I’m not one to jump the gun on trend articles. I’d rather take my time with a tasty cup of coffee, comfy chair and web surfing to save you the time of surfing the web to figure out what you should be focusing on with your web, marketing materials and even content design.
It’s a new year and you might have noticed web sites changing here and there. Well, you noticed correctly – it’s time to chat with your designer about updating your sites, But you’re probably wondering what to tell them.
Wonder no more – here is your request list in designer speak with resources you can share with them.
“Make it flat” — This is a reference to the flat design trend that’s come up with Windows and Apple’s new operating systems. If you still have 3-D shiny buttons on your web site — PLEASE remove them. It’s really not as hard as you think.
“Play with typography” – Typography is just a fancy designer term for FONTS. Yup — the old rules of fonts are probably dead. So give your designers the freedom to play. Oh — and this particular design trend TOTALLY requires a designer. Please don’t try this at home. I promise you will suck at it. Really. Get a designer.
“Design for lots of video” – For all of you (that actually includes me) that have been avoiding video, you are out of luck. The whole “content is king” thing is moving to video. Not just any video — SHORT video. So if you haven’t explored Vine (Twitter’s video app), get on the ball and start playing with it. People have less time to read, but they want more content.
“Throw out the sidebar” – WHAT? Are you F’n kidding me? Yeah — the sidebar is going away. There are better and easier ways to help visitors read your content. So, tell your designer to make you one. Again — this is not something you want to try at home.
“Use hand-drawn vectors” – Again — this is just designer speak for – make illustrations that look hand-drawn. A vector image is really just a digital type of image. In other words, there are digital illustrators that create digital drawings that LOOK hand-drawn. And in a fundamental way, they are hand-drawn. Just digitally. As the web evolves and we get MORE digital, people want to make the digital space more human, more organic. This is why creating a friendly, hand-crafted digital design can do wonders for your brand – especially if you are at either end of the spectrum; touchy-feely and you want to convey warmth or high-tech and you want to communicate friendliness.
“Single page sites” — I’ve heard this called “endless scrolling”. In other words – your whole site on a single page. People have gotten the hang of scrolling and don’t mind it. It’s a super efficient way to get a lot of content on one page and save the other pages for more important stuff.
“Simple color schemes” — Keep your colors to a minimum. That means one or two colors. I really struggle with this one. I just love all kinds of color, but you can really be creative with this. Remember shades or screens actually look like different colors.
“Mobile friendly” - This is an absolute given. If you haven’t mobilized your site yet – 2014 will have to be the year for this. In fact, many of these trends and design instructions make for a better mobile experience for your user.
“Huge photo images” – If you’ve ever landed on one of these new fangled landing pages that have an over-sized image of a beach and a lead capture form — then you’ve seen this trend in action and you see that it’s not really new. What IS new, however, is that it’s moving into regular web site designs. My only strategic recommendation for this is to keep it relevant. You want the images you use to enhance — not take away from your brand.
“Kill the sliders” – Yup, sliders are out now. If you love your slider, then move to the single scrolling page design and have folks scroll down rather than use the slider. I’m not sure if this is accurate, but my impression is that sliders don’t work as well on mobile devices.
Here’s where I got a lot of my info for this article:
If you’re interested in adding some of these sites to your resources, go ahead. Just know that I’m always watching this stuff – and when it’s time for you to get the info — I will send it along – so you don’t have to worry about it.
YIKES! I don’t have a designer — or I don’t think my designer can do this kind of cool stuff (at least not for what I pay them)
I hear you my people. I had the SAME PROBLEM. That’s when I found my current design team — I call them “The Gauchos” because they are renegade cowboys of design down in Argentina and they so completely rock that I’ve been referring them all over God’s creation — and I haven’t had a single soul come back to me unhappy.
So if you’re want to upgrade your logo, site or look – then you “Gotta Get a Gaucho” – reach out to Mariano over at UX Department and tell him I sent you.
Name: Ivana S. Taylor
About: Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com – an online marketing publication that provides marketing strategies that help entrepreneurs and business owners get and keep profitable customers. She is the DIY Marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a contributing author to AMEX Open Forum. Her strategic consulting firm, Third Force specializes in helping companies find their best customers and be the one they choose – regardless of price. Ivana is the co-author of Excel for Marketing Managers. You can find her on Twitter as @DIYMarketers.