Monthly Archives: March 2016

Web Design is The Essence of Your Business

e6Web Design is Fun. It is undeniably a practice of design, a process by which problems are solved. For the millions of web surfers out there, your web design is their first impression of your business and your credibility. The key issue in web design is how to add value to the user’s experience, how to make them feel that they truly got something out of visiting your web site. User-centered web design is all about giving the control back to the user, which brings us to the term Accessible Web Design – the art of creating webpages that are accessible to everyone regardless of any device in use. No doubt web design is important, but usability in the other hand, is king. This importance will lead you to find a professional to design your web site right. The complexity of the resulting web design is somehow determined by the goals and budget and affordability in this aspect, is in fact a reality.

Design ideas don’t have to be hard to find. For you out there that have specific ideas which are ready to be implemented, you just need someone with the technical know-how to turn them into web reality. Get ideas about the latest web design trends and communications concepts by looking analytically at your competitors sites. Evaluating example products is one way to get ideas for detailed design. From these set of ideas, you can then conclude on your final approach on how you want your assigned designer to get the whole thing done.

Flash is already the Web’s standard for dynamic web animation. In creating original cutting-edge design there’s nothing better than using Flash Web Design. It is by far, a very versatile and popular method to add eye-catching action to your web site. Flash is also probably the trendiest technology currently used in web design. However a slow-loading web page or flash movie makes seconds seem much longer, if you happen to “overdo” it. Flash does not only associate itself with animations but also as great complimentary values to other media such as presentations, videos and audios.

When you create your own web page keep the importance of shape in mind. You don’t want certain things to be in the extra large department when other items such as your text is relatively small to keep up with the overall ratio size of the presentation. Another important item to consider in your websites is the level of seduction. Yes, you read that right. If you’ve ever got lost in the maze of some websites, you’ll know the importance of intuitive web design. Seductive websites provide users the reason to stay longer by providing good typography and by not underestimating the importance of navigation. Knowing the importance of this, you cannot afford to take a chance on any trial-and-error method. The importance of writing quality web content is also equally important. Nevertheless, until recently, though, a greater emphasis has been placed on the importance and overall influence of color in the field of web design.

Web design is a complex discipline that involves a wide range of skills. In fact, I’d go as far as to say, web design is information design. In my experience, web design is primarily about the business. Every new web design is the solution to a design problem that can be summed up in a series of constraint questions – Who is my audience? An extraordinary web design is mandatory to a successful business, hence the goal of web design is simply not merely to dazzle, but to deliver information to the widest audience possible. Web design is exciting, it changes day by day. These changes will reflect your company’s complete product and service presentation. Web design has always been made up of some basic premises, and if you understand them you can help deliver pages that will impress and illuminate your readers. A successful Web design is paramount to a successful business.

Is Your Web Designer Ripping You Off

okNobody likes being ripped off – especially if they’re in business.

Yet most businesses are paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to their web designer for shoddy, substandard work. Are you?

Luckily, there’s a quick and easy way to find out.

If the page you see says “failed validation” in red writing, you might need to speak to your web designer – especially if there are more than a handful of errors.

Is your web designer one of the cowboys?

Unless you own a cattle ranch, you probably don’t want to employ cowboys. You certainly wouldn’t put up with substandard work from a builder or electrician, would you? What about an accountant that didn’t understand tax laws, would you want them handing your finances?

Well, most web designers produce websites that are shoddy and substandard – and worst of all they don’t even know it.

How can I tell if my site isn’t up to standard?

Many professions and industries have standards. With some professions, like medicine or law, you need a qualification before you even start doing it. Other industries, like food processing or construction, aren’t so strict about academic qualifications, but they do have standards that have to be met – like health and safety or food hygiene standards.

There’s no academic qualification you need in order to become a web designer. All you need is a computer with internet access and the confidence (or in some cases arrogance) to call yourself a web designer.

However, although many people (and most web designers) don’t know it – there are standards for websites.

What’s more – it’s really easy to test your website to see if it’s up to standard. All you need to do is visit a website (http://validator.w3.org/) and you can test your site.

What are Web Standards?

Websites are programmed using a computer language called HTML. There’s a right way to program HTML and there’s a wrong way. The right way to program HTML is called “Web Standards,” anything else is the wrong way.

The difference between the right and wrong way to program a website is technical – so if you’re a business owner you don’t need to understand the details.

However, you do need to understand that if your web designer hasn’t used Web Standards it means:

  • Your site will do worse in Search Engines – so you’ll get less visitors
  • It will take longer to download – so you’ll lose more of the visitors you do get
  • It could cost you more to maintain the website
  • It’s harder (and more expensive) to make changes to the website
  • Up to 40% of people might not be able to see your website properly because they use different type of computer or web browser than your web designer.
  • Your site is probably not going to be accessible to people with disabilities – which could mean you could fall foul of your local disability discrimination laws

Of course, you might not have all these problems if your web designer hasn’t used Web Standards – but you’ll certainly have some of them.

If my site fails to validate does that mean it doesn’t use Web Standards?

Not necessarily.

The W3C validator (http://validator.w3.org/) is a useful tool for checking if your site uses high-quality HTML. However, it’s not a 100% guarantee.

It’s possible for a site to fail the validation on one or two minor points. If this is the case it’s not a major problem, although you could ask your web designer to correct them.

However, if your site has dozens of hundreds of errors this is bad news.

It’s also possible to for your website to pass the validator and still use out-of-date techniques, however this is much less likely.

Should web designers use Web Standards?

Yes.

To put it bluntly, if you don’t know web standards, you’re really not entitled to call yourself a “professional” web designer.

There are some occasions when it’s acceptable to use non Web Standards techniques for practical reasons, but it has to be an informed decision.

How many web designers program websites the wrong way?

Unfortunately, most web designers program websites the wrong way. The sad thing is that many of them don’t even know about Web Standards.

There are plenty of web designers that do use Web Standards, but they’re in a minority.

Because there are no entry barriers to web design, anybody can set up as a web designer. That means there’s plenty of choice but it also means there are plenty of cowboys producing badly-programmed websites.

What do I do if my website hasn’t been created using Web Standards?

Well, you’ve got a couple of choices.

Firstly, you could contact the web designer that created your site and ask them why they didn’t produce your site with Web Standards.

If your site is more than 1 or 2 years old it isn’t reasonable to expect your site to have been created with Web Standards, as they weren’t a well-known technique then.

You might find that your web designer now uses Web Standards and would be able to redesign your website so that it uses them.

They may be willing to do this for free, as a courtesy, or they may charge you for this.

Can’t I just sue them?

I’m not a lawyer and couldn’t offer legal advice.

However, I suspect that unless you have a written contract with your web designer specifying that the site should be built using Web Standards techniques you would find a legal route difficult.

What are my other options?

If your current web designer is unable or unwilling to change your site so that it uses Web Standards you could find another web designer who is able to redesign your site using Web Standards.

Use Google or Yellow Pages to find web designers in your local area and then contact them to see if they use web standards.

 

Web Design-Impact Beyond Measure

3fLike a ‘mind-boggling’ yet enthralling Pablo Picasso painting, it is essential for websites to create captivating and thought-provoking material to lure an audience and, secure a solid fan base. Naturally, abstract paintings require quite a bit of out-of-the-box thinking when deciphering the artists’ vision, thought and message. This is the kind of allure that a website needs to uphold so that it can become successful over time. By ensuring that users are sufficiently stimulated on a continual basis companies will eventually attain devoted subscribers. This is what every company desires, though the trick is to develop a site that is not clad with complicated design elements (which could affect usability) and bland content that’ll bore browsers to tears, but to establish an effective balance.

Of course, if a website does not contain substance one cannot expect a great response or loyal following, now can you?

According to research, a website that has relevant and informative content can help to position a company as professional in view of the interested and targeted consumer. If a website can clearly and efficiently show a potential customer that the company is knowledgeable and up to date in their field of expertise, the consumer becomes confident and trusting of the services offered. Take into account that a web site is multi-functional entity that serves as a communication tool, thus it plays a central role in improving the impact and image of a brand. Consider your website a personal interaction with both current and potential consumers. Because of this very notion, even the slightest ‘balls-up’ can jeopardize a company’s reputation. Yet, however gripping a website’s content may be design elements have a dramatic, if not crucial impact and contribution to make.

There are a few prominent aspects of a website that is greatly influenced by web design. Keep in mind that web design’s influence on the success of a website runs deep. These are but a few significant and fundamental elements that are magnificently affected by web design.

Usability is key

When a user punches a few keywords on a keyboard, instant and relevant information and a no fuss policy is expected. Instance coffee and fast-foods bears testament to how today’s world has evolved into a fast-paced, ‘I want it now’ society. The Internet is certainly a result of this mindset. Life has become easier, like baking a cake from a box. Most users have a short attention span, when it comes to finding the information that they need and want. Because of this very reason, usability is a vital. As far as making content easy to find, with good web page design, a user should not have to wonder what to do next. Navigation is there for a reason and, makes thing easier and get information to the user ASAP!-which is what you want. The next step should always obvious. The easier it is for customers to find what they are looking for the likelier they’ll buy or enquire.

It’s like being stuck in the queue at customs at the airport, waiting for your turn to be serviced. Frustrating isn’t it?

It’s been noted that too often web sites are focused on looking attractive without considering the user. Many have won prestigious design awards, yet perform extremely poorly and as a result lose customers by the thousands. According to research 50% plus of online sales are lost because visitors aren’t able to navigate through a website and find what they are looking for. Another factor that plays a major role is how long it takes for a website to load. Research states that it makes good sense to ensure that a website loads fast. Studies have shown that if visitor are forced to wait for more than 8-10 seconds for a page to load, clients run a serious risk of losing potential consumers.

As a rule of thumb, every single web page should load in at least 8 seconds or less, preferably on a 56k modem.

Flash has been named as a huge factor when it comes to the usability of a website. However, Flash has become a popular tool in internet marketing and is now widely used across the web. But, there can be drawbacks so it needs to be carefully determined whether or not a site will benefit from its use. One of the benefits of using Flash is the visual appeal of it. It can be used with navigation, by adding interesting visual graphics. Although, one disadvantage about using Flash is that not all internet browsers have a Flash player moreover, not all users may want to download it. Needless to say, Flash technology tends to discourage usability for very apparent reasons. Flash can cause bad design, break the Web’s fundamental interaction style and it also consumes resources that would be better spent enhancing a site’s core value. Approximately 99 % of the time, the presence of Flash on a website hampers the usability and distracts the attention from the site’s core value and purpose.

Perhaps, Web designers interested in enhancing usability and their site’s overall business presence should use Flash sparingly?

By focusing on improving usability, web designers are able to keep users interested, for the long haul.

Our lives are filled with colour. What would the life be like if we lived ‘black and white’ lives? Colour adds interest and can determine whether a website is fresh and alive looking or it can also create a dull and dreary image, which is not what any client wants. In the world of web design, bad colour schemes can make a site look unfriendly, amateurish, and inaccessible. So, it comes as no surprise that over 80% of visual information is related to colour. There are various reactions to colour which are instinctual and cross universal and cultural boundaries. According to a 1997 survey by Cooper Marketing Group, Oak Park, IL, power is represented by the color scarlet red for 25% of respondents, black for 17% and bright violet blue for 13%. More than 55% of those surveyed chose one of these three colors out of 100 colors. Fragility was most represented by pale pink (27%), white (9%), and pale lavender (9%).

Note that colors can be perceived by people as different moods and emotions. When designing a site one should consider the mood that needs to be portrayed. These moods can vary from person to person, depending on their life experiences. Web design which achieves successful marketing results is sensitive to the cultural, instinctual and iconic meanings of colour in relation to the product or service being promoted. More importantly, it also considers the cultural backgrounds and gender of the targeted clientele. Avoiding the extremes of sheer garishness and boredom, effective design displays symphonic colour arrangements of shades, tints, tones and complementarities to tantalise and maintain interest. Adding textures too can alter colours – a roughly textured surface makes a colour seem darker, while a smooth surface lightens the same color.

Although, it also stands a designer in good stead to know what colours signify. Different shades of colours work well in different situations. For example, using very saturated colours all the time is not always good, by using shades that can make certain things stand out more or less than others. For example, it would be good to have elements in the main content stand out more than in the sidebar, because that is where you want to draw attention. When making sites you have to use your common sense when picking colours. For example, if you were making a business site you wouldn’t use bright pink, because this would look childish and unprofessional. Another example, if you were making a laser eye clinic site, you wouldn’t use red as this would imply danger and blood. Scary.

These days computers support millions of colours (16bit or 32bit) meaning the compatible colours between systems have increased. The new palette, based on 16bit systems, is the web smart palette which supports 4096 web smart colours. When changing colours you must ensure the contrast between the colour and the text on it is enough for people with poor eyesight to see, or at least offer a high contrast version. There are sites with grey text on slightly greyer background making it very hard to read, this is bad accessibility wise. Also note some colours can be annoying together, for example some people have difficulty looking at green and red together, green text on red would be a very bad idea. In most instances, finer details are forgotten and falls by the wayside – consider color blind people on the web, ensure they have options to see a version they can actually read.

The Impact of Web Design on Conversion Rate
A simple description of conversion on the web reads as follows; Conversion refers to the form that an interested party fills out in order to buy a product from a company. A Web Site Visitor Conversion occurs when a user takes key action to do so. Conversions can be macro (the most significant action) or micro (one of the many actions that precede the macro conversion). For most sites, conversions are what can be directly or indirectly traced to a financial return. Spending money on search engine marketing or online advertising might be a waste of your resources if a site is a poor converter. Inevitably, conversion determines website profitability.
Once again it is essential to make a web site to easy to use. If not the less chance there’ll be of people buying.

Interestingly enough, making a site accessible is a legal obligation in many countries. Inaccessibility can affect sales, as visitors will find the site impossible to use and go elsewhere. Apparently a typical inaccessible site could be losing 5% of potential sales because of this. Many designers only pay attention to Internet Explorer. The justification for this is usually that 99% of the site’s users use IE. It never seems to occur to the designers that perhaps the reason they have so few visitors with other browsers is that their site is fundamentally broken – it doesn’t work in anything else.

Percentages of people not using IE varies from site to site.
Approximately 80-85% of web users are using IE on Windows, which means that an average site that does not work in anything else could stand to lose 15-20% of sales. Visibility is also an important factor. For instance, when a user decides to buy a product, they add it to a shopping basket. How do they add it? By clicking a button or link. But what happens when they can’t see the button? They go elsewhere. There are plenty of sites out there with buttons that are too subtle, or don’t say the right thing, or are hidden away at the bottom of the page. “Add” is considered an ineffective button text. “Buy” is fairly successful. “Add xxx To Your Basket” is great. “Add xxx to Your Basket” in big letters on a big, bright button, near the top of the page, is even better. Calls to action, like this, don’t have to be bland but they must be obvious and clear.
Sites which are just call to action according to research could earn a 1% to 30% increase in sales as a result.

The impact the web design has on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

It is a known that having a Web site rank well in search engine results for searches on specific keywords/phrases. If a Web site doesn’t have a page appearing in the top 10 search engine result positions (SERPs) the chances of someone clicking on the listing, and actually visiting the site, will drop dramatically. Optimizing a site and content for a search engine, for a better ranking in SERPs, is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), yet many Web developers/designers either don’t take time to code a site properly or don’t know how to do proper SEO. The basics of code optimization are just sound HTML coding practices; when followed, they go a long way toward SEO. There is a lot you can do to optimize your Web site for search engines from the code level.

The first rule of SEO is not to design your site in such a way that the code prevents a spider from being able to index it. This means avoiding pages which are 100% graphics and no text, such as pages that contain all images, or are Flash-only. Furthermore, if the first thing a user encounters is a log-in page, before being able to see the site’s content, then that’s what a spider will see and it won’t go any further, either. If you’re planning to build a Web site entirely in Flash, Don’t. If you have no choice, then read my previous column, Search Engine Optimization and Non-HTML Sites. To find out what a spider sees on your site, run a spider simulator on a given page. The simulator will show you what text the spider sees and what links it finds. There are many good ones on the market at various prices. If you’re looking for something that’s free, I’d suggest Search Engine Spider Simulator.

There’s certainly plenty of room for further impact, depending on the subject matter, in regards to information architecture, copy writing, interface coding as part of web design or the layer of graphic design (usability). Web design encourages confidence and trust in the site as it is able to look legitimate and “professional”, depending on the design elements chosen. Web design can maintain a clear, consistent and unified message and operation. Obvious as it may be, a good site should be memorable. Being memorable, and making sure you stick in the user’s mind, is dependent on a lot of factors. It’s no good if your visitors remember why you are great but don’t remember your name.

Finding a Good Web Designer

dgThe Internet is more popular than ever and any business that is not online is losing out to its competitors. With many businesses and individuals now being aware of the tremendous power of the Internet, it has become very important for them to find a suitable web designer to carry out their project.

Unfortunately, the success of the Internet has also given the opportunity for unqualified and unprofessional web designers to market their services making it very difficult for clients to determine to best web designer for them. If your web site is made by a bad web designer, it can have a detrimental effect on your business and cost you dearly!

What Makes a Bad Web Designer?

Bad web designers are everywhere and they are able to dupe clients into giving them their business because most clients don’t know the difference between a good designer and a bad one. Even directories of ‘approved’ web designers found on the Internet return nothing but incompetent web design ‘wannabies’ whom given half the chance will provide you with a website that will make your competitors very happy indeed. Here are the main things that indicate a bad web designer:

  • Lots of animated gifs on their pages
  • Overuse of Flash and JavaScript
  • Unflattering/ clashing colours
  • Badly written content
  • A table based layout
  • Shoddy graphics
  • No mention of web standards or accessibility
  • A website that does not validate at http://validator.w3.org

What Makes a Good Designer?Now you know the danger signs when you’re looking at the website of a designer you are considering. Here is a list of factors that indicate the designer may be worthy of you time:

  • A well chosen, attractive colour scheme
  • A clean, crisp, easy to navigate layout
  • A CSS based layout
  • Mentioning web standards and accessibility
  • Well written, clear and concise content
  • A web site that validates at http://validator.w3.org

As well as the factors listed here, the designer should maintain good communication with the client at all times. They should treat the project as if it is their own and endeavour to surpass all of the client’s expectations.

Where Can I Find a Good Web Designer?

One of the best ways to find a designer is to look on the major Internet search engines such as Google or MSN. However, be careful because the results supplied by these search engines will list hundreds of thousands of results and finding a really good designer amongst them could be difficult. Click through some of the results that sound suitable and subject them to the criteria already mentioned above.

There are numerous directories on the Internet that contain links to web design companies. Some of these directories claim to only link to ‘approved’ web designers, but don’t be fooled into hiring a web designer from one of these directories. In reality almost any site can be included into these directories and inclusion does not mean the designers are reputable or reliable. There are probably many good designers in these directories but finding them amongst the list of bad ones could take some time! Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but be aware that inclusion into to most directories means little.

One thing to take into account when hiring a web designer is location. Due to the nature of the Internet you could hire a web designer anywhere in the world but keep in mind that if there are any problems you may wish to meet face to face. However, if you find a designer you are sure is suitable for you and they are located in another country don’t be afraid to give them a try.

A final word of warning about choosing a web designer; beware of hiring a web designer just because a friend or acquaintance has recommended them. By all means check their website and see what you think but just because your friend is happy does not mean they have a good website. Your friend could be blissfully unaware of the damage being caused by their badly designed website.

10 Steps to Hiring the Best Web Designer Or Web Design Company For Your Business Website

dewYou have been planning forever to get a website designer to work on your site. Your plans are clear and you have prepared your content. What next? How do you go about choosing the best web designer or web design company?

Step 1. Ask around. Ask friends, or similar companies who have hired a web designer in the past. Besides getting the contact numbers of the web designers, ask how it is to work with that person. Find out what happened during the design process and what they think of the designs submitted.

Step 2. Do your research for contact information. Use the internet or your phonebook to get the names and contact information of web design companies in your area. If you use the internet, have a peek of their past work. Then contact each and ask for a quotation.

Step 3. Look through the portfolio of the web design company you are choosing from. See if the designs are professional-looking, clean and easy to use.

Step 4. Look at the experience of the web designer or Web Design Company. How long has the person or company been in business? How many companies have they designed for?

Step 5. See if the designer or web design company is up to date with the newest trends in web marketing. Useful, profitable websites attract the correct traffic with search engine optimization and usability and by employing web 2.0 strategies such as social media marketing. Effective web sites take SEO and usability into serious consideration. See if your web designer has at least a basic knowledge of both. In order for your website to be successful you need to be able to implement a successful internet marketing campaign.

Step 6. Look at the web designer or web design company proposed turnaround time. Does it match the schedule of your company’s plans?

Step 7. Examine the web designer or web design company terms of service and website files ownership. See if you agree with the conditions set by the designer to work with you. See also the rights as to who owns the final output and what sizes. If this is not clear from the start, you just may be surprised to find that the work you commissioned is not yours and you may have to pay extra to get it.

Step 8. See what the web designer offers for after-design services. Will the designer help maintain your site or is the designer only expected to do the initial design?

Step 9. Talk to the designer. Is s/he easy to communicate with? You should be able to communicate with your web designer easily. You should be comfortable presenting problems that you want solved. Your web designer should be respectful and prompt. You should both be able to compromise on what will work best for the viewers, not necessarily your personal taste.

Step 10. Look for previous, happy clients. You may look through the designer’s website or blog and see if there are client testimonials. Note what they have to say about the designer. You may also try to call them (you may ask the contact number from the web designer) and ask for comments regarding the design process and final output.

 

Graphical Updates Of Web Designs

grWeb design is creation of designs in the web pages of the web site. Web design constitutes more innovated and technical aspects with huge information. Web designs are the process of modeling, designing, structuring and executing the aspects which are suitable for the web site. Web designs may comes up with collections of more designs as per the ideas and plans to make the web site with more new web designs. Web designs include contents, files, tags, update pages, graphics and so on. Generally web designs comprises of innovated and graphical techniques as well as they are created to become easy approachable to the web searchers and it is done using wide understandable techniques.

Generally, web site comprises of web designs and web designs forms major part of the web site. Today, in this competitive world web design fetches more demand and it comes through all over the world. Nowadays, most of the people started knowing the need of the web design and started utilizing it. Hardly web designs become more important and essential for every web masters who handles web sites. Web designs provides well designed and graphical web site to the web searchers and also for the web masters. Web designs are done by the web designers and if they design the web completely, then it can be said that the web site fetches more offers from the customers as well as more response among the web searchers.

Nowadays, most of the web designers are capable of offering efficient technical and graphical web designs to the web sites. To make the web design effective and efficient, then the web master should provide and use some techniques and tips for it. Generally an efficient web design comes up with good presentation of graphics and designs. To make it efficient, professional web site designer’s help can be taken and they are the one who can provides efficient web designs to the users. Generally, web designs constitute text, graphics, designs and images. Web masters designs web sites to increase the traffic, rankings and links in the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Msn.

Web designs can be made using efficient web designers and he may use more application such as CSS, HTML and many other kinds of languages. Every web designs made by the web designer should be compact and the web design created should be structured has it is easy approachable and easily understandable to the web searchers. When proper web designing is done for the web site, then the particular web site fetches more demand among the web searchers as well as the web designers come up with more popularity among the people.