Wow, can you believe we’re already almost halfway through 2015? Looking ahead to web design trends through the end of the year and on into 2016, we see several themes that are already cropping up and are poised to become an even bigger part of professional web design’s toolbox of best practices.
Here are some of our favorites:
More Mobile Optimization
The “Mobilegeddon” has arrived and additional refinements from Google are expected in the years to come. As the use of two screens (one mobile and one desktop or television) becomes even more commonplace, the need to have seamless mobile experiences moves to the forefront.
Companies will optimize their mobile website design along with those refinements to stay ahead of the competition. For companies with brick-and-mortar locations, mobile search results become essential for new customer discovery.
Obtaining the top spot in mobile results for high-value keywords will become a bigger goal for companies as we close out 2015 (think holiday sales at local stores) and will retain their importance well into the start of the new year.
Responsive Design as Standard
Because so many people now use devices with smaller screens, companies need to create websites that automatically adjust to these new dimensions. While mobile optimization is an ongoing process, responsive design is the standard that will form the backbone of these optimizations.
By providing a website experience that readily adjusts to multiple screen sizes, businesses ensure that their customers remain engaged no matter the device used. This in turn leads to improvements in lead generation and sales. For more information on responsive design, read our blog here.
Another aspect of mobile which is bleeding over into desktop web design is interactivity. As users grow more accustomed to interacting within apps on their phone, this functionality on websites seems more natural and expected. We believe that we will begin to see more companies finding ways to increase user engagement by having them interact with the website itself.
From 3-D product displays which allow customers to get a full view of what they’re buying, to interactive ratings, maps, and other integrated web applications, people can expect to have much more overall engagement through the use of unique web design elements.
Parallax & Longer Scrolling Pages
Parallax is the latest design trend making a splash all across the web. By making the background of a website appear to move more slowly than the foreground through the use of CSS, web designers can create a high-contrast 3D effect – we’ve actually used it here on our website for our contact call out on the homepage and elsewhere.
Longer page lengths are another mobile adaptation typically seen alongside parallax design. Longer pages make it easier for people with smaller screens to parse information by scrolling through content versus tapping links and menu items that may not be properly sized.
Combined with these new longer scrolling pages, parallax is an engaging design option that helps to create a sense of depth and can be useful for highlighting particular sections of the website that you want visitors to pay attention to.
We expect to see more advancement in the use of parallax to provide visual clarity and messaging enhancements in the future.
As part of the push for making websites more engaging through web design, we also expect to see more brands taking advantage of storytelling to pique the interest of prospects and to cement their relationships with current customers.
Interactive storytelling appeals to people because it makes them feel like they are central to the brand, and clever web design elements designed to draw the user into the story will help to facilitate this ever-evolving medium.
Visual Headers, Images & Multimedia
Imagery has become a driving force for online interactions across social media, and the expectation online is that you will ‘show’ as well as ‘tell’ your website visitors what they need to know.
The use of imagery to support story telling via web design has long been in effect, but we expect to see images take over some of the storytelling duties themselves. In particular, large visual headers continue to be an effective means of communicating value to website visitors.
And of course online video and podcasts will continue to grow in popularity as people reach out to their audiences in ways that are most engaging to them.
These visual design elements need not be static. Interactive graphical elements such as charts and graphs that adjust based on the data selected, or images that change according to the demographics of the prospect are viable options that we expect to become more prevalent through 2015 and heading into 2016.
A Return to Simplicity
With all of these visual and interactive elements, there is a necessary balance that must be struck in order to avoid overwhelming website visitors. Simplicity in design will bring these interactive elements to the forefront in ways that allow the user to take advantage on multiple screens and devices without having to compromise functionality – whether on a PC, Tablet, or Phone.
What Are Your Predictions?
As you look at websites in your market and beyond, what web design trends do you see making a major impact in 2015 and 2016?