Among the millions of unique web designers and developers worldwide with different technical backgrounds and artistic preferences exists some common design elements that are dominating the online landscape. You may have already noticed most new websites published today are conforming to some of these characteristics. The similarities don’t happen because web designers are all copycats but rather because they are proven to work. These techniques combine the best of both form and function to help shape great websites. They are also products of the rapidly evolving responsive and mobile environment that will certainly continue well into the future. Let’s take a look.
1. Long Scrolling
As mobile browsing on small screens continues it’s dominance, the old “above the fold” mentality has died. Long scrolling is not just trendy but practical. Home pages, news feeds, and product pages particularly benefit from the ability to display and organize a lot of continuous content instead of linking from page to page. From storytelling to chronological arrangements, long scrolling enhances the overall experience. Providing more interaction with the information and presenting new visuals or slick animations throughout the navigation also keeps the user interested. It’s presence on every social media site should give you an idea of it’s popularity.
2. Sticky Navigation
Often working in conjunction with the long scrolling website is the popular usage of a “sticky” navigation menu that stays in place on the screen, available for immediate access at any time. The user should never get lost on a page or have to scroll back up a mile to the top to get to the menu. Anyone who has ever used a phone or tablet app should also now recognize the familiar “hamburger” icon, three stacked horizontal lines, which reveals the full menu when pressed. Some minimalist designers are using this more app-like navigation approach on the desktop view of their sites instead of only on smaller viewports.
One of the fashionable web design choices is actually an old philosophy, keep it clean and simple. Minimalism is seen everywhere online today. Busy, over-designed, super-colorful sites can be very confusing, information overload. Removing non-essential distractions and presenting simplicity with clear, crisp copy is a better solution for many brands and campaigns seeking more elegance. Minimalism works great in today’s responsive design environment due to it’s flexibility and lightweight, quick-loading layouts and can even be combined with the other design techniques on this list.
4. Large Images
Huge, high quality, professional photography filling the entire screen is one of the most embraced trends seen today. The use of massive images in combination with minimalism or a concise call to action demands a user’s attention. Having one concept per page or screen, centered around a single visual, is a compelling way to keep them engaged and focused on your message. This method is generally being used up front and in your face immediately on home pages. It is often continued as you scroll down to organize different concepts into screen-sized sections which helps by presenting more digestible bits of information at a time. A related popular trend is using parallax graphics, large background images moving at different speeds as you scroll to create a more enjoyable visual interaction.
5. Large Typography
Making a dramatic statement that can’t be missed is important. People read the biggest words on a page first. Staging messages with large, attention grabbing headlines has really caught on. The easier and quicker it is to read, the better. Large typography is especially successful in minimalist designs and scrolling sites where concepts are presented in sections at a time. Furthermore, it plays a key role on responsive websites where the message needs to work regardless of screen size. Huge white type used over full screen photos is also a trend within itself seen all over the internet.
These are just a few of the more prominent design features that are out there in web design today, and for good reason. They have purpose beyond aesthetics and probably more staying power than other “trends”. Keep your website up to date with these practices and you’re sure to impress.