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Authentic Design – A fad?

The recently popularized “flat” interface style is not merely a trend. It is the manifestation of a desire for greater authenticity in design, a desire to curb visual excess and eliminate the fake and the superfluous.

In its desire for authenticity, the Modern design movement curbed the ornamental excess of the 19th century, making design fit the age of mass production. Today, we’re seeing the same desire for authenticity manifest itself in the “flat” trend, which rejects skeuomorphism and excessive visuals for simpler, cleaner, content-focused design.

Digital Ornament

If we compare the history of modern design with our short history of software and Web design, a parallel can be seen. In the same way that mechanized mass production resulted in an overuse of ornament, so did advances in display and styling technology result in the heavy use of decoration in software interfaces and websites. Designers in the early years of the Web were especially explorative on this front, using animation and sound together with images to produce excessively rich and often garish experiences.
Early operating systems with graphical user interfaces were still fairly basic in their look and feel. As technology evolved, designers were granted greater visual freedom with their interfaces. Styles that imitate real-life objects and textures are said to be “skeuomorphs” — that is, design elements based on symbols borrowed from the real world, for the sole purpose of making an interface look familiar to the user. Recently, designers have started questioning the logic of styling a notes app as a paper pad, or of adding leather and page-turning effects to a calendar app. These effects provide visual interest, but they are also relics of another time, relics that tie an interface to static real-life objects that are incompatible with the fluidity and dynamism of digital interfaces.

Modern Design

With the latest release of Windows 8, Microsoft took a brave step away from such superfluous visuals, attempting to give its operating system a wholly digital and, in its words, “authentic” look. The latest interface is built upon the principles that Microsoft developed for its earlier mobile release, presenting the user with an aesthetic that is almost wholly devoid of textures or imitations of real-life objects.
Instead, Windows 8 relies on typography, spacing and colour to bring order and elegance to the digital canvas. Real-life effects and superfluous styles are discarded, and all that is left is simply the content itself. Much as Muthesius once submitted railway stations as examples of Maschinenstil, the designers at Microsoft point to examples of railway station signs as inspiration for the new Windows interface, previously known as “Metro.”

The Web has seen a similar transformation over the years. Early table-based and Flash-based designs gave developers pixel-perfect control over their interfaces, and so designers did not hesitate to create visually rich containers for their content. As we began to grasp the fluidity of the new medium and to disconnect presentation from content using CSS, Web design became more restrained. Highly decorated containers could not change their width and positions easily, so designers used fewer images and relied more on simpler CSS styling to make their layouts more adaptive and easier to maintain.
The latest evolution of responsive design (which is to adapt a single page to suit various screen sizes and devices) as well as the move among designers to work directly in code from the start, skipping visual editors such as Photoshop, moves us even further towards a simpler, content-focused Web aesthetic, one that derives its beauty from typography, spacing and colour rather than from a heavy use of textures and decorative images.

Authentic Design

What ties the pioneering days of Modern design to the current shift in software and Web design is the desire for authenticity. This drive towards greater authenticity is what moved designers to scrape away ornament from their work over a hundred years ago, and this force is what is moving digital design today towards a cleaner, more functional aesthetic. But what exactly makes design “authentic”?
Authentic design aims to pierce through falsehood and do away with superfluousness. Authentic design is about using materials without masking them in fake textures, showcasing their strengths instead of trying to hide their weaknesses. Authentic design is about doing away with features that are included only to make a product appear familiar or desirable but that otherwise serve no purpose. Authentic design is about representing function in its most optimal form, about having a conviction in elegance through efficiency. Authentic design is about dropping the crutches of external ornament and finding beauty in pure content.
In authentic design, style is not unimportant, but it is not pursued through decoration. Rather, beauty of form depends on the content, with the style being a natural outcome of a creative solution. In digital design, authenticity means a few things, which can roughly be summarized as the following:
  • Embrace the digital look.
    We do not have to mimic textures such as metal, wood and leather on a computer display. They are not what a digital interface is made of, so pretending that it is makes no sense. This does not mean that a design should have only plain flat backgrounds colours — rather, it means we should not try to imitate or be restricted by textures from the real world.
  • Do away with skeuomorphism.
    A digital book need not imitate physical paper as one turns the page, nor does a note-taking app need to look like a physical paper pad, with a leather cover, torn edges and a handwriting-styled font. Skeuomorphism is not always bad, but it always introduces needless constraints on the interface. For example, while a paper pad is static and one dimensional, a digital interface need not be; but as long as the interface is made to imitate a paper pad, it has to bear the constraints of the physical metaphor.
  • Make the style content-centered.
    Focus on the content rather than on its styling and decoration. You might think this point is trite, but how many times have you seen an off-the-shelf theme on a website? A theme is always built on dummy content and so, by its very nature, could never be an optimal representation of the content it will eventually hold. Building themes with dummy text pushes the designer to focus on styling and decoration, rather than on content, because there is no content yet to work with. Only when you work with real content can you begin to truly transform function into form.


Design whose beauty lies in function is not the same thing as minimalism minimalist style. With the former, the designer seeks to remove the superfluous, to make the product easier to understand, to make it perform better and to make the most of its medium. The latter seeks to create a minimalist aesthetic, to give the object an aura of simplicity and cleanliness. One is a fundamental principle of design, the other a stylistic choice.

It would be a mistake to rigidly apply a minimalist design aesthetic to an interface as a style in the hope of making the interface simpler and more digitally “authentic.” For example, ruthlessly eliminating visuals such as shadows, colours and varied background styles would not necessarily make an interface easier to use. In some cases, it would achieve the opposite by undermining hierarchy and focus, which were established by those very shadows and background colours.
In The Laws of Simplicity John Maeda posits, “The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction. When in doubt, just remove. But be careful of what you remove.” The final warning is important. Removing things often leads to simplicity merely because the user has fewer items to process. But removing visual cues that help the user mentally process the interface — such as graphical elements that group items, that differentiate buttons and labels and that make things stand out — could do exactly the opposite by giving the user more work to do. So, rather than guide the design by style, guide it by principle.


The Rise app is a perfect example of digitally authentic design. The alarm clock is a problem that has already been solved, but Simplebots decided to tackle the concept from scratch, rethinking the interface in the context of a purely digital canvas.

Rise’s interface features a full-screen slider, with a background colour that changes to reflect the colour of the sky at the time you’ve set. It shows no attempt to mimic a physical clock or a physical slider or real-life textures. Instead, the designers have fully embraced the touch canvas of the mobile phone, creating an experience that is designed from the ground up to make the most of its medium. The innovative design not only makes for a great user experience, but elevates the app above others in the marketplace.
An interface like Rise’s is only possible when you tackle a design problem wholly within the context of the digital canvas, rather than by translating solutions from the real world. The digital screen allows for abstract forms, animation, bright colours and uniform shades. It need not be limited to a subdued palette or static representation, nor must it be bound to skeuomorphic forms. By figuring out how best to represent content using the pixel grid, we can arrive at better, simpler solutions, innovative interfaces that feel at home on the screen, designs that provide a better user experience and that stand out from the crowd.
The recently popularized “flat” design style may be a trend, but it is also the manifestation of a desire for greater authenticity in design, a desire to curb superfluous decoration and to focus on the content itself. Technological progress sometimes leads to excess, as mechanized mass production did in the 19th century when ornament became overused, and as display and styling technologies did during the early years of Web and software design. But ornamental excess was curbed over time by the pioneers of Modernism, who sought beauty in function, and today’s excesses in software will in time be curbed by an underlying desire for authenticity in design.

Make Customer Testimonials Meaningful

Perfect Your Customer Testimonials

Bring out the value of your product or service with compelling user reviews.

Using customer testimonials in your advertising, marketing materials and on your website is a common practice. If your customers are saying great things about your business, then why not publicize those positive testimonials for the world to see?

Not so fast: There are two main problems with customer testimonials--overuse and legitimacy. Testimonials are used so often that they have lost some of their value. Furthermore, prospective customers don't always trust the truthfulness of testimonials. How do you make your customer testimonials stand out from the crowd and make them more meaningful for your prospects? To create effective, meaningful customer testimonials, they must be:
  1. Authentic: One of the main problems with customer testimonials is their believability. Prospective customers need to believe the testimonials you provide are real. Too many companies advertise using customer testimonials written by a copywriter with no involvement from actual customers at all. To make your customer testimonials believable, authenticate them by using pictures of the customers who provide them along with those customers' real names. In other words, prove your customer testimonials are real up front so there is no room for doubt in the minds of your prospects.
  2. Quantifiable: Add meaning to your customer testimonials by putting hard numbers in them whenever possible. If customers talk about the amount of money or time they saved by doing business with you, find out exactly how much they saved, and ask them to include those figures in their testimonials. A customer testimonial that says, "I saved $100 at XYZ Store" is far more compelling than, "I saved money at XYZ Store."
  3. Specific: Customer testimonials are useless unless they give prospective consumers a reason to care about them. Vague testimonials, such as "It was great to do business with ABC Store," provide nothing of value to prospective consumers. Instead, guide customers who give you testimonials by asking them to provide a specific reason why working with your business benefited them. Effective customer testimonials won't leave a prospective customer saying, "Why should I care what that person thinks?" Instead, effective customer testimonials tell prospects exactly what's in it for them when they choose your business based on another customer's prior experience. In other words, prospective consumers should be able to personalize your customer testimonials and apply them to their own lives.
  4. Diverse: Not only is it useful to obtain customer testimonials from a diverse audience who your prospective customers can relate to, but it also helps in terms of keeping your testimonials meaningful. If you use the same testimonial again and again, prospective consumers will wonder if this is the only person who had something good to say about your business. The testimonial will lose meaning because the individual who provided the testimonial becomes more of a spokesperson rather than another satisfied customer in the eyes of prospects. Obtain a varied collection of customer testimonials that prospects will relate to, from a diverse group of people and also about a variety of experiences and benefits.
  5. Approved: Always obtain approval and written permission to use any customer's testimonial, name or likeness in your marketing and business materials. Remember Step 1 of creating meaningful customer testimonials is to make them authentic by naming names and using pictures. You shouldn't do that unless you have permission from the source first.
In short, don't leave room for guesswork when it comes to your customer testimonials. Leverage the role of your loyal and best customers by asking them to provide testimonials. Make sure your customer testimonials are verifiable, and specifically tell prospective consumers the benefits of doing business with you. If your customer testimonials are honest and trustworthy, then people will respond to them--which translates to positive results for your bottom line.

Is Responsive Web Design The Future?

Do you need a responsively designed website?
"You put water into a cup it becomes the cup.
You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle.
You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot"
Web developers and online businesses are constantly looking for ways to improve, enhance and perfect their online presence.

In the last few years, many internet trends signalled to be the “next big thing” have come and gone. So with responsive web design currently making the biggest waves in the web development world, how can we know if it’s really here to stay?

What is responsive web design?

What is responsive web design?
Before the advent of tablet computers and smart phones, the majority of people viewed the internet on a PC or Mac computer. This meant that screen sizes varied very little across the spectrum, so a website could easily be designed in a ‘one size fits all’ manner.

Today an increasing number of people are using devices with differing screen sizes to browse the web.

However today more and more people are using mobile devices to browse and interact with the Internet. This means that a single website can now be displayed on a wide variety of screen sizes, every one of which will present a site in a slightly different way.

Previously, users would either need to pan and scroll across a standard site or be directed to a mobile site to find the information that they were looking for.

Responsive web design allows the content to adjust automatically to whichever screen size it is being viewed on. So the site appears on your smartphone exactly as it would on your desktop computer.

What are the benefits?

Whereas in the past a company or individual would either have needed two sites – a standard site and a site tailored to mobile devices – or accepted that customers viewing the site on different screen sizes would have had a poorer user experience, now the business can simply create one site that can be viewed quickly and easily by all.

This does away with a lot of the duplicate content that appears when you have two sites makes users a lot more likely to return to your site in the future. As the trend continues to grow many web designers in Jaipur, India and the surrounding areas are adopting responsive site design into all their website builds.

What are the disadvantages?

There’s no getting around the fact that creating a responsively designed site is more expensive than a standard site. And even if you've got an idea about coding and web design, you’ll probably have to hire someone to create and develop a responsive site for you.

There are also some issues when it comes to advertising as any adverts on your site must also shift and adjust to the screen. This can cause problems when advertisers want a guaranteed placement for their ad.

Do you need a responsively designed website?

If you’re not sure if investing in a responsive design will be worthwhile for you, have a look at Google Analytics or another analytical site to see how many of your visitors are currently using phones or mobile devices.

If more than around 5% of your visitors are using devices with smaller screen sizes, it could be a good idea to create a site that will work for them as well.

Responsive web design allows content to shift and adjust to suit the screen.

Is it the future?

Judging by the shear numbers of people now browsing the internet on their phones or mobile devises, the demand for responsively designed site is set to grow.

And unless someone comes up with a better solution, it won't be long until all websites are responsively designed.

When it comes to the internet, the future is incredibly hard to predict. But with current trends moving towards a multitude of devices becoming internet enabled, it seems inevitable that before long, all websites will be responsively and intelligently designed.

Attract More Customers with Quality Website Design

Some Essential Ways to Attract More Customers with Quality Website Design

Some Essential Ways to Attract More Customers with Quality Website Design

Where the world is moving so rapidly with the advancement of technologies, today it’s a hugely important to utilize internet to keep pace with the changing trends. For those who don’t do much with internet may be stranded among the wide market, with a void presence and incompetence. And same is the case with any business, as without its proper online presence, it cannot generate more profits. Thus, it’s of utmost importance for any business to successfully achieve its objectives.

And website is the key element when it comes to boosting up any business. Again, with hundreds of thousands of business competing in the market, it becomes very essential to come up uniquely on the part of any business. For this, website design plays very important part to represent uniqueness and credibility of any organisation or business. Thus, a website design for your business or company is an important aspect that will interest and attract more users towards your products and services.

There are certain aspects for any company website design that will go extra miles. Without these aspects, your website will simply turn out to be void. Thus, when planning out your company website design, please go through below explained aspects for a better web design of your business.

Who You Are

When anyone visits your website, he/she would want to know exactly who you are. Therefore, you need to give perfect information in your website so that visitors can easily understand all about you in a matter of minutes. As you may know there are lots of online website scams, so visitors just want to have a look at it any site abruptly. If they don't find relevant information, they will suddenly shift towards other sites. Thus, equip your site with sufficient information to give visitors credibility and a sense of integrity of your business.

What You Do

If visitors land in your site, it means they’re interested to know about the kind of services and products you provide. However, if they don't get the idea about what services you offer, they'll avoid dealing with your company or business. That’s why you need to ensure that your company website design has all the sufficient information explaining your purposes and services explicitly.

Remarkable Content

Make sure your website content is quite gripping and has precise information. Otherwise too much content may disinterest the visitors as they just want to spend unnecessary time in reading all the details. Thus, content should be sticky enough to inform the visitors successfully without any hassle. There you can go with articles, blogs, FAQs etc. so that visitors get what they want to read.

Excellent Graphics

Your website should have excellent images and graphics. They have to go well with the given content as well as your products and services. Beautifully-designed content is always on the top to attracting more visitors. Thus, emphasise much on graphics to make your website more interesting and on the go.

Contact Information

Many people would want to contact you, thus you need to have all of your contact details given in your web page. Ensure that the contact info page is visible, easily accessible so that visitors can easily communicate you.  Hence, contact being an essential part, need to be given full of details. 

Comment Box

Comment box or a contact form or even a feedback form is necessary in your website where customers can present their views. This will make your site more interactive and active. Ultimately it will also help you serve your customer in a much better way.