Looking to update your website or for a new look altogether? Now is the time!
From functionality to color and typography, 2017 will be a year full of creative strides and new visual concepts that will revitalize your website. Let’s take a look at some trends expected to take web design by storm this year.
1. User experience
We can’t stress this enough: User experience (UX) needs to be taken into account with every change (or complete rehaul) made to your website. If your content or your design is unappealing, not optimized for mobile, if you have long page load times, or your site is confusing to navigate, any investment you have made in that web site is going to result in very little ROI.
Consider this: Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.
Here are some specific website features we will see more of in 2017 aimed at keeping viewers – potential customers – happy and coming back for more:
- Live chatbots – who wants to email customer service and wait 2-3 days to hear back. No one! Live chat boxes are becoming more prevalent, giving users immediate answers to their questions. It’s a wise investment. Juniper Research says “merchant integration of technologies such as bots and natural language interfaces will lead to remote goods purchases by mobile totaling $2.1 trillion by 2021.”
- Negative space – or white space – is also huge when it comes to streamlining and creating a clear path for viewers to take.
- Offer users more paths to navigate through to each touchpoint, giving them the ability to make more – yet simple – decisions throughout the process.
- Optimize for mobile – we don’t just mean having a “mobile-friendly” website; that sucker needs to be mobile responsive so everything is easy to read – and use –for mobile users.
2. Growth Driven Design
An increasing number of business owners, marketers and other decision makers will realize that investing in Growth Driven Design (GDD) is a smarter choice than dumping $20-$30,000 into a new website every few years. With GDD, your new website will launch with a basic site in place that includes core components – think home page, services, about us, and a contact page. More pages and content is added over time as we observe how people are using and engaging with the launch site. This approach allows a website to launch in less time, and gives developers more flexibility in design, as design follows usage patterns. Essentially, with GDD, you never stop building the website. Your marketing firm or website developer regularly adds to it or makes adjustments on a monthly basis.
Gradients are making a major comeback. These changes in the intensity or color in an image results in a kind of color blurring. But the look of this technique has totally shifted.
Previously, we saw subtle color variations throughout the design. Look in 2017 for gradients that are big, bold and use plenty of color.
No longer just duotone imagery and graphics, but design imagery that combines a couple of colors together will be the upgrade chosen.
4. Interactive elements
Virtual Reality will likely be the most talked-about design element of 2017 and it totally could reach into marketing applications. Create virtual reality user experiences that don’t require a headset.
We’re talking about using 360-degree video on your website, as one example. Or, if you’re an establishment such as a home builder, realtor, restaurant, or similar, try placing a 3D tour on your website for people to navigate with the click of a mouse from the comfort of their own home. Anything that takes user interaction to the next level will have that VR feel; other forms of simple innovative interactions also create an engaging user experience that’s a pleasure to repeat. These microinteractions, as they are sometimes called, are the subtle, but powerful ways that viewers interact with a website. Think hovers, click animations, scrolling effects, etc.
While we’ve always had these types of design elements, designers are spending more time making them more informative and more refined.
5. Parallax scrolling
Parallax scrolling will soon to be used more and more on websites. Look for parallax effects that move up, rather than down, and movements that capture a much more layered design. Parallax scrolling creates an memorable user experience and gives your website a sleek design. It creates an illusion of depth in a 2D scene and significantly adds to the immersion of the user into the experience.
6. Simple home pages
The home pages that will dominate website design in 2017 will focus less on content and more on simplicity. Gone are the days of stuffing the home page with lots of copy up top. Users will be encouraged to scroll down for more. The content will still be there, just displayed in a more streamlined way.
A simpler home page leads to more emphasis on landing pages, where traffic can be driven to pages dedicated to targeting segmented groups of web visitors and focusing on personalization. The goal of the home page is to encourage people to delve further into your site, eventually causing them to take an action that can turn into a lead for you to follow up with. Don’t scare them off with complicated and confusing home pages.
7. Navigation patterns
Underscoring the idea that a website’s menu doesn’t have to be on top, the way a viewer navigates through the website will be driven more by what makes sense for this website. The key here is effectiveness and ease of use. Is the navigation method easy to find and use?
What’s more, many sites will simplify their navigation down to about 4 or 5 items. The practice of keeping navigation to a minimum helps visitors to focus on the search at hand, instead of trying to find a way off the page.
8. Color Palettes
Look for very neutral color palettes that take their cues from the natural world. We’ll see more greens, beiges and muted tones in projects. Expect to see pops of color to make certain areas of a site really stand out against the more neutral background.
But not everyone will go neutral. Some website designs will opt for the bold and dramatic pop colors.
9. Animations and GIFs
Photo credit: PowToon
In 2017, we will see increased use of animations and GIFs as designers look for easier and quicker communication methods. GIFs and animation certainly draw viewers’ attention.
Just to be perfectly clear, abusing GIFs and animations can definitely hurt a website’s user experience. But done in the right way, animation can bring your message to life by accentuating important aspects.
10. Small design appropriate for wearables
Not to be overlooked, wearables also will play an influencer role in how websites are designed in 2017. Think Oculus Rift, the Apple Watch. This influence will likely change the look and complexity of some mobile apps; larger typography and more minimal styles will likely emerge.
With so many users opting to buy wearables (what’s your wearable of choice, anyway?) and wanting those interactions to replicate on other devices, designing your website keeping those users in mind is vital.
11. Custom typography
In 2017, go ahead and add some flair with type to create visual interest. Change up the justification or layout of the heading, add unique elements to the heading, or even go without a heading!
Gone are the days when rules dictated the typography style, like forbidding hyphenated words or unclear lines. We’re being more imaginative and using creative headings, showing distinctive style. After all, mastering typography is an art form.
Experiment, but keep one thing in mind: Your type needs to be easy to read or your message goes undiscovered.
12. Broad design styles
We will see an ever-broadening range of design styles in 2017, from the simple, naturalistic, life-like images and designs to the addition of fresh perspective to geometric shapes, adding some shadows, motion and boldness to the geometric style. Be ready to see more 3-D geometric shapes in websites backgrounds and design support in general.
Whichever end of the design spectrum resonates well with your product or service is the right match for your website.
Regardless of what style your website is, or what industry you are in, be sure your website speaks to your ideal customer base and your core business drivers. Be sure to inform people right off the bat what problem you have the solution for; be clear on who your audience is and how you can help. Determine your budget up front, which will be helpful to the person or company creating your new site in determining exactly what kind of site and what functionality can be included for that price point. Not divulging a budget to your web design vendor doesn’t do anyone any favors, and costs everyone a lot of time. Provide a budget and see what you can get for your money.
At CMK Marketing, we promise to work within your budget to deliver an amazing website! Contact us today to talk about how we can improve your site.