Perspective, tips, and insight

Articles to help you improve your digital marketing

Web Design Trends for 2012: Social Media Integration

We are doing a series of 2012 web design trends, and our sixth prediction for web design trends in 2012 is social media integration.

Social media is everywhere. It's on our computers, phones, televisions and even in our cars. Social media integration will not be going away any time soon (at least not in the next few years).

My favorite websites with social media integration are from local designers (located in central Indiana). When I began this blog topic, I knew exactly which three websites I would showcase:

Our website (TBH Creative) puts an emphasis on social media integration linked from the bottom of each page as well as the left sidebar on interior pages. We link to our client's social media pages as well under our portfolio. Custom social media icons that match your website design are an excellent option. They blend in well with the design and don't look like they were just thrown in there.

TBH Creative's home page. Visit the site for the full experience.

Kevin Thornbloom's website has very unique social media integration. You will need to visit the site to get the full experience. When you click on the buttons, it changes the title accordingly. Kevin uses kthornbloom as his username on every social media site, so it makes it very easy to use this technique!

Kevin Thornbloom's home page. Visit the site for the full experience.

The Basement's contact page is very entertaining. The social media birds hop around on the telephone wire as you're on the contact page. They also have custom social media icons, which makes the website flow together very well.

The Basement's home page. Visit the site for the full experience.

Social media integration is key in web development this year. Now, more than ever, people are spending more time on social media sites than any other site on the web. For example, four out of the seven tabs on my browser are social media sites. News stories, friend updates, funny pictures: you name it, you can probably find it on a social media site.

Web Design Trends for 2012: Large High Quality Photograph Backgrounds

We are doing a series of 2012 web design trends, and our fifth prediction for web design trends in 2012 is large high quality photograph backgrounds.

Large, high quality photograph backgrounds can add a lot to a company's website. It is important that they are high quality images. You do not want a large, pixelated background; it is not enjoyable for the user. Just a tip from graphic and web designers everywhere: never enlarge a photograph. Be sure to only size images down. If your picture is not large enough to use as a background for a webpage, then don't use it. Below are a few websites that use the large, high quality photograph technique for their backgrounds:

Smoking Takes Lives features a story of Mick Roberts (who's life was changed by smoking). This large photograph will help to grab the user and have them watch the video before accessing any other part of the website.

Smoking Takes Lives' homepage. Visit the site.

Simon & Comet's website features his motorsport photography. After translating the webpage to English, I noticed that he also is a web designer. He has a passion for motorsports. It is a great way to combine the two things he is passionate about.

Simon & Comet's homepage. Visit the site.

Poco People's homepage has a very nice "pop" of color. Your eyes are immediately drawn to Travis and Kelly (the owners) in the middle. Just a simple red scarf and red jacket are all they needed to attract the user.

Poco People's homepage. Visit the site.

Just remember, not every website will look great with a large photograph background. When in doubt, ask a web or graphic designer. A company that sells kitchen knives will probably lose customers if there is a very large butcher knife pictured on their homepage. What looks great to you might not look great to the user.

Web Design Case Study: Franciscan Alliance Foundation

We launched a new website for the Franciscan Alliance Foundation today and it can be viewed at http://www.franciscanalliance.org/foundation/.

TBH Creative worked with the Franciscan Alliance Foundation this Fall to help with their new website. The purpose of the website is to serve a 'home' for all Franciscan Alliance Foundations and receive support through donations.
We proposed a clean design that was very similar to the new Franciscan Alliance brand and complimentary to the Ceommunity Benefits website graphics and arrangement. We build the HTML framework to work with their Content management system and including some custom JQuery for rotation of stories, main ideas, and pop up window for donations. The application work was completed by their IS department with our support for graphics and arrangement.

The Franciscan Alliance Foundation's homepage. View the site.

An interior page from the Franciscan Alliance Foundation's website. View the site.

About the Franciscan Alliance Foundation

The foundress, Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel, was drawn to the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi, who left a legacy of faith characterized by selfless giving and the spirit of love; he loved every person without measure or discrimination. The care and compassion of St. Francis was continued in this country when Mother Maria Theresia sent six Sisters from Olpe, Germany to Lafayette, Indiana in 1875 to begin a ministry of healthcare and education for the poor and neglected.

St. Francis continues to be a source of inspiration for Franciscan Alliance as they “Continue Christ’s ministry in [their] Franciscan tradition” by loving and caring for the "least" among us—the unloved, the poor, the uncared for, the person who has no health insurance, the person who is shunned by society today. The Franciscan Alliance turns no one away.

Web Design Trends for 2012: Typography

We are doing a series of 2012 web design trends, and our fourth prediction for web design trends in 2012 is typography.

Typography is probably my favorite trend in web design (if I had to choose just one). I could spend hours looking at beautiful typography on the Internet. There are several examples out there; Google gave me 31,200,000 results for "typography web design". I found it incredibly difficult to only pick three websites to showcase.

Polecat has a very playful theme for their website. The whimsical typography works well with the design.

Polecat's homepage. View the site.
Indubitablee has custom and beautiful typography on her website. While I was clicking around through her site, I noticed there are no "common" fonts to be found. She used unique fonts throughout her website and it all blends together perfectly!

Indubitablee's homepage. View the site.
Typography doesn't necessarily have to be fancy, custom fonts. Ben Lind's website is an example of very simple, elegant typography. He used a common san serif font and made it his own.

Ben Lind's homepage. View the site.

How can I include typography on my website?

Six Revisions posted a wonderful article called "A Basic Look at Typography in Web Design". They explain the different aspects of typography as well as common mistakes web designers make. One important thing is to make sure the typography "matches" your website theme. If you have a very professional theme with a whimsical font, it could confuse the user and/or your potential customers.

Web Design Case Study: Anne Reese Photography

We launched a new website for Anne Reese Photography today and it can be viewed at http://www.annereesephotos.com/.

TBH Creative worked with Anne Reese Photography this Fall to help with her new website.

Anne hired TBH Creative after consulting with another firm for 1 1/2 years and not seeing results. We were able to reuse the basic design ideas as a starting point. From there, we coded and paid special attention to browser compatiblity which was very important to Anne. We included some JQuery to re-scale photos based on screen size, allow for scrolling and pop up window for a larger view. We also developed a custom application to help her manage her photos into categories and random display. With her software, she can upload photos that will resize and arrange as she specifies into the front-end design.

Anne Reese Photography's homepage. View the site.

Here is an interior page from Anne Reese Photography's website. View the site.

About the Anne Reese Photography

After receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Photography from The Columbus College of Art & Design, Anne moved to New York to master the techniques used by the very best in the field. For a few years she assisted, prop styled, and retouched her way around New York City working for high-end photographers and food stylists. Ultimately, she realized that just taking a great photo would not be enough to set her apart from the rest of the food shooters.

Anne spent the next three years working full-time as the Digital Asset Manager and Photographer for The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. Along the way, Anne was fortunate enough to have met and photographed some of the best chefs in the world. She took full advantage of her opportunities at the CIA and left New York with greater understanding and mastery of her two true passions-food and photography.

Web Design Case Study: Indy Connect

We launched a website for Indy Connect today, and it can be viewed at http://www.indyconnect.org/.
 
TBH Creative worked with Indy Connect this December to help build their new website.

Phase 1 of this project was completed very quickly and included recoding for up-to-date markup (removing a lot of tables, image maps and OLD coding techniques that made maintenance very difficult) and applying with our Content Management System software for easy future changes and additions. In the old static version of their website, changes had to be made on every page of the website and all text titles were graphics. We added font replace technology to eliminate the need for so many graphics.

We did not make any major design changes during this integration, although we did expand the page to remove the outdated scrollbars that restricted the content previously. We also updated the site architecture in a few logical places and for future mini-sites. We will continue to work with Indy Connect over the next few months for additional upgrades of the website.

Indy Connect's homepage. View the site.

An interior page from Indy Connect's new website. View the site.

About Indy Connect

Indy Connect, Central Indiana's Transportation Initiative, is a partnership of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA), and IndyGo that is dedicated to providing Central Indiana residents with transportation options in support of the future development of our region.

Web Design Trends for 2012: Responsive Web Design/Fluid Grids

We are doing a series of 2012 web design trends, and our third prediction for web design trends in 2012 is responsive web design/fluid grids.

Responsive web design and fluid grids are important in this mobile world. There are more tablets and smart phones in the hands of consumers (New Study Predicts that Mobile Web will Rule by 2015). Unlimited data packages have made smart phones even more appealing. As a business owner, it is very important to make sure your website is up to date and looks great on any platform.

Below are a few examples of responsive web design and fluid grids.

Touchtech has a beautiful website. When you look at the website from your mobile device, it automatically resizes and rearranges everything to fit your screen. You can get the same effect on a desktop or laptop computer by resizing the browser window to a smaller size.


Touchtech's homepage. Visit it here.

Touchtech's mobile site.

Owltastic also has a great view for use on mobile devices.

Owltastic's homepage. Visit it here.
Owltastic's mobile site.

How do I tell if my current website is mobile friendly?

If you open your website in a web browser, you can do a very simple test. Resize the browser window until it is significantly smaller in width. If the items do not move and there is a scroll bar at the bottom of your browser, your website is not fluid and possibly may require some adjustments for optimal mobile viewing.

Web Design Trends for 2012: Design Below the Fold

Our first prediction for web design trends in 2012 is design below the fold. We are doing a series of 2012 web design trends.

Designs below the fold, also known as large footers, are becoming a very common trend in web design. Footers are no longer a boring place at the bottom of a website. Just the copyright and a handful of links are not cutting it anymore. There are several ways to spruce up your footers: beautiful graphics, extra navigation (sometimes the entire sitemap), contact forms, videos, social media icons and more!

2012's best Web-focused conferences

2012's best Web-focused conferences

Training recommendations for learning the latest news and information about interactive design, online content strategy, and web development

C.R. Lawton once said, "Unless you try to do something beyond what you have mastered, you will never grow." Growth is easy to talk about as a goal, but it's much harder to actually make a priority to work toward as a goal when deadlines and other day-to-day demands occupy your thoughts. To make sure you make time for you next year, why not plan ahead and get your 2012 professional development scheduled now? To help get you started, here's a round-up—sorted by focus—of options to consider:

Web Design Case Study: CareerXroads

We launched a new website for CareerXroads today and it can be viewed at http://www.careerxroads.com/.

TBH Creative was hired by CareerXroads to conduct a site audit. We went page by page and provided a detailed report of suggestions with priority for upgrades and fixes. The suggestions presented led to many upgrades on various pages throughout the website including a revised and more intuitive sitemap.

The most notable change was a home page and template redesign. We added more interactivity on the homepage with custom built content sliders using JQuery technology. The footer is also interactive on the homepage and each interior page to highlight their social media without taking up a significant amount of page real estate.

In the recoding process for the new design, we removed all Flash elements and replaced with JQuery for a better mobile experience.

Before redesign:

CareerXroads' homepage prior to redesign.

After redesign:

CareerXroads' homepage. Visit their site.
CareerXroads' Service page. Visit their site.

About CareerXroads

Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler are the personalities behind CareerXroads and the CareerXroads Colloquium. Mark and Gerry have worked for and with corporations of all sizes in career planning and placement, contract recruiting, executive search, recruitment advertising and human resource management. After years working on the front lines of recruiting, these two saw a new potential in the Internet and in 1994 came together to create CareerXroads.


Web Design Trends for 2012: HTML5 & CSS3

Our first prediction for web design trends in 2012 is HTML5 & CSS3. We are doing a series of 2012 web design trends.

HTML5

HTML5 is becoming more and more popular within web development. However, it is still in development, so it does not work in all browsers yet. I predict 2012 will bring many improvements and enhancements to what is available and supported.

Uses for HTML5
Currently, HTML 5 is mostly being used for videos, audio and animations. This is why several people are questioning if HTML5 will “kill” Flash. HTML5 is also great for placeholders, auto focusing and much more!

Examples
This is by far my favorite HTML5 website (as of right now). The Wilderness Downtown is an interactive website/music video for Arcade Fire’s song “We Used to Wait”. Users are asked to enter the address of childhood home. The site uses Google Maps and HTML5 to create a one of a kind personalized music video.

The Wilderness Downtown homepage uses HTML5. Visit the site.


There are several other great examples of HTML5 on the web. Agent 008 Ball uses HTML5’s canvas and allows users to play a game of Billiards.

Agent 008 Ball homepage uses HTML5. Visit the site.


Hungry for more HTML5 websites? HTML5 Gallery has several examples to look through!

CSS3

CSS3 has made styling much easier for web developers everywhere! CSS3 offers border-radius, embedded fonts, transparency, rotation, gradient backgrounds and more. Like HTML5, CSS3 is not compatible in all browsers just yet. For example, the radius corners do not work in IE, so corners are boxed.

The @font-face is probably my most favorite CSS3 style! Creativity is endless when it comes to fonts. You can use the Font Squirrel generator to create your own (or you can use the premade ones)! Mobilezr uses the @font-face CSS3 style with their website.

The Mobilezr homepage uses CSS3. Visit the site.

When will HTML5 & CSS3 be compatible with every browser?

HTML5 Readiness has a beautiful interactive graphic showing the progress with browser compatibility since 2008. Google Chrome is currently the only browser that is compatible with everything. When do you think every browser will be ready? One year? Two years?

Web Design Trends for 2012

Web Design Trends for 2012
Seeing as 2011 is starting to come to a close, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about what I see as being hot trends in web design for 2012. Last year, Shannon posted her predicted trends for 2011. There are several similarities between last year and this year’s predictions but some new ideas as well.

Web design graphics: Constructing an effective infographic

Web design graphics: Constructing an effective infographic
Infographics, or information graphics, have been all over the Internet lately. Infographics can be effective on your website to add appeal, uniqueness, professionalism and overall interest. What is an infographic, exactly? You've probably seen one before, but had no idea it was called an infographic.

Below is an example from Daily Infographic. This is a great example. They can be serious, or silly. Possibilities are endless, really. Be careful not to add too much information to the infographic. It is easy to make an infographic very cluttered and hard to read. Adding sources to your infographic is always a must. Users like to see where the statistics and information came from. The sources like to get credit for having their information on the infographic as well.

A little thing that counts

Making sure a favicon, or favorites icon, is associated with your website is an integral part of extending your brand online and improving usability.

But, what's a favicon? And, furthermore, where is it located?

A favicon is the petite 16 × 16 pixel image shown in browser navigation bars and in browser bookmarks. Look at the top of this browser, and you will see a teeny yellow "TBH" next the the URL for this blog entry. That's the favicon we have associated with this blog.

When you bookmark the TBH Creative blog, your browser will also use that graphic to help assist in visual identification of this website from all of the other saved pages, aiding and increasing usability.

Have more than one tab open in your browser? A favicon associated, if it exists, will also appear along with a truncated portion of the page title to help you distinguish between all of the pages open.

Why are favicons important?

Strategic web design plans often includes discussions about marketing goals (e.g., converting visitors to customers and sharing case studies), content needs (e.g., creating graphics, links, forms, and copy) and development steps (e.g., planning the site architecture and navigation and customizing a CMS solution).

While thinking about these big picture items, small details—like creating a favicon—are sometimes overlooked. Pay attention next time you browse a website that has misspellings, broken links, and error messages. When website developers and designers aren't at the top of their game or too busy, the attention they'll pay to the smallest details is often revealing. You can usually trust that the more important details—such as website load time and security certificates—are carefully taken care of and maintained for quality when the little things are done properly, too.

Using your wordmark or logo is often best choice for your favicon image. If you need ideas, this website with lots of samples from popular websites will help you get brainstorming for a solution. Once you're ready to go, read our "how-to" blog post that shares how to integrate a favicon into your website.


Brand Identity & Why It’s Important

Is your company in need of a branding makeover?

The business dictionary states that brand identity is “the visible elements of a brand (such as colors, design, logotype, name, symbol) that together identify and distinguish the brand in the consumers' mind.”
Let’s face it. The first thing customers are probably going to see is your logo. Your logo is the face of your company. You want it to look nice, and make sense . . . right? 

There are several different items that contribute to identity; logos are not the only thing your company needs. Just Creative Design posted several examples: 
  • A Logo
    (The symbol of the entire identity & brand)
  • Stationery
    (Letterhead + business card + envelopes, etc.)
  • Marketing Collateral
    (Flyers, brochures, books, websites, etc.)
  • Products & Packaging (Products sold and the packaging in which they come in)
  • Apparel Design
    (Tangible clothing items that are worn by employees)
  • Signage
    (Interior & exterior design)
  • Messages & Actions (Messages conveyed via indirect or direct modes of communication)
  • Other Communication
    (Audio, smell, touch, etc.)
  • Anything visual that represents the business

Brand New is also a great website that shows several company logo transformations. Each entry includes reasoning as to why the person submitting it thinks it is a good or bad change. If your company needs a branding makeover, be sure to consult a professional.  People do not like change. When large brands have major branding makeovers, usually it doesn’t go over well with the public at first. After a few months, customers get used to the change.
Companies need to update their logos, websites, ect. every once in a while. It is not recommended to do it frequently; sometimes a change after 5-10 years is nice and refreshing.
After all, do you think Pepsi kept the same logo throughout the years? Definitely not.



Web Design Case Study: Imaging Office Systems

We launched a new website for Imaging Office Systems today and it can be viewed at http://www.imagingoffice.com/.

TBH Creative was hired by Imaging Office Systems this Spring to help with their new website and online strategy. The previous website was created in-house, and it was time to take things up a notch in terms of design, ease of maintenance and results.

Web Design
We proposed a fresh design. We brought in complimentary and bright colors to their brand for interest and appeal, as well as professional details throughout the graphics and style.
One primary goal of the new website was to communicate to visitors that they offered more services than typically thought of -- more than just scanning and document management. They also offer custom professional services and storage. We emphasized this throughout the website and with a clear navigation structure and calls to action.

Content Management System
Our services went beyond design with our easy to use Content Management System and custom module to manage resources. IOS is also just beginning in social media and is now participating in visit the newly designed website to see more. Some featured pages include Meet the TeamLocations and Directions, and Resources.

Imaging Office Systems' new homepage. Check it out!
We used JQuery technology for the screen rotation at the top and also the logo slider across the bottom.

Resources page 

“After I sent a request to TBH Creative for pricing on a new company website, they were quick to respond and to understand what was driving the desire for a new site and what we wanted to accomplish. The presentation and proposal then addressed all of our requirements. Out of all the proposals we received for this project, TBH Creative's was the only one that made me confident that they understood what we wanted to do, had addressed how they would satisfy our requirements, had a process in place to control the project, and would be good to work with.

The site design process and the end product definitely lived up to our expectations; and TBH Creative were great to work with. The site is exactly what we needed and we have gotten a lot of very positive feedback from our customers and business partners. I have no doubt we made the right decision."

~ Angela Childs, Director, Professional Services

About Imaging Office Systems

Imaging Office Systems (IOS) was founded in 1972. They began building its expertise on document management systems that included tools such as moveable filing cabinets and offsite paper storage. These were low tech solutions by today’s standards, but they solved a very real need.  It is now an industry that is significantly more high-tech including scanning, document management, storage and professional services.

Is Usability Testing Really Necessary?

Is Usability Testing Really Necessary?

Absolutely! Anything from websites to software programs need usability testing.

This usability blog posted several tools that are very helpful while usability testing. My personal favorite is starting out with pencil and paper (free!), and then creating more refined digital mockups for testing. In my opinion, you can never do too much usability testing.

Amazon’s Newest Kindle Lineup

Is Amazon Fire the biggest competitor for iPad?

This week, Amazon released the newest generation of Kindles. The traditional Kindle is $79. There are two brand new touch Kindles: $99 for the WiFi version and $149 for the 3G version. The Kindle Fire is only $199.
Kindle:
Kindle Touch:

Kindle Fire:


The Kindle Fire is the most talked about Kindle this week. It is the first full color Kindle for magazines, books, movies, web browsing, and more.  It is very similar to the iPad, but not identical. The Kindle Fire is significantly smaller and cheaper than the iPad, which may make more users choose Kindle over iPad. Amazon has worked hard the past few years. They now have online movie streaming, music, ebooks, magazines, and more. Amazon has made it easy to literally have everything at your fingertips.

Amazon also has a great tool on every Kindle order page. You can compare every Kindle they are currently selling. This is a very user-friendly tool if you are indecisive about which Kindle to get. I have the last generation Kindle. I’m still not too sure how I feel about the new color and touch Kindles. I like the e-Ink versus a backlit screen. It is difficult for me to read for extended periods of time on a backlit screen. However, everyone is different!  Most people do not like change. I remember just a few years ago, I stated I would NEVER get a touch screen cell phone. I currently have a Droid X. It’s funny how technology becomes less scary as years pass.

How do you feel about the new Kindle lineup? Competition for the iPad or just another e-reader?


Web Design Case Study: Resista-Temps, Inc.

We launched a new website for Resista-Temps, Inc. today.

Resista-Temps came to TBH Creative with the need to add a new product line with equal emphasis to their existing temps products.

Our first step was to revisit the site organization and assist with the wording for the new pages while enhancing a few of the older pages. Once that was established, we redesigned the homepage and template elements including the banner and footer.

Five ways to take better website photos

Five ways to take better website photos
No photo budget? No problem. We have five easy-to-learn tricks to help make your pictures better.

Yesterday, in an attempt to start a conversation about their lenses, Nikon's social media team posted a status message to its Facebook page and created a controversy among its amateur and professional photographers followers. The post read:
"A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses, and a good lens is essential to taking good pictures!"

Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich Update

What does this mean for developers? More headaches now, less later? Maybe.

Google is set to release the latest Android update in October or November. This update has been named Ice Cream Sandwich. Wait. Hold on. Didn’t Android mobile devices just get the Gingerbread update this summer? Technology never slows down.

Web Design Case Study: Franciscan Alliance Community Benefits Report 2010

We launched a Community Benefits website for Franciscan Alliance today. We handled web design, HTML and CSS build, and managed the overall project.
 
In 2008, the Franciscan Alliance came to TBH Creative with the need to display their community giving total through a website. The website serves as a report of annual community giving. We prepared the website in  and 2009. For 2010, we wanted to add some new elements and stronger impact. Part of the enhancements were JQuery pie charts to add a little interactivity. We also redesigned the home page to emphasize and show off the amount they give to the community over years. In 2010, they gave a total of $444,756,036.

Why wireframing matters

Proper planning in web development includes wireframing

Architects wouldn't build a new house without a blueprint, and likewise web designers rely on wireframes to create websites. An essential, time-saving part of the web development process, detailed wireframes communicate the bigger goals of the website project, focusing specifically on information, interface, navigation, prioritization, and functionality. Through the wireframing process, web developers work with clients to plan and document the website project's objectives and requirements.

It requires knowledge of information architecture, user experience design, and user interface design to develop relevant and useful wireframes. During the planning process, web developers use wireframes to present clear mockups, removing the need for costly back-and-forth and making it possible to deliver precisely what clients want.

Thoughtful, rich wireframes reduce interactive project rework while increasing profits because they lead to greater understanding and allow for better feedback during brainstorming and planning. Wireframes, unlike fully flushed out designs, are easy to update because of their simple, straight-forward nature. Wireframes make it easier to iterate changes quickly, saving both time and money and they give web developers an opportunity to figure out which details might have been overlooked and what features had not been considered.

Adobe Edge: Is it the end of Flash?

Animation on the web is easier than ever!


Adobe has always been on top of new emerging technology. HTML5 and CSS3 are still new programming languages. They are both currently under development. Not all browsers support every aspect of HTML5 and CSS3 yet.

Adobe Edge makes it easier for designers (and even non-designers) to create interactive websites without the use of Adobe Flash. Some professionals believe Edge will be the end of Flash. Personally, I do not think that is an accurate assumption. HTML5 makes animating items on the web a lot easier, but it does not do everything Flash can do. Flash is such a complex program; I believe it would be impossible to include everything in HTML5. Or is it?

Below is a screenshot of what the interface for Edge looks like:


For those of you who have created things in Flash, the interface looks similar doesn’t it? Adobe always does such a great job making the interfaces of their programs look similar. This makes it easier for developers to move from one program to another with very little training.
Here are some of the features of Adobe Edge (from Adobe):
  • intuitive user interface
  • visually author animated content
  • add motion to existing HTML content
  • import web graphics files
  • standards-based output
  • reliable content on desktops and devices
If you are more of a visual person, you can watch this video to get a better idea of some things you can do with Edge:




You can also download the most recent Adobe Edge Preview via Adobe.

As stated before, HTML5 and CSS3 are still in the development stage. This also means that Edge is still not 100% complete. Who knows how advanced it will become in the next year. Do you think Edge will be the end of Flash?

Ready to add some motion to your next project? Let TBH Creative do the job for you!

To use stock or not to use stock

Should you use stock photography and illustration for web design projects when you're on a budget?

When your web design project has a tight budget, the line item associated with imagery can be the first one cut, or drastically trimmed. When chosen carefully, compelling illustration and photography paired with great copy are the key to successful content. If a man from Mars can't figure out what your website is about in five seconds, you're failing. Great, non-generic imagery can help you communicate your brand and goals faster, which is why it's important to invest in your website's imagery and choose it wisely.

Shannon shared tips before for how to enhance stock photography. It's a great guide if you've already made the decision to use stock imagery, but what if you aren't sure which way to go with your web design project? Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to use stock:

How long will it take you to find the perfect image?

"90% of the time I opt for a more expensive stockhouse over iStockphoto," says Chicago-area art director Sharlene King. "It's the sloppiness of keyword loading. Time equals money."

Because users submit their own tags, inexpensive stock photography websites are notoriously awful when it comes to tagging. If you're looking for a straight-forward image, like a red ball, you should find relatively accurate results; however, if you search for something even slightly subjective, get ready to spend some time digging through ridiculous results.

"Average woman"

Why does a search for an "average woman" display
a lady posing with a huge gun?
(Screengrab courtesy of Sharlene King)

"Vegetarian food"

Why does a search for "vegetarian food" include a photo
of meat fondue? (Screengrab courtesy of Sharlene King)

How long will it take you to make a not-quite-right image work?

Ask yourself: If you made the budgetary decision to save money by paying for an inexpensive stock image but ended up spending a few hours in Photoshop to make it work, was it really worth the initial savings?

How many other people might be using this image?

Is the stock image you're thinking about using popular? If it's been downloaded many times, does the risk that other websites—including your competition—make a difference to you?

Is this a prominent image or a tiny spot?

Is the stock image front and center as a key communicator of your brand? How important is authenticity in your project?

Strategically Social: The British Monarchy & Flickr

Flickr
Launched in early 2004, Flickr is one of the earliest—and most successful—social networks. Focused on being the best destination online for simple sharing of videos and pictures, Flickr continues to grow its core services by integrating new features for its free and paid users. Some of the more popular features Flickr offers include easy-to-understand image licensing with Getty Images and user-friendly online editing tools available via Picnik.

Enhance your website design with picture perfect backgrounds

When it comes to designing modern-looking websites, one of the latest trends is to focus—literally—on the big picture. Tiled texture backgrounds, once a standard for website background imagery, are becoming rare as more and more designers incorporate relevant photography as part of their website interfaces. Faster download speeds and the flexibility provided by cascading style sheets have allowed this technique to thrive.

Here are some examples of sharply executed big picture backgrounds in action:

NASA

NASA goes the traditional route and uses a huge photo as a background for its
straight-forward, more traditional based design. Using an outer space image
for the the background extends their brand and adds more pop
to their layout than a simple color or texture.

WeTransfer

WeTransfer sets itself apart from the competition, like YouSendIt and SendSpace,
by giving its users a clean,easy-to-use interface on top of a single, full-screen
image-based advertisement.

Yahoo! Mail

Yahoo! Mail, like WeTransfer, uses the background area of its interface for logging into
its mail service to present attention-getting full screen advertisements.

Ford

Ford takes advantage of a big picture background image to show-off its line of cars
through an eye-catching poster-like presentation.

MIT

MIT displays captivating news photos as the canvas for their interface
directing its visitors to stories and information about the university.

HBO

HBO promotes it programming by making stills from the movies and shows
airing on its premium cable channel fullscreen big picture backgrounds.

Coach

Coach presents an attractive carousel of product imagery
as background images to promote their products.

SNEAK PREVIEW:
Laurel Hall

TBH Creative is in the process of launching a redesign for Laurel Hall
that integrates a fullscreen big picture motif. Laurel Hall's elegant new look
will go live online soon. Watch for our announcement.

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