Web Design and Web Development services
Ocreations can help you design and develop any size website!

Q: What is the difference between Web Design and Web Development?
A: Web Design defines the way a website looks and works while Web Development is the process of making the website work. Form VS function – Images and style of a new car (design) VS building/engineering the final car (development)

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01 – How much does a website cost?

At ocreations the Web Design phase costs between $3,000-$30,000. The minimum investment you can expect at ocreations is $1,500 for a completed PSD landing page, the average is $5,500 while much more advanced websites can have much higher totals.

The price ranges for websites are similar to transportation costs, from owning a car to flying on a private jet – there is a full range of choices and ancillary costs associated with the purchase.At ocreations we ask clients to consider “What kind of website will actually accomplish my goals?”. This article covers pricing full: Website SPEC (Project specification phase).

02 – Web Design and Web Development differences

Web Design is the phase where the look and feel for a website is defined. Web Design produces a mock-up in a non-interactive format while Web Development will produce a working interactive version of the website. The two phrases are not interchangeable but they can be done in either order and often are combined together into one large project. Web Design can come before Web Development but in many cases (such as AGILE, SCRUM or “Live Development”) development can be done right alongside the design, before it or even without it.

When Web Design precedes development Web Standards for mobile and responsive design need to be considered and a final mock-up can include 5-10 variations for different screen sizes for every page that is designed. This creates the opportunity for precise design control but can also inflate price if designs are so unique that they are not compatible with existing development frameworks.

If Web Development is done before the design phase then less mock-ups are needed as a development framework is used. This creates a very specific set of predefined design rules that are automatically inherited by the website (and must be followed by the design) therefore limiting creative web design control but lowering the overall design costs. In this scenario the design will “evolve” itself based on the framework, inheriting the framework look and feel. Doing development before design comes with risks that should be carefully weighed.

Building a website always comes with certain risks known as “Volatility Requirements” which is a fancy way of saying “clients change their minds and technology changes too, so we can not reasonably anticipate everything”.

It is important to note that the user experience must be designed as well as developed. The most successful websites are never done, instead they enter into a versioning state, version 1.0 (worthy of a launch), then version 2.0 (after a few months of updates and revisions) on to version 3, 4, and so on. During website versioning phases a website’s design and it’s development will continue creating an endless cycle of improvements, features and revisionism.

03 – The importance of Modern Web Standards

There is an actual law (ADA compliance)  and specific set of compliance guidelines (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or WCAG) about how websites should work for disabled users but because there is no “regulatory body” that legally governs how websites should look the world wide web is the “wild west” when it comes to design.

This created an explosion of website styles and types, some worked great and others were totally unusable creating chaos and confusion. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recognized this “wild west design problem” and set out to create rules and guidelines called “Web standards” to promote consistency in the design and code of a web page.

Web Standards help us decide “how a web page should display” in a visitor’s browser window by giving good reasons for how a design is constructed ranging from speed all the way to how it reacts on mobile devices. The rules need to be considered during the design phase are different based on a wide variety of factors such as the device type and the size of the browser window.

We ideally want a certain kind of design on a mobile device than we would want on a desktop computer, and we may want or need to consider a different look for an Apple Device as compared to an Android or Microsoft phone. The website I want a user to see the first time they are there versus a repeat customer is also different.

Web Standards have been employed long enough that end users now expect certain things to work a certain way. Consider the hamburger icon as a controversial case of web design standards for example, the 3 lines that 98.95% of users know means “click here for the mobile menu”. The hamburger menu icon is not a requirement per say, it’s not even the same on every website – it is an optional design standard that is employed via UX that has become a universal language that says “I am a menu button” but only to the % of users who speak that design language.

Next up we consider Designing for Web Accessibility Standards, these are a collection of rules that by law some websites need to have in order to work for disabled users such as blind people. While Accessibility is primarily a facet of development the line blurs, for example, seasoned web designers know that one of the rules for Web Accessibility requires designing for a specific percentage of contrast in text legibility, for example light grey text on a white background may look nice and subtle but it’s hard to read for certain users with visual impairments. Turns out there are combinations of color that make text totally invisible to color blind users.

Knowledge of and experience with Web Standards for design is what sets ocreations apart from the competition. You need a website that works as good as it looks, right?

04 – Web design consistency during campaigns

Have you ever seen a billboard and then later gone online to find a website that does not at all look like the billboard? Have you ever clicked on an Ad to land on a website that seems nothing like the Ad you clicked? That kind of lack of consistency will lose money for companies. When a customer is even remotely confused about being in the right place or on the right website then consistency is lacking. We need to make sure your web design matches your brand and when that brand is taken online there are very important design considerations.

A key part of the Web Design process is to design the user experience across multiple platforms and around several mediums – from print to digital and back again. The campaigns, social media, billboards and brand collateral should match the website design and when users click on your ad in a PPC/CPC campaign they need to instantly recognize the website they landed on is the proper destination based on the ad they just clicked.

Web Design plays an important role in consistency across all mediums that a company may employ, especially print! For this reason ocreations knows that handling the print design alongside the web design phases is the best way to accomplish consistency and create a good chance for a brand to thrive online and offline.

Now, more than ever, when a brochure is designed as a companion or caveat into the website the experience needs to be seamless. Making sure that the banner Ad a user clicked on while using Facebook matches both the website, the brochure and the billboard they will see downtown tomorrow is the difference between a bounce, a conversion and a returning user. At ocreations we make sure your brand is properly represented across multiple mediums.

05 – Designing a Website to be useful

Turns out that having a website that looks nice is not enough, it must also be useful. If a site is too minimal it may have a clean look but can be too ambiguous for users to understand what actions they can take. Alternatively if a website is over designed it can become difficult for users to complete their goals or for you to make a sale. UX plays an important role in website design because it produces any possible outcome for the user experience.

Important design considerations are made when planning interactive elements and how we want the users eyes to move across the page. In some cases such as a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign putting the social media icons at the top of the page will lose money for your company because people get distracted on social media! If you paid for that first click and then send users to Facebook you just paid money for people to leave your website. In other cases designing social media interactions and social feed into the website may be the whole point of the site.

When trying to keep users engaged with rich video content (like a documentary promo or web series hosted on Vimeo or Youtube) then other company information might need to be buried deeper into the site to keep the media content front and center. When your product is rich media like podcasts or web series you need to be able to monetize that content. If your users are here to buy your product then we need to design the website around the “call to action”. When visitors are here to consume entertainment or information then we know how to design a website with an “above the fold” focus.

At ocreations we know how to make a website useful because we consider the end goals of your users. Making a website useful to users is often very different from “making the website the company thinks it wants”.

06 – Webdesign for Local Businesses

When your business provides a labor service such as Plumbers, Electricians, Lawyers and Doctors it is important to design the website around the needs of the end user. Most company owners do not see their company the way the public sees the service they provide. There is a pragmatic and practical approach to web design for business that only produces good results when tightly controlled by seasoned designers and developers.

A common design conflict occurs when a business owner desires a website that is a nice reflection of their personality but a poor representation of the service people need, want or are searching for. It’s common for owner to really like a website design that their customers will not – we need to design websites for the users and this can be a challenge to how business owners are used to thinking.

Web design for a local business is simple but not easy. Consider a local Pizza Restaurant in Pittsburgh named after the owners family – the owner wants the family name to be prominent, including a history and a lot of family personality and heritage but the customers want to know how much the pizza is, if it can be delivered and if they can order online!

If a website is unable to provide the key information that customers want then it will fail to bring any business to the owner. Consider that if a Pizza delivery place does not use the words “pizza” and “delivery” enough times on the page as actual text then no search engine will understand what the website is about – turns out that SEO can be designed into the website from the start instead of a side order..

Designing a website around the local customer is a major factor in success (that is, if you define success as getting sales or making money off your website), knowing what they type in, where they live and how they want to interact with a business is important. Only when these concepts are clearly understood and defined can we design a good website for a Local business.

Types of CMS systems ocreations offers design services for:
  • WordPress CMS – theme design, mods templates and plugin design
  • Magento CMS – theme design, template mods
  • Drupal CMS – theme design, template mods
  • Joomla CMS – theme design, template mods

07 – Building the Brand Image

Brand image and marketing affects market share and it is also defined by how that company interacts with customers. Turns out that

Converting the in-person in-store shopping experience into a fast convenient online interaction has been mastered by tech giants like Amazon, Apple and Google Shopping. Their successes have been made available to us directly through those systems as well as more affordable eCommerce CMS and SaSS solutions. Designing the user experience around these predefined checkout flows allow both small and large businesses to engage in successful online commerce transactions without spending millions or re-inventing the wheel.

Designing for eCommerce comes with very specific rules, for example, making sure the user can buy an item on the homepage in under 15 seconds from first click to checkout is a key part of designing for the impulse buy. In the event there are product comparisons or wish lists designing for the user’s convenience and comparability becomes key.

Convincing end users to open their wallet and place an order online (converting) requires using well defined design strategies that are different for a wide variety of products and demographics. The eCommerce landscape is huge, from small 1 product landing pages to full blown online stores the shopping experience needs to be custom tailored to suit the business needed and the consumer demands.

Transitioning into an eCommerce business solution does not always require a full website but it does involve a close examination of the company’s distribution model. A careful assessment of everything from logistics to fulfillment is needed and becomes part of the design process because it will shape and dictate the design of the eCommerce website. For this reason is it not enough to simply design how the site will look we must also plan and design how we want users to interact with the website  from first click to checkout.

Types of eCommerce sites ocreations offers design services for:
  • Custom Single Product Landing pages
  • WordPress Design Woo Commerce template design
  • Magento Design 1.0 and 2.0 eCommerce template design
  • Volusion Template design and customization
  • Shopify customization
  • BigCommerce customization
  • SquareSpace customization

08 – Website Design for Social interaction

Designing a website that is focused on social interactions has its own universe of rules and considerations. On one hand we can attempt to invent new types of social media which may take years of trial and error, on the other hand we can use existing models like dating sites, forums and community CMS systems to accomplish goals of social interaction. There are again SaSS and CMS systems (such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter clones) that allow any size business to build a niche demographic social network.

When we examine each other microcosm of website types (such as a Local business, News or an eCommerce site) they too have their own set of rules and guidelines to follow with regard to designing the site around social interactions. Some websites need the social interactions between the users provide the content. In such cases we are unable to completely separate the development side from the design site because the design of the social interactions will be based on what is possible with development and API’s.

In some cases we may want to trap users on the site and not offer any social interactions at all, not even links to social media, as they would be a distraction from the sales funnel.  In this example we purposely design the site to have no social sharabilty as to not distract users and to prevent wasted ad budgets. Turns out that most people do not even click on the social media icons for certain businesses. In complete contrast to this is a news or entertainment site – where the strategy may be to promote content via social media channels. In this example we design the site to have a share, like or pin button on every image and every blog post.

Social CMS system ocreations offers design services for:
  • phpBB forum design
  • VBulletin forum design
  • WordPress – bbPress forum theme design
  • WordPress – buddyPress theme design
  • WordPress – PaidMemebershipsPro theme design
  • Dolphin CMS template design (facebook clone)
  • AlphansoTech (LinkedIn clone)
  • Drupal – advanced community plugin design
Social media platforms ocreations offers design integrations for:
  • AddThis sharing tools
  • ShareThis sharing tools
  • Facebook API design integrations
  • Instagram API design integrations
  • Twitter API design integrations
  • LinkedIn API design integrations

09 – Website Design for Information

In a situation where the usability of a website takes priority over the visual impact the rules change again. A website that needs to provide information to its users such as a News site or Peer review site with a catalog of  technical articles will be in complete contrast to any of the other site types in that your website design needs to be focused on the highest level of usability.

Government, legal, utility or healthcare services – where website users will depend on the website design to perform a variety of important tasks related to their health and well-being or their livelihood – have a special set of standard where the Design is dictated by the function. In these cases the design concepts much more limited as very strict laws are in place to make sure such sites can be used by everyone and anyone.

This brings us to an interesting concept: the more requirements placed on a website for usability the less design options there are – the paradox here is described as website design for usability VS desirability. For example, the “perfect” website that has 100% compatibility and can be used in ALL browsers would end up being only black text on a white background with no design or interface elements at all. This is an extreme example but it’s important to note that in this case “less design” is the design itself in that particular scenario. Therefore a design method we may need to employ is “less design” to allow utility, frameworks and code to ensure the usability of a website.

Information and News platforms ocreations offers design integrations for:
  • WordPress template design with advanced news enhancements
  • WordPress “User press” Plugin theme design and integration
  • Wikimedia template design
  • Docuwiki template design
  • phpWiki template design

10 – Website Design for Entertainment

Designing a website with a focus on entertainment, (especially rich media sites with video, interactivity and games) puts a special focus on the media itself. When the purpose of a website is to entertain the user we make sure aspects of the UX and UI do not invade the media content space. The end user experience can be properly controlled by minimal design tactics. A common mistake is to over design the website with unnecessary graphics – when we examine sites like Youtube and Vimeo we can see the focus is always on the content and hardly the company brand, it’s message or any self promotional rhetoric.

Types of systems ocreations offers media website design services for:
  • youPHPtube CMS template design and customization
  • CumulusClips CMS template design and customization
  • ViewShark CMS template design and customization

The internet has become the biggest resource for keeping in touch with current clients and getting together with future customers. With so many people spending such a large amount of time on the world wide web, it is imperative to establish the greatest web presence possible. That’s where we come in! Our web design team has extensive experience in creating and designing eCommerce, Responsive, and mobile-friendly websites. Think of your businesses’ website as an extension of your office or store. You wouldn’t want a potential customer to see it untidy and unorganized. We’re like you virtual interior decorators creating an impressive and memorable area for your business on the internet!

We can program a CMS website that you can update yourself using WordPress and Joomla. We create HTML and commerce websites to provide the best solution for your company and your customers. Whichever platform works best for your needs, we can utilize to make your site as user-friendly and corporately compatible for your ecommerce solutions as possible.

SEO (Service Engine Optimization) is very important to any company when promoting a website. ocreations’ team has great success in improving search engine ranking for our clients. Let us improve your ranking today!

ocreations can handle your webmail campaigns also. We work with well-known software such as Constant Contact and Mail Chip in order to provide you with relevant and uninterrupted communication with your customers. We provide open reports and subscriber databases to you as part of this service.