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8 Web Design Trends We Love

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Every year web design takes a step forward and we get further and further away from the nightmare of GeoCities and web pages structured entirely with tables. Like any other form of design, there are certain trends that pop up -- sometimes briefly but other times you’ll consistently see them for years to come. Below we’ve put together a list of some of the current web design trends that we love and hope are here to stay.

1. Material Design for the Web

Before 2014 when Google revealed its guidelines for Material Design, much talk was centered around whether skeuomorphic or flat design was the superior choice -- especially when it came to the mobile landscape. You can almost think of Material Design as a healthy mix of the two. While you will often see Material Design mimicking a real life object, it takes a much more minimal approach than skeuomorphism does. You're not likely, for example, to see a woodgrain bookshelf displaying three-dimensional books for an eBook library. Material Design is also not quite as minimal as flat design and it tries to fix issues of clarity that some people have with it. Every shadow, angle, choice of color, and use of space has a purpose when using the principles of Material Design.

2. Animation in Web Pages

We love a good cat gif as much as anyone, but animated gifs don’t have the best reputation when it comes to web design. Thankfully, there are far better ways to animate objects. HTML5, Javascript and CSS are all common tools used when using animation in web design. We love animation for a few reasons, first because it can be used to help convey things like depth and locality. This makes it easier to navigate certain web pages because your brain naturally understands 3D objects and the purpose they have. Another reason we believe animation is a top trend and hopefully here to stay is engagement. People aren’t exactly renowned for having the best attention span but animation keeps users engaged, leading to higher impressions and conversion rates.

3. Big Typography in Web Design

As design geeks, it’s fun to see old styles of design making comebacks on the web. Typography has long been an underutilized method of adding personality and appeal to a website, but things are changing. Big and bolds fonts are now much more common to see, but it goes beyond just picking between serif and sans serif -- proper typography for web design is also incorporating thought when it comes to color choice, placement, size, hierarchy, and white space.

4. Dynamic Design for the Web

It’s likely that something like parallax scrolling would have been prominently featured if we were putting together a blog like this a few years ago. While you could still consider this to be a trend, we’re instead going to lump it into dynamic web design. Dynamic design covers many different areas, but if you keep an eye out for it, you’ll probably start to notice that it’s very common. For instance, let’s say that you have a great logo for your company that you want displayed where everyone is sure to see it. This is fine when you load the page, but when users scroll down a large logo can get in the way. Thankfully, because of dynamic design principles, that logo can be shrunk down and better integrated into your menu.

5. Using Flat Design for Websites

Some people see material design as an evolution of flat design, but we believe that there is still very much a time and place for “classic” flat design to be used. You can trace the direct inspirations for flat design back to the 50s and 60s, but even then it took a while for flat design to make its way into the tech world. Apple shifting its iOS style from skeuomorphism to flat design was a huge win for flat design proponents and -- if we’re being honest -- was also a pretty big win for iOS users. Some may argue that flat design can appear too spartan, but minimalism has a time and a place and proper use of flat design if one

6. Asymmetry in Web Design

The best web design trends go hand-in-hand with others and this is the case when it comes to asymmetry in web design. We love how typography can be used as a large graphic element to a page, but balancing it out with an image creates a more complete look. Placing that second graphic asymmetrically still offers balance without making everything look too neat or boring. Asymmetry in web design goes beyond just the use of text and images, though. Color can be introduced onto a web page to help draw attention to a specific side of the screen to better highlight the theme of the page.

7. Minimalism in Web Design

You’re likely familiar with the adage that less is more. Some will say it’s a cliche at this point, but these words still ring true when it comes to design -- whether web or print. In truth, minimalism is really more about finding the correct balance of elements to present to a user. Too few graphics, text, and interaction and a user on your site may be confused. That’s a quick way to increase your bounce rate to sky-high levels. Too much presents the same problem. It’s just as bad to get lost because you’re overwhelmed with options.

8. Using SVGs for Web Design

SVGs -- also known as scalable vector graphics -- isn’t something that the average person will notice, even if they see it frequently. Have you ever tried to enlarge an image, text or logo only to turn it into a pixelated and unusable mess? This is a problem solved by using SVGs. SVGs can scale up (or down!) indefinitely without losing quality. You could draw out an object with SVGs or use it to create a logo or text. Better yet? SVGs can even be animated kind of like a quick time lapse drawing.

Conclusion

There you have it folks - 8 web design trends that should be on your radar.  Historically things that ‘look good’ in web have come and gone like Paris runway fashions.  But we’re cautiously optimistic that evolution in U.X., i.e. understanding better the psychology of how humans interact with machines, is causing actual objective improvements in the field.  Moving from “what do you like at the moment” to “what’s an intelligent way to do this”.  So maybe a lot of what we’re seeing in these trends has some real and definitive value, and therefore staying power.  

On the flip side, though, history would have to tell us that at least some measure of this stuff will always come and go like bell-bottoms.  What’s hip today will be dated soon.  (Actually, we’re not even sure whether ‘hip’ is still a cool word to say in that sentence.  Or ‘cool’ in that one.)   

 

We better get started on our next version of this blog post ….

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Author
Nicole Kitzerow

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