Web design trends of the future…
Should focus on creating world-class user experiences.
The role of web designer has reached its zenith and has become somewhat of a commodity. Indeed, with all these pre-fabricated WordPress themes and Drupal templates and Twitter Bootstrap frameworks, why would anybody pay $10,000 or $20,000 or $30,000 (like they used to) for a web design? It makes no sense or cents when you can buy an off-the-shelf theme, template, or framework with all of the designs, icons, and code built in.
This trend (fortunate or unfortunate depending on whether or not you get paid as a web designer) is what has allowed us (inQbation) to accelerate the web development process, leap-frog the design stage, save clients tens of thousands of dollars and weeks of time in the web development life cycle.
The result is that all websites are starting to look the same. The primary difference is the content, including images. So, the primary thing that will differentiate websites from one another in the future – other than content – is the user experience (UX).
How to treat web visitors like 5 star guests
If you have ever been to a 5 star restaurant or hotel or flown first class, you will know what it is like to be treated like a 5 star guest. People open the door for you, they pull out the seat for you, they lay the napkin in your lap, they scrape the bread crumbs off your table between courses, they walk you to your room, they hang up your jacket in the closet, they put chocolate on your pillow in the afternoon, and refer to you by your name. This is how 5 star establishments treat their guests.
You should do the same for your web visitors.
Example: Error Messages – be courteous
Quick example. Suppose that I am on a website and their is a Sign Up form. I enter my email address and it tells me that my email is already entered in the database. Obviously, I already have an account. So, instead of telling me that my email is already in the system and demanding that I enter a different email address; perhaps the system should offer me a link to sign in rather than sign up or maybe to resend me my password or give me a password memory hint.
Example: Set expectations and reward good behavior
5 star web experiences don’t slap me on the wrist when I enter data by mistake, particularly when they didn’t tell me how they wanted the data to be entered in the first place. Rather, 5 start web experiences set my expectations and tell me how they want me to enter my data before I enter my data. If I enter data correctly, then give me a smiley face or check or “good job” message. If I enter data incorrectly, be nice and tell me how to do it right. But, don’t just expect me to read your mind and scold me when I fail at entering data in the way you expected.
Above image lets me know as I enter data that it is in the correct format and that things are going okay, so when I click the [Submit] form, everything should go okay. The image below is after I have entered data and moved onto the next field, it lets me know as I progress through the form where my data entries are good and complete so I am not surprised or scolded about bad or incomplete data when I click the [Submit] button.