Newton Lower Falls web agency
Hello and welcome to this web agency Web Designer Newton Lower Falls video tutorial.
I’m Owen Corso from Google.
And today, we’re going to build a rich media expandable creative with video.
Let’s start by selecting file, New File.
This opens a dialog box where we will set up our ad.
First, let’s make out high of project.
We have four options– The default is Display & Video 360so we will leave that as is.
Calibrate Digital Marketing - Web Design Company in Springfield Missouri
WEB DESIGN IS BROKEN but it's okay weare fixing it.
Today we are gonna follow on from the last video and we're gonnatake you further along down that path to that magical place called budget.
Yeswe're helping you to create a budget, an appropriate budget for your web designproject.
I'm still not gonna give you some magical figure because it doesn'texist; it's all relative.
So I'm not gonna talkin terms of X pounds or Y dollars but I will be talking in terms of high mediumlow investment what that means only you can really know because a largeinvestment for you might be a small investment for the next business: a smallinvestment for coca-cola it's probably gonna be most people's annual turnovers!So only you will know what a large versus a small investment actually is.
Soin the last video we laid down some key things that you really need to be awareof when you're thinking about a budget not just for a web design project butactually for anything and these are these are things, biases that that we allhave as people that can really affect how we determine what to invest inthings.
By understanding these biases we actually reduce the chance of over orunder investing in a project just simply by being aware of them.
So in this videowe're gonna look at two more very key things that are going to give you quitea reliable shortcut to determining whether the investment you make islarger or smaller.
These two things are risk and complexity.
What do we mean byrisk and what do we mean by complexity? When we're talking about risk we'retalking about the impact that it could have on your business.
Something that ishigh risk could have a significant impact on your business.
The way I like to think about risk is that it's whether it goes right orwhether it goes wrong, so it's not just down side there's also upside as well.
If there's significant upside then it's still gonna be high risk.
Low risk meansthat it's not gonna make a huge impact on your business,it's not gonna move the needle as they say.
Complexity is really just about howtechnically difficult it is to actually deliver this piece of functionality soif you look at, I don't know, take bridge making as an example: if you're buildinga small bridge across a little stream then that's probably going to be lesstechnically difficult then if you're trying to bridge the River Thames.
So it'show technically difficult it is to deliver and again it goes on a scale oflow to high complexity so why risk and complexity well if we plot them on agraph like so, we can see that they create four quadrants.
Now each of thesefour quadrants represents a different type of project: a high risk, highcomplexity project; a high risk, low complexity project; a low risk, highcomplexity project and a low risk, low complexity project.
Now just by exploringthese four different types of projects, these four project characteristics wecan actually start to make assumptions about what that project is going to belike and give you some shortcuts as to how much you invest in that type ofproject.
Let's jump into it: let's start off with the easy one low risk lowcomplexity.
So this is what I call the 'tick box' this is a website project thatis effectively just a tick box exercise maybe as a part of your business there'sa requirement that you have a web-based resource which goes over a whole bunchof really interesting things.
Maybe it'sjust a regulatory requirement, maybe you've gone for some funding and awebsite has to be a part of what you deliver.
It really doesn't make a hugeimpact on your business if it's just informational as these things typicallytend to be, then it doesn't really require groundbreaking programmingskills and cutting-edge design to actually fulfill its need.
So in thistype of project you really want to be investing as little as you possibly canjust as much as you need to to get a reasonable job done.
It's not gonna makea huge impact on your business; it's not technically difficult to deliver youjust want something that works and that ticks that box.
So if your project is lowrisk low complexity don't bet the farm on it there's no point it's not gonnabring you the return that you need pay as little as you can to get a goodprofessional job done but don't go crazy over it.
So now we've got low risk highcomplexity.
This is an interesting space and I like to call this quadrant in thistype of project the 'moderniser'.
With something that's low risk and highcomplexity typically we're looking at improving existing systems and processesusing newly available modern technologies.
With this type of projectwhat you really want to be doing is looking at a provider that hasthoroughly solved this problem so I'm thinking online payments companies likePayPal, like Stripe have thoroughly solved this technical challenge.
It's notnecessarily the type of project that you think is going to completelyrevolutionize your business; it might make things a lot more efficient andyou'll probably see some uptick in sales, engagement things like that, but ultimatelyit's not the big game changer for your business.
So you should be lookingto invest a reasonable amount to get some off-the-shelf solutions that canactually bridge this gap and help you modernize.
Let's jump into my favoritequadrant: low complexity high risk this is what I call the 'punt'.
So this is myfavorite sector because this is typically where a business has spotted anew opportunity maybe a new part of the market maybe they want to spin off anexisting product or service and they just want to test it out.
They want tosee whether their offering or messaging works.
Why this is high risk is that ifit works well then there could be significant upside.
It might be a wholenew part of their business it might be a new standalone business if it goes badlythen they lose their initial investment.
Now what you want to do when you'reworking in this quadrant you what you want to be doing is thinking aboutmultiple small investments and testing religiously.
Test absolutely everythingbecause what you're trying to do is figure out if this thing, if this ideahas got the legs to warrant a proper investment.
You want to be thinkinglanding pages; very simple to produce very easy to iterate.
You also want to bethinking about investing in things like pay-per-click advertising as well -literally buying the traffic to test against your multiple service offeringvariations.
Don't bet the farm on this it's all about controlling risk at everysingle point every single iteration so be very purposeful be very deliberateabout how you execute when you're dealing with low complexity high riskprojects.
So the final quadrant is what I call the 'moonshot'.
This is the stuff ofstartup legend.
This is that entrepreneur space where we are launching newproducts into unknown markets.
This is an area that is very similar to high risklow complexity in its approach but you should really be making significantinvestments in this area: you still need to control the risk andyou still need to test fastidiously but you might be needing to actually investheavier and produce some custom functionality.
You might need to actuallybe producing working prototypes of your product or service offering.
You can't cut corners when you're in this quadrant the risk is too high.
Because the complexity is high you're probably going to be building thingsthat have never been built before; you're needing to create technical capabilitywithin your business and understand how that impacts the delivery of yourproduct and/or service.
So absolutely never cut corners here.
The key wordsthat you should be listening out to when you're talking about the project is 'noone else is doing this', 'this has never been done before', 'this is brand new',''here's why it's different to the competitors'.
All of these things shouldbe getting you thinking high risk high complexity.
Invest well, don't cut cornersand test and iterate and measure absolutely everything you can.
So thoseare the four quadrants and hopefully this gets you a little bit closer tounderstanding where your project sits in those quadrants and the amount that youshould invest relative to, well whatever that means to you as a business.
Thus farwe've understood things about the biases and the psychology that can affect howwe make investment decisions, we've been able to identify where our project sitsalong an axis of risk versus complexity in the next video we're going to belooking at some pounds and pence examples for how you can start to createthat budget or a range of that budget based on the perceived upside or theperceived savings that you're gonna make or thatyou're hoping to make in your web design project.
That was heavy!My name is Aaron Taylor, I'm helping you to make better decisions and have betterconversations when you're buying a website.
Till next time!.
Newton Lower Falls web agency
Next, we can select the type of ad.
We want to make an expandable, so we select Expandable on the left.
Next, we can set again ad’s dimensions.
We are building a 320 by 50that expands to 480 by 250.
So I will make those changes.
We then assign the Newton Lower Falls creative a name.
I will leave my Save ToLocation as the default, and leave the talk about set to Quick.
Once I’m happy with my settings, I click OK.
Google Web Designer creates the initial pages of the ad for me with the dimensions I defined.
The collapsed page already contains a Tap Area event to expand the ad and an expanded pageNewton Lower Falls with a close tap area to collapse back down.
Data Driven Templates for Display & Video 360 Ad Canvas - Google Web Designer
When I joined Google a little more than 2 years ago, I was asked by a few people to tell the story of how I got there and what my experience was.
I promised I would but I never actually did. Maybe I was shy, maybe I didn’t have the time or maybe I simply thought, probably wrongly, that it wasn’t interesting enough.
I decided to finally honor that promise and write about it.
I hope this is not too late and that it will be useful to some people.
I will try my best to sum up my experience and stories and provide a few advices from them.
Oh, one more thing. This is not a guide on how to get a job at Google. Based on my experience, I do not think such a thing exists. It will not describe the interview process in detail (such as the questions asked) nor disclose any confidential information.
The sole purpose of this article is to talk about my pre-Google personal experiences. I hope this will be useful for you, at least a little.
Baguettes and berets
If you don’t know me, I’m a 27 years old Frenchman born in a small city in Paris suburban area called Lagny. I spent the first 6 years of my life there and then moved to the south of France where I lived and studied in various cities such as Toulon, Hyères, Arles and Marseille.
Today, I’m a visual designer for Google Chrome and Chrome OS, living in San Francisco.
I got a High school diploma in what was called “social and economics”, then I studied 2 years in a general technology school and 3 additional years in a multimedia project management school.
What these schools and courses had in common is that they taught you a general approach on various subjects. It didn’t specialize you. Thinking back, I think I was taught how to become an effective swiss army knife.
I started by learning the basics of social science and economics mixed with history and philosophy. Add a bit of math to that and you get my High school diploma.
The following two years were all about introducing you to everything you can do with a computer, a screen and a camera. From code to design to filming and photography. Very broad subjects.
The last three years that led to my masters degree were multimedia management. It was all about managing people, project, public speaking and… wearing a suit.
Looking back at it, the more I was going through these school courses, the less I was learning the skills I use in my current everyday job.I learned at school what I didn’t want to do.
School is not about teaching, not really. It’s about opening your mind. I forgot most of what I learned at school but it helped me visualize and understand the things that I wanted to do and the things that I wanted to avoid.It’s by learning a subject that you realize it’s not for you.
I had to learn math to discover that I hated it, I had to learn to code to discover that my appeal to it wasn’t as strong as my appeal to align pixels.
I had to wear a suit to realize that this is not something that I would want to wear everyday. I learned how to manage projects and people to understand that what I really wanted to do is to spend my entire day in Photoshop, listening to Hans Zimmer and Amon Tobin.
Maybe it’s not the best path to follow to learn things, but it was mine. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot of useful things in these schools but somehow, it’s the things I hated to learn that gave me the most beneficial lessons and drove me to my key skills.In any given project, I always volunteered for the design part, it was my refuge. In response to possibilities of acquiring more knowledge, I specialized in one thing.
In the 5 years following my High school diploma, I dismissed a lot of potential knowledge to obsess over details in interfaces.
Is it a good thing ? I do not know. I’m not a fast learner. I found what I was good at and instead of searching to acquire a broader range of skills, I maximized the strong ones.
Let’s summarize who I was after my studies:
An obsessed interface designer focused on web and mobile design. I was comfortable and self-confident enough to present my ideas in front of people.
I had a daily schedule made of an hour and a half of web browsing to discover, save and categorize inspiration across the web followed by 8 hours of visual design in Photoshop and Illustrator. Also, I was fluent in English, and this was key.
My work history is tightly linked to my school history. My 3 years of multimedia management were alternate. I had to spend a month at school and the other in any company nice enough to welcome and form a newbie.
I was lucky enough to work for companies who made me do some actual work besides bringing coffee and I will always be grateful for that. Here is the biggest thing I learned and that I have absolutely no doubt about whatsoever:The best way to learn is to work for real people, in real companies.
The benefit from working and learning at the same time with people who actually make a living out of what you want to do is by orders of magnitude more beneficial than school. Any internship will teach you more about real life work than any class.
Now I’m not saying that you don’t learn anything at school. You need it to give you the basics, the by-the-book approach of design and tech but being able to apply learned principles and confront them to real situations and projects is priceless. Combining school and in-situ internship is for me the best pedagogical approach to learning a subject, at least in our field.
The first Year
During the first year of alternation, I learned print, logo and identity design. From an intern perspective, I did a decent job. From a professional designer standard, I was terrible. My work was messy and full of mistakes. Thankfully, it was ok, because I was with the right people.During your life, if you’re lucky enough, you will meet people who will help you grow. People who will help you reach what you think was too far, by standing on their shoulders.
This was the kind of person my boss was during this first year. We were a two people company, he had a ton of experience and was eager to share it. He was patient and when he detected the smallest amount of talent in me, he helped me expand it.
I wasn’t expecting that, it think it’s rare to meet somebody who needs to make a living and is still available to help you grow professionally and personally. I’m trying to carry on this lesson, but I’m not there yet.
It takes a lot of selflessness.
The second and third year
I spent the second and third year of my alternation in another company. I left my first year one because I needed to make a little bit more money, he couldn’t assume an intern anymore and I was ready to move on.
The company was a small web agency created by one person who was sick of being given orders and wanted to make cool things by and for himself.
Now let’s take a break here for a quick advice to any aspiring designer who wants to land any job/internship:Smile and engage.
As simple as that. At the time I was a shy guy with a bit of confidence issues when it came to selling myself. Saying that my presentation was underwhelming is an understatement. If I wasn’t supported by an employee of this same company, I think I would still be searching an internship right now. Hurray for networking and string pulling.
Ok, back on the subject. You remember what I wrote earlier about my first boss ? Well you can re-apply this here. Two in a row can be considered lucky, and it is. Luck is an important factor in your career but I will get back to that.
These two years improved my visual design skills at an incredibly fast rate.
I was working on a large range of projects from complex web-design to phone applications. It was a balance of internal and client projects. A good way to keep some freedom in your work while making a living. I even did a few email design for mass mailing which I’m not very proud of but teach you the realities of the field. This is also important:
Following the same logic as for school, doing something you do not like builds you and defines you as a designer.
This work was thankfully secondary. A large majority was incredibly interesting projects with a lot of challenges for a young designer. I grew exponentially with every work because I had freedom and responsibility. My boss was a safety net, a knowledgable guide that was there when I needed him. But he trusted me from the start, giving me enough responsibility to feel involved in everything I was doing.Be a safety net for the person you want to see evolve. Make him feel impactful and in control of his decisions and projects.
I finished my studies and was hired full time in this company. I stayed another year before being hired by Google and I loved every second of it.
In addition to school courses and learning with pros, learning by yourself will be a great asset in your career. Some may say that it is all you need, especially in our line of work.If you have the passion about something, self teaching should come naturally. If you have fun learning stuff, you are where you’re supposed to be.
My favorite way of learning was by looking at other people’s work and learn from the .psds they were sharing, that’s why I’m still doing that to this day. A way to return the favor.There will always be more talented people than you.
Look up to them and try to catch up.
Networking and design communities
Something you need to know: I hate networking. Actually I used to. I’m getting a little bit better at it but even today, I’m awkward. I have this weird expression on my face that makes people think I’m obnoxious sometimes. I don’t know, maybe I am a little bit. But I think it’s mostly shyness.
Anyway, I learned very early that networking is important to develop your career, especially in our field. Dennis Covent will probably explain why better than me in his blog post so I will not spend too much time on it.
That’s the beauty of internet, you can network without engaging anybody in the real world. You can build yourself as a designer and build your web presence simply by participating in communities. If you are alone on an island, you have virtually the same chance of being recognized for your work as anybody else.
Of course this is not entirely true, an outgoing person living in San Francisco will probably network easier than a brown bear living in a south France cave with poor internet connection but you know what I mean.
Thankfully, I wasn’t a bear, I had a decent internet connection and a need to share things. So I started a little blog using Tumblr.
It was simply about sharing things about design and writing various notes about it. Some sort of personal Pinterest. Very few readers but that was fine. I enjoyed it. Heres an important note about that:
So I continued writing my little blog and I was eventually contacted by a bigger french site focused on web-design and various source of inspiration for designers. My audience suddenly exploded, of course. This blog had way more visibility. I started shifting from sharing inspiration to creating my own design resources, or “freebies”, after discovering the work of Orman Clark and his work on Premium pixel. I was and still am a huge fan.
It was a great way for me to improve, satisfy my compulsion for pixels and gave me things to share. I also learned a lot from reverse engineering other designers freebies, it was my way to give back. I even started writing tutorials.
And then the owner of the blog asked me this question:
“Do you need an invite to Dribbble?”
This deserves a section of his own simply to make a point. Dribbble played a huge part in my career and I think this is the case for a lot of people.
I joined it the 6th of March 2011 and published this shot:
My first shot made me rapidly get followers. At the time I was publishing a freebie per week. It took a lot of time, I was pretty much doing nothing else during the week besides working and creating photoshop goodies to share and updating my blog. Doing this created a lot more opportunities than I ever thought it would. Suddenly, people contacted me for work, outside of France.
Oh and also, it’s where Google found me.
A little bit of freelance
Remember that at the time, I was working in the web agency. That’s during my full time year that I started receiving work inquiries from companies outside of France via Dribbble. The first one I received was from a print company based in Sweden. That was a big deal for me. I was speaking enough English to understand them, but we were talking about business here. I was fresh out of school and not that confident about handling my own projects.
So I proposed to my boss to make this request a company project. He would teach me the business part of it and I would handle the rest.
This is how I started my first “sort of freelance project”.
It went smoothly, they were satisfied by the result, I delivered in time and we built a pretty good relationship. This project added to my portfolio, I was more confident because I went out of my comfort zone and did it.Going out of your comfort zone will greatly improve your confidence.
I was continuing my constant flow of freebies on Dribbble and spending half of my day in photoshop, designing mock-ups after mock-ups for sites, mail, iPhone apps and iPad apps. I was designing everything I could from video players to upload panels (why?! I’m not sure). I was getting more followers and more work inquiries.
I accepted projects from France, Denmark, and the United states. Each one opening new design horizons. From social platform to DJ-ing software.
As the inquiries got more numerous, I learned to choose the projects I wanted to work on, taking them both for the companies and starting a few projects on my own. Usually, everything went well for a simple reason: I got all my inquiries via Dribbble from clients who knew what they wanted and knew what to expect from me based on my previous work. Being able to choose your client is a luxury. I was able to do that because I had a full time job.If you have the time and if your situation allows it, taking side projects as a freelancer while you have a full time job is a good way to try it out and see if it’s something for you. Be careful though because you will not see the sunlight a lot.
Getting all these clients also helped me to do one important thing, build up a portfolio. Which brings me to this.
Working for free
Before anything else I suggest you read this article by Dann Petty.
I know this is a delicate subject. Every work deserves payment. There are a lot of people that will take this opportunity to exploit young designers and I received my share of “I need a design for a youtube-like site, $200 should be enough.” or “there is 5 other designers working on this, I will pay the one I pick”.Working for free is all about building your portfolio.
Now, you will only be able to do that if you actually manage to pay for your internet bill first of course. One benefit to it is that you will choose the project you want. You will work on what makes you happy and what you will be happy to show as a work reference. If you work with the right persons, it will open doors for you.
That’s why I accepted a lot of requests with no money involved, any student party that needed a poster, every little website design with very low budget because I knew the guy, this kind of thing.
Do it when you are a student, when you’re eager to do over hours and work on various stuff. Yes they will get something for really cheap or even nothing, but as a young designer you will get invaluable experience, you just need to be careful.
As for being able to pick your clients, working for free is a luxury, it is not for everybody. I was able to do it because I had a supporting boss, family and a full time job. If you can to, consider it but do it for the right people.
“Want to chat ?”
The year went by and I received my first recruitment email from a company in Spain. That was weird. For the first time somebody wanted me to work for him, in a big structure, out of my country. He wanted to know if I would consider “a chat”, and they would bring me to their headquarters for it.
I actually told my boss about it what he told me was: “go for it!”. Remember what I wrote earlier about the kind of people that will help you grow?
So I went for it and accepted to go there just to chat. Why not after all? I wasn’t that in love with the city I was living in, I loved my job for sure but I saw an opportunity to grow.If you see an opportunity, if you have the slightest doubt or “what if” in your mind, just go for it.
They paid for the plane ticket and the hotel just to talk to me. I know, now it sounds completely normal to some people but that was crazy for me in a world where I heard clients not willing to pay more than a few hundred bucks for a website design… when they were actually willing to pay anything.
So I did the interviews and got to know them a little better. Things were clicking and I was starting to consider the fact that I could move from France to Spain. It wasn’t that far after all and these people were pretty awesome. But a week after being back home I received another email.
I think this is spam
This email was from Google as you probably guessed. I really thought it was spam. It was completely out of the blue.
I answered… you know… just in case.
At the time it was during a US holiday so it took five days to receive an answer, reinforcing my spam theory in the meantime.
Turned out it was real and I couldn’t wait to know more.
After checking a few things like my willingness to move to the US in case this ever works, the recruiter told me that I was going to enter the process, starting with a call from a Googler.
At this moment I thanked the thousand of hours spent listening to various American TV series while working at home. Otherwise I would have struggled to understand anything during our conversation. It was still hard though, it is way different to passively learn a language than it is to have an actual human interaction, and my brief 2 weeks school trip in the US when I was fourteen didn’t really help.
I thought I did terribly on the phone but apparently not as they were willing to continue the process. The next step was a design exercise.
This part was very stimulating for me. I had the opportunity to demonstrate how I think and deliver polished visuals. It really wasn’t that different from what I experienced several times with clients, maybe the result was a bit more life changing…
So I sent the finalized exercise crossing my fingers hoping to get a positive answer and avoiding imagining them laughing at my work.
Around two weeks later, they told me they wanted to see me in person, in Mountain View.
What am I doing here ?
At the time I had a two weeks trip in New York with a friend planned 4 month earlier. Some sort of “we’re done with school” trip because we wanted to discover New York and the US.
The confirmation email came during this time. I was stopping twice a day at a Starbuck to get some Wifi and check emails. I mentioned I was in New York and that it would be a good idea to meet during these two weeks, you know, to avoid crossing the atlantic and come back again.
They agreed, set up my flight, two days later I was flying somewhere I’ve never been before, California.
I landed in San Francisco and before realizing what was happening I was driving a rental car on a highway that was going to become the one of my daily commute. The “What am I doing here” moment was when I realized I was driving for the first time on a Californian road, passing signs with cities like San Francisco, Palo Alto and Cupertino written on them. Big deal for me.
The next day were the on-site interviews. It went really fast and was over before I could realize it. One thing I do remember is that, between two interviews, I was asked when I considered joining Google. I answered that I never considered it and that I never imagined being here, it was just not a realistic possibility for me.
Retrospectively, this was a probably a weird if not bad answer but it was the simple truth. I was too tired and disoriented to start thinking about what could be a good answer.
Thinking about it, maybe it was what to do. It sounds cheesy but I think this applies to a lot of situations and to any job applications. You may talk your way into landing a job by finding the right answer at the right moment but you would be at risk of not finding the right thing in the end, something that is neither for you or your employer.
This time I didn’t forget to smile though.
And that was the end of it, I just had to wait for the final decision. I jumped in the plane back to New York, looking to San Francisco by the window, a city I would never enter until I discovered it for the first time, searching for a place to live.
If you want more information about the Google hiring process,
head this way. You will find some useful details on that.
I received the call on a Friday. I was asked if I was interested in joining Chrome. This couldn’t have been better. I didn’t hesitate a second and gave a positive answer. The web made me and now I was going to help make it better.My Dribbble announcement post.
One thing you may say if entering Google is one of your objectives is that I got really lucky. I was lucky to have the studies that helped me figure out what I wanted to do, lucky that I got two great bosses in a row, lucky that I got a Dribbble invite at the right time with a Googler looking at my work at the right moment, lucky that I was already in the US when they wanted to see me, lucky that there was still some visas available when I applied, and you would be completely right.
Luck played a huge part in this and I wouldn’t be writing this if it wasn’t for it. One addendum though:Be prepared for luck, if it ever happens, make sure you can take your chances.
Reading this article myself, it sounds like I described some sort of magical story made of rainbows and ponies and that I am a huge fanboy writing an advertisement. You may also not agree with what Google is doing, although reading this to the end would seem like a huge waste of your time. This is only my view of it.
I tried to stay true to what I felt at the time and how things worked out.
I feel grateful to be where I am surrounded by people way more clever than me. Is it awesome every day ? No. It can be frustrating and you may not agree with everything. You are part of a gigantic machine that makes things at an unimaginable scale. That’s also part of the thrill.
Will I be there forever ? I do not know, I had my ups and downs but I do love Chrome, Chrome OS, my team and Google.
For now, I’m not going anywhere.
I think it’s an extraordinary experience simply to be here, not just at Google but in the bay area. I’m trying to remind myself that when I tend to act like a spoiled kid. Deep-down, I’m still waiting for them to realize that I’m a fraud and put me on the first plane back to France.
Get in touch
I didn’t cover everything, it was a long story.
If you have any questions or just want to chat or connect, here is some shameless social network self-advertisement:
From product design to virtual reality
As part of Intuit’s core initiatives to further cultivate mobile first thinking and accelerate growth into global markets, the Intuit Small Business Group’s Design Org has shifted from a model of designing and shipping prioritized features to a model where every designer is responsible for end-to-end, cross-device experiences, which includes designing for our products and services on desktop web, mobile web, desktop client apps, and native mobile apps.
As a design lead for our ecosystem of native mobile products over the past few years, I started getting a lot of questions around guidance and principles for mobile design. I noticed many of the designers, product managers, and engineers who are new to mobile app design or don’t live and breathe mobile app development on an everyday basis didn’t fully understand the nature of designing for native platforms and device capabilities. To reinforce the notion that “cross-device” and “mobile first” isn’t just about designing for smaller screens and scaling across multiple device sizes, I collaborated with the Design Systems Team to establish a set of mobile patterns and guidelines so that designers can hit the ground running, or run even faster, with mobile design. We recently published some guidelines, tools, and resources on our internal design toolkit that I thought would be great to share some key points and takeaways with a wider audience as the documentation addresses many frequently asked questions around mobile patterns.
Firstly, I want to start off by saying that what I write here is simply for guidance. Our mantra for any kind of pattern guidelines documentation we provide is, “Give me guidance, but let me drive.” We don’t want to be prescriptive, and we don’t want to tell you how to design, but this is a good starting point to get you going on native mobile designs. Why are we calling out native mobile? As we continue to design device-agnostic, end-to-end experiences and features for products and services, we must remember not to neglect the different platforms (i.e. our mobile products are currently offered on both iOS and Android).
1. Respect the platform
We documented patterns and components based on native operating systems that we have apps on: iOS and Android. When designing for native platforms, you should consistently refer to the native OS design guidelines first for maximum quality. Keep in mind that native platform guidelines constantly evolve, so it’s always good practice to stay on top of these guidelines and refresh your memory and knowledge often.
Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines: https://developer.apple.com/ios/human-interface-guidelines/
Google’s Material Design Guidelines: https://material.io/guidelines/
2. Focus on the customer benefit
Always design for the customer benefit first. No use case is the same, and many use cases have exceptions. Do not design something simply because you can reuse a pattern or component for another feature. Design patterns help ground us as a system and unify an experience across an ecosystem of products, but they should by no means be the first or last stop in the design process. Always question yourself: How will this benefit the customer?
3. Think device first
Push your thinking beyond “mobile first.” Start thinking about leveraging device capabilities first. The native mobile device has a lot to offer: touch, voice, pressure, location tracking, accelerometer, notifications, etc. You are designing around the device, the platform, the user experience. How can these device features be utilized in our products? How can the mobile device benefit users beyond the screen interface in front of them?
4. Keep scalability in mind
Growing from the previous principle, do remember that a mobile device isn’t just a phone. Scalability across devices, more specifically between a phone and tablet, is a common challenge among designers. When we think of mobile devices, we know there are tablets, phones, phablets (not small enough to be a phone, not big enough to be a tablet). Some of the recurring questions I get asked are: Should there be parity between web and tablet designs? Can we translate the phone patterns to be the same on tablets? How do we design for phablets (not small enough to be a phone, not big enough to be a tablet)? To answer these questions, we researched with users, took an in-depth look at device interfaces and screen sizes, and set some standards. While the phone and tablet share many similarities, users use them very differently.
Mobile interfaces LESS THAN 7 inches width should be treated as a phone. Syntax and layout should be aligned across these devices as much as possible, but we also want to leverage native platform guidelines and capabilities first and foremost.
A fundamental design principle for mobile phones is to include only necessary information. Do not overload the user with more than they need to know or take action on. The phone is a convenient way to consume information on the go. Small business owners use a phone to complete quick actions while they are not in the office, capture data, view content, then perhaps close it out and come back to take a look later.
Mobile interfaces GREATER THAN 7 inches width should be treated as a tablet. Syntax and layout should be aligned across these devices as much as possible, and by no means should they need to align exactly the same as the less than 7-inch interfaces.
Tablet designs should look and feel like desktop web, but they should function like the phone (with tap/swipe/hold gestures, transitions, etc.). Many users view the tablet as a hybrid device. We’ve encountered many small business owners that don’t own a computer, but they own a tablet, and those users treat the tablet as a reliable device they can do work on.
To scale for the future or additional digital interfaces, you should also think about non-mobile touchscreens like TV displays, interactive table displays, automobile displays, laptop displays that you can touch, etc. You want to make sure you can scale for multiple screen sizes, large and small, and not limit yourself to thinking only about the devices your products are being supported by.
Patterns and Guidelines
This list is a small subset of patterns and guidelines that I’ve found designers have been commonly asking around best practices for our mobile products.
One of the major aspects that make navigating content on native mobile platforms so delightful is the transitions between screens. Two questions I get asked a lot are: When should a push (screen pushed in leftward from the right) be used? When should a modal (screen pushed upward from the bottom) be used? We’ve established the following best practices:
A push is essentially the fundamental screen transition to view a new screen that is stacked on top of the previous screen. There is typically a Back button so user can view the last viewed screen. For screens that are primarily for viewing, such as transaction detail screens or lists, we use a push.
A modal is typically used when we are requiring the user to select, edit content, or input data. All of our transaction forms use full screen modals as it requires more user thought due to several form fields on one screen. The titles bars for these screens typically have Cancel and Save or Cancel and Done actions. Then, when you tap Save, you get a push screen because you are viewing (not editing) the saved content.
Call to Actions
This section highlights a question I often get: “Should this call to action be a button or a text link?” In both iOS’ and Android’s design guidelines, text as buttons is the norm and recommendation. However, I feel when we use text, especially with a system font against a dark or light background, we lose out on a major opportunity to incorporate brand elements, such as our ecosystem green color or line iconography. So, we’ve deliberately moved away from using text as call to actions, and instead use buttons with high contrast, which also makes it very clear that it is a call to action and not just part of the screen content.
Our empty state screens provides a first impression to users who are new to our products. It usually consists of an illustration, a brief description, and a clear call to action. A common and current design trend is the usage of gray text on a light background. If you decide to follow that trend, make sure the text is readable and accessible by analyzing the foreground and background colors to meet the WCAG 2.0 color contrast ratio requirements.
Firstly, yes, it’s spelled caret, not carat or carrot. 🙂 Carets are used to promote discoverability. Historically, we try to use carets for every instance we want to indicate that the user should tap into the row to view more. However, in our forms, we are working toward to moving away from using carets and instead utilize the extra real estate by creating visual cues and conversational content design to indicate tap targets to view more. After some user testing with different design treatments, we’ve found that discoverability isn’t as much of an issue as we thought. Users will naturally tap on rows, whether there’s more information provided to them or not. We only want to use carets when absolutely necessary.
General rule of thumb for native mobile design: Use action sheets whenever there are multiple actions associated with a single call to action (that is not a system blocker). Apple iOS guidelines calls these action sheets. Google Android calls these bottom sheets. Use action sheets/bottom sheets whenever there are multiple actions associated with a single call to action.
Cards or Tiles
A card (or tile as other teams may call it) is a component acting as a rectangular container for a certain amount of information: visual elements, instructional text, diagrams, and action triggers. There are two types of cards based on appearance and usage: action card and info card.
We use native system dialogs for critical alerts, permissions related alerts, system blocker alerts, etc. The key word is “alert.” Note that for actions that aren’t related to these things, we try to use action sheets.
The general rule for native mobile design is to use system fonts as much as possible. However, we needed to incorporate our brand and voice and tone to create what we call “QuickBooks Ownable Moments.” For large headlines and sub-headlines, we use our brand fonts. For body text, we use system fonts. For fonts within buttons, we use system fonts.
Toggle switches are used to trigger a binary operation (i.e. turning something on and off). It is used often to replace a web checkbox metaphor. We have a lot of checkboxes in our web products so when we design for native mobile, we want to make sure we are only looking to replace binary checkboxes that allows for things like enabling or disabling content, show/hide content or fields, turn on/off tax, track returns for customers, instead of checkboxes used for selecting multiple items.
Again, these are just a few guidelines to get you started or to accelerate your mobile first design process, especially for native mobile. You are the driver and designer with creative license to define the end-to-end user experience for your products and services. Trust your gut, follow your instincts, but always remember to respect the platforms, focus on the customer benefit, think device first, and keep scalability in mind!
Yvonne So is a Principal UX Designer @Intuit currently crafting meaningful experiences for small businesses around the world. With a passion and mission for making technology more inclusive of everyone, she regularly speaks and writes about mobile UX, accessibility, innovation, and empathic design.
1. Gestures are the new clicks
We forget how hard scrolling webpages used to be. Most users would painstakingly move their mouse to the right edge of the screen, to use something ancient called a ‘scrollbar’:
As a pro, you probably used a mouse wheel, cursor keys, or trackpad, but you were way ahead of most users.
In 2015 it’s far easier to scroll than it is to click. On mobile, you can scroll wildly with your thumb. To click on a precise target is actually more difficult — the complete opposite of what we’re used to on the desktop.
As a result, we should expect more and more websites to be built around scrolling first, and clicking second. And of course, that’s exactly what we’ve seen everywhere:
There’s every reason to expect this trend to continue as mobile takes over more of the market. Modern sites have fewer things to click, and much more scrolling. We’ll see fewer links, more buttons, bigger ‘clickable’ areas, and taller pages that expect to be scrolled.
Websites which spread their articles onto multiple pages will soon learn this lesson. Expect these to turn into longer single pages or even, like TIME magazine, into infinite scrolling pages:
It’s too early to know if the web will expand itself onto devices like watches, but if it ever does, you can bet it’ll be almost entirely driven by gestures.
2. The fold really is dead this time
Now scrolling is so cheap, and devices are so varied in size, ‘the fold’ is finally becoming irrelevant.
Designers are increasingly free to not cram everything at the top of a page. This leads to a design trend popularised by Medium — full-screen image titles, with no content visible until you start scrolling:
With tall, scrolling pages, designers have the chance to do what magazines have taken for granted for years: fill their pages with big beautiful images. In 2015 expect to see more designs that take up much more space — especially vertically — and a lot of larger imagery like this.
3. Users are quicker, websites are simplifying
Today every young adult is an expert web user. And even the amateurs are acting like pros: using multiple tabs, and swiping to go back a page.
The result is that everything is faster. And we’ve all learned to become impatient. If you want to make a mild mannered person explode with annoyance, just make their Internet really slow for a minute.
Now websites are forced not just to become faster (a technical problem), but to become faster to understand. Designs which slow the user down have the same impact on their audience as these websites which don’t load at all.
Simpler designs are easier to scan, which means they’re faster to appreciate. It’s easy to see which of these two designs is newer, and it’s because it’s the one that user’s can enjoy the fastest:
This is the biggest reason for the death of skeuomorphic design: users are more perceptive, less patient, and clutter only slows them down.
Apps put most websites to shame with super-minimal, beautiful interfaces. And they’re doing this because minimal interfaces perform better.
Flat design is just the beginning. The real trend is towards simplicity and immediacy, and we expect that to go further than ever in 2015.
4. The pixel is dead
On a desktop, a pixel was a pixel. You even had an idea of how many pixels made up an average inch: 72 dpi. Nowadays very few people know what a pixel is.
With responsive design, we’ve seen a move towards grids and percentages. But one huge area remains still unchallenged: bitmap images.
Almost all of the web is built with images that have half the resolution of a modern display, and they don’t scale. With Retina displays and modern browsers, the time is right for vector images to become more popular in 2015.
We can see this trend already happening with the font-based icons and Google’s Material design. The website loads faster and scale the icons to any size without losing quality. That makes them ideal for designers and modern web browsers.
The technology exists now, but it will take time for professionals to change their habits to create for higher quality displays. Once the average desktop display becomes Retina-grade (like the new iMac), we expect designers to follow suit.
5. Animation is back
If you want to make a website look dated, cover it with animated “Under Construction” GIFs and Flash animation. But several things are coming together to make animation a rising star in modern web design.
Flat design can end up looking too consistent, boring even. Animation helps a website to stand out and to pack more information into less space.
Mobile apps have redefined what a user expects. Mobile apps use motion to convey meaning, and websites are just starting to do the same.
New technologies like CSS animation make it easy to enhance designs without plugins, speed or compatibility issues. And Web Components (#6, below) will only accelerate this.
GIF animation is back, and surprisingly effective. You’ll notice this article makes extensive use of GIF animation (if it doesn’t, you should view this version), which has never been easier to create or share.
6. Components are the new frameworks
Web technology continues to get more complicated, and less semantic. Designers must embed messy code onto their pages for simple tasks, like including Google Analytics or a Facebook Like button. It would be a lot easier if we could just write something like this instead:
And we can with Web Components, which aren’t quite ready to be used by most designers yet. 2015 is looking like their year.
Google’s Material design is here, and it may just be what gets this movement started. Powered by Polymer, and supported by all modern browsers, it provides the rich animation and interaction components from Android apps, with simple tags like these:
If that takes hold, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more component based frameworks appear in 2015. Perhaps Bootstrap 4.0?
7. Social saturation and the rise of direct email
Social media has been a huge success for consumers, but many content producers aren’t so happy.
The problem is saturation. With billions of posts every day, Facebook learns the posts that users are most likely to enjoy and shows only those. Unfortunately that means over time, what you post is increasingly seen by a smaller percentage of your followers. (A problem you can solve, conveniently, by paying Facebook).
Social isn’t going away, but in 2014 we’ve seen a lot of prominent bloggers like Tim Ferriss move their focus away from social and into good old fashioned email lists. They’ve realised that email has one significant advantage over social: a much higher percentage of people will see what you send them.
I expect this post-social trend to continue into 2015, with the under-appreciated trend of Web Notifications (which work much like notifications in a mobile app).
Bonus non-prediction: CSS shapes
This cool technology won’t get noticed, except by designers. CSS shapes allow you to flow layout into shapes, like circles:
It’s incredibly cool, but until browser support is guaranteed, this is likely to be too risky to put time and effort into it you’d need almost two complete designs, for old and new browsers. And outside of designers, we don’t think many users would notice.
It is really cool though.
What to expect in 2015
In 2014 we saw mobile use overtake desktop, but the general public hasn’t caught up. Most organisations still commission a website to look good on their computer first and work on mobile second.
In 2015 that strategy is likely to look out of touch and unprofessional. As the mobile becomes the main device for browsing the web, “mobile-first” will become less of a buzzword and more of a requirement.
Flat design may be everywhere, but when you look beyond ghost buttons the real trend is that simpler sites are faster at gratifying users.
Simplicity is not just a fashion: it’s the future. Expect it to only continue.
It will become more and more common to embed animation into blog posts, and for motion to signify both premium quality (for those who can afford it) and to support the user experience.
Pixels and the fold will slowly be set aside making more room for scrolling and click-second experiences. Web Components will make it easier to deliver app-like experiences in our websites.
Right now you see the best of mobile app design appearing in web design. With enough time, the difference between an app and a website might almost entirely disappear.