Many people who are looking to design a site for their business or themselves don’t have a really good understanding of what it takes to design and build a site. We get many inquiries from individuals and businesses that want to know if something can be done.  Many inquiries are also from those who have started to build a site by themselves or with someone who gave them a really good price and now things are not looking or functioning as they wantSo with this in mind — we thought we would share with you some simple and practical thoughts about web design and development.

Our first insight is that most things are possible given enough time and money. Many people want to design something beautiful and complicated but want it done in a couple of weeks and for little money.  When you’re working with a Web designer to build an e-commerce site, database driven site, or other more involved Web application realize it takes time and more money than a simple web page with text. If you have an idea for what you want on your site, chances are it’s possible to do. But you need to be reasonable in your expectations of what it will take to do it.  Chances are if the estimated price and completion date is too good to be true — it is.  Designing and programming pages is not instantaneous.  Done properly it takes some time and thought.  The more complex the design and functionality of what you are building – the longer it will take and the greater the cost.

Web design and print designs are similar but not the same.  Different web browsers render the same pages differently and often the colors and design might not be exactly the same as the print example provided.  Keep this in mind when trying to transfer print ideas to online.

Try to be as accurate as you can about what you want and your expectations.  Budgets and timelines are estimated on the information provided.  Of course, some of these things may change as you go along, but then it follows that the costs and deadlines may well shift along with these changes.

Lastly, when hiring your web designer it is best to give them as many specifics as possible. This can help both of you focus in on what you like and don’t like in a timely manner. Once you’ve decided to hire a Web designer it’s because you’ve decided to seek a professional to help you get your website up and running. Timely and open communication between you and the person or company you’ve hired will ensure the best possible outcome.

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Social media has become a big player in the marketing of many kinds of businesses.  Finding ideas for content that can help promote your product or service is an important part of your social media marketing strategy.  So it is with this in mind, that you want to pay attention to a recent survey by Prollie — a service that measures and monitors social media trends.

To find out what people are searching for and sharing the most on social networks, the makers of the social search and analytic tool Prollie analyzed the numbers on more than 5,000 of their users’ connected social media accounts, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare, and Tumblr.

Analysis of social media users found that technology and social media top the list of social media interests that users express when using the search bar and sharing posts. Prollie found that 28 percent of their poll listed technology and social media as their passion.  Next was food, drink & travel (25 percent), followed by movies and television (18 percent), then music and arts (11 percent), followed by health and sports (10 percent) and then fashion and shopping (9 percent). It appears that many hobbies that are popular in the real world are also popular online, like health and sports and food, drink, and travel. Outside of the broader categories there were niche interests like classical music, astrology, and surfing.

Facebook and Twitter audiences differed in the types of searches they conducted, with food, drink, and travel dominating the list of interests for Facebook users, while Twitter users were more interested in tech and social media.

Keeping in mind what people like to see and share may be an important tool in targeting your audience and increasing page views and ultimately business.

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Flat web design is one of today’s most popular trends in the web industry.  The flat web design style essentially refers to design that eliminates drop shadows, textures and gradient features that have been commonly used in web design for many years.  In flat design, typography and the use of solid colors are featured.

Flat design is two dimensional. There is no attempt to add any three dimensional effects or trick the user into thinking they are interacting with anything else than a flat screen.  In flat design there is a lot of white space and a clear interface created by a grid system.

Flat design is minimalistic.  It relies on visual cues, such as color and typography to guide your users and help them reach their goals. The idea is to remove all distracting design elements and really focus on the content. Without distractions, your attention is drawn to the essential parts of the site. It allows goals to be reached in a shorted amount of time.

Like another recent trend, responsive web design, flat design is easily scalable. While realistic images and other design effects can be difficult to scale, flat design elements like color and typography can easily adapt to smaller screens.  With mobile devices becoming so mainstream – this is almost vital in today’s world.

For example, instead of having a highly designed button, in flat web design a colored link is used. Instead of a background image, a plain background color would be used.  Another example would have different content areas done in different colors so they could be easily viewed across many different kinds of devices.

Flat design is being used more and more. Its simplicity and effectiveness is being embraced by many sites and might well be popular for years to come.

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