Mobile App Design Trends


Categories: Oracast News

Thinking of developing an app? Here’s a few great design tips that will give your app the latest edge of 2015 and beyond.

Call To Action (CTA)

As trends shift to mobile, an increasing amount of thought is going into utilizing small screen size for maximum visual appeal and conversions. As with websites, the call to action buttons have an impact on generating leads and converting visitors into buyers or customers. The 2015 trend for mobile is blurry background images and contrasting CTA’s so they stand out as much as possible. As you will see in the Vimeo app example below, the design is clean and simple, and the call to action buttons contrast against the dark background.

Screen shot of vimeo app
CTA’s standout against the dark background in the Vimeo app.

Hidden Menus

You may have noticed that hidden menus are a hugely popular design feature. Menu’s and responsive drawers that become visible when swiped and retract when not needed are featured on most new apps. As users become accustomed to smartphone functionality and comfortable with swiping and what to expect, apps are becoming more sophisticated. The purpose is to de-clutter the screen so your smartphone can turn into one of the thousands of handy devices such as a GPS, keyboard or the video camera that you‘d like it to be with clean and clear functionality.

responsive drawer image from the whole foods app.
Example of a responsive drawer from an app

Animated Elements

Interactive and attention grabbing, animation is a cool visual component. It can be used to save screen space, to motivate the user, to create an awesome interactive experience, to entertain and to enhance functionality. Animation is gaining popularity as app developers compete for customer attention… and user experience is at the top of the list.

Screen shot of the KFC app, in which animation is used.
KFC uses animation in app – a popular trend

Story Telling

Facts tell, stories sell, and there is no exception when it comes to mobile app design. As mobile apps become more interactive, story telling is taking on new and engaging forms. Captivating video, bold imagery and personalized experiences are all elements you can expect in the latest app development.

Story telling is age old, and there's no exeption when it comes to app design. This is a screen shot of the redbull story from their app.
Facts tell, stories sell.

There is no question mobile design will become increasingly interactive as the user experience tops the agenda of developers. Need an app? Our professional app developers are at your service!

Google Analytics: 3 Tips to Understanding your Metrics at a Glance


Categories: Oracast News

Google Analytics and Web Master Tools are important and useful tools in tracking website statistics. Unless requested otherwise, Oracast set’s up every website we launch with access to these free tools. We’d like to help our clients get the most out of these readily available statistics.

So, once your website is launched and your analytics tools are in place, how do you use these tools to your advantage?


Google analytics reflects three main metrics: acquisition, engagement and outcome. Today I would like to focus on engagement. How do you know your website is reaching the right audience and engaging your visitors?

Here are a few metrics we like to look at:

  • Bounce rate   (Ideally below 60%)
  • Time on site (Above 60 seconds indicates an engaged visitor)
  • Page views   (The more, the better. Take note of which pages are trending)
  • Pages per visit   (The more, the better. Note blog pages)

#1 Landing Page:

One of the first statistics to check out is your homepage is your bounce rate. This will give you a good indication of how many of your visitors are sticking.

You have less than 5 seconds to capture your visitor with a clear message about why they are looking at your website, or they’re gone.

One of the main reasons people ‘bounce’ off websites is because of a lack of clarity. If your homepage bounce rate is above 60% it’s time to take a second look with fresh eyes. Show your website homepage to a few people who have never seen it before and ask them what your company does after 5 seconds. Do they know the answer?


Here is a good example of a clear landing page. Within 5 seconds it’s easy to tell Hootsuite is a social media management tool.



The top of the page is where visitors eyes land first. I usually recommend a clear headline supported by an image that quickly and clearly communicates what your company does.

#2 Popular Content

Take a look at what pages visitors are spending the most time on. This will help you to determine what content they really want from your website.

If visitors are staying on a page for more than 60 seconds, it’s a good indication that they are engaged.

Make note of the pages with the highest time spent and which pages have the most visits. This can be found under Behavior > Site Content >

analyticsAlso look into your blog article statistics and determine which topics are the most popular and helpful to your visitors. Another way to find out which content is the most popular is by looking at the keywords people typed in to find your website in the first place. What are the most popular keywords on your site?

Increasing your engaging content will entice visitors to stay on your website longer and return again and again. Ultimately if you are providing content people are looking for, the number of visitors to your website will grow over time.


#3 Growth Patterns

Start with the default 30 days, and then change the date range to 3-6 months, and 1 -2 years (if available), and compare. Looking at the long term statistics will help you pick up on larger trends. Are there certain times of the year your traffic spikes or dips such as holidays?


It’s a good sign if there is a growing trend such as an increasing number of unique visitors, page views and time on site over the long term. If the patterns are decreasing, there may be some gaps in your content or SEO strategies.

Reach Your Online Goals

There are many important things you can discover about your website and audience by taking a look at your Google analytics. We recommend signing into your analytics tools at least once every three months and measuring up the stats to your goals.

We are here to help you reach the goals you’ve set-out to achieve. Let us know if you have any questions about your website’s analytics and we will be happy to help!

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? Google Is Turning Up The Pressure.


Categories: Oracast News

smartphoneNews feeds are buzzing with the latest Google update slotted to take effect April 21st. With mobile searches tipping the scales, exceeding desktop searches, the new update will affect websites that do not meet mobile-friendly guidelines. To provide a better mobile experience Google will be “expanding [its] use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.”


Google makes several hundred minor changes every year to the criteria on which websites are ranked. Major updates, like the one soon to take place however, is big news as search engine optimization methods must change to meet new guidelines, something that hasn’t happened on this scale in years. If your website isn’t prepared your search engine ranking on mobile devices may take a dive. Desktop rankings will not be immediately affected, though webmasters predict further changes in the near future may impact all searches.


With this latest algorithm update, Google has also made it clear that there will be no middle ground in terms of website mobile friendliness – your site is either friendly or it’s not. Responsive websites also help to future-proof your site against ever changing browsers and devices.


If you’ve clung to the same retro website for decades, Google will continue to create compelling reasons to move on. It is time. Google has officially given webmasters a reason to provide a better online experience for the large percentage of mobile search traffic. So, what should you do?


Here are a few practical steps:

  1. Check your website on Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Here. It only takes a second.
  2. See the Mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools, which highlights major mobile usability issues across your entire site, not just one page.
  3. For more information on the update, check out Google’s blog post.

If the results of your Mobile-Friendly Test was positive, awesome! You’re set. If it came out negative, don’t panic. Our team at Oracast has years of experience building responsive mobile-friendly websites and we’d love to hear from you. We’re here to keep your organization competitive on all fronts. If you have any questions give us a call at 888.210.9805 or email

Google Ranking by Mobile Friendly – Are you Ready?


Categories: Oracast News

Maybe recently you received an email from Google Webmaster Tools that goes something like this:

Fix mobile usability issues found on []

Google systems have tested 100 pages from your site and found that 100% of them have critical mobile usability errors. The errors on these 100 pages severely affect how mobile users are able to experience your website. These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.

Over the last month, Google has been sending out emails like this to warn webmasters about the upcoming change in how Google ranks websites. On April 21, 2015, Google will use this “Mobile Friendly” factor when users search from mobile devices, and if you’re not ready, your site could get dropped out of the search results.


The problems that your website might have might seem pretty technical, with the most common being “Viewport not configured”. This means that your site doesn’t have the header telling it to change the display of the site according to the size of the display. At the very least your page headers should have this line:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">

For most websites, this means you need to change your current website or template to a Responsive web design. If you are a using a CMS like WordPress, this is intended to be a simple process. If you want to get into the technical details, you can learn more at Google’s Responsive Web Design Basics.


If you want to test if your site is Mobile Friendly, you can use Google’s Mobile Friendly Tool


Of course if you need help making your website mobile friendly, or just don’t have the time to get it done before April 21, contact us here, and we will be glad to help!

WordPress MainWP Child Plugin Security Issue


Categories: Oracast News, Web Design

There is a serious privilege escalation vulnerability in the MainWP Child WordPress plugin. This plugin has over 90,000 active installs. The vulnerability allows an attacker to log into a vulnerable website bypassing the password authentication mechanism that WordPress provides.


What to do: Upgrade immediately to version which was released last Friday and fixes this specific issue. estimates 90,000 active installs are out there, so please help spread the word to the rest of the WordPress community about this issue.

Shaw experiencing routing issues across Canada


Categories: Oracast News

If you have been experiencing any issues accessing email or websites hosted by us please note that Shaw Communications is having routing issues across Canada. This means that if you’re using Shaw as your internet provider, your internet experience might be slow and websites/email may be inaccessible.


There is a great resource here that shows a heat map of the affected areas. If you scroll down you’ll see the most recent Shaw postings from their twitter account. As always if you require assistance please don’t hesitate to call our support line at 1-888-210-9805 extension 3.

The Rules of Usability


Categories: Oracast News

website rules of usabilityWhen developing a new website, our managers, developers and creative team often meet to check-off our list of website quality checkpoints.

Here are 5 rules for website usability:


5 Second Rule

When a fresh new design is created for our clients, we step back and take note of what stands out first on the page. Where does your eye land first? Where does your eye go next? Is it conveying the message our client would like to communicate? Does the page flow, is it clear, and does it lead to the desired call to action? There is some debate on exactly how much time you have to capture your website visitors, but the initial impression is made within seconds.


Easy Navigation – 3 Click Rule

We clearly define our clients objectives from the get-go. We then ensure that the website is easy to navigate by applying the 3 click rule. This rule says that visitors can find what they are looking for in 3 clicks from any page of the site. Easy navigation is extremely important as website visitors are usually in a hurry and click onto another site within seconds if they do not see what they are looking for.


Copy Writing

We encourage our clients to keep content bite sized. Use bullet points and images wherever possible to keep interest levels up. Avoid long paragraphs, especially on the homepage. Need we say more?


Font Size / Spacing

While there are differing opinions on the ideal font size, we like to lean towards too big rather than too small. It’s important that all text is easy to read, with proper spacing and continuity of fonts and sizes.


Critical Content is Above the Fold

The “fold” is the imaginary line where the bottom of your screen would cut off without scrolling down. 80-90% of website visitors don’t scroll down so it’s important to have your most critical content “above the fold”. This should include your “call to action” and contact info.


While this list is not complete, these rules are a good start on which to critic the usability of a website. Need help with your website? Contact us today!

When, Where and How – Social Media Strategies Every Marketer Should Know


We recently came across an insightful report on that analyzed 1.2 million blogs which resulted in two billion social shares. Social media is constantly evolving and approaching it with a solid marketing strategy produces the highest engagement and best results.

Here are the most interesting facts and tips for building a successful marketing strategy based on the latest research.

When To Post

Weekdays are the most popular days to post on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Tuesdays and Wednesdays have long been thought to engage the highest viewership. Surprisingly however, Saturdays and Sundays actually produce higher engagement and more shares. If you’re looking for more interaction from your posts, try experimenting with weekends. If you see a higher level of engagement, then work that into your marketing plan.



The best time of day to post is in the evenings when people spend time surfing the web and sharing posts that interest them.


Always schedule your posts in advance. I love this “hard to find” feature on Facebook that allows you to schedule posts.



Where Should You Post?

The largest social networks of course are Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has 1.23 billion active users, so that is an obvious social media platform for most marketers. There are however, countless smaller networks that may be relevant to your brand as well. While it would be a waste of time and impossible to post on all of them (without a small army) it’s important to understand where your target audience hangs out.

Linkedin is the best network for B2B. Google+ is important for SEO. Pinterest is a powerful marketing tool across many creative business sectors. Spend time researching your target audience to find out where they are most likely to hang out.


How To Post – Interesting Punctuation Facts

Do question marks matter?
According to the research done by TrackMaven, when posts are framed as a question, the social media shares double. How many question marks should you add to your post???? Just one! Engagement dramatically declined when more than one question mark was used.

Exclamation Points!
While multiple question marks decreased social shares, multiple exclamation points had the opposite effect. Social shares actually increased when the posts had four exclamation points as opposed to just one to two. What? What!!!!

Keep your titles short and to the point. Anything over 60 characters resulted in a steep decline of interest.


If you need help with your social media tactical plan, Oracast is here for you!!!!