Use HTML5 Input Types to Make Users Happy

If you are like me, you get annoyed when they have to switch your mobile keyboard over to the number pad each time they have to enter a phone number in a web form. Or flip to symbols to find the @ sign for email addresses.  With some very simple HTML5 code you can enhance someones user experience with your web forms so the right keyboard for the job shows up automatically.

HTML5 has introduced a property for the type attribute for input elements. The new values are for contact details and include:

an email address (type=’email’)
a website addres (type=’url’)
telephone number (type=’tel’)

For example “<input name=”email” id=”email” type=”email” />”

You’re not going to see any difference when viewing on your desktop HTML5 compatible browsers however if you view the forms with Mobile Safari browser (on IOS) it will automatically use the appropriate keyboard for the job.

The iOS keyboards

The image below shows the different types of keyboards you will see for each of the HTML5 type attributed fields.
keyboardHTML5Types

 

 

Its a very simple enhancement that is sure to pleasantly enhance your users web experience! So coders, don’t be lazy, consider the end user and create for them.  And me.  🙂

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Can Your Brand Make Me Smile?

So often, brands are only as creative and as fun as their brand managers will allow the agency folks to be.  You can just look at some products and brands or their marketing initiatives and tell that the folks doing the agency work are not allowed to be creative.   Other brands are obviously having fun with their audience.  You can imagine the team working on Mountain Dew, Old Spice, or  are allowed to be creative and run with fun ideas, because their audience expects it.    But Baked Beans is not a product that normally gets to have any fun.  I imagine the brand manager says to the agency:  “Could you make the beans look more glossy…. can you make the dog talk?”   And the creatives at the agency make the dog say something that hardly makes you even listen when you are watching it on TV/Web.  You probably are getting up to get some Mountain Dew out of the refrigerator.

Every now and then, a brand tries to break out of the ordinary and get noticed.  They turn their creatives loose with a budget to support it.  And magic happens.  People actually pause the DVR fast forwarding to backup and watch the commercial.  Everyone at the water cooler in your office is talking about it and passing around the YouTube link.   And that’s exactly what happened today with Haynes Baked Beans.   So I’m passing the link to you and asking: “Can your brand make me smile?”    If not, who is causing creativity blocks in your process.

 

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Major SSL bug called ‘Heartbleed’ exposes your data

Get ready for a new interruption in your work day. A newly discovered security bug nicknamed Heartbleed has exposed millions of usernames, passwords and reportedly credit card numbers — a major problem that hackers could have exploited during the more than two years it went undetected.

This one is unlike most of the breaches over the past few years, in which a Web site got hacked or let its guard down. This flaw is in the SSL (HTTPS) code designed to keep servers secure — tens of thousands of servers on which data is stored for thousands of sites. The bug was found in SSL certificates using a common form of OpenSSL, which is used on servers to encrypt sensitive information to protect people’s privacy. At least 500,000 servers were reportedly vulnerable and I bet thats a low number.  It primarily affects NGinx and Apache servers which by some accounts is more than 60% of web servers in use today.

Server admins are checking and testing to see if their SSL certificates are using the vulnerable version of OpenSSL and reissuing the SSL certificates using non-affected versions.  You should change passwords only AFTER the new SSL certs have been issued.

OpenSSL is an open-source implementation of the SSL and TLS protocols. The core library, written in the C programming language, implements the basic cryptographic functions and provides various utility functions. The beauty of OpenSSL is that it is primarily an open platform.  So that when a vulnerability is discovered it is quickly announced and fixed.  With proprietary systems, a bug could exist and only a handful of people are responsible for policing it.  And if found, they may not tell anyone for fear of repercussions.  Open source is a double edged sword for sure, but it slices both ways and that is a good thing IMHO.

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We Have Moved Our Offices!

After about 10 years at our old offices in Clifton near the university of Cincinnati we have sold our buildings and moved to the up and coming downtown neighborhood of Over The Rhine (OTR for short).  We are located at 1428 Race Street just a half block north of Washington Park and across the street from this historic church that will soon become the Taft Ale House (yeah, not bad eh?).  Thanks to 3CDC for helping us get into the new Westfalen II building on Race Street.  The building was just recently completed with condos above our 1st floor retail office space. Since we just moved days ago our new space is not ready to show yet.  Boxes everywhere, white walls, etc.  But we will host an open house soon when we have the place looking spiffy.  Also, the new street car construction is happening just outside our front door so its a little dirty outside right now.  But that should make it easy to get from our offices to Rhinegiest brewery, the banks or many other downtown attractions and lunch spots. If you are visiting, try street parking out front first.  There are usually spots during the business day.  But otherwise there is a great underground garage under Washington park and you can walk a half block north on Race to our offices at 1428 Race street.

Increasing Sales With In-store Ordering On Tablets

Ipad Ordering KiosksElectronic Art has recently deployed an in-store retail ordering system for grocery in the bakery department for our client.  These custom systems utilize tablets as self service kiosk systems to empower customers to control their own experience when ordering in the store. The tablets are locked down in an enclosure to protect the systems and prevent tampering, along with software security.

The grocer loves it because all of the available SKU’s are available for ordering and searchable.  The old fashioned three ring binder system was inefficient, not a measurable media and if a page got torn out… well that Sku just never gets ordered anymore and the retailer is stuck with inventory.

While currently undergoing a pilot deployment phase for a retail grocer they have seen a large measurable increase in sales. While I cannot disclose the amount, it is sizable. Making retailer and vendors very happy while serving the customers needs and desire to use self service technology for interacting with the bakery.  And the best part?  They even take orders after hours when the bakery is closed and the staff have gone home.  Self Service technology can increase sales for your business too.  Contact us to find out more.

How Does Your Brand Surprise And Delight Your Customers?

WestJet-Christmas-Miracle-surprised-guest-feature

Brands want people to share their story. How do you get someone to share? By inspiring them, surprising them and delighting them with your brand or product. There are many good examples out there and this recent WestJet video shows how they surprised a plane full of customers at the Christmas holidays. Obviously, capturing all of the video and posting it to YouTube has inspired and delighted many of us enough to share the story. My wife shared it with me after her co-workers shared it with her. See it below.

What makes someone want to share? In the book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” author Dr. Jonah Berger states: “Awe is the sense of wonder and amazement that occurs when someone is inspired by great knowledge, beauty, sublimity, or might. It’s the experience of confronting something greater than yourself. Awe expands ones frame of reference and drives self-transcendence. Awe is a complex motion and frequently involves a sense of surprise, unexpectedness or mystery.” Awe also inspires sharing. For example, Jonah and his team determined that awe-inspiring articles were 30% more likely to make the “Most Emailed” list.

As a developer of self service kiosks, interactive and mobile I especially enjoyed the “Santa Station” that WestJet setup in the terminal to allow customers to talk “Live” to Santa. Notice the carpet where people should stand to be in the full view of the camera. This illustrates that any sort of photobooth kiosk needs to be more than just the enclosure. A kiosk is the enclosure and everything around it used to draw attention to the kiosk including signage, floor branding, surrounding product, etc. Ensure your kiosk is not just a screen on a stick or on the wall. Think of your kiosk as the entire environment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIEIvi2MuEk

How To: Change the scheduling & Content in a Samsung MagicInfo Lite schedule

MagicInfo Lite is digital signage management software that comes with any Samsung commercial grade screen with built in player.  While you pay slightly more for these high quality and durable screens, you don’t need a separate software package to manage your content.  This is a good option for single screen deployments or small networks (1-15 screens).

Here’s a quick video of how to change the scheduling and content of a playlist.

 

lite_img5

Here’s the steps to update the content in the playlist:

1. Press Magic Info button

2. Select Local Schedule Manager

3. Select the schedule – should have a grey button

4. Select stop

5. Select delete

6. Select Create

7. Select the time and choose default

8. Select Content and choose the new files

9. Select Done

10. Select Save

11. Select Run

12. Press Yes
That’s it!  See the video above for visual reference.  Or visit Samsung’s web site: http://www.samsunglfd.com/software/magicInfo_lite.do

Special thanks to the good folks at http://www.digitalsignageblog.com/

Writing Content For Mobile

mobile-application-development3While  discussing mobile marketing Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO)  states “The size of the audience makes this – the phone – a mass medium. It’s as important to a marketer as TV. This is as important – if not more important – than television.”  I couldn’t agree more.  As the mobile medium is so much more interactive and measurable. And the content written for mobile consumption must be tailored to that medium.

Intelligent marketers are paying attention to mobile as a highly effective medium for communicating to businesses as well as consumers. The demand to produce mobile content is increasing at an alarming pace. Is your business ready?

Here are some tips on providing the best written content designed for the mobile market:

  • Less is more – your message must be communicated in short blocks. You can apply the “Twitter rule” of 140 characters for each “paragraph.” This can be adjusted up or down slightly – but only slightly – depending on your particular type or style of content.
  • Headlines are king – your headline must grab attention. Make it bold and intriguing so the reader will take the next step.
  • Take some test laps – According to a recent Mashable article you can take an initial run at different techniques to determine what is most effective with your target audience. Note the responses and effectiveness through analytics and by reviewing feedback. If it works, try some other flavors and then rotate the approaches that are most effective.
  • Remember your message – keep your focus on your marketing message and make sure every word is used in the most effective manner to communicate that message.
  • Top down approach – the most important parts of your mobile content should be at the very beginning, which is the opposite of most other forms of writing. Because most mobile readers only spend a few seconds on each subject it is crucial to get the message across sooner rather than later.

The demand for mobile content writing will only escalate as mobile usage grows. Already we see a demand for mobile ready content in blogs, articles and web content for our customers as they recognize the mobile audience reading their sites.  And in our mobile app development we use the above methods to hone our messaging.  Now, put your pen to paper… er… or start typing!

Blog Entries Missing

Some of you have noticed that a lot of our blog postings had gone missing from recent posts.  We changed servers and lost many posts and images.  We’re working on restoring those from back ups just as soon as we have the time.  Thanks for your understanding.

I want my files back!

I want my files back!

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Promoting your product on a budget

Occasionally I see a product promotion that strikes me as genius.  And this was one of those times.  In the local Cincinnati supermarket beer aisle there was a glaring hole of white shelving where beer cases should be.  And in place of the beer were signs telling shoppers that a new product was coming soon.  Just weeks away was the oldest brewery in America… Yuenling.

This beer has been popular with Ohioans and many others across the country but it has never been available for sale before.  We always enjoyed it when we were in Pittsburg, Philadelphia and many other east coast cities but it could not be sold in the midwest.  So on many of my four hour drives to Pittsburg I would bring home a case to use as gifts.  I can remember an employee of mine years ago who had family in Philadelphia brought cases of it back to me as a gift along with a t-shirt from the factory.   That’s how special this beer was.  And let’s face it… it’s good beer… but this is just beer.  A bottle of refreshment you consume in about 20 minutes.  And then it’s gone (unless you have a case).  Yet consumers loved the brand.  Cherished the heritage as the oldest American brewery and spread the word of this brand to other beer lovers.

The folks at Yeunling (or their agency) are pretty smart.  For years they used the marketing tactic of scarcity to drive demand.  This exclusive product that had to be “black market” smuggled into neighboring states.  They let their advocates and fans spread the word for them without the need for a national marketing budget.

And now they were using this low cost promotion to announce their wider distribution of their long sought after product.  A blank grocery shelf with a sign reading “Yeunling Lager – Available October 31st”.   In two weeks I can get my hands on this widely lauded brand without having to drive eight hours round trip.  I predict that after they load up these empty shelves with Yeunling they will soon have another empty spot in this aisle.  The stock boy had better be ready with another pallet of product in the back room.

And all they’ve done is used a $5 sign to drive awareness and demand.  It goes to show that in a time of a down economy there are creative ways to promote your product.  Yes, they have it easy because they have an existing brand with demand.   So perhaps they are just smart not to spend thousands of dollars on promotion and keep that marketing budget for other necessites like making more product!   But even a new or less known brand can be creative and use low cost guerilla marketing methods to drive awareness.  Consulting with an agency such as ourselves can open up the doors to many ways to promote online, digitally or using social media to let advocates tell your story for you.

So I raise a toast to you and your brand.  May the coming year bring you more sales and profit.  May your company be able to hire new employees and help turn this country’s economy around and make us the economy of envy that we’ve lost over the past decades.  Governments can not turn around a down economy, legislators can’t do it.  Businesses and consumers are the only force that can make that change.  So put on your marketing thinking caps and create something that people want, need or desire.