17 Mar 8 Important Points for a Responsive and Effective Website
Let us cut to the chase. What is the key to responsive and effective website development? It is the perfect combination of ingredients that create an enriching online experience for the user.
On the eastern side of the world, Lunar New Year festivities have just wrapped up and everyone has probably gained the last of the holiday pounds from the lunar new year dinners and lunches they had to go through the past 2 weeks. If you have ever been to one, you would know how hardcore these meals can get. You get to sit down on an 8-10 course meal consisting of a smorgasbord of vegetables, meats, seafood and sweet desserts. Being the polite person that most guests are, they would try to finish every course – and they would do so using chopsticks. Interestingly though, these events only leave you with a very heavy and fulfilled stomach instead of one that has you scampering for the nearest bathroom.
This is because the organizers put some serious thought into planning each course. It has to mesh well with the one before it and the one after – kind of like a complete and coherent sentence. Each main ingredient was carefully selected for its traditional meaning and also because it goes well with the rest of the meal.
Here at Cruise Control Marketing, we view responsive and effective web development much like cooking the perfect feast. A lot of work goes into it and you make sure that all the food you create mesh together and will create the perfect gastronomic treat. You pick out the right kind of wine to go with each meal, the right dessert to cap off the magical night, and the right plates and cutlery to present the entire masterpiece.
That said, responsive web design creates more than just a website that people go to for information. It creates an overall experience that people will want to go back to for information.
It takes a village
This exercise called website building requires more than one person (although if you are one of those gifted enough to conceptualize, design and build and run a website on your own, hats off to you). Conceptualizing and implementing a responsive website design entails a few hands on deck – people to help you brainstorm on the preliminary design and functionality of your website, people who will put these creative ideas to life and people who will manage the website and make sure it stays true to your marketing and advertising objectives.
Of course, these tasks can be done by two people dedicated to these functions alone or it can be done through reputation management companies and web development agencies. Doing these tasks on your own, while doable, can be quite tricky especially since you also have a business to run full-time.
Responsive website design takes a village. And you start with a web designer.
What is a web designer?
Effective responsive web development starts at the drawing board – a web designer’s drawing board to be precise. If you have vague ideas about what you want to see on your website, brainstorming with a web designer would help. He or she can help you visualize your ideas, putting them on paper so you can easily decide on what looks good for your brand and what doesn’t. The designer plays around with typography, color, images, and interface to help you come up with a responsive website that flows smoothly and attracts consumers.
Web Designer vs. Graphic Designer
There is a bit of confusion on the differences between web design and graphic design. For many clients, both are artists working in the same creative industry and hence can be interchangeable.
Both graphic and web design fall under the creative industry and require a certain level of skill in the art. They also pretty much work on typography, color, images, and style using the same design tools for the most part with graphic designers able to cross over to web design with ease. However, the similarities end here.
|Font and Typography||Wider range of font because everything is rendered as graphics output.||Originally limited to fonts available to most operating systems. (although personalized fonts can now be used without graphics rendering)|
|Graphics and media||Uses physical sizes (inches, millimeters)|
A wider range of presentation viewports so the integrity of artwork is maintained. Artwork can be presented through various materials.
Limited to the screen so integrity is compromised if a user has a lower quality screen
Graphic design brings ideas to life and renders them on various media. Web design leverages art to make technology more enticing and interactive. It encompasses graphic design itself, user experience and user interface design, search engine optimization and web development to create highly responsive environments for clients.
Web Design vs. Web Development
Here’s another pair that is causing a bit of confusion in terms of the roles they play in web building – web design and web development. The job roles for these two have become so interrelated a lot of people have a hard time understanding where one’s work ends and the other one begins.
To put it simply, web designers focus on the aesthetics and usability of a website. They use design tools to conceptualize and create the visual elements – those items that we the users see on the site – and ensure that each part of the site flows seamlessly with the rest through buttons, content, and font styles.
Can I do this on my own?
In theory, anything can be done by one individual is given the right kind of tools and skillset. You can put up your own website tailored according to what you feel will meet your digital marketing objectives. There are many tools on the market that allows startups to get a website up through starter kits and website builders.
Do take note, however, that if you choose to attempt this on your own and using website builders, you may be limited by the functionality and features that the packages provide. You may not get much in terms of customization options.
If you want more than just a basic website that gives your company an online storefront, you may be better off shopping around for professional web designers and web development companies. Professional services can build your website from the ground up and even handle your search engine marketing particularly if you work with a firm that provides SEO service as well.
One of the advantages of getting a professional to work on your website is you also get your search engine marketing campaign up and going. After all, it’s not enough that you have a highly interactive website. You need to make sure that people actually come in to explore your content.
Search engine optimization is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on getting your website and content to rank in search engine listings to increase your online visibility. An SEO service should be able to help you assess your needs for online marketing and get you started while you’re in the web development phase. This ensures that your website content is developed with the view that you will be promoting it and getting it listed in organic search results later on.
How much will website building cost me?
Budget is always an issue every time clients are asked why they choose to go with a particular digital marketing strategy over another one. When you ask some startups why they choose to make do with basic website builders over investing in professional services, the answer is usually because they cannot afford to spend a lot on digital marketing.
This is perfectly reasonable. Customized services can set you back by hundreds, even thousands of dollars depending on the scope of work the project requires. The key is to work with a reputable web development company according to the type of work you need to get done. The better ones will sit down with you and work around your budget, set realistic expectations on how much the work will cost. They will not promise the moon and the stars. Go for the ones who are known to under-promise but over-deliver based on testimonials from previous clients. You can even visit their client websites just to give you an idea of their workmanship and if their style is more up your alley.
Of course, you can also go with basic website builders. This should cost you nothing more than a few hundred dollars (maybe even less if you go for the free services). Do note that free services usually come with their own caveats that you may not want to sign up for.
Techniques for a responsive web design
When it comes to responsive and effective web development, here are a few things that you will want to keep in mind:
- User Experience – always think of your target audience. Responsive web design is about creating a pleasurable viewing experience for your user. You want to make sure that your content can easily be accessed. A lot of people are always on their smartphones these days so creating a mobile-friendly website might be something that you want to consider. Your design, however, should not be created with the latest mobile device in mind. Your layout should be adaptable to different devices because the latest device at the time you’re developing your website may go obsolete by the time your site actually goes live.
- Keep it simple – Keep your code as clean and simple as possible. Users and even search engines are no longer drawn to so much flash. Cleaner layouts draw more attention to your content and make your website look more professional and substantial. Also, when planning for the mobile version of your site, it’s best to remove the non-essential aspects of the design that may not be applicable. Your mobile website need not be an exact clone of your desktop site.
- Flexible layouts – Your website has to look good on a variety of viewports (screen sizes) so organize your content using columns for more flexibility. Relative width also lets you adapt to the viewport size. Fixed widths will have viewing issues when the screen size is too small or too big.
- Scale – You want your images and all other elements of your site to maintain their quality across different platforms and screen sizes. Using adaptive sizing on your images ensures that you don’t see squashed or overstretched images when you shift to different devices.
- Engagement – a responsive web design encourages user engagement. Make sure your layout allows your users to easily find your call to action and your message is clearly seen on the site. It would not serve your purpose to have your users scrolling down too much just to get to your ‘Contact Us’ button, for instance.
Effective responsive web development takes a bit of technical skill but also there’s a need for soft skills like time management, communication, and internet marketing. When you’re thinking or planning your next web design make sure to keep these things in mind so your website does its job correctly and efficiently!