Pete Low is a Games Designer at Chunk, a digital content agency based in Glasgow. Here he explains what he does for a living, and why he loves his job after 17 years in the games industry.
If you're on the hunt for a new challenge then check out Econsultancy's digital jobs board.
I read a brilliant article the other day... one of the very funniest things I have read in ages. It was all about how companies in the hospitality sector should play sound to make visitors feel “secure”. Sound, it says, “can help your website achieve major impact”.
Here’s another quote from the article in question:
Website audio can make your website stand out from your competition’s site while reinforcing the marketing and customer service strategies you’re already using.
After pulling myself together I decided to reconsider my views on autosound, which I have up until now considered to be one of the worst user experience mistakes you can make. I set about to find some examples that would make me - and you - see the light (and, ahem, hear the sound).
So then, here are 10 automatic audio experiences on hotel websites that will presumably make you reach for your bank card to book a room. Make sure you have your sound turned up, especially if you’re in the office.
I was genuinely blown away by the simplicity and usability of the government's GOV.UK website, when it relaunched last year. The new site was underpinned by 10 design principles, which the web team created to make their websites more consistent and user-friendly.
What are design principles, exactly? I rather like Henk Wijnholds' description:
Design principles describe the experience core values of a product or a service. They should be written in a short and memorable way. As a designer you should know them by heart while doing a project. Good design principles are cross-feature but specific. Therefore we should always try harder than ‘Easy-to-use’. Design principles are non-conflicting.
Many companies - especially tech firms - have their own design principles, and I thought I'd compile some of the best ones in a handy cut-out-and-keep list. I've also dropped in a few sage quotes from the great and good in the world of design and user experience.
Here’s a weird fact for you: your boss is probably the single biggest barrier to transforming your business. If it isn’t the boss, it’s those pesky senior stakeholders, who are normally entrenched in some archaic mindset or other.
This really is the way of things for so many companies. It’s a common complaint that I’ve heard over the years, and I know from talking to senior digital folk that it’s still a major problem for many.
Econsultancy does a lot of work for clients around digital transformation, organisational change and business restructuring. In the past year demand for our services has gone through the roof, but even when there is clear buy-in from a switched-on senior lieutenant, projects can still be scuttled by change-resistant board members, or the person at the very top.
Why is this? Typically it’s a combination of myopia, fear and apathy. It is as understandable as it is problematic. Normally a boss is employed to have a vision, to be bold, and to care about the long-term health of the business. Unfortunately the pace of change in the past 15 years has left some people behind.
The reality for people who have not adapted their views to mirror that of actual consumer behaviour is quite straightforward: either they wake up and smell the coffee, and drive change, or they let the business wither on the vine, and take responsibility for that. There are too many examples of companies that have gone bust precisely because of a lack of vision, and too much dithering.
Ben Liau is digital marketing manager at Meyer Australia, a manufacturer of cookware (including brands such as Anolon, Circulon, Raco and Esteele). Here he explains what he gets up to, in an average working day.
If you are keen to break into digital marketing, or are looking for a new challenge in this area, then be sure to check out our digital jobs board.
Alternatively, if you work for a brand (i.e. not an agency or vendor) and want to share your experiences of working in digital then send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org, with your job title in the subject line.
We live in a world of big (and little) data, and many people have to make sense of numbers as part of their job. The trouble is that there can be a lot of friction involved when mining the data.
This is where dashboards come into play: a well-designed dashboard can save huge amounts of time, helping people to quickly identify the numbers that matter, in order to make insightful observations or to compile reports.
Dashboard design is a tricky business. The challenge is to communicate the key numbers in a straightforward way, while allowing users to drill down into the specifics. It is about avoiding clutter, about catering for personalisation, and about the prioritisation of the right metrics. It's difficult to get right, but I think many of these examples have lots of good things going for them.
I have a few ideas for web apps based around dashboards, so in part this post constitutes a kind of note to self. It is also a call for further suggestions... if you have seen other beautiful / functional / clever dashboards then do leave a comment below. And if you're a data geek who doesn't love some of these, then be sure to say why!
Karen Cinnamon is a freelance Digital & Branding Designer at Cinnamon Creative, based in London. In 2011 she was named as Xchangeteam's freelancer of the year in the advertising & design category. Here she shines a light on a typical day in her working life.
If you're looking for a new challenge in this area then be sure to check out the range of design jobs on Econsultancy's job site.
It is a curious irony that you end up needing a holiday after trying to book a holiday online.
I still feel that travel is an area that is lagging behind, when it comes to ecommerce and the user experience (which often leaves a lot to be desired). These sites need to work so much harder than their retail counterparts, for all kinds of reasons.
Booking a holiday is a leap of faith if you're visiting somewhere for the first time, and the pre-customer experience is absolutely vital. Attention to detail is paramount.
But every year it's the same: I brace myself before spending countless hours researching possible destinations, knowing fine well that I'm going to encounter all manner of frustration during the process.
Here are 13 UX issues that I've come across over the weekend, while trying to a) find a hotel / villa, and b) hand over a not inconsiderable sum of money in return for c) a fantastic experience. Many of them are easy to fix. Some may seem trivial, but putting any doubt in the mind of the prospective buyer is a dangerous move.
Ed Langley is Head Of Multilingual Search Marketing at Search Laboratory. Here he explains what he does in an average working day.
If you're on the hunt for a new challenge - or want to start a career - in search, then do check out the search marketing jobs on the Econsultancy jobs site.
Laila Takeh is Head of Digital Engagement at UNICEF UK, the children’s charity. She kindly agreed to tell us a little bit about her role.
If you’re on the hunt for a new challenge then be sure to check out the hundreds of digital roles on the Econsultancy jobs board.