If you are building a mobile website or working on responsive web design then Material Design is the perfect framework to use given that it enables designers to create digital material that can expand and reform intelligently, using seams and shadows to provide meaning about what you can touch.
Google is now expanding the original Material Design site introducing a bold new visual identity to the first initiative, inspired by the principles of print-based design with an emphasis on user actions and motion.
While navigating their new site and reading their design guidelines you will learn by constructing everything in a 3D environment containing light, material and cast shadows, with its own rules of how you can position elements and what they can do.
To go straight to the point, Gallery is a tool that aims to simplify design collaboration, enabling teams to organize their design workflow in one place so that everyone has a clear view of what's going on, and to easily share and get feedback on everything from visual design to interactive prototypes.
Stage is another new feature that helps you build dynamic interfaces with interactive motion. It is created by the teams behind Pixate and Form, it promises to change the way you build interactive experiences, with a more dynamic, intentional, and systematic workflow for crafting digital experiences.
Gallery and Stage are currently in early access and you can request an invite here
Another new tool called Remixer enables you to share design values and make live refinements during the development process with a set of cross-platforms libraries and protocols. You will be able to adjust everything from colours to animation timing on IOS, Android and web interfaces, and rolling out tweaks across multiple devices.
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Obviously, you begin by having fewer elements to load since it increases the speed of your site. Some minimalistic features are:
It is also important to understand that it is possible to create the perception of a faster site and if it's perceived to be fast, your users will be happy. Therefore, there's no need to implement complicated technical solutions to improve the response time of a site, just focus on using good design to improve the perception of performance.
Start with Google Developers's own "Make the Web Faster" page, where you will get an assortment of tools to speed up your site design.
Take for instance, the PageSpeed Insights tool, that will give you have access to detailed reports about what's causing your current site to be slow. These insights come for both mobile and desktop versions of your site.
Lazy Loading is a design pattern that's characterized by not rendering objects until the point that they are necessary, meaning when you begin to scroll down the page.
The advantage of this design approach is that your site needs to rely on fewer resources, thereby making it faster in performance.
Your Server response time is how long it takes for your server to respond to a browser request. Implement these strategies to improve your server response:
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Who is your audience?
Describe your Target Audience in one or two sentences, include gender, age range, interests or hobbies, etc.
Knowing the person you will be creating content for allows you to craft targeted content that performs better.
What information do they need to know?
Think about the problems that your audience struggles with, what questions do they have? How can you access them to know what they really need? That's why it's important to build an email list and elaborate your FAQs form.
Where do they want to see your information?
Understand your Audience's behavior, figure out where they are more active, is it in your blog, in social media or on your website? By knowing this you will be able to provide them content where they can easily find it.
Why do they care about what you have to say regarding the subject?
Providing useful information is essential. Make sure your content has information that's new. Also, think about the benefits of your content for your target audience.
When will they want to read it?
Distribution time is also an important aspect of engagement. When you consider your audience's reading time, think if they are busy working professionals who read on the train and in that case you will have better results publishing early in the morning. On the other hand, If they are parents it's more probable that you can reach them when they put their children to bed in the evening.
How should you relay the information?
The format you choose to present your information will play a major role in engagement depending on your niche. It depends on how much time they will have to read it, or to watch a video. That will help you find the best format, whether it's a blog post, video, infographic or anything else.
Finally, make sure you use these questions to improve the quality of your content and give your customers what they need.
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#1 A Header that Makes Clear What you Offer
Use cohesive visuals, graphics and images as well as text to tell your visitors right away who you are and what you offer. When preparing the texts take into account that your visitors should also be able to tell what sets you apart from the competition and who you work with
#2 Add a Call to Action Above the Fold
It is a best practice to add a CTA above the fold because you want to catch the customer's attention, specially the ones that are ready to buy the second they land on your site.
#3 Make your Design Responsive for Mobile Devices
Since most web traffic comes from mobile devices, you have to make sure your homepage design looks exactly how you want it to on different mobile screens.
#4 Use Contrasting Colors and HD Images
Contrast creates hierarchy and lets visitors know what they should be paying attention to. Also, the use of high quality images on your homepage makes a difference with your competitors
#5 Remove the Sidebar
The sidebar clutters your page and creates a distraction from the content you want to feature. The ending result is a poor user experience since you are throwing too much information at the user at once and taking the risk of them missing what you really care about.
#6 Add Real Product Photos
If possible you should include real product photos, instead of catalogue ones. Everyone likes to see what they are buying before they make a purchase.
#7 Feature a Video
Video is one of the most powerful additions to any homepage design since is the most engaging media format. Even a short animated video that explains your product/service is a great touch.
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How long do users stay on web pages? According to a report by the Nielsen Norman Group visitors make a decision to stay or leave a site within the first 10 to 20 seconds, which means that you have a brief chance to make the right first impression.
In terms of the website experience, marketing agencies believe that bad design elements lead users to a feeling of distrust causing a poor website image that becomes one of the most significant weaknesses in marketing and branding.
Therefore, the first thing to concentrate on will be how to engage from the look and the feel of your site:
Make sure your visitors know what page they're on in a fast glance by making headlines bold, and keep them in between 50 to 60 characters.
There are many options for unique sites with templated designs. When it comes to styles, forms and functions do some research to find the best for your brand.
As a general rule a sans-serif font is the best style because it is simple to read. And there are many apps you can use to create your design and style guide too.
The Adobe's Color CC Tool can be very helpful to choose your combination of of colors. In general, two neutral colors and one bold accent is what you have to look for.
Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without images. Take into account the image size and placement to better complement your content.
To sum up, taking the time to research for your brand's style guide is essential when it comes to creating an engaging website. You have to stick to your look, give your structure space and follow these principles to ensure your visitor's first impression is a good one.
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