Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport Website Launch

With Savannah being a big tourist destination, the Savannah/Hilton Head International airport receives a lot of traffic with tourists coming and going. Tourists and locals alike are also coming and going from the Savannah/Hilton Head International’s website, which is why it is important to have a visually appealing and user-friendly website. That is exactly what Robmark Web did.

Robmark Web has rebuilt the airport’s website into a visually appealing experience where people not only go to book a flight, but can optimize their travel plans, with the terminal guide and transportation information, and even interact with the airport on social media.  The biggest goal with the new website was to make it responsive, which means it will function across all viewing platforms. By making the Savannah/Hilton Head International website responsive, we have placed them ahead of the curve in terms of this technology with the rest of their industry. While recreating the site, we have transformed the layout to be more modern. This new modern layout and brand image led the airport into a new, fresh branding campaign.

One big difference you will see on the website is the division in navigation between traveler pages and business pages, which helps to better organize the site’s information for users. Some other great features the website offers are the terminal and parking guides; which allows for an updated, interactive, easy-to-use tool for travelers. The travel tips and apps offer frequently asked questions that help first-time travelers, while also making the travel process easier for tech-savvy travelers. The randomly generated Traveler Survey questions are something fun and interactive that also works as a way for Savannah/Hilton Head International to gather information to continually better their services.

Be sure to check out the new Savannah/Hilton Head International website that Robmark Web launched last month; you can even book a trip while you’re there!

Savannah airport

Mobile Web Traffic and its Impact on SEO

It’s official – for the first time in history, as of 2014, Web traffic from mobile devices has outpaced Web traffic from desktops. Nearly everyone, from businesspeople to leisurely browsers, is accessing the Internet on mobile and tablet devices more and more. I recently blogged about how this growing shift in Web usage has revolutionized webpage design and how web designers are transitioning towards responsive design with mobile interface at the forefront.

Now the consequences of a dominant share of mobile Web users are affecting search engine optimization as well. Google announced last year, in so many words, that neglecting user experience on mobile devices will hurt your website’s search engine rankings. It is no longer good enough to patch up a website so that it at least works on mobile devices and then leave it at that. Websites that load too slowly on mobile devices (longer than 1 second), webpages that rely too heavily on Flash, and mobile-switch websites that always redirect mobile users to a splashpage/homepage regardless of which sublevel page they were looking for will see their Google rankings diminished.

And Google is right to make these adjustments. In their quest to supply users, including mobile users, with the best content on the Web, Google should pass over websites that cannot effectively supply content to users on mobile devices.

Google recommends that websites implement responsive web design, for which the website’s HTML remains the same, no matter the user’s device, and CSS styling repositions, resizes, or hides certain elements depending on the screen resolution of the user. Google prefers responsive websites to other types of mobile sites for the simple fact that a responsive website, from the standpoint of its URL structure and its HTML/CSS code, is the same website no matter the device on which it is rendered and therefore can be trusted by Google as a consistent and reliable source of content. Other mobile website strategies, such as dynamic websites (different HTML depending on device) and mobile-switch sites (different URLs depending on device), are prone to misconfigurations that will affect mobile interface and page ranking.

Take a look below at some of the responsive websites that we at Robmark Web have developed for our Savannah web design clients:

Further reading:
http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2302895/Matt-Cutts-on-SEO-PageRank-Spam-the-Future-of-Google-Search-at-Pubcon-Las-Vegas

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2354054/Mobile-Site-Configuration-101-How-to-Choose

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2353616/Mobile-Now-Exceeds-PC-The-Biggest-Shift-Since-the-Internet-Began

Takeaways from Google’s Transparency Report

Google has been in the news recently for having publicly released a Transparency Report that analyzes how many emails sent to/from Gmail accounts are protected with encryption. In Google’s terms, an unencrypted email is as “open to snoopers as a postcard in the mail,” meaning that anyone from an identity thief to the NSA can simply read unencrypted emails without difficulty as they pass across the Internet. This issue concerns anyone who sends private information via email, which today includes just about everyone.

As part of their Transparency Report, Google released a chart showing the percentage of emails that were encrypted when sent between Gmail.com and list of high-traffic email domains. Domains, in this sense, equate to companies that either send or receive emails to/from everyday Gmail users, from social media networks to ecommerce websites to personal email services. The chart can be found at the link below. While reading this chart, it is important to consider which domains send/receive emails that contain sensitive, private information and which domains mainly send newsletters containing public announcements. For example, some domains such as Groupon.com and ConstantContact.com encrypt very few of their emails sent to Gmail users, but these companies’ emails are generally newsletters sent in bulk to hundreds or thousands of people, for which privacy matters little.

On Google’s report, many high-traffic domains that send private information do, to their credit, encrypt the vast majority of their inbound and outbound emails: Amazon.com, Facebook.com, Linkedin.com, Twitter.com, AOL.com, MSN.com, and Yahoo.com.

The red flag that many readers may overlook is that two notable high-traffic email domains, Comcast.net and Roadrunner.com (Time Warner Cable’s ISP/email service), encrypt less than 1% of their emails sent to Gmail accounts.

According to Google, email encryption via Transport Layer Security, or TLS, can greatly deter snoopers and is as easy for companies to enable as flipping on a switch. Even so, Google announced that they will be stepping in and releasing a new plugin for their Chrome browser that will encrypt emails end-to-end. Google even plans to make this plugin’s encrypted emails so secure that not even Gmail itself can read the contents. At first glance, this may seem strange for Google, a company that relies on selling advertisements targeted towards users based on the contents of their emails. But perhaps Google sees the long-term value of fostering consumer trust and loyalty by getting ahead of the hot topic that is online privacy.

Google’s Transparency Report:
http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/saferemail/

Further reading:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/06/03/google-email-security-gmail-snowden/9920473/

Net Neutrality Discussions Allude to ‘Common Carrier’ Precedents

The latest development in ‘net neutrality’ discussions has been the involvement of several lobbyists and interest groups, mostly speaking on behalf of Silicon Valley Internet content producers, who support the notion that the FCC regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as ‘common carriers’, like railroads and utilities. These groups appeal to legal precedents put in place over the past century that regulated permissibly monopolized businesses and aimed to prevent these ‘common carriers’ from prioritizing their services to the highest bidding companies and then grossly overcharging or neglecting service to the little guys.

These negotiations come at a time when the FCC, ISPs, and other interested parties are vying over whether ISPs can sell ‘fast lane’ Internet connections to those content producers willing to pay for faster service to customers. Content producers, especially streaming audio and video services, worry about what limitless fees and charges could be coming down the pike if the big ISPs like Comcast and AT&T, who have monopolies or duopolies over most local consumer markets, use their leverage to demand higher fees for faster service or else. ISPs have responded with concerns that government regulation could stifle innovation, which has been key to the growth of high-speed broadband Internet service across the country. Both sides have valid concerns about the future of their revenues and their customer bases as we move forward through a constantly evolving Internet landscape.

So what do you think? Would subjecting ISPs to utility-like oversight lead to a more level playing field? Or should multiple ISPs be free to compete for your business, even if ‘fast lane’ priorityservices were part of the mix? Which path would lead to a more free, open, and affordable Information Superhighway?

In the meantime, get used to seeing some back-and-forth between content providers and ISPs:

netflix-verizon

 

Further reading:

http://bgr.com/2014/06/12/netflix-vs-verizon-internet-streaming-speed/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/20/
congresscritters_sound_off_to_wheeler_on_net_neutrality_plans/

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/
SB10001424052702303409004579568152094345342

Apple’s Big News from WWDC

Apple announced big news at its 2014 World Wide Developer Conference, or WWDC.  The annual conference kicked off on Monday, June 2 in San Francisco, and the tech giant announced exciting news about its upcoming operating systems, Yosemite and iOS 8.

Mac’s newest version of OS X, called Yosemite, will feature several impressive new features that will greatly enhance the user experience.  One great feature will be the addition of an online server called Mail Drop, which will automatically save all large attachments from Mail to the Cloud so recipients can save room on their computers and easily download the attachments at their convenience.  Another exciting enhancement will be the addition of private windows in Safari, as well as the ability for users to organize their tabs into “stacks.”  Probably the biggest updates to OS X will be those that add to continuity among devices.  With the iCloud Drive available in the Finder to synchronize content across all devices (not just Apple devices) and the new Handoff feature, which uses proximity awareness to naturally swap tasks between the phone and the desktop, having multiple devices has never been easier.  For instance, with Handoff, users can start an email on their desktop and finish it on their phone when they need to run.  These are just a few of the updates we can look forward to on the new Yosemite.

It’s not just the Macs that will be receiving great updates, however.  iOS 8 updates were also released during WWDC, so iPhone and iPad junkies, rejoice!  One of the new features may not seem too glamorous, but it’s definitely important!  The new app, Health, will not only display your personal health data (compiled from your many healthy lifestyle apps), but also translate that data into something that actually makes sense, so that you can keep yourself in tip-top shape.  In iOS 8, notifications will actually be interactive from both the notification center and lock screen, allowing you to reply to posts, like a comment or dismiss an alert without going into the individual apps.  Siri will also see an improvement, as you will no longer have to touch the phone to activate her services.  She will now respond purely from the command “Hey, Siri.”  Messaging and typing also improve with a predictive text feature called QuickType, which learns your own linguistic idiosyncrasies to autocomplete your responses.  Group messages will also see improvements, as you will be able to drop people (including yourself) from a group chat and name threads.  And sending voice messages through text will also be possible.  And for the parents out there, get ready to be excited!  iOS 8 will finally include family sharing, so up to six devices that share the same credit card can all view the same media purchases—and parents can receive an alert to approve or decline a purchase on their kids’ devices!

It looks like we have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming updates, and these are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of features.  What features are you most looking forward to seeing in the new operating systems?

For more information, check out:

TL;DR: All the News You Need From WWDC” By Mat Honan

Are You in Line with Global Screen Time Study?

A recent study on the 2014 Internet trends by Mary Meeker, has delivered some extremely interesting information on use by gadget and by country.  The U.S. is sixth in the world when it comes to screen time, with a whopping 444 minutes a day in front of a screen—that’s a whopping 7.4 hours ON AVERAGE each day.  What may or may not be surprising to you is that smartphones take up the majority of our time with 151 minutes, followed by TV (147 minutes), laptops/PCs (103 minutes) and tablets (43 minutes).  And at 7.4 hours a day, the U.S. is still only sixth!  The top five consist of Indonesia (540 min), Philippines (531 min), China (479 min), Brazil (474 min) and Vietnam (466 min).  These numbers are astounding when compared to countries like France and Italy who only spend 326 minutes and 317 minutes, respectively.

Some other key points from the study show that mobile, including smartphones and tablets, are still becoming increasingly important in data consumption.  Mobile data traffic increased 81% from last year, and since only 30% of the world’s population has a smartphone at this point, there is plenty of room for mobile traffic to increase.  These studies may be alarming to people with static websites, especially since there are over 2B users of smartphones and tablets combined and only 1.5M users of laptop and desktop PC’s combined.  By switching to responsive website design, your business could be reaching so many more people!  Mobile web design is obviously becoming more and more important.  With people spending the majority of their screen time on smartphones, don’t you want your site to be compatible?

Are these astounding figures in line with what you expected?  Higher?  Lower?  What do you think?

For more information, please click below.

2014 Industry Trends Report Slides by Mary Meeker

How Much Time the World Spends Looking at Screens, Visualized by Jamie Condliffe