Hey DD, My website was built in 2017, is it time for a refresh d’ya reckon?

doctor-digital-question
Doctor Digital

Doctor Digital Says:

When isn’t it time for a refresh in a digital world that is constantly changing. Once upon a time, you might get a decent 3-5 years from a web build. These days, 12 months can be the difference between cutting edge and blunt instrument. What’s 2019 going to mean for web design and functionality? From a design perspective it will be all about not getting lost in the masses. Colour has been pastel and background, this year, there is a return to bold vibrant colours to evoke emotion and make a statement.

Harmonise these with your branding so you don’t get a clash, and if you have a pastel or light environment, see where you can use a bold colour as a counterpoint to surprise and delight readers with some unexpected panache. Think shapes and textures too, not just block or shade. This is true for your videos as well as static images and web, so carry that theme through to video and make it bold and dynamic.

Layout is critical for websites to give users an intuitive and simple experience, guiding them gently towards the call to action, and giving them a clear and cogent understanding of your brand, values and product/services. This journey doesn’t have to be boxed in in a design sense, and indicators are this year that layout is going to get interesting and asymmetrical with an even greater emphasis on minimalism. What does this mean? It means that you need to make every word, image, transition and link work powerfully on the page, and really interrogate whether what you have does that - again, always from the eyes of your customers and their experience.

Animation or micro interactions have a strong game in 2019. These are used to highlight a particular element, say show off a product from multiple sides or on buttons or navigation. Users find these engaging but remember the purpose is to augment rather than confuse. Think about elements like these as part of the holistic story of your site, rather than in isolation. And so where does this leave us in relation to copy? Words were once the centrepiece of a website, walls of text that dominated and were basically the equivalent of a web based PDF.

In 2019, designers will play an even bigger role when it comes to communicating online by using the elements outlined above and working with copywriters and marketers to reduce the amount of text, adding visuals to help support fewer words, using fonts, layout, style, formatting, and animations to help legibility.

Makes sense if you think about it. When consumers are increasingly using small mobile devices and voice, text is not the main game, powerful communication as quickly and succinctly as possible is the desired outcome. If you are the business wordsmith you need to work with your design team (and if you are also your design team you need to get tough with yourself) to get to the essence of your message. The easiest way to get to concise and powerful copy is by writing more and then reducing down to the essentials, instead of trying to come up with something perfect right away. Trusted friends, staff and customers are a great source of advice when it comes to helping with this process, and clean eyes are a boon when you’ve been over something time and again. Customers are the reason for the season for your website, and they want to love your brand and become raving evangelists. Make sure your site shows the real you. Not just through clean clear copy and elegant navigation, use authentic images, eschew stock photos, capture customer joy in your video and pictures and use the customer eye view to tell your story. Trends are inherently ephemeral and frequently copies in a glut. Don’t race to get on board with design FOMO when you see a new font or texture trend rolling out. Your brand, your customers, your authenticity are the touchstone to your portal to the world, keep it real for you, and your customers will be sure to click to they drop, sharing and supporting along the way.