James Dowen

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Internet Trends Report 2015

At around this time every year, Mary Meeker (business partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) releases a full insight into current internet usage and mobile trends.

The report was revealed at yesterday’s Recode Code Conference, and has been embedded below:

To summarise some key points from the report:

  • The Internet population has grew by 8% this year.
  • New Internet users are “likely” to access the Internet via a mobile device upon their first visit
  • In the U.S., 64% of people are online using a smartphone
  • Mobile subscriptions have grew to 7 billion
  • Time spent on mobile devices has grew by a massive 29%
  • 87% of teenagers claim that their phone never leaves their side, whether it be day or night

Overall, the report contains literally hundreds of pages of data – which is well worth a read.

This shows that the Internet is still growing vastly on an annual basis. Moreover, we can see the mobile market beginning to completely dominate much of today’s Internet usage.

Because of this, it’s important that your website is mobile friendly. If it isn’t, there are potentially a lot of people which aren’t visiting your website because of this, especially as Google is now using mobile friendliness as a ranking factor.

Koolwan – Chinese Holiday Website

Recently, I launched a website for the Chinese-targeted Spanish holiday villa company, Koolwan. This is a fully functional website which has been fully designed and developed bespoke by myself. Aimed at the Chinese market, Koolwan has the following features:

  • Advanced search facility
  • Online booking system with options to add extras to the booking, with on the fly price calculation and a dynamic payment system
  • A bespoke CMS to allow Koolwan to manage bookings themselves, create vouchers, etc
  • User accounts (including profile picture, the ability to view past bookings, etc)
  • Voucher code facility
  • And much more

Yin Wang, Business Development Manager at Koolwan, had the following to say:

James is an amazing programmer.  He is very patient, and always solved any issues along the way very quickly.  I am very happy to have worked with him. Great job!

koolwan

I wish Yin and Koolwan the best of luck with the future of their business.

If you’re looking for a web designer and/or web developer, then please get in touch as I’m available to take on more work.

Bespoke is always the best option when it comes to building a website; there is more flexibility, it’s easier to scale as your website grows, you aren’t tied down to the design of ready made templates (which other sites will also be using), your website is more secure, it’s more efficient with faster loading times, and so much more.

#KeepHartBeautiful

I was recently approached on Twitter to create a website for the #KeepHartBeautiful campaign. It was simply a one page website with a logo and some text, allowing the campaign to express their thoughts without the 140 character limit on Twitter.

I went on and created the website for free (because I’m good like that and knew it wouldn’t take me long) for this good cause. Now I’m not from the Hart District of Hampshire, I’m from Birmingham (as many of you would know if you’ve spoken to me on the phone) – but I do wish #KeepHartBeautiful the best of luck and I also hope they reach their target on Kickstarter.

Testimonial from Joel Davis, of The Social Ad Team

Joel contacted me with an exact vision of what he wanted. He had everything from his logo, to his website, briefed in a document which he had given to me beforehand – which was great in assisting me to understand what Joel wanted from The Social Ad Team website.

I went on to do the following for The Social Ad Team:

  • Logo design
  • Website design
  • Website development
  • Responsive web design
  • Blog
  • On-page SEO
  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Website analytics

It has been a real pleasure to work with James. He is passionate about his work, responsive, creative and incredibly fast.

This was a bespoke build, allowing for greater flexibility, easy scalability in the future, more customisation, and an overall more efficient website.

Most of my clients’ websites use my bespoke CMS to edit content, publish blog posts, etc.  but I’ve actually trialed something new on the CMS for The Social Ad Team – a new WYSIWYG editor (but a million times better than the others out there). This new content editor allows the client to edit content by simply opening up the live website, clicking wherever they’d like to edit and just start typing. How simple is that? There isn’t even a “save” button as it saves automatically. I hope to use this on all future websites.

Visit The Social Ad Team at socialadteam.co.uk.

I’m available to hire.

Finally getting round to using Idiorm in PHP

Over recent years, I have been using PDO in PHP to execute queries on database. Why? Because it’s easy to use and most of all, it’s secure – meaning I no longer had to worry about SQL injection.

Some time ago though, I was introduced to Idiorm by a co-developer on a large project. He hadn’t used it much himself, but we decided to use it in this instance so I went away and read it’s documentation. After using it for a couple of weeks, I have now begun to use it on any new projects I develop from now on.

Here’s what I found:

  • It’s even easier
  • It dramatically speeds up development
  • It allows the mapping of database column names to working field names
  • Data access is simple

 

To show the difference:

What I might have done before using Idiorm:


What I do now I am using Idiorm:

 

Testimonial from Alex Ferguson, of Freight Negotiate

I often receive testimonials from clients when completing a job for them – but I never actually post them anywhere in the public domain. So this is definitely something I’m going to be doing more often.

I recently developed a website for a company called Freight Negotiate. Alex Ferguson, Managing Director, approached me with a vision of exactly what she wanted. Freight Negotiate was to be a modern and dynamic platform that allows companies to ship their products around the world by allowing various hauliers to bid on shipments, resulting in cheaper rates for shippers and more work for hauliers.

After various email discussions and a meeting, Alex decided to move forward with the project. When Freight Negotiate launched recently, Alex had the following to say:

I am really impressed with the site and to produce something this good in such a short space of time is phenomenal. It has been a pleasure working with you and I certainly look forward to growing the business with the aid of your web development skills in the near future.

Freight Negotiate launched with the following features:

  • Instant messaging
  • Live bidding
  • Advanced search functions
  • A dynamic payment system (including 30 day credit applications)
  • Free registration
  • Secure SSL
  • Simple shipment management
  • And so much more!

I wish Alex and Freight Negotiate great success in the future.

April Fools on the Internet – 2015

Every year, the services we use every day on the web tend to play tricks on us when it comes around to April Fools Day. Whether it be “announcing a new feature”, or “testing something out”, you’ll usually find that Google, YouTube, and Amazon alike have something in-store for us all. So this year, I’ve decided to search the web for the best pranks from the services we use on a daily basis.

Google Maps Pac-Man

google-maps-pac-man

 

If you head on over to Google Maps today, you will notice the new Pac-Man mode at the bottom of the screen (where Earth/Terrain view can be toggled). You can simply navigate to an area of your choice around the world, toggle Pac-Man mode and play for hours. Pretty cool eh?

Amazon’s Dash Button

I’m not too sure how I feel about this one, but I’m pretty sure this is an April Fools joke. Let’s say it’s 11pm and you’re making a cup of tea and realize you’re on the last tea bag (and you can’t be bothered to go out and get any more in the morning), well not a problem at all with Dash. Just click the Dash Button on your pack of teabags to automatically order some more. Welcome to the innovative world of Amazon! Watch the video below…

*note, for Prime members only

Samsung Galaxy BLADE Edge

Samsung have announced that they are extremely proud to introduce the world’s first smart knife, the Galaxy BLADE Edge. It’s safe, waterproof, fireproof, and even has a built in thermometer – quite a sweet innovation. It’s kitted out with Samsung’s Kitchen app, which automatically connects the device to other Samsung kitchen appliances to automate cooking. Custom handles are also available.

blade_spec

Google Reverse

Google are a company who think ahead of our time to create innovative products and services that we should find useful; so they’ve introduced Google Reverse over at com.google.

Windows Phone’s MS-DOS

Back in the day, before a graphical user interface was present on operating systems, Microsoft users had to be familiar with MS-DOS to get things done. Today, it looks like Microsoft are bringing MS-DOS into the mobile market. Download the app here.

 

What’s responsive design and why is it so important?

We live in a world of smartphones, tablets, and thousands of different devices – all with different screen sizes. As a web developer, it’s my job to keep up with the trend and ensure websites I build adopt this responsive strategy.

What is responsive design?

Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).

Wikipedia

As Wikipedia states above, responsive design ensures that your website is optimized for all screen sizes, ranging from desktop computers, to tablets, to smartphones.

It also works as one website. For example, years ago when visiting a website on your desktop computer you’d remain on www.domain.com. However, if you was to visit that website on your phone, you’d be redirected to m.domain.com – a completely seperate website built specifically for smartphones. Today though, if you was to visit a website that’s responsive on you computer and drag the browser window down in size then the website would adapt to the new screen size – this is a prime example of responsive design and how it works.

Why is responsive design so important?

As previously mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are thousands of variations of different devices out there, all varying in size. As there is no standard width for a smartphone or tablet, it becomes more and more practical to have a responsive website by the day.

Future proof

Making your website responsive not only makes it look good on phones, it also makes it futureproof. Not only will it work well on devices which are currently on the market – it will also work on devices to come for a number of years.

It’s more SEO friendly

Did you know Google are now using responsive design as a ranking factor? If your website is responsive and your competitors isn’t, then you have one over on them when people are searching for your services or products.

Cost effective

Building a mobile version of a website would probably double your design and development costs – as effectively two websites are being designed and developed. However, responsive design is part of the same website. You only ever have one website which adapts to screen size. While some freelancers/agencies charge for responsive web design as an optional extra, others (like myself) include it as a standard.


 

Everyday, more and more websites go responsive. If yours is not yet responsive, then now is a good time to consider it. If you’re looking to get a new website developed, then ensure it’s responsive too.

Update: March 2015

As of April 21st 2015, Google will be penalizing websites that aren’t mobile friendly in mobile search results. Get a responsive website now.

Update: April 2015

Read more about mobile websites at Google Developers. Here, you can check if your website is already mobile friendly, read best SEO practices, and more. – Thanks to Thomas Digby.

Quote of the day – 17th October 2014

The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks

– Mark Zuckerberg

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Copyright © 2017 - James Dowen

Freelance Web Developer