Give your website depth

Give your website depth

Parallax scrolling and the tips on how to use it.

From video game classic to modern web design craze, parallax technique is currently the fastest growing trend in the digital world. First used in 1980s in arcade video games to simulate 3D effect, it is now being incorporated into web pages to give them depth and layering.

Wondering how it works? Parallax scrolling techniques are based on HTML5 and CSS3 coding. By using specially designed lines of code, tags, and attributes page elements are given fixed positions. Javascript then catches the direction in which the user scrolls and algorithms make foreground and background move as the developer intended. All these effects and techniques combined create an illusion of 3D effect.

Parallax scrolling is getting more and more popular due to its multipurposeness. Having difficulty in engaging viewers in your iconographics? Your product presentation just doesn’t stand out from the pack? Make it interactive with parallax scrolling. It is being used across different fields, from movie promotions, through apps, and finally to portfolios. If done well, website using parallax scrolling can get popular within days, thanks to social media spread and mouth-to-mouth recommendations.

Parallax technique - Life of Pi

Life of Pi(http://journey.lifeofpimovie.com/#!/)

Parallax technique so eagerly used by web designers is fairly simple, but one must be aware of several rules to make it really shine.

The most important thing to have in mind is to focus on depth and layering of images. It is the main principle of parallax scrolling and should be used with consideration. In order to succeed, you need to focus on several different elements which will appear both in the foreground and in the background of your page. Carefully think what images will best represent the content of your website and focus on adjusting their duration and colour. Make them fade out at right moment. Timing is the key to success. Have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment. You might not hit the spot at first try, but don’t give up. Play with parallax scrolling as you wish your users will.

Professionals recommend to make your website tell a story. You have invented something? Show how it has been done step by step. Do incorporate historical timeline of your product. It will help you get connected with users and build the sense of community. Feel free to use animation and sounds, or engage the users in theme game. Make every visitor curious what happens next. Your creativity is your limit.

But be careful. Hooked on modern techniques, you may easily overlook the simple fact that some users will try to open your page in older browsers. You shouldn’t strip them of the opportunity to have fun at your page. Make sure your modern website is compatible with not only up-to-date Mozilla, but also Internet Explorer and others, not so commonly used browsers. Your users will much appreciate it.

At this point, it is also useful to test you website on portable devices, like tablets and smartphones. With the spread of technology and wider availability of modern electronics it is the thing to consider.

Once you’ve possessed the skills needed to make parallax scrolling work, you will be eager to show everyone what you can do with it. Don’t, it’s a trap. Users won’t appreciate flashy images popping out from every corner. However tempting it may be to use new techniques on your website, do remember that, as everything, parallax scrolling needs to serve some purpose. Don’t use it just because it is fashionable. Use it to create greater user experience or to show your products, not to simply show off your skills. Above all, your website must me readable, so don’t overdo it.

Parallax technique - The Ring Restaurant

The Ring Restaurant(http://theringbarlondon.co.uk/)

Last, but not least, make your page responsive and fun. Add sound to optimize user experience. Do remember that details matter, so don’t forget the little things. They make the website stand out from the crowd and create memorable web experience.

Parallax scrolling is fairly friendly technique to incorporate, but you need to consider its limitations as well. It takes time to prepare perfect page. First, you need to make sure that the basic version of your website is up and running in all kinds of browsers. Only then you can implement parallax scrolling.

Also you need to be aware that pages using the techniques described tend to load longer. In order not to discourage your viewers, you can introduce a simple animation, or creative loading sign to entertain them.

Parallax technique - Adonis Band

Adonis Band(http://adonisband.com)

Sounds difficult? Don’t be cross, just turn to specially designed web tools like Skrollr or ScrollMagic to help you achieve your goal and give your website the wow factor it deserves.

Author Bio: Monique Rivers is an Australian tech blogger who also loves good food and fashion. She works at ninefold.com. Ninefold is a powerful Ruby on Rails platform, that allows you to deploy Rails apps quickly and easily.

5 Ways to Make Your Website Content Stand Out

5 Ways to Make Your Website Content Stand Out

It may seem like people would rather look at your website’s images and read a few excerpts here and there, but that is generally not the case. Think back to the last great book you read. It probably had a writing style that really drew you in, from catchy phrases to concise details. Your website content needs to accomplish the same goals in order to draw readers in, and keep them entertained; in turn, this will help them learn more about your company, and what you have to offer.

Quality vs. Quantity

You might feel like you need to write a lot to explain what your company is all about. Just as you probably dread the thought of typing out long sentences for each page, think about how a visitor to your site will feel when he or she tries to read through the content. It is almost guaranteed that visitors would quickly lose interest in the text, and may even stop coming to your site altogether.
The goal is to create content that emphasizes quality rather than quantity.
Bigger is not always better, especially when website content is involved.
Content should be the most engaging part of your website, so it is time to figure out how you can make your content sparkle. Whether it is headings for video clips, paragraphs on your “about us” page, staff bios, or something else, you should create content that is concise and fresh.
Catch phrases – or even single words – are useful, along with keeping the content brief. Many visitors want to see quality content, especially when they are researching a service or product. If your website content is riddled with typos and grammatical errors, it is likely that it will not be taken very seriously.

Visuals

Creating unique and fun visuals can catch the readers attention sure, but more importantly, content posts with images are 90-120% more likely to be clicked on than posts without images.  If you scroll back through some of our previous blog posts, you’ll notice that we have an image attached to nearly all of them.
You can take your own photos, or download stock images from istockphoto.com, shutterstock.com and similar services. Then using a service like canva.com or picmonkey.com, you can add effects and text to really make your photo standout.

Large Font

From books to research papers, everything is easier to read when the font is larger. For websites, having a larger font means less space to use when creating content. In other words, large font forces you to focus on precisely what you want to say. A large font is also more enticing to readers, as they feel like they can browse through the content much more quickly and efficiently.

Focus on the Audience

In order to come up with content that will really wow visitors, you need to consider who the majority of your audience really is. Then, with this target audience in mind, it becomes much easier to give your content a tone and purpose. Even certain words or phrases may be more easily understood by a specific audience, so go ahead and use those as well, if they apply.

Break the Monotony

Large or even medium-sized paragraphs of text can seem daunting, particularly when there are several on a page. Instead of writing paragraphs, try just a sentence or a few sentences at a time to shake things up and keep readers engaged.
Links and photos can help to brighten up a page. Just be sure not to make your page too busy, or you run the risk of discouraging readers.
These are really simple ways to make your content stand out; ones you can start implementing today. Go look through your site and pick one page to improve the content on. You won’t be sorry.
5 Tips for Building a Commanding Online Identity

5 Tips for Building a Commanding Online Identity

Whether you are a small or large business, you are probably looking to attract new customers and clients. Fortunately, the internet has made it easier than ever to successfully build and maintain a strong online presence. New tips and tricks are being discovered all of the time, so it is important to keep up with the latest trends. From corresponding directly with customers, to creating your own company blog, here are some useful tips on how to successfully build an online identity.

Create a website

If you are a small business that is just trying to get started, building a website is one of the most crucial components to your success. To make it easier for customers to find you, be sure to include your company’s name in your website’s domain name. This will also allow people to find your company quickly when they perform a web search.

Spruce up the content so that it is fresh and lively, which will ultimately draw readers in. If you are selling products, add in a shopping element, and be sure that it works! For a company that sells products, it is crucial to give customers a way to buy directly from your website, at all times.

Connect with your audience

If you want to form a personal connection with your audience, reach out to them in a way that is friendly and accessible.

For example, you can ask visitors to share their thoughts and feelings through feedback or comments. When you ask for comments, feedback, or opinions, the visitors will feel as though you truly care about their specific needs and concerns. Be sure to personally respond to every comment you receive though. It’s not fun talking to a wall.

If you receive negative feedback or comments, this is a good time to decide if you need to make some changes to better serve your customers.

Use search engine marketing

For many modern companies, search engine optimization (SEO) is a fast-growing trend that can produce tremendous results. SEO is used for displaying companies as close to the top as possible when someone performs a search through a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo. The higher up your name appears, the more likely it is that someone will click on your company’s link first. This can lead to increased sales, as well as increased retention of customers for many businesses.

Create a blog

Blogs are a great way to stay in touch with your customers, while providing them with the latest information about your company. It’s also an excellent way to show your skills and knowledge. With a blog, you do not have to worry about being limited to just one or two sentences, and you can often include photos, or even videos to enhance your online identity.

Caveat: If you plan on blogging, see it through. There may be nothing worse than having a blog and it not having any fresh content.

Share your expertise

We are not suggesting you give your services away for free, however there is something to be said about an expert who is willing to help others. A great way to do that is through forums and message boards.  Think about Yahoo! Answers or Google Groups. LinkedIn is another great place. You no only increase your visbility, but you also position yourself as an expert in your field.

There are many ways to effectively build and expand your online presence. Whether it is through direct interaction with customers, or a results-driven website, you can easily build your client base and reputation with a solid online identity.

Time to Remodel: Out with the Old Website, In with the New

Time to Remodel: Out with the Old Website, In with the New

New And Improved Site

Modern society moves at a fast pace, and many business owners work hard to keep up. Although it may get overlooked, your website may be the difference between securing a client or customer, or unknowingly turning him away. When it pertains to business, a clean and updated website is more valuable than one that is dated and old. Before you begin to overhaul your website, take a few minutes to understand the perils of a dated website and how a new one can be beneficial.

Tackling a Dated Website

If your website is looking old and dated, it is probably time for a change – and fast. Your main issue may be that you do not have an easy way to update your website content, or adding new information might seem too time-consuming.

Fortunately, there are ways to get around these common problems while creating a modern and fresh website in the process. The first step is to figure out what your website needs in order to become a noteworthy part of your business once again. You may need to reach out to friends, family members, and loyal customers to get valuable input on how to improve your website.

Evaluate Content

For many business owners, one of the most valuable improvements that can be made to an old website is to closely examine the content of each page. In doing so, you will likely find that the content is generally dated and stale. Whether it is old news, dated information, or out-of-date media, such as pictures and videos (especially those that do not work), it is time for an overhaul. The good news is that cleaning up your website is relatively simple. To get started on your dated website, try out the following suggestions:

  • Replace dated content – any content that is out-of-date should be replaced with new and relevant copy. A good idea is to start looking at your news or calendar of events pages – if you have those. Add in something new for your customers.
  • Test your links – broken website links, even if it is just one or two, can signal to visitors that you do not have time, or do not wish to make an effort to keep your website in good working order. To resolve this problem, click through your links to make sure that they are all working. If you have media, such as videos or photos, now is the time to make sure that these items work as well.
  • Update your “about ” page – as time continues, so does your personal and professional life. Take a few minutes to look at your profile or “about” page, which may very well need updating. Customers and potential clients should have an updated resource where they can find out more information about you or your business.

When to Seek a Professional

Sometimes there’s too many obstacles in your way or your old website was built so that it wasn’t easy for you to update content. That’s when it’s time to seek a professional web design and development company.  You might not even need a complete redesign.

A good web design company will talk to you about the goals for your site and help you to determine the next best steps. That might include keeping the design, but implementing a Content Management System so you can keep on top of your content and updates. Or re-aligning your existing site so that you are putting your best foot forward by fine-tuning what you have so you can reach the best possible outcome.

There’s no one size fits all, which is a good thing because you’re business is as unique as you are.

5 Tips to Make Your Website More User-Friendly

5 Tips to Make Your Website More User-Friendly

With so many websites and companies selling similar products or services, one company’s weakness can be another one’s gain. This is especially true for websites, which are often the first line of introduction a potential customer or client has to a business. Websites that are user-friendly, along with fresh and updated content are likely to draw in a higher number of customers, in comparison to a website that is not user friendly, or a site that appears to be outdated. Creating a user-friendly layout is quite simple, and can be just what your business needs for future success.

So why is a user-friendly website so important?

A user-friendly website is an essential part of any successful business. For a large number of visitors, a company’s website is what can make or break its image. A website can be thought of as the first step in making a statement to the online world. You only get a few seconds to make that impression, so make it the best.

Just as you would not want to make a bad first impression in-person, a website that is not user friendly can be just as harmful. There are a number of steps you can take to determine whether your website is user-friendly, and how to make the necessary corrections if you think that your website is lagging behind.

  • Use a clean layout – a clean layout is an essential part of any website. If you are not sure whether your website has a clean layout, take a close look at the content, as well as the links and navigation. A website that is jumbled with links or text can be confusing and off-putting to potential customers. With too many words or links cluttering the page, the reader may get discouraged and ultimately leave the website for a more user-friendly site. Make sure that your navigation is clean and concise, and that visitors can easily find the information they are likely looking for.

  • Make content easily accessible – keep in mind that many people do not have time to sit down and read all of the information on your website. For this reason, it is crucial to keep paragraphs, and text in general, to a minimum. Instead of writing in paragraphs, try adding in a few sentences at a time. You can make the page more exciting and break up any wordy areas by including pictures or links.

  • Ensure that your site is mobile-friendly – many consumers have access to the internet – and your website – through a mobile device. Keep this in mind when you are determining how you can make your website more user-friendly. Consumers on the go will appreciate having access to your website at all times, which can help to enhance your business.

  • Make the website visually appealing – the more attractive your website, the more likely it is to lure in customers. Although dedicated customers may put up with an unattractive website, potential customers will likely go elsewhere to do business. You can avoid this problem by incorporating a simple, yet stylish layout, with a soothing color scheme. Avoid crowding the site with graphics or using distracting images and animations.

  • Clear and distinct calls-to-action. You do not want people hunting to find your contact information or details about the services you provide. Make your calls-to-action prominent and distinct from everything else on your page. You want them to be the most important aspect of the page so users don’t have to guess about what to do next. When a user has to guess, they’ll likely end up leaving your site.

These are some very basic prinicples and a great first step in creating a site that will deliver results.  If your website is not user-friendly, you may be losing clients and forcing potential customers to go elsewhere, which is the exact opposite of what you want to do. Of course, if you need help, we’re here for you.

You need a mobile site yesterday

You need a mobile site yesterday

Take a stroll down any street and you will likely see several people using a mobile device. As the use of mobile devices has significantly increased within the past few years, so has the demand for accessible and functional mobile sites. Not every website is mobile, but those that are quickly become very popular among customers. Having a mobile website can give you leverage in today’s competitive society, so take a look at what a mobile website can offer, and how you can go about creating this type of website for your business.

The Importance of a Mobile Website

Many people enjoy their mobile devices because it gives them an opportunity to connect with others, complete tasks, and network on a constant basis. However, a large portion of people also use their mobile devices to make purchases online.
If you own an online business, you can potentially earn more sales by having a mobile website, as customers know that they can order something from you at just about any time of the day.
Faster internet connections and cheaper data service plans are a hint that a great number of people are relying on their mobile devices more than ever to complete daily tasks. Although this is the case in wealthier countries, even people in countries that are not as wealthy have jumped on the mobile device bandwagon. For the modern business owner, this means potential connections – and sales – with a large customer base around the world.

Setting up a Mobile Website

If you are ready to create and set up a mobile website, now is the time to get started.
It is important to know that you do not have to be a tech whiz in order to build a mobile website. Of course, there is always the option to hire a professional (hint hint) to do the task for you. If you would rather try it on your own, there are a number of programs to try, such as Mobify, which allows you to build a mobile version of your website with a user-friendly graphical interface.
Another option that may be more practical for business owners is to simply make an existing website mobile-friendly. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including:
Make the existing website simpler. The best way to figure out how this can be accomplished is to load your website on a mobile device such as a smartphone. Once it has loaded, you will likely notice some changes that you can make, such as moving graphics around, or cutting down on text-heavy pages.
Create a second website for mobile devices. This is a popular option for companies that want to maintain their traditional website without discouraging mobile device users. There are a number of free, user-friendly programs that can be used to make a mobile version of an existing website.
Use a responsive design, like we have here at Emtwo. Having a website with a responsive design means that just about any user will be happy. Whether the site is accessed via a computer or a mobile device, a responsive design ensures that the website will auto-adjust so that it displays properly.
Having a coherent mobile website can be a great benefit for your company. Depending on how much and how involved you want your mobile site, it can be easy or more complicated to setup. If you want to discuss your options and what would work best for your business, send us an email.

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