Conversion Rate Optimization

4 Design Trends To Test In 2015

We all probably heard friends at a New Year’s party proclaim ‘New Year, New You’ as they took another sip of champaign. Hopefully they aren’t your site design manager, because an untested radical change could lead to dire consequences!

The radical redesign gets a lot of hate from an opposing school of thought: evolutionary design. Evolutionary design is the process of making smaller tweaks to your web page to optimize within your current template/framework. Essentially you want to focus on tweaking individual elements to avoid confusing visitors with a brand new web page.

Evolutionary design is an iterative process that optimization experts and testers have mastered. However, it is foolish to think that evolutionary design is the only way to make changes on a page. You will eventually hit some kind of local maximum, where the little tweaks won’t work anymore. As design paradigms shift, it is important to stay with the times!

This is why radical redesigns are absolutely crucial for your strategy.

So before you apply the ‘New Year, New You’ mantra to your page – make sure to test out these designs before launch! Even better, make the radical redesign a part of your core strategy, think innovate with a radical redesign – then iterate with the evolutionary process.

Here are some trending design ideas to try out this year!

1. Parallax

parallax

Parallax actually came from old 2d video games that helped to give animation depth by having a slower background image moving screen than the foreground. Parallax has become a cool design trick, that when used appropriately, can increase the user experience.

Parallax is a useful way to develop ‘story’ style content that eventually leads to a final call to action. Think of the standard micro-site, just a lot sexier. Other major perks include increasing engagement, encourages scroll, and increases time on site. Notice, that all of the perks are mainly engagement oriented; parallax can be a tactic that hurts conversion – so test it!

Maybe you are trying to increase engagement on your site, or you are the embodiment of content marketing and constantly want to tell a story. If that is you, there are some other downsides to parallax to keep in mind.

  • Parallax may hurt SEO scores, since the main content is on a single scrolling page.
  • Parallax can hurt load times.
  • Parallax isn’t compatible with responsive or mobile sites.

2. Mega Image & Mega Videos

The mega image and mega video background is a trend that has been on the rise since early 2014. I’ve seen some major testing wins by companies who implement the mega image on their homepage and landing page (click here to see a few).

The mega image is just as it sounds, a page with a large background image with all content placed on top. Here is an example on Wistia’s homepage:

Wistia-Home

Remember when we were told to embrace white space and then we all did it? Well white space isn’t as effective as it once was, so don’t cling to this maxim and test out a mega image landing page.

3. Personalized User Experience

Screenshot_14

Anyone familiar with my work shouldn’t be surprised by this pick. In my 2015 prediction post, I talked a lot about the benefits of personalization. This is less of a radical redesign and more of a evolutionary design tactic. A personalized category page that shows products the visitor has already viewed but didn’t purchase will be an entirely different experience than a default category page.

If you are in ecommerce and looking to supercharge your site – this might be the evolutionary design tactic to test out first! You could take a page out of Netflix’s, YouTube’s, and Amazon’s book by adding a ‘Recently Viewed’ product section to remind visitors of products they viewed.

4. Microinteractions

This is another obvious pick. Microinteractions are the nice way of discussing things like overlays and pop-ups. The general public reports that they ‘hate’ overlays, but that is because they are used inappropriately. Don’t just add an overlay to your page, make sure to try out different triggers so you can launch a microinteraction with the right content, for the right person, at the right time.

Take a look at this awesome microinteraction on Wayfair – an overlay that isn’t a marketing message Oh.My.God

Wayfair-Micro

Overlays and microinteractions can both increase leads/sales for websites and improve the user experience. It’s all a matter of how you do it – learn how in my overlay post!

Regardless of the design trend you attempt in 2015, remember one very simple thing:

Your Pages Must Be Responsive Or Your Competition Wins

So try some new designs, or keep your own. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you test it before you make it live.

Happy Testing!

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