5 Web Design & Development Trends to Keep You in the Know

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You’ve heard it once, probably twice, but we’re going to tell you again: Your website is your number one digital marketing asset. In order for it to be effective, you have to constantly evolve, learning new design and development trends while also having the business savvy to know when to adopt change. To help you keep up with everything happening on the world wide web, we crawled into the craniums of our web designers and developers to identify a few trends that are changing how websites are experienced.

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1. Flat Design

Flat design, while certainly popular in today’s web design, is not necessarily a new phenomenon. Unlike previous tendencies, flat design doesn’t rely on shadows, gradients, beveling or embossing to create depth. Instead, depth and dimension are created through simple and often solid colored elements that, when properly placed or stacked, can create intricate designs that are clean and sophisticated. By stripping away three dimensional effects, websites can actually be more complex, since flat elements can be used more liberally without creating a busy UI. Realism and over-stylized elements were promptly replaced with cleanliness and clarity. Minimalist tendencies were aided by the introduction of elegant and elaborate typeface, integration of bright colors, large full-bleed photography, and the need for fast, intuitive user experiences. Overly intricate design can muddle your message and distract from meaningful components of your website. Check out http://www.flatvsrealism.com/ to get a better feeling for how flat design came to be. Check out acme's website for a good example of a company using flat design to create a complex yet intuitive website experience.

2. Motion

Kinetic experiences on websites have become the norm. Whether that’s parallax, creative UX, or video integration, motion has become an integral part of web pages. There are billions of websites in the world and everyone is doing whatever they can to get consumers to stay on their site for even a second longer. Creating a dynamic experience can increase user attention while simultaneously giving your brand immediate credibility. Although being unique is important, be warned: like hot sauce in your buffalo chicken dip, it easily can be overdone. Excessive parallax can be distracting, harm core messaging, cause bad load times, and result in poor SEO performance. Trefecta Mobility has an interactive scroll function that allows users to dive deeper into the inner workings of their new electric bike.

3. Immersive Microsites

While your primary website is vital to your businesses’ success, microsites provide a unique opportunity to highlight a particular skill, service or product. These immersive microsites help tell a story, allowing visitors to get an intricate look at whatever it is you’re showcasing. Think of them like the stage at a concert. Prior to the headliner, all of the lights are on and the stage is dark. When the band is ready, the main lights dim, the stage brightens and suddenly the band is the focal point. Microsites, much like stage lighting, have one objective: to draw attention. They allow you to dive deeper into the details, provide an immersive experience, and differentiate particular stories, products, or services. Always remember though, messaging and content are still the most important part of a microsite.

Need vacation plans? Just want to see a good example? Travel Quebec used an immersive microsite to demonstrate the wide range of attractions available during the summer.

4. The Hamburger

And no, we don’t mean the kind you whip up on the grill. Or the ones you might grab from Lexie’s Joint. Or BRGR Bar.

Anyways, the hamburgers we’re talking about are less tasty, but nonetheless important. Yes, we’re talking about hidden menus. When you scale a responsive website, or view it on mobile, the menu typically condenses to a hamburger type icon. While this in itself is nothing new, the way that designers and developers are using them definitely is. Many designers are now using hamburgers liberally and right from the outset. And from a design perspective, why not? It limits clutter, looks aesthetically appealing, and allows more room for other design elements. How or whether you decide to use it can vary drastically depending on the audience. Take millennials, for instance. They have more or less grown alongside website developments, so they will almost certainly understand its meaning. It has become such a common sight, many designers are shying away from the classic hamburger and instead making it a unique icon or different shape. However, a Gen X or Baby Boomer might need a menu more explicitly defined. Perhaps you need to label it, or ditch the hamburger altogether. Simplification is great, but over-simplification can kill your website’s effectiveness. If your content is the heart of your website, the nav menu acts as the veins delivering oxygen. When making an important UX decision, make sure you understand your target market.

5. “Above the fold” Design

“Above the fold” is technically a print term, referring to the area of a newspaper that appears on the front page, above the fold of the newspaper. However, this term has officially been dusted off and is now being used to describe the area of a website that will be seen before any website visitor begins to scroll. Above the fold design can benefit your business in a few ways. First off, as we’ve already stated, there are billions of websites on the Internet. Not only are you vying for search ranking, PPC engagements, and traffic, you’re competing for visitors’ time. When people visit your site they immediately want to know what it is you offer and your unique value proposition. If they don’t, they’ll quickly bounce from your website and move on to the next one. Buffer is a good example of a company including what it is they do, their value proposition, and a call-to-action button all before the website visitor has to scroll.

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Web Design and Development Team

Creators of Cool