By Manny Hondroulis
New Website Trends
Change is a way of life. Yet it seems that change occurs
at record speeds when it comes to the online world. Our company websites
are no exception. We have discussed how to create a website and ways of
updating it, but we have never discussed a website redesign.
You might think of a website redesign as simply creating a new website
from scratch. Thatís a great way of looking at it because content (meaning
the information displayed on your website) and methods of communicating
that content change regularly.
Itís no secret that we surf the website differently today than we did
just one year ago. But Iím guessing that most websites in our industry
have a life cycle of at least five years. Our websites are grossly behind
the times in terms of how users search and find relevant information.
If youíre tackling a website redesign, be sure to capitalize on recent
website trends. For example, websites from the year 2000 look vastly different
than the websites of today. If you donít believe me, see for yourself
by visiting Wayback Machine at www.archive.org/web/web.php.
To view a companyís past websites, simply enter the URL and select the
desired date (post 1996). Compare that website to the companyís current
website. There should be two takeaways: 1) a companyís website changes
a lot more than every five years, and 2) the websites past and present
look nothing alike and youíll most likely prefer the current website.
My first point means that we should consider a website redesign more frequently
than every five years. Iím guilty of not doing so myself, but already
have plans for a complete online overhaul. I also want to elaborate on
my second point. You will most likely prefer a companyís current website
because it takes advantage of current website trends. Even if youíre not
conscious of those trends, your subconscious isóif youíre a regular Internet
user. So letís discuss current online trends that you may want to incorporate
into your redesign.
First, websites created today tend to focus more on the content than on
eye-catching gimmicks. And by gimmickry, Iím not referring to a websiteís
styleóstyle is most important. Rather Iím referring to elements such as
introductory sound bites, pop-up windows, or text to speech add-ins.
Second, website aesthetics are getting simpler. Backgrounds are more plain
and due to an increasing number of widescreen monitors, content stretches
across the entire screen.
Third, you need to incorporate social networking accessibility into your
website. Many companies list their Facebook pages in their printed advertisements
more so than their websites. We have discussed the relevance of Facebook,
Twitter, and YouTube in the past so be sure your website feeds content
to your social networking sites and vice versa.
Finally, consider creating a website that will be friendly on a smartphone
or PDA, meaning that it is easy to navigate through a touch screen. Or
better yet, create a separate and simplified website for mobile users.
These websites are usually accessed by adding an ďmĒ to your domain name.
For example, m.ford.com
is Ford Motor Companyís website for smart phones.
This is just a simple list of website design trends that I have noticed
in the past year or two. There are many more that I donít understand,
especially as they relate to website creation, but a professional web
designer will. Good content that is communicated effectively will help
you maintain a competitive position in your market.
Manny Hondroulis is marketing manager for Energy Performance Distribution
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