By Legal Futures Associate Moore Legal Technology
For many of us, the last year has gone in the blink of an eye. As lockdowns have come and gone, there has been a sense of limbo both personally and professionally. While time may have stood still, technology hasn’t. And neither have web design trends. If anything, the last year has accelerated our familiarity with, expectations of, and reliance on technology and the internet.
What web design trends will dominate 2021 and beyond? This article looks at what we can expect.
Every second counts – pagespeed is key
One of the most important website features is pagespeed. Quick loading has been an essential factor in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and User Experience for years, and will continue to be a priority.
How many times have you abandoned a site that loaded more slowly than you thought it would?
Research shows that:
- around half of all users will leave if a page isn’t fully loaded on their mobile device within 10 seconds.
- On desktop devices, 40% will abandon a website that takes more than THREE SECONDS to load!
- 47% expect the page to load within 2 seconds or less.
While these statistics are more relevant to eCommerce, it can be applied to law firms: A 1-second delay can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. What would an extra 7% revenue do for your firm?
Practical Tip: You can use Google’s pagespeed insights tool to check how quickly your site loads.
Accessibility and inclusivity – catering to everyone
As device companies cater to the needs of differently-abled users, so too must websites. Having a site that everyone can read & navigate is not just good customer service – it can boost SEO, conversions & thus revenue. A website that is easy to read, navigable and intuitive serves everyone of every ability, and not only that, it creates a positive image of your firm.
In fact, when we’re given an initial brief by clients, the most common adjectives are “clean”, “easy to read”, “east to navigate”. What does this mean?
In practice it means:
- High contrast between text and background.
- Good use of font, font size and weight
- Appropriate use of white space
- Use of focus indicators (i.e. links changing on mouseover)
- Appropriate calls to action, labelling & instructions (i.e. arrow buttons on sliders)
- Good use of micro-interactions (subtle movement as elements are interacted with)
All of these features are part and parcel of a modern website AND they increase usability for people of every ability.
Practical Tip: You can use the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool to check how accessible your website is.
Interactivity – keeping users engaged
Whenever we visit a website for a practical purpose, we expect to be able to carry out an action of some sort – to make a purchase (or even to design the product we’re purchasing), to calculate a price (of a mortgage for example) or to set an appointment. This is one area where law firms lag behind other professional services industries such as estate agencies, healthcare, banks and insurance. Generally, on most of those websites, you can carry out some practical action. Whether this is to calculate a cost, book an appointment or make a purchase, the interactive content is now (almost always) there.
Some stats back this up:
- 91% of B2B buyers say they prefer interactive and visual content to static content
- Interactive content generates twice as many conversions as passive content
- 88% of B2B marketers are embracing interactive content.
Examples of interactive content include:
Practical Tip: Here is a useful list of tools to create interactive content without any knowledge of coding or web design.
Minimalism – keep it super simple
We’re all familiar with minimalist design by now. Apple and others have pioneered the minimalist, simplistic look in design for more than 20 years now. The hallmarks are white space and “flat” design. Most website builders (1&1, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly etc) have flat design ‘baked in’ to their templates and the world’s foremost ecommerce site, Shopify, wholeheartedly embraces the minimal aesthetic.
Again, as this type of design becomes a trend, users will expect it. And be turned off if they don’t find it.
Practical Tip: this one should be relatively obvious, but if you are unsure, you can check how “modern” your website is by looking at when it was last redone using the Wayback Machine
Anything older than 3 years probably needs a refresh. Anything older than 8 years is probably worth preserving as a relic akin to the Spacejam website!
Above the fold – heads up!
Most law firm websites have similar images on their header – usually a static image of a skyline or scenery, or occasionally people.
However, increasingly common are all text headers, gradient headers and video. As the first impression of your site, the area on the first screen is key – it grabs users, quickly conveys your message and draws them in.
Practical Tip: Again, there are no real practical tools here, only the ‘eye test’.
If you’ve read any of our articles before, you’ll know how often we preach mobile-first design. This doesn’t just mean shrinking a normal site down to mobile size, or even designing the site to fit the confines of a mobile device – it means ensuring that all interactivity (i.e. navigation, menus, form fields and icons) takes place within the “thumb zone”.
Practical Tip: Use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to see if your site is truly mobile-first.