Websites are often consumers’ introduction to a brand. They set the tone, establish an aesthetic and provide necessary information about the brand’s products and services. Web analytics provide businesses with invaluable insights on how consumers interact with their brand.
That makes websites crucial lenses for brands to understand consumer behavior and for brands to introduce themselves to new audiences. Speaking of introductions, Vice President of Technology Yancy De Lathouder and Lead Interactive Designer Jeremy Koppin know a thing or two about websites — they’ve built numerous award-winning sites for local, regional and national brands. Learn Yancy and Jeremy’s keys to capturing consumers’ attention online in the new decade.
Dark mode is one of the design trends consumers seem to relish and brands are jumping to implement. Jeremy predicts an onslaught of dark mode sites will be developed in coming years, and the trend will influence the colors designers use. Websites will feature deep, moody colors in rich tones that make accent colors and white elements pop. But Jeremy said that if this trend is not used to contrast with other design elements, dark mode can turn into another insufficiently developed web aesthetic with indistinct features.
Professionals also believe more websites will be created with 3D design elements that make graphic designs more interactive and show product features more clearly, but it needs to be used selectively. “3D design is useful for showing a product and its features, but it takes more skill and time to build. That type of design should be used for select site images meant to grab attention,” Yancy said. “Don’t overkill it.”
Another design feature that can burnish brands online is an artistic typography instead of stilted stock photography. In some cases, typography can better reflect a brand’s aesthetic and values than stock photos that do little to represent a company’s actual employees and operations.
“Photography has been and always will be important to websites,” Yancy said. “However, stock photography that is overly posed is fading away. It’s being replaced by a combination of clever copy and nontraditional typography with expanded font size and interesting typefaces placed in ways that aren’t just rectangular and linear.”
While Yancy and Jeremy believe designers will introduce dark mode, 3D components and striking typography into sites in coming years, these characteristics should be used strategically in a way that best reflects an already-established brand.
While we try to incorporate the latest design element, we also try to do work that transcends the current yearly trend. Being authentic to the brand, that’s the most important thing.
“While we try to incorporate the latest design element, we also try to do work that transcends the current yearly trend. Being authentic to the brand, that’s the most important thing,” Jeremy said. “The website is the thing people see first. You want a unified brand message, always. It would create a massive disconnect if the site doesn’t match all of the brand’s identity.”
Marketers have known for more than a decade that their audiences consume more content than ever before. However, our Interactive Department knows that the best websites don’t serve as an archive for every single element of a brand, throwing an overwhelming amount of information at a reader. And while we know quality — not quantity — content is still king, should websites pivot to fewer pages and less information? The key is to balance the needs of a brand but distill the information you want to convey to those who are looking at your site, Yancy said.
“Minimalism has been a trend and will continue to be a trend because it’s a focus on content and getting away from fluff,” Yancy said. “But the number of pages and the amount of content on a website are completely dependent on the industry the client is in and the amount of content they have. Our advice is to nix buzzwords and readily offer the most crucial information users need to know.”
Our advice is to nix buzzwords and readily offer the most crucial information users need to know.
Our Interactive Department works with our clients to balance the competing demands of being thorough, being concise and optimizing content for search. If you cut content too much, your website won’t have a chance to stand out when potential customers search relevant queries.
Websites with succinct content rife with relevant keywords stand a greater chance of consumers finding, remembering and understanding their brand, but it’s all for naught if the design of the website is clunky, crowded or fails to present well on both larger screens and mobile devices.
“Having a simple and clean interface works on mobile devices and larger screens,” Jeremy said. “Everything we do is responsive, meaning it flows down from a large screen to a smaller device.”
Integrative, Interactive Sites
At Trilix, we understand how collaboration between our departments creates a captivating and competitive website. Our Interactive Department works with our Video and Creative departments to integrate videos, photos, graphics and other visual elements. Our Communications Department ensures sites have crackling copy and superb SEO. Our Media Department drives traffic and analyzes how visitors move through sites so we can improve the user experience.
We also know how important it is to create a site that integrates all of our clients’ business needs, starting with the ability to manage their own site. We provide our clients with a custom content management system through which they can adjust content based on their needs. Data informs many business decisions, and that emphasis is only going to increase in the next few years.
Data informs many business decisions, and that emphasis is only going to increase in the next few years.
“Customers are now getting to the point where they have all this data, but they don’t know how to carve it up and parse it into something that adds context to their organization,” Yancy said. “A lot of what our Interactive Department has done in the last couple of years is data mining and business automation.”
Additionally, websites will be designed for increased user interaction, including chat bots, question submission forms and various dynamic popups that account for an individual user’s real-time activity. While increased interaction could help brands learn customers’ interests, businesses will need to make sure customers’ questions and concerns are answered quickly and thoroughly. These features should be used sparingly in ways that will make the user experience positive, such as chat bots to provide instant answers to frequently asked questions or to generate inbound leads seamlessly.
“Increased user interaction is a double-edged sword,” Yancy said. “Given the number of websites a person interacts with in a day, it could become tiresome if overused.”