Website Myths De-Mystified

Desk with headphones and notebook

I often wonder if my web developer dudes sleep. They are constantly pumping out incredible work and frothing so hard on websites that occasionally I’m sure we’re talking about something else.

The code just seems to flow from their fingertips like warm honey from a hive, perpetually plucking the perfect plugin from thin air, emailing me with phrases such as, ‘Nice design Tess, I’ll just go make love with the computer keyboard and it’ll be finished before 9.’ These guys are so insanely passionate about what they do and are constantly researching latest trends, functionalities and industry updates. It really is magic to watch, except for the staring at a computer screen for 12 hours a day and not really getting up for much more than a Blend 43 every couple of hours thing.

But really, I owe it to these guys for not only producing exceptional work for Smack Bang, but also for keeping me up to date with the latest and greatest of the online world, afterall it’s tricky business this world wide web.

Like all good things, the online world is constantly evolving. Remember the dial up tone? Back in the 90’s that was the sound of the future. Fast forward a few years and it’s more prehistoric than your Great Aunt Beryl’s back molars. The nature of web design means that industry standards and best practices are forever changing! It’s hard yakka keeping up with these advances, I know I often feel like I’m running after Usain Bolt just trying to cover my digital ass.

With a little help from our web wizards however, I’ve collated a few key terms and ideas that I find come up with our clients on the reg.

    ‘Above the fold’ used to refer to how much of your site was visible when a user first lands on your page. Way back when, there was only a few standard sizes that websites could be, which meant that designers and developers could pretty much guarantee what would be seen on each screen. These days however, there are so many screen sizes (27”, 21.5”, 17”, 15” …), devices (desktop, laptop, iphone, tablet) and browser options (windows, safari, half screen, full screen) that ‘above the fold’ is a thing of the past, or at least getting to be that way. This is also due to the new responsive nature of a site. If you make your browser smaller, the text and images will adjust accordingly to the new screen size which will push all your content down.
    With similar reasoning to above, taking into consideration screen sizes when reviewing and thinking about your website is important. We design all of our sites to be responsive to different screen sizes, but realistically, a site will look different on a 17” than a 27”. Content doesn’t just zoom in and zoom out to fit the page, it re-arranges itself to keep its design integrity but sit well within its constraints.
    We always do our darndest to develop our sites to look as close to our design jpegs as possible. Again, because we want your site to work across multiple platforms, sometimes your site will look a little different to the flat jpeg image depending what type of screen you’re viewing on. These differences will mainly be:
    • white space or slight layout differences (this depends on screen size),
    • fonts may view slightly thicker or thinner (we design in photoshop, where as your site is a coded live site. The font settings across the platforms vary slightly)
    • paragraphs (the way the font sits in a block) – this is due to again, the screen sizes being changeable, and the importance that your type moves to fill the screen the user is on.After we build the site from the designs, it also gets sent back through quality control yet again. So you might find that things change yet again – this is all about user experience, and making sure that your customers get the ultimate experience of your site – complete with bells, whistles and confetti. Once the site is in alive and working, our team will notice new things as they interact with the site (clicking, hovering, touching, tapping, swiping, licking, etc) and how the site builds (when client starts adding in new copy, they realize that they need to… etc.). We review it and we make adjustments for the benefit of the user.
    Unfortunately, we can’t just use any old font we want on a website (even if it’s your absolute fave!). Web Safe Fonts are fonts that are specially designed for use on websites, and are supported across multiple platforms (basically this means that the chances of a user not seeing the correct font is minimised). Often when we do a branding project, we’ll provide you with print fonts (your main brand fonts) and a web font equivalent.
    When possible, we try to avoid rollovers on mobile sites. This is because the user experience for phone use is to scroll, and to click to move to a next page. This means that where things appear as rollovers on your desktop site (ie, you hover over an image and a caption appears over it), on your mobile site, this caption will appear under the image at all times.
    In an ideal world our clients would send us their copy, we’d design it and develop it and voila – piece of cake, you’ve got a new website and we’re all sipping champagne and getting groovy. The reality is though, a website build is a big project and along the way directions change and tweaks are made. Our developer may need to make small tweaks and changes to the demo site before you can hit the green button. Your changes may seem simple at first, but when you’re dealing with a multi-layered, 3 dimensional beast that needs to be operating at 100% across multiple browsers and devices, we need to make that change in a number of ways, and test its output in even more ways. Hence, why you may need to wait a day or two for your feedback to be actioned.

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