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Made in USA: Enterprise Application Services

Web Design Archives - Ayoka - Made in USA Enterprise Application Services

 Five Reasons to Choose Custom Web Development

February 27, 2017
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Photo by Lee Campbell on Unsplash

Photo by Lee Campbell on Unsplash

Every business needs a website in the digital world today. There are very few people who would say otherwise. Websites are critical to the success of a business. They can make you, or they can break you. People who come across your website while browsing the internet could very well be turned into customers. A poorly developed website can devastate your business by turning away potential customers. The key is to have a website that intrigues and fascinates people, while remaining functional. This is where custom web development comes into play.

What Makes a User Want to Stay On a Site?

Put yourself in the shoes of a random web browsing user, and consider what aspects of a website make you like it. Most people would say easy navigation. In fact, the presentation of the site’s content matters more to many people than the content itself. If users have to click through a labyrinth of links to get to their destination, your website is badly designed. If, on the other hand, it is easy to click and navigate through your site, you will see your traffic and revenue go up in no time at all. Custom web development ensures that your website looks and feels good. It also has many other benefits. 

1 – Custom Web Development Helps with SEO

While a custom website is developed by experts in the industry, there are other options. For example, you could buy a template and edit its theme; however, you are limited on how much you can change. Moreover, this almost never works out as well as building a completely unique site from the ground up. With the help of a custom web development expert, you can incorporate SEO techniques into the design of your site. Search engines like Google, rank websites based on their content, links, and the ease of navigation through the pages of the site.

2 – A Custom Site is Truly Unique

 There is so much more involved in building an online business. You need more than a website with a fancy logo on the home page. Your online site will be nothing if you don’t have good web design throughout the site. While building a website with a template seems easier and cheaper, it will never look nearly as unique as a custom site. Your website is a representation of you and your business. While information is important, trying to fit all your information into a pre-made placeholders on a template, could leave your site lacking. At Ayoka, we strive to emphasize how unique your company is in the industry so your users will feel the passion behind your brand too. The website is the foundation upon which the rest of your company is built. Make it stand out.

 3 – Custom Sites are Built for Customers

When deciding on a custom website, ask yourself who keeps your company running when all else fails. Your customers do, of course. Without your customers, your company would shut down in days. They are your primary source of income. Building a website is something that should be done for your customers’ convenience, not your own. A custom web development service crafts a site that is optimally structured for your customers. From start to finish, your website flows smoothly, guiding your visitors on a gentle journey that culminates in a powerful call to action to make a sale. At Ayoka, our team of experienced web developers will ensure conversions for you.

4 – Leave the Competition in the Dust

Do you believe that competitors are a good thing? You might be thinking that this is a blasphemous thing to say. The truth is, competition gives you a world of opportunities to take advantage of. Without your competitors, you wouldn’t have to come to Ayoka for a custom web development service suite. With a custom website, your business will show nothing but excellence in the field, being the best version of itself that it can be. We take your brand name and give it an identity that projects the name of your business out among the stars, leaving your competitors in the dust.

5 – You Build New Relationships

Consider the situation where you buy a template right off the shelf. What happens when something goes terribly wrong with the site and you need support? Some templates have limited support, but nothing to the extent of the after sales support here at Ayoka Systems. When you work with our expert custom web development team, you build lasting relationships with them. Whenever you encounter a problem with your new website, all you have to do is call and the problem will be solved before you know it!

Having a custom website is truly something you shouldn’t pass up. It is an opportunity to grow your business and show your customers that you are truly passionate about what you do. You give an identity to your company and site that simply can’t be emulated when you use a traditional website template to build upon. Take the time to invest in custom web development at Ayoka Systems and watch as your business reaps the benefits.

How Has Life Changed on the Front Lines of User Experience (UX) Design?

October 15, 2013
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As a front-end web developer these days it is vital to possess a very robust skill set to be effective in the market place, and to pull your weight on a team. A lot of people think that the User Interaction and User Experience (UI and UX respectively) stuff is just making things look pretty and therefore, is not as complex as the server side of things. This could also lead someone to the conclusion that if it is not as complex as the back-end then it must not be a vital to a project. In some projects that may be the case, but it really comes down to how much “Company X” has invested in the project and what the return on that project needs to be.

Web design, HTML 5, Javascript

The UI is the first element that a User interacts with. It’s the suit and tie, smile, and handshake that will welcome them and interact with them during their stay. The common User has no idea that there is a difference between different programming languages, let alone different types of web development. A skilled front-end developer or web designer will know HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, JQuery, Photoshop and Illustrator (or their equivalent), along with a handful of plug-ins to make a project run smoother.

Often the front-end comes in at the latest stage in development so these key people need to know how to trouble shoot issues to iron out the wrinkles and get it ready for “shipping.” Designing the UI and UX for a product whether it is a website, camera, chair, or ballet is a job that requires real understanding of the target User and the desired result.  Making a product that is both intuitive and robust is a very complicated undertaking and requires much planning and experimentation. Sometimes taking something that has been created on the back-end and making it function and interact naturally with the User can be a back-and-forth process of try, fail, and succeed until finally it works.  It’s about getting creative and breaking barriers to introduce new, fun, and interactive experiences for the User. A good web designer will be there from the beginning to the end of the project; planning and drawing up mock-ups, making sure the design is set in motion, getting their hands dirty and coding, and cleaning up any trouble that will naturally come along with any project. In other words they are like the Marines, “First ones in and last ones out!” Well maybe not that drastic or dangerous but the point is there.

Top 10 Chrome Extensions for Designers

September 24, 2013
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chrome extensions
1. ColorZilla (4.5 / 5) on Chrome Store
ColorZilla gives you access to an eyedropper tool that will grab the color of any pixel on the page. It will auto copy picked colors to the clipboard, and remember recent color history for later use. When you select a color from the page, the tool will not only show a preview of the color along with the RGB value and hex code, but it will also provide the element information such as class, id, size, etc. And as an additional bonus, you will have quick access to one of, if not the best CSS gradient generators on the web.
2. HoverZoom (5.0 / 5) on Chrome Store
HoverZoom is pretty simple and very self-explanatory, but it will save you time and clicks. Whenever you hover over a thumbnail, the full size image will be displayed right then and there. No more clicking on a Google image, waiting for it to open, clicking on view original image, and waiting again… all you need to do is hover over that bad boy! You don’t need to be a designer to appreciate this one.
3. Lightshot (4.5 / 5) on Chrome Store
Lightshot is one of the easiest screen capture tools around. You can take a screenshot of anything… including video, flash and java apps! After taking the screenshot, you can mark it up with arrows, boxes, text, or even a pencil tool. Next, simply save the file as a PNG file or upload it and get a short link. Another unique feature is the ability to see, in pixels, the size of the selected area.
4. Palette for Chrome (4.0 / 5) on Chrome Store
Palette for Chrome will allow you to create a color palette from any image on the web. Just right-click on the image and select “Palette for Chrome” and choose the number of colors you want in the palette. The palette will open in a new tab displaying the image you used at the top with the colors appearing below. It will show you the RGB values and the hex code of each color.
5. PicMonkey (4.5 / 5) on Chrome Store
PicMonkey allows you to instantly grab all images from any web page and open them up in PicMonkey for editing. Just click on the little monkey and it will show you all the images loaded on that page, and from there you can select which one you want to edit. Now you’ll be able to edit the image with one of the best free photo editors on the web. Once you’re done, you can save it as a PNG or a JPG.
6. Speed Dial 2 (4.5 / 5) on Chrome Store
What do you want out of your “new tab” page? Chances are… Speed Dial 2 can give you what you want! Speed Dial is great for all users, but if you’re a designer/developer, you will love the customization. You will be able to save your favorite pages for quick access upon opening your browser. Many sites will have their logo available, but feel free to customize every icon. You can select these icons from the web, or make your own. You can also set a custom background and how many rows and columns you’d like on your screen. If you hover over the right side of the screen you can see your recently closed tabs, bookmarks, and applications… you can even search through your bookmarks and recently closed tabs to quickly find what you need. This extension does it all.
7. WhatFont (4.5 / 5) on Chrome Store
WhatFont is super simple and super awesome! Just click on the WhatFont icon and you can hover over any text and it will tell you what font is being used. If you want more information, just click on the text and you can see the font family, font size, line height, color, and even a preview of how the rest of the alphabet will look like in that font.
8. Window Resizer (4.5 / 5) on Chrome Store
If you’re designing responsive websites, Window Resizer is essential. It will allow you to view your page on any screen size you want. It comes loaded with some of the most common resolutions and dimensions, but feel free to add in your own… it’s very simple. All you have to do is click the icon and select the size you need, and your browser will resize to emulate the selected dimensions.
9. Yet Another Lorem Ipsum Generator (5.0 / 5) on Chrome Store
If you’re web designer, you’re probably always going to Lipsum or Lorem2, right? Not anymore you’re not. Just by clicking the icon, you can generate lorem ipsum titles, paragraphs, dates, etc. and it will be copied straight to the clipboard. You can even choose the length of title and paragraph you want. There’s no easier way to get you some ipsum.
10. Rooler (5.0 / 5) on Chrome Store
Okay, so admittedly there are probably thousands of measurement utilities out there… but this one is special. It will analyze the graphics on the page and automatically find the edges allowing you to quickly find distances between objects as well as the height and width of the objects themselves. It also comes with a zoom feature allowing you to really zero in on your target.

Cost Effective Web Design

September 3, 2013
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As designers we get to the opportunity to be creative in the look, feel, and implementation of technology. It is often the last phase of development in a project, but the first thing that a user is greeted with. Whether it is a marketing campaign or an internal application, the user experience will make or break a product within seconds.

It is important to be aware of the new technologies out there when being part of a design team. Often the designers are who drive new ideas in technology forward with the any phrase following “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was…”  Magazine subscriptions, forwarded links from colleagues, and stumbling through the depths of the creative side of the internet are just a few ways to stay on top of the game. Keeping skills updated through –let’s face it- trial and error, is also a necessary part of the process.

As a web designer I often ask the question: “Who will be using this?” It is important to assess the user to determine need vs. want and budget / time parallels. These factors are important to a company and to the client. We could spend days or weeks adding cool features that show off our ability to create a website amusement park, but in reality that’s more of an ego-driven mindset and will likely not win in the gain vs. cost argument. Unless the client is looking for a marketing tool, its best to stick with what works and feels pleasant to use. We see this being done through flat designs. While it may be the current fad in design, it is simple, modern, and elegant.

One good way to create a positive impact on timelines and budgets is with free TESTED libraries. The wheel has already been invented in most cases, so just add and customize until you create the feature you need for the project.  In some cases, this is easy to do, but in others this can be a very hack –n-slash process.  Some frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation play well with libraries, while others aren’t designed for full cooperation.  Depending on the need of the company picking out a framework to use is very crucial. Personally, I like the idea of starting with a framework that has been tested and has many sources for support – that is crucial. Decide on the framework, customize it, and add libraries that you know will be likely used in every project. Find the resources necessary to support the project. We all know what it’s like to deal with a mind boggling issue that breaks an entire page in one browser but looks fine in the next.

Tools for User Interface Designers

April 13, 2011
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For every application that’s developed by software engineers, there are always designers included in the process to make the visuals enticing. Software engineers know the logistics and the coding of an application, but they have minut experience on designing appealing software.

In designing the visual peripherals of software, it’s the same as designing the interior and exterior of your room to designing a pair of sneakers. The designer is using the same set of skills to unify the product and engaging consumers.

I’ve been passionate about art since I was six-years-old. I’ve transitioned from pen and paper to the digital world. Below are some advice to keep in mind when designing software, web development, graphic designing, and etc.. These rules and advices are what I’ve compiled from art classes, college, and the real world.

  1. Does your artwork have a color scheme? This is the number 1 basic rule for art! Establish a color scheme. Ex. : complimentary, supplementary, warm colors, cool colors, analogous, monochromatic, and etc..
  2. Is there a focal point? How many are there? Too many will cause your viewer to be confused. What’s the point of your work?
  3. Is there unity? Does your work look like 5 different people worked on it? Inconsistent styles? If there’s no unity, then there’s no harmony in your work. Trust me, people can tell. Apple does a perfect job in product designing. You can tell if it’s an Apple product or not.
  4. Don’t have mismatched fonts. I try to keep my design under 3-4 fonts. Too many different fonts does cause fragmentation as well.
  5. If you’re designing software, know who your target audience is. This is self-explanatory.
  6. What sets your design apart? Differentiation? Why design something that is so generic? Designs are suppose to be visually-engaging. Designing generically causes your design to be lost and unrecognized.

www.smashingmagazine.com is a great resource of interactive designers to use. They have free resources and tools.

How WordPress Searching Irritated Me

October 20, 2009
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Over the past few months, I have been working on improving a computer tech site’s search functionality. The site was built with WordPress, one of the more popular Web Blogging solutions that apparently can act as a CMS if needed. The site was great in all ways but searching. Out of the box, the WordPress search functionality searches for what appears to be the basic presence of a word in a blog post or title, then orders the results by post date. This approach has a number of flaws, especially for sites heavy with computer technology lingo. The first of these problems is abbreviations.

Abbreviations

As many of us know, we computer geeks love abbreviations. Whether it be the various components of a computer (RAM, CPU, PSU ) to the documents that we write/read (SRD, SOW, DDD), and then there are the various software technologies we use (RIA, AJAX, CSS). Because the default WordPress search only performs a simple search for the presence of the search terms, abbreviations can return all sorts of crazy but logical results. Take for example, the search term “RIA.” Using the default WordPress plugin, it returned various articles about indust-ria-l devices.

Relevance

The other major issue was that, thanks to Google, users have become spoiled with this whole concept of relevance. People expect the top results to be the pages that are most likely related to the topic they’ve searched for. Determining relevance varies from search engine to search engine, but mostly it is determined by the number of times a search term is used, where it’s used, and the words surrounding it. Making a site more relevant for certain keywords is such a big deal that it has spawned a brand new abbreviation: SEO. Having a relevant search capability for your own site tends to be a big deal since it makes life easier for your readers/clients.

To resolve these search issues, I ended up trying numerous plugins. This approach led me to the following conclusion: plugins fall into one of two categories. There are the “search everything from author to page/blog title” plugins and then there are the “search by relevance, but only for blogs or pages and maybe, if we feel like it, their titles” plugins. After I started paying attention to the timestamps on the various plugin pages, I reached yet another conclusion: these plugins are extremely short lived. Most of them receive up to a year’s worth of development, and then the developer’s disappear off the face of the Earth.

Ultimately, Google came to the rescue with Google Site Search, a special embeddable code snippet that allows you to use Google to search only your website. Unfortunately, this bears some consequences of its own. Unless you like various text ads all over your results, you have to subscribe to the service with fees based on the page count of your site. It’s a bit steep at $100-$250 per year for smaller sites and a lot more for bigger sites. Also, the results are a little painful to customize without doing some good ‘ol XML API interfacing.

In conclusion, WordPress searching sucks. The Google site search makes it sort of better, but I really wish WordPress would devote some of their resources to improving their default search system. The pain I suffered trying to improve it via plugins and Google has certainly made me reluctant to use WordPress again.

Setup Printer-Friendly Stylesheets with CSS Magic

September 17, 2009
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This blog entry is about creating printer-friendly stylesheets for your web pages. I know it’s happened to you before. You clicked the print button in your browser and out came pages of needless page headers, navigation menus, banner ads, footers, etc., but all you really wanted to print was a small block of text that could have been contained to less than one printed page.

Setting Up Your Print Stylesheet

Getting started is easy! While you could setup an additional page that is devoid of header / footer elements, navigation menus, and banner ads, I recommend creating a single web page that uses media-specific stylesheets. This way you will only have to maintain one web page as opposed to two.

There are actually quite a few different media types that you could use for your web pages and you can read about them at the w3schools website. At the very least, you should create stylesheets for the screen and print media types for pages like order confirmations and receipts. I like to use separate print and screen stylesheets so that screen styles do not interfere with any print styles. Otherwise you will have to spend time “cancelling” out styles like background colors and images for your print styles.

To setup your print stylesheet, add the following in between the <head> tags:

<link href="print.css" media="print" />
<link href="screen.css" media="screen" />

Styles specified with the media type of “screen” will only render when the web page is viewed on the screen while any styles specified with a media type of “print” will only display when you print out your page. To verify that all is setup correctly, use your browser’s print preview feature to preview the print styles.

Hide Unnecessary Elements

Sometimes there are elements that you do not want printed, things that wouldn’t add value to the user when printed out. For example, decorative images, navigation menus, banner ads, etc. are items that can really take up a lot of unnecessary real estate when printed out.

In your print stylesheet, you would include display:none; property for these elements so that they don’t waste space and ink. Your users will appreciate it!

Create Printer Friendly Tables

If you are printing a table of records that spans more than one page, it is useful to display the table headers on every page. For the <thead> element, you can use the following CSS styles to repeat table headers. While Firefox will print table headers on every page, you must explicitly state for IE6/IE7.

thead { display: table-header-group;}

Other Tips

Just a few other tips to consider when building your stylesheets.

  • Use a serif font like Georgia or Times new Roman for increased readability.
  • Be mindful of printer ink. Use colors sparingly.
  • Avoid using a lot of background images & colors in your print stylesheet, if at all. By default, some browsers will not print out background colors or images.

That’s all there is to it! See how easy it is to control the appearance of a web printout using just a little CSS magic?