Mike Sayenko is the CEO of Sayenko Design, where he oversees the company's strategy, creative, and development. We had a chance to sit down with Mike to discuss the importance of web design and the versatility of WordPress websites.
Tell us a bit about your background. Why did you decide to open up your own web design company?
I decided to open up my own Seattle web design company because I had a passion for generating real business value for small to mid-size businesses. The focus has been on fueling accelerated growth through smart design, quality research, and forward-thinking strategies. Our company predominately works with B2B websites that have two goals: lead generation and building brand awareness.
Since you began working with WordPress websites around the time the software was created, could you tell us how WordPress has evolved over the last several years?
WordPress has evolved to become a very robust solution for any sort of business that wants to integrate anything like marketing automation software, CRM, e-commerce, learning management systems, multi-databases, and so on. WordPress is a very scalable CMS and one that is very affordable to work with.
WordPress isn’t one-size-fits-all when it comes to business web designs. The platform can be used to create custom themes and layouts.
If someone were to say to you, "I don't like WordPress sites. They're too cookie-cutter," how would you respond?
Those that say WordPress is very cookie-cutter are misinformed; the reality is that we can build a website to look any way we want. We create custom WordPress themes that meet the business needs of our customers.
The web does have a lot of common UI design patterns; and as design patterns have matured, the experience is much better because of these. Why reinvent the wheel on a login model or a checkout process? User experience is very important, so we try to strike a balance between cutting edge design and usability.
Name one thing that WordPress site owners can do today to increase traffic to their sites.
They can install the Yoast SEO plugin. This allows them to optimize each page for a keyword or keyphrase that has a good amount of search volume and has a high cost per click. High-value keywords attract more advertisers, which leads to an increased CPC. Therefore, a higher CPC indicates value. However, it's important to do some keyword research inside a keyword planner tool such as AdWords.
When it comes to web design in general, what are some of the current trends that you're seeing these days?
Current web design trends include material design, which was developed by Google. The focus is on shadow effects and the concepts of movement and depth in order to create a visual design that looks realistic. Another that has been popular for some time is flat art design, which focuses on illustrations and infographic elements to tell a story.
Other trends include the use of hamburger menus, long scrolling pages that focus on building a brand narrative, masonry layouts, rich and subtle animations such as a gif icon or a pre-loader, hover animations, and background video animations. The main thing to note is that all of these trends should consider the end-user in mind. In other words, don't do it just because it's cool, but because it makes sense.
Your website's design should always consider the needs, goals and challenges of your end user.
What are some of the biggest design mistakes you see in web design today?
Some of the biggest design mistakes I see disregard the end user, trying to create a "wow" effect without building a brand narrative that makes sense for their ideal buyer. Content should precede design. A lot of time, design is undertaken without considering who the end users are, what challenges they have, their goals, how does the company's product or service address their challenge, and how they can be converted into a business lead or customer.
How has the recent upsurge in mobile phone and tablet usage impacted web design?
Let's face it: your website should be responsive. The impact of mobile and tablet usage is that the website should have a variety of different experiences that may slightly differ from desktop to mobile.
What do you foresee for the future of web design?
The future for business web design will be more and more dynamic and customized to the buyer's journey at every stage of the marketing funnel. We'll also see more contextual computing, meaning that the website will understand us and our needs, appear differently to two different users, and adjust so that the experience is tailor-made for that specific user.
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