Mary Blair’s exhibit is up until September 7th, but the Disney museum is open year-round. Go and be a kid for a day!
REDSHIFT is a digital agency focused on user experience design, interactive media, and Internet business strategy.
Mary Blair’s exhibit is up until September 7th, but the Disney museum is open year-round. Go and be a kid for a day!
We love (re)design exercises, and we do them often. We also like to give shout outs to any outstanding redesigns we find out there. Matthew Lew described his TicketMaster redesign in a Medium piece a few months ago and we think it’s pretty smart.
Matthew is a designer and music enthusiast, and with each Ticketmaster concert he attended the shortcomings of the ticket design became increasingly apparent.
They’re hard to read, particularly in low light, and the lack of information hierarchy creates UX issues. Plus, the design hasn’t really changed in forty years. Take a look:
Before checking out Matthew’s solution, we at REDSHIFT did our own. We reviewed the current ticket and identified the problems, split into teams to create some new sketches, and then pitched our new designs to each other.
This last one isn’t necessarily obvious, but tickets are keepsakes — many put them on their walls and into their scrapbooks — and we wanted to preserve and enhance this. A band image is a simple way to make each ticket unique.
Finally, we compared our designs to Matthew’s.
His solution was certainly successful, and focused on many of the same issues. We thought he could have pushed the prevalence of the band’s artwork even further. The tickets look different, but not quite different enough, and the images are not entirely clear beneath that graphic treatment. However, we love the color coding according to event type.
Great job over all and we hope Ticketmaster hires Matthew (or Redshift) immediately.
When you stop and think about it, we’ve reached a pretty exciting moment in web technology where the traditional request-and-response interaction no longer reigns supreme. Our patterns of use online are anything but linear. Daily, we cruise through dozens of apps where many users interact with the same data at the same time, and content loads dynamically without waiting for us to refresh. When not carefully designed with the end user in mind, this new web paradigm can feel quite chaotic.
YOU WON’T BELIEVE what this introverted teen did to a police offer!
23 LIFE-CHANGING photos of kittens with sharpie eyebrows!
You’ve probably noticed that socially shared media such as lists, quizzes and news videos has taken over your Facebook newsfeed.
The viral content space is becoming increasingly competitive, with sites like BuzzFeed, Huffington Post and Upworthy all growing in popularity. In 2014, BuzzFeed’s projected revenue is $120 million—double what it was last year.
Here at Redshift, we’re exploring the ways in which media like this connects with people so much that they want to share it with their friends.
Here are some tips from the big guys about how to go viral:
8 common traits that viral BuzzFeed links share:
3 tips on how to make your content go viral
10 tips from from Upworthy about content creation
Find or create great content
Write at least 25 headlines
Avoid giving it all away in the headlines - XX
Edit headlines and descriptions on Facebook, if necessary
Do A/B testing, even if it’s a simple one using just Bit.ly
Let analytics be your friend
Create more content
Include a strong call to action
Upworthy’s 9 tips for writing viral headlines
Making user experience decisions based on data is better than guessing so we’ve incorporated weekly user testing into our process at Redshift by inviting people on TaskRabbit to come in and provide feedback on our designs. User testing doesn’t need to be an afterthought. Here’s how we get fast results:
The first recipe was written on a Babylonian stone tablet in 1600 BC. And the standard format hasn’t changed much since then!
We have been working with a client to reinvent the recipe for digital devices, and we started by researching what other designers have created. Here are a couple of examples we found inspirational:
Yes, that’s right, this is an app from Uniqlo—the Japanese clothing retailer. And yes, each chef’s outfit is coordinated with the dish. The visual design in this app was the easy favorite in our office.
Look & Cook earns a place in this post for their visually elegant approach to the ingredients list. Be sure to arrange your ingredients on the countertop this way before you start cooking!
Though not a cooking-specific app, Snapguide allows you to create image-drive how-tos that work very well for cooking. The visual design is a bit lacking here, but we were impressed to publish content from a smartphone.
In the weeks ahead we will be working on a digital recipe solution that combines some of the best features of these apps with creative ideas of our own.
GIFs—animated images of the oft-mispronounced file format that just won’t die—have been returning with a vengeance since the mid-2000s.
While dot-com-era GIFs were known for their pixellated crudeness, today’s GIFs boast sleek, artistic imagery. On top of viewers’ quicker download speed, designers use techniques like Cinemagraphy to pack in ample colors while keeping files small—getting more bang for their buck.
Here are some beautiful examples of high-quality GIFs:
Lu is a super-talented illustrator who works at Buzzfeed. She won the 2013 PBS Thirteen Reel 13 Tumblr Month Contest.
Menard is an artist/director from Montreal with a screenprint-based style. Check out his short films.
This London-based artist, animator, and director is inspired by mid-century illustrations.
Hua Chun Yang
This China-based animator is a known preferrer of hand-drawn illustrations over CGI.
This Baltimore art student has an eerie, Lynchian sense of scene.
Matthew DiVito (Mr. Div)
Matthew DiVito is a motion graphic artist who creates geometric, retro-cosmic GIFs.
Sachin mixes realism with cartoonish and glitched-out styles. He’s illustrated for Adidas, Wired, and the New Yorker.
A few of us in the office have been obsessed with the Mechanical Turk - both the late 18th century ruse and the contemporary bizarre/genius Amazon service. Recently, we decided to investigate the Mechanical Turk and find out what is all about.
The original Mechanical Turk was a chess-playing automaton created in 1770 by Wolfgang von Kempelen to impress the Austrian empress, Maria Theresa. The Turk toured Europe and US, beating Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin, and performing the knight’s tour.
In the early 1820s, it was revealed that the Turk was being operated by a skilled accomplice hiding inside who operated the machine. Despite this revelation, the Turk continued to tour with various chess masters until it was finally destroyed by fire in 1854. The original operator remains a mystery.
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a crowdsourced web service launched in 2005. It provides an on-demand, scalable, human workforce to complete jobs that that computers are currently unable to do, such as recognizing objects in photographs. Each individual task (called a HIT) requires a very small effort to complete and is rewarded by a small payment - often only a few cents. “Requestors” post requests or tasks to a database and Workers choose to accept the task based on the rate and their qualification for the task.
On average, workers are willing to complete tasks for less than half the US minimum wage. This has caused some to criticize the service as a digital sweatshop. However, workers set their own hours and only accept tasks they wish to do. And it appears at least some portion of these people are doing the work for fun.
Here are a few ingenious projects that were completed using the The Amazon Mechanical Turk:
The Sheep Market
Design giant Massimo Vignelli passed away today. He was responsible for some of the most iconic designs of the 20th century. While his NYC subway map and DC Metro signage are particular stand-outs, we were always a fan of his “brown bags” for Bloomingdales.
FIVE is a new app from Redshift that lets you share and compare your top five of everything. From a UX standpoint, this means the app’s primary function is browsing and consuming lists of content.
Designing a great list interface might seem straightforward, but we quickly discovered there’s more to it than meets the eye. Here are a few of the questions we found ourselves wrestling with as we started our first sketches:
Let’s take a look at some of these early sketches which featured fairly conventional approaches to designing lists including slideshows and carousels:
We also tried some more unusual navigation concepts:
As we kept trying out different formats, two key ideas began to crystallize. One, rather than require users to flip through a series of individual entries, it’s quicker and more satisfying to consume lists as a single collection. Seeing top five lists in one glance lets you compare and contrast entries and subconsciously invites you to reorder or suggest new ones. It’s an example where grouped content is more valuable than the sum of its parts.
The second hypothesis was that creating a separate title page would allow us to create a feeling of suspense before revealing the list. Just like a master comedian prepares his audience for the punchline, a good five would showcase its concept with a great-looking cover image and pique user interest before the reveal. Good timing is important, even in UX design.
With these ideas in mind, let’s fast forward from sketches to our final design. High-level goals include:
Our FIVE teaser website will be launching tomorrow and stay tuned for a follow-up post on how we created our signature transition animation.
As we countdown to our FIVE website launch, we thought it would be fun to look back to the days when the app was just a name and a concept. Check out some of the early candidates for the app title and stay tuned for the website!
Anyone who’s spent weeks searching for the perfect laptop bag will tell you: one of the great unsolved mysteries of e-commerce is understanding taste. Of course, there are other issues; fit and sizing, shipping costs, and the hassle of the return. But taste is more nuanced. The process of discovery is mercurial, and most of us don’t know quite know what we’re looking for until we see it.
We’re constantly assured that e-commerce is the future of retail, so it’s surprising to learn that only 6% of retail sales last year occurred online.* Suddenly, solving the problem of taste, discovery, and want seems a great deal more pressing.
At Redshift, we’re particularly invested in this problem as we look at crafting solutions that help users navigate an online environment that grows more cluttered and overwhelming by the hour. We decided to take a look at the ways various industry players are catering to user’s taste.
Retail’s response generally falls into two kinds of strategies: optimizing page layout, and creating branded editorial content.
J.Crew and eBay excel in this first area. Like 99% of online retailers, they understand that the best way to capture attention is to comb their catalogs and offer up a simple homepage showcasing just a few curated selections. We think J.Crew does this better than most anyone else, and eBay gets an honorable mention because (not without help) they have managed to cull 100 million+ listings into a homepage of cohesive and appealing collections.
Many retailers are also opting for the other strategy: creating branded editorial content. When done well, this is a terrific opportunity for brands to establish themselves as trusted tastemakers, highlighting the promise of a lifestyle while subtly pointing to products that can fulfill it. Mr. Porter’s Journal is a standout here.
Online Media Outlets
Blogs and online magazines also play an important role in this ecosystem for their ability to influence taste, and drive sales to online retailers via affiliate programs. Phillipe von Borries—founder of the hugely successful Refinery29—says it best: “commerce is a critical component for us reinventing a media company and what the content commerce relationship is.” Refinery29’s genius is in creating content that people actually want to read, and in having an exceptional intuition for when/how often to insert product tie-ins within this content. Lifestyle bloggers like Cup of Jo's Joanna Goddard and GOOP's Gwyneth Paltrow have also proven out this model. Over the last decade, traditional print media has repeatedly struggled to map their content to an online landscape. Though it may rankle with some, von Borries' content-commerce hybrid does seem to indicate a clear path forward.
In the last couple of years, a slew of startups have sought to aid in the discovery of new products: Pinterest, Svpply, Polyvore, and Wanelo, just to name a few. These platforms all have slightly different recipes for how they serve up products, but they’re all looking at the same things: who your friends are, what stores you like, what (if any) tastemakers you follow, and what products you’ve earmarked. Conspicuously absent is shopping history. It turns out, although this data is valuable in many ways, most of us dislike being pigeon-holed by our past purchases.
Looking ahead, it’s hard to deny the immense value of the Pinterest machine, but we think Polyvore is also one to watch. With a thriving community based around user-generated (shoppable, of course) collages, they have unique insight into how people are curating, browsing, and consuming products online. Their goal is to take this data and use it develop a “taste graph,” which they claim will allow for an unprecedented level of accuracy in determining what any given user will like.
In short: taste is still very much an unsolved mystery, but the big players seem to be getting closer to cracking it.
*Source: Pew Research Center
Check out MailChimp’s indispensable and beautifully crafted tool to help you nail that “just right” voice and tone for your web-based comms. We promise you will find a use for this, despite the MailChimp-centric perspective.