If you have a business, a product, a service or just about anything you want to share over the Internet, a website or a blog site is the best way to do it. A website is an extension of your company and therefore should communicate what your company represents or stands for. The site should be engaging and informative for your visitors or target market and should be a catalyst for your marketing and brand recognition efforts.
Any effective website should posses an effective web design and web marketing strategy. If these two factors are met, your business will be able to build a loyal fan base. It’s important to keep in mind that having a website is about more than just maintaining a digital billboard.
Why Websites Are Important
Websites serve as a digital window for customers and visitors who are interested in checking out your business. Plus, it’s one of the cheapest ways to advertise your products and one of the most reliable sources of information about your product and company. Many blog sites offer free services for simple website solutions and some offer annual paid subscriptions with more tools that will enable you to further customise your site. Some website designs can cost you around $1000 – $2000 depending on how many pages you’re asking, the rich media you need and the functions needed to make the website more user friendly and eye catching at the same time.
Traditional and digital marketing are not on the same level. Digital marketing tends to include more of a “personal touch” as compared to traditional marketing. A website can provide an effective marketing strategy and at the same time touch base with the target market. A website can serve as a portal where customers can send feedback or product issues and have their questions answered in real time. Thanks to websites, customers have the ability to talk directly with brand ambassadors and the company itself about the products and services they are offering.
A website can also provide a rich visual and audio experience by designing your website with the most eye catching colours, fonts and images. Your website can contain content such as articles and videos which can further enhance user experience and quickly build your ROI.
Website Design Trends in 2015
Gone are the days of websites with cluttered formatting, dizzying flash images, fonts and clashing colours. Present day websites have changed into elegant, brochure-type layouts which give a clean and fresh overall look. Just as in the fashion world, there are also website design trends that you, as a business, need to know about and adapt to. These design trends can help you capture your target niche, make your online presence strong, make your brand awareness more diverse and most of all, reach your high ROI goal. Although the current website design trends do not necessarily follow any strict formula, the unusual balance and interesting layouts can inspire you in designing your own beautiful and engaging website.
1. Continuous Scrolling
Continuous scrolling or parallax scrolling have become famous and is used by most websites now. Websites or blogs that don’t require multiple pages are using this feature. There’s no need to click on the “next” button to navigate to the next page. Everything that you need to know is on one continuous page layout. The original idea behind continuous scrolling was for the visitor to get to the information they need with as little clicks as possible. It is more intuitive and lessens the load time of the site. Although this feature allows an enhanced dynamic experience between the user and the website, it will not work on a website which features a large amount of content like articles and videos. Better to have continuous scrolling to showcase your content or products and let the user click through to separate pages to read or view something. Continuous scrolling is especially suited to mobile browsing.
2. Card Design Interface
Pinterest is using this website design effectively and many websites and blogs have followed suit. Although the card design is not new, it will continue to get better and has proven to be a great tool for website designers in developing responsive websites. Also known as modular design, you are able to rearrange the columns without the layout looking disorganised or sloppy. Users will also be able to browse a lot of information without the need for too much scrolling down or clicking. The card design is simple, clean and versatile for a website with a lot of content to showcase. More and more websites will surely adopt this layout over the next few years.
3. Responsive Design
Since the boom of smart wireless devices, many websites have adopted responsive design. And since Google will be rolling their new algorithm which counts responsive design as one factor for a website to be ranked, it will be expected that all websites around the world will eventually adopt responsive design. A few years ago responsive design was focused on improving browsing on mobile devices, however, every website should broaden their capabilities because smart watches, smart TVs, smart glasses and smart home appliances are defining how responsive design is used on all present day devices. The Internet of Things will dictate on how web designers can apply a design that will function effectively across multiple platforms. Responsive design will no longer be optional, but a necessity in web design moving forward.
4. Vibrant Flat Design
Many experts believe that Google’s material design specification is intended to combine the texture and tactility of paper and ink with the vast imagination of digital tools. Flat design has achieved a lot of ground in previous years and the concept is not showing signs of slowing down. Google material design can be described as a flat design that uses different kinds of layering, subtle gradients and animation in retaining a tangible environment that includes physical space and objects. Think of it as old school 2D animation, but applied to a modern website environment.
5. Emphasis On Large Typography
Since content is king, there will be a greater emphasis on large and well-designed fonts. This year and next year we expect to see more websites featuring simple, bold and large typography. Also, expect responsive typography that will enable accessibility from website visitors using different devices, be it a personal computer, a smart phone, smart tv or tablet. Google offers different fonts to be used, but websites are also available for web designers if they want to add more flexibility and character to their website themes.
6. Large Background Pictures/Images Or Videos
Websites are taking cues from magazine layouts for capturing the attention of viewers with large pictures or videos as backgrounds for their websites. It works because it lessens the “boring factor” of a website. Most visitors become engaged on a website due to visual elements, thus having this design will work to your advantage. Bright and high quality images also help to dictate the feelings of the user whenever they visit your site. Expect HD-quality as the norm and fully responsive video backgrounds on many websites this year. Humans react instinctively to eye catching images and your website should be no exception.
7. Ghost Buttons
Ghost buttons are really attractive, classy and minimalistic. Using these is an effective way to get the attention of visitors. Ghost buttons work well with large background images and videos and are a very nice touch to set you apart from other sites.
8. Adapting to Scalable Vector Graphics
Modern devices now possess greater pixel density for their display sizes, thus many web designers are having issues maintaining the image quality when a website adjusts to any device with a different resolution. Since the release of Internet Explorer 9, there has been cross-browser compatibility with all modern browsers that support SVG format. SVG has also taken over the many tasks of Flash on websites and the image can also be indexed by most search engines. Scalability is the magic word here.
9. Responsive Website Logos
Having a responsive design is already becoming a standard and not a trend. As a website scales down for viewing on portable smart devices, it makes sense that the logo should also scale down as well. You may have noticed some company websites will show the full logo and the full picture when browsed on a computer, then scale it down to the bare essentials when accessed using a mobile device. A full-on and complicated website logo will not render well on a small screen so this concept will become more important this year.
A micro interaction is defined as a contained experience that a visitor or user has with a website revolving around a single use. A subscription box is one good example of a microinteraction. Microinteractions help web owners and businesses engage with customers, which results in an enhanced user experience.