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We asked ten web professionals what they felt 2011 would hold for the future of web design. The overwhelming consensus was an industry-wide push into HTML5 and mobile e-commerce. Wes Keltner, Creative Director at Venom Cartel summed it up best:
Mobile e-commerce will explode to astronomical heights in the next 2-5 years. 2011 will be a pivotal year for it. Old are days of simply building an iphone app and dropping it in the app store. Companies need a complete mobile strategy, especially those looking to peddle their wares via mobile devices. A multichannel approach can be achieved using HTML 5 due to it's ability to function on most browsers (if not all by 2011) and the major smartphones (iphone, android, blackberry) can run mobile enhanced html 5 sites as well. Nieman Marcus recently announced that by the end of 2010 ALL of their products will be available via a smartphone. And with the help of FB, online ads and mobile ecommerce...that multi-channel strategy makes up for 18% of all their sales. Yeah, 18%! (source)
Companies will begin building mobile enhanced websites via HTML 5 because it's a more flexible, cost effective solution to building an app for each smartphone. Especially if you're shooting for mobile e-commerce. A complete mobile strategy will be the target of most big business in 2011 and the most cost effective, cool looking, great UI experience comes from HTML 5. Hands down.
Kari Scott, partner at Mad Dancer, expanded on the theme:
Mobile devices will continue to direct the trends in web design throughout 2011. The Tablet/Handheld revolution greatly changed things in 2010 and there is an obvious parallel seen in the direction that websites are taking in both their design and their development. The first evidence is seen in the decline of flash use throughout most sites now, with JavaScript offering smaller file sizes resulting in faster page loads and more stable environments on tablets and handhelds.
Design has also started to focus more on functionality and ease of use, as opposed to the bells and whistles and superfluous animation that flash once promised. In 2011, design will continue to focus on simplicity, but with perhaps a greater focus on integrating smart and subtle design into the page. Visitors want their info quickly and simply, however, clients don't want to sacrifice the "environment" that their brand can support.
This year, many large entertainment sites focused heavily on functionality with little regard to aesthetics, but I believe 2011 will bring a better combination of form and functionality. "Simplicity" does not mean boring! 2011 will bring about a wider range of experiences in browsing where design actually supports the content.
Conclusion: Flash is dead, HTML5 rocks our socks, and UX is king.
Before preparing a web design proposal, we always ask the following ten questions of any prospective client.
  • What does this site need to do?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What content do you have ready right now?
  • Is there any special functionality required?
  • Do you have a deadline?
  • What is the project's budget?
  • How often do you intend to update the site?
  • Do you own a domain name?
  • Who is your largest competitor?
  • How will you host the site?
It's best to conduct an interview in person (or over the phone) so that relevant follow-up questions can be asked. Email interviews aren't beneficial to anyone.
Since the release of the Google Nexus, Android has enjoyed rapid expansion and success, but is Android a victim of its own success?
There are literally hundreds of Android devices. Each device has a different hardware configuration. The result is a wide disparity of capabilities across the market. CPU, camera, flash, internal memory, Bluetooth, network, screen resolution, and wireless specifications can be vastly different on any two given handsets. To compensate for the diversity of these devices, developers must either abandon devices or develop for the lowest common denominator. The situation is illustrated by Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, who has been forced to officially ignore nearly twenty phones. That's more than the total number of iOS devices.

Carriers and manufacturers have exploited Android's "open" platform as a means to add their own features in an attempt to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Aside from often creating usability problems, these unnecessarily customized versions of Android have delayed firmware updates for older devices, and even resulted in carriers abandoning phones entirely. Presently there are eight versions of Android application framework API that a device can support. With no clear upgrade path for many devices due to UI extensions like HTC Sense, the platform is even further fragmented.

Google's official line on the topic of fragmentation is that it's a non-issue. According to Android's Dan Morrill, "Fragmentation is a bogeyman, a red herring, a story you tell to frighten junior developers. Yawn." Yes, Dan, were Google to enforce their own Compatibility Definition Document with carriers and OEMs, that statement might even be true.
Using 109 post-it notes in 5 different colors, we put up a Christmas tree on the front door to our offices. If you consider each note as a pixel, then our door's resolution is 10x22 pixels.
  1. Do make the user feel important.
  2. Do show interest in the user.
  3. Do consider what the user wants.
  4. Do edit, less is more.
  5. Don't flatter the user, it's insincere.
  6. Don't mention your competition, it suggests they're superior.
  7. Don't talk about your own success, it makes your audience insecure.
  8. Don't force the user to do anything. Ever.
Last Sunday (November 7th) we had the pleasure of attending and photographing Operation: Holiday, a fashion show from 2 Sisters and New Prospects.
View the gallery. The charity event, which benefited the WINGS battered woman's shelter, was made possible by local businesses donating their services. The models were styled by Indira Salon, and wore apparel from 2 Sisters and New Prospects. Baked by Betsy, All on the Road Catering, and Wine Styles catered drink and food. Amphora hosted the event in their spacious store.
Always ready for the Holidays, we've got a fresh wallpaper pack in ten different resolutions for your desktop or iPhone. Reminiscent of the ASCII art from my childhood, this wallpaper features the finest serif typefaces depicting a Christmas tree in a warm vintage color palette. Download the Typograhical Christmas Tree Wallpaper pack now.
Too often have I seen clients agonize over 30 word ad copy while ignoring the importance of photos on their website. If a photo is worth a thousand words, then it's worthwhile to provide customers with great photos that tell your brand story. Through the immediacy of photo-sharing sites, the inclusion of cameras in seemingly all consumer electronics, and the radical improvement in digital cameras in the last decade, there is a heavy burden placed on commercial photography. It is now expected that pack shots, location images, and staff portraits will be nearly perfect if not stunning. No longer can we get away with the photos our nephew took for his high school photo class, or the iPhone photos you took last January. Consider that:
  • Product shots make your item tangible.
  • Pack shots improve product recognition on the store shelf.
  • Location shots give credibility and help customers find you.
  • Staff shots give your business a face.
Providing photos of yourself, your products or your business is a great way to tell the story of your business. Professional photos make your brand shine.