The World Wide Web

The Web

 

Web Diversity

 

The Web is a shared environment, where each individual exercises their right to choose which device, which browser and which version of the browser they wish to use to view your website. Though browsers are slowly aligning to a set of standards, browsers, particulalry older versions, operate slightly differently.

Overlay the above with the variety of devices and screen sizes available it becomes obvious that a rigid web page structure will fail for the majority of users.

HawkOwl websites detect the browser window size, and adjust the page layout and text size to provide a balance between the users choice of window size and the information to be displayed. Page layouts are flexible in structure designed to "degrade" cleanly to fit smaller windows while ensuring the content remains meaningful.

HawkOwl websites automatically adjust the webpage size as needed to the following widths 800px, 900px, 1000px, 1100px, 1200px on PC / laptops, and additionally to optimised widths for Apple and Android tablets and phones.

All HawkOwl menus and buttons work on mouse based and touch screen devices (Apple, Android and Windows)

By default HawkOwl websites are developed and tested using the Chrome and Firefox browsers, these browsers have strict compliance with HTML and XHTML standards.

As part of the standard testing procedure, we will test your website on the latest, and next to latest, versions of :-

  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Edge / Internet Explorer
  • Safari

Tests will include viewing the impact of different browser window sizes, and browser text size and different devices.

 

Website Accessibility

 

Accessibility is the key to maximising the number of users who can effectively use your website.

Design factors:-

  • Use of appropriate foreground / background colour combinations
  • Reducing dependence on specific screen size, allowing the user to decide the size of the browser page and its position. Ensuring web pages operate correctly on desktops / laptops / tablets / phones.
  • Removing dependence on specific text size, allowing the website to operate with the text size the user wants. Adjusting text size and page layout to make the text readable on all devices.
  • Ensuring that menus and buttons spacing allows easy use via keyboard, mouse and touch screens.
  • Balanced use of graphics with meaningful alternate names.
  • Placement of menus and text such that "screen readers" operate correctly
 

Website Visability

 

Attention must be given to making your website visible on the web.

All the main search engines use "robots" or "spiders" to browse the information held within a website and extract information for their search index.

The various search engines (Google, Bing etc) will routinely visit all websites on the web and gradually add entries to their search indexes that relate to your site. This can however take time.

The "web robots" can be guided as to which pages should be included in searches and which should be ignored. With careful use of the standard HTML and Meta Tags it is possible to generate clear entries in the search indexes for each of your web pages.

 

Site Maps

 

Site Maps are a standard mechanism allowing your website to tell the search engine(s) about both updates to static web pages and dynamic web pages, enabling each of the versions of that dynamic page (eg. for each product) to have its own entry on the search engine index.

Google, Bing etc use the standard Site Map format and most other search engines are following suit.

The combination of a website and Site Maps unleashes the full power of web. Your website is no longer constrained by how many pages you can maintain, now each product in your catalogue can have its own web page and with Site Maps you can generate an entry on the search indexes for each of those product pages.

 

Page Load Speed

 

Page load speed is a key factor both for end user satisfaction and search engine ranking position. Fast web page load speed is crucial for devices using the mobile phone network to access the interent.

Graphics and content are tuned to provide an appropriate balance between quality and page load speed; style sheets and javascript are minified (compressed) and the communication between the end users browser and the website is optimised. Immediately prior to website go LIVE, page speed is tested against Google’s Page Speed checker and also benchmarked on an independent testbed in the United States. All HawkOwl websites' page load speeds are re-checked on a quarterly cycle.

HawkOwl websites average “first view” page load speed is 2.4 seconds, "repeat view" (second and subsequent visits to that same page) average page load speed is 0.9 seconds. Tests simulate an average (UK speed) broadband connection in the US accessing the website on the HawkOwl server in Gloucester.

 

Mobile Friendly

 

Usage of the internet from mobile devices, both via broadband and via the mobile phone network continues to increase.

Hits on HawkOwl websites in the last 12 months split:

Phone
34.0%
Tablet
19.0%
Other (PC / Laptop / etc)
47.0%

When a user lands on a HawkOwl website, the website will detect the device (eg Samsung GT P5110), its device type (eg Tablet), its operating system (eg Android) and its browser (eg Safari) and its orientation (eg Portrait). On the basis of this information:-

  • Additional space will be added between menu items and around buttons and input fields
  • Text size will be adjusted
  • Menu layout will be adjusted to reflect the changed size of the menu text
  • Images will be re-sized and re-arranged
  • Additionally elements on the page may be repositioned

If the user rotates the device to change orientation, all the above will be re-worked (in the time it takes to rotate the device!).

Prior to website go LIVE the "mobile friendliness" of the website is confirmed by testing it on the Google Mobile Friendly test bed.

 

Website Cookies

HawkOwl websites use cookies to store very limited information on the visitors computer. The cookies are necessary for the website to work properly and also to provide the best experience for your visitor.

NONE of these cookies store user information and they cannot be used for visitor analysis.

A (timed) Opt In is displayed for new visitors, where the visitor can:-

  • Accept the website cookies
  • View details of the cookies
  • Or Leave the website

If they take no action, it will be regarded as implicit acceptance of the website's cookies.

If they use the menu to go to a particular page, it will be regarded as implicit acceptance of the website's cookies.

There are only four cookies:-

  • A session cookie (deleted when they leave) to pass parameters like "lines per page" between web pages.
  • Another session cookie (deleted when they leave) to pick up the browser window width and height, so that we can adjust the web page to provide best fit to the browser and make your website as easy as possible to view.
  • A permanent cookie, which contains an anonymous unique number (eg 12375) which we use as part of working out unique visitors to the website.
  • Another permanent cookie, which tracks whether the visitor has accepted or declined our cookies on their last visit to the website.

As is evident, NONE of these cookies store user information and they cannot be used for any form of visitor analysis.