CloudFlare CDN cache test

Romandesign.ca speed before engaging CloudFlare CDN:

Tested from New York City, New York, USA on January 6 at 12:54:36
Page size – 6.9MB
Load time – 2.45s
Requests – 113
Perf. grade – 79/100
Your website is faster than 63% of all tested websites

Google PageSpeed (with minify disabled in W3 Total Cache) is 65/100 for mobile and 73/100 for desktop. With minify enabled it was 74/100 for desktop. The best result before video was added to homepage was 87/100 for desktop and 72/100 for mobile.

We’ll see how it improves after nameservers update for CloudFlare CDN. It looks promising, because they have servers in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver!

CloudFlare CDN test – after two weeks

Pingdom ranking did not improve, however Google PageSpeed score significantly improved after two weeks of testing: 86/100 for desktop and 72/100 for mobile. Before CDN it was 74 for desktop, so the improvement is significant. CloudFlare improves content delivery in specific areas – for example in Canada they have servers in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, and it hardens security. It will also keep website’s cached version online if hosting goes down temporarily. So it’s a keeper.

Why you should not ever use Comic Sans

Comic Sans font has gained notoriety as the most hated font ever. It’s so dreadful and misused that there are many websites dedicated to banning and hating this font. No self-respecting web designer should ever use this font. It even appears in Weird Al Yankovic video “Tacky” (see around 1:15 minute mark):

Is your website mobile-friendly? Upgrading your website for mobile compatibility

On April 21, 2015 Google has introduced a new update of its mobile ranking algorithm that made mobile-friendly usability factors of your website much more important. Making your website mobile-friendly does not just makes it easier for your visitors on iPhones and Android devices, but mobile-friendly websites rank higher while others can be dropped in mobile search results.

Roman Design now offers Mobile Compatibility Upgrade service that will check your website and make sure that it is fully mobile-friendly and passes a new Google Test.

Responsive Web Design integration

Responsive Web Design is a new and hot trend in web design. No more separate websites that (inadequately) cover mobile devices. Single layout modifies itself for all devices. I’m vonsidering implementing it into next version or Roman Design CMS, however I see several problems with that.

Some of Roman Design clients are small businesses with not much content on the website. Most Responsive Web Design sites are see use very minimalistic design to insure that elements still look good when reshuffled. However if there is not much contents and you also strip design to bare minimum, the website will look bland and unappealing.

Also, I had great concerns about Flash compatibility with responsive web design. Info on the web is very sparse, but I suspect the sites that are created with responsive web design in mind will have to use no Flash at all. And I’m fond of flash-based headers, they make website look lively while still fully gracefully degradable. I actually solved Flash issues and now responsive web design works with Flash, but Flash is dying anyway, so I advise using HTML5 animation instead. It also works better with responsive web design concept.

Nevertheless this trend is definitely here to stay, so I will try and think hard about how it can be integrated into typical Roman Design visually rich web design concept.

How to choose a web design studio in Toronto?

I’ve heard it many times: my clients formerly hired a freelancer or a studio in Toronto, spend money and time and got endless delays with poor results or just a bad job, then got frustrated and came to Roman Design (via Google search or recommendation from a client).

Just a few advices about how to choose a web designer or web design studio in Toronto, however it not only applies on Canada but almost anywhere:

  1. Ask questions! It’s important to know how the company operates, where are its designers, what forms of payments they accept, what’s the payment structure, etc. You want to get as much information as you can about the designers so you can form an opinion on whether you can trust them.
  2. Never hire web design company that uses outsourcing!Ask about outsourcing, where the company’s designers and developers are located. If the price looks too attractive – it usually means web design company uses outsourcing (usually to India or sometimes eastern Europe). Outsourcing, by countless previous experiences of Roman Design clients, means total or partial failure in most cases. It just doesn’t work. Even if the programmers are OK, time delay, difference in mentality, linguistic and logistical problems are a almost guaranteed recipe for disaster. Sorry for the plug, but Roman Design never uses outsourcing! And more and more businesses come to the same conclusion. Saving money and paying cheap prices sounds good, but in the end you will pay more to fix the damage.
  3. Check out online portfolio. Designer or a studio without a nice portfolio is a definite no! Make sure you like the design style, that all works in all budgets look professional and modern. Also it never hurts to check for fraud – I not only get regular phone calls from other businesses about people I’ve never met who that say in the resume that they worked at Roman Design, but some of them also steal portfolio examples from Roman Design. Simple way to check is actually go to some of the websites mentioned and see if they link back to the designer and if that’s really the person or company you are researching.
  4. When requesting quote – be very specific and descriptive about what you need. Make sure everything is written in your specifications, to eliminate any later misunderstandings and to make sure you get accurate quotes. Roman Design has a nice and detailed Quote Request Questionnaire that will help you with that. Writing out everything also protects you from your designer asking to get more money from you later for something you want but haven’t clearly mentioned when requesting the estimate.