08 Feb Web Design Forecast For 2017
I sat down with Cole, our web developer, to talk about which web design trends will be popular in 2017. Because web design is an evolutionary process, nothing is ever really “out-of-the-blue” new. However, it looks like things are going in a pretty cool direction. If you are planning to build a website, here are some of the most recent trends to keep an eye on:
Keep it Simple…
In previous years, sites loaded with fancy designs and lots of content were in vogue. Now, developers should take a big step away from the clutter. 2017 is all about minimalism: consistent fonts, fewer – but usually larger – photos, and little colour in the foreground. Although sites crammed with images, content, and different texts are well-intended, they miss the point.
“Viewers want the information they need quickly,” says Cole. “If they don’t get what they’re looking for in three minutes, you risk them never coming back to your site.”
Having a cleaner layout makes it easier for viewers to get what they need and keep them coming back.
…But Continue Being Creative
While we advise creating sharper, simpler sites, personal artistry also shouldn’t be forgotten. It can be expressed in terms of what content you include, such as some delicious writing, unique videography, or crisp photos. These days, it’s hard to simply be a web developer or graphic designer. So, we recommend either working with a company who has a small, diverse creative team, or ensuring you are well versed in design and web building, should you want to make it alone.
Another emergence this year, from an artistic standpoint, is bold colour. Adding punchy headers, footers, or having a vibrant logo can give your site just the right amount of intensity. The task management site Asana was one of the first to introduce this trend back in 2015. As part of a general revamp, they chose a handful of vivid colour schemes to represent their website. According to their blog, these hues were chosen to make Asana “feel like clarity punctuated by energy.” As such, web developers should always keep the overall tone and purpose of their sites in mind when planning what colours to use.
Build for Mobile Use First
“This year, it’s especially all about building up,” says Cole. “Most viewers will be going on their phones before browsing on a desktop.”
With over 1.2 billion phone users around the world, it’s important to have a good mobile layout. Infinite scroll pages and fast loading times that are easily cacheable are all going to make smartphone users smile. Prioritizing mobile use won’t compromise the appearance and functionality of the desktop format, either. By designing for the smallest screen size first, you can then work up to desktop-size browsers. Also known as “progressive enhancement,” this accommodates all web users.
This neat form of layering involves the background of the site moving at a slower rate than the foreground when scrolling up or down. This gives the site an in-depth, 3D appearance. According to Cole, the effect adds to the sharpness of the page and makes it seem livelier, as well. However, it ought not be overdone and become gimmicky.
Short video clips or interactive/non-interactive animation clips can add more pizazz to your site if done correctly. Not only are they designed to grab a viewer’s attention, they can help point out information more effectively. However, they should not distract from the messages you want to convey. They also shouldn’t be annoying to those who browse your site. Otherwise, these people might not come back.
When done correctly, movement can bring your website to life, providing added depth, and give visitors a “whoa” moment.
Building for the Viewer
In an ideal world, a website is a direct translation of its creator’s intent and preferences. However, what’s in their mind might not be what the demographic they’re appealing to wants to see. For example, a car mechanic should be wary of how much technical jargon they put on their site, to avoid confusing clients. But this doesn’t mean they can’t use photos, video, or colour schemes associated with their job. It just means that it should be added with consideration to what is most attractive to their clientele.
Web design is ever-changing, and staying on top of new trends is a job in itself. However, it’s also exciting and a wonderful opportunity for us to continue growing as developers.