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7 mobile security threats that may catch you by surprise

The night before I was to give a eulogy at my mother’s memorial service, I was smished.

As someone who regularly writes about cybersecurity, I’m not usually duped by a cybercriminal’s tricks. But I was in a highly emotional state and not thinking clearly when the text arrived, appearing to be from my bank. “Someone has attempted to log in to your account,” the message warned, and provided a link for me to click and verify my identity.

I clicked the link.

A legit-looking, mobile-optimized web page appeared, asking me to enter my debit card’s PIN as a form of verification. Still not thinking clearly, I entered my PIN. When I didn’t receive an SMS in return, informing me that my identity had been verified, I finally realized I’d been scammed.

In the subsequent heart-pounding minutes, I called my bank and changed my PIN, user ID and passcode. Fortunately, after months of close monitoring, I’ve not found anything amiss in my accounts — though I received three follow-up smishing messages, which I ignored.

Smishing — phishing attacks delivered via SMS — is one of the cybersecurity threats gaining traction in our increasingly mobile-first world. In 2018, 49 percent of respondents to Proofpoint’s State of the Phish report said they experienced either smishing or vishing (voice phishing) attacks, up slightly from 45 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, mobile malware incidents increased 550 percent in 2018, according to McAfee’s 2019 Mobile Threat Report.  

Why are attacks on mobile users growing? Because too often, they work.

“Most of us check email first on our smartphones these days,” said Chet Wisniewski, principal research scientist for security software developer Sophos. “Criminals know this and hope you’re not paying the same kind of attention to security that you would on a desktop or laptop. They know they may be catching you at a moment when you’re distracted or in a rush.”

At the same time, mobile browsers and email apps often don’t enable you to easily verify a link before you click it. Plus, users are relying more on mobile devices for work because the devices are becoming more powerful and sophisticated and sport bigger screens. Mobile devices also store a huge amount of information about us — and the companies we work for — that attackers seek to exploit.

7 mobile security threats you might not know about — with tips for combatting them

1. Smishing

Smishing attacks are of particular and growing concern because they’re platform-agnostic, equally impacting iOS and Android users, Wisniewski said. “Social engineering attacks don’t care which brand of phone you use.”

Although cybersecurity professionals are usually aware of smishing attacks, many smartphone users aren’t. And therein lies a challenge for CISOs and cybersecurity professionals, given the rise in attacks. According to Verizon’s 2019 Mobile Security Index, 85 percent of phishing attacks seen on mobile devices occur outside of email — e.g., in text messaging. “While many organizations have filtering in place to block email-based attacks, far fewer have similar protection in place” to guard against phishing attacks that occur outside of email, the report notes.

That’s beginning to change, however. In the past year or so, Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) vendors have added protections against mobile phishing to their software, notes Patrick Hevesi, Senior Research Analyst on the Security, Identity and Risk team at Gartner. MTD vendors with smishing protections include Lookout, Symantec, Zimperium, Wandera and McAfee.

Training employees to recognize and report smishing attacks is crucial but uncommon, Hevesi says. “Most organizations give their employees some level of email phishing training, but most don’t offer much in terms of mobile security training,” he adds.

Periodically conducting simulated smishing attacks with employees can help, just as sending fake phishing emails to users can help them learn how to spot the scams, notes security education organization Social Engineer, Inc.

Related: Triton and the new wave of IIoT security threats

2. SMS messages designed to get you to download scammy apps

You probably know that apps available outside the Google and Apple app stores can be dicey at best. What you might not realize is that criminals may try to trick you into downloading their malware apps in clever ways — such as sending you a text message.

For example, Android-based malware TimpDoor became a top mobile backdoor malware family in 2018, according to McAfee’s 2019 Mobile Threat Report. The threat starts “with text messages informing users that they have voice messages to review,” the report explains. “The included link to a voice-player app provides detailed instructions to enable apps from unknown sources. Clicking on the link installs a fake voice-messaging application that displays two messages. None of the buttons or icons work except the ones which play the included audio files.”

TimpDoor runs in the background and uses the device as an entry point to internal networks, McAfee reports. The threat is likely to evolve into “ad click fraud, distributed denial-of-service attacks, and sending spam and phishing emails.”

As with smishing, training users to spot and report scammy text messages is the first line of defense, along with mobile security apps that can scan devices and configurations for anomalous connections.

3. Flashlight apps (and other data-stealing apps)

Malicious apps that attempt to access the data on your phone are a significant threat, especially in the Google Play store. Third-party flashlight apps are a frequently cited example. Even though iPhones and Android phones ship with flashlight functions, free third-party flashlight apps offer additional features such as flashing strobe lights. The problem is, some of these apps in the Google Play store ask for an absurd number of permissions.

“One Android flashlight app developer turned on every single possible permission so that the app could stay on while the phone is off, listen to phone calls, log your location, and access your contacts,” said Hevesi. “A flashlight app should only be allowed to access your camera’s flash.”

Hevesi recommends training users to carefully consider the permissions any downloaded app requests and deny any that seem excessive or unnecessary.

Wisniewski advises caution before downloading any free app, unless it’s from a developer you know and trust (such as Microsoft, which offers free apps like To Do and OneNote) a free app that offers legitimate in-app purchases. “Developers need to monetize their apps somehow, so they’ll often create free apps like flashlight apps that secretly collect information about you and sell it to third parties,” he explained. “You may have even given them the permission to do so if you accepted the licensing agreement without reading it, as most people do.”

Related: The top 5 mobile security threats

4. Fleeceware

Fleeceware apps, a term Sophos says it coined, are free (or low-cost) Android apps that provide simple functionality, such as barcode and QR code scanning. But, unbeknownst to you, the app regularly charges you large sums of money.

While you may have been led to believe the app is free, a fleeceware app in reality only gives you a short free trial, exploiting the Google Play store’s free trials feature, Wisniewski explained. Once the trial ends, you may be charged hundreds of dollars (or Euros). For example, users who downloaded a particular Android GIF maker app and who forgot to cancel their subscriptions after the free trial were charged about $240. “On your credit card statement, the charge appears to be coming from Google,” which may lead some to believe the charge is legitimate.

Most of the fleeceware apps have been removed from Google’s app store, while a few that got through Apple’s app gatekeepers were quickly removed, Wisniewski said. Nonetheless, fleeceware is yet another reason for mobile users to be vigilant about the apps they download from developers they don’t know. Also, read the app’s reviews carefully before downloading — and especially before giving an app developer your credit card to charge after a free trial ends.

5. Hidden ads

Android apps that display hidden ads are becoming a more prevalent risk, said Armando Orozco, Malwarebytes’ mobile malware analyst. “Without being overtly malicious, hidden adware components can be installed and run without your knowledge while providing a steady stream of income to bad actors,” he says. “They typically come bundled in fake or repackaged apps to appear legit or in very similar copies of legitimate apps.”

Here again, teaching users to closely scrutinize apps before installing them helps. In addition, many security apps for Android and iOS can locate and remove adware and malware.

6. SIM hijacking

Also known as SIM swapping or SIM hacking, SIM hijacking is when an attacker, through social engineering or other tactics, is able to switch your mobile phone number to a SIM card he possesses. Once the attacker controls your phone number, he can intercept two-factor authentication codes sent by text message, which in turn may enable him to access your email, banking, and other accounts. SIM swapping is also used to gain access to a victim’s digital currency accounts, the FBI warns.

To minimize the risks, contact your wireless service provider and set up a PIN, secret word, or another form of additional verification, advised Alex Heid, chief R&D officer for cybersecurity rating platform SecurityScorecard.  

To be extra cautious, obtain a separate, private phone number that you only use for bank accounts and other financial institutions, Heid says. “Your public phone number that’s distributed to friends, family, business associates, social networks, and consumer services will be the first thing attackers will try to use if you’re targeted for a SIM swap,” he explains. “If you have a second, private phone number known only to you and your financial institutions, the likelihood of an attacker gaining access to your accounts through this method is reduced significantly.”

7. Surveillanceware

So-called surveillanceware is designed to capture and transmit sensitive user information such as SMS messages, voicemails or audio recordings of phone conversations. For example, cybersecurity firm Lookout says that in 2019 it discovered “Monokle,” a sophisticated set of custom Android surveillanceware tools developed by Russia-based Special Technology Centre, Ltd., a company the U.S. government sanctioned in connection to interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Monokle compromises a user’s privacy by stealing personal data stored on an infected device and exfiltrates the information, said Bob Stevens, vice president of Americas for Lookout. “Monokle is a great example of the larger trend of nation-states developing sophisticated mobile malware.”

We’re only human…

You and your organization can reduce mobile device risks by staying current on the latest, emerging threats; frequently training employees to recognize and avoid untrustworthy apps and links; enforcing the use of VPNs when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks; requiring the use of a password manager app/service; updating mobile devices regularly; and using Mobile Threat Defense and Mobile Device Management tools.

But as I learned, even people who are usually savvy about cybersecurity can have a vulnerable moment and lower their guard. There’s no way to completely eradicate that risk — it’s called “being human.”

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How to Download TikTok Videos on Desktop and Mobile

TikTok is a treasure trove of bite-sized videos. And you may even have shared some TikTok videos with friends. But what if you’d like to download TikTok videos to watch later?

In this article, we’ll show you how to download TikTok videos on desktop and mobile. Which is a lot easier than you might think.

Why You Should Download TikTok Videos

There are several reasons why you may want to download a TikTok video.

TikTok comes with an endless stream of unique and fresh entertainment. Since the apps don’t have a native offline mode, you can download the clips you like to watch them later when you’re without an internet connection.

In addition, you may just prefer sharing videos instead of links on messaging apps. TikTok isn’t merely about lip-syncing or silly videos either. It houses a wide range of videos such as cooking tutorials. Therefore, you can employ the download functionality to, for instance, save a food recipe you want to try at some point.

As we’ll discuss later in this article, TikTok does allow you to directly download other people’s videos. However, irrespective of TikTok’s policies, you should be mindful of people’s privacy and not misuse these methods for any illicit purposes.

How to Download TikTok Videos on Android and iOS

TikTok offers a built-in download button on its Android and iOS apps. It instantly saves the video you’re watching on your phone’s local storage.

To download a TikTok video, you first need to launch its app. Log in if you haven’t already. The download option will only work as long as you’re signed in.

Next, navigate to the video you’d like to save, and tap it. There will be a handful of quick actions in the video player’s bottom right-hand corner. The feature you’re looking for is under the Share button. Select it, and then tap Save Video.

The app will begin downloading the video and pull up a carousel of social share links for forwarding the file immediately. Since the video is saved to your phone’s gallery, you don’t have to share it right away if you don’t want to. You can simply go back to discard the social icons and access the video from your camera roll.

It’s worth keeping in mind that when you share a video from TikTok, the app automatically sends it as a video instead of a link. Hence, you don’t have to manually hit the Save as Video button for when you just want to forward it on a social or messaging app.

How to Download a TikTok Video as a GIF

You also have the choice to download a TikTok video as a GIF. The Share as GIF option is present on the far right of the same row as Save Video. When you tap it, TikTok lets you trim the clip to your liking as well. Hit Generate to save the resulting GIF on your phone.

Do note that TikTok users have the ability to make their videos private. In that case, the Save Video button won’t be available for viewers. As a workaround, you can record your phone’s screen as it’s playing.

On iOS, users can utilize the native screen recording option. To add it to the control center, go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls, and inside More Controls, tap the green plus button beside Screen Recording. Pull up the control center, touch the screen recording button, and off you go.

Android users, however, will have to rely on one of these third-party screen recorders for Android

The Best Screen Recorder Apps for Android

The Best Screen Recorder Apps for Android

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. To use it, launch the app, play the video, and tap the record button.

You can block users from downloading your TikTok videos by heading to Settings > Privacy and Safety and turning off the Allow Download option.

How to Download TikTok Videos on Desktop

Unlike its mobile apps, TikTok’s download option is not available on its website. So you will have to use a third-party service to download TikTok videos on your computer.

TikTok Videos Downloader

TikTok videos downloader

A website called TikTok Videos Downloader is one of these third-party services. It allows you to save any TikTok video in its original resolution. All you need to do is enter the clip’s link.

To grab a TikTok video’s link, open it in your web browser, and copy the page’s URL from the address bar at the top.

Once you have the link, head over to TikTok Videos Downloader. Paste the URL in the giant text box in the center. Click Download and choose the format. You can either download it as a video or an MP3 audio file. The video will be stored in your computer’s Downloads folder.

Instant Google Chrome Extension

Download TikTok videos with Instant chrome extension

Alternatively, you can install a Google Chrome extension titled Instant and avoid the copy-pasting process. Instant enables you to bookmark and download videos from both Instagram and TikTok.

When you’ve installed Instant, you will see a new flash icon at the top right corner of Google Chrome. Visit the TikTok video you’d like to download. Click the Instant button to bookmark the clip.

Right-click it again and select Options. Instant will launch a new dashboard-like page where you will find all your saved TikTok or Instagram videos. To download them to your computer, hover over a video’s thumbnail and click the orange arrow button.

If you don’t want this to be a two-step process, you can change it in Instant’s settings. In the top-right corner of Instant’s dashboard, click the Preferences button and switch on the “Automatically download saved videos to your computer” option. Now, Instant will download the video locally to your desktop as soon as you save a TikTok clip.

Instant is not yet available for any other browser. However, Mozilla Firefox users can try an add-on called TikTok Downloader.

A Beginner’s Guide to Using TikTok

TikTok is home to some of the internet’s funniest videos today. And using these methods you can easily save your favorite TikTok videos to your phone or computer.

If you’re new to TikTok and want to understand what it is and how it works, here’s our beginner’s guide to using TikTok

What Is TikTok and How Does It Work?

What Is TikTok and How Does It Work?

What is TikTok? Here’s everything you need to know, including what TikTok is, how it works, and how to use it.
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Mobile security perceptions don’t approach reality. And that’s a problem.

In general, security vendors love consumer surveys where consumers say that they would never, ever, ever do business with a retailer or a bank with poor security practices. But consumers have historically been terrible predictors of their own behavior, and they also tend to tell retailers and banks what they want to hear, rather than the truth.

And the truth, based on the public financial filings of plenty of companies that have suffered public data breaches, is that consumers — partially thanks to zero liability programs from the payment card companies — tend to not change retailers or banks when such data breaches happen. Why? Quite a few reasons. First, zero liability sees to it that they don’t lose any money (it actually limits losses to $50, but almost no business enforces that, and they tend to simply eat all of the consumer losses). If consumers lost large amounts of money from breached retailers or banks, yes, they’d flee, but that doesn’t happen.

Then you have the reality that consumers often don’t read about these breaches and, even if they do, they tend to not care. If a store is offering a product or service that they want and the price is good, they are not going to abandon that retailer because of a data breach nine months ago that didn’t end up impacting the consumer. As for the consumer lying to a survey, that’s simply a case of sending the message they want to send. Those consumers want the retailers/banks to protect their money, so they’ll gleefully check off the box that says “I’ll abandon a retailer that doesn’t have great security” because, well, why not? It doesn’t obligate them to do anything.

I bring this up because of a pair of surveys that hit my desk this week. Identity vendor Ekata reported that “91 percent will not use a platform again if they are a victim of fraud.” Not true. Assuming the survey is accurate, it merely means that the overwhelming majority of consumers will say this when filling out a survey, not that they will indeed abandon that platform. That’s vendor wishful thinking.

Tip for any CISO/CSO or IT leaders who are being pitched by a security vendor that makes a claim that consumers will abandon retailers or banks (payment card processors and card brands are a different case): Ask the sales rep to name any publicly held retailer or bank that has been breached and then suffered a statistically significant number of customer departures. Then hit the SEC database, look up that business’s quarterly filings and see if it reported any breach-related losses. You won’t find any. It’s an argument that works in surveys but not in the real world.

Part of this is because of departure friction. The simple truth is that it’s a hassle to change banks — and the more services the consumer uses, the harder it is to leave — and a pain to switch retailers (because the customer most probably likes the merchandise and the pricing and convenience or else wouldn’t be a repeat, longtime customer). I make an exception for Visa and Mastercard because there is little to no friction switching from one to the other. And major processors lose money when breached because it’s other businesses — not consumers — that abandon them.

This brings us to the second item that crossed my desk. It was a survey from Iovation, a fraud detection vendor. That survey found that “close to two-thirds (64 percent) agree that they would switch financial institutions/credit card companies for ones that have more advanced security protocols in place, while 61 percent agree that they would switch to a company that makes security easier for them.”

“Makes security easier” is an interesting point that I’ll get back to that in a moment. But there’s a big problem with consumers saying that “they would switch financial institutions/credit card companies for ones that have more advanced security protocols in place.” Specifically, the overwhelming majority of consumers have no clue what security protocols are in place with financial institutions or payment card companies. When was the last time you saw a consumer pen-testing a financial institution, gaining access to forensic reports for that company or conducting a sworn deposition with that institution’s CISO?

Banks, for very good reasons, keep as many details about their security programs secret for as long as they can. So how can consumers claim to switch businesses based on information that they can’t possibly access?

The bottom line is that they can’t. But — and here’s where Molly Hetz, an Iovation product marketing manager and the main author of the report, makes a useful observation — those consumers can make such a decision based on their perception of security. And that’s where things get tricky.

Consider: One of the best security and authentication approaches today is continuous authentication, where the system considers typing speed, typing pressure (for mobile devices), IP address, time of access, what files are being accessed, duration of session, typing accuracy (number of typos per minute), etc. — and compares all of it against a profile of a session that presumably was of the actual user associated with those credentials. The best part about continuous authentication is that it’s indeed continuous, meaning that it won’t theoretically be fooled by an attacker who does everything properly and within character for 10 minutes and then does the evil things that the attacker always planned to do.

I’m a fan of continuous authentication. It works far better than passwords, PINs, biometrics (at least the popular biometrics such as facial, fingerprint and voice recognition, rather than my favorite, which is eye scan) and multifactor authentication (MFA, which is often susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks, especially with a numeric code sent to a mobile device via a text).

One of the advantages of continuous authentication is that it is transparent to the user, meaning that it generates no friction and doesn’t delay or detract the user at all. But Hetz makes the legitimate argument that when a financial institution uses such a frictionless authentication mechanism, the user doesn’t see it. And when users don’t see a security approach, they might very well assume that there isn’t one. This is a classic security contradiction: Using a more secure approach might cause users to assume it’s a less secure approach because those users associate friction — jumping through a lot of visible hoops, such as “click on all of the images that have a street sign” — as a sign that the financial institution is really trying to protect their money from bad guys.

Financial institutions “need to have some visible security, because if [users] don’t see anything that validates that security,” the users will assume it doesn’t exist, Hetz says.

But there are other points in the report that are not right without context. For example: “Importance is still placed on having low service fees (62 percent) and good customer service (55 percent), but it is clear that privacy and security needs must be addressed first.”

There are reasons why customers switch banks and reasons for them to stick around. The more bank services that are used (online bill paying, for example), the harder it is to switch banks. The customer thinks “Aargh! If I switch, I have to manually re-enter all of the details of all of the companies I pay. It took me months before I finally got that list complete.” Or consider some of the more sophisticated bots being used by financial institutions today. The more accounts a customer has with that financial institution (checking, savings, mortgage, retirement, credit card, debit card, shuttle accounts for ACH or Venmo or Zelle payments, etc.), the more helpful those bots can be. Again, it makes it more daunting for a customer to choose to move accounts.

Let’s look again at that survey answer. High service fees and bad customer service are absolutely reasons that can overwhelm the departure pain concerns, but perceptions of privacy and security will be unlikely to make a change worthwhile. An exception (which isn’t really an exception) would be a customer whose bank account was actually emptied out through fraud, and whose bank took a very long time to replenish the account and was not responsive when asked for status updates. But that’s less a security issue than a customer service one. And, yes, bad customer service will absolutely force customers to leave.

Another example: “Close to two-thirds (64 percent) agree that they would switch financial institutions/credit card companies for ones that have more advanced security protocols in place, while 61 percent agree that they would switch to a company that makes security easier for them.” Yeah, not so much. Based on Hetz’s argument, a consumer can absolutely have a perception — which may or may not valid — of weak security at a current financial institution. But how can consumers have a perception of security at a financial institution that they haven’t used yet? At best, they can see marketing claims from that other institution (I don’t think we even need to address how worthless those security claims are) and they could have heard word-of-mouth comments from other consumers, who may have even less of an accurate perception of the security standing.

That conclusion requires a very generous — and self-serving — interpretation of the survey results.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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Mobile App Website Inspiration: 20 Application Websites And Tips To Design One

App websites are sometimes neglected by app owners. The owners or developers set up everything in place for the app to go ballistic on the market, except doing the basic marketing step: designing an app website that converts your visitors to users.

But is it enough to create a random website for an app?


If you do a rushed job, your website will be just as good as not having one. You’ll end up having visitors come to your site that you’ve been promoting and they’ll close the tab as fast as they’ve clicked on your link.

You can avoid this unfortunate situation if you take the time to create eye-catching and engaging app websites designed to consistently convert visitors into users.

It’s really not all that difficult when you follow these 5 simple steps.


5 Simple Steps to Creating the Best App Websites

Step 1: Choose a Mesmerizing Color Palette

Not everyone will necessarily agree with your idea of what a mesmerizing color palette would be. Maybe you’re not even sure what it should look like.

Not a problem. Stick to these 3 simple rules and your selection should be spot on every time:

  • Your palette should feature colors that immediately attract visitors’ attention.
  • Make sure it’s on brand so as not to detract from the message.
  • It needs to be visually supportive of the message as well.

Notice how the use of pastel color touches in this Headspace example are every bit as effective as bold, brash colors. Much more so in fact. They give the site a friendly, lighthearted look that helps to convey the message.


You can create a similar colorful app website with this Be Theme pre-built website that puts an eye-catching palette of bold colors to good use.


Magpie illustrates the result of creating a color palette that aligns perfectly with its brand – in this case, visually memorable pastels.


Muse’s subtle use of a natural, neutral color palette reinforces the message that their product line makes users more mindful and connected as they go about their daily lives.


On the other hand, the vibrancy of the BeApp2 color palette is designed to perfectly appeal to a large audience of physically active users.


Step 2: Feature Crystal-Clear Product Photos and Images

People don’t want clever hints as to what the app looks like. Anytime visitors have to try to figure things out you’ll likely loose them. They want to be able to clearly understand how easy or how difficult using the app will be; and above all how it differs from the other 400 similar ones on the market.

Bite for example, clearly displays how the app appears on a smartphone while giving the user a sense of how easy it is to work with.


You can create a similar app website with BeWallet. This pre-built website provides an excellent starting point for building a website designed for financial apps. Financial apps are in great demand; especially those that are both helpful and straightforward to work with.


BeSoftware provides an excellent foundation for creating a website that allows a visitor to navigate through the inner workings of the app.


The use of before and after examples is a simple yet highly credible way to demonstrate what an app is capable of. JibJab applies this tactic to near perfection.


Step 3: Give Visitors A Clear Picture Of How The App Works

Showing visitors what an app does is a necessary step, but it’s not enough. You need to show how the app works as well. One of the most effective sales drivers lies in the ability of an app website to allow visitors to imagine themselves as actual users of the app.

Video is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this. PeekCalendar’s hero section includes such a video.


BePolyglot may not have been initially created only for presenting an app, but its product in use hero section is exactly what you need to offer the users a preview of your app.


The best way to present a video is to invite the visitor to watch it (not everyone enjoys watching a video that automatically runs). BePay’s video is opened with a CTA button above the fold.


Tunity’s website uses a slider in the hero section to show several examples of how the product works. In fact, the entire website brilliantly presents the various workings of the app in great detail.


Step 4: Don’t Be Afraid To (Over)Use “White” Space On App Websites

An overly generous use of white space often does more good than harm, while sparse usage can have the opposite effect. Use just enough white space to highlight the main message on the page. Add a little bit more, and you’ll be in great shape. White space makes it easier for visitors to focus on a single message or element, or on several.

Curio utilizes a clean, fresh design that makes it ever-so-easy for the eye to focus on what’s most important.


The BeProduct4 or BeHosting2 pre-built websites can be used to create an app website that has the same, clean and fresh effect. Dark “white space” is used effectively in one example; white and pale blue in the other. The message is clearly presented in both examples.


SpellTower is an extreme example of white space usage. 90% or more of the page is white space, yet it is by no means excessive. The user clearly knows where to go or what to do next.


Step 5: Use CTA Designs That Will Grab Visitors By The Eyeballs

The very worst thing you can do with a CTA button (with the possible exception of causing it to send a visitor to the wrong place) is to make it hard to locate. The simple fact is, you want to make it virtually impossible to miss and make your visitor feel compelled to click on it.

Bright and bold are the operative parameters.

The Splitwise CTA button clearly stands out. A visitor will first be drawn to the headline, next to the sub-headline, and the flow naturally extends to the CTA button which is easy to see.


BeERP uses a bright green color to draw attention to the primary CTA button and a somewhat plainer color (black) to highlight the secondary button.


As the BeKids example illustrates, it can be perfectly OK to use the same color for the CTA button as is used in other visual elements; in this case blue. Rather than being lost in the shuffle, the button stands out.




Follow these 5 surefire steps and you should have little problem creating an app website that’s designed to turn visitors into customers. Your mesmerizing color palette and clean imagery will attract attention. Clearly illustrating what the app does and enabling a potential user to visualize how to work with it keeps visitors engaged. White space helps to make the user experience a pleasant one, and bright bold CTA buttons lead to conversions.

It’s important however to remember that the website presentation should be geared to making the intended audience want to use the app.

If you really intend to create as many app websites as possible (while avoiding Christmas Every Day or Groundhog Day issues) you might want to check out Be Theme’s gallery of more than 450 customizable pre-built websites. They’re functional and visually impressive, and they have intuitive navigation and everything else you need to create one attention-getting app website after another.


[– This is a sponsored post on behalf of Be Theme –]

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How to Set Up a Wireless Home Network With a Mobile Phone

Not every home has a fast internet connection. If you’ve just moved into a new flat, or live in a rural area, you may be missing broadband internet. Until you can arrange for an engineer to visit, you’re stuck without internet.

Unless, of course, you can use your smartphone. Android and iPhone devices feature a built-in tool that lets you share your mobile internet connection. Here’s how to setup a home Wi-Fi network using your mobile.

What About USB and Bluetooth?

Just so we’re clear, using your phone as a Wi-Fi router means utilising the wireless hotspot feature. But this isn’t the only connectivity option.

All three platforms that we’re looking at support connecting your smartphone to a computer over USB or Bluetooth. However, this will limit what you can do. In short, while Bluetooth might support multiple devices, USB will limit you to just one.

The shortcoming with Bluetooth, however, is that it is slow. It’s best avoided except in emergencies.

So, if you’re only using your smartphone with just one device, you might prefer to tether using USB or Bluetooth

Tethering: How to Connect Mobile Internet to Your PC or Laptop

Tethering: How to Connect Mobile Internet to Your PC or Laptop

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Otherwise, for multiple connections, rely on Wi-Fi hotspot functionality for your smartphone home router.

Set Up Wi-Fi at Home Without a Router

Before you start using your smartphone like a wireless router, you’ll need to understand the advantages and disadvantages.

First, this really should be just a temporary measure until you have a fixed solution. Long-term use as a router isn’t healthy for a smartphone, not least because it will need to be permanently charging.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be your main phone you use as a router. Setting a phone up as a wireless router is one of several uses for an old smartphone

10 Creative Ways to Use Your Old Smartphone

10 Creative Ways to Use Your Old Smartphone

Why sell or throw away your old smartphone when there are so many ways for you to reuse it? Some of those reuses might be more creative than you thought. Here are some ideas.
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Before you start configuring your smartphone as a home router, consider the following:

  • Signal strength: if you’re receiving speeds of 3G or less (EDGE, HSPA, etc.) this is only useful for email. You need 4G or 5G for the best results.
  • Platforms: most mobile platforms feature tools to share mobile internet. Below, we’ll look at Android, iOS, and even Windows 10 Mobile.
  • Data limits: Remember, your smartphone contract is most likely capped. You only have perhaps 5GB of data per month. Beyond that, you’ll be charged per GB, at quite a high cost.
  • Device bandwidth: in addition, the number of concurrent connections your phone can handle is limited.

With all these potential pitfalls in mind, let’s look at how to set up your phone as a wireless router.

How to Set Up Wireless Internet With a Mobile Phone

Most mobile platforms provide tools to set your phone up as a mobile hotspot. This lets you create a home Wi-Fi network. However old your device is you can configure a Wi-Fi network with Android, iPhone, and even a Windows 10 Mobile.

Just make sure mobile internet is enabled before proceeding.

Create a Wireless Network on Android

Setting up Android like a wireless router is straightforward.

  • On Android, open Settings > Network & internet > Hotspot & tethering.
  • Next, select Portable hotspot.
  • Tap On then confirm the message regarding interruptions to existing connections.
  • Click Configure hotspot.
  • Set a Network name (SSID)—this can be anything.
  • Choose the Security level—WPA2 PSK is the strongest.
  • Set a new Password.
  • When you’re done, tap Save.

With the hotspot enabled, you’ll be able to use your phone like a home wireless network.

Set Up Wireless Internet on iPhone or iPad

iPhone users can use their phone like a Wi-Fi router by using the hotspot feature.

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap Personal Hotspot.
  • Enable Allow Others to Join.
  • You’ll see a message labeled Bluetooth is Off.
  • Select Turn on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and USB Only, as per your preference.
  • Tap Wi-Fi Password to set a new passkey.

With all options set, your iPhone will be running as a wireless hotspot—essentially, a mobile router for your home!

Use Windows 10 Mobile as a Wireless Router

If you have an old phone you plan to use as a wireless router, it might be a Windows 10 Mobile.

  • Swipe down from the top and long-tap Mobile hotspot.
  • Tap the Share my mobile data switch to On.
  • Ensure Share my mobile data connection is set to Wi-Fi.
  • Tap Edit to set a Network name and new password.
  • When you’re done, tap the Back

Windows 10 Mobile features an option to remotely enable the mobile hotspot feature over Bluetooth. To do this, enable Turn on remotely. If your second device (perhaps a remote control or headset) is connected to your device over Bluetooth, this will work.

Connect Devices to Your Home Mobile Wi-Fi Network

With your smartphone set up as a Wi-Fi router, you’ll be ready to start connecting devices. For the best results, keep this to as few devices as possible. A couple of tablets or laptops is a smart idea; a games console, less so.

To do so, simply connect them as you would to any other wireless router. The broadcast name (SSID) you specified will be displayed. Simply enable Wi-Fi on your device, find the SSID, and enter the password your specified.

It’s that simple!

Is a Smartphone the Best Home Network Setup?

Admittedly, a smartphone is a stopgap. Eventually, you’re going to have to upgrade to an internet connection with a standard router. If anything, it’s better for your phone this way. Leaving your phone plugged in to maintain the charge is not good for the battery.

Then there’s internet caps, which are in danger of being reached if your smartphone is your primary internet connection. So, what is the answer?

Well, if you cannot get cable internet, then a mobile internet package with a dedicated 4G or 5G router might be the answer. Your internet connection will be available over the air, as with mobile internet, but the subscription will be a domestic one.

Otherwise, just use a dedicated mobile hotspot. Our guide to the best portable mobile Wi-Fi hotspots

The 7 Best Portable Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspots

The 7 Best Portable Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspots

If you spend more time away from home than at home, you’d be surprised by how useful a portable Wi-Fi hotspot is. It lets you take the internet with you everywhere you go.
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will get you connected.

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You Can Now Try Microsoft Office for Mobile

Microsoft has released a new, unified Office app for mobile. Office brings together the core Microsoft Office apps of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint into one app. And it’s now available to try for free in public preview on both Android and iOS.

Microsoft Starts Taking Mobile Seriously

Microsoft is synonymous with PCs. This is because Windows is by far the most popular desktop operating system. And Microsoft’s failure to compete with Android and iOS in the mobile sector only solidified that connection.

However, in recent years, Microsoft has made a concerted effort to become more mobile-friendly. The company now happily releases apps for Android and iOS, including mobile versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. And now it’s combining all three.

Microsoft Launches an Office app on Mobile

Microsoft launched the Office mobile app in a post on the Office Apps Blog. The company bills Office as “a new vision for how people get work done on a phone” and “a new app that’s ambitious enough to simply be called Office.”

Office for mobile has been built with mobile users in mind at all times. So it’s optimized for use on mobile devices, with Microsoft “combining the existing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint mobile apps into a single app.”

Anyone who has already used any of these Office apps will recognize them immediately. It’s just that Microsoft has squeezed them into a single app. This means you get to enjoy an integrated experience, while also gaining some mobile-centric features.

Combining its existing apps into one “brings all of your Office documents together in one place, reduces the need to switch between multiple apps, and significantly reduces the amount of space used on your phone compared to multiple installed apps.”

How to Try Microsoft Office on Your Smartphone

To try the Office for mobile app on Android, simply visit this page and follow the instructions. Unfortunately, due to Apple limiting public previews to 10,000 users, iOS users who haven’t already downloaded Office will now have to wait until its full release.

For an app still only in public preview, the new Office app is looking good. And it’s only likely to get better. However, many people would still prefer to use an alternative to Microsoft Office. So here are the best free Microsoft Office alternatives

The 7 Best Free Microsoft Office Alternatives

The 7 Best Free Microsoft Office Alternatives

Microsoft Office is the king of office suites, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. Here are some other office suites you might like better!
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10 Educational Mobile Games Kids Will Enjoy Playing

Most kids would rather have fun than learn anything. However, these educational mobile games educate and entertain at the same time.

For parents who want their children’s smartphone time to be more productive, here are the best educational mobile games kids will enjoy playing.

1. Khan Academy Kids

Khan Academy Kids is one of the best educational mobile games available. Led by a cast of colorful animal characters, children can learn skills like reading, writing, and problem solving by partaking in drawing, storytelling, and lots of other fun activities.

It’s suitable for children aged six and under. Each child has their own profile and learning path. They can also bring up a collection of books and videos to enjoy at any time, at their own pace. As they learn, kids are rewarded with fun things like hats for the animals or bugs for their collection.

And best of all? It’s entirely free, with no ads or in-app purchases.

Download: Khan Academy Kids for Android | iOS (Free)

2. ABC Kids – Tracing and Phonics

ABC Kids is a game entirely focused on helping children recognize and draw letters. Hosted by an upbeat lion, alongside other animal companions who dance and cheer in encouragement, kids can switch between a variety of games in order to have fun while learning the alphabet.

Whether it’s tracing letters, matching lowercase to uppercase, or pairing through phonics, this is perfectly designed for children in the early stages of education. There’s also a handy parent’s mode, where you can track progress and enable specific parts of the app if there’s something you want your child to focus on.

Download: ABC Kids – Tracing and Phonics for Android | iOS (Free)

3. Algorithm City

Aimed at older children, Algorithm City is a fun game that teaches the basics of programming across more than 50 levels. The aim is to guide a little blocky penguin along stages, collecting all of the coins possible. This is done by selecting actions through a simple graphical interface and then watching how it plays out.

There’s a smooth learning curve, with difficulty increasing with every level. Although there’s only ever a limited set of functions at the child’s disposal, they must learn how to create efficient code in order to get the highest score. Algorithm City is a great, subtle introduction to programming.

If your kids enjoy Algorithm City, we also recommend these other coding games for kids to learn programming

The 11 Best Coding Games for Kids to Learn Programming

The 11 Best Coding Games for Kids to Learn Programming

Want to get your children interested in programming? Try the best coding games for kids to push them in the right direction.
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Download: Algorithm City for Android (Free)

4. Astronomy for Kids

Space, the final frontier. There’s nothing quite like the excitement of space and this app lets children explore the solar system and wider universe with high quality animations and audio. They will learn about planets, constellations, comets, and more.

Information can be gathered by visiting places like the observatory and cinema, before eventually blasting their friendly cow companion into space. Occasional quizzes also pop up to test knowledge, blending the fun and learning together perfectly.

Download: Astronomy for Kids for Android | iOS (Free)

5. Math Land

In Math Land, kids take control of a pirate called Ray. He’s out to find the gems that have been stolen by the evil Max. With the gems scattered around various islands, children must solve math problems in order to unlock spy glasses and sail the sea.

The game covers all sorts of math problems—addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and more—and adjusts the complexity depending on the child’s age. There is a one-time fee to unlock the later islands, but it’s worth it thanks to the quality puzzles and bright, charming experience.

Do you want even more math fun? Then check out our suggestions for free math games your kids will love

10 Free Math Games Your Kids Should Be Playing

10 Free Math Games Your Kids Should Be Playing

The mere mention of the word “mathematics” is enough to strike fear into the hearts of adults around the world. Which is why children need to be engaged with maths from a young age.
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Download: Math Land for Android | iOS (Free, premium version available)

6. Logic Land

Logic Land Android screenshot

Logic is just as important as more traditional subjects like math and science. This is where Logic Land can help. All the games within are designed to improve development of logical reasoning, spatial intelligence, and memory.

These games include identifying the odd one out, completing a sequence, calculating how many blocks are in a shape, and more. As children solve them, they earn treasure and allow the characters Jack and Alice to progress to other islands.

Download: Logic Land for Android (Free)

7. Sesame Street Alphabet Kitchen

You can’t go wrong with Cookie Monster and Elmo. Children can join both of them in the kitchen to help bake three and four letter words. They can adorn their cookies with colorful, tasty-looking decorations and then share them with Cookie Monster and Elmo.

Along the way, children will be practicing their literacy skills. While baking, the Sesame Street characters will be teaching children how to speak the words, what they mean, and how vowels are used to make different words. If you want to unlock all words, you’ll need to pay a one-off fee.

Download: Sesame Street Alphabet Kitchen for Android (Free, premium version available) | iOS ($2.99)

8. Play and Learn Science

Play and Learn Science is all about exploring how science surrounds us in everyday life. Kids can test experiments, engineer solutions, and learn about things like temperature and shadows. There are loads of games and activities to keep them busy for a while.

It’s best to use this app as a co-learning solution. Each game has parent notes that prompt you with questions to ask your children to get them thinking and taking the lessons beyond the app. There’s even a Spanish mode, should you want to encourage your youngster to be bilingual.

Download: Play and Learn Science for Android | iOS (Free)

9. Shaun Learning Games for Kids

Shaun the Sheep and his friends are on hand to make learning an incredibly fun experience for kids in this app. Primarily targeted at children aged three to eight, the difficulty can be adjusted depending on the child’s needs.

There’s a huge amount of games to enjoy here, covering topics like math, direction, memory, and creation. Kids can also take a break from it all and let their creativity flow as they draw, paint, and sticker various scenes. Around a third of the games are free, with the rest unlocked through a single purchase.

Download: Shaun Learning Games for Kids for Android | iOS (Free, premium version available)

10. Chess for Kids

Playing chess will help improve your child’s problem-solving skills, pattern recognition, concentration, and more. There’s a reason that the game is so popular with all ages.

This app is designed specifically for children, which means it’s colorful, easy to use, and kids are protected from chatting or adding friends without parental permission. It lets kids play chess with others around the world or tackle the bot at different skill levels. A single payment will unlock puzzles and videos, but the app is perfectly good without them.

Download: Chess for Kids for Android | iOS (Free, premium version available)

More Educational Apps for Kids

Hopefully, your kids will enjoy playing these games, but also learn a thing or two along the way. After all, that’s what these educational mobile games are striving to achieve.

And once your children get bored of these games, they can move onto the best educational apps for children

The 10 Best Educational Apps for Kids on Every School Subject

The 10 Best Educational Apps for Kids on Every School Subject

These educational apps for kids let your children learn important skills in reading, math, programming, and more anytime.
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Utah county moves to expand mobile voting through blockchain

Disabled voters in Utah County will be able to use their smartphones to vote in the November municipal election, an expansion of an earlier pilot test of the blockchain-based technology and anothert step toward allowing all voters to cast ballots with a mobile device.

The county, which has more than a half million residents, is the third in the U.S. to partner with Tusk Philanthropies, a non-profit focused on expanding mobile voting nationally. The latest pilot is a collaboration between the Utah County Elections Division, Tusk Philanthropies, the National Cybersecurity Center and Boston-based voting app developer Voatz.

iPhone iOS voatz blockchain voting Voatz

Voatz iPhone mobile voting application.

“I think it’s a great expansion on the mobile voting project,” Michela Menting, a director with ABI Research, said via email. “I think there is certainly potential to extend such technology to the general public, but it is always contingent on succeeding in smaller focus groups first, and especially those which may often find it more difficult to vote – due to location or disability as in this example.”

Utah County chose to expand the use of mobile voting after the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC) recently completed an audit of an August municipal primary election pilot that used the mobile voting app; the audit found that the results were accurate. Disabled voters will be able to use the app in upcoming municipal elections.

“I made the decision to utilize it for our disabled community after that,” said Amelia Gardner, Utah County Clerk and Auditor. “It was used twice in West Virginia for overseas voters, twice in Denver for overseas voters; so, in addition to my use of it in the municipal primary, that gave us five solid examples of clean audits coming back showing the votes were true.”

Utah County, which has 265,000 active registered voters, used the mobile voting app in a municipal election earlier this year for absentee military service members and their families living overseas. Only 45 voters took advantage of it, but the pilot went smoothly. This time around, Gardner expects there’ll be dozens of disabled registered voters who’ll be able to cast their votes through a smartphone to avoid having to go to a polling station.

“We’re excited about it. It’s made things a lot more simple on our side and increased our confidence in the quality of the overseas votes,” Gardner said. “We have been working closely with the Disability Law Center in the state of Utah to get the word out, but municipal elections are always a smaller election anyway.”

To date, the Voatz mobile voting platform has been used in four public election pilots (and about 40 elections overall): the 2018 West Virginia Primary Elections; the 2018 West Virginia Midterm Elections; the 2019 City/County of Denver Municipal General Elections; and the 2019 City/County of Denver Municipal Runoff Elections.

The NCC also worked with Voatz to develop a web-based tool that displays the voter-verified receipt, the tabulated ballot image and the blockchain-based ledger transaction. The ballot can then be printed out and inserted into a scanner with other paper ballots.

Using the mobile app also simplifies the typically labor-intensive process of dealing with absentee ballots, Gardner said. “Previously, overseas voters cast their ballots with email, but there was no way to verify their ID and no way to know if their email system had been hacked or if they were really the person responding to the email or not,” she said.

“On top of that, we had to have an employee read the email and fill out a paper ballot, and have a second employee verify they read the email correctly. It’s very labor intensive and very manual,” she said. “With this process, once the vote is recorded in the blockchain it generates a paper ballot and we run that through our scanners with all the other ballots and it maintains the secret ballot for that citizen.”

Voatz is among a small community of mobile voting platforms using blockchain as a distributed voting system; other firms include Votem, SecureVote, and Scytl. While only a small number of vendors offer it, mobile voting is gaining the attention of municipal officials for its ease of use and purported privacy and security.

The city of Vineyard, Utah – one of the fastest-growing cities per capita in the U.S. –  has asked Gardner for permission to use the mobile voting app for all residents, something that’s currently not legally possible. The city, which has grown from 5,000 residents to 15,000 in less than four years, has a large millennial population that is tech savvy, Gardner said.

Right now in the state of Utah, marking a ballot electronically is only allowed for citizens who fall under the national Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Voting Act (UOCAVA), which covers overseas absentee voters and disabled voters. If Congress were to enable mobile balloting for all registered voters, Gardner said she’d still require a few more audited pilots before she’d agree to opening the technology up to the general citizenry.

“I’m a fan, and most county clerks you’ll find are also fans, of introducing new technology incrementally. The first was UOCAVA voters in a smaller election and then in a little larger election; the next step I’d like to see would be all absentee ballots, whether you’re in another country or serving an internship in another state or caring for a sick family member in another state,” Gardner said.

The Voatz application uses a permissioned blockchain based on the HyperLedger framework first created by IBM and now supported by the Linux Foundation. In the election, verified validating nodes (servers) are used, split evenly between AWS and Microsoft Azure, each of which are geographically distributed, according to Voatz.

On the Voatz app, authentication is a three-step process that uses the smartphone’s camera and its biometric feature (either fingerprint or facial recognition). First, the voter scans their state driver’s license or passport; then they take a live facial snapshot (a video “selfie”), and finally they touch the fingerprint reader on the smartphone, which ties the device to the specific voter.

Once a voter is authenticated, the app matches the voter’s “selfie” to the facial picture on their passport or driver’s license and confirms eligibility to vote by checking the state’s voter registration database

“The voter photo-IDs and selfies are deleted soon after verification and are not used for any other purpose outside of voter identity verification,” Voatz CEO Nimit Sawhney said in an earlier interview. “Any biometric information never leaves the secure storage on the mobile devices and is not stored on remote servers.”

Not everyone, however, is sold on mobile voting – blockchain-based or otherwise.

Jeremy Epstein, vice chairman of the U.S. Technology Policy Council at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), said in a recent report that new technologies, including blockchain, fail to resolve insoluble security issues inherent with online voting.

“These issues include server penetration attacks, client-device malware, denial-of-service attacks and disruption attacks,” Epstein said in the report. “Infecting voters’ computers with malware or infecting the computers in the elections office that handle and count ballots are both effective methods for large-scale corruption.”

Until there is a fundamental breakthrough to internet security, the best method for protecting election integrity is a tried-and-true one: mailed paper ballots, Epstein concluded.

While not tamper-proof, paper ballots “are not vulnerable to the same wholesale fraud or manipulation associated with internet voting,” Epstein said in the report.

ABI Research’s Menting said many have argued against mobile and blockchain voting because it’s not inherently safe and because there are too many “threat vectors, and unknowns, that could put the voting process in jeopardy.

“That is true to an extent, but so is paper-based voting,” Menting said. “I would argue that mobile and blockchain technology notably can provide a number of additional security features that offer robust-enough security to ensure the voting process is as secure (if not more secure) than existing voting mechanisms, especially regarding insecurity of ballot counting machines and systems. So I do believe that blockchain voting is safe.”

Of course, Menting added, any new technology initiatives, whether blockchain, mobile or otherwise, need to be continuously tested and verified to ensure they continue to meet the levels of security required in a voting setting.

“But to date, it looks like the Voatz system works, and well at that, and hopefully it continues to do so,” she added.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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Play Mobile Games Ad Free and In Peace with Airplane Mode – LifeSavvy

a large passenger aircraft flying off into the sunset
Yuichi Kosio/Flickr

For years my primary mobile gaming time has been on airplanes. It wasn’t until recently I discovered just how many damn ads mobile games have. It turns out the feet-on-the-ground fix gives you more than just ad-free game time.

Call me blissfully naive if you want, but for the longest time I simply thought my favorite mobile games didn’t have the same ads-everywhere problem that plagued most mobile games. It turns out that wasn’t the case.

The case was that when I was at home, I would use a game console or PC to game; when I was away from home traveling for work, I’d play games on my iPhone on the plane. When you’re on the plane, your phone is in airplane mode and, you guessed it, when you’re in airplane mode, there’s no network access to deliver and load the ads—so the app simply doesn’t bother.

Home from a recent trip, I went to show my family a puzzle game I’d really enjoyed and was surprised to see the thoughtfully designed puzzle game had full-screen ads (for the dumbest cartoon-style Sims knockoff I’d ever seen) playing after every single puzzle.

The solution? Pop the phone into airplane mode and enjoy not only an ad-free game experience but a nice break from the pings, dings, and constant notifications that permeate modern life.


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Use Analytics to Convince Clients That Mobile Is a Must

What happens if a new client comes to you with a website they want redesigned, but because analytics show that very few people visit or convert from mobile on the website, they want you to prioritize for desktop? Your data tells you this is wrong, but theirs suggests otherwise.

As a web designer, you may be starting with little to no data of your own. It’s not until a website has launched (or relaunched) that you can start gathering real analytics on its performance. Even then, it can take awhile to draw any meaningful insights from it.

So, in many cases, what web designers are working with before and while they design a new website is industry data: audience insights; competitive research; keyword analysis; Google announcements; marketing surveys and reports.

For someone who builds websites day in and day out, it makes sense to watch industry insights closely. For your clients, though, it might not

For someone who builds websites day in and day out, it makes sense to watch industry insights closely. For your clients, though, it might not.

That’s because they come from a place where they make business decisions based on internal data — data about their audience, their location, their product, etc. They might use industry analytics as benchmarks, but not to drive something as important as their company’s direction.

Let’s take a look at why this issue might arise and how you can overcome it by showing how analytics from a website paired with industry data is the best solution for designing a website.


What if Your Client’s Analytics Conflict with Industry Data?

In 2015, Google announced that mobile searches had surpassed those on desktop. The news had everyone talking and eventually gave rise to trends like mobile-first, micro-moments, and voice UIs.

In the web design space, there was no direction to go in but mobile-first. That didn’t mean that desktop users were completely forgotten; it just meant that mobile needed to take a front seat when designing the user experience.

But let’s say you’re approached by a client who needs a redesign. They keep hammering home that they don’t want you to put too much effort into mobile since their analytics show that less than 9% of their traffic comes from mobile devices. The previous designer didn’t bother with mobile, so you shouldn’t either.

While it would be nice to give a definitive response to this, there are two possible reasons why their mobile traffic is so low:

  1. They’re targeting an audience that isn’t heavy on mobile users to begin with;
  2. The website was designed for desktop and so it doesn’t rank well for searches performed on mobile.

Now, you don’t want to brush your client off. Analytics are clearly important to your client, right? So what you need to do instead is broach the matter with facts.


Presenting Your Client with the Facts

There are a number of ways you can use hard facts to convince your clients that the direction you want to take their website is the right one.

1. Use Proof from Google

Mobile-first indexing officially became the way Google indexes and ranks all new websites in 2019. Even if your client believes that their audience primarily comes from desktop, it’s still important to play by Google’s rules in search if they want traffic from it.

If you really want to drive this point home, you could run their website through Google’s Mobile-friendly Test:

Google Mobile Friendly

Seeing a result like the one the Yale School of Art gets would certainly help you strengthen your argument:

Yale Art Mobile Test

2. Use Proof from Their Own Google Analytics

While your client’s traffic mostly comes from desktop, it might be the previous designer’s choice to favor desktop that could be the reason for the low mobile numbers. If the website isn’t mobile responsive, let alone mobile-first, it’s not going to rank well.

That said, there might be more to the story than just, “We only get 8% of our traffic from mobile, so ignore it.”

Take your client to their Google Analytics and dig deeper into the Mobile tab.

Google Analytics Example

You need to get them to focus on more telling analytics, like the bounce rate and average time on site.

Even if mobile traffic is lower (which you’ve already explained might be because the UI was designed for desktop) those users might be the ones that more favorably respond to the content on the site. And that’s ultimately what’s important here. They need visitors to look through the site and convert, not bounce away from it.

If you can use their own data to make the point that mobile visitors are a more worthwhile bunch to go after, it would make the decision-making process much easier.

3. Use Real Proof from Other Websites

Don’t forget to show them proof outside of Google.

Do you have case studies from clients you can share with them? If not, try to find examples from other designers or agencies to make your point. Make sure the websites are similar to theirs in terms of audience or goals, so they can see the correlation between the changes they made and what you’re proposing.

You can show them how:

  • A redesign from desktop to mobile didn’t just affect traffic, but conversions, too;
  • A move from mobile to PWA improved customer retention on an already well-performing site;
  • An adjustment of their SEO strategy increased visibility with mobile users and demonstrated that they were a worthwhile segment to target.


The Bottom Line

You want to paint this as a decision that’s in their best interest, not as something that’s going to cost them more money or that might compromise the amount of visitors they currently get.

A move to mobile (or any other data-backed change you’re proposing) will only help your client in the long run. Just make sure you show them that it’s the potent combination of on-site analytics and industry data that should drive their (and your) design decisions.


Featured image via DepositPhotos.

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