You often hear the phrase ‘your website is the window to the world’ – and whilst it’s a cliché, it’s true. It’s now no longer acceptable to just have something that simply ‘looks nice’, it has to be fully functioning, engaging, content rich and make the visitor want to act on their first impression – generating a lead for your sales people to convert, or an online sale. So how do you improve your website?
This post discusses how to improve your website and the top website tips and trends that we are seeing in 2017 – and beyond;
1. Mobile first approach
Whilst it’s by no means a new trend, ‘mobile first’ – the art of designing for the smallest screen and then working your way up, is now a must and it is no longer acceptable to design sites for desktop computers. Infact, research carried out by Ironpaper has shown that from April 2015, Google began rewarding more responsive sites with higher search engine rankings to encourage users to ‘shift to mobile’ and perhaps most importantly, found that 75% of users prefer mobile-friendly sites, and half reported frustration or annoyance when encountering sites that weren’t designed with mobile in mind.
2. UI/UX patterns
The increasing rise in WordPress sites and pre-designed themes mean that there are UI (user interface design) and UX (user experience design) patterns emerging; the result of which is that many sites look and function in similar ways as they learn from one another to hone their user’s experience. Zazzle Media note “Keeping users happy with a streamlined UX is the top priority now as brand’s do away with design gimmicks in order to compete in an ever-increasingly more competitive market”
Alongside bright bold colours and eye-catching type, illustration is another way to show off your brand message. Get a step ahead and invest in to some new visuals, they could be the one thing that really helps you stand out from the crowd and of course they can be used across all literature/presentations to keep consistency.
We use icons to distinguish our different services and we can then use these throughout brochures or adverts where space might be at a premium – they’re particularly useful in condensing large messages into small spaces.
We also use bespoke illustration and animation on our site to illustrate our moving timelines to add a bit more to an otherwise flat page.
Another way to catch a visitors eye is through the use of big and bold font types and sizes, you will see more and more sites which use wording to take up the majority of the space. The words used are often the companies brand tagline or USP. With so many competing business, what better way to get your message across, than shout it? Be more obvious, less subtle messaging.
According to Webflow “Big and bold doesn’t necessarily refer to the weight of the font… it’s about dedicating significant screen real estate to a single, simple yet all-encompassing statement about the product or service”
To learn more about the top ten trends in type there’s a really interesting read – click here
How many sites have you been on and felt a touch of dejavu as you scroll through the various pages? The likelihood is, if it’s a stock image then you probably have seen it before. There’s nothing original or very exciting about stock images. Of course, there’s a place for them in certain areas but don’t fill your site with images other people can readily find and use. It’s worth investing in a photographer to get bespoke images of your product, business ethos and team.
Infact, research carried out by Bruce Clay suggests that “ including images of human faces has been shown to double conversion rates”
Whereas print is all fairly flat and quite restrictive, a website can literally be all-singing, all-dancing. A good way to make the most of your ‘moving screen’ is through the use of animation.
At the 2016 Design & Content Conference, animation guru Val Head stressed that “Designers should look to their brand voice and tone documentation when building animations to ensure that they reinforce the tone content creators are aiming for. This helps ensure that animations perform meaningful, on-brand functions for users such that the website is more enticing and user-friendly”.
We use animation and illustration on this section of our site to convey our story – you can take a look here
Diode Digital recently found that ‘online video is a 600% more effective marketing tool than print and direct mail combined, their research also shows that embedded videos on websites can increase traffic up to 55%’.
Whilst not strictly a ‘video’ I love this holding page featured on The Big Kick website, rather than just a standard ‘Under Construction’ site they’ve brought some life to it, showing off their agency personality through the pages.
The use of strong, vibrant colours can make a difference in how colours are perceived by different demographics and industries. It can also help you position your brand to your ideal target audience. A great example of a company who used colour gradients to re-establish their place in the market is Spotify, you can read about them on the Zazzle blog here.
Liked this blog?
Here’s a couple more to have a flick through:
10 Website and UX statistics that help facilitate better web design and development
Five ‘on trend’ websites we love in 2017
6 examples of Web design that we like – November 2016