Our ramblings about website design and other things

Content is King

When developing new websites for our customers we are often not given much content to start with and on many occasions we have to ‘squeeze out’ what we need. We get lots of questions about how to generate traffic and there are lots of SEO methods we can use to help with this but quite simply ‘content is king’

Successful websites have good useful content that users want to read, the content must be relevant to your subject and should be changed and updated on a regular basis. Care should be taken not to just try and push a product, try and include more information in your content, readers will quickly see you know what you are talking about as most buyers want to buy from an ‘expert’

Blogs such as this one are great for content and the information provided can be a little less formal than on your website, customers will see you know your subject but the style will also give them a little insight into the ‘behind the scenes’ elements of your business.

Once you have a new stylish and well laid out website then if you are a small business set some time aside each week to make an update, this can be a simple review of a page or changing the graphics or photos on your site, and remember search engines such as google love relevant and changing content.

Which Browser ?

Clients often ask us about which browser should they be using and which browser we optimise our sites for.

In terms of market share Microsoft still dominate with Internet Explorer having a market share of around 60%, second is Mozilla FireFox with a market share of around 23%, third is Google Chrome with around 8% (and growing) and fourth is Safari with 5% and behind that is Opera with around 2% and various other browsers with minor market share.

So generally we test all our sites with Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera but the real growth area is in mobile access. Most mobiles can happily view websites designed for PC access but it is possible to have browser detection for web pages optimised for mobile devices and this is becoming a regular request for us.

Many Website developers take the view that testing with Explorer and Firefox is more than enough and I guess covering around 83% of the market is the majority but in our view one of your customers may have a less popular browser and if your site looks ‘wrong’ then they will not put their hands in their pocket to buy from you.

Developing a Website for Visually Impaired

A client of ours wanted a new website but one of the key areas that we need to take care of was the fact that the site may be visited by a lot of visually impaired visitors.

We did some research on this and we have always thought about accessibility with our designs but generally speaking for this particular project the majority of users were older people with failing eye sight due to age or illness.

The main criteria to think about is the readability of the text and for most users this relates to font size – so for this site we added a font sizer that allowed users to increase the general font and it would remain at the chosen size for every subsequent visit.

We had to think about colours and the contrast of colours for menu items, there needs to be a very distinct contrast such as black on white or black.  We also had to avoid providing information based on slight colour changes such as when a mouse is over an item and again make any colour changes very distinct, often this is not pleasing to the designer but in this case function was more important.

Another area that can help visually impared users is to generally use less graphics and more plain text making the site easier to read and navigate.

All in all with a project like this you need to identify your target users to see how the website design needs to make it accessible to the maximum number of users.