Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: web design

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to web design.

Use These Easy Guidelines to Significantly Improve Your Website Design

Having a personal website can be incredibly useful for your career. However, it can be easy for a website to go astray and not have the professional effect you want. Here is a simple set of tips and tricks you can follow that will  let your website shine.

Top Trick: Show Somebody

This is “skipping to the end” in a sense, as this truly is the greatest trick you can employ.

Show somebody you confide in your website and get their feedback.

A confidant will provide you with the most comprehensive insight. When you watch as an avatar for your future employer or client browses your site and asks questions, it will reveal to you all the flaws.

Find someone you respect in a similar industry, hand them a laptop with your site loaded, brace yourself, and take notes.

Ask yourself: What is the purpose of your site?

Why do you have a website? What do you want to accomplish with it?

These seem like a lot of questions but having a solid grasp of your “why” can help with “what”.

Do you want to become a thought leader in your industry? If that is the case, you’ll want to showcase your case studies or articles to prove your authority. Do you want new work contracts? Ensure your service offering is clear, and you have examples of your work.

Knowing what outcomes you want from the site, will help you prioritize the right elements from page to page.

Ask Yourself: Who do I want to reach with my site?

Similar to purpose, you must understand your target audience. How do I want to address them?

Your target audience will also impact the “What” of the site if you put yourself in that position and walk through what would be most important to them.

Get Inspired

There’s no need to go this alone! There are very successful websites in your industry, and they have spent a lot of time testing and refining. Find some excellent examples of your contemporaries and learn from them!

You’ll do yourself no favors by doing an exact copy, but with some research into your industry, you’ll be able to see some trends and ideas that will benefit you on your site.

Template vs. Custom Design

If the site has all the bells and whistles, then you’ll end up spending a lot of time polishing bells and tuning whistles. Prioritize solid foundations.

Again, who are you targeting, and what do they care about?

If the site is a repository for your information, the only thing that matters is easy navigation and a fast load time. Consider a hosted service like SquareSpace or Wix.

If you’re a developer, being able to point to a beautiful and well-built site may be a plus.

It’s important to remember here that the site should serve you and your purpose. You don’t want to be bogged down with issues that detract from your job/client hunting, so choose your design wisely.

Mobile Friendly

There are lots of variations and options to choose from when designing a site, but these days there is one non-negotiable factor: Mobile Friendly.

There is a good chance someone will access your site on their phone. Your website must look great and be easy to navigate on a mobile device.

Stick to Known Conventions

It can be fun and exciting to try unique and innovative layouts for your website.  However, it is a misplaced effort if it doesn’t serve your purpose.

We can lean on learned conventions. This is what people have come to expect on websites:

  • Logo or name top left or top center, links to the homepage
  • Main navigation top right or top center
  • Contact in the menu as the last item
  • Social media links in the header or footer

Using known conventions may be a bit boring, but it can make your life and the life of your viewer easier.

Use the Right Images for Your Target Audience

The human brain can process images up to 60,000 times faster than words. It’s a powerful tool for us to use to convey to our visitors that they’re in the right place.

Thankfully, there are amazing sites with exceptional high-quality free photos. Here are some sources to check out:

Let Everything Breath

There will always be a desire to fit in as much information as possible into any given space. However, this can be counterproductive.

Reducing content and adding blank space around elements allows the reader to effortlessly digest and transition between pieces of information. It produces an orderly and pleasant reading experience that will convey much more.

Only Use Two Fonts

We’ve touched on a principle of “less is more” a couple of times already and this remains true with fonts.

Use no more than two fonts on your website.

To find fonts that coordinate well together, check out the following free sites:

Use Headers Wisely

Headers (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6) need to be meaningfully different from the body text, and one another. Deploy them wisely to help guide your reader and some bonus SEO boosts.

Think about the Headers like the sections and subsections in a piece. You would organize your content on a page like this:

<h1>Title Here – Only One of These Per Page</h1>

<h2>A Sub Title</h2>

<h3>Point One</h3>

<h3>Point One</h3>

<h4>Small Point One</h4>

<h4>Small Point One</h4>

<h3>Point One</h3>

<h2>A Sub Title</h2>

<h3>Point One</h3>

<h3>Point One</h3>

<h4>Small Point One</h4>

<h4>Small Point One</h4>

<h3>Point One</h3>

Consider the suggestions below as a starting point to apply the differences in the font sizes:

P 16px 1x
H1 40px 2.5x
H2 32px 2x
H3 28px 1.75x
H4 24px 1.25x
H5 20px 1.25
H6 16px 1x

Limit the Colors

It can be fun to play with colours within a design or a website. Keep in mind that just like fonts, things can go wrong fast and have a detrimental effect.

The benefit of limiting colors is that it makes it easy to guide the user with an eye-catching pop of color. Imagine a page that is primarily grey and white with a bright orange button. Where do you think the eye would go?

Each color has emotions tied to them. Even the range of colors can elicit a response. What emotions do you want to convey? Consider using the corresponding colors as per this image from UserTestingBlog.

Use These Easy Guidelines to Significantly Improve Your Website Design

Check out the following sites to help you settle on a palette that is cohesive and conforms to colour theory:

Make Your Website Yours

Follow these guidelines and you’re sure to have a professional website that helps achieve your goals.  Regardless of the platform or style you choose, your audience will appreciate if you stick to the foundations listed above.

Cheers to your great looking website!

About the Author

Trevor Alexander has been a professional designer for 15 years, including being part of 3 successfully sold start ups. He now puts together resources and courses to show how ANYONE can produce better looking Presentations, Documents, Reports, and Images by following practical and repeatable strategies. He firmly believes that Virtual Assistants, Marketers, Developers, Business Owners…Everyone, CAN improve the design of their work. Check out his site at https://justenough.design/

Web Design Trends We Can Expect (or are already seeing) in 2018

Are you involved, or expecting to be involved, in any web design projects this year? If so, this infographic from Branex may be for you. Late last year, they reviewed trends and tried to predict how websites would start to look in 2018 and it’s safe to say, their findings can extend beyond websites and into almost any user interface.

The infographic makes a few obvious statements, including the fact that user experience must be a top priority and a bad design causes a user to lose trust. They also expect cinemagraph usage to increase, SVG file formats to go mainstream and voice user interface and search to rise. Now that we’re almost halfway through the year, have you seen any of these trends gain momentum?

Web
Courtesy of: Branex

What Will Happen to Web Design in 2017? (Infographic)

Websites have come a long way since they became mainstream in the 90s. We’ve seen everything from busy backgrounds to flash-based sites to annoying pop-ups. Looking back, these trends were brutal but, at the time, they were touted by design professionals as the best thing out there. The fortunate fact about terrible trends is they eventually die and are replaced with new and exciting ones.

This infographic from Grafdom, a digital media agency based out of Dubai, outlines what they believe are the top 4 web design trends for 2017. These won’t come as a surprise to many since we’re already used to seeing them all on popular websites. What may be more interesting, though, is what Grafdom claims are on their way out of the mainstream. Is your website falling behind?

Trends of Web Design in 2017 [Infographic]

100 Web Design Tools that Anyone Can Use (Infographic)

Personal branding should never be taken lightly by any IT professional. Depending on your region and your skill, there are often hundreds of other independent contractors out there who you compete against for work. You need to stand out to recruiters and employment agencies as their top choice and, when you interview with a recruiter or client, you need to leave the best impression. One element of personal branding that we’ve discussed throughout the Talent Development Centre is your online presence and, more specifically, creating a personal website.

To create the perfect personal brand for yourself as an independent IT contractor, you may want a specific look and feel on your website. Unless you’re a designer or find the perfect template, that exact image could be tricky to attain. Instead, have a look at this infographic from Illustrio which gives dozens of  helpful tools (some even free) that will help you design the perfect website.

100 Web Design Tools that Anyone Can Use (Infographic)

The History of Web Design (Infographic)

The internet has come a long way, from bland single page websites with black and white text, to hideous backgrounds and colours that hurt our eyes, to the responsive clean look we recognize today (and may make fun of in 15 years). Although we know how much progress has been made, it’s interesting to take a look back and really understand how we got to where we are today and who helped make it happen. This infographic from Innoppl summarizes it all perfectly.

The History of Web Design (Infographic)