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Responsive Web Design, or RWD for short, is an oft talked about and frankly invaluable discipline in the context of today’s design industry. A few short years ago, it was enough for a design to render attractively in four or five different preset viewports.
This is no longer the case today.
As mobile browsing outpaced desktop usage in 2014 with statistics predicting a continuing increase, a website must have a mobile strategy in place in order to succeed. Moreover, the increasing variety of devices and screen sizes require designs to be more flexible than ever before.And while there were once multiple options for serving mobile users, such as m-dot sites or heavy reliance on mobile applications, the most relevant research to date shows that these solutions just aren’t as consistent or as cost effective as a responsive design.
What is responsive web design? As the name suggests, Responsive Web Design responds to the user’s viewport, device, or platform. Essentially, it’s a design that can attractively acclimate to any screen resolution.
Responsive web design in 2015 is already going beyond this definition, but it is still traditionally recognized by three primary concepts described in Responsive Design Best Practices:
It will be interesting to see how much the term comes to symbolize in the future. Right now, people are already confusing the term with the more breakpoint centered, Adaptive Design.
Recently, there has even been talk of expanding the definition to include taking advantage of unique device capabilities (such as specific commands on a touch screen).
The definition, perhaps not ironically, is quickly becoming as fluid as the concepts it describes.
Why continue with responsive web design?The diversity in devices used to browse websites is only growing larger, and it has become an expectation that users take for granted when exploring their preferred destinations on the web. Your design must respond to the user’s viewport if you want to deliver even a baseline acceptable experience.
More to the point, RWD is the preferred method of making a website more accessible by virtually everyone:
The advantages of RWD are immediate, and well documented:
Responsive design is more than a game of technical adjustments to a layout. It is a complete reimagining of the way in which content is delivered. The much more difficult challenge is strategizing how to deliver the right content to the right user on the right device at exactly the right time.
Jerry Cao — 6 months ago in Design & Dev
In business today, almost everything is done digitally, from marketing and sending mail to attending meetings and even networking.
With the internet taking over almost everything that we do in business, it may be surprising to learn that the old school business card is one thing that the digital world hasn’t figured out how to replace yet, and doesn’t seem to be going to any time soon.
Business cards may seem like a thing of the past, but this powerful little tool is of vital importance, and you should have a pocket full of them at all times. Keep reading to find out why.
It’s more personal
Swapping information digitally can be really convenient, however the price for this is that it’s also really impersonal. Engaging in eye contact and real conversation between two people is usually how the vast majority of great business relationships begin.
Two individuals with their heads buried in a phone may easily be able to swap the information they need – but the encounter won’t create any kind of significant memory.
It’s better to create a personal interaction by handing out a physical business card, and the recipient can always transfer the details to their smartphone later.
The most effective tool for direct marketing
With all the digital marketing tools available today, who would have thought that the humble business card is still the most effective tool for direct marketing?
Email marketing, SEO, and even paid media marketing all do an excellent job at generating leads and attracting prospective customers, but even still, they’re not as effective as an in-person meeting sealed with a warm handshake and a business card exchange.
You may encounter a potential lead at any time – so carrying business cards with you makes sure that you don’t miss any opportunities. Business cards can be an effective form of marketing that improves the legitimacy of your company.
Creative business cards attract attention
Your business card is a physical object that a prospective customer takes away with them from an encounter, meaning that your brand stays with them. If you meet a prospect and exchange mobile telephone numbers or e-mail addresses digitally, that is where it ends.
However, if you hand over a creative and interesting business card that makes a great impression, that person is much more likely to show it to other people, leading to more exposure for your brand and potentially more new customers.
Business cards show preparation
Have you ever met somebody who went to share their information digitally, and had a dead battery on their smartphone? Or, has somebody ever passed you their contact information on a napkin or piece of scrap paper?
It isn’t the most professional approach, and being unprepared can leave a bad impression on any prospective customers or contacts who you speak to.
Having business cards on you prepares you for meeting prospects at any time, and they will also be able to see this – which leaves a great, professional first impression of you on anybody you speak to.
Designing anything from scratch is hard, especially when you’re new to working with a designer or design team. Turning an idea into a product is a laborious process, and can’t just be handed over to design professionals; the client needs to be involved to help guide the process. Your job as the client is to help the designer understand exactly what is in your head so they can best serve you. While it’s easy to blame an unsatisfying final product on the designer, it’s up to the client to communicate effectively, give their designer all the tools they need to succeed and ensure that the best product is delivered. The best way to get the most out of your graphic designer or illustrator is to give them useful feedback they can take back to the drawing board.
Speak up early. Give feedback early and often. Nothing is more frustrating for designers than getting to the end of a project and hearing there is an issue they could have corrected many steps ago. Telling designers about issues early saves them time and results in a better project, as elements don’t have to be altered last minute. Take time to carefully look at the first draft that your designer hands you, make a list of the corrections you would like to see and state all of them at the follow up meeting (or, if you are working with Visually, in the Project Center). This won’t preclude further revisions, but it will prevent designers from iterating off of details and ideas they thought you tacitly approved. In general, if you don’t tell a designer something must be changed, they won’t know there’s an issue.
Be specific. When listening to client feedback, there are few things more frustrating for a designer to hear than phrases like, “This looks weird,” or “Could you make it pop?” Inevitably this will elicit a “Ok, and….?” response in your designer’s head. While something may indeed look weird, saying so without describing what you specifically find weird doesn’t help the designer solve the issue. At all times, be as specific as possible with feedback. Come with examples of styles, fonts, color palettes or layouts you’d like to refer to (and be able to verbalize what it is about those examples you like), or be able to point to specific elements you would like changed. Instead of “That looks weird,” say “The layout seems cluttered. Could we simplify this?” In the same way, be specific about the elements of the design that you like. If there’s a part of the design that you want to see more of, be sure to point it out specifically. While not everyone needs to be a design expert, giving specific advice requires a base level of design knowledge.
Talk about making improvements, not about mistakes. While people who work in visual arts and design are used to and receptive to criticism, it’s still easy to get on your designer’s bad side by questioning their judgement or being unnecessarily harsh when suggesting changes. Approach your relationship with your graphic designer in the same way you would a loved one, with discretion and tact. When criticizing an aspect of a project, try to frame the criticism around you and your preferences instead of their judgement. For example, when approaching the subject of changing a font style, don’t point to your designer’s work and say “This font is ugly,” but rather, “I would like to try a different font here.” Then specify the direction you’d like to go.
Listen to what your designer has to say. If you have suggestions on how to improve a project, there’s a good chance that your designer has already considered it. If so, be sure to ask for your designer’s reasoning as to why they made the decision they did. This allows you to see what your designer is thinking and learn more about their process and limitations. Once you and your designer state your cases, it’s time to start negotiating. Find out what the designer insists is necessary and indispensable to the project, then compromise on what can be changed.
Allow your designer some freedom While some clients may come into meetings with too few ideas, some have too specific a vision of what they’d like to see. If the designer returns with a draft that does not include every exact element you asked for, be sure to consider the changes your designer made before dismissing them. Sometimes when a designer works with too many demands, the final product looks like it was created by checking off boxes on a checklist. Be flexible, know what’s necessary to your product and what isn’t, then let your designer use their skills to create and improve upon your vision.
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