What’s Hot and What’s Not in Website Design

Web design trends are constantly changing. What’s hip and cool one day can quickly become passé, and if you’re not careful, your site can become off-putting to your visitors. In addition, technological advances often force changes in the way designers work, and a site design that doesn’t accomodate the new way of doing things can become difficult to use, or even look broken. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you keep abreast of which new web design trends are hot and which ones have gone the way of the dodo. Here’s a few things you should be paying particular attention to:

What’s Hot

Flat Design is all the rage.

flat-design-is-all-the-rageThe latest design trend on the web (spurred by Apple, Google and Microsoft, among others) is using flat design. Instead of gradients and other shiny effects, the focus is on simplicity with bright, bold, large blocks of color. Web designers are leaving out textures, patterns and shadows in favor of a minimalist approach to icons, buttons and forms in their overall design aesthetic.

This is the opposite of Skeuomorphism, the practice of incorporating the real world look of an object into a design. Remember the old pre-iOS7 icons on the iPhone? They were glossier and had more texture, gradients and shadows. Now the icons are flat and super sleek. See the comparison. This is an attractive trend that I hope continues for a long time to come.

It better be responsive.

it-better-be-responsiveResponsive web design (RWD) is the practice of designing a website that will look great and have content that is easily readable and consumable on any size screen or device — a phone, tablet, laptop or even a smart-refrigerator. On smaller screens, responsive sites eliminate the need for pinching and zooming in order to read the content. Unnecessary elements are minimized (although they should still be accessible to viewers who want them). This approach to web design puts the focus on the content. Let’s say that again — the focus should be on content! Here are a few responsive sites we’ve designed and built recently:

* Screenshots courtesy of http://ami.responsivedesign.is/ — an excellent resource for seeing if your site is responsive.

What’s Not

The fold is dead.

the-fold-is-deadThe “fold” comes from the world of newspaper design and refers to the location of important information on the upper half of the front page of a newspaper. The idea being that important news stories and photographs should appear “above the fold,” so that they are viewable instantly. This practice later translated to web design because computer screens were relatively the same size, and so important content was placed in the first 600 pixels or so that show up when a website initially loads.

Fast-forward to 2014. With the proliferation of screen sizes, there’s no more need or use for the fold. It’s dead. Who’s to say your viewer is looking at your site on a phone or a ginormous television screen?

Responsive design responds to every screen size. The smaller the device gets, the more we have to scroll, and that’s okay. Viewers expect this and will do it. Since web content is going to re-flow to best suit the device, there really is no more fold. Scrolling is encouraged. Yes, more users see the top of pages than the bottom of pages. But how many users that convert stay at the top of the page? They don’t. They scroll.

Kill the slider.

kill-the-sliderAh, the home page slider. It’s best (supposed) quality was being able to provide lots of current ideas in a compact space on the home page. In reality, they don’t convert. Users just don’t wait around long enough to see what’s on that 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. slider. Sliders look like banners and people just skip over them. Too many messages equals no message. Need more convincing? Look at the stats.

The better approach for the home page is to use a large image that really captures the viewers attention. Then let them scroll down for more.

Want your website to incorporate the lastest in web design trends and avoid the old not-hot ones? Contact us here at Solamar, and we’ll spiff you up in no time!