9/1/20

Outdated Trends

Clip art - no longer a thing to do

Here are a dozen web design trends that are thought to be "outdated" in 2020 according to Web Design Relief.

Clip Art: Instead take original photos (even with your phone), purchase stock photos, or hire a freelance artist to create custom artwork. 

Multiple Font Combinations: A mix of serif, sans serif, and decorative fonts looks busy and amateurish. Instead, stay with one font or font family.

Infinite Scrolling: This recent trend of having one multi-leveled page burned out quickly. there is value to having distinct pages (for linking, printing and other reasosn). The trend came because of mobile devices but can lead to slower loading time and cause visitors to give up on scrolling and never see the bottom content.

Autoplay: Users like control.

Separate Locations for main website content and mobile sites and blogs. An all-in-one website is more efficient and establishes a stronger brand identity.

Widgets: helpful, but can make it harder to navigate and can interfere with its functionality.

Splash Pages with a a logo, image, or message that launches your website but without content can cause visitors to leave before they even see your content.

Color Palettes with too many colors or even monochromatic (black and white and others). 

Animations: are often not mobile-friendly and they just look old.

Default Themes are a good starting place but you don't want your site to look like other sites (especially in your industry). A custom website is more expensive but a good designer can also hack a default theme to make it look more unique.

Contact: Giving out your email is a security risk and invites spam, so the newer trend is to use a contact form. 

Customized Cursors And Scroll Bars that look like objects were a trend 20 years ago. Stick to the ones everyone is used to seeing..




5/1/20

Federal Web Design Standards


Does your web work have any ties to the federal government? It may have a connection without you realizing it. I learned this while working at a college that was receiving federal grants and that is also true of companies that have federal contracts. 

Recently (January 2020), there were some updates to the federal website design standards. I saw several posts about this including one at federalnewsnetwork.com and governmentciomedia.com. Even if your site is not required to adhere to these standards, they are worth looking at and considering for any website.

Here is a primer on the standards which requires that a website must be:

Accessible: be accessible to individuals with disabilities in accordance with Section 508
Consistent: have a consistent appearance
Authoritative: not overlap with or duplicate existing websites
Searchable: contain a search function
Secure: be provided through a secure connection
User-centered: be designed around user needs with data-driven analysis
Customizable: provide an option for a more customized digital experience
Mobile-friendly: be functional and usable on mobile devices

All government agencies are required to modernize their websites to ensure that public websites’ user experience meets if not exceeds the expectations of the people each agency serves. 

The General Services Administration (GSA) developed the U.S. Web Design System (USWDS) as a standardized platform for agencies to design modern websites. 

3/30/20

Websites and (Re)Design in a Pandemic

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

Everything has changed in the past three months because of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Besides all the changes in your day to day life, meetings and conferences disappeared, offices closed and in order to minimize contact with crowds, almost everyone has turned to online connections and work.

Many organizations have relied on their web teams to make changes to sites t handle new tasks, needs and perhaps greater traffic. Those changes vary greatly based on your business. I have spent most of my life in education and the rush to move learning online has been enormous. The local restaurant that had minimal or no online business (takeout, pickup, delivery) is suddenly needing all that in order to survive. The office that now has all its workers working from home needs more than email and chat.

Of course, surrounded by tragedy, every crisis provides opportunities for some. Not to focus on marketing and profit, I wonder what your web designers have been doing during this pandemic.

I have been working and teaching virtually part-time for 20 years and fully online for the past five years, so that hasn't changed lately. What has changed is the needs of clients. Just based on my own work and what I hear from others, I suspect these things have been happening for many designers.
  1. Upgrading (or creating) online stores.
  2. Greater need for video, conferencing, demos, presentations, and videoconferencing tools.
  3. Intranet for organizations to do chats, file-sharing, remote scheduling tools. 
  4. Lots of updates - hours of availability, alternative contacts...
  5. Changing marketing, ads, offers
  6. Monitoring your analytics for changes in patterns
  7. Offering updates via email newsletters, new pages, banners...
Of course, ideally, all this was in place BEFORE the pandemic and should be unavailable for everything from the employee who can't get to work for the day or a week, weather closings, natural disasters, etc. But clearly, that has not been the case for many organizations.

What have you been doing with your web presence to cope with the pandemic?  Post a comment.


This post also appears at RonkowitzLLC.com