When it comes to website navigation, I'm a traditionalist. I don't think it's something that should be messed around with, unless there's a very good reason for doing so.
The fundamentals of web navigation haven't changed at all. Obvious labels, clear scent trails, a lack of clutter, and good usability are all essential. Navigation should be obvious, prominent, persistent, and not obfuscated in any way. And as with most things, fancy design should be stomped on if the user experience is compromised.
However, I love innovation, experimentation and evolution, and it is perhaps an opportune time to rethink our ideas about web navigation, given the rise of smartphones and tablets, as well as better tools, such as HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery.
In the past year or so I've noticed that more and more websites that have unusual forms of navigation, and I thought I'd collect a bunch of examples to show you the art of the possible.
It's worth pointing out that I don't think all of these work brilliantly. I'm including examples that are different and distinct, or that are very much in keeping with the rest of the web experience, whether good or bad. You can decide for yourself.
Some of these might be filed under 'trying too hard'. As with everything, I think it's about finding the right fit for your site, your content, and your audience.
So then, let's prepare to navigate! Click on the screenshots to visit the websites, so you can see how they work.
One of the benefits of ecommerce is that it’s very easy to present a range of products side-by-side so that shoppers can compare the various features.
This makes greatly helps the decision-making process as customers can select a product based on which has the most relevant features as well as being the best value for money.
Retailers can also present additional details such as special offers and product reviews in order to increase the chances of a conversion.
It's no use letting your ignorance, laziness, or even shame, stand in the way of learning to code. I possessed all three in abundance, until this week I took myself along to a Coding for Digital Professionals course (shock horror, it's run by Econsultancy in London).
The stuff I learned, and the geocities-eat-your-heart-out website I created, got me thinking about all the points in a marketer's life where coding knowledge comes in handy.
I'll start with some simple tech info, but read on if you want to see the website I built.
People trust what they see far more than what they hear.
The human brain processes visuals 50 times faster than text. It’s much easier to persuade someone into action through visual stimulus than by merely talking to them or providing a text document. The same goes for your ecommerce site.
At Searchlove yesterday, Conversion XL’s public face and conversion optimisation expert Peep Laja delivered his ideas on what your site should be doing to attract consumers, drawing from the latest research on neuro web design.
Hyatt releases its Q3 results today, so I thought I’d pre-empt the webcast and take a look at the company's digital efforts.
Is its digital marketing as good as the hotels? And how do its efforts compare to some big name competition?
It turns out Hyatt is fairly solid, online. I didn’t get mad trying to use the website, and everything was easy to find, with a good mobile presence.
To take it to the next level, Hyatt would have to redesign its website to match the modern design of RoomKey or Top10.com.
It would also be great to see more rich content on the Hyatt website, rather than simply its social channels. This would allow more of the atmosphere of the hotels and the ethos of the brand to suffuse the browsing and booking process.
Let’s have a look at the brand's paid, owned and earned digital content.
Luxury furniture retailer Oka has become the latest ecommerce business to launch a responsive site.
For the uninitiated, responsive design is widely accepted as the future of web design as it involves deploying a site only once and using style sheets to reformat the content based primarily on screen width to fit the device.
This means that the same site is optimised for all different screen sizes, getting rid of the need to create a separate mobile site.
The philosophy of aesthetics has become a widely acknowledged part of our lives. It refers to our innate need to define what is beautiful and what is not.
In the last decade a new field of study, called neuroaesthetics, has emerged which takes the philosophy of aesthetics one step further. By understanding the role of the brain we can begin to understand the neurological basis for why we find things more beautiful than others.
I believe the design world can learn a lot from the study of neuroaesthetics.
The ability to empathise is recognised as a crucial soft skill that web designers, writers and managers require. However, empathy needs more than an intellectual understanding.
If you spend anytime at all reading the plethora of articles on designing or running websites, it won’t take you long to encounter the word empathy.
The user centric movement obsesses (rightfully so) about understanding users. We create personas, customer journeys and empathy maps. We run focus groups, user test sessions and emotional response tests.
And yet with all of our techniques and tools, I am not convinced we really ever actually empathise.
This week, we’ve been singing the praises of Colston Hall’s new website (it’s a concert hall in Bristol, England).
We’re not going to gush any more, but we thought our readership might be interested to hear from agency and client, as to the process of redesign. What were the hopes, fears, successes, failures? How did the tender process go down? What happens next?
Attempting to answer some of these questions, I’ve been talking to Carly Heath, Marketing and Press Officer at Colston Hall, and Graeme Swinton, Creative Director at Palace.
Every so often, whether you work in digital or not, one visits a website and gets a slap across the face. One dawdles for a moment, scrolling around and wondering how web design has come so far in such a short period of time.
Colston Hall is one of these websites. OK, it’s a fairly sizeable concert hall in Bristol, England, but still, it’s in the arts sector, this isn’t meant to be so slick, right?
Cecile Eschenauer kindly pointed us to Colston Hall’s website, designed by Palace, after reading Chris Lake’s article on colour and UIs.
Looking at comparable venues (e.g. York Barbican, Newcastle’s Metro Arena) Colston Hall is way ahead, it’s in the future. Other small and medium arts spaces are going to have to catch up, or miss out on maximising ticket sales.