2012 brought a new outlook on web design.  With the affordability of smartphones, web designers have been thinking more about the mobile experience than ever before.  We also took a step forward in the familiarity of websites.  Two years ago one goal of web sites was to look unique from another.  Now it seems most people like a website that seems familiar (most of these being a custom wordpress design) so they feel comfortable.

Netmagaine.com predicted that web design this year will be more complicated than previous years, particularly from the availability of smartphones.  Smartphones have been out on the market for more than four years, and they’ve become incredibly affordable.  This means that not only do actors and CEOs own a smartphone, but your twelve year old niece probably does too.  What does this mean for your web design?  Chew on this:

“Just because a site can shrink in size, that doesn’t mean all the information is equally valuable on desktop and mobile. The type of information users interact with needs to adjust as fluidly as the size of the site itself.”–Erin Jo Richy, Flat Frog Design

As we adjusted our web designs for smartphones, we must adjust our web designs for tablets.

The great thing about tablets is you have more space and functionality.  When you’re designing your website for a tablet you have more freedom with typography, flash, and functionality.  The trick is to find a design which translates seamlessly between your customer’s desktop, to her tablet, then finally to her smartphone.  Keeping it simple will keep her engaged.

Now visit your website.  What’s your first reaction?  Do you know what story you’re telling?  If it’s unclear to you, it’s unclear to your customers.

The story of your website should unfold clearly to what you’re selling.  Most likely your website is trying to sell something.  So your story should be about what you’re selling.  You may be selling a product, a service, an idea or old tires but if you have a website you’re trying to sell something.  Being clear about what your selling will help your viewers turn into customers.

Finally…let’s talk about familiarity.

Remember that all of your potential customers are humans.  Most humans are pack creatures.  We enjoy being social, we like traveling in groups, and we trust places us that remind us of our home or a good time in our lives.  This may be why so many websites these days are a variation on a simple theme.  This is also why most websites these days are designed on WordPress.

We love WordPress and it seems to be the platform of the year.  More and more sites are using wordpress because its easy to include a lot of information with a singular concept.  It also allows your customers to navigate quickly and simply through your site, creating less steps for you to sell.  Not only that, they’ll trust you.  When you let people know they’re in good hands, they’ll trust you.  Treat your customers well and they’ll treat you well.  This should be at the core of all great web design.