hungry media cio magazine
hungry media cio magazine

It’s an exciting time at Hungry Media. Industry reviews were recently conducted by CIO Review, which named their Top 10 Providers of Web Design and Development Solutions.

We’re thrilled to share that among the winners you’ll find Hungry Media!

CIO Review magazine is a print and digital technology publication aimed at guiding top-level decision-makers through the constantly evolving business environment with expert information about solutions and services. CIO Review attempts to bridge the gap between tech vendors and buyers by doing much of the research for its audience. They vet the content and community resources before presenting them to the public, thus eliminating much of the guesswork when it comes to choosing a tech solution or company to hire.

CIO Review was founded on the desire to provide technology and business executives with “in-depth coverage of topics most critical to their success.” The CIO magazine includes insights and opinions of high-level executives and industry leaders. These are the people who have been at the forefront of the recent paradigm shift we’ve in the business arena.

In December 2020, a panel of CEO’s, CIO’s, VC’s, analysts, and members of the magazine’s editorial team compiled a list of digital marketing agencies from across the country which they feel provide the best solutions and show the most promise.

It is such an honor to have been named among the best in our industry.

Furthermore, we are so proud to have been praised for our digital marketing strategy and commitment to using “technological know-how to reinforce clients’ market presence and drive more traffic to [their businesses].” The discovery phase of our approach really helps us create efficient monetization models for better profit margins.

As a part of this award, Hungry Media partners Krystian Sergiejew, David Laiderman, and Dan Nuon were invited to provide insight into Hungry Media’s accomplishments and what sets us apart from other digital marketing consultants.

You may be surprised to learn that we didn’t actually set out to become a digital marketing company. Hungry Media, as we are today, evolved from a company aimed at bridging the communication gap between programmers and marketing experts. As David says, “Our success lies in the way we interact with our customers. We allow the product to shape itself in the requirements of the user, not the other way around.”

We are having a lot of fun with our clients and we’re always hungry for more!

Contact us to learn about how Hungry Media, our web design team, and our digital marketing services can help take your business to the next level.

Click here to read the full CIO online article.

professional logo design
Professional Logo Design

Logos, those seemingly simple little graphics, serve many purposes. They grab attention and set expectations. They foster brand loyalty and communicate values. They convey meaning and set businesses apart from one another. In short, logos help provide a unique brand identity by representing everything from mission to reputation to the actual product or service provided. And they do all of this in a matter of moments. Suffice it to say, a professional logo for your business is a must. Since there are so many things to keep in mind when designing a logo, we suggest considering professional logo design from the get-go.

The Importance of Logo Design

So, how important is a logo for a company? Very. The importance of your logo means you may want to consider turning design over to a professional. This isn’t because your ideas or creative vision for your logo aren’t good enough, but rather because the benefits of professional logo design are so numerous. Turning to someone with relevant experience will help you make the most of your ideas! 

So, the good news is that you don’t need to know how to make a professional logo in order to have one. Here are 6 benefits of using a professional graphic designer when creating your logo:

A Logo is Your First Impression

You can find stats all over the internet that tell you how long (or not long, in fact) you have to make a first impression. There are many studies, all citing various lengths of time, but regardless of whether these studies state that you have thirty-three milliseconds or seven whole seconds, it’s safe to say that you don’t have much time at all. And if that’s the case, your logo has a lot of work to do, and quickly!

Logos Communicate More Than You May Realize

A great logo communicates so much, not the least of which is all that your brand stands for. The better your consumers understand and recognize what your logo represents, the easier it will be to build a brand over time. A professional logo designer will have the experience necessary to truly grasp this and will understand the ways in which subtle changes communicate to your customers.  

Your Logo Will Be Used in Many Places

There’s something to be said for consistency and continuity across all platforms and media types. Of course, you’ll be using your logo on your website, but you need to make sure it translates well from digital spaces to physical spaces. Those physical spaces can be anything from letterhead to a coffee cup to embroidering on a sweatshirt. Professional logo designers will know how to make a logo for your brand that works in a variety of mediums and looks great in each. 

Logos Project a Professional Image

Would you spend your hard-earned money with a company that you don’t trust to deliver on their promise, and to do it well? A good logo should be able to project a professional image, which will help position your business as a brand that consumers trust and love to support. Professional logo designers have a solid understanding of how to make this happen!

You’ll Need Various File Types for Your Logo

This one might sound silly at first, but it’s oh-so-important. The most beautifully designed logo does you no good if you can’t use it where you need it. Opting for professional logo design ensures that you’ll not only receive the rights to all artwork produced for your logo, but that you’ll receive the logo in the formats required to meet your needs. Whether you’re putting your logo on your website, or letterhead, or anything in between, you’ll be covered.  

Logos Must Last

Sure, logos evolve over time but changing them entirely isn’t ideal. Not only would you have to spend extra money to make a major change, but you’d lose brand identity and awareness in the process. Take the time and spend the money now to get a logo designed right so that you don’t find yourself wishing for something different a few months or years down the road.

Professional Logo Design and Professional Web Design Make a Killer Combination

Once you have your professionally designed logo, you’ll need to know how and where to use it for maximum effect. Hungry Media has years of experience in the digital creation space and knows how to build a website or app that takes your business to the next level. Whether you’re starting from scratch or need a website update, our unique approach will help make your vision a reality. Contact us today for more information. We can’t wait to hear about your ideas!

things to keep in mind when designing a logo
things to keep in mind when designing a logo

There are so many things to keep in mind when designing a logo. This is because your logo is so much more than just a picture. It represents not just your business, but everything behind it. Your mission, your reputation, your core values, and of course your product or service. That’s a heavy lift for a little graphic!

It’s so important to be aware of what makes a great logo, especially if you’ll be designing it yourself. Even if you opt to outsource your logo design, you’ll still need to have a grasp on how to make a good logo as you’ll be reviewing the design and sharing your input until your designer gets it just right.

Creating a Great Logo Starts Before the Design Process Begins

Before digging in to how to design an effective logo, you’ve got a little bit of homework to do. Trust us. This short planning phase will pay dividends during the actual creation process.

Know the Brand

A logo is a reflection of your brand. So, before you can create an effective logo, you must have a clear understanding of that brand. If you aren’t quite there yet, don’t worry. Quickly review the importance of branding and take some time to flesh out the most important pieces.

Research the Competition

This is non-negotiable or several reasons. First and foremost, you don’t want to inadvertently design a logo that looks similar to those of your competition. Not only could it open you up to legal action, but you’d have invested a significant amount of time and money only to have to start over.

Additionally, take a look at general trends in your industry and make the decision to either follow suit or go against the grain. There’s no right or wrong, but great logo design should always be a decision that is made consciously instead of by chance.

7 Things to Keep in Mind When Designing a Logo 

What makes an effective logo design? While there are no hard and fast logo design rules, there are still a few tips for creating a logo that successfully meets the criteria we mentioned above. Read on for seven logo design tips and a few extra things to consider when making a logo.

Scalability is a Must

Logos must be recognizable on a small scale. Consider favicons, those little icons that show up on your browser tabs. Your logo needs to be recognizable when it’s that small. If you simply can’t pare down to a single icon, consider creating a second version for use in very small spaces like a favicon, app icon, or social media profile graphic.

Logo Design: Scalability

Simplicity Above All

There are no definitives when it comes to what makes a good logo design. Generally speaking, though, more intricate designs are less impactful. Unless the rest of your logo design is incredibly simple, skip “extras” like extra lines, gradients, shadows, or even serif fonts. In short, pull everything from a logo that doesn’t represent your brand in its simplest form.

Logo Design: Simplicity

Colors Can Be Powerful

Among the things to keep in mind when designing a logo is how powerful color can be. Red elicits feelings of love, passion, danger, or power. Blue brings to mind a sense of trust, security, or strength. Green tends to elicit thoughts of nature, luck, or money. Color can be used as a tool to convey meaning, which is ideal for purposes of logo creation. Just make sure you choose colors that convey what you’re aiming for.

Logo Design - Colors

Typography Conveys Meaning

The best simple logos make great use of typography. Similar to color, typography can convey meaning. Refer to your brand image. How do you want to be perceived, and how can you create a perfect logo in that image? For instance, if you’d like to be perceived as authoritative, consider a simple, basic font in all caps. If you’re trying to evoke a sense of nostalgia or playfulness, perhaps something a little different.

Logo Design - Typography

Negative Space Counts

Among our logo design tips, this one might be our favorite. At the bare minimum, be aware of the negative space within your logo. But if you’re trying to figure out how to make the perfect logo, you could also deliberately use negative space to create dual imagery. Have you ever noticed the arrow between the end E and X in the FedEx logo? That’s a brilliant use of Negative Space. Simply making a few small changes to the primary image can turn negative space into something worth looking at.

Negative Space Counts

Contrast is Key

If you opt to use a colored background, ensure it contrasts with the primary graphics well enough for the logo itself to be recognizable. You can have the most beautiful logo in the world, but if it’s difficult to identify, it won’t do you any good.

Contrast is Key

Alignment Matters

Alignment creates a cohesive look. So, while there here’s no hard and fast logo design rule, here, we suggest you aim to maintain alignment within your logo. It doesn’t necessarily matter if your elements are aligned left right or center, as long as they are consistent.

Logo Design - Alignment Matters

Bonus Tip: Don’t Stop When You Think You’re Done

Part of what makes an effective logo design is patience. Once you have what you think is THE logo, take a break. Then come back and keep playing. Swap colors, lines, fonts, and sizes. Maybe what you thought was your final version actually is. But you may also come across an iteration you hadn’t even considered before. You never know. That could be THE ONE.

Don’t Stop When You Think You’re Done

Make a Great Impression with Great Logo Design

There are so many things to keep in mind when designing a logo. One little graphic has less than a second to convey everything about your brand to anyone who takes a peek. Like we said – heavy lifting! But Hungry Media is equal to the task. Our graphic design partners have years of experience creating effective logos that speak to a brand’s unique identity, and we can help you make the most of that logo! Contact us to chat about including a fresh logo design into your website or mobile app.

Best free WordPress plugins

One of the things that makes WordPress so darn popular is its flexibility and versatility. If you can dream it, you can build it with WordPress. Or, more accurately, you can build it with WordPress plugins. Below, we’ll discuss plugins and share the best free WordPress plugins we found for your website.

What are WordPress Plugins?

You can actually think of a plugin like an app for your website. They are just little pieces of software designed to perform a specific task or add a specific feature to your self-hosted WordPress site. There are too many types of plugins to count. You’ll find a full WordPress plugins list (of all 57,000 of them!) in the WordPress Plugin Directory.

Nearly any function you can dream of will be available via WordPress plugins. Free and paid options are available for everything from security, to SEO optimization, to adding social media sharing buttons to your site.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin 

Before you try to install any of the cool WordPress plugins below, you’ll need to confirm that you’re using WordPress.org, or you have a paid business account with WordPress.com. Once you have that covered, installing a plugin in WordPress is pretty darn easy. Simply head to the plugin directory from your WordPress dashboard, search or browse until you find the plugin you want, and download. You’ll work through the installation process selecting “Install Now” and “Activate” when prompted. Boom! The plugin is now available to use on your website.

The Best Free WordPress Plugins 

You get what you pay for…usually. Of course, there are plenty of amazing plugins available to purchase through the WordPress Plugin Directory. But! Some of the best WordPress plugins in 2021 are available at no cost. Most will have Premium or Pro versions available or purchase, but in many cases, the free versions of must-have WordPress plugins are all you’ll need. Here are 17 of the best free WordPress plugins for your website.

1. SEO: Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO Plugin

One of the best SEO plugins for WordPress, and perhaps one of the most robust free plugins on the market, is Yoast SEO for WordPress. Even for those who have a good grasp of SEO basics, Yoast offers several valuable functions. The plugin will analyze your copy for keyword optimization and readability, as well as provide suggestions for improvements. Yoast SEO Premium boasts optimization for multiple keywords and automates several of the manual functions offered in the free version.

2. Contact Forms: WPForms

wpforms

WPForms is a 100% responsive drag-and-drop form builder. WPForms Lite allows you to build upon one of many pre-made templates for free. WPForms Pro (paid version) lets you take it up a notch and create payment forms, surveys, newsletter sign-ups, and more.

3. Improve Speed: WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache generates static HTML files from dynamic WordPress blogs to improve the speed at which users are served. This plugin has received fantastic reviews, boasts a simplified user interface, and comes with lovely price tag: $0!

4. Analytics and Insights: MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights is a paid Analytics plugin, but they also have a free version called Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress by MonsterInsights. The goal of this top wordpress plugin is to make the information provided by Google Analytics easier to understand. It comes with customized, actionable reports so you can see what is working and what is not.

5. Security: WordFence

Wordfence

Wordfence Security Firewall and Malware Scan uses the newest firewall rules, malware signatures, and known malicious IP addresses to block potentially dangerous website traffic. It can also repair files by overwriting them with clean code and delete files that don’t belong. WordFence Premium, which starts at $99/year, provides many additional features including real-time updates on potential threats.

6. Authentication: Google Authenticator

Google Authenticator, gives you a variety of two-factor authentication methods to ensure unauthorized users cannot gain access to your website. The plugin integrates with WooCommerce, BuddyPress, Memberpress Pro, Digimember, and more.

7. Antispam: Akismet

Askimet

This is one of the best free plugins in 2021! By adding Akismet to your site, you avoid the barrage of spam comments that is all too common online today, saving you time and storage space. The plugin is free for individuals and starts at just $10/month for commercial use.

8. Page Builder: Elementor

elementor

It’s the perfect WordPress website builder to help you create high-end designs with boku capabilities. Elementor includes a drag and drop editor and full open-source approach. This top plugin is great for those who know what they want their website to look like but lack the web development capabilities to build it themselves. Elementor is free for basic websites on WordPress. Premium plugins and WordPress addons start at just $49/year for professional sites.

9. Social Sharing: Social Warfare

social warfare

With over 1M downloads, Social Warfare is one of the best WordPress plugins for blogs. It adds fast social share buttons to your website. This plugin helps you control the way in which your content is shared, so that you can optimally leverage your current traffic while continuing to grow your reach. The free version includes share buttons for all of the top social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. By purchasing a pro license, you can also add buttons for Reddit, WhatsApp, Yummly, and more.

10. Photo Gallery: Envira

envira gallery

This drag and drop photo gallery plugin is easy to use and integrates with many of the website plugins already mentioned above. Envira Photo Gallery is free, mobile ready, and SEO friendly. Its straightforward approach makes it simple for everyday users while also allowing web developers to make customizations, if desired. Additional features can be found in the pro version, which starts at $34/month.   

11. Photo Slider: Smart Slider 3

smart slider 3

If you want to create slider galleries, Smart Slider 3 is a must have plugin. Also, fully responsive and optimized for SEO, Smart Slider 3 gives you loads of ways to get creative with your photo gallery. Every heading, text, image, and button can be easily edited with the intuitive user interface. Additional pro features are available for as little as $35/year.

12. Photo Compression: Smush

smush

When you’re looking to optimize load times and storage usage, compressing images on your website can be very helpful. We count Smush among the best free website plugins because of its robust capabilities, which include lossless compression, off-screen image deferment, bulk compression, incorrect image detection, and so much more.

13. Learning Site Builder: Lifter LMS

Lifter lms

LifterLMS lets you create and sell an unlimited number of free online courses without a maximum student capacity. As your learning site grows, you can purchase add-ons for anything from e-commerce, to email marketing, to private areas for 1:1 coaching.

14. Directories: Business Directory Plugin

business directory wordpress

You can create any type of directory imaginable with Business Directory Plugin. You’ll be able to offer both free and paid listings to any person or business. Membership, medical, business, and book review listings are just a few of the directories you can create for free. Add-on packages are available for purchase and start at $99/year.

15. Fundraising: Give

GiveWP is a powerful platform designed for accepting online donations. This free WordPress plugin is a perfect complement to any crowdfunding campaign, as it allows you to accept charitable gifts via customizable donation forms on your website. It also provides reporting options and integrates with quite a few third-party services. Add-ons such as the ability to accept recurring donations, payment gateways, and marketing tools can all be purchased individually or in packages.

16. Ecommerce: WooCommerce

Woocommerce wordpress

If you’re looking to build an e-commerce site on a WordPress platform, WooCommerce is your go-to. It’s by far the most popular open-source solution, and one of the best plugins in 2021 because it’s free and completely customizable. The variety of themes available, the ability to create custom pages in minutes, and a number of built-in tools and integrations definitely set WooCommerce apart from its main competitor, Shopify. And as a bonus, you can use their mobile app to manage your store on the go.

17. Mailing List: MailChimp

When you need to collect users’ contact information and create a mailing list, you will definitely benefit from the MailChimp plugin. It allows you to add a sign-up form to any post or page on your site. This one is completely free, and of course integrates with your MailChimp account.

Plug Into Hungry Media and Launch a Killer Website

Regardless of whether you’re brand new to website creation or a seasoned web designer, everyone can use a little help from time to time. Hungry Media has a wealth of knowledge and years of experience building WordPress sites. Whether you want to learn how to use one (or more!) of the best free WordPress plugins around, or you’re looking to build a brand-new site or app from scratch, Hungry Media can help. Just like WordPress, if you can dream it, Hungry Media can build it. Contact us today for more details!

Web Designer vs. Web Developer: Differences
Web designer vs web developer

While web developers and web designers work together to make websites both beautiful and functional, they play very different roles within the process. So, what’s the difference between a web developer and a web designer, and which should you hire for your project? Let’s first start with the basics, shall we?   

Web Designer vs. Web Developer: Who Does What?

Before you decide which type of professional is right for your project, it’s important to understand the difference between design and development as well as the roles played by a web developer vs. designer.

When considering the meaning of design vs. development, think about it like this: web designers are the creative visionaries; web developers are the engineers. Of course, the difference between a web designer and web developer isn’t quite that simple, but that gives you the general gist.

Designers may have some of the skills required to actually build a website, but their expertise lies in determining what that website should look like, how it should function, and why that is the case. A developer, on the other hand, is the one in charge of making that creative vision a reality. They have the technical knowledge needed to build a fully functional website in the image intended by the designer.

That said, web design and web development are pretty broad fields. They cover all aspects of creating a website, after all. Within each field you’ll find a few specialties.

Types of Web Design

Graphic Design

While not “web designers,” per se, graphic designers create images for use in websites. They utilize specific software, like Photoshop, to bring your vision to life.

UX Design

User experience (UX) design is concerned with effectively and efficiently meeting the needs of the website’s target audience. Broadly, UX designers consider how a user will feel while interacting with a website, and then they act on that knowledge to provide the best experience possible.

UI Design

User interface (UI) design is primarily focused on how to make the UX designer’s vision a reality. UI designers figure out how to use visual elements – elements of the interface – to communicate intended meaning to the user.

Types of Web Development

Back End Developers

Back-end developers handle everything behind the screen. This includes building and managing technology which allows a website to function, such as servers and databases.

Front End Developers

A front-end developer creates the exterior look of the website. They essentially turn all of the back-end data into something that users on the other end of the screen can easily understand.  

Full Stack Developers

Full stack developers are able to work on both the front and back end of a website.

Web Design vs. Web Development: Which Do You Need?

Now that you understand how the roles of a web designer and web developer differ, which one should you hire?

Hire a designer when you need:

Hire a developer when you need:

  • To make your distinctive vision a reality
  • A mobile-first strategy
  • Unique effects such as hovering, scrolling, etc.

Hire a design and development team when you need:

Tips for Hiring a Web Developer or Designer

Regardless of who you choose to hire, it’s important to be clear about what you need this person or team to accomplish. Before you start looking for a web developer or web designer, have the following ready:

  • A basic mockup of your idea, if you have a clear (or even a rough) vision.
  • A list of colors, font styles, textures, etc. that work for your brand.
  • A list of “must-haves” for your website.
  • A deadline.

Hungry Media Has It All!

With Hungry Media you don’t have to decide whether you need a web designer vs. a web developer. We’ve got it all and can work with you through each of the steps involved in building your dream website or app.

Whether you’re looking to optimize what you’ve already got or start something totally new from scratch, our unique approach allows us to uncover your needs in detail and provide you with the best options to get your project across the finish line. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with all of your web design and development needs.

Become a Web Designer
Become a Web Designer

Despite the fact that it’s been growing for years, the web design space continues to expand today. What does a web designer do? Designers use a combination of creativity and technical knowledge to ensure a website is visually appealing. While web design does require a special set of skills, becoming a web designer is well within the realm of possibility for those who are interested.

Work Environments

There are several possible work environments and career types within the web design world. If you want to become a web designer, consider which of the following will work best for you.

Freelance Web Designers

Freelancers manage their own business in addition to doing the actual design work. This offers an incredible amount of flexibility and freedom but comes at a price – namely the pressure of running one’s own business.

Agency Web Designers

The variety of work done by web designers employed by an agency can be similar to that of a freelancer, however agency designers are responsible for design only. This means no stress of running a business, but no real say in the jobs they take on, either.

In House Web Designer

An in-house designer works for a single company and their website(s). The variety of projects will likely be narrower than freelance and agency designers, which can allow for development of expertise in a particular niche. This can be a great opportunity if you’re interested in learning how to do web designing for a specific type of website (i.e., membership sites) or a particular niche (i.e., property management websites). The more experience you have in a specific area, the more marketable you’ll be to those looking for that type of designer.

How to Become a Web Designer

Formal Degrees Are Not the Standard

While formal web design degrees are available, they come with an innate problem: the industry evolves faster than the educational system. It’s very challenging to surmise, today, what knowledge is required for web designing, tomorrow. Much of what is learned in a formal web designer education could be out-of-date by the time a student completes his or her degree.

For those interested in how to study web designing, we actually recommend online classes (from sources like Udemy, Coursea, and Lynda) which can better teach you what to know about web design in the current market. In our experience, online classes are the best way to learn website design because they make better use of time and money.

Continuing Education

What do web designers do to keep themselves up to date on current trends and industry changes? They never stop learning. When you become a web designer, you’ll need to continuously educate yourself on changes in technology, trends in digital marketing, and any new web designer skills you can learn. Again, so many of the things to learn for web designing can be found within the online courses we mentioned above.

Skills Needed to Become a Web Designer

Web designers play a pivotal role in all aspects of a company’s business. From marketing, to commerce, to customer service, they have a hand in it all.

In all honesty, the question shouldn’t be about how to become a website designer, but how to become a good one. Web designer skills are wide-ranging, so the more you know, the more value you’ll provide to clients or an employer. That said, here are a few important things to learn for a web designing career.

Technical Skills

Skill-wise, what do you need to be a web designer? That’s a tough question to answer because there’s no hard and fast rule. You don’t need to be an expert in all areas to be successful, but there are a few basics of what to know about web design before you jump into the market.

Graphic Software and Design Tools

Just like any industry, web designers use a common set of tools and software to get the job done. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with these tools such as WordPress, Photoshop, stock photography options, etc.

 

Programming language

HTML, CSS, Javascript. Having at least a basic knowledge of web development languages will improve an aspiring designer’s marketability. Designers don’t need to understand the nitty gritty. That’s what developers are for, after all. But a general comprehension of how each major programming language is used, as well as their limitations, can make collaborating with a developer so much easier.

SEO Knowledge

Part of creating a successful website is making it visible to search engines; therefore, a clear understanding of SEO basics is a must for anyone who wants to become a web designer. Even the most beautifully designed site won’t serve its purpose unless it’s target audience can find it.

User Experience Principles

Today’s web design has to focus on user experience (UX). As you become a web designer it will be important to understand the components of UX web design. This includes demographic research, defining user personas, and generally understanding the user in order to develop a site that works best for them.  

Graphic and Visual Design Theory  

To become a web designer, you’ll need a basic comprehension of design theory. Conveying meaning or eliciting a specific feeling can be done by using different fonts, colors and layouts. Understanding and executing upon these concepts is a key part of the web designer’s job.

Conversion Focus

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) involves designing websites in a way that motivates users to complete a desired action – such as filling out a form, making a purchase, or sharing on social media. A site that is optimized for conversions will be much more effective, and a designer who understands CRO concepts will be much more likely to land a job than one who does not.

Soft Skills

It may surprise you to know that some of the skills needed to become a web designer aren’t computer skills at all. Soft skills are important for any person in charge of web design, and they are especially important for freelance designers.

Communication

Communication is key for a web designer. You’ll be working with concepts and within frameworks that most are unfamiliar with. To be effective, you’ll have to communicate what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what you need from those around you.

Time Management/Project Management

Staying on top of the moving pieces within a single web design project, let alone more than one project, is truly a skill. Those who want to become a web designer will definitely need to master time management and project management skills in order to be successful.

Customer Service

As a web designer you provide a service. The key to great customer service is empathy. Work to keep in mind where your customer is coming from and what they are trying to accomplish. A combination of empathy and communication skills will put you well on your way to providing top-notch customer service, always.  

What if you DON’T Want to Become a Web Designer?  

In that case, don’t you worry! You don’t need to know how to be a web designer in order to run a successful website.

Hungry Media brings powerful and affordable digital design solutions to any project. Our team of web designers takes pride in creating incredible products that meet the needs of every individual client. Whether it’s a website, mobile app, digital refresh, or anything in between – if you can dream it, our team can build it. Contact us today to get started. We can’t wait to meet you!

Become a web developer

Technology is a huge part of our day to day lives. Seriously. Think about how much of your life is controlled by your smart phone, alone. From navigation to communication to shopping, we use internet technology for everything.

Every app, website, or piece of online software we use was built by a web developer. The digital world of a web developer can sound a little complicated, but it’s not as bad as it seems. Just like any other job, someone who wants to become a web developer simply has to have a solid foundation upon which to build.

What does a Web Developer Do?

Web developers are responsible for creating and maintaining websites and applications using a variety of programming languages and technology. Developers blend the creative vision of the designer with their technical expertise to create a website. They take care of everything from the functionality of the site to ensuring it’s security. Since there’s so much technical knowledge required to build a website, web developer certifications usually focus on one of two areas.

Front-End Web Developers

Front end developers bring the web designer’s vision to life by building the exterior look and feel of the website. Essentially, front-end developers turn back-end data into something the user can interact with and understand. A few more front-end web developer requirements are an ability to:

  • Ensure the mobile responsiveness of a website
  • Understand and utilize SEO basics and best practices
  • Develop tools to improve user experience

Back-End Web Developers

Back-end developers are concerned with everything behind the scenes. They focus on building and maintaining the tech required to power the front end – namely the server, application, and database.

Backend developers are also responsible for:

  • Creating and managing databases
  • Developing and utilizing content management systems
  • Testing and debugging backend elements  

Full Stack Web Developers 

Full stack developers are experts in both front- and back-end development. They’re in high demand, as they tend to be well versed in business practices and user experience, making them a valuable asset to any team. Most full stack developers have worked in the industry for years, having gained experience and knowledge in a variety of roles.

How to Become a Web Developer

There’s no specific web developer degree or educational path required to become a web developer. In fact, it’s not even required that you have a formal web developer education in order to work in the web development field.

There are several options aside from formal education to help you learn how to become a web developer. Programs and coding boot camps such as CodeAcademy and App Academy are kind of like “web developer schools.” They provide web development training and teach the coding skills needed to pursue specific career opportunities.

Additionally, those hoping to learn web development should have a working knowledge of common programming languages, libraries, and frameworks in addition to common technology. Career Foundry has a list of 50 web development buzzwords all new programmers should learn.  

Web Developer Skills Needed

While web developer job requirements can be flexible and a formal education isn’t a must, a set of specific skills is. Here are the basics of what is needed to be a web developer. This is what you’ll want a grasp before you begin your development career.

Programming Languages

A programming language is basically a set of commands that tells the computer what to do. High level languages use logic and symbols, making them relatively easy for humans to read and comprehend. Low level languages such as machine code are those directly recognizable by computer. Which language(s) or framework(s) a developer specializes in is dependent upon their career track and/or specialty.

  • HTML – Hypertext markup language is the foundational element of the internet, and it is used to specify the formatting of a text file. Basically, HTML determines what the text on a website looks like.
  • CSS – Cascading style sheet languages are created to style documents written in markup languages. This includes things like color, font, borders, etc. CSS can also be used to optimize for responsive design, telling the computer to adapt what the screen looks like based on the device used.
  • JavaScript – JavaScript is a text-based language that builds off other basic programing languages. It is required to create interactive, dynamic web pages and apps. Actions such as real-time communication and loading emails all rely on JavaScript.

Responsive Web Design

Today’s web design must be mobile-responsive, if not mobile first. For this reason, responsive web design skills are a must for today’s developers.

Version Control

When building a site, it’s important to understand and manage its progress. Version control software allows developers to track changes in their code over time. Git is currently the most popular version control tool available.

Browser Development Tools

Each web browser is a little bit different. Developers should have an understanding of how pages are rendered in a particular browser so that they can maintain functionality and improve performance.

Libraries and Frameworks

These are set of prewritten code which can be used to help developers reach the same end goal without having to write quite so much code to get there. Libraries contain a collection of useful code that can be accessed at any time. They are smaller and more job-specific than frameworks. A framework contains pre-made tools and components that help a developer write code faster. Popular frameworks include Bootstrap and Rails.

Database Languages

Database languages are used to build and manage – you guessed it – databases. Databases don’t understand the same languages that websites and apps are programmed with. Structured Query Language (SQL) is an example of a standard language used to access data in databases.

Related Careers

While in your pursuit of a web development career you may come across some additional paths. Each of the careers below reflects a specific type of developer or someone who works closely with web developers. They may be something you’re interested in now, or find yourself working toward in the future.

UX Designer

User experience (UX) design aims to understand and optimize the way a website or app is experienced by the end user. These designers must be competent in analytics and understanding human behavior and expectation, as well as possess basic design and development skills.

Mobile App Developer

Mobile application development is a hot career path at the moment. New companies and products are showing up in the market every day, and it’s expected that these companies will have an effective mobile first strategy at the least, and an easy-to-use mobile app at best.

Web Administrator

One of the oldest known roles in the tech sector is a Web Administrator. These professionals have experience with internet protocols and technology, and they usually work to manage internal and external web-based technology for a single corporation.

Information Architect

Information architects focus on the organization of a website and how efficiently and effectively information can be accessed. The architects create the structure and navigation functionality of a site.

Database Developer

Collecting and analyzing data is important for any business using web technology. Database developers create back-end workflows and integrations to help capture data which will help drive decisions down the line.

You Don’t Have to Become a Web Developer to Create a Fantastic Website or App

You don’t need to know how to be a web developer to get your project off the ground. You can let us take care of that for you. Hungry Media has been in the digital creation space for years. Our experienced team of designers and developers will help make your vision a reality.

Our unique approach allows us to dig deep and really understand what you’re looking for before we start building your dream website or app. We’ve worked with companies and brands in all sectors and across many industries. We can’t wait to hear about your idea. Contact us today to get started!

Monetize your website
Monetize your website

One of the first things many people question when they start creating web-based content is how to build and monetize a website. The good news is that learning how to monetize your website requires more consistency than skill. There are several ways to build an online income, and there are also several things to take into consideration before you begin to monetize your site.

Let’s start with a basic question. What is website monetization, anyway? It’s the process of converting web traffic into some sort of revenue. And while the answer is an easy one, the process isn’t quite that simple. Here’s what you need to know about monetization for websites.

Before You Monetize Your Website

Think about it this way. You’re not monetizing your website. You’re actually monetizing internet traffic. So, before you try to figure out how to make a monetized website, think about how to bring users to it. While there are certainly ways to make money without a large amount of traffic, the return on your investment will increase as your number of engaged users does the same.

Use SEO

First and foremost, users have to be able to find you. So, your site must be optimized for search engines. An understanding of SEO basics is more than enough to get you started here. Research keywords and use them strategically. Create descriptions to use in alt tags. Utilize title tags for your pages. All of these little actions will drive users to your site.

Design for User Experience

User experience design can go a long way to retain your users. When the people who visit your website find the experience pleasant – or better yet, don’t “notice” the experience – they’re likely to return. This is huge for your visibility, as it’s so much easier to keep users around than to find new ones. SEO and UX design are the one-two-punch of increased website traffic.   

Be Mobile Friendly

Don’t even consider ways to monetize your website if you don’t have a mobile-first strategy, or at least a responsive design. More users access your website via mobile device than desktop or laptop. So, trying to monetize without first striving to capture mobile users is a waste of time and money.

Provide Quality Content

Unique, valuable content is key to keeping users once they find your site. Even if a user never comes back, you’re a step ahead if they found your content to be relevant and helpful. If they find you, but the content you’ve provided them doesn’t meet their needs, they won’t stick around long enough for your monetization strategies to be effective.

Build a Social Audience

A social media following is almost a must when it comes to driving traffic to your website. Aside from a Google search, social media channels are the most common way for new users to find you. The Balance has some fantastic tips for growing as social following.

How to Monetize Your Website

There are plenty of website monetization tools and tricks to consider as you try to earn an income from your website. As you work to decide which is best for you, keep in mind that you’re aiming to monetize website traffic, as opposed to the site itself. Think about your users and the way they interact with your site.

What do they do when they’re on your site? How long does each visit last? Are they sharing your site with friends? Do they comment on your posts? If you can really figure out what makes them tick, it will be that much easier to determine the most effective ways to monetize your website traffic. 

Paid Membership

One of the simplest ways to monetize your website is to charge a fee for access to your content. You have to be very careful with this, though. There is so much free, often valuable, content available across the internet. You’ll need to make sure that the content you’re charging for is really special. Many websites opt to set up a paid section and pack it full of high-value extras not available on their free pages. This way you’re not alienating those who can’t, or don’t want to, pay, and are providing worthwhile content to those who do.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular methods to monetize your website these days, and for good reason. The bottom line is that you receive a “commission” for sharing another brand’s content or product. This is a favorite because there are so many ways to go about affiliate marketing while remaining authentic to yourself and your brand. Here are a few ideas:

  • Product Reviews – Try a product out and provide a comprehensive, honest review.
  • Tutorials – Use your experience to teach your audience how you use a particular product.
  • Recommended Tools and Resources – Create a list of your favorite tools, products, and resources.
  • Sponsored Posts – Write a blog (or social media) post centered around a particular product.

“Hire Me” Page 

This one is so simple that it may not even cross your mind as a way to monetize your website. Add a page with a “hire me” button or form. Even if your website is your hobby, there’s no harm in putting it out there. You could offer your services in the form of anything from writing to photography to tax services.

Take donations

Similar to a “hire me” button, you could add a link to accept donations. If your content offers value, and you need the support, your users may be more than happy to contribute. If you opt to go this route, we have some great tips to help make fundraising for business a success.

Sell a Digital Product

Digital products are a huge hit these days. Regardless of the type of content you create, you can come up with some sort of digital product to sell at a relatively low cost to your audience.

  • E- book – An ebook sharing some of your favorite tips, tricks, stories, anecdotes, or anything else you can compile might be a hit with a devoted following.
  • Online course – Similar to the e-book, you could develop a video-based course surrounding something that you’re great at and have passion for. It could be anything from how to make amazing sushi to the best way to train your dog. The sky’s the limit, and if your content is valuable, people will be more than willing to pay to learn from you.
  • Digital downloads – Depending on your niche, low-cost digital downloads of things like checklists, how-to guides, photo filter packs, website themes, and so much more can add up quickly.

Merchandise

You can make products yourself or outsource production, but either way, getting creative with merchandise can go a long when trying to monetize your website. Coffee mugs with your favorite saying, t-shirts highlighting your brand, even simple sticker decals – could all be favorites among your loyal audience.

Display Ads

And then, of course, there’s the obvious. Sell advertising space. You can go about this in two ways. Either way, using display ads means that a third-party company will be placing advertisements on your website for your users to see – kind of like an internet billboard.

If you don’t have a detailed understanding of how to get advertisers on your website, you can use a service like Google AdSense to do the marketing and ad placement for you. Or, of course, you can do the sales and placement work yourself, if that’s your thing.

What to Avoid When Trying to Monetize Your Website

While there are no hard and fast website monetization rules, at the end of the day your users’ experience has to remain a top priority. Otherwise, you’ll lose the audience that provides you with income.

That said, just be careful not to go overboard. Too many sponsored posts, requests to purchase your e-book, or ads that slow down your site can all be detrimental to user experience, and thus potential monetization. You want your users to feel as though they’re getting something from you, not the other way around.

Hungry Media can Help Monetize Your Website

One of the statements we hear most often is “I want to monetize my website, but I don’t know how.” Hungry Media does! We can help you build a website, implement strategies to monetize web traffic, and even create a complementary mobile app if you want. If you can dream it, we can build it, and we can’t wait to turn your dream into a reality. Contact us today to get started!

UX vs. UI Design
UX vs. UI Design

UX vs. UI Design. They are two terms which are often used concurrently, and most definitely rely upon each other. While the difference between UI and UX design is subtle, they are two distinct concepts and practices.

Regardless of which type of website or mobile app you are developing, you’ll want a broad understanding of each of these disciplines, how they are different, and the ways in which they are dependent upon each other.

What is UX Design?

User experience (UX) describes any and all interactions between a user and a product or service. For our purposes, we are assuming those interactions take place via a website or mobile app; however, anything one can experience is UX, meaning the term “UX” can apply to any product or service. This could be a new car, a visit to the pet groomer, or (of course) a website or mobile app. UX involves how it feels to drive that car, what it’s like inside the groomer’s storefront, or how easy it is to complete an online purchase using the website.

User experience design is a human-first method of creation. In terms of web development, UX design starts by clearly understanding the needs of the user on the other end of the interface. UX designers focus on the overall user journey – the path that users follow as they interact with your interface – and how each step along that path impacts them.

We are assuming a user has a goal in mind when they pull up your website or open your app. So, what does the process of achieving that goal feel like to them? Is the website or app clunky and difficult to navigate, leading to frustration? Does it leave them feeling accomplished? Are they excited to come back for more? UX design principles take this, and so much more, into consideration.

What is UI Design?

A user interface (UI) is the graphical layout of the website or app. UI, by definition, includes elements like buttons, text, images, forms, and any other visual components of a website or app. UI design uses these elements to create a pleasant experience while visually guiding the user through the interface.

User interface designers select and create each individual element on your website or app with the goal of providing a perfect user experience. In today’s world where users tend to connect with many of these interfaces while on the go, designing a responsive website is a significant component of UI design. In the end, if UI design is well-executed, users won’t even think about the design of your website or app.

UX vs. UI Design: How do They Compare?

There are several ways to describe UI and UX differences, as well as the connections between these two design disciplines:

  • UX design focuses on the overall user journey from start to finish. UI design focuses on the individual moments that make up the journey.
  • UX design looks at what needs to happen to improve conversion rates. UI design makes it happen.
  • UX determines how the interface should work. UI design creates the interface in that image.
  • UX designers create the basic outline of a website or app. UI designers flesh it out with visual and interactive elements.
  • One last example: Web Developer Dain Miller describes the relationship between UX and UI design perfectly. “UI is the saddle, the stirrups, and the reins. UX is the feeling you get being able to ride the horse.”

UX Design vs. UI Design in Practice

Okay, so what does this look like in practical terms?

UX design involves lots of research into what users want and what would make their experience better. For example, what would improve users’ emotional responses when interacting with your website or app? Or, what makes them continue to use your website or app day after day?

UI design takes the answers to those questions into consideration while designing each individual element of the interface: buttons, forms, graphics, menus, and so on.

UX Versus UI Design Examples

A UX designer might determine that users would have a better experience if the “purchase now” button were easier to see. A UI designer would then figure out the best way(s) – using placement, contrast, size, color – to make the button stand out.

A UX designer might come to the realization that bounce rates increase when the website is viewed on a mobile device, and thus make the recommendation to go with a mobile first strategy. The UI designer will implement the strategy using all the right design elements.

UI and UX Design Steps

As you can see, while UX and UI design involve two different skillsets, each relies upon the other. Both UX and UI design need to be well executed and aligned with the company mission and user expectations.

You can have a beautiful website, but if it doesn’t work, nobody’s coming back after their first visit. Conversely, you can have the most efficient and functional site, but if it’s unpleasing to the eye or uncomfortable to use, users are much less likely to return.

UX and UI design simply won’t be effective without a little bit of “pre-work,” on the part of your designer. Most of this work will be in the form of research and testing. Trust us, putting effort in on the front end of your UX and UI design strategy will save you lots of time and money down the road.

Define Your Users

The better you get to know your target audience, the more effective your UX and UI efforts will be. Define everything from your users’ gender to what they love to eat for breakfast. No detail is too small when it comes to learning about the end user.

Determine How Users Will Interact with Your Interface

Before you determine how to implement a UX vs. UI design strategy for your app or website, you’ll want a good grasp on the ways in which your product will be used. Will your users be accessing your interface via desktop computer, tablet, smart phone? Will they be using your product at work, at home, while driving, while shopping?

It’s nearly impossible to design for experience if you do not have a clear understanding of the ways in which your interface will be used.

Test Your Ideas

Testing is huge for UI and UX design. A/B testing allows you to serve up one version of your website to group A and another version to group B. You’ll then be able to determine whether the changes you made were effective at achieving their intended goal.

Alternately, you can also test to determine the best way to solve a problem. If you’re on the fence about which potential solution is right for your audience, you can utilize A/B testing to see which option works best.

Analyze the Results

While it’s natural to have your own opinions and ideas about your web or mobile app design, they don’t matter one bit. It’s the user’s ideas and opinions that drive decisions.

That said, after testing has been completed, it’s time to review the data. Compare the key analytics of group A to those of group B. Tools such as Google Analytics will quickly reveal whether your UX or UI design strategy was successful.

UX and UI Design with Hungry Media

Hungry Media has years of experience in a wide range of digital industries, so you can confidently leave the UX vs.UI design details to us, freeing you up to focus on the big picture.  From Web design to mobile app development – we can help with it all. Contact us today to get started!

UI Design
UI Design

Most of us are so used to interacting with electronic devices in the form of smart phones, tablets, and computers, that we might find it difficult to carry out our everyday tasks without them. This is a testament to effective web page user interface design, executed with the end user in mind.

What is a User Interface?

It is not terribly difficult to define “user interface (UI).” Simply put (for our purposes, at least) it is the means by which a user interacts with a software system. Think about your computer desktop, which is an example of a user interface. Meaning all of the icons, colors, buttons, feedback schemes, and anything else you interact with on your screen are a part of the interface. Similarly, what you see when you use a website or mobile app is a user interface, as well.

In short, a user interface is the point of human and computer contact. And behind every UI interface there is the designer who thoughtfully created it.

What is Website UI Design?

So, what is user interface design and what does it mean for you? Website UI design uses visual elements to communicate meaning to the user.

UI design of websites or mobile apps focuses on selecting the best elements for each action a user may take and designing them in a way that conveys meaning. Ideally this meaning is expressed so well, and the site functions so flawlessly, that users don’t notice the design itself.

Make the Most of User Interface Design Principles

Effective website UI design starts with research. Using surveys, studies, and psychology, you can learn all about your users, their habits, and how they interact with your technology.

Demographics

Who are your users, exactly? The better you get to know your target audience, the more effectively you can use web UI design to create an interface that works for them. Considerations can be as broad as their gender and as specific as the shoes they love to wear. No detail is too small when it comes to learning about the end user.

Define How Users Will Interact with Your Interface

Before you determine the best way to integrate UI design elements into your app or website, you need a clear understanding of the ways in which it will be used. Which type of device will your app be used on most? Where will users be when they’re interacting with it?

By taking some time up front to really define when, where, and how the audience will use your app or website, UI design will be much easier down the road.

Analyze Data

It would be amazing if user interface design were evaluated on aesthetics of our sites alone. Alas, the user is King, and they determine whether you’ve achieved the goals set by your website UI design plan.

Review analytics after you launch to see how you did. Take a look at bounce rates, cart abandonment rates, traffic sources, session times, and so on. This will help you learn where and how to tweak you interface for maximum effect.

Features of User Interface Design

After you’re sure you know your users, you can begin to design your interface. Let’s take a look at some practical tips for creating your mobile app or website using UI design techniques.

Set Expectations

If you let users know what will happen before they take an action, they will find your interface to be much more user friendly. Nobody wants to be taken by surprise when they click a button or make a selection.

Anticipate Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, and no matter what type of website you manage or how perfectly you’ve designed your UI, your users will, too. One of the most common responses upon making a mistake is frustration. One of the most important jobs of website UI design is to minimize frustration by anticipating your users’ mistakes.

Making an unintended selection, leaving a page earlier than expected, hitting delete instead of submit. To boost user experience, design an interface that makes it easy to avoid or undo these mistakes.

While there is certainly no “right” way tackle this, here are few user interface elements that can help:

  • Buttons that don’t become active until all required form fields are completed
  • Detection of an incorrect email address format
  • Confirmation dialog boxes for destructive actions
  • Error messages that clearly explain a mistake
  • A button to recover deleted files

Provide Timely Feedback

Think about the ways in which we receive feedback all day long. You wave to the mailman and he waves back. Your dog wags his tail when you scratch behind his ears. The washing machine turns on when you hit the start button. All of these responses let us know that the mailman, or the dog, or the washer, have received your input.

Likewise, your user interface should provide feedback as users’ input is being processed. How do users know that they hit the correct button, or even hit a button at all? How will they know whether a blank screen is present because the page is loading or the device is frozen?

Here are some elements that can providing clarity to your users in the form of feedback:

  • Buttons that “depress” when clicked
  • Links that change color once selected
  • A progress bar for uploads or downloads
  • Graphics indicating a page is loading

Leverage Layouts

Not only does your layout provide a visual aesthetic, but it also provides practical guidance as users navigate the website. Focusing your website UI design on hierarchy and readability as you consider layout will improve user experience and conversion rates throughout. A few ways to achieve this:

  • Use consistent alignment. As a rule of thumb, edge alignment is preferred over center.
  • Draw attention to important features using color, brightness, and contrast.
  • Place control elements in close proximity to the objects they control.

Layout can also help define relationships between elements. For example, elements with little space between them indicates a relationship. Elements spaced further apart indicates the opposite.

Keep It Simple

The more options you present a user, the more difficult it is for them to make a decision. This covers everything in your UI design from navigation menus to pricing information. Don’t worry. You can still include everything you want within the website. Just focus on one main function per page, and leverage other UI design elements to help users navigate between pages as necessary.

Keep it Consistent

Once we’ve familiarized ourselves with the way a website functions, our brain doesn’t have to work as hard to use it. This principle doesn’t just apply to individual websites, it applies to all websites and apps as a whole.

When you make users think again about a process they have already learned, even if it’s as simple as returning to your homepage, you’re requiring them to think harder than necessary. Website UI design is not the place to reinvent the wheel. For the sake of your users, it’s best to stay consistent with industry trends.

Website UI Design with Hungry Media

The good news about UI design for websites is that today’s technology allows us to make changes, test the outcomes, and evaluate results before starting the cycle over. But this kind of trial and error can be both time consuming and costly. Hungry Media can help cut down on the time and expense of designing a user interface via trial and error. Whether you want to improve your UX via UI design, you’re updating your website entirely, or need to build a new site from scratch, we are here to help. Contact us today to see how we can make your website vision a reality.