Adam Fisher
31st October 2018 - 5 mins read
S

o, we’ve boiled these trends down to the ones you simply cannot afford to ignore.

Here, Thirty Seven’s digital designer Tom Sykes takes you through the website design trends you really need to know.

 

Accessibility

It might sound simple, but one of the key trends so far in 2018 has been a move towards making website content easier to read.

A back to basics ethos has seen an increasing number of websites adopt a pure black on pure white approach to text.

Larger fonts and bigger headlines have also become increasingly popular.

“For a while, many websites suffered from a sort of design for the sake of design approach,” said Tom.

“But now the focus is much more on the readability of the content. We are not seeing coloured text on coloured backgrounds anymore and in many cases design has been stripped to a minimum, so that there isn’t stuff around the website which could detract the user away from what they came to the site to do.”

Tom cites the redesigned Dropbox website as a strong example of this new approach, particularly the move to bigger headlines.

He said: “The Dropbox typeface – ‘grotesque’ - is something I think we will see more of. It’s a wide typeface and is aesthetically pleasing, but that does not detract from the readability.”


Bold colours

2018 is the year for going bold with colour.

Websites are currently being designed with vibrant, bright colours.

And colour gradients are making a comeback after years of being shunned by designers. In fact, the two-colour effect is back in a big way.

Tom said: “We are seeing a move from safe and subtle colours to bold and bright ones. Designers are playing more with colours, are trying more things and are just being more courageous.

And part of this playing with colour had seen gradients begin to appear on websites everywhere.”

Tom is a particular fan of the vibrant colours used on the Sketch website which enables the company’s gold gem logo to really stand-out.

The Premier League is another website which has embraced a bold palette, combining a strong purple with flashes of bright pink – not necessarily colours you would associate with football, but certainly visually effective.

 

Playfulness

Another emerging trend is brands trying to ensure their websites better reflect their personalities.

This has seen a move away from the more formal, professional language, typically seen on websites to a more light-hearted, fun, product-focused style.

“This is an approach we are seeing a lot of start-up companies take and it is helping them to find their footing and forge their identity”, said Tom.

“I think there is growing realisation that highly formal copy doesn’t always successfully draw in customers in 2018. It is a move that is being driven by millennials who are growing up and driving the market. They want to feel brands are being genuine with them. 

“The Product Hunt website is a great example of this. It uses humorous language, makes jokes and even uses emojis. It basically uses the same language as those who visit the website.”

Of course, this approach won’t work for everyone and you would probably be unlikely to buy healthcare insurance from a website which used emojis, for example. But it is certainly something brands should consider.

This playfulness trend is also seeing more illustration being used on websites with custom drawings also helping to bring a human touch and highlight personality.

 

Animation

Animation is rapidly becoming the new norm in website design with a growing number of companies using it to help bring ideas and products to life.

Increasingly websites use animation to enable them to show products from every possible angle.

Tom said: “There are thousands of videos on social media and when you scroll down your feed and they start playing they can draw you in.

“Animation on a website can bring that same focus to products. Instead of static images, customers are able to see the whole product and they get a much better idea of what they are potentially buying.”

Apple uses a lot of animation on its website, allowing customers to view products from numerous different angles.

But it is not just about products. Animated logos are becoming a growing trend and we increasingly seeing logos that spin, transform, expand or even appear to be hand drawn.

They are eye-catching and often memorable and that can give brands an important edge.

The Sketch website that we mentioned earlier in this blog is a great example of animation – when the homepage completes animating it looks totally different from how it started, where it shows an overview of the software, and instead features the latest feature updates.

It is also an approach we have taken on our own website, where the Thirty Seven logo changes colour as you scroll down the page.

Animation can bring great focus to a product and allow your customers to view it from multiple angles. This can even sway their decision to purchase. - Via @37agency

 

Unorthodox design

Another key trend is the move away from typical website designs.

The familiar ‘hamburger menu’ – the three-pronged menu icon – has been a staple diet for websites for years.

But appetites are changing and websites are now being designed which take very different approaches to navigation.

“We are now seeing websites where the user is really encouraged to look at it and almost have to learn what it does and where they should go,” said Tom.

“It is about encouraging users to be curious and explore in a way that traditional navigation would not really facilitate.

“Obviously, you don’t want to go too far because you want to ensure they get what they came to the website for, but it is about encouraging them to have more fun with the site.”

This move away from typical website patterns is seeing a rise in highly focused homepages with full-screen displays that just depict one product, rather than long scrolling pages.

 

At Thirty Seven, we offer content and design services to ensure your campaigns reach the right audiences at the right times. Our journalist led approach ensures your content is interesting, engaging and informative so you gain brand awareness and engagement whether it is social media content or a whitepaper. 

Marketing

How you can conduct a content marketing interview

Adam Fisher 2nd May 2018 — 7 mins read
I

’ve woken up with content ideas in the middle of the night, half-way through a gym session and while eating dinner. One of the best ways to create content, however, is to interview people. 

Not only can these be written up as a straight interview, like this example from our magazine, but you can also use them to breathe life and add fresh impetus into existing content ideas. And invariably, as you carry out more interviews, you will find you spot more content ideas through the people you talk to. 

Whether it is people in your own organisation or key influencers in the sector, getting the views, opinions and personalities of other people into your content can offer your readers something strong and different.

But how do you carry out an effective interview if you don’t have a journalism background?

I’ve worked as a journalist and now create content for Thirty Seven and its clients.

Here are my tips for successful content creation interviews:

 

Avoid the word ‘interview’

I’ve always tried to avoid using the word ‘interview’.

As a journalist, I found that it was a word that made people nervous.  It has a formal feel and conjures up thoughts of job interviews or politicians being torn apart by Jeremy Paxman on TV. 

On occasions, it would stop people from talking to me altogether.

However, if I said something like ‘have you got a few minutes for a quick chat’, I would get a much better response.

I’ve found this theory is the same when it comes to content creation. If I use the word ‘interview’, I might typically get a response like ‘I wouldn’t know what to say’.  If I say ‘I just want to get your thoughts on…’ they are generally up for the idea.

It all goes back to making sure the person you are interviewing, or wanting to interview, is relaxed.

 

Start off gently

There is a good chance that the person you will be talking to will not have done an interview before or had any form of media training (something our sister company Media First can help with).

That means that while I’m still going to take a journalistic approach to the interview, I’m going to start more gently than I would when faced with an experienced media spokesperson.

I’ll be looking to ask questions that hopefully put them at ease, help them to relax and open up and encourage them to share their thoughts.

I tend to think on my feet and if I feel they are growing in confidence I may go for some harder questions. If not, I’ll continue with open, gentle questions which encourage them to keep talking.

Whatever their confidence level, I won’t look for the curveball question that I may have used as a journalist.

 

Don’t share questions in advance

You will find conflicting advice about this in other blogs about content creation.

But, I really don’t believe in sending interviewees a list of questions I’m planning to ask in advance.

In my experience, doing this ensures scripted responses which won’t capture the conversational tone you need to aim for.

And, as I have already mentioned, I don’t prepare my own questions in advance.

I’m not completely heartless though. I will give them an overview of what I am looking for and hope to cover ahead of the interview. 

If conducting a #ContentMarketing interview, don't share the questions you're going to ask before-hand. It ensures you create a conversational tone and avoid scripted answers. Via: @37agency

 

Focus

It might sound needy, but when I carry out an interview I want the interviewee’s undivided attention.

There is nothing worse than when someone is in full flow, telling a great anecdote or story which will bring your content to life, and suddenly they are distracted by an email appearing on their screen or a phone call for example.

So, if I can, I always strive to carry out interviews away from their desk. Perhaps there is a meeting room you could use in your building, or you could possibly meet in a coffee shop.

I’ve even arranged to meet interviewees at their home to keep them away from the distracting work environment.

Similarly, I try to make sure they have got plenty of time for the interview. Finding that you have been given a 15-minute slot sandwiched between two meetings will result in a distracted interview.

 

Be curious

I have recently found myself writing content about office designs and workplace trends.

This is a subject I have not encountered in my career, despite some of the newspaper offices I have worked in being completely dingy and in desperate need of refurbishment.

So I was a little unsure of how this would go. But then my journalistic curiosity came into play and I wanted to find out what lay behind the statements I was being told.

I found myself asking lots of open questions, many of which began with ‘why’ or ‘how’ - part of the 5Ws and an H which form the basis of most lines of questioning (what, when, who, why, where and how).

Why should a modern officer contain lots of greenery? How does that improve the health of the office worker?

To adapt an old proverb, while curiosity killed the cat, lack of curiosity killed the reporter, or in this case the content producer.

 

Look out for sound bites

When we use the term sound bites in written content, we are talking about those all-important quotes that could potentially make your content stand out.

A good quote can make a punchy headline or perhaps some pull-out quotes that can be used to break up sections of content.

But, often people don’t talk in complete sentences or are not concise, which can mean finding these quotes can be tricky.

There are a couple of tricks I use.

The first is that I may suggest I have missed their last point, perhaps by saying something like ‘my shorthand isn’t what it used to be’ and ask them to repeat it in the hope they deliver something stronger second time around. 

The other approach is to re-phrase it for them. Once they have finished their point, I’ll say something along the lines of ‘so what you are saying is’ and look to produce a summary of what they have just said that better lends itself to being a quote.

If they agree with that summary then I can put the sentence I have reworded in their name.

 

Get it all down

As a former journalist, I have the advantage of being able to use shorthand when I carry out interviews.

I’ll admit my shorthand ability isn’t what it once was –neglected by years in newspaper managerial roles and a move to PR - but even if I was still capable of producing 100 words per minute, I would still look to record interviews I carry out for content production purposes to ensure I capture everything that is said.

Always make sure, however, that the interviewee is happy to be recorded.

 

Keep it conversational

I want my content to have a conversational tone.

That means that if I’m going to have lots quotes from my interviewee in the blog then I need them to be in the sort of everyday language they would use when talking to friends or family.

Industry jargon, management speak and acronyms could make great swathes of text unusable. Again, getting them out of the workplace and helping them to feel relaxed can help with this.

It also means that while I’ll have an idea of what I’m going to ask and may have some prepared questions to use as a guide, my interview is not going to be scripted.

A pretty sure fire way of making a conversation stilted is for the interviewer to make their way through a great shopping list of questions.

I want to be able to adapt as we go along and explore things that come up in conversation that I may not have considered and veer off in a direction I may not have imagined – you never know where this might lead.

 

Avoid group interviews

Group interviews are a nightmare for the content creator.

While the interviewee might prefer the ‘safety in numbers approach’, the result is typically a series of incomplete quotes as the subjects talk over each other and finish each other’s sentences.

And I think you also miss out on a lot of the personality that comes through when you talk to one person face to face.

It may be more time-consuming, but I would rather interview the people separately and then stitch together what they have said to form my content.

 

At Thirty Seven, we offer content and design services to ensure your campaigns reach the right audiences at the right times. Our journalist led approach ensures your content is interesting, engaging and informative so you gain brand awareness and engagement whether it is social media content or a whitepaper.

Adam Fisher
26th June 2018 - 5 mins read

Every company wants to be an authority in their sector - those that engage the media usually are

Media First designs and delivers bespoke media and communications courses that use current working journalists, along with PR and communications professionals, to help you get the most from your communications plan.