Toronto Web Design Strategies That Work: The Flowchart

Have you ever tried to build a house without a blueprint? How about constructing Ikea furniture without instructions? Or better yet, have you ever tried driving to Mississauga without a map or GPS? These are all challenging tasks, but without the proper guidance or planning, they can all become downright impossible. The same could be said for developing your web design project without a flowchart – sure it can be done, but the end result will not be pretty. In fact, the flowchart is the most critical part to your website development project, and without it, there’s very little chance your website design project will be a success.

At Rebel Trail, whenever we are welcoming a new client, we are always curious to know how their last Toronto web design firm treated them, and what were the issues that led them to contact us. Most of these new clients will cite problems during both website design and development stages. The problems range in type and complexity, but almost all of them can be traced back to a lack of a flowcharting stage. In fact, when we ask these new clients if their previous designer ever developed a flowchart, the answer is almost always ‘no – they went straight from the contract to the design of the website’. Clearly an important website development stage has been missed.

Using the house construction analogy, could you imagine a house being built without a blueprint? Imagine the construction crew haphazardly building large sections of your home with no forethought, strategy, plan, or coordination. Would you want to live in the end-result knowing that it could collapse at any point? Now imagine how much it would cost to fix all the mistakes that were made. Unfortunately, we see this kind of development in the web design industry all the time. Some website foundations are so bad that we must start from scratch.

Rebel Trail uses five basic development stages for any website project, and these stages are always customized to the client’s unique needs. In order these stages are: contract, flowchart, design, development, deployment. The flowchart stage comes immediately after we have signed a contract with the client – it is always the very first stage. The website development flowchart is a document that maps out every webpage in your website and shows how they link together. The navigation of your website is clearly defined in this document, and graphically shows you how a user will navigate from the home page to any other page on your website within one click. Further, all functionality of your website is fully documented in the flowchart. Even if your website has simple functions like online contact forms, we will document what information these forms contain, and how that information gets to you instantly. For more complex functions such as custom applications, this functional documentation is invaluable as it charts the information flow precisely.

The flowchart forces you to think of the website from the user’s perspective and streamline the processes for them. Functions that may look good in a photoshop design can sometimes fall apart when applied to a live website, so the flowchart helps us avoid those mistakes. We also document your admin system, or content management system, in the flowchart so you can see exactly how information you input into the website will be presented to your users. This allows for unlimited client customizations so that we develop a system that works perfectly for the client’s unique needs. Further, we provide you with unlimited revisions to the flowchart with no alteration in the website price. You can take as long as you’d like to make sure the flowchart perfectly accomplishes your goals.

It normally takes about 2 weeks to complete a website development flowchart. This process is guided by one of our professional website consultants and Rebel Trail does all the work. We will consult with you every step of the way and present you with unlimited revisions. The flowchart stage is only complete when you, the client, are thoroughly satisfied with the results. We then have a solid blueprint for your website and can confidently proceed to the design and development stages.

Of course, this question always comes up: “What if I want to make changes after the flowchart is complete?”. Having been in business for over 22 years, we know that even with a completed flowchart, new ideas can arise during design and development, and we want to do everything possible to encourage those great website ideas. Website development flowcharts should not be ‘carved in stone’, rather they should have the flexibility to accommodate new ideas and growth. A good flowchart attempts to see into the future and predict what future website development phases may include. New ideas that arise post-flowchart phase should be welcomed and easily integrated into the overall project scope.

If you are considering a Toronto web design project, make sure the project plan includes a flowchart stage. It may add a week or two to your development timeline, but the time and costs it saves from a poorly development website is invaluable.

What to Expect for Web Design Companies in 2019

2019 will be an exciting year for the Toronto Web Development industry. There are so many innovative functions and tools coming this year that you will immediately want to redesign your existing website to incorporate all that 2019 will have to offer. So let’s take a look at what will power your website project this year.

The mobile website development market will continue to gain ground this year, which is good news for any website that features a responsive design. If your website design is not responsive, then you can expect a significant slide in your Google page rankings. In 2018, the mobile website viewing audience surpassed its desktop counterpart, and Google started to reward mobile-friendly websites with higher placement in the search engine rankings. Now more than ever, you need to have mobile compliance with your Toronto website development project- it will be the single greatest contributor to achieving top results with the search engines.

The mobile-first website development in Toronto will usher in a new style of design that is already starting to dominate the market. That trend is single-page website design where the majority of a website’s content is on a single long-scrolling page. This is to accommodate the mobile device with less clicking and more scrolling. The long-scrolling web page offers a number of new design features such as parallax design where dynamic content scrolls over static imagery creating a subtle yet interactive effect.

We also expect to see full-screen video start to dominate the Toronto website development market. Already many dynamic websites are starting to use full-screen video as either a background or in place of the typical slide show that so many homepages use. Video is naturally more engaging than static imagery and is a natural fit for your website development project.

You’ll see more micro animations on Toronto website development projects this year. These are small animations that make content and transitions more engaging to the user. The key is to not overuse these animations as you don’t want your website development project to start to look like a pinball game. Tasteful use of these micro animations can add a very smooth effect to the overall website interface.

On the not-so-good side, we can only expect website security to be continually tested by those who would seek to exploit it. website and data security was all over the news in 2018 with a new hack reported on a weekly basis. All Toronto website owners should be constantly testing their websites for vulnerabilities, and should all be using SSL security. If your website doesn’t start with ‘https’ then you may be looking at a security problem this year. Talk to your website developer to ensure 2019 attracts more visitors and not more hackers.

 

Web Design Companies in 2018 – A Review

As 2018 comes to a close it is timely to look back at the year and contemplate the trends and technologies that dominated the web design company landscape.  It is this reflection that may give us a glimpse into what 2019 has in store, and what new trends may be worth investing for your Toronto web development project in the new year.

Website security was continually at the top of the news cycle with major data breaches reported by almost every industry sector. From Facebook to FedEx, it appeared that no one’s data was safe as countless companies admitted to lapses in cybersecurity. It is for this reason that Rebel Trail doubled its investments in securing our client’s data at both the local and Toronto datacenter levels and is committed to being on the forefront of Toronto website development security.

Speaking of security, is your website SSL compliant? When you visit it in a browser, is there a little lock icon beside the URL? If not, this is the year that Google started to penalize sites that won’t offer this extra layer of protection. It’s actually quite easy to get this certification for your Toronto web design project, and usually just a matter of requesting it from your hosting provider. If you’re unsure about the process, just give us a call and we’ll walk you through it.

The mobile market continued to gain ground and in 2018 has surpassed the desktop computer as the largest website viewing market. This means that more people will be viewing your website on their phone, than on a desktop computer. So, if your website isn’t mobile compliant, you’re likely going to be penalized with your search engine rankings. Luckily, every website produced from our studios is fully responsive – meaning that the website design will reformat itself for the small and large screen alike. Google is known to give websites with a responsive design a bit of a boost in their rankings.  If you are contemplating a redesign of your Toronto website in the next year, be sure to plan for a responsive website counterpart.

Social media stats climbed even higher this year, even with the controversy surrounding Facebook and your personal data. Every solid Toronto website development project includes a social media plan that outlines the need to keep content current and pushed to multiple platforms. A good website content management system will allow you to easily push new content to all of your social media sites with the click of a button. If you’re still manually updating Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn you should look at an upgrade to your content management system. In 2018 you should input once and output to multiple platforms.

 

LMS and E-Learning – What You Should Know

One of the fastest growth sectors in the Toronto web design market is in the area of LMS and e-learning systems. LMS is an acronym for ‘Learning Management System” and e-learning and e-testing systems are basically referring to the same sort of application. While there are a number of out-of-the-box solutions that will provide these functions for your Toronto website development project, more users find that these systems are restrictive and cannot perform critical custom functionality that is normally required of a full LMS solution.

Customization is key when implementing an e-learning solution into your Toronto web design project. You must consider may factors such as: How will my users login to the website. In what formats are lessons presented? What are my options for test-taking? Do I need to provide custom certificates when a user passes a test? What about report card systems where a user can review their overall progress and compare it to class averages? These are just some of the questions you should be asking when implementing a solid LMS solution into your Toronto web design project.

Many times, an out-of-the box (or third-party) e-learning solution will only achieve about 60 – 80% of your goals, but that critical 20-40% of important functionality will not be available. The only alternative is to try to force your Toronto web design goals to work within the parameters of the product, and many times this is simply not possible, or the final solution is so compromised that it fails to be an effective solution.

It is for this reason that we generally recommend exploring a custom LMS solution for your Toronto web design project. A custom LMS solution has none of the restrictions of its third party counterparts and will achieve your precise goals no matter how unique they are. Consider a simple reporting function – many of our clients have come to us with an pre designed Toronto website in which they need to add an LMS solution. Most of these times, there is already an established login system that needs to work with the LMS solution so that the LMS can properly identify the user that is taking the lesson and test. In most cases the third-party LMS would be unable to work with a pre-existing login system, however a custom LMS solution for your Toronto web design project could easily accommodate this scenario.

This is just one simple example of how a custom LMS solution can benefit your Toronto web design project. For more examples or to discuss your unique goals, please contact Rebel Trail today.

Toronto Web Design – 4 Signs It’s Time For A Website Redesign

With the current landscape of Toronto Web Design it’s difficult to tell when its time to give your website a fresh new design. There are also many factors to consider such as your current Toronto web design versus that of your competitors as well as the overall functionality your website utilizes. Upgrading the functionality of your website is just as important as keeping the website design current. Further, there are always new technologies that can vastly improve your website’s performance, and if left ignored, these can benefit your competitors rather than you. At Rebel Trail Web Design, we have complied the top 4 signs your Toronto Web Design is in need of a refresh.

It’s Not Responsive

Responsive websites are commonplace today, and if your website is not responsive, you’re missing out on a great deal of potential business. Responsive websites change their format depending on the device that’s viewing them. This means a standard computer screen will display your website in one format, but a smartphone or tablet will display your website reformed to perfectly fit the smaller screens. By Toronto Web Design standards, responsive websites are an absolute must. Not only do search engines like Google gives your site a boost if its responsive, but half of your audience will be viewing your Toronto website through a mobile device – why not cater the website experience to them?

You’re losing search engine placement

If you notice that your search engine results are starting to slide, its time to consider a redesign. With a professional Toronto website development company, they will build your new website to all of the latest Search Engine standards. If your website was built several years ago, then it is missing out on all of the updates the search engines normally apply several times a year. This usually results in a gradual slide down the index until your website coding is made fully compliant again.

Objective Comparison With Your Competitors

You should be checking your competitor’s websites at least 2 – 3 times per year – but do so objectively. Sometimes this is difficult as you are so entwined with your own business. Think of getting an informal group of objective individuals to look at your site as well as your competitors – and ask them to provide honest feedback as to which site they would go to, and why. It is easy to lose objectivity with your own Toronto website design, so a fresh perspective will identify shortcomings and help your prepare for a website redesign.

Performance Issues

A website design that is slow to load, or worse yet, contains errors is a big sign that a redesign is required. Customers will naturally assume that a buggy website reflects on the service they can expect from your business and this closes doors pretty fast. You need to ensure that your Toronto website design loads quickly and is completely error free. A good Toronto website designer will fully test the website before it launches and will guarantee to fix any post-launch errors as well.