The Road to Resilient Web Design

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There is a lot to keep in mind when it comes to web design that will last the test of time. The biggest fear is that you will put together a great looking web site and then in the course of a year, you will discover that this will simply not be relevant any longer. Finding a great web design company will be one of the best steps that you can take to help you have a site that will be around long after you have decided to not need the web site any longer. There are also a few other things that you need to make sure that you look at while on the road to a website that is second to none.

Finding a Theme and Adding Content

Finding a theme that you can get behind will be the first tip that I give all of my clients. I tell them that you need a theme that is happening and current as to help keep more people to coming to your site from time to time. If you use a theme that is outdated and not that attention worthy, you will need to make sure that you update it on a regular basis. This will make sure that you are on your way to staying relevant and you will not fall into the trap of not being late and great.

Next make sure that you have content that people actually want to see. Everyone thinks that they know what the world wants to see. The truth of the matter is that often times, they have no real idea as to what is and is not wanted by the public. One way is to make sure that the content that you post is up to date and that it is what people are looking for and talking about. Don’t post something that is popular at the moment and then just let it linger without new content. That is a real good way to find you falling out of popularity on a lot of the search engines.

Links, Tags and Meta Data

Tags are your best friend as well as your meta data and anything else you can use to help and gain the attention of search engines. These are the things that are looked at and what is used to help determine if your site is worth being looked at or not. If you have links and tags that are pointing to relevant content, then you will be ranked a lot higher than you will if you just let it ride. Don’t just assume that you know it all when it comes to popular tactics for being relevant in the modern web era.

A little knowledge will go a long way for you in trying to get your site to be seen by the masses. If you seem to be struggling, then you need to make sure that you think about this article and take the needed steps to ensure that your site will not just be overlooked and ignored.

Web Design Tools You Need

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We all know that at times web design can be a bit of a problem especially when it comes to finding tools that you need and will want to have for your design. It seems like every day we are hearing about a new web design tool that has come out that is supposed to make a person’s life that much easier. The truth there are a lot of tools out there that you need to just ignore and instead look at a large number of the ones that are on this list to help you get the most from your web design efforts.

Adobe Fireworks

Unlike Photoshop, this is a tool that really gives the user a ton of tools for them to use on their website. This program works on both Mac and Windows and allows a person to take their web design to the next level. While this program is not going to change the world as you know it, there is a good chance that it will lead you to be able to do more with your web design than you had ever thought was possible. While you may think there are better alternatives out there, for the price you are going to pay, you are not going to find anything better.

Dreamweaver

If you have done anything that relates to web design, then you are aware of Dreamweaver and all of the amazing things that you can do with this piece of software. There is not a lot that you can’t do when it comes to using this software it is also one of the only pieces of software that can work hand in hand with all of the other Adobe products including Photoshop. Hands down is still one of the best things going for web design. The next tool is a little more restrictive in the things that you can and can’t do when developing a website.

Panic Coda

One thing that is amazing about this piece of software is the fact that it is shareware which allows you the chance to use this and share it with others that you know in the same industry. The features are basic which allows good things and makes things a lot more difficult in the fact that you are limited. If you are new to web development, then you will want to use Panic Coda as it is very easy to learn how to use. This will in the end be the tradeoff that you will have to decide if it is worth it or not.

All of these in the end along with Firefox Developer as well as Photoshop will be tools that you will want to make sure that you have at your disposal when you are looking to develop a website. It is a known thing that if you have the right tools at your disposal, you are able to accomplish almost anything in the world of web design. You will need to make sure you get the right tool for your particular job.

The Importance of Good Web Design

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A bad web design can date you, as easily as avocado green tiles date an old-fashioned bathroom. Home buyers, like website customers, look for the most current designs when they are looking to purchase a home, and for online visitors to your website looking to make a purchase, each page on your website is like a new room they are entering in the tour of that home. It needs to be tastefully decorated and modern enough to wow them. To take a look at what makes a good web design, you might want to check out some award winners at webaward.org. The WebAwards is given out by the Web Marketing Association based on seven design criteria, which include design, content, copywriting, use of technology, innovation, interactivity, and ease of use.

What Makes a Good Design?

From a personal point of view, a good web design is one that your particular audience finds appealing. However, from a structural point of view, a good web design is one that looks good no matter what device is being used to browse it. There are a few elements that are common in today’s designs that meet both a personal appeal while paying attention to structural requirements. They are:

Large, Unique, Fonts – Larger fonts are easier to read on smaller screens, like those on smartphones and tablets. If they are also unique, they become more memorable and can be associated with your specific brand. Thus, having a unique, large, font can be a stylistic choice that helps your business and is part of good website design.

Simple Navigation Menus – Embedded menu structures can make it hard to find a specific page of interest. Search functionality also is available for someone who doesn’t want to deal with menus. Complicated menus are particularly hard to navigate with a fat thumb on a smartphone. That’s why simpler menu structures are more functional as well.

Flat or Semi-Flat Design – Design elements like shadows or embossing can be distracting for users who prefer a more minimalistic approach. A flat design can also refer to a layout that scrolls rather than navigates via navigation buttons, as swiping is far easier than clicking on small devices. Not only is this more visually simple, but the pages tend to load faster using a flat design.

Large Visual Elements – Images and videos are important in modern design as people prefer to listen to a video on their devices that try to read tiny text. A video can take the place of a homepage to provide an instant introduction in a dynamic way that text cannot do. Pictures can grab more attention and are easily sharable on places like Pinterest and Instagram, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Good Web Design Draws Attention and Traffic

Good web designs don’t just win awards, they also draw tons of traffic. That traffic is the lifeblood of any business and can be converted to dollars at the end of the sales funnel. When the content on your site is attractive as well as compelling, it becomes easy to attract more customers and gives your business long-range stability.

Design Vs. Function

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In the same manner that you make judgments based upon someone’s appearance when you first meet them, your website visitors are also developing first impressions of your website design alone. Unless your website takes an inordinate amount of time to load in their browser, design typically trumps functionality for the user’s experience. However, the same is not true from a marketing perspective. Functionality then trumps website design as the end goal of all business on the Internet is to close that deal. Sales are impacted at different stages via either design or website functionality.

Why Design Matters Most for Customers

To gain traffic, businesses need to focus on the design of their website. You want to create a favorable first impression so that those visitors return again and again. Some of the biggest design factors that impact traffic are:

Responsive Web Design – Since April 2015, Google began to boost the rankings for mobile-friendly pages on all sites. That also effectively means that those that aren’t mobile-friendly are downgraded in comparison. Responsive web design is a layout that makes it easy for people on mobile devices to scroll through and search your site on smaller screens. Simple layouts, flat design and color choices, and easy-to-read fonts are characteristic of these types of designs. If a customer with a mobile device visits a site that is not mobile-friendly, it can be burdensome to try to navigate the site and search it easily.

Look and Feel – Layouts that are too complex, garish use of colors, intrusive popups, print too tiny to read, and more will turn off a first time visitor. Even before a customer reads a single line on the website they are making judgments based on the look and feel of the site. If they don’t feel comfortable with the layout, they are less likely to trust the brand. The look and feel should be designed with the ideal customer demographic in mind. Elderly users need larger print. Younger users prefer less corporate styles. Find out what your ideal shopper wants and then deliver that design.

Why Functionality Matters Most for Businesses

Once you know how to attract traffic, the next goal for businesses is to convert it into paying customers. This requires a website with high functionality, particularly if it is an e-commerce site. Functionality isn’t just about the mechanics of the site, although that’s a large part of it. It’s also about how the content management strategy meshes with search engines to attract the target demographic. It can break down as follows:

Site Functionality – Are there broken links keeping people from going to your offers? Is the shopping cart easy to add and delete items? How many payment options are available? Do the pages take too long to load? These are all important factors when trying to keep people on the site long enough to complete an order.

Content Managment System (CMS) Functionality – Does your company have a regular publishing schedule? Fresh content is important to give your site a dynamic presence. It also must be content that is optimized for search engines via Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Without these techniques, your website may not function as well to drive the right traffic to the right offers, reducing the potential for closing a sale.

Both Design and Functionality Impact Sales in Different Manners

Thus, while it is crucial to put out that good image to attract new visitors, it’s also important to pay attention to functionality if you want to make that shopping experience smooth and seamless. Companies, like Apples, know that it takes more than a beautiful image to attract attention. It also takes expert functionality to make sure your customers are delighted even after the sale. Their flat, sleek, menu designs with no shadows or extra visual elements to distract the user, make it easy for their customers to navigate and search Apple devices. Such minimal design also gives the company it’s futuristic image.

Responsive Web Design

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Who could have predicted that smartphones would take over the world, reducing barriers to global sales? That’s the situation now and it’s this rise of small devices, like tablets and smartphones, that have made responsive web design a must-have-criteria, not an optional feature. Even Google is demanding that all websites include responsive web design or face the prospects of being downgraded. In a world that is no longer about the desktop computer, it’s imperative that your website be easy to navigate, search, and look good on small devices.

What Is Responsive Web Design?

Aside from functionality on smartphones, the elements of responsive web design are as follows:

Scalability – Responsive web designs scale the layout of the website for any size screen. Whether someone views the content on a desktop or a tablet, the website will look very similar and be as functional on either platform. Fonts don’t become unreadable and columns don’t scroll off the screen. Scalable vector graphics ensure images look right on all screens.

Minimal Design – Screen real estate is at a premium, so that the designs tend to be minimal. There are no borders or containing elements to surround different areas on the page. Sometimes, the entire design is based on a single image that can be a video or a picture with hidden menus, recognizable via a tiny icon on the screen. They only expand when selected. Grid layouts that look like postcards or a single long-scrolling page are also a feature of these types of design.

Focus on User Interaction – There is more interest on how the user interacts with the site, from what emotional impact a page has to what actions a person takes upon being on that page. There is more call to actions to guide the users in their response. There might be a storytelling approach to try to bring in the reader and make the site more personal.

Attention to Lettering – While video and images are incredibly important in responsive web design, the fonts also deserve a unique treatment. By creating fonts that appeal to the sales demographic that are still readable in smaller formats, the designer can strengthen a brand and make the pages appealing textually as well as graphically.

Why Responsive Web Design is So Important

The importance of a responsive web design can’t be understated. Since Google is upgrading sites that meet the standards of a good responsive website design, those sites that do not comply will see their traffic numbers dwindle. They won’t be listed in the Search Engine Page Results (SERPs), as they had in the past, even if their content is highly targeted and optimized for search. The problem is that Google will simply not acknowledge the site because it isn’t a responsive web design. Thus, the choice to redesign or not is not really a choice, but a survival necessity for those doing commerce on the Internet.

The Future Belongs to Mobile Devices

While, at first, it may seem like an unreasonable demand by Google, the fact is that they merely recognize the importance of mobile devices and the demise of the desktop. The worldwide reach of tablets and smartphones has changed the way business is conducted on the Internet forever. Thus, it’s only fair to demand that the businesses serving those customers, who are also Google’s customers, fall in line with the pace of technology so that the searches can continue to be relevant for their demographic. In the end, by implementing a responsive website design, businesses can expand their customer base and reach individuals no matter where they are any time of day or night. That, in itself, is the perfect reason to upgrade a site today.

History of Awards Featured Online & on TV

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The history of special website design awards goes back to 1996 when the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences launched the now famed “Webby Awards.” The academy relies on top judges and the public to decide what web page excels and why. The academy also notes that the history of web design awards goes back to the very dawn of the Internet age some 25 years ago.

At the time, the main criteria for most web page design awards were centered on “how many hits” the site received. Meanwhile, today’s rating system for awarding prizes or other website design awards is more varied and even complex. For instance, the famed Oscars, Tony, BAFTA, Emmy and Cannes Film Festival honors are now included in “media awards” that honor “media” in cyberspace. The awards include best website, best video game, best podcast, best online video and much more. Industry experts think as the Internet evolves and becomes linked to other more traditional media, the awards will also morph into something along the lines of today’s Academy Awards.

Development of Awards and Formal Recognition

While there is no “Oscar” for best website design, there are “The Webby Awards” that honor website design achievement online. Meanwhile, there are other Internet awards that focus more on new website trends, technology and even new “talent” featured online at trending video, audio or blog styled web pages. The evolution of online media design awards includes a growing list of categories. There is best “collaborative Internet project,” for example.

The history of online web page design awards include:
– How information technology is pushing the best in online website design trends and use of digital technologies.
– How to discover and properly recognize the effort and talents of top website design agencies, web developers and web page designers.
– How web page design competition is driving true innovation and top website design nationwide and internationally.
– How annual web design events, competitions and conferences now drive this vital marketing element.

In general, the history of website design is linked to a steady evolution of trends and information technology industry skills to present the best-of-the-best online today.

Evolution of Best Website Design

The process of earning recognition in one of the many online website design competitions is user friendly. For instance, there are numerous annual awards for design and general website presentation. The winning criteria varies, but it is generally based on a 1 to 10 scale when judging a site’s overall functionality, usability, use of code and focus on creativity.

Meanwhile, there are various website design categories that focus on such things as leisure, medical, legal, advertising, travel, sports, retail, real estate, pharmaceuticals, news and music. There is also a specialized category of web design awards that recognize the best in innovation, use of design elements, copywriting and overall ease of use for a wide variety of users. For example, there are even awards for specialized web pages for “Baby Boomers” or “Teens” or even new mothers.

Overall, there has never been a better time for website owners to get recognition for the super design of their web pages. The best advice is to contact one of the many online marketing agencies to get rules and criteria for web design awards. According to the American Advertising Federation, there are more than 130 different categories of web design awards going on today.