Website design

5 Trends for 2020 Website Design

Web design is moving away from pages and toward spaces. What I mean by that is, the web is getting more immersive, blurring the lines between reality and the virtual world. It is important to keep this in mind for user experience (UX). When everyone is using their fingers to literally reach out and touch your website, here’s what you need to do:

Prepare for 5G Speed

Designing for speed is more important than ever in 2020.We see “5G” everywhere – commercials, social media, neighborhood flyers – it’s coming and, in some places, it’s here. Most people already expect near-instant load times. Even more important, search engines factor load times into their search result rankings. In other words, you can – and should - invest time and money into SEO copy and tagging. But, large video and photo files will drag down your search result rankings as well as your UX – even over a big 5G network. Especially as 5G technology becomes the standard, speed will become more important to UX. Which means that web designers and developers will need to accommodate for smaller files and flexibility to strike a balance between look and functionality.

Simplify everything. And I mean everything.

Since speed is important, it’ll be essential to minimize the number of elements on each page. This applies to photos, graphics, plugins and even text. It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that more is better, however as you refresh or rebuild your new website you must strike a balance between hitting the appropriate amount of keywords and making it clear to the user the journey they should take through your website. Don’t overwhelm your users. Give them a proper path to follow and anticipate how they will interact with your website. Clutter will just distract from your website’s strategic goals (i.e. more sign-ups, phone number to call, sharing, requesting a visit, applying, etc.). If you want to add extra visuals or text, be aware that doing so could slow down the site or negatively affect the user experience.

Know that Skeuomorphism Isn’t Dead

Skeuomorphism – design that represents a real word counterpart (think the “trash can” icon) -- is very much alive and revived. Although flat design rose to prominence in the mid 2000s, we can no longer expect to engage users with flat icons and static images. While web designers can get carried away with adding more realism to their sites (don’t slow that load time down!), it’s important to immerse the user in their interaction with your site. Egg them on to roll their cursor over elements, tap and slide. In other words, plan your designs around modern skeuomorphs that are increasingly lifelike, so when people visit your site, it will feel more like an extension of their real word.

Think Touchscreens Over Rollovers

As web design has evolved, designers have been told to design mobile layouts after designing the desktop version of the website. This is no longer a valid process. Depending on the nature of your site, it may be best to design the mobile and tablet experience first, if not alongside the desktop experience. With all the different screen sizes in mind, gesture-based navigation is already making the internet a hands-on space (i.e. swiping left and right, dog and cat ear filters, etc.). Stay close to trends by taking into consideration touchscreens first.

Break the Grid

When creating a website, designers base their designs on a grid system. Grid variations can alter in number value and structure, but the concept of the grid has remained, in part because the grid makes placement of page components easier for developers. However, designers want more freedom than even a 12-column grid allows. The idea of breaking the grid was on the 2019 trends list and is a desire for most website designers. In 2020, we will start to see this more flexible coding structure manifested in ways that elevate the customized user experience.

Go create!

As you design or work with teams for website design and development, think about how you can make your digital space mesh seamlessly with your customer’s real world. Your customers, partners, investors, and employees move fast. It’s critical to accommodate their need for speed – but also design a space that makes people slow down and take notice.


Build User Trust with UX Design

How to build user trust with UX design? As we interact with apps and websites every day, we slide through Instagram stories. We move money from checking to savings. We check email. We place our trust in apps that manage our time, our money, and our social lives. They are woven deeply into the fabric of our lives.

Imagine you are using an app that serves a critical function for you and that also holds valuable data – like your banking app. You tap a green button to navigate to your checking account balance. You realize that’s not where you wanted to go and hit the back button. But when the app loads the prior screen, the “checking account balance” button is now blue. Later, on a different page, that same button appears red.

The design for the exact same navigational button is inconsistent across the app. You may not realize it, but at this moment a question is forming in the back of your mind: if they can’t design a button consistently, what other holes does this app have? Will transfers work properly? Is my balance showing up correctly? Is this app secure? A simple design inconsistency is suffocating the user’s trust in the app and, by proxy, the company.

David Maister writes in his book The Trusted Adviser trust is built on four key pillars: credibility, reliability, intimacy, and low self-orientation. James Davis, a professor of Strategic Management at Utah State University spoke about trust in his TedX talk, asserting that trusts manifests from someone’s perceived ability, benevolence, and integrity. UX design is partly about keying to these principles and building trust with the user:

1. Benevolence
Hareem Mannon from the Huffington Post wrote “UX is, by design unselfish… It’s about putting other first, it’s about ego-taming, it’s about benevolence.” Improving and creating a positive user experience where the user comes first emphasizes benevolence. For example, using photography and imagery that can be loaded quickly places the user at the forefront of the design. An overdesigned site with bloated load times isn’t considering user functionality or objectives.

2. Credibility
Creating credibility is about fulfilling expectations by giving the user the proper representation of what they can expect to do. It is also about longevity. The user needs to believe that the service will last for a reasonable amount of time. Inconsistent design, spelling errors, and other apparent hiccups will instantly diminish a service’s credibility.

Keeping benevolence and credibility in mind, there are a few simple guidelines for building user trust through UX design that will generate a surge in user trust from the first interaction.

1. Clear navigation
Everyone by now, fingers crossed, knows that you can click on the logo in the navigation and it will take you back home. The user should be able to use common navigation cues and find the information they are looking for quickly. Every second of frustration increases the chances of a user leaving the site.

2. No overwhelming content
Let the user see and explore the digital application first. Let them take small steps of excitement when learning more about your website. You want the user to feel comfortable while you navigate them to take an action you want.

3. Personality
This goes beyond just the copy. Personality is also letting the user know there are people behind the website. People’s thought and time went into every element of the website. Your company thought through the visuals, the identity, animation, and copy. Let the user get that sense and know that those individuals are a click away.

4. Appealing design
People are generally more trusting of design that looks like it was carefully constructed. Navigate to any simple html webpage that hasn’t been updated since 1995 and compare that to a modernized website. Which has more credibility?

5. Transparency
Let users know upfront what is possible about your company and features. Let them know who the faces of your company are. Give as much clarity as to what you need from them and what they will receive in return.

6. Attention to detail
No typos, broken links or other mistakes that immediately diminish credibility.

7. Website design guide
Create a guide for your website so all buttons, headlines, photography, sizing, etc are consistent.

8. Be easy to contact
Don’t’ be unreachable! This can even mean having a chat bot or a form for reporting problems. Don’t make it difficult for users to reach you – this will hurt your credibility. For many businesses, having a customer support line in the top right-hand corner of every page will add instant trust.

9. Natural transitions
When you scroll with your mouse you expect to move up. When you click a button, you expect it to do what it says. Don’t make transitions overly complicated. Users expect things to work well and smoothly. If you are breaking a transition norm, make sure it will still create a clear path for the user, so they don’t feel out of place.

Gaining trust is easy as long as you keep these rules in mind. Always think about the user and cherish their time the same way you value your own.


Relish-Links-We-Savor-Millennials

Links We Savor: Marketing to Millennials

 

AdWeek | How Atlanta is using Video Streaming to Lure Millennials to Jobs

With so many job opportunities across major cities, cities are in a battle to attract the best young talent that will keep their economies booming. Check out how a video streaming platform is helping Atlanta convince millennials to live and work here.

Entrepreneur | Hitting the Marketing Email Sweet Spot with Millennials

Email marketing remains highly effective for engaging audiences – even social media-savvy millennials. This infographic gives you a great, at-a-glance snapshot of how to get real results from your email marketing.

Forbes | How Millennial Marketing is Changing the Future of B2B

Attention spans are shrinking, social sharing is on the rise and influencers are dominating the digital landscape. But attention to three key areas can help you make the most of your B2B marketing.

Bloomberg | Having Trouble Marketing to Millennials? Invent a New Generation

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” And that’s what MillerCoors is trying to do. While everyone else is seeking out Millennials, this beer brewer invented – and is marketing to - a fresh, sub-generation. See how.

LinkedIn | How to Effectively Market to Millennials in only 4 Steps

With their increasing purchasing power, millennials are changing the old rules of marketing and advertising. Will approaches that have worked in the past still work now? Take a peek at four essential things to know about winning over this highly desirable audience.

 


At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward.
Savor your brand. View our client work. Work with us! Contact here.


links we savor social media

Links We Savor: Spotify Helps Dogs get Adopted, Whopper Neutrality and More!

 

TED | What Makes Something Go Viral?

You’ve seen the online BuzzFeed quizzes, and chances are, you’ve taken one or two. Catch a glimpse of a system they created to better understand how people use content to connect with others. Hint: It’s not about the content.

Entrepreneur | Music to Shelter Dogs’ Ears

Just like people, dogs have musical preferences, too! See how Spotify is working with an animal shelter in Germany to determine what dogs like so they connect them with their human “musical soulmates.”

Marketing Land | Burger King Whopper-Splains Net Neutrality’s Repeal in New Ad

Burger King throws the Whopper into the net neutrality debate to better explain the importance of the repeal in a new ad. No judgement here if you delight in some of these Whopper lovers’ frustration – we did.

Marketing Dive | Facebook’s News Feed Change Could Lead to Fresh Wave of Influencer Marketing

Many brands and businesses are concerned about the changes Facebook made to its News Feed to prioritize personal content. It may be time to change things up a bit and focus on your influencers and the new tools available to leverage their reach.

AdWeek | Six Ways to Create a Live Event that Encourages Social Sharing

Live events are “in.” Make sure that all the hard work you put into creating one pays off by following these six helpful tips. And, put that social network to work for you.

 


At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward. Savor your brand. View our client work. Work with us! Contact here.


Top 7 Instagram Feeds to Follow for Employer Branding

Top Seven Companies to Follow on Instagram for Employer Branding

Let me be perfectly honest. I haven’t always been a user of Instagram (I’m more of a Facebook and LinkedIn kind of gal). However, as I’ve done research and started working more and more with clients who are looking for creative avenues to communicate and express their employer brands, I’m convinced that Instagram is a hidden gem just waiting to be embraced for employer branding.

Instagram’s unique, highly visual and engaging platform is a great way for employers to showcase what it’s like to be a part of the company. Companies can highlight their culture, values, work environment and employees – everything that makes the employer brand unique – all with images that can grab more attention and faster than words alone.

Let’s check out a few examples of companies whose Instagram presence does great things for their employer brands:

StarbucksJobs

The StarbucksJobs Instagram profile says it all: “Connect to something bigger.” It only takes a few posts to hone in on the values that are most important to Starbucks - a sense of neighborhood, creating opportunity for their partners (how they refer to their employees), honoring and supporting military families, celebrating one another and an authentic pride in and ownership of the Starbucks brand.

It’s hard to choose a favorite post, but I’ll go with this one in support of veterans and military spouses, where employees aren’t only supported, they are recognized in a very open way on their aprons:

MailChimp

Our Atlanta neighbor, MailChimp, uses Instagram to promote both the company and its employer brand in one profile, offering a great example of how both brands can complement one another. Here you’ll find creative visuals, lots of (mail)chimps, company events and posts about employees – what they do at MailChimp and their favorite part of the job. It’s a nice commingling of the products that help businesses build their brand to sell more and all the employees helping behind the scenes to make them successful (and loving it).

MailChimp is just plain fun to follow even if just for ideas and inspiration. And if you’re looking for a fun place to work where you can be your own creative self, this post might catch your eye:

Ernst & Young US Careers

Here’s another Instagram profile containing a powerful employer brand message: “We have an ambition to build a #betterworkingworld. And the question is: Will it begin with you?” You’ll find this message rings loud and clear throughout E&Y’s Instagram feed.

Ernst & Young uses a mixture of eye-catching, feeling-invoking photos, graphics, text and quotes. They mix it up with beautifully designed creative as well as everyday photos, likely taken with someone’s phone.

College recruiting is a key talent acquisition initiative at E&Y and this post captures the true essence of speaking to millennials right out of college or early in their careers:

TEK Systems Careers

Work hard, play hard - and celebrate success along the way. That’s what the TEK Systems Instagram says to me, although not explicitly in their profile. TEK Systems’ posts are filled with every day photos of their employees, many of whom are celebrating significant sales goals and achievements. All of whom look like they are having a blast.

I like how TEK Systems uses both photos and video to create authentic posts about real employees doing real things. I particularly like this Boomerang video post of Tyler, who hit his first big recruiter milestone:

Marriott Careers

Their profile reads: “With more than 6,100 properties and 30 brands worldwide, the opportunities in a Marriott career are endless. Experience our story.” This is what Marriott is all about, and their posts tell this story beautifully with images from properties around the world and the people who will make your stay unforgettable.

This post brought a smile to my face. It features, Duffy, a bartender from Aruba who won a top tourism award. If I ever make it to Aruba, I’m seeking out Duffy for that smile and for his passion: “putting people first”:

LinkedIn Life

This LinkedIn Instagram highlights the company’s unique culture and employees, as well as the fact: “We work hard, get sh*t done and have fun.” Indeed, their posts highlight that message, especially the having fun part. You can see LinkedIn teams working together around the world and envision opportunities as an employee abroad.

My favorite post features their Alumni Reunion, a get-together of past employees. It’s a perfect example of how to leverage the power of alumni/former employees, something we strongly encourage here at Relish. People leave a company for many reasons, but if they do so on good terms and feel good about the experiences they’ve had, they can be amazing ambassadors of your employee brand:

HootSuite Life

One of the most widely used platforms for managing social media would have to have its pulse on Instagram for employer branding. From their work environment (dogs in the office!), to employee functions, to extracurricular activities, Hootsuite’s employer brand screams collaboration, diversity with inclusion, work-life balance and a more casual work style.

My favorite recent post? This one, of course (cue the awwwww):

Bottom line: If you’re looking for another way to promote your employer brand, pay attention to your Instagram. And whether you’re an experienced IG user or you’ve only dipped your toe in, take a cue from some of the top employer brands out there to enhance your Instagram presence and get the most engagement to achieve your goals.

Please visit our Employer Branding page if you would like more information on the many ways Relish helps companies develop their employer brand.


At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward.
Savor your brand. View our client work. Work with us! Contact here.


website redesign

The Science and Psychology of Website Redesign

When companies and brands look to update their digital strategy – be it by taking on a new platform, or transforming any of their current ones – there are many technical facets to consider. After all, if your website’s technical foundation isn’t solid, your users are likely to have trouble accessing it.

Before beginning a digital refresh project, leaders should ask and answer these important technical questions:

  • What programming language or combination of languages should you use to create your website?
  • Do you need to integrate a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system into your site?
  • Do you have an authentication platform to offer users a personalized experience when they login with their username and password?  ‘
  • How about validating your technical build to ensure that you won’t get dinged when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
  • And what about social media integration?

In addition to keeping clean code, all of these technical questions are integral to the success of your overall digital strategy.

For the new build is to be successful, answers to these technical questions form half of the equation. To truly deliver results, there are additional important and less technical dos and don’ts to follow:

Don’t code yourself into a box. Your website should be something that grows with you and shouldn’t need to be recreated every six months to a year. When planning, ensure that your site infrastructure has the opportunity to scale with your business so you don’t find yourself needing another overhaul prematurely.

Do look at your competition. Pinpoint what your site is doing (and not doing) well, and then examine your competitor sites to see how you compare. Your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) placement is a great place to start hunting for how your company shows up compared to the competition when common search terms are applied.

Do explore what your target audience does on the web. There is a considerable amount of research available on a variety of audience segments and their online behaviors. In fact, through audience segmenting, you can specifically target people by age group, sex, interest, industry, geography and sites visited. As you look for leads, or to be viewed by more potential customers, you can execute digital advertising solutions to reach them in all the places they’re likely to be online.

Do learn how your audience likes to take its content. People like to get different kinds of content in different ways, at different times, on different platforms and devices. Some want video on their iPhones. Others prefer infographics on their tablets. Some like a big-screen view of lots of information during the day, when they’re likely to be at their desks, but more bite-sized content when they’re away from the office.

The digital world is probably one of the few areas that takes equal parts technical perfection and creative prowess to be 100% successful. The clean coding that’s used behind the scenes must be paired with a major element of human psychology. Why would someone come to your website? What information are they looking to find? What visual design will give a visitor the best representation of your company and brand? And then write your content and organize it in a way that will engage them further, while appeasing the SEO gods.

In truth, relationship between technology and creativity must be symbiotic when it comes to a successful digital strategy and execution. Content may be king, but if the kingdom is built on a crumbling foundation, neither will be long-lasting.


hand lettering

The Rise of the "Hand-Made" Logo

If 2014 was the year of typography then 2015 was the year of hand lettering.

This once necessary skill took a back seat, becoming all but obsolete, with the dawn of the digital age. But now, with big brands like Microsoft, Google and Apple leading the trend of flat and minimal, more and more companies are searching for ways to stand out. As a result, the disciplines of calligraphy and hand lettering are no longer relegated to wedding suites and fancy invitations. In fact, they’ve been cropping up everywhere — magazine covers, advertising, signage, packaging and more.

hand lettering

Program, American Heart Association New York Heart Ball; calligraphy by Iskra Johnson

Chipotle hand lettering

Chipotle packaging; designed by Sequence

Troegs Brewing Company packaging redesign

Troegs Brewing Company packaging redesign; hand lettering and artwork by Lindsey Tweed

hand lettering

Left: San Francisco Chronicle Magazine Cover; hand lettinerg by Leigh Wells. Right: Gold’n Plump “Gold’n good.” advertising campaign; hand lettering by Alison Carmichael

Perhaps the true indicator of the value of hand lettering to the design world is its increased use in logos and branding. The fact that companies, big and small, are willing to commit to this aesthetic is a signal that the discipline has been revived and restored to elevated ranks, suitable for more than just one-off print ads exploring more “creative” and “free-spirited” messaging.

hand lettering logos

Atlanta area businesses with hand drawn logos.

The beauty of the hand-drawn movement is that the creator is not hidden behind the perfection of precise symmetry and linear edges. The subtle irregularities of the hand-drawn approach captivate consumers in a different way, reminding them that there is a human hand behind what they are viewing.

This is not to say that “cleaner” design approaches lack personality or character; all good logos carry a specific energy and intention behind them. The hand-drawn style is most often utilized to make brands more approachable, or to communicate attributes like raw, organic and earthy, homegrown, hand crafted, or even retro. It is certainly not suitable for every project or every brand.

The ability to read and understand the intention behind a typeface is always relevant, especially where it concerns the hand-lettered variety. A curve here or sweep there can give a logo an entirely different energy — be it calm, measured, whimsical or flamboyant. Considerations for balance and the use of negative space are also still exceedingly important in the implementation of a hand-drawn logo. Hallmarks of good design are just that, regardless of the style.

The hand-lettered approach can be perceived by some as a more free form, illustrative approach to design — one suited only for small business and boutique services. But even in a world of corporate logos with hard and polished edges, some of the most valuable consumer brands draw from a made-by-hand aesthetic.

hand-drawn corporate logos

Lord & Taylor logo redesigned in 2015; Madewell launched by J. Crew in 2006; H&M brand redesign announced in 2015, set to launch in 2017; Kleenex logo (originally designed by Saul Bass) redesigned in 2008 by Sterling Brands; Pizza Hut logo redesigned in 2014.

What all of these major logos have in common — what gives them staying power — is execution. When well thought-out and professionally executed, a hand-drawn logo can have real, meaningful impact for a brand.

However, if one neglects to make deliberate design decisions — fundamental decisions about form, space and color — a hand-drawn logo could easily fall onto the pile of trendy mistakes and other “experiments” that ought not to have seen the light of day.

The ability to create and employ hand lettering can be a valuable asset to a designer’s tool kit. But in order for those designs to last beyond 2016, they must be imbued with purpose.


CMYK vs RGB

Intro: Working with Color

A redneck walks in to the Green Turtle and orders a Blue Hawaii. The bartender realizes he’s out of Blue Curacao, so he substitutes the lesser-known Green Curacao. He serves it up thinking his patron won’t notice. The redneck takes it and says, “Hey, this Hawaii looks green, not blue!” The bartender replies, “No worries, dude, this joke’s in RGB; in CMYK, the color’s just fine!”

The point is that color is tremendously important to people. Color is all around us. Shades, hues and blends of color affect our moods. Light blue and pale gold are the Bahamas, deep greens and browns are summer camp, black and orange are Halloween. What attributes or images are conjured up by your brand colors? Hopefully, it’s something relevant to your brand.

Your brand’s colors begin in the real world. When used thoughtfully, colors can evoke feelings chosen by a designer. Reds can make us hungry (think Italian restaurant). Greens can have a soothing effect, like an open glade or a cool forest. Yellows can be invigorating, or even alarming. And different tones of each color can affect our moods in different ways.

In the best of all possible worlds, the feelings evoked by colors would be transmitted directly from a brand to the public. But they can’t. They must be translated. And there are a few different color languages to translate them into, and different printing methods that can help keep them consistent.

That bartender would have had a tougher job if the PMS 180-neck had ordered a PMS 311 Hawaii.

Read part 2 of blog here!