Design on the Web Differs From Creative Advertising

Web design contains many of the principles of print related graphic design such as typography, general visual aesthetic, color theory, placement of elements in order to lead the eye to a place of interest, breaking up information so that is is easily digestible, and many other principles that go into creating effective design.

So what’s the difference on the web? Why can’t we apply the same principles to create effective website design? There are many reasons for this — and the first one that might come to most people’s minds is that website’s are built on “code” -and hence the designer must have at least a general understanding of how this code structure works, to be able to effectively design for the medium. This is true, and I recommend designers understand XHTML, CSS, some javascript, and some flash, as well as what the back-end languages like.php and.net can do — however knowing how to actually program is not a requirement. Even though it is not a requirement it is recommend that a web designer understands the languages intimately so that he can design much more effectively and efficiently. An understanding better than just basic, will also help a designer communicate with a web developer (or a web programmer) this is the essential synergy that is necessary to design, build and create great web experiences!

So, let’s say I understand the programming and I am an awesome designer — what else should I know in order to create great websites as a designer? The next thing is structure, or architecture. This is a the foundation and grid of your layout, and there are specific grids that are proven to be effective in the design of websites. It also refers to the placement of elements on the screen, and the placement and proximity of these elements will either drive people through your site to deeper areas of information or drive them right off your website and on to one of the other websites that might have similar content but are easier to navigate and find the information or service that they are looking for. This is the reason that the logical stricture and architectures of your web design be done right — simply because there are so many other websites out there and it is a lot easier for someone to click to another site than it is for someone to put down the print-related graphically designed communication they are reading or looking at. The amount of choices and quick ability to abandon a website make this factor of great importance. Architecture also refers to the navigation structure and how pieces of information are logically broken down into digestible pieces for the website visitor. It is a necessity for a web designer to be able to create visually pleasing designs as well as formulate a logical structure — this is easier said than done. Visual or creative people tend to be less concerned with structure and logic, which is why a web designer requires a special trait — they need to balance the two often opposing sides, or the right-brain and left-brain in order to create effective designs for the web.

So far we have awesome graphically and visually appealing design, an intimate understanding of the programming underneath the designs and we are able to balance our design into a logical, clear and concise structure so people can find what they are looking for, when they want it! What else do we need as an effective web designer? Let’s call this one “on-page strategy”. On-page strategy will enhance the user experience by combining the above three principles into something called strategy. Web design strategy depends greatly on a very good “discovery” period — this looks at the competitor landscape, it reviews the main objective of the website as well as the secondary and tertiary objectives of the business and the website. On page strategy also includes a good SEO (search engine optimization) plan. SEO entails a good coding structure so that your valuable web design copy can be deciphered not only by the humans that read your website, but also by the search engines, so that they can rank your information and index it on their search engines — and in turn making the vast amount of people able to find your website. It examines the information and makes decisions based on this information.

Then we have “off-page strategy” which refers to how other web sites will lead people into your website — sort of like road signs that take people straight on to the street that your site lives. Some off page strategy includes advertising and link building, good public relations, article writing, web sit submission to directories and of course social media.

So, in summary web design requires a whole new set of skills and an expansion of the palette of a print-related art director or graphic designer. Throw in some motion design experience, video experience, maybe a dash of 3D and the art of simplicity and you’re well on the road to designing great website experiences that are effective!

Why So Many People Abandon Work on Their Web Site, and 10 Things You Can Do to Stay Up to Date

“Hay neighbor, got any ASP, SEO or PHP in the cupboard today?”

Acronyms, lingo, terminology; these terms that are thrown about by many web savvy people like a cup of flour or sugar to yesterday’s housewives are enough to put any web newbie off. It can take days of research just to figure out what the neighborhood techy said to you at the cocktail party last night, never mind figuring out what it all actually means to you and the website you thought you could develop for yourself so easily on publisher!

Shopping for a unique and expressive URL on “Go Daddy” or “Network Solutions” seems so fun; surely the whole process will be just as effortless, won’t it? Of course now that you are reading this you might be wondering if you chose the right URL? They are relatively inexpensive, so if you are not 100% in love with yours buy more of them and be creative with it.

For the average do it yourselfer creating a website sounds like a nice rainy Sunday afternoon project, until they realize that there are just so many tough choices to make. Many business owners quickly get frustrated just trying to decide between a “static” site, a “dynamic” site or a “wholesale” site; then we get into flash, credit card options, newsletters, search engine optimization (seo), content management systems (cms), coding and blogging just to name a few decisions. The Domain Name is purchased and then it sits there waiting for the decisions to be made and or a web designer / web development service to be hired to assist in making solid educated decisions. It all looks so simple while you are browsing online at competitive web sites. The cost of making bad decisions when it comes to your web presence can be high, after all this is frequently the first impression you will make on the very consumer you are trying to reach and capture, we have all heard all our lives how important first impressions are to our future relationships.

To avoid the pitfalls start by looking online at websites for products and services that are related to your business or service. Every site usually has a creator listed in the footer. Make a note of what you like and don’t like in the appearance, content, features and usability of these competitive sites. Get 3-6 cost estimates with full feature and benefits comparison and then get to work developing a website that will drive new business to you, help you keep existing business and be an overall asset to your future.

Once your site is up and running; utilizes the following disciplines to stay up to date:

1) Utilize a service or template so you don’t get lost in cyber land trying to learn how to write in code.

2) Return to those competitive site frequently, know your competition and keep an eye on new features they are developing.

3) Every week invest a minimum amount of time to finding and maintaining appropriate links.

4) Ask your customers for feedback on your site and your service.

5) Regularly post customer testimonials.

6) Keep it simple; don’t let your site get overly complicated.

7) Add new content on a regular basis either via a service, by changing a page or blogging.

8) Have the customer inquiries routed to your daily e-mail so you can respond promptly with little effort.

9) Buy several appropriate URL’s and have them feed into your main site for broader client lead generation.

10) Subscribe to at least 1 related e-newsletter so you get weekly input without having to search for it.

Remember that your website is likely the first impression your new customers will have of your business so make it a statement of who you are, what your business offers and the quality of service you are going to give the customer once they entrust you with their precious time and money. You should know your business better than anyone else, so make sure your website accurately portrays the message you want to deliver to the consumers you are trying to reach. That said, you also want to keep that first impression fresh and timely with regular maintenance. The savings in lead generation you will gain from a great website verses print media will make the effort well worth your while.

Simple Guidelines on Web Designing

The professionals of the web design company will surely benefit from following the usual guidelines in web designing and though some may think that they have earned enough expertise on that certain field, there are some things that can never be disregarded when aiming for an expertly designed website.

• Web content that has grammatical and spelling errors should never find its place on a website who wants to established a credible reputation.

• It is important to design a website that would be compatible on different browsers. There are many browsers being used by different users and it would be totally useless to have the best website if it cannot run on most browsers.

• Always optimize your photos before posting it onto your site. Most web visitors are very conscious of the time that they spend on certain websites and they would surely leave a site that keeps them hanging for so long.

• The 3-click rule should be understood by web developers. If a web visitor can’t achieve what they need after 3 clicks on the mouse they would find no reason to linger on it so it would definitely be necessary to make sure that there are no discrepancies within your links.

A good web design merely deals with adequate planning. It may only need a common sense and right judgment to determine the things that would surely work best for your site and for sure if you’ll carefully take note of these important things, the task of designing a perfectly made website will never be hard to accomplish.