Tag Archives: Web Design

App to the Future: Top 5 App Development Trends for 2016

Over the next five weeks, the Mystic Media Blog will be launching a series exploring the top app development trends for 2016 and featuring apps that demonstrate the ways in which each trend can be creatively applied. While this article will introduce you to each of the top trends, be on the lookout in the coming weeks for our in-depth expansion upon each individual trend.

With apps having amassed significant popularity over the past few years, many businesses are looking to enter the arena and develop their own app. Some apps are designed to generate revenue on their own, while others are built to support internal or eCommerce business processes. One would be hard-pressed to find a business which wouldn’t receive a boost by a well-developed app.

As we embark on 2016, it’s vital to consider the future of app development when investing in the creation of an app. Here are the top app development trends to look out for in 2016:

1. Cross-Platform Development

A business cannot control the devices which its customers and employees utilize. Between smartphones, tablets, computers, and now wearable devices, it’s vital to create apps with cross-platform functionality to ensure they are accessible by the widest range of users.

2. Cloud Integration

The cloud represents a major technological advancement over the past few years. With Apple, Google, and Amazon all monetizing clouds for consumer use, expect cloud integration to rise in popularity in 2016. The cloud will allow apps to sync data from various devices, making them a major tool to aid cross-platform development.

3. Emphasis on Security

In 2015, several massive data thefts took place, including 87 million patient records from Anthem and 21.5 million security clearance apps from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The European Union is currently crafting a General Data Protection Regulation designed to strengthen and unify data protection. Security will be a major concern for app development in 2016, especially for large businesses and government agencies.

4. Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) has gained traction with the advent of wearable devices. IoT attracts value on a case-by-case basis with specific IoT components designed to solve a specific problem. For those unfamiliar with IoT, here’s an awesome introductory video by Intel:

IoT has emerged as a major area of growth in the tech world which will only continue to expand in 2016. One study by IDC shows IoT spending will reach $1.7 trillion in 2020.

5. M-Commerce

With Paypal facing competition from Venmo, Apple Pay, Android Pay, and more, mobile commerce has become the norm. As consumers seek easier payment methods, app developers in 2016 will be working toward designing apps with safer, faster, easier transaction processing.

Mystic Media is an Android & iOS app development, web design and strategic marketing firm located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Contact us today by clicking here or by phone at 801.994.6815.

Rise to the Top of Google SEO with Responsive Design

When designing a website, web developers have both practical and aesthetic concerns. From a practical standpoint, a website must reach and connect with its core audience. Due to the rise of mobile technology, it’s important for a site to have mobile functionality so that it can reach the multitudes surfing the web on their mobile devices. The most efficient, cost-effective & effective way is to develop a responsive website. Responsive design not only helps reach a mobile audience, it also increases overall SEO so that the website will rank higher in search engines.

For those unfamiliar with responsive design, check out this quick 60-second review:

When it comes to SEO, Google is king. As of October 2015, studies show the massive tech titan owns about 63.9% of the search engine market share. In February 2015, Google announced they will be emphasizing mobile-friendly search results. In their own words: “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.”

In accordance with their announcement, Google Adwords charges less for a keyword when the landing page is optimized for mobile. Responsive websites represent a major incentive for advertising on Google since responsive design guarantees presentation will accommodate the device regardless of whether it’s a mobile device or a computer.

Responsively designed sites offer a common landing page for all devices, consolidating the amount of links and improving the SEO. If a desktop or laptop user iMessages the link to an iPhone, they can click on it and immediately prompt the same web page rather than a different page optimized for mobile. Instead of duplicating content with separate sites for mobile and desktop mediums, responsive design ensures brand and information continuity with a singular master site.

According to Sociomantic, over half of online shoppers use more than one device. A responsive website not only ensures a consistent UI and brand experience, it eliminates maintenance cost by reducing the amount of websites one is required to maintain. The better a site is, the lower the bounce rate is, and the higher it will rank in Google. For businesses looking to succeed, responsive is almost always the best form of web design.

Mystic Media is a web design and application development company based in Salt Lake City, Utah and specializes in responsive design. For more information, click here or contact us by phone at 801.994.6815.

5 Trendy Web Design Techniques to Modernize Your Website

In the age of digital commerce, it’s vital to have a spiffy website. Even if a business does sell its products online, the first impression customers have of a brand often stems from the website. A messy website brings to mind a messy product. In this post, we will examine how 2015’s upcoming web design trends present ways in which to improve websites to make them look modern.

1.    Nail Your Landing Page

The landing page is the first impression a visitor has of a website, thus it’s a great opportunity to dazzle the viewer. Many websites have landing pages which are not only physically big, with imagery and design taking up most of the screen, but also large in metaphorical scale. Check out the website of Born Group, a creative media company with an extremely ambitious landing page.

Born sells something intangible—creative services. Their product is the ability to provoke emotion. As a creative agency, it’s vital for them to establish that they produce emotionally riveting content. The image of the ape is not only beautifully photographed, it’s powerful. If a prospective customer were on the verge of hiring Born Group, they would indubitably be swayed in the right direction from the moment they hit the landing page.

2.    Video Rules

For some companies, going for a message as big as Born would come off as overly self-involved. Born has an intangible product and sells B2B (Business-to-Business). They need to sell an idea and if they bring in a single project, it will pay for a big-budget investment in their site.

For smaller companies with tangible products, it’s important to put the product itself front-and-center. One way of doing this is to embed a video on the landing page of your site. For example, check out the salivating video on the landing page of Dunwell Donuts, a vegan Brooklyn donut shop.

The video succeeds on nearly every level. It makes the viewer crave donuts, artfully portrays the product, and tells the story of the founders of the business in an extremely intimate manner.

3.    Tell Your Story

The primary accomplishment of the Dunwell video is in the arena of storytelling. The Dunwell video tells the story of the company brand in an intimate way. By the end of the video, the viewer feels like they have a good sense of who runs Dunwell Donuts and what donuts mean to them.

A video is a cost-effective way of telling the personal story of a brand. Storytelling is a powerful medium because it creates an emotional connection between the viewer and the subject when executed effectively. For a business (especially a small business), this translates directly to brand loyalty. We’ve detailed other ways in which one can tell the personal story of a brand in our Parallax Scrolling article.

4.    Flat Design

Minimal web design is in. Apple’s design technique, flat design, is defined as “a style of interface design which removes any stylistic choices that give the illusion of three-dimensions (such as drop shadows, gradients, textures, or other tools that add depth) and is focused on a minimalist use of simple elements, typography and flat colors.”

Flat design is visually sleek and virtually inexpensive way of displaying one’s brand in a modern way. Check out some of the best flat design websites on the internet here.

5.    KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)

A really well-designed landing page with minimal content looks much better than a lot of redundant, visually lacking pages. For an alternate approach to the donut vertical, check out the site for Elsie’s Donut Shop. It’s flat, minimal, sleek and to the point, stressing the products.

With the internet working more and more as a gatekeeper for customers to select which businesses they choose to solicit, modern aesthetics have a direct impact on business. Equipping a business with a sleek, modernized website puts them in the best position to excel in the marketplace.

Mystic Media is a web design and application development company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information, click here or contact us by phone at 801.994.6815.

Parallax Scrolling: How the Latest Cutting Edge Web Design Can Increase Business

Web design trends are constantly changing. The latest and greatest today is Parallax Scrolling.

Parallax Scrolling websites are generally large one-page sites. As one scrolls down, the background images move by the camera slower than the foreground images, creating the illusion of depth. Oftentimes different animations are launched during the course of scrolling which generally cover different topics. It’s like having multiple pages in one stream-of-consciousness scroll.

Here’s a basic example of a Parallax Scrolling website.

There are many benefits to Parallax Scrolling websites. For one, they are aesthetically pleasing. The user experience is no doubt greater than any other common form of web design. Instead of forcing the user to explore the site, they need only scroll down to take in the information at the pace the web designers desire.  When creating a website for a single product, Parallax Scrolling sites can be very useful because they allow the designer to show off all the different features of the product without having to create separate pages.

Here’s a great example of a parallax website utilized to display all the different angles and functions of a single product.

Parallax Scrolling also allows the web designer to create a story and control the way in which the user experiences the narrative. Parallax Scrolling gives the designer unparalleled control over the pace at which the user takes in information. Again, the user only has to scroll down, they are much more likely to see the animations created by scrolling down than to have to click around different pages and explore to find information.

Check out this awesome example of how to tell the story of your brand through a Parallax Scrolling website.

Parallax Scrolling can also have a positive effect on Search Engine Optimization. Having a one-page-site means a reduced the bounce rate, the number of visitors who move to another page without exploring, which is beneficial for SEO.

Another benefit is the increased mobile and tablet user experience. Traditional websites involve several pages which all need to be customized for mobile and tablet devices. The time it takes to redirect on a mobile or tablet device can be tedious. Parallax Scrolling utilizes one-page, reducing the redirection time for smartphone and tablet users. If created with responsive HTML (Check out our post Responsive Web Design Is the New Web Design), you’re guaranteed good mobile and tablet user experience, so long as the user’s device isn’t outdated.

Due to the emphasis on cool, crisp visual presentation, Parallax Scrolling sites are more likely to attract social sharing, and thus will attract greater traffic. If the design is crisp enough, a parallax scrolling site could land itself on one of these best of lists.

Parallax Scrolling websites are generally created using HTML5 and CSS3. Although they are high-tech, they also come with their share of cons. For one, due to the heavy use of animations, Parallax Scrolling sites can take longer to load. They also may not function smoothly across all web browsers. Because the designer is in control of the pace of the scrolling, it can also be frustrating to users who want to consume information faster, or confounding to less tech-saavy users who are confused by the set-up.

Overall, Parallax Scrolling is the most visually-pleasing, high-tech aesthetic one can choose for their website. Although it’s pricey and complicated to create, it’s the most dynamic form of web design used today, and, when designed effectively, the most engaging way to lure traffic to a web page.

Mystic Media is a web design and application development company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information, click here or contact us by phone at 801.994.6815.

Why Venture Firms Are Investing More and More in Educational Technology

What if we could go back in time to the 80s and invest in the PC tech boom on the ground floor? Unfortunately we can’t, but one present-day equivalent is educational technology: a burgeoning, constantly evolving business–and it’s just getting started. Each year, technology gets more and more entrenched in the educational experience, whether it’s the rising prominence of mobile devices, or the use of iPads in schools everywhere from Beverly Hills to India. Within a decade, the amount of money venture firms invested into ed-tech startups has quadrupled from $600 million annually in 2012, to an estimate of over $1 billion in 2015. There is not only a need for technology, but at all 4,600 colleges in the US, there are million-dollar budgets dedicated to educational technology. By getting into the game today, one can entrench herself in the educational process and make major profit by becoming a part of a business which will not only sustain, but evolve with technology.

The number one educational technology tool utilized by every college is a Learning Management System, or LMS. The LMS functions as a centralized web system for all academics, supporting syllabus creation, online test-taking, announcements, assignments, and integrated with instructional technology tools.

While Blackboardmaintains the majority of the LMS business, more and more leading universities are seeking alternatives, and the competition is scant–the only major LMS solutions on the market are Blackboard, Canvas by Infrastructure, and Desire2Learn. LMS solutions can charge in a variety of ways. Some charge based on how many users, some based on how many courses are necessary, and others charge an annual site license fee. LMS solutions, like IOS, are constantly evolving with new versions. The money continuously roles in each year, making LMS a crucial money-maker in the educational technology industry.

Mobile seems to be the keyword when it comes to education in 2014. Whereas previously smartphones were the enemy of the instructor, an all-to-easily accessible distraction, schools across the world are now using mobile devices to enhance the state of learning and create a more interactive classroom. For example, Student Response systems have become prevalent in higher education, allowing instructors to interact with students to collect and aggregate data on the fly. Student Response systems generally use clickers, but recently, companies such as Poll Everywhere have developed apps which allow students to use their mobile phones as clickers, making it easier to collaborate. There is a major demand for creating mobile and tablet apps which allow instructors to interact with students. The key to developing educational apps is not to create for the individual, but rather to create a platform for collaboration. The best teachers involve the students. We retain more wisdom out of experience than we do out of textbooks. If one creates a useful, convenient platform for mobile collaboration, money will be made.

The beauty of educational technology applications is that they are easy to market since people love to give them publicity. If a company creates a useful, innovative tool, the blogosphere takes notice, and because colleges are constantly competing, the effective technologies spread like wildfire–meaning major growth and profit for a new and innovative product. Sites like EdProspect.com sell tech information to vendors and schools looking to sell and buy cutting edge educational technologies. Technologies designed for schools can also be rebranded for businesses and even governments. When an educational app serves multiple purposes, the customer base grows, as does the profit.

Technology and higher education are staples of American culture and have evolved rapidly in the past 10 years without showing signs of stopping. Get into the educational technology game now, execute effectively, and watch as you yield major profit and visibility for your company.

At Mystic Media, we’re always looking for the next big vertical. When called upon, our mobile development, marketing, and web design services will give your business the tools to succeed. With our expertise, we can make your application idea, education or otherwise, a reality living up to its fullest potential.

To learn more about our services contact us today at www.mysticmediasoft.com or by phone at 801.994.6815.

The Use of Color In Your IOS App

As our interactions happen increasingly in the digital realm, color psychology has become entrenched in the way we experience the world.

Apple’s IOS 7 recognizes this and allows users to customize the colors of their apps. In designing your app or website, you want total control in how the user experiences your brand. The color scheme will subconsciously affect users. It’s no mistake Facebook and Twitter, two of the biggest social media websites in the world, utilize blue as their key color. Blue is calming. Blue makes you think of the sky or the ocean, those serene moments you have to appreciate the beauty of the world. The use of blue, in either case, makes you want to return, creating a soothing effect. In situations of boredom or social awkwardness, we want to return to the social tranquility of Twitter and Facebook, where the user has total control of to whom, what and when he/she responds.

Whether or not you are synesthetic, any given color triggers a specific response, on which a UX web/app designer must capitalize.

Synesthesia is the neurological phenomenon in which one sense triggers another. For example, when musicians like Kanye West explain how they are able to SEE sounds in colors, thus the way they experience creating music feels to them more like painting, a “sonic landscape”. Synesthesia is a philosophically mind-bending piece of evidence toward the interconnected manner in which we experience the world–our five senses interpreting different aspects of the same information in service of creating a physical truth. It’s also vital to your app design.

As with all aspects of UX app and web design, use of color serves two purposes: aesthetic, and functionality. Aesthetically, you want to use color create the proper emotional response to your brand. IOS 7 recognizes current color trends and capitalizes on the emotional landscape to benefit the user. With the recession and political landscape, U.S. consumers are gravitating toward brighter, more radiant colors for comfort. IOS 7 allows users to customize their color palate, leaning toward nuanced, joyous colors such as lighter blues and purples, as well as red-tinged oranges.

In creating your app, you must take into account the association users have with the colors you use to create the best possible user experience. Green, like blue, is associated with nature, as well as intelligence, and wealth. Purple is regal, lavish, as well as feminine. Pink is ultra-feminine, but also stylish. Red is an alarming and stimulating color. It’s attention-grabbing, stressful and threatening, but also confident. Stop signs and red lights are obvious uses red’s potential. Yellow is equally stimulating, though less obnoxious. Yellow is known to increase concentration. Also vital is the use of white, black, and grey to create negative space. A color overload seems unprofessional, it’s important to focus on two or three main colors in your scheme. The right color scheme for your brand depends entirely on your corporate identity.  At Mystic Media, we’re confident we can put our finger to the pulse of your company or application idea to create the best possible digital reflection.

With regard to functionality, color is vital to separating the various sections of your application or website to increase usability. Skeumorphism is officially old-fashioned. In the era of flat design, users will decipher the functions of buttons and links based on color. Users utilize color more than they do text in exploring the digital world, thus its important to color-code the different sections of your app or website based on theme. USA Today recently redesigned their website, color-coding each of the sections and drifting away from the idea of making the digital reading experience mimic the print. The IOS 7 separates apps based on colors customized by the user. Although you could allow users to customize your color scheme, at Mystic Media, we believe it’s more confident to establish your brand through a tactical color scheme.

Ultimately, the color scheme is a reflection of the personality of your company. It’s important to trust your instincts. Or trust ours at Mystic Media. We’re dedicated collaborators confident in both taking direction and creating aesthetics to maximize the potential of your app or website.

Contact us today at http://www.mysticmediasoft.com/ or by phone at 801.994.6815

Responsive Web Design Is The New Web Design

Ultimately, a website serves two functions. As an advertisement of the website’s brand, reflecting the values of the company through the color scheme and visual outlook, and as a functional website, requiring usability for users to navigate, understand, and utilize the information and tools provided. Combined, these two factors create the aesthetic through which online visitors judge a company. By staying up to date on the latest trends, the website owner can maximize the quality of its internet visibility, boosting the perception of the company.

The web design landscape is constantly changing as technology continuously upgrades. With the emergence of smartphones came expectations for companies and websites to set-up a mobile presence equally as functional as their desktop site. If your company expects to stay current, you must keep up with current trends. At Mystic Media , we specialize in Responsive Design and recommend it for all of our clients.

Companies utilize a number of tactics for their mobile presence. Some choose to design a mobile app link to website  which acts as a mobile website. Others design a whole other mobile site acclimated for easy browsing on mobile devices. Without adaptation, websites which perform slowly on mobile platforms are left in the past. The most common trend in web design confronting this problem is “Responsive Design”.

Responsive design entails a website which readjusts itself depending on what platform it’s being viewed on, be it desktop, mobile, or tablet. Responsive design has become the new norm in the web design field, about 8/10 websites on the internet are of responsive design. Whether or not a client specifies they are seeking a responsive site, they generally expect it.

Responsive design saves money on development with a one-size-fits-all model. Instead of developing a separate site or application for mobile users, the main website serves all screens, from desktop, tablet, and mobile, thus maximizing functionality. The consistency also solidifies your brand continuity.

Responsive design has been around for about five years. During that time, has emerged as the mainstream favorite visual aesthetic for web design. Flat design can actually work concurrently with responsive design, as flat design is primarily a visual aesthetic utilizing vibrant colors, simple shapes, and more white space with large typography, increasing the ease of usability in browsing layouts.

Gaining popularity when Microsoft  unveiled its “Metro” interface with Windows 8, flat design has the most modern, futuristic look, disregarding the notion of skeumorphism, a design term meaning digital graphics which reflect the physical object, (for instance a digital calculator which looks like a physical calculator). By abandoning traditional physical design, one can maximize the functionality of the digital tool. For example, it seems archaic to navigate between the buttons off the calculator with the mouse when one can just type them.

Combining the functionality of responsive design with the visual aesthetic of flat design generally yields the most futuristic, impressive web layout in the current online climate. A poorly constructed or outdated website gives off the same unprofessional impression as a dilapidated office. Don’t let an antiquated design scheme drag your brand down, stay up to date using responsive design with a flat aesthetic.

Mystic Media is a leader in responsive web design and can help your company save time and money. Contact us to learn more.