As the internet has evolved and as the way people use the internet has changed, so has web design. Just as an avocado green refrigerator tells you that a home kitchen hasn’t been updated since the 1970s, a few design elements on a website give you an idea of when it was last updated.
If you want to keep your site fresh and up-to-the-minute, here are some design trends to pay attention to this year.
The switch from primarily using desktop devices to using mobile devices has influenced the way websites look and function. One of the biggest changes is in the way sites flow. Instead of placing images and information side by side or horizontally on the page, designers now focus on the vertical flow of information.
When a site is laid out vertically, it’s easier for a smartphone user to scroll through it on his or her device.
Few design choices have caused quite as much debate as the hamburger icon — the little button at the top of some mobile pages (and increasingly, desktop pages) that reveals the menu when you click on it.
But as mobile device use continues to rise in popularity and designers continue to look for ways to streamline the navigation options on a page, it seems the little hamburger is here to stay. You can expect to find it on more and more websites as the year goes on.
Visit the homepage of a number of brands and you’ll be greeted by a colorful, usually two-tone background.
Color gradients aren’t new — they were big in magazine design in the 1980s and were a big hit with DIY website companies in the 1990s. People like them because they are eye-catching without being too distracting. You can choose a subtle gradient, like light blue fading into a deeper blue or a bolder color pair, such as magenta fading into a darker purple, depending on the type of impact you want the background to have.
Websites aren’t just becoming more mobile-friendly, they are also becoming more mobile. Designers are more and more likely to use animated images (like gifs and cinemagraphs) as well as video as part of a site’s layout and design.
The human brain is pretty good at processing images. A study from MIT found that it takes just 13 milliseconds for the brain to process an entire image. Moving images, such as video, are also processed by the brain much more quickly than text.
Aside from being more engaging than a few static blocks of text, moving images and videos also look cool. A visitor is likely to stare at a cinemagraph to see what happens next or at least pay a bit of attention to a video that autoplays as soon as a person scrolls to it.
If you are going to incorporate video into your website’s design, here’s one thing to remember: Most people watch video without sound. On Facebook, for example, 85 percent of videos play without any sound. It’s essential that the video’s meaning be clear even if it plays in silence.
Back to Basics
Sometimes, offering visitors to a website as few choices as possible and stripping the design of the site down to the bare bones is the way to go. Minimalist web design isn’t a new thing, but designers in 2017 might take things to the extreme.
While some sites will turn to more bells and whistles, such as moving images and lots of color, you can expect a small backlash to occur and for ultra-minimal sites to become popular, at least with a few brands.
Ultra-minimalist websites might not be much to look at. But they make it super easy for visitors to find what they are looking for and are appealing to many for that reason.
Trends in website design aren’t just about looks. They also help to make sites easier to use and more engaging for those who use them. Keep these trends in mind if you’re going to revamp your company’s website this year.