Modern web design is striking to say the least. Designers today have countless tools and tricks to bring out the best of a certain brand and their website. In 2016, these tools and design styles are expected to increase in popularity with designs including rich animations, parallax scrolling, videos, cinemagraph photos, interactive animation, and innovative navigation. It's all designed in the name of the user, to make it more fun, exciting, and creative.
However, there must be a word of caution here. The resulting design may be beautiful, but it might not have the result ecommerce websites are looking for. Getting consumers to visit and interact with a website isn't the same as converting them to customers, and some of the newest trends in web design may be getting in the way of some of those conversions.
This isn't to say that websites looking to make sales shouldn't have an attractive design. On the contrary, an engaging design can be very useful in boosting conversions. But in many cases, there's simply too much going on for a customer to understand the purpose of the website and make an actual purchase. If you're aiming to design or repair a website in 2016, there are a few important things to avoid.
Plugins in web design are pretty cool. They can bring some exciting new features and design to an otherwise bland site. There are also incredible collections of free plugins for web designers all over the web, which makes it essentially hassle free to include these plugins. However, too many plugins in a hosted website is detrimental to loading times.
Site loading speed is extremely important to consumers. According to studies, any website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load is subject to a 79 percent abandonment rate. In addition, 44 percent of those abandoners will tell their friends to avoid the website as well. The result is approximately 40 percent lost customers, just because the website was loading too slow. In other words, when you have too many plugins in your website, the effect is polar opposite of conversions.
Though the style, images, colors, navigation, and other elements of a website structure are vastly important in drawing customer attention, it shouldn't overshadow the text. Your copy is integral in driving customer action by telling them what they should do next. The copy should not be an afterthought in the overall design of your website.
Most importantly, the design should never obscure the call to action. The strongest CTAs are well worded and have an excellent design that meshes perfectly with the website structure surrounding it. The design should lead to the CTA, and then the strong text will invite action.
In 2016, the latest and greatest trends in web design call for richer animations and interactive graphics that engage the user and keep them mesmerized in the design. This is an excellent direction for web design to be taking, but it comes with some important cautions. Most notably, web designers are warned to be wary of distracting images.
When these images begin to take over the website, it leads to confusion and a feeling of chaos, which is not something consumers generally associate with professional business dealings. By all means, experiment with animation to add life and movement to a static site, but use these images sparingly, and don't let them obscure the purpose of the page.
Though every website should strive for individuality, there are a few things that shouldn't change much in order to create a unified user experience across the web. One of those experiences is the navigation of the site. As creatures of habit, users have come to expect it in a place that draws attention, either on the top of the website or to the left or right in a pop-out sidebar. If it's not there, it leads to frustration and increased bounce rates.
Oftentimes modern-day designers get so caught up in creating a sleek design, that they hide the navigation within. The site may look good, but this flaw may cause users to abandon the website altogether. Most consumers have no interest in spending time on a site that they don't understand the purpose of.
As you should know very well, images are fundamental to successful website design. The brain can process an image approximately 60,000 times faster than it can process text, which makes them invaluable to great website design. But there's a limit to even these powerful web design aids, particularly in regards to the size.
Oftentimes, a single massive image in the background of the website's copy can be very effective at drawing the eye and making the text stand out. But too many of these images will only cause distractions.
In addition, massive images have a very difficult time translating into the small screens of mobile devices, and with the world turning responsive as mobile web use rises, it's essential to keep the images at a manageable size to avoid distortions that will increase customer abandonment.
The takeaway message here is not that modern design is bad. On the contrary, the elements of modern design are incredible tools that can be used to engage a wider audience and create striking websites. But getting carried away with modern design elements can lead to a loss of brand identity and reduced conversions. The end goal is ultimately balance between great design, and even better conversions.
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