In today’s marketplace, website design demands so many things.
But your lexicon of professional services is not one of them.
I was 16 when I built my first website. Back then I was one of those web designers we’d all eventually learn to hate. I built it Flash. I did a Certificate in media and could hack my way around keyframe animations and flash websites relatively easily. But that fad didn’t last long. Flash websites looked cool, fonts were embedded and pages could animate and transition between each other. Even Google had worked out ways to index them. But then came Steve Jobs.
I must admit, long before he penned his open letter in April 2010, I’d stopped developing in Flash. The lack of serious content management killed it for me. But it was Jobs’ letter that started a snowball that eventually killed flash on the web.
Here’s why I bring it up.
When it comes to a website, it’s always done something. It’s always had a role to play. A purpose. Back in the early 00’s, it was about showing off, about “being online”. From Homestar Runner, to CollegeHumor to myspace (holy crap it’s still alive!), it was about being creative and expressing yourself online. Then, post-2010, mobile devices began to become ubiquitous, YouTube and Facebook were everywhere and websites became about information and accessibility. The confluence of the mobile browsing, the WordPress boom along with the rise of social media.
Now, it’s 2016 and it’s time for websites to take on a new purpose once again. As we move from the informative and accessible. To the brand and marketing channels that drive brand through content and market (and re-market) with strategically optimised pages, ads, cookies and social media.
What this means
Let’s take a look at what’s expected from a website. The easiest way you can do that is to head to the top 10 themes available at Envato to see what a website starter-pack could cost you:
- Responsive and mobile: Expected.
- SEO Friendly: Expected.
- Dynamic design with parallax, smooth scroll and animations: Expected.
- Fast load-times: Demanded.
What this means for websites today is that the focus hasn’t moved… but matured. Everything we had in the 00’s, the creativity, the desire to “be online” – it’s all there. Let’s call that: The Destination trend.
Same again after 2010, the SEO optimised, mobile-ready, animated and designed websites are still expected. Let’s call this, the Responsive trend.
Only now, customers are natively digital and websites have a job to do. Let’s call this the Contextualtrend.
Time to repurpose your website.
Or if you’re Apple and like to be late but immaculately dressed, you could hang out in generation ‘Responsive‘.
But the next season needs to be ‘Contextual‘ – forging a new path that takes advantage of your ability to scale content and create engaging and meaningful experiences that can be leveraged across multiple channels, that is truly omnichannel, that is imbued with social proof and storytelling in a way that does branding, marketing and customer experience all in one.
Take a look at these:
- Conde Nast: – creativity.condenast.com
- Deakin University – www.deakin.edu.au
- Minimums – www.minimums.com
- Big Cartel – www.bigcartel.com
Where are you?
As you can see, this isn’t breaking news. There are certainly organisations all over the world taking this approach. The question is where are you on this spectrum?
Does your website position you in the market? Offer a ‘destination’ to a customer who knows about you?
Or does your website create an experience, where destination, content, design experience blend? Whether you’re on mobile or desktop.
Or is it time you started thinking beyond that. To leverage social proof and content to drive multi-channel engagement that is more consistent than it is campaign-driven.
Whatever it is, like flash in the early 00’s, there’s a good chance you’ve got what you have for good reason and it’s faired you well this far. The question is…
Is it time to repurpose your website?