Here at Net Affinity, each individual member of our team is bursting with knowledge, passion and skill that needs to be shared. That’s where our Expert’s Opinion comes into play. This week we’re chatting with Dan Prado, our design manager. In this constantly evolving world of technology that we live in today, it can be easy to get left behind- especially with your website’s design. Dan will be sharing his insight into future of web design and his tips to optimise your hotel’s website.

What is your advice for keeping up to date with design?

website design

TV shows, movie posters and advertisements are great for revealing design trends. City, subway and train signs can teach you a lot about simplicity, readability and functionality. I also keep up date by following the latest from the big three tech giants. For example, what’s new with Apple’s Human Interface Design and updates from Google’s Material design or Microsoft’s Fluent Design. Users consume these products massively on a daily basis. If you want to have an UI with good UX and have a smooth conversation between your product and your guest, knowing what’s being done in the industry will make your job a lot easier.

For website inspiration and to keep up to date with the trends, I go to Muzli and Uplabs from those I find amazing work from designers posted on Dribble, Behance, Awwwards, SiteInspire and lots more. Oh, don’t forget Product Hunt to see the hottest and trending products being released every day.

What is the most important feature of a website?

User experience is a top priority. Your website or app will fail if it doesn’t provide a smooth and friction-less experience between your product and the user. Imagine the most beautiful and shiny car, but without a wheel. It becomes useless. An app or website with a bad UX is the same, it loses its main function and will frustrate your user.

With a good UX your guest should not think of what to do. His/her actions will just happen naturally and intuitively. The final experience will be pleasant, making him/her return and recommend to more users. During the whole process your guest should not be drawn to pay attention to your website UX. If your user stops and wonders: “this button shouldn’t be here” or “this label is very confusing”, then there’s something wrong with your app/website.

How do you deal with the continuous evolution of different devices?

Due to the continuous increase of different types and sizes of devices, responsive design has become more challenging. To design for multiple devices you need to look into your product not from an aesthetic point of view, but rather from a functional perspective instead. Ask yourself, what is the main goal that the user needs to achieve with your product? Then, you should trace the path of actions they need to take and finally, jump into the visuals. You need to break the main elements in your process into small pieces, such as grids, lists, forms and buttons. They need to be treated as single elements and components. We call this methodology atomic design.

We design from the smaller part, assembling them together until they become something bigger and with form. This could be for a small interface (mobile phone) or a larger interface (laptop). The more space you have, the more elements you can include to help your user to achieve their main goal. This also makes your design more consistent. Obviously, the more devices we face, the more interfaces, prototypes and tests we need to make. This will ensure that the user has the same experience, no matter what device they’re interacting with your product on.

Web Design

What type of trends are happening in hotel web design?

Hotels are realizing more and more that to sell your property, a picture tells a thousand words. Today it is very affordable to hire a professional photographer or videographer that will provide you with stunning stills, aerial drone shots or a promo video that really sells the experience of staying at your hotel. Nowadays hotels are incorporating these beautiful images and video footage to their design to get the atmosphere of the property and translate it into the digital environment. The aim is to make the potential guest feel as though they are actually at the hotel.

I see hotels as if they are people with their own personalities and I try to translate this into the design I’m creating. Some can be more funky, casual and colorful. Some are more serious, charming and classic. Each one has its own way to be, that makes them very unique.

What’s going to change in design in the next 5 years?

I believe that in 5 years time we’ll have less types of touch/click inputs and more visual/audio inputs. With the recent advances in AI, virtual reality and augmented reality (with wearables and smart glasses) we’ll be less required to touch, swipe or type to achieve something. Instead, I believe we’ll speak or point our phones, cameras or smart glasses towards something and get results. This will have some influence on how we design more conventional interfaces and UX’s. Therefore, users will naturally expect a different type of interaction with our products.

Lastly, What websites/apps stand out to you?

One of the main designs I love and reference because of its good UX practices, is Airbnb. In my opinion, they’re the best example on how to be objective, straight to the point but beautiful and clean at the same time. From the time you perform a search until you complete a full booking, you have the same smooth experience no matter what device you’re in. If you’re in a big desktop screen or on your mobile phone, you’ll get the best, cleanest user experience.