How to create a 2019-ready website?

December 29, 2018 DESIGNirvana 0

Here we stand at the dawn of yet another year. 2018 saw the birth of some new trends, while some trends disappeared altogether. Although this holds true for every industry, here we are concerned with the ever-evolving world of the Internet where things change constantly.  Even as we talk about it right now, new innovations are happening in the online industry. Web design, which is a natural extension of the Internet, is experiencing a revolution of sorts and the coming year will see the culmination of some cool web design trends.

Web design is the most important aspect of a website. Just like everyone having a business, however small or big, needs a website, similarly every website needs good web design. But what exactly makes web design important?

Why do you want to care about web design?

A good web design is as important as having a website itself. Think about it. What is the purpose of your website?

It might be conversion or brand awareness or maybe it is just pure information that you want to provide through the website.

Whatever might be the intention, your efforts should be on providing the visitors with quick and easy access to what they came looking for. And this is why good web design matters. Whenever a visitor comes to your website he already knows what he is there for and the landing page should be able to present him with all that without him even requiring scrolling. A good design facilitates a similar end result creating a loyal fan following or customer base.

Things that you might consider including in your web design in 2019

With the evolution of technology, there are certain necessary amendments required to keep websites relevant and consumer friendly. The emergence of mobile is the biggest game changer that has transformed the web design industry in the last few years.  As more people use smartphones and other mobile devices like tablets for accessing the web, designers are adopting new techniques and trends for meeting the new challenges. If you are a website owner, here are some of the changes that you also might consider including in the coming year:

Infinite scrolling:

Infinite scrolling is one of the most acclaimed techniques in the world of web design, and yet we are still far away from witnessing widespread adoption of it in websites.  Also known as endless scrolling or continuous scrolling, the technique auto loads the content of second page when the user reaches at the bottom of the page so that it is not necessary to look for pagination buttons to go to the next part.  From the current notable examples, Facebook Newsfeed uses it. This scrolling was also a feature of Apple’s iBook 3.0 where the reader could easily go through a bestseller using vertical scrolling.

Handwritten fonts & Flat design:

In the age of social media, adding a personal touch to every communication is the latest fad. Its obvious advantage is the feeling that it comes directly from a person and not a computer or robotic device. Such personalization has always been welcomed in the world of web and graphic design.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that 2018 was the year of flat design. When a whole operating system (Windows 8) is modeled on the principles of flat design, you can easily predict the importance and the bright future associated with it. Apple went flat with its iOS7 which featured a complete flat design overhaul and it has quickly crept into website design. The benefits are more than just visual appeal. It also boosts the existing performance level.

Responsive mobile design:

Much has already been said about the importance of responsive design. Mobile traffic now accounts for more than one-third of the total website traffic and it’s only going to increase in 2019. Earlier mobile-specific websites were created to address these consumers, which needed a separate design team, server space and maintenance costs. However, with responsive design, it all boiled down to sticking to specific CSS and HTML5 codes so as to make a site react as per the screen size on which it is being viewed. Not only does it reduce the expenses of maintaining a separate website, it also lends it a professional aura. 2019 will make RWD the de facto standard rather than an anomaly in website designing.

Which web design approach will meet the next era of UX

November 28, 2018 DESIGNirvana 0

Web design is the paramount that helps attain the viewer’s attention and keep them engaged with a website. An outdated web design will eventually push your website down in ranking and thus, will affect your site’s potential traffic.

Though, it is quite hard to keep pace with the ever-fluctuating web design trends but, it’s extremely essential to make your website boast a visually appealing and trendy design in order to maintain a successful online presence.

With the advancement in the Internet and mobile technology, today, we have truckloads of devices in the market that possesses different platforms, screen size, hardware, and software. The current designing trends including Responsive and Adaptive designs allow websites to easily target a huge user base who access them through diverse devices. However since no UX (user experience) is the same as the other, there has to be some other way out to ensure ultimate UX.

How about stopping the guesswork and letting users decide the course of a website design?

You can keep the creative control to yourself, but allow your users to tinker around the display specs of your website. But, more on that later. Let us first go back to the more popular approaches and take it off from there.

Responsive Designs

It is true that, with the evolution of Smartphones and other Internet-enabled devices, the number of access made to websites from mobile devices has increased exponentially, and this is only expected to continue. Hence, optimizing the web content for mobile devices would be a great idea. This is where the idea of responsive designs came into, according to this web design, a website must adapt itself to the screen sizes of the targeted devices. The primary aim is to make a website automatically adapt to the layout changes from a device to another (which exhibits different display sizes and device-specific capabilities).

The responsive web design concept allows auto-simplification of multiple column layouts into a few column layouts depending upon the available screen size. Unlike traditional graphic designs, this approach separates the web content and its presentation. For responding to any display size, developers can implement standard CSS3 media queries. It includes a flexible grid layout, instead of fixed grids.

This approach is quite popular and has been adopted by several global companies including Boston Globe, American Express, and more.

Adaptive Designs

Defining another essential User Experience (UX) element, the Adaptive Designs refers to the progressive enhancement of a website. It aims at delivering responsive design at the client side by following several resourceful tactics. This design is ideal for creating an adaptive web content that can be easily shared or distributed across any platform.

This approach includes content re-usability, assiduous content structure, integration of resourceful metadata, implementation of an absolute Content Management System (CMS), etc.

If you consider the emerging designs of the latest mobile devices, it can be observed that there are two trends that are being followed by mobile devices. It is that the Smartphone and tablets like mobile devices say that “bigger is better”, on the contrary, the devices like wearable follow “smaller is simpler” approach.

Adjustive Designs

In order to stand up to the expectations of all the different types of mobile devices and to make strive for an absolute UX, here we are pondering into a better approach, which is known as Adjustive design.

Adjustive Web Designs are ideal for designing a website with a feature that enables the user to adjust certain aspects layout in a desirable fashion in order to access the site with greater convenience. It basically includes the key aspects of Adaptive content and follows the responsive approach to represent the web content while auto adjusting to the targeted screen sizes.

For instance, accessing some UI elements on the large-screen mobile devices (including tablets, “phablets”, etc.) could be a daunting task for hands. The fix-positioned hamburger-style site header (or any other responsively adjusted UI control) won’t ensure easy accessibility to a user.

However, with the Adjustive web design approach, you can allow your website users to adjust (relocate) the crucial UI elements at an easily accessible location on their mobile screen. Thus, they can have a more intuitive and interesting UI.

With the rapid improvements in the mobile realm, especially considering the User Experience, it is essential to make strives to enhance the online content to successfully reach a huge audience base of mobile users. To target the gigantic mobile market that features numerous screen sizes, platform capabilities, etc., you must deploy a web design that is simple, intuitive, adjustive and updated with the latest trend.

The fluctuating user behavior and web trends, one ensure that their site possesses an optimized designing approach and frameworks. Adapting the pace with which the technology is advancing will help you ensure a powerful and successful presence in the market.

Creative Restraints: Why They Are Not Necessarily Bad

November 26, 2018 DESIGNirvana 0

It freaks you out when you get interrupted by your senior designer just when you are about to do some awesome things with Photoshop. Yeah, this is a part of a website designer’s life. Every day we have to deal with extreme pressure, not to mention chasing insane target, and yet, people expect us to be creative 24×7 as if we are some sort of Martians. Well, we are not whining all the time. Work pressure is something normal with any creative work and definitely, we are not against this; rather what makes our job all the more difficult is the designing constraints. There are so many creative constraints in web design that make it tough for a designer to come up with something truly inspiring.

But constraints are not necessarily bad. They may look liked barbed wires restraining your movements and your creative freedom but in reality, they are not. They are the best tools for creativity. They challenge you and get the best out of you by pitting you in a position where you can let your creative part go wild. And because of these constraints, you will be trying to do new things and continue making experiments with the design part unless and until you come up with something aesthetically pleasing.

What these restrictions are?

Restrictions vary project wise. But there are certain restrictions that we have to encounter in almost all projects irrespective of their nature and clients’ specifications. Following are some basic constraints that trouble almost all web designers irrespective of the project scope –

*  Timeline
*  Preferences of the client
*  Expectation of the Customer
*  Browser restrictions
*  Screen Size restrictions
*  Our own personal preference
*  Our inability to work on certain platforms
*  Software restrictions

However, no matter how long this list of these restrictions may appear, these restrictions are not necessarily a bad thing. These restrictions will put you in a challenging position and thereby instigating you to rise above adversaries and deliver your best.

Too Much Freedom is certainly not A Great Thing

Freedom is all we desire. But in some cases, too much freedom can lead to trouble especially when you are in a creative domain. Chances are that when you are given unbridled freedom; you might get yourself lost in its vastness or vagueness. For say, if the client only says that he needs a great design and nothing else, will you be able to come up with anything? Definitely not, because the client has failed to specify in clear English, what he actually wants. So, if he has given some sort of specification like what he wants in the design and what he does not want, it will be easier for you to come up with something creative.

In short, restrictions help you stay focused and do our job the best way possible; without these restrictions, you will not be able to concentrate and waste your precise time on things that may not be related to the project. Here are the following benefits of restrictions that even the strongest supporters of freedom and democracy cannot rule out:

*  Making it easier to take quick decision
*  It helps us focus on things we are assigned with
*  Increases precision
*  It draws out our best

Take you out of our comfort Zone

Designing a website with a subtle touch of creativity is certainly not an easy feat. Now, staying creative 24×7 is super tough and definitely not something for the faint-hearted. So, the easiest way to stay creative is to eliminate the unwanted distractions that come thick and fast whenever you hit the work desk. The best way you can eliminate these distractions is by imposing self restrictions. These restrictions will not let you go wild while designing templates and speed up the process. And you may never know these restrictions may help you rise above everything and excel in your field.

You can even try new things like. You can impose a few more restrictions in a designing project apart from all those already set by the client just to challenge yourself a bit. You may never know you might be able to come up with something more interesting and awesome that you might have imaged ever. You can try any of these followings and I hope, it will get you out of your comfort zone:

*  Using only standard web fonts
*  Using only illustrator and no Photoshop
*  No images above the fold

When you will be imposing restrictions like these, you will be entrusted with the responsibility of doing something great with the available resources. And because of the limitation of resources, you will have to do something extraordinary with the available options and probably, this will lead to the birth of something awesome.

So, hopefully, you have come to realize the importance of restrictions in a creative process.

Web Design versus Graphic Design: Which is more important for the web?

July 17, 2018 DESIGNirvana 0

John Naughton says in his Guardian post, how graphic designing is ruining the web, presenting various valid points and arguments. This post elicited many responses from the web community, coming from various noted blogs such as this and this.  While this is open discussion dates back to a couple of years, the relevance is not lost. The debate continues. 

Why do people have a problem with the graphic design being a part of the web?

John’s feature in The Guardian which basically started this debate raises a number of points, and most of them are not in the favor of graphic designers.

Here’s what a part of the community thinks of graphic design:

The web was once nothing more than a collection of simple text pages marked up with some tags. Those were the times when browsers controlled how the web pages were displayed to the user, which, apparently didn’t go down too well with graphic designers. It wasn’t long before Web pages became more visually appealing, started to have animations, images, video components, and other interactive media all thanks to graphic designers.

However, now, instead of fetching the web page from a single location, browsers assembled its various components from different locations, combined them all and presented to the user when requested and this is where the problem began. All these images, graphics, and other visual elements began adding weight to the webpage, which grew from an average 93.7kB to over 679kB from 2003 to 2011. Now, if you are a lover of minimalist design, or have a slightly overt logical bent of mind, this would appear a sheer wastage of bandwidth. After all, you are using 679kB of bandwidth to convey, perhaps, not more than 10kB of information.

But can the web exist without graphic designers?

What is it that first catches your attention in any object, tangible or intangible? It is definitely its physical attributed such as shape, size and color. The same goes true for any webpage. While the content of any website is essentially one of its mainstays, it is its design that includes elements such as color, typography (read font play), shapes, logos, and layout that make or break the deal. A graphic designer’s role is greater than just making a website pleasant to look at. A person who dons a hat of graphic designer has to establish a communication bridge between the audience and the site.

A lot of things combine together to make for a great website and graphics is one of them. While having good graphics is no excuse for having a weak content, for those conducting business on the web graphic design can make a huge difference. The web is swarming with billions of pages, with millions being created every single day. People are always in hurry and have become used to give only a fraction of their attention to web pages. They quickly scan pages and exit if it fails to engage them and one sure shot way of stopping them from doing the same is by using engaging and well-designed graphics.

Good graphics initiates a call to action

Good visuals give your visitors confidence in your business. In addition, a graphic designer helps initiate a call to action by facilitating tasks such as buying something online. After all, human beings are most impacted by what they see. Good graphics can help evoke an emotional connection with the visitors. There is ample proven research to show that colors are able to affect our moods and thus consequentially affect the decision-making process. A graphic designer’s job is thus to use these colors in persuading people to do things that are in their interests, as said by the iconic designer Milton Glaser.

Finally, graphic design also adds a creative spirit to the website and be recognized with the overall branding strategy of the product, business or website where it is being used.

However, a slow loading website is still a pervasive problem, and no one seems to like it.

It was never about Graphic design versus Web design. It’s Graphic design with efficient Web design

Jack Schofield, in his blog made various points about the factors that might be contributing to the bloating of web pages. Countering John’s rant against graphic designers, he rightfully pointed out that an attractive design has got little to do with painfully slow websites. Often web designers are guided by a pervasive notion that a useful website must have a lot of plug-ins, widgets for social networking, fancy flash, videos, and other shiny stuff, not to forget the complicated code.  These are the major culprits that make a website literally suck.

Websites are hardly an exclusive property of graphic designers.

They are only called in to bring in aesthetic sensibility to a site, in order to ring emotional bells with customers. While graphic designers often tend to focus hard on aesthetics, sometimes to the detriment of other factors, but that’s where other members of the team have a role to play. A web designer is also an important voice on the table and shares greater responsibility of keeping the website up and running smoothly while maintaining the best possible visual standards.

Be it any industry, the way forward has been to create products that not only have better utility than their predecessors but also register a better visual appeal with the audience. Whether it is cars, motorbikes, pens, bags, ships, or yachts, designers will continue to push the boundaries with their imagination.  On the same lines, technology and engineering should also continue pushing themselves to give products that are simply not better, but better than the rest. The same way, web designers should keep up with their graphic counterparts to ensure the website machinery keeps flowing smoothly and without glitches.  That includes taking efforts to minimize JavaScript and CSS files, optimizing images and enabling HTTP compression amongst other stuff.

Graphic design and Web design: Twin wheels of a good website

The onus of a better website doesn’t rest solely on the shoulders of graphic designers and therefore, blaming them for laggy performance is nothing more than eyewash. Good websites are a product of superb design, optimized code, and informative content.  While a person applying for a graphic designer’s job should also keep in mind the technical constraints of web designing, it is ultimately the test of a programmer’s and web designer’s expertise, abilities and skills to ensure a perfect appearance doesn’t undermine the performance of the website.