Effective web Designing

Usability and the utility, is not the visual design, it determines the success or failure of a web-site. Since the visitor of the page is the only person who clicks the mouse and therefore decides everything, user-centric design has become a standard approach for successful and profit-oriented web design. After all, if users can’t use a feature, it might as well not exist. The use of typography, symbols, color, and other static and dynamic graphics are used to convey facts, concepts and emotions. This makes up an information-oriented, systematic graphic design which helps people understand complex information. Successful visual communication through information-oriented, systematic graphic design relies on some key principles of graphic design.

Design Considerations
There are three factors that should be considered for the design of a successful user interface:

  • Development factors
  • Visability factors and
  • Acceptance factors.

Development factors help by improving visual communication. These include: platform constraints, tool kits and component libraries, support for rapid prototyping, and customizability.

Visibility factors take into account human factors and express a strong visual identity. These include: human abilities, product identity, clear conceptual model, and multiple representations.

Included as acceptance factors are an installed base, corporate politics, international markets, and documentation and training.

In order to use the best principles properly we first need to understand how users might interact with websites, and how they think, what are the basic patterns of users’ behavior.

How do users think? Link

The basic habit of most users’ on the Web aren’t that different from customers’ habits in a store. Visitors glance at each new page, scan some of the text, and click on the first link that catches their interest or vaguely resembles the thing they’re looking for. In fact, there are large parts of the page they don’t even look at. Most users search for something interesting (or useful) and clickable; as soon as some promising candidates are found, users click. If the new page doesn’t meet users’ expectations, the Back button is clicked and the search process is continued.

Users appreciate quality and credibility. If a page provides users with high-quality content, they are willing to compromise the content with advertisements and the design of the site. This is the reason why not-that-well-designed websites with high-quality content gain a lot of traffic over years. Content is more important than the design which supports it.

Users don’t read, they scan. Analyzing a web-page, users search for some fixed points or anchors which would guide them through the content of the page.

Web users are impatient and insist on instant gratification. Its a Very simple principle concept: If a web-site isn’t able to meet users’ expectations, then the designer has failed to get his job done properly and the company may lose money capitalized on the website. The higher is the cognitive load and the less intuitive is the navigation, the more willing are users to leave the web-site and search for alternatives. [JN / DWU]

Users don’t make optimal choices. Users don’t search for the quickest way to find the information they’re looking for. Neither do they scan webpage in a linear fashion, going sequentially from one site section to another one. Instead users satisfice; they choose the first reasonable option. As soon as they find a link that seems like it might lead to the goal, there is a very good chance that it will be immediately clicked. Optimizing is hard, and it takes a long time. Satisfying is more efficient.

Users follow their intuition.It is seen in most of the studied cases users muddle through instead of reading the information a designer has provided on the designs. According to Steve Krug, the basic reason for that is that users don’t care. “If we find something that works, we stick to it. It doesn’t matter to us if we understand how things work, as long as we can use them. If your audience is going to act like you’re designing billboard, then design great billboards.”

Users want to have control. Users always want to be able to control their browser and mostly rely on the consistent data presentation throughout the site. E.g. they don’t want new windows popping up unexpectedly and they want to be able to get back with a “Back”-button to the site they’ve been before: therefore it’s always a good practice to never open links in new browser windows.

1. Don’t make users think Link
According to Krug’s first law of usability, the web-page should be obvious and self-explanatory. When creating a new site, designer job is to get rid of the question marks — the decisions users need to make consciously, considering pros, cons and alternatives.

If the navigation and site architecture aren’t intuitive, the number of question marks grows and makes it harder for users to comprehend how the system works and how to get from point A to point B. A clear structure, moderate visual clues and easily recognizable links can help users to find their path to their aim.

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Visible Language and clarity

Visible language refers to all of the graphical techniques used to communicate the message or context. These include:
Layout: formats, proportions, and grids; 2-D and 3-D organization
Typography: selection of typefaces and typesetting, including variable width and fixed width
Color and Texture: color, texture and light that convey complex information and pictoral reality
Imagery: signs, icons and symbols, from the photographically real to the abstract
Animation: a dynamic or kinetic display; very important for video-related imagery
Sequencing: the overall approach to visual storytelling
Sound: abstract, vocal, concrete, or musical cues
Visual identity: the additional, unique rules that lend overall consistency to a user interface. The overall decisions as to how the corporation or the product line expresses itself in visible language.

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2. Don’t squander users’ patience Link
In every project when we are going to offer our visitors some service or tool, user requirements should be kept minimal. The less action is required from users to test a service, the more likely a random visitor is to actually try it out. First-time visitors are willing to play with the service, not filling long web forms for an account they might never use in the future. Let users explore the site and discover your services without forcing them into sharing private data. It’s not reasonable to force users to enter an email address to test the feature.
As Ryan Singer — the developer of the 37Signals team — states, users would probably be eager to provide an email address if they were asked for it after they’d seen the feature work, so they had some idea of what they were going to get in return.

3. Manage to focus users’ attention Link
As web-sites provide both static and dynamic content, some aspects of the UI(user interface) can attract attention more than others do. Obviously, images are more eye-catching than the text — just as the sentences marked as bold are more attractive than plain text.
The human eye is a highly non-linear device, and web-users can instantly recognize edges, patterns and motions. This is why video-based advertisements are extremely annoying and distracting, but from the marketing perspective they perfectly do the job of capturing users’ attention.

4. Strive for feature exposure Link
Modern web designs are usually criticized due to their approach of guiding users with visually appealing 1-2-3-done-steps, large buttons with visual effects etc. But from the design perspective these elements actually aren’t a bad thing. On the contrary, such guidelines are extremely effective as they lead the visitors through the site content in a very simple and user-friendly way.

5.Color Design Principles

The three basic principles can also be applied to color: color organization, color economy, and color communication. Color organization pertains to consistency of organization. Color should be used to group related items. A consistent color code should be applied to screen displays, documentation, and training materials.  Similar colors should infer a similarity among objects. One needs to be complete and consistent when grouping objects by the same color. Once a color coding scheme has been established, the same colors should be used throughout the GUI and all related publications. The second principle of color, color economy, suggests using a maximum of 5+/-2 colors where the meaning must be remembered. The fundamental idea is to use color to augment black-and-white information, i.e. design the display to first work well in black-and-white. Color emphasis suggests using strong contrasts in value and chroma to draw the user’s attention to the most important information. Confusion can result if too many figures or background fields compete for the viewer’s attention. The hierarchy of highlighted, neutral, and low-lighted states for all areas of the visual display must be designed carefully to provide the maximum simplicity and clarity. Color communication deals with legibility, including using appropriate colors for the central and peripheral areas of the visual field. Color combinations influenced least by the relative area of each color should be used. Red or green should not be used in the periphery of the visual field, but in the center. If used in the periphery, you need a way to capture the attention of the viewer, size change or blinking for example. Blue, black, white, and yellow should be used near the periphery of the visual field, where the retina remains sensitive to these colors. If colors change in size in the imagery, the following should be considered: as color areas decrease in size, their value (lightness) and chroma will appear to change. Use colors that differ in both chroma and value. Avoid red/green, blue/yellow, green/blue, and red/blue combinations unless a special visual effect is needed. They can create vibrations, illusions of shadows, and afterimages. For dark viewing situations, light text, then lines, and small shapes on medium to dark backgrounds should be used in slide presentations, workstations and videos. For light-viewing situations, use dark (blue or black) text, thin lines and small shapes on light background. These viewing situations include overhead transparencies and paper.

6. Economize
Four major points to be considered: simplicity, clarity, distinctiveness, and emphasis.

Simplicity includes only the elements that are most important for communication. It should also be as unobstrusive as possible.
Clarity: All components should be designed so their meaning is not ambiguous.
Distinctiveness: The important properties of the necessary elements should be distinguishable.
Emphasis: The most important elements should be easily perceived. Non-critical elements should be de-emphasized and clutter should be minimized so as not to hide critical information.

7. Make use of effective writing Link
As the Web is different from print, it’s necessary to adjust the writing style to users’ preferences and browsing habits. Promotional writing won’t be read. Long text blocks without images and keywords marked in bold or italics will be skipped. Exaggerated language will be ignored.

Talk business. Avoid cute or clever names, marketing-induced names, company-specific names, and unfamiliar technical names. For instance, if you describe a service and want users to create an account, “sign up” is better than “start now!” which is again better than “explore our services”.

8. Strive for simplicity Link
its always good practice while designing to follow the best principle of designing “keep it simple”-principle (KIS) should be the primary goal of site design. Users are rarely on a site to enjoy the design; furthermore, in most cases they are looking for the information despite the design. Strive for simplicity instead of complexity.
From the visitors’ point of view, the best site design is a pure text, without any advertisements or further content blocks matching exactly the query visitors used or the content they’ve been looking for. This is one of the reasons why a user-friendly print-version of web pages is essential for good user experience.

9. Don’t be afraid of the white space Link
Actually it’s really hard to overestimate the importance of white space. Not only does it help to reduce the cognitive load for the visitors, but it makes it possible to perceive the information presented on the screen. When a new visitor approaches a design layout, the first thing he/she tries to do is to scan the page and divide the content area into digestible pieces of information.
Complex structures are harder to read, scan, analyze and work with. If you have the choice between separating two design segments by a visible line or by some whitespace, it’s usually better to use the whitespace solution. Hierarchical structures reduce complexity (Simon’s Law): the better you manage to provide users with a sense of visual hierarchy, the easier your content will be to perceive.

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10. Conventions are our friends Link
Conventional design of site elements doesn’t result in a boring web site. In fact, convention designs and conventions are very useful as they reduce the learning curve, the need to figure out how things work. For instance, it would be a usability nightmare if all web-sites had different visual presentation of RSS-feeds. That’s not that different from our regular life where we tend to get used to basic principles of how we organize data (folders) or do shopping (placement of products).

With conventions its easy to gain users’ confidence, trust, reliability and prove credibility. Follow users’ expectations — understand what they’re expecting from a site navigation, text structure, search placement etc.

11. Testing and seting benchmark, test often Link
This so-called TETO-principle should be applied to every web design project as usability tests often provide crucial insights into significant problems and issues related to a given layout.
Test not too late, not too little and not for the wrong reasons. In the latter case it’s necessary to understand that most design decisions are local; that means that you can’t universally answer whether some layout is better than the other one as you need to analyze it from a very specific point of view (considering requirements, stakeholders, budget etc.).

Some important points to keep in mind:
according to Steve Krug, testing one user is 100% better than testing none and testing one user early in the project is better than testing 50 near the end. Accoring to Boehm’s first law, errors are most frequent during requirements and design activities and are the more expensive the later they are removed.
testing is an iterative process. That means that you design something, test it, fix it and then test it again. There might be problems which haven’t been found during the first round as users were practically blocked by other problems.

usability tests always produce useful results. Either you’ll be pointed to the problems you have or you’ll be pointed to the absence of major design flaws which is in both cases a useful insight for your project.

according to Weinberg’s law, a developer is unsuited to test his or her code. This holds for designers as well. After you’ve worked on a site for few weeks, you can’t observe it from a fresh perspective anymore. You know how it is built and therefore you know exactly how it works — you have the wisdom independent testers and visitors of your site wouldn’t have.

Bottom line: TO MAKE A SITE a GREAT  SITE, ONE GOT TO MAKE SURE IT IS TESTED AND DEPLOYED.

Keywords in SEO

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Keywords are essential to every aspect of a SEO campaign, from on-site placement and usage to link prospecting and acquisition. Knowing which terms to target and how to target them can either produce great results or end in a huge flop.

There’s no denying that content marketing has become a top priority for many businesses SEO strategy these days. Yet despite the value quality content can bring to areas like demand and lead generation, a recent study by Content Marketing Institute reports that web traffic is still the most common criteria used to measure content marketing success. While the world of SEO has certainly evolved over the years, keyword research remains the cornerstone of any successful SEO strategy. It’s true, Google algorithm updates are designed to place more emphasis on content quality, but at the end of the day, people still have to type something into the search field to get results.

Defining and categorizing keywords will help in your link outreach and community building online, both of which are essential in order to drive relevant traffic to web sites. While there are a number of schools of thought when it comes to the types of keywords we should use, Let’s walk through types and will how to use them in all areas of our SEO strategy.

1. Market-defining keywords:
Market-defining keywords are terms and phrases of the target audience, use them when talking about your business or industry. These phrases are usually very broad and generic, so they are often much harder to rank for than others; nonetheless, they are still extremely important. These terms are critical in the on-page optimization process. Following SEO best practices, add these terms throughout your site pages. Market-defining keywords are also helpful in jump-starting your content creation. Framing these keywords inside broader questions can help in development of some great content for the web site or blog. When it comes to link acquisition, use these terms to prospect for link- or community-building opportunities. Manual link building is not the most glamorous thing these days, but it works better than any other method. These terms may uncover some other great sites within your field that you can partner with.

2. Know your audience:
This may be the most overlooked (and more important) part of keyword research. Before marketers can choose the best keywords for their websites, they first need to understand who they are optimizing for. Market research should be applied to help marketers get into the heads of their target audiences. Understanding the topics that are important to customers is the first step to narrowing down the keywords that are most likely to draw them to your site.

3. Target longtail phrases:
It’s very important that marketers choose the right keywords that are specific to their particular markets, also known as “longtail” keyword phrases. For instance, the term “training” alone could refer to anything from sports training to dog training — not exactly a niche audience. To optimize content for the right people, it’s important to be specific. “Sales training” is good, but “B2B sales training” is better, and “books on B2B sales training” beats them all. Longtail phrases also tend to have lower competition, increasing the odds of higher page ranks in Google.

4. Customer-defining keywords:
Customer-defining keywords are the terms and phrases are customers use to define themselves. What do customers call themselves? How do they refer to others in their group? These two questions will guide in uncovering these powerful keywords. This type of keyword is important because it will help you discover others who relate to your target audience. Some may be directly related to your customer base, and others may be in a similar niche. Either way, by using these terms, can uncover some great insight into how the audience speaks and how can frame the site in a way that entices them to interact. SEO is much more than just search; it’s about creating a connection. Customer-defining keywords will help connect with those who want or need the products or services. By understanding how your audience defines themselves, we can create better content, build more contextually appropriate links and build better, more authentic connections online.

5. Product keywords:
Product keywords describe what we sell. When listing out and researching these terms, lets be specific about it. For example, if we are selling computers, we need to use the brand names as well: Dell laptop, MacBook Pro, Surface Pro and so on. This will help us in uncovering some great opportunities and prospects which helps in meeting very specific niches within our target customer segments. In most spaces, we find smaller segments that are very devoted to a particular brand, style or type of product. Within these segments, we will find the product enthusiasts who are normally more likely to take action when approached for linking and brand building. Product keywords are great for use on your site and a great starting point for creating targeted content for our blog.

6. Related vertical keywords:
Related vertical keywords are the terms within our target segment of ecosystem. These terms can range from suppliers to customer industries, but they need to have a clear connection to our primary audience. These terms are helpful in uncovering new prospecting opportunities, as well as helping us in building a strong community of like-minded individuals. Related vertical keywords can help us “cross-pollinate” our link outreach and community-building efforts. By tapping into closely related niches, we can expand message to others who may be interested but just don’t know much about you. With this new information, can create helpful content and space to bring the two communities together.

7. Use different keywords to say the same thing:
Renowned content marketing guru Marcus Sheridan advises marketers that when it comes to an SEO strategy, there’s more than one way to get a singular point across. For example, while working on his swimming pool company’s blog, Sheridan decided to create a post about how much certain types of pools cost. After that, he created a post covering the price of those same types of pools. While these two topics may appear to be the same, Sheridan realized that search engines would recognize “how much does it cost” and “what is the price” as different keyword phrases. By creating posts optimized for both, he was able to increase the odds that customers would find his content, no matter how they searched for it.

8. Leverage traffic analytics:
Reporting tools like Google Analytics helps with the keyword selection process. By analyzing traffic trends, marketers can identify which types of keywords are driving visitors to their site, and build on those trends with future content. While search engine optimization has changed quite a bit over the years, keyword selection is still a critical part of any successful SEO strategy. By targeting the right keywords at the very beginning, online marketers can put their content — and brands — in the best position to increase search engine visibility and get a leg up on the competition.

9. Geotargeted keywords
Geotargeted keywords are key for the local rankings. According to Google, “50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on a computer/tablet did the same.” Defining geotargeted keywords will help in target the local prospects, groups and events of a company, can engage with and/or sponsor. Local SEO is a powerful way to grow our reach and influence in our own backyard. If we have a brick-and-mortar business, local SEO will drive targeted traffic not just to the site, but to the store as well. When doing research on geotargeted terms, lets just don’t stick up to our town or city. Expand the territory to include neighboring areas. If its in a larger city, break down the geo terms into neighborhoods to capture an even more targeted segment.

When it comes to finding, organizing and using keywords, the biggest piece of advice is to be patient and keep digging. The more we search and investigate, the more we will be able to uncover. After we have the list, organize keywords by action, and develop the plan. Optimize the site, and then focus on outreach. Using these keywords, we will be able to build a community that helps in driving site in the right direction.

Abstract Design

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Abstract art uses a visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Western art had been, from the renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an attempt to reproduce an illusion of visible reality. The arts of cultures other than the European had become accessible and showed alternative ways of describing visual experience to the artist. By the end of the 19th century many artists felt a need to create a new kind of art which would encompass the fundamental changes taking place in technology, science and philosophy. The sources from which individual artists drew their theoretical arguments were diverse, and reflected the social and intellectual preoccupations in all areas of Western culture at that time.

Abstract art, nonfigurative art, nonobjective art, and nonrepresentational art are loosely related terms. They are similar, but perhaps not of identical meaning.

Abstraction indicates a departure from reality in depiction of imagery in art. This departure from accurate representation can be slight, partial, or complete. Abstraction exists along a continuum. Even art that aims for verisimilitude of the highest degree can be said to be abstract, at least theoretically, since perfect representation is likely to be exceedingly elusive. Artwork which takes liberties, altering for instance color and form in ways that are conspicuous, can be said to be partially abstract. Total abstraction bears no trace of any reference to anything recognizable. In geometric abstraction, for instance, one is unlikely to find references to naturalistic entities. Figurative art and total abstraction are almost mutually exclusive. But figurative and representational (or realistic) art often contains partial abstraction.

Both geometric abstraction and lyrical abstraction are often totally abstract. Among the very numerous art movements that embody partial abstraction would be for instance fauvism in which color is conspicuously and deliberately altered vis-a-vis reality, and cubism, which blatantly alters the forms of the real life entities depicted.