Keeping the same website design for years upon years is like putting on a trendy outfit and wearing it day after day for a couple of decades. Let’s put it this way: Your site that was designed and implemented 5 years ago now looks as outdated as you would look if you were to walk into your neighborhood’s cool new gastropub in velour bell bottoms and a denim fringe vest.
Web design is constantly evolving and changing based on new technology and new concepts of what looks and feels good for users. And our expectations keep pace with these changes, so we instantly detect when we’ve landed on an antiquated site…and judgments about your business are made.
It may not actually be conscious, but web users will expect to see new design trends manifested on your site. If you’re due for a makeover, consider incorporating some of these new touches.
Natural Stock Photography:
A lot of photographers are publishing their work online with more flexible licenses than ever before. And the photos are amazing! Thank goodness for that – I think it’s safe to say that we’re all pretty tired of those awful, contrived stock photos that have become the hallmark of blog articles everywhere. But the only value they present might be comedic. Natural looking stock photographs started to see the light of day in 2014 but will really become the norm in 2015.
Dominant Single Color:
In designing websites, we’ve gone from the color smorgasbord of the 90s, to minimal color schemes and now to a new monochromatic trend. There’s no better way to entrench a brand into someone’s memory than to let a single color be dominant in the design. The brand gets associated with the color relatively quickly when the emphasis is on one single tone. Buttons, image overlays, images and backgrounds can all play with different shades of the same color for a modern and unified look.
Navigation Menus Get Creative:
Navigation bar on the top of the page? That’s so last year. Lately, there have been more and more websites that push the way menus can be accessed. Now they have dynamic animations, slide down, slide up, and are sometimes even hidden until you click on the small and subtle “hamburger” icon – it’s those 3 horizontal lines that have come to signify “menu.” Basically, it’s just a cooler and sleeker way to feature the menu without a bunch of text compromising the bold aesthetic of your homepage.
Card & Tiles:
Thank Pinterest for this one. Ever since that social media platform took off (and began taking over the world), the card and tile design aesthetic has been catching on, and a lot of new websites have incorporated it. The layout makes perfect sense for everything from the homepage of a blog to an ecommerce site, and it’s ideal for mobile display.
There’s a lot more scrolling in store for us this year. Some research on websites show that users actually love to scroll and now designers are beginning to take note and add more of it wherever they can. They are also getting pretty creative about it. We’re even seeing modular scrolling on a single page, which allows you to scroll different columns separately.
Make It Visual:
It’s common knowledge that the modern web user has an amusingly short attention span…but he still wants to devour huge amounts of information. Quite a conundrum. The web design solution is to put huge amounts of information into easily digestible visual formats. Infographics and webgraphics (which are like infographics, only interactive) are taking an even more prominent position in design and significantly improve the user experience.
Big & Bold Fonts:
More and more, we’re seeing extremely large fonts on websites, mostly in the form of headlines. This trend is perfectly in synch with the simple, bold and clean vibe that the newest and coolest sites embody. There’s long been a push for larger type on websites, but it looks like more designers are finally ready to start letting go of the principles that guide print design and start embracing the fact that large type just looks and feels better online.
Mobile users are obviously still growing and a lot of internet users in the developing world actually have their first online experiences on mobile phones. It has been crucial for a lot of companies to adapt to the change in screen size and now the trend has shifted to web designers developing websites with a mobile-first approach. Considering that the proportion of web traffic that comes from mobile devices is always increasing, and may soon dwarf traffic from computers, designing your site with mobile users in mind first may not be such a bad idea.
The fact is that the best new sits have a dramatically different look and feel from sites that would have been considered to be good even a few short years ago. The recent rise of parallax, flat design and minimalism in web design has been a complete game changer. Now the challenge is to make sure that your site makes an effort to keep up and stay relevant in the changing aesthetic landscape.