Web development has changed significantly since the 90s. Today, you don’t design a website for a desktop computer but for a range of devices among them smartphones and myriad smart devices. Recently, responsive web design gained much popularity as more sites embraced the strategy to drive more traffic to their site. There are many more developments that are bound to amass more popularity throughout this year and into 2017.
Focus on User Friendliness
In the past, the goal of every webmaster was to create a website that is unique in every way from how it looks to how it functions. This is no longer a luxury. Most websites look the same with the only difference being the content.
With that being said, as the year progresses, your sole focus should not be to be unique but to improve user experience. Having a similar look is no longer a necessarily bad thing. The use of common UI design patterns is the norm of the industry. For example, the checkout should work the same on all websites. Making changes to this may easily confuse your customers who are accustomed to using this feature in a certain way.
Give your users a smooth experience by not ‘reinventing the wheel’. Look at what other webmasters are doing in relation to web design and graphic design and don’t veer too far off. Don’t be afraid of the card layouts, long scroll designs and so on.
Invest in Rich Animations
To enhance storytelling, animations are being used more extensively. The goal is to make the user experience more entertaining and interactive. You should consider embracing this trend in your web design efforts.
Even so, animations cannot be used anywhere. Before adding animations or other graphics to your design, make sure the element will add value to your content. There are two groups that animations fall into:
- Large scale animations: These are basically used as interaction tools. They include such effects as pop-up notifications and parallax scrolling.
- Small scale animations: These include hover tools, spinners and loading bars. These do not call for any user input.
Presently, there are several animation techniques being used. They include the following:
- Loading animations. The goal of these animations is to entertain and delight the users during an experience that is otherwise tedious. These are ideal for flat design, one-page sites, portfolios and minimalism. You should keep them simple and don’t add any sound.
- Navigation and menus. More than ever before, the hidden navigation menus have gained more popularity. This is because they help save screen space. They are a good addition to your site.
- Hover animations. For the ultimate intuitive feel, the hover animations are the best. When unsure of features, people hover their mouse over that feature for instant feedback.
- Slideshows. To save screen space and showcase multiple images at the same time, the slideshow is a great animation you should consider using. These animations are perfect for photography websites, portfolios and product showcases.
- Motion animation. Naturally, your eyes will be drawn to motion. This is what makes this tool so effective in redirecting attention to a desired area. The motion animation is perfect for call to action.
- Video. To explain certain details more vividly, videos make a perfect choice.
Animations are essential to the success of a modern day website. However, when incorporating them in your web design, you must use them in moderation. Too much animation can be distracting.
Responsive Web Design
Whether you are working on a blog or an ecommerce website, your goal must always be creating a responsive design. In recent years, this trend has become increasingly popular, thanks to the rise of smartphones. Needless to say, this is one of the few trends that will not go away any time soon.
All in all, for your responsive design to work seamlessly, you must consider doing the following:
- Use responsive images. To do this, you have to make sure that all your images are percentage defined.
- Be engaged in performance testing. Performance testing will help you to measure and optimize your website.
Responsive web design is more of a practice than a trend. Developers are relentlessly coming up with better ways of dealing with the speed issues. Keep an eye out for the latest developments in responsive web design.
Flat Designs are here to Stay
Flat web designs are still effective in online marketing and are compatible with numerous trends like responsive designs, material design and minimalism. Upcoming trends in the flat web design include:
- Simple typography. This makes text legible in flat designs.
- Long shadows. This adds more depth to the flat design.
- Minimalism. The goal of this is to reduce the amount of elements on a page so as to unclutter the user interface.
- Ghost buttons.
If flat design is what you want to go with, do use it, but make sure you keep up with the trends. There are numerous websites out there that rely on this design. Take a look at how they use them and tailor them to your needs.
Social Media Integration
Last but not least, you must never ignore social media integration in your design. Make it easy for your customers to find your social media pages and also for them to share your content through their channels. Social media makes it easy for you to promote your products to more customers and in a personalized way. The more people see your content the better. Do not forget to add widgets on your pages that show the social networking sites you are on.
All in all, you should not follow just any trend that gets in your way when it comes to graphic design or web design. It is important that you consider how the trend will impact your business. Will it improve performance or send the wrong message? You ought to remember that trends are simply additional tools to your designer toolbox. Only pick the trends that are perfect for you.