Archive for category Solutions
Today I’m sharing a quick tip: fluid width images.
I’ve been working on a mobile website which requires me to make the site practical and functional across a myriad of devices and their corresponding screen sizes. Usually, this isn’t much of a problem if it’s just text and background colors, because you can just leave the “width” attribute off of your element to have the text & colors fill the screen.
While working on a project I was challenged to build a table that showed only the columns of data associated with the current family of data. The challenge was the database I was pulling from had over a hundred columns and hundreds of rows. I only wanted to show the columns associated with the products showing in the table so I needed a way to remove the unneeded columns from the table. This could be done by hiding the unneeded columns after the data was retrieved but it was time intensive to pull all the columns and then hide some of them. What I chose to do was to build the table completely during the SQL call using Dynamic SQL methods.
The world of Ecommerce is at a unique point in its young life. With the increased focus on web standards and usability, web users are constantly on the lookout for something cutting edge and easy to use. That being said, creating an online shopping presence is becoming an increasingly important avenue for selling your goods. However, without a specific, granular approach to your Ecommerce store, it’s likely that it will produce less than desirable sales, be difficult to maintain and ultimately ineffective for users to perform even basic actions.
There are some fairly fool proof ways to combat common mistakes, however. By following some pretty simple rules within your Ecommerce store, we can improve sales, generate leads and referrals and subsequently increase conversions. Let’s get started!
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As mobile application acceptance and influence grows, finding better ways to connect information will evolve. That means not only sharing but also accessing information and application interaction on a device level – bridging the divide between print, mobility and infosharing. One of these methods is the QR Code (Quick Response Code). A QR Code is a 2D bar code configured in a matrix; information is stored horizontally as well as vertically. This differs from a traditional bar code which only contains information horizontally. A QR Code uses blocks (called modules) instead of variable width lines. The benefit of this is the ability to store a lot more information. Here is an example.
The basic function of the code is to be scanned (laser based 2D bar code scanner – or more likely, a phone’s camera). On a phone the image is analyzed by a QR Code reading application such as QRdvark and the content, link, and info is then available on the device.
A common issue facing businesses and organizations today is a lost or stolen laptop or PC that contains sensitive data. As a result, many companies are starting to move to on-disk encryption to protect their data. Windows Vista and Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise editions contain a feature called BitLocker which protects data by encrypting information over entire volumes.
BitLocker is a full disk encryption program that uses the AES encryption algorithm in CBC(Cipher-block chaining) mode with a 128-bit key. BitLocker is only available on Server 2008 and select editions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. There are 3 different authentication modes that can be used as building blocks to implement BitLocker encryption.
Transparent Operation Mode
Transparent Operation Mode uses a key for the disk encryption. It is encrypted by the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip and will only be released to the OS loader code if the early boot files appear to be unmodified. By using TPM, a user can only protect against software based attacks but the computer is still vulnerable to hardware based attacks. An example of such attack would be a cold-boot attack where a user doesn’t let the computer shut down completely. This attack relies on data to be in the RAM after power has been removed.
Recently, I came across an astonishing article written by Ethan Marcotte for A List Apart titled Responsive Web Design. The concept of the article is quite simple: can a website be designed & developed in such a way that it is smart enough to adapt to the size of the window it’s in? Marcotte’s article attempts to answer this question.
Internet is the fastest growing media outlet, representing 28% of total media consumption; this is surpassed only by television. Mobile internet represents over 20% of internet traffic and is growing faster than the internet as a whole. Mobile web traffic increased by 110% last year alone, and is expected to grow even faster in coming years due do skyrocketing sales of 3G smart phones. This growth is expected to cause mobile internet usage to overtake desktop usage by the year 2014. Meaning by 2014, the number of people who view your site through the window of the mobile internet will exceed the number of views from desktops.
Many popular websites have already rolled out mobile versions, such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Bing, eBay and all major news outlets. Mobile browsers have recently taken large steps to improve compatibility with standard websites starting with Apple’s iPhone mobile Safari, which included upgraded rendering and navigational capabilities. This allows mobile browsers to rival desktops in display quality giving mobile users full access to websites.
This does not mean they are without their shortcomings, as a heavy mobile internet user myself, I am always disappointed and irritated when I visit a website that does not render properly on my phone. Screen sizes on phones (which are the most popular mobile device by far) are relatively small, making navigation difficult on websites that aren’t optimized for mobile viewing. When viewed from a mobile device a cluttered or busy page can become all but impossible to navigate, with parts overlapping or not showing up at all, rendering an otherwise fully functional website obsolete and useless to potential customers.
A site that is not optimized for mobile view will deter viewers from staying very long and they will take their business to other, better optimized sites. If you were to visit the mobile pages of any of those sites I mentioned earlier, you would notice they are all very simple, and straightforward. There should be no clutter and ample spacing for finger navigation; links to other important pages need to be large, well placed and easily noticeable while extra content is hidden or collapsible. Users of mobile devices are generally avid users and it can be assumed that they understand the advanced functionality of compressed data techniques.
Mobile web use is accelerating very quickly, as are its abilities to accurately display websites, but due to size limitations, a mobile experience will never be the same as one on the desktop. However, that does not mean that content or the overall user experience should be abridged. It is the job of developers and content providers to accommodate for this difference in order to reach their mobile audience more readily or risk losing them.
It is not just consumers of art, music and media that look for one-on-one relationships with their favorite vendors. All consumers are consumers of information. Blogs, user reviews, activity feeds, news feeds, social sites, professional directories, websites or mini-sites, streaming audio and video or content management – there are dozens of tools and tricks and resources to make the relationship between consumer and resource stronger. And it can be confusing to navigate them all. They can be over done or simply ignored.
Finding the balance is key. The complications of integrating social media and interactive tools and systems into daily marketing activities can by eased by seeing where and how engaging your audiences can be beneficial to you and them.
The concept of a 24-hour Government addresses the need for Government agencies, departments, organizations and municipalities to provide services without concern for physical location, time of day or familiarity with process.
At AVATAR we concern ourselves often with how individuals interact with information. Or, more precisely, how information that an individual desires can be delivered in a way that meets that individual’s expectations. Epistemological issues with the acquisition of knowledge being a subject for a separate work, let’s establish that communicating large amounts of information into reasonable categories for the uninitiated is a complex task and that this is particularly a concern for information delivery for Government bodies.
Looking at the general make up of a Government body we see a breakdown of their information into the following rough categories: processes, forms, documents, individuals and services.
Processes (any interaction with particular action, age requirements, and date-related info). Increase transparency of the process of Government by educating citizens on the roles of departments, funding, individuals and the community will result in more balanced information.
Forms (specific materials that are used to communicate requests or intentions)
Documents (written record of facts, laws or definition of processes, forms)
Individuals are often the largest repository of assistance and information, streamlining access to those individuals will maximize their effectiveness.
Any action performed by a department or individual as defined by a process.
Communication factors are physical and non-physical barriers that require special consideration when designing the information flow. For Government bodies, these factors are:
Access to information by appropriate parties and interaction with official content such as specific forms requiring physical signatures.
Many citizens with disabilities can be better served by being provided access to services and assistance from the comfort of their own homes.
The imposed requirements of most Government bodies to provide information has given many file clerks headaches. Being aware of the need to provide unilateral access to information and documentation will allow information management to be designed to simplify and improve how this information is distributed.