The Influence of Mobile Blogging & E-Commerce: Deterring Security Threats

published on March 10, 2014

Tablets and smartphones are like the digital gateways to a cyber universe where people share information and consumers engage with online businesses. With the single swipe of a tablet and click on a smartphone, you can connect with others, publish content and offer products and services. Digital spaces are the online marketplaces for exchanging products, services, and information, while mobile devices are the keys that provide the 24/7 access. Mobile devices haven’t just changed how we communicate. These technologies have revolutionized how we consume content and engage in commerce.

Mobile-Dependent World

More than 1.2 billion people access the Web from their mobile devices and consume an average of 1.8 hours a day of media from those mobile devices, according to an infographic by AF-Studio.pl and Super Monitoring. Among these mobile users, 80 percent of consumers planned to shop online within the year, as of October 2013. The average American also spends about two hours a day on a mobile device, which equates to about 2,387 days in a lifetime. This means the average person will spend nearly 6.5 years on their iPhone or iPad throughout their life (possibly reading your blog or shopping on your site).

For bloggers and online business owners who want to attract audiences and customers, content needs to be mobile—easily accessible, readily available, and safe. Not only does your blog or e-commerce site need to be mobile-friendly, they need to be free of various security vulnerabilities and risks.

Blogging Security Threats

Evernote’s Pocket saves inspirational articles and videos to your tablet for postponed reading. OneNote serves as a writer’s digital notebook for note taking and adding pictures using your phone. The WordPress app edits and publishes blog posts—all from your tablet or laptop that never leaves your side. Bloggers can research, write, post, and share content from anywhere, anytime, and on any type of mobile device. While using the Internet or sharing information on the Web in a public space, you’re always open to security threats. Most obviously, your mobile device can be lost and stolen, exposing your personal content and sensitive information. Security technology company Lookout.com further breaks down mobile security threats into application, Web services and network risks.

  • Downloading a fraudulent app could infect your mobile device with malware, spyware and vulnerable apps. Malware is malicious software that can make unauthorized charges and send unsolicited messages. Spyware steals private data, such as user location and browser history, for identity theft and fraud. Flawed apps can also provide vulnerabilities for an attacker to obtain sensitive information or perform harmful actions.
  • With an Internet connection, your mobile device is susceptible to Web-based threats. A phishing scam is when an email, text or Facebook message includes a fake link to a website to trick you into providing a password or account info. Drive-by downloads will automatically download an application from a Web page, with or without your permission. Unsafe mobile Web browsers can also trigger a browser exploit that installs malicious software or performs harmful actions.
  • Cellular and local wireless networks, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, can be vulnerable to network exploits and Wi-Fi sniffing. An insecure mobile operating system can encounter a network exploit that installs malware. Wi-Fi sniffing is when unencrypted data is sent across the network. A hacker can read this data and use it to their advantage.

Protect your mobile devices from these threats with the following security basics:

  • Never install an app from an unknown source. Disable any “unknown sources” box on your phone to prevent an inadvertent destructive installation.
  • Download apps from Google Play and iTunes. Check ratings, reviews, permissions, updates, and the number of downloads.
  • Monitor identity theft threats. A 2013 Identity Fraud Report by Javelin Strategy & Research found that in 2012, there was an identity theft victim every three seconds in the U.S. (a total of 12.6 million consumers), as Pinow published. Visit secure websites that have an “https://” in the address bar.
  • Be aware of imposter websites and cautious while sharing valuable information. Ensure any data you send is encrypted, and furthermore, monitor your personal information with a reliable identity theft protection service.
  • Ignore unrecognizable emails, texts and messages with links that are scams in disguise.
  • Encrypt your data backups and file syncing to prevent access from third parties.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) while using public Wi-Fi for safe data transmitting.
  • Install an anti-malware and virus protection solution. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile is an Android mobile security app that can detect and eliminate malware, scan for security vulnerabilities, and protect personal data from unauthorized access.

E-commerce Security Threats

Sure, e-commerce sites don’t experience the threat of shoplifting, but online merchants do experience threats of security breaches and data leakages. Whether you run a blog or online business, security risks can dismantle your livelihood. Ilia Kolochenko, CEO at High-Tech Bridge and Help Net Security contributor, identifies three types of attacks: targeted, semi-targeted and untargeted attacks.

  • In a targeted attack, a hacker’s main objective is your e-commerce site and to break into your technical infrastructure.
  • In a semi-targeted attack, you’re one of many vulnerable victims whose Web server is shared by the same host. Hackers are efficient, “compromising the weakest link in the security perimeter,” explains Kolochenko on Net-Security.org. Hackers will even break into a user account on your site and collect credentials in plaintext, subsequently, compromising your security. Thereafter, a hacker could expose confidential customer information and delete databases.
  • In an untargeted attack, a hacker focuses on victims in large quantities. They troll around, crawling Google bots to find Web application software that’s outdated or weak. While hacking into your website and stealing your databases, a hacker may also infect your site with malware.

Explore your website’s security measures to see if there are loopholes and vulnerabilities. Kolochenko recommends the following hacking prevention tips:

  • Replace default or weak passwords with strong and unique passwords that provide trustworthy access to admin panels.
  • Use an updated, open source CMS (e.g. Joomla, WordPress or osCommerce), and check its modules and plugins.
  • Verify any third-party customized codes.
  • Limit access to passwords, site controls and file permissions.
  • Select a reputable and highly qualified Web hosting service with excellent client support and a backup plan.
  • Back up your website and update software. Backing up your website can help with a security investigation if you do get hacked.
  • Contact your Web host and customers if your site gets attacked. Take fast action to repair vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

WordPress dot Org Plugins You Might Have Missed

published on March 8, 2014

WordPress dot org has some powerful plugins that you might not have discovered yet. Check out these cool plugins that just might be the solutions you have been looking for. Some of these plugins are still in the draft or development stage as of this writing.

Admin Color Schemes

The Admin Color Schemes plugin brings some personality to your WordPress site with 8 new extra admin color schemes. If you want to add some fun and pizzazz to your WordPress backend for that not so formal look, check out this cool plugin to create the color scheme that matches your personality.

WordPress Importer

The WordPress Importer plugin will import the following content from a WordPress export file: posts, pages and other custom post types, comments, custom fields and post meta, categories, tags and terms from custom taxonomies, authors, etc. The importer also has a couple of filters to allow you to completely enable/block certain features. Take note though that if your exported file is very large, the import script may run into your host’s configured memory limit for PHP.

Debug Bar

The Debug Bar plugin adds a debug menu to the admin bar that shows query, cache, and other helpful debugging information. This plugin is a must for WordPress developers. This plugin tracks PHP Warnings and Notices to make them easier to find when WP_DEBUG is enabled, and mysql queries are tracked and displayed when SAVEQUERIES is enabled. This plugin is extremely helpful for theme and plugin developers, just make sure that plugin is installed correctly.

WordPress Front-end Editor

The WordPress Front Editor plugin is a simple and easy to use plugin that allows you to navigate between the front and back end where you can access more advanced options such as custom fields, edit content, etc. This plugin is still in the development stage.

WordPress Front Editor

The WordPress Front Editor plugin is a simple and easy to use plugin that allows you to navigate between the front and back end where you can access more advanced options such as custom fields, edit content, etc. This plugin is still in the development stage.

Tumblr Importer

The Tumblr Importer plugin allows you to import posts, drafts, and pages including media side loading (for audio, video, and image posts) from a Tumblr blog into a WordPress blog. It correctly handles, post formats, does background importing, and will not create duplicate imported posts.

Blogger Importer

The Blogger Importer plugin allows you to import posts (published, scheduled, and draft, comments, and categories (blogger tags) from a Blogger blog then migrates authors to WordPress users.


Is Your WordPress Site A Target For Hackers?

published on March 7, 2014

Online security is a priority website owners should take seriously. How many of us use the same password not only for multiple sites but for other personal information like bank accounts, billings, credit cards, etc.? General website information is available via Whois.com and displays information such as your email address. To the determined hacker, this single piece of information could lead to a chain of personal information tracking and could lead to more devastating consequences aside from identity theft. The epic hacking of Wired’s Senior Writer, Mat Honan, that dissolved his digital life is a reality check that whatever goes online (and even offline) can disappear in a matter of seconds.

Another security challenge is having multiple authors and contributors to your WordPress website. Granting access to users should be managed with a built-in authentication system to filter out unauthorized or unregistered users from accessing not only your resources but also premium information not open to the public. Installing necessary precautions and different levels of security checks can be helpful in creating deterrents to possible security hacks.

Here are some useful tools you can use to protect your site from being compromised.

LastPass – PassWord Manager

LastPass is an award-winning password manager that saves your passwords and gives you secure access from every computer and mobile device. Download and setup is easy and can be done in minutes. Once you’ve created your account, LastPass prompts you to save new sites as you browse – so you’ll never lose another password. After saving a website’s username and password, LastPass will autofill the login when you return to that site. No thought, no typing, no work required – LastPass does it for you. LastPass allows you to share access to multiple users securely. This security tool also helps you address other password management concerns and security threats like keylogging, etc.

UpDraftPlus – WordPress Backup

UpdraftPlus simplifies backups and restoration. Backup into the cloud (Amazon S3 (or compatible), Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud, DreamObjects, FTP, SFTP, SCP, WebDAV and email) and restore with a single click. Key features include: Site duplicator/migrator: can copy sites, and (with add-on) move them to new locations; backups of files and database can have separate schedules; large sites can be split into multiple archives; database backups can be encrypted for security; and download backup archives direct from your WordPress dashboard, among many.

Clef – 2 Step Authentication Mobile App

Clef is a free replacement for usernames and passwords that makes logging into your WordPress site easier and more secure. It is a mobile app that replaces usernames and passwords using your smartphone. This security tool lets any site recognize their users based on their phones, instead of anything they have to remember or type. Clef puts secure cryptography in the hands of every user and frees you from having to remember any passwords. Once you sign in to one WordPress site using Clef, you can sign into all of your Clef-enabled sites with a single click. And once you sign out of the app on your phone, you are automatically signed out of all your WordPress sites.

Google Authenticator – WordPress Plugin

The Google Authenticator plugin for WordPress gives you two-factor authentication using the Google Authenticator app for Android/iPhone/Blackberry. You may already have the Google Authenticator app installed on your smartphone, using it for two-factor authentication on Gmail, Dropbox, Lastpass, Amazon etc. The two-factor authentication requirement can be enabled on a per-user basis. You could enable it for your administrator account, but log in as usual with less privileged accounts. It also works on WordPress installations that have several users aseach user has his own Google Authenticator settings.

All In One WP Security & Firewall

The All In One WordPress Security plugin is a comprehensive, user-friendly, all in one WordPress security and firewall plugin for your site. It reduces security risk by checking for vulnerabilities, and by implementing and enforcing the latest recommended WordPress security practices and techniques. This plugin uses an unprecedented security points grading system to measure how well you are protecting your site based on the security features you have activated. Protect against “Brute Force Login Attack” with the Login Lockdown feature. Users with a certain IP address or range will be locked out of the system for a predetermined amount of time based on the configuration settings and you can also choose to be notified via email whenever somebody gets locked out due to too many login attempts. Monitor/View the account activity of all user accounts on your system by keeping track of the username, IP address, login date/time, and logout date/time.

As always, check for compatibility before installing any plugin or tool. And don’t forget to backup your site as well.


Mobile World Congress 2014 – Mark Zuckerberg

published on March 5, 2014

It’s been an exciting week for those in the mobile industry. Exciting news announced during the Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain included Mozilla’s $25 Firefox phone, Nokia goes Android, Samsung’s smart watch and the future of wearable devices, etc. and many others.

One of the highlights of that conference was the keynote address of Mark Zuckerberg regarding WhatsApp and Internet.org. Facebook is the largest communication service existing today, growing from 9 million to 1.2 billion users today and the Facebook CEO’s high profile presence in the Mobile World Congress event signaled the company’s growing influence in the mobile industry.

Coming out in a low-key shirt and jeans getup, Zuckerberg shared his long term vision and very aspirational address that explained the reasons behind several of the recent business decisions and acquisitions his company has made. Here’s what he said during the event.

  • WhatsApp is a great fit for us. It’s on a path to connecting more than a billion people and there are very few services in the world that can reach that level.
  • The vision of internet.org is – the shared goal to help connect everyone in the world.
  • Most people in the world don’t have access to the internet at all. It’s only a third that have access to the internet.
  • The most expensive part of connecting to the internet is not the smartphone. It’s the data connection.
  • After Facebook reached the milestone of helping to connect a billion people, what problem in the world can we try to help solve next?
  • Our vision isn’t to try to connect 1/7 of the world. It’s to try to connect everyone. In order to do that, we need to form these partnerships because no one company can change the way that the internet works by itself
  • Access to the internet means access to: basic services like basic health conditions, education materials, information to bring people out of poverty.
  • Internet.org is a partnership, an industry coalition working together to deliver an efficient internet so that anyone in the world can get access to services for a really affordable price or free for basic services
  • More than 80% of the people in the world live or already live in an area where they have 2G or 3G access. The goal of internet.org is to create an on-ramp to the internet. We want to create a dial tone for the internet.
  • There is a set of basic services that we think should exist: messaging, weather, food prices, basic search, basic social networking, 911 for the internet. These are all text-based, low-bandwidth, cheap to serve and represent a reasonable business proposition. Messaging and social networking are also portals to more content.
  • This is no longer theoretical. In the Philippines – we’ve been working with Globe -we’ve seen the number of people using internet has doubled and Globe subscribers have grown 25%. We’ve partnered with them delivering basic services like Facebook and messaging, and upsells.
  • This gives people a rationale on why they should spend their money on the internet (bundled with their subscriptions).
  • We want to push this to see if this model works.

“I believe in this because this is why I started Facebook – the vision that someday, someone should try to help connect everyone in the world. After reaching a billion users, there’s got to be something bigger. I believe that this is an important thing. Even if I think we’re going to lose money on this for quite a while. If we do something that’s good for the world, then eventually, we’ll find a way to benefit from that in some way. ” – Zuckerberg


Ninja Free Email Marketing Tips for eCommerce

published on March 4, 2014

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to reach customers even in the midst of all the social media networking chatter. Status updates and tweets can get buried in just a matter of minutes and you might fail to catch the notifications. Email is not that quickly disposed of and can be sorted, nested, tagged, labeled, and marked as important.

Below are some email marketing tips and nuggets of wisdom for eCommerce stores as shared by seasoned eCommerce and Internet marketing expert, Eric Shannon.

  • Email for eCommerce is different. Most of the battle is actually creating the email and sending it. Tip: Words don’t sell the clicks. Images do.
  • Create a Customer List - Make sure your cart integrates with your email service provider and that your customers automatically end up in an email list. Choose an email service provider that is eCommerce friendly.
  • Create a Prospect List - people who come to your site but don’t buy anything. Create an offer or “bribe” that is congruent with what you are offering to encourage them to leave their email. You can design your web template to add an email collection section on your sidebar, an overlay, or an exit offer box (discounts etc.) that appears when the visitor is about to leave your site. Be careful what type of popups or windows to use to make sure that it is customizable and targets specific user behavior only. You might have to ask someone to custom code this into your website template.
  • Create a Cart Abandonment List. Find an app that integrates your email service provider with your shopping cart that collects email even if the user abandons the cart.

Types of email you can set up and send to your users via auto responders:

  • Trust Builders – This type of email creates trust and confidence between you and your customers. State the reasons (return policy, warranties, low price guaranties, etc.) why people should be comfortable doing business with you.
  • Social proof – This type of email (usually in auto responder) features real life examples, reviews, or proof to establish and assure customers and prospects that your business is really legit.
  • Content email – This type of email can be used to connect and engage your market. It can contain pictures, video, short articles, links to your site or to helpful resources online. Tip: The email template should resemble the template of your actual website. Optimize your email header with navigational links that direct them to where you want them to go.
  • Offer email – Evergreen (no expiry) or broadcast (time sensitive) offers. This type of email can be used to increase conversion. Ex. new stuff, site-wide sale, category blowout, clearance items, evergreen offers, holiday sales, discounts, free shipping, etc.

Study your market behavior to be able to know when to schedule sending your emails strategically and to which type of email list you are sending them to.


WordPress Themes for Photographers – March 2014

published on February 28, 2014

Creating an online portfolio is no longer a challenge nowadays. There are hundreds of options for displaying photographs available to photographers today that give you that expensive professional look. Here are some of the latest WordPress photography themes you can use to show off your prized images:

PhotoReactive – Fullscreen Studio for WordPress

PhotoReactive Premium WordPress Theme is a full screen studio theme for WordPress that photographers will love. This premium theme gives photographers tons of creative options for them to showcase images and other multimedia content both on the homepage and also in the portfolio pages. Full screen slideshows options include touch swipe capability, captions (with or without), photo wall, YouTube and Vimeo videos, static image, and the popular Kenburns slideshow (with or without audio). This theme is also equipped with Ajax & normal portfolio showcases, WooCommerce functionality to help you set up your own photography shop and it is also WPML ready (includes .po .mo language files.)

Devendo Photography WordPress Theme

Devendo Premium WordPress Theme is a flat and modern portfolio theme suitable for photographers. This premium theme is built with Bootstrap 3, is 100% responsive and is also available in four color schemes that can be changed in the theme’s options panel. Key features include: smart overlay search function, integrated social sharing, responsive mega menus with Bootstrap grid inside dropdowns, full screen portfolio with direction aware hover effects, smooth scrolling AJAX-powered horizontal blog, among others.

Fidelity – Premium Photography WordPress Theme

Fidelity Premium WordPress Theme is a modern photography theme with a future-oriented design targeted primarily for photographers but can also be used by design agencies, architecture bureaus, etc. This premium theme takes a full advantage of the latest CSS3 hardware-accelerated transitions (with a fallback to jQuery animations) giving users incredible performance on diverse platforms like desktops, tablet PCs and smartphones. Some of the unique features include: the ability to set up narrow or full width page in a few clicks, the ability to show EXIF data in the portfolio posts, and the horizontal masonry style blog layout that gives you that high end magazine feel. You can also display unlimited slideshows and videos for your background.

The Gentleman – Photography & Portfolio Theme

The Gentleman WordPress Theme is a fully responsive multipurpose theme perfect for any photographer, designer, agency, or any business looking to show off their work. There are multiple homepage layouts, tons of portfolio styles to choose from, and a lot of other features allowing you to build your perfect photography/portfolio website. This theme includes features like: Price tables, team members, multiple blog layouts, preset flat and pattern styles, a powerful theme options panel, multiple sliders including the popular Revolution Slider, multiple portfolio options including the Magnific Responsive Lightbox, and so much more.

Camilla – Horizontal Fullscreen Photography Theme

Camilla Premium WordPress Theme is a modern, minimal, full screen horizontal canvas ideal for displaying your photographs the way you intended them to be seen. This theme’s minimalistic design shifts the focus to your work with the use of distraction-free full screen video-ready galleries . Some of this theme’s modern features include: one-page layout, horizontal scroll, vertical scroll sections in horizontal layout, and it is optimized for mobile devices with its swipe navigation feature for smartphones and tablets, etc.


WordPress Plugins For Video

published on February 27, 2014

Video is a powerful tool to draw people to your site. Today’s audience is so accustomed to visual stimulation that the use of video has become one of the fastest, if not the most effective, ways of communicating to a wider audience. Hence, it is already a necessity for websites to be multimedia friendly and capable of handling all types of multimedia content, especially videos.

Check out these WordPress video plugins you can use to create more visual interest to your website.

Advanced Responsive Video Embedder

This simple and lightweight plugin lets you embed videos from many providers with full responsive sizes via URL or Shortcode (clean and easy shortcode syntax). You can show videos as thumbnails and let them open in Colorbox. The Plugin has a set of customization options to embed the video exactly as you like which includes custom URL parameters. You also have options to make the videos as unobtrusive as possible to keep visitors on your site.

YouTube Plus

This plugin allows you to upload content to your YouTube account and easily embed content straight from your WordPress dashboard. Upload new content to YouTube, delete old content from your YouTube account, get other YouTube users videos and even track your YouTube analytics right from the WordPress dashboard. You can also delete content from your YouTube account right from the WordPress dashboard. No need to leave your blog to go remove videos from YouTube. The built in validation makes sure that only you can delete content from your YouTube account. Through the YouTube Plus analytics section you can track important YouTube analytic information for the 25 most recent uploaded videos. The analytics section comes with a fully interactive world map and tons of metric information displayed in tables.

Video Embed

This plugin is a smart and easy way to add responsive HTML5 Video gallery and Video player to your WordPress Site. The plugin adds a Video gallery tab to your admin menu, which allows you to enter Video Title and Video source items just as you would regular posts. Also added setting page “Smartvideo Settings” under “setting” menu to set the height and width of your video player.

Video Thumbnails

Video Thumbnails makes it easy to automatically display video thumbnails in your template. When you publish a post, this plugin will find the first video embedded and locate the thumbnail for you. Thumbnails can be saved to your media library and set as a featured image automatically. This plugin also supports custom post types and custom fields. Additional features include maximum image sizes, more powerful bulk scanning options, a customizable upload directory, and support for popular video services like YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Dailymotion, Google Drive, etc.

JW Player for Flash & HTML5 Video

The JW Player WordPress Plugin enables you to embed Flash and HTML5 audio and video, plus RTMP and YouTube streams, on your site using JW Player 6. This plugin allows for easy customization and embedding of Flash and HTML5 video using the JW Player in your WordPress posts. It provides support for all of the JW Player 6 configuration options, including custom watermarks, HLS/RTMP streaming and VAST/VPAID advertising.


WordPress Design For A Global Market

published on February 26, 2014

Design is subjective. There are generally accepted design principles that govern the design community and serve as guides to evaluating “correct” design. However, not all of them are totally applicable to specific clients especially when Western taste buds meet Eastern culture. But when and where shall the ‘twain ever meet if beauty and design aesthetics are wrapped deeply in mores and culture?

This is the cross cultural challenge that web designers need to face in order to remain competitive in today’s global market place.

West, Meet East

Before the West was, the East was. Two of the world’s oldest civilizations, China and India, are also two of the fastest and most robust economies today. According to Census.gov, as of 2014, China and India ranked as the top two countries with the highest population in the world. China ranked first with 1.3B (population) with an approximate 42.3% Internet penetration, followed by India with 1.2B (population) with an approximate 81% Internet penetration. Approximately 1 billion internet users from these 2 (right to left, top-to-bottom reading) countries alone. And if theme developers do the math, even if at 1% of a billion internet users, that’s still a lot of WordPress themes right there. Too many to ignore.

Global Market Local User Design

We’ve talked about defining your target market and directing your business to reaching your specific demographic. Once you have that down pat, it’s probably time to think of expansion and consider widening your net a little further. To go a little more granular and target the local user.

With WordPress powering over 21% of the Internet and being one of the most user friendly and reliable CMS systems existing today, aside from the fact that it is free, more and more Internet users are looking to it as their platform of choice.

With that, the popularity of WordPress has crossed over into multi language markets despite having been around for only a decade and catering mainly to users of modern languages which are generally left to right in direction. Hence, the increase in demand for WordPress themes with RTL or WPML features or WP plugins that provide this functionality.

The diversity of WordPress users from all across the globe is becoming an important factor in developing themes that are relevant culturally and technically suited to these users local needs. As responsive once was a premium feature that has now become a standard feature in all WordPress themes, so shall the multi language and RTL feature become.

The Design Approach

The WordPress theme development marketplace has grown considerably with designers coming up with better and more user friendly designs that match the general needs of WordPress users. There is a huge pool of WordPress themes available for, generally, almost every type of website need out there. But there is still room to grow for more cross-cultural friendly options.

Below are some design elements that designers need to consider when creating themes that are responsive to culturally diverse user groups. (Notes culled from W3.org and Sitepoint.com)

  • Language
    – Languages don’t have a direction. Scripts have a writing direction, and so languages written in a particular script, will be written with the direction of that script. Languages can be written in more than one script.
  • Typography - fonts and characters
    – Typography can look “busier” to Western eyes than to Asian readers because many Asian scripts don’t have separate upper and lower cases. Some languages have scripts that are not alphabetic at all, but which express an idea rather than a sound. Occasionally, it’s necessary for an author to provide readers with pronunciation help for especially rare or awkward characters, usually with an alternative script in small writing above the ambiguous character.
  • Content presentation
  • Styling
  • Usability
  • Navigation
  • Mirror layout
  • Scripts (Left to Right, Right to Left, Top to Bottom)
    – Text direction is another thing that should not be confused with language. In some scripts, such as Arabic and Hebrew, displayed text is read predominantly from right to left, although within that flow, numbers and text from other scripts are displayed from left to right. Knowing the directionality of text, based on the script(s) to be used, is important to web designers and authors, because right-to-left text can be more complicated (for beginners) to work with and the organization and directionality of the page layout are affected. Therefore, knowing the writing direction can be relevant to estimating the work involved to create web pages in a new language.
  • Images and animations
  • Forms
    – Designing forms for an Asian market can have pitfalls for Western developers. For example, it’s common to require both given name and family name and give an error if both are not completed. Many Asian languages write names with family names first and given names afterwards while some have only one name. Also, do not limit the amount of characters in Address fields.
  • Mobile
  • Propriety
  • Color palettes
    – While choosing your colors for your design, keep in mind that certain colors have different connotations across cultures. For example, red is lucky for Chinese people. On the other hand, Thai people will be offended if you print their name in red — it’s the color that monks employ to write names on coffins, so to write someone’s name in red is to “wish them dead”.
  • Symbols and metaphors

For web designers, W3.org International’s tagline sums it up quite well: “Making the World Wide Web Worldwide.” Let’s!


Freelancer Sites – Good, Bad, Ugly?

published on February 25, 2014

Breaking into the online freelancer network to make money as a part-time or full time freelancer can be overwhelming for a beginner. Thousands of choices are available at your fingertips but not all of them are legitimate or have a good reputation to back them up. Where to start? We’ve narrowed down some of the more established freelance sites that you can dive into. Whether you are looking to hire a freelancer or you are a freelancer looking for a project, make sure to read through the terms and conditions thoroughly so that you know what to expect and is expected from you and hopefully avoid scam or ripoff sites.

oDesk

oDesk is a digital platform that allows people to work together remotely even if you are half-way around the world. As a freelancer you can work where you want, when you want; set an hourly rate based on your skills, experience, and reputation; have access to the tools you need to build your business online; and be assured that you get paid for every hour worked—on time, every time. As a client you can find the right person for the job, no matter where they live; build an online workforce, on-demand and on your own terms; manage and pay a global team with ease; and audit and pay only for hours worked. The oDesk Work Diary tracks time and takes work-in-progress snapshots, giving you visibility into project progress and accurately tracking time spent to assure both freelancer and client transparency and accountability.

Elance

Elance is one of the top platforms to find, hire, manage and collaborate with online freelancers. As a freelancer you can be your own boss while choosing the jobs you want and working the hours you want; get hired for interesting jobs wherever you are; and you are guaranteed payment for all the hard work you do. As a client you get instant access to a community of over 3 million of the world’s best freelancers among them web programmers, mobile app developers, graphic designers and other freelancers with the most-demanded skills. You can track job progress in your shared Workroom; stay on top of jobs by setting milestones, viewing work in progress, video conferencing with freelancers; and you only pay for work you approve.

Guru

Guru is an online marketplace for freelance talent providing businesses with the ability to find the help they need from a variety of talented Freelancers worldwide. The proprietary Guru Recommended system leverages performance data to make the freelancer selection process easy and reliable – every time. Once connected, Employers can securely pay Freelancers through their SafePay system where employers are guaranteed payment protection. As a freelancer you can create a profile and define the freelance services you want to offer; search and apply for jobs that interest you; define milestones, set tasks, communicate with employers, share files, and agree upon payment schedules; and get paid quickly and securely. As employers you can search for services in a network of over 900,000 freelancers for any technical, creative or business projects you have; create agreements, define milestones and tasks, communicate, and share documents; pay only for a job well done.

Freelancer

Freelancer is the world’s largest freelancing, outsourcing and crowd sourcing marketplace by number of users and projects connecting over 10,294,248 employers and freelancers globally from over 247 countries, regions and territories. Employers can hire freelancers to do work in areas such as software development, writing, data entry and design right through to engineering, the sciences, sales and marketing, accounting and legal services; and you can even hire customer support or a virtual personal assistant to simplify your life without the risky overhead and cost of hiring full-time staff. Freelancers simply sign up, complete their profile, browse available projects, and bid on projects matching their skills.

Check out this interesting article and learn from the ongoing discussion among those who are active in the freelance industry.