Category: Analytics

Analytics resources for the Analytics SIG.

Web Technologies & Development at 2017 Tech Summit

2017 Texas A&M University System Technology Summit
Moody Gardens Convention Center, Galveston, TX
February 20-22

The Texas A&M University System Technology Summit is the place technology experts come to learn from the best, exchange ideas on common challenges and spend time together. Professionals have the rare chance to blend technical learning across a wide range of subjects. Tech Summit offers sessions to help you master your daily work, while enjoying a taste of island time. This year’s web track is full of valuable sessions:

Pre-conference workshops specific to web development are:

GoWeb After Dark

Equidox by Onix treats you to hors d’oeuvres and a complimentary first drink. Join the Texas A&M GoWeb group and end your day in a casual setting. Network with web professionals and discuss everything web, from the latest trends on analytics, accessibility and branding to recent successes and challenges.

Please check out the complete schedule and we hope to see you in Galveston!


Donald St. Martin
Track Chair, Web Technologies & Development

Tools discussed at the GoMobile retreat

  • Foundation 5 – Latest mobile-first, responsive front end framework from Zurb
  • Codepen.io / Jsfiddle? – Allow real-time testing of html/css/js snippets
  • Regexr – Real time testing of regular expressions and great regex documentation
  • Browserstack – Test web sites on live virtual machines with just about every web browser.? Many mobile devices and OSs available as well.
  • Siteimprove – Web governance, scans for broken links, spelling and grammar problems, unwanted content, accessibility problems and more.
  • Ghostlab – Synchronized web development and testing
  • BrowserSync.io – Open source synchronized browser testing
  • Ghost Inspector – Automate front-end testing, checks the operation of specific functionality and page elements
  • Invision – Tool for collaboration on prototypes and mockups
  • Macaw – Responsive prototyping tool, outputs?HTML5 and css (also Froont, WebFlow, Adobe Muse, PineGrow)
  • Google Web Designer – Creates interactive HTML5-based designs and motion graphics, good for custom banners (Also Adobe Edge Animate)
  • Microsoft Edge Browser / Firefox Developer Edition

Static Website Generators

Static website generators have been gaining popularity for a couple years now. Mathias Biilmann Christensen, CEO of Netlify (a static hosting platform), going so far as to claim, “Static website generators are the next big thing.” While this may be a bold statement given the popularity of WordPress and other dynamic CMS’s (Content Management Systems), he does give some very good reasons why going static may be the way of the future.

Dynamic sites can be overly complex and at risk to exploits, and the performance benefit of a static site is a no brainer. Most dynamic sites get around this with caching, but Mathais says, “Even with a highly optimized dynamic website, the static version is more than six times as fast on average!” Static sites also have the potential of taking advantage of a CDN (Content Delivery Network), which improves performance based on your location. Use this tool to test a website’s performance around the world!

One enterprise level CMS used by many in the A&M system is Hannon Hill’s Cascade CMS. In a lot of ways, Cascade is very similar to a static website generator (but at risk of causing controversy I won’t go so far as to call it one). When a user publishes a page in Cascade, it places static HTML files on a server for the website. What Cascade gives users, that a lot of the more modern static site generators don’t, is a backend for content editing with a standard WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editor. The College of Architecture is in the process of moving our websites from a dynamic CMS into Cascade and the chart below shows the immediate performance improvements we have gained.

Cascade Performance

This chart comes from Google Webmaster tools. We switched the site (creativity.arch.tamu.edu) over to Cascade CMS on January 28th.

 

There are pros and cons to both dynamic and static site generators. Depending on the requirements of a project, one may be better suited than the other. Use the comments section to share your experiences, and join the conversation on Slack.

Mobile Use over the Thanksgiving Holiday

Luke W. tweeted a few stats from IBM over the Thanksgiving holiday that further emphasizes the importance of mobile-friendly sites.

Google will now label mobile friendly sites in mobile search

We have a new incentive for going mobile!

Earlier this week, Google announced a new mobile-friendly label to help users identify responsive and mobile sites at a glance from?their mobile device. ?To check if your site has the label, just search from your phone or tablet. You can also use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test?to check your site and review the documentation in their Webmasters Mobile Guide.

Mobile friendly label used in a search result

More at the Google Webmaster Central Blog.

Source:?Google?via Digital Trends

 

Load Time: Be Kind to Your Users

A few years ago, I was messaging a friend and offered to email him a file, making the assumption he would simply pull it up on his computer when he got home. His response was more jarring to me than it should have been.

“I don’t have a computer.”

The idea that my friend might only get online through his phone did not even occur to me. It should have, because I had already been developing mobile-friendly websites for a little while, but it didn’t. With the evolution of mobile devices and cloud services, more and more people don’t really need a computer on a daily basis.

Google Analytics and Responsive Design

For many groups on campus, Google Analytics is a great tool to help you tweak your navigation and design. What about using it to show how people are accessing your site from a mobile perspective?

Check out this Google Analytics dashboard that you can add to your account that will help you get a better understanding of what devices are visiting your website.

If you are wondering whether or not it is time to go responsive (the answer is yes you should by the way) then why not let your site analytics answer the question for you. We have built a ready to use google analytics dashboard that lets you see how your site is stacking up across desktop mobile and tablets.

Pew Internet – Cell Internet use 2013

Pew Internet has released their 2013 survey on Cell Internet use. In general, it illustrates the continuing and growing trend of using cellular mobile devices to access the internet. Highlights from this year’s survey include the fact that 63% of people go online using their phones (up from 55% in 2012 and 31% in 2009), and that 85% of people aged 18-29 use their phone to go online.

Of the 63% who use their phone to go online, 34% of them?mostly use their phone to go online. In the 18-29 age group, 50% of people fall into this category.

Details of the survey can be found at?http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Cell-Internet/Summary-of-Findings/Cell-Internet-Access.aspx.

Wi-Fi use sets new record

August 28,2013 was another record day for Wi-Fi use at Texas A&M University. Networking & Information Security reported a new record of 68,108 unique users in a 24-hour period. Last Fall semester’s record was 61,736, set on November 28, 2012. Yesterday?s peak usage was 30,733, just short of last Fall?s record of 31,013, also set on November 28. So far this semester, user sessions in a 24-hour period have been averaging about 1.1 million sessions. The current record for user sessions in a 24-hour period was set last Fall semester at 1,618,420 on September 19, 2012.

New report on high school students, use of mobile devices in college search

The latest E-Expectations report from Noel-Levitz, The Impact of Mobile Browsing on the College Search Process, is available at http://blog.noellevitz.com/2013/07/31/high-school-students-mobile-devices-college-search-process-campus-ready. It provides new data about mobile usage by college-bound high school students. University communicators take note: there’s a list of top 10 content priorities when browsing college sites via mobile devices.