Eyetracking

Another great article about what works on the web – based on an Eyetools tracking study. Would be great to get my hands on the full report.

One of the things I would like to change is moving from the “image banner” layout that we currently have to one more like the Amnesty USA site, or even something like that used by news sites such as BBC news. My hunch (somewhat backed up by stats) is that our banner image is so dominating that visitors are missing the feature article. The study summary seems to support that view. (Our nav is also overly dominant, but that’s beside the point).

The summary also reinforces the view that traditional navigation schemes are less important than previously thought. This is a growing meme. And I’m more and more convinced. The issue for me is that we are part of an international organisation with online guidelines, and even though not explicitly stated, it’s pretty clear that the top banner image is a “required element” in WWF homepage designs.

Our brand is obviously important, and that means consistency (to a degree) – so which wins? I think perhaps I need to do some chatting with the other WWF webbies worldwide…

I’d love to do an eye tracking study on any new home page designs, but even at their new reduced rates (about USD$1,000 per design), they’re still a bit too expensive for us. Maybe they have a non-profit price.

Art of cool

Looks like I might be doing a little freelance gig designing and building a low-key website for a singer/songwriter. They want it to be a little bit arty/mysterious/quirky, and I have a few ideas, but would love to know any sites that you folks think would fit that bill – preferably music sites, but that’s not a strict rule. Basically they’re looking for a music player, photo gallery and info page. TIA for any tips…

Better every time

I keep visiting the Amnesty USA website (designed by Happy Cog) and the more I look into the better it gets.

A lot of the ideas I’m having for the WWF site have already been implemented in that site. Which is annoying because I’m going to have to work harder to differentiate our site. But at the same time it is interesting to see the depth of the design unfold as I look into it more – a lot of the features aren’t immediately apparent until you start digging a little deeper.

One case in point is the clear separation of content (such as articles and background information) and the call to action. This is something I wanted to do and it is done so cleanly there. Another is the use of content images to add life to the site, getting the navigation an banners etc. out of the way to let the content take center stage. Although eye-catching and well designed, the navigation on the site clearly achieves this.

Raises the bar for me – hopefully I will be able to put something together that goes some way to matching what Happy Cog have achieved.

New TRS site

Just before I left I hacked together an updated look & feel for the Total Recall Solutions website. It went live this morning (although the product search isn’t implemented as yet). It’s far from my best work (a little too close to another site I’ve put together in the past – can’t wait to design a non-blue site!) but hopefully it’ll do the trick for TRS.

Nice Site

Looking around for inspiration for a new site design/HTML email template I checked out CSS Vault for the first time in ages to find this site. It’s such nice work I had to post…

So is this one while I’m at it…

Kottke.org

I really like this design. I don’t know why exactly – it’s very minimalist, which I like generally. It’s functional and clean, which takes skill in a design. I sense some people will think “there’s nothing to it, it’s not a good design”. But I do really like it – it works so well for the purpose. Now, why can’t I get nice, clean, simple designs like that to work? Definitely an art to it…

Direct Mail tips + Veer

Cameron Moll posts another excellent article on designing – this time for a direct mail postcard. Some great tips from a real life case study.

In the article, Cameron points to Veer typefaces – looks nice – a good option for commercial projects (or maybe that special personal project too where buying a typeface is worth it…)