When it comes to web design, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. This is a creative art form, and while the arts are always changing, especially in the field of technology, web design is no exception. Today I am going to talk about some of the website design trends for 2017 that we are seeing amongst new websites, a couple of them apply mostly to big box companies with very advanced web pages (and big budgets), others can be applied to all companies’ websites, big or small. But one thing is important to keep in mind, and that is that it’s a creative expression of art, a representation of a business, and like all trends, none of them are appropriate for everybody. So here we find ourselves, quarter of the way through 2017, looking at what’s new in the design world of websites. There’s no question the evolution of web design is a rapid one. The importance of staying on top of the constant improvements to styles & platforms is critical to a web designer, creating a more human and interactive experience for the end user. Every year we see vast advancements in web design, and it doesn’t look like that train will slow down anytime soon. So let’s take a look at what’s new this year that’s catching our attention:
Mobile Friendly Interfaces
Yes, this is not new for 2017 web design trends, but it is becoming even more important in design, since most of us are accessing the web from our mobile devices. If your website is not completely fluid for a user on a device, you are definitely outdated. Designers are spending much more time creating sites that can be fluid from phone, to tablet, to pc, to tv… and this takes some careful time and attention. Mobile-first fluid designs are becoming a top priority as more users are browsing the internet on screens of all sizes, from devices, to big screen tvs. Next generation responsive design will continue to grow in importance when designing new websites, because it is one of the most effective ways to enhance the user experience. Websites that have the flexibility to adjust according to the different device it’s being accessed from, will give the end user the best experience. Google changed its ranking algorithm to prioritize websites which have optimized content with mobile friendly interfaces, in April 2016. We expect to see web designers trying to boost their Google ranks with responsive designs going forward.
People now want simplistic, de-cluttered, and visually informative websites. With a primary emphasis on content. Designers have spent years adding clutter to websites, things such as sidebars, banners, popups, calls to action, sidebar ads, sign-up boxes, social media buttons, comments, etc. While having some of these things on your site is beneficial, if they are not carefully selected and strategically placed, they end up distracting from the primary focus of the webpage… the content. Instead of seeing a traditional homepage on many new websites, users are seeing a group of ‘cards’ as an example of a minimalistic web design (think netflix or pinterest for example). By clicking on a particular card, you are brought to more information about that particular topic. Grid layouts are particularly popular for websites that contain an abundance of data, making the information more accessible and enticing. This trend is growing fast.
Big Typography and Creative Headings
In 2017, we are definitely seeing bigger and bolder typography. More eye-catching font that spreads across even a full widescreen, is becoming more popular. Designers are choosing more dynamic colors and textures, added to interesting and vibrant fonts to create that ‘wow’ effect we are all striving for. Not only is this large typography working well for drawing in and keeping the user’s attention. It is also good for an effective way to break up the grids within a webpage, especially in a long scrolling page. Imaginative heading styles in conjunction with the bolder typography can bring a website a very modern look and feel. Instead of the classic san serif, all caps, centered heading, we are seeing the move towards more creative and unsymmetrical appearance. Changing the layout of the heading and adding unique elements to it that pop, are great ways to add to the modern style of your website.
GIFs and Animations
Animations are a great way to reveal information on a website, such as how something works. This year animations and GIFs are becoming very prevalent, as they help to communicate content quicker and easier than text and video can. A visitor to a site likes to gather information quickly, without thinking too much about how to get to that data. As most people are fast visual learners, this method can be very effective. An added bonus, when done right, they can be even more lightweight than several images or a video on your page. While animations and GIFs are productive in many ways, providing a product experience, explaining a workflow, or providing a how to guide, it’s important to use them in moderation. This type of attention grabber, can easily take the intended focus away from the more important content when over-used.
Conversational interfaces became pretty huge in 2016, and this trend is only expected to continue. Customers are happy to interact with companies, services, and bots through messaging, chat, and other natural language interfaces. Messaging platforms are huge within social networking sites (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, or WeChat), and we can expect to see big companies expanding on this approach creating a more human and approachable feel, using automated AI-powered bots for communication and sales. This year the conversational interfaces should become even more personalized and inventive. There is still a lot of work to be done in the creation of such conversational interfaces. But rest assured, it will be a hot topic for designers in 2017 and for years to come. Adding conversation to a website is a major element in enhancing the human experience for the user.
High Quality and Creative Photography
Finding beautiful, unique, and high quality images for your website is a must in 2017. Photos of real people have a better chance of converting visitors to customers, according to recent research. There is a definite growing demand for candid and real images that are easy for the user to relate to. Photography is a powerful artform, and when used properly with the creation of a website, it can completely make the feeling you’re trying to achieve. It’s important to remember that your website serves a purpose, and that the images within it, must line up with that purpose. One powerful strategy we’re seeing, is to add portraits of the owners, the employees, or the team. So visitors to the website can connect the company to real people whom they want to do business with. Putting a face with the brand will create a feeling of trust for the user. We are seeing designers begin to shy away from using cheesy stock photos, and images that are too commonly used in the marketplace. There are still many great options when it comes to finding stock photos, but keeping the feel of the site as ‘real’ as possible – using more images of people and less overused images of hard-to-relate-to things, will serve you well in your modern looking website.
Forms are everywhere. You will need a form to fill out a registration, checkout a shopping cart, make a payment, book an appointment, give customer feedback, sign up for subscription, etc. This is an integral part to any website that is aiming to communicate with visitors, and so it should be given special attention during the creation of that website. Having intuitive forms that are user-friendly enable a business to gather customer information, streamline processes more effectively, and make more sales. If your website has clunky forms, it’s a major turn off to the user, and creates a negative experience with the website. This year, more than ever, the forms within websites are becoming more fluid and easy to use. We are seeing a transformation into natural language forms that utilize everyday language and intend to gather information in a more engaging and fun way. We are seeing the trend towards a more human experience when looking at the future of forms.
Geometric Shapes & Patterns
It appears as though geometric shapes have made their way into the modern wave of web design. We are seeing circles around portraits or images, geometric heavy photos, or even the entire design of the site using heavy lines and patterns. There is literally no end to the ways you may integrate shapes, patterns, and lines into your website. This is a fun way for designers to get creative, while bringing a modern look and feel to the website. Shapes, when used right, can make many images pop from within the screen, bringing more layers of feeling to the user experience. Having an eye for this can be an artform of it’s own.
Landing page design is becoming a more popular trend as we look at 2017. We’re refining content, and bringing the customer to their desired location from the first click. While a home page is a critical component in every website, it may not be the first destination for the user. This is called content marketing, and it’s going big. This concept makes sense, marketers want to direct traffic to the dedicated landing page that actually meets the visitors needs. These particular pages must be well designed and target the visitor much more than other pages on the site.
Final Thoughts on Trends
Some of the best websites are being created right now, and we think all of the trends on this list are pretty exciting. However, don’t try all of these ideas at once. Some will work for some businesses, others will not. Strategically choosing styles and capabilities that fit the needs of clients and their businesses to maximize the UX of the website is always the goal. Here at Anchor Websites, we will continue to rapidly evolve with the web design industry, and the improvements to styles and experiences available to new sites. We commit to paving the path of creativity, personalization, fluidity, and unique intuitive experiences for the end user with every website we build. https://anchorwebsites.com/
Meet the Author
Laura is an expert on style, technology and getting things done. With her background as a Financial Advisor and mother of 4, she has both smarts and a practical sense that brings value to everything she touches. Her most recent adventure is as an entrepreneur at Anchor Websites. Call her today to see if Anchor Websites should create your next website! 715-600-1950 or firstname.lastname@example.org