If you’re like us, you ate far too much over the holidays. Which means at some point during the New Year celebrations (just like us), you made your usual resolution to get fit and healthy and ‘beach body ready’.

Let’s not kid ourselves. These good intentions are wasted on humans. We all know the new exercise and diet regime won’t last past January (if it hasn’t failed already).

Instead, we recommend focusing all your newfound positive, healthy energy on your old, tired website, giving it the makeover it needs to turn heads in an ever-competitive market. Here’s a few ideas for making that happen…

Favour a big, bright and minimalistic design

If you’re just starting out and you’ve been checking out those template-driven websites, you’ll have noticed a trend. Big fonts, beautiful bright backgrounds, and… not a whole lot else.

This trend of simplicity will continue this year. Which is great, because it’s eye-catching and ideal for getting your message across as quickly and clearly as possible. It’s also nice for keeping the UX clean and easy-to-follow too.

Our tip? Use fresh photography as part of this bold style (i.e. not stock shots) and you’ll get a greater edge over competitors. Just ensure that you’re painting the world as it is. We’re a diverse bunch. Don’t be afraid to show it.

Be sticky

You might already be seeing sticky navigation/buttons more on desktop sites, but where this approach will continue to skyrocket is on mobile.

We’re all buying more on our smartphones and tablets. Yet with screen space limited, it’s often the case that users need to scroll up or down to find those details or buttons they need to compare and contrast, and encourage them to continue the user journey.

Using sticky navs will be essential to keeping all the relevant information on the screen as users scroll, while making sure they always know what (and where) to press to make the purchase.

Get to grips with interactive content

Want to know what your users want from you? Dispense with all that high-tech analytical nonsense*, just ask them!

Interactive content, such as quizzes, games and polls can help forge a connection between your customers and your brand, while giving you better information about what they’re looking for—AND delivering them to it in a faster, smoother user journey.

Asking users questions (or posing challenges for them to solve) allows them to share a little about their personality with you. This gives them more control in driving the narrative of their experience with your business. Which gives them a more memorable, enjoyable and (hopefully) productive time on your website.

Which is what this is all about.

*DO NOT DO THIS. Analytics is still great and useful.

Go pro with video

Yeah, we know. The old ‘video is going to be big this year’ bit.

The truth is that video is already widely used across websites and has been for years. From wonderfully spinning, swirling backgrounds of places or people, providing just the right atmosphere for your messaging, to the rise of video blogs (or vlogs, if you’re under 40). It’s also invaluable in the retail and IT sectors, giving customers a better look at what they are on the cusp of purchasing, or providing a helpful explanation of how a product might work (videos are FAR more useful in conveying technical information as opposed to written instructions).

BUT. Not everybody is doing video properly and this is where you can stand out from the crowd. It’s not just about having the camera—everybody has an HD quality one on their phones these days—but rather the set up.

Channel your inner Spielberg or Nolan or Jenkins. Make sure you’ve got the right lighting to show the subject in the best way. Shoot it with just the right background to provide setting without distraction. And for the love of everything, get a decent microphone to ensure listening to the video isn’t a chore, but rather an enjoyable experience with or without headphones.

Want to know more? We found this short video breaks it down nicely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpZvc8vtHvo

Illustrate who you are… with illustrations!

Okay, we *might* be biased here, but this is something we’re seeing a lot more of elsewhere and that can only be a good thing.

Hiring a professional illustrator to give your brand its own unique visual style simply can’t be beat. It’s also easier to play with these illustrations and blend them into any website design (unlike photography), as well as transforming them into animations for better engagement and allowing for brands to get their story across in a uniquely personal way.

Is your website design in need of a workout? Get in touch today and we’ll show you how we can help give it the fresh, new look it needs in 2018