Why Design Needs to be Like A Quesadilla

Vancouver Designer Gonzalo Alatorre of Creative Engine

Award-winning designer Gonzalo Alatorre, speaking at a TED conference in Mexico last month, suggested design needs to be like a quesadilla. Where was the Founder and Principal of Creative Engine, and designer of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics logo going with this? We spoke to the Alatorre to uncover his motivation for making such a seemingly bizarre claim.

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Cost-Effective Design…

Cheap Solution for Website Design and Development...

Group Brainstorming Kills Creativity: Study

Group brainstorming creativity

Group brainstorming is inefficient and smothers creativity, suggests a recent study conducted at Texas A&M University. This might come as a shock to copywriters, designers, developers, and other creative types, who long for and religiously take part in caffeine-powered idea-generating sessions.

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Striking Design: FIFA World Cup Calendar

FIFA World Cup Calendar

Kudos to Marca, the premiere sports news source in Spain, which designed a superb calendar for 2010 FIFA World Cup fans. Beautiful, clean and functional — the Spaniards know a thing or two about soccer and good design.

Enjoy the Marca soccer calendar here.

Crazy For Flash…

Flash Button - Webcopyplus web copywriter cartoon

Good Web Designers Create High ROI

Thanks to the Internet, businesses no longer need to outspend their competitors to outperform them on the marketing front. Small companies can go toe-to-toe with established, deep-pocketed Good Designers Provide High ROIenterprises, virtually overnight.

But how? By leveraging the value a well-versed website designer brings to the table. Regardless of a business’ size or industry, a proficient website designer can help:

  • Achieve a desired image and appeal to specific markets
  • Enable prospects and customers to quickly find relevant information and easily complete tasks
  • Build a customer base and increase leads, sales and revenues

Oddly, businesses frequently fork over significant marketing budgets to PR firms, radio, TV, and print publications. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, businesses spend about $400 billion on advertising annually, much of the money going to traditional channels, like television commercials. However, when it comes to their website — the marketing hub that pulls all marketing operations together — business owners often tighten the purse strings.

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Web Design Tips ‘n’ Links: From Footers to Speed Tools

Web design tips

We often come across and receive killer resources from web industry partners — and we like to share, too.

Here are several that are especially useful for web designers:

Telling Google about domain changes
Moved a client’s site? Tell the king of search about your domain change. Google tells you how.

Are your clients’ soles starting to wear?
Smashing Magazine examines what exactly makes for a good website footer. This insightful article discusses what to include in footers, the importance of sitemaps, usability practices, and styling ideas and trends. Plus, it showcases approximately 50 well-developed footers. Play footsies with Smash Mag.

Fixed or fluid layout?
This Smashing Magazine feature goes over the pros and cons of fixed, fluid, elastic and hybrid layout designs to help web designers head down the right path.

Web browser standards
Web Devout promotes the health of the Web by providing web developers both knowledge and tools. This section covers Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera web browsers, with focus on the HTML, CSS, DOM, and ECMAScript technologies. Get standardized.

Give me speed!
Web users indicate slow load times are one of the key factors likely to turn them away from websites (see Users place more weight on design). Slow-loading sites are caused by everything from too many image requests to heavy javascript. Yahoo’s YSlow analyzes web pages and suggests ways to improve website performance.

Useful Firefox plug-ins
Firefox is popular among web designers. Heck, almost 60 per cent of Webcoppylus’ visitors use Firefox.  Web Design Booth brings you 35 useful Firefox extensions for web designers and developers alike. Plug away.

Poll: Users Place More Weight on Design

Web users place more weight on design

The demand for good web design is increasing, revealed a recent Webcopyplus online poll. Almost 25% of web users indicated “poor visual presentation” as the number one element that drives them away from websites.

Only 6.6% of web users who participated in a similar 2007 online poll indicated ‘poor visual presentation” as the main reason to abandon a website. That equates to a 267% increase during the two-year period.

Our web content specialists believe the increased desire for quality design comes from the fact that Internet users have become increasingly sophisticated. Consequently, more of today’s Internet users understand that a well designed website makes it possible to achieve more, with less time and effort.

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Forrester Evaluates Top Web Designers

Forrester Research recently evaluated web design capabilities of top interactive marketing agencies across 18 criteria, and reported that Sapient, imc2, Razorfish, IconNicholson, and IBM Interactive led the pack for transaction-led projects.

This was due in large part to the “high usability scores earned by the client reference sites they supplied.”

Organic, just shy of the leaders’ circle for transaction-led projects, received impressive scores for its online branding work, which boosted it into the leaders’ circle for image-led projects.

New to Forrester’s rankings this year, Ascentium, Blast Radius, iCrossing, OgilvyInteractive, Resource Interactive, and Rosetta emerged as strong performers, a category rounded out by returning agencies Critical Mass, Molecular, R/GA, VML, and Whittmanhart. Arc Worldwide completed the research firm’s list of evaluated web design and development firms.

Don’t have half a million dollars to invest in your website? Don’t get discouraged.

While these web design and development agencies are out of reach for most small businesses, there are many reputable smaller scale web designers and developers that deliver high-quality websites that perform well.

In fact, if you do your due diligence, you can get a basic website professionally designed and developed for as little as $5,000 to $15,000.

Flash Intros Not Dead Yet

Flash intros not dead yet

A client in the HR field asked this week about the value of a Flash intro on a website to set themselves apart from competitors.

I explained strategic positioning and good design is what effectively differentiates a business from its competitors. In fact, if you do a really good job, you can actually make your competition look dull and unimportant.

As I recently noted on Web Designer Wall, Flash intros were tolerated in the ’90s when the Web was a novelty. People were excited about this new thing called the World Wide Web, and many of us spent countless hours surfing it. Spinning images and assorted gimmicks were tolerated, and even considered cool.

Not today. Now people just want to get the information they’re looking for, and get things done quickly and easily.

Still, some business owners think they’ll “wow” people with Flash intros. In fact,  a web designer recently told me about an architecture company that spent tens of thousands of dollars on a Flash intro.

Unfortunately, they wasted their money on something that will only get in the way of their visitors. They could have spent that money on search engine optimization, or a host of other marketing and sales tools and campaigns, which would actually generate leads and sales, and promote growth.

While it can take web designers and developers several weeks to design and develop a Flash intro, it takes visitors just a fraction of a second to click their way to the competition.

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