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Today, when a company is initiated into digital life, what determines the success of its website, to a great extent, is if and how it provides a uniform experience across all devices that a customer uses. Moreover, in a world where even a second of interruption could lead to distorted user experience, companies cannot risk being even minutely inefficient when it comes to design and intuitiveness of their website. Making your website efficient and intuitive To ensure efficiency of web pages, Google suggests Restrictive Loading – that is, the website can have prioritised content, such that above-the-fold content, is loaded first, while the remaining is loaded in the background. Google suggests that the server response time should not be more than 200ms; add another 200ms as the maximum time to render the remaining above-the-fold content. Other tips for a responsive website include reduction in number of redirects, not using external blocking CSS and JavaScript in above-the-fold content, and optimisation of JavaScript rendering time. The problem of heavy web pages Web pages are becoming heavier – today, the average size of a web page is 1532kB, and this number is rising daily! With constantly escalating page weight, slow performance and high bandwidth rates follow. Such heavy page weight are most unfavourable for mobile users. Particularly those who use 3G will not be able to access the one quality that sets smart-phones apart – information anytime and anywhere instantly. Responsive Web Design to the rescue Responsive Web Design (RWD) emerges as an efficient solution for the issue of heavy page weight. With responsive web design, the entire site layout is designed to suit all types of screen resolutions. The use of word ‘responsive’ implies that the layout of your web page responds according to screen resolution of the user’s device. RWD was invented to allow a uniform/continuous experience to the user, irrespective of screen size of their browser or device. Traditionally, coding was done for particular screen resolutions. But with increasing number of devices and screen resolutions, we end up with a complicated bunch of stylesheets. When you employ Responsive Web Design, the different mobile resolution aspects are inherently taken into account, and one doesn’t have to worry about external CSS properties. The only thing to remember is – “What is the smallest possible display screen you are developing for?” You can use the traffic data of Google Analytics for this purpose. While you might not be able to get the website working on every possible device, you can focus on a majority depending upon average width of the screen.

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Becoming mobile responsive and mobile responsible Here are seven ways to make your website more mobile responsive: Select an mResponsible Framework The previous section introduced Responsive Web Design. Such frameworks as available on Foundation and Twitter Bootstrap enhance the speed of heavy web pages. The main objective of such framework is to lay out a platform for rapid prototyping of varying mobile functionalities and layouts. This allows designers to divert and invest their energies into exhibiting the brand with greater precision and uniqueness. Preparing for Text Wrapping When the device you use is narrow, the content would get automatically wrapped and this could cause a display issue. You can use plugins like Fit-Text (jQuery plugin) to resolve this issue. They will permit the minimum and maximum size of texts and can also auto-update the font size. Designing for Mobile-First While desktops can handle complex functionalities, mobiles have limited capacities. When diving into developing website for mobile devices, it is important to follow the mobile-first approach where you add functionality depending on features of mobile devices. Resize image to sync with screen The mobile web performance can be altered greatly by fitting the images according to size of the screens. The optimal image sizes have to be mentioned according to the mobile device. Since images eat up the highest amount of kB, there is a need to compress and alter them into other image formats like WebP, which can decrease size of the image without lessening the quality. You can also use adaptive images for easing the task. With adaptive method, you can detect the screen size and instantly create cache to supply the required reduced and embedded HTML images without modifying the markup. Adaptive images make use of a single PHP file, a line of JavaScript and one htaccess to identify screen size of the user device. Push Down the Content, Pull up the Performance Performance of a site is hugely dependent on the amount of content on it. You can reduce the number of scripts by moving them to end of HTML templates. This will do away with unnecessary blocking. Limited HTTP Requests While the number of HTTP requests is considered a technique for web performance traditionally, things take a twist with responsive designs. With responsive web design, the network overhead for every HTTP request is of utmost importance. Instead of using data URIs, you can use CSS sprites for mobiles. This will reduce the request of images. Make sure the CSS file is at top of the document as modern browsers do not operate unless they encounter a downloaded CSS. Sticking to a Single Domain According to Google, you can improve the SEO score on your responsive websites by sticking to a single domain. With a single URL for all devices, publishers will not need to redirect a high-cost browser from mobile to desktop site and vice and versa.
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Live streaming is the delivering of live content over the internet. The last two years saw a steady growth of this feature into a raging trend today. Late 2014 released the Total Audience Report revealing that viewing of videos over the internet is increasing at the rate of 60% per month. Recently, Facebook made its live-streaming video option available to all users around the world (in contrast to the earlier celebrity-only option). With this announcement came a series of tools to accompany this feature: Mevo is the first camera which syncs exclusively for Facebook Live. That live streaming video is becoming a trend is evident through the competitive rise of live stream: Twitter’s Periscope, Facebook Live and now, Google’s (upcoming) YouTube Connect. Live-streaming app Periscope signed up over 10 million people within the first few months.

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The shocking popularity of live streaming Live streaming has become a buzzword over the last 5 years. Started off in mid-2011, Justin.tv managed to become one of the most famous repositories for video game live streams – their viewership per month ran to 45 million in 2014. January 2016 found over 19,000 people glued onto a live stream of a puddle in Newcastle. April 2016 had over 800,000 people hooked onto Facebook Live watching an exploding watermelon! Why is live streaming such a hit with today’s viewers? It gives the viewers experience of being present in the event itself. It allows the audience from across the world to connect to the content in a richer way. As the content can be played almost immediately, viewers do not have to go through the delay of buffering and downloads. This stands in deep contrast to the earlier practice where brands put up blog posts or updates post-events or happenings. Such posts lack the concrete connection one can feel through a real-time stream. Using Live Video Streaming for Company Growth How to increase customer base with live streaming video While corporate firms can use live streaming facilities to improve productivity within the firm and reduce expenditure; the real essence of this phenomenon is clear when it comes to increasing customer base and retention rate. Corporate organisations can get their target audience to deeply involve with the company by sharing their events live on stream. Regardless of how small-scale the event is, by streaming it live, you tell your audience how deeply they are part of your company and the level of commitment your company has towards their involvement. By streaming live events, you reach a larger number of people than only the physically present ones. Compare watching a spontaneous meet-up with a customer and a recorded version of comments: the former will definitely have a humanistic touch that is lacking in the carefully-manufactured video. Stream real-time conversations with members of company and customers to add a personal touch to your brand marketing. Rooting with Live Streaming Video: Introducing Your Company Make a live profile of your product/service. Begin the video by talking about what need (social/emotional- primarily, psychological) you are catering to and follow it up with how your product is the answer to this need. Since such a video will have to be short, make sure you condense the content with precision. Behind-the-scenes shot is a well-proven social media marketing tool. Live shoot the backstage scenes to increase your company’s credibility before the customers. Train and troubleshoot through live-streaming. You can train your employees over the streams. Live-stream chat could also become a common support system where the customers will be shown how to use a product or make modifications to it through videos instantly. Companies can thus increase their revenue and productivity as well as reach out to higher audience using live streaming video. Those who desire to watch live streams online are also met with a warm space with instant playback and inter-audience interaction through forums. Thus, both companies and users benefit greatly from the use of live streaming video. Even though the first steps towards live streaming were taken in 1990s (with garage band Seven Tire Damage being the first to broadcast live), it has only developed rapidly over the last ten years. As social media platforms continue to become stronger spaces for marketing, we can expect live streaming videos to gain greater performance (in quality of broadcast) and user-friendly accessories (online forum along with online shows, resource database to check online stream channels across the world). Live streaming videos could be stepping stones to creating full-fledged online lives of brands where people from across the world would pitch in live streams of your product as comments. Live streaming video has paradigmatically shifted the way in which we perceive video content: it has shown the possibility of instantly replicating reality through machines. One prediction will definitely be actualized: that live streaming video is here to stay!
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Most artists, be it writers, designers, or even entrepreneurs, face creative or mental blocks at some time or the other. How the artist works through such a creative block determines his or her success. Here are five tips to get you out of creativity blocks and get going again.

1. Clear the mind

When there are too many commitments to fulfil, when there are many ideas, or when the artist is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of incoming demands, the brain feels paralysed, and a mental block sets in. Clearing the mind, just as one reboots a system, is the way to go. Very often, creative blocks happen when there is too much thinking, and the brain is “overheated”. It is a good idea to step back, and take stock of the situation. Pause and think clearly, create a to-do list, and assign realistic timelines. Review the priorities, identify the pain points, and infuse order into the mess. If there are too many commitments, it may be time to say “no.” It may also be worthwhile to prioritise and relegate some tasks to the backburner. Finding a method out of the madness can help to overcome the mental block.

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Suffering from a creative block? Here’s how you can infuse some creativity!

2. Take a break

Mental blocks can also come from working too much. Very often, artists get trapped in their own familiar way, and fail to see other options. In all these cases, taking a break to refresh oneself can work wonders. Much of creative work requires staring at the computer screen for long hours. Breaking the routine is the quickest and most effective way to break from the rigmarole and activate new parts of the brain. Taking a break can be as simple as walking around the neighbourhood, going jogging or doing some other exercise, taking a vacation, reading a good book, or anything to get the mind off the tasks on hand. It could also mean simply getting enough sleep.

3. Keep a Journal

Creative block is essentially a thinking rut, or a stuck thought pattern. Jotting down the stream of consciousness helps to get thoughts out of the head and onto paper, clearing the mind for the task on hand. “Journalising” need not be literary exercise. Simply writing down the words or phrase that come to the mind should be enough to develop the idea further at a later stage. Over-thinking may defeat the very purpose.

4. Stick to a Routine

At times, having too much on one’s head, or endless possibilities, can be overwhelming, and ultimately result in a mental block. Setting the rules, establishing a routine, and sticking to it help to overcome such blocks. A routine makes it easy to push through the mental resistance one encounters, when one is confused as to what to do next. It makes applying willpower easier. There are no hard and fast rules as to how to set a routine, but establishing fixed working hours, fixing specific times for answering emails or browsing the social media, and the like helps. Waiting for the right inspiration to get started works mostly for amateurs. Professional creativity is rather cultivated. Looking for an infusion of creativity? Creative Ideaz can help. Call us at 0845 094 2153 or visit www.creativeideaz.co.uk.
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Web designers excel through their creativity, but they also require a ton of resources to translate their creativity into works of art. The hardware apart, they require a host of software and other tools, including programs, educational resources, premium fonts, vectors, icons, stock images, and more, to make the magic happen. Adobe Creative Suite offers access to the basic tools of the trade, such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, After Effects, and Encore. Without these programs, most web and graphic designers would be out of job. However, a successful web designer draws on several other resources, both free and paid, to make their lives easier. A host of tools serve various niche purposes. Gliffy makes it easy to create diagrams, floor plans, flowcharts, and technical drawings. Stat Silk’s StatPlanet is very popular for visualisation and mapping. Tableau Public makes creating and publishing infographics and interactive data a piece of cake. Typecast is a rich depository of over 23,000 fonts. Typography offers thousands of typefaces. FontSquirrel’s Webfont Generator helps designers search a database of different fonts. The free gbdfed Bitmap Font, Fonstruct, BitFontMaker2, and others all go a step further, allowing the designer to create new bitmap fonts or modify existing fonts.

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There is a host of online tools for graphic and web designers to dig into and work their magic!

Pictaculous is a handy tool that makes it easy to experiment with various colour and images, useful for editing and imaging enhancement. Colorotate facilitates the editing of scope, tint, hue, image, blend, and other finer features of the design.

Among the other popular tools, PicMarkr makes it very easy to add watermarks to images, useful for asserting copyright and pre-empting plagiarism. Lorem Ipsum Generator uses a set of meaningless words or characters and makes paragraphs to fit into designs. No web designer can go far without stock images. Shutterstock, with over 25 million stock photos, vectors, illustrations, and videos, ranks among the most popular stock image repository. There are hundreds of other similar resources, such as MorgueFile, flickr, and others. Other programs, such as TextureMate and CG textures offer free textures, and brushes, besides images. DeviantArt is one of the largest online art communities, offering rich resources such as fan art, skins, and other unique drawings, which users can shop. Dribble is the most popular online community for designers, aimed at collaboration. It allows users to upload images or GIFs, for other members to provide feedback and engage in discussions. The community makes it possible to create teams. The Estetica Design Forum is similar in nature, allowing collaboration and discussion between artists and graphic design professionals, and also offers value added features, such as information in programming, flash, and web design. 1stwebdesigner.com is a popular website, offering rich resources such as coding, tutorials, downloadable source code, and more. Just as a person building a house does not create the bricks themselves, web designers and graphic developers draw in resources from various curated repositories and platforms. Success depends on how well they leverage the readily available building blocks. Creative Ideaz offers a host of resources and solutions for your web and graphic design requirements. Contact us at 0845 0942153.
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Visual representation is always more interesting, and results in a long lasting impression in our minds. What we see has a deep rooted effect on what we feel and what we do. Our brain processes visuals faster, and the retention factor is much higher compared to text only. On that note, have you looked at your website lately? If you lack the visual aspect, then know now that your business has the spark missing. Communicating your thoughts and ideas become easier when you have the right visual content. For your content marketing efforts, you need to know what will trigger the growth and capture more audience. Any presentation with 43% visual aid is more effective.

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We live in an era with social media dominance. There are multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and others, which are fantastic forums for social media marketing. And if you notice, all of these are image centric. New sites such as Tumblr and Pinterest have also shown to gain popularity very quickly. Images, videos, gifs (Graphics Interchange Format) are a few different ways to pump your visual content. It has been observed that individuals tend to want to finish a write up which has images incorporated in them compared to plain text. Studies show that articles with images have 94% more views. That’s a huge number you are playing with if your content misses that much-needed visual appeal. It is always advisable to use original images. It could be a time consuming task, but the result would be worth the effort. Photo sharing sites such as Flickr and Morguefile, which are free to acquire, are used by many. Apart from images, videos are powerful tools to enhance your visual content. Videos are often used to depict a problem, followed by providing a solution your business can offer. They can be made in multiple ways based on the target audience. Videos can be interactive, animated, demonstrating customer testimonials, etc. When you consider linking, you will notice that videos receive a stupendous amount of inbound links. Bloggers have a fascination for infographics. People share it often and the sooner it goes ‘viral’, the more publicity you are likely to gain. It is important to have the right layout and design for an effective infographic. Meme, a term coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976, is another brilliant way to communicate ideas by adding the element of humour to it. Initially used only by college goers, it is now used by many, often as a friendly come-back to their competitors. If you feel that your business needs that visual touch, reach out to Creative Ideaz to get the most innovative and effective solutions. Get in touch with us at 0845 094 2153 or visit www.creativeideaz.co.uk.
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