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The purpose of a website is to reach new customers and keep current ones engaged. Therefore, customer-first should be at the top of your list for design features. After all, without your clients, your business won’t grow or succeed.

Customer-first has been a buzzword for a few years now. In a nutshell, it’s easy to imagine what customer-first design means. The needs of consumers come before anything else. However, the concept isn’t quite as simple in practice. A lot of nuances enter the equation.

Just what does it mean to have a customer-first web design? What are the must-haves to reach users on their level and keep their attention for the long haul?

Embracing quality customer experiences has driven loyalty for as long as anyone can remember. However, we now live in a time of uncertainty, and when people leave companies on a dime if they’re dissatisfied with any aspect. So you must hit the high notes on every song – your website is your purest online persona and must engage users and keep them entertained.

Whether you embrace causes that matter to your customers and share information on them or tweak your design to meet accessibility guidelines, many factors come into play with a customer-centric design.

In a recent report, researchers found that about 88% of company leaders feel customer engagement impacts revenue. You can’t control every variable, but you can ensure your website hits all the strong points for a customer-first web design that grabs them and keeps them on your page.

Here are our favorite tips to create a customer-first approach. You may already be doing some of these things. Pick and choose what makes the most sense for your business model. Even small changes can have a big impact.

1. Know Your Customers

Before creating a website centered around your customers’ needs, you must know who they are. What are the demographics of your typical clients? Survey them and find out what their needs and expectations are. How can you best help them?

You may also want to survey them about your website. What’s missing that might help them? Is there anything they love? What do they hate? The more you know, the better your design can match their expectations. Create buyer personas based on their preferences.

At the same time, buyers will sometimes say one thing but actually feel another way. No one is quite sure why people do this when being surveyed. One way around that issue is to do some A/B testing to see how they actually feel about various changes. Do they respond the way you thought? What other adjustments need to be made?

2. Find the Right Color Palette

Different industries trend toward various hues. For example, businesses in the banking industry trend toward blues and occasionally reds. Blue elicits trust from users and has a calming effect. On the other hand, the fashion industry might tap into brighter shades, such as lime green. Think about what colors people expect in your industry, and then find your color palette.

Each hue has its emotional impact. For example, red is a color of power and can elicit excitement in the viewer. Choose your shades accordingly to get the most emotional punch possible.

3. Accept Feedback

One of the best ways to improve your site over time to match the needs and preferences of your audience is by allowing feedback. Add reviews, place a feedback form in your footer, and even send out requests for feedback to your mailing list.

It’s also a good idea to find a mentor who has been successful at running a business. Ask them to look at your site and give you advice. You might also enlist the help of a marketing professional.

4. Stick With the Familiar

Have you heard of Jakob’s Law? The rule of thumb states that people prefer common design patterns they’re most familiar with. So when they see a pattern they know, such as a navigation bar layout, it boosts their mood and improves their memory of the site.

When making edits, don’t make significant changes. Instead, implement minor adjustments over time to give your followers a chance to acclimate to the shift.

5. Cut the Clutter

If you want users to feel wowed by your page and engage, you have to limit their choices. Add in too many options, and they may not know where to go first.

Start by choosing an objective for the page. Cut anything that doesn’t point the user toward the goal. Ideally, you’d have a little info, an image, and a call to action (CTA) button. However, this may vary, depending on where your buyer is in the sales funnel and how much information they need to decide to go from browser to customer.

6. Choose Mobile Friendliness

Recent reports indicate about 90% of people use mobile devices to go online at times. With phones gaining greater capabilities and 5G bringing faster speeds to communities, expect people to use their mobile devices even more frequently for internet browsing.

Making sure your site translates well on smaller screens makes sense for your company and for your customers. Be sure to test everything. Click through all links. Fill in forms. Ensure images and text auto-adjust to the correct size, so people don’t have to scroll endlessly.

7. Make Multiple Landing Pages

Like most businesses, you probably have several buyer personas as you segment your audience. Don’t just create a single home page and expect it to fulfill the purpose of every reader. Instead, create unique pages for each persona to best meet their needs.

Make sure each landing page speaks in the natural language patterns of your specific audience. Think about the unique needs of each group. How do their pain points differ? How can you best meet their needs?

8. Keep Important Info Above the Fold

People are busy. They work, have families, and might visit your site on the 15-minute break they get in the afternoon. Most consumers want the information they need to decide and don’t want to dilly-dally around with other things.

Place the essential headlines and info they need above the fold, so they see it first. Make it as readable as possible by using headings and subheadings. Add in a few bullet points. People also absorb information easier in video format, so add a video highlighting your product’s or service’s main benefits.

You should also place a CTA button above the fold if it makes sense for your overall design. Keep in mind people may have visited and already read some of the information. Some users return just to sign up and want to find the CTA quickly.

Step Into Your Customers’ Shoes

Look at your site through the eyes of your audience. What works well? What needs to be adjusted? Over time, you’ll develop a customer-first web design that speaks to those most likely to buy from you. Then, keep making changes and tweaking your site until it hits the perfect balance for your customers.

 

Featured image via Freepik.

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The security and privacy of users’ data have been a growing concern for the past few years. At the same time, JWT, as one technology to combat it, has been used more and more. Understanding JWT will give you an edge over the other software engineers. JWT might seem simple at first, but it is pretty hard to understand.

In this article, we will explore mainly JWT and JWS. In addition, we’ll also go through JWE, JWA, and JWK quickly. This article aims to make the reader understand the concept of JWT without diving too deep into the topic.

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There are a lot of dark, retro vibes trending in website design right now. Although there are still some light projects popping up – including a pastel trend below – a lot of what we are seeing has a quite moody feel.

Here’s what’s trending in design this month.

Pastel Color Palettes

Let’s start with the trend with a lighter feel – pastel color palettes. While much of the web is trending toward dark aesthetics, there’s a segment that’s going in the exact opposite direction. Those sites feature soft, pastel color palettes that serve as a balance to all the super dark websites out there.

One thing about this website design trend is that it jumps out because of the stark contrast with all of the dark color palettes out there.

Each of these designs seems to use a pastel color palette as the basis for a background. A blur effect is paired with the colors to use pastels in a way that has a natural feel without appearing too feminine or light.

Robust uses blue and earth tones for a pastel background that feels modern and strong when paired with the hard-edged headline font.

Atmos uses a light pastel theme that takes you through the clouds with blues, and pinks, and purples. The pastel color scheme works well with the content which is airline-themed and makes you feel like you are flying through the sky. The colors are also soft enough to provide an easy reading experience.

Klezma is another design with the same pastel background with graduated color. The peach tones are fairly neutral and give plenty of room to the content.

Fonts with a Distinct Retro Look

Every one of these websites uses a typeface with a similar look and feel. This retro headline style is trending in a major way.

The best way to use this design element is for short words. This typeface design isn’t meant for a lot of words or when readability is a high priority.

This style is all about creating a specific kind of vibe for your website. The typefaces in this trend have a quite retro look and feel with an almost 1960s or ’70s feel to them. The rest of the design mimics this feel as well with colors and surrounding elements that contribute to the overall look.

A couple of common elements here include the use of all capitals font sets and letterforms that include odd shapes and lines.

Sretks not only uses a retro typeface but bends and twists it a bit too to add to the old-school feel. The background color helps add to the groovy vibe.

Barge 166 uses a retro typeface with the same design feel as the other examples but with a sharper, more serif-style edge. It’s easier to read but still carries a retro look and feel. Use a typeface similar to this if you want to capture that retro font style for a trending look while maintaining as much readability as possible. This option works best for multiple lines of words in a large size.

Picky Joe uses a retro typeface with rounded letters and a bit of a tilt to the characters to create a distinct feel. This is definitely a style that has to be used sparingly but can be a fun option, depending on the content of your website design.

Dark “Product” Sites

Dark mode design is probably the biggest design trend of 2022. Everywhere you look, websites are using dark color palettes and styles. Designers are creating more projects with a dark/light toggle so users can control their experience.

This visual concept is carried over to website designs that feature products as well. This is one of the last places the dark aesthetic had not touched. It’s been a bit of an unwritten rule that product images should be on white or light backgrounds to help make them easy to see and inspect digitally.

This design trend bucks that idea and features products on dark backgrounds – some with so little contrast that you almost have a hard time seeing the products. (Maybe these brands are banking on the idea that you already know them or are selling a lifestyle product.)

HQBC sells bike accessories such as glasses and helmets and the site has a sleek look and feel. You know it is cool from the second you land on it. The question though – is there enough visual information with the dark background to help you make a purchase? This design probably works because it only encourages you to find a physical location to make a purchase rather than buy online.

Doggystyle Shop also banks on the idea of you knowing the shopping experience or brand when you arrive. What the design does do though is put products on white backgrounds after you have clicked through far enough to make a commitment to buy. This helps you see the product well one final time before making a purchase. (The challenge is that it is three to four clicks in for the most part.)

FirstFit uses the design trend in a way that’s similar to the first example. They are showing a product, but not actually trying to convert sales on the website. Other links take you to more product information and content – using a lighter background and color scheme – and the dark background with the product serves mostly as a highly visual landing page that will help entice users to learn more. When it comes to dark mode and products, this seems to be the best option for most website designs.

Conclusion

The state of the world around us and our emotions can play hard into websites and other design projects. Some of the darker elements that are popular now may be a reflection of that or it could be more of a lean into dark mode schemes.

Either way, the web has a pretty dark feel right now.

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Websites haven’t always been as adaptable as they are today. For modern designers, “responsivity” is one of the most significant defining factors of a good design. After all, we’re now catering to a host of users who frequently jump between mobile and desktop devices with varying screen sizes. 

However, the shift to responsive design didn’t happen overnight. For years, we’ve been tweaking the concept of “responsive web design” to eventually reach the stage we’re at today. 

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the history of responsive web design.

Where Did Web Design Begin?

When the first websites were initially created, no one was worried about responsivity across a range of screens. All sites were designed to fit the same templates, and developers didn’t spend a lot of time on concepts like design, layout, and typography.  

Even when the wider adoption of CSS technology began, most developers didn’t have to worry much about adapting content to different screen sizes. However, they still found a few ways to work with different monitor and browser sizes.

Liquid Layouts

The main two layout options available to developers in the early days were fixed-width, or liquid layout. 

With fixed-width layouts, the design was more likely to break if your monitor wasn’t the exact same resolution as the one the site was designed on. You can see an example here

Alternatively, liquid layouts, coined by Glenn Davis, were considered one of the first revolutionary examples of responsive web design. 

Liquid layouts could adapt to different monitor resolutions and browser sizes. However, content could also overflow, and text would frequently break on smaller screens. 

Resolution-Dependent Layouts

In 2004, a blog post by Cameron Adams introduced a new method of using JavaScript to swap out stylesheets based on a browser window size. This technique became known as “resolution-dependent layouts”. Even though they required more work from developers, resolution-dependent layouts allowed for more fine-grained control over the site’s design. 

The resolution-dependent layout basically functioned as an early version of CSS breakpoints, before they were a thing. The downside was developers had to create different stylesheets for each target resolution and ensure JavaScript worked across all browsers.

With so many browsers to consider at the time, jQuery became increasingly popular as a way to abstract the differences between browser options away.

The Rise of Mobile Subdomains

The introduction of concepts like resolution-dependent designs was happening at about the same time when many mobile devices were becoming more internet-enabled. Companies were creating browsers for their smartphones, and developers suddenly needed to account for these too.

Though mobile subdomains aimed to offer users the exact same functions they’d get from a desktop site on a smartphone, they were entirely separate applications. 

Having a mobile subdomain, though complex, did have some benefits, such as allowing developers to specifically target SEO to mobile devices, and drive more traffic to mobile site variations. However, at the same time, developers then needed to manage two variations of the same website.

Back at the time when Apple had only just introduced its first iPad, countless web designers were still reliant on this old-fashioned and clunky strategy for enabling access to a website on every device. In the late 2000s, developers were often reliant on a number of tricks to make mobile sites more accessible. For instance, even simple layouts used the max-width: 100% trick for flexible images.

Fortunately, everything began to change when Ethan Marcotte coined the term “Responsive Web Design” on A List Apart. This article drew attention to John Allsopp’s exploration of web design architectural principles, and paved the way for all-in-one websites, capable of performing just as well on any device. 

A New Age of Responsive Web Design

Marcotte’s article introduced three crucial components developers would need to consider when creating a responsive website: fluid grids, media queries, and flexible images. 

Fluid Grids

The concept of fluid grids introduced the idea that websites should be able to adopt a variety of flexible columns that grow or shrink depending on the current size of the screen. 

On mobile devices, this meant introducing one or two flexible content columns, while desktop devices could usually show more columns (due to greater space). 

Flexible Images

Flexible images introduced the idea that, like content, images should be able to grow or shrink alongside the fluid grid they’re located in. As mentioned above, previously, developers used something called the “max-width” trick to enable this. 

If you were holding an image in a container, then it could easily overflow, particularly if the container was responsive. However, if you set the “max-width” to 100%, the image just resizes with its parent container. 

Media Queries

The idea of “media queries” referred to the CSS media queries, introduced in 2010 but not widely adopted until officially released as a W3 recommendation 2 years later. Media queries are essentially CSS rules triggered based on options like media type (print, screen, etc), and media features (height, width, etc). 

Though they were simpler at the time, these queries allowed developers to essentially implement a simple kind of breakpoint – the kind of tools used in responsive design today.  Breakpoints refer to when websites change their layout or style based on the browser window or device width.

Viewport Meta tags need to be used in most cases to ensure media queries work in the way today’s developers expect. 

The Rise of Mobile-First Design

Since Marcotte’s introduction of Responsive Web Design, developers have been working on new ways to implement the idea as effectively as possible. Most developers now split into two categories, based on whether they consider the needs of the desktop device user first, or the needs of the mobile device user. The trend is increasingly accelerating towards the latter. 

When designing a website from scratch in an age of mobile-first browsing, most developers believe that mobile-first is the best option. Mobile designs are often much simpler, and more minimalist, which matches a lot of the trends of current web design.

Taking the mobile first route means assessing the needs of the website from a mobile perspective first. You’d write your styles normally, using breakpoints once you start creating desktop and tablet layouts. Alternatively, if you took the desktop-first approach, you would need to constantly adapt it to smaller devices with your breakpoint choices.

Exploring the Future of Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design still isn’t perfect. There are countless sites out there that still fail to deliver the same incredible experience across all devices. What’s more, new challenges continue to emerge all the time, like figuring out how to design for new devices like AR headsets and smartwatches. 

However, it’s fair to say we’ve come a long way since the early days of web design. 

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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This month’s collection of the best new sites is a mixed bag. Positivity remains from last month’s edition, and what we’re seeing is designers being far more ambitious for the experiences they create.

We have a couple of sites helping to alleviate the damage of war, some unusual approaches to topics that are normally very dour, and some excellent portfolios to be jealous of. Enjoy!

Sarah Fatmi

Characterful illustration and desktop sideways scrolling make this portfolio site for illustrator Sarah Fatmi stand out.

Vestiaire Impact Report

Green is the new black, and fashion resale platform Vestiaire presents its green credentials in an informative and engaging way.

Houseplant

Houseplant is a collection of cannabis-related products designed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg; this site is a lot classier than the average headshop.

FreshCut BarberShop

The site for FreshCut BarberShop is modern, bold, and gets its message across clearly, even if the user doesn’t read French.

Feed The 300

Feed the 300 is an appeal in aid of the animals in Ukraine’s zoos. It is very simple in concept and design, but endearing animated line drawings give it character.

Honeymoon Chicken

Luscious photography combined with surprisingly delicate illustrations makes Honeymoon Chicken very inviting.

Patachou Inc

Patachou Inc operates a group of eateries and the site does a good job of conveying both the very different individual brand identities of each establishment, and the common ethic behind all of them.

Living With OCD

Many design studios do showcase projects, and Living With OCD by designedbyla is one of the more publicly beneficial, and well-executed, examples around.

Aro

Aro is a product with a very simple concept — basically, a box to put away a phone, that also charges it — but this website does a great job of increasing the product’s desirability.

Kim Kniepp

The navigation on this site for Kim Kniepp’s design studio feels very interconnected, an effect heightened by the overlapping masonry grid.

Triniti

There is a calming, reassuring quality to the color used here for Pan-Baltic law firm Triniti. The perpetual motion style hero video adds a confident, soothing touch too.

Herezie

Creative agency Herezie uses saturation and gradual color changes to pleasing effect in this confident, assured website.

MetalColor

The color choices in this site for MetalColor, and how they are used, succeed in evoking what results the company could achieve without focusing on the less glamorous parts of the process.

Gras

Architecture and design studio Gras goes for a clean feel with an irregular grid layout and carefully curated images. The blog sidebar works well too.

Vendredi Society

Dark green and bright yellow make a strong statement in this portfolio site for brand strategists Vendredi Society.

HUB

HUB describes itself as a progressive property developer and this site does a great job of leaving behind the corporate image usually associated with property developers.

Nowhere Bakery

Nowhere Bakery makes vegan, paleo, gluten-free cookies, which don’t sound all that appealing on paper. This site manages to make them seem both really tasty and healthy.

Apotheke zur Triumphpforte

The botanical illustration style images on Apotheke zur Triumphpforte’s site help create an approachable brand identity while adding visual interest.

B!POD

A good balance of images, animation, and illustration combine to create an impactful presence for B!pod’s first product, a food vacuum storage system.

The New Exhibition

The New Exhibition is a showcase platform for Ukrainian creatives — type designers, illustrators, graphic designers, photographers, and others — whose ability to get work has been affected by war.

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The term “web design” refers to the process of planning, organizing, and editing content online. On the surface, it seems like a simple enough concept. However, the reality is what we consider “web design” can change over time, influenced by our perception of the “web.” 

In 2022, a professional web designer might create custom websites from scratch, but they may also be responsible for: 

  • UX Design: Creating elements focused on user experience
  • App design: Building digital components of a website or online experience.
  • Theme design: Creating visual tools for supplementing web design. 

Web design isn’t just about making a site look attractive anymore. The definition goes beyond the aesthetic to include a complete consideration of the functionality, performance, and abilities of countless assets we engage within the digital world.

What is Web Design? The Definition Today

Web design is the practice responsible for creating a website’s overall look and feel or web asset (such as web and mobile apps). It involves the process of planning and building elements of your project, from structure and layout choices to graphics and presentation. 

Web design has various components that work together to create the final “experience” of a website, including graphic design, interface design, user experience design, search engine optimization, content creation, etc. These elements determine how a web asset looks, feels and performs on various devices. 

Though the definition of web design in 2022 has evolved, it’s still different from web development, which refers to the actual coding which makes a website work. When you’re building a website, you’ll need web design and web development. 

Elements of Web Design in 2022 

When designing a website, modern designers need to consider two overlapping concepts: the overall appearance of the website and its functionality. The proper connection between these elements will maximize the site’s overall performance and usability, and make a design more memorable (for all of the right reasons). 

Let’s break down the elements of web design into its visual and functional components.

Visual Elements of Web Design

Visual elements of web design influence how a design looks. The various visual components of a design should still follow the basic principles of graphic design. In other words, designers should be thinking about contrast, balance, unity, and alignment simultaneously. The visual elements of web design include: 

  • Written copy and fonts: A website’s appearance and the text on the site often go hand in hand. Designers need to work together with content writers to ensure written copy makes sense structurally and uses the correct fonts for legibility. 
  • Colors: Colors for web design are usually chosen based on factors like color psychology, which demonstrates a color’s ability to affect how someone feels, and branding. Most brands have specific colors they use consistently throughout their visual assets; this helps create a sense of cohesion and unity in designs.
  • Layout and spacing: Layout and spacing influence how content is arranged in an app, website, or another visual asset. The right layout helps to create a visual hierarchy, guiding a viewer through a page and drawing their attention to the correct information in order. Spacing helps to separate components on a page and create legibility. 
  • Images, icons, and shapes: Images, icons, and shapes help convey significant amounts of information. The right ideas and icons can strengthen a brand message, direct a customer’s attention using a web app, and bring context to a design. 
  • Videos and animations: Videos and animations are becoming increasingly common in today’s web design strategies. Videos can include 360-degree videos, which help immerse someone in a space, video streams, and short content clips.

Functional Elements of Web Design

Functional elements in web design are the practical components designers need to consider to ensure websites and assets work as they’re supposed to. A website, app, or any other web asset needs to function correctly to be accessible to users.

Functional elements of web design may include:

  • Navigation: The navigation elements of a website or app are among the main components determining whether a site is functioning properly and ensuring a good user experience. Audiences need to be able to move around the app or website quickly. 
  • User interactions: Your site visitors may have multiple ways of communicating with your web app or website, depending on their device. You’ll need to make sure people can scroll and swipe on smartphones and tablets and click on desktops. If your website has VR or AR elements, you’ll also need to consider these immersive components in your design.
  • Speed and performance: While web development elements can also influence a web design’s speed or performance, it’s also essential for a designer to show elements of the composition don’t weigh down the functionality. Designs need to load quickly and correspond with the demands of browsers on various devices.
  • Structure: A website’s structure plays a critical role in user experience and SEO requirements. Users need to easily navigate through a website without encountering any issues like getting lost or ending up on broken pages.
  • Compatibility: A good design should look perfect on all devices, from a wide range of browsers to the various devices users might leverage today. 

What Does Good Web Design Look Like in 2022?

More than ever, achieving high-quality web design is crucial to success in any industry or landscape. More than half of the world’s population is active online. If you’re not appealing to this audience correctly, you’re missing out on endless opportunities.

Notably, while elements of good web design can be subjective, such as which themes or colors someone might prefer for their website, the underlying foundations of strong web design are the same for everyone in 2022.  

Good web design is any design that looks good, performs as it should, and delivers the best possible experience to your target audience. Effective web design should include components like:

  • Effective use of white space for organization and structure.
  • Clearly presented choices and navigation options for the user.
  • Clear calls to action to drive user activities from one page to another.
  • Limited distractions and a straightforward user journey. 
  • No clutter or unnecessary components irrelevant to the needs of the user. 
  • Responsive, flexible design accessible on any browser or device.
  • High-quality content and images are designed to hook a reader’s attention.
  • Appropriately sized fonts and legible typography.
  • A good balance between images and text on a page. 

Other elements like eye-catching imagery and professional photography can help your web design stand out. Using the right building blocks, like a strong color palette and the right shapes or icons in your design is helpful. 

Of course, there is some scope for variation in good web design. A web designer in 2022 needs to be able to adapt their use of the various essential elements of design to suit a specific target audience or the unique identity of a brand.

What Doesn’t Work for Web Design in 2022?

Just as web design elements seem to appear consistently in all excellent examples, there are also parts of web design we’ve left behind over the years. Simpler, more straightforward designs have replaced cluttered spaces, flashing images, and endless animations. 

The focus in 2022 is on creating an experience that’s simple, engaging, and intuitive, capable of speaking to the right audience without confusion or being visually overwhelming. In most cases, some of the top components to avoid include:

  • Clunky performance: Non-responsive website design, slow pages, and other examples of clunky functionality are a no-go in 2022. Websites need to be quick and responsive.
  • Distracting content: Flashing images, animations, and complex backgrounds are a thing of the past for a good reason. Websites today need to be clean, simple, and clear. Any elements which don’t add to the value of the design should be removed.
  • Generic content: Filler text, irrelevant stock photos, unclear buttons, and links can be removed from today’s website designs. A web design should be specific to the audience’s needs and the brand’s identity. Generic components don’t work.

Creating Web Designs in 2022

Today, the underlying definition of web design has a lot of similarities to the definition we’ve known for several years already. Creating a great website or web asset still requires focusing on user experience, aesthetic appeal, and functionality. However, today’s web designers generally have more components and different devices. 

Web design in 2022 is about creating high-quality experiences for customers that can support various environments and devices. The best web designs are aesthetically appealing, functionally reliable, and capable of adhering to the latest trends in web creation, like augmented reality, 360-degree video, and ultra-high resolution. 

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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Sometimes it’s easy to feel like the world is going to pieces all around us, especially when we’re doom scrolling Twitter between news alerts every few minutes. But if we step back a little, things may not seem so bad.

On the web, we see companies and individuals taking a positive stand, making changes, and carrying on despite challenging circumstances. So in this month’s collection, we celebrate confidence and accentuate the positive, as the song says. Enjoy!

Plastic Bionic

The ‘change view’ option is well used in this portfolio site for Plasticbionic design studio. The grid view is especially pleasing.

Fabricca

Creative agency Fabricca has gone for a simple look, with some appealing illustrations and custom icons.

Normand

The color scheme and display font choice (Knockout) make a strong statement here for law firm Normand.

Dumpling Delivery

We all need some bored-on-a-slow-friday-afternoon distraction from time to time, and Mailchimp delivers the goods here.

OTR

OTR is a mental health service for young people aged 11-25. The site does a great job of feeling approachable and friendly to younger users while not being condescending, cutesy, or childish.

neueMeta

Good use of block color adds extra depth to this otherwise brutalist portfolio site for neueMeta design studio.

Vitra Chair Finder

This interactive questionnaire helps the customer identify the best chair for their needs. The animation is done well here, and a page of swirling Vitra chairs is a lovely thing to see.

Chia Studios

A good balance here of serious and fun in Chia Studio’s portfolio site, professional but friendly.

Sagmeister 123

The concept behind this limited clothing range designed by Stefan Sagmeister is that, taking the long-term view, the world is actually getting better. As such, the Sagmeister 123 site has an overall feeling of quiet positivity. And a koala.

RecPak

RecPak is a meal replacement shake designed for taking during outdoor activities. The site has an active, dynamic feel that works well to convey a sense of rugged outdoor adventure.

Alicia Moore

This site for Alicia Moore clothing brand oozes style and sophistication with soft colors and beautiful fashion photography.

Think Packaging

Think Packaging’s website has a bright, bold, fun feel. Case studies are well presented visually but keep text to a minimum.

BP&O

Brand design and packaging blog BP&O has added extended content for subscribers, and their new site is a pleasure to browse.

The Future Factory

The Future Factory is a business lead generation agency, which doesn’t sound, well, a bit dull. But, some funky animation and slightly quirky type certainly do not convey dullness.

Polybion

Polybion’s new website has a spacious feel with a rich color scheme adding a sense of confidence and brand maturity.

The Empathy Experiment

The Empathy Experiment is an interactive ‘game’ from digital agency media.monks that examines empathy and inclusivity in the workplace while at the same time showcasing some technical skills.

Belle Epoque

The opening scroll on Belle Epoque’s site is really pleasing, and the random floating shapes are intriguing.

Richard Ekwonye

Richard Ekwonye’s portfolio site is clean and straightforward. Skills are on display, but without intruding on the content.

SND

SND has created UI sound kits. The site is as simple as it could possibly be, and yet it is impossible not to investigate all the sounds and start imagining where you could use them.

KMZ Industries

Regular readers will know how much we like technical/industrial-made-interesting sites, and this one for KMZ grain storage systems is a perfect example.

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Most of us are concerned about our public image, right? It matters a lot how people see and think of us. Export the same sentiment to a brand instead of a person. That’s what brand reputation is all about!  

Yes, it’s that simple – the public’s perception of a brand constitutes its brand reputation. And since the internet plays a significant role in public perception nowadays, a brand’s online reputation essentially drives brand perception.

If we come at it from a slightly different angle, it’s the sum of all ideas and emotions a customer or client associates with a brand while interacting with it at any stage. It includes everything, from what kind of customer services they get when purchasing goods or services to after-sales services the company provides. Reputation management is usually done via social media, emails, and online chats.

(Remember, you shouldn’t confine brand reputation only to a brand’s customers or end-users. It includes all stakeholders’ opinions of a brand. It can be anyone from customers to retailers and shippers to manufacturers.)

In short, brand reputation is the most vital intangible asset for any organization striving to make it big in today’s cutthroat market.

What’s The Importance Of A Strong Brand Reputation For Today’s Businesses?

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that nothing affects every stage of the marketing and sales funnel, like a brand’s reputation. Whether it’s awareness, interest, evaluation, commitment, sales, or reputation, a strong brand reputation will only supplement it.

Recent research reveals that about 94% of consumers say that their likelihood of frequenting a business increases if it has positive reviews. Conversely, 92% say that their chance of patronizing a business decreases if it has negative reviews.

Now, let’s look at various factors that make working on your brand reputation important.

Market Trust

Strengthening brand reputation earns your business the trust factor, making your brand a more viable choice for existing and prospective customers. It helps them place their faith in you, believing that your brand is here to thrive and fulfill any promises it makes.

Moreover, it’s a fact that people prefer buying goods and services from a brand that enjoys a solid reputation, especially if people in their social circle use its products.  

Higher Sales

You can’t be far from the truth if you believe brand reputation only yields intangible business gains. It lends you tangible improvements as well, most importantly, in the form of higher sales volume, which translates as higher profits.

All this can’t be achieved without the push from a strong brand reputation, helping the brand carve a niche for itself amongst tough competition.

Customer Loyalty

When a brand succeeds in earning a higher trust level and a positive reputation, the customers are more likely to remain loyal. And, will continue to buy products and services from it, refuting various incentives by the competition, such as discount packages & low prices.

Customer loyalty also leads a brand to a host of other fringe benefits, i.e., demanding a premium price after some time.

Competitive Edge

One thing is for sure, the level of competition in the market is always going to soar higher and higher. And it’s almost impossible for a business to make its way through it without a competitive edge. That’s where a positive brand reputation can make a business’s life easier.

Having the edge over the competition means your potential for catching new customers increases exponentially, helping your brand claim more of the market share.

Word of Mouth

Happy customers remain one of the most significant assets of a brand, especially in this digital era. They serve as brand ambassadors, and if they’re happy and satisfied, they’ll pass the word on, advocating for the brand for free.

It not only leads to increased brand awareness in the market, but it also paves the way for a business to improve its sales and profit margins over time.

What Are The Best Strategies For Managing Your Brand’s Reputation Online?

We’ll keep our focus on the ones proven to be the most effective, starting with:

Staying Ahead of The Curve

Being proactive is among the primary requisites for today’s brand managers. They should be thinking ahead of their competitors and the target audience. While branding online, the margin of error is relatively low, and any slipup can lead to a ripple effect in nullifying the brand’s positive image.

The best way to cope with such a situation is to embrace the mistake quickly and be upbeat enough to resolve the issue immediately rather than have a wait-and-see attitude.

Be Specific About The Deliverables

Social media has played a phenomenal role in educating today’s customers, making them very intelligent and demanding at the same time. It has opened up infinite mediums and channels to get alternatives for almost everything.

That’s why brands need to be very specific in delivery time and after-sales services to avoid earning themselves a bad name in the market. Most experts recommend the “under promise and over deliver” approach to avoid disappointing your customers.

Establish Yourself as An Authority

If you have complete faith in your offerings as a business, knowing that you’re the best in the market, you better be loud and clear about it. It will help you catch immediate attention from your target audience, increasing your brand awareness and your potential to bag more sales and revenue.

Let’s talk about the quality of the product as an example. If you believe that the quality of your product is the unique selling prospect, you must let people know about it. Flaunt this factor with full force, vigor, and authority.

It will help you establish your brand in the market as an authority, and your target market will start looking up to you for the best and the latest on it.

Be Consistent and Assertive

As they say, consistency is the key. If you do it right, your brand reputation will go beyond the lifespan of your brand. People will relate to your brand positively even after your business shuts down.

However, this demands the next level of consistency from your business. You have to make sure you deliver your best in all aspects of branding your business, from the quality of the products and services to the level of customer service you offer.

It doesn’t work well if you outperform your competition by miles for the first time and then step back from delivering those high service standards. You roll your sleeves up and get to compete yourself if you believe you’re outdoing your competition so well.

Deliver on Your Promises

You cannot overstate the significance of delivering on your promises if you want to make the most of your brand reputation. Nothing brands your business better than a bunch of happy and satisfied customers.

And, delivering on your promises consistently is the least of what you need to do to win over your customers to the level they turn into your unofficial brand ambassadors.

Value Feedback

It would be best if you realign your thinking this way. 

Who are you producing your products/services for? Your clients/customers, of course!

What if it’s not working well for them?

Redo your product/service to the requirements and likings of your customers. Otherwise, your business will earn you nothing but a bad name in the market.

You have to realize the importance of listening to your customers, gathering customers’ opinions about what’s not working for them and what areas they would like to see improved. 

Learn to accept and respect your customers’ grievances, praises, issues, tips, or any feedback they give you about your product or service.

You’ll upscale your brand’s reputation considerably if you start doing this.

How Can Influencer Marketing Help You Grow Your Brand’s Reach

Influencer marketing is the concept of branding your business through influential people and opinion leaders in the industry rather than engaging your business directly in doing so. They also brand indirectly, setting a practical example rather than advocating verbally for it.

Research reveals that 94% of marketers using influencer marketing find it highly effective, potentially increasing the ROI 11% times higher than conventional marketing.

Brands that indulge in influencer marketing associate themselves with influential personalities resonating with their message, driving it across their target market in a manner that a large number of people develop an affiliation toward it.

Influencer campaigns help brands tap into an existing community comprising their influencer’s dedicated followers, compelling them to tilt toward a brand they use. Most of us have observed how renowned YouTubers, Tiktokers, and bloggers proactively advertise different brands to their followers.

The increased penetration of a rapidly growing number of social media platforms also helps the influencers garner a solid following and significantly impact the communities that follow them.

They are like a part of the family for their followers, who value their opinion and try to imitate them in what they do and how they do it.

Conclusion

With the competition getting steeper every passing day, earning the trust and business of your target market is becoming a challenging task for most companies. It makes branding even more imperative.

Make a great customer experience your top priority, also keeping a focus on the customer and employee retention and customer feedback to establish yourself as a customer-centric brand. 

Though it might take some time, it will surely help you grab your target market’s attention and respect in the long run. Once you achieve that, you’ll see sales and profits soaring accordingly.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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With all the marketing aplomb of basement-coders worldwide, NFTs were named with an acronym that does little to clarify their utility.

You probably know by now that NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token; what is perhaps less clear is what “Fungible” actually means; in this context, it means interchangeable.

Consider an ounce of platinum. That platinum is fungible, meaning it can be exchanged for any other ounce of platinum. Now consider a piece of jewelry made from one ounce of platinum. That jewelry is not interchangeable with any other ounce of platinum; it has the same core materials, but it has unique characteristics that may be artistically valuable, such as shape, or craft. The jewelry is non-fungible.

The letter that actually matters in NFT is T for Token. Tokens are little chunks of a blockchain that is a universally agreed dataset. You don’t need to know how it works any more than you need to understand how a computer processor works; you just need to know it’s in there.

Like any new technology, NFTs are surrounded by propaganda, counter-propaganda, skepticism, evangelism, and Facebook-confusion. In this post, we’ll look at some of the common misconceptions so you can develop an informed opinion.

1. NFTs Are Bad For The Environment

We’ll tackle this one first because it’s the classic argument leveled against anything in the crypto-space, whether Bitcoin or NFTs, and it’s nonsensical.

The root of this myth is that cryptocurrency transactions use vast amounts of electricity, the generation of which is terrible for the environment. The answer is threefold:

Firstly, electricity is used to run computers that maintain a blockchain, such as Ethereum. The blockchain is maintained whether NFTs are minted (registered) or not.

Secondly, NFTs tend to be minted on blockchains like Ethereum that are moving to less resource-intensive models, blockchains like Solana that already have less resource-intensive models, or blockchains like Algorand that are already carbon-neutral.

Lastly, the fact is that electricity is not inherently planet-killing. Renewables like solar and wind are perfectly capable of powering the grid; it’s just that power companies make higher profits by burning fossil fuels. That swanky new electric car you’ve bought so you can drive guilt-free is fuelled with fossil fuels on the power company’s end (and that’s before you consider the damage done getting those minerals out of the ground).

Until the computer you’re using is solar-powered, repairable, and upgradable, anything digital is terrible for the environment; NFTs are as bad, but no more so, than anything digital.

2. NFTs Are Just [Insert Patronizing Economic Metaphor Here]

NFTs, and crypto in general, are frequently referred to as a Ponzi Scheme. In the 1920s, Charles Ponzi duped investors into handing over cash. Returns were paid to early investors with the income from new investors. Early investors made a lot of money, and later investors lost everything.

One of the key characteristics of a Ponzi Scheme is that it’s a confidence trick that presents itself as low-risk. NFTs as an investment are widely understood to be high-risk. Calling NFTs a Ponzi Scheme is an excellent way of letting people know you don’t know what a Ponzi Scheme is.

In the 17th century, the price of tulip bulbs reached astronomical proportions. The Dutch tulip trade was a complex economic investment system that eventually collapsed, thanks in part to a global pandemic. Ever since, Tulpenmanie (Tulip Mania, in English) has been a byword for an economic bubble.

NFTs are frequently linked to Tulip Mania, thanks partly to the prices and the expectation (or hope) that the market will collapse. However, if you drive through the Netherlands today, you’ll see vast fields of tulips. They’re not being grown because they’re worthless.

While demand may fluctuate, it doesn’t fluctuate as much as media hysteria implies. And ultimately, tulips are nice.

3. You Can Buy And Sell NFTs

This is where pedantry plays a role. You cannot buy and sell NFTs; NFTs are the vehicle by which you conduct transactions for digital (or, in some cases, physical) goods and services.

If you have software installed on your computer, you probably have a license key. The license key identifies you as holding certain rights over that software, such as being allowed to use it to produce digital goods of your own. The license key is how the company identifies you as the individual to whom it has sold those rights.

NFTs are license keys for digital goods that are recorded on a blockchain instead of being held in a single database.

4. NFTs Can Be Easily Copied

When I was a kid in the 90s, I would record music off the radio with a tape player. I’d make mix-tapes and give them away. I was, in every literal sense, pirating music. And it wasn’t just me; home-taping kept the cassette industry going for decades past its use-by date. Despite this, the music industry did not collapse.

Art is even easier to copy than music because there’s no risk of a vapid DJ wittering over the intro to I Wanna Be Adored.

On my morning commute, I pass a shop that sells art prints. Around 80% are screen prints of Marilyn Monroe. They are original prints made by an artist and sold for not inconsiderable amounts. Not one of those pieces diminishes the quality, importance, or financial value of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe prints in New York’s MoMA.

The difference is that MoMA’s Warhols have provenance — they can be tracked to a time and place and authenticated as by Warhol. Precisely the same provenance that NFTs provide digital artists.

5. You Can Get Rich From NFTs

Earning money, potentially a vast amount of money, is one of the main driving factors behind the boom in NFTs.

But the truth is that while it is possible to make a lot of money — some NFTs sell for millions of dollars — most NFTs sell for a modest amount.

If you are an accomplished artist with original ideas, you may make money from selling your art as NFTs. If you are an accomplished trader capable of recognizing quality, you may make money from buying and selling NFTs. However, very few people get rich.

6. NFT Resale Rights Undermine Value

NFTs have many potential uses, but the earliest adoption has been in digital art. The main economic benefit to artists is not just an easy way to sell their art but a widely accepted royalty system in which the original artist receives a commission every time the artwork is resold. It represents the ongoing investment the artist is making by continuing to produce and promote their work.

It might seem a strange way to approach ownership, but resale rights are not new in the art world. In the EU and the UK, the resale rights of artists are legally recognized. In France, the legal rights of the artist or the artist’s descendants to be compensated from the sale of artwork have been established in law for over a century.

Despite high-profile artists like Robert Rauschenberg fighting for resale rights, and legislation in New York and California supporting the concept, resale rights are still not recognized in the US.

NFTs introduce a fairer system that grants the same rights to all artists, that Europeans already enjoy.

7. NFTs Are Worthless

Anything with value, whether physical currency, NFTs, or a block of wood, only has value because two or more people agree it has value.

The most expensive baseball card in the world is reportedly a mint-condition Honus Wagner, priced at $3m. It might be hard to understand why anyone would pay $3m for a piece of cardboard with an image of a 1950s sportsman on it, but apparently, someone would.

All goods, all the things we spend money on, are worth what we agree they are worth. To me, a tulip bulb is worth more than a baseball card, but who knows, perhaps you don’t like tulips.

There are plenty of flaws in the systems that use NFTs, and there are plenty of detractors, but if you want to create and sell artwork and someone wants to buy it from you, NFTs are an excellent way of facilitating that transaction.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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