When most of us contemplate a new website design, it’s pretty common to look at existing sites that we like or look at what our competition is doing to get some ideas. While this is perfectly reasonable, there is a tendency to forget that we are dealing with technology that is evolving very quickly.
If you were going to buy a new smartphone, would you look at your friend’s Iphone 4 and say “that’s the one for me”? Of course not, because we know that the smartphone makers come out with a new version every week or so (just kidding, a little) so we would look to see what the latest offerings are and even consider holding off if some shiny and new is coming out soon. After all, we don’t want to plunk down a chunk of change only to have an old obsolete product before we’ve taken the wrapper off.
The same sort of thinking should be applied when considering a new website design. However, looking into the future of website technology and trends is a little trickier because in fact, a good web design is a blend of art and technology, both of which change quickly and often. Here are some suggestions to help future-proof your website:
1) Checkout Leading Edge Designs
There are several websites whose sole purpose is to display and promote some of latest and coolest design styles. Our favorite is http://www.awwwards.com/ where developers can submit their designs for recognition and display. You won’t find many old style designs here, pretty avant-garde stuff, but that’s what you’re looking for. Some designs may not make sense for your business of from an SEO point of view, but it’s a great place to get some fresh ideas. For more ideas, just Google something like “awesome web designs”.
2) Consult Social Media
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, hopefully you are now engaged or in the process of getting on social media. If so, you will find no shortage of folks with an opinion on what the web future holds. Google+ has plenty of great Communities having to do with web design and development. If you find that you aren’t getting any useful advice from social media, you may need to get more engaged. After all, this is one of the benefits of social media and one of the trends of the future.
3) Consult The Blogosphere
If you Google “upcoming web design trends”, you will find no shortage of blog posts giving all kinds of opinions on the subject. Go ahead and read as much as you can. Some trends may be common among most and you can count on these as reliable trends. For example “Responsive Web Design” was all the talk for a couple of years before now. Today, it’s considered standard – anything less is old school. Here’s one of our favorite sites for keeping up with web trends: http://thenextweb.com/
4) Consult Your Developer
Finally, if you’ve read all you can or don’t have the time, talk to your web developer to get their input. A good web developer/designer should be on top of all the latest trends in both design and technology. Ask what the latest trends are in design, technology, user interface (UX) design and internet marketing including SEO and social media.
When considering a new web design, remember that the whole process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months and that design trends and technology evolve at a similar pace so it’s important to make sure you and your designer are looking as far into the future as possible to avoid early obsolescence. Don’t get to hung up on what’s out there now, it might old school by the time your new site is finished.