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The Latest Research for Web Designers, March 2020

While it’s important to know about the latest research and surveys impacting web design, I think it’s just as important to stay informed about news that may affect your work as a designer.

As such, this roundup of the latest research for web designers includes a mix of reports along with some news and facts about something that people are talking about all around the world: the coronavirus.

 

A Better Lemonade Stand Analyzes the Best Remote Working Locations

With the help of Nomad List, A Better Lemonade Stand has aggregated a list of the 20 best places to work remotely.

While finding a place to live can be a very subjective matter (for instance, some people prefer colder locales or warm ones), this list takes into account factors that can have a serious impact on the work of a freelancer. For example, this is why Auckland, New Zealand ended up taking the #1 spot for remote work:

Latest Research for Web Designers - Nomad List ranking for Auckland New Zealand

The other cities to round out the top 10 are:

  • Bengaluru, India
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
  • Krakow, Poland
  • Lisbon, Portugal

I’d argue that it’s high scores on factors like the following that make them the best spots to work remotely from:

  • Cost
  • Internet speed
  • Free wifi in the city
  • Places to work from
  • Walkability
  • Happiness score
  • Quality of life

If you’ve been considering a move and you want it to not only be a place you love but that’s good for your business, one of these nomad-friendly spots might fit the bill.

 

Hubspot Gives Us a Comprehensive Look at the State of Marketing

As always, there’s almost too much information to digest in Hubspot’s annual State of Marketing report. But that’s not going to stop me from highlighting the points you can use to bring more money into your business:

Website Upgrades Needed

According to the survey, 63% of respondents are looking to upgrade their websites in 2020. If you have experience in and enjoy doing website redesigns, hop on this opportunity as soon as you can.

Maintenance Pros Wanted

Sometimes it’s not the design that needs to be tweaked. Rather your clients would benefit from a technical tune-up along with ongoing maintenance.

When asked which tactics have been the most beneficial for improving a website’s performance and search ranking, here’s what respondents had to say:

Hubspot State of Marketing - Website Fixes

You could easily create a recurring revenue stream around these maintenance tasks.

Visual-Heavy Content Marketing is a Must

Marketers use a wide variety of content in their marketing strategies:

Hubspot State of Marketing - Content Types

If you’re in the business of building websites, you should also be helping your clients create graphics for the media above. For instance, you could provide ongoing design services for:

  • Blog (and promotional social media) graphics
  • Videos or just video cover images
  • Infographics
  • Templates for case studies, ebooks, and white papers

Just because your job is primarily to build high-converting websites for clients doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking for other ways to serve them.

 

The Coronavirus’s Impact on Freelancers

With so much news about the coronavirus out there, it’s hard to know what to focus your attention. If you’re a freelancer, then these are the statistics and research you should focus on:

Conferences Around the World Are Being Cancelled

Business Insider and the LA Times rounded up lists of conferences that have been cancelled, rescheduled, or restructured because of the coronavirus:

  • Adobe Summit (it’ll be online instead)
  • Facebook’s F8
  • Facebook’s Global Marketing Summit
  • EmTech Asia
  • Shopify Developer Conference
  • Google I/O
  • Google Cloud Next ‘20 (rescheduled as an online event)

And for those of you who work with WordPress, WordCamp Asia was cancelled.

WordCamp Asia Cancelled - Coronavirus

Considering how expensive and time-consuming professional design conferences can be to attend, these cancellations might not be as big of a disappointment to the freelance community. In fact, it might bring a change to the professional conference landscape, with more of them hosted virtually so that it becomes cheaper, more practical, and now safer to attend.

Some Freelance Gigs Are Drying Up

In particular, it’s Singapore’s population of freelancers that are feeling the effects of the coronavirus, according to a report from Vice.

It makes sense. As businesses close down their offices or their operations altogether, the contract workforce who works behind the scenes for them is going to be impacted as well. This is especially problematic for those who build ecommerce and retail websites. With many products manufactured in China (31.3% of all apparel and 37.6% of textiles are manufactured there, for instance), inventories are waning and many retailers are having to wait out the virus to resume operations. 

The Singapore government recently announced plans for its 2020 budget, which included contributing SG$800 million towards curbing the effects of the virus on the country. Additional support is to be given to industries the most severely affected by it as well.

While the country’s budget doesn’t account for freelancers (as I’m sure will be the case in other countries), the freelance community itself is stepping up.

Nicholas Chee, who runs a video production company in Singapore, started a Facebook group for freelancers who’ve been dealing with lost gigs as a result of the coronavirus. It’s called SG COVID-19 Creative/Cultural Professionals & Freelancers Support Group and is giving the freelance community a way to support each other through this crisis.

Web Designers May Be Able To Help Stop The Spread of Coronavirus

It’s not just Facebook groups that are going to help freelancers get through the coronavirus crisis in one piece. According to Dr. Stephanie Evergreen, web designers might actually be able to help slow down or stop the spread of the virus itself.

In an article she wrote for Fast Company, Dr. Evergreen, a data visualization specialist, demonstrates how more eye-catching graphics can better educate the public on what’s going on and what they can do.

For instance, she shares this graphic from the World Health Organization:

World Health Organization - MERS Cases Charts

While it more effectively lays out this data than a wall of text would, it’s not going to do much to capture anyone’s attention.

It’s more important than ever for public health agencies to use data visualization to communicate with the masses, as the public is bombarded with more information each day and in need of a way for the most pressing issues to cut through the noise.

Quantifiable data, instead, should be presented like this graphic from the Florida Department of Health

Florida Department of Health - Influenza Activity map and data

It does both a good job of capturing attention and informing the public of what’s going on.

Bottom line: if your website is tasked with communicating critical data to the public, see if there’s a way you can lend your design skills to it. While a writer can clearly communicate what’s going on, graphics are more likely to grab and hold their attention.

 

Wrap-Up

While annual “State of” reports always tend to wind down around February/March, we still have a wealth of data coming in that not only affects your design strategy but your business strategy too.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next edition of the latest research for web designers as we’re sure to see the first quarterly reports come out for design, marketing, SEO, and more.



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5 Non-design Skills Web Designers Need

Being a great designer isn’t the only skill you need to grow your career over the next decade. Here, we take a look at the top five skills you need to cultivate to be successful in the 2020s.

Whenever a company posts a job opening for a web design employee or freelancer, they typically include a set of hard and soft skills they’re looking for.

Hard skills are design skills that are measurable and well-documented. For instance:

  • A degree in a web design-related field;
  • Aptitude with Sketch or Photoshop;
  • Training in color theory and responsive design.

Your portfolio and résumé serve as proof of hard skills.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are non-design skills that make you a good person to work with, but aren’t as easy to verify. While an employer might list out the qualities they’re looking for, they’re often subjective or vague, like:

  • Meets deadlines;
  • Team player;
  • Goal-driven.

It’s easy to dismiss these kinds of soft skills because they seem arbitrary. Of course I have them, you think.

The truth is, real soft skills not only help you stand out from other web designers, but they affect how successful you’ll be in running your own business.

Let’s take a look at what the most important of these non-design skills are and how they’ll help you go farther in your career.

 

1. Sales

these kinds of sales skills allow you to build stronger relationships with prospects

It’s easy to equate sales with associates who approach you in stores asking if you need help, or with reps who call you to see how you’re feeling about the free trial of their product. The problem with that particular sales approach is that it often makes one product seem just as good as another: Oh, you didn’t like that style? Let me see if I can get you another.

For you, this isn’t about negotiation or compromise nor can it be a numbers game. When selling yourself as a web designer, what you really need to be skilled in is the following:

  • Knowing your niche so well that it’s easy to find your target clients;
  • Knowing what exactly their pain is so you can quickly get the conversation started;
  • Knowing how to position yourself before them as the solution.

For web designers, these kinds of sales skills allow you to build stronger relationships with prospects so they easily and inevitably become your clients.

That said, one of the sales skills you can borrow from professional sales people is the ability to let rejection roll right off your back. In other words, it’s going to be tough — especially early on — when prospects say, “no, thank you”. It’s natural to want to take it personally. Just keep in mind that once you perfect the right sales approach for your business, this’ll be something you have to deal with less and less.

 

2. Finance Management

You might be thinking that you’ll just offload your finances to software like QuickBooks or Xero or you’ll hire an accountant once you’re making enough money. But finance management skills go beyond being able to balance your profits and overhead costs.

There are a number of things you need to be able to do properly manage your cash flow. For example:

  • Research industry rates so you can set competitive prices. Then, be able to negotiate for higher rates with clients.
  • Confidently talk to prospects about your prices and convey the value of your services in a way that none of it is called into question.
  • Create business proposals and contracts containing critical details about your prices, fees, payment schedules, etc.
  • Be able to confront a client who hasn’t paid on time, assess late fees, and take action to track down non-paying clients.
  • Set and stick to budgets for your business and personal life so you don’t go crazy buying things you don’t need or spending money you don’t have yet.

Master these skills and profitability will never be an issue for you.

 

3. Project Management

Things are going to get very hectic for you the more clients you add to your roster and the more services you offer.

The easiest way to keep everything in order when you’re bootstrapping your business (i.e. doing it on your own) is to get really good at project and time management.

Here are some things you’ll need to be able to do to dominate this non-design skill:

  • Create processes — for yourself as well as your client projects;
  • Document your processes and keep them organized;
  • Use the right tools and resources to streamline it all;
  • Predict accurate timelines, set milestones, and deliver by them;
  • Monitor your time and stay focused.

What’s nice about this skill is that you can use a project management tool and templates to automate a lot of it. The only thing is, you have to first lay the groundwork with a solid process and system of your own.

 

4. Client Communication and Management

If you start your client relationships off on the right foot during the sale process, this skill will be an easy one to get the hang of since you’ll be working with the ideal client. Even if that isn’t always the case, you can still effectively navigate the sometimes rocky terrain of client relationships, it’ll just require extra patience.

Underpinning all of these skills is confidence

As for how you master client communication and management skills, keep the following in mind:

  • Take charge from the very get-go. You want to be able to earn their trust, command respect, and keep doubts from appearing at any point. This’ll keep your job free of scope creep, too.
  • Set boundaries. Let clients know what they can expect from you and when, but never let them overstep their bounds in terms of the limits you’ve set.
  • Speak their language. Clients don’t understand things like “CSS grid” or “responsive design”. Talk to them with words that make sense.
  • Be professional in every exchange. There’s no need to let your personal drama become a distraction nor should clients ever know about trouble brewing on other jobs. Stay on point.
  • Keep calm even when the client isn’t. If that means sitting on a nasty email for a few hours, so be it. It’s best to enter every conversation with a clear head.
  • Know when it’s time to listen and also be okay accepting fair criticism or feedback.

Underpinning all of these skills is confidence; confidence in what you do and confidence in being able to steer clients and projects in the direction they need to go.

 

5. Problem-Solving

As a web designer, you’re in the business of solving a very big problem: I need a website for my business, but don’t have the ability or time to do it myself.

That alone is a powerful skill, but we’re focusing on the non-design skills you need right now. So, think of other ways you will need to solve problems for your clients along the way.

For example, during the initial discovery call stage, your client might have a very specific problem like: I need an ecommerce website with 24/7 chatbot support.

you need to be able to think quickly and creatively on your feet

Would you know how to devise a solution for that request on the spot? If not, would you know exactly where to go to figure out how to do it? What’s more, would you be okay telling your client that you’re unsure right now, but promise to get an answer to them in the next day or two?

In other words, you need to be able to think quickly and creatively on your feet.

What about issues or requests that come up later? For instance: The button on the homepage doesn’t work anymore. Help!

Are you resourceful enough to be able to investigate the issue and fix it? If you’re really good at this particular skill, you could monetize it by offering website maintenance services. You’d need to pair vigilance and resourcefulness to make the most of it, but it’s totally possible to do if you’re a problem-solver by nature.

 

Start Mastering These Non-Design Skills Today

It’s not just your aptitude in web design that’s going to help you land new client after new client. If you want a steady influx of new clients willing to pay you top dollar to design their websites, then you’re going to have to flex these important non-design skills as well.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.



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The Latest Research for Web Designers Feb 2020

One of the most valuable resources you have as a web designer is data. Data informs a lot of what you do for clients, so why shouldn’t it do the same for your own business?

In the following roundup of the latest research for web designers, I’ve included reports and surveys that shed light on: The battle between mobile and desktop, Why so many websites keep getting hacked, What’s keeping ecommerce business owners awake at night, and What Google is now saying about mobile-first indexing.

 

Hootsuite Puts a Spotlight on Mobile

Although Hootsuite is a social media marketing tool, its Digital 2020 report (created in conjunction with We Are Social) reveals much more about the state of marketing as a whole than just social media.

As of January 2020, the total number of users has reached 4.5 billion. That’s a 7% growth from the same period in 2019.

A huge contributor of that growth is the increased adoption of Internet-connected devices all around the world:

Hootsuite Digital 2020 - Global Growth

This graphic alone demonstrates why it’s crucial for websites to be able to cater to a global user base and not just those in developed nations.

Another telling statistic from this report shows how much more Internet users are coming to rely on their mobile phones:

Hootsuite Digital 2020 - Web Traffic Device

Between December 2018 and December 2019, there was an 8.6% leap in the amount of mobile web traffic. Laptops and desktops shrunk in popularity during that same timeframe as did tablets, which saw a massive dip in usage.

It’s not just the amount of traffic on mobile vs. web that’s seen changes either. It’s the amount of time users spend on those devices. As a whole, consumers spend 6 hours and 43 minutes online every day; 3 hours and 22 minutes of which is from their mobile devices.

Key Takeaway

If you’re not already building progressive web apps for clients, 2020 may be the perfect time to learn how to do so. Not only do they provide a superior experience for mobile users, but they also are capable of serving users who may not have the best Internet connectivity or live in close proximity to your web servers.

 

Sucuri Reveals What Was Going on with Hacked Sites in 2019

The Sucuri Hacked Website Threat Report just came out with some interesting data on the state of web security.

Let’s start by looking at the integrity of the content management systems web designers commonly use:

Sucuri Report - Outdated Infected CMS

Out of all the infected websites Sucuri found last year, 56% of them had an outdated CMS. As you can see above, some users do a better job of protecting their core by updating their CMS technology. Others… not so much.

It’s not just content management systems that users are failing to update either. More than two-thirds have websites using PHP versions that are no longer supported (i.e. 5.x and 7.0).

Sucuri - PHP Versions

Then, there’s the fact that websites with vulnerabilities weren’t just found to have one vulnerability. 44% of vulnerable websites had at least two vulnerable components and 10% had four or more.

Considering this, it’s no surprise that once-infected websites have a tendency to be reinfected.

Key Takeaways

On average, Sucuri cleaned up 147 files and 232 database entries for every malware infection detected. Even if those numbers are improvements from previous years, think about how costly the cleanup is going to be for your clients if or when that happens to them.

So, rather than focus strictly on web design or development in the coming years, start thinking about how you can weave website security into the mix. Whether you want to provide maintenance services for live websites or you want to build security measures into a websites in development, it’s up to you.

But something needs to be done to fix this systemic issue.

 

A Better Lemonade Stand Shares Results from eCommerce Survey

For those of you working with ecommerce clients (or who want to), this survey from A Better Lemonade Stand is one to pay close attention to.

Right off the bat, the survey reveals that 62.1% of people who want to start an ecommerce business have yet to do so. As for why they haven’t, there are a variety of reasons given:

A Better Lemonade Stand - Why Not Start

Pay close attention to these reasons as you can use them to sell your ecommerce design services as a solution:

  • The monetary investment
  • A lack of know-how
  • A lack of time to do so

You can also use survey data from current ecommerce owners to better position your business before prospective clients:

A Better Lemonade Stand - eCommerce Struggles

Here you can see what ecommerce business owners report as their biggest struggles. Five of the top ten you can easily help them out with:

  • Getting traffic
  • Conversion optimization
  • Strategy & analytics
  • Branding & design
  • Operations & customer service (through the website, at least)

Key Takeaway

You can present ecommerce business owners in the making with a cost-effective done-for-you option as well as proof of how quickly you can get them an ROI (like with a case study) if they’re really worried about cost. They need to see how your expertise will save them time and make them more money in the long run.

The same goes for clients with existing businesses. You now know what their top concerns are. If you see a flailing ecommerce site, use this knowledge to get the conversation started and to pose your own solution. Again, just make sure you have proof to back up what you promise to do.

 

Google Updates Mobile-First Indexing Best Practices

Think you know all that you need to know to design a mobile-first website? Well, Google just updated its mobile-first indexing best practices.

Here’s a high-level overview of what the new best practices state:

  • If you’re using the robots metatag, make sure it’s the same for mobile and desktop.
  • Use the same URLs for your mobile and desktop sites.
  • Use the same content on mobile as you do on desktop. If you think there should be less content on mobile, just make sure that whatever is desktop-only isn’t critical for Google or visitors to know about as it won’t factor into indexing at all.

In other words, Google is strictly using mobile for the purposes of indexing. If you do anything that compromises what Google can scan on your mobile website, your rank will suffer as a result.

By keeping things consistent between mobile and desktop, you can reduce the chance of any issues arising.

Be sure to check out the full report for all of Google’s new recommendations. There’s information in there about what kinds of image and video formats to use along with information on lazy loading.

Key Takeaway

If you were adhering to Google’s former guidelines, it’s a good time to check back in with what it’s currently recommending. You may need to reconnect with old clients to let them know about the changes and to provide them with an update strategy.

 

Wrap-Up

There’s always new industry or consumer research that can help you do better work for your clients and make more money in the process. It’s just not always easy to keep your eyes peeled for it when you’re trying to focus on your job.

If you stay tuned to WebDesigner Depot each month, though, you’ll get a roundup of the latest research for web designers to give you a hand.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.



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Exciting New Tools for Designers, February 2020

Are you starting 2020 off on the right foot? How about keeping up with those resolutions to learn or try something new?

Either way, you’re in luck. This roundup is packed with new tools to help you through projects or learn new tricks to enhance your skillset. Here’s what’s new for designers this month.

 

Calcolor

Calcolor is a color tool that provides deeper information and meaning for every color in your palette so you can make better color choices. The tool has a contextual description for every HEX color code. You can use it to create and save digital color palettes or find better options for colors before you get too deep into the design.

 

Invisible Line Editor

Invisible Line Editor is a tool that helps you align text in a specific manner. You can click and drag to center, justify, or right- of left-align text. You can even download text and share. If nothing else, it is fun to play with to see how blocks of text might look in different alignments.

 

YourStack

YourStack, which is in public beta, is designed to help you share your favorite products with others. It’s a neat concept for reviewing tools and products. Plus, it has a nifty design that’s fun to peruse.

 

FlowMapp Personas Tool

FlowMapp’s Personas Tool helps you better understand your target audience by building distinct user personas. It’s deep mapping in a premium tool that can help create better design experiences.

 

Kinetic Slider

Kinetic Slider is a fully customizable WebGL slider based on PixiJS and Gsap. It creates an effect that lets you swipe to navigate between slides, include regular prev or next navigation, use a background or cursor displacement effect or background to titles RGB split effect.

 

Learn CSS Positioning

Learn CSS Positioning is an interactive article/game/tutorial to help you make the most of how CSS positioning works. Developer Ahmad Shadeed did an excellent job with this tool and presentation. It’s an amazing learning tool that’s actually fun to use.

 

LambdaTest

LambdaTest is an automated scheduler for screenshot testing. You can set specific time intervals and the tool will take screenshots of the desired URL. Results go to your inbox. It’s a good way to monitor websites.

 

Remote Stash

Remote Stash is a database of tools for contractors, freelancers, and remote workers to help increase productivity when you don’t work in an office with other people. Tools are sorted into categories to help you find what you need to do better work.

 

Flow Fields

Flow Fields uses a particle simulation to visualize a field of directional vectors. It uses Perlin Noise to construct a field of random (but related) forces in horizontal and vertical directions (that change over time). Go play around and watch the lines draw themselves.

 

BinarySearch

BinarySearch, which is still in beta, is a game to help you and your peers create rooms to practice mastering algorithms. Create problems and race to the answers. It’s a fun learning tool for sure.

 

Snack This

Snack This is a tool to generate text gifs in seconds that you can download and use online or on social media. Type in your words and get a screen of generated options, pick the one you want and download or export.

 

Shimmery Text

Shimmery Text uses SVG and GSAP to create a cool animated text element with editable controls.

 

Design Password

Design Password is a practical tool that’s just plain fun. It’s a tiny generator that creates passwords that are easy for designers to remember, with a description and visual cue to match.

 

No-Code Coffee

No-Code Coffee is a daily email newsletter packed that features a daily tool that is code-free and can help with projects. It’s free and can be a nice source of inspiration.

 

Monday Hero

Monday Hero is a tool that converts Sketch designs into Swift code so you don’t have to. Use it to create mobile code fast. The tool supports multiple languages, including Swift, Kotlin, Flutter, and React.

 

Motion

Motion is a free and simple animated SVG editor. It’s a downloadable tool that works on Mac or Windows. It comes with icons that you can edit and adjust to your liking. A premium version is also available.

 

Screenie

Screenie is a Mac app to manage screenshots. But the best feature is that you can search text inside screengrab images.

 

Greenhouse Vector Icons

Greenhouse Vector Icons is a set of flat icons in two formats and three versions with a “green” theme. If you are already starting to think about spring, this is the icon set for your projects.

 

All Design Conferences

All Design Conferences is just what it sounds like – a giant list of all the conference opportunities for designers in 2020. It’s based on a google sheet with a sortable, searchable design to help you plan training opportunities for the year.

 

Magical Rainbow Gradients

Magical Rainbow Gradients is a tutorial to help you create this fun effect. It uses CSS Houdini and React Hooks to create buttons with a rainbow effect and animation.

 

Chocolate Valentine

Chocolate Valentine is a fun comic-style font with fat letterforms and an almost child-like feel. It includes upper- and lower-case letters and numbers.

 

Dark Light

Dark Light is a handwriting style typeface with interesting letterforms and a thin structure. It includes a full character set and some alternates.

 

Giant

Giant is a trendy outline style typeface with an extremely high x-height. The character set is somewhat limited but could make for a fun display use.

 

Jet Brains Mono

Jet Brains Mono is an open source typeface designed for developers. It has an increased height for a better reading experience, weights with matching italics and is usable in 145 languages.

 

Red Hook

Red Hook is a double layer font with a light fill and slab outline. The design said it is inspired by the brick walls of Red Hook.

 

Thicker Black

Thicker Black is a super-sized extra black typeface that works for display. The free version has four variants for noncommercial use and the full version is robust with 10 weights.



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What Does 5G Mean for Web Designers?


As we head into 2020, everyone is talking about 5G. The newest generation of mobile connectivity has some exciting things to offer, including reduced latency, improved connections, and faster speeds. By 2025, experts predict that 5G will have reached 1.4 billion devices worldwide.

However, 5G isn’t just set to have an impact on mobile browsing. Changes in mobile connectivity will have an impact on web design too.

As a web designer, it’s up to you to consider how the latest connectivity tools will impact the way users browse the web. Additionally, you may find that you have more space to explore the advantages of using larger content (like 4K video) within a client’s website.

Here’s how you can prepare for the fifth generation of mobile browsing.

 

5G: What’s All The Excitement About?

Before you can understand how 5G is going to transform your web design process, you’ll need to gain a better understanding of the technology overall.

5G is the fifth generation of mobile technology. It promises faster data upload and download speeds, more stable connections, and wider coverage overall. Compared to 4G, 5G can deliver speeds 10 to 20 times faster in real-world conditions. That means that users can load pages and files in a fraction of a second.

5G was created to handle the growing volume of data in the current environment. As video and music streaming increases, existing spectrum bands are increasingly congested. People are struggling to get the connectivity that they need. With 5G, we can create a more efficient mobile internet.

5G isn’t just about speed though. One of the biggest benefits of this new technology is the fact that it can offer dramatically reduced latency. In other words, there’s minimal time delay between a website sending information to a phone, and that data arriving where it needs to be. That’s even true for a site like this that’s full of rich content.

salus

It’s the lack of latency that could potentially transform each web design strategy through incredible user flow.

 

What Does 5G Mean for Website Design?

So, how will 5G impact the way that you design client websites?

The most obvious changes come from the increased data transfer speeds (lower latency).

When you don’t have to worry about lag on a website disrupting the user experience, you can experiment with a lot more content. Introducing complex visual elements to your site becomes simpler.

david_william_baum

We’re not just talking about image-heavy sites either, things like that already exist. Designers often use 4G image optimization technology like IMGIX to ensure that those websites work well on a smartphone and other mobile devices. Alternatively, 5G’s capabilities will see websites taking greater advantage of video. Not just any video, 4K content. While 4K video has been around on the web for a while, it hasn’t been used much by web designers. That’s because the loading times are often astronomical – particularly on mobile connections.

However, 5G could see 4K becoming a much more common feature. You could embed it into the background of your site or introduce it instead of a hero image.

Let’s take a closer look at how 5G could permit web designers to create some truly unique and impressive designs for their clients.

1. Videos Will Stream Faster

As mentioned above, one of the main ways that 5G will affect web design is that it will allow videos to stream much faster.

Experts predict that 5G wireless technology will be anywhere between 10 and 100 times faster than what we have right now. It could even be more reliable than running the cable directly into your home.

For web designers, this means that the opportunities are practically endless.

There’s no limit to what you could do with video, from immersive background content to videos on the home page of a site that highlights a product or service.

While designers can set videos not to play automatically to accommodate those with slower connection speeds, the opportunity will be there to deliver rich content immediately to visitors. Check out the background images for Kuhl & Han, for instance, and imagine how amazing they could be with 5G:

kuhl_han

2. Stronger Mobile Experiences

Mobile responsivity is already crucial to frictionless UX.

Today’s consumers are spending much more time on their smartphones. That means that designers need to think carefully about how websites are accessed on the go.

However, when 5G becomes more commonplace, there will be even more demand for stronger mobile experiences. You’ll need to think about how you can adapt your website to show up seamlessly whether your audience is using a set of smart glasses or just their phone.

The good news is that 5G should ensure that there doesn’t need to be as much of a gap between the experiences that people get on a desktop and those available on their mobile devices.

Designers should be able to create a consistent UX for customers wherever they are in the age of 5G.

3. Virtual and Augmented Reality

Finally, VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) have already begun to gain traction in recent years. Designers have begun to experiment with tools that allow them to place 3D videos into websites, or AR apps into product pages.

With an augmented reality app on a website, you could allow visitors to place piece of furniture in the environment of their living room or bedroom. This means that more customers can see what an investment will look like before they buy.

With virtual reality in the future, customers may even be able to step into a scene on your website and walk through a room decorated with your products.

Up until now, AR and VR have mostly been used by app developers to deliver more exciting gaming experiences. However, with 5G on the horizon, there’s nothing to stop web designers from creating immersive user experiences on a website too.

5G’s enhanced speed and reduced latency will open the door to unlimited new experiences. Users could even scan a QR code using a company’s website and unbox an item when they’re in-store with the app on their phone.

 

What to Remember When Designing for 5G

The arrival of 5G could bring a lot of exciting opportunities to today’s web designers. However, it’s important to remember that there are some challenges to overcome too.

For instance, the first thing that web designers need to know is that not all of the users visiting a website will have 5G right away. Although mobile operators are planning on delivering more 5G connections in 2020 and beyond – there’s a long way to go before it’s mainstream.

The technology is still in the early stages and will be available in only the biggest cities and towns, to begin with. Once the towers have been built to send out 5G signals, cell phones need to adapt and create the right chips to handle these new lightning-fast capabilities.

Carriers are still working on perfecting the systems that they’ll use to capture higher speeds and use them properly. There are even concerns about the health aspects of 5G, and whether exposure to a new frequency is bad for us in the long-term.

Once locations have begun to embrace 5G properly, and mobile developers have rolled out the right tech, you’ll also need to wait for customers to buy new phones. The new connections won’t work with old 4G enabled devices.

That means that we’re likely to have a combination of 5G and 4G users accessing the same website designs for a long time before 5G becomes wide-spread.

 

Getting Ready for 5G

While it’s essential for web designers to understand and adapt to the new potential that 5G has to offer, that doesn’t mean catering exclusively to 5G. Remember: There are parts of the world in which 3G is not only standard, but relatively new. Focusing too much on this new technology will put any user that isn’t capable of accessing those speeds at a serious disadvantage.

Instead, you’ll deliver better experiences overall if you still focus the majority of your efforts on 4G and typical connections for a while. Explore the opportunities that 5G has to offer and consider implementing more things like 4k videos and VR experiences over time.

However, as you introduce web design elements intended for 5G users remember to make them optional. Don’t start videos playing automatically, or make it impossible to browse a website unless you have access to AR.

We’ll be living in a world of hybrid connectivity for a while…



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