There is a saying in the web development industry that goes something along the lines of: “Good developers copy. Great ones steal.” This suggests that a lot of people believe that there is nothing unique left to be created. Does this imply, then, that ‘stealing’ code is acceptable? Perhaps not, as you can see from the other two types of developer out there:
- Web development copiers
Often, the copiers are seen as being at the bottom of the development pyramid – they are the novices who haven’t yet come up with any of their own useful code yet. There is nothing wrong with doing this – it’s a great way to learn what different pieces of code does to the website as a whole, until you get to a point where you can do this without copying.
- Web development stealers
This generally occurs after a developer has copied another’s code and begun to understand how it works – they realize that coming up with something similar (on their own) is much harder then it looks. These people then begin to steal their code, carefully concealing their sources so that no one can trace their deception.
- Web development strugglers
These are the developers who try their hardest to avoid copying and stealing other’s work. They are aware of the fact that it is near impossible to create anything unique in this day and age, but they try to do so regardless. These people instead try to draw inspiration from other areas of life.
Seeing as there are 3 kinds of people in the web development industry, it does seem to suggest that stealing is not the only way to come up with great code and websites. It should be the strugglers, then, that are considered as the truly great developers, the copiers the good ones, and the stealers the bad ones.
Have you ever gone to see someone who proclaimed himself a search engine optimization (SEO) expert only to have them tell you that they’re sneakier than Google and can hide their tactics at the click of a finger? You should have gotten up and walked out of the room at this point, seeing this SEO “expert” for what he really is – a fraud.
This is an SEO myth that has been around ever since optimizing websites became the thing to do for increasing your search engine ranking. People think that they can get around the system and use some unethical SEO techniques in order to get a leg up – and that the search engines will never have any idea of what they’re up to. Unfortunately for them, Google is a very advanced search engine – each year, its algorithm is getting smarter and smarter in order to wheedle out the SEO wrongdoers.
Still think you’re smarter than Google? Look at it this way – Google is very quick, for example, to recognize patterns in link building (a black hat SEO strategy) and, if they detect anything unnatural with yours, you could find yourself the recipient of a ban. Google can also identify duplicate and thin content – many people also believe that it can almost understand what makes good SEO content and what doesn’t (obviously favouring sites that are good).
Even though dabbling in black hat SEO techniques is the best way to get yourself a one-way ticket to having a banned website, there are still plenty of “experts” out there who think that they can beat the system. Think about the SEO techniques you are using, and remember that Google can always trace them back to your website.
Many people look at the home page of their website and decide that it is the most important section, therefore, will frequently ask for the web design, content and layout to be altered – but is this how you should be spending your money (and using your designer’s valuable time)? Ask yourself a question – how long ago was the content, layout and web design of the other pages of your website updated or maintained? Can’t remember? Looks like you’re giving your home page too much importance.
Instead of looking at your home page as the be all and end all of your website, try looking at it like it’s a hotel lobby – when visitors arrive at your “hotel” they should find that the “lobby” presents the space in a good light (by having an attractive, spacious, elegantly lit and welcoming web design). They should also find that the “lobby” is easy to navigate – they should be able to see where the front desk and where the lifts are, for example.
But, how is a hotel ultimately judged? Generally, on the quality of their guest rooms. It is the same for a website. Visitors will judge the quality of a website based on the content and web design of its ‘rooms’ (other pages). The home page becomes, then, an area that visitors pass through in order to get to where they want to go.
It is for this reason that the time spent updating, enhancing and creating a web design for a home page should reflect this view – visitors will simply pass through, not stay there for a substantial length of time. How much time do you focus on your home page? Do you think that this correlates to the importance the page should be given in your website as a whole?
As anyone working in the web development industry will be able to tell you, working with Flash is the bane of the internet user’s existence. Whilst Flash can make for highly attractive websites that users are instantly attracted to and want to engage in, they can wreak havoc with a site’s usability and search engine spider readability. So, what is a pseudo-Flash website and why is it so great for developers?
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Basically, a pseudo-Flash website is one that has the appearance, feel and characteristics of a Flash website but has instead been built using those friends of web development, HTML and CSS. There are 2 main reasons for this shift from the attractive world of Flash to the equally attractive world of pseudo-Flash:
- Technicalities – it makes search engine optimization (SEO), content management systems (CMS) and device support much easier to achieve.
- Language – web development in the languages of HTML and CSS is much easier to work with.
One of the great things for internet users is that, with pseudo-Flash sites on the rise, there are a number of Flash attributes that are becoming much harder for web developers to implement. One of these is background music – no longer will users have to search the page for the pause or mute button, as music will actually rarely feature on a site.
As with any web development trend, caution must be exercised when it comes time to approach a pseudo-Flash website. For example, ensure that you use self-control; just because your developer can do amazing things with page scrolling and animation doesn’t mean that they should. Instead, consider the audience and user-experience, and you will find your website works much better.
When it comes to creating an effective and functional web design for your clients, the most important thing to take into account is the target audience that you are creating it for. Follow these steps to help determine who the target audience of your next project is, and ensure that you design appropriately.
The first thing that you must figure out as a part of your web design process is who your target audience is – how old are they, what music do they listen to, what products do they buy, and so on? This will give you a much better idea of who you are designing for.
The second part of determining the target audience for your web design project is to do some research into the kind of people who visit the website. Why not conduct a survey, asking the current visitors of a site what attracted them to it in the first place?
Now that you have a better idea of who the target audience for your design project is, you can start better understanding what it is you are trying to design and who it is for. Think outside the box and ensure that what you’re offering is of benefit to users.
Once you have gathered all of the required information about your target audience, it is time to go back to the web design basics. Incorporate the same theories of design that you would in any website, ensuring that you cater them to the type of design you are currently implementing.
It is always obvious when a web design has been created without the target audience in mind. Think about all the websites that you have ever looked at – how many of them looked like they were aimed at kids but were for an adult service, such as tree pruning? As you can see, the target audience is imperative for a good website.