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Web Design Best Practices in 2024: SMBs Online

TL;DR.

Another year, different (and same) web design trends! In this post we look at web design best practices in 2024 to ensure that your business is staying up to the trends. We see how these emerging trends can significantly benefit small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and why investing in custom professional web design can help your business to stand out in the digital landscape.


Introduction.

As we step into 2024, the online world continues to evolve and change, bringing forth innovative web design trends and practices. For SMBs looking to make a mark, staying ahead of these developments and investing in custom professional web design is essential. We will see what Maven X considers the web design best practices for 2024 and how they can elevate the online presence of SMBs of all shapes and sizes.

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User-Centric Design

A continuing trend from years past is still user-centric design, even in 2024. For SMBs, this means creating websites that prioritize the user’s needs and experiences above all else. An effective user-centric website includes intuitive navigation, ensuring users find what they need without hassle. Another factor is speed; sites must load quickly to keep the modern user engaged. One last factor is mobile responsiveness; sites must be beautifully viewable on any device your users are using (see the next point).

Beyond site functionality, any content on the website must be engaging and directly address the user’s needs and preferences. Users are impatient and want to get to what they want to get to, while also have the information available if they choose to dive in deeper.

The best way to approach identifying a user-centric design is to remove all knowledge you have about your business (I know, this is really hard!). You should try to think of what your customer might be looking for on your site and how they want to navigate your site. This should always be followed up with real person reviews of your site who donโ€™t have the knowledge you do and get their feedback through feedback sessions.

๐Ÿ”‘ Keys to User-Centric Design:

  • ๐Ÿ’ก Focus on Intuitive Navigation: Simplify user pathways.
  • โšก Emphasize Speed: Quick loading for user retention.
  • ๐Ÿ“ฑ Prioritize Mobile Responsiveness: Ensure cross-device functionality.
  • ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ Seek Real User Feedback: Validate design with actual users.

Mobile-First Approach

In 2024, mobile browsing will continue to dominate user browsing habits. If not already, SMBs must embrace a mobile-first approach in their web design strategies. At Maven X, we know that the largest percentage of website visitors to client websites are almost always mobile users. What does a mobile-first approach look like?

Essentially, it entails designing websites primarily for all types of common mobile devices, ensuring fast load times, optimal display on smaller screens, and mobile elements that users are inherently used to and expect. The goal is always to provide a seamless experience across all devices. The user experience on desktop to mobile should be similar inherently, but specific to each device.

๐Ÿ”‘ Keys to Mobile-First Approach:

  • ๐Ÿ“ฑ Mobile Optimization: Design with mobile users in mind.
  • โšก Fast Performance: Prioritize speed on mobile devices.
  • ๐Ÿค Consistency Across Devices: Ensure a uniform experience.

Minimalism and Bold Typography

Remember back in the day where excessive animations and effects dominated early websites? Well that trend is gone! Users want to see what they want to see and do what they came to do on your website and thatโ€™s it. The more straightforward and direct your website is (of course with design still in mind), the more satisfied users are with the website.

Thatโ€™s why minimalism paired with bold typography is a trend that continues to shape web design in 2024. This methodology and style leans towards simplicity and clean layouts, which also in turn promotes faster load times and easier navigation. Bold fonts are then a way to make a strong visual impact, ensuring that key messages stand out and capture the user’s attention. Users want to be able to skim pages quickly and get the information they want. Having visually cohesive typography that call out key information is what users are looking for.

Now I do want to point out that you should sacrifice solid and unique design. Ensure that your website pops with pictures, videos, icons, and colors where necessary but make sure itโ€™s not too much. Lastly, leave the excessive 

๐Ÿ”‘ Keys to Minimalism:

  • ๐Ÿงน Embrace Clean Layouts: Simplify design elements.
  • ๐Ÿ”  Use Bold Fonts: Highlight key information visually.
  • ๐Ÿ•ถ๏ธ Balance Design and Clarity: Ensure legibility and aesthetics.

AI and Personalization

If youโ€™ve been online within the last year, you should have seen this point coming! AI is playing a significant role in personalizing user experiences. Now, users are expecting AI experiences in almost everything, including websites. There has been an industry boom around AI and thankfully now there are numerous tools available to add AI to your website.

In terms of websites, users are looking for things like natural language chatbots, personalized recommendations, tailored content, product recommendations, and real-time user interactions. This level of personalization enhances user engagement and can significantly improve conversion rates and overall satisfaction of users from your website.

Now AI is still a new thing and there are still a lot of downfalls and things to keep in mind. Most AI chatbots have a tendency to hallucinate and potentially provide incorrect information to your users. So make sure to thoroughly test your AI integrations before launching on your website!

๐Ÿ”‘ Keys to AI and Personalization:

  • ๐Ÿค– Implement AI Features: Use AI for tailored experiences.
  • ๐Ÿ’ฌ Chatbots for Engagement: Interactive, natural user dialogue.
  • ๐Ÿ“Š Personalized Content: Customize user interactions on-site.

Accessibility and Inclusivity

Accessibility and inclusivity are more than just buzzwords in 2024; they are essential components of web design. Websites must be accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities. This has of course been a trend over the past few years with enhancements in accessibility software. Accessibility features can include things like screen reader compatibility and alternative text for images. By making websites accessible by more individuals, SMBs can broaden their audience and demonstrate a commitment to ethical practices.

The best part is that you donโ€™t need to do much to include accessibility with most hosting platforms or content management systems (CMSs). Many of them have built in functionality or plugins to easily setup and configure accessibility systems on your existing website. Even still, do your research and test your website with these systems and tools to make sure the experience is still great for anyone with disabilities.

๐Ÿ”‘ Keys to Accessibility and Inclusivity:

  • โ™ฟ Ensure Universal Access: Design for all users, including those with disabilities.
  • ๐Ÿ”Š Screen Reader Compatibility: Make content accessible to visually impaired users.
  • ๐ŸŒ Cultivate Inclusive Design: Consider diverse user needs.

Sustainable Web Design

Sustainable web design is a growing trend, emphasizing the need for websites to have a minimal environmental impact. While cloud computing has helped significantly, there are still things that we can do to further help our environmental impact with our websites and technology.

If you donโ€™t know, servers and computers use A LOT of electricity! By doing things like using optimized images, efficient coding, and selecting sustainable hosting providers, you can further reduce the energy consumption from your website. By using shared hosting services, ensuring that your servers are sized-right for your traffic, using cloud features like auto-scaling, and more, your website can use less energy while still functioning optimally.

๐Ÿ”‘ Keys to Sustainable Web Design:

  • ๐ŸŒฑ Opt for Eco-friendly Practices: Reduce digital carbon footprint.
  • ๐Ÿ’ก Use Efficient Coding: Streamline code for better performance.
  • ๐ŸŒ Select Sustainable Hosting: Choose green hosting solutions.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity continues to be in the forefront of everyoneโ€™s minds. But with cyber threats rising and SMBs continuing to be targeted more and more, robust security measures are not just optional but crucial in web design. Even if your website doesnโ€™t have sensitive information, attacks can take your website offline, hackers can deface your website with malicious content, and overall just cause headaches for your website operation. This will portray your business in a negative light to users and potential customers.

For SMBs, the baseline cybersecurity means implementing HTTPS protocols, ensuring regular updates, and providing secure payment gateways if you take payment. Strong security not only protects the website and users but also ensures trust and credibility.

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For more information and help

For more information and help, check out Maven Cyber.

๐Ÿ”‘ Keys to Cybersecurity:

  • ๐Ÿ”’ Implement Strong Security Protocols: Use HTTPS and secure gateways.
  • ๐Ÿ›ก๏ธ Regular Updates: Keep software and plugins up-to-date.
  • ๐Ÿ•ต๏ธโ€โ™‚๏ธ Vigilant Monitoring: Stay alert to potential cyber threats.
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Final Thoughts.

Incorporating these web design best practices in 2024 will help keep your business ahead of the web design curve to stay relevant and competitive online. By focusing on user-friendly, secure, and sustainable designs that leverage the latest technology, SMBs can effectively connect with their audience and foster growth.

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