Saturday, September 28, 2013

Good Web Design Matters

By Diane Downey

According to ScienceDaily, a recent eye-tracking research conducted at the Missouri University of Science and Technology confirms that when someone views a website, it takes less than two-tenths of a second to form a first impression. "We know first impressions are very important," says Dr. Hong Sheng, assistant professor of business and information technology at Missouri S&T. "As more people use the Internet to search for information, a user's first impressions of a website can determine whether that user forms a favorable or unfavorable view of that organization."

Good website design is an integral part of any business. Unfortunately, many business owners don't take it seriously enough to find a qualified designer. I can't tell you how many websites I have found that have the following problems:

Non-working Links

This can apply to anything from menu tabs to footer tabs and anything in between that appears to be a link but takes you nowhere.

Chaotic Content

Have you ever seen copy that runs off the page or into sides of boxes without any margins?

Low-Quality or Just Plain BAD Logos

When the logo looks like it is poor quality or like a child drew them on the spot.

Too Many "Distractions"

Flashing, Sounds, Pop-up Ads, etc. in every nook and cranny. Where do you go? What do you do? Leave!


Everywhere you look it seems there are so many misspelled words. If you don't know how to spell yourself, please do a spellcheck or have it proofread. Any potential customers (that can spell) will think your website is unprofessional with misspelled words.

Bad Taste

There is just no excuse for bad taste. So many colors, type styles and images that don't mesh well together.

Pages that take forever to load

I'm waiting. I'm waiting. Good-bye.

HTML Code Mistakes

Another mistake that some people make, noticeable mostly to the search engines, is having HTML code with errors. Most web pages are written in HTML code. If your code contains errors, the search engines will probably not be able to index your site and it will not be found.

Browser Problems

Your website may look totally different when you look at it in different browsers. For example: if you just developed a website using Internet Explorer and it looks great but never check it in Firefox or Chrome, a potential customer could come along who is using Firefox for his browser, open up the same site and see an absolute train wreck.

Lesson: You always need to check your site against several other browsers to be sure it looks the same.

Sometimes it can be an overwhelming job to get it just right, but very important.

So if you are in the market for a website, it would be wise to let someone with the knowledge and experience in website development to take care of all the details that an amateur would never even know to do. This way you end up with a good-looking and good-working site.

When creating a website I make sure to cover ALL of the necessary bases, whether it is obvious to the customer or not. Otherwise I will not feel like I have done my job as an experienced website designer.

My goal is to create a unique representation of each customer with the end result being their absolute satisfaction guaranteed. My customers can also expect me to put whatever time and effort is necessary to get the job done ''just the way they want it''. In the end, the websites I develop are browser-friendly, search engine friendly and code compliant.

Diane Downey

Complete Website Development

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

How to Avoid Problems With Responsive Web Design

By Chris M Hunter

More people than ever before are accessing the internet on many different devices such as smart phones, tablets, and laptops to fulfill the desire to stay connected - no matter where, no matter when. While this is great for most businesses, it also presents a few problems such as how a website should look and function on these numerous mobile platforms.

The introduction of responsive web design has helped reduce concerns about the necessity for fluid design that changes to fit the size of the mobile device screen; however, as with anything, even responsive design has had its little hiccups. The best way to avoid any problems with RWD, whether building a new internet location or looking at having such a thing done, is to be aware of the trouble spots that exist ahead of time. Read and consider the following tips in order to plan a great responsive website that will perform as needed.

Understand How It Works

Before building or rebuilding any website, it is important for both developers and client to truly understand responsive web design and the many ways it can prove to be very beneficial. Even though the technology has been around for some time and is becoming more progressive every day, it would be safe to say that most people including some designers have never heard of RWD and do not understand how it works.

So perhaps the best way to explain this concept is to provide examples of internet locations using RWD, demonstrating how the image size changes depending on the device, how this fluidity affects usability, and how optimization efforts can be more successful. Wire framing and some sketches will definitely take some creativity in order to get the idea across, making a personal demonstration a more useful idea. Getting a basic layout coded as early as possible to show how a website will work is highly recommended.


Navigation is an important part of every website and even more so with responsive design. Planning how to move around on a website that must appear in different ways depending on the viewing device is one of the biggest challenges for designers. Responsive navigation has become a hot topic in RWD and there is no one answer for every circumstance. What this means is that consideration must be given to the basic navigation patterns that are available such as compressing top navigation, bottom stacked navigation, or fly-out navigation to name a few. Most importantly, it should be a type that can be used on all the many different viewing devices, keeping with the main layout and visual look of the website.

Images, Fonts, and Other Elements

Another trouble spot is how images and media will view in a responsive design, since the website is always shifting and changing. When considering such aspects, designers need to remember that as the devices change, so will the screen resolution. One way of dealing with these concerns is through the use of fluid images, fonts, and media that scale according to the platform. An interesting concept is adaptive images, which provides a different version of an image dependent upon the device that is being used. Other ideas that can be tried could include using CSS Sprites, SVG vector graphics, responsive table design, and replacing regular fonts used for labels or headings with icon fonts that will adapt well to different screen resolutions.

It is important to consider which is the best choice when trying to restructure an existing website or rebuild using responsive design, which will be dependent on the complexity of the existing structure. In most cases, considering what effort would be required to recode, the answer usually lies in utilizing the less labor-intensive option of rebuilding - which will avoid many of the problems that exist with responsive web design!

Chris Hunter is an expert in Web Design and Search Engine Marketing. To find out more about Houston Web Design, go to the main website at:

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Essentials for Web Design

By Tanya J Jones

The best practices for web design keep evolving over time. There are no fixed rules while designing a website. The look that the client needs, the functionality of the site and the business needs all play an important role in the design of the site. Though most of the things are not absolute, there are certain things that are essential while designing websites. The site will not be complete if any of these elements is not there. These essentials can play a major role in helping your site rank well in search results. In order to understand these essentials, it is first important to understand what complete web design is in the first place.

What is complete web design?

Complete web design involves more than just the aesthetic appeal of the site. When a professional web designer creates a site, he/she makes sure that it is complete with all the designing essentials. Given below are some of these web design essentials.

Optimizing Images

In today's competitive world, the business should take every advantage that it can get as far as performing in the online market is concerned. Today is the time of blended search results where images, videos and other features of the site also feature in search results. At such a time, businesses cannot ignore images. It is important to optimize these images and videos so that they rank well in search results and show up when a user searches for a related term.

PDF Optimization

PDF files have become a very common way of sharing brochures and white papers over the internet. If you optimize the PDF file and then publish it on the internet, the chances of it ranking in search results will be much higher than if it was not optimized.

Website Footer

The website footer is one of the most ignored aspects of the site. The footer is the last thing that the visitor to your site will see if your web page has good content. This means that the footer can be used as a last opportunity where the user may take any kind of action on the site. Hence, utilizing the footer in the right way can be very beneficial to your site.

Custom 404 Error Page

Each error that appears on your site has an error code. The error code 404 will appear if someone tries to access a page on your site and it is nonexistent. This page will appear when someone tries to open a page that is not there on your site anymore.

Cross Browser Compatibility

Many people think that once a site is built and ready for launch, everyone who visits the site will see it as it appears on the creator's screen. However, this is not true. The site will appear in a different way for different users depending on the browser that the user has opened the site on. If your site has not been created keeping this in mind and if it has not been optimized for different kinds of browsers, it will not open properly for every user and this can have a negative impact on its performance.

Search Engine Optimization

Today, more and more companies are understanding the importance of SEO for their websites. SEO can play an important role in the design and development process of the site itself. Search engine optimization should be started on the site when it is being designed itself.


Search engines will first look at the robots.txt file when they visit a site. This file will guide search engines and help them decide what pages to index and what pages to ignore. Though it looks simple, it is a very important element of web design.

Optimized Page Load Time

People visiting websites have very little patience these days thanks to the convergence of the mobile and the web. At such a time, if your site takes a long time to load, people will get annoyed and leave your site, never to return again. That is why it is important to optimize page load time and make sure that your site does not take a long time to load.

301 Redirects

There are many reasons to redirect a visitor from one page to another. Most designers will do a temporary redirect when a need to redirect a visitor arises. This is done because it is easy to handle and is much faster.

Though the look and design of your site play an important role in the success of your site, it is equally important to keep these elements of web design in mind in order to make sure that your site does well in search results. Keeping these elements in mind and designing your site according will have a very positive effect on your site's rankings.

Tanya Jones is a staff writer for Flying Cow Design, a company that provides quality medical web design services.

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