Archive for Web Design

02 May 2016

Creating Dynamic Pages with EverWeb’s ‘Fixed Position’ Feature

No Comments EverWeb, Software, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials, Web Design

EverWeb comes with a couple of features that help you easily create dynamic web pages. ‘Fixed Position’ is a great example of a feature that can be used to give your website a fresh, robust appearance. The feature let’s you fix an object in place along the horizontal axis enabling you to produce some cool effects for your web pages. Add in EverWeb’s ‘Always On Top’ and ‘Full Width’ features and you get even more possibilities. Here are three examples of how you can use and combine some of these features to good effect…

Vertical Buttons
Many websites have buttons vertically set in place, especially for Social Media purposes, so that as you scroll down the page the buttons stay in place and visible at all times. It’s easy to create this type of effect in EverWeb. In our example we go one step further by creating a pager with placeholder buttons and pictures fixed in place to create a fixed pane on the left and a scrolling pane on the right of the page…

  1. To start, you’ll probably want to add the buttons to a Master Page so that they can be used throughout your website.
  2. If you haven’t done so already drag and drop the buttons you want on the page e.g. down the left hand side.
  3. Use the Arrange-> Align Objects and Arrange-> Distribute Objects menus to help properly space and align the buttons.
  4. When placing the buttons remember to keep the left hand gutter of the page clear of any other objects so your buttons don’t bump in to anything as you scroll up and down the page.
  5. When placing a button check the ‘Fixed Position’ box in the Metrics Inspector tab to keep it in place as the page scrolls.
  6. When you come to preview the page, if you find any of the buttons obscured, this may be due to another object on the page ‘floating’ above the button and hiding it. This can happen when you have a Master Page attached to a regular page. Master Page objects lie beneath regular page objects which float above them sometimes causing objects, in this case the buttons, to be obscured. Use the ‘Always On Top’ feature to manually float any obscured buttons to the top of the page. This feature is on the Arrange menu and the Metrics Inspector.

The effect is shown below…

vertical Scrolling start

The vertical scroll pane is on the right with the buttons and pictures fixed in the left hand column

Vertical Scrolling end position

Vertical scrolling in action with the right pane scrolling up and the left pane remaining fixed in place

Creating a Split Horizontally Scrolling Page
Fixed Position can be used to set up a horizontally scrolling page where the left hand side remains fixed and content slides behind it when you scroll to the right. This type of effect may be something that is effective for mobile environments. To make such a page…

  1. Set the page Content Width to a wider than normal value in the Page Inspector, e.g. 2000 instead of 1000 to create a two page width effect.
    Once you have increased the Content Width value, you may have to reposition objects that were already on the page back in their original position, especially objects that are in the header and footer areas as they may have become displaced. In our example, the social media buttons were displaced, so they been moved to the left and set with a Fixed Position within the original Content Width of 1000, so creating the illusion of a two page effect.
  2. If you are creating this effect for a mobile device, you may want to also adjust the Content Height so the page stays ‘fixed’ stopping a visitor from trying yo scroll up and down as you want them to scroll left to right.
  3. To create the effect, add a rectangle that is the length of the page and color it to contrast with the page background.
  4. The rectangle shape has been set to ‘Fixed Position’ before the pictures and buttons are added on top of it. All of these objects should also be set up as Fixed Position. It’s also recommend that ‘Always On Top’ is set for all of these objects to guarantee that they always float above everything else placed on the page.
    When you create the page you may find Bring Forward, Bring to Front, Send Backwards and Send to Back useful in floating objects on the page to the ‘depth’ that you want them.
  5. In addition, EverWeb also has a great little feature called ‘Pick Layer’ If an object is obscured by another, hover the mouse over the object and perform a secondary click (double tap). On the sub menu you’ll see the Arrange menu options that were just mentioned. At the bottom of the menu is the ‘Pick Layer’ option. When you hover over this option you will see a list of all the layers that exist along the z-axis at that location. Select the layer you want.

When creating your double page effect it’s best to work in columns so that you separate one screen width from the next. You may want to test this on your desktop or mobile device to see how the effect works in practice. You can see how the effect looks in the two screenshots below.

Horizontal Scrolling Start

Horizontal Scrolling at the start position. On the Left is the dark rectangle which the contents to right will slide underneath.

Horizontal Scrolling End Position

The contents of the page slide under the section on the left which is fixed in place using Fixed Position

Creating A Picture Scroller
Our third example is one where you create a scrolling picture view. In this example, as you scroll down the page, the text on the left hand side of the page remains in place, but the picture that is embedded in the text changes as you scroll up and down the page.
To create the effect…

  1. Select the pictures you want to use. Make sure they are the same size as each other.
  2. Next arrange the pictures in a column with no gap between the pictures.
  3. Fix Position the picture column. Once you have done this, it may be an idea to group the pictures together using the Arrange -> Group menu so they remain as a ‘unit’.
  4. Now create a rectangle shape in the same color as the page background. Shape the rectangle so it’s the same width as the picture column.
  5. Place the rectangle at the bottom of the first picture and extend it downwards to hide the rest of the picture in the column that may be visible.
    Once the rectangle is in place fix it’s position and set ‘Always On Top’ on.
  6. To complete the effect, duplicate the rectangle shape. Duplicating is better than creating a new shape as you retain all of the original shape’s attributes. Place the shape above the top of the first picture. so the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the top edge of the first picture. The top of the rectangle should be extended to the top of the page.
  7. The effect is now complete as can be seen in the screenshots below. You can test out the effect whilst in the Editor Window. When scrolling down the page, make sure that the picture column does not reappear over the top of the page.
Picture scrolling effect

The picture scrolling effect at the start position

Picture Scrolling End Position

When the page is scrolled some text moves in the center of the page and the picture scrolls to the next one in sequence

When creating effects such as those above, always remember if you are creating for mobile or desktop devices as the results may look good on one type of device and not on another. It’s also worth remembering to Preview your web pages to check that you don’t have any scrollable objects bumping in to fixed objects or that you don’t have hidden objects suddenly becoming visible. There are many more possibilities with Fixed Position and the related Always On Top and Full Width features in EverWeb!

30 Jan 2016

EverWeb’s Heading Tags Widget Explained!

2 Comments EverWeb, Tips and Tricks, Web Design, Widgets

EverWeb’s Heading Tags Widget was introduced in version 1.7. The Widget helps coders easily insert HTML Heading Tags into a web page. That sentence probably makes sense to those of you who have coding experience, but to non-coders out there it may not make much sense. It’s worthwhile exploring the widget in detail as it may help improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), so bear with me…

What is a Heading Tag?
Before I get to answer that question, let’s put Heading Tags in context. When you develop your web pages in EverWeb, you just drag and drop the objects you want to use on to the page and customize them as you need to. When finished, you ‘Publish’ your website and your web pages are converted in to HTML (HyperText Markup Language) code and uploaded to the server that hosts your website.

The HTML code that’s generated is structured as HTML is a language and has rules and guidelines to follow just as any other language form has. The Heading Tag is an HTML ‘language’ element that can be used to explicitly add structure to the code generated by EverWeb. If you take this article as an example, it has a title at the top (‘EverWeb;s Heading Tags Explained’) and headings to break the content in to smaller more manageable parts (e.g. ‘What is a Heading Tag”). The headings could also have sub headings, or even sub-sub headings. If we want, we can explicitly make the titles and headings on our page in to specific HTML Headings using the Heading Tags Widget.

Six levels of Heading are allowed, ranging from the most important (called ‘H1’) to the least important (called ‘H6’). Following our above example we would use an H1 ‘tag’ for the title of our article ‘The Heading Tags Widget’ as it’s the most important heading on the page. The next level of heading, the section titles for the article (e.g. ‘What is a Heading Tag’) would be an H2 tag. Any subheadings would use an H3 Heading Tag and so on down to H6.

Why Use Heading Tags At All?
There are two good reasons for using Heading Tags: the first is that HTML tags can be useful for SEO as search engines can target the headings in the page using the tags you insert. Without the Heading Tags, search engines will just treat your headings as regular text. The second reason for using Heading Tags is to help structure your web page. This is especially useful for those who code in HTML, but less so for EverWeb users as it generates the code for you automatically at publish time.

How to Use the Heading Tags Widget
Probably the best way to use the Heading Tags Widget is to look at an existing page you’ve created and take the most important piece of text on the page and convert it into a Heading Tag. This will probably be the main heading or title on the page itself. To convert this text to a Heading Tag do the following:

  1. First drag and drop the Heading Tags Widget on to your page.
  2. Enter the text you want to use. In this case cut and paste the text e.g. the page title or most important heading on the page, in to the ‘Heading Text’ box.
  3. Next select the level of Heading Text. As this is the most important heading on the page, use H1.
  4. Align the text as you wish using the ‘Text Alignment’ drop down box.
  5. If you want the heading to use an HTML bold styling attribute tick the ‘Use Header Bold Styling’ box.
  6. Use the Fonts Panel to style the Heading Tags Widget text so that it recreates the look of your original page title, or heading, text.
  7. Once you finished creating the Heading Tags Widget, delete the original text title and replace it with the Widget.

Tips on Using the Heading Tags Widget

  1. Use Heading Tags sparingly. If you overuse them, search engines will notice and demote rather than promote your page!
  2. Have one H1 Heading Tag only on the page and some H2 level tags for your main headings. Use H3 tags for any subheadings. You really do not need much more tags than these.
  3. You can have more than one Level of tag on the page e.g. there is more than one heading in this article so I could use multiple H2 tags, one for each heading.
  4. Only use Heading Tags on pages that are important. You won’t need to use Heading Tags on pages such as Contact and About pages. Focus on the pages that are most important to put in front of your visitors.
  5. Don’t compromise your content for the sake of SEO. As with SEO it’s important to balance your visitor’s experience of your website against trying to improve your SEO page ranking result. And that’s especially true when using Heading Tags.

Heading Tags can be a useful addition to your SEO arsenal. If you want to know more on SEO itself, check out our previous post All You Need to Know About SEO in EverWeb.

15 Jan 2016

All You Need to Know About SEO in EverWeb

No Comments Tips and Tricks, Web Design

If you’ve used iWeb you’ll probably know that it didn’t have any in built SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) capabilities. If you use EverWeb you may think the same, but EverWeb does have SEO! It’s baked right in to the core of the product. There are different ways you can easily take advantage of EverWeb’s SEO capabilities and we’ll look at how you can apply SEO to your web pages in a moment, but first a reminder about SEO itself…

The Importance of SEO
SEO is important to include in your website because…

  1. It improves your website’s visibility to Internet search engines.
  2. When used properly it’s the best way to get the highest search engine ranking result for your website.
  3. Using effective SEO ‘Keywords’ makes it easier for search engine ’spiders’ to find your website’s pages

What to be aware of about SEO
SEO gets a lot of press and hype. But in reality…

  1. It doesn’t guarantee anything but can help improve your website’s visibility when properly used.
  2. It should be used only on the web pages you want to bring attention to. Using SEO on generic pages such as on ‘About’ and ‘Contact Us’ pages may be just wasting your time.
  3. Prioritize SEO on your Mobile pages. This is important as search engines, especially Google, increasingly give mobile search preference over desktop.
  4. There’s no magic involved in SEO, you just need to know how it works to get the best search result listing possible.

Choosing Your Keywords
When planning SEO for your website you’ll need a Keyword strategy…

  1. Research your Keywords. Choose words that help your website stand out from the rest. Think of words that are specific and targeted rather than general and generic. What makes your company, product, brand etc. different and unique? Use words that reflect this approach on each page you use SEO on e.g if you are selling books you could use the Keyword ‘metafiction’ (romantic irony) to be more specific, focused and specialist rather than using the generic word ‘books’.
  2. Use only a few, well chosen Keywords. Too many Keywords (known as ‘Keyword Stuffing’) will likely reduce the impact of your SEO. Google tends to penalise those who Keyword ‘stuff’ so avoid the practice all together. Finally, don’t forget that too many Keywords may have a negative impact on your visitor’s experience of your website. Always remember to balance SEO with your visitor’s experience.
  3. Use Keyword Planning tools to help research and select your Keywords e.g. Google Keyword Planner. See https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner for more information. Keyword Planners help give you ideas about which Keywords to use and those not to use!

Add Keywords in EverWeb
Once you’ve researched the Keywords you want to use, add them in to the following fields in the Page Settings Tab in EverWeb…

  1. File Name: The file name of your web page can act as a Keyword.
  2. Navigation Menu Display Name: As this field links to other pages, it’s good to use for SEO as search engines look for links.
  3. Web Page Title: This field displays the text at the top of the browser window about the page. Add some Keywords in this field but don’t sacrifice your visitor’s experience for the sake of SEO.
  4. Web Page Description: This field is not used for SEO but is still a good place for including some Keywords. As always, don’t sacrifice the visitor experience for SEO.

Add SEO to Your Images
SEO can, and should, be applied to any image files your website uses. Give your image files a descriptive name as search engines look at file names as well as Keyword text. If possible, rename your image files before bringing them in to EverWeb. It’s more SEO efficient. If you’ve already imported your images in to EverWeb, rename them in the Assets Tab. It’s not as SEO efficient but it’s better than not doing it at all. To rename an image file double click on its name and type in a new descriptive name.

Keywords can also be used in the ‘Alt Text’ field in the Shape Options as this may be of some benefit in SEO. ‘Alt Text’ is used to describe an image when it cannot be displayed. Keep the ‘Alt Text’ description short, and if you can mention what the page is about in the description.

Keywords are easy to add to your web page with EverWeb when you know where to place them. The difficult, time consuming part is in researching the most effective Keywords that will give your web pages the best listing in search engine results.

29 Dec 2015

Password Protect Web Pages and Websites in EverWeb

No Comments EverWeb, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials, Web Design

EverWeb features built in password protection to allow you to restrict access to some, or all, of the pages in your website. It’s a useful and powerful option especially when designing a member’s only website, a member’s only section or a ‘Downloads’ page that you only want privileged visitors to have access to.

There are a couple of ways in which you can restrict access to pages in your website. The first is to simply not have the page on the website. You may want to do this when testing a web page before going live, when you want to have a ‘hidden’ mock up web page for potential customers to experiment with etc. To make a page ‘invisible’ just make sure it’s not included in your Navigation Menu by toggling ‘Include page in navigation menu’ off in the Inspector tab. Also check that there are no Hyperlinks to the page you’re hiding. That’s all you need to do.You only need to give your visitors the direct link to the ‘hidden’ page for them to access it.

Whilst it’s a quick and easy way to restrict access to a page it’s vulnerable and easy to get round. Anyone who knows how to perform particular forms of Internet search will easily find the page. Many with coding experience could also easily find the page and search engine spiders will also still find the page. So be aware of the tradeoff between ease of use and security.

The second and best way to restrict access to web pages is with password protection which is safer and more secure. EverWeb includes this as an exclusive ‘in product’ feature for EverWeb+Hosting accounts. As the feature is in EverWeb itself it’s quick and easy to setup and administer. If you host elsewhere, ask your ISP if they have any password protection features for you.

Password Protecting Your Entire Website

  1. Make the first page of your website into a Directory. To do this right click on the first page listed in the Web Page List and select ‘Convert to Directory’. The page icon to the left of the page name changes to a folder.
  2. Although the page is now a directory, it still functions as a page, so you can edit it as normal. The option ‘Redirect to first child page’ should not be checked in this scenario.
  3. Next scroll down to ‘Password Protection’ in the Page Inspector. The dialog box should be available for you to add in user names and passwords. If ‘Password Protection’ is not available make sure the page has been converted to a directory. Add usernames and passwords as required. That’s all you need to do!
  4. All the other pages in your website have to be contained within the first page’s directory so you will need to move any pages you have previously created in to this directory. It does not matter if you have created other directories as they can be moved as well. See screenshot below.
  5. Password protected website using directories in EverWeb

    EverWeb uses directories to enable password protection. In this example, the directory at the top of the Web Page List has been password protected via the Page Inspector and so the whole website is password protected.

  6. Password protection is a server side function so you won’t be able to use ‘Preview’ or ‘Publish To Folder’. It’s best to create a test area in your ‘Site Publishing Settings’ under ‘Subdirectory’. Then you can publish and test the password protection without having to do so in a live website environment.

Password Protecting Parts of Your Website
If you only want to password protect one or more pages in your website follow the same process as above. Just convert the pages you want into a directory then add usernames and passwords via the Page Inspector. If a directory contains pages within it, they will also be protected as password protection works from the directory level down.

As already mentioned remember to test your password protection by publishing to a subdirectory on your ‘EverWeb’ Site Publishing Settings as ‘Preview’ and ‘Publish to Folder’ won’t function for this server side feature.

EverWeb+Hosting offers you an easy way to set up and administer password protection for your web pages or website from within EverWeb itself with just a few simple steps!

11 Dec 2015

Enhance your Website with EverWeb’s Popup Windows

No Comments EverWeb, Tips and Tricks, Web Design

EverWeb 1.9’s new Popup Window feature is an incredibly flexible and versatile addition to the product.

What Is The Popup Window Feature?
EverWeb’s Popup Window feature is a hyperlinking option in the Hyperlinks tab. When a visitor clicks on a hyperlinked object such as an image or text, an independent window ‘pops up’ on top of original page (see screenshot below). The visitor can only interact with the Popup Window as the original page underneath is greyed out. When the visitor closes the Popup Window, they are returned to the original page. Popup Windows can hyperlink to other pages in your website, to an external page or to a file.

EverWeb Popup Window

An Example Popup window with the original page greyed out in the background

Why Use Popup Windows?
Popup Windows are great for focusing attention on the content you want your visitors to see or interact with, such as using a contact form. They are also ideal where you may want to include extra information on your web page without it being a distraction or in the way e.g. in the above screenshot, when the visitor clicks on the picture of the pills, a Popup Window displays information about the drug Penicillin. If the visitor clicked on the picture of the doctor, a popup with the doctor’s bio would be displayed, and so on.
EverWeb’s Contact Form, Image Slider, Google Maps and Video widgets can all be used to great effect within a Popup Window but the way in which you can apply Popup Windows is almost endless and imaginative use of them can take your website to a new level of design flexibility and creativity.

Creating Your Own Popup Window

  1. Create a new web page and name it appropriately e.g. .’Medicine Page Popup1′.
  2. On the Page Settings Tab of the Inspector, set the ‘Top Margin’, ‘Header Height’ and ‘Footer Height’ all to zero.
  3. Next set the height and width dimensions of the popup using ‘Content Height’ and ‘Content Width’ settings e.g. 400 by 300.
  4. Add the content you want in the popup page. Use the Arrange-> Align Objects menu to centre and middle the content within the popup
  5. When finished, go to the page where the Popup Window Hyperlink is to be triggered from. Select the object you want to hyperlinks e.g. an image.
  6. Go to the Hyperlinks tab in the Inspector and tick ‘Enable as Hyperlink’ to activate the hyperlinking options.
  7. The first option ’Linked To’ is where the Hyperlink will be directed to, either ‘One of My Pages’, ‘An External Page’ or ‘A File’. In this example select ‘One of My Pages’.
  8. Set the ‘Behaviour’ drop down to ‘Open in Popup Window’. The ‘Width’ and ‘Height’ should be set to a size just a little bigger than the ‘Content Height’ and ‘Content Width’ settings used earlier, e.g. 425 x 325 provides the 400 x 300 popup window with enough margin on all sides.
  9. Select the pop up page you want to use in the ‘Page’ drop down, or enter the URL required if you selected ‘An External Page’. If you selected ‘A File’ use the ‘Choose…’ button to locate and use the file of your choice.
  10. Your Popup Window has been set up. Test your Popup using Preview before publishing it as you may need to adjust the size of the popup window or the placement of the contents within it.

Popup Window Hints and Tips

  1. When you create Popup Windows check to see if it contains any hyperlinks within it. If it does, the result is that your visitor could remain in the Popup Window following other links within it. It’s advisable not to include other hyperlinks within a Popup Window.
  2. Avoid creating Popup Windows within Popup Windows. It’s possible to do this but again, it’s one to avoid!
    Be careful when linking to a file. If you try to open a file that has no associated program the Popup Window may not function as desired. Always use Preview to test your popup before publishing your website.
  3. If your pages are going to be using a large number of popups, consider organising your popups with in directories in the Web Page List to more easily manage them.

What are you using Popup Windows for? We would love to hear how you are using this feature to enhance your website! Let us know in the comments section below!