Industrial designers are heavily involved in many of the steps of basically everything that is mass-manufactured from the initial concept all the way through to its presentation to the marketplace. The rapid pace of the development of new technology combined with a constant craving for the latest and greatest technological gadget means that good industrial designers are in great demand. [Read more...]
With the advent of many new technological features, many companies are starting to produce their own industrial designs. These include a wide variety of different machines and computer products. Many new consumer goods originated through the industrial design process, since companies often have to patent these products. Identifying the top industrial design companies these days can be a challenge, since there are so many different fields now. But it is possible to measure their success by the number of patents that they generate and how successfully they are received by their consumers. Take a look at some of the best industrial design companies operating today. [Read more...]
A hard question for industrial design students to answer is what exactly it is they design. There are so many options in the field of industrial design. What’s the right direction? Commercial Products? Industrial Products? Household Products? This is also a question industrial design students face when trying to pick a career path.
The difficulty is understandable as the term “industrial design” is young one compared to other design fields. It is also a broad discipline that is still expanding. Even those within the field are hard pressed to explain which industrial designers design what products. Below are four basic categories of industrial design but they are not the entirety of the industrial design continuum. Design is in flux and the terms describing different types of industrial design are fluid so use the descriptions as a overview in choosing an industrial design career. [Read more...]
Industrial design is not a new concept. It’s been around for a very long time. The term “industrial design” is just something that’s been more commonly referred to over the last 20 or 30 years. Industrial design is the utilization of applied sciences or engineering and art to design or produce an actual product. An industrial designer will often be hired to solve for a problem by designing a product that fits the problem’s need.
What Does an Industrial Designer Do?
Let’s start with a simple example of what an industrial designer does. Let’s start with you – the small business owner. You have the problem that your employees are constantly complaining about back pain due to sitting long hours in a chair. Then you, as a business may order some ergonomic chairs to help your employees with their back pain. The chair company supplying you with these ergonomic chairs has a team of industrial designers that are on staff built to design that chair that will help alleviate back pain and meet certain specifications. Part inventor, engineer, graphic designer and artist, industrial designers need to be intelligent, patient and above all creative. [Read more...]
Are you interested in a career in industrial design, but aren’t sure what college is right for you? Don’t worry. Your talent deserves the best it can get. While we could talk about the best design schools in Canada all day long, below is our list of the top five industrial design schools in the United States.
1. Rhode Island School of Design
RISD is one of the oldest colleges of art and design in the United States. The school was founded in 1877, and is home to around 2,300 students with a driving need to become the best they can be in their respective fields. RISD offers both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in 19 different programs, including architecture, design, fine arts, and more. Located in the beautiful and historical Providence, Rhode Island, RISD is close to New York City and all its attractions. [Read more...]
When it comes to web design, each person would like to have as many clients as possible, especially if one is a freelancer. More clients mean more work, and therefore more income.
However, when you have more work on your hands than you can comfortably handle, chances are high that you will fall behind on delivery and quality of the work done. What can you do if letting go of some clients isn’t an option? These tips can be of great help in juggling several design jobs.
No one knows you as much as you do. You know what you are good at; you know what your weaknesses are and you know what your best work hours are.
If you know that you always buckle under pressure, avoid taking on more clients so that you avoid triggering your pressure points. If you know that you work best when a deadline is looming, take on as much work as can come your way and thrive under that pressure!
Knowing yourself is a key to determining how much work you can take on and how you can program yourself to deliver high quality work for each client.
Clarify The Requirements Of Each Project.
There is nothing worse than taking on a job and then later on discovering that it requires much more than you had anticipated. To avoid this problem getting in the way of satisfying your several clients, ascertain what exactly each client wants you to do, when they want it, how you will be paid, how often you should communicate with them, etc.
Those details will help you know whether the demands of that project can fit into the schedule you have minus affecting the other projects that you have.
Most clients will leave you to your own devices once terms have been agreed upon and will just wait to receive the finished work at the end of the duration of the project. An example of such a client is Alexander S. Donath, MD whose site has this page http://www.cincyfacialplastics.com/liposonix.html as one of the projects of a design job that was given to a colleague of mine and they literary never got in touch until all the work was done and submitted. Such a relationship gives the web designer room to think creatively and produce their best work, and that site is testament to this fact.
Be Professional at All Times.
Once you have taken on work that meets your style and whose details you have properly worked out with the client, maintain the highest degree of professionalism. This includes giving your best to each assignment you are working on, adhering to set timelines and seeking consent before anything agreed upon is altered.
When you maintain the highest level of professionalism as you work, you will ease up on the tension that would have come if you were operating haphazardly or lacked a clear plan of action.
There are very many things that a web designer can do to juggle many clients but the major ones are those explored above. Give them a try and see how much your work gets easier.
When it comes to websites for service providers, particularly doctors, there’s actually a straightforward formula for success: establish expertise, gain trust from website visitors, and make it easy for them to take the next step. Visitors arrive at the website with just one question: Can you help me? They want to see not only that the doctor can help serve their needs, they also want to know this doctor will do it better than competitors.
Unfortunately, a lot of doctors and their web designers get it wrong and miss out on a big opportunity to stand apart from the competition. If you find yourself working with a doctor or any other service provider for that matter, make sure you aren’t making these mistakes.
Don’t Overwhelm with the Amount of Content
One of the most important things a doctor’s website should do is establish expertise and trust. A common mistake I see is websites that provide tons of information about training, experience and expertise but fails to connect with the audience. In many cases, visitors are just overwhelmed by too much information that isn’t organized properly.
Many doctors and copywriters put too much information. An easy fix for this is working with a good copywriter to remove the filler content and get to the heart of the message.
Don’t Forget to Highlight Media Exposure
If the doctor has been recognized in the media, make sure visitors know it! Of course, you shouldn’t go overboard, either. A lot of web designers will create a “Media” page but then just throw in links, videos and images with no real thought to how visitors will react. This is just more of an afterthought than a selling point for the doctor.
There are many effective ways to highlight media exposure. For example, the page may be set up to split print mentions from television clips, or you can design a carousel with videos, so users can choose a single clip to watch rather than scrolling past embedded videos. You can see a more low-key option here as well: http://www.Kabaker.com/rhinoplasty.php. On the right hand side, you’ll see buttons that showcase the doctor’s recognition, including the “RealSelf Top Doctor” recognition.
Use a Good Photograph
One of the easiest ways to turn off potential patients is with a bad photograph of the doctor. When you ask your client to give you a professional photograph to use in the web design, make sure you bring up any issues and ask them for something else if they give you a picture that makes them seem sinister or just unprofessional. You’d be surprised how common this is.
A good portrait is essential because it will be used for branding down the road. It will appear on the homepage, About page, online directories and citations, social media accounts, and elsewhere. The doctor should be smiling, ideally wearing a lab coat, and appear trustworthy.
Finally, make sure the design and branding is consistent across all channels. If you’re designing a doctor’s website, you’ll likely also be working on a blog — either onsite or offsite — as well as social media profiles. I’ve seen too many web designers who get lazy and fail to carry over branding and consistency to all channels, which leads to an unprofessional look.
You can see an example of this consistency on this blog post for natural-looking cosmetic surgery for a cosmetic surgeon. The branding on this blog is consistent with the surgeon’s main website. If you follow the links listed there to social media channels, you will notice the same branding and color scheme.
I’ve spent several years teaching web design and development, both in a classroom and online. I view it as a very rewarding experience, and I think other professionals have a lot to gain from educating other prospective designers about the craft. If you’re planning a career in web design education, here are some challenges and rewards you can expect.
Downsides or Challenges
These aren’t necessarily downsides to the job, but they do pose a challenge. The following are the greatest challenges I have found in the job.
1. Everyone learns in a different way
Everyone learns in a different way, which makes it hard to prepare exercises and materials. It also means that some people learn better in a classroom setting while others do better with online education. The feedback you get from students can help you adjust lesson plans to help everyone understand the concepts, though.
2. Not everyone can be a good web designer
It’s a simple fact: not everyone is cut out for web development, no matter how hard they try, or how hard you work to teach them. You will see several students drop out of your class because they just don’t have a grasp of the concepts.
3. Rewriting lesson plans
The internet is always changing, and what’s cutting-edge in web design today will be stale and outdated in a few short years. This means your lesson plans will change every semester. This is important, though, because you want to teach skills that will be relevant to today’s web development industry.
4. Time constraints
You will never feel like you have enough time to cover everything, so you need to pick what you feel will best serve your students. You will probably have many students who have no experience in web design or even HTML, so you will want to start at the beginning with basic design principles and build on this.
Benefits of Teaching Web Design
Teaching web design also comes with so many rewards. Helping other people learn and develop skills they will use to build their career is powerful, and it’s a great pleasure to connect with your students later and see how successful they have become. One of my best students, for example, now has his own web development company. After touching base with him, he showed me the website of his latest client, Dr. Frankel of http://www.RhinoplastyRevisions.com, who performs his Los Angeles facelift procedure in California. I’m so proud to see how far he’s come and how he’s built upon the skills I taught him.
Along with helping others, you’ll find that teaching is the best way to learn yourself. As you explain concepts to someone with little experience, you will develop a better grasp of the concept yourself.
Finally, teaching web design will also generate business for you as a freelancer. You will discover that many students will pass on leads to you when they can’t handle the project due to their experience level, while former students will invite you to bid on projects initiated by their new organization.
These days it is very common to find people that have been exclusively educated online. They work alongside those that attended offline campuses and it is hard to tell that they never went to the same schools.
However, perceptions differ and there are some disadvantages to getting an online web design education as will be discussed below.
Employer Bias Against Online Education.
There are many employers who still look at online education as not being “real education”. They still look at online education as being inferior to traditional offline education in brick and mortar schools and colleges.
One therefore has to work doubly hard to establish themselves as competent members of the industry so that they get top rate work despite the “disadvantage” they start off with.
The Very Practical Nature Of Web Design.
Web design is a very practical field so getting an education via an online medium requires great discipline from the learner as well as creativity on the part of those providing that education.
It is therefore understandable when some people cannot comprehend how anyone can learn design skills online since the practical nature seems impossible to pull off when instruction is carried out on the web. If you want to pursue a design degree and have the dedication to keep yourself on task without someone standing over you, this may not be a disadvantage to you.
Because web design is an online industry anyway, it’s actually very practical to study the field online. Once you begin your career, the degree can help you establish authority and gain clients. No one will question the quality of an online degree for an online field!
Aesthetics Can Be Difficult to Teach Online
Web design is much easier to teach online than many other fields, but one great challenge is attempting to teach the art of aesthetics and design through an online medium. Web design has many parallels to architecture and even plastic surgery in that you must learn to balance the technical versus the aesthetic and theoretical knowledge against the refinement of taste and hands on experience.
While it may be possible for a student to learn the technical aspects of designing a website or performing facelift surgery online, there is really no way to communicate the aesthetic aspect and how to experience something visually and emotionally. Just as you would have a hard time teaching the skills to produce aesthetically pleasing surgical results like you see on this Pinterest page, how can you teach a web design student online how to make a visual impact on an audience and appeal to their emotions?
Limited Interaction With Faculty.
For maximum benefit, students need to fully interact with their faculty in order to get all the help they need to grasp the concepts that they are being taught.
When learning web design on the net, students do not have as much chance to interact with faculty and that somehow makes them to be on their own most of the time. For such a practical course, this can be a major disadvantage to you.
No Social Life.
College education has a socialization element that is missed by those that study online. They never get to network with both fellow students and faculty. They never get introduced to having to balance the social aspects with their academic endeavors and that may be a drawback that affects them later in life.
Everything has a good and bad side. The discussion above should not in any way be seen as discouraging people from seeking online web design education.
The discussion should serve as an eye opener to what the challenges are likely to be so that one gets in prepared to counter them in the best way they can. After all, success in life is all about finding creative solutions around the challenges that come in your way. That is exactly what web design is; solving problems and getting solutions for clients!
The comments section on any blog is becoming more and more important as bloggers want to engage directly with their readers. It is therefore erroneous for you the designer to imagine that since the comments come at the bottom of the blog post then it doesn’t matter the styling there since the reader will have formed an impression about the site’s content.
A thoughtfully styled comments section shows readers that you care enough about them and they will unconsciously be drawn to your blog. To achieve this, consider the following.
Flat Or Threaded View?
A flat view is when comments simply follow each other in the order they were made. It is not possible to have a comment appear immediately below the one it is responding to since other comments may have been made earlier than it was entered.
A threaded view however allows readers to comment in response to previous comments that have appeared and those comments go beneath the relevant comment for a more cohesive format that’s easy to follow.
Each of these options has their own strengths and weaknesses so a web designer should go over them with the client so that the best format for the client is used. When you look at Dr. Bentkover’s reviews on the Boston face lift surgery he offers, you can see why he chose to display comments in such a manner.
Emphasize Authorial Comments.
Not all comments are created equal. The blogger’s comments must therefore be given prominence by being shaded a different color, or having a certain icon appear next to them. This will mark them out and help to generate additional discussion basing on the input that the author has added to the debate going on about the blog post.
Arrange Comments In Pages.
Paginating comments helps pages to load faster and it also has the effect of creating an impression that there are more comments on that particular blog post than what is actually there. This gives the blogger some mileage among the readers of that blog.
Create Links To Comments.
Interactivity on the internet should be taken to all sorts of levels possible and you can do this with the comments on each blog post. Anchor links can allow readers to share their comments with others on other sites like social media so that the discussion can be extended there. This will generate a bigger audience for the blog owner as more traffic will be drawn to the blog and the readers will also be happy that you made it possible for them to share their comments. Win-win for all!
Putting it all together…
Everything that can be done to make the comments section outstanding should be done. The areas covered above should be looked at as pointers as to what is possible and it is the responsibility of the designer to explore all that is possible to make a reader’s experience of the site he or she has designed the best one possible. Gone are the days of paying a cursory interest to the comments section.
As the year edges on to the half-way mark, there are clear design trends that have taken root and seem destined to be the hottest web design trends of the year. As you take time hopping from one website to another, it becomes increasingly clear that the following trends are clear favorites in the industry.
Landing Pages That Are Deeply Focused.
Landing pages for practically any product now have lots of information for the customer so that their decision to buy or not buy is based on a more solid grasp of the product beyond just a gut feeling.
This trend has become so entrenched that it is now hard to find any digital product, or any product for that matter, that doesn’t have focused landing pages.
Human beings are social creatures. That is a simple enough statement but in the world of the internet, its application calls for website owners to find ways to click with the visitors to that site. That is where personal portraits come in.
A personal portrait like the one of Gregory W. Chernoff, M.D. F.R.C.S found on this Tumblr blog is a way for people to connect a face to a product or service that is being offered. That connection results in some trust being built and that increases conversion rates for the owner of that site.
Grid-Style Page Layout.
Today, even social media has started waking up to the value of this layout and you can now find many pages displaying information in the form of a grid.
It makes the user’s experience so much better and that is why so many web designers have taken to this style. The user can skim through a lot of information without missing anything because this format is very economical in the way the space on a page is utilized.
Web Copy That Is Unique.
One of the hottest trends in web design is the use of @font-face declaration. This allows you to use font files from anywhere and customize the fonts on the text that appears on your own site. This feature has been the reason behind all the cool-looking “calligraphy” that makes skipping from one website to another a very rewarding experience since you will be treated to a variety of text appearances.
A Mega Navigation Menu.
Have you noticed that when you visit some sites and hold your cursor over an item on the task bar it expands to give you more possibilities from which to select what exactly you want to navigate to?
That is exactly what a mega navigation menu is all about. This has allowed websites to be very detailed in the content that can easily be navigated to and if the current pointers are anything to go by, this is going to be the norm sooner than most expect.
Wrapping it up…
The above trends are just a tip of the proverbial iceberg. There is so much experimentation going on that it is at times hard to keep up with all the new things that are daily being introduced. Just catch a few of those that become popular and you will be fine!
Whether you focus solely on web design services or you offer SEO services as well, it pays to understand the importance of consistency in terms of your client’s business name, address and phone number (NAP). Continuity and consistency throughout the website are important for virtually every aspect of SEO, but many web developers overlook this basic element.
Any business that operates from a physical location needs local SEO service, as the website should communicate local information. A dog groomer in L.A. won’t need to rank well for “dog groomer,” but they will want to rank high for “Los Angeles dog groomer,” for example.
To help your clients succeed, here are some tips to follow in terms of NAP.
NAP On the Client’s Website
Many web developers simply add the NAP information to the contact page, or jut at the bottom of the homepage. While that’s a good start, every page of the website should have this information in the footer. You can see this page about rhinoplasty as an example. This surgeon’s homepage and every other page — including the internal rhinoplasty page — includes the NAP.
Consistency Across the Web
Along with making sure the NAP information appears the same on every page of the website, there’s also off-site work to do. You want this information to be as consistent as possible across the web, including any off-site blog and business directory websites like Yelp.
Why? Because search engines look for multiple sources to make sure the location information is accurate. Every place the NAP information appears is a citation which confirms the business is who and where it says. This is why it needs to appear exactly the same everywhere. For example, you don’t want the citation to appear as “Company XYZ” in some places and “XYZ, Inc” elsewhere. If your client has multiple locations, make sure you are creating a new citation for each one.
A good example of this consistency is found at this WordPress blog for the The Choe Center. This is the same surgeon as the above example, and you can see this blog also lists the NAP information in exactly the same way.
Whether you’re fixing up your client’s existing citations or building new ones, there are several places to get them. Start by making sure your client’s business listings are verified at Google Places for Businesses, Yahoo Local Listings and Bing Business Portal. You can then verify it with big sites like YellowPages.com, Yelp, CitySearch as well as lesser-known sites. Here’s a good place to start.
Just remember the three principles that go into a good citation for your client:
1. Completeness, which means filling out every field as much as possible. This includes adding pictures, operating hours, years in operation and anything else requested.
2. Keyword use. Don’t try to stuff keywords everywhere, but instead be natural. Don’t include them in the business name!
3. Consistent NAP info.
Social media is a powerful way to help promote your client’s brand, and it should work seamlessly with the website itself. Even if your clients don’t yet understand the power of social media, this is an area where you should be an expert, especially if you offer social media campaign management services along with web design.
The following are some ways to incorporate social media into the next website you design, whether it’s for a small business or a large corporation.
1. Visible Social Media Buttons
Yes, this sounds obvious, but you should double-check to make sure you’re putting the buttons in a conspicuous place. Social media buttons work best at the top, bottom or along the side of the home page, and the links should open in a new window to make sure visitors don’t exit the website completely.
It does make sense to keep the logos for each social media site, but you can get creative to keep them in the same style as the website. A good example of visible upper page placement is found on this site.
2. Integrate Where it Makes Sense
If social media is used to keep customers up-to-date and are managed daily or every few days, it might be a good idea to showcase tweets or Facebook posts directly on the website. Social media feeds work well on the bottom of the homepage or on the right-hand side throughout the website.
3. Add Share Buttons
If your client sells products, runs an eCommerce website or even has an informative blog that is updated regularly, make sure there are share buttons to avoid missing out. Share buttons allow visitors to quickly share and recommend products and articles, and it’s very easy to set up. You can try AddThis or ShareThis, for example, to make it easy for visitors to share great content and products.
4. Don’t Go Overboard
Discuss with your client their most-used social media accounts then cross-reference this with research into their customers. You don’t want to add in links to every single social media platform, but you should focus on the accounts that are most updated, and the ones most used by your client’s customers.
Twitter is used by virtually everyone, from individuals to huge companies, while women between 18-29 are more likely to use Facebook. Instagram should be used by luxury, lifestyle, food, and fashion brands, while LinkedIn is for businesses (especially B2B providers), job seekers and job recruiters. This means if your client is a plastic surgeon, linking to a Tumblr blog like this one http://drschoenfeld.tumblr.com/ as well as Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook would be appropriate, but not so much LinkedIn.
The Bottom Line
Above all, you should be incorporating social media to make it a part of the user experience of the website, as user experience never occurs on a single channel (like one Facebook page or one website). Get your thinking past that of most web designers, who put no more thought into social media except to slap on share buttons at the bottom of each page.
When you’re designing a website for a client, you’re probably focused on the important areas like balance, color and calls to action. One area that is often overlooked by web designers and clients alike is testimonials. As you’re designing your next site for an ecommerce business, doctor, or local service provider, here are some things to keep in mind.
Ultimate Form of Advertising
If your client does great work for his or her customers, they probably want people to know about it. If they’re having you design or redesign a website, they’re also interested in new business. This is why their website should be used to publicize reviews the business has received. You can discuss with your client possible ways to show off these great reviews and testimonials. Here are some ideas.
1. Dedicated section
In some cases, you may want to design a special area of the website dedicated to testimonials and reviews. You can sprinkle reviews or testimonials around the website, which link back to a central page for visitors to read more.
2. Form for reviews
You can also add a form so customers can submit unsolicited reviews. This is a good idea that allows your client to campaign for positive reviews from customers who don’t have accounts on Yelp, Angie’s List or other review websites.
3. Add testiminals to the landing page
Your client may want visitors to be greeted right away with testimonials from happy customers. This is an especially good tactic for companies that offer more obscure products, as well as doctors and surgeons. In this case, you may want to select text from a few especially powerful reviews and end the review with a simple text link like check out his reviews, with a link to the client’s Yelp or Google+ page.
A good example of this is the eWedding homepage, which includes a testimonial along with a photo of the customers, along with a link to a testimonials page.
4. Video testimonials
Some businesses find that video testimonials from customers makes a great impression on visitors and leads to greater conversions. If your client already has video reviews that are on Youtube or elsewhere, discuss the idea of bringing them onto the main site.
5. Case studies
Finally, you may want to discuss creating pages for case studies. This works well if your client has an established business already or can demonstrate significant results for past clients. Good examples of clients that will benefit from case studies include search engine optimization (SEO) companies, plastic surgeons, dentists, and social media campaign managers.
It’s a good idea to tie in all of these strategies with existing online reviews off the website. For example, someone who searches for cosmetic dentistry reviews and ends up on this doctor rating website will see 16 reviews on the oral surgeon. Visitors who visit the surgeon’s website, meanwhile, will see a couple of these reviewers mentioned in before-and-after cases.
In order to create your industrial design portfolio, it is very important to start by planning and deciding upon what concept and appearance it will be based. Once the plan is in place, it then becomes easy to decide what types of portfolios you will have and this will be in turn influenced by your formats of choice whether it is print or digital.
Decide Your Audience.
When you have planned what the portfolio will look like and you have decided upon the different media that you will use, your next job is to clarify the target audience for your portfolio. The way you organize a portfolio going to potential employers is very different from the way you present one going to a possible client. It is therefore important to know for whom that portfolio is being organized.
Pick Samples To Showcase.
As an industrial designer, you want to put your best foot forward so the samples that you select must be your very best so that the target audience will be left in no doubt as to your abilities. Your skills must come out strongly in the portfolio you hand out so pick the samples very carefully.
The samples that will appeal to a Miami cosmetic dentist will be very different from those that will appeal to, say, a factory owner in downtown Manhattan. Do you see how important it is to customize the portfolio to a particular audience?
The Print Version.
There is a way in which printed material is powerful in the way it communicates so you need to take full advantage of this medium. Take special care to ensure that the pieces in the portfolio look their best so that may mean going for professional printing services rather than your printer at home.
Once you have your killer pieces excellently printed, arrange them following a theme that the person going through that portfolio will easily understand and follow. That is how a friend of mine won a major industrial design contract from a prominent cosmetic dentist recently. The portfolio was neat and crisp so there was no need to talk much as the portfolio spoke for him.
The Digital Version.
Although this is similar in many ways to the printed one, there are certain capabilities that a digital medium affords a designer. Make full use of these elements to make the portfolio as interactive and usable at the same time.
It is also important to have very clear high resolution images on your site so that viewers of the portfolio do not struggle to make out what that unclear scan you put up is all about. It goes without saying that your site should be easy to navigate or it will defeat your purpose.
“The portfolio maketh the industrial designer.” As a professional, you will not have more than one chance to impress a potential employer or potential client. Your portfolio will make or break you so it is very important that you put a lot of thought and effort into coming up with such an important element in your marketing arsenal.