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15+ Awesome Food Web Designs & One BIG Mistake Your Design Can Learn From

15+ Awesome Food Web Designs & One BIG Mistake Your Design Can Learn From | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Marty Note
Food Websites are great places to learn key elements of web design such as:

* Sensual and romantic images.
* Great mouth watering headlines.
* Visual marketing storytelling.

I like http://www.whitmansnyc.com/ and Soup Peddler. Whitmans BRANDS a hamburger beautifully. Food is HARD to shoot. Food can easily look TERRIBLE in a picture especially a picture with limited web resolution. Whitmans solves that problem creatively with a thin transparent layer between us and the burger. Well done!

Soup Peddler, in the example shown, is the ONLY site that includes PEOPLE. Foodies have "widget-itis" worse than techies. Widget don't sell as well as PEOPLE.

The SINGLE possible exception to that rule might be a foodie site, the one in 10M foodie sites that creates INCLUSION with their food. Whitman's is close since a hamburger is a universal thing, but the site remains a tad sterile due to lack of community.

If you scroll down below Whatman's hero you will see another pet peeve. WHY do web designers EVER let someone show an interior image WITHOUT PEOPLE.

Yes the lines are clean and the emptiness is sort of beautiful, but think about the NONVERBAL communication sent by an empty room. How long do you stay in an empty room when there is a party going on next door?

Food Heroes
So, foodie sites need people. There are several ways I would work people into the equation so the story being  told feels more inclusive and fun:

* Chef as Hero.
* People with SMILES looking UP at chef or waitstaff.
* Fan as hero (with story).

Food heroes (largest image on the page = hero) need to be QUIET and CONFIDENT. Too much NOISE or any WEAKNESS and we don't trust a website (or eat their food).

The CHEF is a hero that WORKS for any restaurant. Seeing Wolfgang Puck creates a brand. Seeing a chef wearing whites with a slightly stained towel over his (or her) shoulder says, "My food is so amazing you haven't LIVED until you've eaten here".

Instead of EMPTY rooms the picture is smiling, well dressed people looking up at the Chef or waitstaff listening in rapt attention. Better if dishes are gone b/c signals meal is over and everyone is still smiling (a tacit endorsement).

DON'T STAGE THIS PHOTO. Shoot it when a group is in for dinner (with permission and releases). Share the event and caption the photo. NEVER stage actors in food websites. Canned art + food says NO TRUST and DANGEROUS.

If your fans are MODEL good looking TELL THE STORY of the event that prompted the picture. What was being celebrated, shared or discussed. If the group is a nonprofit your restaurant supports MORE THE BETTER as you can tell 2 stories in one (risky but worth it).

Finally, you can feature a fan in your hero, BUT same "no canned or artificial" photos here either. ALSO, click me through to a page of pictures of other fans and stories (why they wanted to share their picture and story about FOOD i.e. make sure people know they aren't related :).

Food is SO individual, what I like and what you like can be very different, so think about the 5 stories you need to tell that "star" your content (i.e. tells the stories that cover the rainbow of your food's tribes).


One story shares love of sauces and sweet. Another story tells the visual romance story. Another might discuss meeting the chef and getting to know the "people behind the scenes".


Sharing different and strategically savvy stories creates the "like me" connection with the different tribes your food, restaurant and content should attract. Every restaurant has a passion. Share that passion.

Also share the reception the food creates, the passion others have for the food. Tell those stories in those ways and your foodie (or other) website wins hearts, minds and loyalty.

Martin (Marty) Smith's insight:

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40 Best Non-Profit Websites Tell Great Stories | Vandelay Design

40 Best Non-Profit Websites Tell Great Stories | Vandelay Design | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Nonprofit Websites
Nonprofit websites are designed to tell stories something we all need to do these days. My favs include Housing Works, Too Young To Wed and Melting Away.


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Finding Stories Inside Paintings via Tracy Chevalier TED Talk [+ 3 Find Your Story Tips via @Scenttrail]

Finding Stories Inside Paintings via Tracy Chevalier TED Talk [+ 3 Find Your Story Tips via @Scenttrail] | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Storytelling & Content Marketing
Tracy Chevalier imagines the stories behind paintings:


* How did the painter meet his model?
* What would explain that look in her eye?
* Why is that man … blushing?

She shares three stories inspired by portraits, including the one that led to her best-selling novel "Girl With a Pearl Earring."

3 Find Your Story Tips
One of the most common "we can't do it" complaints we hear is, "Our content is boring and no one on out team knows how to tell a story".  There are no "boring" products or services and we are surrounded by stories. Here are 5 tips to help you find the magical content needed to wins hearts and minds online.

Story Finder Tip #1: Your Employees
You never need to look far for great stories. Stories of heroic efforts against great odds are sitting in your office now. There are cancer survivors, triathletes and parents with special children in your company as I write this.

You might think, "I don't want to invade their privacy," and we aren't suggesting it. We suggest explaining that any company really only exists in the minds of its employees. Since publishing costs are now zero you can afford to explain who you are by proxy - via your employees stories, passions and loves.

This is "Employee Story of the Month" instead of a banal award your customers learn about the journey your team members have experienced and so feel close to them, you and your brands and products. "I feel like I know you," a woman said hugging my ex at the Gift Show in San Francisco.

Our potential customer learned about Found Objects and Janet McKean from our monthly newsletters. Those newsletters led to the hug and made doing business together easy.


Oh, btw each month I included a short story about Janet's life, experiences and family. May be why I'm divorced (lol), because Janet hated sharing so much. "You married a storyteller, " I would say smiling and writing and well you can figure out how well that worked in our relationship. Worked GREAT with our customers though (lol).

Story Finder Tip 2: Be Like Tracy Imagine An Image's Story
Tracy wrote a best seller by imagining questions implied but not stated. Your online marketing uses images all the time, but what are the questions BEHIND the image.

If you have a picture from a company event who is there? What was being celebrated? What in the image doesn't make sense? Is there something that hints at a mystery o some enigma? Work backwards from an image. Begin like Tracy. Ask questions. The answers are your story.

Story Finder Tip 3: Ask For Customer Stories
Take the image in example #2 and ask your customers to share their questions, stories or answers to hidden riddles. Asking for a story may be too hard and intimidating, but asking what these people in the corner are doing could be fun and spark imaginations and lead to stories.

Once you have an "Ambassador" group of customers / advocates established ask them to help shape your ASK. Ask your advocates to help you know the best way to engage and hear stories your customers are itching to share.

Writing this tip reminds me of a story (of course lol). I left home for the first time. I was in the 10th grade and enrolled at The Choate School. My mom cried when she and my father dropped me off. Now I was sitting in my first English class.

Mr. Noland, a bearded thirty something teacher dressed not unlike every preppie in the room (straight leg corduroys, button down oxford shirt) asked, "Tell me the story of this pencil". He said this hold a pencil inches from his nose and staring at it as he rotated it and waved it up and down.

Dutifully I set out to describe the pencil. "Pencils down," Mr. Noland said asking a student he clearly knew to read his story first. "She couldn't tell why. All she could smell was stale cigar...." the novella this student wrote about a possible murder, broken hearts and a love affair gone wrong made me realize I wasn't in Kansas anymore.

If Mr. Noland's shill can write 500 words on a pencil, YOU can tell a captivating story online about you, your company, brands and products.


Web Design & Stories
Now that you know WHERE to find stories don't forget to DESIGN them in. Sharing stories online is tricky. You want to make readers do a little work to get to a place they can read and read.

Don't do like some and break your stories into tiny 200 word bites. Too much clicking ruins the "all in" feel of a good story. Make your readers click a couple of times to pan out readers from scanners and then let them read.

Will cover more "story design" tips in another post. First FIND your stories since that is often the hardest task. Next create a design that does the impossible - makes it fun to read online.

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Will Storytelling Web Design Be Magic in 2014? A: Yes

Will Storytelling Web Design Be Magic in 2014? A: Yes | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Storytelling Web Design
How can a website tell a story? By rethinking websites as related content capable of telling a story in either direction and on their own we see the difficulty we face when telling stories using websites.

Websites go forward and backward in time because any page can become a "homepage" based on links or search. A webpage needs to be self sufficient - telling a story on their own - and connected in a dasiy chain where each step along the chain reinforces the chain's connections and "storyline".

This post discusses ways to use tools such as videos and arresting visuals. Graphics are a HUGE and helpful device online. If your story includes icons you've created a navigational language teaching readers to look for symbols when they want to move through the deck.

This is one of the reasons I love icons. Icons aren't fixed in space or time and their connection to each other can be strong or weak. The key is to keep readers reading. The challenge is thinking about information architecture that can easily pay off on its own and point in different directions based on how readers consume the content.

Best storytelling sites I've discovered include:

http://www.robinhood.org/

http://www.redcross.org/

http://www.ihadcancer.com/

Notice a trend? Nonprofits tell better stories in general and their websites  function more as great story telling aids than most for profit companies. If you have favorite storytelling websites please share and we will curate in.

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