Do you remember the first websites from the mid-1990s? Some of them are still online, such as the Internet Explorer is Evil site, which was built in 1996. It relied heavily on Flash animation and tacky images.Modern websites don't look anything like that today. Technology has evolved. New technology has led to new customer expectations.Here are some technology trends that are changing the future of web design in 2017. Wearable Technology Affect Customer Experience and Web Design Optimization In the past, web developers had a single focus – creating a great user experience. They only had to make sure that the website they were building was engaging and communicated their message appropriately. Today, people are using multiple devices at the same time. They are also using wearable devices, such as Fitbit, which influence their behavior. Web developers need to consider how all of these devices influence the customer experience. Mobile Devices Force Brands to Trim Websites In 2015, the number of mobile Internet users exceeded desktop users for the first time. Since a growing number of people are accessing the Internet from their mobile devices, web developers need to make sure their sites provide a good mobile user experience. They are facing one major challenge - mobile data plan limits. Websites with lots of graphics take longer to loan on mobile devices than desktops. According to UX expert Rick Wittington, mobile users will abandon sites that take over 10 seconds to load. If you are redesigning a website, it's important to test it on multiple devices. If it loads too slowly on the average smartphone, then you will probably need to remove some of your graphics and consider using fewer applets. Video Will Play an Even More Important Role in Web Design Video has become a powerful medium in recent years. According to new research from Contently, people spend more time watching online videos than they spend on social media. Video will be even more important in the future. The Cisco Visual Networking Index shows that online video traffic will increase over 400% by 2020. Web designers can't afford to ignore this trend. They need to provide reliable way to host and stream videos. Since video can increase bandwidth and load times, they may need to trim the images from the rest of their site. Lower Attention Spans Lead to Simpler Designs I already mentioned that lower the increased popularity of mobile devices is leading to leaner websites. Another factor is also driving this change – lower attention spans. New technology has made customers less patient. This is partially due to their experiences on social media and a society that places even more of a focus on instant gratification. In 2017, customers will be even less forgiving of websites that take a long time to load. Bottom Line A lot of variables are influencing the role of web design. The biggest takeaway is this – websites need to be leaner. They need to load quickly. In the early days of the web, many brands tried to show off by creating very image intensive sites with a lot of Flash animation. Today, they need to create simpler sites that load quickly.
If charging up your mobile commerce strategy is on your to-do list for 2017, enjoy these 10 best practices from Mobify’s recent publication 50 Ways to Please Your Customers: A Guide to Mobile Web Design Best Practices. 1. Go to full site – the mobile website escape Always include a link to the full site for your users. No matter how good your design, some people just want the experience they’re used to. The only thing that likes change is a wet baby. 2. Keep headings shorter than short Headings that wrap over more than 2 lines push your content down the page and often out of frame for users. Keep them short, focused and descriptive without telling the whole story. 3. Use placeholder text on small, common form inputs On small forms where context is obvious, use placeholder text instead of labels (eg. login forms, search boxes or address forms). 4. Place labels above form inputs When you use labels they should be placed above form elements. Using top-aligned labels makes sure that if the mobile browser zooms in on the input, the user doesn’t lose the context of the input. 5. Pop-ups suck on mobile Window management on mobile still sucks. YouTube, Maps, anything that opens native applications takes the user outside the website’s flow and out of context. Do your best to integrate these elements on the page so that users can stay with the website they’re viewing. 6. Save time with font-based icons We (heart image) icons! They spice up your designs. To avoid managing a sprite sheet with both retina assets and smaller icons, opt for a font-based icon set like: Font Awesome; glyphish; iconsweets; or symbolset. Or, make your own. Here’s how. 7. Give your mobile website a mobile-first makeover Going mobile is about more than just squeezing an existing website into a one-column format. Examine your analytics and your user feedback. Tackle the opportunity to re-imagine your website for mobile and to focus on the important elements. Reorganize content so that it makes sense to the user. Drop extra content blocks. Move elements up or down the page. Add new elements for mobile devices. It’s your site to make amazing. 8. Make your default font size at least 14px Even if that seems really big, it’s the right thing to do. The only time to go smaller (and just to a minimum of 12 px) is on very precise labels for forms. 9. Respect the fat fingers and tipsy taps of your users None of us are as dexterous as we’d like to be on our mobile devices. We can all have a touch of “fat fingers” symptoms. So design your actions accordingly. Make the touch targets big. We recommend 40px by 40px. Give targets lots of margin too. We recommend at least 10px margins around the targets. Primary actions should always be big and tappable. 10. Embrace the wild and wonderful world of device APIs When making a desktop site mobile we sometimes forget that smartphones and other mobile devices access user location, can make phone calls, take pictures and much more. Don’t confine your creativity to what’s on your desktop site.
Now, I'm not sure if this is just my problem, or if every web designer has this issue, but I have no problem coming up with great ideas for different, custom web designs and layouts for my clients. But when it comes to our website, the actual PostIdol Media website I always draw a complete blank. Hence why this new website literally took 4 years to create. Now before you say "4 years! To create THIS site? It's nothing ground-breaking!". Agreed. And I don't mean it took 4 years to code and design it. I mean it took 4 years to finally settle on a design, style and motif for the website. As creative types, we are a bit of a loose cannon and unless we get a design out of our system fast, our brains will move on to another idea. That's precisely what had been happening with the PostIdol Media website. I have about half a dozen beginnings to great web designs, but then it took too long to come to fruition, so my creative mind moved on. And then, as if that wasn't enough, there's the whole point of finding time to do the website. We have about 10-15 projects running at any given moment, putting in 10-12hr days, 6-7 days a week. And somewhere in there we need to try and find time to design our one website....WITHOUT HAVING IT LOOK RUSHED! Not an easy task to say the least. Anyways, we are still working on this website. Slowly but surely it is coming along. We are starting to add the web design case-studies, and new pages, like this blog. I wrote this post to take the time to let you know, if you see any short-comings of the PostIdol Media website, or really on any web designer's website - it's not that we don't know what we are doing, it's not that the site is broken, it's simply that our clients' web design projects come first. And in those few off-hours we have, we get to work on our website, if we are not too exhausted. Thanks for reading. Jackson