It’s no secret that fashion designers invest heart, time, and energy into each and every piece they create. They are your masterpieces - your label - your name - your brand - created to be unique and stand out from other brands. One of a kind, right?
Should your pieces turn heads and get people’s attention? Do you want people to stop and take notice of your store or simply keep walking past? If the answer is yes; you want to get peoples attention, then it only makes sense to have a quality web design that you want your brand to be associated with. Similar to how you wouldn’t send a customer away with your product in a standard supermarket plastic bag, you’d want to consider them having a delightful experience from the start to the finish as that’s how your brand will be remembered.
What comes to mind when clothing is ill-fitted? It really doesn’t do the design justice, does it? That’s why when clothing is tailor-made and measured to fit, it looks a whole lot better than just something “off the shelf”.
Digital design is really no different in this regard. Picking a tailor-made approach rather than a template that’s off the shelf will always look better. How do you spot the difference? To the untrained eye, you may not quite know what it is about it that makes it seem hotter, it’s just… right. Compare it to say, a piece using quality materials, made with experienced hands and with careful measurements will result in a different final product than factory produced clothing.
It’s easier and quicker of course to get a template, but then if anyone can do that, that would mean that your brand could just look and come across like all those other budget stores.
When embarking on a new website project though, it’s always good to know what the current trends are and why they’re being discussed and adopted. A great digital design agency will already know of these and will have likely explored them on various projects.
Some of the hottest trends we’ve seen this year.
Let’s explore some of the latest trends this season for websites and why they’re popular.
1. Long scrolling pages
With the majority of users familiar with using mobile devices to scroll down to consume content, we’ve seen a shift not only in people interacting with websites in this way but also often preferring this rather than clicking off to other pages and links (that means waiting for the next page to load and then being taken away from the content that they’re reading - not ideal!).
Brands are now using this method to tell stories and engage visitors with beautiful content and imagery.
2. Delightful forms
Website users are no longer unfamiliar with filling out forms on websites. You’ll remember the forms that were frustrating to use, but you often won’t remember the ones that were painless and just… worked. Some might even delight you by taking out the think-work behind it all and help prompt you along the process. Hey, who would say no to things that make life easier?
3. Delicious microinteractions
Microinteractions are those little things that an app or a website does to give you visual feedback on an action. This could be via a button changing colour once you’ve clicked on it, an automated percentage bar filling in as you’re filling out a form, or maybe it’s a little cute animation when you click to like something on Twitter. These are all delicious things that just help make the experience that little bit nicer and sweeter than the average template website.
4. Bigger personalities
Brands are quickly getting better with portraying their personality online, whether it’s via blogs, campaigns or social media. These are the exciting brands that are having conversations with their customers and in turn, building great relationships with them for the long term. People relate to people, so there’s an amazing and unique opportunity to connect with your audience on these platforms.
5. Breaking out of the box
Designers across the world are exploring creative ways to break out of the normal structures and are challenging the conformity of the grid layout. You’ll see this method, commonly referred to as the exploded grid, applied in the 2016 STYLEAID website as it was very complementary to the style of this year’s theme.
What’s not so hot.
These things are so last year.
1. Slow loading websites
With beautiful photography, video and animations taking the web by storm, they are also weighing down the load times. All good if you’re one of the lucky few on a fast connection via a desktop computer, however for anyone else (think someone accessing the site on their mobile), you’re chewing up all their data and they’re not going to be so happy about that.
Making sure that your web agency is serious about optimisation for speed and performance is a must. Need another incentive? Performance is also a factor in Google’s search ranking algorithm.
2. Non-mobile responsive websites
In 2015, Google officially confirmed that more searches took place on mobile devices than computers. It’s also a factor that contributes to their search ranking algorithm, favouring websites that are mobile responsive over ones that haven’t caught up yet. The biggest motivation though is for your website visitor to have the most positive experience with your brand from any touchpoint that they have.
With smartphone usage increasing by nearly 200% in the last four years, according to Sensis, it’d be crazy to not upgrade to a mobile responsive website.
3. Non-accessible websites
Excluding users from being able to access or use your website isn’t cool. In the simplest analogy, it’s like not providing a wheelchair access ramp and only offering stairs. Building accessible websites that adhere to web industry standards is important to do and making sure that your web agency takes this seriously is a must so that the web can be inclusive for all.
Every visitor could be a potential customer so it makes perfect sense to keep the door open for everyone.
There’s of course much more happening out there in the web world and that’s the beauty of being part of a creative industry. Trends will come and go, but a strong brand will live on. Exploring the technology available and different approaches in line with the brand strategy is one of the most exciting things we get the pleasure of working on with our clients. The main goal in all this is to build stronger connections between a brand and their audience through bringing in the element of delight.
We hope that everyone can embark on these adventures too so that we can all make the web a more beautiful place.