Fall is here, along with pumpkin spice everything and thoughts of a new calendar year. Have you started considering what your web presence should look like in 2016? We’ve scanned website trend predictions for 2016 and compiled this post for your consideration and planning.
1. Fewer Pages – With the percentage of mobile users continuing to climb, what was once ‘mobile’ is now becoming mainstream. This “less is more” approach comes from mobile users’ preference for scrolling through a single long page rather than clicking on links. If you have numerous pages on your site with multiple links, consider simplifying your design in 2016. As more customers access the web with mobile devices, fewer pages (and links) will be key to designs that attract and convert customers.
2. Mobile Friendly – Google ranks non-mobile friendly sites lower in all mobile searches, and this trend is likely to continue and possibly expand. Responsive design applications, which provide the capability for automatic screen size adjustments based on a visitor’s reading device, are widely used and affordable for businesses of all sizes.
In the post 6 Web Design Trends You Must Know for 2015-2016 on awwwards.com, the author writes: “It’s safe to say responsive design isn’t going anywhere soon, as it represents a relatively simple and cheap way for businesses to build a fully-functional, mobile-friendly site. But responsive web design does come with some issues if not carried out properly, the most important being performance.” Proper performance (responsiveness) is essential first for creating a positive user experience on your site and second for search engine optimization (SEO).
If your business site is not mobile-friendly, plan now to implement the necessary changes in 2016 (or sooner) so you won’t be overlooked.
3. Personalization – Personalized user experience design makes sure a site visitor’s experience picks up on each return visit right where he or she left off on the previous one, according to an article on webdesignerdepot.com. Amazon.com is an obvious example of this personalization.
By collecting information on purchases, newsletter signups, social media accounts and more, businesses — particularly retail businesses — build customer profiles from which they are able develop targeted, relevant content and incentives to purchase.
According to a 2013 study by Janrain, 74 percent of online customers get frustrated with brands that deliver content [offers, ads, promotions and information] having nothing to do with their personal interests. Personalization is everywhere, and while concern about privacy has not disappeared, customers seem increasingly willing to share personal information with companies they trust.
Likewise, use of tools for collecting personal information have evolved. Offering a loyalty program can be a great way to start building a data base of personalized customer information.
If you are a retail business, whether brick-and-mortar or online, and are not on the personalization bandwagon, the new year may be the time to jump on. We encourage other businesses to consider the possibility as well.
4. Storytelling – “Humans love stories,” writes Savannah Hemmings on quertime.com, citing one reason storytelling is a current website trend expected to continue in the new year. This trend, along with increasing prevalence of devices with high resolution display, is spawning numerous sites with large photographic elements, both static and moving (cinemagraphs, for example), as well as video and even original art.
“In the race to create the most novel and aesthetically pleasing web pages, companies are relying more heavily on visual representation than ever before. Photos, videos and illustrations are becoming a cornerstone of modern website design due to the boost in user engagement they bring,” reports an article on impress1.com.
What story do you have to tell, and how effectively are you telling it? Consider these questions while planning your web presence to get your best possible results in 2016.
5. Strategic – Above all, it’s best to steer clear of adopting trends solely for the sake of being trendy. “Don’t follow trends just because they’re the ‘hip’ thing to do at the moment,” writes the awwwards.com blogger. “Trends are nothing more than additional tools in your designer toolbox. Always pick the right ones for the job.”
“Regardless of what’s hot and what’s not … the trend you choose to follow should serve your customers – and your brand – before anything else,” writes the author at quertime.com.
Keeping your customer’s experience in mind will provide a plumb line for planning how to represent your business with your online presence in the coming year.
Is it time to freshen up your online look? We welcome the opportunity to help you update your site or create a completely new one. Contact us today!
Image courtesy of StockSnap @ pixabay.com