Back when I was younger, the web was awash with flashy websites (much pun intended). Splash pages ran rampant across the interwebs, showcasing company-focused intro sections and even intrusive music. Nowadays, apps have overtaken the technology market and websites have wisened up to be more focused and beautiful in a simplistic way.
It was about time. To say I’m glad would be an understatement.
My recent trip to SxSW in Austin was marked most dramatically by the pursuit of User Experience (UX, for short). Design is becoming more important in every aspect of our lives. The human seeks beauty, in every corner and touchpoint. Concept stores and user experiences within brick-and-mortars are creating entire movements and word of mouth.
Brands are paying attention to their physical store designs, but users don’t differentiate between a brand’s physical and digital presences. To meet this need, the technological platforms behind those brands need to follow the same route.
1. The big space between what companies want to communicate and what users want to know is becoming smaller.
Back in the first coming of the web, websites were created to showcase whatever information companies saw fit. Usually, this included heavy sites, low loading times, and infinite amounts of text. Users were accostumed to wading through vast swaths of text to find what they were actually looking for.
Nowadays, websites and apps are focused on delivering more focused information — usually only what the user is looking for. Interfaces are optimized to fit the ways users navigate websites and apps in attempts to make the user’s experience seamless on their way to purchase the company product. There is still room to grow, but it’s starting to spread more widely.
2. Opt-in as opposed to opt-out.
Lately, there are very few websites that force video and music on a user automatically. If they do, they are called advertisements. Once the web did away with opted-in media playing, the user experience got much smoother and non-intrusive. Facebook and Google still battle with their users on privacy opt-out features all the time, so the movement is becoming more clear.
The trend is easy to identify. Users like to be given the choice.
3.Design has infiltrated all aspects of the branded experience.
Instead of just hiring a designer for printed or web materials, companies have begun to value and need design at all levels of their processes. From product development to consumer touchpoints, designers are becoming front and center of the company team. In an age where concept stores and sleek mobile apps are all the rage, designers are taking user experience to a new level. Beauty is inherently made to be shared, and companies are leveraging design to incorporate it into every nook and cranny of their being.
I just hope every company and brand that is lagging behind jumps on the design-focused bandwagon soon to make the web even more user-friendly. If users demand it, it’s time every company jumps onboard.
* Read more about being yourself and online marketing in my new book “To Be or Like to Be”. Want to get my free blog updates in your inbox? Or you can sign up for updates via my Facebook Page. Whatever works best for you!