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Category "Web Development"

 

Tips for a Committee-Based Design Process

By Nathan Moore
August 30, 2011
 

Design should always be intentional. Always. There should always be a rationale behind the placement, the color, the size, the contrast, the typography, and the relationship with other design elements. Design should serve a purpose. Design should drive action to a certain goal.

There is great value in intentional design… it serves a specific purpose. However, on the other hand, “design by committee” produces mediocre and ineffective designs. The vision and agenda for each person involved in the decision process is different. When there is an attempt to satisfy each of these visions, it produces an average end result and rarely is effective.

Additionally, requests for design changes are likely based upon tastes rather than originating from a strategic process.

So, what if you work at a company where “design by committee” is just a fact of life? Use these tips while working with your design or web development firm:

  1. Try to minimize the number of people that need to “sign off” on the design or have input in design direction.
  2. Have a clear and concise vision for the project on which the entire group can agree.
  3. When reviewing the design, try to identify the intent behind each of the change requests. For example, if the logo need to be bigger, why does it need to be bigger? What is the purpose behind making it bigger? Many times, communicating the identified purpose to your designer will help more than simply listing change requests without context. Your designer may have a better solution for the issue you identify.
  4. Be open to suggestions. Designers design with intent. There is probably a reason why that grey bar is light grey instead or dark brown. Find a designer that will communicate these reasons to you if needed.
tags: 
categories:  Web Development  Design 
 
 

You may know what SEO is, but do you know what SSA is...?

By Jamie Pilote
August 23, 2011
 

You may know what SEO is, but do you know what SSA is…?

... and why it matters to you and your website?  With SEO, you’re learning from the web queries that direct users to your site.  What users type into Google, Bing, or other search engines to get to your website. 

But what about once they are there? 

Does your website have a search box?  Do you know what users are entering in that field?  Would you even know what to do with that information if you had it?

Users of our websites give us massive amounts of information; What pages they go to most often, are they linked in to a page other than the homepage, what is most important to your website visitors, what would they like to see more of (less of),  and are there pages that never get seen… and why not?

Knowing how and why users get to your site is only half of the battle.  Putting together, or updating, a site that meets the needs of the users of the site can be the difference in having a site that people go to, and a site that people use.  If you view your website as a tool, is it a tool that your target audience wants to use?

tags: 
categories:  Anthology Creative  Marketing  Web Development 
 
 

When Opportunity Strikes, Will You Be Prepared?

By Jamie Pilote
August 02, 2011
 

Over the last two months, millions of Americans were captivated by a sport that most of us hadn’t given a single thought to since a penalty kick 12 years ago.  The US Women’s soccer team began winning their games.  Winning wasn’t exactly unexpected, but how they won drew the attention of the American public unlike any women’s sport has ever done.  Capped by the last minute, short-handed goal against Brazil in the Quarter Finals, America was hooked and the US Women’s soccer team became “our girls.”  Twitter exploded setting a new record for tweets per second, and viewership grew exponentially for the teams next two games of the World Cup. 

Although the team didn’t bring home the cup, America was interested and Women’s soccer in America’s brief window of opportunity to take advantage had begun.  Three days later a record crowd showed up in Rochester New York for a Women’s Professional Soccer match that was supposed to involve several of the heroes of the World Cup team.  Only one problem, none of those players actually played in that game.

...Two weeks later most Americans can no longer name any of the members of that team.

When the right client or company hears about your organization, are you prepared for them to find you online?  Are you proud of what they will find there?  Or, by the time you get ready to take advantage of the new found notoriety have they moved on to the organization that was prepared?  Having a web presence that makes you easily found online and represents your company well, once found, can mean the difference in a new client or a new skeptic. 

Are you prepared to be found… or forgotten?

tags: 
categories:  Web Development  Marketing  Branding  Blogging 
 
 

Communication Is Vital, Context Is Key

By Nathan Moore
August 19, 2010
 

Communication is vital. However, when considering effective communication, context is frequently overlooked. If communication is a process, then context is a key building block of that process.

The video below is one of the most creative and artistic displays of contextual communication I have ever seen. Every scene in the video communicates a single word.

 

If we were to take each of these quick scenes and separate them, they would communicate something entirely different… or nothing at all. Even rearranging the scenes would break the communicative process.

The brilliance of this video is that every scene fits within the context of the scene preceding it. The video begins to communicate words despite the lack of visible text. Even the dialogue is sparse. There are only a few spoken words sprinkled throughout the film to assist in the flow.

Every day, we project and decipher context constantly. Tone, mood, and body language give context to the words we are hearing and saying during conversations. Camera cuts, scores, and editing effects give context to the films we watch. Tempo, pitch, and even instruments give context to the music we hear.

In the same way, context is what makes a design communicate effectively. Differences in color schemes, placement, and even font selections can communicate different concepts. It is imperative that a design communicates the intended message correctly. Context guides this process.

 

 
 

What Is Strategy Really Worth?

By Nathan Moore
July 30, 2010
 

One of the things we practice at Anthology on a daily basis is strategy. Every decision that we make is intentionally executed to help our clients meet their goals. Websites are no longer just websites; they are marketing tools. Designs are no longer just designs; they are a conduit for effective communication.

It never ceases to amaze me how some companies and organizations think that having a website that was created using a “Website Wizard” will suffice for an online presence. Even when these groups hire a web company, many times, they go for the cheapest option and end up with a horrible template-based design with a logo thrown in the header. These solutions, though cheap, lack the thought and strategy that are crucial to a successful website.

When planning, designing, building, and implementing websites we usually ask two questions with every decision we make:

1. Why are we doing this?
2. What is best for the user and the client’s goals?

The answer to the first question, “Why are we doing this?” forces us to make intentional decisions to benefit the project as a whole. Many times, this also cuts out much of the “fat” that tends to weigh down many websites. If there is no point in having it, we remove it.

The second question, “What is best for the user and the client’s goals?” forces us to act in the best interest of the user and the client. This question arises frequently when we discuss how an interface should flow or what elements we can utilize to strategically draw the users’ attention. The result is an extremely usable website that meets the client’s goals.

However, strategy usually comes at a price. Cheaper solutions that are not driven by strategy are not the best fit for a successful web presence. Everything, from the navigation scheme to the design, needs to be done in an intentional manner to optimize impact and to make your website work for you. Otherwise, it is just wasted web space.