Digital design: the next steps

They say good things come to those who wait - so here it is, part two of our designing for digital series!

If you haven’t had an opportunity to read the first instalment on design in digital which canvassed usability, devices and browsers, we recommend taking a read of that first before diving into the material below.

So assuming you’re up to speed, in this post we’ll be covering the final elements to be considered when tackling design in digital: technology, accessibility and budget impacts.

Technology – Bandwidth and Development Constraints

We’ve come a long way since the days of dial up tones sending cold shivers up your spine, at present we’re seeing a (slow) but steady roll out of the NBN that will be making page load speeds feel like they’re on steroids. But with that said, we still need to be designing to ensure that sites are built to be as lightweight as possible, while still retaining their looks.

A key reason for this is mobile users. Mobile is increasingly becoming the number one channel for accessing digital content, and as such, users viewing a site on mobile will be tapping into their download limits, and we need to be mindful of this when it comes to injecting designs that can severely eat into downloads. A site that loads slowly is destined to see users bouncing away on the back button, and Google will punish you for this in search rankings. A way around this is to design and code based on AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) requirements – but this can significantly impact your budget.

Accessibility – Colours, Fonts, Contrast and Size

When we think of colour, it’s easy to get caught up on things like attractiveness and ensuring that the colour palette is in accordance with the brand style guide – these are incredibly important considerations, but one thing that can easily be overlooked (and has resulted in damage in the past) is accessibility.

Case in point – after the 2000 Olympics, the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games was sued by a blind person who could not buy tickets online. Since then, accessibility has become a big consideration of how sites are designed. There are two things here that we recommend focusing on. The first is colour choice and colour contrast for people with low vision or colour blindness. Thinking about the use of whitespace is also important to ensure that the information is not packed in to the point of being eligible.

The second thing to focus on is ensuring that your site is designed for visually impaired and legally blind people using screen readers. Screen readers navigate the code rather than the visual elements, so clear and uncluttered page hierarchy is important, as well as ensuring every visual element has alt text. Google doesn’t see the screen, so for SEO, the balance of text to imagery is incredibly important as well as the tone of voice.

Budget Impacts (Cost vs Time and Iterative Design)

Regardless of whether you come from an agency background, work in a digital department in-house, run your own business, or otherwise; when running digital projects there are 3 key constraints that we need to operate within:

• Scope
• Cost
• Timeline

It’s important to operate within these guidelines in order to achieve a high level of quality outcome while balancing the client’s and user’s needs. This doesn’t mean cutting corners, it means being realistic with design delivery and having an iterative mindset. Digital is not about big bang delivery. In fact, quite often the first launch is aiming at MVP with a mindset of launching, reviewing the data, making iterative changes, testing, assessing, and updating again and so on. Don’t get impatient – get it right.

Ultimately, when it comes to designing for digital, there are a lot of considerations that shouldn’t be overlooked – the same goes for designing for print. At JSA we’re proud to have our digital and design teams working side by side, creating beautiful digital designs that bring engagement and broad smiles from our clients. If you’re interested in improving the design of any of your digital assets, we’re here to help, so why not drop us a message today – we look forward to hearing from you!