It is difficult to stay up to date with the trends of the time but I have five easy elements that can make your website 2016 compatible while also giving your visitor a more engaging experience.
Just to note, a couple of these methods are more guidelines to follow and/or should be considered with your particular audience.
1. You are using too much text! Less is more.
If you find that your homepage consists of 50% or more text, try and find ways to limit it to 25 – 35%. It is a rarity nowadays that someone will take the time to read enormous amounts of text. However, you need to consider function before all else. If your website is an active blog, then you will be having more text than a site selling a product but the phrase less is more still applies – a picture is still worth a thousand words, right?
Try to save your creative energy for some of the following methods.
2. Use typography to draw attention.
Wait, hold up. What’s this typography? A simple explanation would be using typefaces (“fonts”) together so that a particular word, phrase, sentence, etc., draws the attention of the viewer while also creating interest and/or engagement.
Okay, with that being said, the simplest way to do this is to choose your desired typeface (“font”, again) and when you want something to standout, alter that typeface.
Increasing its size exponentially while making it italicized and/or bolded can create contrast and engagement.
Now remember that this is a very basic example and is meant to highlight some important information or message. Other designers would scoff at this because I’m not mentioning the “rule of thirds” or some other technical design speak. If you’d like to read up on typography (and I hope you do), then this book is a great place to start.
3. What’s that between your sentences? Whitespace!?!
Probably the most forgotten aspect of a website while simultaneously being one of the aspects with the most unconscious influence. Whitespace is one of those things that people want to fill. If that space isn’t being used, it’s useless, right?
Well, no actually.
Just like in the real world, whitespace gives us room to breathe and a moment for our eyes to relax. Using whitespace strategically can vastly improve your visitor’s experience on your site.
4. Motion in the ocean.
Have you ever experienced that moment when everything is still then something moves and your eyes dart towards it?
Motion on a static or unmoving website can be used to do a lot of things. It can be used to capture your visitors attention, guide their eyes around the page, and/or even prompt them to take action.
Now what I’m not saying is that you should replace all your images with high-activity GIFs. Similar to my first suggestion about text, less is more here. Too much is overwhelming but contrastly too little could go unnoticed. The only way to perfect this is by testing and getting feedback.
5. Don’t forget! Call to…interactions?
Now this sounds more complex than it really is.
A trend in 2016 sites is to add animations or smooth transitions when your visitor interacts with some element on the site. However, simplicity is key here.
You can’t control every way that a visitor views your site, so make sure that you do all you can to simplify the process in which they can acquire the information they seek. Make sure you test these additions on multiple devices before you decide to make them a part of your website.
6. This is more than 5 but just hear me out.
By 2017, it is expected that “Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 68% of all internet traffic.” (John Stevens from Hostingfacts.com)
What does that mean?
Well it translates to, your site must have a solid mobile experience or you’re missing out on over half of your audience (this may depend on your demographic but by and large it holds true). If you create a stellar mobile experience, then you are investing for even more traffic and viewers in the near future.