Search Blog

Blog

Get the latest on what's happening at itomic

Informative commentary on the web industry from the experts at Itomic.

Benskey | Itomic Web Design Perth & Melbourne August 16, 2018

What is UX and Why Should You Care?

By Ben Townsend

There’s a bit of a buzz around UX (short for user experience) right now, most likely because of the huge rise in mobile device usage in recent years.

You’ve probably come across a website that isn’t designed properly for mobile, and so reading and browsing it is a frustrating experience. You may well have clicked the back button and abandoned it after a couple of seconds.

If you offer a poor user experience, you’ll almost certainly be losing out on customers. This is why it’s so important that today’s businesses give top priority to UX when it comes to their websites, apps, and products.

What You Need to Know About UX

UX designers are employed full time to design websites and products optimised for customer experience. If you don’t have the budget to employ one, there are 5 key parts of the process to be aware of:

Market Research – it’s vital to know your audience and understand their needs. The user should be always kept in mind so that you can consider what will really benefit them, rather than arbitrary features.
UX Design Is Constantly Evolving – there’s no clear end to the UX process. You should be prepared to carry out ongoing usability and split A/B testing as well as soliciting user feedback in order to make continual improvements.
Simplicity Is Key – when it comes to UX, simple is always better. Rather than aiming for fancy designs and complex functionality, focus on making it clear to the user what they should do next.
Prototyping Is Essential – UX designers create wireframes and prototypes to make sure that the user journey and functionality is solid. Don’t leap straight into design and development until you have a clear and tested prototype or you’ll be wasting time and money.
UX Design Should Be Collaborative – it’s impossible for one person, even a highly-experienced UX designer, to anticipate all problems and come up with perfect solutions. Your team should work together to share ideas and feedback, and spot usability issues that an individual might have missed.

What’s the Difference Between UI and UX?

UI or user interface is the literal page, screen, and visual elements such as buttons and menus that the user interacts with to navigate your website or app.

UI is therefore a small part of UX, but the focus is more on the visual design such as the colours and buttons of a website. On the other hand, UX designers consider the entire user experience including how people navigate through the site, making sure that their needs are met, and the overall impression of your company that they’ll leave with.

To illustrate this, Google.com has a very simple UI – it’s just a logo and a text box. However, the UX delivers amazing value – so much so that it’s used over 3.5 billion times a day.

Does UX Really Apply to Me?

UX may be a bit of a buzzword at the moment, but it’s certainly not a new concept. User experience design has been around at least since the 1950s, and pretty much any industry that designs a physical or digital product that people use needs to consider UX.

For example, could you imagine trying to drive a car that had the gear stick in a weird place and had the steering wheel positioned in such a way that gave you backache to use it? Even if this car looked amazing, the user experience would be terrible, and so it would be highly unlikely to succeed as a consumer product.

It’s important to consider UX not just for your company website but also every product that a potential customer will interact with.

Further Reading
Want to learn more? Jakob Nielsen is considered by many to be one of the world’s leading experts in web usability, and he co-founded the Nielsen Norman Group, which offers various free UX and usability resources as well as consulting and training.

Other helpful resources:

https://uxplanet.org
http://uxmag.com
https://uxdesign.cc
http://www.uxbooth.com


ross | Itomic Web Design Perth & Melbourne August 3, 2018

Shared versus Dedicated Website Hosting. Which one is right for you?

By Ross Gerring

Shared hosting is also known as multi-tenant hosting. This is when two or more organisations are hosting their website(s) on the same server.

Dedicated hosting is also known as single-tenant hosting. This is when you have the entire server to yourself.

The shared v dedicated topic is very similar to renting office space. Is the entire building occupied only by your organisation? This is dedicated hosting. Or does the building accommodate lots of different organisations, each with keys to their own offices? This is shared hosting.

Shared (single tenant) hosting versus Dedicated (multi tenant) hostingWhich one is right for you? Consider the following:

Security

Dedicated hosting is more secure than shared hosting.

This is because the entire server belongs to you, therefore you can better control (lock-down, limit) security accordingly. On a shared server, multiple organisations have their own accesses to different parts of the same server. Those organisations will be running software that you have no control over, and which may or may not be regularly security patched.

If the server is properly configured and professionally managed, then the difference should be small. Therefore you should NOT consider shared hosting to be inherently insecure.

That said, if security is a top priority for your organisation – e.g. because you store or transmit content that could be considered somewhat confidential or sensitive – then lean towards dedicated hosting.

Stability

Dedicated hosting is more stable than shared hosting. By “stable” we mean that your site or sites on your dedicated server are less likely to be negatively impacted (e.g. slowed down) by the activities of other websites, owned by other organisations, on the same shared server.

For example, let’s say there are other websites on a shared server that have large disk storage needs, and have very high peaks of visitors at certain times, ad-hoc or regular. This might slow your site down when:

  • Backups are running (typically overnight) and/or
  • All those visitors are hitting those other sites.

If your organisation has a mission-critical website, and wants to keep downtime/sluggishness to a minimum, lean towards dedicated.

Price

Unless you’re comparing a very expensive shared hosting account with a very economical dedicated hosting account, then shared hosting will always be cheaper than dedicated hosting. Sometimes quite significantly, because you’re sharing the server costs between lots of organisations.

If you’re just starting out, highly price-sensitive, and/or an SME, lean towards shared hosting.

Flexibility

Does your organisation have any specialist software or hosting requirements? For example:

  • You need your site(s) to be backed up every hour, when normally it would be daily.
  • You need to allow custom 3rd party access – systems or people – to your site(s)
  • You want to run special software on your site, but additional non-standard server software must first be installed to support it.

On a shared server, some of the above may not be possible, i.e. it might be against the policy guidelines of the server administrators to accommodate certain custom change requests.

If you have specialist hosting requirements, lean toward dedicated hosting.

Itomic offers both shared and dedicated hosting services, all based in Australia. You can see our shared hosting packages here. We customise dedicated hosting services to your individual requirements, and price accordingly. Most of the websites we service and support are hosted on our own infrastructure, but that’s not a prerequisite for working with us on your next online project.

Still not sure? We’d love to chat.

More about website hosting at Wikipedia.


ross | Itomic Web Design Perth & Melbourne July 30, 2018

Google reCAPTCHA v3 – How Does It Affect Your Business?

By Ross Gerring

Google reCAPTCHA asks if you are a robotGoogle has recently launched version 3 of their reCAPTCHA service. Google reCAPTCHA is a security service to protect your website from bots and spam.

You’ve most likely landed on a site that requires you to tick a box saying “I’m not a robot” and type in some text from an image or click boxes that contain cars or street signs. You may very well be using this service on your own site.

These little puzzles are very easy for humans to solve (in theory!) but difficult for computers – making it easy to sift out the bots from the genuine users.

What’s New in Google reCAPTCHA version 3?
One of the new features of the reCAPTCHA v3 update is that it returns a score for each request. Genuine users should get a score close to 1.0, while scores of 0.0 are almost certainly a bot.

With this score, you can code your website to take different actions (such as blocking traffic entirely or requiring 2-factor authentication for low scores). You can also decide on the score threshold at which you want to take action. A score of 0.5 might prompt a security response for some sites, while others that need tighter security might increase this score to 0.9.

The other major change with version 3 of reCAPTCHA is that it’s now invisible to users – no more trying to read ineligible text or click objects in an image.

Scoring is determined purely by natural user actions such as cursor movements and other behaviours so the user doesn’t need to take any action at all unless they’re identified as being suspicious.

As a Business Owner, What Do You Need to Know about reCAPTCHA v3?
As it’s much more user-friendly, Google reCAPTCHA v3 is great for business owners. There’s no more tricky balancing of the need for security against user experience as it’s all managed automatically under the hood of your website.

The scoring system means you also have finer control over how to manage suspicious traffic on your homepage, login, social media, and e-commerce site.

If you want to use the latest version of reCAPTCHA, you’ll need to follow the Google instructions to update the JavaScript on your site.

It’s important to note that reCAPTCHA v3 is still in the BETA phase and being tested before final release. If you choose to use it on your sites now, there may still be some bugs that need to be ironed out.

At Itomic we’re excited at this huge update for reCAPTCHA. It improves the user experience and so can help to increase conversion rates, while giving you better control over the security of your site at the same time.

However, new software updates always come with the possibility of having security holes, especially in the BETA phase, so we’d advise not upgrading to the latest version until it’s officially released.

Further reading:

https://www.google.com/recaptcha/intro/v3beta.html
https://developers.google.com/recaptcha/


ross | Itomic Web Design Perth & Melbourne June 3, 2018

Price increase for Itomic Drupal Security Contracts from 1 July 2018

By Ross Gerring

Please be advised that, from 1 July 2018, Itomic will be increasing the price of its Drupal Security Contract service offering by 25%.

This is the first price increase for this service since it was offered up in about 2010.

The price reflects the average amount of effort, for an average (size/complexity) Drupal site, to ensure the effective security monitoring and patching of that site. Effort includes:

  1. Itomic’s licence costs for security monitoring software.
  2. The hands-on action of developers to apply and test the patches to the staging version of the site, and later to the live version of the site. Note that we monitor and patch Drupal core files and all installed Drupal modules.
  3. Email communications to our clients to alert them to when patches have been applied to the staging and live sites, plus any additional comms/questions that may arise as a consequence.

We’ve been under pressure to increase the price for some time due to rising labour costs. This year Drupal has been the target of a larger than normal amount of Drupal security issues – some of them highly critical – which has acted as the catalyst for us to raise the price by 25% from 1 July 2018. You can read about the major Drupal core security advisories here: https://www.drupal.org/security

fyi: The new annual price equates to approx 1hr 15min per month per site of labour at our standard hourly rate.

At Itomic we remain, as always, committed to maintaining the security of all the Drupal sites we look after. We do this at price that makes it financially viable for us, and delivers a high quality, peace-of-mind service to our valued clients.


ross | Itomic Web Design Perth & Melbourne March 16, 2018

Itomic doubles data for hosting clients

By Ross Gerring

Today, Itomic has (at least) doubled the monthly data available to shared hosting clients, at no additional cost. Enjoy!

Package Before After
Basic 1Gb 2Gb
Economy 2.5Gb 5Gb
Business 5Gb 10Gb
Enterprise 10Gb 25Gb
Corporate 25Gb 50Gb
Global 50Gb 100Gb
Global Plus 100Gb 250Gb

 

More details here: https://www.itomic.com.au/services/website-hosting/