Abraham Esparza is the founder and head of operations of The Savvy Monk, a web design company based in El Paso, Texas. His company provides graphic design services, including video graphics, in addition to standard web designs.
Abraham, how did you get involved in web design and development?
My career creating websites started shortly after getting my degree in computer science, and a minor in cyber security. With those two degrees I was able understand the inner workings of a website.
Knowing the technical side of things doesn’t guarantee good design so I took several courses of design which included colour theory, graphic design, and HTML among others. This gave me a really good foundation of what it takes to not only create a functional website but also one that is friendly and appealing to the end user.
What makes a web design stand out?
As a web developer your main concern is the usability of the webpage and its security. Users want the information to be easy to consume, so if it takes three clicks to get what they want you’ll lose over 50% of potential business.
There are also other trends that emerge such as video and moving graphics in the welcome page. Not knowing how to optimise all the elements in a page can cause a drop in page rankings because the pages take longer than other websites to load.
Every graphic we use in a website needs to provide information about the business otherwise it becomes a waste and it hurts the bottom line of our client. Sometime a well placed graphic can do more than a description, it all comes down to using the right graphic.
How important is graphic design for a website?
Graphic design is very important, there things you can do to catch the user’s eye that you can’t do with text. Done right graphics are able to deliver the message you want in a more efficient and convenient way. When we build a website we start with gathering the client’s information and we create a narrative (a story that will catch the costumer’s eye) then we move and create the graphics needed for the website.
We always try to balance the amount of video and information in a website, too much video and graphics and the website becomes slow and it suffers in the Google rankings, not enough and the page becomes dry and unappealing. There has to be a balance so that the webpage is able to rank and the users are able to find what they need without wasting their time.
When a new client comes to you what is your web development process?
First we walk through their services and goals, then we move to budget and time line. As part of our services we often ask our clients who’s their competitor to do some research. Depending on their goals and the amount of work that needs to be done we set a time line.
We schedule several meetings before the deadline set just to allow for some adjustments such as revisions and other changes. Everything we do needs a final approval from our clients, this is necessary to avoid any setbacks.
Do motion graphics and videos give people better results than still images?
It depends how and where they are used, for example video gets more views when used in Facebook, but video might not work when used in contact area of a web page. Too many videos slows’ the load time on a page, so text is king when it comes to webpages.
A short to the point paragraph with a balanced amount of graphics can do more for the website then using nothing but graphics and video. It’s a balance, we would never use a video or motion graphic in a “about us” section for a construction company, those companies need to be represented in a certain light, however we would use a video or motion graphics at the welcome section of the page.
Does your company design games as well as websites?
We do, we are currently working on several android games, that are set for release in the next four months and a third during Christmas time. Android is a big market and so we’ll start there and move to IOS in the year or two.
Does your web development include functional changes to your clients’ websites or just design?
I am a big believer in “always be improving” so yes, I make changes to the webpage until the client is happy. The webpage needs to reflect the client’s business and ideals, it’s their baby and it’s a part of their overall identity, if they not happy neither am I.
I also offer support to all my clients and monthly website traffic updates, so that they know where they stand and can take action accordantly. Building a website isn’t enough; there needs to be continue support such as link building, press releases, SEO and marketing to get the best results.
How do you think web design will evolve in the next few years?
For one thing landing pages have become very popular because they are light, and you are able to add all the content about the business without cluttering and over explaining services to the end user. Creating gifs to reveal things like logos and other small elements has also become very popular because it catches the eye, so I’ll be experiment with those to see when and where they are more useful than other graphics or text.
The biggest item all new websites need to have is to be mobile friendly, everyone is using their cell phones to access the internet and if the webpage isn’t mobile friendly you might as well not have a webpage.
Thank you Abraham for your time!
You can follow up with Abraham Esparza at http://thesavvymonk.com