The Beauty of Web Design Patterns

An example of a customer-centered pattern.

As a third semester student in a web design graduate program, you would think I’d have heard of customer-centered web design patterns by now. Actually, I haven’t, and it’s an extremely fascinating subject and the topic of an entire course I’m taking this fall semester. Basically, any webpage can be categorized into a design pattern (assuming it’s designed properly and for a purpose). For example, there are webpages that feature cross-selling patterns to news mosaic patterns, and everything in between. Essentially, each pattern addresses an issue. So for instance, if a company identifies that its problem is that clients are buying just one product, rather than many related ones, they can pinpoint, and then implement, the appropriate pattern. In this can, the pattern would be among “Pattern Group G”, entitled Cross-Selling and Up-Selling. These patterns are available in brief online and in-depth in the textbook, The Design of Sites: Patterns for Creating Winning Web Sites, which I’m required to read for class. Although this topic is a bit complex, I think it would have been beneficial to have been introduced it a few semesters earlier. Indeed, being armed with a collection of customer-centered web design patterns that are tried and tested is useful to any designer, especially a novice web designer like me!

I looked at a few websites and noted that Kohl’s uses the Recommendation Community Pattern.

The Cross-Selling and Up-Selling Pattern is used by Williams-Sonoma.

Sephora’s homepage employs the Featured Products Pattern.

It’s All About Understanding Your Audience

Millenials are hard to impress, according to comScore’s research. It’s easy to see why–from game consoles to iPhones, they have a lot at their fingertips.

In today’s rapidly changing world, it is more important than ever to understand your audience. Whether you are designing a digital advertisement or producing a TV commercial, it is critical to know how your audience will react and find out ways to enhance their response.

Marketers are constantly learning new things about the audiences they are marketing towards. For instance, the “millennial” generation, or people born between 1981 and 2000 are a unique group of people that is forcing researchers to delve deeper into how they tick. In fact, research has found that millennials, like me, have a short attention span, are comfortable with new technologies, and are highly engaged with the content they choose to view. Sounds like a tricky bunch and somewhat of an enigma to marketers who have had their work cut out for them in the past (i.e. a very clear audience group with less variables). While millennials may be a more difficult group to advertise to they are a lucrative one. They stand at 79 million in the U.S. and their purchasing power is estimated at a staggering $170 billion.

If marketers are to be successful in grabbing the attention of this group they have to understand the nuances of the millennials and cater advertising, brands, and websites, etc. to this picky group. One way to do this, according to the class reading by comScore, is to focus on creativity in advertisements and recognize that digital marketing is a feasible platform for this group.  As a member of the millennial generation, my first question to comScore is: Isn’t creativity a given? Was creativity not a mainstay of previous advertisements to other generations? I would have thought a main pillar of advertising is creativity.

As a person who works in the marketing/communications domain, I know that complacency and not injecting creativity, originality, and thought into marketing material is not what we strive for. So in that respect, I think the results of the comScore white paper were disappointing. I was expecting a detailed chapter on how marketers can successfully capture millenials attention and benefit their brands. Instead, the conclusion listed a few terse lines. To be sure, the reading was insightful because of the statistics provided but the paper overall was weak and not as impactful as it could have been.  C’est dommage (That’s a pity)!

Summer Hiatus Is Over—I’m Back!

Where I spent my summer weekends (southern coast of Lebanon)

During the last few months, “write a blog post” was on my to-do list. Unfortunately, my full-time job and two summer grad courses (who am I kidding, beach outings and social events too) got in the way. But that is all about to change. I’ve just started my third graduate semester at the University of Florida and one of my course’s assignments will involve regular blog posts. That’s right, I’m back for several more months! Hopefully, the routine will stick this time around and I’ll continue to write long after the course is over. We shall see…