Design in a digital context can mean a number of things:
1) Interface Design
4) User experience
So when I say design in digital communication, what do I actually mean? I am referring to all of these skills and disciplines. Without all of them acting in unison, the end result will not be the well-crafted execution you had envisioned.But why is design important?
Think about how people judge clothes, food or in fact any type of information. They do so by using their five senses; sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. It would be rare to use all five of these senses at the same time, but there is normally a combination between two or more. Our experience of food for example, uses three senses; sight, smell and taste. If it doesn't look or smell appetizing however, you're unlikely to taste it.
The way we judge and interact with digital communication is pretty similar.
You could argue that the message in Copy
is more important. This is true in some cases where the copy and content are king. Amazon
are a good example where people log on for one thing and one thing only, information.
But entertainment and branding have to stand out from its competitors: Why should I go to reebok.com
rather than adidas.com
would also fall into this category.
If the visitor isn't hooked within the first few seconds, they won't hang around to read the copy.
Let's take the first image above, showing Bear Flag. Would this entice you to delve further into the website?
No, and this is why:
1) The interface is totally confusing.
2) The design is so distracting that I am unsure where to place my eye.
3) The actual content is unclear - what I am meant to take away from it?
4) The navigation is broken.
Now look at Toronto Trending's map, shown above. Why is this a better experience than the previous one?
1) I know where to click to get to content quickly.
2) The design pallet is pleasing to the eye and is in line with the bigger brand guidelines
3) I know what I'm getting and I'm satisfied with my visit.
So what should we take away from these two examples?
When we look at each of the communications for the first time, our gut reaction will be either, intrigue and interest, or to run for the hills. Only with the former will the user start to explore and spend time interacting with the brand.
The same applies to responsive design
. For those of you who are unaware of this term, let me give you a very high level overview.
Responsive design was born from the need to have a single website that had the same messaging and would be made available on any communication device; Laptop, Tablet and Mobile for example.
What I would like people to take away from this short article is a question:
Am I spending enough time making my ideas amazing when we come to the crafting of design?
Darren Richardson is regional executive creative director at BBDO Proximity Germany