Your Evolving Web Site in the Innovation Economy (Thanks Dr. Edison Liu)

As web sites continue to become the cornerstone of an organization’s brand identity and marketing efforts, it’s important to understand why this mix of technology and creativity is so critical to business success.

Recently, I attended a presentation by Dr. Edison Liu, President and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory. The event, hosted by The Institute for Civic Leadership was on Leadership Characteristics in the Innovation Economy.

Dr. Liu started by explaining how much our economic model has changed in the past one hundred years. Economic success is no longer about things like proximity to natural resources or making material objects. Instead, we are in a creative-based economy.

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3 Step Year-End Web Site Review

The turn of the year prompts many of us to analyze what worked over the past year, recognize what has not worked, and then set goals for improving. Your web site, which may be the foundation of your branding and marketing efforts would likely benefit from an end-of-year analysis, too.

Here are 3 important areas to review. I hope you’ll play along and let me know what type of analysis you do.

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Why the Design Fails on HealthCare.Gov

I’m writing about the HealthCare.gov web site again. Hey, it’s not often that a web site gets so much media attention!

Most of the news stories have focused (rightly so) on the functionality of the web site for learning about and applying for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Imagine (if you can), that the application itself was flawless, and concentrate on the design. Unfortunately, the design is causing its own problems.

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Everyone is Using the Same Cheap Royalty Free Images. How Does that Affect Your Brand?

If you haven’t noticed, the bar for the quality of photos used in most marketing materials is extremely low. It seems that everyone wants the benefit of photography without paying much for it.

We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that is why photography so often plays a critical role in a web design, printed marketing materials, book cover design, etc. But it seems like very few people have the budget to pay for a photographer, so more and more we rely on stock photography and royalty-free photography. (Read this for an explanation of the difference between stock and royalty-free photos.)

As a designer, I have many clients who expect photography as part of a design solution but are not prepared for the extra costs, therefore we are forced to use these same low-cost options. Here at Visible Logic, the other designers and I have learned to quickly sort through the loads of poor-quality photos and find those diamonds in the rough.

With our experienced eye we can:

  • sort though and determine which photos are the best
  • crop them in a way to make them look better
  • colorize them or apply another treatment to create a more distinct look for them
  • integrate them into a design so that they become part of a larger (better) design solution
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Don’t Trust Any Designers Opinion on the New Microsoft Logo

Microsoft's new logo

This week there was big news in the logo and branding arena: Microsoft had a new logo after 25 years of use with the old one.

As someone who blogs about design, branding and business, I was ready to jump on the story and give my opinion.

Microsoft users have often had no choice

The problem is that compared to most Americans, I really don’t know Microsoft very well. Microsoft is one the largest US businesses. With their Office and Windows products, their brand is woven into the tapestry of American business. There are so many people who rely on Windows for their PC computer and Office products such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Many of these people haven’t ever shopped for an alternative because they were given these products at work and have used them without much questioning for years, if not decades.

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