These features may be fashionable but do they really help your brand? The latest trends can be a lot of fun to interact with, but they aren’t always the best idea for your end user. In fact certain design elements can even exclude an ever-growing audience of users with unique needs or requirements.
We’ve Updated Our Terms
You’ve probably seen a lot of emails and website popups about changes to terms of service lately. It seems pretty much everyone has been asking you to review your settings and confirm your acceptance of their new standards. So, what gives?
Blame GDPR. The abbreviation stands for the General Data Protection Regulation. It’s actually a European law that deals with protection and privacy, specifically online and in email. While you may not live, work or do business in Europe, many sites including Facebook and Google, have decided to include the regulations across the board and around the world. As you can imagine, the reactions to the change have been numerous and, surprisingly, funny.
Read more here.
Inclusion: The Ever-Growing Trend
Trends come and go, and web design is no different. As web designers, we must think about pushing the envelope and keeping content engaging – requiring us to try the latest and greatest ideas for our clients. Some of the latest trends for web design this year include:
Fun fact: did you know that Eventbrite had more
than 26,000 accessibility events in 2017?
Accessibility is in high demand and that means your site needs to be inclusive to accommodate a wide range of audiences.
So, how do you stay on top of your design game while keeping users with disabilities in mind? Like with most trends, a little goes a long way. While these trends can be eye-catching, they need to be used carefully and thoughtfully.
This means utilizing these techniques in minimal ways. For example, one trendy technique is to have bright colors that flash to draw attention to a certain area of content. This technique would not be inclusive to those who are visually impaired or color blind. Solution? Draw the users eye to areas using subtle animations or images that convey the message without needing content. Remember, your website should be navigable and provide a great visitor experience to as many people as possible, regardless of any hearing, site or cognitive disability.
Balancing cutting edge with inclusive design can ensure that your brand’s message is going to be conveyed clearly while also staying modern. The biggest bonus is that your brand gets to be part of one of the most important new trends: inclusion.
Uncommn Success: Mobile Loans
We love helping credit unions serve their members with easy-to-navigate, ADA-compliant, responsive websites. It isn’t just a more fulfilling member experience, it can help drive loans for the credit unions. How? It all comes down to meeting people where they are. On their phones and tablets.
The case for responsive websites has been a strong one for years. Almost 95% of Americans now have cell phones with 77% of those being smartphones*. Common sense would lead us to the conclusion that having a mobile mindsight is far from optional at this point.
As our clients upgrade from their old nonresponsive websites to a new mobile-friendly uncommn site, we have heard from many of them that they’ve noticed an increase in overall communication volume and a jump in online loan applications. We dove deeper to learn more about these worthwhile improvements. Here’s what we’ve found:
If you look around any office, classroom or coffee shop, it’s easy to see that desktops and laptops aren’t going anywhere soon. But neither are smartphones. And giving members and potential members a way to learn more about you — apply for a loan on their handheld device — can help drive membership and loan growth, something we can all feel good about.
The Desktop Audience is Still Larger Than The Mobile Audience in the US
Website visits are plateauing in the US – and the battle for visitors is increasingly being fought on smartphones. But despite mobile devices capturing the majority of digital minutes, the US still features more desktop than mobile unique visitors, according to a report from comScore. The Global Digital Future in Focus report examined audiences across 13 key markets. As part of the analysis, mobile unique visitors were compared to desktop unique visitors as of December 2017. Within the US, mobile unique visitors totaled 90% of desktop unique visitors, making it one of only 5 of the 13 markets where the mobile audience was smaller than the desktop audience.
This article originally appeared on marketingcharts.com.
World Wide WordPress
Do you remember fifteen years ago? How about ten? Well, it was the start of something. Something that would one day control the web and the digital world, allowing companies and people alike to market and present themselves with a digital presence. Its name? WordPress.
WordPress has taken over the internet and has given developers a chance to customize their sites in a whole new way. Its Content Management System (CMS) and open source code offers unlimited functionality and opportunity for improvement. What once started as a platform for blogs, is now running 30% of the web. But how has it become as powerful as it is?
As for the other 70% of the web, what does WordPress offer that could convince them to make the switch?
At the rate WordPress is going, only time will tell how much further the successful platform can go and how much more of the world’s websites it can conquer!
Does Your Website Have The “Seven Year Itch”?
It’s been the same-old, same-old for years, and now you’re itching to change your website. Well… as Dr. Brubaker once said, “When something itches, my dear sir, the natural tendency is to scratch.”
The “seven-year itch,” so named in the eponymous 1955 romantic comedy featuring Dr. Brubaker, is the notion of unfavorable conditions over a period of time. Perhaps your credit union or bank’s website is stale or your messaging isn’t yielding the same results.
Truth be told, in the website development arena, it’s more like the three-year itch. Technology is advancing at such a rapid rate. Every day we are “Googling” long tail keywords in search of answers to our questions. And if we don’t find what we are looking for we immediately click off. And this isn’t just about actual answers. Perceptual answers – copy, images, and design – cloud our judgment.
RESPONSIVE DESIGN ALLOWS YOUR WEBSITE TO BE VIEWED ON ANY PLATFORM, WHETHER IT IS A DESKTOP COMPUTER, TABLET OR MOBILE DEVICE. THE USER EXPERIENCE ADJUSTS AND ADAPTS TO THE DISPLAY. WITH RESPONSIVE DESIGN, YOU CAN KEEP MORE PEOPLE ENGAGED WITH YOUR WEBSITE.
When designing your website, consider easy-to-understand modules. Think of each module on your website as a billboard. How can you capture the user’s attention with just a few words? Think about the needs of your audience. Too often we push products or service when we should be considering what people feel (or what people want to feel).
It goes without saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. You should have imagery that reflects you and doesn’t scream “stock photography.” However, quite often we neglect to consider the importance of SEO-rich website copy.
Great copy helps tell a story – one that people want to read and want to relate to. At the same time, the copy should have the right amount of keyword density for search engines. Your copy should never come across as robotic. There is true art in providing compelling copy that is concise and consistent with the right keywords to make your site crawl-worthy with the Google bots.
Finally, before you launch a new website, you must also keep in mind your old site. Chances are, you’ve been building links for the past 3+ years with your current site, and you don’t want those links to be active with your old design nor do you want them to default (404). Before you launch your new website, scan it for 404 defaults and be sure to turn all your 404 pages into 301s, which redirect to new copy on your new site.
Need a new website? We are devoted to building nimble, custom websites for credit unions and community banks. Ready to deepen your connection with members, stakeholders and prospects? Contact us today!
Desktop vs Mobile – Who’s Winning
Desktop or mobile device. Which is winning the war for eyes? The latest annual US Mobile App Report says we’re spending half of our digital media time with smartphone applications. Where does that compare to previous reports? The findings from this latest study shows that little has changed over the course of the past year.
50% of digital time captured by smartphone apps this past June represents only small change from 49% in June of last year. Desktop use, meanwhile, is holding steady: this past June, it accounted for 34% share of digital media time, compared to 33% in the previous-year period.
Are older American’s still considered “not tech savvy”? A comparison of the reports from this year and last shows that smartphone apps are gaining more influence with the youngest AND oldest adults, but haven’t made the same gains with other groups.
Specifically, smartphone apps accounted for:
Interestingly, enough, the increase in desktop usage share for 25-34-year-olds appears to have come at the expense of smartphones, of all devices! Desktops grew to account for 31% of 25-34-year-olds’ digital time this past June, up from 27% last year.
These are some good stats to keep in mind as you’re planning out your new website. While desktops are still being used, mobile is the clear winner for share of eyes.
2018 Web Design Trends
In 2018, web design trends will continue to focus on simplicity: simple typography, imagery and a neutral color palate. This concept, as well known by many designers and developers, has become accepted. More and more, developers are recognizing that this idea of simplicity can help users (both visually and productively) while keeping them engaged.
In easywebsite.uk’s article, “Website Design Trends for 2018: A Look Ahead to 1990,” five new trends are suggested.
Why We Build Our Website Using WordPress
2009: The Yankees won the world series. The Pittsburgh Steelers won the SuperBowl. Tiger Woods’ career took a turn for the worst. Coolio tried to stage dive, but no one caught him. It was also when WordPress was thought of as a fancy blogging tool.
While some things haven’t changed, WordPress has gone through quite the evolution. WordPress websites offer so much more than the handful of benefits you usually hear about. and it’s far more than the blogging platform it began as. WordPress is now the content management system all websites and blogs are compared to. Why have we chosen to utilize WordPress for our clients’ websites (and even ours)?
Those are just a few of the reasons we chose WordPress as our platform of choice for our clients. The importance of providing a product that was affordable, secure, and not something proprietary that would hold our clients hostage for years to come were our deciding factors.
If you’re tired of not knowing what’s happening with your website, or you’re holding a grudge against those guys who can’t find the time to return your emails or respond to service requests, we’d love to earn the opportunity to serve you.
Website ADA Compliance: What We Know So Far
In recent months, there has been a lot of talk about the need to make credit union websites compliant with Americans with Disabilities laws but, unfortunately, there hasn’t been a lot of clarity on the matter.
Here’s what we know so far.
Credit Unions are, by law, considered Title III facilities. Title III states:
“All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations of any place of public accommodation”
That means branches are open to and serve the public and therefore must meet certain requirements for accessibility. While this regulation has historically been applied to the physical building, it has been expanded to include things like ATMs and is now stretching to include the credit union’s online presence – your website.
Here’s where a lot of the confusion comes into play. The Department of Justice, which oversees ADA compliance, is supposed to be amending the rules for Title II and Title III facilities but there have been many delays. Title II, which covers state and local government, is still waiting for their final decision. Title III is expected to wait even longer. That means that as of this writing, there are no official regulations yet. It is important to note that just because the regulations aren’t officially in place, you are not immune from letters of compliance demand from organizations working on behalf of the differently abled. Some of these groups have begun sending letters with the intent of reaching a mutually agreed upon date by which the site will meet compliance standards. Remember, since your website is available to the public, letters of demand or complaint do not have to come from people who are current members of your credit union. Any person can claim that they access to your site and, as such, it needs to be accessible to them and their needs.
You may have heard talk of WCAG 2.0 standards. These are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for web developers. The guidelines include four areas of compliance which sites will be expected to meet: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust. These four areas seek to make your website content available to individuals with hearing, vision, cognitive or physical impairments. Click here for a list of specific criteria. These requirements don’t mean you have to have a static, black and white website that reads aloud the text for every user. Instead, they mean that the code of your website will need to be written to work with the personal settings of users who may have specific needs. That includes alt tags on images for visually impaired users who have reading devices for sites. It also includes the ability to turn off automatic navigations or page time outs for the cognitively impaired.
As mentioned earlier, the requirements are not yet set in stone but there are some things to consider going forward.
You may have heard the NON-WCAG compliant option called “The Domino’s Exception.” It stems from a website in which a blind plaintiff sued Domino’s, claiming their website did not meet ADA Title III regulations preventing the visually impaired user from using the site to order a pizza. Domino’s claimed that the website was not covered under the ADA and they offered a telephone option for users who were not able to use the website. It’s important to note that while the case was thrown out by a judge who ruled that the pizza chain met its obligation by offering a phone option, that judge did reject the argument that websites are not covered by the ADA. Instead, the judge ruled that the law was unclear and that Domino’s had not been given fair notice of what their exact obligation was in regard to websites and ADA compliance. This is an important distinction. The judge did not say websites were exempt, instead ruling that there simply isn’t enough information at this time to hold the company responsible. This means that down the road, when regulations are clarified, websites will almost certainly be held to ADA standards. It may also mean that having a non-compliant website may be allowed as long as an alternative method such as phone or chat is available.
While the regulations remain unclear, that doesn’t mean you are “safe” to continue using a non-compliant website. Organizations and individuals are still able to submit a letter of demand seeking you make your site more accessible. Often, simply finding a mutually-agreed upon date by which to make the site compliant is sufficient but as the official regulations are released, that may change. At the very least, the time allotted to make the changes will almost certainly get shorter. While there are still questions about the exact time frame for the regulations to be released, there is no doubt that this is coming and could potentially have a big impact on the way our websites are developed.