Archive for November, 2009

Web Design Trends for 2010

By: Jaqueline Thomas

With a new year on the horizon, it’s time to pack away the old, worn web designs and prepare for the brave, new face of tomorrow. Although trends don’t start and stop on January 1st, there is a definite shift from what we craved at the beginning of the year to what we are seeking tutorials for at the end of the year. Most of the time, this shift is subtle. It’s a perfection or re-interpretation of a currently hot trend. Trends help us evolve as designers. As we master the skills of design aesthetic, we continue to push forward to what’s next or what needs to be fully discovered.

Make no mistake about it, you will recognize the ideas behind these trends. Although this list isn’t a drastic departure from what was popular in 2009, it marks different trends that will be expanded upon and made better as a result. As you think of how you will incorporate new trends into your designs, focus on the main idea of each trend. Be encouraged to dabble into these trends so that you become part of the movement.

1. Oversized Logos/ Headers

Splash pages are so yesterday. To make an unforgettable impression on the visitor, the trend for 2010 will be oversized logos on an equally oversized header. These types of headers can take up the entire screen, but with one important note. Visitors will not need to click anything, just scroll down. Visitors often having a clicking phobia (due to years of poor navigation), so big headers do the job of a splash page without forcing your visitors to click anything.

Main Idea: Huge headers that make your visitors remember you.

2. Sketch/ Hand-drawn Design

Hand-drawn design is not exactly new on the horizon, but we all know that it is still on the fringes of web design. Many designers admire the style but are afraid to create their own sketches because of the “I can’t really draw” attitude. If you look at the most popular hand-drawn websites (and relative to other types of trends, there are only a few), you will notice that most of your fellow designers can’t draw. These designs are not exactly headed to an art museum, but they do convey a sense of whimsy, and blur the line between cold web and personal interaction– the ultimate goal of the internet. If you can doodle, you can sketch for web design.

Sketch in 2010 will become more elemental, and not as much the main focus of a web design. It will be used to personalize standard web copy in new and exciting ways.

Main Idea: Sketch becomes an elemental part of corporate design.

3. Slab Typefaces

Slab typefaces are relatively new, although they’ve been around for over 200 years in traditional media. To get a good visual definition of slab typefaces, think of the old Wild West “Wanted” posters. Those bold letters are slab typefaces. Slab typeface is commonly all capital letters and are bold and imposing. Many designers have shied away from slab typefaces in the past because logos and headers were smaller and more understated. However, combined with the trend toward larger headers, slab typefaces demand the reader to take notice.

Main Idea: Slab typefaces is used to bravely express who you are.

4. Typography

Typography is one of the most difficult trends to tackle which is why it will remain fresh in 2010. With all the cries for usability, web designers are afraid of using new and different fonts. The idea of mixing varying font sizes together is completely unthinkable. Fonts are meant to be explored, twisted, and molded to fit your purposes. With the correct placement, a website that utilizes Typography as its main design element will be more interesting to a reader than overloading the same site with tons of photos.

Main Idea: Typography is young, but will continue to be a part of web design.

5. One Page Layouts

One pay layouts challenge you to edit away what’s unnecessary. In 2010, this trend will move away from the quirky navigation and become more minimal in its approach. Think of these websites as business cards. These websites will be more of a one-stop-shop for how to locate you and your work on various other sites– your blog and your social media hangouts.

Main Idea: One page layouts will be more about personal profiles and less corporate.

6. Huge Images

A close relative to the oversized logo/ header, the huge image does much the same thing. It creates an visual impact that the visitor won’t soon forget. Unlike the oversized header from above, huge images are not part of the site’s branding. Instead, these images draw the visitor into your site, if not for their content then for their humongous size. In 2010, web designers will find themselves more comfortable using these big statements in their design to convey the site’s tone.

Main Idea: Huge images will be used to invite visitors in.

7. Change of Perspective

As we’ve discussed before, the desktop perspective has been done to death. 2010 will see a definite change in perspective to a more realistic view. There may also be a move toward side-shot aerial.

Main Idea: 2010 will play around with different perspectives.


8. Interactive/ Intuitive Design

Flash has seen better days. There was a time when you couldn’t visit a website without running into an annoying Flash interface. These days Flash is a lot more relaxed and much more professional. Although some designers prefer jQuery for forms and popups, Flash still has its place in design, especially when done subtly. Flash still has no equal to its interactivity. In 2010, web designers will move toward the more redeeming elements of Flash. Because the average visitor is more web savvy these days, designers will also create sites that are slightly more intuitive than in the past.

Main Idea: Interactive design will make a come-back.

9. Modal Boxes

Modal boxes are a trend that’s picking up steam and will be virtually everywhere in 2010. A modal box is like the popup’s more sophisticated older brother– it’s smooth, good looking and popular. Modal boxes are so easy to design and easy to use, making them the perfect solution for any designer concerned with usability.

Main Idea: Modal boxes will continue to pop up in 2010 designs.

10. Minimalism

Forget the old school minimal websites. Websites of 2010 will continue to feature lots of white space but with bold typology and surprising color schemes. Not all minimal websites will agree with the notion of black and white simplicity. Although minimalism is by nature muted, it will also showcase fresh colors. Minimalism isn’t cold, it’s warm and too the point.

Main Idea: Minimalism will venture into typology.

11. Oversized Footer

Oversized footers may be everywhere already, but 2010 will find them even more exaggerated. The footers of tomorrow will be less of an after-thought and more of an integral part of the design. Look for footers that feature contain random information, such as feed updates from various social media, daily polls, and Flickr feeds.

Main Idea: Oversized Footers will feature less important, but more personal information.


12. Retro

Retro designs are here to stay. Although a lot of the design community admires retro web design, it can be difficult to fully embrace this style without coming across “undone.” The key to retro designs is to be inspired by its tone and underlying playfulness. In 2010, retro design will be expanded as designers find new ways to honor vintage art.

Main Idea: Retro is new.

13. Intro Boxes

“Hi, my name is…” will find an even bigger stage in 2010 as designers recognize the beautiful simplicity of introducing yourself to your visitor. If you’re struggling with making a creative “About” page, the intro box will be your best bet. It forces you to condense who you are into a relatively small about of space. In 2010, intro boxes will push its own boundaries. Instead of the boring hello, designers will find new pick-up lines. And, instead of the left-flanked intro block, 2010 will see boxes in unusual placement, perhaps even in the middle of a page.

Main Idea: New ways to say “hello.”

14. Magazine Layouts

As more and more people migrate from the comforts of traditional press to online infotainment, designers are challenged to welcome them in with an easy transition. There is a move toward the magazine layout, where information is carefully organized on a single home page, giving the visitor an opportunity to explore as interested. The familiar layout will appeal to appeal to anyone who’s ever read a magazine or newspaper, but it will also be easier to use– no flipping pages! In 2010, magazine layout will become very huge for blogs in particular.

Main Idea: Magazine layouts will be used for infotainment sites.

About the Author

Go MediaJacqueline is an artist and a writer who spends an inordinate amount of time playing Super Nintendo and watching Star Trek. You can find out more about Jacqueline on her website, and follow her updates on Twitter.

How to Get Found

By: Guy Kawasaki

Brian Halligan is the founder and CEO of HubSpot, an Internet marketing software company that helps small and medium-sized businesses get found on the Internet and converts website visitors into leads and customers. He is also the author of Inbound Marketing: Get Found In Google, Blogs, and Social Media.

It used to be that you could efficiently grow your businesses by interrupting potential customers with outbound marketing methods like cold calls, email spam, and advertising. Today people and businesses are tired of being the targets of so much outbound marketing and they’re getting better and better in blocking it out.

At the same time, people and businesses have fundamentally changed the way they shop and learn, turning more and more to Google, social media sites and blogs to find what they want. Inbound marketing helps companies take advantage of these shifts by helping them get found by customers in the natural way in which they shop and learn. The following are Brian’s five steps to help you get “get found.”

  1. Be remarkable. Ten years ago you needed to spend gobs of money on PR and advertising to spread the word about your idea. Today the friction that marketing must overcome is very low for remarkable ideas such that they can spread on their own. Unremarkable ideas languish unfound regardless of how much PR and advertising you do. So make sure you have a unique, remarkable offering as it will spread like wildfire on the Internet if it’s truly different.
  2. Create content. Once you have your remarkable product or service, start creating lots of content about it—including blog articles, videos, podcasts, and tweets. Remarkable content about your remarkable product gets hyperlinked from other websites. Those links send you traffic, and they also tell Google that you should be higher in the rankings.
  3. Optimize content. Before publishing your content, you need to “optimize” it for Google and for the people on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc who will spread it. For Google, you should include some of your “keywords” in the title of your content piece so it will be easier for Google to find it. For readers, you should make your titles as irresistible as possible. A good model for this is this blog that uses titles like “The Art of Schmoozing,” “MBA In A Page,” and “The Top 10 Lies of Venture Capitalists.”
  4. Promote content. Once you have a remarkable piece of content that is optimized, start spreading it. Post it on your blog, email it to your newsletter subscribers, tweet it, update your Facebook fan page and LinkedIn profile with it. If the content is remarkable, others will spread it for you. As that content spreads, you will have more people follow you or subscribe to you, so that the next piece of content you publish will have a wider audience in the future.
  5. Measure results. You need to measure your results for each channel. For example, you should compare your results for Google organic branded search, Google organic non-branded search, Google paid, blog, email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn group, and tradeshow campaigns to each other. For each campaign, you need to track visitors, leads, opportunities, and customers over time. Then double down on the campaigns that are working and kill the ones that aren’t.

The fundamental way in which humans shop and learn has changed dramatically the last five years because of the increased power of word-of-mouth and search. Therefore, you need to change the way you market your products to match the way people learn and find out about them.

Getting Your Blog Noticed

By: Matthew Lyle

It’s tough to make a blog. You can write all the great content you want, but if nobody sees it then what’s the point? Luckily there are a few things you can do to help make sure people become readers of your blog.

1. Trackbacks

Not all blogs allow these, but trackbacks are comments that are automatically sent to a blog when it’s been referenced. If you’re talking about something, and somebody else has written about it, reference it! Either directly in the post or at the end put a “Further Reading” section and put links there. This will not only get you a (most likely nofollow) link out in the blogosphere, but there’s a chance the owner of the blog you referenced will check the site out.

2. Social Networking

This topic has been done to death, but make sure you’re doing it. Especially Twitter. It’s “hawt” as hell right now. Also make sure that you’re reading other blogs and being active in the blogging community by leaving comments etc.

3. Social Bookmarking

Putting your links up on social bookmarking sites can get your website out there in the internet world, and if you get lucky, get you massive amounts of traffic. Don’t count on that, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Add a plugin like Sociable and it will make it easier for you to rise the ranks at these social bookmarking sites.

Some popular social bookmarking sites:
Digg
Stumble Upon
del.icio.us
Reddit
Technorati

4. Search Engine Optimization

Ok, it’s almost 2010 now, and if you’re NOT doing heavy SEO then you need to start over with your internet exploits. There’s no reason not to make effective headlines, have keyword rich posts, and get backlinks. I’m not going to go into SEO because that’s a whole blog on it’s own, but make sure you’re aware.

Some SEO tutorials:
Search Engine Optimization 101
8 tips to enhance your WordPress blog SEO

Some SEO forums:
Digital Point SEO forum
Wicked Fire traffic & content forum
Warrior Adsense/PPC/SEO forum

5. Link Exchanges

Not as popular as they once were, but participating in a link exchange can have some definite benefits. This isn’t just limited to Google Juice either; you’d be surprised at how many clicks I have gotten just from having a website listed in the Blogroll section of some sites. Just email all the websites you would like to exchange links with. You’ll be more successful with smaller sites, but don’t be afraid of emailing some bigger ones. The worst that can happen is they say no and you’re where you are now.

Secret Tip #6: Write! I can’t say this enough: The more content you have, the more people will talk about it. Keep writing.

Leading Innovation: 21 Things that Great Bosses Believe and Do

WORK MATTERS: Bob Sutton

21 Things that Great Bosses Believe and Do

1. Creativity means doing new things with old ideas.

2. Treat innovation as an import-export business.  Keep trying to bring in ideas from outside your group or organization, keep trying to show and tell others about your ideas, and blend them all together.

3. Look for and build “intersections” places where people with diverse ideas gather together. And when you go there, talk to the people you don’t know, who have ideas you know nothing about, and ideas you find weird, don’t like, or useless.

4.  Treat your beliefs as “strong opinions, weakly held.”

5. Learn how to listen, watch, and keep your mouth shut.

6.  Say “I don’t know” on a regular basis.

7.  Have the courage to act on what you know, and the humility to doubt your beliefs and actions.

8. Reward success and (intelligent) failure, but punish inaction.

9. Make it safe for people to take risky actions and “fail forward,” by developing a “forgive and remember culture.”

10. Encourage people to learn from others’ failures – it is faster, easier, and less painful.

11. Eliminate hiring and reward practices that reinforce cultures where “the best you can be is a perfect imitation of those who came before you.”

12. Hire people who make your squirm.

13. Create teams composed of both experts and novices.

14. Make it safe for people to fight as if they are right, and listen as if they wrong.

15. Encourage your people to be “happy worriers.”

16.  Sometimes, the best management is no management at all.  Know when and how to get out of the way.

17. Have the confidence and resolve to make tough decisions, stop your people from whining about the decisions made, and to get on with implementing them.

18. Kill a lot of ideas, including a lot of good ideas.

19.  Innovation entails creativity + implementation.  Developing or finding a great idea is useless if you can’t implement it or sell it to someone who believes they can.

20. Remember Rao’s Recipe for Innovation: Will +Ideas + Tools.

21. Innovation requires selling your ideas. The greatest innovators, from Edison to Jobs, are gifted at generating excitement and sales.  If you can’t or won’t sell, team-up with someone who can.