Is Your Web Designer Ripping You Off?

Nobody likes being ripped off – especially if they’re in business.

Yet most businesses are paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to their web designer for shoddy, substandard work. Are you?Image result for web designer

Luckily, there’s a quick and easy way to find out.

Go to:, type in your website address and click on the “Check” button.

If the page you see says “failed validation” in red writing, you might need to speak to your web designer – especially if there are more than a handful of errors.

Is your web designer one of the cowboys?

Unless you own a cattle ranch, you probably don’t want to employ cowboys. You certainly wouldn’t put up with substandard work from a builder or electrician, would you? What about an accountant that didn’t understand tax laws, would you want them handing your finances?

Well, most web designers produce websites that are shoddy and substandard – and worst of all they don’t even know it.

How can I tell if my site isn’t up to standard?

Many professions and industries have standards. With some professions, like medicine or law, you need a qualification before you even start doing it. Other industries, like food processing or construction, aren’t so strict about academic qualifications, but they do have standards that have to be met – like health and safety or food hygiene standards.Image result for web designer

There’s no academic qualification you need in order to become a web designer. All you need is a computer with internet access and the confidence (or in some cases arrogance) to call yourself a web designer.

However, although many people (and most web designers) don’t know it – there are standards for websites.

What’s more – it’s really easy to test your website to see if it’s up to standard. All you need to do is visit a website ( and you can test your site.

What are Web Standards?

Websites are programmed using a computer language called HTML. There’s a right way to program HTML and there’s a wrong way. The right way to program HTML is called “Web Standards,” anything else is the wrong way.

The difference between the right and wrong way to program a website is technical – so if you’re a business owner you don’t need to understand the details.

However, you do need to understand that if your web designer hasn’t used Web Standards it means:

  • Your site will do worse in Search Engines – so you’ll get less visitors
  • It will take longer to download – so you’ll lose more of the visitors you do get
  • It could cost you more to maintain the website
  • It’s harder (and more expensive) to make changes to the website
  • Up to 40% of people might not be able to see your website properly because they use different type of computer or web browser than your web designer.
  • Your site is probably not going to be accessible to people with disabilities – which could mean you could fall foul of your local disability discrimination laws

Of course, you might not have all these problems if your web designer hasn’t used Web Standards – but you’ll certainly have some of them.

If my site fails to validate does that mean it doesn’t use Web Standards?

Not necessarily.

The W3C validator ( is a useful tool for checking if your site uses high-quality HTML. However, it’s not a 100% guarantee.

It’s possible for a site to fail the validation on one or two minor points. If this is the case it’s not a major problem, although you could ask your web designer to correct them.

However, if your site has dozens of hundreds of errors this is bad news.

It’s also possible to for your website to pass the validator and still use out-of-date techniques, however this is much less likely.

Should web designers use Web Standards?


To put it bluntly, if you don’t know web standards, you’re really not entitled to call yourself a “professional” web designer.

There are some occasions when it’s acceptable to use non Web Standards techniques for practical reasons, but it has to be an informed decision.

How many web designers program websites the wrong way?

Unfortunately, most web designers program websites the wrong way. The sad thing is that many of them don’t even know about Web Standards.

There are plenty of web designers that do use Web Standards, but they’re in a minority.

Because there are no entry barriers to web design, anybody can set up as a web designer. That means there’s plenty of choice but it also means there are plenty of cowboys producing badly-programmed websites.

What do I do if my website hasn’t been created using Web Standards?

Well, you’ve got a couple of choices.

Firstly, you could contact the web designer that created your site and ask them why they didn’t produce your site with Web Standards.

If your site is more than 1 or 2 years old it isn’t reasonable to expect your site to have been created with Web Standards, as they weren’t a well-known technique then.

You might find that your web designer now uses Web Standards and would be able to redesign your website so that it uses them.

They may be willing to do this for free, as a courtesy, or they may charge you for this.

Can’t I just sue them?

I’m not a lawyer and couldn’t offer legal advice.

However, I suspect that unless you have a written contract with your web designer specifying that the site should be built using Web Standards techniques you would find a legal route difficult.

What are my other options?

If your current web designer is unable or unwilling to change your site so that it uses Web Standards you could find another web designer who is able to redesign your site using Web Standards.

Use Google or Yellow Pages to find web designers in your local area and then contact them to see if they use web standards.

If they say yes, check some of their sites using

What if I don’t have a website yet?

If you don’t have a website yet, or are planning a new one, make sure you choose a web designer that uses Web Standards to create their websites.


Resources – HTML Validator

Richard Quick is the author of the forthcoming book “Web Design in easy steps.”

He has a background in designing websites for multinational companies and works as a freelance web designer in Cornwall [], England.

Richard also runs a site selling Cornish Pasties [].

More Details about web design cornwall [] here.

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How to Choose Web Design Company?

Web Design Company

There are many people on internet who call themselves as web designers and web design companies. Many people do it for fun, as a hobby or part-time. Web design companies full-time operations are way to go.. Web design companies doing it for living will take your project seriously. Make sure your web design company has done enough research on internet technologies.Image result for Web Design Company

5 firm steps for finding the right Web design company for you

1. Assess your needs:

A professional Web design company will work with you rather than for you. It will help you in defining your organization’s requirements. Still, you should have a basic idea of what your web site can do for you. Will it serve as an informative catalog? Will it grab new clients? Will it strengthen relationship with your existing clients? Will it serve the needs of your workers?

There are few initial requirements your organization should aware of:

The intended audience for the Web site

The intended goal of the project

Anticipated budget for the Web site

How the project will fit into a larger marketing/corporate scheme

The individuals/departments within your organization responsible for the project

These initial requirements will help you finding web design firm best suited for your project. You should document them and use them as a basis for evaluating each web design firm. This document will serve as your benchmark to measure each web design firm.

2. List Generation:

You can use many ways to search web design firm. There are strengths and weaknesses on selecting a method to search for web design firm. Combination of different approaches will be your best bet in hunt of web design firm for your project.Image result for Web Design Company

Competitors’ web sites:

Look for web sites of organizations that you like, mainly web sites of your competitors. Sometimes you have to look for web sites other than your industry. Mostly, web design firm includes site credits (example: developed by 4MDESIGNERS). You can simply visit web design firm’s web site and carry on your analysis. If you cannot find the credits on the site, feel free to contact the organization and ask which Web design firm is responsible for the web site? You can at least have some comments about that web design firm from the organization you will be contacting.

Ask your Social Circle and Family:

Ask your friends, colleagues and family which web design firm designed their web site, or if they otherwise recommend a web design firm. Find out what they liked or disliked about web design firm and about web site they developed for them. Few companies’ produces better results when they are given Start-Finish task while few are more inclined towards doing particular task.

3. Short List

By considering above mentioned you organization should create a short list of 4-5 web design firms that are best suited for your project.

Evaluate their work:

When its said evaluate, it means you have to evaluate their portfolio, kind of web sites they have developed. If you want to sell products online, you should look for proven ecommerce solutions web design firm has developed.

It’s essential that you research a web design firm’s work so you can evaluate their potential and quality standards. A web site does not have to be flashy or very interactive to hit the deck, but you must appreciate web design firm’s design sense. Also, consider hiring a firm familiar with your particular industry.

When evaluating web design firms, note geographical location of their clients. A Web design firm that has worked with clients in many geographical locations will have a more global approach to your Web site.

Avoid Freelancers:

Don’t select a freelancer for your project on a freelance basis, to design and develop your organization’s web site. It is rare to find a single person capable of handling all development, visual, technical and web marketing elements that make an effective web presence. More over, by depending on an individual, your organization is at risk of losing its time and money should anything occur to that one individual?

Determine what other products/services the Web design company can offer

What kind of value-added products or services can the design firm offer? Internet Marketing and Web site promotion? Newsletter or email campaigns? If your organization is not currently dealing with a print design agency, for example, this might be a factor for dealing with one group over another. Similarly, can the firm provide database and software development should your organization wish to Web-enable some of its existing systems or processes?

During this stage, your organization should make contact with the potential Web design firms that are on your shortlist.

4. Get Quote/Proposals

Good web design firm will always be ready to submit a proposal for your website along with defined timeline, deliverables and terms & conditions. When evaluating proposal, look how they communicate with you using their website and digital documents.

Maintain a list for each proposal, consisting of its strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths and weaknesses of the respective Web design firm based on its other materials (Web site, portfolio, brochure, case studies, etc.).

5. Evaluate Proposals

After your organization has received all proposals, review and compare them with each other. How do they fare in terms of presentation? Do they present upgrade paths for your project, going beyond the needs of the immediate goals outlined?

6. Think ahead.

Over the past year, many of web design companies of different sizes have emerged, closed their operations or cut back. It’s important to ask web design company about long-term relationship.

The Agency is a web design company that specializes in full web design projects, make sure to contact them for any web design projects in Cape Town

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Web Design is The Essence of Your Business

Web Design is Fun. It is undeniably a practice of design, a process by which problems are solved. For the millions of web surfers out there, your web design is their first impression of your business and your credibility. The key issue in web design is how to add value to the user’s experience, how to make them feel that they truly got something out of visiting your web site. User-centered web design is all about giving the control back to the user, which brings us to the term Accessible Web Design – the art of creating webpages that are accessible to everyone regardless of any device in use. No doubt web design is important, but usability in the other hand, is king. This importance will lead you to find a professional to design your web site right. The complexity of the resulting web design is somehow determined by the goals and budget and affordability in this aspect, is in fact a reality.Image result for Web Design

Design ideas don’t have to be hard to find. For you out there that have specific ideas which are ready to be implemented, you just need someone with the technical know-how to turn them into web reality. Get ideas about the latest web design trends and communications concepts by looking analytically at your competitors sites. Evaluating example products is one way to get ideas for detailed design. From these set of ideas, you can then conclude on your final approach on how you want your assigned designer to get the whole thing done.

Flash is already the Web’s standard for dynamic web animation. In creating original cutting-edge design there’s nothing better than using Flash Web Design. It is by far, a very versatile and popular method to add eye-catching action to your web site. Flash is also probably the trendiest technology currently used in web design. However a slow-loading web page or flash movie makes seconds seem much longer, if you happen to “overdo” it. Flash does not only associate itself with animations but also as great complimentary values to other media such as presentations, videos and audios.

When you create your own web page keep the importance of shape in mind. You don’t want certain things to be in the extra large department when other items such as your text is relatively small to keep up with the overall ratio size of the presentation. Another important item to consider in your websites is the level of seduction. Yes, you read that right. If you’ve ever got lost in the maze of some websites, you’ll know the importance of intuitive web design. Seductive websites provide users the reason to stay longer by providing good typography and by not underestimating the importance of navigation. Knowing the importance of this, you cannot afford to take a chance on any trial-and-error method. The importance of writing quality web content is also equally important. Nevertheless, until recently, though, a greater emphasis has been placed on the importance and overall influence of color in the field of web design.Image result for Web Design

Web design is a complex discipline that involves a wide range of skills. In fact, I’d go as far as to say, web design is information design. In my experience, web design is primarily about the business. Every new web design is the solution to a design problem that can be summed up in a series of constraint questions – Who is my audience? An extraordinary web design is mandatory to a successful business, hence the goal of web design is simply not merely to dazzle, but to deliver information to the widest audience possible. Web design is exciting, it changes day by day. These changes will reflect your company’s complete product and service presentation. Web design has always been made up of some basic premises, and if you understand them you can help deliver pages that will impress and illuminate your readers. A successful Web design is paramount to a successful business.

John Teh is a Malaysian Web Designer, currently active in providing web services and solutions to anybody who needs them.

Web Design Malaysia

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Web Site Design and Choosing the Right Web Design Company

It’s been several years since you had someone design your company web site and now it’s outdated. You are losing business to competitors that have quality designed web sites with great layout and navigation. This may be your first company web site and you want to make the most of your money and time.Image result for Web Design

How do you choose a quality web design company that will understand your companies’ objective for designing or redesigning this web site?

First, you need to answer a few questions.

1. What is your budget and time frame for completing the web design or redesign project?

2. Are you going to be using original content and pictures for building this web site?

3. If this is a website redesign, are you planning on getting updated images and content for this new look and layout or will you need the web design company to supply them for you?

4. Does any one at your company have basic editing skills and will they be able to update the website content or will this be an ongoing job for the web design company you hire?

5. Are you looking for a local web design company?

6. Do you already have an idea of your web design colors, layout, and navigation?

Knowing the answers to these questions, will help you when you locate the right web design company.

Now it’s time to find the right web design company for your needs. Go to Google and search for local web design firms and you will see how many results show. Take “web design orlando” for example: Results 8,860,000. Wow, there are a lot of results for “web design orlando”.

Don’t panic, you will probably find a company that can do the quality web design work you need in the first 50 results. Quality web design firms will have a portfolio of work online that will show an example of their custom web design work. Start at the first web design result on work your way down.Image result for Web Design

Examine the portfolio to see if there is anything equivalent to the web design layout you are imagining. You will be able to tell immediately if this web design firm is right for your company and its look and feel. Find out how long they have been in the web design industry and compare that to how many quality web sites they have designed in that time.
If this is a redesign, find out how many web site redesigns that have completed and ask to see the web site before and after the redesign.

Find out if they have the staff available to work on your entire web design needs and that they know the programming necessary to complete the job in a timely manner. Ask for references, a top end web design firm will be glad to offer up references on the web design work performed. Most web design references will be glad to talk to you about the quality job your potential web design company did on their web site.

Depending on your web design budget, it may help to several quality web design companies to talk to. You will want to get at least 3 estimates and it never hurts to have more.

Remember, when it comes to your business and your companies exposure on internet, take you time locating a quality web design company. Your future may depend on it.

By Shawn Hickman – Internet Marketing Manager source: Web Solutions of America

Shawn also takes on consultant jobs. Visit his site: []

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Web Design-Impact Beyond Measure

Like a ‘mind-boggling’ yet enthralling Pablo Picasso painting, it is essential for websites to create captivating and thought-provoking material to lure an audience and, secure a solid fan base. Naturally, abstract paintings require quite a bit of out-of-the-box thinking when deciphering the artists’ vision, thought and message. This is the kind of allure that a website needs to uphold so that it can become successful over time. By ensuring that users are sufficiently stimulated on a continual basis companies will eventually attain devoted subscribers. This is what every company desires, though the trick is to develop a site that is not clad with complicated design elements (which could affect usability) and bland content that’ll bore browsers to tears, but to establish an effective balance.Image result for Web Design

Of course, if a website does not contain substance one cannot expect a great response or loyal following, now can you?

According to research, a website that has relevant and informative content can help to position a company as professional in view of the interested and targeted consumer. If a website can clearly and efficiently show a potential customer that the company is knowledgeable and up to date in their field of expertise, the consumer becomes confident and trusting of the services offered. Take into account that a web site is multi-functional entity that serves as a communication tool, thus it plays a central role in improving the impact and image of a brand. Consider your website a personal interaction with both current and potential consumers. Because of this very notion, even the slightest ‘balls-up’ can jeopardize a company’s reputation. Yet, however gripping a website’s content may be design elements have a dramatic, if not crucial impact and contribution to make.

There are a few prominent aspects of a website that is greatly influenced by web design. Keep in mind that web design’s influence on the success of a website runs deep. These are but a few significant and fundamental elements that are magnificently affected by web design.

Usability is key

When a user punches a few keywords on a keyboard, instant and relevant information and a no fuss policy is expected. Instance coffee and fast-foods bears testament to how today’s world has evolved into a fast-paced, ‘I want it now’ society. The Internet is certainly a result of this mindset. Life has become easier, like baking a cake from a box. Most users have a short attention span, when it comes to finding the information that they need and want. Because of this very reason, usability is a vital. As far as making content easy to find, with good web page design, a user should not have to wonder what to do next. Navigation is there for a reason and, makes thing easier and get information to the user ASAP!-which is what you want. The next step should always obvious. The easier it is for customers to find what they are looking for the likelier they’ll buy or enquire.Image result for Web Design

It’s like being stuck in the queue at customs at the airport, waiting for your turn to be serviced. Frustrating isn’t it?

It’s been noted that too often web sites are focused on looking attractive without considering the user. Many have won prestigious design awards, yet perform extremely poorly and as a result lose customers by the thousands. According to research 50% plus of online sales are lost because visitors aren’t able to navigate through a website and find what they are looking for. Another factor that plays a major role is how long it takes for a website to load. Research states that it makes good sense to ensure that a website loads fast. Studies have shown that if visitor are forced to wait for more than 8-10 seconds for a page to load, clients run a serious risk of losing potential consumers.

As a rule of thumb, every single web page should load in at least 8 seconds or less, preferably on a 56k modem.

Flash has been named as a huge factor when it comes to the usability of a website. However, Flash has become a popular tool in internet marketing and is now widely used across the web. But, there can be drawbacks so it needs to be carefully determined whether or not a site will benefit from its use. One of the benefits of using Flash is the visual appeal of it. It can be used with navigation, by adding interesting visual graphics. Although, one disadvantage about using Flash is that not all internet browsers have a Flash player moreover, not all users may want to download it. Needless to say, Flash technology tends to discourage usability for very apparent reasons. Flash can cause bad design, break the Web’s fundamental interaction style and it also consumes resources that would be better spent enhancing a site’s core value. Approximately 99 % of the time, the presence of Flash on a website hampers the usability and distracts the attention from the site’s core value and purpose.

Perhaps, Web designers interested in enhancing usability and their site’s overall business presence should use Flash sparingly?

By focusing on improving usability, web designers are able to keep users interested, for the long haul.

Our lives are filled with colour. What would the life be like if we lived ‘black and white’ lives? Colour adds interest and can determine whether a website is fresh and alive looking or it can also create a dull and dreary image, which is not what any client wants. In the world of web design, bad colour schemes can make a site look unfriendly, amateurish, and inaccessible. So, it comes as no surprise that over 80% of visual information is related to colour. There are various reactions to colour which are instinctual and cross universal and cultural boundaries. According to a 1997 survey by Cooper Marketing Group, Oak Park, IL, power is represented by the color scarlet red for 25% of respondents, black for 17% and bright violet blue for 13%. More than 55% of those surveyed chose one of these three colors out of 100 colors. Fragility was most represented by pale pink (27%), white (9%), and pale lavender (9%).

Note that colors can be perceived by people as different moods and emotions. When designing a site one should consider the mood that needs to be portrayed. These moods can vary from person to person, depending on their life experiences. Web design which achieves successful marketing results is sensitive to the cultural, instinctual and iconic meanings of colour in relation to the product or service being promoted. More importantly, it also considers the cultural backgrounds and gender of the targeted clientele. Avoiding the extremes of sheer garishness and boredom, effective design displays symphonic colour arrangements of shades, tints, tones and complementarities to tantalise and maintain interest. Adding textures too can alter colours – a roughly textured surface makes a colour seem darker, while a smooth surface lightens the same color.

Although, it also stands a designer in good stead to know what colours signify. Different shades of colours work well in different situations. For example, using very saturated colours all the time is not always good, by using shades that can make certain things stand out more or less than others. For example, it would be good to have elements in the main content stand out more than in the sidebar, because that is where you want to draw attention. When making sites you have to use your common sense when picking colours. For example, if you were making a business site you wouldn’t use bright pink, because this would look childish and unprofessional. Another example, if you were making a laser eye clinic site, you wouldn’t use red as this would imply danger and blood. Scary.

These days computers support millions of colours (16bit or 32bit) meaning the compatible colours between systems have increased. The new palette, based on 16bit systems, is the web smart palette which supports 4096 web smart colours. When changing colours you must ensure the contrast between the colour and the text on it is enough for people with poor eyesight to see, or at least offer a high contrast version. There are sites with grey text on slightly greyer background making it very hard to read, this is bad accessibility wise. Also note some colours can be annoying together, for example some people have difficulty looking at green and red together, green text on red would be a very bad idea. In most instances, finer details are forgotten and falls by the wayside – consider color blind people on the web, ensure they have options to see a version they can actually read.

The Impact of Web Design on Conversion Rate
A simple description of conversion on the web reads as follows; Conversion refers to the form that an interested party fills out in order to buy a product from a company. A Web Site Visitor Conversion occurs when a user takes key action to do so. Conversions can be macro (the most significant action) or micro (one of the many actions that precede the macro conversion). For most sites, conversions are what can be directly or indirectly traced to a financial return. Spending money on search engine marketing or online advertising might be a waste of your resources if a site is a poor converter. Inevitably, conversion determines website profitability.
Once again it is essential to make a web site to easy to use. If not the less chance there’ll be of people buying.

Interestingly enough, making a site accessible is a legal obligation in many countries. Inaccessibility can affect sales, as visitors will find the site impossible to use and go elsewhere. Apparently a typical inaccessible site could be losing 5% of potential sales because of this. Many designers only pay attention to Internet Explorer. The justification for this is usually that 99% of the site’s users use IE. It never seems to occur to the designers that perhaps the reason they have so few visitors with other browsers is that their site is fundamentally broken – it doesn’t work in anything else.

Percentages of people not using IE varies from site to site.
Approximately 80-85% of web users are using IE on Windows, which means that an average site that does not work in anything else could stand to lose 15-20% of sales. Visibility is also an important factor. For instance, when a user decides to buy a product, they add it to a shopping basket. How do they add it? By clicking a button or link. But what happens when they can’t see the button? They go elsewhere. There are plenty of sites out there with buttons that are too subtle, or don’t say the right thing, or are hidden away at the bottom of the page. “Add” is considered an ineffective button text. “Buy” is fairly successful. “Add xxx To Your Basket” is great. “Add xxx to Your Basket” in big letters on a big, bright button, near the top of the page, is even better. Calls to action, like this, don’t have to be bland but they must be obvious and clear.
Sites which are just call to action according to research could earn a 1% to 30% increase in sales as a result.

The impact the web design has on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

It is a known that having a Web site rank well in search engine results for searches on specific keywords/phrases. If a Web site doesn’t have a page appearing in the top 10 search engine result positions (SERPs) the chances of someone clicking on the listing, and actually visiting the site, will drop dramatically. Optimizing a site and content for a search engine, for a better ranking in SERPs, is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), yet many Web developers/designers either don’t take time to code a site properly or don’t know how to do proper SEO. The basics of code optimization are just sound HTML coding practices; when followed, they go a long way toward SEO. There is a lot you can do to optimize your Web site for search engines from the code level.

The first rule of SEO is not to design your site in such a way that the code prevents a spider from being able to index it. This means avoiding pages which are 100% graphics and no text, such as pages that contain all images, or are Flash-only. Furthermore, if the first thing a user encounters is a log-in page, before being able to see the site’s content, then that’s what a spider will see and it won’t go any further, either. If you’re planning to build a Web site entirely in Flash, Don’t. If you have no choice, then read my previous column, Search Engine Optimization and Non-HTML Sites. To find out what a spider sees on your site, run a spider simulator on a given page. The simulator will show you what text the spider sees and what links it finds. There are many good ones on the market at various prices. If you’re looking for something that’s free, I’d suggest Search Engine Spider Simulator.

There’s certainly plenty of room for further impact, depending on the subject matter, in regards to information architecture, copy writing, interface coding as part of web design or the layer of graphic design (usability). Web design encourages confidence and trust in the site as it is able to look legitimate and “professional”, depending on the design elements chosen. Web design can maintain a clear, consistent and unified message and operation. Obvious as it may be, a good site should be memorable. Being memorable, and making sure you stick in the user’s mind, is dependent on a lot of factors. It’s no good if your visitors remember why you are great but don’t remember your name.

Evidently, web design is much more than just a pretty picture.

Do you need the creative digital genius of a web designer? If so take a look at where you will be sure to find the right web designer for your needs. Approved Index allows you to find, compare and request free advice and quotes from leading UK based Web Design Companies, among many other services, enabling you to find the best value for money for your needs.

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