Step Nine In Web Design – Create Content That Conveys Your Message

Appoint Someone Within Your Company To Write Content For Your Site

Someone within your company must write good content. Do not rely on the web designer. Your management and dedicated staff persons are the most valuable asset of your company. You expect that they are fully invested in the interests of the company and that they have more knowledge about your operations than any other persons on the earth. When it comes to writing the copy for your company website, these are the people you want.

Many web design companies request a small committee be set up of your best employees to oversee the process of website and copy development. The committee will meet with some of the people from the web design company to make sure that the site represents the message of the company. This is an easy task if your company has developed an in-depth mission statement. One of the key issues of web development for companies and industry is that the company must provide its own copy. This company must not depend on the web design company to provide content or to "fill in the blanks". Continue reading

by Greg Nicholl - An Ottawa Website Designer. Passionately In Pursuit of Web Design Power
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Step Eight In Web Design – Determine Your Theme

As luck would have it we tend to put the cart before the horse. We usually start with things that should wait until later. This is true with theme and colors for a website. It is not right to consider theming first, when building a website, any more than it would be to make paint color the first consideration when engineering a car. Design a good workflow, framework and navigation system first. After all of that it is time to do the work of theming.

The World Wide Web has many sites with a lot of creativity and individuality. Now more than ever, theming is important to the success of our websites. You can see that certain features form a trend for a while and many people follow those trends. As I write, the color combination of a pastel blue and an olive-green is very trendy. Find a color combination that suits your tastes or matches the branding of your company and products. Here are some things to keep in mind: Continue reading

by Greg Nicholl - An Ottawa Website Designer. Passionately In Pursuit of Web Design Power
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Step Seven In Web Design – Adding A Shopping Cart

Do You Need A Shopping Cart?

The sale of products online will be necessary to some but not all potential website owners. In order to run an online story you will have to obtain a "Storefront" script or a "Shopping Cart" script and have it built into your website. Some of these scripts range in cost from $50 to $500 or more and some are free. An alternative to integrating a "Storefront Script" is to use a CMS (Content Management E-commerce Shopping Carts System) such as Drupal's Ubercart or VirtueMart for Joomla. This last alternative will involve a lot of work by a qualified Web Designer who deals in CMS design.

Payment Gateways And SSL Certificates

Once the web developers have finished installing the "Storefront" there will be the need of integrating your store to an online payment gateway. This will, usually involve a recurring monthly fee except with the simplest level of PayPal. It will be necessary in some to install a SSL Certificate on your site. You do not want customers to feel like they are entering into an ordering process without being protected by an SSL Certificate. Continue reading

by Greg Nicholl - An Ottawa Website Designer. Passionately In Pursuit of Web Design Power
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Step Six In Web Design – Making Structure And Style Choices

Once we decide the purpose of our site it is necessary to choose the structural and style features. Choose these features based on the type of information you are presenting and how you will present it. These style and structure features are like a house's foundation. Do not regard these features as finishing touches that are easy to change at the end of the project.

Content Management vs. HTML

At the beginning it is important to understand that a website is not just like any other website. An HTML website is good for certain types of purposes while a CMS or Content Management System is the best thing for companies which have greater needs. If you are offering a service or a few products an HTML website may serve perfectly well. For sites which store information such as university sites, a standard HTML site is not the best choice. A database driven system is more efficient in storing that sort of information. If you will be selling a great number of products or need a section for salesmen to log in and enter sales data, then you will need a CMS or database driven website. I have found that the Drupal CMS is very efficient, powerful and adaptive. The CMS can store data on inventory, sales statistics, customer's comments etc. You may easily structure a CMS in such a way to process a large volume of diverse information so that different groups of people have access to it under different situations. It is important to make these decisions early in the process to make certain that we get off on a proper footing.

Flash vs. No Flash

Some people prefer the use of Flash on their site as it aids a very eye pleasing tone and a liberal use of animation. Flash is an animation technology developed, originally by Macromedia Corporation. Designers use Flash in videos, games and menu systems in web design. However, sites made entirely of flash are at a definite disadvantage in terms of Search Engine placement. A search engine crawler cannot read the content displayed in a Flash display since Flash is merely seen as an object and not as text.

Using Flash in a limited way may enhance your website. Smaller Flash scenes serve to add attractive animation to smaller areas of the site or a side bar. Thus Flash done in this way will not obscure the text for the search engine crawler of spider. The excessive use of smaller flash movies is not a good thing on any site. The use of movement on a page is harmful if it is overdone. It is possible to program a flash header or small flash movie so that it only repeats a several times and then stops. Give careful thought to the use of Flash before launching into the site development.

Fixed Width, Fluid Width or Flexible Width

Ask your web designer about the differences in a Fixed Width vs. a Fluid Width site. Each designer has his/her preferences, on this feature, as I have mine. A fluid width site design has its width set up in percentages rather than pixel sizes. It may take up a bit more or even the entire browser screen, depending on the screen resolution. The fluid width site can expand to unreasonably wide sizes if viewed on a really large monitor or on a TV screen. On a really small screen (800 x 600 in this day) the contents of a fluid width site can seem too compressed with little or no white space. Fixed size items such as pictures and video players may slip down to the next line and look unsightly. This design style takes a lot more work to complete than the fixed width site. The fixed width site will always be the same size in pixels. In the fixed width, everything including pictures, video players will always stay put and will always look nice. In my opinion, the fixed width site is the best all-around site design.

You must make these foundational choices and stand by them once the design work begins. To ask for changes after that will result in added fees.

by Greg Nicholl - An Ottawa Website Designer. Passionately In Pursuit of Web Design Power
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