Where has all the web design gone?

Over the years, web design has become quite beautiful. Simple and attractive sites have become the standard, compared to the chaos that was web design in the first twenty years of the Internet.

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We should be proud of how far we have come in web design. While working toward more streamlined designs, we have also reaped the benefits of ease of navigation (when done correctly), standardization in building techniques, ease of prototyping, and strict grid layouts lending themselves to responsive design.

The one downfall is that websites are all starting to look the same. Where has all of our creativity gone? There are several factors that are leading to this cookie cutter trend, including the following:

Responsive design: The simplicity of sites has increased in correlation with mobile usage and the need for responsive design. The layouts need to be basic in order for the grid to collapse for a streamlined look on any device.

Layouts: When you take away all the personality from most websites that you see today, you will notice there are only about five common website layouts.

Free Photography: There are several free or cheap stock photography websites that make beautiful photos easily accessible to website designers. Photography makes or breaks a website, so having these attractive, high-resolution assets readily available can be a huge benefit. However, have you noticed there are some pictures that are so attractive and so easily attainable that they are used everywhere?

In most circumstances, a more standard design is the better choice, whether it is due to time or budget constraints. But just because the framework is standard, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun or clever! Let’s get weird. Let’s get out of our web design box. One way we can do this, while keeping the overall design simple and responsive, is to get funky with the layout. Instead of going straight to a template, draw a design on a piece of paper and do something you have never done. When we said think outside the box, we meant literally. Often you see portals or call outs on a website in simple square blocks. Think geometric! And lastly, use stock photography as an idea, not an end product. Add your own spin to the image to make it unique to you and your brand.

Though it seems the majority of sites are all starting to look the same, there are still some incredible designs out there. Follow this link to see some great examples of web designers thinking outside the box.

 

Top Web Trends for 2016

Every few years there are certain web design trends that become widespread. We have a feeling that some of these web design trends for 2016 will catch on and become the new norm of what a website looks like.

Convergence

Have you noticed that websites are all starting to look the same? Making things easier or more familiar for the user often means following the crowd. Interfaces have begun to converge and minimalize, partially due to the increase in artificial intelligence. Content is more likely going to be recommended to the user, reducing the customer’s journey through the website. Don’t get us wrong, user experience is still very important, but content is more straight to the point.

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Originality

On the flip side of that coin, Matthew Mombrea, founder of Cypress North and software engineer, thinks 2016 will be the year of originality. Video and animation backgrounds are starting to catch on as a way of standing out against more static websites.

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Authentic photography

Out with the stock photos, in with authentic, brilliant photography! Photos have always been the key to a beautiful website, but now it’s more about capturing your actual product or service in the wild.

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Full-Screen forms

Like several other website trends, this is a mobile-centric design. From search field to checkout, making the form full-screen allows the user to focus on the task at hand. It also increases the ease of use—especially on a mobile device—and subsequently increases conversions.

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Creative hovers

While using a computer, you live and die by the cursor, so why not make it fun? Changing the color of content or adding animation to it as you hover over are two common ways to utilize a creative hover.
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Centered content

This trend started as a means of minimalizing content, but now it is being used as a powerful branding technique. The page will often have one large message accompanied by a powerful image causing most of the homepage content to live below the fold. This type of design, with the message changing monthly, is being favored over a carousel.

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 Sans serif headings and larger body text

Sticking with the theme of minimal design, san serif text is clean and easy to read. With the majority of websites being viewed on mobile devices (i.e. smaller screens), it’s important for copy to be easy to read. Making it larger and more legible increases your website’s usability.

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 Scrolling

Scrolling seems to be a controversial topic in the web world. Some web designers think less scrolling is better; some feel infinite scrolling is the way to go. The argument’s point is that when looking at a website on a mobile device, it is easier to keep scrolling than it is to click and refresh the page. Infinite scrolling also decreases a site’s bounce rate by keeping them on the site longer.

 

If you’re interested in reading about other top web trends for 2016, follow the links below.

https://econsultancy.com/blog/67308-15-crucial-web-design-trends-for-2016-beyond

http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/review/2438285/12-good-bad-and-ugly-web-design-trends-for-2016

 

In 6 Weeks, Fox Sports increased Website Traffic — How?

FOXSports-logo

Fox Sports has been successful at increasing its audience on social platforms like YouTube and Facebook, but wanted to see a similar growth in their website traffic. The popular sports channel set a goal and achieved it, but how did they do it?

About six weeks ago, the company began rolling out a new mobile and website design, which has three key features that focus on user engagement: A fixed social bar that makes it easier for users to share and comment on articles; a semi-infinite scroll with four consecutive stories; and personalized article recommendations based on a user’s browsing history.

Prior to the redesign, the sports website had a “fundamental problem,” according to the company’s SVP of Product Development, Devin Poolman. “Whether they were coming from mobile or Facebook, in our traditional experience, we weren’t giving them a lot of opportunity to do anything other than read that story,” said Poolman. The old design was focused on URLs; user clicks on a link, user reads the story, and that was it. If the user wanted to read more stories, he or she had to proactively search for them, which led to a drop-off.

The three main new features implemented are popular website trends that several successful websites have already implemented, including the popular social news site BuzzFeed.com, and are features that almost any company can implement on their own website. Let’s take a deeper look at these features.

Fixed social bar
In the social world we live in today, people are always sharing, liking, commenting, tweeting, pinning, and more. Making it easy for the user to do all of the above not only satisfies them, but it also helps with your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), because search engines see social signals as a positive for your ranking on the search engine result pages. Every time an article is shared, it opens another door back to your website, which also helps with SEO.

Semi-infinite scroll/infinite scroll
Infinite scroll means you can continuously scroll through content without ever reaching the bottom of the page—think Facebook or Twitter feeds. Semi-infinite means it will populate articles as you scroll, but users will eventually reach an end. In terms of Fox Sports, users will scroll through four articles before reaching an end. Infinite scroll isn’t the answer for every website, as it all depends on the website’s goals, but for websites that curate a lot of content or provide a lot of user-generated content, it could be a good way to get content exposure and to provide a fast and easy browsing experience.

Personalized articles
Based on search history and other articles you may have read on the website, a website can provide suggested articles it thinks a user may be interested in. By providing these article suggestions, it is increasing the time users spend on the website and the number of pages visited, while decreasing the bounce rate.

These additions to FoxSports.com have led to a 23 percent increase in pageviews and a 37 percent increase in time spent per visitor, as well as a 14 percent decrease in the bounce rate. These are very impressive numbers for just six weeks. If you’re interested in implementing similar user engagement-focused features to your website, give us a call! Robmark Web’s website development team is ready and able to help you reach your website traffic and user engagement goals.

What Makes A Great Landing Page?

Landing pages have become a staple in the web world. Acting as lead captures, landing pages are a single web page that users are sent to in response to clicking an ad or an optimized search result. But with millions in existence, what sets a landing page apart from the millions of others?

Concise Content

Just like a newspaper, a great headline is imperative to capture the attention of your audience, however, the content and design are what keeps their attention. When it comes to the content on the page, it needs to be concise— the offer needs to be good and the call-to-action needs to stand out. Without a good offer or call-to-action, users will likely leave quickly, causing a high bounce rate. Placing the “meat” of the information and the call-to-action above the fold helps with the conciseness of your landing page. Remember, the point of the page is to capture leads and conversions— make it obvious. If the page continues to have information below the fold, be sure to repeat the call-to-action.

Clean Design

As for the design, clean and straight to the point almost always works best. If there is too much clutter on the page, the user could get distracted, which prevents that person from converting. Having one beautiful image accompanied with the offer is all you need, and the saying “a picture speaks a thousand words” has never been truer. Without good imagery, you’re leaving an opportunity for the user to leave because nothing is keeping his or her attention. Feel free to experiment with other types of media, as well, like video. When considering the perfect image, remember to take size into consideration, too. If the image is too big, it will cause the page to load slowly and your users won’t wait. Also keep in mind that most websites are only 900-1200 pixels wide on a desktop computer, so there is no need to upload an oversized image.

Examples of good landing pages:

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readitforme-landing-page

 

edu-path-landing-page

Examples of bad landing pages:

directv-home-page

 

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Robmark Web, a Savannah-based web design company, is staffed with talented web designers and programmers that have the capability to create a stunning, well-optimized landing page for your company’s latest offer. Visit RobmarkWeb.com or call (921) 921-1040 to set up an introductory meeting today.