Vesta Digital Blog

Posts Tagged ‘web 2.0

Social Media IconsIt is no easy task keeping up with social media. This is an ever-evolving world with new websites, technology and terms that appear almost every day. However, there are some words and phrases that will always be useful. Here is a short glossary we have put together. Read it. Print it. Share it. Bookmark it. Of course, there are words we may have omitted or overlooked. Please feel free to include them in the comment section below.

Aggregation – The process of gathering and remixing content from blogs and websites that provide RSS feeds.

Alerts – Specific words, phrases or tags that search engines check and send to you be email.

Badge – An image that is squared and displayed on a blog that signifies a blogger’s participation in an event or contest.

Blog – A type of website that is usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary. The word is a contraction of the term “web log.”

Blogger – A person who writes and updates a blog. The word “blogger” was first used for the name of a website that was launched in 1999 by Pyra Labs.

Blog Post – Content that is published on a blog. This may include pictures or embedded videos and links.

Blogosphere – The totality of blogs and conversations on the Internet.

Blogroll – A list of sites displayed in the sidebar of blog, showing who the blogger reads regularly.

Bookmarking – Saving the address of a website or item of content, either in your brower, or on a social bookmarking site like del.icio.us.

Buzz – or buzz marketing is a term that was formerly used in word-of-mouth marketing and now is being used online. It describes the interaction between consumers about a product or service that amplifies the original marketing message.

Chat – Interaction on a web site with a number of people adding text items one after the other into the same space.

Communities – Groups of people communicating through the Internet.

Community building – The process of recruiting a potential community or network participants and helping them find shared interests and goals.

Content – Text, pictures, video and any other meaningful material that is on the Internet.

Content Management Systems (CMS)
– Software platforms that offer the ability to create and manage web pages, blogs, wikis, and other tools.

Crowdsourcing – Harnessing the skills and enthusiasm of those outside an organization so they may contribute content and solve problems.

Facilitator – Someone who helps people in an online group or forum manage their conversations.

Feeds – The means by which you can read, view or listen to items from blogs and other RSS-enabled sites without visiting the site.

Folksonomy – While taxonomies are centralized ways to classify information – like libraries – folksonomies are the way people or “folks” create less structured ways of classifying information.

Forums – Discussion areas on websites where people can post messages or comment on existing messages.

Groups – Collections of individuals with some sense of unity through their activities, interests or values.

Lurkers – People who read but don’t contribute or add comments to forums.

Mashups – The mixies that “techies” do to combine several tools to create a new web service.

Micro-blogging – A form of blogging where the entries are limited to a certain amount of characters or words, like Twitter.

Newsreader – A website or desktop tool that acts as an aggregator, gathering content from blogs and similar sites using RSS feeds so you can read the content in one place, instead of having to visit different sites.

Open-source software – Any computer software whose source code permits users to study, change, and improve the software for free, and redistribute it in modified or unmodified form.

Photosharing – Uploading your images and sharing them on a website like Flickr.

Platform
– A framework or system within where tools or applications can work.

Podcast – Audio or video content that can be downloaded automatically through a subscription to a website so you can view or listen offline.

Post – An item on a blog or forum.

Profiles – The information you provide about yourself when you sign up for a social networking site.

RSS – This stands for Really Simple Syndication.

Share – Offering people the use of your text, images, video, bookmarks or other content.

Social media – The term for the tools and platforms people use to publish, converse and share content online. These tools include blogs, wikis, podcasts, and sites to share photos and bookmarks.

Social media marketing – The term that describes the use of social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other online collaborative media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service.

Social networks – Large websites that host multiple communities comprised of people with profiles who have with similar interests. These sites offer a place where people engage with one another online and share content. Example communities include: Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube Flickr and Twitter.

Subscribe – The process of adding an RSS feed to your aggregator or newsreader.

Taxonomy – An organized way of classifying content – as opposed to a folksonomy.

Threads – Strands of conversation.

Tool – A software application for your computer.

User generated content (UGC) – also known as consumer-generated media (CGM) or user-created content (UCC) – The various kinds of media content, publicly available, that are produced by users.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP)
– Using a computer or other Internet device for phone calls without additional charge, including conference calls. The best-known VOIP tool is Skype.

Web 2.0 – A term that describes blogs, wikis, social networking sites and other Internet-based services that emphasize collaboration and sharing.

Widgets – Stand-alone applications that you can embed in other applications like a website or a desktop.

Wiki – Web pages used to collect content about a topic. Anyone with access to the pages can edit or modify the information.

You can find more definitions in “The Ultimate Internet Marketing Guide” that appeared in an earlier Vesta Digital blog.

Website IdeasThere are so many web design companies out there these days it’s enough to make your head spin. At last count, Google came up with 173,000,000 search results. Don’t freak out – your search can be easy and pain-free with this simple guide below. We will show you how to select a web design and development company that will meet all your goals and not drive you nuts.

Who

Who are your customers? What information will you be providing them? It is important to have a clear idea what role your new or redesigned web site will be like. A good web designer will want to know the following:

  • Your intended market or audience.
  • The role of your new web site.
  • Your budget.

What

What websites do you admire? They may be your competition or in unrelated businesses. Sometimes the web design firm is included in the site credits or is listed elsewhere on the website. If you cannot find the credits on the site itself, don’t hesitate to contact the business and ask them which web design firm is responsible.

How

How is the web designer going to help you? Gather a list of potential web design firms and ask them this question and then ask them several more:

  • How consistent they are?
  • Do they have any testimonials that speak about their credibility?
  • Do the projects in the portfolio have a consistent quality?
  • Have they consistently given good results in the given time frame?
  • Has the web design company provided solutions to other companies in your business category?
  • Have they dealt with similar challenges to those faced by your organization?

Remember – a web site doesn’t have to be flashy or animated to do its job. Check for organization of information, ease of navigation, overall cleanliness and user-friendliness.

Why

When they tell you how much it is going to cost, don’t scream – instead, ask them “why?” Experience and fees are very much related – this is called the EF of a web design firm. The general rule of thumb is the more experienced they are, the more they are going to charge. Don’t sacrifice quality just to save a few bucks. On the other hand, don’t pay through the nose if you think you can get a better deal somewhere else.

Here are some more questions related to fees that you can ask:
Technology – What is their technological competence? Does it match with your requirements? How frequently is their technology upgraded- both in terms of software and hardware?
Deadlines – Has the company carried out the projects in a specified time? Time is one of the most important factors as the longer it takes, the higher the costs get.
Responsiveness – How promptly does the company respond to your inquiries? Are they responsive to your suggestions and questions? Do they explain issues in ways you can understand? Do they share your general vision for the site?
Communication – Poor communication is one of the major roadblocks for business processes. Ensure that the company who you will be working is comfortable with the language you speak.
Services – What services does the company offer other than designing? What kind of value-added products or services can they bring to the table?

Where

Where you end up will be determined with a proposal. Ask the finalists to send you a proposal. This will help you decide which web design firm understands your requirements best. And ask each web design firm to include a description of their development process of the project. Take these points into consideration:

  • Likeability of the proposal
  • Strength and weaknesses of the proposal.
  • Presentation and format style.

When

After you have reviewed all proposals, compare them with each other. How do they fare in terms of presentation? How do they appear in terms of project management? Do they present scalability and/or upgrade paths for your project? Is the price worth it? You should have a winner by now. Your next question should be: “When can you start?”

JavaScriptThis headline is not a typo. Read on and you will find out why. JavaScript is used almost everywhere to accomplish a wide variety of features like hover menus, rollovers, animation and form validation. In fact, JavaScript is used so frequently web developers often take it for granted, without realizing that not all browsers support it. You heard right, not all browsers support JavaScript. In fact, many web surfers actually disable JavaScript and if you’re wondering why – take a look at the list below.

1. Pop-up Windows.

Web developers often create annoying pop-up windows which are more irritating than useful. The best way to get rid of them is to disable JavaScript.

2. Security.

One of the most important reasons is security, and it is a well known fact that JavaScript can be easily exploited. (This is especially true for users browsing with Internet Explorer.) Additionally, many redirects are accomplished via JavaScript. By disabling JavaScript, you always know exactly where you are going and are less likely to be forwarded to an alternate website.

3. Animations and Sounds.

Have you ever been at work and navigated to a website which started playing loud music or sounds? A lot of this is accomplished by JavaScript. Additionally, by disabling JavaScript, you can also get rid of annoying animation which clutter the screen or distract you from the information you are trying to see.

4. Annoying Restrictions.

Sometimes websites limit the actions that can be taken by visitors. For example, you have probably seen the websites which stop users from viewing the source code, saving images, or highlighting text.
Alternatives to JavaScript
Clearly, there are many good reasons internet users would opt to disable JavaScript in their browsers. And while estimates aren’t too accurate, somewhere between 5 and 7 percent of internet users disable JavaScript. That means that at least 1 in every 20 visitors might not see your website as you intended. So it is important to ensure that your website works properly with or without JavaScript.

Fortunately, other internet technologies can accomplish most of what you would probably use JavaScript to do:

Hover Menus

Believe it or not, you don’t need JavaScript to create a hover menu! Sometimes, however, you might want to create a cool effect which is only possible with JavaScript. In this case, feel free to create the JavaScript menu, but pay special attention to how the menu behaves without JavaScript. Be sure that it can still be used to navigate your website.

Image Rollovers

This can be accomplished by CSS by using the ‘hover’ state to shift the position of an element or show a new element. Either way, rollovers are rarely crucial to the usability of a web page.

Redirection and Form Validation

Fortunately, there are alternatives for these as well. When you use JavaScript, it is always processed on the client-side, which is why users are able to modify the behavior of the web page when they turn it off. Instead, you can opt to do all of your processing on the server-side, by using a programming language. For example, our contact forms use server-side validation to ensure that a valid email address has been entered, even though this could be accomplished with JavaScript. By opting for server-side processing, your users will always be subject to certain restrictions. Similarly, you can use a programming language to redirect users to other web pages.

Animation and Pop-ups

For animation, there are two alternatives: (1) create an animated gif image, or (2) use flash. Both of these methods have their drawbacks. With the animated gif image, you are limited to creating an image with a reasonable filesize. (The longer the animation or larger the image, the larger the file size.) And finally, if you opt to use flash, you will encounter some of the same problems you encountered with JavaScript: Not All Visitors Enable Flash. And like the animated gif, you are likely to have some file size issues as well. As for pop-ups, we are at a loss. Instead, you will have to bait your users to click on a link which would open in an external window or tab (Let us know if you’ve found suitable alternatives.)

So if you are building a website, by all means use JavaScript. But it should only be used on elements that are not crucial to the use of your website. And if, for some reason, JavaScript is essential to the use of an element on your page, consider supplying some alternative text explaining what the element is and that users need to turn on JavaScript to take advantage of it.