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Website trends in 2017

Website trends in 2017

It’s that time again, where we look backwards at what has occurred during the year and look forward to the possibilities that the new years promises. It’s been a busy year at FHML Digital Design Agency with many new businesses taking the step into the digital world or enhancing tired and worn-out sites. The following article looks at what we think is going to be the website trends in 2017, with a view to working on some of the new functionality and design elements with new and existing clients.

Landing Pages that let content shine

Over the last few years we have seen many changes in how people view website designs in business. Design has shifted from “optimized” to focus on maximizing the impact your content has on the visitor.

A fascinating element has been the shift back to a focus on content; which is actually what you want your visitors to read and digest. Designers have finally realized what we have know for a while which is that visitors come for the content and design is only a tool to facilitate that.

When we talk about content, don’t be fooled that we are moving back to the days when a good website design included a diatribe of text that nobody has time to read. What we are talking about here is content that imparts your core messages in the fewest lines as possible.

We are expecting that this trend towards content being king over design to continue throughout 2017, but we are also looking forward to seeing a more productive dialogue on how design can enhance and help content driven sites to become stylish and stand out from the crowd.

BIG BOLD TYPE FONTS

So building on the fact that content is more important than design it brings to the front of mind how do you make your important content stand out from all that other content.

In 2016 we saw a move towards big and bold headlines and straplines. This we see as continuing into 2017 with one slight change, we see a move towards dedicating significant screen space to a single, simple yet encompassing message, delivered in an engaging and imaginative way.

In a world that’s as fast, busy, and information-overloaded as ours is, these concise yet powerful statements will become key for companies of all kinds, and is one of the website trends we have already adopted.

Image Type Formats are changing

The Scalable vector graphics format (or .SVG) offer web designers and developers a lot of advantages over image formats like JPG, PNG, and GIF.

The key advantages of SVGs is alluded to in the format name itself: scalable and vector. Instead of being raster or pixel-based, SVGs are composed of vectors: mathematical descriptions of the object’s shape. This means SVGs are resolution-independent, so they’ll look great on any screen, on any device type. No need to worry about making everything retina-ready anymore. This is one of the website trends we are really looking forward to working on.

Make it bright and colourful

As trends like minimalism and brutalism came popular in 2016, designers have looked for ways to show more personality into their design work that still worked within those stripped-down aesthetics.

it’s not just about bright, enthusiastic color either. Gradients also came back in a big way, blending and blurring those exuberant hues into spectra reminiscent of a noonday sky or a splashy sunset.

There’s a sort of synthesized naturalism to this re emergence of bright hues and bold gradients, and we are looking forward to seeing more of it in 2017.

Designing content delivery

An increased focus on design as a means of delivering content effectively  will be a stress on delivering content to the right person at the right time, all with an eye to increasing the desired actions.

Personalization of content has been an extremely hot subject matter in certain circles for quite some time now, but no one seems to have perfectly cracked that answer yet. Essentially, the goal is to  serve up content based on characteristics like:

Demographics: Who is the visitor and where are they coming from?

Behaviour: What is the visitor doing now? What have they done on your site in the past?

Context: What device and browser is the visitor using? How did they arrive at your site?

We’ve seen some interesting experiments in this direction across the web, many of which revolve around a manual personalization of content recommendations by the user, recommendation of “related” reads, and some algorithmic solutions more akin to what Facebook is capable of doing.

Of course, it’s worth remembering that conversions aren’t the only metric content personalization can drive. Personalization of help documentation can help lower support request volume. Educational materials can lower churn and improve lifetime value. But it’s not like conversions will ever not be valuable.

Menus go on a diet

As we are becoming a more mobile society, I believe that because most of us access the web through our phones more than our computers, the overall trend to make things easier to navigate has taken over and reformed our navigation on websites.

Instead of overly complicated and long navigations, more and more sites are starting to simplify their navigation down to about four to five items. Keeping navigation to a minimum also helps visitors to focus on the intent at hand, instead of trying to find a way off the page.

It’s a Landing page not a home page

As we refine content and opt to market and share it more, in 2017 we will likely see a rise in landing page designs instead of a home page design. While every website needs a home page, I think that as content marketing spreads, marketers will want to direct traffic to dedicated landing pages to better target their visitors and their needs.

It makes sense: The idea of content marketing is to increase awareness and conversions, and what better way to increase conversions than to have visitors land on a page strictly made for them. These pages will be as well designed and thought out as others on the site, but target the visitor much more.

Conclusion

2017 is sure to see some great websites, and these website trends will most definitely be seen on some of the best website designs yet to come. If you are looking for a uniquely new website talk to us about your next project.

Can a picture raise your sales?

Carefully selected visual marketing content can add real value to your business website or marketing activity. Experts who study brain scans and track eye movements suggest that they can predict consumer preferences and the right imagery can sell better than any written content.

What this means is that no matter where you market your products or services — from websites to in-person events — your visual content should be at the core of how you plan any communication.

Add to this that it’s an ideal opportunity to take an honest look your company’s image and refine it up for a public appearance. After all, when was the last time you headed to a business meeting without taking a quick look around and coming up with an instant image of the company?

Photos and videos appeal to our brains

In general the human species is predetermined to process visual cues far better than text-based ones.

A recent study at Carnegie Mellon University states “Processing print isn’t something the human brain was built for. The printed word is a human artefact. It’s very convenient and it’s worked very well for us for 5,000 years, but it’s an invention of human beings. By contrast Mother Nature has built into our brain our ability to see the visual world and interpret it. Even the spoken language is much more a given biologically than reading written language.”

Visuals boost pre-sales credibility

Stanford Web Credibility Research, highlights one valuable item “We find that people quickly evaluate a site by visual design alone,” the researchers note. “When designing your site, pay attention to layout, typography, images, consistency issues and more. Of course, not all sites gain credibility by looking like IBM.com. The visual design should match the site’s purpose.”

Inspirational imagery

Inspirational imagery is more than just the beautiful photos that stand out on your social feed or website. They are now part of the process of building a brand and a method of funnelling visitors to your content. What was once looked at as an afterthought in communicating products and services is now one of the most powerful tools that brands have to sell themselves to the masses.

It is not enough to go viral?

The simple answer is viral videos are not simple to achieve and you could spend a fortune coming up with something that could quite easily flop. The most successful brands are the ones that tell their stories and build a relationship with their consumers. Research suggests that they activate our brains in ways simple pieces of information cannot, evoking sensory reactions and allowing us to better empathize with those around us. Today, the most popular method of communication is through imagery – not the written word. In fact, 44% of social media users are more likely to engage with visual brands. This study by MDG Advertising shows just how powerful images can be in boosting several aspects of your digital presence.

However, with so much content in the digital space, it can be difficult to hold attention (or even just get noticed). With the multitude of social media platforms available, like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest, most people can hardly keep up with their own feeds, let alone engage with your brand. Visual storytelling brands keep up by creating quality imagery that engages their users to build an audience. It is not enough to go viral – you must have an audience invested and interested in what your brand has to say.

Visual content marketing

Your content is a primary driving force when it comes to online marketing. But does every sort of content produce the same results? Blogs, articles and press releases will all serve a purpose, but none of them will be as effective as visual marketing. If you can tap into this arena, and utilize it to the utmost, you will be able to enjoy amazing results. But how do you do all of this?

So what is visual marketing?

Visual marketing is a campaign which uses creativity and innovation to generate interest. There are many elements and you can use any of these to promote your business. Examples of this include images, infographics, videos and presentations.

What paved way for visual marketing?

Visual content marketing does not have a lot of history, because it is still a new field. Ever since tablets and high speed networks have become more common, businesses decided to use the power of visual content for achieving their purpose. The costs have also decreased and so many platforms have been launched for just visual content like Instagram and Pinterest. All this made visual content marketing very appealing and led to its growth.

Decide on a platform

There are so many platforms which let your share visual content. So which of these is right for you? The answer: depends on your needs. Take Pinterest as an example. This platform allows you to share many types of media and can be integrated with both Facebook and Twitter. Plus, it is easy to use. But over 70% of audience on Pinterest is female, and if they are not part of your target audience, you should put your efforts elsewhere. Analyse your target audience and determine the functionality of each platform. Accordingly, decide which will be the most suitable for your business.

Find the right sort of content

Visual content comes in many forms, but not all of it may be appropriate for your business. You should choose the right one to ensure that you get the most from it. Analyse and understand your audience, and accordingly select the right sort of visual content.

Instil innovation

Got an original idea? Is there anything innovative in your mind? Perfect, use it for your visual content and it will generate even more attention. The more innovative you are, the more buzz you generate.

Keep it clear and detailed

If you are using images for marketing purposes, they must be clear, but they must also be detailed and convey everything you want your audience to know. According to research, over 67% people think that images should be clear and give them more importance than to product information, description and ratings.

Use varying sizes of fonts for an impact

What fonts are you using for your visual content? They should be contrasting to the background and they should be in different sizes. Small and big create more impact and can affect your overall message significantly.

Maintain consistency

Whichever visual content you are sharing, you must be consistent and send a unified message to your audience. And by the way, the message you send must be the same that your blogs and website are also conveying.

Select your colours carefully

The colours you use have a powerful impact on the human mind. Did you know red excites you and blue relaxes you? Green is associated with the environment and growth and yellow signifies trust. Think about your brand, and accordingly select suitable colours for your marketing purposes. You may not be sure initially which colours to opt for, but play around with them and you will soon realize which shades are just right.

Promote, Promote, and promote some more

You should share your visual content on all popular social media sites, and at times when traffic is at its peak, there are many tracking tools that will allow you to find your optimum post time.

So tap into visual marketing.

Content is taken from our own experience and a variety of online sources including blog.visual.ly, dailytekk.com

Building and Refreshing Ecommerce Sites with Responsive Design

A mobile retail strategy is not an option anymore; it should be a primary consideration for all consumer-facing businesses that intend to target and benefit from online sales.

According to the latest figures from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) has shown that UK retailers are missing out on a shocking £6.6 billion per year due to a lack of investment in their mobile offering. This is occurring despite retailers reporting that the mobile share of their online sales almost doubled between 2013 and 2014 from 15 per cent to 28 per cent.

“Sales on Mobile Devices breakdown as 25% on smartphones and 75% on tablets”

The same report has shown that 15 per cent of consumers now use mobiles as their main shopping device and that these shoppers tend to be more prolific online spenders overall.

Indications are that four in every ten online sales now take place on a mobile device.

In our view, based on the studies we have read, Ecommerce shows no signs of slowing down, and with the rising popularity of Responsive Design methods and Principals the need for a separate website dedicated to mobile devices – commonly called mobile sub domains – but which is better?

Mobile Sub Domain vs. Responsive

Is your site mobile ready? Google’s latest algorithm update rolled out on April 21st targeting business whose websites we’re not mobile friendly. If you haven’t updated your site, you could be losing tons of traffic from mobile search.

Why Does the Mobile Site Look So Different? This is because there’s a 99.9% chance that it really IS a different site. The site is usually located “m.domain.com (though it can be anything, such as “mobile.domain.com” or “www.domain.com/mobile/”) instead of www.domain.com.

It should be noted that though websites employing Responsive Web Design can in theory have a completely different aesthetic than the desktop site, and it’s not a requirement that the “m” site look completely different than “www.”

However, Responsive Web Design sites typically don’t show a large change of aesthetic between screen sizes. It’s just more common with “m” subdomains because they are truly different websites.

For an existing Ecommerce retailer, the move to a responsive website can be a scary prospect, but there is a lot of help in the marketplace to ease the transition.

 Mobile Sub Domain  Responsive Design 
Rendering Experience A mobile site is essentially a copy of your website, where the server does the work to deliver an optimized page that’s smaller and easier to navigate. The solution can really customize a unique experience for mobile users. A good choice when it might be too expensive to redesign responsively. In responsive design, the device does the work and automatically adjusts according to a device’s screen size (large or small) and orientation (landscape or portrait). It switches between these options on-the-fly. A very good and flexible solution.
Domain Protection With a mobile site, you must create a different domain (many companies choose to differentiate theirs by “m.domain.com”). Can dilute domain and hurt organic search traffic. Can add to website management because you have to maintain two separate silos of content.  Responsive design lets you keep your own domain—nothing changes except code on the back-end. Googles thinks this is the better solution: …Maintaining a single shared site preserves a canonical URL, avoiding any complicated redirects, and simplifies the sharing of web addresses…
Link Equity Because a mobile site uses a separate domain, links shared from mobile browsers will not count as search link equity toward your primary site. Not as good for search. Since responsive design simply embeds new code on the back-end of your website, your company’s link equity is preserved. Better option for search.
Future-Ready Re-working of a mobile site might be needed in order to stay current with next-generation phones and mobile browsers.

Could require higher maintenance and expense.

The technology is more forward-thinking because once added to site it will work on next months and next year’s devices without having to be programmed further.

A better return on your investment

The user experience is crucial in the world of Ecommerce, with retailers constantly fighting to increase conversions. A mistake in the shopping or checkout processes can result in an abandoned shopping cart and potential revenue lost.

Getting Help

As you may have gathered already, the ability to produce a website fit for almost any screen requires more than your average HTML. Working with a designer, like FHML Limited, that understands responsive design principles will go a long way towards launching or refreshing an Ecommerce site that is functional and effective.

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