What your web designs say about you

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As web designers, we know that our work is our way of putting our stamp out there to be seen.

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We take time and consideration when choosing everything; from color schemes to layouts and from content to our  own unique way to write code.

Our work always says something about us as designers, whether we mean it to or not. What does yours say about you?

Your design should be all about the user and their experience, while also ensuring you are communicating the whole purpose for the website.

Your design should be clean. If visitors have to search for content, chances are, they won’t! Keep it simple! The users experience is number one, especially if you want your website to be a success.

We need to focus our scope of web design innovation on ALL users, not just the users.

 

Insufficient White Space = Readability of Content Doesn’t Matter

White space is a powerful design tool. White space can spell the difference between making your content presentation pleasurable and easier to read or cramped and visually uncomfortable.

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Mistakes in entering the correct URL are made often.

Some inbound links to your content may no longer exist, or may have been moved.

Sometimes, certain web pages on your site just stop working because of technical issues.

For events like these, we need to create and design a useful 404 error page — a page that doesn’t just restate what the user already knows (which is that they’ve lost their way).

Take as much care as you can in creating a comfortable, visually pleasing content presentation. This encourages site visitors to consume whatever content you’re offering.

3No Engagement Features = Not Interested in What Users Have to Say

Providing methods for your users to be able to contact you says that you care deeply about their experience on your site.

You’re saying that you value their feedback, whether it’s negative or positive.

Be it a commenting system, contact form, email, social networks, your help and support forums, a live chat widget — having these user engagement tools will show that you want to hear from them.

If you’re not providing them with opportunities of contacting you, then you’re effectively telling people that you don’t care about what they have to say.

So do you agree with what I’m saying? Do you  have other  tips? Please comment below 🙂

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Path to creating that Perfect Portfolio

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As a web designer myself, I know, a perfect online portfolio is something we always strive for and rarely feel we’ve achieved. We want to create a design that defines us and our work, so that once an employer sees it, they will hire us on the spot.

It needs to show your skills and experience, how you generate and execute ideas, basically your whole creative process.

Everyone has different opinions on what exactly an online design portfolio should look like, which makes it difficult for someone beginning to design their portfolio to decide where to begin.

Well here are a few unspoken but well used golden rules and practices that will hopefully help you on that illusive ‘yellow brick road’ to your successful web design portfolio.

 

Create it

This may seem obvious to most but there is simply no excuse for not having an online portfolio in this day and age. This is your platform to sell yourself.  Make use of it. Without one, sadly you may as well not apply for the job.

 

Make it All Killer, Not Filler

This should really be common obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it isn’t followed. Only ever show your very best websites in your portfolio and if you aren’t 100 per cent happy with the finished website then don’t feature it.

Leave them wanting more

It’s a great idea to leave the viewer wanting more. As much as your web portfolio is about showing off your best designs, you should hold back a bit, for when you are lucky enough to get an interview. It will look great at interview stage, if you can show them something even better than the websites they have already seen and obviously like.

Make it speak for itself

Don’t be tempted to over-design your online website portfolio. Allow the work to do the talking.

A designer, we are never 100% happy with our work but please don’t fall into this pitfall. It is so easy to keep tweaking your design…. DON’T!

You can end up making it too complex and not user friendly!

The whole idea of a portfolio is to make viewing your websites as easy and accessible as possible.

Your portfolio should be clear and concise, while also being easy to navigate.

Be confident and tell your story

Finally and I think most importantly, the key to the success of any web design portfolio is the ability show and talk about your designs and how they came about. There’s nothing worse than visiting someone’s portfolio, where they have not explained their designs and how they were created.  Only show pieces that you are very proud of and that you can talk enthusiastically about from idea right through to the finished website with the ability to explain the back story and journey you went through to get there.

Inspiration tips

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Getting back to the idea of inspiration and how to find it…. another thing I like to do when inspiration is lacking…. take a break.

Let’s face it, sometimes as designers, no matter how hard you try to push through, inspiration won’t strike.

No need to fear. Best advice I can give you, coming from years of fighting it… is take a break!inspiration

The more you want inspiration to come…. that is when it’s least likely to arrive. So take a break!You heard me… Don’t be afraid to go for a walk, read a book (an actual paper book guys! On screen does not classify as a break 😛 ), go to the cinema, play some music, whatever works for you. I personally like to get in my car, turn the stereo up full blast and just drive with no destination in mind… (but that’s just me).

Find what works for you and do it. Don’t be afraid to take time out. You will be surprised how much more you will achieve and way faster when you’re looking at it with a fresh pair of eyes.

Also inspiration is different for everyone in different ways and at different times.

There are times I just find the people around me inspiring. Most of my family and friends come from non I.T. related backgrounds. They work in science labs, shops, schools, etc. and while we all come from different areas, we are always pushing each other further. Sometimes that is all you need. Surround yourself with good people, good times and the inspiration will keep on flowing.

So that’s it for the blog for now. I hope to post updates regularly, where I will share tools and websites I have found along the way. I hope you may find them just as useful.

Please feel free to share how you get inspired, what websites you find useful, along with your thoughts on my post.

Bye for now,

Niamh

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Inspiration, where are you??

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So, I’ve decided to start a new blog to inspire myself…. and who knows maybe others along the way… in my quest for what makes great web design?!?Inspiration where art thou?

So what a daunting question that is….

For each of us, the idea of what makes a well designed website varies? For some it may be clean layouts and simple responsive designs, to other it may be more to do with graphics and all the “flashy” extras if you’ll please excuse the pun.

But one thing we can all agree on, is that usability and responsive design are key.

So when I get stuck for design ideas or just feel exhausted when it comes to design, I have various tools I use to help inspire me, that I though I’d like to share. Do you have similar tips?? Or do you have better routes to inspiration? If so… do tell 🙂

The first thing I like to do is visit other websites. As cliche as it sounds, it always helps when I get to see what other designers are trying.

I won’t bore you with my full list of inspiring websites(not just yet anyway 🙂 ) but for now, I’m really enjoying this list of websites that aren’t afraid to use that scary word…. colour.   http://www.webdesignmash.com/design/awesome-websites-with-the-color-red/

I found the sites inspiring and while I didn’t love all the websites, it did encourage me to take more risks. Afterall bland white pages can be boring!

What do you think? Do you have a favourite? Well hopefully you’ll find the list useful and maybe even share some of your inspiring favourite sites in return…

Bye for now,

Niamh

Welcome

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Hi, my name is Niamh Landers. I am a freelance Designer available to improve your business potential. I am qualified to create everything from Websites to Logos to Stationary.

This wordpress blog is a work in progress so please bare with me.

Over the coming weeks I hope to post useful blog updates around the topic of Web Design.

At the moment I work freelance, creating and managing websites for clients.

I adore creating clean, modern, well designed interactive websites and logos. I achieve this by coding with HTML, CSS and some Javascript. I also design with Photoshop and Illustrator.

I’m constantly using and developing my skills and abilities. I like the creativity of designing within guidelines to meet the clients needs.

I can also be found on my own website: http://www.neonlightsdesign.com