UX Design and the Danger of Templates

April 25, 2019 - Reading Time: 3 minutes
Category: DesignBranding

Everybody loves templates.

Need a website? Just take your pick from the plethora of templates available online, replace a few images, change some text and voilà – you’ve got your website. It’s quick and simple.

The problem with templates, however, is that they don’t cater to the needs of different users. Template designers cast their nets as wide as possible. Their goal is to design templates that meet the needs of as many businesses as possible. The final product inevitably ends up being generic.

By using templates, you’re skipping an essential step in the process: User Experience Design (UX Design).

What is UX Design?

UX Design is the process of creating a user’s entire interaction with a brand’s website, app or other digital products. It is often confused with User Interface (UI) Design which is the creation of how the digital product actually looks like.

Here’s a great video explaining the difference between UX and UI Design:

To sum it up, UX Design is about the user’s journey to solve a particular problem and making that journey as frictionless as possible. UI Design, on the other hand, is concerned with how product surfaces look and function.

Why is UX Design Important?

Since UX Design is concerned with customer experience, it is an important part of branding.

Customers come back if they’ve had a good experience with your brand; they don’t if their experience was bad. It’s that simple.

The Philosophy Behind UX Design

1. Users First

UX is about user-centricity: putting users first.

At the core of this approach is market research. Before you even start designing a prototype, you need to identify your users and understand their needs. The interface design of a mobile app targeted at the elderly would be very different from an app targeted at younger users.

Once UX Designers have gained a better understanding of users’ needs and pain points, they will proceed to map out a typical user journey. This requires stepping into the shoes of their users and carving out a journey that maximises convenience for the user. For example, UX Designers working on an e-commerce site might focus on making the checkout process easy and fuss-free. This user journey will inform how UI Designers design the interface of the product.

2. Iterative Process

Design, including UX Design, is essentially problem-solving. That means UX Design is far from a linear process. The rapid advancement in technology means that no product is ever completely finished. To meet the changing needs of users, adjustments and tests have to be made on a regular basis.

3. Function and Form

Form should never get in the way of function. Usability should never be compromised on the account of making something look pretty. This doesn’t mean you can get away with an ugly-looking website or app. A designer’s job is to find the balance between form and function.

UX Design may be a time-consuming process but it’s a necessary one. User experience is key to building a good brand image and brand loyalty. Customers who’ve had pleasant interactions with your brand will come back and recommend your brand to others. At the end of the day, all that effort will pay off.

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How to Get Your Newsletters Read

April 10, 2019 - Reading Time: 4 minutes

As consumers, we are constantly bombarded with newsletters both online and offline but let’s face it – we don’t read most of them. After all, it’s easier to ignore than to read them and we have little incentive to do the latter.

Here’s where design plays a particularly important role.

From the font size to the layout, every element of the newsletter needs to be designed with the intention to overcome this inertia. You won’t be doing yourself any favours if your newsletter doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing or easy to read.

Here are some design tips that will help you create enticing newsletters that actually get read.

1. A generous splash of colours

Don’t underestimate the power of colours.

Colours aren’t just effective at capturing attention, they pique curiosity which makes people want to flip the newsletter open to read.

Colours also symbolise different moods and have different effects on people. For example, red symbolises danger but it also symbolises energy and boldness. Colours are also gendered – pastel colours tend to attract women whereas darker shades are usually deemed more masculine.

Therefore, it is important to understand the demographics of your target audience and use colours that would appeal to them to get them interested in your newsletter.

2. Clean, organised layout

Never arrange your text like that:

Via DreamPost

Only the brave will attempt to read that.

Newsletters are all about striking a balance between providing all the necessary information and presenting it in a way that is easily understood. When we get carried away with the former, the wall of text appears.

Here are some tips on how to break down that wall and to make all those words more legible:

Font Size

Your text should be in a comfortable size. If you find yourself having to compromise on the text size just so that you can fit all those words into a space, rewrite the paragraph. Reduce the number of words, not their size.

Leading

‘Leading’ is a term in design that refers to the space between two lines. You can make a paragraph a lot more readable by simply increasing the leading.

Take a look at the example below, which would you rather read?

Having enough space between lines allows your design to “breathe”. Increasing the leading is actually a good way to counter lengthy text. More space between the lines makes long paragraphs seem less daunting because they improve legibility.

Use Images

Interspersing words with images is a good way to reduce fatigue. It reduces visual monotony and forces you to break up text into smaller paragraphs, hence improving readability.

Images can also provide valuable supporting information that is difficult or inefficient to convey via text. Infographics are a nifty way to present complex information in a simple manner.

3. Adaptable Design

As more people turn to digital devices to consume information, it is becoming increasingly important for newsletter designs to be adaptable to different mediums – like mobile, desktop and print.

Take a look at how we’ve incorporated these simple tips into our newsletter designs for Keat Hong and Bukit Gombak Constituency.

Case Studies: Residential Newsletters

A clean, contemporary aesthetic makes the newsletter look less intimidating to read. We kept information bite-sized and used a generous dose of graphics to maximise readability and comprehension. The light colours and playful illustrations give the publications a cheerful vibe.

Every newsletter is modern in design with bright, cheery colours. Their responsive designs mean that the newsletters are readable in print as well as on the screens of mobile phones and computers. We also used short captions and visuals so that information is easily digestible.

There you have it – a few tips on how to make your newsletters as enticing as possible.

If you have any other suggestions, please share them with us in the comments!

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