April 29, 2008

To Flash or not to Flash

Using Flash is a great way to add rich, high-impact content to your web site. But, just because you can doesn't necessarily mean you should. Sometimes, clients want Flash added to their site just for the sake of having it. I had a client tell me during an initial meeting that they wanted Flash on the web site I was redesigning for them. When I asked them what they wanted the Flash element to do, they really didn't have an answer; they just wanted something flashy.

Flashiness is fine if it serves a purpose, but too often the flashiness is distracting and annoying. How many times have you visited a web site with a Flash introduction and immediately looked for the "skip intro" link? If your visitors always skip the introduction then it's not only worthless, it delays your visitors from getting to the content they came for.

Flash can, of course, be extremely useful. It can be used to create interactivity that presents the site's content in a more effective way than static text and images. Flash can be used to create more effective navigation through the site. However Flash is used, it should always be used to achieve the goals of the web site (you have set goals for your web site, haven't you?).

April 26, 2008

Welcome to Form Follows Function

Welcome to the first post of Form Follows Function. I started this blog to discuss the integration of marketing and design. So, what does that mean?

A great design is fine, but if it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, then it’s essentially worthless. A print ad can win design awards, but if it doesn’t sell the company’s products, then it’s a worthless ad. Actually, it's less than worthless; the client paid for an effective ad.

There are plenty of blogs focusing on various aspects of graphic design – techniques, web design, typography, etc. However, I haven't seen a blog that focuses on both graphic design and marketing (that doesn’t mean there aren’t any, but I’ve yet to find one).

So, we’ll talk about marketing issues as they apply to graphic design. We’ll talk about how designers can think like marketers. We’ll discuss what clients want, or should want. We’ll probably also touch on ways that graphic designers can better market themselves.

At least that’s the plan. We’ll see how it goes. I look forward to your comments.