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How to Evaluate Your UX in Under 5 Minutes

We don’t have a lot of time. Even as you read through this article, you’re already noticing your desktop notifications piling up, watching your slack messages grow and hearing your phone buzz with more engagements and tasks that need to be added to your never-ending to-do list. This mounting pressure is what makes crucial tasks such as evaluating your site’s UX, seem like a frivolous use of time. The fact is, all of the work you’re putting into graphic design, content creation, web development, SEO, social media marketing and paid ads, could all be for naught if you don’t button up your UX.

Many companies fall into the enticing trap of overly emphasizing sales and generating web traffic, without shoring up the website that they are sending visitors to. Getting caught up in the numbers game is a sure way to ruin your online reputation and damage brand integrity. If you don’t value all of your customers/users, you’ll find it extremely hard to succeed in the competitive digital landscape where more and more brands are dedicating significant resources into how to delight users.

So you know UX is serious. You also know that you don’t have a lot of time. How can you maximize your time to get the most out of your UX analysis, in a short amount of time?

If you know your brand well enough and understand what to look for, you can complete a UX evaluation in under 5 minutes. Whether you take 5 minutes once a month or once a week, taking even short amounts of time to completely focus on your website’s UX can make major improvements in your bounce rates, conversion rates and overall ROI for all of your marketing campaigns.

Visual (2 minutes)

Just like meeting a new person, a first time visitor to your site will create an initial reaction based on the visuals of your website. It’s simple human nature to place a great deal of weight on a first impression. We want to believe that we are right, and frankly, we may not have the time to comeback for a second look. When there are so many different companies to choose from online, first impressions cannot be a big enough emphasis for your website visitors.

All it takes to send visitors bouncing to a competitor is one out of place button, one misaligned section, one typo, even an error free website can still give off the wrong impression if you don’t adhere close enough to your brand identity and overall goal with your messaging.

Take 2 minutes to review your sites visuals from a user’s perspective and make note of any inconsistencies or off-putting content or layout arrangements. Keep an eye out for these visual elements in particular as you perform your 5 minute UX audit:

  • Colors – Are they consistent with the brand? Is each hex code chosen appropriately for the intended goal of the section/page? Are the colors too soft or too harsh?  
  • Readability – Is your site easily visible to users on both mobile and desktop devices? Is the right content being featured on each page?
  • Misalignment – Even the smallest inconsistencies can say a lot about the integrity and work ethic of your company. If you aren’t willing to button up your own website, how will you be able to provide quality products or services to potential customers?
  • Overall impact – What’s the consensus of your site or a particular page from an initial, visual standpoint? Is your site and content consistent with your brand’s persona?

Interactive (2 minutes)

Once you’re feeling good about the visual end of your website, it’s time to get a little more serious. You’ve given visitors the right first impression. Now, are you ready to commit? Are you willing to meet the parents? You need to make sure that your UX is completely sound from a visual and interactive standpoint in order to truly get visitors to commit to you.

Provide the follow through that users expect from a site as visually stunning as yours. Without the right functionality to compliment your visual changes to your site, users simply won’t stick around if they can get the answers they need more easily, or faster on a competitors site.

It can also take away from the immersive experience that you’re trying to create with your graphics and content, if the functional aspects of your site are glitchy, slow or disingenuous. Take the time to evaluate these technical elements of your website to sure up your UX:

  • Icons – Are icons catered to your brand or industry? Are the graphics sharp and appropriate for the standards you have set forth? Can users click through to find out more information if needed?
  • Buttons – From the call-to-action text to the color and size of the buttons on your site, make sure users are experiencing the same interactivity throughout your site.
  • Links – Are all links functioning properly? Are hyperlinks highlighted with the same color and easy to see?
  • Pop-ups and drop-downs – Whether it’s a stand alone element or part of a menu, do truncated visuals function properly and fit appropriately within a given space without being cut off or blocking other important content?
  • Cursor – How does the mouse cursor change when interacting with the site? Make sure each change is consistent and makes sense for its given purpose.

Journey (1 minute)

If a user is truly happy, you need to make all of the last minute adjustments and pay attention to each detail to ensure that they are ready to say – “I do.” If you’ve dedicated the time to evaluate your site’s UX from a visual and functional standpoint, there’s a good likelihood that interested users will convert into happy customers. That being said, placing yourself in the shoes of your visitors is the final step towards ensuring your UX is on point and ready to ramp up your revenue.

You should be making note of User Experience changes that can be made as you look into visual and functional elements of your site. If you have an extra minute, start to navigate your site from a user’s perspective from start to finish. Is a new user able to easily navigate your site to find the information they need, research the services you provide and make a purchase decision?

When analyzing a user’s journey on your site, think of your website as a bridge and each page as a board that connects users from one side (person with a need) to the other side (satisfied customer). If boards are broken or missing, it makes the likelihood of users wanting to cross your bridge extremely unlikely. Create a seamless path for your visitors wherever they are in the purchasing process.

This is the goal of UX. To get users from point A to point B without roadblocks, dead-ends or even a snag along the way. Even if you only have 5 minutes, evaluate your UX and create a steady flow of interested visitors and delighted customers.

  Image Inq   Oct 17, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

The Graphic Designer’s Guide to Web Design – Differences & Similarities

For seasoned graphic designers, web designers and online marketers, you’ve worked closely enough on website projects to understand the responsibilities that fall on graphic designers and web designers both similarly and separately. For those that are looking to get into the graphic design profession or have yet to work with both a graphic and web designer on a project, it’s important to understand where these experts can and can’t overlap and how you can benefit from leaning towards a graphic designer or web designer.

As graphic design work becomes more and more digital, the likelihood of graphic design overlapping with web design continues to increase. This means that graphic designers need to work hard to understand how to collaborate with a web designers for seamless project completions without overstepping. If you know how to communicate and respect web designers as well as understand the typical workflow and timeline of web development work, you give yourself the best chance of a successful collaboration.

Respecting the importance of web design work and how it enhances graphic designs, allows for web designers to respect your goals and input as a graphic designer. Both web designers and graphic designers feel as though they are opposing forces. The reality is that both are necessary to create a successful user experience. Every gap that exists for web designers and graphic designers when creating a website can be filled by working together.

Animation vs. solid graphic design

As a graphic designer, the majority of your experience relies on solid graphic work (images, banners, buttons, etc.). Web designers are comfortable enough implementing the necessary coding to manipulate graphics and images to create animations. Certain graphic designers may have taken the time to self-develop their own skills in order to learn the necessary elements of coding in order to generate animations, but for the most part, animated graphics are going to fall under the responsibility of a web designer while it is best to lean on the strengths of a graphic designer to create solid web graphics.

Visual vs. usability

This is where graphic designers and web designers collide most frequently. The simple understanding that graphic design and web design are complementary professions, rather than conflicting roles will alleviate this tension. The purpose of web design work is to create a highly functional and user friendly website. The purpose of graphic design work is to convey a message.

Be patient with your web designer to understand that though you have the ability to create captivating graphics, web designers are limited in their abilities to generate the necessary canvas to support your efforts. Between coding restrictions and functional and SEO best practices, it’s not always practical to focus too heavily on graphic work.

Unrestrained creativity vs. restricted by technical best practices

The knowledge that graphic design work is extremely creative, flowing and unrestrained, while web design is very technical and limited to coding rules and particular best practices, accounts for much of the tension generated between the two professions. It can be frustrating working under such different circumstances for both parties. This is especially the case when each side knows how important their work is to creating an engaging website.

It’s best to go into a web design project with patience and understanding. For graphic designers, it’s important to voice your opinion and push for a website that is visual captivating and engaging for its users. However, you have to understand that users will not continue to use the most beautiful and exciting website in the world if pages don’t load instantly and information is not easily findable.

Search engine optimization and graphic design

graphic design seo

graphic design seo

Perhaps the most detrimental aspect of beautiful graphic design work is the weight that it places on the backend of websites. This unfortunately slows down site speed and the user’s overall ability to interact with the site. Slow load speed is a major knock for SEO, especially for mobile search.

Other design choices may not be the best decision for search engine optimization. Just as you would factor design best practices into the initial build of a website, it’s equally important to factor in SEO best practices into the infrastructure of a new website. If a site isn’t able to be found in search engines, all of your design work won’t have the same impact. Keep this in mind when a web designer or SEO specialist makes suggestions to page layout, menu items and overall content flow.

Conveying a message

graphic design messaging

graphic design messaging

For a developer, conveying a message will often come down to giving users a quick and highly functional site experience. For graphic designers, conveying a message is a more visual experience. In the end, the messages that are sent to various site visitors will be the same from page to page. This is, again, where graphic and web designers need to collaborate productively to give users the best possible online experience.

Page layout

As a graphic designer, it’s likely best to lean on the guidance of a graphic designer when putting together a page layout. If you’re comfortable with web design and have a good understanding of UX, heat mapping and SEO (many graphic designers do have these strengths), then you may move forward with page design with little to no input from a developer.

This is often an instance where unique and interesting page designs and layouts can excite users initially, but once information becomes hard to find, bounce rates tend to increase and the overall purpose of the page falls short.

Working within the confines of web design best practices and the client’s wishes to generate bold and inspiring designs is the best way to compliment page layout as a graphic designer.

Don’t get frustrated or feel left out in web design projects. The truth is, for the end user experience, your input is equally as important for website builds. Understanding your own strengths and how they can enhance the overall usability and aesthetic appeal of a website will make for seamless collaborations on web design projects and make you a great hire for marketing and design agencies.

Knowing where you can lean on graphic designers and web designers both separately and in tandem, will make for more efficient website builds. Utilize the information from this article to enhance your employee/freelancer satisfaction and generate seamless and success web design projects that your clients will love.

  Image Inq   Oct 15, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

Stop Believing These 8 Myths About Graphic Designers

Whether you have or have yet to work with a graphic designer, you may have a few assumptions or preconceived notions about the type of people graphic designers are and what it’s like working with a graphic designer. Whether it’s a graphic designer or any other professional, it’s not wise to assume anything about a coworker or freelancer. This can lead to poor collaborations, miscommunications and false expectations about pricing, deadlines and quality. It’s best to come in to any new partnership with a clean slate because individuals are unique and each project is unique.

You may also be considering a career as a graphic designer. Rather than make assumptions, consider what professional graphic designers have to say about their profession.

#1 Anyone can be a graphic designer

While there are a lot of resources out there to teach the skills and practices of graphic design in addition to tools and platforms that make DIY graphic design more attainable, the notion that a digital agency doesn’t need to hire a true, professional graphic designer or an experienced graphic designer to create logos, edit images, create infographics and more, simply isn’t the case. Not everyone has the creativity, ingenuity, patience and intellect to navigate graphic design software and manipulate graphics and tools to successfully actualize a client’s vision.  Placing the strain on a social media manager, copywriter or “some intern” to perform graphic design work, is only going to lower the quality of the work and extend the deadline.

#2 Designers can make anything look beautiful

While it may seem like graphic designers can work magic when they’ve finished an amazing full-page ad or banner, it takes the right ingredients to put together a truly delectable masterpiece. The ingredients a graphic designer needs to create beautiful content is a quality version of the original graphic/image and the right tools (adobe suite, corelDRAW, Photoshop, etc.).

There is only so much a graphic designer can do to beautify a blurry image or perfect a piece of content without the right initial tools.

Take ownership over what falls under your responsibility and understand what can and can’t be done in the world of graphic design.

#3 A designer can do anything they want with a graphic

This is where the “customer is always right” monicor may not always apply to the world of graphic design. Your vision for a particular project may not be realistic. Even if you hire a world-class designer, there are certain limitations to what can be manipulated within a graphic, website or image. This is especially the case if there has already been an agreed upon price for the entire project. If you aren’t paying your graphic designer by the hour, they can only spend so much time making tweaks to your project before their earnings drop below their standard rate.

Takeaway: There is sooo much that graphic designers can do, but there are things that simply cannot be manipulated about a graphic or image.

#4 Graphic design work is fast

If you have not been a graphic designer, you simply can’t understand the breadth of work that goes into seemingly simple tasks and especially larger projects. If you’ve worked with graphic designers before and feel like that gave you a proper benchmark to judge other graphic designers by, are you truly factoring in all of the elements that went in to that particular project and how they differ from this project?

Possibly the most important factor to consider when setting a ideal deadline for a project is the workflow agreement that you have with your graphic designer. If you want a quick turnaround from a graphic designer, they have to either be your full-time employee, or properly compensated in order for them to prioritize you over their other clients. You can’t pay a fraction of a freelancer’s bills but expect them to be on-call 24/7.

#5 All graphic designers are the same

While it would be ideal for employers/clients to know what they’re going to get when they work with a graphic designer, this is simply an unrealistic expectation. Each graphic designer has a different background, different experiences, different preferences, different design softwares, different rates based on where they live and their body of work, different communication style, different level of confidence and many other differences that make them unique to every other graphic designer in the world.

One graphic designer may be extremely efficient and creative, but introverted. Another graphic designer might be a little more diligent and literal in their designs, but completely comfortable leading a brainstorming call or a client facing meeting. Find the right graphic designer for your particular needs.

#6 Graphic designers are doers and not thinkers

Just like graphic designers are all unique, business owners and managers have different preferences. Some are more involved, while others are more hands-off. If you tend to lean towards the more hands-on type of leader, you prefer to take on the decision making role. You’ll likely provide a detailed scope of work to freelancers, leaving little room for their own creativity and ingenuity to be put on display. However, just because a graphic designer has been placed in a more execution based role, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a deeper understanding of the big picture that surrounds a project. Give graphic designers a chance to provide input in the projects they will be involved to add another perspective and improve the designer’s investment in the project’s success.

#7 Graphic designers are rich

Many digital jobs, especially technical roles like graphic design are modern and cutting-edge. The increased focus on and production of digital content is very of-the-moment. This leads people to believe that all graphic designers make a great income and that there’s plenty of work to go around.

The reality is that it varies (drastically). In a digital profession, you quickly find that there is an entire world of competition (literally). Within minutes, employers can connect with seriously talented and accomplished designers in every country in the world. This may require young and budding graphic designers to pay their dues for quite some time in order to build a portfolio that can sway bigger clients.

#8 Designers only have one style of design

If it isn’t in their portfolio, then they probably can’t do it. This mindset is a quick way to lose out on top talent. Rather than looking for designers with specific experience, look at the quality of work that a designer has put together. Odds are, if a designer consistently puts forth amazing designs that truly capture what their clients were looking for, they are going to be the type of professional to work diligently to fulfill the needs of a project, regardless of how familiar they are with a given concept or style of design.

Don’t allow yourself to give in to the human tendency to place people into boxes to achieve understanding. Dig deeper and get to know the individual and their particular (and unique) set of skills that they can bring to a design project or team.

  Image Inq   Oct 11, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

10 Free Flyer Templates for any Occasion

Everyone loves freebies – and we have some great ones for you to look through today. Flyers can be used by virtually any business for an event, sales, products, items, etc. and there are great freebies all over the internet for you to find the perfect template that will make your text pop. You always want to find the best and most relevant design in regards to your brand and the idea behind it, also keeping in mind the voice of your brand, whether it is casual, bright and fun, serious in tone, or business related. Either way, this list will allow you to find just what you need in regards to a fantastic flyer that’s FREE! Here are 10 free flyer templates for any occasion.

This is a great option for a free flyer that is warm in tone, including a blurred image in the background, white text, and a gold frame that allows the eye to flow freely throughout the entire flyer. There is also the integration of translucent gold squares in the top left and bottom right corners in order to have more of a design feel, as well as drawing more attention to the white text.

flyer templates

If you need a cover for a magazine, whether it is a digital or a printed one, this freebie offers a great tool to get you started. With half of the background being used to showcase some great photography, and the other half integrating white space in order to bring attention to the black text, this template is great to use if you need a free option for your magazine cover design.

magazine cover

You won’t believe that this is a free template option! Real estate is a great business that utilizes advertisement in order to sell beautiful properties to people looking into investing in buying a new home. In order to advertise, they can use online ads and flyers like this one. With this sleek and minimal design, this template offers a professional and appealing option for anyone in the real estate business, with cohesive colors and strategically placed background images. Your flyer can’t get much better than this!

Realestate

You see flyers and advertisements for new or existing restaurants looking to bring in new customers all the time. Some are better than other in regards to the design, and you might say that it’s because of their budget. With this template, there is a simplified design that has great colors and text that allows for a cohesive design. You won’t think that they are trying too hard to lure you in with bright yellow or red colors and large, overbearing text and less than good quality photos. With this template design, you’ll be able to create a great flyer that sells to the audience in question with ease and with professional quality – all for the great price of free-ninety-nine.

restaraunt

For a night club advertisement, you’d probably think you’ll need every color under the rainbow in an ad, all fluorescent and bright in order to capture the hearts of the rave fans – but you’d be wrong (at least somewhat). Depending on the night club or venue, the brand of the place most likely has its’ own colors, voice, and overall vibe that must be translated into the flyer. In this example, we see that the only colors really used is variations and tones of the color blue, followed by bold and simple text. This translates the idea of the overall event, branding of the night club, as well as communicates the overall voice to be offered to the audience in order to get the attention of potential guests attending the event. You don’t always need it to be over the top for an entertainment based flyer, and this is a great example of that.

dj

This is another great example that hits all the points we talked about previously. The amount of blank space here forces the eye to the text, with a simple image with minimal colors, shaped into a triangle, as well as implementing simple, thin text that improves the simplicity and the idea of minimalism. This allows the reader to get the information needed as quickly as possible and to make a decision about attending the event or not, instead of being overwhelmed by the excessive colors and designs, eventually not even moving to the text at all, possibly because they lost interest. Less is always more!

night life

Much like the designs and other flyers mentioned above, this flyer utilizes simple yet colorful designs to offer the information to the reader in a settle way, allowing them to digest the information quickly and easily, as well as being balanced out with the background images and colors of the banners. This template is typically used for a business event, but can be versatile in its’ design and can possibly be made to use for other advertisements as well.

business

This has definitely got to be one of my favorites. This is because everything goes together so well, and the text works in a kind of symbiosis relationship with the background image. Without being too overbearing, this template will allow you to get the information across, as well as giving the creator an overall professional and affordable flyer template experience.

nature design

We’ve all seen ads for the gym, and they’re all along the same lines in terms of design. The use of black and white images, brightly colored banners, bold text, and usually includes a deal for membership. This template has all of that, while also appearing professional and sleek.

gym

This template is great, as well as versatile. You can include this in a magazine spread, an advertisement, or even a blog post. With this amount of free flyer templates, the opportunities are endless and bountiful.

Swiss alps

  Image Inq   Oct 10, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

A List of Successful Infographics (and why they work)

Infographics are essential to any company, business, or even anyone whom is dealing with things such as design, advertising, or development. There are many infographics this year that are extremely successful, and the reasons why are because they have all the points of design that become important to things such as this. One reason an infographic may be considered successful has to do with how the design flows, whether there is not enough text or too much, whether the overall design just isn’t balanced in terms of objects, banners, images, or typography that is not countered with something that allows the eye to flow throughout the entire infographic. There are many more terms so as to explain why these make for successful infographics, and many will be talked about today. Here is a list of successful infographics and why they work.

This is an example of a successful infographic due to the fact that it is interesting, has a lot of color, as well as a selection of different typography that ranges in thickness and in style. The fact that it is an image of something completely recognizable like a house, even going so far as to include the images of things like an icon of a bed, couch, dining room table, chair, and then having the subsequent text go along with and explain the visuals. By having a good overall design, an easy to digest image that doesn’t take too much to understand, and then offering the right material that makes the overall infographic extremely interesting and well put-together, this infographic is extremely successful.

infographic

There is a trend in 2018 for infographics and design alike of using the color purple to an advantage. By using the color purple, this Digital Marketing infographic allows for the white space to bring out the text, as well as allowing the eye to flow easily to the information on the bottom. The large typography creates easy to read and understand information, which in turn creates an overall extremely successful infographic that is on the internet today. With variations of text, design, all while remaining extremely simplified yet designed in a very professional sense, this infographic creates a successful campaign that will draw attention from an audience to keep on clicking, reading, and digesting information about any business or company with ease.

digitl marketing

This infographic is great, due to the fact that when you first view the illustration in the middle, which forces your eye to view first, the surrounding text is placed around it strategically, allowing for a successful overall image. The white text makes your eye wander through it, and the headlines for each short paragraph surrounding the illustration are great for skimming, because the average internet user and reader will not go through the entire paragraph alone. With bright, solid colors, this creates a certain style of the overall design, and the infographic itself becomes readable, and cohesive due to the way everything is placed. If this infographic style is offered anywhere on the internet, then it will most likely be successful because of all of these points.

infographic

This is simply an example of a successful infographic, but at the same time, this offers a great idea for any infographic you might see today in 2018. This is because the colors, instead of being too overly bright and simplified, includes a range of complementary colors, along with icons that go along with the short text and small headlines. The overall design is a mockup of an iPhone, and this is interesting because it gives the audience an idea of what this infographic might be about in terms of a topic. Along with a numbered bullet list that only creates a more simplified design, the way that the arrows flow downward creates a great symbiosis, which is exactly what you want in an infographic. You always need the eyes to flow throughout, if not, then your infographic, web design, graphic design, photograph, even a piece if traditional art, won’t be successful.

Infographics

This infographic is great for showing a very passive toned, relaxed, yet colorful graphic in which you get all of the information that you need. By placing each image in sectioned off parts of the infographic, this helps the eye to flow through as well as allowing the text and typography colors to be consumed very well.

shots

Were you inspired by this list of successful infographics? Do you have any infographics that you’ve designed that were successful? Feel free to share with us!

  Image Inq   Oct 03, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

What Will Be the Next Big Thing in App Design for 2019?

Reflect upon the growth of mobile device use over the last ten years. In 2008, iPhones were merely a year old and releasing their iPhone 3G. Facebook had just experienced it’s initial boost in usership (100 million users). Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest had yet to be conceived.

While cell phones became an instant hit, we’re continuing to see the growth in integration to our everyday lives across many demographics. In 2017, there were an estimated 224.3 million smartphone users of the total 325.7 million U.S. residents (source). From a global perspective, the mobile phone usage is projected to hit 4.68 billion in 2019 of the just under 8 billion people on Earth at that time (source).

All of this continued rapid integration is making cell phone use second nature. Absentmindedly habitually checking notifications and the phantom vibration sensation are both signs of how deeply integrated smartphones are in our everyday lives. A big part of this intensely focused phone use is the quality of phone apps.

So what can be done to continue this trend of frequent phone use and app addiction? What can we do as app designers to continue to create apps that delight our end users? The answer –

Integrate Natural Experience (NX) in your app designs in 2019

Phone use is so integral in our day-to-day lives that the experience of holding a phone and staring at a screen is becoming more and more natural. Mobile technology is also advancing so quickly that mobile phone use is becoming more intuitive and reactive so that the way that mobile phone users interact with their phones is a more realistic experience.

As an app designer or agency looking to establish themselves as an industry leader and innovator, implementing Natural Experience (NX) research and best practices into your designs is the future of app design. Here is what it means to create NX within your app.

Immersive design and use

We’ve all had those times when we’ve blocked out our surroundings to focus on our phones. Despite outside noise and commotion, mobile users can become locked into their devices, completely captivated by the experience. It becomes less spending time on a phone, or checking a notification, playing a game, and more just – life.

Screens and phones can be captivating if you create the right experience. This means taking away roadblocks, limiting extra clutter, utilize full screen, implement augmented reality technology and advance your app capability to incorporate gestures and interactions.

If any element of your design, content and functionality glitches and breaks the fantasy, it pulls users away from the phone and the overall engagement with your app. Don’t allow small (or large) details to make it clear to users that they are using a phone and engaging in a digital/artificial experience.

Natural interactivity

From a visual standpoint, graphics can help naturalize a phone session. From a use standpoint, the way in which a user interacts and the phone reacts can create a very natural experience or disappointing artificial experience.

What can you do to enable users to interact with your app the way they would a friend? Reading facial expressions, allowing users to draw hearts to like something and giving them the ability to gesture to navigate your app are all ways in which you can maintain the fourth wall. However, you can’t just create an interface that’s dynamic, seamless and intuitive unless you’re going to follow it up with realistic responses from the app.

Realistic responsiveness

In order to maintain NX, a user can’t just give and give to an app without receiving engagement. What is your app going to do to create a dialogue, to create a relationship with its users? How is your app going to keep things interesting and enticing?

You can’t just phone it in, and rely on autonomous bots to fill in the blanks. NX requires a major focus on content. Every word matters. Work with a talented copywriter to make each interaction within your app realistic and sensible.

Video and audio can also create a more realistic atmosphere. It’s the simple fact that looking at and/or hearing a person is going to be more engaging than interacting with auto responses.

You may even consider giving your app realistic tendencies, such as shifting colors in response to a touch, facial expression or voice command.

If you want to be innovative, if you want to create a natural experience, you have to humanize your app as much as possible.

Augmented reality

AR is the perfect example of NX. A real world experience with a digital enhancement. Engaging in AR enabled apps creates an immersive experience that marries the real world and the digital world. This should be your goal when creating your next big app. Either utilize AR to inspire your app design or learn to implement AR technology to improve your apps NX.

Biometric integration

Biometric technology can bridge the connection between the phone and its user. By enabling users to sign in to your app via facial, iris, voice or fingerprint recognition, you make app and device use that much more seamless.

Tour guide experience

Users should feel personally ushered through your app from start to finish. Whether you’re utilizing audio, video, dialogue, comprehensive walk-through images or a combination of the four, users should receive necessary guidance to avoid any sticking points that disrupt the experience. This can also be done through progressive disclosure that doesn’t overwhelm users with too much information at once, but doesn’t leave them hanging to figure out the app by themselves. Make your app as intuitive as possible, but rely on conversational and natural guidance to help educate users on how best to enjoy your app.

When considering the visuals, functionality and overall UX of your app, make sure you’re factoring in Natural Experience in your scope to ensure your project is future-proof.

  Image Inq   Oct 02, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

Tutorial Reviews: Creating Web Banners with Photoshop

Web banners are an essential part to any website. It is a primary use of advertisement or for information about the brand or website, and can be categorized as an eye-catching digital design that encompasses the entire brand of the product, business or website in a small space. Usually, these banners are embedded with links back to the website in order for the customer to get to the information they need. Creating these banners can be extremely beneficial to your business, whether you are a web designer or a graphic designer. To help with labeling and organizing each tutorial, I will label them as beginner, intermediate, or expert, in order to maximize the quality of reviewing each tutorial. Today, we will review a few different tutorials on creating web banners with photoshop.

(beginner)

This tutorial is simple and easy to follow through, along with an overall design that is expected from the tutorial itself. This website offers a tutorial that would be a great start for any beginner who wants to create a banner, or for anyone who is looking for a simply designed banner that is easy on the eyes. Either way, there is only about ten steps to this tutorial, allowing for anyone to complete it in less than an hour, gaining imperative design experience and skills.

banner

(intermediate)

This particular tutorial helps you learn how to integrate animation into a web banner. This skill can be extremely useful in terms of web design, because an animated web banner means that it has a better chance at generating traffic to the website it is linked to, because it draws more attention, and has a better chance of people clicking on the banner, leading to the website of choice. Especially if the web banner has something written as a call-to-action, the banner has a skyrocketed chance of increasing web traffic, and ultimately sales.

banner

(beginner)

Fast Print offers an extremely detail-oriented tutorial, which is targeted towards beginner level designers. Anyone can become a designer with thorough tutorials such as these, making for a sort of educational hub that is a useful tool offered to people who just want to improve their skills, or want to become self- taught designers. With tutorials such as this one, it is a wonder how designers need any education at universities at all, with free access to resources such as this one.

banner

(intermediate)

This is another extremely in-depth tutorial, that helps anyone to create professional in appearance web banners. The reason I labeled this tutorial as intermediate, is precisely because of the sheer mass of instructions, which can easily become complicated or overwhelming for someone that doesn’t have a lot of experience. Although this tutorial has a microcosm of information that is extremely useful to any designer, it can become taxing on someone who just got started learning about web banners. In the end, it is a valuable tutorial that can help you to gain new skills when creating professional grade web banners yourself.

web banner

(intermediate)

Tutorial Web Design is a channel on YouTube, in which they create tutorials on photoshop for designers to get better acquainted with photoshop, and learn new and useful skills. This web banner design is extremely successful in its use of color, shape, and call-to-action typography, and can help any designer improve on their skills when producing content such as this. I believe that this is expert level design, but it is possible that with only intermediate photoshop experience, you can complete this tutorial because of the extensive and in-depth step-by-step instructions are included in this tutorial video. This is why sometimes a video can actually make a tutorial easier to follow, because all of the instructions are labeled and reinforced with the creator’s voice instructing you exactly how to get a certain design, as long as you follow the steps correctly.

banner

(beginner)

Another great tutorial based YouTube channel, Photolation uses their skills to translate extremely simplified and easy step-by-step instructions featured in a short tutorial that can be completed in minutes by even the least skilled beginner. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and this tutorial is probably one of the first ones to watch if you are venturing out of your comfort zone, and want to learn a new skill about how to create web banners quickly and easily by simply going online and using the extensive free resources that are available, whether they are written out to have mapped out in front of you, or implemented into video form, which can be a more useful way of learning for people who learn better when something is physically shown to them. Although this tutorial is the beginner’s dream, you can create professional grade web banners with little to no experience, and that is what is so great about the resources that we have all over the internet today.

banner

(expert)

Apple Graphic Studio has a Photoshop expert create in-depth tutorials that are useful to anyone who views them. I labeled this particular tutorial as expert, simply because after viewing the tutorial, I think it is necessary to know about the tools in Photoshop that are needed in order to create this banner. This banner is extremely professional, and a rollup banner is slightly different than the normal banners be have seen, because a rollup banner will usually be printed out in a large size, meaning that you must have the exact dimensions needed in order to not have it look pixelated. The great thing about this banner though, is that it can also be applied to web banner design. This design is great no matter where it is placed, because the advertisement for the site will be the same. If you have intermediate Photoshop experience, it might be a good idea to look this tutorial over and see if you can gain any new skills from it. Watching any type of content made by a professional will usually be beneficial to you as a designer, or whatever profession you are in for that matter. This is because with the extensive knowledge that this individual has, one or two important points will be sure to leave a lasting impression on you, which will be implemented in the future, only increasing your skill and knowledge of the business.

banner

  Image Inq   Oct 01, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

9 Low-Cost Ideas to Inspire Your Ecommerce Site

Everyone needs a fresh start now and then. Even your eCommerce site, no matter how convenient and functional, could probably use a little revitalizing. Whether it’s applying a fresh coat of virtual paint, or expanding functionality for your customers’ convenience, here are a few ideas for sprucing up your eCommerce site without springing for a complete redesign.

1. A Fresh New Look

Sooner or later, every website has to freshen up its look and feel in order to stay relevant. But a new look doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul. You can start with a few discrete changes: a new theme for your CMS software, a fresh logo for all your branding needs, or just change up the color scheme a little. Or you can these website design ideas when you feel stuck. Even some new stock photos or a different typeface can go a long way toward making your site feel a little fresher.

2. Bigger, Better Plugins

Another great low-cost improvement for your eCommerce site: plugins. Most are free or charge a modest subscription, and can make a world of difference in how your visitors engage with your site. It could be anything from contact form software to a photo gallery. Or, if your website’s back end needs some sprucing up, consider a more robust security plugin or some analytics to make better use of your visitor data.

3. Upgrade Your Platform

Are your customers getting the most out of your ecommerce website? Are your search results robust? Is it easy for them to sign up for deals or find what they’re looking for? Can they pay across a variety of payment gateways? While it might take some work to take your ecommerce platform to the next level, it might be worth looking at where you can make improvements. Need more data? That’s where those analytics plugins come in.

4. (Re)Launch Your Blog

Regardless of the think pieces on the death of the medium, a blog can still be a great way to engage with site visitors and keep people informed. But if the mere thought of another listicle makes you weary, then don’t be afraid to try something new and different. Make a short instructional video. Put together an infographic of useful information about your products or services. Use your blog to spread the word about sales and new products, or introduce your visitors to your company’s team. When used right, a blog can be one of the friendliest and most effective tools in your sales arsenal.

5. Get Social

If you’re not making the most out of your social media presence, now could be a great time to better integrate it with your eCommerce site. Using multi-channel marketing, you can implement plugins to make your products shareable on Facebook or Twitter, or invite customers to follow you across social media. Plenty of brands are already making use of platforms like Instagram to gather interested customers — what’s holding you back?

6. Add Some Visual Punch

How long has it been since you freshened up your product photos? Do your blog posts include exciting, interesting visuals? A great photograph — or even a really good stock photo — can make a huge difference in how visitors perceive your site. Even the best product description only goes so far to showcase what you have to offer. A high-resolution photo gallery, or even a series of short videos, can really bring your products, and your entire eCommerce site, to the next level. Don’t forget to post your amazing new product photos on your Instagram account while you’re at it.

7. Increase Accessibility

It’s 2018, and we all know how important a responsive, mobile-friendly website is for customers. More than half of all internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, and 62% of smartphone owners have made recent purchases over their phones. But best practices don’t end with a mobile-friendly website. You might also consider how accessible your website is. Are your site’s colors friendly to the colorblind? Is your text large and clear enough to be read by people with impaired vision? Do your images have the appropriate ALT tags and captions? There are a number of ways you can improve the accessibility of your site, and many of them amount to a few lines of code.

8. Level Up Your Customer Service

When it comes to customer service, everyone appreciates a human touch. But an AI chatbot might be just the tool you need to improve customer relations when a human isn’t available. Chatbots can actually increase customer engagement by providing an easy, accessible means of getting help without waiting for a customer service email or sitting on hold. Business owners are already using chatbots to keep customers from abandoning their shopping carts, perform basic customer service interaction, and more. While the technology has a ways to go before it will replace human interaction, chatbots are constantly improving — and their use will only increase in the coming years.

9. Test Your Process

One frequently-neglected aspect of eCommerce websites: A/B testing. Many business owners implement a new feature or design and hope for the best, never finding out if it’s really what their visitors want. When you master the art of A/B testing, you’ll take the guesswork out of website improvement. It pays to test every aspect of your website, from landing pages to shopping carts, to find out what converts and what doesn’t. Just be sure to test only one variable at a time, to make sure you get the most accurate and beneficial results. If you’re unsure where to start, there are a rich selection of testing tools for you to choose from.

Revitalizing your website doesn’t have to cost a fortune. A few changes and upgrades can make a world of difference to both you and the customer. Not only will these improvements make life better for your website visitors, it might also get you inspired and remind you why you fell in love with eCommerce in the first place.

  Image Inq   Sep 28, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

Prototyping Tools All Designers Must Try

Good communications and sharing of information are essential in all spheres. Communication can determine the success of any software design and development activity. This, of course, includes web and app design and development.

Prototyping offers one of the best means of communication these days. Prototyping tools are popular among project team members and other project stakeholders. Yet, it still takes quality prototyping tools to help create prototypes that can get the job done.

Prototypes and wireframes demonstrate how software products are supposed to function. Wireframes focus on a software system’s functionality and interactivity.

Prototypes are more detailed. They provide a picture of the expected look and feel of the eventual software solution.

The prototyping tools presented here represent the best of the bunch. They are great in terms of the visual and interaction fidelity they can demonstrate. Their ability to validate the accuracy and consistency of a design is also of the top quality. Also, they can ensure it is ready to be handed off to the developers.

  1. Justinmind

The Justinmind all-in-one prototyping tool is exactly what you need when you’re looking for a way to demonstrate your web or app design characteristics during the design process, or to validate your design prior to handoff to a developer.

More than 4,000 web, Android, and iOS premade UI elements are at your disposal for creating wireframes or prototypes. These will, in turn, be used to optimize communications with team members, project managers, and clients, solicit feedback, and demonstrate whether a design is ready for acceptance.

Justinmind can save you significant amounts of time and money during design, and quite often during development as well. You can design and validate your proposed website’s or app’s navigation flows and switch effortlessly between the prototypes you build and the flow diagrams.

Justinmind also allows you to use design assets from any design tool, library, or file system to create your own UI component libraries, making it one of the top tools currently on the market for creating UI prototypes; and you can download it for free.

  1. Supernova

Supernova is a Mac OS X-based prototyping tool that allows you to convert Sketch designs directly into production-ready code. The quality of the code it produces is for use on iOS, Android, and React Native devices, and is on a par with the code you would expect from a professional developer.

Supernova is expected to become available on other platforms in the not-to-distant future.

The companion apps that come with the package allow testing on mobile devices, and you also have access to Supernova Cloud software that enables you to test your mobile apps on the web.

Developers will like the way in which this prototyping tool is able to automate several of the repetitive, laborious, and time-consuming tasks they are faced with including exporting code, exporting resources, and file naming.

Supernova is yours to try for free.

  1. Savah App

Savah App is more than your typical prototyping tool. It is made up of a set of features nicely bundled in a single package. As such, it gives you an all-in-one prototyping platform featuring a rich assortment of design, prototyping, collaborating and project management that allows you to view and test your prototypes on all devices, including iPhone X, Android, and Smartwatch.

With Savah App you can automate your design workflows, you can create password-protected projects for your designs screens. You can easily share prototypes and receive instant feedback from team members and stakeholders.

Savah App also helps smooth project design workflows by keeping prototypes under version control and its ability to smoothly integrate with Dropbox, Sketch, and other design tools.

Try the free plan while checking out Savah App’s 3 paid plans.

The Benefits of Prototyping

Prototyping has its advantages and disadvantages. This at one time used to be an issue for both designers and developers. There were questions about the quality and usefulness of the prototypes. Critics were pointing out the time involved in learning how to use prototyping tools. People also questioned the benefits, if any, that developers could take advantage of.

It’s different today. Prototyping tools are faster and more flexible. They are easy to use and able to simulate a proposed software solution down to the finest detail. They perform amazingly in terms of the design look and feel. The high level of interactivity and functionality is here, too.

Prototypes can help:

  • Eliminate ambiguities in system requirements. They can reduce the errors that occur when attempting to interpret system functionality.
  • Demonstrate what the software product is designed to do; not what it is capable of doing.
  • Give developers overviews of a design’s workings and look and feel. They can enable them to focus on specific design components
  • Discover and correct problems or errors early on in the design process. Also, they can clear up misunderstandings and ambiguities in the requirements.
  • Firm up the details as to how a finished software product is expected to function. These tools can play a key role in design testing and acceptance and handoff to a developer.
  • Promote collaboration and information sharing to give clients a sense of ownership.
  • Make it easier for developers to estimate their costs and schedules. Resources necessary to complete a project can also be estimated.
  • Serve as valuable reference points when version control is maintained. This is in case of disputes that can arise later in the development cycle.

Conclusion

The app and website prototyping tools recommended here can become valuable assets. Add them to your design toolkit, whether you’re a freelancer or part of a design team.

Developers stand to profit as well. Especially, when given the information that high-performance interactive prototyping tools provide.

These go-to prototyping tools can speed up design and development workflows. They can easily reduce design errors. Giving project stakeholders a sense of ownership of the design process is not an issue as well.

  Image Inq   Sep 27, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

20 Free Stock Photos You Can Use in Any Web Design

In order to spruce up any website, stock photos can be a quick and easy way to do so. Think about how it can make any article, introduction, or description more engaging, colorful, and cohesive in terms of creating a finished product. Instead of killing yourself by using hundreds of your own illustrations, or going through the trouble of taking your own photos, using beautifully photographed, high resolution images that allow you to use on your own platform for FREE, can be easier to find than you think.

Everyone loves free stuff! Freebies can be of great quality, as long as you have the right resources. When using photos that can possibly be removed due to copyright, it’s always a risk that you’re sometimes better off not taking. Stock photos are usually pretty open to interpretation, and you can use one of these photos for pretty much any purpose or article on your website.

So, do you need some quick, easy to find and download, free stock photos to improve your website, articles, or social media? Then look no further.

Today, we will dive into the internet, and discover 20 free stock photos you can use in any web design.

Need to incorporate a few images with the topic of technology in your web design? Then these high-res photos are just for you. Whether you are writing about a technology-based article, or creating a web design for a technology-based company, these freebie images can help solve your problem quickly with just one click.

tech

Your background must fit into the theme of your design, and these images offer a fun, bright, and colorful design created with fruit and pastel colored backgrounds, that can be beneficial to incorporate into your web design to add a pop of color, ultimately creating an eye-catching finished product.

pattern

Icons8 offers free, high-resolution photos that come in many different categories. If you happen to be writing an article about business, or how to manage, anything that has to do with the business world and possibly targeted towards a demographic that is primarily women (they also have a similar photo with a man if your demographic is primarily men), then this website can help you find exactly what you need, for free.

business

If you need to create an ambiance with a rustic feel for an article or web page, this photo can serve for that. This can also be a highlight for a restaurant review that is centered around this rustic interior design and atmosphere.

rustic

Possibly a bit on the comical side, this image is still a great example of a high-res option for any website that has a background in artificial intelligence, which is something that is on the rise these days. More and more websites are turning up with exceptional technology that can allow for AI conversations and language, and this image can be used for these websites, or for articles about them.

ai

As we all know, the topic of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency has become a viral sensation, along with one of the fastest growing stocks in the last couple of years. Although now at the present it has recently been in the news for dropping in terms of how much the stock is worth, this image can still be used in any web design or article that surrounds this cryptocurrency topic.

cryptocurrency

In order to create a web design that catches people’s attention, you need bright, interesting, and fun images that pop and allow for people to be more engaged while on your website. This image can be great for that, considering it is a lively purple color, and can be used in many different contexts. Plus, it’s free!

purple

Depending on what brand you are creating a web design for, this image can be used to create a relaxed, yet deep colored background. If the brand you are creating for has a green color palette, or has anything to do with plant life, there is a huge selection of images such as these on unsplash.

plant

Need a high-res photo that is all about fitness? This photo can be used for a web design that has a lot to do with fitness, whether it is a fitness blog, or a website about fitness in general.

workout

If you have to create a web design based on fishing, marine life, or something else relating to these topics, this photo can be a great addition to your design or header.

fishy

If you desperately need a stock photo that illustrates a calm, minimalistic design and relaxed mood, then this image from unsplash can make your job a lot easier. By downloading this high-res photo and incorporating it into your almost-finished-but-not-quite web design, this can tie everything together nicely, creating a finished design piece.

serene

If your web design is based on a dark palette, this image can be used to create a cohesive product when incorporated into your design.

red

If you find that you need a great way to introduce the different platforms that your website is featured on, you can find hundreds of mock-up stock photos that will allow you to do just that.

mockups

Perhaps one of the websites you are designing for has to do with cooking, recipes, and the like. This stock photo can take even the most simple recipe and make it look appealing, which in turn will give your design a pop of color and a modern look to match.

food

If you need images of travel destinations, you can find a plethora of those in stock images. This popular stock photo category is brimming with images such as this, giving you unlimited, free access to implement them in your web designs.

travel

These are images that don’t necessarily have a place, because their meaning can be broad. If you need an image that correlates to business, organizing, writing, or anything like that, this image can be used in order to add a pop of color, and make it more interesting.

image

A miscellaneous choice for integrating color into your web design background.

pink

If you are creating any website that is centered around photography, this image may be of use for you.

This image is a colorful example of an image that can be used in many different contexts, and a helpful tool for any web designer.

color

There is also a great amount of automobile images on websites like this, where you can pick and choose from the ones that center around your color palette and style for designs.

car

  Image Inq   Sep 26, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More
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