A quick note before we get stuck in.

As I’m writing this, we’re a couple of weeks into a fresh national lockdown. It’s going to be a challenging few months for everybody, not to mention businesses that were only just starting to get back on their feet after having to deal with endless rules and restrictions in 2020.

Despite the madness, Design FX Studio is still working as usual. My team and I are here to help you weather the storm with practical design and marketing advice that will strengthen your promotional strategies. So, if you need us, just reach out!

Web design is changing to meet the changing digital landscape in ways we never could have imagined. Thanks to the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on populations and economies across the planet, the world is a different place now – and what’s particularly interesting is that the recent worldwide pandemic has rapidly accelerated some emerging digital trends.

(It’s also encouraged many businesses to make changes to their brand identities. More on that here.)

The demand for quality websites is at an all-time high

In the last year or so, the population has been more active on the web than ever before. We haven’t had much of a choice but to purchase stuff online, have we? Workplaces, shops, and many service-based businesses have been closed, on and off, since March, and as a result, ecommerce has thrived. Just ask Tesco, Sainsburys, or any of the other large supermarkets, who have all been clamouring to update their online delivery availability to cater for huge spikes in interest that are not purely down to people have to self-isolate.

In fact, even people who would have avoided internet shopping in the past have upped their tech skills and become a lot more comfortable with ordering their goods and services without leaving their own sofa.

This means that any business that works online – either wholly or partially – is having to raise their standards to ensure their website(s) can accommodate more traffic and satisfy more discerning customers.

Competition is fiercer post-COVID

A higher demand for digital solutions means that businesses are also being forced to battle harder for exposure.

Right now, if they want to dominate their market, companies are having to make sure they are at the top of their game – and the only way they can do this at scale is to seek out the services of a quality design and marketing firm and invest more money and man hours into boosting their search presence.

This might involve working on their organic SEO strategy, putting some more cash into paid search platforms like Google Ads, upping their content output, or a combination of all three.

Users interact differently now

Users expect to be able to access enhanced functionality online. If a website isn’t easy to read, easy to use and performing its best at all times, people will quickly lose interest and look for a better experience elsewhere. (This has been the case for many years – but there’s nothing like a global catastrophe to shorten people’s attention spans even further!)

Changing preferences are influencing designs

As new priorities are coming into play, companies are updating their audience personas to reflect the changing needs of the people that buy from them. All these tweaks need to be reflected in the design, layout and copy within a website, so designers are increasingly taking a UX-first approach to their work. It’s not a bad thing – creating something that reflects the customers’ true wants and needs should always be the aim, in my view.

Sensitive messaging is key

Of course, customers want to know about a company’s COVID-safe policies. But more than this, they want to read content with context; words that speak to them about their pandemic-related anxieties and concerns, but that don’t linger on the doom and gloom.

It’s not all about ‘selling’ anymore. It’s increasingly about bringing value into a situation and being able to provide the right solutions at the right time. Businesses with emotionally intelligent brand voices that know how to talk to people in a post-COVID environment – and companies that are focusing on solving problems, rather than dwelling on them – are the ones that are successfully diverting people’s attention away from the doomscrolling.

Now, more than ever, web designers need to be on the ball!

As well as having a significant impact on the way we interact online, the COVID pandemic has forced even the most experienced web designers to broaden their skillsets and improve their services.

It’s also going to be interesting to see how the inevitable influx of freelancers and new entrants into our market is going to affect competition for work. In the last few months, so many people have been made redundant from full-time roles; retrained into the design field; or simply decided to abandon their full-time jobs and start their own business. Personally, I think this can only be a positive thing for our industry and for the clients that rely on us to keep their businesses moving forwards. The world needs more quality design professionals!