Design is my life. As a graphic designer and problem solver, over the past several years I have worked with grids, typography, and images to create beautiful, memorable, and powerful pieces that resonate with my audience. As a technology enthusiast, I especially love working in website design and development as well as interaction design, for the infinite possibilities and interactive experiences on any device. I enjoy working with the technology and seeing how I can apply it to design problems. Over the past several years I have developed my design skills, taking advantage of the grid, in order to create layouts from print to web that are logical and purposefully done. Today as I design and develop for the web and mobile devices in addition to using the web ever more on smaller screens, I constantly see how many sites do not take advantage of or are not efficient with their use of the grid, as well as those that are not responsive, which makes them difficult to use on smaller screens. Being familiar with the grid and what it affords as well as what responsive design is, the benefits, and its connection to the grid, I began to pursue this concept. I also read about resistance from clients regarding responsive design and how as many people, including myself, believe it is our job as designers to educate our clients about what we are doing and why. Enter The Grid, which formed as a result of my own experiences and research, and seeks to create a more modern, beautiful web through education and demonstration. I’m passionate because I use the web every day on several devices and I, along with many others, expect websites to be optimized for and adapt to different screen sizes. I expect that things don’t just work, but work well and take advantage of what’s available to them. Content that is accessible everywhere is not only good for the user, but also good, if not great for the client. If content is not accessible everywhere, it has the potential to be very costly— it could be the difference between a couple choosing one restaurant over another because their menu was easily accessible and readable on their smartphone versus a menu that was designed for a 20 inch screen. Clients need to be educated why responsive design matters and the impact it can have. Once educated about the benefits they can make an informed decision and work with their designer to create a website that is built for the modern web.
While being a technology enthusiast, I’m also a designer and problem solver. I am knowledgeable about the latest technology as well as the needs of designers and clients. I’ve worked with clients previously and understand that they are not always knowledgeable about technology and need complex concepts explained in a way that they can understand. They want to know, why and how would this technology be beneficial for their business. This makes me the right person to address my target audience, I am a designer and I know what designers want, but also want clients want. I’m also a user and constantly encounter sites that are not responsive, making for a frustrating experience on mobile devices. I can build a site that addresses the needs of both designers, who need to pitch responsive design to clients, but also to clients who want to know why they should invest in responsive design.
For The Grid, the target audience is both designers and clients, for the designer is the one pitching responsive design to the client, who may not be aware of what responsive design is and the benefits. The primary audience is designers, aged 22-30, who are passionate about web development and interaction design, and are attempting to pitch a responsive website to a client:
This is Joe. Joe is 25 years old and works as a freelance web designer and developer in Brooklyn, NYC. Joe has a bachelor’s degree and is intertwined with both the New York City and online design and development communities. He regularly attends networking events, seminars, and workshops to learn about new techniques and connect with others in the industry. Online he can be found reading articles, guest writing, and commenting on blogs such as A List Apart and Smashing Magazine. He always has his iPhone with him, as it is how he accesses information online when he isn’t home. With his freelance design work, his typical clientele are small and medium businesses, usually in the metropolitan area. With most of his older clients, he will have to explain new technologies and the importance of them, which stems from resistance where clients feel these new technologies are “too complicated” or “too expensive.”
The secondary audience are clients, aged 35-44, who have some understanding about technology, but are hesitant to adopt new technology, for it is difficult to understand or they see it as too expensive to invest in. They want to see the benefits of it and how it will improve their business and sales. They care that it works and it will help them generate future business:
Meet Leslie. Leslie is 38 years old, has a bachelor’s degree, and owns a small seafood restaurant in SoHo, NYC. She spends most of her days at her business, helping out her employees and managing the day-to-day affairs of her restaurant. Like any other business, she is always interested in growing her business and reaching out to new customers. She frequently connects with other businesses in her area. Leslie understands some technology and some of the benefits, an example being her business has a page on Facebook and Twitter. She has a website for her restaurant (photos, menus, directions, and other information) that she is looking to redesign. She has hired a designer who has suggested her website should resize for different devices, but she wants to know more about it and why she should pay for it. She wants things explained in a way that is easy to understand and is to the point. She wants to know how will this technology help grow my business, not the technical details, but the real world results.
This past week made progress in determining my target audiences. Based on feedback from Adrian and Prof. Lee last class, I’ve established who I am targeting, younger designers and older clients (specifically small-medium business owners). I conducted a third survey specifically for small and medium business owners, which I promoted and received a number of responses. Based on this I saw a trend in older respondents (clients), where their current sites aren’t responsive, are not familiar with the term “responsive design,” and they would be less willing to spend money on a responsive site, as opposed to their younger (25-34) counterparts, who largely understood the need to be accessible on many devices and were more willing to adopt a responsive website. I decided that I would be focusing on older (35-44) clients (small-medium business owners) as my secondary audience because based on the feedback, these older clients are who a designer would need to work more with to persuade and convince them of a responsive design, what it is, and all of the benefits, so that the client would choose the responsive site. This was a response from a small-medium business owner highlighting the need for clear and straightforward information about new technology:
I love it, but there is so much to learn! Sometimes it can be overwhelming to have to learn new tasks all the time when all you want is a simple form/answer/function. — Age 35-44.
This week I want to focus on content and outlining what The Grid is and what it offers, in terms of more specific features and sections as well as think about the name. I personally like the name, The Grid, but I’d like to brainstorm some additional ideas, that may lead me to other parts of my project. I also want to conduct more surveys of my target audiences to determine specific features.