While it’s not quite 2015, it’s never too early to begin thinking about how you can improve your website and utilize some of the latest trends in web design in the new year. Utilizing some of the latest trends for your website can help deliver your message with enhanced clarity and improve readership. These trends are not rocket science, many have been around for years, yet we see websites launch each year that aren’t utilizing basic trends that are now a necessity. Here’s a list of ideas to keep in mind when you’re looking for ways to improve your website.
2015 Web Design Trends
Providing a full-width image as an integral design element used to be a headache. Jumbo sized images and slow internet connections often prevented designers from adding these images to designs. If a site did happen to implement large photos, the photos were often pixelized, took forever to load, or were awkward.
Now, utilizing a full-page photo, either in the background or foreground of a website, can help convey a message that text cannot. A good picture is worth 1,000 words and can be conveyed much quicker and easier than paragraphs of text.
User interfaces of today’s software applications continue to be designed with a flat approach. Thick drop shadows, enormous gradients, and other heavy effects are no longer utilized. Design elements are smooth, clear, and crisp. White-space is embraced to help increase readability and clarity.
Responsive Web Design
Mobile usage has skyrocketed. It’s no longer a surprise to see 30-40% of a site’s visitors come from mobile devices alone. The need for a responsive web design, that alters the design and layout for mobile users, is not going away. If anything, we’ve seen these responsive designs get more complex. Not only are websites reworking the layout, but they’re choosing to show and display a whole different set of content in this layout, tailored specifically to mobile users. Choosing what content is shown to a mobile user can help streamline their viewing experience and maximize the space on the site without cluttering the screen.
In the age of the internet, each year seems to come with it’s own typography trends. Don’t get stuck in the days of Times New Roman, Georgia or even Helvetica. Current design trends are pointing toward fun styles that will grab the attention of your visitors and make them want to read what’s on your page. When refreshing your website for 2015, consider a modern serif, a lightweight font, increasing your letter spacing, or going bold with a vintage slab serif. Not sure what that means? Check out Corrine’s typography trends post for some great examples or head over to Google fonts and explore your options.
Website buttons may be the smallest component of a website design, but that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked. Buttons are the gateway for getting visitors to interact with your website. So keeping up with the trends and creating stylish buttons are important elements to consider when designing and updating your website for 2015. Current trends are pointing to a more simplified button that is ultimately changing the way we look at web design.Through 2015 you will see less and less glossy and gradient button styles and more ghost buttons, flat buttons, image buttons, and mixtures of some or all in one design. Check out some great examples in Katie’s button trends post!
Design for a Purpose
View your website as a marketing machine. Your website is not just a place for your viewers to collect and gain information about your organization, it’s actually a mechanism to collect leads and generate followers. Your website is a money-maker! If you start viewing your website in this light, you need to start basing your design, content, and features on the goal of converting your cold-market client into a warm-market cheerleader for your organization. These design features discussed, are oriented around providing visitors with a clear, concise, and direct message.
2015 Website Content Trends
An infographic is an image that has been uniquely designed and creatively displays a specific message or data to visitors. Instead of using a table of data to display information, infographics can help clearly display content to the visitor in a visually appealing way. If you don’t have a graphic designer available to design one of these eye-popping infographics, there are several sites that will help you input data and display it on your website. One we’ve used lately is infogr.am. With this service, you can create a plethora of different charts and graphics, with no prerequisites required. You can create beautiful looking charts and graphs to display information to your visitors without the need for a graphic design to make them look beautiful.
Often, a website might want to show specific content based off of a visitor’s location. This can help take a strategic approach to each of your visitors by only showing them information that’s relevant to their location. For example, if the visitor isn’t within driving range, there’s no need to show a link for directions. However, you might want to highlight an online store instead since the visitor is unlikely to visit in-person. While location-based content is becoming more popular on the web and can be utilized in a functional way, implementation can be complicated and cause inaccurate geolocation. Some content management systems, like WordPress, have plugins to help minimize development work.
Suggested Content Popups
Pop-ups can be extremely annoying to visitors of a website. I’m the first to say that I don’t want any pop-ups gettin’ up all in my business when I’m browsing a website. However, pop-ups have been proven to be extremely effective. While pop-ups are often used to view additional content quickly, they can also be utilized to prompt a user to fill out a contact form, download an infographic or view suggested content on your site. Recently, third-party plugins like AddThis have helped easily implement this functionality on a website. AddThis typically helps enable your website visitors to share your website or pages on your site on specific social media sites, but this new functionality allows you to show suggested content to visitors in a little pop-up window. As a visitor scrolls down your page reading content, statistics show that interest will be lost and readers will generally navigate elsewhere instead of reading the full article (use this article as an example…at least you’re still reading!). Showing a little pop-up can be non-intrusive and help retain readers. We have one of these little pop-ups in the bottom left-hand corner of this page. Take a look!
2015 Website Marketing Trends
Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is a tool that enables the management of different website scripts that are being used on a website. Google Tag Manager can help implement Google Analytics without touching a line of code. Tag Manager also enables you to create certain triggers that will force a particular script or action to run on particular pages or when a specific action happens. This makes tracking advanced metrics much more simple than writing dozens of lines of code, including tracking PDF downloads, form submissions, and other statistics.
Advanced Metrics for All
It’s easy to slap on the Google Analytics code and let it fly, but are you getting the most out of your Analytics and tracking the necessary components that allow you to calculate the value your website has to your organization? Integrating with more customized components of Google Analytics can help you track when a video is played on your website, when a visitor downloads a PDF, or when a potential customer fills out a contact form. Using customized Event tracking, you can help find out more details about your customers, how visitors use the site, what value certain website components are to your visitors and how frequently specific web components are used. These advanced metrics are part of a more intricate set of data that can be setup on websites to help make more meaningful decisions on what components are utilized by a website visitor and how those components positively affect an organization’s goals.
One advanced metric, in particular, that has been focused on by Google is e-commerce tracking. In recent months, Google has released a new version of their e-commerce integration package for Analytics. This advanced e-commerce tracking allows sellers to learn more about what’s being purchased on their site and how customers interact with products on their site. This can help sellers make informed decisions on product placement, displays and the efficiency of checkout screens.
Along with more tracking comes more knowledge of the elements that engage visitors and convert them into leads or customers. We have seen a huge shift in recent years with the number of consumers who rely on ratings, reviews, and testimonials to influence their purchase decisions. In order to capitalize on your website and use it to its full potential, consider employing social plugins as a part of your 2015 strategy. In 2014, this meant facepile plugins or Facebook comments; in 2015 there will be so much more opportunity. One social proof trend with huge potential to explode in 2015 is testimonial applications that allow clients and customers to conveniently submit testimonials to be displayed on your website. Google reviews are also a great source for social proof, as they appear in your Google business listing, in search results, and often on other local directories such as Yelp.
Simplified Email Newsletters
2014 was the year of snazzy email templates with over-the-top designs and never ending content. 2015 will be the year of disguise when it comes to email marketing. Email newsletters written like personalized, genuine emails have proven their effectiveness in 2014, and will become an unrivaled way to capture the attention of prospects from their inboxes. Simplicity will be key to successful email marketing in the year to come.
Just as consumers can expect to see email newsletters that seem personalized, but are actually automated, you can also expect to see personalized drip emails or nurturing campaigns. As a marketer, consider crafting an automated email series in a way that the user feels as if you took the time to write a note just for them. By 2015, if you aren’t implementing inbound marketing and lead nurturing email drip practices, your competitors certainly are! Read Stephanie’s post to learn more about email drips and how to use them.
Many website owners will create a site in hopes that it will last forever and that it will be relevant for decades to come. In reality, websites must constantly change and evolve to meet a target audience in a specific and relevant way. Without continual adjustments, a site can become outdated and lagging against what the competition has to offer. While we haven’t covered each and every idea you can utilize to improve your website in the next year, nor will all of these ideas apply to your site, it should help provide guidance so that your site doesn’t become stale and frozen in time.