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.

 

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.

 

WordPress and Toronto Web Design – 3 Things You Should Know

Hardly a day goes by without web design Toronto companies receiving a call from a prospective client that is looking for a ‘WordPress Website’. Every web design Toronto firm should know this platform very well and should also have a number of web development projects that have been exclusively designed for this system. WordPress provides the environment for simple content management as well as a host of other display and functional tools for the Toronto website designer. However it does have it’s limitations – and that’s something your website designer Toronto should let you know.

Web development Toronto has evolved a great deal over the past 20 years and there are a number of options that are available to you. When selecting web development companies you should find a firm that has experience in all areas of webdesign, not just WordPress. Solid web design companies Toronto will thoroughly analyze your web development project and should provide you with an honest assessment if WordPress is right for you.

If your Toronto web design project contains very simple content management requirements, such as editing the text and graphics of a webpage, then WordPress may be an ideal solution. However if you require any kind of custom functionality or application development, then your website designer Toronto should let you know about the limitations of WordPress.

Like any ‘out of the box’ software, it cant do everything – and if your web development Toronto project requires a unique database, function, or application you will likely hit the limits of WordPress rather quickly. With WordPress and its associated plug-ins, you generally need to work within their parameters, and rarely do those parameters precisely match your web design project.

An experienced Toronto website designer may use a hybrid solution. This is where the website development content is controlled by WordPress, while any other functionality is custom developed. This is a perfectly acceptable solution for most web development companies and can give you the best of both worlds with no limitations for the unique functionality you require.

It should be noted that content controlled by WordPress is also very easily indexed by Google and the other major search engines. If having high search engine placement is a priority then WordPress may be a good match for your web design project. Web design companies Toronto should take the time to review these requirements with you and make recommendations on the best platform to use based on your online goals.

What About Bing?

Ask anyone to perform a web search on any topic and they’ll most likely fire up Google as the search engine of choice. Google’s popularity is so embedded in our digital lives that we actually refer to it as a verb: I Google, you Google, he Googles, she Googles, etc. But what about Microsoft’s contribution to the search engine world, Bing? Recently Microsoft has announced plans to revamp the distant-second search engine in both functionality and design. Should that make a difference to your website marketing strategies? It might.

At Rebel Trail, whenever we discuss marketing options with our clients, we often hear “I want to be in the top 5 with Google”. While we employ a number of methods to make that request a reality, we will caution our clients to not ignore Bing or Yahoo. Combined, Bing and Yahoo account for about 30% of search engine traffic, while Google claims about 66%. Obviously Google is the preferred marketing vehicle, but there are several reasons to not ignore Bing, and its market share is growing.

While Bing’s market share is about 16% it’s important to look at the landscape of that percentile. Most Fortune 500 and blue chip companies use a combination of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office as their primary operating system and productivity software. These companies are far more likely to use Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) as the default browser as it is already integrated in the operating system. It is also likely that these companies mandate that their employees use internet Explorer on any office hardware. What is the default search engine for Internet Explorer? You guessed it… Bing.

The logical conclusion is that if the target market of your website is other businesses, then Bing may be an overlooked source of marketing muscle. Bing’s 16% of the overall search engine market may be much higher in your target audience if your website is geared towards other businesses or companies. Google’s market share is primarily made up of individuals and personal consumers. While Google’s market share is growing as well, its rate of growth is slowing down while Bing is speeding up.

Bing has also announced plans to revamp its search engine in June. They plan to make their search results more relevant and also incorporate better social media tools. The Bing upgrade is designed to take more market share away from the Google behemoth, while making search results more accurate and friendly. Even if Bing is only partially successful with their redeveloped style and functionality, it will likely see an increased market share by the end of the year.

For more information on marketing strategies with all the search engines, contact Rebel Trail today.