This is a small project i had in mind for a while and thought of getting it out, it summarizes the different efforts when working on a new product.
Back in 1998, when i was 12 years old playing Prince of Persia on my first PC(wow this was released in 1989, not sure why everyone was still playing it in Egypt in the late nineties), a normal screen resolution was 640×480 pixels on a 14 or 15 inch screen, back then you can actually see the different pixels forming the characters on your screen. Now it’s 2013, and you can cramp up 2048×1536 pixel in a 10″ iPad.
Web graphics have rather progressed slowly in terms of adopting the new resolutions, first the focus was to make use of the PNG format with its transparency capability in favor of the JPG and GIF extensions, the move to a vector format like SVG was very slow. Although SVG is now supported in all major web browsers, even in one or two versions behind, the adaption rate is not as we hoped to be. Engineers are using high resolutions PNGs instead and relying on the browser to scale them down for lower resolutions screen, even Google is doing this on the search homepage. I had a couple of hours to kill today so I though of converting a few graphic elements on the ill-maintained Cairo Cubicles to SVG. Everything was pretty straightforward, opened all the graphics on AI, did the conversion seamlessly to SVG for the logo and the first two sliders and here is the result.
Graphics are crystal clear on the iPad, my Firefox and IE, which both scale all graphics to 125% in size. Bitmaps are meant for photos, avoid using them in your website going forward, and rely only on SVG + CSS3 + HTML5, the website will look much sharper on all devices and resolutions. There are some pitfalls though, SVG support is not the same in all browsers, you might face problems with blending modes support when exporting from Adobe Illustrator, but you probably won’t be facing these issues unless your graphic is a bit complex.
We all visit dozens of websites each day, maybe for work related research, time killers, news portals or others for stumbling around. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and 9GAG to name a few are examples of websites you just visit to kill time or see what your friends are up to. This kind of user ↔ product connection is really hard to achieve for many reasons. Take yourself for example, online websites/apps are arranged in form of ladders in your mind, each ladder is a category or interest, so if you’re looking for funny stuff you would usually hit 9GAG, if you have more time you would pay FunnyOrDie a visit then, and maybe, maybe have a look on the latest Vines compilation on youtube later. So it’s not just the category that matters, you came up with some sort of mind ranking for websites, and this is the same if you were to check sports, fashion or just news. You product will probably have a category already or a ladder to fall into, but your job is to move it up in this steps hierarchy. So you can do this in several ways to make this returning visit happen:
Make an impression that lasts
Your website needs to stand off, and this is in terms of aesthetics, content, usability. Just make his first visit pleasant. The website should have its own character, it might be something stupid or an easter egg somewhere but a thing that would stick after the user leaves your website. FunnyorDie was always popular with this FunnyDie meter and was easily recognizable in all their embedded videos.
ContentPersonalized Content is King
It’s easy to spot the user segmentation you have on your website, take 9GAG for example, there is the .GIF lover, the memes lover, the reposter and the commenter. You can use that, you just need to collect their browsing pattern and face them with what they like the most, but you don’t want to over do it, too much of the same thing might not be a good thing and the user will get bored eventually with the content so introducing him to new content every now and then might wouldnt hurt.
We Missed You Emails
Remind your registered users from now and then of your existence, send personalized emails about new content you have, or maybe that some the user’s friends have joined the website. Twitter and Pinterest do a good job using this technique, you usually get emails about popular suggestions, tweets, or new friends to follow, i can count up to 6 scenarios where Twitter uses to try to keep their user base active. The emails should add value to your website and not just a Hi We missed you Please visit us again
That’s it for now, it’s a draft but ill add a couple of ideas later maybe. And as usual, on a completely irrelevant note, you have to check The Occasional, FunnyorDie digital magazine, it’s their farewell issue, but they set how digital publishing should be done.
Rawa7 is one of the many(wasalny, bey2ollak, wadeeny) applications that emerged in the last couple of years that tries to lessen the frustration everyone gets when driving or riding the public transportation in the crowded streets of Cairo.
The website is minimalistic (and looks old), emphasizing on the one function the app does, giving you the bus stops one place to another. The auto suggestions works for arabic text only which wasnt very convenient for me since i dont have arabic letters printed on my keyboard. I tried El Abbasia Square to Madinat Nasr, and got a route with 8 bus stops. The idea have potential but the app have several issues.
You cant really set any preference for the ride, whether you prefer the Metro, mini-bus, a CTA or a normal bus. Also I’m not sure of the accuracy of the results, I’m sure there is a shorter way to get to Madinat Nasr than riding a collection of 6 and 2 buses. The application also lacks a map, it would have been nice if I can view bus stops at least on some kind of map.
Overall, Rawa7 is a good idea, but the app feels incomplete and needs work on the user experience, presentation part and the data/content.