Tag Archives: web design

Adobe’s new applications that are really useful for web designers

Professionals involved in web design and development industry do not need any introduction to the brand Adobe. From freelancing web designers to large scale web development companies use Adobe web and graphic design applications extensively. Whether it is the company’s mammoth web development application Dreamweaver or its versatile image editor Photoshop, design professionals swear by their capability and feature set. While applications like Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver have been around for quite a few years, of late Adobe has taken the veil off a set of spanking new design apps that can make the task of web developers and designers easier.

Tablet and cloud applications for web design from stable of Adobe

These applications are meant for designing web graphics and components of web site from handheld devices. The rising popularity and technological advancements in tablets and smart phones have prompted Adobe to make such a move. While these apps, meant for Android based tablets and iPad are not yet capable of replacing any desktop based mainstream design app, they can surely help a design professional augment his work and streamline workflow like never before. Most of these applications run both on iOS and Android based devices and users can also exchange files between these apps and Adobe’s mainstream design apps. The icing on cake is that these apps are compatible with Adobe’s newly unveiled Creative Cloud service.

Adobe Photoshop Express: This is a mobile specific version of the powerhouse app Photoshop million of users are well versed with. As expected, the mobile version comes without many in depth version its PC version has. However, it still packs in enough punch to serve as an image editing app you can use on the move. You can use its crop feature and employ brightness settings to enhance images clicked through tablet and mobile devices. Later these images can be opened in Photoshop for further retouching and modification. You can use your finger or the stylus in case your Android device supports it to use the application.

Adobe Ideas: This is a basic but useful sketching application that runs on Android 3.1 and higher editions and iOS. Whiel it runs both on iPad and iPhone, the android devices featuring smaller screen size may not be able to run it. By using this intuitive app, you can make basic drawings and export them to PDF format. There are few other apps that let you create attractive artwork simply by using your finger on blank canvas. The app’s toolbar comes with several useful settings and extensive brush setting so that you can explore your creative limits. It even allows users to import images.

Adobe Kuler: Adobe Kuler is ideal for those web design professionals who also own Android tablets. It has an incredibly small footprint for an Adobe app, less than 11 MB to be precise. However, do not mistake it as a simple color wheel as it gives you much more than that. In line with other Adobe Touch apps, Kuler sports a sleek and user friendly interface. It lets you work with various color modes using CMYK and RGB, though web designers are more likely to work with the latter. Kuler also supports Creative Cloud integration, like other Touch Apps. Kuler users can share and access color palettes and themes created by other users. This paves way for new creative possibilities. Kuler’s USP is the capability to generate new themes based on images.

Adobe Muse: Apart from making apps for easier web graphics editing, Adobe has also brought something for users who want to dabble with web design but dislike extensive coding. Muse can fit bill for amateur users and newcomers in web design industry. It has a small footprint compared to the powerhouse website development app Dreamweaver. It does the coding in background and its level is quite decent. Veteran designers may feel like polishing the code generated by Muse to suit their needs, but for first time users with no knowledge of xml or HTML Muse fits the bill easily.

Photoshop Touch: iPad and Android device users who want something more powerful than entry level Photoshop Express but less gargantuan than Photoshop itself, should go for Photoshop Touch. Photoshop users will find the interface quite familiar. For any hiccup you face, there is an excellent tutorial included with the app. There are lots of familiar and useful tools including magic wand and Blur. The tools included in the app respond rather well to finger press and tap and you may not need to use a stylus after all.

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Effective tips to make your business website click with target audience

Until a few years back, majority of web users were skeptical and unsure about befits of online shopping. Aspects like lack of information, fear of safety compromise, uncertainty prevented a lot of them from buying things and services online. However, the scenario has undergone a massive change. Nowadays, millions of web users prefer buying online and everyday a lot more are discovering numerous benefits of buying things online. That is why businesses have become aware about consolidating their online presence. Just making good looking website is not adequate, you need to make your website viewer friendly and useful for prospective buyers to survive in steep competition.

Below listed are some useful tips that will benefit your business website. By using these methods you can expect a growth in number of site visitors which will translate to enhanced revenues.

Use colors and graphics wisely: No matter what kind of products and services you sell online, it is important that you use images, textures and colors in website with care. Your choice of color will also depend to an extent on mindset of your target buyers. For instance, a site selling products for children and teens may have bright backgrounds hues and eye catching graphics. However, a company selling products for corporate professionals should have neutral color and toned down design. You need to careful about using text color as well and text should stand out well against background color.

Simplified product navigation: No matter what framework or app has been used for making your business website; simple navigation is a vital aspect to ensure its success. No web users would like to go through a number of sub menus and clicks to find a particular product they want. It is also important to offer links to home page in every single page of your business website. It is prudent for your site to have larger buttons and links that are easily visible to enable hassle free navigation.

Search Box: Providing search box is also required in e commerce websites. Viewers may search for myriad of things and often they want instant solution rather than searching through entire catalogue. The search box in your website should be located at a spot where it can be easily located. Majority of business websites usually have search box placed at right top corner of web pages.

Adequate product description and quality images: When you want buyers to purchase from your website, it is imperative that your site has quality images and adequate descriptions for every product. It can be a little difficult at times to use images that are not large sized yet look decent. Web users often check out various websites for buying products. If your products are not accompanies by proper descriptions they may feel skeptical. If you offer products made by other manufacturers it would be a good idea to get description written afresh rather than copying verbatim from company websites.

Using clever and unobtrusive promotion: To lure new buyers into making purchasing and retain existing buyers it is important to use advertisements and show promotional offers in business websites. However, an overabundance of advertisement or promotions can also be harmful. First time buyers may not appreciate overload of banner ads and promo offers flashing by side of page. It would be sensible to provide promo offers to your existing buyers from time to time after assessing their buying habits. You can also make recommendations to them. However, the viewers should not feel at any time that they are being driven to buy anything.

Think of mobile web users: In last few years, millions of people have started using web access through tablet and mobile devices. Chances are there that they will like to make online purchase using these devices too! Therefore, it would be prudent for you make tablet and smart phone optimized version of your regular business websites to enhance prospects.

User friendly and safe Shopping cart solution: A number of web users stop short of making online purchase owing to shopping cart solutions that make them feel uneasy and intimidated. A user friendly shaping cart should have step by step guide with pictorial description of each stage. It should also have options for buying from the website without going through lengthy registration procedure.

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Ways to design websites targeted at elderly users

Web design professionals need to make websites for users belonging to diverse age groups. You can find websites targeted at kids, teenagers, regular users, women and even people belonging to specific professions. Each kind of website needs to be designed with care and focus on vital needs of target users. However, when it comes to designing websites for elderly users, web designers need to be a little more careful.

Advantages and disadvantages of web design for aged users

As a matter of fact, there are both advantage sand disadvantages of making websites meant for older users. Majority of aged people get exposed to internet and online activities in the golden years of their life. Adapting to web for getting various tasks accomplished can be difficult for some of them, who grew up and became accustomed to the world without it. A number of seniors tend to lose motor skills and dexterity with age and for them online interaction may not be comfortable.

However, being elderly can also help some users in getting accustomed to web usage with time. Unlike kids and teens, aged people tend to be more focused on accomplishing tasks and they also have more patience. Some of them do not mind spending time in picking up new skills and enjoy learning new tasks. Besides, being more experienced in problem solving they are willing to resolve difficulties faced during learning something new in life.

To succeed in designing websites targeted at elderly lot, web design professionals should keep site layout simple, use engaging content and discard redundant elements from the sites. Below listed are some useful tips designers can follow for succeeding in making websites for aged users.

Effective ways to make web usage easier for aged lot

  • While some elderly people may have good eyesight and motor skills, that is not the case with all of them. Web designers need to make site layout comprehensible and ensure viewers understand clickable elements well. The links to other pages in the site should be large enough to attract their attention. It is prudent to use large sized buttons in websites meant for this users. If you want, 3D buttons can be used in the websites too.
  • For elderly web users, selecting radio buttons is easier compared to drop down menus. They may not always be able to select the desired item from drop down menus in websites. Using radio buttons also enables them to see all available options at the same time.
  • Needless to say, you need to use appropriate colors and graphics in websites meant for the aged lot. Using loud and garish hues in these websites look really inappropriate. Elderly people tend to have penchant for neutral, subdued hues and simple designs. They also appreciate neatness of design.
  • Refrain from using excessive elements and links in websites targeted at older web users. They may like to see online videos relevant to their needs but excess of animations may not be up to their taste. Integration with social networks is fine but these users are usually not as excited about social media sites as teen and adult users are. However, it would be a prudent idea to integrate online communities relevant to their needs.
  • Along with simple site layout, elderly centric websites should also have uncomplicated hierarchy and simple navigation. It would be a good idea to keep an option to revert to homepage at every page in such websites. To find any content in such sites, they should not have to click more than 3 to 5 times.
  • As is the case with any websites, content used in elderly specific websites need to be simple. These users access the web mostly for information and communication rather than entertainment. Refrain from using technical jargon in content of these websites as far as possible to keep the users involved.
  • While some elderly web users can be tech savvy and they catch up with new technology quite well that cannot be expected from all of them. It may so happen that some of them still use outdated browsers and older operating systems in their computers. Therefore, designers need to test their websites well for compatibility with older browsers before publishing.
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Ways to design websites that appeal to Teenage users effectively

Designing a website may not be very difficult owing to availability of myriads of applications, frameworks and scripting languages but making websites click with target audience may be tedious in some instances. The internet is being used by several million people in various countries and they belong to various age groups. A website design and its content that may be websites meant for teenagers. Teenage boys and girls tend to be moody, they have less patience for anything compared to elders and their choices can often be unpredictable.

Understanding the basics of teenage psychology

Designing websites for these users can be a tedious and challenging for any web designer. However, for a professional in the industry who has a decent understanding of teen psychology and behavior patterns, making such websites may not be very difficult. To make a website click with teenagers, you need to know their likes and dislikes very well. Teenagers hate boredom and they love things that offer interactivity. They also want to share their feelings and thoughts with liked minded boys and girls, both in life and online. Above all, they hate preaching and anything that appears sermonizing to them. Focus on these aspects of teen psychology when you design a teen centric websites to taste success.

Measures to design websites with focus on teen mentality

  • First of all, a teen centric website should appear interesting and attention grabbing. Teenagers do not like things and designs that look serious and dull. Ideally, teen centric websites should have bright and lively colors used in background and graphics. Colors like yellow, orange, green and blue work well in these websites and shades like black and grey should be used with caution. The interface should not appear cluttered and unintuitive.
  • Compared to their parents, who learnt internet and computers long after they became adults, present generation teenagers use these for various purposes. Internet is something they need almost every day to study, watch movies, listen to music, make calls and keep in touch with friends. They are more tech savvy than previous generation. Therefore, websites made for them need to be equipped to cater to their needs. The websites targeted at teen users should have video, interactive content, slideshows, images and anything that can be useful or them.
  • Like a majority of web users, teenagers are big fans of social networking. It is important that you include integration with social networking sites that are a hit with users in a teen based website from this age group. While Facebook and Twitter are top favorites, you need to keep your eyes open for teen social networking sites that are becoming popular. Teens like to post messages and comments in these sites more over using emails.
  • Teens always look for things that involve functionality and activity, even when they are searching the web. Websites with long pages of static content can repel them easily. Therefore, as a developer, you should equip your website meant for teens with online polls, contests, quiz and riddles. However, ensure that you do not make the registration process for using these online long and tedious. Teens are not very patient in general when using web and sites that require them to spend minutes to fill up forms can make them irate.
  • With advent and rising popularity of mobile web access devices, a lot of teenagers are using iPad and Android based tablets and smart phones to browse web. Therefore, it is essential that developers design websites with an eye for teens who will be accessing the site with these devices. There are tools that let you design sites for these mobile devices easily.

Developers making teen centric websites need to be careful about the content. Like adult users, Teens also need information and resources in web apart from entertainment and socializing scopes. However, content used in these sites should have a causal and interesting tone. Any formal or authoritative tone can repel teen users instantly. It would be a nice idea to use references and examples that teenagers can relate to easily. It is also important to maintain a balance of text and visual elements when using content in teen based websites.

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How you can design a women centric website that clicks with target audience

When design professionals need to make websites for various types of users and they also need to implement different design methods as per target audience type. To succeed in web design for user with different mindsets and age differences, a profound understanding of human psychology is required on part of designers. They need to be particularly careful when it comes to designing a website meant for women users. To design a website targeted primarily at female users, web design professions need to know what women relate to and what the things they find unacceptable are. They need to be careful about each aspect of such websites including colors, graphics, media and content.

Clean and neat interface: By nature, women tend to be more organized and they also like things that seem in order. This is what designers making websites for female audience should keep in mind. In a women oriented website, interface needs to be clutter free and neat. As a designer, you should refrain from the temptation of using too many elements in the home page of such a site. Women viewers will not hesitate to flock to other websites if they think your website looks messy and not organized as per their mindset.

Be creative about font usage: In general, women tend to have a penchant for things and designs that appear a little unusual yet creative to them. That is why you can experiment with fonts in a website you are designing for the fair sex. You can choose from less used and aesthetic looking fonts for headers and sub headings in such a site to appeal to the female viewers. However, in your bid to be creative, do not implement a font that makes reading difficult for viewers.

Select colors and use graphics with care: Web designers making women centric websites need to be really careful about using colors. This can be a touchy aspect of designing such websites. There is no such stereotypes that you have to choose pink and similar hues that are commonly associated with women. However, it would be a good idea to use bright colors in background for designing such sites rather than dull shades.

However, designers need to be a little careful and they should think about age group of target users. A color that appeals to teen girls using web may not be that interesting to women above 40. Similarly, designers need to select colors for websites with caution that are meant for both female and male users. Choosing neutral colors for such sites would be a good idea. In any case, designers should refrain from using too many colors in these websites.

Web designers need to use textures and patterns in female centric websites with care. Floral patterns in page background usually connect well with target audience in this context. Using natural symbols and soft geometric shapes is something that can be relevant for background design of such sites.

Images can speak louder than words: While it is very important to use proper content in websites, designers developing websites for female users should use images carefully. Depending on age group of users, designers need to select images. For example, in websites selling maternity products images of babies and mothers look nice and viewers can connect to such images easily. Similarly, images related to corporate sector should be used in websites meant for career conscious women. As is the case with any website, designers should maintain a balance between image quality and compression for usage in such websites.

Content should be tweaked to feel female viewers at ease: When it comes to developing content for sites meant for female web users, special care needs to be taken. Women do not prefer reading content that sounds too prosaic, formal and businesslike. Even if a site is meant for promoting products to women, the tone of the content should be friendly, casual yet credible. If possible, you can use examples involving women to illustrate a point or describe benefits of a product in such sites.

Media for allowing female users to connect: women love to listen to stories and share their views with others. You can use media elements in your sites effectively to utilize this aspect of their nature. A lot of women users like to see videos in websites, including sites that sell products and services. You can also use social media integration in your sites to let viewers connect to online friends easily.

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HTML 5 web design: Pros and cons developers need to be aware of

From the early days of web design, HTML has served as a major and crucial component of nearly every website and despite the advent of newer technologies it still holds its spot in industry. Of course, over the year, the most widely used language employed for designing websites has undergone changes and got enhancements. Now in version 5, this language has been endowed with new features and provisions to cater to the changing needs of this industry. HTML 5 has received mostly positive reviews by developers and industry veterans.

The proponents of HTMNL 5 believe with this version, the language has overcome limitations in its predecessors. According to them, it will offer web designers more flexibility and lesser needs to use third party technologies for making stunning content rich web sites. There are some obvious advantages businesses can obtain by getting their websites developed using HTML5.

More features packed in same frame: In recent times, people access web more than ever before and websites need to be imbued with more content and media elements. Therefore, HTML 5 has been endowed with useful new features to let developers create content rich, interactive websites without hassle. Despite the changes, developers will find using HTML5 not much different from earlier versions. The basic things have not changed and so it does not have a steep learning curve.

Compatibility with various web browsers: This is one big advantage HTML 5 web designers will have. Thankfully, all third party web browsers have focused on making their products compatible with this new standard. Google Chrome, Firefox and even Microsoft’s IE 9 has received updates to ensure they render web pages made using HTML5 flawlessly. Whatever small incompatibilities are there, will be ironed out in near future.

Enhanced media handling capabilities: Nowadays web design professionals need to use various media elements in the websites created by them. With spread of high speed internet in many countries, web users tend to access web videos more than earlier. Websites nowadays have flash animation, video, Audio and various media elements embedded. HTML 5 offers native support for popular online media formats which will be bliss for web design professionals. This makes viewing websites made in this language more hassle free for web users, too.

Form usage made simpler: In many websites, web designers need to include forms. Forms in web pages are used for user registration, online purchase and online surveys etc. With HTML 5, form usage in web pages will become simpler. Form validation has been made native in this iteration of HTML.  With HTML5, developers can make online forms with more elements in less time.

Offline Application cache, bliss for web users: One feature include din HTML 5 that will benefit web users a lot is offline application cache. People, who use sluggish internet connections and face frequent disconnections, will find their internet usage experience smoother than ever before. Owing to this new feature, developers now can specify files in web pages that will be cached by browsers. This will improve offline browsing prospects. It will also result in faster page loading and less load on servers.

Flexibility in website development: HTML 5 has many small but much needed improvements that will make developing websites simpler and enhance web browsing experience by users by several notches. The much touted Canvas feature in it, for example, gives developers freedom from using Flash yet allows media usage. With HTML 5 making websites compatible with mobile devices is also simpler. It is bliss for developers who need to resort to third party tools or complicated tools for making their websites compatible with various tablets and Smart phones.

There are few hiccups on the way

HTML 5 is being touted as future of web design and its prospects seem rosy. However, website design professionals need to be aware of few limitations come with it. The biggest worry is that it is still not fully compatible with IE9. Despite claims of Microsoft, certain features of HTML5 are not fully supported by IE9 yet. Given the fact millions of web users use IE9 now, this can be a tad risky for web developers to switch to HTML 5. HTML 5 apps are nowhere near the level of Android and iOS, for example. As a development platform, it is still in a nascent stage and widespread absorption by developers and clients will take some time.

Summing it all up

As of now, HTML 5 is in a stage of evolution. It has taken mobile web development by storm. As per the W3C, the final version of HTML 5 may come in 2014.  Hence, web development professionals should adopt a ‘wait and watch’ approach rather than switching to HTML 5 in a fully fledged manner. Meanwhile, they can develop and sharpen their skills in this promising web designs language.

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Understanding significance and nuances of color in website design

To make a stunning and appealing website, web design professionals need to pay attention to every minute aspect of site design. Whether it is content, graphics, SEO or even color selection, everything needs to be in place for a website to hit the sweet spot! Using right colors in web design is very significant because individual colors carry specific connotations and they evoke various feelings in website users. Therefore, a web designer needs to be aware of basics of color to pick the right hue for different client websites and strike right chord with viewers.

It is also important for web design professionals to learn effective color combinations for use in websites. Colors like red, green and blue can evoke different feelings in the sub conscious mind of viewers. Therefore, usage of apt color in a company website can make the target audience relate to its services and products and the opposite is also true.

Various colors and their uses in web design

Red: Red is used in website design in variations and it is one of the colors that appeals to human eye. It is a heavy and powerful color and that is why its overuse is not desirable. Even in real life, red is used in signs and symbols that signify urgency and important subjects. It is used in traffic signal, ambulance, fire brigade vehicles profusely. When used in moderation and in combination with contrasting colors like white, red can make websites look vibrant, eye catching and attention grabbing. Red is also used in web design in areas where drawing attention of viewers is required.

Green: Green is relatively soothing on eyes and it also has a calming effect on human mind. This color is also associated with signs and things that denote positive energy. Green is widely used in designing nature related and health related web sites owing to its soothing attribute. Various shades of green can be used in web design when the subjects are related to nature, earth, growth, development and spirituality. It is also used by businesses in their sites to convey a message of reliability and calmness to viewers.

Blue: Blue is a color that is often linked with stability, power and growth. That explains why a lot of MNC websites employ various shades of blue in their websites. It also has a calming effect on viewers particularly when lighter shades are used. That is why it is used in lots of medical and hospital websites nowadays. It may be less visually striking than red but exudes an aura of trustworthiness and credibility.

Orange and yellow: Both these colors contain energy but in ales vibrant mode than red. Orange is ideal for use in websites dealing with creative elements and subjects and it also symbolizes youth. That is why it is often used in websites that are aimed primarily at younger generations. Yellow can also be used to denote energy and positivity in website design.

Black and white: No matter how colorful a website may appear, there is no denying the timeless appeal of white and black. Black needs to be used in web design with caution because depending on the way it is used, it can exude both positive and negative vibes. Some corporate sites make use of black with white and other contrasting colors to evoke feelings of authority and elegance. However, overuse of black can be deemed as serious and depressing.

White stands for elegance, purity and innocence. There are some amazing websites that use white as the base color. However, web designers need to use it with fitting colors as its abundance may make a site appear bland. Many websites are there that have both these hues used in combination and the results are visually striking.

Summing it up:

Color selection for website design should be based on client company type, target audience and brand image. However, that does not mean web designers cannot be creative while using colors in website. At times, using textures and metallic shades work wonders for web design. Ideally, web design professionals should not dabble with too many colors in web design as lots of colors can create interface clutter and the desired message may not be conveyed to viewers.

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Ways to overcome limitations in designing websites for Touch screen Tablets

Even a few years back an overwhelming majority of web users resorted to desktop and laptop computers for internet access. As a result, web design professionals developed websites keeping in mind need of PC users in most cases. However, in last few years, things have changed drastically. Worldwide, more and more people are opting for mobile web access devices along with mainstream computers. This has made web designers sit up and take notice. Tablets, fueled by Apple’s maverick innovation iPad, have become immensely popular as mobile web access devices and number of tablet users is on a rise globally. Therefore, web design professionals need to brush up their skills to design websites that are compliant with tablet requirements.

Before revamping their website design scheme to suit the need of tablet users, web design professionals need to understand in which areas tablet using is different from using a computer. Web usage experience on any touch screen tablet, no matter which OS it has at its core is more tactile in nature. In computers, you use the touch pad or mouse to click on links and navigate pages. However, on tablets touch is the primary way to interact and navigate web pages. Therefore, small sized links and navigation buttons in a site that would not trouble computer users, will become a headache for table users. They will find using such websites cumbersome and flock to other websites soon.

The next problem web designers need to remember while making websites is that tablets usually sport smaller screens and resolutions than computers. To make it even more complicated, tablets come in varying screen sizes starting from 5 inch. It is possible to develop websites in a way that they change orientation and resolution according to the device used. If designers do not include this feature in websites made by them, it will ensure those sites will remain inaccessible to several million tablet users. A number of tablet users find it really annoying to continuously pan and zoom to read WebPages on tablet screen that are originally meant for computers. However, some designers make a tablet specific version of websites created by them.

Compatibility is another factor that web designers should focus on while designing websites for clients. It is true that tablet operating systems including iOS and Android are evolving fast and their browsers are capable of displaying various types of web content but they are still not on par with PC based web browsers. For instance, Flash is not widely supported in all tablet browsers and Flash heavy sites often run into rendering problems in a number of tablets. Therefore, web designers should resort to using technology or application that is widely supported in all browsers, including tablet based ones to ensure maximum compatibility.

Tablets are being equipped with beefier hardware and accessories to ensure users get a near PC like computing and web browsing experience. However, not all tablet models are powered by oodles of RAM and multi core CPUs. Web designers who adorn their sites with bandwidth hogging media content run the risk of alienating those users who use tablets with modest hardware configurations. Entry level tablets may struggle to playback high quality web video or face hiccups in streaming music online. These small devices may also throw problems when they are made to render complex code based, media rich websites. When tablet user try accessing such websites for long it also drains out battery faster.

Now that the major issues that web designers need to focus on while making tablet friendly websites has been pointed out, it is important to discuss what design strategy they should employ.

To appeal to tablet users, web designers need to implement simplistic and responsive web design methods. Websites that have larger navigation buttons and images instead of small text based links, find favor with tablet users. Since tablet screens tend to be smaller and have smaller resolutions, designers should steer away from creating interface clutter. Stuffing too many elements in a small display screen is a sure fire recipe for shooing away prospective site visitors. Instead of that, they should try presenting necessary content and visual elements in a minimalistic design scheme in websites.

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10 Essential Websites for Freelance Web Designers

It’s not all about the brushes, patterns and fonts – there are many other things that you will need while working as a freelance web designer. Here is a useful list of websites that makes it easy to work independently.

oDesk

As a freelance web designer your first objective is to get jobs; you might be adequately creative but to earn money you have to provide service initially. Of course there are other ways through which you can earn money but offering service is the easiest and fastest way of making revenue.

oDesk is a platform where freelancers can publish their profile; hundreds of employers post their requirements here – so you can apply to any of the jobs that looks suitable to you.

You have to go through an interview session to get the final go ahead from the employer. Plenty of web design and development related projects are available there.

Elance

This is another platform that connect freelancers, self employed professionals and service providers with employers. As a freelance web designer you can create your profile and submit bids to several web design projects.

You can search for suitable projects in the web design related category; there are several parameters based on which you can filter your search and find out most suitable project for yourself.

There are options to get paid through escrow – this is a secured payment mode. Good for the freelancers who are starting new. There are free and paid membership plans.

RescueTime

“Am I really spending my days the way I want to” – if this question comes to your mind every now and then you should visit RescueTime.

As a freelance worker it is quite common to get deviated from your objectives and work schedule. There is no office time, there is no one to oversee, there are no rules – so you might end up spending hours doing nothing productive.

You have to register with RescueTime and install an app; you have to configure the settings to let the program know how to evaluate the productive hours. Based on that it tells you how many hours you spent on facebook, how many hours your worked on checking emails etc.

Invoicera

This is an invoicing software that allows you to create professional and customized invoice for your clients. As you start offering service you would realize how important it is to send invoice to the clients. When you use platforms like oDesk or Elance you might not need to send any invoice but when you work on projects from your personal contact chances are high that the client would ask for invoice before making payment.

With a time tracking option Invoicera allows you to generate error free professional invoice. It has many other powerful features also. It can be integrated with ecommerce platform to generate real time invoice.

nspire Inspiration Search

Inspiration is at the core of all types of creative work; even when you work on an idea the base of it is inspiration. As you are involved in an extremely creative work, you will need some sources of inspiration. What about an inspiration search engine?

nspire is a platform that is a basically a collection of inspirations that web designers can use to get idea. It is a useful way of remaining high and full with positive thoughts. When you work on any of the client projects and run short of ideas, such a platform might help you to get back to your creative spree.

iStockphoto

It is not always possible to arrange a photo shoot; but you cannot ignore the usefulness of photos in web design. So how can you get suitable photos for the website? Using copyrighted images is a Big No No.

You can get hundreds of attractive photos at iStockphoto. All you need to do is, find the right photo, buy it and then use it almost everywhere you want.

If you don’t want to spend anything, you should search for royalty free images, but when it comes to quality, it is recommended to use websites like iStockphoto.

Tutorialized

The day you stop learning you cease to exist actually. People learn throughout their life; and when you are in such a creative field that evolves every day you have to keep yourself updated.

Tutorialized offers a great collection of user contributed tutorials on varieties of topics. If you need help regarding anything, you can visit the website for solutions.

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Useful Things All Business Website Must Have – Part 2

This is the continuation of my previous post on the same topics. In today’s post I would discuss some more factors that are must for any business website. We discussed five important factors in the Part 1. Today, we will focus on another five factors.

Let’s continue.

6. Business Logo

Anonymity is at the core of the web world; a properly designed business logo gives your business a face on the internet. It is the identity of your business online. If you already have your business logo and you use it on all offline marketing materials, then put the same logo on your website too. If you do not have any business logo yet, then get one designed for you.

Logos are usually of three types; font based logos are those where the name of the company is written in a specific font and style, e.g. the logo of Google, IBM, Microsoft etc. Then there are the illustrative logos that explain the theme of the business using small illustrations or icons. And the third type of logos are those which are made of abstract art, symbols that creatively represent the name or theme of the business.

Consumers can relate themselves with the logos of big brands; they can remember the logos – it is a must to have your business logo positioned at a visible location on your website.

7. Easy Navigation

Navigation is essential for two reasons:

  1. User experience
  2. Good for search engine crawlers

All the pages of the website should be well connected from the home page; you have to make sure that a user does not need to make more than 2 clicks to find what they need. Isolated sales pages are not at all user friendly; a visitor must be able to browse different pages of the websites including about us, contact us, pricing and all before buying your product or service.

 

You should create a navigation strategy first; think about the best way of channelizing your visitors to the goal conversion page. The navigation map should be created keeping the goal in mind; you have to make sure that the visitors do not go away from the form fill up or request a quote page while browsing your website. If you want your visitors to fill up a form, make sure that form is either present on every page or the page is linked from all other pages of the website.

Breadcrumb navigation is one of the popular navigation structures that both users and search engines prefer. You should also have a sitemap to help people find what they need on the website.

8. Blog

Blog is the oxygen of a website. This is the informal wing of an otherwise formal website. Business websites are created and maintained in a very formal and professional way. Even when you integrate a blog with a professional corporate website, you can do a lot of interesting and interactive things with it. WordPress is the commonly used blogging platform; installing WordPress blog and WordPress customization are not any tough call at all.

Articles appear in chronological order in last post first basis. WordPress automatically maintains a date wise archive of all the blog posts. It allows you to create various categories to arrange the related articles together. Tags also enable the readers to find relevant articles easily. Your readers can subscribe to your blog to get updates instantly in their inbox whenever there is a new post.

9. Testimonial

What your past clients have to say about you! It’s very important – your prospective clients would definitely like to know whether you have a good relationship with the previous clients or not, whether they were satisfied with the service, whether you could keep the promises you made and all. Testimonials are very important; make sure you have testimonial section on the website and it is linked from all major pages of the website.

Try to display the name, designation, location and picture of the individuals who have sent you the testimonials if possible. See if you can upload some video testimonials – it will add more credibility to your website.

10. Mobile Version

This is an important one. The entire web world is converging to mobile devices; millions of people are accessing internet from mobiles, smartphones, iPad and other such devices. You have to make a mobile friendly version of your business website to cater to the mobile surfers.

That’s all for now; in the next and last part of this series will discuss five other factors. Stay tuned!

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