October, 2020 – Web Design and What It Is
Wikipedia defines “web design” as Web design encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites. The different areas of web design include web graphic design; interface design; authoring, including standardized code and proprietary software; user experience design; and search engine optimization. Often many individuals will work in teams covering different aspects of the design process, although some designers will cover them all. The term “web design” is normally used to describe the design process relating to the front-end (client side) design of a website including writing markup. Web design partially overlaps web engineering in the broader scope of web development. Web designers are expected to have an awareness of usability and if their role involves creating markup then they are also expected to be up to date with web accessibility guidelines.
Now, that’s a mouthful. However, as you just read, “web design” is more than just making something look pretty. The designer needs to keep in mind how the website will work as that is just as important for the user. Some people use “web design” as a catchall phrase for anything having to do with a website. Though, many are quick to find out that a Designer is different than a Developer. In layman’s terms, the Designer makes it look good and the Developer makes it work good. Without both working together, your website will just plain not work for those browsing your pages.
September, 2020 – 2020 Web Design Awards
The Creative Group has released the winners for the 2020 Web Design Awards. The winners include work created by design firms, ad agencies, in-house departments, and more. It also and encompasses websites, microsites, apps, online advertising, social media, video, and UX/UI Design. Now, you may be asking why you should care. Seeing what the latest website design trends are can help you during the design review process with your designer. What you may have in mind would be better suited for 1997 while your designer is thinking of the future.
The design of your site will entice the user to stay and engage with it. If it looks old school, but your services are modern, that dichotomy will be off-putting and many users will think you created your site years ago and have never bothered to update it since. Speaking of updates, it’s recommend that you schedule some time to review and make website updates every 3-4 years. The Internet is always changing and so are its search engines. A website redesign or revamp will help to keep your website up-to-date with both technology and search engine algorithms.
August, 2020 – Website Navigation Tips & Tricks
When beginning any project think of Maria from the Sound of Music and the line – “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start”. In the case of web design and particularly menu navigation, the starting point is figuring out what kind of features the website offers and the hierarchy in which information should be displayed. Here are 5 tips to get you started:
1. A website menu in its early stages is typically referred to as a ‘sitemap’ and this is usually put together as a diagram or spread sheet to show the different levels of information. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to creating a sitemap, in fact we encourage our clients to work with whatever format they feel comfortable using. Excel, Word, or pen to paper all works.
2. You might be tempted to have fun with your navigation language. However, unless your audience also speaks the same slang, you may turn off the causal browser. It’s recommended to stay with the old school navigation wording such as “Shop” and “About Us” for your navigation bar.
3. Always, always, ALWAYS link the logo of your website back to the home page. This is now a standard that users expect to be able to take advantage of in the case they want a quick shortcut back to where they started. Even when using responsive web design, your navigation should be simple and easy to read. The use of a “hamburger menu”, those three bars or dots, is quite popular on mobile websites.
4. Keep your footer simple. It used to be that the website footer was just reserved for legal language. Now, it can be used for email list sign ups, a site map, a Google map widget, or any number of elements that you want always present. That being said, the footer is often the very last thing a browser will see. Like your main site navigation, it’s best to keep it condensed and simple. A repeat of your main navigation, any necessary legal, and social media links are always popular and recommended.
5. Breadcrumbs. They’re not just for lost children in the woods. If your website navigation is more than just “Home | About | Contact | Shop,” it would be wise to include what is called “breadcrumb navigation” to your website design. It allows your user to see where they are and where it is in relation to other pages on your site. For example, if you have a store, a breadcrumb trail would look something like this if your user searched for “pen” but ultimately landed on fountain pen:
Office Supplies – Pens – Fountain Pens
You, and they, can see the relation of what they are looking at to the category as a whole.