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Lots of publishers reveal their annual web design trends at the end of the year.
I thought I'd be different and conduct a meta-study, bringing you what I consider to be the most cogent predictions from across the web.
Hopefully that means this is the only trends post you'll need this year. So, put your feet up and read on, as we explore the larger trends, to the finer detail.
The concept behind a call to action is simple: you ask somebody to do something, whether it’s to buy a product or sign up to an email list, or even just to read a blog post.
Essentially you are giving somebody a nudge in the right direction, like a 21st century version of the guy in the shop saying, ‘Are you ready to pay for that, sir?’
There are many factors that can influence the design of your call-to-action and it’s certainly a feature that benefits from extensive testing and tweaking.
An effective CTA should leave the shopper in no doubt about the next step they need to take to add an item to their basket, complete a purchase etc.
To achieve this, they need to catch the user's attention, and eyetracking is a great way to measure the effectiveness of different CTA designs.
Thanks to Luke Hay, Research and UX Director at noporkpies, we have some useful tests on CTA design for you...
Sports Direct is brilliant. Ok, it had some problems last year as its reputation took a blow thanks to the retailer’s use of zero hour contracts, but on the sales front, it’s flying along.
New stores are opening, other sports retailers are being battered into submission and 2,000 staff members are to receive a cool £100k bonus after profits climbed by 40% to £200m last year.
With 12 languages and 10 currency options, the Sports Direct website should continue to aid the company's growing profits.
The website has been praised in many quarters. It’s certainly easy to use and strongly conveys the brand’s identity.
Visiting the site I was struck by just how good its calls to action are, and how easy it is to get around (unlike their stores). I thought I’d round up a few of the best bits.
Enjoy them in all their enormous garish glory. I think they’re part of a growing lust for simplicity that is driving web design forward.
When a customer decides to add an item to their basket, what should an e-commerce site do? Should it allow them to continue shopping, send them straight to the shopping basket page, or provide the choice?
This may depend on the type of website, but there is a balance to be struck between encouraging the customer to complete the purchase as quickly as possible, and making it easy to add extra items.
I've been looking at several websites to look at button design, the language used on calls to action, and the transition between a customer adding items and the checkout process.
Call to action buttons need to jump out at the shopper and leave them in no doubt about the next step they need to take to make a purchase.
Visitors can have low attention spans, and an effective call to action which catches the customer's eye can make it clear what the next step should be.
There is no definitive answer on which buttons work best, so it is important to test different combinations of colour, button size, wording and placement to see what is most effective.
As a general rule though, if it doesn’t stand out clearly on the page, there is room for improvement.
Here are some tips on designing and displaying calls to action...
Appliances Online has been making some improvements to its product pages recently, and has let me in on the process and the results, which includes a 9.5% jump in sales.
With the help of videos showing users interacting with the product pages, the retailer was able to both identify improvements, and check that they had the desired effect.
The use of search calls to action is becoming increasingly common in offline advertising. Big brands are using mediums such as press and TV in order to push people to search engines by asking them to search for specific keywords rather than visit a website or phone a dedicated number.
Like most marketing techniques there is an argument for and against adopting this approach, and Renault's latest 'Megane Experiment' campaign shows how brands can get it wrong.
If you want to do online marketing well, you need to get the basics right, and few things are more important than writing effective landing pages.
While looking for ideas for my summer holiday recently, I looked at the Eurostar website, and was disappointed by the poor user experience.
I've listed ten areas where Eurostar could improve online, and which would have a positive effect on its conversion rates...
Shopping basket/cart links and icons need to catch the attention of shoppers, and should help them to find the link to review the contents and make a purchase.
There are a number of ways of displaying the basket link, from a simple text link to permanent basket icon showing the contents and total value. I've been looking at a few examples from a selection of UK etailers...