Winning Web Design for 2017
Well that was quick. 2016 is almost a distant memory and so now is a good time to take stock about what the coming year might present in terms of business opportunities and challenges.
We saw that web design in 2016 really exploded in terms of creativity. Conventions were tossed to the curb as businesses experimented with non-traditional layouts, fluid elements, and color schemes that often look like two drunken rainbows got into a fight.
So what can we expect from new business website designs in 2017?
Mobile-first design approach
If your website isn’t responsive by now it’s officially time to panic! 2017 means big changes in the way Google will index your web pages and a main driver will be the mobile-friendliness of your site and what kind of user-experience you provide for your smartphone and tablet visitors.
The warning signs have been out for a while so many brands have been focusing on a mobile-first approach to design. Another reason is that mobile searches are growing significantly year-over-year but interestingly mobile conversions are lagging behind – this is a big consideration if you’re wanting to experiment with PPC.
There are several factors contributing to why mobile visitors don’t convert as well as desktop and some of those are beyond the webmaster’s control. You can however design your site so that smartphone users have an easier path to conversion. With Blockity’s DIY web design platform all designs are responsive, and making changes for mobile UX is beyond easy since no coding is required! If you’re one of those businesses in a panic about your mobile-unfriendly site do something about it now.
We’ve come to expect a certain squared-off look with business websites, especially in the B2B services world. Clean visual lines, with the typical header, “What We Do”, testimonials, and contact form all in rather predictable places usually within some kind of boxy framework. And one could argue that giving visitors what they expect and can easily find is good UX – and we’ll agree with that – but there’s still room for shaking things up. Zendesk gives us a good example of fun and functional below. The design is pretty clean and easy to navigate though it plays with layout and bouncing images without becoming burdensome:
This has been around for a while now – the slightly fuzzed out header video designed to look like you’re peering onto the operations floor of the business in question. The first one I ever noticed was when PayPal implemented it around 2012-2013. Thought it was super-cool then but I have to make a confession: I AM SO SICK OF THIS TREND by now and I swear I see it on every other freaking business website these days! An overlaid video loop of poorly-dressed millennials in an office pretending to work by pointing at each other’s MacBooks and playing ping pong…enough already!
How about using that header space for telling us what the freak your business actually does? I know your VC sugar-daddies aren’t bankrolling your ping pong skills development. Alas, I think we’re going to be stuck with this trend throughout 2017 and probably for a while longer…
We’re seeing a lot of businesses redesigning their websites and throwing the old color palette out the window. While branding and brand consistency are immensely important for many reasons – arguably the biggest being customer and prospect recognition - color experimentation is no longer off-limits. Heck even Instagram played with its logo colors and design and doesn’t seem to have been hurt by it.
Except you’re not Instagram and probably don’t have a similar size marketing budget. Do some small batch testing when you want to introduce new colors for your brand. Email marketing is a great way to introduce some new elements and colors and get feedback without going live with a massive aesthetic change on your website. Most of the major email service providers allow A/B testing with your email blasts, so you’ll have some reliable data as well as response feedback to guide design changes.
Before you adopt a mascot image of a pink snowman riding a unicorn for your medical imaging business, think hard about how it might ring with your customers. In the meantime check out Spotify’s awesome use of daring colors:
Funeral for the “fold”
Keeping all your good stuff “above the fold” used to be important for both user experience and SEO (since Google bot spiders had very limited crawl capacity and it was feared they’d never make it to the bottom of your page). Neither of those conditions have been valid for a while and recent web designs have effectively buried that old standard for good.
People have no issue scrolling, especially since mobile devices have gotten us into the habit of doing this all the time. We now expect videos on pages to start playing when we scroll onto them, and pause when we scroll onto some other element. Some brands are really taking advantage of creative scrolling methods – Quanta Group for example. A screenshot does not do this site justice – and it does employ video in the header (gasp!) in a way that does not make me want to smash things with rocks. Check it out at QuantaGroup.co.uk and you’ll see what I mean. The menus are NOT where you expect them, but you still find them easy enough and somehow it all feels intuitive though the layout is completely new to you:
Large type that makes an impact
If you didn’t notice it before look at another element all of our examples so far have in common: big text styles that communicate a major call-to-action or other point about the company. This isn’t about just going back and bumping up your font size by 2X. It’s about creating that short powerful slogan or sentence that will grab hold of your prospect, and delivering it with large eye-catching type, usually standing by itself so as not to be shadowed by other text content.
This is another easy tweak if you’re using the Blockity platform for your website. Try clearing out all the boring text in your header and revamping the look with a new 5-word-or-less CTA in one of the many great fonts available in your design interface. Pick a new image that gels with the message to convey and incorporate some bold new colors if you dare. You’re already on an SEO-friendly, responsive platform so get designing and have your website ready to capture more sales and leads in 2017!
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