Web Design and Navigation | web design and development

As people “browse” the Web, they “land” on a page and “navigate” on a website. To find their way around they need a “navigation” system. Navigation is as important for web design as for a real life drive: when you drive on a new road you want to see clear marked destinations, exits and parking lots. You want to know where you are and where you go. So do your visitors. Fail to provide a clear road map and they will go back to where they came from. Navigation should be clear and simple. Or better: standard. That means: don’t go around renaming buttons. Use “home” for your index; not “back to base”. Although this “back to base” is rather clear, not all the web users are in the mood for riddles, nor do they have the time to start learning your rules, your style, or your symbols.There are three major types of navigation: global, local and hierarchical.Web designers use global navigation for medium-sized and small websites to categorize the main points of interest. Hierarchical navigation refers to large websites – such as web directories, article directories, news portals and so on. This approach is somehow confusing for web novices: they cannot really find their way, especially when the navigational structure is not clear (some web designers omit important navigational elements such as “you are here”, “back”, “next page” etc.)One important note about local navigation: it works great when you need cross traffic. You could use embedded links to lead your visitors to information that is somewhere else on your website or on a different website. But if you need to link to another website use a target=”_blank” approach that will open the link in a new window. That’s how the visitors will not lose the path back to your website.Many times web designers use a mix of the three navigational styles, depending on the size of a website, its categories and the importance of these categories. As a rule all sites have a global navigation principle: the navigation bar. Standard placements of the navigation bar are on the top or along the left side of the screen. Some designers place the nav bar on the right side – but users are not really familiar with this approach. The worse practice is promoted by flash designers who ignore web usability standards and make the visitors “guess” where the links are.No matter where you want to place the nav bar, remember: keep it simple. Take a look at the websites of big corporations. For example Philips placed the nav bar at the top to define the main categories and uses a java script to help users navigate to particular points of interest. On secondary pages Philips is using a left navigation bar. All in one, the web designers that created the website for Philips used all three major types of navigation, but the design respects one radical principle: “Sense and simplicity”. That’s right: Philips’ slogan applies perfectly as a fundamental rule when it comes to web design.

Medical Marketing Tactics – The Value of Online Healthcare Marketing | healthcare

Medical marketing is nothing new. From the very first medical development to the most recent treatments and drugs, medical marketing tactics have been constantly improving. The newest wave of these developments will be online healthcare marketing. As with so many other fields, the web is the newest frontier of development. When most of the world is looking for something, they trust the web to find it. That’s why medical marketing has to go virtual. That’s why online healthcare marketing is so important.But what does it mean for medical marketing to step into the online setting? This article will explore the medical marketing tactics that have emerged, and examine how they can be used to reinforce a brand and promote a new treatment. It’s important to look at online healthcare marketing from every angle, so you can decide whether it is time for your company to step up its web presence.Medical Marketing Tactics for the Online GenerationNo industry is safe from the online revolution. Even old, established staples like the healthcare industry are becoming increasingly internet-ready to meet the demands of a younger generation of customers. The internet isn’t just something so novel that it can be ignored; it is now the most powerful tool the marketing world has ever seen. And the healthcare industry can’t bear to miss the wave.That’s why medical marketing tactics are increasingly adapting to fit the needs of online healthcare marketing. It’s only logical that time would change things within the healthcare industry – being static is never productive. If anything, it’s more surprising that it has taken this long. But now there are pioneering online healthcare marketing firms at the forefront of these new developments. Yet these companies also retain the medical marketing tactics that have served the industry for so long, combining the two and creating new, incredibly effective techniques as a result.Online Healthcare MarketingOnline medical marketing tactics grow out of the same basic objective that older techniques had: get as many people to know your brand and your product as possible. Online marketing simply opens more avenues for branding and product placement than ever before. Yet despite the new capabilities of online healthcare marketing, abandoning the old marketing tactics completely is unwise. Instead, most leading companies tend to fuse the two, completing website redesigns in conjunction with print media, television, and online advertisement to drive up hits. However, any good company will ensure each individual online healthcare marketing campaign is as variable and different as the client for whom it is designed.Is it Time For You to Boost Your Online Presence?Almost universally, the answer is yes. There is no hospital, medical services provider, pharmaceutical company, or corporation in the health services industry that cannot benefit from an increased online presence. Online marketing is the wave of the future, and even though older medical marketing tactics are still helpful and will still work, without the complete package of techniques you’re not using every tool at your disposal to increase sales. And in a sluggish economy, no company can afford to pass on an opportunity like this.If you’re interested in expanding your marketing reach, your first step should be to find a good company that knows both online and traditional marketing. Once you’ve found a good company with experience, you’ll be ready to start exploring the complicated world of internet marketing and the increased revenue that comes with it.

Finding Your Identity in Online Games | Online Games

As of today, there are dozens of Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMOPRG’s) slated for release or in beta. It is hard to decide on which online game to play. And most of us don’t have the time or money to play more then one game at a time. With all the competition, software companies need to come up with more creative ways of distinguishing themselves from each other and retaining their player base.After all the hype from the initial release of a game subsides, what keeps players engaged in the virtual world? For one thing, the game has to be fun and must continue to be fun. Beyond that, the players need to have a sense of ownership – they need to have a tangible connection and personal investment in their online world.Online games are an extension of our real life. What keeps us happy in the real world will often translate to what keeps us happy in the virtual world of a game. We like to feel special and have the ability to express ourselves in our own unique way. We also enjoy the freedom to choose of what we do with our possessions and time.Customizable CharactersOne of the most important aspects of a game is being able to customize the in-game character. Having a unique avatar or graphical representation helps players stand out. It is a key element that defines the identity of a player.The latest online role-playing games let you tweak a multitude of physical including hair color and style, facial characteristics, height, weight, age, and gender. This lets players create a unique, one-of-a-kind avatar that defines them in the virtual world.As voice chat is becoming more common in online games, players are feeling a need to customize the sound of their voice. These gamers may have spent a long time customizing the look of their avatars, why not have voices to match? Voice-changing products like MorphVOX from Screaming Bee allow these players to have a unique voice that matches their in-game character, whether they choose to be a mighty giant or space adventurer.Opportunities to improve a character’s abilities or skills are an important feature of an online game. Just as in real world, people like to have the option of changing their lot in life through self-improvement. Between gaining skills and “leveling-up”, their online character continues to grow and improve.PossessionsAnother way to customize character in game is providing a variety of clothing and possessions. Just as someone can look and dress a certain way in real life, their character in game should have the option to wear variety of clothes. Unique clothing combinations provide a form of self-expression, define your character’s style and allow people to find you in a crowded tavern or spaceport. And depending one’s mood, it is nice to have a variety of outfits to wear for in game hunts or special events.A game with variety of loot and goodies is a big draw for gamers. Much of the excitement and interest in online games stems from the opportunity to discover new and cool treasure. People will literally spend hours and days of their real life “camping” spots on the virtual world of a game to find the latest and greatest loot or treasure.Having a place to call home is no different in an online world. Players appreciate games that offer player housing. Customizable player housing can be so important that the people will continue to pay monthly fees for a game that they’ve stopped playing in order to keep a house that they worked so hard to acquire. They may often trade property to other players for exorbitant virtual or real dollars.Different Roles for Different FolksJust as in real life, gamers need a purpose. After some time, all the leveling-up and acquiring new possessions can lose its luster. Online games offer professions, player driven economy, and guilds to provide players with roles and, moreover, a way of creating a virtual society.Interdependence on other players keeps people engaged in games because they have a tangible purpose or role in the virtual world. Some choose to be merchants who sell various goods, such as food, clothing, and weapons to other players. In return they barter for money or goods. Others can choose to be part of a guild, working for a common purpose or hunting together in larger groups.Online gamers will often form long-lasting friendships as a result of their time in these vibrant virtual societies. You may see the same players move from virtual world to virtual world as the latest online game is released. And in the real world, these same people will choose to spend time together and support each other in both good and bad times.Going Beyond the Virtual WorldThe success of an online game in developing ownership can be measured by its ability to go beyond the confines of the virtual world into the personal life of a gamer. Online games haven’t isolated people as some people may argue. They instead have enriched the lives of the many players who have invested time and energy into these rich worlds.