Responsive web design is extremely critical in today’s world; it is necessary for survival among the fittest. No doubt mobile browsing has blown up and continues to grow exponentially. There are times where no matter how good a company’s web site looks on the monitor, if it is not “mobile friendly” and the user gets a poor experience, well, the site might as well be deemed no good at all. On a personal level, I can relate to the importance of mobile browsing. For example, after giving someone my business card usually one of the first things they do is pull out there iPhone, and look at my portfolio. If my personal site was not built with a responsiveness to adapt to different media devices and viewports such as the iPhone; and the viewer looking at my work does not have a good experience, this could jeopardize the integrity of my work and in turn, possibly be loosing future customers and contacts. I would like to quote Andy Clarke, web designer, author and founder of Stuff and Nonesense. Andy says, “Anything that’s fixed and unresponsive isn’t web design anymore, it’s something else. if you don’t embrace the inherent fluidity of the web, you are not a web designer, you’re something else. Web design is responsive design. Responsive Web Design is web design, done right”…
People remember 20% of what they read and 80% of what they see. Research shows that Instagram engagement is 58 times higher per follower than Facebook. Therefore, if your brand is looking for more social engagement, you should not underestimate Instagram’s marketing potential.
A couple ways to optimize Instagram is first by implementing the basics. Whether you already have an account or are just setting one up, you may run into the problem of your company name already being taken. This is where it is important that you are implementing your company logo as your profile picture for all social media across the board. Consistency in social media will help people quickly recognize your content wherever they may be. Your Instagram bio should express your company’s personality in a brief description of what your company does. It would also be beneficial for you to include a link to your website so people can find you on the Internet.
The best part of Instagram is posting attractive photos, so I encourage you to get creative with promoting your product. Do not post basic product shots with an interesting filter. That is not likely to draw attention for ‘likes’ or more ‘followers.’ Your posts should look “branded” in the sense that they are consistent with the online voice you are building behind your company. It does not always have to be about selling something. I encourage you to share behind-the-scenes photos—maybe a company event or a typical day in the office— both are interesting and make you more accessible to your audience. Don’t forget, video is fair game too for this; more behind-the-scenes action, showing reactions to your product or funny promotions, all help bring your brand to life on Instagram.
The availability of information at the click of a mouse has spawned a generation that goes online for explanations for the aches and pains that plague them. Often, these same users use the internet as a tool to locate and contact health professionals that can provide treatment. It is, therefore, essential for Doctors, Hospitals and Clinics to incorporate social media into their business plans. It has been shown that more than 40% of consumers say that the way they deal with their health is directly affected by information obtained on the internet through social media.
The Mayo Clinic, a healthcare giant, boasts of more than 800,000 followers on Twitter and half a million “likes” on Facebook. This traffic resulted from the clinic’s 2010 establishment of the “Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media”, a department created to determine how social media could be used for the benefit of the organization. In its Mission Statement the Mayo Clinic states that “individuals have the right and responsibility to advocate for their own health, and it is [The Mayo Clinic’s] responsibility to help them use social media tools to get the best information, connect with providers and with each other, and inspire healthy choices.” Googles reports that with the launch of its social media campaign the Mayo Clinic podcast acquired 76,000 listeners.
As with any product being marketed, brand recognition of a healthcare provider is essential. Regardless of the advertising medium – a roadside billboard, an ad on the Yahoo homepage or a TV commercial –distinctive images, an appealing logo and eye catching colors must be employed to promote the product or service. When marketing a service in the healthcare arena an area of import often overlooked is the need to build trust between the patient and the doctor. When those in need of treatment can communicate directly with a doctor through social media, a particular brand can quickly gain the reputation as the ‘go-to’ company in its field. This doctor/patient communication also promotes transparency and ensures trust between doctor and patient. Through social media the Mayo Clinic was able to substantially increase its influence in the field of healthcare.
Google further reports that Youtube videos increase traffic to hospital websites by 119% annually. These videos, replete with patient interviews and “feel good” stories, convert traffic to leads because they have a personal touch and a human quality that can only be conveyed through film.
Health Watch estimates that penetration of the health industry to mobile devices is as high as 87% and that 19% of smartphone owners have at least one “health app” on their mobile device. Does this mean that health care providers need to develop an app to stay in the game? Not necessarily. What this trend does say, however, is that it is important to increase the direct communication between patient and doctor, building that trust, to effectively market to the health community, and that communication should be directed not only at the computer monitor, but at the mobile device as well.
A brand makeover has to potential to completely rejuvenate a dying brand. If you are attempting a makeover, make it noticeable. The reason you are rebranding is to be noticed, so commit to the change in your brand. Any companies’ makeover should include a visual component to help the businesses re-establish the lines of communication with customers. Whether that’s new packaging or a redesigned logo, these tools have the potential to engage audiences to rediscover the brand.
In making your first steps at rebranding, the first thing to do is have your team go back and identify your existing audience, and then identify your new audience. If there is no difference between your current and desired audience then find where the miscommunication lies—failing to focus on a clear, identifiable audience leaves the brand at risk of trying to do too much and often backfires into reaching no one.
The benefits of brand rejuvenation entail the potential opportunity to communicate the shift in business model, as well as allowing you to transform your brand into new markets and audiences. Rebranding allows you to update the company’s mission and vision, which will ultimately re-engage employees as well. The ultimate goal in rebranding is to strengthen your brand’s messaging and allow it to evolve. When rebranding it is important to stay true to the brand’s mission as it should support your core message while connecting with your established audience in a new and authentic way.
For this weeks blog I decided to interview a friend of mine and professional graphic/web designer.
What do you think is one the most important thing as a web designer? Thinking past static design & layout to consider the web at all screen sizes.
What about the creative process? We use a repeatable, successful pattern. It starts with sketching, wire framing, mock ups, rapid prototyping and then development .
How important is the creative process to you? Very! Synapse didn’t have designers a few years back, it was developers doing front end. Having designers makes a huge difference in the usability of web applications. Being classically trained as a graphic designer helps me daily in web design. I use the principles of design, like color theory, rhythm, balance etc. these fundamentals are paramount!
What is your outlook on simplicity? Simplicity depends on necessity. That is one thing designers forget with the web design and graphic design in general. They feel like they need to fill all the space like it is some “hole to fill” esp. junior designers. Question the necessity of everything you include in the design and then question whether is it presented in the best way possible.
What about the the placement of things like “call to actions?” You want to make sure your main call to action is available and accessible almost anywhere. If you’re delivering information you want it at the end of that information. It should be the most prominent path for a user to take.
What do you think about traditional web placement i.e. headers etc. and switching the placement of them up, in non traditional ways? It really depends on the users of the site or app. Sites that have the same user base are better candidates than sites that have mostly unique visitors. Additionally, younger, more techie users are going to figure out the placement of things and are less likely to get frustrated. With users that struggle you probably want a more conservative layout. You have to determine purpose of the site and the target audience. A marketing site is going to be selling products/services, reference website will be delivering information etc.
Any input for junior web designer? Mobile first approach, responsive design and write clean code!
In the biography Titan, Ron Chernow tells the story of John D. Rockefeller, the man who built Standard Oil of Ohio in the late 19th century. Before Rockefeller, people in the United States relied on wood for cooking and heat, and whale oil for light. These materials were expensive to extract and inefficient for generating power. In contrast, petroleum products were easily and cheaply obtained. Chernow argues that the emergence of the railroad allowed industrialists to transport goods on a national level. Until the railroad tracks were laid across America, items could be manufactured and sold to the local consumer. With the advent of the railroad, oil, drilled and refined in Pennsylvania, could be sold and transported across long distances. Hence, Standard Oil of Ohio, by controlling the railroads, could monopolize the petroleum industry.
Similar to this ‘sales revolution’ made possible by the railroad in Rockefeller’s time, the emergence of the 20th century internet created a market for items that were heretofore distributed nationally to be sold to wholesale and retail consumers overseas. The market was once again expanded, increasing from the confines of national sales to an international market.
Today, a merchant promoting the sale of his product on the internet can take advantage of another commercial revolution taking place in the in the 21st century. Companies can market to potential buyers on their mobile devices.
Until recently, a marketer had to market a product online by hoping that the consumer would sit down at his PC, surf the net, and see the product being offered. But today, as consumers have their cell phones in hand, the marketer can target the customer and achieve instant results. An added bonus that accrues to the salesperson is his ability to track users based on GPS location. In addition, mobile devices allow for a more personal interaction through direct dialogue via SMS. By targeting ads to the mobile phone, the owner of a given website can track a user’s response instantly, allowing the marketer to analyze and understand the behavior of the cell phone owner and to improve the seller’s standard of service.
Best of all, mobile communication offers the potential for an advertisement to go viral. Mobile users tend to share good content with friends and family, and they can to do so with the click of a button. This offers the marketer more exposure with less effort.
This all sounds good in theory, but does it hold true in practice? In fact, according to a study conducted by comscore.com, four out of five modern consumers – a staggering 80% – use their smart phones to shop. Furthermore, iacqure.com reports that 70% of mobile users took action and bought a product after a mere hour spent on the internet. This is three times faster than the same results realized on a desktop or laptop computer.
That consumers shop with their mobile devices comes as no surprise. In early 2014, CNN reported that Internet usage on mobiles devices and tablets surpassed that of PCs. CBS news added that 75% of Americans admit to surfing the Internet while in the bathroom, granting the marketer an additional opportunity to reach the consumer at time that used to be reserved for other activities
Rockefeller became a Titan because he recognized that a product – in this case refined petroleum products – could be manufactured locally and sold across the entire country. He expanded the availability of goods to a larger audience. With the advancement of technology, this trend continues today. The Titans that will emerge in our generation are those who take advantage of the trends and recognize advances in how their goods and services may best reach the consumers.
The psychology of color is one of the most interesting and controversial aspects of marketing. There has always been debate on the importance of color in marketing and its effect on persuasion. According to a study titled, The Impact of Color in Marketing, Satyendra Singh describes that the typical person makes up their mind within 90 seconds of their initial interaction with either people or products. She also claims that about 62-90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone.
It is believed that the most effective colors for advertising are those that stimulate the viewer’s senses. Warm colors, such as red and yellow, are known to make people feel comfortable, and encourage them to linger—a reason why many restaurants primarily use warm color schemes. Nearly all logos, advertisements, and menus of fast food chains feature reds, oranges, and yellows. This is because warm colors are some of the best colors for advertising food, as they are known to increase the appetite, which may translate to higher revenue.
Cool colors on the other hand, like blues and greens, are very calming colors often associated with knowledge and understanding—why many businesses tend to use a cool color pallet. Darker shades of blue are known to indicate dependability and integrity making it a good color for business ads and logos; you will often notice financial companies incorporating dark blue. Shades of light blue seem to be very effective for advertising over-the-counter medicines and other health products. It is believed that light blue has a calming effect on people and it is most often associated with health and healing.
One last color pallet to point out is black and white. People often underestimate the power of the simplicity behind a black and white color scheme. According to research, these are two of the best colors for advertising because they create a strong contrast when paired together. Black and white often indicate opposites—white associated with purity and freedom, while black is interpreted as elegant, powerful, and/or evil. However, when used together, black and white can give off a highly professional feel for the brand.
A web sites web banner is by far one of the most important area of a site. It is what people see first, this is where the viewer makes initial visual contact and gets an overall feel and vibe of the site, and ultimately decides if they want to continue on or not. I can not tell you how many web sites I have left due to the fact they had a weak header. Even though it is the content that matters in todays world people judge books by there covers, and the web banner is the cover. I like this piece of information I found online, it is from a graphic designer and multiple business owner named Dawn Papandrea-Khan. She states, “usually when we visit a website or blog, we can get a feel for what the site represents in only a few seconds. This is the reason why it is even more important to focus on making the right first impression through a custom header graphic.”
As a designer, there are a few key aspects and bits of information I think the header should contain. The company, the product etc. Which brings me to my next point I found in an online blog talking about this exact topic. This is from boostability.com the importance of a header.
1. Who are you? (You would be amazed how many websites make their visitors dig around to find out the name of the company!)
2. What do you do? (Again, the number of visitors who are forced to assume your site sells a product rather than just talks about it is ridiculous. Be clear!)
3. Why should I buy from you, not the other guy?
The web is littered with garbage, visual noise and a bunch of sites that house web banners that all look the same. It is up to me as the designer to produce clean, visually interesting web banners that represents the sites overall demeanor and entice people to stay on the site and explore further. It is also up to me to find new and exciting ways to display the content so we can separate ourselves from the crowd. Also, I feel like in design I have to take risks. I have to try new and “edgy” things and think outside the normal design box that I often get tunnel visioned in. I would also like to explore maybe trying a banner with out the traditional rectangle box, maybe another shape or placement? That is something definitely for the sketchbook and some thought.
‘Overchoice’, or choice overload, is a term introduced by author Alvin Toffler in his 1970 novel Future Shock. The word describes a unique problem that faces consumers in the post-industrial age. Each year, advancement in technology offers more and more products to shoppers. On its surface, the increase of options for a potential buyer would seem to be a positive development. Closer scrutiny, however, reveals that an abundance of options breeds indecisiveness. Given the plethora of choices, customers are unable to choose the product the best suits them. The buyer grows uneasy and unhappy. Often the consumer refrains from making any choice at all. This, points out Toffler, is the irony: “freedom of choice” ultimately becomes “unfreedom.”
The vision proffered in Future Shock is not far off from today’s reality. The question every marketer asks is “how can we go about extracting expendable income from responsible consumers?” Or, as articulated by Phineas T. Ratchet in 20th Century Fox’s 2005 animated film “Robots”: “how do we go about sucking every loose penny out of Mr. and Mrs. Average Knucklehead?”
Offering a variety of choices to the consumer is an important component in making a sale. However, the marketer must also facilitate the decision making process. In modern society, most people lack the discipline Harry S Truman exhibited when he stated, “there’s always a decision ahead of you that you’ve got to make, and you don’t want to look back. If you make a mistake in one of those decisions, correct it by another decision and go ahead.” Society enjoys having options, but at the same time, people are paralyzed by indecision and suffer from second guessing.
With the advent of the internet, Tofler’s “overchoice” proves overwhelming to the internet consumer. Today, any product is available to a consumer through his internet browser. Multiple websites offer numerous products that offer the same results with only slightly different nuances. For fear of making the wrong choice, a potential buyer will often close out his browser without clicking on any purchase at all. Should the marketer to make the decision for the customer by offering only one option? I think not. Rather, the web designer should offer just a few options while creating the perception that far many more options are being presented. It is in this way that the marketer can crush on any fears that buyers have of making the wrong choice, while, at the same time, making them feel that they have the “freedom of choice” they so desire.