2020 has been a year of unprecedented changes as we all adapt to the new normal, etc., etc. You’ve heard all of that a million times since the pandemic started. We hope that most of 2020 will soon become a memory, but a lot of trends that held sway will continue to grow in importance.
Website Chat Continues to Grow
While website chat features are certainly not new, they’re becoming more and more prevalent, particularly for B2B companies that tend to have long, complex sales cycles. Live chat offers two great benefits for users:
- Smaller Commitment
Users don’t have to fill out a long form to get some real answers. Depending on how your chat is set up, they may not need to provide any information at all.
- Quick Answers
Sometimes, a user just needs a quick question answered by a product or service expert. I use this a lot when I’m evaluating software or other apps for a client—I just need to know if the tool can accomplish x task or if my client has to pay using a credit card.
Chat tools have made great progress recently with AI—bots that help guide your users in the right direction. Drift is one you’ve probably heard about before but LiveChat also allows you to create bots with templates.
Accessibility is exactly what it sounds like—making sure your B2B website design is accessible to users of all kinds, despite differences in physical or cognitive abilities. Accessibility first started to come into the spotlight with high-profile court cases like Domino’s.
Following accessibility guidelines is ideal but creating a truly ADA-compliant website is a complex, muddy, and expensive process (often costing $100,000 or more) that can affect how your B2B website design looks. For example, WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guide) 2 level AAA compliance, the highest level of accessibility, requires a contrast of 7:1. In the Bop Design Bop, the text color (#45545f) on the background color (#e6e7e8) has a contrast ratio of 6.31—so even this would fail!
The good news is, there are tools to help alleviate this problem. UserWay and AccessiBe both sit on top of a website and give users the ability to adjust elements of the website to suit their needs and preferences. AccessiBe is installed on the Bop Design site, so you can play around with the options—including turning up the contrast.
Privacy Matters More and More
Have you noticed the trend yet? Privacy became a big deal to the internet when GDPR went into effect in Europe in May 2018. Various parts of the world have since implemented their own privacy laws, with California leading the US. In fact, with Proposition 24 passing in the 2020 election, California has recently increased privacy regulations. And remember, California’s laws don’t apply only to businesses headquartered in the state—they apply to anyone who has customers or users who reside in the state!
Laws and requirements change based on where your users are, how large your business is, what type of information you’re collecting, and whether your B2B website includes display ads or not. It can be really overwhelming. We strongly recommend going with a third-party solution like Iubenda. They employ attorneys who help keep their solutions compliant with the ever-changing laws throughout the world.
Voice Search Optimization Is Hot
Okay, this might be a little further removed from the development side of things, but it’s still an important topic. People are getting more and more comfortable with asking their phones for information—and phones are getting better at providing the right information.
Of course, a lot of people are still asking questions like, “Who’s that German guy who sang and was in the beach show in the 90s?” (A real question my fiancé asked. No, search did not give him the answer he wanted. Yes, the answer is David Hasselhoff.) But that doesn’t mean B2B companies should ignore voice search. If MailChimp can run a successful ad campaign on bus shelters in 2014, the B2B companies can be successful with voice search optimization in 2021.
The big thing to remember in voice search is conversational tone. Most users speak very informally when using their phones to search. So, optimizing for a phrase like, “why is Salesforce a good CRM?” is probably more valuable than “Salesforce: the optimal customer relationship management software.”
While most of these trends aren’t heavy on web development, they’re critical for modern developers—and B2B marketers—to keep in mind.