Report: U.S. Mobile Search Spend Expected To Overtake Desktop Next Year

eMarketer's lastest estimates encompass PPC and SEO spending on smartphones and tablets.

Starting next year, marketers in the U.S. will spend more on mobile search — both PPC ads and SEO –  than on desktop, according to a new report from digital research firm, eMarketer.
Just last year, the firm estimates, less than a quarter of search spend went to mobile. The report suggests that the tables will turn entirely by 2018, with mobile accounting for 76.7 percent of search spending.
EMarketer includes both tablets and smartphones in its mobile numbers, but says the dramatic shift is being driven primarily by smartphones. Still, it’s worth noting that the market doesn’t have much control over what gets allocated to search advertising on tablets.
Google’s enhanced campaigns eliminated the ability to bid separately on tablet and desktop traffic last year. Bing Ads followed Google’s lead this year and also combined desktop and tablet traffic this fall.
Additionally, because SEO is included in these estimates, it’s not clear what the shift in ad spending actually looks like.

What is UX Design?

History of Programming Languages (Infographic)


6 Steps to Create an Effective BYOD Plan (Infographic)

With workplaces more mobile and interconnected than ever, many employees have the ability to work from home or on the go. While at first glance, having a bring your own device (BYOD) policy in your office can help with flexibility and cutting costs, it could also lead to security issues and major IT headaches if businesses aren't too careful.
So what can managers and IT departments do to ensure the safety of company data and productivity of their employees?  Well, actually a lot.


User Experience is Integral to Winning App Design

Each time that I download a new app on my iPhone, I expect it to make my life simpler, solve my problems efficiently and make it easier for me to get through my day.
Ninety percent of the time I’m disappointed, for the simple reason that many developers ignore the fundamentals of user-experience design.
Simply put, if the app has to tell me how to navigate from one screen to another or what each button means and does, it’s lost me completely. I now have to remember how to use this app each time I launch it. That doesn’t make my life any easier!
What is user experience, or more popularly referenced as UX? Let me tell you what it is not. It does not mean UI (user interface) or graphic design in simpler terms. It’s not about technology and certainly not the role of just one person.
So how do you deliver a great user experience for the app that you’re building? Here are some guidelines to get you started.
1. Choose the right features. User experience starts right at the planning stage. At the time when you’re dreaming up your first set of features for the app. It’s very easy to fall into the feature-rut where the feeling is the more features in an app, the more value it will have for the customer.
One of the toughest parts of building an app is deciding what to keep in the first version. Keeping it simple and building an app that offers the core value proposition will help your users to navigate through the app easily. Once they’re hooked, you can study their behavior and then build additional features.
Provide features that are relevant to the mobile platform. For instance, a banking app that lets you quickly check your balance and perform transactions on the go. Or an airline app that lets you check-in, gives you flight status and offers a boarding card.
2. Easy flow and navigation. Once you’ve decided on the first set of features you want to build into the app, it’s imperative that you make it easy for the user to flow from one screen to another, or from one feature to another.
Think how you can make the navigation and flow so simple that a 3 year old could use the app without parental guidance.
Your aim should be to reduce the learning curve for the users and make navigation more intuitive.
3. Understand your customer. a big part of delivering a great user experience is knowing the user of your app. What is the profile of your typical customer -- age group, gender, culture, their behavior with technology, etc.
The navigation, feature access (such as button size, easy tap instead of swipes), will differ from a 3 year old versus a 45 year old.
4. Utilize the platform. Each platform, iOS or Android, offers various gesture-based navigation tools. Swipes (left, right, top and bottom) can remove or add a record, bring a new screen and remove another. Pinch (zoom in and out) can zoom into the content that a user is reading or move out of the current screen as well.
Depending on the nature of your application and its purpose, use gestures offered by the platform well to provide an intuitive navigation. The Clear app is one that is based solely on gestures and doesn’t have any buttons for navigation.
5. Building trust. Users shouldn't have to worry about privacy issues or spam. Do not collect any more information than necessary for the user’s experience. If you can just get by with a name and email address, then do not ask for any more details.
Similarly, do not upload any content from their device onto your server without their permission. There have been apps that were barred from going live because they uploaded a user’s contact list without their knowledge.
Do not unnecessarily spam the user with frequent emails or push notifications unless otherwise absolutely necessary for the user to get a great experience.
6. Optimize push notifications. Push notifications can really be irritating. On the other hand, they can really help your business push forward.
Be mindful when setting triggers for notifications so that they do not become intrusive. Remember, the user should always have the option to completely stop all notifications.
7. Build a feedback loop. You need feedback from your customers to understand what the shortfalls are in your app or what features they love so you can evolve the product to suit their growing needs.
From the user’s point of view, if they’re using your app and find something they need to report, make it easy for them to get in touch with you or your support team. Make sure you respond to your customers within 24 hours of receiving the feedback. Customer service can help build a fantastic experience and you could win the customer for the lifecycle of your app.
Treat user experience as not just a part of design, but as an integral part of your product strategy. Remember, success is by design, not by chance.


Prototype Improves Mobile Typing by Ditching the Keyboard

Typing on mobile devices such as tablets and phones is notoriously dodgy. It can be done, but it’s awkward, inefficient and frustrating. Sort of like rooting for the Chicago Cubs.
A startup in Austin, Texas, may have found a way to solve the mobile keyboard problem: Get rid of the keyboard entirely.
The AirType project — currently in early prototype phase — is a “keyboardless keyboard” accessory that allows you to type on any surface, or none at all. Unlike projection keyboards, which use a virtual keyboard image displayed on a flat surface, the AirType has no visual component whatsoever.
Instead, the Air Type system uses a pair of cuff-like sensor units that go around your hands and over the knuckles. The units track your finger moments to detect which keys you’re striking, or would strike, on your mobile tablet keyboard — which isn’t there, mind you.
It’s all rather Zen, really, and the AirType unit would seem to require total touch-typing proficiency. According to the project page, the system has some adaptive technology built in so that it will learn to adjust to your habits, and not the other way around. It appears to be similar to the way you “teach” voice recognition software to recognize your speech patterns.
Photos suggest that the AirType cuffs are designed to be small and mobile, clipping onto your tablet like a pair of friendly barnacles. The accessories would also come with an app that incorporates dynamic text correction and prediction.

From:  for Discovery News


The Problem With The Miami Tech Startup Scene? Funding!

Some interesting things stood out in the discussion that unfolded. First, the panelists: The moderator was Carlos Garcia from Nobox (a Social Marketing company that helps young companies), and the investor oriented panelists included Juan Pablo Capello, co-founder of IdeaMe, and Richard Lent from the newly launched Thesis Ventures. Two prominent Miami Startups were represented – Rodolfo Saccoman from AdMobilize and Will Weinraub of LiveNinja. Straddling the middle a bit was Jose Vargas, founder of Healthcare.com but also involved in the PeopleFund crowdsourcing platform.

Last week, we attended a great Tech Startup Funding event at the Miami Science Museum hosted by the folks over at Refresh Miami. If you haven’t heard of Refresh Miami, they’re THE events guide and connection to the Tech scene in Miami and South Florida. The purpose of the event was to shed light on the Startup scene, and in particular, discuss topics relating to how startup companies get funded down here, what challenges they face, and how to go about it. The auditorium was standing-room only, and the panel of experts included a nice blend of people who are involved in startup funding from the investor side, as well as a few great businesses in the Miami area that have recently been funded.
What stood out to us is the very real growth we’re seeing in the tech industry down here – coupled with the very real problems involved in technology funding in Miami and South Florida in general.

First, the good news – between the multiple Incubators and Accelerator programs down here (Venture Hive, The Lab, Wyncode, Thesis Ventures), it’s evident that we’re slowly building a viable infrastructure down in Miami that will support new technology companies. And that’s a good thing. Actually, it’s a great thing.

The challenge, though, is the near complete lack of initial funding sources. All the panelists concurred – It turns out that the most common and viable way of starting a technology business down here is through ‘personal investment’. Which more or less means self-funding or funding through a network of friends and family. Typically, this amount ranges from as little as $25k to upwards of $100k. A technology-focused business is likely to cost $50k+ to get off the ground. There are Incubator programs in place that may be able to help with part of this through small grants and office space, but they are generally not able to provide the amount of money that is needed to get these businesses up and running. That lack of capital required to execute the launch of a business from ground zero is a major problem, but not the only one.

The next challenge is the lack of Angel Investors (or Seed capital) in South Florida–or rather, the lack of their participation in the early phase of this Technology boom. There’s a lot of Latin American capital here, but most of it is on the sidelines or tied up in real estate investments. An Angel Investor tends to be a doctor, lawyer, or business professional that wants to invest in early stage businesses and often pools money with others. What we’re finding is there is almost none who are active in this market. And that’s a BIG problem. Because what often happens is that a small startup locates initial funding (again, often from their own pockets or own network of family and friends), begins to build their business, but doesn’t quite reach a point where there is revenue (or at least, any sign of profits). The traditional next step from there, if you lived in, say, San Francisco, would be Angel Investing, and without that, these young companies can run out of money before ever getting the attention of the larger investment capital firms. Investment capital firms, by the way, generally only invest the larger amounts once they see a business with scalable revenue and profits.

This is consistent with our own view of the Technology Startup market in South Florida. At SDSol, we see an increasing number of entrepreneurs coming to us with great ideas and energy. It’s an exciting time. Unfortunately, they’re unfunded and are often asking if we (as custom software developers) can take on the project on a revenue share basis.  Because of the massive risk involved – it is estimated that 9 out of 10 investments in such early stage projects fail – and because we’re not investors but rather Software Technology providers, this isn’t something we can typically do.

We’d love to link some of these folks up with Angel Investors and Seed capital – if only that community were active.  We’ll get there, and perhaps sooner than later, but until then, this will remain the single largest barrier to South Florida becoming the Silicone Valley of the South.
In future articles, we’ll offer some advice for Technology Startups who want to approach developers for assistance, but may not have the budget to fully support their development costs.

How to Keep Customers Focused on Your Website

“Try reading a book while doing a crossword puzzle. That’s the intellectual environment of the Internet.”
In his book, “The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” Nicholas Carr describes what we have long suspected--that our use of the Internet is creating neurological changes in the brain, affecting our ability to remember facts, or pay attention long enough to fully understand what we read.
Now, what was that again?
Though many disagree with Carr, the research he cites in his book has important implications for content creation. Among the findings:
  • The more links there are in an article, the lower the comprehension of the reader. This may be because readers devote more of their attention to evaluating links and deciding whether to click them.
  • Readers of hypertext click through pages rather than reading them carefully. Worse, readers of hypertext could not remember what they had read or not read.
  • People watching a CNN news story retained far more information without the headlines scrolling at the bottom of the screen.
  • Users click instead of reading and finding answers. Study participants who searched for answers to questions in print did better than those searching for answers on Web pages.
Does your content distract and overtax your readers? Are your messages too long and complex? Can your visitors find the information they need quickly? How do you engage users who are “clicking instead of concentrating”?
  • Keep in mind that less is often more on the Web. Eliminate distracting site features such as flash animation or scrolling text.
  • Make copy easy to scan with subheads and bullets.
  • Use site navigation to break your information into shorter pages.
  • Make hyperlinks more descriptive. Don’t tell readers to “Read more”; tell them what they will read if they click.
  • Write website content in a conversational, less formal tone.
  • Get to the point in the first words. Don’t expect readers to read a long introductory paragraph.
  • Use adjectives, hyperbole, corporate-speak, and jargon sparingly.
  • Consider using video to communicate more complex information.
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