Detecting geolocation information from your user provides you a massive advantage: improved conversion, better segmenting and analytics, and providing more relevant content. There are numerous paid services which will provide geolocation info but they’re oftentimes too costly or short of valuable information. I was super impressed with IP Geolocation API, a free geolocation API that provides extra details like languages spoken and currency code!
The URL format for IP Geolocation API is simple:
Do you have an amazing product, but unable to attract the right customers to buy it? Are you unsure how to approach your customers or do you have a confusing sales message? If so, you may want to learn about some strategies that can help.
Find the right price
You need to do a bit of market research on your competition to determine what price you need to charge. If you have a higher priced product, make sure you over deliver on your quality.
You can check out the Pardot pricing structure to see a good example of what types of options you should provide your clients.
2. Figure out what your unique selling proposition is
What is the unique selling proposition of the product or service you offer? This could be your competitive advantage or something that makes you totally unique from the competition.
It’s important to focus on what makes your product better than all the rest. This is what is going to help you sell more of whatever it is you have to offer.
3. Make social media and content marketing work for you
There are more ways to get your products in front of your customers than ever before. The best part of this is the fact that they are free.
You can use social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, as well as the blog on your website to your advantage. You can use these platforms to establish relationships with your customers. This is going to help you gain access to more people than ever before.
Some of the specific benefits offered by content marketing include:
Reduced costs for acquiring customers
More channels for you to sell your service or product
More access to qualified leads
Be sure to create a presence on social media and to use your blog properly to be certain that you are connecting with your customers through every medium possible.
4. Cold calls may be necessary
You may think that cold calling is a marketing method that is dead and buried. Regardless of if you are doing this in person or by phone, you have the role to warm up a potential customer. This is especially the case if you have a new product or service. You may have to generate some interest in what you offer by conducting a few cold calls.
5. Benefits sell
One of the first things to understand is that people don’t purchase products. What they buy are the results the product can provide.
You need to begin the process by creating a list of all the benefits that your customer can enjoy if they use your service or product.
If you want to increase your sales, regardless of what type of service or product you offer, it’s imperative that you take the reins. You can’t leave things like this to chance. Using the tips and information here will help ensure you begin to see the sales and results that you are looking for.
Haben Girma, disability rights advocate and Harvard Law’s first deafblind graduate, made the following statement in her keynote address at the AccessU digital accessibility conference last month:
“I define disability as an opportunity for innovation.”
She charmed and impressed the audience, telling us about learning sign language by touch, learning to surf, and about the keyboard-to-braille communication system that she used to take questions after her talk.
Contrast this with the perspective many of us take building apps: web accessibility is treated as an afterthought, a confusing collection of rules that the team might look into for version two. If that sounds familiar (and you’re a developer, designer or product manager), this article is for you.
I hope to shift your perspective closer to Haben Girma’s by showing how web accessibility fits into the broader areas of technology, disability, and design. We’ll see how designing for different sets of abilities leads to insight and innovation. I’ll also shed some light on how the history of browsers and HTML is intertwined with the history of assistive technology.
An accessible product is one that is usable by all, and assistive technology is a general term for devices or techniques that can aid access, typically when a disability would otherwise preclude it. For example, captions give deaf and hard of hearing people access to video, but things get more interesting when we ask what counts as a disability.
On the ‘social model’ definition of disability adopted by the World Health Organization, a disability is not an intrinsic property of an individual, but a mismatch between the individual’s abilities and environment. Whether something counts as a ‘disability’ or an ‘assistive technology’, doesn’t have such a clear boundary and is contextual.
Addressing mismatches between ability and environment has lead to not only technological innovations but also to new understandings of how humans perceive and interact with the world.
Access + Ability, a recent exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian design museum in New York, showcased some recent assistive technology prototypes and products. I’d come to the museum to see a large exhibit on designing for the senses, and ended up finding that this smaller exhibit offered even more insight into the senses by its focus on cross-sensory interfaces.
Seeing is done with the brain, and not with the eyes. This is the idea behind one of the items in the exhibit, Brainport, a device for those who are blind or have low vision. Your representation of your physical environment from sight is based on interpretations your brain makes from the inputs that your eyes receive.
What if your brain received the information your eyes typically receive through another sense? A camera attached to Brainport’s headset receives visual inputs which are translated into a pixel-like grid pattern of gentle shocks perceived as “bubbles” on the wearer’s tongue. Users report being able to “see” their surroundings in their mind’s eye.
Soundshirt also translates inputs typically perceived by one sense to inputs that can be perceived by another. This wearable tech is a shirt with varied sound sensors and subtle vibrations corresponding to different instruments in an orchestra, enabling a tactile enjoyment of a symphony. Also on display for interpreting sound was an empathetically designed hearing aid that looks like a piece of jewelry instead of a clunky medical device.
Designing for different sets of abilities often leads to innovations that turn out to be useful for people and settings beyond their intended usage. Curb cuts, the now familiar mini ramps on the corners of sidewalks useful to anyone wheeling anything down the sidewalk, originated from disability rights activism in the ’70s to make sidewalks wheelchair accessible. Pellegrino Turri invented the early typewriter in the early 1800s to help his blind friend write legibly, and the first commercially available typewriter, the Hansen Writing Ball, was created by the principal of Copenhagen’s Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mutes.
So, designing for different sets of abilities gives us new insights into how we perceive and interact with the environment, and leads to innovations that make for a blurry boundary between assistive technology and technology generally.
With that in mind, let’s turn to the web.
Assistive Tech And The Web
The web was intended as accessible to all from the start. A quote you’ll run into a lot if you start reading about web accessibility is:
“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
— Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web
What sort of assistive technologies are available to perceive and interact with the web? You may have heard of or used a screen reader that reads out what’s on the screen. There are also braille displays for web pages, and alternative input devices like an eye tracker I got to try out at the Access + Ability exhibit.
It’s fascinating to learn that web pages are displayed in braille; the web pages we create may be represented in 3D! Braille displays are usually made of pins that are raised and lowered as they “translate” each small part of the page, much like the device I saw Haben Girma use to read audience questions after her AccessU keynote. A newer company, Blitab (named for “blind” + “tablet”), is creating a braille Android tablet that uses a liquid to alter the texture of its screen.
People proficient with using audio screen readers get used to faster speech and can adjust playback to an impressive rate (as well as saving battery life by turning off the screen). This makes the screen reader seem like an equally useful alternative mode of interacting with web sites, and indeed many people take advantage of audio web capabilities to dictate or hear content. An interface intended for some becomes more broadly used.
Web accessibility is about more than screen readers, however, we’ll focus on them here because — as we’ll see — screen readers are central to the technical challenges of an accessible web.
Imagine you had to design a screen reader. If you’re like me before I learned more about assistive tech, you might start by imagining an audiobook version of a web page, thinking your task is to automate reading the words on the page. But look at this page. Notice how much you use visual cues from layout and design to tell you what its parts are for how to interact with them.
How would your screen reader know when the text on this page belongs to clickable links or buttons?
How would the screen reader determine what order to read out the text on the page?
How could it let the user “skim” this page to determine the titles of the main sections of this article?
The earliest screen readers were as simple as the audiobook I first imagined, as they dealt with only text-based interfaces. These “talking terminals,” developed in the mid-’80s, translated ASCII characters in the terminal’s display buffer to an audio output. But graphical user interfaces (or GUI’s) soon became common. “Making the GUI Talk,” a 1991 BYTE magazine article, gives a glimpse into the state of screen readers at a moment when the new prevalence of screens with essentially visual content made screen readers a technical challenge, while the freshly passed Americans with Disabilities Act highlighted their necessity.
OutSpoken, discussed in the BYTE article, was one of the first commercially available screen readers for GUI’s. OutSpoken worked by intercepting operating system level graphics commands to build up an offscreen model, a database representation of what is in each part of the screen. It used heuristics to interpret graphics commands, for instance, to guess that a button is drawn or that an icon is associated with nearby text. As a user moves a mouse pointer around on the screen, the screen reader reads out information from the offscreen model about the part of the screen corresponding to the cursor’s location.
This early approach was difficult: intercepting low-level graphics commands is complex and operating system dependent, and relying on heuristics to interpret these commands is error-prone.
The Semantic Web And Accessibility APIs
A new approach to screen readers arose in the late ’90s, based on the idea of the semantic web. Berners-Lee wrote of his dream for a semantic web in his 1999 book Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web:
I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web — the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A “Semantic Web”, which makes this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy, and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The “intelligent agents” people have touted for ages will finally materialize.
Berners-Lee defined the semantic web as “a web of data that can be processed directly and indirectly by machines.” It’s debatable how much this dream has been realized, and many now think of it as unrealistic. However, we can see the way assistive technologies for the web work today as a part of this dream that did pan out.
The emergence of the World Wide Web has made it possible for individuals with appropriate computer and telecommunications equipment to interact as never before. It presents new challenges and new hopes to people with disabilities.
HTML4, developed in the late ’90s and released in 1998, emphasized separating document structure and meaning from presentational or stylistic concerns. This was based on semantic web principles, and partly motivated by improving support for accessibility. The HTML5 that we currently use builds on these ideas, and so supporting assistive technology is central to its design.
So, how exactly do browsers and HTML support screen readers today?
Many front-end developers are unaware that the browser parses the DOM to create a data structure, especially for assistive technologies. This is a tree structure known as the accessibility tree that forms the API for screen readers, meaning that we no longer rely on intercepting the rendering process as the offscreen model approach did. HTML yields one representation that the browser can use both to render on a screen, and also give to audio or braille devices.
Let’s look at the accessibility API in a little more detail to see how it handles the challenges we considered above. Nodes of the accessibility tree, called “accessible objects,” correspond to a subset of DOM nodes and have attributes including role (such as button), name (such as the text on the button), and state (such as focused) inferred from the HTML markup. Screen readers then use this representation of the page.
This is how a screen reader user can know an element is a button without making use of the visual style cues that a sighted user depends on. How could a screen reader user find relevant information on a page without having to read through all of it? In a recent survey, screen reader users reported that the most common way they locate the information they are looking for on a page is via the page’s headings. If an element is marked up with an h1–h6 tag, a node in the accessibility tree is created with the role heading. Screen readers have a “skip to next heading” functionality, thereby allowing a page to be skimmed.
Some HTML attributes are specifically for the accessibility tree. ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) attributes can be added to HTML tags to specify the corresponding node’s name or role. For instance, imagine our button above had an icon rather than text. Adding aria-label="sign up" to the button element would ensure that the button had a label for screen readers to represent to their users. Similarly, we can add alt attributes to image tags, thereby supplying a name to the corresponding accessible node and providing alternative text that lets screen reader users know what’s on the page.
The downside of the semantic approach is that it requires developers to use HTML tags and aria attributes in a way that matches their code’s intent. This, in turn, requires awareness among developers, and prioritization of accessibility by their teams. Lack of awareness and prioritization, rather than any technical limitation, is currently the main barrier to an accessible web.
So the current approach to assistive tech for the web is based on semantic web principles and baked into the design of browsers and HTML. Developers and their teams have to be aware of the accessibility features built into HTML to be able to take advantage of them.
Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) come to mind when we read Berners-Lee’s remarks about the dream of the semantic web today. When we think of computers being intelligent agents analyzing data, we might think of this as being done via machine learning approaches. The early offscreen model approach we looked at used heuristics to classify visual information. This also feels reminiscent of machine learning approaches, except that in machine learning, heuristics to classify inputs are based on an automated analysis of previously seen inputs rather than hand-coded.
What if in the early days of figuring out how to make the web accessible we had been thinking of using machine learning? Could such technologies be useful now?
Machine learning has been used in some recent assistive technologies. Microsoft’s SeeingAI and Google’s Lookout use machine learning to classify and narrate objects seen through a smartphone camera. CTRL Labs is working on a technology that detects micro-muscle movements interpreted with machine learning techniques. In this way, it seemingly reads your mind about movement intentions and could have applications for helping with some motor impairments. AI can also be used for character recognition to read out text, and even translate sign language to text. Recent Android advances using machine learning let users augment and amplify sounds around them, and to automatically live transcribe speech.
AI can also be used to help improve the data that makes its way to the accessibility tree. Facebook introduced automatically generated alternative text to provide user images with screen reader descriptions. The results are imperfect, but point in an interesting direction. Taking this one step further, Google recently announced that Chrome will soon be able to supply automatically generated alternative text for images that the browser serves up.
Until (or unless) machine learning approaches become more mature, an accessible web depends on the API based on the accessibility tree. This is a robust solution, but taking advantage of the assistive tech built into browsers requires people building sites to be aware of them. Lack of awareness, rather than any technical difficulty, is currently the main challenge for web accessibility.
Designing for different sets of abilities can give us new insights and lead to innovations that are broadly useful.
The web was intended to be accessible from the start, and the history of the web is intertwined with the history of assistive tech for the web.
Assistive tech for the web is baked into the current design of browsers and HTML.
Designing assistive tech, particularly involving AI, is continuing to provide new insights and lead to innovations.
The main current challenge for an accessible web is awareness among developers, designers, and product managers.
Keeping up with the latest design trends is a challenge. It’s always been that way. But these days, changes come more frequently. This is thanks to the rapid pace of digital design technological advancements.
If it weren’t for the tools that allow us to keep pace, it would probably be a hopeless situation. The problem is, you still have to find those tools. The fact that they’re constantly flooding the market doesn’t make it easy. Most web designers don’t have the time or inclination to test out every new tool that appears over the horizon.
We’ve found 15 we consider the tops in their respective classes, and we’d like to share our findings with you. One or two of these top tools and resources should help you keep pace. You can also deliver better products than you ever thought possible.
Elementor is the industry’s best website builder. Simple, Powerful & Flexible. Now you can customize every detail without code. With over 2 million active installs and over 4,500 5-star reviews on WordPress, it is by far the most popular page editor out there. What Elementor does for you is to give you a solid website-building foundation on which you can create virtually anything, and do so without complications, limitations, or constraints thanks to its super-clean code.
Elementor works with any theme and with any plugin. As such it gives you virtually unlimited design flexibility. It won’t slow down your site – a characteristic of all too many page builders. And, it’s powerful drag and drop editor enables you to quickly create pages and websites without ever having to resort to code.
You can dig into Elementor’s library of super useful widgets to build pages from scratch, or if you prefer, start with one of the 100+ pre-designed Elementor templates.
You’ll find a few nice surprises as well; like the Pop Up Builder, the Advanced Forms feature, and Scroll and Hover animations.
In short, with Elementor you can create pages and websites easily and in ways you never could before.
There are many software applications you can use for creating invoices, but few if any do as much of the work for you as AND CO from Fiverr. AND CO creates invoices for you automatically based on your project terms, contracts, and time tracking—all of which are available in the one app.
AND CO’s invoicing feature integrates perfectly with your project management workflow, enabling it to automatically create invoices when a project is completed or a milestone has been reached.
You’ll be alerted when clients view your invoices and when they’re paid, or when the system thinks it’s time for you to invoice again. Plus, you can set up an online ‘PayMe’ page to allow clients to pay you via credit card, ACH, and PayPal, and deposit the payments into your bank account. You can also set up recurring invoices so that clients who are on a subscription plan have their credit card charged automatically on a recurring basis.
AND CO is an invoicing software that lets you spend less time on invoicing and more time on doing the work you love.
Its ease of use and wealth of popular features has made Houzez is a long-time favorite with realtors and real estate agencies. Features like listings options, advanced property search capabilities, and a property management system have given its users virtually anything and everything needed to go about their business.
Not quite ready to rest on their laurels, the Houzez team has added a host of new features making this specialty theme more powerful and flexible than ever. In addition to giving users the ability to display property listings in different formats, the listings can now be sorted and displayed in a variety of ways, and extra emphasis can be given to the presentation of featured listings.
Luxury home showings can also be scheduled, custom search fields can be added with the new Customs Fields Builder, different currencies can be used, and an Energy Class designation field has been added for EU properties.
TheGem has been featured on ThemeForest for a variety of reasons. In the opinion of many of its customers, and of Envato, this incredible website-building toolbox features the most beautiful and creative designs on the market. Page load and speed times are especially impressive, TheGem is 100% flexible, 100% easy to use, and provides 100% customer satisfaction.
When compared against the other premium themes, TheGems 5-star rating tops them all.
Amelia provides service businesses love; especially those that rely heavily on booking appointments for their clients and customers. Amelia automates the entire process. Customers can make appointments 24/7. Amelia will match the appointments
with employee availability, manage cancellations or changes, and collect payments online.
This award-winning tool with its 4.8+star user rating creates happier clients and customers and allows businesses to use the time saved on other pursuits.
With Uncode in your design toolbox it will take but a few short hours to build a breathtaking portfolio. All the functionality you need is there, and there’s no need for coding. Uncode’s showcase of user-created sites gives visual proof of what you will be able to accomplish.
This powerful, user-friendly theme is one of ThemeForest’s all-time best sellers having realized more than 50,000 sales to date.
Purchase the Roundicon’s Bundle, and you’ll never have to search for a special icons or illustration again. For a one-time fee you can download the entire bundle consisting of more than 38,000 premium, royalty-free icons and illustrations, and add more as they are released.
The bundle comes with a commercial use license, and you can currently purchase it at a discount when you use coupon code “GETBIG”.
The ability to serve targeted content to different audiences will flat-out improve your sales and marketing results; and that’s precisely what Logic Hop will enable you to do. Logic Hop makes personalizing your messages possible based on display ad and pay-per-click results, social media posts, geolocation, and actions visitors take on your site.
Install Logic Hop, and don’t be surprised if you’re soon enjoying a 200% increase in conversions.
Mobirise is an offline builder, so you have total control over building your site. It’s drag and drop only, making it easy to use. Its mobile friendly and lightning-fast thanks to Google AMP or Bootstrap 4. And, it’s free.
Mobirise comes with a large assortment of trendy and beautiful website blocks, templates, icons, and fonts. Over 1.5 million sites have been created using this website builder.
This premier table and chart building plugin is easily the best in its class. wpDataTables can do more, with more data, and do it quicker than any other tool of its type on the market.
wpDataTables’ all-in-one platform for presenting website visitors with interactive tables and charts based on huge volumes of complex data has been put into practice by more than 21,000 active users who have rewarded it with a 4.7 average rating.
With this all-in-one advanced prototyping, team collaboration, and workflow tool at your fingertips you can create perfect look and feel prototypes for user testing, prototypes for feedback at any stage of the project, or combine rapid prototyping with Savah App’s built-in design workflow and approval system to speed your project along.
Savah App’s visual feedback and collaboration features also points you in the direction of getting the best possible results when the project winds down. Check out the paid plans and discounts.
Not only have you had to answer the same question for the zillionth time, but each time your customer has had to wait for your answer. HelpJet takes care of the problem by giving you a tool to create a knowledge base your customers can access for instant answers to the most common questions – or any question/answer you feel would be an appropriate addition.
You’ll gain more satisfied customers while keeping the size of your customer support team small.
Goodie is a platform that connects an end-user with a web developer, thereby avoiding costly middlemen and go-betweens. All that’s required of you is to provide the Goodie team with your design. They’ll get right to work coding your website and give you the exact estimation of your price.
This is the perfect approach or owners of small businesses, web designers, and anyone in need of a carefully and cleanly coded website.
The 8b Website Builder is brand new (January launch), futuristic with a super-simple cool UI, and portable. You can create websites with it on your desktop at work or home or on a tablet or phone while on the go.
Thanks to Bootstrap4 or Google Amp your site will be crazy-fast, mobile friendly, and just a click away from a Google listing. Since 8b does not have a paid plan in place yet, this is your opportunity to try it out free of charge.
Plowing through 550,000 fonts trying to find one you really want to use, but you don’t know what it’s called, is something you won’t want to do. With WhatFontIs, you can put AI to work for you. Just submit an image of your newly-discovered font and you’ll get an answer in seconds.
If it isn’t in the database (extremely unlikely), WhatFontIs will provide one or more candidates that are as close as possible to the real thing.
You most likely won’t need all 15 of these top tools and resources. Just one might make your day. With more, you could find yourself graduating from creating websites that are award-winners. You can create websites that are fantastic that “awesome” would be an understatement.
Or, you might simply be delighted to own a tool or resource that makes life a little easier for you.
Now that more and more businesses are relying on the internet in order to communicate with clients, make sales and run their business, it has become increasingly important to protect your business from the dangers of the internet. To do this, there are a few options that you should consider. You should ensure that you have up-to-date anti-viral software on your computers and that you check for updates regularly before using your computer to store sensitive data. Make sure you use secure email providers too. Not only will this save you the time of ensuring that each of your emails is individually secure, but it will also secure your businesses’ California Privacy Act compliance. If you are uncertain whether your business is compliant, you should speak to an advisory service. It’s vital to make use of secure email providers to ensure that your messages are automatically encrypted and that both you and your client is protected.
Your finances are the biggest aspects of your business as this covers your profits, gross revenue, and the money that you reinvest into your business. However, dealing with your finances can often be complicated and time-consuming, and have strict repercussions if you fail to comply with regulations. Hiring an accountant can not only leave you more time to run the more intricate sides of your business, but they can also ensure that you are paying tax correctly and deal with all of your payrolls and bookkeeping, which you may struggle to handle alone.
Now that the majority of successful businesses are based online, it is important that you can stay online and understand the digital world at all times. The most successful businesses use computers and the internet to store data, create sales and market their business. However, all technology can fail, and that is why it is important to invest in information technology services which can help you when you struggle to understand the online world. If you want to outsource your information technology team, then you should consider the benefits of cloud computing, as an exterior team can then handle any problems you have with your data, or the servers that they are being stored on.
Although you may have the ambition to run all of your business single-handedly, to become a successful business, this will most likely not be the case. By considering the services which you need and which you can outsource, you can then ensure that all aspects of your businesses are run to their full potential, whilst you can focus on the services and elements which you personally excel in.