Find out what Creative Director of SOZO, Shaun Uthup, thinks will be the major trends for website design over the next few years.
2015/16 saw the widespread adoption of a new style of mobile responsive web design with an emphasis on clean, image led, minimalist designs with concise copy.
I think 2017 will continue with this theme but there will be even greater focus on creating engaging and inspiring content. There is very little room nowadays to produce a completely new and original website design, so surely now the focus should shift towards raising the quality of the actual content.
Content is still king!
We've started to see clients being much more receptive towards employing professional photographers, videographers, illustrators and copywriters, as they begin to understand that having a great website isn't just about how it's designed, but more about what it says.
How the imagery and copy communicate and connects with an audience is equally important as having a modern responsive web design. So I think 2017 will see a slow shift away from designers trying to out do each other with the latest web design fads, and focus their time more on how to create exciting imagery, or produce engaging copy, animations or movies.
Animation and video
I think animation and video in web design will continue to improve and grow. I see this as a massive positive, as good animation or a well produced video can tell a story in a much more effective way than the traditional still image and block of text.
However, I can see animation evolving and becoming more widely used throughout a website as opposed to just having one or two 60 second animated movies.
Everyone is getting a little bored of web design's with the scrolling home page banner images. Scrolling image banners are fine but they do have a limited impact. I predict a resurgence of the animated home page banners. Having an animated message which tells a story and sets the scene for your company, is a far more impactful and memorable first impression.
Historically, the size of copy has always been quite small on websites mainly because designers were used to designing for print where smaller copy is the standard. However, over the past few years as people are becoming more concise with their text, we've seen copy getting larger on web designs.
I predict this trend continuing so that designers aren't afraid to be big and bold with their typography. However, this does draw more attention to the copy so it means the quality of your website copy needs to be top notch.
The use of interesting web fonts and creative typography will continue to grow. The shackles of boring web fonts in past web design are well and truly broken for good now, hurray!
Website navigation has definitely gotten simpler and more minimalist over the past few years which we see as a real positive. The jury is still out on whether hamburger style menus are the best option for all sites as there are question marks around useability. However, as a general trend, we think less is definitely more when it comes to the number of links you have in your navigation bar.
Ecommerce in general is really coming of age, and it's success is becoming increasingly influenced by web design. The general public are more than comfortable buying online and quite often prefer to do so. The growth in online ecommerce sales it set to continue growing across all sectors. Where the biggest shift will occur this year is that mobile will start to become the dominent buying channel for some retailers. This will mean that ecommerce websites will need to be designed 'mobile first'. This can represent quite a design challenge for complex buying processes which have been originally designed for larger screens.
The functionality of ecommerce platforms has become much more sophisticated over the years. Platforms such as Magento give the client enormous control and very intelligent reporting. This gives us and the client much more knowledge in which to analyse and improve conversion rates. Conversion rate optimisation is key to improving your ecommerce business. Small changes to a landing page or buying process can have a large impact on sales.
With the move towards flat, clean designs, it means that designers can be more experimental with colours. We've seen a definite trend towards brighter more vibrant and confident use of colours. Long may it continue into web design's future!
Mobile APP inspired designs
There is a fine line between web design and mobile app design but I think web designers can learn a lot from app designers. App designers have not been conditioned to design in a certain way and only have a small screen to consider when they are designing. This has led to some really creative and bold design which us web designers should take inspiration from. For more information about mobile responsive websites click here >
In summary, I think the future looks bright for web design over the next few years. I predict websites will continue to be cleaner, fresher, more engaging and contain much higher quality content.
Shaun Uthup - Creative Director of SOZO.