What is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes (K8s) is an open-source project designed to manage a cluster of Linux containers as a single system. Kubernetes manages and runs Docker containers on a large number of hosts and provides co-hosting and replication of a large number of containers. The project was started by Google and is now supported by many companies, including Microsoft, RedHat, IBM, and Docker.
Google has been using container technology for over a decade. It started by launching over 2 billion containers in one week. With the help of the Kubernetes project, the company shares its experience in creating an open platform designed to run containers at scale.
The project has two goals. If you are using Docker containers, the next question is how to scale and run containers on many Docker hosts at once and how to balance them. The project offers a high-level API that defines a logical grouping of containers, allowing you to define container pools and load balance, and set their placement.
How Kubernetes appeared
The book Site Reliability Engineering describes an internal Google project – the Borg cluster management system. In 2014, Google published the source codes for this project. In 2015, in partnership with the Linux Foundation, they organized the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), to which they transferred Kubernetes sorts as their technical contribution. This foundation develops open-source projects to establish utilities and libraries that allow you to create applications focused on cloud architecture models.
Now Kubernetes is an alumnus Cloud Native Computing Foundation. He was brought to a stable version and received the status of Graduated Project (completed project) in CNCF terminology.
The first versions of Kubernetes were more monolithic and tailored to work with Docker in the background. In the CNCF program, Kubernetes has become a stable and extensible product, and technology change has become possible at almost every level of the virtual infrastructure. Now Kubernetes lends itself to a fairly high customization: you can choose any technology for working with containers, storage, or a network.
This approach to development has made Kubernetes a popular solution for production systems and corporations; it has more security-related components and more stable resource and process management algorithms.
Main components of Kubernetes
- Node. Nodes or nodes are virtual or physical machines on which containers are deployed and run. A collection of nodes forms a Kubernetes cluster. The first running node or controller node directly manages the group using the controller manager and the scheduler. It is responsible for the user interaction interface through the API server and contains storage with the cluster configuration, metadata, and object statuses.
- Namespace. An object designed to delimit cluster resources between teams and projects. Namespaces are several virtual clusters running on one physical one.
- Pod. Immediate deployment and main logical unit in K8s. Pods are a set of one or more containers for joint deployment on a node. Grouping containers of different types are required when they are interdependent and must run in the same node. This allows you to increase the speed of response during the interaction. For example, these can be containers that store a web application and a service for caching it.
- ReplicaSet. An object responsible for describing and managing multiple instances (replicas) of pods created on a cluster. Having more than one replica improves the resiliency and scalability of the application. In practice, a ReplicaSet is made using a Deployment. ReplicaSet is a more advanced version of the previous way to organize the creation of replicas in K8s – Replication Controller.
- Deployment. An object that stores a description of the pods, the number of replicas, and the algorithm for replacing them if the parameters change. The deployment controller lets you perform declarative updates (using a desired state description) on objects such as nodes and replica sets.
- StatefulSet. Like other objects, such as ReplicaSet or Deployment, Statefulset allows you to deploy and manage one or more Pods. But unlike them, pod IDs have predictable and persistent values across restarts.
- DaemonSet. An object responsible for ensuring that one instance of the selected pod is launched on each node (or several selected ones).
- Job/CronJob. Objects to regulate the one-time or regular launch of selected Pods and control their completion. The Job controller is responsible for a single launch; the CronJob is responsible for launching several jobs on a schedule.
- Label/Selector. Labels are for marking resources. Allow simplifying group manipulations with them. Selectors allow you to select/filter objects based on the value of the labels. Labels and selectors are not independent Kubernetes objects, but without them, the system cannot function fully.
- Service. A tool for publishing an application as a network service. They are used, among other things, to balance traffic/load between pods.
How Kubernetes works
Kubernetes consists of two large parts:
- Control Plane – orchestrator, API, and configuration base.
- Node Pools – servers with available resources.
The Kubernetes Controller Node server is responsible for the Control Plane. Kubernetes Worker Nodes are grouped into a Node Pool (pool of nodes, nodes). As a rule, one Node Pool corresponds to a group of servers with the same specified characteristics—a Windows-based server pool, a Linux-based server pool, and a GPU server pool.
On each node (or node, a separate physical server or virtual machine), a kubelet agent is installed – it helps to receive instructions from the Controller Node server and various components, drivers, and extensions for network security monitoring. All this adds up to a platform for deploying an application.
In summary, the application itself is described through a deployment resource containing several pods (from now on referred to as pods), each of which has one to several containers. Pods are just the units of system scaling in Kubernetes – the molecules that make up the system. For example, when choosing which node this or that application component will be launched, the minimum resource area is considered under and not a separate container or physical server.
Hierarchy of Kubernetes components. Node Pool consists of nodes (Worker Node). An Application consists of a Deployment, which consists of Pods containing containers.
The principle of operation of Kubernetes is similar to classic clusters. The brain of the system is the Kubernetes Controller Node, which is responsible for the Control Plane and contains the following:
- API for administrators and developers;
- Configuration base with parameters of containers, applications, deployment, network, and storage;
- An orchestrator or scheduler that runs containers.
Let me remind you that Kubernetes unites node pools- servers connected by common characteristics – for example, a pool of Windows servers, a pool of Linux servers, and a pool of servers with a GPU. Nodes are combined into collections according to certain characteristics. Then the administrator tells Kubernetes what these characteristics are: computing power, memory, storage – and Kubernetes allocates resources on its own, finds nodes in the cluster that satisfy these characteristics, and launches application pods on them.
You can set a minimum and a maximum number of pods for an application, and Kubernetes will try to support that number. But the administrator, hypervisors, or cloud platforms like Azure, GCP, and AWS can already be responsible for maintaining and scaling the number of nodes (individual physical servers or virtual machines as part of a pod), but not Kubernetes itself.
And suppose any of the infrastructure elements fail. In that case, Kubernetes automatically tries to solve the problem: for example, restart one pod or deployment so that the state of the system as a whole corresponds to the configurations loaded via the API and saved to the Controller Node. As a result, the application, whose components are divided into pods and containers, spins in the space of resources united in a Kubernetes cluster – in a kind of container cloud.
Advantages of Kubernetes
- Service discovery and load balancing. Containers can run on their IP addresses or use a common DNS name for the entire group. K8s can throttle and distribute network traffic to keep the deployment stable.
- Automatic storage management. The user can set which storage to use for deployment by default – internal, external cloud provider (GKE, Amazon EKS, AKS), or other options.
- Automatic implementation and rollback of changes. The user can add to the current container configuration on the fly. If this breaks the stability of the deployment, K8s will automatically roll back the changes to a stable working version.
- Automatic resource allocation. Kubernetes allocates space and RAM from a dedicated cluster of nodes to provide each container with everything it needs.
- Manage passwords and settings. K8s can serve as an application for securely processing sensitive information related to the operation of applications – passwords, OAuth tokens, and SSH keys. Data and settings can be updated without re-creating the container, depending on the application.
- Self-healing when a failure occurs. The system can quickly identify corrupted or unresponsive containers using specific metrics and tests. Failed containers are recreated and restarted on the same pod.
Kubernetes is a convenient container orchestration tool. However, this solution only works independently, with preparation and additional settings. For example, users must deal with database schema migrations or API backward compatibility issues.
Disadvantages of Kubernetes
- Safety. There are many different components in one technology, the security of which has to be closely monitored: external, at the level of clusters and nodes, and internal, at the level of specific images. Special AntiMalware solutions for Kubernetes have already appeared that scan everything that happens inside the container. Unlike containers, a virtual machine is completely abstracted from the host server machine that runs it: it has its operating system, so the risk of penetration into the server from a virtual machine is much less than from a container. You can solve this problem by scanning activity, encrypting network traffic, installing components for security, and solutions for authenticating containers and application components. This makes life difficult for Kubernetes administrators, but something needs to be done about it – it’s part of our job.
- Kubernetes is still not PaaS, so you also have to pack middleware into containers and dependencies for the application. But this task is also simplified due to the huge number of ready-made and pre-configured images for containers posted in public registries.
- The requirement for applications to be containerized. This limits opportunities for companies that need to develop applications themselves. Therefore, we often need to maintain a legacy infrastructure parallel to the main one. The gradual replacement of applications solves this problem: old applications are rewritten under new architecture models with support for new technologies for infrastructure, or there is a complete transition to SaaS-type applications in which there is no need to manage infrastructure.
- The complexity of administration. It is solved using cloud services. I do not recommend setting up Kubernetes independently because this requires very narrow specialists, and it isn’t easy to maintain a cluster independently.
Future of Kubernetes
According to CNCF, Kubernetes is currently the second-largest open-source project in the world after Linux. Since the advent of Kubernetes, it’s safe to say that almost all other orchestrators are either irrelevant or have faded into the background compared to Kubernetes. Typically, every major public cloud provider has a managed Kubernetes service or is in the process of developing one.
Kubernetes continues to grow rapidly. Initially focused primarily on basic container scheduling, it soon added additional capabilities to address production concerns such as security, stateful applications, cloud integration, and batch processing, to name a few.
As the platform matured, the rate of fundamental change slowed down. While improvements in scalability and accessibility will continue indefinitely, the underlying form of the platform has become fairly stable. The platform has become very extensible, and much of the interesting work in the future will be based on Kubernetes rather than “inside” Kubernetes itself. This is a sign of success. For many, Kubernetes will all but disappear or become taken for granted as essential plumbing.
Exciting Kubernetes-based systems for networking, serverless, IoT, and edge computing are currently being researched and built that leverage the scalability, flexibility, and efficiency of microservices/container-based architectures.
Kubernetes is the most advanced container orchestration tool available today. It allows automates not only the deployment process but also simplifies the further process of working with arrays of containers as much as possible.
What is a camera-focused app
A camera-focused app is an application designed to enhance the camera experience on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. These apps provide users with various advanced camera controls, editing tools, and other features unavailable on the default camera apps that come with their mobile devices. Camera-focused apps are specifically tailored to enhance the camera experience, making it easier for users to take high-quality photos and videos and edit them using various filters, effects, editing tools, and social sharing options.
Camera-focused apps are popular among mobile users interested in photography and want to improve the quality of their photos and videos. These apps are also used by influencers, social media enthusiasts, and businesses looking to create engaging visual content.
The popularity of camera-focused apps has grown rapidly in recent years, thanks partly to the high-quality cameras found on most modern mobile devices. Today, many camera-focused apps are available for both iOS and Android devices, offering a range of features and functionality to suit different user needs and preferences.
Some common features found in camera-focused apps include:
- Advanced camera controls: Many camera-focused apps provide manual controls for adjusting focus, exposure, white balance, shutter speed, and other settings. These controls allow users to fine-tune their camera settings for different lighting conditions and capture high-quality photos.
- Filters and effects: Camera-focused apps often come with various filters and products that can be applied to photos and videos to enhance their appearance. These filters can range from basic color adjustments to more advanced effects like bokeh, tilt-shift, and HDR.
- Editing tools: Most camera-focused apps offer a range of editing tools that allow users to adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, and other aspects of their photos and videos. Some apps also provide more advanced editing tools like cropping, resizing, and retouching.
- Social sharing: Many camera-focused apps come with built-in social sharing features, making it easy for users to share their photos and videos on popular social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Camera-focused apps are popular among amateur and professional photographers, as they offer a range of features and tools to help users take and edit high-quality photos and videos. With so many camera-focused apps available on the market, users can choose an app that suits their needs and preferences, whether looking for advanced camera controls, editing tools, or social sharing features.
Statistics about what customers are looking for in camera-focused apps
There are several statistics available that provide insights into what customers are looking for in camera-focused apps. Here are a few examples:
- According to a report by Sensor Tower, the top camera-focused apps in 2021 offered advanced camera controls, editing tools, and social media integration. The report found that users were particularly interested in apps that offered AI-powered features like automatic scene recognition and object tracking.
- A survey conducted by Statista found that the most important features for consumers when selecting a camera-focused app were the ability to apply filters and effects, advanced editing tools, and social media integration.
- Another survey conducted by TechJury found that users are looking for camera-focused apps that provide them with a range of filters and effects, as well as manual controls for adjusting camera settings. The survey also found that users value apps that are easy to use and offer various social sharing options.
- According to a report by Grand View Research, the global market for camera-focused apps is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.1% from 2021 to 2028. The report notes that the increasing popularity of social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok drives demand for camera-focused apps that offer advanced editing and sharing features.
These statistics suggest that customers are looking for camera-focused apps that offer a range of advanced features, including filters and effects, manual camera controls, editing tools, and social media integration. Ease of use and a range of social sharing options are important for consumers when selecting a camera-focused app.
Some popular camera-focused apps
TikTok is a social media app that allows users to create and share short-form videos. It is a camera-focused app because it is a central part of the app’s user experience. The app’s camera interface is designed to make it easy for users to create videos quickly and easily, with a range of built-in features and tools. One of the unique features of the TikTok app is its integration with a vast library of music tracks. Users can add music to their videos directly from the app’s library, making creating music videos and lip-sync performances easy. The app provides users with various filters and effects that can be applied to videos, including beauty filters, special products, and AR lenses. The app’s duet feature allows users to create split-screen videos, making it easy to collaborate and create content with other TikTok users.
Zoom is a popular video conferencing app for online meetings, webinars, and virtual events. While Zoom is not primarily a camera-focused app, it has several important camera-related features for its users. The Zoom app allows users to use their computer’s built-in camera or an external camera to participate in video meetings. Users can choose to turn their cameras on or off during the meeting, and they can also choose to share their screen or specific applications with other participants. Zoom also provides users with a range of camera controls, including the ability to adjust the camera’s brightness, contrast, and color settings. Users can also choose between different camera angles and views, depending on their preferences and meeting needs. Another important camera-related feature of the Zoom app is its virtual background feature. This allows users to replace their real-life background with a virtual image or video, providing a more professional or interesting experience during the meeting. This feature has become particularly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many people work from home and may not have a suitable workspace for video meetings.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media apps in the world. It is a social media app centered around the photo and video sharing. It is a camera-focused app because it is a central part of the app’s user experience. The app’s camera interface is designed to make it easy for users to capture and share high-quality photos and videos. The app provides users with a range of filters and effects that can be applied to photos and videos, allowing users to enhance their images and add a unique touch to their content. Instagram’s Stories and Reels features enable users to create short-form videos with filters, effects, and music and share them with their followers. These features are designed to be quick and easy to use, allowing users to create and share content on the go. Instagram’s Boomerang feature makes looping videos that play back and forth, adding a fun and dynamic element to photos and videos. IGTV’s feature allows users to create and share longer-form videos, making it a more versatile platform for video content. Instagram provides users with a range of editing tools that will enable them to adjust the brightness, contrast, and other settings of their photos and videos and add text, stickers, and other graphics.
Google Camera is a camera-focused app developed by Google for its Android operating system. It is designed to provide Android users with a high-quality camera experience, with a range of features that enhance image quality, color accuracy, and low-light performance. It is a choice for Android users who want to capture high-quality photos and videos on their mobile devices. Google Camera app has some valuable camera features. HDR+ combines multiple images taken at different exposures to create a single, high-quality image with improved detail and color accuracy. Night Sight uses advanced algorithms to capture low-light photos with improved clarity and reduced noise without a flash. Portrait mode uses advanced depth-sensing technology to create pictures with a shallow depth of field, similar to the effect achieved with a DSLR camera. Motion photos capture a short video clip before and after each shot, allowing users to relive the moment more immersively. Google Lens uses image recognition technology to inform users about objects in their photos, such as landmarks, products, and text.
Snapchat is a camera-focused social media app that provides users with a unique and engaging visual experience. The app’s camera interface is a central part of its user experience, with a range of features and effects that allow users to capture and share photos and videos with their friends and followers. Snapchat’s camera-focused features have helped it become a popular choice for younger users who want to express themselves creatively and share moments with their friends in fun and engaging way. The app’s focus on AR, filters, and stickers has become a popular brand marketing and advertising platform. Snapchat’s lenses use augmented reality (AR) technology to create real-time animations and effects that can be applied to photos and videos. Users can choose from a range of lenses, including simple filters to complex animations. Snapchat’s filters allow users to add various effects to their photos and videos, including color filters, geotags, and time stamps. Snapchat’s sticker collection includes a range of animated and static stickers that users can add to their photos and videos to add a personal touch. Snapchat’s Snap Map allows users to share their location with their friends and see where their friends are located. Users can also view Snaps from places worldwide and see what’s happening in real time. Snapchat’s Stories feature allows users to create and share a collection of photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. This feature has become popular for sharing daily updates and behind-the-scenes moments with friends and followers.
These are just a few examples of camera-focused apps available for mobile devices. There are many others to choose from, depending on your needs and preferences. Among them to mention: VSCO – offers advanced editing tools and filters for enhancing photos and creating unique looks; Camera+ 2 – offers advanced camera controls and editing tools for capturing and enhancing pictures; ProCamera – provides professional-level camera controls, including manual focus, exposure, and white balance, as well as editing tools and filters; Adobe Lightroom – offers powerful editing tools and presets for enhancing photos, as well as a built-in camera with advanced controls; Halide – offers manual camera controls for advanced users, as well as editing tools and a range of filters.
Direction of trends in camera-focused apps
The direction of trends in camera-focused apps is constantly evolving as technology advances, and consumer preferences change. However, several key trends are currently shaping the development of camera-focused apps:
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning: AI and machine learning enhance the camera experience in several ways. For example, some camera-focused apps use AI-powered algorithms to analyze scenes and automatically adjust camera settings for optimal results. Others use machine learning to improve image quality and reduce noise in low-light conditions.
- Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR): AR and VR technologies are integrated into camera-focused apps to create new and immersive camera experiences. For example, some apps use AR to overlay virtual objects onto real-world scenes, while others use VR to provide users with a 360-degree view of their surroundings.
- Social media integration: Camera-focused apps increasingly integrate features that allow users to share their photos and videos with friends and followers on popular platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Some apps also allow users to collaborate with others on shared projects.
- Advanced editing tools: Camera-focused apps offer more advanced editing tools that allow users to achieve professional-level results. For example, some apps allow users to remove objects from photos, add text and graphics, and apply sophisticated color grading.
- User-generated content (UGC): UGC is becoming an increasingly important part of camera-focused apps, with many apps allowing users to upload and share their photos and videos. This trend is fueling the growth of online communities centered around photography and visual storytelling.
The direction of trends in camera-focused apps is towards more sophisticated and immersive camera experiences, focusing on user-generated content, social sharing, and advanced editing tools.
In conclusion, camera-focused apps have become increasingly popular and important in today’s digital world. With the rise of social media and the increasing importance of visual content, camera-focused apps provide users with powerful tools to capture and share photos and videos.
These apps are evolving to meet consumers’ changing needs and preferences, with features like AI-powered scene recognition, AR and VR integration, advanced editing tools, and social media integration. Customers are looking for camera-focused apps that offer a range of advanced features, including filters and effects, manual camera controls, editing tools, and social media integration.
Overall, camera-focused apps are becoming more sophisticated and immersive, focusing on user-generated content, social sharing, and advanced editing tools. They empower users to create and share their visual stories with the world and are likely to continue to play an important role in how we communicate and express ourselves online.
What are Progressive-Web Apps (PWA)
Google announced PWA technology in 2015. It positions itself as an additional add-on that allows you to make the site look like a mobile application.
Progressive Web App or PWA is the best way for developers to make their web apps load faster and perform better. PWAs are websites that use modern web standards, making installing them on a user’s computer or device possible. In operation, they are like applications. The most famous example is Twitter, which launched mobile.twitter.com as a PWA powered by React and Node.js.
PWA is a web application that can be installed on your system. It works offline when there is no internet connection, making the most of the data cached the last time you used the app. If you access the site from Chrome on a desktop and have the appropriate flags enabled, you will be asked to install the application.
PWA or Progressive Web App comes from technical jargon but is the next step in user-friendly apps. Application developers should take a closer look at them.
They combine the convenience and appearance of the application while developing them is as easy as a regular website. These modern applications provide access to your content and a first-class service that makes users happier.
Progressive apps can be called responsive sites because they adapt to the capabilities of the user’s browser. They can automatically improve the browser’s built-in features so that the site experience is similar to that of a native web application. Basic PWA components:
- Web application manifest: to provide native functionality such as an application icon on the desktop;
- Service Worker’s technology: for background tasks and offline work;
- Application shell architecture: for fast loading with Service Workers.
The most popular PWA use cases are Alibaba, Forbes, The Weather Channel, and MakeMyTrip.
PWAs help solve issues such as slow internet speeds, long website loading times, and interactivity. This is a good reason to use Progressive Web Apps. Here are some of the main features that PWAs provide:
- Speed. PWAs always load quickly. From the moment a user downloads an app to the moment they start using it, everything happens incredibly fast. You can also promptly re-launch the application without a network connection.
- Reliability. Thanks to Service Workers technology, you can fully load the image on the user’s screen, even if the Internet is turned off.
- Integration. With PWA, everything loads smoothly and seamlessly. The app resides on the user’s device, sends push notifications, and accesses features like native apps.
- Interactivity. Since we can send notifications to the user, we can increase his interest and involve him in working with the application.
We will consider three of the most popular technologies used in PWA, Angular, React, and Lit, and how they help the development.
Building applications with Angular JS is a promising direction and continues to gain popularity, so choosing it as the next milestone in development is a good decision.
The angular developer is a sought-after profession as more and more companies want to use this technology. Google supports the framework; it is used in Google mail and YouTube applications. Such companies have already been chosen as Lego, PayPal, and Upwork.
Angular is more suitable for large projects with a rigid structure. It has a lot of ready-made solutions and a more intelligent system for collecting and storing information. This simplifies the construction of large websites and ensures that they function reliably.
You can use Angular for both hybrid and SPA applications. The latter are one-page sites designed so that the user does not download new information by going to the pseudo-page. Only dynamic data is updated. Loading is necessary only once, regardless of which pseudo-page the user got to first. On standard sites, each new page is pulled up separately – people with a poor-quality Internet connection are forced to wait, watching a blank screen, skeletons, or a preloader.
A new generation of SPA applications, PWAs, are being created so that the site can work offline. They can be downloaded quite easily on a smartphone. This is indeed possible, and Angular is used for this. It should be borne in mind that such a product cannot load dynamic data. The user will freely work with the content already present on the device. But SPA and PWA are far from all that can be done with Angular.
Angular can build PWAs by leveraging its capabilities to create responsive, scalable, high-performing web applications. Here are some ways Angular can be used in PWA development:
- Service Workers: Angular supports service workers, a key component of PWAs. Service workers allow for offline caching, push notifications, and background syncing, which can significantly enhance the user experience. With Angular, you can easily configure and use service workers to make your PWA work offline and load faster.
- Responsive Design: PWAs must be responsive to fit different screen sizes and device types. Angular provides powerful layout and design capabilities that allow for the creation of responsive user interfaces. With Angular Material, you can create beautiful, responsive UI components that work seamlessly on desktop and mobile devices.
- Progressive Enhancement: Progressive enhancement is a key principle of PWA development, which involves designing web applications to work even in less-capable environments. Angular allows you to build PWAs that progressively enhance functionality based on the user’s device capabilities. For instance, you can use Angular’s lazy loading and conditional rendering capabilities to load only the necessary parts of your application based on the user’s device and network conditions.
- Offline Capabilities: PWAs need to work offline or with limited network connectivity. Angular supports offline data storage through technologies such as IndexedDB and Web Storage. You can use these technologies to store data locally on the user’s device and sync it with the server when a network connection is available.
React is a product of Facebook. It is a flexible and efficient JS library for creating interactive user interfaces. React builds the presentation layer of a web application, which is technically the front end. This allows you to build applications with useful features such as reusable components, state management, partial DOM rendering, etc. React is mainly used to create single-page applications (Single Page Applications, SPA).
React allows you to use components – independent and reusable pieces of code. In other words, components are functions that work in isolation; each component has its state that can be controlled. This greatly simplifies the creation of large applications since individual blocks of code do not depend on each other, and breaking one does not affect others.
When making changes to the DOM, the virtual DOM is first changed, then the virtual and original DOM are compared, and changes are made only to that part of the actual DOM that differs from the virtual DOM. This greatly improves the application’s performance because changes do not result in a page refresh.
Designing any view in React is easy, and these views allow you to manage their state. React allows you to render individual components, which makes code maintenance and troubleshooting easier.
React is very easy to use. We have several powerful packages for building projects, such as Webpack. With a few simple JSXs, you get components that are rendered separately. React becomes even more powerful when combined with other libraries like Redux, Material-UI, Materialize, GraphQL, etc.
React is the most popular library among developers. It is open source, and many people are working on it. Its repository contains 150 thousand stars, and the number of downloads is approaching 4 million.
React is also used in mobile development. React Native is used for this. This shows React’s flexibility in terms of adaptability. With React, a developer can create Android, iOS, and web apps.
React’s support for service workers, app shell architecture, responsive design, code splitting, and offline data storage make it a great choice for building PWAs that deliver a fast, reliable, and engaging user experience. Here are some more details about how React can be used in building PWAs:
- Service Workers: React provides a simple and effective way to add service workers to a PWA using its built-in service worker API. This allows you to cache assets and data for offline use easily and provides the ability to receive push notifications and perform background syncs. Additionally, libraries such as workbox and sw-precache-webpack-plugin can further simplify the configuration of service workers in a React app.
- Responsive Design: React can be used with CSS frameworks such as Bootstrap or Material-UI to build responsive UI components that work well on different screen sizes and device types. React’s react-responsive library can conditionally render elements based on the user’s screen size or device orientation.
- Offline Data Storage: React can be used with libraries such as redux-persist or localForage to store data offline using IndexedDB or Web Storage. This allows for improved app performance and functionality when the user is offline or has limited network connectivity.
Here are some ways Lit can be used in PWA development:
- Web Components: Lit provides a simple and powerful way to create and use web components. Web components are a key component of PWAs, as they allow for creating reusable and modular UI components that can be used across different application parts. Lit’s lightweight and flexible API makes creating and using web components that work seamlessly across other browsers and devices easy.
- Shadow DOM: Lit uses the Shadow DOM API to encapsulate web component styles and behavior, creating reusable and encapsulated UI components that can be used across different parts of the application. This allows for improved code organization, maintainability, and reusability.
- Reactive Data Binding: Lit supports reactive data binding, which allows for the creation of dynamic and responsive UI components. With Lit, you can easily bind data to UI elements and update the UI in response to changes in the data. This is particularly useful for building PWAs that are fast, responsive, and engaging.
- Server-Side Rendering: Lit can be used with server-side rendering (SSR) frameworks such as Node.js and Express to pre-render web components on the server and serve them to the client. This can improve performance, allowing for faster initial load times and improved SEO.
- Progressive Enhancement: Lit allows for creating PWAs that progressively enhance functionality based on the user’s device and network conditions. For instance, you can use Lit’s lazy loading and conditional rendering capabilities to load only the necessary parts of your application based on the user’s device and network conditions.
- Templates: Lit provides a simple and powerful template system that allows you to define your UI components using standard HTML templates. Templates are a key feature of web components, as they will enable you to determine the structure and behavior of your UI components in a declarative and readable way.
PWAs are undeniably the next step in delivering interactivity and functionality to web applications. PWA technology makes the process of accessing application functions convenient for users.
What is the fork in the blockchain
Forking is the creation of a copy of the software and its modification. A fork in a blockchain refers to a situation where a blockchain network splits into two or more separate chains, usually due to a disagreement among the network participants about the rules governing the blockchain’s operation. At the same time, the original project continues to function, but the fork is developing separately in its direction. These projects are built on the same basis and have a common history, just like one road is divided into two paths.
There are two types of forks in the blockchain:
- Soft fork: A soft fork is a backward-compatible upgrade to the blockchain that invalidates previously valid blocks. Soft forks are implemented to fix bugs or add new features; most of the network usually adopts them.
- Hard fork: A hard fork is a permanent divergence in the blockchain that occurs when nodes follow different rules. This type of fork usually occurs when a group of nodes decides to adopt a new set of rules that are not compatible with the existing rules of the network. As a result, a new chain is created, and the old chain continues to exist with the original rules.
Hard forks can be intentional or accidental. Deliberate forks are planned upgrades designed to improve the network’s functionality, while accidental forks can occur due to software bugs or network disruptions.
In general, forks can create uncertainty and disruption in the blockchain network. Still, they can also lead to the creation of new cryptocurrencies or the adoption of new features that benefit the network.
Forks can only occur in open-source projects, and cases like this had existed long before Bitcoin or Ethereum existed. However, hard forks and soft forks can only take place on blockchain networks.
A hard fork is a software update that is incompatible with previous versions. This usually happens when nodes add changes that are against the existing rules of the old nodes. New nodes can only interact with nodes using the latest version. As a result, the blockchain is split into two separate networks: one with the old rules and the other with the new ones.
So now the two networks are running in parallel. They will continue working with blocks and transactions but not on the same blockchain. All nodes worked on the same blockchain before the fork was created (this fork will have the same history as the original blockchain), but their blocks and transactions will be different in the future.
Since the networks share a common history, user funds are duplicated in the new network if they had coins before the fork. Suppose you had 5 BTC at block 600,000 during the fork. Even if you spend those 5 BTC in the old chain at block 600,001, they will remain in block 600,001 of the new blockchain. If the fork uses the old currency, your private keys will also contain funds from the original fork.
An example of a hard fork is the 2017 fork that split Bitcoin into two chains, the original Bitcoin (BTC) and the new Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The fork came about due to a long debate about the best approach to scaling. Supporters of Bitcoin Cash wanted to increase the block size, while supporters of Bitcoin opposed this change.
You can increase the block size only with a change in the rules. This was before the SegWit soft fork (more on that later), so nodes only accepted blocks smaller than 1MB. A 2 MB block that met all other requirements would still be rejected.
In the fork, only nodes with new software could approve blocks larger than 1MB. Of course, this meant complete incompatibility with the original version, so only nodes with the same modifications could interact.
Pros of the hard fork
There are several potential benefits of a hard fork in a blockchain network:
- New features: A hard fork can allow for new features or improvements to the existing blockchain. For example, Bitcoin’s hard fork in 2017, which led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash, was designed to increase the block size limit to improve transaction speeds.
- Improved security: A hard fork can be used to address security vulnerabilities or other issues with the blockchain. Adopting new rules or protocols makes the network more secure and less susceptible to hacking or other attacks.
- Decentralization: A hard fork can promote decentralization by allowing network participants greater participation and control. For example, a hard fork could be used to create a new cryptocurrency that is more accessible or inclusive than the original.
- Innovation: Hard forks can encourage innovation by creating new opportunities for developers and entrepreneurs to experiment with different approaches to blockchain technology. This can lead to new applications and use cases for blockchain technology.
- Community building: Hard forks can also help to build and strengthen communities around a particular blockchain. By creating new networks or communities, hard forks can allow for greater collaboration and cooperation among participants.
While hard forks can be disruptive and controversial, they can also be useful tools for improving and evolving blockchain networks.
Cons of the hard fork
There are several potential drawbacks of a hard fork in a blockchain network:
- Fragmentation: A hard fork can fragment the network and create competing chains, leading to confusion and reducing the overall network effect. This can also result in a split in the community, with some members supporting the new chain and others remaining on the old chain.
- Security risks: Hard forks can create security risks for old and new chains. This is especially true if there is a need for more consensus among network participants, as this can generate weaker or less secure chains.
- Loss of value: Hard forks can sometimes result in a loss of value for the original chain or cryptocurrency. This is because a hard fork can create competition for resources, reducing the weight of the original chain.
- Complexity: Hard forks can add complexity to the network, making it more difficult for developers and users to navigate and use the system. This can create additional costs and barriers to entry for new users and developers.
- Reputation damage: Hard forks can damage the blockchain’s reputation and associated cryptocurrencies. This can lead to a loss of trust and confidence among users and investors, which can harm the value of the cryptocurrency.
Hard forks can provide benefits but also introduce significant risks and challenges to the blockchain network. Therefore, careful consideration and planning are required before implementing a hard fork.
Key usages of the hard fork
A hard fork in a blockchain network is usually used for the following key purposes:
- To introduce new features or improvements: A hard fork can be used to introduce new features or improve the functionality of the blockchain network. For example, a hard fork could increase the block size limit, improve transaction speeds, or add new security features.
- To address security vulnerabilities or other issues: A hard fork can address security vulnerabilities or other issues with the existing blockchain. Adopting new rules or protocols makes the network more secure and less susceptible to hacking or other attacks.
- To create a new cryptocurrency or blockchain network: A hard fork can create a new one that operates independently of the original network. This can be done to address issues with the existing network, create a more inclusive or decentralized system, or experiment with new approaches to blockchain technology.
- To resolve disagreements among network participants: A hard fork can be used to resolve disputes among network participants about the rules or direction of the network. By creating a new chain with different rules, participants can support the chain that aligns with their beliefs or interests.
- To promote innovation and experimentation: A hard fork can encourage innovation and experimentation in the blockchain. By creating new opportunities for developers and entrepreneurs to experiment with different approaches to blockchain technology, hard forks can develop new applications and use cases for blockchain technology.
Hard forks can be a powerful tool for improving and evolving blockchain networks, but they should be used carefully and thoughtfully to minimize the associated risks and challenges.
A soft fork is a backward-compatible update, meaning updated nodes can interact with old nodes. A weak division usually occurs when new rules are added that do not contradict the old ones.
For example, a soft fork can reduce the block size. To illustrate this with Bitcoin, although there is a maximum allowed block size, there is no minimum. It would help if you rejected larger blocks to approve blocks smaller than a certain size.
This will not automatically disconnect from the network. The soft fork nodes will still be able to interact with the nodes from the original blockchain – they will filter the information they receive.
A good example of a soft fork is the Segregated Witness (SegWit) fork, which happened shortly after the Bitcoin/Bitcoin Cash split. The SegWit update has been carefully thought out, and changed the block and transaction format. The old nodes could still validate blocks and transactions (changing the format wasn’t against the rules), but they needed to understand them. A switch to the new software is required to read certain fields and analyze additional data.
Even two years after the activation of SegWit, not all nodes have been updated. The upgrade has its benefits, but there is no urgency because the changes do not have a disruptive effect on the network.
Pros of the soft fork
There are several potential benefits of a soft fork in a blockchain network:
- Compatibility: A soft fork is designed to be backward compatible with the existing network, which means that it can be adopted by nodes that have not yet updated their software. This allows for a smooth transition to the new rules without creating fragmentation or confusion in the network.
- Lower risk: Soft forks are generally considered lower than hard forks, as they do not create a new chain or cryptocurrency. This means there is less chance of network fragmentation or loss of value for the original chain.
- Increased efficiency: Soft forks can sometimes improve the efficiency of the network by introducing new rules that reduce the amount of computational work required to validate transactions. This can reduce the time and cost of processing transactions, making the network more attractive to users.
- Improved security: Soft forks can be used to enhance the safety of the network by introducing new rules or protocols that address security vulnerabilities or other issues. This can make the network more resilient to hacking and other attacks, which can help build users’ trust and confidence.
- Community support: Soft forks are more likely to have the support of the entire network community, as they do not require a complete overhaul of the network. This can ensure the new rules are widely adopted, and the network remains healthy and vibrant.
Soft forks can be a powerful tool for improving and evolving blockchain networks, as they allow for introducing new rules and protocols without disrupting the existing network. However, they should be carefully planned and implemented to ensure they are compatible with existing infrastructure and avoid unnecessary risks or complications.
Cons of the soft fork
While a soft fork in a blockchain network is generally considered to be less disruptive than a hard fork, there are still potential drawbacks to this approach:
- Reduced network efficiency: A soft fork can reduce the efficiency of the network by creating more work for nodes to validate transactions. This can slow down the web and increase transaction costs, disadvantaging users.
- Centralization: Soft forks can sometimes lead to network centralization, requiring all nodes to update their software to support the new rules. This can create a situation where only a few large nodes control the network, which can be detrimental to the overall health and security of the blockchain.
- Complexity: Soft forks can also add complexity to the network, making it more difficult for developers and users to navigate and use the system. This can create additional costs and barriers to entry for new users and developers.
- Potential for security risks: Soft forks can sometimes create security risks if not implemented correctly. This is because a soft fork invalidates previously valid transactions, which can create an opportunity for attackers to exploit the network.
- Lack of community support: Soft forks may only sometimes have the help of the entire network community. This can create a situation where some nodes continue to operate using the old rules, leading to network fragmentation.
While soft forks are generally less disruptive than hard forks, they can still have drawbacks and should be carefully planned and implemented to minimize the associated risks.
Key usages of the soft fork
Soft forks in blockchain networks are often used for the following key purposes:
- Implementing new features or improvements: Soft forks can be used to introduce new features or modifications to the blockchain network. For example, a soft fork could be used to reduce the block size limit, improve transaction speed or add new security features to the network.
- Addressing security vulnerabilities: Soft forks can also address security vulnerabilities or other issues with the existing blockchain. Adopting new rules or protocols makes the network more secure and less susceptible to hacking or other attacks.
- Upgrading the network: Soft forks can be used to upgrade the network by introducing new rules or protocols that improve the efficiency and scalability of the blockchain. This can help ensure the network remains competitive and relevant in the fast-moving blockchain space.
- Enhancing interoperability: Soft forks can also improve interoperability between different blockchain networks. By adopting new rules or protocols that align with other networks, the blockchain can become more compatible and accessible to a wider range of users and developers.
- Resolving network disagreements: Soft forks can be used to resolve disputes among network participants about the rules or direction of the network. By introducing new rules or protocols that align with the interests of different groups, the network can become more inclusive and supportive of diverse perspectives.
Soft forks can be useful for evolving and improving blockchain networks, as they allow for introducing new features and improvements without disrupting the existing network. However, they should be carefully planned and implemented to ensure they do not create unnecessary risks or complications for users and developers.
Hard forks and soft forks are critical to the long-term success of blockchain networks. They allow you to make changes and updates to decentralized systems despite lacking a single governing body.
Forks allow blockchains and cryptocurrencies to integrate new features as they are developed. Thanks to these mechanisms, the need for a centralized system with vertical control disappears. With them, the development of blockchains would be improved by the same rules.
What is the Internet of Behaviors (IoB)?
IoB – Internet of Behavior – “is a field of research and development aimed at understanding how, when, and why people use technology to make purchasing decisions.” In a broader sense, it is the aggregation of information from IoT devices to understand the user’s behavior, tastes, and desires.
For the first time, the term “Internet of Behavior” was voiced by a Professor of Psychology at the University of Helsinki, Gothe Naiman, in 2012. His main thesis was that statistical studies describe human habits and behavior but do not consider the context and meaning of the user’s life. He suggested that if each behavior pattern were assigned to a specific IoB address, then analyzing these patterns would provide useful knowledge for developing different industries. This is because it is behavior that is a psychological characteristic that is responsible for the propensity to act. At the same time, it depends on four other factors – emotions, cognition, personality, and communication. Thus, user behavior will allow you to understand how to influence a person. User behavioral habits are analyzed from various devices – phones, cars, app downloads, social networks, credit cards, medical information, etc. Machine learning interprets behavioral patterns from these sources. It can be used to personalize goods and services, develop new production methods, predict the consequences of actions and the possibility of changing them, etc. Thus, responding to all forms of user behavior turns information into knowledge. The long hiatus from the IoB discussion ended in 2020 when Gartner ranked it as the number one key trend, defining it as an extension of IoT that focuses on collecting, processing, and analyzing digital dust in people’s daily lives. They predict that by the end of 2025, more than half of the world’s population will be exposed to at least one IoB program, commercial or government. According to PrecedenceResearch, the IoB market size in 2023 will be 571.24 billion US dollars, and by 2030 – 2,143.57 billion. The general interest in IoB indicates the demand for a new direction.
However, in addition to the obvious benefits that IoB will provide and the obvious risks associated with security, privacy, and regulatory issues, several problems lie in the plane of behavioral psychology and ethics. In particular, the following can be distinguished:
- the degree of influence of IoB on changing ideas about decision-making options;
- providing IoB information about the desires and interests of the user can change its subjectivity;
- formation and stimulation of dependence on certain goods and products;
- determining the limits of influence on the user;
- reduced critical thinking of the user;
- changing cultural values in line with new IoB business models.
Thus, further study and development of approaches to the definition of IoB in various projections are necessary, for example, as a system for changing cultural values, as an object of influence on users, and as a technological extension of IoT.
The concept of IoB combines devices for collecting the so-called “digital dust” – individual data from people’s lives. Information is collected from various sources:
- personal devices (smartphones, smart bracelets);
- implanted chips (to check the temperature, pressure, and blood sugar levels);
- digital technologies (face recognition or car number recognition systems);
- other sources (pages in social networks).
The Internet of Behaviors (IOB) is a logical continuation of the Internet of Things (IoT). But if the Internet of Things unites devices from this category into one network, the Internet of Behavior will allow data about people to be collected into a single database.
The likelihood of using IoB technologies depends on the legislation of specific countries. An obstacle may be local laws on the population’s privacy and processing of personal data.
The global adoption of the IoB has significant societal implications. The key problem of Internet behavior is the violation of personal security. On the one hand, the collection of “digital dust” will help in the fight against crime. Thus, license plate recognition systems make it possible to quickly receive information about speeding and determine the perpetrators of an accident. On the other hand, the concept of data confidentiality is violated.
Research firm Gartner has declared the “Internet of Behavior” one of the top ten strategic technology trends “that IT professionals can’t ignore.”
What is the value of the “Internet of Behavior” for business?
The IoB concept looks, at first glance, like a dream come true for many companies.
- “Internet of Behavior” makes it possible to minimize the cost of marketing and advertising, but without the risk of reducing profits.
- The desire to customize a product or service as much as possible is easily realized using the results of data analysis, which now read almost the consumer’s intention.
- It becomes possible to have truly flexible pricing that does not infringe on the interests of either the seller or the buyer.
- It is much easier to optimize the work of personnel and increase the efficiency of work processes.
And this is only part of the opportunities becoming available to large and small businesses. It is equally important to use the “Internet of Behavior” to reduce commercial risks to almost zero in the event of a repeat of events similar to the COVID-19 epidemic since it greatly simplifies any formats of remote interaction and management.
Where and how is IoB used today?
The Internet of Behaviors (IoB) is an emerging technology, and its use is still limited. However, some organizations already use IoB to improve operations and provide better customer service. Here are some examples of where and how IoB is used today:
- Retail: Retailers use IoB to analyze customer behavior in stores and online. They use data from mobile devices, social media, and other sources to personalize shopping experiences and offer targeted promotions. For example, a retailer might use data on a customer’s purchase history to recommend products they are likely interested in.
- Healthcare: IoB is also used to monitor patient behavior and improve patient outcomes. Wearable devices and other sensors can track patient activity levels, sleep patterns, and other vital signs. This data can be used to personalize treatment plans and improve patient adherence to medication regimens.
- Transportation: IoB technology is also used to monitor driver behavior and improve road safety. For example, vehicle sensors can detect when a driver is distracted or tired and provide alerts to prevent accidents.
- Banking: Banks are using IoB to detect fraud and prevent money laundering. They use data from social media, transaction histories, and other sources to identify suspicious activity and prevent financial crimes.
- Law Enforcement: Law enforcement agencies also use IoB to monitor and predict criminal behavior. For example, predictive policing algorithms can use crime patterns data to identify areas at higher risk of illegal activity.
IoB is used in various industries to improve customer experiences, monitor behavior, and provide better services. As technology advances, we will likely see even more applications of IoB in the future.
The moral and ethical aspects of data collection through the Internet of Behaviors
Data collection in the Internet of Behaviors (IoB) raises several moral and ethical concerns. These concerns include privacy, consent, and the potential for data misuse.
- Privacy: Collecting personal data from individuals without their knowledge or consent raises serious privacy concerns. As IoB technology collects data from various sources, individuals must be informed of what data is being collected, how it will be used, and who will have access to it.
- Consent: Individuals must provide explicit and informed consent to collect their data. This means that they must be informed of the purpose of the data collection and have the option to opt out of data collection.
- Misuse of data: The data collected through IoB technology can be misused for various purposes, including surveillance and discrimination. For example, employers could use data to monitor employee behavior outside of work, potentially leading to discrimination and unfair treatment.
- Bias and discrimination: There is also a risk of prejudice and discrimination in the data collected through IoB technology. This can happen if the data collected is representative of only some of the population or if algorithms used to analyze the data contain inherent biases.
- Transparency and accountability: Companies must be transparent about the data they collect and how they use it. They must also be accountable for any misuse of data.
To address these concerns, companies must prioritize privacy and ethical considerations in developing and deploying IoB technology. They must be transparent about their data collection practices and provide individuals with control over their data. Additionally, they must ensure that the data collected is used fairly and without bias. Finally, regulatory oversight must ensure that IoB technology does not result in discrimination or other unethical practices.
Prospects for the development of IoB
Experts and futurists unanimously agree that the development of the “Internet of Behavior” will cause evolutionary breakthroughs in almost all areas of activity.
In this direction, the emergence of Wi-Fi-controlled pacemakers and “smart lenses” that can not only correct vision but also collect data on the patient’s condition if he has chronic diseases is predicted. A “smart pill” or implant would enable health monitoring, and a brain-computer interface could help patients with neuromuscular transmission disorders.
Fashion, architecture, and interior design
In pessimistic forecasts, IoB jeopardizes the existing system of updating trends, seasonality, and fashionable colors in the interior or silhouettes in the wardrobe, which threatens the disappearance of the entire industry. According to optimistic forecasts, it will make it possible to separate the mass product even more clearly and elevate high fashion and the development of premium architectural and interior solutions to the rank of art.
Analyzing the content of the working day and tracking the state of the employee in the process, assessing the behavior of employees when communicating with clients, identifying potential areas of growth and interests, based on which individual training programs can be created – these and many other opportunities will bring the “Internet of behavior” to personnel management. The costs of searching and testing applicants, minimizing the “turnover” of personnel, flexible control, and, as a result, high satisfaction of the staff, whose professional skills can be “customized” for themselves – only part of the benefits that businesses will receive from the introduction of IoB in the HR industry.
Personalized collections of proposals for travel destinations, departure times, hotels, and excursion programs will increase the efficiency of tour operators and travel agencies and the degree of customer satisfaction. Servicing the emotions of a tourist, working with his impressions, which previously could only be provided by an exclusive concierge service, will become an everyday reality in the fields of tourism and hospitality.
Here, first of all, the “Internet of behavior” will improve the quality of a key indicator – security. However, the opportunity to optimize vehicle maintenance costs by analyzing the frequency and reasons for using the car and driving patterns looks no less attractive.
The insurance industry is also changing. It will be possible to determine the price of insurance not based on subjective parameters such as gender, age, and length of service but based on reliable, objective data. In turn, careful drivers, tourists, and homeowners will stop overpaying, covering the risks for less careful and responsible ones.
IoB will benefit UX and SEO, facilitating the work of specialists in these industries and increasing user satisfaction. Streaming services will offer viewers what they enjoy rather than a guess based on general data. In the coffee shop, the guest will be served the coffee that they want right now. And you can no longer try to guess what to give your wife or spouse for an anniversary – a startup will certainly appear that will provide 100% correct recommendations.
The Internet of Behavior is a technological revolution. Along with a host of potential benefits that could lead to explosive growth in many industries and improve the quality of life of people, it can be frightening with potential disadvantages and, to some, even seem like a realized dystopian scenario.
The development of technology constantly confronts humanity with the question of respecting the boundaries between utility and privacy. The “Internet of Behavior,” as a logical evolutionary step and a system that provides almost limitless opportunities in terms of commercial and social use, is still at the start and is of interest to businesses and concerns from human rights activists. However, with a reasonable approach and the timely development of legal and ethical standards and security norms, IoB will undoubtedly become a catalyst for the transition to a new technological level.
What touchless UI means
Born in the bowels of military laboratories, touchless interfaces finally broke into the functional space of the consumer market, pushing the mouse and partly the keyboard. However, most users need to be aware of such devices on the open market; meanwhile, their price is rapidly falling, closely approaching $100 (comparable to the cost of a good keyboard with gold-plated contacts).
But some ten years ago, the secrecy label still hung on this topic. Although civil institutions of different countries have promoted it independently of the military, in the open press, principles of operation of contactless interfaces are described superficially – with errors, white spots, and inconsistencies that everyone has to face who dared to implement such a device on their own. Note that this only requires a mid-range webcam and the ability to program in any language.
The exact date of appearance of the first touchless control devices still needs to be discovered. By indirect data based on the success of scientific and technological progress in related fields, the lower boundary of estimates can be attributed to the 70s of the last century.
Touchless UI refers to a user interface controlled without physical contact or touch. It is often used in technology devices such as smartphones, computers, or home appliances, where users can interact with the interface through voice commands, gestures, or other non-contact methods.
With touchless UI, users can navigate through menus, perform actions, and access information without physically touching the screen or keyboard. This technology is becoming increasingly popular in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as touchless interfaces can help reduce the spread of germs.
Examples of touchless UI include voice assistants like Siri or Alexa, gesture recognition systems used in video game consoles, and touchless payment systems that use facial recognition or QR codes.
According to Gartner, by 2023, 50% of all major business applications will include at least one type of contactless interaction.
We are all very familiar with one form of contactless user interface: the use of biometrics to sign in to a mobile application. In many applications, especially those concerned with security, biometrics is used to verify the user’s identity. Applications related to finance, storing passwords, and sharing documents are just a few examples.
But more recently, smartphones and apps have devised ways to control all interaction with an app without a single touch. Gesture controls are one-sided smartphones, and apps change the user interface.
On the Galaxy Note 10, users can control the camera with a simple flick of the stylus.
Google Pixel 4 owners can take advantage of Soli technology.
It is a radar-based traffic control technology. Users wave their hands to control music apps and turn off interruptions such as alarms and ringtones.
New apps will also be able to track your eyes. This is called “eye tracking,” and developers are starting to use it in apps.
Tobii is a company with a history of developing eye-tracking technology. They recently developed a technical solution that allows people to control applications with just a glance.
Several apps are specifically designed for eye tracking on the FB, Instagram, Google Calendar, and Netflix platforms. This technology only works on Tobii tablets, designed specifically for people with disabilities, but it is expected to become available to the general public in the coming years.
The Android 12 update in 2021 launched the eye-tracker in accessibility settings. The iPhone has a similar app.
Again, both of these technical solutions are aimed at helping people with disabilities work with applications, but the technology exists. It’s only a matter of time before we see this convenience in applications across all industries.
App developers are expected to integrate more voice user interfaces (VUIs) into apps in the coming years. Yes, we all know about Siri and Alexa, but VUI technology is making headway, offering a new level of convenience and accessibility through apps.
There’s SideChef, a popular cooking app that integrates with Samsung’s Bixby to provide voice-activated recipes for cooking videos. The app will speak each recipe step while the person is cooking. It waits for the person to say “Next” before moving on to the next step.
Types of touchless UI
There are several types of touchless UI, including:
- Voice-based: Touchless UI systems use voice commands to control devices or interfaces. Examples include virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, which allow users to set alarms, make phone calls, or play music using voice commands.
- Gesture-based: Gesture-based touchless UI systems use hand or body movements to control devices or interfaces. Examples include gaming systems like the Microsoft Kinect, which allows users to play games using body movements, or touchless faucets, which turn on and off in response to hand gestures.
- Proximity-based: Proximity-based touchless UI systems use sensors to detect the presence of a user and respond accordingly. Examples include automatic doors, which open when a user approaches, or touchless hand dryers, which turn on automatically when their hands are placed in front of them.
- Facial recognition-based: Facial recognition-based touchless UI systems use cameras to detect a user’s face and allow access to devices or interfaces. Examples include touchless payment systems that use facial recognition to authorize transactions or security systems that use facial recognition to grant access to secure areas.
- Brain-computer interfaces: Brain-computer interfaces are touchless UI systems that allow users to control devices or interfaces using their thoughts. While still in the early stages of development, these interfaces have the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with technology.
Pros of touchless UI
There are several advantages to touchless UI, including:
- Improved hygiene: Touchless UI helps to reduce the spread of germs and bacteria by minimizing physical contact with surfaces, which is especially important in public spaces where many people may touch the same devices.
- Accessibility: Touchless UI can be more accessible for people with disabilities or mobility impairments who may have difficulty using traditional touch-based interfaces.
- Convenience: Touchless UI allows users to interact with devices and interfaces more naturally and intuitively without needing physical buttons or touchscreens.
- Speed: Touchless UI can be faster than traditional touch-based interfaces, as users can quickly execute commands or navigate menus using voice commands or gestures.
- Safety: Touchless UI can be safer in certain situations, such as driving or handling hazardous materials. It allows users to interact with devices without taking their hands off the wheel or exposing themselves to danger.
Cons of touchless UI
While touchless UI has many advantages, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider:
- Limited functionality: Touchless UI may not be able to perform all the functions of a traditional touch-based interface, which can limit its usefulness in certain contexts.
- Inaccuracy: Touchless UI may only sometimes recognize voice commands or gestures accurately, frustrating users.
- Dependency on technology: Touchless UI relies heavily on technology, which can be vulnerable to malfunctions or glitches. If the technology fails, users may not be able to interact with the device or interface at all.
- Privacy concerns: Touchless UI may require access to sensitive data such as personal information or biometric data, which can raise privacy concerns.
- Social etiquette: Touchless UI in public spaces may be considered socially awkward or impolite. It may be perceived as talking to oneself or making gestures that others cannot see.
Touchless UI – overtaking old-school touch gestures
Touchless UI is rapidly gaining popularity and has the potential to overtake old-school touch gestures as the primary way we interact with technology. This is due to several factors, including the increased need for hygiene and the desire for more natural and intuitive interfaces.
Touchless UI systems such as voice assistants and gesture-based controls have gained significant traction in consumer electronics, such as smartphones, home automation, and gaming consoles. As technology evolves, touchless UI will become increasingly common across all devices and interfaces.
One of the main advantages of touchless UI is that it eliminates the need for physical contact with surfaces, reducing the spread of germs and improving hygiene. This has become particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, where touchless interfaces can help prevent the transmission of the virus.
Additionally, touchless UI can be more convenient and intuitive than traditional touch-based interfaces, allowing users to interact with devices more naturally and fluidly. With the development of new touchless UI technologies, such as brain-computer interfaces, the possibilities for touchless interaction are becoming even more exciting and innovative.
However, it is important to note that touchless UI may only be suitable for some contexts or users, and there are still some limitations and challenges to be addressed. As technology evolves, it will be interesting to see how touchless UI changes how we interact with the world around us.
Importance for the privacy of touchless UI
Touchless UI can raise significant privacy concerns, as it often requires access to sensitive data such as personal or biometric data. Therefore, it is important to consider privacy implications when designing and implementing touchless UI systems.
One of the main privacy concerns with touchless UI is the collection and use of biometric data. For example, facial recognition-based touchless UI systems may collect and store images of a user’s face, which could be used for surveillance or tracking. To address these concerns, it is important to implement strong security measures, such as encryption and access controls, to protect user data.
Another privacy concern with touchless UI is the potential for unintended data collection. For example, voice-based touchless UI systems may accidentally record conversations or other sensitive information if activated unintentionally. To mitigate this risk, touchless UI systems should be designed to minimize unnecessary data collection. Users should be provided with clear and transparent information about what data is being collected and how it is used.
It is also important to consider the potential for bias or discrimination in touchless UI systems. For example, facial recognition-based touchless UI systems may need to be revised for users with darker skin tones, which could lead to unfair treatment or exclusion. To address these concerns, touchless UI systems should be designed to be inclusive and accessible for all users.
The importance of privacy in touchless UI cannot be overstated. Touchless UI technologies such as voice assistants and facial recognition systems can collect important personal data, which can be used for various purposes such as advertising, profiling, or surveillance. This data can be sensitive and should be handled carefully to protect users’ privacy. Voice assistants may record and store users’ conversations, including personal information, such as medical details, financial information, or passwords. Facial recognition systems can capture images of individuals and track their movements, potentially violating their privacy.
Touchless UI developers and manufacturers must implement strong privacy policies and security measures to address these concerns. This includes:
- Providing clear and transparent information to users about how their data is collected, stored, and used.
- Giving users the option to opt out of data collection or to delete their data.
- Implementing robust security measures to prevent unauthorized access or data breaches.
- Ensuring that all data is anonymized or pseudonymized to protect users’ identities.
- Complying with relevant data protection laws and regulations.
By prioritizing privacy and security in touchless UI development, developers can build trust with users and ensure that touchless UI technologies are used responsibly and ethically.
How touchless UI will develop by 2023
Based on current trends, touchless UI will continue to develop and evolve rapidly by 2023. Here are some potential developments to look out for:
- Increased integration: Touchless UI will integrate more into everyday devices and interfaces, including cars, public transportation, and healthcare.
- Improved accuracy: With natural language processing and computer vision advancements, touchless UI will likely become more accurate and responsive, reducing errors and misunderstandings.
- New interfaces: As technology develops, touchless UI interfaces will likely become more diverse and sophisticated, with new types of gestures, facial expressions, and voice commands becoming more common.
- Enhanced privacy and security: Touchless UI developers and manufacturers will likely focus more on privacy and security, implementing stronger data protection policies and security measures to protect users’ personal information.
- Mainstream adoption: Touchless UI will likely become more mainstream, with consumers becoming increasingly comfortable with and reliant on touchless interfaces.
Touchless UI will continue revolutionizing how we interact with technology, providing a more intuitive, natural, and hygienic way to interact with devices and interfaces.
What are Accelerated Mobile Pages?
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a Google project launched in October 2015. They’re just web pages, but they’re based on AMP HTML, a format for maximizing loading times on phones and any mobile device with a slow internet connection. AMP HTML is stripped-down HTML with a special set of tags and a JS library. AMP pages are stored in the Google cache and, on a slow connection, are downloaded directly from the user’s device.
That is, Google acts as a huge CDN network for website pages. AMP page elements are loaded sequentially as the page is scrolled, improving loading speed. Banner ads from AdSense, Google Ad Manager, and several other ad networks will be cached with the page and shown to the visitor.
The largest search engines support the AMP format. AMP pages appear in Google, Bing, Yahoo! Japan, and Baidu.
The average AMP page load time is 0.7 seconds. So says Rudy Galfi, AMP Product Manager at Google. The user who visits such a page will not have time to think: leave the page or wait for the download. With the maximum probability, it will continue to work on the resource even in a bad connection. The average load time for all other pages is 22 seconds – feel the difference.
AMP pages can be shown in the top image carousel. A prerequisite for displaying an AMP page in the full image carousel is the presence of a special data structure. This structure, represented in JSON-LD or another metadata format supported by Google, should contain the elements to display in the carousel: preview image, short description, and page modification date.
However, even if Google and cached have correctly indexed your AMP page, it may need to be corrected in the JSON-LD data structure. Google’s AMP validator will ignore this, and your page, despite being properly positioned in the search results, will not get into the carousel at the top of the page.
Structural data of an AMP page is validated separately – this should be considered when developing and maintaining them.
Media were the first to try out AMP pages. No wonder: speed for news sites is the main competitive advantage. The pioneers of the format in 2016 were The New York Times and The Washington Post. Now AMP pages are used by many media, including lenta.ru, and for some, like gazetadaily.ru and flamenews.ru, accelerated mobile pages replace the mobile version of the site.
However, AMP is already being actively implemented by online stores. An increase in the share of mobile traffic turns this technology not into a “cool feature” but into a real solution to the usability issue.
How to create Accelerated Mobile Pages
Here are the basic steps to create Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP):
- Choose an AMP-compatible platform: AMP is compatible with several popular web platforms, including WordPress, Drupal, and Magento. Choose a platform that supports AMP or install an AMP plugin on your current website.
- Please familiarize yourself with AMP HTML: AMP uses a subset of HTML, so it’s important to understand the differences between regular HTML and AMP HTML. The official AMP documentation provides a detailed guide to AMP HTML.
- Test your AMP pages: Use the AMP validator tool to test your pages and ensure they comply with AMP standards. This is important to ensure your pages load quickly and provide a good user experience.
- Publish your AMP pages: Once you have created and optimized your AMP pages, publish them to your website. You can also submit them to the Google AMP cache, which can help improve performance and visibility.
Following these steps, you can create Accelerated Mobile Pages that provide a fast, optimized user experience.
The top-used technologies for AMP
The top technologies used for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) development include:
- HTML: AMP uses HTML, the markup language for creating web pages. However, AMP has its own set of HTML tags designed to optimize performance.
- CSS: AMP pages use CSS for styling, but they have limited CSS rules to optimize performance. AMP CSS includes features like inlining and size restrictions.
- CDNs: Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) often deliver AMP pages to users. CDNs can help improve performance by providing content from the server closest to the user, reducing latency, and improving page load times.
- AMP Cache: The AMP Cache is a system that caches AMP pages and delivers them to users from a fast, reliable server. This helps improve performance by reducing latency and improving page load times.
- AMP Analytics: AMP Analytics is a tool that provides insights into how users interact with your AMP pages. It can help you track page views, user behavior, and other metrics, allowing you to optimize your AMP pages for better performance.
What are Accelerated Mobile Pages for?
It’s no secret that mobile traffic now prevails: 54% of users use smartphones to search for information, and this indicator continues to increase.
In addition, Google prefers mobile devices:
- Site indexing has long begun with mobile versions.
- Mobile version indicators determine the Core Web Vitals score.
- Mobile-friendliness reports have been added to the Search Console.
All these actions are aimed at improving the UX for smartphone users.
In addition to the impact on positions in the issue, users simply do not like slow pages. Pages that load slowly have a significantly higher bounce rate – users don’t want to wait for the page to finish loading and leave the site.
More specifically, the bounce rate after 3 seconds is skyrocketing – approximately 40% of users will not wait 5 seconds for a page to load. Thus, with a low download speed, you get less traffic.
Traffic is one of many metrics that depend on download time. The conversion rate per transaction is also significantly higher at page load speeds of up to 2 seconds.
In other words, even if the user waited 5 seconds for the download to complete, the chance that he would make a purchase is 2-3 times less than a page loaded in 1-2 seconds.
The exact numbers may vary from study to study, but they all come to the same conclusion: page load speed matters a lot to users.
Pros of Accelerated Mobile Pages
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) offer several advantages, including:
- Faster page load times: AMP pages load much faster than standard web pages, which improves the user experience and reduces bounce rates. This is because AMP pages are optimized for performance and load only essential content, reducing the amount of data that needs to be transferred.
- Improved search engine rankings: AMP pages are preferred by search engines like Google because they provide a better user experience. As a result, AMP pages are more likely to appear at the top of search engine results pages, which can lead to increased traffic and visibility.
- Increased mobile engagement: With more people using mobile devices to access the internet, AMP pages are designed to provide a better experience on mobile devices. This leads to increased engagement and a better user experience.
- Improved ad performance: AMP pages are optimized for faster loading times, which can lead to improved ad performance. Speedier load times can lead to increased ad viewability and click-through rates.
- Implementing AMP pages is relatively easy, even for non-technical users. There are several tools and plugins available that can help you create AMP pages quickly and easily.
Overall, the benefits of Accelerated Mobile Pages include faster load times, improved search engine rankings, increased engagement, better ad performance, and easy implementation.
Cons of Accelerated Mobile Pages
- Tracking issues. The effectiveness of an AMP page is difficult to track in analytics services – the data set needs to be improved. It will take a lot of time and resources to set up tags and codes that will track important indicators.
- Since Google caches content on AMP pages and stores it on its server, it assigns its domain name.
- Since most of the additional elements on AMP pages are cut, including banner ads, this can decrease advertising revenue on the site.
- Web admins have to control the main site, AMP, and mobile versions. This is often challenging.
- Difficulty in implementing technology on self-written sites.
- It isn’t easy to implement the ability to add products to the cart when it comes to commercial sites.
How to optimize the loading of a website with accelerated mobile pages
Low speed leads to the fact that the percentage of failures increases. A person enters the site, looks at a white screen or a bunch of loading elements for a few seconds – and closes the tab. A high bounce rate spoils behavioral factors. And bad behavioral factors negatively affect the ranking of the site in the search.
Loading speed is important not only for search engines. Facebook considers it when displaying ads – the faster the mobile site, the more ads are scrolled.
The faster the load, the higher the likelihood that the site will rank well in the search results.
With AMP technology, you can create extremely simplified website pages. Only the main content remains on them without widgets, dynamic blocks, ads, and even commenting forms.
Such pages have a very high loading speed – usually at most 2-3 seconds. But there are also disadvantages: truncated functionality and faded appearance. AMP could be better for e-commerce. Blogs, news portals, and information sites use this technology.
Here are some tips to optimize the loading of a website with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP):
- Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network): A CDN can help improve the performance of your AMP pages by delivering content from the server closest to the user, reducing latency, and improving page load times.
- Optimize images: Large images can significantly slow down your AMP pages. Use an image optimization tool to compress images and reduce their file size without sacrificing quality.
- Minimize external resources: External resources, such as fonts, videos, and widgets, can significantly slow down your AMP pages. Minimize their use and only include them if they are necessary.
- Use the AMP validator: The AMP validator can help identify issues with your AMP pages and provide suggestions for optimization. Use it regularly to ensure your pages are compliant with AMP standards.
- Monitor page speed: Regularly monitor your page speed using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix. These tools can help you identify issues with your AMP pages and provide suggestions for optimization.
Overall, AMP is useful for creating fast, mobile-optimized web pages. It is particularly useful for publishers who rely on ad revenue and want to improve their visibility in search engine results. By following best practices and optimizing your AMP pages, you can provide a better user experience and improve the performance of your mobile web pages.
What is UX/UI?
The acronym UX stands for user experience. Simply put, this is how the user interacts with the interface and how comfortable the site or application is. UX / UI designers are in demand in IT since the interfaces that programmers prepare must be beautiful and understandable.
UX includes site navigation, menu functionality, and the result of interacting with pages. This is not only the “backbone” of the site – its structure – but also communication: dialog boxes, button functionality, search, and form settings. The quality of UX determines how quickly the user can get what he came to the site for.
UI is the user interface, user interface, in other words, the design of the site: color combinations, fonts, icons, and buttons.
UX is the functionality of the interface, and UI is its appearance.
In modern design, UX and UI almost always go hand in hand because they are so closely related. Yes, indeed, in some large agencies, user scenarios and visual interfaces are thought out by different specialists. But still, the result will be much better if the whole project is carried out by one designer because, in this way, he will build the work in a complex way.
However, at the same time, there are some types of projects in which UX is more important, and in some – UI:
- UX comes top when designing CRM systems, dashboards, and internal working interfaces. The visual part is in the background here – the main thing is how conveniently the data will be placed.
- More attention is paid to UI when creating online image resources and sites for promoting premium goods and services. Here, the main task is not to quickly lead the user to the target action but to let him examine the interface and immerse himself in the atmosphere.
If you look globally, then the concept of UX / UI applies not only to design. From the point of view of convenience and aesthetics, one can evaluate any object with which we interact – elevator buttons, restaurant interiors, and household appliances.
The very concept of UX was first formulated only in the early nineties. It was invented by psychologist and designer Donald Norman, who then joined the Apple team. He described the term in his book The Design of Everyday Things. From the beginning, Apple has paid great attention to usability, and its interfaces are still considered among the best.
What is a UX/UI & graphic Designer?
A UX/UI & graphic designer is a professional who specializes in designing the user experience and user interface of digital products, as well as creating visually appealing graphic designs that communicate a message effectively.
The UX/UI aspect of the role involves designing the user experience of a product or service, which includes the layout and flow of a website, mobile app, or software. This consists in creating wireframes, prototyping, and designing user interfaces that are intuitive and easy to use to create a seamless user experience.
The graphic design aspect of the role involves creating visual designs that communicate a message or concept effectively. This can include designing logos, icons, illustrations, and other visual elements used in branding and marketing materials.
A UX/UI & graphic designer combines technical knowledge with artistic and design skills to create visually appealing, user-friendly digital products. They work closely with developers, marketers, and other stakeholders to ensure their plans align with business goals and meet user needs.
Where to look for UX/UI & graphic designers?
The first question to answer is, “where do you even look for UX/UI & graphic designers?” Let’s run through the options.
- In UX/UI & graphic agencies: The option is obvious, but one hundred percent. If you are willing to invest in the success of your product – well, that is, pay real pros for top-notch quality results – an agency specializing in UX/UI & graphic design is what you need. You can say that the guys in such companies “ate the dog on this” (you can be sure that they are not just familiar with the field, they know it inside and out). You can safely order UX design. As a rule, in such agencies, a project manager is assigned to each project, which deals with all issues related to your product – for example, evaluates the scope of work, plans deadlines, and considers the budget.
- Through the UX/UI & Graphic community: How to find a UX/UI & graphic designer through social networks? Easily! You just need to know where to look. Platforms like Dribbble, Behance, and Awwwards will do – come in and choose the UI design you like.
- On the freelance market: Limited budget? Do you have a lot of free time to solve micro-tasks? Freelancing is quite a working option. Look at freelance markets (for example, Upwork.com or Freelancer.com) – there, you will find a UX/UI & graphic designer “for every taste and budget.” Freelancing marketplaces are pushing the boundaries for finding a contractor: hire a designer from India? Easily! And it’s cool. There are, of course, downsides to finding a UI/UX designer this way. More precisely, one big minus is the lack of reliability. You are buying a pig in a poke: no one guarantees that the designer will complete the task on time or will not concoct an interface on his knee.
- By acquaintance: This option is suitable for those with connections in startups and MVP development. Was Zuckerberg’s number lying around on your phone’s contact list? If not, skip it; if there is, ask to share contacts. Most likely, people associated with the topic of startups know a couple of names of proven UX/UI & Graphic designers. In the end, you will find the right one for you, and you will be able to find a super UX/UI & graphic designer.
Professional skills a UX/UI & graphic designer needs
A UX/UI & graphic designer requires a wide range of skills to design digital products and create compelling visual designs effectively. Some of the essential professional skills a UX/UI & graphic designer needs are:
- User Research: Conducting research to understand user needs and preferences is crucial for a UX/UI & graphic designer. This involves gathering data through surveys, interviews, and usability testing.
- Wireframing and Prototyping: Creating wireframes and prototypes is an important UX/UI designer skill. This helps to develop the layout and flow of a digital product before it is designed.
- User Interface Design: A UX/UI designer needs to be skilled in designing user interfaces that are intuitive and easy to use. This involves designing layouts, navigation systems, and interactive elements that provide a seamless user experience.
- Visual Design: Graphic design skills are essential for a UX/UI & graphic designer. This includes knowledge of color theory, typography, composition, and other design principles.
- Software Skills: A UX/UI & graphic designer should be proficient in software such as Sketch, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator to create and edit designs.
- Collaboration and Communication: A UX/UI & graphic designer should be able to work effectively with cross-functional teams, including developers, marketers, and project managers. This involves good communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively.
- Problem-Solving: A UX/UI & graphic designer should be able to identify and solve problems related to design, user experience, and functionality.
- Adaptability and Flexibility: A UX/UI & graphic designer needs to be adaptable and flexible, as the design needs of a project may change based on user feedback, technological advancements, or business requirements.
A UX/UI & graphic designer must be skilled in various technical and creative areas to design digital products and create effective visual designs that meet user needs and business goals.
Soft skills a UX/UI & graphic designer needs
In addition to technical and design skills, a UX/UI & Graphic Designer must have a range of soft skills to succeed in their role. Here are some important soft skills for a UX/UI & Graphic Designer:
- Ability to work in a team and communication skills: When several people are working on the same project at once – all with their views on the process – you need everyone to actively participate in the discussion of decisions (and no aggression). We always try to ensure that a person has no problems with this. UX/UI & graphic designers must effectively communicate with clients, stakeholders, and team members. This includes presenting their ideas, actively listening to feedback, and providing constructive criticism.
- Collaboration: UX/UI & graphic designers often work in cross-functional teams, so they need to be able to work collaboratively with developers, marketers, and project managers.
- Ability to think critically and make decisions: A person should be able to deal with problems and NOT panic if something happens. Forget about passive observation and all these “I am not me, and the house is not mine” – you need to find solutions.
- Corporate values: Everything is simple (but very important): we are doing business, so we want a person to complete tasks on time and not be afraid to take the initiative.
- Creativity: UX/UI & graphic designers must be able to think creatively to develop unique design solutions that meet user needs and business goals.
- Empathy: UX/UI & graphic designers must have compassion for users to create products that are easy to use and provide a positive user experience.
- Adaptability: UX/UI & graphic designers must be adaptable and able to work in a fast-paced environment where the design needs of a project may change.
- Time Management: UX/UI & graphic designers must be able to manage their time effectively to meet deadlines and prioritize tasks.
- Problem-Solving: UX/UI & graphic designers must be able to identify and solve problems related to design, user experience, and functionality.
- Attention to Detail: UX/UI & graphic designers must have strong attention to detail to ensure their designs are accurate and error-free.
- Continuous Learning: UX/UI & graphic designers must be committed to continuous learning to stay up-to-date with the latest design trends and technology.
Personal skills greatly affect the result. After all, it would help if you found a UI / UX designer who could show empathy – at least.
What must signpost in the contact form for hiring UX/UI & graphic designer?
When creating a contact form for hiring a UX/UI & Graphic Designer, it’s important to include certain signposts to ensure that potential candidates clearly understand the role and the requirements. Here are some signposts that can be included:
- Job Title: Make sure the job title is clear and accurate, such as “UX/UI & Graphic Designer.”
- Job Description: Include a detailed job description that outlines the responsibilities and expectations of the role. This should include information about the type of products the designer will be working on, the skills required, and any preferred qualifications.
- Required Skills: List the specific skills required for the role, such as proficiency in software like Sketch, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator, as well as knowledge of user research and wireframing.
- Experience: Indicate the required level of expertise for the role, such as a minimum of 2 years in UX/UI and graphic design.
- Location: Include the position’s locale, whether remote or in-office.
- Compensation: It’s important to be transparent about the payment for the role. You can include a salary range or a state that will be discussed during the interview.
- Application Requirements: List the requirements, such as a resume, portfolio, and cover letter, and indicate how candidates can submit their applications.
- Deadline: Specify a deadline for submitting applications so candidates know when the application process will close.
By including these signposts in the contact form, potential candidates will clearly understand the role and what is required, which will help attract the right candidates for the position.
Finding a UI/UX & graphic designer is certainly a challenging task. But feasible.
How to find a UI/UX & graphic designer? Be attentive to details: thoroughly study the portfolio, read reviews, and see how a person behaves – and you will find the UI / UX & graphic designer of your dreams (a professional who will reduce all risks, solve all problems and close all tasks)!
Creating a good test of professional knowledge takes work. This kitchen has its subtleties. Not owning them, even the most qualified expert risks making many mistakes. We must deal with these mistakes regularly, introducing the methodology for developing and conducting professional tests. Testing will fail even due to one error by the webmaster in setting up or running an experiment. This article will list the popular, but only partially obvious mistakes web admins and optimizers make.
Launched a sequential page check
Some webmasters set up page rendering by running the main page for X time, stopping it, starting a new version for the same time, and then measuring the difference. This is a mistake.
If something happens during the test, it will only affect one page. It can get a surge of new traffic, resulting in pages having different results for reasons beyond their control.
For a pure AB test, it is important to split traffic from one channel between two versions and set up page display simultaneously so that external factors do not affect the result.
Set to show at different times
Some tools allow you to test different times or other days of the week to see how traffic performs over different periods. Useful if you want to know when your site has the most visitors. But it will only hurt in cases where you show two groups of audiences on different pages.
For example, a business blog gets less traffic on weekends. If you run a test with a control page from Monday to Wednesday and from Friday to Sunday with an updated one, then the second one will have less traffic and different results.
The test compares pages, with the only difference being the updated element. Everything else should be the same.
Run tests during seasonal events or major site changes
Tests should be carried out during something other than Google or Yandex core updates, major world events, sales, and holidays. These events can bring down the results; waiting until everything calms down is better.
The exception is if you want to test the change in audience behavior at this particular time.
I didn’t check if everything works
This is the simplest mistake, but testing is often launched with broken buttons, old links, and layouts.
Check the points:
- successfully passed from entering the site to conversion;
- pages load quickly;
- the design looks as it should; the layout and fonts have not moved out;
- all buttons work;
- the page opens correctly on different devices and in other browsers;
- have you set up conversion tracking;
- you have error reporting set up if something breaks;
- you tested the same on non-cached devices, as sometimes the information in the cache doesn’t match what the page looks like.
These are worth checking out before running the test and driving traffic. Similarly, before launching, you need to check the updated version of the page.
Launched a test for a closed or incorrect URL
A simple but common mistake is to run an experiment on a “test site” where the webmaster has made changes.
Check which pages you are using. A webmaster, out of habit, can go to a secure page with his access, check it, and run a test. Only the audience will not open it.
Conducted a test without a hypothesis
Some site owners run a campaign and see what changes without thinking about the hypothesis to be tested. They consider the test sample successful if the new page shows some conversion.
You can only improve a page by analyzing what results it currently has. The updated development may reduce the conversion, but the webmaster will only know about it if he tracks the starting results.
It is important to formulate a hypothesis about where the problem is, its cause, and how to solve it. You will get more leads, conversions, or sales if you know which element you want to improve.
Focused on the surface
Not every increased indicator indicates the effectiveness of the updated page. Avoid indicators that are unrelated to and do not lead to measurable results.
For example, an increase in Facebook page reposts does not mean an increase in sales. You can spend resources to remake pages in the version that showed a rise in shares, but you will waste your energy. Remove social media buttons and see how many leads you get.
Be careful with “vanity metrics” likes, followers, views, and reposts. If they don’t affect conversions, you may target the wrong audience or forget to sell to them.
We paid attention only to quantitative data
Not only quantitative test data are important. For example, the test shows that X people did not click on the button, but one can only guess why:
- Is the button invisible? Is it too low?
- I need to understand why to connect.
- Does the offer match what the user wants?
- Does the button look unclickable?
- Does the button not work at all?
Quantitative data cannot always tell the reasons for such results. Testers need to learn from the audience what they need, what motivates them to take action on the site, and what holds them back and repels them. This information is useful for formulating new ideas, hypotheses, and tests.
Focused on the little things
Take on small, high-impact tasks first that will bring big results.
A webmaster can test the fifth iteration of a page with a new button design when more important pages lead to a conversion. Prioritize first:
- Will this page directly affect sales?
- Are there other pages on the conversion path that need to catch up?
Focus on them first.
It’s fine if you’ve achieved a 1% increase in conversions on a sales page, but it’s better to increase conversions by 20% on page users explore before buying. This may be more important, especially if you lose most of your audience on this page.
Tested several changes at the same time
There are radical tests when the webmaster changes many elements or redoes the entire page altogether. It might work, but you won’t know which page change worked.
Most often, during the test, one thing is changed, for example:
- content layout;
- registration of discounts;
- registration of tariffs;
- CTA buttons and more.
Tested on traffic not suitable for the target
Ideally, a webmaster should test both pages on an audience from the same segment. They usually try on new visitors to see how they react when they visit the site for the first time. Sometimes you may need to test on repeat visitors, email subscribers, or paid traffic.
You only need to test one segment at a time to get an accurate picture of that group’s interaction with the page. Select the audience you want to work with and remove all others when setting up.
Did not exclude repeat visitors from the test
If a visitor sees a page on the site, closes it, comes back, and sees another version, he will react differently than if he got the same performance on both visits. He needs clarification, sows suspicions about the site’s security, or may already know where to click on the first visit.
The results will become less objective due to these additional interactions. Use a tool that shows the user a random version of the page but keeps it the same on repeat visits until the test is over.
Running a test too short
There are three factors to consider when testing:
- statistical significance;
- sales cycle;
- sample size.
Many site owners end tests when they see that one page is better. In a short period, the excess of one of the pages in terms of conversions may be accidental.
Sales and attendance may fluctuate depending on the day of the week or month. If the test falls on a day when many companies pay salaries, you will have a lot of sales.
Focusing on the test duration in two to four weeks is better. During this time, you can get enough traffic for the results to be accurate. Decide in advance what sample size you need; wait to stop testing until you reach it.
Taking the test too long
Delaying the test can also be harmful. If the test runs for over a month, users’ cookies will likely be lost. If these users return to the site, they will be counted as new ones and corrupt the sample data.
Spying on the progress of the experiment
Some testers peek at the test while it is running. In this case, there is a great temptation to correct something, to complete it. Ideally, one should only look at the progress of the experiment once it reaches statistical significance and a sufficient sample.
On the other hand, no one would like to find out a month after the launch that there was a failure on the first day or something broke on the page. To prevent this from happening, 24 hours after the launch, check if everything is working and if there are visits and conversions.
All decisions are made after testing is completed. The only change that can be made during the test is to fix what is broken.
Did not stop the test with accurate results
There were times when webmasters forgot to stop the test. He continued to work and feed 50% of the audience to the weaker page and only gave 50% to the clear winner.
Changed decision time
Another thing to consider when testing is that new elements can affect the time it takes for a user to make a purchase decision.
Example: A company’s leads typically have a 30-day or even longer sales cycle. The webmaster is testing a new call to action that affects decision time. For example, it creates a shortage or offers bonuses for immediate purchases. Then a new CTA might skew the results. The control page might have the same number of conversions, but due to the longer sales cycle, purchases go beyond the testing period and don’t count.
Review your analytics during and after the test to ensure you get everything.
Abandoned the hypothesis without testing other versions of it
If the idea failed during the test, it might mean that its implementation was unsuccessful. The idea itself may be correct.
Try new CTAs, different designs, layouts, images, and text. You have an idea and can choose the best shape for it.
Didn’t look at segment results
The new version of the pages can show low conversions on desktop but give a 40% increase on mobile. This can only be known by segmenting the results. Look at the information on your devices and generally explore the different channels.
Didn’t scale successful solutions to other pages
Changes that perform well in the test may also work on other pages. Found a winning sales page option – try it as a landing page in advertising. You’ve found a great lead magnet style — test it out across your site.
But only make big changes with testing. What works in one area may fail in others, so everything is worth checking.
Stuck on one page
The page you’re testing on may reach its “local maximum.” This situation is when it comes to a plateau and the webmaster fails to increase its performance. You don’t have to fight for continued improvements on one page; you can move on to others participating in the conversion chain.
An increase in conversion from 10% to 11% on a sales page may be less significant than an increase from 2% to 5% on a page that sends traffic. It may even turn out that her growth helps this stuck page by giving her more leads.
If you can’t make a page even stronger, find the next most important page and work on it.
Not tracked other important results
The ultimate goal of a company is sales. Before determining the winner of the test, you need to compare different indicators. For example, a new call to action on a test page gets fewer clicks. But the clicks it does get lead to more sales from motivated users.
Tests not documented
Creating an internal database of tests can keep you from repeating mistakes. You will be able to learn from old tests and not run the risk of testing that you have already taken. The database should contain data about the page, hypothesis, successful and unsuccessful decisions, growth volume, and other indicators.
Conducting tests always require constant monitoring and improvements. If you are faced with quickly obtaining results useful for business and not wasting time manually setting up an experiment, take a closer look at test automation.
What is the essence of outstaffing
Outstaffing is the re-registration of employees in the staff of another company. There is a company that needs specialists; an outstaffing organization is ready to provide such employees. And some people want to work under similar conditions.
In other words, being a high management technology, outstaffing is a form of relationship between the employer and his employees, in which the employer transfers, formally registering, his employees to the staff of another outstaffing company, concluding an outstaffing agreement with it.
At the same time, employees continue to work in the territory of the former employer and perform all of their former functions as before.
However, the official employer on paper is now an outstaffing company that has registered employees with its company under an employment contract. Currently, it performs all the functions of an employer: maintains personnel records of employees, monitors workers’ documents, calculates taxes, pays wages, interacts with government agencies, etc.
The meaning of outstaffing is simple: a company (usually a large one) wants to focus on its core business and not be distracted by various HR issues and enters into an agreement with an intermediary organization that provides it with staff. The latter is legally their employer and resolves all matters related to the selection, salary, and registration of subordinates. She also maintains all documentation (accounting and personnel).
At the same time, employees entirely work in the customer’s company but are on the staff of the provider company. Companies with at least 100 employees mainly use Outstaffing. The service is also popular among startups who want to quickly get the specific experts they need for development, which are difficult to find in any other way.
The intermediary takes on the functions of paying wages, paying taxes, and enforcing labor laws (hiring, sick leave, dismissal, and so on). At the same time, employees are engaged in projects for the customer company during all their working hours. The staff is also under the direct control of its managers, which is one of the main differences between such a service and outsourcing.
People work in precisely the same way as full-time employees. They perform their usual duties, often even in the office of the client company. But without unnecessary legal complications and the risk of costs. If the employee does not fit, the outstaffer changes him for free, so there is no need to fire anyone.
When is outstaffing appropriate?
It would be advisable to apply the removal of employees from the state in situations where the legality of the employee’s employment and the impossibility of expanding the company’s staff come into conflict. Such problems may arise as a result of factors such as:
- the need to save the salary fund, tax spending, thoughtful provision of social packages;
- the employer cannot take full responsibility for the financial, accounting, and documentary services of their personnel;
- the desire to reduce the burden on office work and accounting;
- labor migrants are the main labor force, but there is no way to track the documentary side of their official registration;
- it is necessary to relieve oneself of responsibility to one’s personnel and inspection state bodies;
- unwillingness to staff registration of seasonal workers or those undergoing a probationary period;
- the desire to employ a specialist from another region without opening a particular representative office (branch);
- the need to increase the number of employees, but the impossibility of staff growth due to the limits of the simplified tax regime (STS).
IT outstaffing is the provision of technical specialists (IT direction) for temporary work at the client’s office. At the same time, the specialist himself remains registered in the staff of a specialized external organization, which in some cases is reported directly by the client company. The remuneration of labor and the necessary tax deductions are made by an external organization in whose staff the employee is listed.
Outstaffing of IT personnel is used when a company needs an employee for a specific project but cannot attract a specialist or there is no such staff unit. Also, the motive may be exceeding the limit on the number of staff (relevant for representative offices and branches); it is planned to reduce staff without reducing the number of staff, and a long-term replacement of one or more employees is required.
Some companies use this service to start doing business in another country without resorting to legal registration at the initial stage. And others, in this way, optimize the costs of personnel and accounting, other regular costs.
Who is IT outstaffing suitable for?
- For example, IT companies that need to strengthen the team or test hypotheses develop a new feature and look at user reactions.
- Those who do not have enough hands to develop digital products in small IT department companies that want to implement narrowly focused information technologies and full-time specialists do not have such experience.
- Companies that do not have time to launch a project on time or want to speed up work processes for a quick return on investment or fix “lame” business processes.
- When a project is urgently needed.
Benefits of IT outstaffing for business
Attracting high-level IT professionals
Regular employees do not always have the required qualification or are not universal specialists capable of solving any IT problem. Also, the employing company often does not have the opportunity to improve their capabilities, which takes time and money, or to search for personnel independently.
Reducing the burden on the HR department
Part of the scope of work is removed; it becomes possible to optimize and reorganize it on an organization-wide basis (especially relevant for enterprises with a geographically distributed structure).
Increasing the investment attractiveness of the company
The enterprise’s income in one staff unit increases after the withdrawal of specialized IT specialists to a separate organization. Staffing optimization ensures the redistribution of fixed costs into variable cost items. This improves the state of the balance sheet, reduces liabilities, and makes the business more attractive to investors and creditors.
Permanent availability of services
Unlike outsourcing, specialists involved under the terms of an outstaffing agreement are constantly at the workplace in the client’s company. This means that there are no acute problems with the maintenance of IT services, and business processes do not stop at the most inopportune moment.
Improving the efficiency of IT infrastructure
There is an opportunity to control and plan costs; there are no overpriced costs for launching new projects and implementing innovative solutions. Thanks to this, the productivity of the work of the information department and the entire enterprise increases.
The client is guaranteed to receive the services he needs and does not disrupt the schedule for launching new projects. The customer is insured against a situation where a person can leave suddenly: firstly, he is bound by an agreement from the outstaffing company, and secondly, the provider of such services always has worthy candidates, even in case of any force majeure. The problem with the search for rare frames has been solved.
Reducing the cost of maintaining staff
First of all, these are the costs of the accounting and HR departments, from which a significant part of the functions is removed. It also reduces the cost of stationery, equipment, software, organization of corporate events, payment of various bonuses and bonuses, corporate training, etc.
Flexibility in personnel management
The company hires as many people as the current volume of work require. Specialists do not stand idle if they are not loaded, and if the number of tasks increases, you can quickly strengthen the team, even if a corporate policy does not allow further staff expansion. If an employee, for some reason, does not fit, a replacement is selected for him free of charge.
An increase in expenses displayed in the balance sheet, which means a decrease in income taxes
Lack of administrative and financial burden on the company with the actual management of employees.
Reduced risks of insurance and other unforeseen events with personnel
Removal from the company of obligations in labor disputes with employees.
No need to interact with regulatory authorities
The intermediary bears all responsibility for the provided employees. All possible sanctions and fines related to the timely payment of salaries, tax deductions, visits of the labor inspectorate, and so on, fall on the shoulders of the provider company.
Synchronizing the leading development team and the outsourced part of the team is the most significant advantage of outstaffing. Given the importance of keeping everyone involved in the process on the same wavelength, synchronization is critical for long-term, multi-stage projects with ever-changing requirements and goals. The outstaffing model provides a more dynamic development process with increased scalability and consistency of effort. Another benefit of synchronization is the sense of shared responsibility between core developers and outstaffing developers.
Communication is probably the most challenging thing about outsourcing. All people sometimes misunderstand each other, especially when information is passed through several people in a chain. The involvement of outstaffing optimizes the interaction between all participants in the process, eliminating intermediaries because team members can communicate with each other directly.
Transparency and control
Clarity and transparency are also higher when using outstaffing because you, as a client or product owner, have more information about the project’s progress.
With the outstaffing approach, both external and internal developers have unified repositories that provide centralized bug tracking, allowing for a more frequent iteration cycle.
All this brings much more trust to the developers and eliminates the doubts that sometimes arise when outsourcing development.
Transparency creates productive team dynamics based on superior accountability. This can be critical in maintaining a healthy and skilled workflow across the entire team.
A consequence of increased accountability is that participants share responsibility for the overall quality of the development process and its subsequent outcomes. Shared responsibility promotes alignment between core and outsourcing teams. Everyone acts under the motto: “we are in this together,” contributing to more productive and well-coordinated teamwork. This creates a more hands-on collaborative approach that increases the team’s overall scalability.
Development process scalability
One of the essential elements of managing any development team is its ability to scale with the project’s current needs.
What does it mean? Sometimes you need to expand your team but don’t have the time or inclination to handle all the interviews and administrative work. In addition, you need specialists whose services are either expensive or difficult to find. This is where outstaffing is the most effective solution, allowing you to add members to your team by focusing on core business needs.
With team expansion through outstaffing, you don’t overwhelm your current developers with additional tasks to complete (which prevents the risk of burnout), but the work doesn’t stop either.
What are the disadvantages of IT outstaffing
Financial risks in cooperation with an unscrupulous contractor
For example, a contractor may unexpectedly raise rates for outsourced workers or demand payment for renewing a “lease.” Therefore, it is essential to contact proven companies that have been on the market for a long time. These players value their reputation and are ready to provide feedback and recommendations from genuine customers.
Managing a hired employee’s actions lies on the customer’s shoulders. Hiring developers for outstaff is attracting people to your team under your leadership.
Onboarding and task execution control, in this case, is entirely in the hands of the client.
It would be best if you had a sufficient understanding of your IT processes and tasks for such a choice to prove effective. When the IT department of the customer does not have enough competence, or there is a task to take off the entire scope of IT tasks, it is better to prefer outsourcing services.
Employees of the contracting agency are not loyal to the company.
As a result, they may be less involved and not produce the desired effect because they work for another firm. It is in the power of the company-customer of the outstaffing service to influence this. A temporary employee should also be immersed in the company’s culture and introduced to its principles and values. Take advantage of this to showcase the strengths of your HR brand.
Danger of burnout of specialists
For its permanent staff, the company often offers various incentives and bonuses, while freelancers lack such motivation, which leads to burnout. To mitigate this risk when choosing an outsourcing provider, look for employee reviews, look at the information in counterparty verification services, and find out what motivation methods, other than financial ones, exist in the company.
The risk of incomplete closing of the application and the inability to influence the selection of personnel in the mass selection
To protect yourself, pay attention to the foundation date of the outstaffing company and the number of branches or partners in different cities. The wider the company’s presence, the greater the chance it will be able to qualitatively close a large request for personnel or find a replacement if necessary.
Problems in communication with the employee
In cases where communication with the staff goes through an intermediary company, it takes him more time to delve into the project.
IT outstaffing as a service is provided on the terms of an agreement that describes the rights and obligations of the parties. The client receives officially registered employees, highly qualified and ready to start work immediately. Tax and social payments for them are made by the principal employer; he is also responsible for compliance with the norms of the current legislation and is engaged in quality control.