October 23, 2015
The first-ever website, developed by the World Wide Web’s creator Tim Berners-Lee, published on August 6, 1991 was totally text-based. It explained the World Wide Web project, how to setup a web server, create websites and pages, and how to search for information.
In just 25 years, web design has soared from those early text pages to become a highly sophisticated field. It is difficult to imagine modern life devoid of an Internet rich in high quality images, animated graphics, different typography, music, videos, games, and interaction.
But where is it going? If there has been so much development in design and functionality over a relatively short period of 25 years, where will the next 25 years take us? With the exponential developments of technology and design, it’s almost impossible to predict ahead another quarter of a century. So concentrating on the near future, let’s take a look at the website design trends anticipated over next two to three years.
Designers will need to stay innovative. They always need to be one step ahead of today’s trends; always looking to the day-after-tomorrow and what the multitudes of viewers and users may want then.
Web designers, rooted in the legacy of print media graphic designers, are no longer just designers; they often also have to be enormously tech-savvy developers.
Although diverse, predictions by leading design and tech gurus generally see tomorrow’s web designs becoming more and more highly personalized and interactive. Social media will be a major driver in the need for more “shareability” and interactivity.
For this reason, the use of templates which today result in too many similarities between different sites, may well fall into disuse in favor of unique designs customized specifically to the preferences of the visitor.
Similarly, stock images – again, resulting in the same or similar images appearing across multiple sites with predictable negative responses in the viewer: “Oh no; not THAT picture again...” – may also have to relinquish their place in the web designer’s toolbox. Designers will likely opt for very high quality professional photography. Depending on the business model of the website, this could even encourage users to submit their own images to be displayed. This will create a great deal of variety and interest, user generated content, and perhaps even some wonderful, unique story-telling. Grovemade implement this trend perfectly on their site by showcasing high quality photos of their products. I bet you never saw this picture anywhere else, before!
In contrast to the convention of keeping web pages short and sweet, ensuring a single click viewing experience, sites are becoming longer to encourage and accommodate scrolling. As viewing sites on mobile devices becomes more popular, it’s almost commonplace for sites to use scrolling instead of linking as a means to display content. It is easier for users to simply scroll through a page with their thumbs to get their information, than it is to constantly point, aim, and click to find information. Take the Apple’s page for the iPhone 6, for example:
Longer pages can also elegantly display a wide variety of content.
This could herald a reincarnation of legendary adman David Ogilvie’s contention, expressed way back in the 1950 and ‘60’s era of “Mad Men”, that highly engaging, longer advertising text, telling a real story, was the most effective form of promotional communication: the forerunner of today’s content marketing trend.
Another benefit of scrolling with so many varied device sizes, is that designers are increasingly free to expand and fill their pages with big beautiful images. Expect to see more designs that take up much more space – especially vertically – and a lot of larger more beautiful imagery.
Slick animations will also make the scrolling experience visually engaging, retaining the concentration of the viewer. Web design in the immediate future will likely focus around helping tell a story for users, with an important element being interaction and animation to help present content in a unique and appealing way – bringing a “wow” factor to a site. Mint Design Company are experts and this and have incredible animation on their site:
Simplicity will rule
So many sites are graphic- and color-heavy, with large headline text, backgrounds, and flashing visuals. The exact opposite is likely to attract attention and stand out. Good clean, elegant design are likely to attract more eyes than visually confusing and crowded sites. Huncwot exemplify the meaning of this trend with their minimalist, elegant homepage:
Performance and speed have always been critical factors and are becoming more so, as users become even more impatient. Sites that load faster and consume less bandwidth are more likely to attract more viewers, particularly those using smartphones and pads. Clutter only slows them down.
Using multiple tabs, and swiping back and forth between pages and sites, results in everything being faster. Displaying the information requested without any delays will become of more concern to designers.
Apps put most websites to shame with super-minimal, beautiful interfaces, because minimal interfaces perform better. Mobile apps have redefined what a user expects. Mobile apps use motion to convey meaning, and websites are just starting to do the same.
Even though mobile use has actually overtaken desktop, most organizations still insist that a website looks good on their computer first and on mobile second. That strategy is likely to change. As the mobile becomes the main device for browsing the web, “mobile-first” will become less of a buzzword, and more of a requirement. The Verge is a great example of a mobile-first design, with large spaces making finger tapping much easier.
One thing will not change: the need to stand out above the crowd to ensure adoptability and acceptability. It’s always going to be about being ahead of the competition, gaining and increasing market share, and developing and maintaining brand values.
If you want to get ahead of the game in your industry, contact KeyScouts to help with improving your website performance and increasing your online visibility.
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