The latest web design news, trends and features together with related blog post ideas for web design agencies to incorporate into their blogging schedule. Plus some marketing and culture articles to inspire even more ideas.

+ 12 Web Development Trends You Must Know About in 2016

About: Thomas Peham takes a peek at the ‘upcoming frameworks, powerful development tools and evolving technologies’ for the year ahead in his article about web development trends for 2016. He covers topics including motion user interfaces, the Internet of Things (IoT), browser based IDEs, full-screen navigation design and ad blocking, plus a whole lot more.

Blog post ideas:
1. Write about how a wider choice of devices, smaller screens and wearable gadgets impact on web design decision making for businesses. What do clients need to consider when sitting down with their web designer/developer?
2. Detail the benefits of full-screen navigation designs such as for registration forms on mobile devices. Showcase some examples. What other features can take advantage of full-screen navigation?
3. Ad blocking is a growing trend. How will businesses overcome the ad block plugins being utilised? What ‘innovative and persuasive’ ways are there to present adverts in a website’s design that bypass ad blocking software?
4. What are the top web design or development trends you see taking place during the next 12 months? Ask your team to share theirs as well, perhaps in a 3 or 5 part series over a week or two in January.

Why?: You’ll show your web design agency to be a forward thinking and clued-up team of professionals with an awareness of the changing web design and development landscape. Potential clients will like that.

+ Back to the Future in 2016

About: The A List Apart staff provide a nice continuation of the New Year review/preview style blog post. They asked their ‘smartest friends in the web design and development communities what new skills they planned to master’ or focus on during the year. The resulting views are both interesting and informative, falling into four broad categories of design, insight, tools, and work.

Blog post ideas:
1. Set a question for your design agency employees to answer regarding the upcoming year, a special event or new trends in web design. Bring the answers together as a blog post. State before that the answers need to be directed at potential clients, not other designers.
2. What will your design agency be aiming to add to its repertoire of skills this year and why? How will the new skill benefit clients and their business websites?
3. Arrange a podcast or video interview with a professional in a related field to web design you might collaborate with on a frequent basis. Ask them some questions about emerging trends and expectations affecting both your fields. UX developers, illustrators, copywriters and video makers come to mind.
4. One of the web designers in the ALA post mentioned the importance of mental positivity. How do your team maintain a healthy studio atmosphere?

Why?: People like to read insights from professionals. Your agency will come across as friendly, experienced and welcoming, plus they’ll get some great ideas for their websites.

+ The Ten Most Popular Web Fonts of 2015

About: Jeremiah Shoaf over at Typewolf has collected together his ten most popular web fonts ‘based on font usage data from 365 websites featured over 2015’ on his website. He’s a master curator and believes the sites he features are a ‘solid representation of what is popular in the design community’. Fonts include Futura, Proxima Nova, Avenir, Brandon Grotesque and Caslon.

Blog post ideas:
1. What have been your most used and favourite web fonts over the previous 12 months? How did you incorporate them into your designs? Showcase a few examples and the reasoning behind the decisions.
2. Explain to potential clients how fonts can have a big impact on the look, character and success of a website as well as related business marketing materials. Which fonts are most suitable for different types of industries?
3. What well-known brands have changed their typography over the last year? What do you think of the changes? How might you have done things differently?
4. How will web fonts become increasingly important or less important when it comes to smaller wearable devices? Talk about the technology that’s being developed in this area which will benefit businesses looking to take advantage of tinier screens.

Why?: Fonts are ubiquitous and many clients underestimate the importance of well-designed lettering on websites. By educating them and showcasing examples you’ll not only highlight your expertise but also provide them with some inspiration for what they want in a design.

+ Project Management for Designers

About: Web and mobile app designer Danelle Bailey has a nice little post detailing design project preparation and management. If you’re sometimes stuck on how to ‘gather information, plan, kick off, and deliver projects with confidence’ then this is a good read for you. Topics include client communication, scheduling, presentations and final delivery.

Blog post ideas:
1. Write about the process you go through with each new client, from beginning (initial contact) to end (signing off). What should a new client expect?
2. Talk about the communication channels within your web design agency and how you work together as a team. Do you have daily meetings? Project leaders? How many people work on one project? Reveal the answers to your readers.
3. Cover the ways in which you collaborate with related professionals on web design or marketing material projects. Do you have an in-house team or do you hire freelancers? Professionals might include web developers, illustrators and copywriters. Write a case study of a successful collaboration project.
4. What does a client need to prepare and think about before contacting a web designer? Draw up a list of points they need to consider and explain why.

Why?: Potential clients might be worried about the processes involved when designing a website. You can put their mind at ease with clear and transparent information and advice about the rewarding adventure ahead.

+ Onboarding and Designing Login/Registration Pages

About: Andrew Smyk writes for the Adobe Dreamweaver Team Blog about the best design practices for login and registration pages. He covers potential problems including my favourite frustration which is when a login and registration page/button are nearly identical. Other points he mentions include login information options, progress bars, animations, anti-patterns and the dreaded CAPTCHA.

Blog post ideas:
1. Explain to potential clients the importance of clear navigation and user experiences when it comes to logins and registrations on a website. In a similar way to Smyk’s post, detail your agency’s thoughts on the matter.
2. What areas of a business website require, or would benefit from, login and registration systems? Business owners are often unaware of the important functionality of such pages and forms.
3. Showcase some of your favourite login and registration pages from well-known websites. Share your expert opinion on why they work and how they can inspire.
4. Write about how vital it is for forms to work on devices both large and small. Find some illuminating stats to share about problems people may face. Provide examples of screenshots showing how forms can change from one screen size to another.

Why?: You’ll show you’re not just about nice colours and fancy graphics but that you’ve also got the important functionality aspects of a website in your skillset as well.

+ Design Trends 2016 Infographic

About: Which design trends should we be keeping an eye out for during 2016? The answers to this question come in the form of an eye-catching infographic designed by Coastal Creative, a full-service design agency based in San Diego. Mentioned trends include background videos, increased minimalism, storytelling content formats and card based interface design.

Blog post ideas:
1. Design an infographic covering the latest trends or predictions in web design. You can focus on a particular niche/industry or make it all encompassing.
2. What are supposed web design trends clients need to be careful of? Maybe business owners frequently ask you to create particular designs based on things they’ve heard or seen, which are actually flawed. Explain why.
3. Are background videos really something a business website needs? Which industries best suit such visual distractions? Share your sincere thoughts on a notable trend, together with its pros and cons (in the form of an infographic).
4. How best can infographics be used in web marketing? Explain to clients their benefits and various related inbound marketing tactics they can be used in.

Why?: Designing infographics will show your design skills as well as your knowledge of related marketing requirements, possibilities and trends.

Marketing Tactics and Ideas


+ 2016 Mobile Marketing Trends Every Marketer Needs

About: Marketing expert Heidi Cohen has an in-depth article covering the importance of mobile for marketers (and web designers) in 2016. She mentions how ‘mobile marketing success requires contextual relevance’ and ‘instant information gratification’. Good design is of course a vital element in all of this. Cohen covers mobile usage, mobile marketing, mobile apps, mobile email, mobile commerce and wearables.

Blog post ideas:
1. Help potential clients understand the basic principles of mobile website usage and general user behaviour patterns. What insights can be gained and how can these be utilised by intelligent designers?
2. Should a business heavily reliant on mobile customers ever design for mobile usage first before website usage? What are the pros and cons?
3. Showcase some of the best mobile website designs you’ve come across, including some you’ve designed.

Why?: All businesses care about mobile design and optimisation. You’ll show you’re familiar with design principles related to mobile devices and wider factors including marketing.

+ 11 Testimonial Page Examples You’ll Want to Copy

About: Testimonial pages are an important component of any service based business. Good reviews make you look good and reflect positively on the services you provide. In this blog post Lindsay Kolowich brings together some of the best testimonial pages found on the internet. As she points out, it’s ‘a powerful tool for establishing trust and encouraging potential buyers to take action’.

Blog post ideas:
1. Collect together your favourite testimonial pages from businesses in your local region. Select the best from a variety of different industries and state why they work design wise.
2. What design features does a good testimonial page need? Share with potential clients the various design components that can be considered.
3. Can multimedia testimonial pages work? Are small video clips a good idea? Share some more imaginative possibilities together with their pros and cons.

Why?: Businesses want to show off and they’ll be interested in how best to present their best testimonials.

+ Personal Business Lessons from 2015 and What You Can Learn from Them

About: Talented illustrator Mars Dorian writes about the business lessons he learnt during 2015. His advice for fellow freelancers and businesses in general looking to market themselves include tips on networking, social media, keeping abreast of trends and the importance of becoming a futurist. There are some golden nuggets for designers of all stripes in this piece.

Blog post ideas:
1. Write about the journey your web design agency has taken over the previous 12 months. Open up about the struggles and successes, and how both have shaped your team, the philosophy of your business and the results you deliver.
2. Share general social media marketing tips. Incorporate design advice related to social media profile headers, bio photos, infographics, tweet update graphics and more.
3. What should entrepreneurs or small business owners be reading online to stay up-to-date with marketing trends, design developments and business knowledge? Focus on readers in the industries you design websites most for or who you’d most like as clients.

Why?: Clients appreciate a web designer with a rounded knowledge of marketing principles. Good design complements the latest marketing trends, skills and technology resulting in a more success website.

Culture Blog Ideas for Web Designers


+ London’s Art Scene 2016: A Month by Month Guide

About: Kate Gordon, founder of London Art Studies, has put together an impressive guide covering art exhibitions and festivals taking place in London this year. What, you may be asking, has this to do with web design? Everything and nothing.

It’s tempting to think that your web design agency should blog solely about web design matters. That’s true to an extent but you can also throw a wider net. You see, writing about events in your local region is a great way to attract local clients.

By writing about goings-on in your city, county or regional area, you begin to build a tribe of local followers who will share and distribute the information you share. You also attract prospects via the search engines with keywords related to your locale.

What’s more, you can still mix in the topic of web design into each post of this type. For example:

Blog post ideas:
1. A portrait gallery event nearby can inspire web design insights into the best ways to show staff bios on an ‘About Us’ page. How should the photographs be taken and against what backdrop? Are there ways to use staff faces in the wider website design?
2. An architecture exhibition can draw parallels with website formatting and structuring. Modern architectural principles of your country’s top building designers can be used as web design blog post material aimed at architectural professionals needing new websites.
3. Draw up a list of events your design team are looking forward to attending over the next 3 to 6 months. Get them to write a little about the occasion or exhibitions and why they’re going. What will they hope to learn or experience which might enhance their web design skills and cultural awareness?

+ Activate! Robot Wars is Coming Back to the BBC

About: According to Wired, the BBC has ordered a full reboot of Robot Wars, the popular robot fighting television show. ‘Homemade robots kitted out with buzz saws, crushing claws and generally pointless flamethrowers’ will be fighting one another once again in gladiatorial deathmatches. The new show will reveal more about the science and details inside the robots and how they work.

Blog post ideas:
1. Get each of your web design agency team members to design their own robot using their graphic design skills. Showcase them in a humorous post along with the unique features of each robot. Tie in these features with web design philosophies.
2. Mention the show and then go on to curate some great website examples with a decidedly robotic look to them. Designs which incorporate graphics featuring machines, metal parts, pipes, screws and rusty surfaces. Businesses with these designs might include construction companies, garages, vehicle manufacturers and steel suppliers.
3. Write about the dangers of business owners trying to design their own website without any assistance. What are the implications of poor web design when it comes to attracting customers, converting leads, search engine optimisation and general company reputation? Use some fighting robot analogies.

Why?: Tapping into cultural events and news related to the interests of your target audience will attract readers and result in increased social media sharing. Extra powerful when combined in clever ways with good solid web design tips and information.