HTTP Versus HTTPS

key lock

The difference between the two web protocols HTTP and HTTPS became much clearer to me this past week because it got personal.

In 2014, Google recommended that sites switch to HTTPS. The “S” stands for secure. The sites that switched over to HTTPS were mostly e-commerce sites. Google said HTTPS sites would get a bit of a rankings bump, or you could say that HTTP sites would get punished.

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol which is all about the transfer of data from a web server to a browser. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.

What’s wrong with the old HTTP?  Information passing from server to browser is not encrypted. That means it could be stolen. HTTPS protocols use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to create a secure encrypted connection.

When you found this site you may have used the URL https://ronkowitz.wordpress.com which is where the server that hosts the site is located. But you could also have clicked or followed a link to https://ronkowitzllc.com which is a domain that WordPress gave me with my account and it redirects to the true server location. You could also find this site by putting in the URL http://ronkowitz.com. But notice that that last address doesn’t have the magic “S.” So, if you try that URL, when it jumps to the main site you will get a warning (or even be blocked) that it is not secure.

All three domains worked fine a few weeks ago, but browsers like Google’s Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have tightened the screws.

To add an SSL to the “insecure” site (and I have other domains with the same issue) will cost additional money. Security costs and we no longer have a choice.

 

Web Design for Non-Designers

Not everyone needs a web designer to design their website. There are many personal websites that can be built and maintained by individuals who are not trained in web design.

The caveat to that statement is that if your site is for a business or requires an online store, credit card handling and other more sophisticated tools, you would be wise to hire an experienced designer to build it and possibly to maintain it.

For the non-designer creating a website, WordPress offers this good infographic starter along with an article of explanation.

These 8 design dos and don’ts will help you create a site that looks good and is functional.

Use hierarchy to order content sounds so obvious – put the first information that you want people to read first. But that’s not as easy on a webpage as it is on a document. Position, font types, sizes, colors, headings and subheadings affect viewers’ attention.

Limit fonts and colors  Rule of thumb: use a maximum of three colors in your site design. Rule of thumb 2: use fonts in the same family (Arial, Times, Courier)

Consider legibility/readability and (not mentioned in the article) accessibility. A highly decorative font (Curlz MT) can hurt any viewer’s ability to quickly read, and many colors of text (especially on colored backgrounds) can be hard to read or even “invisible” to people with vision problems.

(even if it looks nice with your theme). Be sure to periodically take a step back and consider the legibility of your design.

The article’s “Don’ts” can also be seen as things to do. Don’t forget about images is do use images wisely. Some basic photo-editing skills (cropping, resizing, exposures) are definitely required.

Don’t be afraid to experiment  Every website is “under construction” to some degree. In WordPress.com, you can easily try new themes, change your header, or play with the color scheme. You may want to give the site a fresh look periodically without really changing the content.

I agree that you shouldn’t prioritize aesthetics at the expense of functionality, and that feedback from users or friends or other people working with websites is important. Keep an open mind. No matter how much you like a design feature, if users have a problem with it, change it. 

You don’t need to be a UX expert to know that if people have trouble finding a section of your site, then the navigation needs some revision.