The very nature of big data integration requires an organization to become more flexible in some ways; particularly when gathering input and metrics from such varied sources as mobile apps, browser heuristics, A / V input, software logs, and more. The number of different methodologies, protocols, and formats that your organization needs to ingest while complying with both internal and government-mandated standards can be staggering.
If you’re paying attention to anything that’s happening in the development world, you’re likely familiar with the term “observability.” We’re seeing more and more monitoring companies from all different backgrounds jumping on the term to describe their solutions, many claiming their observability tool to be the factor that will take businesses to the next level.
Growing out-of-control system engineering, observability allows dev teams to unify and study the behaviors of various IT systems through the external outputs of the internal systems. In the case of software, that’s log events, distributed tracing, and time-series metrics. By unifying the data streaming through today’s complex IT environments, it certainly gives SREs and DevOps practitioners a leg up from traditional monitoring. But the data alone is no longer enough.
Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat has developed a variable font, that is designed to make the effects of human-driven climate change tangible in a simple graphical form.
Whereas most type designers use variable font techniques to embed a range of weights in a single font file, the team — lead by Helsingin Sanomat’s art director Tuomas Jääskeläinen, and typographer Eino Korkala — used the technique to “melt” the typeface.
In the design process, we tried out countless letter shapes and styles, only to find that most of them visualized the disaster right in the earliest stages of the transformation. That’s something we wanted to avoid because unlike a global pandemic, climate change is a crisis that sneaks up on us.
— Tuomas Jääskeläinen
The default typeface represents the volume of Arctic sea ice in 1979 (when records began). It’s a rather beautiful, chiseled, chunky sans-serif, with cut-aways that open up counters to give it a modern appeal. As you move through the years towards 2050 the shapes appear to melt away, to the point that they’re barely legible.
Set the scale to 2021 and you’ll see an already dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice, and the resulting desalination of the ocean.
As depressing as these outlines are, they aren’t an estimate. The typeface’s outlines precisely match real data — there was an unexpected uptick in Arctic sea ice in 2000, and that’s reflected in the font.
The historical data is taken from the NSIDC (The US National Snow and Ice Data Center) and the predictive data comes from the IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).
We hope that using the font helps people see the urgency of climate change in a more tangible form – it is a call for action.
— Tuomas Jääskeläinen
You can download the font for free, for personal or commercial work.
The post Variable Font Reveals The Full Horror of The Climate Crisis first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.
If selling products online is a core part of your business, then you need to build an e-commerce data model that’s scalable, flexible, and fast. Most off-the-shelf providers like Shopify and BigCommerce are built for small stores selling a few million dollars in orders per month, so many e-commerce retailers working at scale start to investigate creating a bespoke solution.
When you think of installing analytics, you probably reach for Google Analytics. And you wouldn’t be alone. The platform’s tight integration with SEO and the implication that using Google products is beneficial to ranking means that Google Analytics is the most commonly installed analytics solution globally.
Google Analytics isn’t a bad choice: it’s free, it’s fairly comprehensive, and it does indeed tie most SEO efforts up with a nice bow.
But Google Analytics is also slow, extremely bad for privacy — both yours and your users’ — and for many people, it’s too unwieldy, having grown organically over the years into a relatively complex UI.
Some alternatives are fast, privacy-friendly, and geared towards different specialisms. Today we’re rounding up the best…
Heap is an event-based analytics platform. That means you can tell not just how many people visited your site but what actions they took when they were there. This isn’t a unique proposition, but Heap is one of the best implementations.
Heap offers an auto-track tool, which is ideal for new installations because you can get up and running immediately and fine-tune the details later. That makes it great for startups, although it’s also the choice of major corporations like Microsoft.
Heap’s free plan includes 60k sessions per year and 12 months of data history, but when you outgrow that, the business plans start at $12,000/year.
ChartMogul is geared towards SaaS that offer subscription plans, staking a claim as the world’s first subscription data platform.
Services like Buffer and Webflow use ChartMogul to monitor their revenue and analyze the ROI of changes to their features, design, and user experience.
Ideally suited for startups, ChartMogul pricing is based on monthly recurring revenue; it has a free plan for up to $10,000 MMR; after that, pricing starts at $100/month.
Fathom is an awesome, privacy-first analytics solution. It offers a simple dashboard and is ideal for anyone looking for simple analytics information to verify business decisions.
Fathom is ideally suited to freelancers, or entrepreneurs with multiple projects, as it allows you to run multiple domains from a single account. Fathom is entirely cookieless, meaning you can ditch that annoying cookie notice. It’s GDPR, ePrivacy, PECR, CCPA, and COPPA compliant.
There’s a seven-day free trial; after that, Fathom starts at $14/month.
FullStory is designed to help you develop engaging online products with an emphasis on user experience.
FullStory is a set of tools, making it ideal for large in-house teams or in-house teams working with outside agencies or freelancers. It pitches itself as a single source of truth from which everyone from the marketing department to the database engineers can draw their insights, helping digital teams rapidly iterate by keeping everyone in the same loop.
FullStory uses AI to track and interpret unexpected events, from rage clicks to traffic spikes, and breaks those events down to a dollar-cost, so you can instantly see where your interventions will have the most impact.
There’s a free plan for up to 1k sessions per month; once you outgrow that, you need to talk to the sales team for a quote.
Amplitude has one of the most user-friendly dashboards on this list, with tons of power behind it. For project managers trying to make science-based decisions about future development, it’s a godsend.
The downside with Amplitude is that to make the most of its powerful data connections, you need to pump a lot of data in. For that reason, Amplitude is best suited to sites that already have a substantial volume of traffic — among those customers are Cisco and PayPal.
Amplitude provides a free plan, with its core analytics and up to 10m tracked actions per month. For premium plans, you have to contact their sales team for a quote.
Mixpanel is a little bit more than an analytics program, aiming to be a whole suite of web tools it has ventured into split testing and notifications.
Mixpanel is laser-focused on maximizing your sales funnel. One look at the dashboard, and you can see that Mixpanel, while very well designed, has too many features to present them simply; Mixpanel is ideally suited to agencies and in-house development teams with time to invest — you probably want to keep the CEO away from this one.
Mixpanel has a generous free plan for up to 100k monthly users, with its business plans starting at $25/month.
Mode is a serious enterprise-level solution for product intelligence and decision making.
Ideally suited to in-house teams, Mode allows you to monitor financial flow and output the results in investor-friendly reports. You can monitor your entire tech stack and, of course, understand how users are interacting with your product. Wondering who handles the analytics for Shopify? That would be Mode.
Mode has a free plan aimed at individuals, but this tool’s scope is really beyond freelancers, and the free plan’s only likely to appeal to high-price consultants and tech trouble-shooters. For the full business plan, you need to contact Mode’s sales team for a quote.
Microanalytics is a relatively new analytics program with a lightweight, privacy-focused approach.
Microanalytics provides a simple dashboard with acquisitions, user location, technology, and the all-important event tracking to monitor user behavior. Microanalytics is compliant with the web’s most stringent privacy laws, including GDPR, PECR, and CCPA. The tracking code is just 1kb in size, meaning that you’ll hardly notice its footprint in your stats.
Microanalytics is free for up to 10k pageviews/month; after that, the monthly plan starts at $9.
GoSquared is another suite of tools, this time aimed at SaaS. Its primary product is its analytics, but it also includes live chat, marketing tools, and a team inbox.
If you’re tired of comparing multiple tools to help make the most of your startup, GoSquared kills several birds with one stone. Perhaps most importantly, if you’re beginning to build a team and don’t have any engineers onboard yet, GoSquared has an award-winning support team and an idiot-proof setup process.
GoSquared has a free plan that’s fine for evaluating the suite and integrating data from day one. As you begin to grow, paid plans start at $40/month.
Segment is a little different from the other analytics tools on this list; Segment is a layer that sits between your site and your analytics. It integrates with many of the tools on this list.
There are several benefits to this approach. The main one is that different teams within your enterprise can access analytics data in a form that suits them — designers can access complex data, and management can stick to revenue flow. It also means that you can switch analytics programs with a single setting in Segment and even migrate historical data into new apps. If you’re an enterprise that wants to future-proof its customer intelligence gathering, Segment is worth considering.
Segment is trusted by some of the web’s best-known names, from IBM to Levis, and…ahem…Google.
Segment is free for up to 1k visitors per month, and after that, the team plan starts at $120/month.
One of the few bright spots in 2020 has been the creativity companies and individuals alike have exhibited in dealing with what, at times, seemed to be overwhelming problems.
The world of web design was no different. Designers and agencies had to adapt and implement new color schemes or design new shopping experiences, which made some of the previous design trends not fit for the current design problems.
We’ll take a look at these newest design trends and the rationale behind them. As we do so, we’ll also take a look at some of BeTheme’s 600+ pre-built sites that have already put them to good use.
1. Comforting Color Palettes Lighten the Load
In years past, bolder color schemes were one of the hallmarks of web design trends. Their purpose was to quickly engage a visitor and prompt him or her to respond emotionally.
Given all the drama and turmoil we were subjected to through most of 2020, we’ve come to welcome the use of toned-down colors in marketing instead of the bolder, brasher, and more “in-your-face” color schemes.
Bellroy’s website puts toned-down colors to good use. This company’s product line of wallets, bags, and the like, are designed to keep people’s belongings organized, safe, and secure. A wild color scheme simply wouldn’t be fitting.
How, then, are brightly-colored products dealt with? Thanks to judicious uses of white space and background photos, this website still emphasizes a toned-down color palette.
The BeSpa pre-built website is another example of a color scheme that almost immediately puts the mind at ease.
Calm and soothing? Yes.
Boring? Definitely not.
Comfort and security are the emotional drivers in this example.
2. Seamlessly Intermingle and Balance Physical and Digital Imagery
People confined to their homes because of Covid-based restrictions spent many more hours looking at their screens in 2020. Online programming began to take on the appearance of a reality show that blurred the boundaries between the real and the digital.
Whereas web designers tended in the past to rely on either photos or illustrations in their designs, these same designers have started to integrate these blurring effects into their designs, with results that range from amusing and quirky to highly informative.
Check out this example from fashion designer Constance Burke:
It’s not every day you see real models wearing hand-drawn fashion sketches. But it’s just one example of how the physical can be blended with the digital.
The BeSki pre-built site does the same blending of the two, but in a totally different way:
The sections’ designs switch from predominantly physical to largely digital and back again, an excellent approach that provides a maximum amount of useful information.
It’s also worth noting how snowbanks are effectively used to seamlessly transition from one section to the next.
3. Create Well-Organized and Helpful Shopping Experiences
More people spending more time at home has created a surge in online shopping. As a result, many online store owners are now feeling the effects of increased competition.
Consumers look for brands they believe they can trust. At the same time, they want their online shopping experiences to be as quick and painless as possible. They look for (and expect) quick and effective product search capabilities, helpful and effective product displays, one-page product descriptions, and the like.
Walgreen’s product page design is especially well-suited for 2021 ecommerce shoppers:
Everything shoppers usually need to know is presented above-the-fold. They can easily proceed to the next step or scroll down for reviews or additional product specifications.
BePestControl’s pre-built website uses a similar product design approach:
In this example, the main selling points are up-front and are kept short and sweet. The shopper can either hit the ‘Add to Cart’ button or look below the button for additional information.
In both examples, a visitor doesn’t have to mull over what step to take next since one of the design objectives is to make the shopping experience as easy and as satisfying as possible.
4. Take Advantage of the Benefits of User-Controlled Video Content
Once upon a time, video content was “the thing” to incorporate in a website. Hero background videos proved to be particularly engaging, and “how-to” videos presented much more useful information than illustrations or blocks of text could.
On the other hand, Auto-play videos, those that started on their own, all too often had a tendency to irritate rather than inform, especially when their content didn’t address a visitor’s immediate concern.
Thanks to Zoom and similar video platforms that came into widespread use in 2020 and to website designs that include video “Play” buttons, users have become much more comfortable with the medium. As an example, Shoppers have been given total control over if or when they want to view a given video.
This is the design approach Payoneer has taken:
The white “Pay” button is impossible to miss, and while it is designed to encourage a visitor to watch a testimonial, doing so is completely optional.
The BeOptics pre-built website cleverly slips in a video play option as well:
In this example, when visitors hover over the “See More” button, it lets them know that they have the option to watch the video if they want to learn more.
5. Trust Builders Should be Non-Negotiable Web Design Elements
There are various ways in which products are organized or showcased in brick and mortar businesses to instill trust. Helpful and friendly staff also contribute to instilling trust.
Some of these trust-builders are easily incorporated into eCommerce designs. Others, though more difficult to fit in, can usually be satisfactorily addressed.
Digital trust builders can include.
- Logos (familiar, whimsical, innovative, engaging)
- Portfolios and/or product pages
- Customer reviews, product ratings, and client testimonials
- Case studies and product or price comparisons
- Safety and security seals, e.g., Better Business Bureau, PayPal checkout
- Charts, graphs, counters, and other data visualization techniques
- Proof of social, charitable, or community-related actions and contributions
Put, trust-building content will beat hard-sell techniques every time, especially if you would like your customer base to include referred and repeat customers.
Omaze, for example, gives people entries for prizes based on their donations while at the same time highlighting the good things it and its donors have brought about.
To help build trust, the site devotes space to highlighting publications that have featured Omaze and the work it has done and is doing.
Plus, it puts data visualization and non-profit testimonials into play to give visitors an added insight into what is going on behind the scenes:
As you can see, it doesn’t have to be difficult to incorporate genuine trust-building content into your website designs.
BePortfolio is a great example of how you might go about doing this for a portfolio site, whether it’s your own or a site for a client:
The home page alone has plenty of space for including trust-building content:
- A satisfied customer counter
- Product usage case studies and testimonial
- Portfolio highlights
- Client and partnership logos
And it can only get better as a visitor moves through the site, but only if you’ve chosen to make that happen.
Have You Started to Take These New Web Design Trends to Heart?
We’re not suggesting that you throw the baby out with the bathwater, but some trends will need to be discarded to enable you to adjust to a new normal. Other 2020 design trends, like minimalism and headline topography, are likely to remain popular for years to come.
New trends that incorporate calming color palettes, image blending, more efficient eCommerce UX designs, user-controlled video, and trust-building elements should give your customers the feeling of comfort and security they will be seeking in 2021.
If you want to implement some or all of these new trends in your 2021 website designs, BeTheme’s 600+ pre-built sites make doing so an easy task.
[– This is a sponsored post on behalf of BeTheme –]
Un personnel polyvalent est essentiel pour surmonter les défis, notamment ceux liés au COVID-19. Les entreprises reconnaissent désormais l’importance de l’upskilling et du reskilling. Mais elles ne savent pas toujours comment procéder à grande échelle. Ou comment exploiter efficacement des technologies comme les learning management systems (LMS). Si les collaborateurs peuvent accéder à une pléthore de formations, certifications et badges, de nombreux dirigeants peinent encore à discerner ce qui aura le plus d’impact.
Beaucoup d’organisations ont démontré leur capacité à faire basculer leurs salariés en télétravail presque du jour au lendemain. Alors que les entreprises commencent à s’adapter à cette nouvelle réalité, on peut se demander comment progresser sur d’autres problématiques. Comme celle de l’apprentissage sur le lieu de travail. Avec des solutions et des technologies innovantes les dirigeants étudient la meilleure façon d’y parvenir, en évaluant comment communiquer de manière authentique, recueillir des insights et mettre en œuvre des formations plus efficaces.
Parallèlement à une stratégie des effectifs, les entreprises peuvent suivre les étapes suivantes pour soutenir la formation et le développement de leurs collaborateurs.
1. Déterminer les déficits de compétences et anticiper les besoins à long terme
Après avoir déterminé leurs objectifs et évalué plusieurs scénarios, les entreprises élaborent une stratégie des effectifs adaptée. Pour la déployer, une étape clé est de combler l’écart entre les compétences que vos collaborateurs ont déjà et celles qu’ils doivent acquérir. De nombreuses entreprises, lorsqu’elles s’adaptent à l’incertitude économique, évaluent ces écarts tout en déterminant s’il faut réduire les effectifs. Aussi important soit-il de réfléchir aux besoins d’aujourd’hui, considérer les besoins en effectifs et compétences pour les 5 à 10 prochaines années est tout aussi central, si ce n’est plus. Si certaines compétences techniques deviennent rapidement caduques, d’autres, comme le leadership, représentent un investissement pour l’avenir. Il a également été démontré qu’un programme de formation solide aide à attirer et retenir les meilleurs talents.
La première étape dans l’élaboration d’une stratégie de gestion des talents est l’identification des emplois et des carrières qui nécessiteront l’upskilling des collaborateurs. Par exemple, de nombreux emplois seront reconfigurés avec des technologies telles que l’intelligence artificielle (IA). Les organisations devraient commencer par identifier les tâches essentielles à la croissance et à l’amélioration de l’expérience client. Ensuite, elles devraient identifier les ressources nécessaires pour les accomplir. Ressources qui incluent notamment les machines intelligentes et salariés requalifiés. Les nouvelles descriptions de poste devraient refléter le besoin de ces collaborateurs plus stratégiques et créatifs. Dans le cadre du recrutement, les technologies RH peuvent aujourd’hui aider les entreprises à prédire la réussite en évaluant la personnalité et les capacités cognitives des candidats.
De plus, pour évaluer en continu les compétences des collaborateurs, il faut envisager de développer une bibliothèque des compétences. Une base de données de ce que les salariés doivent savoir et des compétences qu’ils doivent posséder pour performer dans leurs fonctions. Dans un sens, il s’agit de descriptions de postes basées sur les compétences.
2. Interroger les collaborateurs
Les plates-formes technologiques RH peuvent recueillir des données en temps réel sur l’expérience des collaborateurs et les objectifs business, afin d’aider les entreprises à bien prioriser en matière d’upskilling. En interrogeant les collaborateurs, elles peuvent diagnostiquer les compétences actuelles d’une personne et recueillir des informations sur les compétences adjacentes.
Comprendre les besoins d’un collaborateur est essentiel, non seulement pour la stratégie d’upskilling, mais aussi pour améliorer l’expérience employé et la fidélisation. Pour de meilleurs résultats à long terme, les entreprises devraient aligner leurs efforts d’upskilling sur les plans de carrière des collaborateurs et leur développement. Un personnel heureux est souvent un personnel productif. Des recherches ont montré que les collaborateurs sont souvent « au mieux de leur carrière » lorsque leurs talents, leurs passions et les besoins de l’entreprise sont alignés.
3. Tenir compte des compétences, des connaissances et de l’expérience
Dans certains domaines, l’acquisition et le transfert des connaissances sont tout aussi importants que les compétences. Bien que les data scientists puissent être très demandés pour intégrer les technologies d’IA dans une entreprise, il n’est pas toujours suffisant qu’un collaborateur cherche à obtenir une certification en data science pour assurer la fonction. Les candidats devront avoir une connaissance approfondie des mathématiques ou de l’informatique pour comprendre le fonctionnement des algorithmes. Lorsque les entreprises n’ont pas la taille, la crédibilité ou l’expertise nécessaires dans certains domaines, elles peuvent s’associer à des institutions, organisations académiques ou professionnelles, pour une formation personnalisée.
Un cadre d’apprentissage largement référencé, le modèle « 70-20-10 », encourage les entreprises à promouvoir 70 % de l’apprentissage par l’expérience, 20 % par autrui (mentorat, coaching), et 10 % par la formation formelle. Mais le modèle peut être pondéré selon les domaines et compétences. Par exemple, les pilotes de ligne ont des exigences différentes selon la licence qu’ils souhaitent obtenir, notamment privée ou commerciale. Beaucoup estiment qu’une formation rigoureuse et formelle devrait peser plus de 10 % dans de nombreux domaines.
4. Repenser, remodeler et rééquiper les RH pour soutenir un processus d’apprentissage continu
L’une des clés d’une stratégie des effectifs réussie consiste à diffuser une culture de l’apprentissage. Les collaborateurs peuvent manquer de temps pour suivre une formation de deux heures. Heureusement la technologie, des applications aux systèmes de gestion de la formation (LMS), permet aux collaborateurs d’acquérir des compétences et de partager des connaissances entre eux par le biais d’un upskilling itératif. Ces capsules de formation peuvent prendre la forme de vidéos d’apprentissage de 10 minutes, au format « snacking », qu’ils peuvent visionner aussi bien hors ligne et sur smartphone qu’à la maison.
L’époque où les entreprises donnaient la priorité aux compétences de base et assignaient des sessions de formation à leurs collaborateurs est révolue. Aujourd’hui, les dirigeants peuvent tirer parti des technologies et des écosystèmes pour permettre aux collaborateurs de piloter leur propre apprentissage. Des outils personnalisables qui utilisent l’IA et le machine learning peuvent par exemple fournir une formation, un coaching et des feedbacks personnalisés.
5. Motiver les collaborateurs en les aidant à suivre leurs progrès
Il n’y a pas de modèle unique pour l’upskilling. Au lieu de proposer des plans de formation normatifs, les dirigeants devraient, pour une formation et un développement professionnel réussis, lire les signaux émis par leurs employés.
Grâce à des plans de développement des collaborateurs personnalisés et à l’apprentissage social, les collaborateurs peuvent rester engagés et concentrés grâce à la mise en réseau virtuelle et au mentorat, tandis que les managers les motivent pour atteindre les objectifs. Pour soutenir un personnel en distanciel, les messageries instantanées et les social boards peuvent être très utiles pour retrouver la dynamique collective. Parmi les autres techniques de motivation, on peut citer la gamification associée à des récompenses financières ou des cartes-cadeaux. Et les derniers learning management systems (LMS) permettent aux entreprises de délivrer, de suivre et de gérer le contenu, les certifications et les données des collaborateurs comme une source unique d’enregistrement de l’apprentissage.
Suivant la tendance croissante au partage et à la consommation d’information sur les médias sociaux, de nombreuses personnes s’attendent à avoir la maîtrise du moment et de la façon dont elles apprennent. Et encourager les collaborateurs à créer et à contribuer à leur propre contenu d’apprentissage en créant leurs propres « playlists d’apprentissage» leur permet de devenir, en matière de formation, leur propre patron. Et cela ouvre les portes du progrès individuel.
Grâce à une stratégie des effectifs qui s’aligne sur les objectifs stratégiques, les entreprises peuvent appliquer ces mesures pratiques pour identifier les opportunités de reskilling et les déficits à combler. Grâce à une amélioration de l’expérience et des résultats relatifs au reskilling, les entreprises peuvent soutenir un personnel à l’épreuve du temps.
L’évolution des réalités dans le monde entier – de la modification des chaînes d’approvisionnement aux business models – a un impact sur toutes les entreprises. Celles qui peuvent réorienter leur personnel pourront relever les défis de l’avenir.
Publié en anglais sur insights.sap.com
The post Upskilling de vos effectifs : de la stratégie à l’action appeared first on SAP France News.
The ‘need for speed’ is an essential item on every website’s bucket list these days. And why not? Enhanced speed is directly responsible for converting traffic into paying clients.
Anyone in any industry wishes to boost their website’s loading speed, providing an improved user experience. Plus, don’t forget that escalated site speeds also escalates the website’s ranking to more competitive spots on the search engine result pages and improves core web vitals. So, how can this need for speed be achieved? The answer is image optimization.
What is Image Optimization?
Image optimization is a process of delivering superior-quality images in the appropriate format, size, and resolution while keeping them at a compressed size. Image optimization, if done right, improves not only a website’s performance but also certain other metrics like:
- Page loading speed;
- SEO ranking;
- Conversion rate;
- User engagement;
- User experience;
- Resource download time.
However, the image optimization process can be accelerated for better efficiency if some modern tips are followed. ImageEngine, with its years of experience in the image optimization industry, has cherry-picked some tips that can help businesses in the year 2021 and beyond.
Tips for Perfect Image Optimization in 2021
In this article, the top five tips to optimize images have been outlined to help you maximize business opportunities. All the tips included are backed by comprehensive research and years of experience in the image optimization industry.
The Right Format Matters
Selecting the right image format matters a lot in the optimization process because every format is meant to serve a specific requirement.
- JPEG: Best for still images, real-world images, and complex coloring;
- PNG: Best for web images like logos and flat images;
- GIF: Best for low-resolution images, animated graphics, small icons, and simple images — however, it is not advisable to go with GIF format but rather use mp4 or a webp instead;
- TIFF: Best for high-quality and large-size print graphics;
- WebP: A modern image format that offers superior compression while maintaining great quality.
Choosing the right format reduces bandwidth consumption for an improved webpage loading speed. However, a new format has joined the club: AVIF, that covers all the above image formats’ good qualities and surpasses even WebP while maintaining an excellent compression ratio. AVIF provides almost 50% savings in size when compared to JPEG format.
Serving images in the next generation formats like WebP and AVIF is a trending practice these days.
Go for Image Compression
Once the correct format has been selected, it becomes important to reduce the images’ size through a compression method. There are two methods of compressing images:
- Lossless compression: In this compression method, all the unnecessary metadata linked with the images is removed without degrading the quality. The metadata can be erased safely while exhibiting the images on a website or application.
- Lossy compression: In this compression method, the quality of the image is slightly reduced to accomplish a smaller size. The file size obtained in lossy conversion is lower than lossless compression, however, a naked human eye cannot highlight the difference between the original image and the lossy compressed image.
Never Skip the CDN
Image optimization and image CDNs are a match made in heaven. Website images not only need to be optimized but have to be delivered fast and easily as well. An optimized image is of no use if it cannot be transported quickly. An image CDN (Content Delivery Network) takes care of this need. It makes the rapid delivery of optimized images possible by reducing the distance between the online visitors and the servers.
The global image CDN also serves a ton of other benefits like:
- Enabling fast global reach via cloud acceleration;
- Audience segmentation (based on device viewport) becomes easy;
- It saves many costs by eliminating the need to invest in separate server providers in different parts of the world;
- Pulls down the load on the server to achieve reduced delivery cost;
- Secure storage capacity.
The carefully engineered image CDN from ImageEngine distinguishes itself from the rest with its unique features listed below:
- The images are optimized to be delivered 30% faster than other CDNs in the market;
- It is easy to integrate and configure ImageEngine CDN;
- The images are automatically optimized to the relevant format as per the user’s viewport size;
- The images can be delivered in next-generation formats such as AVIF and WebP;
- The images delivered have reduced size (irrespective of the format) and outstanding quality at the same time;
- ImageEngine’s extensive global CDN network provides support for HTTP, HTTP/2, WAF, and DDoS protection.
Set-up Browser Caching
The “Leverage Browser Caching” warning displays on the Google PageSpeed Insights tool when there is no caching rule in the place, or the expiration time has been set too low. In simple terms, the warning is a suggestion to improve website speed.
Browser caching instructs the visitor’s browser to save some specific files on the visitor’s local system instead of downloading them repeatedly. For example, a visitor needs to download the logo image of a website on the first visit. However, after every subsequent visit, such a visitor would load the logo file from the website’s local cache, provided that the browser caching has been enabled. The result? Faster loading because the visitor is no longer required to get everything from the website’s server directly. Browser caching can be used for images and many other types of files like statistical resources and object data.
There are many ways to leverage browser caching but simply adding the following lines of code to the .htaccess file is the most effective one:
Browser caching stores the images for a decided interval of time for easy and quick accessibility. A custom timeline or industry standards can be followed for this purpose. The timeline in the above-shared code snippet is one year.
The .htaccess file can be found with the help of an FTP program for connecting to the root directory of the website’s server.
Hotlinking means when an individual or business copies the URL of an image, which belongs to another website, and embeds it on their website. This results in the image being displayed as if it was an owned content. Hotlinking is a next-door neighbor of copyright infringement, but despite this fact, the practice is widespread. In many cases, hotlinking is unintentional, but it can cost the original owner of the image some money. It can even affect the website’s performance if a drain of the server’s resources happens.
Optimize for Flaky Connections
If a website has a lot of content and rich images to offer, but a portion of the users visiting the website doesn’t have a reliable internet connection, then this portion of visitors would not convert. This situation is no different than any lost business opportunity. Not all website visitors have access to fast and reliable internet facilities; therefore, it is recommended to optimize image content for spotty connections.
One trusted way of optimizing the images for slow connections is compressing the images appropriately in real-time. However, even before compressing the images, it is important to determine the network speed of users visiting the page and then categorizing them into buckets based on connection types like 4G, 3G, 2G, or slow 2G.
But ImageEngine simplifies the whole compression process. It fetches and optimizes the images in the right format, dimension, and quality directly from the URL and then delivers such images on the website’s front-end via global image CDN.
Handling Responsive Images
A lot of traffic arrives from mobile devices, and as such, it is important to have the perfect strategy for responsive images.
- If vector-based images are being used, then using SVG format would be a great way to optimize them for any viewport without worrying about sizes because SVG images are resolution-independent.
- Using media queries for background images or images that have been produced via CSS is the best way to display smaller images to mobile devices.
- For inline images, techniques like the srcset attribute or the picture element can be used.
srcset attribute: This attribute can be implemented on the img element for defining the images at different sizes so that the browser can select the best option based on the device characteristics like width.
picture element: This is best to be used if different images are required to be displayed based on the device’s display size.
All the aforesaid discussed options offer different ways of displaying the optimized images to visitors depending on how they view the website. MDN’s responsive image guide and Google developer’s image guide can be referred to for learning more about responsive images and using picture elements or srcset attributes.
Images are required to be responsive to deliver the right optimal image for every screen size. It enhances the user experience and reduces load time. According to the browser or device in which images are viewed, images of different sizes are displayed, such as full-size, thumbnail, or featured images. To create a responsive image, you need to have different versions of the image.
The problem is to optimize a high-resolution image that looks great with details while displaying it on mobile devices; details can be missed, so instead of shrinking the image details, consider cropping or scaling down the image for mobile devices.
Advantages of responsive images:
- Improve the page loading speed;
- Increase your reach through smartphone responsive design;
- Increase conversion and sales rate with consistent user experience;
- Reduce load over the server and server memory;
- Boost conversations.
The fundamental of Client Hints is simple — the client through a device sends the server some hints regarding the requirement. The server with responsibility serves them with the right resource according to the hint. For example, with hints, browsers ask the server for 600px images for the device layout — the image to be served based on the requested parameter. Even if the client informs that data saver mode is enabled, the server delivers identical images of a lighter version. The browser and server interact through Client Hints, the job becomes readable, shorter with the same functionality.
Client Hints with ImageEngine
ImageEngine delivers images with the required – width, DPR, and Data Saver. The responsive images are created based on client hints about width and DPR and later cover the Data Saver client hint.
Optimize Images For Retina Displays
Apple coined the term “retina displays,” which display clear and densely packed pixels to provide perfect vision from an appropriate viewing distance. Now, most smartphones and desktops deliver users a high crispy viewing experience. Apple with Retina squeezed four times the pixels into the same space to create a density of 326 pixels per inch (PPI), making the displays smooth.
Why Optimize Images for Retina?
The average screen pixel density is quite low, so the web-based standard images need to include 72 PPI to cover a certain height and width.
We need to maintain the appropriate density of pixels. Otherwise, the image will cram or get stretched. As a result, a fuzzy image is created with jagged edges that distract the viewer from your brand. To solve the problem, Retina class displays came into the role. They increased image resolution, optimized high pixel density in small space, and even displayed images decently over large screens.
People these days browse from a different device; most users access images from smartphones rather than desktops. So you need to optimize the image for Retina displays.
Wrapping it up
There are many tips and tricks to optimize images, but of all these tips, using a CDN has proven to be the most effective and long-term solution for many businesses all across the globe. Image CDNs automate the optimization process for a business to focus on its core activities properly. The good thing is that it is not all expensive to integrate image CDN. It is easy to get started with and generates the results in a short space of time.
[– This is a sponsored post on behalf of ImageEngine –]
Welcome to our roundup of the best plugins for popular CMS, this month. We’re going to cover plugins built to enhance WordPress, Shopify, Craft CMS, and Joomla. Enjoy!
Tutor LMS Elementor Addons
Tutor LMS Elementor Addons is a useful plugin that adds 25+ add-ons to the Elementor page builder. The plugin allows users to create custom styling and layouts for Tutor LMS courses. For this plugin to work effectively, you will have to install Tutor LMS and the Elementor Plugin. After activating all three plugins, you will be able to build single course pages using Elementor. Some of the Elementor Addons include course rating, course title, course author, course level, course duration, course thumbnail, course price, and lots more. The plugin can also be used to edit the look of your existing courses. The pro version of Elementor is not required to use this plugin. It has also been tested with top WordPress themes.
Quick Audio Player
Quick Audio Player is a customizable audio player for WordPress websites. The plugin is responsive and works with any WordPress theme. It runs seamlessly on all devices and major web browsers. Features of the plugin include an HTML5 audio player, live player editing, player poster image, rich control settings, player shortcode, player width customization, and player color customization. The player is available in different audio types including .mp3, .wav, and .ogg.
Simple Responsive WP Slider
Simple Responsive WP Slider is a lightweight slider plugin for WordPress. The plugin allows you to create and customize unlimited sliders for your website. You can use a shortcode or place the slider within Gutenberg blocks to add the slider to a webpage. Some of the features of the plugin include unlimited sliders and multiple sliders on each page. You can set custom configuration options for each slide, including the navigation and slider. Some of the basic configuration options for individual sliders include adding dots or arrows to the slides.
NutsForPress Images and Media
Images and Media is an essential plugin from NutsForPress that makes it easy to customize image and media files on WordPress. The plugin allows you to set the threshold size for images on your website and automatically resizes images that exceed that threshold upon uploading. It also allows users to set a JPEG compression level and will automatically compress JPEGs to meet that compression quality upon uploading. You can prevent GIFs from getting resized to avoid breaking their animation. The plugin can also bulk rebuild “alt title,” “description,” and “caption” for all uploaded media files. You can also bulk rebuild missing PDF preview images. They are seven custom thumbnail sizes to choose from. The plugin is fully compliant with WPML.
Ultimate Social Media Share
Ultimate Social Media Share is a lightweight and responsive plugin for WordPress that allows users to add social media share buttons and social media follow buttons to their site. The plugin is GDPR compliant and DSGVO compliant. The plugin does not collect any IP or personal data. You can insert the social buttons and icons in widgets or Gutenberg blocks. The plugin is free to use and supports 9 different languages. You can customize the plugin to suit your audience’s needs, and it is responsive on any screen, big or small. It is compatible with Gutenberg and Classic WordPress editors. Ultimate Social Media is compatible with WooCommerce, BBPress, BuddyPress, and all custom post types. You can choose from over 35 social media platforms. It is also free to use. The plugin’s social icons are Scalable Vector Graphics, meaning they are scalable to any screen size and load fast.
Wall Pricing Table
Wall Pricing Table plugin allows WordPress users to create pricing tables for their WordPress site. You can add the features of the different pricing plans and also display the price table anywhere on your site. The available fields on the pricing table are title, subtitle, price, button, and features(you can add as many as you want). You can differentiate each plan by color. The plugin is completely free to use.
Job App Manager
Job App Manager is a simple WordPress plugin that allows you to display a job application form on your website for candidates to apply with their details. A shortcode is used to display the form on any webpage on your site. After the user completes a form, they will receive a confirmation email. To find the submissions in the form, go to ‘All Submissions’ on the admin page. On the admin page, you can also search, filter, and delete forms. There is also a dashboard widget that shows the latest 5 form submissions.
Rsiltech Postcode Availability
Rsilitech postcode availability is a simple plugin that allows your customers to check shipping availability. All your customer needs to do is enter their postcode in the “check availability” section of the product details page. Other features include display delivery date in the product page, display shipping note on the product page, add postcode in the admin panel, edit postcode in the admin panel, and list postcode in the admin panel.
WPTD Video Popup
WPTD Video Popup is a simple video popup plugin for WordPress. The plugin supports both YouTube and Vimeo. Some of the plugin features include unlimited popups, retina ready, easy shortcodes for set up, and customizable width and height size for YouTube and Vimeo videos.
Easy Translate allows you to translate your WordPress site into multiple languages. The plugin will translate everything on your site regardless of themes or plugin specifications. Easy Translate currently works with Polylang and WPML plugins. It uses the plugins to detect frontend language. It is easy to use and is compatible with all themes and plugins. You can translate your site to as many languages as you want. A unique feature of the plugin is that it can translate dynamic strings added by themes, WordPress, and plugins.
ConvertOut Ambassadors is a Shopify plugin that allows users to create an ambassador program in minutes. You don’t need any technical knowledge to get started. The plugin starts working minutes after installation. For every sale made, ConvertOut will track the commission it needs to pay to the ambassador. Payouts are made directly to the ambassador’s PayPal account.
Product Stories Convert Sales
Products Stories Convert Sale is a cool plugin that upgrades your website by giving it a trendy social network look. The plugin makes it fun and easy for customers to view products in your store. All your catalog will appear in carousel stories, just like Instagram feed stories. Coupons will also pop up in the stories to help increase sales. You will also receive real-time reports that will help you identify what your customers are interested in.
Advoz is a Shopify plugin that allows experts to create high-quality Google, Facebook, and Instagram ads to promote your business. Once you set a weekly budget, you will receive a custom graphic or video on how the ads will run. The plugin will create ads that will drive quality leads to your store.
Presence is a Craft plugin that displays the current users editing an entry. The users are displayed in the right sidebar settings when editing an entry. A default logo is set for users that do not have a profile image. Admins can review and approve the entries made.
Marketplace for Craft Commerce
Marketplace for Craft Commerce allows Craft users to turn their e-commerce sites into a marketplace. Users can add payees to products and also charge fees for your platform. You can charge a flat or percent fee. Payouts are handled via Stripe Connect.
AA Youtube Subscribe Button
AA Youtube Subscribe Button is a Joomla module that allows you to show a Youtube subscribe button with your site’s subscriber number. It is easy to use and is fully responsive. It has cross-browser support and works with any template.
MyRealPin provides a Pinterest-like look to your website. You can create your own pinboards and collaborate with friends. You can customize the Joomla extension to suit your needs.
AA Tiny Audio Player
AA Tiny Audio Player allows Joomla users to add an HTML5 audio player to their website. The extension comes with a responsive layout and supports animations. It works with .mp3, .ogg, and .wav video formats. It also works with all templates.
Featured image via Pexels.
If you are building an application using Node.js, it can get a little overwhelming since there are a variety of databases to choose from and different ways to build APIs. One way to reduce development time and focus on the problem you are trying to solve is to use a Database as a service to store the data. The advantage of this approach is to use a cloud database system without purchasing hardware which can be cost and time-effective.