Raluca Olariu

Raluca Olariu

Raluca Olariu

Back to Blog Posts
How to Prioritize Accessibility Issues - 8 Tips
  Completing an accessibility remediation project can be tricky. It's one thing to spot issues in your web accessibility plan and another to efficiently prioritize solving them. How do you prioritize accessibility problems? Which issues should you address first? There are several ways to do this, by noticeability, by severity, or by tractability—which one do you choose? There are multiple questions at this point and, hopefully, this article will help you answer all of them. Keep reading to discover eight simple ways to prioritize the issues included in your accessibility audit report.    Why is web accessibility important?   Web accessibility is essential for both people with disabilities and businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures taken by the government have accelerated digital transformation and changed the online climate.  As the number of internet users has increased to 4.66 billion in January 2021 and appointments to COVID-19 vaccine shots have been made through online platforms, web accessibility has become even more crucial than before.  People with high-risk medical conditions and those from priority populations need streamlined access to vaccine appointments, and here's where web accessibility optimization counts.  U.S. and Canadian regulations regarding web accessibility have been reinforced in the last year, with an increase of 20% in web accessibility lawsuits.    How does web accessibility benefit users and businesses?   Making your website accessible brings multiple benefits for your digital users and your company. By helping your audience overcome accessibility barriers in their interaction with your site, you are more likely to earn their trust and long-term loyalty. And by making your customers happy, you invest in the well-being of your business as well.  Satisfied customers mean higher engagement and conversion rates, and improved traffic on your site.  Making web accessibility a priority in your development practices is also essential to avoid the risk of legal complications. Today, optimizing websites for people with disabilities is no longer optional, unless you don't mind legal fees and penalties.  As the digital world is getting more complex, innovation is what often makes the difference between success and failure. Trends are ever-changing, so being able to innovate and come up with creative solutions to your problems is key.  Web accessibility helps you maintain a flexible and innovative mindset, as it forces you to deal with unanticipated issues that require extra creativity.  Another benefit of making your site more accessible is that, by doing so, you're also making it more SEO-friendly.  You can improve your site's accessibility by adding ALT-text to images, writing clear content, or choosing a clutter-free page layout. All of these steps also mean good SEO practices.    8 tips for efficiently prioritizing accessibility issues   We've now understood why digital properties need to be accessible and what are the benefits of web accessibility for users and businesses.  Now let's dive in and explore some best practices on how to efficiently create a strategic accessibility prioritization plan.   1. Does your website have lots of images on it? Then your main focus should be ALT text.  2. What does your analytical data tell you? Prioritize addressing accessibility issues according to this data to improve the user experience. If your target audience heavily relies on screen magnifiers to zoom in on particular sections on your site, then prioritize solving the issues around this specific feature.  Take advantage of analytics tools and statistics to accurately address the needs of your customers and efficiently design your site accessibility plan.  If you know that your population of users who uses a keyboard is 1 %, and your magnification users are 5 %, then a keyboard focus issue which normally is in the bottom third of the list since it is an AA suddenly becomes more important. In other words, prioritizing web accessibility issues according to their WCAG level (A, AA, AAA) is a bit rudimentary in the complex digital scenario that we currently interact with.  What matters more is how these accessibility issues impact your customer base—that's where you should start from.  3. Does your site have lots of video content on it? In this case, prioritize adding captions to address the needs of people with disabilities.  4. Is an issue repetitive for screen readers? Then treat it as a top priority.  For example, link names are a common issue listed on the W3C accessibility checklist. These links should contain unique, meaningful, and descriptive text. If your automated accessibility testing tool has identified repeated issues with link names and the experience of website visitors using a screen reader might be compromised, then address it quickly.  5. Are your users having trouble submitting forms?  If so, consider addressing these web accessibility issues that prevent users from filling in a form on your website. Usability issues like inaccessible inline error messages or unhelpful error text messages can send a message to your visitors that they don't matter enough to have access to basic streamlined experiences on your site.  6. Does your site have accessibility issues that affect the user navigation experience? In this case, you know what to do: prioritize solving any issue that negatively impacts the way your visitors interact and navigate on your website. A poor navigation experience is bad for any visitor and even worse for users with disabilities who depend on assistive technologies to interact with your site. Most likely, they'll get discouraged, frustrated, and never again willing to come back to your website.  7. Are there any accessibility issues on your site's main pages? Consider putting them on top of your accessibility remediation list. Why? Well, it's pretty straightforward: your main pages like the product page or the contact us page are the ones your visitors interact the most with.  'It will be very difficult for a website to conform to all criteria on level AAA. For this reason, the recommendation is to address accessibility issues based on popular pages and specific groups.' 8. Do you prioritize according to your audience's needs, content, or website functionality? If not, get started because internal prioritization based on the requirements of your web accessibility plan is many times the winning strategy. Taking the 'A level vs AA level' shortcut may not be as effective, leading to poor long-term results. In today's highly dynamic digital landscape, web accessibility issues prioritization must be made based on deeper insights that involve your audience and business direction.    Key aspects of web accessibility   You now understand the importance of web accessibility for your audience and for your business, as well as how to spot priority issues in your accessibility strategy.  Next, let's have a look at what makes a website accessible and what goals you should set for your website's content and design to make it accessible: Ensure that your design elements and text are visible for all users Create robust content that can be easily interpreted by specific assistive technology tools Make sure the information you deliver on your website is clear and the user interface easy to navigate and interact with   Some key features that boost accessibility in a website are:   Color contrast - Website visitors that can benefit from this accessibility feature are the ones with a sight condition, people who are accessing your site from their mobile devices, those accessing it in a poorly lit environment, etc. Implement a good color contrast between the background and the foreground of your site makes it more visible and enhances text readability. Text to speech - This accessibility feature allows users with learning disabilities to interact with your website in a convenient manner. Also, people with literacy difficulties, low vision, or just busy users that choose multitasking will be highly grateful for a text to speech feature.  Clear and constant instructions - Providing feedback in the form of error/success messages for every action that users need to complete or have completed can highly benefit users with cognitive and learning disabilities or visitors that aren't skilled at computer operations. People love clear instructions, especially if they struggle to complete certain tasks, so making your website predictable and convenient is key. Video captions -  Captions or subtitles make your video content accessible to people with hearing loss or users accessing your content from a loud environment. This feature is highly convenient and should not miss your top ten accessibility features list.  Clear layouts and design - The benefits here are multiple, as simple designs load faster, provide better user experiences, and improve your website's SEO rankings. You can maintain your site clutter-free by getting rid of unnecessary design elements, non-relevant content, and unnecessary code. To decide which parts of your site need decluttering, perform an audit of the text sections, links, and menus, and start cleaning your site.  Voice recognition - This accessibility feature is not beneficial just for users with various health conditions. It's convenient for anyone who would rather utter search phrases instead of writing them in the search bar.  ALT-tags - When you think of accessibility, you think of confidence and comfort. That's what you want to give your audience and, by using concise descriptions, you offer them a sense of trust and control. Impersonal image descriptions that include specific keywords are the most helpful to them.    Prioritizing web accessibility is not optional anymore. Learning how to efficiently manage your accessibility prioritization plan can be challenging, but, hopefully, the insights from this article have paved the way for a pragmatic approach to accessibility prioritization. You now have a better understanding of how to decide which functionalities need immediate attention, as well as the issues that should be fixed first.  Efficient accessibility prioritization is all about stepping out of your business shoes and empathize with the user who's most affected by accessibility issues. Ask yourself, 'If I couldn't access this, how would it make me feel?' Then you'll be able to truly get on the other side of the table and understand your audience, thus prioritizing with their needs in mind.  Check out our Drupal Website Accessibility services for more insights on how you can take web accessibility to the next level.  Photo credit: mohamed_hassan on Pixabay.     ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Jul 15'2021
What Are the Benefits of Web Accessibility for Your Business?
  For people with disabilities, web accessibility is highly beneficial. They use multiple assistive technology tools that often require accessible web design and apps to function properly.  It is obvious how web accessibility benefits users with disabilities, but what about businesses? What are the advantages of building accessible sites for your company? Keep reading, and you'll discover seven key benefits of making your website ADA-compliant.    Why do companies hesitate to invest in web accessibility?   A survey of around 500 U.S. business leaders and web designers shows the main reasons behind the reluctance of some companies to make a website accessible. Most of the respondents confessed they are worried about the financial investments and potentially high costs (73.6%), while 66.9% think optimizing their sites for accessibility will require too much time.  We are here to tell you that making your website accessible for people with disabilities doesn't require too many resources, will highly benefit the user experience, and most probably keep you away from web accessibility lawsuits.    7 Benefits of Making Your Website Accessible   1. Increased traffic on your site. There's a myth regarding accessible websites that says accessibility only benefits the visitors. However, by improving the user experience and making it accessible for anyone, you plant the seeds for: Higher traffic rates on your site Better user engagement Improved search engine optimization rankings Higher conversion rate   2. Lower risk of legal complications. As legal requirements regarding web accessibility are getting tougher, optimizing your site for people with disabilities becomes non-optional—unless you don't mind being prosecuted. Make sure your site meets specific accessibility guidelines and pay attention to the accessibility standards required by the industry that you're operating in.    3. Bigger customer base. Making your website accessible means addressing the needs of bigger social groups, and that, in the long term, could lead to you growing your customer base. By investing in accessible design, you can attract more visitors that are likely to engage with your brand on a long-term basis.   4.  A more innovative business mindset. Building accessible design for your website visitors challenges you to deal with unanticipated issues and thus puts your creativity at work.  The constraint of adapting your design so that it incorporates a whole set of accessibility features challenges you to... come up with innovative solutions—and to preserve that mindset for innovation in the long term. In the current dynamic digital landscape, staying creative and ready for innovation is key to keep up with the ever-changing trends.    5. Boosted SEO efforts.  You can improve your site's accessibility by adding ALT-text to images, writing clear content, or choosing a clutter-free page layout. All of these steps also mean good SEO practices.  So, by making your website more accessible, you're also making it more SEO-friendly. You probably already know the importance of investing in robust SEO strategies in today's digital landscape. It's all about how high you rank on SERPs and the level of visibility that your website is gaining.    6. Improved brand reputation.  Accessibility is also essential for your business as it helps grow your brand reputation. By ensuring your website's universal design grants equal rights and easy access to your content, you raise awareness and build a positive reputation around your business.  Today, having an inaccessible website is the digital equivalent of sticking a big KEEP OUT sign in front of your business.    7. Faster page loading time.  It has been proven that if you improve a page's level of accessibility, you boost its speed score. As modern internet users demand fast website experiences, you want to improve your page loading times to keep up with your visitors' needs. By implementing features designed for users with disabilities, you're making your site a better place for all users.    There are many ways in which you can promote accessibility on your website. For example, users that struggle with visual impairments benefit the most from screen readers to help them understand the content on a particular website. This is a way to make your website accessible for people with sight issues and offer some support in making their daily lives a bit easier.    Hopefully, this article sheds some light on the importance of web accessibility for your business and how building a universal design for your site can positively impact your brand.  For more insights on how Optasy can help you make your website more accessible, check out our Drupal Website Accessibility services.    Photo credit: Wirestock on freepik.       ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Jul 12'2021
6 Experts Talk About the Advantages of Using Drupal
  As the digital landscape is constantly evolving, there is increased pressure on web content management systems (CMSs) to keep pace with the needs of the modern consumer.  To meet these complex demands that revolve around highly personalized and interactive web experiences and streamlined connectivity between devices, companies require websites that can support these goals.  One of the most powerful enterprise-level CMS platforms, Drupal, can handle more complex projects and its capabilities, as the Drupal founder, Dries Buytaert, reveals, only get better with experience.    Why is Drupal web development the right choice?   There are multiple competitive advantages that organizations can reap from using Drupal to handle their online presence. How do you know if Drupal is the right choice for your next web development project? Check out this list of key features and capabilities that Drupal offers and see how they can fit in with your needs and demands.   Are you looking to highly customize your website and content? Drupal's widely-known customizing power allows you to adjust and edit over 16,000 plug-ins and modules. If you need a CMS that can support your web development projects by implementing additional custom features like CRM, security, or SEO, with a focus on customizability, then Drupal might be the best fit.   What do the experts say? Nick Wilde, a Full-stack developer (including DevOps) at North Studios, thoroughly recommends Drupal for companies looking to change and customize their digital approaches:  "I love a *lot* of the changes in Drupal 8 compared to 7 or 6, but most of them didn't really change the way I worked. I mean, sure, using slightly different hooks etc. - but that's not really any different than integrating with different modules to my mind at least. What really did change my way of working was the Configuration Management Initiative's work, and by changed I mean massively improved. Yes, some degree of custom integration is possible with Drupal 7 with hook_update_N() and/or the features module, but in Drupal 8, a solid reproducible, testable CI and deployment process is not just possible but easy. (Yes, I'm a smidge of a fanatic about DevOps and process, despite being primarily a developer). When doing complex back-end work, moving to an Object Oriented system has felt like coming home since I started programming with Python in an OOP code-base.”   Is flexibility important for your web development project? A major selling point of Drupal lies in its rich potential to build and manage a wide range of content types, whether it is a blog post, podcast, or any other custom content types. By enabling a flexible design platform, Drupal allows users to create and manage content-rich media or eCommerce sites.    What do the experts say? Alex Moreno, a software architect, based in London, is helping big companies with their Drupal and IoT projects and has revealed how he uses Drupal's flexible core capabilities to catch up with the ever-evolving technology transformations: “Although you could flex Drupal 7 to adapt to this changing environment, the real power and flexibility comes with having a Drupal 8 architecture, where this flexibility is already in the core. That has implications for performance, adaptability, simpler architecture of services around Drupal, etc.”   Are you considering scalability as an important asset for your web project? If so, Drupal is a winning choice. When accommodating content growth becomes a challenge, Drupal steps in with its tremendously scalable capabilities and supports your growth in an effortless manner.    What do the experts say? Drupal expert, Malabya Tewari, talks about how Drupal Modules can help build a responsive design and flexible user experiences: “When I started my career with Drupal 6 briefly and then moved on to Drupal 7, I really liked the abundance of modules Drupal 7 had. ‘There is a module for that’ was a common statement while building a feature. When I transitioned to Drupal 8 and when it was in its pre-release state, there were no contributed modules. Of course, views and entity reference were in core, but it lacked the huge pool of modules that Drupal 7 had. Instead, Drupal 8 had some great flexible and robust components which mostly worked for me. Even though there was a lot of learning to do, pretty soon I got the hang of it and found out that you don't need a module for that. That's how it changed my working approach with Drupal 8 because I can build a lot of great things without any contributed module.”   Do you need greater functionality around your site's translation capabilities? Drupal 8 supports 100 different languages for translation, and these multilingual features come with the installation interfaces. That means that you can build your multilingual Drupal website easier than ever before, at no additional costs.    What do the experts say? Penyaskito is a Drupal contributor and developer at Lingotek, who manages a cloud-based translation management system for their clients. He speaks highly of Drupal's multilingual capabilities: “Thanks to the Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiative, translation is not an afterthought in Core anymore. And thanks to the clean APIs that were designed with this in mind, we are able to improve every day functionalities for our clients in our integration with Drupal 8. While with other CMS we devote time constantly to integrate with contributed modules or alike, we can focus on new functionalities as this APIs make us compatible with most contrib modules out of the box without any extra effort on our side.”   Are you interested in building a content management framework based on API architectures? Drupal's caching modules support faster page loading, optimized bandwidth, and a robust web performance to meet the needs of the modern digital consumer. Whether used for content publishing or for optimizing the user interface, Drupal's 8 API-based architecture is a top upgrade compared to previous versions.    What do the experts say? Let's see what Dries Buytaert, the father of Drupal and CTO of Acquia, has to say about Drupal's web service APIs: “You want to enable your developers to easily deliver content to different devices, channels, and platforms. This means that the content needs to be available through APIs. This is aligned with Drupal 8's roadmap, where we are focused on web services capabilities. Through Drupal's web service APIs, developers can build freely in different front-end technologies, such as Angular, React, Ember, and Swift, as well as Java and .NET. For developers, accomplishing this without the maintenance burden of a full Drupal site or the complexity of configuring standard Drupal to be decoupled is key.”   If you are not yet sure about choosing Drupal for your next web development project, we are more than happy to help you with professional advice tailored to your needs and demands. Contact us and let's start your outstanding web development project. Also, you can check our Drupal Maintenance services as well.    Here's another quote from a Drupal expert, Nick Lewis, on how Drupal 8 is influencing the way he approaches his tasks:  “Drupal 8 is looking very interesting indeed, a big leap forwards from its previous versions. I’m busy working out how to get D8 modules up and running for a client project. Well I am working on a project right now for a large global fast food outlet (here in the UK), switching from one very popular CRM system into D8 as it will cut costs tremendously and not only that, recruitment will be easier given Drupal’s wide adoption in the community.”   Photo credit: Den Harrson on Unsplash.  ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Jul 01'2021
How Can You Attract More Organic Traffic on Your Website?
  The ultimate goal of any marketer is to build long-term customer relationships that drive sales. There are multiple strategies and tools to make this happen, but we'll discuss only one of them in this article.  When looking to attract and retain customers, one main challenge is to ensure that potential prospects find you and not your competitor when searching for products like the ones you are selling. To do this, you need to optimize your website so that you drive more organic traffic to it, improve your presence on search engines, and engage your target audience.  Contrary to popular belief, there is more to boosting organic website traffic than search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising. In this article, we'll look at some tips and tricks that work to increase organic traffic with few resources.   Key Tips for Driving More Traffic on Your Website   1. Write blog posts on a regular basis. Blogging allows you to connect deeper with your audience, position your business as a trustful advisor in the industry, and create persona-based content that attracts visitors. Starting to blog regularly is one of the most efficient ways in which you can drive more organic traffic to your site.   2. Be proactive on social media channels. After you've produced quality content, your next step is to promote your blog posts and bring them in front of your audience. Social media marketing is a great tool to improve your content strategy and make sure your content gets to be seen. Twitter is a great social media platform that you can use, especially for B2C niches, whereas Google+ works best in the B2B area.   3. Pay attention to on-page SEO factors. A highly optimized web page or blog post requires three key ingredients: the meta title, URL, and description. If you get them right, you won't need many other SEO tools to boost your organic traffic.    4. Harness the power of internal links. As soon as you've created some quality content that can attract your target audience, you can start linking any piece of content from your blog on your website to guide your visitors to additional content that may be of interest to them.    5. Make the most of email marketing. Although this type of digital marketing is considered a traditional method that might not work in the current ever-changing digital environment, we recommend email marketing as a powerful tool to boost organic site traffic. When used correctly, email marketing can act as a reliable traffic source and lower your bounce rate. Don't forget to constantly review your email list and remove any email address that is not relevant anymore.    6. Don't forget about website responsiveness and speed. Nothing raises your bounce rate more than a slow, unresponsive website. Today, online users expect websites to be accessible and comfortably viewable on multiple devices. Making sure your website is mobile-friendly and optimized for high performance and speed will highly cause an increase in traffic on your site.    7. Regularly check metrics and analytics data. By keeping a close eye on how your audience interacts with your website and content, you'll be able to make adjustments accordingly and improve the user experience. Explore the engagement rate and understand how your ideal audience behaves so that you can pave the way for more organic visitors and higher conversion rates.    These are just a few simple steps you can use to drive quality traffic to your site and attract more organic visitors to interact with your original content. For more information and professional advice on how you can increase your visibility on search engines and attract your target audience to your website, reach us on Optasy.com.    Photo credit: Tumisu on Pixabay.       ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Jun 23'2021
5 WordPress Best Practices for Improved UX
  Think of the last website you visited. Maybe it was an online store, a blog, or an entertainment website.  The way you interacted with the site's interface is most likely what you remember most about the whole experience - was the website loading fast?, was it easy to navigate? - was it optimized for mobile? These factors contribute to the quality of the user experience (UX) that a website provides and often determine whether or not people come back for another experience.  Building, optimizing, and maintaining a website while having the UX at the center of the web development process is imperative. At the end of the day, the health and prosperity of your site and business heavily depend on your audience and customers.  With this in mind, let's have a closer look at five best practices that you can implement right away to improve the UX on your WordPress site.    1. Accelerate Your Site's Loading Speed.    Today, people are living fast-paced lifestyles. They require speed and easy-to-access experiences. As the average human attention span has dropped to eight seconds, the success or failure of a website to provide high-quality UX depends on how fast page load times are.  According to a study by Google, 53% of users abandon sites that have more than three seconds delay on mobile devices. So, if you haven't yet optimized your website's loading speed, the time to start is now. Have a look at some critical tips for approaching page speed optimization: Host your site on a high-performance server. Streamline your HTML code. Use image optimization plugins for WordPress. Identify and delete unused content from your database. Reduce HTTP requests.   2. Keep Your WordPress, UX Design Simple.    As Leonardo da Vinci put it: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Website builders often go to great lengths to create designs that sweep visitors off their feet and end up compromising on ease of use and accessibility. That's not something you want to do if you have a UX-centered mindset.  Instead of overloading your pages with content and information that confuses and frustrates your visitors, focus on simplifying the design, making it functional and easy to understand.  A few elements that help you keep your user experience design simple are: Uniform layout Short, concise content Straightforward formatting Bullet points and brief paragraphs   3. Get Rid of Broken Links.   Nothing scares website visitors away more than broken links. Also, Google's Search Quality Rating Guidelines use broken links to analyze the quality of a site. If there are too many broken links on a single page, the website is considered to be neglected or abandoned. This can highly impact your Google Search results and lower your overall website traffic.  Investing some resources in fixing broken links is totally advisable. Below are some best practices for resolving broken links: Check Google crawl errors. Reach out to the linking website when using external links and request a fix. Avoid deep links. Replace the content at the broken URL. Redirect the broken page to a similar page on your website.   4. Optimize Your Site's Navigation.   As we already pointed out, simplicity is often key when it comes to web development. Although the easiest-to-use websites are also the ones that drive the highest organic traffic, many companies still fail to deliver easy-to-navigate websites for their audience.  How can you optimize your site's navigation? Customize your navigation menu in a simplistic way and avoid complex, confusing menu items. Put mobile site navigation first and streamline the experience for mobile devices. Create a search bar and improve your site search capabilities. Avoid dropdown menus in your website navigation. Add a mega footer.   5. Use Specific Headings.   A good UX means that visitors can easily understand your site and feel confident for the entire period they spend on it. One way you can guide your audience through your content is with clear, specific headings.  Headings can act as a roadmap for your visitors and make it easier for them to see what your content is about. With the help of specific headings, you can build a logical hierarchy and organize your content to provide a top-notch user experience.  Proper heading is also beneficial for SEO as it allows search engines to better understand the purpose of your site and the content displayed on it.    There's no secret that the customer is king and, now more than ever, businesses adopt customer-centric mindsets to keep up with the ever-changing trends. The same goes for websites of any kind. High-quality user experiences render more website traffic, raised business awareness, improved online presence, and lastly, improved conversion rates. To learn more about what it takes to deliver outstanding UX, contact Optasy and have a chat with our professional website builders.    Photo credit: XPS on Unsplash.... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Jun 16'2021
The Ultimate Checklist to Becoming a Top WordPress Developer
  The myth: Becoming a successful WordPress developer is easy. The reality: Becoming a successful WordPress developer requires hard work, patience, and dedication.    Freelance developers or professionals doing development jobs in companies reap multiple benefits, and the search for experienced developers is on the rise. As the demand is growing, so is the complexity required by clients for certain development projects.  Mastering the art of managing highly complex content management systems is both challenging and rewarding. In this article, we'll have a look at WordPress development and explore a checklist for anyone who is on the journey to becoming a top WordPress developer.   First of all, what is a top WordPress developer?   Someone who does much more than watch a few tutorials on YouTube and learn to customize some themes on personal blogs. More exactly, the most skillful WordPress developers are the ones who can innovate. These professionals can turn the development process into art and push the boundaries of every WordPress development project they are involved in.    How to become a top WordPress developer   The journey to WordPress mastery is paved with multiple challenges.    Although every journey is particularly defined by a different set of obstacles, there are a few things that, if done right, can highly contribute to you becoming a top professional. Let's have a look at some of the must-does when starting a WordPress development career.   1. Begin with an intentional focus on acquiring industry knowledge. In other words, get familiar with the languages that the WordPress platform is built on and learn about the technologies that lie behind content management systems.  The four must-know programming languages used on WordPress are: PHP, which forms the backbone of WordPress and is used a lot for the backend development process. CSS, which adds some salt and pepper to your website's content style, fonts, colors, etc.  HTML, a markup language that helps with how your site will look in the browser. JavaScript, a dynamic language that you can use to craft interactive elements on your site.    You can confidently start your WordPress development journey by learning these beginner-friendly languages. In this way, you'll start with the basics, which will keep things relatively easy and won't scare you off, and at the same time, you'll actually learn useful things that any WordPress developer needs to know.    2. Make the most out of the wide variety of WordPress resources available online. As WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems available today, the amount of reading material, how-to videos, or tutorials is overwhelming. To cut through the noise and ensure you get access only to the most reliable resources, have a look at these materials: The WordPress Codex is an official resource that contains everything you need to know about WordPress functions and plugin development. It also provides useful tutorials and advice on advanced topics from the most experimented developers.  Free and premium WordPress courses that cover a wide range of topics, from general to highly specific.  WordPress blogs that talk about tips, tricks, and trends in the WordPress world.    3. Put your knowledge into practice.  After studying the main programming languages and exploring key insights from the WordPress community, it's finally time to get to the real work. At this point, you want to keep in mind that you're still learning, and you probably will throughout your entire WordPress development career.  You can start by exploring with editing existent themes and plugins, test the results, and experiment with the existing code. Then, after altering different pre-built themes and learning the ropes of handling specific code programming, you will become more confident and want to begin creating a theme or plugin from scratch.  It can be pretty challenging to develop a new theme or plugin, but it's as rewarding. This is where creativity and innovation meet. Make use of the resources we discussed above and put your knowledge in practice by experimenting with different development approaches. The WordPress Codes contains plenty of creative plugins building tutorials and themes. The Plugin Handbooks is also helpful at this point and for highly specific insights you can also check the WordPress forums. If you are interested in working to improve the platform itself, you can check out the Core Contributor Handbook, which offers essential information on how you can work with WordPress as a developer. Getting involved in the WordPress core can connect you with experienced developers and open the road for new, innovative projects.   Becoming a top WordPress developer is challenging, rewarding, and challenging. But if you commit to a career of continuous learning and adapting, you can set yourself up for success. Make sure to leverage the right resources, connect with experienced peers, and don't forget to take your creativity with you—you'll need it to build outstanding development projects.  For any questions regarding web development, design, or digital strategies, visit our site on Optasy.com.    Photo credit: AltumCode on Unsplash.   ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Jun 09'2021
6 Secrets Behind the Best Drupal Web Development Projects
  You know a top-notch Drupal website when you see it—it has personality, it's flexible and intuitive, and it doesn't compromise on the user experience. The most successful Drupal web development projects are well planned by development teams and Drupal experts to match the needs of the existing online environment and promote a robust online presence for various companies.  Regardless of the nature of the development project, all successful Drupal websites seem to have some things in common—the secrets of web development masters that turn Drupal projects into art. This article will look at ten best practices that the most successful Drupal web design agencies use to build highly functional and secure websites.    Secret #1 Revealed: Build a robust project plan from the get-go.   Knowing exactly where you're heading with your Drupal project can frequently make the difference between success and failure. That's why you must start by setting the organizational website requirements and creating strategies with the end-user in mind. In other words, know what's what from the beginning of your Drupal project and follow this scheme throughout your development journey. Benefit: Easier to avoid getting stuck in the complex nature of Drupal development projects.    Secret #2 Revealed: Put the user experience first.   If there's one thing you shouldn't compromise on when building a website, it's the user experience (UX). After all, the success of a website is determined by whether or not the end-user is comfortable with the site's functionality and UX. The secret here lies in empowering the user with a satisfactory level of control so that it can fully enjoy and immerse into the content of your website.  Benefit: Boost your audience's engagement and generate more visitors.    Secret #3 Revealed: Choose a reliable, secure web hosting service.   The digital environment means connection, and that's what a web hosting service can offer to you—it allows all your site content to be seen anywhere at any time. When choosing a web hosting partner, pay attention to elements like loading speed, uptime score, and the cost-performance index. Benefit: Improved site performance and security.    Secret #4 Revealed: Make the most out of Drupal modules.    A successful Drupal web development project lies on a foundation of highly customized and optimized modules. To maximize the potential offered by Drupal modules, consider what needs you may be able to address by installing a specific module and how it can shape certain functionalities and content sharing capabilities on your website.  Benefit: From flexibility to time efficiency, modular development meets a wide range of demands in your Drupal projects.   Secret #5 Revealed: Work on your project step by step.   It is widely known that Drupal web development can be pretty complex, and that's why many companies choose a Drupal development agency or outsource their companies to other experts. But if you wish to do it yourself, make sure you set realistic milestones. The lack of project leadership can be a confidence killer for even the most experienced developers and may cause your Drupal development environment to become a highly unproductive one.  Benefit: Boost productivity and confidence amongst developer teams.   Secret #6 Revealed: Build solid brand identity.   Part of what makes the user experience a great one is the ability to make the user comfortable. Solid UX/UI design relies on consistency, bringing comfort to the visitor as it makes him feel in control and know what to expect. If you want to position yourself as a trustful brand with a robust online presence, create a style guide with basic typography and a color palette. Also, don't be afraid to introduce new design elements from time to time to spice things up a bit and re-engage your audience.  Benefit: Attract and retain more customers.    Content management systems like Drupal provide multiple benefits, but Drupal projects can also be hard to handle—if you want to build highly successful websites. With these six best practices at your fingertips, you can manage and optimize your Drupal project more quickly and efficiently.  If you find that you can't reasonably handle Drupal's complexity and want to make more of its performance-enhancing capabilities, let us take care of your project. At Optasy, we put all the six best practices outlined in this article at work and more. See how we can revolutionize your Drupal web development project and discover our Drupal Maintenance services.    Photo credit: Ben Kolde on Unsplash.     ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Jun 02'2021
Want to Make Your Website Easier to Navigate? - See How
  If there's one thing that modern website visitors want, that is streamlined experiences. In the hectic environment established by the COVID-19 pandemic, people crave online experiences that are accessible, fast, and simple.  That's why, now more than ever, making website navigation easy and intuitive is imperative to meet your audience's needs. And be careful; just because your website looks good doesn't mean it's easy to navigate.  In this article, we'll see why it's essential to put yourself in your visitors' shoes when crafting your web navigation, and we'll explore some best practices for making your website easier to navigate.    Best Practice #1: Understand How Users Interact with Different Devices   With most people going online through mobile devices, it's essential to look at your website through their lens to create relevant website experiences for them. It's in human nature to look for patterns and seek comfort, so make sure that your menu is easy to find and your pages simple to navigate.  The switch from desktops to mobile devices has caused many websites to build less obvious navigation menus. While the "hamburger menu" is a convenient solution from the point of view of design and it best suits desktop users, it can make navigation menus harder to find for mobile users. That's why a lot of websites still opt for sidebars, a drop-down menu, or tab bars to make sure they don't compromise on website navigation.    Best Practice #2: Build a Clear, Legible Website Navigation   At this point, you want to avoid: - Narrow fonts - Tight scripts  - Unclear titles and text There's nothing more frustrating than getting lost on a website because navigation titles are confusing or vague. Most visitors will not want to come back to this. Your primary focus here should be to deliver easy-to-understand navigation, text instead of icons for menu items, and clear categories for each page.  The design of your page can also contribute to your website navigation being legible. For example, use clear contrast in your navigation menu and try to avoid dark-on-dark or light-on-light combinations.    Best Practice #3: Don't Forget About Search Functionality   Search functionality is excellent for users that expect specific guidance on a website rather than clicking through links. They will leave your site happy and eager to come back later. By improving your search functionality, you provide a safety net for making your site navigation easy—there's no going wrong with it as it fully supports the user experience. Investing in your search functionality can also improve your conversion rate, yet many sites still neglect it.  To help your visitors spot the search bar more quickly, you can put the text inside a box and offset it in a different color from your site's color scheme. Another important aspect is the functionality of your search results page. For example, work on making product searches filterable and adjust your search bar to filter out unwanted categories.  It may seem like a lot of work for a search bar tool, but if your want your website to be easy to navigate, search functionality is a must.    Best Practice #4: Build a Website Map   Sitemaps are like a directory of your website. Besides paving the way for streamlined site navigation, sitemaps are also essential for SEO. So, if you want to kill two birds with one stone, build your website map–you'll give your users more navigation options and improve your SEO functionality.  You can choose from HTML sitemaps, which provide links to the essential pages of your website, or XML sitemaps, which help a search engine navigate your website. You can also choose both options, combine them to suit your website needs, and provide a streamlined navigation experience.    Keeping Up with the Modern Digital User   There's no doubt about it: online users expect top-notch digital experiences and choose websites that can keep up with these expectations. Taking the time to invest in improving your site navigation is the first step in your quest to keep up with digital trends.  At Optasy, we know how vital it is to stay relevant in the online environment with websites that provide future-oriented designs and a personalized user experience. We can help you improve your digital posture and take your web development projects to the next level.    Photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash.      ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / May 25'2021
Staff Augmentation or Managed Services? How to Choose Wisely
  As digital transformation has forever changed the world of business, more and more companies are interested in IT outsourcing. In fact, the global staffing industry, one of the primary suppliers of staff augmentation talent, is estimated to support $490 billion in annual spending. While this trend is growing fast, there is still some uncertainty regarding the healthiest and most convenient way for a business to use outside personnel. This article discusses two of the most popular contingent working models—staff augmentation and managed services—and how to choose the best option for your business needs.   What is staff augmentation, and how can it help you?   Staff augmentation allows companies to expand their in-house team with additional skilled resources to join a particular project. This type of outsourcing model chases once the project is over, and it's suitable for companies that don't need to hire someone permanently.  Staff augmentation is best used for short-term projects and can also be used as a "trial run" for potential full-time employees.  With this type of outsourcing, organizations can leverage specific skills on a per-project basis without going through costly and time-consuming hiring processes.    What is managed services, and how can it help you?   Unlike the staff augmentation model, which enables companies to expand their team with additional skilled professionals, managed services outsourcing practices imply hiring a fully-equipped team of professionals to take care of your specific project.  With the managed services model, you save many resources—time, costs, and effort—as you hire an entire team of skilled professionals who have the right tools and tech to complete your project.  While a service provider will handle your project on its entire length, from beginning to end, your job is to ensure that you select a reliable company that you can trust will deliver positive business outcomes.  The managed services model is the best fit for companies looking for stable and reliable long-term business cooperation.    Which one should you choose?   To help you figure out which one of these outsourcing models is the one you should choose for your organization, let's have a look at the pros and cons of staff augmentation and managed services.    Pros of staff augmentation: - Project control and lower risk. Staff augmentation allows you to gain project autonomy and create outcomes based on specific requirements. You have the power to monitor the project on its entire length and have complete control over the development process, thus reducing the risk of ending up with the wrong project outcomes.  - Flexibility and easy scaling. By choosing staff augmentation services, you gain the flexibility to quickly access missing skills cover staff shortages. You also get to scale your staff according to your current demands without worrying about lengthy hiring processes. - Reduced costs. Contingent working models like staff augmentation provide you the opportunity to work remotely with worldwide outsourced professionals. This allows you to cut the additional costs of office space, hardware and software expenses, as well as get rid of monthly employee taxes.    Cons of staff augmentation: - Not suitable for long-term projects. Staff augmentation is practical only as long as you look for short-term business engagements as projects come and go.  - Increased dependence on third-party talent organizations. This can put your sustainability plans more at risk.  - Lengthy staff integration. New professionals that join specific, complex projects may require some time to get familiar with your products and expectations.    Pros of managed services: - Gain more resources for other projects. Since an entire outsourced team will handle your specific project, you can step back and let them do the whole job. In this way, you'll have more time and energy to focus on other important tasks within your organization.  - Organized project and predictable outcomes. A managed services organization assesses the risks and predicts the results by developing a suitable structure for your project.  - Less time spent on managing IT. If you lack technical expertise and management resources, hiring a managed services company will help you save time and money at the end of the day.   Cons of managed services: - Hard to ensure security. When opting for the services of a provider, you provide access to sensitive data and assets. Therefore, companies that require high levels of data and information security might want to think twice before choose a managed services outsourcing model. - Higher costs. Although hiring a managed services company might be cost-effective in the long run, it's not always possible to get the complete services package at a low price. The costs of handing over your project to an IT firm might be higher than when opting for staff augmentation since managed IT services cover both IT functions and project management.  - Less control and autonomy. If you are looking to internalize your project management process and supervise outsourced staff, a managed services model might not be the suitable option for you.    Wrapping up Although outsourcing is becoming more popular, finding an external reliable development team can be a struggle. There is a plethora of options available on the market, making it challenging to make a choice. A wise choice.  At Optasy, we understand how important it is to have a dedicated team of professionals that can handle a wide range of projects. So have a look at your services and contact us to learn more about how we can collaborate for success.    Image credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash.    ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / May 19'2021