Nine Tips to Build Your Web Design Strategy This Year
Web design is simultaneously something that has been around for decades and an industry that is constantly inventing the new technological cutting edge. The amount of variance in how a website can be designed from the programming language and infrastructure chosen at the beginning to the images and colors added at the end. Even two businesses working off of the same website template can come out with completely different online venues simply through access to modules and personalization features.
This leaves you with an incredible amount of freedom when choosing assets, features, themes, and layouts. What you should do with your website and what you shouldn’t is primarily up to the discretion of your marketing, web development, and customer service teams. However, if you’ve been keeping up at all with the trends, you know that with every year, it’s time to consider and integrate at least a few more upgrades. What are the necessary web features of 2018? There are more than can be listed in a conventional blog article, that’s for sure, but let’s cover just a few.
1) Mobile is Non-Optional
No matter what kind of website you’re designing for, you can essentially guarantee that someone will try to access it using a mobile phone or tablet. Mobile web design is non-optional so you might as well plan for it. Whether you choose to design the entire website in adjustable modules that can adapt to screen size or if you have the website detect and switch designs based on aspect is up to you but your website absolutely must be attractive and functional on mobile browsers. Even if you already have an app.
2) Personalize Your Design
As the pendulum of public opinion swings further away from impersonal corporatism, the appeal of personal branding is very strong. Don’t just be another company in your industry, add that human touch by making your brand just a little bit special. Nothing flashy, but something like a logo with a personal meaning to the founder, a humanizing story on your About page, and some hand-picked recommendations from the staff or founders might be exactly what your audience is looking for.
3) Clean Up Your Content Sections
For a while, the trend for online marketing was to interrupt interesting text content with a bunch of trashy ‘suggested’ links and advertisements. This is not a positive user experience and people are noticing. As an additional helpful PSA for websites that are still using spammy ad practices, banner ads and those tactics went out of style two years ago at least and everyone needs to roll with the times. Ad-Blockers should be assumed, and no one wants a lot of trash links, images, and ads to inject itself into real content.
4) Highlight the Most Useful Information
One of the things that has come right along with the mobile browsing trend is the tendency for readers to skim as well. We’re a busy society and while we spend the vast majority of our time online, we don’t have time to read most articles in-depth. Using highlighted quotes, colored boxes, bolded words, and strategic paragraph breaks, you can guide your audience to the most important information, links, and services through visual emphasis.
5) Place Complex Forms Later in the Sales Funnel
The quest to claim leads and site members through gathering email addresses is a tough one and every extra step in the process is a hurdle some of your potential leads won’t make it over. Let’s say you get someone to click ‘Sign Up Now!’ and a form pops open, but the form has information slots and your lead doesn’t feel like putting in another five minutes. You’re much more likely to make it to conversion if you only ask for email and password up front and worry about all that name, date of birth, address stuff a little later in the process after you’ve had a chance to show off a few more shiny features.
6) Simplify Your Color Use
Everyone designs their website a little differently and one of the fads that showed up in the 90s and never really wore off is multi-colored links and assets. However, a lack of uniformity can serve to confuse your users and leave them unsure where to click next, as everything looks unique and different. Instead, design your website with clear visual queues in mind. Subtly color-code functions and categories, emphasizing the features that users will need most. Make all similar buttons the same color and ensure that your backgrounds don’t create a distraction.
7) Smart Defaults for Options
When it does come time to fill in forms, websites can be a lot smarter than they used to be. Rather than making your leads and customers fill out every blank, get your website to guess based on information it’s allowed to gather like location and anything you already know about the client. This saves them and smooths along the conversion process in the vast majority of cases.
8) Integrated Live Chat
Live chat has been the big hit of 2017 and if you don’t have it by now, you’re starting to slip off the cutting edge of web technology. Online web chat boxes usually float in the lower right-hand corner of a website and provide either immediate live chat with a company representative to answer quick questions or qualify a sale, or they can lead to a ‘Sorry we’re away, please leave a message’ form during off hours.
9) Implement the ‘Undo’
One interesting and absolutely useful feature you can integrate into your website is the ‘undo’ feature. Admittedly complex in many cases, the more options you provide to your users to correct mistakes or change their minds in a certain amount of time after a decision, the better. One great example of this is Amazon’s ability to change orders before they are put together and shipped. Another is a grace period for money transfers and card charges where you allow customers to ‘take back’ the decision. These features are already on the rise and will be incredibly popular in 2018.
Just as we watched the digital age transform into the mobile era, every business website needs to keep up with the times and the expected interacted features of today. Not only can you streamline consumer, business, and B2B experiences, but the recent focus on inbound marketing has made the website a renewed powerhouse in the business world. For more news about digital marketing tips for your local business, contact us today!