I know that web design trends come and go. I know that web design, or rather, all design, is subjective. You may like what I don’t love. And I may love what you hate, and that is okay! Really, half of the trends in this article may be gone next year!
Now that that’s out of the way, let me emphasize that the following blog post is not about “good design” or “bad design”. It is about how design choices serve your one goal. And making sure that you’ve thought through those designs and aren’t relying solely on the web design trends seen on Pinterest!
Do your design choices help your reader figure out where to go? Or confuse them just a bit? Do a quick audit of your site as you read along!
Navigation is so important to your site. Think about it, the last time you ended up on a website and you couldn’t find what you were looking for, what did you do? You probably left, went back to Google, and tried the next search result down.
There are a ton of creative ways trending for website navigation, and they can definitely look really cool! I’ve seen floating sideways mid-screen navigation, bottom of the screen navigation, and unique symbols to indicate navigation. These are all fun, creative ways to showcase your brand and personality.
But, put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Is that funky navigation style easy to find and easy to use? Do the symbols and structure you want to use make sense? If your answer is “ummm, well…” or “no”. I’d try again. You don’t want anyone to leave your site because they’re confused or frustrated! It hurts your SEO and it certainly doesn’t help your conversions.
When it comes to navigating a website, a sure bet is to put the navigation bar at the top of the screen. Why? it’s simply where people are used to looking. That certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t get creative or try something new, but make sure whatever you try is obvious to the reader!
Now I have to say, I’m split here because I do think that minimalist design is beautiful, I certainly am drawn to it! It’s a trend that I keep seeing time and time again and for great reason.
The thing to keep in mind with minimalist design is doing your best to achieve the minimal look you desire along with the functionality that your reader needs! Are you giving your reader enough direction?
Please do not forgo directional cues like a call-to-action button just for the sake of being minimal. Buttons are tried and true. People know to look for them and click them. They show your reader a big obvious sign that screams “I want you to go here next”.
Another thing to keep in mind with minimal designs is the length of text. For SEO purposes we know that search engines will “read” a website for keywords. That is one of the ways they know what the page about, and which search results to show it in. Make sure that you have enough text on a page so both Google and your reader can understand what it’s all about!
As far as I’m concerned, white space is king. Or a queen. Or whatever the top dog is to you. White space doesn’t have to be white! It is basically the space between or around your design elements. This web design trend can be used very effectively in your website design.
Of course, the obvious point to make about white space is that it is, in itself a design decision. The use, or lack of, white space can completely change the look and feel of a site even when all other elements remain the same.
But, you aren’t here for a discussion about design. You’re here to learn about how that design helps you convert readers into customers! First of all, white space makes it easier for viewers to read your copy. It brings attention to important images or elements. White space can help you make your call-to-action pop so that readers go ahead and click that thing!
Basically, white space calls attention to specific elements so that you can focus your reader’s attention exactly where you’d like it to be. Beware that you think strategically about your white space though! Make sure your elements have room to breathe, and that you allow your reader’s eyes to explore the most important parts of each page. If you don’t use enough white space, you don’t reap the benefits of this amazing tool!
Interactive elements are anything that your reader has to interact with! Pretty simple, right? These span from animations, surveys, quizzes, buttons and everything in between.
Why are these an important web design trends? Because each time your reader chooses to interact with your website, it is like a micro-step toward your one goal.
Clicking on an animation that is leading them to another page, submitting information via a form, taking a quiz. Each of these actions proves that you have your reader’s attention and that they’re willing to take small steps with you.
Not only that, but interactive elements can help you focus your reader’s attention as well. Want them to click that call to action? What if it bounces? What if, once clicked, your button reveals something entertaining or different? Something that causes the reader to want to click more buttons if only to see what happens next?
There are so many ways to use interactive elements that surprise, delight and (best of all) guide your reader to do exactly what you hoped they’d do.
The important thing to note here is to make interactive elements work for you. How can you ensure your reader stays on the page longer, gifts you with “micro-steps”, and eventually completes your one goal?
You can certainly easily over-do this design trend, but you can also have too little of it. Don’t expect a reader to get where you’d like them to be on a website that has all text, no buttons, and no interaction of any kind. Gain their attention, their buy-in, and their trust with each interactive element you use!
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all web design trends. But, these are a few that have become more and more prevalent. As mentioned above, you may read this article and decide you have to have sideways navigation halfway down your screen because it is calling out to your soul, and that’s cool. You do you, as they say 🙂
But I hope that this brief discussion has helped you to better understand how some design decisions can impact your website conversion rates. In the end, each website is a balance of form and function, and I hope that you find a balance that you love!