Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Andy Hayes – Enjoy!
I know what you’re probably thinking: oh, great, another trends post. Personally, I think trend-watching is interesting because it can give you new ideas for your business. But, a little bit of trend-watching goes a long way.
When it comes to the web – and specifically, websites – there are plenty of trends. The trick is to identify which trends will add meaningful value to both your customers and you as well. Here are 3 website design trends I think you should be watching.
1. Responsive Design: A Great Experience, No Matter Where
Have you heard the term “responsive” website design and laughed it off as techno-mumbo-jumbo? Now’s the time for you to embrace it.
Responsive design is simply a way that your site is coded so that the site checks how big of a screen the user has (such as a large monitor, medium-sized tablet, or smaller mobile) and then adjusts how the site looks based on that. This means that no matter whether your customer is having a quick browse on their phone while in line at the grocery, or spending quite a bit of time on your blog while relaxing on the sofa on their tablet, they have a great browsing experience.
If your website technology doesn’t allow for responsive design, it’s time to start talking about an upgrade to a platform that does. Otherwise, you’ll start to see a decline in engagement – customers now demand a great experience whether no matter where they are.
2. Minimalism: Get Your Message Across, Quickly
Just like in fashion, web designers tend to go through a lot of fads – specifically color schemes and font choices. (Hint: cursive fonts are now the hot item; now that I’ve mentioned it to you, you’ll probably start seeing them everywhere.)
However, I’ve noticed as the design community has leaped from font to font, color to color, designs are converging on a theme of minimalism. Less colors, but more meaning behind each color choice. Fewer crazy fonts and more judicious choice about those fonts.
Remember, the purpose of your website’s design is to support your brand and brand message. That’s even more important these days, as many customers’ first interaction with your company is now often via your website.
My advice for you, with the web being so oversaturated (and consumers being over stimulated), is to think like you are Google’s famous ultra-lean homepage: if you only had to pick a handful of things, what the priority? More critically, what’s extra fluff that’s getting in the way of what is important?
3. Specialized Web Hosting: Less Hassle, Worth the Extra Money
Web hosting has come a long way since I setup my first self-hosted domain back in 2004. Even as of late, web hosting companies have had a reputation of lackluster customer service and user-unfriendly tools. It was only a matter of time before we started to see specialization in the industry. I use WordPress as my website’s platform, and recently have switched to WP-Engine and Zippykid – two examples of web hosts who have specialized in one specific platform. It’s not just WordPress where this is happening – if you just want an ecommerce solution, you could go with something like Shopify.
Why pay more for a hosting that is specialized like this? Many reasons, such as better customer service and more technical support, since everyone on the hosting team is an expert in your software platform. These companies have optimized their infrastructure as well, which means a faster site, fewer viruses, and less downtime for you. Switching hosting companies isn’t always easy, but I speak from experience when I say that it’s worth investigating.
Andy Hayes is a creative web producer based in sunny Portland, Oregon. He’s worked in usability testing labs, owned a hospitality and tourism marketing company, and now is focused on website optimization and content strategy. When not delivering his famous website critiques, you’ll find him managing a team of collaborators on the lifestyle magazine Plum Deluxe.