For many years, your digital presence has been one of the chief ways businesses around the world have expressed and conveyed their identities. They use it to show what they stand for, their mission, whom they represent, and their services.
The world is going increasingly online, especially as we grapple with a pandemic and attempt to reduce in-person interactions. In that context, your website has always been an important part of your brand and business identity but, in 2021, it will be the point of contact between you and your consumers. With that in mind, it’s time to review website trends you’ll want to take advantage of in 2021.
#1 Speed Up Load Times
Your customers aren’t going to wait around forever for your content to load. If it takes too long (more than just a second!), they might just abandon your website and go to one of your competitors’ instead. Users should also be able to transition from page to page within your site at lightning speed.
This has always been an important factor in user experience (UX), and 2021 should usher in a new era of heightened performance. Not only does it affect users’ opinion of your site, but it also influences your search engine rankings. Better performance means higher rankings.
#2 Leverage Data
Data fuels every experience and interaction with your brand. You should be regularly reviewing your website analytics to inform your strategy, helping you determine what type of content is performing well, and what needs work. You can also compare traffic across pages and study trends, such as the time of day you get the most visitors and how long visitors spend on certain pages.
Another way data can be to your benefit is through website presentation. Now, more than ever before, consumers are looking to be informed about the brands with which they engage, and offering visual representations of data is a way to show them your results and other important information. Think graphs, charts, infographics, and other images.
#3 Make It Accessible
Paying attention to inclusivity is crucial today. You need to ensure that users with disabilities of different types are able to engage with your content. This will help you meet the needs of your audience, ensuring that users have the same experience, and improve your SEO at the same time.
Just a handful of ways you can make your website more accessible are:
- Using color and shape contrast to make your text and images stand out
- Adding easily identifiable CTAs via buttons or other striking elements
- Including alt tags for all images
- Having a user-friendly architecture
If you want to know more, here’s an in-depth article that ponders why you should see accessibility as a core concern for your business.
#4 Improve Response Systems and Times
Customers are more likely to engage with your brand if you respond to their queries quickly and efficiently. Since your website is often their first point of contact, you should make it easy for them to ask questions, and you should answer them in a timely manner.
Many companies have already added AI-powered chatbots to their websites to resolve customer questions and complaints. Not only do they improve your website, but they also save you time, freeing up your customer service team to work on more complex issues. In fact, chatbots have become so ubiquitous that you should treat them as a must-have in 2021.
#5 Use Dark Mode
Dark mode does far more than make your website look slick. It also helps users save energy and improves accessibility by increasing contrast, making elements on the page pop for visually impaired users.
Perhaps this is why huge brands like Apple, Hubspot, WhatsApp, and Instagram are already embracing dark mode. The trend is already big and it will become even more widespread in 2021.
#6 Hyper-personalized Experiences
Nobody wants to feel anonymous, but it’s so easy to. When you personalize your users’ experience with your website, they’ll feel valued by and engaged with your brand, even when the touches aren’t obvious to them. You’re also giving them exactly what they want and need from your brand.
Incorporating AI into your website will allow you to better understand your consumers’ habits. As machine learning notices patterns, it can adjust the experience accordingly based on the user’s preferences. For example, it can suggest items to search for based on past behaviors, rearrange page components, or even display different content. It can even offer recommendations like Netflix does based on your ratings of TV shows and movies and what you’ve viewed previously.
#7 Add Immersive Features
Immersion has several advantages. First, it gives users a fun experience. They’re able to engage in a more “on-hands” manner and experience real value. For example, you might use Augmented Reality to enable prospective customers to “try out” your products.
At the same time, it’s important to ensure that these elements are used sparingly and subtly. You don’t want to overwhelm users with unnecessary and unsettling features that hinder the site’s performance or get in the way of the important data on your site. Make sure each immersive feature actually adds something to your website.
#8 Realistic Images
Increasingly, users are looking for a digital experience that mirrors reality. Rather than solely using graphics or animations, supplement them with photos to show them what the product or service is really like. Again, keep this minimalistic. Don’t crowd the page with images — use them sparingly, so they stand out more.
#9 Voice Activation
Alexa, Siri, and other voice assistants have become staples of our lives. They make everything much more convenient and easy. The good news is that you can bring this feature into your website, too. Incorporate voice activation features — such as voice chatbots — to help users find information, facilitate searches, and ultimately make the experience much more engaging. This is a trend that will become much more prominent in the coming year.
These features are already changing users’ digital experience. In 2021, they will become even more ubiquitous. To stay ahead of the curve, consider which ones make sense to incorporate into your website.