Although no one can fully predict how web design will change in 2015, one thing is for sure– the web and graphic design industry is evolving with the latest emerging trends. With this evolution, webmasters are going to need to revamp their sites for a more sophisticated and less complicated design, while catering to user needs.
“Website design changes are part of the standard fit and fare and are tit for tat in the ever-evolving online stratosphere we call the Internet. As web designers and e-marketers watch their website heat maps shift each quarter, key design metrics are introduced that are tailored to the highest converting designs, helping to create the next trend and aids in setting the benchmark in design,” says Michael Lazar (Growth Hacker, True Ship Shipping Software).
What Changes Will We See?
Over the last couple of years, the web design trends have set the foundation to those predicted in 2015. Overall, the message for 2015 is short and simple– Less is More.
“Rather than trying to cram every single thing into a website that the majority of visitors don’t care about, marketers will see the value of a simpler website that does a better job of culling the experience, instantly,” says Denise Blasevick, CEO of The S3 Agency.
Not to mention. If website’s haven’t jumped into mobile optimization yet, they had better do it now as all websites will need to be mobile ready. In addition, the demand to meet visitors’ needs with more visually appealing and compelling content is higher than ever.
All Websites Must Be Mobile Ready
The emphasis on the need to have a mobile ready website will continue to gain momentum; however, there will be a slight switch. Mobile functions and design need to come first and properly correspond with desktop designs. There won’t be two separate designs. Instead, one design that works for both mobile devices and desktops.
1. Mobile-First Design– In prior years, mobile design came second, after desktop design. Now, mobile design needs to come first. Eliminate all of the extra fluff on your website, stripping it down to the basic essentials to create a simple and easier to use design.
2. Responsive Designs— With over half of internet usage deriving from mobile devices, web designers need to focus on creating a more responsive design. Mobile users want a fully integrated experience where site designs automatically adjust to support the width of different devices and remain fully functional. Google also recommends creating a responsive site to further your site’s SEO.
Flat, Simple, and Natural Website Designs
Website designs will now focus on the need to have a mobile-friendly site. The glitter and flash will be less important as simple and easy to use sites with quicker mobile device loading speeds become a top priority.
“Web design in 2015 will likely accentuate the mobile experience as the trend of increased mobile usage accelerates. A flatter and simpler design style that accommodates smaller screens will come into greater focus into 2015. Consequently, there will likely be more emphasis on scrolling and less on clicking as a means to navigate the Internet,” says Matthew Reischer, Internet Marketing Director, LegalAdvice.com.
1. Flat Design– With the wave of mobile device use, design elements need to appear smooth on flat screens, promoting the use of flat screen designs. Users are expecting more and more with flat designs and no longer want logos and icons popping out trying to grab their attention. Eventually, this will open the door for layered designs.
2. Simple to Use Interface– Users like the simplicity of having all of their information in one place. This means “more scrolling and less clicking” is going to be the wave of the future. Users would rather view all of the information they need in one place, rather than having to click on multiple pages.
3. Grid-Style Layouts– If you’ve been paying attention to social media, you’ll notice a grid-style appearance, which users love. Keeping the user experience in mind, websites will be condensed into an easy-to-read format with the use of grid-styles to make everything skimmable.
4. Mega Navigation Menus– Menu designs have really been hit and miss over the last couple of years. However, the latest trend is leaning towards large blocks of content with links. This is especially important for websites that publish large amounts of content as it will provide your viewers with a wider choice when navigating your website.
5. Contrast– Believe it or not, the contrast and colors you use play a large role in your website’s success. In fact, there are colors that are proven to trigger certain responses; therefore, carefully think about the colors you use on your site. Don’t overdo it with the colors, but throw in a few bright colors to encourage a call to action.
Less Is More
The design elements and developmental technologies are pointing to the fact that less is really more. This will hold true in a number of areas as users are wanting less flashy tricks, but more higher resolution images with smaller amounts of informative content. Users don’t want to be overloaded with information, and instead prefer a simpler and cleaner method to receive the information they want.
1. Decrease Text– In addition to the less is more theme, sites are going to be saying good-bye to text heavy sites. Visual media will be the golden ticket as users don’t want to sit there and read endless amounts of text. It needs to be short, sweet, and to the point with the help of visual aids.
2. Back-to-Basics Content– With the ever changing algorithms, SEO copywriting is going to begin changing. Keyword stuffing and keyword focused content is going to take a backseat as you’re going to need to embrace a more user generated approach. Keep the user your number one priority and your SEO strategy a step behind.
3. Make People Care– You need to design a website that makes users care about your website. Put their needs and wants first– not yours. The sole purpose of your website needs to be solving your customers’ problems and not making a sale. To accomplish this, your site needs to make them feel as though they are part of a community, not just a dollar sign.
The shift in creating emotionally provoking and compelling text will gain momentum as user needs and wants need to be the main goal when creating website content. Throw your sales pitch content out the window as you need to change your focus to make visitors feel as though they are valued and their needs are met.
1. Unique Web Copy– Creating unique web copy is more than just the words on the page. It’s also the appearance of the words, such as the font, size, and font-based icons. By adding that unique flare to your web copy, you’ll further personalize the user experience.
2. Clarity– When a visitor comes to your site, if they can’t figure out what your site is about in under 5 seconds, you’ve already failed. Your message needs to be immediately clear and concise.
3. Be Human– That personal touch your viewers crave is important. Not everything on your website should be about your products. It needs to have that personal spark to add flavor and personality to a website. Many website owners are so busy pushing their products and services that they forget to let the human side shine through.
“By personalizing your content, you’ll get people to know who you are and to trust you. Then, if you tell them to buy something, they will buy something. You need to give them that personal touch in anything,” says Kyler Patterson, Marketing Coordinator for HostGator.com.
4. Narrow Your Focus– Stop trying to communicate with the masses and narrow your focus to specific audiences. Broad messages are a thing of the past and you need to better understand your audience in order to reach them effectively with your content.
Image Simplicity and Clarity
The trend of using images and videos isn’t going away. The priority for 2015 will be to increase the use of images and videos, as well as making the clarity of them better for mobile use. Your deign will need to support the use of more images as they are more user-friendly and are exactly what internet users want.
1. Resolution– Image quality will be stepped up a notch with higher resolutions to be supported on mobile devices. You’re likely to see these images in new attention grabbing headers as sliders are fading into a past trend.
2. More Images, Less Content– The popularity of images and videos have skyrocketed over the past few years and it’s going to continue. People want their information to be skimmable and don’t want to have to sit there and read a lot of text. Now, you’ll want to use more images and less text.
3. Infographics– A great way to balance the image to text ratio with your site is with infographics. People love infographics. They are an easy and effective way to get the information they want.
“Infographics are a hot thing,” says Patterson. “They may be a little difficult to make up, but if you’re able to create information that flows correctly in a picture instead of a ton of text, it will help break up the monotony of text.”
4. Get Crafty– You need to add a unique touch to your images as well, so get a little crafty. Think of unique attention grabbing captions or create a customized image gallery to set your images apart for your competition.
Personalized User Engagement
Internet users are tired of feeling like they are only a dollar sign. They crave that human interaction that sets companies apart from others. Customers want websites that cater to them and make them feel valued. To meet their desire to feel important, you’ll need to accommodate their needs and wants by promoting their engagement with your website.
1. Deep Focused Landing Pages– Keeping user engagement in mind, landing pages will be more deeply focused with all of the need-to-know information in one spot. The new landing pages need to encourage prospective customers to learn more about a product or service prior to making their purchasing decision.
2. Personalized Pictures– In the past, websites included portfolios highlighting work samples, but now users want an increase in that human connection. One of the best ways to put a human behind the website is to add personal pictures to show them that there actually is a person behind the screen.
3. Quick User Registration– Quick user registration has been a huge marketing technique for years, but now it also adds to a user’s experience, but only if you keep all registration forms quick and to the point.
“You’ll begin to see a lot of marketers and affiliate marketers on the top right of their webpage, and sometimes even imbedded in their page, offer free ebooks and free whitepapers to get visitors’ email addresses.” says Patterson. “Now, they will be able to easily get those leads and those sales, and that’s what it’s going to go towards as you can easily email people. It’s really happening now, and there will be a greater pushing to include everybody to build their funnels to better tap into their audience.”
Not to mention, website visitors love free stuff. They will get what they want from you, and you’ll get what you want from them– their email address and loyalty.
In the end, you really need to think about the sustainability of your website while on your pursuit to excellence. Don’t just think about today or tomorrow, think long term by following the latest trends. By doing so, you’ll beat your competition as you give internet users exactly what they are seeking.
“5 Predictions of Modern Web Design” by Amber Alvi WebDesignerledger.com
“Web Design: 20 Hottest Trends to Watch Out for in 2014” By Jake Rocheleau HongKiat.com
“Let it Go: Say Farewell to These 5 Web Design Trends” by Ilya Pozin Forbes.com
“Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015” WebpagesThatSuck.com
“Designer of 2015 Trends” AIGA.org