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Is there anything new under the sun when it comes to web trends… not really but if you look hard enough there’s new additions to old practices. Ready yourself for the trends you’ll hear more about in 2016, presented by what archeologist called “machomen.”

Accelerating Mobile

Accelerating the mobile experience

With Google rewarding websites that are mobile, 2015 was a rush to rebuild sites to be mobile-friendly. What to do if you are already mobile? Watch for Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project. The promise: everything on your smart phone loads instantly.  To board this Love Boat, developers will need to consider “AMP HTML.” I can’t tell you much as Google made this announcement in October 2015 and bits of info are circulating. I can tell you this, if its adopted, your donut powered fingers will be the slowest thing on your phone. I exaggerate, we’ll all be eating kale in 2016. 

Tasty Menus that inform

Menus. Making them Tasty

Like smoking, there have been some bad coughed-up ideas to solve wordy interfaces on small screens. Mysterious menu items giving no context of what a user might find on the page, is called “mystery meat” — you never know what you’re going to get. We mystified it further and made the menu a hamburger – three lines stacked on top of each other usually located in the corner of your screen – yumm’eewww. Hamburgers should die (or be used differently because I’ll use burgers in my designs when useful). 

Labling menu items means improved usability

We’ve always known from user tests, that people don’t like fussy interfaces. They scan the page, click, bing then bang. If there’s nothing quickly seen of interest — you’ve lost them. In 2016, Consider downsizing to a simple to understand menu that fits within the width of a smartphone screen

Don't Spam in a Bar

SEO for Good People

Google has been doing a nice job trying to provide quality search results by weeding out the cheats. The gig has been up for awhile for keyword stuffing and buying links and other hacks — Google is rewarding the rule followers.You say you never had time to try the hacks and now you’re wondering how not to come across as sleazy?

Lets say, in a bar full of macho men, Google is booting out the ones with too much cologne and lame pickup lines. Just like using the same lame pick-up line in a bar, duplicate content is a problem to avoid. How does Mr. Macho get noticed then? Try “latent semantic indexing” (LSI). Its using basically synonyms of keywords so you’re not spamming the same words while keeping your content on topic.  

One easy way to find synonyms for a keyword is to type it in Google’s search bar and see popular phrases people are looking for. I typed in “macho man” and got “randy savage” and “Putin.” Thanks search engine in helping us define ‘macho.’Read up on Google’s Search Quality Guidelines

Becareful with website security

Security. Be less easy

2015 was a year of wonderment. How did so many large profile websites, who spend money on security, get hacked? It seems no one is safe right? If the names of the infidelity-bums on Ashley Madison’s website were compromised (aren’t we all happy about this hack) then your website is vulnerable. Lets all take more precautionary steps. 

One precaution that’s been around for awhile is HTTPS. You might have used it mainly for donation transactions… now consider how this encrypted communication feature can protect other aspects of your website… videos, blog posts, images… your constituent’s information… all of it. This last summer, the U.S. Government issued memorandum M-15-13, The HTTPS-Only Standard, to help keep interactions private on their websites. The U.S. government is trending like Tom Selleck.

Don't do too much

Performance. Our dreams got the best of us

Hello my name is Michael, and I’m addicted to building stunning websites. I feel 2016 will be the year we pull back from bloated websites that are dog tired. With faster connection rates, improved browsers, and faster computer processors, naturally we exploited those gains and piled on the goods and dreamed bigger — an airliner with a swimming pool, yes, but make it two pools and a go-cart track on top. Sites that were once designed to be fast are now slow. Some thoughts to consider:

  • Server performance — not all sites are equal. If you want a website with the works, best have a server that will support the girth.
  • Lookups — are you using a lot of third party lookups – might want to rethink what’s necessary and remove the rest
  • Complicated layouts loaded with poor front-end coding. The solution is not more code. Reduce and make NASA proud
  • Large, sharp images that grandma could see across the street. I do love Texas size images! But maybe I should go on a file-size reduction diet. Take up some Chuck Norris aerobics.

However, why diet when there’s a new acronym in town — HTTP/2. Unlike HTTPS talked about above,  HTTP/2 is about security and speed. In short, HTTP/2 uses a process called “multiplexing” which sends a stampede of server requests at once instead of the HTTP approach of one at a time. Google is in the works of making this switch and likely we all will in the future.

Lets get back to being fast. 

May your 2016 website planning include these ideas and the slew of other ideas being discussed – and that is nothing new under the sun.

Michael Schafer
Michael has spent the past 25 years applying his experience and superpowers to further the missions of social-good organizations, and has no plans to stop.