It may be the year 2017 and most older adults may think that the younger generation is too addicted to their technology, bur for more than 600 students in the state of Nebraska, Monday, October 17, was about more than the latest app and the highest trending You Tub video.
On the third Monday of October, for more than 50 years, high school journalism students and their advisers from across the entire state of Nebraska gather to celebrate what is best and what is lasting about good old fashioned news reporting and photography. And while some of the newest categories highlight digital only submissions, many of the top recognitions go to strong writing, strong design, and strong photography.
The top schools in every enrollment class are awarded certificates and recognition for the yearbooks and the newspapers that these students and their staffs produced in the previous school year. Judged by professionals from across the midwest, the top award, cleverly called the The Cornhusker, is presented to schools with the highest quality publications.
Some of the newspaper staffs no longer print a paper copy and only present their news online, but the yearbooks are all a publications that are hard bound books, just like those that have been produced, printed, and distributed for decades.
The big award ceremony for the publications, however, is only one part of the day long workshop. Students and their advisers also spend the day attending workshops which highlight the teaching of all of these valuable journalism skills. Not surprising, some of the most popular sessions for this tech savvy crowd are the ones that talk about good web design, internet marketing, and social media promotions. The students who find themselves in the journalism classrooms in Nebraska high schools are some of the same students who will soon find themselves pitching good web design ideas to future employers. Armed with the skills of strong writing, vivid photography, and visual design techniques, in fact, high school journalism students are some of the first to find jobs with internet marketing firms even before they have a college degree.
Good Web Design Relies on the Basic Design Principles That Have Been Taught in Journalism Classes for Years
The best internet marketing teams understand that the best way to address the visual impact of a website is by first addressing these basic design principles:
- Use of white space. In today’s busy world of 24/7 connection, sometimes good web design starts with a little space to breath. Once part of design that was supposed to be pushed to the outside margins, today white space is taught as an integral part of any web design. Effectively used, white space gives today’s busy eyes a chance to rest and an opportunity to breath.
- Dominant element In the newspaper design classrooms across the country, a dominant element has often been defined as that one element that is at least twice as large as anything else on a spread. Again, in a time of competing full color digital images, a large dominant element can make sure that your product or your service gets noticed. The digital customer often needs help prioritizing what to look at. A large dominant element can provide that priority.
- Quality content. Research indicates that today’s internet users do not read, they scan. This means that every piece of content needs to be valuable, be direct, and understandable. Think about yourself when you visit a website. What do you do when you come to content that is confusing? If you are like most users, you leave and look for another site. In fact, research indicates that website users prefer simplicity and navigability to complexity and garish aesthetics.
- Easy to navigate. The internet is the major source of information for a growing number of Americans. When they want information, however, they need to be able to find it quickly and efficiently. Slow loading graphics or information that is difficult to locate is a deal breaker to many users.
Our world is becoming increasingly mobile. The latest statistics, in fact, show there are now 4 billion mobile phones in use in the world, and over 25% of those are smartphones. Is your company using its web design to capture its share if digital users? If not, it may be time for a new design.