Posts tagged ‘Design’
Every visitor to your website is looking for an excuse to leave.
Don’t like the layout? Click the back button. Is the content not relevant? Click the back button. That button doesn’t serve merely as a way to leave the site. Rather, it acts as a lifeline to get users back to familiar ground.
Why would any website give users a reason to leave? Because it wasn’t built from the perspective of the user.
Here’s a website submitted to Mini Sprout. Users can choose from 40 different links in this screenshot alone. But since the layout of the website does not seem to guide users anywhere, I felt compelled to click my back button.
Square follows a similar set of guidelines; ask users to watch a video or sign-up directly.
Transmit from Panic asks users to download the app, buy it directly or find answers to their questions.
Even eBay, a website that struggled with clutter for years, helps guide a user. Users can search, browse a category or visit their deals.
Determining whether or not visitors like your website doesn’t need to be as subjective as critiquing your layout. Instead, use a web analytics tool and watch the bounce rate of your homepage.
Bounce rate can serve as a proxy for how satisfied your users are with their experience. If nearly 100% of your visitors are bouncing, it’s time to make a change.
The photo of this post is copyright (c) 2005 by StevenErat and made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license.
We’ve seen an awful lot of really good, comprehensive project management web apps launch over the past year. But, we can’t help from writing about them. Any time someone takes a new POV, we feel compelled to share it.
Solo is a new project management app built with freelancers in mind. The service handles both project management and invoicing, which makes it capable of tackling the more sophisticated offerings on the market.
Logging into the service brings you to your dashboard. At first glance, users realize they’re staring at a service unlike anything they’ve seen before. The creators at Solo approached their web app beginning with a blank page, and you’ll notice a few surprising design decisions. The visual hierarchy for graphical elements is a bit different from other project management apps available today. For example, the main page highlights the earnings to date with text, and charts and pushed down lower on the page. Sidebars don’t exist at all. Even the website’s terms and conditions are only viewable as a PDF, and they’re probably the most pleasing terms we’ve seen in a while.
The service is still young with a few necessary features on the way, such as QuickBooks integration, client login areas and an internal messaging system. Before jumping over entirely, try out the service and see if it’s something you’d want to integrate into your workflow. Fortunately, signing up comes with a 14-day free trial, and a paid account is available for a limited time at $10 per month.
New web technologies give us the ability to create outstanding, beautiful artwork in our browser window without Flash. Silk is an app unlike anything we’ve seen before. We had trouble nailing down how to describe it since we couldn’t compare it. It’s not a tool or a game.
Visit Silk, and click-and-drag a line across your browser. Once you let go, an organic shape will begin to form and glide across your screen. The design looks like waving fabric, or arcs of lightning, or smoke from a cigarette, all depending on what your draw. The shape cycles through colors as it grows, giving you a piece that you’ll want to save and share with friends. Hold down your Shift-key and move your mouse to control the wind.
What surprised us about Silk is that there is a business model behind the tool. The website previews upcoming iPhone and iPad apps. After all, with an app like this one, why would you want to be limited to your browser? We don’t have any other details at this point. But, once they are released in the App Store, we’re willing to bet they will become instant classics.
Forget about invite-only showcase sites or pay-to-play design directories. Favwork is a free, welcoming community for all designers to upload and showcase their best work.
Creating an account is as simple as signing in via Twitter. Once you upload your work, share it across Twitter. Other users can stop by and like your work, and the most liked uploads are featured weekly on the homepage.
The site’s layout is very similar to Dribbble, but Dribbble controls quality by requiring a referral in order to register. As a result, similar sites often lock out solo freelancers and unintentionally places greater emphasis on exclusivity. Favwork successfully shifted the focus from building enthusiasm for an exclusive community to building enthusiasm for great work. And since the community is powered by a social site like Twitter, the barrier is low enough for anyone to join. Kudos, Favwork.
Web developers solicit feedback for their sites through plenty of sources. Forums for webmasters are one, friends are another. Feedback Roulette shares your website with other web owners, developers and designers. Think of it as a peer critique, which could come with brutal honesty but also offer the most significant guidance for improvement. Feedback Roulette is an absolute must for web entrepreneurs, and it’s completely free to use.
Getting started is simple. Create an account, and you’re given a random website to review. Once you complete and submit your critique, your own website is entered into the candidate pool for selection. As you review more websites, you accrue points, which gives more people the opportunity to review your website.
Feedback Roulette’s service relies on its community. Reviews are anonymous, so it’s difficult to determine the quality of the userbase. But the service is valuable. A lot of web owners may develop and launch a website in their own silo, and Feedback Roulette gives them the outlet to exchange critiques from people qualified to give them.
Our Mini App Round-Ups cover smaller apps that rock. If you have a suggestion for an app, send it our way.
Teach Parents Tech
A few few folks from Google put together Teach Parents Tech as a free video tutorial service for inexperienced web browsers (like some of our parents). Users put together a package by filling out a simple form, and they specify which videos to include. The tutorials range from the basics, like copy and paste, to the result-oriented, like checking the weather or building a blog. The videos feature high production values and begin every video by stating exactly what the viewer can expect.
Buzzword Bingo HD
Who could survive a conference call without a game of Buzzword Bingo? The new iPad app Buzzword Bingo HD brings a time honored tradition to the tablet. Start the app for a random game card. You’ll see words like, authentic, strategy, framework or three-letter acronym. Tap a square when a word is mentioned to throw down a dot. You can also connect your iPad with other players through Bluetooth. Give it a try, and you and your team may actually end up with better communication skills.
Minus is a back-to-basics photo sharing web app. Visit their main page, and drag a photo into your browser window to upload. Then share the link with friends. Links work well anywhere, like IM conversations or through Twitter. No registration is required, which means no hassles. It’s one of the easiest ways we’ve seen to get your photos online.
Let’s Swap is about artists inspiring artists. The site posts one limited edition piece from a designer, and other designers can respond with their own work they would be willing to swap. Communication is held offsite by email, allowing designers to not only talk but also connect.
Pocket notebooks are the perfect travel companions. Think of them as field notes guides for anyone. And their cover designs are just retro enough to be cool.
Scout Books lets anyone design their own pocket notebook. Download their Adobe Illustrator or Acrobat page templates and size your work to fit. The template also includes Scout Books’ color inks and additional formatting instructions. The inside pages can be blank, lined, grid or—brace yourselves—a custom design. All products are printed on 100% Recycled Papers. Pricing for prints is tiered in groupings. Depending on the quantity ordered, the cost per book can range from a little less than $5 to under a buck. Free shipping in the U.S. too.
It’s pretty surprising to see what customers have been able to accomplish on the book covers. Scout Books also post some of their own designs available for purchase. Browsing their site catalogue may just be tempting enough for you to purchase one of their existing designs. But take their examples as inspiration and show us what you can create.