April 26, 2013

This week in digital: Ecommerce boom, QWERTY and Whatsapp

Written By Martin Sandhu

The end for QWERTY?

The QWERTY keyboard has been a part of our daily lives for over a century, even those who remember pre-computer days will have used them on typewriters. But now experts believe that the touchscreen generation would benefit if the alphabet was rearranged.

Researchers from St Andrews University have come up with the KALQ keyboard, which is optimised for use with two thumbs on a touchscreen device. With all the vowels on the right-hand side, the KALQ keyboard should allow users to type up to 37 words per minute, instead of the current estimate of 20 per minute – clearly they need more practise!

Technology issues preventing personalisation
Despite the fact that more than nine out of ten marketers agree that personalisation is critical to success, almost half say they lack the technology to properly implement website personalisation.

In a new report companies cited IT roadblocks, lack of budget and legacy technology as the main hurdles to website personalisation. Interestingly agency-side respondents highlighted a lack of knowledge and means to translate data into action as their top two reasons.

Small businesses rapidly turning to e-commerce
UK small businesses are increasingly developing e-commerce sites, according to a new report.

The Freelancer.co.uk Fast 50, an online jobs survey, found that businesses hiring experts to create a ecommerce sites was up 19% in the first three months of 2013. Those looking for skills specifically in Magento and shopping carts rose too.

The results are a signal of yet more competition for high street retailers as smaller businesses aim to widen their market and become more competitive.

Whatsapp built into new Nokia Phone
The iPhone has had a number of built in social networking features for some time now, the Tweet function has proved particularly popular as an easy way to share content. More recently HTC and Nokia have released handsets with Facebook buttons, but now Nokia has installed the first Whatsapp button.

Whatsapp is a free alternative to SMS texts, a bit like MSN messenger of old. As the Nokia Asha 210 doesn’t actually have a touchscreen – in order to keep the price to £47 – the button is a physical one, giving it an edge over traditional texting options.