It is an exciting time for marketing with, what seems like, the emergence of new media platforms everyday. In today’s interactive world, conversations about brands and media strategies have become much broader. Digital identities have expanded beyond just a corporate website to include social networks, blogs, and mobiles apps. Thanks to the rising use of computers, smartphones, and tablets, the web remains the fastest growing electronic medium in history.
Designing for the web is an evolutionary process that adapts with emerging media. In order to work efficiently and reach the people you’re intending to reach, the design process should start with a detailed plan. You should understand your purpose and the key brand messages you are trying to send in addition to who the target audience is. It is the audience that will ultimately determine your ever-changing content and many other design aspects. As the planning goes on much consideration should be given to the content, navigation, design, and most importantly– user experience of the website. It is after all of this, that the website can be launched for consumers to enjoy. Once launched, it is important to keep in mind that as technology evolves, updates should be made to the content and structure to make the web page better. Whether its adding media like videos or changing the design to respond to smartphones, websites should be updated frequently to stay fresh and relevant to consumers. With so many new ways for people to consume information, companies must adapt their strategies to reach their audiences where they are and where they are going.
According to a Forbes article about the top web trends in 2014, there are three significant styles that design pros agree are the most significant for the year:
1) Responsive Design: the most critical for small business. Why? Because it is quickly becoming the standard, and if you don’t comply, it will negatively affect your Google ranking. Responsive design means a set website is a thing of the past. Instead, we must not feel like all elements that fit on a desktop must be present on the screen of a smartphone. That’s where the design comes in, finding a pro who knows what will work best on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop-size screen, and including the elements that make for the most seamless and enjoyable format.
2) Simple Design: Simplicity refers to the integration of best practices so site visitors get what they need seamlessly and without complication. What simplicity does not imply is generic. Yes, to powerful images. Yes, to meaningful content. Yes, to sleek and purposeful navigation. So how do you decide what is and what is not important? The right designer, of course. See, instead of random guessing, a qualified designer or team will do split testing to gauge response – taking out much of the guesswork. Plus, an experienced design team will have worked with similar companies/formats and should have a pretty good idea what is working, and what is working well. They will also be able to use pragmatism and remove your own personal bias and emotion.
3) Storytelling Design: this methodology suggests that users are told a story through concise, compelling copy coupled with strong imagery as they scroll down the page. Another way to say it? MAKE. IT. FUN. Let them discover who you/your company are by letting it unfold before their eyes, so to speak. Let them start where you did and fast-track them to how you arrived at a solution. Gone are the days of “I am so great” over and over again – in every nook and cranny of your site. (At least we hope it will be after reading this.) Imagine scrolling down to the bottom of a website page, where the process unfolds like a fairy tale, or an evolution of sorts. Set a goal/challenge your designer, with something like this: “I want new visitors to be able to move down from the top of the page to the bottom in 30 seconds and have a crystal clear idea of who we are and what we do. And for repeat visitors, I want them to easily identify where to go to make a purchase, or visit our blog, virtually without having to look.” Sure, an effective “storytelling” website is easier said than done. But it’s a worthwhile challenge – and if it’s done well, you’re pretty much assured of a website that will be the belle of the ball.
Responsive Web Design Infographic
Periodic Table of Web Design Process
Why Your Business Needs A Responsive Website Before 2014
Top Web Design Trends In 2014