Simplifying iOS Game Logic With Apple’s GameplayKit’s Rule Systems

Simplifying iOS Game Logic With Apple’s GameplayKit’s Rule Systems

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When you develop a game, you need to sprinkle conditionals everywhere. If Pac-Man eats a power pill, then ghosts should run away. If the player has low health, then enemies attack more aggressively. If the space invader hits the left edge, then it should start moving right.

Simplifying iOS Game Logic With GameplayKit’s Rule Systems

Usually, these bits of code are strewn around, embedded in larger functions, and the overall logic of the game is difficult to see or reuse to build up new levels.

The post Simplifying iOS Game Logic With Apple’s GameplayKit’s Rule Systems appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Browser Watch, April 2017

Browser Watch, April 2017

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Every month, we scour the Internet far and wide to bring web designers the latest and most relevant news stories about browsers. Here’s another edition of Browser Watch, running down everything from the interesting to the surprising in the world of browsers and everything related to it.

Google Chrome Is The Most Hacker-Proof Browser Available

In addition to speed and performance, Google Chrome has also developed a reputation for security. That’s now being confirmed after the 10th edition of Pwn2Own, which is a computer-hacking contest held annually. The aim of this contest is for hackers to aggressively attack hardware and software to discover and exploit previously unknown vulnerabilities. Chrome came out as the most impregnable—only being attacked once, but not within the allotted time limit. The worst performing browser? Microsoft’s Edge browser, which was successfully attacked five times.

Chrome 57 Marks Beginning of More Efficient Power Usage

In another boon for Chrome, its latest update will finally take it easier on your computer’s CPU. According to BGR, Chrome 57 will now extend battery life by minimizing the power impact from factors that users can’t even see. This is a reference to Chrome’s background tabs. Users are familiar with the browser’s tendency to eat up resources when they have many tabs open in the background. Now, thanks to 57’s individual background tab throttling feature, there’ll be 25% fewer busy tabs that are going to be running the background.

Google and Symantec May Go to War

Everyone has probably seen security-software company Symantec’s certifications on various websites, which many users take as the gospel truth of a site’s security. However, Google has begun taking Symantec to task for its alleged failure to properly investigate whether a domain is safe for browsing before it issues its web certificates of security. According to Android Headlines, Google might soon penalize Symantec by drastically reducing the level of trust that its Chrome browser attributes by default to Symantec certificates.

Safari Technology Preview 27 Release Features New Reload Page

Apple released the 27th Safari Technology Preview update, the highlight of which is a new Reload Page From Origin feature, according to MacRumors. This option allows users to reload a page without having to rely on cached resources. Another big browser change is the elimination of the Disable Caches option from the browser’s Development menu. Rounding out the update is a whole series of fixes and improvements to Web API, JavaScript, Web Inspector, CSS, WebCrypto, Accessibility and Rendering. Safari Technology Preview is Apple’s experimental browser that tests new features that might one day make it into Safari’s future release updates.

Apple Shows off Demos of its Proposed WebGPU Browser Engine

Earlier in the year, Apple talked about a new GPU that would strive toward more powerful Internet graphics. Now, Apple has released a few demos to show developers what its new standard can do, according to 9 to 5 Mac. Developers have the opportunity to play around with Apple’s new WebGPU demos by going to Apple’s WebKit webpage. Once there, they’ll have the chance to see four new demos in total, but they’ll have to use Safari Technology Preview, as well as activate WebGPU from the Developer menu.

New Firefox User Interface Called Photon in the Works

For Firefox’s upcoming 57 release, there’s a new user interface that the company’s working on. Named Photon, its mockup designs feature rectangular tabs that will take the place of the current round ones. But that’s not all. Users can also expect a new tab page and a new and centered address bar. Overall, this is the first major overhaul of Firefox’s UI in a number of years, since 2014, to be exact.

Firefox 52 Adds a Whole Roster of New Features

Recently, Firefox debuted Firefox 52, and it was a mega update that included a huge collection of new additions, according to TechSpot. The biggest change in the pack is WebAssembly, which allows almost native performance in apps and games, something that should be welcome for gamers on any browser. Another big improvement is the automatic identification and activation of public, Wi-Fi login services at airports and hotels. Finally, Netscape Plugin API plugins have been disabled while security also gets a big boost with a warning to users who are on webpages that are not using HTTPS during sign-in.

Downloads of Opera More Than Double After Congressional Internet Privacy Vote, Allegedly

When the House of Representatives joined the Senate to reverse privacy rules the Federal Communications Commission passed last year (but hadn’t yet taken effect), the Opera browser seems to have been the biggest winner. The company reported that, in the immediate aftermath of the vote, new U.S. users of the VPN-equipped browser more than doubled as a reflex action to privacy fears, according to Computerworld. However, statistically, third-party metrics, such as those provided by analytics company StatCounter, do not verify Opera’s claim of more users flocking to its browser.

Microsoft Edge Actually Records an Uptick in its Users

In something of a surprise, Microsoft Edge, the company’s latest browser, saw a bit of an uptick in its user share. After the browser’s user numbers fell to humiliating lows last year, the browser rebounded slightly with 0.06% more users this year, according to figures provided by NetMarketShare, a statistics company. As a result, currently 5.61% of all browser users depend on Edge to access the Internet. Still, this is far cry from the high of 16% of all worldwide browser activity Edge accounted for when Windows 10 recently rolled out since the browser was the default in that release.

There you have it! Now you know all you need to know about the latest and most important developments in browser news over the past month. Join us again next month for another roundup of the most relevant browser stories for designers and developers alike.

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5 Ways Voice UI Turns Your SEO on its Head

5 Ways Voice UI Turns Your SEO on its Head

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Once upon a time, the most Siri had to deal with was a few offensive remarks or sexually explicit requests. We probably all did it at least once.

But in just a few short years, voice search has exploded to become a serious contender against traditional, text-based search.

Microsoft’s Cortana has over 100 million monthly users, 40% of adults talk to their phones every day, and it’s predicted that half of all searches will be done vocally by 2020.

If that sounds like it’s more than just a passing fad, that’s because it is.

So if you want to make sure you and your website aren’t missing out, you need to start adapting your SEO strategies now.

In most cases, it’s unlikely you’ll need a complete SEO overhaul. But there are still some significant changes you can start to make today to ensure that your site is optimised for voice search.

1. Target Longer-Tail Keywords

Most people feel more comfortable speaking than they do typing—especially when trying to type on a mobile device.

That means that voice searches are going to be more verbose. And if you want your site to get found first, you’ll need to focus on longer keyword phrases.

Plenty of searchers are either impatient, on the move, or multi-tasking. When they’re using a keyboard, they’ll be searching for the terms that use the fewest number of words to quickly get them fairly close to what they need—“Pizza New York”, or “Car Repairs”, for example.

with voice searches, [users] can rattle off extensive and detailed requests without testing their thumbs, eyes or patience.

But with voice searches, they can rattle off extensive and detailed requests without testing their thumbs, eyes or patience.

They might ask “Where can I get a late-night pizza with free delivery to Long Beach?” or “Where can I get my transmission checked in Chicago for under $50?”.

These longer searches don’t just help visitors connect with websites that are the closest match to their specific needs. They also bring your website qualified prospects that are much closer to their buying decision—and that means you need to make sure the keywords you’re targeting match up to these highly valuable searches.

2. Use Conversational Language

Be honest: have you ever really searched for something like “automotive maintenance” on Google?

Or was it something more like “auto repairs” or “car mechanic”?

Speaking in the language of your customers has been good SEO practice for a long time. And with the rise of voice searches, it’s only going to become more important.

Of course, “automotive maintenance” is a ludicrous example of an everyday search term.

But there’s still a huge difference between the things people write and the things they say out loud.

But there’s still a huge difference between the things people write and the things they say out loud.

If you’re looking for software that can help you manage your projects and stay on top of your deadlines, it’s plausible that you would type something like “organisation apps” into Google. And almost all of the search results look helpful and relevant:

But the words that come out of our mouths aren’t always so precise and succinct.

If you’re navigating the rush-hour freeway on an empty stomach before your morning coffee, your brain might not be able to do any better than “app that helps you do more stuff”. And those results look decidedly less helpful.

The solution? Create content for your website that uses the same natural language that your target audience would say out loud.

Don’t fill your web page with content that talks about “achieving higher levels of success”—tell them that it helps them to “do more stuff”, “get more done”, or “waste less time”.

3. Build Content Around Answering Questions

How do people in real-world situations get access to the information they need by using only their voices?

With questions, of course.

It’s likely that a huge number of voice searches are going to be in the format of a question—it’s just a natural fit for the medium.

That means you need your website content to answer those questions directly, accurately and comprehensively.

The simplest way to do this without affecting the experience of traditional searchers is to set up a dedicated FAQ page, posing the most likely questions and giving useful responses.

And the simplest way to come up with the most likely questions is to use the questions that are already being asked.

With tools like Answerthepublic or StoryBase, you can enter keywords relevant to your website and see the most common questions asked, broken down by the type of question (who, what, where) and the supporting prepositions (to, for, near, with).

Armed with this data, you can build the kind of helpful FAQ that brings your website closer to the top of the search results when your potential visitors need information.

an understanding of the types of questions being asked can help you to draw in the right people at the right time.

On top of that, an understanding of the types of questions being asked can help you to draw in the right people at the right time.

According to Google, there are four key micro-moments in a consumer’s journey. The types of questions they’re asking at different times can help you to understand the stage that they’re at—and give you insights into how ought to be responding.

People asking “What’s the difference between A and B?” are likely to be casual window-shoppers or curious researchers, and ought to be directed to your helpful informational and educational pages.

But those asking questions like “What’s the cheapest A?” or “Where can I find the best B?” are much more likely to be on the brink of making a purchase—and those are the kinds of questions you want to target with your PPC adverts to lead them to a landing page to close the deal.

4. Make the Most of Your Local Listings

According to research, mobile voice searches are three times more likely to ask for local information than standard searches.

People aren’t just making general enquiries when they use voice search. They’re asking for instant solutions to their pressing needs—and that means they’re ready to commit.

To make the most of these quick-sale customers, you need a site that’s optimised for local searches. So make sure you:

  • Register your website with the relevant directories (like Google My Business) and keep your details up to date. If you change your opening hours, prices, or phone number, go back to your older listings and correct them.
  • Make your online reviews shine. Reviews are critical for local searches in Google—so encourage your customers to leave reviews and do your best to respond to any negative ones.
  • Include Schema markup code to help search engines recognise your important local information, such as addresses or opening hours.

If you’re not sure where to begin, you can take a few local-friendly tips directly from Google, or try out their Structured Data Markup Helper.

5. Get your website mobile-ready

While there are plenty of desktop users who are searching vocally, you can expect a massive portion of your potential visitors to be using voice search through their mobile devices.

And if your site can’t provide a good experience for those mobile users, you can expect a massive portion of your visitors to head straight back to Google to find one of your competitors.

So how do make your site more friendly to mobile users? Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Analyse your site’s mobile usability with a tool like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tester. It’ll give you a screenshot of how your site looks on a mobile device, as well as highlighting any usability problems—like small fonts or the use of Flash.
  • Trim the fat for a faster user experience. More than half of mobile users will abandon their visit if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load – so keep the number of images and their file sizes to a minimum.
  • Keep your content brief to match mobile attention spans. Use the lowest number of words you need for an effective headline, and use the lowest number of paragraphs and sentences you need to get your message across.
  • Use large icons, buttons and links. Don’t make your users zoom in for every click – and don’t punish a clumsy visitor who’s ready to convert.

To sum up…

Voice search is huge. And it’s only going to get bigger.

Just like any other kind of SEO, you’ll need to keep up with the latest developments and updates released by the search engines, and continually test and tweak your site if you want to see it climb up the rankings.

We don’t type how we talk, and you need your content to reflect that

But in the meantime, it’s worth starting to put the following into effect:

  • Go for the longer-tail keywords. Vocal searchers are more likely to make detailed requests, and they’re more likely to be close to a sale.
  • Speak in your customers’ language. We don’t type how we talk, and you need your content to reflect that.
  • Focus on answering questions. If that’s the way people are going to search, that’s the best way to give them the information they need.
  • Be there at a time of urgency. Voice searchers want quick answers and nearby solutions—so make sure you appear as a local answer to their problems.
  • Give them the experience they want on the platform they choose. When so many people are searching by voice through their mobile devices, you need to be able to capture them with a painless journey—from the desire they express to the action that satisfies it.
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Applications Of Machine Learning For Designers

Applications Of Machine Learning For Designers

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As a designer, you will be facing more demands and opportunities to work with digital systems that embody machine learning. To have your say about how best to use it, you need a good understanding about its applications and related design patterns.

Applications Of Machine Learning For Designers

This article illustrates the power of machine learning through the applications of detection, prediction and generation. It gives six reasons why machine learning makes products and services better and introduces four design patterns relevant to such applications. To help you get started, I have included two non-technical questions that will help with assessing whether your task is ready to be learned by a machine.

The post Applications Of Machine Learning For Designers appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Popular Design News of the Week: April 17, 2017 – April 23, 2017

Popular Design News of the Week: April 17, 2017 – April 23, 2017

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Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

How Much Should a New Website Cost in 2017?

 

The Top 10 Google Webfonts for Strong Header Text

 

20 Split Screen Website Designs for your Inspiration

 

The New Google Earth

 

SEO Hacks for Developers

 

10 Inspirational & Insightful TED Talks for Web Designers

 

20 Animated Loaders

 

YouTube has a Secret ‘Dark Mode’ – This is How You Activate it

 

Microsoft To-Do – An Intelligent Task Management App

 

How We Write Proposals in my Design Studio

 

Zuck.js – JavaScript Library that Lets You Add Stories Everywhere

 

Why Performance is the Best Way to Improve the User Experience

 

Google Digital Academy Branding

 

Bonsai: A Simple, Fully Integrated Time Tracker for Freelancers

 

Smallchat: A Free Slack Integration for Chatting with Website Visitors

 

Design and Technology: A Collection of Articles and Ideas from Google Design

 

10 Brilliant Uses of 3D in Graphic Design

 

Facebook Owns Four Out of the Five Most Downloaded Apps Worldwide

 

Design Patterns & Sources

 

Hey Instagram, Don’t Tell Me When to Freeze my Eggs

 

An Introduction to Atomic Design for Web Designers

 

From Graphic Designer to Product Designer

 

How to Retouch Video in Photoshop

 

How to Run Meetings that Don’t Suck

 

Focus on What You do Best and Outsource the Rest

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.

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