Our Web Design Philosophy

Do you have an existing site, or plan to commission one soon? It’s important to understand that good web design is what makes a successful site. An unattractive or poorly built site will do more to hurt your business than to help it.
 
There are five general principals involved in successful web design. The most effective websites will reflect best practices across all these areas.
 
These principals underpin every site that we build at Media Dreams.
 
To enable us to focus on these guidelines we build each of our sites from the ground up. We don’t use “out of the box” templates with a few basic changes.
 
This avoids the “cookie cutter” look that many sites have, and ensures that each site is unique.
Web Design
Web Design - Appearance

Appearance

A site must be visually appealing, polished and professional. This is probably the most important aspect of web design. Remember, your website’s “look” is reflecting your company, your products and your services. In fact, your site may be the first, and only, impression a potential customer gets of your company.

Good Use Of Colour

An appropriate colour scheme will contain 2 or 3 primary colours that blend well. This will create a proper mood or tone for your business..

Reader Friendly Text

The most effective combination is black or grey text on a white background. Other colour combinations are acceptable if the contrast is within an appropriate range. Fonts should be easy to read and generally between 12 and 15 pts for paragraph text.

Meaningful Graphics

Graphics are important, as they lend visual variety and appeal to a page of plain text. That said, they should not be over used, and should add meaning or context to the written content.

Quality Images

High quality photography increases visual appeal and is especially important for online retailers.

Simplicity

Uncluttered layouts with adequate white space allow viewers to focus on your message. Viewers are rarely impressed with overly complex design, animation, or other effects.

Content

Along with style, good web design must ensure that a site has substance. Your audience is looking for information that will help them make decisions. Informative and relevant content will increase visitor confidence in your company.

Short And Well Organised Copy

Topics should be clearly labelled and broken up into small paragraphs. Text that is visually overwhelming will bore visitors to tears. You only have a short time to get their attention, so your message should be clear, concise and compelling.

Regularly Updated Content

No one likes to read the same thing over and over again. Dead or static content will not bring visitors back to your site and your search engine rankings will also suffer for the same reason.

Beware Of The “Glitz”

Use flashy graphics and animations with caution. Although they can sometimes be appropriate, most visitors find them distracting or annoying. They can also divert attention from your main message.

Web Design - Content
Web Design - Functionality

Functionality

Your site should operate quickly and correctly. Broken components that don’t work are bad for your company’s image. Everything should work as expected, including hyperlinks, contact forms and so on.  This is an often neglected aspect of web design.

To ensure that this is always the case, we maintain daily checks on all sites that we host.  Thus the latest versions of WordPress, themes and plugins are in place at all times.

WordPress

We build all our sites with WordPress, the world’s most popular CMS (Content Management System).  At last count, 30% of all websites globally are built on this platform.

WordPress is open source software with a strong reputation for stability.  It is supported by a huge community of contributors and new versions and updates are issued regularly.

Because it is so popular, most design companies either use it, or are familiar with it.

This is important in the event that you wish to transfer your site to another company or host.

Usability

A critical, but often overlooked component of a successful website is its degree of usability. Your site must be easy to read, navigate, and understand. Some key usability elements include:

Fast Loading Pages

A page should load in a matter of seconds.  Any more than that and you’ll lose more than half of your potential visitors.  We test all pages for load times during site construction to ensure maximum speed.

Prominent And Logical Navigation

Menus should be easily accessible at all times, and ideally should contain no more than 8 or 10 links.  Your visitors are in a hurry, and they don’t want to hunt for information.

Cross Browser/Platform Compatibility

Different browsers often have different rules for displaying content. Before hand over to a client we test all our sites for correct display in the major browsers. These include Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.

Responsiveness On All Devices

A responsive website is one that changes size and layout automatically. That is, it adapts to the type of device the visitor is using, whether it be a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet.

All Media Dreams sites are built responsively as a matter of course.

Web Design - Usability
Web Design - SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is the process of getting traffic from the “free”, “organic”, “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines. This is to be distinguished from other traffic boosting strategies such as email marketing and paid advertising (e.g. AdWords).

While these strategies may often be more effective, there is a cost involved.  By contrast, SEO is a consequence of your site’s web design, which is largely determined in the initial construction stage.

As you are going to pay for your site anyway, SEO is effectively included in the cost. Correctly implemented and reviewed regularly, it can be a very effective complement to paid marketing strategies.

For a more in depth explanation, visit our Search Engine Optimisation site page.