How Adele’s Flip Phone Can Help You Improve Your Website

How Adele’s Flip Phone Can Help You Improve Your Website

If you’ve been paying attention to music news in the last few weeks, you may already know that last month, Adele released her first song in three years — and with it, a new video. If you’ve seen the video, perhaps you also know that in it Adele uses a flip phone. That’s right; a flip phone.

What’s our point? Why is a DC public relations and public affairs firm talking to you about Adele’s flip phone? The point is this: technology is moving fast. So fast, in fact, that what was current just a short time ago is now instantly recognizable as outdated. What’s true for Adele’s flip phone, is also true for the outdated features of your website.

So, what website technologies have gone the way of the flip phone? To name three: desktop-only layouts, the pop-up and the ever-popular homepage carousel.

First, desktop-only website layouts. We’ve talked about responsive web design on this very blog — what it is and why it matters to your organization — but did you know that in 2015, 51% of all Internet traffic is from mobile devices? Did you also know that having a non-responsive site causes your Google ranking to suffer? That’s right; Google “punishes” pages that are not responsive. So if users are looking for you online and you don’t offer a mobile-friendly responsive site, you may be inadvertently driving users to your competition.

The second website taboo on our list, the pop-up. At the very top of the list of most hated advertising techniques, pop-ups literally interrupt your user’s experience, driving them to potentially abandon not only the message in the pop-up, but the site itself. The good news here is that there are a myriad of other tools and techniques that professional web designers and developers use every day that can help direct your users where you want them while enhancing rather than disrupting their experience. To find out what those are, you just have to ask.

Last, but certainly not least on our list of outdated web technology, the homepage carousel. This lauded feature has been a staple of web design for years now. Many of us in the web design and development profession are growing increasingly anxious to see that trend finally come to an end.

But it’s so useful, you say. How else will I give each of my key messages top billing on my homepage?

What if we told you that studies have shown that only 1% of users actually clicked on a carousel slide? Of those, 89% clicked on the slide in the first position. And, what if we told you that homepage carousels also pose accessibility issues for users that require keyboard and screen readers?

Still not convinced?

Well, what if we told you that your homepage carousel was also causing issues with the SEO on your site, devaluing your keywords, preventing some search engines from crawling your page at all and bogging down your site’s load times? Add to that a long list of usability issues including banner blindness, and it’s not hard to see why many web professionals are ready to kick carousels to the curb.

But, we don’t want to be all gloom and doom here. There are a lot of great advances being made in website design and development. New techniques and technologies abound, such as card layouts, long-scroll pages that better accommodate online storytelling, and the use of custom photography or rich animation to add impact to your site — and your brand. These techniques are purposefully designed to make your site more user-friendly and more effective in achieving your business goals. Our design and development teams would be more than happy to demonstrate a few.

Grant Barnette is a PHP Developer at 720 Strategies. When he’s not building websites, Grant can be found rebuilding vintage vehicles (read: old and rusted).

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