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Marty's 6 Favorite E-Commerce Websites

Marty's 6 Favorite E-Commerce Websites | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Marty Note
September marks the beginning of a race that ends on 12.25. After 12 years as an Internet marketer, over $30M in online sales and more than 500,000 transactions I look at ecommerce sites differently. I look for how heros, largest image on the page, balance offers against navigation and search. Here are my favorite 6 E-commerce sites for 2012:


1. REI
Pros. Consistently great the Internet marketing team behind my favorite ecommerce website knows how to point their hero's eyes at Calls To Action, keep their palette clean but full of eye candy. The engagement factor is very high. REI's images always make you feel like you want to join that party in that place now please.
2. Apple
I copy this clean Einstein-smart designs all the time and I am not alone. This is one of those rare sites that don’t need people. The products can be the hero here since we project ourselves right into their heroes using those cool superhero tools.


3. Patagonia

Different feel than REI even though they are plowing some of that same, "Life is an adventure," field. If REI is about the magic of the tribe Patagonia is about the magic of the place. Magical design that isn't really designed to SELL, it breaks every e-commerce rule, but boy does it.


4. DWR (Design Within Reach)
The furniture category has strong players and may be a six of one, half a dozen of the other between DWR, Crate and Barrel and others. This category can quickly all look alike. I like DWR.com's clean lines. They keep it simple but are creative with social, campaigns and offers too.


5. Vestique.com
Women's apparel can start to all look alike fast too. I like Vestique's use of their target audience (young women) engaged in almost candid moments. The design is clean, social and engaging. This is a case of the design pointing the way to social. The site makes you want to be part of the club, a very important idea for a fashion site. Eileen Allen and her design team at Atlantic BT did a great job on Vestique and it was supported with some great behind the curtain major functionality in Magento too.


6. Woot.com
Daily deal sites seem to be losing some luster, but Woot.com has some of the best copy and its tribe is loyal enough to get up in the middle of the night and check their deals. This rabid loyalty is something you EARN by being great. Every Woot.com element works.


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How to Design a Minimalist Website - A Step by Step Guide | Breezi

How to Design a Minimalist Website - A Step by Step Guide | Breezi | Design Revolution | Scoop.it
In this easy to follow step by step tutorial we cover the basics of making a simple website. You can start designing a simple website with Breezi today!

Via Rebeca Zuniga
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21 Beautifully Designed E-commerce Sites [+ Marty's 3 Picks]

21 Beautifully Designed E-commerce Sites [+ Marty's 3 Picks] | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

E-commerce websites are all over the internet. From ice cream to designer products, from your day to day grocery to hand made jewelry and almost anything you.

Marty Note
There are some great sites here. Many leave me cold as they focus so much on their products they forget to humanize their design with stories, people and warm colors. White on white is boring, clinical and hard to look at for very long. My theory is the web starts cold and it is our job as designers to warm it up. I would also bet "warmer" sites out convert "colder" ones. Here are my 3 favorites from a good list:

http://oliverspencer.co.uk/
High fashion always seems to know how to use beautiful people. I wouldn't say this site is "warm and friendly" as much as cool and exciting but that is what they are going for and the space they are in.

https://www.momastore.org
What a cool, real, friendly and surprising design for MoMA. The MoMA store is a great store but can be a tad off-putting. I was in a meeting once where a man who used to work at the MoMA store kept calling it, "THE MOMA". All I could do to not burst out laughing. This design helps break down that untouchable image and should convert well.

http://retail.cafeevoke.com/
This is a very clean ecommerce design. The products are beautiful and that helps. Still a tad on the cold side for me. Ironically this design looks like the old MoMA designs.


Even if your products are so expensive if you have to ask you can't afford them, warm and friendly outsells cold and snotty. I say that with NO DATA to back it up other than 12 years in ecommerce, over $30M in online sales and thousands and thousands of tests where I saw these universal truths come to the front over and over:

* Simple converts better than complex.

* Funny, surprise and engaging sells more than cold and clinical.

* Social beats anti-social.


Evoke shouldn't be junked up since clean lines are important to the high design products they sell, but some of that footer eggshell would go a long way to making the rest of page feel more approachable and less like if I break it aI buy it (lol). I couldn't resist putting a little color up in Eoke lolgo (see the image at the top of this page). So that Evoke doesn't sue me, that use of color in the O is MY interpretation not the Cafe Evoke's :).  



Via Catapult Ecommerce
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Nike Brand Design Rock Star Darrin Crescenzi Explains Game of Thrones And Power of Icons

Nike Brand Design Rock Star Darrin Crescenzi Explains Game of Thrones And Power of Icons | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

If you’re Nike Brand Design rock star Darrin Crescenzi, and you’ve created everything from the Nike Fuel gauge to the U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball uniforms, what do you do in your spare time?

Marty Note
I've Scooped several pieces on the importance of creating a new visual language using icons. Arguably the best at this idea in the world is Nike. Darrin Crescenzi discusses tricks learned at Nike and his project to create icons for the addictive Game of Thrones books and HBO series. 

Here is my second Scoop on Icons and web design:

http://www.scoop.it/t/design-revolution/p/2568882241/power-of-icons-in-web-design-2 

 

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Sushi And Robots: Simple Simplicity Works But Hardest Design To Create

Sushi And Robots: Simple Simplicity Works But Hardest Design To Create | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Sushi & Robots is the personal website of Jina Bolton, a designer, developer, and artist living in San Francisco.

Marty Note
Jina Bolton achieves the rarest of things simple simplicity. Saying "simple simplicity" sounds redundant, but it conveys just how hard it is to be quiet online. In a crowded noisy room the person standing alone in a corner catches the eye. Simple create distinction and gathers attention.

Simple works for other reasons than it is so hard to do. Simple works because confidence is clear. I've been selling, a now detested word btw, one thing or another for 30 years. One theme has remained constant. Quiet calm confidence works.

We buy people first. This is whey People Not Things Sell (http://scenttrail.blogspot.com/2012/06/startup-websites-people-not-things-sell.html). Jina's beautiful photograph with the engagement stare shows the power of people on a web page and that look straight out to the visitor is my 2nd favorite (first being staring at a Call To Action).

I've seen many sales approaches from screaming Crazy Eddie style to the make you (the buyer) feel stupid. Altruistic quiet confidence works best. Altruism because selling is sharing, teaching and being taught. Selling is and has always been about the relationship you are building, the connection you make.

This is why quiet and simple work so well in a website design. Quiet and simple like Jina's Sushi and Robots says you know yourself, you want to know me and there is room for our relationship to flourish. Well done Jina. Steal everythig you can from Sushi and Robots.

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Braun's House Is Bauhaus - Beautiful Simple Design From Braun Japan

Braun's House Is Bauhaus - Beautiful Simple Design From Braun Japan | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Marty Note
I've decided to pattern my curation today, to connect everything with an umbrella theme. My first attempt at this umbrella idea is to tie the Revolutions' Scoops to my love of art. This amazing Braun Japan site evokes the clean lines, simple colors and spiritual quiet of German Bauhaus designers such as: Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Mies van der Rohe. 

How can we bring those painfully won design lessons to our too chaotic time? Check out Braun's Japanese site for the art of selling in simple black and white time.

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Steal This: Design Within Reach Rocks Social, Blog and Website UX

Steal This: Design Within Reach Rocks Social, Blog and Website UX | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Discover the source for enduring, purposeful and innovative furniture and accessories. Many items are in stock and ready to ship at new lower shipping rates.

Marty Note
DWR has it going on. Their social is in constant motion and fun. Website design has always been one of the cleanest onlline and they are expanding in creative ways. DWR.com rocks and erns a Steal This from the Revolutions on Scoop.it.

http://www.dailymarkets.com/stock/2012/08/27/design-within-reach-announces-studio-expansions-and-new-openings/


Great article on all the DWR.com changes, expansions and cool moves.

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Did Dan Mall Solve The Portfolio Problem?

Did Dan Mall Solve The Portfolio Problem? | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Marty Note
Dan Mall is a talented designer. His designs for clients such as Crayola are colorful, clear and engaging. The reason he may have solved the portfolio problem is his main page is a series of simple green circles organized, floating really, in a clean timeline. You don't see his website designs until clicking. He sells the click.

The portfolio problem happens when placing 3 or 30 website examples on a page. There is an overwhelming sensation. You can't see anything. There is an explosion of color, style and CSS. Every website suffers by association. Dan Mall's solution is brilliant, elegant and simple much like his designs.

Well done!

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Brilliant Pattern Tap Looks At Website Design In Pieces Organized By Tags

Brilliant Pattern Tap Looks At Website Design In Pieces Organized By Tags | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Marty Note
PatternTap.com is a great site. Instead of looking at websites as a whole PatternTap.com breaks them down into their parts, then tags the parts and organizes great examples of repeitition or shadow or creative examples other web design problems. This site helps designers dig whatever ditch is causing them problems at the moment. Need hints or ideas about how to fix a problem with that form, image or navigation? PatternTap.com is the solution.

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From The Bauhaus To Our House - Cool Type Rules From 1929 Still Rock [graphic]

From The Bauhaus To Our House - Cool Type Rules From 1929 Still Rock [graphic] | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Bernhard’s typography rules were written for a pre-crash 1920s designer, but the lessons could just as easily apply to today’s reader.

Marty Note
Wow, if you ever need MORE evidence the bauhaus is still our house read this graphic and realize some design pressures are universal and always true.

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MetaLab's Sexy New Ballpark Suite For Design SMBs To Track, Time And Target

MetaLab's Sexy New Ballpark Suite For Design SMBs To Track, Time And Target | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

MetaLab Relaunches A Sexy New Ballpark, Officially Becomes A “Design ...TechCrunchThe company initially started out doing web development and design consultancy, but, over time, has diversified into digital goods and software.

Marty Note
Since our "Go Time" is looking long in the tooth at http://www.atlanticbt.com I'm gong to share Metalabs relaunched Ball Park with my boss. Cool tracking, invoicing and timing tool.

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Great Inspirational Homepage Design Gallery - Steal From Here [pinterest gallery]

Great Inspirational Homepage Design Gallery - Steal From Here [pinterest gallery] | Design Revolution | Scoop.it
CoolHomepages web page design and inspiration gallery of homepages, design, website designs and templates features thousands of cool web site design examples for inspiration - browse, search, learn, get inspired.

...

Marty - Great plae to find cool home page designs to inspire your design.

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30+ Beautiful Website Layouts And One HUGE Mistake

30+ Beautiful Website Layouts And One HUGE Mistake | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Today we will showcase some excellent website layouts from Dribbble to help you get inspired and see what's new in the web design world.

Marty Note
One way we all learn is to look at how each other solves the problem of presentation. This post has some good design ideas, at least one great idea and one huge problem. I am going to put some space before I share my take on each of those in case you want to click the link, form your own ideas and then compare notes.



Marty Picks
I thought that UberSnap site was genius in its very Pinterest approach to an ever changing visual design not unlike the new Scoop.it account master page (http://www.scoop.it/u/martin-marty-smith ).

The huge mistake is the trend to chop off men's heads. What is with that? There are two examples of this huge mistake in these designs. What can be more unsettling to the lizard brain than seeing a headless body pitching a suit or a travel bag. Can designers really be so lost in translation they don't see how spooky, scary and strange it is to loop off the heads of the men? Would they EVER do such a thing to a woman? Let's hope not :).M

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Why Being A Website Design Minimalist Is A Good Idea and So Hard To Do

Why Being A Website Design Minimalist Is A Good Idea and So Hard To Do | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Marty Note
Yesterday I shared what I thought would be a great Scoop on how to create a minimalist web design. The scoop didn't do grerat. I realized there is a missing element, a missing story about WHY minimalism online is such an important skill.

Web 3.0 is will be powered by a different engine. As we begin to understand conversion signals, use predictive analytics more creatively, social shopping and social search continue to mature, and as the semantic web guides sentiment and emotion website design will need to shift away from lowest common denominator "portal" designs.


We design websites now to herd and covert as many cats as possible. Have you ever tried to herd cats? No easy even as a mental exercise (lol). As websites respond more to YOU and what you are doing new pressures will be placed on design. I like to say the future converts better.


I will amend that statement to the future converts better IF we understand how to create the website designs to support a better converting future. Minimalism will be the most likely answer since the behind the curtain engine will be shouldering at least 50% of the conversion burden.


In the near future throwing more shinning objects in front of the curtain could talk a prospect right out of a sale. Simple, quiet minimalism is the obvious choice. Here is the rub. Minimalism is the HARDEST design skill to have by far bar none. This truth seems nonsensical. It would seem putting 3 elements on a page would be easier than putting 10. If simple placement was the issue fewer would be easier than more.

Since website design is ART and SCIENCE creating an effective design for fewer elements is harder, fewer involve more skill. Where can you even practice minimalism web design now?


It is almost impossible since our behind the curation engines don't have the sophistication they will. I say that knowing in all of my link research 10% of a site's links usually command 90% of the traffic. What is the problem?


We are the problem. We load links on pages in the absurd hope they matter. They don't and never will. The beautiful thing about Internet marketing is the MATH behind it. When something matters you KNOW right away. Put up an article and watch the backlinks and viral creep. People vote with their most precious currency - their time.

Once we move our designs in line with the 10% of things our audience really care about life gets easier and the future converts better. Since minimalism in web design is about to be all the rage, here once again is the link to the post on how to create a beautiful minimalist design:



http://www.scoop.it/t/design-revolution/p/2607206724/how-to-design-a-minimalist-website-a-step-by-step-guide-breezi

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Brian Yanish - MarketingHits.com's comment, September 7, 2012 8:40 AM
For minimal website design to work for content and/or product rich sites the company really needs to KNOW their visitor. We are all leaving data trails, smart companies will use that data to serve content or products to ME. If they make it all push marketing it will fail.

The best way to server personalized content will be on a minimalist design.

Here is a great article about personalized data marketing.
http://bit.ly/Qr2i6P
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Web Design & Alexander Calder's "Circus" [Video]

From Oct. 16, 2008 Feb. 15, 2009, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York presents "Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926-1933" http://www.whitney.o...

 

Marty Note
Every important element of web design is present in Calder's Circus. I love this entire video, but some of my favorite moments happen as Calder pulls his heavy suitcases marked with that distinctive signature CALDER out onto an empty floor. 

In moments the floor is transformed. We see behind the curtain as the circus takes shape.  The ring is built. The Master of Ceremony announces the first act and Calder begins his ingenious play. Web design follows this same path with slightly different tools. 

We start with a blank slate, a flat screen. Calder uses a meme, the circus, to create great art. The circus meme is so common he can create with bent wire, motion and a wisp of hair. His viewers (analogous to website visitors) "see" the circus. They happily fill in the blanks. 

Filling in the blanks is the hardest thing to teach in web design. We want to create the entire board, to color inside all the lines until the image is complete. The problem is the web can't complete a picture. We work with bent wire and a shock of hair too. Our best bet, as Internet marketers, is to transform our web design thinking. 

We transform our thinking by letting go.


We must give up the desire to complete the picture, a very difficult thing for an American who isn't a Buddhist :). We transform our thinking by allowing visitors to play with our circus. We change our thinking when we respond to how our guests play with our toys when we layer our circus dreams with theirs. 

We must let go of the idea that there is only ONE circus and only we can be its Master of Ceremonies. If we were Calder's children or grandchildren we couldn't be restrained from playing too.


Great web sites are like Calder's circus. Websites too are built from bent wire and a shock of hair (code, graphics, images, copy, navigation). Great websites are guided by play and happening now. If others play with your website's circus, tell others about your site and suggest ways you web pages can be better then you deserve large magic black cases with CALDER written on the side too. 


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Most Pinned A Cool New Social Segmentation From CB2 And A Web Design Steal This

Most Pinned A Cool New Social Segmentation From CB2 And A Web Design Steal This | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

CB2 - affordable, modern housewares and furniture for apartment, loft and home...



Marty Note
I was writing the first of Atlantic BT's September Ecommerce Tips (http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/september-is-e-commerce-holiday-tips-month-at-atlantic-bt/ ) when I stumbled upon a very cool idea from CB2 - social segmentation. Every ecommerce site needs to create product segments and categories.

Smart ecomm merchants know how to create cool segments that get customers to what they are looking for faster producing higher conversion rates. CB2's "Most Pinned" segment is a very cool way of saying "best sellers" without being so normal and boring. Most Pinned helps position CB2 as contemporary and cool (they are the cool version of Crate and Barrel).

If you are designing your website or holiday campaigns steal CB2's social segmentation idea and find others such as Most ReTweeted or Most Talked About. When you bring in the power of the mob you make purchasing easier and less stressful.

Web 3.0 will be about breaking down the barriers to feedback. In real time we will feed back to our shoppers and B2B customers what is happening NOW and what that means to trends. Anytime you can pull in the power of the smart mob do so is a good rule for Web 3.0.

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Power of Icons In Web Design 2

Power of Icons In Web Design 2 | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Marty Note
Discussed the power of icons last week (http://www.scoop.it/t/design-revolution/p/2532377256/genius-of-icons-and-a-sprinkle-of-copy ) to good response. Here are 3 more examples of great use of icons as mini-stories, navigation and website organization:

http://www.moxycreative.com/

 

http://foodbeast.com/content/

 

http://thenounproject.com/


Icons can become a magical visual language. If icons are easy to understand they may create a visual language built on sticky ideas, common sticky ideas, but unique to a particular website. The goal of every website is conversion and icons can help.

Conversion lives inside of a million variables.  Can customers understand your communication? Icons ireside somewhere between words and pictures. Icons can be confusing and off-putting. Done well icons create a bond with customers as they learn your unique language and become proud of their ability to decode. Once a customer arrives at that place, where they are proud of understanding your unique language, they are loyal and valuable. 

 

Good Free icons resource that just got Scooped: 

http://www.scoop.it/t/business-futures/p/2572865576/free-icons-for-your-presentations 

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Getting Pricing Design Right On A Webpage

Getting Pricing Design Right On A Webpage | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Pyconic is a set of Royalty-Free Vector Icons, Raster and Font Formats for User Interface Designers.

Marty Note
It is easy to do pricing wrong on a webpage. Wrong is any design that reduces conversion and right or correct design does the opposite. With that much floating-point latitude it is hard to understand how to do pricing right. There doesn't seem to be best practices you can count on.

See sometimes that feeling you have that there aren't reliable best practices is because there are way too many variables to form a universal truth. Pricing is one of those "too any variables" Internet marketing situations. In other words, in this case your feeling there are no best practices to count on in all situations is correct.

The link above does pricing right though I'm not sure about making the pricing page their home page (another discussion for another time). From this Dan Ariely perfect 3-point list (read Predictably Irrational to know the importance of the 3 selection list) I can tell the middle selection, Vector Pack, is where they want customers to go. That is the sweet spot.

See the pattern of the jumps? $39 becomes $59 becomes $90. Wait, how did we get to $90 so fast? We got there because no one buys the $90 option in such a list and Pyconic knows this and is using the set point of $90 to make the $59 look like a "value". Well done.

Pyconic's design is GENIUS on the subconscious level where much of buying decisions are made. Here is an example that gets pricing dead wrong:

http://www.shopify.com/pricing

Too many options and pattern is strange. Better off to drop the upper most "too many choices" option and reduce down to the three that look prepared to do Dan Ariely Predictably Irrational pricing.


Sometimes web design isn't JUST the surface. Sometimes design is what is happening in MY MIND (where "My" is your customer). You "design in" the path you want your customers to take as Pyconic did and Shopify did not.

Want to read mor on pricing? One of my most popular ScentTrails is on pricing:

How To Price Your Product Or Service
http://scenttrail.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-to-price-your-product-or-service.html

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Genius Of Icons And A Sprinkle Of Copy

Genius Of Icons And A Sprinkle Of Copy | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Kaggle is a platform for data prediction competitions. Companies, organizations and researchers post their data and have it scrutinized by the world's best statisticians.

Marty Note
Icons especially related icons are form a quick brand-like visual language. "Related" means the icon is already implied by your copy you are just unlocking the visual identity inside the words. Words + related graphic is more powerfully engaging than words or icon alone.

I still believe in the strategic use of people to warm up even icon pages (read my people not things sell post: http://scenttrail.blogspot.com/2012/06/startup-websites-people-not-things-sell.html ), but this page from the Kaggle site is a solid example of the power of matched icons.

It would be easy to think about NOT including people on a hosting page since we are talking about hardware and its related concepts. Yeah one problem with that is we buy from PEOPLE in the end not cartoons. That said, we have to capture attention first and this example of using icons and a smattering of copy does capture and guide attention beautifully.

Found this example with another new favorite tool PatternTap.com where examples of best in breed are organized against common Internet marketing ideas such as best use of icons.

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State of Graphic Design | Visual.ly [Infographic]

State of Graphic Design | Visual.ly [Infographic] | Design Revolution | Scoop.it
Smartpress.com conducted a survey to aggregate the opinion of dozens of the best and most-talented graphic designers in the industry.

Via John van den Brink
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Lore. Learn more - Great Use Of Icons In Web Design [Example]

Lore. Learn more - Great Use Of Icons In Web Design [Example] | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

The social network for education. Simple, elegant course management meets social networking. All for free.

Marty Note
I've always had a thing for icons. They are so clean, simple and engaging. Hard to beat an icon to communicate a complex message in shorthand much like a brand. Found This excellent education site with its great use of icons from PatternTap.com (my new secret weapon to find best of across a variety of ideas).

As much as I love the icons here, some PEOPLE looking at me (views out to visitors are engaging) would warm up what can come off as an icon-only site. Icons as ends unto themselves don't work as well as a means to an end.

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Looking At Great Web Design [gallery resource]

Looking At Great Web Design [gallery resource] | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Premier source of web design inspiration and trends.

One of my favorites is http://simonfosterdesign.com/home/. Very nice responsive designs from England. Well done Simon! Lines are clean, easy to draw eyes and attention where you want it when the ecosystem is so clean and clear.


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Top 10 Ideas for Small Business Web Design

Top 10 Ideas for Small Business Web Design | Design Revolution | Scoop.it
RT @Followideas: Top 10 Ideas for Small Scale Business Web Design http://t.co/rHB3dz6z...


Marty Note
Ignore the strikingly BAD use of stock photography here and the overly lecturing tone and there are some solid tips here including:

* Simplify Navigation.

* Fast Is Life, Slow Is Death In Website Load Time.
* Simplicity Is Key!

These 3 tips, out of the 10, are clear and true. There is a tip on SEO I don't agree with at all. It is impossible to explain SEO in this short paragraph 10 tip format. SEO is about site heuristics now (time on site, pages viewed, return visitors) so storytelling and linked pages are key. Play the SEO game the old way and you will be punished (read http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/stop-these-10-old-seo-methods-now/ for more on this).

Ignore the stock and read at least those 3 tips and this article will help.

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Web Design Trends [Infographic]

Web Design Trends [Infographic] | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Infographic about latest web design trends in 2012 - 2013.

Marty
Great infographic summarizing current web design trends incluing:

* Circles are now easier with css3.

* Responsive (creating sites that look great on any receiving device).

* Infogrpahics (are exploding because they work and are part of my Visuals vs. Textuals war).


And other tips I won't spoil with summary here.

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Get Inspired: 27 Great Web Design Galleries To Find Web Design Inspiration!

Get Inspired: 27 Great Web Design Galleries To Find Web Design Inspiration! | Design Revolution | Scoop.it

Where do you go normally when you are planning to start your new web design project and you are curiously finding for a mind blowing web design inspiration or just want yourself to bring up with some amazing creative ideas which can help...

Marty Note
I always start a project wandering around for inspiration, looking at how others are solving the problem gets the creative gears turning. There is nothing more intimidating than a blank canvas, so here are 27 ways to oil the gears and find inspiration from others - where inspiration always starts.

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