Posts Tagged ‘Web’

PostHeaderIcon Choosing A Web Designer



Article Source: JunkieYard Dot Com

Choosing A Web Designer: A Plan To Guide You Through The Minefield

by: Robin Porter

Choosing a web designer can seem like a daunting task. They come in all shapes and sizes – from freelancers working at home to glossy new media agencies, and there is as much variation in prices and service as there is in size.

So how do you choose the right one for your business?

Select Your Marketplace

Firstly, decide what market your would like to select from: local , national or overseas.

If you would feel more comfortable meeting your designer, and running through your project face to face (maybe it’s the kind of project that needs to “evolve”) ,and your ethos is “quality of service” rather than “Pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap” then a local web designer is for you. They can usually provide better back up, and be able to meet face to face to discuss your project and iron out any problems should they occur.

If you are a bit more budget conscious, then it makes sense to select from a “wider pool”. Getting quotes from designers across your country will usually obtain a more competitive quote. What you lose in face-to-face service is made up for in cost savings, and all but the largest web projects can usually be sorted out via telephone and email these days.

For the extremely cost conscious and value for money orientated (some would even say “brave”!) there is the overseas market. If you know exactly what you are looking for and can explain your project thoroughly and clearly in writing, then there are huge savings to be made. But what you save in price is invariably countered by having to do a little more work on your side – particularly when it comes to communication!

Finding Web Designers

To find a list of local web designers consult your Yellow Pages (or equivalent) or do a web search for “web designer ” “your area”. Looking further a field, you can do a web search or check out directories such as www.recommended-web-designers.co.uk . For overseas designers, go to web sites such as www.elance.com or www.rentacoder.com, the latter offering the benefit of escrow and arbitration services.

Draw up a shortlist

Draw up a shortlist of 3 or 4 designers to speak to. You can do this by visiting their websites, getting a feel for the type and size of business they are and looking at their online portfolio. Then call them – ask them questions about the type of clients they work for, timeframes and any other technical questions you have. Get a feel for how they communicate – whether they are on the same wavelength as you.

If you opted to go overseas, the websites already mentioned have ratings systems which can help you decide, and you can also send and receive private messages to ask questions.

Get Quotes

Once you have your shortlist, you can get quotes. For a straightforward website this can be a simple fixed price – for a more complicated project that is likely to evolve, you may just want to get a budget price at this stage, and then pin down details and a fixed price with your preferred bidder later. Always specify your expected timeframe for completion when obtaining quotes as this can affect prices.

Get References

Once you have your preferred bidder, get references. Any established web designer will be able to provide details of satisfied clients. Email them and ask if they were happy with the service received, if the job was completed on time, how unforeseen problems were dealt with etc.

Remember to trust your instincts: If you are not entirely happy with the references you obtain, walk away and select another designer.

Appoint your web designer

You now have a fixed price, references, and confirmed timescale for your project. Now appoint your designer!

Most have standard agreements -read them carefully, and if in doubt get your legal adviser to look them over. Make sure timescales and project milestones are specified, as well as payment terms. Find out how alterations to your project are dealt with – in terms of cost and delays – and how disputes if they arise would be settled.

Finally, when you are completely happy, sign on the dotted line and look forward to a productive working relationship with your web designer!

© 2005 Robin Porter.

About the author:
Robin Porter has been CEO of of London based web designer Arpey Internet (http://www.arpey.co.uk) for over six years.

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Article Source: The Only Yard For The Internet Junkie
If you like all this stuff here then you can buy me a pack of cigarettes.

PostHeaderIcon Converting Print Advertising For Use On The Web



Article Source: JunkieYard Dot Com

Converting Print Advertising For Use On The Web – A How-To

by: J Hancock

Contrary to the beliefs of some, advertising for web and print are very different. Converting print ads for use on the web is very tricky. What has been very successful on paper may have no impact at all on the screen. When I am asked “How do I convert my print ads to web?” my answer is simple: don’t! Web and print are so vastly different that I believe you should never build your web pages based on a print ad.

There are certain rules that web design must follow that simply don’t apply to print. One of my colleagues, Tim Pattison, broke these rules down very concisely recently:

  • Usability
  • Browser compatibility
  • Designing within the constraints of (X)HTML
  • Accessibility

These are the four rules that web design must follow. I will explain these rules in detail later. For now though we need to talk about copywriting. As I said in my last newsletter Web Site Templates and Their Benefits, the most important part of your website is content. Search engines and disabled users don’t care how your site looks. They only care about the information your site presents. The reason I’m coming back to this is to explain that writing web copy is an entirely different ball game from writing print copy. Quite possibly the best resource for writing web copy is the book “Web Copy That Sells” by Maria Veloso. It outlines the differences between the two and gives great techniques to writing for the web. I will be revisiting this topic in my newsletters to come, so make sure you visit often.The four rules exclusive to web design: usability, browser compatibility, design within the constraints of (x)html, and accessibility, are the four horsemen of doom for the uneducated, inexperienced designer. They are some of the most overlooked aspects of web design, and yet some of the most important.

  • Usability: Unlike print ads, web sites are interactive. Users must be able to easily find their way around, and they need a clear path to the information they are trying to find. If you are selling a product, there needs to be a clear, concise, distraction free path from the home page all the way to the check out page.
  • Browser compatibility: In a perfect world you could design your web site once and it would look perfect and stay perfect in all browsers. Unfortunately, we live in the real world where some browsers support a set of standards and others simply don’t. Actually, the most popular browser in the world has for years lived by their own rules. While MS Internet Explorer still holds the majority of the market share, Mozzilla, Netscape, and Opera have acquired a considerable percentage of the browser market. In fact, it’s high enough of a percentage to make Microsoft revise their plans to release IE 7.0. While competition is healthy, it makes for headaches for web designers. It is not uncommon to have your site looking perfect in one browser only to find that your entire design explodes when viewed with another.
  • Designing within the constraints of (x)html: When you lay out a print ad, you place the images where they belong on the page, draw out any shapes, lay out the colors, and place the text. Then you print it out and make copies. Every copy you hand out looks exactly the same, and there’s nothing magic about the way things stay on the page. In web design, everything is held in place by code. You could easily have a four to one ratio of code to content. If you are not familiar with the coding involved in keeping your site looking like it’s supposed to, it can be very frustrating laying out your design.
  • Accessibility: Back to our perfect world – not only would browsers be perfect, but all our viewers would look through the same eyes. Unfortunately, some people aren’t blessed with good eyesight or motor skills like you and I. We need to consider that for those who have disabilities, a poorly laid out website can be completely useless. You could ignore that audience, but you would be doing yourself a disservice. And let’s not forget, our biggest and most important group of users is completely blind: search engine spiders. They read your website the same way a blind person does. If the layout of your site isn’t logical, a spider may leave and not bother coming back for a long time.

Considering these things, I think it is always best to design your web site separate from your print advertising. Always write fresh copy for the web, and remember that it’s not enough to write great copy once. You need to update your site regularly to keep the search engines interested.
About the AuthorJ Hancock is the president and founder of HighTide Web Services. We are proud to be a fast growing, California based web services firm, offering high quality web site templates from some of the best designers out there, as well as excellent and affordable web hösting

HighTideTemplates.com HighTideHosting.com

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Article Source: The Only Yard For The Internet Junkie
If you like all this stuff here then you can buy me a pack of cigarettes.

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