2014 Website Design Trends and Best Practices for Staffing and Recruiting Agencies

Happy new year staffing and recruiting companies!

At the end of last year we posted the about the top 2014 marketing tactics for staffing and recruiting firms. Big on the list was Improving Your Website and I wanted to highlight more details of that in this list.

Similar to art, fashion, even health trends – technology and design trends are constantly evolving. At Staffing Robot, we work hard to stay up (if not ahead) of these trends so that we can deliver (or even create) best practices for our clients. If your company is considering a website redesign this year, it’s important to consider emerging trends and best practices for the staffing and recruiting industry. Here’s some insight we hope you find helpful.

 

2014 Website Design Trends and Best Practices for Staffing and Recruiting Agencies

Best Practices

Responsive design. First start here. Your site has to be mobile in 2014. If not, then your competitors will thank you. But it’s not really accurate to use the term ‘mobile’ anymore. Really, your site needs to be responsive. By responsive we mean your site ‘responds’ properly to various screen sizes from a smart watch to a 110″ screen television. The internet is no longer viewed solely through desktop computers. It’s everywhere and that means your audience is everywhere. Be there to meet them.

Simplicity. Keep it simple. This means fewer pages, fewer words, fewer everything. People are busy. If a new client or candidate has found your site they are there for a reason. Help them do what they want to do and don’t overwhelm them with options or unnecessary text/images. Your site should be intuitive and the elements on each page should be familiar and relevant to the page topic.

By familiarity I’m speaking of the user. For example, if a potential candidate is on a ‘Search Job’ page then only include elements a typical user would find ‘familiar’ to this page – search filters, jobs, apply buttons, etc. If you start adding calls to action to sign up for you blog, your twitter feed or a pop up about learning more about your executive team, you’re only serving to confuse and overwhelm your visitor.

Keep everything as simple as possible and utilize as much white space as possible. Simplicity not only keeps things looking more streamlined, but also uses less memory, optimizes performance and improves page load speeds = better SEO results!

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Action oriented layouts. Related to simplicity, you want your site to be built for action. Meaning, on any page, provide the function of the page and perhaps some additional info and that’s it. Get out of the users way! They’re ready to convert. Let them.

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Complete workflow. In 2014 you should stop looking at your website as just a website. You should see it as a complete talent recruiting machine. Every page, every element, every word needs to be designed to attract talent and new clients. This means not just considering how things look and feel on the page but how data is input from your visitors and how that data is stored and integrated with your backend ATS, time keeping and credentialing systems. In 2014, look at your website as the face of your backend systems and consider how they will all work together.

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Design and Technology Trends

Good design is all about words. 37 signals best made this point last year by comparing designs with and without text. Their example makes it obvious that good site design comes from good content:

It’s critical that you consider the content BEFORE you consider the design. A good design can be ruined instantly if your content plan is to simply copy the content you have on your existing site or simply attempt to rewrite it.

And it’s not just about the words – but how they look. In 2014, larger fonts are in. Large fonts look nice and are easier to read. Desktop screens are getting bigger and pixel density is increasing here and on tablets and phones. This means that tiny fonts look too small and become difficult to read. Bigger fonts will provide for a much better user experience in 2014.

 

No more sidebars. Sidebars are content containers on the side of the page next to the main body content. Sidebars have been standard in design for a long time because the theory was that every page had to have as much content and as many Calls To Action (CTA) as possible. Not anymore. In 2014, page content should be relevant to the page only. Don’t add copy, CTAs or images unless it communicates something your visitor actually cares about or is relevant to the page.

 

Static, interactive sites with continuous scrolling. Say what? Static pages aren’t boring, they’re clear. They’re much better than sites containing sliders of stock photos on the home page. Users actually find image sliders frustrating and difficult to navigate. Fewer, big moving parts are better. That said, in 2014 you should definitely expect to see more subtle interactions on individual elements that add a bit of ‘awesome’ to a site.

Another big interactive trend is Parallax. Parallax is a technology that moves separate elements on a page at different speeds creating a very unique interaction and visually stunning look. Here’s an example. Parallax isn’t a new technology but it’s becoming more of an accepted trend. There was a lot of negativity towards Parallax for awhile but web developers are getting more experienced with it and better evolving its use.

In addition, expect to see more ‘continuous scrolling.’ Continuous scrolling is a design element that produces more elements onto a page as you continue to scroll down it. People used to be afraid to make users scroll, assuming everything had to be ‘above the fold’ on a website. But that is no longer the case. Mostly because of tablets and phones, people are now used to scrolling. They, in fact, expect it. So, let your users scroll and let your content load conditionally and continuously as they do.

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Use code, not images. Almost any good design element from an icon, to a banner, to a button can be done with code now. Everything on websites used to be images. Even text in many cases! But images bog down pages and slow their speed. This is bad for users, bad for performance and therefore bad for your SEO. These days, you can get the exact same (in fact better) look by using code and font based icons.

 

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Video. Time to start incorporating video into your designs. Tell your story and sell your value visually. And increase your SEO while you’re at it! Video is a great way to engage with users and you’ll definitely be seeing more sites better using video in 2014.

 

Flat is in. What’s flat? Flat Design is a simplified look in terms of colors and elements. But more than just a new look, flat design significantly improves site performance because things like gradients and shadowing take up too many kilobytes.

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Custom social icons. Social media is much more sophisticated now and so are people when it comes to using it. Well, some of them at least. This means that most people these days assume you’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Vine, and Instagram. You are right? So, no need to overly advertise these sites or make your website look like a nascar with all the multicolored logos. Have your website designer make some custom icons that match your brand and websites look in 2014.

 

No more stock photos. Please. We beg of you. No. More. Stock. Photos. Today there are plenty of options that enable you to move away from stock photo designs. Stock photos are a quick way to ruin any site. Look at getting original photos, use video, or go for the use of graphics. Really, anything is better than stock photos. It might cost you a bit more to do one of these other options but not that much more and the benefits will be far greater!
So, again, if you’re staffing agency or recruiting firm is looking to redesign your website this year keep these trends and best practices in mind for 2014. If you want to learn even more or have additional discussions let us know.

Here’s to an amazing 2014!

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