As we move fully into April (and mid autumn) we thought it was time we looked at some of the fantastic resources that web designers and web developers have been tapping into over the first quarter of 2014.
Every day, the number of people accessing the internet via their smart phones and other mobile devices (such as I Pads and tablets) is growing. Many believe that it won’t be long before this is the norm in terms of surfing the net, leaving desktop computers and even laptops far behind. Because of this, it is important that all companies focus on mobile web design.
Whilst it is possible to create a website specifically for mobile devices, it is also possible to make a single site (known as a responsive one) that can be accessed appropriately on all devices. Simply creating a design that can be viewed on a smart phone is not enough, however; you need to test the site out and make sure that it works on these smaller devices and platforms.
This can be achieved with the assistance of mobile emulators, which allow you to check the site’s responsiveness and functionality across a variety of platforms. Some of the better emulators out there include: ‘Mobi Ready’ (which also allows you to check dot Mobi compliance); ‘Screen fly’ (which covers a variety of platforms); and ‘Responsive’ (which allows you to check responsiveness).
The other great thing about using an emulator to test your mobile website design rather than the devices themselves is that they provide you with free feedback regarding the functionality and responsiveness of your site. They also ensure that you can test the design on all platforms and devices without having to actually go out and buy them, which will save you money.
You might be a designer who has never really had to deal face-to-face with clients before, or you might be a client who is seeking design work for the first time. For whatever reason, talking about a graphic design portfolio can actually be a difficult and intimidating task – you don’t want to use terminology that the client won’t understand and you don’t want to insult their work after all.
The first thing to understand is that this is not easy, especially for designers, but it is certainly a good skill to learn. Try not to be afraid of making mistakes when discussing a portfolio; instead, treat each meeting as a training opportunity that teaches you what is and isn’t okay to say. For a designer, the aim is engage potential clients in your work. For a client, the aim is to gather more information.
Clients will like to discuss your graphic design portfolio because they are trying to determine whether you possess the skills to undertake their project, whereas designers will like to discuss it so that they can show you that their work is of a high quality. By being aware of these reasons, you can ensure that you don’t alienate the other party during the discussion and that you answer all queries.
Finally, you must be aware of how the person (or persons) you are speaking with is reacting to your comments. As a designer, watch for the clients’ reaction when you briefly explain a project that is similar to their own. As a client, look for the artist’s reaction when you ask them questions about their graphic design work or experience.
If this is the first time that you have been involved with the creation of a website, you might not have understood what members of the team meant when they mentioned the alpha and the beta stages of the web development process. These stages are actually part of the cycle that brings a website to life, and they are vital if you want to ensure that the client is happy with the finished product. So, what are the alpha and beta stages?
This stage is the part of the process that involves the web development team presenting their ideas to the client, who will then approve any ideas that they like and dismiss those that they don’t. This will not only include the design; the client also has final say on the functionality, layout and other elements of a website.
This stage is the part of the process that involves the website being coded and tested. The designs approved by the client in the alpha stage are coded so that they are completely functional on the internet; the client is then provided with a copy of what the website will look like and testing commences to make sure that everything is working as expected.
These are not, of course, the only stages involved in the web development process – there are many other steps that must be completed before and after the alpha and beta stages to ensure that the finished website meets the client’s expectations, including: the pre-alpha stage (which involves idea conception) and release stages (which involve the site being made ‘live’).
These days, web designs created in one country can be viewed by people from countries all over the world, which has created a problem in the way that different colours are viewed by different cultures. To avoid offending your international audiences, it is important that you understand the different messages that these colours send to each culture. As an example, how is orange viewed by other cultures?
- Western (Australia, North America and Europe)
Orange is seen as being representative of the harvest and the autumn months. It is also often associated with warmth (fire) and with citrus fruits (oranges). Some cultures associate the colour with Halloween, whereas others (especially the Netherlands) see it as the colour of royalty.
- Eastern and Asian
Orange is seen as being a sacred colour in many Indian cultures (especially the darker hue of saffron), whereas Japanese cultures see the colour as being symbolic of love and courage.
- South America
Many people in these cultures see orange as being a ‘sunny’ colour. It is also commonly associated with the earth, as many of these countries have similar coloured soil.
- Middle East
In these countries, the colour orange is often associated with ideas of mourning and loss, so can be considered disrespectful in web designs that are promoting happiness.
With all of these different meanings for a single colour, it is easy to see how some cultures may be offended by its use (especially Middle Eastern ones, whose view of orange is very different to other cultures). Think about these meanings when creating an orange and web design, and you will avoid offending people whom you did not even know would see your website.