ONLINE DESIGN


Website Designers Bring Home the Market




Technobros, a web hosting and design company related to a company of the same name in Australia, has been the website hosting and design business in Ethiopia for the past nine years. It charges in dollars for its services, starting from 500 dollars, and the past years have been years of growth for it and similar companies in the country.

There were only three such companies when Technobros opened its doors, remembers Akram Yahya, web developer. One of the biggest names then was Habesha.net, which Technobros acquired a year ago.

Areaya Lakew, CEO of Climax Technology Plc, which he founded in 2006, also remembers only a handful of competitors in the early days – nine years ago, a period which now seems like another era.

Website development includes making content visible to the user on the computer screen and the behind-the-scenes tools which make the site function. There are three distinct facets of website development. One is the user interface design, which is about the colour, fonts and layout of the website. Then there is the front developing, making the website that users see and interact with and thirdly, the back end development, which is building the database and application, which makes the programming code that powers a website.

But since most of the customers who visit the service providers do not know much about the technology or exactly what they want, the job mostly falls on the shoulders of the developers themselves.

For colouring, usually the theme/brand colour of the company will be used, Areaya explained. Akram agreed, emphasising that colour schemes are important as they have the ability to evoke an emotional response. Therefore, it is essential to combine the element of colour theory with the target audience and the company’s niche, he added.

The choice of layout for the website is done according to the nature of the company and the kinds of service it provides, Areaya explained.

For financial institutions, straight lines and rectangular shapes are mostly used in order to intensify the formal and professional nature of the company. On the contrary, informal, comic and relaxed styles are used for companies that are engaged in the art business, Areaya pointed out. Pictures for such websites should be at the centre to draw attention to them, whereas logos are put on the left side of the website to help viewers focus on the value of the brand and content because people’s vision follows their reading habit skills which go from left to right, following written word.

In general, development of effective and high quality design boils down to the creation of a website that is clean, appealing and easy to read and navigate, summarised Akram.

It takes a relatively longer time when developing a website from scratch by preparing a new code, which involves writing a computer programme for the specific website, than when using open source codes available on the website, Areaya explained.

To date, Technobros has designed websites for 1,800 clients, claimed Akram. The number of customers served by Climax Technology has doubled in the last two years, according to Areaya. This progress has come in relation to the number of internet users in the country and the marketing objective of various companies to reach their customers and promote themselves as well, clarifies Henok Tesfaye, owner of Colour Zone Advertising & Printing.

The number of people that have access to the Internet in Ethiopia reached 2.5 million in 2014 from 450,000 in 2010, according to UNICEF’s 2014 study.

However, the content the companies provide is not organised and lacks professionalism, complained Akram. According to Henok, most customers do not have a clue as to what to include in the various sections of their websites. And others take matters into their hands, instead of using professional writing, Akram concurred.

Freaddis Women’s Support Association is one of the companies that hired Climax Technology Plc for the development of its website a year ago. Though the company believes the website content would be better if it was written by hired professionals they could not afford to do so, said Kirkos Hintsa, project manager of the Association.

But it remains crucial to have high quality, original content which echoes the company’s and brand’s unique voice, he added. Furthermore, the quality of the site’s content affects ranking in search engine results as the engine can be manipulated by strategically feeding and reaching the website contents with popular keywords search.



By SNETSEHAY ASSEFA
FORTUNE’S STAFF WRITER

Published on Jul 06,2015 [ Vol 16 ,No 792]


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