This column is about Web design—really, it is—though it may at times seem a bit distant and distracted. In my opinion, any good discussion about design begins with the fundamentals. Almost by definition, the primary tenets around which any field is based are universal: they can be applied to a variety of disciplines in a variety of ways. This can cause some confusion as principle is put into practice within the unique constraints of a particular medium.

Web design is a relatively new profession compared to other forms of design, due to the youth of our medium. As with any design discipline, there are aspects of the Web design process that are unique to the medium, such as screen resolution, additive color spaces and image compression. But too often these more unique details override our sense of the bigger picture. We focus on the fact that it is Web design and push aside core design concepts—concepts that can that make any project stronger without interfering in the more technical considerations later on.

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AuthorJoshua David

I am fortunate enough to be attending TEDActive 2013 this year, and will be a part of the Mobile Project team. Below is a post I wrote for the mobile project blog about a few things I have been thinking about as it relates to the future of mobile.

There is a lot of chaos in mobile technology today, with dozens of devices and screen resolutions, different operating systems and browsers, and millions of apps, the way people experience “mobile” can be quite different depending on the phone or tablet they have and the ecosystem they have chosen to be a part of (iOS, Android, Microsoft, etc.).

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AuthorJoshua David
CategoriesDesign Strategy
TagsMobile

An interesting article from Rob Ford over on thefwa from November of last year where industry leaders were asked for their opinions about Adobe's decision to discontinue support for Flash on mobile devices. This may seem like a small thing to many, but for those of us who have been working with digital and interactive mediums for the last decade or so it is a pretty big shift in perspective. Flash, in many ways, helped shape the Web that we know today and provided for a level of creativity that was difficult to match with other tools (and in many ways still is). It is understandable that this news has brought with it so much intense debate, and I believe that we will look back on this period of time as one of those defining moments in the history of the Web -- a next step in evolution.

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AuthorJoshua David
CategoriesWeb Design

The design profession has expanded broadly and rapidly into digital media over the past ten years. This phenomenon has brought a wealth of new people, skills, research and techniques into the profession and allowed us to accomplish things we never could have dreamed of before this growth. There were (and still are) many benefits to this expansion, but also a few drawbacks. And as I look across the digital landscape, I fear we are beginning to loose our identity. As designers, we are so caught up in defining ourselves by the most recent niche or specialization to materialize in the industry that we are failing to realize the impact this is having on our field -- that with every new title or label that surfaces we are eroding our identity more and more.

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AuthorJoshua David
CategoriesDesign Strategy

Every day I read articles and see comments about how branding (and subsequently marketing) is changing because of digital media, and how this is a necessary change to survive in the world that we now live in. This may be true, but very few brands are making this change successfully. 

Too often companies rush in to establish an on-line presence thinking that the existence of a Web site or a Facebook page means that all of their customers will suddenly flock to them with open arms simply because they are posting news articles or re-purposing their twitter feed. 

They are subsequently disappointed by the lack of engagement. And they try to use the number of followers or friends or likes or page views as a metric to justify the time and effort spent despite the fact that the awareness of their brand is nonexistent and the participation in their programs has not increased at all.

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AuthorJoshua David

A successful experience, whether online or off, requires both intellectual and emotional attributes. The intellectual attributes provide for the tasks necessary for information gathering, learning and comprehension. The emotional attributes spark our curiosity, keep us engaged, and build trust.

In the past 10 years or so, we have seen a definite push towards emphasizing the emotional side of an experience, and with good reason. Emotional attributes are largely responsible for audience awareness, engagement and loyalty and are seen by many (including myself) as the cornerstone of emotional and social branding.

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AuthorJoshua David
CategoriesDesign Strategy

I recently finished teaching a digital branding class at OSU where the focus was on iPad design. We looked at a number of different resources available on-line, but a select few stood out as being particularly useful.

  • Books in the age of the iPad (Craig Mod)
    A really useful article discussing some of the differences in layout when moving from print to iPad.
  • iPad Design for News (garcia media)
    A good discussion about some of the elements inherent in iPad design and movement around the screen.
  • Wired on iPad (information architects)
    An in-depth look at how a given design translates from inDesign to the iPad.

In addition, we spent some time using Keynote as a concept design tool, which worked pretty well. It just so happens that some of Keynote's transitions are very similar to the natural movement of the screen on an iPad. Right now, it seems to be the best way to test out ideas on the iPad without having to code.

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AuthorJoshua David
TagsiPad

I just finished co-teaching a winter quarter digital branding class at OSU Design. The students were asked to investigate how branding evolves in a digital space (when coming from a traditionally print-focused strategy), and to develop concepts whereby the overall strategy was altered to incorporate a more cross-media perspective. We used a strategy worksheet to aid the students in developing their new approach. The worksheet covers consideration of both branding elements (audience, market positioning, brand essence etc.) as well as visual, interactive and content elements.

It is a useful tool for anyone working on developing branding or design strategy. Feel free to print and use as needed.

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AuthorJoshua David
CategoriesDesign Strategy
TagsOSU

Among a design director’s unique responsibilities is fostering the conditions for great design; if your team is overworked and unhappy, you’re not doing that job.

via subtraction.com

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AuthorJoshua David
CategoriesQuotes

What designers should be urgently seeking are those people who can act as champions of the discipline, who understand how very difficult good design can be to execute, who understand the level of effort, analysis and skill that go into making something that will resonate on an emotional level and who can articulate that investing in design can make a significant difference to their business.

via Design and Business: The Bottom Line « Helen Walters

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AuthorJoshua David