This pandemic period has forced us to view many things differently; almost overnight we have had to pivot from real world interactions into the digital space. We’ve had to discard any reservations about screen-time guilt and our online platforms have become increasingly important … according to a recent New York Times article ‘the digital detox has been declared dead, in the recent contest for daily attention, screens won’.
As a designer I am both excited and intrigued by this digital fast-forward, I think it’s a perfect opportunity to reflect on what we want our online spaces to be, how we want them look and what we want them to do. However we look at it, those little black rectangles have now become our main portal to communicate, present ourselves and reach out to others.
Feeling the pressure to be more digital? More online?
It’s a great time to revaluate, refresh and reflect; online experience should be useful, simple, easy and meet the expectations of the user. It’s a tiny frame of a space, but one that you can really utilise to your advantage. A lined up visual identity and consistently engaging content can deliver a clear reflection of you and your business ethos and create a bond of trust with the user.
Time for a website refresh?
This can be a very cost effective way of making your space work best for the present moment. Keeping your digital offerings up to date shows your visitors that you respect and care about the experience they are having when navigating your platforms. An up to date, mobile responsive, clear and easy to navigate website goes a long way when it’s not possible to visit any bricks-and-mortar premises.
Are there things you could do more of? Are there things that you just don’t need?
In a world of podcasts, blogs, social media integration (using Instagram to keep your web content current), selling online (products, subscriptions, memberships) how do we choose the things we want to focus on? Where do we put our efforts? And most importantly what should we be spending money on?
Firstly I think it’s important to say the obvious thing — do the things that you want to do; there’s no point in taking up something you are going to feel bound to in two months time. With so many platforms demanding attention and content creation it’s great to concentrate your energy on the things you feel drawn to. Focusing your communication on things you are interested in will create much better output; increasingly valuable in a busy online space.
With all this in mind I can recommend a few simple exercises:
1… Have a look at websites that you like, interact with them and make a list of the things they are doing or ways that they function that you find appealing.
2… Take time to think; have the needs of your online offerings changed? Are there things you are curious about? What is currently missing? Do you need more information to make an informed decision?
3… Now explore what would be right for you; focus on the things you think will suit you best. What are the most important elements of your offering? What appeals most to your clients and customers? What brings the most value?
I hope we can seize a mixture of the familiar and the new to create something great. The battle for screen attention maybe lost, but we are still in control of what we want our screen-life to look like; designing and dreaming about those black rectangles…. I look forward to the future of the conversation.