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Interesting web and identity news

Thanasi Gray has been in the web design idustry for many years and has enjoyed every minute of it. Hopefully these posts are useful to somebody!


Ipswich Web Design - help your business grow online.

Internet Explorer 9 hits beta, but will it win users?

ie9Internet Explorer 9 hits beta, but will it win users?

Ever since Internet Explorer beat Netscape and turned into the web industry’s least favourite boat anchor, Microsoft has been struggling to turn the tide. IE7 was little more than a statement that it planned to become a contender again, and IE8 was a decent overhaul, but one whose success came firmly from being a Microsoft release rather than because of any intrinsic improvements over its rival Firefox.

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Your web browser in 5 years

future-webThe next big computing platform won’t be Mac or Windows. It’s already here and it’s the web! And the drive to offer the most compelling window to the web possible, via the browser, is intense.

What will your web browser look like in 2015? Five years doesn’t always bring dramatic change to technology – today’s desktop PC, for instance, isn’t that different from its 2005 predecessor – but browsers are undergoing major changes that will alter our day to day computing lives.

Not only will web browsers become a common place in cars, but they’ll also incorporate voice recognition, text-to-speech and touchless gesture controls for applications where keypads, touchpads and touchscreens can be inconvenient or dangerous while driving, for instance. Browsers will stream internet radio to our cars, and perhaps even adopt a 3D-style interface – only without the clunky glasses.

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Facebook Privacy - How to protect your Identity

facebook-exposedFor many people, Facebook is the first stop in any web-surfing session. It has developed into a highly engaging combination of online bulletin board, personal scrapbook and group communication network. But did you ever wonder why, being all those things, Facebook is free?

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Usability Testing – Keeping Testing Simple

usability-testingWhy didnt we do this sooner?

What everyone says at some point during the first usability test of their web site.

Here are the main things we know about testing.

If you want a great site, you’ve got to test.

After you’ve worked on a site for even a few weeks, you can’t see it freshly anymore. You know too much. The only way to find out if it really works is to test it.

Testing reminds you that not everyone thinks the way you do, knows what you know, uses the Web the way you do.

We used to say that the best way to think about testing was that it was like travel: a broadening experience. It reminds you how different and the same people are, and gives you a fresh perspective on things.

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Designing Your Home Page

home-page1

The first step in recovery is admitting that the Home Page is beyond your control

To design your website home page takes a lot of time and planning. Think about all the things your home page has to accommodate.

  • Site identity and mission. Right off the bat, the home page has to tell you what site this is and what's it for and if possible, why I should be here and not at some other site.
  • Site hierarchy. The home page has to give an overview of what the site has to offer, both content ("What can I find here?") and features ("What can I do here?") and how it's all organised. This is usually handled by the persistent navigation.
  • Search. Most sites need to have a prominently displayed search box on the home page.
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Street Signs and Breadcrumbs

 

streetsignnavDesigning Navigation

Its a fact:

 

People won’t use your Website if they can’t find their way around it.

You know this from your own experience as a web user. If you go to a site and can’t find what you’re looking for or figure out how the site is organised, you’re not likely to stay long – or come back. So how do you create the proverbial “clear, simple, and consistent” navigation?

Scene from a Shopping Centre:

Picture this: It’s Saturday afternoon and you’re headed for the local shopping centre to buy a chainsaw.

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Billboard Design

 

thinkDesigning Web Pages for Scanning, Not Reading!

 

Faced with the fact that your users are whizzing by, there are five important things you can do to make sure they see and understand as much of your site as possible.

  • Create a clear visual hierarchy on each page
  • Take advantage of conventions
  • Break pages up into clearly defined areas
  • Make it obvious what's clickable
  • Minimise noise
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"How we really use the web"

 

thinkFollowing last weeks newsletter we continue to speak about Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. This week we are discussing "How we really use the web"

 

Over the past ten years we have spent a lot of time watching people use the Web, and the thing that has struck us the most is the difference between how we think people use websites and how they actually use them.

When we’re creating websites, we act as though people are going to pore over each page, reading our finely crafted text, figuring out how we’ve organised things. And weighing their options before deciding which link to click.

What they actually do most of the time is glance at each new page, scan some of the text and click on the first link that catches their interest or vaguely resembles the thing they’re looking for. There are usually large parts of the page that they don’t even look at.

 

 

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What Makes a Good Website Design?

 

planet2Website design is such a subjective area that it is impossible to definitively say what makes a good design or not. However, there are some good design practises that help make a website more enjoyable and user friendly.

Before we go into specifics about what does actually make a good website, lets first take a step back and get down to the key factor in website design – that being you and your business! A fantastic floral design with beautiful colourful detailed pictures of plants is wasted on a car mechanics business brand! The key to a good website is marrying the customer’s business brand with designs that are visually appealing, good clear navigation and specific attention to usability, which will generate your conversions (a conversion is an action you would like a customer to achieve – e.g. an enquiry, or purchase of a product)

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How Much Does a Website Cost?

cheap-websitesHow much does a website cost? Very often we get asked this question and there is no easy answer for it!

The cost all depends on the individual project, some smaller website projects can cost as little as £800 while others can be £15,000+

Quite often after carefully acquiring all the requirements of a project, and taking time to prepare a full proposal that is as detailed as we can make it including the price required to complete the project, a client may say:

“I’ve seen you can get a website now for £99, why is your quote so high, and can you do it for less?”

We appreciate it’s a recession, and businesses haven’t got cash to spend, but there’s a problem here.

We have an office we pay rent for, computers and software to buy, equipment to rent and service, staffed with web designers, web developers, SEO specialists.

The average experience in identity web design is 10 years to learn and practice what we do, and we spend hours every day learning new skills. It’s a highly skilled practice.

Web design does not only need artistic flare, but the art needs to be translated using web standards, programming languages, server/client integration, HCI and unit testing, relational database and SQL understanding, XML...

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