Inevitably, most new design trends are either fads or just completely unnecessary. They may look nice, but deliver next to nothing in terms of ROI. Or they simply weigh down your site and distract your users. We’ve dwindled your options down to a core list of must-follow trends for the coming year. Whether you’re looking to stick to the barebones or you want to go for the full bells and whistles, ensure you build from these design trend pillars.
Design for Mobile Devices
Tablets and smartphones have been around for a number of years, but they’re now truly becoming mainstay items that pretty much everyone owns at least one of, whether it’s your average teen or the seasoned business exec. In fact, research by IDC (International Data Corporation) has shown that by 2015, the majority of web users will have discarded the traditional desktop and laptop as their primary devices.
If you’ve ignored mobile web until now, it’s time to turn things around. Otherwise, you’ll be missing out on a healthy dose of new customers. Eventually, you also run the risk of losing those you already have. Go mobile with these two core strategies.
If you keep even the slightest glance on the design industry, it’s likely that you’ve been confronted with the term responsive design a few times already. It essentially means that your site will ‘respond’ to the device of your website visitor, looking just as visually impressive on an iPad as it does on a 27-inch monitor.
Should your website look distorted or isn’t user-friendly, customers will have no qualms about turning to a competitor. People want a site that looks the part, delivers ease of use, and is reliable. They don’t want to trawl through a minefield of tiny buttons or oversized text.
Ditch the Mouse, Design for Fingers!
We can pretty much guarantee that you’ve come against the frustration of a website that just doesn’t co-operate with the lack of precision of our oversized fingers! The problem is that most designers still craft their visuals based on users having the traditional mouse at their disposal.
If your website still dons small navigational buttons, it’s time to permanently send them towards the path of extinction. Having to constantly hit the back button due to accidental clicks is something that will have your visitors turning away in a real hurry.
The Wonders of Parallax Scrolling
Parallax design isn’t new, but it’s only recently that it started making waves on the eCommerce scene. From small online retailers to the established brands, it’s now possible to create some very impressive aesthetic experiences using just a few lines of code (and a creative imagination).
Parallax scrolling essentially gives your website an illusion of depth and movement. By having layers moving at different speeds to one another, you can take the user on journey through product or service features and much more.
If you can’t quite imagine what this looks like, check out Apple’s dedicated Mac Pro page. It’s an excellent example of what this technology can do and you don’t have to be a massive multinational to make it happen either.
While Pinterest is not an eCommerce site, it’s built a platform that can easily be repurposed for a web store that converts like crazy. Traditional text-based forms of navigation and product advertisements are being ditched in favour of easy-to-digest masonry-style layouts.
This layout heavily relies on beautiful imagery, bringing creativity and showing off products visually to the fore of strategy. The reason it converts so well is that it’s not your basic wall-of-text – instead, users are confronted with aesthetic stimulation that’s supported by short and succinct headlines.
This type of navigation also improves accessibility and UX on mobile devices. They’re much more adaptable than sites that user large banners, with columns and rows changing easily depending on device resolution. With most people having generous data packages attached to their mobile plans, loading up images is becoming less of a concern.