Web design is constantly evolving as designers find exciting (and sometimes annoying) ways to garner eyeballs, keep you interested, and convert sales. Here are seven web design trends we love, plus a few we could do without.
1. Fully-responsive, device-friendly sites
We love sites that look good on any device, including desktops, mobile, and everything in between; there are a lot of folks out there that swipe around on iPads all day long, never once glancing at a computer monitor. When it comes to making a website responsive, we’re fans of CSS media queries, vw and vh units, calc(), flexbox, and grid. Flexbox allows you to easily align and center content without floats or a fancy CSS framework. Grid is the next big thing. Combined with media queries it’s even more flexible than Flexbox because you can completely reorder content for different screen sizes. Grid doesn’t have the browser support we’d like just yet, but we’re excited about the possibilities.
2. Background videos
If background images are worth a thousand words, background videos are worth a million. People love video and if used in the right way, a background video can help set your site apart. Take our home page for example which features a full screen background video of the Dixon Schwabl workplace. You’ll feel like you’re really in the office with us while you browse our site. Another fine example is the New York State Wine Festival home page which, if you scroll down, features wine being poured from a bottle into a glass. There’s something satisfying about watching that glass fill up with wine that you wouldn’t get from a static image.
3. Call-to-action bars that follow you
If you want your website visitors to take action, make sure they don’t lose sight of it. We recently crafted some hard to miss call-to-action bars for Frontier’s FiOS fiber optic internet landing page. The CTA bar directs the user to call or shop online and stays at the top of page as you scroll.
4. More authentic photos, fewer stock photos
We want to see the real you! So, whip out that camera and take a few snaps. Or hire a photographer — a few professionally done photos can take your site to the next level. Customers love to see pictures of your products, your store, and other customers attending your events.
5. Location-based content
One-size-fits-all may work for baseball caps, but for websites, there is a big payback from delivering custom-tailored location-based content. Customized content helps your visitors find the information they need quickly. For example, the Vantage™ by Frontier microsite displays different home page banners, bundles and deals, and channel lineups based on user’s location.
6. Fast-loading pages
No one likes a slow poke. Get your pages in high gear by using server page caches (we’ve seen a 1,393% improvement with FastCGI), image optimization software (ImageOptim free for Mac does wonders), and techniques to delay the loading of content that appears off screen or “below the fold.” We’ve been optimizing our CSS load times with CriticalCSS, too.
7. Integration of social media and marketing automation
You’ve got to stay fresh. Keep your site fresh by tapping into social media APIs to display your latest tweets, Instagram posts, and Facebook updates right on your web pages. On the flip side, potential customers may be living on social networks — are you taking advantage of those platforms for advertising? We are. We recently became a Marketo Premier Digital Services Partner and we’re utilizing their software to better target customers for our clients on social networks.
And now a few trends we could do without…
Hiding everything under a hamburger menu. We know this type of menu works great for mobile devices and can result in a very clean look for desktops. But ultimately it makes it more difficult for your users to find content. Some users may not even realize the menu is there and just leave your site in frustration.
Web browser push notifications. These are popular on mobile devices and perhaps even useful when used sparingly. Now they are becoming increasingly popular on your desktop web browser. But we live in an age of constant interruption. Let’s save the notifications for only the really important stuff, ok?
Pop-up ads. We just got to your site and no, we don’t want to subscribe to your newsletter already. Sorry.
Long loading screens. You should never have to wait for a web site to load with a 45 Mbps connection. Ever.