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How to make 404 error pages useful

If you’ve spent enough time surfing the rad waves of the internet then it’s likely you’ll have stumbled upon a 404 page at some point. The 404 page is a standard response code in HTTP telling the user that they’ve clicked on a broken link somewhere. Essentially, it is an error page communicating to the…

25 June 2015Design

An introduction to the Digital pattern library

As members of a digital world, our students and staff demand a coherent experience that consistently reflects the brand and reputation of the University while allowing them to easily achieve the task at hand. Our vision is a consistent look, feel and behaviour of websites, web applications and other digital products throughout the University. At…

16 June 2015Design Digital transformation

Mobile first and responsive design

The core design mission of the new St Andrews website is to cater for mobile devices, as these are rapidly becoming the dominant medium for web. While most organisations still commission a website to look good on their computer first and work on mobile second, we have made the switch to a responsive web design…

3 June 2015Design Digital transformation

BBC News responsive redesign

BBC News switches PC users to responsive site Since the last newsletter, BBC News closed down its old desktop website design and switched all users to the responsive design that was already being displayed to mobile visitors. As is customary for a BBC News redesign, and indeed any major website redesign, the change divided opinion.…

27 May 2015Design

How the web is used in China

On China’s bleeding edge: Web design trends 2015 We, along with our colleagues in Admissions and IT Services, have been doing a lot of thinking recently about how we can best reach users in China. Web culture in China is very different to here, and it is even more difficult for us to keep on…

19 March 2015Design

Hero banners: Why are they so attractive?

What is a hero banner? You see that big, wide section at the top of most modern websites? That section with the large catchy slogan and button that is effectively tempting you to click it? That section with the fresh, inspiring photograph that really compliments the company’s brand? Yeah. That’s a hero banner.

9 March 2015Design Digital transformation

“Yes, but which fold?”

I am the fold Here is another illustration of why talking about the fold is unhelpful, and of the challenges we face in designing a webpage that will look good at a variety of different screen sizes.

4 March 2015Design

Hamburger menus perform poorly

Why we banished the hamburger menu from our iPhone app The hamburger menu is one of the oldest icons in the history of graphical user interfaces. It was included in the Xerox Star, one of the first ever graphical user interfaces. It has recently seen a renaissance on websites and apps due to the space…

18 February 2015Design

The benefits of user-centred design: Lessons learned from the Norwegian Cancer Society

The core model: Designing inside out for better results We have highlighted the story of the Norwegian Cancer Society before. After undergoing a big user-centred redesign, the organisation saw massive benefits for the business too. But this is the first time I have seen such a detailed case study of how they went about that…

12 February 2015Design

Accordions and tabs in forms

Form usability: The pitfalls of inline accordion and tab designs Accordions and tabs are common user interface elements, and we are making increasing use of accordions in the new pattern library. Research from the Baymard Institute warns against leaning too heavily on such elements in the design of forms. Forms are notoriously difficult to get…

22 December 2014Design