SeoGoodGuys recently got in touch with a few local web designers and developers. Some are friends, some are people I have worked with, and some are people I admire for their work. We had a conversation about the upcoming trends in web design and internet marketing, and I felt it was my duty to share with you some of the knowledge they shared with me.

They are all masters in their own field. They have seen first hand, the changes in client demands and rising trends in web design and development. What they know, would be highly beneficial to you guys – people who are interested in knowing what they can do to improve their online businesses.

These are not only food for thought. These are precious tips from the people who are constantly in touch with latest trends, so it is high valuable information for you to digest.

My question to them was:

“What do you think are the top trends in 2013? What do you think my readers should know, if they want to enjoy success in their online businesses in 2013? “

These were their answers. In no particular order.


Back to basics

When you Google for Web/SEO trends of 20xx, the differences between the years would be credited to advances in software infrastructure and programming, but also not to forget new creative innovations that get adopted on a wide scale which eventually becomes a “so last year kinda thing”. Saturation, which is trend, forces innovations, which in turns become trends again. It’s a never-ending cycle. We should be looking at basics.

Copywriting should be on the list of top concerns, be it crafted by a subject matter expert or an apt writer, words play an equal role in the general aesthetics and experience of any website. Not to forget, words are essentially the key to effective SEO.

To put a long idea short, a viewer’s experience through a website is not only credited to visual aesthetics, but also what he reads and feels from journeying through the content.

benson susejBenson Chong, Founder of Studio SUSEJ
benson@susej.sg
www.susej.sg

 


Responsive design

We’ll see people more broadly understanding mobile devices – computers we can hold in our hands as opposed to having to sit at a desk to use – as the web, not just an “on-the-go”, abridged version of the web.

As touch-enabled devices are becoming more ubiquitous, I think we’ll see a lot of experimentation around touch interactions.

I think this will be the year of the mobile website; no more desktop redirects or bare-bones landing pages. It’s time to think of the mobile website as every bit as “real” as the desktop website.

You don’t get to decide which device people use to visit your website. They do. If you’re sitting around debating whether “people will want to do that on mobile,” you’re too late. People are already trying to do it.

Khairul lead designerKhairul Anwar Hassim, Lead Designer of Khairul and Associates.
khairulanwar@me.com

www.khairulanwar.me

 


Think ‘lite’

Smartphones and tablets are the booming mobile devices of the recent years and these gadgets are what most consumers are going to be dependent upon for their daily surfing needs. Making one’s site responsive to both the large and small form factor is all but the first step into thinking lite.

Mobile gadgets are often used on-the-go and with cellular connection not being as reliable and speedy as a home wired connection, modern websites designed with simplicity (think vector / typography) and easy navigation leads the pack with faster loading times and less time spent by their visitors to seek out what they were here for.

With tons of attention grabbing digital entertainment and services on smartphones and tablets today, every second spent by your visitors on stuff other than valuable information from your site is a second less they have for you.

nicholas limNicholas Lim Wen Kai, Graphic Designer
design@itsnicholaslim.com

www.itsnicholaslim.com

 


Creative and fresh ideas

I think what is more pressing in today’s society, other than having an online presence is how you can combine social media along with your websites to engage users and to draw the crowd.

Very much like what Oreo in the above article did (http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/02/oreo-twitter-super-bowl/), they drew the attention of the crowd by relating their product to current events and issues. I think that there’s a fine line between posting about a current issue and posting about a current issue in a clever way. Those that emerge champions of online marketing efforts will be those that can combine their product/service with the going-ons in the world.

In a generation that is swamped with information, the challenge to be creative and consistently come up with good work that captures the attention of audiences is increasingly difficult. There are undoubtedly many players in the space of website design and online marketing at this current point in time.

I predict however, that in time to come, a few years from now, only the most creative will emerge as dominant market players. It is no longer sufficient to use the same standard themes for websites or to spam customers with advertisements through the same old marketing channels. I think the call for creative and fresh ideas has never been greater in this space.

chloe intent designChloe Sng, Owner of Intent Design
enquiries@intentdesign.com.sg

www.intentdesign.com.sg

 


More weapons, less frustrations for web developers

Over the years, we have seen a growing variety in tools available for web construction. Today, we have:

  • Sophiscated Content Management Systems like Joomla, Drupal, WordPress which experienced web developers often employ as seeds for their craft.
  • The recent Twitter Bootstrap is growing with developers for front-end web building as a result of its ever wonderful modular design standards.
  • A complete drag-drop interface on Wix.com for non-technical, and I mean non-technical, users to design, construct and host their online presence.
  • Even tools for processes outside of the actual coding are available, wireframing (Balsamiq) for design layouts etc.

Now, before we frustrate over the tedious and repetitive work, take a walk in the cyber world and we may run into a messiah for our problems!

Cheong Wei Hsien, Project Consultant at Zylone IT Pte Ltd
wei.hsien@zylone.com

www.zylone.com


Authenticity and contextual mobile design

I see two major trends occurring in web design for 2013 and beyond.

The first is the culture and medium of authenticity and transparency. The new internet generation of consumers are very well-informed, and increasingly wary of advertising and media. We can no longer simply create stories, but instead find and tell compelling truths that draw consumers irresistibly. Even better, help consumers tell stories about our products through earned and owned media strategies. Let them be part of our brand.

A second key trend is the continued move towards mobile. More then just mobile-friendly or responsive sites, consumers are continuing to experience more brands first on mobile phones and tablets rather then traditional desktops. We should not design and strategize for the screen, but the context. The mobile device with its assortment of sensors and mobility gives us new ways of interacting that were never possible on the desktop. We cannot just adapt sites and content to the smaller screen. We need to take advantage and design specifically for mobile – what is possible there and nowhere else.

stanley lai Stanley Lai, Interaction Designer at StanleyLai.sg
stanleylai.sg@gmail.com

www.stanleylai.sg

 


My own thoughts

One recurring theme I saw was the rise of mobile web design. Many saw the need for not only responsive web design, but design specifically with mobile in mind.

Do a check for you own website with a mobile device. Does it load very slowly? Do you have trouble navigating to the important pages? Are your call-to-action buttons functioning correctly? Can you read your content properly?

Another theme I noticed was the need for original and unique content. Both Benson and Chloe highlighted the need for content and marketing ideas to be captivating. This is also in line with the essence of Search Engine Optimization in 2013. There is a stronger need than ever to have unique content and fresh ideas in order to capture the attention of internet users.

Your take away

1) It is easier than ever to start an online business with all the tools available on the internet. Anyone can build a website and start selling stuff.

2) If you have a website, make sure it is designed to be compatible for mobile devices. Contact any of those guys (and gal) if you need to make your website mobile friendly.

3) No matter how well you design your website, it still needs original and fresh content. Content is king.


Special thanks to Benson, Khairul, Nicholas, Chloe, Wei Hsien and Stanley for taking time out to contribute to this article, even though everyone was busy throughout the CNY period. It was a pleasure working with y’all. P.s. I had to edit your work a little in order to keep everything neat. (Also thanks to Benson for contributing the Featured Image, which I used because I had no idea what to set. If you were wondering what is the  link between a penguin-rocketing-through-the-air, and this article… there is no link. It’s just awesome. )