How To Successfully Use Colour To Enhance UX

How To Successfully Use Colour To Enhance UX

As we all know, colour is essential in design, but many websites seem to have been designed with very little thought going into the actual use of colour. When done correctly, the results can be much better. Here are a few ideas you might consider if you want to successfully improve the experience of your users with smart colour use.

1) Draw attention to focal points

When your UI features a relatively subtle background, you can add contrasting bright colours to direct your users’ eyes towards the most important points. When colour stands out against everything else on the page, it makes it very clear where you are supposed to look first.

2) Add contrast to your images

You can use an inverse strategy by choosing strategic colours for backgrounds on your images, especially if you’re trying to sell a product. Whatever the colour scheme of the thing you’re trying to show off, there will be an ideal colour to make it look much more dynamic than it would on a plain white background. Usually, something dark but vivid can be a good place to start.

3) Consistent patterns build trust

Using colours properly can actually build up a psychological relationship with your clients and instil a feeling of trust. How is this possible? The human brain is constantly looking for patterns so it can establish familiarity with something new. Colour is a deceptively simple solution to achieve this. You can quickly help users recognise how your UI is supposed to work by using consistently repeated colours for similar features and functions, and this will make them feel more relaxed about your brand.

4) Create expectations of importance

Following on from the patterns you’re starting to create, people will begin to notice what colours are associated with the most important features on each page of your website. For example, if your key introductory text is clearly marked on a brightly coloured background in every case (preferably in the only prominent colour on each page), people will start to immediately look at this even when you present them with a new layout.

5) Stick to similar tones and schemes

Colour is not as effective when you start from scratch with every single page. On your website, you are better to stick to a consistent scheme so people start to understand and recognise your brand identity. Colours used in your design elements should not necessarily be identical, but a great palette should usually consist of a few related tones.

Potential Problems With Responsive Design

Potential Problems With Responsive Design

As we all know, mobile-friendly design is now absolutely vital for all websites because a majority of web browsing is actually done on mobile devices. To compound this factor, search engines don’t view non-mobile-friendly sites as favourably so it becomes much harder for your older-style website to get noticed at all, even if you had a brilliant design for desktop users.

What is responsive design?

As a result of these changes in the way users browse the web, responsive web design has become a huge trend over the last few years. This is based on the principle of a website that automatically adjusts itself to suit the detected display device. If you view it on a phone, it will rearrange all of its elements to show things clearly instead of presenting a tiny version of the desktop site or redirecting users to a completely different mobile version.

Responsive web design has been billed as the future of web design, and many extremely attractive and functional examples have been shown to business and website managers in an effort to persuade them how great this method is.

What are the potential issues?

In reality they’re now past the point of being potential issues, and many of them are actually widespread. Here we take a look at some of the problems we’ve seen gradually emerging.

1) Bias towards mobile users

Many designers have gone too far the other way when it comes to catering to specific users. More emphasis is often placed on how a responsive site will look on mobile devices, and desktop designs actually suffer. Mobile devices offer a more limited number of options for displaying content, but when the same logic is applied to desktop displays, most of the space and functionality tends to be wasted.

2) Screen size matters more than content?

For responsive design to work, it has to prioritise the dimensions of the browser its being displayed on rather than the content itself. The code of the website can’t understand what text or images mean, only the designer can try to account for this. Unfortunately this distortion of priorities can sometimes mean important content is squeezed into an irrational place on desktop, mobile or both for the sake of compatibility.

3) Hamburger menus

If you’ve noticed the common trope of having to tap an icon with three horizontal lines to expand a navigation menu on a mobile device, you’re familiar with a hamburger menu. You may have also found yourself questioning why the same function needs to appear on the desktop version of the same site, where it suddenly becomes much less intuitive.

4) Monotonous designs

Because template-based responsive design tends to be much easier to implement, and traditional static webpages (which were relatively easy for novices to produce themselves) are redundant, it’s common for new websites to adopt one of a few popular themes. In fact, many websites now look almost identical and it’s fair to say that the need to be responsive has impaired designers who want to show off their creative flair.

How can it all be resolved?

Realistically, there will always be some conflict of interest when an automated code is deciding how to display your website but you need it to be optimised for conversions and engagement. The only way round this is for designers to take back full (or almost full control) perhaps pre-designing a number of different templates per websites and allowing individual devices to determine the exact dimensions within a given range.

This could mean that your website varies between mobile phones, tablets and desktops but still draws on the same resources and content. The platform for this isn’t quite there yet, but we might expect this in the near future.

What makes a web design company the right one for you?

What makes a web design company the right one for you?

There are many factors that might make a particular website designer the ideal match for you and your business, but where do you begin? We have some advice based on years of experience which may help you make an informed choice.

Firstly, hiring a local company can make more of a difference than you might think. It will be easier for you to find reputable companies within a small area that you’re familiar with, since you can ask similar businesses within your network who they have used. For example, if you’re a company based in Colchester, this is a suitably sized area to find a local specialist. Searching for web design in Colchester rather than scouring the entire country should connect you with someone that really understands your market.

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Tips for eCommerce Web Design

Tips for eCommerce Web Design

In many cases, eCommerce websites will be relatively complex projects. There is a good reason for this. Selling products to users through a website is difficult and relies on a huge number of factors, so your web design needs to account for as many of them as possible in order to be successful. The quality of your website says a lot about whether your company can be trusted, and the web page your user sees is effectively acting as a substitute for a salesperson. In order to maximise your conversions, here are just a few of the main points your website designer should be factoring in.

1) Powerful search function

If you have a lot of products, or even if you don’t, many people will be quite specific about their requirements, and expect to find things easily. For best results, you need a system of simple but powerful filters that will accurately narrow down search results and allow users to sort results by a given parameter, whether it’s price, name or even popularity. Users will also prefer the search bar to be accessible at all times.

2) Live information

Customers will want to know immediately if any products are unavailable. Nobody wants to commit to an online purchase, only to be told afterwards that it’s out of stock. On the other hand, seeing a current update of what’s in stock (and even how many of that particular item you have left) can instil confidence in your potential buyer. You can also have an option to notify someone when the item is back in stock, so their interest is registered. Read more

Improve Your E-Commerce Site With Professional Product & Packshot Photography

Improve Your E-Commerce Site With Professional Product & Packshot Photography

All the content of your website is extremely important if you’re hoping to make sales. Many businesses become blinded to their own marketing when it comes to e-commerce, and struggle to see things from the perspective of a potential buyer who isn’t familiar with the brand or website.

Visuals are much more impactful, scientifically speaking, than words on a page, so it’s vital to consider your imagery. Professional 360 product photography and packshot images can massively enhance your online sales potential, if you follow these tips…

1) Lead with multiple images

Most online shopping hotspots give customers the option to view multiple pictures before buying. These may include different angles of the same item, but you can also go into much more detail, show the product in action and on display, and show off the packaging if this is a selling point. You can even include 360-degree animations of videos to really show off those crucial details.

2) Show off the best benefits

Remember that if a customer can’t see a feature, even if it’s explained in the product description, it’s a much weaker selling point. A range of photos showing the close-up details definitely builds trust, which leads to higher sales. Quality really comes across in high-quality shots, especially when the buyer is able to zoom in. Read more

Increase Conversions with Colour Psychology

Increase Conversions with Colour Psychology

A huge amount of market research focuses on colour and how it influences people’s purchase decisions. In most cases it is proven to be a massive factor, so when it comes to web design it makes perfect sense to focus on it. With a website, almost all of your strategy for selling your products is going to be focused on visual elements, and you will want to optimise your conversion rate, so an understanding of colour psychology seems essential.

The basic concept revolves around the fact that the brain interprets different colours in particular ways, mostly without even realising consciously what is happening. To supplement your actual marketing message, you can subtly incorporate clever use of colours to help influence users to act in a certain way i.e. encouraging them to go ahead and commit to a purchase. Some of the research so far into colour psychology can be a little vague or subjective, but there are a few general rules that are mostly based on common sense and extensive proof. Plus, you can always conduct research of your own (for example, using A/B testing) and draw your own conclusions about using colour correctly.

Generally, there are a few differences on average between genders, but the most popular colours among all people are blue and green. Blue in particular is considered the most trustworthy colour (although it has poor results when advertising any kind of food). Somewhat predictably, green exhibits the best results when used on websites connected with environmentally friendly or organic products. Meanwhile, brown and orange are the most disliked colours, although orange can have great results when used very sparingly (we will revisit this point in a moment). Read more

Why White Space is Important in Web Design

Why White Space is Important in Web Design

Information overload is a massive problem when it comes to online marketing and web design. Just because you can bombard your users with a vast amount of information telling them why your products are so great, it doesn’t mean you should do so. You want to make the purchase process easy for someone, and attacking them with advertisements from every available angle is not contributing to that all-important conversion.

In fact, overwhelming web design tends to lead to one thing only: a higher bounce rate. People leave the page because it’s too cluttered and messy. You might compare the situation to a physical shop with so many special offers, adverts and products crammed onto the shelves that it’s difficult to even move around, let alone make an informed decision, take your chosen product over to the till and pay for it. An eCommerce website that fills every pixel with graphics and information persuading you to place an order is probably having the same effect.

White space is the solution to this problem. Contrary to what you might think, empty space on a web page is far from wasted. That’s actually a valuable use for your limited screen space, since an empty area only draws more attention to what you want people to focus on. After all, there is only one thing on the screen you want to guide your customer towards: the “buy” button. Anything else is a distraction at best, and a reason to abandon the site completely at worst. Read more

Breaking Down the Graphic Designer Job Description

Breaking Down the Graphic Designer Job Description

Many people make the decision to become a graphic designer. This is a position that usually requires a unique blend of computer or technological skill with an artistic mind and way of thinking. But what is really in a graphic designer job description? There are a multitude of responsibilities that one must undertake in order to fulfill the role of graphic designer successfully.

First up in the graphic designer job description is the ability to really listen to the client. A graphic designer must understand what a particular client will want or need to have in order to be successful.

There is a huge variety of things one may design. This can include websites, books, packaging, posters, advertisements and much more. It may even be in a graphic designer job description to do many of these things for a single client, in order to maintain a similar look to all of their products, to help them establish their ‘brand’, something that is incredibly important in today’s business climate. For example, any Apple product has a very recognizable and similar design to it, making it have a specific “Apple feel” to it that is easily and almost instantly recognizable.

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There is much demanded of a graphic designer. In addition to an obvious creative mind, a strong up-to-date level of expertise with all the latest design technology is in a graphic designer job description. This means becoming acquainted with more than a few different softwares and techniques with many different specializations. This can include web design programs, advanced image editors, illustration programs and even 3D design programs. It is best to learn in the ‘industry standard’ programs, so be sure to see what the primary program for each is. For example, in 3D design 3ds Max is the program that is most frequently used. But that doesn’t mean ignoring lesser used programs. Becoming acquainted with a variety of programs is very helpful to the aspiring graphic designer. Read more

Does Web Design Certification Really Matter When Looking for a Web Design Job?

Does Web Design Certification Really Matter When Looking for a Web Design Job?

Web designers are in high demand. As a result, there have been a lot of people that are looking for jobs in this very field. As employers want only the best and most qualified to work for them, this had led to the creation of web design certification.

What is web design certification? To put it simply, web design certification is an acknowledgment that the recipient is certified in all aspects of web design that they were trained in. Most often a web design certification is required for any job in web design. Building a portfolio and being successful without one is possible but very difficult. It is really best to pursue a web design certification from a qualified institution. The more certifications a web designer has the more likely they are to be hired.

There are lots of places that a certification can be acquired from, both on and offline. First it is important to find the most respected web certification institutions. This means that they give out certifications from the AWP. AWP stands for Association of Web Professionals, and is the organization in charge of giving out these qualifications.

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The most basic of these certifications is the CIW, which is acquired through one test on absolute basics of web design. Next is the CWD or ‘certified web designer’ degree from the AWP. This is another singular test that will require basic internet knowledge and design knowledge. A step up is the Certified Associate Webmaster, or CAW web design certification. This is another test, costing 125 dollars that must be purchased from VUE. This will cover some essentials of scripting and some markup. There is also W3C certification and BCIP certification on the basic level. Read more

A Brief Introduction to the Top Graphic Design Companies Today

A Brief Introduction to the Top Graphic Design Companies Today

Some of the best graphic design companies might be ones that you recognize. This means they are doing their jobs in advertising very well. Others may not be so recognized by name but have products that speak for themselves. Ranging from small posters to entire buildings worth of visuals, graphic design companies are responsible for most of the things you interact with each day. Here is a little about just a few of the most notable graphic design companies in the world right now.

The first of these graphic design companies is Go Media. Go Media has worked with many brands and frequently designs stunning posters and banners. Possibly most notably they have worked with Pepsi on multiple occasions and have designed commercials and banners for them in the past. In addition they have designed books, websites and several T-shirt lines.

Studio 7 is one of the most self-evident graphic design companies in that their website is so beautifully designed. Having designed for UNICEF and Cornell University, among others, their website shows a wonderfully laid out and designed portfolio. In addition the site shows off some of the many features that can be implemented on a customer’s own website. They also specialize in brand recognition and building, something that is crucial to the success of any website or business. . Studio 7 probably has one of the best pitches of any company on this list based on how only how well their very own site is set up.

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Another hot design studio at the moment is a London based company called 400. 400 have worked with the likes of Dell Computers and The Economist and is one of the top graphic design companies in London. 400 works for a number of different clients including those in art, education, energy, legal matters, government and sports. 400 warns against underestimating it based on its smaller size, because compared to its competition it is a relatively small company, especially considering all the work that it has done over the years. Read more