Web Design versus Graphic Design: Which is more important for the web?

July 17, 2018 DESIGNirvana 0

John Naughton says in his Guardian post, how graphic designing is ruining the web, presenting various valid points and arguments. This post elicited many responses from the web community, coming from various noted blogs such as this and this.  While this is open discussion dates back to a couple of years, the relevance is not lost. The debate continues. 

Why do people have a problem with the graphic design being a part of the web?

John’s feature in The Guardian which basically started this debate raises a number of points, and most of them are not in the favor of graphic designers.

Here’s what a part of the community thinks of graphic design:

The web was once nothing more than a collection of simple text pages marked up with some tags. Those were the times when browsers controlled how the web pages were displayed to the user, which, apparently didn’t go down too well with graphic designers. It wasn’t long before Web pages became more visually appealing, started to have animations, images, video components, and other interactive media all thanks to graphic designers.

However, now, instead of fetching the web page from a single location, browsers assembled its various components from different locations, combined them all and presented to the user when requested and this is where the problem began. All these images, graphics, and other visual elements began adding weight to the webpage, which grew from an average 93.7kB to over 679kB from 2003 to 2011. Now, if you are a lover of minimalist design, or have a slightly overt logical bent of mind, this would appear a sheer wastage of bandwidth. After all, you are using 679kB of bandwidth to convey, perhaps, not more than 10kB of information.

But can the web exist without graphic designers?

What is it that first catches your attention in any object, tangible or intangible? It is definitely its physical attributed such as shape, size and color. The same goes true for any webpage. While the content of any website is essentially one of its mainstays, it is its design that includes elements such as color, typography (read font play), shapes, logos, and layout that make or break the deal. A graphic designer’s role is greater than just making a website pleasant to look at. A person who dons a hat of graphic designer has to establish a communication bridge between the audience and the site.

A lot of things combine together to make for a great website and graphics is one of them. While having good graphics is no excuse for having a weak content, for those conducting business on the web graphic design can make a huge difference. The web is swarming with billions of pages, with millions being created every single day. People are always in hurry and have become used to give only a fraction of their attention to web pages. They quickly scan pages and exit if it fails to engage them and one sure shot way of stopping them from doing the same is by using engaging and well-designed graphics.

Good graphics initiates a call to action

Good visuals give your visitors confidence in your business. In addition, a graphic designer helps initiate a call to action by facilitating tasks such as buying something online. After all, human beings are most impacted by what they see. Good graphics can help evoke an emotional connection with the visitors. There is ample proven research to show that colors are able to affect our moods and thus consequentially affect the decision-making process. A graphic designer’s job is thus to use these colors in persuading people to do things that are in their interests, as said by the iconic designer Milton Glaser.

Finally, graphic design also adds a creative spirit to the website and be recognized with the overall branding strategy of the product, business or website where it is being used.

However, a slow loading website is still a pervasive problem, and no one seems to like it.

It was never about Graphic design versus Web design. It’s Graphic design with efficient Web design

Jack Schofield, in his blog made various points about the factors that might be contributing to the bloating of web pages. Countering John’s rant against graphic designers, he rightfully pointed out that an attractive design has got little to do with painfully slow websites. Often web designers are guided by a pervasive notion that a useful website must have a lot of plug-ins, widgets for social networking, fancy flash, videos, and other shiny stuff, not to forget the complicated code.  These are the major culprits that make a website literally suck.

Websites are hardly an exclusive property of graphic designers.

They are only called in to bring in aesthetic sensibility to a site, in order to ring emotional bells with customers. While graphic designers often tend to focus hard on aesthetics, sometimes to the detriment of other factors, but that’s where other members of the team have a role to play. A web designer is also an important voice on the table and shares greater responsibility of keeping the website up and running smoothly while maintaining the best possible visual standards.

Be it any industry, the way forward has been to create products that not only have better utility than their predecessors but also register a better visual appeal with the audience. Whether it is cars, motorbikes, pens, bags, ships, or yachts, designers will continue to push the boundaries with their imagination.  On the same lines, technology and engineering should also continue pushing themselves to give products that are simply not better, but better than the rest. The same way, web designers should keep up with their graphic counterparts to ensure the website machinery keeps flowing smoothly and without glitches.  That includes taking efforts to minimize JavaScript and CSS files, optimizing images and enabling HTTP compression amongst other stuff.

Graphic design and Web design: Twin wheels of a good website

The onus of a better website doesn’t rest solely on the shoulders of graphic designers and therefore, blaming them for laggy performance is nothing more than eyewash. Good websites are a product of superb design, optimized code, and informative content.  While a person applying for a graphic designer’s job should also keep in mind the technical constraints of web designing, it is ultimately the test of a programmer’s and web designer’s expertise, abilities and skills to ensure a perfect appearance doesn’t undermine the performance of the website.

How to design your website to increase conversions

July 7, 2018 DESIGNirvana 0

Attracting traffic to your website is just part of the story. Obviously, it’s important that people visit your site, but it does not really help if the traffic does not lead to an increase in conversions. You need to ensure that people who visit your website go on to buy your products, or pay for your service. This is the only way you are going to increase profits and help your business to grow.

There are actions you can take which is more likely that traffic will convert into sales. Let’s take a look at some of the most important things to consider when you are designing your website.

Make the buyer journey simple

No-one wants life to be complicated. When people are buying online, they want the whole process to be easy to navigate and complete. If you have a sign-up process, do not make it too lengthy. You only really need to know a person’s full name and email address from the outset; asking lots of other questions will put people off. It’s often a good idea to give people the option of purchasing as a guest, without the need to register. This is popular with busy people who are looking to make a quick purchase.

Keep information clear and concise

Think about what you would want to know about your brand that would make you want to make a purchase. Make sure the information you provide is to the point and tells people what you can do for them.   If you have additional information, that could be useful, consider creating an online brochure or magazine. Doing this means that people can access the additional information if they choose to, but it does not detract from the direct message of your home page.

Consider different payment methods

Not everyone wants to use a bank card or a credit card online. If you stick to allowing only these payment methods, you are not going to optimize your conversion potential. Online wallets, such as PayPal, are popular with many people as they provide a secure and simple way to make purchases online. It’s a good idea to allow visitors to your website to use alternative payment methods. Conversely, you should not provide so many options that the process becomes unwieldy and puts people off completing their purchases.

Show alternative products

When people are shopping for a product on your website, take the opportunity to provide suggestions about other products they may be interested in. You can do this while they are browsing or when they are actually making a purchase. People are often attracted by a product that can accompany an item they are buying. There is also the chance that someone has decided against purchasing a certain item, but decides that the alternative you suggest is just right for them.

Make sure calls to action are prominent

Calls to action need to be created carefully. You do not want people to feel as though you are being too invasive, but you need to be clear as to the action they should take. It’s often a good idea to include a call to action on each page. Make sure they are prominent and included in the early part of your content.

Include relevant and real testimonials

People tend to follow the example of others when it comes to making a purchase or using a service. This is why including honest testimonials on your website can be such a useful tool. If you receive an email from a customer, complimenting you on your service, ask for their permission to use it as a testimonial. You can also create testimonials by using a well-crafted feedback form. Think about the questions you need to ask in order to get the information you need. Always remember to ask permission before you use any customer comments.

Use video to demonstrate your product

People often like to see how a product works, before they make a purchase. This is why including an instructional video on your website is often a good idea. Remember to keep videos to the point, so that people will be more inclined to watch. If you need help with your marketing videos, speak to an expert in marketing online. They can give you the benefit of their experience and expertise.

Your website should be designed with conversion in mind. As you can see from the points we have included, you need to show people what you can do for them, make all of your information clear, and make the buying process as simple as possible.

Major security concerns or risks invovled in HTML5 development

July 1, 2018 DESIGNirvana 0

Security Risks in HTML5

HTML5 has been a revolutionary change in the field of web development making websites more visually attractive and interactive. It has been the perfect answer to the growing demand for multi-device user needs. It has found great acceptance in the developer’s community with most businesses opting for HTML5 powered websites.  One of the greatest advantages of HTML5 is the fact that it has brought in a native app life feeling to websites bringing most of the features and functionalities to the client instead of the server as had been the norm for years.

But with all these advantages HTML5 also has its own drawbacks. Security is one such issue as vulnerability have been unearthed that pose serious risks to a web and mobile development. It is vulnerable to stealth and silent attacks often compromising the privacy of the users. The vulnerability is more in the case of smartphones and tablets where the concept of traditional browser-based browsing isn’t popular.  HTML5 powered apps can pose serious dangers to the client as well as the server. Here we shall discuss some of these risks that every developer should be aware of.

Risks In Data Storage

One of the biggest risks that HTML5 poses is to do with the enhanced data storage capabilities. We have already mentioned that HTML5 introduces a new system where most of the data is stored on the client’s side. Developers term it as one of the biggest beauties as well as dangers of the new markup language. Earlier versions of HTML could only store session information or login information in the form of cookies. HTML5, on the other hand, has introduced sessionStorage, localStorage, and client-side databases that allow a vast amount of data to be stored on the client’s side that provides easier access of information even in the offline mode. This feature allows websites to offer uninterrupted experience to the users even when connection snaps for a short time span. This opens a window of opportunity for an attacker as the data can easily be retrieved and manipulate and can be uploaded back to the server to attack others. Along with this, there are also many risks when it comes to temporary storage through the issues isn’t as grave as permanent storage that we have so far discussed.

Offering Access To Camera, GPS, and Microphone

In a bid to make websites more interactive many web developers have extensively used imaging, location, and voice-based functionalities while developing websites. Many web-based applications require the users to grant access to their cameras, microphones and GPS systems. For example, there are sites that require users to authenticate their identity using an image or their voice. The Geo-location feature in HTML5 offers highly customized search results based on a user’s location. Most of the users are likely to grant access to such services without considering the security and privacy implications. An attacker can easily make use of these devices on an HTML5 powered website and compromise and peek into the activities and location of the user with them even being aware of it. What’s worrying is the fact that on most occasions the user won’t even be aware of the fact that his or her security has been compromised.

Third Party Code

Another security concern for developers in HTML5 comes from the use of third-party codes. HTML5 is known to offer dynamism to web development with the use of third-party codes and this opens potential vulnerabilities for the website. In the previous versions of the markup language JavaScript had limited usage in requesting resourced from the domain. For instance, the previous versions of HTML didn’t allow pages from one domain to pass or access data in pages from another domain.  This prevented a malicious site from interpreting the data from a legitimate site in the form of popups.  In HTML5 JavaScript is requesting resources from different domains in a new method known as cross-origin resource sharing (CORS). Here JavaScript can access information from multiple domains at the same time. This allows a website to offer information from multiple domains at the same time. However, HTML5 doesn’t have any mechanism to check the origin of the content. This offers a great opportunity for the hackers to access information both from the server as well as the clients.

All these security vulnerabilities do have their own remedies and it depends on the skills of the developers how he or she can develop a website negotiating these risks. HTML5 presents a wonderful opportunity for a developer to expand into the new horizons of web development and developers are making use of this technology to take web development to a new level and offered more opportunity to the businesses with their users and vice versa.