Thinking of Hiring a Web Designer? Read This First

This article will help you to figure out whether that web designer you are thinking of using for your website is the one to go with and how to make sure you do not handover all the money without viewing work.

Most of us are all to aware of rogue companies or individuals out there offering services and not living up to expectations. One main industry that springs to mind could be builders, but another potential cowboy area is Website designers. With so many of us not having a clue how a website is made or run how can you tell whether the potential designer you are talking to is legitimate.

Portfolio

Firstly, you may want to look at a portfolio of sites, which is a good idea. Do not use the portfolio as gospel because anyone can claim to have created a site so you must contact the website owner to clarify that the individual or company you are considering did make the website and if they were good to work with.

Meet them

Secondly, you should do all you can to meet up with your web designer. This is not always possible but at the very least you should talk to them via the telephone or Skype so you can get to know them and find out a real address for them.

Contract

Thirdly, make sure you get a contract for the work written up so that you have some evidence of the job at hand. Most web designers will want the same thing so this should not be a tender subject as it protects both of you.

Pay in instalments

Luckily unlike builders, web designers do not have to purchase materials so demanding a lot of money up front is unlikely to happen. A lot of designers make ask for a reasonable deposit, which can be mutually agreed and again helps to protect them but the rest of the money should ideally be agreed to be paid in stages. The stages and amount of payment at each stage need to be agreed upon by both parties to ensure mutual protection.

Double confirm all work to be carried out.

A huge reason for any tradespeople not completing the jobs is because they have underestimated the work involved so if someone seems far cheaper than anyone else it is important to check that you confirm everything that needs to be done so that you both are clear on the job that has been agreed.

Conclusion

By using the points above, you should be able to make sure you have chosen the right person for the job and make sure your money is safe. Unfortunately there will always be people out there who carry out poor work or no work at all but by following these steps you may scare them off before anything is agreed.

Don’t Slow Down A Website With Big Graphics

Everyone wants to have the best, most attractive website possible to market a business or organization. Having a well-designed internet presence can be a sign of great attention to detail, provide credibility for any name or brand, and ensure that visitors enjoy using the site. Going through a lot of extra effort to provide impressive technology and design can usually create great results; however, overuse of such design elements should not be done.

Slow loading, excessive use of java or flash, and certain other extras can seem great on the development end yet be a real nuisance on the user end. One of the more abused elements in website design are images which, when poorly applied, turn a great website into one that is difficult to navigate and cluttered which can steer viewers away instead of retaining interest.

Epidemic of Image Overuse

While ornate menus, animation, and other creative elements usually involve some advanced coding knowledge, using pictures, graphics and other simple visual enhancements is fairly simple. This appears to be really great as it means that just about anyone should be able to add a few well-placed images to a website. The problem with this viewpoint is that too often the ‘more is better’ theory is followed when adding graphics to a design, creating a page that is too busy and loads too slowly.

Photos are not the only culprits for such a design mistake. This also applies to photographic images, graphic images, tables, charts, polls, decorative elements, backgrounds with design elements, and any other feature that creates a point of focus on the page, drawing, guiding, or directing the reader’s eyes. It is definitely possible to use such elements to enhance a page and guide readers to more important focal points; however, having too many attention grabbers only works against a smooth reading process as well as slows the page down. Between slow loading pages and having too much to look at once they finally load, many viewers are quickly confused or overwhelmed and leave before even finding what they wanted.

Avoiding Overload

There are a number of ways to keep graphic overload to a minimum and ensure that website visitors not only get a quick download but also stay long enough to find what they are looking for and see what businesses want them to see. Basic image optimization involving strategic image naming and captions is a great start.

Some of the best ways to keep graphics under control and prevent them from affecting page performance is to use code as much as possible whenever designing for color or image effects. Use CSS to create attributes assigned to page elements whenever possible rather than using images. Employ small seamless background tiles set to repeat instead of one large background picture and avoid making images become titles and headers. With the freedom that the new Web Fonts and free Google Web Fonts provides to designers, there is almost no reason at all to do this just to use a certain font. Work on ways to reduce a site’s bandwidth draw in order to increase loading speed.

A great benefit in some instances to writing tight code to help reduce the need for actual graphics as well as increasing image optimization is that website performance is enhanced. Faster loading internet locations have a greater chance of working well on all the different types of devices and at many different bandwidths, which actually increases website visibility, increases potential conversions and adds to other optimization efforts. Getting seen is the most important job of any internet location, so be sure to use images and other graphic elements in ways that promotes viewing, not hinders it. Don’t slow down that website with big graphics!

Which Should Come First – Mobile or Desktop Design?

Having an internet presence that is compatible with mobile technology has become an important part of having a complete cyberspace presence for businesses since so many people use smart phones and tablets to access the Internet. While there are two trains of thought about whether or not mobile websites need to be completely different than a full-sized counterpart, most would agree that there definitely should be a mobile optimized option – and it should be constructed in such a way as to be easily used on a tiny screen. Most business owners opt to build two separate creations, so the big question is which should be done first?

Mobile Design First

Since mobile websites need to be so much smaller, recommendations for creating a user-friendly one specifically for viewing on a smart phone or other small devices are to keep it simple and exercise moderation in use of the limited space. These smaller pages should generally have only the most pertinent information as well as having links to where more details can be found. Use of everything from font to images to color must be carefully considered and decided since it does not take much to overload a mobile screen.

Functional mobile design should include the logo, colors and main typography that are displayed on the main website to provide a sense of recognition; however, the amount of information presented can be abbreviated. Layouts should be more vertical than horizontal, which of course is the opposite rule of thumb for a laptop or desktop design, most of which commonly have wide screens. It is possible to take a website designed for phones and use it as-is for a full-sized layout just by making sure the design is responsive and can adjust to fit multiple screen sizes. Once all that is done, full size pages can be created by enhancing and filling the mobile ones as needed. Using this technique means there is no need to start from scratch; the smaller version website code can simply be expanded as necessary.

Desktop Design First

One of the problems faced by designers when converting full-sized websites to a mobile version is knowing how much content to include. This is why a lot of designers agree that building a smaller interface first is often easier; however, this is not always the case for all content.

By using a grid layout and responsive design, it is possible to create only one website that changes its appearance based on the format in which it is being viewed. Such a coding process can be a little more involved, but it does get the job done once and for the most part, that’s it. Both of these coding features work together to allow a website to shrink to fit smaller screens or enlarge to fit bigger ones.

The website structure is built with boxes or content areas that are independent of each other and the whole design in general, which can flow so that they are in a single column or multiple columns and vary by width, depending on the space available. Menus and other elements are built to react the same way so that even on smaller screens, scroll bars do not need to be used. This type of layout provides a way for all of the content on a website to be accessible on a mobile device without compromising how it looks or performs.

Whether starting with the smallest version of an internet presence first and then building it up or making a responsive internet presence on a grid layout, the decision will likely be different for every company and every website, depending on the desired look and features. There are multiple ways to accomplish having both versions and all it takes is a little bit of forethought in how each one will best function!

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PSD to OsCommerce: Fuelling Better Ecommerce Websites

There are various solutions available to retail businesses that wish to expand online. These solutions let businesses improve their online presence while it provides them with better global exposure. Retail businesses can expand online to provide their product and services via online shopping. This can be achieved with the help of e-commerce solutions. osCommerce is a practical solution for such e-commerce requirements. It offers a range of features that allow retail businesses quick online setup and this open source solution is available online through the general public licence. A PSD to osCommerce conversion would allow for Photoshop documents to be converted in to osCommerce templates.

osCommerce is a convenient business solution but it might not be for everyone. It offers affordable solutions to retail businesses that wish to operate online shopping websites. With developments in the e-commerce industry there have been changes and improvements to the osCommerce structure. Store administrators provide their customers products according to their requirements with the help of such solutions. This solution is easy to use and it can be implemented without any hassles. PSD to osCommerce conversions offers businesses an opportunity to convert data from Adobe to osCommerce formats. Conversions cater to different businesses and help to fulfil their requirements.

It is true that online retail businesses have different requirements. The feel and look of different shopping websites differ over a wide demographic of retails. The conceptualization of new themes especially which concerns the look of a website is done in Photoshop. These documents need to be converted to osCommerce formats so that they are visible on the internet. The PSD to osCommerce conversion ensures that the website is complete, which also ensures that it is powerful in terms of features. Also through conversions several features can be added to the existing design which will improve the shopping website’s functionality.

The benefits of conversions extend far beyond theme development and creating web worthy formats. When conversions are done the right way they optimize the website for better internet viewing which in turn is search engine friendly. A host of different services today offer this form of conversion for affordable prices. These include organizations that are involved in web development and content development. The techniques used to convert such formats are advanced, which have been refined over the years. PSD to osCommerce conversion will also ensure higher support for websites and allow web owners to add features that help them provide better service.