We have been involved in a growing number of website redevelopment initiatives lately, and have identified several what I’ll call ‘movements’. More than just a trend, these are now becoming standards for successful design. The topmost are:

Responsive Design 

You know what this is—programming that allows for effective viewing on any size screen, from smart phone to desktop. This is by far the number one request of all re-builds. And while there are some issues (I’m looking at you legacy IE), just knowing that mobile users are responsible for more than 50% of all searches on Google, responsive design is now the only way to go. Additionally, as of April, Google has decided to add mobile friendly to page ranking. So a non-mobile site could actually negatively impact your SEO.

Though there are an incredible number of reference sites and blogs on responsive trends and best practices, this one simply showcases some extremely interesting and well done sites.

http://responsivecss.net/

Flat Graphics

Meaning no shaded blends or little drop shadows. Just areas of pure color. Though this might end up being a more temporary design trend, I think the fact that flat design looks great (and scales well) on mobile devices means it will continue for some time.

flat-icon-design

 

Iconography

slice-of-pizzaI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—people are visual. Navigation can be visual. Stories can be made visual. We are becoming trained to use and respond to visuals more and more every day. You have heard that you can now order a pizza for delivery from Domino’s with one texted pizza emoji, right?

 

 

Long Pages

kairos home

Because of smart phones, users are very accustomed to scrolling with their pointer finger. Long pages extend that familiarity by design. And although it may feel counter intuitive (since we still talk about “above the fold”) research shows they drive conversions. (Here’s a recently completed site with a somewhat lengthy, but informative, home page.)

 

 

Cards

Visual cards, or tiles—think Pinterest—are yet another outcome of creative visual navigation and storytelling. You can focus attention on market segments, verticals, audiences or any other product or service. Sometimes these are rollovers, but realize that on mobile their actions are different and may require a double click to move through.

And now I have to go back to Responsive Design

Not as described above, but responsive as a methodology—a philosophical ‘modus operandi’. Responsive as in flexible. Agile. Available. Responsive to client requests. Responsive to changing budgets. Of all the elements that must be incorporated in to a successful website initiative, this is arguably the most important to a successful build and launch. It is also not always easy to achieve—after all, it’s not a plug-in from WordPress. It starts with listening, and learning—on both sides of the table. And it continues throughout the project lifecycle. Knowing what is important—the incremental measures of success as well as the big-picture ones—means knowing where to focus energy and resources. It also makes responding to changes along the development path a much smoother operation.

There you have it—six elements to consider for a successful website re-build. That is, six elements in addition to the myriad of other important considerations such as CMS choice, level of social integration, and—oh yes—content! But that’s another blog entirely.

 

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