Frank Wehrmann, Creative Director
While each of you runs a different business, from a design perspective, your needs are all the same: Your new visitors need to know who you are and what you do in about 30 seconds. Repeat visitors need to find want they need to make a decision quickly + effortlessly.
Here are some of the more popular design trends that help make that happen.
1. “Flat art” buttons and links:
The kind of buttons and social channel links used by iOS7, Android and Windows 8 operating systems, are coming to a website near you and replacing “3-D jelly-bean” and “Chiclets with a drop-shadow” that were all the rage a few years ago.
2. Simple colour schemes:
The days of digital velvet flock, grass-cloth, shot silk and linen background wallpapers are over (for now). While I’m sure they’ll return along with paisley and flared jeans, for now solid + translucent pastels colours compliment flat art buttons.
3. One large (still) image instead of a “slider”:
Some web designers are mimicking magazine ads: they use one big image along with a bit of carefully crafted copy to set the stage for the brand “story”. The short “corporate copy” looks more like an elevator script than an “About” page.
4. Less but better content.
Site times are going down. Google analytics can tell you how long people stay on your site. Ensure you can tell your core story in the time and space allotted to you by your visitors. Typically they’ll visit 2-3 pages and spend 1-2 minutes on your site. Think powerful images and short, well written copy.
5. More video, less text:
If a good picture is worth 1,000 words, a short well-made video is worth thousands and thousands of words, and dollars in sales. Spend your money on videos that show me how great your product is – not how great you, your team or your company is. Ditto for testimonial videos – unless they feature “a god”.
6. Scrolling versus Linking.
If your audience is predominantly mobile or tablet based, scrolling down one long page is much easier – especially because scrolling website designs have “fixed” navigation bars – just like your “fixed” web browser navigation bar. A careful assessment of your customer’s and prospects can tell you if you should “scroll” or link.
7. No side bar navigation.
Scrolling sites with large images and limited copy are also doing away with the (secondary) sidebar navigation. This is another lesson from the school of corporate ad design: reduce the number of things flashing, crowding, or otherwise vying for your attention.
8. Larger, airier type faces.
To compliment the larger, more engaging pictures and the carefully crafted copy, we’re using much larger and airy typefaces.
9. Responsive web designs.
This technology is a must have for some retail business categories – especially those of you with a large teen customer base. Google Analytics can tell you what kind of devices your core audience is using and if you should consider a responsive web design. For industrial and commercial marketers, responsive sites are still more of a nice to have – unless you use some of your site contents in sales presentations and you’re using small laptops and tablets for your presentations. Responsive sites change shape and size depending on what device you use to view them. Try out these sites on your desktop, tablet and smartphone to see what I mean: msoc.ca | farmtoschoolmanitoba.ca | 6pmarketing.com
10. “Wider” websites.
Websites need to be designed around your average audience’s most popular monitor width. Google Analytics can tell you that. Because today’s average monitors are much wider (on average) when compared to three years ago, we can now design and build wider websites.
P.S. Please remember ...
Research is your friend. Use it to determine what your customers want, and what messages work best. Research will help you understand what visitors do on your website so you can give them what they want better and faster than the competition can. Use it to make your web content distinct, memorable + strategic.
If you'd like help with your marketing planning, we'll be covering these topics and much more at our June 19th Marketing Planning seminar.
Call or e-mail Paul Provost now for a free consultation.