You’re likely to be engaging on social media well and have got community meetings back up and running again, as well as talking to the media and doing all the great things you need to do to provide information to the public and stakeholders, but when it comes to your website, are you doing all you can to make sure it’s accessible, inclusive and a good experience for your website visitors?
It only takes a person a fraction of a second to decide whether they like a website or not. In today’s digital landscape, every organization needs a great web presence, but with the emphasis on digital channels ushered in by the pandemic, that requirement has become even more apparent.
That’s why you need to ensure your online presence is fully accessible and optimized.
In a recent "2022 State of Websites" report, Monsido - an Optimere brand, a leading web governance solution, surveyed 160 web and digital professionals around the world to find out what their top website priorities are in 2022. Of these respondents, 24% came from the government and public sector, 19% from K-12 schools and 22% from higher education.
While the results from the report showed a range of budget and resources were available to the respondents, it was clear that four things came out on top as the most important trends to pay attention to.
Improving user experience
Although enhancing the user experience (UX) on a website is often touted as being very important, it doesn’t always get prioritized when compared to other goals, such as increasing website traffic or reducing bounce rates. Yet, web specialists are shifting their focus from sheer numbers to gaining a greater understanding of how their audience interacts with their website. Monsido found that in 2022, organizations will put more focus and effort into making their users have a better experience with each visit to enhance satisfaction and meet increasingly higher expectations from online users.
Addressing web accessibility
Another increasingly important part of user experience is web accessibility, which is getting more and more focus not only in the media, but by the survey respondents as well.
An accessible website is no longer a nice to have but rather a foundational website strategy. It’s crucial in making sure that all user needs are being met and that the site lives up to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0 as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It’s estimated that the cost of accessibility non-compliance is about three times higher than the cost of complying, but ultimately accessibility is the right thing to do, and should not be overlooked in 2022.
Doing a redesign
With greater focus on UX, web design is also a crucial factor. In fact, as mentioned in the report, most website users form their opinion of a site in about 0.05 seconds, leaving little room for a bad first impression. If a site is experiencing a very high bounce rate, user interface (UI) design is often one of the first elements up for review. Following the upcoming trends in web design as well as a need for sites that meet not only aesthetic and usability goals, but also compliance standards will create demands on web developers and designers to become more versed in these areas.
Gaining greater exposure of your agency's message to a larger audience tends to top the KPIs of most web professionals. As of January 2022, there are over 1.9 billion websites online. Of those, less than 25% of them are active. Yet, that is still a massive 350 million active sites catering to the needs of over 4.6 billion internet users worldwide. With respondents planning to drive more of those visitors to their sites in 2022, many of the most widely used tactics to grow traffic will continue to be implemented, and some newer ways will also begin to appear.
It’s understandable that this may seem overwhelming, particularly if you’re a solo PIO responsible for all the platforms in your agency. This is about priorities and ensuring you are focusing on community inclusion and diversity by providing the best service you can.
You’ll be able to read the findings of the survey here and these are the key points to consider;
- User experience should be a continuous goal to strive for
- Opt for a mobile first approach
- Keep accessibility practices at the forefront of your design
- Consider a redesign once every two to three years
- Keep in mind user intent when leveraging your SEO practices
- Maintaining compliance on the website is an on-going endeavor that is important