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ecommerce assignment[1]

Building an E-commerce presence
Assignment 1.
Question one:
Designing for websites that creates a pleasing experience to the user is not only good for
clearly displaying content but also improves user reading engagement, encouraging
customers, pushing people through the sales funnel, make customers visit our sites
frequently, makes websites usable by the widest range of people (using the any
device) possible and makes websites more usable to people with varying visual, mobility,
hearing, and intellectual abilities. There are specific design choices (like white text on a
black background) that discourage readers by making the viewing experience unpleasant
or even uncomfortable [1]. There are several principles that guide designers and
developers and these are associated with user interface design which is a very important
aspect in computing. The following are some of the principles guiding user interface
design for websites to achieve maximized accessibility.
The first to be considered is the use of color in our designed user interfaces. One of the
most powerful subliminal visual tools is the deliberate use of color to influence the user
experience on a website. Reds are “hot” colors and command attention. Blues and greens
are “cool” colors and have a calming effect. Developers need to think carefully about the
colors used for your background, headers, navigation and links. Test different colors
methodically to determine the most effective palette for your audience and message [2].
Developers need to use color that efficiently contrast between background and
foreground. Designers also need not solely depend on colour to present content.
Secondly, use of descriptive links is also another factor to consider when trying to
improve accessibility of our web sites. Links need to have names that match the content
they are referring to. Unlike a slick magazine print campaign, a website needs to be
populated with relevant, keyword-rich content. Use headings and subheadings (H1s, H2s,
H3s, etc.) to organize the text and allow easy visual scanning. Use bold face and anchor
text (in transit links) to communicate important concepts. If your subject matter is
complex, provide a glossary and link key terms to it frequently, so you don’t have to
define concepts repeatedly on a page. Visually-impaired users can scan through links just
like sighted users, so using descriptive text helps to explain the context of each link [3].
Navigation also needs to be taken into consideration when trying to achieve maximum
accessibility to the web site, this means that interface designers need to make it easy for visitors
to find what they are looking for. Give them multiple vehicles for accessing information (for
example duplicate links). Provide a Search function, side navigation categories, footer navigation
text links, top navigation buttons or tabs, whatever will make it utterly seamless for a user to
move around your site, no matter where they start. It’s also good practice to have a “Skip to main
content” link at the top of each page, so users can avoid having to tab through the main
navigation links.
Another principle is the that alignment of elements of the site should be visually connected and
balanced. Stick to a limited number of page treatments; fewer if your site is small, more for
larger sites comprised of multiple content types. A page that is frenetic and chaotic will have a
much higher bounce rate. A page with a clarity of message, cleanly aligned visual elements and a
clear call to action will have a higher conversion rate.
Developers should also ensure content is logical and navigable using only a keyboard. Some
users with mobility disabilities can’t use a mouse or trackpad, but can access content using the
tab” key or other input devices. Therefore, designers need to make sure the tab order matches the
visual order, so there is a logical progression through the content. When a page contains a lot of
content, break it up with anchor texts, so users can skip to other page sections.
Using alternative (Alt) text for images is also to make the website more accessible. The web is
used by many people who are visually impaired. They use tools to help them read text and also
“see” other page elements. Alt text is one of the main ways of making visual information
accessible. As search engine crawlers cannot actually “see” images, it’s also an important
technique that strengthens search engine optimization (SEO) [3].Alt text is helpful in various
situations: For people using screen readers and speech input software, for people browsing
speech-enabled websites and For mobile users when images can’t be displayed.
Provision of equivalent alternatives for visual and sound content
Though the proliferation of mobile phones and other mobile devices such as personal digital
assistants and smartphones and the advances in mobile communication technologies have created
many opportunities for m-commerce, defined as the use of mobile devices and wireless networks to
perform commercial transactions, there are accessibility challenges that are associated with the use of
mobile devices. These accessibility issues include ubiquity, immediacy, instant connectivity,
localization, data portability, pro-active functionality and simple authentication procedure.
Mobile Security has become a crucial aspect of protecting sensitive data and information.
Malicious attacks once focused on PC’s have now shifted to mobile phones and applications.
Mobile makers are aware of this fact and are investing heavily in security [4].
Mobile device attacks can be split into 4 main categories:
OS Attacks: Loopholes in operating systems create vulnerabilities that are open to attack.
Vendors try to solve these with patches.
Mobile App Attacks: Poor coding and improper development creates loopholes and
compromises security.
Communication Network Attacks: Communications such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
connections make devices vulnerable.
Malware Attacks: There has been a constant rise in malware for mobile devices. The
focus is on deleting files and creating chaos.
These categories are a generalization of the various types of attacks and now we’ll take a closer
look into the types of issues that are currently plaguing mobiles. This is not an exhaustive list by
any means, but one will begin to understand just how at risk mobile devices are.
1 – Physical Security
Lookout Labs estimated that a mobile phone was lost in the USA every 3.5 seconds in 2011 –
and that nearly all who found lost devices tried to access the information on the phone. Now, I
hope the “access” was an attempt to determine the owner, but who knows? Even temporarily
misplacing a phone can put sensitive data at risk.
2 – Multiple User Logging
Mobile phones have come a long way, but they are still not versatile machines like computers.
Multiple users on mobile devices still have trouble in opening unique protected accounts. Simply
put, what one user does on a mobile device is hardly a private affair. Customizable 3rd party
solutions are available, but it’s much safer when phones are not shared.
3 – Secure Data Storage
Mobile phones need good file encrypting for strong security. After all, who wants sensitive
corporate data to end up in the wrong hands? Without the proper encryption, not only are
personal documents up for grabs, but also passwords to bank, credit card and even business apps.
Encrypting sensitive data ensures would-be thieves gain a whole lot of nothing.
4 – Mobile Browsing
Perhaps one of the best features of mobile devices is the ability to browse the web on the go, but
this also opens up the mobile phones to security risks. The problem is that users cannot see the
whole URL or link, much less verify whether the link or URL is safe. That means that users
could easily browse their way into a phishing-related attack.
For a deeper look into mobile device security, check out the iPhone forensics course offered by
the InfoSec Institute.
5 – Application Isolation
There are mobile applications for just about everything, from social networking to banking.
Before installing any app that comes your way, be sure to read the application access request for
permission agreement. This often overlooked agreement contains valuable information regarding
specific permissions on how the app is to access your device.
Be mindful of what your application purports to do and what it is that it actually does. Chances
are a calculator application does not need access to the internet or your personal information.
6 – System Updates
People have a tendency to point fingers at mobile device vendors when it comes to security
mishaps, but they aren’t always to blame. Updates and patches designed to fix issues in mobile
devices are not quite as cut and dry as with PCs. Mobile devices vendors often release updates
and patches, but unfortunately carriers don’t always stream them due to commercial or
bureaucratic reasons.
7 – Mobile Device Coding Issues
Sometimes developers make honest mistakes, inadvertently creating security vulnerabilities via
poor coding efforts. Many times there is bad implementation of encrypted channels for data
transmission or even improper password protection. Ineffective development can lead to security
weaknesses whether in PCs or mobile phones.
8 – Bluetooth Attacks
As easy as Bluetooth is to use, it can be just as easy for attackers to gain access to one’s phone
and everything stored within. It’s fairly simple for a hacker to run a program to locate available
Bluetooth connections and Bingo – they’re in. It’s important to remember to disable the
Bluetooth functionality when not in use.
9 – Malware on the Rise
As is the case with computers, malware is rather damaging to mobile phones. The news does not
get any better either. 2014 is projected to be far worse, leaving industry leaders and mobile
device users no choice but to become proactive about mobile protection. For example, take
the Android malware incident in January which impacted more than 600,000 phones.
10 – Serious Threats in New Features
Newly added features and updates are serious risks too. The Neat Field Communication, or NFC,
technology is a prime example. NFC is designed to allow people to use their mobile phones as a
wallet to purchase products. Unfortunately, all one needs to do to take over the mobile device is
brush a NFC chip embedded tag over the phone.
Question two:
User experiences differ depending on the device being used and the type of application.
Like any website, mobile websites/responsive sites can display text content, data, images and
video. They can also access mobile-specific features such as click-to-call (to dial a phone
number) or location-based mapping.
Apps are actual applications that are downloaded and installed on your mobile device, rather
than being rendered within a browser. Users visit device-specific portals such as Apple’s App
Store, Android Market, or Blackberry App World in order to find and download apps for a given
operating system. The app may pull content and data from the Internet, in similar fashion to a
website, or it may download the content so that it can be accessed without an Internet
Which is Better – an App or a Mobile (Responsive) Website?
When it comes to deciding whether to build a native app or a mobile website, the most
appropriate choice really depends on your end goals. If you are developing an interactive game
an app is probably going to be your best option. But if your goal is to offer mobile-friendly
content to the widest possible audience then a mobile website is probably the way to go. In some
cases you may decide you need both a mobile website and a mobile app, but it’s pretty safe to
say that it rarely makes sense to build an app without already having a mobile website in place.
Generally speaking, a mobile website should be considered your first step in developing a mobile
web presence, whereas an app is useful for developing an application for a very specific purpose
that cannot be effectively accomplished via a web browser.
Advantages of a Mobile Website vs. Native Apps
If your goals are primarily related to marketing or public communications, a mobile/responsive
website is almost always going to make sense as a practical first step in your mobile outreach
strategy. This is because a mobile website has a number of inherent advantages over apps,
including broader accessibility, compatibility and cost-effectiveness.
Immediacy – Mobile Websites Are Instantly Available
A mobile website is instantly accessible to users via a browser across a range of devices (iPhone,
Android, BlackBerry, etc). Apps on the other hand require the user to first download and install
the app from an app marketplace before the content or application can be viewed - a significant
barrier between initial engagement and action/conversion.
Compatibility – Mobile Websites are Compatible Across Devices
A single mobile website can reach users across many different types of mobile devices, whereas
native apps require a separate version to be developed for each type of device. Furthermore,
mobile website URLs are easily integrated within other mobile technologies such as SMS, QR
Codes and near field communication (NFC).
Upgradability – Mobile Websites Can Be Updated Instantly
A mobile website is much more dynamic than an app in terms of pure flexibility to update
content. If you want to change the design or content of a mobile website you simply publish the
edit once and the changes are immediately visible; updating an app on the other hand requires the
updates to be pushed to users, which then must be downloaded in order to update the app on each
type of device.
Findability – Mobile Websites Can be Found Easily
Mobile websites are much easier for users to find because their pages can be displayed in search
results and listed in industry-specific directories, making it easy for qualified visitors to find you.
Most importantly, visitors to your regular website can be automatically sent to your mobile site
when they are on a handheld (using device-detection). In contrast, the visibility of apps are
largely restricted to manufacturer app stores.
Shareability – Mobile Websites Can be Shared Easily by Publishers, and Between
Mobile website URLs are easily shared between users via a simple link (e.g. within an email or
text message, Facebook or Twitter post). Publishers can easily direct users to a mobile website
from a blog or website, or even in print. An app simply cannot be shared in this fashion.
Reach – Mobile Websites Have Broader Reach
Because a mobile website is accessible across platforms and can be easily shared among users, as
well as search engines, it has far greater reach capability than a native app.
LifeCycle – Mobile Websites Can’t be Deleted
The average shelf-life of an app is pretty short, less than 30 days according to some research, so
unless your app is something truly unique and/or useful (ideally, both), it’s questionable how
long it will last on a user’s device. Mobile websites on the other hand are always available for
users to return to them.
A Mobile Website Can be an App!
Just like a standard website, mobile websites can be developed as database-driven web
applications that act very much like native apps. A mobile web application can be a practical
alternative to native app development.
Time and Cost - Mobile Websites are Easier and Less Expensive
Last but certainly not least, mobile website development is considerably more time and costeffective than development of a native app, especially if you need to have a presence on different
platforms (requiring development of multiple apps).
Support and Maintenance
The investment considerations of app vs website don’t end with the initial launch; properly
supporting and maintaining an app (upgrades, testing, compatibility issues and ongoing
development) is more much more expensive and involved than supporting a website over time.
As mobile use continues to grow worldwide, the “app vs web” question will remain a very real
consideration for organizations seeking to establish a mobile presence. If your mobile goals are
primarily marketing-driven, or if your aim is to deliver content and establish a broad mobile
presence that can be easily maintained, shared between users, and found on search engines, then
the a mobile-friendly responsive website is the logical choice.
On the other hand, if your goal is to provide a user experience that feels more like a gaming
interface or a computer program than a website, or if you need access to a user's phone storage
and native functions, then an app is probably going to be required.
It's also important to remember that a mobile/responsive website and a native app are not
necessarily mutually exclusive. Plenty of organizations have both a mobile-friendly public
website for their general web presence, as well as a downloadable native app to accommodate
more specific requirements. In the end, it's all about choosing the right tool for the job.
Making the Right Choice [4]
If you are planning a mobile strategy for your organization, we can help you make informed
decisions with the right project plan to match your goals. Please contact us for additional
information, or use the form below to send an inquiry.
Diffrenciating content on an app and a website from the same merchant.
Despite the many inherent benefits of the mobile web, apps are still very popular, and
there are a number of specific use scenarios where an app will be your best choice. As
with any project, when developing an app you want to ensure that your are getting an
optimal return on your investment. What you want to avoid at all costs is the needless and
expensive exercise of building an app to do something basic that can be achieved with a
mobile website [4]. Generally the following are the scenarios where an app makes sense:
Interactivity/Gaming – for highly interactive games (think Angry Birds) an app is
likely going to be your best choice, at least for the foreseeable future. For simpler games
(e.g. puzzles and such) there may be less of a difference in terms of user experience with
a browser-based version vs. a native app.
Regular Usage/Personalization – If your target users are going to be using your app in a
personalized fashion on a regular basis (think EverNote, Facebook, online Banking) then
a native app provides a great way to do that that is easily accessible in almost all
Complex Calculations or Reporting with Visualization – If you need something that
will take data and allow you to manipulate it with complex calculations, charts or reports
(think financial or scientific tools) an app will help you do that very effectively.
Native Functionality or Processing Required - Mobile web browsers are getting
increasingly good at accessing certain mobile-specific functions such as click-to-call,
SMS, device libraries and GPS functions. However, if you need to access a user's camera
or processing power an app will still do that much more effectively.
Push Notifications - An inherent capability of apps is the ability to send push
notifications to users who have the app installed on their device, giving app publishers
the ability to send messaging to users directly. The of course assumes the user has
allowed the app to send push notifications in their settings (not everyone does). Also
interesting to note is that many browsers now allow web-based push notifications,
allowing website owners to similarly send notifications to visitors who opt-in on
both desktop and compatible mobile devices.
No Connection Required – If you need to provide offline access to content or perform
functions without a network/wireless connection then an app makes sense, as you can
store the data locally and then have it upload once a connection is established.
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Available: https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/11/website-design-2016.html. [Accessed friday october
[2] a. innovations, "7 Elements of an Aesthetically Pleasing Website," [Online]. Available:
https://www.appliedi.net/blog/7-elements-of-an-aesthetically-pleasing-website/. [Accessed
saturday october 2020].
[3] L. Hannant, "7 Simple Ways to Make Your Website More Accessible," [Online]. Available:
https://www.lcn.com/blog/7-simple-ways-to-make-your-website-more-accessible/. [Accessed 26
october 2020].
[4] "What is the difference between website and mobile design," 13 june 2019. [Online]. Available:
[Accessed 26 october 2020].
[5] E. Saidi, Mobile Opportunities, Mobile Problems: Assessing Mobile Commerce Implementation Issues
in Malawi.
[6] hawkcommerce. [Online]. Available: https://www.hawkcommerce.com/resource/e-commercedeveloping-countries. [Accessed 27 october 2020].
[7] bizznerd. [Online]. Available: https://bizznerd.com/opportunities-and-challenges-for-e-commercein-developing-countries/. [Accessed 26 october 2020].