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We and many others have made our love for Government Digital Services (GDS) quite clear.
However, I thought it worth quickly flagging up an interesting post on Reddit that shows just how far GDS has come and the standards it is setting.
In the post a redditor from the Home Office highlights a poor experience and a developer from the GOV.UK team fixes it within a day.
If you want to hear from Mike Bracken, executive director of digital at GDS, get yourself to the Festival of Marketing in November.
Interaction design (IxD) is all about shaping the customer’s digital experience, with new research and design trends constantly inspiring technologists and designers to invent better user interfaces and widgets.
So, what are some of the exciting new trends in Interaction Design and how can they create a positive impact on customer experience?
In my opinion, there are three important innovations set to make waves.
Last month I wrote a comparison of how the UK’s favourite restaurants are performing on mobile, this month I’m going to take the same test to the streets of London.
Having a mobile optimised site is an absolute must for driving the peckish smartphone wielding pedestrian through your doors.
Whether it’s a separate mobile-site, a responsively designed site or an adaptive one, if you want to capture the attention of the empty stomach as it angrily roams the streets in need of an empty table, then you have to provide a decent mobile presence.
Other restaurants may not necessarily be better than yours, but will they will beat you in the dinner rush if your website remains in its desktop form.
You don’t need a fully featured work of creative genius, just a simple, functional, easy-to-read, easy-to-navigate site that puts the most vital information to the fore.
Simplicity is the key to great design. Anything that complicates or irritates should be immediately jettisoned, in favour of a cleaner approach, and functionality should always come before beauty.
As such I still get shivers when I think about animation and web design, given the amount of user experience crimes committed over the years. Animation was a dirty word. It meant too many crazy gifs, too many flashing ads, or even worse, it meant 'innovative' Flash websites.
Lots of websites still suffer from animation overload, but when done with appropriate amounts of restraint I think motion can help improve the user experience.
Moving backgrounds, rolldown navigation and micro UX effects were three of the web design trends I highlighted back in January. I think a broader trend is the rise of animation / motion, and no doubt it will be on next year’s list.
I thought I’d explore some of the different areas of a website (or mobile app) where motion can come into play, to improve the user experience by communicating meaning, or as a visual flourish that bridges the gap between clicking and loading.
Before we begin, let us doff our hats in the direction of HTML5 and CSS3, not to mention better browsers, faster devices, nicer screens, and quicker internet connections. All of these things have allowed designers to use motion in a way that doesn’t suck.
A bunch of these examples come from the ever-enlightening Codrops, which should probably be on your reading list if it isn't already.
Ok, brace yourself for some gifs...
More and more we are used to slick mobile websites that focus on functionality above all else, and quite right, too.
Arguably when we visit web entities we have less patience than ever before.
Certain generations are starting to build up some serious hours of learning online, navigating websites, social networking and getting stuff done. These users are developing an innate understanding of web design, even if subconscious.
What this means is that the online world is fast finding its own feet, its design conventions, when viewed as a channel for interaction and productivity, not just information dissemination. It's no longer apeing traditional media. Just take a look at Google's Material Design.
So, I'm going out on a limb to say this means photography is becoming rarer online. Here are some examples of why and where.
Airbnb's business model has certainly been 'disruptive' for the hotel industry, but a major factor in its success is the user experience.
While some travel brands have yet to fully adapt to the web, Airbnb offers an excellent user experience backed up by great visual design.
I've picked out several lessons that other travel brands, and indeed any online business can learn from Airbnb...
It’s time to live vicariously through rapper The Game, various Premiership footballers and the lead singer of Jamiroquai.
Most of us can relate to browsing for a Kia or a MINI online, interacting with its social channels, endlessly researching customisable features on a mobile device and maybe even buying one via an ecommerce store.
Now let’s imagine we’ve all gone up a pay grade (or ten).
What’s it like carrying out the above online tasks with a brand from the luxury sports end of the automotive industry?
How does it feel to browse the online catalogue of Ferrari? What’s it like asking Lamborghini’s Twitter account “why hasn’t my Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster turned up yet?” Is it possible to even attempt the checkout process without being snootily (and rightfully) removed from the virtual forecourt by the scruff of my filthy shirt collar? I may have to borrow someone else’s credit card to find out.
So with all of this in mind I’ll be standing between the two powerhouses of speed and aspirational materialism, waving my chequered flag and seeing which of the two super cars makes it past the finishing line and which one ends up bonnet first in a ditch.
GO GO GO!
I've looked at search and comparison tools on automotive sites in the past, and there was a lot of room for improvement.
Some automotive brands, accustomed for so long to the dealership sales process, were slow to adapt to and take advantage of ecommerce.
Now, with some stats suggesting that up to 94% of people are researching cars online before purchase, the online user experience is all important.
Here are some examples from the major automotive brands.
Virgin America's new website manages to turn booking a flight into a joyous process.
That tells you all you need to know about how good this website is.
Here I've picked out 30 good bits. I urge you, of course, to read this post, but go and check out the website yourself for some great design inspiration.
Designing usable and enjoyable experiences for people online, across devices, is defining business change.
It's no surprise then that some of the most visited posts on the Econsultancy blog concern web design.
Chris Lake has traditionally written about web design trends for the year, with eight of his 18 trends for 2014 pointing towards minimalist design.
These were flat UI, mobile first, minimalist navigation, monochrome and hypercolour (perhaps summed up as high contrast), cards and tiles, bigger images and fixed position content.
I wanted to write a simple post highlighting key examples of clean and simple web design from publishing.
Recently I’ve been building a few apps for fun in my spare time.
Doing so has got me thinking about various design elements, and where online design might be heading.
Currently flat design is ruling the roost, but it may not always be that way...
Microcopy is one of those things that is hard to define (how does it differ from regular or maxicopy?) but you know it when you see it.
There's a loyal following of UX bods behind these kind of microinteractions and how they can be enhanced with little pieces of finely judged copywriting.
I've written about it before (see previous post on micro-copywriting), but thought I should thrown down some of the finest examples of this fine art.
These are bits of copy most websites could implement somewhere, and without precluding the need for testing, I'm sure they will improve performance.