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Are Design Patterns Destroying Web Design?

Are Design Patterns Destroying Web Design?

Design patterns are common solutions to common problems. When you add a slider to a homepage you’re employing a design pattern. When someone asks: “Why reinvent the wheel?” they’re advocating the adoption of a design pattern.

On the Web, the term “design patterns” most often refers to programming techniques, however design patterns also exist within visual design. And whilst solving a recurrent coding problem with the same solution is an efficient approach, reusing a visual design is not as desirable.

WHY DO WE USE DESIGN PATTERNS?

Design patterns are far less common in print design than on the Web, despite the fact that print design has had much longer in which to devise them. The reason for this is that web design is heavily influenced by disciplines such as information architecture, coding, and usability; all of which embrace the use of design patterns.

Programmers don’t value originality, they value effective, elegant solutions. If you’ve ever written in PHP you’ll know that there are numerous ways to retrieve data from a database, but most PHP coders have one snippet they use time and again. If you’ve written JavaScript you’ll know that there are a variety of ways of looping, but one of them is more efficient, and generally preferable. In fact, most code editors have a snippets function precisely because programmers reuse solutions.

Designers on the other hand, do value originality, and whilst it’s probably true that some designers use design patterns because they lack the imagination (or courage) to do otherwise, most designers are simply adopting a formula that has been proven to get results.

However using a design pattern isn’t natural to the design process, and that’s why you’ll find the most obvious design patterns where coding has a greater influence. Compare the websites designed for mobile apps, more often than not you’ll see they employ the same design patterns over and over: The app is displayed on a phone, aligned to the left or right; next to the phone is a tagline, and a call to action; the background is a blurred photograph usually of a coffee shop.

DO DESIGN PATTERNS WORK?

Design patterns certainly appear to work. They are conventions that evolve over time, and it’s incredibly rare that a design pattern is creditable to a single individual. Like cultural darwinism, those patterns that survive to the point that they’re identifiable as patterns, must be successful.

Design patterns are also probably the simplest route to success for a web designer. They deliver proven solutions that hundreds, if not thousands, of clients have already signed-off on. What’s more, design patterns don’t need to be beta-tested, they don’t need A/B testing, you probably don’t even need to have your Mom try them out, because design patterns are tested across the Web on a daily basis and only the ones that work survive.

EMPLOYING A DESIGN PATTERN IS THE CREATIVE EQUIVALENT OF PAINTING BY NUMBERS.

But whilst design patterns (appear) to work for clients, they don’t work for designers. Employing a design pattern is the creative equivalent of painting by numbers. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re in this for more than a paycheck. Yes, you have a responsibility to your client to deliver the best results possible, but you also have a responsibility to yourself. If you’re not going to be creative, there are easier ways to pay the rent.

Proponents of design patterns argue that they increase engagement by providing the end-user with a common UI that they are familiar with, ensuring that a design has a shallow learning curve. That however, is an out-dated way of thinking. Sure, if you’re creating a complex app, some conventions will help your users find their way around, but it’s very unlikely that you’ll ever design a website for a demographic that has no experience of the Web.

Back when the Web was new, it made sense to make every link blue. It helped people find their way around. But a common language for links is no longer necessary because we understand where we’re likely to find links. As witnessed by the fact that the blue link design pattern is no longer omnipresent.
The problem with design patterns is that whilst they appear to work in the short term, they also have a best-before date; and no one knows what it is.

EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENTS

Design patterns evolve like flora and fauna, the best, or perhaps just the most adaptable ideas thrive and propagate. But, like the dinosaurs that never saw that meteorite coming, design patterns encounter extinction level events.

An extinction level event is a change so rapid, that evolution isn’t fast enough to adapt to the change. The T-Rex may have ruled the forests of the cretaceous, but it couldn’t cope with a couple of degrees temperature change as well as that small shrew-like mammal that scurried past it unnoticed.
For many design patterns, responsive design was an extinction level event.

Until the explosion of mobile design, one of the most used design patterns was the holy grail layout (so called because it was considered ideal, but difficult to achieve with the CSS that was available at the time). When the mobile web introduced the need for responsive design, holy grail layouts fell out of favour because whilst they still worked for desktop, they don’t readily adapt to mobile screens.

Problems that designers have to solve don’t exist in a vacuum. The Web is a constantly changing ecosystem, with external influences, internal pressures, as well as seemingly random changes. When we use a design pattern, we’re solving yesterday’s problem, with yesterday’s solution; and we leave today’s problem unanswered.

SOLVING THE PROBLEM WITH FIRST PRINCIPLES

First principles is a method of logical thinking that reduces every problem down to core ideas that cannot be deduced from one another.
To paraphrase Wikipedia’s superior example: All browsers are buggy; Safari is a browser; Safari is buggy. The third statement is unnecessary as it can be deduced from the first two statements.

Elon Musk is a devotee of first principles thinking. Last week, VentureBeat reported that Musk’s company, SpaceX, built a space rocket for around 2% of the usual cost, simply by applying first principles thinking.

WHEN YOU RELY ON A DESIGN PATTERN YOU’RE TAKING ON A PROBLEM YOU MAY NOT NEED TO SOLVE.

The antithesis of first principles thinking is analogous thinking; design patterns are analogous thinking. When you rely on a design pattern you’re taking on a problem you may not need to solve. If you style all your links blue, you’re solving a usability issue from 2000, but it’s a problem that barely exists in 2015.

By adopting a first principles approach, we focus on the core of the problem that our client actually has, without inheriting unrelated problems that are solved by other people’s design choices.

IN CONCLUSION

Design patterns offer effective short-term solutions to common problems. However, the more prevalent the design pattern the more established it is, and the greater the likelihood that it’s approaching an extinction level event.

Instead of comparing solutions, and deriving answers from other people’s answers, we should be focusing on our clients’ current problems.

The Web is constantly changing around us, and design continues to evolve, by adopting a first principles approach we can produce work that is robust enough to survive online. Who knows? You might even get to be creative.

Our Approach

Our Approach

Our work starts by absorbing every aspect of a client’s business. We analyse their market, do in-depth research and uncover key prospects. We proceed on to articulating and creating convincing memorable experience that connect to customers on a personal level. We pride ourselves through our core values of hard work, honesty and open mind in search of solutions for all our clients. Cooperating with us you get not just a faceless resource, but a friendly and experienced team that wants and is ready to apply our knowledge to your benefit. If you have a project in mind, and would like to work with us, then get in touch.

 

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We at Mediarede, help to mark your brands presence in the online world and utilize each opportunity available on the internet to reach, interact and build relation with your target customers.

Planning and creativity

The first and foremost step is to do a detailed study of what the business is all about, its objectives, products, customers and the stake holders.

Market Research

The next step would be to learn what your customers has to say about you, we do detailed research about your online presence and build a strategy based on the result.

Assimilation

We prepare your organization and its brand to engage in online activities with a rigorous plan by integrating governance, readiness, resource, platform and content requirement.

Implementation

We believe that successful execution by implementation of the strategies and plan comes true only when the correct engagement happens at the customers end.

Tracking And Reporting

This is the final phase of our methodology which aims to track the effectiveness of the strategies which was implemented and adapt n alter the material based on the gathered Information.

Before You Hire Your Next Digital Agency.

Before You Hire Your Next Digital Agency.

As the impact of a digital presence has become more important for businesses, there are many viable options when it comes to finding a digital agency to partner with. As with most types of businesses, the level and type of services that are offered can vary greatly from agency to agency. A lot of time and planning can go into getting approval, from stakeholders to budgeting for a new project can be a deciding factor, so it is vital that you choose the right digital agency partner by asking the right questions from the start to ensure success. Here are 5 questions to ask for your next digital agency:

1. What are the experience and qualifications of the people within the organization?
This may seem obvious, but digital marketing is a fast-growing industry and it seems like almost everyone “does” digital marketing nowadays. Make sure you get a good understanding of who will be working on your project and what experience they bring to the table. A large, customized enterprise-level project is a very involved process and can be difficult to navigate from start-to-finish. It is important that everyone involved from project managers to developers have the necessary experience to ensure that projects stay on budget and meet expectations.

2. How will the project be billed?
There are many different ways that digital agencies and marketing companies can bill for their work. Some methods protect the client from going over budget more than others and it is important to know the potential implications for your company if the project takes longer than estimated. At Mediarede, we provide detailed estimates for each project, based on hours, that are agreed upon with an acceptable variance prior to the start of a project.

3. What is the level of innovation of the agency’s portfolio?
There are numerous millions of websites that exist in today’s digital space. Among all of this clutter, does the agency’s work stand out as something more than just a typical website? A leading digital agency should be innovative and create their own trends and designs that work to make their clients stand out leading to clients success. If the agency’s portfolio follows the same trends across each project and doesn’t stand out, then that is most likely the type of work you should expect to receive for your project.

4. How can success of the project be determined?
A great digital agency understands that a digital platform project is more than just making something that looks great online. With the Internet playing such a dominant and vital role in today’s business world, A digital platform must focus and deliver on certain specific business goals in order to be considered successful. During the initial stages of the project, make sure the agency has a plan that includes the specific Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that apply to your business. If the goal of the project is to increase online lead generation by 50%, make sure the agency is accountable on delivering those results to determine success.

5. Is the digital agency truly full-service?
Digital marketing services can include long-term projects like the creation of a digital platform as well as short-term targeted marketing campaigns and content creation. Some digital marketing agencies only offer web design. Others only offer traffic acquisition campaigns or digital content. When you are searching for your next digital agency you should look for a full-service digital marketing agency that is experienced in all three. Teams at a great digital agency will immerse themselves in a client’s business during a website development project and then will leverage that expertise to run effective ongoing digital marketing campaigns and digital content after the new website launches, such an agency can effectively carry your marketing without experiencing any potential issues.

Selecting the right partner can be invaluable when it comes to reaching your business’s goals.

Our new site

Our new site

Mediarede_2We have made a brand new website. Our old site had enjoyed its 2nd birthday a couple of months ago, but 2 years is long life for a site, in the present day and age with so many changes we decided it was time for a change so we started to rebuild the site from scratch. The new website needed to portray our present abilities which had seen some steep improvement in these two years. The site needed to accurately symbolize how we do our work, how we work on a project and deliver what the client needs in the best possible manner. Our process had a few more tools added on and this needed to be represented, so we started working on our new site.

New look with our unique flair.

When building your own website a lot of questions come to mind, not only how or what kinda design but how to represent our work on a new project. Building the new website was an enjoyable and immersive process, we knew how important the new redesign was as it would show our present capabilities. The message we wanted to put across “show our prospective clients, employees and peer’s what we are and who we are, while establishing the feel and recognition of our old site.

Flat new competent design

Our old site had a design and elemental uniqueness that made it stand out during its conception period, the same was possible due to our logo, our pictorial depictions, usage of our color and so forth. Our old style was a combination of css styling with a flair for animations that made it quite illustrative. Content wise the website had significant explanations in laymen terms that made it easy to understand, we had quite a bit of animation that explained things  visually as well.

The color palette for our new site was not restricted to logo’s blue , but rather it involved usage of basic black & white with a few other colors intertwined in different sections of the site. We started with a concept to make the site minimal, to the point and not drag it out with inadequate or too much information, thus we chose the single page layout rather than multi page.This choice gave us the opportunity to effectively utilize our acquired skills and showcase ourselves in the most professional and user friendly manner. The new layout which is more visually engaging, focuses attention onto right areas rather than going on about the various technically aspects of the work. All of this did make the new site stand out from the old one, all the while maintaining mediarede’s personality.

Development

We started the website as any other work that comes across our desk, sessions which determined the goals and raw concepts of the site. Mock layout of initial rough concepts were created and lots of discussions ensued which lead to newer ideas. A backlog with to do’s started to take shape, which led to filling out the gaps in the initial design. The new website was created with focus on minimality and CSS.

The old website was pretty cool, with various animations and usable effects. There was one slider with images and text with attractive css effects, it was not merely some picture but it contained effective messages which lead to better understanding of our site. In the new site the main slider is different as it focuses more on representing usable facts about our site, rather than pictorially representing each aspect. All animations in the website are vertical upwards based, focusing on scrolling further to the bottom.

Responsive web design

The new website styling is optimized , in other words its responsive across all digital platforms. It took some effort, but it is so cool when your website looks good at all sizes. The site now looks different on laptop, tablet an phone, but the readability is always good.

Conclusion

The new Mediarede website really represents us a whole lot better and is able to present what we do more precisely. Also the implementation is more inviting for future changes as the site is more consistent design wise. And as a front-end developer, they really learned quite a bit and were able to implement more than we expected during the development of this website.​

Why let us work on your project remotely?

Why let us work on your project remotely?

Lots of clients don’t like the idea of remote work, and still love face to face meetings – We totally get that. But with modern communications, fast internet, and products like Skype, remote work is the way forward.

Why?

Working remotely has so many benefits, here are just a few:

  • No time wasted on travel – you pay us for working on your project, and your project alone, allowing me to spend them extra few hours working on the details, that do make a difference!
  • Communication via email somehow cuts the complications, and makes us both only talk about what’s necessary, optimising our time, allowing us to allocate more of your money towards perfecting my work, on your project.
  • Our workflow is dramatically improved, instead of an all day meeting, We can work on projects, giving me more time to perfect.

We are always available, and clients are absolutely stunned by how efficient we are, and that’s why we have built up this superb rapport of clients and a great reputation. We’ve worked with a countless number of clients wanting web design in London, web design in Cardiff and even web design in Bristol!

And if you do want a chat, We are always available on Skype, or we can arrange a phone call to chat through things.