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.

Top Web Design Trends to Look Out For in 2016

Not a day passes by without a new minor design breakthrough or another unique and more creative way of utilising web designing codes. The body of web design is sleek & transformative, shedding translucent layer after layer as it mixes and matches perpetually new clothes.

Some of patterns, nevertheless, have emerged to become 2015’s most familiar web design trends, some of them short-lived but others quickly becoming an integral part of its foundation, paving the way to the next big thing.

What design elements are currently trending, and what does it portend for the future?

Web Designing Trends in 2016

Cross-Platform Interactivity

Increasingly, designers and programmers are recognising the need for cross-platform consistency. Responsive Web Design (RWD) is being used to respond and conform to a variety of screen sizes. A website that has a fluid, unified design which changes according to platform is much more interactive than a tiny screen with a full-fledged layout designed for a desktop computer. Likewise, SVG or Scalable Vector Graphics are becoming more popular on the web this year as a way to effortlessly scale images, enhancing design control and providing greater quality for retina screens.

The flat-style mobile user interface (UI) has also risen sharply in popularity over the last few years, pointing to a lack of gradients, block colours and clear-cut design. First popularised in mainstream media by Microsoft’s Metro design which aimed to focus more on content and less on graphics, it has since been adopted by Windows 8 and the Xbox 360 dashboard.

Later this year, Apple’s new iOS7 iPhone will arrive on the market with a sleek new design that also features a largely flat-style interface. Coupled with this is the increasing use of vivid colours and unified but striking typography, with all these elements being adopted into web layouts as a way to further streamline user experience.

Minimalism

The minimalistic trend is also being highlighted by design elements such as the one page layout. Websites with less content such as designer portfolios are increasingly favouring an incredibly minimalistic design with bold, contrasting colours that act as flat dividers for different sections of content. The widely used Intro Box discards the tired About Me page by condensing the author’s introduction to a small area. A large footer with links and information usually completes this business card-esque layout.

Likewise, companies are using simplistic pictorial landing pages to introduce products and services to potential clients: a beautifully presented, minimal approach designed to highlight content that allows the consumer to find information as easily and quickly as possible.

CSS3 / JavaScript / jQuery Capabilities

As browser support for CSS3 features grows, so do the interactive possibilities of its dynamic effects: CSS transparency, for example, offers opacity editing on any webpage element. Interesting hover effects also allow for innovative image and typography use, with the ability to time the transition to your exact requirements.

Flash and ActionScript have been shoved to the side in favour of JavaScript and jQuery, with code widely available as open source and helping introduce creative ways of organising layouts and pages such as sliding webpage panels, which allow for seamless content by pushing pages from left to right.

User Interactivity / Shareability

Website layouts are evolving to become ever more interactive for ultimate user experience. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that image-sharing website Pinterest has popularised the use of infinite scrolling, an incredibly addictive experience that compels the user to keep scrolling… keep scrolling… and just keep scrolling.

Although it is only now becoming widespread, this technique was first most successfully applied by blogging giant Tumblr, whose claim to fame is largely the addictive appeal of its heavily image-based dashboard. As such, tumblr bloggers were quick to discern the short attention span of their readers and replicated infinite scrolling JavaScript in their individual blogs to maximise viewer attention. Designers have also been applying infinite scrolling with the use of fixed headers, which further ease of navigation.

Other trends that are in vogue includes parallax scrolling, an effect that lets the image move at a slower pace than the superimposed text, creating a sense of 3D depth and providing engaging dividers for textual content. Companies are also increasingly employing built-in online QR codes, encouraging viewers to engage cross-platform for a complete user experience, and the application of social media badges on sites and articles. These allow the viewer to share content ubiquitously across social media websites.

Data Integration

As the use of infographics is on the rise, so is the use of programming toolkits like D3.js, creating interactive data visualisations that are actually crawlable: meaning that search engines like Google can use their bots to crawl the information to boost the site’s SEO ranking as well as the possibility of automatically updating and improving statistics.

Designers are using minimalistic layouts and Metro-style user interface as a way to emphasise a recent focus on Content First: creating efficient, searchable, interactive websites that maximise user experience and ultimately creating design that enhances the content, not distracting or overshadowing it.

What’s Next?

Some of the trends listed above are probably just that: trends that will fade out in popularity in the next few years. Others, like Content First, infinite scrolling, the flat-style UI, and RWD are important founding elements of a forming web design philosophy that aims to unify platforms and create a streamlined network of user interactivity and interface. Design is becoming simpler, so content can become a priority. By abandoning the excess, designers seem to be ushering in a new era of design that serves you ever more quickly, efficiently and satisfactorily.

Web Design – A Guide For Beginners

A well designed website can bring you many benefits. For example, you may make more sales because of the professional image that you are projecting with your website. You may also receive more traffic from the search engines because your site has a well organized hierarchy. Here is a quick guide to help you set up a quality website quickly.

Web design guidelines:

Guideline 1: Have a well organized user menu.

The user menu of the website can go on the header, or by the sides (left or right) of your website. This is the navigation menu that your site visitors use to move through your web pages. Keep everything well organized. If you have many pages on your website, setup parent categories. Then move all content under different categories. On the navigation menu, the child pages should appear under the parent categories.

For instance, you may be selling mobile phones on your website. You can organize the brands as parent categories, then place the models under each brand. Visitors will find it easy to locate the brand that they are looking for.

Guideline 2: Use contrasting colors for links and texts.

Try not to use similar colors for your links and texts. That will confuse visitors and they won’t know where to click. If you are not sure what colors to use for your links, just leave them as the default blue color. Most visitors are used to blue links, and they usually have no problems identifying underlined blue texts as links.

Guideline 3: Use a faint background for easy reading.

You want your visitors to stay on your website as long as possible. So use faint colors as your background so that it’s easier to read the texts on your web pages. A color scheme with black background and red texts can hurt the eyes. Visitors tend to leave these sites very quickly. White background with black texts is the safest option. You can try to be a bit hip and fanciful if you like, but always try reading the texts yourself. If you find it tiring to read the content, then the colors are wrong.

Guideline 4: Keeping things simple.

On the Internet, most people just scan the content because they want to know if you have what they are looking for. So don’t create lengthy content that beat around the bush. Be direct. If you are selling mobile phones, then most likely your visitors are looking for information related to the specs of the handsets. So give the information to your visitors upfront.

Guideline 5: Contact information.

Finally, don’t forget to include your contact information. If possible, set up a contact form so that visitors can send you emails directly. Many sales are made on the Internet through email. So don’t underestimate this powerful tool. If you have the resources, setup a phone line as well. But make sure that the line is manned and doesn’t just go to an automated voice message.

As your website grows, you will have more and more web pages. Navigating on the site can become confusing. Setup a site map with links to all the pages so that visitors can locate the right pages quickly.