Current Web Design Trends

Web Design features and trends come and go. With improvements to HTML5 and CSS3, there are many improved options for creative Web Design. So what are the current trends in Web Design?

Flat Design

Flat design is where graphics on the site are designed with no three dimensional effects, such as shadows. I’m going to guess that this trend was driven by the need to make sites more mobile friendly. Many companies are even flattening their logos.

Animation

Yes, animation is in, but not like animated .gif files (which are out). We’re talking more like animated text coming in from a certain direction, that gives the site a subtle elegance. Depending on the site, these animations can be more extreme.  Like with any web design, you want the animation to compliment the site and pull the viewers in, not distract them.  See my post on Adding Animations to your WordPress Website for more information.

Minimal Header with Logo and Menu

Small top header with logo and menu at the top in full width is very popular. If you look at many popular sites, you’ll find a minimal Header section with a Hero Image below. Hero Image? What is that?

Hero Image

The large full screen image right under the header of the site is called a “Hero Image” aka “Hero Sections”. Usually these are full screen image backgrounds that give the site a great look with large text. Most of the sites that use these have a modern updated and attractive look that a high quality image can provide. Many of these use sliders to scroll through images, either automatically or manually.  Although sliders can be very effective, you want to ensure they are done in a way that are not distracting the viewer.

Single-Page Design

Hero images are also used with ‘one-page’ websites, where all the information is displayed on the home page.  Usually for sites that only have a small amount of information to provide. These are also popular with the Parallax Scrolling. You’ll find products, services, about info, contact info, newsletter signup boxes and frequent Call to Action buttons all on one page. Although I’ve heard whisperings that these are going out as fast as they came in and may limit the sites SEO. They are still good for some sites, though, and may be driven by their mobile friendliness.

Parallax Scrolling

Parallax is the visual effect of the content of a section moving at a different ratio (speed) than the background. This gives an interesting effect and is currently very popular with single-page websites or home pages when scrolling necessary.  However, Parallax Scrolling can backfire if overused.

Full Screen

Did you notice in most of the above I mentioned full screen?  Yes, this is also tied into the Hero Image and there are less side bars on sites that don’t require them or are only on specific pages. The content is Full Width wide (covers the width of the screen).

Responsive

Responsive design is where the website design is aimed at creating sites for optimal viewing experience by users using mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. By using fluid, proportion-based grids with flexible images, sites can look and perform great regardless of the media used to view it. Most of the newer WordPress themes are responsive. 2014 was the first year that the percentage of websites viewed by mobile devices exceeded non-mobile devices 1. So web designers are working to ensure their sites are mobile friendly.

Call to Action

This is more of a trendy ‘term’ in my opinion. Most good websites most likely had a call to action, it just may not have been called that. However, this does keep us on our toes as to the purpose of the site and now there are sections that are specifically called Call to Action sections or buttons.

To Recap

Current Trend is for full width headers, footers and hero images. A more simplified site, with great images and Call To Action with gentle animations adding elegance to the page. You won’t see all the distracting bells and whistles we used to see, like crazy animated graphics that used to drive us all crazy. You’ll see less shadows and graphic buttons. You’ll see more high quality images, text based flat buttons, more fun icons and a more simple approach to web design.

So what is the trend for your industry?  Take some time to identify the ‘big boys’ in your industry and check out their websites.  Usually large corporations will have a good size marketing budget for their web designs and have done extensive research. Of course you don’t want an exact copy, but do look to see if you can spot any trends you want to incorporate into your site.


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