We spend a lot of time considering the past. We reminisce over photos of our last vacation, we study trends and charts of our business accomplishments, and as soon as the song from the last dance from our senior prom comes on the radio, we are transported. When it comes to websites style though, the past is of little significance. We must look toward the future and model today’s websites with tomorrow’s innovative enhancements.
Tomorrow’s web designs will be personalized. Not just a “Welcome Efrat” at the top of the page. A fully personalized user experience is one that considers the profile information, online personality type, and behavioral characteristics and delivers the right content, in the right form, at the right time. No longer will a “one-site-fits-all” approach work. Sites will no longer be optimized equally for all audience segments. A personal experience will be proven to be successful.
However, truly successful sites will stand out from the pack for their ability to personalize without giving users an uneasy feeling that their privacy is being violated. Digital customer experience professionals will walk the tight rope that is the balance between positive user sentiment when the experience matches their needs and apprehension caused by a breach of privacy.
Websites will no longer be just about providing information. In the future, it will be about interaction and engagement. Some will go with gamification methods for this, while others will find other ways to involve and collaborate with their visitors. The beautiful brand guide by Uber is a great example. Involving visitors will develop a customer-centric digital customer experience: one that will delight visitors and increase metrics like time on site, social shares, and conversions.
Speaking of metrics, because the user experiences will have to be personalized and customized beyond simple demographic categories, tracking channels and referrers, alone, will no longer be enough. In fact, this practice is already becoming outdated to companies that are looking to the future. Soon, it will be common practice for all businesses (not just the forward thinkers) to track personas, attribute their marketing across multiple channels, and track the interactions of actual users throughout their journey. By tracking and analyzing the behavior of individual users on a deeper level, more companies – big and small - will be able to customize their nurturing, retargeting, and other campaigns to provide the content that will funnel users to conversion.
The power of social media will be leveraged by successful sites. Content will be created to be shared, experiences will be testimonialized, and reviews will be presented and consumed in innovative mediums. Crocs has a #findyourfun socialized sharable card-designed page that is worth a look. Brands will find new ways to excite their visitors and inspire them to share with their networks.
Successful designers will step outside the box of and create unique user experiences that are customized to the needs of the visitor. Typefaces will be relied on more heavily to create emotional responses. These sites will be visited more often, convert at a higher rate, be shared socially, and bring success to online businesses. An original site by the mint design company stand out from the crowd – not because it looks shiny and “techie,” but rather because it makes the technology feel familiar and nostalgic.
Websites will rise to new levels of visual experiences: beyond stock photos and surpassing explainer videos. As users, we will take part in creating websites by participating in user-generated content campaigns. There will be customer-created illustrations, cinemagraphs, and creative visual storytelling. A great example of forward-thinking storytelling is Nike’s responsive website for desktops, mobile, and big touch-screens where visitors can shop, share, and get inspired.
Better than a responsive template, the websites of tomorrow will be optimized as cards that are usable across all devices and screen sizes, like the ChooseHappy site. Mobile first trends have affected the PC layouts and have made them simpler and minimalist with “touch” like big buttons. Micro-experiences will be designed to be optimized on mobile and wearables, and the moving elements on the site will be created in ways that do not drain load times so they are user-friendly and enhance the digital experience.
The future for web designers
The future is an exciting one for innovative web designers. What we are learning is that innovative sites are making web journeys feel seamless and effortless. To stay on top of the web design game, UX experts must always focus forward, understand user behavior and the affected journeys, and innovate to serve the needs of real visitors.
Efrat Ravid is the Chief Marketing Officer at Clicktale. She is responsible for leading worldwide marketing initiatives targeting global fortune 500 companies, as well as creating and publishing Digital Customer Experience thought leadership content for the industry.