New Year – New Website?
New Year – New Website?
So the New Year has come and as always the New Year – New Me statement is being thrown around. The gym is busier than ever and health food shops are benefiting from people who are hoping to make a positive difference to their appearance and performance. In this time of change, improvement and development spare a thought for your website.
For many people their website is the front of their business. Think of it as a shop window working to draw people inside. There is a reason that window displays are getting bigger and better than ever – to entice and impress and most of all to compete.
With this in mind it could be time to show your website some care and attention. People coming to your site will have increasing expectations including rapid loading speeds with optimal usability – and so they should!
There are a few things to think of when assessing your site and improvements that will give your users the experience you wish.
Do you use animation on the site? – Animation can look great but it slows down a site and also does not work well on all screen sizes. If you have a responsive site…..(let’s be honest if you don’t your site is due an overhaul anyway) then animation is possibly not the best route for you. Considering a bold font with a statement colour on the banner can have a high impact without losing precious load time. There are of course other options, icons are a trend that appears to be here to stay and is growing in popularity. The simplicity of icon design is a no brainer, it works well on all site formats is easy on the eye and if done well can be used for any number of uses from storytelling on an about us page to providing a back drop to a bold message on the site. Remember with icons, less is more.
Scrolling banner images are a great way to get across more than one message and reach out to more than one audience however have you ever thought of having a video in the banner area? The use of video is a growing trend and if done correctly can pack a powerful punch when people first land on your home page. By video I do not mean hectic in your face abuse to the eyes and ears kind of video. Remember less is more, so a simple video that can be watched if the viewer wishes but is not intrusive onto the rest of the site, causing an unwelcome distraction. I absolutely love this example http://goodlife-inc.co.jp/ (GOODLIFE INC. Corporate Logo / Website from Japan) however it is possible to have high impact without such a technical banner video. Less is more, think filters, slowed video and simplicity and most importantly a sound toggle!
Are the images on your site stock images? Stock images are great. There is a reason they are so popular, they are reliably good quality and there is a huge selection at the tip of your fingers but have you ever thought of having your own images created? The personal touch that really puts across your brand and highlights exactly what you wish your visitors to see can be a great addition to your site. Listen to the professionals and what works, so much can be done with imaging design and photography that every site can have an eye catching, bespoke set of images without breaking the bank or spending days managing photo shoots.
Is your site responsive? This doesn’t just mean it works on a phone – it means that it works on a variety of screen sizes adapting to the screen size whilst keeping hold of the usability. Many sites are now being reversed developed (my own terminology, I am sure there is a much more intelligent term) this means many sites are being developed for the smaller screen and then adding things to the design for the larger platform, previously it was designed for large screen and then adapted for smaller screens. How many people see something whilst out and about and then think “oh I shall look at that when I get home”? VERY few. Most people see something and if they want to look it up they do so then and there, even if it is just to have a quick peak before having a proper look at home. Responsiveness is a necessity for all sites, it does not need to have all of the functions of the main site but it does need to be user friendly and attractive.
Strip it bare…..
Have you ever thought of having a simple homepage that has no scroll down but draws your visitors in by enticing them with high impact images and bold statement text? This is another trend that I adore. The simplicity of such homepages is fabulous and the lack of information makes the site even more interesting that sites that simply shout in my face. Thanks to the hamburger menu it is possible to even do away with the navigation that everyone expects to see at the top of the page and gives even more impact to the intended main focus of the page.
Navigation is another standard part of a site that usually just sits at the top of the page, if you are lucky it may be stick and move with you as you scroll – think outside of the box. As said above things are not set in stone and thanks to reverse design many sites are now having much more interesting and attractive navigations. Could your navigation better serve your clients if it was a side bar that appeared as and when requested or is there a way to make it more interactive making the site more memorable? This sites navigation is great https://www.thedrybar.com/ it is across the top of the page but it is far from boring, the simple effects pull me in every time I go to it.
There is so much more that I could go on about and I am sure that in a few months there will be even more, possibly some of the things written above will have changed, however one thing I do know is that your websites appearance is as important as yours. New Year – New Website could be the thing that boosts your business in 2017. It doesn’t need to be a complete overhaul, we all know that those are hard to handle! Some care and attention to small areas could make a big change in both you and your business.
Good luck and Happy New Year.