Web Design & Development: You Need Both

You can be a jack of all trades, master of nothing. That being said, it is  impossible to find a single person capable of mastering web design and web development at the highest level, it just doesn’t exist. What does exist are strong teams with members specializing in each area, this is what you want to find.

Below is a review of each of these core areas and what the various team members of your to-be web development design & development company should be able to deliver.

Development:

Evaluating a web development company can be hard, especially when you have three or more choices in front of you. To make it even harder, you are essentially assuming the companies you are interviewing will write ‘good code’, (and you’re thinking… “what does that even mean?”).

Below is a simple check list of items you should expect a quality Buffalo, NY Web Design & Development Compnay, like Graphic Lux, to deliver:

1 – Cross Browser Compatibility: This simply means that the developer will write code in such a manner that it will properly display your website in all major web browsers. The current industry standard is to support all modern versions of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explore version 9 and beyond.

2 – W3C Compliant CSS: W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) is the major organization that sets web development standards and CSS (cascading style sheets) is the method which all modern websites should use to style any website. In plain English, you want a web company that states they follow the W3C standards for CSS. This proves that your design will render correctly on all modern browsers and most mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.

3 – Table-less HTML: As web standards evolve to improve stability and security, so does your web development team. Unfortunately, some teams get stuck in the past and have refuse to adopt new industry standards. In the past, developers would use tables (basically a spreadsheet) to structure website pages. This has long been past as industry practice and should not be followed any longer. Any good web development company structures and styles website pages with CSS now. The moral of the story? Do not hire a web developer who codes your entire website with HTML tables.

4 – Responsive Design: Over the past few years smartphones and tablet devices have been widely adopted by consumers and this trend will continue. While we all love our mobile devices, it presents a particular challenge for developers due to varying screen resolutions. Having a responsive web design solves this problem by allowing your website to automatically adjust to different screen resolutions. Having a responsive design will become more and more important and market penetration for smartphones and tablets continue to grow. However, note that most web design companies do charge extra for responsive designs because of the extra time involved in creating extra designs and code for these various screen designs. To recap, make sure you have a team who will ensure your website is cross browser compatible, is W3C compliant, uses table-less HTML and who can offer you responsive web design if it is within your budget.

Design:

There are two major things that the team you choose must be able to master.

  1. Being able to craft a web design with visual aesthetics and creativity.
  2. Ensuring the design is user centric for you, the client.

First and foremost, you should be proud of your new website and how brilliant it looks. It is your online store front and furthermore, it is essential representation of you and your company. Your website serves as the catalysts to all practical purposes within your business. It is your virtual replacement in the online world. Since you can’t physically talk to a person while on your website, your design (and content) is the one who will be doing all the talking. Additionally, having a stellar web design helps build user confidence and desire. It is like the difference between walking into a second hand computer store to buy a new home computer versus stepping into a sexy, exhilarating Apple retail store. The ‘experience’ of your website, in large, is created by design.

So, we arrive at the conclusion that a smart web design is worth it’s weight in gold (or a sizable check). Hire a web design company that has an excellent past portfolio which is similar in taste to what you expect for your company or organization. Second, design is more than a pretty face, it is about usability. By usability, I mean a website this is highly functional and easy to navigate, where a user can quickly find the answer to his or her questions. Keep in mind every user that enters a google search and thus stumbles upon your website, is searching for the answer to a problem. While they might take an extra second to window shop if your website design looks fancy, it will not hold them there long. More to the point, it is highly valuable to have a sexy looking site (a pretty face so to speak), but that value drops nearly to zero, instantly most times in the eye of a user if he/she can not find the information (solve the problem) being sought after.

For this very reason, I would argue that if you had to choose between the two, err on the side of having a website that is slightly more functional than it is sexy. Furthermore, your company should put a reasonable amount of time and resources into the generation, organization and upkeep of your company’s content.

Conclusions:

The market, as it has always been, if full of above average, average and below average vendors. Hopefully, by implementing some of the topics we have discussed thus far, you can find and select the above average vendor to become your company’s long-term web design & development company of choice.