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Digital design and build
Design through to production with digital at the core
Curated by Tom Hall
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Foundation 5, available now

Foundation 5, available now | Digital design and build | Scoop.it
Today, the California-based product design team at ZURB announce the release of Foundation 5, the responsive web design framework that’s been adopted by millions of designers and engineers.
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Just 11% of top spending advertisers use responsive design | Econsultancy

Just 11% of top spending advertisers use responsive design | Econsultancy | Digital design and build | Scoop.it
Responsive design is widely accepted to be the most effective way of accommodating the consumer shift towards mobile technologies, yet a new report from the IAB suggests that companies have been relatively slow on the take up.
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The ecommerce treasure hunt: how to breathe serendipity into your site

The ecommerce treasure hunt: how to breathe serendipity into your site | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

Conversion optimisation is great, but to some extent it works on the premise that customers know what they’re looking for. Ok, checkouts, calls to action, merchandising should always be finessed, but optimisation is a means of squeezing more from specific intent.

 

But what if moving the customer towards the magpie psyche is the future of selling online?

 

A new ecommerce model is emerging and it works on the premise that customers can be encouraged to ‘bag at will’. All retailers need to do is surface rarer, quality products that are socially proven and most importantly look great.

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16 alternative lorem ipsum generators to spice up your filler text

16 alternative lorem ipsum generators to spice up your filler text | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

If you've ever wireframed webpages then you might have found the need to use some dummy text. Traditionally that meant searching for 'lorem ipsum' on Google and copying and pasting a bunch of Latin.

 

Nowadays, we have a few more options. I have collected some lorem ipsum variants for you to use the next time you need some placeholder text.

Choose your weapon wisely! And be warned, some of these tools are a little sweary, or non-PC, so if you're easily offended I suggest you stick to using Latin.

 

Enjoy!

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Embarrassing predictions: a foray into mobile and tablet optimisation: part one

Embarrassing predictions: a foray into mobile and tablet optimisation: part one | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

In our line of work, putting your intuition on the line is the norm.

Predictions, albeit with some measure of a hypothesis, are what we do, and we often get them wrong.

 

When we look back at some of the predictions made in the technology space in the last 150 odd years, we realise some of our predictions are not so embarrassing.

 

In 1948 Thomas John Watson, CEO and Chairman of IBM, suggested: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers”.

 

Moving ahead 25 years to 1966, futurologists at Time Magazine, said that remote shopping would “…flop – because women like to get out of the house, like to handle the merchandise, like to be able to change their minds”.

 

Let’s skip to 1977 when Ken Olsen, the President and Founder of Digital Equipment Corp, said: “…There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home...

 

And last year, the Global Head of Marketing at Dell more or less insinuated the iPad would fail. The media creatively translated his words to say in most headlines: “Dell executive says iPad will fail”.

 

Site optimisation is no different, it is all about predictions. We can attest to making some horrible ones. But that is exactly why we test.

 

Now we’re entering this incredibly interesting epoch: the rise of the tablet and smartphone. We’re in unchartered territory. And just like traditional websites, there’s a lot to learn.

 

So rather than make predictions, in this three-part blog series I’ll explore some of the most pressing issues in mobile and tablet optimisation from my five years’ experience in the industry.

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BBC uses responsive design for new mobile Sport site

BBC uses responsive design for new mobile Sport site | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

As part of the BBC’s move to responsive design it has launched a revamped version of its sport site that tailors content to mobile screens.

 

We’ve previously reviewed the BBC’s redesigned news site, and the consensus in the comments section was that it’s not technically responsive design, but is in fact adaptive design.

 

The main giveaways are the ‘m.’ URL and the fact that if you resize your browser on a desktop the elements on the page don’t reorder themselves.

 

Nonetheless, it’s great that BBC Sport now has a mobile site as it means reading live football score updates on a Saturday will be a much easier experience.

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The ultimate social media image sizing cheat sheet

The ultimate social media image sizing cheat sheet | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

With all the recent changes to our favorite (or not so favorite) social networks with Facebook covers, Twitter header images and YouTube branded channels, businesses have had to redesign their images and rethink of how they represent themselves visually online.

 

This gave way to a lot of new creative campaigns on Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest but is has led to a lot of social media managers scrambling to get the images just right.

 

Earlier this month LunaMetrics released an updated version of their widely popular Social Media Sizing cheat sheet with image and video sizes for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Though I bookmarked it, I thought it was actually too valuable a resource to keep to myself.

 

So before you post your next picture or change up your profile image, take a look at this handy cheat sheet and bookmark it for yourself.

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QR code road test shows brands still offer a dreadful user experience

QR code road test shows brands still offer a dreadful user experience | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

While browsing through the free Sport magazine on the tube this morning I noticed that a number of the ads included QR codes.

 

I never scan QR codes largely because the user experience always used to be quite poor.

But as the technology has been around for a while now surely marketers avoid the cardinal sins of failing to include a call-to-action then linking to desktop pages?

 

I tested all the QR codes I could find in Sport to find out...

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Here’s How Spotify Scales Up And Stays Agile: It Runs ‘Squads’ Like Lean Startups | TechCrunch

Here’s How Spotify Scales Up And Stays Agile: It Runs ‘Squads’ Like Lean Startups | TechCrunch | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

What’s the secret to staying fresh, lean and mean when you’re a hot tech company on a fast growth trajectory? A fascinating document brought to our attention today today by Andrew Mager, hacker advocate at Spotify, answers that question in some detail by telling us how the music streaming juggernaut does it: by dividing up its business into small clusters — which it calls ‘squads’ — and running each like a startup in its own right. We’ve embedded the document below.

 

TH: absolutely worth clicking through to take a look at the embedded document. Fascinating to read that each squad has all the skills and tools needed to design, develop, test and release to production. Squads are encouraged to apply lean startup principles  "Think it, build it, ship it, tweak it".

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Dear silly web: 20 things to banish in 2013

Dear silly web: 20 things to banish in 2013 | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

Two years ago I wrote about the 25 things that will make me leave a website in less than 10 seconds. I covered pop-ups, autosound, and a bunch of other user experience face palms. Sadly, most of these things are still used by perpetrators of various shapes and sizes.

 

In addition, websites can baffle and perplex users in equal measure. I have compiled a list of 20 things that need to be cleaved in two by digital professionals, in order to make the web a better place for all. 

 

No doubt I'll have missed some of your pet hates, so do leave a comment below.

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20 experiential web design trends for 2012

20 experiential web design trends for 2012 | Digital design and build | Scoop.it
Web design by its very nature continues to evolve, as it must, to make the most of modern browsers and the likes of HTML5, CSS3 and JQuery, and to provide a wonderful user experience for tablet and smartphone owners.
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This is what the reviews say about iPad Mini

This is what the reviews say about iPad Mini | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

The recently announced iPad Mini is expected to go on sale on Nov. 2. Apple, which initially was dismissive of smaller tablets, is joining the ranks of the mini-tablet makers and is launching iPad Mini. The Wi-Fi version of the recently announced tablet will go on sale this week, while the cellular version will follow in a couple of weeks. The initial reviews of the device are out, and here are some of the highlights that will give you a sense of the device and its features.

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Designing for the iPad Mini: best practice tips

Designing for the iPad Mini: best practice tips | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

The new iPad Mini presents another set of problems for websites looking to appeal to mobile /tablet users, as it's a new screen size between iPad and smartphone.

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This rise of immersive theatre puts design in the spotlight

This rise of immersive theatre puts design in the spotlight | Digital design and build | Scoop.it
Tom Hall's insight:

World Stage Design 2013 exhibitor David Shearing asks whether immersive theatre offers designers new opportunities, or restricts creativity through a limited focus on the illusion of reality?

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How to optimise your images for SEO

How to optimise your images for SEO | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

Images are increasingly important to the customer experience and search yet many sites are not optimised to take advantage.


In the early days of the web images were typically small and of low quality. We all remember the little animated men at work icons that littered the web in its infancy.

 

However, as users have moved from dial-up to broadband connections, the number, size and quality of images on the web has increased significantly.

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Start me up! A profile of Clickmodels, easy prototyping for designers

Start me up! A profile of Clickmodels, easy prototyping for designers | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

Web prototyping is continually evolving. The holy grail is perhaps a web app easily shared between management, developers and clients, with low latency, high performance and flexibility.


Clickmodels is trying to solve this problem, and I spoke to Jurriaan van Drunen, co-founder.

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Why Apple needs to retake the core of the iPhone in 2013

Why Apple needs to retake the core of the iPhone in 2013 | Digital design and build | Scoop.it
As problems go, Apple’s are the kind most companies would kill for. One of them is particularly fascinating: Having established the most vibrant computing platform of the 21st century, Apple’s own iOS app developers are finding themselves in serious competition with strategic opponents who are duplicating some of the most essential parts of the iPhone. It’s something Apple once tried to prohibit before the federal government forced it to back down.
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Are you responsive, mobile or app-based?

Are you responsive, mobile or app-based? | Digital design and build | Scoop.it
I was recently asked by a client “If time and money weren’t an issue, what type of mobile development would you do? Responsive, mobile or app?”
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Tom Hall's curator insight, January 3, 2013 1:39 PM

I was recently asked by a client “If time and money weren’t an issue, what type of mobile development would you do? Responsive, mobile or app?”


“All three,” I replied.

 

“Ok...  And if you could have just one?”

 

Most of my projects (and particularly the one in question) revolve around brand communications and loyalty programmes, here’s my running order:

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Metro becomes latest newspaper to use responsive design

Metro becomes latest newspaper to use responsive design | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

Metro has become the latest newspaper to embrace responsive design as it moves towards a “mobile-first” strategy.A blog post announcing the site redesign says that the company made the change “sure in the knowledge that mobile users are making up an increasing proportion of our visitors – and will soon be in the majority.

 

According to our fourth annual Conversion Rate Optimization Report, produced in association with RedEye, the proportion of organisations designing their websites specifically for mobile phones has increased from 25% to 35% since 2011.

 

Therefore Metro.co.uk’s redesign is part of a wider trend – in fact we’ve previously reported on the BBC’s move towards responsive design, as well as USA Today’s new site that was built with tablet users in mind.

 

So, how does Metro’s site measure up?

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Search and the hidden elements of design

Search and the hidden elements of design | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

There's been a lot of talk of late about the interaction of design and search. And with good reason. Much of what Panda was designed to look at includes design-centric elements.

 

Mobile SEO features design as one of it's main components, and going forward in to the future, there'll be more emphasis (one would suspect) on Google pushing up sites that deliver great user experience on a broad range of form factors over those which don't.

 

However, if we consider design as the presentation, interface functionality and ordering of the elements of a user interface, then we're potentially missing something.

 

While historically we've simply concerned ourselves with designing for users, and letting spiders pick up the content that we generate from the HTML on the page, we're now entering an age where we'll be creating and curating two sets of content: one visible to humans, and one marked up for machines.

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Mobile Apps: The Trouble With Using 'Responsive Design' - Forbes

Mobile Apps: The Trouble With Using 'Responsive Design' - Forbes | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

If you’ve recently chatted with your Web development team, you may have heard about responsive design. A growing trend for today’s businesses, publishers and developers, responsive design is an approach to Web development that many brands are considering to optimize their online content for multiple devices with varying screen sizes across the traditional Web, tablets, smartphones and beyond.

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Just 12% of UK websites comply with the EU Cookie Law [infographic]

Just 12% of UK websites comply with the EU Cookie Law [infographic] | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

Only 12% of the top 50 British websites have taken steps to comply with the EU Cookie Directive with an onscreen pop-up, banner or tab informing users about cookies on the site, according to a new report from TRUSTe.

 

But while this number seems low, the study found that none of the top sites in France or Germany has taken any steps towards compliance.

 

TRUSTe’s findings reflect that fact that the Information Commissioner’s Office has said it will adopt a soft approach towards enforcing the cookie law, which came into force earlier this year.

 

The survey also found that the top 50 French sites drop nearly twice as many third party cookies (434) as the Netherlands (237), while British and German sites drop 406 and 319 respectively.

 

Looking at consumer awareness of the cookie law, four out of five Brits (81%) are aware of internet browser cookies and 63% are aware of the EU Cookie Directive.

 

The online study included over 4,000 consumers in France, Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands, and 200 top websites.

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Two seconds to playback: slow video drives users away

Two seconds to playback: slow video drives users away | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

Most companies active on the web understand that speed matters and that slow can kill sales.

 

But while the impact of a slow website generally is well-established, there's far less data about the quantitative impact of performance when it comes to one of the increasingly important content types on the web -- video. Until now.

 

According to a study (PDF) conducted by computer science professor Ramesh Sitaraman, user expectations are equally high for online video. In looking at some 23m video views generated by 6.7m unique users, Sitaraman found that users, not surprisingly, have no qualms about abandoning a video if it takes too long to play.

 

Just how long is too long? By five seconds, 20% of users will leave for short-form video; purveyors of long-form video have a few seconds of wiggle room. All told, each second of delay after the first two seconds increases the abandonment rate by nearly 6%.

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HowDo offers intriguing take on instructional storyboards

HowDo offers intriguing take on instructional storyboards | Digital design and build | Scoop.it
The startup, which has just announced seed funding from some impressive backers, combines photos with short sound clips to create a fresh take on the 'how to' video. It feels like a mechanism with many uses.
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What is responsive design and do you really need it?

What is responsive design and do you really need it? | Digital design and build | Scoop.it

Last week I published a review of the new BBC News mobile site, which was apparently built using responsive design.

 

It’s a decent site and is easy to use, however there was some debate in the comments section over whether the approach the BBC has used is definitely responsive design.

In fact a vast majority of commenters were adamant that the BBC's site is adaptive design rather than responsive.

 

So to bring some clarity to the situation, I asked three mobile experts what responsive design in mobile means, what the benefits are and also for their opinion on the BBC News site...

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