New Trends and New Opportunities in Web Design

Websites need to be designed to impress. Latest design trends such as vertical patterns, material design inspired interfaces and slide style sites are growing in popularity.

Here are some of the trends that have emerged and will prevail in the future too:

Vertical patterns and scrolling

With more and more people using mobile phones as the single point of access to the internet, vertical pattern designs are becoming more and more popular. Mobile traffic exceeds the desktop traffic and more and more websites will need to be designed with a vertical flow. The vertical scroll was almost extinct until the need for mobile websites emerged. Mobile websites need a lot of vertical scrolling if all the content needs to be accommodated.

Card style interfaces

Card style interfaces are becoming more and more popular as they are make your layout look clear and neat. Another major advantage of card style layouts is that they can be made to fit all screen sizes, as the screen size reduces, they can be made to stack one above the other. This makes them more suitable for responsive designs.

Video style headers

Video clips are growing from small snippets to full length videos. Including video previews is a great new trend that adds to the appeal of the website design.

Tiny animations

Tiny animations are a fun way to engage users. Moving elements can be used anywhere on the website. These tiny animations will continue to grow in popularity in the near future too.

Focus on interactions

User interactions are important for website design. They create a link between the device and the user. True interactions provide the value to the user experience with your website. These small interactions decide how users communicate with your website and whether they wish to further associate with your website.

Beautiful typography

The emergence of usable type tools such as Adobe Type Kit and Google Fonts has definitely helped web designers to use creative and beautiful typography for their websites. Big and bold type faces are still in demand because they can convey the message clearly and more conveniently. The aim is to communicate the message in a highly readable as well as creative manner.

Illustrations and Sketches

Illustrations and sketches are not for children anymore. Illustrations are growing in popularity when icons and other small interface elements need to be designed. Illustrations sometimes give a personal touch to the website. This is because the illustration or a sketch seems to be hand drawn and it looks and feels personal. This can greatly help in creating a connection with the website visitor.

Websites with slides

It all began with sliders where a website could move images within a frame to display various images. Then there were full screen slides where the entire slide is refreshed to display new content to the viewer. These slides work with a click, scroll or a time out. This is one trend that will stick on.

Web Design: Four Tips That Guarantee Success

Web designers make thousands of dollars creating and/or designing websites. These leading companies know the secrets to catching the average consumer’s attention and keeping it. They know how to get someone to read your content, and then come back for more. Web designers take it a step further and join branding into everything that they do. Follow these tips that leading web designers use to guarantee the success of your website.

Strategy

Before experts start designing a web site, they develop a plan. As they collaborate, they take the customer base into account. The marketing strategy and website are then geared towards the target audience. This is done before the layout of the website is ever discussed. After that, other areas of the plan are taken into consideration. Remember, this is done before making the website. Other key components of this strategy include:

  • Discussing the goals of the website
  • Brand (the brand of the website and the business that it represents should be the same)
  • Current reputation, and any changes that the business would like to make
  • Search engine optimization
  • Impression. For example, if a business would like to appear professional or relaxed and fun.
  • Color scheme
  • Key points that the business would like to include on their website

Understand the target audience

Good web designers do not just look at who the target audience is, they are able to understand their target audience, the way that they buy things and what their interests are. When they are able to empathize with their target audience, it guarantees that the website will cater to those same people, increasing success and making your business grow.

SEO

SEO is a term used often in website design. The key behind SEO is to merge it into every aspect of the website without going overboard. Too many keywords may result in web sites ranking lower on search engine result pages, but too little key words and search engines may not pick up on what your website is about in the first place. Web designers typically have a great deal of experience in search engine optimization, guaranteeing that your website has the perfect balance.

Five Seconds

Many specialists in the city are familiar with the five second rule. This popular rule is rather simple. You have five seconds to capture the attention of your readers. In this same five seconds, consumers should know what your website is about, and your website should somehow prevent them from hitting the dreaded back button. This may seem a bit excessive, but it’s not.

For example, a website may capture a reader’s attention with a gorgeous color scheme or catchy logo, let them know what the website is about with a title at the top of the page, and then prevent them from hitting the back button by advertising a great sale that is going on.

Incorporating these steps into a plan to launch a new website may seem like a lot of work, and it is, but the results are well worth it in the end. Starting at the top of the list and using a step by step approach is what leading companies found throughout the city do to make sure that websites look spectacular and guarantee that their clients get a successful website. These four steps are vital to increasing traffic and making your business grow more than ever before.

Storm Brain Designs is an innovative online marketing company offering customers with branding and creative services to help them achieve success. The company caters to companies of all sizes and in all industries, providing them with affordable marketing and branding services to meet their particular requirements. Storm Brain Designs offers superior levels of customer service and support with a range of services to meet each customers unique marketing requirements. They have a dedicated team of in-house designers and technical team members offering web design and development, search engine optimization, online and off line marketing campaigns, app development and so much more.

10 Steps to Hiring the Best Web Designer Or Web Design Company For Your Business Website

You have been planning forever to get a website designer to work on your site. Your plans are clear and you have prepared your content. What next? How do you go about choosing the best web designer or web design company?

Step 1. Ask around. Ask friends, or similar companies who have hired a web designer in the past. Besides getting the contact numbers of the web designers, ask how it is to work with that person. Find out what happened during the design process and what they think of the designs submitted.

Step 2. Do your research for contact information. Use the internet or your phonebook to get the names and contact information of web design companies in your area. If you use the internet, have a peek of their past work. Then contact each and ask for a quotation.

Step 3. Look through the portfolio of the web design company you are choosing from. See if the designs are professional-looking, clean and easy to use.

Step 4. Look at the experience of the web designer or Web Design Company. How long has the person or company been in business? How many companies have they designed for?

Step 5. See if the designer or web design company is up to date with the newest trends in web marketing. Useful, profitable websites attract the correct traffic with search engine optimization and usability and by employing web 2.0 strategies such as social media marketing. Effective web sites take SEO and usability into serious consideration. See if your web designer has at least a basic knowledge of both. In order for your website to be successful you need to be able to implement a successful internet marketing campaign.

Step 6. Look at the web designer or web design company proposed turnaround time. Does it match the schedule of your company’s plans?

Step 7. Examine the web designer or web design company terms of service and website files ownership. See if you agree with the conditions set by the designer to work with you. See also the rights as to who owns the final output and what sizes. If this is not clear from the start, you just may be surprised to find that the work you commissioned is not yours and you may have to pay extra to get it.

Step 8. See what the web designer offers for after-design services. Will the designer help maintain your site or is the designer only expected to do the initial design?

Step 9. Talk to the designer. Is s/he easy to communicate with? You should be able to communicate with your web designer easily. You should be comfortable presenting problems that you want solved. Your web designer should be respectful and prompt. You should both be able to compromise on what will work best for the viewers, not necessarily your personal taste.

Step 10. Look for previous, happy clients. You may look through the designer’s website or blog and see if there are client testimonials. Note what they have to say about the designer. You may also try to call them (you may ask the contact number from the web designer) and ask for comments regarding the design process and final output.

5 Web Design Tips For Small Businesses

Do not get your website designed if you do not know the ins and outs of this field. Your website will be your online shop and you certainly don’t want to make your shop look bad. So, you need to know all the vital elements that can make your business website look really professional. Without these vital elements, you will create a website but it won’t be professional or effective. Plus, you will also be able to guide your designer that how your business site should be in terms of layout and formatting. So, let’s discuss these vital elements now to help you create a better site than your competitors.

First, Study Your Competitors:

You need to check and see how your competitors have created their websites. Check out their web designs and share them with your designer to help him or her understand what sort of design will be suitable for your business website. Research is a crucial part of every business. Hence, you shouldn’t take it lightly. Spend some time, go through their sites, study their website layout, see their colors and then determine how you should create your website to stand-out from the competitors and beat them in the race.

Form a Strategy:

After studying your competitors, the next thing you should do is to create a plan. Write down all the important factors that you want to incorporate in your website. It should be a detailed plan that will discuss the layout of your website, color scheme, content formatting, navigation style and so on. Once done, send it to your designer and arrange a meeting to go over all the factors.

Always Take Your Industry Into Consideration:

Make sure your website correctly represents your industry and business. An irrelevant web design will only annoy your visitors and you will end up sending them away from your website. So, this is a very important point that you must discuss with your designer. A website that sells surgical instruments should not have the pictures of clowns and flowers. The design should accurately depict the theme of the business. Otherwise, your web design will look totally unprofessional.

Website Navigation:

Your website navigation allows you to retain your visitors on your site. See, if people are able to find information on your site quickly and easily then they will like to spend more time on your site. If your site has a confusing navigation, then people will first scratch their head that where to go and what to do and then they will finally leave. This way your bounce rate will increase dramatically and your retention rate will decrease.

Similar Layout throughout the Site:

Don’t make the mistake of creating different designs for different pages. All the pages should have the same layout and design. Otherwise, your visitors might think that they have been transferred to a different website. This will distract your visitors and you will most likely end up losing them. So, keep it the same and consistent thorough out the site.

5 Important Rules for Non Profit Web Design

There are few people around who benefit more from a website then charity organizations. However, it’s important to realize the rules are different for non profit web design then they are for regular design. Certain elements need a more prominent position, and this can often cause some confusion for people running a charity that try to apply standard web design techniques to their website.

If you find yourself in this position, then use the following rules to help guide your design on a path to success.

1) Make Your Cause Visible

When a person is visiting your website, there should be no doubt in their mind what you stand for and who you’re trying to help. One of the biggest failures a lot of charity websites make is allowing their message to become ambiguous, and open to interpretation.

If a visitor is unable to determine what they are supporting, then it’s simply easier to find someplace else to go. A good way to test just how visible your cause is on your website is to have a random person visit it without telling them what you stand for. Doing this will help you address any potential issues you might have missed, and a person not affiliated with your charity didn’t.

2) Make Social Media Integration A Top Priority

The rise of social media has been a great gift for charities, and the potential power it can unleash for your cause is amazing. This is why social media integration is such a big priority in non profit web design, and something that should be added in the initial design stage.

Social media provides non-profits with free communication to all their supporters, and can be used to help inform them about important issues.

So be sure to include direct links to your social media pages, as well as integrate social media commenting on your blog and forum.

3) Have Videos And Pictures Of Those Helped

A lot of the time a non-profits cause might sound good in the abstract, but building a solid emotional connection with your site visitor is the key to turning them into an active supporter. With this in mind you should always have videos, and pictures of the ways your non-profit has helped others.

Giving money to a charity is nice, but a key competent of non profit web design is showing just how much good their money is doing. Providing people with proof their contributions mean something is a great way to reach them on an emotional level.

4) Provide Links about Your Cause to Educate

No matter how noble your cause is it’s important not to assume that everyone has heard about or even know it exists. A website designed using good non profit web design principles should be able to educate a random person what an issue is, and how it affects them. So when designing your website consider including an entire section designed to answer all the questions a random person might have about your cause.

A good way to do this better is to set up an e-mail account where people can ask their questions directly, and then you provide the answers. You can then use those questions, and answers to set up a FAQ section.

5) Donate and Volunteer Links Should Be Prominently Displayed

The true lifeblood of any non-profit is the dedication of its members, and this means making supporting your non-profit as hassle free as possible. You can do this by designing an easy system for them to donate their time and money.

A PayPal account is a great way to receive online donations, and setting up a community forum to help coordinate scheduling for events are two things you can do to encourage donations. The truth is that a website crafted with specific principles in mind can become the heart of a charity, and now you know why.

How Not to Create Your Web Design

There are a lot of things that can be done using different methods and techniques. For example, you can create a website by coding it from scratch or you can use a template and try to give it your own touch. Mainly, what we talk about is how a thing should be done or what different methods we have, but seldom do we discuss the things that are necessary for us to avoid. If we use them, then it can have a very negative effect on all our efforts. So, here we will talk about some of the things that you must avoid when you are ready to create a web design for your business or personal site.

Irrelevant Graphics:

Let’s say you are searching for LED lights online and you open a few sites to see what they have to offer. You come across a site with clowns and toys images all over the site and pages. You will for a moment pause and wonder where you have come. This pause is not good for your visitors. You should never make them wonder where they have come. Instead, after visiting your site, they should instantly know what the site is all about. Having irrelevant images will only destroy your credibility.

Difficult Browsing:

Let’s say you visit a website and then start wondering what to do. There are a lot of websites that don’t care about ‘user experience’. This is a big mistake that you must not make. If you don’t care about the experience of users on your website, then your visitors won’t care about you and your products. Creating a Non-User-Friendly site can be a big disaster. This way you won’t be able to grab their attention and engross them. Instead, with such difficult browsing, you will tell them to actually leave your site and go elsewhere.

Non-SEO-Friendly Site Structure:

A site without any visitors can never become successful. The best way to convert a potential buyer into a paying buyer is to reach him when he needs your products or services. People Google now to find out and buy products. So, if your site appears in the top results, then your website will become prominent and accessible. Hence, to ensure that you get high ranking in search results, you need to make your website SEO-Friendly. If you don’t incorporate all the vital on-page elements, then it may have a bad impact on your rankings. So, ensure that you don’t neglect this part when you create your web design.

Messy Look:

It’s a big misconception that in order to sell online, you just need to create a site and people will come and convert automatically. This is a totally wrong perception. To attractive buyers, you need to create a decent and neat web design. If your website looks messy, it won’t help you. It is important that you organize the content of your website along with images in a nice and appealing manner. This way your site will look attractive and professional and help you convert visitors into customers.

Two Don’t Dos of Web Design

When it comes to web design services, it’s all too easy to get confused by the vast number of self-appointed gurus telling your business what is – and what is not – going to work in terms of making an impact in the online market and running a profitable, successful web-based enterprise.

Sometimes – and without trying to be negative about it – it is easier to focus on what not to do with your web page design. There are some things which, no matter what sized business you are, what industry you’re in and what audience you’re trying to target, are simply not going to do anything positive for your website or online store.

This article introduces two and explains how and why they can damage your site’s or store’s traffic, conversion rates – and consequently your business’s bottom line.

First up is pop-up windows. No matter how effective or useful you think surprising your website visitors with surprise content in a new browser window might be, think again. When have you ever know anyone – consumer, blogger, online shopper, casual browser – to remark even remotely positively about having to deal with pop-up windows on a website? Exactly.

If you have information of value that you really want your visitors to pay attention to, a pop-up window is the absolute last place it should be. You shouldn’t have to surprise people to make them pay attention – if your product and site are up to scratch, they’ll be interested anyway.

Next is ads. If you’re getting paid to advertise someone else’s product or service on your site, that’s one thing. But using banners to promote products or services of your own is another – and it can prove a waste of time.

With so many banner ads out there on the web, people are quick to develop something called “banner blindness”. It’s a lot like pop-ups. We’re so used to being forced to look at information we don’t want to look at that we disregard pop-ups and banner ads without paying any attention to their content.

Basically, what it comes down to is respecting your user’s desire to have a positive, uninterrupted and unimpeded browsing or online shopping experience. If they visit your site or online store, they’re unlikely to have done so hoping to have to look at banner ads and be visually assaulted by pop-up windows they’ll likely close before the content has even rendered.

Thinking Offshore Web Design? Think Again!

Offshore web design firms promise ultimate convenience and savings to businesses around the world. Many companies even decide to hop aboard the outsource wagon and hire these design firms. In many cases, they get more than they bargained for.

While it is true that many offshore web design firms promise low, low prices for web design services, far too many companies learn that you get what you pay for. Many companies based outside the US simply cannot offer the services and quality of a home-grown business. When dealing with overseas companies, businesses need to adjust to time zone differences, which often make contact and meetings virtually impossible. Sending money to pay for services is often time-consuming and expensive. Wiring money and sending overseas transfers to pay for web design is not even always safe and can leave company owners vulnerable to identity theft.

Overseas companies often do try hard to compete on the global stage, but the truth is that any US company needing web design for the competitive North American and European market needs top quality. Many companies who hire overseas web design services often have to spend extra money to repair sloppy, ungrammatical copywriting. Unfortunately, not every offshore company can deliver professional web design – in many cases, fly-by-night overseas firms deliver amateurish, unusable work. After all, anyone can set up a company half-way around the world and promise design services. There is often no way for you to verify their qualifications.

Even when an offshore web design company tries very hard, the truth is that someone based half-way around the world simply cannot know North American marketing thoroughly. Even major companies are finding that their offshore outsourcing isn’t working – the experienced web design talent is simply not there. In far too many cases, companies look at the bottom line and hire these web design services only to realize after the fact that they need to pay to have their web redesigned all over again. Does your company really want to pay TWICE for web design services?

Before companies sign on the dotted line and hire an overseas web design service, they also need to think twice about the “deal” they are getting. In many cases, offshore companies offer an impressively low hourly charge, but take longer to finish a project. Even though a web design
company only charges a fraction of its US counterpart in terms of hourly price, it can easily end up charging a similar amount, simply by taking longer to complete the same amount of work. Since your company could end up paying just as much for an overseas web design service, doesn’t it make more sense to hire a US-based firm and get guaranteed, quality work for the same price?

The biggest problem with overseas web design services is that offshore services come with no legal protection whatsoever. Laws are simply very different in other parts of the world and when a company decides to choose an overseas firm, they are in effect resigning themselves to no legal protection. If a web design company turns in a plagiarized product or a product that violates intellectual property laws, the company that hired the web design service will have a very hard time finding legal redress. Worse, it is the US company that may have to face the US legal system if any laws have been violated. In many cases, offshore companies operate only via email, which means that when there is a problem with a delivered service, there is no way to get a fast response. Companies may simply disappear when there is a legal problem. Buying offshore is buying “as is” – not the way you want to hire the web design services that will make your business succeed!

7 Top Reasons For Adopting Responsive Web Design

Around the world, mobile sales have overtaken desktops by leaps and bounds. The number of users turning to tablets and smartphones for browsing the internet or shopping online is growing ever rapidly.

In this highly competitive digital age, where portability is king, it is imperative for businesses to employ responsive website designs to build mobile-friendly websites for their products.

This just might be the best decision you could make for your business. Here are the top seven reasons for you to use responsiveness when building your website:

Google favors responsive web design

Websites with responsive web designs would have the same URLs and HTML codes even when accessed over multiple devices. This makes it easier for Google bots to search, crawl and organize content on your website. To learn more, check out some websites with high Google rankings, and observe the responsive web designs they employ.

Boost User Experience

Responsive Websites offer improved user experience. User experience significantly affects search engine optimization. If your website offers a good browsing experience for your visitors, there are better chances of it ranking higher on Google’s search results. Also, it has been shown that users generally revisit and recommend websites that offer them a good user experience.

Easy to change or update

When you use a website with responsive web design, making changes across various devices is a lot easier, since you have to modify the coding only on one URL. This comes in handy when there are quick changes to be made to the content on your website.

Sharing and linking becomes easier

One of the most important factors when it comes to optimizing your website for search engines is high quality link building. Having the same link for your mobile and desktop versions helps with easy promotion and link sharing. It’s also highly beneficial if you can offer your visitors a single link to share among friends and family.

Faster website load time

Websites that use responsive design generally load much faster than dedicated mobile sites. Some studies have shown that loading speed is an important factor that affects the ranking of websites on search engines.

Cost effective

Responsive web design is considered highly economical, as it saves you from having to build a separate mobile site for your business. The costs involved in developing the mobile version of a website can be quite high.

Lower chances of duplicate content

If you have a separate mobile site for your website, there are chances of Google’s bots interpreting this as duplicate content, which can affect your Google rankings negatively.

A number of brands that build mobile websites in order to reach a larger audience rarely experience the expected growth in business. Responsive web designs, on the other hand, have proven to be extremely effective at building a user base and improving search rankings.

5 Perennial Web Design Practices You Can’t Ignore

Building a website has never been more important than it is now. The way we interact with businesses in real life has changed; no longer is the physical retail location separate from the online realm – the two now intermingle freely. You’re now judged from all angles, and making sure your online presence is strong matters hugely. So, in the ever-changing world of web design, what are the practices that we think will stand you in good stead for the years to come? Read on to find out our top 10.

1) Responsive design – It’s not brand new, but responsive web design has become absolutely crucial to functional and beautiful websites. It means your ‘site works across all screen sizes natively, and means your website is ready for customers, whichever device they use.

2) Unified branding – Your branding is your businesses calling card, but so many of us neglect it when online. It began in the 90s as simple websites popped up to give directions to a physical location, but there’s no excuse for it today. Think of your website as an extension of your brand. If it doesn’t convey exactly what your business is about, it isn’t doing a good enough job.

3) Careful use of typography – Everyone’s got their own taste when it comes to fonts, but they should be used carefully and sparingly. Thanks to advances in web fonts and the introduction of @font-face, it’s possible to store fonts as a resource on your website, so they can be displayed on any screen. That’s led to an explosion of unique typography choices across the Internet, but that doesn’t mean you should go crazy. Typography plays an important role in the way we read online, so ensuring legibility and brand cohesion is utterly essential.

4) Controlled simplification – One of the most common issues we come up against is that many websites are designed to give as much information as possible right from the get go. The issue with trying to emphasis everything your customer might need is that ultimately, nothing is emphasises. Instead, consider that less is more and that with a well laid out website, your customers will find the information they need.

5) Don’t forget your purpose – As beautiful as you might want to make your website, it’s important to remember its purpose. If you’re an e-commerce store, you should emphasise on the sale. If you’re an information resource, you should make those resources easy to find, sort and read. The list goes on, but the point remains the same – focus on what you do, and do it well.