Few things in life move faster than the web, and few things make this more obvious than web design. It’s the most intimate aspect of a user’s website experience, so it’s imperative to get it right. So, below are 8 of the latest web design trends you should think about incorporating so that your visitors will want to pull up a chair, perhaps grab a drink, and stay a while. 2015 is going to be when the web goes wow!
Let’s face it: we all know that the written word in print is dramatically different than on the web. Yet the application of that knowledge has been slow to say the least, leading to many sites that have for too long relied upon old-school design principles. The result has been many sites utilizing too-small text scrunched together, giving the reader headaches (or worse, causing them to bounce from a site). Moreover, beautifully designed type-kits have traditionally been extremely expensive, far out of the price-range of most website owners. Thankfully, many of these are quickly becoming affordable, or even free in the case of Google Fonts.
In 2015, this combination of updated design principles and affordable type-kits will lead to an explosion in clean, impactful typography across the web. Don’t let yours be a shrinking violet: be bold!
Much like typography, images have for a long time felt constrained on the web. There’s again been an physical-world type tendency to put images into some kind of frame, but 2015 will be the year where imagery continues to break through those former constraints and instead fills up your screen. In a world where visuals are increasingly important (often more important than text), why let anything but the edge of the browser or device stop you from showing off? Let users get so close that they can taste and smell it!
Making your images so big that the user feels they’re in the scene can be an amazing experience, but not if it’s a boring ‘ol stock photo. In an attempt to stand out on the very crowded web, nothing will make you look more bland and dull than classic stock photography. Avoid at all costs! (And there usually is a cost.) The good news is that even if you can’t afford to pay for unique, professional photos — or take them yourself — there are an increasing number of photo sites that can give you original, gorgeous images for free. iStock these are not. A great place to start is 16 Places to Find the Best Free Stock Photos. They’re all totally free for public and commercial use. You have no excuse!
Ever been on Pinterest? Let’s be honest, who hasn’t? It was a pioneer with the card, or tile design that lets its users quickly scroll beautiful images on electronic cork boards. That style quickly started to take off across the web and it is only gaining steam. It’s quick, it’s pretty, and easily implemented on many web platforms. Users love it, and it will only become more prominent this year.
Scrolling > Clicking
You’ve probably seen more and more websites employing a single page approach, allowing the user to navigate via scrolling rather than clicking, and you’re only going to see more of it in 2015. It’s brilliant for mobile, where navigation on smaller screens can be tricky, but it has many advantages across the board. These include: faster load times; a more intuitive, interactive, and elegant experience; and it’s easier for the designer as they don’t have to fuss with potentially poor navigation layout. Research is showing that users are used to scrolling, and they actually love it; let them have it!
Auto Play Video
You’ve likely seen this popular feature in your Facebook feed, and 2015 will see it proliferate throughout the web. As explained in the section above, clicking is becoming a lot of work, and delivering content to users as seamlessly as possibly should be the end goal for any designer. You want them to watch that video. Why not make it happen for them?
Responsive, Responsive, Responsive
One size does not fit all! Web, smartphone, smartwatch — these all require different sizes and navigation systems. In 2015 and beyond it will be imperative for designers to create elegant solutions for each and every landscape. As the digital landscape becomes more and more flexible, websites will have to flex with it. Otherwise — snap!