Emerging Web Design and Development Trends from 2020
The year of 2020 has certainly been a year to remember. Not only has it tested each of us in business and in person, it's also changed the way we interact online, and in our communities. One of the biggest change that we saw for the opening half of 2020, was the massive influx of users engaging with businesses online. Some businesses were prepared for this and have flourished. Others, may be playing catch up.
We've collated a list of the stand out trends that we see influencing website design and development for the back part of 2020 and beyond.
Data Security and User Privacy
The privacy of one's personal data has long been an issue following the internet’s increasing popularity in the 1970’s. This has become an even bigger problem in recent times due to several well-publicised reports of data breaches by big companies both here in Australia, as well as abroad. The awareness has prompted more consumers to be protective and extremely conscious of their personal data and most have become selective of the companies they sign up with.
Gaining the customer’s trust has now reached a new level. Consumers are not anymore content with shallow lip service but are now demanding that companies incorporate more appropriate measures to protect their information. Therefore, for businesses, transparency and preparedness for possible data infringements have become a top priority.
To this end, those that have prioritised their consumer’s data protection have gained a solid reputation in the market. Businesses that show compliance with international standards and regulations like GDPR have seen an increase in ROI, according to a recent survey.
With this in mind - your digital presence has many touchpoints where you may send and receive data to and from customers, or prospective customers. Now is the time to ensure each of these touchpoints is covered off when it comes to user data safety and security online.
Gone are the days when digital technology was considered a luxury. Recent breakthroughs have allowed it a more fundamental role in our daily routine which certainly has improved our way of life. Furthermore, unbridled and ferocious competition has resulted in an increase in the standard level of its service. Therefore companies are driven to continuously innovate the services that they offer. Foremost of the features considered is increasingly becoming user accessibility.
In today’s digital space, what does accessibility entail? To truly meet the industry’s standard, all users should have an equitable and personalised experience each time they use a company’s digital tools. The delivery of which can be enhanced through assistive technology such as screen readers and other interface devices. Therefore, to provide much less is negligence, poor customer service or worst, discrimination.
There is much to learn from the landmark case filed against Commonwealth Bank, who recently settled a case filed by two blind Australians due to the bank's difficult to use touchpad terminals. This case was not the first of its kind and there has been an increasing trend of companies that failed to provide an equitable experience, being found in breach of national standards and guidelines and facing large penalties as a result. This case in particular has shown that accessibility, when not properly provided by a company across any elements of their technology or digital presence, comes with a cost and in this case, possibly millions of dollars.
In terms of how you present your business to the market - have you considered the accessibility implications? Everything from website structure and markup, through to design colours and positioning needs to be thoroughly checked and where possible, should meet or exceed the WCAG 2.0 guidelines for website accessibility. This will continue to influence website design and development into the future.
Conversions over Beauty
Achieving beauty as part of the website design process is always a key objective of any website project. Beauty itself is usually regarded as an asset in most aspects of life. However, in business, an eye-catching website is not enough to attain sales. Although the visual appeal of a website can stir interest, converting these visitors into both enquiries and sales needs to also be a primary focus in order to achieve the desired outcome. This process is referred to as Conversion Rate Optimisation and is regarded as one of the most effective marketing strategies in recent times to assist companies in leveraging an existing website platform or online presence and realise greater return on investment from their marketing spend.
This is effectively achieved through precise data analysis of the website's performance and understanding the motives around user engagement. Scheduled reviews of this insightful data can help pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. Efforts and strategy should then be skilfully focused on improving points of friction, or weak spots which detract from the user experience. Areas of strength should be modelled and replicated so that the conversion is consistently high as development continues into the future. This ultimately results in higher revenue for your business.
When starting out on a new project, the way in which elements can be easily edited, monitored and maintained is a key focus to ensure maximum longevity and versatility over time as part of optimising for conversions. We often say - conversions don't just happen by accident. It takes a thorough combination of digital strategy, great design and most importantly, a good understanding of the business objective to get this right.
There are many stages to optimising for conversions and Conversion Rate Optimisation has different stages with which the activities change as your skillset progresses. For those new to the activity it can be difficult to know where to start. At Assure Digital we've got the whole science of Conversion Rate Optimisation systemised to allow you to realise the most from the practice and get started today.
Performance and technical ability
Your website is the centre of your business. It showcases your business to the world from a sales and marketing standpoint, it should improve operational efficiency and it should deliver a consistent customer experience for prospects and customers alike. For your websites' users, it has to be accessible, fast, responsive and easy to use. Any point of friction here will turn people away, in most cases in less than 1 second!
With this in mind, the website design and functionality needs to be properly developed so it can meet the needs of today and to also grow to equip the business in the foreseeable future. A trend which we are seeing here is how many websites will in effect start becoming the last website you'll ever need to buy - if you design the functionality requirement correctly, you should be able to continue maintaining and leveraging the business asset for many years into the future (whilst making modest tweaks/adjustments and updates to the design overtime).
I once spoke with a business owner who proudly stated they were onto their 5th business website, in 12 months! That is certainly not the trend we would like to see and overall we believe that if you design and develop your site correctly, it will meet the demands of your business, delight users and ensure you provide a fast, secure and stable experience long into the future.
According to Monetate, “Ecommerce Personalisation is the term used by online retailers that refers to the practice of creating personal interactions and experiences on ecommerce sites by dynamically showing content, media, or product recommendations based on browsing behavior, purchase history data, demographics and psychographics.”
The primary benefit of personalised marketing is its high success rate and revenue for the business due to its ability to tailor the website’s content to the needs of its target audience. This data-driven strategy can be achieved through list segments, surveys, or studies. It is therefore best to prime the website to collect data from its visitors so that it can communicate to its audience and at the same time provide its marketing teams with ease of access to this information.
The trend lies in the ways in which we see personalisation influencing design and development of websites. Everything from the content of the site, through to the campaigns a user receives via social, email and other channels can now be highly targeted and personalised to suit product or service they are interested in, or tailored based on activities or actions they may have taken in the past.
Every business has opportunities to deliver a personalised experience. It all starts with the desire to do so and with many industries becoming commoditised and increasingly competitive - it's now a massive point of difference above your competition if you have these key elements in place.
There are many elements that will influence great online platforms into the future. If you want more information about how to leverage these trends and look at developing a high performing website of your own, get in touch with our team and we can develop a road map to get you there.