Good Web Design – Why There’s So Little

Most small website owners rely almost entirely on themselves or their web developer to create a good website design without them actually knowing what good web design is. Based on my 8 years experience in website design and optimization for visitors and search engines, I can say with a good deal of assurance, many web developers don’t know what good web design is either.

My views are based on the detailed evaluation of hundreds of websites which in many cases look good on the surface to the untrained eye, but when evaluated more closely, are either average to poorly designed websites, bad websites, or just simply suck.

After all, anyone can call themselves a website designer after just creating one website, either their own or for a friend or relative. Most website designers are self-taught and have no qualifications of any kind that relate to the job. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being self-taught, but a lot depends on where and from whom you learn and what length of apprenticeship you serve in web design.

Bestwebgallery.com a showcase website typical of many showcase sites for good website designs has defined what quality design is to them (according to the statement on their site):

Quality web design = Visual + Technical + Creativity.

The problem with a definition like this is it focuses on the creative and visual aspects of design which is really only of interest to other website designers aspiring to create something that pushes the boundaries even further in the same direction. It also completely ignores whether the website is fit for the purpose for which it should have been designed. Most websites don’t need to be stunningly beautiful to serve a purpose and they don’t need to be “technical” either.

Many web developers think they have to be “creative” and set out to design a website never seen before, or one that behaves in an entirely new and original way. This often leads to an overly graphical and sometimes technically complex website design with an unconventional layout and navigation, that actually creates more problems than it solves.

All these “quality web design” features may impress another designer, but it generally wins no prizes or favours from the public website visitors who generally don’t come to a website to admire the design. Many web developers seem intent on re-inventing the wheel instead of observing the established design conventions that visitors to a website are familiar with. They also seem to have forgotten the basic K.I.S.S. rule of design which is Keep It Simple Stupid.

So, having said quality or good website design is not about Visual, Technical or Creativity just what should it be?

Good Web Design = Satisfying Visitors

There are two distinct groups of visitors to a website that a good website design needs to satisfy and they are people and search engines. Some website designers will argue that designing a website for the search engines is not necessary, or a waste of time. Although I prefer to design websites with search engines in mind, I don’t have a problem if other web designers don’t, providing they have an alternative plan.

If a web designer doesn’t design for the search engines, then they need to have an alternative plan to get traffic to the website and they should explain this plan to the site owner. There is no point in designing the greatest website ever, if there are no means for attracting visitors to the site.

A good web design also needs to satisfy the people who visit the site. If a web designer creates a website that attracts visitors through search engine optimization ( SEO ) or other methods, this will be wasted if the site fails to satisfy enough of those visitors when they arrive.

By satisfying visitors, I mean providing visitors with the information, products or services they came to the website looking for and doing it in way that is satisfying to the visitor. If the website is meant to sell products and/or services the design should also be designed to convert enough visitors into sales or leads to satisfy the site owner.

If it doesn’t do all this then it’s NOT good website design!

When deciding what is, or is not good web design, I use two checklists. One checklist is for evaluating a web page and the other checklist is for evaluating the whole website. The web page evaluation checklist examines over 150 aspects of good page design and the website checklist examines over 120 aspects of good website design.

In an effort to find some good quality website designs in 2011, that meet my standards for good web design, I launched a good web design award with a $500 prize for the winning entry.

Finding a Job in Columbus in Web Design and Development

Columbus, Ohio is a great city in which to get a start as a freelance web designer or web developer. Columbus is one of the leading technology cities in the US, being the home of such widely renowned technology companies as Accenture, AOL, and the Battelle Memorial Institute. There are also hundreds of small to medium sized web design and web development companies peppered throughout the greater Columbus area.

Being a Columbus freelance web designer can be achieved by telecommuting, so you do not have to live in downtown Columbus, but being close to the city to do the occasional face-to-face meeting is highly recommended. Some web design companies will not give you a job without meeting you and some web development services require a face to face meeting, which is much easier when all web designers and project members are involved. Columbus, Ohio is a great place to live, and has enough web design job opportunities that you will not need to pitch outside of the city. It makes sense to live there. Although freelancing website design may seem like a terrifying prospect, it is not too hard as long as you have the bravery to go out on your own, and the work ethic to stick to it.

Calling web design companies in Columbus is one of the best ways to begin getting web design jobs. Calling companies takes away the potential clients ability to ignore your presence. Emails are easily erased or forgotten and direct mailing gets lost in the shuffle of bills. Write down a short speech introducing you as a freelance web designer, asking whether the company you are calling works with freelancers regularly. Although some web design companies use freelancers, while others prefer to use an in house web design team, you will find a few web design companies in Columbus that will be interested in your services. The secret to success when cold calling companies in Columbus is doing so in numbers. How many jobs you get depend greatly on your pitch and your experience, but expect to get one out of ten. With there being so many web design companies in Columbus, one out of ten is still a large amount of potential website projects.

Setting up a toll free phone number and getting a fax number will help you land more web design projects also. Toll free numbers allow clients who are outside of your area code to reach you free of charge. Prospective web design clients will need the ability to send agreements and documentation to you via fax. You’re right in thinking that most documents can be sent by email, but it is guaranteed that you will run into an old school client that still faxes documents the old fashioned way.

Setup an auto-responder on your email. This will help land more web design jobs in Columbus because people who email you will automatically receive a response. This could be beneficial because you could setup the auto-responder to include sales copy or your resume or both. If you send out mailers or business cards or advertisements with your designated auto-responder email address and get a reply from someone at that email address, that person will automatically receive your resume and sales text.

After getting a website design job, it is important that you stipulate what is required of you and your client. Make sure to draw up a contract or agreement of some sort just so that you have everything down on paper. Include your fee, the work to be done, the time period the work should be completed in and when you expect to be paid and in what forms (credit card, company checks).

Have a look around on the Internet for web design and website development companies in Columbus and write down the ones you are interested in. The best way to find web development companies in Columbus is to Google them. Search for terms such as “Columbus web design” or “web development companies in Columbus, Ohio”. Some day you may just get their attention and become a successful freelancer!

Now You Can Ask an Interior Designer Online For All Your Interior Design Advice

You may be one of the many people who wish that there was a less expensive way of getting professional advice when it comes to decorating your home, than hiring someone directly. Well now you are able to ask an interior designer online for all your interior design advice, any time you need it. Like knowing how to put stripes and flowers together well or what you should be doing that will give your home the distinctive, design forward look that you’ve been dreaming of.

The age of getting all kinds of advice has been here for a while and when it comes to asking an interior designer online for advice couldn’t be hotter. There are dozens of websites that let you gather inspiration and photos, as well as decorating ideas for your space, but these are not monitored by professional decorators and the design ideas may or may not be good ideas to work with your space. This can often leave you feeling as if your room is less than what you really want it to be.

Let’s face it, interior design can sometimes be tricky. If you don’t have the funds you need or the ideas you’re looking for, your space can wind up looking less than pulled together. That’s why it’s a good idea to get as many interior design ideas and as much advice as you can. The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune just to get the professional designers advice you seek. Now, you don’t have to make any phone calls or schedule any appointments. All you will have to do is get interior design advice online, that will suit your taste, budget and time frame.

For instance, are you looking to make an impact in your space, but aren’t sure how to do it? Have you considered accessorizing your room? Adding accessories to a space can be one of the most challenging decorating tasks that you will have to do, but it can also add the wow factor you’ve been seeking. To keep your room from looking cluttered, you might need to seek a professional’s interior design advice.

Want to make a room look warm and inviting without causing it to look too dark or over bearing? Like the brightness a space has, but feel as if it’s too cold and stark? With a little professional assistance that you can get online, you can learn to warm up the cold space and keep the light, to create a warm, bright, inviting space that you and your guests will love to spend time in.

Got a spare bedroom that is filled up with all the reject furniture that you’ve accumulated over the years? You might want to know how to give the old furniture a new face-lift and make it look as if it were created exclusively for your space. From painting to whitewashing old wooden furniture, to creating a cozy cottage like retreat, with professional advice, your guests will never want to leave.

Your home is a haven and it should be treated as such. Now more than ever, people are focusing on the way their homes are decorated and you can get affordable professional interior design advice online. You won’t have to leave the house to create the home of your dreams anymore.

Find Small Boats Online For Huge Lifetime Results

Want to find small boats online? Guess what the new options that are now available to you and WILL come up in your search is great news!

In the past several years the inflatable-boating business has been out there raising the bar on every single part of their business. And the results are now being felt.

a) Better Inflatable-Boat Designs

Forget everything you think you know about the designs of inflatable-boats. Sleek new, aesthetically appealing designs are now the rage. Spend a day at a marina anywhere and you will be treated to some beautiful new inflatable.

b) Wild New Durability

State of the art materials and a renewed focus on the construction have created inflatable-boats that are now long term investments. With stronger sides and bottoms, inflatable boat owners no longer have to worry about bumping into simple things for fear of ripping and tearing

c) Incredible New Financing On Inflatable Boats

These happy days, you can find small boats online at FACTORY DIRECT PRICES and you can get them with warranties that go up a full five years! These two considerations alone should reveal a great deal about how far the best inflatable boat companies have come with their products.

Not only are these beautiful new water vessels eye candy, they are also longer lasting and they now boast some fantastic ways to get them financially.

All in all, your efforts to find small boats online should START with these factors and then only go up from there!

That’s the best way to use the net when finding an inflatable-boat!

Choosing a Web Designer

Many small business owners struggle with deciding on how to make the right choice for designing their website. They search the web for help with their website and find that the choice is harder than they thought. Currently there are (literally) millions of websites who claim to be professional web designers. However, one must be careful in choosing the right person or people in which to trust their company image. In this article, I will attempt to categorize web designers into manageable groups, and teach the reader the difference between the types.

Web designers fall into four general categories: freelance amateur, freelance professional, Web Design Company, Web Development Firm.

Freelance Amateur

The majority of web designers you will come across, especially searching the Internet, are freelancers. That is, individuals who do web design but are not employed by a web design company. Some are self-employed professionals but most of these freelancers are amateur-hobbyist types. They find a copy of FrontPage™ came with their MS Office™ Suite. They discovered how fun it could be to make web pages so they started telling their friends that they could “design” web pages.

The “pros” of using an amateur is that they are very cheap. The “cons” are too numerous to mention, but I’ll point out a few. They have no training; they have little knowledge of what makes a good website work; they do not understand HTML code or CSS but only FrontPage point and click; they do not understand general design and layout concepts and they have little real experience. The biggest reason they should be avoided for the serious businessperson, is that their work looks amateurish, which makes your company look amateurish. Who wants that?

Freelance Professional

A professional is often defined by simply being paid. People think that if you are paid for something, then you are professional. Maybe that’s true in the Olympics, but for the business services world, you are not a professional until you are established and respected as one by your clients and peers. Freelancer professional web designers are a giant leap from the amateur in that they have established a portfolio of respectable work. They have some sort of qualified training and experience and they have credentials that can be verified by contacting references. They have a good reputation with their clients and other professionals. In general, a good freelance professional web designer can be good person to have doing your site. But they are hard to distinguish from the amateur when you are just searching the web.

The upside is, if you find a good one they are significantly cheaper than a web design company. But that is usually the only upside. If the budget limits you, then a freelancer will do for a small project. But anything seriously important should be left to a professional company.

Some downsides to using a freelance pro are that they are usually part-time, meaning they are limited in how much time they can devote to your project. They are also limited in what they can do for you. Most freelancers are specialists in one area and generalists in everything else. Some have no skills in anything except their one specialty and often you will have to find others to fill roles. In addition, freelancers are not always cheap although many of them are aspiring to create their own company; some are highly sought after and charge $100 per hour or more for their work. My advice here is, if you have that much to spend, go with a company that has a team of professionals to get the job done in a timelier manner.

Web Design Company

This is the next step beyond a freelance professional. The web design company offers the “whole show”. They provide real project management and have pulled together a team of web experts to get a wider range of jobs done. A company can provide a much higher level of expertise in web design, programming, content development and more.

Such a company is usually very small, yet large enough to handle larger scale projects. Compared to the most highly qualified freelancer, a company has a diversity of talent and collaboration working for them. The end-result is usually a much higher quality product.

The only real drawbacks are on the one hand, the web design company is more expensive than a freelancer because there are many more people on the job. However, you get what you pay for rings true. On the other hand, for very large projects or long term development, web design companies may be too small and usually do not have the human recourses to accommodate that $500,000 contract. In the end, for serious business people looking for quality and professionalism and who can’t afford the big firm, this is the way to go.

Web Development Firm

As the title implies, a web development firm is like any traditional company. They have a staff of office workers, they have owners and officers, and they have a team of talented professionals who are paid a good salary for their work. They often have a sales force that do inside and outside sales. The quality of their work goes without saying, as you could not be so well-established by doing shoddy work. These firms offer teams of very talented professionals who work on your project and get the job done in a timely and extremely efficient manner. Additionally, they usually cover all aspects of website development including marketing and advertising. They may have teams of specialists that they can deploy to your location and work in-house under a temporary contract. The possibilities are endless.

If price is not an issue and the highest quality work is necessary, then this is who you want to do the job. For smaller budget businesses, a quote from an established web development firm might knock you off your chair, but know that companies who have project requirements that reach hundreds of thousands of dollars know the score. Thus, the only real drawback for a web development firm is that they are usually very expensive. Then again, cost is relative and bigger companies like to work with bigger companies.

In summary, the choice is yours. I would recommend for the serious businessperson, that you budget a decent amount of dollars to properly design and execute a professional website. I would avoid the amateur and outsource to an individual or company with good experience and reasonable rates to create my web presence. If money were no object, then I would only deal with established firms and pay the big bucks to get the job done right and done well.