Essential gadgets for your car

For as long as there have been cars to drive, there have been gadgets with which to accessorize them. Fifty years ago it was all about fitting the best stereo system, additional driving and fog lamps and two-tone horns. These days, of course, modern automobiles feature surround sound entertainment systems, climate control and Bluetooth connectivity as standard.

Yet like everything else in the 21st century world, car technology has got smarter and more complex as the years have gone by, and the business of in-car gadgets is as buoyant an industry as ever. Here we look at some of the accessories you might want to consider to make your life on the road comfortable, enjoyable and safe.

Gadgets for gadgets

This is the age of the gadget. We all have smartphones, many of us have tablets and they all need charging; this is an area where car manufacturers have been slow to catch up. After all, while the average family car is designed to seat five people, most still have one single charging socket available through that most 20th century of devices, the cigarette lighter.

On a long journey, you are likely to be using this socket for your GPS device anyway. True, some modern cars have a second charging outlet in the back, and a few even have a USB socket, but these are still in the minority. And even then, with a family of five, the battle will be on to get there first and plug in.

This is where a multi port USB charger can come in very handy. These plug directly into your cigarette lighter and can simultaneously charge up to four devices. Perfect to prevent those family disputes in the back on a long journey.

Look after your tires

If we take another look back 50 years in the rear view mirror, we can see that cars were nowhere near as reliable as they are today. Back then, it was important to carry a tool kit, some spares and a bit of mechanical knowledge. Today, in the rare event of a breakdown, you just need to place a call on your cellphone, so that a mechanic can plug your car in to his laptop and diagnose the problem.

That’s all fine, with one exception – the part of the car that forms the link between you and the earth beneath you. Sure, there have been some technological developments in tire technology over the years, but in essence they are the same rubber, inflated components they have always been, and are just as vulnerable to punctures.

There are a couple of gadgets on the market to help you look after your tires. Monitoring systems are now available that keep track of your tire pressures and temperatures in real time and send an alert to your phone if anything untoward is detected.  

Of course, knowing there is a problem is one thing, but you also need to be able to do something about it. That is where a portable automatic tire inflator can come in very handy to minimize the time spent parked on at the side of the highway and get you moving again quickly and safely.

Keeping the car tidy

Whether you are a lone commuter or a family chauffeur, there is something about cars that gives them the propensity to turn into garbage cans on wheels. From drinks cans on the go to spilled shopping bags in the trunk, there is always something rolling around and creating mess and distraction.

There are all sorts of gadgets available to help here that are as relevant today as they have always been. An in-car garbage can helps keep all the waste in one place, and means no more juice cartons squashed and leaking under the seats for weeks. And how about a handy net for the trunk? These are wonderful for keeping shopping bags upright and preventing that heart-sinking sound of tins and vegetables rolling around the car as you pull out of the parking lot.

Enjoy your ride

Whether we are commuting to work, driving the kids around or taking long road trips, the truth is we all spend more time in our cars than ever. These gadgets can make every trip more enjoyable, less stressful and, most important of all, safer for you and your family. So why not treat yourself, and make your car a better place to be?

The importance of user experience in online gaming



If you’ve spent any time at all as part of the online gaming industry, either as a player or developer, you’ll be familiar with the term ‘user experience’ and its abbreviation ‘UX’. If you’re new to the scene, the phrase probably seems self-explanatory – and rightfully so. Indeed, game design and user experience often go hand in hand, creating a mutually beneficial relationship for those either side of the screen.

So, user experience is?

Okay, so the concept of user experience refers to the act of fulfilling expectations, and of creating a product to be enjoyed with very little fuss or effort. It’s the overall experience a person gains from playing a particular game, or accessing certain content. From registry and initial navigation, to the motions a person must go through to play a game, user experience is everything; user experience can determine the success of failure of online titles, in fact. You see, unless they’re entertaining, cater to the needs of players, and offer a reward of some kind, online games are destined to founder without a trace. Besides, a positive user experience has benefits for both developers and players, bringing in revenue and providing an engaging form of entertainment.

How can games garner a positive user experience?

User experience is a vital consideration across the online gaming industry, where there’s very little brand loyalty; gamers are constantly looking for the biggest bonuses, and best value for money, which makes them prone to straying from one particular operator. We’ve established that user experience is important, for both gamers and developers. So, how can it be achieved?

Consider usability

Although user experience refers to so much more than a game’s usability it’s vital that developers consider how a game will be accessed, and navigated, before filling in the other blanks. Usability refers to a game’s ergonomics, screen size, and controls, as well as its overall design. How will players find their way around? How many different screens will the game rely upon, and how long will sessions last for? What commands is the game likely to rely on? Above all, how usable is the game? Online titles must enable their players to achieve their end goal with few obstructions; if it’s likely to frustrate or confuse, a game will rarely succeed.

Rely on reviews

The online casino is just one example of a gaming genre that highlights the importance of user experience; while some bigger casinos can rely on their branding alone, others must focus on user experience in order to stand out in this saturated market. Like other gaming operators, online casinos must be prepared to listen to reviews, analyze their own performance, and pair gameplay with expectation in order to engage players. Luckily there are some comprehensive sites dedicated to reviewing online casinos with jackpots of every kind, ensuring operators are able to keep in touch with trends – and players are able to find the sites that provide the best user experience.

Tailored content for a targeted audience

If a game’s user experience is falling short of expectations the most important thing for developers to do is assess their target audience; is the game specific enough for the demographic? Does it feature content, challenges, and goals that a particular audience can relate to? While it would be nice to create a game that appeals to all kinds of different users, nothing is going to please everyone. It’s better, therefore, to focus on one kind of player and engage them as best you can. The best thing about gamers is that they come in all shapes and sizes – different ages, too. User experience is a completely personal concept, and it’s far easier to provide a positive one if you know to whom you’re attempting to appeal.

Of course, there are multiple ways for game developers and online operators to improve user experience, including beta testing, rewards, time consideration, and gaming resources; we’ve merely scratched the surface. Hopefully this brief blog post has provided a little inspiration though, and inspired any avid gamers to think a little more carefully about the work that may have gone into creating that engaging user experience. When it comes to online gaming, nothing is ever left to chance.

The rise of mobile gaming


While there is a lot of statistical evidence to outline the importance of mobile technology, you only need to look around you to know that smartphones and tablets are part of everyday life. It often looks as though smartphones are permanently attached to people’s hands. Working, shopping, studying, socializing, and gaming are all possible online, and advances in mobile technology mean that there is great convenience in carrying out everyday tasks on a mobile-enabled device.

One area of mobile technology that is hugely important is mobile gaming. Gaming has long been a good way for people to unwind, relax, and have fun in their spare time, and mobile gaming is available no matter where a person is located. The daily commute, waiting for appointments, and even going to the toilet have been enhanced by the ability to play games.

It is the portable nature of mobile gaming that has made it so important. Games console systems are still hugely popular, and while the new Nintendo Switch console will blur the line between traditional console systems and mobile gaming, mobile gaming on smartphone devices will continue to be important.

One of the reasons that mobile gaming has risen in recent years is the breadth and quality of games on offer. No matter what interest a person has, there is likely to be a game based on that interest. There is also a great range of genres covered, so whatever style of game a person enjoys, it is available to buy. There are also many free games to choose from, so people who don’t want to pay money to enjoy gaming on the go can do so.

Casino games and gambling

For many people, mobile gaming provides an opportunity to enjoy casino or gambling-style gaming. This is a hugely popular and lucrative area of online gaming, and the level of competition pushes companies to evolve their offerings and provide a better standard of mobile gaming. There is also competition to encourage players to sign up, with bonus offers such as being an example of how companies appeal to mobile gamers.

Fun games

Games such as Angry Birds have become synonymous with mobile gaming, and this franchise has enjoyed more than 2 billion downloads across its series. The game has also become a brand in its own right, with merchandise and films bearing the characters’ likenesses and names. The way that games such as Angry Birds have moved out of the mobile gaming market into the general consumer market is testimony to the connection that people have with mobile gaming.

Conquest and strategy games

You may think that mobile gaming is best-suited to simple games that allow players to play in short bursts, but there have been many mobile games based on long-term strategy and developments. Anyone looking for a more in-depth gaming option will find that there are many games to choose from, with military strategy and tactical games being hugely popular among developers and consumers alike.

Mobile gaming has been one of the biggest success stories in recent years, and there is no indication that the market will fall away anytime soon.

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