Exploring the Long Scrolling Web Design Trend

web-trends-long-scrolling-thumb-300x200The smaller the screen, the longer the scroll.

That truism explains the rise of the long scrolling: with mobile browsing overtaking desktop browsing in 2014, the popularity of small screens has urged designers to rethink their outdated “above the fold” mentality.

Long-scrolling creates plenty of new opportunities for storytelling, navigation, creative visuals, and a more immersive overall experience. As a result, we find several common techniques and strategies start to emerge:

  • Parallax Graphics — Borrowed from the video game industry, this strategy of moving the backgrounds at different speeds creates a 3D effect and stimulating visuals that are more enjoyable to interact with.
  • Screens as Pages — An important way to organize information on a single page, differentiating concepts into screen-sized sections, usually by changing the background, makes sites more cohesive.
  • Sticky Navigation — One of the biggest drawbacks of long scrolling is disorienting the user, so having a navigation system that always stays in the same place on the screen gives users control and security to prevent getting lost.
  • Animated Interactivity — Scroll-triggered animations add a fun level of interactivity that engages the user to a point where they enjoy scrolling regardless of content.
  • Atypical Direction — Due to the recent trendiness of long scrolling, sites can set themselves apart by scrolling left, right, or upwards.
  • Indicators — Some users will not think to scroll on their own, so quick instructions like “scroll down” or another indicator avoids confusions — just be sure to distinguish these from other links or calls-to-action.

As described in Web Design Trends 2015 & 2016, these are the techniques that made the sites below among the best examples of long-scrolling sites.


One of the pioneers responsible for breaking the page-by-page mold, Twitter remains among the best and most-recognized long-scrolling sites today. This format allows the tweets to be arranged chronologically while still seeming new and fresh.

For social media sites and others with user-generated content, long scrolling is not just a trendy choice but a practical one. The neverending loading of new content from infinite scrolling allows otherwise chaotic content to be organized.

Heart Kids NW

The New Zealand charity Heart Kids pulls out all the stops. The long-scrolling site combines animations (some scroll-activated), stunning color usage, poignant imagery, and cursor interactivity to promote its life-saving message.

Notice the unobtrusive “Scroll” icon and instruction on the landing screen, and the sticky call-to-action that always remains at the top.

The Boat

One of the most creative uses of long scrolling is SBS’s The Boat, something like an interactive novel. The continual animations and clever use of motion and angles when new content appears draws the user/reader into an immersive experience that traditional, stagnant scrolling sites can’t match.

MCA Leicester: The Seven Types of Motorcycle Rider

This offshoot site for MCA Leicester demonstrates a smooth method to indicate scrolling without actually scrolling. The grayed out helmets on the left side, stacked vertically, indicate (along with the title) that the user has only to scroll down to see more content.

An additional tactic is the clever animation that presents each new screen, making the site somewhat of a long-scrolling/page-by-page navigation hybrid.

Thirteen Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Infographics

The natural style of long scrolling, where different sections and concepts are intrinsically united in a continual stream, makes them great for infographics.

As Thirteen Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Infographics shows, the single page format allows designers to fluidly present heavy doses of information in smaller, digestible bits.

Moreover, scroll-activated animations, such as the eye that moves with the scroll as well as background animations, negate the sometimes boring aspects of learning information.


Faithful Tricks And Tactics Are Seen In The Business

Niche relevant helps in finding domain name. It also helps in finding the respective sites which ever you like to vote or rank. So it helps us to find the site which is easier for us to work and avoids the time in working wrong sites nor in the wrong page.

Niche helps in avoiding spam and other type of problems. It is cheap and best comparing to other sites. It helps in updating our progress. Niche.com are also said to be college prowler which is located in Pittsburgh. The main work of it is ranking the sited and giving the review. The founder of this was Luke Surman started in the year of 2002.

Every Domain Has Its Own Quality Of Services

The most of the profit this site was earning by giving reviews. It was one of the fastest growing sites in short period of time. Their main motive was to provide the best quality and publicity. Publicity was the major key for developing interest among the people. Niche sites only focus on defining sites. Anyone can upload videos in You Tube related to particular subject which brings best customer outcomes with the help of niche. It also helps in finding the keywords which makes the typing work much easier. Only positive comments are given by niche relevant. Many official videos were also released personally by niche in you tube which explains rules and regulations. The niche relevant youtube comments service is posting the comments for effective marketing. In promoting your brand it goes viral and it helps in ranking your business process, so it appears in the top list in you tube business.

You tube comments are powerful and you tube is the one of the most powerful social media suing by many people all over the world. Nowadays business are heavy competitive, certain tricks and tactics needs to be followed in order to succeed in the competitive world. It was one of the most useful tricks to reach the higher position.

Is Web Design a Dying Trade or Can it Still be a Viable Career Option

web-design-dying-05Yes, web design is dying. It died a few years ago, it is dying now, and it will die again in the future. What does this mean? To put it simply, this means that web design is an ever-evolving career field that is impacted by many different factors.

A web designer relying on skills and education that they developed five years ago would find their career dead in the water. Likewise, a web designer who believes that the skills they have today will hold up five years from now is fooling themselves.

Web design will remain a viable career option for those that are willing to continually pursue new educational opportunities, work to form solid business relationships, respond to consumer needs, adapt to new technology, understand marketing and branding, and understand that web design is as much about art as it is technology.
Educational Trends Impacting Web Design Careers

The educational trend that is having the deepest impact on the web design industry is continuing shift from the traditionally classroom-based educational model to an open source model of education that is consumer driven.

This new education model offers online, self-paced classes for students who want to learn how to design websites. There are no academic advisers dictating the classes students must take or in which order they must take them. Students simply pick and choose the classes that they believe will be the most beneficial to them.

Khan Academy, Tuts+, Treehouse and iTunes University are just some websites that are adding new layers of innovation to education, especially technical education. Students who take classes provided by these entities won’t receive degrees. To be honest, that usually doesn’t matter to them, and it matters even less to their clients who are much more interested in skills than diplomas.

Bottom Line: Web design career viability depends on the designer’s willingness to increase their skill set via new educational opportunities. As the availability of these educational opportunities has exploded, stagnancy is inexcusable.

The Importance of Designer/Client Relationships

As industries go, the web design market is significantly saturated. There are also increasingly sophisticated tools and templates available to those that wish to ‘roll their own’ websites.

This means that web designers who wish to maintain and grow their design businesses must focus energy on fostering positive relationships with their clients and being responsive to their needs. After all, it is the customer today who has many more options, not the designer.

Bottom Line: Technical prowess is no longer a substitute for communications skills and customer relationship management.

Web Design and New Technology

Web designers that are profitable today are likely profitable because they responded appropriately to the mobile technology boom that began a few years ago. Those who wish to be profitable in a few years will likely adjust their design methods to adapt to new innovations, such as wearable technology.

Another way web designers will use new technology in the future is by adapting the use of tools such as Macaw to design websites over coding websites from scratch. This will be both in response to new technology and response to the increasing demands of customers that website delivery times be much faster than in the past.

Bottom Line: Customer preference will determine the technical focus of the web designer. They must make sure they are paying attention.

Web Design: Addressing Branding and Marketing for the Future

While eCommerce will always be extremely important, the role of the web designer today and in the future is largely that as one who delivers or who facilitates the delivery of content and branding messages to website visitors. This is why in many large corporations, the web design team is part of the marketing department rather than the IT department.

This is because the ability to design web pages that forward the company’s brand is so important that management often decides that web design and marketing should be partnered together as one unit.

For the web design freelancer, future relevance means focusing on understanding marketing goals and learning to design with branding as a primary goal.

Bottom Line: The wall between technology and marketing when it comes to web design has been blown to smithereens. Smart web designers will embrace this by educating themselves about marketing, branding, and content.

The Future of Web Design as an Art Form

Many business owners now use the term ‘user experience‘ when they speak of what happens when customers visit their website. This is because internet users have higher expectations today when they visit websites and those expectations will continue to grow in the future.

These expectations begin with content, but they also include high expectations when it comes to the look and feel of the website. Some of this is related to website navigation, but a good portion of user experience depends on the art design of the website.

Elements such as backgrounds, color schemes, fonts, videos, infographics, and layouts are going to continue to grow in importance when it comes to web design.

Bottom Line: Web designers will need to incorporate art into their development process, or they will need to work closely with people who are able to do so.

UX Tips for Mastering Your Next Website Redesign

ux-redesign-thumb-300x200Businesses can change a lot in just a couple of years. 24 months ago, mobile represented about 10% of all internet traffic. Today, it’s jumped to 25%, and Google has rolled out ranking changes that prioritize mobile optimized websites on search engine result pages. Buyers have changed, as well. Today’s website visitor expects a different experience than those of the past.

There’s a risk in frequent redesign, however. They become willy-nilly and lack strategic end-goals. Whether you work with an agency or revamp the site in-house, it’s crucial to make your website a revenue-driving channel and not just another pretty, shiny homepage.

Do Your Research

Before investing time and resources into revamping your website, map out what you want to change and ask yourself why these need to be made. Be careful with redesigns that happen because “I just want it to look more modern” or “I just felt like a change.”

A website should not only look better, but work better as well. Before doing anything, open up your analytics and record your starting position (also known as benchmark) for visits, search rank, conversion rate and other key website metrics. Create a goal and a strategy for how each of these metrics should change as a result of the redesign.

Having clear growth goals will give you an objective framework to measure the effectiveness of the redesign and process for future improvements moving forward.

Get Personal

Another change in buyer behavior over the last two years is the growing expectation of a personalized experience. 74% of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content that has nothing to do with their interest appears.

Groomed by websites such as Netflix, Amazon, and other adaptive websites, visitors seek out content that is specific and relevant to them. Even YouTube can recommend videos that it thinks you may enjoy. A 2013 Monetate/Econsultancy Study found that in-house marketers who personalize Web experiences see on the average, a 19% rise in sales.

Adding a personalization engine and strategy to your next redesign can help address weak conversion rates. Say you run a clothing business and a visitor recently purchased a shirt on your website.

If they visit your website again and see a promotion for the same shirt design, there’s a chance they’ll just ignore it. To attract and keep their attention, you could display related products, like pants or a bag that matches the shirt, to that specific visitor.

The companies that cut through marketing clutter today aren’t the ones with the flashiest ads, but the ones creating a unique and personalized experience.

Be Responsive

As noted above, buyers are increasingly using smartphones and tablets to find information online, and companies that don’t optimize their website from screen to screen are losing out.

According to a study conducted by Google, 79% of users who don’t like what they find on a mobile site will go and look for the information they need on another site. This shouldn’t be a surprise; if you walked into a store that was messy, unorganized, and had unhelpful salespeople, you’d probably leave immediately to shop somewhere else that was easier to navigate.

Use responsive design to create a site that adapts to fit a variety of screen sizes and be sure to incorporate behavior patterns of mobile users into your redesign strategy.

As part of your redesign, look to lighten the load on your site and ensure it appears properly on a variety of devices and browsers. In addition to load time, look at the structure of your website. Is it easy to navigate? Is there a clear route from research to purchase?

Mobile visitors in particular are action-oriented and need a clear route between point A and B. Use this redesign as a chance to make your site easier for visitors to move around throughout the sales cycle, instead of making them jump through hoops to become a customer.

Visual design choices are often the first to cross your mind (or your boss’s mind) when it comes to website redesigns, and for good reason: the visual experience of a website is significant.

In addition to that, however, make sure that your next website redesign incorporates functional improvements that reflect the way today’s viewers use your website. The improvements may not be as flashy or noticeable as new images or banding, but they can signify the difference between a good-looking website, versus a high-impact one.

Whether it’s the result of new SEO requirements or shifting brand values, you may have to redesign your site sooner rather than later. But how do you approach this monumental change? Well, it takes a mixture of caution and creativity.

Unleash Your Creativity

Once you’ve verified that you’re pursuing a website redesign for the right reasons, feel free to unleash your creativity and try something new. However, it’s also important that you take a calculated approach to your creativity.

Don’t be afraid to consult with other people and accept constructive criticism. By combining creativity and caution, you can increase your chances of redesigning an effective, high-converting website that attracts and converts leads.

Tips and Tricks for an Effective, High-Returning Redesign

If after reading through these points you believe a redesign is the right solution for your website, you’ll want to proceed with a careful strategy. Here are some specific tips to help you maximize your efforts.

  • Gather Lots of Feedback: Next, you need to work on gathering feedback. This includes insights from those within and outside your company. Those within will the company will give you a good idea of what is and isn’t working below the surface, while customers and focus groups can provide feedback regarding visual appearance and functionality.
  • Develop a Budget From the Start: You don’t want to get too far along in the process without developing a budget. This allows you to realistically see which issues you’ll be able to tackle, as well as which ones aren’t feasible.

Focus on UX and Functionality

Approximately 40% of all visitors will abandon your website if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load. That’s why it’s crucial to put user experience (UX) and functionality as your top priority.

If it doesn’t work to enhance the average user’s interaction with your company, then it shouldn’t exist. Use Google’s PageSpeed tool so you can analyze the site speed and optimize for best results. It’s not to late to prevent people from leaving too soon.

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If you visit the incomparable beauty of the Miami to Key West flights  underwater world off the coast of Key West, Florida and our staff on board our ships large glass coming background unforgettable adventure tourism. You can without getting wet to discover the breathtaking wonders under the water’s surface. It is not necessary for diving training or diving equipment to see the magnificent biodiversity that develops in the habitat of coral reefs; you can see large window of our glass bottom boat looking through the underwater world clearly booming. The excellent clarity of the water in this area, you can see all the beauty of this country Prismatic water miracle.

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Tips for Email Marketing Success

Have you sent out email marketing campaigns over and over only to get little to no response? Today’s email users are savvier than ever before and the same tired tactics of the past won’t work. If you want to get more responses to your email marketing campaigns, try the following tips:


  • Provide value. It’s not about what your customer can do for you; it’s about what you can do for your customer. All too often, this marketing truth is forgotten. Your customers’ time is valuable so you need to make sure reading your email is worthwhile. Including coupons, discounts and special offers is great, but don’t forget to offer actionable advice as well, such as helpful tips relating to your industry.
  • Rethink your subject line. There’s nothing that will aggravate a customer faster than a misleading subject line. Expecting one thing and then opening your email to find another is a sure way to end up in the trash folder. Craft a subject line that tells your customer exactly what’s in the email, what benefit you’re providing and an immediate call to action.
  • Provide a clear call to action. Speaking of that call to action, the call to action that’s both in your subject line and in the body of your email is what will drive your customer to your website where – hopefully! – they will buy something. As crazy as it sounds, if you tell customers exactly what you want them to do, more often than not they will do it. For example, “click here to get 25 percent off!” or “Visit our website and receive a free…” are great calls to action. Your customer knows exactly what they are supposed to do and what benefit they will receive when they do it.
  • Regularly clean your list. When was the last time you went through your email list? You don’t want to spam your entire email list with offers not everyone will want. Tracking which customers are new and which ones bought which products is extremely helpful. That way you know which email campaigns will be most successful with specific people on your email list.


Of course, it’s important to make sure your emails will be welcome in the first place. You can do this by only emailing people who have actively signed up to be on your emailing list. This will ensure you have a healthier, more effective email list.

Mobile Responsive Web Design

Mobile Web Design: What it is and What it Means
By 2014, mobile Internet usage is predicted to overtake desktop Internet usage. For those not already on board with mobile web design, the train is now officially leaving the station. However, mobile design is not merely a matter of making objects smaller. Instead, mobile design calls for an entirely different philosophy and perspective. Some of these differences are obvious and some less so.

“Flavors” of Mobile Web Design
Two primary techniques comprise mobile web design in 2013, each with advantages and disadvantages. These techniques are discussed in detail below:

Responsive Web Design
A responsive design detects the user’s device type (desktop, mobile, tablet) and adjusts layout properties accordingly. Among the advantages of responsive web design is that only a single URL is necessary. Similarly, the look and feel of the site is the same regardless of device, an important aspect of building brand loyalty and recognition. On the other hand, a responsive web design is rarely optimized for mobile users. Because the HTML is the same for both the desktop and mobile instances of the site, the content is essentially the same as well. However, mobile users often have different expectations and needs. Slower performance and navigation are also potential drawbacks of responsive web design.

Understand the End User
It sounds like an oversimplification to say that mobile web users are different from desktop web users, but this one fact is probably the most important takeaway when designing for mobile platforms. Mobile users are predominantly goal-oriented. They’re looking for a restaurant, checking on a reservation, seeing what movies are playing, etc. Mobile users are “intentional”: Their browsing typically is purposeful. Good designers understand this and ensure that all design elements contribute to the site’s purpose.

Prioritize Functionality
Above all, a mobile site has to work. Slow response, broken links, a wonky interface and bugs will all deep-six the best intentions of any mobile developer. Designers have one chance to capture a visitor’s attention. On the desktop, a stunning layout and aesthetics alone can sometimes do the trick. For mobile web purposes, however, the site must be fast, easy and perform exactly as expected, every time.

Balancing Performance with Design
Despite the advances in Smartphone hardware, they are still relative lightweights compared to the most powerful desktop computers. Web designers have to be aware of the limitations of handheld and tablet devices. Too much code, too many bells and whistles and the mobile site will slog to a halt. Screen size is probably the most obvious limitation. The content present on a desktop site will never fit on a mobile site. For that reason, traditional menus and options simply don’t work. Designers have to be creative and selective. An example of this might be an air travel booking website. Whereas the desktop site will be a virtual library of information, pictures, calendars, etc., the mobile site might consist merely of flight schedules at the nearest airport. After all, most mobile users are checking on a flight with their smartphones, not booking one or investigating the tourist hotspots at their destination.

Because mobile users are on the move, bandwidth changes from one location to the next. Good mobile web design copes well with periods of weak data signal by not over-relying on dynamic content.

Concentrate on Branding
At the end of the day, branding and content are the cornerstones of any company. Mobile web design cannot neglect the identity of its parent organization. Mobile users frequently navigate directly to a specific site rather than searching, so name recognition is essential. Even if the brand already has strong market penetration, ensuring a quality experience for all mobile users will help maintain and build brand loyalty.

Will Desktops Be Left Behind?
The short answer is no. The more complicated answer is that no one can be sure of the evolution of web design 5 or 10 years from now. It’s possible that the best practices of mobile design will subsume desktop design, bringing simpler and more efficient interfaces to users everywhere. However, it’s hard to imagine the need for information-dense, substance-over-style design philosophies becoming obsolete.

What to do and What NOT to do in Website Design

The World Wide Web’s cyber strands stretch north, south, east, and west around the world wrapping over, under, and around the earth connecting websites like cobwebs connect abandoned corners of a room. Like its earthbound cousin, The World Wide Web is alive with spiders, word-spiders that are. These talented little arachnids ‘crawl’ the web’s cyber-strands on command every time someone orders a search.

Let’s say that you’ve decided to create a website. There’s never been a better time than now to find out how to put those talented little arachnids to work driving traffic to your site. Let’s find out what makes them crawl and how you can use them to attract internet traffic to your site.

When you first began designing your site for the internet you need lessons on keywords. That’s when you will discover that keywords are the search engine bait a website uses to get notices by websites around the globe. We’ve been hearing about keywords for years, but has anyone actually described what they are, where you can find them, and how they work? That lesson showed how keywords work and how to make them work for your website design clients.

Your number one focus before you begin creating your website, during the creation, even afterwards, will be keywords. They tell search engines what to look for when we surf the web, and let searchers link to your site when they search for your keywords.

Let’s explore keyword usage with a mock website. First decide what your website will be about. Why did you create your site, was it to sell a product or service or maybe create a cyber-mall for one-stop-shopping?
Now assume for the purpose of this discussion that your site will combine a couple of services to create a small cyber-mall in Seattle. Many people will resort to templates or easy-to-use websites that allow you to create your own site. While this may work for some people, the vast majority will need a site that is tailored to fit their needs. But, thanks to those sites you would not need any programming knowledge but that might hinder you as well.

What you need to do, in addition to getting a domain name, is find a web host. Web host provides the support you will need to build your site and every site must be hosted somewhere. The web host will give you email addresses, space for all of your website pages as well as other features. Many people will look to a third party company with help in creating their website design.

You need to create you web pages. If you know HTML or would like to learn HTML you can but if you do not want to deal with the hassle you could find a website design company online. For most people this is the best option. What you don’t want to do in website design is go into it with out a plan of action.

As an example, you decide to build a site to offer your neighbors the convenience of shopping for Seattle’s best personal and home services online. The key to increasing the traffic to your site will be the number of keywords you include as you build your site.

Who will visit your new site? Imagine going online to find the services your new website advertises. Which words would you use? Eldercare? Childcare? Babysitting? Lawn care? Yard Maintenance? Viola! Every one of these is a keyword for your site! Bonus! You’ve got your page titles too!

Say your site has six pages. Use the keywords we found above (Child care, Babysitting, Lawn Care, and Elder Care) in the navigation bar on each page and all of the keywords on your home page. Use all of your keywords on your home page. It’s the first thing your visitors see when your site comes up. Your visitors will use your home page to see what your site is about. Sprinkle your keywords throughout the copy to give search engines more keywords to work with.

Use keywords in the page titles and use the page titles on your navigation bar. Pepper them through the copy on every webpage. Make it easy for the spiders choose your site. That’s how you get on the search results first page and get your information in visitors’ hands in an instant. What a great incentive for visitors to come back to your site the next time they need child or elder care or lawn care services.

In the website we outlined above, you created a home page with links to your childcare and eldercare pages, and yet another to your lawn care page. You’ll also want an About Us page for bios and testimonials, and another (Contact Us) giving all the ways visitors can order your services, ask questions, or heaven forbid, complain.

If your website is six pages, you’ve used five keywords in the titles (5), another five in the navigation bar (multiplied by six since the navigation bar is on all six pages) (30). Now add an average of six keywords per page (36) giving us a total of 71 invitations to search engines to pick up on your site and put you on their first page.

How Important is Usability in the Design of a Website

When it comes to designing websites, there are a lot of elements involved. Of course, some elements are going to be more important than others. If you are creating your business website, one of the biggest issues that you are going to have to contend with is its usability. Usability refers to how accessible or user-friendly a website can be. The more usability that your site has, the more likely that people will visit, stay, and even invest in your business in some way. If your site is complicated and hard to use, people are going to find somewhere else to do business. It’s a simple element among a long list of must-haves, but it is one that can make all the difference.

Usability includes a lot of different details. You should make sure that you take the time to create a website that is user-friendly in terms of the following:

Layout: The page layout should be simple to follow and give people access to all the tools and information that they need without requiring a lot of effort or hassle.

Navigation: Make it easy to get around your website. Don’t bury useful information in 5 levels of sub-pages. Stick with a basic, simple site that is easy to get around and has accessible navigation tools.

Content: You need to make sure that your content is informative and engaging. If people aren’t interested in what you have to say, why would they stick around? Give them something to benefit them, and use your content carefully. Keep it short, simple, and to the point.

Overall design: Avoid lots of heavy graphics, logos, images, and other elements that will just clutter up your page and make it hard for people to know where to go next. Stick to the basics and make sure that they can use your site without feeling overwhelmed or having too many options.

When you build a website, a lot of different things are going to come into play. However, if you want to have a successful business in the online world, you have to make sure that your website is interactive, engaging, and that it has a high usability rating so that people will want to keep coming back for more. High-tech designs and complicated features might seem like they look cool, but the bottom line is that people want simple, straightforward information and resources and they’ll do what it takes to get it. Make sure that your website is user-friendly and easy to use so that you can give people exactly what they want and get their business in return.

How to Keep Your Site from Being Penalized by Google

Building a great ecommerce site is an important first step in your business’s success, but making sure it adheres to good SEO practices and Google’s rules is even more important. There was a time when there were no rules for SEO, and all you had to do was stuff keywords and links everywhere and anywhere you could. Unfortunately, that led to search results filled with spam, content mills and link farms. Understandably, people didn’t like that very much and Google responded harshly with new search algorithms. The first was code named Panda. It was quickly followed by Penguin, Hummingbird and Pigeon. Panda knocked sites that it considered low quality (the exact criteria it used isn’t known for obvious reasons, but it’s safe to say sites with lots of duplicate content, keyword stuffing, spam links and so on were targeted) out of the top results. Overnight spam sites and content mills that had been raking in advertising dough because they had high search rankings found their traffic gone, and many of them went completely out of business.

So how do you keep this fro happening to you? It starts when at the very beginning, when you check available domain names. Don’t be tempted to choose one that resembles the domain of a popular site, thinking it might get you some instant traffic. Google frowns on this (hey take an even dimmer view of buying a domain that is a purposeful misspelling of a popular site’s domain in order to try and trick people into thinking it’s the legit one). Chose an easy to spell and remember domain.

When creating content for your site, make sure it is original and offers value to the reader. Chose your links carefully and never accept an offer to buy links. Google can tell when links are not organic-that is when they’ve been bought or spammed.  If you are looking for a good way to get traffic, make sure you’ve got accounts on all the top social media sites-Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Then use them wisely. Share interesting and entertaining content from your own site and from sites related to yours and your products. Engage your audience by asking questions, posting polls, and responding to their comments and posts. Make the content you post on each account unique somehow-different phrasing, tags, images, etc. Don’t just auto post the same exact thing to all your accounts. Users can tell when posts are “canned” and it’s a big turn off!

Steps of a Project for a Freelance Web Builder

As a new freelancer, there is nothing scarier then starting your first project. This article will take a closer look at the steps you should follow when in charge of a project. Hopefully, if you are aware of what the process should be, you won’t be as concerned about getting things right. Since I am assuming that this is your first client, return business is essential to growing your business. Follow the below steps from start to finish and you should have a happy client and a check in your hands.


It is important to track your time when you are working on a project. Start logging time as soon as you start to give your attention to a project. Place a time log into a new docket and write onto this log start and finish times along with other detailed information every time you work on this project.

Take a look at a good time log at Figure I.


For several reasons, it is important to use the time log accurately. First and foremost, your client might expect you to break down your hours for him so they are aware of where their money is going. Secondly, in order to increase your productivity, examining where your time is being spent is essential. After freelancing for a while you will be able to figure out how much to bid on projects easily from experience.


A docket is a huge envelope or sleeve to keep all papers together. Nothing looks worse than going to a meeting with a client and forgetting essential paperwork. In order to escape this possibility, I suggest using a docket for each individual project.

I recommend using a black marker to distinguish this project from other projects. I have always named my project’s computer files and dockets by the company’s name and then follow this with consecutive numbers. So for example, XYZCompany001 would be XYZ Company’s first project.


If this client is working with you for the first time you should start an information sheet on him or her. You might not think that this is important, but if this client ends up being a dead beat, you will be glad to have his or her address and phone number. After you have completed this form, place it in your docket.


Start every job with a piece of paper. List steps that need to be involved in order finish production. Otherwise, you might get stuck with having to go backwards three steps in order to go forwards again. Sometimes stages of a project will need to be reworked because you didn’t take the time to write down your game plan. Try not to let this happen to you.


Protect yourself against problem clients by writing a contract. Make sure to have your client sign and send back the contract before starting the project. You can find generic contracts for your business on the Internet. Here are some places to find contracts to customize for your own business:

Manage Jobs Software
Digital Contracts Online
Smart Agreements
Contract Swipe File

A great way to begin your project is to plan out how the web site is going to be organized. A mind map is one way to do this. You can do this by taking a blank piece of paper and placing your pen onto the middle of your page. Write down a word or two that matches the subject of your previous notes. Branch out with lines to related topics. Take a look at Figure II as an example.


Your mind map is now similar to a Flow Chart. Make sure that all navigational routes have been mapped out. If possible, have someone else take a look at your Flow Chart to see if you have missed anything.


Storyboarding is a device used to layout the design and navigation of a site. It could simply be a rough sketch on a scrap of paper. However, I always send out a storyboard to a client before starting to actually layout the site. I recommend laying out rough sketches in Illustrator or Freehand. Use your mind map or Flow Chart to help guide you through this process. Ask your client to sign off on the bottom of this Flow Chart.


One of the most engaging attractions of a good web site is its graphics. Listen carefully to your client carefully in order to find out what he wants. If the client can’t explain what he is visualizing, help out with a few questions. The following five questions can be used.

1. What sites are visually appealing to you?
2. On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is a fast-loading site to you?
3. What colors are you partial to?
4. Do you already have existing collateral (brochures, catalogs, etc.)? If so, what flexibility do I have with your fonts, logo, and colors?
5. Do you have any art that we need in order to complete this project?

If you are having a hard time finding your creative self, I suggest taking a look at CoolHomePages.com to get a few ideas to build on.

Once you have an idea of what your client is expecting you are ready to storyboard the site.


Now that your client has signed off on your storyboard it is time to start the design process. Finally! Follow these steps to ease the design process.

1. Take a screen shot of your browser.
2. Bring this image into Photoshop and save file.
3. Layout all design elements into layers for home page of site first.
4. Design at least three different design variations.
4. Go to your local service bureau to print out 2 copies of each design, one for you and one for the client. Remember to charge the client for printouts with 5% – 10% markup. Place one of each printout copy into the project’s docket, this is your copy.
5. Go to a business supply store, like Staples, and buy black board, a portfolio case big enough to hold several black boards, Utility knife, Exacto knife, spray adhesive, labels, and a straight ruler.
5. Use an Exacto knife and straight ruler to cut off excess paper of Client’s printout copy.
6. Measure width and length of the printout.
7. Cut black board to be about 4 inches taller and wider than the printout is.
6. Spray the back of the printout lightly with spray adhesive. After spraying the back of the printout, put one corner down about 2 inches from the top and 2 inches from the left of the black board. Then pull printout taut from the bottom right as you slowly press down the paper from the upper left. This will keep bubbling from happening. There should now be 2 inches of blackboard framing each side of the printout.
7. Place a label on the back of black board with copyright information, your logo, and a place for client to sign off.

If your client is local, setup an appointment in order to show him the mockups. If you have a long distance relationship, I suggest using Fed Ex to ship the mockups to your client. Ask your client to sign off on the back of the mockup that he likes. However, if the client doesn’t like any of your layouts, which happens to the best of us, you are back to the drawing board.

Once you get a layout that your client likes, you should rename your Photoshop file to reflect this and move the unused files into an “idea file”. There is no reason that these unused mockups cannot be modified for your next client. Also, you should proceed to taked the unused mockup copies out of the project’s docket and leave behind the chosen mockups. I would suggest placing unused mockups in a binder for new clients to look at to see what style they like.

Now is when you will be glad that you have created your Photoshop files in layers. Duplicate the already existing file and make mockup files for inside pages as well.


Now that you have all of your pages laid out in Photoshop, it is time to cut out the images that you will use in the web page. A good rule of thumb is not to exceed 30K per page. Otherwise, your web page will take too long to load. Here area few more tips that you should follow:

1. Illustrations should be saved as a gif.
2. Photographs should be saved as a jpeg.
3. Keep the amount of colors in an image to a minimum.
4. Aliased images are smaller.
5. The more compression you apply to a jpeg – the smaller the image.


Take your printed mockups and Flow Chart. Place them by your side and use them in order to layout your page. Create your pages so that they are all linked together. The following tips will help you organize your files.

1. Place all images in an images folder.
2. Place every section of your site in a separate file.
3. Structure your directories to roughly match your Flow Chart.
4. Make sure that your file names make sense (It is a good idea to have a company code in front of each file. For example, for XYZ Company’s About Us page, I would use xyz_about.html.).
6. Have an archiving system in place in order to backup your files. Name your files accordingly in order to link all of your html files together in order to create a working prototype that the client can test.


Before you send the prototype to your client, test out the usability of the site with friends that haven’t been involved with this project. Write down all input that they can give to you – both good and bad. Also, try as many different browsers, plugins, and operating systems as the visitors are likely to use. Make sure to fix any problems that you find and make a mental note for further projects on what works and what doesn’t.

After internally checking the site, upload the site to the host server to test out access speed, plugins, and configurations. When you are sure that things are in working order, it is time to let the client test out the prototype site. There will likely be several things that your client won’t like. Listen carefully to your client and make sure to give merit to all suggestions that the client makes. Make sure to have the client sign off on the prototype in order to make the site live.


Once the testing phase is complete, it is time to make the site live. Cross your fingers and hope for the best. Inevitably, visitors will always find something that they aren’t happy with. You should always give support to your newly launched sites for at least 2 to 4 weeks.


Now that you have completed the project it is time to fulfill your administrative duties. It is time now to review your time sheet. Add up all of the columns to calculate total hours spent on the project. Break this number into how many hours were spent on each phase of the project.

Make a copy of the time sheet for the client and create an invoice to reflect your agreed upon hourly fee. Always reference the client’s purchase order number on your invoice. Otherwise, many Accounts Payable departments won’t pay your invoice. If your client has not given you a PO# then you should contact him to make sure that there isn’t a PO# linked to this project. Include all necessary information on your invoice. I always include the following:

1. Your logo, name, company name, address, and phone number
2. Client’s Contact name, company name, address, and phone number
3. Purchase order date (date job was ordered)
4. Invoice date
5. Invoice number
6. Payment terms (for example, net 45 days)
7. Break down of how many hours were spent on each phase of the project
8. Add on expenses (Printing expenses – remember to add 10% – 15% markup)

Staple the purchase order to the invoice. Make sure that your invoice is neat and professional and then send it out to the client.


Now that you are finished, you can use the docket to archive this project. Remember the black marker and label that previously was used to name your project’s docket? You are now going to file your project by this number. In order to find this project easier, I suggest placing a filing tab on each docket. Place everything in alphanumeric order.

Make sure everything that belongs in the docket is there. Place all corresponding files on a Zip or Jazz disk and then place it in the project’s docket. All administrative documents, such as invoices and POs, should be placed in the docket. Also, any printouts, emails, or notes that correspond to this project also belong in the docket.


You shouldn’t ever reuse projects that are copyrighted by your client. However, portions of every project are reusable. For example, you wouldn’t reuse a design that you specifically created for a client. But, you could reuse Photoshop paths or textures that you created.

You will find that as you complete more and more projects, each one becomes a little bit easier. As you start out in freelancing, use each project as a learning experience. Each project completed results in a more experienced and valuable freelancer. Good Luck!

Starting out in web design

If you are new to web design your head is probably spinning with questions as well as excitement to get started. Many people find that hiring a web designer is a good way to go because they simply do not have the know how to get the job done. If you don’t need your website to be up and running in the next couple weeks you can take a crash course in web design and attempt to do it on your own. Not only can you realize your creative vision, you can also save a lot of money if you do it on your own, and you just might find your new hobby. Web design can be a lot of fun!

The first thing you should have if you are undertaking a web design project for the first time is a web editing software program such as FrontPage. Many of the software programs such as this are really easy to use, and offer guidance through the web development phases. There are more complicated web design software programs out there, but you should stick with something along the lines of FrontPage because it is very easy to use, even for a beginner.

Even with an easy to use program such as FrontPage you may want to study up on the benefits of html formatting, Meta tags, and search engine optimization. All of these elements of web design work together to get visitors to your web page. No one designs a web page to sit on the Internet without being seen. Combining the use of html, Meta tags, and search engine optimization you will be working with the search engines to get listed in the results pages of search engine results. This is the first step of creating a user base, no matter what your web page is selling or what type of content you provide.

Next, it is important that you incorporate quality content in your web design. It can be a lot of fun to incorporate graphics, gimmicks, and fun elements that are associated with today’s web pages but quality content is much more important than all of these things. This is not to say that you can’t add color, style, and personality to your web design but that should not be the basis. The content of your web design should be the priority and any graphics and gimmicks should be very secondary. Search engine bots and crawlers do not recognize graphics, so if you want to be seen in the search engine results you need to have content that speaks to the bots and crawlers. Quality content is the key to your web design bringing in the traffic.< difficult to get into web design without delving into this area of the business somewhat. Remember that optimization standards are changing all of the time, so don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Your first priority should be to provide quality information, content, or services to your current and potential customers. When you feel as though you can do this you can then worry about whether or not your website meets all or some of the optimization standards that are out there. If you have a lot of content on your site you should try to hone in on popular keywords and use them throughout your articles and text. Web site design should also include links within and outside of the website. Links are basically a roadway for the search engines to follow as they browse the Internet. If you have links to your pages you will be sure that all of your pages get crawled and you have a better chance of being seen on search engine result pages.

Perhaps you don’t care all that much about search engine optimization because you are designing a family website or something to that effect. If that is the case you can use all of the graphics that you want and really not worry too much about links or html. If you don’t necessarily need a lot of traffic to your website to be happy, then you can really get creative and do some fun things. Your intentions for your web design will really influence how you should do things to be successful. Of course, one of the best things you can do in web design is to have fun because it’ll shine through in the end result!

Designing Accessible Websites

For more than 40,000,000 in the US the vast majority of Websites are either completely or partially inaccessible.

The idea of a Website that excludes Latinos or African Americans is unthinkable, yet Americans with disabilities are constantly faced with Websites that don’t take their needs into account. Fortunately, many of the world’s most popular Websites, such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Google, and Yahoo! are working hard to become accessible to disabled users, but there are still many more sites out there that have a long way to go.

Developers seem to think that they can’t use the new cool technologies simply because they’re not accessible as opposed to looking at these new technologies and making them accessible. So it’s as if people don’t see an accessible interface as an opportunity to make a better interface, but rather as something that is preventing you from doing what you really want to do.

In fact, however, accessibility isn’t at all at odds with attractiveness or performance. An accessible Website is a well designed Website and one that far more people than the disabled can enjoy. Websites designed with accessibility in mind also work better with dial up connections and hand held devices such as iPhones and BlackBerries. As an added bonus, they’re also usually better indexed by search engines such as Google.

It’s noteworthy that there may even be negative consequences of ignoring accessibility. Target recently paid out more than $6,000,000 as part of a class action lawsuit filed by the National Federation for the Blind. The retailer’s Website could not be used by blind users, and the court ruled that this violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

However, no one should be strong armed into designing an accessible Website out of fear of being sued. The lesson to be taken from the lawsuit is that Target lost a lot more than just $6,000,000 million: It also lost millions of potential customers, not to mention the respect of a lot of people, disabled and able bodied alike.

The right attitude is to approach Web design, particularly with the goal of accessibility, with a passion for originality and an open mind. Sometimes setting boundaries can result in you becoming more innovative.
As a designer, the constraints that you are under are key. Without constraints, it is very easy to get lost. You need to use the constraints to your advantage.

The website BBC Ouch! Is an example of a successful, attractive, website that works within the restrictions of accessibility. The website, which centers around everyday disability issues, is an example of the sort of strong Web designs that everyone, especially the disabled, can appreciate.

At first glance, the website looks no different from most others. It’s visually appealing and is rich with media such as podcasts and images; However, the website also offers high contrast and text only versions that are unobtrusive but easy to locate locations. These sorts of accessibility friendly options are prevalent throughout the website.

The website provides a thoughtful service to blind visitors that many Websites would neglect to include. Clearly, if you take the website as an example, accessibility and attractive functionality are not mutually exclusive.

The more unfortunate thing is that inaccessible websites are not designed that way on purpose. It’s the result of a lack of awareness and knowledge. People are just ignorant of just how easy it is to make it work for everybody. All it takes is a lack of awareness and thought and things can go horribly wrong.

In an effort to keep things from going astray, it’s important to know who you should you are designing for. You need to consider people with vision problems, including those who have weak eyesight, color blindness, or complete blindness. The blind may use hardware that converts online text to Braille or screen readers, however, web users who are farsighted can simply use screen magnification software to enlarge onscreen text. Enlarged text, particularly links, is also helpful for people who have a stroke, MS, Parkinson’s disease, or cerebral palsy, since they cannot use a mouse with precision. Some disabled users may not be able to use a mouse at all. Instead they us speech recognition software, and single switch access devices.

Another major group to keep in mind is the hard of hearing, who relies on written transcripts, sign language, and closed captioning to fully enjoy video and audio. It’s also important to remember that people who are susceptible to seizures may not be able to view flashing screens, and that those with dyscalculia and dyslexia may have difficulty reading the content that is provided.

The most helpful additions you can make to your website are text only and high contrast versions, as well as full transcripts of any audio and other multimedia that appears. Although it’s helpful to understand the different kinds of disabilities your Web page may encounter, don’t think about designing for accessibility as a checklist of types of disabilities.

It’s way more than that. One of the most important things to remember is that making a website properly accessible is that it makes it easier for everyone to use.

The reason for this is that accessible websites operate on the principals of proper Web design. It’s all about flexibility and structure. If your site works without JavaScript or a style sheet, while providing a proper structure, then you have taken a great step towards a good product.

This means that your website needs to use (X)HTML that is semantically correct for content, structure, and CSS for your layout. The (X)HTML content should be grouped in a coherent fashion and should be structured logically. This is especially important for people who use screen readers, which read page text in order and get confused by bad (X)HTML such as designs that are table based. Screen readers also can’t read JavaScript or Flash, so you should make sure that all of your text and links are accessible by means of good, old fashioned (X)HTML.

It is important that if you have something that refreshes a page, have a real link that points to a real document, and not just some random Flash or JavaScript movie file.

There is another basic design that tends to get lost in the fray is the use of alternative tags for graphics and images. You should always incorporate context that is appropriate for your images and the text that surrounds them. That doesn’t mean that you should include some vague description that slows down your narration, but it’s good practice to make sure your text and pictures work in conjunction with each other.

Similarly, never try to compensate for weak content with superfluous visual elements. There’s no substitute for well written, clear content. Even without good writing abilities, there’s no excuse for errors in spelling. Spell checking is not only a good idea in general, but it’s also important to remember that typos can mess up screen readers, which obfuscates your meaning even more.

Perhaps the most important design tool to remember when designing for accessibility is progressive enhancement. When you take away the CSS, the JavaScript, the high level layers, and the high level interaction it should still work. It’s not really a hard thing to do, but it requires thinking about it from the beginning and building it in that layered form.

It’s not all that hard. These design practices are not difficult and they won’t hurt you. It’ll actually make your life easier. You just have to have an open mind about it.

CSS tableless web sites

As we move further into the age of Information and Communications Technology, we certainly cannot expect for things to stand still long enough. Expect technology to be active, thriving, and fast-paced. Nothing is left alone; everything would have to be upgraded into newer and more innovative versions. So it is vital for those who long to remain at the wheel of ICT to be flexible and quick to adapt to changes and improvements.

Such is the reaction from web designers and developers that should have met the onset of XHTML+CSS. XHTML is the most recent version of HTML that conforms with XML, and as the latest innovation in web design, it is better suited for the present and paves the way for future developments. CSS or Cascading Style Sheets, on the other hand, is a stylesheet language designed to separate the content and presentation of the website. With the combined tools of XHTML and CSS, websites can now be made more compliant, dynamic, and easier to design.

The only thing standing in the way of XHTML+CSS and its move towards a better future of web design is the problem of converting several years’ amount of web pages designed in HTML. For any web designer, the task of converting your websites and every single page of them into XHTML sounds like a whole lot of work. However, without a justifiable excuse, it is definitely the better option to shift to XHTML+CSS for a variety of reasons. When you choose to leave your site as it is, first, make sure you are fully aware of the advantages that you choose to bypass.

XHTML+CSS documents are easier to maintain and edit, containing fewer tags and are less prone to problems. This way, you have better control over your website and you can easily pass on the control to another developer, if need be. Raise the probability of your website working in more browsers with the better code form that XHTML provides. It also cleans up the clutter of HTML and gets rid of numerous tables in your documents. The slimmer pages make for faster downloading and viewing, the benefits eventually passing on to the website users. XHTML+CSS also welcome upgrade options and future developments for your site. By converting to XHTML now, you will be preparing your site for more upgrades and improvements that are sure to come. Aside from these, since it is relatively new, you can easily be one of the first to embrace this new innovation.

There are, however, understandable constraints in converting your websites to XHTML+CSS format. Aside from the overwhelming effort necessary to convert old sites, some of the old web page editors that are being used also do not handle this new format, and the cost of upgrading may be considered a hindrance. However, Jennifer Kyrnin, in her article Converting Web Sites to XHTML+CSS, notes that buying modern web page editors doesn’t have to be expensive, and that there are actually some good editors that can be obtained for free.

With the numerous benefits of converting your websites to XHTML+CSS, there certainly are ways to work around the constraints. You may tidy up your website easily with HTML Tidy, an open source tool that can do all the dirty work of browsing through your pages. It can filter the valid XHTML in your site, and all you have to do is redesign it in CSS. In a matter of minutes, your XHTML+CSS site can be up and running.

For web designers and developers, as the forerunners of future web developments and as innovators in yourselves, being up-to-date should almost be second nature. And since your websites are your portfolio, they should all the more be dynamic and acquiescent to the future. With all the advantages of XHTML+CSS, the effort to convert your websites would definitely be worth it.