Keeping up with new design trends is an important way to show your users and potential customers that you’re a forward-thinking company who puts their users first.
That last bit is especially important, as new technologies need to be adopted sparingly and carefully in order to ensure that new users aren’t put off. Here are 6 new design trends which have become mainstream enough that most web users will be comfortable using.
1. Ghost buttons and line icons
Minimalistic iconography is big business at the moment, and has been largely spearheaded by Apple’s launch of iOS7. It uses line-based icons and graphics, usually transparent buttons and thin lines to keep things simple, lighter and with a focus on supporting additional photography and illustration. It provides a ‘flat’ interface which keeps things simple in the eyes of the end user.
2. Reduced imagery in headers and backgrounds
It used to be pretty standard for a company’s website to have a title banner across the top with a background image, on which their company name and slogan was superimposed. This is starting to die out now, with more simple design and web-based technologies taking place of these old print-based styles. Bright colour and bold typography is the way forward when it comes to focusing the eye.
3. Material design
Flat, modular design is definitely back in on the web. Clean, minimalistic layouts which use bright colours, ergonomic shapes and simple typography keep things simple for the user, allowing them to navigate your site and find information easily. This style was originally developed by Google, who describe it as being ‘grounded in tactile reality’. Engaging simplicity to enhance the user experience is the name of the game, and it’s been very successful.
It used to be that clicking a link or button would take you to a totally different page. That’s no longer the case. Subtle interactions are the new player in town, with small animations and interactions such as those found when you accept or reject a friend request on Facebook or LinkedIn. The old request disappears and new ones replace it without you leaving the page or anything having to reload. Amazon also uses these effectively, enabling you to Subscribe & Save quickly without having to veer off on a tangent.
5. Interactive infographics
Infographics aren’t really new any more, but interactive ones certainly are. Users can engage with the information displayed and navigate their way through the ‘story’ of the infographic. This enables you to show information in a very effective way which enhances the user experience and keeps them engaged.
6. Full screen videos
This seems remarkably counterintuitive, seeing as web usability is usually focused around not forcing things on users — especially not videos, and especially not full-screen elements. But when this is done carefully, using looping images in HTML5, for example, the effect is far more sophisticated — especially if it’s integrated in a more usable way, as Apple did with their Apple Watch page. It’s not intrusive and it actually enhances the user experience.
And that’s the crux of the whole usability/technology argument: it’s not about new technologies being bad, but about using them effectively to enhance the user experience rather than interrupting it.
If you’d like to speak to us about integrating new design elements into your website in order to enhance the experience for your end users — and potential customers — give us a call to see what we could do for you.