Everything from sophisticated business automation platforms, to robust email clients, to complex ecommerce platforms leverage web application development to provide powerful software to the world in real-time.
At Icreon, web development forms a cornerstone of our business technology practice. We use technologies like Java, PHP, .NET & Python to build scalable, enterprise-grade software that stands up to rigorous use across a variety of verticals.
Connecting disparate sources of information.
Organizing, collating & normalizing it for your databases.
Creating the application engine that transforms the data.
Deploying it on a scalable, secure, and reliable infrastructure.
Making it accessible across browsers, client apps and mobile devices.
Despite being mistaken by countless business people and even technical personnel themselves, web designers and web developers are different. However, the two processes of website design and website development are carried out together to build websites.
Both of these processes work in tandem to build various elements of a website (like navigation and presentation of media), with the ultimate goal of creating a user-friendly website. But even though web designers and web developers are often used interchangeably, they denote two different skill-sets and responsibilities.
Typically if one likes pushing pixels around, one is a web designer. But if one would rather write code to solve problems, one is a web developer.
Web designers deal with the front-end, the aesthetics and ‘look and feel’, of a website. They employ graphic tools such as Adobe Photoshop to create the final graphical representation of all the web pages of a website.
Developers on the other hand take care of the back-end, the unseen coding aspect, of any website. They work through web languages such as PHP, Java or .NET. They use the finished product of a website designer’s work, the graphical representation of a web page, to write the code for the web pages.
Web design is the customer-facing part of a website. Web designers aesthetically arrange and implement their design ideas on the website. They utilize the same key visual elements that all types of designers do, such as:
Web developers on the other hand are responsible for making the website 'do' things and perform tasks. Although the fruits of a web developer's work is not actually visible to the visitors of a website, it is absolutely vital to the user's experience.
All the programming elements on websites, such as actions on forms and rollovers for menus, are created by web developers. Typical activities on a website that are taken care of by website development techniques include:
Much of a web designer's job is creative and depends heavily on imagination and intuition, often the characteristics of people who are considered right-brained. The best web designers have a strong grasp on a variety of concepts including color and typography, user experience and spatial relationships (but lack technical knowledge regarding code, testing and development). Designers are known to make portfolios that showcase the projects they have worked on.
Web Developers on the other hand are historically not known to focus on making something visually appealing. They create websites with clean software codes that are technically sound but may like visual sensibility. Skills such as technical ability and logic are an essential part of their repertoires (not visual aesthetics and creativity). This is the reason they are often thought of as left-brained workers.
Usually it is difficult to find someone who is superior at both. In most cases, one person does the design while the other person takes care of the development aspect. Website Designers normally do not program and programmers usually not graphic artists. However there is always a bit of a crossover between the two.
A lot of hard work and a good amount of thought goes into building a successful website. Today’s users demand fast load times, professional aesthetics, and valuable content. It is very difficult to attract and engage a consumer who will stay long enough on your website to identify and communicate with you.
One of the most commonly-undertaken projects in enterprise technology is the website overhaul. Over a matter of just a few years, a business can quickly outgrow the scope of its current online experience, meaning that the website itself fails to get the job done.
But just as common as this change can be, it also comes with one major pitfall: Because website overhauls are typically driven by one or two desperately-needed upgrades, organizations get tunnel vision and fail to tackle the task as a multi-faceted project.
Some focus on the visual aspect and neglect to optimize paths to conversion. Others jettison SEO in favour of UX details. To make sure you get the most out of overhauling your website, here are issues that businesses don’t pay enough attention to.
Regardless of what your technological needs are, the first thing to focus on—and a factor which many businesses overlook—is the expertise of your web development team.
Too often, decision makers have a list of features they want to implement, but fail to understand the talent and programming it takes to deliver the functionality of those features. It’s important to understand the programming expertise that your website will require, so you can deliver the website you want.
Creating seamless paths for users to convert is one of the most overlooked elements of a website. Conversion optimization is crucial for any website, especially those with a focus on lead generation or e-commerce.
Whether you’re guiding users along the path to purchase, or to request more information about donating to your cause, or sign up for a free trial of your product – your website must be set up for them to easily do so. Your website should create paths for users to follow that will lead them to convert in a way that makes the most sense for them.
The primary goal of a website should be to educate a targeted audience on the value you provide and how it ultimately solves their problems. There are far too many websites that continue to mistake legibility for communication, and use content as a filler instead of utilizing it to connect with prospects. A focus on razzle-dazzle catchphrases rather than useful, authoritative, stylized content could undermine the effectiveness of your website.
If your company relies on organic traffic as a major part of your marketing strategy, you should optimize your website to perform well in search engines.
Search engines, like users, need to easily navigate your website if they’re to gain an understanding of what your webpages are about. By properly structuring your navigation, internally linking to appropriate pages, and writing copy that makes sense for each page, search engines like Google can easily discover, index and suggest your pages to prospective customers.
If your company already performs well in search engines, changing URLs and the structure of your website could have a massive impact on your rankings. A strategic plan should be in place to ensure a migration to a new website doesn’t negatively impact rankings.
With the ability to track and cater to user behavior, personalization is playing a major role in today’s marketing strategies. As the latest research shows, the ability to display different content to different people in different stages of the funnel could lead to dramatic increases in conversion rates.
If you lack the ability to track your visitors’ habits, you lose to ability to personalize their experiences. Your website should be able to show you who came from Google search, who opened your e-mails, who downloaded a whitepaper, and whichever other stats will provide you with the insight you need to personalize the user experience. This is especially crucial for websites focused on lead generation, which need to know where visitors and conversions came from. Otherwise, businesses lack the data needed to continuously improve marketing campaigns.
While it may not be something you take into consideration for the front end development, it’s essential that tracking codes are set up properly so you can deliver a personalized experience.
For the last several years, web developers and designers became thoroughly acclimated to the tablet and smartphone medium. Websites across all devices are now showing consistency in performance and aesthetics.
Expect websites to continue evolving thanks to innovation from web developers and designers. To help guide the navigation of buzzwords and trends, Icreon Tech’s development team collaborated to bring you the most important web development trends for business.
One of the most common complaints about mobile web experiences and even desktop web experiences, rests with the size and clarity of text-copy. In an effort to make websites more mobile ready, web development has stressed clear and intuitive layouts for web copy.
UK based outdoor brand Howies, recently created a custom typeface for their website. Designer Carter Wong incorporated actual ring-patterns from a fallen chestnut tree. Web development teams are focusing more attention on the display of text-based content.
Web developers and designers will be faced with a new variety of OS types in the coming years. Chromebook's were surprisingly successful; sapping substantial sales from Microsoft, HP and other PC giants. The Chromebook runs entirely on Chrome OS with a fleet of Chrome applications. Google has released a Windows 8.1 version of Chrome that can essentially be used as a secondary OS for a user.
Mozilla has also released its mobile Firefox OS, and former engineers from Nokia have released the mobile OS Sailfish for the Jolla smartphone. Thanks to the advent of new OS types, web developers and designers have additional device fragmentation to attend to this year.
Arguably the biggest technology news story in recent memory, Healthcare.gov's disastrous launch will go down as a historical case study for how not to develop and launch a website. Brands and web development companies alike are focusing efforts on a seamless go-live.
The launch of a website or web application now communicates an important message about brand competence to customers, potential investors, and media alike. For the upcoming year, expect website development teams to pay increased attention to a flawless launch.
Progressions in pixel quality and resolution have resulted in displays on monitors and mobile devices that shine light on any and all flaws in aesthetic design. Web development teams will focus on creating smooth user interface (UI) transitions.
Similar to the way that mobile apps operate in a seamless and intuitive fashion, websites will begin to replicate the experience. For the upcoming year expect websites to feel and look like mobile apps.
Although HTML5 has faced its share of challenges in terms of proliferation, there is legitimate potential in the enterprise space. In an age where employees and managers alike are constantly switching between devices, HTML5 is an ideal language for enterprise website applications.
Building enterprise web applications with HTML5 allow for access on any device type. Such web applications run within a standard browser and require zero plugins. In the enterprise, HTML5 will be seen as a viable option for creating applications that every employee can access. With offline functionality and high performance, HTML5 web applications will be embraced by the enterprise.
Websites are often the lifeblood of an organization. Marketing a brand online, setting up an eCommerce platform, and publishing news and other content via blogs are critical strategies for businesses today. The various functions and capabilities of a website are often tied to the perception of a brand.
Reaching the right customers through optimized content, and immersing visitors with effective website design techniques allow for many businesses to differentiate themselves from competitors (and garner increased market share). But when a website lags behind in terms of trending technologies and approaches to web development, the increasingly tech-savvy consumer will negatively judge a brand by their website.
In the same way that retailers and restaurant chains strategically assess and carefully implement updates to physical locations, brands should hold their websites to the same scrutiny and attention to detail. If you’re wondering whether or not your own website is meeting the expectations of today's digital consumer, the following list will help you assess a website and decide if it's time for a redesign or complete rebuild.
Mobile devices are the new standard when it comes to computing. We are officially in the Post-PC era when it comes to the device of choice for consumers. In fact, 25% of all website traffic in the world came from a smartphone or tablet (which means brands must optimize their websites for mobile users).
Not only do websites need to be optimized for mobile device screen sizes, but they must also attend to touchscreens and finger-tips rather than a mouse click. Buttons, content, and other user interface features must adapt to smartphones and tablets. If not, consumers will encounter a clunky mobile version of a website and cancel their purchase.
Responsive website design (RWD) is an approach to web design that adapts page elements for specific devices. RWD can allow for one website that optimizes itself for tablets, smartphones, and PCs accordingly. Leading to open access for potential customers regardless of the device they use to surf the web.
Load times are more important than ever when it comes to reaching consumers online. Some studies have gone to pinpoint how each additional second of load time can reduce online sales by 7%. Given that many consumers are spending hours a day with light-weight speedy mobile applications, that expectation regarding responsiveness and quality will carry over to websites whether brands like it or not.
To counteract this problem, brands must consult with web development and design teams to discover what aspects of a website are holding it back from optimal performance. Is it poor code? Are images and video files bulking down the website? There are countless factors that come into play. Brands should also reach out to their web hosting provider to assess bandwidth usage and potential solutions.
Studies have shown that visitors will judge a website within 6 seconds of seeing the homepage. This reality drives home the importance of compelling and immersive web design. Website design evolves at a tremendous rate, meaning that talented designers who position themselves at the crest of innovation are necessary to stand out in today’s increasingly digital landscape.
A recent Nielsen study found that the average American spends around 60 hours every week on a digital device. This adds up to a consumer base that is increasingly perceptive when it comes to critiquing digital experiences (specifically when it comes to the redesign of a website or mobile app). Mobile apps have also added to the pace of progress in web design.
Catering to touchscreens has resulted in the proliferation of flat design on many websites. Often times when the technical features of a competitor’s website are equal to your own, design elements can serve as a final factor in communicating the spirit of a brand.
Humans, for the most part, are visual learners. Many studies have shown that visual messaging can supplement written content and increase engagement with a page. Specifically for eCommerce operations presenting products to consumers, images and high quality visuals are the gateway to finalizing transactions.
Amazon has a great feature for HD zooming on products. Users can zoom in and closely inspect a product as if they were holding it up to their eye. Any way that a brand can bridge the gap between physical inspection of a product online will immerse the user and increase the likelihood of a transaction.
Strategic use of graphics can also amplify the impact of web design. Specified visuals that help drive home the idea of an article, or the call to action on a landing page, are central to today’s web experiences. Another aspect of visuals to consider is the physical size of the files on a website. Clunky images can have a direct impact on load times and usability of a page.
Written content is still critical despite the popularity of YouTube, Vine, and Instagram. Text must be adapted for the age of mobile users. Screen sizes are smaller and touchscreens have replaced the mouse. In the same way that graphics and icons have changed in response to finger-tips, the design of written content must take into account mobile users.
Larger text, the use of sub-sections, and shorter more focused content writing is central for today’s websites. Not only does the written content detail a company’s services and products, it can also serve as a channel to distributes calls to actions (such as singing up for a whitepaper, or filling out a contact form).
Content, when used strategically, can help funnel potential customers towards reaching a touch point or finalizing a transaction.
Take a look at NYRR.org, Icreon Tech and the New York Road Runners collaborated to bring the oldest running organization in the nation into the digital age...