Web Design By Category


Instagram during the pandemic via instagram.com/cedarbeanscoffeejoint


I have some designs and content lists I use based on categories. For example, I have done several writer’s sites (especially poets) and ones for artists and photographers. Each has some unique needs. Artists and photographers obviously want to feature their images – and also protect the images so that they won’t be downloaded at high quality and used without permission. It’s hard to fully protect images other than watermarking them because it is so easy to do screen grabs. So, designers will use smaller or lower-quality images and perhaps code to disallow right-click saving.

Writers probably want to show some of their writing – an excerpt of prose and maybe a few poem samples. As with images, it’s hard to fully prevent copying of text and that may be the cost of being online. You can make a page of text into an image to prevent quick copy and paste of the text, but you may also want to share your work and sometimes even encourage sharing via social media links.

During these two COVID-19 pandemic years, many restaurants found their website more important than ever. It may have needed an upgrade to allow for placing online and takeout orders. Menus and hours may have changed. They may have wanted to include information about the safety measures in place.

I haven’t worked on any restaurant sites in a few years but I read this article on designing restaurant websites which has an eye to the special needs of that category and to what the pandemic may have changed. Small things like adding a pop-up info box or notification bar on your home page so that that you can feature changing elements (like hours, availability, or even staffing needs) is one design element that may have been needed.

I know that my local favorite coffee place, Cedar Beans Coffee Joint in Cedar Grove, New Jersey – added information (shown below) in a notification bar to its already well-designed website.

“Excited to announce 100% capacity indoors with masks optional in NJ. We are also operating with curbside delivery and walk-ups in the store. Please continue to utilize the MyCoffeeHelper app to place your orders (it’s fun!).
Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay informed about events, and promotions.”

They added the app for ordering quick and contactless pickup in the worst of these pandemic times, notifications about policy changes, and they have an email option for updates that is always useful, along with a very dynamic social media presence.

It helps that the Cedar Beans’ owner is Dave Fletcher who also runs a digital branding agency, The Mechanism, and so was well aware of what needed to be done.

Design by categories is a good approach and it always includes taking a close look at what your direct competitors as well as what others in your category are doing as best practices.

Automotive UX


instrument display in the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle


Unless you work in UX or in automotive design, you might not think about the user experience (UX) inside your car.

Most products, if not all products, have UX factors. In vehicles, that can include everything from easy ingress and egress, seating, dashboard display, rear-seat entertainment systems, and the somehow very important number and type of cup holders.

In smaller cars, the focus is split between driver and passenger with perhaps more emphasis on the driver, but in bigger vehicles, like mini-vans, UX is often geared more toward creating a great user experience for passengers.

I saw an article that the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle is the winner of the Wards 10 Best User Experience award.

Here are some factors that are considered:

  • second-row passengers may have soft leather-and-microsuede lumbar pillows
  • easy-to-reach controls and bright, clear display screens that are well organized for the driver
  • With potential distracting commotion from kids in the back, lots of features are easy to access via physical switchgear on the minivan’s center stack, rather than relying on touchscreen menus.
  • even safer for a driver is a voice-recognition system radio stations, climate, navigation and phone functions.
  • A slew of USB ports and outlets are inside for connecting or charging devices. (Four USB ports (two USB-A and two USB-C) are up front under the center stack, while second-row passengers get a bunch of the same, plus HDMI ports and a 115V AC outlet. Even the third row has USB ports.)
  • wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as WiFi and Amazon Alexa.

A big addition is the Fam Cam – a ceiling-mounted camera above the second row so parents can see what their kids are doing. It is basically a mobile, comfortable high-tech living room.