Tuesday, December 20, 2016

10 Great Reasons to Become a Graphic Designer in 2017

It’s the time of year when one naturally reflects on the past 12 months and starts to consider new year resolutions — the things we hope to accomplish when we launch ourselves back into the routine after the festive break.
Many people who approach Shillington at the turn of the year are considering their next career move. They’re usually feeling a bit stuck and keen to try something more creative. If you’re the same and you’ve always dreamed of becoming a graphic designer, why not make 2017 the year you finally take the plunge? Doesn’t matter how old you are, or indeed what skills and experience you have — you can always change paths.
But before you do anything else, consider the following 10 reasons to become a graphic designer in 2017, and see whether you should take the leap.

1. Learning will be a daily thing

When you’re a graphic designer, your work will never stop evolving or improving. There will always be new challenges to overcome. New problems to solve. It’s a never-ending whirlwind of discovery and invention. You’ll make mistakes. We all do.
If you’re still not convinced, take inspiration from Paula Scher who eloquently once said: “It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.”

2. Design will always be in demand

In the age of automation, when we’re constantly being told that our jobs will one day be taken over by robots, you can be rest assured that graphic design will always require human thinking and creativity. It’s an essential cog in the world of work; one that is required for any brand or business.
From simple business cards and printed materials, to packaged goods, websites and advertisements — it’s unstoppable. Visual communication will live on, and it takes a designer to imagine all its possibilities.

3. Design opens up so many different career paths

You’ll be able to add value to any workplace, not just a design studio. Design is something that no business can live without. If an agency isn’t quite for you, perhaps you might want to venture into editorial design and work for a major publisher? Or join an internal team at one of the world’s biggest sports brands? Your career path is open to so many exciting routes.

4. Designing will boost your problem-solving skills

Creativity is crucial for any business. Steve Jobs of Apple once said: “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with the liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing.”
It’s for this reason that graphic design will enhance your problem-solving skills — not just because you’re overcoming common issues for clients; but because you’re encouraged to consider the bigger picture. What will your design solve? How will it add value? How will it achieve a brand’s goals? Design will boost more skills than you realise.

5. You’ll enjoy working as part of a team

Graphic designers are rarely alone; they’re often part of a creative team or working closely with the client, collaborating to come up with the best possible solution. You’re likely to get to know PR professionals, copywriters, marketers, advertisers… you’ll probably work with senior management and be expected to consult with company directors.
Your role will rely on many business relationships; the knock-on benefits of which will only boost your skills and experience — especially your ability to effectively deal with different personalities.

6. There’s (usually) no need for a suit and tie

Hate stiff white shirts and uncomfortable blazers? Relax. Graphic designers tend to have more relaxed work attire these days. T-shirts, jeans and trainers are practically the uniform. You can’t be creative when your arms struggle to move in a formal business suit. Clients won’t mind either. It’s widely accepted that designers dress a certain way, and that’s alright with us too.

7. Your career path is unpredictable

Think you’re just going to follow the herd? Design can take you to places you never thought possible. You could secure a job at a studio on the other side of the planet, or find that your employment means lots of travel to far flung places. You might even go solo and launch your own studio some day. The possibilities really are endless.

8. You could see your work in lights

How would you feel if you spotted your work on a billboard? Or in a magazine? The sense of job satisfaction can be overwhelming. It’s your creativity up in lights, for everyone to see. Nothing beats the feeling of contributing to something that you know will inspire many people.

9. You’ll change the way you see the world

When you walk down the street as a graphic designer, you’ll see things in a completely new light. It’s because your job will become your life. You’ll find inspiration in everything you see and do, saving ideas for your next project. Design brings a new perspective, and encourages you to get out there and discover new things. From art galleries and architecture to clothing and accessories — your life will be full of creative wonder.

10. You’ll never stop being inspired

Prone to boredom? Easily distracted? Design will always leave you feeling inspired. Trends will develop and change, keeping you well and truly on your toes from one day to the next. You’ll never know what’s around the corner. And for a career choice, that has to be the most inspirational.

The Advantages Of Mobile eCommerce

According to a recent study, non-responsive e-stores cause approximately 30% of customers to abandon a website before making a purchase.
In order to get a better picture of this, think of traditional retailers, and what it would mean to their profit if they have to put a ‘Closed’ sign on the storefront window every Monday in a row. You are right: they will lose a high percentage of their revenue, but they will also annoy customers and send them to the competitors.
1Image source: Glue UI Kit
It is quite similar with designers: unless they develop some advanced responsiveness skills when building e-stores, they won’t provide customers the experience they expect.
In the case of online retailers, it means that they have to take some stock out of the e-store and check whether their store is optimized to work on different screens and devices.
They should also check whether customers find it easy to make purchases at the store, because there are many retailers that lose hundredths of customers each year just because they complicate checkout instead of actually using the advantages of mobile commerce.
2Image source: Fair UI Kit
Are you one of them? Let’s check some basic facts and see what the growing mobile retail can do for you:
In 2013, Amazon sold products with an approximate value over $1 billion just in purchases made from mobile devices.
More than 70% of America’s internet users accessed Amazon from their mobile devices in Q4 2013.
By 2018, 30% of global retail will happen through e-commerce, which makes the double of the calculated 15% in 2013.
2013’s “Cyber Monday” will be remembered by $400 million earned in mobile sales only on the territory of the USA.
3Image source: uixNinja
80% of the purchase decisions mobile users are making are influenced by their mobile channel, even when they don’t use a handheld device to make the final purchase.


This is an often neglected reason to create a responsive e-store and to provide customers with high-quality experience.To start with, small and responsive websites are good because they show customers you’re there to respond to their needs, knowing how much they are relying on their mobile devices to perform important day-to-day tasks.
4Image source: Nur Praditya Wibisono
If you don’t cater their needs and expectations, you’re consciously decreasing the value of your own brand, indirectly telling them to continue shopping elsewhere.
Without a responsive e-store is almost equal to promoting environmental issues and healthy lifestyle on a meeting where you smoke and have just arrived with your car. Obviously, you’ve told customers your business is worth of their attention, but did you manage to prove it?
Running an e-commerce website that is accessible only with desktop devices makes it more than clear that you’re stuck in the past and unable to respond to the standards and trends of your time. On the other hand, intuitive and friendly interactions will motivate users to make a purchase, and will impact sale rates sooner than you expect.
5Image source: Alexander Zaytsev
With a responsive e-store, you’re showing the world that you’re running an adaptable business that can respond to all technology demands.
Remember what has been said here, and think of a real-life example that can give you the full picture of how it looks: imagine that someone recommended you a great coffee shop, but once you tried to get there the path was full of trash, everything inside was falling apart, and there was no Wi-Fi. We can bet that you would leave immediately never to come back!


6Image source: Gale PšŸš£
The current design community trend is to design small-form, mobile-ready websites that can meet customers’ needs and improve their experience. By small form, we mean that the preferred option is to start with a simple site that works up to satisfy its initial purpose, rather than large ones that will squish content down, and make it almost invisible on small screens.
When analyzing task performance on a website designed specifically for mobile usage, the one and ultimate goal is to make sure that the user will be able to accomplish the task he came for at least equally as good as he would do that on his desktop.
You have to take care of appearance, speed, and intuitive navigation, and to keep the optimization of visual assets as it is, instead of experimenting.
7Image source: Cinema tickets UI Kit
If the starting point is still the conventional desktop size, you can include an eye-attractive header and place links there, adding maybe your logo, cart data, contact information, and so on.
The risk here, however, is that once this website is squished to fit on a smaller screen, the header will occupy half of the vertical viewpoint space, and that won’t be as user friendly as you expected.
That’s why it is better to design for mobile devices from scratch – you know from point zero how much real estate you have, and you understand the need to make elements simpler and shorter, adding nothing but the most relevant information.
8Image source: Here180
It’s true – the process can e challenging and time-consuming and it will require a lot of thinking how to satisfy customer needs and expectations.
In the end, however, you will understand that everything comes down to keeping things simple, and making the interface as usable as possible. That’s the only thing buyers expect from you. This process forces you to think through what is most important to your users/customers!


goodvibesImage source: Meg Lewis
Clear offers and streamlined content: Content is usually the same on all devices, and that’s the way it should be. Still, this doesn’t have to mean you’re not allowed to skip ‘ornamental’ introductions and jump straight to the point, namely prices, specials, messaging, and so on. Most of all, try to keep call-to-actions identical on all devices.
An improved user experience: When customers find what they’re looking for easily, they buy, and there is not much philosophy about it. On the other hand, many Google surveys have shown that more than 60% of buyers get annoyed by complex website experiences, namely websites they can’t navigate easily and functionalities that are not clearly displayed .
10Image source: ruki
Catering multi-channel shoppers: According to Google, 67% of buyers shop using more than one device, and more than 80% of their mobile purchases are completely spontaneous. Knowing this, you have to provide a mobile-friendly shopping portals, and add features such as ‘Save to cart’ or ‘Add to Wishlist’, so that customers won’t give up on these items once they change the device.
Keeping up with trends: Internet Retail’s Top 500 has only 2% responsive retail websites, which leaves a lot of room for you to stand out of the crowd and to make it there.


11Image source: Bagus Fikri
If you don’t have a well-designed, extremely intuitive, fast, and responsive e-store, you’re already way behind your competitors. Still, this is not a rare circumstance – there are many small retailers that are still struggling to do it, so try to contact a professional business consultant to help you jump out while you’re still on time.
Look at responsive web design as a good thing, because it is your best bet to cater individual needs and requirements on every design that has or is about to emerge. Keep checkout the simplest possible, and don’t ask users to fill long order forms as they would on their PC.
That’s what responsive technology is all about – adapting the ordering process to small touch gestures you wouldn’t be able to provide otherwise.
Even if ecommerce is following a general usability trend, that doesn’t mean that people have given up on choosing. We’re all still nitpicky creatures that like to see nice stuff and enjoy a pleasant ecommerce trip, so don’t confuse between practical and dull. There are still many factors to consider when building a high-quality user experience.

Micro interactions – What they are, How they work, and Best Practices

Micro interactions are the latest (possible biggest) UX trend to be recorded so far, thus critical for modern design which can’t go without them anymore.
By micro interaction, we refer to every task-like engagement of users with their devices, smooth enough to pass unnoticed as the user is performing his usual activities. That’s, of course, when the micro interaction is properly executed.
There are several things micro interactions serve for:
1Image source: Lena Zaytseva
  • Communicating statuses or feedback
  • Revealing results from particular actions
  • Helping manipulation
It is easy to overlook micro interactions in the general design scheme, and that’s because designers happen to miss the fact it is micro interactions that hold the scheme and the experience together. From this perspective, micro interactions are the small bits of communication that help users navigate the interface, and perform basic functions:
  • To communicate feedback or results for their actions
  • To accomplish personal and isolated tasks (connecting devices, liking posts, and so on).
  • To manipulate the setting
  • To prevent errors
hackdaydribbblecolourImage source: Mauricio Vio
In modern web design, even the tiniest details need to be considered carefully. Micro interactions, for instance, will help users understand the process they’re about to participate in, and approach the interface easily as complicated as its logic may be.
That’s why micro interactions appear in many different forms – they can be extremely formal, but also cartoony and fun, usually placed straight against the website’s backdrop to reinforce brand awareness. What is most impressive about them is that they make the experience more entertaining, with slightly more fun than usual to help us learn new things, or simply know we’ve handled the digital world challenges correctly.


onboarding1Image source: John Noussis
Every micro interaction has four essential elements: trigger, rules, feedback, and modes/loops. The purpose of these elements is to organize the operational cycle, which is why they’re not ‘visible’ for the user, and he doesn’t even think of them until something is missing or goes wrong. It is only in the best of micro interactions that all of these concepts are present:
Triggers: Initiating actions
The entire micro interaction process is initiated with the trigger, which represents a manual action as for instance clicking, taping, or flipping an icon. The trigger can also be built inside the system, meaning that the action will occur upon the accomplishment of another one. For instance, a trigger is applied for the system to provide sound notifications when we receive a message or publish a post.
download_button_freebieImage source: Alex Pronsky
These triggers work with a set of established action rules which prescribe what can and what can’t be done. They are programmed within the micro interaction, and the user can’t see them until he receives feedback.
Rules: Prescribed interaction guidelines
Rules prescribe the conditions for a micro interaction to happen. Think of WordPress bootstrap themes for instance – while the user is altering sections there, the site uses an inbuilt drag-and-drop editor to help him accomplish that. set the conditions for a micro-interaction to happen. If we take any WordPress bootstrap theme as an example, whenever a user wants to alter any website section, they will have to use an inbuilt drag-and-drop editor to get the result.
timer_thumbImage source: Danielle Chandler
Feedback: Letting the user know how he is doing
Feedback helps users understand that the necessary rules were engaged by the trigger, and that the micro interaction is successful. The vibration option on our phones is a very good example, because we know we activated the silent regime successfully, according to the rules. If there was no such feedback, we wouldn’t know whether we accomplished something as we should.
Loops and Modes: Building user expectations
Loops and modes appear in the last stage of micro interactions. The purpose of loops is to determine the duration of the micro interaction, while modes take care of less common actions that can help users continue with the process, as for instance inserting geographical data to check the weather.
scott-brookshire-bookmark-animationImage source: Scott Brookshire


Micro interactions allow you to control instant feedback: As the micro interaction takes place, the user understands the results of his action, and feels motivated to continue working.
Micro interactions streamline guidance: most of the time, they are completely invisible, but contain intuitive elements and hints that show users how to operate.
Micro interactions are rewarded with visual means: thanks to micro interactions, user experience is rewarded with visual effects which enhance habit loops and create specific behavioral patterns.
1 (2)Image source: Honglu
Micro interactions give users what they need: users often expect the website to follow an actual web trend, and wouldn’t settle for one that doesn’t have it.
Micro interactions have a role in all digital design projects: Design nowadays is far more human-centric than before, requiring several paths of interaction to make devices function in a human-like way, and to be adopted easily. That’s where micro interactions are the handiest – thanks to them; every important moment and element of the interaction will be included in the final design.
The extreme orientation towards better user experience prevents designers from affording the luxury to create less user-centric websites, or skipping whatever essential micro interactions revealing hues for users to perform actions or make changes to the website. The user journey has to be smooth and well-designed, as everything less than it can make your website uncompetitive on the market.
ezgif.com-video-to-gifImage source: Zhenya&Artem


Human-centered design is no longer a requirement on modern websites, but a fact. It goes beyond solid user experience, and examines the purpose of its existence, performance, and objectives. Once all this information is gathered, designers come up with the ideal patterns that can meet the needs of their users, and make even the most complex website run seamlessly.
User-centered design, on the other hand, doesn’t pay that much attention to the needs and requirements of users. Its main purpose is to examine market needs, and to make the website functional.
Human-centric and user-centric design are a couple of seriously interchangeable terms, perceived to be the same even by some experienced developers and designers. The main focus for most of them is to make design user-friendly; reflecting end-user needs in each of their priorities, but it is human-centered design that will take this concept out of the box.
Users’ needs will remain the priority, but designers will foremost think of a specific problem to be solved in the most straightforward way. They will consider readability, usability, and confusing elements that need to be removed, analyzing the whole picture of the website’s online presence, and the reason why the user actually landed on it.
Design in its current form has more to offer than pure functionality, and aims to deliver dynamic user experiences. People will remain in the center of these experiences, as each element will be designed to cater their needs in a dynamic way (including clicks, shares, multimedia, navigation pattern, mobile access, or whatever other feature you can think of). The ideal interaction has to include all of these elements in order to accomplish the website’s goals.
It’s not easy
hamburger_icon_animationImage source: Alex Pronsky
As it is probably clear, human-centered design is not exactly a breeze, and it takes to overcome few serious challenges to make it work. To start with, it takes more than a single designer to wrap the final package, and a lot of participants that would test the product or assist the process.
In order to make the process smoother, share work while it is in progress and you will be able to stay unbiased and avoid serious mistakes just because you thought something was perfect when it was not. The ‘polishing’ is easy to make and correct, and it won’t take as much time as a complete correction would.
At the same time, the chance to familiarize with your product will make users trust you more, and will improve the overall impression they have about your website.
location-search-interactionImage source: Srikant Shetty
Don’t be persistent, however, and let users determine whether your choices are good or not. Present things as they really are, and accept negative feedback without bad feelings. After all, that’s the best way for you to reveal flaws and to correct them, and to build a lasting user relationships many of your colleagues don’t have.
You can cooperate with people and involve them in your work in many ways other than basic feedback, and that’s exactly what you should do when designing in a human-centered way. In order to detect a problem to be solved by your website’s services, you need to interact you’re your audience, understand them and compromise with them, and base your product exclusively on their needs.
volume_control_micro_animationImage source: Nick Buturishvili
Another thing human-centered design requires you to do is to interact closely with your industry, and keep an eye on problems your design might solve there in order to become more competitive. Many designers with dead simple pages imposed themselves right because they knew what their industry was missing.
Finally, blend the human and the technical aspect of your design in order to make the product work.
Try to discover what users like or want, and detect their preferences even for the lightest elements to be included (colors, patterns), and consult them for every function you’re thinking to include. For any web design to be truly successful, it must work on both technical and human levels.


We are surrounded by micro interactions, as they are present on every website, app, or program we’re using. As we explained previously, they represent tiny functionality triggers that are neglected by many designers, and have just recently come to the focus of their attention as a way to make design more human centered.
loading-macro-animation-for-brewery-websiteImage source: Nick Buturishvili
Still, micro interactions made and broke many designs on the web, as they were basic means of functionality in some cases and an entertaining practice that helps the brand be recognized in others. For what is worth, micro interactions have to be executed properly from the beginning until the end, as without them even the best feature won’t be attractive to users. Your users are not only supposed to use your product – if you want to succeed with it, you have to make them love it!
Both the details and the big picture have to be spotless, and micro interactions can make that happen.
The main benefit you’ll obtain as a designer is to save time, as you will communicate information instantly, and keep users undistracted. It will be extremely easy for them to obtain any information they want, and they will never be bored.
submitImage source: Alex Pronsky
1) Displaying the system status
Jakob Nielsen established one of the most important usability heuristic principles: according to him, users should always know what is going on, and receive immediate responses upon the accomplishment of their actions.
Feedback should come from the interface, and be displayed in an interesting background graphic, either with bitrates or a sound. The same applies for file transfer: users should not be bored while their files are being sent, but receive pleasant notification with entertaining messages. So, the interface should keep the user enlightened about what is happening by displaying
2) Highlighting changes
favorite_1Image source: Pantufla CuĆ”ntica
Many designers believe it is a good practice to make action buttons smaller and to save space, but that’s not how you invite users to perform the action. They must be able to see the button, or be entertained with an animation that will direct them where they should go.
3) Keeping the context
Designers of our time need to design foremost for mobile purposes, and find a way to display information in a visible way and not to miss anything important. It is of vital importance for mobile design to keep the navigation pattern clean, so that users will understand the process as a whole, instead of getting lost in the middle of it.
4) Using uncommon layouts
switchImage source: Marc Edwards ✎ Bjango
As we explained in the previous paragraph, micro interactions make it possible for users to understand design as a whole, and to adopt even an unfamiliar and uncommon layout without confusion. There are many means that can make this happen: scrolling graphs, flipping photos, rotating letters, and so on.
5) Calls to action
Calls to action are designers’ favorite tool to work with, as they ensure effective interaction with any app or system. Using micro interactions, the designer can motivate users to click on these buttons, or interact in a similar way by sharing the content or reading more about it.
6) Visualizing the input
untitled-3Image source: John Noussis
Those of you who have designed a mobile app before can appreciate the importance of data input, being the most critical element to determine the quality of their work. Another thing you can probably confirm is that data input is a boring process, and wouldn’t reject a couple of micro interactions to make it more entertaining.
7) Introducing live tutorials
Users love animations, which is why those make for the perfect educational mean. Instead of long guides and explanatory papers, try to engage users with videos that highlight the essential features of your product, and teach them the controls they need to use it.


The key force of user interface is to keep users updated with feedback, instead of letting them guess what is happening. That’s why interface is almost completely dependent on micro interactions which make that feedback visible.
microinteraction_loliful_like_unlikeImage source: Igor Izhik
At the same time, micro interactions allow users to experiment with animations, in particular when it comes to uploading data and downloading content.
A very popular animation is the ‘pull down/up to refresh’ one, which updates the available content on mobile devices, and the more cheerful it is, the more likely will your site be to keep users on board.
In order to make your user interface as successful as possible, design the controls and buttons in a ‘tangible’ way. In fact, try to make them look as real as possible so that users will like them despite of being hidden under the glass.
Thanks to motion and visual clues, the user will understand the meaning of his input right away, and will feel in control of the app. In fact, manipulating UI elements will resemble physical interaction, and the visual response to it will be more than obvious.
hamburgerImage source: Jacky Lee
Another important function of animations is that they lead users through several navigation contexts, explaining them the different settings and changes in arrangement, and are of particular use where modification is likely to alter the elements’ hierarchy. As a matter of fact, we wouldn’t even understand there is hierarchy if it weren’t for micro interactions.
A very specific interaction to consider is morphing icons’ shape to allow them to perform several functions at the same time. This is the so-called concept of motion design which leads user in a way which is both informative and visually delighting, and is applied on smaller screen and mobile devices to surpass the lack of screen estate.


love_microImage source: John Noussis
The fact that you’re supposed to design for smaller screens doesn’t justify depriving the app from its functionality, and you’re not supposed to skip some of the main good design rules just because you think the space doesn’t allow that.
Purposeful Design: You know your audience, and you know what they need. You’ve spent hours on interviews and surveys, and you’ve created the personas most likely to fall for your designs. What we’re trying to say here is that you’ve worked hard to round up your goals, and you mustn’t let a small screen take that away from you. Rules will still apply; you just have to adjust them.
Usability: You already know that, don’t you? There is no need to repeat how important it is to make a usable app, because otherwise no one would download it. The important thing to remember here, however, is that usability comes before desirability, and there is no exception to it.
open-uri20160113-3-a1g59gImage source: Wanda Arca
Affordance and Signifiers: Affordance refers to the functions. Signifiers, on the other hand, indicate there is an affordance. Let us explain this in plain English: When a sentence is blue and underlined (the signifier), it indicates that by clicking on it, you will be redirected to another page (the affordance). You need to handle signifiers in a way in which users won’t even think what they are for, but will follow them intuitively instead.
Smooth learning curves: Once again – users need to follow your navigation patterns instinctively, not to think of them. Therefore, use patterns that are both easy to acclimate, and familiar to your users.
Feedback and Response times: Feedback matters because it helps users understand whether their action is finished or not, be it a simple beep or a large modal window. Make feedback human and friendly, and deliver it with timing similar to the one recommended in the Nielsen Norman Group guidelines.
button_loader_sizedImage source: Selwyn Jacob
Have in mind that limited screen estate won’t be your only constraint. As Maier explains, it is users that will impose most of your obstacles, so make sure you know your audiences before you’ve even started designing.
For the perfect user experience, map out the content, and build the user flows according to it.
Research before you design, and after you’ve drafted your project. The two things have to be performed in parallel, so that you can make modifications quickly upon any change in user expectations. Don’t commit blindly to a single path, but create simple, easy-to-alter prototypes. You can even sketch it on paper, and change it whenever users change their reactions to your content.
switcher_xlxImage source: Oleg Frolov
Make a detailed outline too, since it will help you evaluate each page flow separately. Unlike what most designers think, simple sketches bring flows to life much easier than digital technology does, and let you handle the structure’s details clearly and on time. Thanks to the prototype, you will share these ideas with users in advance, and you will be able to evaluate the potential success of your app before it even appears on the web.
Use mobile patterns your users are familiar with
At the end of the day, there isn’t that much philosophy about mobile design, as everything revolves around tiny nuances, technical and device specifications, and placement. While this is a good thing because it doesn’t require you to reinvent the wheel, it can be a two-blade knife that will mess up your design.
shotImage source: Fu
The safest course of action is to use a common and popular mobile pattern, as for instance the slide-out navigation. Do the same thing with phrases, and make them sound friendly and controllable. In the meantime, make sure important words are the first one to appear (for example, put ‘Full Name’ instead of ‘Name’). Make sure the wording and the style are uniformed on every page.
The ‘Fat Finger’ design concept: your key for accessibility
Mobile design’s mouse cursors don’t go as pixel-perfect as we would like them to be, so it is up to us to make the screen finger-friendly. The safest option, as you assume, is to add space instead of removing it, so that every user is able to tap on it without triggering an action he didn’t have in mind.
Ideally, keep elements a bit further from each other, and their size reasonable. Unfortunately, unfriendly and bunched buttons are the most common reason why users get frustrated and abandon mobile optimized sites without exploring their content.