Virtual reality has long been seen as a futuristic tool reserved for science fiction. In recent years, this has changed, with adoption of VR technology hitting the mainstream. A Nielsen report predicts big things for virtual reality technology in 2017. Its survey of 8,000 consumers found that 25 percent of all respondents planned to use or purchase a VR headset within the next year. An additional 20 percent reported newfound interest in VR technology after learning more about it. The report concluded that VR still has “more fans than experts.” From a web design and marketing perspective, fanfare is all you need.
One of the biggest innovations in VR technology, from an SEO and marketing perspective, is last year’s Google release embedding 360 VR media in webpages for desktop and mobile use. Web designers can incorporate 360-degree videos and images into their webpages, speaking to the continued importance of VR and AR in the future. It’s imperative for designers to get in on the ground floor of this trend. Here’s why.
It Will Inform SEO Best Practices
If you need more convincing that VR and AR are reaching their long-awaited adoption, consider this: Google shipped 5 million Google Cardboard headsets, and tech companies are expected to sell an additional 12 million this year. This is uncharted territory for SEO marketers, especially when you consider that user-generated 360-degree videos are showing up in Google’s organic search results.
Public interest in VR technology reached an all-time high in 2016, and global searches for VR increased 300 percent the same year. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests 360 VR content increases viewer engagement, subscriptions, shares, and on-page time – an SEO goldmine. Search engines interpret these signals as the presence of quality content, which is one of the biggest drivers in ranking results.
AR Will “Augment” VR Success
In marketing we often refer to a “hype cycle” in which users realize what they’re getting isn’t what they expected. Those who expected Tron-level immersion into the virtual world will likely be disappointed by actual virtual reality, but experts believe the VR hype cycle will be more a gentle dip than a crashing halt. Mobile-based VR platforms, such as Google VR View, will offer a wider use of applications that will stabilize VR for the long term.
Augmented reality will stabilize and augment its cousin, VR. You may not have heard of it, but you’ve likely experienced it, either directly or indirectly. AR overlays images of the real world with additional images or information. If you were a part of or affected by the massive popularity of Pokémon Go last summer, you’ve already experienced augmented reality.
AR has enjoyed success in its gaming platforms, but it also offers increased functionality. Augmented reality has the potential to deliver all kinds of useful, even lifesaving information. Consider, for example, a bike helmet that provides a 360-degree view of your environment, allowing you to see traffic and potential hazards. There are also more practical applications – for example, a painting company that sponsors an application allowing you to see how its shades look on your walls – no paintbrush or samples necessary.
It Creates Novelty and Excitement
As we’ve mentioned, VR and AR are relatively new technologies (for the mainstream), so there is a sense of novelty. Adding VR and AR to your website will make your business seem “on the pulse” and might bring more users to your site. Google VR View offers an opportunity to be cutting edge without coming off as gimmicky, as your company can provide something with true value to your user. The best campaigns are fun and useful, and VR effectively captures that.
Ikea is an example of a company that is already leveraging VR to create a novelty for users that serves a purpose. Its augmented reality app allows a user to see what a piece of furniture will look like in his or her space – no trip to the massive warehouse required.
How to Optimize VR Content for Search Engines
VR content is uncharted territory for web designers, so a brief discussion of optimization is helpful. This practice will continue to evolve, but these tips will focus on Google VR View. When optimizing VR View pages for search, know that search engines don’t automatically index video files into search results. Instead, they index the URLs of the pages where your VR video content is accessible to your users. To find and index VR View content, search engines crawl to the parent URL, find the content (iframe), associate them, and put the parent URL in search results.
SEO for VR View is relatively easy and similar to standard video and image optimization. However, there are a few notable differences:
Putting It All Together
Virtual and augmented realities are entering their mainstream heyday. Web designers should leverage this popularity and begin embedding 360 videos and images on their webpages. As the technology becomes more cost-effective, consumers will begin to demand more VR content on their devices. While the internet will never disappear, the way in which we consume it is poised for revolution. In the coming decades, the classic mode of scanning a page in a top-down fashion may cease to exist. We will consume media in immersive and personalized experiences, both on our screens and in the world.
If your customer base likes progressive technology, it’s your responsibility to deliver. Implementing AR and VR into your website is a decisive way to differentiate your brand. Allow your creativity to shine and consider incorporating this technology into your page.
There’s no doubt that web design is a fundamental marketing component. However, it’s an industry, like many other technological fields, that’s perpetually dying. Innovation drives new direction into the field at a breakneck pace. Old trends get lost in the dust.
Professionals who want to remain relevant in the future of web design must reinvent themselves over and over again. As a web designer, you can’t use the same concepts, designs, and guidelines from 6 months to a year ago. Doing so might work for a few small-time, hobby designers, but it isn’t a career strategy. The rapid rate of change is one of the many variables to think about before pursuing a career in web design.
So how do you make web design a viable and rewarding career strategy?
People interested in web design have a world of opportunity at their feet if they approach the industry in the right manner. Fundamentally, you need:
Anyone with drive and a little creative aptitude can successfully rebuild and reinvent their skills to match the current landscape of design. To be a great web designer, you will also need:
In the same way that interior designers, tax professionals, and restauranteurs must refocus their businesses based on the environment, so must a web designer constantly understand and explore the world of online interactions.
What Kind of Education Does a Web Designer Need Today?
Amazing web designers come from a variety of backgrounds. Unlike graduating from a prestigious law school, successful web designers may have several certifications and degrees or they may be self-taught. As a highly artistic field, web designers have a unique opportunity to display their talents to potential employers in the form of a portfolio. The overall visual detail and the attention to current design standards is often what companies look for. Some designers have it and some don’t, and education may not be a factor in some cases.
However, if you want to get started in web design and you don’t have a portfolio, you may want to consider a post-secondary education program. Industry professionals hone their crafts through universities, technical schools, and open online courses. As a designer, you’ll need to choose the program best suited to help you thoroughly grasp the concepts of coding and an understanding of regularly used programming languages.
Choosing Your Niche
During the course of a web design career, most designers pursue a broad category of design work based on the environment in which they feel most comfortable. Designers work for:
As a company employee, a web designer might work on innovative website development concepts, but the day-to-day job may include more work fine-tuning landing pages, creating design-based social media content, developing email and invite templates, and conducting various maintenance tasks.
Web designers who work for individual companies have an opportunity to immerse themselves in a branding concept and to focus on one company’s goals. However, they may find themselves tasked with non-design related work as much as they work on traditional design concepts. Similarly, the work environment will likely feel more like a large-corporation and less like a small-office. Most small and mid-sized companies can’t accommodate a web designer in their annual budgets. Instead, they reach out to marketing and design agencies.
Agencies and Design Firms
Agency-based web designers have a unique opportunity to put their hands in many different pots. These designers may work on many diverse company and organizational designs at once, bringing together innovative design features with branding to create something unique.
With the opportunity to work regularly with different companies, agency designers have a natural opportunity to explore different creative concepts and the latest trends. They can move between traditional, modern, and funky designs as needed and bring their own unique artistic brand to the project.
However, these designers may become overwhelmed with the number of different clients they interact with on a regular basis. In some cases, they may work extensively with a company or organization, but they may also find themselves responsible for a variety of one-off projects.
The last broad category of web designer is the freelance artist. Freelancers can work for one company at a time or in more of an agency setup. They may even have design firms as clients. Freelance design work offers the most flexibility. These designers have the ability to accept and deny projects at will and to pursue projects that build their own personal brand.
Freelance design work is what an individual makes of it. Those who are forward looking, client-relationship focused, and business savvy may really enjoy freelance work. However, anyone who isn’t internally motivated may find the rigors of self-employment too much to handle.
Perpetually Dying, But Never Dead
Web design is never going to go away. Trends will die out, but fundamental skills will remain in high demand. Companies, organizations, and individuals will always need some level of experienced design help for websites, blogs, and other platforms that have not been created yet. Understanding what you want out of a design career may be the best way to find the type of work that will really highlight your skills. Some designers work as freelancers, agency designers, and corporate artists throughout their careers.
Interested in a career in design? Reach out to Spinx Digital to learn more about our approach to the digital arts.
Flat design is the ‘in’ thing today. Discussions about its soundness are raging in the web design world and everyone in this vast field has something to say about it. Even design that’s not entirely flat is falling into this category. Therefore, as so much hype is surrounding flat design style, it’s imperative that we take a look at both its advantages and disadvantages.
Design style: Mobile applications that are simple stand to gain most from flat design. They can have the most striking flat interfaces/designs. There is no need to zoom to discover links as you have to just tap huge buttons. However, the flip side is that flat design may not be the best thing for complex web designs. Unfamiliarity with the interface style means users may not always know where to tap/click.
Trendiness: It’s trendy. It’s fun and it gets a lot of admiration. So what are designers waiting for? The outpouring of admiration from blogs and all-round recognition are motivation enough for the majority of them to get trendy with their designs. But wait a minute! Trends are, after all, fashions, and fashions come and go – they don’t last forever. Already flat designs was evolving from fully flat to ‘almost flat.’ The disadvantage of this style is that, like all trends, it may suddenly disappear.
Bright is beautiful: Sunlight, bright colors, almost everything bright signifies a feeling of happiness, and it’s the same with flat design. Lots of warm colors are used in a flat design website and they radiate a positive feeling. But many colors mean designers have to cope with the dilemma of matching them properly. And when the number of colors used goes up, the matter gets problematic. Color choice being a subjective issue, there is no real hard and fast rule for matching colors which may lead to difference of opinions among stakeholders.
Well-defined, clean: The beauty of flat design is that it’s clear-cut and clean. The sharpness and varied features result in a design that’s simple and clean. But many experts feel that its very simplicity may be a disadvantage. If it’s too simple it may be unable to put across a complex visual communication. Then, visual hierarchy becomes a matter of concern.
Terrific typography: Without the hassle of embellishments, proponents of flat design have great space to lay out great typography. They can use great type to make the text stand out and even become a decoration in itself. On the other hand, when it comes to typography you just cannot be content with half measures. Only the best will work and so you have to know exactly what the best font to select and what pairing will give you the finest result.
Uninspiring: Was the designer uninspired when he undertook that flat design work? Sometimes it may appear that this was so, that the designer was bored with the job. Flat design means ‘simplicity’ as well as ‘honesty’ so designers may sometimes have to hold themselves back to ensure that their creativity doesn’t go out of the boundaries of flat design. In flat design you have to restrain yourself. You have to suppress new ideas and fresh concepts to keep it really flat.
In summing up I can say that good design is all about usability and functionality. No one design can fit all web sites. Each one must be distinct in itself – like a good suit that’s cut and tailored for the man who’ll wear it. Flat design is in fashion. So right now it’s best to keep up with the trend.
Do you think that your website development venture is not fulfilling your business goals? Do you think that your website is not providing enough sales leads from the past few months? Have you noticed any great downfall in web traffic to your website? Well, most of you might be knowing what I am going to suggest you, right? Of course, if your website suffers from all such issues, then website redesign is the only option that can help you overcome from all the issues and enhance your website performance ins search engines as well as help you get enough sales leads for your business.
But, what if you don’t have enough budget or fund to redesign your entire website? In the economic crisis, many small businesses or organizations can’t afford to redesign their entire website as it is quite an expensive task. So, how to enhance the look and feel of your website? Well, you or your website designer can easily give a new look to your website by following some simple tricks mentioned below.
We all know that the business case for doing user experience work in web & mobile designing & programming projects really pays off investing up front in making products easy to use. It improves, efficiency, effectiveness, and end user satisfaction while reducing project risk, cost, and time.
Behind an under-performing user experience effort into a web & mobile designing & programming there are many hidden factors like a lack of tools to the zombie apocalypse anything can inflict mayhem on your teams, also when UX folks aren’t able to communicate well, they can’t understand business, they aren’t team players, they have such a terrible body odor people stay away as much as possible.
Below are some of the very common organizational behavior patterns that make the best UX efforts ineffective.
Hiring wrong people
As lately the user experience is getting a lot of attention, UX has become the buzzword many want to add to their resumes. Although UX exists under different names the field has been around for several years and is fairly mature. People are generally cannot be considered to be at a professional level if they have done full-time UX work as their job for only two to three years. For finding a UX pro you should look for someone who displays excellent communication skills, a high level of empathy, and lots of curiosity.
A true UX pro won’t push her personal preference or opinion in web & mobile designing & programming & will try to prevent you to do that, instead she would like to go based on the user research, test data, heuristics and UI design patterns. Moreover, she doesn’t prefer to attach to her designs but will start from the scratch creating sketches, wireframes and multiple prototypes before going to a detailed level of the design.
If she is not UX pro she will start with interaction and visual design, but if she is indeed a UX pro she will begin with concepts, structure and information design then go further to interaction and visual designing. She should be interested in measurable success metrics not only verbal and use them to take design direction and test protocol. She also speaks for making something easy and also depicts how she will measure that how it is easy. These are some signs of true UX pro in web & mobile designing & programming.
You are preventing the right people from doing their work
It’s really great if you have just found out the best solid UX pro team and an existing project kicked off. But in many cases the same organization that values UX and hires us to do UX work is also is also knowable or unknowingly preventing the UX team’s success. There are plenty of reasons to do this and mainly the lack of management abilities to deal with technocrats successfully or sometime the rules of engagement which are deteriorating the efforts of the UX team to give its best work. Most of the time the organizations which are hiring a UX designer or a team definitely have financial and other resources to extend helping hand to the UX team but lack of knowledge or bureaucracy don’t let them to do for web & mobile designing & programming.
After the months of efforts and dedicated work finally your website is ready and doing well over the search engines. You may feel proud of your web development venture, but certainly you have realized that your visitors are not taking any action even though your website ranks well and have every element of a successful website.
What could be the possible reasons for that? You may start reviewing your website to find out the main problem and what you have found is the poorly designed call to action by the website designer. No need to afraid of it, this happens many times in many web development ventures. There are many ways you can improve the effectiveness of the call to actions within your website design.
So, let’s check out some of the most useful ways through which you can enhance the call to actions within your website and make the users take action whenever they visit your website.
Following the above discussed guidelines or tips will definitely help you make the visitors to take action and enhance the conversion rate for your website.
In website and mobile app designing UX is at its heart. When you create a product with robust graphic designing and offering awesome usability you assure that the product will perform the tasks to help users to achieve their goals to reach at the desired products or services on the website or in the mobile app and you conduct a series of tests and based on finding you iterate the product on the best solution. But when you think of UX design you want to see that the users should be encouraged using product again and again with same enthusiastically as were before. At this point you will again run the user tests as you did in case of usability but this time your approach would be broader and metrics would be focused on the behaviors of the users not the comfort only.
The optimization is the center of the UX design, the optimization of the iteratively improved solution to a general problem. You have to think about the problems of the future users along with the present and learning through the past. Your duty is to spot the problems, define in your metrics, feel the pain it gives and create solutions to eliminate them-this is the highway to great UX designing in any website and mobile app designing project. If you want to stay on the right track of UX designing you’ll need a lot of empathy and analytical skills, because the tricky thing with problems is that the difficulty in defining them even if they trouble us.
Alex Osterwalder has explained an amazing method of describing any business idea: the Business Model Canvas (BMC), in his great book Business Model Generation. This method revolves around the Unique Value Proposition where a single, clear sentence describing the way you’re different from your competitors and why you’re worth buying and the canvas depicts your idea, key partners and resources, and your model of revenue.
But you may think that how it all is connected to user experience design into a website and the mobile app designing project. Let’s go in depth of the UX where we are taking care of the whole product and its end-to-end experience is what we’re aiming at. A BMC template at other hand enables you to grasp the whole product in one place and understand at a glance both the business and users’ side and this is the thing we are doing in the formation of UX strategy therefore it is absolutely crucial for a UX designer.
As a website and mobile app designing person we can’t separate us from the business model of the product as we are designing for a business itself not for us or for our satisfaction to show our technical or designing capabilities. Therefore, at the end of the day we have everything needed to see our design or product at the business side of the product where we need a success to get some bucks not only verbal awards otherwise it will prove a big waste of time for you and for your client's money. Therefore, a Business Model Canvas template in your website and mobile app designing model is crucial and inevitable as we have to make it part of our process and our users often use a BMC as a basic description of just about any project.
When BMC is more focused on a product and its users it is a Lean Canvas, created by Ash Maurya to describe Product and Market. Both a Business Model Canvas (BMC) and a Lean Canvas should be used as a collaborative tool to encourage your team to discuss canvases and question all your assumptions every repeated effort in every project of website and mobile app designing. The great UX design stands upon efficient collaboration.
In first part we have seen that there are various image formats that make web developers’ job easy to optimize the website for performance particularly for downloading time. Now continue with that we will explore more trick and techniques to make effective optimization through image squeezing. Web developers generally want to achieve image optimization opportunities without any compromise on quality. Using the jpegtran and pngcrush utilitiesweb developers can run lossless optimizations on JPEG and PNG as well as conversion to lossless WebP. The results would be fascinating like:
About 12.75% of image data can be saved with these lossless optimization techniques. This is 101KB for a page! That means we can save up to 18.2% of overall image data for browsers that support them and if we use the lossless variant of WebP we can do up to 144KB.
Now let’s see for the sake of data saving what happens we are willing to vaguely compromise quality. In order to get an objective idea of the trade-off web developers make between quality and byte size if web developers used the SSIM index. As low the SSIM means the bigger difference between thememory used by the images.
If web developers compressed JPEGs, several levels of quality using ImageMagick can be achieved. In order to squeeze these images some more after that they can apply the lossless optimizations that we saw above to them. After doing all the things stated above, we also compressed the images using imgmin that is a utility that sets up binary search to find the ideal quality level for each tested image. Finally, we can run the JPEG to WebP conversion to see if the reimbursement matches Google’s result of 30% data reduction.
The results were awesome like:
Web developers can get compression levels close to “quality 30? with “quality 75? image quality using WebP according to cited data above. Looking from different perspective WebP files are 37% smaller than the size of JPEGs with equivalent quality.
Now you might have a question in your head after examine these data that why web developers don’t compress their images. The apparent reason is that there is no automated process exists to do with less time and cost, but we can do that at different levels like:
The average Web page weighs 1286KB, and 60% of that is image data according to the latest HTTP archive stats. Properly compressing image is of extremely important for the overall page content size and for this reason its loading time. When the users browse the Web on their mobile devices it also has a noteworthy impact on the data plan hit users acquire. We see that few web developers actually compress their images, yet when we look at the actual numbers “in the wild” and even for those that do, the results are not always ideal.
Let’s have a short overview of the image formats on the Web. And they are as follows:
WebP can employ both lossy and lossless techniques and it is the best suited for both real life photos and computer generated images. The WebP format uses predictive coding to achieve its high lossy compression rates and the latest entropy coding techniques to achieve better lossless results based on the VP8 video codec. It also supports animation and a full alpha channel. What’s the problem then? The main problem with WebP is not really part of the Web platform’s “official” formats since it is only supported by Chrome and Opera at the present. The higher barrier is the lack of simple fallback mechanisms both client and server side of entry for web developers that want to use WebP today.
It represents more than 256 colors only but it is the best suited for computer generated images. PNG have various subtypes. It uses a different compression algorithm but the subtype PNG8 is very similar to GIF. It supports a full alpha channel but it does not support animation. The latter supporting a full alpha channel the subtypes referred to as PNG24 and PNG24a can represent the full RGB color space. A generic compression algorithm is applied when the both PNG24 subtypes are represented as bitmaps and that is the major downfall. Usually this is not good in the terms of byte size for web developers. This format is found on the web in following percentage: PNG8-1.3%; PNG24-5.2% and PNG24a-14.3%
In early days of web this format was widely used by web developers. GIF have relatively few numbers of colors, and it is best suited for computer generated images. It is creating a bitmap that represents the image using the palette’s color that are up to 256 colors that best fits the image and then compressing that bitmap using a generic compression algorithm. IT does not support the alpha channel but it supports animation and transparency. On web this format found as animated Gif-6.4% and non- animated Gif 5.3%
JPEG is the best suited format for taking real life photos. It is storing the frequency of color changes between different pixels in the images. This is done through eliminating high frequencies that is invisible for humans and they cannot notice anyway, and then compresses that. You cannot convert JPEG into the original bitmap image with perfect accuracy as it is a lossy image format. This is not a limitation for most users on the Web so not for web developers. You will find this format on the web with greater percentage like 66.9%.
The last two years have been very busy for our production arm here at 337 Design. Here's a sample of some of our work, enjoy!
Since 2003 we've been dedicated to creating website for businesses small and large, that are beautiful to look at, and help turn visitors into customers.