Web Design Trends

July 23rd, 2021 | Posted in Uncategorized, Web Design

This year is halfway done, and we are already looking toward the future of web design. What new trends will pop up? Which ones will finally be laid to rest? One can only predict, but we have some strong tell-tale signs of what we will be seeing in the year 2016.

Overall Prediction: More Unique Experiences

With Responsive Web Design becoming even more ubiquitous, laying out webpages has fallen into the same predictable patterns. A 3-up stack of boxes to point out sales features here, a 9×9 grid format on a photo gallery there, we’ve reached a point where the majority of “pretty websites” all look the same.

“We’ve reached a point where the majority of “pretty websites” all look the same” (CLICK TO TWEET)

Next year, I predict we will see more well-thought out and unique user experiences. To achieve this, designers can integrate personal touches for a more unique feel, such as custom-created illustration work, hand-drawn artwork, a new way to incorporate a grid, or even an unconventional way of storytelling to their users.

Prediction 1: Unique Way of Using the Grid

Curious Space’s website is a great example of adding a pinch of organic freedom to an ordered grid layout.

You’ll quickly notice the photos of this website stacked on top of each other. Stacking them isn’t a problem, as when a user rolls over on an image, the Z-index of the selected image shifts, so it is pushed to the top of the pile of photos.
Upon scroll, the haphazard arrangement of their logo falls into place to spell out their company name.

Prediction 2: Custom-Drawn Illustrations

We’ve all thought it – “Why should I draw another [name of object] icon, when I can just grab it off an already existing vector pack from the web?” This line of thinking does save time and budget constraints, but how about integrating custom-made illustrations, or other artwork into the project budget in the first place?

Sites like  Creative Freedom Guide, For Better Coffee, DConstruct Conference, or Ice & Sky all integrate custom-made / hand-drawn illustration work that greatly aid in telling their story and leaving a memorable experience for their users.

Prediction 3: Better / More Access to Great Typefaces

We should all be thanking Google for its  free font collection. Because of the company’s library, utilizing a great looking typeface on a limited budget can be achieved. With varying styles, weights, families, and the like, there is sure to be quite a few typefaces that are suitable for any website.

Prediction 4: Cinemagraphs

Did that picture just….move? I love cinemagraphs because like videos and photography, it enhances the desired mood for a website and gives it an additional layer of wonder, mystique, and elegance. Unlike videos, it won’t eat as much bandwidth, and unlike photos, it provides “something more” than a simple still shot. This technology has been around for a while already (since 2011), and I hope to see it integrated into more websites in the future.

Prediction 5: Websites Through the Use of Storytelling

Storytelling through means of a website can be quite a complex endeavor. Nike and Lidyana did a great job with  this website.

Best viewed on a high-speed internet connection, the website takes you through the morning workout routines of a young woman. The opening sequence is of her waking up in the morning. After she gets settled into her routine, the user has a choice of seeing her do different types of exercise activities, such as yoga, running, weight training, and the like. If the user clicks on one of the activities, they are then presented with the young woman performing said activity.

The user is then presented with hot spots on the body of the young woman while she is working out, with links to Nike products she is wearing during her routines. This is a great way to showcase the product in-use, as well as providing the user with direct access to view the product details. If the user clicks on a hot-spot, the products she is wearing load in from the side, while pausing the video.

Through this type of interaction, the user can quickly run through all of the activities with the young lady, while browsing the products she is wearing, without even knowing they are shopping!

Earlier mentioned websites such as For Better Coffee or Ice & Sky also do a great job of integrating storytelling on their websites. Something as simple as teaching a user how to make the perfect brew, or being educated on the history of Antarctica can be fun, interactive, and a great learning experience!

Prediction 6: Semi-flat design

Flat design has slowly morphed over the past few years to semi-flat design. After Windows launched its Metro style, the design world became inundated with this trend. Unfortunately, this style did come with its usability pitfalls. This trend has slowly morphed into semi-flat design, largely in part due to both Android’s and Apple’s releases using this type of style. By integrating depth and dimension through the use of subtle shadows, card / tile concepts, and well-thought out transitions to help guide and orient users, semi-flat design aims to eliminate the problems that flat design had created.

Continuation of Earlier Trends

Prediction 7: RWD

Let’s face it, after the implementation of RWD, there was no turning back. There will only be more devices sold on the market, so embracing and integrating responsive practices on websites will make the web sphere a better place for all.

Prediction 8: Parallax

A couple of the websites mentioned earlier already utilize parallax on their websites. As mentioned in a previous GRAYBOX article, parallax is a type of effect applied to the speed and movement of background imagery. The background of the website moves at a different speed than the rest of the page, thereby mimicking layers of depth on the page. As computers and related technology get better at handling such effects on the web, access to viewing these unique animations will only increase.  Scroll For Your Health is a great example of a fun, interactive, and educational way to present information on different fruits, while employing parallax.

Prediction 9: Lazy Loading

On websites that feed content continuously, Lazy Loading aids in viewing immediate website content without waiting for the entire page to load.

This is especially helpful for websites that are highly visual, such as  FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest. In a society where information is constantly being fed into our lives, lazy loading helps to simplify viewing of said content by loading only small chunks at a time.

Pinterest

We’re excited to see what new trends, styles, and stories next year will bring for us, and what trends and movements will fade out within the next year and beyond!

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4 Reasons To Let The Experts Build Your Website

March 23rd, 2021 | Posted in Technology, Uncategorized

A strong company website can quickly become one of your organisation’s greatest marketing tools. It can provide a professional shop window to an audience of millions. It also provides a 24/7 port of contact.

Building a website isn’t difficult, but creating a successful one is one of the hardest tasks in business. There are many factors to consider. If you get them right, though, it should bring huge rewards for the company.

Here are four main reasons to let the experts design your website.

Cost

The most obvious reason for any business to build the website themselves is cost. It’s only natural to assume that doing it yourself will be cheaper, but it isn’t necessarily the case.

On the face of it, hiring a professional service is more expensive. But by the time you factor in hidden costs, those savings soon become far smaller. Registering domains and email inboxes are small costs individually, but soon add up. When you then take labour costs into account, you’ll be scratching your head as to why you just didn’t call the experts.

Quality

A website is your most valuable online marketing tool, so you want to make the most of it. Let’s be honest, putting out a self-designed shoddy product isn’t going to do you any favours.

Your company website can work like a far more powerful version of a business card. It can also actively generate sales through the use of an online store. However, none of this can be achieved if the design looks poor. First impressions are everything when it comes to websites. Using a professional service will create a far more positive vibe.

Best of all, a company like NBW will also optimise for usage on smartphones and other small devices. Considering over half of all internet time is conducted away from computers, this is a must.

Standing Out

Having a quality website means nothing if people aren’t visiting it. Using the professionals can help you to achieve a stronger foothold in the fierce online market.

There are various tools to integrate your website with social media. Doing this will help your company stand out in the online world while also saving you plenty of time. Moreover, gaining expert tips on how to rank highly on search engines will generate far more traffic. With a professionally designed website, this should all result in increased conversion rates.

Standing out in business is key, especially on the World Wide Web. Despite what you think, your knowledge won’t cut the mustard. Equip yourself with a team of people that have the experience and skills to drive your company forward.

It Leaves You More Time

Marketing is a hugely influential part of the business, but it isn’t what makes your company tick. Every minute spent on promoting the company is time that could’ve been better spent elsewhere. Your main job is producing the products and services that will keep your customers coming back for more. Don’t forget it.

It’s impossible to run every part of the business yourself, and this is one of those times you need help. The expert advice will benefit the marketing strategies, and the running of our company too. No-brainer.

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How Important is Responsive Web Design?

March 17th, 2021 | Posted in Technology, Uncategorized

You’ve probably heard about responsive web design before. If you haven’t, it’s a web design that adapts to the way in which the user is viewing your website. This means it’s suited to mobile and tablet users. Here’s why it’s an important option to consider.

Increase Reach to Mobile Users

The way in which people browse the internet has changed a lot in the last few years. The rise of tablets and smartphones means that people don’t visit websites in the same way that they used to. To reach the maximum amount of people nowadays, website owners need to make sure a responsive design is used.

It’s never been more important to get this right. The amount of people using tablets as the main way in which to browse the internet is rising all the time. So, that means if you don’t use a responsive design, you’ll be alienating a sizable proportion size of your potential readership.

Save Time and Money

Having a different mobile website to your main website gives you two headaches instead of one. It doubles the amount of time and money you have to spend on developing the site to begin with. But it also doubles the amount of time and money you spend on maintaining the website throughout the year.

For any business, saving time and money is always a priority. So, you should use a responsive web design. This cuts out the need for two websites, so you’ll only have one to spend time and money on. Visit http://www.thomas-design.co.uk/ to find out how you can get your website designed responsively.

Boost Conversion Rates

For the user who arrives at your responsively designed website, the process is smooth and easy. Whereas, if they arrive and have to go through lots of redirections before they find the right website, it can be very frustrating. This is a simple reason to make sure you have a responsive web design.

It takes away some of the challenges for people who want to use your website. This can then lead to people spending their money with your business if your website is being used to sell products. Selling more products and having more people look around your website can only be a good thing.

Make SEO Simpler

Making your website easier to find on search engines is not something that’s easy to do. But it’s made even more difficult if you have two separate websites: one for desktops and one for mobiles. By having a responsive web design, you will only have one site to look after, so your attention will be much more focused.

Attaching all your efforts on one site and putting all your content in one place will cause your ranking on search engines to rise. Your strategy and tactics are important when it comes to SEO. That strategy will be much more likely to yield positive results if you can centralise it and set your focus clearly.

As you now know, responsive web design is very important. So, make sure your website is designed responsively.

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