Long-Term Design: Rewriting the Design Sales Pitch

Hyping the latest, greatest, flashiest design options may be fun and attention-grabbing, but it doesn’t always serve your bottom line. Author Jarrod Drysdale says instead of constantly pitching new products to new customers, consider standing behind your original great designs and pitch ongoing support and design evolution to your existing clients.

I Don’t Need Help

People assume help will be there when they need it. They don’t want to wait and they don’t want to have to ask. As Neha Singh explains, designers must accept these basic human traits and develop sites accordingly. There’s no design so intuitive that it doesn’t need a help function, and there’s no complex help app so engaging that it will hold user interest.

Gaming the System…and Winning

Go ahead. Game it up. Set that corporate website abuzz with rewards and badges and magic codes. Just don’t be surprised, says user interface specialist Graham Herrli, when the site’s primary users balk at your efforts. Before incorporating cool, hip game elements, he says, it’s important to know your target. Who are they? What are their time constraints? What motivates them?

A Dao of Product Design

What the world needs now is not more emotionally fragile, harried, and uncertain people. Deeply consider the potential effect your product has on users, and how that effect can cause ripples in society. Faruk Ateş urges us to make sure our user experience fosters civility and emotional well-being, because our products don’t exist in a vacuum.

Accessibility Whack-A-Mole

“How do we deal with accessibility needs for which there are no definitive answers?” asks Eleanor Ratliff. Sometimes we arrive at a fix that helps one group of people only to find that our solution undermines another group’s experience. Through the prism of typeface choice, Ratliff relates how she and her team tackled the problem of accessibility whack-a-mole for a rebranding project.

Task Performance Indicator: A Management Metric for Customer Experience

Measuring user experience can seem like a vague, touchy-feely process with amorphous results. Where’s the value? Managers can’t always get their arms around concepts like “better” or “simpler” or “faster.” Gerry McGovern says that’s why it’s important to have a tool like the Task Performance Indicator, which gives reliable, actionable metrics that can be revisited over time.

Why We Should All Be Data Literate

Design to the data. That’s the mantra of modern, research-driven web designers. But blindly accepting statistics and studies at face value is delusional at best, irresponsible at worst. Former journalist and current design specialist Dan Turner says be a skeptic. And don’t let fear of math, or innumeracy, stop you from running the numbers. Unexamined data can lead to costly mistakes. (Hint: Tripling your page views doesn’t mean much if you started with one visitor.)

Webfonts on the Prairie

Richard Fink first wrote about webfonts for A List Apart in 2010. Back then, those of us making the web were itching to break away from so-called “web-safe” fonts. And break away we did: by 2016, roughly 60 percent of sites were reportedly using webfonts, up from just two percent in 2011. Webfonts and, by extension, web typography, have blossomed. So surely no one would argue for a return to system fonts, right? Wrong. This article teases apart the arguments for and against.

Why Aren’t You Asking Questions?

As a designer, your job is to understand your client’s needs. Listening to what they tell you is a good place to start, but it doesn’t end there. You gain much more insight by asking the right questions. Of course, it also helps to ask the right people and ask in the right way. Janice Gervais offers some tips to turn you into a better designer/detective.

Practical SVG

“Sizing svg is more complicated than sizing an img,” writes Chris Coyier in this excerpt from his new A Book Apart title Practical SVG. But, he continues, it’s complicated in a good way—it gives us more control and opens up some interesting new possibilities. Read on.