How we design a functional and beautiful website that works… Wizards of Orlando Website Design

Aug 24, 2012

The design wizards of Inside Design Orlando, are always learning new methods which keep our client’s websites among the top performers.  Sites that were driven by graphics and flash in the past that required more download time have been replaced by more functional, responsive designs that work for the consumers of today. As more and more users are shopping online using their I-Phone, I-Pad, Smart Phone, etc. Responsive and Mobile Ready  design strategy delivers a better web experience allowing the website adaptability to the many devices in the marketplace.
Wow …What a responsibility. Someone finds us on the web, looks at our portfolio and decides we are the ones to develop their new website. Included in this decision of course are their great expectations.  Just like all of us they are searching for success and are hoping we can assist them by creating a great website which will drive more revenue their way.
The client has been looking at a plethora of sites on the web (some old and some new). They may have been drawn to a few flashy sites with loads of animation and long to have the same thing. Knowing this, it is our responsibility to educate them on the new method of design which calls for a more minimalistic and contemporary look.  The magic touch is knowing what elements to use and those not to consider.  As technology changes and as the web changes, so must we.
Adapting to new technology is key to succeeding in this business.  New clients expect no less of us than we expect of ourselves.  If our clients believe we have that “magic touch” we’ll take the compliment.  However, all of us know that it is only due to a lot of hard work and willingness to adapt to changes required based upon today’s new technology.
We consider each client’s project as a partnership relationship.  Because we are going to use our art and our talent to bring the client’s vision to fruition, it is doubly importnat that we listen carefully to each client’s expectations as we begin the work.  As the site developers, we are the protectors of the client’s future success on the web we take the work very seriously.  Some elements from years past, that hindered the viewer from quickly browsing the site are not used today in our new design methodology. A few well placed animations are great. However, too many can deter visitors from the website. It is very important that we educate our new clients on what works and what does not work for attracting their unique target audience.
How do we decide color choice?
Color is the silent sales person of web design. It draws the visitor in and keeps the site interesting and friendly as the visitor browses from page to page. Nothing is worse than blinding the viewer with outrageous bright color choices that are not used in a clever and artistic way. Too much of one color can shout “amateur” quicker than anything else on the site. On the other hand, color used properly and in a minimalistic way can enhance and complete the web experience.
The web designer should choose colors based upon the current branding (logo and other printed materials already being used). If no logo is available, the designer will ask the client what two or three colors they have a preference for and those colors will be integrated into the site layout and design. Many of the newer designs are using minimal color and allowing the image choices to bring color into the design. Black and white sites are becoming more popular as they are easier to read and understand.
What if a client has no logo or branding material?
Sometimes we meet with new clients having no logo and no idea on color choice. We always encourage the client to have a professional logo done first. By having this ahead of time will make our job much easier. It will also give us a base of color to use. Otherwise, it might be necessary later on to change the site colors should the logo be designed using other colors. This could be costly for the client. To restate, developing the logo first is the best rule of thumb.
What bells and whistles might distract my visitors:
There are some elements that we discourage clients from having such as blinking links, graphics that distract viewers and pop up windows, etc. Animated gifs were popular years ago but have no place on modern websites of today. Also discouraged is annoying background music which begins to play immediately as a viewer opens the webpage. Caution here as the viewer might be a student at a college, or an employee looking for services at their workplace. Unwanted loud and distracting music or video can quickly drive the viewer away from your website. A video presentation which the client feels is necessary can be placed on a page called “Video Message” which allows the viewer to download the video at a time of their choosing. Home page videos can be a detriment to any website.
What size font is best for today’s designs?
As developers we are always careful with font size. We do not want to “shout” at the viewing audience by using a large font.  Larger font can be useful if used sparingly to point out an advertising message or a few well placed bullets (as an example).  However, we feel it is better to remain consistent with normal text and punctuation. It is not best to capitalize entire words here and there throughout the site.  This is considered non-professional.  Keep it simple stupid ….has always been some great advice in many areas and web design is a place where this rings true as well.  Font size is determined by the designer as he formats the layout.  For regular text, a size 14 to 16 is considered the top choice.  Larger text may be used if you are pointing out bullets or other advertising slogans, etc.
As the site is being developed, most good designers will choose to use the same font for basic content blocks from page to page.  The designer develops what is known as a “style sheet” to choose a font size and type.  This will serve to keep the font consistent in look and feel throughout the site. Remaining professional in these choices and being consistent really pays off when the search engines come to call.
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Article by Jean Holland-Rose, Chief Creative Officer
Inside Design Orlando


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