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Why not templates - Visakh Viswambharan

Since Visakh Viswambharan started working on the web and the mobile industry a common question, which he came across, is “Should I go ahead with a template design?” His immediate answer would be “NO, I would be jobless then” 🙂 Since it’s a common question, it’s better to answer in a comprehensively, why he think so. Below are few points, which you need to consider while making a decision on custom verses templates.

Uniqueness and Originality

Obviously the templates are popular, that’s what the providers claim on their websites too. It would be true, but in this case, your website will lose its uniqueness. How would your design stand out, If every second website your customer browses looks similar? How will you cut through the clutter, if you lack originality/uniqueness? A unique website is always judged by its layout. If the layout is common, it doesn’t attract the visitors.

Limited Customisation

The templates are rigid, you can’t do too much of customisation on a template. The options are limited, what best you can do is to change text or image. Not to mention, majority of the templates look more or less the same.

SEO challenges

I have seen many issues in terms of SEO, somehow Google doesn’t like the template sites. For instance, the most popular WordPress sites are hard to optimize for the Search Engines. How many times have you landed in a templated website while you were searching for some information on Google?

Performance

Be ready to take the beating in terms of loading speed. As it is a template, you are bound to have many lines of unwanted codes, which will affect the performance of the site. Many people ignore performance, no user likes waiting. It’s high time you realise, performance is equally important as look and feel.

Adaptability

Would you like to stick to your brand guidelines and build a website which depicts what your company stands for or make adjustments based on some plug and play template, which was built for thousands of lazy customers? Do you really want to compromise?

Scalability

As I mentioned earlier, this medium is ever evolving. You might want to add more features at a later stage or move to a powerful server. Data migration can get quite tough. Many template server providers don’t support this. So choose wisely, better safe than sorry.

Cheap

Here comes the biggest trap. Do you really think you can customise the theme without coding knowledge? Not really, you have to invest time or money to learn how to code a webpage or hire someone to help you. The moment you start adding your own graphics and content, the template is likely to break. Sometimes you will realise that you want to scale or add a new feature and you might have to put the entire template site into the trash and build from the scratch. Is it really cheap? It is really not when you think long term. And yes templates are cheap because they look cheap 🙂

Everybody wants freedom and fights for it. If you are ready to be caged then you can go ahead with a predefined template. You may feel suffocated at times. Today, all the products are evolving; you might like to add a new feature to the site. What if the templates are not providing the option? Would you go ahead and rebuild a new site?

If you have limited budget and are looking for a quick rollout, you might consider templates. But again, would you want a site that is not easily findable on Google?

Simply put; if you have a business that can make money, find a good developer. The cost will be negligible compared to the return. If you don’t have a serious product or your living does not depend on it then go ahead with a template.

Web & App Special - Creative Gaga

Published in Issue 31

This Web and App special issue brings forward some very talented digital and web designers along with experts from top few digital/ UI & UX studios of India. Also, Visakh Viswambharan, founder of AppinessInteractive answered a very common client question, ‘ Why not templates?’ in our Vantage View article.

 

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The perception of design has changed from just serving a purpose to one that encourages you to express. Taxi Fabric is a platform that does exactly that and so much more; a canvas is laid out for young designers to collaborate with taxi drivers of Mumbai and express themselves to showcase the eccentricities of this beloved city.

Giving a facelift to the typical yellow and black taxi

Taxis across Mumbai have the economical brown/black standard upholstery which is being shooed out by unique creations done by hand-picked designers. The important thing however is to look beyond the colour and design to the driver’s delight and the reactions of his customer who sometimes end up leaving a huge tip for an enjoyable ride.

‘Dream Machine’ Designed by Parvati Pillai, Mumbai is the Mecca for dreamers; this unique quality of Mumbai that attracts people from all over the world is the inspiration for this fun design.

The stories

Being stuck in taxi amidst Mumbai traffic can be quite annoying let alone boring; making your ride more enjoyable are the tales on the fabric that range from Indian freedom-fighters to childhood memories on Juhu Chowpatty beach which is sure to grab some space on your social media space. An interesting conversation with the driver is ensured if you hail an electric taxi!

‘City As Objects’ - Designed by Sameer Kulavoor, expressing the common struggle of a new comer in Mumbai; the excruciating and challenging move to this incredible city has been compared to daily objects in a dark yet humorous way.

Matching the interiors and exteriors

We have all seen the funky exteriors of the Mumbai taxi; rear windshield cramped with stickers, LED lights and designer carriers; are now being complimented with equally unique interiors with a local concept. Finally, an initiative that humanises the taxi drivers of Mumbai; creating a bond between the designer and the taxiwala is what will guarantee enthusiasm from both ends!

 

Know more about the initiative here

Published in Issue 31

This Web and App special issue brings forward some very talented digital and web designers along with experts from top few digital/ UI & UX studios of India. Also, Visakh Viswambharan, founder of AppinessInteractive answered a very common client question, ‘ Why not templates?’ in our Vantage View article.

 

Order Your Copy!
LATEST RELEASE
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 49

 

As technology continues to sweep us off our feet, designers are constantly working hard to explore beyond the realms of digital space to provide new and interactive experiences for viewers. UI/UX designer, Rahul Chakraborty, solves problems with his digital designs giving refreshing solutions that take the union of brand and target audience beyond the perimeter of the screen.

“Web can be designed into a more beautiful space to interact with.”

Today’s generation is growing up with web technology. Everything they touch since a toddler is literally a ‘touch’ away, be it educational games, school curriculum and projects or video games. For them, it’s nothing intimidating rather only more interesting. It is this curiosity and love of the medium that makes it a preference for many young designers today. The web world is currently the most diverse field which makes it the most exciting thing to explore around.

Sound App. A conceptual app designed with a special focus on a set of vibrant “candy” colours for a voice/sound recording social app.

“Digital design can enhance the user experience by bringing them closer to the product.”

The web space in recent years has had a huge impact on our daily lives. People prefer things which save their time. A small proof of this can be seen in the fact that an ‘Emoji’ has been chosen as the word of the year 2015, for the first time ever!

 

Every product is now judged on what experience it is capable of providing, or in other words, how usable it is via aesthetics, usability, ergonomics and accessibility. In such a competitive medium, the initial focus is on aesthetics, since a beautiful looking product at the first glance creates the impression of a great product. But other factors also need to be equally focused on to achieve a balanced result.

“Create your design inspiration folder!’

For many designers, their inspirations are the wonderful works from the design community. Whether it’s browsing social networking sites or design communities, it’s not really that difficult to find inspiration. Just how writers prefer to carry a ‘thought book’ where they pen their ideas down whenever they feel inspired, designers can create a ‘design folder’ and save works that they find inspirational for future reference. This stage can act as “finding your way through bread-crumbs”. I take bits of elements from designs that are worth for the project are taken, and then combine them altogether (say colours/fonts/effects) or sometimes come up with an entirely new stuff based on these.

Published in Issue 31

This Web and App special issue brings forward some very talented digital and web designers along with experts from top few digital/ UI & UX studios of India. Also, Visakh Viswambharan, founder of AppinessInteractive answered a very common client question, ‘ Why not templates?’ in our Vantage View article.

 

Order Your Copy!
LATEST RELEASE
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 49

 

Rahul Chakraborty

Rahul Chakraborty is a UI/UX designer, with special focus on typography and colour in his designs. Currently in his final year of graduation in Physics from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, his goal is to tap into product design.


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This Web and App special issue brings forward some very talented digital and web designers along with experts from top few digital/ UI & UX studios of India. Also, Visakh Viswambharan, founder of AppinessInteractive answered a very common client question, ‘ Why not templates?’ in our Vantage View article.

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The tough get going when the going gets tough. This is a phrase that relates to the story of Krasi Stoimenov, a Bulgarian UI/UX designer, refining the Thought European design. In a country where competition is tough, there is no time to rest. His designs reflect his constant effort and advanced skills. He speaks with Creative Gaga and takes us all through his design journey.

LotoTech. This mobile and app designed for a lottery company provides an interactive and fun experience for users.
LotoTech. This mobile and app designed for a lottery company provides an interactive and fun experience for users.

CG: Tell about your design journey and how it evolved over time to arrive at digital?
KS: As a kid, I loved drawing but never had enough time to actually draw or paint as much as I wanted. As years passed, I had completely abandoned my hobby of drawing and moved on to graduate in Marketing. And one day, all of a sudden, my neighbour introduced me to an amazing program- Photoshop CS4. It was that moment where I knew this was my calling and that I could do better. I started using online tutorials to grasp the programme. It was tough, I failed initially but constant hard work paid off and I gradually started mastering the skill. But it’s never enough. The digital world surely keeps you on your toes and there is always something to learn.

Low Polygon Europe. This Europe game concept is a 3D experience and incorporates the borders of European countries and significant landmarks.

CG: Your designs are practical but mystical at the same time. What are your design inspirations? What are various factors in your daily design life that determine the fate of your designs?

KS: Inspirations are everywhere, from the buildings surrounding you to the colour patterns before you. The internet is a vast ocean of inspiration and the best part is that it`s easy to find the right one for your project. Designs are determined by their purpose.

 

CG: Digital design involves a lot of layers, whether it’s creating a digital image or an app or a website. How do you think from all those perspectives?How do you maintain continuity in your designs? What’s the binding agent?

KS: Keeping order when it comes to web and app design is vital. Work needs to be organised and grouped correctly. But when it comes to digital images, it’s a different story as there is a chaos with the layers. The thing that binds the entire design, whether it’s a matte painting or an app design, is the concept behind it. Everything I do is ruled by the idea, every single detail in the project – each interaction in the UX.

Nike Kicks. An attempt to design a new app for the renowned brand Nike that captures the spirit of the brand.

CG: A story seems to captivate the viewer when they look at your designs. What do you wish to achieve through your designs? What do you want them to remember it for?
KS: I always try to add a hidden meaning in the details. It enhances the purpose of the designs I create. Someday, I’d really like someone to stop me and say that they decoded something from my designs. Remember though, that it’s always the journey that matters. If you can take the person looking at your project to the place you`ve imagined when doing it, well that`s the end.

Personal Branding. You yourself is a great place to start with.

CG: Tell us about Bulgaria and how easy/difficult it has been to work there as a designer. How do you reach out to the world through your designs?
KS: Bulgaria is an interesting country. Working here can teach you one important thing; be adaptive and constantly learn and develop yourself or you will fall behind. Reaching out is easy. Collaborations, contests, it`s all out there just waiting for you to take it!

 

CG: So what’s next for you?
KS: I’ve formed a design community in Bulgaria so I`m working on a lot of projects related to it. It’s called Infinite collision which will engage me for a while.

Published in Issue 34

This Web and App special issue brings forward some very talented digital and web designers along with experts from top few digital/ UI & UX studios of India. Also, Visakh Viswambharan, founder of Appiness Interactive answered a very common client question, ‘ Why not templates?’ in our Vantage View article.

 

Order Your Copy!
LATEST RELEASE
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 49

 

Good that you switched from your Facebook tab, ended that conversation on WhatsApp, took a break from endlessly scrolling through your Twitter feed or you are here probably tired of swiping right on Tinder with no luck. People are hooked to these websites and apps for not just the information it gives but also for the way it is being given. The UI/UX lead Arun KS from Appiness Interactive lists down some of the trends in web world and his take on them.

Such websites achieve ‘stardom’ due to multiple reasons – be it the position of the ‘like’ or ‘retweet’ button, the easy photo upload options, the ability to switch from one section of the app/website to another or even the quick access to closing the app. Most of these apps and websites have now been existent for a few years and they follow the phrase ‘change is the only constant’. They strive to live up to the current design trends or arguably set the trends themselves. The web world is similar to the fashion industry, if it is in trend and if you are not following them, you will be made fun of or even worse – you’ll not be talked about. Let’s understand these new trends one by one:

01 The Hamburger Menu.
Arguably the most widely used (or overused) way to represent menu items. The web world in true sense has seen the rise and fall of the hamburger menu, once a favourite amongst all apps is now a way to hide information, which is less important. Although many criticise the use of hamburger menu, there’s no doubt that it’s widespread use makes its function easily understandable for users. It creates a cleaner, neater and more aesthetically appealing website and it saves lots of space, but it is not the correct move for all sites.

02 Long Scrolling Over Licking.
Many of the new age websites, utilise scrolling as the main method of navigation over clicking. Placing the important content above the fold is a myth now. More than that, almost everyone is accustomed to long scrolls thanks to mobile devices. This works very well for sites that want to lure users through storytelling, and you can still mimic a multi-page site by breaking the scroll into clear sections. But blindly following the trend is not advisable. Several aspects have to be considered before choosing between long scrolling and clicking like the content, mindset of targeted audience, brand strategy etc.

03 Card Layouts.
Once found only in a few websites like Pinterest, now card layout is slowly becoming the ideal way to represent information in a clean way. From e-commerce website to photo sharing websites card layout is the chosen way to showcase large amounts of content. With responsive designs becoming a buzzword, card layout has become even more practical. The shape and size of the cards make it easier to fit and rearrange for different devices. These rectangular pieces of vital information are here to stay.

04 Visual Storytelling & Infographics.

From the Stone Age man has always been inclined towards visually represented stories and much hasn’t changed. Infographics are anything, which represents information using design elements to represent content; from early man drawing to road signs, everything falls under infographics. In the world of internet, infographics are used as a way to disseminate large amounts of information. Companies of all sizes are using infographics to make their brands stand out, educate audiences about their company and improve their search engine rankings. Infographics have spread across the internet like a virus but we have no complaints. But remember to use high-quality images and out of the box content to stand out from the crowd.

 

05 Boulder Colours and Typography.

In the age where Comic Sans is made fun of openly on the internet, anybody who uses ordinary or less appealing fonts for branding stands no chance of being included in this new web world. People unlike before are educated about typography and anything unappealing to the eye indirectly means the product/site is not worth spending time on. It’s not only about using fancy web fonts but finding the right colours to go with it.

 

Typography must be the right marriage of fonts and colours. Airbnb, Medium, Uber, Spotify etc. are few startups who have realised the importance of this and let their websites go under the knife to give it a facelift.

 

06 Animations.

Open any award winning website and animations would most probably be the first thing that will greet you. From loading animations to hover animations and from motion animations to scrolling animations, website these days are animated for a reason – the sole reason being interactive user experience. Human beings love animation – some subtle some prominent, animations are such a vital part of websites now that they can make or break your website.

07 Responsive/Adaptive Design.
The word ‘mobile first’ has taken over digital world that it could soon replace ‘good morning’ amongst designers. If your website isn’t mobile friendly then Google rankings should not matter to you – it literally crushes sites that are not mobile friendly. Responsive design is not an upcoming trend – it is the trend if not the norm. As we said earlier with card layouts becoming popular making responsive websites makes even more sense. So if you have plans of designing a website make sure ‘mobile first’ is the word you should utter first.

08 Material Design.
Google defines material design as ‘design by seeking to build experiences that surprise and enlighten our users in equal measures.’ Material design is basically giving depth to the design to engage more user interaction. All the covered trends can be or are a part of material design – hamburger menus, card layout, typography, shadows, etc. When Google launched the idea of material design, it was only a matter of time that it become the norm – it is the norm now.

Published in Issue 31

This Web and App special issue brings forward some very talented digital and web world designers along with experts from top few digital/ UI & UX studios of India. Also, Visakh Viswambharan, founder of Appiness Interactive answered a very common client question, ‘ Why not templates?’ in our Vantage View article.

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 49