Web design trends come and go the same way like fashion. With businesses and individuals wanting to look better at the eyes of their audiences, many websites change the way their websites look on regular intervals while incorporating new functionality.
The most recent facelift has taken place on Gmail and other sign in pages of Google products.
If you don’t remember, this is how Gmail looked earlier.
The trend today for web layouts is clean and uncluttered. It makes a lot of sense when you consider the information overflow that we are seeing today across many platforms and media.
Research shows that most people scan web pages before settling on an element for further exploration. Therefore, a lot of emphasis is put on optimizing important web elements that a webmaster wants to promote. However, this is a hit or miss thing. Your audiences may like or hate your user interface (UI) elements depending on their preferences, gender, etc. This is not an easy thing to overcome and on top of that, getting UI elements right is a huge affair. Have you ever heard of the $300 million button? If not, that article should be the first thing for you to read after reading this.
One of the biggest challenges in web usability is keeping people on a web page. The balance has to be perfect on content, usability and interactive elements. At the best of times, this is a tough task. Since it is very challenging to strike a good balance, what most designers tend to do is crowd too many elements on a web page. This leads to a web page that looks very busy. A busy web page is not one of the best places for conversions.
The new way of design thinking is driven by wanting to make a website look simple. This involves a lot of things. For example, some web pages have multiple objectives to achieve. In such instances, ‘simple web process’ calls for re-evaluating and prioritizing these objectives. The design process is driven by these re-evaluated objectives.
The Gmail sign in page is a perfect example for the ‘simple web process’. When you compare the two layouts it’s perfectly clear that Google evaluated what’s important for their audiences. In fact, the number of elements on the page has increased; yet it’s hardly noticeable. A good design should be like that. People have to see it only when they want to see it. This design philosophy is something that’s going to drive our web design work in the future.
If there are any websites that you like, share those on the comments section. We’d love to see those websites you like and get your feedback.
The South Florida User Experience Group will be celebrating its two year anniversary this month. This meet-up will be a good mixer for all the new people who have joined the South Florida User Experience Group in the last few months. Attendees are welcome to bring any site to put in front of the group and open it up for comments and suggestions.
This month’s presentation will be on remote automated testing: How to do it, what the benefits are, popular tools etc. This is going to be a great tool for anyone who works freelance or designs websites on their own. Testing can be an invaluable method for inspection into your sites usability. To do this, there will also be a demo of the Loop11 software, a great product for remote automated testing. The Loop11 competition will be launched while the meet-up and the details of the prize worth $1750 will be revealed as well!
1762 North Federal Hwy
Ft. Lauderdale FL 33305
Thursday, April 29, 2010 7:00 PM
In today’s online world, it is not enough just to have a website – marketing experts agree that your website should be worked on and improved on a regular basis in order to attract visitors seeking relevant and useful information, services and/or products.
Below are ten tips that can guide you in undertaking a successful redesign of your site:
1. Set Strategic Goals.
Instead of blindly jumping in to make changes your site, it is important that you think things through clearly by defining the purpose of the redesign. Jot down what your aim is. Is it to make the site more user-friendly, to better showcase your products and services, or do you want to offer visitors more informational text and/or photos?
2. Do Some Research.
You would not change the look of your home’s interior without first consulting family members or looking through design magazines for ideas. The same should hold true when you set out to change your website. Do some research to find out how your site is doing traffic-wise and how it is perceived by visitors. Consider putting up some online surveys or usability tests before making any changes. Once you get a good picture of how your site is currently being used, you can then formulate a plan to make the proper changes to improve the user experience.
3. Take Control of the Redesign Project.
Redesigning your website may require some outside help. Therefore you will need to set a budget and see to it that it is adhered to. You should also set up a time line which clearly outlines when certain aspects of your site should be modified. You need to be on top of the entire project, so be prepared to organize people, the details and the work flow.
4. Take a Good Hard Look at Your Content.
Now that you are undertaking a website redesign, it is time to look at your content. After getting some feedback from your site visitors, you know what it is that your users expect out of your site. Write some fresh content so that your visitors are given up-to-date and useful information. New, unique content also acts as ‘link bait’ which helps build external links to your pages. Optimized content is what the search engines thrive on, so weed out any weak content and replace it with something fresh and interesting.
5. Consider Your Site’s Usability
Site usability is a buzzword that is used a lot, but do you know what it means? In short, usability refers to how easily a visitor can get around your website, in other words – how usable it is. If someone has to hunt around for information such as your contact details and your ‘home’ link, then your site has a usability issue in its design which must be addressed.
6. Check Your Site’s Speed
When it comes to web design, one of the most important aspects is the speed of your site. Your visitors will leave very quickly if they have to wait over 10 seconds for a page to load. There are various free online tools that check the speed of your site. Google recently announced something that many in the SEO community already suspected: that the search engine will now consider site speed when ranking results. If your website takes too long to load, you may find yourself slipping in the search engine result pages (SERPS). Increasing the speed of your site may involve changing hosts or it could mean that you should look at a new publishing platform. It could even mean that you have to undertake a complete overhaul of the type and format of your site’s content.
7. Check your Site’s Meaning/Message
One of the most aggravating things when surfing the web is to land on a page and not being able to figure out what the website is about. Usually, these sites are rather ‘artsy’ in nature meaning that the design may look very appealing but you have to dig in order to find out the point of the website. Be sure that your visitors know immediately what your site is about when they arrive because if you don’t, they will leave in a flash.
8. Have A Back-up of Your Old Site
Before making any drastic changes to your website, be sure that you keep a backup file of the present site. In case your new website design fails to draw more traffic, then the old site can be reloaded.
9. Create Clear Contact Us and Informational Pages
To assist with local search results, be sure that you provide detailed address and contact information. If your products can be found in local stores, be sure that you convey this on your site. This will make it easy for your targeted audience and customers to interact and do business with you.
10. Test your Redesign.
In order to be certain that the new design works, have a few people test your layout. You can post a ‘sneak preview’ on your home page a few weeks before launching the new design so that you can received feedback in order to ‘tweak’ your site so that it is designed as best as it can be.
These tips should give you a bit of guidance when you are considering a website redesign. If you think your users are used to your website content and layout, but it could do with some improvements to the overall usability, then introduce small changes gradually.