1. Large Background Images Trend
Stock photos still play a major role in digital communication, whether it’s an e-commerce store, website or blog. People use images to engage more with users and illustrate the message they are trying to send.
One of the big web-design trends this year will be the use of larger images. Many experts believe that larger images are important in attracting potential clients, especially if the website is aimed at selling and marketing products or services. In other words, well placed, large format images increase conversion rates.
Larger images provide you a more riveting visual experience as they give you a clearer idea of what the website may be about.
They can even appeal to your emotions. Having recognised these effects of larger images, it is not really surprising why more and more websites opt to incorporate bigger and attention-grabbing images in their web design.
Why Go for It?
A picture can paint a thousand words; that’s how the saying goes. While this proverb may be old, its truth still rings to this very day. In fact, design experts tell us that visual appearance is powerful in eliciting positive visceral responses.
Science has, likewise, proved that it is 60,000 times faster for the brain to process images compared to reading texts. This means that the kind of images you put in your website has a great impact on its ability to engage users and entice them to buy your products or services.
“Users pay close attention to photos and other images that contain relevant information.” – Nielsen Norman Group
The Nielsen Norman Group eye tracking studies have shown that people generally ignore cheesy and artificial looking photos. Now, users want genuine imagery and real photos should be used to connect with your audience in a genuine way.
Examples of Large Background Images in Web Design
If you check the Uber website, you will be impressed with the large and classy photos they use. If you are not familiar with the services it offers, you may even mistake the photo as an advertisement for high-end apparel or cosmetics. It simply oozes with appeal, style, and drama.
Grain & Mortar https://grainandmortar.com/
Natural and real photography resonates with people, instead of using cheesy stock photos. Grain & Mortar used an informal shot of their team that connects with the visitors very well.
Brave People http://bravepeople.co/
Brave People uses a slideshow of full-width genuine photo backgrounds that create an impression of a humanistic brand.
2. Video Background Trend
Websites generally are storytelling tools and storytelling can be more effective when visuals and motion are involved so the ideas and emotions can be transferred to the visitor easier.
We’ve seen businesses implementing video in their websites. This trend will grow even more with the endless possibilities of 3D graphics and HD quality videos to build that impression of real life experience. Research shows an enormous increase in the numbers of video consumption online.
Users prefer content in a visual format, which explains why online content video views have finally topped 50 billion views each month, worldwide.
Examples of Video Backgrounds in Web Design
Airbnb takes advantage of beautiful videos in order to complement their ‘Belong Anywhere’ campaign.
Bloomberg is a media company whose focus is large amounts of information and breaking news. Their media pages (such As Bloomberg Politics) use video that is activated by hovering your mouse over the content.
Bloomberg Media uses video to demonstrate the diversity and capabilities of their work.
3. Personal Branding Trend
Personal branding exists whether you focus on it or not. Your identity and your brand (how you are perceived by other people) are very different. The main focus of personal branding is to align vision and mission so you are perceived as you’d like to be.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” – Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon
Examples of Personal Branding in Web Design
Tobias van Schneider http://www.vanschneider.com/
Bold, straightforward and effective. Tobias van Schneider has a very memorable portrait photo accompanied with bold typography and straightforward, concise facts.
4. ‘Mobile-Friendly’ Trend
Web usage patterns are changing and statistics cannot be ignored if you want to succeed in today’s market. Every third website visitor now uses a mobile device and websites that do not offer mobile friendly versions are causing an unpleasant experience and eventually losses money as users tend to abandon the website if it doesn’t render well on mobile device.
“The number of people using mobile devices outstripped people on desktop computers in 2014.” – Jim Edwards, editor of Business Insider UK
Adopt a ‘mobile-friendly’ approach when designing or redesigning your website to ensure that you maximize your potential, and reach more of your target audience. This means you have to be brief, and focused on the content and performance which takes advantage of advanced features, like mobility, GPS, touch screen and more, that desktops aren’t able to offer.
In 2017, we’ll be seeing the continuous growth of mobile web design development and spectacular innovations based on the ever changing market behavior.
Examples of Mobile Friendly in Web Design
Keep it simple is the design approach Newsweek has taken to form their mobile version with loads of white space and clean typography and accompanied by relevant imagery.
5. Modular Design (Grid Based) Trend
Modular or grid based design, also known as cards/tiles design approach, is not new in the web design scene, but it has started to get more traction as it is reusable and very ‘mobile-friendly’ with the tiles stacking nicely on different screens and forming a flexible layout that looks nice and clean on any screen size.
One of the best known examples of modular design is the tile-based design introduced by Microsoft in Windows 8. Now, many web apps like Pinterest, and Instagram, are using the grid based design very successfully.
Examples of Modular Design in Web Design
Anthony John Group http://www.anthonyjohngroup.com.au/
Anthony John Group has a clean, image based grid with just enough of white space to make things look balanced and trustworthy.
6. ‘Long Scroll’ (Single Page) Trend
It simply makes more sense from the user experience perspective – research shows that users love scrolling.
Scrolling is winning over clicking due to changing web browsing patterns. As mentioned earlier, mobile device usage growth has influenced the way websites are designed nowadays. With smaller screens and super natural touch scrolling movement, people prefer to scroll around instead of clicking on the links and waiting for the content to appear.
‘Long Scroll’ gained momentum a couple of years ago but now it has started to make even more sense and people seem to enjoy it as it presents huge chunks of information at once in a nicely designed step by step flow.
Examples of Single Page in Web Design
Apple designed a super long single page to represent its new MacBook.
One page layouts are popular among yearly reviews like Spotify’s Year in Music. Spotify’s Year in Music allows a natural timeline of the year, in an easy to browse manner, with a visual and interactive approach.
7. Flat Design Trend
Flat design has been quickly adopted by designers and big tech companies like Apple. Some of the advantages of using the new paradigm are that flat design forces designers to focus more on content, pick the right colors to help users navigate through designs, and use white space with care.
It is the state of a design that refrains from the use of intricacies. Simple flat designs turn away from the use of drop shadows, strokes and other design elements.
The reason behind this is that people now appreciate simple and easy to recognise styles. Also, with the advent of mobile browsing, where the screen space is limited, the use of simple images would maximize the use of the pixels on the screen. The minimalist style is also applied as the designers focus on wide spacing between icons, images and all the other elements of a web page or application.
Further, simple and flat images tend to load faster than intricately designed ones.
Examples of Flat Design in Web Design
The main function of the flat design is to put emphasis on content while design has to serve as a communication tool. Format has a lovely combination of stunning image combined with sleek flat graphics in a balanced composition.
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I have recently retired after 30 years consulting for corporate clients such as NAB, AXA, IOOF and AustralianSuper. My experience covers website design, social media and business strategies. I am now focussed on providing consulting services to small business for free.
My services are provided on a voluntary basis, free of charge, and with no obligation.