Feb 05, 2015
5 Things You Need to Change on Your Website in 2015
If your website is a few years old, chances are it’s behind the curve since your last refresh. Although some design trends may not be suited for your audience or business objectives there’s no denying, technology is moving at lighting-speed. It’s hard to keep up, even for us designers! Moving into 2015, here are a few tips for potentially enhancing your website’s performance, accessibility and look and feel.
Make Your Site Responsive
By now, this should be a no-brainer but if your audience is struggling to read your website on a phone or tablet, that needs to change. In 2011 smartphone sales outpaced PCs and tablets are set to overtake traditional computer sales this year. If your website’s not optimized for mobile, you’re not effectively reaching your audience on the platforms they’re using. Don’t let your audience outpace you.
Add White Space (reduce content density)
Give your copy breathing room. We DO NOT need to cram as much information as possible into the top 700 pixels of the browser. Users are much smarter then we give them credit for. If you organize your content in a comprehensive way your users will find it (they do know how to scroll). As a designer (for me) the #1 thing that makes a site look dated is tiny text that is way too dense and crammed at the top of a webpage. Also remember content is not only information, it’s also a design element. It is a contributor to your site’s aesthetic.
If you’ve not yet read the article “I’m Not A Moron—I Do Know How To Scroll”, take a look. You’ll see that this is a big area of contention for me!
Make Your Content King (create useful content)
By providing quality information you will improve your site’s trustworthiness. Organic search/indexing has gotten way smarter, rich content that is useful will be rewarded in how your site performs via search. Your content can become the biggest influencer of not only how your audience perceives you but also how they find you. Good content is a must.
Hierarchy and Navigation (reduce the noise)
Your website’s hierarchy is core to how your users will navigate and find your products or services. Your site’s navigation should set expectations, another words, your users should be able to anticipate what’s on your pages based on your navigation. Try not to make them guess, and get rid of all of the barriers that might get in the way. Two of the main questions that I ask my clients when kicking of a project are:
- What do you need to get in front of your audience first?
- Is there anything we can get rid of?
Update Your Site’s Design Elements
I don’t always subscribe to the latest bells-and-whistles and tend to be conservative when it comes to trends. Keeping in mind that design elements should contribute to some type of function rather then being just “pretty” here are and array of design trends that I tend to gravitate too:
- Full motion backgrounds: if you’re a design-heavy industry or just wanting to make an impact on your audience, it’s a great way to grab attention and show off your style.
- Minimalist backgrounds: On the flipside, many websites are bucking the flashy or highly stylized backgrounds in favor of simple and classic typefaces against a solid and flat background. This can improve site performance and, if executed properly, can appeal to your visitors.
- Scroll, Scroll, Scroll: This trend continues to evolve. Make your website a journey and present all the pertinent information on the front page with scrolling design that transitions as your audience moves down (or up) the page. A great (and extreme) example of this is the Space Needle’s website, which takes the user on a ride to the top of the iconic Seattle landmark and beyond. It fits perfectly with the Needle’s mission.
Remember your users, they are there to get information about your product or service first. Cater to them. Just following the latest trends won’t get you there. You need a good balance of form and function.