Mobile-Friendly Websites

Search engine giant Google is supposed to push out a new algorithm on April 21, 2015. One of the big changes we expect to see – if your website is NOT mobile-friendly, it will be punished in the search results, or should we say, websites optimized for mobile devices will be favored. Some people are stating that if you are not mobile-friendly your website will virtually disappear from all results. We believe that this new element will only impact users searching on mobile devices (mobiles and tablets). We believe desktop users will still get results from non-mobile-friendly websites in  a similar manner.

What is  a mobile-friendly website?
If you have a fully responsive website, you are safe. If your website routes users to a mobile-specific website, you are safe. If you have an older website, it is time for an upgrade or time to at least create a mobile version of your home page. Flash content will also be detrimental, since it is not mobile compatible. You can test your website here:
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Why is Google making this mobile-friendly shift?
Nearly 20% of all searches are done via a mobile device (keep in mind this includes tablets). Search engines want relevant information that is easily accessible by scrolling vertically, loading quickly and easily read.

What should you do if your website is NOT mobile-friendly?
Option 1) Consider a redesign or responsive adaptation to your current website. This would likely require a significant investment and take a little time, but is well worth it in the long run.

Option 2) Develop a mobile specific website, or at the very least, a mobile specific home page. This is a quick and dirty solution that can work well in the short term, but keep in mind that these mobile pages are unique from your desktop website and are therefore viewed as different pages by Google.

The Bottom Line
Mobile influence is huge, get on board quick! Contact us for a free web consultation.

Parallax Scrolling Websites

The phenomenon of parallax scrolling website design is growing in popularity across the internet. Parallax scrolling is a special scrolling technique wherein background images move at a different speed than foreground images, creating an illusion of depth.

Parallax scrolling allows for the creation of dynamic, interactive user experience that has the potential to improve visual appeal. It enables developers to display content on a single page, therefore reducing navigation and clicks required for an end user to consume the content. With parallax scrolling, a user can be “led” around a website according to a designer’s or UX expert’s intent.

Parallax scrolling websites “wow” viewers with page depth and animation, provide another tool to tell your brand’s story, provoke curiosity and demonstrate an innovative interactive experience. See some examples in our web design portfolio section or get in touch to learn more.

Responsive and Mobile Design

The use of mobile devices to surf the web is growing at an astronomical pace. Mobile devices are often constrained by display size and require a different approach to how content is laid out on screen. Responsive web design responds to the needs of the users and the devices they’re using. Rather than tailoring disconnected designs to each of an ever-increasing number of web devices, we can treat them as facets of the same experience. We can design for an optimal viewing experience, but embed standards-based technologies into our designs to make them not only more flexible, but more adaptive to the media that renders them. The layout changes based on the size and capabilities of the device. For example, on a phone, users would see content shown in a single column view; a tablet might show the same content in two columns.

L.A. Design Studio® utilizes the latest techniques in web design, including responsive coding. This provides an optimal viewing experience, easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling.

 

 

Custom WordPress Websites

WordPress powers more than 17% of the web – a figure that rises every day. Everything from simple websites, to blogs, to complex portals and enterprise websites, and even applications, are built with WordPress.

WordPress combines simplicity for users and publishers with under-the-hood complexity for developers. This makes it flexible while still being easy-to-use.

WordPress was born out of a desire for an elegant, well-architectured personal publishing system built on PHP and MySQL and licensed under the GPL. By focusing on user experience and web standards, the goal is to create a tool different from anything else out there.

The following is a list of some of the features that come as standard with WordPress, however there are literally thousands of plugins that extend what WordPress does, so the actual functionality is nearly limitless. On top of that, our team can custom code php and databases to create some truly unique experiences and applications.

  • Simplicity
  • Flexibility
  • Publish with Ease
  • Publishing Tools
  • User Management
  • Media Management
  • Full Standards Compliance
  • Easy Theme System
  • Extend with Plugins
  • Built-in Comments
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Multilingual
  • Easy Installation and Upgrades
  • Importers
  • Own Your Data, Freedom
  • Community

Some WordPress customers:

logos_wordpress

Logo Design

Some things to keep in mind when considering an effective and professional logo:

– Simple
A simple logo design allows for easy recognition and allows the logo to be versatile & memorable. Good logos feature something unique without being overdrawn.

– Memorable
An effective logo design should be memorable and this is achieved by having a simple, yet, appropriate logo.

– Timeless
An effective logo should be timeless – that is, it will endure the ages.

– Versatile
An effective logo should be able to work across a variety of mediums and applications. The logo should be functional. For this reason a logo should be designed in vector format, to ensure that it can be scaled to any size. The logo should be able to work both in horizontal and vertical formats.

– Appropriate
How you position the logo should be appropriate for its intended purpose. For example, if you are designing a logo for children’s toys store, it would be appropriate to use a childish font & colour scheme. This would not be so appropriate for a law firm.

It is also important to state that that a logo doesn’t need to show what a business sells or offers as a service. ie. Apple doesn’t show a computer or cell phone. A logo is purely for identification.

View samples or our logo designs.

Government & Non-Proft Web Design

The government is one of the earliest organizations that made its mark on the internet. They are also some of the least presentable websites, which makes this one of our favorite sectors.  Government websites should be among the most effective,  demonstrating innovation, usability and functionality for users. Government websites should display effective governmental efficiency and service delivery.

Non-profit organization’s online experience must be the center of all communication efforts. It is your public voice, and serves as a tool to engage and inspire action. It is more critical than ever to create an online experience for your supporters that is rooted in a clear strategy, engaging to supporters, and focused on your nonprofit’s unique goals.

From donor recruitment and retention to building a community of supporters, strategic digital marketing communications is the key to success. L.A. Design Studio can help your organization achieve the reach, results and get the attention your mission deserves.

A few of our clients in this space…

Browse our web design portfolio for live links or our work.

Flash Website Design

I wrote this a few years ago…

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There is a lot of talk about flash websites, and much of it is just plain wrong.  As with any technology, there are advantages and disadvantages.  Flash is a browser plugin, it offers extended features than the normal browser.  Flash is pre-installed on most laptops and desktop machines and is a free download.  According to Adobe, it is installed on 98% of computers, but this does not figure into mobile devices and tablets…

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UPDATE ON 1/28/15
Google just announced YouTube now defaults to HTML5 video as standard in Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Safari 8, and in beta versions of Firefox. The time has come to ditch the aging Flash in favor of HTML5. It looks like another hatchet to bury flash. In the short term, Flash video looks prepared to survive with online advertising, smaller video sites, and YouTube visitors who aren’t using a modern browser. I just hope the tools and techniques for HTML5 accelerate so that we can see some more inspiring websites.

Email Marketing

If you send out email blasts, we strongly recommend utilizing a third party service. There are many email marketing services on the internet.

  • MailChimp
  • Constant Contact
  • Topica
  • Vertical Response
  • Emma Mail

They  provide statistics on the campaigns you send out. A reputable email marketing company will have special relationships with IPs and know how to send proper headers so that your emails get delivered to your customers. They also provide the proper automated means for customers to subscribe and unsubscribe, many with website APIs for seamless integration.

Authorize.net Payment Gateway

If you will be selling products online and collecting payments via credit card, you will need a gateway and merchant account. The most trusted and reliable gateway is authorize.net. They offer a secure gateway that communicates with your site via ssl and the credit card companies, verifying, authorizing and transferring funds in a secure manner. We have become a preferred reseller.

Visit Authorize.net here.

If you are looking for a low-cost option, consider paypal.com. They utilize their own gateway, merchant account and even shopping cart. It requires extra steps from your customers, but is a functional and low cost approach.

Web Hosting

Cheap Hosting
If you are looking for cheap web hosting, we recommend our reseller account. This type of shared hosting is good for simple, non-database type websites. We find that the servers are efficient for simple sites, but if your site utilizes databases, then we recommend contacting us for space on one of our dedicated hosting machines.
Cheap Hosting Packages

VPS Web Hosting
VPS Hosting is made to grow as your needs grow. Get all the power and control of your own Virtual Server for less! With VPS, your RAM and storage are guaranteed. Plus, you can add more capacity anytime with just a few clicks. Not sure how to set it up? Experts will help get your server up and running fast! Just choose the plan that’s right for you, customize your bandwidth, control panel (Parallels® Plesk Panel or cPanel®) and backup options and leave the rest to them.

Dedicated Servers
Dedicated servers – all to yourself and under your command. Dedicated server plans feature lightning-fast processors, up to 16 GB of RAM, 20 TB of bandwidth, and Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processors, all backed by the best service and support in the industry. With a team of experts, you don’t have to worry about setup — your server will be up and running fast! Customize it to meet your unique needs with even more bandwidth, control panel options, backup plans, firewall protection and more.