Trends in digital media change almost overnight, and the way we as consumers interact with certain trends across different mediums can shape the way companies try to grow customer loyalty or increase sales within markets or demographics that may have previously been out of reach. It’s a cycle.
One of the most notable changes I’ve seen recently is Instagram introducing a way to shop online retailers within the app. As a result, companies — large and small — are implementing the feature. It gives them the ability to advertise, sell, gain information on their customer base, and grow loyalty all in one step. It even sort of creates an online equivalent of the at-the-register impulse purchase.
But it’s also convenient for the consumer; the feature saves you time and it allows you to better find what you’re looking for. For example, let’s say Target posts a picture of an item on Instagram, but doesn’t add the name or other pertinent information about the item within the caption. Traditionally, you’d either have to comb through thousands of items and hundreds of pages on their online store or you’d have to physically search the (massive) store for the item. This takes time, and potentially gas money. A lot of people aren’t going to bother or put forth that much effort on something they can likely find elsewhere — and much easier. But if Target allowed the consumer to purchase the item directly through the social media app, all of that hassle is eliminated.
Another trend within social media: Media outlets are relying on video to attract consumers instead of text or photos. Both my employers are doing this. Mic has tons of videos and series, and Romper has started a few web series structured like documentaries and talk shows.
When it comes to actual design, one trend I am a fan of is websites using a texture or a photo (obviously one that is minimal and doesn’t take away from the content) as a background withoutthe use of solid white or black text boxes. It’s usually accompanied by very little text, which may or may not be perfectly aligned on the page. These sites make great use of balance and color. In my opinion, it makes the site feel so much more immersive. In comparison, it’s very pleasing to the eye next to sites that are just made up of words, straight lines, and solid, opaque colors. People love visual elements, and this trend is made even better when it involves anything interactive. My favorite example of this trend is JK Rowling’s website, as well as her site Pottermore.