Apple’s Latest Betrayal

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The new MacBook thinks different. It has more in common with a tablet than most laptops. Think of it as an iPad that has a keyboard and runs OS X. And like the iPad, it only has one port, which is the cause of the outcry.

Most computers have several ports scattered around the frame. There’s usually one for charging, a couple USB ports for various tasks, and some sort of port to output video. The new MacBook combines all three into a single USB-C port. This means users will not be able to, say, charge the laptop and an iPhone at the same time or input data from a flash drive while outputting video to an external monitor. Sure you’re going to have some nice accessories to do all these things down the line but this barebones approach is a pretty hard sell in a world where some laptops still have a serial port.

This is Apple’s world and we just live in it.

To Apple’s credit, the company must see a market for such a computer. The low-power Intel chipset that powers the computer likely doesn’t provide enough oomph to play computer games but it should render GIFs just fine. This is a couch computer. It’s a Facebook and Twitter machine. It even looks like a great programming computer. Watch the Apple event yesterday. The company didn’t demonstrate any of its new software on the new MacBook including the Photos app. Simply put, the new MacBook isn’t for photo editing. It’s for Facebooking.

Expectations are high for Apple. Had a company like HP or Lenovo released a watered-down computer like the new MacBook, there likely wouldn’t have been an outcry, but rather a collective chuckle. For some reason, a swath of Apple fans expects the company to build every product to meet their needs. If it doesn’t, feelings of betrayal sneak in. This happened with the original MacBook Air.

Apple released the first MacBook Air in 2008. It cost $1,799 and, like the new MacBook, was a svelte wonder of technology. But it lacked ports. The industry cried foul, pointing out that it only had a power port, a single USB port and a Micro-DVI port. It was missing a DVD-ROM and Ethernet port, a travesty in an era of burgeoning Wi-Fi and the slow decline of physical media. In 2008 this was a big deal. Software was still shipped on disks and Wi-Fi was hard to find. Apple fans felt betrayed. They felt forgotten. If a customer wanted Apple’s latest and greatest machine, they would have to buy into interacting with a computer without a CD drive or wired Internet.

Eventually, Apple dropped Ethernet from its entire MacBook line and the MacBook Air is now the least expensive laptop Apple offers.

The new MacBook joins the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. It’s not a replacement for either – at least not yet. But it bears a nameplate previously retired: MacBook. It’s not an Air, it’s not a Pro. It’s just a MacBook, which was long the company’s stalwart, low-cost machine against the rising tide of Microsoft Windows.

It’s highly likely that in a generation or two that Apple will drop the price of the MacBook to under a thousand. Will the MacBook Air survive? Maybe not. Apple is steadily making the MacBook Pro smaller. It’s easy to see a future where the MacBook will be the company’s only inexpensive laptop and a slightly slimmer MacBook Pro will be the other option if you want silly things like multiple USB ports, SD card slots and a MagSafe power adapter.

Until then, a 13-inch MacBook Air is a better buy than the new MacBook. The battery lasts nearly as long, the computer is more powerful and it has plenty of ports. Plus, nobody has ever said that they wished their MacBook Air was just a bit thinner. But maybe, soon, they will.

Google Launches New Online Store To Showcase Hardware “Made With Google”

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Google is launching a new online store today to showcase “all the latest products made with Google.” The new Google Store, instead of the Play Store, will now become the central spot for buying Google-centric hardware like Google’s own Nexus phones, Android Wear and Nest devices, Chromebooks from Google and its partners, as well as accessories, cases, keyboards and chargers.

The Play Store remains the hub for buying content for these devices, but the hardware from Google and its partners will now only be available in the new Google Store. For the time being, Google will offer free shipping for all purchases, too (but only if you choose the slowest shipping option).

If you made any hardware purchases in the Play Store, all of that information will be automatically transferred to the Google Store.

 Google says it’s making this change because “as we’ve added more products to the family, we thought it was time to make it easier for you to learn more about them.” The hardware section was always somewhat hidden in the Play Store and felt out of place among the mobile apps, movies and magazines.

Apple Expediting The Future Is No Betrayal

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Apple’s new MacBook, which limits input and output to a single USB-C port and a simple 3.5mm audio in/out jack, has been characterized by some as a move that’s antagonistic to the consumer. Critics point to the single port, as well as the performance limitations inherent in using an Intel Core M chipset for power management and fanless logic board design, as causes for complaint, and in some cases as causes for nearly inchoate rage.

But in truth, the new MacBook is nothing short of the future, delivered ahead of schedule and without exorbitant cost, with a bright neon “OPTIONAL” sign flashing overhead.

The new MacBook is an engineering showcase, inside and out, top to bottom. That doesn’t mean it’s the best computer available in Apple’s lineup for any given consumer: It is designed for a specific audience, and it’s designed to anticipate the growth of that audience in the years to come. In many ways, Apple’s new MacBook will appeal to the same crowd that is just fine using an iPad as their primary computer, and judging by the cumulative success of the iPad since its introduction, as well as the general trend of the PC industry, that’s a good bet to make.

In other words, that Core M processor isn’t hiding – Apple isn’t claiming this computer is a powerhouse media-editing tool. Instead, it’s a fast, light, everyday machine. It’s a gazelle, not a rhino. If you want a rhino, Apple has plenty of those, too – the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro with Force Touch is a prime example.

The 12-inch MacBook isn’t even occupying an exclusive price point among Apple’s notebook lineup. You can get the current MacBook Air starting lower and ranging through that $1,300 zone and well beyond, with updated internals also debuted at Monday’s event. If the $1,299 MacBook were the only game in town for someone looking for a portable Apple OS X computer in that price range, and if it offered the port loadout it does in today’s computing and computer accessory environment, then some of these complaints might be valid – but it isn’t, and they’re not.

As someone who has actually touched, held and used the new MacBook, I can personally attest to the fact that this is a fully realized piece of equipment, and one that offers significant advantages in exchange for its perceived trade-offs. As with any purchase decision, prospective buyers will have to weigh the device’s particular strengths and weaknesses against their own usage habits; something which, again, hardly merits ire.

Behold my beloved 12-inch G4 PowerBook: Witness the many ports it provides. The left side of the machine is like the cratered surface of the moon, and the right side is dominated by an optical disc drive (it also weighs more than twice as much as the new MacBook, and it has a fan: boy does it ever have a fan). And yet today most people couldn’t even name each of those ports, let alone find a worthwhile way to use them.

The ultimate test for the new MacBook, as with any product Apple brings to market, will be in how it satisfies the needs of its everyday users. A lot of people have theorized that the notebook might not be able to handle some tasks like photo editing that even more casual computer users would need, but a lot of that is conjecture based on artificial tests on the Core M that spit out numbers about how the processor behaves on paper in a vacuum. Intel’s Turbo Boost tech doesn’t necessarily play nicely with these kinds of benchmarking tools, and virtualized testing is never a good substitute for real-world use.

The all-new MacBook represents a paradigm shift in personal computing, but Apple isn’t dragging anyone kicking and screaming into the future. I suspect, however, that those who do accept the fast-forward invitation ultimately won’t be all that troubled by the trade-offs it represents.

Apple’s main strength when it comes to product design is being able to intelligently adopt new technology both early and late, depending on when it thinks it will provide the most value to users. Some things like NFC come after they’ve been out and available for a while, but in time for mass adoption in specific settings, and other features like Touch ID and Thunderbolt leave competitors scrambling to catch up. The USB-C shift is like those latter examples, a push forward that is part-and-parcel of the reduction of ports that accompany its introduction.

WordPress as a CMS – Side by side comparison with Joomla & Drupal

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3 days ago, while in conversation with a large group of prominent WordPress users, I asked “What is the most powerful CMS plugin for WP on the market right now?” Within hours, I got a lot of backlash from the community reassuring me that WordPress is already a CMS. To me, WordPress is very advanced & powerful blogging platform, but not quite a full fledged CMS, yet. However, WordPress codebase is built so that you can code any CMS features you want.  It explains perfectly why WordPress has 29,873 plugins (at the time of writing), comparing to 7730 extensions of Joomla, and 14,764 modules of Drupal.

But wait…

 

….amongst those 29,873 WordPress plugins, compared to Joomla, the number of advanced plugins like Kunena, Mosets Tree, K2, VirtueMart, Community Builder, JomSocial, EasySocial, SobiPro, EasyDiscuss are not to the figure that I was expecting, If I can categorize 50 Joomla extensions to an “Advanced” group, I would expect at least 200 (4x more) WordPress plugins of the same group. With the integration of advanced extensions, I have seen people use Joomla as an intranet, a social network, an inventory management, a governmental information portal and much more. So my question was trying to find such “unserved opportunities” that would benefit the WordPress Ecosystem.

I can understand how “provocative” WordPress folks may feel about the question in the group. However, I am one of a lucky few people who have the opportunity to work with the most 3 popular CMS in the world for the last 10 years. After meeting briefly with my Joomla, Drupal, WordPress teams, I decided now might be a good time to summarize how these 3 popular CMS systems are meeting common, everyday needs.

With a lot of thought, I’ve come up with 12 attributes I consider “Musts” in order to be classified as a true “CMS”.  If you can think of others, please share them with me in the comment so I can add them to this post.

1. In a CMS, I need a Content Construction Kit.

Have you heard about Content Construction Ket (or CCK) in Joomla and Drupal? A CCK will help you manage multiple types of content in your CMS, e.g. the content of a video page is different from a photo essay.

With Drupal 7, apart from the core strengths like Content Types and FieldsNodesTaxonomy and so on, users can also choose other modules like ViewsCtoolsWysiwyg to customize the display of their content.

In Joomla, you can consider using some advanced content modelling systems which have been developed to extend the native content manager of Joomla. This is the full list of CCKs for Joomla. Or you can check out these famous names that we picked for you:

Out of the box, WordPress doesn’t have any of the above functionality but we can create our own CCK with the combination of custom post types, custom taxonomies and custom fields. If you are a developer and want to code your own custom post type, read this great post before getting started.

Plugin Pods might be a handy tool to set custom post type, taxonomy, custom field and so on. And if you have time, this comparison chart will give you a complete overview of custom post type.

2. In a CMS, I need custom premade layouts, page options such as a product showcase, team page or pricing table.

This feature allows users add custom pages to display special content, for example: portfolio view can display multiple products; contact page will automatically add map section, without manually adding short code into content.

In Drupal, the combination of the famous Views module and Block visibility will give users multi-layout and featured pages. With Views, you can create multiple pages, blocks with various display types without knowledge of coding i.e. Custom Frontpage, Slideshow block, jCarousel block, Latest Comments and Custom Taxonomy Pag

By default, Joomla has multiple Views that help users create landing page, detail pages with diverse layout and styles. It’s easy to override those views, styles, structure of layout; or add more Views.

So Drupal has” Nodes” and Joomla has “Views”, what about WordPress?

Fortunately, WordPress is fully capable to do this with its powerful Page Template feature. Or if you want to create your own content structure style, Siteorigin Panels Page Builder,  Aqua Page Builder or Visual Composer will take your idea into reality at no cost.

Page option, premade layout are the key things of web design. And the amazing thing for WordPress, Joomla and Drupal is the active development of theme/template Frameworks from 3rd party developers. I believe the number of templates/themes developed so far is greater than total of all WordPress+Joomla+Drupal plugins available. I myself have spent so much time on template Development that I should stop talking about it or I can never finish this post.

3. In a CMS, I need a good setup of User Management, Roles and Permission.

Roles and Capabilities are built-in features of WordPress. With these features, admin will define the Role and a set of tasks called Capabilities. WordPress has six pre-defined roles:

- Super Admin
- Administrator
- Editor
- Author
- Contributor
- Subscribed

As a site owner you can manage Subscribers’ access to blog resources, view and comment, but cannot publish content; Contributor can write, publish, and edit published content. You can read more at Roles and Capabilities.

If you are not satisfied with the predefined Roles and Capabilities of WordPress, you can fully customize them using Advance Access Manager. Moreover, creating a brand new role can be done with User Role Editor.

In Joomla, we have Users management, Groups management and Permission management. Each group is assigned with one or more permissions. Each user can be members of multiple groups, so that they can have various permissions in the system.

Default user group tree in Joomla

  • Guest
  • Manager
    • Administrator
  • Register
    • Author
    • Editor
  • Publisher
  • Super User

Default access levels in Joomla

- Guest
- Public
- Registered
- Special
- Super User

Drupal 7 manages users with Roles. Each Role will have multiple permissions according to the settings of admin. List below are the default roles of Drupal core:

- Anonymous User
- Authenticated User
- Administrator

Administrators can add more roles with different permissions as desired.

4. In a CMS, I normally have to provide customer support and community management.

The interaction between readers and the site owners are indispensable in CMS platforms.

A. Forum & Social Network

a. Joomla

b. Drupal

c. WordPress

Major sites tend to utilise separate forum source code and then integrate it into WordPress via a bridge or similar. The favorite choice is PHPBB.

B. HelpDesk

Helpdesk is not only for customer support but also serves as a forum, communication portal

a. Joomla

b. Drupal

c. WordPress

You can consider choosing a professional helpdesk services like ZenDesk or FreshDesk, these tools come at reasonable price and are easy to integrate into any platform.

C. Form & Survey

It’s very easy to find contact and customer survey application or forms packages for any of these three CMS

a. Joomla

b. Drupal

c/ WordPress

Contact Form 7 is the most popular plugins of WordPress, but it is the less advanced form plugins ever. That is an awesomeness of WordPress, the community & plugins development is driven by the users, by the simple usages, not the number of code lines.

5. In a CMS, I need a multi-languages website

Corporations needs to talk multi-languages, so do their websites.

a. Joomla

With Joomla (from version 1.6 up), you can easily set up a multilingual site without third party extensions. The function was born in Joomla 1.6, and became more friendly and easier to use in Joomla 2.5. Starting from Joomla 3.x, it is integrated into the installation steps when setting up a Joomla site.

b. Drupal

c. WordPress

6. In a CMS, I may also need a shopping cart – ecommerce solution.

Magento and OpenCart are special CMS for e-commerce. But sometimes, all you need is a small customizable portion of e-commerce integrated into your existing system. WordPress has some popular e-commerce plugins that are well worth taking a look at.

Joomla is not dedicated to e-commerce, but transforming a Joomla site to an e-commerce platform is easy  with many popular e-commerce extensions, here are but a few:

There are various solutions to e-commercialize a Drupal page. These two extensions are among the most popular ones with their own supporting communities.

7. In a CMS, I need a white label customize solution

A branded system is what templates and sites developer need. With help of these dedicated plugins, they will easily change the WordPress branding system into what customers desire, like changing the login UI, customize the dashboard and much more besides,

  1. White label CMS
  2. Branded Login Screen
  3. WP Symposium Toolbar
  4. WP Branding

8. In a CMS, I need post relationship solutions

This may be a drawback of WordPress comparing with other CMS. Post relationship is a flexible solution in content management, especially in dealing with large content source like online press. It links different articles together.

WordPress doesn’t have an official solution for post relationship management. There’s always room for improvement with your own experience in content management. Please refer to these post relationship plugins:

  1. Posts 2 Posts
  2. CPT-onomies
  3. Relations Post Type
  4. EG Series
  5. Organize Series
  6. Series
  7. Simple Post Series with SEO

In post relationship, Joomla has many solutions, from Tag add ons to other modules like:

These modules allow you to display related articles in a category, with tag, meta keywords and so on. If you have a huge number of articles, you can just archive the old ones, the module “Archived articles” allows readers to re-visit them.

Drupal 7 core manages content with taxonomy but it’s very limited to display post relationship in a same article. However, you can extend this feature by combining contributed modules Similar by Terms and Views.

9. In a CMS, I need multimedia content management.

By default, WordPress Media Library manages your digital content (pictures, video, sound, files). Its disadvantage is that Media Library only manages separate files, and it doesn’t handle those digital assets professionally. So, If you need a media management solution, please refer to the below list:

In Joomla, there are also various drawbacks in managing and displaying multimedia files. Joomla core only manages images and links, others are not supported. Managing files and folders are acceptable.

But that’s not an obstacle for Joomla users, because there are many strong extensions to help them manage their multimedia library and digital content:

Drupal 7 finds the same difficulty in managing and supporting multimedia assets. In each content type, admin can add Image field for writer to place images, but Drupal doesn’t gather all the files in one place, and it’s hard to reuse those uploaded assets. To enhance the capacity of Drupal in managing digital assets, consider installing these modules:

  • IMCE: IMCE is an image/file uploader and browser that supports personal directories and quota.
  • Media: extensible framework for managing files and multimedia assets

10. In a CMS, I need a total SEO – SEF solution.

SEO is now the standard of web development. WordPress is SEO friendly, as long as you follow these principles:

A. Make URL SEO Friendly

WordPress, by default, generates dynamic link like www.domain.com/?p=X, and this is considered not SEO friendly. Everyone should know how to rewrite the link and make it friendly through Settings -> Permanent link.

Things are easier in Joomla. Just come to System >> Global Configuration >> SEO settings and enable the option ‘Search Engine Friendly URLs

In Drupal, you can turn on Clean URLs option by entering Configuration >> Search and Metadata.

B. Use a SEO Friendly theme

Choosing a SEO friendly theme is very important, it affects directly the data crawling process of search engine.

You can develop a SEO friendly theme using the best frameworks out there like Hybrid Framework, Roots, Genesis Framework, Thesis Framework, Canva Framework.

C. Use plugin for SEO

WordPress toolbox contains multiple SEO plugins. you can fully customize title, description, rich snippets – schema.org, generate sitemap and optimize keyword

You can use SEO features from the Joomla core like alias, meta keyword, meta description, robot URL rewriting, Add suffixes to URL and so on. Also, please refer to these extensions when it comes to SEO in Joomla:

These modules will take your SEO efforts in Drupal to a new level:

11. In a CMS, I need a multi-author workflow solution.

A CMS combines the work of multiple authors, and helps them working together flawlessly without any drawbacks.

WordPress is quite competent with its Roles and Capabilities feature. You can add one of these plugins to manage a multi-author workflow:

Not as powerful as WordPress, but Joomla 2.5+ and 3 are already providing a superb solution for multi-author workflow. Versioning since Joomla 3,2 allows various authors working on a same article, and it records every change on those articles. With Versioning, you can estimate the contribution of each author, and content management is trouble free with backup and restore.

Meanwhile, Drupal 7 comes with a basic revisioning solution. Multiple contributors can work on the a same document, comment and review every little thing they edited.

And if you’re not satisfied with the basic solution, dive into these modules for a better experience:

12. In a CMS, I need a Social Media connection solution

Now is the time of Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin are channels that no one can overlook.

You can cleverly leverage the power of social media by incorporating them into your CMS with these plugins:

To socialize Joomla content, you can use a service like AddThis, ShareThis or install these third party plugins:

In addition to get more traffic from social channels, you can also auto-import content from social networks and display them beautifully on your site with JA Social Feed.

Drupal has gone social with these solutions, what’s your pick?!

Conclusion

Each CMS has its strengths and weaknesses and has its own eco-system with supported plugins and extensions. I am more on the Development side of WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and don’t have many chance to be a real user. I believe the list here is far from complete, please correct me if I miss any.

So to all the WordPress geeks, join the discussion in comment and help me fulfill the list. I may try to bring some Drupal nerds from ThemeBrain.com and Joomla Guru from JoomlArt.com to take a look here as well.

How To Use Analytics To Build A Smarter Mobile Website – By Tim Jensen

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Mobile first! Responsive design! You’ve heard all of the buzzwords and catchphrases. Countless helpful and not-so-helpful articles proclaim the rise of mobile, but what practical steps can you take to make your brand more approachable for mobile users?

When arguing a case to make a website mobile-friendly, abundant evidence exists to present to the business owner, such as the Pew Research study that shows that 56% of US adults carry around a smartphone. However, while general statistics are useful for demonstrating the value of designing with mobile in mind, they don’t provide the guidance necessary to understand precisely how users will interact with a particular brand on their phone.

Frequently, design and development teams will be asked to redesign a dated website to be responsive. Looking at existing data would provide crucial insight into how best to present information to mobile users. Google Analytics offers a number of free features for incredibly detailed analysis of mobile activity, with the ability to easily compare to desktop activity.

If you haven’t yet installed Google Analytics, setting it up is easy. Just create a free account, and then Google will walk you through the process. You’ll need to place a tracking code in your page before you can start to collect the sort of data that we’ll review in this article.

Analyzing Mobile Visits Via Reports

The standard reports are where most people browse in Google Analytics. Let’s look at the most important ones for mobile activity.

1. OVERVIEW

This report (at “Audience” → “Mobile” → “Overview”) breaks down visits by mobile, desktop and tablet. It’s helpful for quickly seeing high-level statistics, such as what percentage of visits are from mobile devices.

Mobile Visits Overview Report
A preview of the mobile overview report available in Google Analytics. (Large preview)

When clients question the value of making a static website responsive, I find that simply showing them how many mobile visits they’re getting often helps to convince them. If the experience of a significant portion of users is less than optimal, then the owner should realize that it’s time to take their needs seriously. In my experience, desktop activity accounts for only about 50 to 60% of visits, with mobile and tablet combined making up the rest (close to half!).

However, a development and design team should dig deeper than just an overview. This is where the “Devices” report comes in handy.

2. DEVICES

This report (“Audience” → “Mobile” → “Devices”) breaks down statistics into the specific devices that people use to access your website. The details here can help you pinpoint problems with usability on a particular phone, tablet or mobile operating system. For example, if the Galaxy S III shows a significantly higher bounce rate than the iPhone, then you might want to compare how your website appears on those devices.

Mobile Devices Report
A preview of the mobile device report. (Large preview)

While viewing the report for a local service-based business whose website focuses on lead generation, I saw significantly higher conversions from iPads than any phones in the list. Simply cramming the desktop website into a smartphone browser did not give users a positive experience with the lead submission process. However, at the tablet size, the website was still large enough for visitors to use the form easily enough.

As someone who manages online advertising campaigns, I generally find the opposite to be true, with tablets converting at a lower rate than phones. These statistics, then, reinforced the need to improve the mobile experience to bring phone conversions up to par. With a responsive layout that eliminates the need for the user to “pinch and zoom” to fill out the form in their phone’s browser, the website would perform more effectively.

Mobile Devices Report
A preview of the screen resolution report. (Large preview)

But this report doesn’t stop with a list of devices. You may also select various dimensions across the top to review factors such as screen resolution and operating system.Reviewing the most common screen resolutions of visitors will help you to plan the breakpoints of a responsive redesign. You can also flag an excessively high bounce rate or a low time on site for a particular resolution, which might be the result of content getting cut off at that size.

3. BROWSER & OS

This report (“Audience” → “Technology“ → “Browser & OS”) shows the main browsers being used to access your website, and it also highlights trends — for example, whether the default browser or Firefox is used more on Android phones. Also, you can view statistics by operating system and even add a column for operating system version (click the “Secondary Dimension” drop-down menu, and choose “Operating System Version”).

Mobile Operating System Report
A preview of the operating system report. (Large preview)

The report could also reveal how much effort you should put into making the website backwards-compatible. For instance, when reviewing statistics for an engineering company’s website, our development team found a significant number of visitors still browsing in Internet Explorer 8 (probably in offices whose IT departments are still debating whether to upgrade from CRT to LCD monitors!), with only a small percentage coming from mobile devices. These results helped to focus us on making the website usable on old systems.

Creating Advanced Segments

While the main reports provide plenty of helpful information, advanced segments enable you to drill deeper into useful data on mobile visitors. You can set up segments to distinguish between mobile, tablet and desktop visits, and even segment more narrowly by screen size and device.

To view advanced segments, make sure you’re in the “Reporting” tab in your Google Analytics account. Near the top of the screen (between the graph and the menu bar), click the drop-down arrow beside “All Visits.” A menu will appear allowing you to view existing segments and create new ones. In the “Built-In” segments, you should be able to select the default ones for “Mobile Traffic” and “Tablet Traffic.”

However, you’ll want to create a segment just for desktop traffic (because the only built-in option lumps desktops and tablets together).

Create Google Analytics Advanced Segment
Creating a new advanced segment. (Large preview)

Select “Create New Segment” and, in the new menu that appears, choose “Technology” in the left sidebar. Scroll down to “Device Category” and enter “Desktop.” Then, save the segment so that you can use it in your account.

Select Device Category
Filtering a segment by device. (Large preview)

You can apply advanced segments to reports throughout Google Analytics’ interface. I frequently use these when reviewing statistics in general, because user behavior on mobile differs so much from on tablets and desktops. In addition, when troubleshooting a spike in bounce rates or some other problem, I’ll often use these segments to determine whether the problem is specific to a device type. Below are some useful reports to review when filtering down to mobile traffic.

1. PAGES

Here (“Behavior” → “Site Content” → “All Pages”), you can determine the top pages viewed by mobile users. This information is valuable for planning which navigation elements to include on mobile and for identifying any important pages that mobile users are not finding. In addition, comparing the top pages on desktop and mobile will yield insight into the different goals of each user type. For instance, a desktop user might browse heavily through your product inventory, while a smartphone user might just be trying to find an address to your nearest location.

2. EXIT PAGES

This report (“Behavior” → “Site Content” → “Exit Pages”) shows the last pages people view before leaving the website. When you’ve filtered down to a mobile segment, review the top exit pages and determine whether any mobile-specific problems are hindering visitors from completing the desired goal.

For example, we found that a lot of people, especially mobile users, were leaving our company’s website on pages that discuss particular services. To address this, we placed headers with brief “Contact us” messaging at the top of these pages.

3. VISITORS FLOW

This report (“Audience” → “Visitors Flow”) shows the top paths people take through your website. Again, comparing mobile and desktop behavior should help you to decide which pages to make most prominent at each size.

On one website, I found that the “About” page was one of the most common pages for users to visit on desktop. However, on mobile, the page was much lower down in the list, because the link to it was in a navigation bar that was barely noticeable on a phone.

4. TRAFFIC SOURCES

This report (“Acquisition” → “All Traffic”) shows the top sources through which people arrive on the website. Comparing the mobile and desktop segments here will show whether any particular source skews towards mobile users. I’ve often noticed a higher percentage of traffic coming from Facebook on mobile than on desktop, because so many people access Facebook via a smartphone app. This awareness can help you to tailor your messaging at mobile sizes to people who have discovered your brand via social media. For example, if it’s a blog, make sure that the social sharing buttons are visible and functional on mobile.

In addition, this report can help you to diagnose problems with search engine indexing on mobile. In 2013, Google announced stricter regulations and penalties for websites with a poor mobile experience. If your organic traffic is steady on desktop but extremely low on mobile, then you might want to look for factors that are penalizing you on Google, such as Flash video or faulty redirects that take users from a subpage to the home page.

Act On The Data

If you have access to the Google Analytics account for the website you’re rebuilding, then you’ll have plenty of material to inform the design and development decisions. Take the time to review that data!

If you need to defend the value of making a website responsive, start by finding the percentage of recent visits from mobile and tablet. Move on to devices, browsers and screen sizes to decide which elements to include in the navigation for mobile. And use top pages, visitor flows and traffic sources to determine which content to make most prominent and how to guide users through the website at each size.

The most dangerous decision to make when planning any website is to ignore data about your audience. Any business that neglects to provide a friendly Web presence for mobile users will likely lose out on revenue to competitors who are doing it right. Design, development and marketing teams have a responsibility to use all of the data at their fingertips to guide decision-makers to make their websites work for a mobile audience.

OTHER RESOURCES

(al, il)

Front page image credits: Timo Elliott

Source: http://mobile.smashingmagazine.com/2014/03/03/how-to-use-analytics-to-build-smarter-mobile-websites/

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