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On the subject of Design Ideas


October 21st, 2008.

Why Do Print Designers Think They Can Design For The Web?

Please excuse the following rant but I’m increasingly frustrated, bored, let down, despairing, incredulous that there are still “graphic designers” out there who have no concept of how to design for the web, but who insist on designing websites for their clients

It’s fine if they stick to Quark and what they are good at, and all credit to them, but for some reason they think they have carte blanche to roam into areas which are not their concern.

For example, let’s say that you wanted to design a new boat.  Who would you go to first?  Would you go to a designer of aeroplanes?  No, you would seek out people who have experience in boat design, because what you want is a boat,  and you need someone who understands nautical things like waves, water, ballast, the pros and cons of different hull shapes, propellars, and the like.  Would you really want to go to sea in a craft designed by a designer of aeroplanes? I think not.

Do you work for a web design agency?  Does this happen to you that clients get their so called “brand” guardian to do the web design or the guy who did their brochure and aks you to implement it as a web site.

And is it just us or do you receive a complete load of tosh that disobeys practically every law of web accessibility, search engine friendliness, usability, extensibility and future proofing, font usage and image sizing hell?

What planet to these people live on?  Why don’t they put up their hands to their clients and say we can give guidance on the design but we are graphic designers for print and you need a professional web designer who can take into account the requirements of the web.  Because they work in the web every day they will know what is the right way and what is the wrong way to do things.  Do web designers try to do design brochures?

I won’t get started on programmers who think that they are web designers as I’m far too angry.  Just for the record, in case you are a print designer and you are still wondering where you went wrong here are few tips:

  • Decide the width of your design and what happens to the site when viewed on different size monitors
  • Think about usability and consider tried and tested conventions.  No need to think of your own “unique” style of navigation.  There’s a reason for some of the conventions.
  • Think about search engine friendliness.  Not enough space here to explain but be aware that 60-80% of traffic and sales on most e-comms might come from search engines.
  • A little flash can be nice, it can look good. A whole site built solely is flash is pointless – just drop it.  Nobody is interested in seeing your logo sliding in and out.
  • Think what happens in the future.  What happens if more menu items, or product lines are added.
  • Think about who will administer the site and how many image sizes you really need.  It’s a pain creating 4 different size images for each new product, (although yes there are ways round this programmatically).
  • Splash pages – why? What are they there for? Why do you feel the need to make people click an extra time to get to where they are going?
  • Consider the online audience – they do not know your company probably so help them help you by giving as much information about yourself and don’t try to be so cool that they have to be Sherlock Holmes to find out what you do.

Thanks for reading, I feel better now


July 14th, 2008.

Enrich your web content with an E-Mag

Have you ever seen one of those clever online magazines where you can “turn” or “flick” the pages with your mouse?

Here’s an Example

If you ever fancied getting your web content displayed in one of these flash viewers (you don’t even have to have a magazine, a product catalogue will do for example), ZMAGS provide an affordable way of creating these “online magazines” via the upload of various PDF files that represent the pages of the e-mag.

The service costs £19 for 1 magazine, £79 for 10 and £149 for 25.  More info here.

Many companies have used this service including our client, Pocket London as shown in the example above.  Other clients include, TNT Magazine, IKEA and Volkswagen

For Pocket London, we built a system around the Zmag IFrames that enables the client to “brand” each e-mag separately to their specifications.  The client can change the header, footer or an intro page around the IFrame through a bespoke content management system, therefore providing limitless possibilites of re-branding their online magazine for any number of clients.

Here are a few examples of the finished product:

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

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