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Archive for the ‘Web Design’ Category

Please Your Audience First

Written by Sam Bishop | December 22nd, 2010 | Usability, Web Design | Comments

I want everyone to take a step back from their website.  Think about who the site is for and what the objective is.  For most business owners and professionals, they look to their website as a sales tool ultimately.  While the objectives (generate more leads, increase awareness, educate consumers, etc)  might be slightly different, your website is usually providing information to others (as opposed to yourself).

With this in mind, most of us (including CWS at times) design sites and content for ourselves before considering the audience and users.  We become so wrapped up in our own content and source material that it becomes hard to distinguish what is actually important to the users of the site.  We think about what looks good to us and stop there.  Obviously we all want to be proud of our websites but we must be careful not to look past the audience in …


Asking Clients Why

Written by Sam Bishop | August 9th, 2010 | Business, Web Design | Comments

As an established web design agency, we are the individuals that design and build websites for a living.  We are the ones that are constantly reading up on usability and user experience and how best to increase conversions.  We are the ones with an understanding of solid design principles and color theory.  All too often, I get the feeling that clients forget that they  hired us to help them construct sites to help them succeed and meet their site goals.  It’s our job as the designers to nip this in the butt early.

Educate the client
Be sure from the beginning of the project that the client understands what you can do to help them.  Before showing them anything (even a wireframe) make sure they know that any feedback and criticism should be identified as a problem.  By identifying the problem, you can then provide them solutions that will be …


Redesign Success

Written by Sam Bishop | July 22nd, 2010 | Web Design | 1 Comment »

After having the same look and feel of our company site for about 2 years, I thought it was time for a fresh look.  The content and organization did not need to change a ton but I did have some good ideas to make better use of the space and provide a better user experience for visitors.

A few quick stats in the last month since the redesign…

Pageviews: +40.26%
Bounce Rate:  -50.51%
Average Time on Site:  +24.82

These stats are not skewed by anything since I haven’t written any blog posts, launched any sites, or had any other new links since the previous month.  These are based on average traffic.



Some of the noticeable changes are

  • 12 column grid based design
  • Minimalistic look
  • Enhanced navigation with subtle jQuery animation (with graceful degradation in IE7 and IE6)
  • Current page indicator
  • Info heavy footer (with contact and


Our New Status Board

Written by Sam Bishop | April 11th, 2010 | Business, Tech, Web Design | 2 Comments »

CWS Status BoardAfter seeing Panic’s status board, I couldn’t help myself.  This was such a fantastic idea that I had to create one for CWS headquarters.  I knew that we probably wouldn’t have enough data to do anything nearly as informative as Panic’s but I still had a handful of things that would make my life a ton easier to see on 1 window.  This resides on a 24″ Acer LCD above my dual monitor setup.

Using the amazing project management platform, 5PM, I was able to pull all sorts of information necessary to create our project management status board pieces.  I love seeing when my people add a new progress note or if the “Other CWS Tasks” list gets cut in half.  I know stuff is being accomplished.

CWS Status Board Items

  • Tasks assigned to me (via 5PM)
  • Tasks assigned to others (via 5pm)
  • Progress bars for tasks


Simple Google Website Optimizer Case Study with CWS

Written by Sam Bishop | January 28th, 2010 | Web Design | 2 Comments »

So after reading a few articles on Google’s Website Optimizer tool I thought I would do a little test with the CWS site.  Basically the website optimizer allows users to run A/B or multi-variant tests.  I won’t go into A/B (split) testing or multi-variant tests but I thought I would try 3 variations on text in a call-to-action button to see which one generated the most click-throughs.

The set up process took about 30 minutes to create the new buttons, pages, and inserting the necessary javascript code.  You install 1 piece of javascript in the original  and then another piece in the variations.  The 3 variations are below.


And now the results after letting it run for a few weeks.


As you can see the 2 variations have both outperformed the original at this time.  This simple test shows how useful this free service can be.  It will prove invaluable …