Flat Design Vs. Skeuomorphism: Design Decisions

The Worldwide Developers Conference in 2013 featured a lot of new conversation as the iOS 7 interface went from a 3D style design to a 2D design. Both of these designs are used today and there are advantages and disadvantages of each design type. The one you use will all depend upon the organizational goal you have. Before you begin mobile app development you have to consider which of these concept is the right one the goals of your business and which will reflect the image you want to convey.

Using Skeuomorphism
Realism design is also called Skeuomorphism. This imitates real shadows, objects, shades, shapes, and details from our physical world. If an illustration or drawing or an appears like a life-like photograph, this is Skeuomorphism. This type of design can convey a certain them in your app, but is often looked at as cluttered and functionality can be lost at times. The Green Screen from the Game Center App is often associated with this design concept which didn’t have a lot of functionality. Skeuomorphism can be done the right way and it’s intuitive, but designs are rapidly evolving and large brands like Apple are adopting more modern designs that look to functionality more than form.

Realism design or Skeuomorphism became outdated and cluttered. Mobile app devices use is rising and apps that are fast loading and responsive adds to usability. Loading times needed to be increased so that users had the ability to navigate through the app in an efficient manner. Functionality was a goal because it provided a better user experience. On the other side of the design spectrum, flat design was born.

Flat Design
When you strip out 3D element and have a minimalistic design, this is flat design. It looks like the image is lying on a flat surface. There’s not as many choices in regards to style such as textures, 3D, or gradients, with flat design. You get solid colors and strokes and not many details. There’s very few shades and gradients. Flat design is a good choice for usability and app navigation. Organizations that have less content can use it as well.

There’s also a misunderstanding with flat design as people feel it needs less detail or takes less time to create. It doesn’t matter if the design is flat or skeuomorphic, a good design is going to take a lot of effort and time to create. A good logo or an icon still takes time to get right. They may look quite simple, but the curves, edges, angles, and dimensions of logos take a lot of time to get the image to look the right way.

Why is Skeuomorphism Used?
When we get signals from our eyes, the brain interprets this and we are able to see shapes. The shadows, shades, and the details can make the difference from seeing a ball and circle, or a carton box and cube. The brain can identify levels, depths, features, and textures. From the user perspective, Skeuomorphism is a more intuitive design as the objects are closer to reality. As you work with this type of design the brain tends to recognize the shapes with fewer details and shadows. Once you reach this point, it’s easier for the designer to use Skeuomorphism as the brain sees it as being stylish.

Why is Flat Design Used?
Flat design has a focus on the raw functionality and opposes artificial design so there’s a very simple design. The flat design concept can be done through the iOS interface and the Microsoft operating system interface. Since there’s a focus on the functionality, the experience for the user is more efficient and practical. The user is able to focus on the purpose of the application whether it’s a gaming app, retail and so on.

Guideline or Not?
You don’t want to have limitations on design since it’s artistic creation and it reflects upon the brand. You need design guidelines must be based upon the goal of your project, the audience, the platform, the brand itself, and the market requirements.

When you look to mobile device design style, you have a lot to think about. You may be designing for the small screen so you’ll want a minimalistic style. You may want the app to be designed for the user so you need to prioritize the functionality of the app. If you want more flash and animations for example, then you might choose the skeuomorphism style. For some design you might want to combine the two styles, but still keep your app very user-friendly.

You need to pick a design style which will meet the goals of your organization. You want to communicate your content in a way that’s effective. You have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the design styles as this will help the design team build an app which will reflect the image of your brand. It doesn’t matter which design style you pick; you want user-centric navigation so the user-experience is optimized.

How Responsive Website Design Can Take Your Business Forward

It is easy to understand this concept even if you don’t have special technical knowledge. The idea behind responsive design is to make the website usable across all connected devices. It responds to the environment created by the hardware to make viewing and interaction comfortable, pleasant and productive.
Simply put, the website is equally easy to view and to use on desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets. What value can it bring to a business? Let me answer this question from the point of view of an experienced web development consultant.

Cost Efficiency
With global mobile web traffic already surpassing desktop traffic, it has become perfectly clear that there is no way back – mobile is here to stay. If businesses want to keep up with the trends and stay competitive, their website has to be optimised for mobile. It is possible to have a mobile website in addition to your existing one. This option typically requires a smaller initial investment. However, it is not cost-efficient as you will have to invest in the search engine optimisation, marketing, maintenance and future development of two different platforms. Furthermore, content duplication issues may occur and you can be severely penalised for this by Google.
With responsive website design, you will be able to focus your effort and investment on a single platform. You can expect higher return since the platform will continue to work effectively for all of your marketing and other business purposes in the long term.

Improved Visibility
Since April 2015, Google has been giving priority to websites which are optimised for mobile devices. This means that responsive website design has now become fundamental for SEO and digital marketing in general. If you want your optimisation efforts from content creation to link building to pay off, you will need to have a website which is equally functional on all mobile devices. With higher search engine rankings, your website will have more qualified leads and this will help for increasing the rate of conversion.

Higher Conversion
Eventually, it all boils down to sales and revenue and responsive design can help to improve both. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, mobile is becoming an ever more important channel for generating information and social sharing. With a website optimised for smartphones and tablets, you and your products and services will get found more easily and quickly not only via the search engines, but via the social networks too.
Around half of all online shoppers use multiple devices to make a transaction. For instance, they may find a cool product on their tablet and then buy it later on via their desktop computer. Additionally, one in four e-commerce sales is now made via a smartphone. These statistics come to prove that responsive design is necessary not only for gaining new customers, but for keeping existing ones.
As mentioned in the beginning, the core purpose of this design is to improve user experience. When the user enjoys satisfactory experience, the chance of sale increases by two thirds. You will not have to worry about missing to capture a prospect customer because your website is difficult to navigate with gestures or slow to load on mobile devices.

Become even more competitive with responsive design for your business website.

You already have a vision for your business’s responsive website? Share it with me. I’m available on Skype, Facebook, Viber and WhatsApp. Email me or call my office at Whiz and seek Philip Philipov.

5 Website Design Tricks for Increasing Conversion

The purpose of a business website is not simply to present the company, but to convert interested visitors into customers. Let’s say you invest £100 in digital marketing and gain 100 visitors to your site. However, only 50 of them become your customers. What has made the other 50 go away? Maybe they haven’t been convinced about the quality of your product or service or they have found it challenging to take a specific action. As a web development consultant with a decade of experience, let me give you useful advice for achieving a higher conversion rate through design.

1. Arranging Elements to Follow the Eye Movement
You naturally look from left to right not only when you read. That is why it makes sense to put the most important elements on the left-hand side of a webpage. When you use a ribbon to present a product how do you arrange the different boxes on it? Given the natural eye movement, the top left and right sections should offer a picture of the item and a short description. Ideally, the bottom left section will have the “hook” which stimulates the customer to take action such as a discounted price, special offer, testimonial or positive review. The last section which the visitor will look at (the bottom right one) should have the call to action.

2. Gaining Credibility
If you have a new business, adding seals of approval from national, local and possibly international professional associations and quality assurance and consumer organisations will help you to convert more visitors into customers. When these have attractive shape, bright colour and simple font, they will be even more influential. For new products that you try to push in, you can use seals to place emphasis on the guarantee, a testimonial or the promotional offer that comes along with the item.

3. Letting Headlines Shine
The first text that people see on a web page has to have large enough font and to be clutter-free. It is a mistake to add embellishments or to have lots of components surrounding it. If you use push ads, make sure that they don’t show up to block the page’s content before the user has had the time to read the title.

4. Leading Consumers by the Hand
It should be easy for visitors to follow the path to taking action. Simple card design is fundamental, but it is also helpful to add visual cues such as arrows. You should never leave the prospect guessing what to do next. The ideal CTA button is not only big and brightly coloured. Giving it a lining will make it stand out. Adding a visual element such as a shopping cart icon will literally show the customer what to do.

5. Fast Page Loading Speed
Yes, if your website is slow, you will lose prospect customers. A study by Amazon has revealed that every extra 100 milliseconds of load time lead to 1% drop in sales. A recent survey among online shoppers has shown that two thirds of the participants changed their mind about purchasing a product due to slow work of the e-commerce website. Don’t let your conversion rate fall victim to technical matters. My team and I are readily available to give you a website with improved design and performance. Make full use of all five tricks for higher conversion.

If you want a modern and functional mobile-friendly website, call me, send me an email or message me via Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp or Viber. If you get in touch with my office just ask for Philip Philipov.

What Design Features Will Make Websites Successful in 2016

Just a decade ago, only big companies had websites and many of them were not particularly functional. Now even the smallest businesses are represented online. In this competitive environment, how do you grab and keep the attention of consumers and how can you achieve a higher conversion rate? There are a lot of factors for success, but I suggest that we start with the fundamental ones and namely website design.

As a web development consultant, I keep up with the latest trends in this dynamic field. This allows me and my team of talented designers and developers to give our clients effectively working modern platforms with long-term potential. Here, I will share the hottest trends for 2016.

Responsive Design
If you want your business website to be used from any type of device connected to the internet conveniently, you have to opt for responsive design. While it was viewed as highly desirable just a few years ago, now it has become mandatory. The primary reason for this is that more and more people now use their smartphones and tablets to browse the web, to shop and to share things with friends. In the group of adults aged 16 to 24, 96% access the web via their portable connected devices. Surprisingly or not, the share of mobile internet users in the group of adults aged over 65 is also considerable – 29%. Nearly half of ecommerce traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.
Source: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/rdit2/internet-access—households-and-individuals/2015/stb-ia-2015.html

Another reason why responsive design rules the scene and is here to stay is the change in the Google algorithms designed to give higher ranking to websites designed for mobile devices as well as for PCs and laptops. If you want to be found by prospects, you have to go mobile. Otherwise, all of your search engine optimisation efforts may be ruined.

Card Layout
This type of layout came into fashion with flat design and now it has evolved to meet the needs of internet users even better. The basic concept is quite simple. The web page contains clickable cards taking the user to other sections of the website. Each card has unique graphics and/or colour. It can also hold a short text presenting the section. This layout makes it really easy and convenient for visitors to find their way around and to reach the information or product that they are looking for. As the clutter is eliminated and the user enjoys flawless experience, the rate of conversion is bound to increase.

Custom Graphics
One of the main questions that I am asked as a digital consultant is how my team of web designers will make the website stand out among competitors. Unique images have been the norm for quite some time. Now the major focus is on custom graphics. Each feature from the logo to the enquiry button has to be visually impressive and aesthetically appealing. This is an effective way for building a strong brand image in the minds of users. It is possible for unique illustrations to be created for enhancing pages and sections. Infographics can be used for presenting information in a more interesting way.

Finally, no matter what the trends are, the business website has to be unique and to reflect the concept of the brand. Count on me and my team to give you this.

Get in touch via email, Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp or Viber or just call my office and ask for Philip Philipov.

Going Mobile for Better Marketing and Higher Sales

Just five years ago, a business website was perfectly sufficient for a company to carry out its marketing strategy over the internet and to generate more leads and boost its sales. Now, if you are not on mobile devices, you may not even get found by a large number of consumers, who are actually looking for your product or service. According to Deloitte, 76% of adults in Britain have a smartphone and these gadgets are used for much more than making calls. Now is the time for businesses to take advantage of the mobile revolution.
Source: http://www.deloitte.co.uk/mobileuk/#feature

Endless Opportunities
With responsive design, the website of your business can offer the same kind of user experience on smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs. You will be able to sell products directly via mobile devices or have your brick-and-mortar business more easily found through integration with map applications. With just one tap on your phone number, the user will be able to call you via their phone. A mobile app, on the other hand, gives you constant presence on the mobile devices of your customers. You can exploit this for more effective marketing through push notifications. It is also possible for the app to collect valuable marketing data.
Going mobile will make it much easier for you to carry out promotional campaigns and to achieve better results with them, especially using the most popular channels at present – the social networks. According to the “Digital, Social and Mobile 2015 Report” of the We Are Social agency, 32 million people in the UK access their social media accounts via their mobile devices.
Source: http://wearesocial.sg/blog/2015/01/digital-social-mobile-2015/

Huge Market Potential
Consumers are actively using their mobile devices to find products and retailers and to make purchases. Statistical data from comScore shows that 31.7% of smartphone users in the United Kingdom rely on their devices to locate shops while 29.3% purchase goods and services via them. Over 23% of all users use their mobile to compare product prices and features. These factors establish mobile applications and websites as powerful marketing tools.
Mobile sales continue to grow. In Q4 of 2014, 40% of all online sales in the UK were completed via smartphones and tablets, according to research of IMRG and Capgemini. This is 3% higher compared to the same quarter of 2014.
Source: http://www.imrg.org/index.php?catalog=1769

By 2024, the annual spending via mobile devices will reach £53.6 billion, according to Barclays. The value of all sales influenced by a mobile channel is predicted to reach £112 billion. They will make up nearly half of all retail sales made in the country.
Source: https://www.barclayscorporate.com/content/dam/corppublic/corporate/Documents/research/Future-of-m-commerce.pdf

Staying Competitive
What is the competition doing? Businesses focus on solidifying and diversifying their presence on mobile devices. In a survey conducted by Econsultancy among 1,412 companies in the UK, 58% of respondents said that they had employed responsive website design as part of optimising for mobile devices. Another 49% shared that they have employed mobile applications. The competition for the minds and hearts of consumers is moving towards the mobile field and it is paramount for companies to act quickly.
Source: https://econsultancy.com/blog/66543-50-fascinating-stats-about-mobile-commerce-in-the-uk-2015/

If you want to gain larger exposure, to be more competitive and to get higher returns from your marketing efforts, mobile is the answer. My role as a digital consultant is to provide assistance with the development of a complete strategy for achieving top results.

If you are ready to go mobile, get in touch. I’m available on Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp and Viber. You can send me an email or call my office at Whiz and seek Philip Philipov.