How Diverse Drupal Solutions Have Gotten with Time?

Content management systems have traveled a long way and Drupal has subtly risen to the top in the CMS world. At a time, when enterprises are looking to explore the potentials of Content-as-a-Service and cloud CMS is making headlines, it is important for businesses to uncover the benefits of continuously evolving Drupal solutions.

Drupal has the world’s largest open-source community of developers. However, it’s Version 5 and 6 had an infamous duration due to their alleged complexity. It was only with Version 7 that Drupal gained momentum. The current version Drupal 8 has been completely rewritten and a number of businesses are yearning to migrate to this new version. The Drupal founder believes that migrating from one Drupal version to the other would require businesses to seek the help of Drupal development service providers.

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The reason behind using the services of a vendor is that Drupal has undergone architectural changes with every new version. Leveraging the expertise of Drupal development service providers can enable enterprises to understand the limitations of Drupal 7 such as incomplete Entity API; gain benefits from enhancements in Drupal 8 with respect to mobility and user experience features, for instance; and, explore the abilities of Drupal in the cloud and as a headless CMS.

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Drupal: A Powerhouse for Evolving CMS Needs

When Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal, first launched the CMS platform in the year 2000, little did he know that it would one day become one the world’s largest and most widely used content management systems. Reports by Statista reveal that there are currently 1.71 billion websites in the world and approximately 2.3% of them are built on Drupal. Drupal has not only turned out to be the king of content management systems but there are reasons that justify its ascension.

Other than Drupal, there are other CMSs, for instance, Joomla, WordPress, and Blogger that hosts a number of websites in the world, but these are known for being blogging platforms. Drupal, at the same time, delivers to the contemporary business’ CMS requirements. Its incredible and unparalleled features with respect to storing, managing, and delivering content is one of the reasons that some of the renowned organizations such as NASA, Twitter, Pinterest, Harvard University, eBay, and more use Drupal to cater to their CMS needs.

Besides the commonly known advantages subjecting to security, modules, flexibility, templates, scalability, and so on, the advanced version of Drupal comes with a sea of other benefits. Businesses can leverage cloud-based SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) website builder, drag-and-drop interface, and preconfigured designs and layouts to create responsive websites on Drupal that deliver omnichannel, personalized experiences to customers across devices. It is also a known fact that Drupal in the cloud when compared to on-premise content management systems is simple. With its multi-site and content-as-service functionality, Drupal offers a preconfigured development environment, which supports full-scale digital content lifecycle management. Enterprises don’t have to worry about performance and scalability, upgrades, or disaster recovery. All such aspects are managed by Drupal and enterprises can focus more on key business areas.

Drupal and the Cloud for Enterprises 

Drupal, an efficient and robust CMS, when used with the cloud helps organizations achieve high business value and more ROI. When it is about deploying Drupal in the cloud, businesses have multiple options to choose from and Acquia cloud best fits the enterprises Drupal CMS hosting needs.

Built on Drupal and hosted in AWS (Amazon Web Services), Acquia cloud offers an environment to:

  • Develop websites on API-first architecture
  • Manage the full digital content lifecycle
  • Build future-ready web properties
  • Converge innovation, customer engagement, and growth

It supports extensive web documentation, offers isolated DevOps environment, and allows complete configuration control through a single dashboard. In other words, Acquia cloud offers end-to-end digital experiences as far as the content storage, management, and delivery is concerned. It also offers the drag-and-drop interface and eliminates the need to write codes, which further makes building Drupal websites fast and simple.

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It is not only fit for providing web personalization solutions but is also a boon to marketers, designers, as well as, the content authors. Recently, Acquia acquired Cohesion, which created DX8, a Drupal website builder that enables enterprises to gain the benefits of the SaaS-based CMS.

Another important Drupal tool that Acquia Cloud has is Acquia Lift. With its upgraded version, Acquia Lift makes running website personalization campaigns seamless. In order to personalize the content, marketers have to point and click, as there’s no code required.

Apart from Acquia Cloud and Acquia Lift, there’s Acquia Content Cloud. This is again a very important Drupal tool that helps organizations leverage the benefits of headless CMS. Let’s discuss it in brief.

When organizations are required to manage hundreds of apps, websites, and content creators, Acquia Content Cloud helps them unify and put everything in sync. Unlike the traditional CMS, also known as coupled CMS, Acquia Content Cloud is headless/decoupled and supports syndication of content across digital channels. Delivered as content-as-a-Service through RESTful APIs or a SaaS-based solution, this headless CMS intelligently simplifies web content management and related aspects.

Acquia content cloud not only synchronizes content across Drupal websites, but it also provides:

  • A unified content repository to manage enterprise-wide content
  • Centralized governance and content workflow, which makes it convenient to remotely manage content editors across web properties
  • Automated maintenance, upgrades, and installations

Drupal Help Businesses Future-Proof the Content Demand and Delivery 

Content management systems have been there since the 1990s but given the contemporary demand for delivering improved digital experiences, it has become imperative for enterprises to revisit their needs for content storage, management, and more.

According to an article published by Forbes, the value for global web content management tools are expected to be worth $14.2 billion by 2024. This is because more and more businesses demand to deploy an advanced CMS to manage multiple content creators and maintain innumerable websites and apps in one go.

Demystifying Conversational AI: Key Trends

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is advancing faster and has reached a new inflection point where it is effortlessly talking to humans. The technology evolution in human interactions began with the origin of chatbots, which initially treated conversations like a game of tennis—talk, reply, talk, reply. With time, they became more humanized to deliver immersive experiences. The rise of voice assistants, on the other hand, turned a new page in the history of AI-human relationship. Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google’s Assistant became an integral part of our lives and dramatically changed the way we interacted with them.

AI

Continued advancements in the field of text-based chatbots and voice-driven assistants, combined with other developments that are beginning to show, have led the world to a new subset of AI. It’s Conversational AI. Conversational AI, a megatrend, is expected to grow from $4.2 billion in 2019 to $15.7 billion in 2024 according to a report by MarketsandMarkets. A rising consensus among the most knowledgeable AI scientists and thought leaders is that the conversational AI will outgrow its current strength to help machines interact using contextual learning. Some experts also believe that conversational AI will revolutionize the traditional and mobile applications from the ground up and will dislodge them.

Given the market of conversational AI, it isn’t wrong to say that an epic disruption is around the corner. Across industries, enterprises are discovering the potential of conversational AI and stepping up to keep up with the demands of new digital. Those who choose to adopt a wait-and-see approach face the imminent fear of lagging behind.

Trend Forecast: Understanding Where the Conversational AI is Heading Next

For the record, the smart speaker that plays music or tosses out weather updates on command isn’t conversational AI. Voice assistants and chatbots are only a slice of a much larger pie. So, limiting the power of conversational AI to these dynamics is nothing short of a disaster.

As far as business leaders are concerned, the technology can provide a way to gain customer insights and use this mission-critical information for making strategic decisions. Moreover, with increased access to cloud computing and advanced algorithms, more companies can implement conversational AI to redefine user interfaces and enable conversations as interactive and human-like as possible. A report from Forrester revealed that 57% of companies are already using enterprise bots or have plans to use it in the near future for both B2B and B2C purposes. These reports explain that conversational AI is a bigger ball game and we have barely touched the tip of the iceberg.

The following are the most upbeat conversational AI trends that present impressive use cases and are likely to take hold in the future.

  • Conversational AI is making inroads across industries and will soon provide the kick-start needed to build intelligent interfaces. Intelligent user interfaces combine the latest in design techniques with technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, biometric sensor, computer vision, conversational voice, and auditory analytics.
  • Messaging platform such as WeChat has become truly indispensable for today’s millennial generation. Its rapid proliferation will provide opportunities for companies to interact with their customers using high-performance bots.
  • The popularity of voice assistants has resulted in its commoditization, paving the way for companies to build their own speech-based assistants and overlay other conversational platforms on theirs’. Given this frantic pace of innovation, it’s only a matter of time when businesses across the globe will be optimized for voice search.
  • Machine-to-Machine (M2M) talking is a future phenomenon. Chatbots, of tomorrow, will not only provide personalized customer experience through direct contact but will also interact with fellow bots and other automated response systems.
  • Conversational UX or CUX is the next frontier for digital enterprises. It’s an advanced version of UX design packed with elements such as brand persona development, guided conversations, and personalized content. Moving ahead, businesses will use CUX to improve the quality and relevance of customer interactions on their chatbots and drive conversions.

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Areas Where Conversational AI is Poised to Accelerate Business Transformation

From Eliza, the world’s first chatbot, to today’s cutting-edge virtual assistants, the growth of conversational AI is a subject of mass acclaim. Its universe is finally expanding and so is the number of use cases. We can find conversational systems in our homes, schools, hospitals, call centers, and even cars. By 2020, as Gartner predicts, over 85% of customer interactions will happen on chatbots with absolutely no human intervention. In response, studies have found a big jump in the adoption of conversational interfaces across businesses in North America, Europe, and developing markets including China.

While it’s thrilling to witness the early success, the potential of conversational AI is fairly unexplored. Below are the areas where technology is poised to make moves and lead a seismic change.

  1. Human Resources and Recruitment

    Despite considerable technology influx, hiring new employees continues to be challenging for the HR teams, irrespective of their size. Machine Learning-based software can help recruiters sift out unsuitable resumes and analyze employee calendars to avoid meeting conflicts. Scaling of conversational technologies can further empower this software to make interview calls, manage post-hire activities, and handle employee training sessions among more; thereby eliminating the stress of the HR professionals.

  2. Budget and Cost Analysis

    An intelligent system can help employees smoothly handle complexities associated with the budget and cost analysis. It helps organizations perform explicit analysis, identify spending patterns, and notify when overhead costs blow out. However, conversational AI helps improve financial planning efficiency by fulfilling the promise of human ingenuity. Using enterprise chatbots, employees can interact with computers to track financial flows, find answers quickly, and make conscious changes accordingly

  3. Employee Training

    Its common knowledge that employee training goes a long way in fostering a culture of quality and competitiveness. When employees are trained, they bask in confidence, deliver consistently, and embrace new experiences with resilience. Intelligent assistants can track employee productivity and provide estimations to define potential career advancements within the ranks. With conversational AI at the forefront, it can be simpler to facilitate situational role-play exercises and keep the team abreast of changes to company policy.

  4. Customer Acquisitions and Conversions
    Conversational AI can fuel customer growth in three ways:

    a) by generating leads
    b) by nurturing leads
    c) by streamlining conversions

    The technology can help weed out unqualified leads, pre-screen buyers, and provide insights on products that have a potential for sale. Further, it can automate follow-ups with users who showed interest in a product or a service but couldn’t purchase and direct them to a real person when needed. Chatbots and their 24*7 availability, which happens to be their biggest selling point, can boost conversions by allowing round-the-clock access to information and recommending complementary products that might interest customers. Moreover, they can double down on the efficiency of target marketing and advertising efforts by analyzing conversations and purchase history, and help salespeople understand what customers really want.

  5. Customer Service and Retention

    Using conversational AI via assistants, companies can deliver service continuity to customers and retain them for a long-term. Through web portals and automated phone lines, these assistants can provide value-added content to the users, facilitating brand value in the competitive markets.

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Things to Consider While Planning a Conversational AI Strategy

According to a report, the global conversational AI market is expected to grow at a CAGR of +31% during the period 2019-2025. The rise of this technology will plant seeds of new disruption, sweeping the business landscape. To avoid going off course, it’s important that companies must plan their intended course of action by keeping the following aspects in mind.

  • Define a focused use case: Conversational AI isn’t necessarily right for every business and brute-force approaches are rarely efficient. Leaders must identify business aspects that are ripe for disruption with conversational AI and likely to deliver turnkey value for success.
  • Decide whether to collaborate with a partner or use a platform to build your own interface: It is important to build short- and long-term strategies and decide how and what to build and reach on a mutually agreeable division of assets in question, including data.
  • Discover opportunities for personalization: Adopting conversational AI instinctively will lead companies to build solutions that the target markets aren’t ready for. By focusing on personalization, companies must look to build platforms that suit the needs of the users and keep them engaged.

Conversational AI: A Panacea or a Problem? 

Conversational AI might have experienced a passive beginning but at present, the technology is on a roll. It is opening floodgates of opportunities for enterprises to automate and streamline activities, improve productivity, and transform CX. However, we cannot be blindsided by its rosy picture.

AI has ethical implications that can’t be ignored. Arguments continue to abound as to whether we are leaving humans behind in the AI-driven world. At such a juncture, it’s important that business leaders pursue a meaningful change. They must seek ways to implement conversational AI without endangering opportunities for their employees. Developers of conversational interfaces must commit themselves to transparency and let their stakeholders know, though implicitly, that they are interacting with a conversational system. No matter how uniquely human an AI interface is, there should always be a real person calling the shots.

The Advantages of PaaS: Leveraging a Platform Service

The Platform as a Service (PaaS) market has evolved fast, as businesses begin to look for solutions that help speed up processes and minimise costs. Leveraging a PaaS approach brings with it the necessary flexibility and efficiency that is essential for driving business growth.leveraging

Platform as a Service, or PaaS, is a cloud-based service that enables businesses to build applications fast and efficiently – at a speed that in-house development often can’t match.

In the past, companies built and developed their own applications, demanding talent, server space, software to create programming environments, and security. This meant dealing with large in-house investment, complex software stacks, frequent updates, and hardware maintenance.

What is PaaS?

PaaS is a cloud-based service that eliminates the cost and complexity of developing applications. Platform as a Service is part of a family of cloud tools including Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). It provides software development tools, application programming interfaces (APIs) and code to help streamline application development.

PaaS is designed to support the complete application life cycle: building, testing, deploying, managing, and updating. Being a cloud-based service, there’s no need to worry about set-up and maintenance of servers, upgrades and so on. It is up to the vendor to look after the platform, reducing maintenance and other IT costs for users.

What businesses gain with PaaS is a framework they can build upon to develop and customise applications. Creative agencies, consultancies and internal IT teams can leverage PaaS in order to build feature rich applications and services efficiently, accelerating the time-to-market. With PaaS, focus can be shifted to creating the best solution and user experience possible.

A platform usually comes with a set of additional services such as workflow or design tools. More specifically, a typical PaaS vendor provides:

  • A complete development framework
  • A comprehensive software development kit (SDK) and Java or .NET run-time libraries for building applications on a variety of mobile and desktop platforms
  • APIs for embedding into web-based applications
  • Sample code and pre-built applications to jump start development
  • Extensive product documentation and support capabilities

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Why Choose a Platform Approach?

Leveraging a platform helps eliminate the expense and complexity of purchasing, configuring, and managing the hardware and software needed for custom-built applications.

Quite simply, a PaaS helps development teams save time and money allowing businesses to concentrate on building apps and services that add real value to customers. Some advantages of using a PaaS include:

Rapid Time-to-Market

PaaS is used to build applications more quickly than would be possible if developers had to build, configure, and provision their own platforms and backend infrastructure. With PaaS, developers gain instant access to a complete software development environment including sample code and pre-built components.

Minimal Development

Following on from the point above, PaaS services allow for rapid prototyping and development by providing prebuilt backend infrastructure and other resources. A platform offers access to tools, templates, and code libraries which reduce development time and simplify the process.

Cost-Effective Development

A platform eliminates the need to build applications from scratch, reducing the costs normally associated with development. PaaS services are a viable option for companies looking to reduce their current operating costs, develop an application for the first time, or those with limited resources.

Reduced Pressure on Internal Resources

PaaS offers your in-house development team new capabilities, eliminating the need to hire skilled staff or outsource activities. A platform can also help a company reduce overheads since the vendor is the one that is in charge of managing and maintaining the software.

Pre-Built Sophisticated Tools

PaaS lets developers create applications using pre-built software components, reducing the amount of coding. With this, developers can take advantage of sophisticated development software and tools that would normally be too expensive to develop, test and reiterate in-house.

Opportunity for Scalability

The reusable code inside platforms not only facilitates ease of app development and deployment but also increases the opportunity for scalability. This allows businesses to scale and modify their product or processes easily and efficiently.

Develop for Multiple Platforms

The growing variety of mobile devices makes it imperative to build solutions that will work on a range of devices in order to seize all market opportunities.

Most PaaS vendors give you development options for multiple platforms, such as desktop and mobile apps. Using a platform to build one application to be deployed across multiple channels, including a range of connected devices, is a fast and cost-effective approach enabling scalability.

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Future Proofing

With a platform, new features, capabilities and bug fixes are instantiated automatically in the cloud. That way, focus can be on core business initiatives rather than maintaining underlying IT infrastructure.

Things to Keep in Mind…

As you begin the PaaS decision-making process, it is important to understand your business needs in order to find a solution that is a good fit.

When choosing a PaaS provider, keep in mind the following:

Vendor Lock-In

It can become hard to switch PaaS providers after an application is built because it is built using a specific platform and set of tools. Each vendor may not support the same languages, libraries, APIs, architecture, or operating system used to build and run applications.

Although it is possible to switch PaaS providers, the process can be time consuming, labor intensive, and expensive. Switching vendors may even result in rebuilding or altering the application to fit the new platform, so make sure to choose your vendor wisely.

Security and Compliance

In a PaaS architecture, the external vendor will store most or all of an application’s data, along with hosting its code. In some cases the vendor may actually store the databases via a third party.

As such, it can be difficult to fully assess and test the security measures of the service provider. Make sure you are aware of each vendors security and compliance protocols before making a decision.

Making Money with PaaS

Avoid the costly process of custom application development with proven, pre-existing and robust platforms. A PaaS will allow you to expand your organisation’s capabilities, attract new clients, grow your business and extend your value proposition. The cost savings are a nice bonus but fundamentally, enterprise PaaS is about exploiting a competitive advantage through utilising pre-built software.

Leverage a PaaS approach to compliment your business’s strengths and narrow your focus to efficiently building high quality processes and solutions that deliver more value to your clients. With a platform, you can achieve higher margins, generate new business and build your revenue stream.

Private Vs Public Cloud: Comparing The Features And Benefits

Cloud Computing is an integral part of businesses today. Private Cloud and Public Cloud are two popular categories of this transformative network-computing model. For a growing organization, it becomes imperative to learn the difference between the public cloud and private cloud.

Private

However, there is no doubt in the fact that this comparison is essential for all IT and business heads and because of the increasing cloud dependency. Our article aims to cover the key benefits and differences between the two popular cloud: public versus private cloud.

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Difference Between Public And Private Cloud: Comparing The Features And Benefits

Forrester estimates the cloud spending to grow by 20 percent while Gartner predicts that more than half of the global enterprises that are utilizing cloud today will choose an all-in-cloud strategy by 2021. Public and private cloud differentiator services include IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service, PaaS: Platform as a Service, SaaS: Software as a Service and FaaS: Functions as a Service. Also, the infrastructure architecture, the cloud models can take various forms and features, including virtualized, software-defined, and hyper-converged models are some of the cloud solutions and services based on business requirements.

Features & Benefits Private Cloud Public Cloud
Access and Storage 1. Restricted access to one organization at a time
2. Offers a dedicated storage infrastructure, which is not accessible to others.
1. Access is available to multiple organizations at once.
2. Data gets stored on a shared infrastructure.
Location Of The Data Center Allows the organization to decide and choose – an on-premise data center or dedicated location on the service provider’s infrastructure. Location of the data center varies by the public cloud provider’s infrastructure site.
Investment Requires additional investment in the company’s hardware components, like physical servers to leverage private cloud services efficiently. Eliminates the need to invest in any additional hardware or software components.
Upgrades And Management A dedicated administrator is required to manage the upgrades and installations. Further, this makes it easy to integrate their on-premise or on-cloud applications. The service provider performs the management and rolls out of updates without the company’s intervention.
Security Superior security mechanism. It is with the option to implement higher levels of authentication and security for the cloud environment. Offers a standard security protocol that remains unaltered, and cannot be enhanced or customized for different business models.
Customization Allow companies to customize their cloud infrastructure according to their business-specific needs and requirements. Offers a standard operating procedure for organizations
Costs 1. Expensive as it involves additional cost investment to set up on-premise data centers or hire dedicated administrators.
2. It is also a pre-requisite while opting for services
Less expensive as there are no additional costs
Scalability 1. Offers incremental space and infrastructural abilities.
2. Though, Private Cloud is more responsive and offers customized scalability
Offers additional space and infrastructure abilities

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An Ideal Solution

So which is right for you? In essence, both private and public clouds have their advantages and disadvantages. Besides, it ultimately is all about the control that matters while opting for cloud services. We have tried to cover the difference between private and private cloud based on the most significant parameters.

While a large company may opt for a private cloud, and a smaller business might choose a public cloud. However, Hybrid cloud services can offer the best of both worlds. It helps organizations to deploy the most sensitive applications in the private cloud while keeping other forms in a public cloud service provider. Therefore, if you are having trouble deciding. As a cloud application development company, our team can undoubtedly consult and work with you to select the right cloud service option – private, public, and hybrid for your business.

5 Ways Education Sector is Weathering Disruption

As the virulent spread of the coronavirus Education , disruption a series of announcements have been made to completely shut down schools, colleges, universities, coaching institutes, and other educational establishments across the globe in order to enforce social distancing and stop human-to-human contamination. The action, however, has put millions of students at the risk of study loss, and they are left with no resources that can help them continue to learn.

As per a UNESCO report, about 1.54 billion children are estimated to get affected due to COVID-19 closures, and over 111 million girls across the least developed countries happen to be the biggest losers. These large numbers are feared to lose months of learning, and even if the situation gets behind us, the costs of bringing these students back on track will go up sharply.

Education

From the business perspective, the closures have created tremendous financial pressure on the incumbents, endangering their continuity. With no revenue coming in, schools and colleges will eventually be forced to roll out pay cuts and put teachers and professors respectively on the chopping block—a scenario that will contribute to the global surge in unemployment claims.

The COVID-19 situation has hit some uncomfortable chords, but it has also created a ripple effect leading to educational innovation. Since the traditional methods of learning have failed to endure the wave of change understandably, academic institutions have turned to digital mediums to stay active on the ground. Though it’s too early to decide how substantial the results are, the signs suggest that the pandemic-led digitization of the industry will meet unprecedented success.

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Digital 3.0 in Education: Helping Incumbents Combat the COVID-19 Crisis

The education industry has relatively been slow in adapting to digital disruption. With centuries-old, lecture-based approaches, outmoded classrooms, and an entrenched resistance to eliminate institutional biases, they have been far from being frontrunners of change. However, the COVID-19 events have raised the red flags for the industry and pushed its path to digital innovation 3.0. Below, we have discussed how the education sector is responding to the new reality and addressing value chain risks.

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  1.  The Culture of ‘Learning Anywhere, Anytime’ Gains Ground

    As lockdowns have left millions of students stranded, a growing percentage of academic institutions are fostering a culture of digital learning. Online classes have become the most viable solution to ensure an uninterrupted flow of education. Many schools and colleges have built intranet systems and enabled a shift towards video broadcasting tools such as Zoom, Google Hangout, and WebEx to provide learning at home. Moreover, the pandemic-led barriers have prompted educational institutions to use asynchronous learning programs as Discussion Board and Digital Library, with an aim to help students interact with online content, albeit in the absence of a facilitator.

    To further address the challenges of remote learning, a number of institutions have augmented the use of real-time messaging and social media channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube, and are striving to make online learning opportunities optimized for low bandwidth and low latency conditions to ensure education for the hardest-to-reach children. Rapid advancements in the 5G technology are also helping schools and colleges disseminate information with a multiplier effect and embrace the ‘learning anytime, anywhere’ culture, which has largely been evasive in many aspects.

  2. EdTech Firms Grow in Popularity

    EdTech firms have struggled to gain traction in the markets, particularly with the industry’s predisposition towards traditional, in-classroom approaches. However, with COVID-19 causing academic institutions to shut down, EdTech players are set for an inevitable boom.

    In a matter of weeks, we have seen several EdTech companies—Dreambox Learning, Schoology, Sparx, BYJU’s, and upGrad to name a few—aggressively seizing the opportunity and bagging new customers by offering free access to their content platforms. They are increasingly making use of interactive apps to ensure massive engagement in live-streaming classes, providing online tutorials, and innovating around different virtual measures—all to reinforce their position as a bankable alternative for learning at scale.

  3. Exams and Evaluations  Intelligized

    The role of online learning solutions in conducting exams and assessing students’ performances while also minimizing errors and biases has always remained a point of contention. Time and again, experts have spoken about how these digital platforms miss the mark when it comes to ensuring the fair conduct of the examinations. However, with online pedagogy on the rise amidst COVID-19, several platforms, powered by new-age digital technologies, have come to light that effectively square up to the challenge.

    Known as Automated Online Proctoring solutions, they help teachers create online tests in a variety of formats, including skills, multiple-choice, typing, essay, and aptitude-based among more. Using audio-visual analytics and suspicious browsing activity that get recorded during the exam, these platforms monitor conscious and unconscious movements and postures of the students to spot anomalies in a snap, immediately warn or block the candidate, and avoid fraudulent activities to ensure a cheat-proof process. As far as impersonation is concerned, the in-built facial recognition technology authenticates the candidate and provides a confidence score to indicate the right match. In case a variation is recorded, the system quickly responds by restricting access and safeguards the integrity of the test.

    On the assessment front, these automated proctoring solutions come with an intuitive and configurable multi-section window where a grader can toggle across multiple settings to deliver simple and clear assessments. The AI-enabled video interview capabilities further help the user screen and vet candidates based on insights, meaning that any attempt to fudge the numbers and let weaker candidates crack the interview can be successfully foiled within minutes. Besides, the provision to help graders generate comprehensive candidate reports by gauging the performance and using integrity scores comes as a pro benefit.

    Online proctoring solutions have been around for a while, but become a victim of neglect. However, in a world hit by the COVID-19 lockdown, these platforms are experiencing an uptick in market engagement and have found themselves an active role in strengthening the field of digital learning.

  4. The Digital Divide Slims Down

    In the wake of COVID-19 and the subsequent closures, teachers ended up facing the immediate need of conducting online classes for the homebound students. However, a key issue at hand was their digital skills shortage that could potentially hold back the promise of digital learning. Fortunately, the educational institutions were quick to act and accelerated efforts to help their workforces scale and adapt to the new dynamics of work.

    At present, millions of schools and colleges are using a range of online learning solutions to upskill their teachers/professors and empower their roles in sustaining the education system. A slew of digital training sessions, workshops, and webinars are being organized to keep the faculties up to speed with emerging needs and help them ensure the continuity of learning in every way possible. Teachers and school administrators are encouraged to use real-time communication tools for information sharing and enabling relationship continuity with the parents or guardians of the students. Counseling sessions have also been prioritized to instill confidence in teachers, empower them to make a seamless transition, from chalkboards to digital screens, and help them feel secure in the new environment.

  5. Public-Private Partnerships Lead the Change

    With COVID-19 pandemic rearing its ugly head, the global education industry is abuzz with updates of several coalitions and partnerships taking place to make sure that learning never stops. To cite an example, the Ministry of Education (MoE) in China formed a consortium of educational institutions to build a cloud-based remote learning platform and upgrade the existing educational infrastructure, aiming to replace classroom learning with digital learning. Treading on similar lines, a consortium of over 60 educational organizations in Hong Kong came forward to provide educational assets with the sole intention of keeping remote learning platforms up and running.

    These instances are a testimony to the fact that education innovation, in times of COVID-19, is the highest interest of all, and every organization, irrespective of its public or private nature, has come together to help advance the right of education. With the passage of time, the world could see a force of large-scale, cross-industry coalitions emerging to ensure uninterrupted access to education while remaining unflinching in the face of remarkable challenges.

Importance of Graphic Design in Digital Marketing

Graphic design is the most powerful art that has breathed fresh life into digital marketing. This modern form of art has added a contemporary flair to the advertisement profile of every company. It also acts as one of the key components to build brand awareness and influence the customer’s decision-making process.

graphic design

Until the recent past, many entrepreneurs and decision-makers failed to understand the importance of graphic design. Now, there is a huge interest as the two industries are becoming inseparable. So, let’s dive into the concept of graphic designing and the role it plays in the digital marketing world.

What is Graphic Designing?

Graphic design communicates ideas or messages in a visual way. It can be used by any type of industry to convey complicated information in a digestible way.

According to Interactive Design Foundation, ‘Graphic design is the craft of creating visual content to communicate messages. Applying visual hierarchy and page layout techniques, graphic designers use typography and pictures to meet users’ specific needs and focus on the logic of displaying elements in interactive designs to optimize the user experience.

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How Essential is Graphic Design to Digital Marketing?

“Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.” – Joe Sparano

As an entrepreneur, you will definitely be proud of your business. So shouldn’t your images reflect that too? Will you show up for a red carpet in your sweatpants? Nope. You will dress to impress. Likewise, graphic designs are the red carpet outfit of your business.

Here are some more compelling reasons why graphic design is essential for digital marketing.

Build your Own Unique Identity

When you choose to get help from a graphic designer or a graphic design company, you can establish your own unique tone, style, and differentiate from competitors. As a result of your unique identity, customers and potential clients will also become more familiar with your brand and distinguish you from the crowd.

Design Can Better Convey a Message Than Words

The age-old phrase, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ couldn’t be more true. Graphic design is important for any business that is looking to make a positive and long-lasting impression. When it comes to spreading the message about your business, the design gets the attention first and then the words. Together, they convey a powerful message. For example, in the Apple logo, there is not even a tagline, but the design speaks better than words for the brand.

Improve Sales

It is no surprise that humans are visual creatures. That is why people are attracted to uniquely designed things. Through quality designs, people may get a message that your company will deliver high-quality products or services. They get such types of impressions when they see a unique logo design, business card, and other such designs.

Deliver Brand Message

Graphic designers play an important role in conveying the brand message of your product or service in unique ways. A good graphic designer can communicate your offerings in the form of reports, charts, and illustrations. Moreover, a good creative agency like ColorWhistle can do wonders for your brand and propel it to a great extent.

Graphics Surpass Languages

People can only read this blog if they have a good grasp of the English language. However, no matter what their primary language is, people can understand themes and images. The same is applicable to any kind of image or visual aid. As the internet breaks down geographical barriers, appealing to a multilingual audience is important. Graphic design is one of the best ways to achieve it.

How to Use Graphic Design in Digital Marketing?

Graphic design in the digital marketing field is currently booming. The demand for designers who specialize in creating such types of marketing designs is also on the rise. When you are looking for a team to take on the job, knowing the various types of graphic designs that are widely used for digital marketing will help you find the right specialist you need.

Visual identity or Branding Graphic Design

A visual identity communicates the personality, memories, emotions, and experience of a brand. It acts as the face behind the brand and passes on important messages to the audience. Designers who specialize in visual identity design will create logos, typography, color palettes, and image libraries that will represent the personality of the brand.

Advertising and Marketing Graphic Design

Companies invest in marketing efforts to influence the decision-making process of their target audience. Designers who create graphics for advertising and marketing purposes work directly with decision-makers and marketing professionals. Some examples of advertising and marketing graphic designs are,

  • Postcards and flyers
  • Infographics
  • Newsletters
  • Annual reports
  • E-books
  • Brochures (print and digital)
  • Email marketing templates
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Social media ads and banners
  • Retargeting ad graphics
  • Images for websites and blogs

Related:- Advanced Reporting Tool, an Intelligent Control Platform

User Interface Graphic Design

User interface graphic design or digital designs are created to view on a screen. Designers who create such types of graphics will concentrate on many visual elements like size, color, placement of CTA, and more to give a good digital experience for your target audience. Some examples of user interface graphic design are:

  • Web page design
  • Theme design
  • (WordPress, Magento Shopify, etc.)
  • Game interfaces
  • App design
  • 3D modeling

Motion Graphic Designs

Motion graphic designs were widely used by TV and film. Now, because of technological advancement, this form of art is accessible to everyone at an affordable price. It is one of the most used design formats across all digital platforms. Some examples of motion graphic designs are:

  • Digital advertisements
  • Animated logos
  • Trailers and presentations
  • Promotional videos
  • Tutorial videos
  • Websites
  • Banners
  • GIFs

Industries That Need Graphic Designers

You probably know that graphic design work is required in corporate branding and consultation, marketing, publishing, and web design. But there are other industries that need the help of graphic designers. They are,

  • Education
  • Fashion
  • Mobile app
  • E-commerce
  • Travel & tourism
  • Government agencies
  • Packaging and manufacturing
  • Software development companies

While we have listed some main industries, graphic designer impacts every sector on the planet. For example, if you run a small farm that sells canned apples, the label on the jar is graphic design. If you run a Fortune 500 company that sells gadgets, the advertising, and the packaging design is also a result of graphic design. Graphic design is everywhere. If you understand the impact, you’ll start appreciating it.

Latest Trends in Graphic Design to power Digital Marketing

Marketing your company in the online world can be a challenging task. However, following modern trends in graphic design and applying it can make things easier. Here are some of the latest graphic design hacks followed in digital marketing.

Essential Skills Required To Become A Front End Developer

In this internet age you must be visiting many websites developer every day and you must have found some websites which looked and worked fabulous for you and you liked them the most. But have you ever thought how they were made? Have you looked at them the way they were laid out, the way you got response when you clicked at any of the button or link or any other related thought? You must have thought, “How to do that in your website?” These kind of things come under front end development. Web design is the way how a website looks while front end development is how that design is actually implemented on the web. Now you come to the point. A front end web developer is the developer who does that implementation.

Developer

Front end web developer generally uses CSS, HTML and JavaScript to code the website and web apps designs created by web designers. The code they write runs inside the user’s web browser which is different from a back end developer, whose code runs on the web server itself. A front end web developer also makes sure that there are no errors or bugs on the front end and also that the design appears as it should be across various web browsers and platforms. Due to their so much important role in the work of web development, front end developers are in great demand. But to become a front end developer, the developer needs to have certain skills which are the must. Many of you now might have already decided to make a career in this field but still you need an overview of the skills you will need for front end development as it will make your task bit easier.

If you search job requirements of front end developer mostly they ask for HTML, CSS and JavaScript but at some places you can also read about version control, preprocessing platforms, frameworks and more. Therefore, to make you familiar to all of the required skills of front end developer, here is the essential skills every front end developer should possess.

ESSENTIAL SKILLS OF FRONT END DEVELOPERS

HTML AND CSS

All of the job requirements of front end developer for the work of Front End Development require proficiency in these languages. It is a must. HTML is the standard markup language used to create web pages. A markup languages enable you to write code for a digital document or web page which is different from a regular text. It is the most basic building block you will need for developing websites of any kind. CSS is the language used to present the document you create with HTML so that it is readable and attractive. HTML is responsible for creating the foundation for your pages while CSS has the next job and it is used to create the page’s color, fonts, layout and the style. As we said both of these languages are essential to become a front end developer and without the knowledge of these, no developer can become a front end developer. It is as simple as that.

JAVASCRIPT

Next most important technology for a front end developer is JavaScript or JS. HTML and CSS are markup and style sheet language respectively while JS is the first proper programming language which the front end developer has to master. HTML and CSS work for the presentation of the page whereas JS works for its logic and function. Although there are many simple websites out there on internet for which HTML and CSS are enough but also there are so many functional websites which have interactive features like audio and videos, games, pages animations, scrolling abilities – for which JavaScript is used to implement these.

JQUERY

jQuery is basically a JavaScript library i.e. a collection of plugins and extensions which makes the development work with JavaScript much faster and easier. If you use jQuery, then you don’t need to code everything from scratch as jQuery enables a front end developer to add ready-made elements to projects and you can customize them as required. jQuery helps in doing common tasks which require many lines of code and compresses them into a format that can be executed with a single line of code. Front end developers can also use jQuery for things like autocompletion of the search form, countdown timers, automatically rearranging and resizing grid layouts in the websites. Use of jQuery saves lots of time of the developers.

FRONT END FRAMEWORKS

The most popular front end framework is Bootstrap which you must have heard of. CSS and front end frameworks also work similar to how JS Framework work for JavaScript i.e. they give you a ready-made code from where you can start coding. Hence they can save lots of the time of the front end developers. As most of the CSS starts with the same elements from project to project, a framework which defines all of these for you at the start is highly useful. Most of the front end developer job listings want you to be expert in how these frameworks work and how you can use them in your project.

JAVASCRIPT FRAMEWORKS

There are many JavaScript frameworks available in the market like Angular, ReactJS, Backbone and Ember. They provide a ready-made structure to your JavaScript code. There are many types of frameworks for different kind of requirements and the four mentioned above are the most famous and most sought after by most of the employers.  These frameworks speed up the development by providing you lots of useful code from where you can start coding. They can also be used with libraries like jQuery to minimize your coding efforts.

KNOWLEDGE OF CSS PREPROCESSING

Knowledge of CSS Preprocessing is highly useful for the front end developer while developing a website. Although CSS has many benefits but it also has limitations and one of them is that you have to write similar lines of code so many times for the whole website. Hence when your project grows in scale and code base, keeping in mind that in CSS you can’t define variables, functions or perform arithmetic operations, you will find yourself wasting lots of your time in writing repetitive code to make changes. Similar to CSS and JS frameworks, CSS preprocessing is another thing which can make life of a front end developer much easier. Using a CSS preprocessor like Stylus, Sass, LESS, you will be able to write code in the preprocessor’s language. The preprocessor then converts that code into CSS and it will work on your whole website. For example, assume you want to change the shade of a color you are using across your website. With a CSS preprocessor, you will only have to change the hex value at one place only instead of changing the hex values on all the CSS pages of the site.

Related:-What is the Customer Experience Journey

KNOWLEDGE OF RESTFUL SERVICES AND APIS

REST stands for Representational State Transfer. Actually it is a lightweight architecture which simplifies network communication on the web and internet and RESTful services and APIs are those web services which adhere to REST architecture. You should read about REST and RESTful services in more detail if you want to become an expert front end developer. Take an example, say you want to write an application which shows you all of your social media friends in the order as you became friends with them. You can make calls to Facebook’s RESTful API to read your friend list and return that data. You can do same thing with Twitter which also uses RESTful APIs. Actually the process for any service that uses RESTful APIs is the same and only the data returned will be different. The front end developers should become expert in using these. There are simple guidelines and practices to use them and you can learn how to communicate with a web service. They also make a web service to perform better, work more reliably, be easier to edit/modify and scale better and easier.

RESPONSIVE DESIGN AND MOBILE DESIGN

The days of only desktop and laptop PCs being used for viewing websites are gone. Now more than half of the internet traffic originates through mobile devices and smartphones. That means most of the people now use phones and tablets and rest use computers to look at the web pages. Have you ever thought how these pages adjust themselves to the device you are using without you doing anything at your end? This is where responsive design comes into picture. A front end developers have to fully understand the responsive design principles and how to implement them while coding for the website. One good thing about responsive design is that it is an integral part of CSS frameworks like Bootstrap. All of these skills are interconnected and you will learn them quickly when you start with any one of them while doing front end development.

KNOWLEDGE OF CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS AND E-COMMERCE PLATFORMS

Nowadays most of the websites which are built use content management system i.e. CMS. Large number of them also use E-commerce platforms and they sell their products and services through the site. The most popular CMS right now in the world is no doubt WordPress which is behind the millions of successful websites. Reports says that more than 30% of all the websites on internet have been built using WordPress alone and almost 60% of websites that use a CMS prefer to use WordPress only. Some of the other most popular CMSs are Drupal, Joomla and Magento. Magento is basically a most popular E-commerce platform along with Shopify and OpenCart. Although you don’t need to go very deep into WordPress and these other CMS but knowing bit about these will give you a niche and you will be preferred by the companies who are using these or planning to use these CMS into their websites.

VERSION CONTROL SYSTEMS – GIT

Assume you have done all the work of marking up with HTML, Styling with CSS and programming with JS. In this process you must have gone through a number of revisions in your development and software code. Now if something goes wrong along the way, you will have to start all over from the beginning. Therefore, here comes the Version control software into the picture. Version control is the process of tracking and controlling changes to your source code hence this kind of problem will not happen with you. Git is an open source Version Control Software recently bought by Microsoft. It is a tool you can use to track those changes so that you can go back to any previous version of your work and find out easily what went wrong without undoing the whole thing from the start. The working knowledge of Git – Version control software is a skill which most of the employers want to have in their front end developers or even in other developers.

TESTING AND DEBUGGING

Any developer even a front end developer can do mistakes. Hence bugs can come in the code they write. Therefore, having knowledge and experience in testing and debugging processes is very important for a front end developer. There are different testing methods for web development. Like Functional testing looks at the functional aspect of your website like a database and makes sure it does everything which you have coded it to do. It is also called UI testing, acceptance testing, browser testing or functional testing where you check to make sure that the website behaves and works as it should be when a user is taking actions on the website. You can write tests which will look for outcomes like particular HTML code on a page after an action is taken for example making sure that if a user forgets to fill out the essential fields in a form, error message pops up for the user. Unit testing is the process of testing individual or small blocks of source code and unit testing frameworks provide a specific method and structure for doing so. For each programming language they are different.
Debugging process is very important as it takes all the bugs and errors which testing uncovers, analyzes them to find out why and how they are happening and finally fixing them. Testing and debugging processes are implemented differently in different organizations but if you have worked on it somewhere then you can easily adapt to it at other place. Hence front end developer should have working knowledge of testing and debugging processes.

Related:-The need for consumer insights in content marketing

PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS

Good front end developers should have excellent problem solving skills whatever the job descriptions say. The have to use them number of times while writing code for the website. For example, they need the creative problem solving skills while figuring out how to best implement a design, how to fix bugs that come, how to figure out how to make your front end code work with the backend code and in most of their development and coding tasks. Hence front end developers should have great problem solving skills. For example, you have created a perfectly working website front end and you hand it over to the back end developers so that they can integrate it with the CMS of the website. Imagine, somehow many of your amazing features stop working. A top front end developer will view this as a problem which has to be solved rather than a thing to be highly disappointed about. Although an experienced front end developer will anticipate these bugs early and will try to avoid them in the first place itself so that he doesn’t need to spend time on resolving them afterwards.

BROWSER DEVELOPER TOOLS

Most of the users will access your website through a web browser. Hence how these web browsers render your website will decide whether your website will be a success or not. Most of the modern web browsers come equipped with developer tools. These tools allow developers to test and fine tune the site pages in the browser itself i.e. in ways specific to how the browser interprets your source code. Things may vary from browser to browser but browser developer tools normally have an inspector and a JavaScript console. The inspector allows you to see what the runtime HTML on your page looks like, how CSS is behaving with each element on the page and also allows you to edit your HTML and CSS and see the changes fully live as they occur. This JS console allows you to view all of the errors and bugs that occur when the browser tries to execute the JavaScript code. Therefore, it is desirable for front end developers to have the working knowledge of browser develop tools.

KNOWLEDGE OF HOW TO WORK IN COMMAND LINE

Nowadays, almost all applications or software that come to the market have Graphic User Interface i.e. GUI as no one wants to type lines of difficult commands onto a black screen in order to get the things done. It is more easier to point and click on a white background screen having interactive menu. Even in the field of website development, GUI are highly preferred. But an all-purpose GUI may have some limitations for some specific applications. There can be times when you would need to open a terminal on your computer where you have to enter commands to get things done. There is a difference when your computer is giving results which are available on the surface and when you get what you need by digging in with specific commands. Although most of your front end development work you can do using GUIs but you will be highly preferred and sought after if your front end development skills also have a mastery of how to use command line.

How To Hire A Right Dedicated Development Team

Planning to develop a mobile app? If yes, Team then the next question clicks to your mind is, whether you should hire a freelancer, offshore dedicated development team(DDT), or go for an in-house development team for your next app development project.Team

Well deciding between these three options can be a serious concern for every business whether they are a starter or an entrepreneur. However, outsourcing the best mobile app development company can be an expensive choice but the unmatched product quality can easily cover up the initial cost.
If you are still in doubt whether you should outsource your app development needs to a dedicated development team, then you need to know about these benefits of collaborating with app development companies.

WHAT BUSINESSES CAN EXPECT WHILE HIRING OFFSHORE DDT MODEL?

Dedicated offshore development services come with great advantages. Still, we will take a deeper look to understand why enterprises and startups should choose the DDT model.

Strong Back of Skilled Engineers: Reputed software development companies are backed by a highly-skilled, experienced, and certified team of developers holding the ability to develop business-growing applications and bridging a gap between your goals and success.

Cost-Efficient Solution: The biggest benefit of outsourcing the app development services is you can easily save a cost in terms of infrastructure and overhead expenses that are usually associated with the in-house development team. Moreover, the average cost of working with an in-house development team is approx $70 per hour whereas the average cost to hire app developer is approx 35 dollars per hour. You may find the vendor that isn’t that cheaper, but they sure do offer the efficiency that you couldn’t expect from your in-house team.

Increase Your Focus: Handing the development work to the external app development company can increase your ability to focus on core strategies and services.

Reduce the Burden of Recruitment: The DDT team is a pool of professionals that has all the skills that you may be looking for in your development team that fit your company principles best from the shortlist. Collaborating with the professional software development company means hiring the complete development team in a single go. Therefore, it includes minor efforts from your end to set up a team.

Shorter Development Cycle: In contrast to putting an in-house development team in place and explaining your goals, technologies, and methodologies required for the development project, a dedicated development team can easily analyze your project needs and be able to customize the product under a limited timeframe.

Less Management Rick: Since DDTs are expertise in handling multiple projects at the time, therefore they better know how to manage the operating process and remain committed to the delivery deadlines.
Let’s assume that you are ready to hire software developer for your project, after knowing these benefits. However, now the central question is, with 23.9 million software developers all across the world, “how will you decide the best DDT team for your project needs”?

HERE ARE THE PRINCIPLES OF HIRING THE DEDICATED DEVELOPMENT TEAM FOR THE PROJECT:

  • What Exactly is DDT Model and What is DDT Made Up Of?
  • Step-By-Step Guide to Hire a Team of Developers
  • Where to Hire Best Mobile App Developers?
  • Final Thought

LET’S GET INTO THE DEEP TO UNDERSTAND EACH PARAMETER IN DETAIL

WHAT IS DDT MODEL AND WHAT IS IT MADE UP OF?

These days software outsourcing has become a very common solution, but sometimes you need to hire a team that dedicatedly works on your project and takes care of everything right from planning to the final launch of the project. DDT models refer to the team of dedicated programmers and experts that can handle the complexity of the project and are able to manage it flawlessly. Businesses can get a competitive edge by hiring dedicated teams as they can develop, test, and deploy solutions by leveraging their dedicated infrastructures and core teams.

Related:-What are the benefits of Agile web app development?

LET’S UNDERSTAND WHAT EXACTLY DDT MODEL COMPRISE OF

Project Manager: The main coordinator of your project who will take care of your project requirements and get it executed through the development team you hire. In addition, you won’t be required to explain your requirements to the developers individually as the project coordinator is there to handle everything right from executing your project requirements to providing project progress reports.

Dedicated Developers: The actual driving force of your development team. They basically include front-end, back-end, and full-tech stack developers who will turn your app design into practical products through coding.

QA Engineers: Launching your app without testing or final quality check is the biggest mistake that most businesses make. That’s where an app tester deeply analyses and checks your product to identify bugs and make it fixed before it is launched.

UX/UI Designers: App design is an important factor, therefore, these experts deeply analyze your business requirement, understand your targeted audience, and then create User Interface (UI) of the app. The UX/UI designers make sure your product is visually attractive and appealing that can easily attract the attention of the users and also simple to navigate.

BASIC WORKING PRINCIPLES OF DEDICATED DEVELOPMENT TEAM

The dedicated development teams are working on such principles that they strictly adhere to, which includes:

  • Sign an NDA closure with clients to ensure project security.
  • Inspecting project progress reports monthly and integrates the best methodologies to drive excellent project results.
  • Building a strong client relationship is the simple success mantra of DDT models, therefore, they make sure to have facetime with clients through skype or get connected with them through chats to avoid a communication gap.
  • Establish proper communication procedures with clients and provide weekly project progress reports.
  • Provide a typical explanation of the specific project to guide clients what exactly goes best for the project and company.
  • Explain specific metrics and measures of the project to provide a clear picture of project development.

UNDERSTANDING THE DDT HIRE MODEL: A COMPLETE STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

Hiring the team of mobile app developers is similar to hiring an employee for your organization. Usually it includes 4 simple steps to get partnered with the dedicated development team. Let’s get started with the step-by-step guide:

STEP 1: ANALYZE YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS AND GOALS

What exactly are you expecting from the development team? To find the right group of experts, you must know what exactly your software development project needs…

To make your hiring process simple and straightforward, it is worth to take out some time to understand your project requirements and outline these few things before you get started with the DDT model:

  • What are you trying to achieve through this development project?
  • What are your business and tech stack requirements?
  • How much you can spend on the development project?
  • What level of skills and expertise are you looking for in the development team?

STEP 2: VERIFY VENDOR’S EXPERIENCE, PORTFOLIO, AND REPUTATION

The next step is to dig deep and check the background of the outsourcing company to determine how closely they fit your project needs or business requirements. You are advised to pay attention to the number of projects, types of services, geolocation and domain of clients, expertise in tech stack, and company size.

Moreover, you can check how trained or experienced they are in handling specifically your type of project and how the entire development project is managed. Also check whether the vendor is providing additional services including business support, business analysis, or marketing analysis.

Related:-Free E-commerce Websites for Start ups

STEP 3: ASSURING PROJECT SECURITY AND QUALITY

Outsourcing your project development needs to the DDT is the biggest decision as you need to share important information with the vendor. This is why it is crucial to check what measures they take to keep your business info secure and safe with their team and how smooth their communication process will be.

To check this, firstly make sure that the app development company must sign an NDA form with you to ensure project security. Secondly, they must have a dedicated infrastructure where the entire process, right from software coding to testing will be done in-house only.

Further, for project quality and transparency, you can ask these further questions:

  • Will their team be available in different time zones?
  • What tech stacks and programming language team will use?
  • What communication channels and tools will you use for further communication?
  • Who will be responsible for project handling or providing progress reports?

STEP 4: ASK FOR THE PROJECT ESTIMATION

If there is one thing that we all are majorly concerned about is its development cost and time. Considering the fact that the app development project takes time and expensive investment, still everyone is curious to know whether it fits their budget and timeframe.

In addition, the success of the project is not just depending upon the vendor and its development team, but also on the various factors including working flexibility on the project, fair estimation, process, streamline development phases and their timelines, etc.

ADDITIONAL ASPECTS OF HIRING THE DDT MODEL

Outsourcing the developers is one thing but hiring the DDT model involves some legal aspects to maintain the proper security and transparency of the project. They are the following:

    • Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA): While working with the dedicated team, sometimes you need to provide them sensitive internal information of your businesses, but signing an NDA form can ensure you that your information will remain confidential with the vendor.
    • Statement of Work (SOW): This legal document will clearly specify the complete workflow of the project including its deliveries, development schedules, quality standards, and other terms and conditions of the project.
    • Master Services Agreement (MSA): MSA defines the mutual settlement of clients with vendors in terms of payment, product rights, and dispute resolution. It is important to sign while starting working with the DDT model as it states that you hold the copyright to all the work done by the team of external software development companies.

Web Designers Guide to Build your Professional Website

Are you getting involved in professional web design? Good, you have made the right decision. You are giving users more reasons to engage with you. But wait… do you know how to make the best professional website? Either, you will hire a website designing agency to do that, or you will do it on your own. However, there are some significant things that you have to consider while designing the website.  Website design plays an important role in engaging more customers to your website.  It gives them the reasons to stay longer. But, if you fail to introduce the best aspects, then get ready to face a higher bounce rate.

professional

If your webpage is taking ages to load and is not showing correctly to the customers, then surely, they will move to another website. So, all your efforts and money is wasted.

First of all, understand that it is not apparent that if you know the technical aspects, then you can design the website. If you only include the interesting design and high-quality content, then you cannot get productive results.  It is important to add the style that matches the expectations of the users with the functionality, which is easily understandable.

You must have heard that “Beauty lies in the eye of the mouse-holder”. It is understandable that distinctive users prefer several styles, but it does not imply there are no tricks that you should consider while choosing the website appearance.

So, if you have an urge that the users find you on Google, then now is the time to convert your visitors to customers.

But how will you do that? And how will you ensure that whatever you are doing is right?

Related:-How to Create the Ultimate Digital Marketing Team

We are here to give you the guide that can help you to build a professional website perfectly.  But, before diving into the core of the fundamental elements of professional website designing, spare some time to know the statistics to understand how the industry is evolving.

  • 48% of users indicated that the website’s design is the basic factor in determining the reliability of a business.
  • 94% are those who say that bad design is the principal reason do not prefer some websites.
  • 38% of the customers are not revisiting the website if the photos are taking much time to load, and the content is lengthy.
  • It has been examined that if the website loading speed is cut down from 8 seconds to 2 seconds, then the conversion rate will be improved by 74%.

Nevertheless, take a look below to know how better professional designing can enhance your brand visibility.

  • Customised uniquely

The experts of the website designing agency know how to make a website that reflects the aim of your business.

  • Make you stand out

With fewer errors and breakdowns, your professional website can be accessed on several devices and browsers.

  • Less loading time

Users prefer the website that takes less than 2 seconds to load. They love to stay there longer, and therefore, you can get more clicks. And, they make their decision in 0.05 seconds approximately.

  • Establishes your brand

The professional website is highly beneficial in building the brand.  Practicing this, you will gain the customer’s trust.

  • Make sure you are noticed

The website can help you touch the sky.  You are now keeping the competition high.

Ideas for designing a professional website

Gather and structure the website content

The website developer and the designers will not assist you in writing the content of the page on the website and in taking the photos of the products you are selling.  You are solely responsible for gathering the content and for finalising the final structure of your website. When it is about the structure, you have to include some important elements, such as:

  • Homepage
  • Blog
  • About page and/or contact page
  • Individual product pages
  • Product directory
  • Terms and conditions
  • Landing pages/marketing pages for promotions
  • Gallery

The elements mentioned above require important information, such as, each page should have the right content and different design.  Here, in this stage, you do not need the exact content; all you need to do it to make an idea that which content you will add in the website. And, make the appropriate plan accordingly.

Do you have the time to write copy, or do you need to hire someone to get it done? Will you hire some photographer for the photos?

Do you know that you need to store the custom images such as team and logo photos? Here, the web designer can only help you out in giving the sources you want.

Colour contrast optimisation

The element that defines how appropriately you are distinguishing the colors of the design elements from each other is color contrast.

To measure, you can go with the ratio aspect and should include only the minimum one. Consider that the different design elements are fulfilling the least color ratio, as mentioned by Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Here, it is not only improving the readability of the visually impaired users but is also improving it for those who are not visually- impaired.

This is how basic designing is done with virtually zero effort. But how one came to know about the minimum requirement? Primarily, the color contrast analysers such as Stark were used for measuring the color contrast ratio.  Though, the minimum ratio relies on the element, that is, the qestion is whether it is a vital user interface element or not? Like, form field, or icon, an element is textual.

Is the font size large or small?

As a user, we know that larger fonts become more readable than the short one. There is no need to zoom in, zoom out, the font.  For your convenience, we have taken a color contrast ratio requirements from WCAG for text on the background.

  • 14pt bold or 18pt normal: 4.5:1 (7:1 is better)
  • 14pt bold or 18pt normal, and above: 3:1 (4.5:1 is better)

Use One-Click Installs

Installing any Content Management System (CMS) is an outdated thing. Though, it is simple but takes longer. Several web hosts nowadays are using the one-click installs to do all the work. Usually,  this feature is integrated into the hosting account control panel.

The whole process is painless and quick. Just fill in the required details with the information, like, website title and the login information. The server will manage the whole stuff from here.  You do not need to get the configuration file and build a database.

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Grasp the information of CMS

We all know that CMS is a web application and database. Basically, it permits the users to upload the content to visit the varied website parts.

If you are not familiar with how to change or edit the photos, text on the website, then you surely need a content management system.

The web world has many CMS, several incredible options like WordPress (for blogging), Magento, and Shopify (for hosting an eCommerce website), etc.  However, if you are in need of advanced functionality, then you should get it customized.

Keep visual hierarchy intact

With an evolution in technology, smartphones, a computer screen shows the required information with the best internet connection. The designer’s responsibility is to manage the content effectively. It only takes some seconds to make customer’s engaged and showing what your website is all about.

If you got succeeded in establishing a transparent representation of your information, then surely, you will get the best footfall. Apply size, contrast, spacing, and color for more accentuation, and define your consciousness while finalizing your website design.

Rectifying the mistakes

Usually, the mistakes make the users confused particularly when they do not have any idea what it is showing and how to get rid of it. Mistakes cannot be avoided, mainly when it is about the modern-day user. They want to get engaged with UI’s that define their mental model. When it fails, to do so, errors occur.

The typical mistake is one when the user fills the forms and, generally, being weak; they fill in the incorrect data.

If the errors are getting fixed programmatically, then there would not be any errors.  You can consider an example of integrating https:// to the URL submission if not integrated before and making the user get it done by themselves.

Find out the below tips for error reduction:

  • Use form labels always for defining the input fields
  • Use placeholders for displaying an example of acceptable input
  • Allow autocomplete and autofill to overcome typing error

Always:

  • Show the form errors simply in realtime
  • Verification from the use is necessary before submission

Assure website easy navigation

The website with reliable navigation assists the search engine to index your content by enhancing the user experience. It is advisable to link the logo to the homepage. Generally, the users are used to visit the home page again and again to get a brief. If you have not done it yet, then do it now. There are many tools that can be used to link.

The menu also plays an important role. It has to be at the top of the website. And, should be structured as per their importance.  Try to include vertical navigation. If your website has more content, then it is advisable to use the anchor menu. Just in one click, the user can navigate to the top and down or bottom or straight to the particular section of the website.

Working on the footer and keeping the critical content on the top will also work. Assure that the visitors must get what your professional website is all about without scrolling.

Secure the functionality you need

What actually the customers are looking for while spending time on your site? Are they need relevant information about your company, like phone numbers, company addresses, and opening hours? Do they only want to buy your products and services? Are your blogs and articles making them interested? Or might they know about your offers and discounts?

Only your functionality needs can give answers to these queries and can develop your website accordingly. This planning strategy will leave a significant impact on your budget constraints. So, you will need to resolve the various norms in order to get adequate results.

Be mobile-friendly

Advancement in mobile technology makes everything simple, right? So, where should we have to be focused so they can scroll the website pages down? Some logo makers develop a mobile-friendly version of the site so that you can stand out among this competitive mobile world. Hence, give a second thought to every aspect and check out every page, including call-to-action-buttons and other components.

What Makes a Great Website? 6 Web Design Trends

Web design trends are ever-changing, evolving and adapting to the latest user behaviors. Each year, marketers learn a little bit more about how to design remarkable, highly functional websites that service different types of businesses and organizations.

As new technology emerges and user behaviors change, marketers are forced to find new and better ways to deliver the best possible user experience. As more data becomes available through advanced analytics and marketing automation processes, predicting customer behavior becomes easier, and designing personalized and intuitive user experiences becomes an expectation.

Web Design

Your website is no longer a URL at which you park the existence of your online business. It’s often the first and most powerful presentation of your business – who you are as a company, what you offer, and why your products and services are better than all the rest.

Last year, we posted the blog, “What Makes a Great Website? 10 Website Trends for 2016“.  In this year’s edition, you will see a mix of old and new web design trends for 2017. New trends are emerging all the time, and some of the existing trends are becoming further refined. Whether you’re ready to invest in a complete website redesign, or you’re simply wondering what makes a great website, this list should definitely get the wheels turning.

2017 WEB DESIGN TRENDS

1. VIRTUAL REALITY AND 360-DEGREE VIDEO

The importance of video marketing in today’s day and age is critical and the demand for video content is on the rise.  One of the hottest trends in video marketing today is virtual reality and 360-degree videos, so why not integrate it into your website? More and more companies have been incorporating it into their everyday marketing, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a commonplace (see what we did there?) in website design across the board.

Although virtual reality and 360-degree video are similar, let’s explore the differences between the two. VR, or virtual reality, requires the use of headsets, and provides an immersive experience which the user can control. A 360-degree video experience can be viewed on any device, without the use of headsets, and is typically controlled by the creator of the video. In 360-degree video, the user sits back and enjoys the experience, where with VR, the user controls the experience.

In either case, presenting website visitors with powerful introductory experiences is bound to take flight in 2017.

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2. HIGH QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHY

While stock photography certainly serves a purpose in a variety of situations, viewers prefer genuine, high quality photos to the overused image of people in business suits shaking hands. If you aren’t investing in quality photography for the majority of the images displayed throughout your website, your website may suffer in the long run.

Research indicates that photos that include real people can actually increase your conversion rates. While perfectly staged photos may seem intuitively more professional than candid photos, it’s important to remember that your audience is made up of real people who can relate to real images. By telling your brand story with genuine and high quality photography, your messaging will have a more powerful reach.

3. EXTREME MINIMALISM

In 2016, minimalistic web design grew significantly in popularity. This year, the trend has evolved even further, into an even simpler design philosophy. Beyond just being concise and straightforward with all aspects of your web design, extreme minimalism (also referred to as ultra-minimal) is the idea of using the least amount of everything possible, while still conveying a powerful message.

Depending on your industry and business type, this design trend may or may not work for your audience. It’s definitely worth taking a look at how others are using it before making a decision. For example, this site by designer Mathieu Boulet is as minimalistic as they come. Whether or not it’s your cup of tea, it certainly makes a bold statement.

4. MIXING TEXT DIRECTIONS

Who said text always has to go from left-to-right? What about top-to-bottom? Who says spacing has to be left-justified or centered all the time?  If you’re looking to catch your viewers’ eyes and make them notice what you have to say, this design trend provides a unique way to display your company’s message.

It may not work throughout your entire site, as it could become frustrating to the reader to constantly be tilting their head. However, it’s definitely a powerful way to introduce yourself to your audience.

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5. BRANDED ILLUSTRATIONS

While the use of unique illustrations to reflect your brand’s individual personality and tone is nothing new, it has recently become a more popular design trend. By using cartoon-like illustrations across your site, you can make the viewing experience a little more fun for your audience.

It’s important, however, to ensure that the illustrations are relevant and appropriate to your subject matter, and don’t take away from the professionalism of your site. If you can figure out how to use branded illustrations well, they may help to increase your brand reach and attract a broader audience.

6. MODULAR WEB DESIGN

Similar to Pinterest’s card design layout, modular web design takes it a step further by using blocks of different sizes that are purposefully positioned for the viewer. Each block may contain a set amount of text, an image (or multiple), or both.

By combining the use of distinct brand colors, simple blocks and concise messaging, modular design allows for an effective way to organize your website that is easy for users to view and digest. Here are two great examples of websites built using modular design: Swiss Watch Manufacturer, Corum and Native Shoes.

Not every web design technique is right for every type of business. It’s important to consider what design will resonate best with your audience, as well as what design will have the appropriate functionality based on your business needs and challenges. Knowing whether you should invest in a website redesign to better meet customer needs is a step in the right direction, no matter which trend you choose.