Design and Development

Posts Categorized: Design Inspiration

Redesigning the Miva Merchant E-Commerce Application

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Filed under: Case Studies, Design Inspiration, Web Development.

After working with the Miva Merchant E-Commerce app for the past few months, I have been getting more and more frustrated with the overall design and layout of the app. Miva is filled with bold purple, dirty yellow, table-based layouts, non-reponsiveness and hard to read small fonts.

I took it upon myself to reimagine the interface in a more modern, user-friendly way while still keeping to a similar Miva branding. I also tried to stay as close as possible to their overall organization principles so as to not make this project too massive.

I find myself saying: “Why can’t it just be like Shopify or Squarespace?”.

Squarespace Admin Shopify Admin

Maybe I will just switch over to one of those platforms soon, but for now I am bound to Miva.

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Flat Design: Some Good, Some Bad…

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Filed under: Design Inspiration, Web Development.

First off, I need to say that I am a proponent of flat/minimal design when done correctly. Websites that are loaded with 3d skueomorphics remind me of something from the by-gone severely bloated flash era.

Glossy Skeuomorphic Button

Glossy Button: gentleface.com

When creating things with a flat design aesthetic, we need to always remember to focus on our users – not on a popular design trend. So if that gradient or dropdown-shadow doesn’t help the usability factor, get rid of it… but don’t get rid of a subtle gradient or some animation just for the sake of flatness…

Flat design reminds me of the fashion industry a little. Every year a new fad comes out that everyone must wear to look cool and be popular. If you don’t wear what’s trendy – you are outta it man!

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How to standout in a world of mediocrity

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Filed under: Design Inspiration.

Last week I went to an Entrepreneurship conference where I heard an amazing talk on excellence by Mr. Gary Powers. Powers is the Owner of Ortho Molecular Products, a company who aims to change the way the health supplement businesses are run.

Excellence: How to standout in a world of mediocrity

Powers says many company’s products are not accurately represented on their labels. A supplement label may say it has Betaine to aid with digestion, but how much does it actually have? Many companies will add just a few drops of an ingredient to a huge mixing container and add it to their label to help it sell.

Power’s company is looking to set a new standard of excellence in the industry. His talk led me to think about how these same principles of excellence can be applied to the web industry. If you are tired of the status quo – business as usual – then keep reading!

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Flat Design: Trend or Revolution?

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Filed under: Design Inspiration, Web Development.

Over the last several months, I’ve been reading post after post about “Flat Design”. It seems like every designer is adopting the trend of so-called “Flat Design” and applying it to their work. Even larger companies like Microsoft and Google have followed this “trend”.

Flat Design: Trend or Revolution?

So is “Flat Design” here to stay, or is it simply a passing trend that will be eclipsed by the next great thing to come up next year?

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Sign-A-Rama Redesign

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Filed under: Case Studies, Design Inspiration, Responsive Design.

We recently worked with a local Signage Shop to completely rebrand their website. We worked hard to create something that truly showcased their amazing work, experience and great customer experience.

Sign-A-Rama: Case Study

Sign-A-Rama – Carpentersville hired us to redesign their entire online presence into something that truly showcased their amazing work, experience and great customer experience.

Our goal is to establish them as a high-performing million dollar company, and their website was a huge thing holding them back from this reputation.

Check out the full Case Study to see how we built their new completely responsive website.

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Rethinking WordPress as a CMS

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Filed under: Design Inspiration, Web Development, Wordpress.

According to Forbes, WordPress powers one of every 6 websites on the Internet, nearly 60 million in all, with 100,000 more popping up each day. But have you ever taken time to think about how WordPress manages content? Not only from an editing perspective but also from a design/development perspective.

This article has come about from years of experience with WordPress, talking and working with multiple Clients, and being inspired from other innovative products – like Square. One of the things that really strikes me about Square is that they are so focused on their users. They are focused on completely rethinking how payments are done in order to make them beautiful and easy to use.

Head over to Square.com and watch this video, it will give you the background needed to understand this article.

Square - Simple and Breathtaking

Let’s think about the WordPress Admin – is it focused on its users; is it easy to use; is it breathtaking? I think we’ll all agree that it could use some work in these areas.

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Design is Not Just a Veneer

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Filed under: Design Inspiration, Web Development.

The question often comes up in conversations among developers, web designers and business owners of “What is Design?”. When most developers think of design one thing comes to their mind. When an artist/designer thinks of design they often think of a completely different thing. In seeking to define this term we need to ask ourselves some important questions like “Why is it important“, “What does good design look like”, “What does it involve“?

As we seek to discover what design truly encompasses, I hope you will not only enjoy learning some new things, but will also come away with a desire and passion to refine your skills as a designer. I want you to be inspired to study this topic further, through learning from other great designers, reading great books and practice – lots of practice.

Veneer Keyboard by Lazerwood Industries

Photo credit: Lazerwood Industries - Macbook Pro with Veneer keyboard

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How to Design the Layout of a Website – Part 2

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Filed under: Design Inspiration, Web Development, Website Layouts.

Like we promised, here is the next article in our Layout Mini Series entitled “Steps to Designing a Great Layout.

Steps to designing a great layout:

This article will give you practical step-by-step instructions on how to design an effective layout for your Clients. These principles of layout design are gathered from design experts like Jason Santa MariaBen Shneiderman, and Joshua Johnson.

Learn them, apply them, and you will be on your way to creating amazing, effective, user friendly layouts that will “Wow” your Clients and end-users. Read more…

How to Make Your Website Standout from the Competition

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Filed under: Design Inspiration, Typography, Web Development.

When visiting a website you may be thinking, “Man this website looks terrible, and is really hard to use!” Or you may be thinking “Wow, this website looks great, and I found everything I needed.”

Does your design standout? What is the difference between the design of a really amazing website and one that looks ugly and uninviting? This article outlines some design elements and principles that will transform your design from okay to extraordinary. Read more…

The Essentials of an Awesome Non-Profit Website

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Filed under: Design Inspiration, Web Development.

As we all know, website are a powerful tool we can use to impact the culture and communities around us. Non-Profit organizations are usually founded to improve the lives and communities of needy people.

Many of these organizations are either lacking a website, or are not effecting engaging their communities in order to provide the help and support they desperately need.

RU4 Children

This article will give you seven steps to build a successful Non-Profit website that effectively engages the community and really meets the organization’s needs.

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