Archive for : Web Design

What Exactly Is Mobile Friendly?

Mobile website, mobile friendly, responsive, adaptive, app…these are all the same right?  Not really.  Here are our definitions of those terms and the different mobile site types to help you better understand the landscape of mobile.

1.  Mobile Friendly or Adaptive – The key to this type of site is the screen size and device type.  This type of mobile site can change it’s layout and content depending on the device and screen size.  Ex:  iPad version, iPhone 6 Plus version, iPhone 4 version.  Now, this doesn’t mean you need fifty different versions of your site, it just means that your design and layout must adapt to different screen widths and show appropriate content based on those screen widths.

2.  Responsive – Responsive is great, until it’s not.  If you’re website is currently a desktop version only, this is a great “stepping stone” in the right direction.  Responsive refers to the action of a website shrinking and expanding to fit the size of the web browser window, so that no matter what size computer or device you are on, your site displays within that browser size.  The downside to this method is that usually responsive sites just reposition and shrink your content into a confined space.  So all those awesome case studies and client testimonials you have on your site just get squished into a smaller space.  And let’s be honest, who visits a site on a phone to read testimonials?  I’m not knocking responsive, it’s better than nothing.  But it does have some down side.  The upside is that depending on who or how your site was built, your site may be responsive already.  So kudos to the guy that built it!

3.  Separate Mobile Site –  This is a completely separate website that is designed, developed, managed and maintained separately from your desktop website.  The great advantage to this type is that you can create a unique and customized mobile experience.  This kind of site is strategically designed and developed to accomplish specific marketing goals.  Typically these sites have custom homepages, limited content, defined user paths, and obvious actionable steps for a user to take when browsing.

 

The bottom line is that the web is universal and so accessing content should also be universal.  Additionally, Google is now ranking your site based on whether or not it has a mobile version  (of any kind).  For more details read this article.

 

PS – Just because your website can be viewed on a mobile device DOES NOT make it mobile friendly…c’mon people!

 

How Google Is Hurting Your Business

Actually, it’s you that’s hurting you business but no one likes to blame themselves so let’s shift our focus to Google momentarily. Feels better right? This week Google released an update to its algorithm that will give preference to sites that have a desktop version AND a mobile friendly version. Why? It’s simple – web searches on mobile devices are poised to surpass searches made on a desktop computer. Think about your day for just a second. Think about how naked you feel when you don’t have your phone. It’s your little buddy, your safety net when the stop light is too long, and your ever-ready pacifier (parents, here is where you say “amen!”). The reality is that because you (and your customers) have your phone with you at all times, you are already using it and searching on it more frequently than on a desktop. And EVERYONE has a mobile device – your customers and your potential customers.

So what does that mean for you? Simple – you need a strategy for capturing users who are searching for your products or services on a mobile device. Otherwise, your site will lose it’s ranking in Google’s search results. Now that competitor across town whose website used to be dominated by yours in the search results, just pass you up because their is mobile friendly. So in essence, Google is providing you with an opportunity to get more exposure and potentially more business. They are helping not hurting. It’s your call now.

PS – If you need a refresher on what “mobile friendly” actually means, check out this post >

The secrets of successful website content

Do you know why book stores are closing at a frightening pace? Because people don’t read books anymore. They say they do, but overruns on actual books are killing publishers… and distributors and stores.

It’s a sad fact but what does it have to do with my website/blog content? Everything, because it’s a trend a savvy businessperson will heed—consumers aren’t reading!

This isn’t a condemnation of digital devices. I love them! But I also love reading. It was my love of reading that led me to the love of writing… and the realization that I needed to edit myself more and more. Some experts claim people only finish 65% of an article, and then only if it was really interesting; anything over 300 words is a waste of valuable space and effort. It’s not the rule but it’s a growing factor in content creation and how humans continue to communicate.

Read more from http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2014/03/the-secrets-of-successful-website-content/

Be Creative With Your Website

The layout is the foundation of your website. It guides the user through the sections and tells them what is most important. It also sets the aesthetic of the website. Therefore, you need to carefully think through how you lay out content. Read more from smashingmagazine.com.

The How and Why of Minimalism

If done correctly, minimalist design is one of the best and most effective approaches to creating beautiful websites.. Not only is the target audience subjected to less clutter and noise, but you can use colors, textures, and fonts to create a very simple yet very memorable experience for the person viewing your site.

Of course, switching to a minimalist design will mean that you only have a select few pages of information, but the result is desirable on multiple levels. Creating a mobile-friendly site will become loads easier, your audience will find your content easier to read, and your site will look more professional.

Read on to learn more about why minimalism works, and how to apply this beautiful approach to your designs.

 

Why it works
Less is more

This famous saying by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is the ultimate representation of minimalism. These three words of wisdom really get the message across, while being concise and to-the point.

Likewise, a de-cluttered website can get your point across more efficiently. Many designers/developers use this ideology and “prune” their content, effectively cutting away useless, less visited, and unimportant pages, leaving sites left with higher quality content.

Not only will your website look clean, it will also be higher-quality and more refined.

Subconsciously sensible

Subconsciously we are growing more and more defensive to clutter and distractions. Every day, we receive dozens, if not hundreds, of business advertisements through spam, mail, newspaper inserts, internet ads, radio and TV commercials and more. This surge in advertising has caused people to learn how to avoid annoying ads.

Flipping channels during commercial breaks or clicking the “Back” button from an ad-filled website has never been easier. As web designers, we should keep in mind that not only is extra ad clutter on our websites distracting to users, it is also bad for SEO.

Responsive

All good minimalist websites have a unique wireframe and a really good grid system. If utilized correctly, both of these can translate to a painless and easy transition to the responsive and mobile world.

With less content, fewer blocks and design elements, and a whole lot of whitespace, it won’t be hard to move things around for mobile device screens.

Furthermore, mobile users tend to have less patience. They are busy people who are either on-the-go, limited by data plans, working a hectic schedule, or all of the above. Getting concise, clear, and useful information as fast as possible is usually their expectation, so why not give it to them?

Lighter is better

Having only a few pages with a minimal amount of text will mean a lighter website. Not only can this make the task of updating, and maintenance easier, it will also speed up your site.

The less content, widgets, and design elements you use, the less data has to be transferred, making a faster, lighter, and hence more enjoyable, user experience. And it helps with the data limits issues for mobile devices.

 

How to convert to minimalism

It’s no secret that implementing a minimalist style is much easier if you already have a pretty good foundation of design itself. A solid understanding of grids and layouts, and an expertise and finesse in applying that understanding can go a long way when designing minimalist websites, however a lack of these things should not stop you from learning this beautiful style.

If you are interested in adopting a minimalist approach for your designs, there are a few simple guidelines to follow.

First of all, you must minimize your content. Throw away as much as you possibly can. If you can remove it and it doesn’t significantly undermine the main message you are trying to get across, it’s probably junk.

One good piece of advice for those attached to their content is: Temporarily hide the content for 30 days. Don’t go back and read that content or remind yourself about it. After 30 days if your life is not in a state of absolute crisis, you are free to throw the content away.

One way to go about getting rid of and/or simplifying content is to review the usual culprits of lower-quality content:

  • Second and third level navigation pages : you realistically shouldn’t need more than 4 or 5 pages (unless we’re talking about an e-commerce site or some sort of technical site).
  • Recent feeds, Popular feeds, Comment feeds, Facebook and Twitter feeds: Anything that ends with “feeds” is almost definitely unnecessary. Help your readers focus on what’s important.
  • Any sort of counters: Social ‘like’ counters for your main page, ‘Total visits’ counters…really? No need to become anti-Social Media, but a few simple buttons should suffice.
  • Extra graphics: One small to medium sized graphic element per page is enough. Keep in mind, however, your graphic should neither overwhelm your content nor take too much attention away from it.

Finally, when your content is minimized and you have stripped your site to the bare minimum, you must style it. Remember, minimalism is not about looking plain or boring, it’s about focusing your attention on the essentials. Having an attention-grabbing and consistent layout is key. The proper colors, typography, textures, and whitespace are also essential to your minimalist goals.

 

Textures, colors, and fonts

Converting to minimalism doesn’t have to be a chore. Think of it as a way to give your site a fresh look with new textures, interesting colors, and captivating fonts. After all, with less content to worry about, you’ll have more time to tone and master the look and feel that will attract an audience, and keep them.

Textures

Using textures in web design is the greatest thing since sliced bread. When used in conjunction with appropriate colors, fonts, and a simple layout, textures can really make your website shine.

If you are completely new to textures, it would definitely be worth your time to read up on how to create them in Adobe Photoshop, how to apply them, and the different types of textures.

Colors

Similarly, colors present an invaluable medium to present your website. Take caution, though, as colors and their associations can vary from culture to culture. Yellow, for example, may represent mourning when used in Egypt, while it may represent courage when used in Japan. With minimalist type designs, or any design really, having only 2 or 3 colors on your website is a good idea as this provides a consistent and simple experience for the user.

Fonts

Finally, good fonts are truly vital when using a minimalist design.

Of course you don’t have to splurge on dozens of fonts; you could consider creating your very own fonts. Some designers even go to the extreme of having the typography become the sole visual effect of their website. While this is an interesting trend, it can be harder to pull off as it requires a complete mastery of typography.

 

Summary

This article has only scratched the surface when it comes to the principle of minimalism and its uses and benefits in respect to web design. I hope it has caused interest for those who are still not applying some of these techniques.

Although minimalism doesn’t work for all websites, the principles of discarding low-quality and or less valuable features of your website can be useful for all web designers and developers. Less really is more.

 

Article by: Mohammad Shakeri
http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2013/07/the-how-and-why-of-minimalism/