What to Look For in a Web Design Program

You’ve decided that Web design is the career for you. You’re ready to jump into the game, but you’re going to need some education on how to design Web sites first. However, with literally hundreds of schools offering courses in every possible permutation – Web site design or graphic design with a focus on Web sites; certificates or full degrees – how do you decide which program meets your needs?

Skills taught in a Web Design program

Web site designers require a vast array of skills, not all of which are (or can be!) taught in the classroom. However, there are certain skills that all Web designers should know. First among these is HTML (HyperText Markup Language) code, which comprises the building blocks of the Web. All Web sites, no matter how fancy or how focused on Flash animation, consist of HTML at their core.

Although most designers now use Web editing programs such as FrontPage or Dreamweaver to design Web sites, in order to understand what is actually happening when the Web site loads, you need to know HTML. For entry-level positions, this markup language can be enough, but for more advanced positions, you should learn one or more other markup languages, such as XML (eXtended Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), as well as one or more scripting languages, such as JavaScript
and ActiveX.

You will also need to learn the basics of making a Web site look neat and professional. Although it may seem elementary, there are a wide range of techniques involved in creating a Web site that flows well. A logical site is designed to allow the user to quickly understand the purpose of the Web site, and to easily find the information he or she needs. Although this is obviously more of an art than a science, there are many techniques that help users navigate each page within a site more effectively and quickly. As a Web
site designer, you should be fluent in these techniques.

To work on Web sites, you’ll also need to understand the basics of how a computer operates. These technical skills enable you to set up and modify the Web site. Being able to use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) clients to add pages and upload site changes is paramount. So is being able to modify the site contents manually by using text editor software. Some of this software allows you to view changes instantaneously, such as the Real-Time HTML Editor, which is available online. Other text editors are included with your
office computer, or can be installed, enabling you to work on site contents outside of a site editing program.

Finally, depending on the specific career path you have in mind, you may need to have other skills. If you are focusing more on the graphic design aspect of Web design, you will need to focus on learning about vector and raster graphics. Raster graphics, comprised of grids of tiny pixels, are dependent on the size and quality of the image – photographs are raster images, for example, and can look blurry or sharp, depending upon image size and resolution. Vector graphics use geographical points and coordinates
instead of pixels, and can be resized without losing image quality. Typography, or the art of choosing and using fonts and typefaces, is also important. Page layout, or the skill of combining pictures, text, links, and animated images on a Web site to create a pleasing overall design, is also very important.

How to Create Good Web Design

There are many different types of web design, from those built using website templates and ‘build your own’ site building applications to complex content managed and e-commerce web designs such as those used by big brand names like Amazon, eBay and Tesco. Some companies, even some big name companies, have unprofessional looking and badly designed websites. Some have amazing looking websites but because of their high graphical content and minimal text content can take an age to load, are not user friendly and do not provide what the visitor wants.

Good Website Design

Though many aspects of website design differ from site to site, many things remain the same throughout the majority of websites on the internet. Most notably is the navigation or menu. The way in which a website’s menu works and looks is very important, as ultimately, visitors to a website are looking for certain criteria that will make them either stay and interact or leave. This ability for a website to keep visitors interested is sometimes referred to as stickiness. Visitors want an attractive visually exciting experience, but perhaps more importantly, they want ‘ease of use’. Website usability is a key factor for websites that want their visitors to stick around, make an enquiry and ultimately complete a transaction and order a product or service.

Easy to Use Web Design

Internet users tend to prefer easy to use websites, because they do not want to have to learn how to use a website every time they find a new one. They should be able to use a website after only a few seconds of looking around a homepage, any more and they will leave and browse elsewhere. The need for fast user interaction is vital and therefore having a fast loading website is also important for a website to succeed. Even with faster internet connections such as broadband, internet users don’t want to wait around.

Just imagine, if you go to a shop on the high street and are totally ignored by shop assistants at the counter for 5 minutes, even after you have made it clear you want help. There is a correlation here to how an internet user may feel, when they arrive at a website that has been poorly designed, is difficult to use, unfriendly and slow to load. Making sure that a website has been well thought out and designed with the user in mind, displays a company’s unique selling points within easily recognizable eye catching calls for action and has a clear, easy to use menu is key to its success.

Flash Web Design

With recent web design advancements, such as the introduction of Flash animation and high definition video content, impressive websites have been produced to take advantage of much higher levels of visual effects and interaction. However with this ‘high end’ web design, comes a price, more often than not, web designs which rely heavily upon Flash content are often ridiculously slow to load. They often have a progress bar, which slowly goes across the web browser to signify when the website will finish loading.

This is much like the progress bars that you may be familiar with if you use video editing or 3D rendering software, or if you use games consoles where they are displayed whilst you wait for games to load. Internet users on the whole do not want to wait 3 – 5 minutes for a web page to load even if it does feature high resolution images, animation or video. They want fast informative content rich websites. If they wanted to watch an animation or video they would watch TV.

Good Flash Web Design

This is not to say that Flash animation is all bad news and shouldn’t be used in web design. If used subtly and in small amounts it can make a website more visually appealing without slowing the load time down too much. Suitable uses for Flash animation in web design are things such as; Flash banner advertisements, Flash video and interactive Flash forms for online questionnaires or business presentations.

Using Flash for a whole website design however, is not such a good idea. It slows the user’s experience down because they have to wait for elements of it to load. Also, sites totally developed in Flash tend to use unfamiliar menu structures and features. This can confuse visitors who just want to quickly interact with the website and not be amazed by the way the menu animates. Just because you can do these things in Flash, it doesn’t mean they have any real working value in the real world. They may look pretty, but if they are not functional and only irritate the visitor then they have no real value.

Flash Web Design & SEO

Another argument against using Flash to create a whole website is that it dramatically reduces the effectiveness of your websites’ Search Engine Optimisation. Flash web designs are made up of one main file within a web page which search engines find difficult to index. This is because the text within them is usually graphical text and therefore is not usually accessible by search engines. Some recent developments allow some text to be displayed for search engines in Flash websites, but this is nowhere near as effective as text content within traditional HTML based websites.

Don’t Write Off Flash in Web Design

Although Flash does have its limitations it also has its good points if used correctly. For instance; Flash animation is usually smaller in file size than traditional gif animation and because of the way it is made the animation flows smoother than gif animation too. Having said this, I would recommend only using Flash in small areas within a site to compliment other imagery that makes up the overall design. Finding a balance between minimal graphical elements, imagery, Flash and good quality informative text is the key to a successful user friendly website. This isn’t to say that web design needs be boring. By working with quality web design companies there’s no reason why you couldn’t have a visually exciting, well designed, easy to use and successful website.

Visually Stimulating Web Design

When visitors first arrive at a website, they want to be impressed and engaged with what the website has to offer. This will be determined by the ways in which the web designer has laid out the website’s content text, images and features. Arranging elements such as imagery, text, graphics, flash and video in such a way as to keep the visitor interested in the website is the key to good web design. If a website has poor design and doesn’t grab the attention of the visitor in the first few seconds, then it may well be dismissed as just another average website. This ultimately means the visitor will go elsewhere to spend their time and, more importantly, money.

Good Web Design Layout

A lot of time and money is spent making sure that the right elements of websites are positioned in the right places. Companies spend large amounts of money conducting research into how internet users use their websites. This type of research shows where their visitors’ eyes concentrate the most, which elements of the website they click on first and generally how they interact and use their websites. Most internet users will look primarily from the top left either across the page, or down the left hand side of the web page through an internet browser via a computer, mobile phone or TV set.

I would hazard a guess, that they are looking for the company’s name or logo, their main selling points or slogans and then what the website has to offer in terms of what is featured in the menu. After which their eyes are probably drawn across the page content and over to the right hand side. Successful web design usually takes this into consideration and will ultimately affect the way a website looks.

There are of course rather famous exceptions to this rule for instance one rather well known search engine has a web design which is quite different. The main focus and core functionality in their web design is located right in the centre of the page. This however, isn’t any ordinary website with tens or even hundreds of pages of products and services to display, its main focus is its recognisable logo and of course its search box. It does however feature a small minimal menu across the top of the web design, which flows from left to right. So even they have taken onboard some of the research undertaken into internet users’ habits. If you go looking at websites after reading this article, I can guarantee that most of the web designs you’ll see, will have a left hand menu and a defined header bar with a company logo and slogan across it.

Custom CMS Web Design Budget

Consider our expert custom CMS web design budget tips when asking for a quote on a new custom CMS website or the redesign of an existing site. A custom CMS content management system is a good choice to keep down future costs because you or a staff member may manage new site content without technical skills or paying each time for changes.

Web Design Price, Quality, and Value Compared

Our CMS Design Tip #1: Budget funds for as much quality as you can afford for the initial development and launch of your custom CMS web design.

Like any consumer product, paying more for quality that lasts provides value for money spent. This is true for a custom CMS web design, also. To establish a design budget our advice for analyzing web design prices may help you avoid the mistakes others make.

Value depends on quality, so an expensive price for a nice looking website could be misleading. A cheap price even though nice looking could be a mistake, also. If you look for the cheapest price and lack the technical skills to analyze quality, you may end up with a clunker that just doesn’t perform. Websites and knockoff consumer products can appear like the real deal until they fall apart.

A quick test of quality for any website is to validate the code, so Google the phrase “validate html” to locate the free W3C online tool. Check out a potential designer’s work by testing their design. If the site is in xhtml and complies to W3C without errors, that’s a good indicator the designer cares about quality. The next tip provides more advice for evaluating a CMS web designer.

Choices When Selecting a CMS Web Designer

Our CMS Design Tip #2: Evaluate your options for a source to create the custom CMS web design based on their quality and experience.

An amateur CMS web designer who states “I can do web design” is probably correct. Children 10 years old or younger at grade school level can design websites. Creating an attractive custom CMS web design may seem easy, yet creating a website that performs well attracting business and search engines is different.

Here are CMS web design service options to consider. The first 3 could be free except for the time needed to setup, manage, and update your website. The other web designer options involve cost.

1. Do It Yourself Web Design
2. Trust a Friend or Relative
3. Use a Free Standard Template
4. Purchase a Premium CMS Template
5. Hire a Freelance CMS Web Designer

If you lack experience, the first 4 options for free or nearly free web design involve climbing a steep learning curve to have a quality CMS website that performs well. With zero experience, it may take 200 or more hours just to research, evaluate, and select a good CMS software package, and then modify it to your unique look in preparation for installation and launch.

Hiring a freelance web designer may be the best choice, yet use due diligence to verify their quality and experience. Have them provide performance evidence for their website. Ask for links to customer CMS design projects that demonstrate quality and performance for their clients, too.

Inexperienced designers may exaggerate or overpromise. Many prefer to discuss what they will do for you without real evidence. This has been proven by catching the lies of firms begging for web design work as subcontractors, yet they cannot prove results for their site or their customers. If a person or company can truly provide a quality custom design solution that performs well, they will have evidence.

Another test is asking if the designer can create a custom CMS in xhtml in a tableless design with valid code to W3C with the ability to add new pages in plain text without learning advanced technical skills. A custom design meeting that sentence should display well now and on new computing inventions for years to come. You may want to ask for evidence that their designs are cross-browser compatible and will display well in all major browsers, too.

Plan Details of Your Site Launch and Growth

Our CMS Design Tip #3: Plan to add original quality content often to your new custom CMS web design to attract repeat visitors.

A website launch and forget it strategy cannot succeed unless your product or service is one-of-a-kind or extremely unique. If you have competition and a one-shot web design budget, your competitor may outperform your website by constantly adding fresh content that gives visitors a reason to return. That site traffic will include repeat shoppers and search engines eager to access that new content.

The purpose of a CMS content management system is the ability to add original quality content often. Before a single line of code is written, our advice is mapping out the site navigation of the initial launch, and pencil in future site growth. The navigation outline will allow you to envision where to add content in the future while keeping a logical site structure so visitors don’t get lost.

During the custom design planning phase, avoid the temptation of having just something or anything online like an under construction one-pager as a place holder. A more developed site with very general information is nearly as bad. Think of a brick and mortar store having a grand opening while half their shelves are empty. You need to make a positive first impression, so do not launch your until you have provided sufficient details of your product or service to convince visitors to consider you.

In summary when choosing a custom CMS web design, budget as much quality as you can afford, use due diligence in selecting your design team, and invest ongoing time or money for future development of your design. Online success of your website depends on planning ahead and implementing our “add original quality content often” strategy along with these custom CMS web design budget tips.

The Ultimate eCommerce Web Designers Trick

Either you’ll be able to go with freelance web designers or can hire total service web designers to get your internet presence, also called website. The very first reason to have your website is your engagement with the internet. There are lots of web designers out there. So when you’re looking to locate a fantastic web designer, the very first thing you’ve got to check is designing services that are quality oriented. Most reputable web designers know not to pick an internet host simply because they’re definitely the most popular or since they supply the cheapest web hosting.

The site designer may get the job done freely or even as a member of a company which is particularly into designing proficient stores. For instance, if you want non-profit website then non-profit website designers are the ideal choice for you. Moreover, flash designs might also be incorporated within the site to make it even more alluring to the clients. Designing an eCommerce website is an extremely professional undertaking. In case the website design of your site cannot pull and convert visitors, then it means your site needs improvement.

Being an owner of a company, you should select an eCommerce web designer that could comprehend the tasks of designing an eCommerce shop. A great designer is going to know that design and SEO go hand-in-hand. They are being snatched by agencies and large projects. They are creative people that need to think out of the box. A superb web designer ought to be in a position to comprehend the emerging trends in the market, the expected changes in web design, current and future trends as well as the most recent web development tools.

Your website design provider should use the ability of Social Media Marketing. Any expert web design company would help the consumers in many respects. An excellent web design company will have great search engine optimisation skills to publicize your website. It’s always preferable to opt for a great web design company that comprises of dedicated and seasoned employees.

So as to create a web site or an internet presence, one wants to employ a website design company. Also, make certain that the website design company ought to have a group of experienced web designers, developers, programmers and testers etc so that you are able to secure all kinds of services under one roof. A seasoned web design company is going to have a good portfolio of internet sites that they’ve created for different customers. New web design businesses are springing up all of the moment, but don’t be tricked by shiny sites loudly proclaiming their amazing services.

The Advantages of eCommerce Web Designers

The Web lets us market our services and products any place in the Earth, but to be able to actually earn a sale, we have to set a relationship that generates a sufficient amount of trust, confidence, loyalty and passion. Environmentally-friendly web hosting is getting more and more popular for business web sites appearing to implement an eco-policy. To rival a number of the biggest bands on the planet, websites have allowed bands the capacity to grow massive online fan bases through pay per view. The site ought to be downloaded as fast as possible. For example, the site of a company making and selling luxury goods needs to seem luxurious also.

If all the sites look alike there’s hardly any chance of the visitor remembering a specific website. Your website ought to have the ideal architecture with easy navigational keys. To acquire the excellent traffic at the site, it is necessary to create the website attractive. First and foremost you must seek out the video sites that will supply you the resources to make your own video. It is due to the fact that the site has to be unique. An eCommerce website is as fantastic as a digital store. eCommerce websites are designed in order to do the business needs.

A specialist site designer if technically sound enough may give a wholly different get until the site. A web site is your internet address which aids you reach customers in every corner of earth, no matter which corner you’re sitting in. In different cases you may employ your website for a lead generation tool where you don’t conduct financial transactions online. Yeah it’s true, your website is online but still you want to give a fantastic customer service online. There are several kinds of websites like eCommerce sites, social media sites, template-based sites, CSS websites and several more.

The Basics of eCommerce Web Designers

Our site brings you different types of explanatory videos to select from. Therefore, in case it’s not possible for the website to be made fully compatible with all browsers due to coding limitations, then the developer needs to understand the numerous types and versions of internet browsers employed by the majority of the website visitors. Creating your web site may be a tricky practice. Building an internet site is a very technical procedure, while designing an internet site is a very creative procedure. The internet site and social networking pages should complement one-another.

Free Website Design Tips For Beginners

Free website design need not be difficult. However it does require careful planning and insight. You have to understand how your audience thinks, what they’re looking for and how your website can best accommodate their needs so that they would return. Even a hobbyist needs to implement good web design to ensure a steady flow of visitors. What more an internet marketer?

Free Website Design Tips

An internet marketer or owner of an ecommerce site isn’t just thinking of convenience for their audience, even though this is a priority; he or she is also thinking of profitability. You have to think of your site in terms similar to a casino or shopping mall. Everything must be set up to encourage your guests to buy, buy and buy.

Use Attractive Graphics. We may have been taught not to judge a book by its cover, but this isn’t what works in real life. When people see something attractive, they are more likely to buy it than a similar item that looks plain. Think about this: If you surf eBay for “Gucci watch” and find one item with a thumbnail picture and one that has none, which do you click on first? Pictures sell, so make yours look nice.

First things first. Always display your flagship product(s) foremost. Internet marketing of a product/service is like posting a job resume. You want to highlight your most marketable assets.

Less clicks, more buys. Don’t burry your merchandise in a stack of links. Your guests have plenty of other places to go, and they may not have a lot of time. Your free website design must make purchase fast and easy.

Set your target. Decide on what your target audience is, and pursue them. Why would they want to buy your product? As an internet marketer, you want to let the whole world know it needs you and your services.

Honesty and integrity are priceless. On the other hand, never trick your guests into making a purchase they don’t intend. Be honest about your products or services. To be really helpful, you can write detailed, informative articles about the general topic of your site. For instance, if you sell air purifiers, you can provide interesting essays on air pollution, housecleaning, and allergies.

Name your price. Would-be buyers are easily turned off when they fail to see a price tag. It makes them suspicious and doubtful that they would be able to afford an item. You’re here to sell, so name your price.

Be interactive. The internet makes communication with clients easier. Take advantage it. Provide a feedback form, mailing address and telephone/fax number. Be prepared to answer any type of question that may come along.

The above are some free web design tips you can use right away. Now if you really want a professional experience for your clients, you can go to a quality online webmaster shop with free or cheap software and services. A small investment there can go a long way to making your site more competitive.

Small Businesses and Designs

So, you plan to start a small home based business? In today’s economy, it is vital that you create an extra source of income for yourself and grow it gradually in order to rely on it eventually. Now, the best thing to do is to start an online business. This way you will be able to target potential buyers from around the world instead of a specific area if you start an offline business. Plus, it is thousands times cheaper to start an online business as compared to an offline business. Having said that, there are several designs you will need to make your small business a success. So, let’s discuss them now:

Custom Web Design:

You will first need to create a customized website to start your online business. Now, ensure that you get it designed professionally. If the design doesn’t depict professionalism, then you won’t be able to win the trust of your market. As a result, you won’t be able sell your products, especially if the price of your products is high. Make sure that the design clearly conveys your business model. If it’s about selling surgical items, then you should not show clowns all over your website. Keep it relevant, always.

Custom Logo Design:

Now, you need to give your business a face or identity and it can be done via a top quality custom logo design. It’s your logo design that makes your business memorable. If it’s simple, attractive and professional, then people will remember it and, consequently, they will remember your business. Without a logo, you won’t be able to give your business a face and your target market won’t have something through which they would be able to remember and recognize you. So, it’s important that you create a high quality and customized logo design for your business.

Banner Design:

If you intend to promote your business on different yet relevant vertical portals, then a professionally designed banner will do the job for you. However, you may have to get customized banners for all different portals. You may have to ask your designer to evaluate portal and then design your banner accordingly. You don’t want to create an irrelevant design. Also, make sure that you do banner advertisement on websites relevant to your products. Otherwise, your click through rate will decrease and you won’t be able to target the right audience.

Brochure Design:

Brochure design is a very powerful piece of design for small businesses. You can use it to promote your business and products both online and offline. Yes, it works for both. One important thing that you must ensure is that the design must look relevant to your industry or business model. If you don’t care about the tone or mood of your business when you design your brochure, your market won’t care about picking it up from the stack or downloading it off the internet.

Social Network Software Web Design

Developing a custom web design takes an immense deal of prior planning and groundwork, and an essential part of preparation is getting the important tools of trade. The appearance of one’s website is one of the most imperative features of his success and the service or product will be exactly judged by the look of his website. When one begins developing his site, his objective should be to make a ‘template’ that he can utilized to design each page of his website. This is important in order to give the entire website the same feel and look.

Website Template and Webpage Formatting

A website template is in fact a simple ‘page shell’ that has one’s entire webpage design, images, navigation links, logo and specific passage of the content. However, the template would not have any content actually, as each time one creates a webpage with the template; he will save it with different name. It is highly recommended to place the entire website content with html tables, as it will enable one to have overall control on the content and also the manner it will be presented.

As placing entire webpage content within single HTML page will immensely increase the load time of website, stacking tables will surely enable one to benefit from useful formatting options of tables while keeping the website’s upload time down. The HTML tables will allow one to display his entire web content in columns like newspaper sets up a particular number of columns and rows, and even put extra tables within the main ‘content table’ to make special content parts with dazzling colored backgrounds.

Important Custom Web Design Tools

Some essential website development tools include HTML editors, text editors, FTP, Graphic editor, Unzip/zip software, and e-mail.

An html editor is software utilized to edit or create html documents, and is preferred to use as it can immensely simplify the complicated processes. FTP or file transfer protocol is a procedure utilized to download and upload files from and to one’s web server. It can also enable one to set up file permissions, upload scripts, create file folders and transfer files from the server.

Important Tips for Custom Web Design

Every single web-design elements affects one’s website marketability and functionality, from the conclusion on how navigational system will work to picking up right graphics, content, colors, and html code. All these factors will not only affect potential consumers, but also search engine ‘indexing’.

When and if one is prepared to get started with his online presence, he can begin with an effective business strategy and plan to ensure the success of his business. He should not be afraid to carry out research on marketing trends or analyze a design or marketing company that will go well with his needs.