Archives For Web Design

I have created some presentations on various topics including one on Best Practices for Personalization with IBM WebSphere Portal that I am going to post shortly to but before I do, I just give is away, I would like to at least collect the email address of users so I can send them updates or ask if they want to schedule a discussion. Theoretically, anyone interested in using personalization with IBM WebSphere portal would be potential clients for us since that is our speciality.

To get started, I’m testing it here, on my own blog.

Step 1: Installed the plugin Email Before Download - Email Before Download presents your users with a form where they submit information, like their name and email address, prior to receiving a download. This plugin integrates with the popular Contact Form 7 and WordPress Download Monitor plugins, allowing you to create any form you like and manage/monitor your file downloads.

Step 2: Installed Contact Form 7 - Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.

Step 3: Install Download Monitor – WordPress Download Monitor Even though it is no longer supported, it still works.

Ok. So now let’s test:

I uploaded a small image for the file.

    Download requires your email

Please complete the following for access to the free download. A link will be sent to your email. It might go to spam so check.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Good design tells a story, and it is the story that maintains a website just as much as the help desk and developers. When authors and users believe the story the design tells, the system can practically maintain itself. Imagine if Wikipedia were destroyed. If all the databases were corrupted and all backups lost. If this happened the world could come together and recreate it in a month of patriotic wiki editing, every person contributing his or her own time and knowledge to rebuild it, perhaps better than before. This is possible because everyone understands the story wikipedia tells. The same is true of all great websites from Amazon and Facebook to YouTube and Craigslist (which could use a little CSS in the next iteration).

When we design a site, regardless of how many bells and whistles it has, it is important that it tell a story that is simple enough that people can hold the whole thing in their mind. This sounds hard, but imagine your local grocery store. If I emptied the entire store and then, as a test, asked you to put a loaf of bread on the right shelf, or milk, or an apple, you would probably get pretty close. The story of how a grocery store is organized is intuitive to you as a user. It something you could explain. This makes it easy for both users and those that manage the store to keep it organized.

If you can’t tell the story of how your intranet at work is organized, if it burned down and had to be rebuilt tomorrow (assuming you would want to rebuild it) – could you do it? If not, you should call us at Base22. We can help.

To inspire performance rather than manage performance, we must give people something they can believe in.

A Deep Commitment to Purpose

As a designer you must be more than an artist. You must be more than a creator. You must be part philosopher, part scientist,  part teacher, and, yes, part salesman as well. Your idea needs a champion. It needs someone to protect it, defend it, promote and explain it. The most important moment of your idea’s life will be moment you first share it with someone else. Will you just blurt it out? Will you throw it into the world naked and defenseless? Or will you take care to arrange a proper introduction and walk your audience through the steps you took. Even if the idea came to you in a flash of insight, you should never assume it will be obvious to others. You should build your argument carefully.

In this video, the famous designer Saul Bass introduces a new brand identity to Bell System (now mostly AT&T) back in 1969. Watch how he builds his argument and justifies each design element. Notice how he stops and addresses unspoken but obvious objections. When you present a new design to a client think about this video. Remember that you design will be as important to your client as their own face. Because it is their face. If you are going to change it, you need to appear confident, certain, and thoughtful about each part of your design. Well done Saul. I can see why your firm won the work.

Saul Bass introduces the new logo for Bell System

Offering a free trial of your site is great. But if users like me are any indication, we sign up, click around and never come back. Here is a behavioral change Idea I wrote down in a file April 15, 2002 that I just came across that I thought was still interesting.

  • If it really takes 30 days to begin a new habit. Then if you build good sites that offers a 30 day free trial, you should tell the users they have to log in every day or else the free trial expires.

That’s still a good idea! If you knew you would lose it, you mght be more likely to use it.
I thought I better post this to the web since I’m not likely to open ten year old files everyday.

The other idea in the file is more lame only because is so very obvious. (What was ten-years-younger Ben thinking?)

  • Appeal to influencer teens – the teens that all others want to be like. Marketing lifestyles, aspirations, sex.