As present-day product designers, entrepreneurs, and web enthusiasts, we are faced with an uncertainty which wasn’t there a couple of decades ago. Advancements in technology never really came to a halt, but they weren’t as fast-paced as they are today.
We know there are numerous new web integrated mobile devices being tested and fool-proofed somewhere in the world, as we speak. The trouble is that we don’t know how to design our products to be future proof.
In words of the visionary web designer, Brad Frost:
“There’s no such thing as future proof, but we can take steps to be more future friendly.”
Brad Frost so easily puts all our worries to rest with this one term: future friendly web.
Web design agency and product designers should stop looking for shortcuts and thoroughly think about making their digital products future friendly if they wish their designs to be attractive, engaging, and responsive.
We have broken down the essentials for a future friendly web design in the following 7 tips. Let’s dive in.
1. Focus on the Product/Service
People capacity for marketing gimmicks and all other crap that pops up each time you open a website is rapidly diminishing. The websites which were once known to deliver quality have now been reduced to deluging their audience with click-bait, sales-hungry ads.
Somewhere along the throng of ads and CTAs, your message, your product, your focus gets lost. Because the genuinely pragmatic content is losing the limelight and becoming so scarce on the web, people have resorted to the ad block industry and other tools that help keep web clutter at bay.
Therefore, if you’re not focused on your product/service and fail to communicate an impactful message to your audience, they are going to find a way around you. Design websites and apps as a portal for your product/service, not as a portal to display ads.
2. Design Ideas, Not Just Apps and Websites
Social Media Company Dubai is a firm believer of the following quote by Stephanie Rieger, another designer, researched, and strategist well-versed in IoT and related products:
“The most valued products will be designed to live beyond the device, context or technology they were originally intended for.”
Focus on sound and sincere ideas and watch them work into apps and websites and VR and what not, all on their own!
If you’re wondering what sound ideas look like, log in to your Netflix account or Amazon Kindle. These aren’t just apps, these aren’t just websites; they are ideas that provide value to people’s lives. They are examples of problem-solving ideas and designs. They make people’s lives better and easier in some way. This is the only way forward.
3. Make Your Product Design Responsive
Once you have a worthy idea, make it as portable as humanly possible. Pouring your content and idea in the various contexts is becoming increasingly important because the real power of the web is its ubiquity, its availability to everyone out there.
Making your products portable consists of making them responsive to all sorts of context. The best way of achieving that is by designing the content first for the mobile and then for other contexts.
Designing apps and websites for small screen real estate directs your focus to the content and functionality. You tend to prioritize the content and cut out on the clutter.
Moreover, it is easier to scale up from mobile to desktop than the other way around. Mobile-first web design also increases your reachability because mobile web hosts a larger audience than desktop web and the difference is only expected to grow in the future.
4. Ensure Content Parity
‘Content Parity’ is a concept coined by Brad Frost. It means giving people the content they want regardless of how and where they access the web; make content available across all major contexts.
Not just availability, content parity also demands the same quality, functionality, and structure of the content across all contents. The audience shouldn’t feel alien to your online portal as they switch from one context to another.
As Brad Frost puts it:
“Get your content ready to go anywhere because it’s going to go everywhere.”
Content can no longer be bound inside rigid, fixed widths. The web has taken a more flexible, more fluid shape. Consequently, come up with ways to translate your interface designs across contexts.
5. Diagnose Design Problems
Most design problems revolve around target audience. Inability to recognize the right target audience and/or engage them through user experience can both contribute towards the failure of the design and the product.
Identify the top three groups of people your brand is trying to appeal to and figure out what use is your product for them.
The second thing people find hard is narrowing down the brand message to the audience. Long gone are the days of wordy descriptions and lengthy sales pitches. Because you are competing with a plethora of other media for your audience’s short attention span, you have to devise ways of getting the message across in the most precise, witty, and visually pleasant manner. The best way to do that is prioritizing your message and discussing the goals hierarchy with the brand owner.
Your core design skills in providing clarity and coherence to the brand message will go a long way in the brand’s success.
6. Narrow Your Design Exploration
Web and digital design industry is expanding at such an astounding rate that you cannot venture in unabridged. Matthew Encina, renowned interactive experiences designer suggests the following:
“Design thinking and problem solving takes a lot of time and effort. But, if you narrow down the possibilities upfront to what’s valuable to explore, you’re going to save a lot of time and focus your efforts on things that matter.”
Narrow your exploration by setting creative parameters with your client. Always take into view the client’s expectation before suggesting ideas that are in line with professional design rules.
7. Stay Updated with Modern Developments
Keeping a finger on the pulse of modern developments in product designing teaches you a lot of new techniques, introduces you to useful tools and software, and is the best source of inspiration for new projects.
Participate actively in design groups and converse with the creative ones around you. Follow product design experts and their work as guidelines for your own.
Focus primarily on providing your audience effective solutions, smooth experiences, and eye-pleasing visuals through your web interactions. The rest will get upgraded with time and people’s interest in your product will follow as a consequence.