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Happy July 4th!

The American Revolution by the Numbers (Infographic)  Read more…

Why a Responsive Website is Good for Business

A responsive website – designed so that each page fluidly adapts to various screen sizes of desktop and mobile devices – has important business implications. Read more…

Color and Marketing–it’s All in Your Head

Color plays a huge role in branding and marketing and has been viewed as having innate emotional powers. Read more…

Why Trade Shows Work (Infographic)

The opportunity for face to face meetings and for customers to see and touch products is an important consideration in determining whether your company should participate in a show. Consider these facts: Read more…

5 Tips for Building Brand Awareness (Infographic)

Ok, so you own or work for a great company, which offers terrific products or services– this means little if no one knows about you or if their perceptions about you are outdated. Read more…

Get Your Doodle On

 

Though often viewed as a mindless activity and a waste of time, recent studies have cast a new light on the fine art of doodling.

 

Helps with Memory and Problem-Solving

Researchers believe doodling helps the brain focus by keeping the mind from wandering.

In a 2009 experiment conducted at the University of Plymouth, 40 people were given a simple set of instructions to take rsvp information over the phone from people going to a party. The group of 40 was divided in two. One group of 20 was told to doodle and the other 20 didn’t. The doodlers recalled 29% more information than did the non-doodlers.

A 2011 article in Science journal reported that when science students drew visualizations of course material instead of using words, they had a deeper understanding of the concepts and could effectively communicate them to others.

 

 

Famous Doodlers

Mark Twain, Michelangelo, Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, Winston Churchill, Ralph Waldo Emerson and several U.S. presidents are but a few famous doodlers.

(From top to bottom below are doodles from Kurt Vonnegut, JFK, and Mark Twain).

famous-doodles

 

Strategic Doodling

Doodling can and is being used in business–Facebook, Disney, Google, Zappos, and Turner Broadcasting are just a few of the companies who’ve recognized the value of “visual note taking”.

Outlining a business strategy in a doodle can be a more effective way of communicating that strategy to others. In addition, doodling can make meetings shorter and more efficient–a study from the Wharton School found meetings using doodling were 24% shorter than those not using it. In addition, doodling with co-workers can be particularly effective since addressing a problem with a shared visual helps a group more quickly come to a consensus and see the bigger picture.

 

Becoming a Successful Visual Thinker

Sunni Brown, Doodle Evangelist and author of The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently recommends listening for metaphors and similes that express abstract ideas in visual terms. “Look for cues in the narrative than can structure your doodles. Don’t worry about missing a key point, misspelling a word or messing up your sketch. There has to be a suspension of judgment. It’s like Pictionary, you just have to go. Forgive yourself and move on.”

 

Drawing Conclusions (Pardon the Pun)

Doodling taps into our innate propensity for visual learning, which results in:

  • Improved information recall
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Better mental focus

So the next time you want to convey an idea, get more out of a meeting or improve your memory, try visual note taking and let the ideas flow. You might even decide to join the Doodle Revolution.

Fending off the Marketing Dead

Beware undead websites, mindless ads, bloodthirsty campaigns, and wandering hordes…

zombie-infographic

Quality, Speed and Price Nails it for Real Estate Development Company

Municipal Development Services (MDS) is a full-service real estate development company focused on the government sector. Their services include: site selection, space planning, design & construction, accounting and project financing.

Situation: Before coming to Stroud & Associates, MDS had spent months and thousands of dollars trying to get a website designed and programmed with little to show for it. Additionally, they faced a looming deadline for a major RFP submission, which necessitated having the website done within 3 weeks. Since the site would be 25-30 pages and only two pages of copy was written, this was an aggressive timeline.

It was essential the site feature easily accessible information on MDS’s projects. The client also wanted to be able to update content themselves and have the site display properly across mobile devices.

Solution: MDS severed ties with its original design firm and hired us. We chose WordPress–a free open source content management system (CMS)–as the site development tool. Its flexibility and ease of use made it the perfect choice to create a modern site that MDS could easily update.

The site text was designed, written, programmed and launched in just under 3 weeks—2 days before the RFP submission deadline.

MDS was as a true partner in working to get the site live by having a point person who:

  • Quickly provided content (copy points, photos etc.)
  • Answered questions
  • Utilized an efficient approval process

This was crucial in allowing us to deliver quality and speed at a reasonable price, since it reduced time spent chasing down content and approvals.

“We couldn’t be more pleased…Stroud & Associates exceeded our expectations
and delivered what was promised.”

– Don Chandler Principal, Municipal Development Services

www.mds-ga.com
MDS homepage

Flat, Responsive, Infinite—Some Web Design Trends

The web is a constantly changing entity–what’s hot now may be passé in a few months. With that in mind, here are some design/functionality trends that have become more prevalent in 2013 and will carry on into 2014.

FLAT DESIGN
Flat Design is marked by a simpler, cleaner look, emphasizing content by:

  • Use of bold colors
  • Elimination of drop shadows (or use of very subtle ones)
  • Elimination of textures
  • Clean typography
  • Two dimensional flat illustrations/icons

Flat design can be particularly beneficial on mobile devices where a clean, legible interface is essential.

Windows8

Flat design is featured prominently in Windows 8.

Examples of flat design.

RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN
Responsive web design allows sites to automatically adapt to the screen size of the device on which
they’re viewed.

responsive

Some of the benefits of a responsive site include:

  • Elimination of the need for a separate mobile site
  • Smoother user experience since the responsive site is optimized for the device on which it’s being viewed
  • Google endorsed for mobile SEO as it makes it easier for their algorithms to work with a single url
  • Faster content update since only a single site is involved

Examples of responsive web design

INFINITE SCROLLING
As a user scrolls down a page, more content loads automatically. This precludes having to wait for pages to
preload–making for a more efficient browsing experience–especially for heavy content sites.

infinite scroll

In particular, sites with user-generated content can benefit from infinite scrolling. Also where content is
represented by images and the user isn’t looking for specific information.

Twitter, Pinterest and Google Images use this type of scrolling.

The drawbacks of infinite scrolling:

  • After clicking on a link, the user can’t return to where they were on a list before clicking
  • Site visitors may feel they can’t get anywhere and get frustrated
  • It uses lots of browser memory

Examples of infinite scrolling:
http://www.reunitetheriver.com/#
http://journey.lifeofpimovie.com/#!/

PARALLAX DESIGN
A scrolling technique where various images move at different speeds or change size, giving a 3d illusion.

parallax

Here some examples.

EXPRESSIVE TYPOGRAPHY
It used to be that a website had to draw from a relatively limited pool of “web-safe” fonts–those that were common across PC and Mac platforms.

typography

The advent of Google and Adobe Edge fonts among others, have opened up a world of possibilities for web typography. There’s no longer any reason for Arial, Georgia, Verdana and the other “usual suspects” to be so ubiquitous on websites.

Site typography can now better reflect the personality of its respective organization, company or institution.

Click for examples.

Will these web trends be short-lived or with us for awhile? Who knows, but either way it’ll be interesting to see where web design goes in the next year or two.