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mobile devices with google mobile first index

What Does Mobile First Index Mean & How Does It Impact Your Website

By Design, Living Proof Creative, SEO, Web Development

Editor’s Note: Since July 1st 2019, Google has officially switched to Mobile First Indexing. This is an integral change that will have a negative affect on all websites not optimized for mobile experience. Instead of fetching information from your desktop version of the website, and passing rankings based on their usability and SEO, Google is now indexing your mobile version of the website first, and attributes rankings based on mobile experience. Since 60% of the Google searches happen on a mobile device, this industry trend is bound to shape the future of SEO, of your Digital Presence, and your business altogether.

Have you ever whipped out your phone at a restaurant in search of a random fact about a movie, song or book, just to prove that know-it-all friend wrong? Have you ever needed local listings, directions or restaurant recommendations, and instinctively reached for that friendly, glowing rectangle in your pocket?

If you’re a human being in the modern world today, the answer to one, or most likely both questions is probably “yes”. Let’s face it, we are years-deep into the mobile revolution, and there’s no turning back now.

Desktop computers are great. But, of course people are going to use a device that’s by their side 24/7 far more often than a stationary computer screen, or more cumbersome laptop. In fact 3 out of every 5 searches occur on mobile devices now, far surpassing the number of desktop searches. In 2018, mobile has become the new normal.

If you’re in doubt, check out these stats:

infographic “6 mobile industry & site optimization stats”

How, what, and when people search online has changed with the rise of mobile. Images, art, videos & streaming are all impacted, and inevitably shaped by the way people now access the internet.

So, what does that mean for SEO and search engine rankings? How has the mobile-pocalypse affected what shows up on our screens when searching google?

The internet is big, and phones are small (I’m sure you’ve guessed that already). More and more information is added to the internet each day, as phones become more and more ubiquitous. History’s most massive resource of information (i.e. the internet) indexed for an object that fits in the palm of the hand (i.e. your phone) is the next big challenge search engines face.

A “good website” or a high-ranking link on a desktop is not necessarily considered such on mobile. So, Google has flipped the switch and is officially changing its platform to Mobile First Index. This changes the game for anyone who has a website online. It means mobile accessibility is king. It means your website better function on mobile or you’ll be left in the dust.

So, get with the times and meet the new mobile standards with gusto! With big change comes big questions, so here’s some helpful information about Google Mobile First Index.

a mobile devices with google mobile first index

Via: androidguys.com

1. What is Google Mobile First Indexing?

Google became the world’s #1 search engine because the relevance of search results in relation to the user. In the past, googlebots evaluated a website’s relevance based on the desktop version. But, now the majority of their users are searching via mobile, and thus they want the results to cater to this demographic.

Google Mobile First Indexing reflects user trends in hopes to make the web more mobile friendly. From now on, Google will rank the mobile version of your website rather than the desktop version. This applies when searching on both desktop and mobile.

Simply put, if your site is optimized for mobile you will rank well on any computer or mobile device. But if your site is not optimized for mobile your rankings will drop significantly. Google Mobile First Indexing puts well performing mobile sites above well performing desktop sites.

2. How Does a Mobile First Index Affect an Average Website Owner?

Not all websites will have to change due to Mobile First Indexing. There are three website scenarios out there right now. Depending on which one your website is, will determine how Google mobile indexing will affect your website, and what you will need to do to meet the new standards.

• Responsive Sites

There are plenty of mobile responsive sites out there right now. This means the website is designed to function on mobile and desktop. Mobile Responsiveness changes the design of the site to fit the size of the screen. The user experience is entirely different when using a mouse on a large horizontal screen, versus a small vertical touch screen, and good mobile responsive design responds to both.

Now, this is different from “mobile-friendly” design, which means the design is formatted for mobile but remains the same on desktop.

Google encourages mobile responsiveness because it’s the best of both worlds. People won’t stop using desktop computers anytime soon, so when building your website, it’s always best to design for both formats.

For example, Living Proof Creative helped create a full fledged, 360-degree shopping experience for YOLO Board that is completely mobile responsive, as shown below.

desktop computer with yoloboard.com by Living Proof Creative
2 Mobile devices with yoloboard.com optimized for mobile by Living Proof Creative

As you can see on the mobile version, the imagery and font size adjusts for a more visually pleasing experience, as well as a customized category menu. It’s a finely tuned mobile and desktop format.

If your site is mobile responsive, Mobile First Indexing will actually benefit your rankings.

• Separate Mobile and Desktop Sites

This is when a website that has separate URLs for mobile and desktop, also known as an M-DOT site. A good example of this is Facebook. When you search for Facebook on your mobile browser you will notice the URL of the Facebook is m.facebook.com. Before Mobile First Indexing, Google crawled the desktop version, and the website was ranked accordingly. However, with Mobile First Indexing, Google now crawls the mobile version.

For many sites, the mobile version is a stripped-down version of the desktop site. For Google, this can spawn poor search results, as the snippet in the search results may not exist on the the mobile site, resulting in an inaccurate search result.

The comparison below shows how the desktop version of a site contains valuable, rank-worthy content that isn’t included in the mobile version.

screenshots of a home furnishing m-dot desktop site, and mobile version with missing content

Via: Searchenginejournal.com

If your website is an m-dot site, Google recommends that your mobile and desktop versions contain the same content, including text, images (with alt-attributes), and videos. Structured data should be present on both versions of your site. Be sure all the titles and meta data are the same as well.

• No Mobile Site

If you don’t have a mobile version of your website, you’re not alone. There are still a ton of those out there, and Google knows this. Mobile First Indexing won’t write these sites off. The Googlebot will still crawl desktop URLs. However, you won’t receive priority and your rankings will suffer. Mobile First Indexing is just that – mobile first.

A non-mobile friendly sight is very apparent, the moment you see it. Like the example below:

2 Mobile devices, one with a non-mobile friendly site, and one with a mobile optimized site

Via: dentalcmo.com

In order to survive as a online business you must at least be mobile-friendly, preferably mobile responsive. With Mobile First Index, Google is prioritizing websites that look, feel, and function best on mobile.

3. Best Practices for Mobile First Index

Of course the best strategy for Google Mobile First Indexing is to implement mobile responsive design. Create a mobile-first strategy for your website following these best practices.

• Design for Ease of Use on a Mobile Device

Keep it simple! The number one thing to keep in mind when optimizing for mobile is to simplify everything. Remember that users are more likely to view your site using touch screen, so the UX needs to reflect that.

• Make It Fast

Site speed plays a vital role in mobile optimization. More so on mobile devices, users want their information fast. Because of this, Google has now made site speed a factor in Mobile First Indexing. But, we will address that more in depth in the next section of the blog.

• Avoid Interstitial Pop-ups.

No one likes being interrupted, and Google knows this. So, there’s been a crack-down on pop-ups on mobile, also known as intersitals. You want your websites user experience to be distraction-free. Avoid SEO penalties from Google by implementing the call-to-action in a more subtle creative way, in order to keep the leads coming. Like inserting the CTA into relevant content.

Our SEO Team Can Help You Build Leads The Smart Way Without Relying On Distracting POP-UPs.

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Like that.

• Optimize your content for mobile

Content will always be a driving force for your website, and quality meaningful content will have no problem ranking well with Mobile First Indexing. Simply rethink the layout of the articles.

Break up the content into smaller paragraphs, and use pictures and infographics to splice up large, wordy chunks. A balanced combination of written content and visual content will give your users a much better mobile experience.

• Build a Fluid Site Grid

Designing a site grid that is proportionate to whatever screen it’s on, rather than a fixed measurement, is crucial to mobile responsiveness. Phones and handheld devices are getting smaller and smaller, while desktops are getting wider, with increasingly better resolution. Responsive design is not only designing for a smaller screen, it encompasses all varieties of devices. Fluid design works with the strengths and faults of each and every screen dimension and size.

Illustration of a fluid site grid on a smartphone, tablet, laptop and desktop computer

• Implement Flexible Texts and Images

Your website’s fonts and images need to be fluid as well. Be sure your images scale accordingly to the screen size and dimensions. Verify that your images works in both landscape and portrait. Always provide the correct text size for each viewing device, so it is clear and readable.

• Create a User Friendly Mobile Menu

You want your mobile navigation to be short and sweet. Remember to list the important pages first and consider the search navigation as well. Font size and color contrast is key, especially for small screens, so always keep that in mind. And always design the menu for touch.

• Reduce the Need For Text Entry

Use every opportunity to reduce the need to input text. Typing on a mobile device is more difficult, so think of ways to replace the need for typing with a button or list. Mobile users don’t have use of a keyboard or mouse, so find creative alternatives to minimize the challenge of navigating your website.

Mobile device showing a website for Flats on 12, optimized for mobile by Living Proof Creative
Mobile device showing HarrysBoots.com optimized for mobile by Living Proof Creative
Mobile device showing University of Texas Title IX website optimized for mobile by Living Proof Creative

4. Importance of Mobile Speed

A fast website is an all-around useful thing. It reduces bounce rates and encourages conversions. There’s no doubt about it, speed matters.

As mentioned before, speed is another factor Google Mobile First Index will use to rank your website. These days users expect split-second results, and Google realizes this is a real element in making a site successful.

Although speed has been part of Google’s ranking for a while now, the switch to Mobile First Indexing means it will be focusing on mobile speed rather than desktop speed, starting in July 2018.

Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, helps your page load 4x faster and works seamlessly with WordPress to optimize your mobile website speed. AMP is an open-source website publishing tool and is basically a streamlined version of HTML. This “diet-HTML” is lightweight to increase loading speed.

If you’re not sure of your websites speed you can easily check it for free with Google’s PageSpeed Insights. And, if it turns out your website is more sluggish than it should be, Living Proof Creative can help you ramp up the speed.

GET IN TOUCH WITH US FOR A FAST, MOBILE RESPONSIVE WEBSITE.

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5. How to Prepare Your Website for Future Updates?

Google Mobile Indexing has been a long time coming. With the smartphone tech-boom over the last decade, many foresaw the inevitable turn to handheld-device-based searches. So, what’s next?

The web is constantly changing and morphing, shaped by user habits and the rapid rate of technological advancements. So, how do you plan for inevitable future updates?

Keep the users first. Understanding user trends is the safest way to ensure your website is relevant. That’s how Google operates. User demand is the largest determining force for Google Mobile Indexing, and it will be for the next update, and the next one after that.

Many predict a deviation from URLs and a higher emphasis on APIs. Though we are a ways off from a complete app take over, things seem to be trending towards web-app experiences. Apps are more difficult to build and maintain, but they are a customized, user friendly experience with faster load times.

The future of indexing for Google is pretty clear. In order to work between URL, API and all web based entities, artificial intelligence has to be utilized. CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, even said, “We will move from mobile first to an AI first world.”

For now, having a mobile responsive website filled with relevant content is all you need to have an impactful presence online. But, it’s always good to look ahead. Is your company ready to start planning for the future? Living Proof Creative can help you transition into the dynamic, user engaging world of API development.

GET A FREE CONSULTATION TODAY, AND START TO DREAM BIG

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eCommerce Website Checklist: 5 MUST-DO’S

By Living Proof Creative, SEO, Web Development
News flash: This “internet shopping” thing is here to stay

While it’s obvious that online shopping is an ever-growing juggernaut, that isn’t slowing down anytime soon, some B2C vendors are completely unaware of how competitive the eCommerce market is- in spite of the record breaking number of online transactions across the board, year after year.

Part of this growth is due to users getting more comfortable shopping from their mobile devices. Though not all users expect the same process. Some want to purchase the products as fast as possible, while others are looking for a more thoughtful and considered approach involving detailed, in-depth product descriptions.

If a website fails to enact a buyer’s preferred channel of communication, a great number of conversions can be lost, and the company will cease to exist to a large number of users.

But how do you know what is your audience looking for?

While we can’t read the minds of your buyers, in the following checklist you will find 5 fundamental elements that customers have come to expect from an online shopping experience.

As we move into 2018, the overall level of sophistication that the average online shopper will come to expect from eCommerce transactions will raise significantly. You better be sure your website is ready!

Checklist

#1Be prepared for an increase in the number of mobile users.

Even though your website looks “decent” on a mobile device, you should take a look at your competitor’s website. If their website is loading faster than yours, and provides a better overall user experience – there is a legitimate chance your next potential transaction will end up going with your competitor instead.

In fact, Google claims that 61% of users never return to a website they’ve had trouble accessing, and 40% of those users will reach out to a direct competitor.

But, how many of them actually use mobile devices? A great deal of them! 82% of internet users own a smartphone, and 6 out of 10 searches on Google come from a mobile device.

Prioritizing mobile-responsiveness and presenting a website that loads within 5 seconds or less won’t be a competitive advantage for too long. It is swiftly becoming a necessity.

#2 Make sure your checkout process user friendly.

In order to increase the conversion rate of your website, you will need to address a myriad of ongoing components essential to your online marketing strategy. But the best place to start improving conversions is at the checkout page.

For various reasons, 4 out of 5 shoppers will navigate away from your checkout page without completing their order.

In average, 1 out of 3 users don’t complete their purchases simply because they are having issues navigating through the checkout process. And 6 out of 10 will leave the website the moment they are faced with an unexpected cost. Customers will even abandon a transaction simply because a site uses a different payment system than they’re used too.

That’s quite a leaky funnel, right?

Learning how your users interact with your website, and intelligently guiding their decisions, should be your #1 priority if you want to build relationships and increase sales.

Also remember to follow up with the customers you’ve lost and never stop improving.

#3 SEO brings ROI.

Search Engine Optimization continues to play a vital role in online marketing, and with good reason…

93% of users start their internet journey through a search engine. Almost all of online interactions start on Google, Bing and Yahoo.

But mostly Google, of course.

Google’s advertising revenue accounts for 40% of the internet’s total digital ad spending, and that revenue is larger than the entire print industry in the US.

The most important and valuable thing that Google Analytics and online marketing efforts delivers over traditional marketing methods is transparency in ROI, and a much larger reach to a broader audience.

In average, leads gained through SEO efforts have a 14% closing rate. When compared to your average leads closure of 2%, it is evident why more and more companies are investing in SEO.

Although Google best practices and guidelines are always being updated, they are extremely transparent when those changes are made, and the data gained through following these closely is an indispensable asset for your company’s growth.

#4 Do your product pages actually sell? And how much do they cost you

If you are selling products on your website, there is a high probability users that are looking for your products won’t actually land on your website’s homepage.

Most searches will direct them to the page of the product they are interested in. At this point, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have a call to action on that page?
  • Are related products accessible from that same page?
  • Does your customer know that you have free shipping options?
  • How high quality are your images?
  • Are all item specifications correct?
  • Am I giving them an option to change quantities?
  • Is the description clear enough?
  • Is that description optimized for search engines?
  • How about the title?
  • Is there an add-to-cart button on each product page?

… this list could go on forever.

Optimizing user experience, and encouraging sales through each one of your assets becomes even more vital as you add more product SKUs to your website.

If efficiency equals profit, having a simple and easy to use content management system should be your priority. Do you know how many legitimate leads are left unattended due to a website’s own inefficiencies?

If you are able to have your content management organized to the point where all your offers are updated, optimized, and captivating in design – you will be able to close 50% more deals without a hitch!

You need a fast and up to date inventory management system, a fully customizable interface, and total control over your assets. Having all of these in place will help you to streamline your sales and nurture more leads to your business.

#5 Don’t Forget to Encourage Relationships.

Ask yourself these questions. All of them have simple answers, and what is even better- all of these answers can be automated!

  • Q: When a user lands on your website, is it clear on how to navigate to the items they are interested in?

A: Your website design should be intuitive, and support your user’s journey throughout.

  • Q: If they want to get in touch, how convenient is it to reach your support or sales team?

A: Your customers should be able to contact you with a simple click of the button. 50% of your buyers will do business with the vendor that responds first.

  • Q: When a legitimate lead decides to leave your website without making any action, do you have a follow up plan in place?

A: You should be tracking all leads that are leaving your website, and have a strategy in place to regain their attention.

On average, 72% of internet users will choose to do business with a vendor who kept the lines of communication open. Not just in terms of customer service, but also with your design, your marketing strategy, your brand image and more.

What makes Living Proof Creative different?

Living Proof Creative is a team of proficient web design, development, marketing and sales experts. We deliver your products and services to your buyers, so you don’t have to rely on multiple companies and solutions for each individual aspect of your web presence.

All the work is done at a single place. Your brand image design, your content needs, your marketing funnels – we take care of it all to ensure your business’s growth.

Plus, isn’t it way more convenient only having to dial one number when you have questions?

We have all the answers.

Contact us to get a free estimate







The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Project Management App or Software

By Living Proof Creative, Web Development

Managing a project can sometimes feel like you’re herding cats.

Project management software can create order out of chaos, and help keep all your ducks (or cats) in a row. It’s one of the most widely used business tools on the market today, and its users range from restaurants to programmers, and even large scale construction projects like renovating and modernizing London Underground.

So, how do you organize your team? Is it a time-suck just to assign menial tasks? Are you stuck exchanging emails with your workers all day? Is your workflow as effective as it possibly can be? At some point every business needs to streamline its process to achieve the highest potential. Use project management software is imperative to finishing projects on time and within budget.

As a matter of fact, according to a 2013 PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 97% of high-ranking officials believe that project management is crucial to the performance and success of their business.

Though the same report found the use of commercially available project management applications increases performance and boosts growth- almost 45% of project managers today use no software whatsoever.

So, do you think you can successfully manage a project without an app?

Why is PM Software SO Important?

Managing teams and projects via email and Skype groups is challenging in the best case scenario. At times it’s nearly impossible.

If you’ve ever tried it, you know that team members that are not on key email chains are often left in the dark. What’s worse, important emails get buried in overstuffed Gmail inboxes on regular occasions.

So when your employees don’t have a clear idea about who’s working on a certain project or how close the project is to completion, and if your organization of tasks isn’t on point, your work, your deadlines, and ultimately your budget, will suffer.

This happens more often than you think.

According to research conducted by the Standish Group three years ago, less than 33% of all projects were completed on time and on budget. And while we don’t have any more up-to-date surveys, it’s doubtful the situation has improved much since then.

So, let’s say you want to start using PM software. Where do you begin? With so many PM systems out there, how is one to make a pick between all of them?

What Do YOU Need?

Team managers have a metric ton of responsibilities and face too many challenges to count on a daily basis, but what exactly leads one to use PM software?

Well, according to recent findings from The Access Group, some of the most common reasons to use Project Management software include capturing time and/or cost of projects, lack of integration, poor resource management and lack of visibility into work in progress- just to name a few.

Image Source: www.theaccessgroup.com

This leads us to your needs and as a team manager, you want an app that:

  • Is easy to set and use
  • Doesn’t involve any hidden costs
  • Lets you manage your team
  • Enables you to see the projects at-a-glance
  • Encourages team work for project success

To sum it all up – you should look for an app that has an abundance of team management features, plus an overview of everything, all rolled up into a dashboard that covers every single piece of data you’re interested in.

Of course, the app you chose also has to fulfill the needs of people who are using it as well…

What Does YOUR TEAM Need?

Let’s face it – your team members probably want to move from spreadsheets. And so should you, considering that various studies over the years have shown that almost 90% of them contain human errors (88% to be exact, but that still means almost 9 out of 10 have errors).

Managing your projects with spreadsheets is difficult, rather time-consuming and ultimately inefficient. As an alternative, team members should want an app that:

  • Doesn’t require too much training to use
  • Allows them to manage both small and large projects
  • Lets them choose different methodologies (waterfall, agile or anything in between)
  • Is accessible from both the office and their home (so they can work on the go)
  • Allows them to have real-time access to their projects and tasks

Three Crucial Features of PM Software

Crucial Feature no. 1: Accessibility

First, you need to pay special attention to the following two features:

  • Reports:Reports give you a quick snapshot of every project metric you desire. In most cases you have to manually build them out, however, you can also automate the process.
  • Dashboards:Your dashboard gives you a real-time insight into a number of metrics, and allows you to see the state of your project on a single screen. Also, a dashboard only needs to be set up once, and it’s there for the life of your project.

Since telecommuting has become so popular in recent years (some people also like to bring their work home), being able to access project data at any time and any place is crucial.

You can always get a product that is hosted on your own network, meaning it is only available when you and your team members are in the office. This provides some additional security, but cloud-based software has become the norm in the past couple of years.

Although the estimations vary drastically (Gartner, for instance, predicts that the cloud infrastructure will grow almost 37% this year), everyone agrees that cloud usage will definitely grow. And with more services available online, this is surely the way that your team expects to work.

Image Source: www.gartner.com

Crucial Feature no. 2: Workflow

If your company is relatively small, or you work for a small agency – a simple, free PM tool is all you need to manage everything, from your budget to your clients. But if you’re working as a part of a larger company, you’ll need to take a couple more things into consideration before making your pick.

You have to be sure the app fits into your overall workflow and is compatible with the other software you’re using. For example, if you need to have your customer profiles connected to your projects, your PM software needs to be compatible with your sales team’s CMR software.

But we’ll talk more about specific software integrations in the next section. At the moment, we need to stay on topic and talk a bit more about workflow.

Did you know that some apps allow you to deactivate other tools? This can gives you less tools to switch between, and presents a more clear view of your project performance.

If you working with a smaller team, you’re probably working on a tight budget, so you’ll be glad to know this also saves you money. Let’s say the PM you choose has budgeting and task management capabilities – there’s no reason to pay for different software with the same functions.

Crucial Feature no. 3: Integrations

So, what about integrations? Should you pay much attention to them? Simply put, the answers to these questions depend on the nature of your workflow.

For example, if you run an organization that works with multiple clients at any given time (like a digital or a PR agency), you’ll need an app that has time-tracking capabilities that allow you to bill your customers accordingly.

Every business has its own distinctive needs – a content marketing institute faces completely different challenges and naturally needs an app that integrates with SEO software. There are literally hundreds of different examples.

But you should be aware that not all PM tools allow you to sync data between multiple applications. Therefore, you should look for ones like Zoho and Asana that do.

And this brings us to the second part of our little guide, where we take a look at some actual project management apps…

Top Project Management Apps

Due to their importance and growing popularity over the years, different developers have designed hundreds and hundreds of different project management apps – and the number is steadily rising.

So if you want to get the most out of these apps, you naturally need to stay updated on the best on market at all times. In order to help you stay on top of things, here’s a quick look at some of the most popular project management apps listed alphabetically.

Pros

It doesn’t require any downloads and has a great mobile platform; reporting tools are fantastic for managing, estimating, and enabling you to track expenses and payments within the app.

Cons

Since ActiveCollab is a web-based platform, if things go down on their end you can lose access to your projects. Also, project searching and filtering isn’t great, and email alerts aren’t all that helpful.

Who is it for?

ActiveCollab 5.0 is a simple yet powerful project management app that allows both small businesses and large corporations to manage everything from task management to invoicing easily.

Pricing

Small Plan ($25 per month for 5 employees); Medium Plan ($49 per month for 15 employees); Large Plan ($99 per month for 30 employees); Extra Large Plan ($199 per month for 60 employees); Mega Plan ($299 per month for unlimited employees); Self-Hosted Plan ($999 per month for unlimited projects, clients and employees).

Pros

Asana is really flexible. It’s somewhat quick and responsive, and the free version allows you to add up to 15 team members. Their support is above-average. It is feature-rich and has a strong HTML5 design.

Cons

It doesn’t have a desktop app (which maybe a big turn off for some). It’s not ideal for graphic-intensive projects and its uptime and load times have room for improvement.

Who is it for?

The free version design, interactive elements, and member allotment works well for small teams, while the paid version provides additional features needed for more complex project management.

Pricing

Free Package (up to 15 people); Premium Package ($9.99 per employee, per month); Enterprise Package (you’ll need to contact the company for pricing details).

Pros

This app is really flexible and has a large selection of plug-ins; conversations are streamlined, so they are easy to follow. The desktop and mobile app both work great and it’s quick to start using.

Cons

Some 3rd-party apps like Dropbox and Google drive need additional services to connect; tasks cannot be divided into multiple projects (or teams), and it could use better reporting.

Who is it for?

Basecamp is probably the most well-known app on our list. Its recognition is well deserved, and it’s a great solution for medium and large companies, but the price-tag might be a problem for smaller ones.

Pricing

Free Trial (up to 60 days); Basic Package ($29 per month for internal teams – 100GB of storage); Advanced Package ($79 per month for use with clients – 100GB of storage); Enterprise Package ($3000 per year – 2TB storage).

Pros

Projects on Casual are presented like templates (which will save you so much time). It shows task dependencies on a visual workflow. It’s easy to integrate with multiple users and it’s inexpensive.

Cons

It lacks detailed reporting. It also lacks flexibility (it still can’t be integrated with Slack or other PM tools). When it comes to making sub-tasks, it isn’t perfect and it won’t work for big teams (size of 50+).

Who is it for?

Casual is incredibly intuitive, so it works great for personal projects and for managing projects for small teams. But if you’re managing a large team, lack of flexibility will probably make you look elsewhere.

Pricing

Free Trial (14 days); Personal Package ($9 per person, per month); Group Package ($29 per person, per month); Team Package ($49 per person, per month); Department Package ($99 per person, per month); Enterprise Package ($189 per person, per month).

Pros

The most obvious benefit of Freedcamp is that the app is free for an unlimited number of users. It supports SMS notifications that keeps everyone connected at all times and add-ons aren’t costly.

Cons

It isn’t actually built to handle agile methodologies; although it covers traditional project management, it doesn’t have gnat charts and it doesn’t allow you control who views and edits projects.

Who is it for?

Since there’s no limit to the number of users that can work on the platform, the free version is perfect for micro companies and small business that are working on a tight budget.

Pricing

Free Package (unlimited number of users); Lite Package ($3.99 per month – Google Drive integration, Subtasks Pro, etc.); Business Package ($8.99 per month per user per month – Tam Wikis, Issue Tracker, etc.); Enterprise Package (you need to contact the vendor for pricing details).

Pros

It includes a full list of task management features (from grouping tasks by project to setting priorities). It allows you to track burn rates to minimize any costly surprises and allows you to build custom reports.

Cons

Microsoft Projects doesn’t allow the management of a product backlog. The user-friendliness isn’t great and it takes some training to get used to the software. Plus the pricing can be an issue for some.

Who is it for?

It has plenty of features that are popular with project managers, but seeing how the app is quite costly and rather difficult to use, it’s recommended for larger teams and experienced professionals.

Pricing

Project Lite ($7 per employee per month); Project Pro for Office 365 ($25 per employee per month); Project Standard ($589.99 for unlimited users); Project Professional ($1,159.99 for unlimited users).

Pros

The level of customization with this app is great, which makes Podio a highly-customizable tool. The company updates software on a regular basis and the app scales easily for a growing business.

Cons

While there’s a free version of the app, it’s really limited; it doesn’t have any time-tracking capabilities. There are no image markup or PDF tools, and it has a lackluster permission structure.

Who is it for?

Features like social intranet and CRM (not to mention the price) make Podio a great choice for medium-sized and large-sized companies alike.

Pricing

Free Package (up to five employees); Basic Package ($9 per employee, per month); Plus Package ($14 per employee, per month); Premium Package ($24 per employee, per month).

Pros

Trello is primarily an app (not a site) and you can use it on any screen size. Real time updates are surprisingly fast. Creating tasks and assigning someone to them is simple and it’s completely free.

Cons

It doesn’t have a calendar or a gnat chart. It only allows you to write simple descriptions and not documents or wiki about boards and it needs a stronger integration with other tools.

Who is it for?

Unlike Microsoft Projects, Trello is completely free, and user-friendliness is one of its main attractions, so it’s great for smaller companies with little to no experience.

Pricing

Free Package (unlimited members, boards, lists, checklists and attachments); Business Class Package ($9.99 per employee per month – unlimited Power-Ups and more integration); Enterprise Package ($20.83 per user per month when paid annually – personalized onboarding assistance, better support, 2-factor authentication, etc.)

Pros

Wrike supports an unlimited number of projects (which is great for larger organizations). It includes time-tracking for all of your projects and it offers fully-customizable reports and dashboards.

Cons

The interface can be confusing for some; stronger integration with other tools is needed. Designing a long-term task calendar can be difficult and the mobile app is inferior to the desktop version.

Who is it for?

This cloud-based app is suitable for the needs of both small and medium businesses, but larger companies can easily find solutions in the same price-range that will satisfy their needs.

Pricing

Free Package (unlimited cards, lists, boards, members, etc.); Business Class Package ($9.99 per month – bigger file attachments, more integration); Enterprise Package (by quote – onboarding, file encryption, 2-factor authentication, etc.).

Pros

Zoho includes a number of integrations with other services. It’s extremely feature rich. It’s quite easy to setup and use (the interface is rather responsive) and it offers a good value.

Cons

If you want to have bug-tracking, you’ll have to spend a few additional dollars. The cloud support isn’t all that great and the program doesn’t even have a drag-and-drop function.

Who is it for?

Zoho is basically intended for SMBs with multiple departments that want to keep their documents segmented and well organized, but it also works fine for large businesses across every industry.

Pricing

Free Plan (one project); Express Package ($25 per month for 20 projects); Premium Package ($50 per month for 50 projects); Enterprise Package ($80 per month for unlimited projects).

Key Takeaways

First you need to consider all the features that the project management software should include.
You should also take the tools you currently use and your company’s framework into consideration.

remember to check for data integration and synchronization opportunities. The last element in your decision making process should be the app’s price, simply because a software’s features and capabilities are far more important than the price.

According to Information Week’s Enterprise Project Management Survey, roughly 87% of high-performing companies use some kind of PM software – and for a good reason.

So join the winning team and start using an efficient project management tool as soon as possible.

What is user experience?

By Design, Living Proof Creative, Web Development

USER EXPERIENCE IS A FEELING

To put UX (User Experience) into words is tricky. It has to do with an emotional reaction- a gut instinct. In a broad sense UX is an investigation of humanity’s nuanced and swiftly expanding relationship with computers. UX analyzes how a user feels when interfacing with a website, a web application or desktop software. Though feelings are not quantifiable, UX attempts to understand what drives us, evokes and inspires us.

UX dictates design, like a blueprint, and happens during a project’s discovery phase. Designers gather data using competitive analysis and analytic software. This info is then applied to wireframes, user flow charts, and prototypes. But at it’s core, UX is about a user’s reaction to interactions and can be experienced in two different ways:

Active Interactions:

These are knowable interactions a user has with a website such as clicking a button or scrolling the page; like the hover effect used on the CTA. It’s a voluntary action like opening a car door or ordering from a restaurant.  If a website’s interface is user-friendly and efficient the active interactions will be positive. But, how do you create positive active interactions?

Creating engaging content is the best way to keep users enthralled. There’s no trick. Quality content is guaranteed to make meaningful interactions.

Simple Navigation encourages the average user to interact with a website. Most visitors are impatient and won’t stick around if things are too complicated.

Calls to action (CTA) grab the user’s attention. A creative, strategically placed CTA increases user interaction and achieves business goals like: acquiring emails, promotions, and more. It’s a win-win.

Passive interactions :

These are instinctual responses a user has with a website. It’s like watching a sunset. Most people don’t analyze why they are moved by a beautiful vista, they simply enjoy it. Human factors like science, psychology, information architecture and user-centered design principles play major roles in creating a positive user experience.

But, because humans are a jumble of past experiences and opinions, their perception of things vary. It’ s important to keep in mind that perception is truth to the perceiver. If a person thinks sunsets are dumb, it’s pointless to try and change their mind. So, UX designers rely on best practices (pre-set development and design standards) when building a site, adhering to what is generally accepted. Most people enjoy sunsets, but you can’t please ’em all. So, here are a few good UX Best Practices to design by:

Design through understanding. The better you know your users, the more informed design decisions you can make.

Simplify your content. Don’t bog down users with info when they first visit your site. Keep content on the homepage simple, like an overview, then provide more detailed info on other pages or posts.

Don’t give users too many options. Users need to be able to understand and complete an action. If the process is too confusing, or there are too many choices, they will quickly become overwhelmed and leave.

Use narrative to design an emotional experience.When you choose images to tell your story, it can pay off to focus on what sets your brand apart from your competition. This will make your story more personal, and help your users identify and connect with your site over others.

Yummy Spoonfuls launches Target Exclusive Brand

By Design, Living Proof Creative, Web Development

Yummy Spoonfuls is a premium organic baby and toddler food that will now be available at an affordable price point at Targets across the country. People magazine reported today that the collaboration between Camila Alves and Agatha Achindu is the result of a labor of love to provide their children with the most nutritious and delicious food right from the start.

The exclusive line of products for Target offers not only a new kind of eating experience for tots, Yummy Spoonfuls has created flavors and meals that will appeal to all ages, from babies to those of us who are just young at heart.

Visit a Target store near you on June 12th to pick some up for yourself and your brood- or visit the Living Proof Creative designed and developed website at www.yummyspoonfuls.com to learn more*!

*Full Site to be released on June 8th, 2016

LIVNG PROOF CREATIVE