These days, setting up and publishing a new website is easy to do and can be done in just a matter of minutes. While this sounds like good news, it isn’t always the be...
These days, setting up and publishing a new website is easy to do and can be done in just a matter of minutes. While this sounds like good news, it isn’t always the best route to go for many businesses because such websites aren’t always optimised to attract the right visitors and ultimately convert them to customers.
In addition, it’s important to stay ahead of competitors by making sure your business stands out to your target audience and in search engine results. By doing so, web traffic to your website will noticeably increase as your conversions follow suit.
A website should not only be aesthetically pleasing design-wise, but should be functional and versatile. Below is a list of the top digital design best practices for 2021 we believe will catapult your business to greater visibility and success.
When visitors click on your website, they shouldn’t struggle to find anything they are looking for. All the website’s elements need to be intuitive and logical, from headings and graphics to drop-down menus.
Always try to view your website through the eyes of a first-time visitor. Is everything located where you could expect it to be? Are you able to keep track of which part of the website you are? With all the competition that’s out there, a visitor will simply move on if they see your website as too complex to navigate.
Keeping things consistent in digital design goes a long way in maintaining your brand identity. Customers associate a website’s brand with certain colours, logos and messaging. Make sure this is the case when people visit your website.
This doesn’t only hold true for design elements. The content also needs to have a consistent tone and value proposition. Having colours or content that are inconsistent creates confusion and that is something you want to avoid at all costs.
Calls-to-action (CTAs) need to be clear and be seen by a visitor on first look. This can be achieved through a CTA button which lets them know where to go or what action to take next. Customers don’t need to return to your website at a later stage in order to convert.
Also, your CTA has to be big, visible and available on the majority of your pages, not just the home page. It must stand out on the page it’s on, by having less elements around it.
Storytelling is one of the best ways of communicating powerful messages. In web design, it can be a conduit to deliver a message into the mind of the visitor: that they should buy your product or service.
It’s important to tell a story as this reinforces consistency, while keeping readers engaged. Having facts without a good story to follow makes them lose interest and move on to something better. Your website needs to follow a logical order that ultimately leads the visitor to your CTA or contact information.
Page visitors don’t want to be bombarded with a barrage of text, graphics and colours, such that they don’t know where to look first. It’s an important part of telling a story to only display essential information by eliminating any unnecessary text or graphics.
Keep text to a minimum by using fewer words, shorter sentences, shorter paragraphs and bullet points. Always use good content writing techniques that deliver your point across with as little words as possible and direct you to where you need to go next.
Just about half of all website traffic comes from mobile users. It’s a no-brainer why your website needs to be mobile-friendly to cater to this group of visitors. In fact, many developers have even gone a step further and are mobile-first.
The main advantage of creating responsive websites through mobile search engine optimisation (SEO) is that it raises their ranking on search engine results. This means that more people will be able to view your website regardless of the device they are using.
SEO is undeniably one of the major and most popular best practices when it comes to digital design; every web designer has no option but to make it a priority. Always make sure that your website has relevant keywords that users typically input in search engines.
By using dynamic content, you can appeal to all possible visitors with various interests within your target market. By paying attention to tags, descriptions, sitemaps and using shorter URLs, your website can rank higher in search results.
We live in a world where not all individuals possess the same abilities that enable them to successfully navigate a website. With 15% of the world having some form of disability, it’s necessary to make sure your website can accommodate their needs.
Simple changes can be made to websites, such as by enabling keyboard-only support. This is particularly useful for individuals with motor impairments. You could also increase access to those with visual impairments by using contrasting colours.
This ties well with “less is more” due to the fact that websites with complex graphics take longer to load, which sends visitors off in search of greener pastures. A Google study noted that sites lose 53% of their visitors if they take more than three seconds to load—You don’t want that.
Web developers should prioritise file compression (particularly for media), using prefetching, and removing unnecessary fonts, CSS and JS files. Another upside is that your SEO rankings will be higher if your page loads faster.
A/B or split testing shows two different versions of a web page to different audiences, then compares them to find out which one performs better, with a certain goal in mind. It helps to find out what works and what doesn’t.
This should be a continual process as your target users’ needs are constantly evolving. By focusing on noticeably popular web elements, you can increase website conversions. Besides, analytics are always welcome when it comes to design.
So here’s our CTA too
At Digital Grind, we offer bespoke digital design services for platforms, websites and web apps, encompassing user interface and user experience design techniques. We can give your brand a facelift using the best practices mentioned above, to turn customer success into advocacy. Talk to us!
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Technology has been evolving rapidly over the past few decades at an extraordinary speed most of us never thought possible. Technology currently has infinite uses and has impacted and improved the lives of global citizens, whether at home, work, in classrooms or leisure activities.
During 2020, businesses had to come face-to-face with the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects it had on all our livelihoods. For some, going through an intense digital transformation was the only way to allow employees to work remotely and maintain productivity in response to the lockdowns restrictions.
Software developers were at the forefront of this change, and their teams had to start incorporating functionality that enabled social engagement. Some of them had their work cut out for them, having to quickly adapt in such an agile environment to their customers' new and growing needs.
Now that we’re in 2021, more people have grown to appreciate the importance of software development. There are a number of trends that have been seen in the software development industry. We’ll discuss some of these below and the future outlook.
The increasing demand for digital solutions by businesses around the globe meant companies had to hire developers to transform their business models, particularly through e-commerce. Developers increased in demand by 25% between 2019 and 2020, and job portals around the globe are continuing to see a rapid recruitment boom.
While other industries and sectors started to teeter on the brink of collapse, software development continued on an upward trend during the pandemic. This trend is expected to continue over the next decade as new opportunities continue to come out of this industry.
In fact, what is evident is that developers who upskill themselves in various emerging technologies will benefit most from this trend. The top skills that will be in demand going into the future will be IT automation, and AI and machine learning. With the number of tech startups also on an upward trend, the future looks promising for software development.
Due to the pandemic, businesses everywhere were forced to both digitise and digitalise. Software developers had to respond to this call and became more flexible by collaborating on projects more remotely than ever before.
Where developers were used to running projects mostly in person, they had to now adapt to a hybrid work approach. This has seen a reduction in meeting lengths as teams aim to become more efficient in the wake of increasing workloads.
Things are constantly changing, as the year 2020 has shown. This has necessitated the use of an agile approach on workstreams. With the emerging in-demand coding skills, self-teaching is becoming another major trend in the industry to keep up with the rapid transformation.
As software teams are now working remote-first, most development projects have now moved to the cloud, incorporating social and collaborative tools. Value stream management software will help drive agility right now and going forward. The cloud computing market is forecast to grow 18% in 2021, with the trend set to continue over the next five years.
The focus on cloud-native skills will gain more importance going into the future and this will be supported by virtual colocation infrastructure which allows for scalability to cope with the increased agility. The scalability offered by the Cloud is allowing developers to adjust to ever changing demand.
Sectors such as tourism, travel and hospitality experienced reduced demand. Scalability allowed some to reduce their server needs without bearing the full costs of a physical data centre.
Agility and the shift to cloud infrastructure has led to an increased demand for full-stack developers to support the flexibility requirements and increasing software development needs. If you haven’t already migrated to the Cloud, then this is the best time to start looking at some options that can benefit your organisation.
As organisations scrambled to adopt digital solutions in 2020, developers were left with higher workload. This led to an increase in low-code products that could be quickly deployed and free up developer capacity.
These low-code solutions are easily scalable and components can be reused on multiple clients. This is particularly useful given that the demand for developers is surpassing the ability of recruiters to fill vacancies. One example of these solutions is the Bubble platform.
Low-code and no-code allow for rapid development and deployment of web apps primarily. People with great ideas will benefit mostly from these developments, speeding up their implementation. Going forward, this market segment is expected to continue on a positive uptick, powered by the Cloud.
Trends currently show that AI and machine learning will be at the forefront of software development automation going into the future. This will particularly be of benefit in test automation, helping to identify problems faster through natural language processing.
AI helps make more informed decisions as it can provide predictive analytics, ultimately improving user experience. You may need to start thinking whether you think you might need to find a software developer to help incorporate AI to speed up business processes and get ahead of your competition.
What is certain is that 5G was one of the most talked about topics in 2020, mostly for all the wrong reasons. Now that the dust has mostly settled, 5G is set to contribute to the rapid growth of software solutions.
5G is expected to have a 15% share of the global mobile industry by 2025. The outstanding speeds that can be achieved using this mobile technology, among several benefits, provide endless possibilities for developers.
For those looking to incorporate AR and VR in their business, the speeds provided by 5G will be a perfect fit as they are resource-intensive technologies. In addition, the growing trends of progressive web apps and IoT will continue in 2021 and beyond. Their development and use will be enhanced even further by 5G technology.
The technology trends we witnessed starting in 2020 are expected to continue to grow in the long run. One thing for sure is that life will never be the same again as before the pandemic.
Are you future-looking and thinking of jumping onto one of these trends for your business? If you were searching for software development experts, then look no further. Whether it’s app or web development, e-commerce solutions, AR and VR, or getting insights from your data, to name a few, talk to Digital Grind. We’ve got you covered.
Digital transformation has become one of the most talked about topics in the last few years. But what does it really mean? What are the key areas where digital transformation is happening? How can you be sure that your business is ready for the changes ahead?
Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to fast track their IT strategies which is evidenced by an increase in global spending. It was reported that IT spending is set to reach 4.1 trillion in 2021, up 8.4% in 2020.
It is something that every business needs to consider or you’ll get left behind and suffer the consequences. But should anyone really be spending so much on their IT? Let’s find out.
Digital transformation is the process of taking your traditional business and using digital technology to modernize it and make it more efficient. It’s a trend that’s happening in every industry, from media to healthcare.
Many businesses no longer prefer the traditional business model and want to adopt technology that will help them sell more, move faster, and solve customer problems in an easier way. Some of them are using Big Data and AI to shape how they do their business and what tools they use.
Research found that 23% of surveyed companies had little to no dependence on digital technologies in some shape or form. The rest are either fully digital or use a hybrid approach. The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to digital transformation’s necessity.
But how can businesses adapt and meet the expectations of their clients? Here’s what you need to think about.
Digital technology entails many changes to how your business works. It will require a lot of resources, like manpower, software and hardware, as well as the different infrastructure needed to operate these tools.
As many businesses use multiple IT systems, it will be crucial for them to have the right infrastructure to meet the changes and make the digital transformation work efficiently.
Companies that are facing digital transformation should aim to make data-driven decisions that improve their business performance. When it comes to data analytics, it can play a major role in taking your business to the next level.
As an example, Netflix digitizes its audiovisual data in order to make it accessible all over the world. In addition, it’s using Big Data to analyze everything that its subscribers watch, using those insights to inform its business strategy.
The same can be said about creating value in every part of your company. Analytics can help you identify how to improve customer service, better adapt your marketing campaigns, and create better customer experiences.
The analytics side of business includes data from A/B testing, customer insights, and social listening. It’s evident that data is at the core of influencing business decisions today.
In order to make data-driven decisions, it’s worth studying your customers’ behaviors across different channels. Track down where they are seeing the most friction or unhappiness around your digital marketing efforts and put processes in place to address it.
One study found that almost 90% of respondents were expecting a digital disruption of some sort. However, less than half could actually say they were ready for this change.
Whether you like it or not, digital transformation is going to impact your business somehow. So how can you prepare for this?
It’s appropriate to start thinking about transformation with collaborative brands, such as Spotify. Here’s why. Sure, Spotify is a music streaming platform, but it also helps you create podcasts, listen to music, watch videos and play games.
Brands, such as Netflix, pride themselves in what they stand for. The company has pulled off a successful digital transformation through collaborative marketing and digital tools.
Collaborative marketing is good business because everyone wins. The biggest win though is that Netflix gained insight into where its users were spending their money and why, so it created its own place.
That insight is priceless, and this is why cultural brands are being actively guarded and developed. Perhaps you remember the first cultural brand you started to work for or one that you realized you could use your creativity to promote? In each and every case, you are helping others realize their career goals.
Companies know that collaborating with other cultural brands is a good investment. From that point on, the collaborations get bigger and better.
It’s important to embrace technology so that you can continue to succeed in your business. If you own a real estate brokerage, for example, you’ll need to use the Internet to market your business, to communicate with your clients, stay competitive, and to find new listings.
The Zillow Group bookmarked certain areas of the Internet where they’re creating new opportunities for the real estate industry. Besides, such sites’ popularity continues to grow, and they can help up-and-coming real estate businesses jump start their digital strategies sooner than is normally possible.
The new technology trends worth your attention include smarter searches, intelligent personal assistants, user-aided home automation, and new forms of cloud-based interactivity. Want to be a part of this movement? Then start doing on-page SEO to make sure that people are finding your business when they need it.
Big-box stores, for example, have started increasing the use of self-checkouts, zero-contact security, screenless entrances, and high-speed internet to serve patrons through the COVID-19 outbreak. In sum, the grocery industry has added high-tech ways to serve its customers in times of high demand.
Since such trends are expected to continue, many real estate transactions might take place online if market participants play their cards right.
Intelligent personal assistants can do much more than help computers with repetitive tasks. They can take the user’s orders and turn them into reality.
For example, smart refrigerators can be programmed to return milk late in the day so it doesn’t go to waste. Digital transformations are happening at a rapid pace, and you need to be sure that your business is ready to take advantage of the changes ahead.
Today, we live in a digital world where the Internet and social media have changed the way we live and work. Digital transformations are happening at a rapid pace, and you need to be sure that your business is ready to take advantage of the changes ahead.
Following these steps will help you see the benefits of these digital transformations. And the most important responsibility is to be ready to make these changes for your business.
Digital transformation cannot be achieved in a vacuum. It also requires the constant changing of business models and having a strong team in place to help you run the entirety of the race. Here are a few things to consider for if and when you decide to embark on your digital transformation journey.
Be prepared. In times of crisis, consumers rush to buy the products and services that retain their loyalty and high price. Make sure that what you sell is of high quality, has a perfect fit for your consumer, and solves a problem.
Digital transformation is an inevitable part of any business or organisation’s operational strategy in the 21st century. It’s been established that this is a necessary endeavour that requires preparation and embracing of technology as you focus on the four aspects.
Digital Grind knows all about your digital transformation journey and is well endowed with the necessary expertise that can take you through this journey. Speak to us to learn about some of the digital solutions your organisation can put in your arsenal.
Often, a big decision when starting a new software project is whether or not to outsource development or simply do it in-house. The most common reason for this concern to pop up is that companies have heard about bad experiences from friends or colleagues, or they’ve experienced it themselves.
After all, working with third parties can come with its challenges. But as with everything in life, proper planning prevents poor performance - and this applies to outsourcing tasks as much as it does to anything else.
How does this dilemma come about?
Upgrading software is a critical task for any modern business and can improve a company’s productivity by as much as 50%. Apart from this, new systems are more adaptable and have better security, a key factor in today’s data landscape.
According to Norton, one of the most used antivirus softwares in the world, new software and upgrades can help get rid of old flaws. Hackers and cybercriminals are constantly getting better and you should too, to make sure your company’s data and systems are safe and efficient.
In the same breath, companies don’t always have the resources to allocate time and internal spend to technical projects and need support, to a greater or lesser degree.
Every situation and every upgrade is different. It is vital for you to do a thorough analysis of your project, plan out your goals and timeline before deciding who’s going to be responsible for the task of upgrading - and to what extent they’re involved. Key decision-makers should ask themselves:
What is the scope of the upgrade or new development?
The most important question to find an answer to when upgrading your software is why you are doing it. The key objectives you use as a mark, serve as vital information for the development team, and can help you figure out priority and critical areas for development. This will impact the level of resources you need to continue and give you a basis for understanding when and what you can get help with.
Do you have the skillset, internally - and is it your core competency?
Sit down with your team and find out if they have the ability to develop the best possible software.
Building software is a complex process and the benefit of having an outside company is they can have access and knowledge on the latest technology that is being used. (Maxxor Blog) However, many companies don’t have in-house development teams because of the cost or demand for that kind of work on a monthly basis.
On the other hand, some companies do software development for other brands, as their core service offering and this presents an ethical and logistical dilemma. When a skill is your company’s core competency, outsourcing this skill makes your business vulnerable. In these cases, it’s best to enlist temporary or supporting development, rather than putting an entirely separate team on the project.
Do you have capacity?
Does your team have the ability and capacity to do this work while continuing to service your company on a daily basis? Very few businesses can afford a software team solely for building new products. This means that they are constantly dividing their time between your upgrades and their daily tasks.
Your team may have the skills and the experience to get this job done but do they have the capacity with everything else going on? If yes, then you could think about doing it in-house as a priority - even if the cost is higher than that of partnering with other developers. If no, then it may be more effective to look at outsourcing the work to some extent.
Is your internal infrastructure set up for partnerships?
Agility in the software world is key and can help create environments where partnering with service providers is easier. Without the right communications and data-sharing infrastructure, it will be a complex task to plug in new teams and can create a myriad of challenges when working with freelancers or other organizations.
If your internal infrastructure is not geared up for remote and collaborative working, you’re going to have a problem. In these instances, you need to factor in the costs of creating this environment, although the benefits can be two-fold for your business. If you can’t do this, starting in-house may be a more viable option.
What is your budget?
Budget constraints play a major role when going into a new project. And while the face value of one option may be cheaper, you need to take into account the cost of mistakes, setbacks, and not reaching the goals you want to achieve. Besides that, the training and infrastructure costs internally can add up fast and need to be considered.
It may seem cheaper to hire more staff but will you have work for them after this project is done? Further to that S&C says “Businesses cut down their development costs up to 50-60% when they turn to an outsourcing company”.
Typically, there is a lesser risk and cost associated with outsourcing, as you are not bound to permanently employ developers and not responsible for the overheads associated with third parties, however, in cases where they are too far removed from your team, you are likely to incur quality control and time costs.
Who can you outsource to?
There are many companies that offer software development services, but quality and competency are two important considerations. At Digital Grind, we’ve got an established team of digital experts who understand the software and user experience design landscape.
For example, we recently worked on a project with Moro Hub where we built a platform with an A-grade standard of accessibility. In that instance, the infrastructure existed for us to work together as a team and the result was an exciting new platform that could help Moro grow their brand awareness and continue to evolve. Their feedback? "Digital Grind developed our company's website, and they have done an excellent job. They developed a website that was more than our expectation and it is AAA accessible. They were very cooperative and accommodating; their flexibility in amending changes to meet our different stakeholder's requests was exceptional."
So, there are definitely instances where partnering or outsourcing your development can be beneficial to you and your organization. However, considering the checklist above, you will need the right processes and environment to make this achievable and should be aware of your core competencies - and the impact that outsourcing can have on your brand and clients.
When it’s not your game, it’s best to handoff to an all-star team. Speak to us