Recent blog posts - WebSubstance - Web Design and Search Engine Marketing - Page 6

Are Your Logos 'Responsive?'


Lots of us have got the memo about responsive web design and making sure controls are user-friendly, but not as many sites have great text. Top-level logos can benefit from some extra TLC, like stretching them into creative shapes, etc. That really draws the reader’s eye and makes a site stand out in the herd. Get this and more from WebSubstance…

When it comes to web design, it's often the little details that allow a site to stand head and shoulders above the competition.

By now, with the global Internet acting as a major e-commerce hub for more than a decade, most businesses have mastered the art of the 500-word page, and the basics of how to create a web menu. Likewise, with mobile commerce making up so much of the online landscape, companies are now migrating from the traditional HTML designs of laptop and desktop days, to dual-use sites that can present a project well on either a computer screen, or a smaller smart phone or mobile device.

Responsive Controls

Experts talk a lot about ‘responsive design,’ the need to make sure that all users have a good time on your site. Responsive design basically means making sites accessible for both computer and mobile device users. It means eliminating all of that crazy up-and-down and side-to side-scrolling, and creating controls that make sense when they're populated on a smartphone.

But in all that, you don't hear a lot about the role of text. Pieces of text need to be ‘responsive’ in an entirely different way. They need to create a response in the reader. And with so much clutter on the Internet, that's getting harder and harder over time.

Creating Great Logos

Logos and other short bits of text need to be built right to get attention.

So many companies are simply typing in page content, and maybe clicking on a headline 1 or headline 2 format for more important titles and headers. The text really isn't reaching out to readers. It doesn't have the great typography and layout that draws people in and makes the company look impressive online.

Creating great logos means making an eye-catching bit of text that doesn't conform to the standard fonts that you see all over the web -- Times New Roman, etc. How do you do this? You basically have to break out of the box, take each letter and make it an art form. This long list of examples at Awward will give you a good set of starter examples on real, innovative logo design -- for example, in many of these, specific letters are made into objects. In others, letters are tweaked, curved or stretched in a way that's different and catches the eye.

At WebSubstance, we understand that every element of your web site needs to be great. You don't just need responsive design and overall functions – you need style. That means every word and every image has to evoke a feeling in a reader. You don't just want to plunk down content, even if you have the best HTML/CSS design. Let WebSubstance help you with your web projects. Our experienced technicians and creative people will give you that one-two punch: a site that users can easily navigate, with straightforward controls and icons, but that also has a lot of curb appeal. Don't settle for less. Go with a firm that understands the real values of professional web design.

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Sites as Good as Your Brochures


Lots of companies spend big money on print media, from brochures to full-sized mailers, but their sites just don’t look quite as good, they don’t have that pizzazz. Get the best “glossy” high-design web site quality from WebSubstance --> This is so true and a lot of stuff will go online so the company needs to look good from head to toes (content, layout, navigation, etc.), the entire package.

Have you ever gotten a set of brochures or mailers back from the printer and just been blown away by the beauty of what you see on the page?

If you have a halfway good print service, you've probably marveled at all of the ways that print shops can make your company look good. Unfortunately, too many executives and business leaders haven't got the memo that the Internet offers the very same kinds of opportunities.

Too many websites look robotic or bureaucratic. They may be shrouded in various tones of gray, purple or blue. Images can be small and grainy. They just don't look like places you'd really want to be.

One of the biggest defenses of this is that ‘text takes center stage’ -- people without a visual philosophy of the web feel like people are just scanning the Internet looking for information, and they don't care what pages look like.
But at a very basic level, this just doesn't really make sense. Do you just throw shrink-wrapped pallets in a warehouse, turn on the lights and invite customers in, because they're only looking for specific kinds of products anyway? No, you make your stores look inviting and comfortable. That same principle can help you win at the web.

A ‘Glossy’ Web Site

Some of what we like the most about print media is how you can print high-resolution, bright, glossy pages of photos, where every face seems to be almost staring out at you in real life, where you can see the crisp contours of nature scenes, portraits, landscapes etc. almost as if you were right there.

Getting the same kinds of results on the web requires several things. First, you need a great photographer. No, not just somebody with the camera. The kind of person that you tap on the shoulder to take shots at your wedding. Someone who knows how to do composition just the right way, and capture little pieces of the world through the camera screen.

Then you need a web service and a set of web technologies that will display those awesome pictures the right way, utilizing the very advanced pixelation and color capabilities of our modern computer and mobile device screens. All of this together adds up to the kind of serene beauty you'd associate with some of the best print pages you've ever read.

Quality from Head to Toe

In addition to great photography, your site needs quality on all levels. It needs to look great, not just okay, and it has to work great too. This means excellent text layout (and dressing up text with creative fonts)  as well as image composition. It means great navigation tools that customers won't have to fiddle around with. It means no empty text boxes, weird control buttons in the wrong places, annoying web errors or dark text, or anything else that you'd associate with the primitive web designs of the 1990s.

Working with WebSubstance

At WebSubstance, we take a comprehensive approach to your web design. We make your web sites inviting places to be, sites that look as good as a well-designed brochure. We also offer this extra services that are going to really make your web sites take on a ‘human’ dimension -- for example, the kind of professional photography you need to make your face, or anything else, jump up off the Internet through the browser screen.

Don't settle for web sites that are just repositories of information. Get a web site that shows and tells your audience what you want them to know, in a way that they'll enjoy, so that they keep coming back for more.

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5 Reasons to go with a Professional Web Design Firm


A lot of companies realize that the constraints on their own time and resources, it makes sense to hire a professional web design firm to create a new web project, rather than making their own staffers build one of these projects from scratch. However, some are still on the fence, in terms of whether to invest that money in professional services are not. Here are some of the biggest reasons that companies decide to go with a qualified, professional outside web design company.

Getting Things Done Quickly

Yes, a company could task its own IT department and creative department with a web site project, but they'll be needing to pull people from other jobs and delegate work accordingly. This can take a good bit of time. A professional web design firm is ready to go on day one, to put a business plan into action.

They’re Go-Getters

The best professional web design firms are good at what they do, and they do it all the time. They’re proactive about getting started on a project. They can reach out to start whipping up a new web site, using effective dialogue with clients, and a clear and upfront approach. This takes a lot of time and effort out of managing a web site project or upgrade.

Up to Date on Technologies

Got HTML 5? Chances are none of the people at your company are super-experts on the latest web design formats. They probably don't spend their spare time reading books on HTML 5 or Cascading Style Sheets. But that's precisely what the professional web design Companies do - so that when they build your site, they're not taking time scanning dictionaries for the latest syntax, or trying to figure out how to create consistent color schemes.

Focusing on Core Operations

Giving your web project to an outside firm allows you to keep your team concentrated on your business objectives. Whether it's selling more products or deploying people to service operations, this is where you want your attention, not on outside advertising and other kinds of distractions.

Strategic Partnerships

Most anybody who has created a startup from scratch will tell you that it’s easier to do with a partner. The same goes for more established companies looking to make big changes -- partnerships help them to do this more efficiently, but they also give the company more visibility. People start to recognize how a firm works within its community. It's an opportunity to do some ‘soft branding’ by getting to know another company, promoting its services, and having it promote yours in return.

Working with WebSubstance

At WebSubstance, we will help you every step of the way, to design a great site that looks good, and works good, too. We specialize in taking on all aspects of web creation, offering extras like photography and more, to really allow you to shift off the burden of building, and give you peace of mind about results. Talk to us about how to get the new web results that you need.

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A Few Reasons to Update Your Portrait


Some companies invest in professional portrait services or other photography services, and that's a good idea. Not having this kind of photography on a web site can create a poor impression. But there's another issue: companies can end up using these images long past their expiration dates.

Here are some of the best reasons for having professional and up-to-date images on your site.

Changes in Your Image

Simply put, people change their appearances over time. Taking a look at old portraits, you might notice that you're wearing different and possibly outdated clothing. Any improvements you made to hairstyles or other aspects of how you look won't be reflected in the old pictures. And at the end of the day, these pictures probably just don’t look like you.

Having updated pictures does a few things for your site -- it gives a more consistent impression of who you are now, and it can also make you look more professional online.

Changes in Photography Trends

Photography equipment and technique also has changed quickly over the last few decades. Even ten years ago, the technology that was used wasn’t consistent with what's being done today.

Old portraits can often look washed out, poorly lit, or otherwise less attractive for a web site. It’s a combination of when the pictures were taken, and how they were taken. But it’s fixable.

Want Better Than the Originals?

Getting the best photos on a page takes thought. Maybe the originals are okay, but you want something that really wows the crowds. Are your pictures and profile images enough? Are they welcoming and accommodating? Do they look attractive and professional?

It's also a good idea to look at other visual aspects like skin-tone and eye tone.. Getting the right photo retouch in post processing will give you the right skin tone, and make your eyes sparkle like diamonds in the sky. 

Working with WebSubstance

At WebSubstance, part of what we offer is professional photography services that bring professionalism to a site. We can help you to update old pictures or create a brand-new photo archive for landing pages and more. We work closely with our clients, using techniques in postproduction to optimize photos and make them look natural and friendly, as well as modern. We take the time to review your portraits and get your feedback, to get you just the right results.

Photography is one of the extras that we bring to the table as a web design company. When you get a brand-new web site, you don't just want average photography, you want what's good. Let us help you build your site visually to create a better impression.

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The Reader’s Eye


One of the big principles that researchers are looking at in the technology world involves how people perceive things, how they receive images to the brain and how they process different kinds of information. Groundbreaking research is showing us much more about how the human brain works, and that's playing out in many different fields.

Print Versus Digital Reading

One important aspect of layout and design for the web is based on differences in how people read and take in electronic pages versus print pages.

This article in Scientific American goes into detail about how reading is different online and on paper. There is the issue of how to take in information, where lots of people prefer the printed page, but there's also the issue of composition -- how to more effectively reach readers on the web and offer them accessible information. For example, the article shows how on-screen reading is “more mentally and physically taxing” but it doesn’t say much about how to alleviate some of this burden with white space, good text and image layout, etc. That’s what experienced designers have learned on their own, over time.

Sophisticated Scientific Models

At the vanguard of this kind of science, some pioneers have gone beyond simple evaluation and started to explore models like ‘hierarchical temporal memory’ or HTM that actually show how our neocortex works. These are becoming a critical part of artificial intelligence models, and they're also helping the rest of us to understand just why it is that we might respond to different cues on different web sites and pages in a similar way.

Web Design with WebSubstance

At WebSubstance, our professionals understand the ways that the most effective web sites reach viewers. We will help you build web sites that are effective and responsive to a customer’s needs. We are experienced in providing the right kind of composition and layout, and complementing the core of a web site with available extras that will make your customer’s experience even better.

Rely on a web shop that is a leader in its field, and has done the research on digital media. We’ll make the decision-making process easy, and walk you through the major aspects of building a web site that works. Our customer service approach is to truly assist our clients in taking the hassles and headaches out of comprehensive web design. Let us be an effective partner in transferring your dreams and visions into an actual working site that accomplishes the goals and objectives of your business.

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What Do You Have to Sell?


No matter what kind of company you are working for, or who you represent, everyone creating a web site has something they want to sell.

Sometimes it's a set of physical products -- the manufacturer, distributor or retailer will have fancy new gear that they want to show off to a target audience. Other times, the question of what's being sold is more abstract -- there's a set of objectives, a particular kind of messaging, or a core concept that a company wants to put forward. Service companies do this all the time -- they try to characterize what they do for their clientele and make that a centerpiece of their web site.

Creating a Thesis Statement for a Web Site

Because business strategies are sometimes complex, there are core philosophies that IT people and web designers use to make sure a site is accurate. One of these involves creating a ‘thesis statement,’ a central idea that the web site will flow around. For example, for product sites, there may be a lot more focus on particular images of the newest product line, along with items like technical sidebars on specifications, or brilliantly laid out text blocks showing how these products are the best in their industry. What's at the center of this is a core statement or goal that the designers build from.

Adding Image and Text

When building out from the core idea and plugging in visuals and text, designers take care to keep everything relevant and optimized for a web audience. For example, rather than using generic stock images for a page, smart designers will use images that truly show the values that the client wants. They look at not just what the image should be, but where it should go. The same holds true for all of that messaging that gets added to the pages in various shapes and sizes -- the typography and the layout make a big difference in final results.

Looking from the Customer's Eyes

The best web designers keep assessing pages and sites as they build them, looking at them from the perspective of the end user. They make an attempt to see what others will see when they load up a site. That helps in designing the most effective landing pages, product pages and other parts of the site that help with that vital goal -- to sell what you need to sell.

Working with WebSubstance

At WebSubstance, we’re dedicated to always building sites that provide value for our customers. Our teams are experienced in doing that specific layout and composition that supports an effective site. We're used to doing in-depth analysis, and putting ourselves in the customer’s shoes, to build targeted content that will fit on a page and really welcome and accommodate audiences.

Anyone can build a web site, but it takes a skilled professional to really make the results look good and reach out to people who visit the URL or web address. Ask us about how we can build from that essential core, and help with extras like photography and search engine optimization.

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Does Your ‘Platform’ Make a Difference in Web Design?


When it's time to create a web site, there are lots of decisions to be made. These days, companies and other site creators have a lot of options for creating smoothly styled and user-friendly sites.

User-friendly Web Site Creation

Different strategies offer easy ways to do web design. Planners want intuitive controls on the back end, a logical relationship between the back end and the front end, and transparent ways to monitor the site for traffic and more.

Basically, companies want web surfers to be able to go in and access all parts of the site without having to scroll around or click around in confusion. They want an “intuitive” site that is welcoming and accommodating, even for people who have not grown up around computers. But all of this takes detailed work and dedication. These kinds of web sites don’t write themselves. They rely on professional design objectives and experienced webmasters doing in-depth work to create a good site, the way an architect designs a livable and comfortable home.

Creating the Right Impression

Another issue with web design is the visual impression that a site will make. This is another aspect of the industry where there's fierce competition in terms of offering customers what they want. With new technologies for consistent page creation, web designers are able to really put together sites that look professional and that make a client look good.

Using Web Platforms

Finding the right programming environment for a web site can be challenging. This is where companies often have a hard time figuring out the path toward creating those results that they need.

Skilled vendors, on the other hand, have worked with a variety of ‘platforms.’ They know how to choose the ones that will make the most sense for a particular project, and even more important, how to tailor the chosen resource toward the client’s needs and objectives.

Working with WebSubstance -- Getting Targeted Results

At WebSubstance, our expert designers know how to use a given platform to get the best result. We will help you look through design schematics and listen to your ideas about what you need, not just for landing pages that shine, but for actual site functionality that you can use to keep in touch with customers, streamline sales processes and much more. That’s why we ask about a client’s “three to five year plan” in terms of goals, to match those with what we design.

We understand why platforms offer the tools that they do, and how companies can use them to get superior web sites built. We’ll also help with extras like strategic content writing and other kinds of planning for a site. Let us help to create the best web impressions for reaching an audience and growing a business over time.

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21800 Town Center Plaza, #266A-281
Sterling, VA 20164
(703) 470-0808
Jenny Le - President