Today, web designers are obsessed with a new paradigm in the field called UX design, or User Experience Design. It’s an approach to web design that prioritizes the user’s actual experience on the page, and can incorporate everything from graphic design to creating search engine friendly pages.
Sounds obvious, right? Not quite. Until recently, many web design and development firms focused on creating a flashy, aesthetically pleasing website. While this made web designers look good, many of these aesthetically pleasing websites actually turned users off. And in an age when 46% of us judge a website’s credibility based on its website design, that’s a huge problem for businesses.
If you’re designing a website for your business, what should you look for beyond eye-catching design? Many business owners contact our web design company in Maryland without a clear idea of what they really want from a website. So to bring you up to speed, here are five of the biggest web design trends you need to know in 2016.
Templates, Templates Everywhere
Lately, you may have noticed that most websites look the same. There are two reasons for this. First, most people are migrating to WordPress, which makes it easier to use certain website templates. This has led to a proliferation of aesthetically pleasing websites with a similar look and feel. Second, responsive website design, also known as mobile responsive design, has become a top priority as mobile browsing increases. About 62% of e-commerce companies saw increased sales after designing a mobile friendly website, which is easier to do using ready-made templates.
Flat Design, Meet Material Design
A few years ago, flat design was all the rage. It’s a style of web design that avoids three-dimensional elements in favor of a flat-looking layout. With the advent of Google’s new Material Design language, simple drop shadows and subtle textures are slowly becoming more popular again. Today, the prevailing trend is a minimalist layout with minor three-dimensional components that create the appearance of two layers resting on top of each other.
Websites used to avoid large, high-definition header images, called hero images for a simple reason: they took forever to load. When a website takes more than three seconds to load, 45% of users will click away. That number rises to nearly 100% after four or five seconds. With faster Internet connections, these large images are fast becoming a staple of contemporary website design.
Long scrolling isn’t a new trend in 2016, but it’s not going away either. More and more websites are adopting a homepage that scrolls down, way down. This is a bigger change than it sounds like. Conventional wisdom once held that users wouldn’t even notice content ‘below the fold’ of the screen. Today, web design services craft business homepages that naturally draw the user’s eye downwards.
Modal Windows are Making a Comeback
Finally, we have modal windows. These pop-up windows were popular around 2009, but quickly fell out of fashion. That’s because browsers associated them with pop-up ads, which everyone hates. However, modal windows don’t open in a new window or tab, but appear over the content of a page. Now, modal windows are hugely popular among business websites, especially as a technique for creating calls-to-action.
So just how popular are these business web design trends? In a survey of Fortune 500 websites, 63% featured content above the fold, 50% had scrolling content, and 63% used hero images.