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Recently I’ve been building a few apps for fun in my spare time.
Doing so has got me thinking about various design elements, and where online design might be heading.
Currently flat design is ruling the roost, but it may not always be that way...
I’ve been keeping a close eye on innovation in the ecommerce sector for more than a decade now, and it seems to me that we're living in exciting times. We have hit some kind of purple patch.
Why is this? Well, ecommerce has massively matured. It's big business. Digital teams are smarter, and more agile. Sexy new tech such as HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery allows for sublime user experiences.
As such I wanted to raise a toast to innovation by highlighting a bunch of - hopefully inspiring - examples to you.
But first, a massive caveat: I would severely and mercilessly beat a few of these sites with a big best practice stick. There are product pages with missing information. There are search boxes with tiny fonts. There are usability issues galore.
Secondly, for ecommerce sites, it is all about the data. If you’re not constantly testing, measuring and refining, then you aren’t doing it right. What works for one brand might not work so well for another.
All of that aside, the ecommerce teams that take chances and push the boundaries of are to be applauded. Guidelines are precisely that: guidelines. Rules are there to be broken. And innovation is always to be encouraged, even when it doesn’t work out.
So let's take a look at some ecommerce websites (and one mobile app) that are trying new things, and that are noteworthy for their approach to the user experience. Click on the screenshots to check them out for yourself, and do let me know what you think.
For the second year running, Econsultancy has published a freely available trends briefing about digital trends in South-East Asia, based on the Digital Cream Singapore event for senior client-side digital marketers held in November last year.
Digital Cream Singapore 2013 brought together more than 120 B2B and B2C in-house marketers from around the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) region and beyond to discuss best practice and common challenges in digital marketing, and learn from each other.
Delegates discussed a wide range of topics, ranging from managing and making sense of audience and customer data, increasing personalisation and loyalty, to using video marketing and cross-channel marketing.
Each year I try to give my personal thoughts on what will be interesting and important in the world of digital marketing and ecommerce for the year ahead.
These are somewhere between trends and predictions. They are based largely on the many conversations I have with industry influencers and practitioners.
Following are just a selection of 10 trends that I've chosen to highlight. However, there is free report to download and share which is over 40 pages long and covers all of my trends and predictions for 2014 across the 10 core digital topics that Econsultancy cover.
2013 turned out to be a monumental year for ecommerce.
Twitter, Rocket Fuel and Criteo IPOed. Online sales closed at record highs, with more and more transactions taking place by consumers on smartphones and tablets.
Overstock.com committed to become one of the early adaptors of Bitcoin as a method of payment. And in an economy traditionally dominated by finance and real estate, tech has become New York City’s second largest sector, cementing its status as Silicon Alley.
So what’s new for 2014? I asked my friends in New York’s digital community to share their predictions of how the marketers’ world may be affected as it relates to global ecommerce trends, mobile’s continued prowess, and emerging acquisition strategies. Here’s what they had to say.
One of the interesting things about being a digital marketer that specialises in a certain niche is that you get to understand your niche from many different angles.
Over the past 12 months I’ve talked to hundreds of music companies; understanding what works, what doesn’t, and where they think their corner of the industry is going.
Here’s my summary of what I think will matter when it comes to digital marketing in the music industry in 2014.
What do customers want in a multichannel experience and how will technology help deliver it in 2014?
Customers don’t always know what it is they want, but by looking at current habits, themes will undoubtedly emerge.
Walker Sands has recently surveyed 1,000 US consumers on the future of retail. The results are interesting and give some pointers to retailers hoping to stay on consumer trend for buying habits.
Here are the best bits:
Marketers that feel there is just not enough time to spend on email marketing, you may be slightly comforted to know that you are not alone.
The bid to keep up with the evolving nature of email marketing is a challenge many organisations are struggling with, according to marketers that attended Econsultancy’s Festival of Marketing.
Several senior client-side marketers gathered together for Digital Cream during the Festival, where email marketing, among other topics, was discussed at great lengths.
The general consensus? Emaiil has great potential to become even more efficient than it already is. It's just going to take skills, buy-in and time that many do not have... yet.
While these discussions were under the Chatham House Rules, the insights gleaned have been pulled together to create the new Email Marketing Trends Briefing published this week by Econsultancy in association with Pure360.
The trends briefing, which is free for registered users, also contains some best practice tips, market data and case studies.
As Twitter grows, it's more difficult to digest your own activity, to search for trends and content, and to find the right people to engage with.
I asked a few questions of their team, to find out more about the service.
Much has been written about the use of colour in web design. Back in the day there were stark warnings. Pick as few as possible, seemed to be the general advice, and be sensible about your choices.
I covered the main points when I wrote about colour and web design five years ago. A lot of that advice still stands up but there has been a definite shift, and nowadays it seems that more and more designers are embracing colour like never before. The polychromatic web is upon us!
The combination of flat design and blocks of saturated colour is certainly a winning combination from where I’m sitting. It's a trend that is perhaps underpinned by the growing number of devices with retina screens in circulation.
A strong, clever use of colour can be great for branded web experiences, web apps of various flavours, and agency websites. That said, I’m not fully convinced that this design trend is ideal for retailers with hundreds or thousands of product pictures, as too much colour can be overpowering, but no doubt there are some good examples out in the wild.
So then, here are 24 websites and apps that are not remotely afraid of colour. See what you make of them, and be sure to share your views in the comments area below!
Two-thirds of Asian businesses (66%) plan to increase their digital marketing budgets over the next 12 months, according to new research from Econsultancy and Campaign Asia-Pacific.
In comparison, just 19% of companies plan to increase their offline budgets in the same time period.
Furthermore, companies surveyed as part of the State of Digital Marketing in Asia 2013 Report are spending an average of 29% of their total marketing budgets on digital, a slight increase from 26% in the 2012 survey.
However, agency respondents included in the report paint a different picture, estimating that their clients spend just less than a quarter (23%) of their total budget on digital.
If you run a digital agency, especially one that designs and builds websites, then what better way of showing off your talents than to build a wonderful website for your own company?
In the past couple of years many agencies have rebuilt and relaunched their websites using HTML5 and CSS3. The results can be eye-opening, highly engaging, and built to work on all kinds of devices.
It's not all good news though. Sometimes the use of HTML5 can be downright annoying: just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Does it matter that some of these websites take half a minute to load? Personally I think fast loading times really matter, but I've heard arguments that people are prepared to wait for certain types of website. You can decide for yourself.
At any rate, there is plenty to admire here, and perhaps there is an acceptable trade off between optimal usability and the overall user / brand experience. Certainly it's always interesting to watch web design evolve, and agencies are naturally inclined to push the boundaries.
The following examples show what can be achieved, and mercifully not all of them are addicted to loading icons. Tuck in and see what you think.