With 2015 drawing to a close in the next few months, we thought it was time to take a look at the web development trends that emerged and blossomed over the year. We also believe that these trends will continue on into 2016 and beyond, as they’re all about making the user experience more enjoyable. And it’s no surprise – we have seen how user engagement can make or break a website.
- ‘Flat’ Design
A trend that has been gaining momentum since 2014, ‘flat’ design offers a clean and simplified style that is popular because it allows for optimised performance on mobile devices.
- Background & Full Screen Videos
We prefer to watch than to read, so it is much easier to tell your story and create emotion with motion graphics than it is with paragraphs of text. This has resulted in more background and full screen videos.
- Mobile Apps & Social Media
We have actually seen websites become less important, as users are spending more time using apps (such as games) and browsing social media. Content is being shared more and more often on these platforms.
- Interactive Webgraphics
Over the year, we’ve actually seen static infographics be replaced with interactive webgraphics. These allow the user to interact with the content, which builds a more engaging experience.
Basically, this is the name given to small interactions that help to accomplish a single task (such as posting a status or liking something). These interactions encourage engagement.
- Less Coding, Yet More Websites
We have actually seen a decline in coding because new tools have been released onto the market that allow pretty much anyone to create websites without coding.
- Big Images & Video
The time of carousels and sliders is no more. Instead, we’re seeing a lot more ‘hero areas’ in the form of big images and video. Ghost buttons is another trend that is emerging.
- Better Responsive Design
There can be no denying that responsive design has been a must for a number of years, but now the focus is more on improving performance. Include only the necessary elements and ensure they are optimised.
- Functional Web Typography
The need for more functional, responsive and versatile typography has also become apparent. Whilst designers had already embraced web fonts, larger type and variety has been common over 2015.
So, which of the above web development trends have you incorporated into your website this year? If you haven’t incorporated any or if you feel that there is still some room for improvement, remember that it’s never too late to start. As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, we believe that these trends will continue to evolve in 2016, so what are you waiting for?
These days, the interest in social media is continuing to grow at exponential rates and it is important that your business is taking advantage of this by making brand-oriented accounts on some of the more popular platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook. To help you out, here are some tips that you can use to make your website social media friendly:
- Killer Content
Have you ever heard the saying ‘content is king’? Whilst this is true of anything that you upload to the internet, it is especially true of social media, as you need to stand out from the crowd. Ordinary content won’t cut it anymore because there is simply too much out there.
- Social Buttons
Users expect convenience when they browse the web; they want to be able to share things they like or find interesting through their social media channels as easily as possible. This is why your website should include buttons (such as ‘like’ and ‘tweet’) to streamline this.
- Social Content
Whilst social media platforms are built with the intention of connecting people, you can actually take a similar approach with your website. Why not incorporate a blog section where users can post comments? Or post your advertising material on Facebook to see the reaction?
- Titles & Images
You need titles that are eye-catching and straight to the point, otherwise users won’t read your content (no matter how interesting or relevant). You also need images that explain the main points of your content in the same kind of tone that you have written in.
Whilst a website does provide you with a foundation for establishing a successful online presence, social media will provide you with an avenue for even wider coverage and more opportunities to connect with your customers. By using the above tips, you can effectively integrate social media with your website and will, hopefully, start to see it working for you soon.
If your website has been hacked in the past, you will know better than most how much work goes into fixing the chaos that the hacker managed to wreak before they were caught. The question that arises in many people’s minds, however, is that they have chosen a reputable web development company to build their site, so how on earth did it still manage to get hacked?
- Your web host is vulnerable: More often than not, a number of websites that are all hosted by the same company will be hacked together. If this is the case, the problem lies with your web host, who is vulnerable; report hacked websites immediately.
- Your computer (or your developer’s computer) has been compromised: This is a reflection of the vulnerability of the computer and not the site itself; malware can be used to steal passwords and infect uploaded files that in turn affect the website.
- Your code is poorly written: If your web development company has not properly coded all aspects of your website (from its forms, dynamic pages and even its CMS), it is likely that security holes will result. Code should always be tested before being released.
- Your content management system has security holes: If your CMS has not been kept secure, it’s likely that a hacker has found holes that they have been able to exploit. Whenever the developer releases a new version, make sure you update.
Unfortunately, no website is going to be completely hacker-proof, even if you have the most reputable web development company in the world working on your code. But by ensuring that known of the above issues has arisen, you can take active steps towards making it as difficult as possible for hackers to gain access to your private information.
If this is the first time that you have been involved with the creation of a website, you might not have understood what members of the team meant when they mentioned the alpha and the beta stages of the web development process. These stages are actually part of the cycle that brings a website to life, and they are vital if you want to ensure that the client is happy with the finished product. So, what are the alpha and beta stages?
This stage is the part of the process that involves the web development team presenting their ideas to the client, who will then approve any ideas that they like and dismiss those that they don’t. This will not only include the design; the client also has final say on the functionality, layout and other elements of a website.
This stage is the part of the process that involves the website being coded and tested. The designs approved by the client in the alpha stage are coded so that they are completely functional on the internet; the client is then provided with a copy of what the website will look like and testing commences to make sure that everything is working as expected.
These are not, of course, the only stages involved in the web development process – there are many other steps that must be completed before and after the alpha and beta stages to ensure that the finished website meets the client’s expectations, including: the pre-alpha stage (which involves idea conception) and release stages (which involve the site being made ‘live’).
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, ‘QR code’ refers to a little black and white grid pattern that sort of resembles a crossword. They operate very similar to a barcode, in that a user can scan the code with their mobile phone and be taken to a page with extra information. They are very popular on movie posters, taking you to a trailer of the advertised film.
Use the following web development tips to ensure that your QR codes are written perfectly:
- Keep in mind that the entire code needs to be scanned in order for it to work, so take into account how far away users will need to be.
- Testing is imperative with QR codes, as it is with all aspects of the web development process, to ensure that everything is working.
- Not everyone will have a smart phone, so will your QR code work with an iPad or another portable device?
- Don’t put a QR code on all of your advertising material; users will feel like you’re just trying to push them to your website.
- Think about where the code will be displayed; in some countries, you can access the internet in train stations whereas this is impossible in others.
When it comes to web development and QR codes, it is important that you have experience in making these unique codes before you go about sticking them all over your company’s advertising material. Developing a code that can be read simply through a photograph is quite a complex task, and it is one that should not be taken on lightly.