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.
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).
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.
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
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 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.
RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN
Responsive web design allows sites to automatically adapt to the screen size of the device on which
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
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.
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
A scrolling technique where various images move at different speeds or change size, giving a 3d illusion.
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.
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.
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.