As we move fully into April (and mid autumn) we thought it was time we looked at some of the fantastic resources that web designers and web developers have been tapping into over the first quarter of 2014.
Think about the last time you looked something up on your mobile phone – did you keep hitting the wrong link or button when you were trying to navigate the site? This is a clear sign that the designer or developer has little experience with mobile web design, as they have failed to take into account the fact that fingers need a large target size for clicking.
But how big do these targets need to be to ensure that touchscreen users can navigate the website in relative ease? Even though developer guidelines for these sorts of features do exist, these guidelines don’t seem to be consistent with each other. When Apple says that they expect a minimum target size of 44 x 44 pixels and Nokia says that they will accept a minimum of 28 x 28 pixels, you can see why there is a problem.
Would you be surprised to learn, then, that both of these recommendations are entirely too small for most fingers? The average index finger size is around 45 to 57 pixels square, whilst the average thumb is about 72 pixels square. If you are working to the recommendations provided by Apple, your users will probably find that they are still experiencing the same problems.
As mobile web design becomes more and more popular, it is imperative that you take into account the target sizes that you are using. When testing how the design works, ask yourself whether you would struggle to press links and use the navigation or whether you would find it fairly easy. If you think that you would still struggle, you should consider making targets bigger.
These days, web designs created in one country can be viewed by people from countries all over the world, which has created a problem in the way that different colours are viewed by different cultures. To avoid offending your international audiences, it is important that you understand the different messages that these colours send to each culture. As an example, how is orange viewed by other cultures?
- Western (Australia, North America and Europe)
Orange is seen as being representative of the harvest and the autumn months. It is also often associated with warmth (fire) and with citrus fruits (oranges). Some cultures associate the colour with Halloween, whereas others (especially the Netherlands) see it as the colour of royalty.
- Eastern and Asian
Orange is seen as being a sacred colour in many Indian cultures (especially the darker hue of saffron), whereas Japanese cultures see the colour as being symbolic of love and courage.
- South America
Many people in these cultures see orange as being a ‘sunny’ colour. It is also commonly associated with the earth, as many of these countries have similar coloured soil.
- Middle East
In these countries, the colour orange is often associated with ideas of mourning and loss, so can be considered disrespectful in web designs that are promoting happiness.
With all of these different meanings for a single colour, it is easy to see how some cultures may be offended by its use (especially Middle Eastern ones, whose view of orange is very different to other cultures). Think about these meanings when creating an orange and web design, and you will avoid offending people whom you did not even know would see your website.
Behind many of the bad websites on the internet are incompetent or amateur designers who simply could not do any better. Behind the rest of the bad sites are web designers who really were capable of much more – they just simply settled and were stuck between a rock and a hard place.
It is often said that high quality work brings about high quality work, whilst low quality work brings about low quality work. By doing high quality projects as a web designer, you are more likely to receive similar projects in the future. Do low quality projects, and you are likely to receive the same requests.
If this hasn’t been enough to convince you not to settle, perhaps the following reasons will:
- By pushing yourself, you will improve your skills
When web designers settle for low quality clients or the easiest way to do something, they are never going to improve their skills. If you push yourself to complete your work in the best way possible, however, you will constantly improve.
- The right sort of clients will respect you more
Good clients will respect a designer who has standards and sticks to them no matter what – it indicates to them that they will be receiving the best quality work possible.
- Your peers will respect you more
Web designers tend to respect (and look up to) others in the industry who consistently produce excellent quality work. Whilst there are people who could care less what their peers think, others think that being respected is a sign of their impact on the industry.
At the end of the day, settling for low quality clients and projects will eventually kill your career as a web designer. If this is not the most compelling reason that you shouldn’t settle, then nothing else will convince you. Stand up for yourself and your standards, and you will reap the rewards in the end.
It is no secret that psychology is useful in a range of industries, not just in the realm of science and counseling, but have you ever considered that it would be beneficial for a web designer to have a basic knowledge of some elements of psychology? Understanding how the human mind works can go a long way to ensuring that a designer is creating the best designs possible.
Essentially, people will visit a website much for the same reason that they would enter a store or a business – they want to buy or achieve something. Perhaps they are researching a company or a product, or they want to learn how to do something – either way, it is the job of the web designer to ascertain the reasons why people will visit their website and to create the pages accordingly.
Just because someone has visited your website, however, doesn’t mean that they are definitely going to employ your company or buy your products. So, how can a web designer make them do this? Most commonly, through the use of psychological persuasion. You can do this through including a page for testimonials, or making the site ‘likeable’. This will help to compel potential clients or customers to take your business seriously.
A more recent psychological approach for web designers is that of neuro science, mostly for the images that they include on their website. If a website increases the stress of a user because it is too confusing or complex, they are less likely to return or engage with it.
By looking at the areas of websites that could benefit from some psychological understanding, web designers can hugely improve the turnover rate and the usability of their designs.