Web Design is like a turbulent river, with new trends continuously flowing to replace the old ones. As Internet speeds increase and devices get faster and smaller, websites have to keep up with the most recent web design trends to keep people entertained, interested, and engaged. From the flashy, extravagant and cluttered design paradigm of the early 2000s to the minimalist, elegant and dynamic design paradigm of 2014, the web design trends seem to point to having fewer elements in one’s site among other design tweaks.
In 2015, however, we may be moving to a new web design paradigm. Here are some cool website design trends for 2015, some of which are mainstays, and some, relatively new.
- High Quality Relevant Background Images – In the early 2000s, where dial-up was the prevalent type of Internet connection, people were discouraged from using high definition images due to the strain these would cause on the bandwidth. Fortunately, nowadays, most people have broadband or fiber-optic connections that can load high definition images in less than a second.
The keyword here is “relevant”. People are tired of seeing stale stock photos with overused professionals pretending to hold a business meeting. If your site sells computers or handheld devices, for example, you can use stock images of relaxing workplaces people would get excited about.
- Responsive Design – Responsive design has been around for quite some time now, and it seems that with the proliferation of mobile devices, responsive design is here to stay. No matter how beautiful your website is, if it does not display contents correctly in other screen sizes, people won’t bother staying. Considering that more people are now using mobile devices to access the Internet instead of laptops and desktop computers, you’ll want to get aboard this trend train quick.
- Flat Design – Gone are the days when websites contain flash intros, “click to enter” buttons, and heavily cluttered webpages that look like they were covered in varnish and sprinkled with glitter. Flat design not only looks better and allows people to see the content better, but it also allows faster loading.
- Tiled Content – People don’t want to spend too much time clicking links back and forth to find the content they’re looking for. Tiled content basically means putting tidbits of information in little cards. These cards are links to another page and therefore only contain a quick summary of what their assigned page contains.
- Scalable Vector Graphics – Web designers are often used to working with low-resolution artwork, simply because high-resolution layered PSDs slow their computers down considerably. High-resolution stock photos are also quite pricey for people who need unique images to go with their unique content. With retina displays becoming more affordable and common, it makes more sense to have high resolution content on your website. People don’t buy high-resolution displays just to visit pixelated sites.
Fortunately, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) are becoming more popular and are now widely supported among different browsers. SVGs don’t pixelate no matter how much you zoom-in, but they don’t consume as much space as high-definition images. While SVGs aren’t ideal for rendering real life images, they’re great for flat, cartoon-like content, which fits perfectly in the flat design paradigm.
- Animations – With the concept of minimalist design, it becomes easier to animate buttons and transitions due to their simpler shapes. The trend for animations is usually an ease-in or ease-out or a fade-in or fade-out transition. Just make sure you don’t overdo them to the point that they draw too much attention to themselves or take too long to finish (avoid swivel animations at all costs).
- Custom Typography – Helvetica is a great font, but remember that in design, familiarity breeds contempt. If all websites used the same color schemes, font styles and layout, people will have a hard time remembering any of them. Flat-style fonts are great choices that fit right into the flat design paradigm. Some site owners also like using fonts that look like drawings (no, not comic sans) if their sites contain stick figures or web comics. The type of font you choose should be related to the type of content your site has and your intended audience.
- Single Page Sites – The traditional way of developing websites is usually by creating a bunch of webpages and putting some kind of navigation bar to jump between them. However, with the availability of more advanced frameworks, you can actually have a website with only one page! You’ll have to put in more effort condensing all your content in one page, having them expand when the user clicks them or scrolls to them, but this does often provide a smoother browsing experience and can be easier to maintain in the long run.
- More Media Than Text – If you’re planning to create a single page site, you’re going to want to tell a story with visuals instead of text. About 80% of internet users prefer skimming through content instead of reading massive walls of paragraphs, which is why infographics have become so common.
There’s quite an interesting paradox that happens in the virtual world: people don’t like reading texts because they take too much time to read, however, on average they spend about 2.5 hours scrolling through images and watching random videos. By putting videos and pictures instead of just plain text in your website, people are bound to stay longer and visit more frequently.
- Interactive Scrolling – The idea of navigating websites by scrolling instead of clicking used to be seen as something novel but impractical. However, with more users now used to scrolling instead of clicking, two interesting techniques came to life: Parallax Scrolling and Infinite Scrolling. Parallax scrolling is a technique used by 2D video games that allows games to look like they have depth by having the background elements move slower than the foreground elements. While this technique is rather difficult to achieve, it creates a more visually engaging environment that the user will enjoy exploring in. In a sense, it allows users to scroll through an interactive story at their own pace.
Infinite scrolling, on the other hand, is a common technique used to save bandwidth by loading additional content only as the user scrolls to the bottom. Facebook and other social media sites usually use this, as new content will always keep popping up while old contents have to remain. By loading the newest content only, loading the older contents only when the user scrolls to the bottom, you create a smart interface that cuts down on the web page loading times without having to actually delete content from your site.