Effective websites are a reflection of their times—and in the best cases, a herald of what’s to come.
Today, many consumer and professional services businesses are rethinking their websites to address the growing importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in the marketplace as well as society at large. However, the best intentions will only get you so far without concrete design choices. Here are four major web design trends to consider in the era of ESG:
Flex areas for special messages
Recently, new waves of COVID-19, social protests and political unrest made it crucial to quickly serve special business announcements about events of national and global importance. This content often is too significant to relegate to a blog or press release — but interrupting your homepage’s hero area or visual focus with them may undermine your design and brand strategy. Consider building in the option for a flex area to ensure that your new site can quickly, easily and adaptively deploy this content on high-traffic, high-visibility pages.
Domino’s Pizza v. Guillermo Robles was a dramatic wake-up call for ADA compliance. And using high-contrast colors and alternative text for images is just the beginning for businesses that want to provide accessible web content. Fortunately, there are now formal guidelines to help us make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. The real challenge is balancing accessibility features with the type of content you’re offering and your visual brand. To avoid serious and costly remediation down the road, address these issues and incorporate accessibility in your design now.
Taking a stand
ESG issues are playing an unprecedented role in investment decisions, buyer choices and business relationships. Your website is a crucial tool for communicating your company’s position on these issues — and proving that you truly walk the walk. While formal policy statements have their place, they are no substitute for artful storytelling using imagery and video as well as written content. No one likes to read a mission statement, but everyone loves to hear a tale about real outcomes. Integrating this material across your site will ensure that your values shine through for years.
Your website is a crucial tool for communicating your company’s position on ESG issues.
Reducing your website’s carbon footprint can be an important step in your business’s quest for greater sustainability overall. A website’s carbon footprint is based on the electricity required to maintain the server and fulfill user requests. Sustainable websites are designed to have significantly longer lifespans, require less human intervention and potentially consume less energy. Limiting unnecessary imagery and using darker backgrounds are among the ways that sites can use less energy; watch for creative designers to develop more flexible options as the calls for corporate responsibility grow louder.
A website redesign is a major undertaking. Make sure yours has both longevity and relevance by considering ESG as a major factor in your design strategy.