In any successful organization, a common root to achieving today’s goals is based on a notion that no detail is too small to overlook. When designing for the world the smallest features have the capabilities of making or breaking an idea.
Thumbs Down for the Thumbs Up
Several months ago, Facebook announced the first redesign of their ‘Like’ button that had survived the web and made a large, iconic stamp on the internet. Why? With over 22 billion views a day across millions of websites, Facebook still decided it was time for a brand-leading makeover, according to the new button’s designer, Hugo van Heuven.
Absolutely nothing changed within the functionality of the button, just it’s form. It was deepened to a royal blue and the well established thumbs up icon was replaced with Facebook’s own icon. “The Like button was this light blueish thing that usually fell away,” van Heuven tells Co.Design in a recent article. “We thought we could make it more prominent, look a little bit better, and be more consistent.” Here, van Heuven speaks about consistency and not just with the brand itself, but also across the 7.5 million sites that use it. An interesting point is the ‘new’ blue color and new, reliable pixel dimensions allow for a cleaner corporate brand across the entire internet, ease of use for programmers and designers, and a heightened appeal to like things. This was definitely not a small detail to overlook and by treating it as a large overhaul ended up boosting the corporate brand and message simultaneously.
Go Ahead, Get Stuck and Watch Creativity Burst
Struggling for an idea is definitely not new to anyone in any field of design and development. If anything, it’s the first step towards solving the problem. Adapting to change is also a part of climbing out of a dark place and shine a light on the answer. Like a star gone supernova, the ideas will begin bursting from the core of the hippocampus.
Google+ has been slowly releasing updates and one in particular is the way link posts are viewed. Google also updated Hangouts to display messages similar to other messengers on the market similar to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The link posts also resemble the easy-to-read post structure of Facebook. The big ideas here were legibility, simplicity, and simply what works with the intended targets. All internet users tend not to know what they want but do tend to gravitate towards what works when it comes to ease of use and engageability. The answer to Google’s issues of pleasing their users and expanding their audience was simply to bring the features of other social media outlets and unveil similar features with the Google brand. The end user gets what they want (without actually knowing they wanted it) within the intended platform, stimulating the right endorphins to keep the audience using the products.
Did it Change for the Better or Just for Good?
The overall Facebook and Google changes were very small and nothing impacted the entire site directly other than the indirect changes that allow the end users to have a better user experience. The question now: Did anything change for the better or just for good?
We know for a fact that whatever changes has been changed for good. Facebook, Google, Twitter and the myriad of social media sites borrowing from each other and accounting for their audiences’ needs are working for the better. When a change doesn’t work we see changes revert as Facebook has done before as well as slowly rolling out minor changes to eventually create a major, all-around change. In the case of TED, a major site revamp was scheduled for the first time since the site debuted in 2007 and all its users were allowed to dabble with the new design and features for some time before the release.
Ideas aren’t frozen in time. They are living and breathing things, and they continue to evolve after a talk is given. Our speakers have told us they want a way to offer more ideas and resources than fit in an 18-minute talk. And we’ve heard loud and clear from you that you want to be able to dig deeper.
— TED Staff from Introducing the new TED.com
Not only did the design and development teams offer a better video playback experience with a much more clear and organized use of space but addressed a host of questions, comments and concerns from the overall users: Ideas evolve. So must the talk, its page and contents. Mobile and non-mobile users now share a similar experience with crisp audio and video. Not too familiar with English? Access over 100+ languages with auto-scroll transcripts. A user may even monitor his or her actions and influence on each individual post. These were all very extensive additions to TED as well as showing that each minor detail was not small at all. Each was specifically solving a problem that addressed the needs of the target audience. There is no such thing as a small detail. If the smallest change has stimulated more activity, boosted interest to new and old users and expanded the user experience and interface, then the small change was a big success.