M-Commerce Tips For Designing A Better Shopping Experience

Posted by Harshad

M-Commerce Tips For Designing A Better Shopping Experience

M-Commerce Tips For Designing A Better Shopping Experience

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 08:01 AM PDT

Editor’s Note: This is a contributed post by Nagaraj Nagabhushanam, Director of Product Management at MobStac, an M-Commerce platform company which offers retailers best-in-class mobile shopping experiences through sites and apps. For more best practices, check out their e-book "The Ultimate Mobile Commerce Handbook" here.

With annual retail sales via mobiles and tablets expected to hit $707 billion by 2018, more and more consumers are now looking for a visually engaging online shopping experience.

Going mobile, however, has its own set of challenges. Whether it’s designing for varying screen sizes or offering a touch-friendly interface to consumers, mobile poses too many challenges to retailers. Designing and developing a flawless m-commerce experience requires you to think in terms of turning these limitations into opportunities.

Are you creating a mobile shopping site or app? Here’s a set of best practices that you should adopt when creating an m-commerce website or app that enhances the end customer’s mobile shopping experience:

1. Think Mobile-First

Most consumers merely scan through the design and visual elements on the homepage to get an idea of what the site offers. It is important to keep the mobile user in mind, when designing, instead of trying to fit all the information on your desktop site into your mobile site.

Jimmy Choo, a luxury shoes and bags brand, makes it easy for their consumers to scan through the homepage by employing a simple layout that displays one central image followed by a list of categories below it.

Although they have included a slider for the images, this layout helps the consumer to gauge the kind of products that they can expect to find on the website.

Automatic carousels are outdated

A crowded mobile homepage with too many visual elements, such as automatic carousels, will only confuse your consumers further. One of the key rules of interface design is that the consumer needs to be in control. Carousels go against this rule by moving too quickly with small navigation icons, if any.

A study by Notre Dame University found that when it comes to carousels, the first slide bags 84% of all clicks.

This is the case with GAP mobile website, where more than half of the first visible part of the homepage displays a slider that rotates between five different offers. Most consumers find this very frustrating as there are high chances that they might click on a promotional image only to be taken to a different one.

Therefore, it is always advisable to use one static image. This helps the consumer to stay focused on the action plan. If you must opt for an image slider, go for one that does not move automatically.

Anthropologie, a multi-channel lifestyle brand, for example, employs a simple layout with one prominent image at the centre. They have taken special care to note that the image included ideally lets consumers know what to expect on the website. In this case, it revolves around luxury clothing, shoes and accessories.

Custom UI Drop-Down Menus For Navigation

Most consumers prefer to scroll up and down the category list to get a good idea of what their options are, even if they found what they were looking for right away. And it is due to this strong tendency that native pull-down menus are a poor choice for navigation.

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Best Buy, for instance earlier employed a similar native UI drop-down menu. With only half of the screen used to display the available options, most consumers found it difficult to scroll through, scan and compare the available options.

A custom UI drop-down on the other hand, gives the consumer a better overview of their options. The current Best Buy mobile website employs a similar custom UI drop-down to provide their consumers with a better overview of their options. For example, when a consumer clicks on a particular category say ‘Weekly Deals’, it loads a new page, instead of displaying it in a small dialog box.

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Then again, if yours is an e-Commerce site with fewer parent and sibling categories like Dune London, then you could opt for progressive disclosure (right) to show the sibling categories directly on the homepage, as and when the user requests it.

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2. Use Intuitive mobile UI to enhance Purchases

Consumers often want to view a previously visited product. The reasons could vary from wanting to compare two products, to checking whether certain features of a previously viewed product are compatible with the new one. Many a time consumers end up having to search for it by going through the categories all over again.

ASOS, a U.K based fashion and beauty online store, makes it easy for consumers to return to a previously visited item (without repeatedly clicking on the ‘Back’ button) by displaying a list of ‘Recently Viewed’ products on their product page. It also encourages consumers to explore other items by assuring them that finding products again won’t be a hassle.

Be Touch friendly

With the small screen areas on most mobile devices, clicking on an exact element on the screen can often be difficult. To make it easier for consumers to tap, there should be sufficient space between the different touch elements within your content. It is advisable to keep touch elements at 7×7 mm size visually, while maintaining the separators between touch elements at 2×2 mm size.

You could also refer to the guidelines provided by different mobile platforms to decide on the size of the touch targets to be used. It is equally important to keep complete units clickable, while ensuring that they do not span the entire viewport.

3. Choose Information Architecture wisely

When consumers are unable to find a sibling-category where they expect, they often conclude that the website doesn’t sell that particular product. To avoid this you should add the subcategory under multiple parent categories. Here’s an example.

Amazon’s mobile website for instance, lists headphones as a sibling-category under both ‘Mobiles & Tablets’ and ‘Audio & Video’. This further increases the chances of consumers discovering the product they were in search of.

Including ‘New’ as a separate parent category is particularly useful in industries where the recentness of a product could have a major impact on the consumers’ purchase decision. For example, the Dune London mobile website helps frequent visitors by including parent categories such as NEW IN to let them quickly scan through the new products that have arrived since their last visit.

Then again, as seen on the mobile website of Fallen Hero, a British based online fashion store, it is always best to employ ‘New’ as a filter, rather than a separate category as it helps consumers to view new items within a particular category.

Other categorization techniques that work well are ‘Customer Favourites’, ‘Best Sellers’, ‘Sale’ and so on. These customer recommendations will not only make shoppers more confident about their purchase decisions but also define your brand in their minds.

It goes without saying that m-commerce brings along numerous opportunities. Not only does it enable online stores to distinguish themselves from competitors but also helps them position themselves well enough to grab a share of this billion-dollar market.

Further Reading

Here are some more reading materials related to developing for a mobile user experience:

And if you need inspiration or resources, these links may be able to help:

Changing The Face Of Web Design: A Case Study Of 25 Years

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 06:01 AM PDT

Editor’s note: This is a contributed post by Dmitri, founder of New Design Group Inc in Toronto, a web design company focused on defining effective branding strategies for a variety of businesses and delivering imaginative solutions that work. You can contact him on G+.

The World Wide Web celebrated its 25th birthday on March 11 2014 and during its evolution, web design has also advanced in leaps and bounds. No longer do we have to put up with endless clunky text and low-resolution images. Today’s informative, innovative and easy-to-navigate websites are so commonplace that you’ve probably forgotten what websites looked like back in the 1990′s.

So, let’s take a look at the websites of three major brands, how it was back then and how they look now, to exactly how web design has changed over the years. The journey that they’ve gone through may lead to some inspiration for your own website design adventures.


We take a look at Apple’s main page designs through the decades, courtesy of the Wayback Machine.


In its favour, the Apple web design in 1997 included the logo, provided succinct information, and had a clear navigation bar on the left hand side. However, it didn’t have the flair we associate with Apple today; the font is very basic, the sidebar takes up a lot of space and distracts the viewer, and the overall design is crowded.

(Image Source: web.archive.org)

1999 – 2002

Then, Apple created a professional web homepage design that was so simplistically memorable it formed the basis of all future designs. It featured an eye-catching banner photo supplemented by a few select images below. Each and every one of these used white space to the maximum effect, whether it was of the latest product or a satisfied client. A simple top navigation bar helped vistors find their favourite product easily.

2003 – 2006

During this time, the clean design remained but Apple started to deviate with a black background as well. Either way, the stark backgrounds of the homepages showcased the products very effectively. And the use of quirky one liners, such as “Introducing Mighty Mouse” reflected Apple’s daring nature.

2007 – 2010

The 2007 homepage design got rid of the lower sections altogether – no doubt so that the mobile phone could create an even bigger impact. This continued in 2008 and 2009, but when the iPad was introduced in 2010, the majority of the homepage was devoted to Apple’s newest baby.

2011 – 2013

The main design elements haven’t changed at all. The 2013 web design for the iPad Air does deserve a special mention however – when a product’s unique selling point is its thinness, what better way to show this to the world than with this unusually angled image?


Today’s web design is still based on the simple approach used since the late 90′s. The main photo is compelling but no longer is the product shown in isolation and is instead shown in the hands of real people. The font is modern and the limited colour palette of complementary colours looks highly professional.

The navigation bar is now firmly fixed at the top of the page to make navigation simple. In addition to using clever words to encourage click throughs (“What will your verse be?”), the four bottom sections show the visitor exactly what information can be found within them, accessible with a simple click.

What did they do well?

Instead of focusing on the hard sell, they focus more on people’s emotions and the concept of inclusive story telling. Web designers who want to create a similar impact with their new websites should showcase their products using real people. The more customers can imagine themselves using the product, and can see how it will benefit their lifestyle, the more likely they are to purchase it.


Next up, we look at another major brand, this time in the fashion industry.


Hats off to the designers for getting a clear message across through their design. The top navigation bar, instead of a sidebar, gives more space to showcase the products, and the overall look is clean and simple.

On the downside though, the web designers’ brief was probably to really emphasise that customers could purchase their favourite GAP clothes online as indicated by the logo appearing twice, and the phrases ‘online store’ and ‘shop online’ being crammed into one small homepage.

(Image Source: twitter.com)

2000 – 2009

By 2000, the web design evolved for the better. It was clearly branded with the GAP logo with the use of an attractive main image and a modest navigation bar at the top. But let’s keep an eye on the navigation bar as time goes forward.

In 2004, the main image worked well as did the GAP logo, now encapsulated in a bright blue box to give it more prominence. But where were the navigation options? Right at the bottom via click-through links. Definitely a step backwards.

The navigation bar was back at the top of the homepage in 2006. The company now supplied clothes for kids illustrated by the use of child models in the photos. Beneath the main banner photo were 4 different sections promoting a variety of incentives. Unfortunately, the design of each didn’t showcase any connection, leading to a messy and confusing mix, which isn’t easy on the eyes.

In 2009, the main navigation options were cunningly placed in a completely new location – within the main image. Whilst we applaud innovative design, the majority of customers expect to navigate from the edges of a homepage – commonly via bars at the top or less frequently, to the left.

The more difficult it is for the customer to find what they want, the more likely they are to bounce off the website.

2010 – 2012

GAP finally got the hang of it by 2010. The navigation bar was firmly at the top of the page and has stayed there ever since. The 2010 homepage was also a huge improvement as it used a really eye-catching and well-designed collage of fashionable models.

Perhaps the use of more images on the homepage was a hit with visitors as this persisted in the web designs of 2011 and 2012. However, both of these fell horribly short of target. There was no clear strategy in the overall design, the photos didn’t gel together and the variety of colors were overwhelming.


It seems that GAP has finally taken stock of all its previous efforts and created a website that has a range of great design elements in one pleasing homepage. This website is designed to appeal to the younger generation with its urban feel and choice of main image. The words ‘LIVED IN’ is interestingly split into three parts which captures the visitor’s attention.

The navigation bar is still at the top of the page providing an easy shortcut to each type of clothing and the search function allows the visitor to find what they really want. The shopping bag sits on the top right hand corner, making it easier for customers to plan their purchase(s), as they move from page to page.

What did they do well?

GAP has gone through a host of web designs to be where it is today, but now designers of e-commerce websites could well follow this example to create an user-friendly online purchasing experience. It’s not always about showing the product from every angle; clever use of lifestyle photos can help the visitor imagine how the product will enhance their life.


Lastly, lt’s see how Heineken fairs in web design branding. Images retrieved from Wayback Machine.


The website works well in terms of branding and being eye-catching but by offering the website visitor a huge amount of buttons and options, they most likely caused confusion as to what customers should do next. There is no clear navigation, way too many fonts, and frankly, the ones superimposed directly on the water droplets are hard to read.

2010 – 2012

By 2010, the Heineken web design had reached the heights of perfection we associate with it today. At first glance, the homepage seems simple but the dark green background uses an effective mix of geometrical shapes and an interesting condensation-drenched star alongside the beer bottle recognised the world over. Today’s trend for very simple navigation buttons was apparent even then, each supplemented by a visual icon.

The web designs of 2011 and 2012 follow the same formula of clarity. But they also introduced Heineken’s innovative approach of using videos and association to high-profile movies to help sell more beer!


Each and every page on this website are superbly designed using some great, unique fonts, and thankfully the Heineken green has been continuously toned down since the 1997 version. The web pages are so uncluttered, they are positively minimalistic.

This is then complemented by the several videos featured in their web design – a moving image can tell a thousand words. Instead of a regular drop down navigation bar with options, a thumbnail image of each item is shown instead making it more fun.

What did they do well?

The overall design is modern, lively and bound to appeal to 20 something’s as much as Heineken-loving 60 something’s. The videos fit in perfectly with today’s social media madness and are more likely to be shared, increasing brand recognition across the world.

Web design Then

From the earlier examples, back in the 90′s, even the biggest companies’ websites appeared amateurish, poorly designed and a far cry from today’s sophisticated web designs. This can be explained by the fact that web designers faced far more technological limitations 25 years ago such as ridiculously slow internet and limited font options as well as insufficient data about what made a website experience pleasurable for the visitor.

web design trends That Died Out

As web designers gain more tools at their disposal to create more sophisticated and professional-looking websites, some trends couldn’t survive the conditions and has since faded from use. These include:

1. Flash animation – Flash animation on a homepage may be considered dynamic a few years ago but visitors got bored. Flash animation looks cheap and tacky, website visitors don’t like it, and search engine optimization is made trickier when the home page has a flash intro. It’s not for modern website design.

2. Background Music – Wonderful beats and ballads, great idea. Jingles that jangle with the nerves, not so much (the 90′s users would know how this feels). Silence is golden when it comes to today’s web design.

3. Excessive Content – Some companies felt their website require plenty of pages explaining in fine detail about their company, their philosophy and their products. Truth is, too much info can be confusing and be downright annoying – most of us just want the bare facts. In 2014, minimalistic design, and the use of photos and icons replace text-heavy pages.

What Works Today

Today’s most popular and effective websites are truly captivating and memorable, often using evocative images or plenty of humour. They are well-structured and encourage the visitor to make a purchase at every turn. Every website should follow some basic rules to help it get closer to perfection. But if web designers really want to keep up with the times, here are some essential key elements:

1. Fixed navigation bars – These might be a fairly new trend but they make complete sense. The visitor can browse to their heart’s content and never lose sight of where they are.

2. Unique font – Using an unusual or unique font can really help a website sell its message. Web designers shouldn’t settle for the same-old ones when new and exciting fonts await.

3. Sliders – The trend for sliding banner photos is a great one. Each image is large and can really impress the visitor. And as the images automatically change, the viewer is treated to a range of great visuals without having to do a thing.

4. Personalized Photos – Unless absolutely necessary, web designers should avoid stock photos and opt for personalised professional photos to do the website justice and make it more unique.

5. Call-To-Action buttons- Why settle for boring ‘Contact Us’ buttons when there are a wealth of interesting buttons to choose from? The more captivating the button, the more likely the visitor is to click on it.

6. Infinite scroll / card designs – Pinterest may have lead the way with this type of web design, but it is being embraced by many companies, as it is a great way to present individual nuggets of information.

7. Flat design vs skeuomorphism – Whether you prefer the flat design so loved by Microsoft (think minimalistic simple icons) or skeuomorphism, which uses more traditional 3D effects, the great news is that both are trending right now.

8. Web ribbons- Love them or hate them, these 3D ribbons, designed to hug an information box or photo, just look nice and give a professional finish to any design


Web designers should also bear in mind the most ingenious and important shift in web design over the past quarter of a century, which is making the website experience as pleasurable as possible. With a lot of brands competing against each other, websites imparting simple facts no longer cut it.

Nowadays, the most popular websites are those that entertain or amaze whilst providing relevant information. The web designs of Apple, Gap and Heineken illustrate this innovative approach perfectly. 25 years of the World Wide Web has taken web design to heights that were never considered a possibility back in 1989. And who knows how far website design will soar over the next 25 years!

Have an opinion on the subject? Share them with us below.

Everything You Need To Know About OnePlus One

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 03:01 AM PDT

The smartphone game over the past few years has been dominated by the same old names: Samsung and Apple, plus a host of other manufacturers like LG, HTC, Sony and Motorola there or thereabouts in terms of sales and popularity. Well, recently a new phone is making its debut, shaking up the industry, as we have come to know it. That phone is the OnePlus One.

OnePlus One

The OnePlus One is a 5.5" smartphone by OnePlus, a new start-up producer of smartphones, based in Hong Kong and Shenzen. It is founded by Pete Lau, previously VP at Chinese electronics firm, OPPO. The OnePlus One comes with a spec list that can rival even the very best phones soon to be released by the likes of Samsung and HTC.

While it is not as revolutionary as Project Ara, it is still a phone that combines top-tier, flagship-level specifications with a decidedly mid-range price. In this post, we will pitch its specs against those of higher-range Android phones, namely the Nexus 5, HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5, just to give you an idea of why OnePlus One is currently making headlines.

Hardware Specifications

The OnePlus One packs hardware that rivals that of much more expensive smartphones. Here’s a quick look at some of the key specifications of the One, in terms of processing power, RAM, storage, battery capacity, and speaker and microphone replacement.


The OnePlus One is powered by a state-of-the-art Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor running at 2.5GHz, with integrated multi-mode 4G connectivity – no need to worry about LTE bands – and a powerful Adreno 330 graphics processing unit (GPU).

  • Nexus 5 – Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core 2.3 GHz, Adreno 330 GPU
  • HTC One M8 – Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core 2.3 GHz (US/EMEA)/ 2.5 GHz (Asia, China), Adreno 330 GPU
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 – Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core 2.5 GHz, Adreno 330 GPU
  • OnePlus One – Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core 2.5 GHz, Adreno 330 GPU

OnePlus One Hardware

RAM And Storage

The One comes with 3GB of LP-DDR3 RAM, and has a 16GB version and a 64GB version. Both versions use the new, high-performance EMMC 5.0 for fast reading and writing of data.

  • Nexus 5 – 16/32 GB, 2 GB RAM, no microSD support
  • HTC One M8 – 16/32 GB, 2 GB RAM, microSD (up to 128 GB)
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 – 16/32 GB storage, 2 GB RAM, microSD (up to 128 GB)
  • OnePlus One – 16/64 GB, 3 GB RAM, no microSD support

Battery Capacity

The One’s unremovable Li-Po battery has a 3100 mAh capacity. To improve battery life, the OnePlus One implements content-adaptive backlight control (CABC) and Display RAM (DRAM) technologies to reduce the amount of power consumed by the screen.

  • Nexus 5 – Non-removable Li-Po 2300 mAh battery
  • HTC One M8 – Non-removable Li-Po 2600 mAh battery
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 – Li-Ion 2800 mAh battery
  • OnePlus One – Non-removable Li-Po 3100 mAh battery



The OnePlus One goes for a very sleek and minimalist look overall, especially noticeable in the lack of any branding on the front of the phone. It is available in two colors: Silk White (16GB) and Sandstone Black (64GB).

Size And Weight

The phone measures 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm and weighs in at 160 g. The back of the phone is curved, with a taper of 4.6mm which the company claims will make it easier to grip.

  • Nexus 5 – 137.9 x 69.2 x 8.6 mm (5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 in), 130 g (4.59 oz)
  • HTC One M8 – 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4 mm (5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 in), 160 g (5.64 oz)
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 – 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm (5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 in), 145 g (5.11 oz)
  • OnePlus One – 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm (6.02 x 2.99 x 0.35 in), 162 g (5.71 oz)

OnePlus One Design


The screen is a 5.5" 1080p full HD display with Low-Temperature Polysilicon (LTPS) technology for a sharper image, like the Samsung Galaxy S5. The screen also uses Touch On Lens (TOL) technology, which improves touch response and shatter resistance, and is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 technology (standard in most contemporary smartphones).

  • Nexus 5 – 1080 x 1920 pixels, 4.95 inches (~445 ppi pixel density)
  • HTC One M8 – 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.0 inches (~441 ppi pixel density)
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 – 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.1 inches (~432 ppi pixel density)
  • OnePlus One – 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.5 inches (~401 ppi pixel density)

Speaker And Microphone Placement

The OnePlus One has two stereo speakers situated at the bottom of the phone for better audio quality. The speakers are situated too close to each other to provide accurate stereo imaging, but it should still be better than the common monaural speaker on most smartphones. It also has three microphones for better noise cancelling and stereo recording.

Speaker And Microphone Placement

Interchangeable Covers

Like the Moto X and Moto G, the OnePlus One will support interchangeable back covers, called StyleSwap covers. These will come in a variety of materials and textures on top of the standard silk and sandstone finishes, including kevlar, bamboo and denim.

StyleSwap Covers


As with any smartphone worth its salt these days, the OnePlus One will have both front- and rear-facing cameras. The front-facing camera is a 5 megapixel lens with an 80 degree viewing angle, which should be great for squeezing in an extra person or two if you’re particularly fond of group selfies.

OnePlus One Camera

The rear camera is a 13 megapixel Sony Exmor IMX214 with a large f/2.0 apeture coupled with a fast 0.3-second shutter speed. The camera is made up of six physical lenses to increase detail and reduce distortion. It also comes with image stabilization and slow-motion recording at 720p, and can record 4K video.

The One also has a dual LED flash for improved flash photography. That said, the One’s camera setup is quite standard, and we won’t see anything like the HTC One M8′s Duo Camera setup.

  • Nexus 5 – 8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, optical image stabilization, LED flash
  • HTC One M8 – Dual 4 MP, 2688 x 1520 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 – 16 MP, 5312 x 2988 pixels, phase detection autofocus, LED flash
  • OnePlus One – 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED flash

Operating System

The OnePlus One runs Android, but it’s probably not the Android operating system you’re familiar with. It runs a custom variant of Android, CyanogenMod, which makes it only the second CyanogenMod smartphone in the market, after the Oppo N1 CyanogenMod Edition.

However the OnePlus One goes a step further than the Oppo N1 by running a tweaked variant of CyanogenMod. Dubbed CyanogenMod 11S, the CyanogenMod install you’ll experience on the One will feature a flat and minimalistic UI complete with custom themes and icons designed specifically for the device.

CyanogenMod 11S

CyanogenMod 11S also has some features that you won’t get in a standard CyanogenMod 11 installation. OnePlus also claim that the One will receive OS updates for at least two years.

  • Nexus 5 – Stock Android 4.4 KitKat, updateable to 4.4.2
  • HTC One M8 – Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Sense 6.0 UI
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 – Android 4.4.2 KitKat with TouchWiz UI
  • OnePlus One – CyanogenMod 11S, based on Android 4.4.2 KitKat

Software Features

The OnePlus One, by virtue of its custom CyanogenMod 11S operating system, manages to bring a unique user experience that differs not just from stock Android, but also from the custom CyanogenMod ROM that it’s built on. Here are some of the more interesting differences.

Software Improvements

The OnePlus One benefits from most of features you’ll find in a standard CyanogenMod build, including SMS encryption, app privacy guard, a file manager, audio equalizer and improved camera application.

There are also a few CyanogenMod 11S-specific features, one of which is the ability to toggle between capacitive and on-screen buttons. The OnePlus One also has hardware-accelerated scrolling in WeChat.

On-Screen Or Capacitive Buttons

Screen-Off Gestures

CyanogenMod 11S gives you access to some very handy screen gestures that can be used even when the screen itself is turned off. For instance, you can double tap to turn the One’s screen on, or you can draw a simple image on the screen to launch an app directly without having to wake the phone first. Some of the gestures enabled by default include drawing a circle to launch the camera and a "V" to turn on the flashlight.

Screen-Off Gestures

Voice Wakeup

The OnePlus One takes advantage of both CyanogenMod 11S and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor to provide a Voice Wakeup feature that’s similar in functionality to the Moto X’s Always Listening feature. "OK, OnePlus" will wake the phone up and launch Google Now by default. The One’s voice recognition capabilities can also be used to perform tasks even when the phone is locked.


The pricing is definitely the biggest appeal of the OnePlus One. The 16GB OnePlus One will cost $299 in the United States, €269 in the European Union, and £229 in Great Britain. The 64GB model comes in at $349, €299 and £229.

Do bear in mind that these prices are unlocked and without a contract.

OnePlus One Pricing

The OnePlus One’s top-of-the-line hardware specifications don’t come with the hefty price tag you’d expect; the price is on-par with the Nexus 5 and is just about half that of other flagship-spec smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8.

Compare And contrast

Here are all the pertinent facts you’ll need to compare the OnePlus One to some of its direct competitors. The Galaxy S5 and One M8 are in the list due to the similar specifications, while the Nexus 5 is included by virtue of the similar pricing.

Model OnePlus One

Samsung Galaxy S5

Google Nexus 5
HTC One M8
Manufacturer OnePlus Samsung LG HTC
Price $299, $349 $599 $349, $399 $699
OS CyanogenMod 11S, based on Android 4.4.2 KitKat Android 4.4.2 KitKat with TouchWiz UI Android 4.4 KitKat Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Sense 6.0 UI
Resolution 1080 x 1920 1080 x 1920 1080 x 1920 1080 x 1920
Dimensions (mm) 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm 137.9 x 69.2 x 8.6 mm 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4 mm
Weight 162 g 145 g 130 g 160 g
Display Size (inch) 5.5 5.1 4.95 5.0
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core 2.3 GHz (US/EMEA) / 2.5 GHz (Asia, China)
Battery Capacity Li-Po 3100 mAh Li-Ion 2800 mAh Li-Po 2300 mAh Li-Po 2600 mAh
Storage (GB) 16, 64 16, 32 16, 32 16, 32
Expandable Storage None microSD (up to 128GB) None microSD (up to 128GB)
Back Camera 13 MP 16 MP 8 MP Dual 4 MP
Front Camera 5 MP 2 MP 1.3 MP 5 MP

How To Give Constructive Criticism

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 12:01 AM PDT

The Internet has brainwashed us into believing that we can grow old but don’t have to grow up – but you know you have to, eventually; the bills don’t pay themselves. When dealing in the freelancing world, we all love working with grown-ups; people who we can depend on to deliver what we need.

Plus, no one loves working with a person who relays communication via tantrums and shouts. And of course, no one likes their work to be criticized, unfairly.

As much as everyone has an opinion and loves to give it, not everyone can take another man’s opinion. The advice strewn about everywhere has always been along the lines of "criticism will help you grow, if you let it" but rarely do people advise us on how to give criticism that is truly constructive – the kind that actually helps the receiver.

What is Constructive Criticism?

Constructive Criticism is hard work. It is the responsible form of criticizing someone’s work. To deliver constructive feedback, you need to have respect for the person on the other end, play fair, do your homework, and help them get better.

It is different from just purely hating something because it didn’t work for you. That form of criticism is almost always as easy to do as it is as easy to hate.

Many people criticize just to let off steam, to get a point across in the most agitated form possible, or to flaunt superiority. One very common example is the customer’s complaint. They come in upset, scream into the phone, sometimes to someone who is not even responsible for their outburst.

This may work in this scenario but not when you are the workplace. If you need to demand respect, that usually means you don’t know how to earn it.

Is criticism what they need?

Any form of criticism stems from the decision-maker’s dissatisfaction of a job done or delivered. It could be that it’s not up to an expected level of quality, or there are a few missing essentials. In any case, it doesn’t achieve a required objective or a set of objectives, which is why it needs to be rectified.

But before jumping in to criticize someone’s work, you have to play fair, and give them the benefit of the doubt. To be able to give constructive criticism, you have to first respect and acknowledge the fact that the receiver knows what he or she is doing, and that he had ample time to deliver satisfactory results.

Getting The Right Person For The Job

For the former, if you find that the person-in-charge is not suited for the job at hand, there is no need for criticism – there is a need to redelegate the task, or find someone else who is more suitable.

Suppose you do have the right man for the job, but his work isn’t up to par. Take into account if he had enough time, the right resources, all the up-to-date information required for him to carry out his task well.

If not, it’s not criticism that you should give, it’s the resources he needs to further improve the job at hand. Remember that sometimes you need to ask them point blank in order to get to the root of the problem, and this helps you understand the situation better.

How To Give Constructive Criticism

So you’re sure the person-in-charge is at fault, which is why you’re still reading this. There is no avoiding the dreaded "talk". But first, here’s what you need to prepare:

1. Identify the problem

Yes, constructive criticism is hard work, and part of it involves identifying the problem. No one likes being told that what they’re doing is wrong, without being given the specifics of what the hell is wrong. Adopting the "Because I said so," attitude is not only child-like, it also shows how little you think of other people’s time.

If you find that the issue is with the person’s carelessness, or them focusing on a wrong area or aspect, or a terrible misunderstanding of the specifications, tell it like it is. Get the person on the same page before proceeding to what you think is a proper solution.

2. Provide a solution

Yes, you also need to provide a solution. If blue is not the color you want, identify what is, and why. Don’t give people that "reddish blue but not purple" nonsense. Unless a specific color has been specified in the client’s brief, a designer has the freedom to pick a suitable color for your design.

If you don’t like it – which is totally fine, since you are paying for the design – give them a ballpark color and your reasoning why it is better suited for your purpose. This applies to all forms of feedback. Alternatively, you can share your expectations of the receiver’s future performances. Be clear with what you want, which leads us to the next point.

3. Provide examples

As an extension from #2, examples will help you and the receiver get the same visuals in both your minds. This can be in the form of what steps to take in order to fix the problem, what changes to make, or what new direction to follow.

Where possible, treat this like it’s the last time the both of you can sit down and discuss the task(s) and expectation(s), so lay everything out on the table and talk it out. (Seriously, how many times does this criticism talk need to happen? Unless it is completely necessary, once is enough).

4. Give them limitations they can work with

And because you aren’t a dictator, do provide the receiver with how much freedom he can work with, or the limitations he has to manage. This will allow him to exercise his creative license (it’s his job to have some input into the task, isn’t it?) while still delivering what you expect from him.

Last Reminders

In highlighting the pitfalls to avoid, the ultimate goal of constructive criticism is to help the receiver improve. The tone and attitude in relaying this information should be encouraging, despite the need to highlight the negative aspects of the situation.

Also remember that, not everyone can accept your criticism with an open mind – constructive or not, be ready to receive a defiant backlash that may stem from wounded dignity. You might also want to prepare for harsh words bent on retaliation or attacks on your personality – things that make you question why you are doing this in the first place.

I’ll tell you why.

Criticism that is constructive is essential to the industry at large. Not only does it funnel experience from the seasoned players to new beginners, it also helps develop best practices for the whole trade. As it may take a while for a newbie to catch up in terms of experience, criticism can help accelerate the learning process, and don’t we love to have more professionals around to help us achieve our goals?

How The Digital World Fuels The Physical Economy [Infographic]

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:01 PM PDT

You probably know that it is important for a business to have some sort of Web presence, be it a contact page, a landing page for a product, an e-Commerce page to take in orders or a social media page to interact with customers.

What you may not know is that the dealings in the digital world accounts for more than the total GDP contributions from Canada and Spain. And the numbers are still rising! In 2012, 34% of the world’s population could be found on the Internet; that’s over 2 billion people, half of which is from Asia.

Find details on the rise of China as an infuential power in the $8 trillion-dollar e-Commerce market, the growth of the mobile app economy, who the potential players and leaders in the Internet "supply" ecosystem" are, and more on the Internet’s impact on the world’s economy in this detailed infographic by FEInternational.

Credit: Megan Barnes


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