Minimalism is Leaving Design

Minimalism is Leaving Design

UX design becomes a more and more favourable way to develop elements the user interacts with. Graphic design is in a transitionary period. Likewise, with website design, everything in the visual arts world is getting increasingly dazzling. We see striking hues, exploratory creations, photomontages, serif fonts, metallics, and 3D designs. This is a significant departure from the flat, plain look of past trends.

Minimalism ruled for almost 10 years. Presently designers are moving into decadence and excess. Forget about usefulness. Ignore Helvetica and white space. Maximalism is an immediate response against minimalism. This style is portrayed by the resilience to defy the norms; clashing colours, hand-drawn designs, and complete silliness.

Create Pages That Engage Visitors Quickly

You only have seconds to impress a Visitor to your website.

Average first-time visitors make decisions about a website after only two-tenths of a second, according to Entrepreneur.com. After another 2.6 seconds, they will concentrate enough to reinforce that initial judgment. If a website doesn’t impress readers immediately, it can lose them in the blink of an eye.

Use these strategies to attract and retain readers: Reinforce the site’s main goal Your website can achieve many things, but it should still have one primary goal, whether it’s selling products and services, educating customers, establishing the company’s credentials or generating leads.

Every picture, every bit of text, every link and every button should support the primary goal. If your site’s mission is to capture leads, then each page should include devices to gather visitor information, whether it’s a “Contact Us” call to action or a sign-up form for an e-newsletter.

Keep text short and to the point Remember, you have less than three seconds to capture a visitor’s attention and compel them to explore further. Don’t discourage them with long paragraphs. Use clear, concise text that states what you offer, and make clear what you want the visitor to do – make a purchase, sign up for a demo, subscribe to a newsletter. Make calls to action visible, placing buttons such as “Request a Quote” near the top of the page.

What is AODA and How Will it Impact My Website?

Information and Communication Standard Guide from the Ontario Government website

Information and Communication Standard Guide from the Ontario Government website
Information and Communication Standard Guide from the Ontario Government website

What is AODA?

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is a provincial legislation that ensures those who suffer from any type of disability do not experience barriers, discrimination, or difficulty with their day-to-day experiences. More details about the AODA can be found at this website..

How will it impact by website?

Under the Accessibility for Ontarian with Disabilities Act, all private and non-profit organizations with 50 or more employees and all public sector organizations will need to make their websites accessible.

Beginning  January 1, 2014:

If you launch a new public website or your existing site undergoes a significant refresh, the site and any of its web content published after January 1, 2012, must conform to the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level A.

What is WCAG Level A or AA?

WCAG 2.0 is an internationally accepted standard for web accessibility developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international team of experts.

WCAG sets out guidelines for organizations to make their websites more accessible. The guidelines cover things like:

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  • writing web content in clear language
  • providing alternate text for images, or
  • making sure someone can navigate your website with just a keyboard.

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Each guideline has three levels of accessibility: A, AA and AAA. Level AAA is the highest level of accessibility.

Download the Information and Communication Standard Guide from the Ontario Government website. Making your website more accessible. (PDF)

Find out what you need to do for your business and your website.

Try the AODA Compliance Wizard. It will help you find out what you have to do to comply with Ontario’s accessibility law. It’s free and will take you less than five minutes to complete. Click Start and answer a few questions about your organization. When you are finished, the Wizard will give you a personalized summary of what you have to do.

W3C Provides a Markup Validation Service.  It’s a free service which provides basic analysis of your website.  Be aware that this validating tool will report results that are not required for AODA compliance.  This is a tool for Web Developers to help make your website WCAG compliant. Remember Validation is just one of the success criterion that is specified in the entire WCAG standard.  Your website must be manually assessed and also tested using assistive technology.

Changes to Twitter

Twitter recently announced that they will be changing the way that they allow people to use the information in their tweets.

Check with your Developer or Website Administrator to make sure your Twitter feed continues to function after March 2013.  Please take the following steps to make sure your Tweets continue working on your website:

Step 1:

Go to the My applications page on the Twitter website to set up your website as a new Twitter ‘application’. You may need to log-in using your Twitter user name and password.

Step 2:

If you don’t already have a suitable ‘application’ that you can use for your website, set one up on the Create an Application page.

It’s normally best to use the name, description and website URL of the website where you plan to use the Twitter feed.

You don’t need a Callback URL.

Step 3:

After clicking Create your Twitter application, on the following page, click on Create my access token.

Step 4:

Copy the Consumer key, Consumer secret, Access token and Access token secret from your Twitter application page into the settings in your Twitter widget.

Step 5:

Click on Save Changes. If there are any problems, you will get an error message from Twitter which should help diagnose the problem.

Browser Window Size

Have you noticed a horizontal scroll bar showing up more frequently in your web browser? More Web sites these days seem to be designed for larger monitors. However a larger monitor doesn’t necessarily mean a larger browser window.

I don’t keep my browser window maximized on my desktop. I find it to be a waste of real estate as most Web sites don’t fill the content area of my large screen. So I minimize my browser window to the size of an 800×600 resolution screen. This makes it easy to have multiple windows open at the same time.

Lately I’ve noticed many sites in my browser are activating the annoying horizontal scroll bar. It is an unpleasant surfing experience to have to scroll from left to right. Since my Internet Explorer window is set to a width of 800 pixels, apparently more web designers are producing layouts which require a canvas of 1024 pixels to display the page without horizontal scroll. Webmonkey.com has some good text about this topic.

MSN.ca is incorporating user selectable widow sizes. Page options at http://sympatico.msn.ca/ offer the narrow view (800×600) and wide screen view (1024×768) At MSN.ca, the visitor has a choice. This is the most clever solution to the problem of horizontal scrolling.

I hear often, “what size should I design my web page?” There are many answers to that question. Mainly, you want to find out what your visitors are using for a browser window size. Plus you can check the browser stats available at http://www.upsdell.com/BrowserNews/stat_trends.htm#browser

It is important to note that the display resolution says little about the size of the browser window, and users can normally resize the browser window. Consequently no particular browser window size should be assumed.

The safest size to ensure that nobody is scrolling horizontally is 800 pixels. You could have your site created for 1024 pixels if you think you’ll have content to fill it. The 1024 size will annoy some Visitors until they resize their browser windows to the larger layout. The best solution is to do it like MSN.ca and create a layout that can be manipulated by the user.