Content Marketing otherwise known as non-interruption marketing is essentially creating valuable, relevant and consistent content for your consumers that will engage and create awareness about your brand.
Immersive web design in 2020
The start of a new decade is a perfect time to refresh your website to meet with the new designs and trends that are expected to dominate in 2020. We've taken a look at these trends to make sure your website is in tip top condition for the year ahead and beyond.
Although it is not a new trend, it is one of the most demanded web design specifications. A web page should be easy to navigate, readable and visually appealing on any device and screen. Therefore, adaptability is one the most crucial requirements of web design. Considering the increased usage of smartphones, you will need to make sure your text and media content is adapted to different sizes of screens. In addition, any further media elements may disappear from smaller screens or change their look to become more readable. However, the “Menu” is the key component of the web page and if you allocate most of you media and content under it, it will allow the user to easily navigate through: Content sections, Blogs, Members account, Shopping cart (if e-commerce), Pricing info, Site settings, Help and main sections of the site.
Furthermore, considering the short attention span of online users, in 2020 the developers will have to create websites that are not only adaptable, but also easy to navigate saving users from difficulties, whilst providing a visually appealing user interface in order to engage and retain their attention.
The use of “white space” is a well know principle for logo designers and a very effective approach to attract users attention. White space is defined as the space between the design elements, as well as the space inside some elements of the website (including line spacing and font stretching.)
There is an inaccurate opinion in the design field that all white space is simply “empty”, however this is not quite the case. White space is a key principle in web design as there should be a significant indentation between web design elements. Furthermore, it is crucial to understand that while contrary to the original name “white space”, space should not be explicitly white, it can be any colour, texture, pattern or even a background image.
What is crucial to know when developing a web design is that there are two types of white space: active and passive. The active white space is when you specifically design spaces between the web design elements, which are navigating the user in a certain way through the web page, whereas. the passive white space is aimed at improving the aesthetic and visual appeal of the page. This involves line spacing, font stretching, indents between paragraphs and other similar elements.
Minimalism in web design is often combined with white space principles. However, this trend has a much broader concept. Minimalism involves simplifying the interface in several ways:
- Hidden navigation bar
- Minimum use of colours
- Lack of additional details of graphic design (shadows, font and typography variety)
- Minimum of buttons
- Lack of additional graphics
In 2020, minimalism will gain higher in popularity moving web designs towards maximum simplification with displaying as few elements as possible on one page. A great example of effective minimalism design is the Apple website.
Bold typography, or oversized lettering, is gaining more and more popularity, as website designers strive to simplify their web design as much as possible. Huge typography has some vivid benefits such as easily drawing the attention to your brand or business objectives by putting it in big bold type on the main page of your website. Therefore, visitors are more likely to remember what was written and are more likely to come back to the website.
Most websites currently are grid-based. The grid is developed with imaginary lines that help layout elements on the page stay in order. Website designers who want to be unique and outstanding will start utilising broken grid techniques and placing design elements chaotically. This technique gives the website a much more creative appeal and is predicted to be one of the top web design trends in 2020.
Online video marketing creates a contradiction in lack of time when consumers are browsing online as most users have no desire to stay long on a website! However, most of them are willing to spend 5 or more minutes if there is a relevant video on the website. According to a recent survey “The State of Video Marketing 2019”:
- 96% of users watch videos to explore the product in more depth;
- 79% of users claimed that a video has convinced them to purchase the product;
- 68% prefer to examine new projects by watching videos, rather than reading text;
- 94% of PR managers said that video helps user to understand clearly the idea of a project;
- 84% of managers are convinced that video marketing is significantly increasing website traffic and user retention.
Many experts argue that video content today is undoubtedly the leader amongst web trends. Hence, if you haven’t yet included video marketing in your strategy you should definitely consider investing in it. Here is a short list of rules to follow when adding video content on your website:
- Duration – the video shouldn’t be more than 5 minutes. The basis of product/service could be easily explained within this period. The task of the video is to attract and retain users’ attention.
- Relevance – The video should be clearly corresponding and relevant to the page where it is placed. For example you should allocate your product descriptions/reviews on the specific product pages and the team videos on the About Us page.
- Simplicity – Focus on sending only the main message without moving away from the topic. Otherwise, the user will get bored or will fail to understand the idea and purpose of the video.
- Minimalism – Don’t overload your website with videos as you risk damaging the loading speed and overall website performance. Upload only relevant videos and submit information in text forms when required.
Another stunning trend predicted for 2020 is the heavy usage of 3D design elements. The importance and effectiveness of 3D graphics have already been recognised in the movie and gaming industry, and web design is catching up! Web designers will be implementing more 3D graphics to develop more engaging websites and enhancing of their brand's image.
The fast pace of the 21st century has made us very impatient, in-fact reducing the average user attention span to only 3 seconds! Therefore, to attract and retain your users you need to provide “instant exposure” to the required information on your website in an engaging way.
You can effectively provide this experience through implementing “motion design”. One of the easiest and most trivial examples of this design is uploading relevant GIF animations. Presenting information this way is much more efficient than text or even imagery formats and one of the greatest advantages of GIFs compared to videos is the faster loading which is a key element when developing websites.
GIFs can transfer complex ideas in short animations or videos. Furthermore, they will not only grab the attention of your users, but they will also retain their attention whilst engaging them more with your content. Another great benefit of implementing them on your web page is that they work on any browser and device, so you won’t have to worry about the adaptability of your design.
However, it is important to consider that these animations, as a rule, are short-lived and are usually no longer than 5 seconds. Therefore, you should clearly enclose the entire message in this timeframe. If it doesn’t work, it’s better to replace it with video content and stay relevant to the topic.
Custom images and drawings add a uniqueness and a sense of your brand character to your website. When utilising this trend, you can display and enhance your brand identity and make it more memorable for your users. Next time when your users see one of your custom images, even if it is on another resource, your website will pop into their heads and they are more likely to return to it again. Therefore, you will experience not only increased popularity but also boosted conversions.
Voice User Interface
Voice user interface (VUI) allows your users to interact with your website through voice commands. Although it is not specifically design related, this trend will add crucial functionality and usability to your website ensuring that all website elements are accessible for people with certain disabilities.
Push notifications have been quite a controversial trend recently; however, they are definitely gaining momentum. From a user perspective it is unpleasant to see a message from the site in the corner of the screen whilst working or simply watching movies.
However, it also could be beneficial – for example as a reminding notification to purchase tickets for that football game or your favourite band. Although, push notifications are part of the web development process, they are also related to UX design. Notifications can be blocked, which eliminates the annoyance for the users. However, on devices like tablets and smartphones, they are often useful rather than unbearable.
Many websites are already asking their users for permission to send notifications. If you have decided to add this element to your UX design, it’s necessary to consider your target audience and their need beforehand. It is worth doing some research of your target audience activity and core interests and then properly configuring the subject and frequency of the notifications. This element should help your users, not annoy them.
The last but not least emerging trend is related to artificial intelligence. Users often turn to support with all kind of questions and enquiries and over time it has become more difficult to respond to all of them physically.
Chat bots are programmes developed and designed to imitate a conversation, that is recently being improved to become a more human like conversation. They collect a base of constant questions and whenever there is a enquiry relating to these questions they respond immediately. There are two types of chat bots: with fixed database and AI-based. The ones with fixed databases are something like improved FAQs sections and are not essentially very effective. AI-based chatbots are the emerging trend, since they greatly facilitate user acquaintance with the project.
The advantages of chatbots are that they are cheap (more expensive than the FAQs section, but much cheaper than support staff), respond immediately and are available 24/7. The disadvantages are that they don’t understand sarcastic enquiries and can’t answer correctly to the request if it is asked for the first time.
Initially several companies started implementing chatbots a few years ago and from a consumer perspective there wasn't a great reaction as users increasingly got annoyed with incorrect answers to their questions and would leave their sites frustrated and desperate to speak to another human being! However, now chatbots can maintain human-like conversations, complete orders, help with registrations, restore accounts and correctly resolve any enquiries.
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Content marketing is really like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second date.David Beebe, TV Producer