Check out our portfolio for some of our recently completed websites – both urban design firms – Vandewalle and Associates – a complete redesign of an existing website utilizing WordPress, and MDRoffers Consulting, a firm specializing both in urban design and financial consulting for communities – also using WordPress as the design base.
Hansen Web Design is proud to announce the addition of our newest client, Southwest Surveying and Associates, of Palmyra, Wisconsin. Southwest Surveying & Associates, Inc. is a land surveying firm providing services to Dodge, Jefferson, Waukesha, Walworth and Rock counties. We will be designing a new WordPress platform site for them to highlight their services and concentrate on search engine optimization.
At Hansen Web Design we monitor and test web sites in multiple browsers every day, so we need to keep track of what’s happening with the various browsers out there – how they handle basic HTML code, CSS, operating systems – anything that will affect the look and feel of your website. It’s important that you keep track too – why? Not just for the reasons we track them, but for another very important reason – speed. We want your websites to load fast and design them that way to the best of our ability, but you can help things along by using the latest and “right” browser for your needs.
Tom’s Hardware has been tracking the latest round of the browser wars and has completed a superb review of the latest versions of Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, FireFox and Safari. The results might surprise you!
We just completed a site for a wonderful non-profit organization called Dogs On Call, Inc. – a program whereby dogs are brought to hospitals and more recently student dorms to help relieve stress and anxiety. It has been working wonders and we are glad to be a part of it by redesigning their site for them. This particular site has a WordPress platform with a special “slider” on the home page that previews featured posts. It works beautifully.
We also designed and installed a custom “Members Only” PHP forum for them and will be doing their ongoing maintenance as well.
Analysts are predicting that 2011 will be the year that smartphones will go mainstream in the U.S. market. Research firm Asymco states that 50 percent of the U.S. population will be using smartphones by the end of the year, which is up from 30 percent at the end of 2010 and 18 percent in 2009. Asymco also estimates that some 80 million Americans – approximately one out of every three smartphone users – will be armed with either an Apple iPhone or an Android-powered device by the start of 2012. What does this mean for you as a personal or business website owner? It means you need to consider that more and more visitors to your website will be using mobile technology and you should subsequently be prepared with a mobile theme, or be prepared to lose those same visitors quickly if your site doesn’t show properly. At Hansen Web Design, we can help you by either ensuring your current site shows up correctly for mobile users or by designing an alternative theme that shows up when a mobile user visits your site.
Twenty years ago this month, Tim Berners-Lee published his proposal for the World Wide Web. Today, the web is an explosion of pages and apps teeming with videos, photos and interactive content. These powerful new web experiences—such as “The Wilderness Downtown,” our HTML5 collaboration with the band Arcade Fire—are possible thanks to cutting-edge web technologies that bring all this content to life in the modern browser.
But how do browsers and the web actually work? What is HTML5—or HTML, for that matter? What do terms like “cookies” or “cloud computing” even mean? More practically, how can we keep ourselves safe from security threats like viruses when we’re online?
To help answer these questions, we collaborated with the wonderful illustrator Christoph Niemann to publish an online guidebook called “20 Things I Learned about Browsers and the Web.” This handy guide is for those of us who’d like to better understand the technologies we use every day.
“20 Things” is written by the Chrome team, and continues our tradition of finding new ways to help explain complex but fascinating ideas about technology. Many of the examples used to illustrate the features of the browser refer back to Chrome.
We built “20 Things” in HTML5 so that we could incorporate features that hearken back to what we love about books—feeling the heft of a book’s cover, flipping a page or even reading under the covers with a flashlight. In fact, once you’ve loaded “20 Things” in the browser, you can disconnect your laptop and continue reading, since this guidebook works offline. As such, this illustrated guidebook is best experienced in Chrome or any up-to-date, HTML5-compliant modern browser.
For things you’ve always wanted to know about the web and browsers but may have been afraid to ask, read on at www.20thingsilearned.com (or, you can use the handy shortened URL at goo.gl/20things). If you find “20 Things” informative, don’t forget to share it with your friends and family!
We’re proud to announce our latest client, Dwayne of DW’s Custom Jewelry here in Madison. Dwayne came to us with a request for some search engine optimization services (SEO) and we were able to help him out even though his shopping cart software proved to be the limiting factor with respect to a number of items. Nonetheless, we were able to install Google Analytics, set up automated Google Site Map submittals, revise and enhance the meta tags based on actual searches that his customers had been performing and finally set up some automated marketing reporting for him along with some recommendations for further enhancements.
If you are not within the first three pages when performing a Google search, contact us and let us see how we can help you improve your ranking!
Website visitors have one expectation: outstanding Web experiences. Increasingly, the most critical determinant in delivering these experiences is a user’s browser — of which there are many with complex applications, add-ons and serving multiple devices, to boot.
But the cost of failing to optimize browser performance and meet users’ expectations has never been higher with a recent survey* finding that:
• 67 percent of users encounter a slow website a few times a week or more;
• 46 percent say slow load times cause them to abandon sites very frequently or somewhat frequently; and
• Over a third say slowness makes them less likely to return to a site.
Clearly, optimal browser performance is a key to keeping users on a website and, therefore, closer to conversion goals. But what is causing performance problems for so many users? Let’s explore a few Web trends to find some answers:
Increased Browser Market Fragmentation: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) is a very popular browser but with just 24 percent of the browser market share, it lacks the dominance of earlier versions of IE. Those earlier versions and other, competing options include Firefox, Safari, Chrome and others. In total, these options account for more than three quarters of all users.
Different browser platforms — as well as different versions of the same platform — perform and behave in different ways.
Consider connections per host name:
The greater the number of connections per host name a browser can make, the faster a page loads. Currently there is an eight-second difference in response time between the fastest- and slowest-performing browsers. With such a wide variation, businesses must select performance optimization techniques suited to those browsers that drive the most traffic and revenue, on a global basis — an optimization technique that works well on one browser may cause an adverse effect on another.
Mobile Web Uptake:
Today, businesses not only have to manage greater browser diversity on desktop computers but also contend with new complexity brought on by the mobile Web. With approximately 500 mobile browser/device combinations in use throughout the world, the prospect of managing performance across all (or even most) of them is seemingly impossible.
However, businesses that fail to optimize for the mobile Web experience could miss out on the sizable customer reach and revenue potential of this growing channel. For example, Morgan Stanley recently made a prediction that mobile users will outnumber desktop Internet users worldwide by 2014. Also consider the fact that AT&T has experienced a 50 percent increase in mobile data over the last three years. Despite this growth, users expect the mobile Web to load almost as quickly — if not faster — compared to the computer they use as home. Any business serious about the mobile Web must prioritize performance.
Feature-rich Applications Shift Responsibility to the Browser:
Today’s websites and applications have evolved to rich composites; comprising of content and services delivered from the data center as well as from other sources outside the firewall — content delivery networks, advertising networks, video, shopping carts, Web analytics and ratings and review systems, for example. A recent study of 3,000 companies found that the average Web-based transaction involves 8.85 different third parties or hosts. The browser is responsible for assembling all of these components and presenting them to the user.
As applications grow richer (and by extension, heavier), technologies like AJAX, Flash and Flex help maintain application speed by enabling browsers to perform much of the application work. Other industry advances like HTML 5 place an even heavier burden on browsers by storing data on the client side, easing server demand. Browsers have evolved from a “rendering engine” to an “integration platform,” and are responsible for over 60 percent of overall processing time, in some cases. For this reason, front-end performance improvements for key browsers often yield the highest payback for the user experience.
Below are a set of best practices for delivering superior performance across browsers to take control of your site and your users’ experiences:
Implement a comprehensive monitoring approach, both pre- and post-deployment:
Businesses must monitor real-time performance on all major browser types available to users. Visual and functional testing should be automated and conducted on a regular basis. This approach should include both operational or synthetic monitoring of websites and applications across top browsers as well as experiential or real-user monitoring to capture what users and customers actually experience.
Today, worldwide testing networks offer businesses a fast, easy view into website and application performance across more than 500 browsers and browser/device combinations, from the real user perspective. This is important because as an application leaves the data center it is supplemented by third party services and passes through local ISPs and mobile carriers before ultimately being delivered to browsers and devices. Problems can occur at any point of this Web application delivery chain, and the user perspective is the key to identifying problems, determining if they are browser-related (or not) and implementing optimization techniques at the browser level.
Understand which browsers your visitors use, and monitor what matters:
In an environment of limited resources, most businesses can’t test and optimize across all browsers, so they must focus on the issues that really matter. If a company’s major source of business comes from Asia, for example, it’s far more important to measure site performance on IE6 — the most popular browser in that region — than the more recent, yet less used IE7 and IE8. Businesses should not waste energy on “edge cases,” such as browser versions that represent insignificant portions of their audience. Instead, concentrate on monitoring browsers with the highest ROI potential for the business (the same rule applies to mobile browser/device combinations). Furthermore, businesses must concentrate on the parts of the website that matter most: The most popular content, highest revenue transactions and the most complex rich Internet applications.
Focus on front-end performance improvements:
These efforts often deliver the most positive impact on user experience while requiring less time and money than back-end projects. Consider browser optimization techniques like domain charding, which entails “fooling” a user’s browser into thinking there’s more than one host. As a result, multiple connections can be made to a host server at the same time, enabling more objects to be downloaded simultaneously and thus creating faster downloads for little extra time or money.
However, domain charding is an example of an optimization technique that works well for some browsers but not others. It is ideal for older browsers that are typically capable of only two parallel connections at a time. In this scenario, if three hosts are detected, six objects (versus only two) can be downloaded at once. The technique is problematic for newer browsers like IE8 and Google Chrome that enable up to six parallel connections. For these browsers, three hosts detected translate into 18 images downloaded at once — which often overload servers and has the adverse effect of a Web performance slow-down.
Measure the impact of peak traffic:
Since newer browsers offer greater connection parallelism, businesses must understand how this can impact overall site performance under heavy load. Only then can they truly understand if their infrastructure capacity is sufficient. The key is to combine load generated from the cloud with load generated from real user desktops — providing a sense of how users are actually experiencing a website or application at the edge of the Internet, from their very browser. Older load testing approaches (which entail leveraging one’s own data center-based servers to stimulate high traffic volumes) may miss the true impact of increased connection parallelism on the user’s Web experience.
Browsers exert a huge influence on the quality of a user’s Web experience. Ensuring performance across browsers and browser/device combinations is both essential and challenging. New approaches focused on the user’s experience combined with a hierarchical prioritization of browsers (based on page views coming into a website) are the keys to overcoming complexity and maximizing Web performance, time and resources in a multi-browser world.
This article was originally posted at Website Magazine on September 28, 2010.
About the Author:
Matthew Poepsel is VP of Performance Strategies of Gomez, the Web Performance Division of Compuware.
* “When Seconds Count”, conducted by Equation Research on behalf of Gomez and released in September, 2010.
At Hansen Web Design, we take pride in designing multi-browser compatible sites for our clients that load quickly. We optimize your code and your graphics so that your visitors do not wait any longer than they have to for any portion of your site to load. Take a look at our portfolio and services today!
Hansen Web Design is proud to announce our latest client – Lynne of Sauk Creek Alpacas out of Oregon Wisconsin. We will be designing a new site from scratch for Lynne utilizing WordPress so that Lynne will be able to maintain the site in the future on her own.
WordPress offers a ton of functionality and acts as a mini-content management system (CMS) in this case. We will also be embedding the code for her sales site so that it is incorporated directly into her new site – allowing visitors to have everything available to them from one location.