To keep up with my previous post on listing a few things that can help you get the perfect web site design here is part III:

Here are a few items that any web designer or web company will recommend to any client that approaches them for a website design. When looking for a web designer watch out when paying someone to build it. Not only do they need to offer you suitable and appropriate design abilities, but they also need to understand usability, recommend. critique and give you an evaluation of your company’s image and provide solid suggestions that will help and not hinder your business. Before picking a designer ask for references, look for testimonials, contact people that they have done work with in the past – do a little research it can go a long way. This is what will set a professional designer or professional design company apart from the guy that has the programs and gets templates and calls himself a designer.

I will go in further details on the following items to keep in mind, here is what you should keep in mind when getting the perfect web site design:

  1. Take your time
  2. Get professional advice
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for changes
  4. Communication with your designer

wellsculptrevisionBeen busy redesigning and developing an old clients website – Michael Wells. Who is he? Born on Long Island, Michael Wells studied sculpture at State University of New York at Purchase College under Philip Listengart. While at school, Michael lived in Brooklyn and worked at the famous Cedar Tavern.

Michael has works in private collections and currently lives and keeps a studio in upstate New York.

I am in the process of building two sites for him one for his sculpture work and one to showcase his foundry where he does some amazing bronze casting work.

Starting a website to help your business or even to provide information should be done right and can involve many factors. Below are some items you should consider and have some understanding of.

Domain name: You need an address for people to go to, do some research and investigation on possible domain names for your site. If the obvious is taken think of the next best solution. Your domain name is very important and you want something that customers or visitors can remember. But it should also reflect your business name or your product and services.

Target Audience/Market: Who is your target audience and what is your goal with the site. Your website should speak to your audience and get them to do what they came there for.

Design: Crucial in the look and feel of the site, you may think you can design something – but there is more to design than getting a template and implementing it. There are some crucial factors that go into web design.

Content: Your information and how it is presented is very important. Are you trying to get people to buy stuff or are you providing information. It is key that you have a professional write your content, don’t just pull content from other marketing material you may have. It just won’t sound professional.

Hosting: Your site has to be somewhere on the web. Locate a company who can provide you excellent customer service, remember you pay for what you get.

Marketing: You should have a plan in place. How are you going to get people to your site, both online and offline. You should consider Search Engine Marketing and other marketing for your site. If you spend all this money on your site what good is it if no one can find you in the Google sandbox.

Did you know that visitors that come to your website end up forming an instant opinion. They form it about your company and what you are offering. They can’t help themselves, their instant opinion is formed in their subconscious. Why does this happen? This has nothing to do with your content or the imagery that is on your site, even if you spent a great amount of money on your site. 

The color scheme on your web page can tell your visitor different things. A particular color scheme could convey a certain emotion – good feeling, anger, depression. In essence, you might send a sense of trust, warmth and belonging. The following list can give you an idea of the emotions that are associated with colors:

 

RED Excitement, energy, danger, love, leadership, sense of power, strength

ORANGE Comfort, steadfastness, cheerfulness, courage, confidence, playfulness, friendliness 

YELLOW Curiosity, brightness, organization, intelligence, joy, amusement, caution 

GREEN Harmony, nature, money, healing, health, life, food 

BLUE Trustworthiness, stability, peace, tranquility, love, acceptance, patience 

PURPLE Nobility, dignity, independence, royalty, luxury, ambition, wisdom 

BROWN Reliability, nature, comfort, tribal, earthiness, durability, primitive 

BLACK Sophistication, dramatic, power, formality, style, health, elegance 

WHITE Innocence, cleanliness, fresh, goodness, easy, simplicity, purity 

When you decide to design your website, you need to ensure that the color scheme you decide to use is consistent with what you are trying to tell your visitors. The difference between the right and wrong color scheme on your website can mean the difference between someone staying or someone leaving your site right away. 

As a Web Designer and a Project Manager for a web design company I see a lot of mistakes on the web that people make. Let me share with you my 8 deadly web design mistakes that many designers make:

1. Building the website entirely with frames or Flash. This really complicates things and makes the website not user friendly – along with long loading time with Flash. There will be no unique URL to identify every page and some people might not have Flash player installed which can cause more headaches in the long run.

2. Too much animations and graphics. This will slow down the loading time of the website. People have very short tolerance towards websites that load very slowly. This can also be very distracting if things are not organized well – people are looking for information and want it fast and easy to find.

3. No navigation support or user-friendliness. You cannot expect visitors to figure out how to navigate through your site. You may find it easy to navigate, but visitors may not – there should not be instructions on what to do when you get to the site, it should just be natural. This will cause them to abandon your site and visit other websites if they can not understand the workings of your navigation.

4. No standardization. The look and feel should be the same across every page. Style sheets are key in helping with consistency throughout the web – don’t neglect them.

5. All pages should have a way to get back to the home page. People may enter your site through other page other than the home page (portfolio or services pages for example). Its as simple as having ‘home’ on the navigation or a small icon on the upper right hand corner.

6. Not enough or outdated information. Content is king when it comes to online commerce. If you want to do business online, you must have solid content. Also writing for the web is an art – you should consider hiring someone to write the content for your site rather than trying to chop and piece together content from other marketing materials that you already have. A website with outdated content and non-professional content will not attract visitors, and people will not take you seriously. To keep things fresh and alive on your site you should also consider adding a blog of some sorts.

7. You should avoid Horizontal scrolling bar – unless your design concept requires it.

8. Never testing in multiple versions of browsers. Your website may appear fine in Internet Explorer but not on Firefox. Make sure that you spend a little time testing your website for browsers compatibility. For browser statistics check out: http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

Your website is an asset to you and your business so make sure that you treat it seriously. Your site should be a part of your overall marketing plan – not just something that you have because everyone else does. Spend the time, money and energy in making it one of your best sales tools and marketing pieces.

Is your website a design glutton? Does it lust after unnecessary rich internet applications? Here’s how to get it on the path to redemption.

Visit Article

Marketing for the web is known by many names – it is used for promoting or advertising products and/or services using the online media (web, social networking, etc.), with the goal to increase sales and profits. Internet marketing brings together the creative and technical aspects of the web, including design, development, advertising and of course sales.

Your website is one among millions and you want your website to be seen and known by all of your target visitors or better yet, your customers. With thousands of websites spawning every day, that means that an additional million plus pages are also being generated based on the size of the site in question. This means that there is high traffic happening in the web world. This also means that your target audience is not getting to you fast enough, which is a problem. Having a great looking website and a great product means nothing if people are not looking at or even finding your site. This type of situation emphasizes the need for Search Engine Marketing for your website.

Having a website is not enough. You need to be seen to let the world know you exist.

I recently read this great article on beauty on the internet. Take some time and you can see why this is something you should consider while designing not only for the web, print too.

Visit Article

fontRecently I had to defend the usage of Sans Serif and Serif fonts on the web. With my background coming from Print Design – I understand the concern that people bring up about Serif fonts, don’t get me wrong I do like them just not all the time for web. Unlike print, web is a fast paced world – people want there information and want it quick and in an easy to read format.

The standard style for most content on the Web is sans serif fonts, like Arial, Tahoma or Verdana. Pretty straightforward on why we use this standard so often: sans serif fonts are easier to read on-screen. They also look pretty good when their size is reduced, they also tend to hold up their visual appeal across all browsers.

Serif fonts throughout the web are used for titles and subtitles on a lot of sites, this can help visual appeal on a heavily sans serif page. But can it work for the main content? 

Overall, you should design with sans-serif fonts for your main content, this is a good typography rule for Web Design. You’ll notice that as you wander the web you will see that the majority of the sites out there us sans-serif fonts.

BUT – you already knew that. 

I recently was working on a site that I wanted to have an elegent, and classy look – with my background in Print Design the first thing you think about is a serif font. So I wandered the web and tried to find some sites that actually used a serif font well. 

Here are a few that I felt use a serif font well: Seed Conference (http://seedconference.com/seed.php) Twisted Intellect (http://twistedintellect.com/) Jan Meiert: Why Reset Style Sheets are Bad (http://meiert.com/en/blog/20080419/reset-style-sheets-are-bad/) Cameron Moll (http://www.cameronmoll.com/)

Just like Print Design we need to take into consideration that typography is still important for the web as it is for print. Here are some advantages and disadvantages if you want to challenge yourself and work with a serif font:

Pros: Thanks to all the sans-serif fonts on the web, if you use a serif font you will stand out and give you a challenge to make sure you can make a serif font work and do it right. 

Cons: Serif fonts lose readability at smaller fonts sizes – also on different platforms a serif font may look terrible.

Overall I believe there is going to be a trend moving forward where people will start to use more serif fonts for their content and ignore the web standard rule that is set in place. I hope that designers decide to challenge themselves on the web and start thinking out of the box and use some serif fonts.