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Practicality vs. Creativity in Web Design: This is Why You Need Both for Your Business’ Website

practical and design thinking

When it comes to design, especially in web design, there are two crucial parts that complement the process of design; practical thinking and creative thinking. Maybe most of you already know about creative thinking, but how about practical thinking? If you have a business and want to make a website, then you have taken the right step to grow your business, but if you are creative, you should be practical too. Why? That’s because your web design needs both! This article will help you find out more about it. Keep reading to learn more!

Being creative and practical when designing a website

When it comes to designing a website, there are some of the several things that you have to keep in mind:

  • Uniqueness
  • Colour choices
  • Quality in users’ perspective
  • Easy-to-use website
  • Website’s responsiveness

Creativity brings together harmony in design. With creativity, you can deliver your interesting ideas in a form of content and appearance that can make your website “a sight to behold.” That being said, appearance is not everything, and thus, practicality comes into the picture. When you are designing a website, combining creativity with practicality is a must. A website should be easy for users to access, but has to be beautiful at the same time. It is easy to find so many websites that are beautiful but not many can provide responsiveness in a website. Why do we need practical thinking in web design? That’s because practicality brings balance to the creative design. When you creatively design a website with more ideas, practicality helps in simplifying the website. In short, you make your website interestingly easy.

When there is a problem with your website, both creative thinking and practical thinking can work together to solve it. With creative solution, you can achieve practicality. Let’s take a mobile application as an example. Nowadays, people can transfer money right away using a mobile application. While the application is creatively designed using creative solutions, the features that help users navigate easily are based on practical thinking. So, basically, creative solutions can turn into practical approaches in design.

Where creativity comes in is not only about aesthetics, but also finding solutions to potential problems. At that point, creative solution can grow up to become a practical one. The key of successful designs is that you think about your problems and how to approach and solve them. You should think about it first rather than go for the first idea that pops into your head. If an idea pops into your head, keep it and write it down, but don’t act on it yet until you have got enough ideas. After collecting ideas, look deeper into the potential issues and see if your idea can resolve it or not, along with any unintended consequences that will go along with it. In the end, make your decision based on what makes the most sense for users and remember that when you are designing your website, you should put yourself in users’ perspective first. At that point, it’s time for your creativity to kick in. Carrying out the choices you’ve made will require a creative touch to make things better. For that reason, creativity needs practicality, and practicality needs creativity.

That’s how creative thinking and practical thinking are needed in web design. If your web designers have used both when designing your website, then don’t worry; you are on the right path. If you are still confused and need to know how to properly design a website, feel free to contact us and our team will be ready to assist you anytime.

Design Language: 4 Things to Consider when Choosing a WordPress Theme

Design Language tips

As of 2018, WordPress remains far and away the most popular content management system in web development, with the platform capturing a sizable market share of 31%, far eclipsing the second-placed Joomla, coming in at a measly 3.1% market share. WordPress owes its popularity mainly because of two reasons, its sheer versatility and the simple fact that at its most basic version, it is available for free. There’s just no denying free stuff.

Technically though, WordPress works under the ‘freemium’ model, in which plugins and themes, the very reasons for WordPress’ versatility, are separated into free and premium ones, just like with mobile apps and games. These themes and plugins come for the most part from third-party developers, owing to WordPress’ open-sourced nature and as such, WordPress is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the number of options available. Some might say there are way too many options.

Finding the right WordPress theme

Choosing a theme is usually one of the first and primary decisions you’ll have to make when starting out with WordPress. Themes aren’t just about looks. Basic functionality, layout, aesthetic impressions, the overall design language of your entire website is going to be heavily informed by the theme you’re going with. Apple didn’t merely stumble into their cohesive design language, shaping every piece of product in their lineup, both software and hardware, by accident. They did it through careful research.

Now, due to its open source nature, it is actually possible for you to design and develop a customized WordPress theme of your own, either from scratch or working from what’s already available but for most small businesses, this is usually unnecessary. The decision then, boils down to a choice between the plethoras of themes available for WordPress. In one marketplace alone, Themeforest from Melbourne-based Envato, there are over 10,000 themes available, packed like sardines in a crushed tin box.

To help you navigate and differentiate between this overly crowded market; here are some factors to consider when choosing a WordPress theme:

  • Choose between simple themes or a comprehensive framework

To put another wrinkle in your decision process, WordPress framework is the current trend in web development. Remember at the beginning when I said that WordPress themes also account for functionality? WordPress framework works by pushing all of those functionalities within the framework itself while themes consist solely of stylistical options. In a WordPress framework, you basically have two themes; parent themes dictate the functionality while child themes dictate the actual aesthetics.

The benefit of going with a framework is that it makes WordPress more in line with full-on web builders like Wix or Squarespace by allowing easy, drag-and-drop codeless customization and seamless theme switching but with the caveat that you can’t perform under-the-hood modifications as freely as you’d like. Usually though, framework already has a lot of functionalities and widgets built-in that you normally won’t have to add one yourself.

  • Just the right amount of functionality

First, consider what functionalities you’d like to have with your website right now and those you’re considering in the foreseeable future. Now, choose a theme that fulfills those needs with the minimum amount of baggage. A feature-rich theme might sound attractive but if it consist of features that are irrelevant, don’t bother. Those extra functionalities are just going to slow down your website and since load speed is now a Google ranking factor, a slow website isn’t something you want to be burdened with.

Technically, you can still add functionalities with plugins but again, adding more baggage is going to slow down your website, so try to go with a theme that already has the functionalities you need built-in to the theme.

  • Responsive web design and mobile-friendliness

Mobile web browsing has overtaken the conventional desktop experience in 2016 and you need to adapt your website for optimal viewing on diminutive displays and gesture-based navigation. The one method of solving this is by using responsive web design, in which the webpage detects the medium it is being displayed and adapts itself. Choosing a non-responsive theme in 2018 is akin to connecting to the internet with a 56k dial-up connection. It’s just too anachronistic of a choice.

  • Finding the right aesthetics

Take a glance at the selection available in Themeforest. On the left-hand side, there are a lots of different tags you could use to filter out just what exactly what kind of website you’re looking for. Food & beverage? Technology? A design portfolio or a resume? There are tons of themes available for various specific needs and choosing the one that fits the aesthetic you’re looking for should not be a problem. There are various considerations to factor in before you jump the gun, however.

First is the available color palette. Assuming you’ve already settled on a logo for your business, you need to find a theme with a color palette that could complement your logo. Some themes are available with unlimited color options while some, usually the free ones don’t. The second factor is legibility. If you’re working in the creative and/or visual industry, this might not be a primary consideration but for businesses working in professional services, you should always balance style with substance. Fussy, visual heavy design tends to not work with law and accounting firms.

Additional considerations

The example marketplace I gave here, Themeforest, deals exclusively with premium themes. If you’re looking for the free ones, the directory on WordPress website is a good place to get you started. Here’s my advice though, try to avoid themes that are made by an individual. Those tend to be extracurricular excursions and since there are no professional obligations, questions of supports and updates are always going to be on your mind.

There are a lot of organizations dedicated to making WordPress themes and most usually offer free themes to go with the premium ones. The free ones are usually restricted in some ways, with less functionality and a limited color palette but if you can live with those restrictions, those free themes are a definite bargain because getting support will be much easier than from an individual designer.

Improper Optimisation: A Guide on Negative SEO

SEO tips

I know what you’re thinking, how can an optimization be negative? Questionable terms aside, the practice of negative SEO itself indeed do exist although it’s not as prevalent enough to be considered an epidemic and that recovery is usually relatively quick and easy. Google has never considered this to be an issue major enough for them to take seriously and usually, their algorithms are smart enough to pick up on this but that doesn’t mean the risk is not there.

How negative SEO works

If negative SEO rubs you the wrong way, a more familiar and not dissimilar term would be Google bomb. An example is this campaign launched against U.S. politician Rick Santorum by writer Dan Savage. While this Google bomb works by raising a site’s popularity to usurp traffic from a certain keyword, in this case Santorum’s name itself, a negative SEO works by negatively manipulating the rank of a certain page by using underhanded tactics. It is the digital equivalent of ‘Mediscare’ campaigns.

Because of the associated resource required to run a negative SEO campaign like that, it has never been a widespread practice and that negative SEO attacks aren’t a focus with SEO services. Recent times however have shown that the internet’s collective mind is akin to a sleeping giant. A slight poke could cause a disturbance disproportionate to what caused it in the first place. These examples of 4chan’s past ‘accomplishments’ should give you an idea just what are they capable of.

Tactics associated with negative SEO

Ironically, a lot of the methods associated with negative SEO is actually the same ones employed in SEO, just with a negative twist. If you’re familiar with the terms whitehat and blackhat SEO, negative SEO uses the same tricks considered blackhat but directed on competitors’ websites in the hope that search engine providers will penalize them for the infractions. Some of the methods associated with negative SEO are:

  • Content scraping

Scraping is the practice of copying contents regarding a particular subject across the internet and present them inside a new skin as new contents. This is a lazy, creatively deprived practice and is a stone throw’s away from outright plagiarism. The sad thing is, with the rise of tools like Contentbomb and Spinnerchief, this technique is also very easy to employ. When it comes to negative SEO, this technique is used to publish your contents across different sites in the hopes of Google mistaking a copy for the original.

Thankfully, you can fight fire with fire as tools like Copyscape can be used as an online plagiarism detection device. Google has also made it easier for webmasters to fight plagiarism using their copyright infringement form. Generally though, unless you’re sure that your contents were copied with nefarious intent, it might be a good idea to contact the offending webmasters first as it might be the work of a rogue agent.

  • Spam links

Normally, link bulilding, defined as the ongoing process of amassing backlinks to your site, is one of the most basic rules in SEO, given that backlinks are one of the factors search engine uses to determine page ranks. Negative SEO twists this concept by using spam links. Instead of having backlinks from reputable sites and/or sources, negative SEO uses less trusted sites and misleading anchor texts to give the impression that some funny business is going on, opening you to a penalty from Google.

You can however monitor the number of backlinks to your site using a number of tools available online, such as the free SEO SpyGlass. Anyway, using any monitoring tools of your choice, see if there’s a visible uptick during a short amount of time in your link profile. Most monitoring tools allow webmasters to check out the particular details of a backlink and an analysis of the quality of such links. If it seems like a spam to you, disavow them using the tools provided by Google.

  • Site hacking

When this happens to you, your ranking considerations shouldn’t be a priority and if someone actually went to the extremes of hacking your site, negative SEO is usually not the goal they have in mind. Still, any sign of that could potentially alert Google that your site was hacked could lead to a message of “this site may be hacked” on the results page being displayed next to your website. Worse comes to worse, there is a chance that Google will derank your website to protect users.

Cybersecurity is still a somewhat niche topic as the world is so focused on building walls in the real world that they haven’t been paying attention to the security of their virtual space. It is a fact for example that anyone’s life can easily be traced on what information they have in their e-mails and calendars. Anyone with access to mine would be able to tell exactly where I’m going to be spend Saturday evening for example. If you haven’t properly beefed up your security, negative SEO issues aside, you should make it a priority.

Closing thoughts

Think of negative SEO attacks as flesh-eating bacteria. They’re so rare that at times, they’re more like bedtime stories you tell to scare children but everyone who has been a witness to one would never doubt their severity. What I’m trying to say here is this, there’s little chance that what I’ve described above can happen to you but if, God forbid, that it does, you’ll be very happy to know that you are prepared for the occasion.