The Web Design industry has grown in importance exponentially in the last few years. There is a growing need to be increasingly innovative and set the trend in order to enhance customer engagement. This surge in competition amongst web designers and developers is largely due to the explosive popularity of smartphones and tablets and the need to adapt sites to different viewer experiences.
Interestingly, the ever increasing complexity and subtlety of devices has translated into a need for less complicated and simpler designs that are also sophisticated at the same time. The first recognizable trend, which is also the most logical, is a preference for flat design. This is a direct result of more people using handheld devices such as smartphones. So designers today are very conscious about embedding design elements into the site that makes it look good on flatter screens. There is a growing element of minimalism with lively colours and animated designs used to highlight certain aspects. Flatly designed sites are also easier to load on smaller devices.
There is also a shift to more grid-style designs as opposed to the conventional streamlined and linear designs you see on most social media sites. Grid enables the user to view all the essentials of the site at a single glance and he can navigate back and forth much easier instead of having to scroll up and down on a small screen, which can be challenging. This adds to the user experience.
Images with captions placed strategically on the site can help visitors connect the information to the image. This brings a sense of relevance to the user as opposed to flooding the site with meaningless text. Even important corporate information such as the brand values, vision and mission can be presented in the form of infographics and icons. This way, key messages are communicated in a highly creative way. This is significantly less taxing than text heavy websites.
Life being more mobile and past-paced now, user engagement is a real challenge. Websites with multiple pages that are not mobile specific or responsive can irritate the user and will discourage further visits. A condensed one page site with a strong focus will have a greater impact. Consumers will only stay on your site if you are able to offer rich and diverse content. Customers are looking for more than just information when they land on your site. They are seeking a web experience. With high-end fonts becoming more cost-effective, it is now commercially viable to employ them to good effect. Rich and beautiful typography has increasingly become an integral part of the overall visual appeal of websites.
An ideal design would combine images, text and short, insightful videos. Most people lack the attention span or the time to digest scrolls of text. This is even truer now with the rise of smartphones with small screens where reading can be a straining experience. When it comes to phones and tablets, pictures do indeed speak a thousand words. And if they are combined with the right caption they can work miracles.
Companies designing websites for a mobile user base will emerge as pioneers in the new era of mobility. With the number of mobile users increasing constantly it makes sense for companies to demand responsive sites that are versatile and adaptable.