Not so long ago the web was a wild, barren and alien landscape. We knew its potential and we knew we were excited by it, but we weren’t sure exactly how to make it look good. There were hindrances of course; slow dial-up modem speeds, and a limited choice of web-safe colours and fonts, were the thorn in the side of the web designer until relatively recently.
We now enjoy almost unlimited colour use, responsive layouts and web fonts. This enlarged tool kit gives us much greater control over the (more…)
The flat design approach is booming; over the last couple of years we’ve seen designers leave behind the flashy, rounded gradients of Web 2.0 and hurtle towards simple, spacious and dignified output.
Panels of carefully desaturated colour stack to form well-paced sections of content on websites. Grasp-at-a-glance, two-dimensional icons are used to sum up commercial benefits or offered services. White space is now joined by (more…)
There are not many examples of technology going from inception to ubiquity in as short a time as the internet. In just twenty years, it’s gone from a cumbersome and obscure information exchange to the lifeblood of our work, entertainment, social interaction and our identity.
We’ve seen the web distributed to portable devices as they became capable of supporting it in a meaningful and useful manner. The way we interact online will increasingly be revolved around (more…)
If you have more than a passing relationship with web design you’ll be familiar with “the fold”. If you’ve less than a passing interest in web design then you’re unlikely to be familiar with the concept of “the fold”, either way you could be under its spell.
The fold refers to the top section of a website – the part you see when the page first loads, before any scrolling takes place. It’s taken from the way large newspapers used to be (more…)
Historically, a chasm between the designer and the client has always existed. With each new project, a shaky rope-bridge is put up to allow us to meet in the middle. On one side you have a designer – trained in his/her discipline, experienced, passionate and craving that next brief for the portfolio. On the other side, the client – a business person, keen for deadlines to be met on time within budget, and determined to get his/her money’s worth out of any outsourced tasks. Without nurture are these approaches compatible?
As designers we pride ourselves on (more…)
As a web designer with my ears not completely dried out, I get excited by industry innovations. This is because of the potential for good and for progression within the field, and also the potential to harness new techniques for my own personal development. Responsive design was fresh on the lips of the design bloggers, tutorial writers and Ethan Marcotte’s ‘Responsive Web Design‘ bible as I was taming the beasts that are HTML and CSS.
I try to incorporate responsive (or at least adaptive) design into my work from the offset, and it’s now standard procedure for each new brief here at Engage Web. I subscribe to the philosophy that the earlier we plan for different screen sizes and resolutions during the design process, the better the outcome will be. Retroactively forcing a site to be mobile-friendly is notoriously awkward, as nearly all elements of a site were never designed to resize flexibly. This often results in an extremely compromised post-breakpoint jumble of 100% widths and squashed content.
So, it figures that it’s important to think responsively straight away. But do website owners care? At a push they’ll like the idea of a user being able to view the site properly on a phone, but these are business owners and project managers, so web design can be a begrudging priority and rarely within their comfort zone. As responsible, forward-thinking designers, we’re duty-bound to educate the client on the benefits of responsive design.
We need to explain that our layouts are not only future-proofed for dynamic content and browser differences, but also for an almost infinite number of display devices. Pixel-perfect, print industry influenced fixed-widths designs now show their age. We need to gently encourage clients not to get caught up on the pixel nudging and arbitrary perfection-seeking, but to consider the best way their content, their brand and their business objectives should be displayed to users on different devices.
This will be a slow, gradual process, one that designers, developers and project-managers alike will need to come to terms with before sensitively instilling this into their clients’ way of thinking. However, in the long run we’ll see the benefits to both agency and business owner.
Just as nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, very few (outside of Monty Python aficionados) would expect a cute, furry rabbit to be a harbinger of death. The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog showed the rest of us just how wrong appearances can be. Those of us who (more…)
When a retailer experiences a sudden drop in sales, the store window is probably one of the first places they’ll check. Or rather, they’ll review any advertising they’ve been putting out, look at the way the market behaved at the same time last year, check that staff are behaving themselves, and then finally think about (more…)