Web design has changed and evolved a great deal in the past fifteen years. With the emergence of faster internet connections, images replaced endless blocks of text and, as time went on, video pushed images aside and emerged as the hottest trend in designing an attractive website. In the Middle-East, a similar transformation has taken place, but in a faster and more flagrant way – as things here so often do. Nowadays, web agencies across the UAE are breaking through to the forefront of design by employing and adapting the cutting-edge and effective trends that are seen the world over – with a local twist. Four main elements stand out as quasi- essential today – large and bold typeface, chat-bots, delivery of content, and the use of video. Typeface is a massive factor in how a webpage is perceived and processed by people. It can lead the eye and when executed correctly, does the job of delivering the exact information the website is supposed to provide. Recently, the use of bold as well as large typeface has become somewhat of a norm, and has worked its way into modern design. The online population of the UAE, particularly the youth, is less and less willing to spend time browsing novels on web pages and prefers their text in more segmented, palatable portions. As a result, web designers and marketers have to try harder to condense their content to its core point and to avoid redundancy. Designers can get creative and play around with the way text is presented and overlaid on the background in order to make the right parts stand out and to deliver an effective message. Similarly, as discussed in our other post “The Power of Social Interaction and Social Media in Marketing in the UAE”, personal relationships play a large part is business in the UAE. Recently, and surely a lot more in the near future, chat-bots have begun to bridge and fill this lack of social interaction in the online world. Companies are already integrating CTAs into their webpages through the form of a live chat, but this method has drawbacks, including but not limited to the fact that someone has to be present to respond to enquiries. This translates either to increased costs of having someone on call 24/7 or into somewhat limited or poor customer service, more often the latter. Chat-bots, when implemented adequately, act as a replacement for the human side of this interaction and, with their artificial intelligence, provide effective and accurate information to leads.
Content marketing has quickly become all the rage when it comes to attracting organic traffic and reaching ad-averse individuals. By providing real value to the receiver, content marketing embraces its commercial nature and, rather than trying to hide it or to succeed through persistence, it openly creates an exchange – the sender provides useful information while promoting their brand and the receiver derives value from said information while willingly becoming aware of the brand. Furthermore, providing valuable content is an amazing way of showing, in a concrete manner, the expertise and ability of a firm, so it’s no wonder that the practice has really taken off. In the UAE, content marketing has become a good way of building credibility with potential clients. Residents like to do business with people, not with companies, and online marketing can lack this personal touch. By implementing effective content marketing, and creating websites that showcase content in the right way, whether through formatting or design, web developers can effectively make up for this relationship gap.
As people are bombarded with more content, through social media, messaging services, and news apps, they go into a sensory overload and after a while, simply block out all incoming information. This is what has made video so effective and popular in modern web design. If a picture tells a thousand words, then a video tells thousands of words per second. A short video will often deliver a message far more effectively than a text by pretty much eliminating the effort necessary to visualize the topic at hand. The fact that videos are easy to share on social media only multiplies this popularity. Because the entire embedded video is visible, rather than just the headline and first few lines of an article, people feel not only more comfortable clicking them, but they are also simply more visually aesthetic from a presentation point. In the UAE, web designers and companies with strong social media presence have started to use video in order to deliver their message to people who do not like to read or who do not have the time to do so. By serving minute-long portions, it is rare to find someone who will not watch a video in its entirety after opening it.
The UAE is a good candidate for all the modern, popular web-design practices. Not only do these practices work for the same reasons as everywhere else, they also mesh and resonate with local audiences all the more effectively thanks to deeper cultural factors as well as common social practices. It is important, for web design as well as digital marketing agencies operating in Dubai and the UAE to know how to implement and benefit from all these techniques in order to cater to their audience in the most enjoyable way and create this exchange of value that marketing has converged to and will diverge from going forward in 2017.