WEBSITE DESIGN & ONLINE MARKETING

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meet the experts: part two with Loretta Jean, Website Designer

Written by Sarah Gleeson on March 3rd, 2014.      0 comments

In 'meet the experts' part one, Loretta walked us through her predictions for web design in 2014. This time, Loretta shares her views on typography, scrolling websites, user experience, and how to know when your website needs a redesign.

Typography 

Typography put simply is the arrangement of type on a website. From far away it looks like blocks of content, but up close you can see the intricate detail and thought behind the type. There are some great examples out there of websites that use typography in place of images. Generally, we choose typography when imagery in the field is overused. Loretta believes that the use of quality type can add a “clean and slick effect to the overall look”. When asked why typography has seen a boost in popularity, Loretta says, “I think there is a general trend toward type in a lot of things, I instantly think of those ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ posters everywhere”.

Looking to the year ahead, Loretta hopes that more businesses start to see the appeal of typography, "it is a great way to get across your message quickly, without cluttering up too much space."
 

Natural-Flow typography

Scrolling websites

Scrolling websites, also known as long form design are a great way to establish a hierarchy through your landing page. By doing this, you are creating a clear pathway, guiding your customers past specific content so they will click through to the next page. This is also a great way to answer any unasked questions as they scroll.
  
An added benefit of using a long form design is that your content is better able to breathe, and stand out. This is a great opportunity to show off images, and play around with different type and blocks of content.  
 
Loretta says that while she hopes more people will consider using a long form design in 2014, she hopes they also begin to merge with the Windows grid look. Loretta’s final thought on scrolling websites; “Overall, it’s a relatively versatile structure that is clean and modern”. 

Italy Mask Redesign

User Experience

User experience is one of the most important factors a web designer and client have to discuss when designing a new website. “It's really easy to get caught up in a pretty design, but like any creative work, there will be someone interacting with it on the other end- if you don't factor your target customer in, then I think the design loses its purpose. People will most likely just shut down if things are a bit too out-there.” 

Redesigns 

When it comes to your website, what looked great 5 years ago may look dated today. Because most people view their website on a day to day basis, it can be hard to review it with fresh eyes. Loretta suggests viewing other websites in your industry, taking special note of widths and lengths of the sites, and the amount of copy vs. images. Does your website stand out in comparison? Does it make enough of an impact to make a customer want to come back? Is it memorable? 
 
The impact of having an out of date website can be huge. Many customers may give up if it takes too long to load, or if it is hard to navigate. Loretta states, if the content has not been changed up in awhile, or the testimonials have not been refreshed, it can make the customer “question the credibility of your business”. 
 
What a redesign can do for a website is to give it a new fresh feel. You wouldn’t wear the same clothes for 10 years, so why should your website have to? Advances in technology and design continuously push the envelope in website design, “What can be achieved today is much different from 4-5 years ago”. You want your website to stand out, be memorable, and to keep people coming back. When customers are scrolling through multiple websites at a time, it can be hard to capture their attention. A redesign can help your website achieve that point of difference that will end the customers search.

ecochic


 
 

meet the experts: website design with loretta jean

Written by Sarah Gleeson on January 29th, 2014.      0 comments

part one of two: web designs in 2014. zeald designer, loretta jean, talks about her expectations of the year ahead as part of our meet the experts series.

Loretta webdesigner

Loretta Jean, has always been drawn to creative pursuits throughout her life. Studying in both New Zealand and Hawaii, she was lucky enough to be amongst inspiring landscapes, cultures, and people. Becoming a web designer was a natural path for Loretta, she loves being able to receive a logo from a client, and turn it into a website.

Looking back on the past year, Loretta talks about web design as being clever, “…the designs and functionality are getting more and more detailed, yet often look simple and clean”.

2014 looks to be a great year for new exciting web design trends blending with classic favourite concepts. Loretta looks forward to the year ahead, declaring: “everything in a website is getting bigger! Big juicy images, big chunky font, and big white spaces that allow the content to breathe”. Responsive Design also looks to be growing in popularity with more and more people choosing their phone after a long day sitting at a desktop.

responsive design = better results

responsive designResponsive design is often more minimal or slick in its design than other desktop websites. The design is also more functional as loading time is optimised and the design does not include any non-mobile phone compatible effects. All in all, it is a design that encourages minimal effort from the user, who is still able to gather the same amount of information as if they were on a computer, they are not left frustrated, which leads to greater engagement. The fact that anyone, anywhere at anytime can find your website, only improves results.

Results driven design is something which Zeald focuses on heavily. "We pride ourselves on delivering beautiful websites that generate results for our clients", Loretta declares. In terms of design, this can mean having the important components that people expect to see in web pages, actually there. Take for example a site that is built for mobile only where the expected header or footer is removed, this can leave your user frustrated and “severely impact on results”.

On top of having a great looking website that produces results, it is important to make sure the website is unique, and not similar to everything else out there, “a good designer will take into account the audience, the users, and push the boundaries where they ought to”. Being able to produce a website like this, the Zeald team follows standard web practice and keeps up with the latest design trends. This means keeping an eye on web design publications, and continuously looking for new inspiration to keep designs looking unique and fresh.

keeping it simple

Quality content is the cornerstone on which Zeald build websites. Things have changed since content was merely text on a screen; Loretta believes the best way to get a message across is through great imagery. However, she warns people off using cliche stock photos as they can look both contrived, and you run the risk of the image being on your competitors site too; “when users see the same image on your site that is on your competitors, it doesn’t make your site look unique or different”.

The Windows grid look is one of the key trends hitting 2014. This look comes from the Windows programs which show blocks with different content or links. The purpose of this design trend is to create a clean look which holds all the content in its own component. We often hear web designers talking about simple designs; to the uninitiated, simple can sometimes suggest a plain design. Plain is more often a lack of details on the website itself, leading to a boring end finish, “a white site with boring font and blocky images, … a non-memorable site”. In contrast, a simple design creates a user friendly atmosphere so the content can stand out. 


While Loretta loves this trend from a design perspective, she is wary about its crossover with Long Form design. In Long Form Design, the website encourages customers to keep scrolling down a page, to find out more information. So while Loretta gives long form the thumbs up, she encourages clients to proceed with caution when making changes; “It’s a look that often needs a designer to keep the website looking good”. 

Stay tuned for part two, where Loretta talks more about new design trends, and how to know when your website needs a makeover.

 
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About Zeald

Zeald was formed in 2001 by three young guys from the small New Zealand town of Mangawhai Heads. Now, Zeald is the largest website design and digital marketing agency in New Zealand and has recently made moves into Australia. This is the Zeald story …

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