There are a lot of different suggestions on how to design a website – just google ‘design trends for 2014’ and you’ll see a plethora of articles that range from basic guides and tips to design jargon that no one but a web designer understands. The thing is that most of these lists focus on different things – using images, font, landing pages, navigation bars – it’s endless. So what do you do? How do you sift through all the suggestions and get down to making your site great without spending the next 2 years on it? Oh, and if you are an expert web designer just move along – there’s nothing for you to see here.
Don’t pretend to be an expert
The whole ‘fake it til you make it’ doesn’t apply here. Web design is hard and if you don’t know what you’re doing it will show. Instead of starting from scratch use out of the box templates and customize them to fit your product. Almost every e-commerce platform offers templates for you to use (some of them free, some of them at a price) and more often than not they’re made by professional designers. If, for some reason, there are no template options or you just really don’t like them try using companies like 99Designs. You put in all your requirements for your website, pay a flat fee and designers submit options to you.
Mobile is your friend (aka Responsive Design)
You’ve finalized a design and love your new website. The problem is that your friend went to check it out and it did not look nearly as great on their iPhone. According to a study done by Google – 90% of smartphone owners use their devices for pre-shopping activities and 19% actually make purchases directly from their phone*. So you’re going to have to take that into account when creating your site. The best way to figure in all different devices is by using a ‘Responsive Design’ which is web design that allows your website to look great on all different devices.
Love with Food does a great job using responsive design. You can expand and collapse their webpage and it still looks great. (try it out)
Avoid Boring Stock Photos
They’re so tempting to use – they’re bright, happy and right there! But they’re just not cutting it anymore. There are only so many times you can see the group of employees gathered really closely around a computer or an exciting group of people on a hill jumping and laughing.
Do not misunderstand me though – if the rise of Pinterest has taught us anything it is that good pictures are important. So what does this look like for you? Take good pictures of your product. Can’t take good pictures? Hire your photographer friend to take them for you. Good pictures of your product are a huge asset. Barkbox actually lets their customers submit pictures and they pick their favorites to feature on their homepage. Notice something about these pictures though? They’re all pretty good. Mantry is doing a great job using images of their product as well (also instagram http://instagram.com/mantry).
Don’t Overcomplicate Your Shopping Cart
You know those super designed, over complicated, hard to use shopping carts? Don’t do that. There’s really no reason your shopping cart needs to look ‘fancy’ at all – it needs to be easy to use and dummy proof. Great Example? BarkBox. Look at how simple that is. Seriously – don’t over think it.
What are some trends you see happening this year?