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Smart Devices Are Driving Online Design Changes

We are entering a new era of web design and user interface that is being driven by the function of smart devices. The desktop computer is no longer the primary tool for web surfers. Flexible, simple, user-friendly interfaces are needed for phones, tablets and more.

User Experience Will Dominate

Desktop design needs to yield to mobile only interfaces. Google is already giving preference to mobile-optimized sites, even if the majority of traffic is not yet from mobile devices.  Simplicity is the key to keep things easy to load on mobile.

Speed Will Get Even Harder to Ignore

Page loading speed is already a factor in search rank and who will wait around to actually access your content. Yet, speed is hard to “fix” and is a factor many site developers choose to ignore.

Speed issues aren’t going to go away, however. Designers will have to keep the page load time as fast as possible in order to provide time for device communication and data sharing.

More Devices to Come

User interfaces will need to easily communicate with other smart devices. We already see commercials about controlling home systems and car locks with cell phones. These types of use cases will only increase.

Security Matters

Security is becoming a primary consideration as mobile devices get hacked. Known vulnerabilities need to be avoided and changes made as new issues surface.  No one will use a site that is not perceived to be safe.

A Health Checkup for Your Website

Guest Post by Natalie Rose, NOVA Web Group

Your website is the most important asset of your brand online. Is it healthy? When was the last time your web presence got a good look-over?

Many behind-the-scenes factors could put your website at risk of not performing well. In just the last few months, WordPress has had a major version upgrade. This means many themes and plugins need to be updated too. And, most web software needs to run on PHP 7.2 at a minimum.

There are also content issues. It may seem like nothing ever changes, but I commonly find issues with sites that are 6 months or older:

  • Incorrect business contact details
  • Team members need to be added or removed
  • Products and services need to be updated
  • Broken links

Add to these issues the need to keep up with the latest strategies for mobile devices and search engine optimization. There is so much to pay attention to!

We can help!

Kurtz Digital Strategy and NOVA Web Group help many clients keep their websites healthy. Contact us today to learn more.

Remember Why You Have a Website

Guest Post by Carrie Hane, founder and principal strategist of Tanzen

Why do you have a website? This might seem like an odd question in 2018. But it’s worth asking.

Of course, the web is the first place most people go for information today. But with billions of websites on the web, what makes yours special? Why do you spend thousands—or even tens or hundreds of thousands—of dollars on maintaining an online presence, with a website as the hub?

The bottom line is that you have a website to satisfy a need your audience has in a way that supports your business goals.

It really is a digital stand-in for the business itself. In real life, if you don’t have people who are interested in what you are offering, you don’t have a business. When you talk to the people who need what you offer, you tell them how you can help them. Same for the website. If you make a website that is all about you and what you do instead of how you can help the type of people your business serves, it’s not going to serve its purpose.

Your website is not for you, it’s for the people you serve. That means starting with what they need help with, not with what you want from them.

For example, I recently did some user interviews for a fundraising organization. When asked what they thought about the organization’s website, several said that they were really put off by the big announcement for the current fundraising campaign that appears at the top of the home page. Before even telling people what the cause was or why it needed donations, they were announcing that they wanted money.

Yet that is not how the organization’s fundraisers start conversations with potential donors. They start with making a connection between the person and the institution for which they are raising money. They share stories about all the great things the institution does. They invite the potential donor to meet the people who are doing these great things. Only after the potential donor is inspired and connected are they asked for money.

As we go about redesigning the website, we will focus on translating those personal connections to the digital realm. We’ll focus not on what the organization wants from the web visitor but on what their cause does before sharing ways the visitor can support the cause.

Here’s an example of an member organization that has turned their website around to focus on its members:

hfma-home

Lead with confidence.

Solve complex issues.

Grow your career.

These are things that HFMA’s members want to do – and being a part of HFMA will help them succeed.

Looking at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine shows an older version that was very much about what HFMA had to say about itself:

hfma-old

Take a look at your website. Is it all about you or is it about the person on the other side of the screen?

If your website is all about you instead of your audience, it’s time to take a big step back and do some thinking—and perhaps some research—about what your audience needs. Then match those to what content and services you can provide to meet their needs. Start with their needs, not your content. Then turn your website into a conversation about how you can help.

About the author

Carrie Hane is the founder and principal strategist of Tanzen, which provides content strategy consulting and training designed to change how organizations approach content. For nearly 20 years, she’s alternated between in-house web content lead and consulting, putting together cross-functional teams and creating processes that stick while untangling information to make it useful, usable, and ready for the next frontier. She is the co-author of Designing Connected Content: Plan and Model Digital Products for Today and Tomorrow (New Riders, 2018). When not taming content, Carrie tries to tame her two boys. Content is easier. You can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to her newsletter to help bring sense of your content.