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2014 is another exciting year for mobile.
With many new technologies coming to market, emotional investment in our devices along with usage is at an all time high.
This is the definitive A to Z guide to mobile marketing and commerce. Enjoy...
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.
Why do people trust - or distrust - a website? What is it about the content, the design choices, or the usability of a website that makes it seem untrustworthy?
Last month I spotted this great thread on reddit, where people explained what makes them trust / distrust company websites. I thought I’d extract some of the suggestions, and a few quotes, and I’ve added a bunch of my own.
The usual caveats apply: all rules are there to be broken, and our own website needs to be improved.
No doubt there are a lot of other reasons, so by all means leave a comment below if I've missed something.
Not everybody loves a hero image or a carousel. But imagery is a continuing trend in ecommerce.
Whilst brands don't want to compromise load times, the increasing uptake of tablets and their use for shopping means that images can help a site stand out.
A browsing experience is a lot more fun, and arguably realistic, with some big imagery thrown in.
Here are six websites that hit those retina-popping notes of colour on their homepages and beyond.
If you think that awe-inspiring parallax scrolling websites are the sole preserve of the coding genius, think again.
Highly interactive and narratively driven web pages are a fantastic way to engage visitors on your website and hold their attention. The pages themselves are static and rely on the user to scroll with a mouse, finger swipe or an arrow key to generate movement, this achieves a unique storytelling experience.
Creating this type of page has become a lot easier thanks to HTML5, CSS3 and JQuery, and there are loads of templates now available for your own WordPress site.
The examples below are recommended based on the demo versions and the quality of the customer reviews. I haven’t installed or used them myself, I’m merely highlighting them as an example of what you can achieve with your own WordPress site.
Realism used to dominate digital design. Not any more. The world is flat.
At number one in Chris Lake’s 18 pivotal web design trends for 2014 is flat UI. For anyone new to the concept, here’s a brief introduction before we begin the cavalcade of smooth examples.
Strava and MapMyRun are both GPS-based web and mobile tracking services for runners and cyclists.
At a glance, they have similar homepages, designed to explain the concept and coax visitors to sign up.
The respective pages are similarly sized, with large imagery, simple text, top and bottom menus and the aim of quickly informing the user of the service proposition.
And yet, Strava is more effective. How does it do it?
The rise of the smartphone has ushered in a new way of thinking among web designers and developers, who need to create websites that work on smaller screens.
The constraints of smaller screens have actually helped the web to become that little bit more modular, with responsive design now one of the foremost web design trends: pages can be broken up into their constituent parts, and reordered on the fly, depending on browser or screen sizes. Content spread over three or four columns can be repositioned into just one.
This has refocused attention on 'cards', as a design pattern for displaying information in bite-sized chunks. Cards are ideal for the TL;DR generation, perfect for mobile devices and responsive design, and I think we'll be seeing a lot more of them in the months and years ahead. The format may not be new, but it's on the rise.
What is a card, exactly? Well, they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but commonly cards will include information such as a title, a user name, a picture, and various icons. Sometimes there might be a brief amount of text, for example a product description. In a sense, they are miniature, condensed web pages.
Cards were one of my 18 web design trends for 2014, and I wanted to highlight some beautiful examples of card-based user interfaces. Tuck in!
What’s that plinky plonky banjo sound? Yep it’s a new website explainer video!
The TfL site has been used by two million visitors whilst in beta. That’s no mean achievement and indicative of just what a challenge the TFL website undergoes on a daily basis.
In April 2013, the TFL website had 20m visitors every month. That’s every Londoner visiting more than twice.
The new site includes some really good features that vastly improve TfL’s ability to present information to the traveller.
Let’s have a look at the new site.
The lovely header image I've used for this blog post is a 'Karlism'. I considered using a picture of Will Ferrell's Mugatu, but stopped short.
Here, I've rounded up some little features, mostly about imagery and web design but also touching on UX. I've experimented a bit by showcasing them using Vine. Some of the imagery isn't captured particularly crisply, but you can click through from each heading, or from a static image if there is one, to explore the page in question.
I could have used screencasting to capture these elements, but Vine was quite a bit quicker and maybe it even makes me look agile?
See what you think. Visit the sites and check these things out for yourself and let me know what you think works and what doesn't.
I’ve been keeping a close eye on innovation in the ecommerce sector for more than a decade now, and it seems to me that we're living in exciting times. We have hit some kind of purple patch.
Why is this? Well, ecommerce has massively matured. It's big business. Digital teams are smarter, and more agile. Sexy new tech such as HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery allows for sublime user experiences.
As such I wanted to raise a toast to innovation by highlighting a bunch of - hopefully inspiring - examples to you.
But first, a massive caveat: I would severely and mercilessly beat a few of these sites with a big best practice stick. There are product pages with missing information. There are search boxes with tiny fonts. There are usability issues galore.
Secondly, for ecommerce sites, it is all about the data. If you’re not constantly testing, measuring and refining, then you aren’t doing it right. What works for one brand might not work so well for another.
All of that aside, the ecommerce teams that take chances and push the boundaries of are to be applauded. Guidelines are precisely that: guidelines. Rules are there to be broken. And innovation is always to be encouraged, even when it doesn’t work out.
So let's take a look at some ecommerce websites (and one mobile app) that are trying new things, and that are noteworthy for their approach to the user experience. Click on the screenshots to check them out for yourself, and do let me know what you think.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression 'Never work with children or animals' right? Well, after you’ve read this lot, I reckon you’ll want to add participants, facilitators and even clients to this list.
You see, since my last blog I’ve spent a few weeks “playing journalist” sourcing weird, wonderful and downright bizarre stories from the UX (User Experience) Community.
The idea came to me while I was telling a friend how I had to sit throughout a whole study earlier this year in Norway, trying not to crack up every time a participant had to fill in his name on a form. Thing is, he was doing it with such a straight face that for a long time I thought it really was his name. Which it obviously couldn’t have been.
So it got me thinking that there must be other amusing or even downright weird experiences that my fellow UX practitioners might like to share with me... and share they did! OK, some took a little cajoling but I got there in the end.
They’re all anonymous and I hope you at least find them interesting, even if they might not tickle you as much as they tickled me.