Tag Archives: web development

Businesses Have Misconceptions about Web Development

It has observed that when businesses decided to have their own web presence and even in responsive web designing, they are running with some common misunderstanding regarding the web development process and web development team. These misconceptions or myths may sour their relationships with web development team or company itself.

Therefore, I have decided to give some insights based on our experiences as a web development team at Lujayn serving wide range of clienteles across the globe.

Myth #1 – These Are Simple Changes

Being a well-experienced web development company, team at Lujayn is preparing project scope documents where we are defining things in advance that what should be included, and what should exclude in the set price structure. Despite such preventions for project creeps, some businesses come up with small changes that they think as minor ones and can address with little efforts and time.

However, that is not true at technical point of view because simple looking websites may have intricate functionality and complex interactions in backend. Thus, always their programming becomes time-consuming and expensive at logic even a simple change in location of a button may take days to accomplish in coding and testing.

Solutions:

Businesses should define their requirements upfront and always discuss with team prior to suggest any changes as well as offer extra cost if your changes require the substantial amount of time and efforts from your hired web development team.

Myth #2 – Templates Are Okay

It is true that market is flooding with ready to use templates or themes and some software available to build a website using GUI tools without doing any coding at all, just drop and drag work flow. Of course, templates are good for those who need low-end and temporary web identity at initial stage and ready to customize them when their time and money come on hand.

Solutions:

In majority of cases, businesses, be they small or big want to augment their brands and have thirst for good ranking in SERP for their business keywords. Therefore, it is imperative for them to come up with unique and SEO friendly websites for their users and bots in order to get the best ROI.

Myth #3 – Web Development One Time Process

Majority of businesses think that once website has built their work is over. However, they are not true because web development is not one time process even though you have created customized web identity with the latest responsive web designing technologies, as web development team needs to update it regularly as well as check or test it frequently for its compatibility and user experiences in contemporary sense.

Web and mobile technologies are ever-changing field and your current websites may become obsolete after two or three years and you need to redesign it with the latest coming technologies at that time.

Solutions:

Therefore, my best advice for business houses to keep good relation with your web development company and take their help regularly by paying on their maintenance packages or for support or update charges.

Myth #4 – Anyone Can Do UX

When businesses have to select the web development company as their IT partners, they used to check presence and capabilities of graphics designers for UI and programmers for interactions and dynamism, but never ask for UX experts. Designing mere UIs and programming them can’t bring good user experiences on your websites because expertise and experiences in UX is quite advance and different discipline in software development as well as in any industrial product development.

Solutions:

Thus, check whether your hired web development team has UX experts included or not and ask for the portfolio of UX professionals too.

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Current Common Practices in Web Typography Part 1

Summary:

It is true that web typography is a bit different from print and constantly evolving due to ever-changing nature of web itself. At present, we are experiencing new opportunities on presentation front due to emerging mobile era as well as facing intricacies in implementations. These all force us to reconsider our practices and outlook.

Intro:

Day before yesterday, we were focusing on the print media and little on web media for static desktop like devices. Today responsive web designing practices have changed the entire landscape of web typography. Therefore, today we have to think about the font type, style, font size, and spacing in respect to the ever-changing viewports according to the client mobile and desktop devices. We strive to optimize readability of the web typography across the devices, browsers, and OS. In due course, we need to focus on certain current common practices prevailing in web typography landscape. Let’s check one-by-one.

Type Face

The choice of typeface sets the tone of the entire website and sends right or wrong messages by creating an atmosphere. Our designers are struggling between the Serif and Sans Serif typefaces for an appropriate choice since 2009. If we look back in the web typography of 2009, it was increasing trends for sans-serif typeface in body copy as well as in the headlines. Today designers are creating contrasts in body copy and headings by interchanging of serif and sans serif typefaces in order to improve readability and visual appeal of the website.

If we fine grain the data, we may find that serif typeface has replaced the sans serif in body copy gradually over the last four years. We can see the emerging trends for Georgia and Arial as the most popular typefaces on the responsive websites like The Guardian, Financial Times, BBC, etc.

The Most Common Typefaces

Besides Georgia, there are other popular typefaces such as Chaparral Pro, Freight Sans Pro, Helvetica, Verdana, etc. which have taken place in either body copy or headlines/headings and differentiate from others by creating contrasting effects. However, interesting trends are also visible for the non-standard typeface usage on the recent web development, especially in responsive websites made for multiple devices and screens. This indicates the increasing diversity in web typography.

Diversity in Typeface

As we use CSS in responsive design and fallback typefaces including standard core Web fonts like Times, Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, Helvetica, etc. are used predominantly as mobile platform fonts. Ironically, comeback of Times, and Times New Roman have widened the diversity of web typography still keeping the old players intact. The real genesis of diversity is leaning trends towards individuality and responsive web on designing landscape.

Many smart web designers are experimenting with typefaces mostly in headings because drastic changes in body copy may prove disastrous particularly in case of responsive designs. However, use of alternative fonts for body copy may create rich panorama and bring more diversity in web typographic landscape.

Fortunately, Lujayn has dedicated web developers who are accustomed with current trends and common practices in web typography landscape and capable to make your project a success legend in this fiercely competitive market.

Designing Simple-Predictable-Comfortable Navigation Part 2

Designing Navigation-Target Areas
Designing Navigation-Target Areas

Summary:

Target areas, links or clickable/tappable areas are dynamic and live part of the navigation in all sort of web designing, be it for static websites or responsive website designs. There are many factors determine the success of target area designing in course of navigation designing. Let’s check them in brief.

Intro:

In the first part of this series, we have seen that designing navigation is a part of creating information architecture and main menus are vital component of entire navigation system. Therefore, in this series I try to focus on the simple, predictable, and comfortable navigation designing using various components of navigation efficiently. In due course, we have seen navigation symbols in first part and now we will look at the target area designing in this current part 2.

Target Areas in Navigation

By definition, target areas are nothing, but navigation links designed to easily recognized, easy to click, and consistent throughout the website. Technically target areas have text or symbol label and hot/active area to click, which is linked with other web pages in the website. Sometime tint of graphics is added on the target areas to show it as button like things, but most of the times, it is highlighted through differences in fonts, font sizes, and font or background colors.

In drop-down menu, target areas should have contrast against the similar background and that should reflect in size of target area, texts of labels, and colors of the target areas. On desktops, we have opportunity to change font styles in dim lighting and other ways to respond hover effects. Unfortunately, for mobile users, we have to device other ways.

Size of the Target Areas

In field of human computer interactions, Paul Fitts had quantified the behaviors of the users and predicted some rules to follow. According to him, designers should design target areas a bit larger and closer so users will hit them faster and with comfort or ease. Therefore, experts are advising that designers should utilize every pixel available, and should extend the clickable/tappable areas up to its boundaries.

However, in static websites devised especially for desktop users, can’t follow this rule because they have more than necessary white space and it’s a part of flat and simple design. Of course, responsive web design can stick with maximum utilization of target areas and give the best user experiences in tough gestures. Covering the maximum areas don’t mean to convert or create images in mega-menus, but make them large enough that they can grab immediate attentions of onlookers and facilitate mobile users to tap or select the target areas easily. Thus, enlarging target areas from normal size to 10% can give good usability and UX at the end.

Consistency in Location in Target Areas

Today we have larger websites with multi-level navigation where chances of inconsistent target areas are high particularly in case of nested menu. Therefore, designers use the fly out or slide to the submenus and their location issues are bigger if we don’t keep consistent locations for them. In single-level navigation menus, closing the menu may become the problem if designers don’t provide obvious clues or close buttons at the same areas where it opens.

If you strive for such high level of user experiences and usability in your web development, Lujayn has team accustomed with aforementioned designing techniques and practices to take a chance.

Some Technical Aspects that Affects Search Engine Crawling

Summary:

The success of SEO is greatly depending on how search engines look and feel your website. Therefore, technologies and technical aspects of the website determine the overall success at the end of the day.

Intro:

It was a time when e-commerce and other websites were made up using Flash like animation technologies. At present, we have innumerable technologies at hand and they are producing simple standstill HTML websites to highly interactive and dynamic web portals using PHP like open source technologies.

Earlier, we were mainly focusing on the audience who accessed front-end side of the websites through browsers, giving cloying graphics and animations using appropriate technologies. Gradually, search engines added one more dimension in the web development and it was SEO friendly website development. Now, businesses are looking for ranking on SERP along with tempting the human visitors on the website.

Website Access at Technical Point of View

Our modern websites have two types of visitors, one is human and another is search engine. Humans have eyes to see and brain to read, feel, sense, and analyze the website content. Whereas crawlers have algorithm to read the source of the website on the server, means bots read backend only.

At front-end, web developers take care of user experiences through myriads of factors in designing as well as in programming. For instance,

  • Cloying UI design with smart UI elements
  • Rapid and dynamic interaction programming
  • Comprehensive information architecture or navigation schemes
  • Content architecture or layout
  • Content on images
  • Multimedia content including images, audio, video, animations, and so on
  • Integration of various 3rd party solutions and extension for advance as well as personalized functionality

These are some considerations for web developers at front-end.

Against these, at back-end we need to take care of all technical aspects that allow all sorts of search engines to crawl the web pages in source code. For instance, various technologies of web design such as

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript like various scripts
  • Cookies
  • Robot Tags
  • Programming language
  • IP addresses
  • Hosting
  • Cloud

These all deliberately affects the crawling of the web pages for websites and web application whether they are on traditional servers or on the cloud and displaying in the browsers on desktops or smart handheld devices.

Obstacles for Search Engines

As described above, search engines have to access backend through source code and source code reside on the web server or cloud and it is made up of various components including the front-end elements along with technologies in programming documents.

Search Engine Crawling Issue
Search Engine Crawling Issue

Location Factors

Hosting, cloud, and IP addresses are some of the location indicating and permission granting factors. Thus, if you don’t have SEO friendly hosting solutions, how crawlers will access the server and source code easily? If the region of host or cloud is inaccessible for the search engine, you have meager chances of indexing regularly.

Flash, Images, PDF, Animations like Banned Technologies

We know Google like advanced search engines can crawl Flash, Images, PDF at some extent only while rest of other search engines are of primitive type and have banned such content for their visits.

CSS, JavaScript, Cookies like External Factors

We know that CSS and cookies like files are residing at the external locations in the hosting environment and are not included in the main source file like HTML. Similarly, JavaScript is tough to crawl rapidly even for the Google. If your navigation is based on the CSS and your important website info is collected in the cookies, your dream for indexing will abolish soon.

Robot Tags

If you don’t have robot tags or your robot tags are with some serious errors like ‘noindex’ or ‘nofollow’ tags, how poor crawlers dare to proceed further in your web page source code?

In sum, if your design is good, but your source code is not search engine friendly you will lose the ranking battle at long run. Fortunately, Lujayn has expert technical web designing team, familiar with such issues and capable to manage them during the web development process.

Working with and Building Modal Windows in Web Design Part 1

Summary:

Modal windows are offering extra spaces on the screen without intimidating user experiences if designed smartly. No doubt, making its semantic is the need of moment. Therefore, let’s check the best practices and trends for working with modal windows in your web design project.

Intro:

In web design whether for static or responsive websites, you need to take care of readability, usability, accessibility, and functionality during entire designing and programming process. In due course, organization of information architecture along with design layout is crucial and demanding a bit experiences as well as expertise.

At present, most of the websites are business oriented and highly relying on online identity to accomplish their critical tasks or processes of the business. Therefore, intricacy in design and functionality is natural. Majority of clients and their web developers are screen real estate hungry. They constantly try to include maximum info in minimum space. Thus, their trade-off with layout blocks and responsive design become more complex and force them to find out innovative ideas to justify their content needs.

Technically, we have innumerable GUI elements and structures to organize our ever-increasing content needs. For instance, jQuery-based sliders, Ajax based tabs, and simple pop-ups or modal windows through programming. Among these, modal windows have certain advantages to do off-canvas designing for web and mobile platforms.

Advantages of Modal Windows

Let me list those advantages in brief just to mention:

  • Modal windows are quite smaller UI element in most of the cases so save space
  • It is floating over the existing page so you need not to create special space for them in your layout, just give links or CTA UI element to pop it up
  • It never requires loading of entire page and simulate the Ajax like functionality so end-users like them so you can consider the modal window as improved usability step in your web designing
  • You can move modal window simply by dragging it on the existing page so offer great convenience for users
  • As modal windows are part of off-canvas design, you can add them in multiple occasions and in as many as you need, of course, don’t exceed here too

Contextual Usage of Modal Windows

No doubt, modal windows are excellent structural UI elements, but they are not applicable on all sorts of content or media so be careful while incorporating in your UI designs. Here I am going to listing and depicting where and when modal windows elements should use and not.

For Lightbox

In these days, our images and videos are of large to extra-large size. Therefore, incorporating them on live web page or UI prove costly and strenuous for layout designers. If we use lightbox for images and videos we don’t have to load or reload web page frequently and can reduce the loading burden until lightbox is not opened. You can use thumbnails of images/videos at linking UI element instead of mere text link or simple button. Thus, you can give ideas of the content before clicking it.

Moreover, you have many options to highlight your content of lightbox in modal window design. For instance, you can blur the background of the rest of screen against the lightbox so your visitors/users can easily see the image details or watch video without distractions. Workings with background of modal windows are easy in styling so you can show your creativity freely.

Another usage of lightbox is converting modal windows into the image galleries. Here you can use auto-sliding or manual next-previous buttons to the lightbox to give best user experiences.

There is much other usage of modal windows in web or mobile UI designing, but we will check them in the next part of this series.

 

Author Bio:

Shoaib Marfatiya is an eminent writer in web development industry and its verticals. He has contributed a lot by throwing lights on very intricate issues of web and mobile development community.

 

Test Hard, but Test Smart—a New Message to the Designers Part 3

Testing Parameters for Websites
Testing Parameters for Websites

In previous part 2, we have seen that the deep understanding of audiences, devices, and their use-cases can make big difference in decision of testing strategies and methods. Now, in this one more part, we will see that ‘what to test’, and how to formulate browser groups, in order to do smart testing of your mobile websites.

 

Test Matrix

If we have enough knowledge of testing parameters and we know, which parameters are needed for which products, we can do smart testing with least efforts and greater accuracy. Therefore, it is mandatory to know and decide the testing matrix first.

 

Screen size: we are aware of fragmentation in the screen sizes of the mobile devices, thus, testing our fluid or responsive layouts, UIs, and various dynamic elements on our major targeted devices in real world make big sense.

 

Screen Resolutions: Pixel density or screen resolutions is among the parameters to test for the clarity and ease in use of mobile app. However, there are tough time when you have to calculate pixel and sub-pixel values for different browsers of mobile devices during layout preparation of your websites.

 

Connectivity: user experiences are highly depends on the connectivity issues and speed of connection as loading time increase may distract users of your responsive or mobile website. This the reason that mobile devices are not capable to do high-speed data transfers and use of high-speed cloud or web services at optimal levels as desktops can do. Thus, you need to test connectivity and related issues first and debug them to improve performance.

 

Interactivity: interactivity depends on many factors in designing and coding. However, styles of interactions like use of pointing devices like mouse and touch gestures through fingers and thumb are important for better user experiences during normal use cases of the mobile website or web app. Some devices have hardware buttons while iOS like have software or operating system elements to do frequent interactions so test them thoroughly in user experience testing.

 

Similarity among Browsers: it has seen that many browsers have almost similar properties and supports while some have acute differences. Therefore, if we segregate such browsers in groups of similarities and differences, we can save our valuable time from repeated testing, as we can leave rest of similar browsers by selecting only one browsers from the group and focusing on browsers of dissimilar groups more.

 

Rendering Mode of Browser: As we know modern browsers have two kinds of rendering modes, one is standard client-side rendering and another is proxy rendering. Technically, client-side rendering browsers use resources of client devices, while proxy-rendering browsers use server-side resources to render a page.

 

Thus, proxy-rendering browsers are quick to respond and fast to load in compare to standard client-side rendering browsers. Therefore, you have to check the kinds of browsers and test them accordingly in their different modes.

 

If you have pure intentions to make smart testing during your web development or PSD to Joomla development projects, you need to apply all fundamentals described in this series.

 

Test Hard, but Test Smart—a New Message to the Designers Part 2

 

Mobile Audience
Mobile Audience

In the first part of this series, I have described my thoughts on testing and my smart strategies for testing responsive web designs.

 

As we know that the nature and purposes of every website is unique and differing from others even among the same niche and competitors. Therefore, it natural that the audience of the website also unique so we have to consider the traits of website and its audience at first place while deciding the testing strategies.

 

Properties of Your Audiences

It is true that people from effluent class use mobile devices in more incidences, as that is the latest trend in the market and they always like to keep ahead themselves using costly devices. Against this, young generation wish to see themselves as tech-savvy and modern people so they prefer mobile devices while less affluent class of people have no luxury of desktop/laptop devices along with mobiles. Thus, they choose to stay with low or medium cost mobile devices and use them frequently.

 

These reveal a hard-fact that we are going to deal with web audiences with desktop devices in minority and mobile users going to be in increasing majority.

 

Form Factors of Devices

We know that iPhone is more popular in US and Canada as well as some in UK and Australia, while rest of world is fan of cheaper Android devices. Moreover, China and India have their own choices in forms of devices and their smartphones are just like mini tablets or called ‘Phablets’ in industry because they want to type large fonts of their local language characters in their messages.

 

Against these, cheaper mobile sets from Nokia like companies are popular in rural India where long battery life is a big issue. After looking such variations, we have to decide the choices of devices in the regions of our targeted audiences and test them accordingly.

 

Time Factor

Use of devices hence the usage of browsers are varying with the time and mood of the people. For instance, it has observed that during working days people are present in their work spaces where they have big sister devices like desktops at hand so their usage found high while on holidays or Sundays it decrease dramatically.

 

Therefore, we don’t prepare our testing strategies according to the time of engagement of people with devices and browsers, our chances of failure and unexpected errors increasing many folds. Thus, we have to be smart enough to go for testing.

 

Conclusively, based on these observations and experiences, we web development team at Lujayn are deciding our testing strategies and selection of browser groups

 

I hope, in next part of this series we will check what to test and how to formulate browser groups to do smart testing.

 

 

Author Bio:

Shoaib Marfatiya is an eminent writer in web development industry and its verticals. He has contributed a lot by throwing lights on very intricate issues of web and mobile development community.