Posted on Monday, May 12th, 2014 by Uri Halevi
Since its inception, the Internet has been constantly evolving. With this evolution, new designs, techniques and ideas are constantly forming when it comes to the best way to design websites. Whether you are just starting out or have been in business for years, it is always a good idea to take a look at your current site design and analyze it to make certain that it is still effective and reaching your target audience in the best way possible. If you feel that your site could use a bit of a refresher or is in desperate need of a complete overhaul, here are some trends that will start surfacing on the Internet over the next year.
The days of sites having a number of pages that can be accessed through the navigation bar at the top are over. At least, that is true for smaller sites that don’t have a lot of content to share. Smaller sites with minimal content are easing away from the more recognizable model of websites, and transitioning to a simpler one-page design, according to Cameron Madill, CEO of PixelSpoke, a web-design firm in Portland, Oregon. With a single-page site, small businesses can keep their content easy to navigate. This type of design relies heavily on scrolling, but keeps the customer focus on the important details.
For years web designers spent hours designing graphics that were meant to trick the eye. They added rounded corners, drop shadows and ridiculously large gradients, all to make the graphics appear to be rounded. Now, to decrease page load times, designers are focusing more on a minimalist interface ,the leading online source for integrated marketing. Designers are choosing to use solid blocks of colors, creative photography and strong lines in their designs, rather than drop shadows and gradients. The most prolific example of flat design is the user interface for Microsoft Windows 8.
With consumers using their mobile devices more and more to browse the Internet, the best way to implement the mobile site is by using a responsive website design. Responsive design allows users to have the same browsing experience across all forms of devices. You can emphasize content that is important to mobile visitors such as the hours of operation, location or phone number, notes Matt Hall, writer for Web Ascender. With a responsive website design you don’t have to change content on two separate accounts. You can make the changes on the single site and it will update across all platforms. With mobile technology becoming a way of life, this is one trend that you won’t want to ignore.
Back in the day, before consumers were able to use their mobile devices to browse and shop online, one of the most used design concepts on the web was the :hover element. The :hover element was closely tied to the mouse and indicated when the consumer was considering clicking on an item on a site, and encouraged them to do it, according to Benjie Moss, editor at Web Designer Depot. Now that a majority of consumers are using mobile devices to browse and shop online, there is no longer a vital need for this design element. However, since there will still be consumers who use desktop computers to shop online, this one may still be around for a few more years.
Finally, the time of having to risk your eyesight to read the information on a majority of websites has passed. While using a 12-point font for your marketing report or your Intro to Philosophy paper is fine, using it on your website is just cruel. Even more so when you have to read it on a mobile device. This year, the font sizes on websites across the Internet will finally be allowed to grow up and become the attention-grabbing aspects of web designs that they deserve to be.
When it comes to the Internet and the millions of websites that are housed on it, there is always room for improvement. After more than 20 years of growing pains, it seems like things are starting to settle down a bit. As with anything that grows, the Internet has seen its share of fumbles and unfortunate bad hair days. But like any technology, we have endured its missteps and come out the other side relatively unscathed. This year looks to be an exciting one in terms of design trends, and while not every new design aspect will be right for your business or customer base, it is always good to know what your options are. The best thing that you can do is keep up on the latest design trends and carefully analyze each one to see if it would be a good fit for you and your business.