2015 was a fantastic year for technology, with huge advances in the way that people interact online. Virtual reality, the Internet of things, smart cars and wearable technology have all made a big impact on our digital landscape. But what does 2016 hold, and how can businesses prepare themselves?
- Keep up with mobile trends
In 2015, many companies developed mobile friendly websites as an afterthought. Last year, Google made changes to their search ranking algorithm, and now assess mobile-friendliness. This means that mobile-friendly pages will be boosted in search results, essentially penalising unresponsive websites. This has prompted many companies to start thinking mobile first when it comes to their web presence.
In 2016 mobile first design will be paramount. Google reported in May that mobile website traffic has finally surpassed desktop traffic in over 10 countries. That’s not to say that desktop is dying. Studies have also shown an increase in “multi-screening” – browsing sites across desktop and mobile.
If you aren’t yet mobile-friendly, it’s time to embrace the change. If you’re not sure, use Google’s mobile-friendly checker tool to see how you fare.
- First impressions count
First impressions with your website are crucial. Research suggests that people will judge your brand identity within milliseconds. For that reason, it’s important your site loads quickly.
Fast page load isn’t just a nice to have. Google now take this into consideration with search engine ranking of your site. Furthermore, visitors will be quick to drop off if they have to wait around for too long. A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
To make sure your site loads quickly, check that all your images are optimised for the web. You may also want to make sure you are on an appropriate hosting package for your traffic to ensure that page load speed is up to scratch. Either way, you’ll want your site to load within around 2-3 seconds.
- Think about the user experience, and the digital platform
A mobile responsive site can help achieve a unified cross-platform experience. However, in 2016 companies will have to consider their entire presence and create content and services to suit each platform.
In some cases, there is true value in offering a dedicated app. Apps can be much more functional and easy to use, and can also look more appealing.
In 2016, not only will existing apps become more innovative, but it will become more crucial for all companies to provide an app for their users. We’re also anticipating more connectivity between apps, websites and social media, and an evolution into digital platforms.
- Embrace wearable technology
2015 was the year for wearable technology. Devices such as smart watches and fitness trackers gained popularity and are becoming commonplace.
A smartphone can now form the control panel for many wearable devices through various apps. We are just starting to understand the potential of wearable technology through recent breakthroughs:
- In September Apple released the latest Apple Watch software that, among many other features, allows pregnant mothers to hear their baby’s heartbeat in real-time from their wrist (read more).
- Athena is a security alarm system that keeps women safe when they are under threat of attack. By pressing the subtle pendant, an alarm will sound, and messages sent to your chosen contacts with your location (read more).
- Google are testing a smart contact lens that can detect blood glucose levels and help diabetes sufferers (read more).
From a business perspective, these new developments also open the door to new marketing opportunities. More devices mean more screens and platforms to reach people on, and this calls for new digital and marketing strategies.
It’s hard to predict how technology will progress in the forthcoming year, but the biggest piece of advice – don’t fall behind. Take this opportunity to refresh your online presence and review your digital strategy. With change comes opportunity, and this is the perfect time to start planning for the year ahead.
Get in touch today if you’d like to chat about your digital strategy for the New Year.