Website Design & Development News

Responsive Web Design

What is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive web design makes websites look good across all devices: desktop, laptop and mobile (smartphones and tablets). It does this by resizing or moving content to suit the screen size of the device that the website is being viewed on—rather than forcing visitors to zoom in to see any of the content. For example, on a smartphone visitors would see content shown in a single column view, whereas the same content might be shown in two columns on a desktop or laptop device.

Why is it Important?

Responsive web design has been the industry standard for several years. It is especially important today, now that more websites are being viewed on mobile devices than on desktop and laptop devices. According to Ofcom, two-thirds of UK adults (66%) say they go online using their smartphone and about one in ten (8%) only use a smartphone to go online. A recent article by the BBC reported that smartphone sales are now also booming with older adults (55+).

Will it Affect My Ranking on Google?

Google has previously said that content that is not deemed ‘mobile-friendly’ will not rank as well on Google. As more and more people use their mobile devices to search online, Google is introducing a ‘mobile-first’ index of search results. With the move towards prioritising mobile-friendly websites, Google recommends websites have a responsive design.

How Do I Get a Responsive Web Design?

Lanetech is experienced creating websites with a responsive design. We typically use WordPress Content Management System and a WordPress theme. Themes determine the appearance (styling) of the website. We work with clients to select a suitable theme from the many that are available, and provide basic training on WordPress and how to update the content of the website. Please do get in touch if you are considering updating your website — phone 01309 678149 or email info@lanetech.co.uk.

Basic steps to website creation

Website design and development

Website design and development

We were recently asked ‘what do I need to get a website up and running?’ In response, we compiled the basic steps to website creation, which we thought we would share with our blog readers:

  1. Register a domain name. You need to choose and register a domain name. The domain name points to the address on the Web server where your website is hosted. You also need to choose domain extensions e.g. .com, co.uk, .uk, depending on your target audience.
  2. Choose a Web hosting option. The website requires to be hosted (or stored) on a Web server. The website designer/developer can usually arrange suitable Web hosting. See our Internet Services page for more information on web hosting and domain name registration and renewal.
  3. Website design and build. We would usually recommend a content managed website with a responsive design, giving you the control to manage the content within your website and ensuring it reads well across desktop, tablet and mobile devices. See our Website Design & Development page for more detail on web hosting and domain name registration and renewal.
  4. Create content. It is important to write/create good content and to optimise that content for search engine optimisation (SEO). SEO refers to the process of improving the position of your website in organic search results e.g. by Google. See our SEO blog category for tips.
  5. Google Analytics (optional). We would usually recommending adding Google Analytics, which is the industry standard in web analytics. It is a free service that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website, e.g. how visitors arrived at your site and how they use your site etc.

Of course, there are many more factors to consider, such as promoting your business online and trading online (eCommerce). Lanetech offers a full website design and development service. Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss a new website or a redesign.

lanetech website screen grab

Our new responsive website design!

Lanetech is pleased to announce that we have revamped our website 🙂 using a Responsive Design, in recognition that almost a third of our website visitors use mobile devices (measured using Google Analytics).

Responsive Design is an approach to web design and development that uses fluid layouts, resizable images and different CSS style rules to automatically adjust to the device that the user is accessing the website on. — E.g., the image above shows how our portfolio section looks on a laptop computer and on a smartphone. Responsive design is not new, but it is becoming increasingly popular as more and more people use their mobile phones and tablets to access the Internet. Rather than tiny text and tiny buttons, responsive design helps websites look great across devices and eliminates the need for users to constantly zoom in and out of content.

An alternative approach to Responsive Design is to create a separate mobile website. Mobile websites are usually a simpler (stripped down) version of the standard website that reads better on small screens and is optimized to load quickly. As we recently blogged, website usability guru Jakob Nielsen thinks that you should make separate mobile websites. However, many people in the Industry disagree, not least because the full content is available with Responsive Design.

For anyone considering a new website or a redesign, we recommend that you think responsive! Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss a responsive website design.

The importance of designing a good mobile user experience

Jakob Nielsen photo

I’m fresh back from The ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. The highlight for me was an invited talk by Jakob Nielsen, principle of the Nielsen Norman Group, a user experience firm. Nielsen has been described as “knowing more about what makes Web sites work than anyone else on the planet”. — For anyone interested in website usability and design, I recommend his Alertbox newsletter!

One point he made that struck a chord was the parallel between the early years of website design and the here and now. In the early years, many websites were simple reproductions of printed brochures that did not take into consideration the dynamic qualities of the Web and offered a suboptimal user experience. Today, many websites designed for desktop computers are being accessed on mobile devices, and don’t work because they fail to take into account a range of factors including small screen sizes and reduced bandwidth. Nielsens’s point was that the desktop user interface platform differs from the mobile user interface platform and consequently a good mobile user experience requires a different design than for desktop users.

For those with Google Analytics, we recommend tracking the number of visits to your website using mobile devices – you might be surprised. As always, please do get in touch if you would like to discuss options for optimising your website.

Make the most of Scotland as a top tourist destination

Some good news to start the New Year with: Scotland has been named the top tourist destination of 2013 by American broadcasting network CNN following its appearance in last year’s record-breaking Bond film ‘Skyfall’! CNN cited upcoming events including The Open Championship golf tournament and outdoor events taking place as part of the Year of Natural Scotland. We thought we would take the opportunity to share our thoughts on ways in which businesses can make the most of every opportunity – all of which Lanetech, can of course, help with!

  1. SEO: search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the ranking (visibility) of a website in search engines. In general, the earlier (higher ranked) a website appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. See our previous blog post for 5 quick tips on improving your website’s SEO.
  2. Mobile website: increasing numbers of people are using their mobile phones and tablets to access the Internet. If your website doesn’t look good on a mobile or smartphone, you may want to consider a mobile version of your website that takes into account the smaller screen sizes and slower bandwidths, improving the user experience.
  3. Web analytics: Google Analytics is the industry standard in web analytics; it is a free service that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website, designed with online marketing in mind. It does come with a rather steep learning curve, which can be daunting at first, but it is worth persevering: in helping you to understand how visitors arrived at your site and how they use your site, you can gain insight to figure out how you can keep them coming back!
  4. Social media: social media marketing has become an important strategy to help prospective customers to find you online and to build relationships through personal/two-way communications. The start of a new year is a good time to review how your business is using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in your marketing.

Good mobile web design matters

If you’re an Orange mobile phone user like me, you will have noticed that where it had Orange at the top of the screen it now says EE. EE is the new brand from the company behind Orange and T-Mobile and it is the first brand in the UK to offer a mobile 4G service. Confusingly, just because you see EE on your screen, it doesn’t mean that you have access to 4G – to use 4G you’ll need 4G coverage, a 4G compatible phone, 4G SIM card and 4GEE plan on EE.

Why does this matter? Increasing numbers of people are already using their mobile phones and tablets to access the Internet (if you use Google Analytics, you can track visits from mobile devices: click ‘Audience’ tab and then select ‘Mobile’). Many people believe that faster speeds will mean that mobile phones will become the primary device that people use to browse websites. Thus, it is vital that your website works well on mobile devices.

Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss good mobile web design with us.

Cookies & Web Tracking: New Regulations

You may have noticed a plethora of cookie warnings on websites recently. A cookie is a text file stored on the user’s computer that can identify them. Generally, cookies can improve the user’s interaction with frequently visited websites such as online supermarkets and booksellers e.g., saving online shopping baskets. However, some feel uncomfortable with organisations gathering and storing information about them, and most web browsers allow people the option to block cookies. However, recent changes in the regulations about cookies now requires websites to make it clear when they are saving a cookie to the user’s computer and to receive “implied consent” – essentially if you do nothing, you are consenting to the use of cookies. The UK implementation of the new directive is led by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and more information can be found on the ICO website.

Please do get in touch if you would like Lanetech to add a new Privacy and Cookies page to your website (for a small charge) or modify your existing page.