A quest for simplicity and elegance
Peek.usertesting.com is a great tool to check how a website is performing in terms of its usability. Inkyhands is a small site so Peek’s free five-minute tests have been enough to gather the information I needed to keep the experience as simple as possible.
I began with the main navigation. Through Google Analytics I noticed users did not visit the vaguely named ‘Studies’ section which consisted of some old and recent paintings and drawings . Throughout testing users were expressing that they were confused between the ‘Studies’ and ‘Web Projects’ sections. A decision was made to remove the ‘Studies’ section and to repurpose its content as blog posts.
The main menu has been simplified and the dropdown menu removed. Instead the user will be taken to a page that provides a clearer message about the intention of the section. During testing many people didn’t instantly ‘get’ the purpose of the website.
Simplicity isn’t something you can stick on top of a user interfaceGiles Colborne from the book ‘Simple and Usable’.
- Interaction Design – How you move a person through a system
- Design Research – Understanding the needs and goals of a user and the system as a whole
- Information Architecture – How you take information and structure it and present it back to the user
- User Experience Strategy – Pulling everything together in a coherent message that solves the clients needs
- Interface Design – The focus on maximizing usability and the user experience
Signs, image, identity
With simplicity and usability in mind I created a new logo/icon for the Inkyhands brand.
I’ve always been interested in how imagery and art have helped create the world we live in. In the beginning of civilisation, signs were used as a way of thinking and images of Buffalos, Mammoths, Deers – signs of adventure and survival in a hostile world were created. Communication began with these types of signs to express thoughts and feelings, which would grow into written language.
Images began to represent, distinguish and define human culture. Tribal signs became symbols of power such as banners, flags, and emblems. These types of symbols have the power to stimulate the imagination along with the ability to evoke feelings of association and disassociation – a vital tool for brands today.
The Inkyhands logo is relatively straight forward as a concept. It’s an ink drop with the ‘ih’ from the ‘Inkyhands’ website name centered within. The typeface is Brandon Grotesque (modern and elegant yet functional – informative and forward thinking). It’s used throughout the website as headings, sub headings and call-to-actions. FF Tisa Pro is used in the main body copy.
So along with the deep brown/black inky colour scheme, the simplicity of the user interface, the content and tone of voice a distinctive style has materialised that echoes my personality and values.
In a previous blog post I describe my process when developing an identity for a company. Here’s a short list of logos I’ve helped create.
If you need a logo designing or your brand looking at then speak to a professional. I highly recommend an ex-colleague of mine Mathew Pemberton: www.matblack.co.uk
Be Black Sheep
It’s human nature to follow the crowd, but in order to stand out, you sometimes need to stand-alone. Mike Kus believes that every client is unique, yet many websites are starting to look the same. In this fascinating 30 minute talk, Mike will share the secrets of how to extract an organisation’s identity, and use it as the inspiration for crafting truly distinctive web design.