Fresh thinking is vital if we want to grow and adapt with (or even ahead of) new technologies and innovations. If we stagnate we lose, just ask the England cricket team.
This often means taking some time away from regular projects and responsibilities, and giving ourselves space to look at things from other viewpoints and perspectives.
In my case, while ruminating about personal and team goals for 2014, I found myself exploring inspiration and ideas from some of our greatest digital pioneers.
Sometimes getting something very publicly (and very badly) wrong can turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
When Games Workshop closed its disastrous Facebook page in February 2013, no-one would have dreamed that just six months later it would be back and delivering an exemplary community experience.
There have been a lot of articles recently about big data, technical innovations, the internet of things, the latest search algorithms etc.
We have an increasing volume of information to consume and assimilate on a daily basis. Yet we can’t allow ourselves to get completely caught up in granularity and detail, we are emotional creatures and creative thinking must be part of our daily diet.
With political fever in the media building towards a 2015 general election I’ve taken a look at the present state of the four main UK political party websites (Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP).
This review and analysis is based upon website ease of use and content engagement from the perspective of a new visitor.
So which party has the best website strategy?
I tend to keep an eye on the UK’s most popular websites (Alexa is a good source for this data), as I know that my clients and their customers are likely to be familiar with their navigation features, tools and interfaces.
There is a risk that creating something ‘too new’ or ‘too different’ can give rise to negative user feedback, a recent case in point being Microsoft® Windows 8 lacking a Start button.
For most projects, delivery timescales are tight and there isn’t time to experiment with wild and fanciful navigation.
More importantly, users want to find things quickly. They don’t want to have to ‘learn’ how to use your site, it should be intuitive to them.
Want to get the best from your design studio?
Whether they’re newly hired or long-standing partners, here are five top tips, based on 15 years of agency-side experience, that will get you results, rapport and respect (and possibly even access to their stash of brightly-coloured confectionery).
I was recently asked by a client “If time and money weren’t an issue, what type of mobile development would you do? Responsive, mobile or app?”
“All three,” I replied.
“Ok... And if you could have just one?”
Most of my projects (and particularly the one in question) revolve around brand communications and loyalty programmes, here’s my running order:
There are a lot of websites out there where you can see the 80/20 rule at work; when a website has a good look but just a small proportion of the site’s features and content is doing all the hard work. The rest is maybe distracting, irrelevant or even getting in the way of the customer journey.
Why does this happen? We all know that great stuff just works and consequently great design often goes by unnoticed - simplicity wins hands-down over complexity.
Twitter shows us we can all say more with less, and pictures engage us better than words. Look how image-based Facebook quickly displaced text-based sites, such as Friends Reunited.
I suspect that cumbersome or over-designed websites are often the result of the designer loving what they do… maybe just a little bit too much.