Tag: responsive web design

29
May

Mobilegeddon… The Aftermath

April 21, 2015 marked the day the internet world would change forever (well, at least until Google changes it again in 6 months). Google rolled out an unforgettable algorithm that would have a catastrophic affect on websites around the world.

Their mission, to destroy websites that are not mobile friendly…well not destroy, but penalize them. Why? Because non-responsive websites aren’t user friendly, and Google is looking out for the user experience. Thank you Google.

As a non-responsive website owner you might be asking, why would they do this to us? Google isn’t trying to blast your web dreams into a million pieces, but simply save online searchers from the pain and suffering of looking through a non-responsive websites on their smartphones and tablets.

Is a non-responsive site really that terrible to look at on a mobile device? Yes, yes it is. With the small print, closely placed lines and tiny navigation bar, it is one of the most frustrating ways to search for a product, service or business. With mobile and tablet devices being some of the top platforms to browse on, having a website that caters to the non-desktop users is a necessity for two reasons. First, with Google’s change in algorithm, your organic search engine rankings will be affected if your website is not mobile friendly. The “deep impact?” That #1 spot your business holds for organic searches is no longer secure. Without the upgrade to a responsive and mobile-ready design, you might be pushed down to page 3 or worse, due to the lack of mobile adaptiveness. The second reason is your customer’s sanity. The website user should be able to easily click on a menu item and read content without having to pull out a magnifying glass in order to grab information. So, even if they do find you on page 3 of the Google search, there is a good chance the customer will quickly exit your page because of its’ navigation and readability issues.

The roll out of Google’s latest mission had a slow start, but non-responsive websites are starting to see a shift in the internet’s crust. Rankings are changing, and businesses are starting to see the importance of responsive website design. Although Google is the first of its’ kind, search engines like Bing are following closely behind waiting to detonate their “mobile friendly” bomb.

The solution is simple. Take the time to switch to a responsive design before you draw the short straw and get left behind on page 3, for Mobilegeddon is already upon us.

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16
Jan

So You Think You’re Ready for a Web Designer?

You have a new business or your website was made in the year 2000… what you need is a web designer. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In order to get your new website up and running there are a few things you need to do before you say yes to the designer. This week we will outline your pre-website checklist that will ensure you have a seamless and manageable web design experience. Also, your future designer (cough cough) will love you for it!

#1 Get it together will ya!

Focus your thoughts. It is good to look at other websites for inspiration, but before you send a list of links to your web design team, narrow it down. If you give ten completely different layout styles then your first design mock up will more than likely be a disappointment. Narrow the scope by deciding which aspects you absolutely need for your website and which elements are up to the discretion of the designer, that way there is zero confusion and a clear direction.

#2 Content Completion

There are many things that need to be accomplished in order to complete a new website, and content is one of the areas you play the biggest role in. Good hearty content takes time to create and compile and with it being such an important aspect of your website, it is crucial to do it right. Start with keywords you know your customers will search for and gear your content towards information that includes those keywords naturally. If you are not fond of your writing skills construct a full outline of information and bullet point items that way a copywriter can easily jump in and generate some creative and keyword rich text.

#3 Money will never grow on trees, so know your cap.

If you are shopping around for quotes, know your budget. For example, if your budget absolutely cannot go above three grand, make sure the agency knows that, because if their minimum for a website starts at five thousand, you are wasting both parties’ time. Although having a budget in mind is key, having some wriggle room could help your cause. This website will represent your business, so you want it done right. If a great design team sends a proposal that is slightly more than what you had in mind, be open to the opportunity because a well designed responsive website is really a long term investment that works for you 24/7.

#4 Timeline

Be realistic. It takes time to design, develop and build out a website. If you need a website in a week, it’s not going to happen. Figure out when you need your website and be sure to seek out a designer that can work within the proper time restraints. This is not a piece of business you want to rush and in order to get your dream website there are proper steps to follow that cannot be done overnight. Be patient and great designs will come.

You are ready… well, once you have taken on this list you are ready! Your website is more than likely the first interaction you have with a customer, so make it a memorable first impression and say hello with a clean, easy to navigate and branded web design.

05
May

Our Love Affair with WordPress

At our core, we are designers and live for the creative side of the web design industry, which also happens to be the exact reason we develop almost exclusively on WordPress. Now if you’re not a graphic designer you may be thinking, well who cares what my website is built on I just need it to work. And although that is a valid opinion, WordPress does so much more than just sit there and look pretty. It is easy to use, responsive and gives our clients control over their website. At Sixth Gear, web design goes hand in hand with WordPress. It is the craft to our beer, the peanut butter to our jelly… well, you get the point.

SEO Friendly Right Out of the Box

As we have discussed numerous times, the key to every successful website is keyword rich content that is optimized for search engines. Search engine optimization tactics are constantly changing, but WordPress is always right there ready to adapt. There are many platforms that are not SEO friendly, making the websites built on them pretty much useless regardless of how great they look. When the idea of a website is to drive traffic and be visible when a potential customer is searching for a product or service you provide, the concept is taken away when your website does not work for you or gain you the search engine rankings you need to stay competitive. However, WordPress works for you 24 hours a day, and 365 days a year. WordPress makes it easy to set proper URL strings, alt tags on images and much more. Once you post a blog or add new content to your site, WordPress helps search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing index and crawl through those valuable pieces of keyword rich content. That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Manage Your Website without a Degree in Computer Programming

As a web design agency going into the back end of a website to make some changes isn’t a thought that scares us, but as an individual who has zero experience, well, normally we wouldn’t wish that on our worst enemy, but WordPress takes this notion right our of the equation. With a simple login process and easy to use Dashboard, the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) stands by you and makes publishing and making minor editing simple without the need to ever look at a single line of HTML or CSS. With a layout walking you through each page with clear indications on how to post, WordPress has made content management accessible for any individual, giving you, your business and your website more freedom without having to go through a middleman.

Essentially Infinite Scalability

The greatest aspect of WordPress is you can never out grow it. It is adaptable and it grows with your business. Your responsive design can start off as a one-page blog and blossom into an eight-page fully customizable website with eCommerce and dedicated client side access. With every business plan, growth is usually the goal, the same works with your website and WordPress allots for that. With plug-ins, features and security updates WordPress takes your website to a new level and allows your business to expand on the web when you see fit. When it comes to your theme or layout, instead of rebuilding a new website, WordPress makes it simple to change. Your business will most likely go through appearance changes throughout time and now your website can reflect those changes without having to start from scratch everytime.

It’s easy to see why Sixth Gear has fallen in love over and over again with WordPress. With its key functionalities, ability to optimize content and easy-to-use content management system it’s no wonder more businesses are making the switch. Sixth Gear builds almost all of its websites on the WordPress platform, so we want you to share your thoughts on WordPress or platforms you have switched from and what you love most!

17
Mar

That Web Design Is So Last Season

As a consumer we live by trends. What is in, what is out and what is to come. We know that trends apply to material items, but what about web design? This week we are going to submerge ourselves in this season’s web design trends that we love and hope you crave for your next website design or redesign.

Bigger is Better

On the rack this season is Sixth Gear’s favorite design trend, large background images. This is every photography lovers dream come true and Sixth Gear is guilty of indulging. Big beautiful photography is now sprouting up on websites everywhere. What’s the appeal you ask? The use of large images gives your business the opportunity to emulate what your brand provides to customers in a single image, no explanation needed. Aesthetically, large photographs draw attention which is key to attracting new customers, and when layered in with proper design elements this trend can take your website to a new level. Before this trend our Sixth Gear website was average, using only bright green accents on top of a straightforward black and white design. While the website was still aesthetically pleasing, it lacked the big punch that would help us stand out against our competition. However, after our redesign we are exactly where we want to be concept wise. The large photograph taken by Sixth Gear’s owner Corey, gives our brand and web design the clean look we’ve been waiting for. It’s simplistic tone represents what we like in terms of design and the blank canvas we have for every project. Our intention was for potential clients to view our website and not be overwhelmed by busy icons and useless verbiage, but instead view our site as a professional design firm that provides the information they need without the distractions.

Single Page and Parallax Web Designs

This is a beautiful trend that Sixth Gear has also adapted for our new website. The concept of single page web design is to have all pertinent information about your business on one page often using parallax scrolling sections and a fixed navigation. The concept of single page web designs is not new, but it has been changing into a more simplistic style that web designers and new website owners are falling in love with. Now you may be thinking, a one page website isn’t that a little lazy? And our answer is absolutely not; in fact it will do more for your business. When a consumer goes onto your website the chances of them seeing all of your information is slim. However with a single page layout the odds increase in your favor. Without having to click and load pages, single page layouts cut website discovery time in half, in turn increasing the chances that a customer will spend more time on your site viewing more of your product or service information. That’s what we call a win win and is why more of our web design clients are requesting to have this trend implemented into their design plan.

Don’t Forget the Type

The last item on our shopping list is typography! More and more websites are moving away from the standard fonts and pushing towards original and unconventional typefaces. When you start thinking outside the box and using multiple fonts in conjunction together there are a few important rules to follow in order to avoid a design disaster. Rule number one for us and our clients is to never have two or more really similar fonts next to one another, it’s the equivalent of wearing plaid on plaid, which is never okay. Rule number two, is being aware of size proportion. If our clients have two different fonts they are loving it is our job to make sure there is a hierarchy established, because having multiple fonts in the exact size can create unnecessary confusion about what text is most important. Our last rule is unifying fonts with style and color. Although we want to mix different fonts together it is important that everything looks balanced stylistically. Using fifteen different colors and fonts will be overwhelming to us, to you, and your customers. But in the end when using those three simple rules the typography trend is well worth the guidelines and will add an impressive and subtle element to your website.

Sometimes trends come and go. This is true, even for web design. However the trends mentioned today are aesthetically pleasing no matter what design year they are in. So here at Sixth Gear we consider them the new design classics and encourage you to ask us about these trends and see what we can do with your website wardrobe.

28
Jan

Featured Client: Long Island Vein Care & Surgery

For our blog this week we’ve chosen to feature one of Sixth Gear’s newest clients, Long Island Vein Care & Surgery (Garden City, NY). We’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with a variety of vascular surgeons that have needed our help with branding, web design, and inbound marketing, however Dr. Rossenwasser and the staff at Long Island Vein Care had a different situation for us.

Long Island Vein Care & Surgery Website - Before Re-DesignWhen Dr. Rosenwasser first came to us he already had an established and professionally designed brand with a clean modern logo, beautiful color palette, and a fairly well designed website. As many of you know, the issue with web technology today is that a professionally designed website from five years ago does not provide the same quality user experience or search engine visibility in today’s environment. As we talked about in last week’s blog, responsive web design is a necessity for any business or medical practice, and their website was in need of that functionality along with updated content to reflect the current modalities used by Dr. Rosenwasser and the staff of Long Island Vein Care.

Working out of our Jacksonville, FL office, the Sixth Gear team took a detailed look into what we could do for Long Island Vein Care that would sustain their already respected brand but give them the edge to succeed in an abundant industry that is advancing digitally and responsively. As previously mentioned, we knew the website structure and code was dated utilizing a fixed non-responsive design that was not optimized for mobile. Furthermore, the website was in need of a Content Management System (CMS) to make the editing and addition of website content convenient for the Long Island Vein Care staff.

So we took our knowledge and set to work creating a responsively designed website that was not a huge departure from their existing website but offered larger imagery and content optimized for browsing on desktops, tablets and smartphones. In creating their responsive website we integrated WordPress as a CMS because of it’s ease of use, customizability, and SEO-friendliness. We constructed additional content that emphasized keywords and phrases relevant to their practice with the goal of ultimately increasing their website’s visibility on search engines like Google. Another focus of the new website was to streamline the way new patients interacted with Long Island Vein Care. By adding short contact forms on each page it was easier than ever for new patients to reach out to ask a question or request an appointment. New patients could also easily download PDFs of all new patient forms saving them valuable time on their first visit. The combination of aesthetic, functionality and content improvements led to a new website that still embodied their existing brand but brought their website up-to-date with today’s web standards.

Dr. Rosenwasser was pleased with the result and we look forward to working with him and the Long Island Vein Care & Surgery staff in the future as they add new blogs, before & after images, and more to keep filling their new website with great content. Now that the new Long Island Vein Care website has been up and running for a few weeks, we have already noticed some great search engine results with their practice located in one of the top three spots on the first page of Google when searching either “vein surgeons,” “vein doctors,” or “vascular surgeons” in “Long Island”. For us at Sixth Gear, we can proudly say that we came, we re-designed, we conquered.

We encourage you to visit the new Long Island Vein Care website at www.longislandveincare.com and contact us if you would like a complimentary evaluation of your existing website.

Long Island Vein Care - Responsive Website Design

Long Island Vein Care - Website Re-Design

17
Jan

What the Heck is Responsive Web Design?

So all you hear lately in the web design industry is responsive design this and responsive design that. Which is great if you know what responsive design actually is, but for those of us who just nod our heads pretending to understand those eloquent words, this blog is a look into what responsive websites are and why it is now a necessity for every business with a website to have them.

In a nutshell responsive web design is a method of designing a single website to provide an optimal viewing experience on all devices, which means it’s easy to read and navigate through on smartphones, desktop computers, and tablets. Responsively designed websites adhere to a grid-based structure with different breakpoints so that as the size of the viewing area changes (i.e. from desktop to mobile), elements of the website resize and shift to maximize the available real estate on the screen. So here is the question, does it really matter if my site is responsive? Can’t you still see a non-responsive website on a phone or tablet? The answer is yes you can still see it, but you know when you have to zoom in or out to try and read the text, then you accidentally click on the wrong link and get so frustrated you just give up. Yeah, that’s what happens to your potential customers too with non-responsive websites. With 40% of web traffic taking place on mobile devices it’s becoming more important now then ever to make the transition over to a responsive website so that your potential customers won’t leave your site frustrated and they will be able to access your information effortlessly.

Now there are two types of design modules for creating a mobile friendly site, one is the above mentioned champion, responsive web design, and the second is the not so heroic “mobile template”. Why are mobile templates not on the foreground of web design? It has to do with it’s foundation. Mobile templates are built specifically for particular devices which can be problematic when dealing with the plethora of screen sizes on mobile devices, and that’s just one of the problems. The second significant issue is SEO. Search engines like Google prefer responsive designs to mobile templates. When Google indexes your website it is easier for it to comb through one responsive site as opposed to a separate desktop only site and a separate mobile site, making more sense?

It does for us. So when it comes down to creating a website, responsive design is pretty much the only way to go in our opinion. Every year more and more electronic devices are being produced which results in more consumers using them for their daily web browsing, and if they can’t view your information correctly then what’s the point of having a website in the first place. Sixth Gear only creates websites that utilize responsive web design. We want our clients to have their business completely visible regardless of what device your potential customers use. The way we see the industry heading, responsive web design is the only way to set your business up for success on the web both now and in the coming years. So if you haven’t already started making this transition, get on it before your consumers decide that its way too much effort to view what your business has to offer.