Responsive Web Design
Arguably the most important part of modern web design and development, responsive web design (RWD), involves developing the layout of web pages so that content flows seamlessly from one screen size to the next. Take a look at the graphic to the right. Content is like water, it’s size and shape conforms to its container – it is fluid.
Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are currently the most popular means of accessing the internet. Laptops are a close second, and the use of large desktop monitors is declining. In fact, from a marketing perspective, websites that aren’t responsive are at a disadvantage. Google currently boosts the search ratings of mobile responsive, effectively penalizing old-school static websites in the page ranks.
Consider how often you use your phone to look up the price of a product, get directions, play a game, post a status, or find a phone number. Now consider how many other people might be doing the exact same thing at the same time. That’s how important mobile friendly websites have become.
User Experience (UX)
UX, in a nutshell, is the overall experience of a person using a product such as a website or computer application, especially in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use. To put it another way, user experience is everything. It includes design, layout, typography, content, keywords, images, interactive elements, such as buttons and links, site architecture, color, and more.
In general, a positive user experience is pleasurable, informative, intuitive, and most of all, keeps your target audience coming back. When designing and developing a website we try to answer the following questions:
- Is it nice to look at? Is the content easy to read with lots of cool pictures?
- Does it serve its intended function? Is the message on target?
- Is it easy to use? Can the user get what he/she came for?
- Is it simple getting from point A to point B? Does the navigation make sense?
- Is the website easy to find? How does it rank on Google searches.
Creating a positive user experience might seem like a no-brainer, but it requires careful planning. This is the reason why we work closely with our clients to make sure their message is getting where it needs to go in a way that makes sense to their audience.
A template is a pre-built HTML structure for a web page to which content is then added. In other words, the bones are already there, all the developer has to do is add the meat. Hungry Ghost Design doesn’t like templates. They’re a boring, cookie-cutter approach to making websites. Building entire sites from the same layout, over and over, staunches creativity and assumes that every website owner is going to want pretty much the same thing. Sure, some structural elements get reused within and between websites, but if every site looked exactly the same, there’d be no way for individual brands to stand out against the competition. No two clients want the same thing. Different businesses have differing approaches to reaching their target audience. What works in one artist’s portfolio might seem way off in another’s.
Hungry Ghost Design is a WordPress development company. WordPress uses themes to add structure to websites. It also uses templates to give structure to individual pages and posts. However, this is very different from the way a static template operates. In fact, part of what’s so cool about WordPress is that content and structure that’s stored in the database can get served to pages and posts in unique and interesting ways.
Our approach to design and development starts with themes. It could be any theme, but usually, we try to find one that comes close to our client’s vision. We build from there, adding interesting structural elements and placing content in a way that will provide maximum impact. We work with our clients to craft a unique and meaningful representation of their vision.
Hungry Ghost Design uses the world’s most popular content management system (CMS) to build websites. There was a time when WordPress was blogging software and that’s about it. But thanks to a dedicated community of developers, it has grown to become a full-fledged CMS with thousands of plugins, themes, and widgets. WordPress is free and open source, which means that anyone can use it and anyone can add to its functionality. WordPress is reliable, robust, fast, and easy to customize. The creative possibilities are endless.
Some notable companies that use WordPress include:
- BBC America
- The New Yorker
- The New York Times
- Best Buy
- Sony Music
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that make it very easy to set up a basic online store with product pages, a shopping cart, and various payment options. And the basic plugin is free! That’s good news for ecommerce startups! Also, there’s a ton of support and documentation, so getting help is a breeze.
However, what makes it such a great platform for internet sales is its ease of customization. All of the core code is accessible and there are a million plugins and extensions. This means that the sky’s the limit when it come to developing a WooCommerce store.
It’s important to note that not everything about WooCommerce is free. Many of the more complex extensions are premium, meaning that, a fee is required in order to unlock advanced features. However,through a combination of custom code and sparing use of premium plugins, we work with our clients to come up with an ecommerce solution that won’t send them over budget.
Because one of the really nice features of WooCommerce is its simplicity, with a little training and a bit of patience, anyone can learn to maintain a solid online store.
There are a lot of WordPress themes out there. Some are free, others are very expensive. A theme is what WordPress uses to create a user interface – it’s how the database communicates with the user. A theme modifies the look and functionality of a website without changing the underlying structure of the site. If you already have a WordPress site, then you’re probably familiar with themes – and you’ve probably had a few migraines as a result.
When most people search for a theme, they look for something that approximates the look of the site they’re envisioning. But then after it’s been uploaded and activated, it looks totally different. We get it! Some themes are notoriously difficult to wrangle into conformity with your vision for your site. We take the headache out of theming a WordPress site.
If you don’t have a theme already, we offer a wide variety of themes for customers who choose to host with us. If you already have a host and a theme, but you can’t seem to get it to do what you want it to do, don’t despair, we can help. We’ll get it looking great in no time.
Whatever your theme situation, we’ll be there to get your WordPress site up and running and beautiful.