Millions of mobile phone users browse the web from their devices every day. Estimates are that somewhere between 8% and 10% of all Internet traffic comes from mobile devices these days. Mobile devices are simply extremely handy tools that, thanks to the steady march of technology, are far more than just phones that fit in your pocket and can use SMS to text message other people with similar devices. Today’s top-of-the-line mobile devices are practically fully-functional computers that fit into the palm of your hand.
People use them to upload, download, share, chat, email, take pictures, take video, and even create documents and send them to coworkers on the fly, not to mention browsing the Internet. Oh, my goodness do they ever browse the Internet! Mobile devices have become the new phone books; if you’re out and you realize you need something unusual, you don’t turn to the phone book anymore, you bust out your iPhone and look it up online.
And that, at the heart of it, is why mobile web design is such a vital field. If you’re not capturing those people who are in their cars looking for your business right now, one of your competitors is, and they’re enjoying all of the walk-in traffic that those mobile website hits bring.
There are 3 basic elements that separate a mobile website from a typical one.
A mobile screen can be pretty surprisingly small, even if the resolution looks like it belongs on a desktop monitor (like the iOS line’s new retina displays), the actual size of the buttons you put up on your page will be impossibly tiny if you make them a typical 100×300. So a simple layout with plentifully-sized buttons is a necessity in the mobile web world. Responsive design techniques that can help your website automatically adjust to various screen sizes are readily available from most competent mobile designers.
Most mobile devices are still running on the older 2.5G and 3G networks, and many mobile plans charge for bandwidth use beyond a certain amount. By setting up your website so that it loads with a minimum of elements and avoiding unnecessary audio, video, and other streaming, you improve usability (with faster-loading sites) and don’t strain your user’s bandwidth limitations. By using those limited elements to point your users directly at the most useful and valuable elements of your site, you keep traffic moving where you want it, and where it will most readily convert.
The last key you have to look out for when you design for mobile websites is to design for a touch screen. Like the all in one computers and tablets that are their larger counterparts, almost every mobile device that browses the web does it using some form of touch-screen interface. Not only do your buttons have to be big enough to be easily touched, but you may also want to include touch-specific functionality like swiping and long-taps. Adobe Creative Suite, the layout tool of choice for most mobile web designers, interfaces flawlessly with Adobe Touch to provide this kind of support for mobile sites.
Stock images are an extraordinary resource for web pages. If you don’t have the equipment to create a professional photo and you don’t have the money to pay for a custom-made image, stock images may be the answer you need. But stock photography has its drawbacks, and a big part of using stock photos is knowing when NOT to use them.
DON’T overuse clichéd images
Stock images are kind of like turns of phrase. How many times have you seen something great referred to as ‘top-tier’ or ‘the cream of the crop’? Or heard of a bad situation that ‘it is what it is’? For every overused phrase that drifts around the language, there’s a stock photo (or class of stock photos) that is overused on the Internet — and they should be avoided just as assiduously.
For example, how many pictures have you seen of a call center employee smiling happily into their hands-free microphone? Or of a beach house with a Lamborghini out front and palm trees out back? Or the crowd of smiling, perfect-skinned young executives (don’t forget the token African, Oriental, and female-types) crowded around a laptop gazing at each other in a congratulatory manner? These kinds of ‘visual clichés’ are best avoided at all costs.
DO use images that connect
One of the things that separate clichéd pictures from effective stock photography is that the latter have an element of connectivity to them. Rather than using pictures that make it seem like you’re looking into a fishbowl at people doing something ‘over there’, use pictures that seem to interact with the viewer. Unforced eye contact, genuine smiles, and any sort of apparent physical interaction with the ‘camera’ is an image that is likely to connect.
DON’T fall for the latest photo-fad
Trends come and go, especially in design. While it never hurts to try out the latest and greatest fads, make sure you stay proactive to ensure that your site can stay up to date. Remember, what was once cool five years ago might quickly be seen as being out of date within a matter of a few short months. Make sure that you can always quickly “modernize.”
DO think outside the box
Being literal with your images will convey to the potential client that you’re a literal company. That can be good in certain (rare) contexts, but most people these days are looking for a company that stands out. Rather than showing them something they expect (a man with a hardhat when discussing engineers), show them something that conveys the essence of the subject without being the subject (a solar panel conveys engineering and also environmental awareness.)
Consider stock videos that entice users to hit play. These types of video will encourage users to stay on the site longer and create attachment, which ultimately lowers bounce rate as well as increases conversions.
Keep your pictures minimalist and effective. Jamming too many images into a small space reduces the effect rather than emphasizing it. It also makes it much harder to achieve visual and qualitative consistency across all of your pictures (and the copy they’re associated with). And don’t fear white space, which can sometimes be the most powerful imagery of all.
DO things your way
Stock images are a vital compromise between budget and the need for quality visuals. But you don’t have to use them in ‘stock’ ways just because they’re stock photos. Making minor edits to the images is perfectly acceptable. Find unique places to put them inside the context of the page. Allow them to interact with the text in fun ways. Keep things fresh, alive, and yours, and you’ll find that stock photos can be everything you need and more.
Playing around with ifttt.com. A pretty straightforward concept, tying your different social profiles together, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress & more with a set of rules to streamline the way in which they work together. A good post over at quumf.com explains more - http://quumf.com/2011/04/ifttt-love-ittt/
If you have an astute business mind you are no doubt aware of the huge advantages having a web site can bring to your business.
However, there are many people who, for numerous reasons, either:
a) don’t have a web site.
b) are disillusioned with the look and image their existing web site is portraying; and lack of custom being generated.
There is an ideal solution to these and other dilemmas your business may be facing!
Firstly businesses which do not have a web site are missing out on a huge advertising and marketing potential. For long established small business it is pointless burying your head in the sand thinking that a web site is only for up and coming small businesses. Quite the reverse in fact-using the Internet is a cost effective way to promote your business.
With small business web design companies in Manchester you will be able to select a web design service which is tailored to your individual business needs, while keeping in lines with your established branding, products and services you have built your reputation on.
A web site is a method of advertising and marketing which can reap huge benefits over the more traditional styles. One off ads in newspaper and journals can be costly, these also usually have time limitations placed upon the. A web site is available for your customers to view seven days a week, three hundred and sixty five days a year-it won’t close for lunch or go on holiday either! Having your web site search engine optimised is a great way to generate more custom and maximise potential sales. It is predicted that the people will no longer use sources such as Yellow Pages to find products or services they need. Instead they will use the speed and ease of the Internet search engines to do the work for them. With more and more people using the Internet on a daily basis small businesses which don’t have a web site are missing out on a great advertising opportunity.
For the sceptical that believe the Internet is only for international marketing will be pleased to know that Google has introduced Google Local which caters especially for small businesses serving only their own geographical region. Web design in Manchester will tap into this wonderful resource and put your small business on view to local people on your behalf. It is an unwise business who wishes to continue to thrive not to have a web site.
For those who have a web site but are disillusioned with the layout and image it portrays can use small business web design in Manchester to have it completely redesigned. Professional web sites are an affordable way to create the image of your company. Whether you need a brochure style site or an informative site, Manchester web design companies will help you every step of the way. Your success is their success; they will work with you to meet your individual needs and generate relevant traffic to your site. More relevant traffic means more positive leads which in turn means more potential sales.
Use professional web design companies in Manchester to help your business thrive.
In today’s competitive market the best ways to advertise your business is to get on the Internet. In order to show customers that you are a serious and professional business you will need to have a web site which is intuitive and easy to navigate by your first time and repeat customers.
The best way to guarantee any customers is to ensure that your web site is up to date and very user friendly. Having the time and the ability to successfully achieve this may sound a little daunting. This is were affordable web design companies step in. They will design and build a web site which promotes your business in the best light. Having a web site tells a global market all about you, so it needs to look professional, include new features and working links.
Studies carried out have shown that if a web site looks amateurish, with poor navigation, slow loading pages and links which do not work, people will quite simply exit and try another site. Each time this happens you will have lost a potential customers-something any business can ill afford to do.
Web design companies will work with you to ensure they provide you with a web site which meets all of these key factors while being completely unique to your individual business needs. A professionally designed web site can mean the difference between your customers staying to browse your products or services or clicking away.
With so many web design companies it may be difficult to choose which one to go with. It is worth noting that the cheapest does not necessarily mean the worst. There are many cheap web design companies who offer a top rate service building high quality web sites.
In a similar vein don’t be fooled into thinking the more you pay the better the site will be! Opt for web design companies which have proven track records of providing good service. One way to do this would be to use a search engine and type in affordable web design companies and look at the ones on the first page!
Look for up to date information about the company-let’s face it, if their own web site is not up to date it does not give a very good impression as to what you might expect them to do with your site! Also look at other companies which have used them, read testimonials and of course recommendations are always a sign of a good company.
It’s all very well having a web site but unless it has search engine optimisation it will simply sit on the Internet and do nothing! Customers need to know how and where to find you. Choose a web design company which is not only creative but also specialises and understands web marketing and the importance of search engine results is an absolute must if you want your web site to generate more custom for you. Effective web design is not an overnight thing, it evolves over many months and even years. Your investment in affordable web design may well be the difference between your company’s success or failure.
Just a quick post to announce the website is now live.