Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Flat or Realistic Design - which do you prefer?

   Which design style would you prefer? Flat design or skeuomorphism? Remember, when we say that something uses flat design, words like minimalist, bold colors, sharp edges and lines, simple typography, and very little shadowing will come up. In skeuomorphism, the presence of embossed and bevel effects, 3-D artificial textures, and drop shadows and reflective shimmers can be seen.
   Flat design is defined as a type of minimalist design. Using this style will much emphasize the usability of an application. When people were asked ideas about how they think flat design look, words like simple, clean, modern, trendy, and colorful were some of the answers. Positive arguments for flat design are: illustrations are minimized; if an application uses this kind style, it loads faster; and the content is represented in such a way that it is simpler and easier to understand.
  Skeuomorphism is the design concept of making items represented resemble their real-world counterparts. Skeuomorphism is commonly used in many design fields, including user interface (UI) and Web design, architecture, ceramics and interior design. Skeuomorphism contrasts with flat design a simpler graphic style.
  In UI and Web design, skeuomorphism attempts to create three dimensional (3-D)  effects on a 2-D (flat) surface. A skeuomorphic icon on a smartphone display that represents the phone function, for example, is designed to look as much like a telephone (or handset) as is feasible, typically with shadowing, highlights and some degree of detail. A button might appear to be raised until clicked and then appears to lower as if it had been physically pressed.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Reebok ReDesign

  One of the most recognized athletic brands, Reebok recently unveiled its new brand mark – The Reebok Delta Symbol. When Adidas Group acquired Reebok in 2006, the brand has been struggling  in terms of profits for the last six years.  The brand has been focusing on fitness since its re-positioning last year introducing Reebok CrossFit marking the first use of the “Delta” symbol which now eventually be used across all its platforms.
With the new  brand mark, Reebok will continue to focus on fitness instead of specific sports like Adidas and Nike. The delta, which has been a global symbol representing change and transformation is the major change that Reebok wants to reflect in this new brand mark. Thus, the Reebok Delta symbolizes the changes in one’s fitness and personal life – physical, mental and social – that make up the delta’s three distinct parts.
Matt O’Toole, Reebok Chief Marketing Officer in a press release said:

“The new brand mark signals a clear purpose for our brand and it will be a badge for those who pursue a fuller life through fitness.  We believe the benefits of an active life go beyond the physical benefits and impacts your whole self and your relationships with others. It is our symbol of change – an invitation to take part, and to unlock your true potential. It’s not a logo, it’s a symbol…a way of life.”

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Web Site Design

Infinite Scrolling or Good Old Pagination
  A debate that seems to pop up is between the merits of an infinite scroll setup versus the more commonplace pagination model.

  For those unfamiliar, pagination is the separation of content on distinct pages, while infinite scroll is a technique that allows a single page to grow larger as a user scrolls down. Each has its problems, perks, and misconceptions, but which is the better all-around choice for your average online entrepreneur?

  Everyone should be familiar with the pagination format, even if you aren’t acquainted with the terminology. A paginated site, is exactly what it sounds like: a web site with its content divided into specific pages dedicated to a single topic, linked together in an organized and easily navigable structure. When we talk about SEO and Keyword optimization, we usually have a paginated model in mind. Each page targets a couple of main keywords and a few long tail variations. These make the work of search spiders, which crawl through the site looking for relevant content, easier by organizing common concepts in clearly demarked locations.
  Pagination is an attractive model because of that organized structure, which allows for simplified and user friendly browsing. You know what content goes where by reading the labels. The search engines scan the site in the same way you might skim the page of a textbook. They search for anything that sticks out. This can include bolded text, headlines, and the keywords you target in your meta-tags.

  While there’s nothing wrong with pagination, it’s just not as sexy as the newer design trends such as infinite scrolling.

Infinite Scroll
  For an example of how infinite scrolling might work, look no farther than your favorite social media platform. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest all feature infinite scrolling as a major part of their interfaces. Whenever you’ve exhausted the current pages content, more content is loaded at the bottom, causing your scroll bar to decrease in size. This can be quite handy if you’re expecting frequently updated content and you want to include a feed to reflect recent developments.
  Infinite scrolling can help with faster browsing, making the most of a limited screen (as is the case with mobile devices,) and ensuring that more of your content is actually viewed by the user. The latter consideration takes advantage of the average user’s inclination to stay on a single page rather than explore multiple pages within a site.
  Unfortunately there are some negative aspects to infinite scrolling, but nothing so overblown as many prevalent online myths would have your believe. Let’s begin by discussing the most often cited problem with infinite scrolling.

Infinite Scrolling and SEO
  There are a lot of misconceptions about infinite scroll, top among these is that the lack of index-able pages makes it a bad format for SEO. While it’s true that search engines can’t perform their normal indexing processes on infinite scroll pages, there are some workarounds that you can implement in order to make sure your SEO doesn’t suffer. The first is called graceful degradation.
  Graceful degradation is a web design technique that ensures a web site can make allowances for devices and browsers with limited functionality, without the user experience suffering unnecessarily. There’s a common problem between search spiders and outdated web browsers, and that’s that they both have a certain limit to the data that they can handle per page. What graceful degradation does is layer the different levels of functionality into its interface. This is done in order to facilitate optimum performance regardless of the browser or device used by a site’s visitor.
  In other words, alternate versions of the webpage are built in by the developer and applied when the web page is visited by a user inhibited by limited functionality. In the case of infinite scrolling, progressive degradation aids with SEO because it recognizes a search spider as a device limited in its functionality, and consequently provides it with a suitable alternative to the infinite scrolling functionality.
More advanced variations on this technique actually index the content into separate pages so that the spiders can go about their work as if the site were designed with good old fashioned pagination. So basically your page as infinite scrolling as its user interface, but layered beneath the page is an indexed version of the site, and this unseen version will be what Google looks at when indexing your website; as well as anyone with a browser or device incapable of handling the data load required by infinite scroll.

Infinite Scrolling and JavaScript
  Another possible problem is that infinite scrolling requires a user to have JavaScript enabled for the site to work properly. This is again where layered in pagination comes into play. Pagination needs to serve as a lower tech scaffolding that you build more advanced functionality on top of. If you don’t have this progressive degradation built in your site simply won’t cater to many users with insufficient browser or device capabilities.
So basically the biggest problem with infinite scrolling is not every user’s browser of device is properly equipped to handle the data requirements of the UI. This trouble is real, but it can be circumvented by doing a little extra work on the backend. Which means regardless of which model decide to base your site on, you’ll still need to implement pagination as the site’s skeletal structure.

How Do You Decide Between the Two?
  So which model makes more sense for your site? It’s hard to say. It all depends on what your needs are. If you have a never-ending flow of curated material constantly being uploaded to your site, then infinite scroll might be the way to go. It may also be a good move if you’re not trying to highlight anything specific, because if you have something important you want to say, it’s probably best not to put it in the middle of an infinite flow if information. In the same vein of thought, if you want something organized and searchable (by the user, not the search engines), pagination might be the better route to take.
What’s sure is that through proper preparation neither your UX nor your SEO need suffer because of the way you design your site. There’s always a work around for your problem, so be sure to build the website you want, rather than whatever seems most convenient.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Logo Redesigns Continued

Lipton, the 40-year old tea brand is giving their 12 year old a real make over in their logo. While there are no big announcements made, the new logo made it’s debut in a Muppets promo during the Superbowl. The new look is somewhat simpler and a whole lot cleaner as compared to the old one.

One of the most obvious things about the new logo is that it sports more lens flares as compared to the old one. The additional lens flares inspired some jokes about Lipton getting J.J. Abrams to design the new logo but with all the J.J. Abrams lens flare joke, the additional lens flare pretty much gave the logo a much more symmetrical look. With the center lens flare gone, the yellow light bleed on the red band in the logo seems like it is going to be taking an indefinite break.
Apart from adding another lens flare and taking away the light bleed, the logo looks a whole lot cleaner after tweaking the opacity of the drop shadow and the making the red outline thinner on the word Lipton. The placement is also changed from the being on the bottom left hand side it is now moved dead smack into the middle in order to support the symmetrical look. Typography-wise the logo’s type choice is friendlier and easier to read.
Despite the cleaner and more organized look of Lipton’s logo one can’t help but see that it looks like the Lay’s logo. Both logos have the same color scheme, same letters to begin with and not to mention almost the same execution.
What do you guys think? Is the new Lipton logo worth keeping or should the company revert back? Share your thoughts!

Revamping your logo

Revamping a brand is a tricky proposition.
The most recent logo refresh by ailing Olive Garden, has been widely critiqued. The logo, designed by Lippincott, is part of what parent company Darden is calling a strategic growth plan and "brand renaissance." It includes new menu items, smaller plates and a new advertising direction, though the company for now is mum on details of the latter.
Critics have said the updated logo is generic, with some saying it looks like a logo created by a first-year design student.
Olive Garden is hardly the first company to face criticism of a new logo. In recent years, Gap and Tropicana redesigns have raised the ire of consumers and led the companies to scrap their efforts in favor of old designs.
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