When it comes to online trends in marketing, you’ll find it’s a fluid, angry, unwieldy beast that has many peaks and troughs. A landscape brimming with marketing pitfalls of despair and mountains of joy.
No one is going to get it 100% correct right off the bat. There’s a lot of work to do, especially when it comes to designing a website or piece of graphic content. Whether it’s for yourself or for a client, there are things that simply don’t work anymore, and things you can do to make your site a truly engaging and successful experience.
Ensure your mobile site and main site are the same
I think it goes without saying (although I’m still going to), but mobile technology is changing everything. Online users are relying on their smartphones more than ever to do things. Plus, it was reported last year that mobile friendliness was to affect ranking in search, at least for Google.
In the USA in 2010, the average number of hours per day for a person to use their smartphone was 0.4 hours with 2.4 hours spent on a desktop/laptop. Today? The number of hours for smartphone usage has increased to 2.8 hours.
The UK is fast becoming a smartphone society, with 33% preferring their mobile device to their laptop (30%). By 2017, five out of every seven people will have a mobile device.
It’s simply no longer profitable or practical to have a separate mobile site. Responsive web design will allow you to show your main site on a mobile device without losing functionality.
Get out of the shadows
Flat design has been with us a while, and there’s a reason for that. It’s effective, it’s easy and it’s visually appealing. 3D, shadow and gradient-style designs are becoming dated – being really fancy can often mean being really distracting. Instead of provoking the engagement you want it will probably infuriate the visitor.
What I’m saying is less smoke and mirrors, more simple and functional design. Take advantage of shapes, elements and patterns. Use vibrant colours that are eye-catching but not garish. Mix in some interesting typography. Make what your visitor reads and sees is inspirational, providing an enriching experience.
Salute interface innovation
One of the trends you’re likely to see more of include innovative user interfaces. We consume information on the internet much differently than we used to. However, this has led to a lot of generic ways of interfacing with that information.
Here are some examples:
Card layout: What does a business card do? It gives you concise information about a person or business quickly and effectively. Having your site laid out in a similar way can give visitors a rounded idea of what the content is about. Easy to manipulate in design and great on the eye, you’re providing an effective UI that can be altered ad hoc fit with your preferences. Pinterest does it really well. You’ve heard of Pinterest, right?
Microinteractions: An extremely simple thing to do, but it really enhances the user experience. Interactivity is going to be popular this year (as it was in 2015). Microinteractions provide that all-important engagement, and allow the visitor to see the results of their actions through direct manipulation of onscreen assets.
Basically, that means they get to play with things on the page and they move. Deep down, we’re all still children.
Cinemagraphs: These are still photographs with a minor and repeated movement. Subtle. Visually striking and inspirational, expect to see a lot more of these.
I don’t think that it’s too much to ask from marketers to suggest a rich combination of video, graphical and illustrated designs. Design is about simplicity, innovation and most importantly, useful and easy to use from a user perspective.