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What distinguishes a good website from a bad one?

Posted by on Sep 27, 2012 in Web Design | 0 comments

A good website will incorporate all or most of the following. A bad one will not consider any of these.

1. Don’t make users think
If the navigation and site architecture aren’t intuitive, the number of question marks grows and makes it harder for users to comprehend how the system works and how to get from point A to point B. A clear structure, moderate visual clues and easily recognizable links can help users to find their path to their aim.

2. Don’t squander users’ patience
In every project when you are going to offer your visitors some service or tool, try to keep your user requirements minimal. The less action is required from users to test a service, the more likely a random visitor is to actually try it out. First-time visitors are willing to play with the service, not filling long web forms for an account they might never use in the future. Let users explore the site and discover your services without forcing them into sharing private data. It’s not reasonable to force users to enter an email address to test the feature.

3. Manage to focus users’ attention
As web-sites provide both static and dynamic content, some aspects of the user interface attract attention more than others do. Obviously, images are more eye-catching than the text — just as the sentences marked as bold are more attractive than plain text.

4. Strive for feature exposure
Modern web designs are usually criticized due to their approach of guiding users with visually appealing 1-2-3-done-steps, large buttons with visual effects etc. But from the design perspective these elements actually aren’t a bad thing. On the contrary, such guidelines are extremely effective as they lead the visitors through the site content in a very simple and user-friendly way.

5. Make use of effective writing
Talk business. Avoid cute or clever names, marketing-induced names, company-specific names, and unfamiliar technical names. For instance, if you describe a service and want users to create an account, “sign up” is better than “start now!” which is again better than “explore our services”.

6. Strive for simplicity
The “keep it simple”-principle (KIS) should be the primary goal of site design. Users are rarely on a site to enjoy the design; furthermore, in most cases they are looking for the information despite the design. Strive for simplicity instead of complexity.

7. Don’t be afraid of the white space
Actually it’s really hard to overestimate the importance of white space. Not only does it help to reduce the cognitive load for the visitors, but it makes it possible to perceive the information presented on the screen. When a new visitor approaches a design layout, the first thing he/she tries to do is to scan the page and divide the content area into digestible pieces of information.

8. Communicate effectively with a “visible language”
In his papers on effective visual communication, Aaron Marcus states three fundamental principles involved in the use of the so-called “visible language” — the content users see on a screen.

Organize: provide the user with a clear and consistent conceptual structure. Consistency, screen layout, relationships and navigability are important concepts of organization. The same conventions and rules should be applied to all elements.
Economize: do the most with the least amount of cues and visual elements. Four major points to be considered: simplicity, clarity, distinctiveness, and emphasis. Simplicity includes only the elements that are most important for communication. Clarity: all components should be designed so their meaning is not ambiguous. Distinctiveness: the important properties of the necessary elements should be distinguishable. Emphasis: the most important elements should be easily perceived.
Communicate: match the presentation to the capabilities of the user. The user interface must keep in balance legibility, readability, typography, symbolism, multiple views, and color or texture in order to communicate successfully. Use max. 3 typefaces in a maximum of 3 point sizes — a maximum of 18 words or 50-80 characters per line of text.

9. Conventions are our friends
Conventional design of site elements doesn’t result in a boring web site. In fact, conventions are very useful as they reduce the learning curve, the need to figure out how things work. For instance, it would be a usability nightmare if all web-sites had different visual presentation of RSS-feeds. That’s not that different from our regular life where we tend to get used to basic principles of how we organize data (folders) or do shopping (placement of products).

Special thanks to smashingmagazine.com for the above.

How’s your day going?

Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Funny | 0 comments

Better than this person, I hope!

 

What are Search Engine Friendly URLs (SEF) and why are they important?

Posted by on Mar 6, 2012 in Web Design | 0 comments

original post in

There are different ways of showing your site content on the Internet. Many site applications show pages in format similar to this:

http://yourdomainname.com/index.php?page=photos

Such links are bad for the SEO of your website. The search engine will consider both http://yourdomainname.com/index.php and http://yourdomainname.com/index.php?page=photos as one page despite the fact that those URLs display different content. This will generate errors with duplicated meta content, duplicated titles and more.

This is why you should set up your application to use Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URLs. Below you can see two examples of SEF URLs:

http://yourdomainname.com/photos
http://yourdomainname.com/contact

Such links will be “crawled” by the search bots correctly and indexed in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP).

If you want to rank high in SERPs, you should definitely set your links to be Search Engine Friendly.

Another benefit you get from using SEF links is that your visitors will remember the links to different parts of your website more easily. In terms of usability, having SEF URLS is a must.

Hagar the Horrible and the Christmas bonus

Posted by on Dec 24, 2011 in Funny | 0 comments

Check out a classic comic strip, Hagar the Horrible and his take on the Christmas bonus!

People are Amazing!

Posted by on Dec 17, 2011 in Video | 0 comments

A most breathtaking series of videos all put together in one.

Even in Alaska His name shall be praised!

Posted by on Dec 10, 2011 in Video | 0 comments

This video from the small Yupiq Eskimo Village of Quinhagak, Alaska, was a school computer project intended for the other Yupiq villages in the area. Much to the villagers’ shock, over a half million people have viewed it.

Project Life Cycle Process

Posted by on Sep 14, 2011 in Uncategorized, Web Design | 0 comments

Discover Goals and Objectives
The first step is opening up the communication channels. I seek to understand and engage your business goals, project objective, and outline a statement of work (SOW) with you. It all begins with our preliminary consultation where I can proceed with a formal proposal.
Project Planning / Organization
The project planning phases allows me to setup our game plan. I utilize a variety of planning measures to align my goals with your own. It is critical that I outline all aspects of your project together to make sure we are speaking the same language.
Design Concept
Once my blueprint is established I begin with a wireframe, sitemap, and site outline. I carefully begin crafting a design concept that embodies the goals we’ve outlined, while also designing a fabulous and visually immaculate front-end look and feel.
Website Construction
After my design concept is approved, I begin construction. I set up a project plan including specific tasks and milestones so that project benchmarks are planned and coordinated. Configuring servers, installing the CMS, XHTML/CSS markup, and building your various web pages.
Testing, Testing and then Launch
Before your website is officially deployed, I run it through rigorous testing to ensure cross-browser compatibility, functionality, and usability. I then transition from the staging phase to the production phase, and clear it for take-off!
Support and Maintenance
I offer quality ongoing support services through a variety of avenues: Analytics analysis, PPC campaigns, SEO campaigns, Social Media Maintenance, Security checks / updates, Website Backups and integrity reviews. The web is always evolving, and I’m there every step of the way.