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What makes a great site?
You may have noticed we don't have a "killer" home page with black background, flashy special effects and mystery navigation. That's because we don't design other sites that way.
Read on to discover a few of the key elements that will make your site great.
Learn from those who know.
We like to stay up to date via weekly newsletters on the latest word from the "gurus" about what makes a great site, based on consumer research. Everything is covered in these publications from eyeball tracking patterns to use of advanced features to overall site organization, so you know your site will be designed for maximum effectiveness.
The modern way to design sites is using "web standards", separating content from style by using Cascading Style Sheets to dictate the appearance of the pages, rather than nested table layouts, font tags and invisible spacer graphics, for example. This ensures that the sites will be accessible in many browsers and viewing devices, for now and the future. Starting in 2012, all new sites are now also mobile-friendly: when viewed on a smart phone or similar device, the site is tailored to optimize the small screen user experience.
Content is number one (but looking good is important too).
The web is a library and most people use it to find information on "pages". Therefore, any intrusive graphic design or flashy elements that distract from this are best avoided. With informative and well-written copy, your message and your company's personality will stand out loud and clear.
On the other hand, the reading experience can and should be made aesthetically pleasing with a carefully chosen colour scheme and the limited use of well-designed, fast-loading graphic elements and images. This is the other half of your site's "personality", which is carried through every page.
Making sense of it all.
You may have fascinating content but if it's not arranged in a logical fashion that visitors can follow, they'll soon leave in frustration. We specialize in organizing large amounts of information into an intuitive, clearly labelled structure. Your visitors will know exactly where to click to get the information they seek.
Make them feel at home in your site.
Navigation is best set up in the way that viewers are accustomed to: text links underlined and/or blue, logo linked to the home page in the top banner, main directory down the left side or along the top, "tools" like site map and contact info at the top or bottom, and a summary of important page links along the bottom. That's where visitors expect them to be, and they'll feel comfortable finding them there on your site.
The browsing experience can be as enjoyable for someone with an older computer, small monitor and dial-up connection as it is for someone with a new system, large flat screen and broadband, using the most recent version of FireFox or an older Internet Explorer—or a mobile/hand-held device. Not everyone has access to the latest and greatest technology, but you certainly want them to have access to your website.
Choice and scalability of font sizes is another important factor for accessibility. It's unlikely that most of your audience has 20-20 vision, so why make them squint? Scalable fonts allow the user to choose a font size that's comfortable for them. Where a fixed size must be used, it should be large enough for comfortable reading.
Look good in print.
Sometimes your visitors may print your site pages for later viewing away from the computer. What looks good on-screen is different from what looks good on paper, so we create print-only stylesheets to provide easy-to-read output that fits nicely on letter-size paper. No separate "printer-friendly version" of each page required: just a single print stylesheet that applies to the whole site.
Sections that don't mean much on paper, like navigation bars, don't need to show up on the printed page, and neither do ink-devouring solid graphics. What can show up is a note showing where the page was printed from, plus any other message you'd like displayed exclusively in print. Different fonts, colours and layout can be selected for the print version only. To see an example, try a print preview of this page or any page on this site.
Strive for perfection.
We are perfectionists and avid proof-readers, and make every effort to avoid publishing typos, spelling errors or grammatical mistakes—something we see all too often on websites and print material. Your website will instill confidence in your customers when they see that you care enough to do things right, down to the smallest detail.
We also test and re-test our sites to avoid broken links, technical glitches, or inconsistent click-through behaviour. Nothing turns a visitor away faster than a website that doesn't function properly or does something unexpected. We'll make sure your site keeps visitors around—and coming back.