Having images that are sized specifically for use on the web can help make your website’s appearance much better and also load faster than unoptimized images. Some things to take into consideration are the compression and format used on images as well as the size. Images should be exported to be the smallest size possible without any noticeable quality loss. The PNG (portable network graphics) format provides high quality resolution at lower file sizes. Images optimized for web will load quicker and have color palettes that are optimized for your browser. Also, many websites will have versions of images at double the resolution for use with Retina displays. Provide your web developer or designer with the images you want to use on your website to make sure that they are optimized for web use and will give your website visitors the best experience possible.
In designing UI elements, two major styles employed are flat and skeuomorphic (skew-oh-morphic). Flat elements employ clean and clear lines with two-dimensional styling whereas skeuomorphic design imitates physical objects in three dimensions with depth and physical features. An illustration of the contrast between the two is Apple’s redesign of iOS between versions 6 and 7; with iOS 7, and now 8, Apple designers converted the UI to all-flat icons and all of the native apps such as the calendar app to flat design. Previously, the native iOS apps had been designed to imitate their real-life counterparts, now they are flattened to provide a simple experience. Flat design is coming into vogue, lending a polished and modern look to websites and apps employing it. When designing elements for your site, consider what sort of aesthetic you want to convey and if that aesthetic works better with flat graphic elements or ones with depth that look more like real objects.
If you’ve needed to look something up in a hurry and on the go on your smartphone (chances are probably good that you have, probably already once today), then you know the importance of having an elegant and usable mobile site. A mobile site is not simply a website made smaller; a well-designed mobile site will place an emphasis on clarity and legibility and account for displaying in portrait orientation versus landscape orientation for desktop sites.
Smart Insights reports that at least 80% of internet users own a smartphone and use it to browse retail sites as well as access media sites. However, some companies, almost unbelieveably, have not yet implemented mobile sites. This is not smart, as any difficulties that users have browsing non-mobile sites will usually end up as frustration with the company or brand being visited.
A mobile site will deliver an easy and pleasurable experience by loading faster and being easier to navigate. Buttons and interactive features will be made larger while images will be compressed and made smaller to reduce the amount of bandwidth required to load a given page (saving time and limited mobile data). If you don’t have a website with a mobile version or responsive design, you may be making it more difficult for your customers to use your site and losing out on valuable business.
A responsive web layout is a way to make sure that your website displays properly and elegantly on any browser window size. A responsive layout will rearrange or resize elements on the page to best fit the size of window in which the website is being displayed. Because your visitors will be using a variety of screen sizes and resolutions, you want to be sure that your site displays as intended and that all of your content is visible.
By viewing your website layout as it was intended to be displayed, visitors will have an easier time finding the relevant information they are looking for as well as enjoying a superior browsing experience which will reflect positively on your company and brand. The aesthetics of your layout will be greatly enhanced if columns and content can be rearranged to best suit the dimensions of the window or device that your visitors are using.
Vast improvements have been made in responsive web design with the advent of CSS and HTML5. It is almost rare to discover modern sites that are not responsive. This has allowed companies to use a single site that will display better across all devices and results in better search rankings, robust usability, and most importantly fewer headaches for the developers making the site.