caticonslite_bm_altSocially Designed Websites

Social media is everywhere in one form or another, scarily and somewhat unbelievably (sometimes annoyingly), even our parents are starting to get the hang of it.

Increased social adoption has affected everything, from the way people advertise and sell, to the ways in which web design has (and is continually) adapting to new online behaviours.  Website design strategy in relation to social is one area that people don’t seem to be paying attention to yet, with even big brands not taking advantage of best practice and missing opportunities on their channels; is this what their CMS looks like?

Copy Design Mess Pages Content

Design is as fashionable and ever-evolving as the social platforms themselves; so are the tools which developers use to create your beautiful sites and keep them optimised for all eventualities.   Here are some top developer design tools to keep up to date with the latest updates and make sure that your site lasts the test of time:

Geek mode: “From a UX/UI perspective, the tool Sketch, has seen a lot of uptake recently.  It’s a more focused tool designed specifically for designing webpages / apps.  It’s quick and easy to use and perfect for what we do here at Graphic Alliance.

There’s been a move over the past couple of years, to quick prototyping to test designs by building simple versions of sites.  There are also tools being released now, which turn flat design into simple prototypes for beta testing.  Web based program Invision is great for this.  

Invision and Sketch compliment each other and will soon release tools to allow prototyping to be done more quickly and seamlessly.  These are rapidly becoming the standard for developer design toolkits.   Adobe obviously noticed this and are now planning on releasing a program that does the exact same things that Sketch and Invision aim to do. “ 

-You heard it here first.  Get it right, test and go!

Social Design & Iconography

Business web pages are more frequently promoting social channels in different places, depending on the industry.  Icons have been historically important since before the human race could even write and still continue to do so on our websites today.  ‘Shareability’ for growth now means that websites have social icons not only where the company has a presence, but where the audience may too (like WhatsApp).  

What happens when they click and then your social page is inactive / has no valuable information?  

(You contact us of course) ;)

Facebook Social Mobile s-commerce

Design Personalisation

Social is now the most interactive marketplace on the Internet (s-commerce), giving people the opportunity to customise look and feel to match their identity to all digital assets.

Matching your Facebook fan page, Instagram or Twitter profile to your web design achieves consistency in how people perceive you.  Good branding is good business sense. 

Social Ad Design

Social channels restrict posts to audiences to ‘encourage’ companies to pay to reach their fans and beyond, with customisable, targeted paid ads.  For example, Facebook commands this behaviour because their active users are over 1.41 billion.  Due to this, big and small companies drive ads to social media with a main focus of perfect ad (and web) design.

Impressive ads gain more clicks which in turn increases effectiveness.   New ad platforms appear and innovate all the time, and getting your ads (which drive through to your site with one click) in front of the right people (with targeting), is becoming easier than ever.  This is growing revenues in social channels as companies see social becoming a better referrer of traffic from Google Analytics.  Good ad design can generate more leads, increasing the return on investments.  More creativity and better design can be used for other ad content – like banners and branded memes – which will come in useful even if you are battling a goliath.

Arm Wrestle David and Goliath Money Paid Winning

Design Interactivity

Due to the success of social media, (social mobile use increased 17% , mobile surfing increased 4% as the total number of internet users increased 10% globally, since Jan 2015*) more creatively designed websites have emerged to make home / landing pages more interactive and interesting.  Designers optimise sites to load smoothly across devices with increased interactivity to encourage engagements and revisits.  (See more on last week’s blog on Google’s AMP update)

Optimised Image Design

Social makes sharing content easy and images are more engaging than text.  A picture is worth a thousand words and is open to wider interpretation, especially when optimised for each platform.  Good websites follow this rule and optimise more welcoming images and videos above the fold to entice visitors – responsively of course!  

Warning gratuitous self-promo below:

Screen optimisation for social sharing increases ecommerce

Flaunt It

Now you’ve seen the importance and updated your look and feel, how do you add social sharing icons to your new dynamic web design to get your content out there?  Here are the 4 keys to getting it right.

  • Give people the opportunity to follow you on their favourite channels

By placing icons of the social media channels you have, you can allow the user to choose from the ones that they use and find out more about you. The location of social icons changes, depending on industry, and can be found on the side of pages, at the top or in the footer.

Visibility is key if you want people to follow and interact with you elsewhere. Calls-to-action can encourage people to ‘like’, ‘follow’ or ‘share’ you.

  • Allow social logins

Make it easier for people to connect with you and take the paperwork out of data capture.  This creates an internal community and share personalised content to further connect with them.

  • Be responsive

Social is mostly mobile orientated, so when your community click through, your fresh new content is delivered in a consumable way.  By having your site designed complementary to social users from code to content, the whole experience will only boost performance and success. 

Replacing your boring (sorry) static homepage with variable content that links (SEO always) from multiple sources like third party, blog or social feeds.

  • Be interesting

Host content that people will love and want to share.  No ideas?  Contact us.  <http://www.graphicalliance.co.uk/contact-us/> Make it easy by embedding the sharing icons on relevant pages, especially on information and product pages.

Video is hot right now and can have a great impact on people’s decisions, which is why sites are capitalising on this new content medium.  To give more value to visitors, show people to your ‘social assets’ within your site by:

  • Embedding videos from Vimeo<link> or YouTube<link>
  • YouTube is owned by Google and can potentially boost your search ranking, especially if you have external comments and reviews

Our Conclusion

It is more than good sense to integrate social platforms to your site if your content is user-friendly and have your pages ready for wherever the user ends up.  Your content and communications strategy should add value and be available to lead people back to your site.  That way your parents may share 

Cute dog in a blanket, pug, design free image

*Source: WeAreSocial

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