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Do’s and Don’ts of a Responsive Web Design

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Responsive Web Design (RWD) at first look seems very appealing but when you dive deep into the world of media queries, and multiple screen sizes you would find out that creating a responsive web design could turn out to be a nightmare. To make sure that you do not have to face this nightmare, Web Design Galway has put together a list of Do’s and Don’t which will help you to overcome any problems faced while creating responsive web and email design.

RWB’s Backstory

It’s pretty common for web designers to be asked to make the websites more mobile-friendly as the number of people surfing through the web on mobile devices is quite high.

As you may have guessed this is not an easy task. And sure, you can create an android or IOS app but that would cost you about $8K each and on top of that you would have to convince the users to install the app which is quite impractical.

DO’s

Use large Fonts

On a desktop, you are used to reading content in 12-point font on a 22-inch monitor. Whereas, on a mobile device, users cannot read fonts that are that tiny as obviously, the screen sizes of mobile phones are very small as compared to desktop screens. You would need to use much larger fonts. As a matter of fact, you should replace the smallest font size in your text with a size that you think is too big.

Keep it light and fast

Even though 4G networks are covering most of the U.S., mobile devices are still a lot slower and have expensive bandwidth as compared to desktop. In order to make your website responsive, you would need to keep it as light as possible.

Perform Tests

While designing a mobile website prioritization must be kept in mind. And there is only one way to prioritize, by measuring and testing your website design to ensure that it is actually capable enough to fulfill the tasks it was designed to do.

Design” Mobile-First”

Even though we have talked about this before, we think that it is too important to be said only once. Don’t make the mistake of designing your website while keeping a desktop in mind and then later try to make it mobile friendly as well. What you should do is do the complete opposite of that and keep mobile devices in mind when designing the website.

 To do that you should start by designing a full-featured responsive website for mobile and then scale it UP for tablets and desktops or even phones that have bigger than average screen sizes. As you scale up, your images could get larger and heavier and navigations could turn into a little more “mouse-friendly”.

Don’ts

Don’t blindly follow trends

Sure, it may seem cool to follow all the latest trends but before you do just that think about how your users will browse your website on their mobiles and for what purpose they visited your site. The users only want to get the job done whether it be reading your blog, or looking for your dinner menu. Whether mobile or a desktop, the visitors of your website don’t care about how cool your website looks rather if it gets the job done or not.

Don’t hide content for mobile

There is no point in torturing the mobile users by hiding bits of contents or even showing a stripped-down version of your website because the visitors of your website are not there to read just a summary of the content of your website. Stick to a mobile-first design strategy as talked about above.

Don’t cluster the design

From multiple navigation planes to garbage sidebars, you would be in shock to find out how much of your website’s User Interface can do without. If you try to remove half of everything on your page and then remove another half of it then it will result in the design of your website to be clean, as that is how unnecessary stuff there is on most websites. And we know that it can be a painful process but it is what needs to be done in order to make the design look clean and elegant.

Don’t use tiny links

A mouse was specially designed for great granular control but on the other hand, a finger is a quite miserable pointer to handle and control. That is why it is important for you to keep your line-height at least 1.4 and your body font size at least 16px. Buttons and navigation links should also have at least 8 pixels of padding and 15px or margin around them which will help avoid accidental touches for people who have fat fingers.

There is no excuse for you not to design a responsive website in the age of mobile devices being used as much as desktops to search for services and products. You want to make sure that users can easily access your website and get the information they need. Our tips will help you on your quest to responsive web design.

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Web Design

Important steps in the website planning process

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If you are about to make your site or you already have a website that needs to be revamped completely you must have a pretty clear idea about how overwhelming this task could especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. After all, your website is the core of your online presence which reflects the culture and the personality of your company.

Before you can even think of starting doing work on your site, you must have had a game-plan ready so that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Your website planning process should revolve around these main listed steps below

Evaluate your existing site

If you are creating your website and not updating it then just skip to the next step but if this is not the case then it would be best for you to evaluate your existing online presence before proceeding any further.

Domain name

First of all, you should pay attention to your domain name. You should check whether it is the same as the name of your business. If not, you should check if it is available or not. If you want to change your domain name to a better one then you should do it before starting to build a new site but it’s not recommended as it can cause confusion amongst the customers.

Content

 The content of your site is probably the most important element of the website. As it is the main reason why the website visitors came to the site which is to get information about your company. It should also be able to convince them to convert to the plan, product or services your company is offering. And it should also be able to paint a clear picture in the minds of the visitors about the personality of your company. If the content existing on your site does not accomplish all of these three goals then it’s content would also require a complete overhaul and you must include this into the overhaul plan and budget.

URL structure

To start off, you must check on how the current URLs are set up on your website. They should be readable, related to the content present on your website. If this is really the case then by keeping these URLs intact while creating the new site will remove the need for redirects. Whereas on the other hand, if the URLs on your existing site are made up of random characters then its best to just create a new URL structure altogether.

Research your CMS options

Because of the numerous options available, the way your site is built is completely up to your personal preference.

The first option is to build a straight HTML site, which means that the site will need to be coded from the ground up. Even though it will take longer to be up and ready and require someone very skilled and experienced, it will allow you to customize it according to however you want it.

 The other option is to make use of content management systems, for example, WordPress. If you consider this option, you will get an admin panel that will make logging in and making changes a lot easier for you. And if you cannot find a person who has a lot of coding experience then this option would be better for you.

Determine what functionality you require

If you want to keep things simple with just simple texts, relevant images, and contact information then the build process won’t give you a hard time. But you want some extra functionality then you must plan for it before hiring a developer. Knowing what your site is supposed to do can make the process of hiring the right developer for your project easier.

Choose a web designer or developer

Once you have planned your project yourself, you will require a developer or web designer to actually design and put your site on the web. This step should not be undermined as the designer in charge of making the new site is directly related to the success of your site. That is why research is necessary to find the most qualified and skilled people for the job.

If you are in talks with a certain agency like Kantaloupe then it would be a good idea to ask them for the contact information of their clients who could give honest reviews about the agency.

Finalize your budget

After you have found the developer most suited for your project, you must get on the same page with him\her about the costs before you finalize the deal. You should review the project with the developer and get the estimates of both the time it would take for the site to be up and running and the costs it would require. Both of these will depend on the experience and skills of the developer.

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Web Design

Why a Good Web Design Matters for your Business?

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Why a Good Web Design Matters for your Business

More businesses have a website today than ever before. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that their website is successful.

A major factor in the success of a website is how well it is designed. Sadly, in the online world today you will find more poorly designed websites than good ones. If your business truly cares about its brand and online presence, then you need to invest in a good web design company like Serpmart. Here is why:

First impressions are made online

Today, it doesn’t matter if you have a physical presence in a brick and mortar store or not because most of your customers will make a first impression of your business online. You want to ensure that the impression they take from your site is positive which will prompt them to interact and possibly buy from your brand. An unprofessionally designed site will put doubts in their heads and more than likely drive them away.

There are various different elements that go into good web design, but the basics are:

  • A logo
  • Main image to provide a visual and make the page look more appealing
  • Navigation bar allowing users to see various pages and click through to them
  • Professionally written content that talks about your brand and its offerings
  • Contact information

Improves user experience

User experience is vital for both users and search engines. On the search engine front, Google has made various user experience elements a part of its algorithm in ranking websites. From aspects such as site load speed to whether it is responsive for mobile devices, all play a factor in your search engine rankings.

On the user front, user experience is vital. Taking the example of site load time, 53% of mobile users leave a website if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. The design along with development elements have a lot to do with your load speed. By making your website more user-friendly and easier to navigate you ensure that visitors will spend more time on it. The longer they navigate through it the more likely they are to opt for your services.

Leads to business growth and revenue

Good web design features various different elements that not only make your business appear professional but also generate more traffic. As more users come to your site, you will not only generate more leads but also sales. Think about the last time you wanted to opt for a service, like most people you probably opened up a few different websites to choose from. Your final decision came down to the site that looked professional and made your overall experience pleasurable. Which shows that good web design plays a role in both business growth and revenue.

Stand out above the competition

The online market is very competitive and you need to make an effort on every front to stand out above the competition. Through good web design, you let users know that you care about your brand and their business. By designing a site that is user-friendly and provides visitors with the exact information they are looking for, you can give your competition a tough time.

Conclusion

In essence, there is a lot more to creating a successful online presence than just have a website. You want to ensure that the site you’ve designed is not just professional but also enhances user experience. Good web design can go a long way for your business in generating more traffic and sales.

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What Clients Want from a Web Design Agency

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Web Design Agency

Let’s be honest…” success” and “every client” are rarely heard in ‘every’ web designer conversation.

So what is it that “clients want from a web design agency”, why are some web design projects more successful than others and what can agencies do to ensure clear communication and expectations are delivered?

This article discusses what agencies can do, what clients want, and provides a few smart suggestions towards best practice.

Is it worth it? You bet. According to ThinkJar, it is six times more expensive to win a new client than to keep and service an existing client.

The client wish list… what clients really want from their web design agency.

 1. Communication

It has to be said that many agencies are experts at recording client communications, it’s what they do. Agency life thrives on taking briefs, questioning, and challenging, offering advice and guidance. But, on occasion agencies could do better, here’s some of the no’ no’s.

  • When you have a new client meeting, do you take notes and send a copy of the notes to the client with a list of the agreed actions?
  • After the meeting, does the communication stop most times? Should there be follow up questions?
  • Did the meeting include action points (great), but was the agency confident to include a timescale.

Remember their name, ask them what they do, their background. We’ve never met a client that does not want to tell you more about them, the business, or what their project is about. Remember, while agency creds and pitch documents may look great most companies want to talk about their needs, have questions answered, and go through a discovery process.

 2. Post-Project Communication

Many agencies should win awards for their ability to manage complex web builds and budgets coupled with personalities, technology-driven decisions, and creative branding! However many clients want communication to continue after the project.

  • Do you proactively follow up that the website is performing well, post-launch?
  • Does the agency offer a strategy meeting once every 6 months/year?
  • Do you check that the client still is not interested in advertising and marketing now?
  • Do you help new business launches get their new website indexed or is it up to them now?
Web Design Agency

 3. Statement of works (Sow)

How many times does the client change the brief? The answer is of course, none. That is if you use a Statement of Works document.

  • Do you agree with the brief in writing and confirm what the agency will deliver?
  • Do you agree a timeline for design and code, or test and go live (User acceptance testing)?
  • Do you agree with what quality controls are in place and to what limit?

The majority of clients want to know what they are getting for their budget. In some instances, it needs to be documented for ’rounds of changes’ or ‘project hours’ while other instances it’s just good practice to ask a client to sign off the brief that you send them for assurance you, the team and the client all understand the deliverable.

4. Deadlines

If you were to asked to spell deadline, some would spell it as O-M-G however, as scary as

Deadlines can be the majority of companies want and need to know a design draft, launch, or delivery date.

Clients have a right to know when their project can be delivered even if it is an estimate and by providing an estimated time of delivery it can prevent phone tag and client stress.

  • It’s OK to remind a client that they have not sent images, content, or signed off.
  • It’s OK to call the client to ask questions, in most instances it will save time later.
  • It’s OK to call the client and let them know a deadline will or will not be met.

Deadlines can be missed and from what we know clients prefer to be told of a potential delay so they can work around it, factor it in, or simply know what is coming.

5. Warranty

Just as you are likely to not understand thermodynamics, clients buying web design or digital marketing services are not likely to be able to read a technical report or understand agency internal conversations. It’s always a good idea to give every client a clear understanding of:

  • Website launch, testing, and warranty
  • What would happen if they do not maintain their digital asset themselves
  • Options to choose from or a recommendation for maintaining their digital asset with a referral

6. Investment

Clients want to know that the website is designed and coded will perform well afterward. Often, the ‘afterward’ part is not discussed and there is no plan for driving search engine traffic, generating leads, or delivering on the goals the clients need. Here is what you can do:

  • Offer a Google Analytics measurement plan before or during the website design and build phase. Potentially you can track the number of calls, leads, sales, or other activity.
  • Offer to implement a new Google analytics measurement plan after the new website launches, again to help track future growth and determine what will help grow their audience, reach, sales etc.
  • Offer to provide a post-launch meeting and / or training. Even if clients say they know the CMS their level of knowledge may be quite different from yours!

7. Business Relationship

It’s hard to say no to a client, but in the long run, it’s easier and better for the business relationship.

  • Clients don’t want to be in a position where they were not told, so, better to raise the issue and deal with it.
  • Clients want quality if the resource is not available and quality could drop, better to raise the issue at the beginning.
  • Clients want it now (well not all of them), it’s always better to say no and protect your staff and well being while working in a creative environment.

Saying ‘no’ can be difficult, but in doing so can present a fairer playing ground, notice periods, better briefs, and an understanding that you and your client are both important to the success of the web design project. If you are a web design agency and want to improve your web design agency credentials and stand out from other web design agencies we think it will be worthwhile visiting recommended digital providing independent review and accreditation provider for web design agencies.

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