mainlogo
Systematic
Marketing
monitor_brush

The Next Web has identified 10 web design trends we are likely to see over the next 12 months:

  1. Longer scrolling sites – as mobile devices become more important there is a switch to longer scrolling pages rather than lots of links
  2. Story telling and interaction – content has always been important but telling a story through that content is a big plus
  3. Absence of large background header images – large header images with text over the top have become the norm. How to stand out? Get rid of the image and just use text
  4. Removing non-essential design elements in favour of simplicity – There is an idea in design that a design is complete when all of the non-essential elements have been removed (#3 could be seen as part of this move)
  5. Fixed width centred site layout – how we always used to do it in the old days, seems to be making a come back, but with modern derivatives
  6. Professional high quality custom photography – that really makes your site unique. We always say that when we take on a web client we like to see that they have a good image library – it makes for a great site (Birmingham Royal Ballet and Sightsavers are great examples)
  7. Flyout/slideout app-like menus – Responsive web design has done this for mobile browsing but it is catching on for desktops. But, while it simplifies the desgn process does it improve user experience?
  8. Hidden main menus – pretty much the same as #7, but maybe not as obvious
  9. Very large typography – needed because of #3?
  10. Performance and speed – for us old hands we have always panicked about this. In our book it isn’t a trend but an essential. It’s probably really needed if you do #1. #3, 4 and 5 are probably the result of this.

what do you think we’ll see over the next 12 months?

See the full TNW article here.

 

securityThink you do enough to remain secure while online?  Password security has been a hot topic recently (a subject we will return to in a later blog) but you need to be ever vigilant as more sophisticated threats emerge on an almost daily basis.  We’ve put together the following checklist to ensure your data and systems are never compromised:

  1. Install hardware and software firewalls. One can catch problems the other may miss.
  2. Install antivirus software. Your computer needs to be infected with a virus only once to realise the value of this step. After installation, make sure to always install the updates as they become available.
  3. Never run .exe attachments or downloads unless you are sure of their authenticity. Doing so makes it way too easy for hackers to load a Trojan horse or execute malicious code.
  4. Consider encrypting sensitive data on your computer. If your machine is compromised, your critical documents will be unintelligible.
  5. Be wary of emails from people you don’t know or trust. Delete any emails you think are suspicious. Delete the email from your ‘Inbox’, and delete it again from your ‘Deleted’ folder, or ‘Sent’ folder if you have forwarded on the email
  6. Never click onto a link or an attachment in an email, obtained from a source you don’t know or trust
  7. Before entering any personal data, make sure that the address in the URL begins with https: to ensure a secure connection and that your data will be encrypted.

 

Last week I was at the Arts Marketing Association Digiday where Carol Jones made the comment that “… it’s not about the tech, done properly you don’t even notice it”.

Immediately my thoughts jumped back to our first brochure (about 1990!) which started with a quote that “… the true test of successful implementation of IT … will be when we do not notice it is there”.

Believed it then, believe it now.

Russell

Personally, I would say yes!.

Let’s start by explaining some things.

Back in the day we accessed the internet via a desktop computer, or maybe a laptop, screen sizes and computer speeds were pretty low, slow and inconsistent. But at least we knew roughly a few things about our potential visitors.

They would probably be viewing our sites either at 800×600 or 1024×768 (and there are some here who actually remember 640×480!), or as screen sizes increased and TFTs became common place, most users began to view our sites using 1280×1024 screens, this was fine. I could design my site to fit.

Now, things have moved on, once a mobile site would and could only be simple text, maybe a little colour and a couple of tiny pixelated images. Now mobile is here, tablets, netbooks and other strange net connected devices are cropping up. So where does that put me when designing a new site?

Now we  have to cater for a whole range of devices. Previously there was no choice in the matter, M.website.com or www.website.com. One pretty basic site and another rigid one.

We’re talking websites here, so if you’re wondering about when to make a mobile site or app, you’ll have to come back for that.

This is where Responsive Web Design comes in. Instead of developing a website specifically for one screen size, we can now detect the browser/device/tablet/phones viewable space, and adapt the design to fit.

Take a look at our new site built in this manner.

On my beloved 27″ iMac, instead of seeing a postage stamp, I see it in its full glory, then on my mobile I get the full experience, just nicely folded down.

Same site, same code. But with a little thinking it scales up and down gracefully.

Should we?

So, when you are next developing your website, think about the bigger picture, as well as the smaller one. If you have no need or the budget for a native app, I would say build a responsive site.Check out this website, pop in the address for your site,  or ours :) and see how it renders at different sizes http://www.studiopress.com/responsive/

Interesting time over the weekend. The back button on my browser stopped working! You really don’t realise how much you use it until it’s not there and it really makes you appreciate good navigation on websites. How easy is it to get to what you are looking for? How simple to get back to the home page? Can you see where you are on the site?

This last one is becoming ever more important when the search box is just sitting there on the top right of your browser. A considerable number of your visitors will arrive on your site as the result of a Google, Bing or other search and you have little control over where they land. As such, every page becomes a home page. And, when your visitor can’t see what you are looking for it is as easy for them just to enter a new search or click the back button to the search results than trawl around your site.
One of the things that I did find frustrating was when I landed on a site which didn’t have crumblines (you know the series of links that show where you are on the site) that really made me miss the back button.

I always believed that navigation and site layout has always been a major feature for good website design and this experience has just strengthened my belief that navigation is the main feature on stick ability.
Actually, I might not even fix the back button.