In this blog post I’m going to explore how crucial it is to have great design in order to attract traffic, keep loyal readers and build trust for newcomers.

First off we’ll start with an example of what your website should NOT look like

Hit counter? Incredible blank website with a sketchy feel to it. I would NOT want to buy something here.

Has a consistent theme, looks professional, includes prices and trusted ads along with social media to explore.

If you’re interested in design like I am, you have a certain “Sixth Sense” when it comes to discovering a website you’re unfamiliar with and being able to judge if it’s legit or not.

These days, if I am searching for a new company, brand or service I will of course run a Google search on them. If the only result that comes back from my query is the website…that’s already a red flag. If nobody is talking about it, there’s probably a reason for that.

But then again, the company might be fresh, which can be a possibility. If you cannot find company information or a clear indication of what the website is about…then it might be time to click the “back” button and move on.

There’s a great blog post over on Lorelle’s blog about Design credibility on the web, which I highly suggest reading, and digs deeper on why we choose to trust some websites and not others.

So when it comes to designing your personal website, be sure to include some things such as

  • Company Information
  • An “About Me” section
  • A place for visitors to interact with the company, to insure legitimacy and transparency for other visitors to see.
  • A straight-forward point to your website

So try and make your personal website look a little more like this

and a lot less like this….

Mashable has a great article giving 100 Great Resources for Design Inspiration, have a look and get to work on your next creative endeavor on the web!

Morgan

What in the world is Progressive Enhancement (PE)?

 

PE is the web design journey stemming from simplicity to complexity. Laying down a firm foundation for your website and adding finishing touches that add to the user experience tremendously.

 

I first read Smashing Magazine’s article over Progressive Enhancement (which I keep typing ‘Enchantment’, because i suppose i’m so excited about it) and here’s what I think about it:

 

I’m all for it. If you are working on a website that needs to be cranked out ASAP, it’s vital to have the bare necessities in place before adding onto it. And that’s what PE, is. Going from bare HTML, to adding CSS, and then adding JavaScript.

 

The irony in creating a “stable” website using the PE method, is that it decreases the accessibility of blind and disabled users visiting your website. You should keep this in mind when taking a look at your website’s demographic, and choosing what’s right for your users.

 

Next I read Hesketh’s article, “Progressive Enhancement and the Future of Web Design”

 

This stressed the importance of creating style sheets for certain browsers that may not support CSS features, and since it was 2003 when the article was written, the same can be applied with CSS3 nowadays.

 

You must consider the browser that your visitors are using to access your website, and tailor accordingly if you want to reach the widest audience possible. This also includes a print.css sheet, for users who want to print your awesome website on paper.

 

Yes, it’s a pain to make a million CSS sheets, and it maybe increase the loading time a bit. But if you are working on a large-scale website that is being accessed by users from all kinds of browsers, Progressive Enhancement seems like a no-brainer.

 

Over and out,

Morgan

Check it out here!

Hey there, it’s Morgan again for another awesome monthly post. This assignment was about pursuing my real passion in web design, take initiative and learn something I wanna learn!

So lately I’ve been working on rather minimal websites (3 page max), that get down to the point, look great and get the job done. I’m wanting to learn to utilize CSS3 more than anything else, so I went looking for tutorials I would be interested in.

I came across a great contact form on net tuts plus

i followed every step with the coding and added my own “personal touch” to the envelope.

This personally blew my mind as to how powerful yet humble CSS3 is, and the tutorial was really helpful with explaining what each part of the code related to on the form. I am a very visual kind of guy,  so the pictures were great as well.

Now go out there and try it yourself! I truly feel like I am learning something new every day 🙂

For now,

Morgan

I first started my 5-second-test with the blog THE HEAVY MENTAL

it’s beautifully organized. categories on top, cool interactive header, information at the bottom. no search box, but it engages the user to flip through the pages to see what they have to offer. neat and tidy.

A successful homepage would be VICE, my only complaint is that it’s sort of cluttered with the advertisements. everything is organized, and lets the user explore content that they might have normally ignored.

Another being THE ATLANTIC. Everything is organized at the top, when you skim over a category, it shows recent articles that you can jump right into. I don’t really like that it has TONS of content on the homepage, I guess that’s the age we live in, though. If it’s a reliable news source, they need to show they have the most content to immerse yourself in…even from the home page.

Some unsuccessful sites would be:

Surprise. It’s MySpace. At first glance, you go to the site and what do you think? No seriously…I want to know what you think, because I have no idea what this site is. A blend of music, celebrity-TMZ’ing, social network? It turns me off and makes me want to go somewhere else. It could use a lot more direction as to where you can go, and what the site’s meant to be used as.

Zinc Bistro. It already starts off bad with annoying music, the header looks clickable, but it’s just a picture. it took me a while to figure out that the eggs in the middle were the navigation yolks…they need to add the navigation to the top, lose the eggs, because this design is just rotten.

Every day we open up our browsers, we are the captains of our own cyber-ship. It’s up to us where we decide to set voyage on, and where we must drop an anchor and hang out for a bit. The web is filled with nearly anything you could possible imagine, so you need to know how to diversify yourself from Coors and Bud Light’s of the internet.

When it comes to web design, you are constantly figuring out what is going to look the best among the rest. Should the caption font be 9px or .2 em? Is this a good font for the site? Are there too many fonts? The list goes on and on, but at the end of the day, who are you designing for make the most impact.

We can’t all be building websites that billions of people are going to utilities and someday be more addicted to than the air they breathe. But we can design for a diverse group of people and get our message across in a fashionable way that sets us apart from the rest.

The web is evolving, and so are people’s minds when it comes to how they intend on experiencing the internet.