The biggest web design trend over the past year has been a focus on continuous- or infinite-scrolling websites. We expect that web design trends will become more refined around the actual value given by continuous- and parallax-scrolling websites. In the coming 12 months, trends in web design will shift to responsive website design, an even greater focus on video, and building emotional connections through storytelling.
These are 7 key trends in web design in 2015.
1. Responsive Web Design
The mobile device use has clearly increased substantially over the last couple of years, and the majority of new websites that we build feature mobile-friendly design as a core aspect. Responsive websites are gaining popularity over mobile version websites and we now consider responsive websites as being best practice for all websites we work on.
As web design businesses build up expertise in mobile-first responsive design methods, we are starting to witness some thrilling concepts emerge in web design. Responsive web design will develop even more in the next 12 months, to be much more than simply a solution to the matter of mobile optimisation. We anticipate seeing the use of card-based design to meet the increasing request for responsive websites.
2. Simple Design
Simple design means websites having huge images will be finished. The utilisation of one dominant colour in the web design gives a subconscious association with the brand. Basic, personality-driven copywriting has a big impact and is simple and quick for website visitors to comprehend. With the development of single-scroll websites, storytelling, and mobile devices, websites are able to achieve a better result and user experience (UX) with succinct, clean, and simple website design, with an emphasis on precise content. Simple design has the additional benefit of websites loading quickly and simply on desktop and mobile devices, meaning a lower bounce rate and better UX.
3. Interactive Storytelling
There has been much comment lately about digital marketing strategy (and websites particularly) needing to move emphasis to the art of storytelling. Continuous- and parallax-scroll websites have a narrative aspect that is good for storytelling, however that is only the start. Interactivity and an immersive design that will elicit an emotional reaction in the visitor will be key factors in trends in web design in the coming months. Although it is no longer brand-new, this continues to be our favourite piece of digital storytelling.
The use of video and YouTube is now a standard part of marketing strategy, particularly in social media campaigns. The engagement offered through utilising video as content and as a design element is very valuable. We have seen HTML5 being used a lot in the front-end elements of websites, particularly with infinite-scrolling websites. HTML5 lets video easily load and be viewed on mobile devices, and video means brands can use storytelling and interactivity natively in their website design.
5. Long-Form Content
Numbered BuzzFeed-type lists are fun, but are the just a light version of really engaging online content. We are now starting to witness a big increase in brands utilising long-form content, not just as an attempt to jam as much content on a website as they possibly can, but to give an engaging storytelling encounter. This has generally been used from an editorial perspective, and has to date mainly been utilised by publication websites like The Guardian .
Companies and brands still have a lot to learn about the power of long-form content to engage users. Consider how companies used to sponsor television specials or documentaries that related to their products and services. Now shift that concept to the environment online. An example long-form content being executed especially well is Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek by The New York Times.
6. Millenials’ Attitude to Personal Data
Millenials are digital natives and are loathe to provide their personal details online. As a result of this attitude, newsletter sign-up and opting-in will soon be ineffectual. The means by which we have traditionally marketed to online consumers will have to change as savvy users become ever more picky about their online experiences and about who they provide their personal information to. We have to make interactions online transparent to prevent a complete disconnect with the digital natives.
7. Digital-First Branding
The focus will be on logos and branding that operate effectively online. A similar thing goes for typography. A digital-first methodology will be a key facet of the creative process. In the past so many great websites have been thwarted by sub-standard branding that doesn’t look like it fits. Logos that are too complex or do not utilise vectors (and therefore become pixelated) are examples of shoddy online business branding.
Web design trends evolve based on behaviours and requirements of users. As web analytics have advanced, what we can find out about visitors’ interactions with websites has got better. This also means that trends in web design are more flexible and are developing at a faster rate than before. It is essential that small business owners keep abreast of the trends and offer a positive UX, in order to stay ahead of the competition.