A strong, modern website can increase a brand’s reputation, whilst an old, outdated one can lose a business potential clients, customers and leads. So when designing a website in the modern-day, it is important to consider the site’s layout, wording, and loading speed, as well as the current web design trends.
Whilst some web design trends are fleeting, others are more steadfast. So to celebrate the launch of our brand new website, we have been discussing the trends we consider to be the most influential. Here are some of our favourites.
Microinteractions are small animations that respond to user interactions. For example, when you mouse over a particular part on a website (text or an image) and it changes in some way, this is a microinteraction.
Take a look at the example below from our home page – as we mouse over the middle image on the website page it changes, gaining copy and a semi-transparent colour when compared to the original design.
Microinteractions are great for creating positive user experiences as they are inviting, eye-catching, feel smarter and involve visitors in your website – giving them the power to make small changes to its appearance.
Web design for mobile
Since 2016 more than half of website traffic worldwide has been generated via mobile phones, making mobile phones the most popular way to search online. This means if your website gives users a disappointing mobile experience, you could be losing valuable customers.
Responsive websites are designed with mobile in mind – each page has the same content on mobile and desktop, but the pages are arranged differently depending on the size of the screen. For example, an image may appear below the text on a mobile device but next to it on a wider screen.
Making your website mobile-user friendly ensures mobile users get the same information and value from your site as those on desktop. Having a website that is optimised for mobile is also good for SEO, as Google makes it easier for users to find mobile-friendly content and penalises sites that aren’t.
Asymmetric layouts are gaining in popularity due to their ‘out of the box’, memorable design. These layouts incorporate unusual placements, patterns and use of white space, which direct the eye to the most important parts of the site. However, asymmetric layouts need to be precisely planned and designed, as poor organisation can be distracting.
Shapes are another important feature of many web design layouts. These can be easily integrated into any design, are bright, interesting and engaging, and load quickly. Different shapes can also have different connotations – circles represent unity, triangles are dynamic and rectangles provide stability.
The example below from the ‘our work’ page demonstrates how interlocking shapes can provide some asymmetry as well as give structure to a site.
Another feature of many modern websites is the hamburger menu. As these place the main menu behind a ‘hamburger icon’ and take up minimal space, they are now almost ubiquitous. This design was first used on mobile websites but is now frequently incorporated into desktop sites too.
Colours and white space
Colour scheme choices have a huge impact on how website visitors perceive your brand. In fact, people tend to judge a website based on the first 90 seconds of exposure and much of this judgement is based on colour. The wrong colours can make a web design appear outdated, but the right can enhance readability, improve credibility and look more professional.
At the moment simplicity is key. A website should be designed around 2-3 colours that match the brand’s identity, as simple colour schemes are less distracting and make the content easier to read. Good use of white space can also reduce visual clutter and help direct readers to the most important elements on a webpage.
Video captures a reader’s attention like no other form of media, keeping them on your page for a longer period of time. This is beneficial for SEO as Google monitors the amount of time viewers spend on your web page in order to determine the position in which it is featured in Google Search.
For this reason, videos are frequently integrated into web designs in order to engage visitors. These may be in the form of an introduction, animated characters or ‘how-to’ explainers.
To demonstrate our video and animation services, we integrated animated video into the ‘about us’ page.
The need for speed
Although the above trends can make your website seem fresh and inviting, the need for speed is greater than any other. It’s no use having a beautifully designed layout if your website doesn’t load quickly.
In fact, users expect a website to load in less than two seconds and will even leave a site that takes over three seconds to load. Google has also begun prioritising sites that load faster, so a slow site may be bad news for your website SEO too.
User flow and call to actions
Call to actions can come in many different forms – they can encourage users to sign up to a newsletter or to simply fill out a ‘contact us’ form.
The ultimate aim of this process is to generate enquiries as without the user submitting their information, their visit is essentially anonymous. That is why any good web design should try to convert casual visitors into direct enquiries.
But users do not go directly from entering the website to completing a call to action – they must first discover a need and research their options. Therefore designing a website so that a call to action appears is at the end of the customer journey is crucial to success.
Keep this in mind during the design and development process, as the usability of your site should always be a top priority.