Tablets: Another Consideration in Web Development

Let’s face it; many people are still not enamored with tablet PCs. Thousands may already own an iPad or any tablet but there are still plenty of individuals who choose the bulkier but more feature-rich notebooks or even netbooks. The tides of change cannot be stemmed though and tablets will become a major platform in personal computing in the near future.

As consumers, we can see that as an improvement over what we have today. But for webmasters and web developers, it poses yet another challenge. With sales of tablet PCs rising, the time is right to start investing on tablet-friendly website versions. Yes. Versions because you do not have to totally redesign your website to accommodate internet surfers using tablets. Like with smartphone users, you can specify a version of your site to be served to those using tablet.

When developing the tablet version of your website, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Keep file sizes to a minimum. In the future, all tablet PCs would be equipped with Wi-Fi functionality. Today though, plenty of tablet PCs still connect to the web using 3G networks. This means pages would not load as fast as when the PC is using Wi-Fi connection. As a result, you have to ensure that your website’s tablet PC version is light and would load easily. Most internet browsers are impatient and if you cannot deliver the info they need on time, they would easily hit the back button and try another website.

2. No Flash. Android-powered tablet PCs support Flash. Apple’s iPad does not. We can argue all we want that Android-powered tablets are better than the iOS-powered iPad, but it will not change the fact that sales figures are on the side of the iPad. That said, you have to find Flash alternative to use on your site if you need multimedia content on your site’s version for tablet PCs. Furthermore, contents using the multimedia platform from Adobe cannot be read by search engine bots thus lowering your chance to get higher ranking on search engine result pages.

3. Resolution and the accelerometer. Most tablet PCs are equipped with accelerometers so there is no definite resolution to target when designing for tablets. There’s another thing to consider with accelerometers. You have to design your site in such a way that no matter how it is being rendered, the area above the fold is well optimized. Above the fold means the area that the visitor can see without having to scroll down. Make sure that you make good use of this area in any resolution or display layout.

Remember that tablets are still relatively young and in the near future, they would come with better and newer features. Make sure that you are on top of these changes and adapt your site’s design to accommodate future changes.

Copywriting as a Part of Web Development

A part of web development is copywriting. Excellent copy means it has to be appealing to both readers and to search engines. This combination will help websites to rank highly. A problem occurs when there are space constraints to a site, page layout requirements or other issues.

Because appealing to both readers and search engines is so important, you don’t want to sacrifice one for the other. Adding a big block of copy to the middle of a page may not be the best answer, however, if a page needs content, adding a couple of sentences to the bottom of each section is a good option. Your copy will still be readable and the additional content will appeal to the search engines.

There are some things to remember when writing content for a website.

  • Web users are active. One click and they have left your site. If they don’t see a reason to stay, they won’t. There is a 10 – 15 second window available to capture a visitor’s attention.
  • The longer the text is, the less likely they are to read it. With long text, they will skim it, if they bother to read it at all.
  • Web users don’t believe in hype. If you want a web user to believe you and to believe in you, you must back up your claims.

Four questions must be answered on each page:

  • What am I doing here?
  • How do I do it?
  • What’s in it for me?
  • Where can I go, next?

If your design and navigation isn’t obvious, then you need to explain it in the copy. Most visitors will not take the time to figure this information out. If a first time visitor cannot find their way around your site, they will likely never come back.

Unless your visitors are expecting to read something on your page, don’t expect that they will read more than one or two lines of copy.

Understanding your copy is as important as length. Don’t make the copy so complicated that it is difficult to comprehend or make it so the customer will have to think about it because they won’t.

What this means is you want to convey one key idea in just one or two lines. Don’t try to add a third line because if you say too much, then even the first idea won’t penetrate. If your site needs more content, break it down into sections that are one or two paragraphs each. Say what you want to say in the first sentence and then expand the thought into the paragraph. Use meaningful headers. Most people will only scan the headers to the paragraphs and not even bother with the copy on the page, unless it is something that appeal to them. It is better to write only one or two lines with links to another page with the longer copy.

Even when users are expecting to find text heavy content, don’t expect they will take the time to read all of it. Longer copy doesn’t have to be as abrupt as shorter text, but it needs to be as easy to read.

Make your copy clear, but not boring. Lively writing with an unassuming voice is best. Boring writing will turn your reader off and nothing you say at that point will make it through.

Choosing A Web Development Company Through References

Finding a web development company to create a website for you may seem daunting, but it isn’t. It’s all in the references and prior work that these companies have done!

The biggest reason you are creating a website is to get traffic and therefore, more new customers–correct? There is an easy way to figure out whether a potential web developer will get you these big numbers. First, visit some websites that this developer has created for other people. Figure out what the company that particular website is for does and, in a separate browser window, do a general search pertaining to what that company does (be sure to omit the exact name of the company or their slogan, if they have one). Does the company come up in the first handful of search results? If you have gotten to page three or four of the search results and yet to find that company, then something is wrong.

Once you’ve done your research on all these potential web development companies, have then come in for a visit. Discuss what you have in mind for your own website and see what these companies have to say. Do they offer constructive feedback on what will work and what may not? Do they agree to do every single thing you lay out? Do they disagree with everything? You want a company that is willing to take your idea and run with it by improving it and creating something beyond your expectations, and this cannot be done with a developer that agrees (or disagrees) with everything you suggest.

Lastly, discuss pricing. If a particular company seems like a brilliant fit for you, both through your private research and the interview, but they give you a price that seems a little high, then don’t dismiss them immediately. “You get what you pay for” is true in this case, and keep in mind that the extra costs may be quickly paid for by increased search engine hits and new customers.