Your very own digital assistant Google offers two new services for its enterprise customers, the most notable being Google Springboard – your very own digital assistant especially designed for enterprise companies which use Google’s services for business purposes. Springboard has been in testing with a small number of customers until now but it’s been finally released so you can enjoy more power at your fingertips. Google Springboard features a single search interface which uses artificial intelligence to gather and sort information from Google’s other products such as Google Docs, Calendar, Gmail, Google Drive and more. Prabhakar Raghavan, VP of Engineering for Google Apps states „the average knowledge worker [currently] spends the equivalent of one full day a week searching for and gathering information.” Apart from its improved search capabilities, Springboard also provides users with “useful and actionable information and recommendations” which they can use to solve tasks and assignments throughout their day. Google Sites gets better as well Google Sites also boasts a new design as well as a few interesting features. Google Sites is Google’s information portal used to house internal company information such as newsletters, reports and so on. Google Sites users can now use the improved drag and drop interface for easier use and editing can be done in real time by different parties. Google Sites also became friendlier towards different kinds of screen – now it can support any screen from a 30 inch monitor to a smart phone or laptop. Conclusions It will be interesting to see the users’ reaction to these new apps. It remains to be seen if Google’s Springboard can fully replace a personal assistant, but I guess we’ll see the answer to that in the future – Google plans to expand and improve Springboard with more useful features.
Adrian Ababei / Jun 14'2016
According to Content Marketing Institute’s latest report, only 28 percent consider their efforts effective. That’s less than B2B or B2C content marketers reported, suggesting that enterprise businesses face some unique challenges when it comes to building an effective content marketing campaign. To help combat these challenges, here are five primary objectives content marketers should target when working with an enterprise-level business. 1. Staying organized. Content marketing is a complicated task for businesses of any size, but enterprise marketers seem to have the most difficulty staying organized. Only 31 percent of enterprise marketers actually have a documented strategy. And fewer than half have a dedicated content marketing group. This likely poses major challenges for managing all the component parts of a successful content marketing campaign, such as: • Setting goals • Creating content • Managing social media • Promoting content • Analyzing your efforts Content marketing is a continuous process that only works well if all these tasks are consistently managed. Building a team that’s accountable for each task is an invaluable objective in making content marketing more effective in an enterprise environment. The team can develop and manage a documented strategy, which makes it possible to measure, adjust, and improve your efforts later on. 2. Marketing to diverse audiences. Enterprise companies have more audiences to target than any other kind of business. The average number is six, but some target more than 10. It’s good that enterprise businesses are already making the effort to develop targeted content that suits many different tastes, but diverse marketing is still a major challenge in and of itself. Enterprise content marketers need to go beyond developing several buyer personas and creating a customer journey for each with their content. They also have to make sure their efforts are properly segmented, which is not an easy task with six or more audiences to reach. That’s why it’s important for enterprise content marketers to take advantage of various marketing and segmentation tools to create the most personalized experience possible -- for their whole audience. 3. Finding the right talent. Gaps in knowledge and skills of the internal team, finding trained content marketing professionals, and producing a variety of content are all bigger challenges for enterprise marketers than other businesses. Even major companies with a large pool of employees can’t get optimum marketing results without taking advantage of the right outside talent. Inbound marketers as a whole have been increasing their use of outside talent for their marketing content: This is an important strategy that enterprise content marketers need to pay attention to if they want to overcome the gaps in knowledge of their internal team. The right freelance or agency talent can provide a quick solution to the need to create a variety of content as well. Writers, designers, programmers, social media specialists and more can be found affordably online and the potential return on investment (ROI) can be high compared to retraining current employees or hiring new ones. 4. Communicating across departments. Enterprise companies, much more than other B2B companies, say the lack of integration across marketing is a major challenge. This issue makes sense considering the traditional structure of enterprise companies – departments are often siloed, making it difficult to effectively collaborate on marketing tasks. Content marketing requires close collaboration between diverse teams, such as: • IT workers • Writers • Sales teams • Designers • Public relations Communicating across departments is an objective that enterprise-level content marketers need to focus heavily on. The task becomes easier if: • You put content marketing leaders in each department in charge of encouraging communication • You make efforts to meet regularly and discuss your campaigns with employees involved • You take advantage of marketing platforms and communication tools that simplify remote collaboration 5. Getting buy-in. Enterprise B2B content marketers also struggle with getting buy-in/vision from people in charge in their organization. This disconnect between the apparent value of content marketing and its adoption is also reflected in marketing spend based on company size: The bigger the business, the less spent on inbound strategies. The fact that enterprise companies struggle more than other businesses to get budget and buy-in for content marketing makes sense if you consider what’s involved. For a small business, it only takes one person understanding the value of content marketing to revamp the business strategy. When you’re working with business executives who’ve spent their lives marketing outbound, on the other hand, getting buy-in and budget can be a challenge. Meeting this challenge should be a major focus for enterprise content marketers who want to have an impactful strategy. The best way to do this is to demonstrate the benefits of content marketing for your business. Proving ROI is the most powerful way to get buy-in and unlock budget -- marketers who show ROI are more likely to secure bigger budgets year-to-year. Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com
Adrian Ababei / Jun 13'2016
Microsoft scientists have demonstrated that by analyzing large samples of search engine queries they may in some cases be able to identify internet users who are suffering from pancreatic cancer, even before they have received a diagnosis of the disease. The scientists said they hoped their work could lead to early detection of cancer. “We asked ourselves, ‘If we heard the whispers of people online, would it provide strong evidence or a clue that something’s going on?’” Dr. Horvitz said. The researchers focused on searches conducted on Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, that indicated someone had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. From there, they worked backward, looking for earlier queries that could have shown that the Bing user was experiencing symptoms before the diagnosis. Those early searches, they believe, can be warning flags. While five-year survival rates for pancreatic cancer are extremely low, early detection of the disease can prolong life in a very small percentage of cases. The study suggests that early screening can increase the five-year survival rate of pancreatic patients to 5 to 7 percent, from just 3 percent. The researchers reported that they could identify from 5 to 15 percent of pancreatic cases with false positive rates of as low as one in 100,000. The researchers noted that false positives could lead to raised medical costs or create significant anxiety for people who later found out they were not sick. The data used by the researchers was anonymized, meaning it did not carry identifying markers like a user name, so the individuals conducting the searches could not be contacted. A logical next step would be to figure out what to do with that search information. One possibility would be some sort of health service where users could allow their searches to be collected, allowing scientists to monitor for questions that indicate warning flag symptoms. “The question, ‘What might we do? Might there be a Cortana for health some day?’” said Dr. Horvitz, in a reference to the company’s speech-oriented online personal assistant software service. Although the researchers declined to offer specific details, Dr. White is now the chief technology officer of health intelligence in a recently created Health & Wellness division at Microsoft. They acknowledged that health-related data generated from web search histories was still new territory for the medical profession. “I think the mainstream medical literature has been resistant to these kinds of studies and this kind of data,” Dr. Horvitz said. “We’re hoping that this stimulates quite a bit of interesting conversation.” The new research is based on the ability of the Microsoft team to accurately distinguish between web searches that are casual or based on anxiety and those that are genuine searches for specific medical symptoms by people who are experiencing them, he noted. Both a computer scientist and a medical doctor by training, Dr. Horvitz said he had been exploring this area in part because of a phone conversation with a close friend who had described symptoms. Based on their conversation, Dr. Horvitz advised him to contact his doctor. He received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and died several months later. The availability of vast sets of behavior data based on individual web queries using the search engines offered by companies like Google and Microsoft has for a number of years been seen as a potential indicator of health-related information. In 2009, Google published a research paper that explored the potential of early detection of flu epidemics based on statistical analysis of web search logs, though the results of that effort ultimately fell short of what had been hoped. More recently, Microsoft researchers have had significant success in finding early evidence of adverse drug reactions from patterns observed in web logs. In 2013, they detected unreported side effects of prescription drugs before they were found by the Food and Drug Administration’s warning system. The researchers are exploring evidence related to a range of devastating diseases. They also said that unlike the drug interaction data, which would be of direct value to the F.D.A. as an early alert, it was possible that symptom alert data might be made available as part of a broader online health service that a company like Microsoft might offer. Source: http://www.nytimes.com
Adrian Ababei / Jun 10'2016
Card based design is growing more and more popular and now Google wants to get in on the action as well. Google wants to switch its mobile search results to a new design called „rich cards”. The new design is a direct successor to Google’s already popular rich snippets feature. But the makeover doesn’t stop there – Google’s planning to redesign desktop search results with a completely new layout. Google Search Gets a Makeover Rich snippets are search results composed from a preview of the page’s text as well as small pictures. Google doesn’t intend to replace rich snippets but only complement and build on them in order to improve user experience. Rich cards will be displayed in a carousel format which is easy to navigate by simply swiping right or left. The carousel can show cards from different sites or the same site. Webmasters are excited about Google’s makeover since it allows them to stand out in the search results and market their products more effectively. This new design based on rich cards can also improve organic traffic in some cases. Currently, Google is implementing the new layout for just two content categories: movies and recipes. Content Categories Based on Visuals Will Experience The Change First These two content categories are perfect for this change – the visual nature of these categories will increase organic traffic for websites. Food site owners can create rich previews of their website’s content by featuring appealing images for each dish or recipe. The same applies to movie sites with graphics and posters. The main difference between the original snippets and Google’s upgraded rich card snippets is simply the number of images which webmasters can features. Rich snippets were released 6 years ago and could feature just one image in search results. Nowadays webmasters will be able to feature a series of images with the carousel system. Before you go mobile to check out Google’s new layout keep in mind that right now only people using the English mobile version of Google can see the rich cards layout. The new layout will also experience multiple changes and improvements as Google is experimenting with new ways of providing richer previews in their search results and it’s only a matter of time before other types of content will benefit from rich card snippets. Google Webmaster Tools Gets Upgraded Google also offers integration with the Google Search Console, also known as Google Webmaster Tools – site owners will be able to see data related to their rich cards. This will help them monitor search performance more closely. If you want to check out how the rich cards work in Search just head on to Google’s Search Gallery and see screenshots of mark-up type samples and cards. Another interesting change is Google’s Knowledge Graph – this is the system that collects information about people, things and places in order to understand how they are all connected. Knowledge Graph cards will be placed inline, effectively prioritizing them over competing website. This leads to a more cleaner and simplified look for Google’s search results. The new desktop search design has practical features as well – now users have to scroll down to see more results – Knowledge Graph cards for locations can take up a lot of space. Here is the list of changes for Desktop Search Results: Wider tabs for News, Images and All tabs Sub-links will show up under the main result, in a group with the same cards Stories from the „in the news” list will appear in the same card The „people also search for” list will show up at the bottom of the search results page and not in the sidebar Google’s new experimental layout will surely help site owners get noticed much easier in mobile search results and receive more organic traffic. It’s likely that the carrousels will replace written text more and more and the movement towards rich, image-based snippets as opposed to simple text content is obvious.
Adrian Ababei / Jun 09'2016
Adrian Ababei / Jun 07'2016
Adrian Ababei / Jun 06'2016
Eye tracking technology has been in the research phase for quite a while now but the good news is that this new software opens the door to it for anyone with a website. Just about any website owner can use Webgazer to optimize their content and graphics. WebGazer – where it all began WebGazer.js was developed by the scientists at Brown University – it’s very easy to implement and can be added to any site in just a couple of minutes with a few lines of code. The software runs on the website visitor’s browser, effectively turning the webcam into an eye tracker which can see where the visitor is looking on the page. The idea behind this is to help developers make websites more user friendly by optimizing content. Once the software is embedded onto a website, WebGazer will ask users for permission to access their webcams – once permission is given, WebGazer will use face detection software to locate the user’s eyes and face. The program will then convert the image to black and white in order to clearly distinguish the user’s eyes and iris. Once the iris is located, the system uses a statistical model which is calibrated via the user’s cursor movements and clicks. This model works by assuming that a visitor looks at the spot where they just clicked and each click tells the model where the eye looks when it’s viewing a part of the page. Reasonable calibration is achieved in around three clicks and after that WebGazer can accurately guess the viewer’s gaze in real time. Alexandra Papoutsaki, a graduate student from Brown University states: “We see this as a democratization of eye-tracking. Anyone can add WebGazer to their site and get a much richer set of analytics compared to just tracking clicks or cursor movements.” Privacy and experiments There’s no need to worry about privacy when using WebGazer as no video is shared through the software – only the user’s gaze is reported back to the website. Alexandra P. performed a few experiments in order to properly test and evaluate the system – results show that it can infer gaze location in 100-200 screen pixels. While this may not be as accurate as commercial eye tracking software, it’s still a good estimation of where your users are looking. WebGazer could help developers optimize their pages, create more eye catching content or plan their prices space accordingly. Not only that but in the future we might see WebGazer being used for accessibility reasons or eye controlled gaming. WebGazer’s code is currently available for free use by anyone interested. It will be fascinating to see how WebGazer will evolve and change the way we view the web.
Adrian Ababei / Jun 03'2016
Google recently launched a new tool which aims to help business owners determine their website speed and mobile friendliness on tablets and smartphones.Mobile searches recently surpassed desktop searches and since more and more people surf the internet through mobile devices it’s critical for webmasters to check if their website is performant, functional, accessible and mobile friendly. Google’s New ToolGoogle’s new website testing tool is very simple and user friendly – you don’t have to be a technical person to try it out. Just type in your website’s address and the tool will analyse your site, scoring it according to certain requirements. The tool offers more detailed reports as well as suggestions on how to fix things – you can then use this information yourself or pass it along to your webmaster.Google offers plenty of testing tools for sites, including the Mobile Friendly Test, PageSpeed Insights and PageSpeed Tools but most of these tools are aimed at users with some technical knowledge – the new testing tool is aimed at business owners and non-technical users simply through its ease of use. Faster resultsThe tool shows scores in green for good, yellow for fair and red for poor. The user interface is greatly simplified as well. That being said, the new tool is powered by PageSpeed Insights – the idea is to get a fast overview of your website’s speed, mobile friendliness and performance at a glance.Google has increased its effort on mobile web where it created new technologies such as Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP – these pages load much faster than web pages and use much less data. Google’s search algorithm has also been updated and having a mobile friendly website is more important than ever. More and more users shift to mobile devices and Google is paving the way to a more pleasurable user experience for all parties involved.
Adrian Ababei / Jun 02'2016
If you are a developer or a web development agency and you’ve just built a web development prototype, you might often find yourself in a bit of a pickle – your users might find it ugly or your web development demo might look very bad. Here are a few "golden" design tips for web development, guidelines on how to make your web development demos look as good as they deserve. Keep your cool, By Far One of The Most Valuable Design Tips for Web Development One way of putting it is like this: “Good design, when it’s done well, becomes invisible. It’s only when it’s done poorly that we notice it.”. Jared Spool’s quote is spot on for all design work but it’s especially true when it comes to web development and demos. If you are building a web development demo users shouldn’t really pay attention to the design aspects of it, but its functionality and purpose. If you’re trying to make your demo more stylistic, you’re actually moving away from your ultimate goal – keep it simple and focus on its functionality. If it doesn’t look as good as you’d want it to be, try removing some web development design elements such as effects, borders or shadows. Try to avoid complex color palettes Poor color choices can make or break a design – your color picks should be made during the UI design process, even if it can be tempting to make bold color choices early in the project. When making the UI wireframe, you’ll begin using monochrome rudimentary lines and shapes. Once you finished that part, you can start adding more details until you reach the color aspects of your project. Here are a few tips when picking your colors: It’s a good idea to keep your demos monochrome with plenty of greys until you’re ready to color it up properly. Another tip is to avoid fully saturated colors, especially when your demo will be viewed on an illuminated screen as this can lead to discomfort for your users. In the same time, you should avoid black and white due to the same reasons as previously stated – sticking to shades of color will make your users less tired and improve UX. Add color to your monochrome design but do it just one at a time – each color can be a distraction to your users. Pro tip: you can use a range of saturations of just one color – this will offer plenty of variety and you basically can’t go wrong. Simple typography works best If you’re building a web development prototype or a demo there’s no need to for fancy fonts but here are a few pointers on typography: If you don’t know what to pick, sans-serif works best in all situations. Serif fonts usually have details where strokes terminate. These fonts can help you bring a little bit of personality to your design and at the same time make your text easier to read. While serif fonts have some advantages, they’re not usually used for UI design since at smaller sizes they display varied stroke weights. Other fonts you should take a look at are humanist droid sans, used by Google in their Android interface, noto, and roboto. If you’re an Apple fan you can go for San Francisco or Neue Helvetica. Firefox OS uses Fira Sans. All these are sans-serif fonts which you can use for your project. Sometimes characters can be difficult to distinguish – combinations such as 9g, 6b, 2Z, 5S, I11 or 8B can be very confusing for users, depending on the font chosen. It’s best to first test them out in order to see readability and if that’s fine keep using it, if not, do some changes. White space works wonders Functional space or white space helps web development designers in many different ways – this space reduces your visitor eye strain, can help draw attention to particular areas of your page and creates a general sense of balance. Cramped UI will make users tired and uncomfortable but keep in mind that “less is more” works perfectly at this stage. More breathing space will offer your users a breather as well – boosting line heights, margins and plenty of padding works great. And this is one of those priceless design tips for web development to put on top of your "must-do" list.Spread everything out on your design and it will look much better. Spacing needs to be consistent throughout your design – consistency is the key to harmony and rhythm. Improve your web development workflow Foundation and Bootstrap can be a great help to developers even though they receive criticism for making websites look too generic – these tools are perfect for prototypes. Foundation and Bootstrap actually make the right choices on your behalf, leaving you with ample time to focus on other aspects of your project. Spare yourself the extra work and just grab templates from Foundation or Bootstrap which you can customize to fit your style. Most of these templates are very comprehensive, so you’ll definitely have all the pieces you need to get going. Conclusions By following these design tips for web development you’ll smooth any problems you may encounter when building a prototype or demo.
Adrian Ababei / May 31'2016