Are you keeping up with the latest web trends of 2013? You might want to consider it. The saying “first impressions matter” is true in more than just job interviews. When people find your website due to your amazing SEO marketing or email campaigns, they’re going to give it a few seconds’ glance before deciding whether you’re worth their time. A website that looks like it was plucked out of 1997 is going to leave them looking for a time machine, not your products and services.
Why’s it so important to keep up with the times? Because an easy-to-navigate, visually appealing site that falls in line with what users are already used to is going to increase your conversion rates. People who spend a lot of time online (which is most people these days) are going to be accustomed to a certain aesthetic. If they’re not getting it, they’re going elsewhere to find it.
So how can you get up to speed with today’s biggest trends?
Pay Attention to Your Visuals
The most innovative sites on the web are adapting hugely visual designs using high-quality photography or illustration. The designs are literally huge – think big, bold, HD images. As more people are moving to mobile devices to browse the web (more on that in a minute), Retina Display-ready graphics are becoming a very big deal. Gone are the days when you can throw up a blurry 600px image of you with your arm around your dog and hope it’s good enough.
Visuals need to tell a story and give a sleek look to your design. There’s a theory that attention spans are becoming so short that we need to rely on images to hold attention now. No idea if there’s truth to that, but it doesn’t hurt to make things look nice. Clean lines, simple fonts, and bold imagery is the way to go. Even if you don’t have the professional photography, a good web designer can still create a spectacular design with fonts and layout.
Content Still Matters
Although many of the most innovative designs are moving in a visual direction, that doesn’t mean you should skimp on content. You just have to be a little more creative. Tell a story. Learn the art of brevity (or find someone who does). Make sure your copy is professionally edited. Aim for a genuine human connection rather than catchy buzz words. If you can tell a story in 100 perfectly edited words that punches someone right in the heart-guts, you’ve got it made.
It’s an art, and if you’re not sure you can pull it off, you have options available to you.
Have you heard of parallax scrolling? If not, you should look it up. This isn’t a technique for everyone (or everyone’s budget), but it’s exactly the kind of eye-catching design that’s turning heads right now. These sorts of details will give your site, and your product by proxy, the sort of sophistication and style that consumers expect from their most trusted brands (think of Apple). You don’t have to go this bold. Sliders, design flourishes, creative use of color, or other elements can give you a stylistic edge over your competition.
Watch the Big Guys
If you really want to stay ahead of the curve, you should watch what the big sites are doing, particularly when it comes to social sharing sites. These are the places where millions of the Internet’s denizens gather, which means the user interfaces and designs are very intentionally done to keep users on the site. It also means that these are the layouts users are accustomed to using. Follow the innovators’ lead and you’ll find that users have a much easier time figuring out where to go on your website.
Plus, there’s the added bonus of reflecting a site that users spend hours of their time on already, which will make it feel very familiar. That means they’ll be less likely to leave immediately. We’re not recommending that you mimic Google+ on your homepage, just that you take a few leaves out of its book.
How Mobile Are You?
And then there’s mobile. The number of people browsing the Internet via smartphone or tablet is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s only upward from here. That means you desperately need to pay attention to the “mobility” of your website, not to mention the responsiveness of your layout. Do you have a mobile version? Is it easy to navigate? Is the pertinent information easily accessible?
At bare minimum, users should be able to easily access your phone number so they can call directly from their phone. It’s also recommended that they be able to use a map to locate you, and that you have conveniently sized product or service menus for them to browse.
These are just a few of the biggest web trends to keep an eye on in 2013. You don’t have to go to big brand level heights to have a functional design your customers will love. If you need some professional guidance for your new web design, our web team is here to consult with you.