This is one of the most eloquent breakdowns of a website redesign I’ve read.  You can read the entire post on UsabilityPost.com.

A redesign is a symptom of a disease. A good design works to make the thing perform well and to communicate how it works to the user. It’s an expression of function. A well designed thing is beautiful to us precisely because its design is optimal for its purpose—its form is in harmony with its function.

A good design doesn’t need a refresh or a redesign unless the function dramatically changes. If the changes are subtle, the design should be able to accommodate them effortlessly. What we’re seeing though with website redesigns around the Web isn’t a change in function, but a change in style.

The cause of a redesign is an imbalance—a strong focus on style over substance. By focusing on style, you give way to trends, and by their nature, trends come and go. When you imbue your design with the latest trend you sentence it to death. As the latest aesthetic fancy flies away, it will carry off with it that which makes your design so appealing. It will become boring and old, and a redesign will be in order.

Read the complete post here.

The online world is fluid. It’s never the same from one week to the next so, if you work within this industry, resting on your laurels is not an option. In terms of web development, neither is being so rigid in your processes that you can’t adapt to changing trends, behaviors or even clients’ needs.

While understanding these basic principles, it’s still an absolute must to work within a well defined development process to ensure your solution (and your reputation) delivers on its promise.  When faced with tight deadlines, pressure from account management, unwilling client participants or, all of the above, it’s very easy to succumb to the temptation of just plowing ahead and getting a project out the door. Sure, this approach may keep a budget in check and allow you to move on to the next billable item, but how good is the solution or its long-term viability? Chances are, not very.

Developing a culture that embraces process and uses it to its full potential while being able to balance time line, budget and client expectations is what differentiates “good” from “great”.

The newly launched KateSpade.com site, apparel and accessories brand, is demonstrating just how important content has become to their brand. With careful consideration taken with the content structure in nearly every nook and cranny of the site, users have a more engaging experience with videos and “lookbooks”, but also social sharing opportunities with each piece of merchandise.

It’s a breath of fresh air to see the online shopping experience married so closely with a company’s brand and the overall user experience so strongly rooted in content strategy.

Read more about this case study on Mashable.

Why do you open a web browser each day? Why did you, or why do you want to, buy that shiny new iPad? The answer is simple. You’re after information. Not just any information, but relevant information delivered cleanly and intuitively. The old adage, “content is king” is as relevant today as it ever has been.

So doesn’t it stand to reason that content should drive every initiative online?  Sadly, and commonly, it is not. If you want a kickin’ user experience that truly engages your audience, be it online or in your next app, start with the content and develop your plan of attack from there. If you don’t, the tail is wagging the dog and you will experience feature creep, go over budget or be left with a bland solution that’s no better than a stock template site.

A great video about web design, featuring the legendary Jeffrey Zeldman…

Jeffrey Zeldman: Presentations from Gain 2008: Gain: AIGA Business and Design Conference 2008: Events: AIGA.

When rebuilding a brand from the ground up, where should we first focus our attention? Apart from any identity development that must occur, web should always come first.

Web is the first point of contact, and has been for almost a decade. When executed correctly, a brand’s web presence should be its heart and soul. A place where it lives, breathes, connects with its audience, and delivers on its promise.

Of course web and print materials can be developed in tandem, but only after a solid web strategy has been developed and set into motion. There are some occasions when a print piece simply needs to *get out the door* for whatever reason. Those are unfortunate times, and if there is no supporting web component, it’s likely to fail anyway.

Digg!

Until I have time to write up something in my own words, this will have to do.

“Web design is the creation of digital environments that facilitate and encourage human activity; reflect or adapt to individual voices and content; and change gracefully over time while always retaining their identity”

—jeffrey zeldman

via Experience Design Manifesto

Cable TV isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. But with more and more people watching videos online, and now, media boxes streaming content from sites like Hulu, there aren’t many reasons left for keeping the old cable box around.

With signs like these, those of us who make their living online should feel pretty good about their long-term job security.

As sales slow across the country in nearly every industry, huge potential still exists in the digital world. Specifically, the opportunity to increase brand awareness in virtual communities and social networks, which, ultimately, lead to real-world sales.

Companies advertise and even “sell” online versions of their products on sites like Zwinky, Gaia Online and Facebook. Although very little money ever changes hands, the real and virtual worlds of commerce are continuing to merge.

Owners and operators of virtual worlds and social networks get real cash for allowing companies to participate in their virtual economy – similar to product placement in TV shows. Brand managers accrue measurable advertising. Real-world retailers sell gift cards, redeemable within the virtual worlds and communities for “fantasy” currency.

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