Every so often, you see articles talking about the new trends in law firm websites and legal marketing.
It’s easy to track design trends because, like fashion, tastes evolve.
With design trends, it’s mostly aesthetic.
For example, we move from rounded buttons with gradients and drop-shadows to squared, flat buttons.
With law firm websites in particular, the trend for awhile was to have sliding images on your homepage. Now, with more data on website visitor behavior we know that sliding images are distracting to your visitors and make them less likely to reach out to you.
In lieu of sliding images, design-wise it is now common to see a large “hero” image on your homepage featuring images of the lawyers or a striking backdrop image that is definitely not a cheesy lawyer-related stock image.
This is all well and good. But the problem with “trends” lists is that it’s tough to come up with a bunch of new trends every year without padding your list with items that may have been on it in previous years. After all, design trends are a bit more gradual. It’s not starkly different one year from the next. Though your website may look outdated in 3 years, it probably won’t look outdated in 1 year if following current design trends.
So what do you do if you are writing a list on “Trends in law firm website design / legal marketing”? You add a bunch of stuff that has already been written about before. Namely, “having a mobile-responsive site”.
The problem with throwing “mobile site” on a list of trends is that “trend” suggests something is faddish. That, in a couple of years we will have moved onto something else.
If having a website that works well on any device is a trend, then it has to be replaced by something better.
Mobile-responsive sites are not a choice in design style, they are a standard format.
Today, a majority of search traffic comes from mobile devices.
When your potential clients are looking you up after getting your business card, they have their mobile phone nearby. They are not necessarily by a desktop computer.
And when a potential client gets served with divorce papers or is in an accident and needs to get a lawyer ASAP, they more often than not turn to their phones to find counsel.
If your site is not mobile-responsive, they will not be able to find you and navigate your website without difficulty.
But how long will this last?
As long as people are using mobile phones to surf the Internet.
When that changes, then we can revisit this topic.
The only way mobile-responsive sites are going out the window is if something better, more technologically necessary, replaces them.
But there’s nothing coming down the pipeline soon.
Fully-immersive 3D websites built to play well with the Oculus, Vive, and other devices don’t exist.
So, for now, let’s stop calling mobile-responsive sites a trend and accept this as the standard.
No web designer should be charging you more for a mobile-responsive site. Today it’s just as easy to make a non-responsive site as it is to make a responsive site. If you are looking to create a new website for your law firm, having a site that’s not responsive is simply not an option.