Fundamentals of Website Design

All the businesses are now realizing that they should have an online presence besides their physical existence. And thus the importance & needs for the efficient and professional web designers are increasing day by day.

To build a website with a good design you must keep some important things. The first thing that you should always keep in mind that web design differs from print design. So, you must plan on “WHAT TO INCLUDE” and “WHAT NOT TO INCLUDE” on your website. So how to make a website that sells? Let’s find it out.

The Foundation

Before building a house, it is necessary to build a proper foundation. Likewise, before making a website you should keep in mind these basic things.

a) Remember that you are designing your site for the impatient online reader. They do not have the patience to read the whole contents. Instead they scan through. So you should learn to apply features and techniques that catch the attention of the viewers.

b) Uniformity is also important while designing a web site. You should use features to which people are accustomed.

c) The web site should be user friendly. It should use web-optimized graphics.

The Superstructure

Now we move on to the super structure that is the house itself or the website concerned. Just remember these tips and go on to make a great website.

1. The web site should load quickly and be easy to scan. These are the essential prerequisites of web designing.

2. While designing a web site, you should keep in mind the needs of the potential customers. People visit the web site with a specific purpose, to get a solution to their problems. So you should focus on providing people with the specific information. You should also ensure that no information is more than a few click away.

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3. The graphics should be so styled as to fit the content and not vice-versa. Often web designers complain that the content is not suitable to the web design. But you should remember that it is also important for people to read the content. The content provides information about the services and products. So attention must not be diverted from the content at any cost.

4. You should choose a font style and color that can be easily read. Frequent use of bold fonts makes the page difficult to read. The background color should also be kept light. Otherwise the viewers will have difficulty in viewing the pages.

5. You should use customized graphics to make your website attractive. But the graphics should not divert the attention of the readers from the content. The graphics should serve as an appendage to the content, which should be the primary focus.

6. Blinking images are to be avoided. They distract the attention of the readers from the content. Some viewers also consider them to be a nuisance and cover up these flashing images in order to concentrate on the content.

7. Avoid broken links. Make sure that they do not occur on your website. Concentrate on the link architecture.

8. Use contrasting elements on your web site. Placing contrasting elements side by side will easily attract the attention of the visitors. It is in fact one of the basic elements of web designing.

9. You should remember that the content should be aesthetically pleasing. Yet it should have powerful functionality at the same time. The website should be capable of giving out the relevant information in the least possible time. That is what readers are most interested in.

10. Don’t concentrate all your attention on attractive graphics. Give an equal focus on page layout, error handling and structure.

11. Don’t repeat your titles and page headings. Page headings are instrumental in focusing viewer’s attention. Using the same headings will make them think that the information being provided is the same. This will decrease viewer retention.

12. You should make sure that the content and the page headings are grammatically correct. Incorrect grammar and syntax will reflect badly on the web site.

13. Lay stress on the keywords. Use of keywords help viewer’s to ascertain whether the site is important to them or not. Most visitors flick through a website. So infrequent use of keywords will make visitors skip over a web site, even though it might contain relevant information. Here the needs of Web design with proper search engine optimization (SEO) grows up and up.

14. Pay attention to your homepage. That is what the viewers will first see. The home page should be attractive and provide useful information. If it doesn’t satisfy the mentioned criteria then the readers will move on.

You must remember that the primary aim of web designing services is to focus on visitor’s needs. Build your website in such a way as to direct the eye towards the important features. The less important ones should recede into the background. Web page designing is extremely challenging. Viewers take only a fraction of a second to decide whether a particular site will be useful to them or not. So you should hit the nail on the head immediately. The web site should be attractive, easy to read and easy to navigate. Adhering to the above guidelines will help you to build up a website that sells. Design a web site means you must make a convincing presentation. You should not include too many graphics, pop-ups, and flashing gifs in your web design. These take a lot of time to load. Your website should be easy to navigate. You must remember that the attention span of the average viewer is very low. You have to grab the attention of the viewer immediately otherwise they will wander to other sites.

from http://www.webdesign.org/web-design-basics/website-usability/fundamentals-of-website-design.17019.html

Successful Development of Web Applications

Modern websites are a far cry from the static text and graphics showcases of a decade ago, Today almost all popular and successful websites today, be it online shopping portals, lead management systems, surveys, event registration, reservation, and ticketing systems, social networks, entertainment sites, eCommerce websites implement web based applications.

Web applications are computer programs. These programs allow website visitors to submit and retrieve data to/from a database over the Internet using a preferred web browser. The data is then presented to the user within the browser as information is generated dynamically by the web application through a web server.

Web application development is not necessarily an easy task. A properly developed web application must undergo a series of actions to ensure success.

The 5 Step Software Development Cycle

The software development life cycle normally comes with some standard processes which can be managed by a well-trained development team. Like software, web site applications is also developed with a certain methodologies. Let us look at the steps involved in most any web site development projects.

1. Analysis:

As the web site is going to be a part of a system, It needs a complete analysis as, how the web based application is going to help the present system and how the site is going to help the business. Moreover the analysis should cover all the aspects especially what are the performance expectations of the finished product. Another key aspect of the analysis is identifying and understanding the targeted audience and their respective demographic.

2. Identify Specifications:

After the analysis, preliminary specifications are drawn up by covering up each and every element of the requirement. This specification document is then used by the design and development team as a master plan ensuring the ongoing understanding of the project requirements.

3. Design:

The Design step includes the creation and design of all the pages implementing the application features as design elements to be programmed later by the coding team. In most of the cases customer may be interested in viewing two or three design versions. Revisions are displayed via the web project board for the customer to view. In optimum project management processes, customer comments, feedback and approvals are submitted to a project management board for easy review and retrieval by all relevant parties. Throughout the design phase the team should develop test plans and procedures for quality assurance. It is necessary to obtain client approval on design and project plans. Once approved the approved coded designs are provided to the Programming team for development.

4. Development:

In parallel the Database team will develop the database with all the data structures. Unlike traditional design the coder must be familiar with the interface as the code should not change or alter the look and feel of the site or application. It is important the programming team and the designer interact and communicate well in order for the programmer to thoroughly understand the design. The coders should always produce necessary testing plans as well as technical documentation. The end-user documentation can also be prepared by the coding team, which can be used by a technical writer.

5. Testing:

Unlike software, web based applications need intensive testing, as the applications will always function as a multi-user system with bandwidth limitations. Some of the testing which should be done are, Integration testing, Stress testing, Scalability testing, load testing, resolution testing and cross-browser compatibility testing. Both automated testing and manual testing should be done without fail. For example its needed to test fast loading graphics and to calculate their loading time, as they are very important for any web site.

There are ideal testing tools which assists quality assurance testers. After the testing is completed a live Beta testing is necessary for web sites and web based applications. After uploading the site a final testing is conducted.

Successful businesses have made intelligent use of web application development to enhance their business prospects. However web application development should be handled only by firms who have the experience and technological understanding to undertake challenging application development .

Once your company requires an online application look for a web development with a strong portfolio of clients that have an industry reputation. A strong website development company can make any website effective.

from http://www.webdesign.org/web-design-basics/website-usability/page-1.html

5 Web Design Elements You Should Never Overlook

Website designing is tricky business. Often small things that go unnoticed turn out to be significant in impacting the overall performance of the website and further influencing crucial factors like website traffic, revenue generation and conversion figures.

Here are some factors that are often overlooked but are by no means unimportant and should be taken very seriously.

Mystery Meat Navigation

This is the type of navigation where icons or pictorial buttons are used to represented navigational links. Unlike regular navigation links, they are devoid of text that defines its location. Therefore users are left to wonder the location by themselves. This handicaps the browsing experience because users are often unable to locate the designated look.

Mystery meat navigation require JavaScript and images in order to function. This also bloats the size of web pages and increases their load time. This further hampers the accessibility quotient of the website. Even if you decide to use images for link, make sure you complement them requisite text links as well in order to make the navigation menu accessible and usable. Smooth and flawless browsing experience ensures rich user-experience.

Page Titles

Page titles are the texts that is displayed on the title bars of the web browser. It is the ‘title’ of the web page and should define the contents of the same. Many web designers make the mistake of writing the website name first followed by the page contents.

Ideally, the title of the content should precede the name of the website in the title bar. This is because Internet users and search engines are able to locate the contents of the website more easily.

Contact Information

Websites are your corporate face on the world wide web. And it is very important to establish your credibility. One of the ways you can ensure this is by letting your audiences know that there is a live presence behind the online presence and providing them a point to get in touch with them. Providing adequate contact information not only grants legitimacy to your online business but also helps your visitors to communicate with you.

Provide your business address, relevant phone numbers and a mailing address. If you are concerned about undue spam, provide a secure contact form on your website.

Site Map

One of the oft-forgotten but extremely important feature of a website. Many web designers forget to include a site map on their website. A site-map lists all the links of all the pages of a website according to the hierarchy and order. A site-map acts as a links page for search engine pages to crawl and also aid estranged users to locate their exact positions on the website and navigate to where they want to go.

Moreover, sitemaps also strengthen the internal linking of a website and provides a defined structure for the same.

Standardized Markup

In order to ensure the proper accessibility and usability of a website, it is very important to maintain a standardized mark-up. Be it using tables for layouts or the proper use of line breaks, just about everything counts for proper markup. Use semantic markup that ensures forward compatibility.

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