Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Web Design Help To Eliminate All The Frustrations

One of the things that blogs have done is to radically boost the number of people graduating into registering their own domains and many of them abruptly find that they need some critical help with web design.

This is addition to the various additional offline small businesses who have abruptly been stimulated to open their very own online business by setting up a web site.

The first obstacle of registering a domain name and finding a web host go very effortlessly. But after that they come face to face with the primary chief obstacle in setting up a site design and they discover that they need good reasonable help and they needed rapidly.

The only difficulty is the truth that help is not easy to come by. And to make matters worse, the expenses of creating a website are high-priced and too expensive. And even then there is no assurance that your favorite site will be designed to your satisfaction.

Some Web Design Options For a Home Business Web Site holder With a negligible Budget

For a home business holder or probable webmaster with a very minimum financial plan, what are the options?

To start with there are many sites that help with templates. This makes designing very easy because all you require to do is change and adjust an existing template to come up with a quite original looking brand new site. However it is not too hard for anybody to figure out rapidly that a web site is just an alteration of some common-looking template.

Yet one more choice is to visit one of the many sites that sponsor competitive bidding online that have registered web designers one of whom you can appoint through them. Because you have gotten your designer through a viable bidding process, probabilities are that you will end up with a very little price for the service.

The Most Ideal Web Design Help

One of the most excellent alternatives is to pick a ready-to-use web site. Some of the sites that offer this service present a number of very good-looking advantages that makes this the best way to go. Typically each design is sole and done by some top expert designer. This foliage you with the kind of design that would have otherwise cost you thousands of dollars. Then there is the actually tempting advantage in that some sites propose the ready-to-use sites, complete with content and yet set to start generating income for you.

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Four Milestones for Website Design and Development

When you fix on that it is essential and in the best interest of your business to have a website, there a certain things you should think for your web design and development.

Just jumping in and building your website isn't as easy and inexpensive as some think it is.

These steps are simple but very important to success -

First, you require thinking the cost it will take to have your web design and development. The cost can be expensive or cheap, this is up to you. If you employ a web designer naturally it will be costly, or if you try to do it yourself it can be time consuming.

Secondly, it is imperative that you take your time to learn about web design and development. There are lots of free and low cost places to help you know web design and development.

Thirdly, you are going to need tools to build a website. With the good tools and know how, it shouldn't be too hard for you to build a good website.

Fourth, acquaintance is power when it comes to web design and development. Take the required time to do some study and find out what is best for you. Keep in mind, you can always outsource this project to web designers, but it will be costly!

Some things you will absolutely require to think in your web design and development are below -

A domain name
A hosting provider
An HTML Editor program
An FTP program
A way to design graphics or outsource to have graphics done

Take your time to analysis about your company, requirements and some basic idea that how your website will look, it will save you not only time and frustration but money!


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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Your Choice of Web Site Color

Many web designers overlook the importance of color when designing a web site. Color should be one of your first concerns when it comes time to start your web site design. If you don't pay close attention to the colors you chose, your site you will end up either plain and boring or so chaotic it's hard to look at. The color you use should only be chosen after careful consideration.

Unfortunately web browsers can only see 256 colors. Even that number is hindered because all browsers don't share the same 256-color pallet. Currently web browsers only share 216 common colors. When designing key elements in your web site you should stay within the 216-color pallet.

If you go outside the 216 color pallet you start to use colors that do not exist within that browser. The browser has to mix the colors that do not exist. In order for the browser to display the color, it needs to take tiny dots from the colors native to that browser to come up with an approximate color. This is known as dithering. Some displays will distort the tiny dots to the point where the image is so speckled that it does not appear to be a solid color. This makes text very hard to read if it is placed over the dithered color. You should always use a browser safe color when using solid color as a design element. Some of the browser safe colors should be used with caution though.

Most of the eye operations are muscular and just like all other muscles it tires out. I will illustrate with an example. (This is a test I learned about 7 years ago and is very effective to get the point across). This is a simple test that should take only 45 seconds. If you do this short test, you will be better able to understand what I'm about to say

What did you see when you looked at the white box? Did you see a bluish green color? (If not go back and do the test over). No this is not a trick or hallucination. There is a simple explanation. Without getting too technical, I'll tell you what just happened.

In the back of your eye there is a thin layer of tissue that contains millions of tiny light-sensing nerve cells called rods and cones. Cones respond to specific wavelengths of light. Your eye is filled with color decoding cones. When you looked at the red box the cones that detect the red wavelength become tired and fatigued. When this happens the opposite cones in your eye start to kick in. Hence the bluish green color you saw. Now that you know there is a scientific reason behind eye fatigue you should apply it to your web site.

I'm sure you have you noticed that caution signs are usually yellow. Pure yellow strains your eye more than any other color because of that, it is the first color your eye will fix on. Using these colors (I still advise you to use it sparingly) for banners and advertisements will receive more attention from the viewer's eye. Once the visitor comes to your site there is really no reason you should irritate the visitor with bright colors. You have done a good job if they are viewing your site.

You should use yellow and red colors sparingly in your web site itself. Only use them in areas where you want the visitor to focus on. Do not make large parts of your web site with bright color. It might get your visitors attention but they will either consciously or subconsciously notice their eyes getting fatigued. This will make them not want to look at your web site for long periods of time. There are enough reasons why a visitor would leave your web site. You don't need to add to that list by using irritating color.

Handy Hints for Web Designers

Web Designing is as easy as 1-2-3, claim some of the software tools on the market that "generate" your pages for you. Unfortunately, many web designers today have fallen prey to this marketing gimmick - and the results are obvious. Every now and then, one comes across a website that looks good with a particular browser and a particular screen-resolution; but view it with a different browser, and you can't even read the plain text on the page. Worse still, given the number of operating systems that are used by netizens worldwide, these pages will never be seen properly by more than a half of the intended surfers.

Now let's assume that this web page belongs to a site that sells stuff online. The very fact that half the users cannot even see the page, translates into losses worth half the amount straightaway (perhaps, even more!) I guess that makes a good case for the raison d'ĂȘtre of this article! Web Designing is, in my opinion, a cocktail of creative skills & technical prowess – and one is no less important than the other.

In the following lines, I have jotted down a few points that I noticed during my online journeys, important from the point of view of web designers. Some of them may be taken with a pinch of salt; for it is not possible to please everyone every time. But most of them are simple enough to be used as a rule of thumb.

  1. A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. A picture file, alas, is also almost as big. Images, no doubt, enhance the look of a page, but it is not advisable to go overboard in stuffing your page with a truckload of images. Most net-surfers use a dial-up connection and the average time to load a page should be no longer than 5 seconds. If it's longer, the surfer will most probably click away elsewhere. So, within this time, all the images on a page must be loaded as well. So, as a rough yardstick, keep the aggregate page size less than 30k.

Another important point to note is that each file on the page requires a separate HTTP request to the server. So a lot of small images - even if they do not add up to a lot in terms of bytes - will slow down the loading a lot.

Even when you must use images for navigation, please give a second thought to the users who will not be seeing those jazzy, fantastic & truly amazing buttons that you spent hours to design. Yes, I'm talking of the ALT text attribute of the IMG tag. Do not forget to provide an Alternate Text for each image that you use for navigation. (It may be left blank for certain images that are purely for aesthetic reasons, but let that be an exception, rather than the rule.) Though not obviously apparent, ALT text can help such users immensely.

Modern browsers offer users a choice to turn off images. This gives an idea of how troublesome the unwanted images could be.

A couple of more attributes that make your pages load faster are the HEIGHT and WIDTH attributes. Without these, the browser must wait for the image to download since it cannot know how much space to leave for them!

2. Navigability & functionality come before artistic excellence. It is no use making your site a masterpiece of art if users cannot navigate around it - even after they reach the main page; they have no clue as to how to go where they want to go.

3. Especially common, is a kind of navigation that some people call Mystery Meat Navigation. That means that unless your mouse moves over an image, you have no idea where that link might take you. Only when the mouse hovers do you see the actual link. This is cumbersome because users need to move their mouse all over the place to find out which part is a link and which is not.

4. Follow the K.I.S.S. principle: Keep it simple, stupid!

5. Next is a very important practical suggestion: whenever your whole page is within a TABLE, the page cannot render (i.e., the page does not show on the screen) unless the entire table is downloaded. You might have noticed this on several websites, when there is no activity for a long time, and suddenly the entire page is visible. Hence, to avoid such a situation, what you should do is this: Split the table up into two tables one below the other, and let the top one be a short table that displays just the page header and a few navigation links. So now, immediately upon downloading this part of the page, users can see the page header – and this prepares them for the long wait ahead, as well as keeps them from leaving your site to go to other sites, in case of a slow connection.

6. The ongoing browser wars have left only one casualty – the user. As a word of caution, stay away from all browser-specific functions. Because if a certain feature is supported by one browser, it will most definitely not be supported by another. Where you must use such features, it should not hamper the display of the page in the other browser which does not support such functionality. In other words, your page should degrade gracefully.

7. Creating a new browser window should be the authority of the user only. Do not try to popup new windows to clutter the user's screen. All links must open in the same window by default. An exception, however, may be made for pages containing a links list. It is convenient in such cases to open links in another window, so that the user can come back to the links page easily. Even in such cases, it is advisable to give the user a prior note that links would open in a new window.

8. Keep in mind the fonts-challenged users too. The ultra-jazzy "Cloister Black MT Light" font that looks so amazing on your machine may well be degraded into plain old Times New Roman on your user's machine. The reason? He/she does not have the font installed on his/her machine - and one thing's obvious - there's nothing you can do about the situation, sitting halfway across the globe from them.

9. Stay clear of out-of-the-way hard-to-find fonts. Use plain vanilla fonts like Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, and Courier. If need be, make your jazzy fonts into an image and put that on the page. (and while you're there, do not forget Tip #1.)

10. A new design trick that is increasingly being used on the web has caught my fancy: It is a very functional navigation bar that guides you across all possible paths within the site. It looks something like this:

Home > Section > Subsection > Page

What better than to give your users a handy way of visiting just about any other page on your own site, and informing them where they are!

11. Another new trend on the web is not all that inviting - various vendors come up with "revolutionary plug-ins" and undoubtedly, most amateur web designers jump up to spruce up their pages using them. The reality is that most people won't have them installed, and wouldn't care about it anyway. Come to think of it, have you seen plug-ins on any of the most popular sites, including Yahoo.com, Amazon.com or Google.com? It's simply not the best thing to do. Mention must be made here of Macromedia's Shockwave Flash plug-in, which has now made its way onto most computers today, and thus presents no harm in using vector animation on your site.

12. Java is yet another often-misused technology on webpages. Use Java as a utilitarian programming language, not as a graphics front-end for your photos/images. There are various things you can do with Java; that does not mean you should do all of them. Java applets are known to run slower, so users experience a certain sluggishness in performance. And worse still, Java has been known to crash certain browsers. This is not something everyone likes, especially if it is done for the sole purpose of showing a set of images in a slideshow!

The moral: Use it, but with discretion.

13. Never underestimate the importance of those META tags. They can make all the difference between your users coming to your site and going to your competitor's – just because they couldn't find yours. Search Engines heavily rely upon the Keywords & Description Meta tags to populate their search database. And once again, use discretion in writing these. Including a huge number of keywords for the same page can spell trouble. The description should be a small, meaningful summary of the whole page that makes sense even when seen out-of-context of the webpage itself, say, in a listing of search engine results.

14. And the final point that summarizes all the points so forth: Write for all browsers, all resolutions, and all color-depths. If you show people pages that look best with their own browser and their own resolution, that makes them feel "at home", and you get a better response. Compare this with a website that proclaims "Viewed best with Browser X at a resolution of 1024x768." I'll give you a choice between two options when you see such a page: download the suggested browser (which might well be over 50 Megs), then go get a new monitor that supports the high-resolution, and then adjust your screen setting so you get the perfect picture. Or simply click away to another site. Which do you prefer?

The web waits for no one. And furthermore, the user is king. Try your best to keep the user happy. And to keep all users happy. For, a good website is like a good storefront - it can mean all the difference between a casual surfer and a serious customer.

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Website's Legibility

Websites that make their customers work to read them are not the best way to get business. Miniscule fonts, text in colors that make it hard to see against the background color, and lines that are piled on top of each other are problems, but they're easy to correct. Let's jump right in and look at five easy fixes:

1. Format your text using CSS.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the way to go - use one style sheet and control how text looks on your entire site. Make a change to the style sheet and your whole site is updated. It makes life a lot simpler.

2. Make the font size big enough to read.

Consider your target audience. Even if they are a group of teenage girls looking for new shoes, it's never a good idea to use tiny type. It doesn't have to be enormous, but up to a point, larger type is better. 12-pt Verdana is better than 8-pt Verdana.

3. Make the text contrast with its background.

The more contrast, the better. Black-on-white or white-on-black are examples of the highest contrast you can get. Use colors if you like, but if you squint at the page and your text basically vanishes, there's not enough contrast.

4. Give the lines room to breathe.

Don't stack lines on top of each other. Use the line-spacing directive in CSS and give it some space; I'll often set line-spacing to 140% of the height of a typical line.

5. Break text up into chunks.

No matter how good a writer you are, people don't want to read endless pages of text. Break it up by using headlines that reflect the subject of the paragraph(s) to follow so people can scan down to the parts that really interest them, or use bulleted lists to change the pace of the writing and slow down the scanning.

And finally (not one of the 5 Easy Ways to Improve Legibility but still quite important) check your spelling. Nothing irritates me more on a web page than spelling errors - it simply makes you look like you don't care enough to get it right. Use that ubiquitous spell-check tool.

Making your website's content more legible is easy. It doesn't take a lot of time, mainly common sense. The payoff will be text that's more readable, customers that stick around long enough to get your message, and improved credibility with your visitors.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Make Your HTML Email Marketing Effective

In the world internet business people have to pay close attention towards the means they use to promote their web sites and web based businesses. Today HTML email marketing is considered to be one of the finest ways to market your products and services. Email marketing is good in the sense it costs you less. You can reach a bulk of people through one email. This method of marketing is very effective if you take care of certain small steps.

If you want to advance in html email marketing, you need to understand few basic things. These steps will help you in understanding the ways by using which you can make your html email marketing campaigns really effective.

First of all, you need to have an effective list of email addresses. If the list of email addresses that you have is a good one, your chances of getting good response are improved. If this is not the case it will not be possible for you to get maximum benefit out of your email marketing efforts.

Once you have a good email addresses list, you can prepare your email. Your email needs to be concise and impressive. The subject needs to be attractive. The body of the email needs to be informative. Also, you can improve the performance of your html email marketing campaign by having an auto responder in place. Taking care of these five steps will lead you to a successful email marketing campaign. You can get maximum benefit from your email campaign now.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Best Fonts for Website Design

A font is a comprehensive set of characters of particular size, style and type. Popularity and acceptability of font is depend upon style are readability of that font. Most popular fonts are Frutiger, Futura, Helvetica, Optima, Agfa Rotis, Arial, Lucida, Gills Sans, Univers and Palatino. These fonts are popular because of their readability at low screen resolution. Since the rich content websites use content to get the point across, it is careful to use fonts that are easy to read. If fonts used by you make the content’s readability poor then visitors will more likely leave than put forth the effort. Keep following points in mind while developing your fonts for your website.


Big Fonts

Use Big Fonts for the heading of the web page, paragraphs or for points. Bold them, make them stick out and attract the reader. Many of your visitors will appreciate this step because they will not have to put stress to read the text. Sometimes bigger is better.

Sans Serif

If you don’t have knowledge about the magic of the professional fonts, or how they will affect your visitors, sales, then you should go for san serif font. The reason to choose these fonts is that these fonts provide the awesome readability for visitors in a low resolution atmosphere.

Simple is Safe

Don’t forget that simplicity is always appreciated. Don’t confuse your self in complex fonts. Keep one thing mind that simple is safe. Keep the things simple and easy to read and you will definitely get benefit of this.