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9 Current Web Design Trends

It’s important for any business to stay up to the minute with the latest business and technological innovations.

9 Current Web Design Trends


Written by Louisa Gee

Louisa loves Carl Sagan, noise rock, vociferous online debates, and writing content for websites.

December 02, 2016

digital marketing
online marketing
website design

The average person is becoming more tech-savvy these days, and successful online marketing partly relies on giving customers an experience. This experience is one that they’ve learned to expect from the marketplace at large. Your competition is researching web design trends, and online marketing innovations right this minute. You don’t want to be left behind.

Your website is your shop window, and you want it to be modern, fashionable, and stand out in the crowd. Therefore your website also needs to fulfill all the requirements that the search engines use to consider it a quality site. Your market will thank you for staying current – with sales.

Here are some tips on how to stay ahead of the wave, and make sure your online marketing and web design are on-trend and getting you noticed.

1. Mobile Friendly

Firstly, your website must be responsive on mobile devices, however, this is hardly even a new trend these days, but really the norm. Smartphone use in South Africa alone is expected to exceed 16.1 million users in 2017, and 2 billion users worldwide! That’s a LOT of potential customers out there, scrolling through sites and making purchasing decisions on the spot – people love instant gratification, and good mobile-friendly web design allows this.

Think about it – most of these 16+ million South Africans are using their phones to shop for products and services online. Mobile-friendly sites have a major advantage in this huge and ever-expanding market.

2. Minimalist Trend

Web design has become more clean and simple in the last couple of years. Clutter is out, like floral shirts for men – and flatness and minimalism is in. But hey, if you still like your florals, keep doing you! Just remember that you’ll be THAT retro guy.

Designers have taken a page or two out of the Microsoft Windows book, and are now using flat design, solid colours (with the occasional mild gradient), and simple graphics instead of the old 3D style graphics and shadows.

The result? Customers are able to focus on the site content and the message your brand creates, instead of getting distracted by hey-shoo-wow layout and images.

3. Scrolling and Rolling

Again, thanks to burgeoning mobile device use, modern website designs feature longer pages which the visitor must scroll down, instead of hard-to-find buttons to click at the top of the page. Pages are broken up into information sections – divided with images, different text boxes, simple diagrams, and a few other clever visual tricks.

There is also much less use, these days, of drop-down menus, as they can be difficult to navigate when accessing a website via a mobile device. That feeling when you try and click a drop-down menu and hit the wrong thing, then get confused and go back, and have to start from scratch…

Think of your favourite websites, that you look at on mobile – whether they are news sites, social platforms or online shopping. You can probably see what you want to see at a glance, and navigate without having to dig around and waste precious time. Your website should be the same.

4. Captivating Headlines

People haven’t changed much in the last few hundred years, in terms of our response to media and advertising. We love to gawk at gripping headlines and sensational front covers – it’s human nature. Think of newspaper posters on lamp posts as you drive past. A headline could catch your eye at the next set of traffic lights. This will inspire you to buy an item you normally wouldn’t from that side-of-the-road vendor.

Not even images grab most people’s attention as quickly as a bold headline. Your website needs to reflect this trend with strong, simple typography and a punchy key message, that is to say, if it’s got the right headline.

 5. Eye-Catching, Simple Backgrounds

People love clear, creative images as the background of a website as these create an immediate and pleasing impact. In this image-heavy modern world, we are swamped with traffic signs, billboards, advertising on TV and film, and a host of other assaults to our brains and eyeballs.

You don’t want to click on a site and have to wade through a bunch of little images and other decorative devices on the landing pages. This can be tiring on a PC, let alone on mobile, where you need a magnifying glass!

Everyone requires a relaxing, Zenlike experience when browsing, and your web design trends should reflect this. Likewise, your site should be a haven of simplicity, where relatively large text together with a large image background helps to drive one or two key messages. It’s like a brain massage.

6. Flash is Dead (sorry, Adobe)

Back in the good old Noughties, Adobe Flash was considered de rigueur for web design. It was everywhere, with its groovy interactive content and poppy animations. We’ve all had those familiar (and annoying) messages that pop up to tell you that you can’t look at something unless you install Adobe Flash Player – and it’s just not that easy on mobile devices.

Besides the irritation factor of “I want to look – but you won’t let me!” – Flash takes ages to load on a site, can be tough to navigate, and can’t be adapted for search engine optimisation. Thankfully, the trend went the way of super lowrise jeans, and is now used mainly for video game design.

7. Negative Spaces

Negative spaces are large blank areas of colour, which draw the eye to focus on specific items or content. This minimalist trend has long been in use in interior design (think of a clean Japanese-style room with a beautiful single lily in a vase, or a simple painting that draws the eye). This trend has started to surge in web design trends and is associated with stylishness and modernity.

8. Creative Colour

Recent innovations made possible a surge of rich, vibrant colours for web design. To clarify, this is a trend that isn’t going anywhere. The past was known for its safety and blandness, on the other hand, now we have waved goodbye to baby food beige, and hello to outrageous orange!

Many web designers are getting pretty brave with their approach to colour. Thanks to innovations in PC monitors and mobile screens – there is now a larger scope for vibrant shades and clever use of colour gradients. As a result, your brand stays current when it’s associated with brightness and visibility.

9. Tell Your Story

Business over the centuries has shifted from the village grocer or horse farrier, well-known and used by everyone; to the huge faceless corporations of the 20th century. Meanwhile, the 21st century has come full circle back to the friendly, personalised experience of old. Moreover, this is thanks to the global marketplace at your fingertips.

It’s now become possible for individuals to interact with their customer in a more personalised way. You can do this with the use of modern web design innovations to create an interactive story on your site. This helps them to understand your vision and the people and processes involved in it.

People WANT to know you, and your story. Modern web design can make doing business with you feel as personal as popping into your friendly corner café.

Technology is evolving at breakneck speed and keeping up to date with web design trends helps to make sure you present your brand online in a competitive way. Modern website innovation is vital. In short, your website is your biggest marketing asset, and a good web designer who knows their stuff – will be on top of the trends as they arise.

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