1- Responsive and Interactive Design
When mobile devices entered the Internet market, many people realized that the wide desktop design is no longer sufficient. Smartphone and tablet screens required a totally different layout and more interactive experiences.
As a result, “responsive web design” was born and it is currently only it its infancy. You will most likely see more and more websites opt for an interactive vertical menu, for example, which – at the push of a menu icon – slides in from the left or right side of the screen instead of being permanently and horizontally placed at the top.
In addition to the increased use of “flyout,” “slideout,” or “hidden” menus, many web designers are already implementing what some might call “mini-apps” embedded within the page, such as virtual tours, 360 degree views and demos, as well as interactive product selection and assembly tools (e.g. luxury car sites).
2- Scrolling Sites
Speaking of mobile… you might have noticed that mobile users are almost exclusively using the very convenient swiping and sliding motions. Interestingly, this trend has translated back onto the desktop screen, where many content-heavy websites, like newspapers and video sites, are implementing longer scrolling sites instead of the more traditional “page turner.”
Some long scrolling sites have built out their interface to the point where you can keep scrolling down almost infinitely or as long as there is more content. Even less content-heavy and more information-centric sites in the business sector are beginning to use the scrolling method to provide potential customers with a quick overview of their company.
This creates a much more pleasant user experience both on desktop and mobile devices, so expect more publishers to adopt this design technique over the next five years.
3- Images and Videos
With faster Internet speeds and more evolved compression methods, the embedding of bigger files is now a possibility. That’s why a big trend, which only started recently and is becoming more popular by the minute, is the use of large images and stunning video footage not only as featured content in the foreground, but as part of the web design in the background.
These high quality design elements help websites look much more elegant and sophisticated than web 1.0 sites, which is why more and more ad agencies, film and television production companies, as well as artists and music labels tend to use images and video as part of their website design.
While using video in the background will be trending over the next few years, using video as featured content in the foreground is not going anywhere. In fact, more and more ecommerce stores are using videos to showcase products as it gives their potential customers a much better look at and feel for what they might be buying.
4- High Quality Content
Not only videos and images, but also high quality editorial and audio are increasingly becoming a key factor in modern website design. Consider this a counter reaction to the early days of the Internet, when too many websites were built simply to create a space that can house banner advertisements and earn the owners a quick buck.
These websites featured ugly design, bad quality content, and mostly used black hat SEO techniques to get users to visit the site, even though its content was completely irrelevant to what visitors might have been looking for.
As soon as Google implemented its Google Panda algorithm update, this era of bad websites for profit quickly came to an end. They are still out there, but if you want to be anywhere near the top ten of Google search results, you will have to provide your audience with high quality web design, a kick-ass user experience, and relevant content.
One small, but increasingly significant trend will be the use of new and much richer typography, now that more fonts are available – mainly due to Google Fonts. It will be a small change with huge impact.
Needless to say, we are in for a wild ride and an exciting new era in web design over the next five years.
Monday, April 11, 2016