Top 5 Web design trends 2017

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What are the different web design styles that are trending this year?

 

Trends are popular changes that occur in any creative field, and web design is no different. The web design landscape is constantly evolving. Something that looked fresh and modern yesterday can appear old-fashioned overnight, and once trends are dismissed as irrevocably out of date, they hardly make it back to popularity. To help you prepare for wherever this year’s web designs tide goes, here is a list of top 2017 trends to watch out for.

1.    Content first design

Designing for content first for the web

(Screenshot of http://www.polygon.com/)

Web designers have spent years adding up things to websites like headers, sidebars,  sidebar ads, headers, banner ads, call to actions, pop-ups, social media buttons, comments, signup, etc. all these things end up cluttering websites and taking up more and more space and taking the attention away the real issue in the web page: the content.

In recent years, more and more websites have started to move back to the basics and putting more emphasis on content and this year is no exception.

Benefits of content first design

Content gives you a restriction

Content puts your creativity in a confined box and makes you operate within that box. When designing for the web, the volume of content you work with will determine the number of headlines, sales messages, body text, etc., that you will work with.

Content first is better for the message

Every website has a message that it wants to communicate to its visitors. At the end of the day, when you want to reason more with the visitors, it just so happens that content is much better at doing the job than anything else.

Content first gets rid of any future problems

It is very common, in traditional web design setups, for a project to go back and forth numerous times later down the road, the moment the real content needs to be incorporated. In other times, you might find yourself in a situation where the final content does not fit at all. All these situations may force you to redesign multiple elements of your website completely adding you more work.  However, when you start with the content, you will be making work more effective time-wise and more importantly it makes your website more optimized for the site’s goal and purposes.

Lastly, it improves your chances of building a more mobile-friendly design.

This is because mobile use is still expanding and at a rapid pace for that matter. More and more people are considering their phones their main “personal computer” and these phones do not have enough screen real estate for you as a web designer to work with, that’s why content first just works for that.

It is important to note that it is vital to maintaining proper SEO while creating content. Get your content right, and you will create a solid foundation that supports all your other SEO efforts. Some of the tips in maintaining proper SEO when creating the content is creating a good keyword search, and use the keywords in the content itself.

2.    Designing for SEO

 

Some designers focus more on user experience, the browser size, the device restrictions and the aesthetics but forgetting one important element; designing for search engines. As a designer, you need to understand that SEO is part of the web design and development process and not something that is integrated after the website is complete. Another important thing to understand about SEO as a designer is that approximately 80% of website traffic comes from search engines therefore if you do not design for them; the website is going to get little or no traffic.

Designing for SEO

(Screenshot from https://www.wealthsimple.com/)

The example above from Wealthsimple.com shows a great example of creating content to help their users, creating a great engaging experience on the site. This will help to decrease bounce rate, increase page duration as well as create great cohorts who will keep coming back to the site for days to come. A great benefit from this type of layout is you can keep a simple and clean design while using the gallery slider to increase the amount of content in this page section.

 

3.    Typography

Strong website using typography

(Screenshot of http://bepatrickdavid.com/)

The change in web design trends is also conspicuous in typefaces. Up until lately, the internet was dominated by simple neo-grotesque styles like Roboto, Helvetica, Open Sans and Lato. The more “decorative” neo-grotesque was commonly used in headlines, and the simpler styles were frequently chosen for paragraphs.

However, designers are now using different kinds of typefaces and are more willing to work with contrasts like the serif typefaces with the non-serif ones which were less used back then. A lot is going on in topography used in websites. The texts are animated; they are broken down into individual letters, a variety of effects are used, images and videos are placed on them too.  More courageous decisions and greater technology capabilities affect the growth of diversity in regards to web design.

4.    User-centered design (focus on the user)

Example of good user centered design

Screenshot from (http://www.xbox.com)

Recently, we are seeing the trend towards user-centered design in web design, a practice that sees the user’s needs and expectations are catered for rather than forcing them to see whatever is offered. The more the web evolves, the more the users also become sophisticated and thus the demand for user-specific content increases. Users expect relevant and valuable information to be served and which is easy to understand and designed to further improve the usability.

A user-friendly design is critical for any web design project because web designers have a very short time to make a first good impression. A study by J. Brown, Gitte Lindgaard, Cathy Dudek and Gary Fernandes, web designers “have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression”, that’s less time needed than it takes to make a first good impression in a job interview. You should really be feeling the pressure by now.

5.    Video with sound

Amy Whinehouse website using music

(Screenshot from http://www.amy-movie.com/love)

The website is not just for text and information, but it is also a medium for expressing artistic creativity, visualization of data, and making the best of the presentation of information for the different audiences with different needs and preferences. Like graphics, the use of videos with sound in websites enhances the experience for users, and worldwide communities like W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) has several complementary and different technologies that work together with SVG, HTML, and scripting that offer web designers  the tools they require to deliver the best possible presentation of their content.

Videos are used to enhance user experience with web pages for example family videos, presentations, etc. The web content accessibility guidelines advocate the use of alternatives always for time-based media such as descriptions, captions, or sign language.

6.    The end of flat design

The end of flat design?

(Screenshot from https://www.ubisoft.com/en-US/game/for-honor/)

Flat design style uses interface design that emphasizes the minimum use of elements that give the illusion of three dimensions (drop shadows, gradients or textures) and focuses on a minimalist use of simple elements, typography, and flat colors. However, it has reached a point in flat web design where everything is beginning to look the same, and web designers are losing their personality and creativity in design. When you strip everything away from a website, you are left with what every other website has, the basics that look just like each other.

Flat design has not only turned from a modern update of skeuomorphic design but to a set of design aesthetics that everyone applies. It is for this reason that sites are starting to look the same and nothing much differentiates one site from another. Designers feel that the creativity is gone but since there is the need for creativity for designing something great, flat design is ending for the most part in favor of designs and layouts that are more imaginative and unique.

With these design trends definitely incorporated in some websites yet to come, 2017 is sure to see some great websites with a lot of exciting prospects.

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