With consumers spending more and more digital media time on mobile apps, it becomes essential for websites to deliver optimal user experience.  The trends in website and web application development keep changing from time to time. Your business website must meet the latest trends and customer expectations to accomplish higher conversion rate and drive online sales. The website also needs to deliver optimal user experience across various devices – computers, smartphones and tablets – to keep visitors engaged and convert them into customers. You must consider redesigning the website to make it user-friendly and deliver user experience across varying devices. Also, website redesign will help your business to acquire new customers and drive sales.

7 Reasons Why You Must Redesign Your Business Website without Any Delay

1) Customers spend more digital media time on apps

A large percentage of web traffic nowadays comes from mobile devices. Most customers nowadays access websites and web stores on their smartphones and tablets. But they spend most of their digital media time on mobile apps. Hence, it becomes essential for you to make the website deliver richer user experience across computers and mobile devices. Your website redesign strategy can focus on responsive web design to make the website accessible and look good on varying devices with a single code base. Also, you can test the redesigned websites across browsers, devices, platforms, and networks to determine the measures required for improving its user experience and engagement.

2) Customers abandon slow websites

While ranking websites, Google uses loading speed as a key search engine. Also, most visitors nowadays abandon websites that take more than three seconds to load. Hence, the loading speed of your business website will impact its user experience as well as search engine ranking. You can opt for website redesign to make the website load faster and prevent user abandonment. While redesigning the website, developers will increase its loading speed by implementing caching, optimizing images, compressing website resources, reducing number of server requests, and using content delivery networks (CDNs). Also, they will use a number of tools to measure the website’s loading speed across devices.

3) The website needs latest tools, plugins and APIs

Often developers use web frameworks to simplify and accelerate custom website development. Also, they use various plugins and application programming interfaces (APIs) to enhance the website’s functionality, performance, and interoperability. But tech companies and communities keep upgrading these plug-ins and APIs regularly. Likewise, certain open source plugins and extensions become obsolete due to lack of constant support. Hence, your website must use the most recent version of third-party tools and get rid of the obsolete tools to remain functional and deliver richer user experience. While redesigning the business website, developers will upgrade the third-party tools and replace the obsolete tools.

4) Persuade customers to share the website on social networks

Many enterprises nowadays measure the popularity of their websites based on social media share. Several businesses even launch digital marketing campaign to persuade users to share website content and links on popular social networking platforms. When you decide to website redesign, it becomes easier to make the website content and links more appealing.  Also, you can accentuate the social media shares by including presentable titles, descriptions, and thumbnails in each web page. The social media share will further help you to divert more visitors to the website and increase conversion rate.

5) Add new functionality to the existing website

The website redesign strategy gives you adequate scope to add new features and functionality to the website. You can even consider customizing the website redesign strategy according to your present and future business requirements. For instance, you can convert your existing website or blog into a web store by incorporating eCommerce functionalities at the time of redesigning. Likewise, you can add a blog to the existing website to provide fresh content and updated information to customers. Hence, you can consider redesigning the website to keep it up-to-date and meet your long-term business needs.

6) Simplify website content publication and promotion

The quality of website content impacts its user experience and search engine ranking. You can update the website content regularly to divert search engine traffic and engage the visitors. The content management systems (CMS) make it easier for entrepreneurs to create, publish, and promote website content without putting extra time and effort. You can take advantage of a robust CMS to implement a robust content marketing plan and overcome impact of frequent search engine algorithm updates. While redesigning your business website, the web application developers can integrate a CMS into it to facilitate content creation and distribution by targeting customers and search engines.

7) Reduce bounce rate and increase conversion rate

The web analytics tools and services make it easier for business owners to collect, measure, and analyze website data. You can use web analytics to monitor the behaviour, preferences, and interests of visitors. Also, web analytics will help your to measure bounce rates and conversion rates. But you need to explore ways to reduce bounce rate and increase conversion rate to generate more sales revenue. While redesigning the website, you can easily reduce bounce rate by improving the website’s layout, navigation, content, and performance. Likewise, you can prevent user abandonment and improve conversion rate by making the website accessible on varying device and load faster.

On the whole, website redesign will help your to keep the website relevant and up-to-date. While redesigning the website, you can add new functionalities to improve customer experience and meet long-term business requirements. Also, the redesigned website will help you to keep the visitors engaged and convert them into customers. Hence, you can always invest in website redesign to get higher returns over a longer period of time.

Often small enterprises and start-ups lack the skills and resources required to build and maintain custom web applications. The full-stack developers make it easier for these businesses to reduce development cost and time by building both frontend and backend of web applications. In addition to being proficient in widely used client-side and server-side technologies, a full stack developer must understand databases, web servers, networks, and hosting environments. Also, he must understand how to make the web application interact with external services and applications by using APIs. Hence, enterprises must know the important full stack developer skills required to accelerate custom web application development.

Essential Skills to Look for While Hiring a Full Stack Developer

Frontend Technologies

Each full stack developer must be proficient in building blocks of a website – HTML, CSS and JavaScript. He must know how to add content to the website using HTML and styling the website content using CSS. At the same time, he also needs to the language features and functions of a widely used client-side programming language like JavaScript. However, it is also important for the developer to know how make the website look good on varying devices by combining HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. He must use responsive web design to make the website accessible on both computers and mobile devices with a single code base.

Backend Technologies

Like HTML, CSS and JavaScript, server-side programming languages are also an integral part of full stack web application development. The developer has option to write the backend of a web application in a number of server-side programming languages – PHP, Java, Ruby, Python, C# and JavaScript. The full stack developer must know the pros and cons of each server-side technology to choose the right server-side programming language. Also, he must be proficient in multiple back-end language to handle application logic, database operations, and user authentication efficiently. However, no enterprise should expect the developer to have proficiency in several back-end programming languages.

Databases

Many enterprises nowadays use their web application to collect, store, and share a wide range of customer and business data. Hence, each enterprise uses a robust database to store the data securely and access the data conveniently. But some enterprises opt for relational database management systems (RDBMS), whereas others prefer non-relational database management systems. An enterprise also has option to choose from several SQL and NoSQL databases. The full stack developer must understand the pros and cons of individual SQL and NoSQL databases to meet business needs. Also, he must know how to connect the database to the specific server-side programming language, use in-memory data stores, and scale databases. At the same time, the full stack developer also needs to know to how to store user data – sessions, cookies and cached information – in the web browser through web storage.

Hosting Environment

Nowadays, full stack developers must focus on development, testing, and deployment to accelerate custom web application delivery. In addition to building frontend and backend of a web application, the developer also needs to know website deployment process and web server management. He must know how to create a robust development environment, and deploy the web application on a physical or virtual server. To deploy the web application properly, the full stack developer has to focus on connecting the application to remote web servers, managing server programs, managing users or user groups, and managing firewall or access permissions. At the same time, he also needs to use robust version control systems to backup, update, and share the code efficiently.

Web Frameworks  

Many enterprises nowadays opt for full stack development to overcome resource constraints. But each enterprise requires the full stack developer to deliver custom web applications quickly. No developer can simplify and accelerate custom website development without using web frameworks and development tools. The libraries, code snippets, and tools provided by web frameworks help developers to add functionality to the website without writing additional code. A developer has option to choose from a wide range of web frameworks according to the server-side programming language. Hence, he must be familiar with several widely used web frameworks, in addition to understanding the pros and cons of each framework. The web application developer must choose the right web framework to build custom websites rapidly according to varying business needs.

Quality Assurance

Modern project management methodologies do not consider software development and software testing as two separate processes. They emphasize on testing the software continuously throughout the software development lifecycle. The full stack developers nowadays have to perform a variety of tests to assess the web application’s user experience. Also, they have to repeat the tests across devices, platforms, browsers, and networks to produce more accurate test results. Hence, a full stack developer must know various types of web application testing and widely used web application testing tools. He needs to perform and repeat the tests required to evaluate the web application according to predefined business needs.

UI and UX

The trends in web application development keep changing from time to time. The full stack developer must track and implement the latest web application development trends to optimize the website’s user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). He has to combine HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript to make the website’s UI responsive and appealing. At the same time, he also needs to focus on the factors affecting the website’s UX – slow website speed, complex navigation, and lack of in-built security features. The full stack developer can work on various factors affecting UX to improve the website’s search engine ranking and keep the website visitors engaged.

Mobile Optimization

Several studies suggest that consumers spend more time on mobile apps than mobile web. Hence, each website nowadays needs to deliver optimal mobile user experience to keep the visitors engaged and convert them into customers. While developing a new website, the full stack developer must explore ways to make it accessible on both computers and mobile devices. Also, he needs to test the website with varying devices, platforms, and browsers to identify and repair the issues affecting its mobile user experience. Hence, it becomes essential for the full stack developer to know how to make the website deliver richer user experience across devices.

On the whole, a full stack developer must possess a wide range of technical and non-technical skills to build custom web applications according to precise business needs. In addition to being proficient in web technologies and web frameworks, the web application developers also needs to understand business needs clearly, create technical specification, and meet project deadlines. Hence, an enterprise must focus on both technical and non-technical skills of the full stack developers to build custom web applications rapidly according to its precise needs and objectives.

In August, Microsoft released .NET Core 2.0 and ASP.NET Core 2.0. The updated version of .NET Core comes with several new APIs. It even enables developers to port these APIs to .NET Standard Library without writing additional code. The developers even have option to port .NET Core 2.0 across devices and platforms. Likewise, ASP.NET Core 2.0 comes with a new coding paradigm called Razor Views. The developers can use Razor View as a lightweight version of MVC to create simple web pages with a single file containing models and controllers.

Microsoft complements .NET Core 2.0 and ASP.NET Core 2.0 with an updated version of Visual Studio. Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.3 provides a set of new APIs for the updated versions of .NET Core and ASP.NET Core. At the same time, it comes with an array of new features to facilitate development of smarter ops, help enterprises to adopt DevOps, and improve application testing and debugging. Hence, it becomes essential for developers to understand the new features and enhancements provided by the latest version of Visual Studio 2017.

New Features and Enhancements in the Latest Version of Visual Studio 2017

.NET Framework 4.7

The updated version of Visual Studio supports .NET Framework 4.7. It also provides several new tools for platforms supporting .NET 4.7 runtime. The development tools help programmers to avail improvements related to ASP.NET, BCL, CLR, ClickOnce, SQL, networking, workflow, Windows Forms, and WPF. The developers can even run their existing applications seamlessly on the latest version of .NET Framework.

C# 7.1

The latest version of Visual Studio 2017 supports C++ language services and comes with Visual C++ toolset and libraries. At the same time, it supports C# 7.1 and its new language features. The programmers can use the latest version of Visual Studio to take advantage of several new language features provided by C# 7.1 including default expressions, async main methods, pattern-matching with Generics and default literals. They can further use the development tools provided by the IDE to write high quality C# code.

Azure Functions and Sign-in

The updated version of Visual Studio 2017 comes with several features to simplify Azure development. The tools provided by the IDE makes it easier for programmers to write C# Azure functions. The developers can even use the tools to create pre-compiled C# Azure functions that start faster than conventional script-based functions. The developers can also use Azure sign-in to access a variety of Azure services.

Built-in Continuous Delivery Tools

The updated version of Visual Studio does not require developers to use continuous delivery tools as extensions. The programmers can now avail continuous delivery tools as an integral part of Visual Studio. They can use the tools provided by the IDE to configure continuous integration builds and deployment of the build to Azure App Service. At the same time, they have option to configure continuous delivery for ASP.NET and ASP.NET Core projects by targeting Azure App Service.

Improved Container Support

The developers can now use Visual Studio 2017 to develop containers across many platforms. The attest version of Visual Studio supports content development on .NET Core with Windows and Linux. Also, it allows developer to build containers for .NET Framework apps with Windows Containers. At the same time, the developers can use robust tools provided by the IDE to debug .NET applications more efficiently in containers.

Improved IDEs

While using the latest version of Visual Studio 2017, the developers can use an improved version of Visual Studio Editor and .NET Editor. The new keyboard accessibility menu included in the Visual Studio Editor enables developers to access the accessibility tips and tricks documentation through a shortcut. Likewise, the users can use the dedicated UI to select the desired debugger in open folder scenarios.

Visual Studio 2017 further reduces solution load to make it easier for programmers to increase build stability and speed. At the same time, the updated version of .NET IDE comes with a number of new code fixes and refactoring. The developers can further name the variables easily based on the variable names suggested by IntelliSense.

Redesigned Editor

The updated version of Visual Studio Editor comes with several improvements and fixes. The developer can use the updated editor to scroll and navigate manually while adding a large number of errors. Likewise, they have option to switch from high contrast themes to a new variant of the Blue theme. The editor even allows developers to navigate between adornments smoothly while using a screen reader. They can see line annotations and navigate through multiple annotations simply through shortcuts.

Debugging and Diagnostic Tools

The latest version of Visual Studio 2017 allows developers to download symbols for Visual Studio Team Services Symbol Server and set the symbol paths to the development environment. The developers can even keep pressing the Ctrl key to resume application debugging each time debugging stops at an endpoint. They can even use the new templates for Open Folder to choose from three distinct types of debuggers – native, managed and mixed. Visual Studio 2017 even allows developers to use live unit testing feature for .NET Core, ASP.NET Core, and .NET Standard projects.

SQL Server Data Tools

Visual Studio 2017 comes with features to make SQL Server a cross-platform RDBMS. The SQL Server Data tools provided by the IDE make it easier for developers to work with various versions of SQL Server, SQLDB, and DW on Azure. Also, Microsoft has fixed a number of issues found in Redgate Data Tools, SQL Prompt, and SQL search.

Improved Python and R Tools

The latest version of Visual Studio comes with a number of new features for Python and R programming languages. While working with Python, programmers can avail features like improved localization, and improved accessibility in keyboard navigation, screen readers, and high contrast. Likewise, the R programmers can avail features like improved IntelliSense experience, better Azure connectivity, and improved accessibility.

Microsoft has already released the first preview of Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.3. The upcoming version of Visual Studio 2017 will support .NET Standard 2.0 and come with features to accelerate development of Windows Universal Apps. Hence, the dot net developers need to monitor each new features provided by each upcoming version of Visual Studio 2017.

As collection of template files, WordPress themes make it easier for developers to create graphical user interfaces for websites without writing longer lines of code. Each developer also has option to choose from a large collection of free and paid WordPress themes according to the precise needs of individual websites. But many developers prefer creating custom themes to make the web applications looks different and deliver richer user experience.

As code libraries, WordPress theme frameworks make it easier for developers to create custom themes. The features and functions provided by these frameworks make it easier for theme developers to avoid writing additional code. Also, the developers can follow a set of standards for theme to build WordPress themes according to prevailing industry standards. At the same time, the developers can also curtail theme development cost significantly by using a number of open source WordPress theme frameworks.

Understanding Various Aspects of WordPress Theme Frameworks

Parent Theme Template

The developers can use WordPress theme frameworks as parent theme templates. The frameworks contain the required functionality and packages into a single folder. The developers can load the framework simply by dropping the framework folder into the new parent theme. Also, they can add custom styling by creating child themes based on the parent theme. The framework allows programmers to store customizations in the child theme, while hosting all functions in a centralized location. The separation makes it easier for developers to make changes to the theme without modifying the child template.

Core Functionality

As noted earlier, the developers have option to choose from a wide range of free and paid WordPress theme frameworks. The features and functionality provided by individual frameworks differ. But each framework accelerates custom WordPress theme development by providing pre-defined code like custom functions, custom action hooks and custom filter hooks. The custom functions can be used in themes, custom actions hooks are used in theme template, and custom filter hooks are used for generating theme content. At the same time, the theme frameworks also include custom callbacks for core WordPress action and filter hooks, script library integration, and theme options page integration.

Advantages

The widgets, functions, and pre-defined code provided by WordPress theme frameworks enable developers to develop custom themes according to varying requirements. Also, the frameworks make it easier for programmers to enhance code quality and create themes according to latest industry standards. The developers can even use the frameworks to modify or upgrade the custom themes without altering the styling functionality of the child themes. Most popular theme frameworks are supported by large communities. The community will help developers to resolve new issues and problems efficiently. Hence, the developers can use WordPress theme frameworks to create, maintain, and upgrade custom themes without putting extra time and effort.

Disadvantages

Each WordPress theme framework comes with loads of functionalities. Also, the features provided by individual frameworks differ. Hence, the developers must choose the right framework based on the functionalities required by each project. Also, they need to invest both time and efforts initially to learn the hooks and filters of individual frameworks. They even need to ensure that the core files remain unaltered while customizing the themes. Many developers opt for free frameworks to curtail custom WordPress theme development cost significantly. But the free frameworks often lack some of the robust features provided by paid frameworks.

Popular WordPress Theme Frameworks

Each developer has option to choose from a wide range of WordPress theme frameworks according to his precise needs and objective. Some of these themes are open source and free, whereas others are licensed and paid. Also, the popularity of individual frameworks differs. The developer can always consider using one of the widely used WordPress theme frameworks like Cherry Framework, Hybrid Core, Runway, Gantry, Genesis, Divi, Headway and Themify.  Each framework comes with an array of features to accelerate custom WordPress theme development. But the paid frameworks come with robust features like sliders, search engine optimization (SEO) widgets and drag-and-drop functionality.

On the whole, the developers can use WordPress theme frameworks to accelerate custom WordPress theme development. They also have option to choose from a wide range of WordPress theme frameworks. But the features provided by individual frameworks vary. Likewise, the learning curve of individual theme frameworks also differs. Hence, the developers must evaluate various WordPress theme frameworks according to precise needs and objectives of each project.

As highlighted by several studies, modern users spend more time on mobile devices than desktop and laptop computers. A large percentage of modern users even access websites and web applications on their smartphones and tablets. They even expect the websites to look, feel and function just like mobile apps. Hence, it becomes essential for enterprises to keep users engaged by optimizing their websites and web applications for varying mobile devices. You must focus on the accessibility, functionality, performance, usability, and user experience of its website to make it deliver optimal mobile experience. Also, you need to explore ways to make the website deliver optimal user experience across many mobile devices and platforms.

10 Tricks to Optimize Your Web Applications for Mobile Devices

1) Switch to Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design makes the website look good and deliver richer user experience on a variety of devices. The web developers can further use the same code base to optimize the website for various mobile devices and platforms. The single code base makes it easier for developers to add new functionality to the website or deliver updated content without putting extra effort. They can further use a number of responsive technology frameworks to optimize the website for computers, smartphones, tablets and phablets at once.

2) Focus on the Website’s Navigability

To keep the user engaged, you need to ensure that the website is navigable on a variety of mobile devices. The users must be able to navigate the website completely with a single hand. Also, they must be able to read the website content on smaller screens without any hassle. You also need to make sure that buttons, tap elements, menu navigation and other elements of the website are optimized for touch screens.

3)  Keep the Design Clean and Simple

Most users nowadays avoid websites that look complex or cluttered. So you need to ensure that the website keeps the mobile device users engaged, and convey the desired message within a few seconds. While optimizing the website for mobile devices, you must opt for a design that is both simple and clean. At the same time, you need to optimize graphics, videos and copy for mobile devices to make the website work seamlessly on devices with smaller screens.

4)  Keep the Website Content Concise and Catchy

The website content also needs to be optimized by keeping in mind the choices of mobile device users. The smaller screen sizes of mobile devices often make it difficult for users to read lengthy and unstructured website content. Also, most users keep scrolling the page while reading the content. That is why; you need to make the website content clean. But it is also important to keep the content catchy enough to keep the users interested and engaged.

5) Include Mobile Icons

A number of studies have highlighted that many modern people prefer mobile apps to mobile websites. Many users even expect the website to function like a mobile app, while taking advantage of the native features of the underlying devices. So you have to explore ways to make the website look and feel like a mobile app on various devices. You can always make the website look like an app by conveying instructions or information to users through commonly used mobile icons and symbols. For instance, you can always use commonly used mobile icons to replace phrases like share on social networks, tap to call, and find the menu.

6) Optimize Website’s Loading Speed

The loading speed and performance of a website will directly impact its popularity among smartphone users. Many users still access mobile websites on slower internet connections like 2G and 3G. So you need to ensure that the user can access the website on their mobile devices with a variety on networks and internet connections. You can easily boost the loading speed of the mobile website by cropping, resizing and optimizing images for mobile devices. Likewise, media queries will help you to strip down the high resolution images used by the desktop version of the website.

7) Optimize Forms for Mobile Devices

You can easily receive user information and input by including a number of forms in the mobile website. But you must not forget to optimize the forms for mobile devices. The mobile version of the forms must ask the users to submit minimal but key information. You need to explore ways to reduce the number and size of fields in each form. For instance, you can take advantage of the GPS to remove zip, city, state and similar fields from a registration form.

8) Use HTML5 Videos

You can always embed short videos in the mobile websites to keep the users engaged, and convey the desired message more effectively. But the video clips often impact the speed and performance of a mobile website. So you must consider using HTML5 videos to enable users to access the videos without installing any additional extension or plug-ins. HTML5 further make the videos look good on a variety of mobile devices, without affecting the overall speed of the website.

9) Avoid Using Pop-up Windows

Often common features included in the desktop version of the website affect the user experience of its mobile-version adversely. For instance, desktop websites commonly used popup windows to convey attractive offers to users or make them submit specific information. But the popup windows will affect the user experience of a mobile website directly and adversely. So you must avoid using popup windows while optimizing the website for mobile devices.

10) Consider Delivering Personalized User Experience

You can always make the website behave like a mobile app by delivering personalized user experience. The website can easily deliver personalized user experience by taking advantage of native features of the mobile devices like GPS. You can always avail the geolocation feature of the mobile device to help the users find nearby stores, avail relevant offers, and make payment in the most appropriate currency. You can even use the features to enable users to stay connected with the most relevant social community.

While optimizing your website for mobile devices, you must not forget to test is thoroughly and repeatedly. You must deploy seasoned testers and invest in robust mobile app testing tools to assess the application’s accessibility, functionality, performance, usability, and user experience across multiple mobile platforms and devices. The test results will help you to assess the mobile user experience delivered by the website. Also, you can optimize the application for mobile devices more effectively based on the testing results.

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