Tag Archives: design

Window Shopping

… Am loving the design thats gone into Amazons new platform, windowshop.

Not entirely convinced it’ll boost sales, but it’s an awesome example of 2.0 at it’s finest.

If you haven’t already seen it, go there NOW!

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Upgrade

I’m all about good design and usablity, so I’ve taken my own advice and upgraded the blog into something fresher.

As if anyone really cares?

Return of the King

The expression “Content is King” is a great expression; one that is certainly true.

I’m seeing an increase in interest in usability, particularly on websites. This ties in neatly with the fact that I get very frustrated watching brilliant online campaigns driving massive volumes of traffic to sites, only for the users to drop off when they get there. Usually, it’s the guys behind the campaign who get it in the neck (what’s new?!): no one (certainly not the site owners) think to question the design or usability of the where the users are landing.

But times are changin’, and suddenly, there seems to be an increased interest in what happens AFTER a user leaves an SEM campaign. This also encompasses various aspects of analytics, where the user returns to the site at a later date, but it’s the main concepts of usability that get me: Good design can not be underestimated as to how much infuence it can have.

Ask And Ye Shall Find

Once again, I return to an issue I’ve already mentioned before… The importance of websites realising that in order to be competitive, they have to move forward with user’s needs.

So, it’s with no great surprise that Ask, an old-school search engine, has opted for a total facelift and new approach to dealing with user searches. If you happen to be as old as me, you’ll remember that they did this before, back in 2006, when they gave their butler-image the sack. Now, after alread intoducing new applications, they’re going to be focusing upon being the search engine of choice for users who are asking direct questons. (eg. Is there no end to the talents of DigitalGeekUK? Will he ever be the next Bill Gates? Why have I read this far?!) Recent data from ComScore support this, as they found that Ask is more often used by people searching for specific answers to questions… (The clue is in the name)… Search Queries that use questions make up around 5% of searches on Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Live, but accounts for 15% of Ask’s searches. Sounds like a lot, but remember that Ask only has a 2% market share in online search!

So, it seems that Ask will be restructuring themselves around this as we well know that rivals are increasingly looking at ways to set themselves apart from Google in the competitive world of search. The new Ask site will be launched in the UK on October 20th, but is already live in the US. Sneak preview here, guys.

It looks a lot like Google, and doesn’t try to hide this fact, openly claiming to have “borrowed” design ideas from the mighty search leader. Ask also claim that the re-designed site will be faster, improve search results and produce more relevant results for the user.

Whilst they undoubtably have a challenging task ahead, it’s not all bad news. Even with such a small UK marketshare, the lastest figures from Neilson show that during August, 46m searches were conducted on Ask, which is roughly one in five of all people using a search engine. Maybe the figures will be even better this time next year?

Changing.com

In an effort to improve it’s advertising revenue, Yahoo has decided to get a new image…
And about time too.

I’m actually quite a big fan of Yahoo – possibly because they seem to be an underdog, caught between the world domination battle of Google and Microsoft – but their fussy, over-cluttered homepage has always irritated me slightly. As web 2.0 continues it’s development, and with 3.0 already arguably upon us, site design is all about simplicity, with the user’s personal needs in mind. A great example large corporations realising this, and actually doing anything productive about it, is the BBC, where, to mark the beginning of 2008, they gave their retro 90’s site a complete (and long overdue) makeover. Worryingly, although the BBC has great digital content, it’s traditional core is hardly based online, so why is it often ahead of equally as huge, solely digital-based companies? For me, that’s not really a can of worms I want to open just yet; I merely wanted to share my genuine enthusiasm that Yahoo has finally decided to embrace the concepts surrounding usability.

It seems the basic idea is that Yahoo will “choose” random users, who will provide instrumental feedback, which will then be used for redesigning the site that allegedly 300m unique people visit each month. With their last foray into design change going back to mid 2006, Yahoo seem to have finally grasped the concept that to try and rival the likes of iGoogle, they need to step up the mark. Actually, I made that last sentence up – it’s what I want to believe. In reality, it seems that following the fiasco the world witnessed when Microsoft tried to unsuccessfully buy Yahoo for $44.6bn, Yahoo is going down the path of belief that by making their site and services more user-friendly, they will both capture more users and more prominently/directly be able to advertise. Therefore new site design = greater chance of increasing ad revenue. Logically, this will probably work, and although I’m happy that change is happening, I’m disappointed it’s mainly for revenue purposes, rather than aesthetic reasons.