This year the PPA celebrates 100 years of existence and Makemedia are proud to be supporting the Association at the Publishing+ conference on the 8th May.
Visit us at Stand 23 where you can find out more about why clients such as Emap, 4C-Group, Haymarket, Reed Business Information and Road Transport Media are already doing business with Makemedia.
You will see demos of:
Our classifieds and directories platform.
Bespoke large-scale websites for a range of publishing clients.
Innovative 3D technology for advertising.
Want to find out more about how our solutions can benefit your strategies and excite your client base? To arrange a meeting with Makemedia at Publishing+ call us on 0845 017 8777 or email email@example.com.
It’s a challenge for all publishers to stay ahead of the competition and generate subscriptions and revenues online, whilst providing top quality user experiences across a range of mobile devices. Makemedia are a specialist supplier to the publishing industry who understand these challenges. Meet us at the event to discuss how our digital solutions can work for your business, such as:
Makemedia will be exhibiting at the Publishing and Media Expo 2013 at Stand C47.
Makemedia are a full service digital agency who specialise in providing solutions to the publishing industry. We understand the challenges that you face when it comes to increasing suscriptions and revenue generation through digital channels. We understand that pushing innovation through your digital strategy is important for you to stay ahead of the competition. We understand the latest web development techniques and how to use them to drive traffic, improve SEO, reach your mobile users and then provide them with a great experience.
Why should you meet us at Publishing and Media Expo?
Enter the prize draw on our stand to win :
Tickets to the Heineken Cup Quarter Final at Twickenham in April (Saracens vs. Ulster).
Tickets to a BHAFC football match of your choice. Be our guest in sunny Brighton for the day!
You can also visit our stand to:
Test a demo of our Classifieds and Directories Platform.
See how we use the latest web technologies to target mobile audiences.
Discover something different – how could our 3D solutions work for you?
Understand why publishers such as Emap, 4C-Group, Road Transport Media and Reed Business Information are already working with Makemedia.
To arrange a meeting with Makemedia at P&ME call us on 0845 017 8777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Makemedia are proud to see the launch of the Classified Platform for Reed Business Information brand Farmers Weekly. Find out more about our latest project…
Farmers Weekly Classified provides a revamp to the design and functionality of their online listings for used farm machinery and equipment; which means an improved experience for both buyers and advertisers.
The new site utilises responsive web design to target mobile users, providing best experience for both buyers and sellers on a range of devices.
Tony Hill, Marketing Managerat Farmers Weekly said:
“We worked closely with Makemedia on the new look layout and made improvements to the search functionality. It allows our agricultural and farming professionals to easily find listings that are relevant to them. It is also quicker to post ads; this area has had a major overhaul to improve navigation and make it easier.”
Do you want to incorporate a classified listing or directory into your online offering? Speak to Makemedia to find out how this could work for your business: call 0845 017 8777 or email email@example.com.
“In an average week, 13.3m users worldwide use their mobile or tablet to visit the BBC News site and apps – around one-third of total users to BBC News Online.”
We have noticed the same trend in our own website visits with an increase of 64% from mobile visits year on year – with this in mind, we’re in the process of a responsive redesign which will go live in 2013.
It’s worth noting that the BBC news mobile website is not responsive, rather an adaptive design which enhances the mobile experience depending on the capabilities of the user’s device. The BBC team chose this route of progressive enhancement in response to the vast range of browsers used to browse the site:
“We have ~80 significant browsers / operating system combinations regularly using our application across the globe and a long tail of hundreds more… So this is the conundrum of our project from a technical perspective. How do we continue to support the vast number of older and less capable devices while delivering to our brief of creating a world class news experience tailored to smart phones and larger resolutions?” BBC Responsive News Blog
The BBC built a simplified website that would work for the lowest common denominator (IE6), and then add layers of improvement depending on the device used. By identifying the browser, it’s level of feature support and connection speed, the BBC then service enhancements to the UI complexity based on the detected capabilities.
Adaptive design techniques are often used in conjunction with Responsive Web Design. Whereas Responsive websites adjust layout based on viewport size, applying the progressive enhancement ethos of adaptive design brings an extra layer of optimisation based on device capability. Those who can’t benefit from the extra enhancement are still delivered a good baseline experience for their device. The video below shows how the responsive design of the Infrastructure Journal Online website works to deliver optimised navigation and layout depending on the user’s screen size.
How can a responsively designed website provide better ROI?
Responsive websites are designed to be device agnostic and can save on development costs (as this is one build as opposed to building multiple Apps for devices) and can communicate a cohesive design no matter what device they are accessed from, therefore providing a better experience for users and more value to subscribers.
However, projects such as this should be judged on a case by case basis; truly understanding all aspects of a business and their targeted audience could mean you oversee an alternative – and potentially more appropriate – solution. Although demand for app development as a mobile solution has been extremely popular, it is an example of a technology which may not be appropriate in all cases. Responsive web design allows organisations to cover a greater user base by using technology most modern devices understand, although web technologies cannot utilise all of the hardware on some smartphones and tablets like a native app. Whether web or native is appropriate for you will depend on your businesses audience and goals.
Businesses with an online presence should be aware of competitors who are beginning to offer a better web-based mobile experience using Responsive Web Design. Where a business relies heavily on website visitors as a source of revenue (either through selling services and products, data collection or advertising to them) an un-optimised experience risks users jumping ship for better mobile options with competitors.
Examples of large scale responsive design websites
In conclusion we are seeing more and more big players relaunch their websites responsively, either as a whole or in parts as a staggered rebuild. To do so is to meet the needs of your mobile users, increase your ability to generate revenue from those users and set yourself ahead of the competition.
If you would like to learn more about the Infrastructure Online project or how Makemedia can help you with you mobile strategy or large scale website build please do get in touch by calling 0845 017 8777 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writing a good brief doesn’t need to feel like this! Clear and concise is best.
Starting with a clear brief is the first step to a successful project, whether that is a website build, a training simulation or any kind of web application. It makes life a lot easier in the long run to get it right first time – and time is money! There are many articles and brief templates out there that are a good starting place, however there a couple of things that seem to always get missed or thought about later on the project that should be considered up front.
So here are Makemedia’s suggested top 5 items you may have forgotten to include in your brief.
1, What is your content strategy?
Although it’s important to consider what your website will do and who it aimed towards, many brief writers forget to consider the nitty gritty of content. Who will export the content from the old site or who will be writing your new content? Do you need to use an external provider for copy writing or to review SEO quality? Will all the copy be ready by the go live date? What are your deadlines? A web build that is held up by late content is going to eat away at your budget.
2, What is your mobile strategy?
It can be a mistake to jump on the “lets-build-an-app” bandwagon without considering the true needs of your business. Clients need to consider their own unique aims, then how these would be best served. This may be by building an app OR a responsively designed website may serve these needs better. What is essential is that you consider your mobile strategy to extend the relevant life period of your investment and remain competitive.
3, Who is really the decision maker?
If you don’t clarify who really has the sign off on the project there is a strong chance you will be wasting your time and budget later on. Imagine the following scenario. The head of department gives a department manger the responsibility to sign off phases of the project. The manager is happy with a phase and signs it off. However, when the head of department sees it later they want changes. To implement the changes at this stage is far more costly than to have done it before the sign off where time is built in for amendments. Either the manager needs to have full culpability for the project or the head of department needs to be identified as the true decision maker.
4, Don’t be shy about your budget.
You might not want to give an exact figure but even a ball park range will help to identify that you are approaching the right size of agency and set expectations. Having a full proposal written up for you from an agency that is far too expensive or not well resourced enough to serve your needs will waste time on both sides. The scope of what you want to do could be highly varied with many different possible solutions but a good agency will give you the best possible solution to fit your budget – and they will want to work with you again in future so giving you the best value is in their interest too!
5, Keep aims and objectives clear throughout the development of the scope.
Your brief should communicate clear business objectives and the critical success factors for the project. Anything added to the scope should lead back to these aims. Have a colleague read through your brief to check that it is clear and concise. Are you communicating what you are trying to achieve to a new potential supplier who hasn’t got to know the business fully yet? Naturally, a good agency will be practiced in extracting this information but it will save you time during that process. Save even more time by ensuring that your internal team all understand the project aims so you can relax in the knowledge that your team are communicating your needs correctly.
Please do add your tips in the comments!
If you are looking for a supplier for a website, simulation or other digital project please get in touch on 0845 017 8777 (select option 1) or email us at email@example.com.
Makemedia will be exhibiting at the 2012 PPA conference Publishing+ on May 9th. We will be at Stand 21 so come and speak to our representatives to find out more about the work we do with publishers; especially if you are interested in…
How you could generate revenues through classifieds and directories.
How a data insight platform could generate great subscriptions revenues, even from a smaller B2B client base.
How you could maintain and increase your market share with a cutting edge, innovatively designed website.
If you would like to make an appointment for an exploratory discussion about your challenges and what technology we can offer to assist you, please get in touch with Ric Hall on Ric.Hall@makemedia.com or by calling 0845 017 8777.
The explosion in smartphone and tablet ownership in recent years has given way to the rise in popularity of application (app) downloads, motivated by a number of factors, including the perceived improved user experience, performance advantages, and ability to utilise hardware features.
The advantages for publishers of the marketplace ecosystems provided by each manufacturer include improved findability, and the potential for profit-making by taking a percentage of download cost for paid applications or content subscriptions.
The lure of apps is easy to grasp, with layout, navigation, and typography optimised for the specific screen size, big or small. The boom in app popularity has seen a number of organisations simply translate their website content into downloadable applications, moving e-commerce, editorial, and social platforms from the browser, directly onto their user’s hardware. Even though many of these applications replicate content available from the same organisation’s website, they prove enormously popular with consumers.
Although the quality of their design varies, good smartphone and tablet applications deliver content in a way which does not require a user to work hard to get to the content they need. No need to pinch and zoom to scale up page content, no waiting for unnecessary page elements to load, and no need to battle with navigation designed specifically for a desktop user. Choosing an app over a website is often the pain-free choice.
The New York Times website viewed on Mobile Safari (Attr: Robert Scoble)
However, although app’s can be a viable solution for organisations wishing to optimise their content for portable devices (depending on their objectives and technical aims), there are potential pitfalls.
Producing multiple apps to ensure coverage of the most popular hardware can add to development overhead, and this often means production effort may be limited to a defined number of devices. Market share is spread among a plethora of smartphones, tablets, and e-readers, so a percentage of any potential audience is lost.
Updating device specific applications can increase development effort and cost depending on the language employed, and add to the intrusive load of updates served to users. In addition, new arrivals to the marketplace may prove popular enough to justify additional investment.
Like VHS, CD-ROM’s, and DVD’s, apps have a best-before date which is hard to predict. As new formats bloom, new hardware launches, and application eco-systems change, so the software developed specifically for these devices will one day reach a point at which they are incompatible with the latest device or operating system.
The ecosystems within which applications are managed by hardware and software manufactureres (such as the Apple App Store) mean a percentage of revenue is surrendered by publishers for every download of a paid application or subscription.
For several years the trend toward fixed-width website layout became something of a standard practice, delivering pages at set pixel width to allow greater control over their appearance. As desktop screen sizes grew, so did the accepted ‘standard width’ for websites, until the explosion in mobile browsing meant this would no longer cut the mustard.
Navigating a website optimised for a large monitor on a small screen (such as those on an iPhone) can be a frustrating experience, and the App Store beckons for those requiring for a more usable mobile experience.
Responsive web design
Infrastructure Journal’s responsive platform
The term Responsive Web Design was coined in May 2010 to specifically define a set of design methodologies and web technologies used to create websites that adapt to the size of the user’s screen size. In essence, a responsive web design can detect the size of a user’s web browser window size (from the smallest smartphone to the largest cinema screen) and reorganise the website’s content and navigation to suit.
It is delivered through a single set of code, without the need to create separate code for each of the different sizes of device. The result? Users of any version of iPhone, iPad, modern Android devices, and Windows Phone experience the same website, but with the user experience adapted accordingly. Those on desktop machines experience the same website in a form optimised for large screens too. No apps required, just modern web technologies.
The technical bits
Using a flexible grid system (the guides designers use to define page layout), flexible media (text, images, and video which can change size), and a technology called CSS3 Media Queries (website code which applies layout and styling changes based on the user’s current screen size), we can create websites which optimise for desktop and portable devices instantly using the universal language of the web – HTML.
Makemedia recently launched a responsive redesign for Infrastructure Journal, a global data and editorial website for the global infrastructure finance market. If you’re using a desktop browser, follow these steps to see how the new IJ changes it’s layout as the browser width decreases in size (such as on a smartphone), or watch the short screencast above for a quick glimpse of this technique in action.
Resize your browser window, making it narrower on screen
In a modern browser, you will see the page content flex and move to suit the size of your browser as it changes without the page reloading. Page content is reordered, navigation is optimised, and text sizes are adjusted for comfortable viewing.
Opening the same page on your smartphone or tablet browser has the same effect, with the website automatically adapting for the size of your chosen device, using the exact same set of website code used for the desktop site.
An app experience for everyone
HTML has been the language of the web since it’s birth; websites designed fifteen years ago still work in today’s modern browsers, and will continue to for years to come. By developing responsive websites using HTML and CSS, experiences can be optimised to deliver websites optimised for any screen regardless of portability, manufacturer, or operating system.
From iPhone to Kindle, Android to iPad – the kind of experience previously the reserve of mobile-specific websites or downloadable applications can be had by all, through the browser.
Maintainable and scalable
Updates to websites designed responsively only require a single set of code to be updated when changes are required, without the need to interrupt a user’s experience through intrusive updates or negotiating app store approval.
More than a trend
Responsive design has quickly become an important part of many designer’s and agency’s workflow, and it’s ethos is starting to bloom beyond the technical definition outlined by Ethan Marcotte in 2010. It has led to many traditional design processes being reconsidered (with strategies such as Mobile First becoming more popular), with speed and performance again becoming one of the top considerations when developing for a multitude of devices that may have wildly differing connection speeds. Rather than simply being concerned with optimising for screen size, more detailed elements of a user’s context will soon be used to shape the experience they have, ensuring the most usable and optimised solution is delivered through their browser.
Like any design or technology choice, users and business cases need to be considered carefully before deciding a strategy for development: responsive web design isn’t the answer for everyone. Although multiple app development can be costly, responsive web design done properly usually requires additional planning, research, and design. Of course, there are occasions when web technologies alone cannot deliver the solution required, such as when direct access to restricted hardware (such as camera, accelerometer, or sensors) is needed.
Some publishers prefer the direct marketing opportunities presented by the marketplace ecosystem, and find designing to the restrictions of individual platforms a more efficient workflow. The monetisation model for app stores are also familiar to users, and cut down on the steps required for purchase once payment details have been stored. Until faster, more universal, and more integrated payment gateways are popular in the browser, app store ecosystems do offer a more seamless method of commerce.
However, if your aim is to simply translate an existing website experience for mobile, responsive web design is a great solution for delivering an optimised experience for as many users as possible, using web technologies which will stand the test of time.
I hope to follow this post up with some more detail around the methods and technologies used to deliver responsive web design, including case studies of how we delivered areas of Infrastructure Journal.
Video copyright Infrastructure Journal +44 (0) 20 7728 5407
Makemedia are proud to have recently launched the new version of www.ijonline.com for Emap’s Infrastructure Journal brand. The website allows subscribers to access real-time data on global activity in the infrastructure sector, meaning they can make informed investment decisions. Makemedia undertook a massive data migration project to move 66,000 articles, 10,000 projects and transactions and 11,000 company listings over to the new website.
This is a responsively designed site that can be used across all mobile and tablet devices without the need for an app. Data graphs were designed to interpret data in an accessible way and are updated on a real-time basis – meaning IJ Online retains its place as a market leader and its reputation for innovation and delivering value for subscribers.
TESTIMONIAL: Rhod Joyce, Head of Product Development at Emap Insight
“As the market leader in the provision of qualified news, data and insight to the infrastructure finance market, IJ identified Makemedia as the delivery partner that would quickly understand our market and the specific requirements and deliver via an agile methodology.
Working in partnership with Makemedia, we successfully delivered the product that met our clients’ needs, within the timeframe and budget agreed. The agile approach to the project allowed IJ to continually adjust, modify, confirm and develop the new service section by section. The smooth running of the project was further boosted by being able to integrate IJ’s development team within the MakeMedia team at their offices, ensuring a continual connection and sharing of knowledge on a daily basis.
Due to the success of the project, IJ has contracted MakeMedia for the delivery of its ongoing Expected Product Development (EPD) and New Product Development (NPD) needs.”
To find out more about how IJ Online serves its global audience watch the video above or check out the IJ Online case study here. If you would like to find out about how Makemedia products, such as classifieds, directories and data platforms, could benefit your company please get in touch with Ric Hall on Ric.firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0845 017 8777.
Our MD Robin Scott and Accounts Director Nick Wood will be enjoying the sunshine and sand in Australia for the next 2 weeks! Makemedia are currently working with clients in Melbourne to build a 3D simulation for training on building sites. However, Robin and Nick will also be visiting Sydney and Brisbane to meet with other potential clients – including publishers and associations who are interested in exploring our classified, directories and data insight platforms.
Here are a few quick links to our work in these sectors:
Rob still has a few slots to fill and will be visiting regularly over the coming months so if you’re interested in an exploratory conversation about how Makemedia could help your business get in touch with Makemedia now!