This category features articles on general design principles, Web design, typography, user interface design and related topics. It also presents design showcases and practical pieces on the business side of design. Curated by Alma Hoffmann.
The Web is awash in content. A recent Moz article reports that 92,000 new articles are posted online every day. Companies are spending billions on content marketing to enhance credibility, build brand awareness and, especially of late, improve SEO.
Google has always tried to reward great content with high rankings, but today, thanks to vast improvements in its algorithm, Google is better able to actually do it. Its content quality guidelines are perfectly aligned with what every writer and marketer should aspire to.
People don’t spend their money online easily. Think about it: If you had to answer a long list of questions or struggle to navigate a website, how much money would you be willing to part with? Online shopping is about convenience and comfort, and those of us who have at least once ventured into the realm of online shopping know how time-consuming and unpleasant it can be.
The online stores that stand out from the rest are those that go the extra mile for their users. We’ll look here at some small and big e-commerce websites that create pleasant online shopping experiences. We’ll consider the experience from the very start to the very end, right through to the checkout process.
Guesstimates by analysts put the number of mobile app downloads this year at somewhere between 56 and 82 billion, with the average user downloading somewhere between 26 and 41 apps, with a smaller subset of those apps being used on a regular basis.
Other numbers indicate that 95% of downloaded apps are abandoned within a month and 26% of apps are only used once. Depending on the user, these abandoned apps are deleted or ignored, never to be opened again. I choose to leave these ignored apps on my phone and tablet, and at last count, I had over 375 apps on my iPhone.
Most designers spend too much time with their designs to be objective about them. The best thing any designer can do is to collect feedback from real users. Testing uncovers pain points and flaws in a design that are not otherwise obvious.
Recently, I had an opportunity to experience this firsthand when iterating on HelloSign, the iOS app that enables users to scan, sign and send documents from their phone using the built-in camera. Thanks to testing, the app went from four stars to a solid five stars after a redesign.
When Google announced its preference for user-friendly responsive websites in June 2012, I immediately saw an influx of posts that equated responsive design with search engine optimization. This is unfortunate because, while responsive websites can be SEO-friendly, some responsive websites are not.
I’ve detailed some of the common errors that give responsive websites problems in search results in an article on Search Engine Land earlier this year, so it’s nice to be able to do a more in-depth SEO audit of a responsive website here on Smashing Magazine.
Responsive images are one of the biggest sources of frustration in the Web development community. With good reason, too: The average size of pages has grown from 1 MB to a staggering 1.5 MB in the last year alone. Images account for more than 60% of that growth, and this percentage will only go up.
Much of that page weight could be reduced if images were conditionally optimized based on device width, pixel density and modern image formats (such as WebP). These reductions would result in faster loading times and in users who are more engaged and who would stick around longer.
Some websites outperform others, whether in their content, usability, design, features, etc. Details of interaction design and animation make a fundamental difference on modern websites. We’ll share some lessons drawn from various models and analyze why these simple patterns work so well.
When we design digital products, we often use design applications such as Photoshop and Sketch. Most people who have been in the business for a few years obviously know that design is more than just about visual presentation.