Tag Archives: design

Engage Your Audience With Infographics

In the past few years, infographics have been taking the internet by storm, turning seemingly innocuous blog posts into viral sensations. Beautiful, funny, and charming works of art, they turn boring statistics and information – like “50% of all smartphone owners drink coffee between 7 and 10 a.m.” – into something that’s not only informative, but also easy on the eyes. 

Great news: You don’t need to be a statistical genius or a brilliant artist to dazzle your audience. 

Here are a few simple steps towards making them great.  

1. Find a Viral Topic

Whether you’re trying to detail something as expansive as the history of the internet, or something as simple as the latest Kindle, relevance is important. If you’re creating a comparison chart between the Kindle and Nook, but you completely leave out the fact that the iPad Mini was just released, you’ll be missing out on a huge opportunity to create something that people might want to share with everyone they know – and that’s the point, right?

So think about relevant current events, topics, products, crises, scandals – anything. If people are talking about it, creating an infographic that’s reflective of those events is a simple way will make people far more likely to share that infographic.

2. Keep it Simple

Perhaps the best element about infographics is that, like Twitter, they force us to be concise.

Chances are that if you’re reading a lengthy report or a case study, there’s a lot of unnecessary information.

So focus on the things that matter – the differentiators, the key takeaways, the glaring discrepancies, whatever they may be.

With that in mind, just because you’re focusing on the essentials doesn’t necessarily mean that the infographic has to be short. It can be small, like this one from Hubspot or huge, like this one from Pop Chart Lab.

Just don’t fill it up with tone of useless information. This Kindle vs. Nook chart below is a great example, as it focuses on one thing  the price of books in their respective e-book stores  and keeps it as straightforward as possible.

3. Just Build It

Creating an infographic is extremely difficult and expensive, right?

No, not really. In fact, there are a few free – that’s right, 
free – resources that enable anyone with a few minutes of time, some interesting statistics, and a handful of unique ideas to create things that are as pretty as they are shareable.

One simple (and free) resource for doing so is called Easelly, which lets users create infographics like this and this with minimal effort.

Beyond that, sites like Infogr.am allow users to easily import statistics into a wide (and constantly expanding) range of infographics. Want more? Infogr.am allows you to make those infographics interactive. It’s magic!

Those not your dig? Here are a few alternatives. Still not doing it? Hire an agency.

Ready For a Mobile Site? Rethink Everything!

Based on a recent study by Mongoose Metrics, only 9% of all the websites in the world are optimized for mobile devices. And yet more and more people are viewing sites on smartphones and tablets. That means your site is probably failing a large part of your audience.
So you need to make your site mobile-ready. Think it’s easy? Nope. You have to
rethink everything.
Rethink Design
A lot of clients I speak to think that “mobile optimization” means just shrinking
their site to fit on a smaller screen. There’s much more to it. Because of the
different needs of a mobile user and the different experience of a phone, the
entire design has to change. This means bringing in your creative director (or
using
our fantastic one) to craft a new look and feel for the site, while keeping your branding. Seem like a big step? It’s only the beginning…
Rethink Navigation
Everything must be scaled down for a mobile site. Only the most important sections should remain, and they should all be prominently on the homepage. Compare the Famers Insurance website to its mobile site. The many options and documents have been reduced to just four items: reporting a claim, paying their bill, finding an
agent, and browsing products. If you want to ensure users have access to more
information, you can always include a link to your full site.

Farmers Insurance: From this…
 
…to this.
Rethink Text
There’s only so much room on a mobile screen, so try to keep text to a minimum. Most of the navigation should be done through buttons, large words, and clear icons. Look at AT&T’s mobile careers site. Notice how they divide their departments by icons, with very small text below. On a “normal” website, these options could
be simple text links. But for a mobile site, you should never make your
visitors squint.
 
AT&T Careers emphasizes icons over text
Rethink Experience
See? The mobile experience is very different from a desktop one. Big graphic
files or videos, which usually aren’t an issue, must now be weighed against
the time it takes for them to load. Avoid Flash animation, since most mobile
devices don’t currently support Flash. And different mobile operating systems
are like different web browsers; what looks great on an iPhone may not
look good on a Samsung Galaxy.
A great example of a totally “rethought” mobile site is Loews Hotels. The
site uses the phone’s GPS to find the nearest hotel and offers four
simple choices: Visit, call, map, or book now. Navigation on the homepage is a
simple scrolling menu with photos, short descriptions, and buttons large enough
for a thumb. Choosing “Contact Us” at the top offers the option to “Click here
to book through a mobile device,” in case users missed it. It’s a clean,
simple, informative mobile experience. No wonder it won the Web Marketing
Association’s award for
Outstanding Achievement in Mobile.
Loews Hotels’ award-winning mobile site
Want to learn more about creating a great mobile site? Use your smartphone as a phone (gasp!) and call us at 212-947-1001.

The Business of Design

60 Seconds - Things That Happen On Internet Every Sixty Seconds
Infographic by- Shanghai Web Designers

If you’ve seen my presentation on Social Media Marketing, you already know what’s happening every 20 minutes on Facebook. Today, have a look at what’s going on every 60 seconds on the web. Integrate that with real life and the more than 5,000 marketing messages consumers receive each day and you can understand why design disruption is the holy grail of the digital world.

In my homage to Steve Jobs, who the New York Times called a Designer first and a C.E.O second, lets look at some web design trends and how his genius has sparked them.

No Flash. Since Jobs banished it from the iPods, iPads and iPhones, HTML5 has replaced Flash as the simplest way to code interactivity and motion. According to Jobs: “Flash was created during the PC era — for PCs and mice… the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards — all areas where Flash falls short.”

No Fold. Speaking of falling short, remember when important web content used to be placed above the fold- the imaginary bottom of your 19′ computer screen, before you had to start scrolling down? Again, thanks to Jobs’ tablets and mobile screens, single page sites and massive images are a better way to make impressions that disrupt.

Beyond Arial. If you’ve been following the accolades and anecdotes this week, you might have learned that Jobs took calligraphy class during his brief stint at college. As such, the Mac brought fonts to the masses. Thankfully we are moving away from the handful of fonts that web browsers support into more glorious, custom typography that adds style and grace to a digital brand effort.

Just as you can’t move forward with an interactive strategy before having a business strategy, you need to capture attention to create buy-in. In today’s fragmented digital world, that gets harder and harder to do. Kudos to Jobs who through zealous attention to the details in design,  put the emotional connection into interactive.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”Steve Jobs