With so many interesting innovations in web design appearing all the time, it is tempting to tinker with your web site. This can quickly become expensive and your website will soon lose its focus and become a showcase for trends, rather than getting your message across. But sometimes you can’t afford to ignore a trend as it is due to a fundamental change to the way people access the Web.
The secret is to identify the significant trends from the purely cosmetic ones, so you don’t get left behind but also keep your costs down. You can then choose which of the other innovations will enhance your message and should be included, keeping in mind that any changes cost a fair amount and could reduce user response.
With the increasing use of mobiles, you can’t afford to ignore this user segment. Previously sites were designed for large screens and then shrunk down for mobiles. This often produced a clumsy mobile interface.
The new philosophy is to design for mobiles then scale up. This gives a better all-round design and fits the increase in mobile accesses. There are other innovations from mobile design such as:
Increased Use of Scrolling – Mobile design emphasizes scrolling rather than clicking: the SEO is poor, but no doubt the search engines will catch up. Other mobile design features such as hidden menus are also becoming more popular, but we feel that it is better to show menus on larger screens if at all possible
Fixed Width Pages – These are limited to mobile screen sizes. They are very effective for mobiles, but less so for Laptops and Notebooks. Maybe web pages will end up being tailored for different screen sizes, rather than 1-size-fits-all. WordPress made a start on this, but for now the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.
Interaction via Hovering rather than clicking – This can be very useful but may also become annoying if you accidentally change to a new page when you don’t want to. Gmail can become very confusing for those who don’t understand this is happening, and it responds to unintentional hovers. If used for hidden menus, hovering to show the details is very useful.
Large Type – This trend from mobile designs also suits the latest focus. Does limit the message on a page. The optimum typeface for converting visitors is also usually smaller.
Performance is always an issue, and anything which increases it for no penalty should be welcome. Lazy loading and simpler designs are very useful.
This applies to web design as well. Simpler websites are easier to program and maintain, while navigation is a breeze. Unfortunately, there is a penalty: it takes more time to produce a simple website that works, but the results will justify the effort.
Microinteractions should be treated with caution. While they are useful and increase engagement, they can be annoying if carried to excess.
Stock images have become increasingly unpopular. Realistic photos make your site much more credible . Trust is one of the most important factors for a successful website, and realistic images make your site more trustworthy.