The Semantic Web – Where Language Meets Mathematics

The constantly evolving nature of the Internet means many businesses are left clinging on to the coat tails of major advances. Web 2.0 – not a new version of the Internet but new ways of using it, including social networking sites and the use of videos and blogs – has now been embraced by many.

But now IT professionals are starting to talk about Web 3.0 which is exploring a new range of possibilities yet to be developed.

Web 3.0 actually describes a paradigm shift in how information is structured and searched for on the World Wide Web.

Web 3.0 concerns the use of the Semantic Web – it’s about enabling search engines to scan for meaning and interpretation when presented with a search query, rather than just corresponding the number and density of matching search terms.

The Semantic Web is the brainchild of Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web and head of the World Wide Web consortium, the only independent organisation dedicated to consolidating standards of quality in content and structure to the web.

The repercussions of this shift towards a more intelligent and intuitive web will have a huge effect on all web-based data, be it commercial, academic or cultural.

Websites will either have to adapt to the Semantic Web, or be left outside the search loop.

According to Lyang Yu, author of The Semantic Web and Semantic Web Services, most of us use the web for three basic functions – search, integration and data mining, in that order.

The current search paradigm is epitomised by Google – answering particular queries by matching documents from its database that correspond to the precise language the searcher has entered.

Search Spiders are like stupid robots that only do precisely what you tell them. As a result, most search engine optimisation (SEO), tactics are largely restricted to optimising the use of commercially strategic language on websites that will more likely be coughed up by Google or Yahoo in response to a search query.

Google’s AdWords operates on the principle of auctioning off the most popular searched for vocabulary to the highest bidder.

This year, the growth in search engine optimisation activities by brand leaders is unprecedented and rapidly increasing. Any blue chip worth its salt has an in-house search engine optimiser at the centre of its web development team.

Big brand companies like Tesco and Renault are spending their Internet budgets on increasingly competitive SEO tactics, both on page and off page.

One of the biggest growths in IT recruitment in both the US and the UK is for SEO managers and experts. Some companies currently spend as much optimising their web presence as they do designing their sites.

Usability and optimisation have become the defining criteria for distinguishing an effective website from a rarely visited online brochure.

While keyword search is still the most popular search method, it is seldom accurate. Users sometimes get up to 10,000 hits on a result page and then have to wade through a list of loosely-related keyword results to find the relevant documents they were searching for.

Up until the Semantic Web, search criteria have been based on the choice of the correct key words to tag and identify your web presence to the spiders indexing the Internet.

The premise is that the closer the language of your website corresponds to the language choice of the searcher, the more relevant your website, and the more likely Google will rank you higher in the search results.

But this is all coming to an end. The Semantic Web is where language finally meets mathematics.

In comparison to standard search, semantic search looks at the logic of the sentence – how words in a sentence relate to one another, as well as understanding the context of the keywords.

Instead of clumsy, corresponding criteria, the words grouped around a keyword or phrase will now play as important a factor in the relevancy of the term as the keyword itself. The focus is now on context, how words and assets are grouped together.

For example, when a term is ambiguous, such as with the word bark, semantic analysis is needed on the other words that wrap around it to give it its true meaning and context.

So a semantic web search for Obama plus McCain would correctly interpret that the searcher was seeking results relevant to the recent election campaign, as opposed to results that contained those names.

There are search engines on the net that are already beginning to harness the principles of semantic web development.

Cuil.com is a semantically inspired search engine that pulls relevant results from deep within website pages as opposed to just listing the index page of a particular website.

Other good examples include juiceapp.com, cuil.com, illuimin8.com and headup.com.

Ultimately web content publishers are going to have to adapt to the notion that all published content is equally accessible to semantic-based search engines. The past SEO criteria for priority placement of text and other assets on a website is declining.

Yahoo’s recently launched SearchMonkey applications are semantically based search tools. Yelp, Yahoo!Local, and LinkedIn Enhanced now appear automatically in Yahoo search results.

These three applications are among the first to share structured data. ZiMesh is a semantic information management and recommendation engine that manages personal information. ZiMesh is powered by a semantic platform, which automatically tries to understand users’ interests over time, and connects them to topics, users and contents it thinks will be of interest.

So what does this shift represent to the average business trying to maintain a competitive web presence?

In one way it means that the playing field is levelling. There is less need to spend a fortune on SEO tactics that are never guaranteed to deliver measurable results.

Writing concise, relevant and informative content for a website will always pay dividends over SEO tactics. Google wants to refer its queries to useful resources. The more useful a resource you make your website, the more likely Google will rank you highly. So, do nothing but be good.

The more the individual data components -text, images, video, sound – of your website are ascribed searchable terms, the larger and deeper your web presence and the more likely you will be found by a semantic search.

The end result will be a more responsive, more intelligent and ultimately more useful world wide web.

Front End Developers Are Now Using Animation To Improve User Experience

Animation has been around for a long time. You can, in fact, trace the history of animation to the twentieth century. However, this concept is continuously evolving and it has now derived a new meaning. Flashy and confusing animation is a thing of the past. Front end developers are now using clean, swift, easily navigable forms of animation to improve user experience. These expert front end web developers, however, appreciate that such animation can do the job for them only if it is used discreetly. There is absolutely no dearth of options. HTML5 and CSS3 are incorporating new moves to their system, but these developers need to make sure that they are not getting flown away by the charm of these styles. You only use what you need.

Here are some ways in which animation is being used by front end web developers and user interface developers to improve user experience:

Animated Pages: Having subtle animation on the page headers and between page loads can help keep the users engaged. You manage to add movement to the website, and it ensures that pages transition smoothly, they are quick to load, and the gap between pages is closed with the help of a single fluid animation.

Charts that Rock: Charts are a good way of presenting information. However, something that is highly data intensive can get mundane. Hence, developers are now using animated charts that are extremely simple to integrate into the website and good to look at. Additionally, by appending movement to these graphs you turn them into an entertaining infographic.

Controlled Modular Scrolling: As the term suggests, this form of animation lends more control to the visitors of your website. In other words, your visitors now have control over the site’s animation. There are individual panels that can be created by a user interface developer on the website. These panels can then be individually accessed by the users. The good part of this animation is that it works smoothly across most industries.

Infinite Scrolling: You remember those old days when every single section of the website or a web app had their own set of menus as well as sub-menus. That will make it hard for you to navigate through the website. The new trend is to have all the information on one page. A front end website developer would much rather prefer to have an infinite scrolling website than have multiple menus. This is because such websites have proven to be more user friendly. So, the users can scroll down until they find what they are looking for. You have the option of having multiple types of animation as the user scrolls into a new page. However, you also need to make sure that all these components and animation are clean as well as cohesive.

Form Animation: Do you like filling out forms? Nobody likes doing that. That is where animated forms are becoming a trend these days. Developers are using natural language to make forms look like a casual conversation. This combined with motion makes form-filling a fun thing for the visitors.

Slow-Motion Animation: Slow-motion is a great way of catching the attention of your users. When page elements move just slightly, they draw the attention of your visitors. It is almost like whispering in the ears of your visitors. Such whispering draws their attention instantly. They subconsciously tend to pay more attention to what is being said. Having such animation on the home page of the website is a good idea of keeping it clean and catchy.

Animating Anchor Text: Do you remember hovering. When your mouse hovers over a link, it animates. Animating the anchor text has the same phenomenon. The only difference is that it is a little more advanced. It makes hovering more visually stimulating and a good tool of engaging your visitors.

In summary, there are numerous things that modern-day animations allow you to do. If you are a front end developer designer or a specialized user interface developer, you can make subtle use of these animations to improve your visitor’s experience.

How To Choose The Best Web Design Company To Build Your Website

Are you looking to create an everlasting presence on the Web? Then you have to choose wisely. A good website is the foundation stone for your fortunes on the internet. The internet is a great place to display your business, reach out to millions of people all over the world to promote and sell your products and services. Leveraging the power of the internet, you can take your business to an entirely different level in terms of visibility and generation of revenue. All you need is a top-notch website, and that is why you need to enlist the services of the best web design & development company you can find to build your website.

Choosing the Right Web Design Company

Your ideal web design partner – A company is that offers a blend of quality and cost effectiveness. In your quest to choose the best webdesign service providers to build your website, a few important things need to be keep in mind. Your website needs to be specifically attuned to your exact requirements, while being visually appealing and easy to use and navigate. It also needs to be scalable for potential upgrades or additions in future, and has to be cost-effective. Keeping these factors in mind, here are a few things you should look at while choosing a web design company –

  1. Quality of Work – The first thing to look at while considering hiring a web design company is to look at the kind of work they have done in the past. Carefully studying the company portfolio will give you vital information about the quality of work the company is capable of doing. You can also take a look at the range of niches and industry domains they have built websites for, the usability and design quality of these websites, and gather an idea about the skills and experience the design company possesses.
  2. Work Ethic and Customer Service – How does a web development service providers treat their customers? This is a vital point that must be considered when you are looking at web design companies for your website. You need a company which values clients and their needs, has open channel of communication, and are willing to go that extra mile to provide satisfactory results according to the exact specifications of the client.
  3. Cost Effectiveness – While you might want the best possible web design service providers to build your website, keep in mind that the results must justify the expense. Therefore, companies which charge exorbitantly high fees must also have the capability to deliver flawless work. Compare the pricing structure of different companies and choose the one, which has the best price-to-performance ratio to get your website done in a cost-effective manner.