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How to Select a Graphic Designer – Tips to Adhere to

Managers, Web Design Tips No Comment

In a recent inquiry about the areas in which businesses struggle most, there was a prevailing response received from a large number of small business owners. If you think that this was social media or marketing, etc. then you are in for a surprise. The area in which small businesses most commonly face hurdles and feel most disoriented is hiring a graphic designer. Small business owners often feel out of their comfort zone when it comes to selecting a professional to design their logos, printed materials and website design elements, and they are often left unsatisfied with the final results. To prevent this scenario, here are a few tips to stick to when choosing a graphic designer for your business needs.

Image source: University of Salford – https://www.flickr.com/photos/salforduniversity/8424131760

Hire a professional

As much as you may be tempted to engage a relative or a student to create your design, always prefer hiring a professional! A professional designer is the only person who is well versed enough with the ever-changing technology and will know the right software to be used for each specific type of design requirement. For example, T-shirt and billboard industries do not use the Adobe Creative Suite but instead rely on other software products.

Your chosen designer should have ample knowledge of computers, web and print production and the compatibility of different software solutions. For instance, the products of Apple do not run Flash.

Remember that if something looks good on the computer screen it will not necessarily look good when printed out. Thus, the professional you hire should be well versed with all the aspects of the graphic design.

Know what you want and give examples

Before even setting out on a search for a designer, you should determine what exactly you need. If you give your graphic designer only vague suggestions, you are most likely not going to be satisfied with the final product and you will have to start all over again.

Providing examples can be of great help in this regard. You can find sources or website that have a look and feel similar to what you are aiming to achieve for your design. These will be a good starting point that will aid both you and the designer in the process.

Draw a preliminary frame

This directly corresponds with the above tip. Even a very basic mockup or sketch will go a long way in putting you and the graphic designer you have chosen to work with on the same page prior to starting the project. This is also an easier way to clear your thoughts and expectations from your desired graphic design. This is even more useful if you are engaged in a large-scale project, for instance a website, as it will also give an insight into the user experience.

Asses the way the designers present their own work

Before making a final selection of the graphic designer or agency you will engage to do your job, take a look at the way they present their own work. If they are taking great care in projecting a professional appearance, they will most likely exercise the same attention to detail when working on your project, too.

Also, always select an artist who has enough experience in the specific type of design work you need them for. Choose a professional whose design style corresponds with the one you need (note that we say need and not want, as what you want may not necessarily fit your target audience’s needs). This approach has an added bonus, too – when the designer is working within their comfort zone, the results are always more impressive.

Take care of the ownership rights

Always ensure that all the ownership rights of the graphic design you pay for and the source files are transferred to your name in the end. Also, never hesitate to ask for a written agreement with the designer. It is a crucial rule to have the entire legal rights of ownership to your design, be it a logo, a print design or a web design, because that shields you from legal actions and allows you to use the graphic content in any way you see fit in the future.

Do you have any experience in dealing with a graphic designer? Do you have any other tips to share?

 

Selecting a Graphic Designer – The 5 Most Crucial Steps

Developers No Comment

Your marketing materials can make or break the first impression on your customers about your company. A design below par can even make that the last impression. This is why it is highly recommendable to involve an experienced professional in the process of designing and creating both the offline and online materials you will use in presenting your business to the world – be they brochures, business cards, banners, adds or business logos, etc.

Image source: University of Salford – https://www.flickr.com/photos/salforduniversity/8423041041

If you hire a person who knows what they are doing, you are more likely to capture the interest of your potential customers. However, you should be able to gauge whether the person you have contacted for your graphic design needs will really be able to do the job well. Here are the five things that you should not miss doing in order to achieve that.

  1. Request for samples of their previous work

Every professional designer should have a portfolio of the wok he or she has done in the past. You can use this portfolio to assess the quality of work of that particular designer and to see if they have a consistent design style. Do they pay attention to detail? Or does their work look sloppy and unfinished? Even if you like the previous work of the artist, note than not every design would work well with every type of business, so it is up to you to evaluate whether the style of the graphic designer would be suitable for your marketing materials.

  1. Ask about professional affiliations

Your designer should follow the rules and not infringe any copyright or trademarks, as that could lead you into big trouble. By that we mean not only embarrassment and bad reputation, but costly lawsuits as well. Some professional organizations like the American Institute of Graphic Arts, for instance, require from their members to abide by certain ethical rules.

  1. Versatility is the spice of life

The professional designer you engage for your campaign should be able to incorporate the graphic design concept throughout different platforms and media. This includes printed and digital media: prints optimized for different formats, web pages and video, among others. The portfolio of your chosen designer should contain different types of designs. For instance, if you want your design to have the ability to be displayed properly on different web browsers, the designer should have at least some knowledge of web coding protocols.

  1. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, but only a moderate one

Even if you are not too certain about a particular design offered by your designer, it often pays to take the risk and go for it. Professionals often request from their clients to consider designs that are more forward-looking and can live longer and still appear “fresh”. A design that might seem a bit bizarre to you may outlive a lot of other designs that may appear more familiar. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone, but do that in moderation and don’t take too wild risks.

  1. Read the contract carefully

First of all, you should always sign a written contract with the artist you choose to do your graphic design. Never rely on spoken promises alone, as without a contract you cannot be guaranteed of anything. Furthermore, read the contract carefully to know about the legal rights to the artwork you are provided with. In the most common scenario, the graphic designers retain the rights of ownership to the design and the clients are granted with limited reproduction rights.

Also, do not forget to save all the elements or files of the design for future use, once the new website, business cards or brochure is done. This allows you to maintain an archive of your branded materials, including trademarked designs, which is an inseparable part of your brand’s identity.

The work of your graphic designer is crucial for your brand development and popularization. Thus, you should be extremely vigilant when choosing the professional to deal with. It is best to work in collaboration with your designer and give your input and feedback throughout the design process in order to achieve the best end results.

 

11 Elements That Your Website’s Design Should Not Lack In 2014

Developers, Web Design Tips No Comment

There is no way to give a single answer to the question “What makes a good site?” However, attractive, purposeful and clear yet functional design plays a major role for the success and effectiveness of a website. It is not as easy and straightforward to achieve all those things simultaneously as some people may believe, and maintaining the balance among them can be even harder. With the ever-evolving web design field and the ever-changing customer tastes, it is essential to run with the trends in order to stay relevant. Here, we have tried to list out the elements that your website should definitely have in 2014 in order to stay up to date.

  1. Simplicity

A cluttered and overdone website is the easiest way to scare off the visitors and make them close the tab with your website. Forbes has ranked simplicity as one of the major trends in web design for 2014. Clean and simple design is the most ‘in’ thing right now and by the look of it, this trend will continue to grow steadily throughout the year. If you think that keeping your website simple will lead to a plain, bland or boring design, you are totally wrong. Minimalism is a whole art category in itself. Simplicity can yield an aesthetically pleasing and impressive site and at the same time, the uncluttered design can be perfectly complemented by a clean, easy to access and use navigation. You don’t have to use excessive design and visual elements just for the sake of it. Instead, avoid the information and visual overload by keeping in mind the actual message of your website at all times.

  1. Flat Design

This is another major trend that is seeing a rise in 2014. Avoid 3D and over-the-top visuals and stick to a flat layout instead. The redesign of Apple iOS has played a major role for the popularity of this trend and flat design is quickly turning into the most sought-after design form. In short, this design method relies on sleek looks and clean interface with more neutral and subtle colors and less complicated layouts. A fine example of good flat design is Winamp’s website.

  1. Maximize the User Experience

The best user experience is your ultimate goal when designing a website. Today, the primary thing that users want when they land on a website is to be able to access and utilize the services or information that they need easily and quickly. This is one of the reasons why, as we already mentioned in the first point, minimalistic design is so widely preferred these days. When you are composing and designing your website, make sure that the things which people will need can be seen clearly and that nothing on the site will cause confusion or distraction, even to the visitors with limited experience in computer use.

  1. Easy User Registration

In our fast-paced world, no one has time for long registration forms. Obtaining the contact information and building mailing lists of your customers or visitors is as vital as ever, but you should keep your registration forms easy to access and fill. Instead of prompting your visitors to go out of their way in order to sign up for your updates, for instance (which will most likely make them lose patience and give up), try to incorporate your user registration form somewhere on a main page of your site or use a pop-up where they would simply have to enter their email address. Try to add some benefit to subscribing for your newsletters, too.

  1. Go Big, Go Bold

You should keep your site’s fonts, text and typography big and bold. When you stick to this rule, everything will stand out (especially when well combined with a simple design), you will capture the attention of your visitors and this will also improve the readability for the ones browsing your site through mobile devices. If your visitors have to squint or zoom in to be able to read your content, they will soon be tired and annoyed and may decide to leave your site. Prevent that through the use of bold and distinctive typography.

  1. Mobile Compatibility

With the number of people who use their smartphones for accessing the Internet constantly rising, you should ensure that your website is easily readable on mobile devices; otherwise you may lose a lot of traffic, and revenue too. You should keep the use of Flash to a minimum and test your website’s compatibility with different devices, both mobile and desktop ones. Responsive web design is your best bet in this regard, as it can cater to multiple device types with just one website.

  1. Videos

Videos can put across messages and ideas as well as present products much more effectively than text and static images. They also do that a lot more quickly and engage the viewers more successfully. They break the monotony of the web page and studies have shown that people get bored more easily when they have to go through large sections of text as compared to watching a video with a few minutes’ length.

  1. Incorporate Animations

When properly done, animations can play a great role in communicating a particular message or idea or presenting a product to the users. Furthermore, it is not necessary that they should take up too much space on your website. A clever animation which is well blended in with the other sections of your site can also aid you in gaining or holding the attention of the visitors without looking too promotional or sales-oriented.

  1. Fast Loading Pages

If you place big amounts of content and large files on your pages, they will take a lot longer to load. Apart from being impractical, this is also annoying, and today people don’t have the time or patience to wait long for web pages to load.

  1. Fixed Navigation Toolbar

This particular element has a huge role to play for the usability of your website. Use a fixed navigation toolbar to keep everything straightforward. Make sure the navigation stays at the top of the page all the time in order for people to be able to easily navigate around your website and find whatever they are looking for without much effort. Users don’t like to spend much time looking for the desired navigation button. Organize your site navigation cleverly and do not overstuff it with categories.

  1. Clearly Visible Contact Information

It is utterly annoying to struggle to locate a company’s contact information and it has been proven that people are inclined to give up on this task pretty quickly in case they cannot find the contact info at a glance. Don’t make your visitors exert efforts in order to find your contact information. Keep it clearly visible; it is best to ensure that you have it or a link to it included on each one of your website’s pages.

In Conclusion

We have gathered just a few tips to help you get started with your web design. There is a lot more to learn along the way. You should keep a close watch on the design trends and the developments in the field. Also, don’t forget to put yourself in the users’ shoes and keep improving the user experience for maximum satisfaction of your visitors.

 

5 Strong Reasons to Embrace Responsive Web Design in 2014

Web Design Tips No Comment

If you haven’t given a thought to adopting responsive web design yet, it is high time that you did. If you want to keep up with the web design trends and not lag behind your competitors, you should seriously consider building a responsive site for your business. Here are the five most important reasons that should convince you to take this decision.

 

 

 

 

  1. Google Recommends It!

You could not think of a stronger reason to convince you to embrace responsive design. Ever since 2012, when Google first recommended the use of responsive design, this design technique has gained the reputation of the best way to optimize websites for smartphone viewing. Responsive sites use the same HTML and have only one URL, unlike separate mobile and desktop site versions. What this means for Google is that its bots can crawl and index the content of your site easily. This alone should be reason enough to adopt responsive design today!

  1. Lower Bounce Rate

In case a visitor lands onto your website and returns to the search engine result page immediately after that, without viewing any other page of your site, in the eyes of Google your site will not be considered the best match for the query that the visitor has made. If the visitor reaches your site through a mobile device and the site is not easy to view and navigate, this bounce rate is expected to be higher.

However, when you incorporate responsive design elements into your website, the CSS values will change based on the device the site is viewed from. This will significantly lower the bounce rate. And given the fact that close to 28% of the visitors used their mobiles to browse the internet in 2013 and by 2015 this percentage is expected to exceed the percentage of desktop viewers, you should not ignore mobile traffic and mobile optimization unless you want to lose a lot of potential customers.

  1. 1 Website = 1 SEO Campaign

If you have both a desktop version and a mobile version of your site, you are most likely managing a separate SEO campaign for each. This is no doubt a tedious task, not to mention the costs involved.

If you choose to employ responsive design, you will only have one website to take care of and you can concentrate all your SEO efforts on it. The need to promote two separate websites for mobile users and desktop users will be eliminated. This way, your link juice will flow to only one site and it will rank better. That will surely give you the upper hand on those of your competitors that have not gone responsive yet.

  1. Responsive Design Combines Redesigning and Long-Term Maintenance

Many companies are still using mobile dedicated websites as their primary websites today. However, a mobile site poses a number of maintenance issues. With the drastic change of technological trends, the design of the mobile site will require more frequent updates and maintenance procedures as compared to a site built with responsive web design. Responsive sites require much less maintenance and at the same time have a longer life.

Fluid grids combined with media queries can give your responsive design sustainability. Even though the user devices may get updated at certain intervals of time, there will rarely be any need for updates of your responsive site in order to keep up with these changes.

  1. The ROI (Return on Investment) Is Guaranteed

For all the factors listed so far, there is one outcome that they have in common and that is receiving maximum return on investment (ROI). On the contrary, if you have a non-responsive website, it will most likely be unable to compete with the websites of your rivals and thus your business’s returns will be affected negatively. In order for your business to be able to grow and gain a bigger market share, you have to have a broader outreach than your competitors and be able to get to more people than them. Adopting responsive web design for your website will ensure that you reach to a wider target audience thus improving your conversion chances.

Get the Right Response by Getting Responsive

If we look at the statistics pertaining to responsive web design in 2013, we will clearly see why every company must embrace this trend for their website as soon as possible. Thanks to its capability to detect devices and load content and data selectively with a higher speed, responsive design will continue to be the dominating trend throughout 2014, too, and maybe even in the following years.

 

The 5 Most Common Site Navigation Mistakes

SEO Tips No Comment

The site navigation plays a huge role for the success of a website with both search engines and visitors. Inadequately built navigation can have disastrous results for ranking the site in the search engine results. Furthermore, it can confuse and frustrate the visitors even to a point where they might never want to come back to the same website again. Remember, every part of your website is connected to your site navigation. Thus, it should be as user friendly as possible and it should also be built optimally for the best search engine performance.

With these few points in mind, let’s see what the most common mistakes are that people commit when they build their websites’ navigation and how they can be avoided.

  1. Non-Standard Location and/or Style

Usually, the navigation is placed at the top of the site’s pages or on the left. These are the most common locations where visitors can find the navigation menu and they usually expect to find it there. If it is placed somewhere else on an uncommon location or it is hidden behind an unconventional style, the visitors will only be confused and may not be able to navigate around your website.

Your goal is predictability – as much as you may want to be original, play it safe when it comes to the style of the website navigation. An easy-to-use structure will lower your bounce rates, improve your conversions and lead to a higher ratio of the pages viewed per visit.

  1. Generic Labels

Instead of the highly generic category labels such as “Products”, “Who we are”, “What we do” etc., use more descriptive labels that reveal the nature of the product or service you offer. This saves your visitors the extra click.

Through your navigation, you have the opportunity to show your site’s relevance to the search engines. Using particular keywords and phrases pertaining to your industry or line of work, which you can find by employing the Google Keywords Tool and other similar tools, will improve your search engine results. Remember: your site navigation and site structure should be built with the search engines in mind from the very beginning.

  1. Too Many Categories in Your Site Navigation

It is a proven fact that the short-term memory of the human can store just up to seven items at a time. What this means for your navigation is that even eight categories on the menu can be too many. When there are fewer items in the navigation, the visitors can view them more clearly and are less likely to miss one of them in the lot. The best strategy is to stick to five or six categories on the menu at the maximum.

This goes for the other parts of the web page, and not only the navigation, too. The fewer the items/products/pictures displayed on a single page, the better visible they are.

Compact navigation has an effect on SEO as well. Since your home page will usually have more backlinks than the other pages, it will also have higher Page Authority. This authority is passed down to the other internal pages of the site, too. However, if the navigation features too many links, the “link juice” gets diluted, so to say, and less authority is passed to the internal pages. Thus, a more compact navigation structure will pass more link juice to the internal pages, improving their ranking chances.

  1. The Drop-Down Menu

There are different opinions about drop-down menus and whether they should be included in the website navigation. However, the predominating perception is that they bring more bad than good effects.

First, if they are done inadequately, they can be hard or even impossible to crawl for the search engines. But that is not the biggest problem.

According to studies on the usability of drop-down menus conducted by the NN Group, these are incredibly annoying for the visitors. This is because we read faster than we can click with the mouse and before we can click and see the drop-down menu, we may have already made up our mind where to click. Then, as a menu drops down it gives us more options and our mind glitches for a moment. This may lead the visitors to skip important pages placed on drop-downs.

There are exceptions to this rule, too, like very long and complex drop-downs with many options. They require more concentration and the visitors may actually take the time to read through the options carefully. These can be used successfully if you have a very big number of site sections.

  1. Wrong Order of Category Arrangement

When making any kind of list, you should keep in mind that the items that are listed on the first and last positions will get the most attention from the viewers. This holds true for site navigation as well. Psychological studies have inferred the “serial position effect” – the things at the beginning and the end of long lists enjoy more attention and retention.

What does this mean for your navigation? You should place the most important categories and items at the beginning and at the end, and the ones with least importance in the middle. This is also the reason why the “Contact” section is usually placed last in the top navigation menu – this has become a standard.

If you avoid these common mistakes and build your website navigation right, you will enjoy better results with both search engines and visitors. Have you ever experienced some of the negative effects of such mistakes on your site? How did you resolve the issue?

How Can Responsive Web Design Help You Gain More Visitors?

Mobile No Comment

In case your website’s design is not responsive, there are high chances that you are missing out on a lot of traffic, visitors and potential customers. Here are the main reasons why responsive web design can get you more visitors and why failing to implement it can harm your business.

Catering to mobile platforms better

Most probably, many of your visitors, both current and potential ones, are using a mobile device of some type to access your website. A responsive design will adjust your site automatically to the type of device and screen size of the particular user. But if your site doesn’t have that type of design, then most probably its text will be displayed in a very tiny format, making it extremely uncomfortable to read, or it may not fit in the screen size entirely. This will prevent your site from capturing the attention of potential visitors using mobile platforms as it will be bothersome for them to view it.

Enhanced user experience

With responsive web design, there is no redirection, no awkward page or site renditions which appear different on the different platforms or may not load properly in many cases, and no duplicate content either. With responsive design, you have a website with a consistent appearance which works equally well on all types of devices. Thus, the visitor experience is significantly improved, and this will lead to more visitors coming to your site and even increased conversion rates.

Search engine visibility is improved as well

Google and the other search engines show preferences for responsive websites and these rank more successfully in the search engine result pages both in international and local searches. This in turn means not only better overall visibility, but also improved exposure of your site to local audiences. This will increase the number of both your national and global visitors.

Optimized marketing strategies

The goal of every business is reaching as many customers in the target market as possible. Responsive web design facilitates the seamless integration of marketing campaigns throughout all media and device types – desktops, tablets, cell phones, etc. Thus, your message will reach a larger number of visitors and attract more potential customers.

You remain relevant

Last but not least, if you refuse to update your website’s design to the latest responsive trends, you will not only lose a portion of your visitors, but will also miss out on the chance to get new ones from different platforms. If you employ the latest technology for designing your site, you will improve the user experience and your website will look great when displayed across all platforms. This will improve your traffic and lower your bounce rates as well.

Today, the design of your website has to be much more than a fancy visual representation method for displaying your brand and business. It has to have the capability to adapt to the medium your visitors will be viewing it from, be it a desktop, a laptop, a cell phone, a tablet or any other type of device. If you haven’t yet taken the step towards responsive web design, it is high time you did that. This will definitely gain you more visitors and bring your business to the next level.

 

5 Essential Tips for Impressive Graphic Design

Web Design Tips No Comment

Creating memorable graphic designs for your websites is a tough task which is not ridden of obstacles. Thus, it is essential to keep a few tips in mind which can aid you in coming up with impressive and great-looking projects and graphics. Here are the more important tips you should keep at the back of your mind when working on each one of your projects.

Tip № 1: Use contrast cleverly to make your design distinguishable

Using contrast will help your design projects stand out and be more memorable. Particularly when selecting the background color and the one of the graphics or fonts, it is very important to aim for good contrast, as otherwise the design will not only be unimpressive, but it may also be unreadable. This is extremely important for web design in particular. The thumb rule is: combine a background in a lighter color with a dark colored font, and vice versa. That way, the texts and graphics in your design will be easier to perceive.

Tip № 2: Selecting a color scheme for the design

The color scheme you use should be consistent throughout your design. Start with two or three colors and their hues. A very popular range of colors that has recently been extensively adopted by many designers and is in trend at the moment is the range of bright pastel hues. Make sure that you use the colors you have chosen in all your branding and website elements, if you are working on a project for web design.

Tip № 3: Choose a palette for your fonts

In the same way you select a color scheme for your design, you should focus on a palette for your fonts as well, and use it consistently throughout the entire project. When selecting font colors, you should not forget that black and white will always be safe bets as they can match almost all color schemes.

You may already have a few fonts that you implement in your work often or you may have also developed your own fonts. Whatever the case, you will have to select a font for your headings, the subtitles and the main body text. It is great to choose an impressive font for the heading, as that will help it get noticed, but you should select less complicated fonts for the subtitles and body text, which will also be more easily readable. Your aim is not only to impress, but to also make the design easy to read.

Tip № 4: Leave no freestanding (“naked”) images

Incorporating images into your graphic design will make it more interesting and more easily perceivable. Images break the monotony of plain text and make it easier to digest. However, your images should not just be scattered around the layout with no order whatsoever. If you use a grid or a frame to arrange the images (even if it is an invisible one) they will look much better organized and the entire design will acquire a much more professional look.

Tip № 5: Keep it as simple as possible

Each element of your graphic design should be placed where it is for a reason. It is very easy to get carried away and add too many images, different fonts and graphics. However, this will only make your design look cluttered and unorganized, and for website layouts it can be very overwhelming and distracting for the visitors of the website. It is always better to keep the number of colors, shapes, fonts and frames you use to the bare minimum. That way, each element can shine with its own beauty, without being overshadowed by the clutter.

These tips can be especially useful in case you are designing a layout for a website, but they can come in handy in all your other graphic design projects as well.

Color: A Powerful Tool in Graphic and Web Design

Web Design Tips No Comment

Color is one of the greatest tools that a graphic or web designer has at his/her disposal. Color has the ability to engage the emotions of a website’s visitors and this usually happens on a subconscious level. It is a powerful web design tool of non-verbal communication and it can provoke both emotional and physical reactions in the viewers.

Thus, the color scheme of a website should be given careful consideration. It is very important to get it right in order to get the desired reaction and results. A website’s color scheme should be built in compliance with the main principles of the color theory, but for best results, a website owner should definitely seek professional advice.

The color theory is a complex art in itself, but here we will focus more on the symbolism and meaning of the different colors and the emotions that they evoke into the visitors.

The Popular Meaning of Colors

A certain color can have different meanings across different cultures. Thus, when you are designing a website, you should take your target audience and its cultural distinctions into consideration. You have to be well aware of the way your audience perceives the colors. If you know what your website’s color scheme is saying, you can avoid some serious mistakes.

The immediate opinion of a visitor of your website is formed at the moment he/she sees your site for the first time. And the first impression is formed not because of your products or content, but because of the appearance of the web page itself and a big part of this appearance is formed by the color scheme. The chosen colors work on the subconscious level and the visitors react to them intuitively. If your site’s color scheme is chosen in such a way that it grabs the attention of your audience, your work is half done.

Here are the emotions that the different colors evoke at the first glance.

Blue

Blue is associated with peace, patience, tranquility and stability. It is one of the favorite colors of men. It also evokes the feeling of trust, the perception of professionalism, honor and security.

Red

Red is the color of passion, desire and excitement. It is associated with love, power, energy, strength, boldness and leadership. However, it also carries associations of danger, alarms and other negative feelings. Thus, it should be used wisely.

Yellow

This is the color which is most closely connected with liveliness. Yellow is a very energetic color and evokes feelings of happiness. It also carries associations with amusement, joy, curiosity, brightness, optimism, etc.

Green

Green is the color of nature, harmony, healing, health and food. It is also often associated with money.

Orange

Orange is the color of creativity and cheerfulness. It is also associated with confidence, friendliness, courage, playfulness, steadfastness, etc.

Purple

Purple is traditionally associated with nobility, wealth and power. Other associations that it provokes are those of royalty, wisdom, independence, luxury, ambition, magic, mystery and dignity.

Brown

This is the color of confidence and relaxation. It means nature, earthiness, durability, reliability, comfort, etc. Some perceive it as the color of sophistication, solidity, etc.

Grey

Grey is a color which is most strongly associated with conservatism, seriousness and traditionalism. It can evoke the feelings of innocence and purity as well. Security, intelligence, reliability, dignity, practicality, maturity are all associations that grey can provoke. But it can also mean sadness, boredom, gloominess. When combined with orange, for instance, grey evokes a sense of perfection and looks really stunning.

White

White is the color of purity, innocence, calmness and simplicity. It is great to use as an accent or background color as it highlight all the other colors.

Black

Black is an elegant, stylish color which we associate with power, formality, sophistication, etc. It is a great technical color and it can add some mystery to the site’s design. But it can provoke feelings of depression, too, if it is used over large areas. So, black should be used moderately. On the other hand, if you choose black for the background it can improve the depth and perspective of the design. Black is a great color to use for photography sites, as it makes the other colors very vibrant.

Pink

Pink is the color of romance, tenderness, femininity, emotional healing, affection, care, sweet taste and smell, etc.

A Few Useful Tips:

As a conclusion, here are a few invaluable tips that will assist you in selecting a suitable color scheme for your site. These pieces of advice are used widely by the professional designers.

– For your texts to be readable without difficulties, select contrasting colors. The background and the text should contrast each other for better readability.

– Use fewer colors. You don’t want your website to look like a rainbow or a circus. To achieve the strongest impact, use one color in the headlines and another one in the text.

– Use a sufficient number of colors. It is good to use fewer colors, but they should be sufficient to convey your message. If you use too few hues, your site may look too plain and boring. Strike a good balance.

– Use intense color hues for the sections you want to attract the attention of the audience to. However, be careful, as if you have a too intense color scheme which attracts the visitors’ eyes to too many elements, it will be more distracting than beneficial.

– Seek inspiration from nature – there are incredible complementary color schemes found in nature, take advantage of them.

3 Basic but Indispensable Web Design Tips for the Owner of Any Business

Developers No Comment

Regardless of whether you own a small, medium-sized or big business enterprise, the goal you aim at with designing a website for your business is the same – converting visitors into customers. Your web design should perform optimally in this task for you to enjoy good returns.

In today’s online-driven world, in the majority of cases your web design is the first interaction that people have whatsoever with your business and you. That means that your site has a crucial role to play when it comes to seizing the opportunity to convert a new visitor into a customer in the future. So here, we have gathered three tips which you can use when designing your website for a maximum impact on new visitors. These can be implemented when redesigning your already existing site, too.

  1. Focus on the Value

Your customers will care about your service or product because you offer them value and a return on their investment. Your website has to deliver your company’s value proposition adequately. Your main goal should be to make it extremely easy for the customers to make a purchase, or subscribe for your newsletter, etc. But how can you do that?

The focus should be shifted from you onto your customers. It is all about the customers. You should understand what they care about, their challenges and pains – and build the content of your site to resonate with those needs and desires.

Also, address the clients individually; your copy should not speak to a crowd, but to the individual person. This will help you connect with your visitors and build credibility and trust.

  1. Minimize Distractions

The last thing you want your visitors to be wondering is where to go next. If you have a number of calls to action or your site navigation includes an excessive amount of links to select from, your visitor’s attention will be diverted in way too many directions. They will be wondering where to go instead of focusing on the advantages of your service/product and your message.

To prevent that, segment your navigation into two parts – a primary and a secondary menu. The primary navigation which will be present on top of all pages should include only links to a handful of pages which are critical to your mission – the ones that sell your product and educate the visitors.

The remaining pages can be added to the secondary navigation, where they will still be accessible but they won’t distract the visitors.

  1. Optimize Your Calls to Actioncall to action

    Image source – https://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/5683575389

Each element of your business website must be designed around the company’s purchase funnel. In other words – the path a visitor takes from your home page/landing page to the eventual conversion into a subscriber or paying customer.

The bottom of your purchase funnel is the call-to-action sections. These may be in the form of buttons to sign up for an account, or to buy a product, or to subscribe to your newsletter, etc.

Take a look at these three simple ways to optimize your website’s calls to action:

  • Be explicit

Your call to action should never be vague. Your visitors should be given explicit instructions on the exact action you want them to perform. For instance, if you want the visitor to sign up for your newsletter, instead of the rather vague “Submit” form button, you should use something which describes the action better – “Subscribe to the newsletter” or something similar.

You should set the expectations from your calls to actions clearly. Your visitors should not wonder what would happen if they clicked a button on your website.

  • Reduce the Friction

Whenever customers have to make a transaction on the web, they display some amount of natural resistance. They are never entirely comfortable with punching in their credit card info and sometimes even giving their e-mail address. There will always be some sort of fear of being scammed, spammed or duped. Thus, you must do everything possible to overcome the natural resistance of your clients, and to do that, you need to “reduce the friction”.

You should convey to the customers in every way possible that there is no risk involved. For instance, if you offer a free service or sample, the call to action should include the word “free”. Or you can offer a money-back guarantee and make sure that this is clearly visible.

You want to make your potential customers feel secure in dealing with you. And the fear of compromising credit card information is very justified in today’s world. So, you should add symbols that indicate that the connection is secure, like a lock icon, and display the SSL certificate that proves your site’s security measures. This will help ease the customer’s mind.

  • Differentiate your call-to-action buttons visually

You will want to ensure that your call-to-action buttons are clearly visible and stand out from the rest of your content. A good way to do that would be to choose a different color for the calls to action. For instance, if you have a grey and blue color scheme on your website, you can make the call to action green or yellow. But make sure that no other element of the page except the call-to-action buttons is in that chosen color.

This way, the CTAs will stand out and they will attract the attention of the visitors. But that also serves another purpose – your visitors will be able to find their way on your website more easily and will get more familiar with the layout. And after they have browsed a few pages and are ready to take an action, they will know what to look for – the green or yellow call-to-action button.

 

These are just a few simple tips and techniques you can use to improve your business website’s design in order to get the most out of the opportunities it presents you with. If you implement these tips that will surely improve the user experience and help you convert more visitors into customers in the long run.

 

 

6 Indispensable Web Design Tips for 2014

Web Design Tips No Comment

So, you have a business website and you haven’t made changes to its design and content for quite a while. However, you should know that even if you own a medium or small business, your website should be kept up with the times and relevant; otherwise, you will soon find that your brand is no longer visible in the online world and you are losing your grasp on your market share. In 2014, online visibility will be more important than ever. So, here are a few essential web design tips for 2014 that will help you keep up with the trend and attract the interest of your potential clients.

1. Use WordPress to build your website

 

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There is a reason for WordPress to be the most popular and widely used CMS recently. It allows you a lot of flexibility – you may choose to use a premium theme with a very high quality or go for a tailor-made design. It also gives you an easy way to edit and update all the pages of your site. You could even do it on your own. However, if you decide to take a more professional approach and engage a web designer to build your WordPress website for you, the professionals can come up with a completely custom-made design tailored to your needs and content, which will also have a user-friendly admin panel, so that you can easily make all the updates to your site even on your own.

2. Responsive design

You may have heard this term in relation with web design a lot of times but what does “responsive design” mean exactly? With so many people now using their mobile devices to go online, this means that your site should have a full-fledged mobile version to address the needs of these users. It is much more inconvenient for the users to see the information when they open links and they stack in tabs one over the other on their mobile devices. Instead, a separate mobile version of your site should display it in a single text and column where the content and images can be easily read. It should also be compatible with multiple screen resolutions, as not all mobile devices have the same display sizes and ratios.

3. Keep your site fresh and in line with the trends

Even 1-year-old design can look extremely outdated today. The trends are changing with a very fast pace. And in order not to lose traffic, you have to go with the flow. The trends in 2014 are all about flat design, typography, simple color combinations, longer pages that have visual anchors throughout, white space optimization and making good use of video content. A skillful web designer can combine these elements perfectly and make the difference between just another mediocre design and a fresh site with a great quality web design.

4. Include a blog into your site

It is not just enough to have a blog on your website; you have to update it regularly, too. Granted, updating your blog on a regular basis is a large commitment. However, the drawbacks cannot overshadow the immense advantages of a well managed blog. Through your blog, you can improve your brand awareness, educate your viewers and demonstrate your expertise. This allows you to attract traffic that is relevant to your niche and improve your marketing strategy. However, make sure the blog has been integrated into the site itself and it can be seen in the main navigation. This is a more professional approach and can lead people to your other pages, too.

5. Content marketing adoption

In some cases embracing content marketing may mean that you have to change your entire website and marketing strategy and go back to the basics of marketing – you have to define your target audience and the relevant info to communicate to the viewers, and determine what you want the people’s perception about your brand to be.
You have to get the suitable tools, too – a blog, a detailed content marketing plan, the suitable social media channels where your target audience lies. And then you have to draw a plan for a balanced mix of stories, educational and shareable content that you will distribute across these channels regularly. The content you create should be consistent, show personality and be varied, too. It may be hard in the beginning, but with time you will get better at it, and there is always professional help available as well.

6. Social media integration

It’s not enough to just stick a Twitter or Facebook icon on your home page. The icons should be properly linked to the pages of your brand on the respective social media; that goes without saying. But you should also check what first impression your social media pages make. This includes examining your latest updates, the design of the social channel, the engagement of the public, the relevance and shareability of the updates, etc.
The social media forms a large part of your brand recognition and development. Thus, you should use it responsibly and optimally. If your content is interesting and your social channels are very active, you can do more on your blog and site than just linking to social media through icons. You can add Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter feeds, comment and “like” options for Facebook and social sharing buttons to your blog. You can employ many more tools for managing your social media activities as well.

All these elements may sound overwhelming to you, if you haven’t dealt with web design and content management before. If yours is a small business, you may even be tempted to ignore these tips and stick to the age-old designs and strategies. However, this could be detrimental to your online visibility and your entire business. If you want to survive in the era of the online generation, you need to stay up to date in every aspect.