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2017 is here! And with the new year comes new digital trends such as the ever-changing web design landscape. I’m sure if you took a moment to think back through the last few months and your experience with websites, you would probably be able to think of a handful that stuck out to you based on their user-friendly interface and intriguing web design. Unfortunately, the same goes for the websites you visited that were a terrible user experience.
In today's vast and saturated world wide web, an amazing user experience and creative web design aren't unique, they’re expected. Therefore, we took the time to highlight the brands we think are doing an exceptional job on the web design front, so you don’t have to.
Without further ado, let's dive into the web design trends and features that are sure to be a hit throughout 2017!
1. Estimated Read Time
To start, a big trend we have begun to see is the ‘estimated read time’ at the top of blog articles. As you can see in the example above, Dave Ramsey has made the user experience that much better for readers by sharing with them the amount of time that it will take to get through his blog. Additionally, he has incorporated a progress bar to indicate how far the reader has completed and how much they have left to go.This trend encourages readers to commit to the article and allows them to make an educated decision to continue, based on their time frame at the moment. If they didn’t think about the time needed before beginning to read, the progress bar offers a great way to know that they’re nearing the end. This will lead to a better perception the blog and the blog writer in the eyes of the reader.
2. User Interactivity
Something I’m sure many of us have begun to see from websites today is the incorporation of user interactivity. And there is no other site that is as intriguing or had as big of a splash as Cocainenomics from the Wall Street Journal. This type of web design not only showcases a visual design talent but it increases the website's time on page as well as an increased brand awareness. I mean, let’s be honest, when you see a web design like this, wouldn’t you want to share it with your friends and/or the world via social media? I would too. And that’s exactly what happened when it was released.
3. More Micro Interactions
This past year, we set out to create a more user-friendly website for our visitors. Our updated web design included an abundance of ‘micro interactions,’ such as the arrow at the bottom of the homepage landing screen, that helps users find our products and services naturally and ultimately leads them to the desired CTA. Once this web design was implemented, we found that users would spend longer on our website and engage with it more.
4. Scroll-Triggered Animations
An intriguing web design trend we have spotted lately are ‘scroll-triggered animations.’ This type of design keeps users engaged by taking them on a journey and hooking them enough to keep them on your website, which hopefully makes them more likely to convert. A great example of this is National Geographic. As long as the animations don’t take away from your goal of the page or confuse them about what it is that you want them to do or read, this web design can be a highly effective way to showcase your company’s credibility and ability.
5. Leaving Carousels in the Past
Have you noticed that carousels have become few and far between over the last year or so? We have too. We are seeing brands move forward with new and innovative web design, like Molamil pictured above, and leaving the carousel in the past where it belongs. Brands are moving forward with a web design that displays all of the information for the user at one time rather than hiding the valuable content and CTA’s. Additionally, carousel’s increase a site’s load time and we all know no one has time for that.
6. Footer Boosts
Over the years, the footer of a web design has often been overlooked or left out of the overall web design - until now. A web design beginning to make a splash are ‘footer boosts.’ What was once just used to provide contact information or a signup form has transitioned into a space to include additional elements of the homepage. A company that has done a fantastic job of this is 360gardalife. As you can see in the image above, they have incorporated other elements in the footer space that now feels inclusive to the overall web design.
7. Full Website Borders
Over the years the trend has always been to design a full-width website. From The Waldinger Corporation’s web design above, that is certainly not the case anymore. Brands are beginning to move towards ‘full website borders’ which is an intentional border around the design. However, it is important to note that if a brand chooses this web design and creates too large of a border, the site can easily seem outdated. It’s the trendy “slim bezel” that gives this design language its power.
8. Abstract Shapes
A web design trend that we are loving are abstract shapes. We have begun to see brands move towards versatile shapes that give an extra element of intrigue for users while on the site. A company that is excelling at this is The Top Box. In the image above, they do a great job of introducing information or graphics without actually embedding the photo. You can do this by utilizing a clipping mask to allow the inside of the image to only be shown within the shape you have created.
9. Enhancing User Experience
An interesting web design feature beginning to appear is the added user experience. We mentioned this earlier with the Dave Ramsey blog and the estimated read time. The New York times has taken it one step further and as you scroll through the article you’re reading, you can now reference the category and article title at the top of the page as you can see in the visual above. This makes users feel more comfortable knowing where they are when navigating a large website. Additionally, this web design declutters the top navigation, creating a better user experience.
10. Color Branding
A web design trend that we are falling in love with is the color branding look. Companies like Camden Town Brewery are moving towards a web design that is color branded based on page or product and changes when the user navigates and interacts with the product or pages. This web design subconsciously helps the user associate which product or service page is connected with which information solely based on visual color cues.
11. Large Drop Shadows
The three-dimensional/drop-shadow look is here and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon. A company that is rocking this web design trend is the company Olapic. In the visual above, they do a great job of achieving the three-dimensional look by incorporating large, opaque drop shadows behind images and overlapping the layers. The key to this web design is making sure all of the drop shadows are going in the same direction as if they’re coming from a light source.
Take Your Web Design to the Next Level
Is your company ready to take your web design to new heights? Our team of digital experts here at Blue Compass can do just that! Contact us today.
*Shout out to our awesome designers, Kayla and Drew, for helping out with this blog!*