Things To Remember When Developing Your Business Website

Written by Ival on September 16th, 2012. Posted in Website Design

Strong presence on the internet is the most important aspect for start-up businesses. Having a good, user-friendly website is the foremost need for any small or new business. The website has to be informative and also have a simple URL. Having a website is easy, but making it effective to sell your products is what holds the key. It may happen that your website speaks volumes about the designer’s taste, but fails to speak about your business line.

Professional Designer

Serious businessmen will always hire the services of professional web designers for developing their company website. These professionals are well adept about the exact needs and requirements pertaining to your line of business. Though these designers will follow your vision, they will also provide relevant inputs about what needs to be done on the website, and maintain their creativeness in the process too.

Hiring professionals is good, as they have a complete know-how about industry verticals, and also have the creative spark needed to accommodate the business need along with a creative design. You also have the option of DIY applications available in plenty, but designing your websites using them will not give you the desired result compared to what you can get by availing the services of professionals in the trade.

User-Friendly Design

Professional designers have a drawback. They use their expertise for creating technical wonders for adding to their portfolio. Such designs may or may not be user-friendly. From the customers’ point of view, ease of navigation and complete access to information, is what is needed. Hence, choosing the services of a professional who writes the code in a manner which allows modification at your end is always recommended. This will help in saving precious time and hard-earned money.

Unique Design

The design of the website has to reflect the personality of the business. The visitors of the website have to understand immediately about the products and make purchases from the website. The design has to reflect your core business and be one of its kind for engaging the customers.

What Is Needed?

Identifying business needs is very important while getting your websites done. Providing exact facts about your goals to the designer is very important. Even though you will be stealing the creative freedom of the designer, getting what you need is vital. Suggestions from the designer have also to be taken though, but the final decision has to be your own; one which satisfies your future needs regarding the website.

Know the Designer

Choosing a designer who is known is always good. Check the previous work done by the designer before finalizing. You need to ascertain whether the designer is worthy enough for delivering what you want.

Why Hire a Website Designer? Can’t I Do It Myself Cheaper?

Written by Ival on September 16th, 2012. Posted in Website Design

The cost of hiring a website designer is something that crops up regularly. Especially with all the television adverts showing you just how easy it is to build a website (even a complicated ecommerce shopping website) – if only you sign your life away with the company producing the commercial.

So why should you pay a website designer instead?

Can’t you just use WordPress or the even easier Flash based services like Moonfruit?

Won’t that work just as well?

Regardless of whether you’re talking about a startup website or a bigger one, there are pros and cons to using a website designer versus a DIY build it yourself approach.

The free or cheap services out there are good for home sites such as your personal blog where you natter about what you’ve done recently and upload photos for friends and relatives to see. But, to be honest, if that’s all you want to do then you’d get almost all the same benefit from a simple Facebook page.

But a business website is a representation of your business on the internet. Increasingly it’s the first “shop front” that customers will encounter.

Which means that if the foot of the page says something like “free website provided by… “, your potential customers will immediately know that you don’t much care about how your business is represented on the internet.

If you’re a plumber or other word-of-mouth type business, that may work fine.

But for almost anyone else, this DIY approach is likely to backfire.

Unless you don’t value your time, there will be a learning curve associated with your “free” website. The person showing you what to do on the 30 second advert practised for hours to make things look as easy as they claim. And if you’ve done ten or twenty similar sites already, it probably is that easy.

For instance, an experienced website designer can properly set up a WordPress website in under half an hour. That would include all the tweaking to sort out the stuff the default installation puts on the site, installing a variety of plugins to help stop spam, make contacting you easy, make the on-site SEO work like a dream and maybe even change the header on the default theme so that it matches your image.

Then they’ll spend quite a bit more time making sure that all the content is added to the website and is properly optimised so that Google’s robots will drool with enthusiasm when they crawl it.

You’ll spend the first few hours trawling YouTube for some decent tutorial videos, struggle to follow some of them when they skip over a vital step or something’s changed since the video was shot, and so on.

In the same way that you wouldn’t tinker with a modern car yourself apart from adding fuel and checking things like the tyre pressures, the same goes for a creating modern website.

It’s actually cheaper in the long run to pay a modest fee and get a properly installed website up and running. It will almost certainly be quicker as well – you’ve paid your website designer so they will do their job whereas if you’re creating your own site there’s a good chance that you’ll leave it until tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after that.

So the simple answer to why hire a website designer rather than do it yourself is that you’ll get a better job done, faster and less fraught than trying to do it yourself.

You can always specify that you want to do any updates to the site yourself, such as adding new blog posts on a regular basis. That’s different because the basic framework will already be there, ready for you to use.

But the initial site creation is best left to an expert so that it’s done to specification, on time and on budget.

Deep down, you know that makes sense!

How Web Developers Can Improve Front-End Performance

Written by Ival on September 16th, 2012. Posted in Website Design

Unfortunately, many web developers tend to forget about optimizing their work for improved performance, but the reality of the situation is that organized, valid code ensures the compatibility of the website. Not only should a web developer focus on preparing their code to be read by other developers, they should also be preparing it to be read by web browsers.

Use these tips to improve the front-end performance of your website:

Move JavaScript to the footer of the page – This is, by far, the easiest and quickest thing a web developer can do to improve the performance of a website. This will cause the other elements of the page to begin loading before the JavaScript, which can make the overall page load faster.

Put the CSS at the top of the page – Placing the CSS before anything else is, ultimately, just as important as placing the JavaScript at the bottom – CSS often contains background images that require another round of server requests (getting these started as soon as possible is vital to performance), and the page will render as soon as the CSS is ready.

Compile and minimize your CSS and JavaScript files – Whilst it may make sense to a web developer to use several different style sheets and files, it can be a nightmare when it comes to the front-end performance of your website. Instead, you should compile all of your CSS into one file and all of your JavaScript into another, then minimize them both. It may seem like a pain to do this, but the improvement in performance will be huge.

Watch out for third-party scripts – These days, many web developers will include third-party scripts and widgets on their websites that will load data from other servers (such as the Tweet button, the Facebook fan button, and the Share This button). Many of these widgets actually make a large number of requests and block pages from downloading, so it is always better to use them sparingly and to install asynchronous widgets wherever possible.

Measure your results – There are a number of tools on the market that are designed to help web developers measure the performance of their website. In this way, you are able to see whether the site is performing well or not and where any changes are needed to improve this.

It is highly important for web developers to take front-end performance into account when beginning work on a new or existing project. After all, you would hate to be penalized by the search engines for having a website that takes an excessive amount of time or simply refuses to load. Not to mention the reaction of your visitors who are forced to sit there and wait. Web developers need to stop and take notice, then work accordingly.

Top Seven Tips for Choosing a Professional Web Designer

Written by Ival on September 15th, 2012. Posted in Website Design

Website has become a great way to target a wider market for businesses dealing in retail or wholesale sector. Even the brick and mortar businesses are relying majorly on their websites to attract more prospective buyers. With a huge scope of enhancing business opportunities through a website, it is essential to have an attractive and unique web design.

Many businesses are taking help of professional website design studios to make it interesting, alluring and eye-catchy for prospective buyers. If you are looking for a website design company, you would be lucky to know that there are many design studios that are dealing in providing website design services. They boast of a team of designers who have the right aptitude and approach to offer innovative website design solutions.

While you are making a search, it is important for you to hire only a professional web designer so as to give a classy, commercial and wonderful look. Let’s consider the top seven tips that are mostly taken into consideration while choosing a website designer:

1. Regardless of location and proximity, a website designer must communicate all the essentials of a design for your approval.
2. They must have experience of working in your business domain and industry.
3. The expertise in using different web design tactics is also vital to make your web design possible.
4. Consult with professionals about their capabilities in presenting a simple idea into a unique way.
5. Share your budget limits with them so that they can customize a unique solution that can still has a great appeal and attraction.
6. Check if you are comfortable in talking with a web designer for sharing any new idea that can make the design of a website better.
7. Gaining knowledge about their previous work will be an added advantage to understand their capabilities and success stories.

While you are sure that a particular web design studio will be successful to provide you a web design solution that can give a boost to your presence online, you can go ahead with the deal. However, you must ensure that the company also use SEO tactics to make your site SEO and user-friendly. This will be great advantage as SEO optimized website design will have better chances of appearing on top of search engine results, and eventually gaining more traffic and sales leads towards a business. So, you can now use the above mentioned tips and make your search quicker.

Using Information Architecture and User Experience to Design Websites

Written by Ival on September 15th, 2012. Posted in Website Design

According to the instated definition of Wikipedia, Information Architecture (IA) can be defined as the “the art and science of organizing and labeling websites.” Supporting the usability factor in website designing, the information architects focus on collating the principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape. Coined by Richard Saul Wurman, the term “information architect” is completely different from the user experience. The information architecture typically constitutes of the model or concept of information that is used and applied for addressing the unambiguous details of the complex information systems. As per Jessie James Garrett, IA facilitates in effective communication. However, the same resource (Wikipedia), explains the term User Experience (UX) as “the way a person feels about a product, system or service.” The feeling also includes the person’s perceptions of the practical aspects of the product such as the ease of use, usability, and efficiency of the system. Taking the Information Architecture as the foundation of user experience, the website design is brought to a complete new level.

The term Information Architecture is an old term compared to the web. Focusing on the structure of the content and organization of structure, the websites are organized to help user navigate through seamlessly. From simple brochure formats to complex information systems, the architects create usable content infrastructure out of the complex sets of information. Using the user centered design methodologies, the Web Design And Development Companies construe usability tests, persona research and user flow diagrams to create the frameworks. However, this is only a part of the UX design.

On the other hand, the UX design takes this informational framework and considers factors of navigation and its ability to enhance engagement. Employing a user-based design, the Web Design And Development Companies are able to produce cohesive, desirable, and predictable emotional effect on their target customers.

The emotional tug ensures that the user elicits a sensitive response contextual to the website. The UX website designers make things more profound, laying emphasis on the users and their emotional content. Encompassing the whole spectrum, the UX is IA, mixed with usability, content strategy, and creativity. Or rather as Darren Northcott puts it, the love child of Information Architect and Creative Director is UX.

Difference between the IA and the UX designers

The IA designers will conduct competitive analysis to generate page flows, sitemap, and wireframes. Usability tested, refined, and revised, the workflow then proceeds to the website designer to be implemented. The UX designers consider the IA’s workflow and consider the emotional objectives of the user. The competitive analysis is based on the interactivity levels rather that layout and structures.

Building on the structure provided by the IA, the website designed takes the user experience to complete new level. It is important to connect both creatively and emotionally and this is what the website designed collating both IA and UX achieve.