Designing In a Paperless World
Printed media will always have a special place for me. There’s nothing quite like holding a freshly pressed piece or art in your hands. From the feel and texture of the paper to the smell of the ink, it can be a very intoxicating experience. But ink fades, and unless properly preserved, paper will deteriorate over time. The internet has given us a chance to preserve our thoughts almost indefinitely. Even most of those beautiful printed works have gone through some level of digitization or computer manipulation. There’s no avoiding it, and it has forever changed the way we see design and interact with information. Unfortunately, many businesses still design for digital experiences the same as they would design for print.
Design and marketing for digital media is a much more fluid experience. Users are typically looking for concise bits of information that can be digested quickly. It is web’s most essential element to be able to lead a user to the information they are looking for through the simplest and most efficient path. And if you can’t capture your user’s attention or a design display poorly on their device, they will find what they are looking for somewhere else.
Digital media has also very much changed how business respond to their customers and fans. Feedback is instantaneous and successful businesses have to act responsively to keep their users. Followers can lose interest fast, so listen to their needs and continue to evolve.
But that much should be obvious. The big question is how do we provide these paths to users, and what is the best way to relay information for users in this ever changing landscape?
Think about how your users will want to see your website
With print, we have complete control over everything on a set canvas. It will look the same to everyone and consistency is easy to retain. Digital is somewhat more difficult but much more versatile. The user might have custom settings and will tweak viewing options to their own specific preferences. There is such an enormous variety of devices and most people own at least a few with different screen sizes. So keep your design flexible (invest in a responsive website).
Provide Multiple Paths
All users seek out information differently. Always give multiple pathways for any given bit of information. A little bit of redundancy is a good thing. It won’t only make your web page easier to navigate and give more opportunities to spark user interest, it makes your brand much more memorable too!
Keeping high quality, and show what makes you the best at what you do. Stay consistent and be honest with your customers to leave them with a positive reaction. Your follower’s concerns are also your own. Show them you want to keep them satisfied by always making the effort to provide the best content or service you can.
Make sure your designs are updatable
Static design is a thing of the past. Information changes so rapidly that you need a page that will look good with updated information. Good Content is extremely important for the basis of the design, but make sure it won’t disrupt from the over all experience of your users.
Don’t sweat the mistakes
If you spot a typo or a broken link or another mistake, it can always be changed or corrected. You’ll never be stuck with a 1000 piece print run with inaccurate information.
Reward Users for taking interest
So you captured the interest of a follower. Maybe it was with a with a cool piece of art, or a clever Twitter post, or just a well designed and engaging website. If you really want to keep your users, reward them. Even if it’s just by engaging with them. Follow your loyal customers, tweet back or give them a freebie. Show your fans that you care and they will stick by you.
None of this is to say the paper and print is completely dead, and that may never happen. But the way we interact with the world around us has drastically changed. Now information spreads much more rapidly and most people are constantly plugged into their digital devices. It may time to adapt, but it has never been easier to connect to endless audiences.
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