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Can you serve the mobile version, please!

Posted by Navin Harish - No Comments

While surfing the internet you see so many responsive websites, so many freely available responsive templates – for both CMSes and plain HTML. Add to that the pressure on companies to provide a mobile internet experience due to increasing number of people accessing the web from their phones and not from today but for a few years now, you’d think that the transition from a desktop computer to a tablet to a mobile phone would be seamless, but no, that is not the case. Not even close

When it comes to mobile internet experience, most people are writing cheques they can’t cash, like Vodafone and Hindustan Times that take you to sites that don’t work on mobiles.

Hindustan Times

I scanned a QR Code to get here so shouldn’t I be taken to a mobile version of this site?

Even now most people don’t do even the minimum required to provide a decent internet experience on a mobile phone. Take this example of Hindustan Times site. I got there by scanning a QR code. It doesn’t need a UX expert to point out that if a user is scanning a QR code, he is going to be using a mobile device and most likely a phone so shouldn’t it be obvious to take the user to a mobile site? Apparently not for Hindustan Times that take you to a site that is made for a desktop.

Similarly, Vodafone sent me a link in an SMS to their payment gateway. I guess they are a little too hopeful if they are expecting me to type the url they have sent in the SMS in my desktop to access that site.

The SMS from Vodafone

I get a link in SMS…

The site that opens on my phone

…and this is where I get. The intelligent thing to do, if you don’t have a mobile optimised version of your payment gateway, would be avoid sending the url altogether.

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CSS Reset

Posted by Navin Harish - No Comments

I have been writing HTML since the late 90s and have recently launched a Responsive redesign of my photo blog Picturejockey . I don’t know how could I have been blind enough to ignore CSS Reset.

Briefly what CSS Reset does it brings your website to the same baseline in all browsers. A lot of elements including type are rendered differently in different browsers. Some add a padding at the top of type, some have a different size and to ensure that your website has same appearance in all browsers you need CSS Reset.

To use it, you can create a separate CSS file and link it to your main CSS using the @import url tag.

Here is a link to Eric Meyers CSS Reset. You can download/Copy it from there.

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Are we really living in a democracy?

Posted by Navin Harish - No Comments

Before you answer this question, I want you to consider two facts.

  1. Our maid is having sleepless nights because of the rumors doing the rounds that people are turning to stones in their sleep. I was joking with my wife that maybe she should suggest our maid that during the night someone should stay awake in their family to wake up the person if he starts turning into stone, buy seriously, it is anyone’s guess how easily these people can be influenced in voting for someone.
  2. Second is the video I found on Youtube that shows how easily the elections can be rigged using an EVM.

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You make me look bad

Posted by Navin Harish - No Comments

I will judge you by how good you make me look if you are providing me a service. It is unfortunate that you have to perform 100% to make me look average and any performace less than that will make me look bad. This is something the data and voice companies need to understand.

Currently I am not very happy with the services offered by Hathway, Samsung and Vodafone because they make me look bad. Hathway makes me look very bad when I can’t acces critical data because of downtime, Samsung makes me look bad when the calls keep dropping because of their pathetic phone called Galaxy 3 and Vodafone dents my image when I am not getting a signal.

One thing you also need to understand is how easily replacable you are.

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Pockets deep enough to buy a tablet PC but not big enough to keep it

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The preferred size of a mobile phone in the late nineties in India was big. What is the point of having a mobile phone if you can’t show it off? If you are paying 40 bucks for a call, you better do it in full public view. As mobile went mass, the size also got smaller.

Apple launched iPhone and after that the iPad – a tablet that can’t connect to net either through GPRS or USB. You have a great device which is useless if you want to access the internet if you are on the go, effectively creating a new market segment catered by no one. Samsung is trying to fill that void by launching its 7 inch tablet phone called Samsung Galaxy Tablet.

With tablet phones having screens as large as 7 inches coming, we will see ads for shirts saying “With an extra pocket to fit a tablet phone – fits most tablet phones including Samsung and Dell.”

Now I have a big screen device that I can use to access net when on the move. The problem is where the hell do I keep it when on the move? It won’t fit in any of my pockets and if I carry it in my hand, I am sure to drop it at least once a day.

Maybe a new market segment has been created in the garment industry as well. Now we can expect to see ads of shirts and trousers saying “With an extra pocket to fit a tablet phone – fits most tablet phones including Samsung and Dell.”

And don’t forget how convenient it will be for people who hold their phones like walkie-talkie, with its size, finally they will be able to hold their phone in one place.

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Twitter killed the blogging star

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The objective of having a blog was to express yourself. However there is little point in expressing yourself if you don’t have an audience. It is very difficult to have a readership and get people to come to your blog. However it is very easy to take your blog to where people are.

Facebook and Twitter are two such powerful tools. It is far easier to read a status update or a tweet than to visit a blog and read it. It’s perfect, you can know what others are doing in one site only and it is brief so it quick as well. The growing popularity of both sites is all the proof one needs.

Taking a step further, Happycog has removed the conventional “comments” from their blog. You can only comment using Twitter or by posting an entry on your own blog. Here is the link to Cognition, the blog of Happy Cog and why they have removed the comments feature.

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Should you really be chasing that client?

Posted by Navin Harish - 2 Comments

Like everything else in life, the interactive work is available in varying quality. While it is easier to spot rotten apples before you make the purchase, it is not so easy to spot a poorly executed interactive project before even starting it.

Quite a few times we have lost clients because the price quoted by us was not the lowest. Last Saturday I called up a client who wanted a site to be done. We had met a few days ago and they wanted to get a site done in a very short deadline. To speed up the process, I provide them an approximate cost. When I asked about the price, he said it was too high “We have spoken to someone else and they are offering to do the same site for a much lower cost, they are charging less than 30% of what you are asking.”

What is important is how a website affects your bottom line. If your Profit and Loss account depends directly on the performance of your website, you will spend time in finding the right people to do it and pay them the price they ask for doing it. It is money well invested.

Do we charge too much? No, not at all. The price we quoted was based on the time required and the cost of that time for various profiles required for that project. The cost for the sale site done by anyone else should be same, give or take a small percentage. So how can anyone quote a price so much lower than ours? The answer is in selling rotten apples. We have seen in past, the work done by other agencies at a significantly lower price than ours never matches up with what we provide to our clients. The important question now is “does it really matter?”

Thinking about it, may the other agency was not selling rotten apples, maybe they were not selling apples at all. Let’s see how. I have seen ads for companies designing websites on a “per page basis” where the rates are as low as Rs.350/page and I often wondered how can those people managed to make a site for such a low price.

One day I got an SMS for designing a website for Rs.7500 and I decided to call. I asked how much a site for a photographer would cost and they gave me a reference of a website they did for a photographer. The cost of the site was Rs.20,000. Sure the site was not something even a half decent designer would be proud of creating but there it was. The website may have its problems but it served the purpose of the photographer who probably only wanted a site to showcase some of her work, have a bit of info about her and have a contact form. The other aspect of the site didn’t matter, neither to her, nor to her clients.

You see, what is important is how a website affects your bottom line. If your Profit and Loss account depends directly on the performance of your website, you will spend time in finding the right people to do it and pay them the price they ask for doing it. It is money well invested.

On the other hand if your business is not affected by the website, you won’t want to invest serious money in a website. You are making a website so you can have a URL in your business card; you know, to keep up with the time.

So the next time you get a call from a client who wants to have a website and wants to pay you 30% of your regular fee, ask yourself if it is worth chasing that client and trying to convince him why he should pay your fee, or is it better to look for clients who are already aware of the value you bring to the table and are willing to pay for it.


How do YOU define Brand Equity?

Posted by Navin Harish - No Comments

Marketing and Research companies have quite a few yardsticks to measure the brand equity of a company.

I have a very simple way of measuring the brand equity of a company – how many mistakes you allow a company to make before dumping it.

Apple did things right mostly till the time they decided to launch the iPhone bundled with AT&T. Microsoft had to face a lawsuit for bundling Internet Explorer with Windows. It was criticized by almost anyone who walks on two feet but when Apple did the same things there were only a muted protest and that too by people who don’t like Apple. I hope you know that the Safari web browser is bundled in iPhone. Did I hear a voice of protest?

The other wrong thing was to launch the touch I pad and the iPhone with a memory of 8 GB and offering incremental memory increases which still are way below the 160GB – the highest capacity of a regular iPod launched by Apple.

Now comes the iPad. I still know a lot of people who are willing to forgive apple for all the drawbacks of iPad and still buy it.
How long before the apple user says “Apple, we need to talk…”

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