From Forbes and Newtek
This week, we have taken it upon ourselves to outline and explain the most important web design trends for 2014. The consensus among website design pros, regarding industry trends for 2014, is fairly cut and dry and most agree the significant styles for the year will likely fall under the headings of responsive design, simple design and storytelling design.
1) Responsive Design: the most critical for small business. Why? Because it is quickly becoming the standard, and if you don’t comply, it will negatively affect your Google GOOG +0.51% ranking. Responsive design means a set website is a thing of the past. Instead, we must not feel like all elements that fit on a desktop must be present on the screen of a smartphone. That’s where the design comes in, finding a pro who knows what will work best on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop-size screen, and including the elements that make for the most seamless and enjoyable format.
2) Simple Design: Simplicity refers to the integration of best practices so site visitors get what they need seamlessly and without complication. What simplicity does not imply is generic. Yes, to powerful images. Yes, to meaningful content. Yes, to sleek and purposeful navigation. So how do you decide what is and what is not important? The right designer, of course. See, instead of random guessing, a qualified designer or team will do split testing to gauge response – taking out much of the guesswork. Plus, an experienced design team will have worked with similar companies/formats and should have a pretty good idea what is working, and what is working well. They will also be able to use pragmatism and remove your own personal bias and emotion.
3) Storytelling Design: this methodology suggests that users are told a story through concise, compelling copy coupled with strong imagery as they scroll down the page. Another way to say it? MAKE. IT. FUN. Let them discover who you/your company are by letting it unfold before their eyes, so to speak. Let them start where you did and fast-track them to how you arrived at a solution. Gone are the days of “I am so great” over and over again – in every nook and cranny of your site. (At least we hope it will be after reading this.) Imagine scrolling down to the bottom of a website page, where the process unfolds like a fairy tale, or an evolution of sorts. Set a goal/challenge your designer, with something like this: “I want new visitors to be able to move down from the top of the page to the bottom in 30 seconds and have a crystal clear idea of who we are and what we do. And for repeat visitors, I want them to easily identify where to go to make a purchase, or visit our blog, virtually without having to look.” Sure, an effective “storytelling” website is easier said than done. But it’s a worthwhile challenge – and if it’s done well, you’re pretty much assured of a website that will be the belle of the ball.