Оценка на читателите: / 9
Слаба статияОтлична статия 

Новини от света на уеб дизайна и СЕО

Представям Ви синдикирани новини от няколко от водещите сайтове в областта на уеб дизайна и СЕО - оптимизирането за търсачки.

A List Apart: The Full Feed
Articles for people who make web sites.
  • Request with Intent: Caching Strategies in the Age of PWAs

    Once upon a time, we relied on browsers to handle caching for us; as developers in those days, we had very little control. But then came Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), Service Workers, and the Cache API—and suddenly we have expansive power over what gets put in the cache and how it gets put there. We can now cache everything we want to… and therein lies a potential problem.

    Media files—especially images—make up the bulk of average page weight these days, and it’s getting worse. In order to improve performance, it’s tempting to cache as much of this content as possible, but should we? In most cases, no. Even with all this newfangled technology at our fingertips, great performance still hinges on a simple rule: request only what you need and make each request as small as possible.

    To provide the best possible experience for our users without abusing their network connection or their hard drive, it’s time to put a spin on some classic best practices, experiment with media caching strategies, and play around with a few Cache API tricks that Service Workers have hidden up their sleeves.

    Best intentions

    All those lessons we learned optimizing web pages for dial-up became super-useful again when mobile took off, and they continue to be applicable in the work we do for a global audience today. Unreliable or high latency network connections are still the norm in many parts of the world, reminding us that it’s never safe to assume a technical baseline lifts evenly or in sync with its corresponding cutting edge. And that’s the thing about performance best practices: history has borne out that approaches that are good for performance now will continue being good for performance in the future.

    Before the advent of Service Workers, we could provide some instructions to browsers with respect to how long they should cache a particular resource, but that was about it. Documents and assets downloaded to a user’s machine would be dropped into a directory on their hard drive. When the browser assembled a request for a particular document or asset, it would peek in the cache first to see if it already had what it needed to possibly avoid hitting the network.

    We have considerably more control over network requests and the cache these days, but that doesn’t excuse us from being thoughtful about the resources on our web pages.

    Request only what you need

    As I mentioned, the web today is lousy with media. Images and videos have become a dominant means of communication. They may convert well when it comes to sales and marketing, but they are hardly performant when it comes to download and rendering speed. With this in mind, each and every image (and video, etc.) should have to fight for its place on the page. 

    A few years back, a recipe of mine was included in a newspaper story on cooking with spirits (alcohol, not ghosts). I don’t subscribe to the print version of that paper, so when the article came out I went to the site to take a look at how it turned out. During a recent redesign, the site had decided to load all articles into a nearly full-screen modal viewbox layered on top of their homepage. This meant requesting the article required requests for all of the assets associated with the article page plus all the contents and assets for the homepage. Oh, and the homepage had video ads—plural. And, yes, they auto-played.

    I popped open DevTools and discovered the page had blown past 15 MB in page weight. Tim Kadlec had recently launched What Does My Site Cost?, so I decided to check out the damage. Turns out that the actual cost to view that page for the average US-based user was more than the cost of the print version of that day’s newspaper. That’s just messed up.

    Sure, I could blame the folks who built the site for doing their readers such a disservice, but the reality is that none of us go to work with the goal of worsening our users’ experiences. This could happen to any of us. We could spend days scrutinizing the performance of a page only to have some committee decide to set that carefully crafted page atop a Times Square of auto-playing video ads. Imagine how much worse things would be if we were stacking two abysmally-performing pages on top of each other!

    Media can be great for drawing attention when competition is high (e.g., on the homepage of a newspaper), but when you want readers to focus on a single task (e.g., reading the actual article), its value can drop from important to “nice to have.” Yes, studies have shown that images excel at drawing eyeballs, but once a visitor is on the article page, no one cares; we’re just making it take longer to download and more expensive to access. The situation only gets worse as we shove more media into the page. 

    We must do everything in our power to reduce the weight of our pages, so avoid requests for things that don’t add value. For starters, if you’re writing an article about a data breach, resist the urge to include that ridiculous stock photo of some random dude in a hoodie typing on a computer in a very dark room.

    Request the smallest file you can

    Now that we’ve taken stock of what we do need to include, we must ask ourselves a critical question: How can we deliver it in the fastest way possible? This can be as simple as choosing the most appropriate image format for the content presented (and optimizing the heck out of it) or as complex as recreating assets entirely (for example, if switching from raster to vector imagery would be more efficient).

    Offer alternate formats

    When it comes to image formats, we don’t have to choose between performance and reach anymore. We can provide multiple options and let the browser decide which one to use, based on what it can handle.

    You can accomplish this by offering multiple sources within a picture or video element. Start by creating multiple formats of the media asset. For example, with WebP and JPG, it’s likely that the WebP will have a smaller file size than the JPG (but check to make sure). With those alternate sources, you can drop them into a picture like this:

    <picture>
      <source srcset="my.webp" type="image/webp">
      <img src="/my.jpg" alt="Descriptive text about the picture.">
    </picture>

    Browsers that recognize the picture element will check the source element before making a decision about which image to request. If the browser supports the MIME type “image/webp,” it will kick off a request for the WebP format image. If not (or if the browser doesn’t recognize picture), it will request the JPG. 

    The nice thing about this approach is that you’re serving the smallest image possible to the user without having to resort to any sort of JavaScript hackery.

    You can take the same approach with video files:

    <video controls>
      <source src="/my.webm" type="video/webm">
      <source src="/my.mp4" type="video/mp4">
      <p>Your browser doesn’t support native video playback,
        but you can <a href="/my.mp4" download>download</a>
        this video instead.</p>
    </video>

    Browsers that support WebM will request the first source, whereas browsers that don’t—but do understand MP4 videos—will request the second one. Browsers that don’t support the video element will fall back to the paragraph about downloading the file.

    The order of your source elements matters. Browsers will choose the first usable source, so if you specify an optimized alternative format after a more widely compatible one, the alternative format may never get picked up.  

    Depending on your situation, you might consider bypassing this markup-based approach and handle things on the server instead. For example, if a JPG is being requested and the browser supports WebP (which is indicated in the Accept header), there’s nothing stopping you from replying with a WebP version of the resource. In fact, some CDN services—Cloudinary, for instance—come with this sort of functionality right out of the box.

    Offer different sizes

    Formats aside, you may want to deliver alternate image sizes optimized for the current size of the browser’s viewport. After all, there’s no point loading an image that’s 3–4 times larger than the screen rendering it; that’s just wasting bandwidth. This is where responsive images come in.

    Here’s an example:

    <img src="/medium.jpg"
      srcset="small.jpg 256w,
        medium.jpg 512w,
        large.jpg 1024w"
      sizes="(min-width: 30em) 30em, 100vw"
      alt="Descriptive text about the picture.">

    There’s a lot going on in this super-charged img element, so I’ll break it down:

    • This img offers three size options for a given JPG: 256 px wide (small.jpg), 512 px wide (medium.jpg), and 1024 px wide (large.jpg). These are provided in the srcset attribute with corresponding width descriptors.
    • The src defines a default image source, which acts as a fallback for browsers that don’t support srcset. Your choice for the default image will likely depend on the context and general usage patterns. Often I’d recommend the smallest image be the default, but if the majority of your traffic is on older desktop browsers, you might want to go with the medium-sized image.
    • The sizes attribute is a presentational hint that informs the browser how the image will be rendered in different scenarios (its extrinsic size) once CSS has been applied. This particular example says that the image will be the full width of the viewport (100vw) until the viewport reaches 30 em in width (min-width: 30em), at which point the image will be 30 em wide. You can make the sizes value as complicated or as simple as you want; omitting it causes browsers to use the default value of 100vw.

    You can even combine this approach with alternate formats and crops within a single picture. 🤯

    All of this is to say that you have a number of tools at your disposal for delivering fast-loading media, so use them!

    Defer requests (when possible)

    Years ago, Internet Explorer 11 introduced a new attribute that enabled developers to de-prioritize specific img elements to speed up page rendering: lazyload. That attribute never went anywhere, standards-wise, but it was a solid attempt to defer image loading until images are in view (or close to it) without having to involve JavaScript.

    There have been countless JavaScript-based implementations of lazy loading images since then, but recently Google also took a stab at a more declarative approach, using a different attribute: loading.

    The loading attribute supports three values (“auto,” “lazy,” and “eager”) to define how a resource should be brought in. For our purposes, the “lazy” value is the most interesting because it defers loading the resource until it reaches a calculated distance from the viewport.

    Adding that into the mix…

    <img src="/medium.jpg"
      srcset="small.jpg 256w,
        medium.jpg 512w,
        large.jpg 1024w"
      sizes="(min-width: 30em) 30em, 100vw"
      loading="lazy"
      alt="Descriptive text about the picture.">

    This attribute offers a bit of a performance boost in Chromium-based browsers. Hopefully it will become a standard and get picked up by other browsers in the future, but in the meantime there’s no harm in including it because browsers that don’t understand the attribute will simply ignore it.

    This approach complements a media prioritization strategy really well, but before I get to that, I want to take a closer look at Service Workers.

    Manipulate requests in a Service Worker

    Service Workers are a special type of Web Worker with the ability to intercept, modify, and respond to all network requests via the Fetch API. They also have access to the Cache API, as well as other asynchronous client-side data stores like IndexedDB for resource storage.

    When a Service Worker is installed, you can hook into that event and prime the cache with resources you want to use later. Many folks use this opportunity to squirrel away copies of global assets, including styles, scripts, logos, and the like, but you can also use it to cache images for use when network requests fail.

    Keep a fallback image in your back pocket

    Assuming you want to use a fallback in more than one networking recipe, you can set up a named function that will respond with that resource:

    function respondWithFallbackImage() {
      return caches.match( "/i/fallbacks/offline.svg" );
    }

    Then, within a fetch event handler, you can use that function to provide that fallback image when requests for images fail at the network:

    self.addEventListener( "fetch", event => {
      const request = event.request;
      if ( request.headers.get("Accept").includes("image") ) {
        event.respondWith(
          return fetch( request, { mode: 'no-cors' } )
            .then( response => {
              return response;
            })
            .catch(
              respondWithFallbackImage
            );
        );
      }
    });

    When the network is available, users get the expected behavior:

    Screenshot of a component showing a series of user profile images of users who have liked something
    Social media avatars are rendered as expected when the network is available.

    But when the network is interrupted, images will be swapped automatically for a fallback, and the user experience is still acceptable:

    Screenshot showing a series of identical generic user images in place of the individual ones which have not loaded
    A generic fallback avatar is rendered when the network is unavailable.

    On the surface, this approach may not seem all that helpful in terms of performance since you’ve essentially added an additional image download into the mix. With this system in place, however, some pretty amazing opportunities open up to you.

    Respect a user’s choice to save data

    Some users reduce their data consumption by entering a “lite” mode or turning on a “data saver” feature. When this happens, browsers will often send a Save-Data header with their network requests. 

    Within your Service Worker, you can look for this header and adjust your responses accordingly. First, you look for the header:

    let save_data = false;
    if ( 'connection' in navigator ) {
      save_data = navigator.connection.saveData;
    }

    Then, within your fetch handler for images, you might choose to preemptively respond with the fallback image instead of going to the network at all:

    self.addEventListener( "fetch", event => {
      const request = event.request;
      if ( request.headers.get("Accept").includes("image") ) {
        event.respondWith(
          if ( save_data ) {
            return respondWithFallbackImage();
          }
          // code you saw previously
        );
      }
    });

    You could even take this a step further and tune respondWithFallbackImage() to provide alternate images based on what the original request was for. To do that you’d define several fallbacks globally in the Service Worker:

    const fallback_avatar = "/i/fallbacks/avatar.svg",
          fallback_image = "/i/fallbacks/image.svg";

    Both of those files should then be cached during the Service Worker install event:

    return cache.addAll( [
      fallback_avatar,
      fallback_image
    ]);

    Finally, within respondWithFallbackImage() you could serve up the appropriate image based on the URL being fetched. In my site, the avatars are pulled from Webmention.io, so I test for that.

    function respondWithFallbackImage( url ) {
      const image = avatars.test( /webmention\.io/ ) ? fallback_avatar
                                                     : fallback_image;
      return caches.match( image );
    }

    With that change, I’ll need to update the fetch handler to pass in request.url as an argument to respondWithFallbackImage(). Once that’s done, when the network gets interrupted I end up seeing something like this:

    Screenshot showing a blog comment with a generic user profile image and image placeholder where the network could not load the actual images
    A webmention that contains both an avatar and an embedded image will render with two different fallbacks when the Save-Data header is present.

    Next, we need to establish some general guidelines for handling media assets—based on the situation, of course.

    The caching strategy: prioritize certain media

    In my experience, media—especially images—on the web tend to fall into three categories of necessity. At one end of the spectrum are elements that don’t add meaningful value. At the other end of the spectrum are critical assets that do add value, such as charts and graphs that are essential to understanding the surrounding content. Somewhere in the middle are what I would call “nice-to-have” media. They do add value to the core experience of a page but are not critical to understanding the content.

    If you consider your media with this division in mind, you can establish some general guidelines for handling each, based on the situation. In other words, a caching strategy.

    Media loading strategy, broken down by how critical an asset is to understanding an interface
    Media category Fast connection Save-Data Slow connection No network
    Critical Load media Replace with placeholder
    Nice-to-have Load media Replace with placeholder
    Non-critical Remove from content entirely

    When it comes to disambiguating the critical from the nice-to-have, it’s helpful to have those resources organized into separate directories (or similar). That way we can add some logic into the Service Worker that can help it decide which is which. For example, on my own personal site, critical images are either self-hosted or come from the website for my book. Knowing that, I can write regular expressions that match those domains:

    const high_priority = [
        /aaron\-gustafson\.com/,
        /adaptivewebdesign\.info/
      ];

    With that high_priority variable defined, I can create a function that will let me know if a given image request (for example) is a high priority request or not:

    function isHighPriority( url ) {
      // how many high priority links are we dealing with?
      let i = high_priority.length;
      // loop through each
      while ( i-- ) {
        // does the request URL match this regular expression?
        if ( high_priority[i].test( url ) ) {
          // yes, it’s a high priority request
          return true;
        }
      }
      // no matches, not high priority
      return false;
    }

    Adding support for prioritizing media requests only requires adding a new conditional into the fetch event handler, like we did with Save-Data. Your specific recipe for network and cache handling will likely differ, but here was how I chose to mix in this logic within image requests:

    // Check the cache first
      // Return the cached image if we have one
      // If the image is not in the cache, continue
    
    // Is this image high priority?
    if ( isHighPriority( url ) ) {
    
      // Fetch the image
        // If the fetch succeeds, save a copy in the cache
        // If not, respond with an "offline" placeholder
    
    // Not high priority
    } else {
    
      // Should I save data?
      if ( save_data ) {
    
        // Respond with a "saving data" placeholder
    
      // Not saving data
      } else {
    
        // Fetch the image
          // If the fetch succeeds, save a copy in the cache
          // If not, respond with an "offline" placeholder
      }
    }

    We can apply this prioritized approach to many kinds of assets. We could even use it to control which pages are served cache-first vs. network-first.

    Keep the cache tidy

    The  ability to control which resources are cached to disk is a huge opportunity, but it also carries with it an equally huge responsibility not to abuse it.

    Every caching strategy is likely to differ, at least a little bit. If we’re publishing a book online, for instance, it might make sense to cache all of the chapters, images, etc. for offline viewing. There’s a fixed amount of content and—assuming there aren’t a ton of heavy images and videos—users will benefit from not having to download each chapter separately.

    On a news site, however, caching every article and photo will quickly fill up our users’ hard drives. If a site offers an indeterminate number of pages and assets, it’s critical to have a caching strategy that puts hard limits on how many resources we’re caching to disk. 

    One way to do this is to create several different blocks associated with caching different forms of content. The more ephemeral content caches can have strict limits around how many items can be stored. Sure, we’ll still be bound to the storage limits of the device, but do we really want our website to take up 2 GB of someone’s hard drive?

    Here’s an example, again from my own site:

    const sw_caches = {
      static: {
        name: `${version}static`
      },
      images: {
        name: `${version}images`,
        limit: 75
      },
      pages: {
        name: `${version}pages`,
        limit: 5
      },
      other: {
        name: `${version}other`,
        limit: 50
      }
    }

    Here I’ve defined several caches, each with a name used for addressing it in the Cache API and a version prefix. The version is defined elsewhere in the Service Worker, and allows me to purge all caches at once if necessary.

    With the exception of the static cache, which is used for static assets, every cache has a limit to the number of items that may be stored. I only cache the most recent 5 pages someone has visited, for instance. Images are limited to the most recent 75, and so on. This is an approach that Jeremy Keith outlines in his fantastic book Going Offline (which you should really read if you haven’t already—here’s a sample).

    With these cache definitions in place, I can clean up my caches periodically and prune the oldest items. Here’s Jeremy’s recommended code for this approach:

    function trimCache(cacheName, maxItems) {
      // Open the cache
      caches.open(cacheName)
      .then( cache => {
        // Get the keys and count them
        cache.keys()
        .then(keys => {
          // Do we have more than we should?
          if (keys.length > maxItems) {
            // Delete the oldest item and run trim again
            cache.delete(keys[0])
            .then( () => {
              trimCache(cacheName, maxItems)
            });
          }
        });
      });
    }

    We can trigger this code to run whenever a new page loads. By running it in the Service Worker, it runs in a separate thread and won’t drag down the site’s responsiveness. We trigger it by posting a message (using postMessage()) to the Service Worker from the main JavaScript thread:

    // First check to see if you have an active service worker
    if ( navigator.serviceWorker.controller ) {
      // Then add an event listener
      window.addEventListener( "load", function(){
        // Tell the service worker to clean up
        navigator.serviceWorker.controller.postMessage( "clean up" );
      });
    }

    The final step in wiring it all up is setting up the Service Worker to receive the message:

    addEventListener("message", messageEvent => {
      if (messageEvent.data == "clean up") {
        // loop though the caches
        for ( let key in sw_caches ) {
          // if the cache has a limit
          if ( sw_caches[key].limit !== undefined ) {
            // trim it to that limit
            trimCache( sw_caches[key].name, sw_caches[key].limit );
          }
        }
      }
    });

    Here, the Service Worker listens for inbound messages and responds to the “clean up” request by running trimCache() on each of the cache buckets with a defined limit.

    This approach is by no means elegant, but it works. It would be far better to make decisions about purging cached responses based on how frequently each item is accessed and/or how much room it takes up on disk. (Removing cached items based purely on when they were cached isn’t nearly as useful.) Sadly, we don’t have that level of detail when it comes to inspecting the caches…yet. I’m actually working to address this limitation in the Cache API right now.

    Your users always come first

    The technologies underlying Progressive Web Apps are continuing to mature, but even if you aren’t interested in turning your site into a PWA, there’s so much you can do today to improve your users’ experiences when it comes to media. And, as with every other form of inclusive design, it starts with centering on your users who are most at risk of having an awful experience.

    Draw distinctions between critical, nice-to-have, and superfluous media. Remove the cruft, then optimize the bejeezus out of each remaining asset. Serve your media in multiple formats and sizes, prioritizing the smallest versions first to make the most of high latency and slow connections. If your users say they want to save data, respect that and have a fallback plan in place. Cache wisely and with the utmost respect for your users’ disk space. And, finally, audit your caching strategies regularly—especially when it comes to large media files.Follow these guidelines, and every one of your users—from folks rocking a JioPhone on a rural mobile network in India to people on a high-end gaming laptop wired to a 10 Gbps fiber line in Silicon Valley—will thank you.

  • Responsible JavaScript: Part III

    You’ve done everything you thought was possible to address your website’s JavaScript problem. You relied on the web platform where you could. You sidestepped Babel and found smaller framework alternatives. You whittled your application code down to its most streamlined form possible. Yet, things are just not fast enough. When websites fail to perform the way we as designers and developers expect them to, we inevitably turn on ourselves:

    “What are we failing to do?” “What can we do with the code we have written?” “Which parts of our architecture are failing us?”

    These are valid inquiries, as a fair share of performance woes do originate from our own code. Yet, assigning blame solely to ourselves blinds us to the unvarnished truth that a sizable onslaught of our performance problems comes from the outside.

    When the third wheel crashes the party

    Convenience always has a price, and the web is wracked by our collective preference for it.  JavaScript, in particular, is employed in a way that suggests a rapidly increasing tendency to outsource whatever it is that We (the first party) don’t want to do. At times, this is a necessary decision; it makes perfect financial and operational sense in many situations.

    But make no mistake, third-party JavaScript is never cheap. It’s a devil’s bargain where vendors seduce you with solutions to your problem, yet conveniently fail to remind you that you have little to no control over the side effects that solution introduces. If a third-party provider adds features to their product, you bear the brunt. If they change their infrastructure, you will feel the effects of it. Those who use your site will become frustrated, and they aren’t going to bother grappling with an intolerable user experience. You can mitigate some of the symptoms of third parties, but you can’t cure the ailment unless you remove the solutions altogether—and that’s not always practical or possible.

    In this installment of Responsible JavaScript, we’ll take a slightly less technical approach than in the previous installment. We are going to talk more about the human side of third parties. Then, we’ll go down some of the technical avenues for how you might go about tackling the problem.

    Hindered by convenience

    When we talk about the sorry state of the web today, some of us are quick to point out the role of developer convenience in contributing to the problem. While I share the view that developer convenience has a tendency to harm the user experience, they’re not the only kind of convenience that can turn a website into a sluggish, janky mess.

    Operational conveniences can become precursors to a very thorny sort of technical debt. These conveniences are what we reach for when we can’t solve a pervasive problem on our own. They represent third-party solutions that address problems in the absence of architectural flexibility and/or adequate development resources.

    Whenever an inconvenience arises, that is the time to have the discussion around how to tackle it in a way that’s comprehensive. So let’s talk about what it looks like to tackle that sort of scenario from a more human angle.

    The problem is pain

    The reason third parties come into play in the first place is pain. When a decision maker in an organization has felt enough pain around a certain problem, they’re going to do a very human thing, which is to find the fastest way to make that pain go away.

    Markets will always find ways to address these pain points, even if the way they do so isn’t sustainable or even remotely helpful. Web accessibility overlays—third-party scripts that purport to automatically fix accessibility issues—are among the worst offenders. First, you fork over your money for a fix that doesn’t fix anything. Then you pay a wholly different sort of price when that “fix” harms the usability of your website. This is not a screed to discredit the usefulness of the tools some third-party vendors provide, but to illustrate how the adoption of third-party solutions happens, even those that are objectively awful

    A depiction of a long task in a flame chart from the performance panel in Chrome DevTools.
    A Chrome performance trace of a long task kicked off by a third party’s web accessibility overlay script. The task occupies the main thread for roughly 600 ms on a 2017 Retina MacBook.

    So when a vendor rolls up and promises to solve the very painful problem we’re having, there’s a good chance someone is going to nibble. If that someone is high enough in the hierarchy, they’ll exert downward pressure on others to buy in—if not circumvent them entirely in the decision-making process. Conversely, adoption of a third-party solution can also occur when those in the trenches are under pressure and lack sufficient resources to create the necessary features themselves.

    Whatever the catalyst, it pays to gather your colleagues and collectively form a plan for navigating and mitigating the problems you’re facing.

    Create a mitigation plan

    Once people in an organization have latched onto a third-party solution, however ill-advised, the difficulty you’ll encounter in forcing a course change will depend on how urgent a need that solution serves. In fact, you shouldn’t try to convince proponents of the solution that their decision was wrong. Such efforts almost always backfire and can make people feel attacked and more resistant to what you’re telling them. Even worse, those efforts could create acrimony where people stop listening to each other completely, and that is a breeding ground for far worse problems to develop.

    Grouse and commiserate amongst your peers if you must—as I myself have often done—but put your grievances aside and come up with a mitigation plan to guide your colleagues toward better outcomes. The nooks and crannies of your specific approach will depend on the third parties themselves and the structure of the organization, but the bones of it could look like the following series of questions.

    What problem does this solution address?

    There’s a reason why a third-party solution was selected, and this question will help you suss out whether the rationale for its adoption is sound. Remember, there are times decisions are made when all the necessary people are not in the room. You might be in a position where you have to react to the aftermath of that decision, but the answer to this question will lead you to a natural follow-up.

    How long do we intend to use the solution?

    This question will help you identify the solution’s shelf life. Was it introduced as a bandage, with the intent to remove it once the underlying problem has been addressed, such as in the case of an accessibility overlay? Or is the need more long-term, such as the data provided by an A/B testing suite? The other possibility is that the solution can never be effectively removed because it serves a crucial purpose, as in the case of analytics scripts. It’s like throwing a mattress in a swimming pool: it’s easy to throw in, but nigh impossible to drag back out.

    In any case, you can’t know if a third-party script is here to stay if you don’t ask. Indeed, if you find out the solution is temporary, you can form a plan to eventually remove it from your site once the underlying problem it addresses has been resolved.

    Who’s the point of contact if issues arise?

    When a third-party solution is put into place, someone must be the point of contact for when—not if—issues arise.

    I’ve seen what happens (far too often) when a third-party script gets out of control. For example, when a tag manager or an A/B testing framework’s JavaScript grows slowly and insidiously because marketers aren’t cleaning out old tags or completed A/B tests. It’s for precisely these reasons that responsibility needs to be attached to a specific person in your organization for third-party solutions currently in use on your site. What that responsibility entails will differ in every situation, but could include:

    • periodic monitoring of the third-party script’s footprint;
    • maintenance to ensure the third-party script doesn’t grow out of control;
    • occasional meetings to discuss the future of that vendor’s relationship with your organization;
    • identification of overlaps of functionality between multiple third parties, and if potential redundancies can be removed;
    • and ongoing research, especially to identify speedier alternatives that may act as better replacements for slow third-party scripts.

    The idea of responsibility in this context should never be an onerous, draconian obligation you yoke your teammates with, but rather an exercise in encouraging mindfulness in your colleagues. Because without mindfulness, a third-party script’s ill effects on your website will be overlooked until it becomes a grumbling ogre in the room that can no longer be ignored. Assigning responsibility for third parties can help to prevent that from happening.

    Ensuring responsible usage of third-party solutions

    If you can put together a mitigation plan and get everyone on board, the work of ensuring the responsible use of third-party solutions can begin. Luckily for you, the actual technical work will be easier than trying to wrangle people. So if you’ve made it this far, all it will take to get results is time and persistence.

    Load only what’s necessary

    It may seem obvious, but load only what’s necessary. Judging by the amount of unused first-party JavaScript I see loaded—let alone third-party JavaScript—it’s clearly a problem. It’s like trying to clean your house by stuffing clutter into the closets. Regardless of whether they’re actually needed, it’s not uncommon for third-party scripts to be loaded on every single page, so refer to your point of contact to figure out which pages need which third-party scripts.

    As an example, one of my past clients used a popular third-party tool across multiple brand sites to get a list of retailers for a given product. It demonstrated clear value, but that script only needed to be on a site’s product detail page. In reality, it was frequently loaded on every page. Culling this script from pages where it didn’t belong significantly boosted performance for non-product pages, which ostensibly reduced the friction on the conversion path.

    Figuring out which pages need which third-party scripts requires you to do some decidedly untechnical work. You’ll actually have to get up from your desk and talk to the person who has been assigned responsibility for the third-party solution you’re grappling with. This is very difficult work for me, but it’s rewarding when good-faith collaboration happens, and good outcomes are realized as a result.

    Self-host your third-party scripts

    This advice isn’t a secret by any stretch. I even touched on it in the previous installment of this series, but it needs to be shouted from the rooftops at every opportunity: you should self-host as many third-party resources as possible. Whether this is feasible depends on the third-party script in question.

    Is it some framework you’re grabbing from Google’s hosted libraries, cdnjs, or other similar provider? Self-host that sucker right now.

    Casper found a way to self-host their Optimizely script and significantly reduced their start render time for their trouble. It really drives home the point that a major detriment of third-party resources is the fact that their mere existence on other servers is one of the worst performance bottlenecks we encounter.

    If you’re looking to self-host an analytics solution or a similar sort of script, there’s a higher level of difficulty to contend with to self-host it. You may find that some third-party scripts simply can’t be self-hosted, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the trouble to find out. If you find that self-hosting isn’t an option for a third-party script, don’t fret. There are other mitigations you can try.

    Mask latency of cross-origin connections

    If you can’t self-host your third-party scripts, the next best thing is to preconnect to servers that host them. WebPageTest’s Connection View does a fantastic job of showing you which servers your site gathers resources from, as well as the latency involved in establishing connections to them.

    A screenshot of WebPageTest's connection view, which visualizes the latency involved with all the servers that serve content for a given page in a waterfall chart.
    WebPageTest’s Connection View shows all the different servers a page requests resources from during load.

    Preconnections are effective because they establish connections to third-party servers before the browser would otherwise discover them in due course. Parsing HTML takes time, and parsers are often blocked by stylesheets and other scripts. Wherever you can’t self-host third-party scripts, preconnections make perfect sense.

    Maybe don’t preload third-party scripts

    Preloading resources is one of those things that sounds fantastic at first—until you consider its potential to backfire, as Andy Davies points out. If you’re unfamiliar with preloading, it’s similar to preconnecting but goes a step further by instructing the browser to fetch a particular resource far sooner than it ordinarily would.

    The drawback of preloading is that while it’s great for ensuring a resource gets loaded as soon as possible, it changes the discovery order of that resource. Whenever we do this, we’re implicitly saying that other resources are less important—including resources crucial to rendering or even core functionality.

    It’s probably a safe bet that most of your third-party code is not as crucial to the functionality of your site as your own code. That said, if you must preload a third-party resource, ensure you’re only doing so for third-party scripts that are critical to page rendering.

    If you do find yourself in a position where your site’s initial rendering depends on a third-party script, refer to your mitigation plan to see what you can do to eliminate or ameliorate your dependence on it. Depending on a third party for core functionality is never a good position to be in, as you’re relinquishing a lot of control to others who might not have your best interests in mind.

    Lazy load non-essential third-party scripts

    The best request is no request. If you have a third-party script that doesn’t need to be loaded right away, consider lazy loading it with an Intersection Observer. Here’s what it might look like to lazy load a Facebook Like button when it’s scrolled into the viewport:

    
    let loadedFbScript = false;
    
    const intersectionListener = new IntersectionObserver(entries => {
      entries.forEach(entry => {
        if ((entry.isIntersecting || entry.intersectionRatio) && !loadedFbScript) {
          const scriptEl = document.createElement("script");
    
          scriptEl.defer = true;
          scriptEl.crossOrigin = "anonymous";
          scriptEl.src = "https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.0";
          scriptEl.onload = () => {
            loadedFbScript = true;
          };
          
          document.body.append(scriptEl);
        }
      });
    });
    
    intersectionListener.observe(document.querySelector(".fb-like"));
    
    

    In the above snippet, we first set a variable to track whether we’ve loaded the Facebook SDK JavaScript. After that, an IntersectionListener is created that checks whether the observed element is in the viewport, and whether the Facebook SDK has been loaded. If the SDK JavaScript hasn’t been loaded, a reference to it is injected into the DOM, which will kick off a request for it.

    You’re not going to be able to lazy load every third-party script. Some of them simply need to do their work at page load time, or otherwise can’t be deferred. Regardless, do the detective work to see if it’s possible to lazy load at least some of your third-party JavaScript.

    One of the common concerns I hear from coworkers when I suggest lazy loading third-party scripts is how it can delay whatever interactions the third party provides. That’s a reasonable concern, because when you lazy load anything, a noticeable delay may occur as the resource loads. You can get around this to some extent with resource prefetching. This is different than preloading, which we discussed earlier. Prefetching consumes a comparable amount of data, yes, but prefetched resources are given lower priority and are less likely to contend for bandwidth with critical resources.

    Staying on top of the problem

    Keeping an eye on your third-party JavaScript requires mindfulness bordering on hypervigilance. When you recognize poor performance for the technical debt that it truly is, you’ll naturally slip into a frame of mind where you’ll recognize and address it as you would any other kind of technical debt.

    Staying on top of third parties is refactoring—a sort that requires you to periodically perform tasks such as cleaning up tag managers and A/B tests, consolidating third-party solutions, eliminating any that are no longer needed, and applying the coding techniques discussed above. Moreover, you’ll need to work with your team to address this technical debt on a cyclical basis. This kind of work can’t be automated, so yes, you’ll need to knuckle down and have face-to-face, synchronous conversations with actual people.

    If you’re already in the habit of scheduling “cleanup sprints” on some interval, then that is the time and space for you to address performance-related technical debt, regardless of whether it involves third- or first-party code. There’s a time for feature development, but that time should not comprise the whole of your working hours. Development shops that focus only on feature development are destined to be wholly consumed by the technical debt that will inevitably result.

    So it will come to pass that in the fourth and final installment of this series we’ll discuss what it means to do the hard work of using JavaScript responsibly in the context of process. Therein, we’ll explore what it takes to unite your organization under the banner of making your website faster and more accessible, and therefore more usable for everyone, everywhere.

  • The Untapped Power of Vulnerability & Transparency in Content Strategy

    In marketing, transparency and vulnerability are unjustly stigmatized. The words conjure illusions of being frightened, imperfect, and powerless. And for companies that shove carefully curated personas in front of users, little is more terrifying than losing control of how people perceive the brand.

    Let’s shatter this illusioned stigma. Authentic vulnerability and transparency are strengths masquerading as weaknesses. And companies too scared to embrace both traits in their content forfeit bona fide user-brand connections for often shallow, misleading engagement tactics that create fleeting relationships.

    Transparency and vulnerability are closely entwined concepts, but each one engages users in a unique way. Transparency is how much information you share, while vulnerability is the truth and meaning behind your actions and words. Combining these ideas is the trick to creating empowering and meaningful content. You can’t tell true stories of vulnerability without transparency, and to be authentically transparent you must be vulnerable.

    To be vulnerable, your brand and its content must be brave, genuine, humble, and open, all of which are traits that promote long-term customer loyalty. And if you’re transparent with users about who you are and about your business practices, you’re courting 94 percent of consumers who say they’re more loyal to brands that offer complete openness and 89 percent of people who say they give transparent companies a second chance after a bad experience.

    For many companies, being completely honest and open with their customers—or employees, in some cases—only happens in a crisis. Unfortunately for those businesses, using vulnerability and transparency only as a crisis management strategy diminishes how sincere they appear and can reduce customer satisfaction.

    Unlocking the potential of being transparent and vulnerable with users isn’t a one-off tactic or quick-fix emergency response tool—it’s a commitment to intimate storytelling that embraces a user’s emotional and psychological needs, which builds a meaningful connection between the storyteller and the audience.

    The three storytelling pillars of vulnerable and transparent content

    In her book, Braving the Wilderness, sociologist Brené Brown explains that vulnerability connects us at an emotional level. She says that when we recognize someone is being vulnerable, we invest in their story and begin to develop an emotional bond. This interwoven connection encourages us to experience the storyteller’s joy and pain, and then creates a sense of community and common purpose among the person being vulnerable and the people who acknowledge that vulnerability.

    Three pillars in a company’s lifecycle embrace this bond and provide an outline for telling stories worthy of a user’s emotional investment. The pillars are:

    • the origins of a company, product, idea, or situation;
    • intimate narratives about customers’ life experiences;
    • and insights about product success and failure.

    Origin stories

    An origin story spins a transparent tale about how a company, product, service, or idea is created. It is often told by a founder, CEO, or industry innovator. This pillar is usually used as an authentic way to provide crisis management or as a method to change how users feel about a topic, product, or your brand.

    Customers’ life experiences

    While vulnerable origin stories do an excellent job of making users trust your brand, telling a customer’s personal life story is arguably the most effective way to use vulnerability to entwine a brand with someone’s personal identity.

    Unlike an origin story, the customer experiences pillar is focused on being transparent about who your customers are, what they’ve experienced, and how those journeys align with values that matter to your brand. Through this lens, you’ll empower your customers to tell emotional, meaningful stories that make users feel vulnerable in a positive way. In this situation, your brand is often a storytelling platform where users share their story with the brand and fellow customers.

    Product and service insights

    Origin stories make your brand trustworthy in a crisis, and customers’ personal stories help users feel an intimate connection with your brand’s persona and mission. The last pillar, product and service insights, combines the psychological principles that make origin and customer stories successful. The outcome is a vulnerable narrative that rallies users’ excitement about, and emotional investment in, what a company sells or the goals it hopes to achieve.

    Vulnerability, transparency, and the customer journey

    The three storytelling pillars are crucial to embracing transparency and vulnerability in your content strategy because they let you target users at specific points in their journey. By embedding the pillars in each stage of the customer’s journey, you teach users about who you are, what matters to you, and why they should care.

    For our purposes, let’s define the user journey as:

    • awareness;
    • interest;
    • consideration;
    • conversion;
    • and retention.

    Awareness

    People give each other seven seconds to make a good first impression. We’re not so generous with brands and websites. After discovering your content, users determine if it’s trustworthy within one-tenth of a second.

    Page design and aesthetics are often the determining factors in these split-second choices, but the information users discover after that decision shapes their long-term opinions about your brand. This snap judgement is why transparency and vulnerability are crucial within awareness content.

    When you only get one chance to make a positive first impression with your audience, what content is going to be more memorable?

    Typical marketing “fluff” about how your brand was built on a shared vision and commitment to unyielding customer satisfaction and quality products? Or an upfront, authentic, and honest story about the trials and tribulations you went through to get where you are now?

    Buffer, a social media management company that helped pioneer the radical transparency movement, chose the latter option. The outcome created awareness content that leaves a positive lasting impression of the brand.

    In 2016, Joel Gascoigne, cofounder and CEO of Buffer, used an origin story to discuss the mistakes he and his company made that resulted in laying off 10 employees.

    In the blog post “Tough News: We’ve Made 10 Layoffs. How We Got Here, the Financial Details and How We’re Moving Forward,” Gascoigne wrote about Buffer’s over-aggressive growth choices, lack of accountability, misplaced trust in its financial model, explicit risk appetite, and overenthusiastic hiring. He also discussed what he learned from the experience, the changes Buffer made based on these lessons, the consequences of those changes, and next steps for the brand.

    Gascoigne writes about each subject with radical honesty and authenticity. Throughout the article, he’s personable and relatable; his tone and voice make it obvious he’s more concerned about the lives he’s irrevocably affected than the public image of his company floundering. Because Gascoigne is so transparent and vulnerable in the blog post, it’s easy to become invested in the narrative he’s telling. The result is an article that feels more like a deep, meaningful conversation over coffee instead of a carefully curated, PR-approved response.

    Yes, Buffer used this origin story to confront a PR crisis, but they did so in a way that encouraged users to trust the brand. Buffer chose to show up and be seen when they had no control over the outcome. And because Gascoigne used vulnerability and transparency to share the company’s collective pain, the company reaped positive press coverage and support on social media—further improving brand awareness, user engagement, and customer loyalty.

    However, awareness content isn’t always brand focused. Sometimes, smart awareness content uses storytelling to teach users and shape their worldviews. The 2019 State of Science Index is an excellent example.

    The annual State of Science Index evaluates how the global public perceives science. The 2019 report shows that 87 percent of people acknowledge that science is necessary to solve the world’s problems, but 33 percent are skeptical of science and believe that scientists cause as many problems as they solve. Furthermore, 57 percent of respondents are skeptical of science because of scientists’ conflicting opinions about topics they don’t understand.

    3M, the multinational science conglomerate that publishes the report, says the solution for this anti-science mindset is to promote intimate storytelling among scientists and layfolk.

    3M creates an origin story with its awareness content by focusing on the ins and outs of scientific research. The company is open and straightforward with its data and intentions, eliminating any second guesses users might have about the content they’re digesting.

    The company kicked off this strategy on three fronts, and each storytelling medium interweaves the benefits of vulnerability and transparency by encouraging researchers to tell stories that lead with how their findings benefit humanity. Every story 3M tells focuses on breaking through barriers the average person faces when they encounter science and encouraging scientists to be vulnerable and authentic with how they share their research.

    First, 3M began a podcast series known as Science Champions. In the podcast, 3M Chief Science Advocate Jayshree Seth interviews scientists and educators about the global perception of science and how science and scientists affect our lives. The show is currently in its second season and discusses a range of topics in science, technology, engineering, and math.

    Second, the company worked with science educators, journalist Katie Couric, actor Alan Alda, and former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly to develop the free Scientists as Storytellers Guide. The ebook helps STEM researchers improve how and why they communicate their work with other people—with a special emphasis on being empathetic with non-scientists. The guide breaks down how to develop communications skills, overcome common storytelling challenges, and learn to make science more accessible, understandable, and engaging for others.

    Last, 3M created a film series called Beyond the Beaker that explores the day-to-day lives of 3M scientists. In the short videos, scientists give the viewer a glimpse into their hobbies and home life. The series showcases how scientists have diverse backgrounds, hobbies, goals, and dreams.

    Unlike Buffer, which benefits directly from its awareness content, 3M’s three content mediums are designed to create a long-term strategy that changes how people understand and perceive science, by spreading awareness through third parties. It’s too early to conclude that the strategy will be successful, but it’s off to a good start. Science Champions often tops “best of” podcast lists for science lovers, and the Scientists as Storytellers Guide is a popular resource among public universities.

    Interest

    How do you court new users when word-of-mouth and organic search dominate how people discover new brands? Target their interests.

    Now, you can be like the hundreds of other brands that create a “10 best things” list and hope people stumble onto your content organically and like what they see. Or, you can use content to engage with people who are passionate about your industry and have genuine, open discussions about the topics that matter to you both.

    The latter option is a perfect fit for the product and service insights pillar, and the customers’ life experiences pillar.

    To succeed in these pillars you must balance discussing the users’ passions and how your brand plays into that topic against appearing disingenuous or becoming too self-promotional.

    Nonprofits have an easier time walking this taut line because people are less judgemental when engaging with NGOs, but it’s rare for a for-profit company to achieve this balance. SpaceX and Thinx are among the few brands that are able to walk this tightrope.

    Thinx, a women’s clothing brand that sells period-proof underwear, uses its blog to generate awareness, interest, and consideration content via the customers’ life experiences pillar. The blog, aptly named Periodical, relies on transparency and vulnerability as a cornerstone to engage users about reproductive and mental health.

    Toni Brannagan, Thinx’s content editor, says the brand embraces transparency and vulnerability by sharing diverse ideas and personal experiences from customers and experts alike, not shying away from sensitive subjects and never misleading users about Thinx or the subjects Periodical discusses.

    As a company focused on women’s healthcare, the product Thinx sells is political by nature and entangles the brand with themes of shame, cultural differences, and personal empowerment. Thinx’s strategy is to tackle these subjects head-on by having vulnerable conversations in its branding, social media ads, and Periodical content.

    “Vulnerability and transparency play a role because you can’t share authentic diverse ideas and experiences about those things—shame, cultural differences, and empowerment—without it,” Brannagan says.

    A significant portion of Thinx’s website traffic is organic, which means Periodical’s interest-driven content may be a user’s first touchpoint with the brand.

    “We’ve seen that our most successful organic content is educational, well-researched articles, and also product-focused blogs that answer the questions about our underwear, in a way that’s a little more casual than what’s on our product pages,” Brannagan says. “In contrast, our personal essays and ‘more opinionated’ content performs better on social media and email.”

    Thanks in part to the blog’s authenticity and open discussions about hard-hitting topics, readers who find the brand through organic search drive the most direct conversions.

    Conversations with users interested in the industry or topic your company is involved in don’t always have to come from the company itself. Sometimes a single person can drive authentic, open conversations and create endearing user loyalty and engagement.

    For a company that relies on venture capital investments, NASA funding, and public opinion for its financial future, crossing the line between being too self-promotional and isolating users could spell doom. But SpaceX has never shied away from difficult or vulnerable conversations. Instead, the company’s founder, Elon Musk, embraces engaging with users interests in public forums like Twitter and press conferences.

    Twitter thread showing an exchange between Elon Musk and a user

    Musk’s tweets about SpaceX are unwaveringly authentic and transparent. He often tweets about his thoughts, concerns, and the challenges his companies face. Plus, Musk frequently engages with his Twitter followers and provides candid answers to questions many CEOs avoid discussing. This authenticity has earned him a cult-like following.

    Elon Musk gives an honest, if not flattering, response on Twitter to a user

    Musk and SpaceX create conversations that target people’s interests and use vulnerability to equally embrace failure and success. Both the company and its founder give the public and investors an unflinching story of space exploration.

    And despite laying off 10 percent of its workforce in January of 2019, SpaceX is flourishing. In May 2019, its valuation had risen to $33.3 billion and reported annual revenue exceeded $2 billion. It also earned global media coverage from launching Musk’s Tesla Roadster into space, recently completed a test flight of its Crew Dragon space vehicle, and cemented multiple new payload contracts.

    By engaging with users on social media and through standard storytelling mediums, Thinx and SpaceX bolster customer loyalty and brand engagement.

    Consideration

    Modern consumers argue that ignorance is not bliss. When users are considering converting with a brand, 86 percent of consumers say transparency is a deciding factor. Transparency remains crucial even after they convert, with 85 percent of users saying they’ll support a transparent brand during a PR crisis.

    Your brand must be open, clear, and honest with users; there is no longer another viable option.

    So how do you remain transparent while trying to sell someone a product? One solution employed by REI and Everlane is to be openly accountable to your brand and your users via the origin stories and product insights pillars.

    REI, a national outdoor equipment retailer, created a stewardship program that behaves as a multifaceted origin story. The program’s content highlights the company’s history and manufacturing policies, and it lets users dive into the nitty-gritty details about its factories, partnerships, product production methods, manufacturing ethics, and carbon footprint.

    Screenshot of the Collaborating for Good website

    REI also employs a classic content hub strategy to let customers find the program and explore its relevant information. From a single landing page, users can easily find the program through the website’s global navigation and then navigate to every tangential topic the program encompasses.

    REI also publishes an annual stewardship report, where users can learn intimate details about how the company makes and spends its money.

    Screenshot of REI's stewardship report

    Everlane, a clothing company, is equally transparent about its supply chain. The company promotes an insider’s look into its global factories via product insights stories. These glimpses tell the personal narratives of factory employees and owners, and provide insights into the products manufactured and the materials used. Everlane also published details of how they comply with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act to guarantee ethical working conditions throughout its supply chain, including refusing to partner with human traffickers.

    Screenshot of Everlane's page about the factory in Lima

    The crucial quality that Everlane and REI share is they publicize their transparency and encourage users to explore the shared information. On each website, users can easily find information about the company’s transparency endeavors via the global navigation, social media campaigns, and product pages.

    The consumer response to transparent brands like REI and Everlane is overwhelmingly positive. Customers are willing to pay price premiums for the additional transparency, which gives them comfort by knowing they’re purchasing ethical products.

    REI’s ownership model has further propelled the success of its transparency by using it to create unwavering customer engagement and loyalty. As a co-op where customers can “own” part of the company for a one-time $20 membership fee, REI is beholden to its members, many of which pay close attention to its supply chain and the brands REI partners with.

    After a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, REI members urged the company to refuse to carry CamelBak products because the brand’s parent company manufactures assault-style weapons. Members argued the partnership violated REI’s supply chain ethics. REI listened and halted orders with CamelBak. Members rejoiced and REI earned a significant amount of positive press coverage.

    Conversion

    Imagine you’ve started incorporating transparency throughout your company, and promote the results to users. Your brand also begins engaging users by telling vulnerable, meaningful stories via the three pillars. You’re seeing great engagement metrics and customer feedback from these efforts, but not much else. So, how do you get your newly invested users to convert?

    Provide users with a full-circle experience.

    If you combine the three storytelling pillars with blatant transparency and actively promote your efforts, users often transition from the consideration stage into the conversion state. Best of all, when users convert with a company that already earned their trust on an emotional level, they’re more likely to remain loyal to the brand and emotionally invested in its future.

    The crucial step in combining the three pillars is consistency. Your brand’s stories must always be authentic and your content must always be transparent. The outdoor clothing brand Patagonia is among the most popular and successful companies to maintain this consistency and excel with this strategy.

    Patagonia is arguably the most vocal and aggressive clothing retailer when it comes to environmental stewardship and ethical manufacturing.

    In some cases, the company tells users not to buy its clothing because rampant consumerism harms the environment too much, which they care about more than profits. This level of radical transparency and vulnerability skyrocketed the company’s popularity among environmentally-conscious consumers.

    In 2011, Patagonia took out a full-page Black Friday ad in the New York Times with the headline “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” In the ad, Patagonia talks about the environmental toll manufacturing clothes requires.

    “Consider the R2 Jacket shown, one of our best sellers. To make it required 135 liters of water, enough to meet the daily needs (three glasses a day) of 45 people. Its journey from its origin as 60 percent recycled polyester to our Reno warehouse generated nearly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, 24 times the weight of the finished product. This jacket left behind, on its way to Reno, two-thirds [of] its weight in waste.”

    The ad encourages users to not buy any new Patagonia clothing if their old, ratty clothes can be repaired. To help, Patagonia launched a supplementary subdomain to its e-commerce website to support its Common Thread Initiative, which eventually got rebranded as the Worn Wear program.

    Patatgonia’s Worn Wear subdomain gets users to engage with the company about causes each party cares about. Through Worn Wear, Patagonia will repair your old gear for free. If you’d rather have new gear, you can instead sell the worn out clothing to Patagonia, and they’ll repair it and then resell the product at a discount. This interaction encourages loyalty and repeat brand-user engagement.

    In addition, the navigation on Patagonia’s main website practically begs users to learn about the brand’s non-profit initiatives and its commitment to ethical manufacturing.

    Screenshot of Patagonia's page on environmental responsibility

    Today, Patagonia is among the most respected, profitable, and trusted consumer brands in the United States.

    Retention

    Content strategy expands through nearly every aspect of the marketing stack, including ad campaigns, which take a more controlled approach to vulnerability and transparency. To target users in the retention stage and keep them invested in your brand, your goal is to create content using the customers’ life experiences pillar to amplify the emotional bond and brand loyalty that vulnerability creates.

    Always took this approach and ended up with one of its most successful social media campaigns.

    An Always ad portraying a determined girl holding a baseball

    In June 2014, Always launched its #LikeAGirl campaign to empower adolescent and teenage girls by transforming the phrase “like a girl” from a slur into a meaningful and positive statement.

    The campaign is centered on a video in which Always tasked children, teenagers, and adults to behave “like a girl” by running, punching, and throwing while mimicking their perception of how a girl performs the activity. Young girls performed the tasks wholeheartedly and with gusto, while boys and adults performed overly feminine and vain characterizations. The director then challenged the person on their portrayal, breaking down what doing things “like a girl” truly means. The video ends with a powerful, heart-swelling statement:

    “If somebody else says that running like a girl, or kicking like a girl, or shooting like a girl is something you shouldn’t be doing, that’s their problem. Because if you’re still scoring, and you’re still getting to the ball in time, and you’re still being first...you’re doing it right. It doesn’t matter what they say.”

    This customer story campaign put the vulnerability girls feel during puberty front and center so the topic would resonate with users and give the brand a powerful, relevant, and purposeful role in this connection, according to an Institute for Public Relations campaign analysis.

    Consequently, the #LikeAGirl campaign was a rousing success and blew past the KPIs Always established. Initially, Always determined an “impactful launch” for the video meant 2 million video views and 250 million media impressions, the analysis states.

    Five years later, the campaign video has more than 66.9 million views and 42,700 comments on YouTube, with more than 85 percent of users reacting positively. Here are a few additional highlights the analysis document points out:

    • Eighty-one percent of women ages 16–24 support Always in creating a movement to reclaim “like a girl” as a positive and inspiring statement.
    • More than 1 million people shared the video.
    • Thirteen percent of users created user-generated content about the campaign.
    • The #LikeAGirl program achieved 4.5 billion global impressions.
    • The campaign received 290 million social impressions, with 133,000 social mentions, and it caused a 195.3 percent increase in the brand’s Twitter followers.

    Among the reasons the #LikeAGirl content was so successful is that it aligned with Brené Brown’s concept that experiencing vulnerability creates a connection centered on powerful, shared emotions. Always then amplified the campaign’s effectiveness by using those emotions to encourage specific user behavior on social media.

    How do you know if you’re making vulnerable content?

    Designing a vulnerability-focused content strategy campaign begins by determining what kind of story you want to tell, why you want to tell it, why that story matters, and how that story helps you or your users achieve a goal.

    When you’re brainstorming topics, the most important factor is that you need to care about the stories you’re telling. These tales need to be meaningful because if you’re weaving a narrative that isn’t important to you, it shows. And ultimately, why do you expect your users to care about a subject if you don’t?

    Let’s say you’re developing a content campaign for a nonprofit, and you want to use your brand’s emotional identity to connect with users. You have a handful of possible narratives but you’re not sure which one will best unlock the benefits of vulnerability. In a Medium post about telling vulnerable stories, Cayla Vidmar presents a list of seven self-reflective questions that can reveal what narrative to choose and why.

    If you can answer each of Vidmar’s questions, you’re on your way to creating a great story that can connect with users on a level unrivaled by other methods. Here’s what you should ask yourself:

    • What meaning is there in my story?
    • Can my story help others?
    • How can it help others?
    • Am I willing to struggle and be vulnerable in that struggle (even with strangers)?
    • How has my story shaped my worldview (what has it made me believe)?
    • What good have I learned from my story?
    • If other people discovered this good from their story, would it change their lives?

    While you’re creating narratives within the three pillars, refer back to Vidmar’s list to maintain the proper balance between vulnerability and transparency.

    What’s next?

    You now know that vulnerability and transparency are an endless fountain of strength, not a weakness. Vulnerable content won’t make you or your brand look weak. Your customers won’t flee at the sight of imperfection. Being human and treating your users like humans isn’t a liability.

    It’s time for your brand to embrace its untapped potential. Choose to be vulnerable, have the courage to tell meaningful stories about what matters most to your company and your customers, and overcome the fear of controlling how users will react to your content.

    Origin story

    Every origin story has six chapters:

    • the discovery of a problem or opportunity;
    • what caused this problem or opportunity;
    • the consequences of this discovery;
    • the solution to these consequences;
    • lessons learned during the process;
    • and next steps.

    Customers’ life experiences

    Every customer journey narrative has six chapters:

    • plot background to frame the customer’s experiences;
    • the customer’s journey;
    • how the brand plays into that journey (if applicable);
    • how the customer’s experiences changed them;
    • what the customer learned from this journey;
    • and how other people can use this information to improve their lives.

    Product and service insights

    Narratives about product and service insights have seven chapters:

    • an overview of the product/service;
    • how that product/service affects users;
    • why the product/service is important to the brand’s mission or to users;
    • what about this product/service failed or succeeded;
    • why did that success or failure happen;
    • what lessons did this scenario create;
    • and how are the brand and its users moving forward.

    You have the tools and knowledge necessary to be transparent, create vulnerable content, and succeed. And we need to tell vulnerable stories because sharing our experiences and embracing our common connections matters. So go ahead, put yourself out into the open, and see how your customers respond.

  • An Essential Tool for Capturing Your Career Accomplishments

    Imagine you’re ready to apply for your next job. Like most busy professionals, you probably haven’t updated your résumé or your portfolio since you looked for your current job. 

    Now you need to update both, and you can’t remember what work you’ve done over the past few years. (In fact, you can barely remember what you’ve done over the past few months!)

    So you scramble to update your résumé with new content. Then you spend all weekend scraping together a new portfolio using screenshots of whatever work evidence you can find on your laptop. You submit the résumé and portfolio with your application, hoping you didn’t forget to include any major career milestones you achieved over the last few years. 

    This is the process most of us use to approach our job search. We wait until we’re ready to find a job, panic at our lack of résumé and portfolio, and pull together a “good enough” version of each for the job application. (Trust me, I’ve done this many times myself.)

    This is a stressful and ineffective way to approach a job search. There’s a much better approach you can take—and you can start working on it now, even if you’re not on the job market.

    The Career Management Document

    A Career Management Document (CMD) is a comprehensive collection of your résumé and portfolio content. It’s a document you update regularly, over time, with all the work you’ve done. 

    When you’re ready to apply for your next job, you’ll have all the résumé and portfolio pieces available in your CMD. All you need to do is assemble those pieces into résumé and portfolio documents, then send the documents off with your job application.

    I update my CMD about once a week. I start by reviewing evidence of my recent work. I review Slack messages, Basecamp posts, emails, and any other current work-related content. I write my accomplishments in the format of résumé bullets, using the framework of responsibilities and accomplishments from this Manager Tools podcast. Then I add those bullets to the CMD. 

    Here are some examples from my CMD:

    • Coached a student on writing a stronger portfolio story to showcase their advanced UX skills, resulting in the student getting a job interview.
    • Facilitated an end-of-study analysis in under 90 minutes to help the team synthesize user research data from 12 participants.
    • Led a remote retrospective with teams in two offices, developed actionable takeaways, and ended on time despite a delayed start.

    My CMD has several hundred résumé bullets, and it continues to grow. I organize content by year and by project. Within each project are responsibilities and accomplishments.

    I add any content to the CMD that might go into my résumé someday. I include everything I can think of, even if it seems insignificant or trivial at the time. 

    For example, I sometimes help with social media marketing at Center Centre, the UX design school where I’m a faculty member. I include it in my CMD. I don’t plan to pursue social media marketing as a career, but it may be relevant to a future job. Who knows—I may apply to work for an organization that makes social media marketing software someday. In that case, my social media experience could be relevant.

    Include portfolio artifacts with your CMD

    In addition to capturing bullets for my résumé, I capture content for my portfolio. Each week, I gather screenshots of my work, photos of me working with the team, and any other artifacts I can find. I store them in an organized system I can reference later. 

    I also take brief notes about the work I did and store them with the artifacts. That way, if I look back at these materials a year from now, I’ll have notes about what I did during the project, reminding me of the details.

    For example, after I facilitated a user research analysis session late last year, I captured evidence of it for my portfolio. I included photos of the whiteboard where I recorded public notes during the session. I also captured brief notes about who attended the session, the date, and when it took place during the project. 

    You can use whatever tools you’d like to gather evidence of your work. I use Google Docs for the résumé portion of my CMD. I use Dropbox to store my portfolio artifacts. I create Dropbox folders with dates and project names that correspond to the contents of my CMD.


    Résumé content from my CMD. I wrote about coaching a student on crafting a presentation for her job interview. The highlighted areas are where I left comments reminding me of the details of the work. Note that some of the résumé bullets seem redundant, which is OK. When I create my next résumé, I’ll choose the most appropriate bullets.

    I took notes on a whiteboard while coaching the student. I stored a photo of the whiteboard in Dropbox in a folder named with the date of the work and a description of what I did.

    The key is to collect the evidence regularly and store it in an accessible, organized way that works for you. To know if you’re storing work evidence effectively, ask yourself, “Will I understand this CMD content a year from now based on how I’m capturing and storing it today?” If the answer is “yes,” you’re in good shape.

    Update your CMD regularly

    For the CMD to work when you need it, it needs to be comprehensive and up-to-date. As I mentioned before, I update my CMD once a week. I schedule thirty minutes on my calendar each week so I remember to do it. 

    Sometimes I have a busy week, and I can’t spend thirty minutes on my CMD. So I spend whatever amount of time I have. Some weeks, I only spend ten minutes. Ten minutes per week is better than zero minutes per week. 

    Occasionally, I don’t get a chance to update it because my week is so hectic. That’s OK because I’ll probably get to it the following week. 

    I recommend updating your CMD once a week and not once a month or once a quarter. If you wait even a month, you’ll have trouble remembering what you did three and a half weeks ago. Even worse, if you schedule a CMD update once a month and then miss it, you won’t get to it until the next month. That means you have to think back and remember two months of work, which is hard to do. 

    Updating your CMD every week, while the work is fresh in your mind, gets the best results.

    The CMD benefits you in additional ways

    The CMD can help you prepare for your job search beyond your résumé and your portfolio. 

    You can use it to prepare for a job interview. Since you’re capturing work evidence from each stage of the process in your CMD, you can use that evidence to remember what you did throughout a project. Then, you can craft a story about your role on that project. 

    Hiring managers love to hear stories about your work during job interviews. For instance, if you’re a designer, they want to know the journey you took during your design process, from the start of a project to the end. A detailed CMD will help you remember this process so you can share it in an interview. 

    I’ve even used my CMD to write blog posts. I’ve been blogging regularly for the past two years, and I often refer to my CMD to remember work experience I had that’s relevant to what I’m writing. When I wrote the article “How to Tell Compelling Stories During a UX Job Interview,” I used my CMD to remember interview preparation exercises I did with students. 

    The CMD can also help you track work accomplishments for your quarterly or annual performance reviews. Additionally, you can use it to write job ads when hiring for related roles on your team.

    Lastly, I find it rewarding to peruse my CMD now and then, especially when I look back at work I did over a year ago. The CMD serves as a record of all my professional accomplishments. This record helps me appreciate my professional growth because I see how far my skills have come over time.

    Learn more about the CMD from Manager Tools

    At Center Centre, we originally learned about the Career Management Document through the Manager Tools podcast series.

    Manager Tools’ podcasts explain how to use a CMD for your résumé. We expanded their approach to include portfolio work as well. I recommend listening to their podcasts about creating and maintaining your CMD:

    Prepare for your next job search now

    We tell our students at Center Centre that preparing for your next job search is a process that starts early. It’s like saving for retirement—the sooner you start saving money, the more likely you are to be prepared when the time comes. 

    Similarly, collecting résumé and portfolio content ahead of time will prepare you to find your next job whenever you’re ready to do so. It also prepares you for a sudden job termination like an unexpected layoff. If you lose your job without warning, you’ll likely be under a lot of stress to find a new position. Having a CMD ready will relieve the additional stress of building a résumé and portfolio from scratch. 

    If you don’t have a CMD yet, now is a great time to start one. Schedule 30 minutes this week to begin crafting your repository of work accomplishments. You’ll be glad you did when you seek your next job.

  • Getting to the Heart of Digital Accessibility

    Quick! Think of the word “developer” or “coder” — what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe a whiteish male in his twenties living in a busy metropolis, wearing a nerdy t-shirt and hoodie? Someone a bit like Mark Zuckerberg? Or maybe a younger Bill Gates or Sergey Brin? Any of the dudes from the HBO series Silicon Valley, perhaps? Certainly no one like me.

    By tech standards, I’m old. I’m also female and a mother. I live in a midwestern town you’ve never heard of and will never visit — a town where the cows vastly outnumber the people. My hair color is (almost) natural and is no longer part of the ROYGBIV collection, so I have no perceived conference street cred. I own about a thousand geeky T-shirts, but never actually wear them in public, opting for more “girly” attire (or so was pointed out by a male colleague). On the surface, I look more suited to taking notes at a PTA meeting than writing code. I’m a bit of an outsider. A tech misfit.

    So when my 11-year-old daughter finished her recent coding camp and excitedly declared, “Now I’m a real developer, Mom, just like you!” there was the usual parent pride, but also a small piece of me that cringed. Because, as much as I support the STEM fields, and want the next generation of girls to be coding wizard-unicorn-ninjas, I really don’t want my own daughter to be a developer. The rationale behind this bold (and maybe controversial) statement comes from a place of protection. The tech world we live in today is far from perfect. I’ve endured my share of misogyny, self-doubt, and sexual harassment. Why wouldn’t I want to protect her from all of that?

    The (diversity) elephant in the (computer) room

    You’ve heard this story before: there is not enough diversity in tech. This puzzling trend seems to continue year after year, even though numerous studies show that by including more people from underrepresented communities, a company can increase its innovation, employee retention, and bottom line. Even with the recent push and supposed support for diversity and inclusivity from many Fortune 500 companies, women and female-identifying people still only hold 20% of all top tech jobs.

    The data from FY 2018 shows that the number of women in technical roles at three of the top tech giants was 24% for Adobe, 26% for Google, and 22% for Facebook. While these numbers show that there is still not enough representation for women, these numbers do reflect a slight increase from the previous year (FY 2017: Adobe 22%, Google 25%, Facebook 15%). But even with this upward trend of hiring women in tech roles, the marginal growth rate has not caught up with the real world. The tech workforce is seriously out of touch with reality if, in 2019, a demographic (women) that represents more than half the global population is still considered a minority.

    Sometimes this lack of diversity at the top level is blamed on a “pipeline” issue. The logic being: “If there are not enough girls who learn to code, then there will not be enough women who can code.” However, programs aimed at teaching girls how to code have skyrocketed in the past few years. Girls now make up about half of the enrollment in high-school coding classes and are scoring almost identically to their male classmates on standardized math and science tests, yet, young women make up only 18% of all Computer Science degrees. I have to wonder if this steep drop in interest has more to do with lack of representation in the tech sphere, than with girls and young women simply not being “smart enough” or “not interested” in working with code? At the very least, the lack of representation certainly doesn’t help.

    Of course, the diversity picture becomes even more abysmal when you consider other underrepresented groups such as people of color, people from the LGBTQ community, and people with disabilities. And while I really don’t like glossing over these deeper diversity issues in tech, because they are abundant and are much more grotesque failings than the male/female ratio, I also don’t feel qualified to speak about these issues. I encourage you to look to and value the voices of others who can speak with higher authority on these deeper diversity issues, such as Ire Aderinokun, Taelur Alexis, Imani Barbarin, Angie Jones, Fatima Khalid, Tatiana Mac, Charlie Owen, Cherry Rae, and so many others. And for those readers who are new to the topic of diversity in tech, watch Tatiana Mac’s recent conference talk How Privilege Defines Performance — it’s well worth the 35 minutes of your life.

    The four stages in the digital accessibility journey

    However you look at it, the numbers don’t lie. There are some pretty significant diversity issues in tech. So how do we fix this issue before the next wave of young developers join the tech workforce? Simple: teach developers to write accessible code.

    This may seem like a joke to some and stretch to others, but hear me out. When we talk about accessible code, what we are really talking about at its core is inclusiveness. The actual process of writing accessible code involves rules and standards, tests and tools; but inclusive development is more abstract than that. It’s a shift in thinking. And when we rethink our approach to development, we go beyond just the base level of simple code functionality. We instead think, how is this code consumed? How can we make it even more intelligible and easier for people to use? Inclusive development means making something valuable, not just accessible, to as many people as we can.

    That line of thinking is a bit abstract, so let’s go through an example. Let’s say you are tasked with updating the color contrast between the text on a webpage or app and the background. What happens at each stage in the accessibility journey?

    Stage 1: Awareness — You are brand new to digital accessibility and are still trying to understand what it is and how you can implement changes in your daily workflow. You may be aware that there is a set of digital accessibility guidelines that other developers follow, but you are a bit hazy on what it all means in a practical sense.

    Stage 2: Knowledge — You know a bit more about digital accessibility and feel comfortable using a few testing tools, so you run an automated accessibility test on your website and it flags a possible issue with the color contrast. Based on your awareness of the guidelines, you know the color contrast ratio between the text and the background needs to be a certain number and that you need a tool to test this.

    Stage 3: Practice — Feeling more confident in your knowledge of digital accessibility rules and best practices, you use a tool to measure the color contrast ratio between the text and the background. Then based on the output of the tool, you modify the hex code to meet the color contrast ratio guidelines and retest to confirm you have met the accessibility requirements for this issue.

    Stage 4: Understanding — You understand that the accessibility guidelines and tools are created with people in mind, and that code is secondary to all of that. One is the means, and the other is the end. In the color contrast example, you understand that people with low-vision or colorblindness need these color contrast changes in order to actually see the words on your web page.

    This is a bit of an oversimplification of the process. But I hope you get the gist — that there are different stages of digital accessibility knowledge and understanding. True beginners may not be to even stage one, but I am finding that group rarer and rarer these days. The word about digital accessibility seems to be out! Which is great; but that’s only the first hurdle. What I’m seeing now is that a lot of people stop at Stage 2: Knowledge or Stage 3: Practice — where you are aware of the digital accessibility guidelines, have some testing tools in your back pocket, and know how to fix some of the issues reported, but haven’t quite connected the dots to the humans they impact.

    From the standpoint of getting daily stuff done, stages two and three are okay stopping points. But what happens when the things you need to do are too complex for a quick fix, or you have no buy-in from your peers or management? I feel that once we get to Stage 4: Understanding, and really get why these kinds of changes are needed, people will be more motivated to make those changes regardless of the challenges involved. When you arrive at stage four, you have gone beyond knowing the basic rules, testing, and coding. You recognize that digital accessibility is not just a “nice to have” but a “must have” and it becomes about quality of life for real people. This is digital inclusion. This is something you can’t unsee, you can’t unlearn, and you can’t ignore.

    Making digital accessibility a priority — not a requirement

    In my role as an accessibility trainer, I like to kick-off each session with the question: “What are you hoping to learn today about digital accessibility?” I ask this question to establish a rapport with the audience and to understand where everyone is in their accessibility journey, but I am also evaluating the level of company and individual buy-in too. There is nothing worse than showing up to teach a group that does not care to be taught. If I hear the words “I am only here because I have to be” — I know it will be an uphill battle to get them anywhere close to Stage 4: Understanding, so I mentally regroup and aim for another stage.

    In my experience, when companies and their leaders say “Digital accessibility is a requirement,” nine times out of ten there is a motivating factor behind this sweeping declaration (for example, impending litigation, or at least the fear of it). When changes are framed as mandatory and packaged as directives from on high with little additional context, people can be resistant and will find excuses to fight or challenge the declaration, and any change can become an uphill battle. Calling something “mandatory” only speaks to Stage 1: Awareness.

    By swapping out one word from the original declaration and saying “Digital accessibility is a priority,” companies and their leaders have reframed the conversation with their employees. When changes are framed as “working towards a solution” and discussed openly and collaboratively, people feel like they are part of the process and are more open to embracing change. In the long run, embracing change becomes part of a company’s culture and leads to innovation (and, yes, inclusion) on all levels. Calling something a priority speaks to Stage 4: Understanding.

    Some of the excuses I often hear from clients for not prioritizing accessibility is that it is too difficult, too costly, and/or too time consuming — but is that really the case? In the same accessibility training, I lead an exercise where we look at a website with an accessibility testing tool and review any issues that came up. With the group’s help we plot out the “impact to user” versus the “remediation effort” on the part of the team. From group to group, while the plots are slightly different, one commonality is that close to 80% of the errors plotted fall into the quadrant of “simple to fix” for the team, but they also fall under “high impact” to the user. Based on this empirical data, I won’t buy the argument from clients who say that accessibility is too difficult and costly and time consuming anymore. It comes down to whether it’s a priority — for each individual and for the company as a whole.

    What will your coding legacy be?

    The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter for an infinite amount of time will eventually type any given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare. So by that same logic, a programmer hitting keys at random on a computer for an infinite amount of time will almost surely produce a website that is accessible. But where is the thought process? Where is the human element? While all the things we’ve already talked about — awareness, education, and prioritization of accessibility are important steps in making the digital world more inclusive to all — without intent, we are just going to keep randomly tapping away at our computers, repeating the same mistakes over and over again. The intent behind the code has to be part of the process, otherwise accessibility is just another task that has no meaning.

    Maybe I’m naive, but I’d like to think we’ve come to a point in our society where we want our work lives to have meaning. And that we don’t want to just hear about the positive change that is happening, but want to be part of the change. Digital accessibility is a place where this can happen! Not only does understanding and writing purpose-driven code help people with disabilities in the short-run, I believe strongly that is key to solving the overarching diversity issue in tech in the long-run. Developers who reach Stage 4: Understanding, and who prioritize accessible code because they understand it’s fundamentally about people, will also be the ones who help create and cultivate an inclusive environment where people from more diverse backgrounds are also prioritized and accepted in the tech world.

    Because when you strip away all the styles, all the mark-up, all the cool features from a website or app — what’s left? People. And honestly, the more I learn about digital accessibility, the more I realize it’s not about the code at all. Digital accessibility is rooted in the user; and, while I (and countless others) can certainly teach you how to write accessible code, and build you tools, patterns, and libraries to use, I realize we can’t teach you to care. That is a choice you have to make yourself. So think for a moment — what are you leaving the next generation of developers with all that inaccessible code you haven’t given much thought to? Is it the coding legacy you really want to leave? I challenge you to do better for my daughter, her peers, and for the countless others who are not fully represented in the tech community today.

Search Engine Watch
Keep updated with major stories about search engine marketing and search engines as published by Search Engine Watch.
Search Engine Watch
ClickZ News
Breaking news, information, and analysis.
PCWorld
  • Best Android phones 2019: What should you buy?

    Choosing the best Android phone for you is a big decision. The Android universe is teeming with options, from super-expensive flagship phones to more affordable models that make a few calculated compromises, to models expressly designed for, say, great photography. 

    Chances are that whichever phone you buy, you’ll keep it for at least two years. So we’ve made picks for the best Android phone in key categories. Check out our summary Cheat Sheet, or keep reading for details on each pick and the runners-up. At the bottom of this article, we link to all our recent Android phone reviews—in case you have your eye on a model that didn’t make our cut.

    To read this article in full, please click here

  • Best Android phones 2019: What should you buy?
    Looking for the best value in an Android phone, the best for photography, or the best at everything? We've tested them all and have our top picks right here.

    To read this article in full, please click here

  • Qualcomm's Snapdragon 7c and 8c aim for low-end and midrange PCs

    Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 7c and 8c at its Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, Hawaii. The chips, two derivatives of the Snapdragon 8cx, will provide opportunities for cheaper PCs to take advantage of the Snapdragon 8cx’s advantages: fanless platforms, long battery life and constant connectivity.

    It's a gutsy move. Qualcomm's premium Snapdragon 8cx PC processor has arguably struggled to compete with Intel’s Core and AMD’s Ryzen, at least from a performance standpoint.. Nevertheless, the company’s decided that cheaper, presumably less powerful Snapdragon chips for PCs are the way forward.

    To read this article in full, please click here

  • Qualcomm's Snapdragon XR2 platform takes aim at true mixed reality

    Qualcomm will use its newly announced Snapdragon chips to take another swing at the mixed reality market, adding 5G to the mix with the Snapdragon XR2 platform.

    Announced at its Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, Hawaii, Qualcomm said it believes that the on-device horsepower of the recent Snapdragon chips, combined with the “edge cloud” capabilities of the 5G connection, should be enough for true mixed reality: augmented reality in one context, and virtual reality in another. 

    Niantic, the developer behind the popular Pokemon Go game, even announced a multi-year partnership to develop AR glasses based on the platform.

    To read this article in full, please click here

  • Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865: Four of its best new features

    Qualcomm described the Snapdragon 865 in detail on Wednesday, with a long list of new features that included 5G, PC-like gaming features, high-resolution camera imagery, and much more.

    At the Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, Hawaii, Qualcomm set up a demo room where we could go hands-on with some of the features. We took the opportunity to shoot some short videos to go with our descriptions, and you can see them all below.

    Single-camera video bokeh

    We’ve all probably used “portrait mode” on a smartphone camera—that’s the feature that blurs the background to create the “bokeh” effect of a traditional lensed camera. It’s a nifty way to make the eye zero in on the subject of the image. Smartphone cameras use AI to distinguish the subject from the background, which usually works pretty well.

    To read this article in full, please click here

CNN.com - RSS Channel - App Tech Section
CNN.com delivers up-to-the-minute news and information on the latest top stories, weather, entertainment, politics and more.
CNN.com - RSS Channel - App Tech Section
 

Ако решите, че "как се прави сайт" ръководството може да бъде полезно и за други хора, моля гласувайте за сайта:

+добави в любими.ком Елате в .: BGtop.net :. Топ класацията на българските сайтове и гласувайте за този сайт!!!

Ако желаете да оставите коментар към статията, трябва да се регистрирате.