News en-US hourly 1 5 Ways VR Is Being Transformed Into Everyday Life 1 May 2017, 3:43 pm Fancy visiting the Great Wall of China in the comfort of your own home? Or perhaps exploring the depths of the underwater world? Virtual reality has the ability to transform our ev...

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Fancy visiting the Great Wall of China in the comfort of your own home? Or perhaps exploring the depths of the underwater world? Virtual reality has the ability to transform our everyday life and society as we know it. The trending technology has been on the rise in the past few years with many industries identifying and adopting its’ advantages. Here are 5 industries that virtual reality could transform in the near future:


Remember sitting in Geography class and reading a boring textbook on the Pyramids of Giza? Instead, imagine you were standing at the foot of the Egyptian pyramids and exploring its surroundings. Your interaction, motivation and information rates would have all sky-rocketed. This is the possible future facing today’s younger generation. Google has recently developed a virtual reality technology called Cardboard to be used for everyday education in the classroom. With advancements occurring every day, virtual reality has the immense potential to transform the education industry as we know it.

Examples: Google Cardboard, Tilt Brush


Can’t afford to fly half way across to world to watch your favourite football team play? Don’t fret - advancements in virtual reality may mean that you can soon experience sports events in the comfort of your living room. Furthermore, coaches and players may also be able to train more efficiently by transporting the team into real world game scenarios to perform replays.

Examples: AltSpaceVR, Virtually Live

Hospital Industry

Hospitals are another area that can highly benefit from the development of virtual reality technologies. From training students, to practicing and conducting real surgeries; virtual reality can offer many benefits in all areas of operation. Medical virtual reality can also extend beyond hospitals and surgery to aiding in the relaxation and re-cooperation of patients. Technologies such as those created by Medical Realities, can transport patients into different areas and experiences around the world to help decrease anxiety and post-operative pain.

Examples: Medical Realities, VRinOR

Real Estate Industry

Real estate is yet another industry that will be revolutionized through virtual reality technologies. With time and presentation being the two main hurdles faced by real estate agents, virtual reality presents immediate resolutions. By allowing clients to experience guided and interactive virtual home visits; virtual reality could increase both sales efficiency and buyer reach.

Examples: RealVR, StartVR

Book Publishing

The way we read, share and possibly even write stories could change greatly through advancements in virtual reality. Imagine being able to experience the imagination of authors on an adventure that ventures deep inside the pages of a book. With technologies such as AR headsets, glasses and tablets on the rise, the possibility of this notion becoming reality is immense. Authors and filmmakers are both realising the opportunity to bring written stories to life by publishing stories in an ‘immersive format’. Although no such technology has been established for sale at the moment – we predict major advancements in the coming year.

Robotic Future: Google's Patents Robot Personality 12 April 2017, 1:36 pm Just over a year ago, Google patented robot personality that involves giving robotics personalities based on fictional characters, loved ones or even yourself. Could this be the ne...

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Just over a year ago, Google patented robot personality that involves giving robotics personalities based on fictional characters, loved ones or even yourself. Could this be the next radical invention that transforms the society we live in? Could humanoids live and work alongside us? The possibilities of implementing robotics with personality into society are endless. Here are a few:

Robots in the workforce

With service skills and personalities in place, robots could replace many customer service, restaurant and reception jobs. This may take over human staff positions as robots are cheaper and more efficient. The possibility seems more promising than ever; with technological advancements to help robots with human language and facial recognition already underway. Early adopters in Asia have seen a battery-powered robots named “Pepper” already in use in Pizza Hut restaurants. Furthermore, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University is also home to a humanoid robot named “Nadine” who performs the daily activities of a receptionist. Apart from customer service and receptionist jobs, humanoid robots could also take over the hospital via surgical training. This could possibly increase the accuracy of surgical operations, reduce patient trauma and shorten recovery times.

Robots in the household

Humanoid robots could change how we perform household tasks in the near future. Having a robot – maid to perform chores such as vacuuming, cooking and cleaning the dishes would give you time to sit back and relax. Imagine being greeted by your name, having your bed made and waking up to your favourite coffee in the morning! Furthermore, Google’s patent states “the personality and state may be shared with other robots so as to clone this robot within another device or devices”. Thus, downloadable personalities and memories across robots means that your preferences could be transferred to a robot butler when you stay at a hotel on holiday.

Robots in the family

Google’s patent also claimed that “The robot may be programmed to take on the personality of real-world people (e.g., behave based on the user, a deceased loved one, a celebrity and so on) so as to take on character traits of people to be emulated by a robot.” Access to personal devices, the web and cue-learning would provide robots the ability to tailor its personality through continuous AI learning. Thus, it may be possible to clone both robot personality and features to match that of your family. In addition humanoid robots could use speech and facial recognition to personalise its interactions with you.

Risks of humanoid robots:

Although the benefits of having robots live amongst us are plentiful; there are countless risks to be aware of. Google recently published an article regarding the main issues of artificial intelligence. The company’s five main safety concerns regarding the future of robotics include:

  1. Negative side effects – A single-minded approach to complete set tasks/goals is an issue as AI could harm/destroy the environment around it by doing so. E.g. “A cleaning robot knocking over a vase because it can clean faster by doing so”.
  2. Reward Hacking – AI could seek ways to complete tasks faster without completing them efficiently. E.g. "A cleaning robot simply covering over messes with materials it can't see through".
  3. Scalable Oversight – AI needs to be able to complete tasks based on prior feedback learning rather than requiring frequent evaluation.
  4. Safe exploration As AI could potentially be able to think on its own, it is important that they don’t make exploratory moves that have negative repercussions. E.g. “A cleaning robot should experiment with mopping strategies, but clearly it shouldn't try putting a wet mop in an electrical outlet”.
  5. Robustness to distributional shift – Google argues the need to ensure that AI systems recognise and behave accordingly to the environment it is placed in. E.g. “Heuristics learned for a factory work floor may not be safe enough for an office”.

The integration of robots into everyday society is an imminent possibility that could increase efficiency and quality of life. However, the risks associated with AI should be addressed and overcome first in order to ensure the safety of the machines themselves.

Biometric Authentication leading the future 20 March 2017, 9:34 am Straight out of spy movies and into everyday life – biometrics in the form of biometric authentication could become part of everyday life in the near future. We’ve already seen bio...

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Straight out of spy movies and into everyday life – biometrics in the form of biometric authentication could become part of everyday life in the near future. We’ve already seen biometric authentication in the form of facial and fingerprint recognition inbuilt in our latest phones. However, it’s only a matter of time till it shapes how we pay for food, transfer important data and make bank transfers. As individual biometric attributes are nearly impossible to duplicate, the benefits with regards to fraud are immense. Here are 5 types of biometric authentication and their possible uses:

Fingerprint Identification

Possible Uses: Passwords, Simple locks
Level of Security: Medium to High
Status: Currently in Use

Say Goodbye to forgetting your passwords on multiple social media platforms – your unique fingerprint is all you need. This biometric authentication is already a feature using to unlock many phones but it’s only a matter of time till it’s used as a password mechanism on a variety of social media and email platforms.

Voice Analysis

Possible Uses: Passwords, Over the phone banking
Level of Security: Low to Medium
Status: Currently in Use

We’ve all been in the unfortunate scenario where we have to convince bank customer service attendants of our identity by repeating name, age, date of birth and address in monotone. Well the good news is that voice analysis and recognition is here! Speech recognition is already being used as a security measure in organisations like HSBC Bank and Vanguard in America to the National Taxation Office in Australia. In the past, voice authentication was doubted due to duplication concerns via voice recording. However, technology advancements in detecting “liveness” is now enabling this biometric authentication form to be integrated into higher-security platforms.

Hand/vein geometry biometrics

Possible Uses: Door Locks, Payment
Level of Security: High
Status: Currently in Use

Wave goodbye to burglars! Arguably the most advanced of them all is hand/vein biometrics that measure an individual unique vascular patterns. Some even go as far as measuring the heartbeat. This advanced form of biometric authentication will probably be found in high security buildings such as banks. Already, a biometric authentication company called Nymi have developed a band that uses hand/vein geometry for unlocking doors and wirelessly paying for items.

Facial Recognition

Possible Uses: Surveillance, Building/Business shop-front locks.
Level of Security: High
Status: Coming soon!

Facial recognition is another form of Biometric Authentication that most individuals are unfamiliar with. Advancements in technology may see facial recognition used for much bigger things than phone passwords. The most likely uses of this technology is for the facial recognition and tracking of criminals, missing persons and possibly even mass surveillance by the government.

Iris scan and Retina Scan

Possible Uses: Building/Business shop-front locks
Level of Security: High
Status: Coming soon!

Another classic Bond movie gimmick - iris and retina scans could be one of the most secure authentication methods to date. Since iris and retina forms differ from individual to individual it is nearly impossible to duplicate – it can be used for things that require a higher level of security. You never know, your door peep-hole may be completely transformed into iris and retina scanners as locks in the very near future. Shop front businesses may also benefit from this technology.

Although biometric authentication may have previously been limited to sci-fi movie screens – its integration into everyday life is now more promising than ever. Some biometric technologies already in the market include EyeVerify, Nymi and HYPR – which will continue to grow and change every day routines in the near future. So keep an eye out - Biometric Authentication is on its way!

Five Industries Vulnerable to Disruption 13 March 2017, 10:47 am Only five years ago, the taxi industry was powerful enough to lobby local governments for a virtual monopoly on private ground transportation. Taxi licenses were scarce, companies ...

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Only five years ago, the taxi industry was powerful enough to lobby local governments for a virtual monopoly on private ground transportation. Taxi licenses were scarce, companies were highly profitable and no competition seemed to be emerging to challenge the status quo. Now, following the release of ride-sharing applications like Uber and Lyft across the world, taxi companies are struggling to keep up with the competition. Disrupted by new, agile business models that reduced consumer prices while externalizing many costs traditionally incurred by taxi companies, taxi companies are facing significant challenges to their very existence, and they're not alone. Many industries, from retail to banking, are highly vulnerable to disruption through new business models and technological advances. Understanding their vulnerabilities and keeping up with major technological developments will be key for existing businesses to survive these challenges.


In addition to increased competition from online warehouses, new technologies are emerging which have the potential to revolutionize the retail industry. Companies like Amazon are already introducing physical stores that detect and automatically charge the consumer for any purchases in their bags, eliminating the need for checkout lines and significantly reducing labor costs as compared to traditional retail environments. Marketing analytics allow retailers to provide shopping suggestions uniquely tailored to an individual's needs, increasing the success of marketing campaigns dramatically. By using context-specific services, retailers can deliver coupons or other incentives to shoppers as they're viewing an item, significantly increasing the chances of purchase without a major increase in costs. As larger companies are beginning to adopt these emerging technologies, it's essential for small businesses to keep up with these technological developments.

Health Care

Health care accounts for a staggering 20% of the United States economy, and, since it is a universal requirement, many executives may think their industry is safe from technological disruption. The reality, however, is that all organizations in the industry from small doctor's offices to medical campuses spanning multiple city blocks are on the verge of major revolutions from the IT industry. Machine learning has allowed software like Watson, of Jeopardy fame, to become better at diagnosing cancer in patients than leading oncologists. Devices designed for monitoring chronic conditions like diabetes and cancer promise to reduce the number of necessary doctor's visits by automatically treating underlying conditions and notifying users of changes in their biochemistry. Bioinformatics promises to improve patient treatment and reduce drug research time by granting doctors and chemists deeper insight into the genome, allowing them to hone in on treatments that would be effective for that particular patient.

Consumer Financial Services

Big banks have been very unpopular across the world since the mortgage crisis led to a prolonged recession, but until recently consumers have had very few choices about where to deposit their money for safekeeping. Now, as money becomes an increasingly digital commodity and spending is redirected to online venues, banks are facing a credible threat from the rise of online consumer financial services. Companies using new, more refined instruments for credit-checking and loan-worthiness have begun lending to consumers looking to refinance their homes or consolidate debts, at lower interest and default rates than traditional lenders. Companies like Paypal and Stripe can handle payments for small businesses at better rates than many banks, while apps like Venmo allow users to pay their rents or dinner bills without incurring any fees. These new digital business models pose significant threats to traditional consumer banking revenue streams, and are rapidly becoming more popular with consumers.


Traditionally, schools and private courses or tutoring has been the only available way for people to learn new skills, languages and ideas. Now, a wide variety of online training courses allow people to gain and solidify new skills more quickly than traditional models. Duolingo, a language learning application, has been proven faster and more effective than traditional education in learning new language skills, and has been used by millions of people to improve their grasp of a foreign language. Online schools like Khan Academy allow users to study math, science, economics and other subjects online and free of charge, and has helped millions of advanced students improve their skills beyond traditional curricula. Machine learning algorithms will allow educational platforms like these to customize their learning styles for each student's needs, and will soon be more effective than traditional education methods.

Consumer Products

Before the smartphone, consumers used many single-function devices, like MP3 players, in their daily lives. Now, as devices can handle more and more applications, revenue from single function digital devices has dropped dramatically. In an increasingly digital world, consumer products without digital functionality are vulnerable to new technologies that support multiple applications and network interfaces. Wearable technologies promise to massively disrupt the apparel and fashion industries, while distributing computational power across the user. Appliances and utilities in the home are particularly vulnerable to emerging Internet of Things technologies, which allow users to customize and monitor the performance of their appliances over the web. Companies that produce consumer goods will need to be especially mindful of digital applications for their products, even in traditionally analog domains.

By keeping abreast of new technologies, small and medium businesses can mitigate the risks posed by disruption. Even if businesses choose not to adopt every technological change, understanding the impact that change will have on the marketplace will be essential to surviving a disruptive event in a competitive business environment.

The Top 8 Free Web Analytics Tools 22 February 2017, 10:57 am We covered the basics of analytics in Data Driven Decisions: how to use analytics effectively but putting that information into practice requires a set of tools. No matter the size...

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We covered the basics of analytics in Data Driven Decisions: how to use analytics effectively but putting that information into practice requires a set of tools. No matter the size of your business, there’s a wide range of services that can help you gather, track, and visualize data. With the wealth of analytics applications online—where to start? We’ve highlighted some of the best free tools available.

Google Analytics

Easily the most widely used and recommended tool, Google Analytics is an incredibly robust service that tracks and reports website data. It generates detailed statistics about site visitors—from where they come from to how often they visit—and has a whole host of smart features to help you meet your goals. Additionally, there are a lot of options for customization—you can set up and track your business goals, add additional websites, and choose from a large selection of different reports. The interface is packed with information and features but don’t let that deter you. Since the service has been around for over a decade, there are numerous guides, tips, and tricks to get you started.

Google Analytics has two tiers. The free basic service is all most businesses would need and the premium version, Analytics 360, starts at $150,000 a year.


A relatively new and all-inclusive service, Hotjar is rapidly gaining popularity for their innovative features. Providing a host of services lacking in other services, Hotjar offers session recordings, funnels, forms, polls, and surveys. They also offer great user research tools, including a recruitment feature for your own visitors. One of the biggest draws for Hotjar are their desktop, tablet, and mobile heatmaps—a tool that tells you where visitors are spending most of their time on your website.

Hotjar has three pricing tiers. The basic free version is best for small businesses only. It has limited data storage and a small sample size, capping data collection at a certain number of page views. The pro and business versions are for sites with medium-to-high amounts of traffic, at $29 and $89 per month respectively.


Clicky is a standard web analytics application that logs and reports data like pageviews, clicks, downloads, event alerts, bounce rate, and more. What Clicky offers that most other services do not is real-time, live statistics. You can even watch visitors’ actions as they happen. The free basic plan allows for up to 3,000 daily page views and includes all the standard tracking and reporting features. From there, plans range from $10-20 per month depending on traffic and extra features. Clicky also has custom plan options.


mixpanel offers users the ability to event-specific data on mobile and web pages. this service focuses on engagement metrics and allows you to measure the actions your visitors take, quickly and easily. this service is one of the few analytics tools that is both completely free and offers customer behavior tracking.


QuickSprout tracks traffic data from organic search, weekly page views, referral sites, and social media. It also has features supporting SEO and website speed analysis, as well as recommendations for improvement. This service is a great, completely free add-on to any basic analytics tool.

Quill Engage

The analytics service for analytics tools. Quill Engage analyzes Google Analytics data and delivers insights on your site’s key performance indicators. The app bills itself as a reporting service in plain English—forgoing charts and graphs to give you clear, simple information. The app connects directly to your Google Analytics account, providing seamless integration. Quill Engage free includes one report delivered weekly and monthly. The basic and premium plans, $19.99 and $49.99 respectively, increase the number of reports you can generate and offer additional features.


While not a data tracking application, it provides incredibly easy-to-use data visualization services. The cloud-based app lets users create custom dashboards from multiple data sources via cloud-based integration and uploading spreadsheets. It has a responsive, drag-and-drop interface that lets you easily analyze and present data. The site has a free plan, as well as premium plans starting at $59 per month.


If you’re looking for an open-source, self-hosted alternative to online analytics tools, Piwik is the software for you. This service is completely customizable and has many of the same features as Google Analytics. You can track as many sites as you want, get real-time stats, and customizable dashboards for each. Because it’s an open-source software, there’s a wealth of support options, including peer-to-peer help forums, Piwik’s multi-tiered support team, and thorough documentation. Piwik is free to download and use. You can pay extra to have it hosted by Piwik starting at $50 per month.

Now that we’ve covered the basics and some of the best free analytics tools available, next we’ll explore reporting metrics, key performance indicators, and measuring ROI.

Data Driven Decisions: how to use analytics effectively 15 February 2017, 10:22 am In the digital age, we have more data than we know what to do with. Information is collected on users almost constantly, and now we have access to that information and the power to...

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In the digital age, we have more data than we know what to do with. Information is collected on users almost constantly, and now we have access to that information and the power to use it to make decisions. The collection and analysis of data is called Analytics and it helps decision makers weigh outcomes, risks and benefits. Essentially, analytics tools give companies a competitive advantage by allowing them to base decisions on cold, hard facts. This is the first in a series of posts exploring the many facets of data collection and analytics. 

Know your data, what it can do and what it can't.

There are four types of data analysis: 

Predictive: using data to determine what might happen in the future. Looking at patterns of users, such as how they found your website, can help identify future patterns. 

Prescriptive: finding a solution to a problem by analyzing data. This isn't the frontrunner in the big data game but it can be very effective when available. Analytics in general are very good at shedding light on a subject but prescriptive analytics narrows it down to a point. This requires access to very specific data, like you might see in the healthcare industry, to make very specific decisions regarding a problem. 

Diagnostic: a look at past data to see what happened and why. Looking back at past performance is a great way to understand where your ideas went right, and where they went wrong. For example, you can analyze a recent social media campaign to determine which parts of it were successful and which were not, based on mentions, likes and traffic. 

Descriptive: what's happening right now based on the data. This is also called data mining, pulling up the big picture and summarizing the results. 

Now that we've highlighted some of the things data can do, let's put it into perspective. Not all data is useful. Metrics represent the values that you're measuring. Determining which metrics are best suited to your needs can depend on which type of analysis you use and the information you're able to collect. (Additionally, some specific metrics may depend on which analytics tool you use, but that's a topic for another day.)

Some of the most common metrics are: 

Visitors and Unique Visitors: Visitors is the number of people who visit your site, regardless of how many times they visit, in a given period of time. Unique visitors are those who only visit your site once. The ratio between visitors and unique visitors can measure your success in getting users to return to your site repeatedly. 

Visits and Pageviews: Visits measure the number of times visitors have been to your website, while pageviews measure the number of times individual pages are viewed. 

Bounce Rate: This is the percentage of single-page visits to your site, where the user leaves after only viewing one page. This can help identify the types of information visitors are looking for, and how to keep them on the site after the find it.

Exit Rate: Similar to bounce rate, this metric measures when a visitor leaves your site. You can determine how long they spent on the site, how many pages they viewed, and which page they exited from.

Conversion Rate: If your site has trackable goals, such as a subscription button on a blog or sales on an e-commerce site, this metric measures the percentage of visitors who complete the goal out of all site visitors. 

Integrating analytics into your decision-making process

Before jumping into the data pool and pulling out information, you should know what you're looking for. Identifying the areas of your business that are the most pressing is the first step. If you could only improve one or two areas, which ones would you choose? Building your customer base? Increasing engagement? Retention? Sales? Pick one to start with. 

Now that you have an objective, you need to identify the questions you need answered. Rather than looking at all the available data and trying to make sense of it, focus on finding a specific answer. Collecting all the data and analyzing it (data mining) is overwhelming and difficult to use effectively. Your question may be, "why are most of our users not returning to the site after the first time?" Looking at unique site visits vs. repeat visits and the habits of each group could tell you where you need to go next. 

Once you've highlighted an area for improvement, determined the questions you need answered, collected the data and analyzed it, you can start implementing solutions. When you begin using data to inform your decisions, be flexible with the decisions you make and their outcomes. Analytics is a tool best used along with the other tools you have at your disposal—like usability testing, customer feedback and, essentially, your instincts when it comes to your business.

Upcoming posts on this topic include analytics tools, reporting metrics and key performance indicators, and measuring ROI.

Get AMP-ed: Accelerated Mobile Pages and why you need them 6 February 2017, 6:05 pm You may have seen the term 'AMP' floating around the web over the last year but, being an open-source project, it needs a bit of explaining before it's applicable. AMP stands for A...

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You may have seen the term 'AMP' floating around the web over the last year but, being an open-source project, it needs a bit of explaining before it's applicable. AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, Google's framework for improving the performance of the mobile web. It's designed to allow sites to increase the speed at which a mobile page loads without sacrificing ads. These open technical standards ultimately lead to a better user experience for your audience and higher traffic for your mobile site.

AMPs load four times faster and use a tenth of the data of traditional mobile pages, just by added some specific code. AMP is a modification for mostly content pages, where sites see the most reduced traffic due to optimization problems. It doesn't support parts of your site like landing pages or e-commerce pages but Google looks to develop AMP into a full platform in the future. Best for blogs and articles, AMP will keep those sites loading faster, prevent ad-blocking, and boost their ranking in search results.


Mobile web usage has been lagging behind mobile apps for quite some time because they tend to be less cluttered and perform faster. Web page ads, like AdSense, have previously had a habit of not translating well to mobile, especially when the web page is responsive (one site that can be optimized to display at different sizes). It makes for a clunky experience for mobile users, drastically driving down ad traffic and engagement.

Before AMP, it would have taken an experienced web developer to improve these kinds of problems. The resources were few and far between and complicated to put into practice. AMP has streamlined optimization without altering the site drastically. At a year old, AMP is currently utilized by big-name tech companies and Google, of course. It has been driven by support from prominent web companies, who encourage its use across multiple platforms.

AMP is also an answer to widespread ad-blocking. While fairly common on the web, mobile ad-blocking is just ramping up and doesn't look like it will slow down. Some mobile networks are even proposing network-wide ad-blocking. On AMPs, there are no bad ad experiences because the ads can't 'jump off the page.' AMP ads stay in place, are optimized for mobile, and help publishers monetize their site even with prominent ad-blockers. Mobile users are looking for ways to improve browsing speeds and ad-blockers have been one of the only answers to that problem. Until AMP.

The most popular ad networks are already compatible with AMP, including Amazon A9, Google AdSense, AOL AdTech, Taboola, Adform, AdReactor, Smart AdServer, and more. There's even AMP documentation supporting more complex site monetization, like paywalls and subscriptions.


The AMP framework has three basic components: AMP HTML, AMP JavaScript, and an AMP Content Delivery Network. The AMP HTML markup language has custom tags that anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of HTML can implement. The markup boilerplate is available here [link:]. It includes a basic HTML page that you can use to alter your existing HTML and a list of the required markup tags. The official AMP Project site has a straightforward step-by-step guide you can use to integrate AMP markup into your site, as well as some other great AMP resources from Google.

The AMP JavaScript (JS) framework isn't necessary unless you currently use third party JS, which isn't permitted with AMP. Third party JS elements can include lead forms or on-page comments, which isn't supported by AMP JS. If these elements are essential to your site, not to worry, there's a slightly complex hack for including capture forms here [link:].

AMP does have some restrictions, such as requiring you to essentially back-up each page of your site to include an AMP version. It also has limitations in the form of reduced element options, tag restrictions, and capped CSS size (less than 50KB). But since AMP is in its infancy and you're potentially becoming an early adopter, look for constant updates that will improve and simplify the process. Lastly, in addition to the AMP versions of your site pages, the original pages must include a single line of code that tells Google you have an AMP version of that page.

If it all seems a bit overwhelming, don't worry, plugins are being developed for a number of platforms and when they emerge, you'll already have the information you need to use them.

Why You Need It

In addition to creating a better mobile experience for your audience and keeping ads on your content pages, Google boosts AMPs on their Top Stories mobile search results. Faster load time and page speed also factor into rankings, so while AMPs aren't boosted in Google's main web search results (yet), AMPs see higher rankings than their non-AMP counterparts. If you want to take it for a spin, check out on your mobile phone (or an emulator) and do a simple search. You'll see a carousel of Top Stories at the top of the results—those are all AMP articles.

If your site publishes content, Accelerated Mobile Pages are the way to go. A bit of work upfront can drastically increase page loading speeds, user experience, ad revenue, and site rankings. Check out to learn more, get started, or stay on top of the latest AMP news.

Decoding UX: what it means and what it does 31 January 2017, 9:59 am User experience (UX) has been trending for the last few years, another buzzword thrown into the website design process. Like most web design practices, it sounds great on paper but...

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User experience (UX) has been trending for the last few years, another buzzword thrown into the website design process. Like most web design practices, it sounds great on paper but building better UX into a project takes more than just understanding that it’s a good idea. First, let’s define UX.

User experience is how someone feels about using a product, in this case—a website. It’s how the user engages with a site, their perceptions and emotions while doing so, and ultimately, how that experience influences their decision to return. This is real stuff—88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience ( It sounds nebulous, and maybe even a little unattainable, but there are methods that make crafting a great UX a better experience for the project team.

You may not have experience with designing user experience, but you’ve certainly experienced it yourself. Everyone remembers trying to use a website and coming up against roadblocks at every turn. The page loads too slowly, links and content is missing, you get redirected, etc. People rarely return to a website that frustrates them. Who would want to? The problem is, we used to think that good, clean web design would make those problems a thing of the past. But turns out, it’s a little more complicated than that. Read on for details on how UX can be integrated into your site, what it does, what it does not do, and where to go from here.

Practical Application

Good UX is built on a few core concepts:

  1. Research
  2. Usability
  3. Information Architecture
  4. Interaction design
  5. Visual design
  6. Content

These concepts are explored in the beginning phases of project development, and typically are the result of different specialists working together. There are UX specialists, generalists, and hybrid professionals, each bringing a different level of understanding of the above six principles to the table. Finding out what’s best for your site might be a matter of availability and opportunity.

UX isn’t one step in the process, it’s pervasive. It should be there in the wireframe process (where resources like UXPin come in), and in the feedback phase, where getting as many different voices as possible is essential. Each concept is important on its own and as part of the whole of UX, but remove, say, visual design and the content won’t be read. Pull out one piece, and the whole thing falls apart. This is why UX is a team-effort.

QMS makes it really easy to integrate UX throughout the entire process of website development and design. The page editor makes it easy for UX specialists to alter, move, or enhance elements. Which brings us to another great point: UX isn’t static. Your website doesn’t stop growing and changing after development, and neither will your UX. Having the ability to alter UX elements on the site (like clear conversation points) as needs of users change, is essential. Don’t get stuck on one set of methods, web design must be fluid to be successful.

What UX Can Do

If getting customers to stick around and become loyal isn’t enough incentive, UX has been proven to increase ROI, productivity, and all around customer satisfaction. It increases cost upfront in a project but it could actually reduce development time. UX demands more user involvement in the design phase—which helps improve decision making and prioritizing development tasks (

Leaders in UX consistently outperform their peers. The top ten sites with the best customer experience outperformed their competitors with close to triple the returns. In a survey of over 700 companies, the average return rate on every dollar invested in UX brought $100 in return ( and the average overall has been found to be at least a 2:1 return on investment.

What UX Can’t Do

UX isn’t one size fits all. It has to be crafted for every individual product, service, or website. What worked like a charm for Google is not going to work for you. It’s not possible to imitate another’s UX approach, you have to cater to your business and your customers for UX to work.

Usability is a key component of UX but don’t get confused, UX and usability are two completely separate things. Involving usability in web design does not check the box for UX. Usability refers to the operation of your website, while UX refers to the user’s feelings while operating the website. They are intertwined but not interchangeable.

Where to go from here

UX is its own beast, not in the purview of typical web designers. It comes with its own pedagogy, best practices, and trained specialists—sought after by experienced digital marketing agencies and fortune 500s. In best cases, a website with excellent user experience has a team involved from beginning to end. UX covers a variety of disciplines and areas of expertise and a UX team might comprise of a UX specialist, a content writer, a web designer, and a usability expert.

The best strategy for UX is to learn more about it. There are countless websites, inforgraphics, books, and articles that cover UX principles and approaches. You don’t have to read them all, but staying up to date on UX trends and methods is a great endeavor for any business. Even if you’re just looking to hire a UX specialist, learning more about the practice will enable you to find the best fit for your project.

Structuring Your Page Content for SEO 4 December 2016, 8:22 am When it comes to search engine optimized content, the content itself is only half the battle. In addition to the content itself, there are other vital factors that come into play f...

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When it comes to search engine optimized content, the content itself is only half the battle. In addition to the content itself, there are other vital factors that come into play for any webpage to rank highly. If we want our content done justice, then we have to take a number of important on-page factors into account.

Though their ever-changing standards may be frustrating, the reality is that we still have to bear with algorithmic bots determining page value. The bots that we have to work with today are more refined than those of yesteryear, but no less important to appease for the sake of your page's rank.

To make sure that each page structure wins the favor of the bot, we'll want to make sure that we cover the following bases.


The URL of the page itself needs to communicate to the Google algorithm that your page supplies a certain demand. When structuring the URL, keep the hierarchy of the page in mind. If your website has multiple subsections, then any subsection's URL should show the category that it belongs to.

Consider a website for a financial consulting business that has a Services page with clickable links to each specific service area. When navigating to any of the pages that are dedicated to these specific services, such as asset management, the URL should communicate that the page itself belongs to "Services" category. 


By having the URL clearly show the specific category that each page belongs to, the page's relevancy is made much more clear and its value is increased. If you happen to use a sitemap, make sure that the map is up to date with all of the URLs that you want indexed.

Originality and accessibility

Originality and accessibility are two of the most important factors in ensuring that that the bots responding favorably to each page. Bots need to be able to determine that each page holds unique value and dissect that value without being blocked.

Originality not only applies to content that already exists on other websites, but also content that exists within your own website. It's bad practice to have any duplicate content on any of your pages. Duplicate content in a single website confuses the bots by making it harder for them to determine hierarchy, and it will hurt the page's ranking due to the assumption that it's unoriginal.

There are a number of tools that some webmasters use to make certain pages of their websites less visible through search engines. If you happen to be using any of these tools or any like them, you should make sure that they aren't limiting how easily your pages can be accessed by the bots.

Every page needs to be fully capable of being crawled, or it can't be indexed. If you're using any tools that keep parts of your pages hidden through search, make sure that the page itself can still be crawled so that it isn't simply passed over.

Use headlines strategically

Headline tags are vital for indicating the most important areas of your content. Strong headlines not only increases the the optimization of the page for the bots, but also makes it far more readable to human visitors who expect certain information to take precedence.

When people read webpages, they're mostly going to scan through the body text and glance at the headlines to see if they can pick out what's most relevant. You'll want to use your headlines to flag down their wandering eyes before they leave without being able to get value out of the page. 

No headline should be absolutely identical to the title of the page, but at the same time, there shouldn't be too much of a difference either. Too much of a difference between the headline and the title may give the impression that the page's content isn't what the searcher was originally looking for.

Make a point to consider the hierarchy of each subheadline as well. Just like the categorical ranking of the page itself matters, the ranking of your page's subsections should be kept in mind as well. If your major headlines are wrapped in H1 tags, smaller headlines would be better to wrap in H2 tags. 


Structuring a page's content for better SEO isn't a complex process, but some of the more subtle on-page factors can be be easily overlooked if we're careless. Consider your page in terms of both a crawler bot and your ideal human reader, and aim for a satisfactory median that pleases both of their standards. 

It may help to keep a checklist that you can look over before publishing each page to make sure that all of the most important on-page factors have been hit. Brian Dean has a comprehensive checklist with even more factors that can be useful for judging the SEO friendliness of your page structure.

Version 5.0.1 - released 2 December 2016, 11:59 am Version 5.0.1 was a smaller update, pushed out sooner to fix some important bug fixes for V5.0.0 which was a major release.

It also pushed some new improvements to the Blog and Sh...

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Version 5.0.1 was a smaller update, pushed out sooner to fix some important bug fixes for V5.0.0 which was a major release.

It also pushed some new improvements to the Blog and Shop module

Find out more features of this release here.