2013 Web Review
by Bob Burch
Now that 2013 in the can I thought it would be good to review some of the changes and evolution that has happened in the world wide web during the past year as well as take a look at what’s ahead. In this article we’ll look at 2013 and in a followup article we’ll take a look at what’s coming.
2013 Was All About Mobile
In 2013 we saw a continuing rise in mobile device usage. Smartphones and tablets have become even more ingrained in our lives. 84% of smartphone owners use smartphone apps just to help them get ready in the morning. In November 2013, depending on the survey, mobile devices accounted for 28- 59% of all web traffic. That’s up to a 67% increase from 2012. It is predicted that this year mobile website visitors will begin to outnumber desktop visitors. Many companies are already seeing it.
Responsive Design and Mobile Compatibility
Responsive Design is a way of building websites so that automatically adjust their layout based on the screen they are viewed on. In late 2011 and throughout 2012 responsive design was still in its infancy, but because of the increase of mobile usage and the convenience of having just one website vs. a mobile site and desktop site, responsive design has quickly become a standard in website development. If you don't have a mobile compatible site you're late in the game. Even if you can’t go all out responsive, which I would recommend, there are other options that can be considered for gaining a mobile presence.
Flat and Minimal
Mobile has changed how websites are designed and built. Responsive websites take more time to build and require more thought and planning during the design process. As a result the trend to simplify websites with flatter colors and less overall design emerged in 2013. Keeping a website simple makes it more “future proof” and easier to adjust for different screen sizes. It also helps visitors get to a site's content more quickly. Website’s have also started to simplify content using less words with more meaning. We are all less patient online and have come to expect the getting information we want without little effort.
Flash is Gone
Apple's choice not to incorporate Flash in its mobile devices on the first iPhone brought the beginning of the end for Flash in website design. With the rise of HTML5 video and improved online video formats 2013 saw the end of end of Flash. If your site includes Flash, it's time to replace the Flash components with a contemporary alternative. If your site relies heavily on Flash it's time for a new site. A large percent of your visitors can't view your website at all!
Email is one of the least expensive and most effective ways of marketing a business. Just like websites, email marketing and design took on many of the same trends. By September 2013 mobile email opens hit 50%. Email designs have become more simplified with the mobile user in mind. Good emails now focused on just one or two topics and are designed to be quickly understood without having to do a lot of reading.
Social media continued to grow in 2013. Facebook stayed on top dominating social media usage with roughly 1.2 billion users, while pinboard style photo sharing site, Pinterest, overtook Twitter. Twitter released Vine, a short video sharing platform and Instagram added the ability to take and share short video as well. We are indeed becoming more visually oriented and our social usage supports this.
Video on the Rise
In the month of July 2013 alone, 48 billion online videos were viewed. A picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a billion. Video is a great way to tell the story of your company and explain your products or services. Keep in mind, just like people don't like read a lot of text, most don't have the time or attention span to watch a 10 minute video. Keep them short and to the point.
The Take Away
If you get anything out of this article, get these three things:
- The web is mobile
- The web is getting more visual and concise because people don't have time and attention spans
- The web is more ingrained in our lives than ever before
Stay tuned for my next article. We’ll review some of the great new technologies emerging, new standards that are being created and some of the business challenges come along with them.