We’re Hiring! (Visual Designer – Web/Graphic/UI)

Sleepless Media is looking for a passionate, experienced visual/graphic/UI designer to join our team.

Please note: This is an in-house design position, we are not looking for a developer.

About the Position:

One of our designers will be on leave for several months. Initially, we’re looking for someone to fill that role on a contract basis for a period of 3-4 months, 30-40hrs/week. Once the contract period is up, we would ideally like to look at converting the position to a full-time employee role, assuming workload permits.

As one of our designers, you will be involved in every project from start to finish, and will work closely with our creative director, project manager and/or lead designer. You’ll collaborate with our team and our clients throughout the planning, research and brainstorm process, so you’re fully immersed when you begin to conceptualize, sketch and wireframe. You’ll turn wireframes into pixel-perfect mock-ups of beautifully designed websites and/or applications. By working closely with our in-house development team, you’ll have the opportunity to make sure your designs are executed as intended.

The Ideal Candidate will have the Following Qualifications:

– You are a designer, first and foremost. (Graphics, Visual, UI, Web)
– Expert in Adobe CC, specifically Photoshop, Fireworks and Illustrator.
– You have proven experience with desktop/mobile/tablet visual design, and excellent samples to show your capabilities in this area.
– A firm understanding of user experience / interaction design
– You can work iteratively developing user flows, wireframes and prototypes to help define the experience with your team.
– You can translate those user flows, wireframes and prototypes into beautiful visual designs and user interfaces.
– You are confident presenting your work to the team and the client, and can clearly communicate and defend your design decisions.
– Strong understanding of designing for dynamic content and content management systems.
– You place an emphasis on detail, organization and consistency.
– You can independently completely projects without direction, and work efficiently to stay within budgets.
– You are up to date on the latest trends, methods, and tools in web design and regularly consume blogs, books and articles related to your expertise.
– You are excited to collaborate and experiment with new ideas and approaches to unique challenges.
– You are always looking to take the next project to the next level.
– Excellent communication and typing skills.

– Basic understanding of HTML5, CSS3 & JavaScript
– Experience with Sketch.app
– Experience working in a design studio or design department of a company.
– Iconography, Logo Design, Print Design and Branding Design skills.
– Knowledge on e-commerce (i.e. Shopify), internet marketing, strategy and SEO.
– You’re a fan of good coffee, good food and working with small businesses that are striving to do something great.
– Appreciation for working in the Santa Cruz area, in a great space with an awesome team.


– Work in Downtown Santa Cruz, within walking distance to food, shopping and the beach.
– Competitive pay (d.o.e.)
– Health & Dental insurance benefits for full-time employees.
– 30-40 hours per week, and get off early on Fridays, which are also referred to as “Beer Fridays.”
– Some of the best coffee in town and other tasty beverages.
– Generous time off and flexibility, including all major holidays.

To apply for this position, please email us at info@sleeplessmedia.com and include the following:

– Cover Letter
– Resume
– Links to samples of your work, including web site addresses and your exact contribution and role in them.
– Your current pay expectations
– Your salary history
– At least 4 references
– When you would be able to start
– Amount of hours per week you would be available

*Inquiries not including all of the above will not be considered. This is for a local, in-house design position only. No telecommuting. No outsourcing. It will start as a contract, and may turn into a full-time employee position for the right candidate.

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The Definition of the Mobile-First Approach to Web Design

Mobile Responsive DesignYou’ve probably heard a lot of web developers and designers talk about the mobile-first approach. The first time you’ve heard it, you probably thought of one main thing: smartphones. When you talk about mobile, you usually talk about mobile phones, right? Right! But, there’s really more to the mobile-first approach than just smartphones, it’s also very much about the process.

What is the Mobile-First Approach All About?

By definition, “Mobile First” is designing the layout, navigation and content of a website BEFORE designing the desktop versions for larger screens. The reason for this is that because mobile devices offer much less real estate than large, desktop displays, you can concentrate more on the content and how the site is used, rather than just making a design that says”wow”. We’re not saying you can’t have both though, we’re just saying you might want to nail the phone layouts, then the tablet layouts, then the desktop layouts, in that order. This of course means the website should ideally be responsive, but it also means that you really also have to have the “content-first” if at all possible. In the past, designing a website focused heavily on visual design and other related technical elements, just for a desktop computer. And more often than not, complete websites were often designed around placeholder text. Can it be done? Yes. Is it the best way to go? No. Content was always an afterthought. Nowadays, a good balance of mobile-first, content-first, and responsive user experience what’s needed to design a successful site.

Do we always design mobile first? No, but it should always be considered depending on the type of website, how the site is used, and the demographics. With mobile, you are really seeing more of the content than you are of the design or graphics, so this means creating content dedicated to improving the user experience is absolutely critical. Content here doesn’t only pertain to articles or written text, but also images, video and audio. Along with these, designers also work on creating a better user experience by making sure that the content is laid out in a convenient manner, especially when someone goes online through their mobile device.

With mobile traffic set to eclipse desktop traffic on the internet by the end of 2015, your designer should surely be asking questions like “How can I make this site or page easier to navigate when accessed through a mobile device?” Or, “How can I make navigation simpler for mobile device users?”. The key to everything is responsiveness. A website has to be responsive to the needs of the users and the myriad of available screen sizes.

The aim of the mobile-first approach is to create a smooth flow for mobile browsers, and get them to the content they are looking for, or to buy the thing they need, as effortlessly as possible.

Why Go Mobile?

The mobile-first approach is not a fad or a trend. It is a reality. According to an article by SynCore Tech Digital Strategist Christ Horton, over a billion smartphones were used globally in 2013. These smartphones were used at least once in every 4 times for online searches. Horton further stated that more than 50% of users prefer companies with good mobile websites. All these indicate that the world has gone mobile; that smartphones have become more than just a communication device.

Benefits of Using the Mobile-First Approach

Aside from not being left behind by the “mobile now” bandwagon, there are other benefits one can get from adapting the mobile-first approach.

1) Mobile users’ needs are met, as well as the specifications of the mobile platform.

2) This allows designers to focus not only on technicalities, but also on content, structure – and navigation details. Creation of content is more crucial now than ever.

3) Webpages will be now easier to navigate, thus improving over-all user experience. This will make visitors want to visit your site regularly, therefore increasing your online presence and credibility.

4) A mobile-first approach almost always results to a fresher concept and design. The simpler and more functional, the better.

Embracing the mobile-first approach does not mean you’ll have to turn your back on designing for desktops and similar devices. While we believe a responsive site is ideal, some designers create two versions for a website – one for desktops and another one for mobile devices – but with all the gray area in between, it’s making less and less sense over time. It may mean additional work, but it’s the best way to satisfy both user markets.

In creating a website, especially in a mobile-dominated era, it is important to keep in mind what designer Mark Boulton said: “There is a symbiotic relationship between content and design. One cannot thrive without the other”. It’s important to remember this when you want to create a website that combines functionality, design, user experience and quality for a completely satisfying mobile device browsing experience.

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Your Website Will Only Be So Good Without Professional Photography

Professional Photography

If you have a website, you know how important it is to get the attention of your visitors. You also know the value of getting them to stay longer on your site. A lot of web designers and business owners often overlook it, but in a world obsessed with Instagramming, Facebooking and posting to Pinterest boards, photography is a super important component of any website. We are in the “visual age”, so photography (particularly professional photography) will help increase and sustain reader-interest.

Why Is Professional Photography Important for Websites?

There are six main reasons why you should include professional photos in your website.

1) As mentioned previously, we are at an age where visuals are a main focus. So, if your website has good, engaging photos, especially ones that are relevant to your content or articles, your site will get more traction on page visits.

2) First impressions are important. The minute a visitor lands on your website and sees excellent quality professional photos, he or she will automatically form a good first impression of your site. They will immediately see you as a trustworthy and professional service or resource. This will increase the likelihood that they will stay on your site to see what you have to say, which will ultimately help visits turn into leads or sales.

3) Photographs and images attract, especially ones that are well done and relevant. This is particularly important when you are running an online store. When buyers search for products and your site’s product images show on the results pages, people will be more likely to consider purchasing from your store because they’ll get an instant idea of what the products look like. Around 60% of these consumers will seriously think of getting in touch with you and buying your products.

4) In an era dominated by social media, professional photography is an important weapon. You can use the photos to share and promote your website on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other similar social networks. An active presence on Facebook alone will guarantee you millions of views.

5) If your website is used for press releases and similar content or materials, you are bound to get more views if you use multimedia strategies – including using professional photos and infographics. A photo that’s taken custom for that article will always be a better bet than the same old stock photograph that you’ve seen on thousands of other websites.

6) According to a report by the National Retail Federation, a significant number of customers give more value to the image of a product compared to product-specific information (63%), product descriptions (especially long ones) (54%), and reviews and ratings (53%). Visitor or audience engagement also increases when there are good photos on a website or page.

Choose Professional Photos

Of course, to get the maximum effect, you will need to choose only high quality images. You can’t just grab photos from the Internet! Doing this will put you in danger as the owners of the photos might sue you for violation of copyright policies. The best thing to do would be to commission a professional photographer for a photo shoot. Spending a few bucks for a professional photographer will make a noticeable difference in your results, and easily pay for itself. Consider it as an investment, the rewards of which you’ll reap once the website is up and making waves online.

The best web designs are those that are based around great photography and great content – you’re not going to get very far on the design-first, fill-in-the-blanks-second approach. Designing around personalized photography is key. If possible, when designing a new website, work with a design team that has a photographer on staff that can take professional head shots of your team, your location, your products and any other key parts of your business.

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The Benefits of Designing Websites with a Content-First Approach

Using real content for design

When you create a website, the first thing that you think of is how to draw visitors to your site. Most of the time, designers focus on the design and the technicalities and leave anything related to content in the last phase. To state the obvious, businesses need websites so potential customers to find information on their products and services. Thus, relegating content to the background should not be how things are done – a website should ideally be designed around the content, not the other way around.

The Content-First Strategy

The “content-first” concept doesn’t mean you sit down and work on the website only after your client has finished producing all the necessary content. Rather, it means prioritizing the site’s content over and above any of the other factors involved in the process. So, instead of drawing up a dummy or layout filled with placeholder images or the ever famous “lorem ipsum” (or filler content), using real content is ideal. It doesn’t matter if the content is just a rough draft; just as long as it’s real content that will be a good guideline for the site’s flow and design. Adopting this strategy will help both the designer and the client make better decisions that will ultimately lead to the achievement of the website’s (and the business’s) goals.

Historically, the majority of clients have expected their web designer to work on the design first and then put content in the final phase, and while that can be done, it’s not going to be the smoothest process. The following points highlight the benefits of adopting a Content-First strategy.

1) Content is king. No matter how beautifully designed a website is, if the content is of mediocre quality, the website won’t make waves online. With a Content-First strategy, more focus will be given on content; thus, it will be easier to come up with relevant and high quality articles, blog pots, etc.

 2) A Content-First strategy saves time. A Content-First strategy is equivalent to efficiency. In other words, the website will be finished on time. Because you prioritized content first, gathering the assets from the client and determining their value to the site will be easier, especially if optimization is also a priority. Less time will be spent on design iteration because the designer and their client have already discussed major factors while working on the content. Additionally, it will be easier to deliver design mockups that conform to the vision or goals of the project.

3) Since the Content-First strategy saves time, the client also saves on both administrative and development costs. Knowing the content up front helps prevent change-orders towards the end, which always increase costs.

4) Communicating with the target audience will be easier because content is the central focus. This means more clarity in emphasizing the functions and goals of the website. Visitors are there for the content, sure, the design has to be great, but dazzling them with the design or style and other “special effects” will often drive the attention away from the content.

5) Great content helps build a good online reputation. Branding is more than just a logo, your content is a just as important part of your brand. A good reputation also means credibility and influence, which also translates to more visitors and more returning customers. Thus, with high quality and relevant content, your business’s website will be trusted by many.

6) Work will follow a more consistent flow. Who doesn’t want a project to go smoother and be turned around more quickly? It’s a win-win!

7) Lastly, when you work with a Content-First strategy, you also prioritize the audience (aside from the product or the business) because you focus on what they need and want. Remember, people go to websites to find content that matters – make sure yours is a valuable as possible.

So, if you’re ready to use the Content-First strategy, you have a few main options. You can write the content yourself and provide it to your design team, you can hire a professional copywriter, or, if you’re working with a full service agency (hey that’s us!!!), they will often offer professional copywriting and/or content strategy services. If they do, they should have someone on staff dedicated to doing just that. Regardless of the path you choose, make sure you are working with someone who’s great at writing, editing, and most importantly: understanding your business and your customers. Oh, and don’t worry about getting it 100% before development – you can cross the t’s and dot the i’s later via your CMS.

To make sure that things work out as they should, we often spend a lot of time with our clients to help map out and and explain the process with them. By clearly defining all everything that needs to be done, and getting the main content done first, the web design and development process will be far more productive and harmonious.

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Over 50% of all E-Commerce Traffic is on Mobile Devices. Make Sure Your Site is Responsive!

Responsive E-commerce

The success of an e-commerce website depends greatly on how it satisfies online shoppers. As such and as always, customers’ needs should be the number one priority. Nowadays, the majority of online shoppers prefer websites that they can easily access and use through their mobile phones.

According to Shopify, more than 50% of all e-commerce traffic now comes from mobile devices (smart phones and tablets). What this means is that people – especially consumers – are relying more and more on mobile devices for their information and shopping needs.

The bottom line is that a website is going to make more sales if the site makes it easy for customers to find products, and checkout on a mobile device. If it’s not optimized for mobile, customers will undoubtedly get frustrated more times than not, and bail out without making a purchase. A website with a responsive design is one that offers shoppers optimal viewing experience. All the major elements of the site – content, business logic and features – are basically the same. The only difference is that the buttons, text size, and structure of grids, among others, are made adaptable to mobile devices. Websites like these can be accessed by any device, across different platforms. This will eliminate the need to create different websites for a variety of mobile devices.

More reasons why e-commerce websites should go responsive

Aside from the above mentioned facts, there are other reasons why turning responsive and designing an e-commerce website for the most optimal use are the way to go.

  • Almost all consumers have smartphones. And they all spend a lot of time on their devices, no matter where they are. They bring their smartphones with them wherever they go, anytime of the day. With a responsive e-commerce website, people can shop anytime, anywhere; whenever the urge to buy something hits them. For example, a working mom is on her way home from a tiring day in the office. As she nears the house, she remembers that she needed to buy some milk for tomorrow’s breakfast. Instead of going to the grocery store, she gets on her smartphone and looks for an e-commerce site selling and delivering milk. As soon as she finds one, she places her order and pays online. She goes straight home to rest and relax – and be with her family.
  • A Google survey completed in 2012 proves that a mobile-friendly e-commerce website encourages more people to buy. And that was 2012 – it’s 2014! Aside from converting visitors to buyers, a responsive website will also persuade consumers to keep returning to the site. Obviously, this will ultimately translate to more sales and increased productivity.
  • In relation to what was mentioned earlier, e-commerce websites will want to jump on the bandwagon and take advantage of the popularity of mobile devices over desktops. More and more people are using their smartphones and tablets for performing daily tasks. So, e-commerce websites should go with the flow and improve its consumer and commercial potential.

The most mobile-responsive e-commerce platform

For companies and online sellers looking for the best mobile-responsive e-commerce platform, the best option is to choose Shopify.

Founded in 2006, Shopify is a user-friendly platform for online shops. Retailers can easily run their own online store without worrying about things like technical skills and over-the-roof expenses. It is an all-in-one platform that retailers can use for practically anything they need in managing their business. It is perfect for building responsive e-commerce websites because it allows design customization and offers a fully-responsive checkout.

Shopify’s first store was its own, but now it has over 120,000 active online stores.

So, for an e-commerce website to fulfill its goal, the next best step to take is to go responsive to avoid leaving potential sales on the table.

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What is User Experience (UX) Design? Here’s an Overview.

I bet you’ve heard the terms “UX Design” and “User-Experience Design” thrown around quite regularly lately when it comes to websites, apps and more. Well, so have we, and that’s all good and fine (we’re huge proponents of good UX design), except for the part where most of the so-called “UX Designers” barely understand what it is, let alone actually specialize in it. So, here’s the rundown!

UX Design Definition and History Explained.

The term “user experience”, a.k.a. UX, was first used in the 1990s by Donald “Don” Norman, who was then the Vice President of Apple Computer’s Advanced Technology Group. Although it is defined in different ways, UX links the over-all experience of the user and the system (which can be a website, desktop software or a web application). Some simply describe UX as human-computer interaction. Others refer to it as the total experience of a user visiting a website.

The UXPA or User Experience Professionals Association, however, defines user experience as “Every aspect of the user’s interaction with a product, service, or company that make up the user’s perceptions of the whole. User experience design as a discipline is concerned with all the elements that together make up that interface, including layout, visual design, text, brand, sound, and interaction. UE works to coordinate these elements to allow for the best possible interaction by users”. Therefore, it is an important aspect of product development and customer satisfaction.

Valuable user experience design elements or disciplines

According to user design experience professional Peter Boersma, information architecture helps shape user experience for websites. Additionally, he views UX as an umbrella consisting of related disciplines. As such, he came up with a diagram (The T-model) that enumerated the elements or disciplines needed for efficient user experience design. Boersma’s illustration defined Interaction Design, Usability Engineering, and Computer Science, Information Architecture, Visual Design Marketing & Communications, Information Design, and Copywriting as the key disciplines needed in coming up with the ideal UX design.

If adjusted to today’s technology level, Boersma’s UX focus is summed up into the following core disciplines:

  • Content
  • Usability
  • Research
  • Interaction Design
  • Information Architecture
  • Visual Design

Therefore, to create a UX design that answers visitors’ needs, a user experience professional (labeled as “UX designer”) should deeply understand and know how to balance the above mentioned disciplines. A UX designer focuses on a website’s ease of use, efficiency, process (particularly for e-commerce sites), utility, content, accessibility, and even sub-systems & processes. Every aspect of a website should go “under the nose” of the UX designer.

The importance of user experience

When browsing through or visiting a website, users will want everything to work according to his expectations. We will want the pages to open as soon as the mouse clicks. We will want a visual experience that pleases the senses. We will want content that he can use or benefit from. We will want to find the information he needs without having to go through numerous steps. In short, we will want a pleasant experience.

Generally, a website with good user experience design will result to a high level of customer satisfaction. Thus, the site will get more views and visits. E-commerce websites offering the ideal user experience will enjoy more profit; customers will keep coming back to the site and buying its products/services. Even visitors who originally planned to just browse through the website will often end up purchasing the offerings.

The ideal user experience design varies for each website. There is no such thing as “one size fits all” in UX design. Everything will depend on the website, what it needs and what it intends to achieve. The ideal user experience design should be tailored or patterned to the site’s values, goals and products.

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One of the best Ways to Google’s Heart? Fresh content!

If you haven’t been quite successful in getting Google to notice your website, cheer up because you’re not alone!

Ever since Google came out with new algorithms and introduced Hummingbird to the public, a lot of online marketers, web developers and website owners have shifted a major bulk of their attention to one element: content. Yes, content matters now more than ever if you want Google to be your best friend. Content still matters if you want to improve your website’s search engine ranking. Content matters a lot in search engine optimization.

What types of content?

You can publish blog posts, articles, infographics, tutorials, memes, vlogs (video blogs), podcasts; among others. When posting non-text content, such as infographics and videos, make sure to include a description or accompanying text with it. For instance, when your content is a video tutorial on how to knit, include its transcripts. You can also put a summary or short how-to. This way, people with slow Internet connection or those that don’t want to spend too much time watching your video will know what your content is all about.

Not just plain content but fresh content

What Google actually favors is not just plain content, but original and fresh content. Hummingbird is the type of bird that favors precision, and this is exactly what Google is looking for, too. This is something you can get only if your website is constantly updated with useful and informative content.

When we talk about fresh content, we talk about content that is up-to-date, useful and relevant. Content that matters. In other words, if you are to keep your website’s content fresh, you should frequently update it. The more frequent you update your content, the better for Google to find it. This is the reason why a webpage that was developed just two days ago will get a higher fresh content rating compared to one that was created some months ago. In other words, don’t allow your content to remain stagnant.

If you are to attract Google, the first thing that you should do is schedule a regular update for your content. It’s simple. All you need to do is decide how frequently you update your website. Some post every two days, while others do so every other day. It’s really all up to you. Although there’s no required number of posts or articles you should do, we advice that you should update at least once a week. You’ll have to do a little experiment and some web analytics to find out which one will work best for your website.

Share and promote them through social media and forums

And it helps a lot if you know how to share your fresh content through social media. So once you’re done publishing your blog, share or promote your article through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and / or Pinterest. If you want to go deep, share your content to online communities or forums. These portals should be related to your business, service or offered product. If your content and business is about flower arrangement, don’t share to online forums that talk about computers or motorcycles.

Social media and online communities will help generate buzz. If you decide to update again after two days, the buzz will continue and your online presence will stay active. If there’s a lull in your website’s action, there will also be a pause in its traffic.

Remember, however, to make your content unique and original. Otherwise, Google won’t consider even just looking at your site.

Are rewriting and rephrasing articles from other websites recommended?

Basically, rewriting and rephrasing the content of others is an unethical content marketing strategy. Your articles or blog posts will not be considered as fresh and original. However, there are some exceptions. If you’re writing tutorials and scientific content, rewriting and rephrasing are allowed. This is because these types of content are highly methodical. They’re too technical and its information can only come from a single source. This is where you should apply proper citation. Link or hyperlink the sources of your information. Images and videos should also be attributed to their owners.

Tip: If you’re hiring a freelance writer or ghostwriter, before publishing the content to your website, scan them first using Copyscape. This online tool checks your article or blog post for plagiarized content.

What to do?

There are three things that you need to teach yourself if you are to keep your content fresh and original. First is patience. You’ll need a lot of patience in planning out how you should do things. You probably won’t get your plans right the first time; but if you stay patient and keep trying, you’ll be greatly rewarded.

Next, you’ll need a good strategy. How do you plan to regularly update your website? How often will you post fresh, original and high quality content? Are you going to use social media to generate content feedback? Are you going to write all the content yourself or will you hire a ghostwriter? These are questions that will help you come up with the best strategy for regularly posting fresh content that matters.

Finally, you should exert the right amount of effort and perseverance if you want to win your way to Google’s heart. SEO is not – and never will be – an overnight success kind of thing. You’ll have to work hard to get what you want. Don’t give up if your content doesn’t get Google to like you the first time. Just go on and keep doing better. After all, when you keep trying, there’s no way for you to lose.


The most important thing to remember is that content will be your website’s best marketing strategy. Since search engine marketing and SEO begun, content was almost always the basis for ranking websites. But keep in mind to not just post a content because you need to update your website. Post only content that is relevant and original. Don’t copy-paste or simply rehash old articles. They don’t count as fresh and original. Just let your creative juices flow and you’ll never go wrong!

Photo courtesy of Tony Ruscoe.

Posted in Blogging, Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

How to Write An RFP for a Website Design or Development Project


Website design or development projects come in many different sizes. Some are simple, and some are more complex. Regardless of what type of web design a client wants, it is important that the designer and the client agree on how to work towards fulfilling the requirements, needs and expectations of both parties.

This can be done by coming up with a good RFP or Request for Proposal for website design or development. The RFP contains all the information about what the client’s goals are. Thus, the RFP must be well conceptualized and well made in order to get the most accurate results. With a good RFP, you and your website designer will be able to come up with an agreement or proposal to make sure the website project is a success.

A Request for Proposal can be formal or informal. You don’t need a lawyer or an advanced knowledge & training in website development to make an RFP.

Most of the time, it is the client who prepares the RFP, although some designers also have forms that are given out to customers. Some of the basic information you can find in an RFP are font style, website format and deadlines for deliverables. The details indicated in the RFP are what will help a designer draw an estimate cost for the project.

There may not be a template or a permanent format for RFPs, but there are essential elements that each must possess. These elements will help your designer prepare a good web design RFP.

The most important elements in an RFP

  • An overview of your company is important. In the most concise manner, describe what your company is, what it does, how big the company is and even what the company’s mission and vision are.
  • An overview of what needs to be done to complete the project is likewise essential. Tell your designer – in definite terms – what you need, what you want for the website, how should it function, what features or webpages should be prominently displayed, etc. Use words that are easy to understand. Don’t be too technical.
  • Why are you looking for a web designer? Do you have a website that needs to be updated? Or are you in need of one (a new website created from scratch)? Or maybe you are not satisfied with the performance of your current website? Your objectives should be clear so that the designer will know what kind of results you want? Is the website for a new project or product? Or are you expanding your business?
  • The project details should be what it should be: detailed. The amount of information that you indicate will help the designer come up with a more accurate quote. For example, what are the technical requirements? Will you need a new domain name? How many pages and what type of layout do you want?
  • What are your usability requirements? You need to indicate this in the RFP as well.
  • In addition, it is essential to specify what you want from your website. What do you want it to do for your company? Which features and functionalities do you want to see on your website?
  • Information, like your company logo and the images you want on the website, are likewise important. If you already have your own logo, specify it in the RFP. If you want one made for you, be sure to specify it, too. Also, indicate if you will need web hosting, content and SEO services.
  • Do you have a specific deadline for the website design (first draft, second draft and final design)? Letting your designer know what your time frame is will allow them to work on their schedules, too. Let’s face it, you’re not the only one who needs their services. Additionally, if you have a flexible time frame, inform your designer as well.
  • If you want to get the results that you desire, you need to give your web designer a definite budget – or a budget range. Let them know how much you are willing to spend and if you can provide additional cash in case it is needed. Don’t be afraid to specify your exact budget on the RPF. An RPF is not an introductory or minute thing. It is what you need in order to find the best designer for your website design or development.
  • Know and specify who your target audience is as this will help your designer come up with a design that’s specifically made for them. Let the designer know whose attention you want to capture. Who do you want to see your website? Who do you envision visiting and using it a lot? Letting the designer know what you think your target audience will want to see can help them come up with an effective and efficient design that will satisfy your target audience’s needs and expectations.
  • To help your designer visualize what you want for your website, don’t just describe things in writing. Find a way to give them a “clearer picture” of your vision. You can do this by searching for designs that are similar to what you like. Then give your designer the links to these designs. Be sure to include notes or side comments so the designer will have an idea of which elements in the samples you really prefer.

Finally, do not forget to include your company’s contact details (email or snail mail address, telephone number, social media accounts, etc). Be sure to also indicate who the designer’s main point of contact will be. It can either be you or someone in the company who’s in-charge of marketing – or both.

It can also be very important for you and the web designer to sit down and talk. You should be given the chance to ask questions, while the designer should have the opportunity to present their plans for the website.  You should always ask the designer to show you samples of their work.


An RFP should be made to fit the specific needs of a website, so you have to work on it like it was your baby. Your RFP should be easy to understand and as accurate as possible. Be sure to include all the necessary details you want. By coming up with a concrete, brief but concise RFP, you’ll get the results you desire.

Photo courtesy of searchresultsmedia.

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What is Responsive Web Design? Check out our Video.

The majority of the websites we design today are “mobile responsive.” We’ve found that it can sometimes be difficult to explain responsive functionality to clients. Please see our video on what responsive design is, how it works and why it will benefit you. If you have any questions, or are interested in a responsive website? Contact us.

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Understanding Parallax Style Website Design and How it Works

Every time something new is introduced, like a word or title, people often misunderstand it. Parallax, for example, is not a new disease or some sort of medication. It’s a style used for designing websites and it’s not an entirely new idea. In fact, the parallax effect has been around for years. Since the 1980s, it has played a role in video gaming. Moreover, animators have been using the parallax effect since the 1940s.

Using parallax for designing websites, however, is a new concept.

What is Parallax?

Parallax is a word that means “alteration” in Greek (parallaxis). In web designing, its concept was derived from the effects created by 2D video games. These games had an illusion of depth as a result of the background image’s different movement speeds. So when gamers play, they see a background that looks really far away.

In website designing, parallax is used to create visual effects. The site’s background moves at a different speed; at a speed slower than the foreground. This is what produces stunning effects, which allow for more creative freedom, especially for websites that sell products, services and ideas.

In simpler terms, a parallax scrolling website design involves the changing or moving of background images on a site. So when someone scrolls through the website, the user has the illusion that he or she moves along with the website.

What are the Benefits of Parallax Scrolling?

Using the parallax concept and design opens up many opportunities for websites.

  • With the creativity and uniqueness of the site, more visitors will stay longer and browse through all the site’s page/s. Bounce rate decreases.
  • Website becomes more visually appealing and engaging. More and more users will become curious and will eventually check out what more the site can offer.
  • Because of dynamic, interactive viewing capacity, user experience becomes better and website credibility increases.
  • Parallax scrolling is creativity at its finest. Users and visitors will be more compelled to check out and go through the site’s content.
  • Parallax makes it easier to encourage call to action.
  • The “wow!” factor: Because of the quality of animation and illusion of depth, users and visitors will find the website more appealing.

How to Use Parallax for Designing Websites

Parallax scrolling can be used in website design through the following methods:

  • The Layer Method: Layering or using more than one layer for the background and foreground elements. The multiple background layers can be independently scrolled in two directions: vertical and horizontal. Once a game changes the positions of the layers, it creates a parallax effect.
  • The sprite method: Creating a single image by combining images in pseudo-layers of sprites (2D images).
  • The raster method: An image’s lines of pixels are composited and refreshed starting from the top, down to the bottom.
  • The repeating pattern or animation method: Individual tiles come out as “floating” over a background layer that repeats. This is done by animating the bitmaps of the individual tiles.

Most websites use these methods along with CSS3, jQuery, HTML5, JavaScript, and of course, graphics design to create the parallax effect.

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