The Importance of Good Web Form Design & Usability: A Case Study

I’d like to talk a little bit about web form design and usability. If you run any kind of business with an online presence, chances are you’re going to be using web forms for some kind of interactivity on your website. From simple contact forms to blog commenting to a full e-commerce checkout, forms are the standard way to collect information about your customers. Poor website usability and design can result in lost sales and lost opportunities to engage with your customers, and this is doubly true when we’re talking about a shopping cart checkout page, online ticket system, or registration system.   A Case Study: Jack Hirose & Associates Inc.’s Online Registration System The online event registration system for…

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Building Your Online Brand: The Mobile Web & Your Online Presence

An increasing number of people browse the internet on their mobile phone or tablet. As cell phones get smarter, and tablets become more commonplace, mobile users will only grow in number. As a small business or organization, it’s important to consider mobile technology when developing your website. To not do so will only frustrate your customers and clients if they try to access your website on the go. Generally speaking, tablets (such as the iPad or Galaxy Tab) tend to faithfully display websites as they are intended. On a mobile phone, however, a typical non-mobile layout tends to break, fonts become unreadable, and navigation becomes uselessly small. For accommodating your mobile-savvy customers and clients, you have a few options for…

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Still more advice for design students and grads

This post is a followup to Advice for Design Students & Grads. I asked my network of fellow designers and creatives for the advice they’d give, and received some insightful responses. Q: What would you tell a new design school graduate? “Learn to draw. Put down photoshop and illustrator, grab some charcoal and some conte crayons, some good paper and spend some time learning composition and form. Its often not covered adequately in design schools anymore, and is treated as an afterthought in many art schools, but drawing is fundamental in making your ideas come to life. If you can’t sketch out an idea well in paper during a client meeting, you may find that you loose the jobs to…

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Advice for design students and grads

This time of year marks graduation for many design schools in the Lower Mainland, including the IDEA program at Capilano, my alma mater. It wasn’t so long ago that I was nervously putting together my portfolio, furiously brainstorming self-promotional pieces and panicking about getting interviews. It’s a stressful time for any new designer, and I can only imagine job opportunities are few and far between with the weak economy. I’ve learned a lot since I stood anxiously at my grad show booth:   Stay positive. While a good three- or four-year design program will give you the tools you need to succeed as a graphic designer, it’s up to you to ensure you launch a career for yourself. Part of…

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Building Your Online Brand: Social Media Marketing via Facebook and Twitter

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As a small business owner or freelancer, you’ve probably thought about using social media to promote your business or expertise. Most people have come across Facebook and used it as an individual to connect with friends. Many people have Twitter accounts and follow friends and celebrities. But connecting with clients or customers using social media requires a very different strategy. First off, some general advice: Don’t confuse personality with personal. Your brand may have an outgoing, friendly, and approachable personality, but that doesn’t mean that you will bring your personal views, politics, and opinions to your business’s social media campaigns. If possible, lock down your personal social media accounts (e.g. your facebook profile, your regular Twitter account, your fan tumblr…

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Building Your Online Brand: Website Terms Demystified

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So, you’ve decided you need a website and you’re talking to a highly-recommended web design, developer, or studio. They start babbling on and on, using words that make no sense, and you understand about half of what they’re saying. You nod and smile, because you don’t want to appear unhip. In an effort to help the non-nerds, I’ve put together this cheat sheet of handy website-related terms. Accessibility:┬áDon’t confuse with usability. Accessibility refers to the (happily, standard) practice of making your site’s content available to the visually impaired. This includes practices like using a legible font, a colour scheme that’s easy for colour-blind individuals to distinguish, and offering screen-reader compatible images. API:┬áDocumented steps to help developers access a web-based service.…

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