The lack of updates in this blog throughout the 2013 confirms: we’ve been incredibly busy. While we continue designing and developing corporate database driven websites – and remaining loyal to our old clients – we’ve been shifting our focus towards web and mobile application development with emphasis on PHP/MySQL, jQuery, HTML5 and other mobile application frameworks.
Most part of the year 2013, we have worked exclusively for a client in Dallas developing web and mobile applications with social networking and content publishing features. Due to the ongoing nature of the work, we cannot reference this work on our site but would be pleased to walk through some of the features should your company be interested in considering us for custom web and mobile application development work.
In November 2013 we signed up a full time software engineer to our team, Pyry Kuusi, who works from Helsinki, Finland as an exclusive team member of Interaria. As many of you know, we are a family based company with James Shields in web development and project management, his Finnish wife Meri Kuusi-Shields in user experience design and brand positioning, and now Meri’s brother and James’ brother-in-law Pyry in a full time position for software & web application development.
Over the years, we have realized that our clients care about one-on-one agile approach to project development which means ability to comprehend complex business models and organize them in a make-sense manner, willingness to embrace the organic process of new ideas and the ability to shift the direction for development when needed. For us, working with a small core team has meant this: ability to be flexible and less bureaucratic, all while holding a higher quality control with each deliverable.
The year 2014 will mark our 10 years in business, all with the same team. We are quite excited about the web and mobile application development for multi-platform media where users have more power to customize their content and interaction experiences and choose their device for user interaction. The concept of ‘interactivity’ will carry more meanings and make us more demands as we continue our years.
Often, a client may already have a desktop site which they are now looking to optimize for mobile device surfing. To begin the process, we need to define the scale for the mobile site: Will the mobile site provide the same or similar content as offered on the web? Or will the mobile site offer just a summarized content with links to the desktop site for more information?
While smaller scale mobile sites may be faster to develop, there is now a clear sift towards approaching mobile users with a similar respect and seriousness as the desktop users. This means that the mobile platform offers similar scale of the content as the desktop versions, with proper content development and optimizations for mobile viewing.
Today, mobile sites are no longer secondary optional versions of the desktop site but independently relevant and important media catering the growing user base that visits web and uses apps with their smartphones.
Creating a Redirect Strategy
Many visitors access websites through Google Search. If the link Google places in its search results leads to a url of a desktop version of the site, it is important that the page owner has a strategy in place with regards to how to handle a visitor on a smartphone. A good practice is to redirect the visitor to a relevant page on the mobile site rather than to take the visitor to a mobile site’s landing page. Furthermore, dynamically created pages and content should also be formatted for mobile viewing. The larger the desktop site is, the more work it takes to create an effective redirection strategy. Consider delivering all relevant content on a mobile site making sure that all links stay within the mobile site.
Unifying Content Management Systems
Especially when developing a large scale site it can be cumbersome to manage two versions of the site, the desktop site version and the mobile site version. Content updates such as adding text or images would take a double amount work in case these sites would utilize two separate, disconnected content management systems or no content management systems at all. A content that streams from one centralized content management system saves time and minimizes errors. An experienced content management system developer can create a custom CMS solution with specified features for a desktop site and specified features for a mobile site, while maintaining most of the content under one umbrella.
Providing Mobile Optimized Media Content
Flash videos, games and animations don’t play on Apple’s iOS devices and require a strategy how this type of content will be handled on mobile devices. Rather than displaying a message of not viewable content for the user’s device, it is better to offer alternative content making sure the mobile site doesn’t appear broken or come across as a secondary version.
Considering a Responsive Design
Instead of building a separate mobile web site, a client may consider a combination site designed and coded responsibly according to responsive design principles. Mobile applications developed with HTML5 utilizing responsive user interface design focus on adjusting the presentation of web media content for mobile device use. A strong well planned out CSS rules and coding is the key for successfully implementing the responsive design method. According to set CSS rules, the display of the applications’s content layout and components may be programmed to auto-reformat for display mobile differently than on tablet or desktop. An example of responsive web design would be for a layout that displays four columns of content in a ‘landscape’ view on tablet devises, but when in ‘portrait’ view, would auto-shift to show only two columns of content instead of 4. Further, then when the same content is viewed on a mobile devices, the content would shift to slim down further to show only one column of content. Responsive UI Design is not a mobile web application framework but rather a method for allowing well planned and coded HTML5 content to display differently on desktop, table and mobile.
Bottom Line: A properly optimized mobile site takes a user to a correct relevant page when accessing site through a search engine result link, indexes well on search engines, displays content in a mobile friendly manner, and has a fluent flow for interactivity.
Dupree Dance conducts high caliber dance conventions and competitions in cities throughout the United States.
Interaria is excited to announce the launch of an extensive web application driven website for Dupree Dance, www.dupreedance.com, that features an online registration and check-out process for dance studios and dancers attending Dupree Dance’s dance conventions. Prior the new website, Dupree Dance had relied on paper based registration process that due to extensive data collection and variables required a lot of management and processing time. The new database driven online registration system, designed and developed by the Interaria web development team, provides a system for the Dupree Dance administrators to keep track of all data and run custom reports – ultimately making processing times faster.
The site features several custom web applications such as studio profile account creation, dance routines listings, loyalty program discount calculations, special teacher offers processing, total fees processing, and My Account functionalities.
The website’s database and web applications were coded with PHP/MySQL by Interaria’s web developers. The step-by-step registration process utilizes AJAX technology. The site’s identity and graphics were custom designed by the Interaria team. For more information about our web design and web application development services, please call 214-909-3900.
Mobile sites are designed to provide an optimal user experience for visitors accessing the web through their mobile devices. Today, we can develop mobile sites using several different mobile web application frameworks.
Interaria recommends considering the following options for mobile site development.
1) jQuery Mobile
jQuery Mobile is an HTML5 based web application framework for smartphones and tablets based on jQuery and jQuery UI. jQuery Mobile supports a very extensive range of devices and provides a seamless method for extending existing applications to mobile and tablet that were originally built to run inside the desktop browser. The key benefits for choosing jQuery Mobile for web application development are: jQuery Mobile is open source / free and has a large global development community behind it, supporting it and actively pushing it forward.
3) Sencha Touch
4) Responsive UI Design
Mobile applications developed with HTML5 utilizing responsive user interface design focus on adjusting the presentation of web media content for mobile device use. A strong well planned out CSS rules and coding is the key for successfully implementing the responsive design method. According to set CSS rules, the display of the applications’s content layout and components may be programmed to auto-reformat for display mobile differently than on tablet or desktop. An example of responsive web design would be for a layout that displays four columns of content in a ‘landscape’ view on tablet devises, but when in ‘portrait’ view, would auto-shift to show only two columns of content instead of 4. Further, then when the same content is viewed on a mobile devices, the content would shift to slim down further to show only one column of content. Responsive UI Design is not a mobile web application framework but rather a method for allowing well planned and coded HTML5 content to display differently on desktop, table and mobile.
Which Platform to Choose?
The decision of which mobile development framework to choose is determined by several criteria such as the mobile site’s navigation structure, amount of custom content provided for mobile users only, requirements for the design and content to adjust for different screen sizes and resolutions, the amount of custom coding required to launch your new mobile web app, and the amount of coding and development that has already taken place.
Contact us to determine which mobile web application framework provides the most optimal platform for developing an engaging mobile media presence for your company.
In this blog post we discuss the use of a Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework in the context of custom web application development. What exactly is a Model-View-Controller (MVC)? Wikipedia gives the following insight and definition:
MVC (Model-View-Controller) is an architectural design pattern that encourages improved application organization through a separation of concerns. It enforces the isolation of business data (Models) from user interfaces (Views), with a third component (Controllers) (traditionally) managing logic, user-input and coordinating both the models and views. The pattern was originally designed by Trygve Reenskaug during his time working on Smalltalk-80 (1979) where it was initially called Model-View-Controller-Editor. MVC went on to be described in depth in “Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software” (The “GoF” or “Gang of Four” book) in 1994, which played a role in popularizing its use.
Although a Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern was originally formulated in the late 1970’s, it has more recently gained increased relevancy as a software modeling development system due to recent efficiency requirements when building web applications. Separating the View (presentation layer) from the applications inner workings (Control and Model) allows independent development of each element. The benefits of the separation are several:
- Web application development in the MVC framework allows for the design to be maintained and independently updated from the codebase. It is not uncommon that over time the design sensibilities may seem outdated, new design considerations become available, or new devices with different UI requirements become available. Separating the design and code make it easier for the developer to update the designs without affecting the established code.
- Web application development in the MVC framework allows for the Web applications features to grow over time. It may be the case with a web application that with new users, new features need to be added that weren’t originally anticipated. When new web application systems are developed they can be modeled according to already established graphical user interfaces.
- Web application development in the MVC framework allows for new representations or presentations of the same data, such as showing a chart of data as a pie chart or as a bar chart.
- Web application development in the MVC framework allows for new formatting of text or image content, such as a styling of a user interactive slideshow.
- Web application development in the MVC framework allows for the division of labor in the development process: one developer can work on the core logic and data structure (Controller / Model) while another can simultaneously work on its presentation to the user (graphical user interface or View).
- Web application development in the MVC framework allows for a web application’s functionality to be repurposed based on adjustments to a configuration file, independent of its GUI elements.
- Web application development in the MVC framework allows for scalability by centralizing re-usable building blocks of code. When new features are added to the web application, those new features can re-use the existing web application’s foundation code elements.
Web applications are sometimes a one-off for a specific purpose, but often times their functionality requirements grow over time as more users begin using the system. It is not uncommon to build out a system with a certain feature set and then soon after launch find that some features are more appreciated than other features, requiring further enhancements.
Interaria’s custom Web Application Development utilizing the Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework takes into account that the web applications’ user interface designs and graphical components will likely need to be updated over time and that a continued development of the web applications functionality will likely expand over time. Web applications developed in the the Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework allow for development flexibility, scalability and growth of visual design, user interfaces designs and the code base.
Contact Interaria at 214-909-3900 to discuss your company’s custom web application development needs.
Mobile and tablet devices not supporting the Flash player plugin have contributed to the overall decline of development of interactive web animations during the past few years.
Up until very recently, Web designers and developers have had very limited options to create cross-device compatible interactivity, typically relying on AJAX based components. Today we are closing the gap as new emerging technology and web programs are opening doors for new types of ‘Flash free’ interactive ‘animations’.
Adobe has brought in two new software products to the market, Adobe Edge, and CreateJS Toolkit built for Adobe Flash Pro CS6, that both offer promising steps towards more quickly produced code based HTML5 interactivity. Google has also developed a program called Google Swiffy which will convert Flash animations to HTML5.
Complex vector graphic animations can be created using Flash Pro CS6 which can then be exported as web friendly SVG’s (scalable vector graphics), and animated on HTML5 canvas using either the new built-in CreateJS Toolkit or by using the Google .swf to HTML5 conversion tool Swiffy.
With the new interactive tools available, there are now ways for web designers and web developers to increase cross-device compatible interactive creativity both economically and efficiently. A designer/developer can now put together an interactive experience where the exported code renders on all modern browsers and devices without the use of the Flash Player Plugin.
Contact Interaria at 214-909-3900 to discuss your company’s cross-platform compatible HTML5 animation needs.
DQ Estimating is an Austin, Texas based development company of a professional estimating software system DQ2000.
Interaria’s web design and development team created a custom web identity design, layout and code for DQ Estimating. Our full solution includes a PHP/MYSQL content management system that allows fast and convenient web updates by the DQ Estimating staff. The website is at http://www.dqestimating.com