This summer saw a full programme of the Zabisco graduate designer placement scheme. The aim of this scheme is to bring in both recent graduates as those on the summer break from their current degree into our design studio, give them great front line exposure to what life is like in a working commercial design studio.
How well does your website meet the users’ requirements? Here is a list of questions that help you to evaluate your website and enhance usability.
This is a visual blog of the design stages I went through while producing the Zabisco logo entry section of our latest motion graphic that’s all about responsive web design (RWD).
You may well have seen over time, we have a culture at Zabisco of sharing the great digital industry insight, analysis and comments coming from the team – across our blogs, Slideshare and editorial commentary.
Not only are the team pro-active in knowledge sharing, we are often approached by industry publications and commentators to offer editorial content based on the insights and skill set we are well known for. It was on this basis that we were approached by Computer Arts magazine to write a ‘how to guide’ on designing interactive infographics. You can now read our guide in the Design Manual section of the latest Computer Arts magazine, including a Q+A with agency Creative Services Director Marcus.
The latest issue of Figaro Digital magazine includes not one, but two features from the Zabisco team. This latest release of Figaro’s quarterly magazine carries a theme based on content is king, a subject we at Zabisco have more than a few things to shout about!
On page 6 you can read my insights into content storytelling, and how to construct a narrative journey for your users based around your own content. You can read my comments in full below.
Moving across to page 18 you’ll find one of our project case studies, the full project life-cycle (IA, design and build) of the new CIC website – its a great CRM project case study, and one we’d be happy to talk you through in more detail. You can read the full detailed case study by clicking here. Also see below for the case study snapshot included in the latest Figaro Digital.
If you have any questions, or simply want to talk about, the insights below please feel free to get in touch. We’re constantly working with the media to offer our opinions and comments so keep your eyes peeled for more editorial content from the team. Including the latest issue of Computer Arts magazine, click here!
by Marcus Marritt, Creative Services Director, Zabisco
Your site architecture is a network of journeys. Your content is the narrative along these journeys. Each page, tab and content area has a storytelling opportunity. Miss this and your narrative breaks.
A clear narrative has to have a purpose. Whatever your audience type, be clear about what you want your on content to achieve – what you want to say and how you want to say it. But that’s only half the story. Be user-centric and think about what you want your users to take from your content. Do you want to educate, inform or entertain? A mix of these? Make sure you are consistent in tone of voice and execution style.
Be engaging. Users will quickly close your book if the content isn’t engaging. Words alone are not enough. We are all fighting more than ever for our users’ attention, so be visual. Apply data viz techniques to lift your content. How can interactive elements bring users into your content? Make them feel like the hero of your story.
Above all, respect your content. Understand your narrative, which will likely in itself contain many layers (as all great stories do). You’d be surprised how many content owners don’t properly proofread – sounds like practice 101 right? It should be. Proofreading shouldn’t be seen as a chore. It’s a chance to shape and dress your content to be the prettiest book on the shelf. Spelling mistakes, inconsistent terminology, switching from third person to first – these are all black marks that build up a layer of detachment between the story and user.
The great work behind IA, visual design, front and back-end dev is intended to lift content onto a pedestal – don’t fall at the last hurdle with a failing narrative.
CRM CASE STUDY
BRAND: CIC GROUP (COMMUNITY INTEGRATED CARE)
CIC had ambitious plans when they came to Zabisco and we crafted new information architecture to make the charity more relevant to their services users. After user-testing UI wireframes, their communications agency weren’t able to design a visual concept that reflected the experience CIC needed to deliver on this new promise. Zabisco took over the creative and technical workstream, producing a highly dynamic taxonomy to Drupal 7 and integrated the site with CiviCRM.
I receive a lot of designers’ portfolios here at Zabisco, ranging from students looking for a summer time placement, to recent graduates looking to start a career, to those more senior. Without a doubt, the overall standard of portfolios received varies greatly.
Now, the level of actual design work will naturally vary dependent on the talent of the designer. That’s a given and something I fully expect when receiving enquiries. What does surprise is the quality of the application itself – in this I mean the format of the portfolio, essentially how the designer is consciously choosing to present their work.
Are you struggling creating User Journeys? Below, I list 10 things that I have in my mind while designing User Journeys. Hope you find these helpful.
- Whom am I designing for? Provided that I have created Personas for my system, I use these people and design for them. Universal design is ideal, but in reality I need to focus on MY users and meet THEIR needs.
- How many Journeys do I need? As many as required to cover my Personas needs.
- What do I need before start designing? ‘User journey starts from a user’s sofa’. Having this in my mind I understand that users may not visit my website directly, but they might use Google or other search engines to search for a solution. It is important to write down all the keywords and phrases that they will probably use to search for related content. For instance, someone is planning to go on holiday, they will potentially search for: book holidays, travel sites, book cheap flights to ‘name of the place’. This has dual benefits for me; it gives me the knowledge to create better SEO and more engaging to the user content. (more…)
Studies have shown that dual or multiple screen monitors can help boost productivity significantly, enabling businesses to complete tasks and meet client concerns much more efficiently.
At first glance, people may find the use of dual screens a bit excessive and therefore unnecessary, but the truth is that there is more to it than it may seem. In truth, there are a lot of advantages to using dual screens, provided that you can cope with the disadvantages and challenges of incorporating such a system to your workspace.
In a perfect world, everything would be perfect. All projects would run smoothly, with a perfect brief, perfect progress from stage to stage. Your perfect new site would look perfectly how you perfectly planned. Designers on the project have designed and implemented the perfect site. The information architects have built the perfect experience. Perfect code written by the front end back end team. There were no bugs or issues to fix after go live. Everything is perfect.
When creating a new site, in order to get the most out of its online presence it is extremely important to understand your users and their purpose of visiting your site. Utilising the customer knowledge you already have can be effective in itself, but to really see the best results it’s imperative that you conduct user testing and not only that, effective user testing.