April 2013

Our top 5 web design tips for new websites

We’re going to assume you’ve got your branding and look & feel sorted – we’re not here to tell you how to come up with the actual design of your site. But from a technology point of view if you’re embarking on a new web design project either yourself or through an agency here are our top 5 tips to help get the most from your new layout:

Web Design Tip 1: Think like a search engine

Page titles, meta descriptions and content are key when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation but so is layout. Looking at your design from a search engine perspective is often a good way to pickup issues before you head into the development phase.

Is your navigation easy to find, text based and not reliant on any scripts like Javascript? Will all images have accompanying text that a search engine can read? Do article pages have clear headers at the top of the content? Have you, on every page you’re building (including the homepage) at some point described what the page is about? Think relevance. The more relevant a search engine sees your page to the content you’re trying to optimise for, the better you will fare.

Web Design Tip 2: Try it on a tablet (and a phone)

Once you’ve got a layout save it as a JPG and load it on your tablet. See how it looks, is it easy to read the text at that size? Are navigation elements going to be easy to tap on? Now do the same on a smartphone. How does it look?

This is the time to confirm if you are going to commission a responsive design template or optimised views for mobile users. And if not, why not? It’s not too late to change your mind at this stage of the process before development has started.

This is also the time that you can have a final sanity check to make sure you’re not loading any components like Flash or applets that might not run on tablet devices at all. If your web dev agency is recommending them make sure they have a very very good reason for doing so.

Ideally, do this step right at the beginning of the project. We often take wireframe sketches and load them on an iPad to make sure we’ve got things like image spacing, line lengths, navigation options and general layout correct before opening up Photoshop. It’s very quick to do and can save you a lot of time in the future.

Web Design Tip 3: Show your kids

Show your website to your kids (unless you’re developing the next version of Playboy.com) and ask them what they think it’s about. I believe that if you can’t explain an idea to a 6-year old then you don’t have a proper grasp on the idea at all. The same goes for design. If kids don’t get what you’re trying to sell or do through a quick glance at the design, might your customers have the same problem?

Web Design Tip 4: Faster is better

Take a look at your design and start counting out all of the items that you think will take longer to load, that’s things like pictures or videos or promo panels or animations, etc. If you get to 5 or more then stop and consider how this might affect how website will load. Page loading speeds aren’t just important for a good user experience they’re also considered by Search Engines when ranking your site. So make sure your pages will load as quickly as they can.

Web Design Tip 5: Do you really need all those social media icons?

Finally, does your layout have Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube (and so on…) icons on it? If yes, do you really need them on there. Yes you want to grow your likes and followers, but are there better ways to do this? Could you put your icons in the footer rather than up in your header? (That’s the first place I look, and it doesn’t affect the design nearly as much). Could you add them to your “contact us” page instead? Do you really need that big Facebook like box on there or are there better uses of that space on your site? For bigger brands, do you actually need to tell customers you are on Facebook or could they work that out for themselves?

What are your top tips in the Design phase of a project? Let us know your thoughts below.

Android spiking in the UK with new releases from HTC and Samsung

According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Android is further strengthening its number one place in the UK representing 58.4% of the total smartphone OS market for Jan-March 2013.

iOS has just over one-quarter market share at 28.9%.

A fair way behind, but growing at a fast rate is Windows mobile now accounting for 7% of the market, up from 2.9% a year ago.

As more sales of the new HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 devices flow through this will most probably tip market share even further in Android’s favour.

See the full report here.

Cool visualisation of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack

You may have heard of the term “Denial of Service Attack”. It’s basically when a website is prevented from working by another source (or sources) repeatedly requesting resources from the host server.

Think of it like getting yourself and thousands of your closest friends clicking “refresh” on the same website at the same time over and over and over again. More often than not, the web server can’t cope and anyone legitimate who is trying to access the same site will see an “over capacity” message (see: fail whale on Twitter) or worse still will sit there waiting for the site to load and eventually give up.

Someone recently produced a video of a DDoS attack on one of their websites. The video uses Google’s logstalgia visualisation tool that replays access logs in a “pong-like battle between the web server and an never ending torrent of requests”.

It’s pretty cool, albeit in a geeky way, but thought you might like to see it:

JOB: Account Manager / Business Development Manager (BDM)

UPDATE: Please note that applications for this position have now closed. Thank you for your interest.

Fly Digital Pty Ltd has a rare opportunity for an Account Manager / BDM to join our growing team and help shape the future of our company. You will be in charge of client liaison from project concept to delivery as well as sourcing new business leads and revenue generating opportunities to take to market. Reporting to the Company Director, the role has a strong new business focus and includes a rewarding bonus scheme based on quarterly and annual sales targets.

What you’ll need:

  • 2+ years experience working as an Account Manager or BDM
  • An extremely thorough understanding of web/mobile development and design
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Digital Sales experience with the ability to write and present sales proposals and briefs
  • To have a passion for all things digital, and to be able to work as a key part of a small team

What you’ll be doing:

  • Managing client relationships from project Concept through to Deployment
  • Sourcing and converting new business leads for the company
  • Researching, presenting and executing new product ideas for the company
  • Documenting and presenting sales proposals, project proposals and other client documentation
  • Developing and maintaining sales collateral showcasing the business, including Social Media posts
  • Briefing the Technical Director and Development Team on new project work
  • Working with the Company Director on Sales Initiatives and Presentations