As 2016 is now in full swing; people have nearly finished talking over what that “one” person did at the office Christmas party; how everyone spent the new year; and we’re all just about getting over the phenomena of Siri being able to beatbox; I take this opportunity to look at how 2015 changed the internet and I cast some predictions as to what 2016 will bring in terms of web design, social media and online advertising. I will save my predictions about the much rumoured Apple Car for another blog.
1. Smarter online advertising
We became well and truly in love with our mobile phones in 2015 and on 21st April last year, Google reflected this in the way it displayed search results, the day some industry professionals dubbed “mobilegeddon“. Big names moved off the top spot (such as M&S, Next and the AA) and other more mobile friendly sites flourished. As we continue to make our way through 2016, it’s key to ensure you have a responsive, mobile friendly site.
Search Engine Optimisation (known as SEO) also took some blows last year, no longer can you just fill your site with hidden or obscure keywords, search engines are becoming more intelligent and are looking for authoritative, “fresh” content, relevant links and interaction from others. Be very wary of creative studios offering SEO services with a heavy dependence on keywords alone.
Social Media advertising also gained substantial momentum in the last 12 months seeing a 28.9% rise in advertising spend on the platforms throughout Western Europe. 2016 will see the platforms getting smarter, with more accurate and detailed targeting, seeing adverts that would be better suited to your other half will be a thing of the past!
2.The rise of the hamburger icon
This might sound like an odd one, but as 2015 saw the rise in responsive websites, it also meant those three little bars to drop down a menu (aka the hamburger icon) appeared more and more too. As much as this can be a good thing when it comes to mobile navigation, it’s being used more and more on fully fledged desktop designs too. I’m predicting that this trend will continue to grow, although I’m not a fan of the practice. For years, designers were focused on designing with as few clicks as possible, what’s changed? On a full width, desktop layout, it’s not like designers are filling space saved with the icon. I agree, it can make a design look less cluttered, but designing for your customer’s ease has to come first, right?
3. Move over cute cat, it’s front and centre for online video
With the mainstream adoption of the GroPro, Quadcopters and pretty much every smartphone now fitted with cameras, online video is moving further into the forefront and creation can be undertaken by just about everyone.
Online video is no longer just about watching or recording a cat doing something cute. It’s now used to give 360 degree views of products (as close to trying before you buy as you can get for an online store); show off luxury properties from the air; explain how to use a product; and can even feature as a background on a website to subtly show your customers a previous event, product or showreel.
As much as we will see a huge rise in the use of online video in the coming year, it’s important to remember that content and quality is king. If your videos aren’t of a high enough quality, you won’t be winning any favours. If you are looking for something that sets you apart from your competition, it still might be a wise idea to contact a professional.
4. The rise of beautiful typography – and not just in print or images
No longer are we subject to websites sticking with the simple “Arial” and dare I say “Comic Sans”, with the ever growing repositories of online fonts there is no reason to forgo your beautiful brush script or restrict it’s use to an image.
Not only does using the right online font add that high quality and individual look to your website, but when applied to text rather than a graphic it can help your search engine ranking too! When used with an authoritative article and combined with an image overlay, you can portrait information in an easy to digest manner for both your customer and search engines.
I’m sure 2016 will see a continued use of web fonts on both textual information and easy to understand infographics. Personally, I’m a big fan of a beautiful and purposeful font and look forward to a rise in use across even the most basic site.
I’m hoping that my first blog post for Oxygen and for 2016 has been of interest to you. Rest assured, I will be trying to persuade the team to allow me to write blog posts more often – I’ve found researching this one quite fun, even if it was just the googling funny cat video part! We will be reviewing my predictions a little later on in the year and if these ones are proved right, I may just add a few more. If you’d like to know more about the points I’ve mentioned, or how Oxygen can breathe a bit of fresh air into your website, social media or online advertising; I can be contacted on the details below.
Mike Leonard is the latest member to join the team as Web Manager here at Oxygen Graphics. Mike has come from the education sector where he specialised in IT and worked in various management roles during the past 14 years. Mike brings to us a wealth of knowledge in terms of coding, databases and specialist API integration along with a passion for making the most out of social media and online advertising. He can be contacted at the office on 01788 561991 and by email firstname.lastname@example.org