The volume of online activities, transactions and cloud based software applications has evolved and exploded in the last few years bringing with it a new challenge: managing passwords. It used to be pretty simple to keep track of the one password you used for the few places you needed to log into to pay a bill, check a balance or status and see what your friends were having for lunch. However the sheer number of sites that now require a login has created a complex landscape that we must manage and master just to survive.
Warning: don’t use one password for all sites
The days of having one password for everything you log into are following the same path as leg warmers, parachute pants and bag phones. Your best bet is to turn that habit into nostalgia immediately. Hackers are smart enough to figure out that we reuse our passwords for multiple site logins. Think for a moment about the damage a hacker could do once they unlock just one of your login password combinations. One brief visit to Facebook and they know where you live, work, shop, bank and play based on what you like and follow.
Warning: don’t get too comfortable
So you’ve been using the same password to access your bank account for a zillion years. Unfortunately, the longer you keep the same password the more likely that you will be hacked. Many online and cloud based software applications are moving to password expiration as an added level of security requiring that you change the password every few months. If this feature is not available, do yourself a favor and schedule time to change your passwords across all your most critical login sites once each quarter. Sites containing your business, customers or financial and personal information should be top priorities.
Warning: it’s only going to get worse
If the idea of keeping track of all these passwords and changes makes you dizzy don’t panic. But do not ignore the fact that managing your passwords has now become a serious and real task. The good news is that software gurus have developed password management tools to help you stay on top of the changes you’ll be making. PC Magazine wrote this helpful article comparing the new password management technology and the features they offer. The pricing ranges from a free level up to $30 per year which is a true bargain for keeping you organized and secure.
The bottom line: take your password management seriously. If you think managing this task is a pain just wait until some hacker discovers the password key to your online kingdom. Now that would be a real pain in the password.
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In the last few articles we’ve been exploring the topic of mobile ready websites. We started out by explaining the need for a Mini Me website then went on to discuss your mobile site from your customer’s perspective. In this discussion we’ll tackle the topics of eCommerce and overall usability of your mobile ready website. The goal here is to present helpful, valuable points on a technical topic in a simplified, easy to understand way. Leave your comments at the bottom and let us know if we’ve hit the mark.
Timing with eCommerce really does matter
When it comes to eCommerce the timing and order of steps in your process does matter. And that timing is even more important for the mobile user. For example requiring registration too early in the process has the potential to turn users away. Some best practices regarding eCommerce:
- Make browsing easy and registration optional
- Allow purchases as a guest but promote registration
- Enable autofill of data for registered users
- Provide a click-to-call button for complex or detailed orders and requests
- Add a save to cart feature for users who might need to return later
Optimizing for mobile really does matter
We’ve talked a lot about your landing page but ultimately every page on your website should be optimized for the mobile user. Some best practices regarding optimizing for the mobile user:
- Make every page mobile ready to eliminate zooming and users missing a call to action
- Use high quality images (for products) that can be easily enlarged for better viewing
- Keep as much functionality as possible in a single window to avoid switching windows
- Explain your user’s location requests as fully as possible
- Make sure your page content loads in logical order (specifically for mobile)
Check out the GoMo Meter
We found this really cool analyzer that will evaluate your website and rate it on performance and readiness for multiple screen sizes. The tool can be found on this Google page about halfway down the page on the right. The analyzer will rate your mobile and desktop page speed, provide a user experience rating and make a list of suggested fixes to improve performance. This page also offers some in depth whitepapers on mobility and websites for mobile users.
The bottom line
Some businesses and industries have a more urgent need to be mobile ready and user friendly. But ultimately every business will have to deal with the multiple screen issue. Users will continue to demand easy access and fluid navigation from a variety of devices. And with the rapid advance of devices like wearable technology the challenge will be to keep pace and capture every possible user and make them a customer.
Did we do it? Did we hit the mark on this topic? Please let us know in the comments below.
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