Unique Website Design – Fun to Build, Beautiful to Use

unique website design - african gemstonesWe enjoy the work we do for all our website clients however we sometimes have the pleasure of building a truly unique product site that offers a niche service. An example of such a website project is African Gemstones. This particular site is ecommerce specializing in the sale of precious and semi-precious gemstones in the rough. This means the stones have not been polished and set, and basically come straight from the mines in South Africa. People who are interested in gemstone rough would be jewelers and occasional hobbyists. It was so interesting to learn about a product we know nothing about and incorporating into the website beautiful photos of South Africa taken by co-owners Logan and Carolyn Cutshall on their various trips to South Africa.

african-gemstones-product-table-afterOne of the special touches we applied to African Gemstones is a table display layout of the gems. It is user-friendly providing a scrollable view of the gemstones by category. The purchaser selects any and all gems and can go straight to checkout, if they so desire. Quick, easy, and attractive to use.

Business and Mobile Web

Does My Business Need a Mobile Website?


For most businesses, an ideal website will be responsive to desktop computers, tablets and smart phones. When planning to design or redesign your website, however, you need to consider if you want to target a mobile audience. If so, what do you want to convey to them through mobile? Some statistics…

  • 56% of people who own cell phone use their phone to go online
  • 50% of smart phone owners use their phones for social media every day
  • 34% of mobile website users would visit a competitor’s mobile site, if they had a bad mobile experience with a business
  • 30% use their phone to decide whether to visit a local business, such as a restaurant or retail store

Top activities on Smartphones:

  • access local information (maps, directions)
  • search for general information
  • participate in social media
  • access news and entertainment
  • find local services (ie., restaurants)

Since over half of cell phone users go online with their mobile devices, many businesses (especially local storefronts and restaurants) would benefit from a mobile site. To avoid frustrating your audience, consider the following details:

Mobile Web Design should:

  • keep branding elements (logo, colors, etc.) consistent with the desktop website version
  • simplify navigation, so it is easy to understand and select options from a smaller screen
  • be thumb friendly–easy to click with little typing needed
  • give an option to view the full website version
  • use white space and minimal text for better viewing
  • clearly show contact information, directions and map

If you think you need to have your website accessible by phone, then consider the design, target audience and goals. Analytic tracking of mobile activity is a must and should be implemented to gauge the value of the mobile site. Otherwise, how will you know if your efforts have delivered a good return on your investment?

Statistical data from Pew Internet

Start Off the New Year with a Stronger Online Business Presence

When business owners discuss Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with us what they are basically saying is they want to bring people to their website “now!” and it doesn’t really matter how they get there. Well, it does matter “how” you get people to a site and it also matters “why” you are trying to drive them there in the first place. If visitors go to your website and aren’t satisfied with what they find there then they don’t ultimately become customers. And getting customers is what the SEO game is really all about.

Heading into 2013, here are 5 current trends to consider with regard to your website and your overall on-line business presence.

1. Do you have a Responsive Website? – New to 2012, a responsive website is designed to adjust itself to size when it is viewed on a wide screen monitor, iPad, laptop or smart phone. You can check to see if your own website fits the bill. How? View the website on your computer screen, click to minimize the screen and then click and drag the sides of your browser window to resize the website’s width. If the website still looks good, and is easy to read and understand, then it is probably adequate for today’s web design standards.

2. Consider a Blog on your website – a blog is a great way to start a conversation. If you have ideas or knowledge to share with others why not put it on your own website to attract potential customers? You’ll build your online credibility with not only people, but the search engines as well.

3. Use social media and tie it to your website – If you own or manage a small business and are not using social media, then you are missing out on one of the most cost-effective tools available for promotion, branding and customer service. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. are all free and user friendly. At the very least, every business should have a Facebook company page! After setting it up, link your website the Facebook page and/or use a widget to feed the posts to your website for viewing.

4. Get on LinkedIn – every businessman and woman should have a LinkedIn account. It’s free networking!

5. Optimize your online presence as much as possible – perform a Google search on your business name to see if and how it is listed. Review the search results to see what’s what then take steps to build or improve your online presence. If you have a storefront, claim your local business listings and optimize the information with more details—business hours, logo, videos. Consult a professional to optimize your website for higher technical functionality, analyze keywords in the content, and increase visibility with the search engines. To see examples of online business listings, do a Google search on “Gallop Web Services, LLC”.

Responsive Web Design

What is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive Web Design”, is the buzzword of the year and we’re sure you have been seeing the term used a lot lately. But as catchy as it sounds, what responsive web design really boils down to is making sure a website will look good and function well no matter what hardware device is utilized.  For example, if a smart phone is being used to, say… order pizza through a restaurant’s website, then for a positive consumer experience the customer needs to be able to navigate and type easily on his smart phone without having to hunt and peck for how to process his order.

To be responsive, a website needs the following key items:

  • Context-aware images: fluid images, which appear larger or smaller, depending on the viewing mode. These are also known as responsive images.
  • A flexible, fluid grid: a layout that is easy to resize, designed in terms of proportions. It can easily adjust to the device where it’s being viewed.
  • Media queries: these queries allow you to collect data about the site visitor and apply particular coded styles based on the user’s device, or resolution.

As more and more consumers rely on mobile devices, iPads and tablets, many companies are having to build several sites for different platforms, or provide one hub for content that will respond to the user’s particular device. The challenge to web developers is building a website with long term uses in mind. This is an important step as–in our opinion–the demise of the desktop computer is probably not far off.

In general, Responsive Web Design is less about technology and more about design, and using a set of techniques to present the website content to the viewer based on his or her device of choice. To test if a site is “responsive” on your desktop, you can stretch the screen width back to be larger and smaller, and see the site layout adjust itself to fit to the new width. If it doesn’t, then it is fixed width and less likely to render well across multiple device uses.  If you have various devices, take a look at Gallop Web Services website to see how it adapts to different device uses.

Gallop Web Services | Responsive Web Design