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 users as similar, web design and development are not the same. However, the two processes of web design and develop are carried out together to create beautiful, fresh websites.
Both of these processes work in tandem to build various elements of a website, with the ultimate end-goal of creating a user-friendly website. But even though web design and development 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. Here’s how they differ -
Web Designers deal with the front-end, the aesthetics and the interface 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.
Web developers on the other hand take care of the back-end development, 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 web designer’s work 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 development on the other hand is responsible for making the website function 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 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 website 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 programming codes that are technically sound but may lack 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 web design and development. In most cases, one person does the web design while the other person takes care of the web development aspect. Web designers normally do not program and programmers usually not graphic artists. However there is always a bit of a crossover between the two.
Websites are often the lifeblood of an organization. Whether it’s marketing a brand online, setting up an eCommerce platform, or creating a central repository through a content management system are critical 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 web design techniques allow for many businesses to differentiate themselves from competitors. 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.
Not only do websites need to be optimized for mobile, 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 end their visit.
Responsive website design (RWD) is an approach to mobile website 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.
Website 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 companies and web 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.
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.
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 distribute calls to actions (such as singing up for a whitepaper, or filling out a contact form).
For the first time ever, mobile device users are spending more time within apps than surfing the web. The high speed performance and superb design of today’s leading mobile apps are attracting attention and increasing expectations when it comes to digital experiences.
Customers are spending more time than ever interacting with applications, and the resulting impact on how a business approaches website design is undeniable. Traditional header menus are disappearing in favor of side drawer menus. Icons are getting larger, and visuals and graphics are becoming flatter.
All of these trends in web design and development are directly inspired by mobile developers. Web design companies that are aiming to build websites that appeal to today’s tech-savvy consumer base, should attempt to emulate the look and feel of mobile app design.
One of the best ways to make a website feel like an app on a mobile device, and even on a desktop, is responsive website design (RWD). Regardless of the device type used to access a website built with RWD, the website will actually adapt to the screen size. With RWD in place a website’s content and visuals will appear consistent.
Brand's aiming to represent themselves on the web in the best way possible should focus heavily on providing consistent and quality web experiences focused on design. Attending to touch screen users is crucial. Graphics and icons should attempt to find a balance between desktop users and mobile users.
When the window re-sizes thanks to RWD, the graphics and icons must fit as well. Mobile website features such as the commonly used sidebar menu can slide out from the left side of a window. Drop-down menus that fit inconspicuously in the corner of a web page can allow for increased room for content.
Mobile developers are masters of strategic utilization of screen real estate, given the limitations compared to traditional web developers. Website design companies and business leaders should undoubtedly look to trends in mobile application design and development when attempting to reinvigorate their web presence.
When it comes to applications, the speed and lightweight file size make them ideal for constant access. The memory consumed does not stress the device, making for an enjoyable and seamless experience. When it comes to websites, slow load times and clunky loading are a sales killer.
Every extra second it takes for a website to low will negatively impact a business. Users need instant gratification. So a website that takes more than 7 seconds to load will force users to leave (and visit a competitor’s faster, more well designed website).
Research firm StrangeLoop breaks it down to the point that every extra second it takes a website to load will reduce conversions by 7%. With such high stakes involved with an effective web presence and the bottom line, businesses must stress the importance of high performing websites that are comparable to applications in terms of performance.
While website design is crucial to performance, the web hosting provider is where a business should also focus attention.
A recent Nielsen poll found that the average American spends over 60 hours per week on a digital device. At this point in time, the average customer is incredibly discerning when it comes to software, websites, and applications. As a result of our increasingly tech-savvy and mobile driven lives, brands must revamp their web design to enhance their presence for today’s mobile audiences.
In today’s technology-driven world, designing a website with a friendly user-interface (UI) is one of the most challenging jobs. Even veteran web designers are having issues acclimating to the ever-changing world of web development trends. Unless a UI satisfies the users’ expectations, a website will have little value for all website visitors. It might include all the necessary functions and features, but users must be comfortable with an intuitive UI.
Every business user has a different approach for a preferred UI for the website. The focus should be on meeting their business expectations while attending to their own tastes and preferences. Strictly emulating trendy web design styles won’t help, but focusing on the user intent will make for a successful website.
Strong communication channels between the web development team and potential users, end-user documentation, and effective feedback systems are central to optimizing a website. So let’s take a look at the processes that lead to an effective UI and a great end-user experience for website development.
Consistent iteration of UI should also be kept into consideration. Location of call-to-action buttons, color schemes and wordings in message labels should be experimented with throughout the website. The more intuitive the interface is, the easier it is to use.
And the best way to identify if a UI is intuitive or not is to continually receive feedback and apply the insight. This lowers down training and support costs for website development that melds with their existing preferences.
A successful web design and development project rests with identifying and incorporating the needs of users. When introducing a new website, there is a serious chance of disrupting processes and taking away from the productivity and efficiency gains. Constant communication with intended users is the only way to ensure a website will meld with their existing workflows.
Web design companies must commit to consistent feedback and iteration sessions. They should establish a deep understanding of the preferred website of the users. The more you constantly communicate with them, the more insight a team will have of their needs.
These proactive strategies serve to build a website that aligns with user requirements. While web developers focus on technical aspects of the website, web designers need to emphasize usability.
UI plays a significant role in making or breaking a website. While the business functionality is important, the way a website provides it to users is just as important. No matter if your website is technically excellent, if your users don’t like it they won’t use it, and ROI will not be achieved.
To be successful in developing a website, don’t underestimate the value of UI design and its usability. Focus on them from start and you will deliver a user-friendly website with a user experience that leads to greater productivity.