Sunday, 25 March 2012

Qualifications To Become A Web Designer

To become a web designer in the UK you don't really need any formal qualifications by law in order to set up on your own and start designing websites for clients. This is both a blessing and a curse to professionals wishing to work in the web design industry. On one hand it makes it very easy for professionally skilled individuals to join a rewarding and potentially very lucrative industry. On the other hand the industry is given a bad name, confused and cheapened by cowboy web designers, who enter the industry without adequate qualifications, skills and experience.
This article outlines the qualification that you will realistically need in order to embark on a career in web design and obtain a role with a UK web design company.
Qualifications Needed:
First of all, to become a web designer one of the pre-requisite qualifications in the UK is to be higher educated. This means a minimum of a Higher National diploma (HND) in a computer or media related subject or better still, a degree from a red-brick university. I personally hold a first class honours degree (BSc) in computer science from the University of Sunderland, which I am certain allowed to get me a foot in the door of one of the leading web design companies in the Yorkshire area. Studying for such qualifications allows you to develop an awareness of the industry and allows a lot of time for self learning of software skills and web design techniques, which are critical for a career as a web designer.
Skills Needed:
Some (but not all) of the skills which you will need in order to become a web designer are:
Macromedia Development Packages
Of course the skills that you need will vary depending on the area of web design that you intend to pursue. Graphically oriented web designers will need strong graphic design skills such as adobe photoshop, fireworks and flash. Web Designer that are more coding oriented will need a strong command of the following skills: HTML, CSS, SQL and ASP or PHP. The latter are usually referred to as web developers rather than web designers.
Getting All Important Web Design Experience:
The time taken to achieve competence in web design technologies in my opinion is 3 years this can be coupled with the time it takes to study for a degree at a UK university. Of course formal qualifications are only a small piece of the puzzle. It is the experience gained from your first web design job that you will find most valuable.
From my own experience, I learned more from my first 6 months working in the web design industry than I did during my 3 years at university. There really is no substitute for the experience of working with a professional web design company and being able to ask experienced web designers for help and advice.
Developing A Specialism:
Over time it is definitely worth developing a web design specialism. For me it was the development of search engine optimised website. It was that particular area of web design that took my interest and the area in which I have excelled as a website designer. Becoming a specialist in a particular area will really raise your stock and will allow you to become and expert in your own particular niche.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Web Site Design and Choosing the Right Web Design Company

It's been several years since you had someone design your company web site and now it's outdated. You are losing business to competitors that have quality designed web sites with great layout and navigation. This may be your first company web site and you want to make the most of your money and time.
How do you choose a quality web design company that will understand your companies' objective for designing or redesigning this web site?
First, you need to answer a few questions.
1. What is your budget and time frame for completing the web design or redesign project?
2. Are you going to be using original content and pictures for building this web site?
3. If this is a website redesign, are you planning on getting updated images and content for this new look and layout or will you need the web design company to supply them for you?
4. Does any one at your company have basic editing skills and will they be able to update the website content or will this be an ongoing job for the web design company you hire?
5. Are you looking for a local web design company?
6. Do you already have an idea of your web design colors, layout, and navigation?
Knowing the answers to these questions, will help you when you locate the right web design company.
Now it's time to find the right web design company for your needs. Go to Google and search for local web design firms and you will see how many results show. Take "web design orlando" for example: Results 8,860,000. Wow, there are a lot of results for "web design orlando".
Don't panic, you will probably find a company that can do the quality web design work you need in the first 50 results. Quality web design firms will have a portfolio of work online that will show an example of their custom web design work. Start at the first web design result on work your way down.
Examine the portfolio to see if there is anything equivalent to the web design layout you are imagining. You will be able to tell immediately if this web design firm is right for your company and its look and feel. Find out how long they have been in the web design industry and compare that to how many quality web sites they have designed in that time. 
If this is a redesign, find out how many web site redesigns that have completed and ask to see the web site before and after the redesign.

Find out if they have the staff available to work on your entire web design needs and that they know the programming necessary to complete the job in a timely manner. Ask for references, a top end web design firm will be glad to offer up references on the web design work performed. Most web design references will be glad to talk to you about the quality job your potential web design company did on their web site.
Depending on your web design budget, it may help to several quality web design companies to talk to. You will want to get at least 3 estimates and it never hurts to have more.
Remember, when it comes to your business and your companies exposure on internet, take you time locating a quality web design company. Your future may depend on it.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Web Design-Impact Beyond Measure

Like a 'mind-boggling' yet enthralling Pablo Picasso painting, it is essential for websites to create captivating and thought-provoking material to lure an audience and, secure a solid fan base. Naturally, abstract paintings require quite a bit of out-of-the-box thinking when deciphering the artists' vision, thought and message. This is the kind of allure that a website needs to uphold so that it can become successful over time. By ensuring that users are sufficiently stimulated on a continual basis companies will eventually attain devoted subscribers. This is what every company desires, though the trick is to develop a site that is not clad with complicated design elements (which could affect usability) and bland content that'll bore browsers to tears, but to establish an effective balance.
Of course, if a website does not contain substance one cannot expect a great response or loyal following, now can you?
According to research, a website that has relevant and informative content can help to position a company as professional in view of the interested and targeted consumer. If a website can clearly and efficiently show a potential customer that the company is knowledgeable and up to date in their field of expertise, the consumer becomes confident and trusting of the services offered. Take into account that a web site is multi-functional entity that serves as a communication tool, thus it plays a central role in improving the impact and image of a brand. Consider your website a personal interaction with both current and potential consumers. Because of this very notion, even the slightest 'balls-up' can jeopardize a company's reputation. Yet, however gripping a website's content may be design elements have a dramatic, if not crucial impact and contribution to make.
There are a few prominent aspects of a website that is greatly influenced by web design. Keep in mind that web design's influence on the success of a website runs deep. These are but a few significant and fundamental elements that are magnificently affected by web design.
Usability is key
When a user punches a few keywords on a keyboard, instant and relevant information and a no fuss policy is expected. Instance coffee and fast-foods bears testament to how today's world has evolved into a fast-paced, 'I want it now' society. The Internet is certainly a result of this mindset. Life has become easier, like baking a cake from a box. Most users have a short attention span, when it comes to finding the information that they need and want. Because of this very reason, usability is a vital. As far as making content easy to find, with good web page design, a user should not have to wonder what to do next. Navigation is there for a reason and, makes thing easier and get information to the user ASAP!-which is what you want. The next step should always obvious. The easier it is for customers to find what they are looking for the likelier they'll buy or enquire.
It's like being stuck in the queue at customs at the airport, waiting for your turn to be serviced. Frustrating isn't it?
It's been noted that too often web sites are focused on looking attractive without considering the user. Many have won prestigious design awards, yet perform extremely poorly and as a result lose customers by the thousands. According to research 50% plus of online sales are lost because visitors aren't able to navigate through a website and find what they are looking for. Another factor that plays a major role is how long it takes for a website to load. Research states that it makes good sense to ensure that a website loads fast. Studies have shown that if visitor are forced to wait for more than 8-10 seconds for a page to load, clients run a serious risk of losing potential consumers.
As a rule of thumb, every single web page should load in at least 8 seconds or less, preferably on a 56k modem.
Flash has been named as a huge factor when it comes to the usability of a website. However, Flash has become a popular tool in internet marketing and is now widely used across the web. But, there can be drawbacks so it needs to be carefully determined whether or not a site will benefit from its use. One of the benefits of using Flash is the visual appeal of it. It can be used with navigation, by adding interesting visual graphics. Although, one disadvantage about using Flash is that not all internet browsers have a Flash player moreover, not all users may want to download it. Needless to say, Flash technology tends to discourage usability for very apparent reasons. Flash can cause bad design, break the Web's fundamental interaction style and it also consumes resources that would be better spent enhancing a site's core value. Approximately 99 % of the time, the presence of Flash on a website hampers the usability and distracts the attention from the site's core value and purpose.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Web Design is The Essence of Your Business

Web Design is Fun. It is undeniably a practice of design, a process by which problems are solved. For the millions of web surfers out there, your web design is their first impression of your business and your credibility. The key issue in web design is how to add value to the user's experience, how to make them feel that they truly got something out of visiting your web site. User-centered web design is all about giving the control back to the user, which brings us to the term Accessible Web Design - the art of creating webpages that are accessible to everyone regardless of any device in use. No doubt web design is important, but usability in the other hand, is king. This importance will lead you to find a professional to design your web site right. The complexity of the resulting web design is somehow determined by the goals and budget and affordability in this aspect, is in fact a reality.
Design ideas don't have to be hard to find. For you out there that have specific ideas which are ready to be implemented, you just need someone with the technical know-how to turn them into web reality. Get ideas about the latest web design trends and communications concepts by looking analytically at your competitors sites. Evaluating example products is one way to get ideas for detailed design. From these set of ideas, you can then conclude on your final approach on how you want your assigned designer to get the whole thing done.
Flash is already the Web's standard for dynamic web animation. In creating original cutting-edge design there's nothing better than using Flash Web Design. It is by far, a very versatile and popular method to add eye-catching action to your web site. Flash is also probably the trendiest technology currently used in web design. However a slow-loading web page or flash movie makes seconds seem much longer, if you happen to "overdo" it. Flash does not only associate itself with animations but also as great complimentary values to other media such as presentations, videos and audios.
When you create your own web page keep the importance of shape in mind. You don't want certain things to be in the extra large department when other items such as your text is relatively small to keep up with the overall ratio size of the presentation. Another important item to consider in your websites is the level of seduction. Yes, you read that right. If you've ever got lost in the maze of some websites, you'll know the importance of intuitive web design. Seductive websites provide users the reason to stay longer by providing good typography and by not underestimating the importance of navigation. Knowing the importance of this, you cannot afford to take a chance on any trial-and-error method. The importance of writing quality wdb content is also equally important. Nevertheless, until recently, though, a greater emphasis has been placed on the importance and overall influence of color in the field of web design.
Web design is a complex discipline that involves a wide range of skills. In fact, I'd go as far as to say, web design is information design. In my experience, web design is primarily about the business. Every new web design is the solution to a design problem that can be summed up in a series of constraint questions - Who is my audience? An extraordinary web design is mandatory to a successful business, hence the goal of web design is simply not merely to dazzle, but to deliver information to the widest audience possible. Web design is exciting, it changes day by day. These changes will reflect your company's complete product and service presentation. Web design has always been made up of some basic premises, and if you understand them you can help deliver pages that will impress and illuminate your readers. A successful Web design is paramount to a successful business.

Monday, 5 March 2012

What You Should Know About Web Design and Hosting

I recently received a call from a business in the Healing & Health industry. This person asked her web design guru for a simple addition to her web page. He refused to do it and told her to log in and do it herself! When she decided to give the web design work to me to do, he deleted her entire web site and database! Are you ever the true "owner" of a web site that you paid money to own? The people that you as a business owner trust with your entire online business, are these people worth of your trust? Your business is the one way of serving online clients, are the people behind it worthy of your trust? It is no joke to lose a web site that existed for the past 6 years and the database with all your client contact details and the people you resell to monthly!
How can business owners protect their web sites and online assets? Web designers should make a full backup copy available to every site owner on request; right after the web design is complete and online. As the web design progress, a new backup copy should be available to you. Content managed web sites or the so-called Database websites, the actual database and a backup of your normal web design should be available to you. Ask your web design person up front, even before you choose a particular designer, if the source code and web design files would be available to you.
Graphics and content for your web site 
If you as a business owner pay a person to design graphics and write up content for your web site, you are entitled to this content and in reality the owner of it. Web design Tip: Your web graphics are utilized on letterheads and business stationary - why pay another graphic designer for this - insist on the content that is rightfully yours. You own them because you paid for them.

Let us look at domain hosting. 
I have also come across very suspect hosting companies. Some hosting companies physically disable the standard functions in the control panel of their server$2C so the owner of a web site cannot log in and create web site backups! Why would they do that? Yes there are space limitations on any hosting server, however why would one keep a backup on the same server? Should the hosting server ever have a problem it would only make sense to have your web design backed up elsewhere.

Let us look at Server Reliability. 
Some hosting companies look very promising up front. The smaller company that is just entering the wild world of online advertising may find nothing wrong with his hosting company. Now it gets to a point where the business would like to start selling online and promote his services through having an online blog and a bigger better web site is required. Therefore, he pays the regular web design person to do the web design and host it where it was all the time... The business and site gains hacker attention and is down three out of five days! Make very sure your server is secure. If you have to, get your web design done and host it on a server for a probation period. If you are not happy, use your backup copy of your web design and get a reputable hosting company to move the web site for you.

Always think of the future 
It is very unpleasant and unprofessional to have online clients get to your business web site and it is offline. Error pages drive visitors away and 90% of them will not return as they start to fear that your web site is not trustworthy to open on their computers. Everybody by now knows that often we get lead to suspicious web sites through e-mails. I personally recommend rather paying a little more for a lot more in future by hosting with a reputable company. 
Support Does the hosting and web design company provide you with a phone number so that you can call them when you have a problem? Do you have to talk to a server through e-mail with hardly any human intervention? I have found that when hosting companies provide you with a phone number to talk to a real person, they more then likely have the structure in place to provide you the excellent service that you need for something as important as your business web site.