a year ago | Web Design & Development
The digital landscape is constantly changing. According to Moore’s Law, the capability of our computers doubles every two years and we keep paying less for them. So essentially, we’re getting more powerful machines in more people’s hands easier than ever before.
What does this mean for developers? It means they constantly have to follow updates and trends to keep up with the evolution of technology. That is why staying ahead is paramount to keeping your website relevant and your UI and UX top-notch.
We stay one step ahead every day by using these current website trends to blow the competition out of the water:
Optimize your mobile experience for the user’s ease of use
It has been nearly a decade since the advent of mobile responsive web design, and today you’d be hard pressed to find a website that doesn’t adapt to mobile displays. But is altering the navigation and stacking your content enough to please users and drive results?
Often, a desktop site will be perfect; everything is in the right place and all components play together nicely. But as soon as you pull up the site on mobile, you notice images cover text, videos and gifs don’t work, and everything is just slightly off.
The convenience and immediacy of mobile usage are undeniable regardless of industry, and by refining the user’s mobile browsing experience we can increase session lengths, avoid barriers for conversion, and surprise and delight the user.
That's why we believe an integral part of QA is checking website features at all sizes and making sure the components that look great on desktop also look great (or can be altered to look great) on mobile.
Clear, Actionable CTAs
We can help to curate the browsing experience by placing prominent, actionable calls-to-action tactfully on every page. This is most important on our homepage, where the journey stops and ends for many users.
The common metric for assessing how quickly a user leaves a site is called the bounce rate. Google defines this as, “...the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page…” So whether a user is viewing your site for the first time, or is a repeat visitor, we want to guide their journey with CTAs to help encourage users to stay on your site.
If your website is for a service-based company, having a succinct description of your services or latest offering at the top of the homepage can educate a user within moments of their arrival about what you do, and how to sign up for their services.
Your CTAs create a guided experience through your site for your users, and a well-crafted navigation empowers users to find what they are looking for. But it is only well-crafted when we do not inhibit users from finding important pages and navigating quickly and intuitively.
Mobile navigations can be the most tricky to plan and execute, especially for retail, or any organization that has a lot of products or services spanning lots of different pages. Designing a navigation where users can jump in and out of the navigation intuitively, and make them feel in control by prioritizing frequently visited pages.
When a mobile navigation has been activated, the user musn’t scroll at all using this menu. All primary categories and pages should be visible above the fold. Top categories and pages should be organized top-to-bottom by visitor frequency, and any subnavigation items that live underneath primary items should be revealed as primary items are touched.
Exiting the navigation should be as easy as it is to activate. So either your mobile navigation needs to have a prominent exit icon, preferably with a position, color or label to make it stand out, or a mobile navigation that doesn’t span the full-width of the screen, allowing the user to tap in the negative space to exit the menu.
American Eagle examples a lot of these practices within their mobile navigation experience. The mobile navigation takes up about 60% of the screen, clothing categories are listed in order of popularity, sub categories are teased with the inclusion of a “+” icon, and differences in font styles and indentation establish an intuitive hierarchy.
In about a second, with just three taps, the user navigates to a super specific product category, like Women’s Cardigans, because all of these optimal design attributes work in synchronization to make a great navigational experience.
Hey Alexa, is my website optimized for voice search?
Artificial intelligence like Cortana, Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are making voice search not only more commonplace, but are also making users more comfortable with it. There will be 1 billion devices with voice assistants in use this year, therefore optimizing your website for these services will ultimately help it come up in results for a voice search.
Here are some tips for optimizing your websites for voice search:
- Optimize SEO for local searches (searches that end in “near me” or in “x” city)
- Focus on phrases and long-tail keywords common in natural speech (consider the way people typically speak and ask questions when choosing keywords and phrases)
- Reduce loading page time for your website
- Make sure your business is listed online (if you are a local business)
- Think about the queries users might be making to find your business
Use atomic design when building your website
What is atomic design? Put simply, it is a way of organizing elements of a website into categories that range in size and functionality for streamlined assembly and editing.
Taking inspiration from chemistry, we use the terms “organisms” and “molecules” to describe the page elements.
Atoms: the basic building blocks of a webpage. These are basic HTML elements like buttons and labels.
Molecules: groups of two or more atoms. These become more operational than atoms as simple UI elements.
Organisms: groups of molecules that function together to create more complex UI elements.
Templates: groups of organisms that come together to create a design for a page’s content structure.
Pages: when a template is filled with content and shows operative UI.
Having these base organisms and molecules allows for developers to reuse them to create a web page rather than creating a web page using a restrictive template.
Interface elements also remain organized and consistent across all pages,
making edits for developers faster and easier, and the website is adaptable for any future needs. It also allows for simpler communication across teams and permits any changes to be immediately visible.
The bottom line
It’s important to keep your website up to date and user friendly so that users regularly come in and come back often. People have very limited time and shorter attention spans now more than ever, meaning your website needs to load fast and grab their attention quickly to keep them on page and keep your bounce rate low.
There is an overabundance of websites available. Making yours stand out provides a better customer experience, makes your business more memorable, and could be the difference between a lead gone cold and a conversion.
Combining these tips will help you attract users and keep them on your website with an excellent user experience. Our web developers have created some pretty incredible websites using these tactics and we’re really proud of the work we do.