Tag Archives: designers

The Big Picture Implications of the New iPhone’s Outsized Screen: What It Means for Design, Development, and UX/UI

When Apple’s Tim Cook finally announced the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, he was greeted with rapturous applause from diehard fans, snarky attack ads from sour competitors, and an unlikely #bendgate controversy about skinny jeans warping the slick devices.

Coming in at 4.7 and 5.5 inches across, these behemoth new screens are much more than a status symbol, copycat tactic, and structural liability—they also open a brave new world for developers, designers, and user experience / user interface (UX/UI) strategists.

How will apps adapt to the new real estate, and how will users respond? The outsized screens present both a challenge and an opportunity for the future of mobile design.

New Territory: A Lot of Space to Fill

While the new phones are appreciably bigger, on first glance, you may not realize just how many more pixels have been packed in: the 6 features 38% more space than its 5s predecessor, while the 6 Plus adds a whopping 68% increase.

Devs and designers will jump at the chance to give users more content and information, without crowding the interface and throwing off iOS’s trademark simplicity and Zen-like minimalism. They can also use the opportunity for more detailed graphics and bigger fonts. That’s great for readability, but what about reachability?

Solutions for Sore, Stubby Thumbs

An iPhone 5s sits comfortably in the palm of your hand and allows easy access to every corner of the screen—perfect for subway rides, multi-handed multitasking, and texting on the go. As this handy (heh) graphic shows, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are a little less accessible. This places many navigational tools—typically at the top of an app—inconveniently just out of reach.

Apple’s solution? Reachability, a feature launched by a double-tap on the home button that brings the top half of the screen to the bottom. Interesting idea, but some UX/UI experts are already declaring it “hacky and completely unintuitive.” A better approach may be moving the nav buttons down below deck and integrating more gestural controls.

As bigger screen sizes continue to gain popularity and become the new normal, designers will be forced to innovate, reinvent, and rethink the way our digits and digital devices interact.

How Smelly Is Your Design?

In the world of design we’re brought up to understand there are certain rules to follow when laying out a piece. Guidelines exist to help designs resonate with our intended audiences. For example, in photography the “rule of thirds” teaches us to divide our shots into a grid format and place our subjects in any of the nine sections—none of which is dead center. The phrase “form follows function” is another example that’s been around for a century. It reminds us that an object should be designed considering its function first and that this will determine its form.

A poor creative team, on the other hand, may spend hours deliberating about the appropriate message for a direct mail envelope. In reality, it’s the shape of the piece and the color of the design that humans connect with first. Content always comes later.

These rules exist because they’ve been tested over the years. Through the use of eye-tracking technology and decades of focus groups, we’re able to say with certainty where eyeballs go when they look at design.

But what if we did more than just followed the rules of design visually? What if we triggered other senses beyond sight? What about taste? What about smell? We’ve been to the grocery store enough times to know that giving away food samples is one of the most ingenious forms of marketing. From the sizzle of the frying pan and the smell that fills the aisles to the moment you take that tiny toothpick and take a bite––you’d swear you’ve never eaten such good sausages.

Well, that full-blown experience is a marketer’s dream. There isn’t a limb on an advertiser’s body that he or she wouldn’t give up to utilize scent in an ad campaign. The limbic connection between smell and memory is the perfect recipe for all things nostalgia. Freshly mowed lawns, our mother’s baking, and even the smell of Play-Doh all have the potential to elicit something deep within us.

It doesn’t look like Smell-O-Vision will be put to practical use anytime soon. It does seem, however, that a team out of Belgium has figured out how to express both scent and taste using stamps. The Belgian post office, known as Bpost, has produced more than 500,000 smellable/edible stamps celebrating Belgium’s world-famous chocolates and chocolatiers.

While it’ll be a bit before I see myself licking an already-licked stamp, I can’t deny how effective it might be in triggering those chocolate-driven memories stored deep inside me.

The Belgians are breaking the rules—those zany rebels! What else can we come up with to more effectively reach our consumers?

To learn about how those chocolate stamps are made, check out this video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21388234

Author: Eric Swenson

Ways To Make Graphic Designers Cringe

BuzzFeed released 17 hilarious, cringe-worthy designs that are sure to make you feel uncomfortable. Here’s a taste, but be sure to check out the entire list on BuzzFeed.

1. Kerning

7. The “I just learned Adobe Ilustrator look”

12. Way too twee

Author: Eric Swenson

Communication Arts Releases Winners of Its 2011 Design Annual

Communication Arts just released the winners of its 2011 Design Annual. Over 4,000 pieces were submitted, and only 174 winners were selected. A team of five judges had the seemingly impossible task of narrowing down the finalists.

Project categories like trademarks, letterheads, posters, packaging, and annual reports were included in the competition.

With today’s economic woes, it’s becoming harder and harder for design firms to keep up with the Joneses technology-wise. It was clear that this year’s designers were able to bring back old-school techniques and produce quality work.

Take a look at the gallery to get a glimpse of some of the winners. If you want to see all the concepts, though, you’re going to have to sign up for Communication Arts’ subscription plan (lame!).

Author: Eric Swenson

15th Annual Webby Awards: Vote Now!

Be part of the 15th Annual Webby Awards by voting for who deserves to take home a People’s Voice Award.

The Webby People’ s Voice Awards honor the year’s best work in websites, interactive advertising, online film & video, and mobile formats. You have an opportunity to view some truly amazing art from great agencies, designers, writers, developers, and others.

Step up onto your soapbox and let the web know who rules your digital world. Voting’s open from
April 12 through April 28, 2011. So get voting now to have your say on who should win.

Kudos and good luck to all who have entered!

Author: Eric Swenson