How to Understand Web Design Trends
Website design trends are constantly evolving as developers try new ideas and concepts. Some of these fizzle and die but others gain popularity and become mainstream. But for most small business websites the priority is to stay ahead of the curve (rather than ahead or behind it).
Web design is a bit like the fashion industry. There are websites and web designers that are at the cutting edge, just like the fashion designers who send models down a catwalk wearing clothes that nobody could wear in real life. But these outlandish creations form the basis for changes in fashion trends. The clothes you see in the shops in the months after those fashion shows are not the same as the crazy designs, but they do take their inspiration from them.
Then there is the other end of the scale with people who obstinately refuse – either by choice or through ignorance – to wear clothes that even remotely resemble current trends. There are websites like this too – even newly-built websites.
Creating a small business website is therefore like shopping for fashion – you do not want to go down the road of the outlandish and crazy cutting edge, but nor do you want an out-of-date design.
So to stay current, try these ideas:
The mobile-first design philosophy is old-hat now. Any business owner or website designer who is not fully onboard with creating mobile friendly websites should pack up and go home. But this concept is now moving on so you should also consider integration between devices.
Currently it is not easy to share links or apps between your devices. If you find a website or an app that you want to use or view the way to share it with another device is to copy and paste the link into an email. But this is clunky, particularly on a phone.
Also, apps are currently islands. For example, you cannot move between different apps the same way that you can when using a desktop to click on links to websites.
So apps are not currently integrated and nor is it easy to switch between devices to look at the same content. Facebook has a solution to both problems as it seeks to help small business websites to bridge the gap between desktop and mobile. The first solution is Send to Mobile which makes it easy for your users to send links between their devices. The second solution is App Links which makes it easier to link to different apps.
Integration between devices is today’s idea. Facebook’s integration is at the forefront of this concept right now. But expect this concept to become more common with alternative providers and further development in the wild world of Facebook.
It’s All About Images
Images are a key component of all website design, particularly in small business websites. Here are some ideas for using and implement images in your design:
- Include a personal portrait – users do not respond well to bland, corporate websites. They want to know and understand the people behind the brand and what better way to do that than to include a photo of you and photos of key members of your team.
- Customized image galleries – it is now possible to create stunning and dynamic image galleries that offer a fantastic user experience when switching between photos. Make sure you include captions.
- Images in menus – on the right type of website a mega-menu (which includes images when a user clicks or hovers) can really bring a website to life.
- Big and high quality – bigger images are better and with the move to retina displays quality is becoming increasingly important.
In fashion, nobody wants an outfit that requires the help of two assistants to put on. Picture this same concept for web design: don’t keep your users waiting while a funky element loads, no matter how “on trend” it may be in the moment. The importance of user experience will never change. Whatever design elements or ideas you put into your new website, make sure you’re always thinking about your user. And finally, make sure your content is easy to find through intuitive navigation.