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Design and the AI route | India Today, 10 sep 2019
Uncovering links between architecture, politics, and society | MIT News, 10 sep 2019
Transport: The Muse for Ingenious Architecture | World Architecture News, 10 sep 2019
The best graphic design of 2019 | Fast Company, 09 sep 2019
How Men's Fashion Is Inspiring Interior Design Trends | Forbes, 09 sep 2019
Stretchy plastic electrolytes could enable new lithium-ion battery design | Science Daily, 09 sep 2019
Soft-bodied swimming robot uses only light for power and steering | UCLA Samueli News, 09 sep 2019
Nathan Yong, Industrial Designer | The Business Times, 05 sep 2019
5 best practices for data visualisation in web design for 2019 | e27, 04 sep 2019
Five landscape design blogs to find your inspiration | Total Landscape Care, 02 sep 2019
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 dec 2018
When design trends get too hyped they lose relevance. Co.Design editor Susanne Labarre discussed the future of design with the judges of the 2018 Innovation by Design awards. Following are 3 over-hyped design trends - (1) ALGORITHMS AREN'T EVERYTHING: Jason Chua, the executive director of advanced topics at United Technologies, says, 'I think there's this impatience to say we have an algorithm for something, and that'll solve all our problems. Machine learning is not a panacea, and if you don't apply human-centered principles, you may see some of these things run amok. I think it's very valuable...but it needs to be applied in very careful ways.' (2) VIRTUAL REALITY HAS NOTHING ON THE PHYSICAL WORLD: Edel Rodriguez, illustrator and graphic designer, says, 'I don't like VR...I don't care how many times people say this is great new technology. It's just not how I want to experience the world and not how I want my kids to experience the world. There's a lot of information a kid can get through flipping a page or touching things.' (3) DATA IS PRODUCING DESIGN THAT ALL LOOKS THE SAME: Marcelo Eduardo, founding partner at Work & Co, says, 'There's an oversimplification - a lot of things look the same...People are designing in such a strict way using data all the time and they're losing the creative potential...that's when you're disruptive. Data-driven design...stagnates really fast. Someone takes over by doing something different that you wouldn't do if you were analyzing the data. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 nov 2018
In today's businesses, digital is one of the critical component that defines their growth and success. With digital and related analytics, organizations can easily track and create insights to better understand consumer behavior for their benefits. Gabriel Shaoolian, founder of DesignRush, provides valuable statistics in marketing, website design and branding for efficient online strategy and subsequent online success - (1) By 2021, mobile e-commerce will account for 54% of all online sales. (2) 38% of users will stop interacting with a website if the layout is unattractive. (3) Long landing pages generate up to 220% more leads than above-the-fold calls to action. (4) Color improves brand recognition by up to 80%. (5) Consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23%. (6) 64% of consumers say that shared values help them create a trusted relationship with a brand. (7) Content marketing efforts receive three times the leads per dollar spent than paid search receives. (8) 64% of consumers make a purchase after viewing a branded social video. (9) Facebook Ad revenue in the US will surpass total print ad spending by 2019. (10) Email has a median return on investment of 122%. Moreover, he suggests the following key points to be noted for digital strategy - Create an easy-to-use website that works on all platforms and devices; Design a memorable brand identity that communicates well with consumers; Maintain an honest and transparent relationship with customers; Invest in content marketing and social media advertisements; Test video marketing campaigns to engage users; Don't forget about the power of email marketing. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jul 2018
In a developing country like India low-income groups often lack access to proper healthcare. But, mobile technology can provide ways to enable these groups have knowledge and resources to drive preventative healthcare. Lead researchers, Aakash Ganju (co-founder of Avegen), Sumiti Saharan (Neuroscientist, Team Lead of Design & Research at Avegen), Alice Lin (Global Director of social innovation at Johnson & Johnson), Lily W. Lee (President of Almata, a division of Avegen), explain the research conducted by their team on the digital usage patterns of underserved groups in two urban areas of India, and iteratively tested user interface and content design. Researchers generated primary research insights from more than 250 new mothers and fathers living in low-income communities, and achieve understanding of the core barriers and digital needs of this population. Researchers suggest, 'Embedding health care into digital tools requires that providers overcome contextual barriers and undertake deliberate design processes. To succeed, providers must develop a nuanced understanding of the obstacles to consuming information digitally, as well as glean insights from technology, interface design, and behavioral science.' Following are some insights from the research - (1) Cost is no longer the biggest barrier: In the last year, a strong government regulatory authority has promoted competition and consumer benefits that have rapidly driven down both smartphone and data costs. (2) Infrastructure can overcome any remaining cost barriers: Only 5% of people living in less-connected and less-developed localities owned smartphones, compared to a significant 56% of individuals with similar incomes living in neighborhoods with good mobile network and infrastructure. (3) Digital experiences are not often built for low-income, urban populations: The most pervasive barrier to digital adoption in India today is a lack of knowledge about how to use digital interfaces. Language is also a barrier. India has an overall literacy rate of 74%. However, only about 10% of Indians can communicate in English - the language of the Internet. Local language content is scarce. There are gaping holes in the understanding of early-stage user requirements and pain points, from both the digital interface and content experience perspectives. (4) There is a lack of trust in health-related digital information: Low-income, underserved communities who have not been exposed to authentic digital content often have extreme distrust in digital information pertaining to health. Only 12% of families thought information from digital sources was reliable, compared to more than 90% finding information from doctors and mothers to be most, very, or somewhat reliable. According to researchers, to truly meet the needs of underserved consumers, providers must focus on the following areas - (1) High-quality content: To engage users on digital platforms, providers must use differentiated content that connects with a user's specific journey. The form, tone, and continuity of content matters. Video formats optimized for small, low-quality displays are most effective in driving engagement. When visual formats are not feasible, audio formats are the next best alternative. Understand the environments in which users consume health. Include local elements in the content, like referring to local clinics etc. (2) Behavior change: Engaging users is vital to directing changes in consumer health behavior. It's important to be deliberate about the design of the user journey. Offering incentives for content consumption, sharing, and specific health-related behaviors can help nudge users toward desired health-related behaviors. (3) Technology: Mobile apps need to be light and fast, have low memory and data requirements, and be able to run on slow and patchy networks. Display data consumption frequently, enhanced ability to view offline content and share content within community is important for engagement. (4) Design team structure: Multidisciplinary teams that bring together expertise in technology, design, business and sustainability, end-user thinking, and behavioral sciences tend to create the most effective designs. To design for the end user, providers must design with the end user, particularly for populations who are not digitally fluent. Teams should develop a thinking environment and processes that allow for hypothesis development, application design, testing, analytics, and retesting in rapid, parallel, iterative cycles. Read on...
Stanford Social Innovation Review:
Expanding Access to Health Care in India Through Strong Mobile Design
Authors: Aakash Ganju, Sumiti Saharan, Alice Lin Fabiano, Lily W. Lee
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 feb 2018
As with most technology and design trends, there is always something new happening in web design intended to capture the imagination of the audience. Experts in the field suggest the following trends that will dominate 2018 - (1) Paul Jarvis (Designer; Writer; pjrvs.com): Bright and bold minimalism and engaging photographic content. (2) Jane Portman (UI/UX Consultant; Book Author; Founder of Tiny Reminder; Co-founder of Userlist.io): Polished web applications. High-end aesthetics need to get more affordable for SaaS founders globally. As SaaS craftsmanship gets more refined, another wave of frameworks and ready-made UI solutions are expected. (3) Josh Haynam (Co-founder of Interact Quiz Builder): Interactive content. Customers expect more personalized and entertaining experience when they interact with brands, that can inturn be delivered by content like polls, quizzes, and games. (4) Vytautas Alech (UX Designer; Product Developer): Asymmetry and brutalism inspired free-form. (5) Alexey Galyzin (Product and Lead Designer at Crello): Illustrations and animations. Illustrations set a tone for a brand and add playfulness to their content. While, animations allow one to translate more information in an efficient way, driving attention and helping to tell a story in a few seconds. (6) Paula Borowska (Freelance Designer): Consistency and focus on understanding the end users. More user research and interviews to understande target audience. More consistency of the message across all channels. The tone, the company message, the language used, the visuals etc need to stay the same. It increases customer loyalty. (7) Sunil Joshi (Co-founder and Lead Designer at WrapPixel): More video, fluid shapes, use of gradients, animated CSS and typography. Videos are becoming part of a brands presentation and communication. Videos can deliver a great deal of information quickly and visually. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jan 2018
Design evolves with time and new trends become visible accordingly. Here are 5 design trends that are expected to make a mark in 2018: (1) Explained Algorithms: For the last couple of years artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have been most talked about in technology. Tech companies often kept the algorithms secret as protected IP. But now, considering the role of AI in serious decision-making situations, the need for openness and transparency in algorithms is becoming necessary. In this regard, AI community initiated the field of computer science termed as 'Explainable AI (XAI)'. David Gunning of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is building a system on XAI. This new field commits itself to make algorithms more accountable as their use involves sensitive user data. XAI expects to ensure that the relationship between technology and users is built on trust by explaining the working of AI and machine learning in critical decision-making. (2) Less Minimalism: Anti-consumerist in principle and aesthetically pleasing in practice approach to design, called minimalism, that has been at the forefront of design through lifestyle tidying guru Marie Kondo's life-changing concepts, will see a shift. More color and bolder concepts will bring new freshness. In home decor world, companies have replaced cleaned-lined Scandinavian design with chunky, gilded, colourful pieces. Online, people are celebrating ugly design with Tumblrs and Instagrams dedicated to a glittering and gaudy aesthetic. (3) Optimal Use of Technology: Excessive use of technology, specifically social media, has started taking its toll. User well-being is the new technology design mantra, as compared to the user time-spent. The idea is to build apps and technology that quietly augment our lives, not commander it. Some people who are propagating this 'Calm Tech' movement are former Xerox Parc employees Mark Weiser, Rich Gold, and John Seely Brown, who literally wrote the book on calm tech. Tristan Harris, an ex-Google ethicist, is also attempting to loosen technology's excessive grip on our attention spans through technology and app re-design. (4) No More Boring Hardware: New trends are beginning to surface in technology product design hardware, as compared to the typical - cold glass, shiny plastic, blunt shapes. Gadgets are now an inherent part of our living spaces and how they are designed influences the look and feel of our living environment. Some examples in this direction include Google's new smart speakers that were covered in a layer of soft polyester that came in white, grey, and a warm salmon hue and Microsoft Surface Pro tablet with a keyboard covered in teal and maroon Alcantara, the stain-resistant fabric that's used in luxury vehicles. (5) More Inclusive Design: Earlier products were often designed for an average user with a concept - 'If you design for everyone, you'll exclude no one.' But it is now changing and 'Inclusive' design ideas are becoming prominent. Companies like Microsoft and Google are developing a new design process that considers the problems of underserved populations as a lens for designing more thoughtful products and experiences for everyone. The idea is that by building products that are accessible to people with special needs, you're building better products. Read on...
5 Design Trends We'd Like To See More Of This Year
Author: Liz Stinson
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 aug 2017
Design influences products and services from inception to completion. John Maeda, Global Head of Computational Design & Inclusion at Automattic, in his '2017 Design in Tech' report explains that markets are relying on intangibles like design for a higher ROI. Tracy Leigh Hazzard, CEO of industrial design firm Hazz Design, explores the value of design in today's market, and the details Mr. Maeda has provided in his recently released report. Mr. Maeda is spearheading the new convergence across the design & technology industries. Data shows that design is an all-encompassing process of offering something to the market that is complete in every way, and also inclusive. Linking design directly to ROI provides measurement of value that design offers to organizations and how sucessful it actually was/is. Design is about market relevance and meaningful results. Mr. Maeda says, 'We moved from 'tech-led' to 'experience-led' digital products as services on smartphones took over and gave access to everyone.' Designers are finding more acceptance in the technology industry and their headcount is increasing. Linda Naiman, Inc.com Columnist, says, 'Making inclusive design profitable hinges on the principle that if you want to reach a larger market, you have to reach people you're not already reaching by being inclusive. This new frontier of design requires some technical understanding outside of purely classical design. The hybrid designer/developer, referred to as a 'unicorn' in the tech industry, is often relied upon to bridge that gap.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 02 dec 2016
The rising tide of mobile devices brought with it the deluge of apps. As of June 2016, there were an overwhelming 4.2 million apps available on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. For an app to stand out among such a crowded app-place is not an easy task. Dima Rakovitsky, Founder and CEO of ROKO Labs, shares the following best practices for an aspiring app inventor - (1) Know Your Audience: Diligently figure out who will use the app and what problem will it solve; Focus on customer aesthetics based on the platform (iOS or Android) they use and design accordingly. (2) Validate Before You Build: Research the competitive market; Do customer surveys; Draw user flows; Professionally design the app and make a clickable prototype; Share it with potential users and seek suggestions and feedback. (3) Marketing And User Acquisition Plans: Make sure app has viral components; Create a marketing strategy supported with strong tactics; Have a marketing and advertising budget. (4) Make a Positive First Impression: It is key to acquiring and retaining users; Have a well-designed and memobrable app icon with short engaging description; To reduce churn rates, make sure your app is fast, intuitive and allows anonymous usage. (5) Easier is Always Better: Keep your app simple and accessible to everyone; Have understanding of UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience). (6) Consistency Is Key: The app should look and feel cohesive; Have unified color scheme and consistent typography; Make sure your app takes advantage of the unique features and norms of each mobile platform, but still coordinates with your website. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 oct 2016
45% of increase in jobs has been recorded in the creative economy since 1997 and it made upto 2.6 million jobs in total. Web design demands creativity, attention to detail, and practice. To observe and understand the work of successful designers and learn from it can help budding designers to master the art of web design. Here are some ways to enhance web design skills - (1) Avoid slideshows and carousels: They provide more information than what visitors can absorb; Offer a concise value proposition, particularly on homepage; Provide meaningful and relevant content. (2) Simplify the navigation through your design: Complex website with too many options can be counterproductive; Uncrowd your sidebar and header; Minimize dropdown menus; Be mobile-friendly. (3) Use a sketchbook: Assists during brainstorming and helps to organize design process better. (4) Try the squint test: Continuous staring at screen harms visions, take a break and view the design with partially closed eyes. Squint few times, and the prominent aspects of the design will be clearly visible; Provides clarity on website's focal points and sections that are to be highlighted. (5) Black, white and gray should be your starting point: Beginning with shades of gray and then adding colors helps to create a website that lets user focus on the crucial aspects of the site; Also helps to prevent from overdesigning a page. Moreover, technology facilitates creativity and helps design better websites through following ways - Seamless integration; Breaking down barriers; Creative alliances; Informational accessiblity; Advanced graphic tools; Expert feedback; Low cost of failure; Massive marketing platform; Adapt to survive; Percolation of creativity. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jun 2016
Designers need continuous flow of creative ideas and motivation in their work. Sometimes they reach a state of creative block when they lack internal motivation and inspiration to generate ideas. In such situations an external source of inspiration would be of assistance. Following are 8 online resources for designers that can provide the spark of creativity and rekindle inspiration - (1) Designspiration: A design portal that has architecture, typography, illustrations and print. Features the work of global artists and innovators. (2) Dribbble: A hub for creatives to connect, share and inspire one another. Includes typography, website design, logos, illustrations and graphics. Designers can also be hired through the site. (3) Awwards: Recognizes best designed website from around the world. Jury comprises of renowned designers, bloggers and agencies. It rates websites and gives score comprised of different elements, including creativity, design, content and usability. (4) Siteinspire: Has some of the best filtering of any design portal. Can choose from multiple categories, and follow designers and their work. (5) Smashing Magazine: Includes editorial and professional resources for designers and developers. Have blogs from designers. (6) The Best Designs: Includes web design works of best designers. Helps find, connect with and share work with other designers. (7) Behance: Have archives of graphic design, photography, interactive design, art direction, illustration and more. (8) Adobe Kuler: As color is one of the most important aspect of design, Adobe Kuler can help one share, create and browse color schemes from designers and users around the world. Read on...
Business 2 Community:
8 Incredible Online Resources for Creative Design Inspiration
Author: Brittney Ervin
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 may 2016
Online education is continuously evolving and over the years have gone through many iterations. In recent years, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have been trying to change and tranform online education with active involvement of traditional education providers and their expanded reach to global learners. Although, inspite of their popularity with millions of users, providers are still struggling for success as the learner drop-out rates are high. Instructional designers, faculty members and education providers are experimenting with improvements in learning design environments to provide better value to learners. Prof. Curt Bonk of Indiana University is the author of the book, 'The World is Open', and conducts research in the field of self-directed open learning environments and online motivation. According to him, 'The MOOC is just one idea of many that are causing us to reflect on changes in higher education today. There are a lot of derivatives of MOOCs, and there will continue to be more. Community-building, sharing and peer support are three key aspects of success in building new types of course experiences.' In a video chat hosted by consultant and futurist Bryan Alexander, Prof. Bonk shares his own online learning experiences, his research and explores trends in the design of open courses. He says that in future, the majority of learning is going to be informal and self-directed. But government is still emphasizing on traditional education and less attention is paid to adult learning and informal learning. To better design learning environments it is important to understand self-directed learners and their experiences. According to him, 'Professional development could be what changes the discussion around open education and MOOCs. This could be for doctors, dentists, lawyers and physical therapists. They could take modules in the summer at their own leisure as part of a cohort that does community-building. That is the game changer.' He emphasises on a feedback process, collaborative approach, continous design improvements and redesign, if the need be, for better online course development. Commenting on faculty and their use of technology, he says, 'Instead of focusing on the technologies themselves, focus on what the faculty members want to do to foster feedback, goal setting, relevance or autonomy.' On using videos in learning, he says, 'We are moving from an age of Wikipedia to Videopedia.' Read on...
The Keys to Designing Successful Open Course Experiences
Author: David Raths
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 apr 2016
As web technologies continue to evolve along with user expectations, businesses have to keep pace with them for successful digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). User experience optimization (UXO) and user experience design (UXD) are at the core of online marketing and SEO strategies. UXO keeps customers hooked to the website and UXD is the process that is used to create the website with customers in mind. Optimal UXD utilizes best usability principles to provide best user interface by keeping customer interactions at the core of design. Dan Makoski, VP of Design for CapitalOne and most currently Chief Design Officer at Garage Partners, says, 'Experiences are personal moments felt by people, something that can't be owned by designers; however, we can design for it. The experience of the people we design for is what determines the success of the products, services and relationships that we create.' Don Dodds, Managing Partner and Chief Strategist at M16 Marketing, suggests a list of 38 tips for website design, content creation and online marketing strategies for better user experience. Here are some selections from the list - (1) Top of the page is critical for user attention. (2) Make sure content is visible and readable for everyone including colorblind users. (3) Provide symmetry in object placement. (4) Place objects in logical order for better user flow. (5) Keep site navigation panel consistent. (6) Design for ease of use and easy comprehension. (7) For better loading use content before images. (8) Keep pages as short as possible for ease of content utilization by user. (9) For long pages use sticky menu that moves with the scrolling. (10) Make sure your pages load quickly, preferably in couple of seconds. (11) Make it easy for users to undo an action or back out of a navigation option. (12) For mobile content, do not require a double-click to activate an element. (13) Pay attention to contrast when designing your mobile content. (14) Link anchor text should tell the user exactly where the link will take them. (15) Use fonts that are easy to read. (16) Most website visitors scan your content first before reading it. Use elements like bold text, headlines etc to attract attention to the content that is most meaningful to users. (17) Avoid pop-ups, banners and slideshows as much as possible. (18) Always be truthful regarding what you can offer. Avoid false advertising and misleading information. (19) Use icons that are simply designed and easy to understand. (20) Establish a brand image and include it everywhere you've established a presence online. Read on...
38 Design Tips for Creating an Amazing User Experience
Author: Don Dodds
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2015
Effective collaboration between private and public entities, by pooling their strengths and resources, can bring better and efficient outcomes of public and civic services for the citizens. An example of such a collaborative approach is the Small Business Portal that was launched in 2014 in San Francisco. For the project, Mayor's Office, Department of Technology, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Office of Small Business and Tomorrow Parter's (a design firm), came together to create a one-stop portal for people that provides information for starting, managing and expanding a company. The design firm utilized human-centered design principles to shape the innovation strategy and build a website that simplified and streamlined the process of starting a business. They took an 'inside out' and 'outside in' approach to understanding the challenges. Extensive research and focus groups were used and this finally led to establishing six main attributes for building a successful interface. According to Gaby Brink, founder and chief designer of Tomorrow Partners, 'They were filters for us to evaluate our design and establish clear guidelines for the various people developing content to ensure that we had a consistent voice.' The six key principles of digital design that represent their approach are - (1) Do the Right Thing: Sets the overall tone of the project. Sets clear expectations and make the process transparent. Assures the caring attitude. (2) Curate Content: Maintains the quality and availability of the right information to the diverse set of audience. (3) Make It Accessible: Responsive design and customization utilized to provide access to website on multiple devices and platforms. (4) Treat Constituents as Consumers: Users are to be treated as consumers, instead of taxpayers or voters, that civic authorities serve. (5) Dole Out Delight: Make the experience of the users pain-free, simple and as enjoyable as possible with a human approach. Shouldn't be a typical government portal. (6) Increase Trust: Make sure that the users feel that the government is working for them. Assuring that interacting with government is not a difficult and doubtful process. Jane Gong, Program Director of the Department of Technology, says 'From a user perspective, most of the time government thinks about putting together a website, it's copying from municipal code and pasting in some clip art. For the first time we did UX/UI research. This needs to be the approach of all government websites. It's time for government to take a step back and say we're here to serve people and make sure that we're accessible and responsive.' Read on...
6 Principles Of Digital Design For Civic Innovation
Author: Diana Budds
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 jul 2015
Design is an important aspect of web and mobile strategy of businesses. It is necessary that users of the website and apps have ease of access to information regarding products and services, and can effectively interact and engage with it. Usability and other aspects of design become all the more critical when the website is a social platform like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. Continuous improvement and transformation of design on these platforms is driven both by internal and external necessities. The redesigns are generally due to the evolving and dynamic nature of technologies and the changing behavior of users and needs of the customers. According to Amy Parnell, Director of User Experience at LinkedIn, 'Our design principles focus on creating experiences that are approachable, streamlined, personalized and guided. We want to ensure the experience feels efficient and productive, helping our members to achieve their goals.' According to her, redesign at LinkedIn is based on data collected from multiple sources - market research, user research, site metrics and analytics and help center feedback. Internal feedback from employees is critical before the public launch. External feedback from customers is obtained to further refine or modify the design based on user requirements. Valuable content is needed to engage and retain customers. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 mar 2015
Web design is a constantly evolving field. New concepts, technologies and designs give rise to new trends, that some time stay and catch on user's attention while at other times they just fizzle out in popularity. But there are also designs that stay too long in use due their popularity at one point of time but in actuality they have already lost their shine. Repetition of old ideas and trends just because of being comfortable and familiar with them may lead to loss of customers and business. Ilya Pozin, CEO of Pluto TV and Ciplex, explains why the following five web design trends have become obsolete and should be replaced by new concepts - (1) Mobile versions of websites are not cool anymore. Innovative designers are using responsive design that allows the layout to adjust based on the contextual experience of users. It provides fully integrated experience irrespective of the width of the user's device. (2) Text-heavy websites are unable to hold user attention. More designs now have precise text integrated with visuals like images and videos alongwith interactive functionality. (3) SEO copywriting, which was large part of web design and promotion at one time, is now should be replaced by developing keyword informed and user-centric content. (4) Pay-per-click advertising is losing its popularity as new technology tools are available that utilize new mediums and new targeting capablities to reach precise customer segments. Some new concepts are contextual advertising, online video and highly targeted product ads. (5) Designs below 200 pixels per inch (ppi) is getting obsolete as new devices are adopting retina displays. If the design resolution is low it gives poor quality on these displays. Moreover most web design is now more simplified with flat user interface and avoids use of gradients and shadows that provided three-dimensional look. Read on...
Let It Go - Say Farewell To These 5 Web Design Trends
Author: Ilya Pozin
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 may 2014
In today's digital environment, online presence is a required component of the overall strategy of businesses, governments, nonprofits and individuals, to reach their audience and consumers. Websites are an important tool that showcase the various aspects of the organizations and assist them to connect and interact with their customers. For small businesses, with their limited budgets, it becomes very critical to optimize their online strategy and use a good combination of design and technology in the most efficient way. There are three prevalent methods to build websites - (1) Created and coded by software developers (future alterations are expensive and require more labour hours) (2) Developed through the website building software (less labor intensive due to built-in streamlining tools) (3) 'Off the shelf' or 'Open Source' solution (least expensive if the correct choice of platform was made initially). The technologies and processes that are utilized to develop websites has a long-term impact and results in variable future expense depending on how the website was initially developed. The three important layers of website are - (1) Design layer (2) Content layer (3) Technology layer. Although design defines the visual and front-end aspects of the website and is quite important but back-end technology is a more critical element. So it is necessary to choose and implement website technology that is 'extensible' and evolves with business's requirements. This will help save costs when the website needs alterations and changes in future. Read on...
Why your website technology is more critical than its design
Author: Craig Reardon
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 nov 2013
Responsive web design (RWD) provides optimal user experience to customers and visitors to the website irrespective of whether they are using a smartphone, tablet, desktop PC or an internet-enabled television. There are important considerations that have to be taken into account to fully utilize this approach of serving content. Author suggests - (1) Uniformity of content across all user access devices is a necessity. Keep a single URL for the website. Continuously update and upgrade the online content. Keep focus on the mobile content strategy due to the increasing number of mobile device users. (2) Evaluate the current content management system (CMS) and ensure that it is flexible to accomodate responsive layout. To transition to RWD, the CMS focus should be on workflow and the ability to extract uniform content across variety of platforms and that can be displayed into variety of form factors and templates. (3) Ensure collaborative approach to the design and development process keeping the mobile user in mind. Considering the large number of display resolutions of mobile devices it would be difficult to have a 'pixel perfect' design for each one of them. Hence designers have to prioritize and optimize content keeping the key platforms and primary target audience in mind. Provide adequate training to the designers and developers that are part of the RWD team. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 nov 2013
Customer participation in the design process is becoming an important part of the innovation and creative strategy. Though most organizations are still struggling to fully incorporate the concept of empathy and customer-centeredness in their business practices. In their book, 'Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All', authors David Kelly (Founder of IDEO and d.school at Stanford University) and Tom Kelly (Partner at IDEO and executive fellow at Haas School of UC-Berkeley) share their design experiences and how companies and organizations can build their creative competence. The excerpt from the book focuses on empathy (understanding what people need and incorporating them in products and services) and how over the years they have used anthropological field research at every stage of the design process to empathise with the end users. Authors suggest 'hybrid insights' an approach that integrates quantitative research into human-centered design. They cite a successful example of a bank that utilized these concepts to understand the needs and wants of the millennial generation (GenY) and created specific financial products for this target segment. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 aug 2013
Use of mobile devices is consistently increasing and in most markets it has already overtaken the sales of computers. This is affecting the internet access pattern also as most of these devices provide internet connectivity to the users. The challenge for individuals and organizations is to provide content and user experience that can adapt to all these different devices. Responsive Web Design (RWD) is one such technique that is applied to create adaptive websites that are user friendly on the myriad devices available in the market. It is based on HTML standards (CSS3), Search Engine Optimization (SEO) friendly and is compatible with most browsers. Although there are complexities associated with RWD implementation but currently it is the most popular solution and is driving the mobile development tools. There are also alternatives that can provide better experiences through customized user experience based on each device's strength. Read on...
Why responsive design is driving mobile development tools
Author: Gabe Sumner
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 jun 2013
With internet and mobile technologies becoming part of consumer's life, the role websites play in their exploring, visualizing and buying products and services has become indispensable. Consumer's first point of interaction is generally a company's website and it substantially influences their decision making process while building a business relationship. Therefore businesses and individuals providing products, services and information online should give importance to their website's usability and design to be able to have low bounce and exit rates and high conversion rates and avoid abandonement and low sales. Article suggests 13 ways to achieve a better web design - (1) High resolution logo design and link it to homepage (2) Use intuitive navigation (3) More clarity and less visual clutter (4) Give users only sufficient information and provide optimum space (5) Use colors strategically (6) Use professional photographs (7) Use easy to read fonts keeping in mind various devices and browsers (8) Every page should be designed as a landing page with relevant and easy navigation (9) Make the best use of the fold (10) Use responsive design and make site usable across devices and platforms (11) Minimize use flash (12) Design appealing buttons (13) Test the design and optimize different elements. Read on...
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