With the rise of the smartphone app, icons have become increasingly indispensable to the way we navigate the technology around us – an iPhone homescreen without app icons is almost unimaginable. While icons have played a role in GUI interaction since, well, the earliest GUIs were developed, we tend to think of icons as belonging… Read more »
Enhancing your Website with custom Website Illustrations The use illustrations can be a powerful artistic tool in web design and can make a website truly unique. Working with a good illustrator to create a design which reflects the product or service the website offers can result in a great outcome: a timeless, distinctive website which… Read more »
As psychology teaches us, humans are fundamentally social creatures. Even the most seemingly isolated individual act is a social one. Signing up to a website might seem to involve nobody other than the person sitting at their computer, but what they are actually entering into is a complex social relationship made up of many different… Read more »
Technology is forever being used in new and exciting ways. That’s why it’s important that you consider all sorts of different target audiences in your design work. This includes children. Programs and operating systems are increasingly being designed with kids in mind. For example, with the launch of the Windows 8 operating system for Windows… Read more »
There are some simple, basic methods of good icon design which can yield great results if they are followed. Sometimes some designers stray too far from the basics by trying to be too original. Originality is important, but it’s also important to remember the basics. Here we outline some easy, memorable keys to effective icon… Read more »
Lately there’s been a lot of talk of how the ‘flat icon’ has come to dominate interface design across all different platforms. The flat icon trend can be seen as a conscious effort by developers to return to basics when it comes to design. Of course, the ideal icon is one that explains its function… Read more »
Although a good proportion of the icon design projects we work on follow an established icon style, such as those found in mobile Apps like iOS and Android or desktop software icons like Microsoft Office and Windows 7, the greatest demand is generally for custom icons in a unique style. Despite the shift in popularity… Read more »
Icon design is ever evolving. As new platforms embrace the use of icons, new terms and references are dreamt up and older terms fall out of favour. This glossary is an ongoing project to document the icon design lexicon. Contributions are very welcome. 16×16 Pixel Icons This icon size has its own entry here because… Read more »
Here is another great comic style illustration from David, one of my favourite Icon Designers at Creative Freedom. This time we have a Super-Villain with a decidedly bad temper which I am sure fans of the 2000 A.D. Comic will have no trouble recalling. Comic Style Icon Design Judge Dredd Icons & Illustration As a… Read more »
Back in 2011, the US based Pew Research Center found that more people are getting their news and information from the web. “The internet is on track to equal, or perhaps surpass, television as the main source of national and international news within the next few years”, their research showed. “Currently, 48% say the internet is their main source – up 16 points from 2007 – and 63% cite television – down eight points.” The digital revolution has been great for the majority of us, giving wider access to information. The same goes for jobs, social networking and, if we look at Wikileaks, whistleblowing. However, with more and more of us being wired to the internet, it has had a deleterious effect on our attention spans. Recent research by Microsoft has shown that in the past decade human attention spans have dropped from 12 seconds to 8.
Further research has clarified this, as noted in Medical Daily. “These findings coincide with a 2014 study by the British unit of advertising buyer OMD that found the average person shifts their attention between their smartphone, tablet and laptop 21 times in an hour. This suggests the human attention span is smaller due to the growing presence of these gadgets. The desire to be constantly connected can compromise attention but in exchange for being better multitaskers.”
What this means in regards to writing web content is that with shorter attention spans, our ability to focus has rapidly declined. So, avoiding long and complicated words is the first thing that needs to be understood. As we devour info at breakneck speed, you’re going to need to keep it short and simple! This goes for everyone: brands, news outlets et al. Snappy headlines and short but persuasive content is what will keep getting clicks, as an example tech journalist Chris Lake says: “headlines that include awesome adjectives tend to attract a lot more interest / clicks / retweets / links than those that avoid them. For example, ’16 bitchin shortcuts and commands for Twitter’ beats ’16 shortcuts and commands for Twitter’. Adjectives can be highly persuasive. Try to incorporate them into your headlines.”
The BBC Academy has listed some essential info on writing for the web. Now, their focus is news, but these rules can easily be applied to any range of web content.
Strong Intros – an interesting intro, just like a headline, attracts readers.
Quote Correctly – always use quotation marks.
Pictures Must Match Story – a poorly sourced photo with no relation to the topic looks down right lazy.
Add Extras – e.g. sub-headings, links, quote boxes etc.
Ever evolving language
Going back to what we said earlier, with changes in attention spans, our language structure has had to change dramatically too, and unlike in the time before the internet, it’s accelerated. Also, we’ve all been given more opportunities to write, be it Twitter, emails or blogs. So with our time being more precious, we’ve had to rethink how we write. Journalist Kevin Kelleher argues that far from this triggering a reversion to childlike language, as it may appear on the surface with so many ubiquitous acronyms like “LOL” and “PMSL” flying around, it has made us write better: “the Internet isn’t just prompting us to write more, its open structure pressures us to write in a way that’s at once more concise and flexible” Kevin explains, further he says “having a clear voice has grown more important on the web, where writers worry about brand-building, news sites grow interactive and blog posts resemble conversations. Some don’t regard texting and chat as writing, while others argue that they’re killing longer and more formal prose. Both notions are wrong. The informal writing we do on the web doesn’t supplant formal writing, it complements and influences it — and is influenced in return.”
In essence, to achieve a healthy readership, your web writing needs to mix the elements of conversation with the concise professionalism you see from seasoned web writers – essentially mixing personality yet keeping within the rules we’ve highlighted.
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