Filter: Web Design

Taxonomy for design & Why Use It on Your Site?

What is taxonomy? It is vital if you are in the middle of a site design or redesign, and provides a method of organization so there is no frustration when organizing it.

You want your visitors to not only find what they are looking for quickly, but you want them to linger a while and explore your site. And, if you have a lot of content, you’ll want to be able to find it easily. Your site’s success – or lack thereof – sits on the foundation of its organization.

Taxonomy: An Organizational Method

So, what is taxonomy and how can it help get you better organized?

Taxonomy is a hierarchical structure for the classification or organization of data that enables websites to be categorized according to topics and types, enabling easy information retrieval.

To me, the most beneficial aspect of taxonomy is that is reduces manual content management. It allows you to dynamically retrieve and display anything on a page based on enabled tags or structured fields within your content. Taxonomy gives you the opportunity to balance the page’s content with other relevant information.

How Does Taxonomy Work?

Logistically, the way it works is that you are making content load dynamically when a page is accessed by programming a search on any number of taxonomy tags or other fields within your content block or page.

No doubt, you’ve seen this, but haven’t recognized what was going on behind the scenes. Amazon’s site includes taxonomy-driven content publishing. Whenever you log in and go to a page of interest, notice how when you scroll down a little you’ll see a section telling you other customers who bought this bought that, too. Or, it will show you what you should buy today based on what you bought yesterday.

Another example can be found at online news services, such as Reuters. If you’ve ever signed up with one, you’ve been given the opportunity to personalize your experience by your unique interests. That way, you don’t have to waste your time scrolling through hours of news you’re not interested in. As soon as you log in, you get to see what matters to you.

Some taxonomy sites allow the visitor to interact and filter in ways I just mentioned. But, other sites don’t require user interaction at all. You can also develop a site with only a little user interaction.

 Taxonomy Considerations

If your site has proper taxonomy, you will be able to bridge across subjects, and better manage and often reuse your content – at scale. Of course, it will assist with effective navigation and will, ultimately, provide a better product and brand alignment. At the end of the day, it will improve SEO and findability, and even support social sharing.

When creating a sound taxonomy, the first few things to consider is its projected longevity and flexibility. This means thinking ahead to what your site might become – what additions might occur down the road. You’ll also want to think from the perspective of what terms your visitors might use and what structure will help support your business goals and help your content perform optimally. And, don’t forget to understand the scope of your project. Taxonomies can easily get out of hand.

To develop the scope of your taxonomy, imagine a Venn Diagram. The taxonomy lies at the intersection of your business context (or purpose), content and users – which are your target audience.

The Benefits of Structuring Your Own Taxonomy

Taxonomy can be a huge boon for your website. However, equally clear is that this is not something that can be built overnight. It requires strong input from both your multi-disciplined team and from your users. You have to thoroughly understand your target audience and have a good grasp on how they think. After all, you’re creating something that should be almost intuitive.

Taxonomy requires vision and commitment to plan and execute. Many companies don’t bother to standardize data definitions. Yes, it takes real time to properly define your data. But, the many benefits of having a taxonomy structure under your site are huge. Not only for your users but for your team. The many, many ways you can utilize such a structure are endless.

As you can understand, developing a taxonomy can be quite daunting.  GlobalDirective can assist your team to structure your data.  Because we have been placed in the 97-percentile of Google partners, we’re not just doing a few things right, we’re doing most everything right. Allow us to show you how to achieve real success.

This is a guest blog written by Michelle Keyser, Director of Social Media and Content Marketing, at GlobalDirective, a digital marketing agency, where she is a strategist and blog contributor. Contact GlobalDirective today for more information by calling 1.866.925.9524.

Rise and Fall of Web Browsers

The landscape of web browser usage has been ever-changing since the advent of the internet.  Over the years we have had  an array of options to choose from, namely Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Remember Netscape Navigator?  They dominated the web browsing world in the 1990’s and were  overtaken by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer around 2002. Internet Explorer (IE) went on to become the undisputed king among web browsers and made its way onto most computers. IE remained dominant in the web browser sphere even amidst the threat posed by new challengers Firefox and Safari. It eventually lost its crown of ‘the internet browser of choice’, in 2008, when Google launched Chrome. In the age of high speed internet other browsers raced ahead with improved functionality and performance. Here is a brief look at some of the web browsers around today.

Google Chrome

Chrome has a light footprint in its basic form that runs well on the low-price/low-spec consumer PCs but it can also run seamlessly across multiple devices such as smartphones and tablets. Chrome was created by Google specifically to quickly load web pages and interact with diverse applications on the web.  Iit therefore has a built-in Flash and PDF reader.  The clean, simple and well organized layout of Chrome works well, without the clutter of menus and tools. The browser enables shortcuts to your preferred web apps for quick access. Using your Google account, Chrome can make synchronization between your smartphone and your desktop browser easier.  Iit can help seamlessly sync bookmarks, browser preferences and extensions so that it is accessible on any computer. Chrome has advanced tab browsing with a single click, which allows users to create new tabs, rearrange them, drag tabs to open them in a new window, and also to check tabs recently visited. The Chrome architecture runs each tab independently so when a tab crashes it doesn’t cause the entire browser to crash. 

One of the main drawbacks for Chrome when it initially launched was the absence of add-ons and extensions.  To address this, Google introduced an extension gallery for more flexibility in January 2010. Chrome has been designed for a more secure experience on the web with built-in malware and phishing protection, auto updates for the latest security fixes, and it even vets websites for phishing and malware to display a warning. It also uses sandboxing to prevent malware activities from one tab affecting others and installing itself on your computer. Chrome also has privacy browsing in incognito mode, wherein it deletes all cookies and passwords from that session once closed.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox is a free cross-platform web site browser available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Firefox web browser has many useful features such as tabbed browsing, integrated download manager, internal search, form auto-fill, a pop-up blocker, parental control, and source code viewing facility. Firefox’s most recent updates has given the browser a much needed fillip, with a new three bar button menu tab design called Australis. Firefox’s main menu focuses on simplicity, ease of use and improved speed of navigation. It is easy to open private windows, find add-ons, and set up Adblock Plus. Firefox interface is intuitive and stocked with essential and powerful features, such as a fully integrated spell-checker to correct your work directly on the web, virtual sticky notes, and an automatic session restore. Firefox makes it easy to access saved bookmarks, archived browsing history, and frequently visited sites as pinned apps. The browser’s Smart Location Bar makes it easy to locate sites and adapt according to the user preferences. But the main reason for Firefox’s popularity, especially among developers, is its plugin capability. Mozilla has a dedicated site for plugins, organized according to type and popularity. Plugin installation in Firefox is pretty easy and as simple as clicking through a few notifications, then restarting your browser. Firefox browser is much safer and more secure than Internet Explorer as it also renders websites more correctly. Mozilla Firefox has automatic updates for security fixes to protect against viruses, spyware, malware, phishing sites and pop-ups. It also provides customized security settings for cookies, downloads, passwords and add-ons.

Microsoft Edge

As of January 12th, 2016, Microsoft no longer supports Internet Explorer (IE) 8, 9 or 10. Version 11 may stick around for a little longer with security updates, fixes, and technical support on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. Older versions of Internet Explorer before version 7 had serious security flaws and CSS rendering. If you want to remain loyal to Microsoft, turn to its new offering Edge, which has been launched as the default browser with Windows 10. Edge stands out among the known but niche web browsers such as Dolphin, Silk, Opera and Vivaldi.

While the look may be similar to IE, Edge has a minimalistic interface and a well-designed ‘New Tab’ page, with a light footprint on memory resources which helps cut down on page load time. Edge makes for a better user experience with faster surfing and no jerky stop-motion scrolling. IE supported Active X and legacy technologies but Edge does not. Edge is also well integrated with other parts of the Microsoft ecosystem such as Cortana and One Drive. It also has a distraction free reading mode, which allows you to edit and download pages to read them at your convenience. With Edge you can also make notes, or doodle directly on the web to share with friends, family or colleagues. Edge also includes web extensions and needs only minor code alterations for existing extensions on Firefox and Chrome. Windows 10 and Edge has enhanced Smart Screen and Windows Defender, with integrated Microsoft account functionality, improving productivity and security.

Safari

Safari web browser, built by Apple Computers, is included in Mac OS X operating system and it is also the default web browser on your iPhone. Safari is well integrated with iOS and is specifically optimized to run on your iPhone. Recently the Safari web browser has been produced for the Windows operating system too. Safari offers a remarkably fast browsing experience, with an additional feature of the Reader button on the right side of the search bar, which helps cut all the advertisements and visual distractions in any article for easy reading. The browser features include tabbed browsing, true integration with QuickTime technology, spell check, password manager, and image blocker. While it also boasts private browsing mode, quick access to bookmarks and favorites, as well as multiple webpage sharing ability, it sorely lacks the customization features. The browser does provide protection from all types of malware and phishing websites and allows you to delete private data such as your browsing history.

Opera

Opera started back in 1995, with its software running on a Google Chromium system. It is a very flexible free web browser, which is compatible across all platforms like Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Smartphones, Nintendo DS, Wii.  Opera is a complete internet suite with a new integrated mail client and chat. Opera browser is feature rich with tabbed & speed-dial browsing, multimodal interaction, privacy control, and comprehensive user support., It also enables tab stacking vertically and one-click bookmarking. Opera has security features to check websites for malware and phishingand allows the option of erasing private data from browsing history and cookies.  The browser also uses advanced encryption when you visit a secure website.

Vivaldi

The latest web browser we are going to review is Vivaldi.  Vivaldi has a simple interface for users who want a fast online browsing experience but it also has just enough advanced customization settings available for the discerning users. Surfers can stack and tile tabs and use shortcuts including those which can be controlled by swiping a finger or a mouse. Vivaldi has a panel placed on the left side of the browser, which gives users one-click access to features such as bookmarks, mail, downloads, etc. Vivaldi is fast making a name for its speed and ease of use, but the choice for a cleaner or cluttered UI is left to the user discretion, with the option to toggle panels on and off. Vivaldi is beta testing features like syncing across desktops and built-in access to your web client of choice.

Finding the Right Browser For You

The best browsers are flexible, easy to set up & install, intuitive, and can load real-world webpages quickly. They are extensible and tie in other devices & services into a unified ecosystem.  Besides surfing the web, browsers today come with a number of plugins and addons offering intangible benefits and functionality in the app itself.  Any of the browsers discussed above will meet these criteria. 

website design

Freshen Up Your Website- 5 Trending Website Design Tips

In the dynamic web design industry, trends are forever changing with advances in technology, tools and web platforms. Though some ongoing trends may prevail for longer, many keep changing to align with expectations of the target audience. But good web design, either when conforming or challenging current norms, will always incorporate principles of visual design, perception, and the human-computer interaction. Last year was all about user experience, responsive design and minimalist approach in websites but with developments in the most popular web frameworks, you can expect exciting and cutting-edge trends & styles in web design for 2016. Read on to know how you can use current web design trends in vogue to liven up your website.

1. Color Trends – Bold is Beautiful

To make your website stand out among similar looking sites, with the same WordPress themes and borrowed UI elements like buttons and menus, it is imperative to bring in variation. Use bold colors! The use of color is the most powerful and engaging design practice to easily grab the attention of the user. Breathe new life into the design of your site with vibrant, bright pastel color tones. Do not ignore the rich color palette any longer. Replace dull, understated and overused tones such as metallic chrome or muted blue with solid bold accent color shades like lilac, web green, cherry red. Do not be shy of using happy, rich colors to define your brand and help enrich the user’s journey online.

2. Make a Statement with Graphic Text

Typography has always been a vital component of great web design and branding.  The creative integration of texts and other graphic elements of images, textures and patterns can have a massive impact on the visitor’s perception of the overall site look. The way we view text online is changing with the focus on fonts, font sizes and styles moving from safe, plain and boring to bold, large fonts. It has become easier to make a design stand out with use of different web fonts due to its easy accessibility, thanks to Google Fonts and Typekit. It is possible for designers to make customizable changes by tweaking default designs from stroke thickness, character width, and serif typefaces, using Prototypo, and FontArk. Be adventurous and harness the power of artistic and dramatic fonts to make a strong statement.

3. Design Around the Customer Journey

Designers and site owners should preferably be guided by the customers’ journey through the website. Customer-centric web design does just that, with its emphasis on structuring and optimizing the site in order to make that journey better. Instead of focusing just on promotional offers and sales, concentrate on implementing a web design to attract your ideal buyer to further support them, speak to them and provide solutions to them as they go through your site. The goal is to allow the content on your site to speak to your audience in order to effectively convert visitors to valuable leads and sales. The customer-centric website design elements have to be in tune with the prospective customers. Most importantly, keep in mind Google’s algorithmic changes and customer behavior data. Your website has to load fast, be clearly organized & easy to navigate, have well-defined product/services, and contact information can never be more than a click away.

4. Layout Design- Centered Content or Split Content

Be goal-centric when choosing your layout design. Centered content layout is a powerful style, ideal for content-light pages, that is fast becoming an established practice on homepage designs. Centered content places the main message of the page right at the center of the screen with eye-catching visuals or smooth textures around it for a spectacular effect.  But if your pages are content- heavy, offering many products, services or categories, the preferred design layout is split-screen. Split content divides the content into wide sections, sometimes with a distinct look for each. Designers have more room for creativity, without endangering the clarity of content hierarchies. Split content gives users the choice of immediately heading where they want to, bringing them to the correct landing pages, thereby increasing the chance of converting.

5. Get Clever with Hidden Menus

There are many users that hate the omnipresent Hamburger Menu or navicon.  Help is at hand with the more intuitive navigation of clever menus. You can latch onto this new trend of using clever menus as it makes the user interaction simple and efficient through a clean design and by removing distracting menu objects. Hidden navigations only appear when the user is ready to move on and take action by clicking on the appropriate icon. Hidden menus work really well for responsive web design too, which is the standard for small screens. It may soon be fully responsive to even multi-directional scrolling.

Go From Drab to Fab!

These major web design trends along with essentials of flat design, material design, card layout, grid pattern and symmetrical sites are all going to change our web experience. Businesses should not shy away from updating their online presence to keep up with the demands of the modern, younger and more mobile consumer. Make sure your website is still hip and relevant in 2016. Incorporate these 5 hot design tips and your website will be sure to go from drab to fab!