5 Trends in Web Design You Might Like to Try for 2013

If you have not done it yet, the month of March may just be when you will start thinking of revamping the look of your website. You are probably thinking that the third month of the New Year is just the right time to scout the web and see what trends have come to stay for the year.

You might like to pick one or two of these trends to apply on your site, so you will have an improved design to present to your audience. It might also be that you will make use of these trends to prepare your website for the possible changes that may happen in the course of the year when it comes to new CSS or HTML features.

So, here are the newest trends in web design that you will face and have to decide about this year:

Minimalistic Single Tone Site Colours

This means using a single tone of colour all throughout your site. This minimalistic trend is great at getting your readers to pay attention more on your content rather on your colours or your design. See the redesigned site of Mashable where a single colour is consistently used to determine the theme of its new look.

Going the Responsive Direction

In 2013, you need to have a responsive or fluid design that will shift and adjust itself so its entire content will be seen in mobile devices such as an iPhone or an iPad. This is very important because more and more people have smartphones and other mobile gadgets that they use to access the Internet.

Cool Typography

This is the year for you to stop using the Arial font and change it for something more creative and eye-catching. You can use CSS 3’s FontFace to get any kind of template from the Internet just by using the URL as reference and try it out to enhance your site’s look.

Go with Highlight Boxes

Instead of sticking with Javascript sliders, why don’t you use highlight boxes instead. This is a static box that has an image for its background and comes with an article header or punch line at the top. You can even use different colour tones for these boxes when you decide to replace your old sliders with them.

Influx of More Web Development Companies

If you think there were already a lot of web development companies before, think again. This year, you will see more. This is mainly because more and more designers are emerging to offer quality services at more affordable prices and to counter those companies that are offering their services at prices not everyone can afford.

The only problem you will have with this is being able to decide which firm to go for when you plan on having your website redesigned. If you will do your research carefully and pore over portfolios thoroughly, you will find one that will cater to your needs well.

The Semantic Web – Where Language Meets Mathematics

The constantly evolving nature of the Internet means many businesses are left clinging on to the coat tails of major advances. Web 2.0 – not a new version of the Internet but new ways of using it, including social networking sites and the use of videos and blogs – has now been embraced by many.

But now IT professionals are starting to talk about Web 3.0 which is exploring a new range of possibilities yet to be developed.

Web 3.0 actually describes a paradigm shift in how information is structured and searched for on the World Wide Web.

Web 3.0 concerns the use of the Semantic Web – it’s about enabling search engines to scan for meaning and interpretation when presented with a search query, rather than just corresponding the number and density of matching search terms.

The Semantic Web is the brainchild of Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web and head of the World Wide Web consortium, the only independent organisation dedicated to consolidating standards of quality in content and structure to the web.

The repercussions of this shift towards a more intelligent and intuitive web will have a huge effect on all web-based data, be it commercial, academic or cultural.

Websites will either have to adapt to the Semantic Web, or be left outside the search loop.

According to Lyang Yu, author of The Semantic Web and Semantic Web Services, most of us use the web for three basic functions – search, integration and data mining, in that order.

The current search paradigm is epitomised by Google – answering particular queries by matching documents from its database that correspond to the precise language the searcher has entered.

Search Spiders are like stupid robots that only do precisely what you tell them. As a result, most search engine optimisation (SEO), tactics are largely restricted to optimising the use of commercially strategic language on websites that will more likely be coughed up by Google or Yahoo in response to a search query.

Google’s AdWords operates on the principle of auctioning off the most popular searched for vocabulary to the highest bidder.

This year, the growth in search engine optimisation activities by brand leaders is unprecedented and rapidly increasing. Any blue chip worth its salt has an in-house search engine optimiser at the centre of its web development team.

Big brand companies like Tesco and Renault are spending their Internet budgets on increasingly competitive SEO tactics, both on page and off page.

One of the biggest growths in IT recruitment in both the US and the UK is for SEO managers and experts. Some companies currently spend as much optimising their web presence as they do designing their sites.

Usability and optimisation have become the defining criteria for distinguishing an effective website from a rarely visited online brochure.

While keyword search is still the most popular search method, it is seldom accurate. Users sometimes get up to 10,000 hits on a result page and then have to wade through a list of loosely-related keyword results to find the relevant documents they were searching for.

Up until the Semantic Web, search criteria have been based on the choice of the correct key words to tag and identify your web presence to the spiders indexing the Internet.

The premise is that the closer the language of your website corresponds to the language choice of the searcher, the more relevant your website, and the more likely Google will rank you higher in the search results.

But this is all coming to an end. The Semantic Web is where language finally meets mathematics.

In comparison to standard search, semantic search looks at the logic of the sentence – how words in a sentence relate to one another, as well as understanding the context of the keywords.

Instead of clumsy, corresponding criteria, the words grouped around a keyword or phrase will now play as important a factor in the relevancy of the term as the keyword itself. The focus is now on context, how words and assets are grouped together.

For example, when a term is ambiguous, such as with the word bark, semantic analysis is needed on the other words that wrap around it to give it its true meaning and context.

So a semantic web search for Obama plus McCain would correctly interpret that the searcher was seeking results relevant to the recent election campaign, as opposed to results that contained those names.

There are search engines on the net that are already beginning to harness the principles of semantic web development.

Cuil.com is a semantically inspired search engine that pulls relevant results from deep within website pages as opposed to just listing the index page of a particular website.

Other good examples include juiceapp.com, cuil.com, illuimin8.com and headup.com.

Ultimately web content publishers are going to have to adapt to the notion that all published content is equally accessible to semantic-based search engines. The past SEO criteria for priority placement of text and other assets on a website is declining.

Yahoo’s recently launched SearchMonkey applications are semantically based search tools. Yelp, Yahoo!Local, and LinkedIn Enhanced now appear automatically in Yahoo search results.

These three applications are among the first to share structured data. ZiMesh is a semantic information management and recommendation engine that manages personal information. ZiMesh is powered by a semantic platform, which automatically tries to understand users’ interests over time, and connects them to topics, users and contents it thinks will be of interest.

So what does this shift represent to the average business trying to maintain a competitive web presence?

In one way it means that the playing field is levelling. There is less need to spend a fortune on SEO tactics that are never guaranteed to deliver measurable results.

Writing concise, relevant and informative content for a website will always pay dividends over SEO tactics. Google wants to refer its queries to useful resources. The more useful a resource you make your website, the more likely Google will rank you highly. So, do nothing but be good.

The more the individual data components -text, images, video, sound – of your website are ascribed searchable terms, the larger and deeper your web presence and the more likely you will be found by a semantic search.

The end result will be a more responsive, more intelligent and ultimately more useful world wide web.

How to Develop a Well Designed Website

“You don’t need to use SEO, it’s a waste of time.”

“The bigger, the better.”

“Every page needs flash.”

Unless your company has a marketing department the size of a small nation, chances are the person assigned to maintain your website also has other responsibilities. Getting new information uploaded or changes made can be a challenge.

The problem is, anyone can build a website. All it takes is some basic knowledge of coding, a hosting site and some time. Most of us know a 16 year old that would be thrilled to do it for a small fee. Better yet the owner’s wife’s cousin’s nephew will do it for free! And that’s exactly what the site will look like.

Smart business owners are realizing that what they need to get ahead with their marketing strategies is to place their money where it can do the most good. Hiring a professional to design and create an impactful and useful website is one of those places.

Spending time online looking around, a person can find dozens of websites in just a matter of minutes. Each one of these sites has the goal of offering you something you want or need even if it’s only information. But what is it about a website that keeps you engaged?

Most companies wouldn’t think to give their website an IQ rating. After all, what more is needed other than your normal site map set up? If simple and basic is how you view your marketing strategy, your website will reflect that. There isn’t anything wrong with average.

Instead of middle of the road, why not punch things up a bit instead. Capturing and gaining repeat clients takes more than what every other company offers. Your website should reflect that.

An online marketing campaign begins with your website design, not ends with it. Conversion and ROI are the ultimate goals of any campaign. Does your website reflect those goals?

A well designed website also helps you to increase revenues. How can you turn that away in these economic times? It can also help decrease costs, and build better relationships with customers and business associates. Who doesn’t want that?

Statistics show that your website has only a 6-10 second time span to grab your visitor’s attention. In that time the visitor has already scanned the page to find what they are looking for, made an assessment of viability and either pulled up a chair to stay a while or moved on quicker than Superman.

Chose a web development team that knows what they are doing. There are 5 important things to look for when hiring an affective web design group:

1. They listen. You know your product inside and out. The agency you choose should pay attention to that and use that knowledge to design your website. If they aren’t asking you questions, you have to wonder why not. If the content isn’t going to be relevant to your business why bother?

2. They are mobile. According to research, more that 30% of mobile phone owners have browsed the Internet via a mobile handset. Computers are no longer limited to desktops and laptops. Make sure their development team has the expertise to identify the various mobile browsers and can arrange content to fit them.

3. They know how to write. People don’t read websites the same way they read print material. Web users are active, not passive. The longer the text, the less likely they are to read it. And they don’t believe in hype unless it can be backed up. A good design team will have skilled copy writers available.

4. They think globally. Consumers and businesses alike are turning more and more to the Internet to purchase their goods and services. Your website needs to tailor itself to that end. E-business is more than e-commerce. Offer the world a way to interact and purchase your wares. Your design team should know how to expand the scope of e-commerce to transform your company globally.

5. They stand behind their services. At the end of the day your web design team should want you to be happy, no matter what. Satisfaction is key. Make sure they stand behind their work, the same as you do. Guarantees in writing indicate they aren’t going to take your money and run.

Understand that your firm’s web strategy is not only about creating a visually interesting web presence; it is about increasing your sales and optimizing visibility to your target audience.