Your website is something of a digital first impression – the first interaction many prospective customers will have with your business. What that means is that if it’s poorly-designed it’s going to drive away people who might otherwise become loyal to your brand. Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways you can go wrong.
Category Archives: Design
I’d like to start today’s piece off with a story.
There was a time when digital media was almost completely ad-supported. There’s no use mincing words about what changed. Content creators got lazy, and many advertising networks turned into little more than obtrusive, obnoxious vessels of malware and irrelevance.
Software-as-a-Service businesses are under constant pressure to iterate on their products. Competition is fierce and customers can migrate to alternatives with minimal friction. To be competitive SaaS businesses must deploy secure and reliable code into production regularly. Continuous integration enables businesses to move quickly, iterate over short development cycles, and be responsive to customer needs and the competitive landscape.
When I talk to business owners about server hosting, we often talk about which content management system is best for their business. That discussion is often framed in terms of performance — they ask me which content management system is fastest.
The text in the book is justified, with each edge of the text block making a straight line. The web page is set ragged right — it lines up against the left margin, but not the right. Why is the text of most books justified, and the text of most web pages not?
The most prominent part of a web page is the area visible when the page first loads. The importance of the “above the fold” (ATF) area influenced web design and conversion rate optimization strategies for many years, but does designing with ATF in mind matter any more? Will users scroll to see content below the fold? Does it make sense to use sliders and carousels to keep content above the fold? Does Google care about the content at the top of web pages?
Newspapers referred to the area of their front page that was immediately visible to readers as “above the fold,” because broadsheet newspapers were folded on newsstands and only half the page was visible. To maximize sales, the above the fold area was used for the most important and attention-grabbing headlines and content. The concept carried over to the web, where “above the fold” referred to the area that appeared in the browser’s window when a page first loaded.
In a recent issue of Smashing Magazine’s Web Development Reading List, Anselm Hannemann laments the ignorance of web development fundamentals in developers applying for front-end dev positions. According to Hannemann, most of the applicants didn’t have a clear idea what a clearfix is used for, what ARIA roles are, or the basics of HTML and CSS. They did, however, know high-level frameworks like React and Angular.
Over the last few years grid-based design has taken off in a big way in the web hosting world. There are hundreds of different CSS and SASS frameworks to choose from, many of which are functionally indistinguishable from each other, and a small portion of which tackle the problem in novel ways. Most grids are concerned with splitting pages into columns and rows, into which elements are organized. Grids of this sort are great, but they tackle a different problem to the one we’re looking at today; they’re more concerned with layout than vertical rhythm.