Staying ahead of web-trends & being original while retaining intuitive cross-platform functionality.
There is a plethora of sites with stunning features one web search away, but how do we assess whether adding these features to our websites for schools is appropriate?
There are many issues to be considered and so at FSE we meet every few months with a wish list of currently hot trends that we discuss incorporating in some way into our designs and sites.
Top of our list is cross browser support. New features are all well and good, but if only some of the newest iterations of popular browsers support the code required we can't reliably implement these ideas on sites without detrimentally affecting user experience for some visitors. Sometimes the answer is just to wait until enough people are using browsers up-to-date enough to support these features. For this, our goto index is https://caniuse.com/.
Next up is the question; 'Will this feature be used across a majority of platforms and screen sizes?' Familiarity with a school site is important and this comes from consistent intuitive behaviour across screen sizes and platforms. If a feature would only be usable on a large screened device with cursor 'hover' functionality (with a mouse or trackpad) then it would either be missed or require some other interaction on a touchscreen device. Many beautiful desktop portfolio sites don't translate to mobile well. Knowing our market is important: Over 80% of requests for our school websites come from mobile devices.
We also need to be realistic about the likelihood of the feature in question becoming regularly used and balance that against development time. If a feature requires a lot of development it may be worth it if it improves the experience of many future sites, but if there's a lot of work involved for something very niche that will be rarely used, then it might not be wise to undertake.
At FSE Design we continually look for ways to keep our designs current and eye-catching while balancing that with an uncomplicated and intuitive user experience for every visitor and a site that furthers your school marketing successfully.