At Softway Solutions we pride ourselves on staying on top of the latest developments in technology. So, when we heard about Bitcoin, a new experimental virtual currency, we were intrigued. We first heard about it a few years back, but with all the new media attention, we figured it was worth revisiting.
Our client Bid Serious received rave reviews recently from penny auction blog PennyAuctionWatch.com. In the review, Bid Serious is praised for having “the most creative and informative video”, along with its site design. We’re extremely happy to hear the hard work, from branding to design to development to multimedia animation, is attracting attention with its creativity and simplified user interface. More importantly, we’re glad Bid Serious is getting the recognition they deserve.
Yesterday we announced that we won second place for logo design in the American Design Awards (ADA). An internationally-recognized independent awards program, the ADA recognizes designers from around the world who produce innovative and creative design pieces. Our design team submitted to the ADA Summer Quarterly Design Awards the logo they created for YetiCars, an online used car search engine.
Please follow this link to read more about our award!
“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
Working software over comprehensive documentation;
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation;
Responding to change over following a plan.”
- The Agile Manifesto
In every sense of the word we are a growing company. Though we’re reaping the returns of our hard work, external growth outpacing internal growth makes it more challenging to manage projects. Our workload is steadily increasing but our team members still haven’t learned how to clone themselves or how to survive without sleep. The widening employee to project ratio exposed aspects of our project development process that were becoming counterproductive, essentially creating additional hurdles for us to jump over. Hiring employees en masse is not a realistic solution but taking a new approach to project development is.
We knew there was a method out there that would leverage our capabilities with our potential, mitigating the increased workload and increasing our efficiency. The issues we were having stemmed from using the waterfall method to build our projects. Waterfall is strict and compartmentalized, which allowed for unforeseen challenges. We don’t have an overabundance of team members to tackle the challenges that arose on one project while continuing to build other projects. So we decided to investigate an agile project development method called Scrum.
Scrum is structured to support complex project development and correct inefficient steps. It’s adaptable and collaborative framework minimizes both the number and the size of mistakes and prevents lengthy delays from happening. We thought it was our best bet at simplifying the development process and improving our efficiency.
It is a given that to turn a concept into a product, a project development plan is essential. However, to turn a concept into a functioning and valuable product, an agile development plan is a necessity. The reality is a concept doesn’t always translate into a good product just because the plan is good in theory.
Scrum emphasizes that effective team collaboration, rather than going through the motions of an unexplored yet concrete plan, uncovers the value the actual process of agile development brings to a project: empiricism. It is within the small steps of Scrum that observations lead to ingenuity and innovation, which enhance the project and enable it to evolve into a turnkey product and solution. Scrum doesn’t force the project to adapt to the development plan; the plan adapts to the project.
Scrum can make our previously counterproductive issues become productive and proactive steps, which is something our growing company will really benefit from. Changes, additions and challenges can occur at any point during the production process without it feeling like a wrench was thrown in the gears.
You’re going to build a better, more quality project when you go through the development process, gradually building the project step-by-step. Scrum puts innovation, collaboration and creativity back into development, making it easy to build a product that not only functions, but truly works for the client’s business and enhances the way they do business.
In today’s wide world of web design we have a hodge-podge of styles, techniques and best practices. This is because the industry is no longer novice and has a culmination of old pros, savvy sophomores and fishies that have been coding since diapers. Although each generation of programmers have their own insider ways, there are some common website mistakes that can be found on a variety of sites and platforms.
These are quick website mistake fixes that spawn from tunnel vision and not seeing your site from the eyes of the end user. It is always good to ask your least technical friends and coworkers to give your site a walk-through seeking website mistakes before you start promoting it all over town (or the internet). These common website mistakes are the ones that are caught by users that don’t code which is most likely your target audience.
Website Mistakes #1: Forgetting About Conventions
Users have been trained how to interact with a website. Therefore, they often get frustrated when websites don’t meet their expectations, such as hovering over an object, blue, underlined text and find out a link does not exist; click on the logo in the top left, believing it will return them to the homepage, only to find it takes them nowhere. However, developers and designers should always maintain certain rules to avoid user confusion. Here are three.
- Clickable Elements Should Have the Pointer on Rollover
- Style Links Appropriately
- Make Logos Clickable to the homepage
Website Mistakes #2: Creating Slowly-Loading Websites
Users hate slow websites. Studies have shown that 40% of users will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Here’s how to avoid common speed mistakes by new programmers.
- Resize Images Outside the Browser
- Load CSS Externally
Website Mistakes #3: Not Accounting for Potential Backend Changes
Most programmers nowadays are using a content management system like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal to build their websites. This is great because it gives website owners the ability to make changes and updates.
The problem is that a lot of developers only program for a website’s content at launch time. What if two months after the website’s launch, the communications director decides to set some text to heading 6? That decision would revert to the default styles of the browser since the developer never styled for it initially. Here is how to avoid this situation.
- Include Styles for All the Common Tags
Make sure your website is free from these common website mistakes. If you are having these common problems and would like a redesign or a new website, contact Softway Solutions for a thorough analysis of your website.
Top 5 Ecommerce Pricing Models
1. Revolving Pricing Model
A revolving pricing model is most commonly used for subscription based services. The key sign of a subscription is: consistent content delivery. This means you deliver fresh content daily, weekly, monthly and so on. Seeing as how your product is delivered on a schedule it only makes sense to charge your customers on a schedule. Does it have to be the same schedule? Absolutely not! Plenty of subscriptions offer many revolving pricing options. These can be monthly, annually, semi-annually or anything your customers desire.
2. One-Time Charge Pricing Model
The one-time charge model can be a slippery slope. If you are considering it, make sure you run a lot of numbers before you commit to it. Meaning, the ROI must be there or else you will not be in business long. One-time charge models work for mobile apps, audio downloads and Egreeting-cards. Let’s think about the mobile apps specifically. Here at Softway we build a lot of mobile apps so we have a good understanding how much money goes into making each one. If you are going to release them on IPhone and Android you need to have a strong marketing plan to ensure the ROI because this won’t be cheap.
3. Usage-Based Pricing Model
The usage-based pricing model is exactly what it sounds like. This is becoming very popular for energy companies and internet companies and has always been a favorite of cell-phone providers. For ecommerce, let’s say your product is one like GoToMeeting. They don’t offer use a usage-based pricing model but they very easily could, and in my opinion they should. It is an option they could offer to smaller businesses that only need their services ever so often. They could keep your billing information on-hand and charge you a set price for each session used in that billing period. Or, charge you for ten sessions up front and then you use them whenever you need to.
4. Freemium Pricing Model
This is mostly seen in social sites like Linkedin and Spotify. Both of these offer a free account and premium accounts (free-mium). The idea here is that once your customers immerse themselves in your free services, they will want to pay more to get all of the services. Both Linkedin and Spotify’s premium services charge a monthly revolving price and Linkedin actually has a few premium services that are tailored to different audiences. Spotify gets you on the commercials; you pay more and there are no commercials.
5. Tiered Pricing Model
Now here’s where things get a little tricky. Let’s say you are selling a tangible product that has to be packaged and shipped. This product is one that you buy in bulk from a manufacturer and re-distribute. Because you buy in bulk, you get price breaks. With a tiered pricing model you are basically passing along those price breaks. Meaning, the price for one product is not going to be the same cost per item if the consumer wants to purchase 10. A lot of subscription based services offer tiered pricing as well; if you pay for a year up-front it is cheaper than paying month-to-month. Tunecore is an ecommerce service that distributes music and video content to all of the go-to digital marketplaces for anyone and everyone. Sign-up, choose your product (or bundled product package at a discount), upload your content and select which stores you want it to be sold in. Within 48 hours your content is being sold on your selected markets and then 60 days later you can start cashing in the checks.
These ecommerce pricing models are not new and innovative models; they are simply recycled from the tried and true and formatted for the ecommerce business model. After you decide exactly how you want to charge for you service or product it is up to you to implement this pricing model. If you are building the ecommerce site yourself then you need to do a lot of research on building a paywall because inside that paywall will be your pricing model. If you feel you are already over your head, contact Softway Solutions and our expert team will build, implement and even maintain your ecommerce portal for you.
Some of the most successfull ecommerce websites are subscribtion based ecommerce websites. There are numerous subscription model ecommerce websites sprouting up quite recently and are also quite successful.
The trick is to provide a service that will help in incurring a recurring income. The advantages are that once an effort is made to sell a subscription, that one time sale guarantees a residual income through the life of the account. Over a period of time the revenue could grow and the ecommerce site / solution can become very lucrative.
Before you decide to design and build a subscription based Ecommerce website. Keep the followin things in mind.
1) Provide / Render a service through the site that is of value and useful to the customer
2) Keep the cost of the subscription reasonably priced with amounts such as $ 4.95, $9.95 or such to help keep the subscription amount being noticable on the credit card statements of the customer.
3) Keep upgrading the services and add new features regularly to keep the subscriptions alive and attract new users.
4) Use Viral Marketing techniques to promote your subscription service and enable the users to virally spread your service by enabling shares to popular networking platforms.
These are just some good points to keep in mind to help you create your next Subscription based ecommerce website. If you would like to learn more about services that Softway Solutions offers with respect to ecommerce services you can visit our Ecommerce website design page and or visit www.softwaysolutions.com to learn more about the different services that our team can help you with.
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