Designing websites for business is a balance between user experience - providing a site which is simple to use and effective - from any device, and, maximising the business’s conversions, whatever they may be. 2017 will continue to see the numbers of users accessing the web via mobile increase, here are some of our predictions for the direction of web design in the coming year.
One of the key trends we are seeing in web design is for simplification. There is no question of the impact of designing for ‘mobile first’ has had on web design, and the trend for simplification is one of them. Websites have become increasingly cluttered with apps, CTA’s, sign-up boxes, pop-ups and all manner of distractions. Stripping back and focusing on the content and purpose of the website and eliminating distractions is likely to be a strong theme in 2017.
Animations and GIFs offer a way of including some movement and interaction into web design. Animations can be used to tell a story, explain a product and can be used to get a message across quickly. They can be useful to direct users in an eye catching way. More visually engaging than text and images alone, but smaller than video, animations are sure to feature in many new websites in 2017. Some of the sites doing animation well can be seen on the Awwwards.com website – we like this explanation for an education site about the Bank of England which is engaging and informative with minimal use of text. Another great example of animation on the web comes from http://vizua.sk/en
Micro-interactions are being used more and more and we all interact with them multiple times per day without even realising it, liking a post on social media, pulling down a screen to refresh content, toggling things on and off, roll-overs are all examples. Micro-interactions are important to the UX of a website as they are also used to show that an action has taken place, a link clicked or form downloaded, a preference registered. They can be used to show the status of an action such as a download and help to avoid the user getting bored. This can be done with small animations, changes of colour and shading to indicate a change of status, used effectively they are intuitive and simple to understand. Web Designer Depot shows some great examples of effective micro-interactions here
Big, Bold Text
The use of simple, big and bold text over background animations and cinematic images is a trend which we have seen in 2016 which is set to continue into 2017. In keeping with the trend for simplicity, focussing on the content and minimising distractions, landing pages are increasingly minimal with text taking centre stage. Clarity about the purpose of the website as well as the response required from the user – such as in this example from WE3 helps to ensure that users are getting to the relevant parts of your website.
Mobile first simplicity again, and slimmer navigation. We are increasingly seeing websites with smaller menus and fewer options to click. Some websites – like Adobe, are even hiding the menu behind the ubiquitous hamburger menu on larger screen sizes. The hamburger has its critics and we have heard news of it’s death before, although it still seems to be alive and well for 2017, it has become such a widely used icon that it is difficult to see what a replacement could do better.
So overall, simplification of design and clarity seems to be the trend for 2017 with fewer distractions and more emphasis on content, beautiful, cinematic images and animations and micro-interactions help to direct the website user and keep them interested.
If you are considering a new website this year, contact us to find out how we can help.