Increased internet and mobile usage over the last few years has had a tremendous impact on the web designing landscape. Some spectacular trends have emerged and helped the industry to evolve. Web designers and developers have to constantly remain on their toes to adapt to the rapid changes happening in the field of web design.
As we step into 2015, let us look back at the web design trends that have emerged during past year and are expected to continue to evolve and flourish this year too.
Here’s a list of 15 such web design trends to look out for in 2015:
1. Responsive Design
As more and more people are now browsing on their mobile devices, responsive design has not remained just a trend, but has become a necessity. It was there in 2014 and it is certainly not going anywhere in 2015.
If your website cannot be viewed properly on a smartphone or a tablet as it can be done on a traditional PC or a laptop, your customer will abandon it and may never come back. Some brands create their websites only for smartphones and tablets neglecting the bigger screens, which is also not good for business as many people still use laptops and PCs.
You need to ensure that your website is responsive and automatically adjusts to any screen size it is viewed on, giving the best possible user experience regardless of the screen size or the device.
2. Flat Design
Flat design is a minimalist user interface design. It does away with complicated images and uses simple elements to give a clean, elegant digital look. It is now a popular trend and is also used by giants like Microsoft and Apple in their UI design.
Google is using it in the new Material Design which it introduced in its I/O conference in June 2014. The new design language makes a website clean, clutter free and fast. It uses bold colors, graphical symbols and responsive animation making the pages visually appealing and capable of engaging visitors in a better way. It also loads faster.
3. Ghost Buttons
Ghost Buttons became quite popular last year. They are transparent buttons having a thin outline, usually rectangular, with a simple Sans Serif font text inside.
Ghost Buttons give your webpage a clean and stylish look. They are necessary for navigation but attract your attention subtly without disrupting the overall aesthetics of the page and work well with large background images or videos. This is why the trend will continue into 2015.
4. Large Background ‘Hero’ Images
The saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is true for web designing too. Displaying large eye-catching ‘Hero’ images on the background of the homepage will make your page stand out and have a great impact on the visitor. This trend was quite popular in 2014 and will definitely continue this year too.
A ‘Hero’ image is the term used for a large image placed prominently on a webpage with minimal text and is the first thing a visitor encounters when he opens a site. The image is usually overlaid with a call-to-action ghost button such as ‘Read More’ or ‘Explore’.
Real images are more appealing than graphics and with advances made in photography, you can get excellent pictures. Real pictures help you to present your brand in a better way and will encourage visitors to stay and explore your website.
5. Background Video
Webpages no longer need to be static, you can offer your website visitors a ‘moving’ experience. Just like large images, large videos that run in the background are also being used in webpages. HTML5 makes it easier to add a large browser-size video to the background in a webpage.
The video can be about a brand or a product, it can be for mood creation or to tell a story. A video grabs the attention of the visitor and provides him with a wonderful visual experience. Many websites such as Airbnb, GoPro, Chivas Regal- the Venture are currently using background videos. This trend is expected to continue into 2015 too.
Content is the king and must be presented well on your website to attract visitors. Written words form a major part of the content and rich typography will improve its readability, making it easy for visitors to read the information you want to share. Larger texts are easier to read. Old-fashioned small and squeezed-together texts are passé.
Font types are now becoming readily available and easily affordable (or free thanks to Google Fonts), so that designers can be more creative. Sites such as WordPress are including more type-centric templates to their themes. Typography will continue to be an important design element in 2015.
7. Scrolling as opposed to Clicking
Scrolling through a webpage provides a more dynamic interaction between the user and the webpage. It is much quicker that clicking and conveys a lot of information to the user in an easy and faster way. Scrolling has become popular with increased internet usage in mobile devices because it is more convenient. It also reduces the loading time. Scrolling keeps the user on a particular page while clicking takes him to a desired page and is more suitable for heavy sites.
‘Infinite Scrolling’ allows a webpage to load continuous information when the user has scrolled near the bottom of the page. For instance in Facebook or Twitter, as you scroll down the page, more and more posts/tweets keep loading up. There is also ‘Modular Scrolling’ in which you can scroll through individual columns apart from the whole page.
Scrolling will continue to dominate clicking in 2015. However, a combination of scrolling and clicking is also a good solution sometimes.
8. Parallax Scrolling
Parallax scrolling is a special computer graphics technique which uses different layers that scroll at varying speeds creating an illusion of depth. The scrolling can be horizontal or vertical. This technique has been used in animations and video games.
Parallax scrolling was a popular web design trend in 2014 and can be seen in several major websites including iPhone6 page of Apple, Inbox of Google, Rimmel London, Galapagos and many more. Parallax scrolling is great for storytelling, helps websites to convey much more in one page, and the stunning visual effects stick to the visitor’s mind. We can expect to see many more websites incorporating this element in 2015.
9. Card design
Card design is perfect for mobiles and responsive design and this trend has grown with the rise in smartphone usage as it works well on smaller screens. In card design, interactive information is displayed in small packages or panels, usually rectangular in shape. These cards are responsive, attention grabbing, can be rearranged in a clean and uniform way. They contain small bits of information that can be easily digested by the user. Social networking giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter are using them. This trend is also staying in 2015.
Microinteractions are the small design details that enhance user experience (UX) on a website. Sometimes when a designer works on a bigger scale, small details tend to get neglected or forgotten. Microinteractions are the small details that make the system more human and are very effective. They are the tiny but innovative things that give the site a human touch and delight the user.
Microinteractions are the little touches of functionality that accomplish a single task. They are all around us. For instance liking or sharing a post on Facebook, rating a product or changing a setting are all microinteractions.
Microinteractions will continue to remain an important part of web designing in 2015 too as websites will want to add such extra experiences to capture users’ interest.
11. Minimalism – Less is More
This is the era of clear, clean, simple designs and content. Gone are the days of colorful sites with flashy images and a variety of big and small fonts. Websites are expected to be simple in design and clutter-free, without any superfluous elements. The focus should be more on making the content stand out so that it is conveyed to the user in an interesting way.
We know that information through graphic representation is easier to grasp than ordinary text. Graphics can make a complex content simple to understand and yet be very powerful and effective. Graphics also add aesthetic/visual appeal to the content.
In view of the popularity of infographics, a new trend of Webgraphics has emerged in web designing. Webgraphics manage to convey a lot of information in a short space but unlike infographics, they allow users to interact with the information and are visually more appealing so that they are better retained in users’ minds.
Interactive webgraphics will become more popular in 2015 as more clients will wish to offer a personalized experience to their site visitors.
Personalization is creating a website that is specifically designed to make the content more relevant to the readers. While many companies have been running targeted email campaigns for marketing their products and services, their website pages remain more or less static.
In a static web environment, the same web content is presented to every visitor and the visitor selects the content he wants to view via navigation and search. Here, the engagement of the reader with the content is less. Whereas if you create specific landing pages for different types of customers based on the way they access your website or on their past behavior, they will get a personalized experience and remain interested in your site.
The most important criterion for personalization is understanding your target audience and their needs/preferences. Only then you can create a web design that will help you to connect directly to your customers. The trend in personalization of websites will continue into 2015.
Storytelling in your web design will help you to convey your message more effectively to your visitors. It is a powerful tool that, if used correctly, can effectively engage and convert your customers. Your stories can help to connect with your visitors on a more personal level.
You can tell stories about the concepts and values that have gone into creating your brand. This will connect with the readers and make your brand stand out.
15. Online Design Marketplaces
If you want to get your website designed and don’t know any good web designer, a number of marketplaces are available online where you get a vast choice of designers. You can choose a designer who you think will be right for your project.
A few examples of such design marketplaces are Web Design Project List, Designhill, 99designs and DesignCrowd. The year 2015 will see many such marketplaces proliferating.
Web design plays a major role in strengthening your brand’s image online. Of course, content is important too, but how it is presented is also crucial. Web design trends are changing continuously and depend on various factors guided by marketers, designers and obviously customer preferences.
The ingenuity and creativity of designers helps to convert ideas into designs that evolve into trends. Web design trends listed here will see wide acceptance this year and at the same time some new trends may develop too.
If you want to get a new website for your business, you need to keep the above trends in mind. If you have one already, does it have any of the design elements listed above?