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How Do Designers Make Unique Looking Websites?

Unless you have gone ahead and used one of those ready-made templates where you simply add in your own information, then you may be wondering how designers make unique looking websites. Well, aside from the knowledge and experience side of things, there are several other ways in which a good designer can take your brief and turn it into something that is indeed absolutely unique.

First, a designer should be able to look at your website, or ideas, and view it as a unique problem that needs to be solved. In all honesty, this has to be one of the most important points to be made because if a designer starts to view two websites in the same way, then it can lead to an amount of crossover in the design that may not be best for either website.

It can become all too easy for the web designer to fall into the trap of feeling very comfortable in what they are creating because it is the fourth construction company website that they have made in the last 12 months. Ultimately, ideas can be regurgitated, which is also not good, and there can be less of a creative flow that can ultimately hamper the final design of the website.

The best way to get around this is indeed to view each website as being a one-off problem that has to be resolved. If this is the approach that is taken, then solutions will also flow more easily, which is not exactly a bad thing.

Starting from Nothing.

A good designer will listen to your brief and then start from absolutely nothing with the design. That means it is built from the ground up because taking an existing website and then personalizing it is going to lead to that crossover issue that we mentioned earlier.

If a website is constructed from point zero, then the chances of it being unique in every way is only going to be increased. It creates a certain freshness about it all and that can only be a good thing for the client.

Research is Everything.

To get a unique looking website, there has to be an amount of research undertaken to ultimately get the rough outline of the website which can then be added to as the project progresses. A designer going into a project blindly is increasing the chances of making mistakes, and that should clearly be avoided.

The designer should carry out research into the company they are working for, the market they are in, the competition, the color schemes that work well for the branding, and the key mistakes that need to be avoided. Failure to do any of this is only going to result in a relatively botched attempt to produce something that is satisfactory to the client. If you do not prepare, then you will more than likely fall back to previous designs and use them as your inspiration which can, as a result, lead to a number of parts effectively being copied.

But then, there is a point that should also be made in that you are going to find it very difficult to have something that is indeed completely unique. There will always be minor aspects that are effectively borrowed from elsewhere, but it is the overall scheme of things and the way in which they are all put together that is the key.

A designer is going to be aware of this, but they will not allow it to cloud their thinking. Instead, they will accept those aspects and continue working towards the brief in order to ultimately produce something that is unique for that client.

Even though having a template where you just add your own text is tempting, it can affect the way in which people view you as a company. Having something that is functional and delivers on what you need is the most important thing of all. So what if something is not 100% unique. If it provides to you what you need in your website, then that is key and if the designer has been able to achieve your brief and produce something that works and represents your brand, then the overall project should then be viewed as being a success.

Why You Need to Opt for Responsive Web Design

It would be wrong to suggest that ‘responsive web design’ is a buzz term because it has now been around for two years and ever since Google made a huge shift towards mobile and tablet usage. However, there are still various websites that just do not incorporate this into its design and that, in this day and age, is a major sin.

Now, just for those few that may still be unaware as to what this means, it’s basically design that can be viewed on any device and the design will fit their screen. This was a huge change when it came out because prior to that, people with access to the Internet via their phones were left with having to scroll all over the page simply because things just wouldn’t fit.

That has all changed now, and there are a number of reasons as to why this approach has to be adopted by you for your very own website.

It Helps Your SEO.

Anything that is beneficial to your SEO attempts has to be adopted by you especially when you consider that Google changed things so that your website would be downgraded in search results via tablets and smartphones.

If your site uses this responsive web design, then your organic search traffic should increase as you will surpass those websites that are competition to you but where they have not adopted this approach at this time. Considering the difference that just a few places can make to the traffic you receive, this is something that is well worth thinking about.

It Increases Your Market.

Another reason is that it is going to increase your market as you are no longer excluding people simply because of the device that they are using.

Who would stay on a website via their smartphone when all they see are a jumble of words and images that just don’t make sense. There is no chance that they will stay there on your website and attempt to scroll around when there are various websites offering the same thing and a more pleasant viewing experience.

Considering that it’s getting to the point where the majority of traffic is going to be from tablets or smartphones, then ignoring it reduces your market and can you afford to do that?

It Boosts Sharing.

At the same time, the fact that your website becomes accessible to anybody, no matter the viewing device, is going to increase the chances of your content being shared since nobody is excluded. Also, using this design is going to save you money in the long-term. There’s no longer any need to have one website for laptops and another one for mobile devices as it’s all built into the same thing.

This then means that your completed site can be live in a shorter period of time as there is only the one set of rules, images, and content to deal with.

It Improves Usability.

Usability is one of the main things that is going to either make or break your website because if it’s not good enough, then people will go elsewhere.

This is something that responsive web design excels at simply because it takes everybody into consideration and provides them with the exact same experience no matter their device. Exclusion is the complete opposite of usability and that’s something worth keeping in mind when you are thinking about the design aspect.

Just think about your own feelings when you go to a website with your smartphone, as there’s a pretty good chance you have done this, and how you react when things are just not working out the way you thought.

What do you do?

The chances are you become fed up and click off onto another website, so why would you not then make sure that your own website is not doing the same thing for other people?

It’s not even as if it costs you a huge sum of money to have this design incorporated. It’s all second nature since it was introduced two years ago and it’s largely just assumed that this has to be included in the design brief.

Responsive web design was, at one point, seen as a potential passing fad, but it is certainly here to stay. If your website does not have this kind of design, then it’s about time you put in the effort and got things changed. You will reap the rewards of doing so in next to no time and this alone will have made it all worth your while.

Website Navigation

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Website Navigation – Get it Wrong and Your Website Will Suffer

Navigation is something that should not be overlooked, but that is often what actually happens especially when an individual seeks to make their own website using rather limited knowledge. However, poor navigation is one of the leading reasons as to why an individual will simply click away from a website that they feel is just like a maze that they cannot work around.

 

Now, there is actually more to a website and its navigation than just that one menu at the top because it is often the case that this is no longer enough. Instead, people are constantly looking for ways to move around a website especially after they read different points that are of interest. The last thing they want is to then go all the way up to the top because we are actually rather lazy about everything.

 

 

Make Sure Your Website is Organized.

 

Navigation only works well when your website is organized enough for the pages to then go ahead and flow from one to the other. However, you also need to remember that your navigation menu also has to be organized and that is where drop down navigation can work well.

 

With this, you need to be aware of categories where individuals will know what to expect when they move the cursor over that tab. For example, if you offer various services via your website then it would make sense for the main tab to announce that this is connected to what you have to offer followed by a drop down menu which effectively lists the different services.

 

At this point, people will then become aware that they can go ahead and click on a sub-tab to then learn more about that particular service. This helps them to navigate to get to the information that they are searching for which would also then make it more likely that they will, once again, do the actions that you are looking for them to do.

 

It Has to be Concise.

 

People just do not want to go ahead and spend a lot of time working their way through lists of categories to get themselves started. Being concise is important because if navigation appears to be too complicated then this is something that makes them navigate away.

 

There is a need to not only find the information but to do so as quickly as possible. It is also the case that as we use tablets and smartphones in order to access the Internet that these devices are just not that good at dealing with complex navigation menus. They do not work too well in offering you the ability to see all of the potential paths you can follow if you have categories followed by sub-categories and then even sub-sub-categories. That is why a search facility is going to prove to be easier for websites where there are a substantial number of pages to be included.

 

Remembering the Serial Position Effect.

 

The final point that we would like to mention here is that there is something within the realm of psychology called the serial position effect. Basically, this is where it is known that individuals will pay more attention to the beginning and end rather than anything in the middle. In other words, it would be wasted to put any navigation in the middle of a page or text as it would often be missed.

 

That is why we tend to put our navigation at the top of the page, but here is one piece of advice for you to incorporate. Why not also consider navigation at the bottom of individual aspects of the website?

 

By doing so, you provide people with further opportunities to go ahead and get to the information that they are seeking and do not for one second think that this is going to be purely for those websites that are selling products. It works for every single website.

 

In short, you have to spend more time getting to grips with the navigation around your website and make sure that each and every website visitor is able to get to the pages that they are looking for without having to go on a treasure hunt. Forget about one single menu bar as that is outdated. Instead, check that people can easily find whatever it is that they are looking for no matter where they are on each and every page. Not only will they spend longer on your website but they are more likely to then take the action that you want them to do.

 

Looking Forward to 2017 with Web Design Trends

2017-design-trendsIt can always be useful to look ahead in order to try to determine what the forthcoming web design trends are going to be in 2017. By doing this, it just provides you with a better sense of the kind of things that you may wish to include in your design, or even the things that your designer is going to end up recommending. Now, we are not saying that you should try to squeeze in as many different things as possible, but you should at least take some points into consideration.

1. Designed in Reverse.

It used to be the case that websites were designed with desktops or laptops in mind, but that is something that is changing. As it is now fair to say, and the statistics back this up, that mobile phones and tablets are the primary technology used to access the Internet, this is not what is happening.

In 2017, it is not just there being more of an emphasis on these devices, but rather the twist is that they are becoming the primary source of the design. In other words, websites are now going to tend to be designed for the mobile user and then the design is effectively scaled up so that it works on those devices with a bigger screen.

2. Avoiding the Use of Stock Images.

This could be a big change, but it seems that people have grown tired of seeing those stock images of people around the business table and anything else that is clearly just a stock image that has been bought and put onto a website. It is believed that this is now starting to put people off and they are no longer paying the kind of attention that they should have been and this is clearly bad for the site.

In 2017, there will be more of a focus on originality which means original images are being used in a design that are far more related to the company and brand itself rather than what they could just buy off the shelf, so to speak. This is regarded as making the website, and the company, far more authentic.

3. Big and Bold Typography.

Typography is something that is always changing when it comes to what is in vogue at any given time and 2017 is going to be no exception. For this, you can expect to see more use of type that is very large and playing a strong role on the screen. For some, the type is going to completely dominate a section of the page.

However, you can also expect this to be incorporated into more artistic fonts that correlate to what the website is all about and the overall feel that the company is trying to create. The main thing is that there is no need to be afraid of the size of the fonts being used and indeed you should be starting to really come across more websites like this shortly.

4. An Increase in Animation.

We mentioned earlier how there is a move away from stock images to more unique photography and at the same time we can also expect an increase in the number of animations that are generally going to be used on websites. Also, the way in which they are going to be used will differ.

The latest moves will often include animation being used for basically entertainment purposes as content loads. They can also be used to highlight key sections of websites and help to draw the eye of the individual to them. They may also be incorporated to help encourage some kind of interaction with the visitor.

5. A Better Use of Video.

Video has been used for a number of years, but it is predicted that as much as 78% of all Internet traffic is ultimately going to be video related by 2018. This means that websites are starting to move more towards using video than ever before and this is a trend that is going to continue in 2017.

Video can take the form of large background images or, alternatively, to highlight key points on different sections of the website. However, there also has to be the need to take into account that some video can be heavy, so at the same time it cannot be overused as it may slow down the loading time for some people.

There are of course a number of other changes that are going to occur with web design over the forthcoming 12 months. However, this has just given you some kind of an indication as to what you may expect to happen or, at the very least, the things that you should take into account for the development of your own website. There is no absolute need for you to go ahead and actually use them, but considering how it will give your site a fresh and modern look, then you can understand why it may very well be a good idea.

10 Web Design Terms That You Really Should Know

301 Whenever you are entering the world of having a website designed, one of the things that you will notice is that there are often terms that are being used that perhaps just do not make much sense to you. Now, we admit that some are more complex to understand than others but getting to grips with the terminology does make it easier for you to understand the process of developing your website. So, keeping that in mind, we thought that we would pull together 10 different terms that you might want to know about.

1. 301 redirect.

This sounds confusing, but what it refers to is the person hitting your website being referred from an old page to a new and update page. For example, a 301 redirect would be used if the ‘About Us’ page was now at domainname.com/ourcompany. Most times, you are not even going to be aware of this going on but it makes a website far more professional with the visitor being sent to the correct place so they are still able to get the information that they are looking for.

2. 404.

This is a code that is shown when an individual lands on a page that does not exist. This happens when they type in the wrong URL or the page was perhaps deleted by you. A 404 page will often have an explanation as to what has gone wrong.

3. Call to Action.

This is also referred to as CTA and it refers to a button or banner, text or image that urges the individual visiting your website to take action in some way. This could be used to get an individual to move to another web page or email or perhaps even to purchase something on an e-commerce website.

4. Content Management System.

This is shortened to CMS and is a system that allows you to control the content on your website in an easy to follow manner. Programs such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are prime examples.

5. CSS.

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet and is used by developers to control how your website looks. It sets up colors, images, and text styles amongst other things and creates a sense of uniformity throughout your website.

6. Favicon.

The favicon is the small image that sits in the browser bar as well as bookmarks and is linked to the website. It is often their logo or something that makes it easy to identify the site.

7. Responsive Design.

Responsive design is something that is extremely important for websites as it is a type of design that changes according to the type of screen that the site is being viewed on. For this, everything in the design has to be fluid so that the website is still easy to navigate no matter if it is being viewed on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

8. Slider.

Sometimes in the design of a website you may hear the term ‘slider’ being used. What this refers to is a series of images that are usually in the form of a banner and appearing on the homepage that rotate on a constant basis. Often, you will see this towards the top of the page.

9. User Experience.

User experience is important simply because it focuses on the way in which the visitor to the website is able to interact. Every single part of the design process right down to every single word that appears on a website is going to be linked to the idea of providing the best user experience possible. You need things to work smoothly, easy to navigate, easy to understand and to just make visiting your site a pleasure.

10. WYSIWYG

WYSIWYG stands for ‘What You See Is What You Get’ and it refers specifically to Content Management Systems whereby you are able to preview changes to your website from within the system and the user is able to see things in advance regarding text and graphics without them actually needing to have any specific knowledge of coding. This is often seen as being an easier way of editing and updating websites where you can effectively ‘check’ your work before it is made live.

Now, obviously there are a whole host of other terms that are used within the world of web design and it is important that you do fully understand everything before you get too involved in the production of your site. However, any web designer is going to be quite happy to explain the terminology in advance as there is an understanding that aspects of the industry are rather complex and difficult to follow especially for those with no prior experience.

Never be afraid to ask for an explanation because, after all, you are the client so you deserve to know what is going on at all times.

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