All Posts By

Adam Claure

Clutch Supports Small Businesses Like Ours

By OrganizationsNo Comments

When we think of the economy and the firms that drive it forward, too often we think of the mega-corporations, the household names, and the gigantic success stories. What we don’t always think about, though we should, is the small businesses.  

In the United States alone, small businesses account for 99% of all economic activity. They’re all around us, contributing every day to innovation, to the national workforce, and to creating the products that enrich our lives. In other words, if we want a healthy economy, we need to focus on small businesses. 

What makes us so passionate about small businesses? Well, we here at Bytelion are one of them. Though we’ve been around for nearly 10 years, we’ve managed to stay small, gaining expertise in the development industry, maintaining a close-knit team, and perfecting our company culture. We know there’s so many advantages to being a small company, and we’re determined to support our fellow small agencies through this difficult time.

One special way we’ve decided to show our support is by starting within and showcasing some of our own team’s incredible accomplishments over the years. Often, we turn to Clutch, a ratings and reviews platform, to reflect on our past projects. 

Here’s one of our most recent success stories: our team helped a mental health program develop a custom software. Mary Beth Beaudry, Admin Director of the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center was pleased with our team’s performance. “By far Bytelion has been the best company with whom we have worked. Professional, approachable, conscientious, exacting,” she said. “They produced a world-class product all while ensuring our needs and expectations were being met.”

ADAP Clutch Review

We’re appreciative of the kind words and thrilled that we’ve been able to achieve success for our partners. Our years of experience as a small company has helped us to perfect our services and solutions, and we couldn’t be more proud of our team.

It’s great to have a platform like Clutch to reflect on our success, as well as our shortcomings, so we can continue to work hard and improve. We also have a profile on their sister site, The Manifest, another awesome tool that includes business leaders and insights across industries. We’d love it if you checked it out!

If you’re in the market for a development partner who can help you accomplish your goals, don’t hesitate to reach out—you’ll support a small business while you’re at it. We’re excited to hear from you!

 

Advanced Search Experience with Algolia

By DevelopmentNo Comments

Providing the customer with an excellent search experience is one of the most overlooked aspects of successful eCommerce websites. According to Forrester Research, 43% of website visitors go directly to the search bar when they open a website for the first time. This means that, for nearly half of your user base, the search functionality of your website will be their first impression, so it had better be good! ECommerce giants like Amazon fully understand this, so they have spent significant resources on ensuring that the search experience of their website is user-friendly and effective. Considering how universal Amazon is today, they have essentially set the bar for advanced search experiences, and as such, your average user will expect high-quality search by default.

Algolia logo

This poses a significant challenge to the average eCommerce website. Very few eCommerce websites have the resources that Amazon has to engineer this kind of experience from the ground up. After all, an online merchant is not a search engine company – they should be able to focus their time and resources on other aspects of the website. Nonetheless, users will be expecting a search experience that rivals that of Amazon’s. So how can the average online merchant deliver advanced search features their users expect without exhausting their resources?

One great option is to utilize a tool like Algolia! Algolia is “a hosted search engine, offering full-text, numerical, and faceted search, capable of delivering real-time results from the first keystroke.”  By using Algolia to implement a search solution, eCommerce sites can rest easy knowing that their search functionality is solid while freeing up resources to focus on other aspects of the platform. Let’s take a look at some of the advanced search features that are made easy by Algolia, and how it can help you drive sales and deliver the search experience that your customers expect. 

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Guided search screenshot

Guided Search

A relatively simple but overlooked feature is what’s known as guided search. The screenshot above depicts the guided search feature on Coursera.com, whose search is powered by Algolia. As you can see, as the user types, they are recommended popular search terms. This helps to make the user’s experience more streamlined, so they can get to the product they’re looking for faster, or be inspired by some of the other popular search terms and decide to buy something else.

Federated search

Federated search screenshotNowadays, it’s not uncommon to find content other than merchandise on an eCommerce site, such as blog posts, corporate news, FAQS, etc. Using federated search technology, search queries can be done on multiple content sources simultaneously. This means that when a user searches for a product, the results could also include, for example, any relevant blogs posts about the same or similar products. This increases visibility to non-merchandise content on your website and could potentially motivate users to spend more time on your website, which is always a good thing.

Personalized search

A great search experience will not be the same for every user. Using personalized search features, search results on the same exact query can vary from user to user, based on a variety of factors. For example, a user that is located somewhere with a hot climate might have more warm-weather clothing in their results. The displayed results can also take a user’s past shopping habits into consideration, prioritizing brands that the user has purchased before. This helps to make the user’s shopping experience more relevant to them, increasing sales and customer satisfaction.

Analytics

Analytics screenshot

On top of all the great search features that Algolia provides for your customers, they provide valuable analytics into what your users are searching for and buying, all displayed in a convenient dashboard. At a glance, this allows you to see trending search terms, which search terms lead to the most conversions, which search terms are returning no results, and more. Even if Algolia did not provide any added search functionality to your website, these search metrics would be extremely valuable. These insights into what people are looking for and buying allows online merchants to rapidly respond to its customers’ shopping habits and take steps to increase sales.

Conclusion

These are just some of the advanced search features that Algolia can add to your eCommerce website, for a fraction of the cost of building them in-house. You can check out the documentation yourself at https://www.algolia.com/doc/ for a deep dive into the additional features they offer. Using the robust features of Algolia, one of our team members here at Bytelion helped improve the search experience on Under Armour’s website, resulting in 35% increased conversions from search. If you are interested in seeing similar improvements on your eCommerce site, please contact us. We can conduct a free eCommerce audit on your tool to give you actionable insights. 

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Automation 101 with Selenium IDE

By TestingNo Comments

Testing is a vital part of the software development lifecycle for any team, from small to large. Testing early and often ensures that bugs are found and fixed promptly, preventing them from snowballing into costly issues down the line. An important part of this process is regression testing or making sure that present functionality isn’t broken by the introduction of new features. Because of the iterative nature of software development, regression test suites tend to grow with every update, and it can quickly become tedious and time-consuming to manually perform all of the test cases. 

This is where automation testing comes to the rescue! By using automation software, such as Selenium, regression testing becomes as simple as pressing a button and letting the computer do all the work. This saves time and frees up resources to focus on other issues. However, making the leap to automation testing can be a daunting task for someone who only has experience with manual QA methods. If you find yourself in that boat, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we will learn how to use the Selenium IDE plugin for Google Chrome to create and execute our first automated test case!

Before we get started, download the Selenium IDE plugin for Chrome here:

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/selenium-ide/mooikfkahbdckldjjndioackbalphokd?hl=en-US

Creating Your First Test Case

Once you have downloaded Selenium IDE for Chrome, before we can create a test case, we will have to create a new project. Start by launching Chrome browser and clicking on the Selenium icon in the top-right corner. Once Selenium IDE has loaded, you should see a window that looks like this:

Click on ‘Record a new test in a new project’. Name the project whatever you like – I will be naming mine ‘Selenium 101’. After choosing a name, you will be prompted to enter a base URL for the project. For this exercise, we will be using the following URL:

https://www.ultimateqa.com/automation/

This page was created as a resource to help people learn automation testing, so it is perfect for our purposes. Enter the URL and click ‘Start Recording’.

A new instance of Chrome browser should be launched with the base URL entered. You should see the following banner somewhere on the page:

For our first test case, let’s automate the completion and submission of a basic form. While Selenium IDE is recording, click on the link labeled ‘Fill out forms’. On this page, you will see two forms side-by-side. Fill out the leftmost form with your name and a message, and click ‘Submit’. You will notice that Selenium IDE is recording what you do and translating it into steps for it to recreate later. It should look something like this:

Click on the red square icon in the top-right corner to stop recording. At this point you will be prompted to name the test case – I chose to call it ‘Submit Form’. 

 

Now that our first test case is made, let’s see it in action! Click on the ‘Run current test’ icon at the top of Selenium IDE (or press ctrl+r). You should see a new Chrome browser instance open and automatically navigate to the base URL, proceed to the ‘Submit Form’ page, enter the values that you chose, and then submit the form. Once it’s completed, you will see a message in the log displayed at the bottom of Selenium IDE indicating that the test was completed successfully (unless it failed for some reason). 

It’s that simple! Now, instead of having to fill out forms manually over and over again, you can automate the process and let the computer do the work for you! 

Now that you’ve gotten your first test case out of the way, I encourage you to explore the website some more and try to create some more automated test cases. The page has several different links that have a variety of web elements for you to play with. As you experiment, take note of how what you do is translated into steps in Selenium IDE. 

Conclusion 

This is just the tip of the automation iceberg. While the record-and-play function of Selenium IDE is great for simple tests like the one covered here, there are far more possibilities with creating your own custom test scripts. While that is outside the scope of this article, you can start familiarizing yourself with the scripts by exporting your test cases from Selenium IDE into test scripts. You can choose from a few different programming languages, including Java and Python. This is a great way to start automating some simple test cases while also preparing yourself for bigger and better things with custom test scripts!