"Where we discuss various web design topics related to Joomla design and web design in general. Please join this discussion and tell us what you think!"
For a new modern website a Content Management System (CMS) is a must. A website CMS allows you to update content on your website without knowing HTML, CSS, PHP or any other web design elements. You can access your website via your browser and update its contents the way you work with your Gmail or Yahoo or Hotmail accounts.
What most clients ask for is a CMS recommendation for their future website. Expert opinion is highly sought after because most marketing folks do not have first-hand experience with more than one CMS.
Our approach to any task is simple and always the same: provide the best quality at the best prices and make things work well in the long-term with minimum effort. Our approach ensures that future scalability of features and functionalities as well as support is easily attainable and that a website’s future is as “predictable” and scalable as possible. These were the reasons why we decided to specialize in open-source software in general, and Joomla CMS in particular.
There are many open-source Content Management Systems (CMSs) for websites, but the two leaders nowadays are Joomla and Drupal, with WordPress still being predominantly used as a bloging platform. There is also a rising use of Sharepoint as a website CMS.
In our view, Sharepoint is not an appropriate CMS to build websites. Sharepoint was designed to be an Intranet document management system and when used for websites it presents a very high learning curve for users. Furthermore, Sharepoint requires the skills of an Architect and Business Analyst to set up a proper infrastructure – and this adds cost to the total cost of ownership (TOC) of the project. Customization of visual skins (web templates) via Sharepoint requires more programming time as well. Overall, while any software can be adapted to do whatever is necessary, and so can Sharepoint be adapted to build websites, we do not recommend "forcing" software to do what it was not meant to do and hence, we do not recommend Sharepoint as a website CMS.
WordPress was designed to be a blogging platform for simple websites. While its functionalities have been improving greatly and may one day become on par with Joomla and Drupal, as of now, it is safer to avoid using WordPress if more than static content is required and if scalability is important.
Improvements in WordPress require changes to its core, and hence, when version upgrades are implemented, existing components often break.
The interface, while being famously simple, often becomes confusing when various functionalities are added into the site. The blogging features are always on the way. A lot of "simple" management ends up being done at the code level.
WordPress requires little training time, but in the long-term, its total cost of ownership is on par with Sharepoint. The available out-of-the-box extensions are numerous, but their features are not as granular and always require manual programming and customization even for very simple things. We speculate that this is, perhaps, the main reason why so many web designers push WordPress to their clients – more customization generates more revenue for them.
Drupal is one of the best open-source website CMSs. It competes head to head with Joomla in all key areas: performance, speed, security, maturity, quality of extensions, etc. Even the infamous “difficult” user interface and admin flow of Drupal is gradually improving and might soon become history.
However, compared to Joomla, Drupal’s total cost of ownership is significantly higher. Drupal developers are also more expensive, 15-20% more expensive than Joomla developers, when all costs are factored in. Furthermore, quality of available templates is much lower and the development community is much smaller than that of Joomla. The number of extensions is also not as vast and as a result more specialized knowledge is required to source the right set of components and plugins to enable specific set of features and functionalities and ensure scalability for the future.
With Joomla, one can type a question in Google and find the answer to it with a screen shot illustrating every step within seconds! Not so with Drupal, hence support needs to be purchased more often and even small tasks will require more time to learn and implement. In other words, the learning curve is rather high with Drupal and, again, more training and support will be required in the long term.
Overall, Drupal is a great CMS but the total cost of ownership as well as the still-not-so-easy management makes it less attractive than its main competitor Joomla.
As of 2012, Joomla is officially considered the most popular open-source CMS. It is also the fastest growing one. Over 15 years old, Joomla is very mature and stable. It has the largest and strongest design community, offers the best templates, and the largest number of quality third-party extensions that often require no customization at all – all of which together allows for a fast development, cost-effective scalability, and minimum support.
Joomla has no technical or usability disadvantages if compared to any other CMS, and yet it offers the lowest cost of ownership the long-term. This is the main reason why we selected Joomla for our web development projects.
The learning curve for new users is minimum. Training can be conducted in a swift and efficient way and usually takes 60 min or less. The maintenance level (SLA) required to support even large complex sites is usually one of the lowest.
We believe that Joomla is the best choice for 90% of websites. It offers the highest quality and the safest implementation of all types of requirements, even some very complex ones, and yet it bears no compromises in any aspect of a web design and development project. Joomla is exceptionally powerful, scalable and yet easy to use, and its total cost of ownership is the lowest.
Below is a CMS comparison table that summarizes the information we presented in this section. Note that rating is on the scale from 1 to 10 wherein:
Note that for some items, such as, frequency of upgrades required, for example, more stars means better performance, which means "upgrades required less often". Likewise, for the architectural design skills item, fewer stars means worse performance, which means "more architectural design skills are required, hence higher costs".
Love it or hate it, but you can't deny that it's there. The single page web design is the most noticeable trend of 2016.
When we ask our clients what website designs they like they send us samples of the sites that all have a few things in common:
Take a look at some of the examples that illustrate this web design trend:
As with everything, there are pluses and minuses of this web design trend.
When selecting a web design agency for your website project, apart from looking at their portfolio and reviewing their client testimonials, the following ten topics are a must to include in your checklist:
If you are considering a new Joomla website or converting your old website into a Joomla website, start with finding out whether your current hosting provider supports Joomla properly. Joomla runs best on the *nix apache type of servers (not Windows apache), Linux apache is often the best choice if you are getting a Joomla-driven website.
Most hosting companies say that they "support Joomla", but in reality they often support only "plan vanilla" Joomla but for more advanced requirements they implement "work-arounds" or don't support them at all. Some advanced Joomla security components do not run well on these servers. In theory, you can add plugins and customize configuration on any server to get it all working, but in practice - it results in endless communication, hosting support folks are not always knowledgeable, and in some cases, additional tweaks destabilize the site and can even break it.
It is best to do things in the right way right from the start. Get a Linux apache server to host your Joomla websites.
To be sure, please review the official Joomla Technical Requirements page.
It is somewhat counterintuitive to accept the fact that open-source web content management systems (CMS) or other open-source projects, for that matter, are actually of higher quality than their commercial counterparts. There are several reasons behind this phenomenon, representing a peculiar mix of social and technical factors.
A prototype of a website, for our purposes, is a draft version of a website hosted live (what is called a high-fidelity prototyping). It usually consists of three pages: home, second page, and contact page. Images are placeholders and most information is presented as a "concept".
Building a website prototype can be done at any stage of the project, but we build prototypes as soon as the discovery stage has been completed. Building a prototype very early in the project offers many advantages:
Those are the main advantages of creating a high-fidelity website prototype early in the project. There are, of course, some disadvantages - but only for developers, none for the clients. The main disadvantages for developers of a live website prototype include the following:
But overall, whatever the differences in opinions or tastes - clients have the final say. As long as clients are happy with the development process and the final results, the project can be considered a success. Client satisfaction is the ultimate measure of success. Our own opinion is just that - an opinion.
Having completed the site's development prototype stage and received approval from the client, it is important to proceed with certain Quality Assurance (QA) check points in mind. Working "backwards" this way ensures a higher quality of the final website.
Needless to say, upon completion of the website design, the first round of testing should check off the following points:
Please note that the website QA check list below, while applicable to all types of websites, applies to Joomla websites design primarily.
It is a well-known fact that websites that have a Content Management System (CMS) load slower than those that don't have a CMS. Simply because there is more things to load, a lot more. But that should not sway you away from having a CMS, especially a CMS like Joomla. So here are a few simple techniques that you or your web designer can implement to significantly speed up your Joomla website.
Planning on undertaking a website design or website redesign project? Allow us to present the ultimate website redesign checklist.
There are standard web design practices that are the norm in modern web design. However, in real life organizations often rely on opinions of individual team members who often have limited experience and lack formal training. If you'd like to discuss your website design or redesign project, call Joomla Bliss at 613.231.6308
Your website is representative of your business, its reputation and even credibility. When getting ready to build a website, consider the following factors:
You need to enrol in Google AdWords; you need to create custom landing pages for each ad group (one per each ad group, keep them orphan)
You need to collect your website statistics and analyze it on a regular basis (Google Analytics is a must; remember to set goals)
In summary, you need to be constantly creating content: on your website's blog and on the leading social sites, as well as posting comments on forums and blogs with links back to your site where possible. The key is to create meanignful and useful content for your visitors and for the general public; re-writing your press releases and posting them on all social sites will be counter productive.
Above all, you need to entice your users to clicking on Social Media buttons: "like" and "plus" and "share" your pages as well as posting comments on your site. Those comments should ideally contain your most important keywords. Comments are key. Simply clicking the buttons is not enough, or you need hundreds of those clicks. But comments, if you can get 40 social media "likes" with keyword-relevant comments, you site will move up in ranking on Google very significantly. Being on the first page on Google will drive traffic to your site. Your next objective is to retain this traffic by earning its interest.
If you'd like to talk about your website marketing objectives call Joomla Bliss at 613.231.6308
When selecting a Content Management System (CMS) for your website, consider the following:
If you answer 'Yes' to 5 of any of these questions, your choice of a CMS should be Joomla. If your website is largely driven by a blog or simple text - it is safe to select WordPress. If you answer 'Yes' with an strong emphasis to question #2 - select Drupal or Magento.
One of the benefits of selecting Joomla for your website back-end administration is ability to chose from over 8000 third party Joomla off-the-shelf components and plugins. A Using quality extensions a Joomla developer can "assemble" a highly complex and sophisticated site in a matter of days. Customizing the flow and adding granularity to the features can be later enhanced and completed in phases, adjusting the requirements to real user behqaviour.
Whatever you do, make sure to test drive your CMS. Do not solely rely on sales presentations or word of advice. Consider the following CMS comparison article. And if you are still uncertain and would like to talk to us about a website CMS, call Joomla Bliss at 613.231.6308.
There is a long discussion going on about which one of the three leading open-source web content management systems (CMS) is better: Joomla, Drupal or Wordpress. Here is our view on the topic.
Season's Greetings from Joomla Bliss in Ottawa!
The Joomla Development Team has just released Joomla version 3.4.8! Unlike the last few patches which are more urgent, this is mainly a bug-fix patch, so the team agreed that this can wait until after the holidays :) We do recommmended every one to update to 3.4.8 as soon as they can though, just to stay up-to-date.
You can update your site in your Joomla! admin panel or download the packages on the Joomla! site.
If you need any assistances with Joomla design upgrades or need to restore a hacked Joomla website, we at Joomla Bliss are happy to help. Just give us a call!
Hi from Joomla Bliss web design firm in Ottawa,
The Joomla! Development Team has just released version 3.4.7! This is a security patch that, as before, requires immediate attention, but only for a smaller target group. The fix this time follows up on the 3.4.6 fix, and patch a vulnerability on Joomla websites that are running on the older PHP 5.3. It is recommmended every one updates to 3.4.7 though, just to stay up-to-date.
Version 3.4.7 only contains security-related fixes, so in general, it shouldn't affect templates or frontend experience.
If you are using Joomla! 3 (which we recommend all our clients do, as Joomla 1.5 and J2 are no longer supported), you can update your site in your Joomla admin panel, or download the packages on the Joomla! site. Since Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 2 are no longer officially supported, you will have to download the hotfix here, then apply the patch manually.
If you need any assistances with Joomla! upgrades or need to restore a hacked Joomla website, we at Joomla Bliss are ready to help you. Give us a call!
Hi from Ottawa,
Designing websites is always fun, but it is also important to stay abreast web design industry news. The Joomla! Development Team has just released version 3.4.6! Like Joomla 3.4.5, this is a security-only patch. This time around, the vulnerability discovered affects even broader - anyone using Joomla 1.5, 2.X and 3.X for their websites, are at risk of being compromised, and need to update immediately.
Version 3.4.6 only contains security-related fixes, so in general, it shouldn't affect templates or frontend experience.
If you are using Joomla! 3 (which we recommend to all our clients, because J1.5 and J2 are no longer supported), you can update your site in your Joomla! admin panel, or download the packages on the Joomla! site. Since Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 2 are no longer officially supported, you will have to download the hotfix here, then apply the patch manually.
If you need any assistances with Joomla upgrades or need to restore a hacked Joomla site, we at Joomla Bliss are ready to help you. Give us a call!
Hello from Joomla Bliss, a web design agency in Ottawa
This post is a review of one of our favourite website template providers Rockettheme. The company is based in Denver, Colorado and run by a team of experienced web designers and developers. They build templates for Joomla, Worpress and Magento.
We love them almost as much as we love Joomlart. Their website templates come loaded useful extensions and neat modules. And their templates are very well suited for any type of business in any country.
They stay in synch with times and add new templates often. Rocketheme has a vast network of partners who offer signigicant discounts on their products via Rocketthem
The prices are very reasonable in the web design industry. We love how clean their code it, how scalable it is and how rich with extensions their website templates are.
If you are interested in finding out more, contact Joomla Bliss via this site or give us a call at 613.231.6308.
Hi from Ottawa,
Designing websites and following industry news here, which we want to share with you. The Joomla! Development Team has just released version 3.4.5! This is a very important security patch, everyone using Joomla 3 for their websites need to upgrade immediately. The security holes in question exist in the Joomla! core codes, meaning every unpatched Joomla! 3 website, regardless of setup and configurations, are at risk of being compromised. Publishing the patch and security vulnerabilties on the web would also have the undesirable side-effect of making the exploit more well-known - so it is imperative that everyone update asap.
Version 3.4.5 only contains security-related fixes, so in general, it shouldn't affect templates or frontend experience.
You can update your site in your Joomla admin panel, or download the packages on the Joomla! site.
If you need any assistances with Joomla upgrades or need to restore compromised Joomla site, we at Joomla Bliss are ready to help you. Give us a call!
Hi from Joomla Bliss, a web design agency in Ottawa
This post is a review of one of our favourite website template designers Yootheme. The company is based in Hamburg, Germany and run by a team of young designers and developers. They build their templates using Warp framework .
We like their style. Their website templates come loaded with a suite of neat widgets. We find that for North American business environment their templates are best suited for small businesses and consultants, and not for medium or large corporations.
They stay in synch with times and add new templates often. The demo site is very easy to use, each site comes in several color schemes. Their website templates are designed for Joomla and Wordpress.
The prices are higher than average and the Euro conversion makes their templates adn subscription almost double of those of Rockettheme or Joomlart.
If you are interested in finding out more, contact Joomla Bliss via this site or give us a call at 613.231.6308.
Greetings from Joomla Bliss, a web design agency in Ottawa
This post is a review of our favourite website template provider Joomlart. The company is 11 years old, which is very old for web businesses; it is based in Vietnam and run by a team of young web designers and developers. They build their templates using powerful T3 framework.
We like their style. Their website templates come loaded useful extensions and neat modules. We find that Joomlart's templates are very well suited for North American businesses of any size as well as for individual owners and consultants.
They stay in synch with times and add new templates often. The demo site is very easy to use, each site comes in several color schemes. They also develop templates for Magento as well, which is a very good engine for ecommerce sites. The extension suite that they offer for sale is of exceptionally high quality. It is a one-stop place for any online business. We can assemble some of the most complicated business models for under $1000 using Joomlart's tempates and extensions.
Recently Joomlart began to offer templates for Wordpress as well.
The prices are very reasonable and probably the best in the web design industry. We love how clean their code it, how scalable it is and how rich with extensions their website templates are.
If you are interested in finding out more, contact Joomla Bliss via this site or give us a call at 613.231.6308.
Many website hosting companies claim to support Joomla, but in reality they only support a plain vanilla version of Joomla, so when you add third-party components and extensions to your website to enable more complex features, it often happens that server configurations are not set up to support those advanced components properly.
When selecting a hosting company for your Joomla website, go for a specialized hosting companies like Rochen and Hostgator. Rochen is the official Joomla hosting company. They own their data centers. Hostgator is known to offer very good support and they own their own data centers as well. There are also companies like Cloudaccess and Hostpapa, but we can't vouch for them personally. Hostpapa is a reseller company, they don't own their data centers. We can't say much about Cloudaccess. Their packages seem very good but when we sent them an email inquiry, there was no reply, which is not a good sign for a hosting company. If they don't reply to a sales enquiry, then we don't have much hope for their support.
In any case, at the very minimum, check that your hosting provider offers the following:
Moving to a new hosting company is very troublesome. So before you make your decision about where to host your Joomla website, please review our detailed Joomla hosting requirement page as well as the official Joomla's technical requirements page.
The 3.4 release introduces new features into the CMS such as improved front end module editing, decoupling of weblinks, composer integration, Google new reCaptcha and security improvements by implementing UploadShield code which can detect most malicious uploads by examining their filenames and file contents.
This release was possible thanks to a hard work of over 130 different volunteer contributors.
Over 700 bugs have also been resolved with the 3.4 release of the Joomla! CMS.
December 31, 2014 is the last day of Joomla 2.5. It is the official End of Life for this version.
Though 2.5 may have had what felt like a rushed lifetime, in many ways it leaves behind its own legacy. It helped the Joomla project to demonstrate its ability to grow quickly and produce a stable product along the way, demonstrated that the Joomla! team has taken steps to improve an already fantastic platform even further, and in many ways has served as an effective bridge between two releases which will have truly lengthy lifetimes with focuses on long term support and stability.
If you are running an earlier release of the current version (for example, you are running 2.5.1 and the current version is 2.5.6), you should upgrade to the current version. Each minor release fixes a number of bugs and/or security issues. It is always good practice to upgrade to the latest maintenance version as a first step in troubleshooting a problem and fixing any newly discovered security issues.
Download the latest Joomla version or call us for help at 613-2316308.
With each new version Joomla is getting easier and easier to use, so if you are wondering if the upgrade is worth it, the answer is definitely a big YES, especially if you are still using oldies like 1.5 or 1.7. Those versions are no longer supported officially (no security patches or big fixes are issued), and while your site can still work perfectly if you are not adding any new functionalities to it and only adding text and images – any new feature added, as small as RSS or a photo gallery, and you run a security risk. Plus, many plugins and components no longer run on the old versions. So, again, if your site is very simple and you are not adding any features to it, you can run your Joomla 1.5. version indefinitely. But if you plan on adding something functional to it, then you are running the risk of seeing the teeth of software security and compatibility.
Every two years, one of the leading web marketing firms and tool developer Moz produces results of their survey on search ranking factors. Below are their findings. Note that it is not clear how exactly they estimate the values and the total points, but in general, their guidelines are valuable.
Every web marketer uses their own tools, but there is a list of tools that all marketers use or at least are familiar with. Moz published the results of their 2012 survey on the status of SEO and web marketing industry. These results are very useful, especially if you are just starting with SEO and website marketing and looking for some benchmarks.
Below is the Moz list of the most important website marketing tools by category and by percentage of respondents (out of 1600 respondents in total, if we are not mistaken). Joomla Bliss in Ottawa adds one category to this list at the very end.
Google and other search engines include Twitter profiles and messages in their search results. Search engines use "signals", such as the number of social media shares of a link, to determine how that link ranks for a given keyword. This is now called a "social search".
It is official. Social media matters now more than ever. it matters for SEO and it matters for Marketing in general. You've got to get on top it.
This post concisely describes how to use Twitter for website marketing and SEO. We explain how to use your Twitter smartly to get higher ranking for your website on Google and other search engines.
If we could tell you one thing and one thing only about how to use Twitter and social media in general to get higher ranking of your corporate website on Google and other search engines, this will be the following: "Create and tweet/retweet only highly useful and valuable content". If you don't have time to learn or do anything else, applying this rule alone will eventually generate a social following for you and will establish you as a thought leader in your field. If you'd like to do more, here are 13 quick and easy tips you can employ:
We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Client Support Portal. The support portal allows our clients submit and trace all technical support issues related to their websites. The new support portal offers an ability to quickly view submitted requests, trace their status, add attachments, and comment on follow up actions. The support portal sends automated email notifications and reminders, providing an added convenience of hands-free project management.
The Joomla Bliss Support Portal currently includes the following features:
Software as a Service (SaaS) is the term that has gone mainstream in the last two years. SaaS is a delivery model for software needs. Essentially, it is "renting" or "leasing" parts or all of your IT infrastructure: servers, email, software applications for accounting, document management, etc. etc.
While we don't dispute the fact that in certain situations renting or leasing can be the right decision, it certainly does not fit all businesses all the time. And yet - this is where everyone is going, and going fast.
According to report published by ZDNet magazine, in March last year, Gartner forecast that worldwide SaaS revenue would reach $14.5 billion in 2012 — a 17.9% increase over 2011's $12.5bn. This healthy growth rate is set to continue, according to the research company, which predicts a $22.1bn SaaS market in 2015.
In this post we attempt to swim against the current and argue that SaaS is a poor business model for a large number of businesses. As the first step, let us take a look at the main pros and cons that are typically assigned to SaaS.
Social Media Marketing (SMM) campaigns can have different goals, i.e. increase awareness, drive traffic, drive user registration, prompt sales, etc. But ultimately, all businesses need to generate revenue, and Social Media Marketing is just one form of Marketing, with the same ultimate goal of helping to increase Sales. The first step is to determine what specific goals you need to reach by embarking on a social media campaign.
A website has a little value if your clients or customers can't find it. Before embarking on a website design project, it is good to familiarize yourself with the basic web marketing principles.
Overall, website marketing can be summed up as three things:
Whether you are focusing on all of them or only one, the bulk of your activities will be creating content on your website. Quality content is key for any kind of website marketing activity.
Well, Google Plus is not intuitive at all. And the instructions are disconnected. Each step maybe described well, but the whole process - go and figure it out on your own.
So here is what we did to enable Google "authorship" feature so that our blog posts appear on Google search results like this:
<a rel="author" href="/<your G+ profile link>">John Smith</a>
For K2 articles; if you selected the option to 'show Author', it already creates the following:
<a rel="author" href="/<link to K2 user page>">John Smith</a>
Find under <!-- Item Author --> the following code
and replace it with (save copies!)
templates/<your template>/html/com_content/article/default.php (if not found, copy from components/com_content/views/article/tmpl/default.php)
Find where it generates the author text (usually with a class called createdby or create_by), and replace it with the following:
//name of K2 user table
$query = 'SELECT url FROM #__k2_users WHERE userID=' . $this->article->created_by;
$db =& JFactory::getDBO();
$authorlink = $db->loadResult();
This gives the variable $authorlink your Google Profile URL that you saved in K2 in the steps above.
<a rel="author" href="/<?php echo $authorlink; ?>"><span class="createby">
<?php some code from Joomla that shows the author name ?></a>
That should make authorship works on Joomla default articles too.
Hope this works for you!
It takes a few days for Google to reindex your pages and start showing your "authorship".
Whether you are planning on having your website run on Joomla, Drupal, WordPress or any other content management system, if your website is expected to have some user activity - you need to create a set of main use cases before the design process can commence.
In practice what often happens is that when marketing managers source a web design agency they usually provide some basic description of what they would like the website to do and expect the design agency to recommend the best "flow". Later, after the flow has been completed by the design agency, clients often request "changes" because the recommended flow does not reflect their vision adequately, and then those changes can sometimes be very significant, which often leads to additional charges. In other words, clients first pay for the recommended flow and then for its adjustment to their vision.
There is a simple way to reduce this two-stage - unpleasant to the client - process to one: develop a set of uses cases before starting the design process.
In web design a use case is a detailed description of how users will perform a particular task on your website. For example, download a whitepaper, post a resume, search for a job, complete a payment, register for an event. etc.
Each use case should begin with defining a goal of a particular task and then establishing a starting point for it. Each use case should end with the "last step" in the process - and not only from the user's perspective but also from the perspective of a website administrator who will be gathering and analyzing the website activity information on a regular basis.
In other words, for each use case you need to determine the following: what you want your users to do on your website and what they might want to do on your website (which is not the same thing!)
When you determe both perspectives, you will be able to find "overlaps". And this will help you determine how the website should be structured and how it should respond to a user action.
The easiest way to write a use case is by writing text - with detailed description of what happens or should happen at what point. Your narrative would be exceptionally useful if you also find an example website that has the exact (or very similar) flow that you would like to have.
But before you do that, you need to establish the main purpose/goal of your website. Is it to educate? to sell something? to promote something? Write down all your goals specifically and then proceed with defining those use cases that would affect your goals the most.
Here is a short list of how to write an effective use case:
All this information needs to be captured in a use case. That is why it is called "developing a use case", because it takes a few rounds to editting to establish the right amount of information.
After you've developed a written text-based use case for each important (business-affecting) task and user type, it is best to provide an example website that utilizes something very similar to your goals.
After your web designers analyze your use cases, they might still have questions for you! And after they've clarified all the details, the will be able to create a use-case flow diagram.
Creating a flow diagram is a very important step and yet very few design agencies do that. A master diagram showing interconnections between various user types prevents a lot of miscommunications. It also simplifies Quality Assurance and Project Management.
One of the easiest way to create a use case flow digram is to set it up in a series of PPT slides. Once you "glue" them together, you will be able to see where your "holes" or "missing steps" might be.
If your site is simple, then a verbal text-base use case description might suffice. But if your site has several inter-connected user activities - a diagram in addition to the textual description is a must.
If your web design agency did not volunteer to create a master use case flow diagram, request that they do. Depending on your contract, there maybe a portion of the budget allocated for the "discovery stage". If it is the case, then the use case flow diagram should be provided to you. If there is no discovery phase covered by the budget, still request it from your designers. And if they refuse (unlikely!), then you need to create such a diagram yourself.
What happens if you don't? Well, nothing terrible, the skies won't fall down on you. You will end up spending additional time writing emails, clarifying and explaining, calling and asking for revisions - and also paying for all additional changes. That's all.
One of the articles on web design published by Smashing Magazine provides some useful insights on recent changes in the web design field affected by mobile devices.
The article makes many valid points, such as mouse click versus taps, etc. Those details are important to keep in mind when designing a website.The presentation is good and so is the conclusion. But there is one point concerning the main design principle that caught our attention. Here is what the author is saying:
"The way we designed our websites until recently was by putting a header with the logo and navigation at the top, putting the subnavigation on the left, putting some widgets on the right, and putting the footer at the bottom. When all of that was done, we’d cram the content into the little space that was left in the middle. All of the things we created first — the navigation, the widgets, the footer — they all helped the visitor to leave the page. But the visitor probably wanted to be there! That was weird. It was as if we were not so confident in our own content and tried our best to come up with something else that our guests might like.
But rather than pollute the page with all kinds of links to get people out of there, we should really focus on that thing in the middle. Make sure it works. Make sure it looks good. Make sure it’s readable. Make sure people will understand it and find it useful. Perhaps even delight them with it!
Once you’re done with the content, you can start to ask yourself whether this content needs a header. Or a logo. Or subnavigation. Does it need navigation at all? And does it really need all of those widgets? The answer to that last question is “No.” I’ve never understood what those widgets are for. I have never seen a useful widget. I have never seen a widget that’s better than white space."
Well, it's just like saying, why do you need a roof and a wall and an entrance, focus on the living room. That's all that matters, your guests will be there after all.
An interesting moment we found is how everything has to be linked to "confidence" these days.
Companies are trying to display a summary of their website's content on their home page for a reason, to make sure users don't miss something important, not because they have no confidence in what's in the center of the page. Granted, it often creates a cluttered look, hence a granular top navigation can be useful to mitigate this.
But in any case, it is not a power game. Confidence in one's content has nothing to do with sidebar widgets and additional navigation links. Without navigation, your users will be confused.
If you run a focused website, a blog on a particular and rather narrow topic - one living room solution might work.
But if your website has a repository of documents, tools, etc .- your users will be utterly confused. Recently, I was talking to someone who was trying to locate a particular item on the shopify.ca website. This site has the above-mentioned living room design, it does not have a traditional navigation, so clicking back and forth and scrolling down endlessly is the only - annoying! - way.
The use of white space is, indeed, a good thing. No arguments here. But "never seen a widget better than a white space"? Huh? How about calendar of events? Weather storm monitoring? Traffic congestion report?
So please, confident web author of smashing magazine, for those of us who is used to structure and logic, let us keep some navigation, at least one level somewhere! Not all concent can - or should - be reduced to a flat one-level menu.
We noticed that a lot of websites found a way out of this trendy pickle by finding a heavy use of the left-site navigation. Not sure what's the difference. If you are going to use a hierarchical navigation, you might as well provide one common point of reference and use a drop-down top menu like we did before.
Web design trends are constantly changing. Just like with mobile devices, websites are typically upgraded every three years to stay current. Are you wondering what are the most recent new web design trends? We attempt to present our summary below, please read on.
Perhaps influenced by the simplicity of WordPress templates, one of the most notable web design trends is a flattened menu structure. Often times the fly-out or drop-down options for the main menu are replaced with additional line of links above or below the main menu. For large websites, this often results in confusing navigation where breadcrumbs (or hierarchical path) is hard to establish. We don't foresee the flyout menus would go away. Some websites create an impression of a flat navigation by having only a few top menu tabs and adding huge on-point mega menus (as shown on the last screen shot in this section).
Images, images, more images. Vector images. Icons. Cartoons. These days it is certainly a feast time for photographs and graphic designers! One of the most noticeable web design trends is the heavy use of graphical elements. You can't have a page without an image or two on it. Only people over 40 will attemtp to read half a page without any graphics on it. Even serious companies use vector and cartoon-like images. Icons, diagrams are a must. Illustrate or die. We like images too, so thumbs up on this web design trend.
Another highly noticeable web design trend is the use of contrasting typography. Often, page titles or module headers are presented in huge fonts, with subtitles or text next to them in much smaller fonts for contrast. In the past, it was customary to use one, maybe two font types. Not anymore, the typography is not restricted anymore. We saw the use of up to five different font types on one page. If done well, this can look good. However, the roundish nature of the most popular fonts make the overall effect somewhat juvenille.
The disco style spread to web design trends. Bold colors are on. Contrasts are on. Even websites of large consulting companies with conservative strictly-business reputation begin to look like children coloring books. Below are examples of corporate websites of two largest consulting companies in the United States. When not overdone, use of bold contrasting colors can be very visually pleasing. Overall, our thumbs up on this web design trend.
As in case with typography when section and title headers are purposefully oversized, images too are often closeups. The same goes for buttons. Large buttons with bold colors for calls to action are one of the most noticeable web design trends. We think it is good to show what you want your visitors to do on your website and show it clearly, so thumbs up for this web design trend.
This is one of the most visually pleasing web design trends. Modern websites often have a central main slider with images that are layered one over the other. And in addition, the whole slider can be layered onto the background image. When done well, the effect can be stunning. Our thumbs up for this web design trend.
Windows 8 is a good example of this web design trend. But the box-ed design has been getting popular before Windows 8 was released. We are not surprised, it is easy to create for web designers and appropriate for mobile devices, boxes are probably here to stay. Not our favourite web design trend, though.
Once again, influenced by the tablet technology, home pages are now designed to be scrolled and scrolled. Many boxes stuffed in rows and columns on a long page are meant to be convenient for mobile devices where you don't want to load another page unnecessarily. This can be used for SEO purposes but at some expense of the overall design and style. Some websites are just one long page. One of the latest website templates by Joomlart Ja OnePage, for example, is a good example. We noticed that Shopify's site is done this way too (they may be changing their site often, though). We find navigation gets confusing is the site has more than several pages. Not our favourite web design trend.
A couple years ago, footers contained a copyright statement and a link to a Site Map and maybe a line of the company contact information. Not anymore. The current web design trends demand fancy and very busy footers, often times with a large map image, newsletter subscription box, full address, and a summary of the site's main content areas. We find that there is no harm in this trend and stylized footers can add some zest to a plain website. Our thumbs up for this web design trend.
Because of the huge images, icons and fonts, it is not surprising that one of modern web design trends calls for generous use of white space between all elements. It is must easier to scroll and read fast if all sections are spaced away from one another. Bullet points are easy to grasp at a glance. Once again, good for teenagers and for busy executives alike. Thumbs up on this web design trends.
There are other new and trendy web design elements, of course, but we thought that these 10 are the most noticeable ones. Feel free to add to the list, let us know what you consider the most notable web design trends nowadays.
If you are going to have a Joomla website, you will need to install several components to enable functionalities not supported by Joomla natively (not yet). For example, a Site Map is a must for SEO. Newsletter subscription is a must for lead generation. Google Analytics is a must for your understanding of your visitors' behaviour on your website. And there are a few more functionalities that most small business owners would find very useful. So we compiled a list of 10 free must-have Joomla extensions that even a toddler can get installed and enabled independently:
Would like to add a free, very easy-to-use and very useful Joomla component to this list? Don't be shy, add your comment below.
Joomla today announces that its core files have been downloaded more than 30 million times from Joomla.org. Joomla now averages around 1 million downloads every month.
We conducted a small feasibility study researching a possibility of creating dozens of web sites for link building purposes. Below are our findings. There are no major revelations away from what is already available on the net, but some important factors are clarified, so enjoy, and if you have something to add, don't be shy to use the Comments field.
Joomla, a popular open source content management system, was recently upgraded to a 3.0 release (as of September 27, 2012) with enhanced database integration, administrative tools and optimization for mobile devices. A 3.01 security fix went out Tuesday, October 9, 2012.
"The Joomla CMS can now display content on mobile devices as clearly and distinctly as it does on a personal computer or Mac," according to a statement issued by the project after this version's completion late last month."This innovation makes Joomla the first major CMS that includes the Twitter Bootstrap framework that enables it to be 100 percent mobile-friendly by default."
There are hundreds of articles and blog posts written on the topic of keywords for the purposes of website design and SEO. So JoomlaBliss would like to contribute our knowledge to this very important issue as well.
A modern website with high SEO visibility affordable? This article presents steps on how to get a great website and position it high on Google and other search engines with minimum costs.
This article includes reviews of the most popular IDEs: Codelobster PHP Edition, Eclipse PDT, Komodo IDE, NetBeans IDE, PHPStorm, NuSphere PhpED.
Joomla 1.7 does not require JoomFish or other components to enable multilingual support. This support is built in Joomla 1.7 natively, although we don't find it particularly intuitive. There is a couple of steps that one needs to know to get it all going smoothly.
Below is a simple step-by-step summary of how to enable multilingual feature in Joomla 1.7:
Graphic Makeover for Your Website: Building a website is not unlike building a house. Supporting and growing your website is also very similar to decorating your house.
Website Graphics on a Shoestring : First of all, get used to the idea that there is no end to it.
You can always do more for your website! You can always find yet better images, better icons, better image rotators, newer plugins and modules to highlight various content elements on your site, and so on. You need to know where to stop. Remember, your revenue won't come from graphics. So long as your website looks nice, pleasant and professional - you are fine!
There are many product galleries extensions created for Joomla but it is always nice to see just how flexible Joomla! is if you know how to use it. Take a look at this product gallery, it was created using Joomla's standard blog view (Joomla 1.5)
We are proud to help businesses with limited budgets to get a highly professional modern website without sacrificing quality. If you are technically savvy, here is what you can do:
You have a great website, SEO-friendly, scalable and easy-to-manage, and at ~50-80% the cost of a custom "from scratch" design!
The problem is... few business owners are aware of this route!
In fact, we were surprised to discover (time and time again!) that not only small businesses, but even technology companies are seldom aware of all the benefits Joomla and other open-source content management systems can deliver. We think the main reason behind this is that Joomla and other open-source projects are run by non-profit organizations; they do not engage in aggressive marketing; their main marketing vehicle is word-of-mouth referrals by users - something Joomla Bliss is striving to achieve as well. As a result, most businesses pay premium for custom "designed-from-scratch" websites (that often end up being of questionable quilty) and in addition get themselves locked into some proprietary CMS where they have to pay annual fees or programming fees for each additional tweak or modification.
One of the most common remarks we hear people make after looking at various Joomla website templates is "Joomla looks so cluttered". First all of all, do not confuse Joomla! with the templates you can upload onto it. Joomla is a very powerful web content management platform. It is like Windows or Linux. So you can upload different kinds of website templates into it. Simple, clean, cluttered - whatever your heart desires. You can even upload an empty page with just your name on it. In other words, the look and feel of the website template you use has nothing to do with Joomla's functionality as a CMS.
Then, when you analyze website templates designed by Joomlart or Rockettheme or Yootheme or other website template providers, you would notice that all these template power houses offer a large number of module positions on their templates: 17 module positions, 27 module positions, 40 module positions on a home page! When they showcase their templates, they fill all those module slots with some demo content, and as a result, the templates look very busy. But that does not mean you would need to use all those slots. Those module slots are there by design, but you don't have to use them, especially not all at once! All you have to do is "uncheck" the unnecessary modules inside your Joomla management panel, and the template layout will adjust automagically. You can decide to have only your main menu and one body column and nothing else, if you wish.
However, if in the future you would want to showcase different things on your home page and add something, you can use one of the available module slots by "checking" them back. No additional design work will be required. So, the more modular the template, the more efficient it is. You will never need a re-design. So, when you look at a website template, the busier it looks, the better it is. It is very easy to disable module positions, adding them is not as easy, it would require some additional redesign work.
Also pay attention to the type of modules available by default with a given template. Sure, it is not difficult to add and install various modules and components, but if you are building a new website by yourself, it is best to find a website template that would have 70% of your desired features by default (such as search, login, newsletter sign up, etc etc). Every new module and new component requires some degree of tweaking and testing. For a web designer, adding new modules and components is not difficult; for a person new to Joomla, it can cause some learning pains and unnecessary frustration.
To summarize, the more module slots you see on the template's home page, the better it is. And if those module slots display the type of features you need - fantastic!
What you don't need to worry about are various visual elements of the website template:
All these elements are very easy to change and customize. Joomla uses CSS files to control the look and feel of its website templates. There are dozens of image gallery components, so if you don't like the one you see in your base template, you can get another one installed instead of, but you would install it into the same module slot. Check out various Joomla extensions, there are thousands of free and commercial extensions from which you can select what you need. Free and commercials, there is an extension for every function you can possibly think of. But you do need to have a pre-designed slot in your template's layout where you'd display these extensions - and that's why the more modular the template is by default, the easier it will be for you to decide where and how to present various features on your site.
Here is a list of 10 web safe fonts that are most popular with web designers:
In addition, the following 5 web safe fonts are gradually gaining popularity with web designers as well:
Here is what Google has to say about the file extensions: "At Google, we are able to index most types of pages and files with very few exceptions. File types we are able to index include: pdf, asp, jsp, html, shtml, xml, cfm, doc, xls, ppt, rtf, wks, lwp, wri, swf.“
Starting out exclusively as an SEO firm in 2001 under the name of Anna Tulchinsky Web Consultancy, Joomla Bliss was launched to help small business owners market their services on a shoestring but without sacrificing quality or professionalism.
The standard contact form in Joomla is used very frequently by most Joomla designers because it is so convenient, and it is already there! But have you ever noticed that the capitalization is a little flaky? For example:
In other words, there is no consistency in the capitalization of these labels. Fixing this is pretty straightforward.
First I would recommend that you install the component eXtplorer for easy navigation of the file structure. The, go to the folder components > com_contact > views > contact > tmpl and edit the file "default_form.php".
You'll notice that the text in question is wrapped around the function call JText::_. Simply remove the function call and edit the label text to display as you prefer. Then save the file. That's it!
IMPORTANT: This does not work with the Joomfish component. It causes Joomfish to stop working on the Contact form, i.e. no translation of the Contact form will be available.
If you would like a fancier Contact form on your Joomla website, check out Breezing forms. NB: Use the 'Quick Mode' if you want to play with sleek display options. This component is not idiot-proof, but it is not difficult either. Once you get a hang of it, you'll love it.
A new website with high visibility on search engines might seem prohibitively expensive to small business owners.
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