If you are considering a website redesign, there is an abundance of information that can be found online. Tips & tricks, how to's, and step by step guides abound. We even have a number of these guides on our LyntonWeb site. Sometimes it's important to step back, however, and take in the big picture - the 'meta' of your website if you will. If you're investing $15-20,000 (USD) in a website design, how can you future proof your website so that it's design and functionality will serve you well for years to come? Here's one way to think about future proofing your website.
Before considering your own company website, let's consider the investments of some of the titans of the Internet. Mark Zuckerburg, CEO of Facebook, plans to invest another $3 Billion (USD) in virtual reality over the next decade as he sees it as the next big computing platform 1. Other big players including Microsoft, Google and Samsung have made and are continuing to make investments in virtual or augmented reality.
So what? You may be asking yourself. What does this mean to a CEO or Director of Marketing who is looking to redesign a website this year? Firstly, it's instructive to see what major Internet players are doing to maintain industry leadership. Secondly, it's always useful to follow the money trail. Clearly, the investment in virtual reality is significant. The key for your own website is to orient it to a virtual reality mindset. Let's first define virtual reality:
the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.
Essentially, virtual reality wants to create as close to a real, face to face, physical experience as possible within a digital framework. This could be for the purposes of gaming, medicine or even customer service. Now, don't think I want every visitor to your new website to put on a virtual reality headset. I do want you to consider how you can make a visit to your website as close to a live experience as possible. Easy ways to make a website visit more real include:
- Live Chat &
- Interactive Content
Think about a real life encounter with someone from your company. It happens face to face. You can see expressions and understand the humanness of the interaction. Video, whether it's a testimonial from a client or your CEO discussing the company, offers a face to face encounter for the website visitor. Certainly, it doesn't replace a live meeting but it's better than a flat graphic. Video of your product or service, especially if your customers will be jumping out of airplanes, for example - is even better. And don't worry if you're in a 'boring' industry. Not everyone enjoys jumping out of planes. Videos of manufacturing processes or pest control methods will be exciting to your website's visitors. Remember, they are on your website for a solution to a particular problem. Live chat is also powerful. An instant response to a website visitor is more likely to lead to an email or phone conversation. Again, think of a face to face conversation. You've met a prospect, chatted and typically the next step would be to set up a call. Finally, interactive content like quizzes or assessments take a visitor through an online activity that should serve to convert them from a visitor to a lead.
Orient your new website to 'real' experiences and it will serve you well in the coming years.