Willoughby’s New Web Look

willoughby

While many people think of Word Wizards, Inc. as just a transcription and post-production company, we also have a very accomplished graphic design and website wing that’s responsible for some very impressive work around the web. Our latest project had us working with the The Willoughby of Chevy Chase Condominium and designing a brand new totally re-designed website for them. The Willoughby is a large luxury condominium apartment complex near the Friendship Heights Metro. The attractive and sophisticated new website design shares information about the building with the public, such as a list of amenities, services, local neighborhood information, floor plans of apartments, and an extensive photo gallery.

Aimed at Residents

screenshot of the Residents Home Page

The most important goal of the site makeover was to facilitate The Willoughby residents’ requests for building services and their interactions with building management. Residents can login to an exclusive residents-only section of the site. Here they can fill out forms for various needs, including creating a work order request for building services, updating their resident records, registering a vehicle, and even renting The Willoughby Party Room for a special occasion. Other exclusive special features include The Willoughby calendar, building announcements, important documents with emergency procedures and bylaws, and a monthly newsletter.

The new Willoughby website works in conjunction with a building database management system by All-PC Applications LLC . The joint efforts of Word Wizards, Inc. and All-PC Applications created an easy transition for Willoughby management between the new online data collection and the existing database management system.

Other Word Wizard’s Web Work

This lastest project joins a list of other web work we’ve done over the past decade. Some other projects include website design and work for organizations such as the Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center in Silver Spring,  International Green Energy, and Air Stream Air Conditioning Corp. Our team at Word Wizards Inc. starts each perspective web job by talking with the client to find out exactly what they want from their website and ensure everyone is on the same page. We then create a customized website for the client, one that will set that company or organization apart from the pack to make them truly stand out. Since our team has over 30 years of experience in the design realm, they are comfortable working with a wide range of budgets and industries.




Call Today for 20% Off Graphic Design Services!

Hello, my name is Ilana Gordon and I am the President and Creative Director at Word Wizards, Inc. Our company has been producing professional quality print and digital-media design for over 30 years. We are located in Silver Spring, Maryland and serve many government and private-sector clients in the DC metro area and beyond. The following is a short list of some of our specialties that we feel may fit the needs of your organization.

Print Media

Magazines
Brochures
Corporate reports and internal documents
Logos and “brand specific” printed materials
Conference collateral

Digital Media

eBooks/ePubs
Website design
Online marketing materials
Newsletters/eZines
Internet advertisements

Word Wizards is currently offering a 20% discount off of our normal hourly rate of $70/hr on all design services. We invite you to take a look at our online portfolio to review some examples of our work.

Please contact me directly or give our team a call if you are interested in discussing your next graphic design project. Thank you for your time and have a great day.

Best Regards,
Ilana Gordon
President, Creative Director
Word Wizards, Inc.
8555 16th Street, Suite 711
Silver Spring, MD 20910
301-986-0808
wordwizardsinc.com/design

* This offer expires November 15, 2012, so call today!

 




Graphic Design Tech – Adobe Creative Cloud

In today’s digital world people want easy access to everything. Do you need to look at your bank statement? Load an app on your smartphone. Order a pizza? Log onto Domino’s and order away.

Going with that trend, Adobe has decided to add new capabilities to their entire Creative Suite for collaboration and distribution on the “cloud.” By paying a subscription based fee, one can work on projects in Creative Suite from multiple machines with the CS software installed. The idea that you can access your creative & design work from anywhere and at any time is a very intriguing prospect, especially for our graphic design department.

Graphic design tools go to the cloud!

Instant Collaboration

Creative Cloud for example would allow a graphic designer in Alaska to collaborate with their client across the globe at any time of day and on any computer they wish to access it from as long as the necessary software is installed. Or if you’re on the road traveling and only have access to edit your web design project for 30 or 40 minutes a night then you can easily log-in with your laptop work on it a bit, save it for later, and instantly send it back to the office for review.

Adobe has done it again.

Data Asset Security

Another positive aspect of putting everything on the cloud the risk of losing data is signifigantly minimized. If you have Adobe’s Creative Suite installed locally and it wasn’t backed up properly or if something haywire happened with your systems or hard drives then you could potentially lose a lot of
very important data.

Stay safe and secure in the cloud!
Putting your work on the cloud eliminates the risk of loosing your work in the event of a computer crash. If your computer won’t boot up then you can always use another machine and instantly access the cloud based creative design project you had been working on.

Cloudy Forecast

Clouds on the Horizon

The ease of use and accessibility cloud services gives the end user is amazing but I think what attracts people the most to the cloud phenomenon is the freedom it gives you. The very fact that a video editor or web designer could collaborate on a project anywhere and at any time is enough to attract customers
to cloud based subscription services like Creative Cloud.




Graphic Design For The Web: Bridging The Gap

Graphic design has been a specialty of Word Wizards, Inc. since day one. Before we even had our own office, we were offering professional desktop publishing and graphics design for clients. Our team of graphic designers are experts in the latest graphic design technology. As the tools of graphic design have evolved, so has the pool of competition in the graphics design industry. With the dawn of the internet age, finding a good graphics artist is easier than ever, and the fine line between graphic designer and web designer is blurring.

Word Wizards Inc Home Page

Graphics for the Web

Composing graphics for the web is an entirely different animal than traditional graphics design. Graphic design for websites must covey a specific message to a non-specific audience. The balance between quality, detail and data size is always an issue, especially with page speed as a critical factor in modern SEO ratings. Graphic images must be tested for clarity and color in multiple browsers due to discrepancies in the way different software displays images. Possibly the most important factor is the layout and optimization constraints of a website, meaning, the way one organizes graphic information on the web makes all the difference when users are navigating through a website.

A synthesis between graphic arts and web design.
Click to see an example of the perfect fusion between graphic design and web design.

Bridge The Gap

With progress comes new challenges and new opportunities. The world of graphic design and web design is now forever intertwined. It is up to firms like ours to maintain the highest level of quality in our graphic design efforts as the capabilities of design software and the expectations of our clients continue to increase in complexity. Just remember, you always get what you pay for, especially when it comes to graphics. Yes, graphic designers and web designers are now overly common services offered cheaply and globally via the internet. However, an intimate knowledge of how to integrate graphic elements on the web only comes from years of experience and a deep understanding of how users work with the internet.




New Website Launch: Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center

The Word Wizards website design team proudly launched http://hollywoodballroomDC.com/ last week.

Screenshot taken from Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center website designed by Word Wizards, Inc.

Nothing is more satisfying to our team of web developers than the launch of a new website. Just as with our graphic design services, our website design efforts are original and customized each time. Translating business objectives into a functional, optimized, and graphically organized website is a unique challenge each time. It requires a meticulous attention to detail and the requirements of the client. It further requires our web developers to think outside the box and come up with effective solutions to seemingly impossible problems.

Some of the web design challenges we faced and overcame in this project include:

  • Organizing a website with many different components
  • Creating an easy to use navigation bar without sacrificing design or functionality
  • Designing stimulating graphics that convey the message intended by the client
  • Coding of advanced custom features, i.e. a calendar that can be easily modified, and a side bar that “floats”
  • Making sure the website functions properly on several different browsers

Word Wizards would like to congratulate our client on the successful new launch of this website. We invite you to explore this web page as an example of our extensive capabilities as a website development firm. If you reside in the DC metro area and you would like to learn how to dance, or rent a big space to host an event, we strongly recommend that you stop by The Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center and take a look around.




The Joys of Dropbox

I’ve been late to the party most of my life, so it’s no surprise to me that I’ve only now discovered Dropbox, while I’m sure the rest of the world has moved onto the Next Big Thing. But that’s okay, I’m here to tell you that I’ve spent a fair amount of time flailing about the Cloud to no avail. Mostly I’ve been working through Apple’s buggy MobileMe service, which Apple converted to iCloud when they updated Mac OS X late this summer. But it has its limitations with our despotic router, mostly with reliability. I keep asking myself this question: if I go home without today’s work on a flash drive, can I get to my data at work if something comes up? The answer always seems to be, “Possibly, but probably not tonight.”

Similarly, I’ll inevitably forget some—or all—of my work at home and rather than have to go home and get it, I’d really like to be able to log into my computer at home and retrieve the data. But the answer to the question, “Can I log onto my Mac at home through Back to My Mac?” is a fairly steady, “No.” Our router does not allow shenanigans of this nature. Honestly, this router would be right at home leading a large, Central-European country in the 1930s (whose ancestors are also famous for sacking Rome, probably because there was nothing on TV that night).

There are plenty of solutions. Most corporate entities employ some form of VPN scheme, but that usually means having to configure your router and employ VPN clients, which is an allocation of IT resources that doesn’t make sense when all you did was foolishly forget your work at home. I imagine I could enable my iMac at home to allow me to tunnel in via SSH (all Macs are essentially Unix boxes at heart) and retrieve the data that way if I had to. But ick. And asking our router to do anything it doesn’t want to do is like asking Queen Latifah if she likes girls or boys: it’s apparently none of my business.

Enter Dropbox. The beauty of this software is that a) it exists on multiple computing platforms, meaning Mac, Windows, mobile operating systems, even Linux; and b) it’s free. It’s like having your data on a flash drive that you can access from any of your computers or mobile devices, but that you don’t have to put in your pocket. Dropbox, in short, means never having your data put through the laundry.

I could take space up here describing what it is, but the Dropbox folks do it better (which saves me from having to do it at all). Suffice to say that it’s changing my life. And it’s saving my company money: I think I may have put our last flash drive through the wash.

 




Web Design: There’s No I in Team

Web design in its various forms has become big business around the world. From the most basic amateur pages to complex multilevel corporate projects, producing a website always depends on the resources, requirements, and time constraints of the individual. The lower end web design projects are moving increasingly towards automatic content management systems; where users can pick a template, customize and in a very short time create a functional website. At Word Wizards we focus more on custom solutions for our clients, nothing we do here is “cookie cutter” and each project we take on results in a professional quality, fully integrated, web solution.

Sounds cool, right?… But what does it take to design and implement a professional grade website? It takes a team effort, and specifically, it requires a team of unique individuals, each with their own expertise in various aspects of web design. We have noticed that there are usually three “gurus” required to make a web design project effective. These three flavors of design experts each focus on a different critical aspect of the web design process, and work together to ensure that the three top priorities of website development are handled with expert care.

The three main things to manage when creating a new website are, functionality, appearance, and implementation. Functionality is responsible for making sure that the structural design effectively satisfies the intended function of the website and creates an effective, non-confusing user experience. Appearance takes structure and functional organization and translates it into a graphic design that is visually appealing to the users and consistent with the brand and intended purpose of the client. Implementation is the back-end guts of the website; which includes all the coding, hosting, domain support, CMS workflow, and database support.

The Functional Expert

Generally, this is a person who really understands the way individuals use the internet for different purposes. This individual is responsible for creating a structure that provides easy access to all the important information. In addition, this web expert must understand and manage the constraints of SEO and weave them into the fabric of the page from the beginning. Possibly the most important role of the functional web designer is the creation of a user friendly workflow, providing a user experience that works for the intended purpose of the website and doesn’t confuse any less than savvy internet users.

The Appearance Expert

To transform conceptual structure and theoretical workflow into visual form takes the expertise of a master graphic designer. This expert must know how to utilize advanced graphic design software and create visual components from scratch that will be used to create the physical appearance of a web page. It is the responsibility of this person to come up with an exciting and effective visual experience for the users, making sure that everything is in plain sight, and being creative with the way everything will look, while still maintaining functional integrity.

The Implementation Expert

Sometimes known as the “webmaster” or, in our office, “the code warrior!” This individual is gifted with an intimate knowledge of the ever evolving world of programming languages. The functional and visual elements of a website are mute if you can not host it, integrate it, and keep it working smoothly. When designing a new website, this person holds the reigns, because all of the work your team produces will reflect their level of talent and proficiency. It is this person’s responsibility to put your plans into action, keep the web page updated, and hard code any interactive or data driven elements into a functional machine known as a web page.

Thus, we have created a trifecta of experts, but there is still one person missing from the team…

The beloved SUPERVISOR. Yes, its is the supervisor that truly brings it all together. This person doesn’t need to be an expert at any one function, but the they must have a working knowledge of all of components of the website and coordinate between the various members of the design team. This person is responsible for organization, cross coordination, and managing the needs of the client as reflected by the design and capabilities of the team.

So now you know what it takes, and if you don’t think you can squeeze it all by yourself, the Word Wizards Web Design Team is here to give you a helping hand!