Monthly Archives: April 2015

DIY Web Design? How Companies Are Making Web Design Easier

Easy to use web design tools have been growing in popularity over the last few years, as more and more small business owners want to design their own websites and avoid costly design services. The companies that have developed these “DIY” web design platforms offer website building that doesn’t require coding or third party involvement. Companies that pioneered these sites, such as Squarespace, are leaders in the hassle-free web design world. Theycontinue to make platforms easier for small business owners to build. On the other hand, newer sites like Webydo and Webflow are creating sites that are just as easy to build, but with actual web designers in mind. Coding is a complex and time-consuming process, and web designers who don’t have to outsource coders can offer less expensive services to businesses.

Some platforms, such as Webydo, require the designer to have a background in design and software like Adobe Photoshop. Other platforms, like Wix, let users build websites using a variety of simple and easy-to-implement templates. The goal behind these platforms is to give web designers more freedom with their art while ruling out the need for developers – cutting down on time cost.

From a design standpoint, the main focus with these platforms is a way to easily address responsive design. Code-free templates can either be fluid or adaptive, which changes the way the elements within the template move around. The interactions are as follows:

Fluid – Elements are automatically arranged in the template in conjunction with the resolution of the device on which they will be displayed. This offers less freedom to the designer, but is easier to use, and sites are automatically displayed correctly across devices. Webflow uses the fluid approach.

Adaptive – Each individual element can be arranged anywhere on the page by the designer. The designer has full control and more creative freedom, but the approach is slightly more time consuming. Additionally, the designer must ensure (through manual testing) that the site works across all devices. Webydo’s platforms use the adaptive approach.

Even though these websites rule out the use of developers in web design, there is still a great need for developers in other aspects of the industry.

Source:

http://techcrunch.com/2015/04/04/saas-companies-look-to-change-the-interface-of-web-design/#.z5cq20:F3Xl

European Regulators Attacking U.S Tech Giants

European regulators are cracking down on some of the world’s biggest tech giants. Since an initial complaint against Google in 2010, regulators continue to file complaints on other leaders in the industry. With ongoing complaints, these companies may soon see a drop in profits, affecting their overall operations.

In 2010, the European Commission first began investigating Google regarding anti-trust issues. The Commission claims that Google’s search results violated the privacy of searchers and their “Right to be Forgotten.” In 2014, it was ruled that Google had violated this right and search engines must delete links to personal information. The Commission is now pressuring Google to apply this ruling in other areas of the world. In April of this year, the chief of the European Union’s anti-trust division filed another formal complaint against Google. This time, the tech giant is being accused of abusing its web dominance to divert traffic from rivals onto Google’s own e-commerce sites and other services. The European Commission has also begun complaint proceedings into whether or not Google’s Android software forces phone manufacturers to use Google services and apps.

Google’s not the only one in hot water. The European Commission has been involved in an ongoing anti-trust lawsuit with Microsoft for other reasons. Microsoft has been fined over 2 billion euros over the past ten years, including an additional penalty in 2013 for failure to address earlier settlements. These complaints were filed on the grounds of software interoperability. Microsoft announced last year that it will follow Google’s ruling and will remove personal information links from its Bing search engine.

Earlier in April, European privacy officials in France, Italy, and Spain announced that they are now investigating Facebook’s privacy policies, following already existing claims from the Dutch, Belgian, and German governments. The officials are investigating whether Facebook had user approval in accessing online data and histories.

Lastly, both Apple and Amazon are facing scrutiny for tax laws. Antitrust officials in Europe began investigations against Apple in June of last year as to whether the company received special tax treatment in Ireland. This comes in addition to another antitrust investigation of Apple possibly dominating the marketplace in an effort to snuff out rival music streaming companies and labels. In January of this year, the European Commission announced preliminary findings in which a deal between Amazon and the country of Luxembourg resulted in state aid that allowed Amazon to underpay taxes.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/13/technology/How-Europe-Is-Going-After-U.S.-Tech-Giants.html

Apple Watch Met With Mixed Reviews, But There’s Still Buzz

The first reviews of the new Apple watch are starting to circulate the web, and the results are a mixed bag. The watch will be officially released on Friday, April 24th, and ranges in price from $349 to $17,000 (though the higher price tag is for a 14 karat gold version). Using the Apple watch, wearers will find features similar to their smart phones. The watch can display e-mails, receive calls, use social media, and interact with Siri, all without taking out your phone. The Apple store has been giving consumers 15 minute trial periods to test out the watch before its official release, and reviews range from glowing to downright brutal.

The biggest drawback, it seems, is that people are saying the watch is slow to load apps and notifications. However, Apple has had problems in the past with slow interfaces, and new updates and improvements are quick to infiltrate the marketplace. Although the watch may be slow now, it probably won’t remain that way for long.

Secondly, the apple watch seems to be a bit of an unnecessary gadget right out of the gate. For those of us who have the $349 to shell out and love gadgets, that’s all well and good, but for those who value utility, it may not be. On the other hand, if you look at sales numbers of the original iPhone, they were not good. When it was first introduced in 2007, the Apple only sold about 5.3 million phones in the first year. By 2009, it was selling 5.2 million phones per quarter. In the first quarter of this year, over 74.5 million iPhones were sold. New technology is almost always slow to catch on, but once it does, its sales rocket through the roof.

Other smart watches already exist, but Apple consistently takes the cake when it enters a new market, so the mixed reviews are not troubling. Apple isn’t claiming to have created the first smart watch, or the best one for that matter, but they are definitely poised to dominate the market with a few improvements.

Sources: http://www.vox.com/2015/4/8/8369773/apple-watch-reviews

Amazon Suing Sites That Sell Fake Reviews

For the first time, Amazon is taking legal action against fake review sites. Though sites of this nature have been around for quite a while, this is the first time they will be facing a lawsuit. Amazon filed the suit in a Washington based state court against the sites BuyAzonReviews.com, BuyAmazonREviews.com, BayReviews.net, and BuyReviewsNow.com. Though the reviews themselves are small in number, they do betray the trust that Amazon shoppers put in their reviewers. Reviews which Amazon values highly. Reviews have been a foundation for Amazon’s business practices for nearly 20 years, and the rating star system has been in place to provide consumers with honest and accurate reviews. Though the company has invested millions with automation software designed to monitor and control authenticity of reviews on the site, faulty reviews do still slip through the cracks.

The concept of selling fake product and service reviews is not a new one. Earlier this year, Yelp sued several sites that engage in similar practices: BuyYelpReview.com and BuyOnlineReviews.net. The sites compare themselves to those that increase SEO marketing by using keywords to increase page rankings. Additionally, they insist that the reviews are completely honest and real, which is not an illegal practice. While these sites insist they are not participating in any illegal activities, thorough investigations have proved that they are indeed selling manufactured reviews. Undercover Yelp legal representatives approached AdBlaze to “buy” Yelp reviews, and after purchasing were given a bill. Practices like these greatly tarnish the reputation of sites like Yelp and Amazon, who build their services around customer reviews.

Just how much money Amazon is seeking in the lawsuit is unclear, but the point is not the money. Amazon has finally become fed up with fake review sites, and is now making an effort to show other false review sellers that it does not go unnoticed. Currently, the other three sites offer reviews between $80-600, depending on the number of reviews. In the suit, Amazon is claiming violation of trademarks, misusing the site’s logo, fair competition laws, and anti-cybersquatting laws. Cease and desist order have been given to the three sites, and Amazon is requesting information on how reviews are created and who is paid to create them in addition to financial damages.

http://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-sues-alleged-reviews-for-pay-sites/

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/yelp-sues-companies-promising-positive-reviews/