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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Web Design Avoid Mistakes and Follow the Best Rules

Good web design is easy to reach just sticking to a small set of rules, principals and avoiding some common mistakes.
Excellent web design skills are born out of years of experience, but for the beginning avoiding classical mistakes will give you a very good start.You also must keep abreast to the changes in mentality, skills and sophistication of today web visitors.

Fifteen years ago if you had a website with excellent graphics, flashy banners, and some animation elements you had a great website. Today you need to have content: relevant, unique, useful, you really have to solve some problems for your visitors. It is still important the website to look good but the content is the king now. Do you see the shift, which definitely are part of the learning curve, and competition on the internet marketing, which is different now vs. 15 years ago?

I will share with you some of the golden rules and common mistakes for website design.
1) Keep everything simple and intuitive. Long ago I read a book, which opened my eyes. Do not make me think: a common sense approach to web usability by Steve King is one of the best books on websites design.
I hear you, and I will explain. Do not make me think is just a cry loud for simplicity and intuitively. If you have to fill in a form and you have no idea how to do it, if you want to navigate from point A to point B but you do not have a direct link to do it, and so on, it is something wrong with the logic of your website design.
It is more than that, after years of browsing the web, visitors to a website expect certain conventions, and just breaking them is a great way of losing visitors. Example: people expect to find the navigation at the top of a page or on the left side; logos are mostly found on the top left. I suggest looking at how large companies such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay structure their pages, the language they use and emulate them.

2) Choose carefully the fonts. Not all the visitors have all the fonts available, you have to go with one of the font everybody have. They are: Arial, Verdana, Times, Courier, Geneva. All are easy to read. I think Verdana font looks great and is cited as being the easiest to read on the web, Arial as well. Do not make any sense to buy new fonts and use them because a user, who does not have that particular font, will end up using
the default on his browser.

3) Always ensure that there is a good contrast between any text and its background. The best combination is black text on a white background or white text on black background. Do not use white text on pale background; it is not user friendly because it is not easy to read.

4) Do not use all available colors on your pages, limit to 2-3 colors per website. Be considering to users with color blindness or contrast perception difficulties. You can help yourself with a software packages: Color Wheel Pro.

5) Make your website easy to change. You must be able to easily change your pages without completely redesigning them. The ability to add or remove content from a website is fundamental to the ongoing success of your website.
You do not create a website once and expect to be rank well in Google without to update frequently your website, improve your content, add new ideas and delete the ones which are not relevant.
The best structure of a website has a horizontal navigation, use cascading style sheets, and avoid unconventional layout and complicated backgrounds.

6) Be consistent, it is part of do not make your visitor think. At least about how to use your website, how easy is to navigate, and the same pattern and rules must exist in all the pages of the website. Using CSS correctly you can make most of this happen automatically. Try to learn a lot about cascading Style Sheets, this will make possible to separate the appearance and layout of your website from the content. This way the update and maintenance of your site will be easy to accomplish.

7) Concentrate on content, make the website relevant. Correlate your content with your pictures, without to abuse them. Do not use a lot of animation. Try to keep focus on content, update frequently, add more useful content. Create links to frequently visited website. This will help your ranking by search engine.

8) Avoid complexity you will save development time and make website easier to use.
All the above are common sense but following these principles will help you keep from trouble. It is possible to outsource the website design , it will cost you decent amount of money just to create just the initial layout. The real problem will appear later when you want to maintain your website; you will be charge be minimum half hour price for any 5 minute change and will add up considerable amount of money in time.

Personally I want to be in charge with the maintenance of all my websites.


What Makes A Good Design?

We all know perfectly well it is almost impossible to separate the best design from a whole bunch of good designs. A person's needs and expectations are deciding factors in determining exactly which the best design is. And we all have different needs and expectations.

While the above is true, it also always important to keep in mind that there are already established, agreed-upon characteristics a website must possess to consider it good. To make sure that your web design passes the test, keep the following in mind.

1. Decide on a general theme.

At the beginning of the web design process, a theme must be placed. This theme will serve as a backbone to which all other aspects of the web design are based upon. Having one theme suggests unity and harmony and therefore creates an impression of a well-balanced company or personality.

2. Write honestly and correctly.

Text read on a website must be written with pure honesty. Viewers appreciate transparency and are always delighted when they are given their due. Also, proofread everything you put on your website. Make sure that your sentences are grammatically correct, your paragraphs are in order, and the flow of your essays or write-ups is fluid.

3. Post relevant background and graphic images.

Make sure that the images you provide on your website are in tune with your theme and text. You simply cannot write about peace and order and have a picture of a gun as your background. You also cannot put
up a site for young professionals and put a graphic image of a cartoon character in the background. Again, it really is all about harmony. Also, make sure that your background doesn't steal attention away from the content of you website. If you want to exhibit your talent in the visual arts, do it in a separate web page.

4. Link up.

Do not put everything you want to say in one page. Otherwise, your website will be a drag and will be too heavy for one's sight. Use hyperlinks and name the accordingly. If you have more than twenty links, categorize them according to what they have in common. Put pictures in one category; services in another.

5. Create different versions for your website.

You cannot expect everybody to be able to view your website especially if you make use of new plug-ins and programs. Be reminded that not everybody is given the privilege to keep their computers up to and you should be able to serve everyone. Also make sure that your website is readable by all web browsers Internet Explorer, Mozilla, MSN, etc.

6. Ask your audience.

Provide a way for your viewers to contact you. You may give them your email address and other contact information. Should they have comments and suggestions for you to further improve your website, allow them to express themselves. If you donn't feel comfortable with providing personal contact details, post a guestbook in your website.

Put yourself in a viewer's shoes. Evaluate and assess how you would want to see your site if you were a customer. This way, you may actually create the best design for you and your visitors.


The Importance Of Good Logo Design

First we must ask ourselves; what is the reason of having a logo design in the first place? Most obvious is the fact that it helps aid in branding a product, service, and company. It does its part to help market a website, to make an impression on consumers, and to give visitors the sense that they are working with a truly professional company.

How Logo Design and Branding Propel Websites to Success

Branding is a popular subject in marketing. It is one of the major building blocks of any company's marketing campaign. It is usually achieved through slogan, good logo design, name, or design. But what many company's neglect is the very thing that marketing depends on- excellence in company branding.

Branding a company gives several benefits. Mainly, it confirms credibility. Second-rate companies will likely not have the resources to hire web designers to brand their company. This also, in turn, creates visitor loyalty as a result of the good impression received from excellent branding.

Most importantly, branding can help influence a buyer phenomenally. A buyer who purchases a product from a friendly-looking and highly branded website is proven to make return visits to the same website before any others- even when prices may be lower elsewhere! This is best explained by the reasoning that it's better to pay more for something good than to pay less for something second-rate. Even if the product isn't second rate- the web design of the competitor company may be!

The Key to Great Logo Design

Actually getting a good logo design can be tough-
especially with all the options available. But as time goes on, it becomes increasingly apparent that the best logo designs are also some of the simplest in nature.

When you think of two golden arches, you probably think of McDonald's. Or if you think about an apple, you probably think about the Apple line of computers. Both examples show what simple logo designs can do for a company. If a consumer thinks about your line of computers each time they eat an apple, for example, you'll be surprised at how much bigger your sales will be as a result.

Also popular in logo design is to keep the amount of colors used in the design to a minimum. Complex logo designs, as discussed earlier, aren't always good for branding. Likewise, a large amount of colors won't be the best branding option a company can strive for. This is also makes printing shirts, letters, and even branding logos on coffee mugs much easier as a result.

But as standards change, so should company logos. Movements such as the Web 2.0 movement have created shiny and colorful logos. It isn't bad to take part in fads such as this (or revolutions as some call it), but keep in mind that some of the best logos that have stuck around through the decades are simple in nature and design.

Final Thoughts on Logo Design, Branding, and Marketing

It's hard to believe that a small image file can be so beneficial (or catastrophic) to a company. It helps aid in branding, sales, and customer loyalty so investing in a good web design and logo could mean all the difference in sales and potential sales. It is highly recommended that if you own your own website that proper branding be done through logos- as your success could depend on it.


Top 5 Basic Elements of Web Design

Web design is very much like most other forms of design in terms of the general rules and basic elements that are involved.

These rules offer you a guide to the best and easiest ways of combining the different elements of a design into an attractive and functional website.

A good web design company understands the concept of quality over quantity, and takes the effort to make each web page as functional and aesthetically appealing as possible.

As you work to help your web design company to build a site design that is both useful and look good, make sure you keep the elements of design that follow in mind.

Web Design Balance
The fundamental concept behind Web design balance is an appropriate layout of the heavy and light design elements on any page. The layout of the page will eventually determine how well balanced your design is.

It is important to ensure that each page achieves balance throughout, and not only in the top part of the page.

It is not uncommon for your web design company to give you guidelines to follow such as making sure the text and other elements are all centered on the page or that you should arrange everything according to a preset grid system to help you achieve the required balance.

The three main types of balance that you may consider as you design your page are:

Symmetrical. Symmetry can be achieved by repeating everything that you do on one side of the page on the other. A heavy design element on the right should be matched by a similar one of the left. The elements should not be exactly the same, however, because that would make your page look uninteresting and uninspired.

Asymmetrical. Building a website with an asymmetrical design theme can be difficult. However, with the right combination of colors, texture and overall layout, the result can be very aesthetically pleasing.

Discordant. Web sites that are discordant are usually associated with action or movement and thus should be used accordingly. They tend to cause some distress in viewers and thus are best used only for websites that contain special or unusual content.

Web Design Contrast
Web design contrast is not limited solely to the interaction between different colors on your web page, but also includes the interactions between texture, shape and size.

Image contrast can be achieved through
changing the size of the images as well the positioning of bright or dark images. Contrasting text can also be achieved by varying the size, weight and type of fonts used. The font used for links, in particular, should be properly contrasted so that they stand out.

Remember not to overdo the contrasts on your web page, however, because that will make your site extremely unappealing to readers.

Web Design Emphasis
Web design emphasis is the creation of certain key areas of interest which attract the attention of the reader.

Web design companies often caution designers against trying to make everything on the page stand out. Trying to emphasize everything on a page will make the design too uniform and difficult for the reader's mind to encompass.

Therefore you should only emphasize key elements in your design, allowing them to guide your reader to regions of interest or information on your page.

Semantic markup, varying font and image sizes, contrasting colors all are ways through which you can alter the emphasis placed on each element of your design.

Web Design Rhythm
Web design rhythm involves the use of repeating elements throughout your web site designs in order to achieve consistency and cohesion on each page.

Some elements of your design will benefit from repetition throughout the web site as this will ultimately create a rhythm that is attractive to readers.

Repeating the title of each page, creating a background that makes use of repetitive patterning and using the same navigation controls throughout the site are all excellent methods of creating a successful rhythm in your overall design.

Web Design Unity
The basic concept behind web design unity is the grouping of similar design elements together and the separation of differing elements.

By organizing your web site in this fashion, you can create a site that is coherent and efficiently organized. Proper placement of individual elements in the layout of each page is essential to achieving web design unity.

Examples of this include varying the distance between elements in your layout, changing the values for margins and padding and varying the amount of empty space surrounding text objects.

By taking of all these design elements into consideration when creating your web site, you can ensure the pages you create are all attractive, useful and attention grabbing.

By applying them in to appropriate fashion, you will be able to complete your web design projects to the satisfaction of your customers.


How To Choose A Web Design Company

Although designing a website -- due to myriad web design tools available these days -- is not as difficult as it used to be in the past, when it comes to creating professional web designs you need to hire people who design and develop websites for a living. The tiniest of things can make a big difference when it comes to portraying the right corporate image to your target market. Since most of the web design companies, ForeScene Creative Solutions, a New York based web design company, for instance, have already worked on many projects, and consequently, they have the basic idea of what sort of websites work and what don't, how your text should be arranged, what sort of images would go with the philosophy of your website, and what sort of development technology should be utilized to render dynamic applications that your website requires in order to make a mark.

A web design company usually has a team of highly trained and experienced designers, programmers, content writers, SEO experts and technicians who can create a state- of-the-art website that can help your business reach new markets without hiccups.

Getting a new website designed could be one of the most crucial steps you take towards growing your business, whether online and offline. So you have to be extremely careful while choosing your web design company. Ideally, you are looking for a web design company that can really deliver what you require. What they know does not matter, what matters is whether they can deliver what you need. Therefore while choosing your web design company do keep the following perspectives in mind:

Have a clear vision

Before approaching a web design company you should clearly define your needs and aspirations. What will be the scope of your web design project? What sort of market is it going to target? What product or service is it going to offer to its visitors? Is it going to be a database driven website, a flash website or a simple, static website? Will you need to update content on your website regularly and will you need an interface for that? Do you want a web design created from scratch or do you already have a design that needs sprucing up? Once you have clearly laid down these considerations it will be a lot easier to choose a suitable web design company.

Evaluate the candidates carefully

Once you make it known that you are in the process of choosing a web design company many web design companies will approach you and they will also offer their portfolios for your inspection. Go through the portfolios carefully and closely observe the websites that are somewhat similar to what you want for your company. Study how they have implemented various features, how they present information on the web pages, how well they integrate graphics with text and how strong their programming capabilities are.

Know what capabilities and skills they bring to the table

Some web designing and development technologies are expensive and some economical, so you will have to consider if the web design company is comfortable working
in the technology most suitable to your need and budget. If yours is going to be a graphics-intensive website then you will need a web design company that is good at providing and handling high resolution graphics. They should be able to manipulate and arrange various components and create a perfect harmony between text and graphics. If you need animation on your website than the web design company you chose should be adept at handling animation authoring software and its visual artists should be exceptionally talented and creative. Programming skills will be needed if you stipulate live applications on your website such as content management, data processing, order tracking, shopping cart, etc. ForeSceneWeb, as a web design company, fortunately possesses a wide array of web design and development skills that you can utilize to get a leading edge website for your business.

Check the web design company's credentials

If possible you can also go through their social media profiles just to check their activities on the Internet. By going through their blog you may be able to make out their attitude towards their project commitments. The testimonials section of the web design company's website will give you a fair idea of how well the company's clients respond to its services. In case you can manage it you can also try contacting one of the previous clients of the company. Try to find out generally what is their turnaround time, how fast they react, how promptly they resolved the troubling issues and whether they normally finish the projects within budget or not.

Observe how well the company responds to your queries

Are you generally satisfied with the way they handle your quarries? Efficient Web design companies give you efficient answers. You shouldn't have to send multiple e-mails to explain the same thing. Their experience should enable them to understand most of your queries in advance, ideally. Nonetheless, some things must be unique to your business. How fast do they understand your point of view and how fast they try to understand it in case they don't? Since you will be working, probably for a long time, with the chosen web design company all these things really matter and can have a dominating impact on your project.

Think about the long-term reliability

When you choose a web design company it is normally a long-term relationship. Once website is operational it constantly evolves and it constantly develops issues that need to be taken care of promptly before they escalate into a bigger problem. Make sure that the company is not going to wrap up its business within a few months of you hiring them. What is their financial position and what is the status of their current projects? Are they hiring and firing and letting people go with great frequency? For how long have they been in business? There are many indications that can let you know the long-term directions of the web design company you are planning to choose.

Sometimes no matter how carefully you choose your web design company things go wrong; sometimes they are beyond control and sometimes they are not. But if you keep in mind the above-mentioned points you will be sure that you will be completing your web design project and will have a mutually satisfying relationship with the web design company you choose.


5 Critical Rules Of Effective Company Website Design

Your company's website needs to incorporate an attractive front-end that captures the interest of your visitors. It should encourage their trust and elevate their perception of your business. But, proper website design also involves creating a robust back-end that can support your company's growth over time. Many website owners approach the development of their sites without giving sufficient attention to navigation, search engine friendliness, and scalability. This article provides you with the five critical rules of effective website design.

Rule #1: Search Engine-Friendly Structure

Some websites don't need to receive traffic from the search engines. Sites such as CNN online and NYPost online enjoy tens of thousands of visitors each day because they've achieved a "top of mind" awareness online. However, most websites need traffic from Google, Yahoo! and MSN. Good website design entails building sites so the major search engines can easily find, crawl, and index them.

Rule #2: Intuitive Navigation

Today, people have shorter attention spans than ever before. When they're looking for information on your website, they want to access it quickly or they'll simply move on to search elsewhere. Your website's navigation scheme should be intuitive and simple to understand. Graphics and buttons should use well-defined labels. Links should be distinct and instantly recognizable. This is an often overlooked rule of good website design and it can sabotage an otherwise successful business.

If you're designing your site on your own, ask for the advice of an experienced website developer. Chicago is one of many major cities home to a large cadre of professional designers who would be happy to review your website. Chicago website design firms have particular expertise in intuitive navigation.

Rule #3: Clean And Easy To Read

A common mistake that millions of business owners make is to clutter their websites with multiple fonts and graphics.
What's worse, they often cram so much information onto their web pages that visitors become overwhelmed and leave. Your website should use fonts and graphics to build trust and encourage visitors to stay on your site. That means each page should be clean and easy to read. There should be plenty of white space that allows visitors' eyes to relax while they absorb information.

Rule #4: Built For Scalability

As your business grows, your website needs to grow with it. In the beginning, you may only offer one or two products. Before long, you may offer dozens of products and services, while managing several blogs to promote your company. Your website design plans should include room for growth. You'll need to consider having a reliable shopping cart that is tied to an inventory database
. You should plan to have a content management system that includes blogs.

The key to scalability is planning well in advance. Many people outsource this task to a website developer. Chicago, New York, San Antonio and Los Angeles boast many developers who can help guide your design efforts to support your company's growth.

Rule #5: Consistent Look And Feel

Consistency often falls through the cracks when a website grows. Old designs, fonts, and graphics can be easily forgotten and lead to pages that have conflicting appearances. Unfortunately, this lack of consistency across the pages on your website can damage the visitors' perception of your business. Your website design should promote a consistent look and feel across every page that is accessible by the public.

Your website is the first impression that customers and leads will have of your business. Before they contact you, they'll begin building a perception of your ability to satisfy their needs. To that end, your website design should encourage their trust by deploying an intuitive navigation scheme and a consistent look and feel. It should also be clean and easy to read. Finally, your website should be search engine-friendly and be built for scalability. These are the five basic rules of effective website design that can literally make or break your business.


What You Should Consider During A Website Design

Designing a website involves more than slapping some HTML tags onto a page and the basic principals of design are the same for print design or website design. The elements of good design also apply, whether you are interested in graphic design services or fashion design, and these basics will guide you in laying out the different elements in an effective, eye-pleasing way.

To put it simply, the building blocks of designs are the elements that are used to make up every page or interface you build. Once you understand the five basic elements you will be able to put together more creative and stimulating web pages.

The graphic designs you attempt need to be eye-catching and of course, your web graphic design should have the earmarks of a professional. Also, making your website user friendly and adding some "eye candy" is extremely important, as you are competing with thousands of other websites to get visitors.

Shape is a major element in it, and normally you see square or rectangular used on a web page, but you can create many different contours to avoid monotony. A unique website design can be created using lines and line work as well. Lines are used to help delineate spaces around elements, are used as dividing lines between text and as decoration.
They also tend to increase the readability of it.

The other major elements of a design are texture, color and direction; all used in graphic design as well. Texture on web pages is visual, but you can use artificial or natural textures to create an effect in your artwork. Color is the element that a web designer is most aware of, but color is not a requirement of any artwork. Most often, it is best to create the designs without color and add it later.

Direction gives your designs a sense of motion across the page. The better sites will lead you through the design so that you see what the designer wants you to see. Of course, it is always a good idea to sketch the drawing on paper first and then transfer it to the web design software

When you are starting a new drawing, no matter what particular methodology you use, you will always start with a blank page. There is nothing on the web page so the first thing you will do is to put something there. But, do you think about the placement of those elements or just put them on the page in a random manner?

Good designers do not allow random placement on their website design; they consciously think about the tables, the graphics that will be used in a banner and elsewhere, the areas where the text will go, the layout of the navigation bar, as well as the optimization of all elements.

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