Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

Why have Google fonts?

In 2010 Google launched an open-source (no copyright, take and use what you will for free) project to enable a better web experience harnessing the powers of web typography. Since then hundreds of contributors have created a collection of no less than 671 fonts (at time of publishing, it’s forever growing) available to download and add to your website.

There’s a large range, some of which are in the style of handwriting and can look really effective when used correctly. But it is very easy to go over the top using handwriting fonts so it is key to use only one or two high quality, easy to read fonts, per website.

We asked Max, our Lead Digital Marketing Designer tips for choosing a Google Font:
Essentially it's about finding a harmony of legibility and readability. At first glance these seem like the same thing however they aren't.
One is the font and one is how we use the font. They work
together to create a better user experience.

Legibility refers to the design of the typeface (font) including
thickness (or weight) of the characters, whether it has serifs or
not (small line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter), if there
are any fancy ligatures (two characters connected together), etc.

Readability on the other hand looks at font size, line height, font
styling such as bold, italics, underlined, and more. It's equal parts maths and trial and error. The balance between these factors creates a smoother reading
experience for users of your website.

Open Sans seems to be very popular but is it the best? Let’s look to the stats; Open Sans has been viewed by over 17,904,710,200 times within the last seven days. It is the favourite with Google used across the board in many of their own sites (they also use Roboto hugely in their mobile operating system, Android) and is loved by designers and developers alike because it was optimized from day one for the web, print and mobile devices.

Google Fonts makes it quick and easy for everyone to use web fonts,
including professional designers and developers. We believe that
everyone should be able to bring quality typography to their web pages
and applications. - The Google Fonts Team

Check out which fonts would look best on your site.

If you want to make this great change to your website, give us a call on 02380 633 644.
Read More

iOS vs Android: In the words of a convert.

The Apple Watch was the final straw...

I recently took the leap from iOS to Android and it's the best decision I've made in some time (except for attempting to grow a beard and proposing to my girlfriend).

Being an Apple fan for over 6 years I've never known anything different, but that's the point. Apple has continued to be the same, especially in terms of the iPhone, for a long time. Any changes to it's latest releases have been minor, or they've been slight improvements to a product that has been available to the general public for a while.

Given all the rave reviews from colleagues and friends using Android, I decided to take what will now be at least a 24-month sabbatical from iOS (and Apple) in general. Within 2 days of being on Android I found the phone size, speed, customisation, and simplicity far superior to that of my old iPhone 5.

I chose the HTC One M9 because of the fantastic reviews the HTC One M8 received in recent years.

The Apps, highlights area and customisable themes make the phone more unique to me but retains the same areas that everyone now uses their phones for (apps, apps and more apps).

The size of the phone is also fantastic for rendering websites on, which is a big benefit for me especially given the industry I work within. It makes mobile testing far easier.

For me there are a few glaring advantages to having an Android phone over iOS, and these are:

Cost - Monthly contracts are far cheaper as you're not paying for the Apple logo on your device.

No more iTunes - Although deleting this would have been easy, I no longer need to worry about my iPhone playing U2's latest album whenever my Spotify pauses.

Widgets - Widgets allow you to pick and choose how you want your Android phone to work and function. This level of customisation is incredible and allows you to have exactly the phone you want. It's a relief not being forced to have the Apple Watch app just because you've upgraded the software... Android is far more personal whereas I found Apple to be very generic.

Themes - Pick and choose pre designed themes to style your background, widgets and app screens. A huge range of colours, styles and widget designs to pick from mean you can have a cool and uniquely styled design on all your screens/apps.

As a summary, I wouldn't say I'll never go back to Apple. If they were to come up with something a little more bespoke than finger print recognition, within their operating system, and take more of an Android approach in terms of making your phone 'yours,' it looks like I'll be sticking with Android for the foreseeable.

Android sum it up well, with their slogan 'Be Together- But not the same.'

Client Care Manager - David.
Read More

Website of the Week - Change of Style: Granite & Stone Ltd + Mobile Website


This week's website of the week goes to Change of Style Granite & Stone LTD, located closely to us in the City of Southampton.

It was a pleasure working with this talented and very friendly company and the team really enjoyed putting together the new design for the website as well as an accompanying mobile website.

Change of Style work on both Domestic and Commercial projects and have furnished everything from the homes of local clients to the grand ships of large ferry companies like P&O Cruises.

Taking this into account, they needed a website design that was modern and simple yet attractive to an extremely wide and ever increasing clientèle.

They also needed their website to be eye catching on mobile view for anyone searching for them using mobile devices, which is an ever growing preference for browsing the web.

The Home page is clearly separated into different site-wide panels which guide the visitor to the Domestic and Commercial pages, each with their own attractive layouts to suit the existing content.

The design was kept fairly simple overall so that the mobile website would be easily integrated as well as still recognisable from device to device.

The panel layout is perfect for both PC and mobile screens as it separates text nicely and is easily custom-styled. Some changes have been made to make the website appear simpler on smaller screens as large images can be off-putting and make text hard to read, but overall the content is exactly the same as the PC version.

If you're thinking about making your own website mobile friendly, just get in touch with our Support Team.

Read More

Social Etiquette in the Web Design Industry

"Technical people can’t speak to normal people and have no social etiquette."

Often times, when you have a technical issue, you will speak to someone who has expert knowledge on the issue at hand. Some of what they say may go completely over your head, and a lot of it you will not understand. 

Unfortunately, when you are speaking to someone who is an 'expert' on something or have specialised knowledge in a subject that you are discussing, it is going to come across as though they are speaking technically and that you will not understand.

Trust us, we've been stuck on the phone to phone companies, utility companies and more and have been just as baffled as anyone else at the jargon being used! 

It's an everyday occurence, it's inevitable that you're not always going to understand the process of something. But that's okay. Because we're happy to go over this with our clients in a simplified and clear way, until they do understand. Worried about going over it for the hundreth time? Don't be. We don't mind! And we know that it's much better (and puts people at ease) when they know what is happening and understand the details. 

If you've come to a company like Toolkit Websites, you've already given an 'expert' the task of doing something you aren't able to do yourself (or don't have the time to.) So sit back and relax. When it comes to your website build, we've got it covered.

When we do hand the reigns over to you, we provide full and unlimited training. It will then soon be YOUR turn to be the expert, and you'll be teaching your colleagues, friends or family on how to use The Toolkit to update your website. They may just look at you with confusion or ask you to repeat yourself a few times... that's normal. 

As for social etiquette, our Support Team are equipped at handling any query or question you have. Worried that you need more time to spend on the project and you want to push the deadline back? We're not robots! Of course we'll look at setting a more appropriate deadline. We can offer advice on all elements of your website build, we can even have a chat with you about the weather or the latest Game of Thrones episode... we are reachable on the phone (within 3 rings!) and it doesn't matter how many times you call us. We can assist you when it comes to using our system to update your website, or any queries you may have whilst your website project is in build. 

There are lots more stereotypes that our industry have been labelled with. A lot of people assume that all web developers and designers are men for example. This is another myth, as we have some serious girl power in our project management team, design team, social media marketing team and the support team too! But rather than take offence or be upset by the labels we are given, we're very happy to demolish them.

We work every day to improve on our work, beat our own records, always give our best and continue producing the passionate support, quality design and tools for our clients to get the best our of their website project. Just take a look at our client testimonials and portfolio for evidence!

Why not give us a call on 02380 633 644 today, to get started on your website project?

We look forward to hearing from you.

Members of the Toolkit Team

Read More