Useful web design information
Why test in different browsers?
There are typically two main types of computer:
- PC's running Microsoft Windows.
- MAC's running MAC OSX.
Why Design develops your site simulaneously across both systems to ensure your site works and looks it's best on either type of computer.
We also test your site it in the most common browsers on the PC (Internet Explorer 7+ and Firefox and the most common browsers on the Mac OS (Safari and Firefox). Different browsers can interpret the code that your site is built in differently. This is what often causes sites to work fine or your computer but not on your friends or customers.
Testing to this degree ensures that your site looks and works perfectly on approx 90% of computers worldwide.
What are Web Standards and why should your site be accessible?
Web Standards are guidelines set up by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) to enable web developers and browser developers to work together so that websites look and work the same regardless of platform (Windows, Mac OS, etc.) or browser (Internet Exporer, Firefox, etc.).
Web Standards create an 'Accessible Site'.
The web should be accessible to all, even the visually impaired. Blind people can view websites using a screenreader. Rather than interpreting what we see on the screen, the screenreader reads through the website code to identify the navigation and content and 'reads' this back to the user. This is important because in the UK we have the Disability Discrimination Act which states:
"The Disability Discrimination Act makes it unlawful for a service provider to discriminate against a disabled person by refusing to provide any service which it provides to members of the public."
This means that if your site is not accessible you could face legal action. This is why any websites built by Why Design can be accessible and in accordance with Web Standards.
What is CSS?
CSS is the type of technology that Why Design use to build your website. It separates the site content (words and images) from the site style (design, layout, colours etc). One piece of code called a stylesheet (CSS) controls the style of the entire site. This means each individual page, whilst still containing code, only contains the specific content for that page. This results in your site containing far less code which benefits you in the following ways:
- loads faster (improved user experience).
- uses less bandwidth (cheaper to host).
- can improve search engine ranking.
- will accommodate multiple platforms (pc and mac).
- will work on all future releases of browsers.
- will be cheaper to maintain.
- will maintain a visual consistency.
- can easily re-style pages for different purposes e.g. print or mobile.
- Web Standards compliant = Accessible.
What is Meta Data?
Meta Data is information that helps search engines (e.g. Google) index your site correctly. Meta Data consists of a 'title tag', 'description tag', 'keywords' and 'alt tags'.
Keywords are words you think potential visitors will use to find your site in Google. Keywords are not necessarily one word but more a 'phrase'. For example 'design agency peterborough' would be considered one keyword. It is recommended that you include no more than 20 keywords. If you are an international business you may want to consider cultural differences in phrase and spelling. For example, a clothing company would want to include 'trousers' and 'pants' in their keywords to cater for the UK and US markets.
The description tag is the piece of text Google will display next to your URL in its listing. It is important that this includes as many of your keywords as possible but should not exceed two sentences.
The title tag is the name of your web page (appears at the top of the browser window). Again, this should include as many keywords as grammatically possible but in most cases it will be the same as your page heading in your copy.
Alt tags are keywords attached to any image within you web page.
Keywords should also be included in the content of the site. This includes page links, headings, sub headings and body copy. This is arguable the most important consideration when aiming to improve your sites ranking.