Thursday, December 28, 2006

How to Choose Property Management Software

Face it, you don't need more headaches - property management is hard enough by itself. Now you have to find a good software program to get your growing business organized. Hand scribbled notes and mountains of paper are a thing of the past -- hopefully.


1. Face it, you don't need more headaches - property management is hard enough by itself. Now you have to find a good software program to get your growing business organized. Hand scribbled notes and mountains of paper are a thing of the past -- hopefully.

2. Get the important stuff first, and then sweat the details

3. You can rule out 50% of the property management software on the market if you focus first on what you 'really' are looking for. The two main mistakes many people make is (1) buying software that is overkill for their needs (thus wasting money and time) or (2) going for the cheapest alternative and getting software that has defects and doesn't fit their need (thus wasting money and time). Let's look at the differences:

4. Overkill: Do you need software to manage your properties and your office too? Let your property management software do what it does best - manage property. For your office accounting and payroll, there are plenty of inexpensive products that are perfectly good for both large and small businesses. However, if you use another accounting software for your office expenses, you may want your rental property software to export your bank deposits and checks to your office management software. Other features that add to the cost that you may not need include budgeting, double-entry accounting, asset and liability accounting, and tenant background checking. Some features, such as tenant background checking are really done by well-known Internet companies, but the software vendor just buys the service first, and marks up the cost to you. The prices for property management software can range from $100 to $10,000 (or more), so don't buy more than you need. However, if you do buy a version that supports a smaller number of rental units, make sure that you can easily upgrade to the larger version at a reasonable cost (hopefully the difference in cost between that smaller and larger versions) and won't be required to re-enter any of your precious information again.

5. Underkill: Anybody with some web software can make an impressive looking web site. But underneath may be a piece of junk software. Look at the product, make sure you can run a full demo, and better yet a 'trial version' that allows you to 'try before you buy'. Make sure the software can do the basic things you need: (1) maintain a separate ledger for each Tenant and each Owner (2) write bank checks and deposits (3) maintain a vendor file (4) automatically post rent, management fees, and late fees (4) easily update your information. Make sure the software will handle a mixture of single family homes, multifamily homes, condos, and commercial without having to buy extra modules. Look for the ability to purchase add-ons, such as work order modules, online rent payment modules, or tax related modules -- you may need them in the future as your business grows. Be sure to check the cost!

6. Then, go for the details

7. Some things may not be critical in your property management software, but are great to have. These are features, such as a reminder system to keep track of appointments, log conversations and interactions with your tenants, and to pop up a list of tenants and owners that owe you money. Look for the ability of the software to transfer your tenant information to an inactive file, so that you can later look up your tenant info for credit references and to log back payments. Look for features such as the ability to automatically update rent amounts, automatically post amounts to each ledger, and to update your account names. Speaking of account names, you might want to find a software that uses 'real' names for your accounts like 'Rent Received', instead of an account number, such as '300021 - Rent Received'.

8. Don't take the Technical Support bait

9. Free Support! Most tenant management software companies don't even offer it, but even if they do, there may be big conditions. Some vendors force you to buy their expensive software updates in order to receive their technical support. Others offer free support for a short period of time then charge anywhere from a dollar per minute (with a minimum amount per call) to well over $100.00 per hour for support. You should get at least a 60 to 90 day free support plan as part of the purchase, but better yet find an experienced vendor that offers free unlimited support. Yes, there are actually some vendors that back their products with free phone and email support.

10. Hidden costs

11. If you spend a frustrating hour doing battle with your property management software, what is that worth in dollars? Difficult, unfriendly software costs you time. And, if you have employees trying to figure out how to do something, you are paying them to read the 2 inch thick manual, and paying again if they have to call for support. Make sure your software program is easy to install, easy to use, and has plenty of help. You should always receive a printed user's guide with the program, a comprehensive built-in help file, and an online help page. Another big cost is the 'update'. Are you forced to buy it even if you don't need the new features? What have the last 5 updates cost the user base? Will you still receive any technical support if you have an older version? These are important questions you should always ask when shopping for property management software.

12. Follow these simple guidelines, and your property management software investment will help your business run a lot more efficiently, smoothly, and stress free.

13. Paul Toller has worked in Real Estate consulting and Computer Software Development for over 20 years. He is co-developer of the Tenant File Property Management Software His latest release is a tenant lease creation software called Lease Designer

14. You may reprint this full article as long as the author credits and links are preserved.

How to Become a Software Engineer

Software Engineering was recently listed by Time magazine as still being the #1 career for pay/stress load. In spite of all the media hype about offshoring of these type of jobs, it's still a job that's in high demand. This article is for anyone considering Software Engineering as a career path who is at the high school or college level


1. Plan on getting a degree. With all the success stories of college drop outs becoming billionare CEOs in the 90's, there is a certain lure that "as long as I think outside the box and have outstanding problem solving and programming skills I don't need a four year degree". It's difficult for entry level software engineers to obtain a position without a four year degree.

2. Get all the math you can in High School. Try to advance to college level math before leaving high school, you'll need a ton of math to complete any Computer Science program.

3. Qualify your degree by what you want to do. If you love is game design and you wish to entry that industry as a game programmer, you'll need a Computer Science degree. If you want to work for IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Google, etc... A Computer Science degree will be favored. If you're looking to work for a non-technical corporation building mostly business applications, consider a degree in MIS (Management Information Systems) or one of the many business technical degrees now offered. I highly recommend this type of degree for most, beceause it provides management and general business skills and doesn't focus on a lot of information that will not be useful to most.

4. Suplement your classwork with personal research. Search job boards and note what technologies are hot and buzzing. The colleges simply can't keep up with everything, so you'll need to buy additional technical books and teach youself

5. Unless you're planning to get your foot in the door through an intern position, try to find side projects while in school. No one wants to take a risk and hire someone fresh out of school without projects under their belt. Internships are great and taking care of this problem, but unfortunately a lot of students can't land an internship or do so only to discover they would perfer to work elsehwere. The only way to give yourself options is to find some non-classroom work to put on your resume.


* Software Engineering dress varies greatly from company to company. At one office you may wear a suit at another T-Shirt, shorts and sandals is fine. Always call prior to the interview and ask If a suit is appropriate for the interview. This is a good question because often, even if dress is casual a professional look will still win huge points for showing that you're the type of person who makes an effort to look your best and to be professional.

* If you are asked a series of technical questions during the interview, always answer honestly, however be careful with the words you select. Never say "I don't know", instead say "I haven't encourted a scenatio where I would use that yet", then explain the process you would go through to find the information if you had to. Only do this once during the interview and if you get stumped again on a technical question just remind the interviewer about your resourceful approach.

* Always ask questions at the end of the interview and if the interviewer is technical, try to come up with some relevant technical questions. Don't try to interview the interviewer here, but just try to come up with a clever question that will answers some piece of technical trivia that's relevant to the company or the specific project you are being hired into. Be careful with this though and when in doubt, if it's not something that genuinely interest you, leave this trick in the bag.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Web Software Development A Legal Guide

Protect your rights, and your hard work!

The laws covering website and software development are complex and confusing, but if you don't untangle them, it could cost you thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees and lawsuits.

Fortunately, Web & Software Development decodes this complex area of the law, thoroughly and in reader-friendly English.The book also provides contracts, agreements and legal forms on CD-ROM, with step-by-step instructions for filling them out, so you can protect your software and website without paying a lawyer's ransom.

Use Web & Software Development to learn:

* what kind of legal protection you need
* the strengths and limitations of each type of protection
* how to avoid infringement
* which provisions you need when drafting an agreement
* how to obtain permission to use other people's materials

You'll find complete, step-by-step instructions to draft:

* employment agreements
* contractor and consultant agreements
* development agreements
* license agreements

The 4th edition offers a new section on one of the hottest topics in web and software development: open source, including licensing, liability for end users and the battle over Linux.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Website Design Basic Graphics Information

Graphics will enhance your website if used properly. In this article I cover the foundational information -- basic types of graphics and suggested graphics programs. This is just a start of a huge and important topic.

There are three major types of images used on the Internet:

* GIF (Graphical Interchange Format): advantages include the fact that GIFs don’t lose any detail when compressed or decompressed. They are perfect for hand-drawn art, icons, logos, and headlines, but are not optimal for pictures and photos with many colors and color gradations.

* JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): more efficient than GIFs when compressing large photos with many colors. However, the “lossy” algorithm used results in some loss of detail when images are saved and viewed in this format. JPEG files are sometimes not as detailed as GIF images, but can offer as much as a 35% improvement in file size and compression (smaller file size helps to avoid a long download time).

* PNG (Portable Network Graphics): offer a compromise between the GIF and JPEG formats. They offer enhanced compression among images and can handle multiple colors and larger pictures well, without using a “lossy” compression scheme. Even though they offer an excellent choice, PNGs are still not accepted by the earlier browsers, so I caution using them.

Graphics programs of choice:

* Adobe Photoshop: This top-of-the-line program is the program of choice for most graphic designers and is excellent for both Internet images and print work. It offers a wide range of tools, takes some time to learn -- but is worth the learning curve and the price. There is also a Photoshop Elements software program that is less costly and works well for Internet graphics.

* Jasc Paint Shop Pro: Reasonably priced and a program I use often for my website images. It offers many choices, is straight-forward and works beautifully for website photo work (offering a wide range of effects to please any artist).

* Macromedia Fireworks: I love using this program, because I do most of my website design and development work in Macromedia Dreamweaver, and the two programs work seamlessly together. I will admit it took me some time to get used to using Fireworks (another learning curve), but now I wouldn’t be without it.

I have just touched the surface of the wide and exciting subject of graphics. The more you learn about and use them, the more fun you will have. And, your visitors will too!

Using Graphic Design on Your Website

Almost everything is available on the web… products, services, e-books, software, audios, videos, membership sites, or newsletters. Regardless of what you’re promoting, there’s a never-ending supply of prospects and customers on the world-wide-web. Your goal is to capture and turn those prospects into paying customers.

Perhaps the best avenue is by the use of graphics. Three important sections of graphics that should be used for a compelling website are 1) header graphics 2) product cover and 3) background graphics.

Let’s start at the top with the header graphics. Without excellent quality header graphics it won’t much matter what’s on the rest of the page. Here’s why. Once a prospect clicks on your site you’ve got approximately 8 seconds to convince him to continue with the information you’re providing. You only get one chance to make a dynamic first impression.

The next area is your product cover. No matter what you’re selling you should have a product cover. Even if you’re promoting services you should still have a graphic image. People want to see what they are getting for their money. There’s no better way to do it than with a picture. There’s an old saying, “ You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Guess what? Most people do exactly that! Their opinion is based upon a visual image. Even as you read, your mind creates visual images of the perception of the words. Make sure your product cover fits the bill. Don’t sell this area short!

The last area is background graphics. Most people will spend very little time considering the background graphics for their website. This can be a major mistake. Properly crafting the background will have subliminal, almost magical effects on the overall potential of the entire website. It’s like the glue that pulls every other aspect of the site into a uniform, well functioning profit-making machine. This area is the major play in helping to create the overall flow and unity to your site. Again, don’t sell it short!

In the creation of each 3 areas of your graphics special consideration should be given to the overall theme of your site. The theme will help with continuity of branding and marketing. Today, the Internet surfer is often bombarded with look-alike products and services. Your key to a successful website lies in being faster, more imaginative, and more unique to get your prospect fired up. Simply put, you must stand out from the crowd. The theme of your site will help you do just that. This is not to say every aspect of your graphics should look alike. Far from it! Each area should however, complement the work of the other.

Color, size, tone, relativity, and uniqueness are all important attributes to consider when designing your graphics.

Design Rules Principles and Standards

Standards are set by national or international bodies, which ensure ‘compliance with a set of design rules by a large community’. (Dix et al. 1998:191) An example is the International Organization for Standardization’s ‘Software ergonomics for multimedia user interfaces’. (ISO 2002:3) ‘Incompleteness of theories underlying the design of interactive software makes it difficult to produce authoritative and specific standards’. Hence, most of the design rules for interaction design are in the form of general guidelines. These guidelines can be applied at various stages of the design. Generally, the more abstract the guideline, the more suitable it is in informing the earlier stages of design such as the requirements specification. More specific guidelines are most appropriate for detailed design. An example of a set of guidelines is the ‘Apple Human Interface Guidelines’. ( 2003:1)

These guidelines and rules have been formulated from design principles which are a derivative of ‘theory-based knowledge, experience, and common sense’. (Preece et al. 2002:21) One important example is consistency, a principle that is concerned with ‘designing interfaces to have similar operations and use similar elements for achieving similar tasks’. (ibid. 2002:24) Internal consistency relates to uniformity within the design. An example of this is that buttons such as ‘help’ and ‘back’ are the same for all pages. External consistency can be achieved by the similarity of execution of tasks between the interface and the physical world. A map is a good example of this, where the user gradually hones in on a specific destination. Another form of external consistency is the use of similar terminology and functional attributes across platforms or commonly used interfaces. An example here is a ‘back’ button and the Windows ‘minimise’, ‘maximise’ and ‘close’ buttons which are utilised in popularly used interfaces such as ‘Internet Explorer’. (ibid. 2002:24, 25)

Free Web Page Design

Getting a Web site designed professionally can be expensive. If you want to create a basic presence on the Web without any bells and whistles, free Web page design can be a cost saving option. Free Web page design is the facility provided by many Web hosting providers and other sites that allow their customers to download and use free Web design templates to create a Web page or a Web site.

Some sites provide standard designs and all a customer has to do is to enter the text content and upload images. An example of such a site is Some sites also offer free tutorials that teach the various steps involved in the design process.

Web sites like,, and CabanovaXL site builder offer free Webpage templates, which can be downloaded and used. is a Web site that allows the user to choose from a gallery of Web templates and other features to design the entire Web site. It allows the user to choose a template, guides them in pasting the contents and including images in the design. This makes it possible for even a novice to create a Web page with very little effort.

Creating a free Web site has its own disadvantages. Free Web sites are provided limited Web hosting space, may have pop-up advertisements or banner advertisements on the Web pages, long Web addresses and poor help options. Another risk is the termination of services by a free Web site hosting provider. Since you do not pay them anything they are under no obligation to continue the services and may shut down if they find the business to be financially unviable. Visitor can easily identify free Web sites and using these to promote professional service is not such a great idea because they do little to promote the credibility of a business.

Web Site Design Essential to Business

Whatever business you're in, it's essential to have a presence on the World Wide Web. Your business web site moves your company into the global economy and provides your customers or industry with the information and service that they're seeking. Without a web site, a business loses its competitive edge; many potential clients either search the Web when seeking a company with which to do business, or review a company's web site prior to making their final selection.

Although a Web presence is essential, few companies have the in-house expertise necessary to undertake web site design or web hosting. Unless a company is heavily into e-commerce, it typically doesn't have technical personnel on staff. As a result, businesses must contract out services ranging from registering a domain name to web site design to web hosting. When doing so, it's crucial that companies look to providers that have a proven track record. Otherwise, they run the danger of either having an inferior web site design or paying exorbitant prices for custom web design.

When choosing a company to develop your web site, it's important that they deliver the highest possible quality at the lowest possible price. Here are some tips for finding a quality web site design service:

* Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations.

* Surf the Web to find web site designs that appeal to you and that would work for the information you wish to convey on your own web site. Web sites often note the design firm's name and contact information.

* Look for a company that does web site design by writing the code themselves, rather than using template design software programs. Your site will have a more unique look and the code will be cleaner, making it easier for search engines to crawl your site.

* Use a company that can provide web hosting. A good web hosting company will not only register your domain name, but will also provide an online file service where customers can share file folders or use the space as an offsite backup for their critical data. This feature should have an easy-to-use web interface.

* Use a company that can provide an SSL certificate and encryption for security of your company's data and peace of mind for your customers or clients.

* Look for a company that provides low-cost or no-cost customer support, preferably with U.S.-based customer support representatives. Although support staff in other countries may have the technical knowledge to solve your web site's problems, language barriers sometimes make the process cumbersome and frustrating.

* The company you choose should also be able to set up email accounts for you and your staff using your company's domain name. They should also be able to host your email accounts on their servers.

Elements of Great Websites

There are literally millions of websites on the Internet these days. How do you make sure that your website is not lost in virtual obscurity? Well, there are several key elements that every great website has. These elements are described below:
Visible Elements How eyes see the site

The first item that’s seen on the website is the upper-left corner. From there, the eye moves to the upper-right corner, and then it moves in a zigzag fashion from elements that grab its attention. Knowing this fact, you’ll notice that most great websites have their company’s logo and key messages positioned in these most coveted eye catchers!


Layout of the site is extremely important. Great websites have a consistent layout and repeat certain elements of it throughout the site.


Elements on the website have consistent alignment. Choose either left or right justification and stay away from centered alignment.


Use 2-3 colors throughout the site, keeping text to the easiest to read combination of white background and black text. Overdoing the color makes eyes wander the page trying to figure out logical connections.


Graphics are an important element of any website; however, it is easy to overuse them. Great websites use graphics sparingly and consistently. For example, if site has illustration graphics on its pages, their design and fashion should follow the same style.

Easy Navigation

Great websites have one common feature—easy navigation. Whether it is menu based, link-based or graphic based, navigation should be consistent throughout the website. It is also a good idea to have a “you are here” link on the sub-pages to allow quick jumps between parent-child menu items.

Short and Organized Copy

Websites are designed to grab user’s attention. Main page of the site should not overload the user with heavy text. Break up the text in small paragraphs. Clearly label topics in bold or italics. Try to minimize the scrolling on the first page. Create jump links from the main page “read more.” Remember that most users stay on the website for less than a minute.

Invisible Elements


The key element of the great website is presence of keys in its Meta section. Keys are what search engines see when they crawl the site. It is imperative to have a targeted set of 10-20 keywords that are 2-3 words. Remember that most people online use 2-3 words for their search string.


Every webpage should have a short and descriptive title. Titles should not be a repetition of keywords; however, keywords should be used in the sentence. Titles should be kept to about 36 characters.


Description is displayed when the page is presented in the results of the search query. It is imperative that websites have a detailed description that’s short and to the point, without marketing twists. The length of description is generally kept to less than 256 characters; and many search engines display only 128.


In order for a website to score high with the search engines, it should have links pointed to it. Larry Page’s (one of the founders of Google) famous PageRank measures a website’s popularity by the links that point back to it. Great websites usually exchange links with other sites and affiliates.

Creating a state-of-the-art website takes knowledge and patience. Remember, people often visit the website before the personal meeting to learn about the company. Therefore, take the time to study the website design and make sure to ask yourself the following questions:

* Do the prime spots on the page display a strong message?
* Does the website look attractive?
* Is the copy clean and concise?
* Does the website provide easy navigation for visitors?
* Have the invisible elements of the website been properly setup?

Remember to keep the points listed above in mind when creating or reviewing the website design. Consider firm’s brand and keep elements of the website consistent.

10 Essential Tips For A Web Designer

One of the toughest challenges facing any designer is the web page. There are perhaps millions of pages in the World Wide Web all jostling for attention. The question that is foremost is how you as a designer can make a difference.

Study the subject being featured. Visit as many sites as possible that cover the same as well as related topics. Make a list of what works and what doesn’t. Avoid using a design that is going to be uniform with others. Unless your pages are distinctive they are not going to work.

1. Try and avoid run of the mill things like page counters, java text scrolling, flashing images, GIF images, signs which say “we are not ready.” Or, too many illustrations or animations, black grounds or fade ins.

2. Create a design which coveys in a stylish way what it has to. Instead of using downloaded illustrations use original ones.

3. Avoid things like heavy files or graphics. These will slow down your pages. GIF is better than JPEG files.

4. Think of the target audience and subject being addressed when designing. The overall effect should be that of exclusivity.

5. Avoid incorporating download plugins. While Flash is innovative and fun you will loose viewers if you don’t provide an HTML alternative.

6. Design the pages so that they are not more than 50K.

7. Remember the rule of thumb; a web page should not have more than three screens. And, ensure that the viewer does not have to scroll horizontally.

8. Test your website pages with several browsers. Make sure they open quickly and completely. Do a reality check by asking a cross section of users to check the site. Usability checking will bring to the fore any mistakes made.

9. Don’t use backgrounds with tiles or patterns it makes the design fussy and decreases readability. Avoid frames they make the pages difficult to book mark.

10. Determine accurately the rules of creative design and ensure that you apply them. If you have links make sure they work. Limit page content. Pay attention to search engine optimization. Ensure that the design follows the content and is not a separate element. Maintain archives. Use innovative fonts and titles. The content should follow basic elements of style or a style sheet.

When designing the web page think about the site as a whole not each page separately. There should continuity in design. Include a site map for easy navigation. Pay attention to imparting knowledge, include information on the subject of the site, give tips, make available how to articles as well as publications on the topic. The site and pages should be interactive without being a nuisance, so links must be well thought of and of practical use.

Advantages of an Online Site Builder

There are numerous choices when it comes to building web sites. One of the first choices you will have to make is whether to use an online or offline site builder.

Site Builders

Site builders can be divided into two categories, online and offline. An online site builder creates a web site with web forms over the Internet. With an online site builder, there is no need to install any special software. You only need an Internet browser.

An offline site builder is a program that you install on a computer from a disc or a download. This type of site builder requires that a site is first built on the computer with the software, then uploaded, often with a separate piece of software.

Location, Location, Location

A good online site builder has several advantages over an offline site builder. For starters, and online site builder is always there regardless of where you are accessing the Internet. You can easily work with it from home, the office or on the road. With an offline builder, you need to be on the Internet, have the builder software installed and usually have a separate FTP program installed. From this perspective, an online site builder is clearly the better choice.

Users – Get Off My Cloud

In selecting a builder, one should keep in mind the number of people who will be working on the site. If there are more than two, chaos can ensue with an offline builder. Building a site requires some tedious work. Nothing is more frustrating than uploading changes only to discover you were updating a version of the page that subsequently has been updated by others working on the site. Many a new cussword has been created in such instances.

An online site builder almost always allows for multiple users and, by definition, always contains the updated version of pages. This simple aspect limits confusion and helps avoid duplication of work. Admittedly, it cuts down on the creation of new cusswords, but we must all sacrifice something.

Other Advantages:

1. Online site builders often use databases to store web site information rather than separate files for every page. This makes web sites much more scalable in the long run and allows for different sorting techniques.

2. Good online site builders will also be backed-up on a daily basis, so your work is always double protected. Not all online site builders provide backups, so make sure the site builder you choose does.

3. Online site builders also generally offer a selection of templates to use that make it a lot easier to build sites. Instead of having to create the entire site, many online site builders allow you to focus solely on the content of your site and do not require you to learn HTML.

6 Website Design Tips For Novices

So, you learned HTML and now your ready to design your website. Well, as an experienced web designer let me share some tips.

1. Use CSS (cascading style sheets). If you do not know CSS, learn it. CSS allows you to keep the formatting of your site (e.g. the color or size of a piece of text) on a separate single page - a CSS document. Thus, with CSS you can change the formatting of a common-element by simply updating one piece of code on one page, rather then updating all the pages of your site. For example, if you want to change the back-ground color of your website, you could just change your one CSS sheet and your entire website's background color would change. Another great aspect of CSS is that you can use it to set the default properties of HTML tags. This can be used to counter browser compatibility problem - that different browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, Netscape, etc.) use different default settings.

2. Test your website in all browsers. Just because your website displays a certain way in one browser, doesn't mean it will display that way in another browser. You should check that your website displays properly in all of the major following browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Netscape, and Opera.

3. Use open source software and freeware, if you want to create a dynamic website. Even if you know dynamic languages (such as JavaScript, PHP, and CGI) well enough to create your own software and features, you do not want to do that if you are a beginner. There's no reason to create your own dynamic scripts (e.g. shopping carts, chat-rooms, etc.), if you can find full-functioning customizable freeware. A great benefit of this method is that the customization options will separate the code that changes your website's look and feel from the functioning code. If you design the code yourself, you'll be tempted to mix the look and feel with the functioning aspects. So, if later you want to update the look and feel, you'll have to dig through the long software scripts. If you're going to be using freeware or any other code that you didn't design yourself, you should still be familiar with that language.

4. Don't use free or cheap web-hosting. Okay, this isn't necessarily a design tip. However, hosting is related to design. Free hosts may scatter your website with annoying ads. So, you won't be able to load your site as is. Also, free and cheap hosts often don't support dynamic websites. Unless you're website is supposed to be a joke, don't use a free host.

5. Don't write your email address on your website. If you have a phone number or mailing address that your customers can use to reach you or your business, publish that on your website. Website's with a phone number or mailing address appear much more reliable and honest than websites without contact information. However, don't publish your email address, because spammers will use web-crawlers will to pick it up. Instead, design a form on your website that customers can use to send messages or questions without giving your email address.

6. Take it slow. Unfortunately, the only way to become an expert designer is through experience, but your business can't afford sloppy pages. Don't attempt to design complex and dynamic websites without the ability. If you try to design a code, but find it hard and the code begins to come out sloppy, don't hesitate to just throw it out. It's better to have a simple, sleek, and functional website, than to have a complex, sloppy, dysfunctional website.

Ecommerce Web Site Designs

Traditionally when people needed to shop for things they went to local stores personally and purchased whatever was required. However these days when people have to look for something or need to buy something, they prefer going online and using Internet. Most companies consider these as open doors of opportunities. They can display their products and advertise at low costs. They can also connect to their potential markets through live chat rooms or through a feedback system. Moreover, these companies offer a lot of information about their products and include necessary details.

Appropriate website designs are important for all businesses. These include educational, architectural, e-commerce, telecommunication and even small businesses. A company generally provides a website window for the world to know about their particular business. Businesses may be competitive, but are never similar. E-commerce website design packages are an online sales revenue e-commerce solution. E-commerce web sites have become important to increase clientele and carry out business in far flung areas too. E-commerce Website Design can create an interactive, informative, secure, e-commerce enabled site that can also provide with e-commerce hosting.

These sites have unique domains, internal and external links, e-commerce shopping carts linked to online e-commerce merchant accounts, auto responders, and email accounts. Existing logos can be incorporated and graphics and Flash or animation can be added. Most websites are encrypted (secure), that normally permit safe processing for credit card transactions online with e-commerce merchant account.

Most web designing companies have full staff of professional website design technicians, professionally equipped to build customized multi-page websites. Information is updated from time to time or web designers can modify existing sites by adding products, pages, text and graphics at no additional charge. Some web designing software can help people design custom web sites by themselves. Detailed step by step instructions help individuals to design their own web sites. Such software is suitable for simple websites

Choosing a Computer for Freelance Graphic Design

For many years, when a freelance graphic designer chose a new computer, Macintosh was the automatic choice. Macintosh computers provided the memory, processing speed and storage necessary for large design files. Most graphic design firms and printing companies used only Macintosh computers. Today, that trend continues but PCs are making inroads in what used to be territory exclusive to Macintosh. Therefore, the decision on what computer to purchase is not as clear cut as it once was for graphic designers.

Hardware is the first consideration of most freelance designers. While PCs have been proven to rival Macs in terms of processing speed, some people claim that Macs still process large graphic files more efficiently. Also, Macintosh computers have a better maintenance record than most PCs. However, when a hardware problem does arise a Mac can cost more to repair.

Software is where the Macintosh shines compared to the PC. All the major graphic design applications are available for both platforms and run with similar speed. However, the Macintosh operating system has historically been much more stable than the Windows operating system and much easier for the end user to troubleshoot. Additionally, Macintosh computers are far less susceptible to viruses, adware and spyware than PCs, which are notorious for their security flaws.

There are considerations beyond the hardware and software that a freelance designer needs to consider. For example, Macintosh computers typically cost more than PCs. However, once a PC is equipped with the appropriate memory, processor and graphics card to efficiently process graphic files, the cost is fairly similar. If a designer decides to switch platforms any graphic design software already owned must be repurchased under a new license which leads many designers to stick with one platform.

Aesthetics are often a consideration of many designers. Macintosh computers are designed to look sleek and creative while PCs are typically more standard looking. However, some of Macintosh's most originally designed computers are not suitable for graphic design work, leaving a designer with the standard CPU tower, monitor and peripherals, though perhaps in interesting colors.

Finally, careful consideration must be given to interactions with outside vendors and clients. Many printing companies and graphic design firms still have a strong pro-Macintosh bias and may reject native files created with PC software. However, if you are submitting EPS, TIFF or PDF files, the difference in platform will be negligible.

Custom Financial Web Site Design

Custom financial web sites are the keystones in advertising any financial enterprise. They are the official marketing media for a banking system and a helping tool for self employed, independent financial advisors. Custom financial web sites help organizations or business concerns to sell, promote and market financial products and services online.

The vital part of any financial industry is creating a trust among customers. To ensure professionalism, financial centers should have a corporate identity and media for advertising their services. Custom financial web site design becomes relevant in this context. Many web site design companies offer professional looking sites with facilities to update on your own. These sites allow you to add new pages, images, content, spreadsheets, documents and links. Special features can be added for the user?s convenience.

A special feature of financial web sites is the financial calculator that allows instant calculation of specific valuations, forecasts and repayments. In addition, private members only areas are assigned for clients or staff to log in and access private documents. A newsletter management system is also assigned to keep in touch with clients through regular emails.

Many established companies specialize in custom financial web site design. They design web sites for all financial areas such as private banking, principal finance, private equity and asset management. Custom financial web sites cover almost all areas of a banking system including credit risk, accounting, equities, netting, FX options, pensions, fixed income products, market risk and equity options. They come with attractive front end and data base facilities. A professional look is achieved by the sensible use of color patterns, style and text fonts. Demo versions included show sample screen shots of software, prior to the final design.

10 Tips for Design and Development of a Successful Website

Keep a note of the following points when designing a web site:

1. Frames: Avoid frames. Though search engines have limited ability to crawl framesets, they have the following disadvantages:

1.1 Not all search engines have the ability to crawl and index pages using framesets.

1.2 Google discourages using frames, and as per Google frames tend to cause problems with search engines. If you use frames, use NOFRAMES tag to include no frames version of the content. Don't just write "This page requires frames compatible browser, your browser does not support frames".

1.3 Even when search engines crawl and index frames, it may so happen that a page appearing in search results may just be one frame of a frameset, and the visitor may be taken to a bare page without header and navigation buttons.

1.4 Conceptually, a html page consists of only one frame. When using multiple frames, it essentially mean using multiple html pages within one page. This is against the basic concept of a web page.

2. Graphics:

2.1 Avoid excessive graphics or graphic images that take long time to load.

2.2 Use a feature called anti-aliasing to smoothen the borders of any text or image that you develop.

2.3 Always use alternate text field when using a graphic. This will allow a description to be displayed on the browser screen even if the graphic display is turned off in the browser. Alternate text is also helpful for search engines in identifying the content.

3. Theme: Use a consistent theme for your web site. It includes layout, and design. As this is a very subjective matter, it differs from person to person. Try to use colors, fonts, styles that complement one another. From search engine point of view, avoid excessive formatting. It is not recommended to have HTML tags outweigh your actual content.

4. Flash: Please check out Flash advantages and disadvantages ( The subject has been discussed elaborately.

5. Meta tags: Always use Title, Description, and Keywords meta tags. Use other meta tags as per the requirement. From Google search engine point of view, Title and Description meta tags are very important.

6. Avoid redirects. Search engines may interpret redirect as spam. The reason being, that a redirected page is seen by the search engine but not by an individual browsing the site. If at all you need to redirect a page, use permanently 301 redirect. A less preferred option is to use a script with at least 6 seconds of delay in forwarding the visitor to the new destination.

7. Keep the web page within 50-80 KB, so the there won't be noticeable delay in loading of the web page. If the page has content that takes more time, consider splitting the page into two or more pages. This preferred from search engines point of view as well. If the content is too long, it is likely that some portion of the page is not indexed by search engines.

8. Use of scripts: Use scripts only if necessary. It is recommended not to load a web page with too much of script as this is likely to confuse the search engines. Client side scripting relieves the server from script processing, and loads the page faster.

9. Use H1, H2 tags to identify your content headlines.

10. Validate your web pages after composing.

Good Landing Page Design Tips

What is a landing page?

It's the page your website visitor arrived at after clicking a link. The link could be on any page on your website or pay per click advertising or banner ads or keyword search.

The goal of landing page is to cause your visitors to take definite action. You don't want your visitors to leave until you get them to do what you want them to do. To click on the buy button, to sign up for an affiliate program, to download a free ebook or software, to sign up for a course, or to subscribe to your free newsletter.

The landing page is a direct marketing copy. Your visitors landed here through a link on your webpage, an ad, a keyword search, pay per click advertising, banner ads, and now you want to convert them.

Here are some tips to design a good landing page...

1.Content Relevance

Your landing page content must be relevant to what people were looking for when they applied the click through. The closer the match is the higher the chances of conversion.

2.Be Concise

Net writing is different than offline writing. Generally, when people surf the Internet they give short attention span to what they are reading. So be concise. When visitors arrive at your landing page they are already predisposed to buy, or they want to get more information of your product or service. By all means give them information but be concise. Don't use more than three sentences to communicate a point. Think through and concise what you want to say. Use bulleted list to communicate the benefits of your product or service.

3.Get straight to the point

The landing page is a highly customized marketing copy for your product or service or affiliate product or service. Don't distract your visitors with advertisements, links to other web pages. Don't let your visitors wade through a whole bunch of hosh posh before they get to want they want.


Dedicate one landing page to only one product or service. Don't try to promote multiple products (unless they are of the same product group)or services on one page. Create separate landing pages and campaigns if you have multiple products or services to promote. Focus on one product or one product group on each landing page.

5.Be Factual

Use facts and figures instead of generalities.

General: Prices Reduced

Factual: Prices Reduced by 20 percent

6.Clear Call to Action

Tell your visitors what you want them to do. Buy now, click here to download, fill in name and email address to subscribe or whatever. Keep all call to action text in bold.

7.Readable Text

Sure, there's nothing much to look at a page with white background and black fonts. But it's definitely easier to read the text than a red background with black fonts. Remember, it's the words that sell. Your website visitors must be able to read your text with ease.

8.Navigation Links

Not at all, if you could help it. The only link you want your website visitors to click on your landing page is the call to action link.

9.Graphics and Images

Keep visual effects to a minimum unless you are running an online audio or video business, real estate business, or selling holiday destinations. Keep in mind that for direct marketing it's the words that sell. Graphics and images serve only to enhance your text communication, not cloud it.

10.Grammatical and Spelling Errors

Check through your text and correct all grammatical and spelling errors. Otherwise it gives your website visitors a negative impression of you and the company you represent. Once visitors have a negative impression, it becomes difficult to convince them of the product or service that you are promoting. First impression counts a lot.

11.Make it personal

Make it personal to connect with your visitors. Use a lot of You and Your in your text.

12.Make your text clear and simple to understand

Avoid colloquialism or jargons. Use terms and phrases that people readily understood. Use short sentences, and phrase them in the active voice.

A good landing page will always sport good conversion rate as compared to a poor one. Take the time to think and rethink, work and rework your landing pages. Don't make the mistake of just optimizing for the search engines. You need to optimize your landing pages for humans too. Ultimately, it is humans that give you the sales.

You may freely distribute this article or post it on your website. We only ask that the author’s resource box be kept intact and no changes to content be made.

Web Design Evaluation

Preece et al. define testing or evaluation as the process of ‘systematically collecting data that informs us about what it is like for a particular user or group of users to use a product for a particular task in a certain type of environment’. (Preece et al. 2002:317) That is to say that it is a process where the interface is tested against the practices and needs of the user. (Faulkner 1998:109) Evaluation is important in design as it aims to ‘eradicate any problems that may be present in a system’. (ibid. 1998:124) Evaluation and amendment of the design at various stages of development helps the designer to verify that the product is suitable for the users’ needs, that they can use the product and indeed they like the product. (Preece et al. 2002:317-319) Preece et al. refer to Tognazzini who asserts that evaluation also ensures that the design team focus on ‘real problems, not imaginary ones’. (ibid. 2002:321)

Evaluation with users underpins a user-centred approach to design. Preece et al. refer to Gould and Lewis who identify three main characteristics of this approach. There is an ‘early focus on users and tasks’ which means understanding users and tasks through observation and analysis, whilst actively involving users from the early stages of design. ‘Empirical measurement’ gauges the performance and reactions of users to storyboards and paper prototypes for example, in the early stages of development and subsequently to software prototypes or simulations for example. Another feature of a user-centred approach is ‘iterative design’ characterised by cycles of ‘design, test, measure and redesign’. (Preece et al. 2002:285)

Small Business Web Design And Development

The demand for Information Technology has driven many people to delve into its world. As software designs become more user-friendly, creating Web site designs is fast becoming a hobby for a number of people. But there are also many entrepreneurial individuals who make Web design and development a source of income. These sophisticated acts of programming and designing are not the exclusive domain of big IT companies anymore.

Small businesses with limited budgets earmarked for marketing and stakeholder management should take advantage of the growing number of Web designers and developers. This means more creative concepts and technological know-how to choose from and work with. A well-constructed site can draw in many potential customers and result to higher sales revenue. With a Web site, small businesses can develop structures that will build a stronger relationship with clients through company e-magazines, chat rooms and other feedback mechanisms. A Web site is also accessible by millions of people all around the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that companies with Web sites have that much audience and room for growth. This is below-the-line marketing at its best.

Finding the right kind of Web developer is of course a big challenge. Most times you will meet them for the first time in the bidding process where they will outdo each other with impressive concept presentations. But a good small business Web designer and developer goes beyond producing the best Web site for the client. He or she gives a comprehensive after sales service program— like troubleshooting, Web management and maintenance, and hosting. This is important especially for small businesses that do not have their own IT departments or staff dedicated to the Web site. In the long run, companies that offer these kinds of services give more value and appeal to their products.

What is Graphic Design

Graphic Design is a visual communication, an art, a profession, and a process of bonding texts, images, signs, symbols, photographs, colors and diagrams to communicate an effective language with an observer. It is an architecture where visual sequence is arranged in shape and structure, as a result graphic design eloquently guides more than a text statement. It is a combined force of writer’s words and designer’s design to enhances and integrate an effective communication.

Graphic Design arranges information visually, utilizing typography and illustrations in such a way, that it successfully projects the concept to visual appearance. Graphical elements facilitate expression of thought to visualization, and snatches attention of the watcher pleasing and mesmerizing their eyes.

Today, Graphic design is practiced in various fields of media, distributing its effective message through logos, graphics, signs, brochures, posters, and other type of visual elements. Main industries encompass this creative work of art in media are such as: websites, print, advertisement, publication, digital media, motion pictures, animation, product design, packaging, information signs, etc.

With a purpose of lucidity and efficient message conveying to the viewer, graphic design can be powerful, purposeful or sometimes just a distinctive artistic presentation. It can be just an imaginary drawing or a realistic creative revelation.

The use of graphic design is to make it easy for the viewer, as an enhancement for textual description, and is an effort to assist readers in their understanding of any particular concept more clearly and compelling through visuals and designs.

Progression of graphic design has been closely bound to technical novelty. Designing skill has been practiced in diverse forms, adjacent with human evolution, with reference to ancient manuscripts found in China, Egypt, India and Greece; but it starts really bounding from 15th century with the development and growth of printing and publication, to 19th century’s industrially revolution in west.

After the arrival of desktop publishing in 1980, and launching of the software like Abode Illustrator, and PageMaker; designer generation was metamorphosed and the designers’ world rapidly ramped up towards computer imaging from illustration to 3d image generation; which was manually unattainable and thought to be impossible before. Computers at present time are considered to be a crucial instrument used by graphic designers and photographers as well as fine artists.

Apple Macintosh computers are very popular in graphic design, though new developments in hardware and software on other platform, i.e., Microsoft; theses days both system are widely accepted. Common graphic design software applications include Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Quark, Corel Graphics Suite, Flash, FreeHand, Fireworks, Paint Shop, etc. From simple graphics to advance 3d graphics, these days graphic designing overshadows visual images seen everywhere else.

Regarding graphic utilization on websites, the use of graphics have become convenient and feasible since about 1990, as the internet speed increased dramatically and internet browsers being capable of viewing large images. Graphics used by websites are logos, banners, advertisements, navigation buttons, etc. in gif format and in addition modern browsers today supports jpeg, and swf formats as well. This makes websites fabricate and interface their web design much more attractive and outstanding, rather then plain text content.

At present, Graphic Design stands as a solo industry, sheltering millions of artist worldwide as professionals. Graphic design is the design of visual displays of information and data, expression and projection, painting and drawing. A visual communication molded with art and skill of arranging information in methodical approach, so that it can be used by viewers with effective understanding of expressions.

Web Design and Multimedia Schools for a New Career

Are you fascinated by the multifaceted world of website design? There is a lot to learn, but the education offered at Web Design and Multimedia Schools can prepare you for developing, designing, and maintaining websites, and for integrating various media into one program. Associate and bachelor degrees are available through many colleges, universities and even online schools, as are graduate degree programs and certificates.

Web Design and Multimedia Schools teach basic design principles. You will become aware that the field is continually and rapidly evolving, and that it is essential that you continue to remain current with emerging technologies. The curriculum places a strong emphasis on electronic media and the Internet, teaching students to use the latest web design and computer-based design and illustration software, as well as the ins-and-outs of e-commerce, scripting, and authoring.

Certification and degrees offered through Web Design and Multimedia Schools include specialties that require the acquisition of skills in a particular area of web design and multimedia. College degrees with emphasis in Computer Technology can take careers to higher levels. Some employers require associate degrees, while others will insist on bachelor degrees.

Future web designers who have been formally trained in Web Design and Multimedia are in great demand in many industries. Web design professionals are hired to create and maintain interactive content of websites, video games, and computer games. Multimedia professionals are those who can integrate text, graphics, audio, video, and animation into one program.

Benefits of Intelligent Video Software

Intelligent Video Surveillance offers many benefits to the user.

Real-Time Video Monitoring

IVS software can display live video in real time. Also in real time are alerts for security policies you setup. These alerts will notify you immediately when there is a threat. Various alerts can be setup. These include email notification SMS messaging, on-screen alerts, alarms and triggers and even contacting the proper authorities.

Improves Quality of Surveillance

With IVS software you have the ability to be notified immediately when unusual activity is detected. This allows any available personnel to react upon alerts from the IVS software.

Accurate Detection

IVS software has the ability to detect specific behaviors. This means if someone is heading towards somewhere they should not be, you will be warned. The software also has the ability to be used indoors and outdoors, even in low light situations. Imagine being able to detect a car thief trying to break into a car in your parking lot in the middle of the night.

Ease of Implementation

IVS software can be integrated with existing CCTV/Analog systems or implemented with new state of the art IP network cameras. With a wide range of compatible cameras, IVS software can be implemented in any solution using security cameras.

Decreases Labor Costs

Due to the IVS software handling all alerts from possible threats, less personnel is needed to view video. With standard video systems, someone must always be watching for unwanted visitors but with the IVS software watching for you, more video can be watched by a lower number of people. Video no longer needs to be watched by a live person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This decreases labor costs and increases productivity.

Clean website design

Taste comes in many forms . What may seem poor website design

to one, may be good website design to another. Website design

is an expensive and extensive part of any website build Going

two and Going to and fro between the client and the designer

is a costly business, but it doesn't need to be. Commonly most

clients are currently looking for clean web design.

The search engine experts will tell you that the best web sites

provide the content to the search engines of the top of the page

followed by links and other content . This normally means that

the best position for a menu is on the right hand side. However

by using CSS (cascading style sheets) it is possible to block

the content so that you can position the content blocks for

search engines at the beginning of the code for the page and

show it in the middle or to the right as you wish. So with

this in mind we will look at the most suitable choice of

design for your website

The majority of web sites come in three different formats.

They are one column, two column or three column web sites.

The choice of each should be dictated by the amount of

information which needs to be shown.

Then there's the size of the displayable web page. We have

to take into account monitor size. Four years ago 35% of

monitors were 15" monitors allowing of viewable width of

800pixels which everyone designed for. Actually 760px so

that a horizontal scroll bar were not appear underneath.

Times change and now we have to consider widescreen

monitors and legacy monitors. Again the decision needs to

be made dependent on what information is to be displayed.

If there's not much information to show then a single

column fixed width 760pixel page would suffice . if a lot

of information is on the page a three columns system which

fits to the size of the screen would be ideal.

When we have decided which type of layout to use we can

then elaborate on the style of the header. The header

should not be to large in height as this pushes the

relevant information down the page . There is an

expression called "above the fold" and this is what you

can actually see on the screen when you open up a web

page. You want your user to see your relevant content

so be in mind of the height of your header. The heading
is where the initial focus of the site is found, so

combining good imagery with a strong company logo you

should be on to and a winner.

Now comes the detail. We have initially decided on a clean

layout, so very large block like images are out. The images

should be relevant to the website content and should guide

the user to read or in the case of shopping carts guide the

user to click on a product. Borders on the images are often

nice And simple single line borders can keep images looking

uniform unless of course a white background brings out the

best in that image.

With detail in mind menu buttons which are mostly text but

have a nice design to stand out increase the affordance that

they are menu buttons. Content separators can be a stylish a

way to separate text. Text headings can be made a little more

elaborate to focus on what the content is about. Small touches

like read more buttons, go back buttons and search buttons,

really do add to the clean effect of the web site if they

complement the overall colour scheme, not too dramatically

but sensibly.

In summary any clean design can be an affordable design,

but the layout should reflect the intended content. Do not

forget those small styling touches as they really can add to

the overall affect of any websites design.

Best colors for web designing

Web Color

There are many web design tutorials that cover Web color in detailed scientific terms. However, for our objectives, let's briefly discuss Web color and how it will be used in the Web portfolio. You will need to develop a color scheme for your Web portfolio pages. This means that you will designate colors for your page background, the type used on the page and any other static elements that reside in the page. There are two types of color that can be used in Web graphics. The colors can be associated with the Web graphic file formats we just mentioned: GIF and JPG.


GIF files use index color. Index color consists of 216 common colors found on all computer monitors and within all Web browsers. These common colors reside in a Web palette. The Web palette of colors is available in Macromedia Fireworks and Adobe Photoshop so they can be used in design of Web screens without variance of color when the pages are on the Internet. Also, the Web palette is the standard color palette in Macromedia Dreamweaver and Macromedia Flash. This allows us to achieve consistent color across Web applications and Web browsers.

We use Web colors for:

• Web text/HTML text
• Web page backgrounds
• Web page colors used for table or layer backgrounds
• Web links
• GIF files


JPG files use red, green, and blue (RGB) for graphical color. RGB color is also known as full color. Full color items include bitmap graphics or photographs. We want to utilize photographs as much as we can within a Web portfolio to add to the visual rhetoric and the narrative that we are trying to present. Extensive use of photographs, especially their manipulation in programs such as Adobe Photoshop, require a brief description of the RGB color model. RGB color is known as additive color because of all colors, red green, and blue were added together at their full intensity that would create pure white. The mixtures of the relative strengths of these colors, "create the millions of colors computer monitors can show" (Kimball, 2003, p. 95). The strength of these colors is set in from zero to 255 with zero being the least intensity and 255 being the highest intensity. When red, green and blue are combined at zero intensity the result is black. At full strength, high intensity, where the values are set at 255, 255, 255, the result is pure white. To remember this, here is a simple metaphor. Think of the red, green, and blue as light switches. Each light switch using a slider has a range of zero to 255. When all the white switches are set at zero the room is dark. What all the light switches are set to 255, the room is lit at full intensity. Once you begin to use image-editing applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia fireworks, you begin to explore computer color within your graphics and photographs. When discussing color usage, full color or RGB color is present in photographic JPG files and other created artwork. Full color images should not be saved as GIF files because of the limited number of colors. By having limited colors, the full color image will represent the true colors using the existing Web palette of 216 colors.

This creates a poor, dithered, and ugly image. That is why it is very important to use the right file format for each specific graphic. When converting print images to the Web, it's important that you do not use the CMYK color model for anything including graphics. The CMYK model is not a monitor friendly color space. The CMYK graphics cannot be seen in CMYK on the Internet. They can only be represented by the RGB color model or the Web safe (indexed) color model. Here are the rules for Web color:

• Full color images (RGB palette) and photos are saved as JPG.
• Flat graphics (Web 216 palette) with limited color are saved as GIF files.
• For Page backgrounds use the Web safe palette (Web 216 palette) in all computer graphics, multimedia, and Web development applications. Now, let's discuss Web page and graphic size.


Web pages are measured in pixels. Pixels are the unit of measurement for the screen. A Web page can literally be any size. Standard Web pages usually fit into a few sizes:

• W × H
• 600 × 800
• 640 × 480 (Dreamweaver default)
• 1024 × 768
• 550 × 400 (Flash default)

The default Web page sizes provided in Web friendly applications and listed earlier are a great place to start. You will probably use a smaller, custom size for pop-up windows. The Web page size you choose is up to you. Remember to use actual space for the Web page effectively so that the content is in the proper proximity to the user's navigation patterns. Web page size affects the way users move around the Web pages and the Web portfolio site. One rule: Pick a size for all main screens and stick to it.

Consistency in page size r should be used on each level of the Web portfolio design flowchart. You will need to understand size in the image editing application when you develop screens and Web graphics. We must keep our graphics within the page size guidelines otherwise they will over extend the Web browser and the user will need to scroll to see them. That is not a good thing and will definitely turn off the user. When you are looking at Web screens and graphics in an image editing application such as Macromedia Fireworks or Adobe Photoshop, you can see the exact size the image will occupy on a monitor when the view is set to 100 percent.

This means that you can get an accurate indication of how a page will look before going through the process of making it an HTML Web page. This helps with design and production. It helps eliminate guess work when developing pages. Size also depends on resolution. Let's discuss resolution next.

Free Clip Art Role In Your Graphic Design And Web Design

Clip art is found under different categories; it is up to you to decide on the clip art that is best for your website and product. You of course, should choose, and use clip art that is associated with the product or service you offer on the website. There is no point of choosing clip art associated with stationery if your website is one about automobiles and their parts. Remember, the clip art is meant to create a little visual stimulation to your website, while help in communicating your ideas to your readers. With the use of the wrong clip art, the clip art may in fact prove to be disadvantageous and not advantageous to your website!

With a clip art, you can actually speak more than a million words can say. You can depict whatever message you want to propagate through your website by means of clip art. So sometimes, it proves to be much more beneficial using clip art than a few pages of content on the website! Moreover, with the inclusion of clip art in your web page and website, you can include some humor, emotion or irony in your message. There are some images in clip art that if used correctly, can relay some irony or humor in your message that could not be achieved through words.

Of course, the greatest advantage of using clip art in graphic design is that just about anyone can use it. There is no need of you being a graphic artist to design sharp images. All you have to know is how to use the computer and the internet wherein you can produce images that may surpass some images the best in graphic designing may create.

If you use too large a clip art, the page may take a longer time to download. This is why it is better to choose just the right amount of clip art for your website as this will produce just the right amount of humor, interest or irony in the minds of the people who visit your website.

Design the website with customer in view

Businesses world wide have realized the importance of going
online and having a website. Websites play an important role
in marketing a company and its products and boosting

Websites are designed keeping the customer in mind, since
they are the one who is going to buy the product.

The Don'ts for a visitor friendly website

1. Slow download 2. Confusing web site 3.Irrelevant matter.

These factors will affect the business, since the visitors donft
wait for hour long for website to download. Visitors don't have
the time to go through the hazy and confusing navigation nor
would they go through the content which is of no use to them.

The first impression which you give is the last impression for
the visitors.

The Do's for a visitor friendly website

Plan the site with the customer in mind: Imagine how your
customers (existing and prospects) will use your site.
Consider their reasons for visiting and their needs.

Have clear goals: What is the aim of your web site? What
products or services you wish to sell? Target audience?
The answers to all these will give you the clear-cut idea of
how to do about the website.

Design: Simple and easy are two main keywords to be kept
in mind while Web Designing .

Certain aspects in designing the website to be kept in mind
are do not upload heavy graphics (large download time), use
the look that is pleasing to the eyes, layouts, colors, and
graphics which speaks the kind of company you are.
Consistency in design throughout the website is main. If
you are having the brand logo blends it with your design on
your site and will help in boosting the traffic to your site.

Easy Navigation: Navigation should be easily understood by
customer. The links should be self explanatory. The
navigational links should be thoroughly tested and regularly

Page size: Maintain the page size for the download to be

Content: Content is king that should be kept in mind. It
should be relevant, should provide all the information. Good
content also increase your page rank. Sites containing good
and relevant content which is updated always get indexed
by search engines.

Make the site more interactive in terms of visitor. Ask for
their comments as well as acknowledge the comments.
Keep the visitor updated with all the information about the
site like when it is getting updated etc.Reply to the
customer queries. Provide them with help page, terms and
conditions, privacy policies etc.

Basic Design Tips For Ecommerce Websites

The single most important objective of an eCommerce website is making the visitor buy something. And this is what web design for e-commerce applications should aim to achieve. There are many principles to be considered by website designers, all of them relating to online selling techniques.

eCommerce website design is different from any other website design. This is mainly because they must be attractive to the visitor, well organized and use the right colors that fit the website spirit. Nevertheless, a closer look at some successful eCommerce websites will allow you to see the conceptual differences that are typical in a successful eCommerce website. Of course the site should adhere to current web standards, with well written code and be accessible, however the focus of this article are those elements which help the web site sell.

The key selling principle of an eCommerce website is that of giving the user a pleasant experience during his online shopping. Website designers must also be certain that they provide enough information on who owns the website and provide standard data encryption via SSL. eCommerce websites must be easy to use, otherwise the visitor will simply leave and search for their goods or services on another website, probably that of the competitor!

Unlike the supermarket our website has no smell. In an eCommerce website, the distance from one point to the other is pretty much the same, however you can try to order your visual shelf in the way you think will best expose the visitor to key products.

A competitive eCommerce website design will lead the visitor to the right page in one or two clicks at most. Sometimes web designers will use techniques that would never be considered for non-eCommerce websites. As you all know, with increasingly popular sales letter websites the only link is to the order form. Nevertheless, these sales letters usually sell only one product and are not the most typical eCommerce websites. The web designer gets the opportunity to take full advantage of the one click. Believe it or not, those sales letter websites are actually selling.

An eCommerce web design is very much about the layout. It is crucial to catch the visitor’s attention and the place where they look first when accessing a web page. Research on this topic has determined that the middle left side area will attract the most attention, followed by the center of the page. By using these techniques web designers try to draw the navigation path for the visitor!


Here are some important points to consider in custom logo design

Logo design should leave an impression

Creating a visual memory includes imprinting an image in the mind's eye. Color and shape can help during the imprint process. Crisp clean lines, unusual shapes, and strong color help imprint a logo design, making it a brand memory and assisting with message recall when the image is seen again. Repeated and consistent exposure to a logo and its brand message improves the association between the two, eventually allowing the logo graphic to become the symbol for the brand.

Logo design should be unique and distinguishable

The objectives for a logo design include two important considerations: it should attract attention and stand out from other visual communications. Adopting a design that blends into a sea of visual communications defeats the purpose of a logo. If the logo isn't distinctive, it won't have a chance to be the visual reminder of expectations and desirable perceptions. Logos with visual hooks or triggers have a better chance of instant recognition and brand awareness in the marketplace.

Logo design reflects the overall "feel" of the company it represents

We are constantly bombarded with visual images. Logos not only represent organizations, but they also represent products and services. Logos that are not unique can be confused with competitor brands. It is highly desirable that a logo establishes a visual space in the marketplace so that the brand image is easy to recognize and desirable brand perceptions are recalled instantly.

Logo design promote a feeling of professionalism

Most logo designs are composed of two components: the graphic and the logotype. A logotype is usually the brand name spelled out using a unique typeface or type treatment. The logotype should be easy to read and visually complement the graphic, helping the logo achieve its objectives. Logotypes are not bound by the rules of grammar. Likewise, the logotype does not guide the treatment of the brand name in a written context. A designer has the creative license to develop a logotype that meets the objectives of the brand image.

Accessible Web Design Tips

Here are some simple rules for developing modern accessible web sites. We will just touch on a few of the main rules, as there are too many to cover here, but sticking to these rules will get you off to a good start.

The 3 Click Rule

Unless you are new to web design, you will likely have heard of the Three Click Rule. This rule is recommended based on the way people use web sites, and it helps web designers create sites with intuitive, logical hierarchical structures. It addresses the important fact that important information on your web site should never be more than 3 clicks away from the index/entrance page. If we consider this web design challenge as one of maintaining the visitors interest, the three click web design rule makes sense. If users can't find what they're looking for within three clicks, they are likely to get frustrated and leave the site. More recent studies by useability experts have taken this further in stating that often when the three click rule is exceeded, the visitor will not manage to complete the task successfully. By sticking to this rule, the web designer can ensure that he/she is always thinking of the website navigation when deciding where is best to place content.

Use consistant web site navigation & layout

A key element of your accessible website is a clean, consistant navigation system coupled with a recognised, usable layout. Don't try and re-invent the wheel here. A clean, consistant navigation system allows users to instantly find important information and allows them to quickly find comfort in their surrondings. A traditional layout (2 or 3 columns, with a header and a footer) is excellent for accessible website design, especially for information sites. Remember to use CSS for all elements of style, including layout and navigation.

Keep download times to a minimum

The average web user will wait no longer than 8 seconds for a page to download before moving on. Bandwidth or the capacity to send and receive data is an important consideration when designing a web site or electronic document for distribution over the Internet. It is important that the link to the Internet (from the computer serving the pages to customers) has sufficient capacity to be able to handle the expected load. Otherwise, the response to users will be unsatisfactorily slow.

Most people today connect to the Internet using a broadband connection, however, many still connect over a phone line, typically using a modem with a speed of 28.8 to 56 kilobits per second (kbit/s). Hence it's usually best to work to the lowest common denominator, and presume that your user is connected through a 28.8 kbit/s modem.

Optimise those images!! - the most important thing you can do to decrease download times. Optimse just means save for web' in Photoshop, for example. Keep JPGs for photographs and Gifs for images with large blocks of flat colour.

Call up background images through CSS. It's possible to present images as part of the background, called up through CSS. - Browsers download background images after everything else. By using this technique, your text will load instantaneously and your site users can freely roam about the page while your 50kb fancy image downloads.

Minimise white space, line returns and comment tags. Every single letter or space in your HTML code takes up one byte. It doesn't sound like much but it all adds up. By working through your page source and eliminating unnecessary white space and comments, you can shave off up to, or even over (if your HTML is really inefficient) 10% of its file size.

Remove unnecessary META tags and META content - The most important tags for search engine optimisation are the keywords and description tags, although due to mass abuse they've lost a lot of importance in recent times. When using these META tags try to keep the content for each under 200 characters - anything more increases the size of your pages. Lengthy META tags are not good for search engines anyway because they dilute your keywords.

Use W3C technologies and guidelines

Web sites should be constructed using W3C technologies and guidelines. When this is not possible, or doing so results in material that does not transform gracefully, an alternative accessible version of the content should be provided. Many non-W3C formats (e.g., PDF, Shockwave, etc.) require viewing with either plug-ins or stand-alone applications. Often, these formats cannot be viewed or navigated with standard Web access or screen reading tools.

Non-W3C formats should be converted to HTML/XHTML although this does not always create an accessible document. Each page should be validated for accessibility and usability after the conversion process. Avoiding non-W3C and non-standard features (proprietary elements, attributes, properties, and extensions) will tend to make pages more accessible to more people using a wider variety of hardware and software. When proprietary or inaccessible technologies must be used, equivalent accessible pages must be provided.

Even when W3C technologies are used, they must be used in accordance with accessibility guidelines. If a page does not easily convert, developers should either revise the page until its original content converts properly or provide an HTML or plain text version

Design for Platform Independence

Don't assume everyone has got the same software has you While most web browsers can easily read HTML and display it to the user, several private companies have developed proprietary file formats for transmitting and displaying special content, such as multimedia or very precisely defined documents. Because these file formats are proprietary, they cannot ordinarily be displayed by web browsers.

To make it possible for these files to be viewed by web browsers, add-on programs or 'plug-ins' can be downloaded and installed on the user's computer that will make it possible for their web browsers to display or play the content of the files. Hence, it is a responsibility on the web page author to know that a compliant application exists, before requiring a plug-in. As assistive technologies move forward, it is anticipated that the occasions when the use of scripts and plug-ins are not supported will diminish significantly. The best way to support this is to create a link for the user to obtain the appropriate plug-in for the platform you are using.

Excercise caution when using Macromedia Flash

Flash is a propriety plug in created by Macromedia to infuse (albeit) fantastically rich media for your websites. The W3C advises you avoid the use of such proprietary technology to construct an entire site. Instead, build your site with CSS and HTML ensuring everyone, including search engine robots, can sample your website content. Then, if required, you can embed media files such as Flash in the HTML of your website.

Avoid using frames to design your website

If possible, avoid using frames. Some people have difficulty navigating within frames, either because the frames are confusing or because the software they are using simply cannot read frames.

When using frames, always offer meaningful NOFRAMES content for those people who cannot read framed information. If you must use Frames, ensure that each frame has a sensible TITLE (in addition to the NAME) which gives a clear indication of the content to be found in that frame.

Validate your HTML/XHTML

HTML is the 'language' that designers use to build websites. Valid HTML is code that validates to W3C guidelines, the organisation that develops good practices and standards for HTML.

Testing how your page looks in Internet Explorer is not sufficient. You can test for validity using the W3C Validator.

Use CSS to separate content from design

CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, is a 'language' that website designers use to develop the style, look and feel of layout, text and colours on a website page. Used properly, CSS can be used to Separate design from content, making websites easier to use and ultimately, maintain. It can also help with download times as the CSS is downloaded only once and held in browser cache.

HTML tags were originally designed to define the content of a document. They were supposed to say, this is a header, this is a less important header, this is a paragraph and so on. The layout of the document was supposed to be taken care of by the browser, without using any formatting tags.

Netscape and Internet Explorer continued to add new HTML tags and attributes to the original HTML specification. It soon became more and more difficult to create Web sites where the content of HTML documents was clearly separated from the document's presentation layout.

To solve this problem, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) - the non profit, standard setting consortium, responsible for standardizing HTML - created STYLES in addition to HTML 4.0. All major browsers support Cascading Style Sheets, although some, handle them slightly differently, which an be a pain to the website designer! CSS allows website developers to control the style and layout of multiple web pages all at once.

As a Web developer you can define a style for each HTML element and apply it to as many website pages as you want. To make a site-wide change, simply change the style, and all elements in the website are updated automatically. Multiple styles will cascade into one style. Style sheets allow style information to be specified in many ways. Styles can be specified inside a single HTML element, or in an external CSS file. Even multiple external style sheets can be referenced inside a single HTML document.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Effective Web Design

The Basics

Before starting on how to design a website effectively, how about clearing some basic web design concepts?

Designing Effectively

Now that you know what web design and related terms mean, lets get down to the real thing: Designing Effectively How to balance artistic design with practicality and functionality.

Use of graphics and content

Unless your website is all about graphics, how to make them, edit them or just a bunch of links to graphics websites, I suggest you use graphics sparingly, especially the flashing, twirling kind. They not only detract readers from the content, but they also take ages to load. You do not want your readers to leave your website because your graphically attractive page does not seem to load fast enough. Then again, too much text is boring. So mix and match the graphics and text on your page, having enough white space so that the page is not plain annoying.

Layout and design

While designing, keep in mind that poor layout and design will make your pages unreadable and difficult to keep your visitors on your website for long. Some of the things that make a poor design and layout:
Text that is too small to read
Color combinations of text and background that make the text hard to read
Large graphic files that take forever to load
Multiple things that blink
Unclear navigation; over complex navigation
Paragraphs of type in all caps, bold, and italic all at once
Graphics that don't fit on the screen (assuming a screen of 640x460 pixels)
Animations that never stop
Complicated frames, too many frames, unnecessary scroll bars in frames
Cluttered, not enough alignment of elements

Some of the things that make a webpage stand out from the crowd:
Stay away from bad design features listed above.
Background does not interrupt the text
Navigation buttons and bars are easy to understand and use
Good use of graphic elements (photos, subheads, pull quotes) to break up large areas of text
A large site has an index or site map
Link colors coordinate with page color
Every graphic link has a matching text link
Animated graphics turn off by themselves
Pages download quickly

All pages have the immediate visual impact within 640 x 460 pixels


Most of the time, all it takes to design your website effectively is a little planning. When designing a website, it needs to be clean, uncluttered, attractive and easy for users to read and find what they need. Begin with a webdesign plan:

what colors do you want to use?

Are these colors complimentary?

What items - text, images, data - do you want to put in your pages?

What layout do you want? Look at other websites and then decide.

Follow the above steps to get a website that speaks for itself and your business. You can always contact me for suggestions and webdesign projects.

Web Design Firm

Designing a website requires a lot of creativity and in-depth understanding about the visitors and readers of a particular website. Not all web design firm possesses a right mix of both. At, we have proven our clients, time and again, that they have come to the right place. We are team of creative, intelligent and professional designers, who know the perfect formula of how to make a website stand apart.

The best part about working with us is that we do not confuse our clients with innumerable designs and all the gobbledygook about web designs. Instead we provide the best design options to our customers and help them to choose the one that would be germane with the theme of their website. We do not leave them in confusion; rather we create a perfect understanding of the designs so that our customers can take an educated decision in selecting the best colors and patterns.

Our webdesign firm is certainly not yet another run-of-the-mill webdesign company where professionals are just educated in various designing software. On the other hand our webdesign firm is a team of highly qualified individuals who have their aesthetic sense perfectly in place and can intelligently use the various art forms in a flawless blend. We research on various art forms from all across the world and take learnings from all the culture and artistry.

We strongly abhor age old and oft-repeated designs. We believe in a new world with a new look. Therefore with each new project we take up, we try to add a different stroke and give them a unique look and feel. This results in many benefits:

1. The website stands apart from competition. It breaks the clutter and makes a different appearance.

2. The website becomes interesting. Even people, who intend to just glance through a website, sit up and take a serious look at it.

3. Due to its unique features, visitors can easily remember the URL and the website.

4. Reading through out the web-pages becomes easy and navigation becomes a very comfortable work.

5. And the best part is that your visitors would be able to retain most of what they read in your website and that too without making any special effort.
Not all webdesign firm can give you so much for your money. So when you are taking a decision regarding your website, choose nothing but the best of people to give you maximum returns for your money.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

On the Importance of Good User Interface Design

It seems obvious, but it's often ignored. A good user interface design can spell the difference between acceptance of a software product and its failure in the marketplace. If the end-users find the software to be too cumbersome or difficult to understand, then an otherwise excellent product could be doomed to failure. The developer's goal should be to make the software as professional-looking and easy to use as possible.

Sadly, I've found that a great many companies?especially small or highly specialized software firms?pay little attention to the mechanics of good user interface style. ?As long as it works, that's what matters!? seems to be their mantra, with little regard for the inconvenience that this imposes on the user.

Thankfully, that's not how we operate at our company. Our team of developers invests considerable effort into making out user interfaces as intuitive and foolproof as possible, since we know that this is something our customers would appreciate. I've often commended my teammates for recognizing that excellence is worth pursuing.

Going back to the topic? I can't remember how many times I've encountered software that was designed to work, but with little regard for ease of use. If the software forces the operator to constantly consult a manual or a cheat sheet, then that's a pretty good indication that the user interface needs improvement. Similarly, the software should allow the user to perform tasks quickly and efficiently, without sacrificing power and flexibility. This seems intuitive, and yet these considerations are so often lacking.

The sad part is that these shortcomings can often be cured using a few simple guidelines. For example, it helps if the user can enter data using buttons and list boxes, instead of typing it in by hand. It helps if the software provides pop-up dialog boxes, to guide the user along the way. Even the judicious choice of icons and other graphics can turn a steep learning curve into a short and gentle slope.

For that matter, even such trivial matters as spelling and grammar deserve attention. Poorly phrased instructions can severely hinder an operator?and even if they don't, they do reflect poorly on the developers of that application.

There is much more that can be said about the mechanics of good user interface design, but that's a topic on which entire book can be (and have been) written. Suffice to say that a company that strives for excellence should pay close attention to the elements of software usability and flexibility. These are critical elements of software excellence, and they are worth pursuing.