Every once in a while, I like to polish up the ol’ crystal ball, put on my shiny prognostication hat, and peer into the mists of the future. When we build a new credit union web site, we always try to look ahead and build the site for what’s coming next.
It’s a Mostly Mobile World
Some of our credit union web sites are already tipped past the point where 50% of pageviews are mobile devices, and all are well past 40%. You definitely have to pay attention to enhancing the experience for desktop users, but the #1 priority is now mobile users and making touch-friendly interfaces (bigger target areas, fewer mouseovers). It also means taking advantage of the capabilities built in to mobile devices — make phone numbers “tappable”, use Google maps correctly so users can easily start navigating, etc.
Of course, desktops will never go away — screens get bigger and cheaper all the time, and at some point we’ll reach a fairly stable balance point between the percentages of mobile and desktop users.
We’re starting to see a lot less of the “kitchen sink” approach and a lot more acceptance of the “minimal” approach. The idea is to give your members just one “Big Idea” to process when they visit your site or any page on your site. And carry this through every part of the interface and graphic design as well — less visual clutter, more simplicity, more impact. Less is more.
More of the Human Touch
Minimalism doesn’t mean “sterile”. I think we’re going to see less slick and shiny design and more design that reminds users that they’re connecting to real live people, not just a machine. We’ll see illustrations instead of stock photos, lots of humor here and there, lots of color, unusual and interesting photography, natural textures and images.
In general, we’re starting to see and build interfaces that respond more naturally to taps, swipes, and clicks. For example, if you tap a “+” to reveal more, the symbol might spin and then slide out of the way or fade into a “-” symbol instead of just blinking. When you swipe a slide to advance to the next image, the slider “bounces” realistically. When you can use a control, it changes color and “lights up”. Microinteractions are a great way to pull users into an interface, to make an interface feel more “alive” and appealing, and to guide users. I suspect we’re also going to see more of these abilities built in to future HTML and CSS standards.
Everybody Join Hands
“Interoperability” is the word, “playing nice with others” is the general concept. For example, we’re already seeing some online banking vendors loosen up a bit and allow greater flexibility with designing and integrating logins. And it’s just expected nowadays that CRM and email providers will make it as easy as they can to integrate their services into your web site as seamlessly as possible.
What’s your prediction?
Comment below — what’s in your crystal ball? Or what are you hoping for?