Archive for the ‘Web Development’ Category

A picture is worth a 1000 words

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Load times on a web site are one of the more critical elements that attract/deter customers

If your web site takes a long time to load, your customers will get frustrated and will go elsewhere.

Yes, I know it looks “fabulous dahling”, but the main aim is to attract and keep customers, and if you fail in that it doesn’t matter how pretty it looks.

I know, I know, you are muttering about high speed internet and that everyone is now on DSL or Cable so it doesn’t matter, but that is only partly true. At least 20% of your potential clients are still on a relatively slow internet connection, and the ones that are on a fast connection have no patience, as they are used to pages loading instantaneously.

There are lots of things that can be done to make a page load faster, but the one thing that matters most is to get your images all sorted away and optimized.

Each and every image on your web site should be optimized for size, and that means you resize the image to the actual size it will appear on your page (not simply resize it via the html). Then you should optimize the image to the minimum quality needed so that it displays well. Choosing the correct file type here is important too. If your image is a photo, then use JPG, if its text or graphics, then GIF is probably a better choice.

The trick here is to have the right images on your site to achieve your desired design aims, but to ensure that the images you do use don’t slow you down any more than they need to.

If you would like a review of your site, please contact us. We would be happy to help.

Save yourself some grief

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

You are about to start on the road to having a web presence and are talking to a number of design companies about your site.

Save yourself some grief and negotiate the following:

  • At the end of the development you get ALL source for your web-site, including the source for all media, both static and interactive
  • If you are registering a domain name, that domain name is registered under your name, not the development company
  • You are not tied into proprietary software owned by the development company
  • You are not tied into a long term hosting contract with the development company
  • Negotiate on-going maintenance rates and support levels

If you follow this advice, then you are not tied to your development company once the initial work is done. You will stay with them if and only if they provide good service, not for the reason that you can’t move elsewhere.

We have been asked to take over support for a number of customers, and its amazing how many haven’t asked basic questions, or protected their own long term interests.

Lets talk graphics

Tuesday, January 17th, 2006

Everyone is a web designer……unfortunate but true, and those that aren’t are web critics.

And unfortunately there is a lot to be critical about.

I spend my time looking through web sites for clients that want “a little tune up”, and sometimes what I see sends shudders down my spine. Web sites that flash, spin, play tunes and have little figures dancing about, and that is all on the first line.

Your web page is your corporate identity, and unless you are in the business of selling drugs your web site should not look like a hallucination from a bad acid trip.

By all means make it striking - but do so in moderation - after all isn’t the idea to get people to return to your site, not to reach for the aspirin bottle.

Keep your visuals on message - if they aren’t supporting your product or service, toss them. If they obscure your message, toss them. If you can’t look at them 5 times in a row, toss them.

Be critical and put yourself in the place of the client that is visiting your site for the 10th time. Are they going to enjoy the experiance or are their teeth going to grate?

It will make my life a little easier and I’m sure your clients will appreciate it too.

If you would like to discuss web design, feel free to contact us for a free quotation.

CSS and associated tunes

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

Cascading Style Sheets provide an excellent way for easily controlling the look and feel of web sites, but as with most things, moderation is the key.

There is a trend that is emerging where the CSS is being used to fully control the format and presentation aspects of the site, and the HTML is nothing more than text, with lots of id’s to allow the stylesheet to do its work. I’ve seen some absolutely wonderful sites developed this way - but have my reservations.

The biggest issue with developing a web-site is cross browser support, and in my humble opinion, the cross browser support for stylesheets is still far from perfect. I’ve tried the seperation of format from content using CSS, but am still finding that the ’site degradation’ when you start hitting the browser differences is far more dramatic than using a conventional table driven approach.

When it goes wrong, it goes wrong in spades!

To that end, I think a policy of moderation is still in effect, where tables serve their uses and so do stylesheets and for the forseeable future it will remain that way.