Web Design London
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The web presence for your business is far too important to be left to chance or put together off the peg. Working closely with Vsourz a leader in the field of web design in London, you’ll play a full role in designing and building a website which combines technical excellence and cutting edge programming with a holistic understanding of everything that makes your business unique. In our hands your online presence will be a natural and highly effective extension of the rest of your business, going into the world on your behalf and bringing back traffic and customer.
Overview of Web Design
Good web design isn’t merely a question of taking the principles of good magazine design, for example, or good advert design, and thinking that you can apply them to the web in a haphazard manner. On the contrary, effective web design is a discipline in its’ own right, pulling together a wide variety of skills and techniques and synthesising them into a coherent whole. The key point of any online presence must always be usability. When thinking about web design, considering the options, weighing up the latest technology and the use of highly technical skills such as coding, it’s easy to lose sight of this simple truth. Most of the people who visit any website know very little about web design, and they’re happy with that situation. All that they know is how quickly the website in question loads, whether it makes it easy to find what they’re looking for, if it asks too many pointless questions before allowing them to make a purchase, in short, whether it ‘works’. The stuff beneath the bonnet, as it were, should be invisible – doing the job of allowing users to interact with your business in an instinctive and natural manner without thinking twice about the technology making it possible for them to do so. Clearly, then, there are many facets of good web design which have to be borne in mind, but there are also certain simple, key principles which, if you adhere to them, will provide a strong yet flexible framework.
1. Keep It Simple – When your homepage opens, the last thing you want is for the user to be made to think. Whilst teaser campaigns and quirky, oblique messages may work in more considered formats, the internet is all about speed. The time spent trying to figure out exactly what a cryptic slogan or image mean, is time that will be spent clicking onto another site.
2. Don’t Ask for Too Much - Many websites require users to register and join before using the service. This is a mistake. Trying the users patience before they’ve found out how good your service or product is, is not the way to go about fostering business. Remember that ease of use is all.
3. Keep the Focus Tight – What is your site, what does it do, what purpose does it serve? The homepage should express this with a single clear image or a couple of words which are large and easily picked out. Good web design is all about focusing this message and punching it out clearly.
4. Ease of Navigation – Ask the average user what they want from a website more than anything and they’ll tell you that it’s about being able to find what they want easily and quickly. Forget clever design or cutting edge interactivity, by far the most crucial component of web design is a navigation system which is simple to understand, with menu’s which are easy to read and intuitive to operate.
5. Content Counts – It’s well known that writing for the web has to be specifically tailored; short sharp paragraphs and sentences, bullet points and the avoiding of big blocks of text. Never adhere to these conventions at the price of quality, however. If the content on your site is top quality, visitors will naturally assume that there’s a chance that everything else you do will follow suit. If it’s poorly written and littered with mistakes, the reverse is true.
6. Empty Space Isn’t Wasted Space – Visitors to your site spend all day every day being bombarded with visual stimuli. Leave a few gaps and empty spaces on your pages and the chances are they’ll come as something of a relief, thus encouraging further exploration.
7. Don’t Innovate For Its Own Sake – There are certain conventions which people expect to see when logging onto websites. For example, a link which is clicked on will turn from blue to purple. Any move away from a convention like this is bound to confuse visitors. If you’re going to break a convention like this when working on web design, then make sure the solution you’ve come up with is a serious improvement.
8. Test – It’s vital that you test the ideas for your site at every step of the process, from the earliest stages of development and throughout the ongoing process. Wherever possible, have your site tested for usability by people who know little, if anything, about web design. Their concerns and observations are likely to match those of the average user. Don’t think that the testing has finished once your design has been launched – keep going back and retesting to ensure that it works in a real world situation.
The Principles of Web Design
One of the key facts to bear in mind when considering web design is that every single site is unique. Whilst listing underlying factors and articles of framework which can be applied across the board, it’s easy to forget that the key aim of every site is to fully capture the business it is representing, and that this can only be done by working extremely closely with said business, and absorbing everything there is to know about the product or service they provide, the market they’re aiming for and the ethos which underpins the way they do business. That’s why the best web design in London comes about as a result close collaboration between a company such as Vsourz and the client.
Having said that, however, there are certain principles which flow from the overview of web design previously detailed on this site. These principles are firm enough to provide a good foundation whilst being flexible enough to work across a huge range of sites. These generalised principles can be made to work under specific conditions:
1. Map For The Eye – When a page opens, there is a window of a few seconds, during which you can grab the attention of the visitor and ensure that they know exactly what kind of site they’re looking at. Being able to do this relies upon knowledge of the way in which people’s eyes ‘read’ a web page. For example, people look at the top left hand side of a page first, mimicking the way in which they read printed text, and so the logo and key opening text should be positioned here. This is the simple bit, however, and guiding a visitor around the rest of the page requires a firm grasp of features such as the following –
Colour: The use of colour can guide the eye around the page, with visitors attracted to blocks of bright colour first.
Contrast: A similar principle to that at work with the use of colour. On a generally dark page, for example, something which contrasts through its’ brightness will stand out.
Position: Starting from the top left corner, the eye reads a web page in a specific order. Knowing this order means that you can position the elements in the order in which you wish to have them noticed.
Visual Features: Graphic items such as illustrations can draw the eye and, if used sparingly, will do so without overcrowding every other feature on the page.
Scale: Items of differing size will draw the eye to a different degree, with the larger being more easily spotted.
2. Space – Good web design is about what isn’t there as much as what is. The space between the lines of text has to be exactly calibrated. If the words are too close together, then the dense blocks of text will appear off putting, but if the lines are too widely spaced the text won’t flow properly. Similarly, a reasonable distance has to be maintained between the edges of text and any accompanying illustrations. Empty space can also be used as a design feature in its’ own right. A statement or illustration in the middle of a blank page will have the maximum impact.
3. Getting Around – If your homepage creates a fantastic impact, but the navigation onward is difficult to get to grips with, then all the hard work you’ve put into your web design will be wasted. Navigation should be easy to spot and easy to use. There are few things which visitors find more frustrating, for example, than drop down menus which scroll back up when you move the cursor down the list. Cues for navigating to and from a page should be obvious and clear, and the conventions used should be consistent throughout the site. Ease of movement from page to page is as vital to good web design as the content of those individual pages.
4. Practicality - When you’re working on web design it’s vital to ensure that the good design ideas you come up with are easy to actually implement, and will be cost effective. A design feature which slows down development and thus ramps up expenditure will be highly unlikely to pay its way. As more and more ecommerce shifts onto hand held and portable devices, web design has to bear this in mind, and has to be built with smaller screen functionality and accessibility firmly in consideration.
5. Use of Typography – The rules for typography when working on web design are similar to those which can be applied when designing printed matter, bearing in mind the particular emphasis on line spacing and paragraphing. The size of the font you utilise should be chosen with an eye to the fact that the text may well be accessed on a smaller screen. The actual look of the font will create an impression of the business in question, another convention carried over from printed text.
6. Usability – Probably the most important aspect of any site is the ease with which visitors can use it. In a sense, this is a question of rolling together all of the principles already outlined. Does it work in the way that the user will be used to? Are any design innovations clearly worked into this use of convention? Is the path from homepage to checkout clear and easy to follow? Does the page load quickly enough – if it takes longer than five seconds then the chances are that any visitor who hasn’t come via a specific recommendation will simply move on. Is every different factor of the website integrated into a whole, so that the look, feel and navigating tools are maintained throughout?
Different Phases Of The Web Design Process
When you come to us seeking a web design service, we break the process down in to five distinct phases. Although each of these phases is separate, the learning from each one will be fed forward into the next, forming a seamless process leading toward ecommerce solutions for every type and size of business.Phase One: Gathering Information
When you first get in touch with us at Vsourz, we’ll start the process by getting to know you. A web presence which truly represents your business will come about as a result of a close collaboration between us and you, for the duration of which we’ll virtually become a part of your business, learning everything about the way you work and the image of yourself which you wish to present to the world. Amongst the many facts which we need to gather during this process are the nature of the service or product which you provide, the market you’re seeking to reach and the exact nature of the work which you want to have done, whether this entails a small website, a larger website, SEO work or an all encompassing ecommerce strategy.Phase Two: Planning
Having gathered together the relevant information in phase one, the next phase of web design is to apply that information and use it to draw up a map of the intended site. This map will break the site down into relevant pages, dividing the information you wish to convey into thematic areas and devising the navigational paths between these pages.Phase Three: Design
Using the map we’ve drawn up as a guide, we set about designing the actual on-screen look and feel of the site. At this point in the process, it’s vital that the client and designer work very closely together, since the impression created by the site is vital when reaching out to and attracting the target audience. Several prototypes will be drawn up, each modified gradually according to the clients wishes.Phase Four: Development
Having arrived at a prototype which suits the needs of the clients, the next process of web design is to turn that prototype into an actual website. This is the most technically demanding part of the process, requiring that first the home page and then the rest of the site are built via coding and programming. It’s at this point that items such as a shopping cart or any flash or video input will be created. Development is the phase at which the two elements of good web design come together. The first being the dedication to understanding the needs of, and working in close collaboration with, the business concerned, the second element taking the form of the technical skill and technological know-how required to transform this learning into a smoothly functioning and completely representative online presence.
Throughout this phase of the process, input and comment from the client will be sought on a regular basis, and fed back into the work.Phase Five: Delivery and Testing
Once the site has been developed to the approval of both the web design company and the client, then it is ready to be launched in a real world environment. Once the site is up and running its’ vital that a rigorous testing regimen is set in place. The functionality, code validation and optimization of the site have to be fully examined, and any last minute flaws or faults ironed out. It’s also vital, however, that ongoing testing is maintained, particularly in regard to the usability of the site. The input from representative end users who have no knowledge of the way in which the site was built is often invaluable.
Premium Web Design
At Vsourz we pride ourselves on providing the very best web design in London. That’s because we have a keen understanding of both how vital your online presence is to your business, and how a truly effective website is created through a particular blend. The elements which we blend together in perfect measure include old fashioned sentiments such as customer service and friendliness, and a commitment to utilising the latest in cutting edge technology to get your message across in the most high impact manner possible. It’s all about competition, and if your competitors have just started using a particular web feature, then rest assured it’s one which we were recommending a couple of months ago. No matter the size of your business, or the exact nature of the service you want us to provide, we’ll get to know you on an in depth level, meaning that, for the duration of the process, we are an actual part of your business, not just some outside agency. The result will be an online presence which captures the ethos of your business and drives custom as an advertising medium, commercial tool and delivery system.
Web Designs we’ve developed:
We provide a bespoke service for all of our clients, tailoring our solutions to their requirements. Amongst the sites we’re proud to have worked on are the following:
Signature Car Hire – A prestige car hire site built to provide dream cars to discerning customers. Built around slick usability and upmarket visual appeal.
Foodado – An artisan food site put together to create the look and feel of a small bespoke delicatessen. Combines hi tech delivery with a hand crafted ethos.
Hispek – A site selling electronic goods at highly competitive prices. Built so that the budget offering and ease of use are to the fore – prices are highlighted and the purchasing process simplified and made as quick as possible.
Simplecanvas – Site which turns digital photographs into bespoke canvas prints. Built to make the design of your canvas as simple as possible, meaning that no computing experience is necessary. Functionality is the key to this sites success.
Important Web Design Factors
Designing and building an effective website is only part of the battle. The best website in the world will be worth nothing if it doesn’t attract sufficient traffic. Search Engine Optimisation is all about ensuring that traffic is driven to your site, and good web design is about keeping that traffic and turning visits into commerce. Factors which will build robust SEO include the following:
Load Speeds – Make sure your site is streamlined and free from excess multimedia material. Faster loading time is all the more important when handheld and mobile devices are borne in mind.
Unique Content – Create original content and update it on a regular basis. Updated content keeps your site fresh and relevant
Cross Browser Compatibility – Make sure that your site works across a range of different browsers. If it’s not accessible to people then, by definition, they can’t visit it.
Keyword – Take care and time over your choice of keyword phrase, but don’t over use it to the point where it impedes readability. Try to come up with a phrase which is popular, but not so popular that a million other sites have had the same idea.
Professional Design – A site which looks professional will pull traffic towards it, and encourage repeat visits.
Site Navigation – People want a site which is easy to get around, and where it’s simple to find what they want. The ease of navigation you provide will ensure that this is the case.
Links – Try to get links from reputable sites with good reputations. The value the site embodies will reflect on your own site. The more external links your site has, the more popular Google will see it as being.