James Royal-Lawson


For your reading pleasure (week 3, 2010)

How Google ranks Tweets

A little bit of an insight into how Google ranks tweets on Twitter from a Google Engineer.

The Case Against Vertical Navigation

Yet another detailed and well argued article from Smashing Magazine. This time covering the use of (left hand side) vertical navigation menus on web sites, and arguing the case for horizontal menus instead.

Öppna länkar i nytt fönster?

A request to have pages opening up in new windows (or tabs) came up yet again this week from a client. This is a useful page covering many arguments – not all of them against. Although in almost all situations, I am.

Preventing Spam in Form Submissions without Using a CAPTCHA

A clearly written guide to how you can do almost the same job as a CAPTCHA, but without using a CAPTCHA and all of the problems it causes people.

Social and Mobile Lead in Nielsen Annual Intranet Report

Bill Ives gives a summary of Nielsen’s latest Intranet report. The tipping point for mobile web, could tip over into Intranets too during 2010.

Färdiga SEO-paketlösningar rekommenderas inte

Niklas Lindh explains why you should use SEO consultants rather than throw money at pre-packaged SEO services./

A Brief History of Eye-Tracking

UX Booth provide us with a nice read about the history of eye tracking, without getting to the whole love/hate eye tracking debate.

For your reading pleasure (week 2, 2010)

Mobile Web 2009 = Desktop Web 1998

This Nielsen Alterbox article from February 2009 is worth re-reading. There’s a lot of talk about the mobile web right now, including my own babblings about 2010 being the tipping point. I don’t agree with all of Nielsen’s recommendations, but don’t let that get in your way.

2010 Intranet resolutions

Still, after all these years, “making it easier to find information” is still right up there on the intranet wish-list.

Technology, the intranet, and employee productivity

In short, the corporate intranet (and use of the Internet for activities such as research) can be a tremendous productivity gain, not a drain.

Open access is smart business, not an employee entitlement

Another article, rightly, arguing against organisations blocking websites.

Almost 8m UK Adults Struggle To Access Websites

Low levels of accessibility creates a needless block to the possibility of doing business with a sizeable group of people. This article gives an overview of a recent report as well as giving 6 concrete bits of advice to make your site more accessible.

Using the ALT and TITLE Attributes Properly

Another year-old article, but a lot of people out there publishing content still have very poor understanding of these two attributes and how to use them.

Why Redirect old content when Changing domain or Server?

Jesper Åström publishes a series of three articles covering one of my pet issues – redirecting pages.

2010: Tipping point for mobile web

The hype and popularity of iPhones (as well as Blackberrys and Android-based devices) has thrown smartphones and the mobile internet into the mainstream. For most, if not all, of the previous decade the mobile web was an niche thing, something that most companies completely (and safely) ignored. It’s no longer a niche market, and for a increasing number of markets it can’t be ignored.

148% increase in 2009

In Quantcast’s 2009 mobile web trends report they show that mobile web usage has again more than doubled, just as it did in 2007 and 2008. Mobile internet usage still only accounts for 1.26% of global web usage, but at the rapid rate it is increasing many web sites will be seeing 1 in 10 visits being made via handheld devices in the not too distant future.

Graph taken from the Quantcast report

Google Trends

The explosion in mobile web can be further underpinned by Google Trends. Here is a graph generated from the number of searches made for five leading smartphones related keywords (iPhone, Android, HTC, Pre, Blackberry).

graph from Google Trends

How does your site fair?

When your target audience comes into contact with your web presence via a handheld device, it’s a significantly different experience for a number of obvious reasons – the most significant two being screen size, and in many situations and applications; speed.

Different surfing process

Technological limitations aside, the entire surfing process is re-written forcing mobile internet users to adopt different searching and browsing strategies to those they would employ when browsing via their regular Internet connection.

40% of mobile page views not Apple

One such change to the surfing process is the use of applications to deliver content that would normally be viewed on a website, accessed via a web browser. Given Apple’s market share, It’s not bad thing, but It’s worth highlighting that fulfilling your mobile web strategy by an iPhone application alone, may not be cost effective or optimal. A more open and generic solution may suit your target audience(s) better. Globally, 40% of mobile web page views are not from Apple handheld devices. That’s a big chunk of the market to ignore.

Graph taken from the Quantcast report

Nokia wears the crown in India

In some regions, the size of the non-apple mobile web is even greater. In India, where there is a lower penetration of fixed line telecommunication services, Apple are in a distant second place to Nokia in terms of share of mobile web.

Graph taken from the Quantcast report

Different goals

Once in contact with your web presence, mobile web visitors will also want to achieve different things compared to visitors to the full-blown version. Some content will be more relevant, perhaps content such as opening times, price comparison, location based information. Many of these trends have been highlighted in a recent report from Compete.

Given this difference in what visitors want to achieve, even if you have provided a carefully crafted mobile web version of your site – how will they find it? Your site is almost certainly optimised for (non-mobile) visitors and their associated goals. This raises the issue of balancing mobile and standard SEO and SEM.

That is a whole new blog post of it’s own.

Start planning now!

2010 is the year that the mobile web will reach tipping point. The iPhone is the catalyst that we’ve spent a decade waiting for. But whilst the iPhone is a trend, the wide-scale adoption of the mobile web is a permanent change. Start planing now! 1.26% of the browsing-world is probably already ahead of you.

Redirect 301 cheat sheet

Inspired by Jesper Åström’s series of redirect articles, and because taking care of redirects is important, I thought I’d share the cheat sheet I keep in my personal wiki. Similar information is available elsewhere, but it’s worth repeating.

As a LAMP-boy, some of these redirect methods (such as coldfusion and IIS) I haven’t used or checked recently – so double check that they are correct before doing any serious redirect work!

301 redirect with.htaccess for a single URL

RewriteEngine On
Redirect 301 /old/old.html

IIS Redirect

  1. In internet services manager, right click on the file or folder you wish to redirect
  2. Select the radio titled “a redirection to a URL”.
  3. Enter the redirection page
  4. Check “The exact url entered above” and the “A permanent redirection for this resource”
  5. Click on ‘Apply’

ColdFusion Redirect

<.cfheader statuscode="301" statustext="Moved permanently">
<.cfheader name="Location" value="">

PHP Redirect

Header( "HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently" );
Header( "Location:" );

ASP Redirect

<%@ Language=VBScript %>
Response.Status="301 Moved Permanently";

ASP .NET Redirect

<script runat="server">
private void Page_Load(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
Response.Status = "301 Moved Permanently";

JSP Redirect

response.setHeader("Location", "");
response.setHeader("Connection", "close");

CGI PERL Redirect

$q = new CGI;
print $q->redirect("");

Ruby on Rails Redirect

def old_action
headers["Status"] = "301 Moved Permanently"
redirect_to ""

For your reading pleasure (week 1, 2010)

Why Enterprise Microblogging Has More Practical Use for Everyday People Than Twitter

Took the time to revisit this post which was published in December. Enterprise Microblogging can be a valuable internal communication and knowledge sharing resource – as long as your company culture is ready for it – irrespective of company size

2009 Mobile Web Trends Report

Mobile web use has doubled again in 2009. We’re at tipping point for the mobile web. How ready are you?

The culture of collaboration and what it means for your intranet

Each organisation has it’s own unique culture, but they can be grouped – as Maish Nichani shows. Take some time to read the comments.

Reklam som säljer behöver inte alltid skapas av dig själv

Naturally an advert for Honesty, but this Swedish post by Jesper Åström (who as always) gives an educating and insightful look into exploiting opportunities created by campaigns driven by your competitors.

What’s Next in Web Design?

From the conclusion: “In concrete terms: Better interaction design, less graphic design. Better user experience, less debates about taste. Faster technology, more reliable design standards.”

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