Having a modern website design is important to the success of your blog or business. Not only does it provide your users with a positive experience, it keeps you inline with your competitors, it presents you as forward-focused, and it creates the impression that you’re doing well. If you’re just setting up your website, or it’s about time for a makeover, you’ll want to make decisions about design that will last longer than the next six months. Adopting some of the most recent design shifts can help.
Here are some of 2015’s most popular web design trends that may give a sneak peek of what 2016 has in store.
Many websites this year threw away all the flashy gizmos and gadgets for a neat and clean back-to-basics approach. Focused on the idea that less is more, a simplistic or minimalistic design doesn’t include any elements that don’t need to be there. By abandoning the extra buttons, icons, graphics, pop-ups, videos, avatars, menu items, shadows and textures that traditionally were considered features that enhanced websites, simplistic designs offer a tastefully executed, classic beauty that’s starting to appeal to a lot of internet users for a lot of different reasons.
For one, the fewer elements a website has, the faster the website tends to load. Secondly, simplistic sites are expressed well on smartphones and tablets. Mobile users don’t feel as if they’re getting a lesser experience just because they’re accessing the web on the go. Simplistic sites are also easy to navigate and are capable of providing a lot of information in a short amount of time. Some believe that with less “stuff” for users to look at and play with, the more likely they are to focus on your site’s message and follow through with your call to action. Lastly, while there once was a time where a seemingly effortless, straightforward website signaled the work of a newb, today that couldn’t be further from the truth. Modern consumers are smart; they’ve seen all the website bells and whistles before, so what they used to find clever, they may now find tedious, annoying, or spam-y.
Simplistic designs can be a good choice for the website owner as well – the less complex your site is, the easier it will be to manage, and the fewer technical issues you’ll run into.
What does a website with a simplistic design look like? Only a few pages. Only two or three well-contrasting colors. Lots of whitespace. Large, readable text. Images that are used sparingly, but when they are, they seem to tell a whole story.
A flat design is often implemented in conjunction with a simplistic or minimalistic design. Flat designs have their own increasingly popular style by completely removing or strongly reducing the use of shadows, gradients, textures, and other elements that would give text or graphics a 3D appearance.
Websites with a flat design offer many of the same advantages as one with a simplistic design. They’re quick to load, they’re made to look great across a variety of mobile devices, and they tend to be visitor-friendly, allowing users to easily navigate its content and quickly process its information. But they also have a few other perks that make them a great choice for blogs and businesses. A flat design can easily be panned, scaled up, or shrunk down. They also tend to be a little more open to color. Without the use of shadows and textures, they’re able to better accommodate more colors or brighter colors.
A website with a flat design often embodies the same features of a simplistic design mentioned above, but not always. A flat design uses large, clear text. It’s liberal with bold color and may include lots of different colors.
On the polar opposite end of the back-to-basics concept is the belief that today’s website users need a significantly higher level of stimulation to “stick” to a website. Because they have seen all the bells and whistles before, they continue to need something new and exciting. Unlike websites with a simplistic or flat design, websites with an interactive design are made with lots to see and lots to do.
For the right blog, business or organization, an interactive design can offer a host of benefits. Utilizing multi-media, these kinds of sites can tell strong, compelling stories that engage users and appeal to their emotions. This powerful connection may have the potential to turn more visitors into readers, customers or subscribers than a traditional website. Since interactive websites are made to be something like a theme park, they encourage users to linger around longer as well as come back again.
Websites with an interactive design use lots of images, video, audio, and animations. They incorporate a lot of scrolling and clicking. They may include puzzles, games, quizzes and polls. Certain elements of their site may incorporate movement. Transitions between page to page may include artistic elements. Interactive designs can also invite users to customize certain aspects of the site (colors, fonts, background images, etc.) allowing them to have a more personalized experience. Unlike sites with simplistic design, it’s not uncommon to see a site with an interactive design limited to just one page.
Custom Typography and Photography
While not a type of website design, customized typography and photography is a design trend that’s been growing over the past few years. With simplistic web designs increasing in popularity, and with screen technology improving all the time, more and more websites are beginning to make a single image or single line of text their website’s main focal point. Therefore, it’s becoming increasingly important that these elements are made one-of-a-kind and are produced at the highest level of quality.
Original photography over stock imagery can add a sense of individuality and professionalism that brings your site to the next level. It can draw visitors into more than just a story – it can draw them into your story. Customized typography can help identify your brand while casting a certain mood or atmosphere across your site. When used independently or together, both have the ability to send a strong message.