Having a website is one thing, but having an effective website is another matter altogether. MYRON SALANT, web services product manager at Webafrica, outlines five top features that visitors expect from your website.
1. Page speed/loading time
A slow-loading website and slow-loading pages are some of the greatest detractors to your site and will harm your conversion rate before you start. Visitors don’t have time to hang around waiting for your website to load. The simplest thing for them to do is click the back button and go to your nearest competitor’s site even if they are below you in search rankings. By minimising your load time by just a second you can increase your conversions, boost your reputation and increase your page ranking.
2. Website design/call to actions
The next thing that grabs the attention of the visitor is the layout and web design. If your website does not look professional, has pop-ups all over the place or seems to be somewhat complicated to navigate, it will deter even the most loyal customers.
When visitors visit your website they expect it to:
- Organised: It should provide users with a quick and clear understanding of what the site is about. It should display all of your most important selling points and it should guide the users with easy to see calls to action. Remember, direct visitors where YOU want them to go.
- Easy to navigate: A navigable website is the essence of creating a well-organised and user-friendly website. Your website should allow visitors to explore further, while still being able to find their way back to where they started. An easy-to-navigate website will keep your visitors there longer and increase the chance for conversion.
- Offer value: If your users come to your site for your product or service, then make sure you deliver. Craft your website around those products and services and present them in a way that the user knows exactly what you are offering. Most times visitors search for specific topics and keywords, so if you have specific topics make sure the relevant information is there.
3. Self-shot images
The use of stock images on websites, gives it a somewhat more ‘professional’ look, but that is not a true reflection of YOU or YOUR business. When visitors land on your website, they want to see the people behind the brand. By revealing yourself and your business you build rapport that will result in lasting relationships. Another significant aspect of self-managed photography is that it shows willingness to go the extra mile, which to a potential customer is GOLD!
4. Images over content
It is sometimes hard to find the balance between content and images. But it has been proven that people prefer image-heavy websites over content-heavy websites. It is not always possible when you have intricate products or services, but the use of diagrams and infographics can be beneficial. These image-heavy tools convey complex products in simple ways, offering enough space and area for text. We are not saying ditch content completely, because at the end of the day content is key when it comes to website ranking and for those Google bots to pick out keywords. The key is to find the balance.
Visitors expect a guided user-friendly experience, while still being in control of their experience. This means creating a website that does not force users to go to certain pages, does not have pop-ups, auto-play videos or links that activate when hovered over, does not direct and redirect your visitor to various pages, does not expose them to more of your brand or tell them more about your business. These things actually cause visitors to leave because they come looking for specific information, and only if you have their attention will they navigate further. Visitors seldom mind advertising and videos on your websites if they are not placed in the middle of your page where your important content is. Somewhere towards the side is usually the ideal place, because there it will be caught in the visitor’s peripheral vision and he/she will have the option to click and view.
3D printed room-service? Visit the hotel of tomorrow
To mark its 100th birthday, Hilton predicts the trends that will change travel and hospitality in the next 100 years.
Intergalactic getaways, fast-food nutrient pills, 2-3 hour working days and adaptable, personalised rooms that can transport guests everywhere from jungles to mountain ranges. These are some of the predictions for the next 100 years that the Hilton hotel group has put together in celebration of its 100th anniversary.
In a report supported by expert insight from the fields of sustainability, innovation, design, human relations and nutrition, findings reveal the impact of the growing sophistication of technology and climate change on the hotel industry in the future.
Key predictions for the hotel of the future include:
Personalisation is King
- Technology will allow every space, fitting and furnishing to continuously update to respond to an individual’s real-time needs – the Lobby will conjure up anything from a tranquil spa to a buzzy bar, giving every guest the perfect, personal welcome
- From temperature and lighting, to entertainment and beyond, microchips under the skin will enable us to wirelessly control the setting around us based on what we need, whenever we need it
The Human Touch
- In a world filled with Artificial Intelligence, human contact and the personal touch will be more critical and sought after than ever
- Technology will free up time for hotel staff to focus on what matters most: helping guests to connect with one another and building memorable moments
‘Sustainable Everything’ – The Role of Responsibility
- Only businesses that are inherently responsible will survive the next century
- Sustainability will be baked into everything about a hotel’s design – from weather-proofed domes, to buildings made from ocean-dredged plastic
- Hotels will act as the Town Hall of any community, managing local resources and contributing to the areas they serve with community-tended insect farms and vertical hydroponic crop gardens
Menu Surprises and Personalisation
- Our diets will include more plant-based recipes and some surprising sources of protein – Beetle Bolognese, Plankton Pies and Seaweed Green Velvet Cake will be menu staples!
- Decadent 3D-printed dinners and room service will provide unrivalled plate personalisation
- Chefs will be provided with biometric data for each guest, automatically creating meals based on preferences and nutritional requirements
Futuristic Fitness and Digital Detoxes
- Outswim a virtual sea turtle in the pool, or challenge yourself to climb the digital face of Mount Everest, your exercise routine will be as unique as you are. What’s more, exercise energy generated from workouts will be used to power the hotel, providing a zero-impact, circular system. Guests could even earn rewards based on reaching workout targets
- Pick up where you left off with trackable workouts and holographic personal trainers
- Offline will be the new luxury as we seek to find moments of tech-free time
“Since its inception in 1919, Hilton has pioneered the hospitality industry, introducing first-to-market concepts such as air-conditioning and in-room televisions. Last year, Hilton also became the first hospitality company to set science-based targets to reduce its environmental impact,” said Simon Vincent, EVP & President, EMEA, Hilton. “We enter our second century with the same commitment to innovation, harnessing the power of our people and technology to respond to guest demands. Our research paints an exciting future for the hospitality industry, highlighting the growing importance of human interaction in an increasingly tech-centric world.”
Futurologist Gerd Leonhard said: “In 2119 we will still be searching for unique experiences, but they will be more personalised than ever. As technology shapes our lives we will seek out moments of offline connection with others, including hotel team members who will help us truly get what we need from our stays. 100 years from now hotels will have to create opportunities to converse, collaborate and connect, delivering moments that matter, individually, to each and every guest.”
Gadget ed to chair Digital Council
Specialist financial services provider Sasfin Bank has established a Digital Advisory Council to provide the market with industry-leading expertise and insights on trends shaping the use of technology in financial services.
Digitalisation is one of the most powerful forces for change shaping Finance today. This has turned Fintech into one of the most vibrant sectors in both information technology and among start-ups, generating billions of dollars in investment and development globally. The South African fintech space is dynamic, and Sasfin is playing a leading role in the transformation of local financial services and the resulting enhancement of customer experiences.
“We have been investing in fintech development in-house and acquiring or integrating fintech start-ups,” says Sasfin CEO Michael Sassoon. “Over the last year we have built further digital offerings, integrated via APIs into leading businesses and invested in fintechs. We built and launched B\\YOND, an innovative digital business banking platform and SWIP, a digital wealth and investing platform. We have invested in Payabill, an online SME lender and DMA, a digital trading platform. We recently announced our alliance banking relationship, leveraging open banking, with Hello Paisa to offer seamless banking to the unbanked. We feel that there is a huge opportunity to improve the experience of South African businesses and savers through using technology. We have therefore created an independent forum to assess how to even better improve financial services for South Africans by leveraging the digital economy.”
Arthur Goldstuck, founder of high-tech research consultancy World Wide Worx, editor-in-chief of Gadget, and a globally respected technology analyst has accepted Sasfin’s invitation to head up the Sasfin Digital Advisory Council, an independent think tank that will help Sasfin and its clients decipher the fintech present and future.
“The Sasfin Digital Advisory Council is broader than providing only the bank with a source of insight on how digital services are evolving and lessons from across the world,” said CEO Michael Sassoon. “Sasfin has been involved in fintech investing for many years and we are leveraging this experience as well as the experience of independent experts such as Arthur to provide insights and guidance to interested stakeholders in this space.”
The team appointed to the Digital Advisory Council is being selected for the breadth and range of knowledge they would bring to the table, with further appointments to the Council being announced soon. There will also be room for the Council to co-opt specialist expertise as it is required.
Goldstuck, who has been covering the fintech sector as an analyst, commentator and columnist for many years, says he sees the role as a welcome challenge.
“There has been a long-standing need for a clear understanding of the impact being made by fintech today, and the exponential change it will cause tomorrow,” said Goldstuck. “My role will be, partly, to curate the wide spectrum of fintech and digitalisation knowledge and insights that the members will bring to the Digital Advisory Council, and help create scenarios that businesses and policymakers may use to navigate the future – both inside and outside Sasfin.”