As 2014 wraps up, it’s good to take a moment and reflect on the year: the successes, the not-so-successes, and what you learned from both. Go head, we’ll wait…
Now that you’ve got that out of your system, it’s time to start thinking ahead to next year. Given the rapid-fire rate of change in digital marketing – particularly with web design – you always need to be predicting future trends. Now is the time to observe current practices, and figure out where things are headed within the next 6 to 12 months, in order to lead the industry. (And with any luck, you can apply those lessons from 2014 to help devise a strategy behind your new or refined marketing practices).
A great place to start is by re-evaluating your website. Does it look contemporary? Is it converting? As the face of your business, you need to make sure that it’s performing as it should.
If you need help, contact SPINX Digital. We specialize in re-design services to help businesses improve user experience, and drive sales.
Here are some general tips that we recommend for your new re-design.
It’s not exactly a revelation at this point, but we can’t emphasize enough the importance of responsiveness in your site design for 2015. For the unfamiliar, responsive refers to a site’s ability to render on devices other than a desktop, such as tablets and mobile phones. With more and more people using their phones to access the internet, your site simply can’t afford to be unresponsive. Don’t make your users have to constantly pinch and slide the screen to see your content. They’ll write you off and move on to a competitor.
Plus, going responsive will reduce your long-run development costs. With a one-time responsive design, developers won’t have to create multiple frameworks for different devices down the line.
Hero images appear as the main attraction on your home page. They’re what users see as soon as your page loads. To understand their effectiveness, think of Clark Kent ripping his shirt to reveal the awe-inspiring ‘S’ on his Superman uniform (if you’re not a superhero fan, just trust us; it’s pretty cool). The hero images act as a big reveal and serve as an introduction to your website. Whether they’re static or rotate on a slider, they make a statement. Increasingly, more and more sites are using them add a little theatricality to their design. It’s a simple way to grab people’s attention right away, and draw them in instantly.
Social icons are nothing new. For years, websites have included them as a way to spread brand awareness, and entice visitors to further connect with them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. In the earlier days of social media, they were even a bit of a novelty, as not all brands had social presences yet. Today, however, icons have become the norm, which is why websites need to take that extra step to further enhance them.
Social proof is a way to demonstrate to your users how popular your content is. By including the number of likes or shares next to a blog post, you can validate the relevance of your copy. Critics say that this only feeds the meaningless popularity contest that is social media. Meanwhile, digital marketers know better. People are inherently drawn to trending content. It makes them curious, and generates more clicks and shares.
Clean and simple layout on a homepage has been the standard for a few years, and the trend is only growing. Designers are creating new and clever ways to create more, compelling content with less space. Often, a home page will tell a kind of story about the business, but rather than dump a block of text into one area, users are encouraged to scroll down “below the fold” (developer talk for content that can only be seen by scrolling down).
Typically the story is information about the company broken up into chunks that stand alone, but also flow into each other to create a kind of narrative about the business, and its products and services.
Keep it flat
Large, flat images are perhaps the most popular trend among website design, and a great way to show off your hero images. This is just the latest extension of the general trend online to make websites clean and minimalist. As a result, your site will appear clutter-less, and focus the user on your simple, sparse content. In addition to providing an improved user experience, flat design allows servers to render the web page more easily on mobile phones and tablets.
Ghost buttons are also becoming more prevalent. Falling within the domain of flat design, ghost buttons are icons that provide a nice contrast to the background of a web page. They contain just a couple words, and are often encased in a clean, simple rectangular box. They’re a good way to enhance your flat, modern website design for 2015.