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8 Steps on How Do I Choose a Web Design Company

Derek Robinson

By Derek Robinson

Author: Derek Robinson

8 steps on how do I choose a web design company

8 Steps on How Do I Choose a Web Design Company

By Derek Robinson

When online marketing became the growing trend finding a website design company was easy. It was estimated in 2000 that almost 10,000 people in the US offered web developing services. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, more than 148,000 people indicated website developer as their employment. With this type of saturation, the question is often asked; how do I choose a web design company?

Choosing a website developer is not too different than hiring any other professional contractor. When the steps are followed, picking the right company is a snap.

Noted below are eight of the most important steps that any company should follow to find a web designer.

  1. Document your goals before searching for a web design company

One size does not always fit every application. Whether you own an upscale restaurant in Queens or a boutique in San Diego, every business has different needs. Start your search by creating a general list of important business facts.

  • Identify your customer. Write down attributes of the typical consumer including ages, income, and demographics. By knowing the customer the web designer can target them.
  • Identify your brand. What makes the company unique or stand out among competitors? Is it family owned and operated? Started by a former US Military Veteran or female owned business? Establish what makes the business unique so the site developer can find them online.
  • Are you selling products or services online or do you wish to at some point? E-commerce or online market place website development is a quickly growing industry. Determine this before you start your search.

Any professional web design company in New York will ask these questions. It’s best to be prepared ahead of time.

2. – What are the core services of the web design company?

The next step in how to find a good website designer is to match their core services to what you require. In most cases, professional web development companies will offer a suite of services that allow you to customize and create an online platform that is perfect for you. Regardless of what type of business you own, there are a few important core services any professional website design company must have including:

  • Custom website design – the ability to design a look and feel of your website that will target and capture your intended audience.
  • Custom website development – take a graphic design and code it utilizing the latest technology and tools to optimize the site to be fast loading, and  easy to navigate.
  • Responsive Design – a website that looks the same regardless of the type of device or internet browser the end user is utilizing.
  • Professional Content Development – not everybody is a professional writer. Hiring a website design company that has them on staff and can customize content to target your audience is vital for success.
  • Search Engine Optimization – the ability to create a website and content that will be discovered by online search engines like Google.

Although there are multiple core services that are unique to different types of business, make sure any website company offers the ones above first before proceeding.

3. – How do they price their services?

Some companies offer package deals. While this might seem attractive at first, the reality is that the best and most effective websites are customized to fit the needs of the customer. This is why you should avoid ‘cookie cutter website packages’ and always work with a web designer that will tailor make an offering that is affordable, but perfect for your individual budget and needs.

4. – Ask About their process

Any successful project begins and ends with communication and creating an effective plan of attack. In web development and design, having a proven process is critical. This process reduces mistakes, and achieves outstanding results from the get-go. A good web specialist will articulate their process in a transparent way to ensure you are fully comfortable with them. As long as they are efficient, detail-oriented and provide expert tips on how to complete this project – you will be working with a professional web designer.

5. – How do they measure results?

Like any other contractor or professional organization, defining success prior to beginning any relationship is paramount. One of the biggest issues that even the best web designers have are understanding customer expectations. This is why communication that is up front, honest and transparent from the beginning is critical when picking the right web developer. Be sure to ask them about how they measure results in website design, including specifically:

  • What tools do they use for monitoring website traffic?
  • What is their hosting plan or terms for hosting a website?
  • Do they design their websites using templates or customize sites for maximum optimization?

The key here is to be blunt and not afraid to ask them about how they gauge whether or not a website is successful. Set standards from the beginning and the relationship and process will be much smoother.

6. – What are their credentials?

When you interview a new employee for your company, you’d want them to be qualified for the job – right? Same thing applies for website design. Always make sure to ask the potential web designer about their qualifications and credentials. What makes them experts in this field? Although education is important, in website design and development, having a successful and detailed portfolio is what often what separates contenders from pretenders.

7. – Ask About Timelines and Milestones

By this point in the process you should have a good feeling the company you’re speaking with is qualified. The next important step is clearly outlining timelines and milestones for completion. Any good website developer will provide you with goals and milestones. This includes design, development, content creation, optimization, beta testing and activation.

8. – Pick a Company that Continues to Develop the Site after the Launch

A website is just like any other business – it requires constant growth in order to be successful. This is why the last item on these 8 Steps on how do I choose a web design company is verifying that they will work with you to continually develop content for your site. Whether it’s creating blogs and posting fresh content on your website, or working to post news sections and optimizing them for search engines to find, the most professional web designers don’t stop their services once the site is launched.

Conclusion

When you look at hiring a website developer to create or re-brand your online presence, the most important step is to remain positive and feel 100 percent confident in their ability to guide you through this process. A professional company will be fun to work with, but also treat you with dignity and respect. Above all else, don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure the answers you receive make sense.

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Web Developer vs. Web Designer, How Do You Differentiate

Web Developer vs. Web Designer, How Do You Differentiate

By Derek Robinson

Everywhere you look, you will not miss someone calling themselves a web developer or a website designer. So, what do these terms mean? Can a person be both and what are the differences. Because of the confusion that people have, you will find a person looking for a web designer while what they actually need is a web developer. This has always been a topic of debate because people do not really understand what these two professionals do in the process of building a website. For this reason, we will look at web developers vs. web designers, how do you differentiate them and the actual part they play in website building.

 

It is important that we look at each of the profession on its own. To differentiate them, look at the parts they play together to make a functioning website.

Web Designers

A designer designs the website. They use programs such as Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign to create the visual aspect of the web site. Once this is done, it is merged with coding which brings the website to life.

 

The designer is in most cases not the person writing the code. His work is to simply create the components that the website will have including the layout. They will then hand over this design to another expert who will write the code and make it a functional website.

 

A large part of the work the designer completes is based on imagination and situation it is all about creativity and the consideration of the people who are targeted by the website in question. Professionals in this line of work can get involved in other fields but they are mostly active in arts and graphic design. They always collect portfolios which they show to potential clients. A strong designer is always skilled in different concepts such as special relationships, user experience, and color and typography.

Website Developer

While there are aspects of a website developer that appear similar to what a designer does, the two work on two different levels. Remember the expert who the designer gives the design for coding? That is the developer. Web developers are the people behind the building of the website’s backbone. They understand languages specific to the web and build this backbone from the ground up. The developer’s kit is full of tools such as CSS, JavaScript, HTML, and JQuery among others. Developers will not focus on making the website look attractive. The only focus on steps that make sure the code they are creating is technically sound and clean.

 

Historically, developers have been thought to be left-brained workers. Their skills and technical ability are exceptional and to work efficiently, they must think logically. Most web developers have degrees in different fields with the most common being programming and computer science. They also need portfolios to show potential clients. The best developers are keen on specifics and are detail-oriented because their profession involves a lot of coding.

Two different Jobs, One Main Goal

Web designers might work on different parts of making a website but at the end of the day, they have one goal, to make a functioning website that is safe to and interesting to use for the target audience. To accomplish this, the design must be on point and the development must be sound. For a site to be complete, it needs to look good and also function properly. The appearance of the website needs to reflect the brand and the interface should encourage users to obey the call to action.

 

As more and more designers learn coding, the line that exists between development and designing starts to get blurred. Developers on the other hand are paying attention to the theories used in web design. This means that in the near future, the job title will most probably be web developer/designer.

Working Together

One of the main reasons why web developers and designers might find it difficult to work together is communication. Both of these processes involve a lot of jargon that the other expert might not understand. To bridge the gap between the two and make working together a smooth affair, you might want to consider the following

  • A reduction in the jargon used
  • When one needs to explain something to the other, showing is a better method instead of telling. Using working sketches will make work easier for everyone.
  • In a world where everything is run through ideas, it is important to be open-minded. A designer should accept design concepts suggested by the developer and the developer should accept user experience ideas from the designer.
  • Learning about each other’s profession is a great idea. This will make sure that whatever you are working on will merge perfectly with the next steps handled by the other professional.

Can a Developer Be a Designer?

The web developer vs. web designer, how do you differentiate them information can show you that the two are different. The truth is that they do not have to be. With the advancements in technology used in web design and development design and development are converging.

 

As mentioned, designers are learning a lot about development and vice-versa. The answer is that you can be both but you will need to learn all the new skills in both processes. Some critics might be saying that web design is dying but it is not. The only thing that is happening is that it is evolving.

Conclusion

While at the end of the day web design and development achieve the same results which are to make the website functional and attractive, they are different processes that follow different steps. Design involves making the visual element of the website such as layouts, topography and fonts. The developers will take the design and give it life by making the components created by the designer functional. At least now you understand web developer vs. web designer, how do you differentiate them and how these two work together to make a functioning websites that you visit.

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Who Are the Best Web Designers

Who Are The Best Web Designers?

By Derek Robinson

When you have a need that takes you to the market for a web designer, confusion might be one of the challenges you will face. This is because many people have studied design and other have taught themselves flooding the profession. Choosing the right web designer can be a daunting task when all of them are claiming to have the best services. This is why you need to find out who are the best web designers and what do they have to offer.

 

Keep in mind that your business is unique and it needs a unique website. You, therefore, need to look for a web designer with a unique touch that will result in a website that stands out of the crowd. The designer you choose determines the website you get and this is why you should be careful. The following are some of the important elements you should pay attention to when selecting a good web designer.

Experience

It is as good idea to work with an experienced designer but it is even better when they are experienced in your industry. Going for designers that have work on website in your line of work will reduce the list and you will be left with professionals you really want to work with. This is because it means that the designer understand what is important on your website and will understand the kind of audience you are dealing with. Keep in mind that even a single project in your business will make them a potential candidate. In most cases, going with a designer who has no experience in your industry might result in many back and forth edits

Pricing

The amount of money you pay for the design services is important. Money goes right to the heart of the issues. How much do they charge for their services? The cost of web design varies widely depending on where you are and a number of other factors. The important point here is to make sure you are paying the right price and getting a value for every single cent you spend. Web design is not cheap so do not expect to pay a cheap rate because this is exactly what you will get. You should not also pay an exorbitant amount because though not cheap, the services are not that expensive. Again, it will depend with what is being done and why you want.

Methods, Knowledge and Strategies

Regardless of the means you used to find the web design you want to work with, it is important that you find out about their methodology, knowledge and strategy. If they struggle explaining these elements, chance are that you might have a challenge working with them. Professional designers will not hesitate to explain to you the steps they will follow to make sure that your website turns out professional and carries your ideas. An expert who can tell you what they know, how they work and what their plans are in the project will most likely give you exactly what you want and more.

Expansive Portfolio

While you can hire a designer who is just starting up, you might be gambling with the project. They might be talented but among the key qualities you are looking for are experience and a track record you can prove. That said, it is a smart move to go for a designer who can show you a portfolio containing the work they have handled for past clients. This way, you will be in a better position to decide whether they qualify to work on your project and who are the best web designers for the job.

 

The portfolio does not have to be flashy; they just need to be a collection of links that showcases their work. You will have a chance to ask questions related to the choices the designer made in relation to certain layouts and the overall design. If the portfolio is impressive, this is an indication that you are going to have an easy time working with the designer and be satisfied with the end product.

Extent Of Services They Provide

It is possible that a web design professional or company does more than just the design. Some of them give you a whole package which includes design development, content, SEO, and social media marketing among many others. These are services that your website needs and getting them under one roof is a great deal. These packages can work positively towards creating a website in a holistic approach. When working with a solo web designer, it is likely that your options are limited since they might not be in a position to offer the package. This means that a solo freelance will give you exactly what their job title says, web design.

Reasonable Contracts

To protect your investment, you should work with a contract. It is important that you read this contract before you sign it because you might be getting into a deal you will not like later. Read between the lines and make sure it stipulates deliverables, payment and contingencies in case there are unexpected problems.

Website Maintenance

There are web designers who offer services after they have delivered the design. These services are aimed at ensuring that the site is working properly and you and your target audience are not financing any major problems. Ask the designer if they will provide web maintenance services after they have completed the design. In most cases solo designers will not have this service.

Your Own Confidence

At the end of it all, you know your business better. This means that the confidence you have will determine the designer you choose. If you fall in love with the work of a candidate and you think they are going to deliver, choose them because your confidence might actually be right.

Conclusion

When thinking about who are the best designers, think about the above elements when choosing one. There are probably millions of web designers offering their services online and having a set of qualities to look for will greatly help you choose the ideal professional.

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We Have Been Rated as Best of Long Island 2017

We Have Been Rated as Best of Long Island 2017

By Derek Robinson

2016 and the years before have been good for both our company and our customers. This is best reflected in the recent best of Long Island award Top Notch Dezigns got for exemplary services in web design services. This is a good way to start a new year and we hope that our business will grow and reach more clients for the provision of high quality web design services.
 

Top Notch Dezigns is a Long Island New York web design company focusing mainly on the creation of attractive and highly functional sites. We have been providing our dedicated services to clients across industries for the past few years and this is what got us a nomination and a win in the Best of Long Island 2017 web design services category. This was a great honor and a good indication that the clients we have worked with over the years are satisfied with what the services they got. To us, this is motivation to keep on providing five-star services and adding more to always be the best at what we do. We believe that we cannot be the best of Long Island without clients and this is why we would like to take this moment to thank all of you for choosing Top Notch Dezigns in your projects.
 

Our focus is on the future and the ever-changing world of web design and development. Rules are always changing and we commit ourselves to always change our strategies with them. This is how we have managed to stay at the top of our game for the past years. Our aim is to remain the best of Long Island web design service provider and reach clients beyond this area. We always target providing high-quality services at pocket-friendly rates.
 

Beyond our top-notch service delivery, we also have follow-ups to make sure that what we started moves in the direction we set it. We have been dealing with clients with diverse needs and this has widened our scope of operation. Our hardworking and intelligent experts have a keen eye on every part of the processes they handle and this is how we ended up on the list of the best web design service companies in Long Island, New York.
 

We do not take this award lightly because it simply means that though the market has other players, we were voted the top company in our category. We would like to state that we have got here through hard work and the ever growing healthy relationship between our employees and our clients. Our company is based on a foundation made of discipline, hard work and creativity. These three pillars have ensured that we are always giving clients what they need and want and more.
 

If you are looking for the best of Long Island in web design services, you are in the right place. Talk to our experts about your web design, web development and any other related services and you will get award-winning services.

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Top UX Design Trends

Top UX Design Trends

By Derek Robinson

We have had a wild 2016 as far as user experience is concerned. There were some design trends that seemed weak at the beginning of the year but the year progressed, they became a big thing. These designs are rapidly evolving which creates the need to analyze your business in relation to the changes in the designs. As the digital era takes over all industries, it is important that you learn the importance of making a professional website for your business. This begins with understanding the expected Top UX Design trends that will change the game in the coming years.

 

The mobile and web design experience is changing every day. This is the main reason why you have to stay up to date with these changes. Failing to do so will only see you being left behind in your industry. It is important to have a look at the trends that are expected to rock the UX design world in the near future to make the necessary adjustments for your business website before you start losing.

  1. Skeumorphism Will Be Coming Back

Material design has been in the forefront all year round. Though this is the case, Skeumorphism is expected to make a comeback. Skeumorphism refers to the concept used in design to make items look like the real-world items. Skeumorphism will sneak into attractive material design interfaces in website and mobile design projects. all this is to give the user a better experience through what they see on your website.

  1. Scrolling and Parallax Are Here To Stay

While some design trends come and go and some change, some just stick around for a very long time. Scrolling is one of the trends you should expect to join the mainstream list in 2017. This is courtesy of the increase in video-based content. This content is based in playing and pausing the video or animation as the user scrolls and moves. The changes are all based on the movement the user makes. Most UX experts do not support scrolling, but we can expect a number of innovative ways scrolling will be incorporated without affecting UX negatively. When parallax is implemented properly, it becomes a great visual treat. There will be lifting of elements off screens, creation of dynamic 3-D effects with the foreground moving faster than the background.

  1. Video Has Got Big, and Will Get Bigger

Visuals have dominated the imagery department on sites and there will be a lot original images replacing the common stock images we have all become used to.  We will see more brands engaging professional designers in the creation of the products images. Video editors are already having a laugh in their work as the demand goes high. Photography gigs have gone up by about 22% in the 3rd quarter compared to the previous one.

 

Videos are being used and will continue being used in 2017 as a means to bring a better dynamic experience. It is emerging `as a great delivery of content. Videos have already become popular through social media networks in the display of short videos and live streaming.

  1. Progress in AMP

Accelerated Mobile Pages will be an important element for Google in the coming year. For this reason, you can expect that brands will be quick to optimize the content for mobile to allow faster loading. Google is expanding AMP and we believe UX designers will be following suit. People accessing the internet through mobile devices have exceeded the people who are using desktop computers. It only makes sense to make sure that your site is loading faster on these devices or you will lose business.

  1. Interactions Within Interactions

In 2016, microinteractions gained a lot of popularity. Users have been rating apps, replying to push emails and setting status messages. These are good examples of microinteractions. This interaction will be working towards keeping the user informed about what to expect and asking for information as they handle their business.

  1. Colors Out of The Ordinary and Bold Topography

It is evident that website designers are already experimenting with bolder colors and moving away from the ordinary colors that have been common in this industry. We can expect to see a range of colors working together to create a bright display on mobile and desktop screens.

 

Topography is emerging as a style and tone setter for websites. It is building a personality for sites and evoking emotions which are important for any business with a website. UX designers will start experimenting with bolder and bigger fonts. We will now have dynamic font types accompanied by original beautiful images to improve the user’s experiment through visuals.

  1. Rapid Prototyping

Albeit Prototyping has become a norm in the UX design world, rapid prototyping is the new bandwagon capturing all the focus. This involves the creation of quick prototypes with important functionalities, workflow changes and complex interactions. Rapid prototyping allows changes in technology and design for purposes of enhancing the user’s experience. With the continued and increase in use, we should expect to see a rise in new rapid prototyping tools. These will be used to simplify things and allow experts to test the experience without a need to write code. At least designers can have an easier time showing the experience to the clients without necessarily going through all the processes involved.

  1. Feedback Will Attract More Attention

The collection of data and information through the conventional means is slowly disappearing. You will start seeing less of questionnaires and surveys and more of newer techniques that capture the thoughts, requirements, likes, dislikes and reactions of the user.

 

Technology used to capture feedback includes heat maps and will blend biometric and neurometric devices with eye tracking movements. The feedback coming from the technology will be useful to UX designers because they can provide actual evidence indicating what is happening. The evidence can then be used to convince the stakeholders to make all the necessary changes that are aimed at improving the user’s experience.

In Conclusion

The world is moving at a faster pace compared to a while ago. With this trend, we can expect to see more innovations and changes that are geared towards improving the experience of the user. The world of UX design is not any different.  UX Design is a very important in the World Wide Web and mobile development and design will benefit a great deal from in the coming years.  We also expect that the trends will bring about innovation and creativity and better experience for all uses regardless of the device they are using to access the internet.

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Important Tips To Make Your Website More User-Friendly

Important Tips To Make Your Website More User-Friendly

By Derek Robinson

If you have ever seen a good website, it is important that you know it is a combination of a number of elements in design, navigation, content and the functionality of the site Today, having a business website has become the center of attention in an era where people heavily rely on the internet for information. For this reason, your website needs to be as friendly as possible to your target audience. Your site needs to be intuitive, engaging and not overly complicated. Below are some of the important tips to make your website more user-friendly and improve your business’s performance and boost the sales.

 

Ignoring a professional website is no longer an option in this digitalized age. If you have a business website, you expect you’re a target audience to flood on it every day. The question now is, is the website user-friendly? Well if it is not, then the following tips will help you in improving the user’s experience on your website.

  1. Comprehensive Readable Content

Content will always be king. This is because to convince your audience, you need content on your website. If you can deliver content that is fresh, readable and interactive, then you will be on your way to making your site friendlier to the user.

Always Make your Content Easy To Scan

We are not talking about the technical scanning with a scanner; it is about scanning with your eyes. Internet users will always skim through content on a site and not read every word you have written. This means that you need to keep the paragraphs at minimum length. You can adopt the newspaper column formatting as it makes scanning easier. Use paragraphs, bullets, lists, headings and subheadings properly to help in breaking text and making it easy for the audience to get the important points with ease. You can also add images to break the monotony of text blocks.

Color Schemes To bring Contrast

It is very important that you find the balance between the website background and the content. It is a basic task but among the most important. If there is no contrast, it might be a bit difficult to read the content. When selecting your color schemes, make sure your content is visible. Special attention should be given to colors on black backgrounds because they are the most difficult to read.

It Is a Good Idea To Have White Space

If you would like to highlight elements and make them prominent, you might want to consider the use of white space. Crowded pages can lead to users not finding the essentials. White space will work positively towards giving the content space required to breath. According to web design trends, it is not extravagant to have lots of white space since it makes your design cleaner and less cluttered.

Choose your Fonts Carefully

There are elaborate styles that appear enticing but they are not necessarily easy to read. Choosing readability over style is one of the most important decisions you will make. In print, serif fonts are widely accepted while San serif fonts are recommended for online purposes. If you select many different fonts, then your content might be difficult to scan. It is important that you highlight links and keywords to make them stand out.

Avoid Broken Links

Broken links on the content will confuse users and make the site appear unprofessional. These links have a negative impression and will negatively affect the credibility of your content. This means that you should check all your links before launching the site of posting the content. Double check and triple check if you want just to make sure the links are working. You should have another eye looking at your site for broken links and always go through the site.

  1. Work On Your Navigation

Making sure that your navigation is clutter free is among the best things you can do for your website. Make sure your menu is not full of items because this just complicates the navigation. Simplified navigation is effective and improves the browsing experience.  The following are some of the ways you can use to improve your site’s navigation:

Start With Cleaning Your Layout

If your website has a confusing layout, it might be among the reasons your business is losing customers. Making sure the navigation is simple for your users will help a great deal in keeping the visitors on the site. The most important pages such as About Us and Contact Us should be highlighted to make them easily visible. If you want to use layers for different categories, make sure everything is organized and clean. This will give users an easy time to navigate.

Place The Navigation Strategically

The navigation carries options your users will be looking for, to make it easy for them to navigate, place it in a strategic position. The best place is on the top or left hand side. Just ensure that regardless of the device used, the navigation appears above the fold.

Do Not Forget About the Site Map

Site maps are not only important for search engines; they are very useful just in case the user wants to find a particular page on the website. If you give the user a map they can use, your website will appear friendlier to them.

Search Bars Do The Trick

It is a good idea to have a search bar on your site. This is because it will greatly help them in finding what they need many times faster than without the search functionality. On your end, you will get information on what people are searching for money on your site and this will help you make some changes to improve their experience.

Stay Away From Acronyms and Abbreviations

Avoid abbreviations and acronyms in titles as much as you can unless they are obvious. It is easy to confuse the customer and spoil their experience if they do not know exactly what the acronyms and abbreviations stand for. Just use common words such as ‘home, offers, contact us, support and blog’ to make things easy for the users for find the important pages on your website.

  1. Speed Really Matters

Time is an important factor and people will never have enough of it. When a visitor lands on your website, they want things to work as fast as they can so that they can move to other important things in their life. This means that it is quite easy for them to get really impatient. To avoid frustrating them, you MUST work on the website’s load time. To keep the visitor on the site, make sure it is loading within 4 to 6 seconds. Anything longer than this will be detrimental to your website. Faster load time will keep your visitors on the site and lower speeds will send them to a different websites which probably belong to your competitors. The speed will affect your traffic and your website ranking which will further affect your traffic. When Google looks at your site, one of the important things it focuses on is speed, so Speed up your loading time.

Avoid Large Files

It is very important to avoid large photos, videos, flash and any other large files. These things might seem like they are making your website appear amazing but they will actually slow it down and increase the clutter. Before you rush to add all these heavy files, think about the speed and loading time.

Use Compressed Files

If your website has many images, you might want to use them in compressed form. This will reduce the heaviness that will affect the loading time. Make sure you resize the images before you upload them. To be on the safe side, avoid resizing through height and width, use Photoshop instead. This is because Photoshop will resize the image without losing the quality and this is valuable for a website.

Reduce Redirects

It is obvious that with time, some pages can be altered or become outdated. This results in external links pointing to some old pages. The most important thing is to make sure that the users are getting a good experience and this starts with avoiding external redirects and only sticking to internal redirects that will not disappoint. Always check whether the links are working properly once in a while.

 

These tips are geared towards making a website friendly to the audience. They will also improve functionality can be great elements in the success of the website and business. You just have to make sure that you do everything carefully and take your time. Being in a hurry might give you unsatisfactory results. Making changes on your website is a continuous task that will ensure it is always accessible, ranked well and giving your users a good experience.  The best step to make is keeping a close eye on the site and testing it occasionally to check usability, optimization and check what your users are looking for.

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7 Wonderful Design Predictions For 2017

7 Wonderful Design Predictions For 2017

By Derek Robinson

In any industry, trends come from current processes and while some fade away, some trends remain for years. In 2015, UX was believed to be the champion of free thought in the world of design, today, UI is the in thing. Even if a trend stays for a couple of years, it will change because of the technology and cultural forces.  For instance, mobile device app trends change with the development of new operating systems and changes in the mobile world technologies.  In this post, we will look at the 7 wonderful design predictions for 2017. It is always important to know what is coming because you get a chance to prepare yourself adequately.

 

The internet is changing especially now that people are accessing the World Wide Web using phone more that they are using desktop computers this means that most of the changes that are happening are geared towards giving mobile device users a better experience. A part from mobile related changes, there are many other changes in the design world that we should expect in 2017.

  1. There Will be Micro-Mini Interactions

There was an internet buzz in 2015 about microinteractions referring to the single task-based interaction with products such as liking a comment, setting alarms or clicking on a login button. When you open your social media account, you are in micro interactions too small to notice.

 

The applications world is becoming grittier and specific such that you can use Vine to share short videos, Yo to send Yo’s and many other interactions. These interactions will allow us to move to atomized microinteractions with single microinteractions being further broken to smaller pieces. These are known as micro-mini interactions and by 2017, we will be engaging in them every time we take out our phones.

 

In our everyday lives, there will be micro-mini interactions and the way we experience devices will change significantly. Every scroll, zoom, tap, touch and click will be full of animation and feedback.

  1. Functional Animations

We have come to know that functional animation is equal to delicate animation; it embeds in the interface design and is part of the processes. It is clear and logic in purpose and is in the list of UX design tools.

 

Functional animation is a trend that is not just about making animation, it is about creating a motion and shape that can deliver logical and clear purposes. The language that needs to be followed should be responsive, simple, vivid, fast and meaningful. It is expected that functional animation, as an idea, will rule mobile devices across different platforms in 2017.

 

This trend will probably stick around and will be used to take users from context to context and provide explanations in case there are changes in the element arrangement on the screen.

  1. Creative Navigation

Creative navigation is one of the most important factors when it comes to mobile apps. In 2017, it is expected that different innovative options such as a hidden navigation, parallax scrolling and modular will be experienced.

 

In 2016, the hidden navigation feature started gaining popularity and is expected to be bigger in 2017. This is especially useful in apps that have huge content. The navigation displays on the screen but if there is no action, it disappears.

 

If the app has heavy content, modular scrolling will give users a clear view by allowing them to scroll through the individual columns or rows. The infinite strolling feature is another trend that has taken over social platforms such as twitter and Facebook.

 

The introduction of parallax scrolling has brought in a new creative option for intuitive navigation. This is a trends expected to continue with its popularity while giving users a better experience in 2017.

  1. Weather Applications

Weather is an important part of our lives especially because changes can affect our daily lives and activities. The way we experience other things such as phone applications in relation to weather is also important. Whether sun is shining in summer or behind the clouds in winter, we always want to track the weather for proper planning.

 

While weather has been constant enough to give designers an easy time of designing weather apps according to past occurrences, things are changing a bit. There are unpredictable events such as hurricane and El Niño and this means people will be going to weather apps more. Designers are expected to shift their attention where most people are looking and this will take them to climate change issues.

  1. Increased Typography Emphasis

In the world of application design, it is clear that typography is in the back seat as far as important considerations such as complete aesthetics, navigation and color are concerned. In 2017, it is expected that designers will give scalable typography and fonts the attention they deserve.

 

They are looking for a typeface which will fit all devices especially because fonts are a representation of hierarchy between the existing types of content. For instance, since Apple released iOS 7, Helvetica Neue has become a standard in all operating systems. This font is an important part of the appearance and design of app interface.

  1. Moving From Design Evangelism to Proselytism

Design evangelism is all about adopting a great design aimed at converting a non-designer to a design thinker. They show the importance of design non-believers and this means they are probably going to follow good design practices to the letter in their professional and personal lives. Design evangelism has great support especially because of the good work they do in encouraging good design. Though this is the case, there are many offline designers coming up with their own craft and standing by it. All designers are pressing towards a world with great designs and we expect that their voices will be louder in 2017.

  1. Textile Design

In 2017, it is highly likely that material design will discover that it brought a paper and a pen in a fight full of guns. The fundamental architecture of material design is unequipped in the handling of the multi-dimensional World Wide Web of the future.  While material design has been showing up in prediction of trends since 2013, it appeared in 2015 and became the norm in mainstream web design. Material design simply evolved from the conventional physical paper the significant difference being that the modern design can expand and reform in an intelligent manner.

 

These are some of the predictions expected in 2017 and they will affect functionalities and features in web design. The key to always being up to date is working with professional web designers who live to deliver according to current technologies and trends.

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8 Simple Web Design Rules

8 Simple Web Design Rules

By Derek Robinson

Web design might have some complicated elements but there are basics that all website owners should know. Knowing these basics will make sure that the website attracts traffic and the visitors return. There are also some basics that will go a long way in giving you an easy time when running your website. The following are 8 simple web design rules that will help you in building and maintaining a professional website that is not hard to run.

  1. Navigation Should Be Simple

If you want a functional website that is also attractive, it is important that you avoid clutter. For this reason, you might want to make sure that menus are used. This is because they reduce the number of items listed on the home page and do it in an organized matter. Even with the menu, you should try to limit the items on the list. If the menu has over 20 items, this might be over whelming to the user.

 

The pages should be broad enough to allow a variety of details and this means that each topic does not necessarily need to be on its own menu. Highlighting the important topics on the menu and using sub menus will go a long way in ensuring that your navigation is clean and easy to understand and use.

  1. Proper Use Of Pop-Up

While modal windows and pop-ups can be highly useful, when abused they tend to be annoying to the user and the website find itself in the losing end. If you have ever clicked on some important details only to see a modal window asking you to register for something, then you understand what it means to be annoyed by pop-ups. If the visitor has not yet gone through all your content, chances are that they will not sign up for anything or want to subscribe to a newsletter. You should not block them from going through your content with that annoying pop-up. A gain, pop-ups are highly abused and this is why they have attracted so much negativity. If you do not know where to put it, just avoid it completely for your own good.

 

If you would like to use one, think about places such as the bottom of the article. You can have a pop-up window asking them if they would like to subscribe to a newsletter or for related content. If they have gone through the article, it is more likely that they will sign up especially if the content was interesting to them.

  1. Negative Space Should Be Employed Wisely

Also referred to as whitespace, negative space can balance the aesthetics of the website. Negative space can be used to complement all the positive space that you have used in content display. The paragraphs should be separated by whitespace and some space between the headline and content will provide the necessary break. As much as whitespace is important, you should make sure that it is not too much because it might create an unfinished or empty look. You can play around with it to make sure that the balance is giving your website a clean uncluttered look that is attractive to your visitors.

  1. Leverage Response Design

Responsive design cannot be emphasized enough. Regardless of how the user accesses the site or which device they are using, they should have a good user experience. This means that you should have a website that is optimized for desktop, tablet and mobile. The main difference between these devices is the screen size and there is nothing as bad as text that has been cut off. If you are in the process of building your site, it’s better to have it built with this in mind than to work on it later. If your site is already built, talk to professionals to have it fixed and optimized for smaller screens.

  1. “Above The Fold” Space Should Be Prioritized

The space that your visitor sees without scrolling is very important. This space should be properly used. Think about what your visitors would want to see immediately they land on the website. Is it a mission statement, a company logo or a call to action. You can have all these elements above the fold in well performing pages. These are details that help in brand identity and can give the visitor a boatload of information without the clicking on anything.

  1. File Names Standardization

If you have files, it is important that you have an organized system that will help you in finding the items you are looking for fast. All file titles should be in lower case. This is because files are case sensitive on the web. Sunset and Sunset are different because of the case. To avoid having an issue finding a particular file, just stick to lower case.

 

Also, you should avoid spaces. Spaces are unsafe for web addresses because they can be confused or lost. In most cases, the space you put will be converted to 20% which results in a very usual name or url. You can use hyphens and underscores instead of spaces if you need to separate words. A word with a hyphen is viewed as two separate words while an underscored word is viewed as one word by search engines. This means that hyphens are generally better for SEO and naming purposes.

  1. Images Should be Sourced Properly

All the images that you get from other sites or people should be posted with permission and the right attributes. Most new site owners tend to hotlink. This is when they link to images on other people’s sites instead of saving the images on their computers and uploading them to their site. This means that the person hotlinking will be using the other person‘s bandwidth and this is not fair. Also, if you do this, your site will be subject to the other sites status. This simply means that if the site stops working or the image in question gets deleted, it will not be available on your site.

 

In cases where you are working as an affiliate marketer, you might get a code that helps in putting up a banner on your site. This will make the process easy when they want to change the banner and they can trace the performance of the banner. In this case, hotlinking is allowed. In any other situations you should avoid hotlinking, just get the images you want and download them and upload them. It is a good idea to get original images. If this is not possible, just get stock or get images with permission.

  1. Have Separate Directories

In the initial stages, it might appear like a good idea to dump all files into a single directory. You feel as if having everything in one central place is the way to go. Well, this can simplify things but the bigger the site gets, the more difficult it will be to go through things. A good approach is to have a separate directory for each of the file types you are dealing with. Have a directory for images, CSS files, HTML pages and any other files that are high in number to warrant a directory. Make sure you clearly name all files for easy access.

 

These are just a few rules that will help you create a website that will attract more traffic and improve the user’s experience. Always keep in mind that consistency is the key to a good website. Applying these rules will give you satisfactory results and you will always have happy readers.

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Reasons Why Visitors Are Leaving Your Website

Reasons Why Visitors Are Leaving Your Website

By Derek Robinson

It is quite fulfilling to have people appreciate your work in your line of business. This can be through likes, comments, tweets and sales. It is however, getting harder everyday to get this appreciation and the attention you want from your website visitors. We live in an era where information is readily available and visitors only skim through content to get what they want. For this reason, keeping them on the site for a few seconds is a difficult affair. This is why you need to know the reasons why visitors are leaving your website.

 

First, keep in mind that whatever content you have on the site must be enticing enough to make the visitors want to stick around.  You need something that will convince them that your website is worth their time. According to a recent study visitors leave a website in about 10 to 20 seconds. If you consider the amount of information on a website, this is a very short period. The following are some of the reasons why a visitor would want to leave your site that fast creating a bounce rate that is not good for business.

  1. Your Website Is Too Slow

According to information by Kissmetrics, about 47% of visitors expect websites to load in under 2 seconds and 40% will find an alternative if the site takes over 3 seconds to load. Prior to looking at more studies that involve the loading speed let us look at the expectations of the visitor within the loading time. James Nielsen, in his book, Usability Engineering, breaks down the important time limits occurring in delays between the action of the user and the response of the app.

a) 0.1 Second In cases where the application responds almost instantaneously to the action of the user, there is a direct manipulation image. In most cases, the user will think that the action was not generated by the computer but instead by their action. This direct manipulation elements is important in the user’s engagement.

 

b) 1 Second – This time will create a feeling of the computer generating the results instead of the user. Though this is the case, they will still be focusing on their thoughts. This means they will still retain the sense of being in control though on a lower scale. If it’s a web page, it should take 1 second to load so that the user has a sense of control and feels like they can easily and freely navigate.

 

c) 10 Seconds – This is a long period that will take away any feeling of control that they might have left. Their minds will mostly wander and in most cases, they will leave the site. If your site takes more than this period to load, then giving an indication of the progress will go a long way in helping the situation. This is because they will know exactly what to expect and not just wait blindly.

 

It does not matter how fresh or how interesting the content on your website is, people will always grow out of waiting for the website to load. If your competitors have fast sites, your users will go there.

 

When ranking sites Google will always consider the speed at which your site loads. Google is pro users and this means that it is always looking for sites that give the users a great experience. Loading speed is an important factor in the user’s experience which explains its importance in Google ranking.

 

Amazon had an analysis of their web performance in relation to the sales using A/B tests. They found out that there was a 1% decrease in conversion for every 100 milliseconds delay in loading. Walmart reported a 2% increase in traffic on their site with a reduction of delay with 1 second. For every decrease of load time with 100 milliseconds, there was a 1% increase in conversion.

 

According to multiple studies, the period people can wait for a website or page to load is becoming shorter every day. People are becoming impatient faster and this means that any slight delay will see them leave your website and find an alternative which most probably belongs to a direct competitor.

  1. Problems With The Website Layout

If your website’s structure is disorganized, you will be dealing with a high bounce rate quite often. A quick revamp can deal with a number of problems. Always keep in mind that most people will just scan through the content and not read everything word for word. In their short stay on the website, they expect to be in a position to grab the key elements in the content without struggling. The elements they gather with the scan are crucial in the decision they make next.

 

There are many principles in the world of design and not implementing them might be the reason behind people leaving too soon. For instance, if you have a visual hierarchy, it is a clear indication to the user that you want them to prioritize some content on the page.

 

William Hicks through His Hicks’ law explains that the user’s reaction rate is direction proportional to the options you present them. If you have a blog that carries many different articles, having a filtering system will eliminate distractions and give your audience a chance to quickly find what they are searching for.

  1. The Auto Play Problem

For most visitors, videos that play on their own are irritants. The visitor’s goal now becomes finding the video or the tab with the video and closing it. As you build your website, make sure you think about where the visitor will be when they land on the website. If they are not at the comfort of their home or are in places where watching videos is inappropriate, chances are that they will close that tab and forget about your site.

 

We talked about control and how much it means to a user. They want to have it and when the video plays on its own, it takes away this control. If they are listening to their favorite song when visiting the site, you might give them a reason to close your site and this means a high bounce rate and no conversion. If there is something playing, it is important that you give the user an obvious place to pause the video or audio. The best thing is to avoid these videos and audios. If you have to have them, it is a good idea to give the control to the user.

 

If you want to know how annoying these autoplay things can be look at the case of Facebook. After 24 hours of launching the autoplay ads, there were millions of searches related to how to block the annoying ads. If you do your own research you might find a connection between users staying and leaving a web site in relation to autoplay content. There are many people who will find them irritating and instead of finding where they are playing from to pause them, they will completely leave the website or close down the pages.

  1. Boring Content

As mentioned, to get the visitor to stick around, you need to create interesting content that will keep them glued to the screen. Most people concentrate on the home page and forget all about the other pages. The funny thing is that most visitors will not enter the website through this page. Statistics show that people find websites through search engine results, links on other sites and social networks. The truth is that the homepage is no longer the center of attraction like it was a while ago. Blogs and articles are becoming a great attraction and this tells you that each page should be up to date and compelling enough to keep the visitor on the site for more engagement.

 

You should strive to provide neutral content that does not include complex words. People do not want to read jargon because it will confuse them. If you are selling something, explain what it is and how the user can benefit from it using simple words. A thorough article will do a lot of good in not only keeping the visitor on the site but in the decision they make in relation to purchasing. If the content is react-able and relatable, you can rest assured that the conversion rate will always be on the higher side.

  1. Dormant Blog

Having an inactive blog is another main reason why people might be leaving your website as soon as they arrive. Well, if your visitors have nothing fresh to read, they will leave, visit one more time and if there is still nothing, they might just leave forever. You might want to consider having posting schedules and sticking by them.

 

Though there is no study that shows the perfect frequency of posting, it is important that you avoid keeping your visitors waiting for too long. Sometimes posting too often can actually be irritating for some people. This might also result in filler content that most visitors will not like. If you post less often, your readers might go somewhere else where there is fresh content. You will have a hard time maintaining a loyal following if they have nothing to read.

 

The goal of a website owner is to attract traffic. But this is not enough in business if the visitors do not stay long enough to get the information and buy something. You need time to convince a person to buy and this can only be achieved through keeping them on the site longer. Now that you know the reasons why most people leave, you can make the necessary adjustments to prevent a high bounce rate. A visitor is not visiting your site to live in a few seconds, they are looking for solutions and you should show them the solution to their problem.

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Reasons For Hiring A Professional Web Design Company

Reasons For Hiring A Professional Web Design Company

By Derek Robinson

Most people think about handling the web design process on their own and see it as a piece of cake. Well, you just need to download some software and use the services provided by web hosting companies to have a website. A few hours on it and voila! You have a website, right? Wrong. The biggest mistake most business owners make is not seeing the importance of their website. The website is the face of the business online and it needs to reflect this. The functionality and the look of the site will determine just how well or bad your site will do. While you can handle the web design on your own, you should look at the reasons for hiring a professional web design company to know just how important it is.

 

Today, websites are not what they were 5 years ago. They are now used to make things easy and be 24-hour marketing tools. Some sites have actually transformed to actual markets where users can buy items from the business without visiting the physical store. This means that a lot of changes have happened and this creates a need for some professionalism when it comes to design.

  1. A Good First Impression

Just like when you meet people, the first impression you have is what you will think of them. When someone visits a website, they will have an opinion which will entirely be driven by how the site looks. Even if what you are selling is the best in the world, your website will be doing the selling. What would you want this website to say when it talks?  The first impression is the deepest and this is why you need to go an extra mile. Hire a professional and they will know exactly what your target audience needs to see the first time they visit the site for a better chance of purchase and loyalty.

  1. Mobile Technology Compatibility

Unless you are a web designer, you might not know the latest technologies in web design including everything to do with mobile devices.  If you do not have a standard mobile website, you might be getting into problems that will cost you traffic and sales. Mobile traffic is growing every day and has already surpassed desktop use. If your website is not mobile compatible, chances are that your direct competitors will take away almost all of your business.

 

If your site is not mobile responsive, chances are that you will be forced to pay another company to make your site mobile friendly. This can be extremely costly for your business. A professional web design company will explain the benefits of responsiveness and design a website that will make sure that your users are having a good experience regardless of the device they are using. The professional will also know the new emerging technologies that can impact your website as far as mobile is concerned.

  1. Attractive and Optimized Images

People are now using gadgets that support high-dpi images. These are images with twice as much detail as what we were used to before. If you have heard the term retina, then these are the images we are referring to. Designing a website with these images will need more than just trial and error. If you are not using WordPress, then this process will be more difficult especially if you do not have the necessary plugins. If you work with a professional web design company, you can rest assured that the images on your site will be razor sharp regardless of the device being used to view them.

  1. You Get a Reliable Site

After designing your site about a month ago, you want to change something. Unfortunately, all you are getting is an error message. These are things that happen always as long as the site is not designed by a professional. This is the case even if you are using the most reliable systems such as WordPress. You will most probably spend time trying to fix the problem and going through Google to try and find a solution. Most people end up calling a professional web designer, something they should have done in the first place. Even if the site is fixed, you will still have an unreliable website that can go down any time. Working with professionals will ensure that this does not happen and when it does, it is fixed fast and efficiently.

  1. You get a Fast Website

It is not surprising that most sites do not perform optimally. When the site is designed by an amateur or by you, chances are that the site will be slower and this will cost you a great deal.  Speed is essential because a slight delay will see the user move on to the next website which mostly belongs to your direct competitor.

 

Another advantage of working with professionals is in the hosting. Keep in mind that the hosting services will pay a part in the performance of your site. It is therefore important that you work with the best to maintain a great performance that does not disappoint your target audience. There are great tools that you can use to check your site’s speed and know where you stand.

  1. Better Web Design

Using the built-in site maker means that you will be using pre-designed templates. These templates have two major issues. They are basic and almost anyone can and will use them. The resulting website is a boring one and looks like thousands of other sites. If you do not want to bore your target audience, you might want to consider hiring professionals with skills and creativity to give you a site that is interesting and attractive. If you are thinking that design does not matter as long as performance is good, look at companies such as Apple and BMW, they made sure their design was a big deal long before thinking about the product‘s performance.

  1. Your Site Will Have a Better Chance Of Showing Up On Google

When making a site on your own, high chances are that you will overlook SEO and it might not be in the list of your concerns. For this reason, your site will probably never see the light of day on Google. A professional company will make sure that your site has all the things good crawl bots look for to rank a site. The aim is to appear on Google search results related to the products and services you deal with. This will only happen if you let people who understand the intricate parts of SEO handle the process.

  1. Time Saving

Designing a website is much more than just lying down a nice design. Websites have features that can help in saving a great deal of time while increasing your revenue. If you own a car repair shop or a salon having a website can open doors to time-saving features such as online booking. This will save you all the hassles associated with bookings and overlapping appointments. You can have a follow-up email feature to thank your customers. There are multiple possibilities you can take advantage of a modern website and this will only happen if you involve pros in the design process.

  1. Increased Revenue

Apart from the fact that you will be saving time and money, a professionally designed website can assist you in increasing your revenue without too much effort. Remember the car repair shop mentioned above, you can add a number of extra services such as oil change, car wash, wiper replacement among many others to the website. All the audience has to do is check a few boxes for the services they want. This is something you cannot manage to get if you design your site using the good old templates.

  1. Affordability

If you look at the site as a cost, then you will forever see it as an expensive venture. When done properly, a website is an investment that will make you a boatload of money. The secret is making sure you do it right from the first time. This will eliminate costs associated with repairs and major improvements.  Professionals might seem expensive compared to DIY or amateur designers, however, when you look at the long haul, they are quite affordable.

Conclusion

Web design is an important process and should be put in the same basket as other important processes that should be left to professionals. Repairing a garage door, repairing your car engine, paving the driveway and doing taxes are some tasks that can be handled by anyone, however, they are best handled by people who have deep knowledge in them for great results. Things are the same in web design. You can find ways to make your own simple website through the many tools online, but it will not even be 10% of what a professional design company will give you.

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