All posts tagged website design

SEO and Tumblr – Can A Picture Be Worth A Thousand Words?

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SEO and Web DesignTumblr is the new kid on the block in the Social Media world, and it’s turning out to be a fairly hefty one to have around.  The impressive growth of the site is a real indicator of what people want from their online experiences - short bursts of entertainment and instant impact.  Pictures really are the way to go it seems.

SEO is a key aspect of building a successful business website.  Because of this, it’s crucial that web development companies keep up to date with all that’s new in both the SEO and website design worlds, so the popularity of Tumblr is raising a few eyebrows in the industry as we consider whether it will influence what we do.

A major aspect of optimization is, and always will be, content, i.e. text that includes the keywords and talks about the subject.  But websites are becoming much more focused on graphics and visual impact for the very good reason that the audience prefers them that way.  This in turn has been recognised to a large extent by the search engines who have made it known that they give more “link juice” to the text tags associated with images and video clips than they used to.  The reasoning is that such graphic features are good for the user experience and so should be considered when judging how a website should rank in search results.  This is turn makes images and video far more relevant for SEO purposes than ever before.

So what does this mean with the emergence of almost purely image based websites like Tumblr?

Tumblr is a hugely popular social networking site, which is growing at a significant rate.  As such, it has now caught the attention of those looking to enhance their web traffic. However, unlike all that was previously considered sacred in SEO, words are not what draws (and holds) the attention of this particular internet society. It’s all about the pictures and videos. In fact the golden rule is - No articles. While this may seem to oppose traditional optimizing, Tumblr does have its role to play.

What a lot of people don’t realise is that associated with every picture and video is a small amount of text - a label; a caption; a description and a link.  Provided these are used sensibly they can have real SEO value that search engines will pick up and apply towards page rankings. Optimize the title by including a key word, do the same with the description, use custom post URL’s that link back to your chosen page or to further posts, and include your key words and phrases in the Atl-text section. This approach allows the image to catch a web surfer’s interest while containing all your key words.

The power of Tumblr is the number of images that can include this information, which linked to the websites’ own high Google Page Ranking make links from this website really worthwhile.  It’s too early to tell just how valuable they are because it takes months to really assess the effects of new SEO strategies, but one thing’s for sure, the future is all about pictures and video.  The search engines are recognising this, so the smart SEO companies are as well.

Eye-Tracking in Website Design – Seeing in to the future!

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Infrared Eye TrackingImagine you could control your smartphone or laptop with a glance, or a blink of your eyes.  While this may seem like something from a sci-fi movie, it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds.

In fact it’s already happening.

The research and development of eye-tracking has been gathering pace over the last few years, and it’s already in use on numerous devices in military and medical equipment.  The breakthrough has been to make it work in the day to day bustle of everyday life on smaller consumer devices like smartphones and laptops.



The Techie Bit

So how does it actually work?

Three elements are needed to make the wizadry work, a light, a camera and some fairly sophisticated software.   When you look at a device it will shine a light in to your eyes, usually infrared so you’re not even aware of it, and the camera will detect the reflected light from the pupil of your eye.  The direction of the reflected light is then calculated, and the position of the spot on the screen that you’re looking at is noted in the software.  The software can measure movement of the spot on the screen, when you blink, how long you blink for, how long you stare at a particular spot for, and specific patterns of movement such as when your eyes move to the bottom of the screen and stay there.

Most devices that display websites have a small camera attached as standard, and attaching a small light source with the cameras will be a minor addition in the future.

What This Means For Website Design

Eye-tracking is a new feature for web design.  It’s one thing to incorporate it effectively in a pilots helmet costing tens of thousands of dollars, quite another in an iPad.  And there are a whole number of practical obstacles to overcome.   Some people wear glasses and contact lenses. We all read at different speeds and scan across screens in different ways.  Some of us linger naturally on images while others spend more time on the text.  The software has to interpret this variety of behaviours in the way our eyes scan across a screen or web page, and understand when we want an action to take place, or when we just want to look at what’s there.

The designers of this technology are looking at various solutions, from using particular actions, such as using long blinks to be the equivalent of a mouse click, lingering on the edges of a screen as an instruction to scroll, or having extra panels on the edges of the screens with specific action buttons that are activated when focused on.

However the issues are resolved, eye-tracking is an exciting development that could have a significant effect on the design of web pages in the future.  The whole layout of pages, and the features they offer, may evolve in a way the industry hadn’t considered in the past to accommodate the way we actually look at websites, and the speed that we can make things happen, literally in the blink of an eye.

So, to see the future of interactive websites – then keep watching this space…….

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