Websites are an important investment for any business and you need to make sure you’re investing in something that’s going to fuel growth effectively. Being able to account for key trends that address changes in customers’ online behaviour is central to ensuring your site effectively captures leads.
Next year’s design trends will be mostly aimed at the mobile user market, and speed will definitely be of the essence. Users haven't got time to wait for multiple pages to load and zoom in to read complicated, tiny text.
With that in mind, here are my top five predictions for 2015:
- Responsive design will continue to reign
Having a website that can be easily viewed on multiple devices, particularly smartphones and tablets, is essential. This is because the amount of people using their phones to go online is continuing to rise. Last year, 36 million UK adults accessed the internet every day, and access to the internet using a mobile phone more than doubled between 2010 and 2013 (Office for National Statistics).
However, one of the main things designers have to bear in mind is that the definition of responsive web design, which is a technique for building websites that work on mobile devices, tablets and desktop screens, is rapidly evolving. The main problem up until now has been ensuring web designs: (1) enable content to be sized appropriately and (2) are easy to navigate using different platforms.
Designers need to further adapt their web design techniques and rethink the navigation system due to products such as smart watches and smart TVs becoming increasingly popular.
- Typography will become a key focus
Choosing the right font for any design project, be it print or digital, has always been paramount to getting the design right first time around. But these days it’s becoming increasingly important to have good typography as it plays such a vital role in creating successful web designs. Good typography can make a website look impressive, easy to read and more user friendly.
If a website is too cluttered with illegible text, users will navigate away from the site. It's important to engage the user in the first 30 seconds, so a good use of typography backed up with creative content will help capture their attention long enough for them to absorb the content. (Find out why typography is one of the most (if not the most) powerful tools available to designers, read our blog, ‘How typography impacts your sales.’.
- The larger the picture, the better
There’s no underestimating the power of pictures. Articles with images get 94% views (Jeff Bullas), and tweets with a visual have 313% more engagement than those without (Anne Mercogliano).
From a design perspective, a picture is much easier to digest quickly than copy. Plus, it can be effectively scaled down for mobile without people having to squint to read the text. However, while larger images can be eye-catching, it’s important to remember that they can become irrelevant if they aren’t combined with quality content. Pictures may look good and entice visitors to your site, but it’s the copy that plays the key role in communicating your key messages and for SEO purposes.
- Scrolling is here to stay
A scrolling website, or the use of parallax scrolling, makes for a very pleasant user experience. It’s a much smoother way to view a site and can be easier for users to navigate, especially if they’re viewing your site on a smartphone.
Scrolling is more intuitive, as the user knows exactly what to do without having to search for the click-through button.
Take a look at these sites we’ve recently produced for some our clients. They’ve been optimised for mobile, which means the content can be stacked, enabling the user to scroll through the site with ease:
- Card-based design will grow in popularity
Card based designs are becoming increasingly popular, and can already be found on a wide range of websites such as Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. Because of their limited space they’re perfect for social media sites as they’re a highly functional and effective way of presenting information in a condensed format.
A great tool for designers, card-based design can help create responsive websites. Clean, simple and versatile, cards can be stacked easily when viewing on varying screen sizes. They can also be expanded to reveal more information, flipped to provide more details and various multimedia content can be embedded in them.
Here are a few examples of card-based web design: