Apple.com Gets a Redesign

According to Techcrunch, Apple.com removed the separate Store tab and integrated the shopping button with product information. They’ve also integrated more editorial-like features like the Accessories page.

Why It’s Hot: The industry opinion seems to be that the redesign was motivated by mobile experiences. Aesthetically, the site went through a small change, but it feels relatively huge for the retailer, not just in design, but in narrative. The initial website spoke to a focus on the product, and the redesign speaks to a shopping experience. It’s interesting that a big retailer like Apple is finally evolving to a more obvious mobile-friendly design, but it also feels like the end of a product-obsessed Steve Jobs era.

Website Push Notifications

Push notifications that inform users of new messages have become a central part of the mobile experience. Coming in 2015, most browsers will support these push notifications. sites that choose to take advantage of the technology will be able to ask visitors if they want to opt-in to receive notifications.The site will be able to deliver them, even if the site is not open in the browser at the time. These website notifications could alert users to breaking stories or updated content. The notification would appear in small pop-up windows, similar the ones social media sites or e-mail programs use to alert you about new messages.

(via ROOST)

Why It’s Hot:

When these website notifications become available across all major browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox) these web pages will be able to behave much like mobile applications. A Google software engineer working on the technology says, “Once the user has opted in, Web apps will be able to provide timely information to the user without having to go through an installation process.” This could lead to a minimization of need to download a company’s mobile application and receive notifications directly from the web page. Say for instance from an airline company updating you on flight status or a retailer updating you on stock availability.

Why Every Media Website Redesign Looks the Same (Including our clients’)

If web design is art, we may be entering its minimalist phase.

“To a certain degree, websites always look the same. Design is fashion and it follows trends. We’re in the middle of a trend of big and clunky, not just because of responsive design but also because of touch,” Clark added. “As touch has spread from small screens to laptops and desktops, all desktop designs have to be touch-friendly, and that has influenced the aesthetic, too.”

Numerous major media sites have shifted to responsive design with similar results — multi-column, boxy and flat designs that look almost strangely similar.

The lack of shadows, gradients or really any elements that attempt to illustrate depth are gone, in favor of what is known as “flat” design.Flat design arose in concert with mobile. In addition to having a modern look, the minimalist motif looked impressive on smaller screens while also minimizing page load, meaning that websites would come up faster on slower mobile networks. Flat design is also a hallmark of many of the new media sites.

Web_design

Source: http://mashable.com/2014/09/24/designers-dilemma-for-media-websites/

Why It’s Hot (and Relevant To Us)

Working on the Verizon account and experiencing the horror that was “new branding”, I can tell you first hand that the “flat” look is exactly where everyone wants to be. With all these sites conforming to one similar look while keeping it responsive, it’s no wonder our creative teams struggle to provide work. The challenge we’re all facing is differentiating from our competition while keeping in mind the best user experience. This isn’t necessarily news to anyone but something to keep in mind when we work on future projects.

Plated – Unleash your Inner Chef

Plated

https://www.plated.com/how-it-works

We all are so busy throughout the day that when it comes time to think about what’s for dinner and preparing it, we often don’t make healthy choices and pick up what’s convenient. Welcome Plated, a service that offers a selection of healthy menus which can all be prepared in 30 minutes or less, step-by-step directions, and the ingredients, fresh, high-quality foods, are delivered in an insulated box to your door. Plated’s mission is to have more people cooking, sharing that wonderful experience of coming together and having a meal.

Why It’s Hot
Plated currently delivers to 80% of the continental US. By entering your zip code on plated.com, you can see the delivery dates available each week in your neighborhood and select the one that works for you. Plated offers seven menu choices, 4 fish/meat and 3 vegetarian dishes. Plated’s specialized network delivers the ingredients in a custom-made, 100% recyclable box which keeps your food cool. If you don’t want to cook that evening, you may put the ingredients in the refrigerator where they will remain fresh for the next 4-5 days. Step-by-step recipe cards are included. Plated strives to support local suppliers and American farmers. There are several pricing options, sign up as a member for $10/month and each plate costs $12 and receive special promotions or pay as you go at $15/plate. The site also has a blog, with more recipes and how-to videos, and you can join their social community on Facebook and Pinterest. Share your pictures and tweets at #platedpics. Most of us do enjoy cooking, it’s just finding the time. Plated does the shopping, chopping, and measuring, and lets us enjoy the experience of cooking and sharing a meal with friends and family.

IKEA Hacks Instagram

To help promote and introduce the PS 2014 Collection the Russian division of IKEA decided to up the ante by creating a website within the Instagram app itself.  The ikea ps 2014 account resembles a beautiful and functional online IKEA catalog.  The experience is divided into hero images of Tables, Chairs, Textiles, Light, Ideas, Storage, and Benches, that act as navigation categories. Clicking through the image categories will result in beautiful imagery featuring product information, pricing, and additional photos, much like a typical landing page.

Why It’s Hot:

It is a great way to use a tool that the target market is familiar with in way that experiments with how the actual platform is meant to be used.  Turning what is normally a one-off photo sharing application into a organized and useful site.