It's always fun to wrap up a year with predictions for the next. I'll let the designers weigh in on their predictions for web design in 2010, and I've listed some good blogs to check out below. Maybe I can even perturb our designers into responding with their ideas. My spin is on business influences. How does marketing strategy impact web design in this day and age? Here are some trends I'm seeing.
First, as promised, some great blogs on web design trends:
We're all about inbound marketing strategy here, so let's start with that as an influence. The general goal is to improve brand awareness, web traffic and lead conversion. Your website becomes a "hub" for blog readers and their comments, for new leads interested in your offers, and for existing customers wanting to know what's new and sexy. From a design perspective, you need to deliver all of this, or at least easy access, on the home page, preferably above the fold. So what happens if you devote a ton of screen real estate to huge text, image sliders and other macro design elements? You end up having to push all the SEO and lead gathering stuff off the screen. Not good. Remember the old mantra that you have a second or two to convince the visitor to stay and interact with you. If they're spending those precious seconds gazing at your cool art and not doing something productive (for you), then you lose, plain and simple. My spin? Look for smaller design elements that focus your attention on calls-to-action and other interactive features. There will still be plenty of art-for-art's-sake, but not on the successful business sites.
Blogs are fast becoming the core of websites. In more and more cases, blogs will be the website itself, with other tabs and links as subservient sections. Clever banner and layout designs will mark the best blog sites, but never to the exclusion of blog content. In blogs, content is definitely King, and anything you do to distract visitors from reading is a recipe for failure. Look for designers to think more about incorporating design into the content of blogs and less about the "wrapper" around a blog.
This was a hot trend last year, and it will no doubt continue. Websites look more and more like magazines (and vice versa to some extent). In this case I think Web can learn from Print. The front cover of most magazines are perfect studies in marketing know-how. They're laid out to capture your attention and compel you to drill down. Once you see that great headline, you're headed for the article's page number, not browsing around casually. That's how website home pages should work, and in 2010 they will continue the march towards the magazine front cover.
What do you think? Where are we going in web design in 2010?