How an Optimized Web Design Can Elevate Your Business [5 Trends for 2020]
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” –Vincent van Gogh
The same is true for website optimization. Custom pictures, enchanting typography, colors, and videos are all small pieces that, once combined, will not disappoint. The online trends for 2019 were centered around cutting through the noise of the internet to make a personable statement about your business. While the total amount of websites changes every second, there are over 1 billion active sites, so designers need to step up their game and research the latest navigation and content to stand out.
A company’s website is the world’s snapshot of their business—if it’s messy and unoptimized, your potential customers will notice. Therefore, the designer must put themselves into the shoes of the user; what would feel best for them? And at the same time, try to nudge the user to take action by purchasing your services and products. Jeremy Mays, a Founder/CMO, and Liz Fu, a Lead Designer at RightPoint, and Erin Thomas, a freelancer, are established in the design industry and shared their insights on what to expect on 2020 web design.
TOP 5 WEB DESIGN TRENDS FOR WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION
There are discussions about the end of flat design but one of the biggest trends for 2020 is minimalism. We asked Jeremy how designers can avoid flat interfaces, while at the same time, having minimal structure.
“[It’s] an age-old design challenge…There’s a danger of feeling empty, it’s very speculative. There’s still a strong demand for engagement, but people’s attention spans are shorter and shorter. If it’s too minimalist, you run the risk of not being engaging. Guestbook went more minimalist in design with a lot of white and negative space, but we’re still using big fonts.”
—Jeremy Mays, Founder/CMO
Liz Fu had a similar opinion, “Design elements don’t have to be flat to be used in a minimal way.” By bringing depth and dimension to designs through the use of color, fonts, and alignment in a simple way, your website traffic will greatly increase. More traffic means more brand awareness, which means more conversions and customers. Below are examples of minimalist website styles.
2. User centric
User centricity is all about empathy, and how to create value for your customers/users based on their wants and needs. Therefore, if you want a user centric website, you should take a balanced approach between business goals and user needs. Some tips for a user centric website include; clean navigation custom-made images, interactions, and a mobile-friendly version.
“I think every industry is hopping on the bandwagon…Users nowadays have the expectation that every single site should be user friendly and intuitive. The sites, and the businesses behind the sites, that don’t prioritize user experience will definitely suffer in the long run if they don’t get it together.” —Liz Fu, Lead Designer at Rightpoint shares.
An eye opening statistic from SWEOR supports that 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. The internet is not giving second chances, therefore if you have not optimized your website in the past five years it is time to do it now before it starts costing you customers.
3. Voice User Interface (VUI)
Currently, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. With the rise of Google Home and other voice-controlled machines, it makes sense that websites will follow these new compliance technology markets.
“At some point you’re going to see less type and mouse, and more use of being able to speak directly into the microphone to control what a website does.” —Jeremy Mays, Founder/CMO.
In addition, virtual reality (VR) is beginning to be the driving force behind product innovation and allowing companies to deliver ultra-realistic experiences to consumers. The real estate industry, for example the company Matterport, is already implementing VR into their tours with 3D cameras!
It might not happen in 2020, but eventually a website could have a Live chat AI bot to provide customer service. AI will give companies the opportunity to recommend products to target consumers more efficiently and accurately.
Micro-interactions let the user feel like they’re controlling how sites operate, it’s not just a website telling them plain information. When someone is on an e-commerce site and the product jumps as the cursor hits it, or if a button’s color and shape changes as the user hovers over it, that’s a micro-interaction.
The technology industry is the pioneer and trendsetter for other businesses. Erin Thomas, a freelance graphic designer, couldn’t agree more with that statement.
“I think the technology industry will implement a user-friendly design first. With this day and age, technology is HUGE and it’s continuing to grow. Technology is continuously upping their game when it comes to improving the product, company, and overall industry.” Erin told us that Drunk Elephant’s website was one of her favorite’s due to the movement.
Since the Americans with Disabilities Act was incorporated in 1990, many industries had to change their business models. This includes increasing access to websites for everyone on the internet.
A perfect example is Instacart.com website, that has a high contrast version and is adapting to people with visual impairments. Corporate social responsibility should be a high priority for businesses, and a new website model that can integrate visual aids to make their product(s) more accessible will reflect good core values.
To be truly accessible to all users, websites should have:
1. Alternative text formats such as larger print or braille
2. Full keyboard accessibility
3. Visual content that will not cause seizures
4. Captions for videos or audio descriptions
A business’ website is their lifeline to the public, so it better be appealing!
With social media and the internet constantly changing, companies need to stay on their toes. Users should navigate your stark interface with as little effort as possible and new designs should have a minimal interface, be effortless to read, easy to search, and promote movement using the user’s cursor. We recommend studying the UX basics before delving into any unknown designer territory.