I always forget just how much I love meeting new designers.
It’s that feeling of, “Oh! You’ve been there too and I’m not alone!” But of course, there’s more to it than just bonding over our struggles. Meeting and talking with new designers is refreshing and eye-opening. I often leave the conversation with new insights, new connections and many times, new friends.
The M+Co creative team is a part of AIGA, the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design, so a few weeks ago on a Tuesday night, we made our way to the In-House Roundtable: Designing for Digital. This talk focused on how different teams and organizations designed for social media, created HTML emails, led video and photo initiatives and designed for mobile.
On these points, here were some of the struggles and successes mentioned around the table:
When it comes to social media, believe it or not (because I didn’t), people click or tap on the logo the most. The team at Villanova University talked about how, after running heat mapping tests, most of the taps and clicks appeared to be on the logo.
Mental note to ourselves: we should include logos on our social media posts, especially if they are ads!
Video and photo are critical for today’s audience – people don’t want to read, we know that much. So why is it that video and photo sometimes feel like such a hassle? Well, as one of the design managers around the table mentioned, many design teams do not have a photo and video partner, so the work has to come from in-house. And let’s face it, many graphic designers want to stay in their own bubble. Grabbing a camera and stepping outside might not be in the plans for them. I partly get it – I might do more damage than good with a professional camera. But, that’s not to say we shouldn’t step out of our comfort zone and push ourselves to do something new.
So, takeaway here: if you don’t have a video partner, and can’t afford one, encourage your designers to come out of their shell. If you can work with a partner, and you’re on the look, check us out at muhl.co/video . I promise you’ll love our photographer and videographer, Bill Heemer.
Salesforce and automated campaigns were the talk of the night when it came to emails. Some of us shared the struggles of email design and the back and forth that usually happens in the process. Doesn’t it make more sense to provide sales and business execs with branding approved templates, in which they are the ones that ultimately design the emails? Designers from the Franklin Institute definitely think so. They mentioned that they spent more than 500 hours designing the different building blocks so that emails were once and for all, not the job of the design team.
How’s everyone keeping their users engaged while designing for mobile? This was the question of the night! With users nowadays having an attention span shorter than a goldfish’s, how do we make sure we don’t lose our users as they begin to scroll through our site? On this one, M+Co jumped in. In our eyes, the key is to always create interactive, moving websites so that as the user scrolls, text is fading in, colors are changing, and objects are coming in from the sides. If we can keep the user engaged with movement, then the odds are in our favor. Other ways to keep users on your page for longer include lead-throughs at the bottom of each page that do just what their name implies – lead users through the journey you want them to go through.
Designing for digital can be hard (and sometimes exhausting) these days, especially since technologies are always changing, and trends seem to last for no longer than a few months. That’s why it is so important that as designers, we keep talking to each other, both to vent a bit (because who doesn’t need that), and also to stay one step ahead of our users.