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Important Tips To Make Your Website More User-Friendly

Derek Robinson

By Derek Robinson

Category: Web design

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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Top 8 Web Design Trends 2017

Top 8 Web Design Trends 2017

By Derek Robinson

Trends are the well-known changes that take part in creative fields and web Design is not an exception.  Trends have been the fuel behind change and are born of innovation and experimentation aimed at pushing industries forward. The World Wide Web is a special environment where change is constant and things are always evolving. With that in mind, the following are the top 8 web design trends 2017 will see.

  1. More Sites Will Adopt The Mobile-First Approach

As this statement suggests, mobile-first designs are processes that make sure that sites are designed for mobile devices first then for the bigger desktop computer screens.  The mobile-first design is not a new concept, actually, it has been around for a few years. The only reason it has made it to this list is the fact that it is expected that more brands will adopt it in 2017. The main reason behind this is the fact that more people are now accessing the internet using mobile devices. This is why companies are working hard to make sure they can deliver content to these small screens.

 

Since mobile phones come with screens smaller than computers and tablets, and the mobile-first design dictates that the designing process starts with these small devices, the site will have to get rid of the content that is unnecessary.  We predict that 2017 will see more companies prioritizing smaller screen instead of taking them as secondary processes.

  1. Improved Responsive Design Implementation

We know you are wondering why there is a mobile-first trend in 2017 and now the responsive design. As mentioned, trends are changes in a creative industry and it does not matter whether these changes are happening to a new or old process. Responsive design is a topic that has been around for quite a long time.  What we expect to witness in 2017 and beyond is its increased adoption.

 

If you have no idea what a responsive design is, let us briefly explain. Responsive designs refer to when a website is build using flexible grids or layouts and CSS media queries. This results in a dynamic website which will adjust the content display to fit the device being used. Responsive design works closely with mobile-first because they both aim at improving the experience of users regardless of which device they are using to browse the net.  The main reason most brands will want to go the responsive design path is because of the Google algorithms that will rank sites that optimize content better.

  1. Use Of Rapid Prototyping Tools

Though not part of the web design per se, these tools are without a doubt some of the most useful tools to enter the world of web design within the last year and are some of the most important tools that UI, UX and web designers should have in their tool box.  Services that provide rapid prototyping such as Marvel, Invision, Webflow and UXpin among others allow designers to create high and low site and service prototypes to check the aesthetics and usability. This is without the need of writing any code. These tools can allow the designer to create the site on the browser and launch it from the tool.

 

These changes will get rid of all the static mockups and wire-frames designers use to explain the process. The client will have a chance to see exactly how the system looks and how it works without the need for a long conversation that will end up confusing them. It is expected that more companies and sites will jump in the band wagon of using these tools all for improved efficiency and streamlined workflow.

  1. UI Patterns and Frameworks

The responsive and mobile-first approach in the web design world and the popularity of WordPress has had a significant impact on how todays desktop sites look like and how they work. You can see an increased used of the UX and UI patterns emerging across the web with many sites working and looking alike. They are simply learning from each other to improve the user‘s experience.

 

We will not dive into the topic of sites becoming similar but we will like to highlight the fact that website are becoming consistently friendly to the user. There is a lot of competition online today and brands in different industry cannot afford to take a risk that will see then fall behind the changes in their industry. We predict that the current UX and UI patterns will evolve and develop further such that more companies will implement them and move an inch closer to a consistent experience for the user.

  1. Ditching Stock And Focusing On Imagery Originality

As mentioned above, UI patterns are rising and are quickly replacing UX in most of the design processes. This simply means that sites will work and look similar and brands can now get rid of stock images, icons and videos. This is because they will have to be unique to stand out.

 

Most users are always looking for authenticity and stock images will not do well on a site. A brand will need to portray visuals and content that explains who they are and create a difference between them and the other brands in the industry.  It is expected that brands will adopt, bespoke illustrations, attractive topography, and original photography.  Users are tired of seeing the same businessmen smiling on every website they come across. It is expected that brands will look for different ways to make sure their site looks different.

  1. An Advance In Animation

As languages and browsers advance, there is an emerging trend of sites using animation instead of the traditional static images. Personality and a story-telling approach is what brands are going for in an effort to capture the attention of users. Animation, courtesy of jQuery, CSS and HTML5 is playing a major role in this process.

 

Animation comes in all sizes and styles. Its flexibility is what makes it a popular method of communication by sites to users. This can range from little devices used to entertain users as the site or page loads to interesting features when the user hovers over links or images. Animation can be employed on a larger scale to create videos that will be the center of attraction on the website. In 2017, more brands will be looking at different ways they can use animation to their advantage and attract users to their site.

  1. Courageous Colors

2016 has been a year for rich colors. Over the past few years, web designers have been using what can be referred to as safe colors. More and more brands are diving into braver colors that are out of the conventional list. You can expect 2017 to be painted with vibrant hues and colors that would normally not be used on sites. Using bolder colors can greatly help in the attraction of the user’s attention.

 

A good example is Spotify which has moved from the safe green color to a more vivid hue that is noticeable. Brands will also move towards using braver colors within their brand and identity with a hope of getting more attention from users in their target group

  1. Creative Scrolling and Parallax

Scrolling has been used to move from top to bottom of web pages for a long time. Today, it is used in more innovative ways in the delivery of content. Since users are viewing the content on different screens, content delivery is very important. If there is a video playing, scrolling down will pause it. Static content that has been animated will change with the scrolling.

 

Content creation is expected to go a notch higher than ever witnessed and brands will need to find creative ways which will help in getting content to users.

In Conclusion

There are hundreds of trends expected in 2017 and creativity is not about to stop in the web design world. Though it is a difficult affair to point at a single trend, we do believe that the above trends are some of the changes we should expected in 2017 and beyond.  While not all these trends will apply to your case, it is important that you take a closer look at all that touch your site. It is also in your best interest that you stay informed and up to date with whatever is happening in the web design industry.

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web design trends in 2016

Web Design Trends In 2016 About To Be Dismissed Next 2017

By Derek Robinson

Some of the most used web design trends in 2016 are going out of use, why is this happening?

Fashion is an important matter in every field that we can think of, we all want to possess the latest version of the products that we consume daily, it´s always better to use the newest cellphone, a faster, smaller and lighter laptop, everybody wants to keep up with fashion in it´s closet, or eat in a trendy, fancy restaurant.

 

Therefore, we tend to dismiss the things that are out of fashion if we are not able to take any profit from them. But, how this tendency to replace older things for cooler ones, affects web design?

 

Around 15 years back, a lot of web design tendencies disappeared because of our misuse, we simply didn’t know how to use them properly in that moment.

 

For example, big animated GIF displayed in front page or blackened background were put aside because then we did not know how to take good advantage from them.

 

So, if you tend to abuse from a misused design resource, it will end to negatively impact your business in regards to your objectives accomplishment (conversion rates, number of subscriptions, closed sales and, of course, your return on investment).

 

Let´s see some web design trends that are about to disappear this year, maybe we will have the opportunity to see them later, but for now is better to be putted on hold till we can give them an appropriate use:

Pop-up aggression:

Even when the pop-ups are regularly used to highlight important information or promotional content, most of users consider them very annoying and have low impact with conversion rates, you don´t need to get rid of all pop-ups, just be moderate about it.

Front page carousels:

in addition to affect your search engine optimization, everlasting carousels are way too heavy for mobile devices navigation, which represent an important portion of your leads. Always try to set a lighter configuration to your site.

Huge information forms:

No, remember that you want people to subscribe to your page in order to increase conversions, so you better use simple forms, easy to be filled, ask only for essential information, otherwise you risk to lose an interested lead.

Overelaborated interface:

Sometimes less is more. Make sure that your page is able to display all the information that you want to sell very fast and in a crystal clear way, remember that you will only have a couple of seconds before losing your visitor´s attention. For example, you can concentrate your main information in the upper left corner of the landing page in order to arouse reader´s heed and hook him to the rest of your site.

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10 Big Mistakes You Should Avoid When Redesigning Your Website

10 Big Mistakes You Should Avoid When Redesigning Your Website

By Derek Robinson

Websites are the representation and the foundation of your business online. These important assets need to be taken care of and updated according to the changes in the world of business and technology. The most common reason businesses redesign their websites is because they are not attractive or interesting to the target audience. They need a new look and the best way to accomplish this is through a professional redesign. The following are the 10 big mistakes you should avoid when redesigning your website.

 

Before we dive into these mistakes, we should look at reasons why the redesign is important. Some businesses want to change their products and services, while others want to launch new services and products.  A redesign will give your website a new appearance that will attract more traffic and meet all the new rules set by search engines. To achieve this, the process needs to be carried out by professionals. Making simple mistakes could end up making your site worse than it initially was. These mistakes will also cost you a great deal in money and time especially due to the downtime.

 

If you decide to go ahead with the redesign, the following are mistakes you should avoid by all means.

  1. Not having the Correct Goals for the Redesign Project

Prior to starting any project or fixing a problem, it is important to understand what the problem is and find out the causes. Without this kind of analysis, finding out what to solve, where to look and the expected results will be a difficult task. Creating a plan for the website redesign starts with setting of goals, the processes involved and which need more attention than others.

 

If all the analysis and the goals are complicated to you, the best thing to do is find a website you want your site to look like. You can then explain to the designer from here and this will be easier and it will make more sense.  Not having goals means the project can go any direction and you might not like the results.

  1. Putting Aesthetics over Functionality

The reason you are redesigning your website is so that it looks better but most importantly, it works better. The truth is that sometimes these two elements will overlap and you will need to choose one. A good appearance is important but it should not be prioritized at the expense of functionality. No one wants a website that looks like a million dollars but functions like 1 cent.

 

Above every other aspect, you should always ensure that the site is delivering on functionality. This means that is has great search and is created in such a way that the target audience can find whatever they need fast and easy.

  1. Lack of Website Analysis

You cannot set your goal without a proper analysis of the existing website design. You will need to analyze the metrics to find out what needs a change and what needs an improvement. This analysis will give you an opportunity to understand the problems you are currently facing and an identification of things that are working and those that are not. These elements should be incorporated in the redesign for the best results.

 

After the re-launch, it is also crucial that you monitor the elements you had analyzed. This will help in immediately identifying the problems and fixing them before they cause any problems. You will also get a chance to find out how much the redesigning has helped your site and your business. This means that the metrics are important and the professionals handling the process can avail them.

  1. Limiting your Budget

It is crucial to have a working budget to prevent overspending and under spending. Most website owners are on the lower side for obvious reasons. If your last redesigning project was half a decade ago, it does not mean the cost you paid is the same. Things have changed and so has the cost. A few years ago, all that was needed in the redesign was a few tweaks and an online brochure. Well, there are more things to be handled now and this increases the cost. Businesses are in competition with each other and all are trying to improve aesthetics while maintaining an impressive functionality.

 

With things such as responsive designs and content management, your website will do more than you can imagine and you cannot simply expect to pay a small price. Though you should not overspend, limiting your budget will mean that the changes will be limited and this will not be much of a change for your website and business.

  1. Having an Unrealistic Deadline

Okay, it takes time to redesign a website properly. Though it should not take a whole year, you should not expect to have a new design overnight. There are a number of phases that have to be followed such as researching, wire framing, creating content, design change, web development and testing. Depending on the wideness of your site and the work that has to go into each process, the project can take more than three months.

 

In most cases, website owners will want the process handled fast. This is based on fear of losing clients for the time the site will not be working. The process can be handled faster and this means a few corners will be cut. The resulting website will be a good example of a mistake. The clients you were so afraid of losing might actually not appreciate the hurriedly done redesigning.

  1. Forgetting About the Client During the Redesigning Project

As you handle the redesign, it is crucial that you let your clients feel at home. They should know what you are doing and that you have not closed your business. If you have a physical store, you need to let them know that the shop is still open. This is possible through social networks which can represent your website while it is getting a facelift.

 

Keep in mind that a first time visitor that visit the site during this transition might actually never come back regardless of whether you inform them what is happening or not. After the redesign, make sure you inform your customers that you are back and that there were some changes done to improve their experience. These simple gestures can greatly tell your clients that you really care about them. Whatever you do, never forget about your customers.

  1. Giving the Redesign Task to the Wrong People

Simply put, the redesign project will turn out as good as the people handling it. In this age, websites are important assets in the business world and they need to be treated as so. If you are changing the design, you need to make sure it is professionally handled; there is no room for trial and error. Go for designers with exceptional design abilities and technical skills. They need to be aware of what goes on in your relevant industry. Choosing an incompetent designer will end in a catastrophic website and this is something you just cannot afford.

  1. Content Strategy Neglect

Excellent functionality and great design is half the journey. It does not make any sense to have an attractive website that is at the bottom of the ranking list on search engine result pages. Everyone is aiming to be on the first spot. After the redesign, you should reinforce the new look with fresh interesting content. The content strategy you select should involve all the buying steps your customer should take.

 

Using the metrics from the previous analysis, you can organize the content based on the visitor’s behavior. Note where the visitors are paying attention to and where they are not. The content strategy should include relevant information such as news, industry details and other things your target customers will like. You should ensure that the content you are writing is interesting to your audience and friendly to search engine. This is where SEO comes in. The content should be optimized to push your site to the top of the search result pages.

  1. Forgetting About Mobile Users

If website redesigning is in your mind, it is important not to forget about mobile phone users. Most of the website visits today are from mobile devices. There are more people using mobile phone to access the internet than those using desktop computers. This means that the redesign should not lock out the mobile users at all costs.

 

Probably, your website will get more mobile phone users than other users. As the developer is planning on starting the project, you should make sure they optimize the site for mobile users. They should have an experience as good as the desktop user. Most mobile users will not stay a second longer if the site is not mobile friendly. Your guess is right; they will visit your direct competitor.

  1. Discontinuing All Efforts After the Launch of the New Website

Most people feel as if all the work is done after the redesign process. Well, if you stop putting in more work, the redesign was actually for nothing. Running a website is not just about having an attractive design and useful content. What was useful yesterday might not be all that useful today. This is where the smaller important tasks come in. You need to make content updates to attract customers and generate sales.

 

Smaller adjustments are beneficial in seizing sudden opportunities for engagement, conversion rate and sales. You should focus on growth and no growth will happen if you do not keep on working on the website to address the current changes.

 

In time and money, website redesigns can be a good investment which explains why you need to be cautious when carrying out this project. Avoiding all these mistakes will ensure that your project is worth your time and your money. You just need to focus on the important elements and your website will be a strong driving force in your business’s growth. Of course, there are other mistakes that people make but the 10 are the most common and carry the most weight.

 

Working with professional designers in your redesigning project will reduce the chances of these mistakes occurring and save you a great deal of money and time.

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Why a Website Redesign Can Boost Your Traffic

Why a Website Redesign Can Boost Your Traffic

By Derek Robinson

So, have you been planning to redesign your website? If you haven’t then you probably should start thinking about that. It is a good idea to give your website a new look and we have a number of reasons why a website redesign can boost your traffic and consequently increase your sales.

 

The world of business on the internet is on a constant change. There are trends that will stay with us for a week, some for months and some for years. They all share a common element; they become outdated at a particular point. A while ago, owning a flash website was the in thing. Today, not a lot of people have flash sites. This website as a technology is slowly dying and giving way to new technology of today.

 

Let’s dive into more details and explain why it is important to give your website a different design.

  1. A New Look Gives Your Website Professionalism

Quick question; can you dress like you are straight from the 1950’s and meet a client for serious business that is not about dressing like you are from the 50s? We don’t think so. The impression the client will get is that you have outdated and still stuck to the old era.

 

Similarly, you cannot invite people to a website that looks like it is from the 90s. You do not want the cheesy, mobile unfriendly and bad graphics to give your clients doubts about your business. Most clients will start questioning your products and services based on how old and uncared for your website looks. To give it a boost and a new face, a redesign is one of the best ways to do this.

  1. Your Site needs to be Friendly to Mobile Devices

It is likely that when your website was built, the only thing a mobile phone would do is to call and text. There have been major changes and mobile phones have surpassed computers in access to the internet. Not most people actually thought we will come to this but now that we are here, it is important to make the necessary changes.

 

People are now accessing social platforms, reading news and buying items from their phones. Smartphone have become the new computers and are convenient because they are easy to carry around. If your website is unfriendly to these devices, the users will move on to another website very fast. A redesign with make sure you are not losing this important traffic and the consequent sales to your competitors.

  1. Changes are Inevitable

Initially, your visitors were attracted to your site because it looked innovative and professional.  Time passes and what used to attract them is now not that interesting. It is natural that clients will start looking forward to changes on your website. They will want to see fresh content and a different look. The best way to do this is through a website redesign.

  1. Most Old Websites are SEO Unfriendly

The reason SEO is very important is to ensure that the website is found and ranked by search engines. Most old websites do not follow the modern SEO practices and rules set by major search engines such as Google.  Not all new websites do but it’s more common in older sites.

 

There is not much that can be done on older websites in relation to SEO. There will be a time when the website will not be doing any good to your business without these practices. The best solution is to change the design and include the practices.

  1. Your Call to Action Needs to Work

Initially, most websites did not have a call to action on all pages. Today, you do not simply expect people to browse through your site and go to the contact page. You should therefore have a call to action on all the site pages. This will ensure that your visitors know the next step when they come to the end of the text. Whether it is downloading something, buying goods or services, subscribing or getting a quote, you need to be clear on what you want the visitors to do.

 

These are some of the reasons why you need to redesign your website if you have not done it in the recent past. As you make this important step, it’s a good idea to work with professionals in this web designing.

 

If you have any more reasons why redesigning your website is important or general ideas about redesigning feel free to share.

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reasons why your website design is not working

Reasons Why Your Website Design Is not working

By Derek Robinson

So you have had a website made and now your business is up to date with the current technology. Unfortunately, your website is not serving the purpose it was created for properly. The only reason behind failed web design and development is in the creation. We will have a look at some of the common reasons why your website design is not working as expected. You need to talk to a web design expert to have this corrected immediately.

Cluttered Homepage

If your design is involves a cluttered home page, then you can expect that the visitors will be greatly slowed down and this will significantly affect your website’s performance. We are not saying that your website home page should have limited things. What it means is that you can have all the topics you want but they have to be presented in an orderly manner. This way, your visitors will find what they are looking for faster. The reason you have a website is to provide information about your business online. When the website is not doing this, then it has failed.

Your Web Design Just Involves Paragraphs Of Texts

When your website is all about long paragraphs that have no visual breaks or some images to break the monotony it is highly unlikely that you will pass your message to enough target audience. Most users are in search of information they can scan through quickly and get an idea of what they are looking for. Simply put, blocks of text without any breaks or without some images are boring. Not many people will read through these blocks of texts and this just limits your website’s ability.  Web design professionals will help you with the layout of a perfectly balanced website content that will attract users and keep them reading what you have to say.

No or Improperly Placed Call To Action

Your web design and development is all about driving your visitor to what you want them to do. This is why you will explain what your business has to offer then tell your visitors what to do or where to go next. This is what is referred to call to action. If your site does not have a call to action or the call to action is not properly placed, then this will be a big problem. As your design is laid out, it is important to give the call to action the attention it deserves.

Unresponsive Web Design

It is sad that there are still many websites that will not format properly to fit in a small screen of mobile devices. This means that the design is unresponsive and you are losing a lot in matters of target audience. Note that most people now use mobile devices to access the internet.

 

If you think your design is not working properly, it is time to talk to a professional web design company.

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