Staying on top of web design trends can be a daunting task for any business.
Knowing when to make a change can be scary and hard to justify when it doesn’t appear that anything is broken. However, there are some very good reasons to update the look of your site. Probably the most common is that an outdated site doesn’t instill confidence in the customer’s view of your brand or the products and services you sell.
Ask yourself, when is the last time the site has seen a redesign? If it’s longer than 2 – 3 years then it’s likely time to evaluate your website to avoid looking stagnate. You’ll hear from customers regarding functionality issues but typically not as much about the look of the site. Problem is that looking dated doesn’t happen overnight. It’s almost imperceptible, especially to those closest to it. It will sneak up on you and then you’ll want to throw your old website out the window. Such a rash action might not be necessary.
There are a number of things you can do to tweak the site to stay current and avoid a complete overhaul. Let’s explore a few simple enhancements that might help breathe new life into your store.
1. Update Your Typography
Replace your fonts with something more fitting of your brand if you haven’t already. Web fonts have come a long way in the past 5 years and you can find a web version of almost any font you want. Just be careful not to use too many as it can slow down initial site load times and could lead to a rise in bounce rates. Enlarge your headings and take advantage of your new fonts. Take inspiration from your business’ print pieces, assuming they’re well designed.
2. Wow Customers with Quality Imagery
If you’re not already investing in quality photography, now’s the time. Large quality photography mixed with your new modern font would be a huge improvement to your marketing spots. Spice it up further by combining photos with custom illustrations that add whimsy and help draw attention and impress your customers.
3. Be Strategic With Color
Don’t be afraid to use bright colors to draw attention to a feature or sale. Once you’ve enticed the user to the product page, try using subtle background color shifts to break up any long product descriptions and pair them with images to keep the shopper engaged.
4. Refresh Your Buttons
Are your buttons pill-shaped with a glossy effect to them? Or maybe a less-than-subtle gradient with borders and shadows? It might be time to switch them out for more modern flat colored buttons (or very subtle gradients) or even hollow buttons which contain no background and rely on their background image or color.
5. Switch Out Your Old Icon Images
Do your icons look blurry on your phone? That’s probably because they don’t take into account pixel density and are stretched two times their original size. One of the best ways to combat this is to switch to vector icons which are resolution independent. You can use SVGs (Scalable Vector Graphics) or the more popular icon fonts to achieve crisp-looking icons at all sizes. There are many resources that allow you to browse free icon font collections and even create a custom one.
6. Let Your Brand Shine
Do you ever look at your mailers and catalogs and think “I wish the website looked this good?” Maybe it’s time to blur the lines between your web and print design styles. Try and gather all of your favorite print pieces and find style patterns that you like most and implement them on your website. It’s in your best interest to keep your brand consistent across both channels. If you have brand guidelines, use them. But don’t be afraid to revise them to be more versatile on the web. For example, if you only have 2 or 3 approved colors in your brand guide, it makes it difficult to draw attention where it’s needed. Add a few accent colors that will add some life into your storefront.
UX Enhancements: Going Beyond Design
Design isn’t everything. Today’s shoppers demand a satisfying user experience (UX) as well. Don’t make your customers stumble through your store trying to find what they want. They demand a smart search with instant results. They demand a well-organized navigation that allows for efficient browsing of categories. They demand the ability to filter products by brand, color, style and material. The now 110-year-old phrase “the customer is always right” is still quite relevant to today’s online businesses. Keep your customers happy and they’ll keep coming back. One way to keep them happy is to make your website as simple and easy as possible for them to use.
7. Enhance Your UX
When we’re building a website, sometimes we focus too much on features and information, but forget about our audience. User Experience should be at the forefront of your team’s mind when refreshing your business’s website. For instance, in the case of navigation, many sites have eased user journey of dynamic product catalogs through simplified single-point megamenu navigation structure rather than traditional horizontal top navigation.
Furthermore, the mobile experience should be enjoyable and easily digestible to the user. If you’ve ever had to pinch or pull to zoom in on the copy of a website just to read it on mobile, you know that pain. With nearly half of customers shopping on mobile and Google now prioritizing sites that are mobile-friendly, going responsive would be foolish to ignore.
If you’re not prepared to do them on your own, contact us and we can help guide you through it.
In the end, a great creative UI team is your best bet for implementing these and other modernizations in your store. It’s one of the many services we offer here at BlueSky Technology Partners