Tech Watching: To Each Geek Their Own

August 20th, 2013 in Development hyperloop innovation technology

You can expect every geek you know to be talking about one thing for the next little while: Elon Musk’s Hyperloop. It’s not, as it may sound, a new prog rock band or the latest unlikely science fictional blockbuster; in fact, it’s the next ambitious project of the man behind PayPal, itself a technology that could fairly claim to have changed the world.

The hyperloop, as you can read in this BBC News article, is a proposed new form of transportation: a long tube, in the first instance perhaps connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, through which capsules are fired on a cushion of air towards their destination. In the capsules, of course, are people – who would now be able, if the hyperloop concept is sound, to traverse the hundreds of miles between those two Californian cities in about half an hour.

The hyperloop is exciting for a few reasons, paramount among them the simple thrill of a new technology. At Image+, we’re as exciting about new gadgets and gizmos as anyone else involved in digital tech, and the 21st-century seems to throw them at us almost more quickly than we can keep up. But keep up we do – and needless to say, in the realm of online marketing and design, we do so to your benefit! (Less so, maybe, in the realm of MMORPG gaming or the latest music tech, but bear with us.)

In fact, that’s the second – and stronger – reason why the hyperloop has got so much attention amidst all the other ideas which are almost constantly floated at one conference or another. Musk has form – he knows his stuff. As well as PayPal, he built the Falcon jet engine for NASA and developed the Tesla electric car, the most commercially-viable of all the electric car brands. Like all the best innovators, he keeps up with what everyone else is doing, and feeds that into his work, meaning his ideas have real substance.

Whether hyperloop will take off, we don’t know – Musk says he’s too busy to build it himself. But what we do know is that the key to credibility is keeping your eye on the curve. Our excitement about hyperloop is simply part of our excitement for all new technologies – and that’s what powers the quality of our service. Our designers and coders alike keep an eye on emergent technologies, learn which are the best, and employ them for you on your next website. as Elon Musk knows, it’s a mixture of expertise, experience and openness to innovation which makes for success in all the tech-base industries.

Rest assured, though, that we won’t be leaving Image+ to build a tube between London and Edinburgh any time soon. Unless any of our clients have a bright idea … ?

Mobile Web Design: Websites, Faster

August 20th, 2013 in Design, Development Design load time mobile Responsive Web

Websites are many things: entertainment, social spaces, even works of art. Primarily, however, they’re sources of information, ways to communicate a message to the person who views it.

From a business perspective, this function of websites is of course key. The web can represent a significant investment for a company, so it’s important that you start getting ROI on that investment as soon as possible.

We’ve spoken before about the importance of responsive and mobile web design as a key driver of that ROI: it ensures that no user is ever bounced from your website just because it won’t work on their device of choice. We pride ourselves on producing websites that are cross-platform compatible – so that your message can get through across every and any digital medium.

That’s why the latest pronouncements from Google caught our eye. Websites are most valuable to you insofar as they communicate quickly and cleanly, grabbing a user’s attention and keeping it. To this end, in their recently published guidelines Google have adopted a ruthless ‘one second rule’ for mobile web design:

“…the whole page doesn’t have to render within this budget, instead, we must deliver and render the above the fold (ATF) content in under one second, which allows the user to begin interacting with the page as soon as possible. Then, while the user is interpreting the first page of content, the rest of the page can be delivered progressively in the background.”

Keeping on top of what Google say is a good idea in general (after all, they’re the ones who decide how to rank that site of yours!), but these new guidelines are particularly interesting. Quick-loading websites are the holy grail of designers for good reason: users are increasingly impatient, and they want their information quickly.

The challenge, though, is still to design a website which looks great, whilst keeping the load time down. Google’s guidelines are canny on this front, too: only the first part of your content, the attention-grabbing stuff, needs to load immediately. Grab your user’s attention, and let the rest load in the background until they’re read to scroll down.

We’re old hands at this sort of mobile web design trickery, and we’re always expanding our skillset to keep up with the latest developments and demands. So – whether you want a new website or to redesign your current one – drop us a line to discuss how we can ensure they say what you need to, and quickly.