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8 Web Design Facts that Will Blow Your Mind

8 Web Design Facts that Will Blow Your Mind

If you truly want to understand the web design process, you must look beyond just the outward visual appearance of a website. Very few visitors consider what happens behind the scenes of a website, as different web browsers interpret code to display that site on the screen. Extra milliseconds of loading time, browser variations, the age of the code, and the content itself can completely change a user’s experience and resulting behaviors on a website. Let’s take a look behind the curtain to learn about some of the most surprising and amazing aspects of web design.

1. All web browsers render websites differently

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    When you look at a website from your home computer using Google Chrome, it might be a completely different experience than your friend has when she browses the same website through Safari on her iPhone. Why does the same website look so different across various browsers? It all depends on parsing and rendering, or the way that browsers translate code and display it on your screen. Some browsers will load the code in a very specific order, and sometimes browsers won’t recognize certain code at all. For more detail on this, HTML5 Rocks has an excellent breakdown of how each browser parses code and renders it on the screen.

    Browser differences can make it tricky for you to create a website that provides a great experience to everyone. That’s when professional web designers step in. They are familiar with HTML and CSS standards, known browser issues, and the ways to work around potential hurdles. It’s a web designer’s job to ensure that your website looks good and functions properly across many different browsers. They also perform extensive browser compatibility testing to identify potential issues, and establish necessary fixes for those issues, before a website goes live.

    2. Design dictates where users will focus on your website

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      The Internet has forever changed the way we read and browse content. According to the Nielson Norman Group’s report, “How Users Read on the Web,” successful websites with a clear and scannable layout have a 47% usability improvement. If a visitor can’t skim through your website and identify key information quickly, they are likely to leave and visit another website instead.

      Web designers strive to create sites that direct viewers to the most vital information, such as an online store, your company’s blog, an organization’s history, or other content important to both them and you. Web professionals can also use heat maps and analytic tools to see which buttons and links are popular so that they can continually improve the user experience with future updates on the site.

      3. A two-year-old website may be too old

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        Web designers work hard to keep up with the breakneck pace of technology. Since the web browsers and devices being used to access websites are constantly changing, the way that those websites are designed and developed must change as well. To remain current and relevant, digital professionals must stay on top of the latest coding standards, browser compatibility updates, and search engine algorithms. An outdated website runs the risk of not displaying properly in the web browser, having unexpected formatting issues, or not showing up effectively in search engine results. For this reason, a site that is even two years old may be antiquated if it has not kept pace with these changes.

        4. Templates will restrict what you can do with your website

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          Many people turn to website templates as an “easy way out.” Pre-packaged templates often allow anyone to create a website with little to no coding knowledge. Unfortunately, companies can lose credibility by relying too heavily on templates, which typically include bloated code and unnecessary design elements. Trying to force a template to do something new can make it look patched-together, like a Frankenstein website, and that is if that template will even allow for those needed changes. Many templates are notoriously inflexible in what they will allow for, meaning your site may be painted into a corner. Your organization can benefit the most by having a web presence that is custom-made for your needs and the needs of your customers.

          5. Your website’s code helps it to appeal to search engines

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            You could have the most visually-stunning website in the world, but it won’t matter if you don’t have an audience to view and use that website. Web professionals make sure that the way your site is coded will help an audience to find your website when they type certain keywords into Google or another search engine. The way that the website is coded even affects how your search engine listings look, from the title of the web page in the search results to the small description of your site that appears below the title. Search engines can be a great source of new traffic your website, and there are many additional steps that can be taken on a site to fully optimize if for those search engines, but it all starts with coding best practices and ensuring that the foundation of your site in conducive to a good relationship with the search engines.

            6. Images and videos can have a positive or a negative impact on your website

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              Multimedia content, including images and videos, can be a powerful part of a website, but if used improperly, they can also significantly damage a website’s performance. Large image and video files can dramatically slow down the loading time of your website. When visitors have to wait too long for a page to load, you risk them growing impatient with the site and abandoning it altogether. To ensure that any multimedia content that is used on a site engages visitors rather than drives them away, web designers must use images and videos that are optimized for websites. These optimized files will ensure that your page loads quickly while still offering that rich imagery or video content.

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              Web professionals also avoid outdated multimedia formats, such as Flash, which aren’t supported by many of today’s mobile device platforms. Instead, they favor current standards, like HTML5 video, so that people can access your media from the widest range of devices possible, including computers, tablets, and smartphones.

              7. A good website design ranges between $500 – $5000

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                A pricing infographic by Incion reveals that a good website design can cost between $500 to $5,000. If you’re surprised at this range, consider the number of hours and collective brainpower that goes into optimizing websites for search engines, making content accessible across browsers, and improving overall performance by speeding up your website’s loading times. Designers often rely on specialty software and robust tools to ensure that a website’s code functions the way its intended while displaying well.

                8. There’s a big difference between responsive and mobile web design

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                  Most people don’t think about the seemingly magical website conversion that happens when they switch between their smartphone and computer. These are two very different approaches to shifting screen sizes, either mobile design or responsive design.

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                  Mobile design is restrictive. It serves up a separate, and often limited, version of your website that can be used on smartphones and tablets. However, because mobile websites generally provide visitors with the bare basics that the site has to offer, they won’t get to see the full glory of your web design or use it to its full potential.

                  Responsive design is extremely flexible, allowing websites to resize and reflow their layout based on the visitor’s screen size. This gives visitors a consistent experience from large-screen, high-resolution monitors all the way to the smallest smartphone touchscreens, while also having an experience that is suited to each of those individual devices. Responsive websites will simply adapt to their environment, while maintaining the same stunning images, typefaces, and navigational options.

                  The complexities of web design are indeed mind-blowing, requiring a high level of updated awareness and attention to detail to create the best website possible. Keep these facts in mind as you move forward with your own web presence!

                  Featured photo credit: Kelly Kline via flickr.com

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                  Larry Alton

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                  Last Updated on May 14, 2019

                  8 Replacements for Google Notebook

                  8 Replacements for Google Notebook

                  Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

                  1. Zoho Notebook
                    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
                  2. Evernote
                    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
                  3. Net Notes
                    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
                  4. i-Lighter
                    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
                  5. Clipmarks
                    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
                  6. UberNote
                    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
                  7. iLeonardo
                    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
                  8. Zotero
                    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

                  I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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                  In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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