The greatest trend we have witnessed during the last 12 months is an emphasis on continuous or infinite scrolling websites. However, there is a common opinion, that despite the popularity of these websites – long scrolling design is not for everyone. We anticipate that trends will become further refined around the value actually offered by continuous scrolling and parallax scrolling websites. Over the next year, web design trends will move to responsive web design, an increased emphasis on video, and forging emotional bonds via storytelling. Here are seven of the top web design trends for 2017.
1. Responsive Web Design
It is well known that the use of mobile devices has grown significantly over the past two years, and most new websites we build include mobile-friendly design as a key requirement. Responsive websites are growing in popularity over ‘mobile version’ websites and we now see responsive websites as best practice for all of the websites we build.
As web design companies gain experience in mobile-first responsive design approaches, we are beginning to see some very exciting concepts in the web design industry. Responsive web design will further develop over the next year, and will be a lot more than just a solution to the issue of optimising for mobile. We expect to see the utilisation of card-based design to address the growing call for responsive websites.
2. Content That Is Long-Form
Numbered lists on BuzzFeed are popular, but they are the lite version of truly engaging online content. We are now beginning to see the rise of brands using long-form content. This is not an effort to just cram as much content onto a website as possible, but to provide an appealing storytelling experience. This has traditionally been used from an editorial perspective, and has so far been mainly used in publication websites such as The Guardian or The New York Times.
Businesses and brands have much to learn as to the way in which long-form content can sometimes be most powerful in engaging users. Think about instances in the past where companies would sponsor TV specials or docos that were relevant to their product or service. Now apply that idea to the online scenario. To see an example of long-form being done well, check out The New York Times’ Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.
3. Focus On Video
The utilisation of video and YouTube is now mainstream in marketing strategies, especially for social media campaigns. The engagement offered through using video not only as content, but also as a design element, is valuable. We have witnessed HTML5 being utilised a lot in the front end elements of websites, especially with infinite-scrolling websites. HTML5 allows video to easily load and display on mobile devices, and video means brands can include storytelling and interactivity natively into the design of their website.
4. Storytelling That Is Interactive
There has been a lot said recently about digital marketing strategy (and websites especially) needing to shift focus to the art of storytelling. Continuous and parallax scroll websites have a narrative quality that works well for storytelling, but this as only the beginning. Interactivity and an immersive design that can garner an emotional response from the visitor will be a key driver of web design trends in the next year. Although it has been around for a while, this remains one of our most favourite pieces of digital storytelling: Flat Design versus Realism.
5. Millenials’ Influence On Big Data
‘Millenials’ are natives to digital and are hesitant about providing their personal information online. Due to this attitude, newsletter sign-up and opting-in will soon become ineffective. The ways in which we traditionally market to online consumers will need to alter as shrewd users become increasingly discerning about their experiences online and who they hand their data over to. We need to make online interactions more transparent and win – win in order to avoid a total disconnect with the digital native demographic.
6. Digital First Branding
The emphasis will be on logos and branding that work well online. The same approach also applies to typography. A digital-first method will become part of the creative process. There have been too many fantastic websites that have been let down by sub-par branding that looks out of place. Logo’s that are over complicated or don’t use vectors (and thus become pixelated) are examples of poor online business branding.
7. Design That Is Simple
Simple design means the days of websites having massive images will be done over. The use of one dominant colour in the design gives a subconscious association with the brand. Simple, personality-driven copywriting has a strong impact and is quick and easy for website visitors to understand. With the development of single scroll websites, storytelling, and mobile devices, websites are able to accomplish a better result and user experience with pithy, clean, and simple website design, with a focus on clear-cut content. Simple design has the added benefit of ensuring websites load quickly and easily on desktop and mobile devices, resulting in a reduced bounce rate and improved UX.
Over the years, it has become evident that web design trends evolved based on user behaviours and requirements. As analytics have become more advanced, what we know about how visitors interact with websites has improved. This has also meant that web design trends are more agile and evolving at a more rapid rate than previously encountered. It is vital that small business owners pay attention to these trends and provide a positive user experience, so that they can keep up with their competition.