7 Design Trends That’ll Give Your Website an Edge
The human brain can only consciously process about 110 bits of information per second. In our daily lives, we’re bombarded with stimuli and only the novel or exciting grabs our attention.
This is a great survival mechanism but it can be a challenge for your website. If it looks and feels like every other website on the internet, people may not give it the attention it deserves. That can adversely affect your ability to build your brand.
In this guide, you’ll learn about powerful design trends that’ll help you grab the attention of your audience and focus it on what matters. The end result includes longer dwell time, more pages viewed, and hitting your goals faster.
1. Solid blocks of color
This design trend is reminiscent of the Windows Phone and the Windows 8 operating system. The difference is that you get to choose the color palette and it’s often easier to digest the information presented.
Information is broken up and placed in a number of square or rectangle blocks of varying size. These blocks can be a solid color or even images that support your overall brand narrative. Take advantage of your brand colors but play around with different shades that you wouldn’t normally have a chance to use.
At first glance, it can appear be busy but by using the size of the blocks and images, you can establish a clear visual hierarchy. This will quickly focus the attention of your viewer on the right parts of the screen and aid comprehension.
The key is to use fewer lines of text and go straight to the point. It forces you to choose your most important message and display it front and center. The final design isn’t meant to feel like a collage, instead, it should make the viewer feel like the individual elements form a cohesive whole. This should be relatively easy to accomplish with a website builder like Squarespace.
2. Oversized type
This trend follows on the heels of the first one and they’re often used together. Widely cited studies peg the attention span of humans at just under ten seconds. While this may not be true for every task, it makes the case for being deliberate with the way you present information on your website.
Draw the attention of visitors by using large, overly prominent elements. As mentioned earlier, we can only focus on a limited amount of information at a time. To be successful with this design style, use oversized type on the most important parts of your website and strip away unnecessary information or elements.
Work on information above the fold – the area of the page that’s visible before someone scrolls. Choose your typography carefully and make sure it supports your overall branding. For example, if you’re building a website for a luxury brand you’d likely avoid Sans-serif fonts.
3. Ample White space
White space, also known as negative space, has long been used to create a strong visual hierarchy, emphasize information, and deemphasize it. Even though it’s referred to as white space, it can be any background color. It’s just the empty space between elements on a page.
When used properly, it can increase legibility and ties a design together. When used poorly, it makes the page feel busy and it’s more difficult for visitors to understand what the important areas on a page are.
A growing trend in web design is using larger and large whitespace areas. This encourages you to become pickier about what is placed on the page and gives each element more weight or importance in the overall design. When combined with striking or rich color palettes and large type, it ensures your visitors see the message you want to deliver.
4. Moving elements
Unexpected movement instinctively draws the eye. It’s a web design trend that can be a powerful tool for capturing attention but should be used in moderation. It’s novel when people first land on a website but can become annoying if overused.
There’s no shortage to the type of moving elements you can use. It ranges from video clips and gifs to micro effects in response to the movement of your cursor and buttons that shake every few seconds. In the end, what you choose depends on your preferences and the kind of audience you have.
It’s important to be deliberate the elements you choose to add extra animations to. Ask yourself what the most important information or actions on your website are. Is it a button, is it a specific text area, or is it an entire section? Once you decide, add a little motion and see how it’s received. If it improves your results and you don’t get negative feedback then consider making the movement even more obvious.
5. Hand-drawn elements
There are a multiple large icon packs that web designers have made popular over the years. They’ve been used on tens of thousands of websites and are now familiar to web users. This isn’t a bad thing in itself but people will mostly ignore them.
A design trend that hasn’t gone mainstream is using hand-drawn elements and icons that aren’t like any others in the world. It’s an interesting way to subtly show the personality of your brand without overpowering your core message.
It’s more time consuming to get them made but it’ll help your website stand out. It also serves as a counterpoint to the pixel perfect designs that are seen everywhere. Start by creating a few hand drawn icons placed in strategic places. You can accomplish this with a drag and drop builder such as Wix. If it works for your brand then you can convert other elements and icons to drawings.
6. Custom illustrations
Custom illustrations are similar to hand drawn elements but can serve as a focal point of your website design. It’s a unique way to push your brand personality to the forefront without taking away from the most important actions and messages.
A luxury fashion brand could combine illustrations that reflect the sketches made before a design goes to production and high-quality product imagery. A design service could create illustrations that show its skills but also foster a lighter atmosphere.
To find a design style you like, visit websites like Dribbble, Behance, and 500px. Clip the ones that stand out to you and are in line with your brand. Also, brainstorm where and how you’ll use custom illustrations. Will each product page have its own illustration or is it just for key pages like your contact us, about, and homepage?
7. Minimal navigation
The last design trend is a nod to the increasing use of smaller devices like wearable tech and mobile phones. A few years ago, mega menus with multiple nested options were the norm but they were cumbersome on mobile devices. The minimal navigation trend strips menus down to the necessities.
At first glance, this may seem like it’s defeating the purpose of a menu. In reality, it’s helpful for your visitors because it cuts down on cognitive load and helps them understand what the most important pages on your website are. Instead of thinking about how many options they have, they’ll spend more time on each page.
Combined with solid blocks of color or oversized type, you’ll be able to retain the attention of your visitors for longer periods of time. If you can keep attention then your other KPIs improve as a result.
There’s no right or wrong way to design your website – it belongs to you. Instead of looking at it like that, focus on the outcome you want to achieve. The 7 design trends shared in this article are just some of the tools available to help you arrive at that goal.
Now it’s up to you to choose the ones that make the most sense for your current situation. In addition to understanding how you’ll design your website, it’s important to select the right platform for the job. Some website builders will limit you while others will help you grow. If you need help selecting the a website builder, browse the helpful reviews on the website to understand what each one brings to the table before making a choice.