In 2017, we expect user experience (UX) to become the most important aspect of digital marketing and advertising. Customer. Experience. Matters.
Marketing strategists will strive to create assets that are immersive and multisensory. They will use design thinking to build rich interactive stories your customers want to be part of. In addition, the rise of VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) will provide fantastic new opportunities.
2017 will be a very exciting year for digital, shall we dive in?
This article is separated in two parts: design guidance and technology innovation. Jump ahead into PART TWO “The Future” (VR, video and new technologies).
BACK TO BASICS: HELLO SIMPLICITY!
2017 will bring a heavy emphasis on quality content. Consumers worldwide visit websites looking for information. Designers’ ultimate role is to present this content in an intuitive, efficient and entertaining way. Focusing on your business message means creating a “flatter” minimalist design, highlighted by inspiring statements and bold letter types.
More than ever before, your web design, navigation and images must serve a purpose and prioritize clarity. It’s about going back to basics and focusing on what’s important. User experience (UX) is becoming one of the most influential aspects of marketing. In an overcrowded online space, short yet powerful statements are the key solution to information overload.
You need to engineer simplicity. Goodbye distractions, heavy navigation, complex sidebars, banner ads and popups! Clutter is no longer welcomed. 2017 will spring-clean any wasted real-estate space that shifts attention away from your main asset and the heart of your website — aka your content. Say hello to streamlined information and mobile access. We’re focusing on value and making your message easy to navigate, especially on small screens.
BRIGHT COLORS, BOLD FONTS
In 2017, web designs will dedicate screen space for a single radical statement about your product or service, creating a clear and to-the-point message. Expect to see an increase of over-sized headings, full screen type-faces, unique hand-rendered typography and lots of dynamic text. Typography is a powerful visual medium, able to create personality, evoke emotions and set your tone.
As web information becomes minimalist, designers will seek to infuse more personality into their work with bright, bold colors and hand drawn elements. The arrangement of design components should allow the reader to easily focus on the message, without slowing down the speed of their reading.
Gradients seem to be also coming back, blending and blurring exuberant shades together. A great example is the Instagram icon redesign.
Your audience online is no longer passive. To stimulate a call to action you need to engage, entertain and make your clients feel truly part of your community. Stock pictures or videos just won’t cut it anymore. People crave authenticity instead. They want to know who your brand truly is through lively visuals and interactive information.
You customers are most loyal to narratives that speak to their own lives. In order for your business to really strike a connection with its audience, you need to consider images that portray real people and bring up creative perspectives: selfies, 360 photos, drone videos. Illustrations are another fantastic way to create authentic visuals tailored to your brands’ personality and tone of voice.
It’s not easy to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. This is why we expect marketers to focus on “user-generated content”, creative communities and opinion influencers. Digital agencies will use design thinking to craft the inspirational, interactive and authentic business stories your customers want to hear.
Next year we expect digital agencies to focus on the golden intersection between user needs and business needs, thus creating digital win-wins.
Personalized marketing information has been a growing topic for quite some time, but no one seems to have cracked the secret yet. The mission is to deliver content based on predetermined options about your visitors, their location, their interests, social profile, the action steps they take or avoid or the device they are using to browse your site.
As content marketing becomes the key to client engagement, businesses will want to direct traffic to dedicated landing pages that target specific visitors and their needs. What better way to increase a conversation then having the right audience land on a page strictly made for them? Many landing pages designed to advertise specific products to a specific target market are likely to mushroom in 2017.
A mobile-first approach is the process of designing for a mobile screen first, then focusing on bigger resolutions. This is not a new concept, however as mobile phones are becoming the most used device for browsing online, more companies are realizing the importance of having a site that will read effectively on a smaller screen. With Google’s algorithm and stats pushing mobile dominance, having a good responsive design should be high on your priority list.
Up until now most agencies preferred designing the desktop visuals first, then work their way down. We believe that there is a rising trend to flip the workflow the other way round and start experimenting with the smaller resolution first. Most smartphones come with very small screens, which limits the amount of content a user can see at once. This forces brands and UX designers to keep the message to its core.
A well thought out mobile design will become a key to successful marketing campaigns in 2017. This is a trend that will only keep growing.
SPOTLIGHT ON ANIMATIONS
Technology has matured enough to handle complex animations and high-resolution video content even on underpowered mobile devices. Animations are expected to become more prominent and more refined in 2017.
The word “animation” comes from the Latin word “anima” which means “soul”. Animations are about giving a soul to your website. They are used more and more to improve your website’s usability and attract attention to the important calls to action on the page.
Designers need to integrate movement to storytelling in order to get the message across. They also need to manipulate timing to give users the right emotional meaning and perception. The experience should be seamless and logical, intertwined with the visitors’ movement through the site.
Meaningful animations help visualize your brand’s story and will soon become part of the personality, voice and tone documentation of every company. The right animations need to enhance your unique online experience while gently nudging your audience to follow a deliberate interactive path like pressing a button or opening a new page.
TRADITIONAL MARKETING IS DEAD
Your business can no longer rely solely on external platforms to advertise (TV, radio, print). To be compelling, you need to create and share your own digital space with likeminded users, followers and fans. The new marketing mindset is centered on building a community, reaching influencers and offering experiences that are entertaining and useful.
For the first time we expect to see a decline in Facebook’s popularity. Fake news proliferation and garbage content are slowing down user presence. To move away from diluted content, businesses must swap the quantity of daily posts for quality information.
Brands must focus on growing their own tribes. From niche communities, to Facebook groups- small is becoming big again. This new tribal behavior is affecting how we source information, make purchasing decisions, and how we connect with others. Brands need to nurture these niche ecosystems both on the mainstream and emerging platforms.
Continue reading about new technology innovation and VR marketing in PART TWO.