Change: It’s a word us digital marketers have gotten very accustomed to using on a daily basis. I supposed anyone who is online — let’s face it, that’s just about everyone — has become accustomed to the word change.

A lot of people cringe when they hear the word change, but for us digital marketers, it only means more opportunity. There’s changes on social media, search ads, Google, just about anything. But what about website design?

Website design has been around a long time, since the stone age. It’s obviously come a long way, but what can we expect to change in the near future. Let’s take a look at 3 changes we expect to see this year with website design.

Content Change

This is a big one, because, as we’ve heard a million times, Content is King!! As if that hasn’t been pounded into your head enough.

But the way we use content on a site is beginning to slightly change, mostly from a informational standpoint to a storytelling type of content. Websites used to be, and a lot still are, all about giving the facts about your business then pointing them to the checkout lane, or whatever the final conversion may be.

That’s not what we expect going forward, however. People are coming to sites to connect to a brand, and that’s not going to happen with simple facts about who you are and what you do. Instead, websites are starting to make a transition to storytelling. It’s about making a connection with your visitors and letting them in on your inner workings. It’s almost like social media, but on your website. You allow for conversation, engagement, all while allowing people to connect with your brand on an emotional level.

This is In

Geez, I sound like I’m trying to hawk a new diet pill. But with the transformation from strictly computers to now designing websites for mobile devices, the actual landscape of websites are taking a new shape. That new shape is going to come in the form of longer, thinner sites.

Think about when you are accessing a site with your smartphone. What are doing most of the time? Let me answer that; you are scrolling! Constantly scrolling through pages and pages of information to find what you are looking for.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 20% of American’s access the internet through their smartphones. This is why we predict longer, thinner sites: to better accommodate for those smartphone users.

Big, REAL Photos

Each and every individual page of your website is going to have some type of attention grabber. That doesn’t mean every page is going to have this mind-bending application or image, but there will be at least some type of effort to direct a user’s eyes to a certain part of the page when they initially arrive.

Something we are starting to see, and predict to see more, is the use of large, real imagery to focus the attention. At times, we even see images that take up the entire background, with a scrolling text on top.

And when we say real, we mean genuine photos that don’t look fake and staged. People are connecting with your photos, which means they’re not looking for a big, fake cheesy smile from every photo.

FrustratedTake for example this photo on the right, which is located on our home page. Here we are talking about the frustration of trying to manage your digital marketing plan. We use a photo of a person that looks genuinely frustrated. I’m sure we’ve all had this look from time to time. But that’s the point, which is to connect with your visitors on something they’ve experienced before. Your business is trying to evoke emotions, so the use of real imagery is a great way of doing that.

What Do These Changes Mean?

Again, there’s no need to freak out when you hear the word “change.” All it means is there is more opportunity to connect with your audience on a deeper level. It doesn’t mean you necessarily have to go out and do a complete 180 on your website. It just means you can start making gradual changes and use some of these tips to better engage and connect with your visitors.