Why You Can’t be Objective About Your Own Web Design

Why You Can’t be Objective About Your Own Web Design

There are plenty of good reasons to use a web designer or an agency to help you build your site. For starters, it will usually result in a more professional final product. Unless you happen to already be a professional web designer yourself, attempting this will normally mean you’re outside of your comfort zone and using tools that you aren’t familiar with. When you use a professional, you’ll be outsourcing to an individual or organization that does this professionally almost every single day and that as such has all the best tools, experience and techniques to ensure you get the very best final product.

All that, and you’ll also avoid taking valuable time away from your team so that they can focus on what matters to your business.

But there’s another reason to outsource your web design too: a reason that many of us will often overlook. That is simply that it’s incredibly hard to be completely objective when you’re dealing with your own site and your own brand. Let’s take a look at why this might be a problem…

Information Bias

One issue you need to overcome when designing a website for yourself, is the information bias. That is to say, that you already have a lot of information about your own business. In fact, you’re probably the world’s leading expert on the matter!

What this means is that it can become incredibly difficult to look at your website through the eyes of someone visiting for the very first time. What information do they look for first? What do they need to know? And how can you make sure that you provide that information to them?

This is a classic mistake that companies make when building their own sites and they’ll often be too vague and paint with broad strokes, forgetting that their visitors lack a lot of basic information about who they are, what they do and what they’re trying to portray!

Self-Criticism

Another issue is self-criticism. That is to say that most of us aren’t very good at doing it and we can’t help but be a little protective over our own work.

This is why it’s so hard to proof read your own writing. You’ll almost always miss the mistakes you’ve made yourself, even though they might be glaringly obvious to someone else. Likewise, it’s why we can get quite defensive when someone comes and tells us that they don’t like some aspect of our design. Neither of these traits is particularly helpful when it comes to web design.

Personal Preference

Being too close to the project is also a problem in other ways. For starters, you probably have clear ideas about what you want your website to look like, based on the kind of thing you like. It’s your business and so of course you want it to have a design that you can relate to!

But actually, that’s kind of missing the point. It’s not all that important at all that your design resonates with you. Instead, it’s important that the design resonates with your visitors. Your web design isn’t for you – it’s for them. And it’s important to be detached enough from the situation to know what’s best for the project as a whole and what’s best for your business, rather than just what you like the looks of.

How You See You, Versus How We See You

Then there’s the issue of being objective about your own business.

Because actually, we can often have a rather warped idea of how people see our business. We see this all the time with all the corporate companies that are trying incredibly hard to be ‘hip’ and ‘cool’. They want to appeal to a youthful audience and they want to appear modern and on the ball. Unfortunately, they just end up looking badly out of touch and incredibly ‘square’ (to use a very outdating and ironic expression…).

This is why you need to hire a professional that understands your image and once again understands the market. It’s important that you put forward the image that your audience needs to see – and not the one that you wish they’d see.

Conclusions

This might seem like a small matter but in fact it can be even more important than the web design itself. Even if you’re a competent designer, capable of making a good-looking website, that doesn’t mean you’ll understand the audience, or the best way to communicate the right message to that audience. Too many businesses have websites that are misleading, confusing or just awkward and hiring a web design team is one of the best ways to avoid that.

And if you don’t want to work with a web design agency? Then just consider showing your website to a few people who are a bit more removed from your brand. Their opinions are more important than your own in this instance!

Google’s Tilt Brush – A New Way to Create in 3D Spaces

Google Introduces a New Way to Create in 3D Spaces: Tilt Brush

Google’s Tilt Brush is a truly miraculous tool that is transforming the way we will create 3D designs in future. They’re calling it ‘Tilt Brush’. Let’s take a look at what all the commotion is about…

Who remembers the Leap Motion controller?

This was a small device you could plug into a PC that would then enable touch controls using your hands. The idea was that you could play games by moving your hands like a bird, chopping fruit like a ninja, or flicking balls across your screen. Likewise, you could read a paper by swiping your hand in front of the screen, or point your finger to control a mouse.

But what the company was really trying to push toward the end as its killer app, was a sculpting tool originally called ‘Free Form’ and recently renamed simply ‘Sculpting’. The idea was that you could make a 3D model, just as though you were sculpting real clay with your hands.

The Leap Motion unfortunately never took off quite the way it could have but it highlighted a real need. A need to be able to create 3D imagery in a virtual space in a manner that anyone could pick up and intuitively understand.

And this need has only grown with the advent of true virtual reality and mixed reality. If virtual reality is ever going to take off to the extent it potentially could, if it’s ever to fulfil its full potential, then it needs a way for the ‘everyman’ to create stunning 3D designs and share them with the community.

That’s exactly what Tilt Brush is. And how…

What is Tilt Brush

Tilt Brush is one of the most innovative examples of VR software yet imagined. The idea is simple: using the HTC Vive headset and its motion controls, users can paint directly into the air in order to create stunning 3 dimensional images.

This is something that really has to be experienced to be fully appreciated. The magnificent creations are quite unlike anything that you can make in any other medium and thanks to the ‘room scale VR’ made possible by the Vive, you can actually walk around the creations in 3D as though they were right there in front of you. It’s no stretch to imagine with some additional tools, these could be used to create CAD files of full 3D models and even to use with 3D printers.

And what’s most important of all, is that this is a technology that anyone can pick up and instantly grasp. Users report finding it incredibly intuitive to use, saying that the sense of depth is perfect and even claiming that they find it easier to draw in 3D than they do in 2D! This is potentially game changing, as it means that anyone will be able to create 3D images and even whole landscapes for others to explore.  And the possibilities are endless: imagine a collaborative tool like this. Or imagine being able to ‘walk’ to visit other people’s creations – like a living, 3D version of the web…

How to Experience Tilt Brush Right Now

Right now, the only tool powerful enough to power the Tilt Brush experience is the HTC Vive. This is the only top-end headset that (currently) has touch controls and it’s the only one that offers room-scale VR with full positional tracking. Unfortunately, this is also a piece of hardware that costs thousands of dollars… on top of the money you’d need to invest in a high-end PC to try it with.

But you can experience it right now. All you need is $10 and pretty much any Android phone. That’s because the Google Cardboard (a VR headset that works with a phone and is made purely of cardboard) now has an app that allows you to view other people’s Tilt Brush creations. You can even watch them being drawn!

Of course you can also check out the tool on YouTube. Here’s a great video of someone using the tool to create a convincing monster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYY-DZ14i9E.

Or how about this video in which one man spent 24 hours in VR. And of course he chose Tilt Brush as the virtual reality app he wanted to ‘live in’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZau6PiLoJc.

There are plenty more amazing videos on the subject, so just spend some time browsing and you should have no problem recognizing just how much potential this new app has. Imagine being able to create a new logo for your website by walking around and painting it onto the air!

We love finding new ways that technology is helping people to express themselves and we think this is one of the most amazing examples yet… But with all the amazing tools hitting the market, we’re likely to see many more in the coming years. Watch this space!

To find out more about Tilt Brush, visit www.tiltbrush.com.

 

Copy Writing Tips and Tricks For Beginners

Want to get more likes, shares, follows, subscribers and clicks?

Of course you do!

That’s pretty much the objective of every company ever…

So the question is, how do you go about doing all these things in the most efficient way possible?

The answer is with high quality copy writing. Here are few quick copy writing tips and Tricks For Beginners.

You can have the best website in the world, the best logo in the world and the best products in the world. But if you don’t know how to sell them with well-written copy, you’re basically wasting your time.

What is Copy Writing ?

Copy Writing is essentially the process of filling your site with text that is designed to describe and sell your business as well as your products. If the text on your site sounds unprofessional, then you will immediately lose the good faith of those reading it.

On the other hand, if your text pops off the page and hits all the right emotional hooks, it can convince people to buy products that they otherwise would have no interest in.

Copy Writing Tips For Beginners:

If you’re writing your own copy then, it’s critical that you take the time to hone this craft and get it right. Read on for some tips that will help you do just that.

Here is the list some copy writing tips and tricks for beginners to learn..

Know Your Limits :

The first and most important tip is simply to know what you’re capable of and not overstretch yourself. We’ll get onto how you can sound more professional in a moment – but if you’re someone who speaks English as a second language and you aren’t fluent, or if you’re someone who just isn’t gifted in the writing department – then you need to outsource.

Even if the copy sounds great to you, it might not sound quite so great to someone who doesn’t already know what it is you’re trying to say.

If you’re unsure, then ask some friends and family to read over what you’ve written.

Pick the Right Tone :

The next tip is to make sure you get your tone right. If the copy is going on the front page of your B2B website, then you need to ensure that it’s efficient, short, professional and succinct.

On the other hand, copy for a blog post can use longer sentences, jokes and colloquialisms. If you don’t know what tone will best suit your brand and your site, then read pages of competitors’ content online and then try and mimic their tone.

Be Consistent :

Here’s a surprise: there’s actually not always a ‘correct’ way to write.

For example, the use of commas is something that is sometimes called into dispute. Some websites and publications will choose to adhere to the ‘serial comma’ whereby a comma can be placed before ‘and’ in a sentence, whereas others argue that you should never put a comma before the ‘and’.

Likewise, it’s disputed as to whether or not you always need to follow an interrupter with a comma. An interrupter is something like the ‘likewise,’ that started this paragraph.

Normally it is followed immediately by a pause which is why it’s generally considered normal to follow it with a comma. But a comma can also be omitted in circumstances where you want the sentence to flow more.

How do you know which rules to follow?

It actually doesn’t matter. What does matter though is that you are consistent with whichever rule you do choose to follow in each scenario.

These will be your ‘editorial guidelines‘ and if you have multiple contributors, you need to ensure they are all following the same style guide.

Put Readability First :

These days copy writing often goes hand-in-hand with SEO services (Search Engine Optimization). What this means, is that you’re writing content that’s designed to make good reading but also to help Google index your site so that it can easily be found through search engines.

The mistake that some companies are still making is to follow SEO practices like inserting lots of keywords at the expense of writing that is good to read. Make sure that in every case, you put your readers first and Google’s ‘robots’ second.

Grab Attention Fast :

Great copy writing is not always great copy. When it comes to copy, often you need to judge it by the results it gets.

Does your sales page get people to buy products?

Does your homepage get people to click the ‘Find out more’ button?

Do your blog posts get likes and shares?

One of the biggest hurdles in accomplishing any of these things is getting people to actually stop what they’re doing and read your content through to the end.

This is why you need to focus heavily on how you’re going to engage your audience quickly and then hold their attention.

For sales pages and homepages this often means cutting the introduction and getting straight to the ‘good stuff’ with short sentences. For blog posts it will often mean using a narrative structure. The use of questions can also help to engage your audience further, as can spacing your writing out to encourage flow.

With every line of every article ask yourself: would you carry on reading?

Web Development Resources

Development is not just about knowing the most code or having the best eye for design – it’s also about smart use of Web Development Resources and being able to work efficiently.

Sometimes it’s worth building things from scratch but on other occasions you can actually be much more effective by using ready-made materials, or following guidelines and instructions without deviation.

Why reinvent the wheel when someone has already made something for you and given you permission to use it?

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best Web Development Resources, including icons, fonts, tools, images and more that you can recycle and put on your own site!

Web Development Resources:

Icons

Icons are incredibly useful for web design, especially when you’re making a mobile-friendly site (which you should be!).

These are large, tactile links that are much more elegant than using text.

And the good news is that there are plenty of places you can get free icons. Android Icons is one good example and it doesn’t matter that they’re really designed for use in Android apps… Another very good one is Material Icons.

This is a great place to get icons that fit Google’s ‘Material Design’ mandate, which is a very flat, modern and attractive looking UI.

Go get ‘em!

Fonts

Using flashy fonts is one of the very best ways to keep your site looking unique and eye catching and can also aid with comfort when it comes to reading.

There are plenty of great places to get a range of fonts but two of the best ones are Font Squirrel and Dafont.

Dafont is a very interesting one because it’s used a lot by tattoo artists!

Note that fonts can also be very useful for creating your own logos – just choose a fitting font and then add an image to go with it.

Of course there’s also Google Fonts!

Web Development Resources

Vectors

A vector is a type of image file that works with Adobe Illustrator or similar software.

These can be easily manipulated without getting messy and they can be increased or decreased in size with no loss in quality.

The great news is that you can get a whole bunch of free vectors from Public Domain Vectors.

These are then very easy to manipulate for your own needs too, which is a nice added bonus!

Clip Art

You might think Clip Art is something you want to avoid and in many cases it is.

But if your objective is to make a business site, they can actually fit surprising well in some cases.

You can get free Clip Art from a site called OpenClipArt.org.

Stock Imagery

Adding images to your articles is a crucial way to get people to sit up and take notice.

Unfortunately though, commissioning photos is expensive and we’re not all famous photographers!

The good news then is that you can also get a ton of free images to use from sites like iStockPhoto, Stock Xchng and Unsplash.

Unsplash is good for large banner images and works particularly well for choosing features images for blog posts.

Pikwizard is an excellent stock photo site which features high-quality images of people. These can be few and far between on other stock photography sites

A particular favourite of mine though is Vintage Printable because it takes a very unique approach to finding free images.

These are images that are in the public domain simply because they’re so old that their copyright has expired!

This is great if your site has a vintage theme but also if you want to try something just a bit stylish.

Also great is Awesome Images at Github.

Web Development Resources

Code

Javascriptfreecode is a very old looking site but it still has some great code examples that will let you add all sorts of flashy features to your site.

www.cssflow.com/snippets is a little better with a lot of great samples that will look modern for your site.

For free code though, nothing beats Github which is a tool you can use to share any open source code, design, tutorials etc.

Check it out at Github if you’re not already a frequent flyer there!

UI

Of course if you’re making a WordPress site, then it’s very easy to just pick up an use a UI you like by installing a theme.

Theme Forest is one of the best Web Development Resources for finding these and also HTML templates – but it’s not free.

For advice and guidance, you could try using a tool like Palleton to select your colors.

And be sure to check out Google Design for much more information and guidance on sticking to Material Design guidelines.

Closing Notes for Web Development Resources

There are plenty more Web Development Resources and tool out there, so if we’ve missed one of your favourites be sure to share it in the comments below.