Adriana Cacoveanu

Adriana Cacoveanu

ADRIANA CACOVEANU, Content Writer

Adriana is the OPTASY team's digital content creator and copywriter. Her “mission” within our team is to masterfully blend the 2 main ingredients' listed in any valuable blog post's recipe (valuable information + the reader-friendly writing), as well as to craft informative and engaging content promoting our work: study cases on Drupal.org, fresh content for various pages on our company website, e-book content etc.
 

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Magento vs Shopify 2019: 10 Most Important Evaluation Criteria to Consider- Part 1
It's either one or the other: you're either planning to set up your eStore or to port it to a new platform. So, the question “haunting” you right now must be: "In a Magento vs Shopify 2019 debate, which one's the most suitable for my e-commerce website?" For, it's a “no-brainer”: There's no such thing as “the best” eCommmerce platform, but "the best suited one for one's specific e-commerce feature needs". For his/her particular niche specifications and business requirements. In this respect:   on one hand, you have the “all-in-one” Shopify, a hosted e-commerce solution, famous for its ease of use and high level of convenience for novice e-store owners … basically, if you have no coding skills or a dedicated web development team and it's a small-medium size store that you have in mind, Shopify empowers you to set it up quick and easy while on the other hand you have powerful Magento shipping with a heavy load of extensions and advanced eCommerce features, perfectly equipped to power complex, large eCommerce stores   A simple, intuitive UI vs a rich collection of built-in robust features. Ease of use vs a high level of customization... A paid e-commerce solution or a free, open-source one, but with auxiliary costs (e.g. hosting)? Now, here are the 10 most important criteria to properly evaluate the 2 e-store creation and management solutions. Note: with each factor that you'll consider, do keep in mind to always look at those results against your own feature requirements, priorities, and limitations.   1. Basic Web Store Functionality From checkout modules to shopping carts, to product pages, both e-commerce platforms provide you with the essential functionality that you need to get your store up and running. And still, there are differences that you'll most likely identify when evaluating them based on this criterion:   Shopify is easier to use; thanks to its simple, conveniently intuitive user interface, you can create your new e-Store, unlock and leverage all that basic functionality in no time Magento goes far beyond the basic functionality that you need to get everything set: it provides you, right out of the box, with all those advanced features that, in case of Shopify, you can benefit from only after you've first added the corresponding extensions   2. Available Themes and Templates Any Magento vs Shopify 2019 comparison would reveal to you that: both e-commerce platforms are “spoiling” their users with their rich theme and template collections. And I'm talking here about responsive templates, as well (both free of charge and... with a price tag on). In this case: how do you rank them differently? First of all, although Shopify provides fewer free themes than Magento, they're considerably more modern, more visually appealing, compared to Magento's free themes... Furthermore, there's also another factor that sets them apart: while Shopify provides premium themes starting from $80, Magento's premium themes are way cheaper (starting from... $1) 3. SEO Capabilities This is one of the categories in this “duel” where... there's no winner. Both Magento and Shopify ship packed with extensive SEO-friendly features, that you can power your e-store with and... give your rankings a boost.   4. Magento vs Shopify 2019: Supported Payment Gateways A category from this “competition” of the 2 most popular e-commerce platforms where Shopify seems to outshine its... competitor. It supports +70 payment gateways, while Magento could only reach that record via integrated 3rd party apps.   5. Ease of Use  Another aspect where Shopify steals the spotlight away from its “rivaling” platform.  Although both of them ship with well-designed, intuitive user interfaces, Shopify:   provides you with a wizard to help you set up your e-store in no time; no web development experience needed is a fully-hosted, fully-managed e-commerce solution; unlike Magento, that requires you to find your own hosting and to approach it with some level of technical expertise in order to set up your store...   END of Part 1. Stay tuned, for I have 5 more important criteria to share with you. Criteria that will allow you to run an accurate  “Magento vs Shopify 2019” evaluation and to identify the most suitable e-commerce platform for your specific needs and priorities... Image by suju from Pixabay. ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / May 14'2019
Save the Date: Magento Imagine 2019, the Meeting Point of the Global eCommerce Community, Is Almost Here!
May 13-15, Las Vegas. You don't want to miss these dates if you're: an eCommerce expert, a Magento merchant, a Magento developer, a marketing technology provider, a Magento partner or an e-business owner... The Magento Imagine 2019 is just around the corner and is that annual gathering of the members of the eCommerce community across the globe that... you can't afford to skip. Take it as:   an opportunity to get inspired by some of the biggest innovators in eCommerce a great chance to network and mingle with industry leaders the chance to be among the first to learn about the latest Magento news right from the company's executives... the annual event where all those who've excelled as Magento merchants, brands or branded manufacturers get spotlighted and honored   1. What To Expect? “3 days jampacked with breakout and special sessions, live keynote sessions, customer panels, and networking events”.  There'll be 3000:   Magento merchants agencies technology providers developers partners   ... from +60 countries “flocking” to Vegas for this annual gathering. Therefore, expect an “avalanche” of shared best practices, innovative ideas, unique Magento experiences, and “steamy fresh” Magento news and updates.  And speaking of shared Magento experiences, here are just some of the big names in the digital commerce arena coming to... inspire you, as speakers:   Troy Brown, President of North America at Zumiez Inc. Jules Pieri, The Grommet's Co-founder & CEO Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia & Chairman of VaynerX   2. Magento Imagine 2019: The Excellence Awards Categories Ok, so we've got this settled: the Magento Imagine Awards recognize and reward successful and creative merchants and partners all over the world.  “But what are the awards categories, more precisely?”, you might ask yourself. They range from:   “Best-in-class omnichannel experience” to “Best B2B innovations” to “Best digital experience” to “Best mobile commerce experience”   … and the list goes on, as there are 15 different categories of excellence in digital commerce.   3. Why Would You Attend It?  Let's say you're not one of the nominees: why would you want to attend Magento Imagine 2019? What's in it for you?  Here's how it benefits you:   you'll be the first to learn all the “juicy” news and updates about Magento, the latest platform developments and opportunities in eCommerce to explore and... to exploit you'll get the chance to learn and to grow your own e-business: from best practices presentations to inspiring case studies, to training opportunities and to the latest products in Magento sponsors' marketplace, it makes an event “packed” with... growth opportunities for you to leverage you'll be networking and mingling with senior executives, eCommerce innovators, marketers, developers from the Magento ecosystem, so expect a “flood” of creative ideas, strategies, and technologies coming through, from all the biggest innovators in the digital marketing arena...   3 full days of learning, letting yourself be inspired and collaborating from/by/with everyone in the Magento community who aims for excellence in their field... Image by Tumisu from Pixabay  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / May 08'2019
Looking for a Drupal 8 Rating Module? Here Is a Top 5 Flexible and User-Friendly Rating and Review Modules
Looking for a Drupal 8 rating module that should be:   easy to install easy to configure easy to use conveniently flexible and user-friendly?   And maybe you “crave” for some nice-to-have features, as well:   enabling users to add a short review multiple ratings: enabling users to vote on several aspects of your product/service, such as price, quality, ease of use?   What are your options? What working (and stable) modules for rating and reviewing are there in Drupal 8?  We've done the research for you, evaluated all the modules for rating in Drupal 8, and come up with a list of 6 best... rated ones:   1. Voting API     Keep in mind that this Drupal 8 rating module doesn't provide a voting mechanism, packed with all the key voting features. Instead, it structures the voting data for other rating modules to leverage. What it does provide you with is a standardized API and voting data storing schema. Therefore, it streamlines the whole process of retrieving and organizing the voting results for various pieces of content on your Drupal 8 website. Top features:   multi-criteria voting caching the voting results (and it does that in a highly efficient manner, with no need to recalculate them...) enables users to rate any type of content on your Drupal site (users, comments, nodes) automatic tabulating of the voting results   Note: keep in mind that, for now, we only have a pre-release version of the module for Drupal 8...   2. Flag Rating, A Highly Popular Drupal 8 Rating Module  An extension of the Flag module, that allows you to either:   use the default SVG icon  upload your own icon (jpg, SVG or PNG) for each flag   Furthermore, you even get 2 templates to override to your liking:   flag-rating.html.twig flag-rating-icon.html.twig   3. Star Rating Form Display       A Drupal 8 rating module that you can use to turn the “select tag” option of the Star Rating module into a more user-friendly, clickable icon. To “unlock” its functionality just:   navigate to Structure > Content type select the “Manage form display” option scroll down to your star rating field click “Star rating clickable” in the Settings screen, configure the custom display to perfectly fit your needs 4. Star Rating   If you're looking to integrate a voting functionality exclusively for the authors of the articles submitted on your website (hence, not for the end users), Flag Rating is the module you're looking for. Take it as a simple, yet useful module that provides you with a display formatter and a star rating field. In short: with the “bare necessities” for the authors to be able to rate the uploaded articles. Say you have a review website — a hotel review website — and you want to add multiple star ratings to a node:   customer service en suite and private facilities food, etc.   ... with a different icon for each node. Then, you just need to use the star rating field that this module provides... Top features:   built-in support for the Views module it doesn't require other modules (e.g. the voting API module) to work it allows you to add a different icon type per field and per view mode   5. Vote Up/Down   The Drupal 8 rating module that simplifies the entire voting process: it encourages users to express their votes through an intuitive thumb illustration. Top features:   code voting support for your pre-defined products/services interchangeable themes for your voting widget the possibility to set up your own custom widgets using ctools plugins   The END! These are your 5 best options when it comes to working Drupal 8 rating modules that should be both easy to configure and easy to use.  Have you discovered other ways of integrating a reviews feature to your Drupal 8 website? Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / May 07'2019
What Are the Best Popup Plugins for WordPress in 2019? Top 5
Disliked by users, controversial, yet a constant presence on WordPress websites and a holy grail of high conversion rates if leveraged in the right context... But how do you know which of the best popup plugins for Wordpress is the perfect match for your own use case? Well, you first identify your expectations in pop-ups. What exactly are you looking for in a popup plugin?   out-of-the-box responsiveness? a handful of highly customizable templates and design features to choose from? smooth integration with the software that you're currently using on your WordPress website? a dead easy to use, drag-and-drop popup builder? page selection and trigger option features? that it should be conveniently lightweight and fast? real-time analytics? advanced targeting options? A/B testing functionality?   Once you've articulated your needs, start digging into this shortlist of 5 best rated Wordpress popup plugins in 2019:   1. Ninja Popups     If you're looking for one of the best popup plugins for WordPress that should:   provide you with a solid, yet conveniently lightweight drag-and-drop-builder  … one that enables you to easily set up and fine-tune your popups in the slightest detail (even if you have zero coding experience) ship with tons of features to choose from allow you to either create your custom popup from scratch or to choose out of a large collection of built-in popup themes   … then Ninja Popups is the plugin that meets all your specific requirements. It's powerful, loaded with advanced features and flexible enough to empower you to customize your popup till it perfectly fits your needs. You even get to select the color and size of your popup. Other key features:   A/B testing responsive highly flexible enhanced customization a data-rich analytics page +74 animation options +73 pre-built themes an easy to use visual builder   Note: if lots of customization power is too overwhelming for you, you can always opt for its more lightweight builder and simply place your text inside one of its pre-made templates... 2. Elementor Pro     Elemenentor Pro makes another great option if the popup that you want to create is more complex than... an email opt-in, for example. Just like the Ninja Popups plugin, this one, too, allows you to build both:   popups from scratch, from a... blank slate, that you're free to custom-tune to your exact needs popups on top of one of its already pre-made templates (and it ships with +100 of popup templates...)   Full control over your popup and unmatched flexibility, thanks to all its robust features, from which its trigger/targeting options help it stand out. For example, you get to configure it so that it triggers your popup:   after a defined number of sessions after a defined number of page views based on scrolling, exit intent, clicks, inactivity, page loading   Furthermore, you to target specific content on your WordPress website where your popup should get triggered:   specific blog posts specific post formats and types certain authors, tags, categories specific devices user logged-in status   Also, the types of popups that you get to build with Elementor Pro range from:   modal forms to full-screen overlays to top/bottom notification bars to slide-ins   And the list of options doesn't end here. It's not for no reason that this is one of the best popup plugins for WordPress. It provides you with an extensive range of styling options and widgets to include in your popup:   registration forms buttons contact forms countdown timers   Notes:   it integrates seamlessly with WooCommerce you can configure it so that it triggers your popup for non-logged-in users only its most notable limitation is analytics: it doesn't provide you with A/B testing functionality and built-in analytics tools   3. OptinMonster, One of the Best Popup Plugins for WordPress      “Flexibility at its best” must be the most accurate definition for this popup builder:   it provides you with an extensive range of targeting and triggering rules … an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop editor … loads of functionality to scan through and to choose from   Like the other WordPress popup plugins on this list, it enables you to either build your popup from the ground up or to tap into one of the pre-built templates... Powerful trigger features   exit-intent triggers; and this functionality is its "specialty": it tracks and analyzes your website visitors' browsing behaviors to determine when they're most likely to leave a specific page so that it triggers the popup user inactivity time click (two-step opt-ins)   Advanced targetting features   you can adapt your offers based on whether the targeted user has already converted on one/some of your popups or not; no need to "bug" one of your website visitors with an email opt-in if he/she has already signed in to your list... you can target your popups by cookie, adblock usage, referrer, page, new vs returning visitors, device   Moreover, its easy to use builder, loaded with tones of advanced features, allows you to create other campaigns, as well, not just popups:   footer bars  in-line forms floating headers scroll triggered boxes welcome gates slide-in forms   Other "tempting" features:   A/B testing widgets that you can select from to put together your popup you even get to configure your popups to be triggered at specific times it "plays well" with your email marketing software   4. Bloom       It's with the visually-appealing interface that Bloom manages to set itself apart from the other 4 best popup plugins for WordPress here. But also with the lack of some key features:   it doesn't ship with a popup builder, so you can't use it to create popups from scratch it's designed precisely for email opt-ins it doesn't provide an exit-intent trigger option it offers fewer targetting features compared to the other WordPress plugins listed here   Nevertheless, you can still choose from over 100 pre-built templates and customize the:   text borders and edges colors form details animations images    Also, since I've mentioned that email opt-ins are its specialty, here are the 6 ways that you can display them when using Bloom:   as inline opt-in forms as widger area forms as automatic popups as required opt-in for content unlock (you can restrict access to premium content on your website, thus encouraging users to opt-in first...) as automatic fly-ins as below content forms   Its most “luring” features:   a great-looking dashboard it allows you to set up view analytics A/B testing some unique trigger options (that I'll talk about in a bit)   Trigger features:   scroll depth inactivity time after purchasing triggers: you can display a popup as soon as the user has completed the checkout process after commenting triggers: you can display a popup after one of your website visitors has submitted a comment   Content targeting features:   by specific posts  by post types by post categories 5. ConvertPlus     Another great choice if you're more into tweaking pre-built templates rather than building popups from scratch. And we're talking about +100 templates to “delve” into. Once you've selected the perfect one for your popup, feel free to leverage the real-time customizer to tweak its:   colors animations form field/labels text   Not really fond of the idea of merely customizing a pre-made template? Then you can always upgrade to Convert Pro and get your drag-and-drop builder... Now, here are some of the types of popup forms that you can create using ConvertPlus:   email opt-ins sidebar widgets notification bars full-screen popups slide-ins top/bottom bar information sticky boxes   Key trigger options:   exit-intent user inactivity time scroll depth launch after content (triggering the popup only after the user has reached the end of the content in question) click (for two-step popups)   Finally, ConvertPlus includes detailed targeting/trigger options, as well as built-in A/B testing and analytics to help you optimize your popups. Main targeting options:   logged-in users referrer detection (you can build popups specifically for visitors coming from a partnering website) device page level targeting new vs returning visitors   Other robust features:   +700 fonts to select from custom CSS, background settings, animations real-time analytics it integrates seamlessly with Zapier, WooCommerce, Contact Form 7, WP Registration Form   The END! These are the 5 best popup plugins for WordPress in 2019. Those that:   ship with tons of powerful trigger/targeting options grant you full control over the look and feel of your popup   Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / May 01'2019
What Makes the End-User Experience in Drupal 8 Stand Out?
What makes Drupal a great choice from a UX standpoint? What features are responsible for the enhanced end-user experience in Drupal 8? Those features that enable you to easily create an intuitive and enjoyable visitor experience on your own Drupal-based website/application. And to constantly improve it... Is it all those performance enhancements that it ships with? Or maybe its “responsive out-of-the-box” nature? Or rather its multilingual capabilities?   1. But First: 7 Evergreen Ways to Improve Your Website's UX It goes without saying that, in order to create an enjoyable, rich user experience on your Drupal 8 website, you'll need to:   put together a solid UX strategy run extensive user research and map the user's journey come up with an effective, well-planned UX design, paying attention to all the latest design trends (and now decoupled Drupal empowers you to tap into a whole range of new possibilities...)   And while carrying out all these phases of the UX design process, make sure to apply the following evergreen techniques for enhancing the visitor's experience.   1.1. Optimize the page loading time For speed will always be the factor with the biggest influence on the user's experience on your Drupal site. In this respect, there are tons of performance enhancements that you can implement, ranging from aggregating your JS and CSS files to properly configuring your cache to opting for a CDN, to...   1.2. Use bullets to structure your text Bulleted lists are the “holy grail” of neatly structured, easy to read content. For, in vain you invest time and effort in providing content that delivers real value to your website's visitors if you display it as an... “impenetrable” block of text. In this respect, bullets help you break down the information. The result: users will see the key product or service benefits/will go through all of the presented features a lot quicker.   1.3. Use white space strategically Speaking of easy to read content: there's no better way to enhance readability and to draw attention to specific elements on a page than... by using the white space itself. It will automatically direct their attention to the text/image emphasized by all the white space surrounding it.   1.4. UX design is consistent design From color palette to button styles, from the size of the headings in your text to the chosen font, from the used photos to various design elements... keep consistency across all the pages on your Drupal website. Otherwise, you risk to confuse and to eventually... tire its visitors.   1.5. Go for visible, attractive CTAs Always use action words for your calls to action and make sure they're easily recognizable. CTAs play a crucial role in setting up an intuitive, efficient navigation structure on your website...   1.6. Use images wisely As images are always well-deserved “breaks” for the eye, especially when it's a long text that it's challenged to go through. And yet, if you fail in using the relevant images, those that perfectly team up with your text... the user experience that you'll deliver will be anything but compelling...   1.7. Make your headings a high priority  Remember to write your headings around some of the main keywords. Also, strategically design them so that they're highly visible and help users to quickly scan through the content.   2. 4 Features Responsible for the Superior End-User Experience in Drupal 8 Gluing together all the design best practices that make a great user experience does call for a flexible and dynamic web platform. Drupal 8 is that platform. It comes packed with powerful features that make it easy for you to create the best visitor experience on your website. Here are the ones with a huge influence on your website's UX:   2.1. Drupal 8 is responsive right out-of-the-box And responsiveness, along with top page loading speed, still is one of those factors with a great influence on visitors' experience with your Drupal website. With:   all the available base themes now being responsive the convenience of adapting your images to various screen sizes right from their display properties   … creating a compelling end-user experience in Drupal 8 is dead-simple. 2.2. Enhanced performance From a performance standpoint, Dries Buytaert's post on Drupal 8's performance optimizations is still one of the most relevant sources. If Drupal was already built to “inject” enterprise-level performance into static pages, Drupal 8, with all its caching enhancements, is designed to speed up dynamic web pages, as well... 2.3. Multilingual capabilities Remember the user experience's main facets, ranging from useful to findable, to valuable, to credible to... accessible? Well, Drupal 8 provides you with multilingual capabilities right out of the box. You get to translate your website's UI, content, configuration, etc. Meaning that, with this multilingual system at hand, you can easily create an accessible user experience on your website. 2.4. Content personalization (by segment, login time, device, language...) In this respect, the Aqua Lift Connector module is your most reliable tool. What it does is bring together customer data and content, so that you can deliver targeted content experiences across multiple channels and devices.   The END! And these are those robust features that stand behind the superior end-user experience in Drupal 8. The very reasons why this platform, and particularly this version of Drupal, makes your best ally in creating the most compelling UX on your website. Photo by Lucian Novosel on Unsplash ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Apr 17'2019
What Are the Key Factors Influencing the Mobile App Development Cost? Top 9
What's the rough cost of an application? What goes into its price more precisely? What are those heavy weight factors that influence and end up determining the mobile app development cost? Is it the (custom) features and app-specific functionality that you need to get implemented into your app? Or maybe the app development company itself? The chosen platform, the post updates, the number of screens or maybe the API development and integration? Or rather all of these elements, plus a few more? Here's a breakdown of the key aspects which, all put together, will decide your mobile app's price tag:   1. The Mobile App Development Platform Itself As it “dictates” the operating system that your app will run on: Windows OS, Android OS, iOS OS, Blackberry OS. And, therefore, it heavily influences the cost of the mobile app development process itself. What type of mobile application do you have in mind? Who's going to be its target audience? These are but 2 of the crucial questions whose answers will determine your choice of app platform.  Note: do keep in mind that it's your mobile app development platform of choice that will determine the version of the OS system, as well. With Android, your available options go from Jelly Bean to Nougat, from KitKat to Marshmallow and Lollipop. Whereas with iOS you'll get to choose between version 9, 10 and 11.   2. The Features You Need Will Strongly Influence the Mobile App Development Cost How does your list of “must-have” features look like? And what about your... “nice to have” one? Do your expectations in terms of app functionality go from:   push notifications to geolocation to in-app purchases to streaming to user login to offline mode to media content (smileys, emoticons, editing functionality here included) to Google maps integration to instant messaging?   Well then, do keep in mind that every feature on your wishlist is going to get reflected on the bill. You might want to trim it down a bit. But if you've decided to stick to your feature requirements, make sure they're perfectly:   adapted to your target audience's expectations suited for your specific type of mobile app   3. The Contracted Team of Mobile App Developers Itself And it's not just the proven expertise and experience of the team members that will influence the mobile app development cost, but their... number, as well. A “standard” app development team would include:   UX or/and UI designer(s) QA engineer project manager in-house mobile app developer(s)   Plus a back-end developer, depending on your specific requirements (whether you'll need an API developed, as well, or not). An extended team could include also 1 system administrator, plus more people for each one of the above-mentioned roles.  A larger team translates into higher costs, right? Yet, a too small team might also reflect in the longer time spent working on your app project. And time is... money. In short, when evaluating the potential candidates, try to balance your budget and those teams' level of proficiency. Your specific feature requirements and their provable experience in implementing them. For, a badly integrated functionality could be cheaper now, yet get quite expensive on a long term...   4. Your Specific Back-End & API Development Needs Do you need an API? A scalable and powerful back-end for your app's content and data? And would a basic cloud-based server suit your needs or do you need a middleware layer developed, as well?  Start analyzing all these variables and knowingly make your choices: all back-end and API requirements will finally bubble up to the mobile app development cost estimate...   5. Your Post-Development Updates & Maintenance Requirements Just think of every user as of a new potential “risk”. One that could unknowingly inject all types of bugs and threats into your future app. How will you get these risks under control? By:   implementing a continuous maintenance process running regular updates on your mobile app   And having a dedicated team at your service to keep your application “sanitized” and properly updated does come with a price tag on... One that will influence your mobile app development cost.   6. The Copyright and App Licensing Options Just imagine: you've waited from 3 up to 6 months for your app to be ready, with all the “valuable” features and custom functionalities “baked in”. Then, after another few months, key elements from it get copied. To avoid such a scenario, there's another aspect (and cost) to consider: applying for copyright.  You'll need to invest in an app license, that will protect your mobile application from getting copied.    7. The Number of Screens to Be Incorporated into Your App How many screens have you planned for your future mobile app? The answer to this question is highly influenced by the “palette” of features that you want to get incorporated into your app. The more of them, the more screens will need to be implemented... And the higher the price will be, obviously. Your app development team's invested resources of time and effort will be proportional to the number of screens you'll request from them.  In short: be 100% certain that each and every feature that you wish to have implemented in your app is relevant and it adds value. No need to overcrowd your app with lots of screens crammed with non-essential features.   8. Native or Hybrid Mobile App? What Will It Be? And each type of mobile app comes with its own advantages and disadvantages:   native mobile apps stand out in terms of performance and come bundled with a wide range of functionalities; yet, do expect a high mobile app development cost (and a longer development cycle, as well) hybrid mobile apps get developed and running in no time, across multiple platforms, so they're much more cost-effective; yet, they do not “rock” in terms of performance, nor do they live up to the same UX standards as the native ones   The choice depends entirely on your own priorities: outstanding performance & a full range of functionalities vs versatility & lower costs... Note: needless to add that there are other aspects related to your app-specific type — basic functionality app, app depending on the device's hardware, data-driven app — that will influence its development cost.   9. The Security Features to Be Implemented And you need to give this aspect its due consideration. With payment gateways integrated into your future app and loads of confidential user data being handled there, you can't afford to underrate the security aspect. It goes without saying that the mobile app development cost will get influenced by the specific security features that you'll integrate.   Final Word  Identify your needs before even attempting to estimate the mobile app development cost. And, most importantly: set them apart from your... wishes. It's only after you've put together your own list of requirements, project-specific constraints, and preferences that you can arrive at an accurate estimate. Image by krzysztof-m from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Apr 10'2019
Mobile App Launch Checklist: 10 Critical Issues To Fix and Metrics to Measure When Gearing Up for Launch
How does a (truly) effective mobile app launch checklist look like?  What key areas to look into does it include? What critical issues to be fixed before launch day? What metrics to measure and features to test should there be on this well-constructed “to-do” list? Here, we've trimmed down all the steps to take before launching a mobile app to... a shortlist of 10. 10 aspects you must absolutely check and optimize before... going public.   1. Identify all Redirects and Broken Links Make sure you address these issues before launch day. For, if overlooked, they'll keep slowing down your app and affect the user experience.   Broken Links Two of the most popular free tools for detecting and fixing broken links are:   Xenu Broken Link Center   Once spotted, decide whether they should be removed or just updated.   Redirects Rely on Screaming Frog to scan your website for redirects or, on HSTS to get rid of the SSL redirect.   2. Minify Your JS, CSS and HTML Files A step to be found on any mobile app launch checklist. How does this size reducing process work? By removing unnecessary code:   unused spaces in your CSS superfluous JavaScript code redundant line breaks in your HTML   Plugins like Autoptimize and Fast Velocity Minify (if it's a WordPress-based app that you're launching) are just a few examples of plugins you could use to streamline the process. 3. Measure and Optimize the Time to First Byte To what extent does the handled data affect your app's performance when traveling across the network? Does it use too much network bandwidth? Keep a close track on the time to first byte and, if you detect any alarming signs, here are some of the solutions at hand:   apply flush techniques to prevent your backend from getting “overweight” closely monitor your database configuration and schema compress all data sent over the network modify your server configuration   In short, remember to include tracking this specific metric on your mobile app launch checklist...   4. Trim Down the Content to Its Essential Elements and Features Consider the smaller screen that your content will be accessed. Next, empathize with those users and try to anticipate the experience they'll get if:   your content's “stuffed” with lots and lots of footers, headers, sidebars, menus … graphs, tables   Would you be able to easily swift through this heavy load of distracting elements, to identify the main message and... stay focused on it? So, you get my point: trim down the clutter and keep it concise. Enable your content to easily shine through, instead of “burying“ it under a load of bulky elements. Note: you might want to consider going for video content where possible and removing the hover-effects if there are any; not all mobile devices support this functionality.   5. Text Compression: A Bullet Point on Any Mobile App Launch Checklist Another one of those fixes that you must absolutely do before launching your mobile app is compressing your text files. It's one of the bulletproof techniques for boosting your app's performance. How to do it? There are multiple ways:   enable default compression using Gzip, since it's highly likely that your CDN supports compressed files if compression is not already enabled (assuming that you don't host your own website), just opt for any of the available plugins to set it up yourself: WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, WP Rocket...   6. Streamline Your Checkout Process  A step from your mobile app launch checklist that you shouldn't overlook.  Since confusing and/or too long checkout process is one of the main factors affecting UX after all... What can you do to optimize it?   test your mobile app on various devices, with different screen sizes and try to detect the “bottlenecks” in the process address any too small touch points issues simplify the discouragingly complex form navigation integrate your app with payment gateways; this way you'll automate the tedious “enter your checkout information” process enable users to set up profiles that would allow them to save and to automatically re-use all the needed information whenever they need to re-fill the form   7. Measure and Boost Your Mobile App's Speed Another critical metric to measure before you launch your app is speed.  How fast does your mobile app load? Are there too many requests overburdening your back-end servers that drag your app down? Or, even worse: that cause it to crash? And these requests overstaining your server range from:   API requests to DNS lookups to network bandwidth to data size to HTTP calls   8. Simplify Your Website's Structure: Keep It Highly Intuitive Apply the “extreme simplicity and maximum efficiency” principle to your website's structure. Keep it conveniently easy to navigate and review all content hierarchies before launching your application. Make sure they're not confusingly... bulky. Now, here's an example of a well-constructed website structure for mobile:   homepage categories/sections subcategories single posts and individual pages   Again, turn empathy into your most powerful tool: try to anticipate users' standard “routes” on your website. Then, see if all the categories in the hierarchy make instant sense.   9. Optimize Your Images By far one of the most effective and handiest “To Do's” on your mobile app launch checklist... Resizing your images and optimizing them for specific uses will speed up your app dramatically.  And speaking of “handy solutions”, you surely do not run out of options when it comes to image optimization tools:   Cloudinary, Fastly, Akamai, for hosting and optimization XNConvert, ImageOptim for on-off optimization Imagemin, Thumbor, Imageflow for automated optimization    10. Split Your Code: Break Down Large JavaScript Bundles into... Smaller Chunks Heavy bundles of JavaScript to be processed will just... slow down your mobile app.  This is why code splitting should be one of your top 10 issues to fix before launching a mobile app:   it will break those “beefy” JS bundles down into smaller pieces and deliver them way quicker ... only upon users' requests   Note: you can split your code either at a component or at a route level using tools like WebPack, Parcel, React... The END! These are the 10 essential To Do's to include in your mobile app launch checklist. Why? Because:   they address critical issues which, if left unsolved, will have the biggest impact on the user experience there are multiple handy solutions for them all (and most of them are free), that you only need to... apply Image by Fedorussie from Pixabay. ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Mar 26'2019
Resizing Images for the Web Without Compromising Quality: Some Dead Simple Techniques
The earth is round and images are “the usual suspects” of too long page loading times... Along with video content. So, what do you do? You comprise, of course. And then you face a major challenge: resizing images for the web without impacting their quality. What file format should you select when saving your images for the web? And what type of compression should you choose?  How do you strike a balance between an image file's ideal size and that quality standard that you've set for your website? On one hand, you strive to optimize your images for the web — to reduce their sizes — and thus to improve your website's overall speed and the user experience delivered there. But, on the other hand, you risk affecting precisely the user experience if you over-comprise your images and compromise their quality. Now, time to shed some light on this “size vs quality” dilemma here:   1. What Does It Mean to Optimize Images for the Web? In short: what does Google expect you to do when it suggests you to optimize the images on your website for improving your page loading times? To reduce your image file sizes... This way, you'd lift some of the weight and give your load time a speed boost! You can do that either manually, using a script/plugin or... both. And, when it comes to compressing images for the web, you have 2 common methods to choose from:   lossy compression lossless compression   And we'll be delving into details in a bit... What I want to stress out now is a bad practice that too many website owners stubbornly stick to: Even though image optimization is one of the easiest ways that one can improve his website's performance, it's too often the most underrated one, as well. Resizing images for the web means no more than:   saving your images in the correct format  using the context-appropriate image compression method   2. Choosing the Best Image File Format for Web: JPG vs PNG vs SVG vs GIF What does it mean to save your images for the web “correctly”? What file type should you use, more specifically? Here are the most commonly used ones along with helpful suggestions on their best use cases:   2.1. The JPG Image Format  Opt for a JPG (or JPEG) file format when you optimize your images for the web if it's screen shorts and general photos that you're saving.  Images that include many colors... Now, what you do need to keep in mind is that: The JPG format helps you reduce the files' sizes for the web, but with a loss in the quality of your images. And here we get to the compression technique specific to this file format: the lossy compression. It's a filter that, for the sake of decreasing the image's size, removes some of the data from the original file. This can only affect the quality of the image who's size you're trying to reduce. Do keep in mind that this “degradation” process is irreversible... In short: your web page will load faster, yet at the cost of your image's quality. The more you'll try to compress it, the... uglier it'll get. The solution?  When you're faced with a scenario that requires this type of image format (e.g. saving images with lots of colors, complex still images), strike a balance between its quality and its size. Just mind you don't over-reduce its size in the name of page loading speed...   2.2. The PNG Image Format  Choose the PNG format when resizing your images for the web if you do need high resolutions and high detail. If it's simple images that you're saving (instead of fine-art photos with lots of colors). Wondering what's the compression technique specific to this file format? The lossless compression: A technique where the image's size gets reduced with no compromise on its quality.   2.3. The GIF Image Format  There's no point adding that it's a file format specific to animations.  When compressing your animated GIFs, it's the lossless technique that's being used. In other words, no need to worry about the loss of quality.   2.4. The SVG Image Format  Is it a logo, text, icon, or simple image that you're planning to optimize for the web? And are you looking for an image format that supports animation and interactivity? Opt for the SVG format then. Here are some more reasons why it might be the most suitable one for your use case:   Google indexes SVGs, JPGs, and JPGs the same way; there would be no impact on your website's SEO SVG image files are scalable, by default, in both photo editing tools and browsers in most cases, SVG files are lighter than JPG and PNG image files          3. Resizing Images for the Web: Lowest File Size vs Acceptable Quality What's that reasonable file size that you should target, that would preserve an acceptable quality of your images?  How do you strike a balance between compression rate and “decent” quality?    you choose the appropriate file format for the type of image that you're trying to optimize  and, implicitly, the suitable compression method, for that image format, as well   Yet, nothing beats “the golden rule of moderation” when looking for the balance between size and quality: Opt for a medium compression rate. Don't get “greedy”, don't reduce your images' sizes to the point of affecting their quality. Even if it's top page load speed that you'd be gaining (and speed is UX, right?), the poor quality images resulting will still have a negative impact on the user experience.   4. Web Images Best Practices  Here's some sort of “guide”, including all the essential must-dos when resizing images for the web and optimizing them for an improved page loading time:   save them in the correct file format save them at the appropriate size choose lossy compression, whenever possible lazy load images, when possible, for better page load times use pixels instead of inches when sizing images for the web; DPI — dots per inch — is not fit for the layout on the web automate the process, as much as possible go with a plugin that would compress and optimize your images externally, on their servers; this way, you'd be offloading your own website use web fonts instead of text within your images; they take less space and scale better when creating Retina images, make sure they're two times larger and, therefore, clear enough once displayed on the Retina device; the quality of the images should be the highest possible on your Retina Display-driven website   The END! These are our tips and tricks on resizing images for the web and optimizing them without risking to affect their quality. What other best practices would you have included? Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Mar 13'2019
OPTASY: A Canada Clutch Leader for 2019
We wanted to share this good news with you: OPTASY has been ranked as a 2019 "Canada leader" in 3 categories of the Clutch annual list. Top Development Firms in Canada Canada Top Web Developers Best PHP Developers in Canada Thank you! For taking the time to answer the Clutch team's questions and give your honest feedback on working with us. For challenging us to be our best and turn our expertise into your results. We're looking forward to working with you on new projects. Sincerely, The OPTASY team... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Mar 07'2019