Have you ever noticed the radical changes of how websites looked in the 90s and today? If you were an avid Internet user in the 90s, you would definitely see how different websites were back then in terms of the layout, graphic design, color palette, and even the background images.
Nowadays, web design and development is all about building a website that is responsive and mobile device-friendly, considering that most people surf the web using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
But what is a responsive website and why is it important in today’s web design landscape?
A responsive website is a single, mobile optimized website that can quickly adapt to any screen size and orientation (vertical or horizontal view) so it’s as easy to view on your tablet or your mobile phone as it is on a standard laptop or desktop computer with a large monitor.
This kind of website can instinctively adapt to the device that is being used to view it. So instead of creating multiple websites for different platforms, you can save your money and build one responsive website instead that can adapt to any mobile device available out there.
Why is this important? Why should I bother learning how to make my website responsive or keeping up-to-date with the latest trends in web design and development?
You have to remember that your website represents your brand online. It is the face of your business, your digital image so to speak. It is the first thing potential customers will see when they search for your business online.
Now, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Would you be able to trust a business that has a website that looks like it hasn’t been touched on or updated in the last five years? Consider this: you are browsing online and you happen to visit a website that looks like it belongs in the 90s. Can you honestly say that you would keep on browsing that particular site?
What if you’re using your smartphone or tablet to surf online and you visit a website that is not optimized for mobile devices? You’d be scrolling in all directions, pinching in and pinching out just to get a clear view of the texts and the layout of the page. Wouldn’t that be annoying? Wouldn’t that make you want to leave the website?
This is what having a responsive and mobile-friendly website is all about, being able to provide an excellent user-experience for every visitor, guest, and potential customer. So, do you understand now just how crucial web design trends and practices are in figuring out how to make a website responsive and well-optimized for mobile devices?
That said, below are a few trends that you should definitely observe moving forward with your web design and development efforts.
Top Web Design Trends to Help Develop Your Mobile Optimized Website
1. A page layout that puts an emphasis on the content.
In the past, fancy layouts that focus on stylized text, colorful graphics, and catchy background colors were all the rage. Not so in recent years. In the last couple of years or so, we’ve seen a drastic change in how websites are being designed, specifically with the way pages are being laid out.
Today, when you visit a well-optimized website, your attention immediately goes to the content above all else. This is on purpose. We live in an era where everything comes and goes in a flash, where everything is quick and instant. People today have a low attention span.
If a page is slow to load, we just press the back/return button and go to another website. If we want information, we want it quick. Websites that have you go through hoops just to get the information you want are boring and not worth visiting. That is just is how things are today. And that is why websites nowadays are designed to give focus on content rather than anything else.
2. Web design that focuses on delivering the best user-experience possible.
All the different web design changes we’ve seen in the past couple of decades have all been about improving user experience. Yes, every web design trend that has come and gone in the past years has one basic purpose, and that is to enhance user experience.
Nowadays, there is a philosophy that most web designers and developers often lean on when it comes to creating a user-friendly website. Less is more. This is something that you should probably talk about with your web design team. Less is more means that everything that is worth something; everything in your website that’s relevant to your target audience should be easily accessible.
Visitors to your website shouldn’t have to go through pages and countless clicks/taps just to get the information they need. People are more likely to come back to your website if they had a good experience while using it, don’t you agree?
3. Go for user interfaces that are conversational.
In the past, companies and other businesses used a variety of instant messenger services. Nowadays, chat and messaging are still popular, but the old platforms have now been replaced with new ones. So instead of using Yahoo Messenger, majority are now on Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Slack, and even on Instagram and twitter, where you can send direct messages to anyone you are following or who follows you.
As such, the time for user interfaces that imitate the same atmosphere has come. So instead of sending an email, you can use your company’s website to instantly connect (or chat) with a contact, colleague, business partner, stakeholder, or loyal customer. And instead of waiting for a reply through electronic mail, you’ll get the response immediately.
With a website that allows instant conversation, becoming highly visible online will not be a problem anymore.
4. A visually appealing website will make a major difference.
The kind of visual appeal we are talking about here involves several factors:
– Typography: Big and bold is the way to go this year. Using large, bold typography (you can even go full screen-big!) will generate more attention and interest. It’s also part of the minimalism trend that’s so popular nowadays. Additionally, a play with colors can also help. A website that has vibrant colors and non-Arial or Times New Roman-type fonts will generate more interest than those that continue to play safe or stay in the traditional zone.
– Photos: More actual photos; those that were taken for the website and not the ones that you find in stock photography sites. Using actual photos will give your website authenticity and your brand will be easily identifiable, especially if images of it are posted on the site.
Also, with more non-stock photos, visitors will become more interested in learning more about the company, thus giving your website a big boost in online presence. Find a web designer who prefers using original or actual photos instead of generic ones.
With real photos, your website will be easier to find because it now has a purpose.
– Videos: Engagement in sites with well-made videos last longer than several seconds or minutes.
Also, in a world dominated by social media, sharing videos has become a regular thing. Thus, your website has better chances of getting optimized because of the videos that can be shared on your company’s social media page, and can even become viral.
– GIFs: High-quality GIFs have the same effect as videos. Since their motion is quick and continuous, they help make static pages more visually interesting. Like videos, they capture the attention of visitors longer than regular content.
– Colors: Bright, vivid colors on your website will make it stand out. The bright colors work well with minimalistic designs, which is a big thing nowadays. It’s a contrasting effect that works wonders.
– Illustration: If you or your web designer cannot do illustrations, hire a professional graphic artist who can do the job for your website. A layout that values the principles of graphic design is the best alternative if you want to optimize online presence.
5. A highly responsive website is an optimized site.
Yes, responsive websites have been the in thing for quite some time now. This is, after all, the age of mobile technology. If you want viewers to access your website regardless of the device they are using, you need a highly responsive website; one that can be easily accessed on a variety of devices: mobile phones and tablets, most especially.
6. Minimalism is the way to go.
Clean, simple, and well-organized. This is the most ideal website to have if you want one that can be easily optimized. A minimalistic website is easy to navigate, pleasant to look at, and can capture visitors’ attention for a long time.