Tag Archive: Web

  1. 2020 Website Trends to Watch

    Recently celebrating the big three-oh, the World Wide Web has aged like fine wine year after year. Has your company’s UX kept up? If you want to turn clicks into buys and searches into revenue (which I’m sure you do), excellent UX is a must. Last, year I covered top web trends for 2019. As we enter the new decade, I want to talk UX again and get another head start on what’s what on the World Wide Web. 

    We’ve all heard the startling stats about capturing a consumer’s attention in seconds or losing it altogether. With the world at their fingertips, users are quick to move on if your UX and UI aren’t up to par. So what’s an effective solve? 


    Full Screen Forms 

    Almost every company site has some sort of form for visitors to fill out. From newsletter subscriptions at the start of their site journey to quick questionnaires and entering their address at check out, forms almost always live in a company’s webspace. But for forms to live happily ever after, change was inevitable. Because they’ve been part of the user experience for so long, website forms were overdue for a revamp. In a simple, but necessary upgrade, forms have transformed and grown to become more aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly. 

    via GIPHY

    This year, practice minimalism by going big. Full screen forms are super clean and eliminate extra lines and boxes that depreciate white space value. because they have more real estate to work with, full screen forms play on large type and large elements that are a surefire way to increase readability. Since forms are already a familiar web component, modernizing them is a change most users will react well to and not feel overwhelmed by. 

    Voice User Interface 

    Voice User Interface encompasses all the AlexasSirisCortanas and other virtual assistants of our time. As they’ve evolved, we’ve continued to count on them to provide directions, send texts, set reminders and even control our smart home devices. Now, they’ve entered the web space. The formal definition of VUI is “the primary visual, auditory, and tactile interfaces that enable voice interaction between people and devices.” Websites have started to incorporate VUI to extend this feature and provide further usability. Along with voice control options comes an accessibility win, as VUI offers more functionality for those with different abilities. 

    Split Screens 

    When creating split screen content, there’s a ton of possibility. With the right design and execution, you’re able to showcase twice the content. You can also keep it simple with your two-sided design, having one side of the screen with a large bold heading and a featured image on the other. To amp it up, you can showcase a product, video, gif, or other dynamic content piece. 

    The goal of split screen design is to show segmented content in a simplistic layout that marries each both ideas. This fresh format does an amazing job of drawing user attention as you wish and feeds the eye’s natural interest in visual contrast. All in all, split screens are a proper starting point to building compelling UX and UI through typography, imagery, and effectiveness. 

    As you aim for peak web potential this year, reflect on where you are as a brand. If you’re continuing business as usual, focus on elements that naturally fit your company’s identity. These changes will elevate your site, but won’t present an overwhelming change. On the other hand, if you’re looking to refresh your brand identity and web presence, explore a new trend to reinvent. No matter how and why you make the shift, recreate with purpose and your site visitors will take notice. 

  2. Screencasting gains momentum…

    Screencasting isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s been in use for several years, actually. Jon Udell of O’Reilly Media has a good rundown on the concept from a couple of years ago. But I seem to be seeing more and more of the application in use on Web sites as a quick way to show a user/audience how a software tool or a Web site works.
    Basically, the idea is to show a mirror image of a software concept or tool while the demonstrator narrates his/her actions. Check out this screencast demo from 37 Signals showing how one of their software tools works. It’s a great alternative to simply creating a laundry list of bullet points and calling it a ‘feature list.’ Both tools have their use, but I love the simplicity of the screencast application. I got a kick out of Josh Hallett’s screencast showing his frustration with finding information on a Web site. This example shows that screencasting isn’t just for software demonstrations. The concept can be used to communicate in a way that words and pictures alone can’t do.
    There are lots of tools available to produce screencasts. It’s worth considering when you have a communication objective that fits.

  3. Google Image Search

    Most businesses are very interested in being at or near the top of the list when a user searches for an associated or relevant term on Google. Many users often use the ‘Images’ search within Google to look for various images, logos, or photos. Chris Pearson has an interesting post about the trends he is seeing regarding this delineation. Marketers should be aware of the increasing popularity of image search. Designers and developers should take note of the importance of using specific terms within the ALT field of image tags; the more descriptive, the better.

  4. Google is Sorry.

    Google is sorry. This message says so.
    For the third time today, I’ve gotten an error message from Google telling me that my query is suspicious–perhaps eminating from spyware or a virus. It is forcing me to validate that the search is authentic through a simple random character display and dialog box.
    What’s peculiar is that all three of my searches were fairly innocuous: one was for a Compaq server model number, another for movie listings, and a third for a piece of software.
    If this is to be the trend, the positive attributes that made Google #1 (simplicity, speed, etc.) will quickly reverse.

  5. Early Thoughts on Internet Explorer 7 (IE7)

    I downloaded a beta copy of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) several days ago and am starting to form some opinions. This is Microsoft’s first major revision to the browser since 2002. During that time, Firefox has emerged as the browser of choice for many techies and purists: it’s known to be faster, more secure, and more reliable. I have stayed with IE as my day-to-day browser, though, because the majority of users/consumers still use it. Given that we do Web design for the masses, I want to look at our work through this lens to be sure we’re not simply designing for the leading edge.
    As many reviews have already stated, most of the changes to this new version of IE seem to be an emulation of Firefox. Microsoft is known for emulating the positive traits of would-be competitors in order to satisfy the user base and hang on to market share. Just ask Steve Jobs.
    The browser contains many useful features that I have lived without until now. The biggest ‘wow’ factor is the tabbed browsing, which enables you to switch back and forth between Web pages without toggling between various windows. This is a pretty cool feature (I’m probably making Firefox users laugh right now).
    Strategically, the biggest change is the inclusion of RSS feeds and subscriptions within the browser. RSS still has a long way to go, but I’ve said for some time that this move by Microsoft will likely be huge for RSS as a whole. If RSS doesn’t catch on with IE7’s release, I’m not sure it ever will. I still get blank stares when I talk to people about RSS (what it does, and how it works). That’s simply a sign to me that it hasn’t been promoted outside the techy community. The RSS interface itself is pretty cool…you just click on a star in the toolbar and it shows you your feed subscriptions. Seems to update more reliably than Bloglines does. Don’t know that I can check my feeds from a remote computer, though.
    IE7 also offers a pretty cool ‘Zoom’ feature that allows you to zoom in and out of Web pages (and scroll) the same way we all do on Mapquest and Google Maps. Not sure how often I will use this feature, but it certainly is noticeable.
    Speaking of interface, the toolbars and status bars seem to be much smaller and more compact. Say goodbye to the clunky buttons that have haunted IE for years.
    As far as things that I haven’t really noticed (yet have read exist) is the improved security. The application is supposed to be more secure and to have some built-in anti-phishing features to guard against scams. I have noticed that I can easily erase my browsing history, something that is cumbersome in other versions of IE.
    I’ve run into a few bugs, as is expected with a Beta launch. I’ve had some printing difficulties and some RSS feeds don’t seem to get detected by the browser. All and all, a pretty nice upgrade for the money (free)!

  6. Web Continues to Change Game

    CNN has a great little item about RCA/SonyBMG Records signing British singer Sandi Thom to a recording contract. The signing of the virtual unknown comes after her 21 daily consecutive live performances to a grass roots/Internet audience. To think that the conglomerate that touts names like Alicia Keys, Usher, Bruce Springsteen, Maroon 5, and Santana would sign an artist from an up-start Web site is pretty amazing. Sandi Thom is not the first to Webcast a live performance from a garage band-like atmosphere, but she is among those pioneers to really have an effort materialize in this sort of fashion. It really shows how the Internet has changed the game in terms of traditional business channels.