Tag Archives: networking

CSS And The First Meaningful Paint

To render a webpage browsers needs to go through the complex dance of networking, parsing and painting before any content can be displayed to your user. Over the years, we’ve developed mechanisms and hacks to aid the browser at each stage of this process, but these have always come at some cost or trade-off.
How can we utilize modern web platform features to load our CSS as fast as possible? Should we still be inlining our critical content into the document or instead, how can HTTP/2 server push and Service Workers help us?

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CSS And The First Meaningful Paint

How To Simplify Android Networking With The Volley HTTP Library

In a world driven by the Internet, mobile apps need to share and receive information from their products’ back end (for example, from databases) as well as from third-party sources such as Facebook and Twitter.

How To Simplify Android Networking With The Volley HTTP Library

These interactions are often made through RESTful APIs. When the number of requests increases, the way these requests are made becomes very critical to development, because the manner in which you fetch data can really affect the user experience of an app.

The post How To Simplify Android Networking With The Volley HTTP Library appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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How To Simplify Android Networking With The Volley HTTP Library

Web Development Reading List #161: Restyling Form Elements, HTTP/2 HPACK, And The Empathy Vacuum

Are you afraid of refactoring code? I love refactoring code. It’s nice to see a code base growing, but this also means that new quirks and suboptimal changes are introduced along the way. At some point, you might realize that there could be a huge opportunity in rewriting the code — to eliminate conflicts or to rename things.
For me, refactoring is both: It’s a challenge to master, but, in the end, also a relief to see how the code evolved.

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Web Development Reading List #161: Restyling Form Elements, HTTP/2 HPACK, And The Empathy Vacuum

Never Bring an Opinion to a Data Fight: Day 1 of the Call to Action Conference

Why do people come to marketing conferences?

Some might say it’s for the networking, parties, workshops and insightful talks… or for more wacky stuff, like a money tornado booth, t-rex VR simulations and human inflatable foosball.

Testing out important conference equipment #CTAConf

A video posted by Dustin Bromley (@dustinjbromley) on

But some of the juiciest takeaways come from presentations about A/B tests that thought leaders are running, and how unexpected changes can yield big results.

… However, these aren’t always the kind of insights that will move the needle for your business. Without context — without your own data sets — these types of “takeaways” are really just opinions.

Telling your colleagues, “So-and-so changed their button copy to increase conversions, and I think we should do the same!” just won’t cut it anymore. As Orbit co-founder Andy Crestodina put it:

Never bring an opinion to a data fight. Because the highest-paid person’s opinion (HiPPO) always wins… unless you have data.

CI1KDeKUMAApabp Many of the talks at day one of the Call to Action Conference broke down processes and tips for being a more responsible data-driven marketer: Google Analytics reports you can run and templates for building a tracking plan.

Juicy. Here’s a taste.

We’ve become comfortably numb

Morgan Brown, COO of Inman News, thinks that marketers have become far too comfortably numb with the little data they have access to:

Even if you use Google Analytics, you’re still missing out on a large part of the picture.

Clicks, visitors and time on page provide you some insights, but if you can’t see your customer from the moment they touch your company — from the beginning to the end of the lifecycle — you’re flying blind. But whose job is it to dig into the data to ensure your team isn’t flying blind? Andy says it’s on everyone:

Analytics isn’t something that’s just one specialist’s responsibility.

That said, it doesn’t hurt to build a bomb-ass team to manage your data and growth. Morgan advises against hiring “another marketer.” Instead, bolster your growth team with individuals who live numbers — people who treat new customer acquisitions (and customer churn) with the same diligence as accounts receivables/payables.

Eventually, machines will tell us what’s important

As advancements in machine learning technology accelerate, we’re approaching an era where we won’t need to be so hands-on with data.

Machines will identify opportunities and provide testing recommendations for marketers, massively increasing the scale and impact of conversion optimization.

The future of marketing and conversion rate optimization, according to Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner, is in megavariate testing — mass split tests hypothesized and deployed by machines. CTAs will automatically be positioned to where they’re most likely to be clicked. Videos will be placed for optimal interactions.

Imagine a Slack bot that sends you a message with an A/B test recommendation — just type “yes” to switch the test live. That’s the future.

But…

We’re not there yet, so start hoarding your data

According to Andy, fewer than 30% of small businesses are using analytics — and those who are proactive about collecting data will have the competitive advantage. Morgan urged attendees to track all activity happening on their websites:

Stuff it into a data warehouse and let it sit there. It’ll at least be there when you need it.

If you don’t have the bandwidth to set up that kind of tracking, Morgan suggests you should at the very least be documenting important user flows — end-to-end tracking of your customer’s lifecycle:

Don’t settle for anything less than complete waterfalls.

Don’t have the time or know-how to set that kind of stuff up? Tough, says Morgan. Bribe an engineer colleague or friend. (… Or, uh, steal Morgan’s Tracking Plan Blueprint here.)

Develop a culture of experimentation

Tracking and collecting data isn’t enough. Here’s how Andy put it:

When you look at your analytics dashboard in the morning, the line goes up and you smile. Or the line goes down and you frown. And then you go back to checking your email. But you need to take action.

Morgan agreed that you’ve got to just do it. He’s found that all rapidly growing companies (think Uber, Airbnb and Facebook) have one main thing in common: a culture of experimentation and aggressive optimization.

Rapid experimentation — and the accelerated learning that comes with it — is key to fast growth.

Behind every conversion

While it’s tempting to get swept up in data and numbers, Andre Morys (founder of Web Arts AG) reminds us that every conversion is the result of user motivation.

Yes, data can tell us a lot in terms of user behaviour, but user motivation is harder to distil down to pure numbers. It relates to an individual’s implicit goals (owning a BMW for status) versus their explicit goals (owning a vehicle for transportation needs).

In order to tap into these implicit goals, Andre suggests asking yourself, “Who is your customer? What real problem are you solving?”

Morgan opts for a slightly different route, instead using surveys — such as pricing surveys, net promoter score surveys and customer satisfaction surveys — to get a pulse on his customers and prospects.

Whatever the route you take, it’s important to not lose sight of the people behind the clicks.

Because at the end of the day, Morys reminds us, conversions are really just people.

Psst. There’s one day of the Call to Action Conference left and we don’t want you to miss out on any of the learnings — sign up for all the notes here.

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Never Bring an Opinion to a Data Fight: Day 1 of the Call to Action Conference

Breaking It Down To The Bits: How The Internet, DNS, And HTTPS Work

Smashing Magazine is known for lengthy, comprehensive articles. But what about something different for a change? What about shorter, concise pieces with useful tips and bits that you could easily read over a short coffee break? As an experiment, this is one of the shorter “Quick Tips”-kind-of articles — shorter posts prepared and edited by our editorial team. What do you think? Let us know in the comments! —Ed.

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Breaking It Down To The Bits: How The Internet, DNS, And HTTPS Work

Group Interview: Expert Advice For Students and Young Web Designers

Our readers have requested that Smashing Magazine conduct an interview with industry leaders
on issues that are relevant to students and those just starting off in their design career. With the help of our panel of 16 designers, we’ll dispense advice that should help new designers get their career off to a promising start. We’ve asked a few different questions to each of the designers; you’ll see all of their responses below.

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Group Interview: Expert Advice For Students and Young Web Designers

15 Habits Of Professional Freelancers

There’s very little to stop anyone becoming a freelancer. In a highly competitive and, in most places, saturated market, you need to make sure your reputation as a freelancer is well-managed and continues to grow. It’s very possible to get a good reputation without being the best in the world, and it’s even easier to lose that reputation.

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Getting Clients: Approaching The Company Critical Mistakes Freelancers Make Freelance Contracts: Do’s And Don’ts Marketing Rules And Principles For Freelancers In this article, we’ll explore 15 habits that are essential in helping freelancers effectively safeguard and grow their reputation, and we’ll also discuss how to make freelancing work for you.

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15 Habits Of Professional Freelancers

10 Harsh Truths About Corporate Websites

We all make mistakes running our websites. However, the nature of those mistakes varies depending on the size of your company. As your organization grows, the mistakes change. This post addresses common mistakes among large organizations.
Most of the clients I work with are large organizations: universities, large charities, public sector institutions and large companies. Over the last 7 years, I have noticed certain recurring misconceptions among these organizations. This post aims to dispel these illusions and encourage people to face the harsh reality.

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10 Harsh Truths About Corporate Websites

Professional Web Design Forums

Web design-related forums are a place where you interact with other designers, exchange ideas or discuss your first drafts. When you have a problem, you can post the issue, and then receive feedback on possible design or coding solutions from community members. This interaction is a great way to establish contacts and build relationships. Forums are used for networking and marketing purposes. They are practical places to solve problems and can serve as a form of social diversion.

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Professional Web Design Forums

Creating A Successful Online Portfolio

Your portfolio is the showcase of your work, your skills and your potential for your future employers. The more time and effort you dedicate for a usable and nice-looking design, the higher are your chances for getting better account balance in the end of the month. So how can you make sure your portfolio is better than the portfolios of your competitors? How can you point employer’s attention to your works?

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Creating A Successful Online Portfolio