Vision Bloom: Professional Website Design and Development
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So what makes for Great Web Design?


There are numerous factors that go into the design and development of a website, including both creative and technical skill sets. In general, the experience and utilization of the following web design capabilities can set the foundation for a great website, for now and for the future.
Quick Tip: The more you know about website design and development, the better off you'll be!
The following is a comprehensive breakdown of web design capabilities that a professional web design company should have. Take a few minutes and simply look over the list - by becoming even slightly familiar with the terminology listed, you will better position yourself to judge the competency, experience, and level of professionalism of any web designer.

Online Security

Knowledge and the ability to implement industry standard security for email, access control via login and password, utilization of SSL connections, encryption of database data, lockdown of hosting servers, and backup of website pages and database instances.

Email Services

Capability to provide custom email accounts for website domains, to secure those email accounts with industry standard anti-virus and anti-spam software, while having experience dealing with various email components such as SMTP, POP3, and IMAP.

Tools and Technologies

Technical knowledge and awareness of industry standard tools and technologies (such as Eclipse IDE and Java), and Open Source Software that enables the use of free software components and libraries in website development tasks to save time and money.

Web Standards

Designing and developing websites that support the formal technical specifications adopted by the Internet standardizing bodies (such as W3C and IETF), that affect interoperability, accessibility and usability of web pages now and in the future (such as by using XHTML).

Webpage Layout

Designing each web page with proper balance for effective User Interface presentation and usability, while making appropriate use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to accommodate for web page style consistency, flexibility, and cross browser compatibility.

Website Usability

The ease and clarity in which a user can find information, navigate pages, and interact with a website, minimizing the barrier between the human cognitive model and the website's User Interface - also known as Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

Client Side Scripting

Experience in using client side technologies to enhance website usability and minimize server requests that can slow down website pages and to provide a more user-friendly experience. This includes the use of JavaScript and AJAX, and relates to what is known as Web 2.0.

Website Statistics

Providing website statistics generated from users, search engines, and email-marketing campaigns for the purpose of measuring marketing and search engine optimization efforts. Data should be formatted into easy to read reports with tools such as Google Analytics.

Web Systems Integration

Experience integrating external web systems and services into the functionality of a website through the use of Application Programming Interfaces (API), with the ability to appropriately understand the Terms Of Use of each 3rd party service.

Content Management Systems

System development knowledge to architect and integrate back-end systems to allow for collaborative editing, production, and publishing of digital content entirely by the website owner without the need for technical knowledge or support from the website designer.

Business Analysis

The discipline of identifying business needs (via requirements gathering, analysis and planning), and providing relevant solutions (such as developing strategies, improving process, and increasing efficiency) for a business as it applies to information technology.

Browser Knowledge

Knowledge of the differences in web standard implementations for popular browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari, including the specific behaviors of each browser as it relates to page layouts and CSS implementations.

Graphical Design

Ability to produce professional quality graphics, either from scratch or through modification of existing media, using photos and original designs, and the experience and talent to use professional graphical editing software, such as PhotoShop.

Website Copywriting

Using strategic words and phrases to promote the services and products of businesses in a manner that attracts the attention of users - while supporting Search Engine Optimization (SEO) goals and maintaining cohesiveness of content for the reader.

Server Side Programming

Core knowledge and experience in programming web-application systems as a means to architect websites, generate dynamic web content, manage business logic, and communicate with databases. This usually involves technologies such as Java, ASP, .NET and PHP.

Website Maintenance

Establishing the proper process to allow timely, cost effective, and quality controlled website maintenance and updates, which requires the use of extensible website designs for efficient and uniform updates to website pages and back-end components.

E-Commerce Capabilities

The setup and execution of an online storefront where products can be purchased via Credit Cards, with support for shopping cart software, merchant accounts, data security, fraud prevention, and conformity to industry regulations on internet commerce.

Marketing & Social Media

Providing email marketing to allow for custom email campaigns, including management of email lists, subscriptions, and campaign reporting, while conforming to CAN-SPAM laws; and the utilization of Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to garner subscriptions.

Search Engine Optimization

Experience in improving website traffic originating from search engines (such as Google or Yahoo) by means of identifying relevant keywords and optimizing the website content and architecture to support indexing and high ranking for those keywords (known as Organic SEO).

Web Frameworks

The capacity to understand, design and implement the architecture of web sites and web systems based on proven design patterns, such as Model-View-Controller (MVC), which separates business logic from the user interface, reducing project risk and improving site maintenance.

Typography

Technique of choosing font types for specific purposes, including the proper understanding of font choice as it pertains to the different browsers and operating systems in use today, and how the look and feel of fonts can affect the message being communicated.

Rich Multimedia

Appropriate use and technical abilities in the integration of video, audio, animations, and interactive elements on a website (such as with Flash) to dramatically enhance the user experience and to provide engaging functionality otherwise unavailable with basic technologies.

Database Design

Ability to setup, support, and utilize relational database systems (such as MySQL or Oracle) to store and retrieve data securely and through transactions to guarantee data integrity and reliability. Experience using related technologies such SQL or Hibernate also necessary.

Website Hosting

Providing and supporting the hosting environment where the website will live, including the monitoring and management of the hosting server's reliability, uptime, bandwidth, internal services, and most importantly, security. This includes the maintenance of the hosting server's OS.

Vision Bloom strives to provide in each of the above areas. In general, use the above web design capability list as a checklist of possible areas of discussion with any web designer you are considering, specially if your needs go beyond the development of a basic website.



What is the process to get a Website Designed and Developed?


The process to design and develop a website will most likely vary when it comes to different web design companies. However the process used by any company should more or less be centered around the satisfaction of the client and the success of the website project.

The Vision Bloom Process for website design specifically provides benefits for our clients and the success of the website project:

Web Design Process helps our website customers understand the entire web development process First, the process allows our clients to become comfortable with the entire web design process (including costs and other variables) and provides our clients the opportunity to see how their website will look before it is built outright.

Additionally, the Web Design Process helps Vision Bloom gather all website requirements to communicate all possible solutions Second, the process allows Vision Bloom to gather all requirements from a potential client so that all feasible solutions can be exposed and analyzed, and more importantly, for the client's business goals to become the driving force behind the design of the website.

Vision Bloom's web design and development process is detailed below:

The Vision Bloom Process - enabling better website design and development!
Initial Meeting and Communication
1. When a potential client contacts Vision Bloom with an interest in Web Design or related services, Vision Bloom conducts a concise telephone interview to determine general needs, allowing Vision Bloom to provide approximate web design pricing , general solutions, and the opportunity to answer any open ended questions.

This initial process usually takes a couple of hours and is free of charge.


Detailed Requirements Gathering
2. Based on the feedback provided back to the client and the client's continued interest, one or more detailed requirements gathering sessions are scheduled (either face-to-face or through the phone), to appropriately expose business needs as it relates to the website. These sessions allow Vision Bloom to communicate specific solutions and ideas that support or enhance the client's business goals, including a detailed cost breakdown allowing the client to better analyze the solution being proposed.

This requirements gathering process can take several sessions over the course of one or two weeks. A small retainer fee may be requested as additional time is allotted and dedicated to the continuation of this process with the client.


Web Design Sample and Cost Breakdown
3. At this stage, having covered the overview of the web solution in mind, the client can specify the extent of functionality and design to utilize, allowing better management of size and cost of the project. Most importantly, Vision Bloom will provide a design mockup of the website to allow the client to visualize the look and feel of the website in mind, and to appropriately allow the client to make adjustments to the sample design with support from Vision Bloom.

This phase can take two to three weeks based on the client's availability and the need for any additional time by the client or Vision Bloom.


Agreement Signed and Development Started
4. With the agreement and approval of all website details by the client (including the site design), a contract is signed for the development of the website, start up funds are collected, the hosting account for the website is setup, and the actual design of the site is started. As the site is being worked on, specific information and content will be requested and collected from the client (as mutually determined in the requirements gathering phase) and will be integrated into the website. Additionally, the real-time progress of the website will be available for the client to review at any time, allowing further feedback and enhancements to be brought to the attention of Vision Bloom - making for a web solution that is more finely customized and satisfactory by the client.

This development process can range between one to three months, depending on the size of the website project and the turnaround time for requested information and content from the client.


Final Acceptance and Website Launch!
5. With the categorical completion of the website, the web solution is reviewed both by the client and Vision Bloom for final adjustments and enhancements, including testing of all website functionality - and with the full satisfaction of the client the site is signed off on and launched live. At this point, the remaining balance of the website development fee is collected, and the client is also provided the ability to view statistics for their site in regards to user visitors and Search Engine Optimization results (if SEO has been requested by the client).


Support and Updates as Requested
6. After the launch of the website, Vision Bloom will continue to monitor the website and will provide support for updates, modifications, or new additions as requested by the client. Remember, most websites will not require any updates or maintenance unless specifically requested by the client for the addition of new content or functionality.

Quick Tip: The more you know about website design and development, the better off you'll be!
Keep in mind that by better understanding the factors and processes involved in the development of a website (as described above), you'll be better able to connect with the right web design company. Additionally, as a website design customer, you should pay special attention to the qualities demonstrated by any web design company... as detailed below.



View Vision Bloom's Web Design Portfolio

Vision Bloom's Web Design Philosophy



Web design needs to be consistent and of high quality to be in harmony with the visual psychology of the brain
The use of consistent and high quality design can promote harmony with the user's visual disposition.

Our visual sense has always been our predominant and foremost means of interacting with the world around us. We are all creatures of vanity, influenced by compelling visuals that can produce strong emotions, stimulating our minds and driving us to take action. When it comes to web design, the story is no different.

Web Design needs to adhere to the visual psychology of the brain, supporting the flow of the user's attention, while avoiding distractions that can interrupt the focused mind, including any inconsistencies or irrelevancies.

In support of the user's attention, good web design should be consistent, especially since consistency is fundamental to usability - and without proper usability, users can easily become annoyed or frustrated with a website and simply turn away.

Additionally, distractions can be avoided by focusing on design quality, which can provide for a simple elegance that besides being attractive, should emphasize excellence and distinctive characteristics that are in harmony with the user's expectations.

As a result of the above philosophy, Vision Bloom emphasizes consistency and quality in web design to provide a professional look & feel that generates a user friendly web experience for users, allowing design elements to better serve their purpose - to support the main message or goal of the website.


Vision Bloom uses Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) High Quality Graphic Design Professional Photography and Rich Multimedia Design with Adobe Flash to promote and support the design philosophy mentioned above. Read about these design capabilities below.



Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) can help save time and money in the web design process!

Design with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)


Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a web technology used to design the look and feel of web pages. The proper application and mastery of Cascading Style Sheets has become essential to the fundamental design, layout, and rendering of website pages in today's modern browsers.

The use of CSS provides specific benefits, including the faster design of websites better organizations for maintenance of website pages faster download and rendering of websites and by indirectly supporting Search Engine Optimization.


In a nutshell, the use of CSS can save time, and money - during both the development and maintenance of a website.

Browser Statistics by usage share

Browser statistics by usage share

Additionally, the use of CSS provides a helping hand to a core problem in web design, the requirement to render website pages consistently across the numerous popular browsers in use today - including Microsoft Internet Explorer Mozilla Firefox Google Chrome Apple Safari and the Opera Browser (to name the most popular).

By understanding core stylesheet principles and the appropriate application of cascading styles, a web designer gains the ability to design and format a website to one logical standard that is consistent across all browsers, increasing usability across different operating systems and across different users.


CSS helps with cross browser compatibility

Vision Bloom uses CSS and other web standards to help support cross browser compatibility,
facilitating the requirement to render and format website pages consistently across the popular browsers in use today.

Remember, Cascading Style Sheets are fundamental in today's web design - hence a mastery and knowledge of CSS can go a far way in the development of a professional and high quality website, while saving design time and money. Vision Bloom appropriately makes use of CSS in the design of websites for our clients, helping to produce solutions that are faster to design, easier to manage, and more consistent across browsers - ultimately saving you time and money in the web design process.




High quality graphic design helps enahnce the website user experience
High quality graphic design promotes user interaction!

High Quality Graphic Design


The goal of graphic design is to simplify information, provide visual form to ideas, and to communicate with expression. In the context of the web, graphic design is used to advertise and provide branding, organize information into easy to read layouts, to engage users using interactive graphic elements, and to promote visual calls to action.

Vision Bloom understands how high quality graphic design can enhance the usability, feel, and credibility of a website, so we focus on consistently using high quality design elements to support the development of website pages.

This includes applying high quality typography page layout photos images interface design and interactive elements.




Brochure and Business Card Design


As an extension to our graphic design for the web, Vision Bloom provides high quality brochure and business card design, incorporating the same design principles that are used for website design to produce print and branding material that effectively communicates to your target audience.

Review our Marketing page to learn more on our branding and print services or
simply contact us directly with any questions or comments that you may have.
High quality brochure design
Click on the brochure for a closer look at a Vision Bloom designed sample, made for one of our clients.



Professional Photography


Vision Bloom provides professional photography as a means to capture the right imagery for your website. This includes photography of products business locations events models equipment staff portraits and other related cases.

Vision Bloom Professional Photography for Web Design
Photography is used as a complimentary tool in web design to better showcase and communicate with the user.



Rich Multimedia Design with Adobe Flash


Rich Multimedia Design is the capability to incorporate dynamic and engaging multimedia within a more graphically static environment, such as a website. Today, Adobe Flash is the de facto technology to bring rich multimedia to the web, and Vision Bloom makes appropriate use of this technology in the design of websites.


Vision Bloom's initial site was designed entirely in Flash and is an example of how Flash
can be used to incorporate animations, video, and interactivity into a website:


So why is rich multimedia design important? Because it stimulates the user to act and engage, allowing your message, service, or product to be better publicized to your audience. Specifically, rich multimedia design allows for the integration of Video Animations Interactive Elements, Audio & Music and can serve as an Integration Platform for new and innovative technologies.

Adobe Flash Brings Creative and
Rich Multimedia To Your Website
Video and Audio Engaging Websites Online Games Advanced Applications
Rich Multimedia Design with Adobe Flash provides expressive capabilities that can provide users on your website with engaging experiences.

Note: There are various technologies besides Flash that allow Rich Media to be used in the design of a website. Vision Bloom always
makes use of the appropriate technology that is right for the job, determined by focusing on maintainability, proper fit, and design principles.



Remembering the Purpose of a Well Designed Website


Web design Zen is within your reach, contact Vision Bloom web design.
Help produce credibility To garner credibility and trust
Appeal and engage the user To attract the user's attention
Communicate effectively And to communicate and engage the user to take action


Remember, poor design begets poor customers!


Since potential customers can judge you very quickly simply based on the look and feel of your online presence, it's important to not trust your website design to just anyone.

Good web design does not need to be a mystery. By using the appropriate design principles and capabilities mentioned above, good design can come together to work for you.


Attain Web Design Enlightenment!
Contact Vision Bloom for high quality web design.

Copyright © 2010 Vision Bloom, LLC, All rights reserved. Vision Bloom® is based out of Northern Virginia,
and provides Web Design services to the DC Metro Area, including Fairfax County, Loudoun County,
Prince William County, and Arlington County in Virginia and Montgomery County in Maryland.
Web Design in Northern Virginia: Fairfax VA, Vienna VA, Tysons VA, McLean VA, and
Bethesda MD, Rockville MD, Silver Spring MD, Potomac MD, and Baltimore MD.
"Vision Bloom" and the Vision Bloom logo are registered trademarks of Vision Bloom, LLC
Phone: (202) 525-6799     Corporate Web Design Contact Email: info@visionbloom.com