Keana Lynch

About Keana Lynch

Keana has led and consulted for over 35 Higher Education projects (so far) and is Beacon’s expert in CMS and Accessibility. She specializes in the analysis, design, and implementation of websites, focusing on user experience, accessibility, multi-device interactions, and technical best practices. Joining Beacon in 2010, she's worked on nearly every major Higher Ed project, including Lees McRae College, Husson University, Del Mar College, Guilford Technical Community College and Jacksonville State University. Keana earned an Associate’s Degree in Web Technologies from Guilford Technical Community College. She's a regular speaker at Higher Ed conferences, presenting on accessibility and CMS/Cascade development topics, such as academic program page design and ADA compliance testing.
22 03, 2012

Top Mobile Browsers

By | 2017-06-16T12:40:13+00:00 March 22nd, 2012|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , , , , , |

Within the mobile phone landscape, there are at least ten operating systems (OSs) and fifteen browsers that require consideration when testing. Web developers should concentrate their testing efforts on smartphones. All good mobile browsers run on one smartphone platform or another. To get stats of popular browsers in your country there’s only one source of mobile browser market share information: StatCounter.

Apple, Google, Samsung, and RIM default browsers are among the top browsers because they support touch events and are all based on the WebKit rendering engine. The next level of mobile browsers include Opera Mobile, Palm WebKit for webOS, and MicroB, the Gecko-based default browser for Nokia’s Maemo OS. These browsers do not support touch events, and zooming varies in each implementation. From a pure CSS and JavaScript point of view however, you’ll encounter few problems. Of the three, Opera Mobile is the most important, because it serves as a default browser for many Windows Mobile devices where the vendor decided IE wasn’t good enough. Currently, it’s an alternative for Nokia WebKit on Symbian, the largest mobile OS.

Below is a list of all the current mobile browsers, there special features, operating systems, and devices they can be found on. Some of the browsers do not come default on phones but are among the top browsers used today.

  • Opera Mobile
    • Key Features: Multiple tabs, Zoom-in
    • Operating System: Windows Mobile, Symbian
    • Devices pre-installed with Opera:
      • Nokia N90
      • Sony Ericsson P1
      • Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1
      • HTC Touch Viva
      • HTC Touch Diamond
      • HTC Touch Diamond2
      • HTC Touch Pro
      • HTC Touch Pro 2
      • HTC Touch HD
      • HTC HD2
      • Meizu M8
      • Creative Zii
      • Samsung i900 Omnia
      • Samsung i8000 Omnia II
      • Sendo X
      • Motorola ROKR E6
  • Opera Mini
    • Key Features: Compressed downloads for fast browsing, Zoom-in
    • Operating System: Java
    • Devices pre-installed with Opera Mini:
      • Motorola V980, E2, L7, i1
      • Nokia 2610,3120c, 2700 Classic, 2730 Classic, 3500c, 3600, 3600 slide, 3710 fold, 3720, 6085, 5130, 5230, 5500, 5310, 5610, 3110, 7373, 6131, 6233, 6600 slide, 5070, E65, N95, N71, N73, 5000, 3110c, 6288, 6103, 6080, 6303, 6300and 8800 Arte
      • Sony Ericsson K310i, K530i, K550, W200i, W760i, Z530i, Z550i, Z780i, W910i
      • Samsung X160, E570, E420, F480, X510, X650, E900, E250, U700, ZV60, D900i
      • LG K880, KU250, KE970, and KU311
      • SAGEM My411x and P9521
      • BenQ-Siemens EL71 and EF81
      • BenQ EZ1 fight
      • Orange Rio (ZTE-G X991)
  • Skyfire
    • Key Features: Display rich websites with Flash or widgets like YouTube, customizable zoom feature
    • Operating System: Android, iPhone, Symbian, Windows Mobile
    • Devices compatible with Skyfire:
      • Android 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2
      • iOS 3.1.3, 4.0, 4.1
  • Safari
    • Key Features: Display rich websites like YouTube, zoom feature, excellent touch-based user interface
    • Safari accounted for 62.17 percent of mobile web browsing traffic in October 2011
    • Operating System: iPhone
    • Devices:
      • iPhone
      • iPod touch
      • iPad
  • Google Android
    • Key Features: Display rich websites, zoom feature, touch screen interface
    • Operating System: Google Android
    • Devices:
      • Android powered phones
  • Microsoft IE for Mobile
    • Key Features: Standard browser features
    • Operating System: Windows Mobile
    • Devices:
      • IE Mobile comes loaded by default with Windows Phone and Windows CE.
  • Firefox Mobile
    • Key Features: Mutiple tabs, Awesomebar, password manager, Add-on support, PC-syncing
    • Operating System: Nokia Maemo, Windows Mobile 6.0 (alpha)
    • Devices:
      • Android 2.1 and above devices with an ARMv7 CPU
  • Dolphin HD
    • Key Features: Gesture browsing, Webzine, tabbed browsing
    • Operating System:  Android, iOS
    • Devices:
      • Android
      • iPad
      • iPhone
  • Blackberry Browser
    • Key Features: Standard browser features
    • Operating System: BlackBerry OS
    • Devices:
      • Blackberry devices
  • S60 Web Browser
    • Key Features: Standard browser features
    • Operating System: S60
    • Devices:
      • S60
      • Symbian Mobile Phones
      • Nokia N8
      • Nokia E6
      • Nokia E7
      • Nokia C6-01
      • Nokia C7
      • Nokia X7
      • Nokia 603
      • Nokia 700
      • Nokia 701
3 10, 2011

7 Factors to Consider When Redesigning Your Website

By | 2016-11-23T10:22:40+00:00 October 3rd, 2011|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , , , , , |

There are very few, if any, websites on the Internet that don’t undergo at least a minor facelift at some point in their lifecycle. If you own a business with a web presence, at some point, that site will need to be redesigned, whether it’s due to the changing nature of your business, or purely for aesthetic reasons.

Redesigning your company site can be a major undertaking, so we’ve put together a helpful list of things to keep in mind when considering a redesign.

1. Why Are You Redesigning?

This is perhaps the most deceptively complex, yet obvious question of all. Before undergoing any redesign, however, it’s important to understand what it is you wish to accomplish. Are you unhappy with the way your site functions? Do you simply want a better-looking site? Do you need to improve search engine rankings and sales conversions? Maybe the focus of your business has shifted and it’s time for new content.

These are all important factors to consider, so before you start, make a detailed list of what it is you wish to accomplish during the redesign. This will help guide you through the rest of the process and make sure you stay focused on the end goal.

2. What Type of Redesign Do You Need?

Now that you’ve decided exactly why you want to redesign your site, it’s time to decide just how far down the rabbit hole you need to go. Perhaps a small change in visuals and content is all that’s necessary. On the other hand, you may need to add new features or completely redo your underlying code base. Depending on your needs and budget, a large overhaul may be out of the question, or it may be the most cost-effective long-term solution, so take a moment to think about your needs going forward and work with your developer to strike a balance that best meets them.

3. What Does and Doesn’t Work Currently?

No matter how large or small the redesign, chances are there will be some elements of your existing site that work very well and some that don’t work at all. Now is the time to go through your site and identify these elements. Maybe your content is too verbose or your sales page isn’t very user-friendly. On the other hand, that photo gallery and the blog may be big-ticket items that do really well for your image and bring in lots of traffic. Some elements will need to remain (though possibly given a makeover), some will need to be cleaned up and some will have to go. Break your site down into its key components and then compare those with the goals you decided on in step one and the overall vision for your web site. If something doesn’t fit, it’s out.

4. How Is Your Site Being Used?

Along these same lines, don’t forget to take a look at how users are currently interacting with your site. This will help you identify great content and problem areas. Study your traffic statistics and site analytics for information on things such as entry and exit pages, sales conversions, and search engine keywords. This will help you to understand how visitors find your site and what they do once they get there. While you’re studying those statistics, also have a look at details like screen resolution and browser usage. This will help your developer determine what technical specifications your site should meet and whether a separate mobile version of your site is recommended, among other things.

5. Has Your Brand or Company Image Changed?

If you’ve undergone changes to your brand and company image, those changes need to be reflected in your site, even if the only updates are visual. Keep your logos updated and consider a color-overhaul if the corporate image or philosophy has shifted. Your website is often the first impression people get of your business, so it should grow and mature right along with the rest of your brand identity.

6. When and How Should You Launch Your Redesign?

When and how you launch your redesign can have a big impact on your traffic and in generating buzz about your new site and your product. Maybe you’re simply making improvements and want to slowly roll out changes over time and unannounced. This unobtrusive rollout won’t give you a lot of buzz, but it will still accomplish your goals of improving the site’s performance and the user’s experience. On the other hand, a big relaunch around the holidays or at the start of a big promotion, or when announcing a major change in the way your business operates can both draw traffic and generate more interest.

7. How Do I Make the Transition Smoother?

Most people are a little intimidated by change. If you have a site that gets a lot of repeat traffic, a sudden, drastic change in form and function can be a bit off-putting to some users. Further, you don’t want this drastic shift to damage search engine rankings and suddenly destroy any and all backlinks you may have gathered over the years.

Try and keep vital elements of your site similar to their existing counterparts, such as the main navigation and header. Usually, your redesign should strive to be an evolution of your existing site, not a dramatic replacement. If the change is dramatic, make sure it’s clear and give your users a blog post or news announcement discussing the changes.

Similarly, you want to make things easy for the search engine spiders, as well. Moved content should be redirected via 301 redirects, for instance, and error pages should be helpful and transmit the correct header information and meta data. For human visitors, make sure those error pages contain helpful information that is, where possible, relevant to the content the user was trying to access.

Source: Mashable.com

31 08, 2011

The Expressive Web (Beta)

By | 2016-11-04T08:52:46+00:00 August 31st, 2011|Categories: Web Development, Creative Design|Tags: , , |

The Expressive Web (Beta) was recently released by Adobe to showcase some of the newest and most expressive features that HTML5 and CSS3 can add to the web today. Personally I found this to be an amazing example of what’s in the future for web designers and developers.

The Expressive Web

The site highlights the following HTML5 and CSS3 features:

 

Each feature page contains:

  • A demo of the feature.
  • Data on browser support.
  • Links to examples in the wild that use the feature.
  • Links to more in-depth resources and tutorials.
  • Detection and fallback strategies for the feature.

 

To read the full article about the development and design of the site visit Adobe Introducing The Expressive Web

20 06, 2011

ICANN to allow new generic ‘dot-brand’ domains

By | 2016-11-21T17:24:35+00:00 June 20th, 2011|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , |

 

“The trusty old Internet addresses we know and love — the .coms, .nets, .orgs — are about to get some new competition.

Global Internet regulators met Monday in Singapore to finalize rules for a major expansion of generic top-level domains, that will clear the way for new offerings like .law, .coke or .nyc. Sites with those endings are expected to start rolling out late next year.”

Read Full Article at CNN.com

24 05, 2011

The Benefits of Using jQuery

By | 2016-11-22T10:57:29+00:00 May 24th, 2011|Categories: Web Development, Creative Design|Tags: , , , |

Recently I have had the opportunity to make really exciting and interactive web pages using jQuery. Before working on these projects I had very little understanding of jQuery and what all it could be used for. So I decided to do some research on what the benefits are of using jQuery over other applications such as conventional JavaScript and wanted to see what all I can build using it. Basically you can do almost anything with jQuery to make effects and animation on your site and still be SEO friendly and cross browser compliant.  But those aren’t the only benefits….

What is jQuery?

“jQuery is a fast and concise JavaScript Library that simplifies HTML document traversing, event handling, animating, and Ajax interactions for rapid web development. jQuery is designed to change the way that you write JavaScript.” http://jquery.com/

Benefits of using jQuery:

  • Search Engine Optimized – While search engines are getting better at being able to read content within some Flash, everything within jQuery is setup as text. This means it is completely readable to all the search engines, exposing all your keyword rich content.
  • Save Time – Five lines of jQuery are equivalent to 25 lines of conventional JavaScript code. This means smaller files and faster loading web pages.
  • Plug-ins – There are an abundance of plug-ins on the web that make creating special effects simple and fast for web developers.
  • Help? – With an abundance of plug-ins comes with an abundance of help. There is a large helpful support community on the web to help you quickly remedy any bug issues.
  • That was easy! – jQuery has easy implementation for web developers in comparison to other applications.
  • Cross Browser Friendly – jQuery is currently the most popular JavaScript library and works in all browsers.
  • FREE! – free, open source software.
  • Mobile Devices – jQuery is supported by any mobile device whose web browser supports JavaScript. A lot of mobile devices like iPads and iPhones don’t run Flash at all.
  • Simplifies AJAX
  • Wow Factor – Web developers use jQuery to make web pages more exciting, interactive, cleaner, and more user friendly. Make your users go WOW!

jQuery in action! A few examples of jQuery Usage

4 04, 2011

The Rising Importance of Flexible Web Layouts

By | 2016-11-29T14:23:33+00:00 April 4th, 2011|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , |

To read the full article: http://www.onextrapixel.com/2011/02/04/the-rising-importance-of-flexible-web-layouts/

“Just a few years ago, creating a fixed-width design and the coding to stick to that width was practical, as long as it could accommodate a wide range of users. However, just a few years ago, having the Internet on a cell phone was a luxury, netbooks were rare, and the convenient tablet device, such as an iPad, didn’t even exist. Now, a fixed-width design is almost inconvenient.”

Image credit: almekinders
5 11, 2010

A Closer Look at IE9 Beta

By | 2016-11-23T10:20:49+00:00 November 5th, 2010|Categories: Web Development|

If you have used past versions of Internet Explorer then you might have run into some of the frustrations that I have. Past versions had all around poor performance with slow loading times and errors everywhere. Being a developer I use Internet Explorer to browser check but personally I never use it to surf the web. Well since last fall Microsoft has been talking about Internet Explorer 9. They were determined to develop a browser that adheres to Web Standards and has improved performance compared to previous versions. In September of this year the Internet Explorer 9 Beta version was released to the general public so I started researching more about it. The reviews looked good and many say that it is an impressively polished product. The list of features and performance upgrades looked impressive so I downloaded the Internet Explorer 9 Beta version for Windows 7.

What’s New?

  • Performance Improvements: Of course performance improvements are what we all look forward to. Past performance was a letdown and many have abandoned the use of internet explorer because of it. So is IE9 an improvement? At a glance I would definitely say yes. They now have hardware-accelerated text, video and graphics which means websites and applications load faster and are more responsive than they were on previous versions of Internet Explorer.  I tested a few sites to see how the loading time was and I was impressed. You Tube videos loaded fast without delays and browsing from site to site the response times were very acceptable. Internet Explorer vs. Internet Explorer
  • Streamlined Design: The biggest thing you notice when you first open the new Internet Explorer is the design of the browser.  The design is very compact and allows the web page to be the main focus.
  • One Box: One Box is the new search/address bar. This allows you to search directly from the address bar. I find this extremely user friendly especially for just everyday web browsing. It is quick and fast. Even though this is a new feature for IE other browsers like Chrome also have this great feature.
  • Tab Enhancements: IE9 also has new tab enhancements not only allowing multiple tabs but also Tear-off tabs. With Tear-off tabs you can rearrange tabs and open any tab in a new window by dragging the tab outside of the window. The only issue I have with the tabs is that with the more compact design, you are not allowed a lot of room to open and view multiple tabs in the navigation bar.
  • Pinned Sites:  Pinned sites is a new feature that is integrated with Windows 7. Pinned site allows you to pin your favorite sites to your windows taskbar for quicker access. It is very simple and takes seconds. Simply drag the website tab icon to the taskbar and its pinned. You can now just click that icon in your task bar and the web site opens.
  • Add-on Performance Advisor: The new add-on performance advisor is designed to ensure that IE9 starts fast and stays fast. I use lots of add-ons and sometimes they can slow down your browser. With the new performance advisor you can track what add-ons may be slowing down your browser and see the load times for each add-on.

After a test drive of the new Internet Explorer I will admit I like it much better than past versions.   I’m not saying I will switch to being a full time Internet Explorer user just yet but I am impressed with the improvements that they have made especially in performance. If you would like to learn more about the new features or test it out for yourself you can find more information at: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/products/ie-9/home

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