7 Trends of Modern Web Design

The ultimate Checklist on the 7 biggest Trends of Modern Web Design

The web is constantly changing, so are our devices. To help you stay up-to-date we have come up with the 7 Trends of Modern Web Design.

For the past several years we have watched web designs come back to basic design. The need to impress and show off all the latest perks in website development has calmed down. An enormous increase of online businesses and Social Media has brought the focus back on the user and his experience.

We have summarized the 7 ultimate Trends in Modern Web Design that you should consider before you launch your website:

1. Responsive Web Design

With the constant launch of new devices, platforms and browsers, responsive web design seems to be the safe path in web development. The design allows your web page to look good on all existing devices and those to come (desktops, tablets, and phones).

It presents a relatively simple solution for businesses to build a functional and mobile-friendly website.

Stop Thinking in Pages. Start Thinking in Systems.
– Jeremy Keith

It is important to understand that Responsive Design is not the same as mobile design. Mobile design creates an entirely new website specifically created for the mobile experience.

A Responsive Design means that your web domain with the same content and the same structure responds to different viewports, such as Tablets, mobile devices, PC monitors or Laptops, for the best user experience on each device.

Advantages of a responsive web design

There are many benefits of choosing a responsive website design. Below we listed some of them for you:

  • SEO optimization:
    One Website, one URL. Having only one URL makes it easier for Google’s link algorithms, and increases crawler efficiency due to its unified code base. A responsive web design is less work for Google, as there are no requirements for them to crawl and index separate versions of the same site. To make it easy for search engines to analyze your content increases the chances of a higher ranking in search engines.
  • A high bounce rate based on a not user friendly display of information is usually taken as a negative sign by search engines. Responsiveness helps combat high bounce rates.
  • Content Management: With only one website you can update your content or publish any information via your Content Management System at once, in order to distribute the update on all devices. Having a mobile website in addition to your desktop version, requires you to update your content for at least two locations.
  • Reduced development costs: The development of only one website is needed. No mobile apps or mobile websites are necessary when choosing a responsive design. There is also only one website that requires Hosting and any other web support. This saves a lot of money on monthly costs.
  • User friendly interface: Putting a strong emphasis on the user by automatically adjusting the content to a specific screen size, ultimately results in a positive user experience. Google therefore encourages web developers to use responsive designs.

2. Minimal Design, keep it simple

Minimal design focuses on limited information that is presented to the user. The website should look clean and only contain the most important information.

Our Attention Span shorter than OF a goldfish

Various Studies, like Statistic Brain, have shown that on average our human attention span has dropped to about eight seconds. We now have an even shorter attention span than a goldfish (nine seconds). Science connects this sudden decrease with the introduction of Smartphones to our daily lives.  The excess of information that is introduced to us on a daily basis requires our brain to filter faster and more effectively.

Everyone is busy, so keep it simple

So, what does this mean for our online experience? We have to impress and win our users at the very first glance. Minimal design has shown to be one way that seems to give results.

Examples of minimal design elements are the use of white space, simple design components, authentic typography, pictures, video material and web graphics.

Users do not have much time to search for information. A strong call-to-action strategy is essential to guide the user through your website.

Here are some great examples of websites that show what Minimal Design can look like. 

MAEMO is one of the award winners in the category Minimal Webdesign. (http://www.awwwards.com/websites/minimal/)  

Manuel Rueda was awarded for its simple yet elegant design.  

3. Material/Flat design

The Flat Design style is characterized by an overall minimalistic look. Simple user interface elements such as buttons, icons and flat illustrations are the fundamentals of Flat Design. Decorative factors such as gradients, drop shadows, bevels, embossing, or artificial textures are avoided.

The style is hugely popular in mobile applications and has reached simplistic website design status. Any Animation is typically avoided and replaced by large images and icons. This allows web designers to easily create an interface that is responsive to different browser sizes for various devices. Web designers prefer Flat Design as it allows them to be more streamlined and efficient, making the web site load faster.

However, not everyone is a big fan of a complete Flat design. More commonly used is a lighter version, using only some components. “Almost flat design” is based on flat design but can include some effects. For example, basic gradients or simple shadows within an element can be used. The use of flat Icons however is already a default in web development.

Websites successfully implementing this functional design element are perceived as very user friendly. The challenge is to combine its practicality with an appealing design.

68 % of web designers believe that Flat Design will be still used 5 years from now.

Some nice examples of Flat Website Design: http://www.awwwards.com/websites/flat-design/ 

4. Big Experience Design

The background of a website is one of the key elements in modern web design. We can increasingly see high resolution images, dominating the overall web experience. The actual content of a page is now secondary.  Photography and quality graphic design plays a much bigger role in web design than ever before.

Sometimes the navigation bar is completely removed, or placed on top of the page as an icon somewhere in the corner of the website. Just a few words are overlaying the picture. The trend is clear: you want the picture to dominate.

The two main types are called “Cinematic” and “Book Cover”. The “Cinematic” Trend has been inspired by the TV and Music industry, whilst the “Book Cover” uses the concept of a printed catalogue cover or as the name already reveals, a book cover.

But why large Photographs? Images can be important to create a memorable website. When you use a large photograph effectively, the photograph turns the website into a beautiful web experience. And science is supporting this trend. It is a known scientific fact that our brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does while reading text content.

Create an ultimate user experience

Pictures are a powerful tool to communicate with your audience. Given the fact that first impressions still count the most online, you will want to send your core message through a strong picture.

Communicate with your audience

An E-commerce website will template their products and focus on them as their main image. An image of people using their products is a very successful way of gaining interest from your new user.

As an organization you might like to create awareness for the cause you are standing for. Using provocative images can send a strong message.

Use your own images

One downfall of this trend is to purchase existing pictures. Make sure you create your own images. After all you want to create an authentic experience.

What you need to pay attention to when using large Photography:

  1. Loading Time: Large, high resolution photographs will increase your page load time significantly. Make sure your website includes the right plugins and is optimized for large images.
  2. Authentic Photography: There are some great websites out there that offer high quality Photography at affordable prices. However, to create a unique experience you should invest your time and money and produce your own professional pictures.
  3. Different sizes: Resolution is a common term in every design. But for Large Photography websites it is even more important. Test various resolutions and take the sizes of different browsers into consideration.

This is a great example of a typical Big Experience web design. To find more inspiration on how you can use Big Photography for your website, check out the award winners in the category Big Background images (http://www.awwwards.com/websites/big-background-images/)

Video in Web Design

Recently we have also noticed a strong increase in using video on website development. Videos are a great way to introduce your business in a fun and entertaining way. Emotions and ideas can be communicated much more authentic through a video. The downside so far has definitely been the heavy loading time of the pages with video content. The solution to designing a beautiful loading screen has not solved this problem for the moment. However, with the endless possibilities of 3D graphics and HD quality videos we expect to see more businesses using video on their websites in 2016.

5. GHOST BUTTONS

Ghost Buttons are not necessarily a Web Design trend, however with the significant rise in their appearance all over the web, it is definitely a design element that is worth mentioning.

This trend has held steady since their first appearance in 2014. These elegant Buttons are still as popular and used in various industries.

Their high recognition is earned due to a basic shape with a transparent background that is defined by a solid, thin border.

With the simplicity in web design and the focus on big images, Ghost buttons hover over the background imagery. Especially for Business Website Design, they are an ideal design element. Their restrained appearance invites users to a clear call-to-action, without being obtrusive.

As a popular user interface trend there are many advantages to it, but to implement them effectively requires close attention to visual design elements.

Here are the main Pros and Contras of using Ghost Buttons in your design:

PROS

  • Ghost Buttons are easy to design,
  • They give an elegant, finished look to a web design
  • Ghost Buttons will integrate easily with many basic design elements
  • Great tool for calls-to-action
  • Ghost Buttons do not harm the primary design of a page
  • Usually larger than a typical button, they can draw attention

CONS

  • Ghost buttons rely on size and placement
  • If not placed wisely, a ghost one can be difficult to be spot
  • The text in the button must be placed in context with the rest of the design
  • Ghost buttons may not always be recognized as a button
  • As they are laid over images, you need to be carefully with different screen sizes.

6. Unique Typography

Creativity in web design has finally reached Typography. This is a unique way to embrace content, and replace standard fonts and colors.

Typography has taken on an important role in the planning of your web design.

Typography accounts for over 90% of the design.

Without any doubt, the typography we choose can have a huge impact on our website, readability, perceived article length, user experience and more. It is absolutely essential that designers know and understand the different principles of typography that create a pleasant design.

“There seems to be a new design philosophy floating around in the web design industry that says: ‘Your header type is like the cover of a book’.”

— Dmitry Kirsanov

Here are some tips when choosing your font in web design

When it comes to choosing the perfect font for your website, you have to think about the loading time of the page, design purpose and compatibility.

1. Fundamentals

  • Readability: Consider where the text will appear and design it so that it can be easily read.
  • Alignment: Think about how the text will align on the user’s screen. Make senseful choices and keep them consistent, whether left, right or center.
  • Hyphenation: Don’t use Hyphens! Hyphens make a mess of text on screen.
  • Contrast: Make sure there is enough contrast between the text and the background so that it can be readable.

2. Page Loading Times

If a certain font causes your website to slow down, look for an alternative solution. Long loading times can harm the user experience and your Search engine ranking.

2. TYPEFACES

Use a limited number of typefaces and only select one style for each one of them.

7. Scrolling vs Clicking

The predictions in web design are definitely in favor of scrolling. In the future we will see more and more websites that consists only of one long page. The user can scroll through the entire website content and thus avoids long loading times of additional pages. The use of Smartphones once again plays a significant role in the evolution of this trend.

This technique works especially well for companies that want to guide the user through a story, thus creating great visual effects. Long scrolls still allow you to mimic a multi-page experience by separating the scroll into clear sections.

What about Parallax Scrolling?

We cannot deny the popularity of parallax scrolling, which is a very new trend. Many successful brands have integrated this trend already. Have a look at some beautiful examples Rimmel London or LeMugs.

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