Each year brings with it new challenges for web designers and 2014 is no different. In order to meet the diverse challenges that are thrown at you, your fundamentals need to be clear, but that’s not all. You need to be able to predict and identify these challenges and make sure you’ve a solution in place for them. Web design is a domain that was always competitive, but it’s becoming more so over the years. As a designer, your talent will be judged on the basis of whether you were able to face down a designing challenge and come up trumps. This will help you differentiate your services from that of your competitors.
Let’s take a look at some of the designing challenges you will face this year, and how you can not only survive them but also find a solution for them.
1. More Interaction Please!
We are seeing a growing need for website visitors to interact with the website. In 2014, you will be forced to up the ante and make your design more interactive than ever. You’ll need to think beyond merging social with your website to improve its interaction quotient. So how are you going to do that?
First take a look at what this site is doing:
Complete Baltics is a site that rises up to the interactivity challenge with great use of designing fundamentals and animation. The company describes itself as a user of bleeding edge technology and you see that coming across through its website. The use of colors, progressive coding, animation, illustrations, large images and the busyness of the site, and the way they’ve showcased their projects right on the landing page is absolutely amazing. This is interactivity at its creative best.
So, what should you do to meet this challenge? First, take inspiration from sites like the ones discussed above, don’t replicate what they are doing pixel for pixel, but use this inspiration as a launch pad for your own imagination. Creative thinking will help you develop an interactive framework for your design. And today, you’ve plenty of tools to create an interactive website.
With the design technology available today, you are actually limited by your own imagination.
2. More Usability Please!
Think user friendly designs and characteristics like mobile compatibility, well-defined information architecture, easy to scan content, quick loading speed, and extremely usable navigation come to mind. But, if you want to remain competitive in 2014, you need to think about what more you can deliver as far as improving your usability is concerned.
When it comes to usability in web design, it will be very difficult to find the kind of usability that Amazon.com brings to the table. A flexible, adjustable layout, clean interface that is clutter free in spite of the numerous product categories and the number of products that are available on the site, is what makes Amazon.com the darling of online shoppers. We can go on and on about Amazon.com and what it brings to the table, but this isn’t about Amazon but about how you as a designer can make your website more user-friendly. This is a challenge.
The first step towards a more usability oriented site is thinking how you can personalize certain visual experiences for the user. First understand the target users (this isn’t something new, but very few designers are able to get a comprehensive understanding of their customers and what makes them tick), and then deliver on their needs. What’s more, consumers say they want more relevant website experiences and as a designer, it’s your job to deliver on the same.
Why not offer the users personalized accounts that allow them to set their favorite color schemes/images, individual preferences, etc. As we said before, with the kind of technology available today, you can do a lot of things that you earlier couldn’t. Merging social with your website can give you access to a lot of user data that can help you personalize their online experiences.
3. More Balance between Gimmicks and Simplicity
You must’ve heard this suggestion often – “Do not use website gimmickry, it just doesn’t work”. However, there are plenty of successful sites have scored a few brownie points with the gimmicks they’ve used, but the question is how much is too much? The challenge is to draw a balance between style and substance, gimmicks and simplicity.
Let’s take a look at an example of a website whose design is a coming together of gimmicks, amazing creativity and simplicity:
Whittakers advertises the site as the world’s first chocolate site. Its Home Page appears like a mold of chocolate, and the individual buttons on it represent the various chocolates sold by Whittaker. This is website gimmickry at its best and it serves a purpose. It makes use of flash animation to tell a wonderful story, but it’s simplicity with respect to content presentation cannot be denied. The balance between unique stylish visuals and simplicity carries the day.
So, how do you meet this challenge? It’s pretty simple really – just think how your website’s message will hit home. Once you get that sorted out, everything else is easy. All you need to do is make sure your concept is implemented in its entirety.
Wrapping it Up
Challenges can only be met with confidence if you have comprehensive designing knowledge and are well-versed in all the principles of web design as well as the latest technologies making their presence felt. You can only innovate or stretch the limits of your expertise and experience if you’ve that kind of domain proficiency in the first place. This will help you experiment and take risks and if you fail, you’ll have enough trust in your ability to get back on your feet and try out something newer and which you think is better suited for your needs and requirements.
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John Siebert is the President and CEO of Tranquil Blue – A Website Design Tampa Company that focuses on all kind of website design, mobile app development and search engine marketing.