What makes a web design company the right one for you?

What makes a web design company the right one for you?

There are many factors that might make a particular website designer the ideal match for you and your business, but where do you begin? We have some advice based on years of experience which may help you make an informed choice.
Firstly, hiring a local company can make more of a difference than you might think. It will be easier for you to find reputable companies within a small area that you’re familiar with, since you can ask similar businesses within your network who they have used. For example, if you’re a company based in Colchester, this is a suitably sized area to find a local specialist. Searching for web design in Colchester rather than scouring the entire country should connect you with someone that really understands your market.

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How To Successfully Use Colour To Enhance UX

How To Successfully Use Colour To Enhance UX

 

As we all know, colour is essential in design, but many websites seem to have been designed with very little thought going into the actual use of colour. When done correctly, the results can be much better. Here are a few ideas you might consider if you want to successfully improve the experience of your users with smart colour use.

1) Draw attention to focal points

When your UI features a relatively subtle background, you can add contrasting bright colours to direct your users’ eyes towards the most important points. When colour stands out against everything else on the page, it makes it very clear where you are supposed to look first.

2) Add contrast to your images

You can use an inverse strategy by choosing strategic colours for backgrounds on your images, especially if you’re trying to sell a product. Whatever the colour scheme of the thing you’re trying to show off, there will be an ideal colour to make it look much more dynamic than it would on a plain white background. Usually, something dark but vivid can be a good place to start.

3) Consistent patterns build trust

Using colours properly can actually build up a psychological relationship with your clients and instil a feeling of trust. How is this possible? The human brain is constantly looking for patterns so it can establish familiarity with something new. Colour is a deceptively simple solution to achieve this. You can quickly help users recognise how your UI is supposed to work by using consistently repeated colours for similar features and functions, and this will make them feel more relaxed about your brand.

4) Create expectations of importance

Following on from the patterns you’re starting to create, people will begin to notice what colours are associated with the most important features on each page of your website. For example, if your key introductory text is clearly marked on a brightly coloured background in every case (preferably in the only prominent colour on each page), people will start to immediately look at this even when you present them with a new layout.

5) Stick to similar tones and schemes

Colour is not as effective when you start from scratch with every single page. On your website, you are better to stick to a consistent scheme so people start to understand and recognise your brand identity. Colours used in your design elements should not necessarily be identical, but a great palette should usually consist of a few related tones.

How To Launch A Brand New Website

How To Launch A Brand New Website

If you have built your own website to launch a brand new project or business, it can be a scary time when you finally come to actually put it out there. In order to learn from the mistakes of people who have come before you, it may be a good idea to follow some of our advice when you’re negotiating this awkward step.

1) Launch before it’s perfect

Is your website ever going to be perfect? Probably not. Does that mean you should give up and never launch it at all? Absolutely not.

The best thing you can do in that situation is to put the site online anyway and start getting on with your project. You still need to find out if running this website is actually viable, so don’t invest too much too early. That will allow you to the all-important second step.

2) Listen to feedback

You need to be open to all criticism when you first launch so you can make an informed decision about what needs your attention first. You may never please everyone, but you should be able to benefit from the honest opinions of real users and identify the most important areas to fix now, given your objectives.

3) Consult your analytics data

In addition to feedback from individuals, you can draw conclusions and see convincing trends just by focusing on aggregate data, so don’t skip the opportunity to do so. You might be surprised by what you notice, but eventually it will guide you towards success.

4) Stay in touch with the competition

Take inspiration from what others in your industry are doing right (or wrong). Stay up to date with the latest developments in your field so you can adapt your website design as appropriate.

5) Abandon things that just don’t work

Investing in something is one thing, but if it fails you have to accept that as soon as possible and cut your losses. Not everything will be executed the right way the first time, which is OK, but you have to be able to recognise something that needs re-doing or something that deserves to be axed from the site.

6) Make sure it works above all

For now, the most important thing is that your site actually works and does what it’s supposed to do. If that’s the case, people will forgive it for not looking absolutely perfect. A beautiful UX design that doesn’t actually work properly will quickly become much more frustrating.

Potential Problems With Responsive Design

Potential Problems With Responsive Design

As we all know, mobile-friendly design is now absolutely vital for all websites because a majority of web browsing is actually done on mobile devices. To compound this factor, search engines don’t view non-mobile-friendly sites as favourably so it becomes much harder for your older-style website to get noticed at all, even if you had a brilliant design for desktop users.

What is responsive design?

As a result of these changes in the way users browse the web, responsive web design has become a huge trend over the last few years. This is based on the principle of a website that automatically adjusts itself to suit the detected display device. If you view it on a phone, it will rearrange all of its elements to show things clearly instead of presenting a tiny version of the desktop site or redirecting users to a completely different mobile version.

Responsive web design has been billed as the future of web design, and many extremely attractive and functional examples have been shown to business and website managers in an effort to persuade them how great this method is.

What are the potential issues?

In reality they’re now past the point of being potential issues, and many of them are actually widespread. Here we take a look at some of the problems we’ve seen gradually emerging.

1) Bias towards mobile users

Many designers have gone too far the other way when it comes to catering to specific users. More emphasis is often placed on how a responsive site will look on mobile devices, and desktop designs actually suffer. Mobile devices offer a more limited number of options for displaying content, but when the same logic is applied to desktop displays, most of the space and functionality tends to be wasted.

2) Screen size matters more than content?

For responsive design to work, it has to prioritise the dimensions of the browser its being displayed on rather than the content itself. The code of the website can’t understand what text or images mean, only the designer can try to account for this. Unfortunately this distortion of priorities can sometimes mean important content is squeezed into an irrational place on desktop, mobile or both for the sake of compatibility.

3) Hamburger menus

If you’ve noticed the common trope of having to tap an icon with three horizontal lines to expand a navigation menu on a mobile device, you’re familiar with a hamburger menu. You may have also found yourself questioning why the same function needs to appear on the desktop version of the same site, where it suddenly becomes much less intuitive.

4) Monotonous designs

Because template-based responsive design tends to be much easier to implement, and traditional static webpages (which were relatively easy for novices to produce themselves) are redundant, it’s common for new websites to adopt one of a few popular themes. In fact, many websites now look almost identical and it’s fair to say that the need to be responsive has impaired designers who want to show off their creative flair.

How can it all be resolved?

Realistically, there will always be some conflict of interest when an automated code is deciding how to display your website but you need it to be optimised for conversions and engagement. The only way round this is for designers to take back full (or almost full control) perhaps pre-designing a number of different templates per websites and allowing individual devices to determine the exact dimensions within a given range.

This could mean that your website varies between mobile phones, tablets and desktops but still draws on the same resources and content. The platform for this isn’t quite there yet, but we might expect this in the near future.

Tips for eCommerce Web Design

Tips for eCommerce Web Design

In many cases, eCommerce websites will be relatively complex projects. There is a good reason for this. Selling products to users through a website is difficult and relies on a huge number of factors, so your web design needs to account for as many of them as possible in order to be successful. The quality of your website says a lot about whether your company can be trusted, and the web page your user sees is effectively acting as a substitute for a salesperson. In order to maximise your conversions, here are just a few of the main points your website designer should be factoring in.

1) Powerful search function

If you have a lot of products, or even if you don’t, many people will be quite specific about their requirements, and expect to find things easily. For best results, you need a system of simple but powerful filters that will accurately narrow down search results and allow users to sort results by a given parameter, whether it’s price, name or even popularity. Users will also prefer the search bar to be accessible at all times.

2) Live information

Customers will want to know immediately if any products are unavailable. Nobody wants to commit to an online purchase, only to be told afterwards that it’s out of stock. On the other hand, seeing a current update of what’s in stock (and even how many of that particular item you have left) can instil confidence in your potential buyer. You can also have an option to notify someone when the item is back in stock, so their interest is registered. Read more

Improve Your E-Commerce Site With Professional Product & Packshot Photography

Improve Your E-Commerce Site With Professional Product & Packshot Photography

All the content of your website is extremely important if you’re hoping to make sales. Many businesses become blinded to their own marketing when it comes to e-commerce, and struggle to see things from the perspective of a potential buyer who isn’t familiar with the brand or website.

Visuals are much more impactful, scientifically speaking, than words on a page, so it’s vital to consider your imagery. Professional 360 product photography and packshot images can massively enhance your online sales potential, if you follow these tips…

1) Lead with multiple images

Most online shopping hotspots give customers the option to view multiple pictures before buying. These may include different angles of the same item, but you can also go into much more detail, show the product in action and on display, and show off the packaging if this is a selling point. You can even include 360-degree animations of videos to really show off those crucial details.

2) Show off the best benefits

Remember that if a customer can’t see a feature, even if it’s explained in the product description, it’s a much weaker selling point. A range of photos showing the close-up details definitely builds trust, which leads to higher sales. Quality really comes across in high-quality shots, especially when the buyer is able to zoom in. Read more

Increase Conversions with Colour Psychology

Increase Conversions with Colour Psychology

A huge amount of market research focuses on colour and how it influences people’s purchase decisions. In most cases it is proven to be a massive factor, so when it comes to web design it makes perfect sense to focus on it. With a website, almost all of your strategy for selling your products is going to be focused on visual elements, and you will want to optimise your conversion rate, so an understanding of colour psychology seems essential.

The basic concept revolves around the fact that the brain interprets different colours in particular ways, mostly without even realising consciously what is happening. To supplement your actual marketing message, you can subtly incorporate clever use of colours to help influence users to act in a certain way i.e. encouraging them to go ahead and commit to a purchase. Some of the research so far into colour psychology can be a little vague or subjective, but there are a few general rules that are mostly based on common sense and extensive proof. Plus, you can always conduct research of your own (for example, using A/B testing) and draw your own conclusions about using colour correctly.

Generally, there are a few differences on average between genders, but the most popular colours among all people are blue and green. Blue in particular is considered the most trustworthy colour (although it has poor results when advertising any kind of food). Somewhat predictably, green exhibits the best results when used on websites connected with environmentally friendly or organic products. Meanwhile, brown and orange are the most disliked colours, although orange can have great results when used very sparingly (we will revisit this point in a moment). Read more

How much website traffic can be handled on a free hosting plan without issues

How much website traffic can be handled on a free hosting plan without issues

There are a number of factors on which a free hosting plan can handle. It all depends on the following circumstances:

  • Dependant on the number of entry processes that your website occupies for a given number of active users.
  • Dependant on your website itself. How much your site consumes resources per user.
  • Dependant on the services you use which may or may not affect your resource consumption.
  • Dependant on the free hosting plan and how much resources are allocated to different categories of shared plans.

If you are looking for more information what free hosting will be most suitable for you please visit best free hosting reviews to get more ideas.

hostingBy looking at the following different scenarios, we can also see how much a free hosting plan can handle:

  • Free shared hosting is ideal for websites with a concurrent traffic of 100-200 (or 10,000 daily visitors)
  • VPS hosting is preferred for websites with a concurrent traffic of 200-1000 (or 100,000 daily visitors)
  • Dedicated servers are advised for websites with more than the above-specified limit of traffic.Take note that plans for dedicated servers will depend on usage requirement.

Why White Space is Important in Web Design

Why White Space is Important in Web Design

Information overload is a massive problem when it comes to online marketing and web design. Just because you can bombard your users with a vast amount of information telling them why your products are so great, it doesn’t mean you should do so. You want to make the purchase process easy for someone, and attacking them with advertisements from every available angle is not contributing to that all-important conversion.

In fact, overwhelming web design tends to lead to one thing only: a higher bounce rate. People leave the page because it’s too cluttered and messy. You might compare the situation to a physical shop with so many special offers, adverts and products crammed onto the shelves that it’s difficult to even move around, let alone make an informed decision, take your chosen product over to the till and pay for it. An eCommerce website that fills every pixel with graphics and information persuading you to place an order is probably having the same effect.

White space is the solution to this problem. Contrary to what you might think, empty space on a web page is far from wasted. That’s actually a valuable use for your limited screen space, since an empty area only draws more attention to what you want people to focus on. After all, there is only one thing on the screen you want to guide your customer towards: the “buy” button. Anything else is a distraction at best, and a reason to abandon the site completely at worst. Read more

The Benefits of Hiring a Development Team

The Benefits of Hiring a Development Team

If you work as part of a digital agency and you’re involved with the delivery of projects to clients, the chances are you cover a fairly broad range of areas and the skills of your team need to be very varied. Developing digital products can be very time consuming, complex and unpredictable, whether the product is your client’s website, a piece of software for the client’s customers to use, a mobile app or even some form of bespoke management system to help the client manage their internal business.

Due to the complexity of these large-scale digital projects, at some point you may consider weighing up the benefits of handling the project in-house, or involving an additional specialist agency. The decision to hire a development team may be one that doesn’t come easily, but can actually save a lot of effort, time and money in the long run, especially when it comes to tricky specialist areas like UX/UI design, software and hardware development and other common issues with typical digital product development projects.

Extensive research has been conducted looking into the potential areas where efficiency can be improved when it comes to complicated projects like the ones mentioned above, comparing small and large business over shorter and longer periods of time. Some of the findings are particularly interesting and may be highly relevant to businesses in this sort of position. Read more