopping is about to get a whole lot bigger. Google Shopping has been rolled out worldwide. Sure, PLA managers will have to learn some new skills, but they’ll also have access to a much larger market.

Google Tests Ads on the Knowledge Graph
Ah the Knowledge Graph, those smart little creations that give you a lot of information about a search subject in such a small amount of space. Everyone loves them, which is why Google is testing ads in the space. Imagine all those captive eyes…

Auto-Tagging Arrives
Bing Ads gave advertisers the ability to auto-tag their ads. This is important because it makes it possible for advertisers to monitor their ads’ performances through Google Analytics.

Consumers Get a Voice
Google is not surveying consumers on brands and merchants. Depending on which company you work for, that could either be very good or very bad

Read More

Are You Taking the Advantages of Google+ Business Page and Google Maps Listing Together?

Now that a Google+ business page can be linked to a business listing on Google Maps, it’s important to take advantage of this opportunity.

If your competitors have failed to capitalize on merging these pages together then you will have an even greater competitive edge. The combination of these platforms will help increase visibility of your business location. The following information will help you set up this integration and understand its benefits.

Reason for Merging Pages
Sometimes it appears Google is becoming more complex because the company constantly makes changes that affect users, which can seem uncomfortable at first. When Google Places for Business, for example, was integrated into Google+, it resulted in multiple Google+ pages for owners to manage in some cases. It became confusing for some owners who ended up with different accounts under the same login. It also led to extra work for owners to optimize their pages only to see less business information without an image displayed in search results.

In February 2014 Google sent notices to local businesses announcing two major changes. The first change was a warning that business owners had three weeks to update and verify their Google Places listings. Some owners reacted with confusion or assumed the email was spam, but it was actually a simple process involving logging in, reviewing business information and submitting the update.

The second major change was a simplified Google+ local page setup, which also required owner verification. One of the key reasons for these changes was to clean up duplicate listings and spam from the search giant’s database.

By connecting your Google Maps listing to your Google+ page, it’s now easier to manage your presence on Google platforms without the redundancy of managing multiple pages. After merging the pages, you can then delete your local page and your Google+ page that displays Maps will be all you need to manage. You can still keep your local page but it will no longer be connected to Maps.

Steps for Linking
First make sure that your business meets the conditions of Google’s quality guidelines. If not, you will not be able to connect your Google+ page with a local map listing. Keep in mind that your Google+ page is only allowed to link to one business location. You will need at least one non-local Google+ page to achieve this integration.

Be sure to review your business information and make sure it is up to date then follow these steps below.

1. Once you login to your Google+ account, click “Home” on the upper left corner then “Pages.”

2. Click “Manage this page” for the page that you want to link to Google Maps.

3. Make sure “Verified local business” is checked, then go to the upper right gear icon and click “Settings.”

4. Scroll to the bottom where it says “Profile” and click the box that either says “Change” or “Connect a different page.”

5. Select the page that you want to link to Maps where it says “Link a different page to this location.” Then click “Next.”

6. After viewing the list of updates to the new page, click “Confirm.”

Local Page Features
When you connect a new local page to Maps the former local page, its information, reviews and AdWords campaigns will no longer be seen on Google Maps, but it will still display on Google+. While the former local page will be renamed to “Backup of (your page name),” it will not affect followers, posts, managers and the custom URL. Make sure that you are certain you want these changes since they will be permanent.

Google+ pages can only be deleted by their respective owners at the bottom of the settings page. An alternative option to deleting a page is transferring ownership to someone else. Google, however, may still display your local page information in search results with indications that the business has closed or moved depending on the available information it has about the business.

You can alert Google that your business has closed through the “Report a Problem” link. If the business has moved to a new location, simply update your address on the dashboard, which preserves reviews and responses.

Read More

Everything You Need To Know About Error Messages

Every now and then, everyone runs into website error messages, which can mean a variety of things, but all point to some type of problem preventing the page from being displayed.

This problem may involve the site itself, the browser or web hosting server. The following HTTP errors reflect website error messages and what can be done to fix the situation. You can also turn to website maintenance service professionals for help.

HTTP 404: The webpage cannot be found
This error message occurs when the web page that you attempt to visit has been moved or removed. Make sure you have typed the address correctly and find out if the website has moved its content. If the site has a search tool, enter keywords or the name of the page you are trying to find.

HTTP 406: Internet Explorer cannot read this webpage format
Although this problem is not very common, it can occur when a webpage is written in an unusual format that IE cannot understand. Sometimes the problem can be fixed by adding the proper file extension to the URL. For example, if you are trying to open a Microsoft Word document, make sure that the URL ends in the .doc extension.

This error differs from HTTP 405, which means the webpage cannot display the page. This problem indicates that IE is having difficulties downloading the page to your computing device.

HTTP 408 or 409: The website is too busy to show the webpage
If a webpage is incredibly popular or if the server is experiencing congestion or slow delivery, you may see this busy error. The best thing to do is return to the site later. If the problem still isn’t resolved, check with your website maintenance services expert.

HTTP 500: The website cannot display the page
Usually a technical issue with the website or the web host is the reason for this error message. It could mean that the host or the site is temporarily down for maintenance. Visit the site later and if the problem persists try sending an email to the website owner.

Read More

10 Classy and Time Tested Web Design Blogs

The following blogs capture the essence of time-tested resources that provide useful knowledge about web design. While the internet has become bloated with blogs that point in misleading directions, these tutorial blogs represent the cream of the crop for focusing on relevant information. Each of these blogs has maintained a large following, as documented by Alexa rankings and number of followers through social media. Latest Web Design Trends

Smashing Magazine
Sven Lennartz and Vitaly Friedman founded Smashing Magazine in 2009 in Germany. The site offers information about advanced web design.

Hongkiat Lim started this blog in 2007 in Malaysia about tutorials involving Photoshop, HTML, CSS and various web design topics.

Alex Goh launched DesignTaxi in 2003 in Singapore. Forbes mentioned the blog in an article called “Top Five Sites for Keeping up with Creativity and Design.”

Chris Coyier created CSS-Tricks in 2007 and has since built one of the biggest online followings in blogger history. He also runs a podcast called ShopTalk in which he discusses web development.

Webdesigner Depot
Walter Apai used his web design experience to start Webdesigner Depot in 2010, based in Canada. The blog provides insights of several web designers from around the world.

Design You Trust
Dmitry Utkin launched Design You Trust in 2007 in Mongolia. This design blog is important because it focuses on web design trends and industry news.

Design Shack
David Shack launched Design Shack in 2005 in the UK to showcase web designs through galleries. The blog comprises many different writers with professional opinions about web design.

Web Design Ledger
Henry Jones founded Web Design Ledger in 2008. His discussions on online entrepreneurial spirit have been so inspiring he now has one of the top blogs on the entire internet, attracting over 2 million viewers per month.

BlogSpoon Graphics
Chris Spooner from the UK launched BlogSpoon Graphics in 2007. It became a very popular blog about tutorials involving Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Founded in 2009 by Singapore web designers, this blog publishes about twenty articles per week. It’s also a place to find freebies and the latest developments in CSS and WordPress.

Read More