How you go about educating yourself as a designer is a highly personal affair. But if you want to improve constantly, there are some things you can’t do without. Mostly, this means practicing an awful lot, and knowing how to take in all the stuff you see around you, and turn it into something that is original, beautiful and effective. I will explain how collecting design elements helps designers do these things, and improve their skills.
Picking the right footer for a design can be harder than it seems. But a good footer can have a great impact—both on the impression you make, and the actual behavior of your visitors. In this article I will show you which footer to pick for the occasion, and have a look at more specific elements you can put in it. I will provide examples from the list of footers I put together on Usabilla Discover.
Like many website elements, we owe the concept of a footer to printed typography. In print, the page number is often in the footer, and sometimes it contains the title of the current chapter or section. In web design, the footer at the bottom of each page has evolved to serve a few different functions. But by definition, it’s always located on the bottom of the page, and its lay-out never changes across the site.
There have been plenty of discussions lately about usability. Still I notice that people get the usability confused with the actual look and feel of a website. A good website requires a lot from us as designers: Clean coding to make sure everything works and everything works fast; great usability to meet all expectations people have when visiting our site; and at the same time an exceptional user experience to differentiate us from competitors and to help us build a relationship with our users. Where do we start to design a website that meets all these requirements?
Social media marketing has become quite popular. I believe there are two main reasons why. First, because the Web 2.0 offers increasing possibilities for this new marketing strategy, and second, because social media is easily and for everyone accessible through modern mobile devices. Besides, I think people rely on social media marketing simply because it is popular and somehow seems to suit our constant connected existence of the 21st century.
Many sites are designed to convert visitors into users by getting them to create an account. The sign-up form is the last hurdle a soon-to-be user needs to jump over, and it’s crucial that you make that hurdle as low and non-threatening as possible. In this post I will provide design suggestions for solid sign-up forms for web services and applications. Many forms can be improved by making them more targeted, more persuasive, or by keeping them as brief as possible. I will use examples from my list of sign-up forms on Usabilla Discover that shine in these areas.
Every designer we know has a scattered selection of images, Evernote clippings, or bookmarks of inspirational design elements. We think collecting and curating UI elements on webpages can be much better and easier. That’s why we are happy to announce Usabilla Discover.
I can remember a presentation in 2007 from Jonathan Arnowitz with the title Innovation and Design in a World of Engineering. In his presentation Jonathan warns us about the quality of a design process within an engineering environment. He also points out the differences between developers and designers. When I saw this presentation I couldn’t agree more. I think this was because I noticed that a lot of professionals with a developers mindset were calling themselves designers. Or even worse, a devigner, which often meant that they were neither good at programming nor at designing.
We are happy to say we are working on a new tool for designers. Usabilla Discover lets you clip, rate and save design elements on websites. We are currently in closed beta, but you can request an invite here. As a sneak peak, let us show you some nice discoveries already made. The thumbnails take you to the discovery page.
A couple of days ago I came across the following quote on Web Design Mash. I couldn’t help but pausing and thinking about these words. They are so true. A design itself seldom goes down in history, but the idea behind it does.
To create a memorable design you need to start with a thought that’s worth remembering.
— Thomas Manss
Where do these memorable thoughts come from? Do great designers just naturally have great ideas or is there more to it? A while back, I talked to our head of design, Yoeri Hokken, about his personal approach to design. This chat was very interesting and we got a bunch of insights into how Yoeri goes about a new design. Now, I pulled Yoeri away from his sketches once more and asked him to help me solve the mystery of inspiration. Here are some questions I asked and again, very insightful answers.
Fashion is a reflection of the times, and by definition, it is constantly changing. Social events, technological advances, and political movements all shape the spirit of our times. Designers from across the various creative industries try to capture the mood of our times through their creations.
Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.
— Coco Chanel
How important is it to be fashionable, or trendy, in web design? I would argue that it is of great importance. The look and feel of a web page or mobile app directly affects how users perceive your brand. Keeping a web page looking fresh and updated is key to maintaining the customer’s interest and attention; instilling in the user a sense of credibility and trustworthiness; and letting the professional world know that you’re at the top of your game. Consequently, as a web designer it is important to move with the times, to continually push yourself and maintain a forward-thinking and fresh style.