In this NAMP Ignite Talk, Bryan Joseph Lee of Round House Theatre discusses five major trends that the arts are up against and shares how the field can best address and respond to these trends for a more vibrant future.
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Is the new trend
Friday, April 21, 2017
Pictures of a 5-year-old girl from suburban Seattle, dressed up as her heroines — Angela Davis, Rosa Parks and other African-American women who fought for freedom — were shown at the International Center of Photography recently. On Thursday night, they were followed by images of displaced migrants in a Tunisian refugee camp.
When it comes to whether or not links should open in the same or new windows/tabs, the answer for most arts organizations is straightforward: links should open in the same window/tab.
Before diving into why this is the case and how to determine when they should open in new windows/tabs, we’re going to approach this from a contemporary web environment and take a few things for granted:
- It’s rare for web users to have multiple browser windows open. As such, we’re going to simply use the term “tab” to encompass both window and tab link targets.
- We’re going apply a mobile first perspective. Since switching from one tab to another on a mobile device is a very different experience than a desktop, you’ll want to keep that in mind when reviewing the following recommendations.
Users Expect Control
Thanks to mobile devices, users have become trained to expect links to open in the same screen, which quickly became a default mobile browser setting to help reduce bandwidth usage.
Once broadband cellular connections became common, major OS developers like Apple and Google discovered users instinctively preferred this behavior. After a good bit of user research, Apple expanded the concept beyond the web browser and incorporated it into the way iOS functions.
With the introduction of iOS9, Apple rolled out a feature called “back to app.” In a nutshell, Apple started encouraging users to move back and forth not only from one website to another in the same tab, but switching back and forth from mutually exclusive apps.
One of the most common examples is opening a link to a website from an email. With the back to app feature, you now see a link in the top, left hand corner of your browser to return to the previous app.
Apple’s “back to app” feature in action promotes seamless user flow from one app to the next.
Not only did this reduce a three-tap action to a single-tap, but the software designers ended up giving users what they want: direct control over their user interface.
Exceptions to the Rule
Although your default action should be opening links in the same tab, here are a few instances where opening links in new tabs is recommended.
- HUGE files. For example, let’s say you need to link directly to some print quality images or a press kit that are larger than 50MB each. Loading that page in the background so the user can continue his/her browsing flow is strongly recommended. I would go so far to say that you’ll likely see users saving those direct file links directly to their local device.
- Interrupting an unsaved process. Let’s say a user is completing a really long form or a form broken up over multiple pages, like feedback surveys. In those situations, a user can easily lose values s/he has filled in if leaving that page. That is all kinds of frustrating, so if any links to off-page content exist in that process, they should open in a new tab.
- Point of conversion pages. A good example here would be the checkout page in an e-commerce process where the user is entering his/her payment info. This is the single most important page of that conversion process, and losing them here reduces the likelihood for completing that conversion. Although you really shouldn’t have any links on this page other than the “submit” button, one common caveat is a help link. If you provide one on the checkout page, make sure it opens in a new tab.
Pro Tip: opening links in new tabs should be so outside the norm for your site, you need to include a notice warning the user when to expect it. That notice can be as simple as using the external link icon or a text notice. They’ll be appreciative you did.
So there you have it: if there isn’t a good reason* for a link to open in a new tab, it should open in the same tab as part of your website’s default behavior.
In the end, users want and expect that level of control over their browsing experience. The sooner it becomes part of your site’s user flow architecture, the better.
*For the record, “links inside our site should open in a new tab and everything else should open in a new tab” does not qualify as a good reason.
Bonus Tutorial: Setting Text Link Targets in WordPress
Here’s how you can easily set a text-based link target inside WordPress to open in the same or new tab:
- After highlighting the text to link and selecting the “link” toolbar button, select the Gear icon to the right of the URL dialog box.
- In the subsequent popup screen, you’ll see a checkbox option for “Open link in a new tab.” It’s tough not to notice that by default; WordPress sets links to open in the same tab, so #HintidyHintHint.
That’s all there is to it, so in those rare instances where you need a link to open in a new tab, that’s how you get it done.
This post originally appeared on ArtsHacker.com.
Do you want to use Instagram as a revenue stream?
Friday, November 25, 2016
Jasmine Star, a professional photographer who specializes in Instagram marketing, shares her story—which starts with law school, transitions over to photography, and ultimately goes to Instagram. Jasmine is sure to inspire you with ways to sell with Instagram.
Why is it that so many people think they can’t draw? Where did we learn to believe that? Graham Shaw shatters this illusion—quite literally—in a very practical way. He demonstrates how the simple act of drawing has the power to make a positive difference in the world.
Having lost his ability to walk at age 5, and the ability to breathe solely on his own later in life, Dr. Victor Pineda has grown to become the consummate multi-hyphenate: scholar, professor, activist, filmmaker, international guest speaker, social design thinker, and White House appointee under President Obama. His day job affords him the ability to travel the world, working with governments, businesses, and locals on inclusion initiatives for persons with disabilities. His passions afford him a creative twist on everything he does, from adapting and creating new technologies, to working with the likes of Microsoft and the UN. On Innovation Crush, Victor dishes on several principles of innovation from universal design thinking, to the power of simplification, to policy change. More at worldenabled.org.
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” —Steve Jobs
While I am neither a designer nor a marketing expert, I do fall under the category of the typical hasty millennial who will often close out of a tab when I am unable to find the information I am looking for after scanning a website after a whole 10 seconds.
I guess this makes me part of the new generation that is changing the way we all consume information.
Lately, I’ve been intrigued by “viewing patterns” of people; i.e., the pattern in which people view, in this case, websites. People who stick around longer than a few seconds on your website should be able to scan through the focal points in your website design to gain the most important message(s) that you need to communicate.
The ugly truth is: over the past 15 years, our patience has decreased. Studies show that the percentage of page views that last more than 10 minutes is only 4% (source). Here’s the good news: you can structure your content into logical patterns, and the chance of the average visitor leaving your site will decrease!
So, I pose a question to you: is your website designed with visual hierarchy (and I’m not referring to the visual identity, such as imagery, color schemes, and typography) in mind? If the answer is “no,” then this blog is here to help.
Why Scanning Patterns Are Important
One of the most important “must haves” for your website is an intentional scanning pattern, or the positioning of the content on your site. A scanning pattern is effective when one of the elements on a webpage has a powerful influence on the overall order of the rest of the page, and how your visitors’ eyes sort through it. When done well, the scanning pattern leads to smarter navigation—a critical aspect of the user experience.
(And as a tech-savvy millennial living and working in a world filled with content, there’s one truth I’ve come to know: if your website doesn’t provide user-friendly navigation by way of effective pattern, another website will.)
Pattern Types: The ‘F’ Pattern and the ‘Z’ Pattern
There are two predominant pattern that help users find what they are looking for in seconds. Let’s take a look!
The ‘F’ Pattern: Best for sites where calls to action won’t overwhelm content
The F pattern works with our natural reader’s behavior. Information is placed left to right, top to bottom. The end result is something that looks like the letters F or E. CNN and The New York Times both use the F Pattern. The F Pattern is practical because:
- Users rarely read every word; instead, they scan.
- The first two paragraphs are the most important content and should contain your hook.
- Paragraphs, subheads, and bullet points usually have enticing keywords.
The ‘Z’ Pattern: When simplicity is a priority
The ‘Z’ pattern is an effective pattern that is not centered on text, which is huge for many users—including myself. The most important information is placed on the top of the page, whether because of the menu bar (my favorite) or simply out of a habit of reading left-to-right from the top. When the eye reaches the end, it shoots down and left, and repeats a horizontal search on the lower part of the page. A perfect example is the National Arts Marketing Project home page.
- The Z pattern addresses hierarchy, branding, and calls to action.
- Most Western readers will scan a site the same way that they would scan a book—top to bottom, left to right.
- It provides a foundation from which you can pretty much go anywhere (i.e., quick access to sub-pages).
- Important information is always visible and immediate CTA is clearly visible.
Juliet Ramirez is a member of Americans for the Arts.
Images source: Envato Tuts+
5 years ago, Chris Redlitz walked into San Quentin prison for the first time. He came out a changed man...luckily only 3 hours later. The serial entrepreneur and technology visionary had reluctantly visited to speak to inmates about entrepreneurship, but the passion he witnessed in that room convinced him to start The Last Mile, a business and technology incubator inside San Quentin, the oldest prison in California. On Innovation Crush, Chris walks us through his passion, personal transformation, the differences between incarcerated entrepreneurs and free businessmen...oh, and that one time he sailed from California to Hawaii.