In the last segment we introduced some of the latest styles and techniques that are trending in the world of web design. These are features that some of you may see every day as you surf the web and yet didn’t necessarily know the names for. Parallax scrolling is a great way to present your web content if done correctly. We also saw that long scrolling pages are all the rage, especially if combined with a parallax style. Mobile First is another approach that should be front and center of your design strategy. These are all techniques that can bring a lot of value to your new startup or small business web page, but just as long as they don’t bog down the site!
So in this sequel article we’re going to round out the discussion by looking at a few other features and styles that are getting lots of attention today in web design circles.
Hero images: This is another trending design technique that visitors know more by sight than definition. Hero images are those large banner images that are prominently placed on a web page, generally in the front and center. The effect of these images are to give visitors an overview of the site’s most important content in a visual format, right up front. According to one source, “Hero areas are quickly replacing sliders as the new attention-grabbers, and they are becoming increasingly creative and elaborate.”
There are different techniques that web designers are using to implement hero images. One popular approach is to create a simple blurred photo in the background with a heading centered in the middle. One example is here. Another technique is to use an illustration to present the hero image, like here. Whatever approach you take be sure to optimize your hero image size so it’s not bogging down your performance. Choose high quality images and be aware of the sizing factor on mobile devices.
Video backgrounds: HTML5 has made it much easier to plug in animation features into websites. The same holds true for video. As a result, more and more sites are using large, browser-sized videos in place of hero images as the backgrounds for their web pages. PayPal has implemented this approach successfully and it’s growing a lot in popularity throughout the world of web design. Here are other examples.
Now there will be naysayers who argue that videos don’t belong on a website home page due to the large amount of data they take to load and run (especially on mobile devices). But videos are becoming easier to produce and share and more and more browsers support this feature. Plugins and tools are also available to make video integration easier.
Videos are a great example of a trend that is here to stay. They are becoming an important way for designers to change the visual experience in new and creative ways, and to communicate something technical or new that words just can’t do.
Simplified content: No doubt you’ve noticed in perusing different websites that content has become simpler, more focused, and direct. You can thank Twitter for this. In today’s digital age people’s attention spans have decreased and designers have recognized this by creating webpages with shorter bursts of content. Many visitors also like to scan webpages, so simplified content helps get the messaging across quickly.
Minimalism in web content is a good thing and it’s the way of the future of web design. Besides blogs, most areas on websites these days have no more than about 250 characters anyway. In considering your web content strategy, the bottom line is not to be “too wordy” and make your words count!
Simpler color schemes: Color schemes in web design are also going the way of “less is more.” The trend now is towards one or two colors. Here’s one example of a site that uses only blue. The purpose for a minimalist approach to the choice of colors is to create a simpler aesthetic for users. This is often associated with the popular flat design approach to graphical interfaces, which seeks to remove any styles that give the illusion of three-dimensions (such as drop shadows, gradients, or textures) and replaces them with simple layouts. Color is a big part of your branding and so when it comes to designing your site, as with content, simpler is better.
So much has changed in design since the days of static web pages. Between the choices of long and parallax scrolling, hero images, video backgrounds, and simpler content and colors, there are lots of creative ways to showcase your products and services. We’ve reviewed some of the most popular trends on the market today that, if implemented properly and with attention to optimization and performance standards, are sure to be a hit with your customers.
Again, and it deserves repeating, the point of your website is to convert visitors to paying customers. While a trendy looking website is no guarantee of increased revenue, it can certainly help! If your website is rather tired looking, start today to explore some of the features that we’ve discussed and give it some pizzazz.