Amanda Protheroe from the Cardiff School of Health Sciences, who we will be working with us alongside Derwen during this project, visited us in the studio this week to talk to us.
Her talk really made me think more from the older peoples’ point of view and encouraged me to go away and carry out some further research of my own into how older people might perceive or interpret things.
Two key pieces of data have really stuck in my mind from Amanda’s presentation. The first of which is: 64% of older people have a visual impairment; and the other is: 20% (and rising) of 75+ year-olds have some form of dementia. Because these two stuck out to me so much, I have looked further into what it is like to have an eyesight condition or dementia.
Common eyesight difficulties and problems:
- Steady decline in vision, particularly for those who are 50+ years old.
- Glare sensitivity.
- Dim light or too much light can make it difficult to see/read.
- Slower adaption to changes in light levels.
- Colour and depth perception is not as good.
- Way finding is harder.
- Sight loss is a major factor contributing to falls and accidents.
Common dementia difficulties and problems:
- Interpreting shadows or dark areas as holes in the ground.
- Interpreting shiny surfaces as being wet.
- Interpreting bold or busy patterns as being moving objects.
- Struggling to find their way to somewhere (e.g. toilet).
Thinking about these issues that older people may have, I can use different techniques to avoid the potential problems when doing my own ideation and designing. I need to put myself in their (the older peoples’) shoes and experience it as if I am them, and not a young adult.
Things to think about:
- Using good colour contrast will definitely be effective as it will make things more easy and clear to see.
- Any print should be large enough to read – nothing below 16 pt for body text.
- Use effective lighting to reduce shadows, glare and reflections – natural light is the best.
- Good signage will enable independence, confidence and better wellbeing among the older people – iconography/imagery could work well alongside print.
- Artworks can encourage engagement and also help older people find their war around – they can use them like landmarks.
- Avoid distractions.
“Brands start on the inside with humans, and are ultimately delivered on the outside to humans.” (Interbrand)
In Neil’s workshop, he told us the story of The North Wind and the Sun.
Both the North Wind and the Sun were arguing over who was the stronger. When a traveller came along wearing a warm coat, they agreed that whoever was the first to make the traveller take his coat off, was the strongest.
First the North Wind blew as hard as he could, but the more he blew, the tighter the traveller held his coat around him, so the North Wind gave up. Next it was the Sun’s turn. The Sun shined out warmly and the traveller immediately took off his coat. The North Wind had to admit that the Sun was the stronger of the two of them.
After hearing the story, we were asked to think about what the meaning of this story was to us. We wrote down words which described the attitude of both the North Wind and the Sun in the story.
- confident, arrogent?
- threat, fear, force
- command, coercion, control
- calm, gentle, relaxing
- care, compassion, considerate, kind
The North Wind sees the traveller as a challenge, whereas the Sun sees the traveller as a person. In the story, the North Wind and the Sun represent designers, and the traveller represents the audience. Currently, in the design industry, design thinking seems to follow the North Wind’s attitude, but future-facing design is to use the Sun’s attitude. The Sun has a much more empathetic approach.
For this project, I think that understanding empathy and how it relates to the clients and my response to client needs, is really important. I will definitely be taking the Sun approach in my design work from now on.
Today Cath Davies visited us in the Graphics studio to give us a talk on persuasion.
One of first stages of the project should be to find what existing campaigns are already out there relating to our topic area. After dong this, then you can relate your own ideas to them. You can borrow techniques from existing campaigns, explain your design decisions including why you’ve chosen to do it, etc. You can also talk about techniques that you don’t like, if there are any, and why.
Techniques that generate response:
- Images – relating to the client’s organisation. Which images and why?
- Text and typography – what information is provided about the organisation? Language and its connotation? Relationship to the image?
- Framing, colour, narrative themes, and motifs.
In the session with Cath, she showed us a range of different persuasion campaign posters relating to a particular topic, for us to analyse. The posters that she showed us were all on the topic of animal testing, focusing more specifically on, anti-fur campaigns. She said that we should consider the techniques used that encourage either informative or emotive responses to the client’s need.
Informative: this is the information part; it is usually text – the information goes to the viewer’s brain/head and it can make them think – the informative part is often a call to action.
Emotive: this can be images or text that appeal to the viewer’s emotions, causing for example, feelings of sadness, disgust, or anger.
Using Cath’s [famous] columns, we considered the range of techniques employed to raise awareness in the examples that Cath had picked out. We talked about the possible advantages and disadvantages of the techniques and design approaches used, from the viewer’s perspective.
This week, our keynotes lecture was with Dr. Ashley Morgan and was all about research, research, research!
Firstly, what is research?
It comes from the desire to discover meaning, to find out more about a subject, the way that a particular thing works, or the manner in which certain things hand occurred.
When undertaking a dissertation, you need to:
- Ask the question, what does it mean?
- Examine, explore, discover and give context to your ideas.
- Discover what existing academic authors write – what arguments, ideas, proposals, debates, information or background information, is already out there?
- Find the right contextual research to look into – use peer reviewed texts (use MetSearch).
- Think about how the research that’s done by others and is already out there, is going to impact on your dissertation.
- Remember, your research forms a basis for your literature review – it gives you a ‘backdrop’ from which you can write your ideas.
What is not research?
- An examination of any old text that you might find
- Newspapers – no Daily Mail!
- Random trawls on the internet – Google is too big, use Google Scholar for academics
- Something you do quickly – research takes time; start now!
- Asking your friends for information which you can then use as ‘evidence’ in your dissertation
- Asking people questions, posting polls on social media – you need ethical clearance for anything like this
How do I go about researching?
- Read academic work in the area.
- Keep thinking of your idea – how can other people’s work that’s already out there inform it?
- Where do you begin seeking information? MetSearch / Google Scholar – you can use inter-library loan to order in any books or papers that the University library does not have for free.
What am I going to do now?
I have filled in my dissertation planning form – the topic that I am going to look at is: The relationship between Graphic Design and subcultures. I have chosen to not look at how just one inform the other one, but instead at how they both inform each other. I want to look at both older subcultures, such as punk, and more post-modern subcultures such as, hipster, and see if and how the relationships have changed through history. I am going to look back at the bibliography I wrote for my essay on subcultures that I did at Level 4 and see if any of those texts could help me again with my current research. I plan to look into Jamie Reid as one of my designers.
This evening, I decided to attend and take part in a seminar by the Google Digital Garage that was taking place.
The presentation was given by Mike, from Google Digital Garage, which is based at The Tram Shed in Grangetown, Cardiff. Aside from the presentations they regularly hold, they said that they also offer free tips and advice to businesses via one to one mentoring sessions.
Mike went through four key areas with us, throughout the evening, about running a business and having your business online:
- Building an optimised and consumer friendly website
- Boosting your social media presence and content
- Managing your online presence on Google
- Gaining customer insights and finding new customers
Building an optimised and consumer friendly website
I learnt that the UK has the largest percentage of online consumers than any other country. With these statistics, it shows that it is clearly important to be online as a business, as you would surely gain benefits hugely.
UK – 77% > Japan – 70% > Germany – 64% > China – 49% > Italy – 36%
We looked at ways to make sure that you have a presence online. Firstly, it is of course important to have your own website. You can have a website in two main different ways; either have your own website that you create from scratch (or pay someone else to) yourself or you create one using another web platform (for example, using WordPress or Wix). These two options come with both pros and cons.
The pros of having your own website are that, you have full control over your brand and you have the opportunity for advanced options. However, the cons are that they are difficult to create, particularly on your own if you don’t have much expertise in the field, and then it can also become costly when paying someone else to create a website for you also. The pros that come alongside creating a website using another web platform are that, they are quick and easy to setup and they are low cost, if not completely free. On the other hand, the main con is that you have less control over customisation as you often have to follow a given template.
Now we knew that it was a good idea for us to have our own website, next we looked at how to build a successful one. A successful website should include:
- Clear purpose and goal
- Clean layout and navigation
- Strong call to action
- Fast page loading time
- Mobile first design
Mike also showed us a great Google website that allows you to test your site to see how it works across all devices: testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com. It looks at how well your site works on both mobile and desktop and then where your site may be poorer in some areas, it gives you tips on how you can fix and improve them.
We also looked at how to design your website best for a mobile. A successful design should be:
- Prominent call to action
- Simple and clear navigation links
- Streamline form fills
- Optimised for small screens
Boosting your social media presence and content
Aside from having a website, it is also important to maintain a digital presence from other platforms, such as social media (e.g. Facebook and Twitter). As well as social media, this includes selling engines (e.g. Ebay or Etsy), a blog (e.g. WordPress) and review sites. Did you know that there are, in the UK alone, 38 million active social media users? That’s a huge amount! Imagine how many people could find you and your business, whether it be intentionally or unintentionally, on the web every day – a lot!
When boosting your social media presence, it is also important to consider your audience – your customers. Where are they online? What do they do online? Who do they follow online?
Make sure that you write an effective social media bio for your customers to see. You should keep it relevant to your business, keep it clear and consistent and show your personality and have fun.
Don’t forget the power of YouTube either – another great social media platform to be taken advantage of wherever and whenever you can. YouTube is the second biggest search engine (after Google themselves) in the entire world! In order to create great YouTube content, be a though leader, create sharable content and identify potential collaborators.
Some great YouTube tips, given by the Creator Academy, include:
- Give your audience the power to watch what they want – think about what they want to see and then create it
- Be human and interact – have a conversation with your viewers, like you’re their friend
- Think about what attracts new viewers
- Don’t make just a one off video; keep it on ongoing series – create a narrative to engage
Managing your online presence on Google
This one’s simple! Make your business appear front and centre – get it onto Google My Business. That way, when people look for you or a business like yours, they’ll find you.
Gaining customer insights and finding new customers
Search is and always has been extremely important when it comes to gaining customers. Back when the internet didn’t exist, search was still around, just in a different form – the Yellow Pages. Now, even the Yellow Pages and moved online and have become yell.com. Online search is just one absolutely giant business directory, and with Google being the biggest search engine in the world, you better make sure your business is on it! New consumers, which is exactly what your business is after, have a journey that they go through when making a process. This involves: stimulus > research > purchase > experience. Search, is what’s at the heart of this purchase journey.
It’s always important to be found online. Why? Let’s look at some statistics. Did you know that 4 out of every 5 consumers use the web to find local information? And that 50% of these consumers visit a store within a day of their local search? You should surely be making the most of this – get Google My Business, so that all these potential customers, can become your customers.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the name given to activity that attempts to improve search engine rankings. For example, in search results, Google displays links to pages it considers relevant and authoritative. Authority is mostly measured by analysing the number and quality of links from other web pages. This means essentially, your web pages have the potential to rank in Google so long as other web pages link to them. Some of the best SEO practices include:
- Conducting keyword analysis and research – find out what your customer is searching for
- Creating useful and quality content
- Optimising your web pages – make sure that they shine across all stations, both desktop and mobile
It’s not just SEO on your desktop, you can optimise your mobile SEO too by:
- Avoiding uncommon mobile software
- Optimising your content to the screen
- Creating easy, clickable links
- Avoiding pop-ups if possible – they’re annoying
It’s brilliant to be able to give your audience what they want, so it’s also great that you can find out exactly who you’re customers are and what your customers are searching for. Use Google Analytics to help you find who your visitors and audience are, how they found you, what they’re doing on your site and what they’re worth to you. For Google Analytics, the path to success is to, set-up your website, collect data, create and set yourself goals, measure the insights and then take actions upon your findings. You can also use Google Trends to find out what your customers are searching for – you can see both regional and related searches here.
Search engine marketing is the process of gaining visitors and visibility for your website from search engines, through both paid and unpaid methods. Google Adwords is a great and useful way to optimise these efforts – it is a pay-per-click (PCC) model which means that you don’t pay anything unless a user actually clicks on your advert. The model also allows you to define your business goals, create your landing page and tracking, and determine your budget. When using Adwords, you can use a keyword planner to search volume data for keywords and ad groups, as well as get traffic estimates for keywords. Adwords uses a specific layout, but in order to write a great advert for yourself, you should include: why customers should choose you; details that sell; an irresistible offer; and a call to action.
And finally, in order to create an engaging landing page for once the user has found you and your business’s website, you should include:
- Clear call to action
- Offer (for example, 20% your first purchase)
- Narrow focus – just the most important attributes; don’t clutter
- Effective headline
- Resolution savvy layout
- Tidy visuals
- Social proof
Overall, the presentation and the evening as a whole really showed me that there are great ways and opportunities that I can use and take to push and promote both myself and my business. One of the first and foremost things that I plan on doing when setting up my own business, probably after leaving university, is to put it straight onto Google Business to make sure that I am accessible and easy to be found by potential customers. I will also most likely take part in some search engine marketing, such as Google Adwords, which is the ‘pay-per-click’ kind – this has the potential to increase my discoverability and to gain more viewers and customers. Perhaps if I struggle with anything and could do with a recap, I could call in on the Cardiff Digital Garage at The Tram Shed to take them up on one of their mentoring sessions that they offer there.