The importance of establishing and curating a well-designed website in today’s internet-dominated global climate is hardly a secret.
A strong online presence is a prerequisite to a blooming business enterprise, but just what marks the difference between a page that does little more than take up a domain name and a conversion optimized powerhouse?
This fundamental difference seems difficult for some business owners to grasp – a common misconception is that as long as the end result has visual appeal, the rest will come on its own. The reality is much more complex – a few pretty graphics and a font to match do not a website make. A company’s web page is often the first place a potential customer interacts with a brand and there’s an entire science behind utilizing various design elements in order to leave a positive impression, increase engagement and drive conversion rates. This is reflected in newest website design tendencies. While there are many approaches to successful web design, some definitive trends have emerged.
To learn more about the most interesting web design trends 2018 has to offer, check out our infographic below for key web design facts, stats and components:
Loved finding out about all the benefits of a website but not quite familiar with some of the lingo? We’ve got you covered. Read on for a handy introductory guide to some of the principal facets of not just the newest web design but also contemporary web design as a whole.
User Experience Design
Commonly abbreviated as UX design, and sometimes simplified even further into UX, UXD, UED or XD, the goal of user experience design is defined as the process of enhancing user satisfaction and loyalty through the utility, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction with a product. This term is not exclusive to web, or even digital design but applies to product design as a whole. Here’s a fun video explaining what UX design means for doors.
A user experience designer focuses on the user’s needs at every stage of the product’s life cycle, while at the same tame taking into account the ultimate goal of the business it is designing the product for.
SEO stands for search engine optimization and represents an internet marketing strategy designed to drive traffic to a website through organic search results. By implementing various website optimization techniques, the goal of SEO is establishing a high ranking for specific search queries, ultimately on the first page of search results. To understand how important ranking high is for a website’s traffic, consider the numbers: according to data from 2014, 75% of search engine users never make it past the first page and 23-30% of users will click on the very first result! By analyzing search engine algorithms, keyword statistics and other relevant information, SEO allows us to gain a better understanding of how search engines operate, and optimize websites accordingly. In short, without SEO even the best website designs won’t help. Your website might never reach the people it was created for and all your hard work will have been for nothing. The benefits of SEO are significant considering the fact that the largest portion of a website’s traffic comes directly from search engines. Not surprisingly, businesses are becoming increasingly aware of this importance and turning to SEO companies – services specializing in applying SEO principles to maximize a website’s search ranking and help it live up to its potential.
While we’re on the topic of search engines, another commonly found acronym is SERP, a slightly intimidating looking abbreviation for the phrase “search engine result page”. This term refers to a page containing results returned by a search engine in response to a particular query. Aside from the results, which are classified as organic or sponsored, a SERP includes the search query as well as rich snippets – search results presented with more information than the standard URL and metadata including reviews, pictures, maps etc.
Branding is the process of distinguishing a product or service from competitors and establishing recognizability in customers by way of name, logo, design and other attributes. A brand tells the “story” of a company and creates association with a particular meaning and mission in the minds of consumers. Creating patterns in the way your company’s message is conveyed and adhering to them is what’s referred to as brand consistency, a branding strategy focused on defining and maintaining guidelines to help reduce deviations in the usage and promotion of different elements of the brand. When coming up with website design ideas, maintaining this consistency entails making sure that key elements of the brand are incorporated in the web design and that the visual identity of the page is in accordance with the branding strategy. The website should act as a logical extension of the brand.
Responsive Web Design
Ever tried to access a web page on your mobile device only to find it only partially visible on the small and narrow screen? Then you can surely appreciate the importance of responsive web design – the design approach that ensures a web page renders legibly on a number of screens of different resolutions and sizes by responding accordingly with flexible design elements. A web designer creates a single layout which is able to respond to a multitude of screen and browser sizes. The concept gained momentum in the late 2000s as the popularity of mobile devices skyrocketed. As mobile web traffic started steadily increasing, it became important for websites to perform well on more than just a computer monitor and responsive design came to the rescue. Nowadays the latest web design trends show that responsive design is a must.
Another way of making sure a website holds up well on a multitude of screens is applying adaptive design. The main difference between adaptive design and its responsive counterpart is the number of necessary layouts. When designing with an adaptive approach, a separate layout is needed for each different screen type it will potentially be viewed on. This begs the question – what happens if you try to open the page on a screen it is not optimized for? In that case, the website would render a version created for a screen size it most closely matches – certainly not ideal by measure of the latest web design trends. In the ever evolving world of mobile devices, new types of screens are constantly appearing and employing an adaptive approach to a website would require maintenance in order to optimize for each new device. This gives responsive design the upper hand as it provides a web page with the ability to respond accordingly and keep up with new technology on its own.
Call to action button
A longstanding advertising technique, the CTA or call to action refers to any device designed to invoke an immediate response. We’re all familiar with the signature infomercial cries of “call now” or “order today to receive 50% off your purchase”. These are classic examples of calls to action in practice. In the digital age, the method of delivery is different, but the principle behind it has remained the same. Today, the home shopping networks have been eclipsed by her majesty the ecommerce website, and voiceovers have given way to the CTA buttons. These are usually brightly colored, prominently displayed website elements emblazoned with text urging you to “sign up now” or “add to cart”. Smart CTA button design takes into account the importance of color, size, text and the element’s placement on the page. When utilized properly the CTA button can be a powerful driving force behind successful conversions. This is why, unlike certain design elements which are simply passing trends in web design, call to action buttons are here to stay.
Flat design refers to a popular style of web design characterized by a lack of three dimensional attributes such as gradients and shadows in design elements. Bold colors, fonts and shapes are often used and icons are a common feature as well. Most popular examples of flat design are two operating systems – Apple’s iOS 7 and Microsoft’s Windows 8, but the trend has taken over web design and examples of pages done in the style of flat design are everywhere, from major domains to small business websites. Even though it has found widespread acceptance, critics of flat design point out that it’s signature feature, the flatness of design elements, degrades user experience by making it harder to distinguish elements’ functions. As a response, many web designers began introducing subtle gradients and shading to their web pages, creating a subcategory of flat design known as Flat 2.0. Flat design has surely proven itself to be one of the leading current website design trends.
Making sense of some of these key terms related to web design is an important first step in assessing the staying power of the web design trends 2018 has brought about. Understanding the core of what makes web design work can help you navigate the changing tides and weed out passing fads from innovations that are here to stay.