laptop-timelineThe DoubleClick Advertisers Blog today announced the launch of a public beta for Google Web Designer. The software can be downloaded here.

“Today, we’re excited to announce the public beta of Google Web Designer, a new professional-quality design tool that makes HTML5 creative accessible to everyone from the designer to the dabbler,” Sean Kranzberg, Lead Engineer, Google Web Designer wrote.

Download Web Designer Beta

According to Google the new HTML5 solution enables you to:

  • Create animated HTML5 creative, with a robust, yet intuitive set of design tools.
  • View and edit the code behind your designs and see your edits reflected back on the stage automatically.
  • Build ad creatives seamlessly for DoubleClick and AdMob, or publish them to any generic environment you choose.
  • Receive updates to the product automatically, without having to re-download the application.
  • Access all of this entirely for free.

“Google Web Designer is an advanced web application that’s built with HTML5 which lets you design and build HTML5 advertisements and other web content using an integrated visual and code interface,” the Google website states. “Using Google Web Designer’s design view you can create content using drawing tools, text, and 3D objects, and you can animate objects on a timeline. Once you’re done creating your content, Google Web Designer outputs clean human-readable HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript.”

The software requires Windows 7 or 8, or the Max OX 10.7 or higher.

Here is the promotional video posted by Google onto YouTube:

 

human-networks1When it comes to graphics, most Internet marketers shy away from using graphic templates whether it’s eBook covers, website layouts or promotional banners because they firmly believe that by using graphic templates, they are tarnishing their own business. They want to own a unique identity and hence will always find a professional graphic designer to do the job. Well, you’re in for a big surprise!

 

When you purchase a graphic template, you will be able to customize it to an extent or even build a totally new design based on it! What’s the point of using the template then, you say? Well, it serves as a source of inspiration and ideas for a totally new design. You can’t derive anything from a blank canvas, right?

 

On top of that, you are actually saving a lot of precious time that you can otherwise spend on more important matters like developing new products or market your products. When you buy a pre-made template, you only need to edit a thing or two to give it an identity of your own, and that gives you more time and flexibility to work on other stuff.

 

Okay, let’s say you argue that hiring a designer to do the job is equally fast. That may be true but don’t forget, hiring a professional designer to do a custom design for you will cost you a lot of money. Unless you need a totally unique identity that you are aiming to establish firmly in your niche market, you don’t need to get a designer to design it for you.

 

Not all graphic templates are suitable, so you have to be careful when choosing one. Consider quality over the price, and you’re on your way to creating a positive image for your business while saving more time for more productive chores!

 

iStock_000012416050XSmall-264x300As a web designer, you should design your websites to give your visitors the greatest ease of use, the best impression and most important of all a welcoming experience. It doesn’t matter if you had the greatest product in the whole world — if your website is poorly done you won’t be able to sell even one copy of it because visitors will be driven off your website by the lousy design.

 

When I’m talking about a “good design”, I’m not only talking about a good graphical design. A professional web design will be able to point out that there are many components which contribute to a good website design — accessibility design, interface or layout design, user experience design and of course the most straightforward, which is graphic design.

 

Hence, I have highlighted some features of the worst web designs I’ve come across. Hopefully, you will be able to compare that against your own site as a checklist and if anything on your site fits the criteria, you should know it’s high time to take serious action!

 

1) Background music

Unless you are running a site which promotes a band, a CD or anything related to music, I would really advise you to stay away from putting looping background music onto your site. It might sound pleasant to you at first, but imagine if you ran a big site with hundreds of pages and everytime a visitor browses to another page on your site, the background music starts playing again. If I were your visitor, I’d just turn off my speakers or leave your site. Moreover, they just add to the visitors burden when viewing your site — users on dial up connections will have to wait longer just to view your site as it is meant to be viewed.

 

2) Extra large/small text size

 

As I said, there is more to web design than purely graphics — user accessibility is one big part of it too! You should design the text on your site to be legible and reasonably sized to enable your visitors to read it without straining their eyes. No matter how good the content of your website or your sales copy is, if it’s illegible you won’t be selling anything!

 

3) Popup windows

Popup windows are so blatantly used to display advertisements that in my mind, 90% of popup windows are not worth my attention so I just close them on instinct every time each one manages to pass through my popup blocker (yes, I do have one like many users out there!) and, well, pops up on my screen. Imagine if you had a very important message to convey and you put it in a popup window that gets killed most of the time it appears on a visitor’s screen. Your website loses its function immediately!

 

In concluding this article, let me remind you that as a webmaster your job is to make sure your website does what it’s meant to do effectively. Don’t let some minor mistakes stop your site from functioning optimally!

ProfessionalServicesYour website is where your business resides — it’s like the headquarter of an offline company. Hence, it is important to practise good design principles to make sure your site reaches out to the maximum number of visitors and sells to as many people as possible.

 

Make sure you have clear directions on the navigation of your website. The navigation menu should be uncluttered and concise so that visitors know how to navigate around your website without confusion.

 

Reduce the number of images on your website. They make your site load very slowly and more often than not they are very unnecessary. If you think any image is essential on your site, make sure you optimize them using image editing programs so that they have a minimum file size.

 

Keep your text paragraphs at a reasonable length. If a paragraph is too long, you should split it into seperate paragraphs so that the text blocks will not be too big. This is important because a block of text that is too large will deter visitors from reading your content.

 

Make sure your website complies to web standards at www.w3.org and make sure they are cross-browser compatible. If your website looks great in Internet Explorer but breaks horribly in Firefox and Opera, you will lose out on a lot of prospective visitors.

 

 

Avoid using scripting languages on your site unless it is absolutely necessary. Use scripting languages to handle or manipulate data, not to create visual effects on your website. Heavy scripts will slow down the loading time of your site and even crash some browsers. Also, scripts are not supported across all browsers, so some visitors might miss important information because of that.

 

Use CSS to style your page content because they save a lot of work by styling all elements on your website in one go.

 

webdesign

When it comes to your website, extra attention should be paid to every minute detail to make sure it performs optimally to serve its purpose. Here are seven important rules of thumb to observe to make sure your website performs well.

1) Do not use splash pages

Splash pages are the first pages you see when you arrive at a website. They normally have a very beautiful image with words like “welcome” or “click here to enter”. In fact, they are just that — pretty vases with no real purpose. Do not let your visitors have a reason to click on the “back” button! Give them the value of your site up front without the splash page.

2) Do not use excessive banner advertisements

Even the least net savvy people have trained themselves to ignore banner advertisements so you will be wasting valuable website real estate. Instead, provide more valueable content and weave relevant affiliate links into your content, and let your visitors feel that they want to buy instead of being pushed to buy.

3) Have a simple and clear navigation

You have to provide a simple and very straightforward navigation menu so that even a young child will know how to use it. Stay away from complicated Flash based menus or multi-tiered dropdown menus. If your visitors don’t know how to navigate, they will leave your site.

4) Have a clear indication of where the user is

When visitors are deeply engrossed in browsing your site, you will want to make sure they know which part of the site they are in at that moment. That way, they will be able to browse relevant information or navigate to any section of the site easily. Don’t confuse your visitors because confusion means “abandon ship”!

5) Avoid using audio on your site

If your visitor is going to stay a long time at your site, reading your content, you will want to make sure they’re not annoyed by some audio looping on and on on your website. If you insist on adding audio, make sure they have some control over it — volume or muting controls would work fine.