Friday, August 25, 2017

Improving Web Design For Color-Blind users

Improving Web Design For Color-Blind users

In creating a website, it is crucial to have not only a great UI design, but a great accessibility as well.
It may be a tedious task especially if we cannot relate to certain conditions that can hinder a good user experience.

One of these conditions is color blindness or color vision deficiency (CVD). If you are not color blind, chances are you don’t think about it very often. People who have this condition, however, have to deal with it all the time. Though it is considered a mild disability, it can affect a lot of daily activities – cooking, eating, transportation, and browsing the internet.

With that said, our website should be accessible to as many people as possible – including those with CVD.

Not sure how to do it? No worries! We’re here to help you.

This article will help you learn deeper about color blindness and the things you can do (and not do) to make your design more color-blind-friendly.

First, we need to understand what color blindness is.

Understanding Color Blindness
color blindness Traffic Report For Website 

For at least 90% of the time, color blindness isn’t really a form of blindness, but a deficiency in distinguishing red, blue, or green. This disability can cause difficulty in identifying certain colors compared to those who have normal vision.

Contrary to popular belief, color blindness doesn’t show identical symptoms. This means that it is possible for two people with color blindness to see different range of colors at the same image.

Types of Color Blindness 1. Red-Green Color Blindness
This is the most common type of color blindness due to the absence or weakness of red-cone cells (protans) or green-cone cells (deutrans).

It can be divided into these subtypes:
  • • Protanopia – absence of red-cone cells. Red looks like dark brown; orange, yellow, and green appear in various shades of yellow; and violet looks like blue.
  • protanopia

  • • Protanomaly – defective red-cone cells. Colors are less bright and the red, orange, and yellow colors appear to have a bit shade of green.
  • Protanomaly
  • • Deuteranopia – absence of green-cone cells. Reds and greens appear as brownish-yellows and violets also look like blues.
  • Deuteranopia
  • • Deuteranomaly – defective green-cone cells. Colors are less bright. Yellow and green colors appear to have a bit shade of red.
  • Deuteranomaly
    2. Blue-Yellow Color Blindness This is a rarer type that happens when the blue-cone cells (tritans) are either abnormal or nonexistent.
    It can be divided into these subtypes:

  • • Tritanopia – absence of blue-cone cells. Red is not significantly affected; blues become more greenish; yellows and oranges become somewhat pink, and greens become blues.
  • Tritanopia
  • • Tritanomaly – defective blue-cone cells. Blue appears to have a bit shade of green and yellow and orange can be a bit paler.
  • Tritanomaly
    3. Complete Color Blindness “Achromatopsia” This is the most severe type where it is literally correct to use the term color blindness. This is when a person doesn’t see any colors at all. It occurs when none or only 1 of the 3 cone cells work.achromatopsia.jpg
    Web Design for Color Blindness In estimation, about 100 million people are using the internet. These 100 million people sees everything, including your website, differently from others. It may be advantageous for you, conversion-wise, to make their browsing a lot easier when they visit your website.

    Here are some ways to better accommodate your CVD (Color Vision Deficiency) users in your website.

    1. Don’t rely in colors.

     color feedback

    When designing a concept, always keep in mind to not rely so much in colors to convey important information. Otherwise, people with CVD will have a hard time understanding your design and may result to a poor user experience.

    For example, when trying to fill up the necessary green fields, it may be obvious to us with normal vision.
    normal fields
    But it can be a nightmare for those who have color vision deficiency.
    cvd fields
    Instead, you can use other elements such as texts (keywords and descriptions), shapes, icons, gestalt principles, etc. to get your information across.
    correct fields
    Also, color theory is less likely to work on people with color blindness. Hence, don’t use them for feedback interface. If you’re only using a red color as an indicator for something “wrong” or as a “warning”, you might want to reconsider.

    2. Use Color Blindness Simulators.

    use simulators

    One way to make sure if your design is color-blind-friendly is by seeing it yourself. There are a lot of online tools and software that can help you see in a CVD’s eyes.

    If you’re using Photoshop, it has a built-in tool that allows you to do so. You can enable it by going to View > Proof Setup.
    photoshop colorblind
    For websites, you can use this web page filter.
    total site
    3. Hue, Saturation, High Contrast and Brightness. 

     contrast hue saturation

    Though lacking in the color department, CVD users are still excellent in perceiving contrast, hue, saturation, and brightness. Use this to your advantage.

    For example, you can use a light blue background and partner it with elements that have a darker blue color.
    contrast sample

    4. Think Minimal.

     minimal design

    You can hit two birds in one stone here. Aside from the fact that minimalism is a trend in web design, you can also lessen the confusion and maintain color accessibility.

    You can also go for a monochromatic color scheme for your website design. It will compliment well with high contrast since you’re only using one color with different shades.
    minimal natura

    You may have thought of black and white or greyscale when you read “monochromatic” – It’s definitely fine! But to be clear, you can use any single color you want. Be creative and explore various shades and how you can combine them.

    5. Avoid Bad Color Combinations For users with CVD, there are color combinations that hard to identify, and then there the worst combinations that can give them nightmares. Here are some that you should consider avoiding for your design:

  • • Green & Red
  • • Green & Brown
  • • Green & Blue
  • • Green & Grey
  • • Green & Black
  • • Blue & Purple
  • • Blue & Grey
  • • Light Green & Yellow
  • But if you must use some of these, you can lessen their burden by adjusting the colors’ brightness (light vs. dark). You can maybe go for a light red with a darker green. This would at least help them to differentiate the one from another.

    You’re Up! 

    Hope these infos and tips will help you create a better website for everyone. Now you have more knowledge that you can use to reach out to more users and increase your traffic *fingers crossed!*. But more than the personal benefits, it can be a big help for those who have this condition. They will sure be grateful for your efforts.

    Thank you for spending your time with us. Did we miss any good tips and ideas? Share what you think in our comments below.

    The Value of Direct Traffic in Google Analytics and How to Report on It

    The Value of Direct Traffic in Google Analytics and How to Report on It

    Research from W3Techs suggests that more than half (54.4 percent) of all websites on the Internet use Google Analytics, including popular sites like YouTube, Tumblr, Reddit and even WordPress.
    Google Analytics offers in-depth traffic analyses on a wide variety of metrics, but in my experience, one of the most telling is direct traffic.

    Here’s what direct traffic is, what it means for your marketing campaigns, and how to utilize Google Analytics to generate direct traffic reports.

    What Exactly Does Direct Traffic Involve? 
    Plenty of marketers get confused about direct traffic and what it exactly is.
    By definition, direct traffic simply means that visitors arrive on your website through one of two ways – either by typing in your website’s URL directly in their search bar, or by accessing it through a bookmark.

    However, this doesn’t necessarily give you the full picture, because direct traffic can come from a variety of other sources as well.
    An article from Analytics Toolkit points out some additional scenarios:

     A user clicks on a link in an e-mail from Outlook or Thunderbird or similar desktop software
     A user clicks on a link in Skype or other desktop messengers
     A user clicks on a link in a PDF, DocX, ODF, XLSX or a different type of document
     A user clicks on a link in a mobile app
     A user clicks on a link from a secured site (https://something) to your non-secured site (just http://something)
     A user clicks through a URL-shortener or in a different scenario where certain JS is being used (though this is rare)
     A user clicks on a link in any desktop software in general

    As you can see, the specific source of direct traffic can be a little murky at times.
    Typically, direct traffic occurs whenever Google cannot determine another referrer (e.g. search engines, blogs, social media, other websites, etc.).

    More often than not, however, direct traffic does come from someone directly typing in your URL or through a bookmark.

    The Value of Direct Traffic
    So what’s the big deal with direct traffic?
    Why should you report on it, and what exactly does it mean for your brand?
    Generally speaking, direct traffic can mean one of four possibilities.

    1. Repeat Visits
    Let’s say that your direct traffic is coming from one of the two traditional routes, where visitors are either directly typing in your website’s URL or accessing it via a bookmark.
    This often means that you’re getting repeat visits and that people are interested enough in your brand to return to your site.

    For an eCommerce store, this can mean that you’re getting repeat sales, which is indicative of a positive customer experience.

    Consumers were pleased with the value of your product or service, your website interface, your navigation, etc., and are potentially interested in making another purchase.

    Alternatively, if you’re a blogger, direct traffic indicates that readers were impressed enough with your content to return for more. It interested them to the point that they want to explore the rest of your content in greater detail.

    This is beneficial for obvious reasons. Although it’s not always easy to pinpoint the exact reason you’re getting these visits, you’re generally doing something right if you’re generating a sizable volume of direct traffic.

    2. Word-of-Mouth
    If one person recommends your brand to a friend, family member or colleague, this could result in direct traffic, suggesting that they arrived on your site by directly typing in your website’s URL.
    In other words, this traffic came via word-of-mouth recommendations.

    Generating traffic this way is encouraging because it suggests that you’ve established some degree of brand loyalty.

    It shows that one person was happy enough with your brand to personally recommend it to another person.

    It also shows that the person they recommended your brand to was compelled enough to manually type in your URL.

    Another advantage of word-of-mouth traffic is the positive impact that it can have on conversions.
    A study by Ogilvy, Google and TNS found that “74 percent of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision.”

    If you’ve obtained direct traffic through word-of-mouth, your likelihood of making a sale increases significantly.

    3. Offline Marketing
    Traditional offline marketing techniques such as print publications, direct mail and face-to-face networking have lost some of their momentum thanks to the growth in digital marketing, but they still play a role in lead generation for many brands.

    In some cases, direct traffic is the result of someone learning about your brand offline and directly entering your website’s URL.

    This differs from a branded search, where someone types in branded keywords (e.g. your company name) in a search engine and finds your site through the search engine results pages (SERPs).

    Acquiring direct traffic tells you that a visitor knew your specific URL and immediately went to your website.

    If you’re placing a heavy emphasis on offline marketing, direct traffic suggests that it’s working. You were able to captivate people enough to motivate them to directly visit your website.

    4. Brand Strength
    Put all of these points together, and they mean one thing: your brand is beginning to materialize and strengthen.

    Consumers have become familiar and at least somewhat comfortable with your brand to the point that it’s what pops into their heads when they’re looking for a particular product or service.
    The more direct traffic you receive, the stronger your brand equity typically is.

    This is important because “77 percent of consumers make purchases based on a brand name.” Women in particular are more likely to factor a product’s brand name into their purchasing decision.

    Landing directly on your site doesn’t necessarily mean visitors are ready to buy right away. The majority of your leads – even those acquired through direct traffic – will still require some nurturing
    But it does show they’re at least willing to visit your site directly and perform some preliminary research. This indicates that you’ve established a solid level of brand equity and that you’re heading in the right direction.

    How to Analyze Your Website’s Direct Traffic
    Accessing your direct traffic metrics on Google Analytics is fairly simple. From your main dashboard, click on “Acquisition.”
    Traffic Report For Website

    Then click on “Overview.”
    Traffic Report For Website
    Toward the top of the page, you’ll see a pie chart called “Top Channels.”
    Traffic Report For Website
    This will provide you with a quick glimpse of how your direct traffic compares to your other traffic sources like organic search, referral, social and so on.

    As you can see here, direct traffic accounts for 35.7 percent of this site’s overall traffic.
    To take it one step further, click on “Direct” under “Acquisition.”
    Traffic Report For Website
    From there, you’ll be able to see which specific pages on your website visitors initially landed on. In other words, these are the pages that visitors typed in their URL bar or bookmarked.

    At this point, you should be able to get a pretty good sense of which pages are being directly accessed most frequently.

    In many cases, this will simply be your homepage. Other times, there may be particular landing pages, product pages or even a blog post that people are overwhelmingly interested in.

    For instance, I had a client a while back who had a product page that was receiving a high volume of direct traffic. From that, we concluded that the page in question was particularly popular with his demographic.

    Analyzing this information will provide you with valuable insights you can use to fine-tune your marketing campaign moving forward.

    The Potential for Deceptive Reporting
    It’s important to note that, while Google Analytics is a highly-effective tool, its direct traffic reports aren’t always 100 percent accurate.

    According to Gene McKenna of Search Engine Land:
    Everyone knows that browsers don’t always report where visitors came from when they arrive at a website. When they don’t report where they were in the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) referrer header, often the traffic is considered ‘Direct’ — which really means, ‘we have no clue where they came from, maybe they typed the URL in or hit a bookmark.’

    Search Engine Land even performed a study analyzing Groupon’s direct traffic which found that, “Up to 60 percent of ‘direct’ traffic is actually organic search.”

    So whenever Google Analytics is unable to identify a specific referrer, they’ll classify that traffic as being direct when, in reality, it came through organic search.

    This isn’t to say that 60 percent of your direct traffic is inaccurate and actually came via search, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind when analyzing your reports.

    Looks can be deceiving at times. Nonetheless, you can still get a good idea of the state of your direct traffic.

    The popularity and universality of Google Analytics is a testament to its reporting capabilities. A big part of its appeal is its intuitive, easy-to-use interface, as well as the fact that the basic version is free.
    Although Google Analytics offers a wide array of features, marketers will definitely want to become familiar with direct traffic reports.

    Not only is this an efficient way to gauge the effectiveness of your word-of-mouth and offline marketing techniques, it will give you a general sense of how strong your overall brand is.

    Put it all together, and Google Analytics can be a huge asset to your marketing campaign and can provide key insights to shape your strategy moving forward.

    What other insights have you uncovered from exploring your direct traffic in Google Analytics? Leave me a note below sharing your experiences:

    Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.


    Wednesday, August 23, 2017

    4 Crucial SEO Factors and How To Work On Them: An SEO Guide

    It should be no hidden secret for any website owner how important SEO is for a website’s online visibility. Of course, there are other methods through which online businesses expand their exposure but it’s SEO that remains the most powerful of them all. It can be said that other marketing methods are a la carte methods whereas SEO is a set of methods. These methods comprise of the elements that not only provide a website with online visibility but also serve as strong factors that improve the overall impression of any online business.

    Since Google has been launching the search algorithm and website ranking updates quite frequently in the past few years, many people have lost grasp of what the recent face of SEO is like. It can’t be said that SEO has completely changed and new things have been introduced in this digital marketing method over time but almost everything has been modified and made better than it used to be 3 to 4 years ago. However, if you are a business with online presence you want to specifically know the factors that can directly and direly affect your online SEO strategy.
    Here are those most weighted SEO factors for you to work on:

    1.     Links
    Backlinks have become the most powerful thing since the last updates from Google that specifically focused on improving the quality of backlinks. There are many ways for you to look at how well you are performing with your backlinks. First of all, you should have the right tool in place to analyze where you are standing with your backlinks at any given moment. It has to be kept in mind that Google’s Penguin update was specifically released to get rid of the backlink spamming that was on the rise on internet at that time.

    Google focused on the quality of backlinks and websites with the largest number of backlinks were not the best websites anymore. To make things worse, Google started penalizing the websites with spammy backlinks so these websites had to take instant measures to stay away from those penalties. Now, you have to have a very strong back linking strategy if you want to stay away from Google’s Penguin penalty. But how would you know what things to work on? Here are some elements within backlinks to look at to analyze your back linking strategy:
    4 Crucial SEO Factors and How To Work On Them: An SEO Guide 

  • Even though too many backlinks are not a good thing, it is important for you to know the total number of backlinks for your website before you start doing any backlink analysis.
  • Now, the important thing here is to know how many of those backlinks are coming from unique domains. If you see a huge difference in the number of backlinks and unique domains, you might get in trouble because it shows clearly that you have too many links coming from the same website. This is considered spam by Google now.
  • Next, you will have to look at the reputation and other page authority factors of the website to see how good the websites that are directing visitors to your website are. If most of those websites have low page authority and PageRank, you are going to pay the price for this soon. Keep backlinks only from the websites with good authority and reputation.
  • While doing the backlink analysis you will also have to pay great attention to the type of anchor texts you are using. It is well worth to see how many backlinks are coming for each anchor text. This will give you a clear idea of any over-optimized anchor texts because such a situation can lead to penalty from Google. Use intelligent anchor texts and while anchor texts rich in keywords are good, keep your brand name alive in the anchor texts too. Too many backlinks from generic anchor texts can lead to penalty as well.
  • Here is an example to show you how generic anchor texts and their over-optimization can lead to penalties from Google.
    Once again, it is extremely important to have the right tools to do proper analyses of your backlinks so make sure to invest in a good one as soon as possible.
    2.     Length Of Content And Overall Content Read any SEO related article on the web and you will realize straight away that right beside backlinks the next most important thing is the content. There is a lot about content that needs to be understood in order to have a successful SEO strategy  than just to know about keywords. It is now a thing of the past that the more keywords you had in your content the higher your content ranked. In the recent times and with all Google updates so far, stuffing unnecessary and unintelligent keywords in your content will only attract penalties.

    No one knew just a couple of years ago that the length of content mattered that much. The recent studies and analyses show clearly that the length of your content matters a lot in addition to how informative and helpful it is for the website visitors. Here is an image that shows the importance of the length of content.

    4 Crucial SEO Factors and How To Work On Them: An SEO Guide

    The image clearly shows that it is important for websites to come up with lengthy content but still keep it real and natural. Stuffing keywords would get you penalized because Google now focuses on the mix of words on your web page rather than seeing the number of times a keyword has been repeated. Other ways you can work on your web content is as below:

  • Write long content with useful information in it that makes your visitors come back to the website. Keep away from repeating the same content on different pages.
  • Keep your content updated as frequently as possible. The more updated your content is the higher it will rank. For example, recent studies show that nearly 60% of the online shoppers in US are frustrated by the presence of “out of stock” items on the website. At times they are angry because information they see on the website about the stock is different from the actual stock.
  • Let people generate content for you because that not only gets you ranked high but also wins credibility for you among your visitors. This is done by letting people review your products on your websites and leave testimonials.
  • Keep the content a mix of images, text and videos.
    3.     Website Design And Mobile Friendliness As mentioned at the beginning, SEO is not just one thing but a term given to many different processes going on together to improve a website’s ranking on search engines. Another important part of SEO is improving your website design and making it mobile friendly. It has to be kept in mind here that this was another one of the most important updates from Google. Mobile friendly update, which was dubbed Mobilegeddon by most online SEO professionals, was supposed to make websites conform to the latest shift to the usage of mobiles by global population.
    After the update was rolled out it was clear that Google had really rolled out this update for websites’ mobile rankings. The ranking on desktop devices did not change much for most websites but websites that did not have enough mobile friendliness in them were pushed down in results.
    Here’s an image to show the impact:

    4 Crucial SEO Factors and How To Work On Them: An SEO Guide

    The warnings had already been released that websites with less mobile friendly features will suffer a big blow when searched on mobile devices. Websites that made the necessary changes were not impacted by this update. What are the things that need to be worked on in order to improve ranking for mobile devices? Here they are:

  • First, you will have to work on your website design in order to ensure it conforms to the various mobile device screen sizes. There are two ways to go about this challenge. First, you can start a mobile friendly website from the scratch and dedicate this website for mobile users. The other method is to convert your existing website into a responsive website. This website will change its size according to the device it is being viewed on.
  • You have to reduce the scrolling as much as possible and introduce images that clear the picture for the mobile user when he’s looking at the web page without requiring too much scrolling.
  • Use HTML5 as much as possible and steer away completely from the use of flash on your website.
  • The images and content on your website should be according to how a mobile user would interact with a website. On mobile devices users use their fingers to browse around and if your content is too small for them to tap the content easily, you will be penalized for that.
  • Your web page should only have enough information to be helpful for the visitor. You don’t want to stuff too much content and make your pages heavy because how fast your website loads matters big time in lowering or raising your website ranking.
  • 4.     Many On-page SEO Factors On-page SEO requires working on several factors right on the face of the website to improve website’s ranking. Some of the stuff is not as technical as other stuff. In simple words, there are some things included in on-page SEO that you can perform yourself. However, for some you will require the help of SEO professionals. Ask SEO consultant you can trust, content is the most important thing that you need to work on in order to improve the ranking of your website and have a great on-page SEO strategy.
    Here is something to start with:

    4 Crucial SEO Factors and How To Work On Them: An SEO Guide

    And here are the on-page elements that you should be working on if you want better visibility on search engines.

  • When you are told about content of your website you mainly think of the text that it is written on your web pages. That is a very limited way of thinking about content. In the recent times it has been proved that video content is the most important type of content that you need to put on your website. The best thing that video content does is it keeps your visitors on your website for a long time.
  • Page titles are the next important thing. Your page titles should not only be telling the search engine what the page contains but they should also contain your primary keywords in them.
  • Write descriptive, clear and on-point descriptions for your pages so visitors feel like clicking on your results on the search results. For Google only the first 160 characters of your description matter so make sure to include your primary and secondary keywords within that range.
  • Make pages readable by using proper headings and page breaks where necessary. 12px is considered a good size for the font on most web pages. Do not write lengthy paragraphs as it reduces the readability of your text content.
  • Use images but include descriptions and captions with them. Keep images of only high quality and make sure to use the size that seems fittest on the page. Do not forget to use the alt tag for describing your images to the search engine crawlers.
  • Improve your website URLs by making them descriptive. You are allowed to have 255 characters on your URLs. The URL itself should tell what is on the page and different words should be separated from each other with the use of hyphen.
  • There should be categories of pages where one page leads to the related page in a hierarchy. A sitemap is also a great thing to include on the website to help users find information easily.
  • Have a strong internal linking strategy where your web pages are interlinked. When a Google spider lands on your main page it will go to other pages through the links you have on this page. However, only use internal links when there is a need.
  • Lastly, no matter what text content you put on the page, it has to be original not only to avoid Google from penalizing you but to stay away from any lawsuits from the original creators of that content too.
    Final Words Most of the most important stuff that’s part of SEO has been described above. There are many other things that you can take into consideration in order to improve your SEO strategy but these are the heavyweights of SEO. An important point to make here is that all the 4 points mentioned above have been part of Google’s major updates i.e. these are the elements around which Google’s major updates were revolving. Lastly, even the upcoming updates will be focused on the factors given above.