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Entries tagged "Communication"

 

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.

 

 
 

Building Websites with Effective Communication

By Nathan Moore
April 08, 2008
 

“The problem with communication… is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” -George Bernard Shaw

Communication is essentially what Anthology does. Sure, at the surface, we create some really nice designs and we develop functional websites - but websites function as communicative devices - and as I explored in The Anatomy of Great Design Part 01, great design starts with effective communication. So, the goal at the core of all of this is to communicate to your audience.

As simple as this concept may seem, it is overlooked far too often.

Let’s take websites for example. As companies explore building a website, the natural tendency is to make an attempt to impress potential customers. Too many times, the requests are filled with desires to hijack the user experience (not intentionally), create menus that move and sparkle, and bring attention to non-important items. These requests have the same goal as an executive that purchases a flashy sports car just to “show off” when meeting clients. At the end of the day, the car may be impressive, but whether the job is done effectively is what ultimately matters to the client.

When this tendency to impress is extended into web development, it cripples the ability to communicate effectively. Flashy design, gimmicky features, and unnecessary copy cloud the ultimate goals of the site. And, unfortunately, too many times, the web developer has to lay down and submit to the clients requests - and when that happens, the job is not being completed with excellence.

The problem is that when the site is finished and everyone has gone home, the company may be thrilled with the impressive new website, but if it does not communicate effectively and meet the needs of the users, it is ultimately a failure - it is the illusion that communication has been accomplished.

The next time you are building a new site for your company, keep these things in mind:

1. Deny The Desire To Impress - Users will only be impressed the first time they visit your site. After that, the only thing that keeps them coming back is functionality and ease of use. If you can say “that is coooooool,” it probably is doing more harm than good.

2. Develop A Site For Your Client, Not Yourself - Keep the user in mind when determining how you site will look and how it will function. The site may be about you, but it is more about your user.

3. Determine The Key Goals - And do not add anything to the site that does not directly or indirectly encourage the success of these goals. Stay focused.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to be heard in the comments section. And as always, remember to subscribe to the RSS for future posts on design, web development, and online marketing.

 
 

The Anatomy of Great Design: Part 01

By Nathan Moore
March 17, 2008
 

So, what truly separates great design with the not-so-great, wanna-be designs?

The anatomy of a great design starts with the audience, not the designer. The mistake that most young designers make is they forget the ultimate goal of their design - to communicate. Many times, ignoring the importance of communication hurts the effectiveness of the design, and thus, damages the integrity of the design.

The designer must be able to remove himself from the design and view it through the eyes of his audience. This process requires honesty and an attention to detail - if it brings the realization that the piece is not communicating effectively, then the design is flawed, and it should be changed. This is an extremely difficult step in design since it turns a critical eye on one’s own piece, but it is necessary.

The message does not simply consist of text and copy, it also is the mood and the tone. A dark background communicates differently than a white background. A textured element creates a different tone than a solid color. When the perspective switches from making art to encouraging the communication, the designer can begin to create great designs. There must be a distinct separation between the create process and the logic process, but both must harmonized together in a balanced act.

The key characteristic of a great design is that the audience does not notice the design; the design simply communicates the message without any barriers. If the information or message is hindered by the design, then the designer has not designed effectively. Any element that does not encourage the communication of the message, mood, or tone should be removed.  It becomes a consist editing process - validating the design at every stage in the process. Ultimately, if done well, this refining process will produce a great design.

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