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Drew Thomas is an entrepreneur, a consultant, and an ecommerce expert. He's currently working on an ecommerce platform called Really Simple Store. He previously cofounded and ran Brolik, a digital agency, as CCO and then CTO. He lives in Austin, TX.
Advanced website builders — the tools provided by Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, The Grid and more — produce websites that look and feel like they were designed and coded by humans. They’re also software as a service, which is a different business model than traditional, custom-developed websites.
So, should companies use them? At some point, will they replace custom development? In short, yes.
We have a lot of passwords to remember, and it’s becoming a problem. Authentication is clearly important, but there are many ways to reliably authenticate users – not just passwords. Passwords are written off as inconvenient and unavoidable, but even if true a few years ago, that’s not true today. Due to a combination of sensors, encryption and seasoned technology users, authentication is taking on new (and exciting) forms.
Most other interaction patterns have been updated over time, but no one wants to mess with password authentication. It’s too serious. Or there’s too much liability. You know, like if you don’t clear the password input after someone types the wrong password, their credit card information is at risk.
Digital experiences are emulating real life more and more every day. This may seem counterintuitive, considering the hate that rains down on skeuomorphic visual design, but there's a lot more to emulating real life than aesthetics.
Interface designers can emulate real-life physics and movement on a digital screen. This type of motion is becoming more common, which is why it's becoming easier for people to understand computers. We're not getting better, the interfaces are!
Information about customers has never been available on the scale it is today. Businesses are learning new ways to leverage data to improve themselves on a daily basis. They’re realizing that data collection and data analysis have a measurable return on investment, and decision-makers are asking to see them.
As a developer, business owner or marketer, you need to know how to gather data and how to do it efficiently and in a scalable way. Furthermore, you need to understand what that data means and how to present it.
When considering a mobile Web strategy and weighing responsive Web design against a separate mobile website, the most important metric is how functional the website is for the user. This goes beyond better content organization for smaller screens.
Mobile (and desktop) websites should be easily found, easily shared, fast loading, easy to maintain and easy to build on. If we keep that in mind, considering where the Web is today and where it looks to be going, there are many compelling arguments for responsive Web design.
With all the talk about responsive Web design, designers and coders are moving even further from the fixed pixel layouts of design’s print-based history. We’re finally thinking in terms of fluid layouts and expandable, interactive content. But when you get down to it, we’re still thinking of the fluidity in terms of desktop, tablet and mobile sizes.
Chances are that your responsive websites have media query breakpoints at precisely the tablet and mobile widths, essentially creating three different versions of a website with the same code. While this is much more ideal than what we’ve all done until now, it’s not always the best way to approach things. Often, our content breakpoints (the viewport widths where content should be reformatted) are different from common device breakpoints (the viewport widths that reflect physical devices).