Nowadays any company interested in publishing its content should have a website, however in order for it to be successful, not just any website will do. It needs to have a good design and functionality of course, as well as have a uniqueness that makes it stand out from the competition. Web design is continuously evolving, and like any fashion, there are certain trends to follow that often change depending on the requirements of users and technology, such was the case with smartphones and tablets. A clean, ordered, design, that offers a good user experience can be key to getting a good quality website, however there are many other considerations to take into account. Here are the top 8 web design trends of 2015 in our opinion:
1. An image says a thousand words
Gone are the times of stuffing our websites with large passages of text to introduce the subject of the website. Recently, it has been common to use a huge image that stretches to the whole height and width of the screen to let visitors know what you are offering, often referred to as a ‘hero’ header. This way, the user will know exactly what you’re website is about in a matter of seconds.
2. Multimedia experience
More and more frequently we are seeing websites with short video clips (repeated on a loop) to quickly demonstrate our business activity. This is thanks to HTML5 (we no longer use Flash as it’s not supported on many devices), which allows us to use video and animation in a way that we never could in the past. It is now very familiar to see a video taking up the full screen of a website upon entering the home page, offering a very impactful experience to the visitor. Other types of videos that are frequently used today in websites are referred to as animated presentations or explainer videos, which for example serve to show how to use a particular product or online tool, or to explain the benefits of a product or service, in a much more interactive and interesting way, compared to using only static images and captions.
3. Using large typography
As previous mentioned, images almost always tend to dominate when compared to words, therefore the text we do introduce must be attractive and easy to read to ensure that the information can be quickly absorbed. The use of huge and oversized typography in titles and introductions on a website—to emphasise a specific message to its audience and create impact—is really trending at the moment in web design. Find out more about how to choose the best typeface for your website.
4. Parallax and Single Page Websites
Now that we are using mobiles and tablets more and more for browsing websites, the design of the site is being adapted to accommodate smaller screen sizes. With this new responsive design scrolling has become inevitable, so we are introducing new effects that add to the scrolling experience such as Parallax backgrounds and animations that are activated upon scroll.
Also, a new form of navigating a website has been introduced with single page websites, that allow you to access each page or section of information much quicker by simply scrolling down, instead of clicking on a navigation link and waiting for a new page to load. Even on desktop computer screens we are beginning to see many more single page and parallax scrolling websites, due to the simplicity it brings to website navigation. However, we should mention the one drawback of single page websites, which is by having one page of information will only allow you to position one or two keywords, so from an SEO standpoint, this kind of website is not recommended.
5. Hamburger menu
Another feature that is being used not only in responsive design, but also on the desktop, is the ‘hamburger’ style navigation menu (named thus as it actually looks like a hamburger!), which hides the full navigation unless clicked upon, to improve the overall visual aesthetics of the page. However, it has been argued that this form of navigation is less intuitive and user-friendly, especially with certain demographics that are not as tech savvy.
6. Minimalism and ghost buttons
Achieving a clean and simple design for your website without the over use of elements on the screen is a technique that is being used by web designers to make the website content itself stand out without too many distractions for the visitor. Reducing the number of elements, icons and unnecessary sections is key to conceptualising this kind of design. Any colour palette can be used, but usually a simple colour scheme of black or white is used in combination with a mix of greys.
The use of ghost buttons is an element that is often used in minimal style websites, especially for calls to action, which consist of buttons that have a transparent rather than a solid colour background and a subtle border to frame it, with simple typeface that perfectly delineates the minimalist design.
7. Responsive design
As mentioned throughout this article, responsive design is now an essential design feature due to the global increase in visits via mobile devices. It improves the user experience by offering a more comfortable display of the website, which doesn’t require zoom and also improves page loading time. Google now places particular emphasis upon responsive design when positioning your website in its search engine. Therefore adapting the design to smaller screen resolutions is definitely something to take into consideration when thinking about creating or updating your website.
8. Speed and performance
If we want our website to receive a large number of visits and to also achieve a better position in search engines, we must optimise its performance, still maintaining attractive design features, but optimising them to ensure that they do not reduce page loading times. Ensuring a quick and smooth navigation through our website, in turn, also helps to improve the user’s experience, increasing the time they spend on the website and making it much more likely that they will return and be converted into customers.