We’re already almost half-way through 2017 (no, we don’t know how that happened either). So what have we learned – and what pointers can we perceive to lead the way for the rest of the year?
Web design, like anything else, has its trends and its fashions. Following them slavishly will make you seem like a cliché, but ignoring them entirely risks rendering you out of date. Here are the ten trends we’re keeping an eye on – and deploying where they make the most sense.
1. Responsive Design 2.0?
Designing websites in such a way that they can adapt to whatever screen or platform they’re being viewed on has been a thing for a while. But with designers increasingly adopted a mobile-first position, and Google rewarding response sites with higher rankings, its adoption has been picking up real pace this year.
2. More Use of Scalable Vector Graphics
This comes in hand-to-hand with more responsive design: vector graphics are able to grow or to shrink as windows stretch this way or that. It’s a clever piece of technology that will make your all-important graphics look great every time.
3. Big & Bold Typography
If responsive design is “under the hood”, one of the most visible changes to web design this year is the prominence of typography: big, bold fonts will be placed at the heart of designs. In particular look out for serif fonts and geometric ones. Single words, simply presented, have never been clearer.
4. New Kinds of User Interface
As mobile-first because more prominent, UIs are changing, too. They look more and more like mini-desktops – lots of buttons to click, sorted into grids – and increasingly involve conversational elements – think questions, prompts and chatbots.
5. Authentic Photography
Gone are the days when stock photography passed muster. Users see so many websites per day now that they notice when photographs look staged or don’t seem unique to the site they’re viewing. Take your own photos, and use them prominently.
6. More Animation
With GIFs now a thing way beyond cult websites like Reddit, and animated images easier than ever to produce, moving images are more a part of websites than ever in 2017. From animated transitions between pages to cheeky decoration, animation is having a moment.
7. Vibrant Colours
White and grey have had their day. The clean and stark lines of recent years remain, but their backgrounds have changed: think fuchsias and oranges, and even bright greens. Let your websites pop.
8. The “Hero Banner”
The large image at the top of the website, filling the first screen a visitor sees – situated “above the fold” to adopt newspapers terminology – now reigns supreme. 2017 may see its apogee, but for now it is having a real moment in the sun.
9. The Long Scroll
Partly because the “hero banner” is now such a thing, sites are scrolling further than ever before. Mobile-first websites in particular benefit from “single-page” websites – there’s no need for an endless navigation tree of pages. Just let your users scroll.
All of this said, the biggest trend of 2017? Simple sites, plainly appointed. But be bold.
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