Category Archives: Website Design

Friday, 11 August 2017, 06:57 am Written by 

 

While a well-functioning mobile website should behave much like a desktop website, there are a number of factors which become relevant with mobile website design, which is less so in normal website design. In this post, we hope to give you an overview of what mobile website design is, how it works, and importantly, how to make the most out of it.

First of all, what distinguishes mobile website design from more conventional web design work? While originally content and web design were built for large screens, with the development of the mobile web, and wide-ranging use of mobile devices and tablets, it was necessary for developers to find a new way of designing to fit these varied screen sizes, the solution, responsive design.

Responsive design is all about creating a structure to your website which is able to respond dynamically to the screen size on which it is being viewed. The way this works is by measuring your page layout using a grid, which then simply scales up or down depending on screen size, while retaining consistency and integrity to your content, layout, and more.

Of the first key principles to keep in mind when designing for your mobile audience, simplicity is key. A complicated website design can have many issues when being viewed on a mobile device, and features may become corrupt, or may simply just look cluttered and untidy, distracting your viewer’s eye from the content.

The next key principle, related to the last, is website speed. Mobile devices are not subject to the same consistency with network and 4G, meaning that connections can be less reliable. By ensuring your website is simple, you’ll also be able to focus on website speed.

Last but not least, when designing for mobile, you must ensure the pages are finger friendly. The main thing to consider here are that all of your icons, menus, and other elements which need to be clicked are large enough to work with fingers and thumbs. You should also make sure that pinch to zoom works properly, as well as scrolling elements, and anything else which might be relevant here.

 

Thursday, 01 June 2017, 02:12 pm Written by 

 

While the aims and objectives of your mobile website design are likely to be identical to your intentions for a desktop website design, there are some essential characteristics that make mobile web design unique and that stems from the character of the mobile web. In this blog post, we will simply be pointing out the design elements unique to the mobile web and will leave more general web design out (there’s plenty of info abounding the rest of our blog on that).

Need for Space
Unlike developing for desktop, mobile design is far more limited for screen space, and this is the first and perhaps most fundamental difference between designing for mobile. It becomes essential to find new ways of saving space, and this might include basic changes such as using less media on your pages or making menus smaller. Going further, you can also take advantage of some mobile specific design traits, such as hidden menus that come in and out of view when needed.

Need for Speed
Next up, when designing for mobile, a particular effort must be made regarding page loading times. Unlike browsing using your home router, mobile browsing speeds can be far more varied but are somewhat slower. By building your website efficiently, with all unnecessary elements removed, you can make a big difference to your website speed.

Need for simplicity
This somewhat relates to the previous two points, but also encompasses the web design itself, too. In addition to minimising media, and heavy design elements, you should also keep colour schemes as neutral as possible, and menus as simple as can be when designing for mobile.

Need for finger-friendly design
Your mobile design is also unique in how it will be used, and one key difference is that your visitors will be using their fingers and thumbs to navigate around your site, rather than the more precise cursor or a mouse. The main implication of this is that you must ensure that all elements that need to be clicked on are large enough to be used with finger and thumb if not, this can become very frustrating.

Monday, 22 May 2017, 02:09 pm Written by 

 

Welcome to our weekly SEO blog post. This week we want to discuss some general tips for approaching mobile website design, and these apply as much to existing websites as if you’re building from scratch.

In many ways, designing and building a website to be viewed on a mobile or tablet device is the same as building a conventional website designed for the desktop. Earlier in the development of the mobile web, it was common for sites to ignore mobile design, while others set separate sites up to cater to a mobile audience. Then along came responsive design, which has since become more or less the exclusive solution to web building.

Put in simple terms, responsive design simply means building a website that can intuitively respond to the device on which it is being viewed. All of the design is scaled, and when viewed by variable devices, the shape of each design element simply scales up or down to be the relative size that the screen requires. Responsive design makes designing for mobile a far easier task, though there are still some key things to keep in mind for your mobile audience.

Speed
Unlike browsing on your home or office computer, the Internet connection is far less reliable when moving around the city with a mobile device. As such, it makes sense to design with loading times and website speed in mind.

Space
You should also take space into account for your mobile audience. Be sure to use your space wisely, and you can even introduce tools like hidden menus to free up more space if you need.

Simple
Simplicity is key for website speed, but also for your viewer’s eye. Too much of a vibrant design can be distracting, and instead, you should keep a focus on your content by using a clean and simplistic yet functional design.

Handheld friendly
Last but not least, design with it in mind that many of your visitors will be using a handheld device. This doesn’t have too many implications, but it’s essential to ensure that all buttons and icons are large enough to click with a finger, and you should also ensure that font is large enough throughout your site.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017, 04:53 pm Written by 

It is now considered an essential for all new websites to be built with responsive design. This means all websites should be built capable of handling traffic from a range of different devices, including mobile and tablets from a range of brands.

The neat fits all solution that has been developed for this problem is responsive design, and it essentially involves using a grid based design to adapt proportionately to a given screen size. The advent of this fantastic solution to the relatively new problem of designing websites to work on mobile devices has paved the way for mobile browsing to have overtaken browsing on conventional PC or laptop computers, making mobile website design more important than ever.

In the past few years, an incredible array of new design elements have been created and which have reshaped not just mobile browsing, but the entire internet. We have solutions to using the website with finger and thumb instead of a mouse, solutions to saving space on smaller screen sizes, but also innovations inspired by using a mobile device.

Web sites have begun adopting more friendly icons to meet the needs of our thumbs, and neat features like ghost icons have been developed making websites more user-friendly and more pleasant to look at. A tendency to scroll between pages from left to right as in a book, rather than down through long pages has become more common, with many websites taking the form of slides.

The hidden menus that we now see far and wide which pop in and out of view when needed were developed for saving space when browsing on mobiles and tablets, but so popular and convenient are they that they’ve been adopted for wide use on large name websites.

Mobile website design has also been inspired by the apps that we download onto our devices, creating a new hybrid of website popular with takeaway ordering services, language tools, and a wide range of uses.

For all of these reasons and more, it is not only essential that your website is mobile ready, but it is also crucial that you consider your mobile design as high a priority as your website when accessed on a desktop PC.

Friday, 15 July 2016, 06:05 pm Written by 

Mobile websites come in three basic flavors. There’s the ones that redirect, where you have Wikipedia.com, but then when you log in from your phone, it’s m.wikipedia.com. There’s the ones that are responsive, where when you log in from your phone you see what looks like the same page, but it’s been rescaled and some content has been cut so that it fits better on your phone screen. And there’s the mobile websites that suck.

Yep, that’s it.

And while Google has spent much of the past few years crowing about the importance of responsive design and how it maximizes…stuff (they haven’t been all that clear on it), there are those gurus and those surprisingly-big websites (like Wikipedia) who just don’t do the responsive thing. You ready to learn why?

Con #1: Load Times
The thing about responsive design is that, while it’s great-looking (when done well), it requires the device that’s loading your page to load the whole page. Even if it’s only looking at 1/5th of the content, every graphic and flair and menu that is missing from the responsively-edited version still has to be in memory on the phone. That means long load times (which are bad-bad-bad for impatient mobile users) and it means larger downloads (which are equally bad for folks on limited-bandwidth mobile plans.)

Con #2: Conversion Rates
Simply put, it’s damn near impossible to perform Conversion Rate Optimization when your website looks like five different sites depending on the size of the screen that’s accessing it. A change that bumps the conversion rate of the largest size up will tank the conversion rate on the smallest two sizes. It’s massively easier to perform CRO on two separate, static sites than it is to do it on one responsive site.

Con #3: Build Time (and Price)
Websites designed for mobile natively are rock-bottom cheap, because they have relatively zero by way of features, flair, or other expensive bits. In contrast, to take a website that has been developed for desktop and then redesign it into a responsive website absolutely will take 50% longer and cost 70% more than developing a native-mobile version of the same site.

Mobile website design is a science that the world has pretty much mastered by now — but deciding between ‘what Google claims they want’ and what actually works for you is still an art.

Tuesday, 05 July 2016, 06:03 pm Written by 

Back in the glory days of SEO, when “Content is King!” was a new mantra and Google didn’t know a private blog network from an automated reposter, the expert SEO guy was just that — he was the expert SEO guy, and he did his job to your content after your content was created. By a different guy. Probably John.

But that doesn’t fly anymore. Today’s Google is much more self-aware, and much more lucid when it comes to stupid SEO tricks, so there’s no longer one guy who has read The Book™ and knows how to do The SEO™. Today, SEO happens at literally every phase of a business’ online development.

  • The network engineer has to know enough about SEO to understand that load times, both time-to-first-ping and time-to-full-render, are important factors in how a page is ranked, albeit indirectly in the latter case (see the UX part below.)
  • The web developer has to know enough about SEO to understand that creating an information hierarchy with structured vertical silos with internal crosslinking sufficiency is critical to your future rankings.
  • The interface experience designer has to know enough about SEO to understand how bounce time, dwell time, and other signals of user satisfaction are interpreted by Google when it comes to ranking a page.
  • The content creator has to know enough about SEO to understand that despite Google’s protestations, keywords are still a thing, and Latent Semantic Indexing is actually more important than ever.  Depending on the kind of content created, they might also need to know ‘expert SEO’ such as how to optimize a video, an image, an app (yep!) and more.
  • The social media/outreach coordinator has to know enough about SEO to recognize which industry powerhouses and which social influencers wield websites that are influential, relevant, and accessible (i.e. able to achieve a backlink without investing too much time/money into the process.)

So Then What Is My SEO Company Doing?
Most likely, your SEO company is doing basically the last two parts from the above — not because they can’t do it all (or even because they shouldn’t, because they totally should), but because you came to them and told them the first parts were already done. They were essentially forced to take over someone else’s work.

Chances are, if the first guys who did your web development weren’t expert SEO guys themselves, your current SEO company could significantly improve your results if you let them start over and build everything right the first time around.

Thursday, 26 May 2016, 05:47 pm Written by 

SEO wasn’t ever dead, regardless of the vespers-blowing trumpeters that have been sounding off since 2008 or so. It just changes form regularly to adapt to whatever adaptation Google or Bing or whatever has come up with to punish them. When Google punishes a given technique, a different one crops up, but the basic concept of ‘drive traffic by creating quality backlinks’ has never changed.

What has changed, in the last 6-8 months, is the number of sites that have more-or-less ‘SEOed out.’ That is to say, they’ve spent enough to reach a top-3 spot for a few dozen potent keywords both short- and long-tail, and they’re basically just in maintenance mode now, to make sure they don’t slip. So what does a website that is already at the top of the heap do with its SEO budget?

They Spend It to Improve The Effects of Their SEO!
Yes — even once you’ve reached the Top 3 rankings, you can still improve the effects of your SEO. Not the SEO itself, but what the SEO does for you. That’s because the profitability of your SEO is measured like this:

Profit = Total Visitors[(Conversion Rate x Profit Per Sale) – Cost per Visitor]

Your SEO efforts are what produces the visitors and what costs the money, so they create the Total Visitors and the Cost per Visitor numbers. Your Profit per Sale is determined by the profit margin on each sale of your product. That leaves the Conversion Rate.

The Conversion Rate is the percentage of Total Visitors that actually buy something when they visit your site. And the process of testing different configurations of that website and seeing which ones result in the greatest Conversion Rate — called CRO for Conversion Rate Optimization — is the top SEO technique of 2016.

CRO has a few variations, but the important thing to know is this: It’s way more profitable to sell 20% of 100 people a thing than it is to sell 10% of 150 people the same thing. If your traffic is already close to peak, switching some of that SEO funding over to CRO is likely to have a far better effect on your bottom line than spending ever-more on optimizing just one part of the equation.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016, 01:28 am Written by 

Last April, Google added another ‘supplementary algorithm’ to its current host (including Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, and others.) This new algorithm, nicknamed Mobilegeddon! (you are required to put it in bold with the exclamation mark, by the way), affects about 50% of all searches. Specifically, it affects the 50%+ of all searches that come from mobile devices.

The upshot is pretty simple: if you have a webpage (and it is by page, not by website as most of Google’s other algorithms target) that is ‘mobile unfriendly,’ Google will penalize it to the depths of the SERPS, but only if the search is coming from a mobile device. So you could sit at your desktop and type a search, and then whip out your iPad and do an identical search at the same time, and get very different results because the iPad’s search results will be skewed heavily toward mobile-friendly webpages.

What does this mean for you in terms of actual business practice? Simple: it means that if you don’t have a mobile-friendly website (or at least a couple of pages on your website), you need to hire an expert to do some high-end mobile website design for you. Ideally, you would have one mobile-friendly version of every landing page your website contains, so that you don’t lose any traffic.

What does mobile-friendly mean? Well, on this, Google is pretty clear. It means:

  • Don’t use any bits that many smartphones can’t process (i.e. Flash, Shockwave).
  • Don’t use text that would be too small to see on a smartphone screen.
  • Don’t pack your links so close together that someone with Fat Finger Syndrome would have trouble tapping them.
  • Either use a Responsive Design setup that adjusts your website based on what kind of device is viewing the page, or use a mobile redirect that will send a mobile customer to a webpage that is mobile-friendly.

It’s that simple — if you can follow those rules, you can ignore the Mobilegeddon! update. If you need to make some changes to take advantage, don’t wait! The faster you can get your site updated to take the new mobile-friendliness rules into account, the faster you can recover the business you’ve been losing since April.

Saturday, 26 March 2016, 01:22 am Written by 

If your company has a website that is suffering for more views and customers, you must first ask yourself how your mobile presence looks. Do you have an app or do you have a website that can be navigated through someone’s mobile phone? If the answer is no, you need an updated website as soon as possible. This could be the main reason that you are not getting the business that you would like to be. A professional can help you with the Mobile Website Design.

When you hire a professional to help you with your Mobile Website Design, there are a few things that you should remember.

  • Keep in mind that technology seems to be changing every day. You want to make sure that the person you hire can help you build a website that changes with technology. You will want to make sure that your website works as well on an iPhone4 as it does on an iPhone7. Many companies choose to build an app instead of a website because the app can work on phones as well as tablets.
  • Discuss with your professional who you think your target audience really is. If your audience is a younger crowd, they will help make your mobile website design for catching the eye of younger people. The website may feature eye catching colors and graphics. This will change of course, if your audience is senior citizens.
  • Talk to your professional about developing a mobile site first or a desktop website first. Your audience will help you to determine this. If you seem to have more people accessing your site from their home computers, it would be best to change up your desktop site before deciding to go strictly mobile.
  • Finally, the professional who will help you with your site will make sure that the content is attractive to your customers. They get paid to analyze many different websites and they have the overall knowledge to create the best content for you.

Finding a professional to handle this website design is fairly easy. If you want to create an app, make sure that you see their credentials and records of other apps that they have created. Getting into the new technology age is very simple; you just have to know where to look.

Monday, 04 January 2016, 01:11 pm Written by 

Many businesses are realizing the importance of not just having a web presence but also a place especially for the company on the mobile platform arena.  This includes smartphones, tablets and other devices that people use to access the Internet on the move.  Due to the generally smaller screens and user interface, many websites are difficult to navigate on these devices and so the following tips should be taken into consideration when deciding to take your business mobile.

  • Your Objective – due to limited space on screen and the capacity for mobile devices to download a lot of information it’s important to determine what exactly you want your customers to be able to do on the mobile platform.  Think about what needs you need to address and how it will work over the different devices.
  • Your Audience – It’s important to know how your customers are accessing mobile website, what devices they are using, what kind of Internet connection do they use and is it reliable.
  • Usage Behaviors – It’s a common thought that people just use their mobile devices when they’re on the move but many people use them when they have time to spare or when they’re bored.  Many people are now using their mobile devices instead of their desktop or laptop computer because the technology is so advanced now they are able to perform the same tasks.
  • Core Content – Your mobile website should be similar in content and design to your actual website so that there is consistency in the visual representation and structural navigation to give your customers a similar experience no matter how they access your site.
  • Optimize For Mobile – Even though you keep the content the same you will need to optimize your mobile version to make it easier to use, keep it simple, check your font size and any buttons that you may need to add.  It’s important to bear accessibility in mind and make elements scalable so they will adjust depending on the device used.
  • Mobile First – In case of mobile website design, it’s often better to create the mobile version first before creating the larger one that people would access on their desktop.  It’s often easier to start small and get bigger than the other way around so, think mobile first.
  • Stacking Strategy – You need to think about how you will define the content modules in your columns as content in the left hand column will be placed at the top followed by the middle column then the right will appear at the bottom.  You need to make sure your content will be displayed properly on different platforms so decide how you will place each content module so that it stacks correctly
  • Navigation – You need to make sure you implement some kind of responsive navigation system to enable your customers to get around and use your mobile site effectively
  • Think About The User – Make sure you choose the right web font and try to minimize what your customers’ need to type if they need to complete a form.  Be mindful of how your content is displayed on different devices and understand how your website can have an effect on the life of the battery as the more work the processor needs to do to download content, images and other media the more the battery will be affected.
  • Test and Retest – Throughout the development process you should work closely with your development team to make sure your vision is created in the way you want.  Test, adapt, change retest and repeat until it’s how you wanted it to be.  Get your customers or clients to test the website on their devices too and give you feedback about what works, what doesn’t and how they experience the website on their particular platform.

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