Web design trends: what to adopt and what to drop

Trends in web design are just the same as trends in any other medium – they change all the time, some lasting only months whilst others remaining the norm for years. If you’re designing or redesigning a website, you have a crucial choice to make. Do you jump aboard the hottest new design trend, or do you play it safe and keep it classic in the hope of future-proofing your website if trends change? The danger with the latter is that your website can soon look outdated, so you may need to at least bear new trends in mind when starting your redesign.

To help you get a handle on what to embrace and what to ignore, here are a few pointers on the web design trends to adopt or drop.

New trends to get onboard with

  • Animation and transition. Of course, animation is nothing new, but they have become so much more sophisticated thanks to improvements in the development of Javascript, HTML5 and CSS. You can now use seamless, filmic-style animations to transition visitors through the different parts of your site, with anything from a hover state effect to a cartoon playing full-screen in the background. Crucially, you can use animations to distract and entertain users during overlong load times.
  • According to thenextweb.com, webgraphics can be used to effectively create a ‘site within a site’. Essentially web-based interactive infographics, they can summarise and deliver information in an engaging way, as well as fitting lots of content in a more user-friendly, easy to navigate way.
  • Focus on the micro-interactions. Thanks to the popularity and incredible choice of apps on mobile and desktop devices, we’re all used to tasks being made just that little bit easier. Extend this line of thinking to your website – how many hundreds of tiny interactions does your visitor need to engage in to accomplish tasks like registering, sharing your content on social media and finding information? If you can make these easier and create a more cohesive experience, this is more likely to future-proof your website. Besides, it’s just good design.

Move with the times! Design trends to ditch

  • Using stock photos. Now that online tools make photo editing easy, and virtually everyone has access to a camera via their smartphones or tablets, there isn’t really much need to use the often cheesy stock photo on your website. Unless you really can’t avoid it, add the use of stock photos to your ‘dead website trends’ list.
  • Desktop only. If you are designing a brand new website, it would be a huge mistake not to optimise it for mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets are no fad, they are the medium through which we will all access the internet in years to come. If your site doesn’t load properly on mobile, you are effectively turning customers away.
  • Floating menu bars. Some website owners think that floating elements simply beg to be clicked on, but all they actually do is annoy many of your visitors and block their view of the page content. Steer clear!

Which web design trends do you think are dead, and which have you decided to embrace when designing your site? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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